The Death of the Epic Hero and Some Aspects of the War Perception in Archaic Culture Cover Image

ეპიკური გმირის სიკვდილი და ომის აღქმის ზოგიერთი საკითხი არქაულ კულტურაში
The Death of the Epic Hero and Some Aspects of the War Perception in Archaic Culture

Author(s): Kakha Katsitadze
Subject(s): Cultural Essay, Political Essay, Societal Essay
Published by: ლიტერატურის ინსტიტუტის გამომცემლობა
Keywords: war phenomenon; military-culturological research; death of a hero-leader; afterlife; military aristocracy; cultural-ritual aspects of war.

Summary/Abstract: The type of researches that can be called military-culturological is developing intensively in the Western countries and studies in what way the phenomenon, known as war, is perceived in each seperate culture. M. Osovskaya’s, R. Kardin’s and others’ works opened totally different perspectives towards this direction. In the given article, concerning military-culturological theme, we will discuss one of the most actual and dramatic moment of the archaic perception of war – a range of aspects connected with the death of a heroleader. Every culture has its own idea about death and afterlife. Narrative tradition based on folklore about the afterlife, which has reached us, was created in the circle of military aristocracy, or was meant for them and reflected their ideas about death. Here was highlighted such kind of life and death which turned the person hero and would make him famous for centuries. Such heroes as Kuhulin or Achilleus, from the very beginning chose short life filled with fame. Such kind of life does not only bring fame in this world, but is also accompanied by privileges in the afterlife. It was a logical choice, if we take into consideration how the military aristocracy understood life, death and afterlife. The article deals with with the following topics concerning the death of an epic heroleader: sign warning about death, meeting with a double, as a sign alerting death, breaking taboos, verbal fortunetelling, enchantment, logic of hero’s death, mourning over the hero, perception about afterlife and death of archaic Gods. The logic of the hero’s death is emphasised in the article. The hero’s death is not only a simple justification of fortunetelling, consequence of taboo breaking or a fact following the death telling sign. The death, at the same time, is a necessary condition for heroization of protagonist as this death is accompanied by violation of rules. Moreover, with the help of this act, heroes compensate their past actions (we should recollect that the heroes of archaic times, are not saints). On the one hand, the hero’s death unites the whole plot, it accompanies it as a lightmotif and on the other hand, unites this same plot as a logical ending. Therefore, heroization of a protagonist with the help of death is important, and not the heroic death. Moreover, the character may not die heroicaly at all, for example Sigurd or hero of Ossati, Soslan. The way pre-state society understood the phenmenon of war is discussed on the example of hero’s death. Cultural-ritual aspects of war perception and the difference detween past and today’s perception of war is outlined.In the article it is concluded how new tradition, established simultaneously with the foundation of State defeats old, pre-State approach.

  • Issue Year: 2008
  • Issue No: 09
  • Page Range: 185-214
  • Page Count: 30
  • Language: Georgian