Chort (Russian: Чёрт, Belarusian and Ukrainian: Чорт, Polish: Czort and Czart, Czech and Slovak: Čert) is considered to be a demon of total evil, with horns, hoofs, skinny tail, and a pig-face in Slavic mythology (demonology). He is the son of the Slavic god Chernobog and the goddess Mara. In Ukraine, he is also known as haspyda, didko, irod, and kutsyi. In folk Christianity, he is considered a minion, or a synonym, of Satan.
Compare to sayings (curses) "Tysiacha chertei"(Russian) - meaning thousands of demons, "Chort poberi"(Russian) - meaning as overtaken by the demon, the saying is often used as an acceptable version of cursing in the Eastern Europe, "Chort poputal"(Russian) - meaning mixed up by the demon, "K chertiam"(Russian) - meaning to hell, and many others.
In Turkic culture
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In Turkic (usually neighboring Slavic) folklore its name is Chor (In Turkish and Azerbaijan languages: Çor). In Anatolia known as Chorabash. Chors are spiritual creatures mentioned in the pre-Islamic texts and oral tradition who inhabit an unseen world in dimensions beyond the visible universe of humans. Folk narratives mentions that the Chors are made of fire, but also physical in nature, being able to interact physically with people and objects and likewise be acted upon. Like human beings, the Chor can also be good (Ak-çor "White-Chor"), evil (Kara-çor "Black-Chor"), or neutrally benevolent and hence have freewill like humans and unlike angels. The exorcist are called Çoraman in Anatolia. There are two different kinds of Chura. The one (Bichura) that comes from the forest is married to the Orman iyesi. The other one (Archura) comes from the cellar and she is married to Ev iyesi.
In Czech culture
In Czech folk tales, čert is not evil character per se. It is often trying to tease characters in selling their souls in exchange for something (money, power, completion of task). This often ends badly for evil or greedy characters, who are tricked getting useless gift and then are carried into hell. Other times, čert role change from trickster to tricked as he lose bet against hero, who outsmart him, winning his soul back. This way, čert is often tricked to build castle walls in a day, dig fish ponds or even whole river banks, move large stones or create hills and mountains. Sometimes, positive role of čert is further emphasized, namely in modern or modernized folk tales. Čert is trying to bring evil characters to hell, he often help or befriend heroes in this process and give them various magical items and treasures.
Čert true form is of a often smaller hairy men with a tail, horns and one or two hoofs. But he is shapeshifter and he tries to trick characters in his nicer forms, before they even realize that what he is. In these forms, he is often represented as pretty young man, count or huntsman (see The Devil and Kate). Often, this transformation is not (and cannot) be complete, so one can recognize čert by small horns hidden in black curly hair, or single hoofed leg hidden in high boot.
Čert is not devil, although they might have a lot in common. Sometimes, hell is full of čert and is ruled by devil (or archdevil) Lucifer.
There are many theories regarding the origins of the Proto-Slavic word *čьrtъ. One is that it's a substantivized t-participle of *ker- (to cut, to chop), which could be derived from chorts imagined as being lame (having one leg shorter). The words like Ukrainian kutsiy and Czech kusý, also derived from *ker-, are one of chort's most common epithets.
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- Русские Народные Сказки»/Сост., вступ. ст. и прим. В. П. Аникина.-М.: Правда, 1985.- 576 с., ил.) (Russian)
- Türk Mitolojisi Ansiklopedik Sözlük, Celal Beydili, Yurt Yayınevi (Pages - 143/144) (Turkish)
- Bane, Theresa (2012-01-11). Encyclopedia of Demons in World Religions and Cultures. McFarland. ISBN 9780786488940.
- Афанасьев А. Н. «Поэтические воззрения славян на природу». — М.: 1865−1869. — Том 3, глава 22 (Russian)
- ↑ М. Фасмер. Чёрт // Этимологический словарь русского языка / пер. и доп. О.Н. Трубачева, под ред. Б.А. Ларина. — 2-е. — М.: Прогресс, 1986 (Russian)