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Nart Sagas from the Caucasus : Myths and Legends from the Circassians, Abazas, Abkhaz, and Ubykhs - John Colarusso

Nart Sagas from the Caucasus

Myths and Legends from the Circassians, Abazas, Abkhaz, and Ubykhs

By: John Colarusso (Editor)

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Published: 10th November 2002
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The Nart sagas are to the Caucasus what Greek mythology is to Western civilization. This book presents, for the first time in the West, a wide selection of these fascinating myths preserved among four related peoples whose ancient cultures today survive by a thread. In ninety-two straightforward tales populated by extraordinary characters and exploits, by giants who humble haughty Narts, by horses and sorceresses, "Nart Sagas from the Caucasus" brings these cultures to life in a powerful epos.

In these colorful tales, women, not least the beautiful temptress Satanaya, the mother of all Narts, are not only fertility figures but also pillars of authority and wisdom. In one variation on a recurring theme, a shepherd, overcome with passion on observing Satanaya bathing alone, shoots a "bolt of lust" that strikes a rock--a rock that gives birth to the Achilles-like Sawseruquo, or Sosruquo. With steely skin but tender knees, Sawseruquo is a man the Narts come to love and hate.

Despite a tragic history, the Circassians, Abazas, Abkhaz, and Ubykhs have retained the Nart sagas as a living tradition. The memory of their elaborate warrior culture, so richly expressed by these tales, helped them resist Tsarist imperialism in the nineteenth century, Stalinist suppression in the twentieth, and has bolstered their ongoing cultural journey into the post-Soviet future.

Because these peoples were at the crossroads of Eurasia for millennia, their myths exhibit striking parallels with the lore of ancient India, classical Greece, and pagan Scandinavia. The Nart sagas may also have formed a crucial component of the Arthurian cycle. Notes after each tale reveal these parallels; an appendix offers extensive linguistic commentary. With this book, no longer will the analysis of ancient Eurasian myth be possible without a close look at the Nart sagas. And no longer will the lover of myth be satisfied without the pleasure of having read them.

"Excerpts from the Nart sagas"

"The Narts were a tribe of heroes. They were huge, tall people, and their horses were also exuberant Alyps or Durduls. They were wealthy, and they also had a state. That is how the Narts lived their lives. . . ."

"The Narts were courageous, energetic, bold, and good-hearted. Thus they lived until God sent down a small swallow. . . ."

"The Narts were very cruel to one another. They were envious of one another. They disputed among themselves over who was the most courageous. But most of all they hated Sosruquo. . . . A rock gave birth to him. He is the son of a rock, illegally born a mere shepherd's son. . . ."

"An excellent translation of a rare standard of Eurasian mythology, the work blends annotation and commentary to demystify the complex philosophical text."--Library Journal "A new, important resource for those with a general interest in the lore of the North Caucasus, in comparative mythology, and in linguistics... Colarusso's familiarity with the Indo-European traditions is seen in the copious commentaries and notes accompanying the sagas. Meticulous and at times very detailed, they not only serve as a guide to a better understanding of the sagas themselves, but provide an introduction to the vast field of Eurasian myth... Colarusso is to be congratulated for this splendid contribution to the field, for his scholarship, for his devotion to the subject, and for bringing this collection of Nart sagas to us."--Patricia Arant, Slavic and East European Journal

