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A NEW LOOK AT CLASSICAL MYTHOLOGY WITH THE HELP OF SLAVIC AND MACEDONIAN VOCABULARIES
67 Rainier Square, Toronto, Ontario M1T 3A1, Canada
Is there a practical meaning to classical mythology, and can it be explained and understood? The Slavic and Macedonian languages have retained the concepts and the vocabularies to provide an explanation when analyzed and interpreted correctly. The information contained in this study is a new look at classical mythology. It brings out alternative and practical meanings for the identities of well-known classical mythological figures such as Demeter, Saturn, Pluto/Hades, Presefatta, and Zemele.
An inquiring mind may ask the following questions:
- How is it that for the last 200 years European scholars have been able to attribute mathematics, physics, astronomy, government, military strategies, natural principles and even the understanding of human behavior to the ancient people of Europe and the Mediterranean yet when it comes to interpreting mythological figures they could only manage to provide imaginary, unrealistic, impractical, hard to understand and confusing explanations?
- Is it possible that modern scholars and scholars of the “Romantic Era” in particular, did not have a clear understanding of the true meaning of the names of deities in relation to the deities’ roles and functions in nature?
This study will provide the reader with a foundation for understanding the process, by which the ancient Europeans created what we today call Classical Mythology. It will show how the ancient Europeans used practical methods for naming their deities and how and why each name such as Demeter, Pluto, Hades, Zemele, etc., had a special meaning for them which, when interpreted properly, makes sense even today. To conduct our interpretations properly we must seek the oldest name of each deity and have a good knowledge of the deity’s attributes and characteristics. It is also essential that we have a good knowledge of the Slavic group of languages and the old Macedonian dialects. It is particularly important to know the oldest name of the gods and goddesses because many deities have been borrowed by various cultures and over time their names have been changed.
In the initial stage as attempts are made to come up with a practical meaning to mythology, the researcher is faced with the difficult task of the study. The study of the numerous detailed attributes of these deities and their relationship to actual everyday life from linguistic and historical sources is hard, intensive and requires patience. Once the initial concept and relation of these mythological figures is discovered and confirmed, it becomes much easier to search and discover the others.
Although many books have been written on this subject, none can provide a simple and logical explanation. Most often the average person searching for meaning or better understanding is left with a confusing, complicated, long, stretched out, and generally difficult explanation.
Once the initial comparative study and analysis is completed and then a good knowledge of the Macedonian language, some of its older dialects and the Slavic group is applied, simpler and more practical meanings for the names of the deities can be obtained. This not only identifies the deities with nature but also places them in harmony with their characteristics and attributes. This study offers a practical meaning for the following deities: Demeter, Pluto – Hades, Zemele, and Presefatta .
After establishing the meaning of the names of these four deities, the same method can be used to explain the meaning and role of almost all known classical deities. What must be also kept in mind is that some names and their meanings have evolved over the years. However, the fundamental meaning is still retained in the Slavic group of languages of today as well as in the Christian religions of Europe.
Ancient European Society
The ancient European societies from about 1500 to 500 BC were established and evolved as worlds of agriculture. Most people in this period made their living from farming, so it is reasonable to assume that their survival depended on the people’s ability to successfully work the land. More specifically, farmers had to have extensive knowledge of soil and weather conditions. They had to know the seasons, when to plant and when to harvest. They also had to know the importance of rain and its unpredictability. In the old days, as it is today, after planting farmers had to literally “pray” for the rain to fall. In all practicality, if the rain did not fall when it was needed, crops would suffer and yield poorly. The quality of soil was also an important factor in farming. Infertile soil yields poor crop. The ancient farmers had to know that.
When comparing today’s societies with those of 3000 years ago we find that ancient people did not have the technology or the means to transport food over great distances, so a failed crop meant suffering and starvation. In ancient times, all the necessary work was done manually by humans and animals (in some regions of the world farming is still done this way). Today we have technology to till the land, plant seeds and harvest crops. We have fertilizing to enrich the soil and water delivery systems to water it. We also have better methods (although sometimes questionable) of predicting the weather.
