Temples of the ancient Slavs

Temples of the ancient Slavs

Diverse beliefs and traditions of the Slavs are the foundation on which there was a Russian folk culture. Having survived the centuries, they have been preserved in the deep layers of folklore influenced the development of the national mentality. Interest in the case continued unabated for many generations of historians, ethnographers, folklorists, archaeologists. Of particular relevance issue of Slavic paganism acquired in the last turning point in the fate of the Russian people.

Variety of sources offer a wide scope for researchers of different areas of history. However, the heterogeneity of Slavic paganism, bedding them different time layers and elements of different cultures of the Slavic tribes, often do not allow us to reduce the data in a single system.

Throughout the Slavic world, stretching from the Oder to the Oka, traces of their ancient Slavs worshiping deities. Archaeological data give us valuable information, shedding light on the ritual, religious way of life of our ancestors. It should be noted burial cemeteries, extensive "field burials", various sanctuaries, ancient settlements, findings which are unique sources, opening to us the world of Slavic material culture. A special place among these monuments occupy places of worship — temples.

Despite the abundance of sources, specific identity of a monument to the cult object is difficult. For the accuracy of the need to find a pattern (for example, in the location, design, construction), which relate to the memorial places of worship like him. Evidence in this paper are the messages written sources, the legends associated with the area, finding a variety of idols, long-term use of fire in the same place, the specific structural details. Various combinations of these attributes allow to identify those patterns, on which we can determine membership of the sanctuary.

Studies of the Ancient temples are based primarily on the characteristics of Slavic paganism. System throughout the ancient world is in the nature of various deities and demanded the creation of conditions for human communication with the spiritual world. If in everyday economic life man found spirits of the lowest level (often equal to a man on the status), to communicate with the higher deities required special places, played by both natural and man-made sanctuary.

Scientists were able to identify a number of key features for the religious monuments of the Slavs. First of all, this is a special round-shaped temples, as well as their location on the remote and unused areas (mountain peaks, islands, marshes, forests), the lack of a cultural layer, long-term use of ritual fires.

Currently known Slavic pagan sanctuaries can be roughly classified into five different types:

1. Round platforms — temples, with the idol in the center and limited ditch system or pits.

2. Small settlement — the sanctuary, a circular area enclosed by a moat and a low shaft.

3. Temples — wooden buildings, which were located within the idols.

4. Mounds — seekers, on which the sanctuary.

5. Great religious centers that combines all types of shrines and veneration of some natural objects.

To the search for and study of Slavic shrines dedicated their works several well-known scientists. The first discovery made V.V.Hvoyko unearthed in 1908 at the Old Kiev mountain stone sanctuary in the form of an ellipse with four tabs on the sides of the world. On these excavations survived a brief description. Unfortunately, repeated excavations in 1937 to find the shrine again failed.

In the 20-ies of XX century A.N.Lyavdanskim among other settlements in the upper reaches of the Dnieper committed group of monuments round and with a small inner area, obtained subsequently called "swamp fort." In the middle of the XX century V.V.Sedov conducted additional research and identified a number of characteristic features of these settlements — shrines.

In 1951-52 years V.V.Sedovym religious complex was opened on the tract Peryn, the story of which is preserved in the annals. Temple, which took the form of round pads, limited by a moat, was first excavated in Peryn in subsequent years have been opened in different parts of the Slavic world, which allows them to rank the classic Slavic shrines.

Back in 1848, the river was found Zbruch stone idol, to reconstruct Slavic system of the universe, the famous Zbruch idol. In 1984, the expedition discovered by Carpathian Zbruch cult complex, consisting of several large shrines. The excavations yielded an entirely new material will allow me to cover many pagan rituals and beliefs.

Archaeological data combined with ethnography and history provide invaluable information to explore the world of Slavic paganism.

Pagan religious system, characteristic of all nations, reflecting a kind of treaty rights to certain forces of nature — the gods. In any of the phenomena of the world sees a sacred pagan thinking will light or dark deities. On the right (effective) choice of "common language" of man and nature lined up a system of pagan rites. Each ethnic group, depending on the external environment, developing their own unique version of this agreement.

