in Slavic mythology, was the most revered and conspicuous of the gods among the Wends. At Arkona, on the island of Rügen, stood his gigantic image, which was far and wide, for the whole southern coast of the Baltic Sea, the central point of worship.
Svantevit was an enormous colossus, which on four necks bore four heads with shorn hair and short beard. His clothing was like that of the Wends in general: a gown extending to the knees, made of cloth or felt, with Jong wide sleeves; a girdle held it together; the legs were bare; on the feet he wore coarse bark shoes; an immense sword hung at his side; and in the right hand he carried a large bow resting on the ground; his left hand held a cornucopia, which was annually filled with wine. In addition to these insignia, his image, which stood in Rhetra, had also a long- bearded human head on the breast. Svantenvit was both a good and an evil deity, as the cornucopia and the bow indicated — the latter for war, the former for peace. He overshadowed the whole earth with his four heads; hence his counsel was highly prized and his oracles were the most conspicuous, as his cultus involved earthly power and authority. He was worshipped with drunken revelries, and large offerings, including, not unfrequently, human victims, were made; but, it would seem only when he was angry. His service was attended to by one high-priest, who, on the day of the great harvest festival, personally swept the temple, and that with restrained respiration, so as not to offend the god with his breath. Wine only was poured into his great cornucopia; and from the quantity that remained over from the preceding year an augury was drawn as to the abundance or otherwise of the next year's crop. The temple and the image of the god were destroyed by Waldemar I, on the baptism of the people. The public worship of this god thereafter ceased, although it privately continued, so that even now many old peasants regard the spot with superstitious awe. The interpretation of the name as Holy Veit (Sanctus Vitus) is probably only an instance of the corruption or extension of language.