Domestication of the horse
Nordic Bronze Age
Painted Grey Ware
Northern Black Polished Ware
Peoples and societies
Religion and mythology
Copenhagen Studies in Indo-European
Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture
The Horse, the Wheel and Language
Journal of Indo-European Studies
Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch
Indo-European Etymological Dictionary
Proto-Indo-European religion is the belief system adhered to by the
Proto-Indo-Europeans. Although this belief system is not directly
attested, it has been reconstructed by scholars of comparative
mythology based on the similarities in the belief systems of various
Various schools of thought exist regarding the precise nature of
Proto-Indo-European religion, which do not always agree with each
other. Vedic mythology, Roman mythology, and
Norse mythology are the
main mythologies normally used for comparative reconstruction, though
they are often supplemented with supporting evidence from the Baltic,
Celtic, Greek, Slavic, and Hittite traditions as well.
The Proto-Indo-European pantheon includes well-attested deities such
as *Dyḗus Pḥatḗr, the god of the daylit skies, his daughter
*Haéusōs, the goddess of the dawn, the Horse Twins, and the storm
god *Perkwunos. Other probable deities include *Péh2usōn, a pastoral
god, and *Seh2ul, a
Well-attested myths of the
Proto-Indo-Europeans include a myth
involving a storm god who slays a multi-headed serpent that dwells in
water, a myth about the
Moon riding in chariots across the
sky, and a creation story involving two brothers, one of whom
sacrifices the other to create the world. The
have believed that the
Otherworld was guarded by a watchdog and could
only be reached by crossing a river. They also may have believed in a
world tree, bearing fruit of immortality, either guarded by or gnawed
on by a serpent or dragon, and tended by three goddesses who spun the
thread of life.
1 Methods of reconstruction
1.1 Schools of thought
1.2 Source mythologies
2.1 Heavenly deities
Sun and Moon
2.2 Divine Twins
2.2.1 Horse Twins
2.2.2 Twin Founders
2.3 Storm deities
2.4 Water deities
2.5 Nature deities
2.6 Societal deities
3.1 Dragon or serpent
3.2 Celestial myths
3.3 Twin founders
3.4 Fire in water
3.5 Binding of evil
4.2 World tree and serpent
Ritual and sacredness
6 See also
Methods of reconstruction
Schools of thought
Georges Dumézil, formulator of the Trifunctional Hypothesis
The religion of the
Proto-Indo-Europeans is not directly attested and
it is difficult to match their language to archaeological findings
related to any specific culture from the Chalcolithic. Nonetheless,
scholars of comparative mythology have attempted to reconstruct
Proto-Indo-European religion based on the existence of
similarities among the deities, religious practices, and myths of
various Indo-European peoples. This method is known as the comparative
method. Different schools of thought have approached the subject of
Proto-Indo-European religion from different angles. The Meteorological
School holds that
Proto-Indo-European religion was largely centered
around deified natural phenomena such as the sky, the Sun, the Moon,
and the dawn. This meteorological interpretation was popular among
early scholars, but has lost a considerable degree of scholarly
support in recent years. The
Ritual School, on the other hand,
holds that Proto-Indo-European myths are best understood as stories
invented to explain various rituals and religious practices. Bruce
Lincoln, a member of the
Ritual School, argues that the
Proto-Indo-Europeans believed that every sacrifice was a reenactment
of the original sacrifice performed by the founder of the human race
on his twin brother. The Functionalist School holds that
Proto-Indo-European society and, consequently, their religion, was
largely centered around the trifunctional system proposed by Georges
Dumézil, which holds that
Proto-Indo-European society was divided
into three distinct social classes: farmers, warriors, and
priests. The Structuralist School, by contrast, argues that
Proto-Indo-European religion was largely centered around the concept
of dualistic opposition. This approach generally tends to focus on
cultural universals within the realm of mythology, rather than the
genetic origins of those myths, but it also offers refinements of
the Dumézilian trifunctional system by highlighting the oppositional
elements present within each function, such as the creative and
destructive elements both found within the role of the warrior.
One of the earliest attested and thus most important of all
Indo-European mythologies is Vedic mythology, especially the
mythology of the Rigveda, the oldest of the Vedas. Early scholars of
comparative mythology such as
Max Müller stressed the importance of
Vedic mythology to such an extent that they practically equated it
with Proto-Indo-European myth. Modern researchers have been much
more cautious, recognizing that, although
Vedic mythology is still
central, other mythologies must also be taken into account.
Another of the most important source mythologies for comparative
research is Roman mythology. Contrary to the frequent erroneous
statement made by some authors that "Rome has no myth", the Romans
possessed a very complex mythological system, parts of which have been
preserved through the unique Roman tendency to rationalize their myths
into historical accounts. Despite its relatively late attestation,
Norse mythology is still considered one of the three most important of
the Indo-European mythologies for comparative research, simply due
to the vast bulk of surviving Icelandic material.
Baltic mythology has also received a great deal of scholarly
attention, but has so far remained frustrating to researchers because
the sources are so comparatively late. Nonetheless, Latvian folk
songs are seen as a major source of information in the process of
reconstructing Proto-Indo-European myth. Despite the popularity of
Greek mythology in western culture,
Greek mythology is generally
seen as having little importance in comparative mythology due to the
heavy influence of
Pre-Greek and Near Eastern cultures, which
overwhelms what little Indo-European material can be extracted from
Greek mythology received minimal scholarly
attention until the mid 2000s.
