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National Epics by Countries

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    Posted: 09 Nov 2009 at 00:52
Here, I am trying to make a list of National Epics and their country of origins. If you can add what I have missed to the list.Smile

Epic name - Original name - Author - Main Character - Language - Country or nation

1. Iliad - Ilias - Homer - Achilles - Greek - Greece (Hellenic)
2. Odyssey - Odysseia - Homer - Odysseus - Greek - Greece
3. Aeneid - Aeneis - Virgil -  Aeneas - Latin - Rome (Italy)
4. Mahabharata - Mahabharata - Vyasa - Sanskrit - India
5. Rama's journey - Ramayana - Valmiki   Sanskrit - India
6. Book of king - Shahnameh - Ferdowsi - Persian - Iran (Iranic)
7. Romance of the three kingdoms - Sanguo yanyi - Luo Guanzhong - Three brothers - Chinese - China
8. The song of the Nibelung - Nibelungenlied - Unknown - Siegfried - Middle high German - Germany (Germanic)
9. Story of Volsung - Volsunga saga - Unknown - Sigmund - old Norse - Nordic







Edited by Suren - 09 Nov 2009 at 01:48
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2009 at 01:01
10. The Araucaniad - La Araucana - Alonso de Ercilla - Chile/Spanish writer.
11. Os Lusiadas- Luis de Camoes - Portugal.
12. Poem of the Cid - Poema del Mio Cid - anonymous - Spain.
13. Poem of Gilgamesh - Anomymos- Sumerian. The early recorded.
 


Edited by pinguin - 09 Nov 2009 at 01:06
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2009 at 08:55
For the Finns, it'd be Kalevala. Although partly a construct in the spirit of 19th century national romanticism, similar things applies to other epics. Lönnrot collected folk stories and merged (or maybe rather forged) them into one single epic. The Estonian Kalevipoeg has a similar background.

So,
Kalevala - Kalevala - Elias Lönnrot+others (collected and merged folkstories) - I guess Väinamöinen- Finnish - Finland/Karelia/Ingria





Edited by Styrbiorn - 09 Nov 2009 at 09:12
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Njals saga --  Njala  --  Anonumous --  Njal (and in some respects also Gunnar on Hlidarende)  --  Icelandic -- Iceland

The Journey to the west  -- Xi You Ji  -- Wu Chengen --  Sun Wukong --  Chinese -- China

Eric chronicles -- Erikskronikan -- Anonumous -- Erik Magnusson -- Swedish -- Sweden

(some would maybe not call Erikskronikan a national epos but still it is our oldest surviving chronicle)


Erik Magnusson, the hero of Erikskronikan


Pic from: http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erikskr%C3%B6nikan



Edited by Carcharodon - 09 Nov 2009 at 09:05
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2009 at 09:11
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:



Eric chronicles -- Erikskronikan -- Anonumous -- Erik Magnusson -- Swedish -- Sweden



That's not an epic, it's a royal chronicle, written on order from and under supervision of king Erik himself. Doesn't belong in this thread. Sweden doesn't have a national epic at all; it's early history and mythological past was written down by the Icelanders while the stories where forgotten in Sweden itself.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2009 at 09:26

One can say that it do belong since it is our oldest written chronicle and even if it was propaganda in its time it has later been teached in schools as an important chronicle of our past. Maybe it is as close as we ever will come to some form of national epos.






Edited by Carcharodon - 09 Nov 2009 at 10:25
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Flipper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2009 at 09:49
- The epos of Digenis Akritas (Greek-Syrian hero, Byzantine period).
- Vikentios Kornaros - Erotokritos (Greek, 16-17th century AD)
- Apollonius - Argonautica (Hellenic)
- Apollodorus - Theogony (Hellenic)
- Hesiod - Catalogues (Hellenic)

The two last ones, are not Epics in the sense of Homer, but they narrate stories about important heroes and leaders.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2009 at 09:58
Originally posted by Flipper Flipper wrote:


- Apollonius - Argonautica (Hellenic)


That is really a good one. A real sailors tale.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2009 at 10:16
Epic of Sundiata. About the ruler Sundiata Keita of the Mali empire. Mostly retold as oral traditions by storytellers in Mali, Gambia, Senegal and Guinea. The epic is also teached in schools in these countries.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Craze_b0i Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2009 at 10:35
Lord of the Rings - Britain.
 
