Mythology of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mitologija Bosne i Hercegovine


9.januar - Dan sjećanja na početak genocida u Bosni i Hercegovini

Danas se u cijeloj Bosni i Hercegovini obilježava Dan sjećanja na početak genocida nad bošnjačkim i hrvatskim narodom. Odajmo im svi minutom šutnje počast.


Day remembering at beginning genocide in Bosnia Herzegovina

Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Bosnian Genocide 9.1.1992. - 9.1.2020. R.I.P.




Nafaka (provisions) kept us going

Bosniacs people are the only one in the Balkans that use the word nafaka on an everyday basis. In accordance to this it is worth analyzing culturally and linguistically this word, because of its immeasurable role in studying the traditional life of our people. At the very beginning of this short study it is necessary to note one irrefutable fact which states that the Bosniacs people in its long history were exposed to numerous misfortunes, even a real danger of extinction, but what has kept and saved them is their cheerful spirit and incorrigible optimism often summed up in this short phrase: “God will give us nafaka!”.

Nafaka is an Arabic word which reached us through the Ottomans. It is very important in Islamic teaching since it manifests Allah’s mercy and in the Turkish language it has numerous synonyms. In Bosnian nafaka is translated in a few ways: alimentation, provisions, supply or supply for life. Two more terms in everyday use which signify wellbeing and success are the Persian word baht – luck, we come across it in certain love spells, and the Arabic word bereket (berićet) – progress, prosperity. Besides these others, especially in folk speech, in use are words of similar meaning such as hair, rizk, rahatluk, etc. All of these represent fertile and positive events which present themselves as feelings of content, ecstasy and optimism. Psychological effect is manifested in the weight of the word nafaka, which compares her to the state of hoe, solace or hidden happiness. All of this is evident in statements such as: “You never know where your nafaka is waiting for you!”, “New day – new nafaka!”, etc. This is why people believe in nafaka fatalistically (“No one can take away your nafaka!”), like almost everything else that is tied to the holly and divine.

Definition of the term nafaka is a relatively wide and according to some dictionaries could be shortly describes by the following: “what is determined for a human to eat in this world”. When a diseased lives long, it is said: “he collected (or bought) his nafaka” – when someone before they die eats a lot he desires to eat what is his in this world.

According to my opinion nafaka is a term which in everyday discussions takes the place of the term luck but also human destiny i.e. life. Perhaps it would be explained simply that nafaka signifies everything that a person is destined to receive and live through as ordained by God. Among the folk we can often hear “every child carries (brings forth) their nafaka”, which was used by poor parents to protect themselves from the criticism of their surrounding because they’re poor enough even without children.

Nafaka determined by God

Identification of human birth, living and death is summed up in the collective consciousness of Bosniacs people in the term of nafaka; “He was born with such nafaka!”, “Whosever is born with good nafaka no one can harm him!", “Such is his nafaka!”, “He ran out of nafaka and died”. “Nafaka is the best hero!” – according to the belief in destiny, if someone is destined to live, i.e. he didn’t run out of nafaka, he can avoid death and become a hero. According to folk tales a man lives so long as God has prescribed nafaka to him, not a minute longer. On that day when a man uses up his nafaka he will die. According to the above we can conclude that folk wisdom doesn’t know happy and unhappy people, but classifies them exclusively with greater or lesser nafaka.

Belief in nafaka is a perfect example how long certain beliefs were deeply incorporated in the traditional lives and that they create a certain notion of an individual towards society, but also himself. Primeval desire and need of every human being is to a large extent determined by the percentage of luck in their life, since as folklore deliberation suggests, a happy man is healthy, successful and cheerful. That’s why everyone of us intimately identifies with the term nafaka. However, from the tales of older people we could easily conclude that the perception of nafaka is individual and primarily depends on the percentage of modesty, i.e. how much an individual is content.

Origin of nafaka coincides with the folk belief about human fate. Still to this day it is believed that Allah determines the destiny of every embryo in its first 40 days, which is why an ugly person marries a beautiful woman, a stupid man becomes rich, etc. Certainly, there are opposite examples but all of them are a product of smaller or greater nafaka which a person carries inside of them. I remember the discussion with the late Bilka, stravarka from Stijena (Cazin), almost a decade ago, which used to talk about herself and her work and often said that she always had nafaka, as if it came out of the earth or fell from the heaven, she used to say. Based on the above we could conclude that nafaka is weaved into the human beings, but that it also exists in everything around us due to its divine source.

To some extent nafaka can be called god’s justice. –“No one can take away your nafaka!”, older people would say when they wanted to explain fatalism, the thing which was destined to someone. For example, it happened that a father desired to leave his inheritance to the youngest child, despite the opposition of other family members. No matter the various blackmails and games that the family played in order to change the fathers mind, the house in the end was left to the youngest child.

Also, without halal (permissible) there is no nafaka. Namely, there will be no nafaka in the thing given as gift unless it is given from the heart – halal. That’s why stolen or forcefully taken things are unlucky since they don’t have god’s mercy in them.

Nafaka is a word which creates pleasure and happiness and ubiquitous way favours human senses. It caresses his eyes and ears, seduces the nose and overwhelms with pleasure the palate. If a sudden guest arrives during coffee or lunch, people would tell him: “You came with nafaka, come on in!” or "Welcome, it is your nafaka to eat (drink) this with us!”. However, terminology in this case cannot be simple in this case nor can it be summed up in such an obscure form. Namely, in folk discussions for meal the term often used, even today in rural areas, was "nimet", primarily for bread or cake, but generally for food also. Therefore it is wrong to equate the term nafaka with food, instead it should be viewed through a wider prism, in which we can hint numerous meaning of everything which this Arabic word represents.

Summoning nafaka

Generally, though considered to be divine gift of mercy, i.e. something that mortals have no effect on, strong desire for it among the people gave birth to various ritual actions that summon nafaka. Desire for nobility dominates in them since a generous act attracts good which is what the saying from Kladuša confirms: “Give alms, continue nafaka!”. Similarly, grandmothers and grandfathers which bless the young would often say: “May Allah give you gani nafaku!” or “May god give you unimaginable nafaka!”, people claim that it is better than “the seen one” since it s greater and more plentiful.

In Cazin and Velika Kladuša the prevailing belief was that nafaka could be summoned, namely, when one would buy cattle or something else it was a custom to buy it in the name of the family member for which it was believed to have the most nafaka, in order to allude that with such a purchase the thing would be nafakali i.e. advanced and happy. Similarly, when buying a stove the first fire will be lit by the family member which was thought of as having the most nafaka in life, in order for the home and family to be prosperous and protected against evil.

In this part of Bosnia a ritual with trahana (tarahana – Persian stew) was known which was used to summon i.e. stimulate nafaka. If someone is unhappy, business isn’t doing well or is prone to bad luck, during young Friday he would make trahana but in such a matter to let it overflow on fire (stove). While the boiling white water is overflowing from the vessel the person would repeat three times:

Bismilahir rahmanir rahim.

As this tarhana is overflowing

on all sides,

so too may my nafaka overflow and cover me,

with god’s will an my prayer.


Bismilahir rahmanir rahim.

Kako ova trahana izvirala i kipila

na sve strane,

tako moja nafaka izvirila i mene obasipala,

sa božijim emerom a mojim sepom.

After cooking tarhana in this manner and cooling it, it would be consumed for three days. Some informants recommend eating the stew in small batches for seven days. In such a manner, it was believed, nafaka would be summoned.

In this context we shouldn’t forget to mention halva – sweet that takes an honourable place among Bosnian people. It is traditionally made (roasted) on the eve of Ramadan, Laylat al-Qadr and Eid, since its smell cleanses the entire house and attracts nafaka and wellbeing.

To be of a lucky hand

Tying food and nafaka is not rare in folklore of our people and is especially evident in marital customs, part where the bride arrives before the grooms house, where she is showered in candy and money. At the threshold of the house she is welcomed by a poor woman, she takes her shoes off, and the bride gives her a gift. A little later she is welcomed by the mother-in-law with the Qur’an and cake with two jugs of water in hand. She places the cake under her left and Qur’an under her right armpit, two jugs each in one hand. Bride reaches the hearth, Qur’an is given to the women, cake and water is placed on the hearth. It is believed, that the bride brings nafaka into the house with this ritual gesture. Also, it was a custom for the bride and the groom to “break” the cakes, and if for example a larger piece of the cake stays in the grooms hand it was believed that he will have greater nafaka, and vice versa.

In Velika Kladuš in the past there was a custom of a bride spreading her handkerchief on the threshold of the house and kissing it, before entering the grooms house. She enters the house with her right foot and someone takes off her shoes, since some money would be hidden in her shoes as a gift for the person that takes off her shoes, she then goes towards the hearth. She kneels there, she divides the embers using tongs, throws her handkerchief into the fire to burn – for nafaka.

For certain jobs it is very important to be gifted with nafaka. Namely, for a stravarka widely known for successful lead melting or for an Imam which writes effective talismans and amulets, people say that they have “nafakali (lucky) hand”. While melting lead, there are a lot of small pieces at the bottom of the vessel, the stravarka will comment: “it is nafakali!”, i.e. the diseased will get better.

Before starting the divination process the diviner asks for the money from the client in order to encircle the cards or beads three times around it and place the money in her pocket, explaining that the process if used for nafaka. Similarly, if nine groups of four beads appear during the divination process, so called hadžirli hatma, the diviner will utter contently: “Your beads have fallen on a great nafaka, cover it with a red cloth!”.

In the end we should mention the following belief according to which it is not good to give names to children of deceased family members since “whoever died he has no nafaka left”. Autor: Raif Esmerović


Divine bull Tur

From the beginning of mankind the bull was a holly animal which is a part of numerous mythological traditions and cults, due to its physical strength and imposing look. Among the oldest myths where he is mentioned is located in Mesopotamia and the legend about the deity Guagalanni, better known as the heavenly bull or bull from the sky. Gugalanna was the first husband Ereshkigala, deity of the underworld, dark world without light. Gods sent him to exact revenge upon Gilgamesh because he refused sexual advances of the goddess Inanna. During that occurrence, the heavenly bull, whose kick causes earthquakes, was defeated and dismembered by Gilgamesh and his follower Enkidu. In the middle east religious paradigm of killing a bull is frequent and we can find it in the legend about the genesis shaped in the Persian god Mithra, from whose description of his birth and life the mythological legend of Jesus was created, this god hunted and killed a wild bull. From the body of the dead animal, plants started to grow, from the bones wheat sprang up and from his blood grapevine. That’s when the first people were created. Even after the advent of Islam in these areas the bull didn’t lose his divine characteristic which is best confirmed by the Arabian myth, or better said cosmological representation, about the white bull Kujuta which stands on the head of a horrible beast Bahamut and holds the earth on his back.

Bahamut or Behemoth is the name of a mythological giant fish which in Arabic cosmology represented a backbone of earth, and for her mythology claims that she possesses numerous eyes, ears, noses and tongues. Certain myths claim that instead of a fish’s head it has an elephants head or hippopotamus head, and in some versions Bahamut is actually a sea dragon with sharp teeth and limbs. Bahamut holds on his strong body all seven spheres which in Arabic mythology constitute the entire universe. On Bahamut, i.e. on his head, the bull named Kujuta is positioned, which holds a mountain made out of rubies on his back. On top of that unusual mountain the angels are holding the seven layers of earth. Alternatively, on the back of Bahamut is actually a surface made out of sand. Kujuta is standing on that sand, and the mountain that he is carrying on his back has a vast ocean in the middle of which earth is floating. Underneath Bahamut is the dark and mysterious part filled with mist and water. Some mythological data claim that underneath that dark sphere there is a fire world in which the snake Falak dwells.

Bahamut is an original mythological creation of the Arabic mythology, data on it appear in cosmological tones which date since 1291. The name itself in Arabic means “the beast”. About it the ancient Arabic historian, Ibn al-Wardi wrote, it is also mentioned in the 1001 night where the story about the man named Isa is mentioned, who after seeing Bahamut out of shock and fear loses his consciousness. Once he awoke, Allah asked him if he had seen a big fish. Isa replied that he saw a bull standing on top of the fish’s head. The Jews assimiliated this mythological being, like many other religious-mythological segments, in their mythological traditions.

Arabic Kujuta and Bosnian Tur

Certain segments of the presented legend have connecting points with Bosnian myths about the gigantic bull Tur, which holds the planet on his back, from whose will depends the fate of earth and all people. Generally, the myth about Tur is short and there are not a lot of details which would reveal something more about the wider representation of Bosnian cosmology and the only exception is Rogatica. Namely, in that part of Bosnia it was believed that underneath the land there was an endless sea, on its surface swam a giant fish, on the fish’s head a bull stood and on his back earth. When that bull moves slightly his ear, the earth shakes, and when he would move his leg or something else, the entire earth would plunge into the sea, but it was believed that Allah created a small fly which constantly flies around the eyes of that bull and he is so afraid of her that he literally can’t move. (1)

As among the Turks there is no recorded legend not about Bahamot nor Tur, we can conclude that there was no transfer of myths during the Ottoman occupation of BiH, instead it is a rudiment of an ancient pagan cult which was inherited by certain Mediterranean people, and among them the Illyrians. There is a logical probability that Illyrian soldiers serving in the Roman Empire transferred the legend of Tur to the territory of Syria and further, or vice versa, inherited it and brought it to the Balkans. But, no matter how it happened we’re talking about a very old legend from the old, ancient times. The bull had a very significant place for the Illyrians in the religious-magical sense and even if we don’t have many written data about the Pagan rites of our ancestors, we discovered through archeological findings that they preferred to hang the horns of Bos primigenius at the front of the house which had a magical function to protect the family and give it fertility. Also we shouldn’t forget to mention the traditional custom among Illyrian tribes of offering sacrifice, gift of blood and meat to the gods for a successful harvest of wheat, when they would slaughter a bull during august up on a hill.

Unique Tur

Other bypasses in the legend itself are evident, namely, as the Arabic mythology claims Bahamut will when judgment day comes be destroyed by its creator i.e. god, to whom this beast is only subjugated. Among the Bosnians it is narrated that judgment day will take place on the day “when Tur shakes his body”, i.e. there are no claims about the classic notion of Judgement day where everything happens by god’s will, which gives us ample space to conclude that Tur holder of the earth is the ruler of the planet and people.

Similarly, while in Arabic mythology the bull Kujuta is depicted with totally white skin in Bosnian mythology he is black, and is truly connected to an actual animal (Bos primigenius) which died out in Europe in the middle ages. The best proof of its presence on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina are toponyms which give a deeper historical connotation to everything. Tur in Bosnian tradition is without a doubt a deity and in that form it is not seen anywhere else on the Balkans, nor in Europe, which in and of itself implicates that we’re talking about an ancient supernatural being. In the past it was assumed that his name Tur comes from the abbreviation of the Latin word Taurus but it is clear that the original name stems from the actual name of the wild bovine Bos primigenius.

Divine plowman Vidasus

In the traditional life of Bosnia and Herzegovina a castrated bull i.e. ox was an integral part of a village household and it replaced the horse, which had a higher xafs price and that’s why he wasn’t owned by numerous village households. Researching ethnological build and oral tradition of the belief of Bosnian people about the ox it is noticeable that he was treated with care and attention primarily because of the existential but also holly purpose. When the summer plowing begins to the ox which was on the right side people would wrap around his right horn a red knit (thread), a chicken egg would be cracked on his forehead and his neck would be covered with butter. All of these ritual measures were undertaken with the goal of protection from evil and summoning good luck and fertility.

In folk astronomy the constellation out of seven stars so called pleiad is called the Volovi (oxen). It is interesting because the pleiad (Messier 45) is located in the constellation of the bull. Though Wikipedia claims that pleiad is represented in all mythologies from the southern hemisphere it is evident through legends about Tur, but also other folk beliefs and traditions, that we can notice a mythological connection with the pleiad in Bosnian mythology. Segments of the divine cult of Tur are hinted out of the two folk names of the constellations which are located one next to the other and they are Orion, assembly of three stars, which in Bosnia were called Štapovi (sticks) and the already mentioned Volovi (oxen). (2) In the spring, when it is time for sowing, when the Štapovi are visible on the sky, it is a sign that dawn occurred, morning is nearing, and that oxen must be fed and harnessed so they can plow.

Together these two constellations represent the one which operates the oxen i.e. ploughs the land i.e. represents the mythological divine sower, which could be no one else than the Illyrian god Vidasus, known as Žeteoc – the one that reaps (wheat). In addition to that goes the data that the plough was invented by the Illyrians.

