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Old Russian Online

Lesson 6

Todd B. Krause and Jonathan Slocum

IV.ii Pre-Christian Beliefs

Interestingly Vladimir had also sought previously to unite his people under the banner of religion, but not that of Christianity. Rather a few years before Vladimir's famous conversion to Christianity, he had made a concerted effort to unify his people under the auspices of paganism. The failure of this effort and the abrupt change of direction as a result of ideological shifts or political expediency marks the first of a handful of such changes of course that charge the fitful history of Russia with its unique character.

Not for lack of effort the scholarly community has been able to elucidate few of the details surrounding the East Slavic brand of paganism and its origin. The Indo-Iranian, Italic, and Hellenic branches of the Indo-European language family display pantheons whose individual actors are not only in close functional correspondence, but also whose nomenclature shows clear etymological correspondence. For example we may clearly identify a Sky god in each tradition, and at the same time we find exacting parallelism in the terminology: the PIE phrase *dyeus pHte:r 'Sky father' has corresponding reflexes in the set phrases of Greek Zeus pate:r, Latin Iu:-(p)piter, and Sanskrit Dyaus pita:. And the reflexes extend further to branches such as Germanic, with gods such as Tiwaz derived from the *o-stem variant *deiuos, and beyond. But when we look to reconstruct the origins of the early Slavic pantheon we find the road laden with pitfalls.

IV.ii.i The Pantheon

We do find clear evidence of an early East Slavic pantheon. The most notable reference to this pantheon comes from the very descriptions of Vladimir's attempt to codify the paganism of his people. The Primary Chronicle mentions that he built a temple on one of the Kievan hills and dedicated it to a collection of pagan deities: Perun (Perunu'), Khors (Xu'rsu'), Dazhbog (Dazhi'bogu'), Stribog (Stribogu'), Simargl (Simari'glu'), and Mokosh (Mokoshi'). Within this temple Vladimir apparently placed idols (kymiry) representing the deities. We even find in the archaeology surrounding Kiev some tentative support for the event: the foundation of a rectangular structure with "six rounded symmetrical projections shaped like flower petals." (Tolochko, 1987) Three of these gods also resurface in the Igor Tale, an epic poem with heroic and pagan overtones. The gods mentioned are Dazhbog, Stribog, and Khors. The references are made in passing, with little explanation. For example, the Eastern Slavs are called the "grandsons of Dazhbog". The Igor Tale also mentions another god, Volos or Veles (Volosu', Velesu'), who seems to have been an important member of the early pantheon.

The primary sources have little to offer by way of explaining either the origins of this pantheon or the relationships between its members. The following list offers some comments on what can be said for each in turn (cf. Warner, 2002, and Mallory & Adams, 2006).

  • Perun (Perunu'): Perhaps the principal god of the East Slavic pantheon. Encountered as guarantor of the oaths solidifying the peace treaties with Byzantium after Kievan attacks on the imperial center. Likely a war god, as Igor and his men set their weapons before his idol after agreeing to a peace treaty with Byzantium in 945. The cult of Perun was evidently important and observed throughout the lands of the Eastern Slavs: when Vladimir erected his idol in Kiev, Vladimir's uncle simultaneously erected an idol of Perun on the Volkhov river near Novgorod. The name probably derives from PIE *perkunos, yielding Old Norse Fjo^gyn, mother of the thunder god Thor, and also providing Lithuanian thunder god Perku:nas. This might be a formation derived from PIE *per- 'strike'.
  • Khors (Xu'rsu'): thought to be a sun-god. He is mentioned as 'great' (veliku') in a difficult-to-interpret passage in the Igor Tale.
  • Dazhbog (Dazhi'bogu'): also thought to be a sun-god, largely based on a comparison to Greek Helios in the Primary Chronicle. He is also mentioned in the Igor Tale in the phrase Dazhdi'bozha vnuka 'grandsons of Dazhbog', referring to the Russian people as a whole. We see in the second element the familiar term bogu' 'god', likely adopted from early contact with Iranian peoples. Though various sources have been proposed for the first element, it likely derives from the imperative dazhi' of dati 'to give', leading to an interpretation as the 'giver of wealth'.
  • Stribog (Stribogu'): perhaps a god of the winds. This is largely based on the fact that the Igor Tale refers to the winds as Stribozhi vnuci 'Stribog's descendants' (literally 'grandchildren'). By the same token, the phrase could be taken as a vocative referring to those listening, the Russians in general. Possibly related to PIE *pHte:r 'father', cf. Lat. Iu:(p)piter, through a shift PIE *pHtr- > *ptr- > *str-, though this etymology is dubious. Alternatively the name as a whole might be a borrowing of a possible Iranian *sri:baga- (cf. Skt. Sri:deva, literally the 'noble god'), with early East Slavic inserting an epenthetic *-t- in the sequence *sr-.
  • Simargl (Simari'glu'): No convincingly plausible etymologies. Most probably a borrowing, perhaps recalling the Iranian Si:murg, a deity that is part bird, part dog, and part lion or griffin. Some bracelets from Kiev and elsewhere, dating roughly to the 12th and 13th centuries, depict a dog-headed, winged creature that has been interpreted by some as Simargl.
  • Mokosh (Mokoshi'): No convincing etymologies. Variously interpreted as a fertility goddess, receiving her name from the root mok- 'moist', or as a female household spirit and patroness of weaving.
  • Volos or Veles (Volosu', Velesu'): a god of cattle, and likely of commerce and prosperity in general. Frequently paired with Perun as guarantor of treaties struck between Byzantium and the Kievan Rus. In those treaties in which he is invoked, it is likely for the purpose of securing favorable conditions in commerce. His idol was placed in the merhant quarter of Kiev where ships often moored along the river Pochaina. There was also an idol of Volos placed in the north in Rostov. In the Igor Tale, the great poet Bojan is referred to as as Velesovu' bnuku' 'Veles's descendant' (literally 'grandson'). This has raised speculation that Volos was understood as a patron deity of musicians, completing an apparent functional parallel with the Greek god Apollo.

The common pan-Slavic word for 'god' is bogu'. We suppose a PIE ancestral form *bhagos 'apportioner', whose only clearly divine reflex comes from the Indo-Iranian family, where we find Sanskrt bhaga- and Avestan baga-. This latter was likely transferred to the Slavs through their mostly prehistoric interaction on the Eurasian steppe. The term also occurs in Phrygian Bagaios as an epithet of Zeus, but with a clear sense of 'apportioner' and no necessarily divine connotation. Similarly we find in Tocharian B pa:ke 'share, portion' (Mallory & Adams, 2006). Another apparent shared feature between the early Iranians and early Slavs is the shift undergone by the PIE root *deiuos: where across the rest of the Indo-European family its reflexes signify 'god', within Iranian (e.g. Avestan dae:va-) and Slavic (divu', also mentioned in the Igor Tale) the sense has shifted to the gods' evil counterpart and takes on the sense of 'demon'.

IV.ii.ii Mythic Traditions

Early sources remain difficult to interpret when it comes to the pre-Christian religious and spiritual practices of the laypeople. For more information on such practices scholars have often had recourse to traditional practices encountered in modern times in rural areas. To be sure the extension of understanding gained from modern practices to the period of the early Rus is fraught with difficulty, and any conclusions to be drawn must be taken as tentative at best. But we nevertheless find some practices whose origins can plausibly be traced backed to Kievan Rus.

The pre-Christian culture early held a reverence for the forces of the natural world. This is illustrated by the associations of the gods of the pantheon mentioned above, several of which recall natural phenomena. We also find in the lexicon an isogloss with Greek: OCS tchudo 'wonder' and its homophonic relative in Russian derive from the PIE root *keudes- 'magic force' that gives Greek ku:dos 'renown'.

Rural society also preserves a tradition of byliny (byliny, singular bylina, perhaps from byli' '(a) noble, aristocrat'), which are heroic tales often recounting the exploits of the early defenders of Kievan Rus and of the saints of the early Eastern Slavs (Warner, 2002). One of the puzzling facts of this tradition, however, is that, though it often treats exploits of the ancient Slavs, particularly those centered on the kingdom of Kiev, nevertheless this tradition seems absent from modern Kiev.

A possible resolution to this dilemma perhaps lies in the curious travels and travails of the skomorokhi. The skomorokhi (skomoroxi, a modern plural; singular skomraxu' or skoromoxu', literally 'vagabond') were musicians, and they may have been responsible for the transplantation of traditional byliny from Kiev in the south to the northern reaches of Russia. Evidence suggests the skomorokhi were already present in pre-Christian Kiev performing at ceremonies and festivals. Some textual sources exist to associate the skomorokhi with the singing of heroic songs. In particular (Zguta, 1972),

  • The Igor Tale mentions the poet Bojan and says that his fame was such that he sang the praises of Jaroslav the Wise and others;
  • The singer Mitus is mentioned in the Ipatievskaia letopis' as being taken prisoner by the prince of Galich in 1241.

It appears that, after the conversion of the Rus to Christianity under Vladimir, the clergy singled out the skomorokhi and associated them with pre-Christian traditions that they were trying to eradicate. We find in 1465 a church painting which depicts the Antichrist as a wandering musician or actor (Andreyev, 1962), presumably in part because such performers continued to portray pagan themes and personages.

Originally the skomorokhi coexisted with the gusliari, who were court poets. The former were renowned for flamboyant dress, while the latter wore standard dress of the period. But as persecution continued and opportunities to perform became more scarce, eventually the roles of gusliari and skomorokhi merged into the personage of the minstrel-entertainer. The skomorokhi gradually transformed the originally courtly and elegant byliny to lighter tunes with more entertaining stories to suit the changing tastes of the audience (Zguta, 1972). By the end of the 11th century the clergy had driven the skomorokhi from Kiev and they migrated to the more tolerant atmosphere of Novgorod.

Reading and Textual Analysis

Here begins the entry in the Primary Chronicle for the year 946. Casting aside the cunning with which she has exacted revenge until now, Olga mobilizes her army for a full scale assault against the Derevlians. The Derevlians hole themselves up in their fortress and refuse further combat. To break the stalemate, Olga devises yet another plan. She negotiates so that the Derevlians drop their guard. The following passage lists lines 102-143.

102 - V lje'to ,dz. u. n d.

