Yu.E. Berezkin, E.N. Duvakin

Thematic classification and distribution of folklore and mythological motifs by area

Analytical catalogue

Ethnicities and habitats

Before refer to the Catalogue, please read this text.

Internet address Catalog: http://www.ruthenia.ru/folklore/berezkin

The site is updated every December. His web support is provided by Evgenia Vladimirovna Korovina, of whom we deeply thankful. Per year at The catalog adds summaries of several thousand new texts, now the total number exceeds 60,000 (it is almost impossible to calculate exactly: since many the texts contain several motives and are accordingly included in the catalog on several times, and many of the motives are illustrated in several texts). Most of the texts are taken from publications in Germanic, Romanic, Slavic and Baltic-Finnish languages, but there are also unpublished ones. We're deep we are grateful to all informants and colleagues who conduct field research and share the materials they receive, as well as everyone that supplies us with translations from languages that we don't speak ourselves or that help us get to know recorded publications in electronic or printed form.

On On January 3, 2015, the spread of 1,952 motifs according to 914 traditions was traced world, as of December 1, 2015 — 2,063 motives according to 921 traditions, as of December 4, 2016 — 2199 motifs based on 928 traditions, as of September 21, 2017 — 2,347 motifs based on 938 traditions, on November 19, 2017 — 2382, as of December 3, 2017 — 2399 motifs based on 939 traditions, and on December 10, 2018 — 2523 motifs based on 955 traditions, as of April 10, 2019 — 2576 motifs according to 958 traditions, as of December 23, 2019 — 2,632 motifs based on 972 traditions, September 1, 2020 — 2730 motifs based on 982 traditions, as of December 7, 2020 — 2774 motifs according to 983 traditions, December 17, 2020 — 2780 motifs according to 985 traditions, March 28, 2021 — 2806 motifs according to 991 traditions, April 26, 2021 — 2831 motifs for 991 traditions, May 21, 2021 — 2,848 motifs according to 991 traditions, July 3, 2021 — 2874 motifs, 991 traditions, August 29, 2021 — 2885 motifs based on 993 traditions, September 28, 2021 — 2896 motifs based on 993 traditions, November 2, 2021 — 2,918 motifs based on 995 traditions, 1 December 2021 — 2,930 motifs based on 998 traditions, December 24, 2021 — 2,945 motifs by 999 traditions (posted online for use in 2022). These numbers roughly reflect the speed of catalog expansion by highlighting new motifs and the fragmentation of traditions. Maps in publications sometimes have a number of points for major traditions sometimes more than one, if possible corresponding to the actual localization of records.

Majority motifs in the Catalogue are indicated by letter and number (A2, C16, M39A5b, etc.). The letter stands for thematic section. The breakdown by section is arbitrary : Many motives are related with several sections but only included in one. If the number is followed by again a letter (e.g. A7B), it originally meant that the corresponding group of texts fully met the more general definition (in in this case for the A7 motive), but contained unique ones (A7B) specific details. Now all motives are equal regardless of what they are marked with letters and numbers. It doesn't matter when searching on a computer.

Motives are not are divided into options , but they often form clusters — definitions given to similar motives, partially intersect.

For some motives are indicated according to the C system. Thompson (e.g. A736.1.4.1.), but much more often story numbers for Aarne-Thompson-Uther system (e.g. ATU 565). Often, such correspondences are approximate, so about each motive we should only judge by the definition that accompanies it in the Catalog. If the definitions in ATU differ significantly from the accepted one by us, ATU numbers are in parentheses. Titles motives are conditional labels, their coincidence with the designations of motives in others systems do not require compliance, many motives do not have existing indexes, even approximate correspondences. Because as you work changes are made to the Catalog; when quoting, it is advisable to specify not just the motif number (although only the rarest numbers have changed in recent years cases), but also its definition or at least its name.

