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Celestial fire and blacksmithing
Svarog, Marek Hapon, 2013
Svarog (Church Slavonic: Сваро́гъ, Russian, Serbian and Ukrainian: Сварог, Polish: Swaróg, Slovak and Croatian: Svarog) is a Slavic deity known primarily from the Hypatian Codex, a Slavic translation of the Chronicle of John Malalas. Svarog is there identified with Hephaestus, the god of the blacksmith in ancient Greek religion, and as the father of Dažbog, a Slavic solar deity. On the basis of this text, some researchers conclude that Svarog is the Slavic god of celestial fire and of blacksmithing.
The only mention of Svarog comes from the Hypatian Codex, a 15th-century compilation of several much older documents from the Ipatiev Monastery in Russia. It contains a Slavic translation of an original Greek manuscript of John Malalas from the 6th century. The complete passage, reconstructed from several manuscripts, translates as follows:
(Then) began his reign Feosta (Hephaestus), whom the Egyptians called Svarog… during his rule, from the heavens fell the smith’s prongs and weapons were forged for the first time; before that, (people) fought with clubs and stones. Feosta also commanded the women that they should have only a single husband… and that is why Egyptians called him Svarog… After him ruled his son, his name was the Sun, and they called him Dažbog… Sun tzar, son of Svarog, this is Dažbog.
In the Greek text, the names of gods are Hephaestus and Helios. Apparently, the unknown Russian translator tried to re-tell the entire story (set in Egypt) by replacing the names of classical deities with those that were better known to his readers. It is uncertain to what extent the Greeks gods were thought to resemble their Slavic counterparts.
Furthermore, this passage has raised quite a few theories about family relations between Slavic gods. If one assumes that Svarog was believed to be Dažbog’s father, the question arises of his relation with Svarožič, another deity who is mentioned as a god of fire and war in several other medieval documents describing the beliefs of pagan Slavs. Vyacheslav Ivanov and Vladimir Toporov proposed a reconstruction of this mythical genealogy, claiming that Svarog, a deity of fire and the forge similar to the Greek Hephaestus, had two sons: Dažbog, who represented the fire in sky (i.e., the Sun), and Svarožič, who symbolised the flame on earth, in the forge. Henryk Łowmiański, however, theorised that Svarog was a Slavic sky god and personification of daylight sky itself, possibly a continuation of Proto-Indo-European *Dyēus Ph2ter, while Svarožič and solar Dažbog were one and the same deity, although he concluded that two other aspects of Svarožič also existed: fiery Svarožič, as in the Sun (mentioned in Russian medieval manuscripts), and lunar Svarožič, associated with the Moon. Franjo Ledić, on the other hand, simply assumed that Svarog and Dažbog are one and the same god.
Eastern Slavic sources also mention Svarožič as a deity, there associated with fire. According to Thietmar of Merseburg, Svarožič (Latinized Zuarasici) was worshipped by a tribe of Ratars in the city of Ridegost (Rethra).
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