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Encyclopedia > Basque Mythology

Ancient Basque mythology is centered around the figure of the goddess Mari, and her consort Sugaar (also called Maju). It is considered a chthonic religion as all its characters dwell on earth or below it. The sky is seen mostly as an empty corridor through which the divinities travel and herd clouds. Basque may refer to: Look up Basque in Wiktionary, the free dictionary The Basque language The Basque people A basque (clothing) See also: The Basque Country, the homeland of the Basques Basque Country (autonomous community), an administrative division of Spain Basque nationalism Basque mythology Basque music Basque Nationalist Party Basque... The word mythology (Greek: μυθολογία, from μυθος mythos, a story or legend, and λογος logos, an account or speech) literally means the (oral) retelling of myths – stories that a particular culture believes to be true and that use supernatural events or characters to explain the nature of the universe and humanity. ... Mari is the main character of Basque mythology, having, unlike other criatures that share the same imaginary enviroment, a god_like nature. ... The introduction of this article does not provide enough context for readers unfamiliar with the subject to understand later content. ... A Basque deity associated with storms and thunder. ... In mythology chthonic (from Greek χθονιος-pertaining to the earth; earthy) designates, or pertains to, gods or spirits of the underworld, especially in Greek mythology. ...


Mari and her court

Mari is considered the supreme goddess, and her consort Sugaar the supreme god. Mari is depicted in many different forms: sometimes as various women, as different red animals, as the black he-goat, etc. Sugaar, however, appears only as a man or a serpent/dragon. The introduction of this article does not provide enough context for readers unfamiliar with the subject to understand later content. ...

Mari is said to be served by the sorginak, semi-mythical creatures impossible to differentiate from actual witches or pagan priestesses. The nucleus of witches near Zugarramurdi met at the Akelarre field and were the target of a process in LogroƱo that was the major action of the Spanish Inquisition against witchcraft. As a result, akelarre in Basque and aquelarre in Spanish are still today the local names of the sabbat. Sorginak (singular sorgin) are the assistants of the goddess Mari in Basque mythology They are likened to witches or pagan priestesses. ... This article is part of the Witchcraft series. ... Paganism (from Latin paganus) and heathenry are blanket terms used primarily by Christians which have come to connote a broad set of spiritual or religious beliefs and practices of natural or polytheistic religions, as opposed to the Abrahamic monotheistic religions. ... Roman Catholic priest A priest or priestess is a holy man or woman who takes an officiating role in worship of any religion, with the distinguishing characteristic of offering sacrifices. ... Zugarramurdi is a town located in the province of Navarra, in the autonomous community of Navarra, in the North of Spain. ... Akelarre can mean: a place in Navarre, Spain that gave its name to the meeting places of witches: see Akelarre, Navarre a block cipher: see Akelarre (cipher) This is a disambiguation page: a list of articles associated with the same title. ... Official website: http://www. ... Pedro Berruguete. ... Sabbat may mean: Sabbat (neopaganism), eight religious holidays which commemorate the Wheel of the Year, in the Wiccan form of neopaganism. ...

Other creatures and characters

  • Lamiak or laminak: a type of nymphs with bird-feet that dwelled in rivers and springs.
  • Iratxoak: imps.
  • Jentilak (gentiles): giants, sometimes portrayed throwing rocks at churches. They are believed to be Pagan Basques themselves, seen from a partly Christianized viewpoint. A surviving jentil is Olentzero, the Basque equivalent of Santa Claus.
  • Mairuak or Intxisuak are the male equivalent of lamiak in the Pyrenean region, where they are said to have built up the cromlechs.
  • Tartalo: the Basque version of the Greco-Roman Cyclops.
  • Basajaun: the wild man of the woods and his female version: basandere.
  • Gaueko is an evil character of the night.
  • Odei is a personification of storm clouds.
  • Ama Lur: Mother Earth. It may be a modern creation or may be another name of Mari.
  • Eki or Eguzki is the known name of the Sun, considered a daughter of Ama Lur.
  • Ile or Ilargi are the known names of the Moon, also a daughter of Ama Lur.

Other minor characters appear only in isolated legends: Lamiak (sing. ... For other uses of nymph see Nymph (disambiguation). ... Iratxoak (sing. ... The jentilak (singular: jentil, meaning gentile from Latin gentilis) are a race of giants in Basque mythology. ... Olentzero is a Basque Christmas tradition. ... A common portrayal of Santa Claus. ... In Basque mythology, the mairuak (Moors) (along with the jentilak) are giants who built dolmens and menhirs. ... T shaped Hunebed D27 in Borger-Odoorn, Netherlands, recent. ... Tartalo. ... Polyphemus the Cyclops. ... In Basque Mythology, the basajaun (plural: baxajaunak) are a race of big hairy wild men who were megalith builders. ... Woodwoses support coats of arms in the side panels of a portrait by Albrecht Dürer, 1499 (Alte Pinakothek, Munich) Grand arms of Prussia, 1873 The Woodwose or hairy wildman of the woods was the Sasquatch figure of pre-Christian Gaul, in Anglo-Saxon a Woodwoses appear in the carved... In Basque mythology, Gaueko is a great black wolfhound that sometimes walks upright. ... Odei. ... Ama Lur means Mother Earth in Basque language. ... Eki or Eguzki are the names of the Sun in Basque language. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into LOL_(Internet_slang). ... Ilargi or Ile is the name of the Moon in Basque language. ...

