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Published by: Slovenian study references on Dec 13, 2013
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   S   T   U   D   I   A    M   Y   T   H   O   L   O   G   I   C   A    S   L   A   V   I   C   A    X   V   I   -    2   0   1   3 ,   8   1   -    1   0   4
Slavic Mitra. Benevolent and Legal Pole o the Function o Religious Sovereignty in the Slavic Mythology and Epic
Martin Golema
Dumézil’s discovery of two opposing and complementary faces of the highest power
 on the one side legal and priestly, kind, benevolent, shining, near to world and people (“as Mitra”), and on the other side magic, violent, threatening, dark, invisible and dis-tant (“as Varuna”)
 gave rise to a lot of research in various Indo-European traditions. Despite the impressive results of such research, the functional place of “Slavic Mitra” is still open. On the following pages we would like to try to indicate whom, where and how to look for this place. Introduced will be several hypotheses with the aim to show that just this functional place probably created an important and irreplaceable part, maybe one of the key pillars of the ancient Slavic model of the world.
 Slavs, religious sovereignty, legal pole, “Slavic Mitra”As a basic source o substantial analogies we use the Vedic god Mitra. In the Rig-Veda there is only one hymn dedicated to him as to an independent divine being, ar more ofen he creates an almost inseparable couple with Varuna that was ofen perceived as something integrated. He is worshipped at sunrise, his connection with the Sun and heaven explains the motives o the heaven ride. Horses, carriage, golden throne, metheglin, soma and cows are amongst his attributes. Te name Mitra derives rom the Indo-European root *
-, *
, related to the idea o mediation, mutuality, legality, consent, and also to creating peace, riendship and affection (Топоров, 1988, 157–158).In the Brahmanas commentary on Vedic hymns, according to oporov the cou-ple Mitra-Varuna has a fixed system o contradictions: beneficial-dangerous, close (in-ternal) – distant (external), East – West, connected with the sun – connected with the moon, day – night, summer – winter, fire – water (the oldest Indian tradition distinguishes between two kinds o oath - on fire and on water), white – black (the corresponding colour o sacrifices brought to Mitra and Varuna), visible – invisible, related to the cosmos – related to chaos, collective – individual, social – natural, le-gal – magic. Mitra and Varuna work as basic classifiers in the model o the world o ancient Indians.
 Te study was written within the grant o Te Research Grant Agency at the Ministry o Education othe Slovak Republic and Slovak Academy o Science (Vedecká grantová agentúra MŠ SRa SAV) number 1/0260/13.
Slavic Mitra. Benevolent and Legal Pole of the Function of Religious Sovereignty in the Slavic Mythology and Epic
At the same time, within the ramework o the divine couple are more compli-cated relations: Varuna hugs the cosmos rom the outside, all others including the Sun and fire as pictures o the god Mitra are contained inside (it is possible to identiy the core o cosmogonic myth with the two main characters Mitra and Varuna, in the im-agination according to which Varuna put fire in the waters and the Sun to the heavens with a parallel determination o its path). So or example the symbol o Varuna is the waxing crescent and the symbol o Mitra is the waning crescent. In their relationship are also some conflict elements. Mitra as a husband expels the nymph Urvashi rom heaven and curses her because she loves Varuna who lives on the seabed [Varuna’s Indo-European kin are the Hittite god o sea Aruna, Lithuanian Velnias and Slavic Veles (Jakobson, 1969; Топоров, 1987, s. 217 – 218)]. As Dumézil mentions
in most cases Vedic poets do not distinguish between these two divinities whose names are mentioned
in the double dual
 (in the sense “both” Mitra and Varuna) (Dumézil, 2001, 151)
which is the grammar orm express-ing the closest possible relationship
 Tey are perceived as two heavenly consuls, bearers o the highest power, and i only one is mentioned, without any restraint the poets concentrate on him all aspects and means o such power (Dumézil, 1997, 129–130). In the Indian tradition a situation also arises where a poet or ceremonial leader crosses this level and wants to distinguish both gods to better highlight or use their solidarity. But in such cases various arising pictures have the same sense: Mitra and Varuna are the two poles o conceptual couples, counterparts whose juxtaposition de-fines two levels. It is possible to say that each element o one o them demands on the other side a homological element, and these couples – despite their difference but even at first sight – have something so clearly related that in each newly discovered pair we can define in advance which element is “as Mitra” or “as Varuna” (Dumézil, 1997, 130).In ancient Iran the unctional equivalent o Vedic Varuna became Ahura Mazda himsel (Puhvel, 1997, 122), Iranian Mithra is a little lost in his shadow. Zarathustra or example made rom Mithra an abstraction
Vohu Manah
 (good mind, kindness), and also this “code name” expresses the basic eature o Mithra - graciousness, his element is cattle (also in the contemporary Persian word
 means Sun and riendship). Ancient
 o the Vedic pair
 continuously survived in Iran in the Avesta couple Mithra-Ahura, and also in
in ancient Persia, which is substantiated in Plutarch as petrified theonym
 and in later Persian double theophoric names as
 (Puhvel, 1997, 122–123). While Ahura Mazda (as “Iranian Varuna”) created the basic cosmological elements o the world, Iranian Mithra controlled the social organization o people, had a mediation unction between upper and lower heaven, between heaven and the world, internal and external, divine and human. Tanks to this, he could gain some eatures that pri-marily belonged to his neighbour in the divine couple. In such way, we can explain the unexpected inclination o Avesta Mithra or war, destructive and enemy actions and killing, or his inclination to water that was primarily a eature o the other member o the divine pair. Similarly it is possible to explain the relation o Iranian Mithra to the night sky, as well as deepness and secrets (Топоров, 1988, 154–157).
