Baltic mythology

Baltic mythology is the body of mythology of the Baltic people stemming from Baltic paganism and continuing after Christianization and into Baltic folklore. Baltic mythology ultimately stems from Proto-Indo-European mythology. The Baltic region was one of the last regions of Europe to be Christianized, a process that occurred from the 15th century and into at least a century after. While no native texts survive detailing the mythology of the Baltic peoples during the pagan period, knowledge of the mythology may be gained from Russian and German chronicles, later folklore, by way of etymology, and comparative mythology.[1]

While the early chronicles (14th and 15th century) were largely the product of missionaries who sought to eradicate the native paganism of the Baltic peoples, rich material survives into Baltic folklore. This material has been of particular value in Indo-European studies as, like the Baltic languages, it is considered by scholars to be notably conservative, reflecting elements of Proto-Indo-European religion. The Indo-European Divine Twins are particularly well represented as the Dieva dēli (Latvian 'sons of god') and Dievo sūneliai (Lithuanian 'sons of god'). According to folklore, they are the children of Dievas (Lithuanian and Latvia; see Proto-Indo-European *Dyeus). Associated with the brothers and their father are two goddesses; the personified Sun, Saule (Latvian 'sun') and Saules meita (Latvian 'Sun's daughter').[2]


Baltic Religion

Baltic Cross

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Puhvel (1989:222-229).
  2. ^ Mallory & Adams (1997:163).

References

  • Puhvel, Jaan (1989 [1987]). Comparative Mythology. Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Mallory, J. P. Adams, Douglas Q. (Editors) (1997). Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 1-884964-98-2
Baltic neopaganism

Baltic neopaganism is a category of autochthonous religious movements which have revitalised within the Baltic people (primarily Lithuanians and Latvians). These movements trace their origins back to the 19th century and they were suppressed under the Soviet Union; after its fall they have witnessed a blossoming alongside the national and cultural identity reawakening of the Baltic peoples, both in their homelands and among expatriate Baltic communities. One of the first ideologues of the revival was the Prussian Lithuanian poet and philosopher Vydūnas.During the Pope Francis's visit to the Baltic states in 2018 Dievturi and Romuva sent a joint letter to Pope Francis calling him to urge fellow Christians "to respect our own religious choice and cease impeding our efforts to achieve national recognition of the ancient Baltic faith".

Dievas

Lithuanian Dievas, Latvian Dievs, Latgalian Dīvs, Prussian Deywis, Yotvingian Deivas was the primordial supreme god in the Baltic mythology and one of the most important deities together with Perkūnas and he was brother of Potrimpo. He was the god of sky, prosperity, wealth, ruler of gods, and creator universe. Dievas is a direct successor of the Proto-Indo-European supreme sky father god *Dyēus of the root *deiwo-. Its Proto-Baltic form was *Deivas.Dievas had two sons Dievo sūneliai/Dieva dēli known as the Heavenly Twins.

In recent Lithuanian and Latvian, this word may refer to the deity of any kind (Pagan, Christian, fictional and the like).

In English, Dievas may be used as a word to describe the God (or, the supreme god) in the pre-Christian religion of Balts, where Dievas was understood to be the supreme being of the world. In Lithuanian and Latvian, it is also used to describe God as it is understood by major world religions today. Earlier *Deivas simply denoted the shining sunlit dome of the sky, as in other Indo-European mythologies. The celestial aspect is still apparent in phrases such as Saule noiet dievā, from Latvian folksongs. In Hinduism any deity is known as Deva, a result of shared Proto-Indo-European roots.

Fern flower

The fern flower is a magic flower in Baltic mythology (Lithuanian: paparčio žiedas, Latvian: papardes zieds), in Estonian mythology (Estonian: sõnajalaõis) and in Slavic mythology (Belarusian: папараць-кветка, Polish: kwiat paproci, Russian: цветок папоротника, Ukrainian: цвіт папороті).

Finnic mythologies

Finnic mythologies are the various mythologies of the Finnic peoples.

Finnish mythology

Estonian mythology

Giant

Giants (from Latin and Ancient Greek: gigas, cognate giga-) are beings of human appearance, but of prodigious size and strength common in the mythology and legends of many different cultures. The word giant, first attested in 1297, was derived from the Gigantes (Greek: Γίγαντες) of Greek mythology.

In various Indo-European mythologies, gigantic peoples are featured as primeval creatures associated with chaos and the wild nature, and they are frequently in conflict with the gods, be they Olympian, Celtic, Hindu or Norse. Giants also often play similar roles in the mythologies and folklore of other, non Indo-European peoples, such as in the Nartian traditions.

There are also accounts of giants in the Old Testament. Some of these are called Nephilim, a word often translated as giant although this translation is not universally accepted. They include Og King of Bashan, the Nephilim, the Anakim, and the giants of Egypt mentioned in 1 Chronicles 11:23. The first mention of the Nephilim is found in Genesis 6:4; attributed to them are extraordinary strength and physical proportions.

Fairy tales such as "Jack the Giant Killer" have formed the modern perception of giants as stupid and violent monsters, sometimes said to eat humans, while other giants tend to eat the livestock. The antagonist in "Jack and the Beanstalk" is often described as a giant. In some more recent portrayals, like those of Jonathan Swift and Roald Dahl, some giants are both intelligent and friendly.

Gintaras Beresnevičius

Gintaras Beresnevičius (July 8, 1961 in Kaunas – August 6, 2006 in Vilnius) was a Lithuanian historian of religions specializing in Baltic mythology. He together with Norbertas Vėlius is considered to be the best specialist in Lithuanian mythology.

