Category Archives: Religion

Ausserordentlich Viele Koinkidinks

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Speaking of Grimm, it is unfortunate that his Deutsche Mythologie has not been translated into a Slavic language (as far as we know).  There are lots of interesting tidbits throughout that book…

For example:

Most adults are aware that light travels faster than sound.  The difference is actually quite significant.  The speed of light is about 186,000 miles per second whereas sound will travel only 1,125 feet in that same second.  It is for this reason that when you see lightning, you then expect to hear thunder.  In fact, you can calculate how far lightning struck from you merely by counting the number of seconds that pass when you hear the thunder sound that follows it.

What does that have to do with Grimm and Slavs?

Well, there is an interesting passage in Procopius that says something like:

“For they believe that one God, the maker of lightning, is alone lord of all things, and they sacrifice to him cattle and all other victims…”

For years, it was assumed that this was a reference to the Russian Perun.*  And yet, as we know the Polish Piorun, the East Slav Perun or Lithuanian Perkunas refer to thunder not lightning.  Is the same God the maker of lightning?

* note: the cattle reference suggested Veles to some but, to the extent that there even was any Veles, it seems odd to sacrifice “cattle” to the alleged “cattle god”. Veles can, on the other hand, be another name for Piorun.

We might say yes if we look at expressions such as “Jasny piorun”, “jasny grom” and others…  And yet these expressions seem like conflations of two independent atmospheric phenomena.

The distinction of these two phenomena is hinted at in the 8th century work of Cosmography of Aethicus Ister where we learn that:

“Naxos and Melos and these islands are islands of the Cyclades, and the very round Isle of Melon as well, which is ver fertile; Jason, Pluto or Paron, and Pharius were born there.”

Naxon et Melos et ipsae insolae Cicladum insolaque Melon rotundissima adeo et fertilis, ubi Iason et Plutonem uel Paronem et Pharium editos.  

Here Paron is equated with Pluto but “Iason” remains separate.

So what does this have to do with Grimm, again?

Well, we’ve previously noted the strange fact that Odin simply means “one” in Russian/Ukrainian (Polish jeden – eden?).

Did Grimm know that?  He was a competent anthropologist, well-learned in Teutonic, Gallic and Slavic beliefs.

And so right at the beginning of the very first edition of his book, he mentions some Slavic Gods.

Among those, looking for similarities and differences between Slavic and Germanic Gods, he notices a God from the Slavic region of Krain (Italian Carniola) in today’s Slovenia (mentioned in a local dictionary).  That God’s name is Torik or Tork.  Grimm looks at the name and expresses his belief that this (war!) God has nothing to do with either the Germanic Tyr nor Thor.

So far so good…

But Grimm then provides an explanation of the Slavic God’s name, the implication of which he does not appear to grasp.

“There is an extraordinary great overlap in Germanic and Slavic superstitions”

He says that the Slavic God’s name simply comes from vtorik, that is the “other” or “second”.  He says this is because the Slavic Torik was a war God and the name was a simple translation of the  name Mars.  Mars or Martis was and is Tuesday (incidentally, Tyr’s day) which was the second day of the Slavic week.  So the Slavs started to call their Mars by using their translated name of the “second” day of the week which day was dedicated to the god Mars.

This may or may not be true, of course.

A much more interesting question, however, is why is Thor called Thor or Tyr called Tyr?

And here is the real brain twister.  How is it that two Germanic Gods’ names Odin and his “son” Thor correspond to Slavic numerals of one and two.  Note also that vtori can mean the returning, repeated.

And why is Odin called Odin, again?  What is the Germanic etymology here?

Moreover, is not the God of Lightning, the “first” God?  You see lightening first before you hear the corresponding thunder.  Lighting is, well, bright.  Brightness corresponds to the name of the God Jasion (the Polish Jaś), the God of the “year” or Jahr or spring (Slavic v-esna or v-iosna) also the God of agriculture rebirth (notice the adventure with Demeter – Dea – meter – the Mother Goddess but also the Earth Goddess).

First, comes Jasion (“lightning”) and then comes Peron (“thunder”).

“Father” and “Son”.

Odin and Vtor

Odin and Thor.

Was then Zeus Thor who struck his father Jasion in an act of not simply “divine punishment” but usurpation?

Incidentally, Jasion is also mentioned in Sacra Moraviae Historia  where He is referred to as “Chasson/sive Jassen”.

It is also noteworthy that “Chasson” was the name of one of the Slavic leaders in Book 2 of the Miracles of Saint Demetrius.

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July 22, 2017

German Village Superstitions

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About artemisia, the Polish bielica or bylica as a “divine” herb we wrote here some time ago. But here is an interesting factoid: a similar practice of using the same (?) herb was found deep in Germany, as already pointed out by Grimm:

“et extra villam, ubi herbam iusquiamum inveniunt, quae Teutonice belisa vocatur…”

Grimm’s observation in his volume III of Deutsche Mythologie) comes from the Collection of Decrees by Buchard of Worms (died 1024 or 1025) (Decretorum libri viginti).

Now, according to Grimm, the German belisa is supposedly not artemisia but henbane which is in Slavic is bielum (Polish) or belena (Russian).

This is an interpretation of Grimm’s.  The addition of hyoscyamum is his own and does not appear in the original text.

This much we can see comparing to the Migne edition:

Henbane’s name supposedly comes from *bhelena – an “Indo-European” reconstructed word.  Henbane has a whitish look and biel means “white” in Slavic so there is a separate question about that IE word.

But…  bylica does not appear to be derived from any “whitish” word and artemisia is not itself white.  And Grimm is right that his belisa sounds more like that bylica than bielum or belena by reason of the final “ts” sound expressed with an “s” as in “-sa” in German and with a a “c” as in “-ca” in Polish.

Perhaps a reading of the rest of this would skew this one way or another? (Going with artemisia)

Otherwise, we have a problem with what Teutonice means in this case (whether Buchard knew it or not).

For another instance of strangely Slavic sounding names in German pagan rituals see here.

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July 19, 2017

Sermo Secundus

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Since we’ve previously discussed Magister Lucas’ Pentacostal sermon mentioning the Three Polish Gods (et andere?) on a number of occasions (here or here), we figured it made sense to put it up in toto.  Thankfulluy, after Maria Kowalczyk’s article discussing it, the whole sermon came to the attention of Richard Tatarzynski who edited and published it (the Biblical references/citations are his) (but seems to have missed the fact that there is no Quia there).  Unfortunately, no one seems to have bothered to translate the whole thing into any language spoken currently on this planet.  Since we’re far too lazy to tackle this whole sermon, if you’re interested in understanding it all, suggest you hit Google Translate or shell out some cash on a professional translator.

Kowalczyk was interested in Lukasz of Great Kozmin years before the publication of her more famous article

Qia, fratres carissimi, custodia mandatorum praeparat ad susceptionem Spiritus sancti, cuius hodie festivitas celebratur, ideo in lectione sancti Evangelii praesentis diel ponitur incitatio omnium nostrorum ad observationem mandatorum divinorum.  Habetur autem Ioan. 14[23] et eius/tenor sequintur in haec verba: ‘Si quis diligit me, sermonem meum sevabit’ etc.

Sed quia ut ait beatus Gregorius in homilia huius lectionis sanctae tractans illud [Ioan. 14.26]: ‘Paraclitus autem Spiritus sanctus, ille vos docebit omnia,’ ‘quod nisi idem Spiritus sanctus cordi adsit audientis, otiosus est sermo doctoris’; et post: ‘Nemo ergo docenti homini tribuat quod ex ore hominis intelligit, quia nisi intus sit qui doceat, doctoris lingua exterius in vacuum laborat’.  Et declarans hoc dicit sicut et ego vobis dicere possum.  ‘Ecce unam loquentis vocem omnes pariter audistis, nec tamen pariter sensum auditae vocis percipitis.  Cum ergo vox dispar non sit, cur in cordubus vestris dispar est vocis intelligentia, nisi quia per hoc quod vox loquentis communiter admonet, est magister interior qui de vocis intelligentia quosdam specialiter docet?’  Quare carissimi humili prece et devotione sincera hunc Spiritum sanctum Paraclitum totius veritatis magistrum invocemus dicentes: ‘Veni Creator Spiritus mentes tuorum visita, implre superna gratia quae tu creasti pectora.  Accende lumen sensibus, infuende amorem cordibus’ etc.  Quatenus ad gloriam tantae sollemnitatis et dici valeant et intelligi eo auctore quae suae sint grata maiestati et nostra saluti proficua.  Ad quod melius impetrandum matris misericordiae auxilium posulemus insuper dicentes: Ave Maria…

Dicit igitur: ‘Si quis diligit me, sermonem meum servabit’ [Ioan. 14. 23]. In quo notatur amoris communitas: omnibus enim se communicat, pusilis et magnis, informis et sanis, divitibus et egenis.  Non enim proprietas et personarum acceptio apud caritate, ‘non enim,’ ut dicitur 1 Cor. 13[5], ‘quaerit quae sua sunt.’  Notatur etiam amoris nobilitas in hoc quod dicitur: ‘Si ouis’.  Nobilitas autem eius attenditur in hoc, quia est illesibilis, secundum quod dicitur 1 Petri 3[13]: ‘Et quis est qui vobis noceat, si boni aemulatores fueritis’ quasi diceret: nullus, nam / et adversa et prospera cooperantur semper in bonum, talibus numquam in malum, iuxta illus Apostoli Rom, 8[28]: ‘Scimus quoniam diligentibus Deum omnia cooperantur in bonum’.