  • V -- preposition; <vu'> (w. loc.) in; (w. acc.) into -- In
  • lje'to -- noun; neuter accusative singular of <lje'to> year, summer -- the year
  • dz -- number; <dz> six; six thousand -- six thousand
  • u -- number; <u> four hundred -- four hundred
  • n -- number; <n> fifty -- fifty
  • d -- number; <d> four -- four

102-104 - Oli'ga su' synomu' svoimu' svjatoslavomu' sobra voi mnogo i xrabry i ide na deri'vi'sku zemlju.

  • Oli'ga -- proper noun; feminine nominative singular of <Oli'ga> Olga, Helga (Scandinavian name) -- Olga
  • su' -- preposition; <su'> (w. gen.) (down) from; (w. instr.) with -- together with
  • synomu' -- noun; masculine instrumental singular of <synu'> son -- son
  • svoimu' -- adjective; masculine instrumental singular of <svoi, svoe, svoja> own, one's own -- her
  • svjatoslavomu' -- proper noun; masculine instrumental singular of <Sve^toslavu'> Svjatoslav, Svyatoslav, Sviatoslav (name of a prince) -- Svjatoslav
  • sobra -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <su'bi'rati, -bero^, -bereshi> collect, gather -- gathered
  • voi -- noun; masculine accusative plural of <voji> fighter; (pl.) troops, army -- an army
  • mnogo -- adjective; neuter accusative singular of <mu'nogu'> much, many -- great # For expected masculine accusative plural mu'nogy
  • i -- conjunction; <i> and; also, too, even -- and
  • xrabry -- adjective; masculine accusative plural of <xrabru'> (m.) fighter, soldier; (adj.) strong -- fierce
  • i -- conjunction; <i> and; also, too, even -- and
  • ide -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <iti, ido^, ideshi> go -- went
  • na -- preposition; <na> (w. acc.) onto, against, for, to the extent; (w. loc.) on, at -- to
  • deri'vi'sku -- adjective; feminine accusative singular of <drje'vi'sku'> of Dereva, related to Dereva, Derevlian -- of Dereva
  • zemlju -- noun; feminine accusative singular of <zeml'ja> earth, land -- the land

104-106 - izidosha derevle^ne protivu. su'nemu'shemu' se^ obje'ma polkoma na skupi' sunu kopi'emu' svjatoslavu' na derevle^ny.

  • izidosha -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <iziti, -ido^, -ideshi> go out -- came out
  • derevle^ne -- adjective used as substantive; masculine nominative plural of <drje'vljaninu'> Derevlian, from Dereva -- The Derevlians
  • protivu -- adverb; <protivu', protivo^> (adv.) opposite; (prep. w. dat.) according to; to meet -- to meet (them)
  • su'nemu'shemu' -- past participle; masculine dative plural of <su'ne^ti, su'ni'mo^, su'ni'meshi> take away from, remove; go down, descend; lead down; (refl.) come together, collect, gather -- When... had gathered # Dative absolute. Note here the dative plural, though what follows suggests this should be a dual form
  • se^ -- pronoun; accusative singular of <sebe> -self, oneself -- ...
  • obje'ma -- pronoun; masculine dative dual of <oba, obje', obje'> both -- the two
  • polkoma -- noun; masculine dative dual of <plu'ku'> crowd; people, population; cohort, troop -- forces
  • na -- preposition; <na> (w. acc.) onto, against, for, to the extent; (w. loc.) on, at -- to-
  • skupi' -- noun; masculine accusative singular of <su'kupu'> a joining; a convening, a coming together -- -gether
  • sunu -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <suno^ti, -no^, -neshi> pour out -- lashed out
  • kopi'emu' -- noun; neuter instrumental singular of <kopi'je> spear, lance; sword -- with a spear
  • svjatoslavu' -- proper noun; masculine nominative singular of <Sve^toslavu'> Svjatoslav, Svyatoslav, Sviatoslav (name of a prince) -- Svjatoslav
  • na -- preposition; <na> (w. acc.) onto, against, for, to the extent; (w. loc.) on, at -- against
  • derevle^ny -- adjective used as substantive; masculine accusative plural of <drje'vljaninu'> Derevlian, from Dereva -- the Derevlians

106-108 - i kopi'e letje' skvozje' ushi konevi udari v nogi konevi, bje' bo dje'tesku'.

  • i -- conjunction; <i> and; also, too, even -- But
  • kopi'e -- noun; neuter nominative singular of <kopi'je> spear, lance; sword -- the spear
  • letje' -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <letje'ti, -shto^, -tishi> fly; run -- flew
  • skvozje' -- preposition; <skvozje', skozje'> (w. acc.) through -- past
  • ushi -- noun; neuter accusative dual of <uxo, ushese> ear -- the ears
  • konevi -- noun; masculine dative singular of <koni'> horse -- of the horse
  • udari -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <udariti, -rjo^, -rishi> strike, beat -- (and) struck
  • v -- preposition; <vu'> (w. loc.) in; (w. acc.) into -- against
  • nogi -- noun; feminine locative singular of <noga> foot -- the... leg # Note the ending, not properly belonging to the a-stem declension. Likely an importation of the locative ending from the i-stem declension, though potentially also an accusative dual imported from the same declension, or even a shift of the accusative plural -y to -i.
  • konevi -- noun; masculine dative singular of <koni'> horse -- horse's # Given the ending of nogi, this could alternately be interpreted as a feminine locative singular (or accusative dual, etc.) from the adjective konjevu' 'of a horse, relating to a horse'.
  • bje' -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <byti, bo^do^, bo^deshi> be, become -- he was (still)
  • bo -- conjunction; <bo> for -- for
  • dje'tesku' -- adjective; masculine nominative singular of <dje'ti'sku'> childish -- a boy

108-110 - i retche svje'neldu' i asmoldu', kne^zi' uzhe potchalu'. pote^gnje'te, druzhina, po kne^zje'. i pobje'disha derevle^ny.

  • i -- conjunction; <i> and; also, too, even -- And
  • retche -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <reshti, reko^, retcheshi> say, tell -- said # Note singular verb form, though the subject is plural (properly dual, in fact)
  • svje'neldu' -- proper noun; masculine nominative singular of <Svje'ni'ldu'> Sveinald (Scandinavian name) -- Sveinald
  • i -- conjunction; <i> and; also, too, even -- and
  • asmoldu' -- proper noun; masculine nominative singular of <Asmudu'> Asmud, Asmund, Asmundr (Scandinavian name) -- Asmund
  • kne^zi' -- noun; masculine nominative singular of <ku'ne^zi'> prince -- the prince
  • uzhe -- adverb; <juzhe, uzhe> already -- already
  • potchalu' -- past participle; masculine nominative singular of <potche^ti, -tchi'no^, -tchi'neshi> begin, commence -- has... begun # Note use of the l-participle for the perfect tense, without an accompanying form of byti 'to be'
  • pote^gnje'te -- verb; 2nd person plural imperative of <pote^gno^ti, -no^, -neshi> work, be useful, strive, be strong, be able -- move
  • druzhina -- noun; feminine vocative singular of <druzhina> retinue, band of retainers, troop -- guards # Nominative form for expected vocative druzhino
  • po -- preposition; <po> (w. dat.) on, about (motion on surface); (w. acc.) on, after, on account of; (w. loc.) after, following, for -- after
  • kne^zje' -- noun; masculine locative singular of <ku'ne^zi'> prince -- the prince
  • i -- conjunction; <i> and; also, too, even -- And
  • pobje'disha -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <pobje'diti, -zhdo^, -dishi> conquer; fight, fight against; set in motion, hasten, incite; sally out -- they drove back
  • derevle^ny -- adjective used as substantive; masculine accusative plural of <drje'vljaninu'> Derevlian, from Dereva -- the Derevlians

110-112 - derevle^ne zhe pobje'gosha i zatvorisha se^ vu' gradje'xu' svoixu'.

  • derevle^ne -- adjective used as substantive; masculine nominative plural of <drje'vljaninu'> Derevlian, from Dereva -- The Derevlians
  • zhe -- conjunction; <zhe> and, but -- ...
  • pobje'gosha -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <pobje'gno^ti, -no^, -neshi> flee, take flight -- fled
  • i -- conjunction; <i> and; also, too, even -- and
  • zatvorisha -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <zatvoriti, -rjo^, -rishi> close, shut -- shut... up
  • se^ -- pronoun; accusative singular of <sebe> -self, oneself -- themselves
  • vu' -- preposition; <vu'> (w. loc.) in; (w. acc.) into -- in
  • gradje'xu' -- noun; masculine locative plural of <gradu'> walled structure, walled fortification; garden, enclosed park; home, dwelling, household; city -- stronghold
  • svoixu' -- adjective; masculine locative plural of <svoi, svoe, svoja> own, one's own -- their

112-115 - oli'ga zhe ustremi se^ su' synu'mu' svoimu', a derevle^ne zatvorisha se^ vu' gradje' i bore^xu se^ krje'pko izu' grada, vje'dje'xu bo jako sami ubili kne^ze^ i na tchto se^ predati.

  • oli'ga -- proper noun; feminine nominative singular of <Oli'ga> Olga, Helga (Scandinavian name) -- Olga
  • zhe -- conjunction; <zhe> and, but -- ...
  • ustremi -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <ustri'miti se^, -mljo^, -mishi> hasten, rush; be eager -- set forth
  • se^ -- pronoun; accusative singular of <sebe> -self, oneself -- ...
  • su' -- preposition; <su'> (w. gen.) (down) from; (w. instr.) with -- with
  • synu'mu' -- noun; masculine instrumental singular of <synu'> son -- son
  • svoimu' -- adjective; masculine instrumental singular of <svoi, svoe, svoja> own, one's own -- her
  • a -- conjunction; <a> and, but; if -- but
  • derevle^ne -- adjective used as substantive; masculine nominative plural of <drje'vljaninu'> Derevlian, from Dereva -- the Derevlians
  • zatvorisha -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <zatvoriti, -rjo^, -rishi> close, shut -- holed up
  • se^ -- pronoun; accusative singular of <sebe> -self, oneself -- ...
  • vu' -- preposition; <vu'> (w. loc.) in; (w. acc.) into -- in
  • gradje' -- noun; masculine locative singular of <gradu'> walled structure, walled fortification; garden, enclosed park; home, dwelling, household; city -- (their) stronghold
  • i -- conjunction; <i> and; also, too, even -- and
  • bore^xu -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect of <brati, borjo^, borjeshi> fight -- fought
  • se^ -- pronoun; accusative singular of <sebe> -self, oneself -- ...
  • krje'pko -- adverb; neuter accusative singular of <krje'pu'ku'> (adj.) healthy, strong, powerful; (adv.) strenuously, vigorously -- strenuously
  • izu' -- preposition; <iz> (w. gen.) from, out of -- from
  • grada -- noun; masculine genitive singular of <gradu'> walled structure, walled fortification; garden, enclosed park; home, dwelling, household; city -- (their) fortress
  • vje'dje'xu -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect of <vje'dje'ti, vje'mi', vje'si> see, know -- they knew
  • bo -- conjunction; <bo> for -- for
  • jako -- conjunction; <jako> as, when; in order to; that; because; (introduces quotation) -- that
  • sami -- adjective; masculine nominative plural of <samu'> self, oneself -- they
  • ubili -- past participle; masculine nominative plural of <ubiti, -bijo^, -bijeshi> kill -- had killed # Note l-participle functioning as pluperfect without accompanying form of byti 'to be'
  • kne^ze^ -- noun; masculine genitive singular of <ku'ne^zi'> prince -- the prince
  • i -- conjunction; <i> and; also, too, even -- and
  • na -- preposition; <na> (w. acc.) onto, against, for, to the extent; (w. loc.) on, at -- to
  • tchto -- interrogative pronoun; neuter accusative singular of <ku'to> who -- what
  • se^ -- pronoun; accusative singular of <sebe> -self, oneself -- themselves
  • predati -- verb; infinitive of <prje'dati, -dami', -dasi> hand over, commend -- (they) would surrender # Infinitive with an accompanying (explicit or implied) form of byti 'to be' often connotes obligation or necessity. Compare English 'It is not for us to question why'.