Seven oxen – seven stars

According to folk tales from Velika Kladuša in ancient times lived a greedy man which had seven oxen. As he had an uneven number he yearned for another ox in order to have eight of them i.e. to have an even number. One day he remembered that in the neighboring village there was a poor man that owned only one ox. –When he has only one he doesn't need even that one, he concluded and he came up with a plan with his son to go there after midnight and steal the ox. What they conceived off they undertook. When they came half way home some unrest caught the father and he told his son they should stop so they can rest. Seeing a bale of hay close by he ordered him to bring hay and put it into nine small heaps, one next to the other, once this was done he let the stolen ox feast on the hay. But, instead of eating from the first pile the ox hesitated, he sniffed and only stopped at the seventh pile where he started to ear. That horrified the father and he said: “Can you see that, my son, what a sin we made by stealing this ox from that poor man, his curse will follow us up to our seventh generation!”. But, greed in him overcame his fear and he continued his way home. Somehow at that time, since dawn was nearing, the poor man awoke and headed towards the barn to feed the ox but as soon as he entered the barn he had seen that the ox was gone and that someone stole him. From sorrow and pain he started crying and he cursed the thief, let God punish him and take from him what the thief took from this poor man. Soon the father and son, together with the stolen animal, came close to their house. When they came next to the barn, the father was surprised by the silence that he noticed in the barn, he hurried to light a candle. The pale light of the candle shone light on the barn quickly. The barn was completely empty. There were no oxen. The father ran out wildly and he held his head out of torment and pain. He then looked to the sky wanting to wallow to God to what had happened to him and before he opened his mouth he noticed in the sky seven shining stars flickering together and wide eyed he realized that he cannot cry out to god, since he punished him because of his great sin that he did towards that poor man. That’s how, according to folk tales, the constellation of oxen (Plejade) came to be, as a warning to all that you shouldn’t steel from other people especially oxen. (3)


(1) It is interesting to mention that at one time the people from BiH represented the earth as a big foursquare slab, which in the edges on a hair of the bull leaned on four pillars, and it seemed that she might tip over at any moment. But it wouldn’t, the people claimed, since she stood there according to god’s will and mercy. That slab was of an even length and width. Pillars were oily, tall and thin, they were bending, so that it seemed that they might break off at any moment. They were made out of white marble and planted in an unmeasured sea depth, since under that entire slab (earth), an endless sea was located, which cannot be seen since it is underneath us. This is a vast sea and all others are small compared to this one.

(2) In Bosnian love magic a girl, if she is casting a spell with walnuts, looks at the oxen in the sky, since they’re numerous and powerful, and if she wishes to see (dream) her future husband then before going to bed she looks towards the pillars and utters the following: “Illuminate me Žarinko Nasiba, set me on fire Planinko Nasiba, so I can see my future husband. To see him tonight in my dream as in real life, or to see his face, or to hear his name. Until I see him he shouldn't walk nor work!"

(3) Motif of teleportation of a terrestrial occurrence which symbolizes a great sin onto the sky, which represents the worldly stage, is common in Bosnian traditions. Another famous folk tale about divine intervention and public punishment is the one in which god immediately put to death a disobedient son, when he swung his axe towards his mother, wanting to kill her, and his body, together with the axe, god teleported to the surface of the moon, so that it serves as a warning to all people that mothers must be respected.


Man, shaitan and angel

Before Allah created a human, his slave, he would be constantly bothered by a shaitan with his numerous questions distracting his focus from creating the human body. And whatever god created with his hands during the day, the shaitan would ruin it during the night. Allah allowed this to happen, to destroy and deform everything that he created, so that the human figure can be as convenient as possible and as beautiful when in the end he finishes her. After some time god was filled with great inspiration and he quickly made the human body out of earth, and after looking at it he was finally happy with what he had created. But, after that Allah didn’t want to bring it to life for another three years, he left the inanimate human body leaning against a cypress tree. This awoke great interest in the shaitan and curiosity since he didn’t know what will happen. Every day he would come to the human body and would tap his fingers on the body, when he would reach the head, he often said while tapping: “This head will not be empty!”. During those three years he would come there every day and would utter the same things. When the third year was coming to an end, Allah gave a soul to the human body, thus making it alive. As soon as the first human awoke and stood up on his feet, god warned him immediately that he shouldn’t talk nor accept any offers from the first creature that comes to talk to him and doesn’t introduce himself. Initially the man obeyed god’s orders, but little by little he started to lose his determination and will. One day the shaitan saw that the first human was losing his confidence, so he started going around him giving him various compliments and admiring the perfection of his figure and in the end made him talk to him. Concluding that the first human fell under his influence the shaitan immediately appropriated the left side of the human body and he sat on his left shoulder, and from that day he sits on the shoulder of every man, all day and all night, from birth to death. Allah, in order to help his servant, sent an angel to be an opposition to the shaitan and he sat at his right shoulder. That’s why every human has an angel on his right shoulder and a shaitan on his left. The angel continuously stimulates him to good deeds, and the shaitan to bad deeds, lies and deceits.


Beautiful to the ugly, beautiful to ugly

According to a tradition when god created the world he gave to humans the power of speech and to other beings various voices. There was only one bird, which lowly stepped in front of her creator, and meekly asked him, blinking with her eyes and nodding her head, what kind of voice will she have. God thought about it, since he gave voices to all beings and having none for her he said: “Your voice will be from now on to only say “Beautiful to the ugly, beautiful to ugly!. And since that time the following things occurred, the beautiful man would marry an ugly woman, and a beautiful woman would marry an ugly man. And prior to this a beautiful man would always marry a beautiful woman, and an ugly person would marry an ugly person, and after this, it was all mixed. Numerous kings and emperors, but also common folk, were angry at the bird, and they searched everywhere for her in order to kill her, but all of their effort was futile, since she dwelt somewhere in the 77th empire, in a land fair and happy, where during the day and night the sun shines, and where people live to at least one hundred years old.


Loyal as a dog

Unbreakable bond between a man and a dog stems from the earliest times of human civilization and represents one of the most stable relationships a man managed to establish throughout the ages with a representative of the animal world. That’s why in Bosnian traditional life an important role is given to a dog, namely of guarding the house. He is, like a cow, rightfully thought of as a member of the family to whom special attention was given.

From the period of our forefathers the Bogomil it is believed that inside of a dog can be a human soul which is why people were told to be considerate towards a dog. Otherwise the person that acted badly toward a dog could commit a great sin. In folk stories which was recorded by Antun Hangi, writing about the life and customs of Bosnian people, it was written that a tradesman drank coffee in the morning with his wife before going to town. The wife told him that she will be washing laundry the entire day, which accumulated over the past days, so she will not have time to eat lunch but she will await him with dinner. He said his goodbye and left for work. Walking towards the town the tradesman regularly passed a graveyard, and that morning he heard a mysterious voice which spoke to someone:

-“Hey my death brother can you hear me? To those words another mysterious voice spoke up – “I hear you my death brother! – “Do you know that we will be joined today by a woman and she will become our death sister?” the voice continued. –“I didn’t hear, what will happen?”, the other voice asked. – “She will heat water on a fire to wash laundry and by accident she will upturn the pot, spill hot water on herself and die from burns.”

Those words worried the tradesman since he thought that woman could be his wife, since she was getting ready to wash laundry at home. Engulfed in his worries he headed towards town but the uneasy feeling didn’t leave him the entire day. At night he closed down the shop and hurried back home. Passing by the same graveyard he was again disturbed by the same voices. –“Hey my death brother, that woman will not come and become our death sister”. – “Why is that?” the other voice asked – “Today close to her house a dog gave birth, she fed the dog and for that good deed, God prolonged her life”.

Those words calmed the tradesman but he still hurried home. Arriving home he found his wife alive and well resting on the couch. Seeing him on the door she immediately told him that dinner is still not ready she was waiting for the bread to be baked. That confused him since he saw a fresh bread on the table this morning so he asked what had happened to it. She replied that a dog gave birth behind their house and she didn’t have anything else to give the dog so she gave her that bread. Tradesman smiled at this statement realizing that the dead at the graveyard spoke about his wife, he commended her for the good deed not revealing what he had heard during the day.

Healing with a dog’s skull

A dog is a well represented animal in Bosnian folk beliefs and stories and therefore it deserves special attention from us. For a dog’s skull it was believed that it is a great accumulator and transferor of positive healing energy which is why in the past stravarke repeated magical formulas and blew into the skull and even left them in the house of the diseases so that he can use it while they’re not around. The skull would be placed on the aching place where it, allegedly, absorbed negative energy (pain) inside of itself. Once “programmed” in this manner the skull could be used for a long time.

About specific possibilities of transfer of negative energy from a human onto a dog is witnessed by a traditional custom of throwing water onto a dog, water which was used to wash the face of a child afflicted by evil eyes. Stravarka Hasnija claims that the ritual of lead melting can be done from a distance, kilometers away from the diseases, but only if at the end of the third lead melting the water from the bowl is thrown onto three dogs “since there is nothing more loyal and stronger than a dog!”. Legendary reliability of a human towards this dog is demonstrated in fortunetelling especially coffee divination where the dog is a classic symbol of loyalty and friendship. And that wonderful trait which characterizes this animal is so appreciated among the Bosnian people that it became the theme of numerous legends.

In a short story from Velika Kladuša it is said that at one time a husband came home drunk and angry so he took out his anger first on the wife and then on his dog, which came running and barking nervous from what he had seen. That distracted the husband which the wife used to run to the neighbors to get help. Furious because of this he started hitting the dog who somehow ran away from him onto the nearby meadow. There the dog lay and with a sad look, gazed onto the house. During that time the wife informed the police which came 10 minutes latter to arrest the husband. While putting on his shoes he saw his wife smiling slyly because she is sending him to prison, the he saw his dog in the meadow whom he called, the dog came running immediately happy that his owner called him. –“I have hit you like my wife, but unlike her which went to the police, you forgave me, you waited for me to call you and you were immediately there”, he said stroking the dog’s head, -“now I know that there is nothing more loyal and committed than a dog!”

Like a dog and a cat

In another story which speaks about the continuous animosity of a dog and a cat, the eternal loyalty of a dog towards a human was confirmed, from the beginning of the world until its end, and it starts like this:

During judgment day everything alive will turn against humans and will accuse him in front of God for the things that he is guilty of and things not guilty of. That animosity will not last longer than 15 minutes. The first animal that will stand to accuse humans will be the cat. The one that paid the most attention and care to her. She will especially be angry at the housewife. In those moments, if it weren’t for a dog, the faith of the housewife would be bad, since the cat with its cunning would persuade everyone by her lies. Whatever the cat thins of at that moment, whether true or false, she will say, and all curses against the poor housewife she will use; that she beat her and harassed her, that she was constantly beaten in the house and that she was more hungry than full. To all those lies and accusations the dog will stand up bravely and criticize and publicly denounce her lies. Negating her accusations the dog will be restless and will constantly interrupt her lies by saying: “How can you say something like that?”, he will continue, - if I, who was always near the door looking what leftovers I’ll get am not complaining, I was always happy and content, how can you complain who was constantly at the table. You’re not just unjust but ungrateful as well! If it were only true what you’re saying!”

Things which the dog says against the cat will anger the cat mightily, since she will be depicted to god as a liar, that’s why she will come after the dog but cunningly and slyly, not giving up the act of the victim: “Oh yes, absolutely, it is as you say! You aren’t even aware of your suffering, and how you lived among humans let alone to know something of other’s problems. How it was for me you have no idea, and it’s not for you to know! You take care of yourself, don’t worry about me. Let everyone fight for the truth and justice. I’m not interested in other’s issues and lives. It is easy for you to say what you will. You haven’t suffered as I have. They threw bones for you behind the door so you can eat them, they didn’t even see me at the table!

-“Whose fault is it that they didn’t see you? the dog said in an instant, “why did you hide under the table, as a mangy goat. You should have stayed near the door no one prevented you. You wanted special status, you thought you were a lady, and your pretentiousness didn’t allow you to wait near the door. You would shame your honor and reputation, everything that you thought belonged to you!”

-“Go, go you devil! Who asked you for your opinion?” the now nervous cat replied, you are no one! You would only argue and tell lies, you aren’t interested in anything else! You’re truly bad luck, there is no reasoning or compromise with you. Not even ten gypsies could beat you in an argument let alone myself, a helpless cat!.

With that the lawsuit would end. The housewife would be saved, and the cat would quiet down and recede, since she will realize that her lies are not working and that she may have overdone her acting. But enmity between the cat and the dog will last forever. They will hate one another, as they say like a cat and a dog. They will never agree and befriend each other. Even if they did It would be only ostensibly, unstable and short lived.


How an owl shamed God’s messenger Solomon

People say that to Solomon’s wife out of wrath came a crazy idea, and she commanded her husband, to build her a tower out of bird’s bones, since she hated birds. God’s messenger Solomon since he knew bird language called all the birds for a meeting to arrange a deal with them how to build the tower. To his command all the birds came, only the owl was running late, Solomon got angry at the owl, and once she arrived he asked her why she was running late. The owl told him that she spent her time counting the hills and valley, men and women. To that Solomon asked whether there were more hills and valleys, to what she answered that there are more valleys, since small hills are counted as valleys. Then god’s messenger asked her are there more men or women to which she replied that there are more women “since I counted those men to whom women command, such as you, among the women!” Hearing that Solomon was disappointed that the owl shamed him in front of all the birds and he decided to give up building a tower. This story was often told among the Bosnian people in front of that man for which it was known that he is afraid of his wife.


How plague looks like

Plague, as people across Bosnia say, tall and skinny woman. She is dressed in a long white dress, which was loosely encircled with a rope. But not all plague is in white, it is different according to which religion it belongs. Muslim plague is clad in green, Christian in white, Jewish in yellow and Gypsy in gray, but no matter whose she is she carries a broom in her hands and if she waves it in front of someone’s house, that person will soon die. She usually travels at night, when the wind blows softly. And where she enters a house, then she cleans the hearth with the broom which is a sign that all inhabitants will fall ill. She likes to peak through the window, when the family is having dinner, she laughs and goes somewhere else, but she never pillages, unless god tells her to.


Four holly books

In folk stories about four Indžil, holly books, it was claimed that they came from the sky. In all of those books Allah wrote the first prayer, and God’s messengers continued. One of Indžil, the first one was written by Adam, and they say that it is as old as Earth itself. It is the oldest of them all. As the story further claims, Adam when he could no longer write due to his old age, an angle held his hand so he could continue. Half of this Indžil was carried away by angels, “and it was very big, so big that not all people from earth could move it”. Adam restlessly continued writing, without taking a break, and as the story claims, he wrote it his entire life. The second holly book is from Moses. It is not as old nor as big as the one from Adam. Third book was written by Jesus. Fourth by Muhammad and he said that holly books will no longer be written, since in his book everything is contained, since the creation of the world and until judgment day.


How nature and herbs came to be

On one opportunity when Muhammad travelled, he was covered in sweat from the long journey, and from him his sweat dropped onto the earth. Where ever a drop from his forehead touched the earth a flower would grow. Sweat from other body parts that fell onto the ground became herbs that cured various illnesses. Bosnian people claim that among the first herbs to grow were dwarf elder, rue, alecost, basil and others. From the sweat which fell from his neck and hands small and large trees would grow. From the sweat from his the body of his horse made the hills, rocks and mountains grow.


Don't forget Srebrenica


Birth of dragons in Bosnia

Among the Bosnian people since the ancient times a belief about dragons was present, the dragon not only existed but it sexually assaulted women, but also cows, and out of this unholy union dragon cubs were born – snijet. This unusual belief is traditionally present among the Bosnian people while among Bosnian Christians it doesn’t exist or appears in rare instances.

According to people the dragons loved to stay in woods or hills, flying from one tree to another, sleeping inside caves or bathing in rivers. Namely, it occurred that random passers-by near a river, would hear sudden trashing on the surface of the river and would experience drops of water falling on them. For such sounds it was believed that they were created by a scared dragon which feeling someone’s presence would fly away. Allegedly, while in the water the dragon would go in circles and once bathed it would erect its body and would fly towards the sky.

Gaze of emerald eyes

People describe the dragon as a long snake, over two meters, with very thin and short legs and arms, whose body is covered with dark scales and a tale which is pointy at its end. What is especially characteristic for him are his magnetic, emerald coloured eyes which hypnotise his victim, preventing any and all resistance from it. Often in the past the dragon would lurk young women which went to get water on their own or women which worked in the field alone, he would surprise them with his appearance and he would hypnotise them with his gaze, out of which they would awaken without any memory of the event. But, this strange meeting did not go without consequences because four or more months later the woman, which was hypnotised by the dragon, would give birth to snijet – a dragon cub.

Birth of a dragon

Snijet or Snit got its name among the people by the soft membrane of the chicken’s egg which the chicken can lay when lacking calcium. Numerous ethnologists often made a mistake connecting this folk name of a dragon cub with a corn snijet (corn smut) /Ustilago maydis/ not realising what the informants were trying to tell them.

A few elderly women from which I had an opportunity to hear about the birth of snijet had an identical description of its birth. Namely, since all of them were illiterate and they didn’t know the name for a placenta, they used a folk name for it, what to them seemed to best describe what they see and that is snijet according to the soft membrane of the chicken egg. But, it is an important detail which reveals how snijet was constantly born in a white placenta, unlike a normal human baby whose colour of placenta was always dark red-blue or maroon, out of which the snijet would exit as soon as possible, running out of fear from human contact. According to the informants if in the woman’s stomach only a snijet was present, they would often give birth in their sleep, in the morning they would awaken with an empty stomach. Every night the dragon cub would return to its mother while it was sleeping in order to feed with her milk. Allegedly, such a woman would go to bed with her breasts full of milk and in the morning she would awaken with breasts completely empty.

As we can conclude by studying the ethnological records, but also listening to statements from individual old women, especially the ones which publicly and without hiding claim that in their youth they gave birth to snijet, every Bosnian woman in the past, until WWII, at least once gave birth to a snijet during her reproductive cycle. Because of this claim it wasn’t considered to be a sin to give birth to a dragon cub, moreover, it was considered to be a good deed even to the woman which three times gives birth to snijet entrance into heaven after death is promised. But, it was obviously considered beneficial in case the snijet is killed the moment it is born and buried, without allowing it to escape.