 According to Puhvel except the commonest orm Mitra-and-Varuna, sometimes is mentioned only one o the members, and the dual orm indicates the meaning “Mitra and the other” (it means he and rom other “dvandva” composites proved Varuna) (Puhvel, 1997, 64).
 Martin Golema
According to Puhvel (1997, 124), the Iranian exaltation o Ahura Mazda (Lord o Wisdom) and the suppression o Iranian Mithra were accompanying phenomenon o Zarathustra’s monotheistic enthusiasm. Ahura as “the director o pantheon” lef all the dirty mythical work or Mithra whose unctions increased: as well as the protection o human settlements and social contracts similarly as Varuna employed spies and pun-ished oath-breakers, he also punished people who breached agreements, was patron saint o warriors, kept the thunder and was lord o the rain (because the demonized Indra was discarded rom pantheon). Iranian Mithra developed step-by-step to a god o warriors with solar tone and certain connotations o cattle and ertility.Te processes o a gradual levelling or even inversion o original unctional con-trasts o the divine couple in ancient Iranian tradition are already clear and distinc-tive. Basic antithetical unctional contours remain legible, and in the case o Iranian Mithra it is still possible to target what Dumézil termed “own centre” (
centre propre),
“enables distinguishing marginal activities (activités marginale) from the substan-tial core of divine character” 
 (Budil, 2001, 613).
Language evidence: “
” and “
 * mirъ jatiti
Vedic Mithra was generally called together with Varuna – its antithesis and complement in one, and always acted as kind god who is “controlling” (
) the people and gives “reconciliation, saety” – this is guaranteed by “the internal peace agreement” (
). He is invoked with the supplicatory ormula
“Give us reconcilia-tion, give us peace!” 
 (Puhvel, 1997, 65).In the undamental study
Из наблюдений над этимологией слов  мифологического характера,
V. N. oporov (1969) showed the presence o terminol-ogy related to Mithra in Slavic languages. He highlighted two mainly general Slavic words with ancient roots:
 (peace), etymologically related to the Indo-Iranian word Mitra, and
(its derivation is or example the Slovak word
(slaugh-terhouse) and the Hungarian word rom the Slavic
 (ence or cattle). Te old orgotten meaning o “
 was also very comprehensively studied by Czech historian D. řeštík in “
Mír a dobrý rok. Česká státní ideologie mezi křesťanstvím a pohanstvím”
(1988). Te word peace, according to řeštík, in ancient Slavic had a dominant position in the wide group o terms related to the social organization o peo-ple. Te range o its meanings and its significant position is best documented in Rus-sian vocabulary. One set o meanings defines
 in the negative orm as the absence o conflict, hostility and war, and substantially covers the contemporary meaning o this word. Te second, positive set already crosses it. It contains meanings such as “order, consent, unanimity, riendship, avour, bonhomie, tranquillity, and content-ment”. Only in Old Church Slavic or Russian has the word preserved meanings as “our world, land district, universe, world”. Te last set o meanings or us today is already unknown: “all people, whole world, human race, municipality, village municipality, assembly”. Peace (
) here is not the absence o war, but a “reconciliation” balance o different opinions and efforts, it is related to the internal condition o a community and not to its relation to other communities. Tis closed community as the world or itsel is the reason “
” also means world. Tis is the world o humans, unlike the world o non–humans, and is a world o organized human relations, the cultivated

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