115-117 - i stoja oli'ga lje'to, ne mozhashe vse^ti grada. i umysli sice.

  • i -- conjunction; <i> and; also, too, even -- ...
  • stoja -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <stojati, stojo^, stoishi> stand, stay in place -- stayed
  • oli'ga -- proper noun; feminine nominative singular of <Oli'ga> Olga, Helga (Scandinavian name) -- Olga
  • lje'to -- noun; neuter accusative singular of <lje'to> year, summer -- for a year # Note the use of the accusative to denote extent of time
  • ne -- adverb; <ne> not -- un-
  • mozhashe -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <moshti, mogo^, mozheshi> be able, can -- was...-able
  • vse^ti -- verb; infinitive of <vu'ze^ti, -zi'mo^, -zi'meshi> pick up, take -- to take
  • grada -- noun; masculine genitive singular of <gradu'> walled structure, walled fortification; garden, enclosed park; home, dwelling, household; city -- (their) fortress # Note the use of the genitive in place of the accusative with negation
  • i -- conjunction; <i> and; also, too, even -- And
  • umysli -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <umysliti, -shljo^, -slishi> devise, contrive, invent -- she devised
  • sice -- pronoun; neuter accusative singular of <sici', sice, sica> such, like this -- the following

117-120 - posla ko gradu glagoljushchi, tchto xotchete dosje'dje'ti, a vsi gradi vashi predasha se^ mnje'. i jali se^ po dani' i dje'lajuti' nivy svoja i zemlje' svoja.

  • posla -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <posu'lati, -l'jo^, -l'jeshi> send, summon -- She sent
  • ko -- preposition; <ku'> (w. dat.) to, toward -- to
  • gradu -- noun; masculine dative singular of <gradu'> walled structure, walled fortification; garden, enclosed park; home, dwelling, household; city -- the city
  • glagoljushchi -- participle; feminine nominative singular of <glagolati, -l'jo^, -l'jeshi> say, speak -- saying
  • tchto -- interrogative pronoun; neuter accusative singular of <ku'to> who -- why
  • xotchete -- verb; 2nd person plural present of <xotje'ti, xoshto^, xoshteshi> want, wish -- do you want
  • dosje'dje'ti -- verb; infinitive of <dosje'dje'ti, -zhdo^, -dishi> bring about by sitting, achieve through encamping or remaining in the field -- remain besieged
  • a -- conjunction; <a> and, but; if -- while
  • vsi -- adjective; masculine nominative plural of <vi'si'> all, every; whole -- all
  • gradi -- noun; masculine nominative plural of <gradu'> walled structure, walled fortification; garden, enclosed park; home, dwelling, household; city -- (other) towns
  • vashi -- adjective; masculine nominative plural of <vashi'> of you, your (pl.) -- your
  • predasha -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <prje'dati, -dami', -dasi> hand over, commend -- have surrendered # Note the Old Russian use of the aorist where English permits the perfect
  • se^ -- pronoun; accusative singular of <sebe> -self, oneself -- ...
  • mnje' -- pronoun; dative singular of <azu'> I -- to me
  • i -- conjunction; <i> and; also, too, even -- ...
  • jali -- past participle; masculine nominative plural of <je^ti, imo^, imeshi> take, seize; (refl.) take to, set out, start on -- They have taken
  • se^ -- pronoun; accusative singular of <sebe> -self, oneself -- ...
  • po -- preposition; <po> (w. dat.) on, about (motion on surface); (w. acc.) on, after, on account of; (w. loc.) after, following, for -- to
  • dani' -- noun; feminine accusative singular of <dani'> tribute -- tribute
  • i -- conjunction; <i> and; also, too, even -- and
  • dje'lajuti' -- verb; 3rd person plural present of <dje'lati, -lajo^, -lajeshi> work, toil; till; quarry -- they till... (quarry)
  • nivy -- noun; feminine accusative plural of <n'iva> field, ground -- fields
  • svoja -- adjective; feminine accusative plural of <svoi, svoe, svoja> own, one's own -- their
  • i -- conjunction; <i> and; also, too, even -- and
  • zemlje' -- noun; feminine accusative plural of <zeml'ja> earth, land -- the land
  • svoja -- adjective; feminine accusative plural of <svoi, svoe, svoja> own, one's own -- their

120-121 - a vy xotchete izu'mereti gladomu', ne imutche se^ po dani'.

  • a -- conjunction; <a> and, but; if -- But
  • vy -- pronoun; nominative plural of <ty> you, thou -- you # Note the use of the subject pronoun for emphasis, in contrast to the preceding statement
  • xotchete -- verb; 2nd person plural present of <xotje'ti, xoshto^, xoshteshi> want, wish -- wish
  • izu'mereti -- verb; infinitive of <izmrje'ti, -mro^, -mreshi> die -- to die
  • gladomu' -- noun; masculine instrumental singular of <gladu'> hunger, famine -- of famine # Note Old Russian use of the instrumental: 'die by hunger' rather than English 'die of hunger'
  • ne -- adverb; <ne> not -- not
  • imutche -- participle; masculine nominative plural of <je^ti, imo^, imeshi> take, seize; (refl.) take to, set out, start on -- taking
  • se^ -- pronoun; accusative singular of <sebe> -self, oneself -- yourselves
  • po -- preposition; <po> (w. dat.) on, about (motion on surface); (w. acc.) on, after, on account of; (w. loc.) after, following, for -- to
  • dani' -- noun; feminine accusative singular of <dani'> tribute -- tribute

121-123 - derevle^ne zhe rekosha, radi se^ byxomu' jali po dani', no xoshcheshi mi'shchati muzha svoego.

  • derevle^ne -- adjective used as substantive; masculine nominative plural of <drje'vljaninu'> Derevlian, from Dereva -- the Derevlians
  • zhe -- conjunction; <zhe> and, but -- And
  • rekosha -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <reshti, reko^, retcheshi> say, tell -- said
  • radi -- adjective; masculine nominative plural of <radu'> glad, happy -- gladly # Notice that Old Russian occasionally favors an adjective agreeing with the subject where English would employ an adverb
  • se^ -- pronoun; accusative singular of <sebe> -self, oneself -- ...
  • byxomu' -- verb; 1st person plural aorist of <byti, bo^do^, bo^deshi> be, become -- would... have
  • jali -- past participle; masculine nominative plural of <je^ti, imo^, imeshi> take, seize; (refl.) take to, set out, start on -- taken
  • po -- preposition; <po> (w. dat.) on, about (motion on surface); (w. acc.) on, after, on account of; (w. loc.) after, following, for -- to
  • dani' -- noun; feminine accusative singular of <dani'> tribute -- tribute
  • no -- conjunction; <nu'> but -- but
  • xoshcheshi -- verb; 2nd person singular present of <xotje'ti, xoshto^, xoshteshi> want, wish -- you want
  • mi'shchati -- verb; infinitive of <mi'shtati, -tajo^, -tajeshi> defend against, revenge, avenge -- to avenge
  • muzha -- noun; masculine genitive singular of <mo^zhi'> man, husband -- husband
  • svoego -- adjective; masculine genitive singular of <svoi, svoe, svoja> own, one's own -- your

123-126 - retche zhe imu' oli'ga, jako azu' mi'stila uzhe obidu muzha svoego kogda pridosha kievu, vtoroe i treti'ee kogda tvorixu' tryznu muzhevi svoemu.

  • retche -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <reshti, reko^, retcheshi> say, tell -- said
  • zhe -- conjunction; <zhe> and, but -- ...
  • imu' -- pronoun; masculine dative plural of <*i> he -- to them
  • oli'ga -- proper noun; feminine nominative singular of <Oli'ga> Olga, Helga (Scandinavian name) -- Olga
  • jako -- conjunction; <jako> as, when; in order to; that; because; (introduces quotation) -- ...
  • azu' -- pronoun; nominative singular of <azu'> I -- I
  • mi'stila -- past participle; feminine nominative singular of <mi'shtati, -tajo^, -tajeshi> defend against, revenge, avenge -- avenged
  • uzhe -- adverb; <juzhe, uzhe> already -- already
  • obidu -- noun; feminine accusative singular of <obida> injustice, outrage, injury -- the injustice
  • muzha -- noun; masculine genitive singular of <mo^zhi'> man, husband -- against... husband
  • svoego -- adjective; masculine genitive singular of <svoi, svoe, svoja> own, one's own -- my
  • kogda -- adverb; <kogda> when; sometime -- when
  • pridosha -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <priti, -ido^, -ideshi> come, arrive -- they came
  • kievu -- proper noun; masculine dative singular of <Kyevu'> Kiev, Kyiv (name of a city) -- to Kiev
  • vtoroe -- adjective used as substantive; neuter nominative singular of <vu'toryi, -roje, -raja> second, following -- the second
  • i -- conjunction; <i> and; also, too, even -- and
  • treti'ee -- adjective used as substantive; neuter nominative singular of <treti'i, -ti'je, -ti'ja> third -- third (times)
  • kogda -- adverb; <kogda> when; sometime -- when
  • tvorixu' -- verb; 1st person singular aorist of <su'tvoriti, -rjo^, -rishi> do, make -- I performed
  • tryznu -- noun; feminine accusative singular of <trizna, tryzna> contest, prize; stadium; trench, track; funeral repast, commemoration of the dead -- the wake
  • muzhevi -- noun; masculine dative singular of <mo^zhi'> man, husband -- for... husband # Note the adoption of the dative ending from the u-stem paradigm
  • svoemu -- adjective; masculine dative singular of <svoi, svoe, svoja> own, one's own -- my

126-128 - a uzhe ne xoshchju mu'shchati, no xoshchju dani' imati po malu. smirivshi se^ s vami poidu ope^ti'.

