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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Three of the most famous bogatyrs, Dobrynya Nikitich, Ilya Muromets and Alyosha Popovich, appear together in Victor Vasnetsov's 1898 painting Bogatyrs.
Three of the most famous bogatyrs, Dobrynya Nikitich, Ilya Muromets and Alyosha Popovich, appear together in Victor Vasnetsov's 1898 painting Bogatyrs.

A bogatyr (Russian: богатырь, IPA: [bəɡɐˈtɨrʲ] (About this soundlisten)) or vityaz (Russian: витязь, IPA: [ˈvʲitʲɪsʲ]) is a stock character in medieval East Slavic legends, akin to a Western European knight-errant. Bogatyrs appear mainly in Rus' epic poems—bylinas. Historically, they came into existence during the reign of Vladimir the Great (Grand Prince of Kiev from 980 to 1015) as part of his elite warriors (druzhina[1]), akin to Knights of the Round Table.[2] Tradition describes bogatyrs as warriors of immense strength, courage and bravery, rarely using magic while fighting enemies[2] in order to maintain the "loosely based on historical fact" aspect of bylinas. They are characterized as having resounding voices, with patriotic and religious pursuits, defending Rus' from foreign enemies (especially nomadic Turkic steppe-peoples or Finno-Ugric tribes in the period prior to the Mongol invasions) and their religion.[3] In modern Russian, the word bogatyr labels a courageous hero, an athlete or a physically strong man.[4]

Etymology

Photo of bogatyr definition from Vasmer Russian Etymological Dictionary, depicting the derivations
Photo of bogatyr definition from Vasmer Russian Etymological Dictionary, depicting the derivations

The word bogatyr is not of Slavic origin.[5] It is derived from the Turco-Mongolian baghatur "hero", which is itself of uncertain origin. The term is recorded from at least the 8th century,[6] Its first element is most likely the Indo-Iranian bhaga "god, lord" (c.f. bey). A suggestion cited in the Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary derives the word from Sanskrit baghadhara.[7] Alternatively, Gerard Clauson suggests that bağatur was in origin a Hunnic proper name, specifically that of Modu Chanyu.[8]

The first time the word is used in a Russian context was in Stanisław Sarnicki's book Descriptio veteris et novae Poloniae cum divisione ejusdem veteri et nova (A description of the Old and the New Poland with the old, and a new division of the same), printed in 1585 in Cracow (in the Aleksy Rodecki's printing house), in which he says, "Rossi ... de heroibus suis, quos Bohatiros id est semideos vocant, aliis persuadere conantur."[7] ("Russians ... try to convince others about their heroes whom they call Bogatirs, meaning demigods.")

The term vityaz' comes from Proto-Slavic *vitędzь, from Proto-Germanic *wikinga through a West Germanic intermediary. The earliest attested form is Old English wicing, "pirate", whence modern English viking. This in turn probably comes from Latin vicus with the Germanic suffix *-inga-, indicating belonging. In Germanic and Latin sources, the word has negative connotations. The circumstances of borrowing, and how it came to mean "hero" in Slavic, are thus unclear.[9]

Overview

Knight at the Crossroads, Viktor Vasnetsov (1882)
Knight at the Crossroads, Viktor Vasnetsov (1882)

Many Rus epic poems, called Bylinas, prominently featured stories about these heroes, as did several chronicles, including the 13th century Galician–Volhynian Chronicle. Some bogatyrs are presumed to be historical figures, while others, like the giant Svyatogor, are purely fictional and possibly descend from Slavic pagan mythology. The epic poems are usually divided into three collections: the Mythological epics, older stories that were told before Kiev-Rus was founded and Christianity was brought to the region, and included magic and the supernatural; the Kievan cycle, that contains the largest number of bogatyrs and their stories (IIya Muromets, Dobrynya Nikitich, and Aloysha Popovich); and the Novgorod cycle, focused on Sadko and Vasily Buslayev, that depicts everyday life in Novgorod.[10]

Andrei Ryabushkin. Sadko, a rich Novgorod merchant, 1895.
Andrei Ryabushkin. Sadko, a rich Novgorod merchant, 1895.

Many of the stories about bogatyrs revolve around the court of Vladimir I of Kiev (958–1015) and are called the Kievan Cycle. The most notable bogatyrs or vityazes served at his court: the trio of Alyosha Popovich, Dobrynya Nikitich and Ilya Muromets. Each of them tends to be known for a certain character trait: Alyosha Popovich for his wits, Dobrynya Nikitich for his courage, and Ilya Muromets for his physical and spiritual power and integrity, and for his dedication to the protection of his homeland and people. Most of those bogatyrs adventures are fictional, and often included fighting dragons, giants and other mythical creatures. However, the bogatyrs themselves were often based on real people. Historical prototypes of both Dobrynya Nikitich (the warlord Dobrynya) and Ilya Muromets are proven to have existed.

The Novgorod Republic produced a specific kind of hero, an adventurer rather than a noble warrior. The most prominent examples were Sadko and Vasily Buslayev who became part of the Novgorod Cycle of folk epics.[10]

Mythological epics rooted in the supernatural and shamanism, and related to paganism.[10] The most prominent heroes in these epics are Svyatogor and Volkh Vseslavyevich; they are commonly called the "Elder Bogatyrs".