Cannibalism and killing

People firmly believe that all those snijeti which women don’t kill after birth, become dragons. Perhaps this is where the collective fear of Bosnian people lie, if all of the cubs would be allowed to live their population would grow to a dangerous level and it could endanger humans. Women described snijet, after it left the white placenta, as a small hairy creature of a dark colour which resembles a mole the most. It moved fast, climbing up the wall and would screech hysterically.

Sexual attacks by dragons on women occurred, when she would be in the early stage of pregnancy with her husband, and in her womb together, one beside the other, the child and snijet would grow. In certain ethnographic records it is written that a woman would give birth to a live child with a dead snijet on his head, then the child would die as well. Similarly, if both are born alive, and the snijet kills itself, it was believed that the child will die soon as well. According to this it could be concluded that according to folk belief the snijet represented a type of human animal doppelganger.

It looks like a human, but it is not

Fear of snijet, though common to the entire Bosnian folk, was not of the same intensity in all regions, and in certain locations its pronounced influence was recorded. The decisive factor in that was surely the frequency of birth, since in regions where such an apparition was rare, or better hidden and tabooed, it was less present. In Zukići they described snijet as a demonic being “which looks like a human, but wasn’t one”. That description in certain parts of BiH was a result of fear from cannibalism to which snijet was allegedly prone to in the first period of its life, in order to successfully finish its incubation period and exit the woman in the outside world. It was claimed that in certain cases snijet would eat the womb of the woman i.e. it would feed with it. That’s why in Zukići it was believed that the snijet for a pregnant woman represented a great physical and health issue since it would have a difficult time carrying it and giving birth to it.

In this part of Bosnia it was claimed that snijet can only be killed by a washerwoman, a board for washing clothes, after which it would be buried under ground. It is remembered that before WWII in a neighbouring village Kusonje a woman gave birth to a child with eaten fingers on the hand and the feet along with a snijet. For this deformity the snijet was accused, claiming that it ate the child’s fingers, and it was immediately killed by a washerwoman. In other parts of BiH, women would kill it with a broom.

In Pazarić and surrounding areas each time a woman would give birth to a snijet it would be covered up and would be kept a secret, which was usually a traditional taboo in all areas of BiH. Snijet, if it was born dead or if it didn’t manage to escape and save itself, would be immediately wrapped in an old cloth and buried in the ground taking care that no one sees it. A rule that all women across BiH held is that a dead snijet should be buried, whether in the ground or manure, and that under no circumstances should it be thrown in the trash. Was it done out of fear from the possible revenge from the dragon, which is evident, since it wasn’t even recommended for people to talk about dragons, or a certain dose of respect was given towards these mixtures will remain one of the numerous mysteries among the Bosnian folk.


Dragon eggs

That nature is surprising is shown by the perfectly shaped stone spheres, discovered accidentally underneath the hill Grljevac in Velika Kladuša. For now three have been “discovered” – the largest one seven meters in girth and weighing 2500 kilograms, a smaller one weighing 1200 kilograms with a girth of three and a half meters, and the smallest one girth of 52 centimetres and 600 kilograms. Because of the shape and composition, as well as the unusual space where they were discovered they attract attention also the mystery of whether they’re natural or manmade pique our interest. For discovery of this oddities from Velika Kladuša the members of the Mountaineering Association of Velika Kladuša are responsible.

President of the Association Šefik Sadiković says: “Though the first spheres were located two years ago, no one knew about them nor spoke about them. Only now, when we located these three did we speak publicly about it. Spheres were located in a creek which created a large canyon due to plentiful rain. Locals of Zborište found the spheres and they drove one into the village using a tractor.” That’s how the story about this phenomenon started.

We are sure that there are more of them in this area, the mountaineers made sure that geologists get the spheres. Geologists Ševket Goletić and Senad Karajić determined that “underneath the spheres a “floor” of the same structure as the spheres was found which means that they haven’t been moved since they were created, and that floor gives greater certainty when determining the way they were created.”

From the Jurassic period

“First estimation direct”, Ševket Goletić believes, “that the spheres come from the Jurassic period and that they were created underneath the surface of the sea. That’s why man has nothing to do with the creation of this phenomenon. That period of creation is called Initial Geosynclinal volcanism, which means that they were created around 30 million years ago.”

“It is known that in this region the Panonian sea was present and that it receded seven million years ago, which means that the spheres were created deep underneath the sea due to volcanic action. During eruptions of the volcano rocks in form of lava were expelled in the sea depths, which created additional blasts and chunking, and with the influence of water and sudden cooling this spherical shape was created covered in a manganese veil which gave the spheres additional firmness”, he adds.

According to the first estimations, the content of these rocks is made out of more elements: titan, zircon, vanadium, barium and nickel, which points to the sediment origin from the basic rocks. The surface is smooth and perfectly polished, and it is hard to assume that they could be a work of man which at the time possessed primitive tools. Otherwise, Goletić and Karajić recall, similar spheres were found in other areas as well.

“So”, they say, “they’re numerous in western Mexico, but they’re also located in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mostly around Zavidovići. And they’re most similar to the ones located in Zavidovići. They’re also located near Stari Majdan in municipality of Sanski Most in the north-western part of BiH.”

Mysterious spheres

Mountaineers say that the spheres were most likely “discovered” earlier, but no one spoke of them. It is assumed that the legends and stories imposed a type of silence. One that, for the people living in these areas – spurred the imagination of the inhabitants about the mysterious spheres.

One of the legends says that the spheres are actually eggs of an ancient dragon and according to folk belief we shouldn’t disturb them. That’s where the answer to the question of why no one spoke about them lies. However, out of curiosity the inhabitants broke them, and determined that the interior is made out of stone. Certain findings say that they were brought home, namely the parts of the sphere. Even built in the foundation of the houses. Later they would be unearthed and placed back to their original location.

In these numerous legends, stories and speculations, there is a theory which claims that they’re meteors which fell a long time ago in this area or that they’re the work of some ancient and unknown civilization. However, mountaineers from Velika Kladuša sought help and analysis of the Mining-geological faculty from Tuzla. While they’re waiting for an answer and debunking of the mystery about the creation of this phenomenon – they went into action.


How the snake saved all life

From the old days among the Bosnian people the snake was considered to be a saviour of mankind, which is proven by this short story. During distressful times, when general floods raged and everything hid in Noah’s ark, days and nights passed in fear for the future. Even the wild beasts were so frightened that they didn’t even think about hurting one another, their cruelty disappeared and all souls thought alike – hope in salvation. But, only one animal among all didn’t feel fear nor hope, it was ruled by evil and selfishness. It was a mouse. Being led solely by his own desires and needs the mouse started nibbling the bottom of the ark, not thinking that he is endangering everyone on it. Luckily, the snake saw him at the last moment, realising what disaster may strike the snake leaped, swallowed the mouse and curled at the place where he nibbled the wood, in order to stop the water from breaking in. Since then, in Velika Kladuša it is believed that it is not a sin to kill a mouse even from a prayer mat, while praying to god.


Shaitan and the woman

Long time ago there was a man and a woman, they constantly tried to outsmart each other, they tried to prove who was smarter and more resourceful. Neither of them wanted to quit, and these pranks of theirs would last forever until the man came up with a bold idea. He suggested that it would be best for them to compete who could talk the devil into entering a hollow pumpkin where they could trap him.

-The devil (Shaitan) is a liar and a scrappy, no one can fool him, and whoever succeeds is the smartest, said the husband to his wife.

In this almost impossible task the husband tried first, trying all day in various ways to trick the devil. He begged him, promised hills and valleys, but to no avail. Night came and he got tired and gave up. The wife smiled and took the pumpkin from him, looked inside and started to wonder, her eyes widened, inhaling and smiling to something that she sees inside. This immediately sparked the devil’s curiosity but he didn’t want to react he waited for the woman to start to gaud him as the husband did. But the woman didn’t even look at the devil, looking into the pumpkin she started to switch it to her right eye so that she can see better the thing that amazed her. Now, the devil was evidently nervous and curios, not being able to wait any longer, he asked the woman what is so amazing inside, she mumbled something quickly and continued to look into the pumpkin. This angered the devil and he shouted at her, to which the wife replied calmly and mellifluously:

-It would be best, powerful and great devil, that you go inside and take a look by yourself, since myself, illiterate, poor woman – the woman started to act and fake – couldn’t describe what type of wonder is inside. And you my dear devil, are so eloquent and very smart, you will recognise this thing immediately.

To these words the devil laughed haughtily and answered to her that he agrees with her, since a stupid woman like herself doesn’t know better than to look into a pumpkin and laugh, and it is best for him to see. As soon as he said these words the devil rushed and entered the pumpkin to which the woman quickly closed it and in the end won the hard bet. Since that time it is believed that a woman and the devil are one and the same – both use lying and seduction to get their will.



There is an interesting legend among people from Velika Kladuša about a buried treasure in the settlement of Rudnik, which is allegedly guarded for centuries by an immortal giant snake. This legend begins like this: during the time of the Roman occupation of the Illyricum in the area of today’s Velika Kladuša a Japodean family lived there – a father with seven sons and a daughter. Their lives were full of everyday chores and work until one day out of wrath and boredom the brothers placed a piece of bread on a large stone and they competed who will be the first to hit it with a spear. Horrified by this sacrilege the father tried to reason with them not to do it, but young and willing to prove themselves, the son’s didn’t listen to him, until the moment something happened which scared them – blood started to flow from the bread. Seeing this, the father wept in a desperate voice, holding his head and gazing towards the sky:

-You spilled blood! The Gods will curse you and punish for your craziness, the scared, poor man repeated.

Not long after that incident the weeping father died and the son’s one by one left the home without a trace. The only one that was in the deserted house was the daughter, since she couldn’t find the strength to leave the graves of her parents. In her sorrow and loneliness the wrath of gods hit her though she was innocent, and she was turned into a giant snake. In that form she was given a task to guard their gold and precious stones in a deep hole in the ground, until the moment someone strong and brave appears and stands in front of her and allows her to kiss him in the forehead, between the eyes.

A lot of time has passed since then, a lot of centuries, but the memory of the curse of the Illyrian gods and the large snake-girl, guardian of the unseen treasure, stayed in the legend which the old people from Kladuša transferred from one generation to the next to the young, warning them to respect the bread which feeds them. The legend in long winter nights woke up a desire among the young to be brave enough to stand in front of the giant snake, so that she may kiss them, which means that they would be immensely rich and that they would get a loving wife Every spring around the Mijene (May 6th) the giant snake-girl would exit at dawn from the depths of the earth and she would wallow in a sad voice.

-Oh, help! Are there any males, Muslim or Christian, to come to me, to allow me to kiss him between the eyes so that I may be a wife or sister. I will give him all the gold!

Everyone knew about her lament but rare were those which dared to head towards her, they were never brave enough, and so through centuries the girl-snake had less and less hope that she will ever be free of the horrible curse.

Persuaded by a stravarka a poor lad decided to head to the snake, around a hundred years ago. He waited patiently for the phase and one night, before dawn, he headed towards Rudnik, threading carefully through the forest. During the road he consoled himself that poor as he is he has nothing to lose even if the plan goes wrong. Suddenly in the darkness he heard a sorrowful female voice how it pleadingly called for a brave human heart to come and save her. He carefully came to the place where he heard the voice and suddenly a silence befell him, he stood, scared waiting to see what would happen. Suddenly in the darkness two eyes shined and the head and entire body of the giant snake appeared, such that the human eye has never seen. Frozen out of fear the young man watched the giant snake approach him looking into his eyes. At the moment when the snake was close to his head his bravery gave up on him completely, he pushed her away and started running as far as his legs could take him. The snake looked at him sadly and uttered:

-May you suffer as I do, may you die when I cannot!

Uttering that curse she disappeared in the darkness, receding into its lair. Soon the boy died and no one knew of what. From that time no one heard that sad cry of the snake-girl.


Bosnia, Illyrians and tombstones – beginning of European civilization

Continuity of our people from the old days up to today was not in question, and it was part of the scientific discourse until the end of the XIX century. Therefore, up until that period everyone knew that south Slavs were actually Illyrians. However, after the Illyrian name, crest with a crescent moon and tri colour were banned by the emperors decree, by Germanic-Hungarian political decision the progeny of the ancient Illyrians were declared as Albanians, and south Slavs all of a sudden became “settlers from Carpathians”.

Ancient Illyrians

Since long we are aware that Bosnia and Herzegovina represents an ancient land with its tombstones, with its ancient people, which surprised Europe with its unexplored world once it was occupied by Austro-Hungary in 1878. For the first time, entire Europe was aware that on the territory of BiH there was a unique cult, anthropological and national space which possesses the most imposing and the oldest megalithic culture in whole of Europe. The occupying force did not like this, it actually presented them a large problem: size and hoariness of our culture made Western Europe inferior, and their civilizations mission absurd. This is why a systematic plan of twisting historical facts was put into place, which was an easy task taking into consideration the pretty bad military, economic, demographic but also educational condition of the people living in BiH at that time.

Map of Bosnia and Herzegovina - Stećci

The greatest historical lie which brought the greatest suffering in the Balkans is the one about the influx of Slavs to this area, this myth started with systematic destruction of the Illyrian people and their ancient culture. Slavs were therefore always unsophisticated and primitive people, and their name comes from the word “servant, slave”, these people in reality don’t have structures nor cultural achievements, and they were always to the “civilized” and colonial Europe a symbol of barbarism and primitivism, to which we can attest to today. Namely, when we would performs a poll across Italy, Germany, France or Britain on the topic of Slavs we could hear some pretty unpleasant comments and judgements, which is a result of traditional belief but also ranking of European peoples, civilized– western and primitive – eastern peoples.

Until the beginning of the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina the theory of the great immigration was not seriously considered until the ruin of the Illyrian movements happened, this is best described by the historian Bogoslav Šulek (1816-1895). According to him, first the immigrants were of the same birth as the Illyrians, and second they could not outnumber the Illyrian aboriginals which inhabited the entire Yugoslavian area, and even further than that. Dr. Tibor Živković (1966-2013) also confirmed that during the VI and VII century only a couple of thousand people migrated and not hundreds of thousands, this Serbian historian of the newer generation estimated that during that period the part of immigrated people among the aboriginals did not exceed 3%.

Croatian historian Dr. Neven Budak similarly concludes that the older historiography mistakenly believed that the ancient aboriginals were deported and exterminated in large numbers, with a minority staying in mountainous regions, coastal areas and islands. According to him, modern research in various areas proved that aboriginals survived in greater numbers than was previously presumed. Bosnian historian Đuro Besler also claims that 85% of the ancient inhabitants stayed. Vladimir Dvorniković in his Magnum opus “Characterology of Yugoslavs” recognises an “ancient Illyrian” in humans of the Dinaric karst.

Stećci – Illyrian tombstones

After inventing lies that Illyrians are actually Slavs another lie begins, it places the emergence of tombstones, the ancient monuments of the Illyrian culture, into the middle ages, since Western Europe cannot tolerate the fact that in BiH there is proof of the existence of the oldest culture on European soil. Implications of discovering tombstones in the XIX century is that the European roots and continuity of existence belongs to our culture, which is in fact very logical: whoever opened an ancient atlas knows that it is nowhere stated that the European culture was begotten in Berlin, London, Vienna or Paris. To prevent further political and geopolitical implications of this cognition, the truth had to be buried under the deposits of twisted narrative.

However, despite all frauds and historical rigging, gradually enlightenment in scientific circles began and extensive research of various archaeologists and experts confirm that the origin of tombstone dates back to the ancient time even prehistory. Thoughts about prehistoric origin of tombstones was shared by an Austrian geologist and researchers Heinrich Sterneck which as an Austro-Hungarian officer-geologist researched mineral wealth of Bosnia and Herzegovina and found various necropolis’ in the field. He thought that the tombstones most certainly belonged to the ancient times, since they were usually located on Illyrian piles or in their vicinity and that they’re old as the Illyrian burial mounds. The other researcher Alexandar Sapieha spoke about tombstones as very old monuments which resemble Egyptian and Parthian ones. German archaeologist George Wild had an interesting claim, namely the tombstones in Bosnia represent the old European cultural heritage, and that some symbols such as lilies (which are symbols on the Bosnian crest) stems from the ancient times, often as tombstones, that various types of crosses are pre-Christian and were known in the ancient culture, and Christianity adopted them at a later period, giving them Christian interpretation.

Yet, the best proof that tombstones were not built in the middle ages are the dimensions and weight of a large number of tombstones. There is no technological context which would place the practice of breaking off of 32 ton megaliths and their transportation of across great distances. Anyway, why would someone do such a thing, and not use such technology in building other structures. Kemal Čolak from Sarajevo calculated that for the construction of such a megalith which is located in Pavlovac near Sarajevo, one would need to break off a cuboid of 40 tons. A logical question can be posed, where would one find such a quarry, and what tools were used for such a purpose. It is especially interesting to mention that some locals claimed that the monument is located on the former training grounds of JNA, and that the army removed all other monuments from that location, but they didn’t have the necessary machinery to remove this one. What did the man from middle ages use to move it? With that, in the dark middle ages, times of wars, fratricide and crusades against Arian Christians, time of famine, poverty and survival, there was no time for erecting hundred thousand monuments, nor the time for laborious and long transportation and great embellishment of the monuments. Was it done in the middle ages, such a powerful and technically advanced civilization would easily fend off attackers and conquer entire Europe.

