from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Caucasus (plural lit. kaukai ) is a lower mythical being in the Baltic , especially Lithuanian, language area.

supporting documents

The oldest evidence comes from the Elbingen vocabulary: Old Prussian cawx - Middle Low German tufel . A toponym documented from 1251 as Kuke , Chucunbrasth , Cucenbrast, translated as 'desz Teufels durchfahrt', is associated with this. The being is also mentioned early in Lithuanian, it is mentioned as early as 1547 in the first Lithuanian book, the Catechism of Martynas Mažvydas , where it says: Kaukus, Szemepatis ir laucasargus pameskiet ... 'let go of the Caucasus, Zemepats and lukewarm Sargas' . In 1613 Lasicki wrote: Kaukie sunt Lemures . The Caucasus appears frequently in Lithuanian sagas. In Latvian is kauks is rare and then as brownies translated.

In addition, there are a few other names in Lithuanian and Latvian, relatively often pūkas , pūks from German puck .


There are several interpretations of the etymology that are linguistically based on an Indo-European root * keuk- ' biegen ', but have different semantic arguments. According to Mažiulis, the Caucasus is a hunchbacked dwarf. Vladimir Toporov sees the Caucasus as a genius loci especially of hills, which means that the being has inherited its name from names for hills. Šeškaukaitė and Gliwa see connections with the Lithuanian kukalis ' Claviceps purpurea ', which means that the Caucasus is a vegetation demon, embodied by ripe seed pods and ergot.

Function, properties

The multitude of different properties and functions is partly contradictory.

When described, the Caucasians are mostly depicted as small males or as babies. Caucasians are benign beings who bring wealth, blessings and harvest to their hosts, who also do work themselves. Only when offended or not properly nourished can they incline to revenge or leave the court. Caucasians can be acquired by hatching a testicle from a boar or rooster . It also happens that they settle at a farm on their own or are forced to do so or convinced by gifts.

Caucasians are sometimes viewed as the souls of deceased children, especially unbaptized infants.

Close relations, and the possibility for identity, made the Barstukken However, servants of which are also represented as dwarfs Puškaitis are and elder live. The Aitvaras is considered to be the opposite partner of the Caucasus - both together are compared with the Dioscuri .


Individual evidence

  1. Mažiulis, see literature, p. 295f.
  2. Vėlius, Greimas see literature