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Veles (Cyrillic Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbian and Ukrainian: Ð’ÐµÐ»ÐµÑ; ; Bosnian, Croatian, Czech, Montenegrin, Slovak, Slovenian: Veles; Ruthenian and Old Church Slavonic: Ð’ÐµÐ»ÐµÑÑŠ; ), also known as Volos ( , Ð’Ð»Ð°Ñ, Ð’Ð»Ð°ÑÐ¸Ð¹), is a major Slavic god of earth, waters, and the underworld. His attributes are wet, wooly, hairy (bearded), dark and he is associated with cattle, the harvest, wealth, music, magic, and trickery. According to reconstruction by some researchers, he is the opponent of the supreme thunder god Perun. As such he probably has been imagined as a dragon, which in the belief of the pagan Slavs is a chimeric being, a serpent with a bear's head and drooping hairy ears. His tree is the willow much like Perun's tree is the oak.
No direct accounts survive, but reconstructionists speculate that he may directly continue aspects of the Proto-Indo-European pantheon.
Veles is one of few Slavic gods for which evidence of offerings can be found in all Slavic nations. The Primary Chronicle, a historical record of the early Kievan Rus, is the earliest and most important record, mentioning a god named Volos several times. Here, Volos is mentioned as god of cattle and peasants, who will punish oath-breakers with diseases, the opposite of Perun who is described as a ruling god of war who punishes by death in battle. In the later half of the 10th century, Veles or Volos was one of seven gods whose statues Vladimir I of Kiev had erected in his city. It is very interesting that Veles' statue apparently did not stand next to others, on the hill where the prince's castle was, but lower in the city, in the marketplace. Not only does this indicate that Veles was connected with commerce, but it also shows that worship of Perun and Veles had to be kept separate: while it was proper for Perun's shrines to be built high, on the top of the hill, Veles' place was down, in the lowlands.
A similar pattern can be observed among the South Slavs. Here the name of Veles appears only in toponyms, the best-known of which is the city of Veles in Macedonia, over which looms a hill of St. Elias the Thunderer. Also, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a part of Sarajevo is called VeleÅ¡iÄ‡i and a mountain VeleÅ¾ near Mostar, Herzegovina. Other examples are Veles in Western Serbia, Velesnica on the Danube and Velestovo in Montenegro and also the township of Velestino (Î’ÎµÎ»ÎµÏƒÏ„Î¯Î½Î¿, today Î¦ÎÏÎµÏ‚), apparently bearing testimony to a Slavic layer in the settlement of Thessaly. Another debatable if not improbable example is the town of Volosko in Croatia, situated on the seashore under the peak of Mount UÄka, nicknamed Perun.
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