Serbian mythology

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Serbian mythology comprises beliefs and myths of Serbia and Serbs.

The Apostles of the Slavs, Cyril and Methodius, have been venerated by Serbian Orthodox Christians since their Christianization in 867, they have been considered Macedonians by historians.[1]

In Krajište and Vlasina there are epic stories of the extermination of Roman males in a battle, and of the settling of Russians (Antes)[2][3]

Tasseography with coffee is part of folk culture.

Slavic mythology[edit]

The Slavic polytheistic religion (mythology) was practised by the Slavs prior to Christianisation. The Serbs came into contact with Christianity during the reign of emperor Heraclius (610-641) and were later during the rule of Basil I (867-886) baptized by Byzantine missionaries of Constantinople Cyril and Methodius.[4]

Slavic legendary creatures[edit]

Slavic dragon[edit]

Main article: Slavic dragon

In Serbia and the other South Slavic countries there is a division between two types of dragon-like creatures. A dragon is called zmaj (змaј). It is considered as extremely intelligent, wise and knowledgeable creature of superhuman strength and proficiency in magic, very rich (usually described as having castles of enormous riches hidden in distant lands) and often lustful for women, with whom it is capable of making offspring. It often breathes fire and is generally accepted as a highly respected being, and while not always being benevolent, never as an entirely evil creature. Legends were spread about many historical and mythical heroes that they were conceived by a dragon. Aždaja or aždaha, sometimes ala or hala is generally considered to be a creature separate from dragons and a polar opposite to them in its nature. It is a being of pure evil, a dragon-like beast and dreadful monster with no reason, that usually lives in dark and hostile places, or guards unreachable locations in fairy-tales. It is often multi-headed (with 3, 7 or 9 heads) and breathes fire. In Christian mythology and iconography, the famous St. George icon is described as 'slaying the aždaja/aždaha', and not dragon. While 'zmaj' mostly correspondents to English dragon, sometimes it is translated as 'aždaja/aždaha', depending on the context.

The Serbian Despot Vuk Grgurević was also known as 'Zmaj-Ognjeni Vuk' (Vuk the Fiery-Dragon) because of the viciousness of his reign and victorious battles he waged against the Turks. There is also an ancient type of dog in Serbia sometimes referred to as the "Zmaj" by its keepers, but it bears no relation to the mythical reptiles apart from being immortalized in Sylvanian folklore as the protector of man against "dragons" and other evils.

Serbian epic poetry[edit]

Main article: Serbian epic poetry

References[edit]

  1. ^ Calendar of Resurrection; Bašić 1913:55
  2. ^ Николић 1912: 165-167
  3. ^ http://www.rastko.rs/arheologija/delo/13047
  4. ^ De Administrando Imperio