  • a -- conjunction; <a> and, but; if -- ...
  • uzhe -- adverb; <juzhe, uzhe> already -- Now
  • ne -- adverb; <ne> not -- not
  • xoshchju -- verb; 1st person singular present of <xotje'ti, xoshto^, xoshteshi> want, wish -- I do... wish
  • mu'shchati -- verb; infinitive of <mi'shtati, -tajo^, -tajeshi> defend against, revenge, avenge -- to avenge (him)
  • no -- conjunction; <nu'> but -- but
  • xoshchju -- verb; 1st person singular present of <xotje'ti, xoshto^, xoshteshi> want, wish -- I wish
  • dani' -- noun; feminine accusative singular of <dani'> tribute -- tribute
  • imati -- verb; infinitive of <imati, jemljo^, jemljeshi> take, take up; acquire -- to receive
  • po -- preposition; <po> (w. dat.) on, about (motion on surface); (w. acc.) on, after, on account of; (w. loc.) after, following, for -- ...
  • malu -- adjective; feminine singular accusative of <malu'> small, young -- a small # Feminine accusative agreeing with dani', both to be taken as governed by po. Alternatively we may view malu as a masculine or neuter dative singular, alone governed by po in a collocation po malu 'in a small degree'.
  • smirivshi -- past participle; feminine nominative singular of <su'miriti, -rjo^, -rishi> make peace; come together, unite; reconcile -- After making peace
  • se^ -- pronoun; accusative singular of <sebe> -self, oneself -- ...
  • s -- preposition; <su'> (w. gen.) (down) from; (w. instr.) with -- with
  • vami -- pronoun; instrumental plural of <ty> you, thou -- you
  • poidu -- verb; 1st person singular present of <poiti, -ido^, -ideshi> go, set out; go back, return -- I will go
  • ope^ti' -- adverb; <ope^ti'> back -- back

128-130 - rekosha zhe derevle^ne, shto xoshcheshi u nasu'. radi daemu' medomi' i skoroju.

  • rekosha -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <reshti, reko^, retcheshi> say, tell -- responded
  • zhe -- conjunction; <zhe> and, but -- And
  • derevle^ne -- adjective used as substantive; masculine nominative plural of <drje'vljaninu'> Derevlian, from Dereva -- the Derevlians
  • shto -- interrogative pronoun; neuter accusative singular of <ku'to> who -- What
  • xoshcheshi -- verb; 2nd person singular present of <xotje'ti, xoshto^, xoshteshi> want, wish -- do you want
  • u -- preposition; <u> (w. gen.) near, at, by -- from
  • nasu' -- pronoun; genitive plural of <azu'> I -- us
  • radi -- adjective; masculine nominative plural of <radu'> glad, happy -- happily
  • daemu' -- verb; 1st person plural present of <dajati, dajo^, dajeshi> give, provide -- We will... provide (you)
  • medomi' -- noun; masculine instrumental singular of <medu', medu> honey -- with honey
  • i -- conjunction; <i> and; also, too, even -- and
  • skoroju -- noun; feminine instrumental singular of <skora> bark, shell; pine; skin, hide, pelt, leather -- hide(s)

130-131 - ona zhe retche imu', nynje' u vasu' nje'sti' medu ni skory. no malo u vasu' proshju.

  • ona -- demonstrative pronoun; feminine nominative singular of <onu', ono, ona> that, that one -- she
  • zhe -- conjunction; <zhe> and, but -- And
  • retche -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <reshti, reko^, retcheshi> say, tell -- replied
  • imu' -- pronoun; masculine dative plural of <*i> he -- to them
  • nynje' -- adverb; <nyn'ja, nynje'> now -- now
  • u -- preposition; <u> (w. gen.) near, at, by -- by
  • vasu' -- pronoun; genitive plural of <ty> you, thou -- you
  • nje'sti' -- adverb; <ne> not + verb; 3rd person singular present of <byti, bo^do^, bo^deshi> be, become -- There is... neither
  • medu -- noun; masculine genitive singular of <medu', medu> honey -- honey # Note genitive rather than nominative due to negation
  • ni -- conjunction; <ni> and not, nor, no; (repeated) neither... nor -- nor
  • skory -- noun; feminine genitive singular of <skora> bark, shell; pine; skin, hide, pelt, leather -- hide(s) # Note genitive rather than nominative due to negation
  • no -- conjunction; <nu'> but -- But
  • malo -- adjective used as substantive; neuter accusative singular of <malu'> small, young -- little
  • u -- preposition; <u> (w. gen.) near, at, by -- from
  • vasu' -- pronoun; genitive plural of <ty> you, thou -- you
  • proshju -- verb; 1st person singular present of <prositi, -sho^, -sishi> ask, demand -- I seek

131-134 - daite mi o^ dvora po .g. golubi da .g. vorobi'i. azu' bo ne xoshchju te^zhi'ki dani vu'zlozhiti, jako zhe i muzhi' moi, sego proshju u vasu' malo.

  • daite -- verb; 2nd person plural imperative of <dajati, dajo^, dajeshi> give, provide -- provide
  • mi -- pronoun; dative singular of <azu'> I -- me
  • o^ -- preposition; <otu'> (w. gen.) of, from; by -- From
  • dvora -- noun; masculine genitive singular of <dvoru'> court, courtyard; home, household -- house
  • po -- preposition; <po> (w. dat.) on, about (motion on surface); (w. acc.) on, after, on account of; (w. loc.) after, following, for -- (each)... with
  • g -- number; <g> three -- three
  • golubi -- noun; masculine accusative plural of <golo^bi'> dove, pigeon -- pigeons
  • da -- conjunction; <da> in order to, that; may, let; and, then -- and
  • g -- number; <g> three -- three
  • vorobi'i -- noun; masculine accusative plural of <vrabiji> sparrow -- sparrows
  • azu' -- pronoun; nominative singular of <azu'> I -- I
  • bo -- conjunction; <bo> for -- For
  • ne -- adverb; <ne> not -- not
  • xoshchju -- verb; 1st person singular present of <xotje'ti, xoshto^, xoshteshi> want, wish -- I do... wish
  • te^zhi'ki -- adjective; feminine genitive singular of <te^zhi'ku'> grave; burdensome; savage; intolerable -- burdensome # Note feminine genitive singular ending -i rather than -y, expected both based on the type of declension and on the fact that -i would historically have caused palatalization in the final velar. This, together with dani to which it refers, could also be taken as a feminine accusative plural. But on the one hand we would still expect the ending -y, and on the other hand we expect a genitive form due to negation.
  • dani -- noun; feminine genitive singular of <dani'> tribute -- tribute
  • vu'zlozhiti -- verb; infinitive of <vu'zlozhiti, -zho^, -zhishi> throw upon, cast upon; impose -- to impose
  • jako -- conjunction; <jako> as, when; in order to; that; because; (introduces quotation) -- as
  • zhe -- conjunction; <zhe> and, but -- ...
  • i -- adverb; <i> and; also, too, even -- ...
  • muzhi' -- noun; masculine nominative singular of <mo^zhi'> man, husband -- husband
  • moi -- adjective; masculine nominative singular of <moi, moe, moja> my, mine -- my
  • sego -- demonstrative pronoun; neuter genitive singular of <si', se, si> this, this one -- of this
  • proshju -- verb; 1st person singular present of <prositi, -sho^, -sishi> ask, demand -- (but) I seek
  • u -- preposition; <u> (w. gen.) near, at, by -- from
  • vasu' -- pronoun; genitive plural of <ty> you, thou -- you
  • malo -- adjective used as substantive; neuter accusative singular of <malu'> small, young -- a small part # Compare the construction with sego... mala in the following sentence.

134-135 - vy bo este izu'nemogli v osadje', da sego u vasu' proshju mala.

  • vy -- pronoun; nominative plural of <ty> you, thou -- you
  • bo -- conjunction; <bo> for -- For
  • este -- verb; 2nd person plural present of <byti, bo^do^, bo^deshi> be, become -- have been
  • izu'nemogli -- past participle; masculine nominative plural of <iznemoshti, -mogo^, -mozheshi> be unable; be weak; become wearied, be exhausted -- wearied
  • v -- preposition; <vu'> (w. loc.) in; (w. acc.) into -- by
  • osadje' -- noun; feminine locative singular of <osada> siege -- siege
  • da -- conjunction; <da> in order to, that; may, let; and, then -- so that
  • sego -- demonstrative adjective; neuter genitive singular of <si', se, si> this, this one -- this
  • u -- preposition; <u> (w. gen.) near, at, by -- from
  • vasu' -- pronoun; genitive plural of <ty> you, thou -- you
  • proshju -- verb; 1st person singular present of <prositi, -sho^, -sishi> ask, demand -- I seek
  • mala -- adjective used as substantive; neuter genitive singular of <malu'> small, young -- small portion # Note the use of the genitive with prositi 'to ask, demand'

136-138 - derevle^ne zhe radi byvshe i sobrasha o^ dvora po .g. golubi i po .g. vorobi'i i poslasha k oli'zje' s poklonomu'.