Now that we have established that the ancient societies of 3000 years ago heavily depended on farming the land for their survival, we need to establish a rationale for their gods.
First we need to establish the origin of these deities. It was Plato who said “many of the gods and their traditions we have received from the Barbarians.” If these Barbarians, who according to Homer, were “as numerous as the leaves in the forest” had the capacity to create these gods and pass them on to the future European generations as well as to other new comers to Europe, is it not possible that some of their characteristics have also descended, survived and remain with us today?
It is important to note here that the original meaning of the word barbarian was “misunderstood”. Barbarian did not mean ignorant, uneducated but rather a non-speaker of the languages of the ancient Greek city-states. These were the languages of the numerous ancient European people that the early Greeks could not understand.
Many authors have tried to interpret the rationale behind the ancient deities but did not go deep enough. Their scope was too narrow, with heavy emphasis on the Greek and Latin languages and they could not find a rational and logical explanation. One of those authors was Edith Hamilton  In her book she talks about mythological fairy tales and stories of the imagination, pure fiction with little meaning or practicality that would connect the deities to every day life. Others too have hinged on the imagination of the ancients as the source for the creation of mythology.
Over time the original concepts of ‘Mythology‘ became ‘mythological stories‘, that most probably have been embellished by the storytellers and as a result have somewhat changed. But still one must not underestimate the ability of the ancient Europeans to apply reason and logic. One also needs to maintain the notion that at the time of the “mythological creation,” which most likely was over a long period of time, all the gods were created by necessity and were an integral part of people's lives. This is the main thrust of this study, which has resulted in a more rational and practical meanings of mythology.
Influenced by numerous literary sources connecting classical mythology to the ancient Greeks and Romans, most writers over the last two hundred years or so have failed to widen their search and consider one of the largest linguistic groups, the Slavic languages. The Slavic languages offer an immense source of knowledge in many fields including mythology, as well as linguistic support to other existing concepts from nature that yet have to be discovered.
For example, consider the following excerpt from a Mythological story:
"... The daughter of Doimater (Demeter), Prosorpina – Presfatta-Persephone, is “snatched” by Hades the god of the underworld and is taken underneath the earth for four months of the year. In the beginning, Demeter is furious as she frantically looks for her daughter. Her absence causes the earth to freeze and become barren of all fruits and gifts to the mortals. After some time Demeter accepts Persephone’s fate and allows her to become Hades’ bride and spend the winters beneath the surface of the earth…
In the spring, when Hades changes to Pluto (his brother), Persephone comes back to the surface bringing with her Pluto’s wealth of the agriculture and all Demeter’s gifts of nature back to the mortals …"
Looking at the excerpt from a farmer’s point of view, we find that the changing of the seasons is perpetual and universal. As daylight increases and the sun warms the earth, the earth comes back to life. The soil is plowed, seeded and bears the fruits that sustain life. This is an annual transformation that goes beyond the control of mere mortals (humans). As farmers, the ancient people paid careful attention to the seasons. It is interesting to note that in the Macedonian common village talk today we come across expressions when the winter comes sometimes without much warning like ‘the winter –cold season-has grabbed or snatched us’.
It is important at this point to note that the ancient creators of the gods modeled their deities after their own images and their relationships to one another. For example there were mother and father gods, children and sibling gods. A well-proven model of the basic family model was used. These gods were part of their lives and daily existence. It is also important to note that the various “myths” come to us from the well-known “Homeric Hymns”.
For many thousands of years the ancient Europeans observed natural phenomena around them, phenomena such as the movement of the sun, lightning and thunder descending from the sky, the birth of new life, death, the falling of rain, the perpetual changing of day and night, the changing of the moon, the stars, the changing of the seasons, the enormous power of the uncontrollable seas, the phenomenon of fire, the fruitfulness of mother earth and many more.