There are numerous arguments which testify that tombstones cannot be from the middle ages, though in the middle ages they were used, partially inscribed and ornamented. Here are some of them:

1. Official science until the end of the 19th century considered tombstones to be prehistoric monuments.

2. It was noted that the symbols on the monuments were tied to ancient civilizations, especially Egyptian and Parthian.

3. There are no known folk tales which speak of construction of monuments in the middle ages. However, there are numerous ones which place the process far in prehistory.

4. There are no inscriptions about the building of monuments amongst the ancient people from Dubrovnik, and it is known that the agents from Dubrovnik recorded anything which was of the smallest interest. Such inscriptions are not known in other archives of Dalmatia and Italy.

5. In heaps under the monuments we see a continuation of burials from the 20th century BCE up until the 20th century.

6. Tombs from the middle ages on necropolis’ are located near tombstones or underneath stone switches, i.e. smaller tombstones, which proves the continuity of burial from prehistory, but not their medieval origin.

7. From around 100 000 tombstones, and there were more, only 6000 of them are ornamented, and a smaller number contains various crosses which were pre-Christian and familiar in ancient times. Yet if we persist that they’re actually Christian symbols, we’re talking about a number which is smaller than 1%. The possibility of Christians avoiding cross symbols when ornamenting is simply absurd.

8. In the middle ages in Dalmatia, Bosnia and Serbia numerous wars were waged, mostly crusades against Arian Christians, during this time social-economic conditions were not ripe for erection of megalith necropolis.

9. Depiction of ancient pillars of a temple in numerous megalith monuments additionally confirms the pre-historical origin of tombstones.

10. Layers of humus on monuments which are today underground are between 30 and 80 cm, while on Roman monuments they are between 15 and 30 cm, which rather points to the Bronze age and not the Middle Ages.

11. That burial under tombstones and under a mound was a custom from the Bronze age is depicted through the verses from the Iliad and Odyssey in which burials of cremation remains are mentioned, bodies in a heap on which a tombstone was placed.

12. Tombstones are also mentioned in the Old Testament, which also points to the Bronze and Iron age.

Illyrian god Vidasus on stećak


Holly bull of Bosnian forefathers

Tur is not a Slavic but a Latin word – Taurus, and a lot of similarity is seen in certain Illyrian names such as Teut or Trit, forms such as Tritan or Tritatron, and even Tana or Medauros. It is interesting to note that in the Bosnian language Tur is used for the part of pants, long johns or even pantaloons which connects tights, actually the hem between the legs, which connects them into a whole. Similarly the word Tur can be seen as an abbreviation from the terms poturiti or podturiti i.e. underlay something in order to keep a load or mass from falling.

Tur (taxonomically and Latin: Bos primigenius) is an extinct genus of a wild bovine, which lived in Europe, Asia and North Africa, it is a forefather of today’s cattle. The last European exemplar lived until 1627. Tur was from the old days an important animal for the survival of mankind; that’s why the drawings and descriptions of it are present even inscriptions “Comments on the Gaelic wars (Commentarii de bello, Gallico) from Julius Cesar. His character became the status symbol of numerous European states and cities: Alba-lulia, Kaunas, Romania, Moldavia, Turka, province Mecklenburg and Swiss canton Uri, which was named after him.

Tur was larger than cattle today which is familiar to us. It was 160-180 cm tall (males) and 150 (females), 2.8 meters long without the tail, the tail was 0,8 meters long. Tur’s had pronounced sexual differences, besides the basic biological differences in the built of sexual organs, they differentiated themselves by colour and size, females were shorter and smaller (smaller backbone) than males. Males were black-brown, and females red-brown, both had light, almost white, horns with black tops. Tur was abundant in almost entire Europe. Their habitat were usually steppe, taiga, wet swampy forests and river valleys. These bovines lived in herds, except a few older bulls which lived alone, until the mating season when they would join the herd. In the herd which had a few dozen units, there was a dominant male, and during the mating period there were fights over the females. mating took place during the end of summer, and calf’s were born during the end of spring. Tur usually fed off of grass, but also fruit, leaves and softer branches. Unlike most cattle today which are in essence day animals, Tur was active at dusk and night. According to the research of the paleontological museum of the University in Oslo, the first exemplars appeared on the area of today’s India before two million years BC, from where they migrated to the Middle East and other parts of Asia. They reached Europe around the year 250 00.


Illyrian cult of Tur

In the religion of our Illyrian forefathers Tur was one of the main segments of the ancient cult of fertility whose influence was retained until today among the Bosnian people. Aleksandar Stipčević, Alojz Benac authors of the book “Cult symbols among the Illyrians: structure and contributions of systematization” (1981) mention the following:

“In farming cultures of the earlier iron age, in which the role of a woman, especially in terms of land cultivation is of the utmost importance for the life of the community, the cult of the bull as a principle of fertility represents a dominant component of the entire belief of people at the time. Bull, i.e. bovine, becomes an animal tied to the fertility of earth as the plough farming developed and the role of a woman in ploughing and farming in general lead to incorporation of the symbol of the bull as the principle of fertility in the basic of the religious cosmos of the matriarchal society. iconographicaly reduced to the horns, the bovine quickly became the symbol of the moon because of the similarity of the horns with the new moon. And the moon, as we mentioned earlier, is closely tied to the fertility of nature itself. Hence, the role of the woman in farming work, help of the bovine in the work, similarity of the bovine horns with the new moon, correspondence of the moon phases with the length of menstrual cycles of women, all of this gave an extremely important role to the bovine in the symbolic system of farming cultures from the earlier iron age onward. With the weakening of matriarchy and its substitution by patriarchy in the metal age didn’t lead to the disappearance of the bull as the principle of fertility. In Greek and Roman religion the bull plays a large role as a sacrificial animal tied to the cult of fertility.”


Tur in the folk calendar

Studying the description of living habits of Tur, especially the one about fertility, I immediately noticed a connection with the folk (agronomical) calendar of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is divided in only two seasons – summer and winter – and in which there is a very interesting segment, which was unclear to me from the very beginning, as a student of BiH ethnology. Namely, it is no coincidence that the Bosnian folk calendar begins when summer ends i.e. in the middle of autumn, when mating season of Tur began, and ends in spring, time when new members of the species are born. That we are talking about such a phenomenon is well demonstrated by the belief in three occurrences called Stablići, Kablići and Štapići, each lasts three days, which sums up to nine days, a lunar number and represents a stap, long wooden bowl in which one “pounded” milk and made butterfat, štap or mećajica i.e. an item which was used to “pound” and kabao – wooden vessel for storage of milk. All three names are closely tied to cattle and signified a very important thing, namely, when a cow brings a calf to this world she becomes lactic, in her udders milk is building up which is used to feed the calf but also members of the family which own the cow. That’s why it is clear that this belief stems from the distant past and is directly tied to the Illyrian cult of fertility and Tur.

Further, Stipčević mentions another interesting part which is directly tied to Tur: “In Donja Dolina, near Sanski Most, during excavations in villages a skull of the bull forefather has been found (Bos primigenius) which was, as Ć. Truhelka believes fastened to façade of the house and had a function of bucrania.”

As an inevitable symbol and bearer of fertility, among our forefathers Illyrians, the bull had a central role in celebration of the harvest, when at the beginning of August the bull was slaughtered in the name of the goddess Grand Mother. In that ceremonial segment of sacrificial offering, Celtic-Persian influence is dominant, through celebration of the pagan circle of the year with the ancient myth about the solar god of fertility Mithra, which the Romans inherited from the Persians. Goths which were at one time mixed with the Illyrians and enriched not only genetically but also culturally-religiously the habit of ancient Bosnians, they saw in Tur much more than an ordinary animal, because of his priceless importance in land tillage, and also the cult of fertility, he was identified with the land, as its guardian and ruler.

Identification with the fertile land, which brings food and maintains the community, its physical strength and endurance and striking look of the horns, elevated Tur in the pantheon to the level of divine being in Bosnian mythology. He becomes a gigantic bull which is holding the entire earth on his back. In that way he rules over the destiny of humans, but also everything else. With that he receives the label of Tur land keeper. But, everything is not only left on the mythological representation and iconography which is evident in certain ethnological records which record the ancient practice of dedicating prayers to this heavenly being, which hasn’t been interrupted with the advent of Christianity and Islam to the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In the book “Syncretic elements in Islam in BiH” M. Hadžijahić states an interesting part in which he describes the religious practice: “From a poor elderly lady, Puhalovka Alijaginica which lived in Čebedžije in Sarajevo, I managed to record this: “On Wednesday afternoon prayer is performed and one bows down to: Ognju and Ognjevu Piru, Tur, Hadži Dedi, Hadži Kasapi, Sitoj Nefisi, Vejsil Karanij, his mother and father…” Under the name Oganj and Ognjev Pir is hidden the god of sun (Oganj name for fire) and his son, from mythological notion that the sun is “born” and “dies”, but for this text the name Tur is the most interesting, as we see, he did not disappear from the religious consciousness of the Bosnian people until the middle of the twentieth century, and after that he was mentioned solely as a mythological being which is holding the earth. In the book the author mentions another perfect example about the preservation of the Illyrian religion in Bosnia. Namely, in the village Turovo underneath Jahorina each year a celebration of Vida was held i.e. Ilyrian god Vidasus, which was converted into a saint with the advent of Christianity in Bosnia, and from then on he is worshipped as holly Vid. Tur and Vidasus, with this toponym and somewhat shortened name, actually best represent how well entrenched the Illyrian religion is amongst the Bosnian people.

Illyrian crest has the sign of a half-moon as a symbol of the horn of Tur.


Bosnian mythology is not Slavic but Illyrian!

The first step towards destruction of a nation is destruction of its memory. Destroy its books, culture and history and then find someone to write new books, invent a new history. Such a nation will soon start to forget what it is and what it was.

Arthur Schlesinger


People and angels

Fascination produced by the emergence of a new life always inspired human imagination and created in such a way imposing legends and stories. Among the Bosnian folk we come across a whole spectre of traditional beliefs which were first of all based on mythology and which in a sense reveal divine origin of humans.

To a woman giving birth, according to legends, all bones in her body separate except the ones in the jaw, because without them the child wouldn't be able to exit her. Because of such a state she needs to rest for a full 40 days after birth, in order for her body to completely cleanse and regenerate. Besides, a young mother is then "weak as a bird on a branch" and is exposed as her child, to demon attacks which resist creation of new life.

Even in traditional belief about dangers which prey on a young mother, and especially her child, we glimpse divine status of a pregnant woman, which is creating new life in her womb, as well as the supernatural origin of life. Invisible beings and apparitions such as demons, faeries, witches, spellbound eyes, which represent threats, can be easily brought to the same level as the child which decided to join the world of humans from their world of darkness, concealed from human eyes. This procedure probably creates a feeling of anger and revolt and that's why they are trying to hurt it.

Before a child exits, angels promise to hand over senet to him, i.e. written confirmation that he will never die, he will remain immortal, since without it he wouldn't leave his mother's womb. But, during the moments the child is exiting angels suddenly strip him of senet and that's why the child is crying, since it became aware that it is no longer immortal.

A woman which dies during childbirth goes, according to belief, straight to heaven while if the child dies, without tasting her mother's milk, it will become a winged angel. Deceased children in mythology of Bosnia and Herzegovina are turned into mysterious night birds which are called Plačo or Meknjača. Actually, we could conclude that all the pain the mother feels is transformed into the concept of the bird, symbol of the soul, which sorrowfully calls to its mother. Sometimes, the pain of the deceased child is so great that it attracts death, therefore it is believed among the folk that once a Meknjača is heard that someone in the vicinity of it will die.

It is claimed that the children are like angels until they open their mouth to speak. They lose that lovely characteristic as soon as they can talk since then they can utter both the bad with the good words. But, as the legend from Bosnian mythology claims angels never leave a humans side. Namely, every human has two angels; one is sitting on his right shoulder and the other on his left one. The one on the right shoulder is writing down his good deeds, and the one on his left his bad deeds. Similarly, angels take care of the human and protect him from evil. Folk song narrates that a father threw down the tower his wrongfully accused daughter, three times, to see if she did wrong, but every time she was saved by her angels and nothing bad happened to her:

He took Tidža by her white hand,

and threw her down the tall tower,

Hatidža was saved by angels

She didn't break her hands nor legs.

Legends say that in the ancient history children, just like animal cubs, could walk as soon as they were born. The same thing would be taking place today, the legend claims, if it wasn't for one instance where a scared mother wept and complained when she saw that her child had fallen to the ground. From that day on, God decreed that children won't be able to walk as soon as they are born but that they will have to learn how to walk.


Illyrian legends

Mythological involvement of the snake in the cult of fertility is evident through ancient Illyrian legends, with whose analysis we can discern in greater detail the connection of the snake with other elements of this cult, especially wheat. In the book "Ancient pledged monuments on the locality of BiH" (1977), author Enver Imamović mentions an interesting piece of information about the connection of wheat and a female deity: "For example, in Herodotus we find data about a female deity among Paionians which are identified with the Greek Artemisia. Illyrian women sacrifice wheat straw to her". Artemisia is known as the goddess of hunting, nature and animals, all things that Illyrians ascribed to the goddess Tana. With this data we are closer to the conclusion that Tana is behind the Great Mother, often times depicted on reliefs and monuments alongside god Vidasus. Wheat plays a pronounced role in the cult of fertility and the act of offering of wheat to the goddess has the goal of securing her grace and successful harvest. Dominant symbol of the one that gives life, first deity in human history, for the Illyrians wheat represented the biggest sanctity but also ancient sin.

During the time of the Roman's i.e. Roman occupation there was a father with seven sons and one daughter in Illirika. At one opportunity the sons out of boredom and wanton took the bread out of the house, placed it on a larger stone and used it for target practice with spears. The father was unaware of their actions, but hearing their laughter he decided to see what was going on. At the same time, while the father was exiting the house, the spear of one of the sons hit the bread, and to everyone's surprise, blood started to flow out of it. Seeing this the father yelled at his boys, asking what they have done, because now they caused the wrath of gods, which will punish them surely. Punishment is ruthless since god's sentence sons to banishment and they have to leave the home, parting on all four sides of the globe, and the only ones left are the father and his daughter. Soon the father died out of great sorrow for his sons. The girl wept and mourned since she was the only one left in the house. The god's decided to turn her into a huge snake which will guard treasure in a deep cave and each year, during spring, she would go out onto the daylight, to have a chance to meet a hero, whose courage will be so great that he will kiss her between the eyes. If he performs this feat he will receive the treasure and the girl as his wife.

Besides being interesting, the legend reveals some historical facts such as sons leaving the home for such a long time that their father didn't live to see them return. Namely, after a long Illyrian uprising against the Romans, the occupying forces decided to send Illyrian men to the boarders of the Roman empire where they would serve the army for twenty or thirty years, after which they will be allowed to return home, if they survive. Sorrow and loneliness of the girl and her transformation into a snake, symbol of fertility, similarly speak of girls which couldn't get married and achieve motherhood because of the lack of men. But, more than that, the appearance of the snake in spring hints to awakening of fertility in nature, regeneration of the eternal cycle of new birth, and throughout the entire content of the myth, we have a few crucial elements which mutually agree and complement each other: young men, whose sexual power is represented by a spear - phallus, and bread the symbol of the Grand Mother, i.e. virgin, which is being penetrated by a spear, act of defloration. We shouldn't leave out the meaning of number 9 (seven sons, father and daughter) which is the number of the Grand Mother, with which this legend represents one of the oldest Illyrian legends which remained in the collective conscience of our people. Also, bread placed on the stone and punctured with a spear could represent a type of sacrifice to Illyrian gods before the men leave for war.

In another Illyrian legend there is talk of a time of wellbeing, when the people lived in times of plentiful food; the people developed hubris and became ungrateful. In their arrogance they made shoes out of bread which angered the gods and they punished them with a period of hunger and poverty.

In this legend also we notice historical sequences about a period of peace i.e. wellbeing and a period of war (hunger), which are always connected with god's of fertility, which is understandable if we take into consideration the fact that survivability of people depended on their fertility from the beginning of times. That's why in traditional Bosnian belief we come across numerous taboos tied to bread;

it's a large sin to trample bread crumbs;

bread shouldn't be turned upside down on the table;

you shouldn't walk down the street and eat bread.

Hearth as the centre of a household and a place where bread was baked is holly and it is forbidden to thread on it, i.e. undertake blasphemy.

Not even rain was allowed to fall on the hearth that's why the dormers was closed every night, otherwise an owl could fly inside the house, personification of death in ancient beliefs of our people. Namely, if an owl enters the house through a dormer, the entire family will die.

One even swears on bread, namely, if it so happens that a person is talking while eating and holding bread in his hand he would utter: "It was like that, I swear by this nimet (bread)!"


Bogomil demon of disease

One of the grand authorities of Bogomil religion is a priest called Jeremiah (Jeremija), for which many historians presumed that he could have been the famed Bogomil preiest, founder of Bogomilsm. But, what is certain is that Jeremiah was indeed a Bogomil, and this was confirmed to us by Atanasij, a Jerusalem monk. Without a doubt, we are talking about a very interesting historical person, an extraordinary mind and the biggest religious authority in this part of Europe and we could easily call him the Balkan Zarathustra. Jeremiah is credited with authorship over a number of popular, but forbidden works, but today it is obvious that many of those books had other Bogomil authors.

In Russia all those books were called by a collective name "Bulgarian basma (spell)" and they were extremely popular among the folk, which can also be discerned from the inscriptions of the Belarus translation by Iohannes Damascenus from the 16th century, in which the translator complains: "We haven't even translated the tenth honourable book of our teachers, because of the laziness and neglect of our nobility; and additionally the so called teachers of our century are entertained by Bulgarian basma, Bulgarian magical formulas, or better to say, old wives foolery, they read these things and laud them".

