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Old Russian Online

Lesson 8

Todd B. Krause and Jonathan Slocum

V. The Tartar Invasion

The final element in our understanding of the history surrounding the "classical" period of Old Russian language and literature is the Tartar invasion. Linguistic change is rarely so drastic as political change or the incursion of an invading force upon a foreign land. We therefore cannot say that the "classical" period of Old Russian literature ends with the Tartar invasion. Nevertheless the Tartar invasion provides a particular event that nicely coincides with a general period in which we see the Old Russian language in transition. Moreover the Tartar invasion provides an impetus for political and cultural shifts that ultimately accentuate dialectal distinctions within the East Slavic speaking community, and at the same time it provides a catalyst for a transfer from Kiev to Moscow of the cultural center of literary production.

The Old Russian accounts of the Tartar invasion describe the onslaught as if it came out of nowhere. From the perspective of the Eastern Slavs, that was largely true: what drove the Tartars westward during that particular period were largely forces whose origin lay in the movements and stuggles within and between tribes located far away in the Central Asian expanse. The most obvious result of Slavic contact with marauding armies mirrored the impact of so many other so-called barbarian tribes as they impinged on Europe from the east: destruction and disarray. But the destruction wrought by the Tartars struck deep into the culture and the character of the Eastern Slavs. And part of the reason for the profound effect of Tartar subjugation within the land of the Rus may be sought in the general turn of events that happened to coincide with the Tartar advance. Below we seek to outline some of these events.

V.i The Slow Decline

As it happens, the outlook was already bleak for the major powers then controlling commerce in and around the Black Sea. In particular the great empire of Byzantium was on the wane. Byzantium had formerly built itself into a fearsome military power armed with awe-inspiring weaponry, such as the renowned "Greek fire", a kind of flame-throwing technology that struck terror into the hearts of attacking navies. But in the centuries leading up to the Tartar invasion, Byzantium's military prowess had begun to lose its luster.

Old Russian sources tell us of various East Slavic sorties against Byzantium in the 10th century. By in large these were as often successful as not. But for the most part they do not seem to have had a lasting effect on the Empire as a whole: rather they often seem to have been used as a ploy by the Rus to better their terms of trade with their most important economic partner. But the 11th century brought a turn for the worse. In particular in the year 1071 the Seljuk Turks defeated Byzantine forces in Armenia and then proceeded to lay waste to the rest of Anatolia. As if this were not enough, the same year saw the Normans dispossess the Byzantines of their territories in Italy and from there proceed to harry their Balkan possessions (Adams et al., 1966).

The Turkic and Norman attacks, however, merely provided the aperitif. The year 1095 saw the opening of the Crusades, and the continual march of armies through Byzantine territory on their way to the Holy Land took its toll on the Empire. The same general mobilization of forces and shifting of supply lines was accompanied by an interruption of Byzantium's sea-borne trade. Weakened by decades of continual fighting, in the 12th century the the Empire enlisted the help of the Venetian navy to protect its sea routes. This however led to the adverse result in which the Venetians monopolized regional commerce, and so Byzantium eventually had recourse to luring in other Italian merchants to offset the Venetian monopoly. This could not, however, turn around Byzantine fortunes. The capstone of the Empire's decline finally came in the year 1204, when the Crusaders sacked Byzantium (Adams et al., 1966).

The decline of Byzantium was in turn a bad omen for Kiev, given the close economic ties between the two. Moreover, even what trade remained between the two cultural centers was further hindered by additional tribal migrations. Many of the same forces that spurred Tartar westward expansion, as well as the Tartar expansion itself, had also driven other tribes inhabiting the steppes to push westward. Among these are counted the Polovtsians (or Cumans, or Qipchaqs), a nomadic tribe of west Central Asia. During this general period of unrest they migrated into the region of the lower Dnieper. As with many of the steppe peoples, they displayed a keen military prowess, and they frequently attacked the Rus. Though, unlike the Tartars, they seem not to have displayed any imperial aspirations, their incessant attacks nevertheless drastically reduced the efficiency of trade with Byzantium.

Perhaps Kiev could have managed the severing of trade relations with its southern partner, were that the only major issue with which it had to contend. But at the same time throughout Rus we find a general collapse of the rota system, the rotation by which kingdoms were doled out to the various members of the ruling Rjurikid dynasty, and overall authority fell in turn to each according to seniority (Adams et al., 1966). Rivalries ultimately developed into internecine struggles, with brother killing brother within the dynasty. As a result of dynastic strife other principalities rose to prominence: Galicia and Volhynia to the southwest united under prince Roman; Novgorod expanded into the sparsely populated regions to the north and east in search of further sources of trade.

