NABOKV-L post 0014310, Fri, 8 Dec 2006 10:17:24 -0500

Re: versipellous Vseslav
Vseslav (emphasis on last syllable) Bryacheslavovich, Prince Polotsky
(11th century, ?1028-1101) was indeed a very mysterious historical
character and an alleged werevolf, born through wizardry. His reign saw
the Galley Comet visit in 1065, following which he took Novgorod in
1067. After some bloody feuds he was elected the Great Prince of Kiev in
1068, but then disappeared mysteriously from his seat, so his troops had
to return home to Polotsk -- when the prince reappeared to live and
reign for another 33 years.

But this versipellous name is also heavily present in Russian folklore
and could have much earlier roots. Indeed many Vseslav-mentioning myths
appear to be very archaic.

One of many versipellous characters in old Russian folklore is the
wizard named Volkh (or Vol'ga) Vseslavyevich whose patronym indicates
him as a son of Vseslav.

Volkh also is a son of a Serpent. His mother is a human girl, Marfa
Vseslavyevna (also daughter of Vseslav!) [note Marfa or Martha, a very
common name in VN].

Volkh could turn into an ermine (Mustela erminea) and turn his soldiers
into ants (cf. myrmidon legends).
Volkh name is connected to Veles (the thunder god) and Volkhov (the
river on which city of Novgorod the Great stands).

"Volkhovanye" means general wizardry, "koldovstvo".
"Volkhv" in pagan Slavic usage is a "koldun", shaman, or wizard, cf.
Pushkin's "kudesnik" in his "Lay of Oleg the Wise" or A.K. Tolstoy's
"Death of Ivan the Terrible" featuring volkhvs, possibly even non-Slavic
but Finno-Ugric.

In Christian tradition, "volkhvs" are three Magi who saw the Star of
Bethlehem. O. Henry's "Gifts of the Magi" Russian translation is "Dary

See: (Russian)

Victor Fet

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