That the Bogomil religion left a deep trace in Bosnian tradition is evident from numerous examples, and some can be found through this analysis. By investigating available data about Jeremiah and his books I discovered another Bogomil belief in Bosnia about the demons of disease. Namely, the Bulgarian folk believed in a type of dangerous witches, or better to say, female demons which attack humans in various ways. They were called Tresavice. According to the writing of Jeremiah they were daughters of Irud and they were seven in number. Among the Russians, which latter took this belief, those demons were 12 in total.

In the Russian version of Jeremiah's exorcist formula (basma) this text is mentioned: "There is a stone pillar in the red sea (in the original basma: Mount Sinai), apostle Sisinij sits on the pillar and observes how the sea has been agitated and how it rises up to the sky and twelve long haired women are coming out of it (in the original: seven). Those women said: We are Tresavice, daughters of the king Irod". Holly Sisinij asked them: "cursed devils, why did you come here?" They replied: "We came to torture the human kind; whomever interests us we will follow and torture him: who oversleeps the morning prayer, doesn't pray to God, doesn't respect holidays and eats and drinks early in the morning, he is our favourite! Holly Sisinij prayed to god: God, God! Save the human race from these damned devils. Christ sent him two angels, Sihail and Anos and four evangelists. They started beating the Tresavice with four iron rods, causing them three thousand wounds a day." In the rest of the basma the tortured demons revealed their names and ways in which they torture people: Treseja, Ognjeja, Ledeja, Gnjeteja, Ginuša, Gluheja, Lomeja, Puhnjeja, Žuteja, Krkuša, Gledeja and Neveja.

But, in contrast to Russian, Bosnian folk medicine mentions a total of seven female demons: Mraza, Tvora, Otrovnica, Činilica, Krvopilica, Strava and Mora, of which, each in their own way tortures a man. However, only a few exorcist formulas were kept about a few demons such as the ones against Mora or Strava, while for others, for now, I didn't manage to find any valid data.

Nežit or poganica

Nežit is also another type of dangerous demon of disease against which the Bogomil priest Jeremiah revealed exorcist formulas through which he emphasizes the dualistic battle of good and evil, with the goal of releasing the human body i.e. healing. One of those formulas reads:

Nežit went from the dry sea, while Jesus went from the sky, they met and Jesus told him: "where are you going, Nežit? Nežit replied: "Sir, I'm going into a human's head, to drink his brain, brake his jaw, bite his teeth, bend his neck and deafen his ears, blind his eyes, stuff his nose, spill his blood. Jesus told him: "go back, Nežit, into a desolate valley and desert, find a deer head and move into it, etc."

After the basma has been uttered one would continue with the religious prayers until all the negative effects of this demon has disappeared. As we can see from the above text of the basma, the meeting between Jesus and Nežit is described, where the demon reveals ways in which he will torture humans, while Jesus discourages him and tells him to inhabit a deer's head, etc. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in all places where Bogumils lived, the belief in Nežit has been preserved, over time Nežit was beginning to be called poganica, we will discuss this later.

Nežit or Poganica - demon disease

According to etymology the name nežit and poganica have an interesting origin. Nežit is a term which comes from the term "neither alive nor dead", because of the state the person is in which is afflicted by this disease, while poganica comes from the term pogan(sordid) or unclean, or even pagan, i.e. we could look for the origin of poganica in the demons function from the ancient times, which the demon actually represents, namely an evil spirit which in some ancient time in the religious history of our region, represented one of the numerous dieties. Undeniably the belief in nežit was present in each territory where at some period during the middle ages Bogomils lived or even if their religion was present in that area. Therefore, for example, in Herzegovina and a part of Dalmatia, it was believed that this disease appears mostly through unexpected pain in human limbs, while there is no visible wound. If the diseased feels weakness and dizziness, the diagnosis is, without a doubt, poganica.

Folk belief from all parts of BiH coincide in the belief that poganica manifests in a mysterious and secret way, usually as a manifestation of spellbound eyes, evil gaze, black magic or by a person accidentally "stepping" on it. During one of the enumerated extreme cases an evil spirit of disease enters into a human and "through blood" attacks the person, or better to say, "travels" through the body, which is identical to folk description of how poganica can appear on any place on the body. That's why, similarly, it is believed that poganica originates from a hematoma, place where "blood has gathered".

According to some specific symptoms, poganica can even be characterized as an imaginary illness, since it is demonstrated by a weird, even phantom pain, which suddenly and unexpectedly appears. But, in order to remove the veil of mysticism, we need to studiously fathom in all it represents in folk medicine, how it is detected and cured. According to the symptoms which follow poganica has the most congruence with rheumatism (Rheumatismus) and gout (Greek, ostealgia), since it is manifested in acute pain, usually in the bones of the arms and legs, neck but also the head.

What is interesting to mention is the fact that poganica is sometimes used to name diseases for which people cannot find an obvious and visible cause. In Bosnia, since the old days, it is claimed that one disease, if treated on time, carries with it another, often more dangerous, disease. A classic example can be found, in the traditional fear that individual wounds on the child's body won't become inflamed and result in two inflammations, or more often, that a hematoma (uboj) doesn't transform into a poganica. This archaic belief is the product of mythological belief of pagan Bosnia when the belief that wounds on human bodies, especially ones that have blood oozing out of them, attract evil spirits of disease and stimulate them to attack the diseased through them.


Kučibaba or Baba kukača

Among the Bosnian Catholics and Orthodox there is a belief in a grandma with a hook, which is called kučibaba or grandma kukača. This mythological being was used to scare little children to prevent them from approaching a well or the bank of a river since they could be caught by the grandma with her hook and they could be pulled towards her.

Behind the name kučibaba a Russian female demon is hidden called Baba Jaga, which is among the Russians identified as a cannibal witch since she feeds off the flesh of children which she catches and kills. In certain legends it is considered that she is the protector of streams and running water, which is why she is connected with streams and water in general in stories of Bosnian Catholic and Orthodox Christians.

Though the belief in kučibaba (Baba Jagi) is not present among Bosniaks, it is interesting to note that they told stories of Grandpa and Grandma (Did i Baba) to their children, Bogomil priest and his wife, in the form of humorous stories. Therefore extremely popular were the stories of the Grandpa sending the Grandma to the stream to get some water in a griddle and the Grandma cooked a bitch instead of a chicken out of revenge, etc. Such stories stemmed from the middle ages and as we can see they were transferred generation through generation.


Two angels of the afterlife

As Antun Hangi wrote in his anthological edition about the tradition and life of Bosnian people after funeral, when the gathered people leave the cemetery, i.e. move 40 steps from the grave, Suvaldžije or Suradžije come to the deceased to prepare suval for him, i.e. ask him about his earthly life. When Suradžije come the deceased comes to life, but not in the form that he lived on earth, he is in some hypnotic state, from which he will answer all the questions that will be posed to him. According to Bosnian mythology, Suvaldžije are two angels which are called Munkir and Nekir. They're in charge of asking certain questions based on which the decision if the soul will go to heaven or hell will be made. First questions to which the deceased will answer are: "Who is your God?". He will reply: "My God is Allah". Then comes the second question: "What is qibla to you?" - "Qibla is my Mecca". "Who is God's messenger?" - "God's messenger is Muhammad". The questioning doesn't end, then comes the second round of mysterious questions about which people know nothing about. But we can presume that they are tied to the character and good deeds. If the deceased was a good Muslim, i.e. if he was a true believer and if he followed the rules of the religion and abided by them, he will then answer positively and quickly to all questions. The result in the end will be that Suvaldžija will take his soul to heaven. After his soul has been taken to heaven, his grave will be widened so that his body doesn't suffer, since the body of the just will not see judgment day. If the deceased was not a real Muslim and he hasn't died in god's grace and the real fate which was revealed by Muhammad, he cannot then reply to all the questions, and his soul will be taken by Suvaldžija and thrown into hell, which the deceased earned with his inadequate life and character.


Illyrian religion

By its natural wealth Bosnia and Herzegovina was always full of forests and numerous water streams, which by itself, in a very logical manner, predetermined the religious system of the Illyrians, this system was entirely dedicated to worshiping natural forces. This is why Tana and Vidasus became symbols, but also personifications of the human environment, and as such they signified the strength of nature and everything that nature offers to mankind. With them, of course, comes an entire pantheon of other gods and goddesses such as Bindu, Tur, Anzotik, or the divine serpent Boa, whose roles in the religious system were not negligible. But, as a starting point for further observation when researching ways of healing by our forefathers the most important are Vidasus, Tana, Tur and Bind.

What we need to stress at the beginning is the fact that thanks to these deities of our forefathers, today we can be proud that we have a durable cult of healing, which has a deep reach in the ancient times. Documented data from the National Museum in Sarajevo present examples of continued ritual practice of visiting streams and washing the diseased, which ends in leaving a piece of clothing or food next to the stream or even throwing a coin inside of it, which is without a doubt a preserved tradition of respecting and seeking help from god Bind, which our forefathers the Illyrians worshiped as a deity of streams. In pagan Bosnia he was offered animal sacrifices, usually of smaller animals such as goats, which was latter exchanged by symbolic gifts. Cult of Bind was especially dominant in the part of Bosnia, which was dominated by Japod's, as well as boarder parts of the Croatia at that time, especially in Lika, where it was practiced until the middle of the previous century. Belief that spring water, especially the one taken before sunrise, medicinal and suitable for healing is another segment of the mentioned cult.


Tana and Vidasus

Sculptures which depict god Vidasus, sometimes accompanied by Tana, show him encircled by girls dancing or in the form of nymphs, water faeries. Beside the data which confirm that the Bosnian folk were familiar with faeries from ancient times, this information is extremely important for further study about correlation with persons which came into direct contact with faeries and gained healing powers as well as texts of spells. From Bosnian tradition we know that faeries are skilled in healing with medicinal herbs and spring water in which, according to legends, they would bathe.

What was especially interesting to notice when gathering materials for this research are individual ways of initiation of certain persons into the world of magic and healing and for which it is impossible not to find a direct link with Tan, Vidasus or even a snake, holly totem of our forefathers.

-"Bosnian folk believes that spells are a gift from spirits, especially faeries, which is evidenced by numerous testimonies about initiation. A large part of older women in the past that used to work with spells were illiterate and they used to live in villages. Their initiation into supernatural was always based on weird dreams in which young and beautiful girls used to appear, usually three, they would teach the chosen woman healing formulas in the dream. There are different examples. According to sayings of a well-known witch from Velika Kladuša called Ćanka, an unknown man and woman appeared in her dream, clad in white clothes. They pulled her by her large toe and "woke her". Then they told her that they chose her to heal and help people. Another woman received her initiation into the world of magic by a snake bite. Namely, at one time while she was out working in the field she got tired and she laid down to rest. Without realising she fell asleep and when she woke up she felt pain in her lips. As soon as she came home she saw that her lips were swollen and dark. She quickly went to a doctor who determined that she was bitten by a snake. It wouldn't have been a sensational event if she hadn't felt that she "knew" strange things and that suddenly she knew how to perform love magic and cure people of it."


Cult of god Tur

In folk religion of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is based on Illyrian traditional beliefs, some segments of the Bosnian god Tur were preserved thanks to the cult of spells (magical formulas); in Bosnian mythology it was believed that Tur was a gigantic black bull who held earth on his back. The name Tur itself probably comes from poturiti, onaj koji potura, drži nešto ili pridržava (plant, someone who places under, upholds or holds something) which fully corresponds to the function which is ascribed to this mythological being. Though according to the writings of ethnologists the belief about the gigantic bull who is holding up earth is only found among the Bosnian people, some segments of that cult are present in the magical practice of all three people in our country. We are talking about healing rituals of cattle where women or men who perform these rituals preform a spring ritual of transmission of divine power of Tur in order to gain his blessing or power of healing.

Namely, in folk religion of Bosnia the snail is a miniature representation of the bull Tur since it possesses attributes which symbolise the bull: horns and house on his body which symbolises earth. It is no less interesting to mention that for the ritual of touching, a dark coloured snail is often sought, since the bull Tur was described as being of a black skin or hair, therefore the Bosnian people in the northwest part of Bosnia call him Garonja (black). Significance of touching the snail is the magical connection with earth, in which Tur lives, otherwise in Bosnian mythology is the only culprit for causing earthquakes, and calming Tur, personification of the earth's strength, which is clearly visible in the formula which follows ritual touching of the snails horns: "Ustuk biče, moje biče jače!" (stand down bull, my strength is bigger than the bull's)

When a woman from the surrounding area of Mostar would gain the power of healing livestock, she would use her index finger of her right hand to touch the horns of a dark snail three times, pulling her finger down his body, backwards, uttering the following spell: "Stu na se! Stu natrag, ne znalo ti se za trag. Stu na se. Od Boga derman a od mog iladž!" (Go back, go back, may your origin be unknown, go back! From God the cure and my labour recovery). As we can see from the examples, touching the horns of the snail is nothing but a magical imitation of touching horns of Tur, whose entire strength rests in them, and using that force to heal, since that is the energy of earth or Grand Mother. It is believed that after such a transfer of power from the snail onto a woman or man, a person can use their acquired powers to cure throughout the entire year.

A diseased animal is brought to a rock which is firmly fixed into the ground, i.e. it never moved from that place, which is alluding to a tombstone, then the woman which is performing the healing ritual uses her index finger to make three circles around the diseased part of the body and utters: "stu natrag!" (an abbreviation of "come, tread, move"). She then spits on her index finger uttering: "Ptuj, u živac, u kamen, stu natrag!" she repeats this three times.

Right index finger in folk medicine is the finger of healing and is brought into connection with the finger of Hazrat Alija, who is always depicted with a raised index finger as a symbol of god's wisdom but also blessing. This is no coincidence since Hazrat Fatima and her husband Hazrat Ali in folk medicine, especially in Iran and Turkey, are regarded as a couple who have ascribed mystic properties to them, among which are healing properties. In north-western part of Bosnia, in Velika Kladuša and Cazin, right index finger is represented in the prayer to the new moon which is pointed towards the moon after uttering five short (smaller) surah, then a spell is uttered with which one aims to renew vitality and beauty of the body.

According to traditional belief for this magical transmission one would chose the period from the beginning of May until the middle of the month which is no coincidence, namely, it was a custom in the past to slaughter a bull (once people used to say: "We'll slaughter a bull for the first of the May!"), which was a symbol in the former Yugoslav republic of labour day, however, that practice of slaughtering animals, i.e. sacrificing a bull on our territory is an ancient practice and stems directly from Illyrians. All of this of course has its roots on the cult of Tur and mother earth or goddess Grand Mother.

Actually, today's holiday St. George's day, which is observed on May 6th among the Bosnian orthodox Christians, is not a Christian holiday at all, nor any other, it has been taken over from paganism. In this data we can find an answer as to why Bosnian people, former members of the Church of Bosnia before the advent of Christianity, were pagans, therefore it is normal and logical to conclude that they, like other people, did not fully renounce their old religion. Instead they continued under the veil of Christianity and later Islam to celebrate the holidays of their pagan forefathers. That's why among the Bosnian folk some so called "Christian" holidays were marked (observed) but not in a religious but magical way i.e. the original pagan way, during which destiny was foretold, spells uttered and livestock protected from evil spirits and diseases.

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Zduhači or Stuhe

The wealth of Bosnian mythology is certainly reflected in numerous names for various beings from the folklore such as guzenzuba, previdi, more, leptirice, plakavac, div, buka, kučibaba, kamenica... Though Bosnia and Herzegovina is a relatively small country often a few names signify one mythological being such as bird-child soul called Plačo, Plakavac, Buka, Meknjača, or for example name for a witch: leptirica, naletnica, sihirbaza, guzenzuba, etc.

Certain mythological beings are tied to geographically small areas such as kamenica and are therefore relatively unknown or there is only mention of them in folk stories. Such is the case with divovi (giants) which among the Bosnian people exist solely in folk tales and stories (Folk short stories, author Munib Maglajić, Esma Smailbegović, Svjetlost, 1978) where cannibals are described while in folklore there is no mention of any memorable giants or a belief about them.

But, when we talk about stuhe or zduhači it is very interesting to mention the data that in BiH, where we come across a widespread belief in stuhe or zduhače, together with border territories of Montenegro, Serbia and Croatia, we can find tombstones. This information is very important since it leads to a conclusion that stuhe or zduhači were probably guardians of tombstones, which was modified after the Middle ages into the belief that stuhe are guardians of a place. In the parts of Bosnia where there are no findings of tombstones there is no mention of stuhe nor mention of a local zduhač, no matter the religious affiliation.


Karanđoloz and Psoglav

Three demonic beings which were used to scare people are karanđoloz, kučibaba and psoglav. Karanđoloz is a dark demon from the Turkish folklore about which there is a belief in Bulgaria, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is believed that he wears an iron shirt and that he smells horribly. Karanđoloz has a habit of jumping on one's back at an intersection in order to be carried around. He is a nocturnal being and appears only then.

Psoglav (doghead) is a mythological being of Bosnian Orthodox which stems from Russia. It is described as a human being with legs of a horse and the head of a dog. It has teeth of steel and an eye on the middle of the forehead. It is used to scare disobedient children.