It is during this period that we see the first signs of the rise of Vladimir-Suzdal. This region developed in fits and starts. The first cultural and political center of note lay in Rostov. This soon passed to Suzdal. This in turn ceded authority to the city Vladimir. And finally, some time later, Moscow, early something of a backwater, rose to prominence. Though accessible by the water routes that greased the cogs of regional trade, the region's location within the forested stretches north of the steppe likely provided some protection from the raiding bands that harried more southerly neighbors like Kiev. Whatever the reason for its rise, the region's ascendence came into stark relief in the year 1169: in this year the prince Andrew Bogljubsky sent a force that sacked Kiev. But rather than relocate to this grand center of culture that was the shining jewel of old Rus, he was content to continue his rule from his current capital of Vladimir. This branded Kiev as a city in decline (Adams et al., 1966; Hingley, 2003).

V.ii The Beginning of the End

From the perspective of the history of East and Central Asia, the Tartar invasion was just one more phase in the expansion of the great Mongol empire established by Chinggis Khan. As the Mongol empire expanded its army came to mirror the multitude of ethnicities incorporated within its borders. By the time the Empire's expansion necessitated the foray into the lands of the Rus, the ethnic Mongols largely remained confined to the nobility; the fighting force itself comprised numerous tribes, many among them Turkic, and among these the Tartars (or Tatars) formed a large component of the armies that pushed west along the steppe. Though the nobility could generally trace its lineage back to Chinggis Khan, intermarriage and the the heavy Turkic influence eventually compelled the nobility itself to adopt the Turkic tongue, and the term Tartar came to signify the multiethnic fighting force as a whole. Nevertheless the nobility maintained much of the cultural and political traditions handed down from Chinggis Khan (Ostrowski, 2009).

The first appearance of the multiethnic Mongol fighting force on the western Eurasian steppe came in the year 1222 under the leadership of the generals Jebe and Sube'etei (Subudei). They pushed around the Caspian Sea, through the Caucasus Mountains, and into the Crimea where they wintered. In the face of the new enemy, the Rus and the Polovtsians set aside their mutual animosity and equipped a force that set out to defend their mutual territory. The Mongols defeated the combined Rus-Polovtsian force north of the Black Sea in 1223, then pushed northeast to defeat the Volga Bulgars on their way home (Ostrowski, 2009). It would be another 14 years before the East Slavs would again need to brace themselves against Mongol attack.

December of the year 1237 saw the return of the Mongol army, which unleashed a fury of destruction on a scale unheard of up to that time. The general Sube'etei returned with this force, this time accompanied by Batu, grandson of Chinggis Khan. The Tartar wrath first fell upon the city of Rjazan; this yielded after a 5-day siege, was sacked and destroyed. The Tartar custom was to sieze a city, kill most of the inhabitants, sell the rest into slavery, loot the city, then set it ablaze (Hingley, 2003). And such was the fate of each Russian city in their path: next in line was Moscow, still a small outpost. But its relative unimportance was no aid in abetting Mongol ferocity, and they burned it to the ground. Next fell Vladimir, then Suzdal (Ostrowski, 2009).

Novgorod, however, provided a notable exception. Novgorod avoided the ransacking that the Tartars visited upon other Russian polities. Part of the reason may lie in the spring thaw that likely impeded the Tartar advance. But the principal reason seems to have been prince Alexander Nevsky's willingness to pay tribute. Sources suggest that he immediately agreed to submit to Tartar authority in order to avoid the ravages experienced by neighboring principalities.

Not satisfied with the extent of his conquests, Batu regrouped only to launch another offensive in 1240. This carried a wake of destruction no less massive than the first. Batu's army destroyed Kiev, Chernigov, Perejaslav, and other towns in the southern regions of Rus territory. His army then continued headlong into southern Europe, reaching Hungary before turning back upon news that the Great Khan Ugedey had died (Ostrowski, 2009). Guided by internal politics, Batu hastened to the imperial capital, only to be disappointed in his hopes to become Great Khan himself. Instead he was installed as khan over the western region, which included the Russian territories recently conquered. He established a capital at Saray on the lower Volga, and the realm, the Qipchaq Khanate, came to be known throughout Europe as the Golden Horde (Ostrowski, 2009).

Tales of the devastation wrought by the invading Tartars pervade numerous Saints' Lives in the East Slavic literature of the period. In the ecclesiastical world-view embodied by these early texts, the Russians seem to have initially interpreted the advent of the Tartars as divine punishment for their sins. But this interpretation appears to have fallen away within a couple decades of the original invasion (Ostrowski, 2009).

We also find accounts of the wretched state of the Russian lands after the initial invasion written by contemporary travelers to the region. In particular we find the travel journal of a Papal envoy, John of Plano Carpini (Giovanni da Pian del Carpine), who passed through the southern stretches of Russia on his was to the capital of the Golden Horde. One passage recounts a story illustrating the iron fist with which the Tartars imposed their rule, with general disregard for the lives of princes who submitted to their authority (Beazley, 1903, p.47).

