Komi Mythology

Article excerpt

Komi Mythology Edited by A.-L. Siikala, V. Napokkikh and M. Hoppal Akaemiai Kiado Budapest & Finnish Literature Society, Helsinki 2003

Komi Mythology, published as a volume in the series entitled The Encyclopaedia of Uralic Mythologies, is a remarkable compilation of all aspects of the cosmology and mythic beliefs of the Komi-Zyryan and Komi-Permyak peoples who live in the northern portion of Russia, adjacent to Archangel, Murmansk and Omsk. As is so common amongst ancient peoples, the term Komi may simply be translated as "man" or "Human being." This 436 page, two-column collection is important because the editors and contributing authors have presented Komi mythology as an integral part of the ancient Finno-Ugric and Samoyed belief system, from which many magical beliefs were borrowed into early Germanic mythology after the Germanic peoples edged the Finno-Ugric hunter-gathers out of southern Scandinavia and much of the rest of northern Europe.

As the aboriginals of northwestern Eurasia, the Uralic peoples, ranging from the Lapps of northern Scandinavia to the Selkups and Nganaans of northern Siberia, had a technology that appears to have been directly comparable to that of the Cro-Magnons of the European Upper Paleolithic. …