Linguists are able to reconstruct the names of some deities in the
Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) from many types of sources. Some of
the proposed deity names are more readily accepted among scholars than
The term for "a god" was *deiwos, reflected in Hittite, sius;
Latin, deus, divus; Sanskrit, deva; Avestan, daeva (later, Persian,
div); Welsh, duw; Irish, dia; Old Norse, tívurr; Lithuanian, Dievas;
Laurel-wreathed head of
Zeus on a gold stater from the Greek city of
Lampsacus, c 360–340 BC
The head deity of the Proto-Indo-European pantheon was the god
*Dyḗus Pḥatḗr, whose name literally means "Sky
Father". He is believed to have been regarded as the god of
the daylit skies. He is, by far, the most well-attested of all the
Proto-Indo-European deities. The Greek god Zeus, the Roman god
Jupiter, and the Illyrian god Dei-Pátrous all appear as the head gods
of their respective pantheons. The Norse god Týr, however, seems
to have been demoted to the role of a minor war-deity prior to the
composition of the earliest Germanic texts. *Dyḗus Pḥatḗr is
also attested in the
Rigveda as Dyáus Pitā, a minor ancestor figure
mentioned in only a few hymns. The names of the Latvian god Dievs
and the Hittite god Attas Isanus do not preserve the exact literal
translation of the name *Dyḗus Pḥatḗr, but do preserve the
general meaning of it.
*Dyḗus Pḥatḗr may have had a consort who was an earth
goddess. This possibility is attested in the Vedic pairing of
Dyáus Pitā and
Prithvi Mater, the Roman pairing of Jupiter and
Tellus Mater from Macrobius's Saturnalia, and the Norse pairing of
Odin and Jörð.
Odin is not a reflex of *Dyḗus Pḥatḗr, but his
cult may have subsumed aspects of an earlier chief deity who was.
This pairing may also be further attested in an Old English ploughing
prayer and in the Greek pairings of
Ouranos and Gaia and
Eos in her chariot flying over the sea, red-figure krater from South
Italy, 430–420 BC, Staatliche Antikensammlungen
*Haéusōs has been reconstructed as the Proto-Indo-European goddess
of the dawn. Derivatives of her found throughout various
Indo-European mythologies include the Greek goddess Eos, the Roman
goddess Aurōra, the Vedic goddess Uṣás, and the Lithuanian goddess
Auštrine. The form Arap
Ushas appears in Albanian folklore,
but as a name for the Moon, not the dawn. An extension of the name may
have been *H2eust(e)ro-, since the form *as-t-r with an intrusive
-t- between s and r occurs in some northern dialects.
Examples of such forms include the Anatolian Estan, Istanus, and
Istara, the Greek Hestia, goddess of the hearth, the Latin Vesta, also
a hearth goddess, the Armenian Astghik, a star goddess, the Baltic
goddess Austija, and possibly also the West Germanic
Sun and Moon
Possible depiction of the Hittite
Sun goddess holding a child in her
arms from between 1400 and 1200 BC
*Seh2ul and *Meh1not are reconstructed as the Proto-Indo-European
goddess of the
Sun and god of the
Moon respectively. *Seh2ul is
reconstructed based on the Greek god Helios, the Roman god Sol, the
Celtic goddess Sul/Suil, the North Germanic goddess Sól, the
Continental Germanic goddess *Sowilō, the Hittite goddess
Zoroastrian Hvare-khshaeta and the Vedic god
*Meh1not- is reconstructed based on the Norse god Máni, the Slavic
god Myesyats, and the Lithuanian god *Meno, or Mėnuo
(Mėnulis). They are often seen as the twin children of various
deities, but in fact the sun and moon were deified several times
and are often found in competing forms within the same language.
The usual scheme is that one of these celestial deities is male and
the other female, though the exact gender of the
Moon tends to
vary among subsequent Indo-European mythologies. The original
Indo-European solar deity appears to have been female, a
characteristic not only supported by the higher number of sun
goddesses in subsequent derivations (feminine Sól, Saule, Sulis,
Solntse—not directly attested as a goddess, but feminine in gender
— Étaín, Grían, Aimend, Áine, and Catha versus masculine Helios,
Surya, Savitr, Usil, and Sol) (
Hvare-khshaeta is of neutral
gender), but also by vestiges in mythologies with male solar
Usil in Etruscan art is depicted occasionally as a goddess,
while solar characteristics in
Helen of Troy
Helen of Troy still remain
in Greek mythology). The original Indo-European lunar deity
appears to have been masculine, with feminine lunar deities like
Selene, Minerva, and Luna being a development exclusive to the eastern
Mediterranean. Even in these traditions, remnants of male lunar
deities, like Menelaus, remain.
Although the sun was personified as an independent, female deity, the
Proto-Indo-Europeans also visualized the sun as the eye of *Dyḗus
Pḥatḗr, as seen in various reflexes:
Helios as the eye of
Hvare-khshaeta as the eye of Ahura Mazda, and the sun as
"God's eye" in Romanian folklore. The names of Celtic sun
Grian may also allude to this association;
the words for "eye" and "sun" are switched in these languages, hence
the name of the goddesses.