Chapter   Latin   English
3   Et etiam ad meridiem tanquam Deo inclinant, & inclinare faciunt alios nobiles, qui se reddunt eisdem. Vnde nuper contigit quod Michael, qui fuit vnus de magnis ducibus Russiae, cum iuisset ad se reddendum Bati, fecerunt eum prius inter duos ignes transire : Post hoc dixerunt, quod ad meridiem Cyngis can inclinaret.   And moreover as they bow at midday to God, they also oblige those nobles who have surrendered to them to bow. Whence recently it happened that, when Michael, who was one of the great princes of Russia, had come to submit to Batu, they obliged him to pass among two fires; after this they ordered that he bow before Chinggis Khan at midday.
    Qui respondit, quod Bati & seruis suis inclinaret libenter, sed imagini hominis mortui non inclinaret, quia non licet hoc facere Christianis. Et cum saepe diceretur, quod inclinaret, & nollet, mandauit ei praedictus per filium Ieroslai, quod occideretur si non inclinaret.   And he responded that he would bow freely to Batu and his servants, but that he would not bow to the image of a dead man, since it was not permitted for Christians to do this. And as he repeatedly stated that he would not bow, and that he refused, the aforementioned compelled him through the son of Jaroslav, that he should be cut down should he not bow.
    Qui respondit, quod potius vellet mori, quam hoc faceret, quia non liceret. At ille satellitem vnum misit, qui tam diu contra cor eum in ventre calce percussit, quousque deficeret.   And he responded that he would rather die than do that, as it was not permitted. And so the other sent one of his guards, and he beat against the heart in his chest with his heel for as long as he refused.
    Tunc quidam de suis militibus qui astabat confortans eum dixit : Esto robustos quia haec poena non diu tibi durabit, & statim sequetur gaudium sempiternum : post hoc fuit caput eius cultello praecisum. Militi vero praedicto fuit caput etiam cultello amputatum.   At that point a certain one of his soldiers, who was standing by, said as a comfort: be strong, since this punishment will not last long for you, and eternal joy will follow in short order; after this his head was cut off with a knife. Moreover the head of the aforementioned soldier was also cut off.

We also find in John of Plano Carpini's account an explanation of the origin of the term Horde applied to Batu's realm. The word derives from the Turkic term for the camps set up by the generals (Beazley, 1903, p.75).

Chapter   Latin   English
3   Vnde cum ante ordam essemus (sic enim apud eos stationes Imperatoris & Principum appellantur) prae venti magnitudine in terra prostrati iacebamus, & videre propter pulueris magnitudine minime poteramus.   Whence, as we stood before the Orda (for such is their name for the camps of the Emperor and of the Princes), we were cast prostrate on the ground through the force of the wind, and we were hardly able to see on account of the quantity of dust.

On their journey, the clergyman's retinue passed through Kiev itself, shortly after it had tried to withstand the Tartar onslaught. The account makes clear the wretched state of the remnants of the once great city (Beazley, 1903, p.87).

Chapter   Latin   English
15   Quo facto, contra Russiam perrexerunt, & magnam stragem in ea fecerunt, ciuitates & castra destruxerunt, & homines occiderunt. Kiouiam, Russiae metropolin, diu obsederunt, & tandem ceperunt, ac ciues interfecerunt.   And after this had passed, they overran Russia, and wreaked great havoc in it, destroyed the cities and camps, and killed the inhabitants. They long laid siege to Kiev, a metropolis of Russia, and finally they took it and killed off its citizens.
    Vnde quando per illam terram ibamus, innumerabilia capita & ossa hominum mortuorum, iacentia super campum, inueniebamus. Fuerat enim vrbs valde magna & populosa, nunc quasi ad nihilum est redacta: vix enim domus ibi remanserunt ducente, quarum etiam habitatores tenentur in maxima seruitute.   Whence, as we travelled through that land, we encountered the innumerable heads and bones of dead men, strewn throughout the field. For it had been an exceedingly great and populous city, but now it had been reduced to next to nothing: for hardly remained in that place two hundred houses, whose inhabitants were held in the strictest servitude.

Finally John of Plano Carpini's account provides a window into the utter destruction of the once formidable Russian fighting force. The retinue's general disregard for danger amongst the Russians speaks to how profoundly the populace had been subjugated and how severely the warlike spirit had been wounded. In this passage the term "Ruthenians" seems to refer to "Russians" (Beazley, 1903, p.92).

