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Encyclopedia > The Tale of Igor's Campaign

The Tale of Igor's Campaign (Old East Slavic: Слово о плъку Игоревѣ, Slovo o pălku Igorevě; Modern Russian: Слово о полку Игореве, Slovo o polku Igoreve) is an anonymous masterpiece of East Slavic literature written in Old East Slavic language and tentatively dated by the end of 12th century. It is also occasionally translated as The Song of Igor's Campaign and The Lay of Igor's Campaign. The Ukrainian sources transliterate the name as Ihor. Old East Slavic language is one name for a language spoken between the 10th and 14th centuries in Kievan Rus and its successor states, the ancestor of the modern East Slavic languages. ... Russian (Russian: русский язык, russkij jazyk,   listen?) is the most widely spoken language of Europe and the most widespread of the Slavic languages. ... The Slavic peoples are the most numerous ethnic and linguistic body of peoples currently living in Europe. ... Old East Slavic language is one name for a language spoken between the 10th and 14th centuries in Kievan Rus and its successor states, the ancestor of the modern East Slavic languages. ... (11th century - 12th century - 13th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 12th century was that century which lasted from 1101 to 1200. ...


Many things are still disputed about the work: whether it is an epic or a poem, and interpretations of many phrases. Originality of the book was also disputed, though today prevailing opinion is that the book is authentic. EPIC might be an acronym or abbreviation for: Electronic Privacy Information Center Exchange Price Information Computer of the London Stock Exchange Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing Enhanced Programmable ircII Client - a chat client for Unix-like systems El Paso Intelligence Center End Poverty In California European Privatisation and Investment Corporation European... Poetry (ancient Greek: poieo = create) is an art form in which human language is used for its aesthetic qualities in addition to, or instead of, its notional and semantic content. ...

Ivan Bilibin's illustration to the tale.
Ivan Bilibin's illustration to the tale.

Contents

Image File history File links Biliwar. ... Image File history File links Biliwar. ... Ivan Ya. ...


The plot

The plot of this classic work is based on a failed raid of Kniaz Igor Svyatoslavich of Novhorod-Siverskyy (of the Chernihiv principality of ancient Rus') against the Polovtsians or Cumans living in the southern part of the Don region in 1185. Other East Slavic historical figures are mentioned, including Vseslav of Polotsk, Yaroslav Osmomysl of Halych, and Vsevolod the Big Nest of Suzdal. The author appeals to the warring Russian princes, pleading for unity in the face of the constant threat from the Turkic East. Kniaz’ or knyaz (князь in Russian and Ukrainian; cneaz in Romanian fem. ... Igor Svyatoslavich (April 3, 1151-1202) was the prince of Novhorod-Siversky from 1180 to 1202. ... Novhorod-Siversky or Novhorod-Siverskyj (Новгород-Сіверський in Ukrainian, Новгород Северский in Russian ) is a historic town in the Chernihiv region of Ukraine, on the bank of the Desna River, 200 km from the capital Kyiv and 45 km south from the Russian border. ... Chernihiv (Ukrainian: ), often called by the Old East Slavic and russian name Chernigov (Чернигов) is an ancient city in northern Ukraine, the capital of Chernihiv Oblast (province). ... The word Rus or Rus (Русь in Cyrillic Alphabet) may refer to: the Rus (people) of disputed origin who were at the roots of the statehood of Eastern Slavic peoples; the territories they ruled, also known by the Latinized name, Ruthenia; Kievan Rus, the most powerful of early Ruthenian (Eastern... The Cumans, also known as Polovtsy (Slavic for yellowish) were a nomadic West Turkic tribe living on the north of the Black Sea along the Volga. ... Rivers Don River, Russia, one of the main rivers of Russia. ... Events April 25 - Genpei War - Sea Battle of Dan-no-ura leads to Minamoto victory in Japan Templars settle in London and begin the building of New Temple Church End of the Heian Period and beginning of the Kamakura period in Japan. ... Usiaslau Bryachislavich (also Vseslav also Usiaslau the sorcerer, ca. ... Jackdaw on the coat-of-arms of Galicia alludes to the name of Halych Halych (Russian and Ukrainian: ) is a historic town in Western Ukraine on the Dniester River. ... Vsevolod III Yuriyevich, or Vsevolod the Big Nest (also: Vsevolod the Large Nest) (Всеволод III Юрьевич Большое Гнездо in Russian) (1154-1212), Grand Prince of Kiev (1173), Prince of Pereyaslavl (1176-1177), Grand Prince of Vladimir (1177-1212). ... St. ...


