Czech Gods Part I

We’ve been preparing several new posts in November.  Here is the first of these (in draft form very much so) published in November (Hawaii time).  The others will have to wait till the next month (December):

Czech Gods

When discussing Czech Gods, the situation is slightly different than with Polish Gods.  The beginning is very auspicious. Already Cosmas speaks of Father Bohemus (the later Czech) as follows:

cosmas

Cosmas

“He established their first dwellings and rejoiced in the guardian deities that he carried with him on his shoulders, now erected on the ground.”

cosmas2

More Cosmas

The later Dalimil Chronicle says similarly in Czech rhymes: “I bra se lesem do lesa, dedky sve na pleciu nesa.”  What the names of these “dedky” (deos or, maybe, ancestor spirits) was, Dalimil does not tell us; incidentally, the reference is not to “children” – they had to walk.

svenapleciunesa

“dedky sve na pleciu nesa”

However, most likely due to the earlier conversion of the Czech lands to Christianity, the stronger position of the Czech state throughout the early Christian period as well as, perhaps, the relatively smaller size of the Czech lands and hence smaller number of nooks and crannies where pre-Christian beliefs could hide, the record is poorer.  Thus, while in describing Polish Gods we were able to use largely unvarnished sources such as sermons and synodal statutes and did not then spend much time on historians or historiographers other than Jan Dlugosz (and then only to help us launch the project),  i.e., the writers of the 16th century and later such as Maciej from Miechow, Martin Kromer or Alessandro Guagnini/Stryjkowski (all of whom wrote extensively about Polish Gods and all of whom increased (!) the number of Polish Gods described while also quoting no sources other than Dlugosz thus lending their work an air of confabulation), in describing Czech Gods we, by necessity, have to start later, use sources whose veracity may be questioned (and which rely occasionally on the work of various earlier Polish writers such as Jan Dlugosz and Maciej from Miechow) that and work our way back as best as we can.  If that is not too upsetting to the reader, we ask that he continue.

We begin rather late in the game by examining the work of Johannes Georgius Stredowsky namely his Sacra Moraviae Historia published in 1710.  Therein Stredowsky lists the following Gods starting with the superior gods of the heavens:

Chasson/sive Jassen (i.e., the Polish Yassa/Jessa/Jesza) with a Latin name Sol, Phoebus;

Ladon (i.e., the Polish Lada) with a Latin name Mars (consistent with Dlugosz);

Zelon sive Dobropan, interpretatio romana Mercury;

Hladolet being Saturn;

Chrworz being Typhon;

Marzena (as in Dlugosz) aka Diana;

Nocena (i.e., night) being Luna;

Ziwena being Ceres;

Pohoda serving the role of Serenitas;

Mokosia, i.e., Pluvia;

Pochwist vel Nehoda, i.e., Interperios (i.e., bad weather, Pochwist, of course, also being present in Dlugosz)

Continuing with the gods of the underworlds:

Merot i.e., Pluto;

Radamass i.e., … Radamass (hmmmm; also Radagaisus as in Radagost of the Polabian Slavs?);

Ninwa (Polish Nia?), i.e., Proserpina;

Cassani seu Dracice with Eumenides being the Latin version;

Sudice, i.e., Parca;

Wyla, i.e., Hecata;

Trzibek, i.e., Lues;

And finally, the terrestrials (earthly spirits):

Lel (Castor);

Polel (Pollux);

Ssetek/vel Skrzitek (Lar, domestic spirit);

Diblik (Vesta).

Attachments follow:

sacramoraviae5

sacramoraviae6

sacramoraviae7

Since 1710 is a bit late in the game, we ought to ask what are Strebowsky’s sources.  He lists the following sources (all of which are from the 17th century though one cites a 16th century source):

– M. Pavel Stransky’s Respublica Bojema (i.e., the Bohemian Republic) published in 1643 (chapter 6 n 2);

– Bolelucky’s Rosa Bohemica Life of St (Bohemian Rose, the Life of Saint Woytiechi/Adalbert) published in 1658 (Book I c 8 par 10);

– Krystian Gottfried Hirschmentzel in MS Welehradski published sometime between 1638-1703 (I. 1 6 (or par) 2);?

– Wencel (Vaclav) Jan Rosa’s Grammatica Linguae Bohemicae (the Grammar of the Bohemian Language) published in 1672 (Book 4 chapter 11);

– Jan Tomas Pessina’s Prodr Morav (Moravopis or Mars Moravicus?) published sometime in1629-1680 1 3 6 (or par) 5;?

We have not been able to obtain all of these but we attach the relevant pages from some of these sources listed under the authors’ names.  Feel free to trace to see what names came from which sources.

Stransky’s Respublica Bojema

 stransky1a

stransky2a

stransky3a

Bolelucky’s Rosa Bohemica

alberti1rosaalberti222223arosaalberti3aarosaalberti41rosaYikes, the one on the top left is fugly!

Rosa’s Grammatica Linguae Bohemicae

thesaurus1

Hajkova Kronika Ceska

Since Stransky, in turn, lists the famous (or infamous) Hagec i.e., Hajek, i.e., Wenceslaus (Vaclav) Hajek z (from) Liboczan and his Hajkova Kronika Ceska, i.e., the Czech Chronicle published in 1541 we include the relevant page (describing the events occurring in the year 709) (Stransky also lists the Pole, Martin Cromer on p 266 but since Cromer is derivative of Dlugosz (and not Czech) we did not discuss him here);

hajek

 Mater Verborum

What about earlier sources?  Well, we have some ideas… But for now we leave you with the always giving Mater Verborum which, in describing Roman gods, dutifully features Czech glosses.  As mentioned before, these have been adjudged to be Hanka’s forged glosses (forged in the 19th century)… probably.  In any event, we feel that, with that warning we can include these here so enjoy these nonetheless.

Thus, we have:

Diana (ginana appolinis luna snarii plide pagani aur un suguie dnr) with a gloss stating “Devana letnicina y perunova dei or Devanna

diana

Ecate (or Hecate) (trulia Pnocticla (or) vel uoctiula) where the definition includes a gloss of “Morana”hecate

and Venus (dei libidinis) where the corresponding word is “Ladavenus

Incidentally, to leave this off with Cosmaswith whom we began: who or what is Josa in this gloss right next to “anon domino”? (in year of our Lord  … 1087 when Vratislav II entered Sorbia/Meissen; rex something?)

vratislavia

A Cosmic mystery?

Shaettner Rickover & Borg Corporation – Copyright ©2014, All Rights Reserved

December 1, 2014

5 thoughts on “Czech Gods Part I

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