Pair of Roman statuettes from the third century AD depicting the
Dioscuri as horsemen, with their characteristic skullcaps
(Metropolitan Museum of Art)
The Horse Twins are a set of twin brothers found throughout nearly
every Indo-European pantheon who usually have a name that means
'horse' *ekwa-, but the names are not always cognate and no
Proto-Indo-European name for them can be reconstructed. In most
Indo-European pantheons, the Horse Twins are brothers of the Sun
Dawn goddess, and sons of the sky god.
They are reconstructed based on the Vedic Ashvins, the Lithuanian
Ašvieniai, the Latvian Dieva deli, the Greek
Dioskouroi (Kastor and
Polydeukes), the Roman
Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux), and the Old
Horsa (whose names mean "stallion" and
"horse"). References from the Greek writer Timaeus indicate that
Celts may have had a set of horse twins as well. The Welsh
Manawydan may also be related. The horse twins may have
been based on the morning and evening star (the planet Venus) and they
often have stories about them in which they "accompany" the Sun
goddess, because of the close orbit of the planet
Venus to the
The Proto-Indo-European Creation myth seems to have involved two key
figures: *Manu- ("Man"; Indic Manu; Germanic Mannus) and his twin
brother *Yemo- ("Twin"; Indic Yama; Germanic Ymir). Reflexes
of these two figures usually fulfill the respective roles of founder
of the human race and first human to die.
Ancient Celtic statue of the storm-god Taranis, clutching a wheel and
thunderbolt, from Le Chatelet, Gourzon, Haute-Marne, France
Perkwunos has been reconstructed as the Proto-Indo-European god of
lightning and storms. His name literally means "The Striker." He is
reconstructed based on the Norse goddess Fjǫrgyn (the mother of
Thor), the Lithuanian god Perkūnas, and the Slavic god Perúnú. The
Vedic god Parjánya may also be related, but his possible connection
Perkwunos is still under dispute. The name of *
also be attested in Greek as κεραυνός (Keraunós), an epithet
of the god
Zeus meaning "thunder-shaker."
Some authors have proposed *Neptonos or *H2epom Nepōts as the
Proto-Indo-European god of the waters. The name literally means
"Grandson [or Nephew] of the Waters." Philologists reconstruct
his name from that of the Vedic god Apám Nápát, the Roman god
Neptūnus, and the Old Irish god Nechtain. Although such a god has
been solidly reconstructed in Proto-Indo-Iranian religion, Mallory and
Adams nonetheless still reject him as a Proto-Indo-European deity on
A river goddess *Dehanu- has been proposed based on the Vedic goddess
Dānu, the Irish goddess Danu, the Welsh goddess Don and the names of
the rivers Danube, Don, Dnieper, and Dniester. Mallory and Adams,
however, dismiss this reconstruction, commenting that it does not have
any evidence to support it.
Some have also proposed the reconstruction of a sea god named
*Trihatōn based on the Greek god Triton and the Old Irish word
trïath, meaning "sea." Mallory and Adams reject this reconstruction
as having no basis, asserting that the "lexical correspondence is only
just possible and with no evidence of a cognate sea god in Irish."
Two similar depictions of horned deities from the Celtic and Indic
Detail from the
Gundestrup cauldron from Gundestrup, Denmark, thought
to date between 150 BC and 1 AD, showing the Celtic god
horns, sitting in a meditative position, surrounded by animals
Pashupati seal from
Mohenjo-daro in northern India, dated to
between 2350 and 2000 BC, showing a horned, tricephelic deity in a
meditative position, surrounded by animals
*Péh2usōn, a pastoral deity, is reconstructed based on the Greek god
Pan and the Vedic god Pūshān. Both deities are closely affiliated
with goats and were worshipped as pastoral deities. The minor
discrepancies between the two deities can be easily explained by the
possibility that many attributes originally associated with Pan may
have been transferred over to his father Hermes. The association
between Pan and Pūshān was first identified in 1924 by the German
scholar Hermann Collitz.
Adalbert Kuhn suggested that the
have believed in a set of helper deities, whom he reconstructed based
on the Germanic elves and the
Hindu ribhus. Though this
proposal is often mentioned in academic writings, very few scholars
actually accept it. There may also have been a female cognate akin
to the Greco-Roman nymphs, Slavic vilas, the
Huldra of Germanic
folklore, and the
It is highly probable that the
Proto-Indo-Europeans believed in three
fate goddesses who spun the destinies of mankind. Although such fate
goddesses are not directly attested in the Indo-Aryan tradition, the
Atharvaveda does contain an allusion comparing fate to a warp.
Furthermore, the three Fates appear in nearly every other
Indo-European mythology. Examples include the Hittite Gulses, the
Greek Moirai, the Roman Parcae, the Norse Norns, the Lithuanian
Deivės Valdytojos, the Latvian Láimas, the Serbian Sudjenice, and
the Albanian Fatit. They appear in English mythology as the
Wyrdes, who were later adapted to become the
Three Witches in
Macbeth (c. 1606). An Old Irish hymn attests
to seven goddesses who were believed to weave the thread of destiny,
which demonstrates that these spinster fate-goddesses were present in
Celtic mythology as well.
