Among the many commonly used slangs across Slavic regions of Europe, “Chort poberi”(Russian) – meaning as overtaken by the demon, “Chort poputal”(Russian) – meaning mixed up by the demon, and numerous others, derive their origin from the folklores of the mythical demon Chort.
In Slavic mythology, Chort is said to be a demon of complete evil, horns, hooves, a thin tail, and a pig. He is the offspring of the Slavic goddess mara and the god Chernobog. In folklore, his bodily look is equal to that of the Greek god Pan. In Christian folklore, he is said to be a minion of Satan.
There are multiple theories concerning the start of the Proto-Slavic word. One of which is that it is said to be a significant t-participle of *ker- (to cut, to chop), which could be attained from a chort visualized as being limp (having one leg shorter).
The phrases like Ukrainian kutsiy and Czech and Slovak kusý, additionally obtained from *ker-, are considered one of chort’s most repeated titles. According to a current hypothesis, the word *čьrtъ shows a spinoff of *čersti / čьrtǫ ‘to draw a line, furrow’. A manner to translate this derivation is interpreting *čьrtъ as a supernatural Draughtsman in charge of figuring out human fate.
By this hypothesis, the actual god of destiny is perceived as the bringer of death and further harmonized with the epitome of all evil withinside the Christian tradition. In east Slavic languages, chorts are also called haspyda, didko, irod, and kutsyi.
In Other Cultures
In Czech region-
In Czech folk tales, čert isn’t always an evil individual per se. It is frequently seeking to tease characters into giving up their souls in trade for something (wealth, power, completion of a task). This usually ends badly for evil or grasping characters, who get tricked into getting vain presents after which they are carried into hell.
Additionally, čert switches roles from trickster to tricked as he loses a wager in opposition to a hero, who outwits him, triumphing his soul back.
In this manner, čert is frequently tricked into constructing citadel walls in a day, dig fish ponds or often entire river banks, pass massive stones or build mountains.
Sometimes, a constructive function of čert is further emphasized, particularly in contemporary-day or modernized folk tales. Čert is attempting to carry evil characters to hell, he frequently allows or befriends heroes in this method and offers them diverse magical gadgets and treasures.
The actual shape of Čert is mostly a short hairy male with a tail, horns, and hoofs. But he being a shapeshifter, he attempts to dupe characters in his pleasant forms, earlier than they even comprehend what he is. In those forms, he’s regularly represented as a pretty younger guy, count, or huntsman.
Often, this variation is not (and cannot be) foolproof, so one can understand čert through his horns hidden in dark curly hair, or one hoofed leg hidden in excessive boots. In this interpretation, Čert is not the devil, even though they might have plenty in common.
In Turkey region-
In Turkic (neighboring to Slavic region) folk tales, its call is “Çor” (Chor). Chors are spiritual creatures stated withinside the pre-Islamic literature and oral folklore who live in an unseen global dimension past the visible universe of humans.
Folklore mentions that the Chors are a product of fire, yet bodily in nature, being capable of engaging interaction with human beings and things. Similar to humans, the Chor can be good (Ak-çor, literally “White Chor”), evil (Kara-çor, “Black Chor”), or neutrally benevolent.
There are distinct forms of Chura: Arçura, which comes from the forest and is married to the Orman iyesi (spirit in Turkic mythology who is a guardian, or protector of a place, person), and Biçura (house spirit in Turkic folklore), which comes from the cellar and is married to Ev iyesi (deity in Turkic mythology).
In the Polish region-
Biesy (singular: bies) are a personification of all of the unknown evil forces withinside nature. They are considered among the most vicious and the oldest demons withinside the central and eastern region of Europe. Their call is derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *bboidh-, which meant “inflicting worry and terror”.
Over the years, in the process of Christianization, the name bies / bes (similar to Slavic demon czart/czort/chort) has become interchangeable with the word “devil” in lots of Slavic languages, and many Slavic folklores define them as devil’s minions.
Chort in Modern Pop Culture
The character of Chort makes an appearance in the role-playing fantasy game Witcher 3: wild hunt, developed and published by Polish developer CD Projekt Red.
In the Videogame, Chort appears as a relict monster. Chorts exhibit brute force and swift speed personified, rivaled only by fiends among other monsters. They use their forelimbs to hammer, claw, and strike their prey.
They also move with such speed that they have minimal control over themselves as they attack headfirst on their unfortunate victims.
The game is based on The Witcher novel series written by Andrzej Sapkowski. The Novels are currently being adapted into a Netflix Drama-fantasy series. The character of chort is yet to make an appearance in the Netflix Witcher series starring Henry Cavill as the Geralt of Rivia.
Read More: Akuma [Japanese Folklore]
Chort has been one of the most feared demon tricksters around eastern and central Europe throughout mythological history. In this article, we highlighted its significance and folklore around different regions of Europe and its mention in modern-day pop culture.