Sed diceres carissime, quomodo in bonum omnia eis cooperantur qui diligunt Deum?  Certe sic, ut ait Glossa ordinaria ibi super Apostolum, quod italis Deus consolatur prosperis et exercet adversis’.  Nam propria ipsorum infirmitate exercetur humilitas, afflictione patientia, contradictione sapientia, odio benivolentia et usque adeo talibus Deus omnia cooperatur in bonum, ut si qui horum deviant et exorbitant etiam hoc ipsum eis faciat proficere in bonum, quia  humiliores redeunt atque doctiores.  Discunt enim cum tremore se exultare debere, non quasi arrogandi sibi tamquam de sua virtute fiduciam permanendi.  Unde et ut dicit beatus Thomas in quaestionibus ‘De veritate’, in responsione ad quintum: ‘Contingit qoud potentiores freequenter succumbunt.  Ostenditur enim per hoc quod victor magis est ex divina providentia quam ex humana virtute’.  Et ergo dicitur in Psalmo [2,11]: Servite Domino in timore et exultate ei cum tremore’.

Unde et hodie cum Spiritus sanctus venit, dicitur Act. 2[2] et in Epistola hodierna, quod ‘factus est repente de caelo sonus tamquam advenientis spiritus vehementis’ vel in hoic quod dicitur” ‘Si quis diligit me’ [Ioan. 14, 23] notatur verorum amicorum raritas, ut sit sensus ‘si quis diligit’ quasi diceret: Rarus, est, quia ‘omnes, quae sua sunt, quarerunt fastigia, multi ambitionem, multi luxuriam, multi gulam et cetera vitia.  Unde rarus est in fastigiosis, in quibus regnat amor propriae excellentiae et tales sunt hodie plures.  Iam enim prophetia Apostoli 2 Tim. 3[2] verificatur dicens: ‘Erunt homines seipsos amantes.’  Rarus est etiam/ amor Dei in ambitiosis, qui amant pecuniam, Mat. 6[21]” ‘ubi thesaurus tuus, ibi est et cor tuum’.  Item rarus est in luxuriosis et voluptuosis.  Plures enim sunt, ut ait Apostolus 1 Tim. 3[4], ‘voluptatum amatores magis quam Dei’.  Haec sonsiderans beatus Chrysostomus dicebat: ‘Argento et voluptate inhonorabilior nobis Deus, etenim pro illis sustinemus pericula, insidias, vigilias, peregrinationes et infinita mala.  Nos autem propter Deum nec verbum asperum possumus sustinere.’

Amor etiam hic in gulosis locum non habet, quia de talibus dicitur Philip. 3[19], quod ‘eorum Deus est venter’, qui certe ventri oboedientes etiam secundum philosophos gentiles loco bestiarum irrationabilium et percorum computandi sunt.  Unde quia gula gignit tenuem sensum, immo premit ingenium, unde et ad primam viam virtutis, quae est doceri secundum Senecam et beatum Bernardum, assurgere non possunt et ita ad virtutem et sic ad caritatem, quae est forma virtutum.  Unde tales, si volunt corrigi et Deo servire, audiant consilium beati Augustini dicentis: ‘Ante omnia quia Dei servus vult esse omni hora legere debet’, in quo non notat continuationem sine interruptione, sed assiduitatem.

Et in lectione intellige etiam auditionem, quoniam lectio ipsa est quae facit servum Dei, ipsa est quae consolatur, ipsa est quae erigit animas ad caelum, ipsa est quae despici facit mundum et amare Deum.  Quare sequitur, cum dixit: ‘Si quis diligit me, sermonem meum servabit’ [Ioan. 14.23]. Qui sermo corrigit in detestationem peccatorum, dirigit in viam praeceptorum, errigit in ascensionem supernorum, colligit in societatme beatorum.  Dicitur autem sermo, quia serit mores in terra cordis, scilicet nostri, et hoc praecisa in contritione, comminuta in confessione, compluta in lacrimarum effusione, bene stercorisata, vulgariter ‘nagnoiona‘, in iugi peccatorum recordatione.

Servatur autem sermo Domini / in corde, ore, opere, iuxta illud Deut.  6[6]: ‘Erunt verba haec, quae praecipio tibi hodie in corde tuo’.  Ecce primum: ‘et narrabis ea filiis tuis’ [Deut. 6, 7]; ecce secundum: ‘et ligabis ea quasi signum in manu tua’ Deut. 6,8; ecce tertium, scilicet operatio.  In corpde autem servatur sermo Domini per amorem et iugem meditationem iuxta illud psalmistae: ‘In lege Domini fuit voluntas eius et in lege Domini meditabitur die ac nocte’ [Ps. 1,2].  Item: in intellectu autem per cognitionem sine errore, in affectu per amorem sine contradictione, in ore autem servatur sicut fons fluendo, nam vitium capiunt nisi moveantur aquae, ita corrumpitur scientia, si non aliis derivetur.  In opere autem servatur sicut vitis cultura arescit et deperit, Os. [10,1]: ‘Vitis frondosa Israel, ructus adaequatus est ei’, id est opera respondent sermonibus, alias enim non est sons 1 Cor 13[1]: ‘Factus sum velut aes sonans aut cymballum tinniens’.  Item servatur sermo Dei in opere sicut vita per cibum, opus enim est cibus spiritualis.  Unde Ioan. [4,34] dicitur per Christm: ‘Meus est cibus ut faciam voluntatem eius, qui misit me’; unde Gen 30[1[ dixit Rachel ad Iacob: ‘Da mihi liberos, alioquin moriar’.

Sed diceres: qua elitas observationis? certe dicitur, quia Pater caelestis diliget eum.  Signum autem dilectionis Patris non solum in Filii missione, de quo 1 Ioan. [4,9]: ‘In hoc apparuit caritas Dei in nobis, quoniam unigenitum Flium suum misit Deus in mundum, ut vivamus per eum’, sed etiam, quia inhabitat animam tota Tinitas iuxta illud 1 Cor. 3[17] et [2 Cor] 6[16]: ‘Templum Dei sanctum est, quod estis vos’.  Et de hoc subditur [Ioan. 14,23]: ‘et fortem faciendo, quia ei attribuitur potentia, Filius illuminando, quia ipse est Patris sapientia, Spiritus sanctus caritatem inflammando, quia ipse est caritas et benignitas.

‘Et mansionem apud eum faciemus’ [Ioan. 14,23] gratiam confirmando, roborando, augmentando, perseverantiam tribuendo, vel veniemus in praesenti inhabitando per gratiam ‘et mansionem apud eum faciemus’ in futuro.  Et haec mansio est visio Dei, quando manifestabit se ipsum diligentibus, sed non malis, de quibus subdit: ‘Qui non diligit me, sermones meos non servat’ [Ioan. 14,24].  Unde et si alias, maxime hodie deberemus insistere sermonibus divinis, non idolorum.  Tales etiam debent esse sermones nostri, ut possent referri ad Deum Patrem iuxta illud 1 Petri 4[11]”: ‘Si quis loquitur, immo non solum sermones, sed etiam meditationes: nam sermones summi Patris sunt meditatio iusti.

Hoc deberent advertere hodie in choreis vel in aliis spectaculis nefanda loquentes et in cordibus immunda meditantes, clamantes et nominantes idolorum nomina: ‘LadoYassa‘ et attendere an possit referro ad Deum Patrem? Certe non venit ad summum bonum nisi quod bonum. Non enim festa Liberi, id est Bachi, quales proh dolor celebrant ex remanentiis rituum exsecrabilium paganorum, quales fuerunt praedecessores nostri, pervenire possunt ad aures Dei nisi ad ulciscndum, sicut ascenderat clamor Sodomorm et Gomorrhorum.  Nam in hoc festo Liberi fiebant turpes / denudationes et alia turpia, quae deixit Apostolus etiam non nominari gratia Domini Dei, tamem talia iam auctis praedicatoribus cessant et in multis locis cessaverunt.