An interesting aspect of the text is its mix of ancient Slavic religion and Christianity. Igor's wife Yaroslavna famously invokes pagan gods from the walls of Putivl, although some Christian motives are also present. Another aspect, which sets the book apart from contemporary Western epics, are its numerous and vivid descriptions of nature, and the role which nature plays in human lives. Slavic mythology and Slavic religion evolved over more than 3,000 years. ... Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament writings of his early followers. ... Putivl ( Ukrainian / Russian : Путивль) is an ancient town in north-east Ukraine, in Sumy Oblast. ... The deepest visible-light image of the universe, the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. ...


Discovery and publication

The only manuscript of the Tale, dated to 1400s, was discovered in 1795, in the library of a Yaroslavl monastery, where the first library and school in Russia had been established back in the 12th century. The monks sold it to a local landowner, Aleksei Musin-Pushkin, as a part of a collection of ten texts. He realised the value of the book, and made a transcription for the empress Catherine the Great in 1795 or 96, and published it in 1800 with the help of leading Russian paleographers of the time, A. F. Malinovsky and N. N. Bantish-Kamensky. The original manuscript was burned in 1812 during conflagration in Moscow, seized by Napoléon's troops, together with entire Aleksei's library. Events and Trends Categories: 1400s ... 1795 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... Yaroslavl (Russian: ) is a city in Russia, an administrative center of Yaroslavl Oblast, located 250 km NE of Moscow at 57°37′ N 39°51′ E The historical part of the city is located at confluence of Volga and Kotorosl. ... Aleksei Ivanovich Musin-Pushkin (1744 — 1817), count since 1797, statesman, historian and art colector. ... Catherine II (Екатерина II Алексеевна: Yekaterína II Alekséyevna, April 21, 1729 - November 6, 1796), born Sophie Augusta Fredericka, known as Catherine the Great, reigned as empress of Russia from June 28, 1762, to her death on November 6, 1796. ... 1796 was a leap year starting on Friday. ... 1800 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... 1812 was a leap year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... For other uses see fire (disambiguation). ... Moscow (Russian: Москва́, Moskva, IPA:   listen?) is the capital of Russia, located on the river Moskva. ... Bonaparte as general, by Antoine-Jean Gros. ...


Vladimir Nabokov produced a translation into English in 1960. Other notable editions include the standard Soviet edition, prepared with an extended commentary, by the academician Dmitry Likhachev. Image:Nabokov. ... 1960 was a leap year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... Dmitry Sergeyevich Likhachev (Russian: ; November 15 (28), 1906, St. ...


Reaction of 19th century scholars

A passage on Vseslav the Werewolf Usiaslau Bryachislavich (also Vseslav also Usiaslau the sorcerer, ca. ...


In the seventh age of Troyan, Vseslav cast lots for the damsel he wooed. By subterfuge, propping himself upon mounted troops, he vaulted toward the city of Kiev and touched with the staff of his lance the Kievan golden throne. Like a fierce beast he leapt away from them at midnight, out of the white town, having enveloped himself in a blue mist.


Then at morn, he drove in his battle axes, opened the gates of Novgorod, shattered the glory of Yaroslav, and loped like a wolf to the Nemiga from Dudutki. On the Nemiga the spread sheaves are heads, the flails that thresh are of steel, lives are laid out on the threshing floor, souls are winnowed from bodies. Nemiga's gory banks are not sowed goodly - sown with the bones of Russia's sons.


Vseslav the prince judged men; as prince, he ruled towns; but at night he prowled in the guise of a wolf. From Kiev, prowling, he reached, before the cocks crew, Tmutorokan. The path of Great Sun, as a wolf, prowling, he crossed. For him in Polotsk they rang for matins early at St. Sophia the bells; but he heard the ringing in Kiev.

Although, indeed, he had a vatic soul in a doughty body, he often suffered calamities. Of him vatic Boyan once said, with sense, in the tag: "Neither the guileful nor the skillful, neither bird nor bard, can escape God's judgment.

