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Magic Songs of the West Finns, Vol. I, by John Abercromby, [1898], at

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Having reviewed some of the craniological, archæological, and historical facts that bear more or less directly on the Finns, we have now to turn to comparative ethnography and philology for any help they may afford towards enabling us to form a slight picture of their prehistoric condition. Theoretically the prehistoric past may be divided into two divisions, hereafter to be mentioned as the first and second periods. To the first belong words that are common to the Ugrian and the various Finnish groups; these originated in Asia, when Finns and Ugrians seem to have lived in close contact, for the physical and craniological differences between the Finns and Ugrians are too great to allow us to suppose they are descended from a common stock. But they were neighbours, living under conditions of life precisely similar. Though we have to believe that once the remotest ancestors of the Finnish peoples lived in Asia, it is, I think, impossible to trace them there; the inference is made purely on linguistic grounds. In the craniological chapter we have found that the crania at Volósovo, and at the Ladogan station seem to have analogies with existing Eastern Finnish skulls. So there is ground for assuming that the earliest neolithic inhabitants of Central Russia were

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ancestors of Finns that had somehow reached Europe and settled on the Oká. Having done so, it is difficult to imagine any external cause that could oblige them to leave it. For though they had nomadic instincts, like all other nomads they did not roam at large, but over a certain more or less defined district, which they regarded as their own. They were so isolated from the rest of the world that no direct outside pressure could be brought to bear upon them. The only influences that could touch them and induce some of them to move were of an internal nature: the natural increase of population, famine, pestilence. Of these the most efficient factor would be the first; to a people living only on fish, shell-fish, and wild animals, famine of a very severe kind would probably be of rare occurrence; but when too many members of a clan died at one time the remainder would very likely abandon the locality, at any rate for a time, and migrate elsewhither. I assume, therefore, for the present—the reasons can best be brought forward at the end of this chapter,—that at the end of the first period the undivided Finns had entered Europe, bringing with them, of course, various simple notions embodied in the language they had acquired in Asia; and that the earliest neolithic settlements in the Volga region of Central Russia belong to this time. As the settlements on Lake Ladoga and the Upper Volkhov are later than those on the Oká, the movement of the Finns was evidently westward, and the finds at Fatiánovo and Galič seem to show that, even on European soil, Finns and Ugrians lived at no great distance from each other for part of the second period.

The second period embraces the time between the first settlements in Europe and the first contact with an Iranian

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civilisation, which may have taken place from four hundred to six hundred years before the present era. It covers a long lapse of time, and may be divided into an earlier and later half. The first half is characterised by a series of words common to all, or nearly all, the East and West Finnish groups, and we have to suppose they had not yet split into different linguistic groups, though various fractions of the united body may have lived at very considerable distances apart. The second half is marked by words that are confined to two or three members of the Finnish family. As all know, numerous words in every language die out and are replaced by others for reasons that can only be guessed at. So it would be wrong to maintain that all new additions to a language exactly coincide with the new ideas conveyed by these new words. For instance, the Lapps have borrowed a word for 'moon' from the Scandinavians, the Finns a word for 'neck' from the Lithuanians, and yet these new words conveyed no new ideas. Sometimes in certain classes of words, such as the names of spirits, divinities, sacred animals, animals and fish caught for food, we can perceive a reason for borrowing a new term from a foreign language. There was a distinct reluctance, amounting to fear, that prevented a native from using these names, so that either an epithet or allusive term was employed, or a word borrowed from a foreigner. Hence we readily understand how it came to pass that to certain powerful spirits, whose real name the Lapps were afraid to use, were given the Norwegian name of Stor Junkare, and why the Finns gave a name of Scandinavian origin to their spirits of nature—haltia. It is probably some such reason that has caused the want of common terms for sun, moon, sky, spirits, and for most of the

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common wild animals among the Eastern and Western Finns. But nevertheless on the whole the new words of the second period must be taken to mean increase of experience, modification of the ancient mode of life, and a slight forward development of the different groups made independently of each other during the latter half of it. They are also to be considered as older than the first contact with an Iranian or European civilisation. But of many genuine words confined to the West Finns alone we cannot always be quite sure whether they came into use before or after this event in the history of their civilisation.

The late Professor Ahlqvist has already drawn us a picture of the prehistoric civilisation of the Finns that has often been referred to, but now I propose to supplement it in some respects by drawing upon the existing customs and beliefs of the Eastern Finns, and laying more emphasis on the psychological element. But in doing so it must be borne in mind that they too are more or less civilised, for the most part Christianised, and living under conditions very different from those of their prehistoric ancestors. From about the eighth to the thirteenth century they were exposed to the civilising influence of Bolgars and Turks, who have left many traces of their superior civilisation and higher religion in a series of loan words. All that is known of their sacrificial rites, their divinities, their ideas about the phenomena of nature, cannot therefore be accepted without considerable reduction and allowance for subsequent growth and accretion. The mere passage from a hunting and fishing stage to one that is almost purely agricultural, the change from a nomad to a settled mode of life, undoubtedly affected the class of gods to whom they paid especial worship. To a hunting nomad the idea

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of a great and benevolent earth-mother that gave forth of the fruits of the earth in due season, of a beneficent sun-god that ripened them, could never occur. Hence all notice of gods whose being and worship entirely depends on the practice of agriculture by their worshippers may be excluded from our survey. The beliefs, customs, and so forth, of the Ostiaks, Voguls, Samoyedes, and Altaian Turks are on the whole more likely to tally with those of the prehistoric Finns than any other people on the globe, though they too have been subjected to various civilising influences for which allowance must be made.


Had the Finns of the first and second periods any notion of the supernatural? This question, as it seems to me, must be answered in the negative. At the first beginning of humanity on the globe there could have been no such notion, for before it can be formed at all some idea must exist of nature and the natural. As an idea, Nature is so complex that a long time must have elapsed before man could form the least conception of it. Yet at a very early period the human mind, working unconsciously, must have framed categories and separated the phenomena of nature into those of daily occurrence and those that happen at longer or shorter intervals. Under the first category would fall the relative weights of common things, such as stones and feathers, the fact that if a thing dropped from one's hand it fell to the ground, the recurrence of night and day, the heat of the sun, etc. These being facts of daily experience excited no astonishment. Under the second category would come the distinction between a hot and cold or dry

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and wet portion of the year; the phases of the moon; the fact that fish run up rivers at a certain season and return at another; that certain animals frequent particular parts of the country at one time more than other. These and many other similar observations that they made would seem to them, no doubt, what we should now call natural; that is to say, these phenomena excited no astonishment. But others of uncertain periodicity, and recurring at long intervals, such as eclipses, earthquakes, comets, famines, and the like, would certainly create wonder, sometimes fear, and might therefore be termed wonders, marvels, or miracles in the old sense of the word, but not supernatural, for they had no conception of nature as a starting-point from which the idea of supernatural could be deduced. Their gods even, conceived probably as invisible beings with purely human attributes, the attributes of humanity at a very slow stage, could in no sense be considered supernatural. Men could also render themselves invisible. The gods too were so human that they could be forced to act in accordance with the wishes of their worshippers, and could likewise be punished. But in course of time, though not everywhere at the same time, to the worship of the older gods, that resided chiefly in trees, wells, rivers, and animals, was added the worship of a higher order of divinity whose seat was in the sky. This was the result of the gradual development of a new order of ideas. Just as a man in need of anything applies first to his friends or neighbours nearest at hand before turning to a distant stranger, so man in the early stages of his history had recourse, when in danger or trouble, to the helpers that seemed nearest at hand, that dwelt, as he believed, in the trees and waters at his very door, rather than to the distant

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heaven, to which no human voice could be expected to reach.

At last a change took place in this respect. Some men, resolving to leave no stone unturned, ventured to seek aid from the sky-god, who in time would gain a large circle of worshippers. The intellectual energy and development of these adherents of the new god would no doubt be superior to that of the adherents of the older gods. Yet to them the sky-god was not supernatural, though a step was taken in that direction; he was now supermundane. Partly from his elevated position, partly perhaps from regarding the sun as his eye, the sky-god would in time acquire the attribute of omniscence; though at first this would merely be superhuman, not supernatural knowledge; it would exceed the knowledge of any one man, but would only be equal to the sum of knowledge of all men, what each man knew of his own actions. Again, instead of attributing storms, thunder, lightning, rain, and drought to the anger of witches, sorcerers, or of the inferior order of gods that dwelt in trees and stones, these phenomena were now ascribed to the will of the god in the sky above. This tended to produce the impression that he was all-powerful as well as omniscient. Still, with all this, his power was merely superhuman in the sense that it exceeded the capacity of any one man or body of men. The idea of his being a supernatural personage could only arise when his omnipotence was raised to such a pitch that he became thought of as the creator of the world, of nature as we perceive it. As the creator is necessarily greater than the created, it now for the first time became possible to regard him as a being transcending nature in every conceivable way—as supernatural, in fact. The notion of a supernatural

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being or god, wielding supernatural power, must, if this view is correct, be of late origin. It never could develop among a people in whose pantheon there was no creator of the world. If such a people possess a notion of the supernatural they must have borrowed it.

It cannot be doubted that the prehistoric Finns, when they stood in the open air and gazed around, were under the impression that nearly every object in nature was the habitation of a spirit. This cosmological theory naturally accounted for the life and movement they perceived around them; even inanimate objects, like rocks and stones, required an active cause to account for their presence, for their difference in size, and for their often strange shapes. Of course, all spirits were not of equal value or of equal strength: that would depend in some measure on the size of their habitation. The spirit of the sky was greater than an ordinary tree, stone, or house spirit. So a Samoyede wizard in addressing his familiar spirit says: 'I cannot approach Num' (the god or spirit of the sky), he is too far away; if I could reach him I should not beseech thee, but should go myself, but I cannot.' 1 The Samoyedes of the government of Tomsk, who are partly Christianised, fear Num to such an extent that they pronounce his name with evident trembling, and prefer the use of an epithet meaning 'the watcher over reindeer.' 2 Tūrm, the sky-god of the Northern Ostiaks, who only speaks in thunder and the angry voice of the storm, is an inexorable being whom no prayers can reach, whom no offerings can propitiate. He is therefore not the object of any worship, and Ostiaks in need of help must turn to a spirit of lower degree. 3 Here we see that the physical remoteness of

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the sky from the earth gave rise to the idea of an inaccessible god. Like the Ostiaks, the Turks of the Altai do not turn for help to the highest god, but to deities of lower rank. 1 Some Votiaks allege another reason for not paying full honour to Inmar, the god of the sky. He is very good, and so they do not fear him, worshipping him with prayers, but not with sacrifices. 2 Though, in the above instances, the sky is conceived mainly as a spirit, the latter was not quite incorporeal. To the Samoyede the rainbow is 'Num's mantle'; to a Čeremis it is 'the bow of Jumo' (sky, god), the thunderbolt is his stone (Jumon ki); to a Vogul the lightning is 'the arrow of Tārim.' Compared with the Northern Ostiaks, the Voguls have greatly modified their view of the sky-god Numi Tārim. He is a great hunter, the bear is his dear daughter, and they pray to him as 'our father' to let down fish and wild animals from above. 3 He is therefore no longer inaccessible to direct entreaty, which shows a later stage in religious development; the fear of using his name has passed away, and the feeling of distance from him is removed or lessened. The ascription of the epithet 'father' is not, as might be supposed, the result of Christian influence, for in the heroic poems of the Irtịš Ostiaks, which go back to about the thirteenth or fourteenth century, a prince who is hard pressed in battle calls to his god in the following terms: 'Is it possible the Golden Light (the Sky-god), my father, has decreed that common soldiers should take my iridescent scalp?' 4 Judging from their poetry, the Tūrim of the Southern Ostiaks on the Irtịš was very different from the Tūrm of the Northern Ostiaks described by Castrén. The former is rather a

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mild god; 'father' is his constant epithet, and he dispenses good solely from his merciful nature and his love for man. And judging from the epic poetry he does not seem to have demanded any worship, sacrifice, or prayers. Even animals in danger cry for help to him, and never in vain. 1 It would be interesting to know whether this revolution of ideas with respect to the character of the sky-god was independent of all foreign influence; it is difficult to believe that it could have taken place spontaneously,

Num, like the Turk. teñri, means 'sky' and 'god,' and among the Finns we find the same confluence of two distinct ideas in a single word.

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[paragraph continues] Though F. jumala now means 'god,' the corresponding word in Čeremis also means 'sky,' and the Mordvin for 'lightning,' jondol, stands for jom-dol, 'the fire of jom,' 2 On the other hand, the F. ilma, 'air,' corresponds with the Permian words for 'air,' 'sky,' 'god,' and the proper name Ilmari, L. Ilmaris, who is sometimes substituted for the native wind-god, is formally the equivalent of V. inmar, 'sky,' 'god.' It can hardly be doubted that sky is the older meaning, though it may always have been associated with the idea of 'sky-spirit,' and that 'god' is secondary. It would be interesting to know at what stage in the history

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of the Finns this differentiation of meaning took place. With the Western Finns it seems to have taken place as early as the fourth period, for otherwise it is unintelligible why they should have borrowed from the Lithuanians a word for the physical sky, taivas, unless Jumala had ceased to bear this meaning, and meant only the sky-spirit, the personality that seemed to be behind all aërial phenomena. At first, there was only one god, jumala, jumo, inmar, the spirit of the sky, but in course of time these words were used in the plural, and employed as epithets to a number of deities. As god of the sky, Jumala, like Num, no doubt sent forth thunder, rain, snow, and wind on luckless mortals, but whether he received worship is doubtful; at any rate, most of the worship appears to have been reserved for deities that seemed nearer at hand.

The question may be raised whether all aërial phenomena, such as thunder, lightning, wind, snow, and rain, were originally attributed to the will of the one sky-spirit, or whether the earlier belief was that they were due to the action of separate and independent spirits. At present the Eastern Finns specialise most of these phenomena, so that each has its father, mother, ruler, or other functionary who directs its activity. They also specialise their domestic tutelary deities in the minutest way; there is one for the hearth, another for the courtyard, one for the cowhouse, another for the stable, for the sheep-pen, etc. As the names for these buildings are for the most part loan words of comparatively recent origin, the specialisation of guardian spirits goes hand in hand with the increase of civilisation. But the Samoyedes, whose lack of culture is much greater than that of the most backward of the Eastern Finns, take the above phenomena en bloc, and

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refer all to the will of a single spirit. Hence there is reason to assume that in prehistoric times the Finns generally attributed these diverse operations of nature to the active will of a single being, the spirit that dwelt in the sky. In fact, to some of them, such as rain and wind, short of a hurricane, they must have been from their mode of life comparatively indifferent.