Wayland the Smith
Wayland the Smith from the Franks Casket, dating to the
eighth century AD
Although the name of a particular Proto-Indo-European smith god cannot
be linguistically reconstructed, it is highly probable that the
Proto-Indo-Europeans had a smith deity of some kind since smith gods
occur in nearly every Indo-European culture, with examples including
the Hittite god Hasammili, the Vedic god Tvastr, the Greek god
Hephaestus, the Germanic villain Wayland the Smith, and the Ossetian
culture figure Kurdalagon. Many of these smith figures share
certain characteristics in common. Hephaestus, the Greek god of
blacksmiths, and Wayland the Smith, a nefarious blacksmith from
Germanic mythology, are both described as lame. Additionally,
Wayland the Smith
Wayland the Smith and the Greek mythical inventor
Daedalus both escape
imprisonment on an island by fashioning sets of mechanical wings from
feathers and wax and using them to fly away.
Proto-Indo-Europeans may have had a goddess who presided over the
trifunctional organization of society. Various epithets of the Iranian
Anahita and the Roman goddess Juno provide sufficient evidence
to solidly attest that she was probably worshipped, but no specific
name for her can be lexically reconstructed. Vague remnants of
this goddess may also be preserved in the Greek goddess Athena.
Some scholars have proposed a war god *Māwort- based on the Roman god
Mars and the Vedic Marutás, companions of the war-god Indra. Mallory
and Adams, however, reject this reconstruction on linguistic
Dragon or serpent
Further information: Chaoskampf
The Hittite god Tarhunt, followed by his son Sarruma, kills the dragon
Illuyanka (Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara, Turkey)
One common myth found in nearly all Indo-European mythologies is a
battle ending with a hero or god slaying a serpent or dragon of some
sort. Although the details of story often vary widely,
in all iterations, several features remain remarkably the same. In
iterations of the story, the serpent is usually associated with water
in some way. The hero of the story is usually a thunder-god or a
hero who is somehow associated with thunder. The serpent is
usually multi-headed, or else "multiple" in some other way.
In Hittite mythology, in which the storm god
Tarhunt slays the giant
serpent Illuyanka. In the Rigveda, the god
Indra slays the
multi-headed serpent Vritra, which had been causing a drought. In
the Bhagavata Purana,
Krishna slays the serpent Kāliyā.
Greek red-figure vase painting depicting
Heracles slaying the Lernaean
Hydra, c. 375–340 BC
Several variations of the story are also found in
Greek mythology as
well. The story is attested in the legend of
Zeus slaying the
Typhon from Hesiod's Theogony, but it is also
in the myths of the slaying of the nine-headed
Lernaean Hydra by
Heracles and the slaying of Python by Apollo. The story of
Heracles's theft of the cattle of
Geryon is probably also related.
Heracles is not usually thought of as a storm deity in the
conventional sense, he bears many attributes held by other
Indo-European storm deities, including physical strength and a knack
for violence and gluttony.
The original Proto-Indo-European myth is also reflected in Germanic
mythology. In Norse mythology, Thor, the god of thunder, slays the
giant serpent Jörmungandr, which lived in the waters surrounding the
realm of Midgard. Other dragon-slaying myths are also found in
the Germanic tradition. In the Völsunga saga,
Sigurd slays the dragon
Fafnir and, in Beowulf, the eponymous hero slays a different dragon.
Reflexes of the Proto-Indo-European dragon-slaying myth are found
throughout other branches of the language family as well. In
Zoroastrianism and Persian mythology, Fereydun, and later Garshasp,
slays Zahhak. In Slavic mythology, Perun, the god of storms, slays
Dobrynya Nikitich slays the three-headed dragon Zmey. In
Armenian mythology, the god
Vahagn slays the dragon Vishap. In
Făt-Frumos slays the fire-spitting monster Zmeu.
In Celtic mythology,
Dian Cecht slays Meichi. The myth is believed to
have symbolized a clash between forces of order and chaos. In
every version of the story, the dragon or serpent always loses,
although in some mythologies, such as the Norse
Ragnarök myth, the
hero or god dies as well.
Ancient Greek relief of
Helios in his chariot from Athena's temple at
Ilion dating to the early 4th century BC
The Greek Sun-god Helios, the
Hindu god Surya, and the North Germanic
goddess Sól are all represented as riding in chariots pulled by white
horses. The earliest discovered chariots come from the
in southwest Russia, commonly identified as belonging to the
The myth of the
Moon being swallowed by some kind of predator
is also found throughout multiple Indo-European language groups. In
Norse mythology, the
Sun goddess (Sól) and
Moon god (Máni) are
swallowed by the wolves
Sköll and Hati Hróðvitnisson. In
Sun god (Surya) and
Moon god (Chandra) are swallowed by
the demon serpents
Rahu and Ketu, resulting in eclipses.
Another possible Proto-Indo-European mytheme is one in which the
goddess of the dawn is born from the sea following a conflict between
a god and his enemy. In the Rigveda, the goddess
Ushas and a
herd of cows are freed from imprisonment after the god
Indra slays the
multi-headed serpent Vritra. A comparable myth in the Greek
tradition is the myth of
Aphrodite rising from the foam of the sea
following Ouranos's castration by Kronos.
