Paleo-Balkan mythology

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Paleo-Balkan mythology is the group of religious beliefs held by Paleo-Balkan-speaking peoples in ancient times, including Illyrian, Thracian and Dacian mythologies.[1]


The horseman was a common Palaeo-Balkan hero. The original Palaeo-Balkan word for 'horseman' has been reconstructed as *Me(n)zana-, with the root *me(n)za- 'horse'. It is based on evidence provided by:[2]

  • Albanian: mëz or mâz 'foal', with the original meaning of 'horse' that underwent a later semantic shift 'horse' > 'foal' after the loan from Latin caballus into Albanian kalë 'horse'; the same root is also found in Albanian: mazrek 'horse breeder';[3]
  • Messapic: menzanas, appearing as an epithet in Zis Menzanas, found in votive inscriptions, and in Iuppiter Menzanas, mentioned in a passage written by Festus in relation to a Messapian horse sacrifice;
  • Romanian: mînz;
  • Thracian: ΜΕΖΗΝΑ̣Ι mezēnai, found in the inscription of the Duvanli gold ring also bearing the image of a horseman.

The reliefs of the Thracian horseman, especially his depiction as a hunter (either chasing or holding the hunted animal in his hand), were widespread within the Balkano-Danubian area during the Roman period.[4][5]

Subsets of Paleo-Balkan mythology[edit]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Leeming 2005, pp. xvii, 44–45.
  2. ^ Oreshko 2020, p. 118.
  3. ^ Malaj, Edmond (2013). "Familje fisnike të Drishtit mesjetar (Noble Families of Medieval Drivasto". Studime Historike. 3–4. p. 45.
  4. ^ Hampartumian 1979, p. 13.
  5. ^ Wilkes 1992, p. 247.