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This Proto-Slavic entry contains reconstructed words and roots. As such, the term(s) in this entry are not directly attested, but are hypothesized to have existed based on comparative evidence.



Privative adjectives *ubogъ(poor, miserable) and *nebogъ(poor, miserable), as well as the later derivation *bogatъ(rich) prove that *bogъ was originally also an adjective meaning "earthly wealth/well-being; fortune", with a semantic shift to "dispenser of wealth/fortune" and finally "god". Semantic parallel can be drawn to Indo-Iranian languages: compare Old Persian 𐏎(baga, god), Avestan [script needed](baγa-, god) (but also [script needed](bag-, apportion)), as well as Sanskrit epithet often applied to gods भग(bhaga, dispenser, gracious lord, patron), proving that Slavic noun had both abstract and concrete meanings. The same Iranian source, but via a Turkic language, also probably gave Proto-Slavic *banъ. Compare also Avar бакъ(baq̇̄, sun).

This convincing parallel has led some linguists (e.g. Roman Jakobson) to claim that *bogъ is an Iranian borrowing. Slavic-Iranian parallelism can be further extended to the expressions of Slavic mythology: Dažbog, Belobog and Chernobog, which suggest an existence of Iranian-type dualism in Proto-Slavic mythology.

On a more formal level, absence of Winter's law (if held to apply in open syllables) precludes derivation from hypothetical Proto-Indo-European *bʰeh₂gos, *bʰagos.[1]

Some[2] connect it to Ancient Greek ἔφαγον(éphagon, to eat, devour) via a semantic shift "I received a share" > "I consumed" > "I ate". This would in turn all derive from the Proto-Indo-European root *bʰeh₂g-, *bʰag-(to distribute, divide).


*bȏgъ m

  1. god


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  1. ^ Derksen (2008)
  2. ^ EIEC, Beekes, LIV