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Encyclopedia of Russian and Slavic Myth and Legend

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There are few stories more stirring than those of ancient Russia. Russian and other Slavic beliefs weave a rich tapestry in which real-world elements coexist with those from fantasy, such as dragons, monsters, and shape-changing wolves. Though Russia adopted Christianity as the state religion in A.D. 988, paganism remained popular through the end of the 19th century and su There are few stories more stirring than those of ancient Russia. Russian and other Slavic beliefs weave a rich tapestry in which real-world elements coexist with those from fantasy, such as dragons, monsters, and shape-changing wolves. Though Russia adopted Christianity as the state religion in A.D. 988, paganism remained popular through the end of the 19th century and survives in isolated pockets even today. In Russian myth and legend, Christian themes are interwoven with pagan ideas: dragons fight priests, saints encounter nymphs, and witches enter the kingdom of heaven. Encyclopedia of Russian and Slavic Myth and Legend includes extensive historical, geographical, and biographical background to deepen the reader's understanding of the myth and legend. Numerous illustrations are included in this fascinating volume, which will be of great interest to students, scholars, and everyone who wishes to explore the cultural heritage of ancient Russia.


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There are few stories more stirring than those of ancient Russia. Russian and other Slavic beliefs weave a rich tapestry in which real-world elements coexist with those from fantasy, such as dragons, monsters, and shape-changing wolves. Though Russia adopted Christianity as the state religion in A.D. 988, paganism remained popular through the end of the 19th century and su There are few stories more stirring than those of ancient Russia. Russian and other Slavic beliefs weave a rich tapestry in which real-world elements coexist with those from fantasy, such as dragons, monsters, and shape-changing wolves. Though Russia adopted Christianity as the state religion in A.D. 988, paganism remained popular through the end of the 19th century and survives in isolated pockets even today. In Russian myth and legend, Christian themes are interwoven with pagan ideas: dragons fight priests, saints encounter nymphs, and witches enter the kingdom of heaven. Encyclopedia of Russian and Slavic Myth and Legend includes extensive historical, geographical, and biographical background to deepen the reader's understanding of the myth and legend. Numerous illustrations are included in this fascinating volume, which will be of great interest to students, scholars, and everyone who wishes to explore the cultural heritage of ancient Russia.

44 review for Encyclopedia of Russian and Slavic Myth and Legend

  1. 4 out of 5

    Anoolka

    This is not a good encyclopedia. I realize that writing a series on world mythologies would not result in a detailed and factual in every way series. But one could hope for some editing and fact checking. I do not know about beliefs in all the countries mentioned in this book, but I do know mine and almost all the entries from this region had something wrong. The author didn't even bother to get spellings right and in many cases it took me awhile to relize what some entry was supposed to be - an This is not a good encyclopedia. I realize that writing a series on world mythologies would not result in a detailed and factual in every way series. But one could hope for some editing and fact checking. I do not know about beliefs in all the countries mentioned in this book, but I do know mine and almost all the entries from this region had something wrong. The author didn't even bother to get spellings right and in many cases it took me awhile to relize what some entry was supposed to be - and we're talking about latin alphabet here not cirilica. For instance there is no mention about the fact that the so called Byalobog was most likely invented, reconstructed by anthropologists and there is very little if any evidence anyone worshipped such deity. Another thing, Poland was not united under a Mieczyslaw but Mieszko. The tribe was not 'Poliane' it was 'Polanie'. Jezda is not a word polish peole use for Baba Yaga, it's Baba Jaga, or Jędza if we want to go with 'hag' meaning. 'Siliniets' in not a god worshiped in old Poland, if you spelled it 'Šilinytis' you'd get a deity mentioned in one old Polish text in a list of supposed Lithuanian deities - historians argue the value of that text as the author had very little knowledge of culture and language of Lithuania. Dixon mentiones also Walgaino, Datan, Lawkapatim and Tawals as Polish, who also come from the same text (Valgina, Datanus, Tavalus, Lawkpatimo). Similar with Medeina. Etc, etc. Sure, misspellings happen and it wouldn't have bothered me if it was just one thing or two, but there are errors in almost every entry I have some knowledge of. Makes me wonder just how many other entries are done equally badly. Not worth much, this encyclopedia, but as a vaguely introductory text keeping in mind that there are plenty of errors and simplifications. (I was a little dissapointed that there was nothing about the serbian shaman like figures, zduhać, and similar beliefs across that region.) The author also relies on very western centric texts. For instance he mentioned Vlad Tepes ('Dracula') as a tyrant ruler. A typical view in western writings. While Romanians themselves consider him a national hero, who restored order and protected the country from the inside and outside enemies. In the lands that fought the Ottomans at that time he was considered a Christan hero.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael Burianyk