The analysis of different Indo-European tales indicates that the
Proto-Indo-Europeans believed there were two progenitors of mankind:
*Manu- ("Man") and *Yemo- ("Twin"), his twin brother. A reconstructed
creation myth involving the two is given by David W. Anthony,
attributed in part to Bruce Lincoln: Manu and Yemo traverse the
cosmos, accompanied by the primordial cow, and finally decide to
create the world. To do so, Manu sacrifices either Yemo or the cow,
and with help from the sky father, the storm god and the divine twins,
forges the earth from the remains. Manu thus becomes the first priest
and establishes the practice of sacrifice. The sky gods then present
cattle to the third man, *Trito, who loses it to the three-headed
serpent *Ngwhi, but eventually overcomes this monster either alone or
aided by the sky father. Trito is now the first warrior and ensures
that the cycle of mutual giving between gods and humans may
continue. Reflexes of *Manu include Indic Manu, Germanic Mannus;
of Yemo, Indic Yama,
Avestan Yima, Norse Ymir, possibly Roman Remus
Old Latin *Yemos).
Ancient Roman relief from the Cathedral of Maria Saal showing the
Romulus and Remus
Romulus and Remus being suckled by a she-wolf
The early "history" of Rome is widely recognized as a historicized
retelling of various old myths.
Romulus and Remus
Romulus and Remus are twin
Roman mythology who both have stories in which they are
killed. The Roman writer Livy reports that Remus was believed to
have been killed by his brother Romulus at the founding of Rome when
they entered into a disagreement about which hill to build the city
on. Later, Romulus himself is said to have been torn limb-from-limb by
a group of senators.[Notes 2] Both of these myths are widely
recognized as historicized remnants of the Proto-Indo-European
Germanic languages have information about both
Ymir and Mannus
(reflexes of *Yemo- and *Manu- respectively), but they never
appear together in the same myth. Instead, they only occur in
myths widely separated by both time and circumstances. In chapter
two of his book Germania, which was written in Latin in around 98
A.D., the Roman writer
Tacitus claims that Mannus, the son of Tuisto,
was the ancestor of the Germanic peoples. This name never recurs
anywhere in later Germanic literature, but one proposed meaning
of the continental Germanic tribal name
Alamanni is "Mannus' own
people" ("all-men" being another scholarly etymology).
Fire in water
Another important possible myth is the myth of the fire in the waters,
a myth which centers around the possible deity *H2epom Nepōts, a
fiery deity who dwells in water. In the Rigveda, the god
Apám Nápát is envisioned as a form of fire residing in the
waters. In Celtic mythology, a well belonging to the god
Nechtain is said to blind all those who gaze into it. In an
old Armenian poem, a small reed in the middle of the sea spontaneously
catches fire and the hero
Vahagn springs forth from it with fiery hair
and a fiery beard and eyes that blaze as suns. In a ninth-century
Norwegian poem by the poet Thiodolf, the name sǣvar niþr, meaning
"grandson of the sea," is used as a kenning for fire. Even the
Greek tradition contains possible allusions to the myth of a fire-god
dwelling deep beneath the sea. The phrase "νέποδες
καλῆς Ἁλοσύδνης," meaning "descendants of the
beautiful seas," is used in
The Odyssey 4.404 as an epithet for the
seals of Proteus.
Binding of evil
Jaan Puhvel notes similarities between the Norse myth in which the god
Týr inserts his hand into the wolf Fenrir's mouth while the other
gods bind him with Gleipnir, only for
Fenrir to bite off Týr's hand
when he discovers he cannot break his bindings, and the Iranian
myth in which
Jamshid rescues his brother's corpse from Ahriman's
bowels by reaching his hand up Ahriman's anus and pulling out his
brother's corpse, only for his hand to become infected with
leprosy. In both accounts, an authority figure forces the evil
entity into submission by inserting his hand into the being's orifice
(in Fenrir's case the mouth, in Ahriman's the anus) and losing
Ahriman fulfill different roles in their own
mythological traditions and are unlikely to be remnants of a
Proto-Indo-European "evil god"; nonetheless, it is clear that the
"binding myth" is of Proto-Indo-European origin.
Attic red-figure lekythos attributed to the Tymbos painter showing
Charon welcoming a soul into his boat, c. 500-450 BC
Main article: Otherworld
Most Indo-European traditions contain some kind of
Afterlife. It is possible that the
Proto-Indo-Europeans may have
believed that, in order to reach the Underworld, one needed to cross a
river, guided by an old man (*ĝerhaont-). The Greek tradition of
the dead being ferried across the river
Styx by Charon is probably a
reflex of this belief. The idea of crossing a river to reach the
Underworld is also present throughout Celtic mythologies. Several
Vedic texts contain references to crossing a river in order to reach
the land of the dead and the Latin word tarentum meaning "tomb"
originally meant "crossing point." In Norse mythology, Hermóðr
must cross a bridge over the river Giöll in order to reach Hel.
In Latvian folk songs, the dead must cross a marsh rather than a
river. Traditions of placing coins on the bodies of the deceased
in order to pay the ferryman are attested in the ancient Greek
religion, but in the Slavic tradition as well. It is also
possible that the
Proto-Indo-Europeans may have believed that the
Underworld was guarded by some kind of watchdog, similar to the Greek
Hindu Śárvara, or the Norse Garmr.
