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DOI: 10.23671/VNC.2019.73.43112

THE PROTO-IRANIAN CORE OF THE OSSETIAN EPIC TRADITION (DRAGONFIGHTING PLOT)

Salbiev, Tamerlan K.
Izvestia SOIGSI. 2019. IIS 34 (73).
Abstract:
The article attempts to reconstruct the dragon-fighting plot of the Ossetian Nart epics, as the
most important condition for solving the problem of the origin of Nartiade. For the first time, this
problem is solved with the help of Persian material, which ensures the successful restoration of
the sought-after Proto-Iranian epic core. The investigation of the plot from «Shah-Nameh» about
the uprising of the blacksmith Kava allows us to establish the most important socio-historical
parameters of this plot, namely, the royal investiture, as well as to reveal two main characteristic
attributes derived from it: a banner made from the skin of a bull and a bull-headed club. In their
turn, these constitutive features of the plot do not allow Batradz to be considered the main hero,
as was commonly believed, but to switch on to those heroes that do not only possess the named
royal regalia, but also act as the «first Nart». These include Sawassa and twin brothers Warxtanag
and Warxag. In the long run, it seems possible to bring to a common ground two main versions of
the Indo-European origin of Nartiade. The first of them is based on the three-functional theory of
G. Dumézil, and the second, put forward by V. V. Ivanov and V. N. Toporov, is based on the plot of
a hero fighting with a monster.
Keywords: Nart epic, Shah-Nameh, Proto-Iranian core, three-functional theory, dragon-fighting plot, investiture, royal insignia.
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