Later notable bogatyrs also include those who fought by Alexander Nevsky's side, including Vasily Buslayev and those who fought in the Battle of Kulikovo.

Bogatyrs and their heroic tales have influenced many figures in Russian Literature and Art, such Alexander Pushkin, who wrote the 1820 epic fairy tale poem Ruslan and Ludmila, Victor Vasnetsov, and Andrei Ryabushkin whose artworks depict many bogatyrs from the different cycles of folk epics. Bogatyrs are also mentioned in wonder tales in a more playful light as in Foma Berennikov,[11] a story in Aleksandr Afanas'ev's collection of tales called Russian Fairy Tales featuring Alyosha Popovich and Ilya Muromets.

Red Medusa Animation Studio,[12] based in Russia, created an animated parody of the bogatyrs called "Three Russian Bogaturs," in which the titular characters—strong and tenacious, but not overly bright—prevail against various opponents from fairy tales, pop culture, and modern life.[13]

Female bogatyr

S.S. Solomko. Russian bogatyr, Nastasya Korolevichna.
S.S. Solomko. Russian bogatyr, Nastasya Korolevichna.

Though not as heavily researched, the female bogatyr or polianitsa (Поленица [ru]) is a female warrior akin to the Amazons. Many of the more well-known polianitsas are wives to the famous male bogatyrs, such as Nastas'ya Nikulichna,[14] the wife of Dobrynya Nikitich. The female bogatyr matches the men in strength and bravery with stories detailing instances where they save their husbands and outwit the enemy.[14] They are often seen working with the heroes in tales that mention their presence.

Nastasya Mikulichna, daughter of Mikula Selyaninovich (art by A. Ryabushkin,1898)
Nastasya Mikulichna, daughter of Mikula Selyaninovich (art by A. Ryabushkin,1898)

Famous bogatyrs

Most bogatyrs are fictional, but are believed to be based on historical prototypes:

Some of the historical warriors also entered folklore and became known as bogatyrs:

Bogatyrs in films

Bogatyrs in books

  • Books by Jennifer Estep
    • Crimson Frost (2013)
    • Midnight Frost (2013)
    • Killer Frost (2014)
  • Books By Robin Bridges
    • The Katerina Trilogy (The Gather Storm (2012), The Unfailing Light (2012), The Morning Star (2013))

See also

References

Citations

  1. ^ Pronin, Alexander (1719). Byliny; Heroic Tales of Old Russia. Possev. p. 26. Retrieved 2019-01-05. Stay in my druzhina and be my senior bogatyr, chief above all the others.
  2. ^ a b Bailey, James; Ivanova, Tatyana (1998). An Anthology of Russian Folk Epics. New York: M.E. Sharpe.
  3. ^ "Богатыри". www.vehi.net. Archived from the original on 2013-02-06. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  4. ^ Translators, interpreters, and cultural negotiators : mediating and communicating power from the Middle Ages to the Modern Era. Federici, Federico M.,, Tessicini, Dario. New York, NY. 2014-11-20. ISBN 9781137400048. OCLC 883902988.CS1 maint: others (link)
  5. ^ Translators, interpreters, and cultural negotiators : mediating and communicating power from the Middle Ages to the Modern Era. Federici, Federico M.,, Tessicini, Dario. New York, NY. 2014-11-20. ISBN 9781137400048. OCLC 883902988.CS1 maint: others (link)
  6. ^ C. Fleischer, "Bahādor", in Encyclopædia Iranica
  7. ^ a b ""Богатыри", Энциклопедический словарь Брокгауза и Ефрона". www.vehi.net. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  8. ^ Sir Gerard Clauson (1972). An Etymological Dictionary of Pre-Thirteenth-Century Turkish. pp. 301–400.
  9. ^ Saskia Pronk-Tiethoff, The Germanic Loanwords in Proto-Slavic (Brill, 2013), pp. 96–98. Based on her PhD diss.
  10. ^ a b c Bailey, James; Ivanova, Tatyana (1998). An Anthology of Russian Folk Epics. New York: M.E. Sharpe.
  11. ^ 1826-1871., Afanasʹev, A. N. (Aleksandr Nikolaevich) (2006). Russian fairy tales. Guterman, Norbert, 1900-1984., Jakobson, Roman, 1896-1982., Alexeieff, Alexandre, 1901-1982., Rouben Mamoulian Collection (Library of Congress). [New York]. ISBN 0394730909. OCLC 166025.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ http://redmedusa.com/
  13. ^ About Three Russian Bogaturs, YouTube.com. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  14. ^ a b 1958-, Dixon-Kennedy, Mike (1998). Encyclopedia of Russian & Slavic myth and legend. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1576070638. OCLC 39157488.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ James Bailey; Tatyana Ivanova (2015). An Anthology of Russian Folk Epics. Routledge. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-873-32641-4.
  16. ^ James Bailey; Tatyana Ivanova (2015). An Anthology of Russian Folk Epics. Routledge. p. 81. ISBN 978-0-873-32641-4.
  17. ^ James Bailey; Tatyana Ivanova (2015). An Anthology of Russian Folk Epics. Routledge. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-873-32641-4.
  18. ^ Всеслав Брячиславич // Биографический справочник — Мн.: «Белорусская советская энциклопедия» им. Петруся Бровки, 1982. — Т. 5. — С. 129. — 737 с.

Sources

This page was last edited on 5 November 2021, at 11:44
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