Prefacep. xiii
Symbols and Abbreviationsp. xix
Mapsp. xxiv
A Selection of the Circassian Nart Corpusp. 9
If Our Lives Be Short, Let Our Fame Be Greatp. 11
The Tale of How Warzameg and Yimis Came to Bep. 12
How Warzameg, Son of Meghazash, Won the Damsel Psatinap. 17
Setenaya and Argwanap. 34
The Blossom of Lady Setenayap. 48
Why the Sun Pauses on the Horizon at Sunsetp. 49
Lady Setenaya and the Magic Applep. 50
Lady Setenaya and the Shepherd: The Birth of Sawseruquop. 52
How Setenaya Was Led Astrayp. 55
The Childhood of Shebatinuquop. 56
How Far-Seeing Setenaya Rescued Warzamegp. 67
The Ballad of Warzamegyuquo Shebatinuquop. 79
Setenaya and the Great Nart Warzamegp. 85
Nart Wazarmeg and His Friends Decide What to Do about a Black Foxp. 87
The Old Age of the Great Nartp. 91
How They Made Tlepsh Fashion the First Sicklep. 96
Tlepsh and Lady Treep. 99
The One Who Committed One Hundred Sinsp. 104
The Lament for Nagura Tlepshuquop. 106
How Nart Tlepsh Killed Bearded Yamina with the Avenging Swordp. 107
Tlepsh's Gold Cellarp. 107
The Story of Nart Totaresh and the Chinta Leaderp. 109
Two Fragments of the Ballad of Sawseruquop. 112
The Ballad of Sawseruquop. 125
How the Horse of Setenayuquo Sawseruquo Was Killed 129
Lady Nart Sanap. 129
Adifp. 131
Wardana and Chwindizh Dwell in the White-Haired Forestp. 134
Warzamegyuquo Yasheruquo's Search for Couragep. 138
How the Nart Khimish Married and How He Was Killedp. 139
The Ballad of Khimishuquo Patarazp. 143
How the Narts Sought to Reach the Skyp. 153
How Khimishuquo Pataraz Won the Three Magical Whetstonesp. 154
How Pataraz Freed Bearded Nasran, Who Was Chained to the High Mountainp. 158
Bound Nasranp. 168
An Old Man Chained to Elbruzp. 169
A Cyclops Bound atop Wash'hamakhwap. 170
How Bearded Nasran Visited Ashamazp. 171
The Ballad of Ashamazp. 172
Lashyn's Satirical Couplets about the Nart Menp. 175
Hymn to T'haghalejp. 176
The Shiblawuj, a Round Dance to the God of Lightning 177
The Abaza Nart Corpusp. 179
The Time of the Nartsp. 181
The Burial Ground of the Nartsp. 182
The Golden Apple Tree of the Nartsp. 183
Satanayap. 184
How Sosruquo Was Bornp. 185
Satanaya and Batarazp. 188
Satanaya and Tlepshwp. 190
Sosruquo's Swordp. 192
How Sosruquo Attended the Council of the Nartsp. 196
How Sosruquo Brought Fire to His Troopsp. 200
How Sosruquo Brought Back the Seeds of the Milletp. 202
Shardanp. 215
How Sosruquo Brought Sana to the Nartsp. 216
Sosruquo and the Blind Ayniwzhp. 219
Sosruquo and the Inquisitive Ayniwzhp. 222
Sosruquo and the Giant's Skullp. 227
Sosruquo and Six Menp. 228
Sosruquo and Sotrashp. 236
Sosruquo and Sosranpap. 244
Qaydukh of the Nartsp. 249
Qaydukh Fortressp. 257
The Doom of Sosruquop. 259
Sosran of the Nartsp. 267
The Nanny Goat of the Nartsp. 269
Badan and Badanoquo of the Nartsp. 270
Badanoquo of the Nartsp. 275
How the Barrel of the Narts Was Set to Boilingp. 277
The Dream of Ayniwzh, Nana's Sonp. 279
Tataruquo Shawayp. 281
Chwadlazhwiya's Talep. 290
Nasran and Shamazp. 296
Khmish and Bataraz of the Narts 302 A Selection of the Abkhaz Corpusp. 321
The Mother of Heroesp. 323
The Birth of the Valiant Sasruquop. 329
How Sasruquo Plucked Down a Starp. 335
The Ayirgs' Sister, the Sister-in-Law of the Nartsp. 344
Sasruquo's Sorrowp. 352
The Light-Giving Little Fingerp. 356
How Sasruquo Tamed the Wild Stallionp. 360
How the Narts Cultivated Fruitp. 361
Khozhorpasp. 364
Narjkhyawp. 366
An Account of the Narts 379 The Ubykh Nart Corpusp. 385
The Birth of Soseruquop. 387
Another Birth of Soseruquop. 397
The Death of Sos
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691026473
ISBN-10: 0691026475
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 576
Published: 10th November 2002
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 3.81
Weight (kg): 0.91