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Introduction

Bylinas are a type of old Russian epic poems which originated between the 11th and 16th century and were transmitted orally. This changed in the late 18th century when they were gathered into written texts. Some scholars (V.Stasov, V.Miller) in 19th century mentioned many similarities in the structure and content of the Russian bylinas with oriental epic poems, particularly with Ferdowsi's Shahnameh. This point of view, however, was challenged by some other scholars, such as S.Buslaev, who did not believe in the direct impact of the Eastern epic poems on Russian bylinas. The aim of this paper is to present some basic information about this Russian epic genre and the famous bylina "Ilyia's Quarrel with Prince Vladimir" and also to compare and analyze one of the common themes in Russian bylinas and Ferdowsi's Shahnameh, namely the opposition between the epic heroes and princes.

Discussion

One can find many similar features in epic princes (or Shahs) in Russian bylinas and Shahnameh. Both Prince Vladimir from the Russian epic poems and Kavoos Shah from Shahnameh are characterized by common negative attributes such as cowardice, harshness, greediness, etc. The prime feature of their character, however, is ingratitude and unfairness in their treatment with epic heroes. Both rulers constantly offend the great heroes of their kingdom which cause perpetual conflicts between these two symbols of land's power. In Russian bylinas this conflict is reflected especially obviously, and even has become the plot of a whole bylina: "Ilya Muromets quarrels with Prince Vladimir" where the most famous hero of the Russian bylinas Ilya is annoyed due to the fact that he had not been invited to the Vladimir's feast. Ilya in protest shot off the golden cupolas of Kiev churches, gathered people from the lowest classes and held his competing regalement for them. It's just the mediation of Dobrinia Nikitich – the Russian epic hero with exceptional diplomatic talents – which end the quarrel with a reconciliation (the plot may differ in some other versions of the bylina). The plot and structure of the bylina recall the scene of the quarrel between Kavoos Shah and Rostam (as the prime hero of Shahnameh) where the epic hero, angry at the dishonor of Shah, refused to fight or lead his troops in the forthcoming war. The same theme may also be found in different epic works of other nations, for example in Homer's Iliad, in French The song of William, and also in Old Norse or Indian epic.

We can trace a single plot in all of these epic works. In all of them the epic hero is displeased with the ungrateful treatment of the prince and as a result becomes the enemy of the person who he have defended until now: Greek Achilles and Persian Rostam quit the troops of their homeland on the eve of great wars; French Renewart even intends to join the enemy camp, and Russian Ilya (who shows, one can say, the most aggressive reaction) begins to shoot at the cupolas of Kiev churches (as the symbols of the State power). Then a wise character (Greek Odysseus, Persian Goodarz, French Guibourc, Russian Dobrinia Nikitich) tries to make a reconciliation between the hero and the prince. Finally the epic hero ignores his personal displeasure in order to defend his homeland against the enemy. As it can be seen, in all these

Conclusion

The author tries to make out the fundamental similarities and differences and the development mechanism of the mentioned theme in order to present a new interpretation of the "Hero vs Prince" opposition. The paper intends to show that this opposition in the epic works of different nations originates in more deep and archetypical opposition between the state (as the symbol of an official, conventional power) and the people (as a nonofficial, potential and non-determinate power). In other words, in these works the hero and the prince have their own independent, definite domain, power and function. The ruler is the personified symbol of unity and monolithic image of a whole nation, while the hero has a non-individual image and collects in his character a set of ideal attributes of his nation. In this way by the emergence of a conflict between them the hero demonstrates the primacy of his actual civic power against the ruler's symbolic, conditioned power, makes him resign and accept the superior role of the hero. In our opinion, this conflict originates in social mechanisms and the long-lived opposition of "People – State" in different societies. As is shown in the paper, this question can be considered as a recurrent theme, frequently used in different cultures and literary traditions. These different themes naturally are dissimilar in many details, but have a same common structure and content. In the other words, one has to seek the roots of this theme in archetypal notions and symbols rather than the direct impact of on

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  • Yuliya
    Lv 6
    10 years ago
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    Introduction