Chapter   Latin   English
19   Ibamus tamen in periculo capitis semper propter Lituanos, qui saepe faciebant insultum super terram Russiae, & in illis maxime locis, per quos debebamus transire. At per praedictum seruientem eramus securi a Ruthenis, quorum etiam maxima pars occisa vel captiuata erat Tartaris.   Nevertheless we traveled in continual fear for our lives on account of the Lithuanians, who frequently made incursions into the land of Russia, and particularly in those places through which we were supposed to pass. But according to the aforementioned servant we were safe from the Ruthenians [Russians], the major part of whom had been killed or captured by the Tartars.

Reading and Textual Analysis

We now turn to the story of the first saints canonized in the East Slavic Christian tradition, Boris and Gleb. Sons of Vladimir, their siblings include the princes Svjatopolk and Jaroslav. As the story is told, Svjatopolk's ambition consumes him and, upon the death of their father, he plots to assassinate his brothers Boris and Gleb and usurp their realms. We join the narrative as Svjatopolk's henchmen come upon Boris and his attendants and strike the prince a deadly blow.

A small portion of the text has been omitted between lines 7 and 8.

1 - И ту же и проньзоша.

  • И -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- And
  • ту -- adverb; <тѹ> there; then -- then
  • же -- conjunction; <жє> and, but -- ...
  • и -- pronoun; masculine accusative singular of <> he -- him
  • проньзоша -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <проньзнѫти, -нѫ, -неши> pierce, pierce through, transfix -- they stabbed

2 - И яко бысть ураненъ, и искочи изъ шатьра въ оторопѣ.

  • И -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- And
  • яко -- conjunction; <ӏако> as, when; in order to; that; because; (introduces quotation) -- as
  • бысть -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <бъӏти, бѫдѫ, бѫдєши> be, become -- he had
  • ураненъ -- past passive participle; masculine nominative singular of <ѹранити, -нѭ, -ниши> make quickly, be quick, hasten, hurry; rise at dawn, rise early -- risen early
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- ...
  • искочи -- 3rd person singular aorist of <искочити, -чѫ, -чиши> leap up, leap out, start -- he emerged
  • изъ -- preposition; <из> (w. gen.) from, out of -- from
  • шатьра -- noun; masculine genitive singular of <шатьръ> tabernacle, tent -- the tent
  • въ -- preposition; <въ> (w. loc.) in; (w. acc.) into -- in
  • оторопѣ -- noun; masculine locative singular of <оторопъ> hurry, haste -- haste

3 - И начаша глаголати стояще округъ его, "чьто стоите зьряще?

  • И -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- And
  • начаша -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <начѧти, -чьнѫ, -чьнєши> begin -- they began
  • глаголати -- verb; infinitive of <глаголати, -л҄ѭ, -л҄ѥши> say, speak -- to speak
  • стояще -- participle; masculine nominative plural of <стоӏати, стоѭ, стоиши> stand, stay in place -- standing
  • округъ -- preposition; <окрѫгъ> (adv., prep. w. gen.) around, near -- round
  • его -- pronoun; masculine genitive singular of <> he -- him
  • чьто -- interrogative pronoun; neuter accusative singular of <къто> who -- What
  • стоите -- verb; 2nd person plural present of <стоӏати, стоѭ, стоиши> stand, stay in place -- are you standing (there)
  • зьряще -- participle; masculine nominative plural of <зрѣти, -зрѫ, -зриши> look at, behold; see -- looking at

4 - Приступивъше, сконьчаимъ повелѣное намъ."

  • Приступивъше -- past participle; masculine nominative singular of <пристѫпити, -пл҄ѭ, -пиши> come up to, step up -- Having stepped forward
  • сконьчаимъ -- verb; 1st person plural imperative of <съконьчати, -чаѭ, -чѥши> complete, end, fulfill -- let us complete
  • повелѣное -- participle used as substantive; neuter accusative singular of <повєлѣти, -лѭ, -лиши> give a command, command -- what was commanded
  • намъ -- pronoun; dative plural of <азъ> I -- to us

5 - Си слышавъ, блаженыи начатъ молитися и милъ ся имъ дѣяти, глаголя, "Братӏя моя милая и любимая!

