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 Deities of Bosnian mythology

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Donaton
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PostSubject: Deities of Bosnian mythology   Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:07 pm

Archaeological monuments reveal, and ancient historical sources confirm the presence of Illyrians on the Balkans from the beginnings of the first millennia of the old era. Therefore the Illyrians appear on the historical stage of south-eastern Europe alongside the Greeks. The right to set this historical parallel was first given by Homer, who mentions in his work the Iliad at a dozen places the Illyrian tribe Phrygians, the allies of the Trojans. The Illyrians as well as other peoples, worshiped shapeless spirits in the form of natural phenomena for a long time such as clouds, rain, forest, moon, tree, streams… Varon recorded for the Romans that they worshiped god’s without statues and that they were anthropomorphized during the age of the Etruscan kings. Under the Roman occupation the Illyrians slowly accepted some segments of the Roman religion along with the language and culture, but they continued to worship their ancient gods in the new form, such as Vidas (Vidasus) and Thana (Tana). Besides the Romans a strong influence on the Illyrians were also the Celts and somewhat the Greeks. Even though according to the available data they never managed to establish a unique religion on the entire region where they lived (Illyricum) all tribes are besides their traditional deities worshiped the sun, moon, snake – incarnation of the Grand Mother, forest, trees and water. Deities of our forefathers Bind, Tana, Vidas, Anzotika, Ika, Jutosika, Eja, Melesokus, Borija, Irija, Medaur, Black sky dragon are only some from the Illyrian pantheon which they prayed to and which they worshiped. Besides the Illyrian authentic deities in Bosnia and Herzegovina we also have Roman and Persian gods and goddesses, the influence of astral deities i particularly pervasive, primarily the solar god Mithra and Tir god of rain and fertility.
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PostSubject: Re: Deities of Bosnian mythology   Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:11 pm

BIND

Bind or Bindus (old Indian bindu, h – drop) is the old Bosnian god of streams and water in general and he is represented as a naked man, with a rudder or trident in his right hand. His cult was especially widespread on the territory of north-western part of Bosnia and part of Croatia (Lika) where Japodes were dominant, a powerful Illyrian tribe with strong Celtic impurities. In the area of Bihać, at the spring of Privilice, numerous archaeological and epigraphic findings which confirm the dominant influence of his cult in the lives of the Bosnian forefathers. It is considered that the name Bihać has its root in the name of the grand deity. At cult locations where he was worshiped numerous horns of goats were found, which proves that the Japodes sacrificed, among other things, animals to their deity. Thus on the monument dedicated to Bind, near Privilice above the votive inscription there is an etched picture of an altar between two mountain goats with their front legs raised; the third mountain goat is depicted under the inscription. The connection our ancestors had with the cult of this deity is best proven by the century long practice of the Bosnian people’s pilgrimage in the early dawn, usually during the period of the new moon, towards individual streams which were considered to be medicinal where they would leave presents in the form of money, food or clothes to this deity as sacrifices for healing and help.
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PostSubject: Re: Deities of Bosnian mythology   Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:13 pm

VIDASUS

Vidasus is the god of forests and nature, and together with the goddess Thana the deity of fertility. He was worshiped under various names, at some places as Vidasus, elsewhere as Magla (enus?), or Cor…, Messor and the like. This name Cor is unusually reminiscent of the Celtic god Cernunnosa which had an identical description. Similarly, it is presumed that with this Illyrian deity the famous name Grabovius is connected (where from our Illyrian word grab (hornbeam) stems from), which is mentioned on the so called Iguvine tablets from Umbria in Italy. Given that on the same monument the name Japuzkum (Japudiscum) nomen is mentioned – the enemy of the Umbra – we conclude that the Umbra took the name Grabovius (this epithet comes with thename Jupiter, as well as that of Mars and Vovionus) from the Japodes. It is considered that Vidasus, or Romanised Silvan, was the supreme Illyrian god in the period before Rome, and he also kept that function after it. The Roman’s accepted him and equated with the Greek Pan the protector of forests, flocks and nature and a companion during hunting. Visual depictions of the Illyrian Vidasus depict him as a being which is half goat and half man. Vidasus was worshiped during the beginning of the lighter part of the year, at the end of April and beginning of May.
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PostSubject: Re: Deities of Bosnian mythology   Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:15 pm

