Ancient Russia: myths and legends about heroes and gods


The most interesting of the cultural treasury of civilizations is myths. All countries and peoples had their own legends about the power of the gods, the courage of the heroes, the power of the rulers. No exception and ancient Russia. Her myths speak of twenty thousand years, during which she died and was born again. Our time is the moment of the rebirth of a bygone faith, and it began from the publication of books about ancient Slavic traditions.


Russian Vedas, Book of Veles

In the books of these - a reminder of the ancestral homelands. These are the lands that gave birth to one or another Russian kind. And also they say about the progenitors. One of the most ancient lands of the Slavs, judging by the content of the book "Russian Vedas", is considered the sacred Belovodye, the Russian North.

From here our ancestors, led by the sun god and prince Yar, moved first to the Urals, then to the steppe of Semirechye. Finally, they mastered Iran and India. There are already Aryan, that is, Indo-Iranian, clans singled out the Slavs proper, those who praised the ancestors and gods.

Other sources

It so happened that the originals of the Slavic texts did not reach us. The integrity of paganism was almost completely destroyed, when not only myths, but also the traditions themselves were eradicated by Christianity.

The whole picture of the mystical ideas that Ancient Russia had (myths, epics, legends) can be composed or reconstructed only on the use of secondary material and written sources. Among the most important are medieval chronicles of observers (German and Latin) and books, preserved from Czech and Polish tribes. Also interesting are the writings of Byzantine authors, Arab and European.



Strange as it may seem, but many information about the ideas and beliefs that Ancient Russia professed, its myths in the most simplified and often deliberately perverted state can be drawn from the teachings of the persecutors of paganism - Christian missionaries. It says about the falsity of certain rites, where the actions of pagans are commented in detail. Lower mythology can still be obtained from folklore: various spirits, witches, mermaids, frights and tombs immortal come from beliefs, tales, rites, conspiracies.

These are already later myths, when deities, even remotely similar to humans, began to replace the elements and animals. As, for example, the devil. In fact, at first he was considered kind, helping to find a way in the forest, and only those who behaved in his possessions wrongly could harm. Such a person could get lost and even die. After the advent of Christianity, the devils became unequivocally evil characters.

Fertility is impossible without water, and for a good harvest the ancients needed cares, shedding dew on the fields. Half the birds, half the girls, the mistresses of all the wells and reservoirs first flew from heaven, and then “grew” the fish tail and became mermaids. In Christian teachings, they are also negative characters.



Archeology provides some information: on the places of ritual prayers, many treasures with male and female ornaments, where pagan symbolism is present, have been found. Preserved remains of ancient beliefs from neighboring nations also help. And of course, most of our knowledge is connected with epic tales, for example, bylinas, which Ancient Russia is famous for. Her myths are not dead, they are just forgotten.


For the beliefs of the Slavic tribes is characterized by double-democracy, animism and totemism. The worlds were in their view equivalent and firmly interconnected: the human, the real, and the other, in which only the gods lived - evil or good, who welcomed the souls of their ancestors.

The other world is at the same time difficult to reach, and distant, and familiar, and close, as if a place frequented by native forests, mountains or steppes. There the primogenitor dominated - the main deity.



In the depths of many centuries, if not millennia, when the Slavic peoples lived only by hunting, they knew and believed that the ancestors waiting for them in the other world were the very forest inhabitants who gave them food, clothing, household items and even medication. For this, animals were sincerely worshiped, seeing in them powerful and intelligent patron gods.

Each tribe had its own totem - the sacred beast. For example, people who consider Wolf their patron saint on the winter solstice holiday put on their skins and felt as if they were wolves, communicating with their ancestors and receiving strength, wisdom, and protection from them. Ancient Russia was so strong, intelligent, and myths about it were precisely composed.

The pagan forest always had a master - the strongest. Lions in the Slavic lands have never been found, so Bear was the king of the beasts. He not only defended against all evil, but also protected the crops. The bear woke up in the spring - it's time to engage in farming. The bear's paw in the house is a talisman and amulet: it will protect against witchcraft and all kinds of illnesses. The strongest oath was the name of a bear, and the hunter who violated it inevitably perished in the forest.



The hunting era was rich in totems, and one of the brightest and most common revered animals was the deer (or elk). And on the towels embroidered obviously deer - the ancient goddess of fertility, as well as sunlight and the sky itself. The forest dwellers were depicted by the Slavs not literally. Horned deer is not found in nature, but on the embroidery of each animal there are horns. On them he carries the sun. The horns in the house - a symbol of sunlight, heat. Elk and deer were often called creeps (and now they are called this way), from the word "plow", which calls the agricultural tool.

Heavenly elk and elk - the constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor in the sky. And Cassiopeia is two men with braids that mow celestial grass. The Golden Horse of Heaven - the sun, later - the chariot, but also drawn by horses. In the ideas of ancient people, a horse since the days of nomadic life is the most useful and the most intelligent animal. The ridge on the roof is still being installed by the builders of new village houses, although people have probably already forgotten why and why this is necessary. Horseshoe for good luck and is now considered quite effective amulet. The fact is that the ancient Slavs had a horse cult.


