Mythology of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mitologija Bosne i Hercegovine

02.02.2016.

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)!"

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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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