[Ioan. 14,25]: ‘Haec locutus sum vobis apud vos manens’ corporali praesentia, quae scilicet sunt salutis, quae vitae aeternae.  Unde et Petrus dicebat Ioan. 6[69]: ‘Ad quem ibimus? verba vitae aeternae habes’.  Locutus est nobis ea quae sunt caritatis, quae est via excellentior in vitam aeternam.  Nam et si alias Scriptura sacra, ut dicit Augustinus libro tertio ‘De doctrina christiana’, capitulo decimo: ‘nihil aliud docet nisi caritatem et nihil damnat nisi cupiditatem’, multo magis evangelica quae est Christi.

‘Paraclitus autem Spiritus’ [Ioan. 14, 26], ubi advertatis, quod Spiritus sanctus quadrupliciter, ut hic sufficit, nominatur.  Dicitur enim Spiritus sanctus primo, secundo Spiritus veritatis, tertio Paraclitus, quarto amor sive caritas.  Dicitur Spiritus sanctus, id est purus, ut expellat immunditiam; Spiritus veritatis, quia expellit errorem vel ignorantiam; Paraclitus, quod sonat, consolator, quia expellit tristitiam; Amor vero dicitur quia sedat discordiam.  E contrario vero spiritus malus dicitur etiam spiritus immundus iuxta illud Luc. 11[24]: ‘Cum immundus spiritus exierit ab homine’ etc. spiritus erroris, spiritus vexationis et spiritus discordiae et dissensionis.

Spiritum sanctum autem Pater mittit in nomine Christi, unde dicitur” ‘Quem mittet Pater in nomine meo’ [Ioan. 14, 26].  Nicholas Gorran hic. id est in fide nominis mei, quia non nisi credentibus in Christum datus est.  Unde Ioan. 7[38] dicitur: ‘Qui credit in me, sicut dicit Sciptura, flumina de ventre eius fluent aquae vivae’ et Act. 4[12]: ‘Non est aliud nomen sub caelo, in quo oporteat nos salvos fieri’.

Non enim salvatur in hoc nomine Lado, Yassa, Nia, sed in nomine Iesus Christus.  Quid ergo vis habere Spiritum Dei, invoca in nomine Christi, quod est Iesus, id est salutaris; quaera ea quae sunt salutis, non quae damnationis.  Hoc nomen saepius digne nominatur, / quod iuxta Bernardum ‘est mel in ore, melos in aure, iubilus in corde’.  Non Lada, non Yassa, non Nia, quae sunt nomina alias idolorum in Polonia hic cultorum, ut quaedam cronicae testantur ipsorum Polonorum.  Unde plures interficiebantur tunc, utinam non nunc, eo quod non invocabant nomen illud, de quo dicit Ioel 2[32]: ‘Omnis, qui invocaverit nomen Domini, salvus erit’.  Istis namque invocantibus nomen Domini, qui sunt veri Israel, pax: unde subditur: ‘Pacem relinquo vobis, pacem meam do vobis’ [Ioan. 14,27].

Tria reliquat vel legavit Deus specialiter discipulis suis: humilitatem, de quo Ioan. [13,15]: ‘Exemplum dedi vobis, ut et vos similiter faciatis’; dilectionem, Ioan. ibidem 13[34]: ‘Mandatum novum do vobis’ [Ioan. 14,27].  Haec autem tria reliquit eis, ut nullo indigerent, sed in omnibus abundarent, ut humilitas, id est humilis opinio sui esset in rationabili apud eos, caritas seu dilectio in concupiscibili pax in irascibili.

‘Non, quomodo mundus dat, ego do vobis’ [Ioan. 14,27], ‘Dominus enim dat abundanter et non improperat’ Iac. 1[5].  Sed e contra de mundodicitur Eccli.  20[15]: ‘Pauca dabit et multa improperabit’; [Ioan. 14, 27]: ‘Non turbetur cor vestrum’ ad interiores dolores neque formidet ad exteriores afflictiones.  Unde in consolationem subdit: ‘Audistis, quia ego dixi vobis’ [Ioan. 14,28], qui ‘sum via, veritas et vita’ [Ioan. 14,6], et quid dixit ‘vado’? scilicet vobis parare locum, ‘et venio ad vos’ [Ioan. 14,28] et assumam vos ad me ipsum.  Supra eodem in principio capituli simile dicitur: ‘Non turbetur cor vestrum’ et subdit, quare non deberet turbari: quia ‘in domo Patris mei mansiones multae sunt’ [Ioan. 14,1-2].  Nam consideratio praemii minuit vim flageli, unde et hic dicitur [Ioan. 14,28]: Si diligeretis me, gauderetis utique quia vado ad Patrem, quia Pater maior me est’, homine scilicet.  Ita et nunc gaudendum est nobis dum homines / vadunt ad Deum, dolendum dum vadunt ad diabolum, sicut fecit David dicens: ‘Defectio tenuit me, pro peccatoribus derelinquentibus legem tuam’ [Ps. 118,53].

Multi et multae sunt quae tristantur hodie, quod eorum filii vel filiae Deo illuminati vel illuminatae sunt humiles, non verbosi, non mundum sequentes, cum tamen deberent gaudere, eo quod eos, quos spernit mundus, eligit Deus, quia iuxta Apostolum 1 Cor. 1[27]: ‘Infirma mundi elegit Deus’.  Et certe sunt plures, de quo dolendum, de quibus dicit Chrysostomus super Matthaeum: Alii filiis suis militiam praevident, alii honores, nemo filiis suis praevidet Deum, perditionem ollorum magno pretio comparant, salutem autem eorum nec accipere volunt.  Sed si viderint illos pauperes tristantur, si viderint peccatores et ita mundum sequentes non tristantur, ut ostendant, quod corporum amatores sunt non animarum.

‘Et nunc dixi vobis, it, cum factum ferit, credatis’ [Ioan. 14,29].  Glossa ordinaria: ‘Non quod factum videritis, quia non est laus vel meritum fidei, immo nec fides est de eo quod videtur, sed de eo quod non videtur.  Sed credatis me Filium Dei, non nova fide, quia et prius crediderunt’, apostoli scilicet, ‘sed aucta fide et refecta, quia et modo cum haec diceret parva fides erat et cm moreretur, nulla’.  Si igitur in apostolis fides aucta est per crementum et in nobis per gratiam, unde plura credenda discere possumus et possemus saltem secundum explicationem.

‘Iam non multa loquar vobiscum’, dixit Christus apostolis [Ioan. 14,30], ita ego etiam finiturus sermonem, quia adversarius noster diabolus 1 Petri [5,8] ‘circuit nos quserens quem devoret’ et maxime nunc, utinam igitur una vobiscum possem dicere: ‘Venit enim princeps huius mundi’, id est diabolus qui principatur non creaturis, sed peocatoribus et mundi amatoribus, ‘et in me non habet quidquam’ [Ioan. 14,30], scilicet mortalis / pecccati nec actus nec occasiones nec voluntatem, et sic non superbiam, non avaritiam, non luxuriam, non invidiam, non gulam, non iram, non acediam, non perccatum oris, non cordis, non operis, non ignorantiae, non impotentiae et infirmitatis; maxime non ex malitia: nam certe, si is spiritus malus quod absit, aliquid horum in nobis invenerit.

Spiritus sanctus, cuius festivitas hodie celebratur, ut dicitur Sap. 1[4-5]: ‘Fictum’, id est diabolum, ‘effugiet nec habitabit in corpore subdito peccatis’ et ita quod absit suavitate et donis eius maximis privaremur, et si non esset alia causa nobis movens nos ad peccatum vitandum, virtutes faciendum sufficere deberet, et maxime dilectione Dei uti Christus nobis ostendit dicens: ‘ut cognoscat mundus quia diligo Patrem et, sicut mandatum dedit mihi Pater, sic facio’ [Ioan. 14,31].

Ita enim nos carissimi ad veritatis, quid dicit egregius doctor, beatus Augustinus, in libro tertio ‘Catechizzandis rudibus’, etiamsi impune peccare possent, Dei tamen dilectionem offendere verentur, qui etiam inferni poenas non timerent dummodo Deum diligerent.  Nam, ut tactum est, talibus ‘omnia in bonum cooperantur’ Rom 8[28], non solum in vita praesenti, sed etiam in aeterna, ad quam nos perducat Spiritus sanctus qui cum Patre et Filio regnat.

The castle at Kozmin – portions of it even predate the Magister

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July 3, 2017

Chapels in the West

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In his Westphalian annals (volume 3), the Catholic priest Hermann Stangefol makes the following curious statement regarding the so-called Drüggelter Kapelle (which just means chapel) just south of Soest.  The place was first mentioned during the Crusades as apud Druglete and the “Kapelle” as Capellam Druchlete.

