2021, Volume 18, Issue 2

Back to the Table of Contents

Yuri S. Kostylev
Ural Federal University
Ekaterinburg, Russia

Cultural Studies of Stone: Stones and Mountains in Folklore, Rites, and Toponymy
Review of the book: Ageeva, R. A. (2019). Kamen’ i gory v narodnoi kul’ture [Stone and Mountains in Popular Culture]. Moscow: Maska. 250 p.

Voprosy onomastiki, 2021, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp. 260–270 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2021.18.2.029

Received on 26 February 2021

Abstract: This paper gives an overview of the book Stone and Mountains in Popular Culture by Ruth Ageeva, a monograph that includes a preface, an introduction, seven chapters, an appendix, and a list of oronyms (proper names for mountains and stones) found in the text. The book presents a functional study of the original word stone and its derivatives in oronymy (chapter 1), analyses proper names of individual stones (chapter 2), considers the symbolic connotations of stones’ colour reflected in their names (chapter 3), deals with the image of the Alatyr stone in folk culture (chapter 4), provides a description of megaliths located across the globe (chapter 5), studies figurative names of mountains and volcanoes (chapter 6) and compares the ways of mountains representation in the cultures of different peoples (chapter 7). The research builds on a large amount of data related to the representation of stones and mountains in various cultures, wherein the evidence of East Slavic languages prevails. Methodologically, the study embraces a wide range of contexts including culture studies, folklore studies, ethnolinguistics, etymology, and others. The review notes both the large amount and the theoretical richness of the material giving the reader a full picture of the subject. As the book declares itself to be intended for a wide readership, the introductory theoretical remarks seem very much appropriate. With all the positive aspects of the book under review, the vastness of material is fraught with some deficiencies in its structure. But still this does not undermine the study’s theoretical and practical relevance as it can be of interest both to the general reader and specialists in linguistics, ethnography, cultural studies, as well as a reference source on the proper names of stones and mountains.

Keywords: onomastic system, toponymy, oronymy, petronymy, cultural studies of stone, folk culture, rite.

The paper is part of the project “Regional Identity of Russia: Comparative Historical and Philological Research” funded by the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia (project number FEUZ-2020-0056).


Agapkina, T. A., Berezovich, E. L., & Surikova, O. D. (2019). Toponimiia zagovorov Russkogo Severa. III: Kamni [Toponymy of the Russian North. III: Stones]. Voprosy onomastiki, 16(2), 7–68. https://doi.org/10.15826/vopr_onom.2019.16.2.014

Ageeva, R. A. (1990). Strany i narody: proiskhozhdenie nazvanii [Countries and Peoples: The Origin of Names]. Moscow: Nauka.

Ageeva, R. A. (2000). Kakogo my rodu-plemeni? Narody Rossii: imena i sud’by: slovar’-spravochnik [Where do We Come from? The Peoples of Russia: Names and Destinies: A Reference Book]. Moscow: Academia.