Book of Veles – a Forgery or a Sacred Text?

Book of Veles

The Book of Veles claims to contain evidence of genesis, evolution and migration of Slavs. The book comprises history of Slavs since 7th century BC until 9th century AD.

 The book was named after Slavic god Veles because the first decoded paragraph of the book was dedicated to him. Veles was celebrated as god of agriculture and cattle breeding. He was highly respected since crops and survival of the nation depended upon his will.

 Discovery and study of the book

The Book of Veles was discovered in the beginning of the 20th century in Ukraine, by Russian colonel Isenbeck, in an old, devastated castle. After Russian revolution Isenbeck emigrated from Russia and after years of wandering he settled in Brussels. All the time Isenbeck carried planks with him. He stored them in a cardboard box, until one day Yuriy Mirolyubov, Russian emigrant and scientist, discovered them and took them from Isenbeck. Mirolyubov was the first person who started to study these planks. He worked on decoding texts for more than 15 years.

Book contains 42 planks in total. They were made of birch wood, with dimensions 38x22x.5cm. Surface of the planks were scrubbed before carving the letters and afterward painted with some dark matter, which faded over time. On some planks, besides letters there were carved bull heads, sun, different animals, so Mirolyubov concluded that they represented symbols of months. Letters were not the same size and shape so there was possibility that different people wrote them and possibly in different times.

Mirolyubov concluded that this was the oldest Slavic alphabet, later named protoslavic. But there is no other known inscriptions written in these letters which were similar to Cyrillic.

Research of the planks was continued by Alexander Kurov in San Francisco, who worked in archive of Russian museum of San Francisco. Kurov tried to find connection between texts on planks and Indian and Babylonian language and was not interested in researching origin of texts. But the real progress was made when Sergey Lesnoy started studying the book. In several studies, he described his discoveries. Whole surface of planks is written without any grammatical rules, no breaks or punctuation marks. Although it is known that in ancient times wood was also used for writing various texts, the Book of Veles is the first known Slavic text.

In analysis that followed, Lesnoy discovered that texts were collected in different periods and were written by different authors. The Book of Veles is not a chronicle; it is collection of texts that contain data about religion, tradition and history of Slavs. The book also gives information about Slavic gods, description of rituals, beliefs and great part of texts are dedicated to history of the Slavs. Some texts contain astronomical data, so there are terms such as Svarog day, which lasts 27000 years, zodiac cycles of 2160 years etc.

Doubts over the authenticity of the Book of Veles

Most of the scholars who are experts in Slavistic believe that the book is forgery, made in the 20th century, by person or persons who had very superficial knowledge about Slavic language. This theory is based on fact that texts are written in invented form of different modern Slavic languages without any grammar rules. But in spite of those claims and fact that book is rejected from scientist, some Slavic neopagans use the Book of Veles in their rituals.

So what do you think? Is the Book of Veles a 20th century forgery?

About the author

Meet the Slavs

Posts by the Meet the Slavs Team.

Meet the Slavs is your most comprehensive online resource about Slavic people, their cuisine, culture, history, mythology, and more.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment