There is no »Perun in the Caucasus«... But Maybe an Ancient Iranian Thunder Demon
Na Kavkaze »Peruna net« ... est' tam, vozmožno, staryj iranskij demon

Patrice Lajoye

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3986/sms.v15i1.1582

Abstract

Thirty years ago, the Russian historian L. S. Klejn proposed that the legendary Chechen and Ingush character Pira or Pirow was borrowed during the Middle Ages by the local population from the Russian mythology, through a contingent of Eastern Slavs deported there by the caliph Mervan II. Thus, Pira or Pirow would be the old Slavic god Perun. I will propose here an alternative source to this legendary figure, an Iranian source. A hero named Piran indeed appears in the Shahnameh, Ferdowsi’s epic dating from the tenth century. That hero, like Pira or Pirow, is able, through an intermediary, to make rain and lightning. In fact, the name Piran seems to have an etymology close to that of the god Perun.

Keywords

Caucasus; Ingush; Perun; Piran; Shahnameh; Chechens

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3986/sms.v15i1.1582

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