There are no accounts of Slavic mythology predating the fragmentation of the Proto-Slavic people into Western, Eastern, and Southern Slavs, with the possible exception of a reference in Jason and the Argonauts to a battle against Dog men in what is speculated to be North Serbia/Southern Hungary.
The next reference is 500 years later, a short note in Herodotus’ Histories written c 800 BCE , mentions a tribe called Neuri/Neuroi in the far north, whose men, Herodotus claims, transform themselves into wolves for several days each year.
Some researchers have interpreted this through the Slavic folk belief in werewolves, whilst others believe that Herodotus actually referred to ancient Slavic carnival festivals, when groups of young men roamed the villages in masks, sometimes referred to as vucari (wolf-humans)a. The identification of “Neuri” with Proto-Slavs remains controversial, however.
Eth. NEURI (Νευροί), a nomad people of the N. of Europe, whom Herodotus (4.17, 51, 100, 125) places in the centre of the region which now comprises Poland and Lithuania, about the river-basin of the Bug.
They occupied the district (τὴν Νευρίδα γῆν) which lay to the NW. of the lake out of which the Tyras rises, and which still bears the name in Slavonic of Nurskazemja, with its chief town Nur, and a river Nuretz. Some time before the expedition of Dareius, they had been obliged to quit their original seats, on account of a quantity of serpents with which it was infested, and had taken refuge with the Budini in the district about the Bug, which had till then belonged to that people.
Though not of the same origin, in customs they resembled the Scythians, and bore the reputation of being enchanters (γόητες), like the “Schamas” among the Siberian nomads of the present day. Once a year–so the Scythians and the Greeks of Olbia told Herodotus–each of them became for a few days a wolf; a legend which still lingers among the people of Volhynia and White Russia.
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