  • Galtzagorriak are a specific tipe of intxisuak.
  • San Martin Txiki, a popular local Christian character, is a trickster.
  • Atxular and Mikelatz are said to be sons of Mari, among others.
  • Jaun Zuria is the mythical first Lord of Biscay, said to be born of a Scottish princess who had an encounter with the god Sugaar in the village of Mundaka.
  • Herensuge is the name of a dragon who plays an important role in a few legends.
  • Erge is an evil spirit that takes men's lives.

Galtxagorriak. ... San Martin Txiki (Little Saint Martin) is the Trickster figure from Basque mythology. ... The trickster figure Rénert the Fox as depicted in an 1869 childrens book by Michel Rodange. ... Jaun Zuria (The White Lord) is the mythical first Lord of Biscay. ... Vizcaya province Vizcaya (Basque Bizkaia) is a province of northern Spain, in the northwestern part of the autonomous community of the Basque Country. ... Mundaka is a town located in the province of Bizkaia, in the autonomous community of Basque Country, in the North of Spain. ... Herensuge is the name for dragon in Basque language. ...


Urtzi, Ortz or Ost seems to have been the name by which Basque referred to the sky and the divinities (normally foreign) that embodied it. In the Middle Ages, the Codex Calixtinus by the French pilgrim Aymericus Picaudus mentions that "they call God Urcia". While no legend has survived on the possible nature of this divinity, many composite Basque names (of weekdays or metereological events) seem to point to Ost, Ortz or Urtzi being the old name of the sky and its divine personifications. Urtzi, Ortzi, Ost and similar forms are the old Basque words for sky. Currently the Latinate zeru (from caelum) is used and Urtzi is used as a person name or in compounds like osteguna (Thursday and oskorri (day break, literally red sky). The medieval pilgrim Aymericus Picaudus notes that the... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... Detail from the Codex Calixtinus Folio 4r, showing Saint James the Great The Codex Calixtinus is a 12th century illuminated manuscript formerly attributed to Pope Callixtus II, though now believed to have been arranged by the French scholar Aymeric Picaud. ...


After Christianization, the Basques kept producing and importing myths.

The Roncevaux Pass (Roncesvaux in English, Roncesvalles in Spanish, Orreaga in Basque) is the site of a famous battle in 778 in which Hroudland (later changed to Roland), prefect of Brittany March was defeated by the Basques. ... The Matter of France is a body of mythology and legend that springs from the Old French medieval literature of the chansons de geste. ... Guido Renis archangel Michael (in the Capuchin church of Sta. ... The July 16, 1212 battle of Las Navas de Tolosa is considered a major turning point in the history of Medieval Iberia. ...

Modern myths

Besides the religious beliefs of ancient Basques, we can understand mythology to include other stories of emotional, cultural, moral or ethical value to a nation. Taken broadly, then, Basque mythology can include any narrative which has contributed to the shaping of Basque values and belief systems. The word mythology (Greek: μυθολογία, from μυθος mythos, a story or legend, and λογος logos, an account or speech) literally means the (oral) retelling of myths – stories that a particular culture believes to be true and that use supernatural events or characters to explain the nature of the universe and humanity. ...

Some modern myths were created in the 19th century, as Basque national consciousness arose. Spanish historians and apologists placed the Iberians and Basques in the Babel narrative as descendants of Tubal. Biscayne apologists argued that unlike the rest of Spain, Basque blood had not been polluted by miscegenation with Moors or Jews and, under the system of limpieza de sangre, they were natural born nobles, free of the Castilian taxes and authorities. In the 19th century, Souletin writer Augustin Chaho created Tubal's descendant Aitor to be the forefather of all Basques. Chaho also twisted the name of herensuge (dragon) to create Leherensuge a semi-divine creature that was present at the origins (lehen) and will be present also in the future or end (heren) of the Basque people. In this sense Leherensuge can somehow be associated with Sugaar. The Lady of Baza, made by Iberians or Celtiberians The Iberians arrived in Spain sometime in the third millennium B.C., although their arrival has been dated as early as 4000 B.C. Most scholars believe the Iberians came from a region farther east in the Mediterranean, although some have... Babel () is the name used in the Hebrew Bible for the city of Babylon, notable as the location of the Tower of Babel. ... Tubals (Tabals, Tibarenoi in Greek) were Luwian tribes of Asia Minor of the 3rd-1st millennias BC. Some modern Georgians claim descent from the Tubals and Meshechs commonly identified as Phrygians. ... Vizcaya province Vizcaya (Basque Bizkaia) is a province of northern Spain, in the northwestern part of the autonomous community of the Basque Country. ... It has been suggested that Interethnic marriage be merged into this article or section. ... Limpieza de sangre is also a novel in the Captain Alatriste series by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. ... Hidalgo is a state in central Mexico, with an area of 20,502 km². In 2000 the state had a population of some 2,231,000 people. ...

The Guernica Tree also became a symbol of the Basque freedoms. Another tree, the Malato Tree marked the limit of the Basque armies and was used as an argument to refuse Basque involvement in the Spanish military. The tree with the temple in the back and the hermitage to the left. ...

External links

  • Buber's Basque page on mythology
  • Arcadia on Basque mythology
  • MythHome: Basque Summary


  • Juan Ignacio Hartsuaga "Euskal Mitologia Konparatua" ("Compared Basque Mythology"), Kriseilu, 1987.
  • Michael Everson, "Tenacity in religion, myth, and folklore: the neolithic Goddess of Old Europe preserved in a non-Indo-European setting", Journal of Indo-European Studies 17, 277 (1989). [1]



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