STELNIK E.V. Fight with Charos in the Byzantine Chthonic Outlooks

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2016.5.11

Evgeniy V. Stelnik

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Abstract. In the article a popular in the Byzantine acritic songs (X–XII cc.) story about the fight of heroaristocrat with Charos is considered. The plot of the Digenes Akrites’ fight with Charos is a key point of acritic songs. There is a consolidated opinion in a modern historiography that acritic songs originate in the 10th century and fix an original poetics of a military, acritic “estate”. Permanent military conflicts of “archons” of eastern provinces with troops of emirs of Tars and Melitin with the Paulicians, or Armenians, a constant military mobilization, contributed to the formation of a special militarized acritic culture, which is fully expressed in acritic songs praising the military courage, strength, valor and glory. The plot of the fight with Charos is the central point of the Byzantine aristocratic chthonic beliefs, and a set of folk representations (a solar theme, the theme of blood, theme of hair, topic breath and sighs) is organized around it. These ideas often have their roots in the ancient folklore, and the battle has an archaic base. Anyway, the fight with Charos is a whole concept of death and dying, which is organized on the basis of folk logic and is a clear expression of the Byzantine chthonic world. The plot of the fight with Charos raises the question of “class” differences in the Byzantine representations of death. The fight with the death is a complex of acritic and military aristocratic notions, when only death in the battle is a heroic death. In the cycle of arctic songs Charos is selective and emphasizes a social privilege of the hero-aristocrat.

Key words: Charos, Digenes Akrites, fight/struggle, folklore, antiques, aristocracy, acritic songs.

Лицензия Creative Commons

Fight with Charos in the Byzantine Chthonic Outlooks by Stelnik E.V. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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