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In Balkan Folk Magic: Zmaj, author Katarina Pejović explores the enchanting folktales and legends of the zmajs: lovers of mortals, soldiers of saints, draconic fathers of witch-blood.


Within Serbian folklore, the zmaj is a kind of dragon spirit entirely unlike the beast slain by St. George. Descending from the stars in the form of meteors and lightning bolts, transforming the animals, spirits, and landscapes they embrace, the zmaj is not only a powerful protector of the people but a mythic ancestor. Known for their legendary lust, they marry young virgins, teach them witchcraft, and sire offspring known as the zmajevit: humans with zmaj souls. Syncretized with the Nephilim and protected by the Prophet Elijah, many of Serbia’s most distinguished tsars, princes, and knights are counted among their ranks, with songs of their zmaj heritage still sung to this day.

Zmaj, Balkan Folk Magic

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