  • derevle^ne -- adjective used as substantive; masculine nominative plural of <drje'vljaninu'> Derevlian, from Dereva -- The Derevlians
  • zhe -- conjunction; <zhe> and, but -- ...
  • radi -- adjective; masculine nominative plural of <radu'> glad, happy -- happy
  • byvshe -- past participle; masculine nominative plural of <byti, bo^do^, bo^deshi> be, become -- having become
  • i -- conjunction; <i> and; also, too, even -- ...
  • sobrasha -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <su'bi'rati, -bero^, -bereshi> collect, gather -- collected
  • o^ -- preposition; <otu'> (w. gen.) of, from; by -- from
  • dvora -- noun; masculine genitive singular of <dvoru'> court, courtyard; home, household -- house
  • po -- preposition; <po> (w. dat.) on, about (motion on surface); (w. acc.) on, after, on account of; (w. loc.) after, following, for -- (each)...
  • g -- number; <g> three -- three
  • golubi -- noun; masculine accusative plural of <golo^bi'> dove, pigeon -- pigeons
  • i -- conjunction; <i> and; also, too, even -- and
  • po -- preposition; <po> (w. dat.) on, about (motion on surface); (w. acc.) on, after, on account of; (w. loc.) after, following, for -- (each)...
  • g -- number; <g> three -- three
  • vorobi'i -- noun; masculine accusative plural of <vrabiji> sparrow -- sparrows
  • i -- conjunction; <i> and; also, too, even -- and
  • poslasha -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <posu'lati, -l'jo^, -l'jeshi> send, summon -- sent
  • k -- preposition; <ku'> (w. dat.) to, toward -- to
  • oli'zje' -- proper noun; feminine dative singular of <Oli'ga> Olga, Helga (Scandinavian name) -- Olga
  • s -- preposition; <su'> (w. gen.) (down) from; (w. instr.) with -- with
  • poklonomu' -- noun; masculine instrumental singular of <poklonu'> bow; worship; salutation, greeting -- a greeting

138-140 - voli'ga zhe retche imu', se uzhe esti' pokorili se^ mnje' i moemu dje'te^ti. a idje'te vu' gradu' i pridu vu' gradosi'.

  • voli'ga -- proper noun; feminine nominative singular of <Oli'ga> Olga, Helga (Scandinavian name) -- Olga
  • zhe -- conjunction; <zhe> and, but -- And
  • retche -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <reshti, reko^, retcheshi> say, tell -- said
  • imu' -- pronoun; masculine dative plural of <*i> he -- to them
  • se -- interjection; <se> lo, behold -- Indeed
  • uzhe -- adverb; <juzhe, uzhe> already -- ...
  • esti' -- verb; 3rd person singular present of <byti, bo^do^, bo^deshi> be, become -- have # For expected este
  • pokorili -- past participle; masculine nominative plural of <pokoriti, -rjo^, -rishi> place under, submit, subject; be obedient, obey -- submitted
  • se^ -- pronoun; accusative singular of <sebe> -self, oneself -- ...
  • mnje' -- pronoun; dative singular of <azu'> I -- to me
  • i -- conjunction; <i> and; also, too, even -- and
  • moemu -- adjective; masculine dative singular of <moi, moe, moja> my, mine -- my
  • dje'te^ti -- noun; neuter dative singular of <dje'te^> infant; breast, teat; child -- child
  • a -- conjunction; <a> and, but; if -- ...
  • idje'te -- verb; 2nd person plural imperative of <iti, ido^, ideshi> go -- Go
  • vu' -- preposition; <vu'> (w. loc.) in; (w. acc.) into -- to
  • gradu' -- noun; masculine accusative singular of <gradu'> walled structure, walled fortification; garden, enclosed park; home, dwelling, household; city -- the city
  • i -- conjunction; <i> and; also, too, even -- and
  • pridu -- verb; 1st person singular present of <priti, -ido^, -ideshi> come, arrive -- I will arrive
  • vu' -- preposition; <vu'> (w. loc.) in; (w. acc.) into -- in
  • gradosi' -- noun; masculine accusative singular of <gradu'> walled structure, walled fortification; garden, enclosed park; home, dwelling, household; city + demonstrative adjective; masculine accusative singular of <si', se, si> this, this one -- that city # Note the combination of the noun and postposed demonstrative adjective. Since they are pronounced as a phonological unit, the final -u' of the accusative singular of gradu' finds itself in strong position and is vocalized as -o-.

140-143 - i derevle^ne zhe radi byvshe vnidosha vu' gradu' i povje'dasha ljudemu', i obradovasha se^ ljudi'e vu' gradje'.

  • i -- conjunction; <i> and; also, too, even -- ...
  • derevle^ne -- adjective used as substantive; masculine nominative plural of <drje'vljaninu'> Derevlian, from Dereva -- The Derevlians
  • zhe -- conjunction; <zhe> and, but -- ...
  • radi -- adjective; masculine nominative plural of <radu'> glad, happy -- happy
  • byvshe -- past participle; masculine nominative plural of <byti, bo^do^, bo^deshi> be, become -- having become
  • vnidosha -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <vu'niti, -ido^, -ideshi> go into, enter -- entered
  • vu' -- preposition; <vu'> (w. loc.) in; (w. acc.) into -- into
  • gradu' -- noun; masculine accusative singular of <gradu'> walled structure, walled fortification; garden, enclosed park; home, dwelling, household; city -- the city
  • i -- conjunction; <i> and; also, too, even -- and
  • povje'dasha -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <povje'dje'ti, -vje'mi', -vje'si> announce, report, recount -- informed
  • ljudemu' -- noun; masculine dative plural of <ljudi'je> (pl.) men, people; population, (a) people -- the people # Note the use of the dative with povje'dati 'to report, announce'
  • i -- conjunction; <i> and; also, too, even -- and
  • obradovasha -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <obradovati, -dujo^, -dujeshi> show grace; rejoice, be merry -- rejoiced
  • se^ -- pronoun; accusative singular of <sebe> -self, oneself -- ...
  • ljudi'e -- noun; masculine nominative plural of <ljudi'je> (pl.) men, people; population, (a) people -- the people
  • vu' -- preposition; <vu'> (w. loc.) in; (w. acc.) into -- in
  • gradje' -- noun; masculine locative singular of <gradu'> walled structure, walled fortification; garden, enclosed park; home, dwelling, household; city -- the city

Lesson Text

102 V lje'to ,dz. u. n d. 102-104 -
Oli'ga su' synomu' svoimu' svjatoslavomu' sobra voi mnogo i xrabry i ide na deri'vi'sku zemlju. 104-106 -
izidosha derevle^ne protivu. su'nemu'shemu' se^ obje'ma polkoma na skupi' sunu kopi'emu' svjatoslavu' na derevle^ny. 106-108 -
i kopi'e letje' skvozje' ushi konevi udari v nogi konevi, bje' bo dje'tesku'. 108-110 -
i retche svje'neldu' i asmoldu', kne^zi' uzhe potchalu'. pote^gnje'te, druzhina, po kne^zje'. i pobje'disha derevle^ny. 110-112 -
derevle^ne zhe pobje'gosha i zatvorisha se^ vu' gradje'xu' svoixu'. 112-115 -
oli'ga zhe ustremi se^ su' synu'mu' svoimu', a derevle^ne zatvorisha se^ vu' gradje' i bore^xu se^ krje'pko izu' grada, vje'dje'xu bo jako sami ubili kne^ze^ i na tchto se^ predati. 115-117 -
i stoja oli'ga lje'to, ne mozhashe vse^ti grada. i umysli sice. 117-120 -
posla ko gradu glagoljushchi, tchto xotchete dosje'dje'ti, a vsi gradi vashi predasha se^ mnje'. i jali se^ po dani' i dje'lajuti' nivy svoja i zemlje' svoja. 120-121 -
a vy xotchete izu'mereti gladomu', ne imutche se^ po dani'. 121-123 -
derevle^ne zhe rekosha, radi se^ byxomu' jali po dani', no xoshcheshi mi'shchati muzha svoego. 123-126 -
retche zhe imu' oli'ga, jako azu' mi'stila uzhe obidu muzha svoego kogda pridosha kievu, vtoroe i treti'ee kogda tvorixu' tryznu muzhevi svoemu. 126-128 -
a uzhe ne xoshchju mu'shchati, no xoshchju dani' imati po malu. smirivshi se^ s vami poidu ope^ti'. 128-130 -
rekosha zhe derevle^ne, shto xoshcheshi u nasu'. radi daemu' medomi' i skoroju. 130-131 -
ona zhe retche imu', nynje' u vasu' nje'sti' medu ni skory. no malo u vasu' proshju. 131-134 -
daite mi o^ dvora po .g. golubi da .g. vorobi'i. azu' bo ne xoshchju te^zhi'ki dani vu'zlozhiti, jako zhe i muzhi' moi, sego proshju u vasu' malo. 134-135 -
vy bo este izu'nemogli v osadje', da sego u vasu' proshju mala. 136-138 -
derevle^ne zhe radi byvshe i sobrasha o^ dvora po .g. golubi i po .g. vorobi'i i poslasha k oli'zje' s poklonomu'. 138-140 -
voli'ga zhe retche imu', se uzhe esti' pokorili se^ mnje' i moemu dje'te^ti. a idje'te vu' gradu' i pridu vu' gradosi'. 140-143 -
i derevle^ne zhe radi byvshe vnidosha vu' gradu' i povje'dasha ljudemu', i obradovasha se^ ljudi'e vu' gradje'.

Translation

102 In the year 6454.
102-104 Olga, together with her son Svjatoslav, gathered an army great and fierce and went to the land of Dereva. 104-106 The Derevlians came out to meet them. When the two forces had gathered together, Svjatoslav lashed out with a spear against the Derevlians. 106-108 But the spear flew past the ears of the horse and struck against the horse's leg, for he was (still) a boy. 108-110 And Sveinald and Asmund said, "The prince has already begun, so, guards, move after the prince!" And they drove back the Derevlians. 110-112 The Derevlians fled and shut themselves up in their stronghold. 112-115 Olga set forth with her son, but the Derevlians holed up in their stronghold and fought strenuously from their fortress, for they knew they had killed the prince and to what they would surrender themselves. 115-117 Olga remained for a year, (but) she was unable to take the city. And she devised the following. 117-120 She sent to the city, saying, "Why do you want to remain besieged, while all your other towns have surrendered to me? They have taken to tribute, and they till their fields and quarry their land. 120-121 But you wish to die of famine, not taking yourselves to tribute." 121-123 The Derevlians responded, "We would gladly have undertaken tribute, but you want to avenge your husband." 123-126 Olga said to them, "I already avenged the injustice against my husband when they came to Kiev, the second and third (times) when I performed the wake for my husband. 126-128 Now I do not wish to avenge (him), but rather I wish to receive a small tribute. After making peace with you, I will go back." 128-130 And the Derevlians responded, "What do you want from us? We will happily provide (you) with honey and hide(s)." 130-131 And she replied to them, "There is by you now neither honey nor hide(s). But I seek little from you. 131-134 From (each) house provide me with 3 pigeons and 3 sparrows. For I do not wish to impose a burdensome tribute, as my husband, but I seek a small part of this from you. 134-135 For you have been wearied by siege, so that I seek this small portion from you." 136-138 The Derevlians, having become happy, collected from (each) house 3 pigeons and 3 sparrows and sent to Olga with a greeting. 138-140 And Olga said to them, "Indeed you have submitted to me and my child. Go to the city and I will arrive in that city." 140-143 The Derevlians, having become happy, entered into the city and informed the people, and the people rejoiced in the city.