People could not explain or control these powerful natural phenomena but accepted them as forces of nature. In their minds these powerful forces were responsible for the existence of all life on earth so naturally the early Europeans greatly respected, feared, honored, accepted them as gods and structured them as an inseparable part of their lives.
Today we are not much different. Even though our religions have greatly evolved, we still attribute things we don’t understand or wish for to our God. All religions basically teach us to be good, to love and respect one another, to be generous and to be honest and humble. Unlike our ancestors, today we understand most of the natural phenomena like how clouds and rain are formed, what causes the changing of the seasons, etc. and no longer have the need to attribute them to the gods.
Also, in spite of what some modern scholars tell us, Ancient Europeans did not imagine or create their gods purely for fictional purposes but rather they modeled them after the powerful “natural phenomena” which they observed over long periods of time. The gods were created from the basic need to explain the natural forces that controlled their lives.
This becomes apparent when we use the Macedonian language to explain the role of the gods from the meaning of their names. Most of the original names and characteristics of these deities clearly coincide with basic fundamental words found in the modern Macedonian and other Slavic languages. These words are part of language concepts that have created very large families of words with very deep etymological root connections pointing to a long and continual development. The Macedonian and other Slavic languages provide the most logical and practical explanation of these mythologies and are unparalleled when compared to other European and non-European languages. Evidence of this is very strong and is extremely hard to ignore. With the help of these languages it can be clearly shown that that most of Mythology was conceptual and directly connected with nature. This study confirms this fact by illustrating one of these concepts. This is the concept of ‘Basic Agriculture Rules’.
Table 1 provides the fundamental relationships between the meaning of the name of the deities, their role in nature or agriculture to the basic Macedonian and where applicable, Slovenian and Slavic vocabulary (The corresponding English and Greek equivalent meanings are given for better understanding, as well).
Table 1. Relationship between the meaning of the name of the deities, their role in nature or agriculture to the basic Macedonian and where applicable, Slovenian and Slavic vocabulary
The names of these Deities are interconnected and create the most amazing functional conception. In fact they exist together in harmony in the Slavic languages today just as they always existed in nature. They are inseparable. If we separate them, their meaning will be lost and the agricultural activity will not work. From here we can see a basic concept for farming. It clearly shows itself as a ’formulated’ sequence for agriculture as it was in ancient times and today, as follows:
English:EARTH + PLOWING + PLANTING + RAIN + TO BLOSSOM = FRUITS
Mythology: ZEMELE +AROTO [3,4] + SATURN + DOS (Domater) + PRESFATTA = PLUTO
Macedonian: ZEMLA + ORAT  + SADI (SADENE) + DOS (DOI) + PRECFETA = PLODO.
Zemele - Zemle – Zemlje - Zemlja - Zemla – Zemja > ??µ???? - ??µ???
Zem-e; sem-e; tem-e is an ancient root word that as a massive root/concept exists only in the Slavic languages. From this root there has been an enormous amount of language vocabulary developed. The following Table 2 illustrates some of the Macedonian / Slavic etymologically related words associated with the root word 'Zeme':
Table 2. Some of the Macedonian / Slavic etymologically related words associated with the root word 'Zeme'
The word Zemele also has a number of “sister words” such as Zmija and zmej - a snake or snake like monster, cold-blooded creatures that live below ground or in the underworld.
Now let’s review the characteristics and basic concepts associated with the earth. Among many attributes of the Earth, two main attributes associated with agriculture are:
The desirable attribute:
It is able to bear fruit ® Fruitfulness; The richness and fertility of the Soil/Zemla ® Plod ® Plodo ® Pluto.
