Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Kranj. Slovene origins, Slovakian myths: Carantania. The Flood

How the earth was created, by whom, what elements of life are to be valued and pursued, are part of any culture's traditions.  In Slovenia, the contemporary Austrian "look" of the country, from its long association with the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, and its medieval castles and the peasants' revolts that surged also elsewhere, distract from older traditions.  Go beyond Jason and the Golden Fleece, to origins.

A good source site is  There are elements of Genesis, pre-Genesis, references to the beings in existence that Genesis also notes, and the Flood. Jakob Kelemina has collected stories, and many are summarized at Thezaurus, also known as Webzine Sloveniana.

Another good source site is Slovenian Mythology, , with multi-media contents.  The ancient ways of Carantania.  Go deeper.  Animals with golden horns, holy animals with horns (unicorn?) battles of light and darkness, all with echoes in other cultures including our own.  The Slavs are a linguistic group, not ethnic, see site at, but the idea of Slovenes as Alpine Slavs, the Vends as Elbe Slaves, etc. is entrenched.  This is a new area and I am no expert, but point out the issues for the professional culture-watchers.

The mythology, in small part:

The earliest inhabitants of earth were the giant Ajdi. See Studies in Slavic Myth, at  The lived singly, one family each, each on a mountaintop. They were big, but had no tools. They did have fire.

A download produces a PDF document in Slovenian, but the concept of original giants seems clear.  Their ancient Slovene (same as Carantanian?) God was one of many gods. 

God (who apparently had not himself created the Ajdi) slept and slept, and upon waking, his glance created the earth (that was nothing but barren rock), sun, moon and the stars. Setting out to examine the creation more closely, he tired eventually and, on returning, a grain of sand from the sea bottom fell from his nail and became earth.  A drop of sweat fell from his brow into the earth, and it became the first man. Lesson:  from his creation, man must earn by the sweat of his brow. God lived with the men and fed them manna, but the men did not enjoy themselves because they feared God and trembled.  So God left his body behind, which became fertile ground, and went to Heaven to reside. Men did not need manna, and grew their own food now, and were happy.

However, man soon became corrupt despite good bread and grain, so the gods decided to do away with them:  here comes the rain, the deluge, the rising waters.  There were four survivors, but we only know of the fate of one survivor, the one who had grasped a vine on top of a hill, and climbed, beanstalk style, later described as a buckwheat stalk.

Kurent, a particular god beloved by the Slovenes, saw the effort and was pleased and took pity on the surviving man. In exchange for a promise that the man would forever honor the vine and the buckwheat plants. The saved man settles on the Adriatic. He made a switch from the vine, and stuck it in the ground and there is still fine wine in that region.  He also, sowed the buckwheat in Kranjci (Kranj area, Kranj now is a prosperous city, commerce). Kurent the benefactor, remembered.