“The Paradise Monastery is noteworthy for the fact that it was spared by the enemy in the siege of Soest in 1447.  At around the same time, by reason of a pious gift, the farms of the town Drüchgelte on the River Möhne were transferred to [the ownership of] this new monastery.  There in an ancient temple, that still exists, there stood there an statue of the Goddess Trigla, which had three heads, to which the pagans in times of greatest need typically ran, pleading for help. It may be thought that it is from this statue [Goddess] that the village derives its name.  This statue was destroyed in 1583 during the Cologne War [1583-1588].”

“Monasterio Paradiso in obsidione Susatensi a. 1447 hostes, quod notabile admodum est, pepercerunt.  Villae in Druechgelte ad Moenam fl. ex piorum oblationibus huic novello Monasterio simul obvenerunt.  Ubi in pervetusto templo, quod etiamnum supcrest, extitit olim simulachrum Triglae deae, tria habens capita, ad quam gentilitas in summis necessitatibus opem imploratura cofugere solebat.  Est credible, quod ab eadem imagine hunc pagaum nomen suum mutuasse.  Status haec anno 1583 in bello trucksessisno omnino periit.”

This from the Annales circuli Westphalici, hoc est Opus Chronologicum Et Historicum rerum omnium, maxime notabilium sub hoc circulo gestarum, a Christo nato ad annum MDCLVI deductum et in IV partes distinctum.  The Moenam/Moyne refers to the river Möhne.

It is curious that Stangefol mentions Trigla as having “three heads” but does not seem to be aware that the name is likely a direct translation of that same concept.  He also does not mention the Slavs or the Slavic God Triglav suggesting that he may not even have been aware that Triglav had been attested in the Life of Otto of Bamberg.  These facts would add credibility to his report.  And it is true that the columns of the Kapelle feature a number of “strange” symbols and carvings including a column with three heads (notice too the boar’s or ram’s head in the middle below):

 Then there is the column with multiple heads:

Whether the various carvings visible on other columns may be solar symbols or something else is up for debate.

Speaking of reports, as we observed previously, there certainly have been reports of Slavs in the neighboring Soest.  We’ve also mentioned that Soest itself sounds vaguely Slavic or at least features the “Venetic” prefix -est (as too does Tergeste/Triest).  Note too that Slavic idols may have been found in places such as Bamberg (Bababerg arguably referring to Slavic (?) sculptures).

It is also true that in some cases former pagan sculptures/images were incorporated in the structures of the new Christian churches as in Altenkirchen (incidentally, located between Arkona and Glowe with the latter meaning “head”).  Of course, one may legitimately guess that such “incorporation” was usually intended as either pragmatic (useful building materials) or humiliating (we put your “god” into our wall upside down) or both.  The notion that pagan sculptures should be incorporated as prominent features of a church may seem to stretch credulity.  And yet, if you wanted to have the local pagans attend mass, what better way to do that than pretend “nothing’s changed”.

Whether Druglete can in fact derive its name from Triglav is another question.  That seems unlikely.  If one were to seek a Slavic etymology, a druch or drug would seem to fit better – meaning a “friend” or “companion” (this presumably from the numeral drugi meaning “the second”).

As an aside, it is also remarkable that drugubica means a net/trap/snare and has a definite Slavic etymology.  Yet Druch apparently means the same in German – as in Schlinge, Fusschlinge or Latin pedica.

This was noted by Wilhelm Engelbert Giefers in his study of the Three Strange Chapels of Westphalia. Giefers presumably did not know that the same is true in Slavic.  He also noted that Trigla cannot be the name of a goddess since, among other reasons:

“neither in the Germanic, nor Roman nor Greek mythology is there anywhere a reference to a Goddess Trigla.”

This, however, is not exactly true.

The 12th century Eustathius of Thessalonica (Commentary on the Illiad, XVII, 73) observes otherwise regarding Diana saying that she used to be called Trigla (by reason of three heads or eyes?).  Note too that “eyes” would work – gała/gały/gałka/gałki – compare with Russian galaz (or głazy – meaning stones, pebbles – or to simplify, something round). (Note too glaesum for “amber”).  Yet tri by itself won’t do it to make this Slavic since that is an IE prefix (at least in Slavic and Celtic – compare Tarvos Trigaranos on the Pillar of the Boatmen).

And earlier we have in Atheneus (3rd century AD, Deipnosophistae, Book 7) the following quote regarding a “trigle” fish (taxonomy continued to today):

“The Red Mullet (triglê). — This word, like chichlê (thrush) is spelled with an ê. For all feminines ending in la require a second l: Scylla, Telesilla. But all words in which g is inserted end in ê, like troglê (hole), aiglê (brilliance), zeuglê (yoke-strap). “The red mullet,” Aristotle says in the fifth book of Parts of Animals, “spawns thrice a year.” He says that fishermen infer this from the roe, which is seen three times a year in certain localities. Perhaps, therefore, the name triglê is derived from this circumstance, just as the amias are so‑called because they do not go solitarily, but in schools, scarus (parrot-fish) and caris (shrimp) from scairo (leap), aphyae (anchovies) because they are aphyes, that is, of poor size; from thyo, dart, the darting thynnys (tunny), because at the time when the Dog-star rises it is driven forth by the bot-fly on its head.”

“The triglê (red mullet) is jagged-toothed, gregarious, spotted all over, and also carnivorous. The third spawning is infertile; for certain worms develop in the womb, which devour the roe that is to be spawned. From this circumstance Epicharmus calls them the “squirming” in these lines from The Marriage of Hebe: “So he brought some squirming mullets and disgusting baiones.” Sophron, again, mentions trigolae, whatever they may be, in Mimes of Men, thus: “With a trigolas that cuts the navel-cord;” and “the trigolas that brings fair weather.” On the other hand, in the mime entitled Puffing Passion, he has: “The jaw of a Triglê, but the hind parts of a trigolas.” And in Mimes of Women: ‘The barbelled Triglê.” Diocles,in his work addressed to Pleistarchus, mentions the Triglê among fish with hard flesh. Speusippus says that the piper, flying-fish, and Triglê are similar. Hence Tryphon declares in his work On Animals that some persons identify the trigolas with the piper because of the hardness of their hind parts, which Sophron has indicated when he says, “the jaw of a Triglê, but the hind parts of a tirgolas.” Plato says in Phaon: “But the red mullet will give no strength to the glands. For she is a daughter of the virgin Artemis and loathes the rising passion.” The Triglê, on account of the syllable in its name which is common to the epithets of Hecate, is dedicated to her. For she is the goddess of the three ways and looks three ways, and they offer her meals on the thirtieth days. By like analogies they associate the turbot (citharus) with Apollo, the boax with Hermes, the ivy with Dionysus, the coot (phalaris) with Aphrodite, by way of insinuating phallus, like Aristophanes’s pun in The Birds. (So some persons associate the duck, called netta, with Poseidon.) The sea product which we call aphyê, others aphritis, others still, aphros (foam) — this, I say, is most dear to Aphrodite, because she also sprang from foam. Apollodorus also, in his treatise On the Gods, says that the Triglê is sacrificed to Hecate because of the associations in the name; for the goddess is tri-form. But Melanthius, in his work On the Eleusinian Mysteries, includes the sprat with the Triglê because Hecate is a sea-goddess also. Hegesander of Delphi declares that a Triglê is carried in the procession at the festival of Artemis, because it is reputed to hunt sea-hares relentlessly and devour them; for they are deadly. Hence, inasmuch as the Triglê does this to benefit mankind, this huntress fish is dedicated to the huntress goddess. Further, Sophron called the Triglê barbelled, because those mullets which have barbels are better to eat than other kinds.”

At Athens there is also a place called Trigla, and there is a shrine there dedicated to Hecate Triglanthinê. Hence Charicleides says in The Chain: “Mistress Hecate of the three ways, with three forms and three faces, beguiled with triglas.” If a Triglê be smothered a live in wine and a man drinks this, he will not be able to have sexual intercourse, as terpsicles narrates in his book On Sexual Pleasure. If a woman, also, drink of the same wine, she cannot conceive. The same is true even of a bird. The encyclopaedic Archestratus, after praising the trials of Teichious, in the Milesian territory, goes on to say: “Also in Thasos buy a red mullet, and you will get one that is not bad. In Teos it is inferior, yet even it is good. In Erythrae, too, it is good, when caught by the shore.” And Cratinus says in Trophonius: “No longer may we eat a red mullet from Aexonê, nor taste sting-ray or black-tail of huge growth.” The comic poet Nausicrates commends the red mullets of Aexonê in these lines from The Skippers: “A. With them, excellent in quality, come the tawny-skins, which Aexonê’s wave fosters as its own children, the best of all. With these, sailorfolk pay honour to the goddess, light-bringing virgin, whenever they offer her gifts of dinners. B. You are talking about mullets.”

