Non-Iranian Origin of the Eastern-Slavonic God Xŭrsŭ/Xors
Neiranskoe proishoždenie vostočnoslavjanskogo boga Hrsa/Horsa

Constantine L. Borissoff



The paper examines the traditional explanation of the Eastern-Slavonic deity Xors as an Iranian loan from the Persian xwaršēδ/xoršid ‘sun’ and advances an alternative etymology via the Indo-Aryan root hṛṣ-, Indo-European *g̑hers- and its cognates in other Indo-European languages. Based on the linguistic and mythological comparative analysis Xors is interpreted not as an abstract ‘solar god’ but as a ‘sun fertility hero’ viewed as the development of the ancient archetype of the ‘dying and resurrecting god’ comparable in role to Dionysus. The paper closes with a brief outline of some new venues for research following out of the proposed reinterpretation of Xors.


Slavonic mythology; Slavic paganism; Xors; Hors; Vladimir’s pantheon; Dionysus; fertility cult

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