svetovid slavic mythology


Svetovid, Svantovit or Sventovit was a deity protector of the Baltic Slavs, an all-seeing god that observes the world and knows the past, the present, and the future. Because of this aspect of his nature, he is most often associated with divination. Svetovid was also considered a God of War and Abundance.

In the 9th century on the island of Rügen, a Slavic tribe called Rani built a four-tower fort named Arkona and a great temple dedicated to Svetovid inside it. The temple was traditionally made of wood and decorated with carvings of the important battles, with an enormous statue of the deity in the middle. Svetovid was depicted as a tall man with four heads, each of them facing one of the cardinal directions. He held a bow in one hand and the horn of abundance in the other, with a saddle, reins and a sword placed next to him. A white horse that was believed to be his mount, resided in the temple. Because of Svetovid's all-knowing ability, the priestsof the temple used his mount as an oracle to deduce the result of the impending battle or an important dealing. The horn in his hand was filled with mead and used to divine the following year.

Besides being a religious and military center, Arkona was also the most prominent trading post in the region, visited by all merchants that had dealings with Baltic Slavs. Both the Slavic pilgrims and the merchants would leave a big tribute for the deity, which resulted in proclaiming Svetovid a God of Abundance.

The growing power and influence of the Arkona and it’s mighty protector Svetovid resulted in jealousy of their Germanic neighbors. In the 12th century, Danish king Valdemar invaded Rügen, burning and pillaging the temples on his way. After taking over Arkona, he ordered the temple to be burned and publicly destroyed the Svetovids statue, successfully ending his influence among the Slavs

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