Domestication of the horse
Domestication of the horse
* Steppe cultures
* Sredny Stog
* Corded ware
* Middle Dnieper
* Multi-cordoned ware
Globular Amphora culture
Globular Amphora culture
* Corded ware
Nordic Bronze Age
Nordic Bronze Age
* Gandhara grave
* Painted Grey Ware
Northern Black Polished Ware
Northern Black Polished Ware
Peoples and societies
* Hellenic peoples
* Paleo-Balkans /Anatolia :
Religion and mythology Reconstructed
* Proto-Indo-European religion
Winter solstice /
Indo-European studies Scholars
Copenhagen Studies in Indo-European
Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture
Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture
The Horse, the Wheel and Language
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
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
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 is
sacrificed by the other in order to create the world. The
Proto-Indo-Europeans may have believed that the
Otherworld was guarded
by some kind of watchdog and could only be reached by crossing a
river. They also may have believed in some kind of world tree, bearing
fruit of immortality, either guarded by or gnawed on by a serpent or
dragon of some kind and tended to by three goddesses, who were
believed to spin the thread of life.
* 1 Methods of reconstruction
* 1.1 Schools of thought
* 1.2 Source mythologies
* 2 Pantheon
* 2.1 Heavenly deities
* 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
* 3.3 Twin founders
* 3.4 Fire in water
* 4 Cosmology
* 4.2 World tree and serpent
Ritual and sacredness
* 6 See also
* 7 Notes
* 8 References
* 8.1 Bibliography
METHODS OF RECONSTRUCTION
SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT
Georges Dumézil , formulator of the
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
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 and most important of all Indo-European
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
Roman mythology . Contrary to the frequent bald
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 would-be researchers
on account of the fact that 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 it. Consequently,
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,
Laurel-wreathed head of
Zeus on a gold stater from the Greek
Lampsacus , c 360–340 BC
The supreme ruler of the Proto-Indo-European pantheon was the god
*Dyḗus Pḥatḗr , whose name literally means "
Sky Father". He is
believed to have been worshipped 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 during the time prior to 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 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
Italy , 430–420 BC,
*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 Germanic
*Ostara, a goddess associated with a springtime festival who is
mentioned only once by
Bede in his treatise
The Reckoning of Time .
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 Norse goddess Sól , the Germanic
Sowilō , the Celtic Sul, the Hittite goddess "UTU-liya" ,
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,
Solntse—not directly attested as a goddess, but feminine in gender
Étaín , Grían,
Áine , and Catha versus masculine
Usil , and Sol) (
Hvare-khshaeta is of neutral
gender), but also by vestiges in mythologies with male solar deities
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
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 goddesses like Sulis
Grian may also allude to this association; the words for "eye" and
"sun" are switched in these languages, hence the name of the
Pair of Roman statuettes from the third century AD depicting the
Dioscuri as horsemen, with their characteristic skullcaps
Metropolitan Museum of Art
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), the Irish twins
Macha , the Old English
Horsa (whose names mean
"stallion" and "horse"), the Slavic Lel and Polel (possibly
Christianized in Albanian as saints Flori and Lori) and possibly Old
Sleipnir , the eight-legged horse born of
Loki . 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 *Yemo-
Yama ; Germanic
Ymir ), his twin brother. 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 *
Perkwunos may also
be attested in Greek as κεραυνός (Keraunós), an epithet of
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 of the Waters." He has been reconstructed based on 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 linguistic grounds.
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
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
traditions Detail from the
Gundestrup cauldron from Gundestrup,
Denmark, thought to date between 150 BC and 1 AD, showing the Celtic
Cernunnos with horns, sitting in a meditative position, surrounded
by animals The
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
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 rhibus . 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 ,
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
Moirai , the Roman
Parcae , the Norse
Norns , the Lithuanian
Deivės Valdytojos , the Latvian Láimas, the Serbian
Sudjenice , and
Fatit . They appear in English mythology as the Wyrdes ,
who were later adapted to become the
Three Witches in Shakespeare's
Macbeth . 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
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
Hephaestus , the Germanic villain
Wayland the Smith
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 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
Some scholars have proposed a war god *Māwort- based on the Roman
god Mars and the Vedic Marutás , companions of the war-god
Mallory and Adams, however, reject this reconstruction on linguistic
DRAGON OR SERPENT
Chaoskampf The Hittite god
followed by his son
Sarruma , kills the dragon
Illuyanka (Museum of
Ankara, Turkey )
One common myth among almost 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 often remain remarkably the same. In all
iterations of the story, the serpent is always 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.