World tree and serpent
Proto-Indo-Europeans may have believed in some kind of world
tree. It is also possible that they may have believed that this
tree was either guarded by or under constant attack from some kind of
dragon or serpent. In Norse mythology, the cosmic tree Yggdrasil
is tended by the three
Norns while the dragon
Nidhogg gnaws at its
roots. In Greek mythology, the tree of the golden apples in the
Garden of the
Hesperides is tended by the three
Hesperides and guarded
by the hundred-headed dragon Ladon. In Indo-Iranian texts, there
is a mythical tree dripping with Soma, the immortal drink of the gods
and, in later Pahlavi sources, a malicious lizard is said to lurk at
the bottom of it.
Ritual and sacredness
Ancient Greek vase red-figure pot painting depicting two men
sacrificing a pig to Demeter
Émile Benveniste states that "there is no common [IE] term to
designate religion itself, or cult, or the priest, not even one of the
personal gods". There are, however, terms denoting ritual
practice reconstructed in
Indo-Iranian religion which have root
cognates in other branches, hinting at common PIE concepts. Thus, the
stem *hrta-, usually translated as "[cosmic] order" (Vedic ṛta and
Iranian arta). Benveniste states, "We have here one of the
cardinal notions of the legal world of the Indo-Europeans, to say
nothing of their religious and moral ideas" (pp. 379–381). He
also adds that an abstract suffix -tu formed the Vedic stem ṛtu-,
Avestan ratu- which designated order, particularly in the seasons and
periods of time. The same root and suffix, but a different formation,
appears in Latin rītus "rite".
Benveniste also posits the existence of a dual conception of
sacredness, divided into a positive side, the intrinsic, otherworldly
power of deities; and a negative side, sacredness of objects in the
world that make them taboo for humans. This opposition is found in
word pairs such as the Latin sacer/sanctus and Greek
Interpretatio graeca, the comparison of Greek deities to Germanic,
Roman, and Celtic deities
^ In order to present a consistent notation, the reconstructed forms
used here are cited from Mallory & Adams 2006. For further
explanation of the laryngeals – <h1>, <h2>, and
<h3> – see the
Laryngeal theory article.
^ One of the original sources for the stories of
Romulus and Remus
Romulus and Remus is
Livy's History of Rome, vol. 1, parts iv–vii and xvi. This has been
published in an Everyman edition, translated by W. M. Roberts, E. P.
Dutton & Co., New York 1912.
^ Mallory & Adams 2006.
^ Mallory & Adams 2006, pp. 428.
^ Puhvel 1987, p. 14-15.
^ a b Mallory & Adams 2006, pp. 428–429.
^ a b Mallory & Adams 2006, pp. 429-430.
^ Mythe et Épopée I, II, III, by G. Dumézil, Gallimard, 1995.
^ a b c d e f Mallory & Adams 2006, p. 431.
^ a b c d Mallory & Adams 2006, p. 440.
^ a b Puhvel 1987, p. 14.
^ a b Puhvel 1987, p. 191.
^ Puhvel 1987, pp. 146–147.
^ Puhvel 1987, pp. 223–228.
^ Puhvel 1987, pp. 228–229.
^ Puhvel 1987, p. 126-127.
^ Puhvel 1987, p. 138, 143.
^ Mallory & Adams 2006, p. 408
^ Indo-European *Deiwos and Related Words by Grace Sturtevant Hopkins
(Language Dissertations published by the Linguistic Society of
America, Number XII, December 1932)
^ a b Mallory & Adams 2006, pp. 409, 431-432.
^ Winters 2003, pp. 134-135.
^ West 2007, pp. 166-168.
^ West 2007, p. 166.
^ a b Puhvel 1987, pp. 198–200.
^ Mallory & Adams 2006, pp. 409 and 431.
^ a b c West 2007, p. 181.
^ a b West 2007, p. 183.
^ West 2007, pp. 181–183.
^ a b Mallory & Adams 2006, pp. 410 and 432.
^ West, 2007 & 217-227.
^ Mallory & Adams 2006, pp. 294, 301.
^ Mallory & Adams 2006, pp. 702, 780.
^ Gamkrelidze & Ivanov 1995.
^ Noyer, p. 4.
^ Mallory & Adams 1997, pp. 148-149.
^ West 2007, p. 227.
^ a b c Gamkrelidze & Ivanov 1995, p. 760.
^ Mallory & Adams 1997, p. 232.
^ Mallory & Adams 1997, p. 385.
^ a b c d e f g h i Dexter 1984, pp. 137-144.
^ Sick, David H. (2004), "Mit(h)ra(s) and the Myths of the Sun",
Numen, 51 (4): 432–467, JSTOR 3270454
^ Ljuba Merlina Bortolani, Magical Hymns from Roman Egypt: A Study of
Greek and Egyptian Traditions of Divinity, Cambridge University Press,
^ Ionescu, Doina; Dumitrache, Cristiana (2012), "The
Sun Worship with
the Romanians." (PDF), Romanian Astronomical Journal, 22 (2):
^ MacKillop, James. (1998). Dictionary of Celtic Mythology. Oxford:
Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-280120-1 pp.10, 16, 128
^ a b c Mallory & Adams 2006, p. 432.