The undesirable characteristic:
In the cold season - winter, the richness of the soil and the fruits disappear underground. Using words that would reflect the simple understanding of the Ancients we could say that it takes away all the good things that sustain life. Also, the world below is void of light. It is dark and unknown. Humans are buried into it. It is the Kingdom of Hades. Later it developed into the concept of ‘Hell’. This is in agreement with the Macedonian word Ghades. Hades is also known as the twin brother of Pluto and many times the names become merged.
Only a fruitful earth will bear “agricultural riches” associated with the god Pluto. This is how he is described in the Homeric writings.
The word Pluto/Pluton, is closely related to the Macedonian word plod or plodo and the Macedonian dialectical form ‘plodon’ In older versions of the Slavic languages the letters and sounds of 'o' and 'u' were interchangeable. This is significant because if we replace the current letter ‘o’ with ‘u‘, we obtain pludo. By the way, it is important to mention here that Pluto’s original name, or more precisely, one of Pluto’s older names is “Plouton”. The Greek writing is ‘??????? ???????, ??, p. 1198 - Plouton, the God of the netherworld, and of the agricultural riches. The word ‘plodo’ is part of a very large family of words in Macedonian and Slavic languages, many of which are functionally related in a language concept.
The earth contains all the ingredients and ability to nourish all life. Every seed, which is planted into it will grow to “give” life. This is reflected and expressed in the words “Plodna Zemja” or “fruitful earth”. This happens when the earth’s attributes “fruitfulness and richness of soil” come together with the nourishing rain that comes from above.
We know that everything that is alive bears fruit. In the human world the female (woman, žena) must be “fruitful” as well as be impregnated with a seed at the proper time or lunar cycle, in order to bear offspring and perpetuate life.
The seeds of every plant, when planted at the proper time (the spring), will be nourished by the falling rain or Dos - Dozd as it is called in Macedonian. Coincidentally, the original name of Demeter was Doi (????) and Dos (???) .
Also from the Homeric poems we know that Doine (????? - ?????) means “feeding, nourishing” .
Again according to the German Etymologist F.Passow , in Homer, when the goddess Demeter ‘came’ to earth to search for her daughter she used the names ‘Doi’ and ‘Dos’.
There is also one important fact to mention at this point. According to a Macedonian tradition, which is still remembered in the folk songs to this day in Macedonia, there is a chant attributed to the rain (Dozd). It goes something like this:
Doi - dole - Doidoule Hey ‘doi dole'
Dosh da zavrne Let it rain
Da na doi zemlata To nurse (feed) the Earth
These are actual words chanted to the rain goddess asking her to make it rain (Dos and Dozd) so that the earth can be nourished and the crops will grow and bear fruit.
Persffatta - ?????????, ????????? [6,7]
It is important at this point to mention that Persephone, Demeter’s daughter was also known by older names that bring a lot more functional meaning to this name when compared to Macedonian related vocabulary.
Now this form in Macedonian is ’Precfetta’ and is clearly related to a defined process of ‘completed /full bloom’ from the general – basic verb ‘cfetta’ to bloom. In Macedonian the verb sfetta > svjatta (O. Slav), means 'to shine, to appear'. This is connected with ’cfetta’, ‘procfetta’ - ‘to bloom’ and 'to have completed blooming' in Macedonian today . All these forms belong to a massive root concept in Macedonian and Slavic, connected with sunlight and light .
As we know all living plants bloom in the spring when Persephone is released by Hades and returns to the surface. This process is very fundamental and must happen as Law of Nature. The Macedonian language as well as most of the Slavic languages has retained this process in their basic structure indicating that they are very old. These forms and names of Persfatta are not present in the other European languages including Greek:
Blooming > Blossom > pollination > fruit > new life
There can be no spring and riches/gifts of Doimater without blooming and blossom.
Ghades – Hades- the undesirable characteristic of the Earth
We all know that during the winter months in the world where the climate is moderate the earth freezes and loses its ability to bear fruit. In other words, Doimater or Demeter “cuts off the fruitfulness, richness and gift of the soil” as Pluto (Plodo), the richness and fruitfulness of the soil escapes into the underworld and becomes his brother Hades (Ghades). Hades is the King of the Underworld.