Grammar

26. The Present Active Participle

The present active participle is a particular verbal adjective which denotes an action that is ongoing at the time of the main verb of the clause in which it occurs. As such the term "present" in the name is a misnomer: better terminology would perhaps be "concurrent active participle". The fact that the participle is active denotes that the noun modified by the participle is the one doing, rather than receiving, the action represented by the underlying verb.

The present active participle of Old Russian parallels the English participle in -ing. Consider for example the sentence Walking into the store yesterday, I saw the man you mentioned. Here walking is a present active participle, modifying the subject I of the main verb saw. The main verb itself is in the past tense, and it is clear from the context that the entire statement speaks about past time. Thus walking cannot refer to any action of the present time, even though it is still called the present active participle. Rather the participle walking represents an action that was still developing, or ongoing, when the action represented by the main verb saw occurred.

The Old Russian present active participle is formed by means of adding one of two similar suffixes to the present tense stem of the verb. We have discussed in Section 4.1 how to obtain this stem. A convenient way of viewing the process in the context of the present active participle is: take the third person plural of the present tense, and remove the ending -- either -uti' or -jati'. What remains is the present tense stem. To this stem Old Russian adds either of the two suffixes, each of which has two forms, according to the following rules:

  • Add the stem -utch- or -ushch-, derived from CS *-o^tj-, to those verbs whose present tense third person plural ending is -uti';
  • Add the stem -jatch- or -jashch-, derived from CS *-e^tj-, to those verbs whose present tense third person plural ending is -jati';
  • Class V verbs form an exception and employ the stem -utch- or -ushch-, even though their present tense third person plural ending is -jati'.

To these stems we append endings which for the most part follow the twofold nominal declension.

The nominative singular is special. In Old Church Slavonic we see the preservation of two different options for the common ending of the masculine and neuter nominative singular: -y and -e^. In Old Church Slavonic those verbs whose present tense stem (without the thematic vowel) ends in a hard consonant exhibit the ending -y for the masculine and neuter nominative singular. Verbs whose stem ends in a palatal glide take the ending -e^. In Old Russian, by contrast, we typically find -a where OCS shows -y. And we generally find -ja where OCS shows -e^, i.e. in those verbs whose present tense stem ends in a palatal glide. For all verbs, the feminine nominative singular derives from the ending -i added to the present active participle stem.

It is important to note that both -utch- and -ushch- are extremely common in the Old Russian texts. Even though the paradigms that follow will show exclusively the stem -utch-, the reader should not get the impression that -ushch- occurs less frequently. The same applies to the variants -jatch- and -jashch-.

26.1. Present Participle Active: Classes I, II, V

The verbs of classes I, II, and V have present tense stems ending in a hard consonant. We therefore expect a masculine and neuter nominative singular in -a. Given that these verbs have third person plural present ending -uti', except for Class V verbs, we expect the suffix -utch- or -ushch-. Consider the following table.

Class   Infinitive   Meaning   3rd Pl.   Masc. N Sg.   Stem
I   nesti   carry   nes-uti'   nes-a   nes-utch-
II   dvignuti   move   dvign-uti'   dvign-a   dvign-utch-
V   dati   give   dadjati'   dad-a   dad-utch-

The forms of the verb iti 'to go', with stem id- (cf. third person plural present id-uti'), serve to illustrate the paradigm of the present active participle.

    Masculine   Neuter   Feminine
N Sg.   ida   ida   idutchi
A   idutchi'   idutche   idutchju
G   idutchja   idutchja   idutchje'
L   idutchi   idutchi   idutchi
D   idutchju   idutchju   idutchi
I   idutchemi'   idutchemi'   idutcheju
V   ida   ida   idutchi
             
N Du.   idutchja   idutchi   idutchi
A   idutchja   idutchi   idutchi
G   idutchju   idutchju   idutchju
L   idutchju   idutchju   idutchju
D   idutchema   idutchema   idutchjama
I   idutchema   idutchema   idutchjama
V   idutchja   idutchi   idutchi
             
N Pl.   idutche   idutchja   idutchje'
A   idutchje'   idutchja   idutchje'
G   idutchi'   idutchi'   idutchi'
L   idutchixu'   idutchixu'   idutchjaxu'
D   idutchemu'   idutchemu'   idutchjamu'
I   idutchi   idutchi   idutchjami
V   idutche   idutchja   idutchje'
26.2. Present Participle Active: Class III

The verbs of class III have present tense stems ending either in a glide or in a palatal consonant. We therefore expect a masculine and neuter nominative singular in -ja. Verbs with stem ending in a palatal consonant, however, often shown the ending -a. Since these verbs also have third person plural present tense in -juti', we find the suffix -jutch- or -jushch-, influenced by the stem-final glide. Consider the following table.

Class   Infinitive   Meaning   3rd Pl.   Masc. N Sg.   Stem
III.A   znati   know   zna-juti'   zna-ja   zna-jutch-
III.B   pi'sati   write   pi'sh-juti'   pish-a   pish-jutch-

The verb znati 'to know', with stem zna- (phonetically [znaj-]) and third person plural present zna-juti', has present active participle stem znajutch-. The declension is as follows.

    Masculine   Neuter   Feminine
N Sg.   znaja   znaja   znajutchi
A   znajutchi'   znajutche   znajutchju
G   znajutchja   znajutchja   znajutchje'
L   znajutchi   znajutchi   znajutchi
D   znajutchju   znajutchju   znajutchi
I   znajutchemi'   znajutchemi'   znajutcheju
V   znaja   znaja   znajutchi
             
N Du.   znajutchja   znajutchi   znajutchi
A   znajutchja   znajutchi   znajutchi
G   znajutchju   znajutchju   znajutchju
L   znajutchju   znajutchju   znajutchju
D   znajutchema   znajutchema   znajutchjama
I   znajutchema   znajutchema   znajutchjama
V   znajutchja   znajutchi   znajutchi
             
N Pl.   znajutche   znajutchja   znajutchje'
A   znajutchje'   znajutchja   znajutchje'
G   znajutchi'   znajutchi'   znajutchi'
L   znajutchixu'   znajutchixu'   znajutchjaxu'
D   znajutchemu'   znajutchemu'   znajutchjamu'
I   znajutchi   znajutchi   znajutchjami
V   znajutche   znajutchja   znajutchje'
26.3. Present Participle Active: Class IV

Finally we have the verbs of class IV. These verbs also have present tense stems ending in a palatal glide. We again expect a masculine and neuter nominative singular in -ja. As these verbs have third person plural present tense in -jati', we find the suffix -jatch- or -jashch-. Consider the following table.

Class   Infinitive   Meaning   3rd Pl.   Masc. N Sg.   Stem
IV   xod-i-ti   go   xod-jati'   xod-ja   xod-jatch-

The verb prositi 'to ask', with stem pros- and third person plural present pros-jati', has present active participle stem prosjatch-. The declension is as follows.

    Masculine   Neuter   Feminine
N Sg.   prosja   prosja   prosjatchi
A   prosjatchi'   prosjatche   prosjatchju
G   prosjatchja   prosjatchja   prosjatchje'
L   prosjatchi   prosjatchi   prosjatchi
D   prosjatchju   prosjatchju   prosjatchi
I   prosjatchemi'   prosjatchemi'   prosjatcheju
V   prosja   prosja   prosjatchi
             
N Du.   prosjatchja   prosjatchi   prosjatchi
A   prosjatchja   prosjatchi   prosjatchi
G   prosjatchju   prosjatchju   prosjatchju
L   prosjatchju   prosjatchju   prosjatchju
D   prosjatchema   prosjatchema   prosjatchjama
I   prosjatchema   prosjatchema   prosjatchjama
V   prosjatchja   prosjatchi   prosjatchi
             
N Pl.   prosjatche   prosjatchja   prosjatchje'
A   prosjatchje'   prosjatchja   prosjatchje'
G   prosjatchi'   prosjatchi'   prosjatchi'
L   prosjatchixu'   prosjatchixu'   prosjatchjaxu'
D   prosjatchemu'   prosjatchemu'   prosjatchjamu'
I   prosjatchi   prosjatchi   prosjatchjami
V   prosjatche   prosjatchja   prosjatchje'
26.4. Present Participle Active: Long Form

The present active participle also appears in a long, or definite, form. This follows the pattern outlined in Section 17, whereby the underlying construction involves appending the corresponding case form of the third person pronoun *i to the participle. In particular the present active participle follows the pattern of the soft long-form adjectives as in Section 17.2. The present active participle of iti 'to go' serves to illustrate the paradigm.

ORuss   Masculine   Neuter   Feminine
N Sg.   idai   idutcheje   idutchija
A   idutchi'i   idutcheje   idutchjuju
G   idutchjego   idutchjego   idutchjeje'
L   idutchjemi'   idutchjemi'   idutchjei
D   idutchjemu   idutchjemu   idutchjei
I   idutchimi'   idutchimi'   idutchjeju
V   idai   idutcheje   idutchija
             
N Du.   idutchjaja   idutchii   idutchii
A   idutchjaja   idutchii   idutchii
G   idutchjeju   idutchjeju   idutchjeju
L   idutchjeju   idutchjeju   idutchjeju
D   idutchima   idutchima   idutchima
I   idutchima   idutchima   idutchima
V   idutchjaja   idutchii   idutchii
             
N Pl.   idutchii   idutchjaja   idutchje'je'
A   idutchje'je'   idutchjaja   idutchje'je'
G   idutchixu'   idutchixu'   idutchixu'
L   idutchixu'   idutchixu'   idutchixu'
D   idutchimu'   idutchimu'   idutchimu'
I   idutchimi   idutchimi   idutchimi
V   idutchii   idutchjaja   idutchje'je'
26.5. Present Participle Active: 'be'

The verb 'be' has stem jes- in all forms of the present tense except the third person plural: compare singular first person jesmi' and second person jesi to the plural third person suti'. Removing the third person plural ending, we are left with s-, to which the present active participle stem is applied according to the rules outlined above: s-ushch-. In the nominative singular masculine, however, we find the form sy 'being', showing the ending common to Old Church Slavonic.

