Review of Article

So I was reading “Fortune and Fertility Rites among the Pre-Christian Western Slavs” by Juan Antonio Álvarez-Pedrosa, from here. As a side-note, the articles from Studia Mythologica Slavica are great reads. The ones in English are usually a bit shorter reads than the massive tome-like articles from JSTOR, which make them easier to digest, and good quick reads that are easy to get into and provide some nice research jumping-off points.

Which is actually rather interesting, as I’m none too familiar with Rügen and its pagan history. I’ve read a few broad articles of main-stream history, but never actually anything about paganism there at all. And pre-Christian traditions are always something interesting to study. So this article mostly focuses on Rügen and the northern German Slavs, which is a new perspective for me.

It’s a big point in favor of Saxo Grammaticus–who is actually quite famous as an early chronicler of Slavs. Especially in that period where Christianization was still new, and the people still had some pagan customs. And Saxo’s description of Arkona, the city of Rügen, is pretty impressive on multiple historical levels.

And in Arkona there’s the talk of Svetovid (called Sventovit sometimes), and his idol, with a pretty good description. He’s considered a harvest and fertility, as well as warlike, god. With attributes that match this – wine into a horn, bow, and horse bridles. All in all, pretty standard symbology for a god, I think. But it does tell more on how the people saw he god, which is always fascinating news.

The main point of the article is describing a fall-time, after the harvest. I won’t describe it here, because then there’s no reason to read the article. Which, you should. It’s only a short 12-page piece, easy and clear written to be understandable.

I will admit it was a bit interesting on how triadic the formulation is. I had rather thought that perhaps a it more Christian. But it was clearly an old pattern; so I had to reconsider my prior opinion on the whole triad formulation of things.

All in all, a rather nice little article. I’m definitely going to use this to find some more sources; and also to re-evaluate my old opinions on certain beliefs. It’s an article I definitely recommend reading; especially because it’s so short.



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I'm a bibliophile who loves collecting books. Definite cat person. Amateur historian and major geek, who loves all things Tolkien and Star Trek. I'm also fluent in German.

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