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Who is Perun?

Andrej Pleterski ; Znanstvenoraziskovalni center SAZU Novi trg 2 SLO – 1000 Ljubljana

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 2.196 Kb

str. 59-78

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When people the findings about the functioning of the universe verbalized in a narrative, occured mythical story. It’s material aspect is a mythical landscape. This is that form of the cultural landscape that people
created in accordance with their mythical conceptions, or at least in this way understand it that with its help they could master the forces of nature.
The mythical story explains the mechanism of renewal and describes the cyclical changes of the nature. In the version that was known by ancient Slavs, act male and female character, who are in the summer half
of the year united in constant intercourse, which gives life energy and fertility to everything. In autumn comes to the collapse of their union, the male character grows old and loses his sexual power, the female
figure, consequently, cripples him (castrates, takes his weapon), swallows him, closes him in its cavity. With acquired weapon the infertile female character rules during winter. The man is apparently dead (he
is sleeping) and renowates that in the spring he can rejuvenated leave the womens cavity, beats elderly woman, forces her into sex and consequently, returnes her the youth and fertility.
At a level of a single object, the mythical story is materialised in the shape of the early medieval idol of Zbruč in Ukraine. It shows a spatial arrangement of three realms of the universe, control mechanisms of
these realms, a sequence of natural and life changes according to the mythical story. The humans inhabit Middle-earth, and their task is to ensure the operation of a rotating system, which connects the triple forces
of the underworld by four of two doubles in the celestial world. Thus, they are establishing the flow of life energy.
The article deals with the mythical landscape of mountain Perun, which lies along the sea southeast of Split (Croatia). The toponym Perun helps in finding the answer to the question of who is Perun. In this
landscape has its scenes also the mythical story, described above. These scenes can be arranged as follows.
In the autumn female mythical figure takes control over lightning, with it overcomes her partner, who has already got the animal form of a bear, and she takes position in the court of gods. This on Otok (Žrnovica)
shows a relief stone-plate as well as the church dedication of the Assumption. Spear/lightning on the relief does not pierce the bear’s body, but it’s head, what is the manner how to kill a snake. The loser
is therefore not only a bear, but it is also a snake (which is consistent with Eastern Slavic idea that a snake
with a bear’s head is a dragon). The serpent/dragon hides under a rock Zmij kamik at the river Žrnovnica. There, waiting for his rejuvenation (corroborated by the distance between Zmij kamik and Sv. Jure nad
Podstrano church, made by repeating the magic formula of regeneration 3 x 9), which begins during the solar winter solstice (the orientation of the church Sv. Jure nad Podstrano). In spring, the male character
again usurps the spear and goes to the court on the top of the mountain. He beats elderly female character, who, meanwhile, is changed into a dragon (Jure/George fights a dragon). He changes it into the bride and
begins a fruitful period of the year (23. IV., day of St. George), when they live united in the common home (Perunsko, top of the mountain Perun), until their relationship in the autumn falls apart again.

Related to the structure of the Zbruč idol, the places of the mythical Quartet are (Figure 22): Otok (church Blažena Gospa / Blessed lady) in Žrnovnica with the relief of the victorious warrior, another St.
Mary’s church Gospe od site as the site of the fertile women, Zmij kamik is the place of the defeated male character and Sv. Jure nad Podstrano church is the place of the spring winner. As a common place of triple
forces of life and control over the three worlds is reflected in the triple divine court of Perunsko). It should not surprise us that the mythical trinity is this time at the top of the mountain. This is consistent with the
idea that there is a trinity of Triglav, existing in all the three worlds, the lower, the middle and the upper. Changing of armed persons shows that Perun is a spear/lightning itself, or the person, who is capable to
use the spear at any given time. Perun is simply a function that is not performed by only one and the same mythical person!

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