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Bies (pronounced [ˈbjes]) or bes (Russian: бес [ˈbʲes]) is an evil spirit or demon in Slavic mythology.

Etymology

The word is synonimous with chort.

After the acceptance of Christianity the bies became identified with the devil, corresponding to the being referred to in Ancient Greek, as either daimon (δαίμων), daimónion or pneuma (πνεῦμα). For example, biesy (Russian plural of bies) is used in the standard Russian translation of Mark 5:12, where we have the devils entering into the swine in KJV. Compare to the Ukrainian bisy (used always in plural) or bisytysia (to go mad).

Art/Fiction

  • In Alexander Pushkin's The Tale of the Priest and of His Workman Balda, there is a scene in which Balda has to force the "devils" (черти, Cherti) of the sea to pay an ancient rent, and interacts with an "Old Bies" who is their leader and his grandson.
  • The original Russian title of Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel known in its English translation as The Possessed is Besy (Бесы) (Russian plural of bes), i.e., more literally, The Evil Spirits.