What conception the prehistoric Finns had of the spirits of nature we do not know, and there is no common term by which they were designated. By the Eastern Finns at present they are simply called the 'father, mother, uncle, aunt, ruler, prince, or god' of each particular element, which shows that they are generally thought of as anthropomorphic, and they do sometimes appear in human shape. Once when a Votiak shot a water-spirit, vu-murt, the water was tinged with his blood. 1 And if the blood of a forest spirit, known as pales murt, is shed, from each drop a fresh spirit comes into existence. 2 The Mordvins sometimes picture to themselves the water-mother as a beautiful woman with silky hair and girt with a silver girdle; but sometimes she is seen in the shape of a huge fish, surrounded by much smaller fish, which she sends away to different rivers and lakes. At times her children fall into the fisherman's net, and if he has pity on the weeping water-spirit he will be rewarded with a good catch of fish. At other times she has been seen as a bird skimming over the surface of the water. 3 The 'forest-wife' of the Mordvins may appear as a beautiful woman, but she can change her shape and become manifest in the form of fire or a whirlwind; occasionally she comes to a

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village as a cat, dog, horse, or wolf. 1 By the Votiaks the vu-murt or water-spirit is sometimes seen as a huge pike, 2 a fish that is held sacred by the Voguls, 3 and was probably sacred to the prehistoric Finns. But these anthropomorphic and animal shapes assumed by spirits may be later developments, for originally spirits seem to have been invisible. Transition forms of the belief are seen in the Votiak house-spirit, korka murt, who is an aged man in a sheepskin coat, whom it is possible to feel and to seize, and who yet is invisible; 4 as also in the Lapp belief that the spirits of the dead are visible, but not in corporeal form; and that they cannot be squeezed or tired, and move at a terrible rate. 5 The Permian superstition that a man can steal without being seen, if he provide himself first with the hand, tooth, or shirt of a dead man, is only explicable by a belief that the spirits of the dead are invisible. 6 But the Samoyede belief is that spirits, for which there are several names, are only visible to wizards, not to ordinary mortals, except so far that some of them have their habitations in queer-looking stones, trees, natural objects, or in rude dolls dressed like a Samoyede. 7 To a certain extent it would seem that all spirits were not considered immortal, for the Samoyedes in the government of Tomsk have each a special idol god, who, at the death of his worshipper, is supposed to die too, and at any rate is thrown into the river. 8 So too the household and clan gods of the Ostiaks are to all appearance merely artificial dolls, decked out in their best. But that originally the spirit was thought of as

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distinct from the stone, branch, or idol in which he was located, is shown by the belief of the Voguls. According to this, the ghosts or manes of the heroes dwell in the place of their former exploits, where they are represented under the form of images. These images are called pupy, while the indwelling spirit, which appears with lightning speed when summoned by the magic power of an incantation, is termed aatir, 'the prince,' or nai, 'the princess.' The images of the gods are often replaced by a natural stone or rock formation, which the people believe to be transformations of the heroes. And when the Voguls are preparing a place of sacrifice, they set up in the front part of it a birch sapling to serve as a sacred resting-place for the god who is to be invoked. 1 So too the Votiak household god, voršud, 'the giver of luck,' is supposed to live either in a special chest or basket, in which the offerings are laid, or in branches of fir specially strewn in a particular place, but is otherwise invisible. The household spirit of the Čeremis is also embodied in a fagot of sticks, 2 and the seita of the Lapps, as a rule, are only to be seen in a pile of stones or in a human figure rudely blocked on a wooden post. Yet in spite of the invisibility of the spirits, they were so far cast in a human mould that they needed to be fed, though not with the same regularity as human beings. The Samoyedes, Ostiaks, Voguls, and Lapps all smear the mouths of their idols with blood and fat. If the spirit was not embodied in an idol, the food-offerings had to be made in other ways. For instance, when the fishing on the Ob is bad, the Ostiaks throw a reindeer into it to propitiate the spirit. Generally speaking, when an animal is sacrificed, most of the flesh is eaten by the worshippers,

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though some is set aside for the god. The sacrifice is in the nature of a feast, at which the god is an invited guest. Among the Southern Ostiaks, when a god has received an offering he is bound to fulfil the request of the Ostiak. If he refuses he must be chastised by man. Thus the shaman exhorts the tribal god to be compliant, and its owner does the same to his house-god. If the warning is of no avail, and the god remains obdurate, he is threatened with punishment, and this is executed forthwith. The image is thrown on the ground, beaten, and trampled under foot; sometimes it is burnt and replaced by a new one that has witnessed the chastisement. 1 Little wonder then that prayers and offerings were made by preference to the lower divinities who could thus be coerced by worshippers, whose actions were regulated by the Bismarckian maxim, do ut des.

To a people that lives by fishing and hunting the elements are clearly of far less importance than to an agricultural people. To the former wind, snow, and rain come as a matter of course, and are regarded with stoicism and indifference. The spirit that lives in a large river, that gives or withholds fish; the spirit of the forest that owns the wild animals with which it abounds; the household spirit that looks after the welfare of the family;—these are the divinities the hunter and fisherman is most inclined to worship with sacrifices and offerings. So it is not surprising the Ostiaks should esteem the river Ob above all other gods, should address it with their warmest prayers, and approach it with their richest offerings. 2 The Lapps made prayers and offerings to the water-spirits, čačče olbmak, to obtain fish, though in East Finmark there was a special

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fish-god, guli ibmel1 a term which is evidently of later date. As the household god looked after the general interests of the family he could be prayed to give so important an article of food as fish, and accordingly the Samoyedes turn to their hahe when they want a good haul. 2 But a water-spirit can be looked upon from another point of view: he it is that causes people to be drowned. To the Ostiaks, the water-spirit, Kul´, is an evil and destructive being; 3 to the Votiaks the vu-murt (water-man) is a thoroughly evil spirit. 4 The water-spirits, vu-murt, vu-kužo, who live in rivers, brooks, and lakes, are a numerous family, and their number is increased by men that are drowned, who subsequently become their servants 5 or have to act as their horses. 6 After bathing the Mordvins say: 'Thanks to the Ved at´a (water-father), the silver-bearded,' and in a story he is represented as seizing by the beard a man who was drinking, and not releasing him till he had promised to give his son to his assailant. 7

The forest-god of the Lapps, Lœib olmai, ruled over all forest animals, which were regarded as his herds, and luck in hunting, or the reverse, depended on his will. His favour was so important that, according to one author, they made prayers and offerings to hire every morning and evening. Under his special protection was the bear. 8 The 'forest men' of the Votiaks send game to the hunter and food to cattle. 9 All the forest animals are in the power of the 'forest-uncle' or the 'forest-man.' He is of human shape, and is inclined to be bad-tempered; to see him brings misfortune,

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usually sickness or death. In time of old sacrifices were made to him oftener than now, but in the district of Sarapul they are still made in autumn under a pine in the forest. The offerings consist of brandy, bread, a bull, and a grey ram. In some places the bread is placed on the branches of a tree for the master of the forest, and he is implored to give of his forest animals, his squirrels, foxes, or wild boars. 1 The Čeremis bring offerings to the forest-spirit that he shall not entangle them in the forest. 2

Like the Samoyedes, the Ostiaks are divided into many small clans (slägt), each composed of a number of families, having a common ancestry, that do not intermarry. Each clan has a common cult, and from time immemorial has had its own images, which are worshipped by the clan with offerings and other religious ceremonies. 3 The separate families, and even individuals, have also their little wooden images, rudely representing a male or female personage, but not differing from the clan images, except in being less elaborately dressed. The clan keeps its images in a house or a tent, or on some remote hill in the forest. The private and family gods, however, are not always small wooden images with a human face and a pointed head. They are sometimes odd-looking stones, or some other natural object. Every family and individual owns one or more such idols, which serve as tutelary gods, and when on the march they are transported on a special sleigh. Often each image is credited with a special function: one protects the reindeer, another provides a good haul of fish, others care for the health, the wedded life, etc., of the family. When wanted they are set up in the tent, on the pasture-ground, or at the

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places where animals and fish are caught. 1 Professor De Harlez thinks it possible that the small domestic idols of felt and rags, used by the Mongols, and mentioned as early as the year 1200 by Armenian authors, may have been introduced by the Buddhist preachers, as Vartan states without hesitation. 2 Household gods of this description may have passed from the Mongols to the Ostiaks. But, be this as it may, the doll-like idols of the Ostiaks are certainly of later date than the queer stones and other natural objects that serve the same purpose. The household gods, hake, of the Samoyedes are curious-looking stones, trees, or other natural objects, or they may consist of rude images. Of these they ask help in all undertakings, especially when they want a good catch of fish, and the idols follow the migrations of the family on a sleigh. 3

The clan and family gods of the Lapps seem to have been known in different parts of the country under the name of Seita or Storjunkare. Each family or clan (slägt) had its Storjunkare standing in the district where it lived. Every Lapp settlement had its seita, which had no regular shape, and might consist of smooth or odd-looking stones picked out of a stream, of a small pile of stones, of a tree-stump, or of a simple post. They were set up on a high, prominent place, or in a rich meadow. Under and round such seitas they strewed green fir twigs in winter, and in summer green leaves. The seitas protected their worshippers against misfortune to the herds of reindeer, gave instructions how to catch wild reindeer, and in return offerings were made to them of the hides and hoofs of

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reindeer, calves, and sometimes of a dog. But a private person might also have his own seita, to whom he prayed for good luck. The Storjunkare are described sometimes as stones, having some likeness to a man or an animal, that were set up on a mountain top, or in a cave, or near rivers and lakes. Honour was done to them by spreading fresh twigs under them in winter, and in summer leaves or grass. The Storjunkare had power over all animals, fish, and birds, and gave luck to those that hunted or fished for them. Reindeer were offered up to them, and every clan and family had its own hill of sacrifice. 1

The Votiaks have a family and clan god, known generically as the Voršud, or 'protector of good luck,' who protects the fortunes of the family. His clan character is shown by the fact that two persons bearing the same Voršud name cannot marry, or, what comes to the same thing, if they worship in the same large kuala or hut where the clan voršud is kept. 2 The voršud is represented in different places in different ways. In one place it is described as an idol placed on a shelf or raised place in the front corner of the kuala or outhouse used in summer for cooking purposes. The idol itself is a roughly made wooden head, with a beard of marsh grass. In another kuala it is a box, with a small opening like a window on one side, in which stands an image made of dough, the box being placed on a table or stand. 3 Elsewhere it is a small quadrangular basket, containing a bundle of birch or fir twigs, a few bits of money, squirrel-skins, a pie, honey, etc., and sometimes the box is laid upon fresh branches of pine. The bundle of birch

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twigs, and sometimes the squirrel-skins and the pie, are changed annually in spring. 1 It is evident that the wooden head and the dough image are later modifications: the voršud was originally thought of as an invisible spirit, but residing in the bundle of twigs instead of in a stone, like the house gods of the Lapps, Ostiaks, and Samoyedes. By the Ufimsk Čeremis the term kuda vodịž, or 'house-spirit,' is applied to a fagot of twigs kept in the front corner of the house. By the Viátkan Čeremis the twigs are renewed annually. Towards evening on a fixed day in spring all the men of the village mount their horses, and carry away from each house in the place the old fagot, and transport it separately to a certain field, where it is left. A new fagot is cut and taken home. The master of the house then says: 'Old one, go away! let another, a good one, come! Whenever anything happens, preserve me, do not bring evil!' 2 But to return to the Votiaks: the most important family sacrifices are those held in the kuala which each family possesses, and is the home of the voršud. Besides the family kuala there is a clan kuala in every village. If there is more than one clan in a village, an event of rare occurrence, there is a corresponding number of additional kualas. The clan kuala forms part of the farm-buildings of the oldest man directly descended from the ancestor of the clan, but differs in nothing from a family kuala. Sacrifices in these buildings are held on fixed and on accidental occasions. The family and clan sacrifices are held regularly twice a year, at the beginning of summer, and autumn when the field-work is over. The offerings consist of bread, groats, beer, spirits,

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and a duck. The man on whose farm the clan sacrifice is made acts as priest, and the office is hereditary. 1 Though these facts seem clear enough there is much uncertainty as to the origin of the voršud names. Only a few of them can now be explained by the modern Votiak and Zịrian languages, which is not surprising if they are family or clan names. Out of a short list given by Gavrilov, Bigra might be explained as the adjective of Biger, 'a Tatar,' 'a Bolgar.' Durga is a 'beetle,' Selta might be a derivative of selt, 'a horse-hobble,' Ul´a, of ul´ 'a branch'; Purga is (1) a tributary of the Vičegda, (2) the name of a village, (3) a snowstorm. The other names he gives are inexplicable. Out of a list of Votiak patronymics written down at the end of the last century occur Birgin, Z´um´in, Kibin, Šudzin, derived from the still existing Voršud names Birga, Z´um´a, Kib´a, Šudz´a. Some river-names are identical with voršud names, such as Lekma, Yumia, Čabia, Dokia, Niria, Možga, which last is also a village name. 2 As rivers were worshipped by the Votiaks, it is possible that the spirits of these rivers had been adopted as tutelary spirits, and so became clan names, though other equally plausible reasons might be urged for other explanations. And as village names are often called after their founder, there is no difficulty in explaining the similarity of village and voršud names. But still it remains uncertain whether the voršud took its name from the clan that worshipped it, or whether it gave its name to the clan.

The Mordvins being more civilised than the other Eastern Finns, seem to have no tutelary family and clan gods corresponding to those above mentioned, though they have several divinities that protect the house, the hearth,

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the threshing-floor, the corn-kiln, etc., to whom small sacrifices are made.

From the above examples of existing beliefs among the Ugrians and Eastern Finns, we may safely assume that the prehistoric Finns also had gods of the family and the clan, who were supposed to be domiciled in quaint-looking stones, in small stone piles, in fagots of twigs, and in sacred trees. Further, that they worshipped the spirit that inhabited and personified every large river. Whether they revered a god of the forest is not certain, for, as we have seen, all that he could bestow could also be given by the personal or family god.