The release of this historical work into scholarly circulation created quite a stir in Russian literary circles, because the tale represented the earliest Slavonic writing without any mixture of Church Slavonic. Ukrainian scholars in the Austrian Empire declared, upon linguistic analysis, that the document contained transitional language between a) earlier fragments of the language of Rus' propria (the region of Chernihiv, eastward through Kyiv, and into Halych) and, b) later fragments from the Halych-Volynian era of this same region in the centuries immediately following the writing of the document. The current dialectology upholds Pskov and Polotsk as two cities where the Tale was most likely written. Numerous persons have been proposed as its authors, including Prince Igor and his brothers. Church Slavonic may refer to: Old Church Slavonic language Church Slavonic language This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy, the Austrian Empire until 1867 and of the Austrian part of Austria-Hungary until 1918. ... Ruthenia is a name applied to parts of Eastern Europe which were populated by Eastern Slavic peoples, as well as to various states that existed in this territory in the past. ... Chernihiv (Ukrainian: ), often called by the Old East Slavic and russian name Chernigov (Чернигов) is an ancient city in northern Ukraine, the capital of Chernihiv Oblast (province). ... A monument to St. ... Jackdaw on the coat-of-arms of Galicia alludes to the name of Halych Halych (Russian and Ukrainian: ) is a historic town in Western Ukraine on the Dniester River. ... Halych-Volynia principality was the Ruthenian successor state of Kievan Rus on the territory of Rus menora (Rus propria) including the lands of Red Ruthenia, Black Ruthenia, and the remainder of southwestern Rus. This state also briefly controlled the region of Bessarabia and Moldavia. ... Dialectology is the study of dialects of a language, their evolution, differentiation, inter-intelligibity, grammar, phonetics etc. ... 10-ruble Russian coin of 2003 in the Ancient cities of Russia series - commemorating Pskov Pskov (Псков, ancient spelling Пльсковъ, also Pihkva (Estonian), Pleskau (German) and Psków (Polish)) is an ancient Russian city, located in the north-west of Russia near the present-day border with Estonia, on the river... Polatsk (Belarusian: По́лацак, По́лацк; Polish: Połock, also spelt as Polacak; Russian: По́лоцк, also transliterated as Polotsk, Polotzk, Polock) is the most historic city in Belarus, situated on the Dvina river. ...


Authenticity

Early reactions

When the first modern edition of the Tale was published, questions about its authenticity have risen, mostly centered on its language. Suspicion was also fueled by contemporary fabrications (for example, the "Songs of Ossian" which were actually written by James Macpherson). Today, majority opinion accepts the authenticity of the text, based on similarity of its language with that of other texts discovered after the Tale. Ossian, alternatively spelled Oisín, son of Fingal (Fionn mac Cumhail), is a poet and warrior of the fianna in the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology. ... James Macpherson (October 27, 1736–February 17, 1796), was a Scottish poet, known as the translator of the Ossian cycle of poems (also known as the Oisín cycle). ...


Proposed as forgers were Aleksei Musin-Pushkin himself, or the Russian manuscript forgers Anton Bardin and Alexander Sulakadzev (Bardin was publicly exposed as the forger of four other copies of 'Slovo'). One of notable early proponents of the falsification theory was the notorious journalist and orientalist Josef Sienkowski. Aleksei Ivanovich Musin-Pushkin (1744 — 1817), count since 1797, statesman, historian and art colector. ... Jozef-Julian Sekowski, known in Russia as Ossip Ivanovich Senkovsky (1800-1858), was a prolific Polish-Russian orientalist, journalist, and entertainer. ...


It should be noted that the authenticity of the monument hasn't been questioned by any professional linguist. According to the majority view, such a perfect imitation of 12th-century language could not be practicable before the discovery of birch bark documents in 1951, let alone two centuries earlier. The historians and journalists, however, continued to question the tale's authenticity well into the 20th century. A Birch bark document is a document written on pieces of birch bark. ... 1951 was a common year starting on Monday; see its calendar. ...


Modern developments

The problem was politicized in the Soviet Union: any attempts to question authenticity of 'Slovo' (for example, those by French Slavist André Mazon or by Russian historian Alexander Zimin) as well as the non-standard interpretations, based on Turkic lexis, such as proposed by Oljas Suleimenov (who considered Igor's Tale to be an authentic text), were officially condemned. However being a persecuted point of view does not imply its correctness. Mazon and Zimin's views were opposed, e.g., by Roman Jakobson, the most reputable Slavist of the 20th century, whose works were also banned from publishing in the USSR. Still, the battle has primarily broken down along nationalist lines, with Russian scholars generally coming down on the side of authenticity and non-Russian Slavicists remaining skeptical or neutral. Roman Osipovich Jakobson (October 11, 1896 - July 18, 1982) was a Russian thinker who became one of the most influential linguists of the 20th century by pioneering the development of structural analysis of language, poetry, and art. ...