27. The Conditional Construction

Common Slavic apparently inherited the Indo-European optative in certain forms of the verb 'to be'. The Indo-European optative was originally a separate verbal mood used for hypothetical or non-factual situations, like the subjunctive, but generally restricted in its use to clauses expressing some notion related to wish or desire. These forms were retained in Old Church Slavonic in a paradigm called the conditional, and we list them here for purposes of reference.

OCS   Singular   Dual   Plural
1   bimi'       bimu'
2   bi       biste
3   bi       bo^

The dual forms are unattested.

In East Slavic, however, we find no remnants of these specifically conditional forms. Rather they seem to have been replaced by the aorist forms of byti 'to be', listed in the table below.

ORuss   Singular   Dual   Plural
1   byxu'   byxovje'   byxomu'
2   by   bysta   byste
3   by   bysta   bysha

Thus we see the substitution of an irrealis mood, the optative, by what is properly an indicative mood. We find a parallel in modern English, where colloquial speech commonly replaces the subjunctive If I were you... with the past indicative If I was you....

With these forms Old Russian frequently constructs a hypothetical mood known as the conditional or conditional-optative mood. The periphrastic construction typically involves the l-participle. The most frequent use of the conditional-optative is to mark situations as contrafactual (contrary-to-fact), parallel to English constructions such as If you had only told me... (the construction implying that, in fact, you did not tell me). In addition we find the conditional-optative used in clauses denoting purpose, similar to English I gave him money so that he might buy candy. Moreover we occasionally find the conditional-optative in clauses, even independent clauses, denoting a wish: cf. English Would that you might heed my call... or If only you would heed my call.... Finally, the aorist forms of byti 'to be' may be used alone to lend hypothetical force to a clause. The following list provides some examples of the various uses.

  • Contrafactual: The conditional-optative may denote events supposed by the speaker not to have happened. For example, ashche bo by Kyi perevozi'niku' bylu', to ne by xodilu' Cje'sarjugradu 'For if Kyi had been a ferryman, then he would not have gone to Constantinople' (Primary Chronicle).
  • Purpose clause: The conditional-optative in a subordinate clause may denote the purpose of the main or governing clause. For example, da by Bogu' povelje'lu' i tvoja molitva, da byxomu' postavili ci'rku'vicju malu vu'nje' petchery 'May God and thy prayer order that we might build a small church outside of the cave' (Primary Chronicle).
  • Wish: The conditional-optative may be used to mark an independent clause as a wish. The clause is frequently introduced by the conjunction da. For example, da by Bogu' povelje'lu' i tvoja molitva, da byxomu' postavili ci'rku'vicju malu vu'nje' petchery 'May God and thy prayer order that we might build a small church outside of the cave' (Primary Chronicle).
  • Independent: The aorist forms of byti 'to be' may themselves denote a hypothetical situation. For example, Luce zhu' by potjatu byti... 'It would be better to be killed...' (Igor Tale).
28. First Conjugation

Old Russian verbs fall into five basic classes based on their conjugation patterns in the present tense. Here we explain the basic pattern characterizing Class I verbs.

The first conjugation of verbs in Old Russian comprises those verbs which show in the present tense the results of an original PIE *-e/o-, known as the thematic vowel, applied directly to the original verbal root. The thematic vowel *-o- historically appeared in the 1st person of all numbers and in the 3rd person plural; the thematic vowel *-e- appeared before all other endings. However in Slavic it appears that the thematic *-o- of the 1st person dual and plural was early replaced by *-e-. The paradigm of bi'rati 'to take, collect' illustrates the evolution. For comparison, the table lists the forms of Greek phero: 'I carry', from the same Indo-European root.

    PIE   Early CS   Late CS   Old Russian   Greek
1 Sg.   *bher-o-mi   *ber-o-m   *bero^   beru   phero:
2   *bher-e-sei   *ber-e-si   *bereshi   bereshi   phereis
3   *bher-e-ti   *ber-e-ti'       bereti'   pherei
                     
1 Du.   *bher-o-ues   *ber-e-ue:   *berevje'   berevje'   -
2   *bher-e-tos   *ber-e-tas   *bereta   bereta   phereton
3   *bher-e-tos   *ber-e-te   *berete   bereta   phereton
                     
1 Pl.   *bher-o-mon   *ber-e-mu   *beremu'   beremu'   pheromen
2   *bher-e-te   *ber-e-te       berete   pherete
3   *bher-o-nti   *ber-o-nti'   *bero^ti'   beruti'   (Doric) pheronti

This shows the origin of the overarching pattern in the Old Russian Class I present paradigm: -u and -uti' in the 1st person singular and 3rd person plural, and -e- before every other ending in the paradigm. Root-final consonants naturally show the results of palatalization before the front vowel -e-.

Within Old Russian the verbs that belong to Class I fall into two broad categories, typically termed A and B. The distinction is based on whether or not the infinitive shows the suffix -a-:

  • Class IA: these verbs display a suffix neither in the present stem nor in the infinitive stem. Example: nesti 'to carry', with stem nes- appearing both in the infinitive stem (nes-ti) and in the present stem (nes-e-shi).
  • Class IB: these verbs display no suffix in the present stem, but they show the suffix -a- in the infinitive stem. Example: zu'vati 'to call', with stem zu'v-a- derived from the infinitive and showing the suffix -a-, but which loses the -a- in the present stem zov- (cf. 2nd sg. zov-e-shi).

The chart below provides some examples of Class I verbs of type A and B. Note that the first person singular form shows the stem-final consonant before the palatalizing effects of the thematic vowel *-e-.

Class   Infinitive   Meaning   1st Sg.   2nd Sg.   Pres. Stem   Suffixed Stem
IA   gnesti   press   gnetu   gneteshi   gnet-    
IA   vesti   lead   vedu   vedeshi   ved-    
IA   greti   bury   grebu   grebeshi   greb-    
IA   na-tchjati   begin   natchi'nu   natchi'neshi   na-tchi'n-    
                         
IB   bi'rati   collect   beru   bereshi   ber-   bi'r-a-
IB   zhi'dati   expect   zhi'du   zhi'deshi   zhi'd-   zhid-a-
IB   tu'kati   weave   tu'ku   tu'tcheshi   tu'k-   tu'k-a-
IB   gu'nati   drive out   zhenu   zheneshi   zhen-   gu'n-a-

The following table indicates the first conjugation paradigms with the Class IA verbs nesti 'to carry' (stem nes-), reshti or retchi 'to say' (stem rek-), vu'z-jati 'to take' (stem vu'z-i'm-); and the Class IB verb zu'vati (present stem zov-, infinitive stem zu'v-a-). Note that only the verb reshchi 'to say' preserves a sigmatic aorist; the remaining verbs show only the new aorist formation. Moreover the -ja- of the verb vu'z-jati 'to take' derives from an original nasalized vowel (cf. OCS vu'z-e^ti) and this nasal element reappears throughout the paradigm when followed by a vowel.

Class I   IA   IA   IA   IB
Stem   nes-   rek-   vu'z-i'm-   zov-
Present                
1 Sg.   nesu   reku   vu'z-i'mu   zovu
2   neseshi   retcheshi   vu'z-i'meshi   zoveshi
3   neseti'   retcheti'   vu'z-i'meti'   zoveti'
                 
1 Du.   nesevje'   retchevje'   vu'z-i'mevje'   zovevje'
2   neseta   retcheta   vu'z-i'meta   zoveta
3   neseta   retcheta   vu'z-i'meta   zoveta
                 
1 Pl.   nesemu'   retchemu'   vu'z-i'memu'   zovemu'
2   nesete   retchete   vu'z-i'mete   zovete
3   nesuti'   rekuti'   vu'z-i'muti'   zovuti'
                 
Imperative                
1 Sg.   -   -   -   -
2   nesi   ri'ci   vu'z-i'mi   zovi
3   nesi   ri'ci   vu'z-i'mi   zovi
                 
1 Du.   nesje'vje'   ri'cje'vje'   vu'z-i'mje'vje'   zovje'vje'
2   nesje'ta   ri'cje'ta   vu'z-i'mje'ta   zovje'ta
3   -   -   -   -
                 
1 Pl.   nesje'mu'   ri'cje'mu'   vu'z-i'mje'mu'   zovje'mu'
2   nesje'te   ri'cje'te   vu'z-i'mje'te   zovje'te
3   -   -   -   -
                 
Pres. Act. Part.                
Masc./Neut. N   nesa   reka   vu'z-i'ma   zova
Fem. N   nesutchi   rekutchi   vu'z-i'mutchi   zovutchi
                 
Pres. Pass. Part.                
Masc. N   nesomu'   rekomu'   vu'z-i'momu'   zovomu'
                 
Imperfect                
1 Sg.   nesjaaxu'   retchaaxu'   vu'z-i'mjaaxu'   zu'vaaxu'
2   nesjaashe   retchaashe   vu'z-i'mjaashe   zu'vaashe
3   nesjaashe   retchaashe   vu'z-i'mjaashe   zu'vaashe
                 
1 Du.   nesjaaxovje'   retchaaxovje'   vu'z-i'mjaaxovje'   zu'vaaxovje'
2   nesjaasheta   retchaasheta   vu'z-i'mjaasheta   zu'vaasheta
3   nesjaasheta   retchaasheta   vu'z-i'mjaasheta   zu'vaasheta
                 
1 Pl.   nesjaaxomu'   retchaaxomu'   vu'z-i'mjaaxomu'   zu'vaaxomu'
2   nesjaashete   retchaashete   vu'z-i'mjaashete   zu'vaashete
3   nesjaaxu   retchaaxu   vu'z-i'mjaaxu   zu'vaaxu
                 
Sigmatic Aorist                
1 Sg.   -   rje'xu'   -   -
2   -   retche   -   -
3   -   retche   -   -
                 
1 Du.   -   rje'xovje'   -   -
2   -   rje'sta   -   -
3   -   rje'sta   -   -
                 
1 Pl.   -   rje'xomu'   -   -
2   -   rje'ste   -   -
3   -   rje'sha   -   -
                 
New Aorist                
1 Sg.   nesoxu'   rekoxu'   vu'z-jaxu'   zu'vaxu'
2   nese   retche   vu'z-ja(ti')   zu'va
3   nese   retche   vu'z-ja(ti')   zu'va
                 