^ West 2007, pp. 185-191.
^ West 2007, pp. 186-191.
^ West 2007, p. 190.
^ Michael Shapiro. Journal of Indo-European Studies, 10 (1&2),
pp. 137–166; who references D. Ward (1968) "The Divine Twins".
Folklore Studies, No. 19. Berkeley, CA: University of California
^ a b Mallory 1991, p. 140.
^ Anthony 2007, pp. 134-135.
^ Lincoln 1991.
^ Mallory & Adams 2006, pp. 410 and 433.
^ Puhvel 1987, p. 235.
^ Dumézil, G.(1966). La Religion romaine archaïque, avec un
appendice sur la religion des Étrusques. Payot.
^ Dumézil, G., [Tr] Krapp, P. (1996). Archaic Roman Religion.
Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Translation from French
by P. Krapp of 
^ a b c Mallory & Adams 2006, p. 410.
^ a b Mallory & Adams 2006, p. 434.
^ Taylor, Timothy (1992), “The Gundestrup cauldron”, Scientific
American, 266: 84-89. ISSN 0036-8733
^ Ross, Ann (1967), “The Horned God in Britain ”, Pagan Celtic
Britain: 10-24. ISBN 0-89733-435-3
^ a b Mallory & Adams 2006, pp. 411 and 434.
^ H. Collitz, "Wodan,
Hermes und Pushan," Festskrift tillägnad Hugo
Pipping pȧ hans sextioȧrsdag den 5 November 1924 1924, pp 574–587.
^ Beekes, R. S. P., Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2009,
^ Kuhn, Adalbert (1855). Die sprachvergleichung und die urgeschichte
der indogermanischen völker. Zeitschrift für vergleichende
Sprachforschung. 4. , "Zu diesen ṛbhu, alba.. stellt sich nun
aber entschieden das ahd. alp, ags. älf, altn . âlfr"
^ in K. Z., p.110, Schrader, Otto (1890). Prehistoric Antiquities of
the Aryan Peoples. Translated by Frank Byron Jevons. Charles Griffin
& Company,. p. 163. .
^ Hall, Alaric (2007).
Elves in Anglo-Saxon England: Matters of
Belief, Health, Gender and Identity (PDF). Boydell Press.
^ West 2007, pp. 284–292.
^ a b West 2007, p. 380.
^ West 2007, pp. 379–385.
^ West 2007, pp. 382–383.
^ West 2007, p. 383.
^ West 2007, p. 384.
^ West, 2009 & 154–157.
^ West 2009.
^ West 2009, p. 155.
^ Mallory & Adams, p. 433.
^ Puhvel 1987, pp. 133–134.
^ Mallory & Adams 2006, pp. 410–411.
^ Watkins 1995, pp. 297-301.
^ a b c West 2007, pp. 255-259.
^ a b Mallory & Adams 2006, pp. 436-437.
^ a b West 2007, p. 255.
^ West 2007, pp. 255-256.
^ a b c d West 2007, pp. 255–259.
^ Philo Hendrik Jan Houwink Ten Cate: The Luwian Population Groups of
Lycia and Cilicia Aspera During the Hellenistic Period. E. J. Brill,
Leiden 1961, pp. 203–220.
^ West 2007, pp. 255–257.
^ West 2007, p. 460.
^ Watkins 1995, pp. 448-460.
^ Watkins 1995, pp. 460-464.
^ Watkins 1995, pp. 374-383.
^ Watkins 1995, pp. 414-441.
^ West 2007, p. 259.
^ Watkins 1995, pp. 429-441.
^ Kurkjian 1958.
^ Watkins 1995, pp. 299-300.
^ Watkins 1995, pp. 324-330.
^ Anthony 2007, pp. 371–375.
^ Sturluson 2006, p. 164.
^ Charles Hartley. "
Rahu & Ketu". Hartwick college, New York, USA.
Retrieved 21 May 2013.
^ a b c Janda 2005, pp. 349-360.
^ a b Janda 2010, p. 65.
^ a b c Anthony 2007, pp. 134–135.
^ Puhvel 1987, pp. 144–165.
^ Puhvel 1987, pp. 286–287.
^ Puhvel 1987, pp. 286-290.
^ Puhvel 1987, pp. 286–290.
^ a b c d Puhvel 1987, p. 285.
^ a b Drinkwater 2007, pp. 63-69.
^ a b Mallory & Adams 2006, p. 438.
^ Puhvel 1987, pp. 277-283.
^ West 2007, p. 270.
^ Puhvel 1987, pp. 277-279.
^ Puhvel 1987, p. 279.
^ a b c West 2007, p. 271.
^ West 2007, p. 272.
^ Puhvel 1987, p. 199.
^ a b Puhvel 1987, p. 119.
^ Puhvel 1987, pp. 119-120.
^ Puhvel 1987, p. 120.
^ a b c Mallory & Adams 2006, p. 439.
^ a b West 2007, p. 390.
^ West 2007, p. 389.
^ West 2007, pp. 390–391.
^ West 2007, p. 391.
^ West 2007, p. 392.
^ a b c d West 2007, p. 346.
^ West 2007, pp. 346–347.
