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Slavonians [1]

is the general designation of a race of great antiquity, who were found on the Don among the Goths, and afterwards on the Danube among the Huns and the Bulgarians. Their ancient religion was a system of unmixed paganism, their chief god being Perun (thunder), while the other principal deities were Lada (goddess of love and pleasure), Kupala (god of the fruits of the earth), and Koleda (god of festivals). From Procopius we learn that they worshipped also rivers, nymphs, and other deities, to whom they offered sacrifices, making divinations at the same time. The most celebrated deity of the Baltic Slavonians. was Swantewit, whose temple was at Arcoha, the capital of Rigen. For a lengthened and graphic account of the temple and worship of Swantewit, see Gardner, Faiths of the World, s.v. Each of the different Slavoniai nations had its own special deities. At. Plon, in Holstein, there was an idol called Podaga, and at Stettin there was a temple dedicated to the Slavic god Triglaf, whose image was triple- headed. Notwithstanding the numbers of their deities the Slavonians seem to have believed in a supreme God in heaven, and held that all other gods issued from his blood. In addition to their gods, they believed in good and evil spirits and daemons of different kinds, in the immortality of the soul, and in a: retribution after death. Worship was held in forests and temples, and sacrifices of cattle and fruit were offered. The dead were burned and their ashes preserved in urns. For literature, see Miklosich, Vergleichende Grammatik der slavischen Sprachen Wien, 1852-71); Naake, Slavonic Fairy Tales (Lond. 1874); Schafarik, Slavische Alterthumer (Leips. 1843, 2 vols.); Talvi, Historical View of the Languages and Literature of the Slavic Nations (N.Y. 1850). (See Servia).