Whatever your judgment on Trigla, the Slavs are not mentioned by Eustathius or Atheneus.  Perhaps the mystery is deeper and its solution lies with the Laconians/Lacedaemonians or the Pelasgians (as per Pokorny, from pelag-skoi “flatland-inhabitants” – Polanie?) who were descended (perhaps) from the mythical Phoroneus Φορωνεύς (Piorun/Perun/Perkunas?).

For more see Ernst Maaß’ Hekate und ihre Hexen in the Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung auf dem Gebiete der Indogermanischen Sprachen.

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June 17, 2017

The Rain of Wodan

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We previously remarked on the similarities between Wodan and wodz – “leader”.  We speculated that a wodz did wodzil, meaning led around his people (ziehen) because fundamentally, people travelling in the old days needed water to survive.  So you went along the rivers.  Thus wodzic ought to mean just to walk along, to or around water.  The person who led that became a “wodz”.

That is probably also the origin of the word “wander” or the German wandern (notice, for example, the Old Prussian wenda for “water” – which also suggests that the Veneti were – in some “Baltic” language simply “those who dwell or travel on/by water”).  Thus:

  • woda (Sla) > wodzic > wodz
  • udens (Balt Lat)
  • wenda (Balt Pr)
    • also compare with wędka [vendka] or wędzić [vendit] or wędlina [vendlina]
  • vanduo (Balt Lith)
  • [wasser] (Germ) > wandern

Notice too that “to wander” is the roughly the same as “to meander” – both are done by rivers and both may be undertaken by people travelling along rivers or on rivers.  These names indeed suggest the very life style of certain tribes.  The fact that Slavs are recorded (Procopius) as worshipping water spirits kinda fits.

From this you could also construct wojewoda as in the one who leads “woje” or “warriors”. Incidentally, the word woje means the same as boie.  The Boii were supposedly a Celtic tribe but it is not known what language these “Celts” spoke.  (Incidentally, in this version, the Germanic Heerzieher becomes a translation of the Slavic wojewoda – not vice versa).

We’ve also mentioned the curious fact that “one” in Slavic languages is jeden/odin.

But Wodan’s name itself suggests a Slavic (or Baltic?) source word of woda (or udens in Latvian) meaning “water”.

Wodan was – perhaps (this is unproven) – the same as Mercury.  Mercury was not really a water god but a god of trade.  On the other hand, during the Mercuralia, apparently, merchants sprinkled water from Mercury’s sacred well at the Porta Capena in Rome…

All of this may suggest that Wodan (whoever he was initially) was or at some point became a “rain god.”  This raises the possibility that Wodan was the same as Piorun.  Both are, in effect, storm gods – one’s name may mean “water” – the other’s “thunder”.  The fact that wuetend then came to mean the same as “raging” naturally follows from that.

Also the ending of

  • syllable then -n,
  • as in -on, -an, -un

seems rather fashionable among Europeans:

  • Jasion
  • Piorun/Perkun (or Perkun-as)
  • Wodan, Woden

Numerous other examples abound (they are typically viewed as Greek if in the form of -on but this may just be because of the fact that Greeks could actually write – see also Simon, Jason and others such as Chasson – the Slavic protagonist of the Miracles of Saint Demetrius.  BTW Josippon is a Greek word).

As we already pointed out, piron in both Greek and Venetic (!) means “fork” which naturally suggests the physical image of electricity streaming through the sky.

For other interesting factoids you can see that Vaduz – the capital of Lichtenstein – was first recorded as de Faduzes and this too refers to water.  Although the etymology is supposed to be Rhaetian (Rhaeto-Romanic) from aqueductus, it might just as well be Germanic or even Slavic.  That wadi means “river” in Arabic should also suggest that IE languages (or something similar) were much more widely spread (in the Old World) than previously thought.

Incidentally, os means “mouth” or “estuary” and is obviously cognate to the Slavic usta.  Likewise, os, as are cognates with the idea of motion jazda and all, for obvious reasons relate to water – jezero meaning “lake” – or Tamissa meaning Thames River, Izera and many others.

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June 16, 2017

Marwazī’s Account

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Here is an 1130 (?) account of the Arab court physician Sharaf al-Zamān Ṭāhir Marwazī or Marvazī (circa 1056/57– circa 1130) on the Slavs based on the 1942 Vladimir Minorsky translation (adapted by Paul Lunde and Caroline Stone along with most of the below notes).   Marwazī was (as the short version of the name suggests) a native of Merw (Persian: Marv), Khorasan in Persia (in today’s Turkmenistan).  His known work is Nature of Animals (Kitāb Ṭabāʾiʿ al-Ḥayawān al-Baḥrī wa-al-Barrī) which, presciently, includes as its first section a chapter on humans.  There he discusses the [Volga] Bulgars and Slavs and the Rus (the first portion of that discussion is a copy of Ibn Rusta).  Here are those excerpts.

The Bulgars and the Far North

“In the northern direction lies the country of Bulghar; it lies between the west and the  north, inclining towards th ePole, and is three months distant from Khwarazm.  These [people] have two cities, one called Suvar and the other called Bulghar; between the two cities is a distance of two days’ journey, along the bank of a river and through very dense forests, in which they fortify themselves against their enemies.  The trees are mostly khadang [birch?], but there are also hazels.  They are Muslims, and make war on the infidel Turks, raiding them, because they are surrounded by infidels.  There are in their forests fur bearing animals, such as grey squirrels, sable and so on.  The latitude of their territory is very considerable, so much so that in summer their day is extremely long and their night extremely short, so shot tin fact that the interval between twilight and dawn is not sufficient for cooking a pot [of meat].”

“At a distance of twenty days from them, towards the Pole, is a land called Isu [Wisu], and beyond this a people called Yura; these are a savage people, living in forests and mixing with other men, for they fear that they may be harmed by them.  The people of Bulghar journey to them, taking wares, such as clothes, salt and other things, in contrivances drawn by dogs over the heaped snows, which [never] clear away.  It is impossible for a man to go vover these snows, unless he binds on to his feet the thigh bones of oxen, and takes in his hands a pair of javelins which he thrusts backwards into the snow, so that his feet slide forward over the surface of the ice; with a favorable wind [?] he will travel a great distance by the day.  The people of Yura trade by means of signs and dumb show, for they are wild and afraid of [other] men.  Form them are imported excellent sable and other fine furs; they hunt these animals, feeding on their flesh and wearing their skins.”

“Beyond these are a coast-dweling people who travel far over the sea, without any [definite] purposes and intention; they merely do this in order to boast of reaching [such and such a remote] locality.  They are a most ignorant and stupid tribe, and their ignorance is shown by the following.  They sail in ships, and whenever two [of their] boats meet, the sailors lash the two together, and then they draw their swords and fight.  This is their form of greeting.  They come from the same town, perhaps from the same quarter, and there is no kind of enmity or rivalry between them; it is merely that this is their custom.  When one of the parties is victorious, they [then] steer the two ships together.  In this sea is the fish whose tooth is used in hafting knives, swords and suchlike.*  Beyond them is a Black Land which cannot be crossed.  As for the sea route, the voyager sailing towards the Pole reaches a part where there is no night in the summer and no day in the winter; the sun rotates visibly over the land for six months, circling the horizon like the revolution of a millstone; the whole year consists of one day and one night.”

* note: “Narwhal and walrus horn, called khutu, was much prized for its durability and was the preferred material for knife handles.”

The Slavs

“The Slavs are a numerous people, and between their territories and the territories of the Pečenegs is a distance of ten days, along steppes and pathless country which thick trees and [abounding] in springs.  They inhabit these forests.  They have no vines, but possess much honey.  They tend swine, and burn their dead, for they worship fire.  They grow mostly millet, and have a drink prepared from honey.  They have different kinds of pipes, including one two cubits long.  Their lute is flat and has eight strings but no peg-bx, while its pegs are level.  They have no great wealth.  Their weapons are javelins and spears, and they have fine bucklers.  Their head chieftain is called suit, and he has a deputy called shrih.*  The king has [riding] beasts and on their milk he feeds.  The town in which he resides is called Khazrat, where they hold a market for three days in every month.  Among them the cold is so severe that they dig deep underground dwellings which they cover with wood, and heat with the steam [produced by the burning of] dung and firewood.  There they remain during their winter season.  In the winter the Majghari [Magyars] raid them, and as a result of their mutual railings they have many slaves.”

* note: “suwit… shrih: suwit: must represent the first element in the name Svetopolk; shrih (sh.rih in the manuscript) has not been satisfactorily explained.”