^ Indo-European Language and Society by
Émile Benveniste (transl. by
Elizabeth Palmer, pp. 445–6; orig. title Le vocabulaire des
institutions Indo-Européennes, 1969), University of Miami Press,
Coral Gables, Florida, 1973.
^ Gamkrelidze and Ivanov 1995 p. 810; c.f. Hittite ara, UL ara, DAra
(a Hittite goddess).
^ Mallory & Adams 1997, pp. 493-494.
Anthony, David W. (2007), The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How
Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World,
Princeton University Press
Benveniste, Emile (1973), Indo-European Language and Society,
translated by Palmer, Elizabeth, Coral Gables, Florida: University of
Miami Press, ISBN 978-0-87024-250-2
Bernard Sergent. Athéna et la grande déesse indienne, Paris, Les
Belles Lettres, 2008
Sturluson, Snorri (2006), The Prose Edda, translated by Byock, Jesse,
Penguin Classics, p. 164, ISBN 0-14-044755-5
Dexter, Miriam Robbins (1984), "Proto-Indo-European
Sun Maidens and
Gods of the Moon", Mankind Quarterly, 25 (1 & 2): 137–144
Drinkwater, J. F. (25 January 2007), The
Alamanni and Rome 213–496:
(Caracalla to Clovis), OUP Oxford, pp. 63–69,
Frazer, James (1919), The Golden Bough, London: MacMillan
Gamkrelidze, Thomas V.; Ivanov, Vjaceslav V. (1995), Winter, Werner,
ed., Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans: A Reconstruction and
Historical Analysis of a Proto-Language and a Proto-Culture, Trends in
Linguistics: Studies and Monographs 80, Berlin: M. De Gruyter
Grimm, Jacob (1966), Teutonic Mythology, translated by Stallybrass,
James Steven, London: Dover, (DM)
Janda, Michael (2005), Elysion. Entstehung und Entwicklung der
griechischen Religion, Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachen und
Literaturen, ISBN 9783851247022
Janda, Michael (2010), Die Musik nach dem Chaos: der Schöpfungsmythos
der europäischen Vorzeit, Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachen und
Literaturen, ISBN 9783851242270
Lincoln, Bruce (27 August 1991), Death, War, and Sacrifice: Studies in
Ideology and Practice, Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press,
Kazanas, N. Indo-European Deities and the Rigveda," Journal of
Indo-European Studies, vol. 29 (2001)
Mallory, James P. (1991), In Search of the Indo-Europeans, London:
Thames & Hudson, ISBN 978-0-500-27616-7
Mallory, James P.; Adams, Douglas Q., eds. (1997), Encyclopedia of
Indo-European Culture, London: Routledge, ISBN 978-1-884964-98-5,
Mallory, James P.; Adams, Douglas Q. (2006), Oxford Introduction to
Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World, London: Oxford
Noyer, Rolf, PIE Deities and the Sacred: Proto-Indo-European Language
and Society (PDF), University of Pennsylvania, retrieved 28 February
Pleins, J. David (2010), When the Great Abyss Opened: Classic and
Contemporary Readings of Noah's Flood, New York: Oxford University
Press, p. 110, ISBN 978-0-19-973363-7, retrieved 6 April
Puhvel, Jaan (1987), Comparative Mythology, Baltimore, Maryland: Johns
Hopkins University Press, ISBN 0-8018-3938-6
Renfrew, Colin (1987), Archaeology & Language. The Puzzle of the
Indo-European Origins, London: Jonathan Cape,
Shulman, David Dean (1980), Tamil Temple Myths:
Sacrifice and Divine
Marriage in the South Indian Saiva Tradition, Princeton University
Press, ISBN 978-1-4008-5692-3
Kurkjian, Vahan M., "History of Armenia: Chapter XXXIV", Penelope,
University of Chicago, retrieved 6 April 2017
Watkins, Calvert (1995), How to Kill a Dragon: Aspects of
Indo-European Poetics, London: Oxford University Press,
West, Martin Litchfield (2007), Indo-European Poetry and Myth, Oxford,
England: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-928075-9
Winter, Werner (2003), Language in Time and Space, Berlin, Germany:
Walter de Gruyter, pp. 134–135,
Centum and satem
Glossary of sound laws
Sievers' (Edgerton's converse)
Parts of speech
Nominals (nouns and adjectives)
Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch (IEW)
Lexikon der indogermanischen Verben
Lexikon der indogermanischen Verben (LIV)
Lexikon der indogermanischen Partikeln und Pronominalstämme
Lexikon der indogermanischen Partikeln und Pronominalstämme (LIPP)
Nomina im Indogermanischen Lexikon
Nomina im Indogermanischen Lexikon (NIL)
Indo-European Etymological Dictionary (IEED)
Indo-European migrations & Proto-Indo-European Urheimat hypotheses
The king and the god
Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture
Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture (EIE)
Paganism (historical and modern)
Ancient Near Eastern: Mesopotamian
Finno-Ugric (Uralic): Finnish-Estonian
Myth and ritual
Magic and religion
Myth and ritual
Religion and mythology
Veneration of the dead
Christianization of saints and feasts
Christianity and Paganism
Modern pagan movements
Contemporary witchcraft: Cochranianism
Ethnic / Reconstructionist: Armenian
European Congress of Ethnic Religions