The Shrine beneath the Waves
Using oral versions of the Armenian folk epic ‘David of Sassoun' the author explores the first part of the epic which contains the narrative on birth from the rock of two ancestors of the Sassoun tribe heroes. Details given in these oral versions allow diving deep into mythological sources of this episode. These sources can be traced back to the most ancient periods of the Armenian nation formation and, at same time, have much in common with mythology of neighboring peoples and even of ancient Slavs. The author demonstrates that legends that emerged around the Armenian St. Grigor Narekats’i, are not just permeated with these mythological images but, in their turn, brought to bear mutual influence on the further development of the epic itself.
This article, which takes its title from the famous song «Nightingales, O Nightingales» of the Great Patriotic War, seeks to discover the source of the Russian historical ballad «Il'ya of Murom and the Nightingale-Robber» in a spell to gain the power of the mythical Indian eagle Garuda. Two different forms of such a tale exist: a semi-Buddhist shamanistic spell-song from Mongolia, and a medieval Armenian magical spell-tale whose earliest variant is close to the Mongolian form. The tale would have reached Russia most likely via Central Asia, via Iran. The Armenian version is Christianised; the Russian, assimilated to the heroic genre. It is suggested that the eagle becomes a nightingale (slavii, solovei) because of the connection of the latter with the potent word (slovo) and the glory (slava) acquired by a hero through bardic acclaim: so the bard Boyan in the Song (Slovo) of the Campaign of Igor' is called the «nightingale of olden times».