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Alex Fantalov

'Indo-European gods in social-historical aspect'.

(This text was published as 'Indo-European mythologies structure in social-historical aspect' //Cultural researches 01: - SPb.: publishers of RSPU by name A. Herzen, 2001).

 

After consideration of the structural nucleus offered in the present research formed by mythological types, it is represented expedient to look after to updating of each of components of this circuit in all cultural worlds of Barbarous Europe (Celt, German-Scandinavian, Thracian-Dacian, Scythian-Sarmatian, Balt, Slavic mythological pantheons and related (Greek, Italic, Etruscan, Indian, Iranian, Hittite) traditions.

The god of the Sky, who authentic name descends from pro-Indo-European -deiuo- 'clear sky', is the most ancient male divinity of the Indo-Europeans. He was a chief of pantheon at the beginning, and he possessed the legislative and warrior function. After that the God of Sky gave the primary power up other gods. This process initiates by means of special explanation plots (for instance: Indian myth about fall of Dyaus; Celtic-Germans ones about Nuadha/Tyr lost their hands). However among Mediterranean peoples (Greeks, Etruscan and Roman) the God of Sky's image merged with the God of Thunder's one ( Zeus ).

The God of Sky has got some united features of iconography. His special weapon is sword. His sacral warrior animal is boar - Teutat (at least as for the Celts and Germans).

The God of Thunder like the God of Clear Sky does not into separate characters. This name descends to pro-Indo-European -perk- or -tar- and means 'thunder'. Probably the God of Thunder was a protector of professional warriors who replaced tribal collective during period of great Indo-European campaign (2 thousand b. c.). Then formed iconography of this type: his weapon - an axe or a hammer, his warrior chariot. A sacral animal of the God of Thunder was an eagle (and sometimes beasts like wolf or lion), a sacral tree was an oak.

In keeping with complication of society the God of thunder's power decreased. Celt, Indian, Persian, Balts priests became strong and promoted to first place other gods. But even there, where barbarian kings ruled (Scythian, Thracian, Vendel Scandinavian peoples) the God of Thunder ceded his power the Cultural Hero. However interesting phenomena is an eminence of the God of thunder at the Viking Age. May betrayed estate of Vikings. Perhaps reason of an idea of Kiev prince Vladimir to establish Perun as chief of pagan pantheon is influence of the Vikings and East Balts.

The important plot connected with the God of Thunder is a battle against the Serpent: Thor and Jormungand , Indra and Vritra , Tarhunt and Illuyanka or against giants. There the god of Thunder is defender of world against the powers of chaos. Other significant plot is opposite between the God of Thunder and the God of Earth Powers (latter can is replaced by the Cultural Hero in this opposite). The reasons of this collisy can be various. At first we see opposite between thundercloud and earth. At second it can be ancient subject of torment bull by lion. At third there was a conflict between tribal aristocrats (they venerated the God of Thunder) and the priests (they devoted to the God of Earth Powers). Possibly, there was choice for different way of development. For instance: the Celts and the Romans. When druids became super power, they devoted to Cernunnos/Esus and lived in irrational magic world. As to the Romans, that they promoted to first place Jupiter (who was the god of Sky but merged with the God of Thunder) and created strong warrior-political system. Compromise between mystic and rationalism was not available. It is not surprising that one of point of religious reform by professional priest Zaratustra was overthrow of the God of Thunder.

Two other male gods are more complicated problems. The God of Earth Powers was correlated with ground as area of growth and dying, circulation of life and dead. He was diverged into many lines of development. On the one hand we can see the gods, who names descended to pro-Indo-European -uel-, connected with world of death (Slav Veles, Balt Veles, Indian Vala , Etruscan Veltha ). I think this is a main trunk of development of type. On the second hand there are local god personified an element of forests (Greek Pan, Indian Pushan, Balt Puskait). Many gods who should be belonging to type of the God of earth powers have got special names. I suggest that this variety connected with tendency to use not main (sacral) names but ephitets. Besides, some features of this god have begun to seem not appropriate and turned into independent images (for example: beside Indian god Rudra we see demon Vala ).

Inspite of G. Dumezil I suppose that the priests stand up for the God of Earth Powers. Just this personage was connected with magy (Celt Cernunnos, Scandinavian Freyr, Balt Vels). Dahghda - resent embodiment of Cernunnos was named 'the god of druids'. Indian Varuna, Balt Vels, Slav Veles were the protectors of singers. Lastly if we will agree with Dumezil that Varuna corresponds Ahuramazda , it should be to say that first monotheistic religion was created by Zaratustra in terms of character who descend to the God of Earth Power's type.