In 1984 he graduated from Vilnius University, Faculty of History. Since 1986 he worked at various universities. In 1993 he received his Ph.D. He published over 100 scientific articles. Beresnevičius worked with journal "Naujasis Židinys" (English:The New Hearth) and weekly "Šiaurės Atėnai" (English: Northern Athens). In 2001 he received an award from the President of Lithuania for his collection of essays on history of Lithuania called "Ant laiko ašmenų." In 2003 he published textbooks on religious studies for high schools.

Besides scientific work, Beresnevičius was also a writer and a publicist. He published novels, several poems, and numerous essays (many of them under various pseudonyms such as Antanas Sereda). His short stories were influenced by Daniil Kharms.

In 2004 he rallied for Kazimira Prunskienė when she ran in the Presidential elections.

Lauma

Latvian: Lauma, Lithuanian: Laumė is a woodland fae, and guardian spirit of orphans in Eastern Baltic mythology. Originally a sky spirit, her compassion for human suffering brought her to earth to share our fate.

Lime tree in culture

The lime tree or Linden (Tilia) is important in the mythology, literature and folklore of a number of cultures.

List of nature deities

In nature worship, a nature deity is a deity in charge of forces of nature such as water deity, vegetation deity, sky deity, solar deity, fire deity or any other naturally occurring phenomena such as mountains, trees, or volcanoes. Accepted in panentheism, pantheism, deism, polytheism, animism, totemism, shamanism and paganism the deity embodies natural forces and can have characteristics of the mother goddess, Mother Nature or lord of the animals.

List of war deities

A war god in mythology associated with war, combat, or bloodshed. They occur commonly in both monotheistic and polytheistic religions.

Unlike most gods and goddesses in polytheistic religions, monotheistic deities have traditionally been portrayed in their mythologies as commanding war in order to spread their religion. (The intimate connection between "holy war" and the "one true god" belief of monotheism has been noted by many scholars, including Jonathan Kirsch in his book God Against The Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism and Joseph Campbell in The Masks of God, Vol. 3: Occidental Mythology.) The following is a list of war deities.

Lithuanian mythology

Lithuanian mythology is the mythology of Lithuanian polytheism, the religion of pre-Christian Lithuanians. Like other Indo-Europeans, ancient Lithuanians maintained a polytheistic mythology and religious structure. In pre-Christian Lithuania, mythology was a part of polytheistic religion; after the christianisation mythology survived mostly in folklore, customs and festive rituals. Lithuanian mythology is very close to the mythology of other Baltic nations and tribes and is being considered a part of the Baltic mythology.

Neringa

Neringa may refer to:

Neringa Municipality, a municipality in Lithuania.

Neringa (Klaipėda), a city district of Klaipėda, Lithuania

Neringa (giant), a character in Baltic mythology

Percunatele

Perkunatete or Perkunatele is in Baltic mythology the thunder goddess mother of Perkunas, in Slavic mythology referred to as Percunatele mother of Perun, which is probably derived from the Balts Like many such goddesses absorbed into Christianity, she is, today, difficult to distinguish from the Christian madonna, Mary, one of whose epithets was Panna Maria Percunatele. Professor Patricia Monaghan of DePaul University also believes that she was originally derived from the Baltic thunder goddess.

Perun

In Slavic mythology, Perun (Cyrillic: Перýн) is the highest god of the pantheon and the god of sky, thunder, lightning, storms, rain, law, war, fertility and oak trees. His other attributes were fire, mountains, wind, iris, eagle, firmament (in Indo-European languages, this was joined with the notion of the sky of stone), horses and carts, weapons (hammer, axe (Axe of Perun), and arrow), and war. He was first associated with weapons made of stone and later with those of metal.

Solar deity

A solar deity (also sun god or sun goddess) is a sky deity who represents the Sun, or an aspect of it, usually by its perceived power and strength. Solar deities and Sun worship can be found throughout most of recorded history in various forms. The Sun is sometimes referred to by its Latin name Sol or by its Greek name Helios. The English word sun stems from Proto-Germanic *sunnǭ.

Vaiva

Vaiva is a Lithuanian female given name of Baltic origin. It is a shortening of vaivorykštė (English rainbow). A rainbow was considered one of the manifestations of the Pagan destiny goddess Laima. Vaiva's father, according to Baltic mythology, is Perkūnas. The name was popularised by V.Krėvė-Mickevičius tale "Perkūnas, Vaiva ir Straublys" written in 1922.

Wilhelm Mannhardt

Wilhelm Mannhardt (March 26, 1831, Friedrichstadt – December 25, 1880, Danzig) was a German scholar, mythologist and folklorist. He is known for his work on Germanic mythology, on Baltic mythology, and other pre-Christian European pantheons; and for his championing of the solar theory, namely in the early years of his career, under the influence of Jakob Grimm. Later on, Mannhardt focused more on vegetation spirits from an evolutionist point of view, namely the primitive tree cult and its later developments.He was also a collector and carried out field work despite poor health. He was a forerunner of James Frazer's The Golden Bough (1890), and like Frazer, his theories have subsequently been heavily criticized.

World tree

The world tree is a motif present in several religions and mythologies, particularly Indo-European religions, Siberian religions, and Native American religions. The world tree is represented as a colossal tree which supports the heavens, thereby connecting the heavens, the terrestrial world, and, through its roots, the underworld. It may also be strongly connected to the motif of the tree of life, but it is the source of wisdom of the ages.

Specific world trees include égig érő fa in Hungarian mythology, Ağaç Ana in Turkic mythology, Modun in Mongol mythology, Yggdrasil (or Irminsul) in Norse (including Germanic) mythology, the oak in Slavic, Finnish and Baltic, Iroko in Yoruba religion, Jianmu in Chinese mythology, and in Hindu mythology the Ashvattha (a Ficus religiosa).

Traditions
Notable figures
Buildings
Sources

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