THANA

Thana or Tana, goddess of forests and hunting, was called Forest Mother by the Illyrians and numerous magical rituals and beliefs were connected with her, which we can still find in Bosnian magical beliefs about the Mountain faery which women call her in spells “Sister, mother” and they describe her as a beautiful young woman in white clothes with long hair. On one relief she is depicted with unbound hair, clad in a short belted tunic, which actually looks like it is made out of two parts, since the skirt is pleated, while the upper part of clothes is completely smooth with sewn in sleeves. Thana has her hands half outspread and in one hand she is holding a leafy branch and in the other a fir branch. Thana is often connected with the god Vidasus (Vidas). Four votive monuments were dedicated to them, discovered in Topusko, close to warm stream. Remnants of temples and numerous inscriptions were also found in Topusko, dedicated to the Roman god of forests, pastures and streams, and based on that it was concluded that the Illyrian Vidasus by his attributes matches with that Roman deity and that, according to that fact, his chaperon Thana coincides to the Roman Diana. It is interesting to note that there is a name Tanija among the Bosnian people.
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PostSubject: Re: Deities of Bosnian mythology   Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:16 pm

FAERIES

The Illyrians revered mountain faeries – nymphs, protectors of streams, creeks, mountain glades and caves. On monuments they are always depicted as young and playful girls, often in a circle, to whom the god Vidasus is playing a flute.
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PostSubject: Re: Deities of Bosnian mythology   Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:18 pm

TREE – GOD PROTECTOR

As I already mentioned the Illyrians before they began to anthropomorphize their deities, they worshipped them in their celestial shape (sun, moon, stars, etc.), natural (tree, stream, forest, etc.) or animal form – snake, salamander, frog… That’s why the initial religion of our forefathers could be called shamanism, while in the later periods, especially after intertwining with Greek, Celtic and Roman influences, it obtained its classic ancient form with a pronounced pantheon. Belief in a tree as a divine symbol among the Illyrian tribes perfectly coincided with their religious practice based on worshiping nature and its forces. Belief that inside a tree there are supernatural forces which have a fatal influence on a human’s life was present for centuries among the Bosnian people.

According to belief each man possessed his own tree in the forest, which is unknown to him, but if he accidentally cuts it down it can cause his death. Such beliefs were recorded in various parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina such as Rogatica or Kamengrad near Sanski Most. Identification of a man with a tree is then not accidental but as we can see it stemmed from Illyrian religion according to which each man has his own tree in which dwells his god protector. Each tree possesses in itself the strength of the Grand Mother, goddess of the earth, and that is why it is directly connected with the source of life but also dead forefathers. That’s why in traditional Bosnian belief the tree was always equated with humans and their luck or better to say with their lives.

Throughout the centuries, as the religious influence of our forefathers weakened, there were some alterations but never such drastic ones which could uproot the original belief. In ethnological books we can find the description of the ritual in Žepče according to which a person that has bad luck or has a longer streak of issues and difficulties, when something is not going according to his plan, he climbs a tree and another person stands underneath the tree trunk and starts to cut the tree down. Then the unlucky person, while still sitting on the tree asks: “What are you doing?” and the other one replies: “I will cut down your luck so you can get a new one!” Then he cuts the tree down which falls down to the ground together with the man sitting on top of it. After that it is believed that the person will receive new luck and that nice things will start to happen to him. By observing rituals we will notice a symbolic “death” and “resurrection” of man (luck) which falls down together with the tree. He willingly sacrifices himself to “die” together with the tree and in such a way he will avoid the anger of the tree deity which will punish anyone who cuts it down. With this ritual he will get a new tree as a protector and with it new luck.
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