Doric Apellon and Slavic Belobog and Jarilo

As a follow up on my previous post I found myself curious about taking a brief looking at Slavic gods. I had thought about this before when encountering research in which some scholars have speculated that Apollon had an origin from the general area of Russia or the Russian steppes, stating that the Riphean Mountains over which Apollon crosses is in reality the Ural Mountains and that Hyperborea may have originated in the furthest northern reaches of Russia or even into Syberia. In fact some Russian researchers have indicated that the mythical Hyperborea was originated in their arctic when in early history the climate may have been warmer, lending the arctic to a temperate climate.

When I was writing the name of Apollon, I was discussing possible origins of the name of Apollon  and the fact that scientists were at lost for a possible common origin for his name as nearly all placed mentioned by ancient Hellenes as a possible origin for Apollon never bore any relation to his name. So it looks like before publishing I will need to look at one more angle that occurred to me today.

I thought to myself, I wonder if there are any Slavic gods, given the many opinions that have persisted that Hyperborea may have originated beyond the Scythians who occupied the Steppes region. While Hyperborea is at the same time a kind of underworld conceptually, a blessed paradise, garden of Apollon, the myth as being a key to the origin of Apollon may be a very real possibility. So I decided to look at the Slavic language, mainly because the Cyrillic alphabet shares a common origin with the Hellenic alphabet. With this in mind I figured that the Russian Slavic language was a good place to look for a similar name.

As a reminder, the Dorics called Apollon by the name Apellon. The slavs have a god called Belobog (the latter part, bog refers to him as god, likely referring similar authority as the A in Apellon. If we remove these authoritative or distinguishing additions to the names we have Pello and Belo as the roots of the names. If the Doric race was returning from the north (entering into the Northern part of the Peloponnese), it is possible that the race spent some time among the slavs and returned with the god with the name slightly changed by the Doric dialect. The close proximity by landmass between the slavs, Steppes, and the near east could have confused the narrative of the god among Hellenes, leaving all the remained a myth of familial origins in a far northern Hyperborea. On a personal note, the close relationship between the Slavic and Baltic pantheons could have some additional hereditary attachments playing on my part as I had a Prussian Great grandmother, in addition to the Italian element in my heritage from the god so adopted by the Etruscans (I am of Tuscan heritage) called Apelu/Aplu.

Like Apellon, Belobog (who is also called Belun) is a god of light and associated with the sun, so called the white god.  He is a counter against evil, as we know Apollon is a god who averts such as well. There is of course some thought that Slavic deities were shown in oppositional forms when concerning heavenly and chthonic forms of the same god (or rather god above and god below). In such case it is probably that the white god and his opposition the black god may have been one in the same. This would be remarkable similar to the black and white characteristics of Apollon’s cult.

Similarly, authorities concerning Lydian origins on Leto’s name I think bear stark similarity to a name of another Slavic goddess named Lada (yes the exact same name proposed as being of Lydian origin to mean lady), or Lado as she is also apparently called, is a supreme goddess of summer (the season of Apollon), love, harmony and marriage. That she was a goddess who provided salvation (like Persephone) is apparent in Christian denouncing of her as a goddess who provides salvation, but rather it would be found in Jesus.

While there is no evidence of a mother son relationship between the two, rather Lado is connected to Jarilo, a prominent god who also bears a name similar to Apollon’s name, as a god of the late spring/summer who presides over harvest, fertility etc. Association of green branches and horse riding being common between the two in addition to being the son of the thunder god, ruler of the heavens. It is quite probable in my mind that Belobog may have been a god who originated from Jarilo  as Apollon may also have. That Jarilo was raised by the  cattle herding god of the underworld, keeping in mind that it is likely that Perun and Veles may have been conceived as the same god above and below the mountain, may have leant to associations with herds whose young would have been born in the spring and reared in the summer. It is quite probable as harvest god he would have been viewed as , like his father, both a white god, and the oppositional dark god (Belobog and Chernoblog) of whom no evidence is found other than place names (rather like Lada who is also thought to possibly be a non-existing goddess aside from her name appearing in songs of marriage which rather belies that). the white/dark god  almost perfectly imitates Perun and Veles, but rather than being a god above and below a mountain, he is a god  of the presence and  absence of light and life. As a god who returned every spring along with other similarities as well as similarities of names, it is easy to see how this could be one possible origin for Apollon/Apellon.

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2 thoughts on “Doric Apellon and Slavic Belobog and Jarilo

  1. This is really interesting. I’ve been vaguely looking into Rodnovery lately. However, I was curious what your sources for Lada are? I’ve come across a lot of conflicting information on her and people are pretty divided on whether or not a goddess by that name existed at all.

    • Just a few random websites and a couple of blogs, but yeah I have noticed 🙂 As I was just surfing out of curiosity I didn’t keep track of where I visited lol. The existence of a wedding song addressing her as Lado seems to be interesting though. I wouldn’t have imagined that this would be the case if the goddess was invented. But I couldn’t say, especially as I do not practice the religion myself but am looking specifically into possible origins of my gods.

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