Other namesTaran
  • meld-n-,
  • h₂ekmōn
Greek equivalentZeus
Norse equivalentThor
Slavic equivalentPerun
Hinduism equivalentParjanya
Baltic equivalentPerkunas
Celtic equivalentTaranis

Perkwunos (Proto-Indo-European: *perkwunos, 'the Striker' or 'the Lord of Oaks') is the reconstructed name of the weather god in Proto-Indo-European mythology. The deity was connected with fructifying rains, and his name was probably invoked in times of drought. In a widespread Indo-European myth, the thunder-deity fights a multi-headed water-serpent during an epic battle in order to release torrents of water that had previously been pent up. The name of his weapon, *meld-n-, which denoted both "lightning" and "hammer", can be reconstructed from the attested traditions.

Perkwunos was often associated with oaks, probably because such tall trees are frequently struck by lightning, and his realm was located in the wooded mountains, *per-kwun-iyo. A term for the sky, *h₂ekmōn, apparently denoted a "heavenly vault of stone", but also "thunderbolt" or "stone-made weapon", in which case it was sometimes also used to refer to the thunder-god's weapon.

Contrary to other deities of the Proto-Indo-European pantheon, such as *Dyēus (the sky-god), or *H2éwsōs (the dawn-goddess), widely accepted cognates stemming from the theonym *Perkwunos are only attested in Western Indo-European traditions. The linguistic evidence for the worship of a thunder god under the name Perkwunos as far back as Proto-Indo-European times (4500–2500 BC) is therefore less secured.[1]

  1. ^ Mallory & Adams 2006, p. 410, 433.