Perun

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In Slavic mythology, Perun (Cyrillic: Перун) is the highest god of the pantheon and the god of thunder and lightning. His other attributes were the fire, mountains, the oak, iris, eagle, firmament (in Indo-European languages this was joined with the notion of the sky of stone), horses and carts, weapons (the hammer, axe (Axe of Perun) and arrow) and war. He was first associated with weapons made of stone and later with those of metal.

Like Germanic Thor, Perun is described as a rugged man with a copper beard. He rides in a chariot pulled by a goat buck and carries a mighty axe, or sometimes a hammer. The axe is hurled at evil people and spirits and will always return to his hand.

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Sources

Of all historic records describing Slavic gods, those mentioning Perun are the most numerous. As early as 6th century, he was mentioned in De Bello Gothico, a historical source written by the Byzantine historian Procopius. A short note describing beliefs of a certain South Slavic tribe states they acknowledge that one god, creator of lightning, is the only lord of all: to him do they sacrifice an ox and all sacrificial animals. While the name of the god is not mentioned here explicitly, the fact that word Perun in a number of Slavic languages today simply means "thunder" or "lightning bolt" is proof enough this was a reference of him.

In 980, when prince Vladimir the Great came to throne of Kiev, he erected statues of five pagan gods in front of his palace. Perun was chief among these, represented with a silver head and a golden moustache. Vladimir's uncle Dobrinja also had a shrine of Perun established in his city of Novgorod. After the Christianization of Kievan Rus, this place became a monastery, which, quite remarkably, continued to bear the name of Perun.

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