Another mythological being about which there are a lot of stories and beliefs in Bosnia is Aždaha which is described by people to be fat and round as a stump, it can devour a goat, has no wings and can be heard when an hour away. "Wherever it comes it will create havoc or evil". According to mythology aždaha which devoured the sun was called Sap. A long time ago there were three suns in the sky and the aždahe which lived in the lake ate two and cut into the third one. People shot cannons at them in vain. Then a gypsy came and said: "Don't do it like that, slaughter a hundred sheep, skin them, fill them with plaster and throw them into the lake in order for aždaha to come out." When they threw plaster the aždahe thought it was a sheep, they ate them and died.


Living dead - lampiri

Vampire is a Bulgarian word, which comes from north Turkish word upir. That's why there is a logical question - did the belief in vampires even exist before the advent of the Ottomans to the Balkans?! According to the available data we can conclude that such mythological beliefs in the territory of the Balkans did not exist until the Ottomans came, which confirmed by the issue "Karadžić svesci" from 1900 where folk tales are described about how Muhammad became a vampire since "the Turks took care that no one leapt over Muhammad and not if someone stole him, since they believed in vampires".

The first known vampire in the Balkans is the one from Istra, Jure Grando, whose existence was documented in 1689. Jure Grando from a place Kringa, not far from Pazin, died in 1656 when Stipan Milašić decapitated him with an axe. There are testimonies about Jure the vampire in the work "Slava vojvodine Kranjske" from the Slovenian historian Janez Vajkarda Valvazor (Johann Weikhard von Valvasor).

Among the Bosnian people, both in BiH and Sandžak (Sanjak), the most widespread name for a vampire is lampir. According to etymology the name lampir stems from the folk name for a butterfly - lepir, lampijer, which is confirmed by the Bosnian belief that the vampire exits the grave through a small hole in the ground in the shape of a butterfly. In Serbia and Montenegro lampir is often called ukolak, which is why in some places in Bosnia we come across the name vukodlak (werewolf), though he has no real connection with the lampir.

Prevalent opinion about the lampir among the Bosnian folk is animistic i.e. it is a "rogue spirit" of a man who died i.e. his spirit mysteriously received such power that even without a soul it can temporarily resurrect a dead body:

-"But, in order to die we must be born, feel life for at least a moment, in order for our spirit and soul to achieve a balance, since without this alignment with two universal principles, or with two deities of our forefathers Bogomils, we cannot enter the adventure called death. Folk wisdom claims that the spirit is the representative of the god of evil and the soul, pure and holly, it represents the god of good inside of us. While the spirit has the possibility to, usually at night while the man is sleeping, go out of the body and travel the world and also perform some weird, often bad things and bring us into various temptations, the soul is firmly fixed for the human body and there is no possibility of exiting it until death*"

Lampiri are socially aware. They know how to return to their home, make love to their spouse or disturb the neighbours by throwing rocks on their roof. Business is not strange to them, namely, "some lampir, stemming from Herzegovina, had his own store in Sarajevo where he sold all goods by a yardstick (scales), so when they pierced him in his birth place, they forcefully tried to break his store, but the store was nothing more but spider web and snowdrift. When people find out that someone in the village has become a vampire, then they make a fire on that person's grave and they sharpen a hawthorn stick to puncture the dead person's stomach. When a strong stick has been made with hammers it is bashed to bring him into the grave." In the descriptions of the treatment of the lampir among the Bosnian people we cannot but notice an almost identical treatment toward the soul and the dead which the angels Azrail and Džibril have according to Bosnian mythology:

-"Such belief confirms the belief that when the deceased is buried he is visited in the grave by angels, judges, Azrail and Džibrail. They question the deceased about his good deeds and sins, and if he is sinful they hit him and bury him into the ground. Folk claim that they can bury him up to 77 meters into the ground".**(Soul and death in Bosnian tradition, author Raif Esmerović)

Making a fire on the grave is obviously alluding to the fire from hell which swallows the souls of the evil and sinful people. It is used to scare the deceased, moreover, give him a mortal fear so that the spirit runs from the body, which will then be decapitated and made unsuitable for use by puncturing its stomach. Lampiri can be very aggressive.

According to the documented case of Ahmed Ramov Mujović from Montenegro who got into a fight with this supernatural being. Coming back home one night from ploughing, "something stopped his oxen and they couldn't move forward". Seeing this he shouted: "Please if you are ukolak, but a devil, but a human, move away, by my faith I will return again". Then he went home, took his sabre, two pistols and a rifle and returned to that place where he shouted: "Where are ye that has waited for me?" at that moment ukolak appeared. They fought until the roosters sounds were heard. Tomorrow Ahmed came back to that same spot and found out that it was a lampir. He followed the bloody trail and arrived at the yard of the family Puranović. They found him there in the grave, they burnt him with quicklime and stuck him on to a stake made out of the tree Prunus spinosa.


Dwarf Perkman

Political rise of Bosnia was followed from the first part of the XIV century by a corresponding development and progress. By expansion of the territories of medieval Bosnian state naturally the scope of trade had increased, which in its basis had the rise of production, especially mining. Bosnia was rich in ore and metal which were produced and processed in numerous places: Fojnica, Zenica, Vareš, Kakanj, Srebrenica, Foča, Banja Luka, Tuzla, Goražde, Ustikolina and Zvornik. Significant source of income for the rulers and nobility were the mines, especially of silver and lead. Migration of the Germans and the Slavs covered the continuous development of ancient mining in the late ancient and early medieval period on the territory of Bosnia. Mining still existed, but with reduced capacity on the traces of the ancient mines. A greater swing in the development of mining belongs only to the developed middle ages. The reason for these improvements is found in the fact that after the shortage of noble metals in western and middle Europe, a general search began for the metals which had its reflection also on this territory. For that purpose the German miners sasi or Saxons (German tribe) were employed, they were specialised in finding and organizing exploitation of ores. This is why Srebrenica was the homeland of the miners spirit, dwarf Perkman, north-German mythological being. Remnants of the medieval mining works for which it is believed that during their excavation the merry dwarf Perkman helped, they are visible by the promenade which leads towards the spa from the city.


Soul and death in Bosnian tradition

Death which represents the end of life, is probably the main "culprit" why the belief in supernatural appeared among the human civilizations. Inexplicable fear from that strange condition and generally panic from disappearing caused among the people on the entire globe frustrations and eternal questions from the earliest times - why are we born and why do we die? Though we don't know the answer to this question even today, yet we as a civilization tried to fill the world with things in order to introduce some order and thereby give a certain sense to everything we do.

This is why humans invent religion, its unrestrained imagination creates a large number of imaginary beings which surround him, and despite numerous human characteristics, still they have some exaltation which separates them from the world of humans. Throughout centuries religion experiences its constant trend, upgrades, adjusts to human advancement and finally in ancient Iran it receives its present nature through dualism of Persians Manesa and the prophet Zarathustra, on whose principles monotheism is born - direction which tries to convince us in the absurd i.e. how it is possible that in the universe there are two principles - good and evil, but that only one principle is important and the second one is less important?! Because of such an erroneous religious idea in Bosnia and Herzegovina around the tenth century, and probably even sooner, a revolutionary religious direction started to spread fast which seriously impairs the rigid Christian doctrine, it propagates that through the world, but also the universe, two equally important deities rule between which exists man and his primary spiritual mission to clean his soul from sins, and after death to return it to heaven. Such a claim is pretty rational, if we take into consideration the definition that according to the principles of quant physics all matter is actually condensed energy and that this is the reason why all of us are beings of energy or beings of light, what leads us into traditional belied in the spirit and soul, which every human possesses.

But, in order to die we must be born, feel life for at least a moment, in order for our spirit and soul to achieve a balance, since without this alignment with two universal principles, or with two deities of our forefathers Bogomils, we cannot enter the adventure called death. Folk wisdom claims that the spirit is the representative of the god of evil and the soul, pure and holly, it represents the god of good inside of us. While the spirit has the possibility to, usually at night while the man is sleeping, go out of the body and travel the world and also perform some weird, often bad things and bring us into various temptations, the soul is firmly fixed for the human body and there is no possibility of exiting it until death.



Spirit and soul as two abstract terms are actually a basic framework of the entire spiritual thread which spans through the human race since its beginning. In Bosnian mythological beliefs it is an extremely dominant idea of similar, almost identical, representation of a few supernatural aspects of man himself. Namely, when we analyse some segments of traditional representations about the human spirit and soul, which are often not differentiated in folk tales which causes confusion, wild nature is clearly evident which according to mythological notion represents the essence of every man. While in classic European mythology the spirit, but also the soul, is represented by a see-through white silhouette, which in a human form hover through the air or suddenly appear and disappear, in Bosnian representation the spirit mostly resembles an energy ball whose shape has an astonishing similarity with a mouse. Certain mythological tradition describe the appearance of the soul as "fruit of the apple tree" i.e. such a description actually associates us with a light ball which exits a hole (mouth) and moves with fast steps towards the surface, emitting sounds similar to a mouse squeak. With such a comparison one receives an impression that the energy is restless and nervous, i.e. unrestrained, which it proves by exiting the human body.

A mouse was not chosen accidentally for the totem animal since it is used for the description of other supernatural events, closely tied to humans themselves. Some of the examples are as follows:

- Mouse in the folk tale about Noah's ark is an extremely negative character who wanted to let water in by trying to create a hole in the ark, and destroy the entire world. He would probably succeed if he wasn't prevented by the snake. Actually, the mouse is the incarnation of evil, a demon which wants to destroy mankind.

- snijet, which in mythology in Bosnia and Herzegovina is considered to be a dragon seed after intercourse with a woman, it is described as a small hairy creature, which resembles a mole or mouse, which runs and squeaks, even climbing walls in fear of a human hand touching it, or even worse, getting killed by a broom from one of the present women.

- in exotic séances of Bosnian dervishes and Imam's, in the ritual known as "skupljanje daire", the final sign of a successful performance, usually curing a mentally ill person, is the hanged or dead mouse on a nearby bridge. This is a signal that the Jinn use to show that the Jinn attacker has been punished by the severest punishment.


Ubiquitous Bogomil tradition

The human spirit is very restless. When a man is sleeping the spirit exits the body and walks away. The man dreams where the spirit goes, and when it returns into the body, the sudden energy surge wakes the man up. The spirit in Bosnian mythology is described as an etheric apparition which squeals. As for the soul, so as for the human spirit a bridge represents a very strong barrier and prevents it from further movement, namely, as soon as the spirit comes across a bridge during his nightly travels, he cannot cross it, it gets restless starts squealing and screaming. If someone would catch that mouse, the sleeper whose spirit is represented by the mouse would die immediately.

In Bosnian mythological representation a bridge is a notion of a place with high energy, which besides connecting two shores in the material level, on the spiritual it has the meaning of a spiritual portal through which the soul passes or perishes on its journey.

According to belief from south-eastern part of Bosnia a child's spirit is especially restless, like the child itself, it is restless and always in the mood for movement and games. Aware of this older women still today warn young mothers when moving a sleeping child from one place to another or if waking it to do it carefully, calling him by his name and pulling it lightly by the nose. If the child is a heavy sleeper they would imitate the sound of a mouse (cccc) in order to draw attention to the wandering spirit, this would force him back into the body. Otherwise, if the child would awake and the spirit hasn't returned, they would risk the child would fall ill mentally and physically.

Also for an adult the same rule applies, it should not awake suddenly, since its spirit is far away, traveling across the world. Apparently such a person could physically attack, start kicking the person that is awaking him at such an unpleasant moment. In that case it is necessary for such a person to be taken to the place where he is sleeping, for it to lie there again, and stay there until it awakes. If this is not done, the person could have some mental issues all its life.

As it is narrated among the Bosnian folk, according to the Bogomil principles, the human spirit belongs to the god of evil and the soul to the god of good. This is why it is believed that witches and wizards have to sell their souls to Iblis or some other ranked Jinn, in order to engage in magical practice and rule the unseen forces. They perform this with a ritual, usually by bringing the holly book Qur'an inside the bathroom and urinating or defecating on it. This is why the soul was purposefully exchanged for a certain power, the soul is trapped and no longer belongs to the human.

After such a situation and the disturbance of the equilibrium of good and evil, the human spirit in the body of the witch or wizard becomes extremely powerful but also evil and is capable of making various evil deeds. While the witch is sleeping, the spirit exits her, and the body gets a blue hue and becomes cold, almost as if she died, which is the consequence of a trapped soul. Her mouth gaps open and become black. It is considered that a spirit of a common man is capable of doing bad things during its nightly travels, such as attacking someone along the way, but this spirit like the witches spirit avoids crossing over all bridges which it encounters.

Similar belief exits in Iranian - Arabic occultism where it is claimed that every human possesses its astral doppelganger. Haamzad or Qarin is the name for the Jinn which follows the man at all times and tries to influence negatively his conscious and his behaviour. Qarin is the only Jinn which cannot be destroyed with exorcism or in any other way.


Soul tied to Halal

Soul is the holder of human destiny. In BiH it is believed that Allah in the first 40 days of inception in the mother's womb determines what the destiny and life of the child i.e. future man, shall be. This is why it is considered that only when the soul enters the embryo it can develop into a fetus and begin its formation. When a man is terminally ill his family and neighbours come to say goodbye - halale (forgive), in order to ease his death throes. Forgiveness is a very important segment of Islamic tradition, which shows mercy but also ensures an easier passing of the soul from the body. Namely, it is believed that the diseased dies in great pain and agony if someone who he has hurt won't forgive him. His parents, if alive, need to say their indulgences and by that comfort the diseased in his last moments.

How necessary halal is for the tranquillity of the soul is best described by a folk song. Sister in law while dying curses the bride Alibegovic. Time came for the bride to die, but she cannot separate from her soul which is why she asked to be carried to the tomb of her sister in law:

When they were close to the tomb,

From the tomb a small voice came:

Don't bring hither the cursed,

Until she has suffered enough!

They took her to the mountains, the mountains didn't want to take her, they took her to the water, the water threw her out. They brought her again to the sister in law. As soon as she forgave her, she immediately separated from the soul. How important halal (forgiveness) for the Bosnian people is, is testified by the custom that the person wronged by another says: "I shall die but I will not halaliti (forgive)!"

Bosnian people believe that the one who dies in the eve of Friday or during Eid is freed of all his sins, since then, it is believed, only the noble people die. Harbingers of death are numerous. In Velika Kladuša it is believed that when an old man starts to be dirty, no longer takes care of personal hygiene, or his favourite drink or food o longer tastes good that death is close by. Similarly, people give a lot of meaning to interpretation of dreams since through them one can foretell someone's imminent death. In dreams taking out a tooth and feeling pain, is a sign of death in the house, if the pain is not felt death will take place to other relatives. It is not considered favourable to plough or dig in dreams, and generally overturn earth, or see that the ground has cracked, at some location, since it foretells death in the family. Similar meaning is represented by a sunken foundation of the house or fallen beams from the roof. Such dreams are often disregarded or not shared for fear of them coming true. Usually as a counter measure it is said: "Dream is a lie and god is the truth" or, even, "Hey, let it be, thank Allah!"



According to traditional belief the soul and body during a human's lifetime create a whole. If the soul leaves the body forever - death occurs. The body will decompose over time and disappear, it is believed that the soul is eternal and immortal. The soul cannot disappear, but over time it changes its habitat and goes to an unknown world which is called Ahiret or another world.

The soul doesn't leave the body on its own, Azrail intervenes, who in Bosnian mythology described as a skinny man with long arms and wings. Instead of nails he has claws, like a bird, which he uses to rip the soul or take it out of the body.

General belief is that the soul leaves the body slowly, since it is wrapped around every joint 99 times, it exits through the nose and mouth. Only with a man who has been hanged the soul does not exit in this manner, instead it exits through the rectum and this is why it gets dirty which makes it difficult for it to go to the next world.

The soul leaves the body from the legs towards the head. This belief has a rational interpretation since the feet and hands go blue to the deceased. On its way from the body the soul can be disturbed and confused if there is a noise and weeping inside the house that's why a general rule is that there should be peace and quiet around the deceased. Otherwise the dying shall die painfully and for a long time. It is believed that sinful people die with difficulty and suffer mightily before death. To ease the final moments the person is descended from the bed onto the ground, on a strewn carpet, while his shoes and socks should be taken off so he doesn't die with his socks on, in that case he would lose his religion. Rings are mandatorily taken off from a female in order to ease the passing of the soul.

When Azrail rips the soul from the human he carries it to the seventh heavenly floor and gives it to Allah, where it stays until judgement day. According to another belief, angel Azrail takes the soul from the body and there his job end. Separated from the soul, the soul stays there, close, for a certain period. It can follow what is going on with its body, but without any emotions since exiting the body it became free of any feelings, in the house, on the way to the cemetery and in the grave itself.


Are you a Muslim?

When a girl or boy would die one would place a stalk of nacre (ruta graveolens) above their heads. According to the custom one places an herb of a distinct smell next to the deceased in order to chase the Jinn away. One would usually use nacre, whose bouquets often adorned the grave of a girl or a boy. Nacre is according to this an herb dedicated to the cult of the dead in Bosnian tradition.

As soon as a person would die one would make "dead man's paste" and would distribute it across the neighbourhood. Necessity to follow his departure into the other world with good deeds, in order to ease it, was pronounced before and during the funeral. That's why next to the head of the deceased one would place a bowl of flour, or wheat, with a few tallow candles stuck inside of it. On the next day the candles and the flour were given to the poor.