As in the course of the second period the Finns became acquainted with domestic animals, to which grass is essential, and practised a little agriculture, it is possible they occasionally paid homage and made sacrifices to the sun. The Samoyedes at dawn and sunset turn towards the sun and utter a few words of prayer, though otherwise they do not seem to pay any special regard to it. 1 But the Lapps offered white male animals to it so that it should shine and promote the growth of grass. Every year the sun ought to have the so-called 'sun's groats,' which both sexes ate in honour of the sun when they prayed it to cast a gracious sunshine on their reindeer. After the feast they fell a second time on their knees, and begged the sun to give them a good milking year, and to let their herds of reindeer thrive. It was only to the sun that burnt-offerings were made, and, being a male deity, only male animals were sacrificed to him. The moon was also a male divinity, for to him likewise only male animals were offered. 2 The Votiaks pray to the 'sun-mother' to give warm days; but

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she is not an important divinity. On the other hand, to the purely agricultural Mordvins the sun-god, E.M. Čipaz, M.M. Ši bavas, is the supreme deity. 1


A brief mention of some of the beliefs of the Ugrians and Eastern Finns will help to show what the general mental attitude of the prehistoric Finns might have been when face to face with the incidents and vicissitudes of daily life. The Samoyedes think that if a hunter eat bear's flesh he would run the risk of being eaten himself. At any rate fish and bear's meat must not be eaten at the same meal, or all the fish would disappear from the river. 2 The Ostiaks suppose that any one who has been eaten by a bear, who has been drowned, injured by fire, or has met with any accident, most likely has committed perjury, a crime always punished during a man's lifetime. 3 The Votiaks say that the bear originated from man, and so understands human speech, though he cannot speak himself. In their opinion the dog is so tenacious of life that if you kill one with a stick, and do not leave the weapon upon its body, it will come to life again. And if it were not for the milky way, the wild geese flying from west to north, and vice versâ, would lose their way and perish. 4 The Samoyedes are of opinion that sickness can be sent by an evilly disposed man as well as by God. 5 The Votiaks hold that fever and ague are sent by an evil spirit, Perkịno, who has to be appeased with offerings of bread, butter, and gruel, and is entreated not to be angry. 6 The Čeremis imagine that

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the spirits that cause illness, especially fever and ague, are continually recruited on the death of old maids, murderers, and those that have died a violent death. 1 The Mordvins suppose that sterility, or the sickness of a member of the family without apparent cause, results from having neglected his ancestors. Plague among the cattle is attributed to the same cause. 2 When any one becomes dangerously ill the Lapps feel sure that one of his deceased relatives wants his company in the region of the dead, Jabmi aimo, either from affection or to punish him for some trespass. 3 The Turks of the Altai have a similar belief. The soul after death willingly lingers for some time in the house, leaves it unwillingly, and often takes with it other members of the family or some of the cattle. 4

The Votiaks of Sarapul say that the body after being committed to the earth sees visions, as persons that are asleep do. 5 A dead Votiak is believed to hear all that is said around him till he has been washed and buried. 6 The Čeremis imagine that the dead still preserve the sensations of heat and cold, and can see until lowered into the grave. If a lad or a girl dies unmarried, it is thought they can marry in the next world. 7 When a respected Ostiak dies his nearest relations make a figure of him, which is kept in the tent of the deceased, and enjoys the same honour as himself when alive. At every meal the figure is brought in; every evening it is undressed and put to bed; every morning it is dressed and set in the usual seat of the deceased. The figure is honoured in this way for three

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or four years and then thrown into the grave. By that time the corpse is supposed to have mouldered into dust, and when that is accomplished even immortality comes to an end. 1

The prehistoric Finns, judging from the beliefs of their descendants and successors, were a simple folk. By them, no doubt, sudden sickness was attributed to any cause but the right one,—to the ill wishes of a neighbour, to the violation of an oath or a taboo, to inattention to the legitimate needs of deceased ancestors. When a man was dead they probably supposed, knowing nothing to the contrary, that he continued to see, hear, and feel for a considerable time. Something of the man lived on, but not for ever. When his memory was forgotten, when food supplies failed, or when the body had turned into dust and ashes, the spirit was thought to perish likewise, and nothing of the man remained. It would seem too that the stuff of which spirits were composed was much the same whether they were human spirits or the spirits that give apparent vitality to the phenomena of nature. After death some human spirits increased the host of spirits of disease, or became the servants of water-spirits, and when a worshipper died his private tutelary spirit became functionless and ceased to exist.

Believing as they did in various supernatural, invisible powers who were inaccessible to ordinary men, the prehistoric Finns no doubt had recourse to wizards and exorcists, who were credited with possessing the power of communicating with the unseen world, and of interpreting and explaining the will of the gods and the invisible spirits. The reason why this power was attributed to

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certain men was simply the fact that they were partially demented, were queer in their behaviour and appearance, and when young were subject to fits, spasms, hysteria, incoherent raving, and other signs that clearly showed they were possessed by a spirit, and therefore fit and natural interpreters of the invisible world of spirits. Such are the signs by which the Buriats, the Turks of the Altai, and the Yakuts know that a youth has been specially chosen by the gods to act as a šaman, a kam, or an ojun1 As partial mental alienation is apt to run in families, the wizard's power would generally be handed down from father to son, as is the case with the above-mentioned Siberian peoples; and judging from what is related of it, the amount of education given to the young šaman was not very great. But he had to be a good mimic; he must know how to imitate the screech of the eagle, the cackle of the goose, the croak of the raven, the hissing of the snake, the neighing of the horse, and many other natural sounds, when pretending to ascend to the sky or to descend to the lower regions. For such journeys were not related in mere words; they were vivid dramatic representations of a primitive kind, in which the šaman played the part of many invisible characters and animals, changing his voice to suit each part. Such a performance could not fail to leave on the simple unquestioning minds of the spectators a deep impression of the reality of the whole affair. These exhibitions are best preserved by the Turks of the Altai, but considerable traces of similar performances were to be found among the Lapps a couple of centuries ago.

Originally the wizards and seers were not what we should nowadays call magicians: they did not employ magic

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means to thwart the will of a god, or even to exert external force upon him. From their own point of view, their actions were perfectly rational, and their words both natural and harmless in themselves. Their functions were to find out why any one had been taken ill; whether a certain animal destined for sacrifice would be acceptable to the god, where lost animals were to be found, and practical questions of that sort. To fulfil their tasks they had at their beck and call certain friendly familiar spirits who could inquire of the higher spirits with whom even the wizard was unable to converse. To summon the familiar spirits who lived a long way off a drum had to be used, and when they arrived they were supposed to place themselves inside the drum. It was a most important instrument, and in the hands of a skilful wizard produced a variety of tones: hollow, muffled sounds that seemed to come from the depths of the earth; sharp incisive raps showing that a decisive point had been reached in the dramatic performance; loud, rapid, tumultuous sounds that pictured a terrible conflict. But the drum, perhaps only in later times, was also used as a divining instrument, and so the Altaian Turks, the Ostiaks, and the Lapps drew rude designs in red on the surface of their drums. The figures on the upper part pictured the gods and the sky, those in the lower part referred to the lower world, while a central horizontal band represented the earth. By causing a ring or something of the sort to move freely over the surface of the drum, and observing on what figure it stopped, a wizard could manage to give information about persons and things both above, below, or upon the surface of the earth. Speaking of the Samoyedes, Castrén tells us that the wizard can do little of himself, he is only the interpreter of

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the spirit-world, and his whole power consists in being able to place himself in correspondence with certain spirits, and receive from them the necessary information. At the same time he must be young and strong, or the spirits will make a fool of him. His office is hereditary, and the sound of his drum penetrates to the world of spirits, and awakens them from sleep. 1

The clan gods of the Ostiaks are often kept in a certain house which is under the charge of a spiritual man, who is at once seer, priest, doctor, and enjoys a religious respect. The advice of such seers or shamans is taken in all doubtful cases, but the seer answers no question directly. He refers it first to the decision of the gods, and explains the reply to the interrogator. Questions however cannot be put to Tūrm, who is inaccessible to mortals. In the event of a general sacrifice to the gods, or when their advice is asked, a shaman is necessary, as he alone can open the hearts of the gods and converse with them. The drum is indispensable, for an ordinary voice does not reach the ear of the gods. Sometimes the image of the god, placed in front of the seer, speaks, but only the seer can understand what is said. 2

When the Voguls desire to sacrifice to a divinity, the sort and quality of the offerings are determined by the wizard (nájt = F. noita), who serves as a medium between god and man. He is prepared for his office from earliest childhood, not only by strict observance of religious precepts, and taking, part in ceremonies, but also by learning religious songs, legends, and the proper conjurations. In all important religious acts he is the leader, and among the instruments he uses are the drum (koip, cf.

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[paragraph continues] L. kobdas, komdas, F. kannus>*kamdus), the drumstick, swords, arrows, and other weapons. His hardest work is conjuring the gods. It is he that leads out the animal to be sacrificed and cries forth his entreaties towards the sky, though the actual slaughter of the animal is performed by assistants on his giving the sign. 1

In very important matters the Lapps summoned a wizard (noaide = F. noita), who, using his drum as a divining apparatus, explained the will of the gods and answered different questions. But when necessary he was also able to make a journey to the house of the dead, Jabmi aimo, to appease its inhabitants, and engage them not to pursue a sick man down to the grave, or to get a deceased relative to come up to the earth again to tend the reindeer. Striking his drum, and singing as loud as he could, he began to summon his saivvo followers or helpful spirits. First he summoned the saivvo bird, and told it to bring from that region some of its inhabitants, but first of all the saivvo fish or snake. When all who intended to assist at the ceremony had arrived, the wizard took off his cap, loosened his belt, placed his hands on his face, knelt down, swayed to and fro on his knees, and began, drum in hand, to run round on his knees with wonderful rapidity and with curious gestures. Now and then he cried out: 'Harness the reindeer! launch the boat!' Then he threw hot ashes from the fire with his naked hands, pretending fire did not hurt him, drank brandy, and struck himself on the knee with an axe. Finally, from the effects of previous fasting and his violent exertions he fell into a swoon, during which no one might touch him, for his spirit

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was now travelling on the saivvo fish to Saivvo or to Jabmi aimo. When he came to himself he related what he had seen, what arrangements he had made with the dead, and announced in an oracular manner what ought to be done. 1

Among some Votiaks the seer (tuno) enjoys great authority; the animals to be sacrificed are selected on his recommendation; he shows the spot where the sacrifice to each god is to be made; where an illness has seized a sick man, who is guilty of it, who it was that damaged the invalid, what he is like and the colour of his hair, etc. And in general he is respected by the people. 2 In other places he has a bad reputation, is a habitual sot, and is therefore despised. Of less importance is the exorcist, pell´askis´, so called because while pronouncing his exorcisms he accompanies the words with blowing, pell´askon3

As regards the Samoyedes and Ostiaks, it does not seem certain who or what the spirits were that assisted and protected the wizards. Among the Lapps, however, these spirits were called saivvo people, who lived in a saivvo home, which was said to lie close under the surface of the ground. Directly after death souls were believed to pass into saivvo aibmo, the inhabitants of which lived exactly as on earth, but in a higher degree of prosperity and happiness, and they became the guardian spirits of the living. Every adult Lapp, especially noaides, could have several saivvo people as tutelary spirits. 4 If this is correct, the helpful spirits of the Lapp wizards were really those of their deceased ancestors, though perhaps

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the Saivvo people were not wholly composed of human spirits, and certainly not of all human souls, for most of the dead went to Jabmi aibmo, which is sometimes confused with saivvo aibmo, though the places were different. It seems to have been the same with the Altaian Turks. The intermediaries between the kam or wizard and the lower spirits, the Jär-su, are the spirits of ancestors. But not all can give help; only shamans that transmit their power from father to son are able through the power of their ancestors to invoke these lower spirits of nature, the Jär-su1 So too with the Jakuts, the emekhet or helpful spirit of the wizard, ojun, is generally a defunct shaman, though occasionally a secondary deity, who comes at call, helps, defends, and gives him advice. 2


There is reason to believe that at any rate to some extent the prehistoric Finns worshipped their deceased ancestors. Castrén mentions that the Ostiaks and Samoyedes make offerings to the dead, and that this service is founded on the belief that the dead retain the same needs and follow the same occupations as in life. 3 Among the Lapps the dead were held in great honour. The relatives sacrificed reindeer in memory of them for several years, and believed themselves to be still in such close relations that the luck they enjoyed was regarded as a gift from the deceased. 4 At the annual commemoration the Votiak priest invites the deceased to take part, in the

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following words: 'Thy anniversary has arrived, we give thee a bloody sacrifice, a roan stallion with a thick mane. Don't be angry; look well after our good cattle, and do not lay hold of us from before or behind. Gather all the dead around thyself. Be healthy. Come forward to eat and drink with the people around thee. Your grandfathers and grandmothers came forth to eat and drink.' 1 The Permians in the district of Glazov bring food in birch baskets to the cemetery, hang them on branches of the trees there, and call to the deceased to come and eat. 2

Among the Mordvins, on the eve of the day for commemorating the deceased, forty or forty-nine days after death, the nearest relative who most resembles the defunct is asked to personify him on the following day. Next day he comes to the house, puts on the clothes in which the dead man died, and sits on the bed on which he breathed his last. All the relations assemble to welcome him. Each brings a present of flour, bread, pancakes, or mutton, lays it with a bow on the table in front of the impersonator, and inquires how he is getting on in the other world. At night a very noisy feast is held, during which the personator tells of the life beyond the grave, and about the crops there. To the visitors that inquire after their dead relatives he gives the most circumstantial news. 'Your relation keeps good horses, and drives about the forest in a carriage'; 'Yours ruined himself'; 'Yours keeps bees'; 'Yours is given to drink'; 'Yours has married a beautiful wife.' About midnight all gather round to listen to the wishes of the dead man. His personifier then advises them to live peacefully, to look after the cattle, not to thieve, and hopes they will have

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abundance of beer and brandy. Later on a bull is slaughtered with some ceremony, its flesh is boiled in kettles, and the whole is consumed by the guests. When this repast is over the personator announces it is time to re-enter the grave. All present kneel down and beg his blessing. A cart is made ready, on which is placed a vat containing viands of various kinds. The personifier, after being embraced by the old women, is laid on the bed, which is now placed in the cart, and the whole company goes off to the cemetery. Here they set him and the bed on the grave, then lay a variety of food before hire, and beg him to eat for the last time. To keep him company the escort also partakes. They then take leave of the impersonator and invite him to return in summer when the corn is ripe and they will reap his share. The ceremony is now over; the personifier makes a bow, suddenly springs up from the grave, throws the bed upon the cart, and vanishes from the scene. 1 The Mordvins ask the deceased ancestors to give them a long life, to increase their prosperity, to give a good harvest, increase of cattle, etc.—in fact, to accomplish all that is usually the function of the gods. Sometimes it happens that the ancestors are neglected and left to starve. Such conduct is not left unpunished. They warn the relations in a dream, and, taking the hint, the latter bake pancakes, kill a hen and make a feast, the greater part of which they eat themselves, but the remains are taken to a place near the cemetery. 2 The ascription by the Mordvins of what may be called divine power to their ancestors, such as the ability to dispense prosperity, health, increase of cattle, etc., is closely paralleled by the capabilities in this respect of the

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family and clan gods of the Ostiaks and Lapps mentioned above. It opens up the question whether the latter are not, at any rate partly, the spirits of ancestors, though there is not enough evidence to arrive at a definite conclusion.