The Rus

“The Rus live in an island in the sea, its extent being a distance of three days in either direction.  It has words an forests, and is surrounded by a lake.  They are very numerous, and look to the sword to provide them with a livelihood and profession.  When one of their menfolk dies, leaving daughters and sons, they hand his property to the daughters, giving the sons only a sword for they say: ‘Your father won his property by the sword; do you[r best and] imitate him and follow him in this.'”

“And in this way their education was effected, until they became Christians during the year 912*  When they entered [the fold of] Christianity, the faith blunted their swords, the door of their livelihood was closed to them, they returned to hardship and poverty, and their livelihood shrank.  Tgeb tget desired to become Muslims, that it might be lawful for them to makre raids and holy war, and so make a living by retrying to some of their former practices.  They therefore sent messengers to the ruler of Khwarazm, four ins men of their king; for they had an independent king called Vlaidmir, just as the king of the Turks is called khagan and the king of the Bulghars yiltawar.**  Their messengers came to Khwarazm and delivered their message, The Khwarazmshah was delighted at their eagerness to become Muslims, and sent someone to them to teach them the religious laws of Islam.  So they were converted.”

“They are strong and powerful men, and go on foot into far regions in order to raid; they also sail boats on the Khazar Sea [Caspian], seizing ships and plundering goods.  They sail to Constantinople win the Sea of Pontus, in spite of the chains in the gulf.***  Once they sailed into the Sea of Khazar and became master of Bardha’a for a time.  Their valor and courage are well-known, so that any one of them is equal to a number of any other nation.  If they had horses and were riders, they would be a great scourge to mankind.”

* note: “Vladimir converted in 988; probably a copyist’s mistake.”
** note: “The text reads b.t.ltw, Ibn Falan’s yiltawar, the title of the Bulghar king.  It is clear from this passage that Marwazi thought ‘Vladimir’ was a title, not a personal name.”
*** note: chains laid by the Byzantines to prevent ships passing.

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June 11, 2017

Lollus of the Borderlands

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It has been assumed that Germanic gods were Odin/Wotan, Thor and the like.  But their worship in Germany proper is attested only poorly.  On the other hand, during the Enlightenment, German amateur anthropologists and folklore collectors began to write down and study local folk tales, myths and superstitions.  The most well-known of this bunch are, of course, the Brothers Grimm.  However, already many years before them, folklore research was well under way in Germany.

Some of the more curious discoveries in the Main include references to old German Gods.  Many of these have been discarded as untrustworthy but they nevertheless merit mention.  This is particularly so since – whether or not they were actual Gods – their names suggest a Slavic origin and, thus, a Slavic presence far West of the Elbe.

Such names include Germanic Krodo (perhaps related to the Polish Krotoszyn/Krotoschin?), the Sorbian Flins but also, among a number of Thuringian Gods, Jecha, Ostara, Cisa and Biel (a Sun God!) and others.

Take Lollus described usually as a Frankish agricultural God.  Apparently, a statue or a figurine was discovered at some point near Schweinfurt (originally mentioned as Suinuurde in about 720 – what does it really refert to?).

The statue was of a youth with curly hair who holds his stretched out tongue in his right hand and a bucket of corn (mixed with wine?) in the left.  According to the tale, he was worshipped along with the Goddess Diana in a holy grove on the shore of the river Main.  The locals are supposed to have given him grape offerings (Dionysus?).  Saint Killian the Irish monk had the effigy of Lollus thrown into the Rhein but… after Killian perished a martyr’s death, a new statue was cast and worshipped.  The name of the God survives in the name of a square in Schweinfurt called the little Lollein.  A second effigy of the God was found in the wall of a churchyard at Lellenfeld near Eichstadt.

The first to report the figure’s discovery was Johann Laurentius in his chronologic Swinfurtensia in the 1600s (though an earlier 16th century letter may have mentioned the same).  He reported that even in his day the place where the Lollus was worshipped previously was called the Löhle or Lölle.

(Then the story appeared many other folklore works – in Johann Heinrich Bockreuß’ (or Bochris’) the Elder’s (1687-1716) Miscellanea lipsiensia, ad incrementum rei litherariæ edita volume 3 (1716) (edited by Karl Friedrich Pezold), in Johann Wilhelm Englert’s Dissertatio historico-theologica Franconiam in tenebris Ethnicismi et in luce Christianismi sistens…, in Johann Georg Sulzer’s Charaktere der vornehmsten Dichter aller Nationen, volume 7 (1803); in Heinrich Christian Beck’s the Chronik der Stadt Schweinfurt (1836) and in many other authors).

The name Lollus appears also as Lullus, Loellus and Lallus.

Whether he may have something to do with the Polish Lel (or Polel)  is an obvious question.

Another question is whether the name could have something to do with Tacitus’ Alcis.

Yet another question can be asked whether this has something to do with “dolls.”  A lalka is a doll in Polish (as also in Slovene and among some East Slavs).  Was the name “dolls” originally applied just to little idols?

In some Slavic languages a similar word indicates a familial relationship.  Thus:

  • lola means father (Polabian, portions of Ukraine/Belarus)
  • lela means aunt and lelak uncle (Bulgarian/Balkan and portions of Ukraine/Belarus)

Note also that a laluś in Polish is a boyish dandy who cares about his looks a bit too much (with all the same connotations as in English).

A more nuanced question could be asked why is it that in the Frankish dialect Loell or Lolli refers to someone who can’t speak well.  Why does that matter?  Because lulac means to try to put to sleep (and or ululac means to put to sleep).  This is, of course, in some unknown way cognate with a “lullaby” and the English “lull” as in a peaceful pause.

But, interestingly, in Polish the same meaning of “not being able to speak well” is expressed but the word ululany which just means someone who is way drunk.  That someone like that won’t speak well is, of course, obvious (it seems to be the opposite of the Latin ululare, that is, to howl).  That Lel/Polel were also described as bar drinking expressions in the Polish late Renneisance is also interesting (in fact, the much later Brueckner is on the record for claiming that these were not deity names but merely drinking shouts).  And so we may come all the way to Jas, Dionyssus or Bacchus.

About the Main and Regnitz Wends we already wrote here.  About Würzburg we wrote here.  About Bamberg here.  About the River Jossa/Jassa in the vicinity of Aschaffenburg, here.  Here is a map showing these places in relation to Schweinfurt with the terra Slavorum in rough outline.

And here is another German map of Slavic place names – the roughly same highlighted area, this time in the western portion of the map.Make of it what you want but something tells us that at least some of the Slavs did not come from the East.

Interestingly, in 1990 halfway between Bamberg and Munich, in Kemathen – which these days is  a part of the town of Kipfenberg (Landkreis Eichstätt) there was discovered a Germanic warrior grave from about 420-450.  In it was found this belt (picture from Ludwig Wamser’s book). 

While the rosette is a common symbol, this type was particularly popular as a protection symbol in Polish houses.  Check these out from the Podhale region.

Starry Detour

Incidentally, if the rosettes above remind you of the asterisk symbol, you should know that an asterisk is derived from Greek for “little star”.  On the star of Jastarnia see here.  The interesting thing about stars is that Balto-Slavic languages have a very different word for them:

  • gwiazda (Polish)
  • żwai(g)zdē (Lithuanian)

Interestingly, in Prussian swaigstan meant “light” (Polish światło). Even more interestingly, stara in Slavic means “the old one” (female gender).  Whether this goes to something meaning “stars” or has more to do with old people lacking a certain flexibility (compare “to stare” or “stiff) is another matter.

Back to Our Stary, err… Story

Finally, it is also interesting that a lelek refers to a stork in parts of Poland (lelek is also a separate type of bird – the nightjar.  The more typical name for stork (nowadays German Storch) is bocian (compare that with Latin buteo and Germanic buse and busart (!)).

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May 27, 2017

Suffice it to Say

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It is interesting that the word “he” appears in these two base forms in Indo-European languages:

  • El (Portuguese, Spanish, French)
  • On (Slavic)

Note that Germanic (other than German which seems just confused) languages are a bit different here using some form of “that” (compare Latvia ).  Also Italian, Lithuanian and Estonian slip into an “s”.

It is also curious that “El” is a Middle Eastern god and is a suffix in some of those deities’ names, whereas -on is a suffix in many Eastern and Southern European names and Deity names (Jasion,  Pieron).  Of course, -on is a suffix in other names too whose origin is uncertain (Simon) and Slavs construct new words using -on as a suffix even now (kujon).  Of course, -on as a suffix appears in other countries as well.