According to folk knowledge, the deceased should be buried as soon as possible. Depending on the case the funeral should be done the same day, and if death occurred at midnight or during the evening - then the next day. If the person died suddenly in his bed, and he wasn't lowered to the floor prior to that, to die there, then it is done once he has died. His head is tied with a bandana and his eyelids are squeezed, so he can have a nice face. The deceased is placed so that his body is straight, it used to be a habit to tie the thumbs on the legs in order for the body to keep that position, while a heavy object was placed on the stomach, such as a knife, or a piece of earth, out of fear that the dead body wouldn't bloat, since that was explained as him "prikazati" i.e. - becoming a lampir. This is the reason why the house cat was locked away until the funeral has passed, out of fear that the cat will cross the deceased' body.

Deceased is covered with a white sheet and positioned so that his right cheek is turned in the direction of the holly city Mecca. One of the inhabitants, using a straight stick, takes a measure of the deceased, which is called "unčija" or "ulčija" in order to know the length of ćefin, the cloth of the dead, and digging of the grave. When the deceased is taken from the house, to the outside then care is taken that a part of him doesn't get stuck by a door or wall, since if that happens, it is believed, that his spirit will come back to the house and will disturb the inhabitants.

Bosnian folk believe that the soul can return home up to 40 days after the funeral. That's why lights or candles were turned on in the room where he lie, for the entire period, among the more affluent families, while the poor families would practice this ritual for seven or three nights. Place where the deceased was bathed was passed with fire, so that the Jinn and devils don't gather, and the room in which he lie was sprayed with water or was washed "so that the soul doesn't return". If the room was swept after the body was taken out, then the broom would be thrown far from the house.

After the body of the deceased is washed and all present men and women forgive him, halaliti, the body is taken to the grave where it is buried with a prayer. It is believed that when the Imam leaves the graveyard, since he has uttered all the necessary verses and prayers, the soul stays in the community of the dead. An interesting belief is that during the Imam's question of the deceased: "Are you a Muslim?" - the deceased in the grave lifts his entire body on the small finger of his right hand and answers readily: "I am a Muslim!" He does so that he is received by the dead. It is evident that the soul, according to belief, can resurrect the body so that it can lift itself up.


Bridge for souls

Such belief confirms the belief that when the deceased is buried he is visited in the grave by angels, judges, Azrail and Džibrail. They question the deceased about his good deeds and sins, and if he is sinful they hit him and bury him into the ground. Folk claim that they can bury him up to 77 meters into the ground. In some parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina it is believed that the worst case scenario for the deceased is to be buried in the eve of Tuesday and Saturday, since then he will be visited by scary Jinn called suhaladžije, which beat the deceased until they break and shatter all his bones.

Road from this earthly world leads to heaven across a bridge called sirat bridge, which is according to belief "thinner than a hair, sharper than a sword, longer than thousand kilometres". Underneath the bridge is a scary chasm - hell. There a large and powerful hell fire for which it is claimed among the Bosnian people that it is so hot and strong that no earthly fire can compare to it "since our fire is washed by 99 waters". Apparently, when out of "spite" only one spark from hell fire would jump out the entire world would burn. That fire heats up a cauldron which contains a black mass "tar like", which is boiling and when sinners fal in it they are turning like bean beads in a boiling pot.

The soul of the deceased slowly crosses the bridge (thousand kilometres). That road could be cut shorter and the road could be crossed sooner if for Eid he would sacrifice his best, most healthy ram. The soul of the ram -kurban, will carry him across the bridge "like a horse", it is believed.

Depending on the region of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Sandžak, the people have their beliefs on the movement of the soul. One part of the belief claims that the soul of the deceased leaves the earth after seven days, graveyards and the house and across the siratbridge carrying the good and bad deeds tries to reach the blissful, eternal life. It is believed that the man, while crossing the sirat bridge, carries the good deeds in his right hand or right shoulder, and the bad deeds on his left shoulder or left hand which he is hiding behind his back, that's why he is walking sideways so that the judge (Allah) has a harder time seeing the sins. Similarly, it is believed that the head needs to be raised high, and eyes looking at the sky. So that the soul doesn't see where it is walking when crossing the bridge. Out of many other beliefs a very interesting one is that if the deceased had sexual intercourse with someone else's wife during his lifetime, her menstrual blood will drip into his mouth and he will fall into hell. A similar punishment will be given to the one who has denounced a woman, broke up a wedding or killed someone.


Love - road towards heaven

Among the Bosnian people, especially in the south-western part of BiH, there is a custom that every family have their own graves, which are usually placed in the vicinity of the house. There is documented proof that there was a custom of burying the dead in the woods, yards or underneath bushes. In old graves one could usually see, especially around Sarajevo, a planted tree above the grave, so that often, the graveyard resembled a forest. This practice was familiar in the entire country. Reason for this was the desire to ensure good deeds to the dead, namely, if one would plant a cherry tree the fruit would be eaten by birds so called "bird's alms", which should ease the soul of the dead. But, there is probably a deeper tradition behind this practice, Illyrian one, dedicated to the cult of the deity of nature and fertility, Tana and Vidasus, therefore the act of planting a tree next to the deceased would have the role of gift for the ancient gods, such as, for example, the practice of leaving gifts at the spring to god Bindu with the goal of seeking amelioration. For people who spread hatred and quarrels it is said that they are the "firewood of hell", they're used to light a fire on which souls such as theirs will burn. The notion, that the largest sin which dooms someone to hell is if someone separates two people which love one another (i.e. husband and wife), was created based on the belief above. That sin is characterised among the people to be so large that it cannot be annulled even if the man builds nine mosques with his money and his own hands. Again, it is believed, Allah will not forgive his sin. Recount of a touching folk song:

Hazrat Fatima was walking,

Across heaven and hell,

She opened the doors of heaven,

She didn't see her dear mother,

She opened the doors of hell.

-"what are you doing there, mother dearest?"

-ask me not my dear daughter,

I committed a great sin,

I broke off a reel of a graft,

I muddied clear water;

I started a quarrel between a boy and a girl,

Allah would've forgave me everything,

Only not those two."

How much love is considered to be the most noble and to Allah the most dearest occurrence, with which an individual can gain many deeds and open the doors of heaven for himself, is evidenced by the belief which claims that the person who introduces two people, which fall in love and get married, earned so much good deeds with God that he is free of the obligation to pray and go to the mosque his entire life.



While crossing the Sirat bridge it is determined if the soul will receive punishment or reward. Out of the great weight of sins the unlucky will soon fall off the bridge into boiling tar. Souls which are good and noble, and with that have many good deeds, will easily cross the bridge and reach heaven. However, this belief is not the only among the Bosnian folk, we also come across different beliefs. As people claim the soul of the dead rests in the grave or on the seventh floor of the heavens, until judgement day. On that day everything will be levelled, hills and meadows will disappear and everything will be destroyed. The honourable Qur'an mentions this in the Surat Ez-Zilaz (Earthquake):

When the earth is shaken with its [final] earthquake, And the earth discharges its burdens, And man says, "What is [wrong] with it?" -That Day, it will report its news, Because your Lord has commanded it. That Day, the people will depart separated [into categories] to be shown [the result of] their deeds. So whoever does an atom's weight of good will see it, And whoever does an atom's weight of evil will see it.

To the dead ancestors one usually says prayers in the eve of Monday and Friday. The things one prayed and forgave, would be given (handed) to the dead in the next world. According to folk belief the thing one prayed is rolling down a large hill into the valley, like haystack carried by wind, where souls of the dead eagerly watch and wait if they will receive hedija from their loved ones. According to this description we get the idea of how people imagines the afterlife to be, at least the one which is reserved of sinful souls, which somewhat corresponds with the notion of hell which is located in a deep abyss. In the folk perception souls are trapped inside a space surrounded by tall mountains and hills, from which there is no escape. In that space they are treated as prisoners, which is after all confirmed by the belief of delivering the prayer.

That's why we need to conclude that in Bosnian traditions afterlife, especially hell, does not start and finish by the fall into the fire, instead through hell there are various scenes of torture and abuse of sinful souls. People claim that, for example, a woman which had an abortion or in some other way killed its child will be doomed to run madly after a small bird trying to unsuccessfully catch it. Bird as the personification of the soul is present in Bosnian mythology through the mysterious bird Meknjača or bird Plačo.

All evil which a person did during his life will come to the fore in the afterlife, where evil deeds are emphasized to the degree where they become absolute, so that the soul directly and brutally faces its sins. Suffering of sinful souls, according to Bosnian folk, stop only five times a day, while the Imam is uttering the Azzan (call to prayer). That's why farmers in the past would stop their field work when they would hear Azzan, because the living also need rest at that moment, empathising with the sorrows of those which serve them in hell and at the same time that short period should be moments of reflection and warning that they shouldn't sin and be bad people.


Bogomil doctrine on the migration of the soul

Furthermore traditional beliefs of our ancestors have a very strong impact on the century long spiritual reflections therefore we shouldn't disregard if we wish to get an overall impression.

Remnants of the old Illyrian-Bogomil beliefs are still present in tradition of Bosnian people therefore we come across folk notions which are complete opposites of what the Islamic tradition teaches. According to sayings of the older population souls of people that committed grievous sins during their lifetime, tortured and killed innocent, will not end up in hell but will be reborn in a body of an animal, usually domestic, such as a horse, cow, pig. in order to serve people and to amend their evils. The worst punishment, it is believed, is to be born in the body of a swine, since it is considered to be, because of its filth and tendency to eat its young, a demonic animal. That's why the human soul rarely frees itself of that damned form.

This belief of our people has spawned some humane habits towards animals, especially towards dogs, which is proven by some written records. In the past people from Sarajevo were prone to feeding stray dogs out of fear that some of them might harbour human souls. Still today it is considered to be a good dead to feed a bitch that just had puppies, Antun Hangi also wrote about this in his work on the life of Bosniaks. Belief that the human soul is inside animals, especially domestic, is evidenced by traditional warning statement: "An animal doesn't know how to forgive!" This suggested that humans should treat animals correctly and with care "since you never know which one of them is harbouring a human soul!"

White colour - symbol of sorrow

While mourning a dead family member, women avoided wearing red coloured clothes, white clothes was worn exclusively. Black was never worn since it was considered a sin. Women would, equally, take off all the jewellery and wouldn't wear it for the next 40 days, and some didn't wear jewellery for a year or two. During the time of mourning none of the family members can organize a wedding or goes to one if invited; there is no singing and no joy. During Eid a ram is sacrificed for the soul of the deceased. If the deceased appointed by his will for a ram to be slaughtered, then all the meat needs to be given to the poor, while in other instances only the blood goes for his soul, and the meat can be eaten by the members of the household. There was a custom in Sarajevo that the left side of the sacrifice is distributed to the poor and the right is left to the family. In Jajce on the eve of Eid, halvah and bread were distributed for the "soul of the dead". In Bihać on the eve of both Eid's people would bring halvah and pies in front of the mosque, they would be then distributed to the children "for the soul of the deceased". For the forgiveness of the sins of the deceased it was customary to distribute "čagate" (kefaret) i.e. money wrapped in paper with which a person can provide a meal for themselves. Čagete was distributed during the first seven days after the funeral, seven čageta for seven poorest households in the neighbourhood or for forty days.

Karl Steiner, doctor from Ljubinja, in his work Bosnian folk medicine, notes that Bosniaks do not consider as something horrible, instead every Friday, and often other days, they gladly gather in graveyards for conversation and rest, which the author considers as proof of great respect towards their ancestors. The interesting thing is that the author highlights that there is no sorrowful mood with the gathered people, instead everyone is feeling relaxed and especially with the young. Bosniaks even have a very special custom to make small dents on the gravestones in order to gather rain water for the birds but also leave food for them . Connecting birds with the dead i.e. graveyards is not a coincidence since the bird besides being a mythological personification in Bosnia of the soul, her symbolism is much greater and leads us to the Illyrian religious belief in which birds which pulled carriages of the sun god, are mentioned, the same god which is born each day in the "east" and dies in the "west". It is obvious that are ancestors considered birds as souls, holly animals, which has a foothold in Bogomil teachings that it is a deadly sin to kill animals and especially birds and to destroy their eggs.

Respect towards the dead is an integral part of Bosnian spiritual tradition since the old days. Passing by graveyards old people still today preserved a habit to utter El-Fatiha for the dead; first for god's messenger Muhammad, then for the deceased and in the end for all of the dead.


Bosniaks as descendants of the Germanic Goths

The Gothic theory of the ethno-genesis of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian muslims was "last" officially propagated during WWII, mostly by some local muslim leaders, like Uzeir-aga Hadžihasanović, Mustafa Softić and Nedžad-beg Sulejmanpašić. It is belived that it was these autonomists who in an anonymous memorandum of november 1, 1942 asked Adolf Hitler to extract the Bosnian-Herzegovinian lands from the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) and integrate them directly into the Third German Reich granting autonomy to Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, the theory is still in use among Bosniak nationalistic circles, but also of modern Bosniak intellectuals, historians and philosophers, like Ibrahim Pašić, Muhamed Filipović, Besim Spahić and Nurija Agić. The Bosnian muslims authors of the memorandum from 1942 claimed that their ancestors were not Slavs, but rather Goths, and that they had come from the north to the Balkans in the 3th century C.E. as a Germanic tribe named "Bosni". Heinrich Himmler also fantasized that there was a fanatical, blind obedience in the Bosniaks. He thought that muslim men would make perfect SS soldiers as Islam "promises them Heaven if they fight and are killed in action." As for their ethnic background and SS requirements, the widely accepted belief that the Bosniaks were in fact descendants of 5th century Goths was even supported by Himmler as well as Bosniak autonomists. It was the Germans that later coined the name "Musulgermanen" (Germanic muslims) due to their unique situation. There were plans made that, in the event of a Nazi victory, units such as Handschar and Kama and the other Eastern European Divisions (Latvians etc) would release 'Germanic' ones like Totenkopft from their concentration camp duties. Also the German SS-Hauptamt Gottlob Berger subscribed the theory of Gothic origin of Bosnian muslims in "Weltenschaulich geisitge Erziehung der muselmanischen SS-division", where he described Bosniaks, in fallow way: "The muhammedans of Bosnia belongs racially to the Germanic and culturally to the Oriental peoples". In their memorandum, the Bosnian muslim authors do not say explicitly on which concrete historiographic arguments they base their view. Perhaps they had in mind the 12th century manuscript in Latin, Sclavorum Regnum: The Chronicle of the Priest of Dioclea (Presbyter Diocleas), which seems to incorporate in itself an earlier chronicle Libellus Gothorum (the book of the Goths). The chronicle Sclavorum Regnum indeed portrays a 600-years genealogy, connecting some Dioclean and first Bosnian rulers and dukes with the Gothic king Totila. Analogously, in the work a generalization is made and South Slavs are presented as an offspring of the Goths. However, let us note here a very important theoretical point, namely, that the ethno-genesis of an entire people was devolped through the assumed ethno-genesis of their medieval rulers. Exploring this historical source, Bosnian historian Muhamed Hadžijahić also agrees (in his book; Povijest Bosne u IX i X stoljeću) that the fact that the Latin version of the Chronicle of the Priest of Dioclea i.e., Regnum Sclavorum (The kingdom of Slavs) includes in itself Libellus Gothorum (The book of the Goths) reflects medieval beliefes about the Gothic heritage of the medieval Bosnian rulers. There are some other peculiar circumstances that perhaps ought to be cited in connection with the persistent arguments advanced by the "Gothicists". Both Tvrtko and Stjepan Tomašević (King Stephen of Bosnia) placed curiously ornate Gothic letters beneath the Bosnian crown and coat of arms. On many shields found in Bosnia, and which antedate the Moslem conquest, the typical device represented is that of the moon and star, the design which appears on the shield of Theodoric and other Ostrogothic kings, as well as on the mosaics that date from the period of Ostrogothic rule at Ravenna. Also there is to be found on many of the oldest Bosnian gravestones shields with this same device which was so popular among the Ostrogoths. The German consul at Sarajevo in the last century was inspired by the noted historian, Theodor Mommsen, to undertake a study of Bosnian antiquities. He deduced a definite connection between the strange appearing Bosnian tombstones and the Ostrogoths who ruled Bosnia and worked its mines from the latter part of the fifth to at least the middle of the sixth century. Muhamed Hadžijahić also explains that the name "Goths" was frequently pejoratively used by the Roman population of the coastal Dalmatian cities as referring to the people of rural continental areas of Dalmatia, i.e., of early and late medieval Bosnian territories. Even in the 15th century the ladies of Dubrovnik used to depreciatively call their mates from inland (Bosnia) gotice (Gothic women). In medieval times it was common to call countries with their old names and medieval historians knew very well that between 490 and 535 C.E. the whole Bosnia had been under the control of Theodoric the Great and his Ostrogothic kingdom. Dr. G. Rus, a professor at the University of LiubIjana, after the war of 1914, undertook a detailed study of Croatian origins (including the origins of Bosnian muslims). Rus considered that he had proved that there were two Gothic migrations into Bosnia and Dalmatia. The group ruled by Ostroilo survived the collapse of the Gothic state in Italy and received an accretion of strength from the Ostrogothic masses who left Italy between 453 and 455 to avoid submitting to the Byzantine power. He regarded the coming of the Slavs in the seventh century, as related by Constantine Porphyrogenitus "De administrando imperio", as a second migration of slavicized Goths from the Vistula area. Archaelogical excavations and studies carried out a later date in Bosnia, around Duvno, Delmin, valley of the Neretva river and at Breza near Sarajevo, provided new evidence of the identity between the Bosniaks and Ostrogoths.