Though the Eastern and Western Finns seem to have no word for 'clan,' 'tribe,' we have already found reason to believe that the prehistoric Finns were acquainted with these ideas, and it must be supposed that the words, being no longer wanted, have fallen into disuse, and are buried in oblivion. Georgi, in the last century, says the Votiaks were formerly divided into tribes, and we have already seen that those that worship the same voršud cannot intermarry, and that the Ostiaks are divided into many small clans, composed of several families descended from a common ancestor. Unfortunately Castrén nowhere gives the Ostiak word which he translates by slägt. There is also no word for 'family' common to the Eastern and Western Finns. The latter use perhe, which has been adopted by the Lapps, while the Permian group and the other eastern groups generally employ loan words from Russian or Tatar. In fact there is a great difference at present between the two branches in the constitution of the family. The usual conception of a family among the West Finns is a household consisting of a man and wife with their children, as in Western Europe. But among the East Finns it is different. With them the family is large, consisting of from twenty to forty, and even sixty, persons living under the same roof and governed by a single head. Among the Votiaks it is not uncommon to find ten or

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more adults in a single family, not including children; for there may be three or four married brothers living with their parents in one large family. 1 A family of from twenty-five to thirty persons in one house is not uncommon, and north of the Čeptsa, in the government of Viátka, there are families of even forty persons. 2 Among the Mordvins several families live together in one house, though this is composed of several buildings, and constitute a large family. Though households consisting of a single family are to be found, they are still uncommon, and are the result of Russian influence. Not long ago there were families among the Erza of from fifty to sixty souls. 3 Although there are obvious economic reasons that may account for the enormous size of some Mordvin families that live entirely on agriculture, these would hardly hold good for the smaller but still large families of the Votiaks on the Čeptsa, where soil and climate place agriculture in a subordinate position as a means of subsistence. The modern practice of several married sons living together as one family must be referred to an older instinctive feeling of greater security that kept all those of the same stock together. It is not too much to assume that in prehistoric times the family was also large, consisting of three or four generations, living, if not under one roof, yet in huts so contiguous as to form a single homestead.

At the present time the family is everywhere on a patriarchal basis. Though the head of a Votiak family has unlimited power over the other members of it, we are told that the natural good-nature of the people is such

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that his authority is wielded in a milder fashion than we should expect, and the members of the family, even the women, enjoy greater freedom than in a Russian family. 1 Among the Mordvins, too, there are, properly speaking, no bounds to the power of the husband over the wife, so that he can beat her at pleasure and no one blame him for doing so as a punishment. Though the power of the father over his children is specially great, it never exceeds certain bounds. A Mordvin takes great care that no member of the family shall become estranged, but, on the contrary, shall feel solidarity with it, and he reluctantly eliminates members really guilty of crimes. Nor is the parental authority of short duration. Even among the Erza it lasts till a son is thirty years of age, for a father can always make himself so respected that sons of that age do not usually think of evading his wishes. And the Mordvin like the Votiak father does not misuse his authority. 2

The position of women among the prehistoric Finns could have been neither high nor enviable. An Ostiak woman is a slave in the strictest sense of the word; she is regarded as unclean, and lives in the deepest degradation. She gives no expression to her own will, but must humbly submit to every caprice of her husband. Her wishes are never consulted; she is treated like a piece of goods, and can never inherit property. 3 Vogul women in general may not approach idols or holy places. If a woman treads upon or steps over a man's clothes, weapons, or instruments of any sort, they are rendered unclean, and must be purified by fumigation with castoreum. 4 Among the Lapps woman still takes a very low place in the social organisation.

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[paragraph continues] Formerly she might not touch a noaid's drum, or eat the least bit of any offering made to the thunder-god, Horagales; nor might she look in the direction of the seita on the holy places. 1 Similarly a Votiak woman may not be present at the sacrifices made to the lud, or evil spirit that dwells in certain groves, nor may she approach such a grove. 2 Even with the more civilised Mordvins the power of the house-mother while her husband is alive is not very great; when he dies it ceases altogether. 3 And as late as the eighteenth century there was a lively recollection of a time when a man could sell his wife and the children begotten by her, if she ceased to please him. 4

At present the Eastern and Western Finns, as well as the Ostiaks, are exogamous, though Mainov argues that, as the gods of the Mordvins marry their own daughters, the nearest relationship was no bar to marriage, and that only a deficient supply of women led the Mordvins to seek wives among strange clans. 5 Among the Erza of the district of Sergatčsk in the government of Nižegorod, as well as in the government of Simbirsk, a tradition is preserved that in the old days a brother could marry a sister. Not long ago there lived in the village of Dubensk a very pretty and hard-working girl. Her parents were reluctant to part with her and give her in marriage to a stranger. So they sent her to pay a long visit to her relatives at a distance, and on her return they received her as a complete stranger. From that day forth they obliged her to consider her brother as her husband. 6 In answer to a direct question, a heathen Čeremis told Professor Smirnov

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that it was possible to marry a sister, though it was not done, from which he draws the conclusion that formerly the Čeremis were endogamous, there being no formal prohibition against marrying sisters. He also quotes a custom that forbids a Čeremis marrying a girl from a place where the women wear a costume different from that worn in his own village. He finds traces, too, of endogamy in some of the marriage customs. 1 With regard to the Permians, one author states that in out-of-the-way places cases occur of brothers and sisters cohabiting, and another writer mentions that in the district of Glazov sexual relations between very near kindred are not uncommon, while it is not considered blameworthy to have children begotten in incest. 2 Among the Votiaks in some places there is a custom that forbids a girl walking with a lad from another village. 3 Yet, in spite of these exceptions, the probability is great that in the main the prehistoric Finns were exogamous, though under stress of circumstances the nearest relationship as no bar to cohabitation.

Before attempting to discover the constitution of the Finnish family in prehistoric times by an examination of the words that denote relationship, it may be mentioned that not one of these ranges through all the groups. Some are widely diffused, but none universally. Still, from this it would be erroneous to argue that in the second period something like group-marriage or general hetairism prevailed. The absence of common terms for natural phenomena like 'sun' and 'moon,' etc., are enough to show that old words could be discarded and new terms substituted. It may also be noted that as a rule no distinction is drawn between boy and son, girl and daughter, woman and wife,

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woman and mother; each doublet is usually expressed by a single word. As a rule, too, there is no word for brother or sister, only for elder brother, elder sister, and these are nearly always coupled with the connotations of uncle and aunt. Native words, too, for nephew, grandson, and first-cousin are generally absent. Professor Smirnov maintains that these facts can only be explained by assuming the existence of communal marriage or general hetairism as the basis of the family, and presupposes a state of society in which every adult woman of a group was the concubine or potential wife of every adult man in it; the children being children of the group, no distinction could be drawn between boy and son, girl and daughter, woman and wife. In his opinion, the absence of a word for 'widow' shows that a woman was never left without a husband, while the want of a juridical term for 'adultery' proves that regular marriage did not exist. He finds a corroboration of his theory in the freedom of sexual relations that exists between lads and girls before marriage in all branches of the Eastern Finns. But Darwin, Dr. Westermarck, and others, have pointed out and laid stress on the fact that jealousy, especially in sexual matters, is and always must have been a very strong passion in man, as it in all the higher gregarious animals. The strongest men in each small group would therefore always keep their women to themselves so long as they were able to do so. Their children would therefore have a known father as well as a mother, and could not be regarded as merely children of a group. As the supply of women became restricted by the action of the stronger men, the weaker ones were forced to have recourse to various expedients, and thus polyandrous types of marriage or concubinage, and incestuous

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intercourse, would arise simultaneously with the polygamy of the stronger men.

The oldest type of family that we can trace among the Finns is one composed of several adult males, probably related by blood, living with several women and their children in one hut. With the exception of his two parents, to any member of the dwelling all male and female members older than himself were his elder brothers and sisters; all younger than himself were younger brothers or sisters, or some analogous term, Traces of a classificatory system, founded on seniority, are still found among the Eastern Finns. It is best displayed among the Čeremis. Exclusive of the father and mother, all blood-relations are divided, with regard to oneself or to a given person, into two categories of older and younger persons.

Iz´a designates and is the term of address for an uncle younger than one's father, an elder brother, his son if older than oneself, and a first cousin if also older.

šolö is a younger brother, a nephew, a grand-nephew, a younger first cousin, and the son of a first cousin.

aka is an aunt younger than one's father, an elder sister, a niece, and a first cousin older than oneself.

šušar is a younger sister, a niece, a grand-niece, a first cousin younger than oneself, and the daughter of a first cousin.

The wife of an iz´a is addressed as engai; of a šolöšeške.

The husband of an aka is called kurska; of a šušarveñge1

As it stands this nomenclature is probably not very

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ancient, for some of the terms seem to be loan words of no very ancient date; but the principle on which it is based is undoubtedly old.

The nomenclature of the modern Čeremis exactly fits the case of a father, mother, and their married sons with their families, living under a single roof and numbering say twenty persons. It may be illustrated by the following diagram

Click to enlarge

Here A represents a man and wife with their three sons b, c, d. In course of time their wives , , , bear families, shown in three columns to the right and lettered from eq, the italics marking the girls. It is possible, and we therefore suppose that niece e is older than her uncle d; that i is older than his first cousin h, and that n is older than his first cousins h, m. Then with regard to d, we see that b, c are his elder brothers (iz´a), his niece e is his elder sister (aka), and his remaining nephews and nieces from f—g are younger brothers (šolö) and younger sisters (šušar). With regard to h his two uncles c, d, and his fast cousins i, n are his elder brothers, his full sisters e, g are his elder sisters, and his first cousins k, o, q are his younger sisters. In conversation would be addressed as engai´, and , as šeške. As there is no native term for grandson in the Finnish groups, the father must have called his grandsons 'sons,' but all the grandchildren from eg 

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address A, as the 'great father,' the 'great mother.' In a family circle of this description the terminology of the family may be reduced to a minimum, though in course of time it will gradually enlarge; we see, too, that words for nephew, niece, grandson, granddaughter, first cousin, and even younger sister—younger aunt answers the purpose,—can easily be dispensed with, and need only develop after a long period of time, or after contact with a more civilised people. It is manifest, of course, that the above diagram can be adapted to a stage of family life far less advanced than that of the modern Čeremis, and at the beginning of the second period no doubt the relations between the sexes was different from what now holds. Very likely when the head of the household died, or became infirm, if he was ever allowed to reach that stage, his eldest or strongest son inherited his wife or wives, if young enough. And until the sons were strong enough for each to keep a wife to himself, they may have kept one in common, so that for a season polygyny and polyandry might exist under the same roof. The girls, too, in a household, till appropriated by a single man, may often have had intercourse with the younger men who had no households of their own. But the principle always remained that there was a head of each household, however humble the dwelling might be, and any children born under his roof were regarded as his and formed his family.

Hitherto we have only found in the prehistoric family a certain number of males living with a certain number of females, but we have not learnt how the women were acquired, whether by violence or in some peaceful manner, such as exchange, early betrothal, purchase, or personal

p. 188

service; or what sort of relations existed between the families of the husband and wife. If we could find widespread terms for any of the bride's relations, that imply marriage of some sort, we might reasonably infer that after taking a wife the relations between the husband and wife's families were not hostile, implying that she had been obtained on the whole by pacific means. There are two words that point in this direction, those for 'son-in-law' and 'father-in-law,' though the latter is a dubious term meaning 'wife's father' and 'husband's father':—

Click to enlarge

In the above equations, though four of the words for father-in-law are used in the double sense, yet to the Voguls and Ostiaks the word up only means 'wife's father,' hence there is the presumption that this was the original meaning of the others. It is evident that to a household framed on the Čeremisian system there could never be occasion for one member to address another as 'son-in-law,' though there might be several in the family. The term could only be used by a man or woman in a different dwelling—by the father and mother, in fact, of one of the wives in the first-mentioned household. The fact that the word for 'son-in-law' covers nearly the same area as that for 'father-in-law,' and that the first necessarily connotes the existence of a wife and her parents, immensely increase

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the probability that the words for 'father-in-law' once meant 'wife's father' and nothing else, for then both words point in the same direction, towards the old home of the wife. If this is so, we find terms for 'wife's father' and 'son-in-law' among the Western Finns, the Lapps, some of the Eastern or rather Central Finns, and the Ugrian groups in what at first sight seems to be the first period, though probably, for reasons that will be exhibited at the close of the chapter, not before the middle of the second period. Now if the method of obtaining a wife had been solely by hostile capture it seems hardly likely she would ever see her father again, even if he had not been killed in the affray, and so her husband's family would have no occasion to give him a special name; and as he would have no occasion to speak of his son-in-law, such a term would never arise. The probability is, therefore, that in prehistoric times wives were largely, though not exclusively, obtained without fighting. So far as can be learnt from language, the mother-in-law was subordinate to the father-in-law, for in Vogul and Ostiak the bride's mother is merely known as the 'wife of the up (father of the bride),' and in N. Ostiak the bridegroom's mother is distinguished as the 'great woman,' showing that the young husband's mother was regarded with greater respect than the bride's. So too the Finnish anoppi, 'mother-in-law,' seems to mean 'wife of the oppi (father-in-law),' or something of the sort, and so to indicate a position in the family that derived all its authority from the man. In fact, there is nothing in these words for 'father- and mother-in-law,' or in the other terms used by the East Finnish groups, to lead us to suppose that the headship of the family rested in other hands than those of a male.