Tolkien wrote it to give Britain its own national mythology. Many words and names used are Anglo-Saxon, though of course it also contains names in elvish - a language which is entirely fabricated. It is certainly more widely read than Bede, Mallory or any other such medieval writers.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2009 at 12:01
Britain has its myth - the Mabinogion. The Arthurian tales are a more sophisticated development from part of it, and aren't strictly myths.
 
Robin Hood maybe should figure in here too. Moreover I think it's a genuine myth in that it symbolises the merging of the peoples of Britain into one English people.
 
Tolkien's LOTR was unnecessary, and anyway where's the myth in it?
 
Ireland has its own rich store of national legends and myths, but I'm not sure there is a single recognised collection.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2009 at 12:58
Besides, epics belonged to particular countries or ethnicities. There are also epics shared by diffierent ethnicities in one region.
 
One of those is Nart epic of Caucasus. Apparently, it's very ancient and almost every ethnic group in North Caucasus has it's own Nart tale, despite such a huge diversity of ethnic groups in the region (Indoeuropean, Turkic, Caucasian etc.)
 
There are even suggestions to group people in Caucasus based on their versions of Nart tales, rather on linguistic affinity.
 
The origins of Nart epic aren't clear, it's suggested that it may be Scytho-Iranian or indigenous Caucasian, there are parallels with Ancient Greek mythology and even Arthurian cycle and the Medieval legend of Holy Graal. There is a theory that argues that Arthurian legend grew out of Yazyg Sarmatian stories who brought elements of Nart epics with them to the British Isles.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2009 at 12:58
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

One can say that it do belong since it is our oldest written chronicle and even if it was propaganda in its time it has later been teached in schools as an important chronicle of our past. Maybe it is as close as we ever will come to some form of national epos.


It's not an epos. Whether it will turn into one in 2,000 years is another matter entirely and quite irrelevant for the topic. Our epic stories were written down by others (ie the Icelanders with their sagas and the Saxons with Beowulf) and those we might have had were destroyed in the castle fire of 1697.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2009 at 13:09
Ancient Russian epic is based on a series of tales called "byliny" about three epic heroes Ivan Muromets, Alesha Popovitch and Dobrynia Nikitich, the stories described in byliny usually take place in Kiev during the reign of Vladimir I of Kiev. Ancient Russian epic survived only in the Russian cultural tradition. There are no similar stories in Belarus or Ukrainian cultural tradition. That's BTW is one of the argument to support the idea that Russia is the most closest relative of the Ancient Rus civilization.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2009 at 13:16
Originally posted by Styrbiorn Styrbiorn wrote:

[

It's not an epos. Whether it will turn into one in 2,000 years is another matter entirely and quite irrelevant for the topic. Our epic stories were written down by others (ie the Icelanders with their sagas and the Saxons with Beowulf) and those we might have had were destroyed in the castle fire of 1697.



At least it is a narrative and it belongs fine here since we have nothing more appropriate to come up with. In old days in school they even taught it as it was some kind of national epic.

By the way, there are even people who want to declare Wilhelm Mobergs books about the emigrants as a national epic of Sweden.


Edited by Carcharodon - 09 Nov 2009 at 13:22
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2009 at 13:16
Most famous Turkic epic is perhaps the "Book of Dede Korkut" shared by Oghuz and to some extent Kypchak Turks.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2009 at 13:33
China has a couple of more works that are considered by many Chinese as more or less national eposes eventhough they perhaps do not fulfill all the criteria (some people would just call them historical novels):

Water Margin--Shuihu Zhuan--Shi Nian--Outlaws of Mount Liang--Chinese--China

Dream of the Red Chamber--Hung Lou Meng--Cao Xueqin--Jia Baoyu--Chinese--China

Together with Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Journey to the west they are considered the four classics that are read by most chinese.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2009 at 13:53
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

Ancient Russian epic is based on a series of tales called "byliny" about three epic heroes Ivan Muromets, Alesha Popovitch and Dobrynia Nikitich, the stories described in byliny usually take place in Kiev during the reign of Vladimir I of Kiev. Ancient Russian epic survived only in the Russian cultural tradition. There are no similar stories in Belarus or Ukrainian cultural tradition. That's BTW is one of the argument to support the idea that Russia is the most closest relative of the Ancient Rus civilization.
 