Besides Sclavorum Regnum, there are other historical sources indicating the same. Thus, for instance, a letter dated from may 14, 1432 sent from the Dubrovnik (Republic of Ragusa) City Council to their emissaries in Bosnia, mentiones the Bosnian medieval ruler, Stjepan Kotroman (ruled 1287-1314), as a Goth. In addition to the above-mentioned letter, the work Il regno degli Slavi (1601) by the Venetian historian Mavro Orbini (d.1614) also mentiones Stjepan Kotroman as Cotromano Tadesco (Kotroman the German). It is believed that he was the son of a German nobleman in the service of German knight Gotfrid, founder of the family Kelad who went to strengthen Hungarian hold in Bosnia in 1162 or 1163. This German nobleman co-signed the edicts for Bosnia in the Split Church in 1163 with Hungarian King Stephen IV. Apparently, the Hungarian King Stephen III invited him to place him as a regional ruler in Hungary's name because of his ancestor's successes. Kotroman ruled as a vassal of this King. The Dubrovnik Archives from the 15th century refer to him as "Cotrumano Goto", i.e Kotroman the Goth. Kotroman might have been the son of Bosnian Ban Prijezda I. Another piece of evidence often used by the German and Austrian scholars to prove the Germanic heritage of the Bosnian Kotromans is the similarities between the heraldic insignias of the Kotromans and the Styrian Schärfenberg dinasty. The third piece of evidence for the Germanic hypothesis of the Kotromans heritage is the existence of the toponym "Kotrou" in the Austrian province Styria from where (according to many Austrian historians) the ancestors of the Bosnian medieval dinasty Kotromanić could stem. There is noted in Chronica Ragusina that "Bosnia is a Gothic land" and that Kotroman Got married "dobra Elisalda", who took refuge in Dubrovnik for their three sons, one of which (Vladislav) was the grandfather of the Bosnian king Tvrtko II Kotromanić. Although it is generally held that Stephen Kotroman, founder of the Bosnian royal family Kotromanić, it is very likely that Bosnia was ruled by members of the same ruling house long before him. Stephen Kotroman predecessors, Ban Prijezda and Ban Matej Ninoslav were also members of the same royal house or dynasty, and Ban Ninoslav explicitly says that his ancestors had ruled Bosnia "from antiquity." In the chronicle it is also mentioned that the friendship between the Republic of Dubrovnik and Bosnian royal dinasty "has been ongoing since Kotroman Goth." A source from the year 1432 says that the ancestor of the Bosnian King Tvrtko II Kotromanić was Kotroman Got. This source is not isolated and not supplemented only by Mavro Orbini, but it confirms the very strong interference of Gothic ethnic elements in the Mile - the major throne of the Bosnian church. In fact, it is a general royal Illyrian-Gothic symbiosis whose beginnings conceive in late antiquity. This is vital to note that in the year 1355, sources confirmed the name of the onomastic context in which the father of a Kotroman was called "Goimir", which is again the name of Gothic origin. The term (etymology) "Kotroman" roots in the coin, which consists of three Germanic words; "Kur(Fürst)-tro-man", which freely translated means "the commissioner of the king". Kurfürst is the aristocratic title that belongs in the highest rank of nobility - from where the election of the king is reduced.

It is alleged that the "arian heresy" of the first half of XI century was in use as a label for neo-manichaeism, which were in XII. century specifically referred as Cathars. The possibility that the Bosnian Church dates from the arianism (also called the Germanic christianity), indirectly could lead some sources who mention the arian heresy in the neighborhood of medieval Bosnia. In XII. first century Serbian King Stephen (Stefan), in his letter "Žitije svetog Simeona" describes how his father Stefan Nemanja, had destroyed arian heresy in the last decades of the XII. century. Čremošnik states that no one can doubt that thuse persecuted heretics were in fact remnants of Germans, mostly Goths, who remained in the Balkans within the borders of the Eastern Roman Empire. Archdeacon of Split (Thomas Archidiaconus Spalatensis) also the heresy of the medieval Bosniaks associates in his chronicle Historia Salonitana with the Gothic arians - with it he connects the letter (Goticas litteras) and worship in the Slavic language. Bosnian governors, and later kings, were the highest political leaders of Bosnia's land and closely linked with the Bosnian medieval church, which is associated with a similar relationship in the former arian states. However, the Bosnian rulers and provincial lords often sweard in the presence of christians in 318 fathers of Nicea, and these fathers had in the year 325, condemned "unfaithful" arianism. Arian origin of the Bosnian church also indicates the letter by the Ragusian dominican Ivan Stojković at the church council of the catholic church in Basel, Juny, 10 year 1434: "in the grace of God, we have finally revealed a great opportunity for addressing the whole Bosnian kingdom, which is over three hundred years infected by manichean heresy and arianism ..." "... Offertur facilis occasio reductionis regni de Bosne quod iam a trecentis annis et ultra infectum heresi manicheorum et arianorum..." During the whole medieval period in Bosnia, many military campaigns, by the Hungarians was disseminated against the Bosnian heretics and the Bosnian faith. The crusade army of Hungarian king Sigismund were totaly defeated in 1405. Sigismund did not come to terms with defeat, and soon began preparing for a new attack. In the name of support, the Pope Gregory XII, writes in 9th November 1407 the letter to Sigismund of Luxemburg (Holy Roman Emperor) where he calls Sigismund in war against the heresy: "sending the christian crusaders in the name of the Lord, against the Turks and heresy of arianism and manichaeism"(...). The soursces by the Pope Gregory XII of the "the heresy of the arianism and manichaeism", unambiguously defines the Bosnian heretics, and the Bosnian church.

The association of early christian and late antique basilics in Bosnia and the Goths proves by Germain Morin in one of his text from year 1932, that in VI and VII century in some of the "Illyrian" or Bosnian municipalities they still gradients ceremonies of the three Gothic martyrs, such as "Hildaevora, Vihila (Juhila) and Theogenes". After the death of Theodoric, and during the Gothic war, and the conflict between Theodoric's daughter Amalasuntha and Teodahad (king of the Ostrogoths between 534 to 536) - as written by Procopius, many Gothic supporters of Amlasuntha, maked a huge part of the Byzantine army and Justinian. In this regard, Čremošnik believes that these events would enforced huge Gothic ethnic elements in Bosnia. After the murder of Amalasuntha, Theoderics daughter and heiress, in 535, strife arose over the former Gothic possessions in Dalmatia. Emperor Justinianus (527-565) succeeded in 536 to incorporate Dalmatia in the East Roman empire. The Goths, under their new king Vitigis (536-540), fought a battle against Justinianus and recaptured Salona. In the meantime, the Dalmatian borders were left unwatched. The chrisitan church in Bosnia was first mentioned under the Latin name of Ecclesia Bosniensis (or bistuensis, boestoensis) year 530-533 on the church council in Salona, where the bishop Andrew signed the acts of the church councils. It is belived that the seat of the church municipiality where in Mošunj, near Bistua Nova (nowdays Zenica), at the time when Bosnia still was ruled by the Ostrogoths. In the chronicle Historia Salonitana by Archdeacon of Split (Thomas the Archdeacon), it is mentioned about "some priest, named Ulfus" and his "bishop" Cedded, in the village of Moštre (central Bosnia). It has been discussed in the chronicle that Ulfus (Ulfo) was a teacher Ceded's teacher (magister nequitie). That had been associated, that the Ulfus was hypocoristics of Ulfila, which is in fact Wulfila, The information from Thomas the Archdeacon would refer to Wulfila - the spiritual leader of the arian Goths. Lujo Margetić sees the heterodoxy of Bosnian Christians whose roots are in quasi-arianism, in the debate between Roman Catholics and Patarenes where Hereticus says that: "Our faith was the same as in Rome, until the time (the Pope) Sylvester I, who was our teacher and then (from it) falled off." - From which it is evident that the Bosnian Hereticus connects heterodoxy of Bosnian Christians with the Arius battle with Synods of the first council of Nicaea, year 327 - just from the time of Pope Sylvester.

Many historians believe, through the medieval sources that Germanic origin of Bosniaks can also be traced back to the 6th and 7th century's Slavic migration in Bosnia. Greek and Roman writers (Homer, Herodotus, Tacitus, Pliny) used names Henetoi, Uenetoi, Enetoi and Veneti for Slavs. Several more synonyms developed later: Vinidi, Venedi, Vinedi, Winidi, Wendische, Windische. Within its pages are many references to Veneti in relation to Slavs. Here are a few examples, “Fredegarii Chronicon (year 623) uses the name Winidi for Slavs, "Sclavi coinomento Winidi’", also ‘Venetii’ and ‘Vinidi,’ even ‘Vandali’ and ‘gens Wandalorum,’ their land is named ‘marca Winidorum’” - which is reffered as Germanic tribe of Vandals. Slovenian Prince Valuk is “Walucus dux Winedorum". There is also the often-cited equation of Slavs with the Veneti/Vandals by the author of Vitae S. Columbani, where he speaks about the “land of Veneti who are also called Slavs" (Termini Venetiorum qui et Sclavi dicuntur). It is also mentioned that "Sclauoni hodie, vandali antiquitus fuerant", which means that "Vandal is the old name for the Slavs". However, according to Muhamed Hadžijahić, the Slavic version clearly indicates migrations of Slavs - according to him specifically Normano-Slavs. Like Novaković, Hadžijahić also belivies that there were at least four migrations of the Slavs at the south, among theme there were also some third migration of Normano-Slavs (Russian Varangians) between 820-829, and some Moravian Slavs who came in the forth migrations (902-906), as a "large mass".


J. Kelemina: Goti na Balkanu

K. Šegvić: Die gotische Abstammung der Kroaten. Nordische Welt 9, Berlin 1935.

J. Kelemina: Libellus Gothorum I - VII, študije o starogermanskih spominih v naši zemlji.

I. Mužić: Vjera Crkve Bosanske

I. Mužić: Slaveni, Goti i Hrvati na teritoriju rimske provincije Dalmacije

I. Mužić: Hrvatska kronika, Libellus Gothorum 547.- 1089.

I. Pašić: Predslavenski korijeni Bošnjaka - Mile i Moštre, ilirsko-gotski korijeni bosanske vladarske dinastije, stećaka i crkve bosanske

N. Agić: GOTI - narod ratnika

D. Bašić: The roots of the religious, ethnic and national identity of Bosnian muslims


How snow came into being

In the old days the people very corrupt, they became evil and godless, when Allah saw what had happened he decided to destroy all the people that were evil. In that intent he created a huge snowball with which he intended to destroy the entire deviant people. At the moment when he raised it, Muhammad came and begged him humbly not to do it, because he could kill good men among the wicked. That's why snow falls both during summer and winter, but people can't see it always, since due to sun rays in the summer it melts and turns into air. Tow angels, as it is believed among the Bosnian folk, haven't managed to scrape half of the snow from the snowball and it will be a couple of thousand years until they finish it. According to Saliha Santara, which was recorded by Ivan Zovko, the more wicked and evil people are the snow will be more abundant during winter.


Gigantic ox

As the old Bosnian legend describes when Allah created Earth, he created it out of nothing. After he had finished his creation and determined how things should be on the planet, the saints (prophets) asked him to create an animal but for it to have a very massive body. Allah granted their request and created a gigantic ox. His body was so large and massive that not even earth could hold him and the ground broke and shivered under his feet. Seeing this the saints were surprised but also somewhat frightened by the size of the animal. Then god ordered for the earth to open up so that the ox could enter it and descend deep into the core. God ordered it to stay there once he reaches his destination. Since that time the ox lived deep underground and he is the main culprit for earthquakes that occur on our planet. Bosnian people believe that when the ox moves so much as a hair that an earthquake happens somewhere, and that day when the ox closes and opens only one eye that the entire world will collapse. Before judgement day the gigantic ox will come to the surface and all those people that are wicked and mean, will freeze out of fear and die once they lay eyes on him.



It is believed that when a virgin dies that she can often turn into a mystical being called Prikaza. We are talking about a luminous phenomena, which often sits next to its grave at night and weeps. To stop the innocent girl from having such a supernatural state, during her burial one should break her pinkie on the hand.

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Mythology of Bosnia and Herzegovina
<< 01/2020 >>

Bosnian mythology is not Slavic but Illyrian!
When we're talking about Bosnian mythology it is important to clarify instantly the following - Bosnian people are speaking a Slavic language, but this doesn't mean that they are Slavic people, since according to that logic the Mexicans would be Spaniards, Brazilians would be Portuguese and for example the Algerians or Moroccans would be French.

Thesis about the southern Slavs, which is based exclusively on the Slavic language is as it's historically known, a merit of the European colonial forces, primarily Great Britain and Austro-Hungary, which disintegrated Balkan people in order to manipulate them better, they enforced numerous historically catastrophic thesis, primarily about the affiliation to the Slavs!? To demolish this absurd theory it suffices to take a look at the physiognomy of a Russian, which are of a lighter hair colour and skin as a people, shorter, i.e. they're similar to the Germanic people, comparing such a person with for example an Albanian, Montenegrin or for example a Dalmatian, which are of a darker hair, eyes, usually tall, one could then notice an incredible difference in physiognomy, which is crucial in classifying to which nation does a person belong to. We won't even notice genetic research which proved that there is a dominant Illyrian gene present when compared to all others.

But, one of the strategical interests was stimulating nationalism, in order to place this strategically important part of Europe under their sphere of influence, using the primitivism which was traditionally rooted among the Balkan people. In order to more clearly explain what I'm talking about let us remember this historical fact which states: how is it possible that the people of the Balkans, which existed between two great civilizations, Greece and Rome, never managed to achieve a cultural or civilization advancement?! Everything that was created in the previous centuries in this area is a result of all other people besides the Balkan ones, starting from the Romans, Greeks, Germans, Ottomans, Austro-Hungarians. whether we like it or not, the answer is simple - primitivism was always a dominant trait of this part of Europe. History has shown as well as proved that the people which can be manipulated the easiest are primitive ones.

A less known fact among the public is that the Austrian monarchy secretly distinguished Vuk Karadžić, who quickly made some type of dictionary of Serbian language according to instructions of the Monarchy in 1818; the dictionary has no scientific validity, since it is not a result of linguistic research, instead it was created on a geographically small area. The intention was to create foundations of nationalism on whose enthusiasm a surface for conflict will be created between the small nations all with the goal of easier western manipulation over them. In contrast, in Bosnia since 1631 a Bosnian-Turkish dictionary was created by Muhamed Hevai Uskufi, but the dictionary was never a cause for hegemony of Bosnians over other peoples, since the dictionary wasn't created by someone's order but out of love for Bosnia and its people.

This manipulation of Europe over primitive Balkan people was so evident and at the beginning of the twenties of the previous century when the western representatives came at the same time to Belgrade and Zagreb agitating Serbs against the Croats. Namely, western representative would say to the war criminal Slobodan Milošević that he has the right to preserve Yugoslavia from disintegration and in Zagreb that Croatia has the right to independence since it was decided by a folk referendum. In such an abject way they pushed, again playing according to the verified recipe of nationalism, peoples of former Yugoslavia into war, which culminated with genocide in Bosnia.

This is why it is important that we finally become aware of ourselves, our origin, rich history and that we finally stop caring what our enemies write and say about us, we need to value and respect our identity and Illyrian forefathers who are our inseparable part.

Kada govorimo o bosanskoj mitologiji bitno je razjasniti sljedeće - Bošnjaci govore slavenski jezik ali to ne znači da su i slavenski narod, jer po tom pravilu bi onda Meksikanci bili Španjolci, Brazilci bi bili Portugalci a, recimo, Marokanci - Francuzi. Vjerovatno se zbog toga bosanska mitologija dovodi u vezu sa slavenskom ali to je još jedna zabluda. Teza da su pojedina bosanska mitološka bića zapravo slavenska temelji se na narodnim vjerovanjem u vampira (lampir), vještice, vile ili Moru. Odmah na početku treba istaći neospornu činjenicu koja glasi - vjerovanje u vampire je izvorno rumunjsko, nema veze sa Slavenima, mada to vjerovanje srećemo i kod Grka, Turaka, Cigana (mulo) itd. Isto je i sa vilama, vješticama, zmajevima ili Morom (Sukubus). To su izvorno vjerovanja mnogih europskih naroda. U bosanskoj mitogiji nema nikakvog spomena ničem slavenskom, posebno božanstvima, niti su oni kod Bošnjaka poznati. To je danas bar lako provjeriti u Zemaljskom Muzeju u Sarajevu, gdje je pohranjen najveći dio etnološkog materijala BiH. Sve je evidentnije, nakon početnih istraživanja, da bosanska mitologija ima svoje izvorište u ilirskim vjerovanjima a posebno kućnoj zmiji, zaštitniku doma i familije, kultu zdravlja boga Binda, bogu Turu, i pojedinim detaljima o Tani i Vidasusu. Tu su i animistička vjerovanja o žabi, zviždenjaku/salamanderu, izvoru i drvetu kao totemima čovjeka. Naravno, ove se činjenice nikako ne dopadaju hegemonistički nastrojenim sistemima ali to je u suštini njihov a ne bošnjački problem. Naš jedini aktualni problem je nepoznavanje vlastite povijesti, koja je izuzetno duga, i naše bogate kulturne tradicije. Zbog toga trebamo istraživati svoju baštinu i biti ponosni što smo potomci slavni Ilira, hrabrog naroda čije nosimo gene i na kraju dijelimo sa svojom albanskom braćom.


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