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Another word with a wide range is that for daughter-in-law,' 'bride':—










itsi mon´

is mon´


ič man´


There is a remarkable difference in the distribution of this word compared with the terms for father- and son-in-law. It is unknown to the Mordvins and Čeremis, and retained by the Permian groups, unless indeed they have borrowed from the Voguls (, itsi = little), as I think is probable, for reasons to be stated hereafter. The next to be noticed has several meanings: (1) wife of brother, (2) wife of husband's brother, (3) sister of wife, (4) daughter-in-law:—







Käly 1, 3

Kel 2

Kijalo 2

Kali 4

Kel 1, Kelja 2

Kili 3

Here the third meaning is interesting, as it implies that friendly relations were maintained between the families of the husband and of the wife, so that a term of address for her sisters had to be formed, which is identical with that for a 'brother's wife' or the 'wife of a husband's brother.' Yet this meaning, though found in groups so widely separated as the West Finns and Ostiaks, cannot reach back to the first period, for the Mordvins, Ostiaks, and Zịrians have borrowed an expression for 'wife's sister' from the Turkish, Čuvaš, and Russian respectively. Though F. Käly can also be used in the sense of 'husband's sister,' it is a later usage, for the West Finns and the Čeremis have a special term for this: F. nato, Č. nuda. A

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term for 'uncle' is widely distributed, though it does not extend to the Ugrians:—












čoz 1

[paragraph continues] The first three mean 'father's brother,' the 'last mother's brother,' and the remaining two refer to either uncle.

Not much light is thrown on the method of obtaining a wife by examining the various verbs for 'to marry' in the Finno-Ugrian groups, for on the whole they are ambiguous. The Voguls say 'to take a wife,' the Ostiaks 'to take as wife,' which might mean after paying for her, or after capture, or after her parents’ consent. In the epic poetry of the Ostiaks the word for 'to marry a daughter' is ōmdem, literally 'to cause to sit, to seat,' a meaning which Mr. Patkanov believes may have arisen from the father seating his daughter in the boat or sleigh of his son-in-law when taking her home after the marriage feast. 2 For 'to marry' the Zịrians use several verbs derived from the nouns 'woman, wife, bride,' which do not in the least explain the mode in which the action takes place; 'to marry a daughter' is 'to give behind a man,' and when a woman marries she is said 'to go behind or after a man.' When a Votiak parent marries his daughter he is said 'to give (her) to a man,' and of a woman marrying she is said 'to go away to a man,' or 'to run away to a man,' or simply bizinị, 'to run away.' Here, at any rate, there is no trace of capture; a girl flies to her lover's arms and saves him all further trouble. For a man marrying, the Erza and the Mokša Mordvins use a derivative of the noun 'wife, woman,' which gives us no information; for a woman, the Erza use

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the expression to go out or away to a man or to go to a man.' The Western Finns also use a colourless derivative of nai-, 'woman,' when speaking of a man marrying, but of a woman they say mennä miehelle, 'to go to a man or husband.' Though not much enlightened by this survey, it seems on the whole to corroborate the view expressed above, that in the second period wives were obtained by pacific means.

Though of course monogamy is now the rule among the Eastern and Western Finns, the Čeremis in certain districts of the governments of Perm and Ufá, when circumstances permit, are polygamous, and take two, more rarely three, wives. With the wealthy each wife has a separate house; the position of the wives is identical, and in their rights no distinction is made between the children of the different wives. For though those of the eldest wife enjoy greater respect, in the matter of inheritance they have no privilege. In the eighteenth century polygamy was the custom among the Čeremis, and it still happens with them that several sisters live with one husband. 1 In an indirect manner polygamy was also practised by the Čeremis, Votiaks, Zịrians, Mordvins, and Ostiaks, for it was not unusual as late as the last century for a father to acquire for his infant son an adult wife who lived in the same house as himself. This of course led to concubinage with the father-in-law, for which the Russians have a special term—snokhačestvo2 The levirate also existed, for in the year 1501 Bishop Simon reprehended the newly converted Zịrians for breaking the ecclesiastical law, and instances that a brother married his deceased brother's wife. 3

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The usual mode of obtaining a wife among the Eastern Finns at present is by purchase, for which the Mordvins have a native word, though some of the Eastern Finns have borrowed the word kalịm from the Turks. This loan word, however, is insufficient to prove that the custom was first introduced with the new word. In the thirteenth or fourteenth century, before the Ostiaks came in contact with the Tatars, marriage by purchase was a recognised institution, and forcible capture was only resorted to when the paternal claims were too exorbitant. Yet marriage by hostile and formal capture still exists, and was still more in vogue a couple of centuries ago. Among the Čeremis, in the governments of Viátka, Perm, and Ufá, capture is still practised, and marriage by match-making in the government of Ufá is extremely rare. In fact all the terms used in arranging a marriage by contract are said to be of Čuvaš origin. In the district of Malmiž (Viátka) the bride is carried off from the dance at a festival, or in the woods while picking berries and mushrooms, or from the bank of a stream while engaged in washing clothes. 1 But among the Votiaks in the district of Sarapul capture only takes place to avoid the expense of a wedding; or if the girl is willing, but the parents refuse their consent; or if the parents wish to marry their daughter to a rich suitor whom she detests. 2

Though hostile capture as a means of obtaining a wife has no doubt existed from the earliest times, it was only a concurrent method for attaining the end, and only undertaken under stress of circumstances as a last resort. Among the Yakuts, whose mode of living and habitat greatly resembles that of the ancient Finns, marriage is by purchase, though the husband cannot bring his wife home till he has paid

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the whole price. If he is a poor man he pays by instalments, and is allowed to visit his wife at her home till the balance is paid; sometimes three years may elapse before he is able to do so. 1 Writing in the last century, Georgi relates of the Barabints Tatars that instead of giving money for his wife, a man might work for his father-in-law, hunting, fishing, and ploughing with him for a certain length of time. Of the Kačints Tatars he relates that if a suitor is too poor he guards his father-in-law's herds for from three to five years, hunts, and gets wood for him, etc. 2 Though it is of rare occurrence for a Zịrian son-in-law to settle for good in his wife's home, it is sometimes done in the government of Viátka. In such cases he severs connection with his own people, abandons his family name, and assumes that of his wife's father. His children augment the family of his father-in-law, and bear the name of the latter. 3 Though not expressly stated, it is probable that some economic motive, such as inability to pay the bride's price, induces the Zịrian to abandon his home and take up house entirely with his father-in-law. It is impossible to say whether such a custom was ever the rule, but it may point to an older state of things when the bridegroom had to live at his father-in-law's house for a limited time in a menial capacity, and under special circumstances prolonged the period for life. The only other sign-post that points in the same direction is the custom of 'mutual avoidance,' as Dr. Tylor terms it, 4 by which the wife avoids her husband's relations and he hers. He regards it as having arisen in the transition period between the maternal and paternal system, when the husband, after a

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limited residence in the wife's house, subsequently shifts to his father's abode. But it was continued into the later period, when a man takes his wife home at once, and it is in this last stage that we find it among the Votiaks. Among them a bride must hide from her father-in-law, and in his presence must conceal her face with a kerchief. For a whole year she must not say a word to him, or even mention his name. In his presence, or in that of her elder brother-in-law and the eldest sister-in-law, she may not appear bare-headed or bare-footed. The same takes place in the behaviour of the son-in-law towards his wife's father and mother. 1


Though the prehistoric Finns had no surnames or family names, no doubt they had something corresponding to clan names, and gave names to their children. It is not easy to ascertain on what principle they did so, as the light thrown on the subject by existing or recent practice is far from clear. But, on the whole, it would seem that the element of chance was an important factor in deciding the momentous question how a child was to be called. The first person or natural object fortuitously encountered by the name-giver was accepted as a supernatural coincidence, so that the imposition of his or its name on the newborn child would naturally be accompanied by luck. In the middle of the last century, according to Le Brun, a Samoyede child was named after the first man or beast that entered the hut, or after the first they met on going out, or after the first object they set eyes upon, whether

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beast, bird, river, or tree. 1 In the heroic ballads of the Ostiaks the name of an old prince was, 'The rotten elderly hero, the chick of a large grebe, a little grebe's chick that has rotted for three hundred years.' 2 But a name of this sort could not have been given at birth. More than one hundred years ago, speaking of the Čeremis, Georgi states that a name was given to a male child by the first male friend that arrived, and to a female infant by the first female friend or neighbour that looked in. Further, that a husband never called his wife by her name, but simply 'woman,' vata, and she called him mari, 'man; Čeremis.' 3 To the Mordvins of former times the naming of a child was a very important matter, and one had to be chosen that would bring luck. The father went out of the house, and the first living or inanimate object that caught his eye was given as a name. Hence such names as 'Splinter,' 'Leaf,' 'Grass,' etc. The name Smith is common enough, which shows the first person met was of that trade; Fiddle, for a similar reason, is likewise common. 4 Among the Votiaks the name of a new-born child was formerly given by the midwife. At present this has fallen into desuetude in the district of Glazov, unless the babe is female. In that case the midwife gives it the name of the voršud to which the child's father belongs. Till her marriage she is never called by this name, but at her husband's house she is always called by it till death, and her children are called after the voršud of their father. In the government of Kazan a child born in the ploughing season might be called Gerei, from geri, 'a plough'; if in harvest-time, a suitable name is Urakai, from urak, 'a sickle.' To break

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the run of ill-luck, when several children have died in succession, the name Tuktar, 'Stay!' is given. 1 Another author mentions that Wolf, Bear, Squirrel, Thrush are common male names, and are given to children born at the season when these are hunted or caught; but that nowadays women, till married, are called by their Russian baptismal names, and after that by the name of the village they come from. 2 In some parts of the district of Glazov the practice is different. The husband does not call his wife by her own name—a woman has two names—but by a maternal one that she inherited from her mother, and she in turn from hers. At birth the midwife who gives the name to the new-born daughter says, for instance: 'Be good Čabia, Ebga' (the mother's name). Professor Smirnov sees here an undoubted survival of the maternal system. The mother yields her right to the father to transmit his name to his son, but keeps her right to hand down her name to his daughter. 3 But as the second name is of the nature of a surname, and the wife in ancient times had practically no rights, this use has all the appearance of a very modern development, dating from a time when, with the increase of civilisation, some freedom of will was allowed to married women. If a Lapp child became ill, or cried excessively, the reason was that it had been given a wrong name. It was therefore rebaptized, and from this cause a Lapp might have three or four additional names. 4


The settlements of the prehistoric Finns must always have been on or near the bank of a river, or along the

p. 198

shore of a lake, as everywhere traces of neolithic man are found in such obviously suitable localities. The dwelling in which the prehistoric patriarch lived and ruled his family was far from luxurious. That used in summer was little more than a screen for the fire that burned in the centre. It was a more or less conical structure of light poles, cut or broken from trees, the lower ends of which rested on the ground, while the upper ends inclined towards the top, leaving an aperture for the escape of the smoke. This framework was covered with bark, hides of wild animals or with sods of turf and was entered by a door that very likely faced towards the south. Such a primitive dwelling still survives as an outhouse for cooking in the F. kota and the portable Lapp tent, goatte. The name, though not the original shape and structure of the house, is still preserved by the Mordvins, Čeremis, the Permian group, and the Ostiaks, and therefore takes us back to the first period. For the rigorous winters of the north such a habitation was manifestly quite insufficient, and to protect themselves better against cold they lived in winter in huts that were partly underground. An excavation of suitable size was dug with some kind of rude implement to a sufficient depth, was roofed over with poles and then covered with sods of turf. Such a dwelling is termed gort by the Permians, and is found in great numbers in the government of Vologda in groups of from ten to fifteen; it is also known to the Ostiaks under the name of tal χot or 'winter hut.' As the F. huone 'a house, a room,' seems to have meant 'a warm, snug place,' 1 it may originally have been an underground winter hut.

Though there is no common word for village, it is not

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likely the ancient Finns lived permanently in isolated dwellings far from neighbours.

As a word for 'fire' (F. tuli) is common to all the Ugrians, the East and West Finns, it may almost be inferred that it was neither sacred nor an object of worship, though its warmth must have been appreciated. For 'door' there are two sets of words: F. ovi, Vog. ävi, eu, Ost. ou, and F. uksi, Lap. uks, ufsa, Z. ödz´ös, ös, öbös, V. ös. The only common words for an enclosure of any sort outside the house seems to be F. piha 'courtyard,' Č. peče 'a fence.' 1 For outhouses and storehouses, though there are often native words, yet each term is confined to a single group. A place fortified by a rampart and ditch to serve as a refuge from attack was unknown in remote prehistoric times, though in the protohistoric period forts were much used by the Ugrians and by both branches of the Finns. The furniture of the hut was almost nil; tables, chairs, stools, etc., were unknown, but they had prepared skins of animals to spread on the ground for sleeping and sitting upon, and were therefore not so badly off after all.

Besides looking after the children the women had a variety of occupations. With half-closed eyes smarting from the smoke that filled the hut, they plied their coarse bone needles (F. äimä, L. aibme, Č. im, Z. jem) threaded with sinew, (F. suoni, L. suodna, M. san, V. and Z. sön, Vog. tan) while making boots (F. kenkä, L. gam, M. kämä, kem, Z. köm) or other articles of dress. Or taking up a bundle of fibre made from some kind of nettle by means of a spindle and whorl, (F. keträ, M. kištir, Č. šidir, V. čers, Z. čörs) they span (F. punoa, L. padnam, M. ponan) it into thread (F. syy. V. and Z. si) and wound

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it into a ball (F. kerä, M. kirnä). This could be used in two ways; for 'sewing with wide stitches,' (F. kursia, E. M. kurǰe1 or for weaving (F. kutoa, L. goδδet, M. kodams, Č. kuo, V. kunị, Z. kịnị). The loom of course was a very rude and simple apparatus, but they attached the threads of the warp (F. loimi; M. limä) to one end of it, worked in the woof (F. kude, L. goδa, V. kuon, Z. kịan; M. añks = ats in Esth. ats-pōl 'a shuttle' 2) and thus manufactured woven stuff (F. kutama, M. kotf, V. kuon, Z. kịan). Perhaps the shuttle was not used as there is no common term for it, though several native ones are to be found. Though sewing and making boots must have been practised in the first period, the existing words all belong to the first half of the second period, as well as the terms for spinning and weaving.

The cookery was decidedly plain. Fish and flesh were generally eaten raw, but fat meat must have formed the basis of the 'broth' (F'. liemi, L. liebma, M. M. läm, E. M. lem 'grease,' Vog. lom) they had learnt to prepare, and this must have been boiled in some kind of pot that would resist fire or into which hot stones could be dropped. For holding liquids there were wooden bowls (F. malja, M. mal´anka), 3 and for solids they had plaited baskets (F. vakka, M. vakan (?)). Like all inhabitants of the north the prehistoric Finns of the first period, when they could get it, ate fat (F. vol, M. vai, Č. ü, V. vöi, Z. vịi, O. voi, Vog. voi); in later times the word was also used for 'butter.' There is no common word for 'milk,' showing there were no domestic milking animals in the first period. But before the end of the second period the Mordvins and

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[paragraph continues] West Finns had learnt how 'to milk' (F. lypsää, Z. lịstịnị 1 = M. lofsa, 'milk'), and to churn (F. pyöhtää, M. pištoms2 the milk into butter.

