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Stratum Plus. 1997

Sergius Ehrlich (St. Petersburg, Russia)

Adoration for the magi

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Pages: 148-177

This article deals with the sacred history of the Slavs in VIIX AD, focusing on the genesis of Slavic priests — volkhvs. Its methodological premises are G.Dumésil‘s «Indo-European triad», V.V.Ivanov‘s and V.N.Toporov‘s «basic myth», M.E.Tkachuk‘s «dynamic structuralism » and D.A.Machinsky‘s periodisation of the history of the early Slavs.
The struggle of the Dumésil‘s «warriors» and «sorcerers» is seen as cause and effect of migrational, ethnic, social and religious processes undergoing simultaneous change. Subject to the outcome of this struggle, the early history of the Slavs sees periods of the dominance of «warriors» and «sorcerers».
I PERIOD (until VI AD). The Slavs dwell to the north of the Carpathians. Venedi, Sclavenes and Antes have not yet melted together to form a uniform entity. It is feasible to presume that the «sorcerers» dominate
during this period. It is equally possible that the patron of the priests Veles is the main deity.
II PERIOD (VI — 1st half VII AD). Most of the Slavs move towards the Danube and the Balkans. They melt together into a uniform community. Raids on Byzantium result in the dominance of the «warriors». The
«creator of the lightening» Perun who is also patron of the warriors becomes the principal deity.
III PERIOD (2nd half VII — 1st half IX AD). Having encountered powerful enemies, part of the Slavs return to the north-east slopes of the Carpathians. The Slavs become divided into «northern» and «southern
» ones. The calm in military activities is favourable for the dominance of the «sorcerers» and their patron Veles among the «northern» Slavs.
IV PERIOD (2nd half IX — XI AD). ‘Northern‘ Slavs spread as far as the southern and eastern coasts of the Baltic and Russian Plain. The making of Russian and Polish statehood results in the division of the «northern» Slavs into western and eastern ones. «Warriors» come to prevail among the eastern Slavs. Their patron Perun becomes head of the eastern Slavs‘ pantheon.
Primary attention is paid to the periods II and III. The author supplies arguments that add plausibility to the testimony of the «Russian Primary Chronicle» about the Vlachs‘ conquest of the Slavs in the course of the
«Danube episode» (VI — 1st half VII AD). He concludes that the Vlachs‘ dominance resulted from penetration of the Slavs into the priests‘ corporation. This penetration was facilitated by the Vlachs‘ liaison with traditions of Celtic priests — Druids. Influenced by the Vlachs, Slavic priests became known under the name of volkhvs. During the «Carpathian halting» of the 2nd half VII — 1st half IX AD, volkhvs retained their dominance in Slavic society. Their power was overthrown by the warrior Varangians — founders of Russian statehood.

Information about author:

Serguey Ehrlich
(St. Petersburg, Russia). Candidate of historical sciences. Publishing House “Nestor-Istoria”.
E-mail: [email protected]

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