  • Си -- demonstrative pronoun; neuter accusative plural of <сь, сє, си> this, this one -- this
  • слышавъ -- past participle; masculine nominative singular of <слъӏшати, -шѫ, -шиши> hear -- Having heard
  • блаженыи -- adjective used as substantive; masculine nominative singular of <блажєнъ> blessed -- the blessed one
  • начатъ -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <начѧти, -чьнѫ, -чьнєши> begin -- began
  • молитися -- verb; infinitive of <молити, -лѭ, -лиши> beseech, ask; pray + pronoun; accusative singular of <сєбє> -self, oneself -- to pray
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- and
  • милъ -- adjective; masculine nominative singular of <милъ> wretched, pitiable; excusable -- humble
  • ся -- pronoun; accusative singular of <сєбє> -self, oneself -- himself
  • имъ -- pronoun; masculine dative plural of <> he -- before them
  • дѣяти -- verb; infinitive of <дѣӏати, дѣѭ, дѣѥши> do, commit -- to...
  • глаголя -- participle; masculine nominative singular of <глаголати, -л҄ѭ, -л҄ѥши> say, speak -- saying
  • Братӏя -- noun; feminine nominative singular of <братьӏа> (collective) brothers, brethren -- brothers # Nominative singular used as vocative. For instances of the proper vocative form, see later uses in this text. The noun is collective, so that the singular is used even though the noun references several individuals.
  • моя -- adjective; feminine nominative singular of <мои, моє, моӏа> my, mine -- My
  • милая -- adjective; feminine nominative singular of <милъ> wretched, pitiable; excusable -- poor
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- and
  • любимая -- passive participle; feminine nominative singular of <любити, -блѭ, -биши> love -- dear

6 - Мало ми время отдаите, да понѣ помолюся богу моему."

  • Мало -- adjective; neuter accusative singular of <малъ> small, young -- a little
  • ми -- pronoun; dative singular of <азъ> I -- me
  • время -- noun; neuter accusative singular of <врѣмѧ> time -- time
  • отдаите -- verb; 2nd person plural imperative of <отъдаӏати, -даѭ, -даѥши> donate, give, give as a give; give in exchange, give in return -- Give
  • да -- conjunction; <да> in order to, that; may, let; and, then -- that
  • понѣ -- adverb; <понѣ> or, whether, or then; save, at least, anyhow -- at least
  • помолюся -- verb; 1st person singular present of <помолити, -лѭ, -лиши> beseech, ask; pray + pronoun; accusative singular of <сєбє> -self, oneself -- I might pray
  • богу -- noun; masculine dative singular of <богъ> god -- to... God
  • моему -- adjective; masculine dative singular of <мои, моє, моӏа> my, mine -- my

7 - И възьрѣвъ на небо съ сльзами и горцѣ въздъхнувъ, начатъ молитися сицими глаголы...

  • И -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- And
  • възьрѣвъ -- past participle; masculine nominative singular of <възрѣти, -зрѫ, -зриши> look closely at, gaze at; look up at (w. prep.) -- having looked
  • на -- preposition; <на> (w. acc.) onto, against, for, to the extent; (w. loc.) on, at -- toward
  • небо -- noun; neuter accusative singular of <нєбо> heaven, sky -- heaven
  • съ -- preposition; <съ> (w. gen.) (down) from; (w. instr.) with -- with
  • сльзами -- noun; feminine instrumental plural of <слъза> tear, teardrop -- tears
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- and
  • горцѣ -- adverb; neuter locative singular of <горькъ> bitter, pungent, unpleasant -- bitterly
  • въздъхнувъ -- past participle; masculine nominative singular of <въздъхнѫти, -нѫ, -нєши> groan, sigh -- having groaned
  • начатъ -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <начѧти, -чьнѫ, -чьнєши> begin -- he began
  • молитися -- verb; infinitive of <молити, -лѭ, -лиши> beseech, ask; pray + pronoun; accusative singular of <сєбє> -self, oneself -- to pray
  • сицими -- demonstrative adjective; masculine instrumental plural of <сиць, сицє, сица> such, like this -- with the following
  • глаголы -- noun; masculine instrumental plural of <глаголъ> word, speech -- words

8 - Таче, възьрѣвъ къ нимъ умиленама очима и спадъшемь лицьмь, и вьсь сльзами облӏявъся, рече, "Братӏе, приступивъше, сконьчаите служьбу вашю, и буди миръ брату моему и вамъ, братӏе."