One of the crucial points of the controversy is the relationship between Slovo and Zadonschina, an unquestionably authentic poem, preserved in six medieval copies and created in the 15th century to glorify Dmitri Donskoi's victory over Mamai in the Battle of Kulikovo. It is evident that there are almost identical passages in both texts where only the personal names are different. The traditional point of view considers Zadonschina to be a late imitation, with Slovo being its pattern. Those scholars who believe the Igor Tale a forgery claim that the unknown eighteenth-century forger used the Zadonshchina as a source. While Jakobson and Zaliznyak argue that the closely matched passages in the Igor Tale and Zadonshchina vary in their linguistic parameters, this view is hotly contested. Zadonschina («Задонщина» in Russian; could be translated as the region beyond the Don River) is a Russian literary monument of the late 14th century, which tells about the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380. ... Grand Prince Dmitri Ivanovich Donskoi (Дмитрий Донской, in Russian) (October 12, 1350 – 1389) was a Russian ruler (1359 – 1389). ... Mamai (or Mamay) was a powerful military commander of Golden Horde in the 1370s, who resided in the western part of this nomadic state, which is now the Southern Ukrainian Steppes and the Crimean Peninsula. ... Single combat of Peresvet and Temir-murza. ...


Recent views

Although many Russian scholars uphold the authenticity of the work, its status is still the subject of fierce debate. For instance, in his article "Was Iaroslav of Halych really shooting sultans in 1185?" and in his book "Josef Dobrovsky and the Origins of the Igor Tale" (2004) Harvard Slavic history professor Edward Keenan states that the Igor Tale is a fake, written by Czech scholar Josef Dobrovsky. The arguments for Dobrovsky's authorship are compelling--many of the linguistic debates that have comprised the literature on the Igor Tale for years are solved by positing a Czech linguistic origin of a number of disputed passages. Dobrovsky also dedicates several chapters to the history of the Igor Tale's publication and, with a historian's eye, points out that much of the story as told by Musin-Pushkin and Malinovsky about how they happened upon the manuscript and how it was supposedly destroyed simply does not stand up well to close scrutiny. Keenan also posits that Dobrovsky, who worked in the Russian archives a few years before the Igor Tale's original appearance on the scene, quite possibly saw an undiscovered copy of the "Zadonshchina." If this can be proven, it would destroy the best argument for the Igor Tale's authenticity. 2004(MMIV) is a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Josef Dobrovsky (1753-1829) was a philologist, born in Gyarmet, in Hungary. ...


A recent book by a Russian linguist Andrey Zaliznyak (2004) analyzes the arguments of both sides and concludes that the forgery version is virtually impossible. He also revokes some Jakobson's linguistic arguments for the authenticity of the text. Only in the late 20th century, when hundreds of bark documents were unearthed in Novgorod, was it demonstrated that the puzzling passages and words from the tale actually existed in everyday speech of the 12th century, although they didn't find their way to chronicles and other written documents. Zaliznyak concludes, along with most of the scholars who have upheld the authenticity of the Igor Tale, that no 18th century scholar could possibly imitate very subtle grammatical and syntactical features that are present in the known text. He also believes that Dobrovsky, Keenan's candidate, could not have fulfilled such a task, as his views on Slavic grammar were strikingly different from the system found in the Igor Tale. 2004(MMIV) is a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Vladimir Nabokov once said that there is not a single work in the world literature that could approach the Lay by sheer range and complexity of its prose rhythms. Whether the work of an actual twelfth-century bard or Dobrovsky, the poem stands as one of the great examples of Slavic literature. Image:Nabokov. ...


See also

Prince Igor (Князь Игорь in Russian, Knyaz Igor in transliteration) is an opera in a prologue and four acts by Alexander Borodin to a Russian libretto by the composer, based on the East Slavic epic The Tale of Igors Campaign. ... Old East Slavic language is one name for a language spoken between the 10th and 14th centuries in Kievan Rus and its successor states, the ancestor of the modern East Slavic languages. ...

External links


 
 

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