The earliest attested of these stories is the legend from Hittite
mythology in which the storm god
Tarhunt slays the giant serpent
Illuyanka . Next oldest is the account recorded in the
which the god
Indra slays the multi-headed serpent
Vritra , which had
been causing a drought. In the
Bhagavata Purana ,
Krishna slays the
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
Theogony , but it is also in the
myths of the slaying of the nine-headed
Lernaean Hydra by
the slaying of Python by
Apollo . The story of
Heracles 's theft of
the cattle of
Geryon is probably also related. Although
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
Jörmungandr , which lived in the waters surrounding the
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
Persian mythology ,
Fereydun , and later
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
Romanian folklore ,
Făt-Frumos slays the fire-spitting monster
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. The Proto-Indo-European
name for the serpent may have been *kʷr̥mis, or some name cognate
with *Varuna/Werunos or the root *Wel/Vel- (VS Varuna, who is
associated with the serpentine naga, Vala and Vṛtra, Slavic Veles,
Baltic velnias), or "serpent" (Hittite Illuyanka, VS Ahis , Iranian
azhi , Greek ophis and
Ophion , and
Latin anguis), or the root
Typhon and Python).
Ancient Greek relief of
Helios in his chariot from
temple at Ilion dating to the early 4th century BC
Related to the dragon-slaying myth is the "
Sun in the rock" myth, in
Sun is imprisoned within a rock, but is set free by a heroic
warrior deity, who splits open the rock, allowing her to escape. 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
The Greek Sun-god
Helios , the
Surya , and the 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
Hati Hróðvitnisson . In
Sun god (
Surya ) and
Moon god (
Chandra ) are swallowed
by the demon serpents
Rahu and Ketu , resulting in eclipses.
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,
Avestan Yima , Norse
Ymir , possibly Roman Remus (<
Latin *Yemos). Ancient Roman relief from the
Cathedral of Maria Saal showing the infant twins 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 brothers
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. Both of these myths are widely recognized as
historicized remnants of the Proto-Indo-European creation story.
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
Tacitus claims that Mannus, the son of Tuisto, was the ancestor
of the Germanic people. This name never recurs anywhere in later
Germanic literature, but one proposed meaning of the German tribal
Alamanni is "Mannus' own people" ("all-men" being another
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.
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
Attic red-figure lekythos attributed to the Tymbos painter
showing Charon welcoming a soul into his boat, c. 500-450 BC Main
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
Cerberus , the Hindu
Śárvara, or the Norse
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 world ash 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, an evil 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
Émile Benveniste states that "there is no common term to designate
religion itself, or cult, or the priest, not even one of the personal
gods". There are, however, terms denoting ritual practice
Indo-Iranian religion which have root cognates in
other branches, hinting at common PIE concepts. Thus, the stem *hrta-,
usually translated as " 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 – , , and – see the Laryngeal
* ^ One of the original sources for the stories of 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 -webkit-column-width: 25em; column-width: 25em;
* ^ 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 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)
* ^ 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.
* ^ Mallory & Adams 2006 , pp. 410 and 432.
* ^ Mallory & Adams 2006 , pp. 294, 301.
* ^ Mallory & Adams 2006 , pp. 702, 780.
* ^ Gamkrelidze & Ivanov 1995 .
* ^ Noyer , p. 4.
* ^ A B Gamkrelidze & Ivanov 1995 , p. 760
* ^ Mallory & Adams 1997 , p. 232.
* ^ Mallory Dumitrache, Cristiana (2012), "The
Sun Worship with the
Romanians." (PDF), Romanian Astronomical Journal, 22 (2): 155–166
* ^ MacKillop, James. (1998). Dictionary of Celtic Mythology.
Oxford: Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-280120-1 pp.10, 16, 128
* ^ Mallory & Adams 2006 , p. 432.
* ^ West 2007 , pp. 185-191.
* ^ Michael Shapiro. Journal of Indo-European Studies, 10 (1 who
references D. Ward (1968) "The Divine Twins".
Folklore Studies, No.
19. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
* ^ Mallory 1987 , p. 140.