The oldest prehistoric weapons were the bow and arrow, the words for which with little change are found in the Ugrian, East and West Finnish languages. Whether the bow was simple or compound we do not know. At any rate the Ostiaks, who are far from being a progressive or inventive people, used in the thirteenth or fourteenth century and still use a bow composed of two kinds of wood fastened together with fish glue and then bound round with birch bark. The lower half was of very hard pine, the upper part of birch. Though the string is now made of hemp, in ancient times it was doubtless of sinew. 3 Besides the pointed arrow they also used the blunt-headed kind, F. vasama, though there is no common word for it. F. veitsi 'a knife,' which corresponds with M. iñks 'a scraper,' 4 and F. ora, M. ura, uro 'an awl' or instrument for boring holes may originally have been flint or bone instruments.

In winter the hunting expeditions were made on long wooden snow-skates (F. suksi, M. soks, Ost. toχ, Vog. tout). In summer they travelled in 'boats' (F, veneh, L. vanās, M. venš) which they 'rowed' (F. soutaa, Vog. tovantam) and steered with a 'paddle or steering oar,' (F. mela, L. mœlle, M. milä). But this class of boat and paddle belongs to the later half of the second period. The sleigh appears to have come into use at a much later time as there is

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nothing in common between the East and West Finns in this respect, though F. ohja, M. vožja, 'a rein' if genuine and not loan words, 1 indicate that driving was known by the close of the second period. A primitive mode of catching fish would be to dam up a small stream with a 'dam or weir' (F. pato, N. Ost. pot), and capture them as they passed through a small opening. Nets were probably unknown in the first period, but in the first half of the second they invented 'wicker traps' (F. merta, M. mereta, Č. murδa, V. murdo, Z. morda) for catching fish, which undoubtedly formed a most important article of food.

About the middle of the second period agriculture began to be practised, for though there are no common terms to express ploughing and sowing, those employed are taken from the native stock of words. The earliest grain may have been the humble variety of wheat known as 'spelt' (M. viš, Č. višt<* višn, V. vaz´), forms that correspond with F. vehnä, 'wheat,' though the Häme have another word for the same grain, nisu. Besides these the East and West Finns have several apparently native words for cereals, which are confined to one, or at most two groups: M. toiz´uro, 'wheat,' is evidently a compound of s´uro, 'corn'; M. šuz, O. šoš, 'barley'; Vtk. jidi, Zịr. id, 'barley,' perhaps connected with F. ide, a growing shoot'; F. otra, ohra, 'barley'; M. pineme, 'oats,' and Vtk. s´ezi, 'oats.' As Mr. Paasonen equates F. suurima, 'groats,' with M. s´uro, s´ora, 'corn, grain,' (Zịr. sör, 'oats'); F. sii-kanen, 'the beard on grain, chaff,' with M. s´iva, Č. s´u, 'chaff,' and Z. s´u, 'corn, rye'; F. kyrsä, 'a loaf, bread,' with M. kša, kši, 'bread,' 2 there can be little doubt that one or two cereals were known and used as food about the middle of

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the second period. The cultivation of the soil must have been of a very primitive description and no doubt was left to the women and 'slaves' (F. orja, M. M. ur’ä), who scratched the surface of a plot of ground near the dwelling with a pointed stick, threw in a few handfuls of grain, covered it over with earth and waited till it grew up. When ripe the grain was separated from the 'straw' (F. olki; M. olgo) and 'ground' (F. jauhoa, M. jažams) between a couple of stones.

In the first period the year was only divided into 'winter' (F. talvi, L. dalvve, M. t´ala, Č. tele, V. tol, Z. töl, Vog. and Ost. tal) and 'summer' (F. kesä, suvi, L. gœsse, M. kiza, Z. gožịm, Vog. tuv). It was only in the second period when the state of the crops drew their attention to it that a word for 'autumn' (F. syksy, L. čakča, M. soks) was found to be necessary. Some of the natural measures of length seem to have been in use at a very early period. The 'fathom' has a very wide range (F. syli, L. sal, M. sel, V. and Z. sịl, Vog. tal, Ost. lal); the 'ell' (F. kyynärä, M. kener, Č. kun´er, V. gịr (?)) and the 'span' (F. vaaksa, L. vuopse, M. vaksa, Z. ves´t) have a less range. In the first period they could only count up to seven; by the time they needed a term to express ten, they were already divided into four groups—a West Finnish-Mordvin, a Lapp-Čeremis-Vogul, a Votiak-Zịrian, and an Ostiak group. The last two groups borrowed their terms from a Persian and Turkish source respectively. It was only at a later time that much was done in the way of 'counting' (F. lukea, L. lokkat, M. luvan), 'paying' (F. maksaa, L. makset, M. maksan (I give), and 'selling' (F, myydä, L. mieggaδ, M. mijan, Vog. mịgam).

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One of the great turning-points in the history of a people is the introduction of the use of metal and the gradual disuse of stone implements. The first metal that became known to the Finns may have been copper, though no distinction was made between this and bronze.

Click to enlarge

At the present time the Ostiaks use vāχ, voχ in the general sense of 'metal, money,' and in some places 'iron.' When they wish to be explicit they prefix patar or vosta, 'green, yellow,' when they mean 'copper'; navi, 'white,' when they mean 'silver'; and et, which Castrén translated by 'simple,' when speaking of 'iron.' Among the Voguls voχ has also the meaning of 'money, metal,' though in some places it means 'copper.' Taking everything into consideration it seems best to suppose that the original meaning of voχ, vāχ was 'bronze,' with its necessary connotation of 'metal.' Another word for 'copper' alone is confined to Vogul, Čeremis and the Permian group.









As this set of words has only one meaning and is never used in the sense of metal it is probably of later origin than the vaski-group.

The next metal to be noticed is 'silver,' for which the West Finns have a special name, hopea<šopeda, not found, however, in the Eastern groups or among the

p. 205

[paragraph continues] Ugrians. But the Permian and Ugrian groups have a very interesting and puzzling series of words for this metal which cannot well be separated from the terms for 'tin, lead.' Some of them have the appearance of being compounds, the last part of which is believed by Mr. Wichman to be of the same origin as F. vaski, Vog. Ost. voχ1

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Dr. Munkácsi maintains that the Osetan is the original source from which the Permian group and the Magyars obtained their word for 'silver,' but this is denied by Schrader, Hübschmann, and Wichman, who consider, on the contrary, that the Osetan form is borrowed from an East Finnish source. The latter, starting from the Vtk. azves´, analyses it into az, 'white,' and ves´, 'metal,' the equivalent of F. vaski. But the grounds on which he makes az to mean 'white' seem to me very precarious. Dr. Munkácsi took down a Votiak magic song in which the word aziz occurred as an epithet of a 'hill' and a 'prince.' The word was unintelligible to him, but his Votiak teacher explained it by what looks very much like a piece of folk-etymology. As iz means a 'stone,' he explained that iz was a 'stone' and az 'a very heavy white stone.' The explanation not being very intelligible, Mr. Wichman supposes that az must mean white,' and aziz 'white stone.' 2 But it seems to me that the teacher did not really understand the

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word and merely hazarded a guess. As a good many Arabic and Persian words have crept into Votiak through a Tatar source, I rather suspect this is the Arabic-Persian-Turkish ’aziz, 'precious, respected, powerful,' a fitting epithet for a 'prince' and one that under certain circumstances might be applied to a 'hill.'

Referring back to the list above, we notice: (1) that the word for 'silver,' common to the Permian group, to Magyar and Osetan, is not found in Vogul or Ostiak; (2) that the Ostiaks use a compound word meaning 'white metal' instead, and the Voguls a word that corresponds with the Magyar for 'lead'; (3) that in the Permian group, lead and tin are either distinguished as black and white uzveś or no distinction is made at all; (4) that the Vogul for 'lead' seems to be the same as the Permian, Magyar and Osetan for 'silver,' as Vog. t is often the equivalent of a common Finnish s, z; (5) that the Permian, Magyar, and Osetan for 'silver' seem to be compound words; (6) and, that as the words for 'tin' in Vogul-Ostiak mean 'white lead,' 'male lead,' much as in the Permian groups, we may neglect the word for 'tin,' and confine our attention to 'silver' and 'lead.'

From the fourth observation we are led to suppose that the older meaning of Vog. atveš was 'silver,' not 'lead,' though it is by no means certain. It might also be imagined that atveš was borrowed from the Vtk. azveś, z being replaced by t, a phonetic change that certainly might take place. But this does not account for the form atkues, where kues seems to be the Ost. Sam. kues 'iron, metal,' a word that in other Samoyede dialects appears as jēse’, vese, bese, basa, baza. In the short excursus at the end of this section it will be seen that all these forms, including kues,

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go back to an original form beginning with v or j: The Osetan and Permian forms seem to show that the original sibilant was an s not an š sound, as in Magy. ezüst, Vog. atveš. If this is so, still the probability that Vog. atveš<atves is a loan from the Votiak is considerably lessened by the consideration that there is also a Sam. vese.

Corresponding to and probably of the same origin as the Samoyede words for 'iron, metal,' are Magyar vas 'iron,' Vog. Ost. voχ 'copper, metal' and F. vaski 'copper.' The word in Northern Asia and Siberia that corresponds best with the Samoyede forms is undoubtedly the Turk. jes, Mong. dzes, Burj. zet (<jes, jet) 'bronze, copper, metal.' As the Turks have a word for 'copper' only, the oldest meaning may have been 'bronze'; and as in one Samoyede dialect we find that initial j, v, are equipollent, it seems possible to suppose that jēse’ was borrowed directly from a T. jes and dialectically became vese, vasa.

If this is correct the West Finnish, Vogul, and Ostiak for 'copper, metal,' the Magyar for 'iron' and the second part of the words for 'silver' in Permian are all referrible ultimately to a common form jes, which is also found in Turkish and Mongolian. Whether the last two peoples obtained it from a still more remote source must be left undecided. I imagine that the diffusion of the word took place in this way. From the Altai region, where copper is abundant and tin is also found, jes, with the meaning 'bronze,' gradually spread through the medium of Samoyede tribes to the Ugrians living chiefly on the east side, but also in considerable numbers on the west side of the Urals, reaching them not later than the sixth century B.C. and possibly a good deal earlier. From the Ugrians, under the form vas, it was passed on to the West Finns, Mordvins

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and Lapps, who added the suffix-ke, k´ä, perhaps merely a diminutive that did not essentially affect the meaning. This hypothesis receives support from the facts recorded in chapter ii., for the earliest bronze socketed celts, found in the north of Finland, in Lapland, at Anánino, as well as in other parts of the government of Viátka, are all of transuralian form, the aperture of the socket being always angular, never circular in section. The battle-axes from the coast of the White Sea and Anánino are also of Siberian type. While the crania from Fatiánovo, associated with minute pieces of copper and iron, seem to be Ugrian.

As the Magyar for iron is vas, and the Vogul-Ostiak for 'copper, metal,' is voχ, vuaχ, it is clear that the second part of their words for 'silver,' 'lead' (-üst, -veš) are borrowed. And if Vog. -veš, -kues are borrowed, as suggested above, from Samoyede dialects, they do not stand alone. Ahlqvist has noted eighteen Vogul or Ostiak words borrowed from the Samoyedes and among them atkues1 Perhaps, too, the Ost. patar, which has no meaning by itself, in patar-voχ copper is the Ost. Sam. padal 'green,' probably 'yellowish green' as it is a derivative of pad 'the gall.' The Mordvin word for copper also means 'green.' It still remains to explain the suffix -te, -t found in the Magyar and Osetan words for silver. In Samoyede, the breathing marked by ’ as in jēse’ can sometimes be traced back to lost dental as in the Jur. ji’. Tav. bē’, Jen. bi’, 'water' compared with Knd. vit. O. üt 'water.' The older forms of jēse’, vese may therefore have been *jeset, *veset, or *jesete, *vesete, and from this would arise the Magyar -üst < *veste, which occurs as a loan from the Magyar in the Osetan -vist, -veste.

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The origin of the prefixes ez-, az-, at-, in the words for 'silver' requires explanation, if we reject that of Mr. Wichman, and I offer the following suggestion instead.

Castrén explained the Ost. et-voχ 'iron' as 'simple metal.' Owing to its form and meaning it is difficult to separate this from the Ost. int-vuaχ 'steel,' 1 the first part of which is evidently connected with Vog. jemtan, Vtk. andan, Os. andan 'steel,' all from a N. Pers. hundwānī, hindawānī, hindī, 'Indian steel,' see p. 234. As initial h is regularly dropt in Osetan, and the Permian group has no h, it is uncertain whether Vtk. andan is a direct loan from Osetan or vice versâ, or whether both borrowed from a common source. Here the int- is clearly adapted from one of the N. Pers. forms, and int-vuaχ is a folk-etymology containing as an ingredient vuaχ 'metal,' the int being unintelligible. This being the case it is possible to suppose that dialectically the n may have dropt out and the result was etvoχ 'iron' 'steel (?)' The first member of this compound is perhaps the same as the at- in Vog. atveš, atkues 'lead.' If the last part of this is a loan from the Samoyede, and at- is not of Samoyede origin we must suppose that at one time the Voguls used ves, *ves, *veste concurrently with voχ as an independent word, and the Magy. üst 'silver' seems to confirm this, though the old meaning is changed. The loans voχ < *vas, veš < *veste must also have been made at different epochs. From some such form as *etveste the Magyars formed ezveste, in which form it was taken by the Osets, and subsequently ezüšt. If there is anything in this suggestion, the Magyar word for 'silver' once meant 'Indian metal,' and the Permian equivalents of F. vaski 

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viz. -ves´, ịs´ were introduced quite independent of the Finnish and at a much later date, but also through an Ugrian channel.