  • Таче -- adverb; <тачє> then -- Then
  • възьрѣвъ -- past participle; masculine nominative singular of <възрѣти, -зрѫ, -зриши> look closely at, gaze at; look up at (w. prep.) -- having looked
  • къ -- preposition; <къ> (w. dat.) to, toward -- to
  • нимъ -- pronoun; masculine dative plural of <> he -- them
  • умиленама -- adjective; feminine instrumental dual of <ѹмил҄єнъ> dejected, abject -- with downcast # Note usage of feminine form of the adjective with the noun око, typically neuter.
  • очима -- noun; neuter instrumental dual of <око> eye -- eyes # Note the shift from the normal *s-stem очєс- to the stem ок-, here palatalized due to the ending. This particular form seems to be adopted from the *i-declension, and the agreement with the adjective suggests the grammatical gender has also shifted to feminine.
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- and
  • спадъшемь -- past passive participle; neuter instrumental singular of <съпасти, -дѫ, -дєши> fall; fall together -- a fallen
  • лицьмь -- noun; neuter instrumental singular of <лицє> face, form -- face
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- and
  • вьсь -- adjective; masculine nominative singular of <вьсь> all, every; whole -- all
  • сльзами -- noun; feminine instrumental plural of <слъза> tear, teardrop -- with tears
  • облӏявъся -- past participle; masculine nominative singular of <облиӏати, -лѣѭ, -лѣѥши> pour over -- covered
  • рече -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <рєшти, рєкѫ, рєчєши> say, tell -- he said
  • Братӏе -- noun; feminine vocative singular of <братьӏа> (collective) brothers, brethren -- Brothers
  • приступивъше -- past participle; masculine nominative singular of <пристѫпити, -пл҄ѭ, -пиши> come up to, step up -- having stepped forward
  • сконьчаите -- verb; 2nd person plural imperative of <съконьчати, -чаѭ, -чѥши> complete, end, fulfill -- complete
  • служьбу -- noun; feminine accusative singular of <слѹжьба> service, forced service, slavery; liturgy; ministry -- duty
  • вашю -- adjective; feminine accusative singular of <вашь> of you, your (pl.) -- your
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- and
  • буди -- verb; 3rd person singular imperative of <бъӏти, бѫдѫ, бѫдєши> be, become -- let there be
  • миръ -- noun; masculine nominative singular of <миръ> world; peace -- peace
  • брату -- noun; masculine dative singular of <братръ, братъ> brother -- to... brother
  • моему -- adjective; masculine dative singular of <мои, моє, моӏа> my, mine -- my
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- and
  • вамъ -- pronoun; dative plural of <тъӏ> you, thou -- to you
  • братӏе -- noun; feminine vocative singular of <братьӏа> (collective) brothers, brethren -- brothers

9 - Да елико слышаху словеса его, отъ сльзъ не можааху ни словесе рещи, отъ страха же и печали горькы и мъногыхъ сльзъ, нъ съ въздыханӏемь горькымь жалостьно плакаахуся и къжьдо въ души своеи глаголааше, "Увы мнѣ, къняже нашь милыи и драгыи и блаженыи, водителю слѣпыимъ, одеже нагымъ, старости жьзле, казателю не наказанымъ!

  • Да -- conjunction; <да> in order to, that; may, let; and, then -- And as
  • елико -- adverb; neuter accusative singular of <ѥликъ> how much, how many; as much, as many -- soon as
  • слышаху -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect of <слъӏшати, -шѫ, -шиши> hear -- they heard
  • словеса -- noun; neuter accusative plural of <слово> word -- words
  • его -- pronoun; masculine genitive singular of <> he -- his
  • отъ -- preposition; <отъ> (w. gen.) of, from; by -- as a result of
  • сльзъ -- noun; feminine genitive plural of <слъза> tear, teardrop -- (their) tears
  • не -- adverb; <нє> not -- not
  • можааху -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect of <мошти, могѫ, можєши> be able, can -- could
  • ни -- conjunction; <ни> and not, nor, no; (repeated) neither... nor -- even
  • словесе -- noun; neuter genitive singular of <слово> word -- a word
  • рещи -- verb; infinitive of <рєшти, рєкѫ, рєчєши> say, tell -- say
  • отъ -- preposition; <отъ> (w. gen.) of, from; by -- of
  • страха -- noun; masculine genitive singular of <страхъ> shaking; terror -- (their) trembling
  • же -- conjunction; <жє> and, but -- and
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- and
  • печали -- noun; feminine genitive singular of <пєчаль> sadness, affliction -- sadness
  • горькы -- adjective; feminine genitive singular of <горькъ> bitter, pungent, unpleasant -- bitter
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- and
  • мъногыхъ -- adjective; feminine genitive plural of <мъногъ> much, many -- great (quantities of)
  • сльзъ -- noun; feminine genitive plural of <слъза> tear, teardrop -- tears
  • нъ -- conjunction; <нъ> but -- but
  • съ -- preposition; <съ> (w. gen.) (down) from; (w. instr.) with -- with
  • въздыханӏемь -- noun; neuter instrumental singular of <въздъӏханьѥ> respiration, breathing; sigh, groan -- wailing
  • горькымь -- adjective; neuter instrumental singular of <горькъ> bitter, pungent, unpleasant -- bitter
  • жалостьно -- adverb; neuter accusative singular of <жалостьнъ> sad -- pitifully
  • плакаахуся -- verb; 1st person singular imperfect of <плакати, плачѫ, -чєши> weep, mourn + pronoun; accusative singular of <сєбє> -self, oneself -- they wept
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- and
  • къжьдо -- adjective used as substantive; masculine nominative singular of <къждо> every, everyone -- each
  • въ -- preposition; <въ> (w. loc.) in; (w. acc.) into -- in
  • души -- noun; feminine locative singular of <дѹша> soul -- soul
  • своеи -- adjective; feminine locative singular of <свои, своє, своӏа> own, one's own -- his
  • глаголааше -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <глаголати, -л҄ѭ, -л҄ѥши> say, speak -- was saying
  • Увы -- interjection; <ѹвъӏ> (w. dat.) alas, woe -- Woe
  • мнѣ -- pronoun; dative singular of <азъ> I -- to me
  • къняже -- noun; masculine vocative singular of <кънѧзь> prince -- prince
  • нашь -- adjective; masculine vocative singular of <нашь> our, of us -- our
  • милыи -- adjective; masculine vocative singular of <милъ> wretched, pitiable; excusable -- pitiable
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- and
  • драгыи -- adjective; masculine vocative singular of <драгъ> dear, precious -- dear
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- and
  • блаженыи -- adjective; masculine vocative singular of <блажєнъ> blessed -- blessed
  • водителю -- noun; masculine vocative singular of <водитєль> leader, commander -- leader
  • слѣпыимъ -- adjective used as substantive; masculine dative plural of <слѣпъ> blind -- to the blind
  • одеже -- noun; feminine vocative singular of <одєжда> garment, clothing, clothes -- clothing
  • нагымъ -- adjective used as substantive; masculine dative plural of <нагъ> naked -- to the naked
  • старости -- noun; feminine dative singular of <старость> old age -- for old age
  • жьзле -- noun; masculine vocative singular of <жьзлъ> staff, walking stick -- walking stick
  • казателю -- noun; masculine vocative singular of <казатєль> corrector, reprover -- instructor
  • не -- adverb; <нє> not -- un-
  • наказанымъ -- participle used as substantive; masculine dative plural of <наказати, -заѭ, -заѥши> chastise; instruct; admonish, warn -- to the...-instructed

