(Redirected from Porewit)

Porevit (Latin: Poreuit[1]) is a god with unknown functions mentioned in only two sources: Gesta Danorum and in Knýtlinga saga. The only historical information about this god is a description of a statue depicting him that had five faces and no weapons.

Major cult centerCharenza


The first source to mention Porevit is the Gesta Danorum by Saxo Grammaticus. Saxo describes when, after Arkona was captured by the Danish king Valdemar I, its inhabitants made an agreement with him, which encourages the inhabitants of Charenza to make a similar agreement and surrender the city without a fight. Saxo describes that in this gord (stronghold) there were three temples dedicated to Rugiaevit, Porevit and Porenut. After the destruction of the temple and the ideol of Rugiaevit by the Danes, Saxo writes:[2][3]

And not satisfied with its destruction, a group of auxiliary troops turned greedily to the statue of Porevit, which was worshiped in the temple next door. This idol had five heads, but had been sculpted without decorations on its sides. Having torn down this idol, they went to the temple of Porenutius. This statue, represented with four faces, had a fifth face embedded in the body, whose forehead it touched with its left hand, and the chin with its right. This statue fell under the blows of the axes wielded by the servants.[1]

Latin original text
Nec eius excidio contentae satellitum manus ad Poreuitum simulacrum, quod in proxima aede colebatur, auidius porriguntur. Id quinque capitibus consitum, sed armis uacuum fingebatur. Quo succiso, Porenutii templum appetitur. Haec statua, quattuor facies repraesentans, quintam pectori insertam habebat, cuius frontem laeua, mentum dextera tangebat. Haec famulorum ministerio securibus icta concidit.[1]

The same information is then given by the Knýtlinga saga, which lists Porenut in the distorted form Puruvit[4][5]


The first part is usually connected with the word pora[6][7][8] in its original, Proto-Slavic (*pora) meaning "push, thrust", "force, effort, full strength", "period of effort, hard work"[9] completed with the suffix -vit "lord".[10] According to Jacek Banaszkiewicz, a Polish professor of medieval history, the three Charenza deities are not a "random" group of deities, but a group of deities that patronize areas fundamental to the existence of society. He considers Rugiaevit as the chief god, who patronizes war and the community, and Porevit and Porenut as divine twins, who complement the chief deity with their universal characteristics. Banaszkiewicz points out that a common feature of divine twins is the repetition of the first part of the name or the second part of the name; according to him, Porevit and Porenut share the first part (pora). He also points out that twins often have contradictory features; Porevit is considered a "positive" twin whose name should be understood as "Lord of strength, Lord who can cope with everything", while Porenut is considered a "negative" twin and translates his name as "Lord in need of support", reading the suffix -nut as -nud and connecting it with the Old Polish nuda and the German Nut meaning "need, compulsion". Banaszkiewicz also points to the fact that they both have five faces, two less than Rugiaevit, with Porenut having only four faces on his head, and the fifth one he holds with his hands on his chest, which according to him may indicate that his character's importance is diminished in relation to Porevit. It may also be important that the right hand supports the fifth face, while the left hand holds it by the forehead.[8] Andrzej Szyjewski is also in favor of combining the first part of both Porevit and Porenut with the word pora.[7]

Less common readings of the name include Borovit "Lord of the forest", Borzyvit "Strong in battle", or *Pirovit or *Pyrovit.[6]


  1. ^ a b c Álvarez-Pedrosa 2021, p. 194-199.
  2. ^ Álvarez-Pedrosa 2021, p. 194.
  3. ^ Gieysztor 2006, p. 131.
  4. ^ Szyjewski 2003, p. 120.
  5. ^ Álvarez-Pedrosa 2021, p. 197.
  6. ^ a b Gieysztor 2006, p. 132.
  7. ^ a b Szyjewski 2003, p. 117.
  8. ^ a b Banaszkiewicz 1996, p. 81.
  9. ^ Boryś 2005, p. 464.
  10. ^ Gieysztor 2006, p. 117.


  • Szyjewski, Andrzej (2003). Religia Słowian. Kraków: Wydawnictwo WAM. ISBN 83-7318-205-5.
  • Boryś, Wiesław (2005). "pora". Słownik etymologiczny languagea polskiego. Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie. ISBN 978-83-08-04191-8.
  • Gieysztor, Aleksander (2006). Mitologia Słowian. Warsaw: Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego. ISBN 978-83-235-0234-0.
  • Banaszkiewicz, Jacek (1996). "Pan Rugii - Rugiewit i jego towarzysze z Gardźca: Porewit i Porenut (Saxo Gramatyk, Gesta Danorum XIV, 39,38-41)". In Kurnatowska, Zofia (ed.). Słowiańszczyzna w Europie średniowiecznej. 1. Wrocław: WERK. pp. 75–82. ISBN 83-901964-7-6.
  • Álvarez-Pedrosa, Juan Antonio (2021). Sources of Slavic Pre-Christian Religion. Leiden: Koninklijke Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-44138-5.