* ^ Lincoln 1991 .
* ^ Mallory & Adams 2006 , pp. 410 and 433.
* ^ Puhvel 1987 , p. 235.
* ^ 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
* ^ Beekes, R. S. P. , Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill,
2009, p. 1149.
* ^ 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. ISBN
* ^ 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.
* ^ Mallory & Adams 2006 , p. 410.
* ^ 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.
* ^ A B Watkins 1995 .
* ^ 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. 259.
* ^ "IRAN iv. MYTHS AND LEGENDS – Encyclopaedia Iranica".
Iranicaonline.org. Retrieved 2015-12-23.
* ^ Kurkjian 1958 .
* ^ A B Michael Janda, Elysion. Entstehung und Entwicklung der
griechischen Religion, (Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachen und
Literaturen, 2005), pp. 349–360; id., Die Musik nach dem Chaos: der
Schöpfungsmythos der europäischen Vorzeit (Innsbruck: Institut für
Sprachen und Literaturen, 2010), 65.
* ^ 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 Anthony 2007 , pp. 134–135.
* ^ Puhvel 1987 , pp. 144–165.
* ^ Puhvel 1987 , pp. 286–287.
* ^ Puhvel 1987 , pp. 286–290.
* ^ A B C Puhvel 1987 , p. 285.
* ^ Drinkwater, J. F. (25 January 2007), The
Alamanni and Rome
213–496: (Caracalla to Clovis), OUP Oxford, pp. 63–69, ISBN
* ^ A B Mallory & Adams 2006 , p. 438.
* ^ West 2007 , p. 270.
* ^ A B West 2007 , p. 271.
* ^ West 2007 , p. 272.
* ^ A B C Mallory orig. title Le vocabulaire des institutions
Indo-Européennes, 1969), University of Miami Press, Coral Gables,
* ^ 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
* Sturluson, Snorri (2006), The Prose Edda, translated by Byock,
Penguin Classics , p. 164, ISBN 0-14-044755-5
* Dexter, Miriam Robbins (1984), "Proto-Indo-European
Gods of the Moon", Mankind Quarterly, 25 (1 & 2): 137–144
* Frazer, James (1919),
The Golden Bough
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
* Grimm, Jacob (1966), Teutonic
Mythology , translated by
Stallybrass, James Steven, London: Dover, (DM)
* IRAN iv. MYTHS AND LEGENDS – Encyclopaedia Iranica,
Iranicaonline.org, retrieved 2015-12-23
* Janda, Michael, Die Musik nach dem Chaos, Innsbruck 2010.
* Lincoln, Bruce (27 August 1991), Death, War, and Sacrifice:
Studies in Ideology and Practice, Chicago, Illinois: University of
Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0226482002
* 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 University Press
* Noyer, Rolf, PIE Deities and the Sacred: Proto-Indo-European
Language and Society (PDF), University of Pennsylvania, retrieved 28
* 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 2017
* 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, ISBN 978-0-521-35432-5
* Shulman, David Dean (1980), Tamil Temple Myths:
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, ISBN
* West, Martin Litchfield (2007), Indo-European Poetry and Myth
(PDF), Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, ISBN
978-0-19-928075-9 , retrieved 2 April 2017
* Centum and satem
* Sound laws
* boukólos rule
* kʷetwóres rule
* 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
Nomina im Indogermanischen Lexikon (NIL)
Indo-European Etymological Dictionary (IEED)
* Indo-European migrations
* Schleicher\'s fable
The king and the god
* Proto-Indo-European religion
Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture
Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture (EIE)
Paganism (historical and modern )
* ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN : Mesopotamian
* FINNO-UGRIC (URALIC) : Finnish-Estonian
* CAUCASIAN : Georgian
* INDO-EUROPEAN: Armenian
* Sacred mysteries
* Imperial cult
* MESOAMERICAN : Aztec
MYTH AND RITUAL
Magic and religion
Myth and ritual
Religion and mythology
Veneration of the dead
Veneration of the dead
Christianization of saints and feasts
* Christianity and
MODERN PAGAN MOVEMENTS
* CONTEMPORARY WITCHCRAFT : Cochranianism
* ETHNIC / RECONSTRUCTIONIST : Armenian
* EUROPEAN CONGRESS OF ETHNIC RELIGIONS
* GODDESS MOVEMENT
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