10 - Кто уже си вься исправить?

  • Кто -- interrogative pronoun; masculine nominative singular of <къто> who -- Who
  • уже -- adverb; <южє, ѹжє> already -- ...
  • си -- demonstrative pronoun; neuter accusative plural of <сь, сє, си> this, this one -- these things
  • вься -- adjective; neuter accusative plural of <вьсь> all, every; whole -- all
  • исправить -- verb; 3rd person singular present of <исправити, -вл҄ѭ, -виши> accomplish -- will carry out

11 - Како не въсхотѣ славы мӏра сего, како не въсхотѣ веселитися съ чьстьныими вельможами, како не въсхотѣ величӏя, еже въ житӏи семь.

  • Како -- interrogative adverb; <како> how, how is it that -- Oh how
  • не -- adverb; <нє> not -- not
  • въсхотѣ -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <въсхотѣти, -хоштѫ, -хоштєши> want, wish, desire -- he wanted
  • славы -- noun; feminine genitive singular of <слава> fame, glory -- the glory
  • мӏра -- noun; masculine genitive singular of <миръ> world; peace -- world
  • сего -- demonstrative adjective; masculine genitive singular of <сь, сє, си> this, this one -- of this
  • како -- interrogative adverb; <како> how, how is it that -- How
  • не -- adverb; <нє> not -- not
  • въсхотѣ -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <въсхотѣти, -хоштѫ, -хоштєши> want, wish, desire -- he wanted
  • веселитися -- verb; infinitive of <вєсєлити, -л҄ѭ, -лиши> entertain; (refl.) rejoice + pronoun; accusative singular of <сєбє> -self, oneself -- to be merry
  • съ -- preposition; <съ> (w. gen.) (down) from; (w. instr.) with -- with
  • чьстьныими -- adjective; masculine instrumental plural of <чиштьнъ> venerable; valuable -- the venerable
  • вельможами -- noun; masculine instrumental plural of <вєльможа> member of the nobility, member of the aristocracy, noble, aristocrat -- aristocrats
  • како -- interrogative adverb; <како> how, how is it that -- How
  • не -- adverb; <нє> not -- not
  • въсхотѣ -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <въсхотѣти, -хоштѫ, -хоштєши> want, wish, desire -- he wanted
  • величӏя -- noun; neuter genitive singular of <вєличьѥ> greatness, pride -- the greatness
  • еже -- relative pronoun; neuter nominative singular of <ижє> who, which -- which (was)
  • въ -- preposition; <въ> (w. loc.) in; (w. acc.) into -- in
  • житӏи -- noun; neuter locative singular of <житьѥ> life -- life
  • семь -- demonstrative adjective; neuter locative singular of <сь, сє, си> this, this one -- this

12 - Кто не почюдиться великууму его съмѣренӏю, кто ли не съмѣриться, оного съмѣрєнӏе видя и слыша?"