Rows of numbers, following the names of the motives in the table of contents (type .52.53.55. etc.), indicate the regions within which texts are recorded. This is working information, which should not be cited when quoting. The numbering of regions does not start with 0, and from 10. Regional figures are provided only for motives included in correlation tables. If there are no numbers in the motive title or if they are given in in parentheses, the motive for correlation calculations is currently not used.

By size the regions are unequal and reflect the problems of work at its different stages. Because in statistical calculations, regions as they are limited to The catalog does not appear, then their disproportion does not matter.

Figures correspond to the following regions:

.10. YUZ Africa. 11. Bantu-speaking Africa. 12. Western Africa. 13. Sudan - Eastern Africa. .14. North Africa. 15. Southern Europe 16. Western Europe 17. Western Asia 18. Australia. .19. Melanesia (incl. New Guinea) .20. Polynesia — Micronesia. 21. Tibet — Northeast India (incl. adjoining countries districts of Yunnan and northern Burma) .22. Burma-Indochina .23. South Asia. 24. Malaysia—Indonesia. 25. Taiwan — Philippines. 26. China—Korea. 27. The Balkans. 28. Central Europe. 29. Caucasus — Asia Minor. 30. Iran — Medium Asia.31. Baltoscandia. .32. Volga — Perm. 33. Turkestan. 34. Southern Siberia — Mongolia. 35. Western Siberia. 36. Eastern Siberia. 37. Amur — Sakhalin .38. Japan. .39. SV Asia (Chukotka without Eskimos, Kamchatka, Kolyma) .40. The Arctic (the American Arctic and the Asian Eskimos). .41. Subarctic (mainly northern atapaskas) .42. NW coast. 43. Coast — Plateau. 44. The Midwest. .45. Northeast. .46. Plains. .47. Southeast U.S. .48. California. .49. The Big Pool. 50. The Great Southwest. .51. NW Mexico (Nahua-speaking peoples of the Sonora branch) .52. Mesoamerica. 53. Honduras vs Panama. 54. Antilles. 55. Northern Andes (most of the mountainous regions of Colombia and northern Venezuela, their Pacific and Caribbean coasts). .56. Llanos. 57. Southern Venezuela (including Brazilian Yanomamo) .58. Delta Orinoco. 59. Guiana (including Lower Orinoco Caribbean and Brazilian Indians Guiana) .60. Ecuador (mountains and coast) .61. Western Amazon (kofan and all western tucanos in Colombia; eastern Ecuador with adjacent Peruvian Montagny) .62. NW Amazon (including yagua, tukuna, bar but excluding manao lower reaches of Rio Negro). 63. Central Amazon: east to the mouth of Tapajos and to and including Rio Jamund; in the south including monde, parintintin and munduruku. .64. Eastern Amazon (all Tupi-speaking groups east of Tapajos and south Amazons, including Tupinamba on the Atlantic coast of Brazil) .65. The Central Andes. .66. Montagna-Jurua, including the upper reaches and Purus and the upper reaches and average Jurua course in Brazil .67. Bolivia — Guaporé (Eastern Bolivia, Rondônia) .68. Southern Amazon: Most (except same -language) groups Mato Grosso. 69. Araguaia (tapirape and carage) .70. Eastern Brazil (all northern and central same ; kariri) .71. SE Brazil (sheta, kaingang, Botocudo and other “Paleogrilese” groups in Atlantic Brazil, but not tupinamba) .72. Chaco (including Quechua-speaking groups in the Argentinian lowlands, and (also tereno and caduveo in Brazil) .73. Southern Brazil: Tupi-speaking peoples Brazil and Paraguay (various Guarani, Ache groups); Ofaie. 74. The Southern Cone.