1 Du.   nesoxovje'   rekoxovje'   vu'z-jaxovje'   zu'vaxovje'
2   nesosta   rekosta   vu'z-jasta   zu'vasta
3   nesosta   rekosta   vu'z-jasta   zu'vasta
                 
1 Pl.   nesoxomu'   rekoxomu'   vu'z-jaxomu'   zu'vaxomu'
2   nesoste   rekoste   vu'z-jaste   zu'vaste
3   nesosha   rekosha   vu'z-jasha   zu'vasha
                 
Past Act. Part.                
Masc./Neut. N   nesu'   reku'   vu'z-i'mu'   zu'vavu'
Fem. N   nesu'shi   reku'shi   vu'z-i'mu'shi   zu'vavu'shi
                 
Resultative Part.                
Masc. N   neslu'   reklu'   vu'z-jalu'   zu'valu'
                 
Past Pass. Part.                
Masc. N   nesenu'   retchenu'   vu'z-jatu'   zu'vanu'
                 
Infinitive   nesti   reshti/retchi   vu'z-jati   zu'vati
                 
Supine   nestu'   reshtu'   vu'z-jatu'   zu'vatu'
                 
Verbal Noun   (pri)neseni'je   (na)retcheni'e   vu'z-jati'je   zu'vani'je
29. The Accusative Case

In its most basic interpretation the accusative case in Old Russian marks the direct object of a transitive verb. That is, of course, if the verb is not negated or if the direct object is not a male human being, whereby Old Russian generally prefers to mark the direct object with the genitive case. This use of the accusative coincides with its use in other archaic Indo-European languages such as Greek and Latin. The verb need not be in a finite (conjugated) form, but can typically also be in a non-finite form such as the infinitive. The verbal noun may occasionally take the accusative as well. Consider the following examples of the accusative as direct object.

  • poimalu' esi vsju dani' 'You have taken all the tribute' (Olga's Revenge).
  • poimemu' zhenu ego voli'gu za kne^zi' svoi malu' 'Let us take his wife, Olga, for our prince Mal' (Olga's Revenge).
  • derevlene ubisha igore^ i druzhinu ego 'The Derevlians killed Igor and his retinue' (Olga's Revenge). Note here that both igore^ 'Igor' and druzhinu 'retinue' are direct objects of the verb ubisha 'killed', but igore^ shows the genitive rather than accusative case. This typically occurs only when the direct object is a male human being.
  • orli klektomu' na kosti zvje'ri zovutu' 'The eagles with their cry summon the animals to the bones' (Igor Tale). The example illustrates how nouns representing animals, as opposed to humans, generally do not take the genitive when functioning as direct objects. But this rule is not strict within Old Russian (cf. the discussion of the genitive, Section 34).

The Old Russian usage of the accusative case, and of other cases in general, does not necessarily coincide with the use of the accusative in modern Russian. For instance some verbs in Old Russian take a direct object in the accusative where the modern Russian equivalent would require a preposition. Consider the examples below.

  • slyshavu' jaroslavu' vlu'xvy, pride suzhdalju 'Jaroslav, having heard (about) the musicians, came to Suzdal' (Primary Chronicle). In Old Russian slyshati by itself meant 'to hear (about)', its meaning in essence "including" the preposition which both English and modern Russian must make explicit with the phrases hear about and slyshati' o, respectively.
  • pojutu' vremja busovo 'They sing (about) the time(s) of Bus' (Igor Tale). Here again the basic verb "includes" the preposition: pje'ti 'to sing (about)', so that the theme sung appears in the accusative. Compare modern Russian peti' o 'to sing about'.

The accusative nevertheless appears also in statements which include no transitive verb, or in clauses where the accusative case does not mark the direct object. Heuristically speaking, such uses of the accusative generally serve to denote some sort of direction or extent in space or time, or the goal or endpoint of motion in a particular direction. The following samples provide examples of the accusative marking the goal of directed motion.

  • poide ko ti'stu svoemu Kievu' 'he went to Kiev to his father-in-law' (Primary Chronicle, Laurentian Codex).
  • i pride Xolmu' 'and came to Kholm' (Primary Chronicle, Laurentian Codex).

The examples below, by constrast, show instances in which the phrase in the accusative denotes the duration in time over which an event takes place. The accusative may similarly express the extent in space. Consider the following examples of the accusative of extent of time or space.

  • bishasja deni', bishasja drugyi, treti'jago dni ku' poludnju padosha stjazi igorevy 'They fought one day, they fought a second; on the third day toward midday Igor's standards fell' (Igor Tale).
  • oseni' umre polovetchi'skyi knjazi' 'During the autumn the Polovtsian prince died' (Primary Chronicle, Laurentian Codex).
  • i stoja oli'ga lje'to ne mozhashe vse^ti grada 'And Olga stayed for a year, (but) was unable to take the city' (Olga's Revenge).
30. Participles

Old Russian is enamored of participles. Participles find far greater use in Old Russian than in English. Broadly speaking, Old Russian participles come in two basic flavors: present and past participles. Present participles typically denote an action which is ongoing at the time of the main verb of the clause. Past participles typically denote an action already started by, and usually completed before, the time of the main verb of the clause. In this sense the terms present and past are misnomers when applied to participles: a present participle used in conjuction with a past tense verb, say, will denote an action also in the past; the present participle merely says the action is contemporaneous with the main verb, so that if the finite verb is in the past, associated present participles will also refer to past actions. The terms present and past, as applied to participles, simply denote the relative state of completion of the action with respect to the main verb. The following excerpts provide some examples of the distinction of relative states of completion.

  • i posu'la ku' drevljanomu', rekushchi sice... 'And she sent for the Derevlians, speaking thus...' (Olga's Revenge). Here the present participle rekushchi accompanies a past-tense verb (posu'la) and so itself refers to a past action, though one that happened to be ongoing when the action represented by the finite verb took place.
  • oni zhe, to slyshavu'she, su'vezosha medy mu'nogy zje'lo 'And they, having heard this, gathered very great (quantities of) honey' (Olga's Revenge). Here the past participle slyshavu'she shows that the action was started, and completed, before the action represented by the main verb su'vezosha.

One motivation for the frequent use of participles found in Old Russian, especially in the narrative texts which are so abundant in the corpus, is that they provide a simple way of relating a sequence of actions without being redundant. For example in a narrative text dealing with events occurring in the past, we might run accross numerous uses of the imperfect tense. But after the first use of the imperfect tense, the time frame becomes clear: we are talking about the past. What then becomes important, supposing for the sake of argument that the subject does not change between actions, is not the marking of past time, which is what finite verb conjugation achieves, but rather the relative ordering of events. An imperfect accompanied, say, by a past participle then makes clear that the action denoted by the past participle preceded the action represented by the imperfect; but the speaker or writer need not redundantly employ imperfect morphology to place the events. In fact, simply using two imperfects would be ambiguous: each imperfect would mark the fact that each action occurred before the composition of the sentence (i.e. before the present), but they would not, by themselves, say which of the two actions came first. One would need additional adverbs to place the imperfects in time relative to one another. By contrast the combination of an imperfect with another past participle immediately solves the problem.

Many instances of participle use in Old Russian occur where in English one might expect a full clause with a conjugated verb. Consider the following example of a participle in place of a finite clause: idezhe krivo, bratije, ispravivu'she tchi'tje'te 'wherever (it is) wrong, brothers, having corrected (it), read (on)' (Sbornik Svjatoslava Jaroslavitcha). This instead of 'wherever it is wrong, brothers, correct it and read on', which would amount to two parallel imperatives.

Often Old Russian uses the participle to stand for a relative clause. Consider the following examples.

  • i na puti tomi' stojaxu muzhi tchi'rni velici vu'oruzheni, kopija di'rzhashche v ruku i strje'zhaxu puti' tu', ne dadushche nikomu zhe minovati 'and beside that road were standing black, huge, armed men, brandishing spears in (their) hands, and they were guarding that road, not permitting anyone to pass' (Zhitije Nifonta, 1219). Typical English phrasing might render this '... men, who were brandishing spears... and did not permit...'.
  • zhenjaisja pushcheniceju 'whosoever marries the divorced woman...' (Ostromir Gospel, Matthew 5.32, cf. Sreznevskij, 1898, vol. 1, p. 858). Here the participle zhenjaisja 'the one marrying' corresponds to Greek use of the relative pronoun hos with a finite verb: hos ean apolelumene:n game:se:i 'he who would marry a divorced woman'.

Occasionally in Old Russian the participle forms the only verbal element in a clause. In such instances we take the participle as complete predicate. The following excerpts provide examples.

  • slyshavi'she zhe drevljane jako opjati' ideti' sdumavu'she so ku'njazem svoim malom 'The Derevlians heard that he came back (and) they sought counsel with their prince Mal' (Death of Igor).
  • ku'njazi' nashi' ubienu' 'our prince (has been) killed' (Olga's Revenge).

As Old Russian employs participles where English might employ a full clause, the participles often take on connotations appropriate to different types of subordinate clauses in English. In particular participles may have causal force (as in English 'because...'), concessive (English 'although...'), temporal (English 'when...' or 'after...'), or conditional (English 'if...'). For example, the following excerpts show participles displaying a causal force.

  • a nynje' vodja novuju zhenu, a mnje' ne vu'dasti' nitchitozhe 'Now that (since) (he's) taking a new wife, he will give me nothing' (Novgorodskie berestjanye gramoty, cf. Vlasto, 1986, p.203).
  • ini zhe, ne su'vje'dushche, rje'sha jako Kyi esti' perevozi'niku' bylu' 'And they said, not knowing, that Kyi had been a ferryman' (Primary Chronicle). Rendered with a finite clause: 'And, because they did not know, they said that Kyi had been a ferryman'.

By contrast, the following example shows a participle with temporal force: izmyvu'shesja, pridje'te ku' mu'nje' 'Having washed yourselves, come to me' (Olga's Revenge). Rendered by a finite clause: 'After you have washed yourselves, come to me'.

At times certain participles appear to have lost most of their verbal force and seem to function simply as adjectives. Such participles are typically passive. When built from the present passive participle, they frequently denote the possibility of the verbal action. When built from past passive participles, they usually denote the result of the verbal action and lose the verbal force altogether. Consider the following participles which function as simple adjectives:

  • vidimu' 'visible';
  • nerazorimu' 'indestructible';
  • su'mje'renu' 'humble'.