Symbolism of animals in the Slavic folk tradition

Aleksandar Gura is one of the most significant contemporary researchers of Slavic antiquity. An extremely prolific scientist, he devoted special attention to the research of that part of the ancient pagan heritage that continues to this day in the folklore, customs and beliefs of the Slavic peoples, and concerns the symbolic function of animals. As a result of such research, an extremely valuable work was created, which in terms of comprehensiveness and systematicity has no equal among the Slavic peoples, nor in the world. This is also the reason that the work ‘Symbolism of animals in the Slavic folk tradition’ will provide the author with a permanent place in the history of the culture of the Slavic peoples, and not only them.

The book is dedicated to Slavic folk representations of animals as a specific and very significant segment of the traditional image of the world. The author’s ethnolinguistic approach to the subject is characterized by exceptional systematicity and analysis in the comparative study of materials (folk beliefs, folklore, rites and customs, visual representations, elements of literary and material culture) of various Slavic traditions, and as a result of such a broad approach, not only portraits of individual animals are given, but also the characteristics of entire groups and genera to which the described animals belong (carnivorans, reptiles, insects, birds and fish). On the other hand, the integration of this special research of the animal world into the wider traditional (reconstructed) image of the world, into the mythology, beliefs and superstitions of the ancient Slavs, with all the modifications that this world receives in the wide area occupied today by various Slavic peoples, does not need to be talked about in particular. All connections are preserved, organically woven in the book Animal Symbolism…, which the author recommends as an exceptional connoisseur of Slavic antiquity in general.

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