Numerous sources have brought us information about the worship of the Slavs of natural places of worship. These include stones, springs, wells, trees, swamps, lakes, trees, generally, all objects are allocated for various reasons from the surrounding landscape. For example, the worship of trees reflected in the findings of the two moraine oaks raised from the Dnieper — they were driven boar jaw. In these natural sanctuaries until recently holidays are, donesshie to us echoes of the old pagan rites.

Such objects are difficult to archaeological exploration — the influence of time and do not allow the extreme diversity in any way to categorize them.

More to say about the cult of stones. Often they have some rough treatment, meaning the symbolism or natural grooves that give evidence of the role of the natural object in a pagan ritual. Honoring stones sometimes directly connected with visiting nearby temples. For example, close to the settlement, the sanctuary located at Kulishevki known stone with two oval depressions, known from local legends as "God's feet."

By cult objects include the same barrow cemeteries. Having the same form as the majority of Slavic shrines barrows are also the place of the commission requires, apparently, the ancestors. Echoes of a memorial meal and funeral feasts have survived to the present day.

Sacred object in a single family home was a furnace. To her requests were addressed family members and a range of domestic rituals. According to legends it in the oven (or oven) lived brownies spirits lowest rung of the spiritual hierarchy and was the chief spokesman of the divine will — fire.

For the ritual needs of individual families or genera were arranged special sacrificial pits. They are associated with the cult of agricultural work and fertility in general.

With the development of tribal relations there is a need to create opportunities for the common ritual of representatives of the tribe. With the development of the institution of the priesthood, along with natural sanctuaries appear special man-made temples, which are generally allocated a certain reverence for the deity. This contributed to the strengthening of ties and tribal community development.

The central object in the temple cult is an idol — a sculpture of a god, who apparently was devoted to the sanctuary. Sometimes took place idol natural object, usually a stone. This is what the idol is facing petitions and rituals committed on temple. Apparently, a sculpture served as a kind of "mediator" between a man and a certain force of nature — a god.

Slavic idols often represented anthropomorphic figures, made a full-length (usually 2-2.5 meters), endowed with certain attributes, with sharp features. Column could be a round at its base, and four-sided. There are also simple reliefs heads on the long, thick shaft. In addition to the idols made in the full-length known small images may embody spiritual patrons individual family.

A distinctive feature of Slavic idols were decorations. Idol may have had in his right hand a certain item: horn, a ring, a sword that is associated with a particular god. Crowned by a statue usually hat (or helmet), similar to the late prince's hats.

Idol hands could be folded on his chest, while his right hand was higher than the left. Sources brought us a description of the god idol Svyatovit installed on the island of Rügen in Arkona. Idol portrayed the human figure with four faces. Left arm bent and rested against the side, the right to hold the horn, which is annually filled with wine. Sometimes the gods are depicted with a raised right hand.

Apparently, the basic material for the manufacture of idols to serve wood. Numerous mentions of wooden sculptures known in the chronicles. The sources also known mention idols from other materials, such as "Word of idols» (XI century): "nachasha idols tvoriti, JVI wooden, inei medyany, Friends mramoryane and gold and silver."]

Among the most abundant sources of archaeological finds of stone idols. Among them are several types: poles, columnar with one or more persons, with the bulk columnar head, raised his head. There were also features of the Slavic stone idols: Schematic illustration of the total rectangular (often with chetermya parties) form, Front setting figure.

Most often idol occupied a central position in the temple. Sometimes it shifts to the opposite end of the entrance of the sanctuary. In this case, the center held a ritual altar.

One of the most common types of Slavic religious buildings are relatively small (a few tens of meters in diameter) sites — temples. Usually, they served as a place of worship any particular idol, or natural object (usually a stone). Rarely on the houses of these are pole-pit several idols (such as temple in Khodosevich, Belarus).

Platforms — temples usually located outside the territory of the settlement or on the outskirts of cemeteries. The shrine was sometimes paved with stones or covered with clay. On holding this pagan rituals says fired surface — apparently, there's a regular ritual fueled fires.

The most characteristic feature is their Slavic shrines round (sometimes oval) shape. Usually placed in the center of the idol of a cult object. Sometimes the central part of the temple was surrounded by an additional pole-mounted inner circle of holes (probably to install them further idols or missals), stones or earth, enclosing a central area. Such a platform, apparently, was the foot of the main idol.