    Someone who doesn't seem to know much about the subject decided to compile an encyclopedia on it! This is puzzling as the references and further reading section seems quite good. The typical academic and popular confusion between "Russian" and "Ukrainian" is exacerbated here, with, for example, the river "Dneiper" denoted as "Russian". The entry for "Kiev", whose first sentence is "The Capital of Ukraine ..." is also denoted as "Russian". The entry goes on, "... Kiev was founded by three Viking Someone who doesn't seem to know much about the subject decided to compile an encyclopedia on it! This is puzzling as the references and further reading section seems quite good. The typical academic and popular confusion between "Russian" and "Ukrainian" is exacerbated here, with, for example, the river "Dneiper" denoted as "Russian". The entry for "Kiev", whose first sentence is "The Capital of Ukraine ..." is also denoted as "Russian". The entry goes on, "... Kiev was founded by three Viking brothers, Kiy, Schek and Khoriv ...". Leaving aside the issue of the three brothers (not to mention their sister "Lybid") being quite possibly apocryphal, they are generally considered local Slavs; their time is well before any Viking influence on ancient Rus. Of course, those are just a few things I know something about, but if they are any indication, the encyclopedia is not worth much. It was, in the end, highly disappointing.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Simpson

    It's a decent enough encyclopedia-style rundown of some myths and folktales, but several of the entries are inaccurate. What's more, whether through a lack of written documentation, the influence of Christianity on old pagan beliefs, or what have you, Slavic/Russian mythology is rather lacking compared to a lot (most) of other traditions in the world. It's a decent enough encyclopedia-style rundown of some myths and folktales, but several of the entries are inaccurate. What's more, whether through a lack of written documentation, the influence of Christianity on old pagan beliefs, or what have you, Slavic/Russian mythology is rather lacking compared to a lot (most) of other traditions in the world.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kundry

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tena

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nausicaä Nausicaä

  7. 4 out of 5

    Krystie Kalashnikov

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ahimsa

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mariel

  10. 4 out of 5

    Abbie

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Salgado

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sylwia

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jo Thomas

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Culver

  15. 5 out of 5

    Julija

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mishka Zakharin

  17. 4 out of 5

    Danimar Max

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brianne

  20. 4 out of 5

    Steve_long

  21. 4 out of 5

    John

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer James

  23. 5 out of 5

    Aggatha

  24. 5 out of 5

    Pavel

  25. 4 out of 5

    Diana Alsobrook

  26. 4 out of 5

    Theodora

  27. 4 out of 5

    Daimon-HS8

  28. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

  29. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

  30. 5 out of 5

    Michal

  31. 4 out of 5

    Darr

  32. 4 out of 5

    Alexis Poulos

  33. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

  34. 4 out of 5

    Lyndsey Silveira

  35. 4 out of 5

    Masha

  36. 5 out of 5

    Katie Savveir

  37. 5 out of 5

    Megan

  38. 5 out of 5

    Kirill Maria

  39. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  40. 5 out of 5

    Remiel

  41. 4 out of 5

    Pavle Prelic

  42. 4 out of 5

    Christian

  43. 4 out of 5

    Veta Kholodnova

  44. 4 out of 5

    Jovan

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