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The God of Thunder


Mark Yoffe and Joseph Krafczik

The fame of nineteenth-century Russian folklorist Aleksandr Afanas'ev is primarily based upon his work as a collector and editor of Russian folk tales. However, his role as an outstanding scholar of Slavic mythology and folk beliefs is often sadly overlooked. This book, based on A. N. Afanas'ev’s fundamental study, Poetic Views of the Slavs toward Nature, and inspired by the wealth of knowledge it contains, attempts to reconstruct the ancient Slavic pantheon in the way it was seen by Afanas'ev. It dedicates particular attention to one pagan Slavic deity of paramount importance – Perun, the God of Thunder. Perun’s role among other Slavic deities is examined, as are: his relation to similar mythological figures in Indic, Classical, Germanic, and other mythologies; his mythological roots, attributes, relationships to the world of animals, plants; and meteorological phenomena. A special chapter shows how, often quite unexpectedly, Perun’s presence manifests itself in popular works of Russian literature.