A kind of sacred shrines done upgrading barriers against evil forces. The most typical type of such barriers were trench or groove is shallow, but wide enough (2-5 feet) with a flat bottom, which burned in cleansing fires. Sometimes in these grooves are the remnants of sacrifice: animal bones and pieces of pottery, as well as protective items — knives, axes, the hryvnia. The system of ditches could go in separate wells around the sanctuary, at the bottom of which was a fire (a temple like structure on the tract Peryn Perun — here found eight radial holes at the bottom of which traces of fires).

Were also distributed to temples of stone fences (eg, temple at Vyshegroda, Poland). In the sense of the sacred stone was understood as something immutable and unique symbol of strength and security, and, apparently, was widely used in ritual practice (for example, finds the stone arrowheads). When leaving the sanctuary sometimes stoned. The sources are mentions of fences and other types of wood (fence) or fence.

The idea of the circle is reflected in all types of Slavic shrines. It embodied in the so-called small settlement — sanctuaries. They are small (7 to 30 meters in diameter) area, enclosed system of concentric moats and ramparts. Known settlement — the sanctuary throughout the Slavic world.

These religious monuments located on secluded areas unsuitable for agriculture, and protected by natural barriers. Main place of construction of such sanctuaries — the islands of dry ground in the swamp (known mainly in Smolenschine and Belarus), steep river banks (Carpathians), hills or mountains (Poland), the islands in the lakes (Germany). Peculiar situation determined the name of some of these monuments — marsh settlement.

Exploring the fort — the sanctuary, scientists have identified a number of distinctive features of these sites: the lack of a cultural layer, the inner moat separating itself from the temple of the idol of the deity of collecting people — trebischa, the total round (sometimes oval) shape, traces of cleaning fires in the trees and in the ditches surrounding the sanctuary . Also known remnants of long public houses, is, apparently, a collection center or a specific community type.

From conventional religious temples such monuments are distinguished by one or more shafts diameter surrounding space slavleny and prayers. The layout and size of these mounds are different. In the inner circle are sometimes found traces re shaft, there is a small area with an idol in the center. Perhaps the shafts installed additional strengthening — a wooden palisade.

Another feature of the city is the presence of residues of terrestrial and semi-subterranean buildings made of wood, and adjacent to the inner side of the main shaft.

A typical example of such settlements is Rzhavinskaya sanctuary in Ukraine. It revealed two round mounds, upon which special stone paving to incite funeral pyres. The central area was bordered by small first shaft with flat edges. This was followed by a small ditch, behind which are the main gathering place of the people — trebische. It unearthed the remains of long houses. The sanctuary completely encircled the shaft again and ditch (this time more broad).

Another form of a sanctuary on the mountain near the Annunciation Vshchizh in Chernihiv region. It is situated on a high promontory above the river. By horseshoe-shaped shaft enclosing the sanctuary from the field belonged to the input of a huge house in the middle, where the shaft through a wide moat adjoined land bridge. On the inside of temples found the remains of some massive wooden pillars, dug deep into the ground. A number of these pillars repeated arc shaft and long house. Most likely it was the statues of the gods, and worshiped at temple. In the southern part of the settlement, close to the southern exit, found a huge fireplace, which was the probably the altar.

Sacred nature of these settlements — shrines was apparently a refuge from the action of evil forces. Remoteness and inaccessibility contributed to the protection of the community, to build such a shelter, not only the spiritual, but also on physical opponents. As noted B.A.Rybakov "undoubtedly their connection with the cult of underwater underground forces" lower world ", is best expressed by the Marsh", a place where in the ground and placed such monuments.

No doubt the presence of the ancient Slavs special wooden buildings in which there were images of gods and there were pagan rituals. Known sources of wooden temple on the island of Rügen (Ruyan) to chronicle Akron. This led some researchers to suggest the existence of church buildings only in the western Slavs, linked to similar Celtic tradition. However, a brief description of such structures are found in the eastern Slavs.

Sometimes as pagan temples are considered home-Contini, gathering places for ritual feasts population, storage of valuable items contained apparently and "idol shrine."