Hades renews himself as he again snatches Demeter’s daughter who symbolizes spring and summer, the warm seasons, and takes her below the earth for another cycle. Hades’ renewal brings the end of the warm season and the beginning of the cold one. For the farmers of old, Hades was the “bad attribute” of the earth or the time when the soil lost its ‘Plod’ or ability to bear fruit. Hades is also associated with decomposition, darkness, the underworld and fear of the unknown.
Again, ‘ghades’ is a unique Slavic word that does not exist in any other European language. In most Slavic cultures, the word Ghades is associated with the snake but in Macedonian it could also mean something bad, unpleasant, terrible, undesirable, or slimy These words are: ghad, ghadeno, ghadesh, se ghadi.
This study uses a fundamental process of Functional Etymology based on actual every-day practical functionality of human activities and observation, which was developed by the author as a tool for Etymology research. It considers the notion that the primary language was not random but it developed as a concept from nature. This process has been tested and proven in many instances. It is one of the main ‘keys’, which when applied with the use of practical examples from nature, it will give actual meaning to almost all known Classical Divinities/Gods.
1. Goddess associated with Spring, wife of Hades/Pluto, daughter of Demeter
2. E Hamilton, Mythology: Timeless tales of gods and heroes. New American Library, New York 1940
3. Aroto = ????? ?is an ancient Homeric word for tilling /working the earth, see , p. 212. It also relates to the concept of ’to beget with child’, procreation, and it has strong affinity and relation to the meaning and phonetics with the massive Slavic concept: rod, rodo, (n)arodo, to beget, to bear, to be born; people: roden, rodina = to be born, motherland
4. H G Liddell, R Scott, H Drisler, Greek-English Lexicon Based on the German Work of Francis Passow, Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York 1850
5. orat, orati = to plow, ‘oratcho’ = plowman, are Macedonian words that belong to a family of words associated with working the earth. The ancient European farmers compared and associated the tilling and seeding of the earth and the fruits that it bears with the human procreation
6. There are many names for this goddess. One of these is Persfatta (?????????) see 
7. A Suter, The Narcissus and the Pomegranate An Archaeology of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor 2002
8. No scholar to this date considered the Macedonian or Slavic Languages for any clues or the fact that this ‘wife’ of Pluto/Hades is associated with the basic rule of agriculture. This gives strong support to this study on the meaning of the name. Also in Macedonian today there are many personal names as Cfeta, Cvetanka, Cfeto, Cvetko, Sveto, Sfetan associated with the word for blossom and to bloom - cfet, cfeta, and the verb to shine sveti etc etc.
9. A Suter  quotes T Worthen , who ”... following Socrates suggestion (Plato Cratylus, 404b-d) argues that the variation of the name resulted from “taboo deformation” and interprets the name to be connected with ‘to appear’, ’to shine’, ‘bright shining’ on ‘mythical grounds'." As per A. Suter, other scholars confess their ignorance, concluding that the name is ‘mysterious’ or ‘unexplained ... obscure or that it ‘seems to be Pre-Greek, of uncertain origin'
10. T D Worthen, The Myth of Replacement: stars, gods, and order in the universe. University of Arizona Press, Tucson 1991
Nov pogled na klasično mitologijo ob uporabi slovanskega in makedonskega besedišča.
Ali ima klasična mitologija dejanski pomen in, ali se jo da razumeti in razložiti? Cerkvenoslovanski in makedonski jezik, sta zadržala pojme in besedišča, ki pri pravilni analizi in pravilnem tolmačenju omogočata razlago. Podan je nov pogled na klasično mitologijo. Ta omogoča drugačne in uporabne pomene za istovetnost znanih klasičnih mitoloških oseb kot so Demetra, Saturn, Pluton/Had, Presefata in Zemela.