To account for the Permian words for 'lead,' 'tin,' there is the N. Pers. arzị̄z, 'lead, tin,' from which they might be borrowed with the loss of r, as in Vtk. ǰuges, 'an eagle,' from Os. cärgäs (c = ts), N. Pers. kargas. In this case the inserted v in uzves´ would have followed the analogy of azves´, while the original is better preserved in the Zịr. ozịs´. As the N. Pers. arzị̄z is itself a loan word from the Ar. raṣaṣ, 'lead, tin,' the Permian words, if this view is correct, cannot be older than the seventh century A.D. There is no silver or tin in the Ural Mountains, so that in any case the East Finns and Ugrians can only have seen these metals as imported articles. Galena, on the contrary, is found in a good many places in the above region, though it does not appear to have been utilised in prehistoric times, all the so-called Čudish mines being of copper or gold.

The next metal that followed in the wake of bronze and copper in North-eastern Russia was probably iron, how long after we cannot say, though the interval may not have been very great, for a small piece, evidently very precious and embedded in a disk of copper, was discovered at Fatiánovo. As all the names for it are borrowed, they will be mentioned in a later section. Gold may have followed next, as the loan words for it in East Finnish and Ugrian were borrowed about the same time as those for 'iron' and from the same source. On à priori grounds we should expect gold to be known much earlier than silver, the ore of which is difficult to reduce, while the other metal is often found in nuggets. But at present the place at which the earliest finds of gold objects have been made is

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[paragraph continues] Gliadénova, though only to the number of three out of about 23,000, while a few silver articles were obtained not only there, but also at Anánino. The introduction of terms for 'metal,' 'bronze,' and 'copper' may therefore be set in the latter part of the second period; for 'iron,' 'gold,' 'silver,' and 'lead' in the third period for the East Finns, but not till the fifth period for the West Finns, with the exception perhaps of silver.

Though there are forms in Mordvin and Ugrian corresponding to F. valaa, 'to cast (metal), to pour out (any fluid),' there are no common words for 'mine,' 'crucible, 'bellows,' 'moulds,' and other apparatus necessary for an artificer in bronze, when casting alone was employed. This is to be explained by the very simple appliances used, which scarcely required a technical expression, and by working as a rule on a small scale. For instance Ostiak women still cast their own tin ornaments in moulds of pine bark made by themselves, 1 and a recent English visitor of the Island of Kolguev describes how he saw a Samoyede make a ring. Round a stick he cut a groove, fitted a piece of paper over it, and then ran in some white-looking metal which he had heated in the fire in a hollow piece of wood. The wood of the stick was cut away, the ring removed, and finished with a knife and sand. He worked away till he had a ring as well and accurately shaped as any plain gold signet ring. Though this mould was of wood, the Samoyedes use bullet moulds of stone set in a pair of wooden scissors. 2 As the anvil, the sledgehammer, the forge-fire, and the smith himself only became a necessity when iron was abundant, it is not surprising

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that though for some of these expressions there are native words, none of them are common to two groups unless they are loan words.


It might be supposed that kues is either a different word or that it retains an original k that the other dialects have lost. This, however, is not the case. There are at least a dozen words in which Jurak j, v, Jenisei, Tavgị, and Kamasin b are represented in Sam. Ostiak by k. And first it must be observed that the Tavgị and Jenisei dialects have no v, p, so that the equivalent of an initial v, p, in Jurak is perforce b, f, in these two dialects. In Sam. Ostiak no word can begin with a soft consonant or with j. In Kamasin v is not an initial sound, and sonant stop consonants in that position are rare. The instances in which Ost. k correspond with Jur. j, v, Jen. Tav. Kam. b are to be explained by b being exchanged for g which hardened initially into k. There are a good many words in which Jur, has initial h and all the others k, showing that the latter was the original sound. There are also a good many in which Jur. Jen. Tav. begin with j, but Ost. with , č, and Kam. with ; here the original initial was doubtless j.

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No. 1 is an interesting example, the original being the White Russian vuda, Gr. Rus. vuda, 'fish-hook.' Fish-hooks were probably early import articles of the Great-Novgorodian merchants trading in Siberia, and were found more serviceable than the old native ones of bone.

No. 3 may be compared with M. getesōn, Burj. geteheñ, 'bowel, guts,' but the relations between Mongol and Samoyede have not yet been worked out, so that it proves nothing. No. 6 is not quite regular; the Kam. t´aga and Jen. jaha come from jaga, not from vaga as we should expect; all the forms may be compared with N.O. jopan, F. joki. In No. 9 varña is the same as N.O. vorga, vorña, 'a crow'; the Vog. kuereχ, judging from the vowels, is borrowed from the Sam. Ost. kuere, and this may be compared with Mng. kerije, 'a raven,' though the resemblance is possibly accidental. From the above it is quite evident that the initial k in kues is not original, and that most likely it was v, as initial j in a number of instances becomes in Kam. , in Sam. Ost. , č, and even occasionally k. There is just one exception in the j and the v series.


jī’, vit




üt, öt.





ür, ōr.

[paragraph continues] Comparing the first set with Mng. usun, 'water' < *utun (?), it is likely that the original initial was u, ü, which has been retained by Sam. Ostiak intact; the same may be true of the next line.


The animal first domesticated or enslaved, and that in the first period, was the dog. There is a term for him common to all the East and West Finns as well as to all the Ugrians. Whether he was used for drawing burdens cannot be stated with certainty as there is no common expression for 'sledges' but every hunter must have been followed by a woolly-haired, sharp-nosed, savage, and ill-fed

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dog. If he was used for draught the burden was probably attached to two light poles, the upper ends of which were fastened to a sort of collar, while the lower ends trailed along the snow.

In the archæological chapter we learnt that before the close of the neolithic age, that is to say, towards the end of the second period, the principal domestic animals, the horse, ox, sheep, and pig were known to the settlers on the Central Volga, between Kazán and the mouth of the Kama, and that at the Station of Burtneek in the far west, the ox, sheep, and, perhaps, the horse, were also known. As by hypothesis the East and West Finns were in possession of the upper Volga valley at a still earlier period, it follows they must have acquired the knowledge of domestic animals from some other more civilised people, for though there were wild cattle and wild swine in the region they inhabited, there were no wild sheep or wild horses. If the Finns had brought the domestic animals with them from Asia into Europe, they must have entered the country by a much more southerly route than is generally supposed. The country east of the Urals, in the governments of Perm and Tobolsk, was densely forested, was studded with impassable morasses, and was quite unsuited for sheep, horses, and horned cattle. Even at the present day the Ostiaks hardly keep any, and in their epic poetry, though much is related of lifting herds of reindeer as well as of feasting, the sheep is never once mentioned, and the horse appears rather as a legendary animal. In fact, till the Finns became civilised and provident enough to cut and stack a supply of hay for the long winters they could have kept neither sheep, cattle, nor horses in such a region. The only possibility of keeping

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these animals in high latitudes is when certain conditions are fulfilled. It is necessary that large tracts of pasture should be free from snow all the year round. In a flat, forested region like the valleys of the Central Ob and the Irtish the snow lies far too deep for horses and cattle to reach the herbage below. It is only in mountainous tracts like the Altai, where hillside terraces and shallow valleys are exposed to violent blasts of wind, that sweep away the snow, that animals can be maintained in the winter months without the necessity of providing them with artificial fodder. The northern limit of the sheep under natural conditions starts from near the north corner of the Caspian and passes through the intersections of Lat. 50° N. Long. 60° E. and Lat. 57° N. Long. 90° E. 1, or roughly speaking from the north-east corner of the Caspian to Yeniseisk.

Next to the dog the name for 'sheep' has the widest range among the Finno-Ugrians, and its natural habitat shows the Finns could not have known it before they entered Europe.

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The Ostiaks and Voguls used al as a generic term, and to distinguish the sexes prefix 'male,' 'female,' while a lamb is a 'sheep's young one.' As a rule such a nomenclature is not that of a pastoral people, who generally have a special term for each sex and each age, though

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it is true the sheep-breeding Turks use a compound of koi 'sheep' to denote a 'ewe.' The Čeremis seem to have borrowed all their words from a Čuvaš and Turkish source, and in Zịrian, with the one exception of , all the words have a Čuvaš, Iranian and Russian origin. The Mordvins have perhaps borrowed a word for 'lamb' from an Iranian people, and certainly for 'ram' from a Turkish and a Russian source. The West Finns borrowed a term for 'ram' in the fourth or Lithuanian period, but they have two native words for 'lamb,' one of which merely means a 'yearling,' and the other (karitsa) is evidently formed from kari, a call-word used for attracting lambs, so neither of these terms is necessarily of any great age. It is clear then that sheep-breeding at first was on a very small scale, and the Finns could in no sense be called a pastoral people. It is also to be noted that the West Finns borrowed a special term for wool' at the same time that they adopted a new term for 'ram.'

The terms for 'horse' have a much narrower range:—

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Professor Setälä connects the Permian with F. uveh, while Dr. Munkácsi equates the former with Os. urs, vurz, 'a stallion.' 1 The West Finns have another native word for 'stallion,' orih, as well as for 'mare' (tamma), and

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[paragraph continues] 'colt' (varsa), but they are not found in the Eastern branches. The origin of F. hevonen, 'a horse,' is not quite certain, though it is probably a loan word. As L. alddo could hardly have been borrowed from the Mordvins, I suspect it was really taken from the West Finns, who subsequently lost the word, and that the older meaning of F. lehmä was 'horse,' not 'cow.' The Mordvins have also a native word for a 'foal,' vaše, vašenä. The Čeremis βül´o 'mare,' Vtk, val, Zịr. völ 'horse,' if not connected with M. äldä, L. alddo, might be compared with Tat. ulak, ulā, Čuv. vịlịχ, 'a draught animal, a post horse,' and if βül´o is really a loan word, as I suppose, then the Čeremis have no native word for a horse, for imne 'a horse,' jaβaga 'a foal,' are of Tatar origin and the Permian group have only one term, all the others being Turkish or Russian loan words. The Ugrian groups have a special word for 'horse' which never penetrated westwards:—




ḷovi, ḷoχ, ḷau ( = tl)

lu, lo,

[paragraph continues] Perhaps these are remotely connected with Mong. tagi, 'a wild horse,' otherwise they stand alone. Dr. Munkácsi believes that the rich equine terminology of the Voguls and Ostiaks, their preference for horse-sacrifices and horseflesh shows that once they lived further south in the wilderness between the Urals, the Caspian and the Sea of Aral. 1 The northern limit of the extinct horse in Europe, is said to be a line drawn from the mouth of the Elbe, to where Lat. 50° N. cuts the Ural River. Where it has not been introduced, the northern limit of the horse is from near

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the point where Lat. 44° N. cuts the Caspian Sea to the source of the Yenisei and then eastwards. 1 If this is correct it shows that, till they arrived in Europe, the Finns could never have seen a horse.

Though it is probable that horned cattle became known, at any rate to some of the Finnish peoples, as early as the horse, the terms for 'ox, cow' have only a limited extension.

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Dr. Munkácsi compares Vog. Ost. mis with Zend maēši N.P. meš, 'a ewe,' but as he also compares Zịr. mež, 'a sheep' with the same Iranian forms, and the Zịrian term for 'cow' is mös, these two Zịrian words cannot have a common origin, unless Z. mös is a direct loan from the Ugrian mis2 Though Z. mež might easily be referred to a N.P. meš, with the same meaning, the difficulty of comparing Ost. Vog. mis 'a cow' with N.P. meš is considerable, apart from the difference of meaning, and I suppose it has an independent origin, though borrowing may have taken place from Ugrian to Permian, or vice versâ. He also compares the Permian , öš, Vog. ūska, us´ka 'ox,' with a Kabardin vịš, 'young bull' and Znd.

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ukhšan, Gth. aúhsa, 'ox, bull,' adding that these indo-European words agree with the common Turk. öküz, ögüs 'ox, bull.' 1 As Ost. ūges is certainly a loan from the Turk. ögüs, it is probable that Vog. ūska, us´ka has the same origin, either by metathesis or by contraction (ūs < ögüs) with a diminutive suffix—ka. In that case the Permian forms seems to be derived from the Ugrian and not vice-versâ, as the original final s is preserved in the latter, while the Permians have first borrowed a softened form us´ka and further changed it into , öš, öška. Another word for 'cow' is perhaps also of Turkish origin:—


E. Mord.



S. Ost.






sikal, iskal



< sịgịr

The Ugrian words are certainly Turkish; the East Finnish forms are less certain, but if borrowed, the group that turned the final r into l, perhaps the Erza, must have handed on the word to the other groups. Tomaschek compares with hesitation F. vasa, M. vaza 'calf' with Skr. vatsa, Ost. väss 'calf,' but as the medial consonant s, z is single, the equation must be considered doubtful. 2 Professor Thomsen is inclined to believe that F. hehko, hehvo, Vote ōhva 'a heifer' may be derived from the Lith. ašva (gen. -ōs) 'horse,' an older form of which was ešva, though an intermediate form *ehvo, ehva3 The West Finns have a native word for 'bull' sonni, which in Esthonian carries the meaning of 'stallion colt,' but it does not extend further.

The Permians have also several isolated words: Vtk. valị, 'a cow in calf' which may have the same origin as Vtk.

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val 'a horse'; Zịr. poroz 'a bull,' bịtš 'a small ox,' probably from the Russian, and zị̄l´um, 'an ox, a boar.'

The words for 'reindeer' are not widely diffused and in some instances borrowing from a neighbour is tolerably certain.