Considering the pagan temples, Academician B.A.Rybakov said selishche breasts, which found the remains of such a continuum. It was a round-ground structures within which discovered the remains of a sacrificial fire pit with a clay base. Close to the entrance traces burnt wood by Rybakov who sometimes idol. On the sides of buildings identified niches in which were also idols. When the circular form of construction and the central position of the altar is natural to assume the presence of the smoke hole in the roof of the building.

Perhaps, like the continuum, which establishes the idols, and is the property of the pagan temples, served ceremonial purposes a separate village or community.

In addition to the typical Slavic paganism circular sanctuaries met and rectangular (square) of the building. Besides Arkonskogo temple belongs to that type building near the village green lime on the Dniester. With a square shape, Contini was composed of parallel beams, covered with clay. The center found a deep pit with traces vertically standing column may idol.

It is unlikely that the temples can be attributed to the sites of long houses, sanctuaries. Their ritual use restricts feasts and councils people gathered at the temple, as well as storage of ritual objects (perhaps statues of deities).

In addition to temples, where the rite of individual communities, in the Slavic lands known special religious complexes that the holidays bring together representatives of the whole tribe, and even tribal alliance. The composition of these systems include all of the above types of temples in conjunction with the worship of the surrounding natural features.

Places of worship, which were part of ritual complexes, had a complicated layout, repeatedly rebuilt and created over the centuries. Regular festivals, and gather lots of people say numerous remains of sacrificial animals.

In the land of the Baltic Slavs main religious center located in Akron — holy fortress on the island Ruyan (modern Rügen). According to Saxo Grammaticus city was built on an inaccessible headland to the west was closed by a high embankment with fortifications. Inside, it was divided again rampart and ditch, which separates the sanctuary from the rest of the territory. In the central square was a wooden church square, in which was the idol of the main deity of the islanders — Svyatovit.

The composition of the sacrificial items on the site is rich enough — a variety of weapons, tools and jewelry. Unfortunately, a large part of the fortress was washed away by sea, which makes it difficult, despite the haystack of planning, drawing up a complete picture of the sanctuary.

Major religious centers known in Poland. On Mount Shlonzhe in Silesia and its surroundings are known "stone circles" — a series of stone ramparts okormljal hills. So far, there is a dispute the ownership of stone steles depicting various animals found on these monuments of Slavic culture. At the top Shlonzhi found sanctuary, surrounded by a stone shaft with traces of ritual fires characteristic of Slavs.

Ritual and sacrificial objects open on these monuments, are also characteristic of the Slavs — weapons (axes, knives) and household items (buckles, locks). Ingredients Found in general is similar to findings in Akron.

In the north-east of the Slavic world in Novgorod to renowned legendary temple of Perun in the mouth Volkhov. During excavations on the tract Peryn identified the remains of three sanctuaries. Best studied central, by the academician B.A.Rybakova originally dedicated underground and underwater god Lizards, but later rebuilt on the reform of Prince Vladimir.

Temple is a circular area, centered on the remains of the pit from pole vertically set — statues of deities. It was surrounded by a moat with eight symmetrical projections, which were burning ritual bonfires. Remnants of sacrifices to Peryn is detected, it is questionable whether the gifts left directly under the statue of the god. Besides the destruction of the complex in 991 sanctuary was dug and backfilled with sand.

One of the largest religious complexes of the Slavs was in the Carpathian Valley Zbruch. There were found three large settlement-sanctuary, separated by several kilometers. As in many other places, shrines occupied the hill. In the XIX century. in the area of the river was raised Zbruch famous idol, researchers discovered Slavic picture of the universe. Four-sided stone stele had four images of the gods of the upper tier, people dance in the middle and a deity that supports the lower worlds.

Zbruch religious complex was one of the largest centers of Slavic paganism. He acted to the middle of the XIII century and was abandoned during the Mongol invasion.

From the depths of thousands were back traditional pagan beliefs. Gradually developing, they have reached a high level, multi-faceted understanding of the universe. With the rise of the economy and development of the social life of the population flourished pagan religion. There are special places, where are the festivities and ceremonies, not only members of one family, but the whole tribe, which contributed to bringing people together and, ultimately, the development of statehood. With the temples and the appearance is also associated institution of the priesthood.

Ancient paganism left many monuments of the material, showing a high level of development of Slavic culture. Among them is the sanctuary — the religious and social centers of the ancient society.


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Dryagoslav Berestov

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