Alternatively, published in an article (D'huy J., Berezkin Yu. 2017. How did the first humans perceive the starry night? — On the Pleiades//The Retrospective Methods Network Newsletter (University of Helsinki) 12-13: 98-120), some regions are grouped as follows:

.10. SW Africa. .11. Bantu-speaking Africa. .12. West Africa. .13. East Africa — Sudan. .14. North Africa. .15. Southern Europe. 16. Western Europe. 17. Near East. 18. Australia. .19. Melanesia. .20. Polynesia — Micronesia. .21. Tibet — NE India. .22. Burma & Indochina. .23. South Asia. .24. Malaysia & Indonesia. .25. Taiwan & Philippines. .26. China & Korea. .27. The Balkans .28. Middle Europe. .29. The Caucasus & Asia Minor. .30. Iran & Central Asia. .31. Baltoscandia. .32. Volga — Kama Basins. .33. Turkestan. .34. Southern Siberia — Mongolia. .35. Western Siberia. .36. Eastern Siberia. .37. Lower Amur — Sakhalin. .38. Japan .39. NE Asia. .40. Arctic. .41. Subarctic. .42. NW Coast. .43. Coast — Plateau. .44. Middle West. .45. The Northeast. .46. Plains. .47. The Southeast .48. California. .49. Great Basin. .50. Great Southwest. .51. NW Mexico. .52. Mesoamerica. .53. Lower Central America. .54. Antilles. .55. Northern Andes. .56. Llanos. .57. Southern Venezuela. .58, 59. Guiana. .60. Ecuador. .61. Western Amazonia. .62. NW Amazonia. .63. Central Amazonia. .64. Eastern Amazonia. .65. Central Andes. .66. Montaña. .67. Bolivia — Guapore. .68. Southern Amazonia. .69. Araguaya. .70. Eastern Brazil. 71, 73. South & Southern Atlantic Brazil. .72. Chaco. .74. Southern Cone.

When statistical calculations use more fractional units — traditions (as as mentioned above, as of December 24, 2021, there were 999).

Because the catalog contains extremely diverse folklore and mythological material, statistical processing of its entire population is necessary only to solve very limited tasks. Separate processing of motifs is much more effective by categories and thematic groups (or any combination of them). Right now the following groups have been identified, but their further fragmentation and refinement of their composition, is likely to continue.

Category A: Cosmology & etiology
1. Sun and Moon
2. Moon spots, stars, constellations
3. Cosmogony, the earth and the sky, etiology of the elements, natural and biological phenomenon (water, soil, thunderstorms, dream, etc.), weather and calendar, cataclysms and cosmetic threats, spirits of nature.

30 (or 3a). Origin of fire.
4. Origin of death, diseases and hard life.
5. Origin of human beings, ethnic and social groups, etiology of human anatomy, strange body configuration, ways of behavior and marriages before the establishment of the present norms.

6. Origin and interpretation of culture elements related to agriculture and to inadequate forms of subsidence and economic activity before the establishment of the present norms.

60 (or 6a). Origin of different culture elements not related to subsidence.
7a (71). Etiology of animals and of their special features, particular animals as protagonists of cosmological stories, metamorphoses.

7b (72). Etiology of plants.

More like category A than like category B
8. Queer and monstrous beings, creatures, objects and loci, folk beliefs related to particular phenomenon and objects.
9. Identification of protagonists of the stories with particular animals or persons with particular qualities.
Category B: Adventures & tricks
10. Adventures: magic episodes present

100. Adventures: magic episodes absent (realistic tales) or strictly related to Christian beliefs.
50. Tricks and anecdotes related to marriage and obscene behavior.
11. Tricks and competitions related to deception and absurd behavior.
111. Animal actors
112. Human actors.
11. Indiscriminately human or animal actors.
More like category B than like category A
12. Proper names.
13. Formulae (clichés).

14. Mixed (similar episodes in very different context and with different actors).

The catalog is located in progress, there is no final version and cannot be. If you decide to use it, review the material you are interested in, it will probably require customization for your specific topic, fixes and additions. For advice, please contact:

[email protected]


Yuri Evgenievich Berezkin,

Yevgeny Nikolaevich Duvakin