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May 24, 2017

On Herbert’s Recorded Miracles

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We cannot emphasize enough that telavic mythology has not been thoroughly explored.  The major studies of sources have produced plenty of material but missed some items.  Note that a lot of these items are not well known even in their respective countries of production.  This can be said of the mentions of Slavic religious practices by:

We were guided to yet another such find just recently.  A scholar of the Jagiellonian University* from Kielce – Michał Łuczyński with a translation by Małgorzata Kruszelnicka – published an article  in 2009 wherein he notes a reference to Slavic religion in  Herberti turrium sardiniae archiepiscopal De miraculis libri tres (Herbert Archbishop of Torres in Sardinia – Of the Miracles in Three Books).  The specific reference is to a confrontation between a Christian monk and a Slavic pagan “demon”.

[* Incidentally, it was also a scholar of the Jagiellonian University – Maria Kowalczyk (or Kowalczykówna) – who discovered the most ancient references to Polish Gods in in the sermons of Lucas of Great Kozmin (see “Wróżby, czary i zabobony w średniowiecznych rękopisach Biblioteki Jagiellońskiej,” 1979).  Like Szacherska’s work, this was ignored until the Leszek Kolankiewicz’s (a theatrical scholar!) book “Dziady” brought it back to light in 1999.   Łuczyński’s article came out in 2009 – ten years after Kolankiewicz’s book so it seems something is brought to light every ten years – we’ll take it.]

This story is only present in three manuscripts of the Miracles where (as Chapter 93) it is referred to as: Quomodo zabulus in scemate regio se ipsum ydalatris ostendebat or “How the devil revealed himself to idolaters in [some] unattractive country.” (elsewhere aka De converso, qui vidit ante conversionem dyabolum ydolatris se ostendere in scemate regio)

The same was previously also noted by a Danish writer in the 1930s (exact source now escapes memory), by Stella Maria Szacherska in 1968 in her work Rola klasztorów duńskich w ekspansji Danii na Pomorzu Zachodnim u schyłku XII wieku (“The role of Danish monasteries in Denmark’s expansion in Western Pomerania at the end of the 12th century”) and, more recently, in 2005 by  Gabriela Kompatscher Gufler (Herbert von Clairvaux und sein Liber miraculorum: die Kurzversion).  For other mentions of this work, you can see Łuczyński’s article in Mythologia Slavica, volume 16, 2013, page 69.

Note that the Miracles appear in Migne’s Patrologia Latina – volume 185 (starting on p. 1272) but do not contain the aforesaid adventure.  This is because the Migne version used the most common manuscript version.  Interestingly, even that version contains a reference to Slavs in Book Three, Chapter 36 (which corresponds to Chapter 94 of the version containing the Quomodo story) (though that story of the Slavs has been interpreted to refer to Prussia instead in Wiener’s work which was also accepted by Marian T.W. Łodyński).  Because the Slav portion appears right after the Quomodo story we showcase both here (For the Quomodo story we use the Łuczyński/Kruszelnicka translation with some alterations – for example, scemate regio probably refers to an unattractive country not to “regal gowns”).  

So who was Herbert?  We are talking about Herbert of Clairvaux (circa 1130 – circa 1181) Monk at Clairvaux (1153–68/9), abbot of Mores in Champagne; but later also archbishop of Sassaria or Porto Torres, Sardinia (circa 1181).  To be clear he did not perform the miracles in his “Miracles”.  Rather his book is a composition of stories regarding others’ miracles put together by Herbert.  In the case of the Quomodo story Herbert notes that it was relayed to him by Henry of Clairvaux but the name of the protagonist monk remains unknown.

How the devil revealed himself to idolaters in [some] unattractive country
[Chapter 93]

“This is [the story] that the dignified-looking Henry, once a monk of Claraevallis, now an abbot residing in Denmark for many years, told us – [a story of] a noble monk from his abbey.  The monk in question, now still wearing holy gowns, in his youthful years went to the pagan land mentioned above* for the purpose of [carrying on of] negotiations.”

[* note – if above refers to the prior Chapter 92, that would be the same as Migne’s Book III, Chapter 35 in which indeed a “ad terram paganorum” does appear.  Since nothing says that that is a Slavic country, It is also, therefore, possible that this story also does not have anything to do with Slavs though, given, the timing of composition, that is unlikely – given that in the 12th century the only openly pagan European countries would have been parts of Slavic lands and Baltic regions – but the Christianization of the Baltics did not start in earnest till the 13th century and also those lands were further from Denmark which is the residence of the abbot conveying the story]

“However, in that territory there is an unclean statue inhabited by a most frightening God, who answers many calls and who is worshipped by the local inhabitants solely out of fear.  Sometimes he made himself visible and appeared as if a tyrant with a terrifying countenance and voice and he made these unhappiest people worship him by means of threats and beatings.  Furthermore, on that God’s order, he frequently sent diseases, disasters, infertility and other plagues and aroused fear in the unfaithful.”

“[But] if it had ever appeared that he was giving up those criminal acts or that he was acting more gently, [then] he was regarded as the deliverer of blessings.  Every year, on specified days they [these people] used to arrive festively at his temple from everywhere and they used to feast together although their participation was dishonorable [from a Christian view]. They used to set up a separate table and set it lavishly with delicious dishes, and all that used to be devoured in an invisible way by the gluttonous spirit. Then, when they [the people] saw everything had been eaten, they themselves ate joyfully because they thought the tipsy deity would be favourable to them.”

“One day, when they gathered in one place, the young Christian [I] mentioned before happened to be there. Suddenly, the well-known spirit appeared, decorated with royal ornamentation, sat down on his throne and spoke to them in a proud and contemptuous way.  Yet, those lamentable people mocked at by that shameless deity stood terrified at the sight of him and worshipped him.  When the young Christian saw it, he understood that it was the devil turned into an angel of light.  He felt fear of Satan and, calling the name of Christ, he secretly made a sign of the cross . He did not dare, however, to make the sign of the cross openly on his forehead due to a great number of people being there.  Having noticed what he did secretly, the wild deity spoke to him in his native language: ‘Hey, you deceitful Christian, tell me what you are plotting in secrecy.  Hiding under the cloak, you have made the hateful sign of the cross on your chest.  Are you also making an attempt to throw me out of my temple?  I had left the place from which you came to [come to?] my land.  I hid in the sea escaping from your cross and now that I have returned, you do not allow me to find shelter from your cross in my own temples.  You have eaten my food, you have armed against me with your signs and once again you are expelling me against my will from my domicile like an ungodly traitor’.”

“When the pagans heard the demon’s voice, they hardly understood the conversation and they were very surprised at who participated in the conversation and what it was about.  The alarmed young Christian who heard and who understood the speech, hid in the crowd because he was weak and inexperienced in his faith to such a degree that he was afraid he would be captured by the infidels and punished with death.  However, once the demon disappeared, the crowd dispersed, the young man’s wonderment diminished and [instead] what he saw and heard helped him to deepen his Christian faith.  Soon, when he returned to his native land, he went to the abbey mentioned above, where he [continued] in the service of God, and he revealed to the abbot and to the other monks what had happened to him, in order to strengthen them spiritually.”

“What else can be said: if the power of the Cross is so great that a Christian of small faith furtively and fearfully made the sign of cross [and that] caused the rulers of darkness to escape, what do you think [then] happens when men of virtue and missionaries strong in faith arrive with what is the word of God?  How many piles of corpses they created, what great multitudes of pagans they gained [for the faith] in a short time, they discovered it [all] in the words of truth which are in the Psalm: ‘A thousand fall by your side, and ten thousand to your right. And in the Ministerial Book: Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred will chase ten thousand. God wishes this kind of [bountiful] harvest in order to send harvesters to reap. Harvest is plentiful, but [there are] very few harvesters.  However, those very few harvesters who came from all over are blessed profusely and they reap the harvest of souls for God.  As a result, thousands of pagans only just baptized, in a short time grow in number more and more to such a degree that the bishops and metropolitans are appointed in many cities and God’s grapevine is spread far and wide among barbaric people, who [previously] may have heard the name of wine but [until then]  did not taste [that] wine.”