Image of the world

There are legends about how the creation of the world happened, where it came from and who its inhabitants are. The ancient Chinese, Iranians, Greeks believed that our world hatched from an egg. Similar myths exist among the Slavs. For example, such. The three kingdoms that the prince received in the lower worlds from the three princesses were folded into eggs, and the prince simply unfolded them when he rose to the ground, breaking the shell. Kingdom - copper, silver and gold.

Another legend tells of a duck that flew over an empty ocean and dropped an egg into the water. It split into two. From the bottom half came out damp earth, and from the top - the arch of heaven. There is also a legend about the snake that guarded the golden egg. The hero came, the serpent decided, the egg split, and three kingdoms came out of it - underground, earthly and heavenly.

Carpathian song

In the Carpathians they sing about the creation of the world like this: when there was neither light, nor sky, nor earth, but only the blue sea, a tall oak grew in the middle of the water. Two pigeons flew in, crouched on the branches and began to reflect on how to establish a white light.

They descended to the seabed, brought fine sand in their beaks, captured gold stones. Sown sand, sprinkled with gold stones. And black earth rose, icy water spilled, grass turned green, the sky turned blue, the sun shone, a clear month came out and all the stars.

Well, how exactly the creation of the world actually happened, let everyone decide for himself.


In the image of the world surrounding the ancient tribes, threefoldness is clearly visible. The Earth is a middle world lying on the three heads of the underworld in the middle of the ocean.

The bowels of the middle world are a lower sub-world It is an infinite fire. The upper world is heaven, many arches stretching above the earth, with the luminaries and elements that dwell there. The seventh heaven is forever shining. This is the place of the abode of the highest powers.

Country Ir

A special word about the Ocean (as it was called - Kiyan, from the center of the navel of the earth, namely the sacred stone Alatyr, which lies at the very roots of the World Tree) says that the legends most often describe the oak on the island of Buyan. This is the center of all creation. The holy mountains sometimes take upon themselves the concept of the Tree of World.

The latter is sometimes called the Iriy tree from the blessed country, bearing the name Er. This is the place where all the birds fly away in the fall and where the spring spends the winter. The most ancient beliefs say that the country of Il is located at the very bottom of the sea-ocean, that it is there that the highest forces constantly live, which decide all the fates of the people.



All sides of the world in the views of the ancient Slavs had their functions associated with the deification of natural forces. The most fertile lands were in the east. There is a wonderful sacred country with the abode of the gods. But the north-west was the edge of death and winter.

Great importance in ancient beliefs was the location of the rivers. Don and Danube were considered the borders of the world of people, then - another world, ancestral homeland, where the souls of dead ancestors await everyone who is ready to overcome impassable forests, huge mountains and ferocious rivers. Only there is a man waiting for eternal rest. Or nepokoy, because those guilty in life, violating at least one moral law, will certainly be punished.

Svarog and sons

Among the ancient Slavs, the supreme deities were a married couple: Mother Earth and Father-Heaven. The shining, brilliant god Svarog was worshiped on a par with Mother Earth. His other name is Stribog, which means God the Father. He brought iron tools to the people in the Stone Age (blacksmith tongs), taught them to smelt copper, and then iron. The sons whom God Svarog also taught to help people were called Dazhbog Svarozhich and Perun Svarozhich. About the last interesting myths have developed, almost like the Greek Hercules.

The exploits of Perun are described quite extensively, even in fiction right up to the twentieth century. This is the ancient god of thunder, thunder and lightning. His name translates in several versions as “Striker”, “First” and even “Right”. His lightnings are different: gold - life-giving, purple - deadly. His weapon is an ax with which some customs in peasant farms are still associated. The rim in the shape of a wheel with six spokes can still be seen on old buildings. This is also a sign of Perun. But he was not only a god, but also a hero. The basic qualities and even some feats of Perun, as it were, were inherited by Elijah the Prophet with the advent of Christianity.


God, born of a goat, was in charge of the night sky. Having come into the world, he even eclipsed the clear sun, and then settled in the Ural mountains, gave birth to a son Churila. Gathered Churila friends of giants and began to offend the soldiers of Svarog. Svarog and Dyy - both gods, they had to deal with each other in a godly way. First, Svarog beat Dyya, drove his people into the piedmont land. And then he had mercy, arranged a feast at the Davy mansion. She smoked gold and precious stones shared with Svarog. He finally thawed out and took Churila to his service.

Velez and Yasunya

The patron of wealth and domestic cattle, protector and helper to all merchants, cattle farmers, hunters, tillers, lord over all lower spirits, this ancient Slavic god had a good character and great luck. Only he married Azovushka, and Yasunya loved with her green skin, disgusting temper, pugnacity and lack of hospitality. Baba Yaga Bone Foot and only. However, not quite. Yasunya was called another way - the Storm-Yaga Golden Foot. But, it seems, Velez was able to examine in Yaga the enchanted Yasunya Svyatogorovna, but could not receive the blessing of the parent, separated him from Yasunya.

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