    A type of old Russian epic poems transmitted orally, bylinas originated sometime between the 11th and 16th century, and finally transcribed in the late 18th century (as written texts.) According to some scholars such as V. Stasov and V. Miller, [who are they? You must list credentials!], there were many similarities between the bylinas and the oriental epic poems’ structure and content, especially Ferdowsi's Shahnameh. Other scholars, such as S. Buslaev, however, refuted this adamantly, claiming that there was no direct impact of the Eastern epic poems on Russian bylinas. In this paper, I intend to cover the basic nuisances of bylinas, specifically "Ilyia's Quarrel with Prince Vladimir," as well as analyze the common theme both Russian bylinas and Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh share: the opposition between the epic heroes and princes.

    Discussion

    Traits among epic princes (or Shahs) in Russian bylinas and Shahnameh were remarkably similar. Take Prince Vladimir from bylinas and Kavoos Shah from Shahnameh for instance. The two characterized the same negative attributes: cowardice, harshness, greediness, et cetera. In addition, they both displayed ingratitude toward and unfairness treatment of epic heroes; their disrespect toward the great heroes of their kingdom constantly caused conflicts between the two symbols of land’s power. [not really certain what you originally intended this to mean] As opposed to oriental epic poems, Russian bylinas reflected this conflict in obvious terms, to the extent of becoming the plot of a whole bylina: "Ilya Muromets quarrels with Prince Vladimir." It went on to tell the tale of the most famous hero of the Russian bylinas, Ilya. In it, annoyed that he received no invitation to Vladimir’s feast, Ilya shot off the Kiev churches’ sacred golden cupolas, gathered people from the lowest class, and held his competing regalement for them.

    [It's just the mediation of Dobrinia Nikitich– the Russian epic hero with exceptional diplomatic talents – which end the quarrel with a reconciliation (the plot may differ in some other versions of the bylina). The plot and structure of the bylina recall the scene of the quarrel between Kavoos Shah and Rostam (as the prime hero of Shahnameh) as the epic hero, angry at the dishonor of Shah, refused to fight or lead his troops in the forthcoming war. The same theme may also be found in different epic works of other nations, for example in Homer's Iliad, in French The song of William, and also in Old Norse or Indian epic.

    One can trace a single plot in all of these epic works. In all of them the epic hero is displeased with the ungrateful treatment of the prince and as a result becomes the enemy of the person who he have defended until now: Greek Achilles and Persian Rostam quit the troops of their homeland on the eve of great wars; French Renewart even intends to join the enemy camp, and Russian Ilya (who shows, one can say, the most aggressive reaction) begins to shoot at the cupolas of Kiev churches (as the symbols of the State power). Then a wise character (Greek Odysseus, Persian Goodarz, French Guibourc, Russian Dobrinia Nikitich) tries to make a reconciliation between the hero and the prince. Finally the epic hero ignores his personal displeasure in order to defend his homeland against the enemy. As it can be seen, in all these]

    ^Please give me time to figure out what the bracketed area means.

    Conclusion

    The author (what author?) tries to distinguish/clarify the basic similarities and differences, as well as the development mechanism of the aforementioned theme to present an innovative interpretation of the "Hero vs Prince" opposition, with which I intended to show that the epic works of different nations originate in more deep and archetypical opposition--between the state (as the symbol of an official, conventional power) and the people (as a nonofficial, potential and non-determinate power). In short, the hero and the prince have their own independent, definite domain, power, and function. While the prince serves as a personified symbol of unity and monolithic image of a whole nation (is this not repetitive?), the hero serves a non-individual image of which are his nations’ ideal attributes. In the conflict between them—a conflict that originates in social mechanisms and the long-lived opposition of "People–State" in different societies--the hero demonstrates the primacy of his civic power against the prince’s symbolic power. As a result, the prince resigns and acknowledges/accepts the hero’s superior role. As I demonstrated in this paper, the conflict between people and the state is a recurrent theme that is frequently used in different cultures and literary traditions. Despite the great number of differences, common structure and content remain. That is, the search for the origin of the archetypal conflict is far more important than its direct impact.

    Peace :)

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