Quomodo zabulus in scemate regio se ipsum ydalatris ostendebat
aka De converso, qui vidit ante conversionem dyabolum ydolatris se ostendere in scemate regio

Vir venerabilis Hainricus, quondam monachus Claraeuallis et nunc iam per annos plurimos abbatizans in regione Danensi, de quodam honesto monasterii sui converso tale aliquid nobis significavit.  Predictus itaque frater dum adhuc secularem habitum gereret, in iuvenili aetate perrexit ad negociandum in supradictam terram paganorum.  Est autem in illis locis symulacrum inmundum, in quo demon atrocissimus habitans et responsa plurima prestans pro solo timore ab illis incolis excolebatur. Siquidem interdum visibiliter seipsum ostendens, quasi tyrannus aliquis vultu et voce terribilis apparebat atque miserrimos homines illos minis ac verberibus illatis ad suam reverenciam imperiose cogebat. Preterea morbos, clades, sterilitates atque similia ex divina permissione inducens frequenter, terrorem suum super infidelibus populis incuciebat. Si quando vero ab huiusmodi malignacionibus cessare aut micius agere videbatur, magni beneficii largitor tenebatur.  Statutis quoque diebus in anno soliti erant undique ad phanum ipsius sollempniter convenire et pollutis sacrificiis participando convirare. Aliam vero e regione mensam laucioribus epulis copiose refertam seorsum apponebant, que videlicet omnia spiritus ille gulosus plerumque adveniens avida voracitate invisibiliter absorbebat. Cumque universa consumpta conspicerent, tunc et ipsi letanter epulabantur, quia crapulanti numinis gratiam iam secure prestolabantur.  Quadam itaque die, convenientibus in unum, contigit et interesse prefatum illum iuvenem christianum. Et ecce repente apparuit ibi notifer ille spiritus imperialibus ornamentis fantastice redimitus, qui residens in throno suo in superbia et in abusione concionabatur ad illos. Porro miserandi homines illi tanta demonis impudencia ludificati in aspectu eius obstupescebant et execrando prodigio divinitatis honorem impendebant. At vero iuvenis christianus cum talia cerneret, intelligens esse diabolum in angelum lucis transfiguratum, exhorruit a facie maligni et invocans nomen Christi adhibita pectori suo manu signum crucis latenter impressit. Neque enim audebat se propter gentilium multitudinem in fronte signare. Ferum tamten spiritus nequam quae facta fuerant in abscondito linceis oculis deprehendens materna iuvenis lingua allocutus est eum dicens: Eia, perfide christiane, decito mihi, quid est, quod in abscondito machinaris? Ut quid nunc in pectore tuo operiente te pallio crucem illam idibilem figurasti? Numquid etiam de phano meo eicere me queris? Ex quo venisti ad terram meam, ego inde exivi ac fugiendo crucem tuam usque nunc in pelago latitavi et nunc tandem sero reversus, ne pateris me a facie crucis tue saltem in delubris meis habere refugium? Nunc enim saturatus epulis meis armatus es contra me signaculis tuis iterumque me de statione mea tanquam proditor impius violenter expellis. Cum ergo barbari illi homines hanc vocem demonis audirent et minime loquelam intelligerent, satis superque mirabantur, quid diceret aut cui loqueretur. At vero iuvenis audiens et intelligens pavidus in turba latitabat, quia fragilis adhuc et fide tenellus teneri ab infidelibus atque ad supplicium protrahi metuebat. Disparente autem demone solutoque conventu cum grandi admiracione recessit et ex hiis, quae viderat et audierat, multum in fide christiana profecit. Postmodum autem cum ad natalem patriam repedasset, in supradicto monasterio se convertit, ubi religiose conversando domino militare curavit et ea, quae sibi acciderant, ad multorum edificacionem abbati et fratribus indicavit. Si quid nos ad ista dicemus: Si tanta est virtus et gloria crucifixi, ut ante pusillanimem et modice fidei christianum propter signum crucis et trepide et latenter inpressit, principes tenebrarum ita diffugerent, quid putamus fieret, si viri virtutum et fortes in fide predicatores cum gladio spiritus, quid est verbum Dei, accederent. Et quantas hostium strages darent, quantas gentilium turbas in brevi acquirerent, vere cito cognoscerent de verbo veritatis, quid legitur in psalmo: Cadent a latere tuo mille et d[ecem] m[ilia] a[d] d[exteris] tuis. Et in Levitico: Persequentur quinque de vobis – centum alienos, et centum ex vobis – decem milia. Pro huiusmodi ergo rogandus est dominus messis, ut mittat operarios in messem suam. Messis est enim multa et operarii autem pauci. Verum tamen ipsi pauci, immo ut verius dicam, paucissimi, qui in partibus illis reperiuntur in missis undique; falcibus predicationis cum tanta benedictionis habundantia et animarum fruges Domino colligunt et ut nimia paganorum milia nuper in brevi tempore baptizata cottidie magis ac magis multiplicentur et adeo ut episcopi atque metropolitani in civitatibus plurimis nunc de novo creentur et vinea domini Sabbaoth in populis barbaris, qui vini forsitan nomen antea audierant, vinum tamen non biberant, hodie longe lateque propagetur.

The Introduction of the Christian faith in Slavonia, demons scatter from it with horrible noise, as if defeated in battle by an army, and they are routed and put to flight
Chapter 94 (also Migne, Book 3, Chapter 36)

“In the country of Slavonia, the greater part of which has only recently been converted to Christianity, many Cistercian monasteries have already been founded.  Furthermore, the monks who toil daily there for the Lord on converting the heathens received the power to baptize [them] from the Supreme Pontiff.”

“It happened that some of these brothers, who were invited from certain of the faithful, one day came to one of the neighboring villages, baptizing a multitude of pagans in it, [a village] which had recently received the faith and which and which required a regeneration of grace.”

“And the prior night, before they reached this [village], there is a huge noise to be heard from [that place] and a great roar, as if [made] by a great army resonating during the entire night time in the streets and squares of that town; seemingly, as if another army made a powerful assault and finally defeated [the first] from the back and left in a great upheaval.  Moreover, the locals fleeing heard the noise and flights sounds [but] not seeing anyone became dismayed and greatly frightened not knowing what this new thing was or what malice [?] it portended.”

“The next day the monks who arrived at the village baptized there throngs [of people] of [men and women].  But at this time it was made known to the faithful that the noises of the prior night were nothing other than legions of demons complaining and fleeing the Lord for they were not able to withstand the angels and the coming of the Holy Spirit.  Truly many are consoled in the presence of the Lord and especially so the newly-baptized who were saved from eternal damnation.”

Christiana fide in Sclavoniam inducta, diffugiunt ex ea daemones cum horrendo strepitu, velut exercitus praelio victi, et fusi ac fugati

In regione Sclavoniae, quae noviter est ad fidem Christianam conversa magna ex parte, plurima jam Cisterciensis Ordinis monasteria constat esse fundata.  Porro monachi illi qui ibidem Domino serviunt, ob quotidianam conversionem gentilium baptizandi potestatem a sumno pontifice acceperunt.  Factum est autem ut aliqui. de fratribus illis, a quibusdam fidelibus invitati, statuta die venirent ad unam de proximis viltis, paganorum multitudinem in ea baptizaturi, quae nuper fide recepta regenerationis gratiam flagitabat.  Praecedenti ita que nocte, antequam illuc pervenissent, auditus est ibi sonus et fremitus ingens, quasi exercitus grandis, toto tempore noctis per vicos et plateas ejusdem villae perstrepentis, qui velut ab alio exercitu forteter impugnatus, tandemque superatus, terga vertere, atque cum magna turbulentia exire videbatur.  Porro homines loci, recedentium strepitum et fugam communiter audientes, et personam aliquam non videntes, stupebant ac metuebant, nimirum ignorantes quae ista novitas esset aut quid boni malive portenderet.  In crastinum autem venientes monachi ad eamdem villam, baptizaverunt ibi promiscui sexus turbam copiosam.  Tunc vero cunctis fidelibus manifeste innotuit quod tumultus ille nocturnus nihil aliud exstitit, nisi daemonum legiones, ab obsessis hominibus increpante Domino fugientes; qui beatorum angelorum praesentiam, et sancti Spiritus adventum sustinere non poterant.  De qua videlicet re multum in Domino consolatu sunt universi, praecipue vero neophyti illi qui ab immunda damnatione fuerant liberati.

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May 15, 2017

Signs of Lada – Part IV

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And speaking of Ispania:

From Jan Gruter’s “Ancient inscriptions of the entire Roman world, edited in the most complete assemblage” (Inscriptiones antiquae totius orbis romani, in absolutissimum corpus redactae) we have the following information:

This inscription appears near Monte Furado in Gallicia in the province of Lugo (where later the Suevi appear to have settled.  Incidentally, these Suevi left interesting names behind.  For example you can see Guitiriz (supposedly from the name of Witiricus, a Suevian) or nearby towns such as Becin, Buriz, Mariz, Guimil, Petin or Parga.

Another inscription to the same Jupiter appears in the area:

This picture comes from Juan Francisco de Masdeu’s Historia crítica de España y de la cultura Española, en todo genero (volume 5 part II).

We hear that “Jupiter Ladicus” was the Jupiter equated with a Celtiberian mountain-god and worshipped as the spirit of Mount Ladicus in Gallaecia, northwest Iberia, preserved in the toponym Codos de Ladoco.

Why was the mountain referred to as Lada?  If, as Dlugosz would have it, Yesse or Yassa was Jove or Jupiter and Lada was His Guardian, then the phrase Alado gardzyna yesse comes to mind here.

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February 26, 2017