Sarmat, the injection of the contemporary in politcs as valid historical criteria is nonsense. "Russian cultural tradition" has nothing to do with Muscovy, and if one is going to be blunt, the rulers in the St. Petersburg-Moscow Axis, were essentially at war with Russian culture for three centuries (1689-1989). The byliny, or as often identified stariny [old songs], were not collected until the 1860s [or even given cultural relevance] as a result of this official distaste for the "primitive". It is not until the Romanticism of all things Slavic and the cult of the peasant that so characterized the literati in the waning years of Czarist Russia (1858-1898), that the "art of the people" surges forth as a national thematic. You do not really want a discussion on just how "Russian" the Lake Ladoga area of the Olonets really is, do you?
 
The Kyivan Rus do lie at the bottom of these strata as does Orthodoxy; however, there is no "ancient Russian epic" in that the byliny are essentially disjointed and represent little more than collections of songs (within particular cycles) more or less given a "national" blessing by 19th century folklorists! At bottom, the byliny are not historical writings. nor are they myths or fairy tales. But, contemporary Russia as the "most closest relative of the Ancient Rus" is little more than a new Gorynich that more than likely will awaken the Dobrynya Nikitich aspect of my personality!


Edited by drgonzaga - 09 Nov 2009 at 15:21
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2009 at 15:06
So, what?
 
The fact remains the fact that the byliny based on Ancient Rus characters exist only in Russian tradition. There are no stories like this in Ukraine or Belarus.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2009 at 15:32
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

So, what?
 
The fact remains the fact that the byliny based on Ancient Rus characters exist only in Russian tradition. There are no stories like this in Ukraine or Belarus.
 
Nonsense! For that matter, one could just as easily assert there were no "stories" like this in the Moscow Prefecture of 1860 either! Come to think of it there were no dragons as well! What next, Alexander Nevsky as projected in the personality of Vladimir Pytin? Get over it, the Rus heartland is now another country and as for Belarus, well we could always think over a new LublinApprove!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2009 at 15:40
Why is it nonsense?  Are you telling me that such stories didn't exist in Russia, but also in Ukraine and Belarus. If yes, please show some sources of your claims.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2009 at 19:29
No, what I am telling you is that your claim that these "songs" do not exist in either Belarus or Ukrayina represents the nonsense. That by the 12th century the Kyivan Rus had already composed the Slovo o Polku Ihorevi stands as sufficient rejection of the transposition you intended. By the 12th century, Church Slavonic is replete with bardic interludes encapsuling the historical and mystical experiences of the Kyivan Rus and these are as familiar to contemporary Byelorus or Ukrayina as anything emanating out of Moskva these days.
 
For the recalcitrant non-believers:
 
 
 
We will not go into the "anti-folk" policies of Peter the Great--pursued with even greater passion by the Commissars--but then we would also have to enter into the controversies over the Cossack duma and its supposed usurpation of the older Kyivan bylyna.
 
By the way, yes I have been "contaminated" by those crazed Ukrainian canooks! But then are you not an exponent of the "Great Russian" genre? Keep in mind that my mention of Lake Ladoga simply underscored the fact that the starina (as a descendant of the older bylina of the Rus) had also disappeared from most of Russia as well by the middle of the 19th century.


Edited by drgonzaga - 09 Nov 2009 at 19:34
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Nov 2009 at 20:59

How on Earth Ancient Rus "Igor's tale" relate to bylyny about Vladimir the first of Rus?

Tell me why those bylyny survived only in Russia and not elsewhere?
 
Speaking of "Igor's tale," however, It's worth mentioning that modern Russian is much closer to its language than Ukrainian or Belorussian languages.
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