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The West Finns have several words for reindeer; poro 'a tame reindeer,' petra, peura 'a wild reindeer, a stag,' which last with great reservation and a note of interrogation is derived by Professor Thomsen from Lith. brëdis 'elk'; 1 the equation is therefore doubtful. Fin. hirvas 'male reindeer, stag,' and Fin. hirvi 'elk' are referred by him with a note of interrogation to a hypothetical Lith. *širvis, širvas, based on O. Pr. sirvis (or sịrnis) 'a roe.' He regards Lap, sarva 'stag, elk,' as undoubtedly a loan from Fin. hirvi and Lap. sarves 'a reindeer bull' as a loan from Fin. hirvas2 The Fin. vaadin gen. vaatimen, 'a three or four-year-old reindeer calf,' is connected with Lap. vaǰ. gen. vačem 'a reindeer cow' and with Lap. vāǰa, gen. vačama 'a two-year-old reindeer calf.' Whether Vtk. pužei 'a reindeer' is a loan word or not I am not sure,

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but Zịr. peš 'a reindeer calf,' and Zịr. kịr 'a reindeer' are almost certainly borrowed from a Ugrian source. The Lap, alddo, 'a reindeer cow' has already been mentioned; the Mordvin and Čeremis forms seem to stand alone. At the present time Finland cannot be termed a reindeer country, though in winter wild ones wander as far south as the central districts and the north shore of Lake Ladoga, so that they are known to hunters and to the Finns who live as neighbours of the Lapps in the extreme north of the country. But they are not bred by the Finns unless perhaps in Lapland. Further east and north of the Volga they are not kept by the Čeremis, the Votiaks, or the Zịrians, save such of the latter as have got possession by foul or by fair means of the herds of the unfortunate Samoyedes. The Mordvins live too far south for reindeer, and can only know of them by hearsay. At the present time reindeer are not kept in the valley of the Ob, south of Berezov, or about Lat. 64° N., though a few centuries ago when the epic songs were composed these animals were bred along the whole central course of the Irtịsh to within 200 miles north of Tobolsk or about Lat. 59° N., perhaps even further to the south. 1 According to Andrew Murray the southern limit of the reindeer, starting from about Lat. 62° N. on the west coast of Finland, takes a line about a degree north of the general course of the Volga before it turns south, about as far as where Lat. 55° N. cuts Long. 60° E., thence it continues eastwards towards Akmolinsk, but south of it, as far as Kobdo, north of the great Altai mountains. 2 The southern limit east of the Urals is certainly brought too far south, though it may correspond fairly well with the range of this animal in prehistoric

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times. From the above we may conclude that the reindeer was never a domestic animal of the prehistoric Finns.

The only other domestic animal to which the East and West Finns can lay claim is the 'pig,' Fin. sika, Mord. tuva1 though Professor Genetz refers it eventually to an Indo-European *swi- with a Finnish diminutive suffix -ka2 The Permian group, the Voguls and Ostiaks have all borrowed from the Russian, though the Zịrians have three native words for 'boar,' of which one has also the meaning of 'bull.' The West Finns have also native words for boar (karju, urosa); for 'a gelded boar' (Fin. oras, Mord. uris), which has been compared with the Zd. vareza and for 'a sow' Fin. imisä. In a wild state the pig must have been known to the Finns from the very beginning of their history.


Beside the above culture words there is yet another small series to consider, as they show the class of trees that grew in the country inhabited by the Finns in the second period. Soft-wood trees and indeed a good many hard-wood trees being of no use in this inquiry, it is only necessary to enumerate a few of the latter.

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p. 223

The 'bird-cherry' no doubt belongs to the first period and therefore was known to the Finns before they left Asia. The same cannot be said of the 'elm,' even if the above equations are correct, as this tree does not grow on the eastern slopes of the Urals. For this tree the West Finns have another word—jalava. In the West Finnish dialects there are several names for the 'lime' and more than one in Mordvin, so there is no doubt it was known during the whole of the second period. In the Zịrian country both this and the elm grow along the Sịsola about as far north as Latitude 62° N., but the trees are stunted and of small size. The lime however grows well in the neighbourhood of Perm and in the south-western part of the government is a forest tree, yet the finest forests are found on the right bank of the Volga in the country of the Mordvins. The northern limit of the 'oak' passes along the south coast of Finland at no great distance from the sea, then approximately through St. Petersburg and Vologda eastwards to Long. 50° where it turns south-east to about Slatoust in the Urals and from here it turns south-west to about Orenburg. As it does not cross the Urals and does not reappear in Siberia till we reach the distant valley of the Amur, the Finns who know the tree must have named it after their arrival in Europe. The Zịrians have borrowed their word from the Russian and the Vtk. tịpị-pu seems to have the same origin. The northern limit of the maple, which does not grow east of the Urals, and of wheat, is nearly the same as that of the oak. The 'ash,' which appears to be only known to the West Finns, covers a much more restricted area than the oak. Its northern limit skirts the south coast of Finland, passes through St. Petersburg and about 1° north of Moscow to

p. 224

half or quarter of a degree north of Penza and thence, passing about 1° north of Saratov to the river Ural. All these indications seem to point to some district in the valley of the Volga from the mouth of the Kama westwards as the original home of the undivided Finns. Archæological considerations had previously led us to a similar conclusion. As the Permian group gradually pushed northwards they would lose their word for oak and possibly, nay probably, they never lived within the area where the ash flourishes.

At the beginning of the chapter it was mentioned that reasons would be given at the close of it in support of the propositions that at the end of the first period the Finns were in Europe and formed the earliest settlers in the valley of the Oká, and therefore that the life of the still undivided Finns, embraced by the first portion of the second period, was passed in the valley of the Volga. During this epoch the Finns of course were at a stage of pure neolithic civilisation without knowledge of any domestic animals but the dog. In order to make the matter clearer forty-nine of the words already discussed above are arranged in Table IX. in a way that displays at a glance the range that each possesses. We have first to show that the lapse of time between the beginning of the second period and the beginning of the Christian era cannot be less than one thousand years, and that about fifteen hundred years is a better estimate; secondly, that though absolute proof is wanting that the whole of this period was passed in Europe, there is proof that a large portion of it was so spent, and a considerable probability that this whole epoch was European not Asiatic. The table shows that a word for 'ten' was not found necessary

p. 225

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p. 226

till the Finns had broken up into three larger groups. In the third period, which may have begun between 400–600 B.C., a term for 'one hundred' was borrowed. It is not too much to suppose that the word for 'ten' became current a hundred years earlier, or about 500–700 B.C. Then for the first half of the second period and the earlier part of the second half, during which time they taught themselves to weave, to make wicker fish-traps, to cultivate spelt on a small scale and to give a name to the horse, not less than five hundred years can be assigned, thereby bringing the beginning of the second period to 1000–1200 B.C. But this is a low estimate; the interval between learning a word from 'ten' and for '100' might well be increased, as well as the period of the undivided life and the interval between this and the genesis of a term for 'ten.' So that from 1500 to 1800 B.C. does not seem to me an excessive estimate, and that is probably sufficient to meet all archæological requirements. The reason for supposing that the whole of this time was passed in Europe is based on the nearly undivided Finns having learnt the use of spelt, which it seems impossible to believe could have been cultivated in their Asiatic home, and in the fairly wide range of the word for 'oak,' a tree that could not have been seen beyond the Urals and may once have been known to the Permian groups, though they subsequently lost it in a way that can very naturally be explained.

It is generally supposed that the West Finns knew 'copper'—the 'sheep' may be added—before leaving Asia, as the terms employed are common to the Ugrian family. But in that case the words must have come into use more than eleven hundred, more likely fifteen hundred, years before the present era, a date that no one will try

p. 227

to justify. The conclusion therefore is that though a word is common to West Finnish and to one or more members of the Ugrian group it does not necessarily belong to the first period. Some other explanation must be offered. With regard to 'copper' I have already tried to show that the West Finns borrowed their word from an Ugrian source and the same may hold true, though I do not absolutely assert it, for 'bride, father-in-law, son-in-law, sheep,' which must otherwise be referred to the first period.


153:1 Castrén, (2) i. 207.

153:2 Ibid., (2) ii. 162.

153:3 Ibid., (2) i, 301, 309.

154:1 Radloff, ii. 8.

154:2 Ostrovski, p. 33.

154:3 Munkácsi, (1) pp. 185, 186.

154:4 Patkanov, (1) pp. 48, 49.

155:1 Patkanov, (2) pp. 100, 101.

155:2 Paasonen, (1) p. 12.

157:1 Smirnov, (2) p, 20.

157:2 Wichman, (1) p. 9.

157:3 Smirnov (4), p. 211.

158:1 Smirnov, (4) p. 218.

158:2 Vereščagin, p. 79.

158:3 Munkácsi, (1) pp. 67, 186.

158:4 Smirnov, (2) p. 194.

158:5 Von Düben, p. 247.

158:6 Smirnov, (3) p. 247.

158:7 Castrén, (2) i. 209; ii. 162.

158:8 Castrén, (2) ii. 164.

159:1 Munkácsi, (1) p. 67, 68.

159:2 Smirnov, (1) 174.

160:1 Patkanov, (2) p. 112.

160:2 Castrén, (2) ii. 108.

161:1 Friis, p. 100.

161:2 Castrén, (2) i. 209.

161:3 Ibid., (2) i. 307.

161:4 Ostrovski, p. 33.

161:5 Wichman, (1) p. 10.

161:6 Smirnov, (2) p. 201.

161:7 Smirnov, (4) pp. 210, 211, 213.

161:8 Friis, pp. 94, 95; Von Düben, p. 244.

161:9 Smirnov, (2) p. 198.

162:1 Wichman, (1) pp. 9, 10, 31; Vereščagin, p. 53.

162:2 Smirnov, (1) p. 187.

162:3 Castrén, (2) i. 299, 300.

163:1 Castrén, (2) i. 301–303.

163:2 De Harlez, pp. 178, 179.

163:3 Castrén, (2) i. 208, 209.

164:1 Von Düben, pp. 233–235.

164:2 Smirnov, (2) p. 145.

164:3 Smirnov, (2) pp. 212, 213.

165:1 Wichman, (1) p. 20; Gavrilov, (1) pp. 161, 162.

165:2 Smirnov, (1) pp. 174, 175.

166:1 Wichman, pp. 20, 21.

166:2 Smirnov, (2) pp. 38, 39.

167:1 Castrén, (2) i. 207

167:2 Friis, pp. 81, 151.

168:1 Wichman, (1) pp. 7, 124; Smirnov (4), p. 212.

168:2 Castrén, (2) ii. 185.

168:3 Castrén, (2) i. 309.

168:4 Vereščagin, pp. 70, 77, 79.

168:5 Castrén, (2) i. 206.

168:6 Wichman, p. 33.

169:1 Smirnov, (1) p. 164.

169:2 Smirnov, (4) pp. 193, 194.

169:3 Friis, pp. 126, 127.

169:4 Radloff, ii. 52.

169:5 Smirnov, (2) p. 180.

169:6 Wichman, (1) p. 39.

169:7 Smirnov, (1) pp. 148, 149.

170:1 Castrén, (2) i. 308.

171:1 Mikhailovskij, pp. 85, 86, 90; Radloff, ii. 16.

173:1 Castrén, (2) i. 199–201.

173:2 Ibid., (2) i. 300–303.

174:1 Munkácsi, (1) p. 68.

175:1 Friis, pp. 24, 129, 130.

175:2 Vereščagin, p. 37.

175:3 Buch, pp. 126, 127.

175:4 Friis, pp. 113, 115.

176:1 Radloff, ii. 8.

176:2 Mikhailovskij, p. 133.

176:3 Castrén, (2) i. 308.

176:4 Von Düben, p. 249.

177:1 Smirnov, (2) p. 183.

177:2 Ibid., (3) p. 243.

178:1 Smirnov, (4) pp. 176–179.

178:2 Ibid., (4) pp. 184, 193.

180:1 Ostrovski, p. 26.

180:2 Smirnov, (2) p. 151.

180:3 Mainov, (2) p. 58; (3) p. 153.

181:1 Ostrovski, p. 27.

181:2 Mainov, (2) pp. 23, 33–35; (3) pp. 121, 131, 132.

181:3 Castrén, (2) i. 310, 312.

181:4 Munkácsi, (i) p. 70.

182:1 Friis, pp. 86, 27, 70, 137.

182:2 Wichman, (i) p. 17.

182:3 Mainov, (2) pp. 35, 36; (3) p. 133.

182:4 Smirnov, (4) p. 158.

182:5 Mainov, (2) p. 6.

182:6 Smirnov, (4) pp. 144, 145

183:1 Smirnov, (1) p. 128.

183:2 Ibid., (3) p. 209.

183:3 Ibid., (2) p. 145.

185:1 Smirnov, (1) pp. 122, 123.

191:1 Paasonen, (1) p. 30.

191:2 Patkanov, (1) p. 60.

192:1 Smirnov, (1) pp. 121, 124.

192:2 Ibid., (1) p. 124; (2) pp, 142, 143; (3) p. 212; (4) pp. 152, 155; Ahlqvist, (1) p. 160.

192:3 Ibid., (3) p. 211.

193:1 Smirnov, (1) pp. 129, 133.

193:2 Vereščagin, p. 27.

194:1 Böhtlingk, p. 73.

194:2 Georgi, vol. ii. pp. 130, 190.

194:3 Smirnov, (3) p. 215.

194:4 Jour. of Anth. Inst., Feb. 1889, pp. 246–252.

195:1 Smirnov, (2) p. 160.

196:1 Le Brun, p. 14.

196:2 Patkanov, (1) p. 11.

196:3 Georgi, ii. 840.

196:4 Mainov, (2) pp. 13, 14; (3) pp. 12. 13.

197:1 Gavrilov, (1) pp. 168, 169.

197:2 Buch, p. 108.

197:3 Smirnov, (2) pp. 137, 138.

197:4 Friis, p. 127.

198:1 Setälä, (1) p. 270.

199:1 Setälä, (1) p. 274.

200:1 Paasonen, (1) p. 16.

200:2 Ibid., (1) p. 8.

200:3 Ibid., (1) p. 20.

201:1 The original meaning of these words, preserved in Zịrian, is 'to press out,' so that 'to milk' is a secondary and more specific meaning.

201:2 Paasonen, (1) p. 22.

201:3 Patkanov, (1) p. 29.

201:4 Paasonen, (1) p. 41.

202:1 Paasonen, (1) p. 21.

202:2 Ibid., (1) pp. 34, 30, 17.

204:1 Paasonen, (1) p. 40; Wichman, (2) p. 23.

205:1 Wichman, (2) p. 23.

205:2. Ibid., (2) pp. 23, 24.

208:1 Ahlqvist, (3) pp. 5–8.

209:1 Tomaschek, (2) p. 42, gives this form, which was unknown to Castrén and Ahlqvist.

211:1 Martin, (2) Tafel, 4.

211:2 Trevor-Battye, Icebound on Kolguev (Westminster, 1895), pp. 172, 298.

215:1 Murray, map 35.

216:1 Setälä, (2) p. 6; Munkácsi, (2) p. 195.

217:1 Munkácsi, (2) pp. 195, 187.

218:1 Murray, map 42.

218:2 Munkácsi, (2) pp. 186, 192, 196.

219:1 Munkácsi, (2) p. 186.

219:2 Tomaschek, p. 13.

219:3 Thomsen, (1) p. 146, note 4.

220:1 Thomsen, (1) p. 162.

220:2 Ibid., (1) p. 225.

221:1 Patkanov, (1) pp. 34, 35.

221:2 Murray, map 32.

222:1 Setälä, pp. 8, 9; Paasonen, p. 31.

222:2 Genetz, (3) p. 42.

Next: Chapter V. The Third or Iranian Period