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  Book  2-5124  
AuthorVielle, Christophe 
TitleLe mytho-cycle héroique dans l'aire Indo-Européenne: correspondances et transformations helléno-aryennes 
PublishedLouvain-La-Neuve: Université Catholique de Louvain, Institut Orientaliste, 1996. -- 17, 253 pp. (Publications de l'Institut Orientaliste de Louvain 46). 
PublisherUniversité Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-La-Neuve [publ.] 
DescriptionThis comparative study of the heroic myth-cycle is based on the thesis that in the Indo-Europeam mythologic era, that heroic cycle is organized structurally in a corresponding form in at least two grand Epics. The corpus for comparison consists of three representative traditions, namely, the archaic Greek, the archaic Indo-Aryan and the archaic Osseto-Aryan. The two great Epics distinguished in each of the three heroic mytho-cycles are, in Greece, that of Herakles and that of the war of Troy, in which the hero Achilles distinguishes himself; in India, that of Rāma and that of the Bhārata war, from which emerges the hero Arjuna; in Ossetia, that of Soslan and the group of martial episodes in which the hero Batraz plays a role. The Greek Epics are taken as the point of departure, furnishing the topics from which the comparisons procede. First, there is an internal analysis of the traditions, and then the comparison with the other traditions, concerning episodes and their different versions, motifs and their variants, etc. Concludes inter alia that the Epics of Herakles, of Rāma and of Soslan each articulate themselves around the 'greatest' hero of the tradition, the hero who by building intimate relations to the space, especially through his continuous deplacements, lends his Epic an original geographical structure. This hero distinguishes himself by the divine origin of his father, with which there is more or less directly related a motif of Amphitryon implying his powerful father. This hero is characterized by his extraordinary physical power, rivaling that of the mightiest of supernatural beings. He very soon becomes the hero 'outside of the tribe' (deprived of a promised kingdom, in the same manner in India and Greece), travelling the world of margins and savage nature, with which he shares a series of characteristics. His savage aspect is thus reflected in the misdeeds he is forced to commit, be it the single misdeed of the mutilation of enemies, or those structured in a group of three following the herologeme of the 'three sins of the warrior'. He is a specialist in the extermination of monsters, supernatural beings physically characterized by a multiplicity of limbs and always by a type of conditional immortality. It is inter alia because of that title that he is seen as the auxiliary/helper par excellence for the people, whom he protects or saves, and for the gods, for whom he has (re-)estab-lished the rites (disturbed by impiety). The hero, being deified, has the career privilege of staying alive forever, to be again able to intervene as a god in the life of men. The other grand Epic, of the martial type, is more complex because of the number of characters it involves, and is related to the end of the heroes and of their age. Whether it be the Epic of Troy, that of Bhārata or the Nartic episode of the internal war, one finds the will of the supreme god at the origin of that 'grand war', the will spurned in India and in Greece by the complaint of the overburdened earth. The central place within that Epic is occupied by a hero -- Achilles, Arjuna or Batraz -- who excels as the 'best' of his party and gains from the battle an eternal glory. The autonomous episode of this hero's birth by a divine mother is marked by the motif of Thetis. As a child, he is entrusted to a kind of supernatural master, by whom he is initiated, before he leaves very young to fight, having had in India and in Greece an experience of travesty. In the course of the interminable battles which constitute the habitual context of the biggest part of this Epic, his attributes as a warrior are an invulnerable armour, intelligent war horses and a magic lance. His greatest adversary is a hero related to the sun and magically armoured, whose death is a prelude to the end of the great war, marked in India and in Greece by a combination of destructive fire and flood. Further discusses the role of the gods in these heroic traditions. Complete with indices of quotations, of modern authors, and of mythological names and themes, as well as bibliography. (MC) 
KeywordsArjuna and Achilles
Arjuna and Batraz
Mahābhārata and Greek Epics
Mahābhārata and Ossetian Epics
Rāmāyaṇa and Greek Epics
Rāmāyaṇa and Ossetian Epics
Rāma and Herakles
Rāma and Soslan
comparative studies of Epics
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