As one of functions the God of Earth Powers was protection for animal kingship, he has got zoomorphic symbols. His sacral animal (and perhaps embodiment) was a bull. Therefore Rudra, Dyonisos, Veles have got horns. The horns are features sexual and warrior power. In ancient times these attributes were considered as good symbols, but Christians rejected them (probably as feature the main pagan divinity). However during the Middle Ages the horns were liked with some groups connected with heritage of European barbarians. I mean ritters who decorated with the horns their helmet and insignias. So the feature of the priest's divinity became warrior symbol.

Sometimes the God of Earth Powers identified with a stag or a ram (although these symbols of the Cultural Hero but these types were not always delimited).

The mythology of the God of Earth Powers includes some plots what could be form successive chain: the marriage with the Great goddess that embodied an alliance of two origins of fertility; the conflict with the God of Thunder (the subject of stealing of sacral cows in Balt, Slav , Indian , Greek mythologies); the torment of the God of earth Powers.

The origin of the Cultural Hero's type is a primary ancestor of peoples. Indo-European peoples have got two tendencies of this type development: first one embodied 'cultural' aspect of character, second one showed heroic aspect. First tendency created image of king of legendary Golden Age, demiurg and protector of people (Persian Yima); than - first dead and the king of ancestors (Indian Yama); than psichopomp and mediator (Balt Sovius, Greek Hermes , Roman Mercury, Scandinavian Odin, Celt Lugh).

Other significant images have appeared in 'heroic' tendency. In the area of Mediterranean mythology of Heracles influenced on iconography of Hero (Etruscan Hercle, Roman Hercules, Thracian Hero). But divinity whom name has got root '-Trit-' (Persian Traetaona, Indian Thrita, Russian Ivan Tretyak). We can see there an orient rider feature. The main plot of Hero's mythology is a victory over three-headed monster .

As for socium, that Hero as legislative, physician and protector become an embodiment of sacral king power. Roman emperors were pictured with attributes of Hercules. Many Greek dynasties believed that Heracles was their ancestor. Like picture we see in Scandinavian countries for Odin.

The character of hero-rider had got a great future. Christian Europe identified him with Saint George - the rider on white horse, the winner over dragon. The appearance of Hero is connected with eschatology, messian ideas. The character of Hero have penetrated into Buddhism, mitraism. Important significance it has got for Hinduism. Tenth avatar of Visine is a horseman with a flaming sword. This is Kalki who will appear at the final of world to punish of evil. It is not accidentally, that Hegel has imagined 'the finish of history' at the moment when he has seen Napoleon on the white horse.

The Great Goddess is probably sole women divinity in this supposed scheme. Her image has got origin from the Neolithic Age. In the patriarchal Indo-European society the great goddess lost her sky function. This process initiates by means of special explanation plot that talked about she was unfaithful to the God of Thunder and was turned into chthonic goddess (Balt mythology). At the process of evolution the image of the great Goddess diverged into numerous personages. These are:

  1. The goddess of Earth (Greek Gaia , Indian Prthivi, Scandinavian Erd, Balt Zemes mate).
  2. The goddess-protector of fertility (Greek Demeter , Roman Ceres, Scandinavian Freyja).
  3. The goddesses-mother (Ireland Danu , Hittite Hannahanna).
  4. The goddess of loves (Greek Aphrodite, Scandinavian Freyja).
  5. The goddess of marriage (Greek Hera, Roman Juno, Scandinavian Frigg, Slav Lada , Indian Laksmi).
  6. The goddess of destiny (These divinities usually were gathered for triads: Greek Moirae; Scandinavian Nornir ; Balt Laima, Dekla, Karta).
  7. The goddess of war (Ireland Morrighan - see: ' Cuchulainn against Morrighan ' , Scandinavian Freyja).
  8. The goddess-herald of death (Greek erinies, Etruscan Vanth , Scandinavian Valkyrie Valkyrie , Balt vele).
  9. The goddess of women skill (Greek Athena , Roman Minerva, Celt Brigit).

Naturally the most of worshippers of the Great Goddess were women. The Great Goddess had got various animal symbols: birds (owl, cuckoo, and dove); snakes; fishes, insects (butterfly, bee, and scorpion). As the cult of Goddess was connected with magic rituals, people believed in magic abilities of the women. At the Middle Ages her dark side became origin for image of witch. At the same time some attributes of the Great goddess were spread for many image of Christian religion.

Thus, it is possible to approve that data of this structural nucleus were in closed connections with social-cultural changes in life of ancient peoples of Europe. Thus its elements appeared are extremely steady. Having gone through wreck of pagan religions, they in many respects were alloyed with images of Christian tradition, and then have come as the important components of culture of Europe of New Time when have gone through some kind of "rebirth".

Fantalov Alex

CULTURE of BARBAROUS EUROPE: TYPOLOGY of MYTHOLOGICAL IMAGES

Speciality 24.00.01 - the theory and a history of culture

The dissertation on competition of a doctor degree of cultural science

Dostoevsky's novels types of swindlers.

 

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ATLAS OF MYTHS.