  • Кто -- interrogative pronoun; masculine nominative singular of <къто> who -- Who
  • не -- adverb; <нє> not -- not
  • почюдиться -- verb; 3rd person singular present of <почѹдити сѧ, -ждѫ сѧ, -диши сѧ> marvel at, wonder + pronoun; accusative singular of <сєбє> -self, oneself -- does... marvel
  • великууму -- adjective; neuter dative singular of <вєликъ> big, large, great -- great
  • его -- pronoun; masculine genitive singular of <> he -- his
  • съмѣренӏю -- noun; neuter dative singular of <съмѣр҄єньѥ> humility; retinue -- humility
  • кто -- interrogative pronoun; masculine nominative singular of <къто> who -- Who
  • ли -- adverb; <ли> or; whether -- ...
  • не -- adverb; <нє> not -- not
  • съмѣриться -- verb; 3rd person singular present of <съмѣрити, -рѭ, -риши> lower, reduce, lessen, humble, abase + pronoun; accusative singular of <сєбє> -self, oneself -- is... humbled
  • оного -- demonstrative pronoun; masculine nominative singular of <онъ, оно, она> that, that one -- that one's
  • съмѣрєнӏе -- noun; neuter accusative singular of <съмѣр҄єньѥ> humility; retinue -- humility
  • видя -- participle; masculine nominative singular of <видѣти, виждѫ, видиши> see -- seeing
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- and
  • слыша -- participle; masculine nominative singular of <слъӏшати, -шѫ, -шиши> hear -- hearing

13 - И абӏе усъпе, предавъ душю свою въ руцѣ бога жива, мѣсяца ӏулӏя въ 24 день, преже 9 каландъ августа.

  • И -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- And
  • абӏе -- adverb; <абьє> right away -- immediately
  • усъпе -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <ѹсънѫти, -нѫ, -нєши> fall asleep -- he died
  • предавъ -- past participle; masculine nominative singular of <прѣдати, -дамь, -даси> hand over, commend -- having conferred
  • душю -- noun; feminine accusative singular of <дѹша> soul -- soul
  • свою -- adjective; feminine accusative singular of <свои, своє, своӏа> own, one's own -- his
  • въ -- preposition; <въ> (w. loc.) in; (w. acc.) into -- into
  • руцѣ -- noun; feminine accusative dual of <рѫка> hand -- the hands
  • бога -- noun; masculine genitive singular of <богъ> god -- the... God
  • жива -- adjective; masculine genitive singular of <живъ> alive, living -- living
  • мѣсяца -- noun; masculine genitive singular of <мѣсѧць> moon, month -- of the month
  • ӏулӏя -- noun; masculine genitive singular of <июлии, июль> (the month of) July -- July
  • въ -- preposition; <въ> (w. loc.) in; (w. acc.) into -- on
  • 24 -- number adjective; masculine accusative singular of <дъвадєсѧтьнъ и чєтврътъ> twenty-fourth, 24th -- the 24th
  • день -- noun; masculine accusative singular of <дьнь> day -- day
  • преже -- adverb; <прѣждє> before -- before
  • 9 -- adjective; masculine accusative singular of <дєвятъӏи> ninth, 9th -- the 9th (day)
  • каландъ -- noun; masculine genitive plural of <каланъди> (plural) calends, kalends, first day of the month -- the calends # The phrasing mimics the Roman system of marking dates. The system recognizes three basic reference points in each month: the Calends or Kalends (the first day of each month), the Ides (the 15th day of March, May, July, and October; the 13th day of other months), and the Nones (the 9th day before the Ides). Dates are given by the number of days before or after these reference points. It is important to keep in mind that intervals are counted inclusively, so that both the start- and end-point of an interval are included. In the present instance, the Calends of August is Aug. 1. If we naively count back 9 days from this date, we arrive at July 23; but this only includes one endpoint, namely the day on which we stop. If we count back 9 days from Aug. 1 including the start-point Aug. 1 itself, we arrive at July 24, as stated in the text. Moreover, the placement of the word прѣждє 'before' is also traditional and emulative of the Latin (which also uses a traditional and apparently awkward construction). прѣждє 'before' is best taken as an adverb, rather than a preposition, since the phrase it seems to govern in English is not that which appears immediately afterward in Old Russian or Latin. English phrasing that might capture more faithfully the spirit and grammar of the Old Russian and Latin would be the following: 'the 9th day earlier, (reckoned from) the calends of August'.
  • августа -- noun; masculine genitive singular of <авъгѹстъ> Augustus; (the month of) August -- of August

14 - Избиша же и отрокы многы.

  • Избиша -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <избити, -биѭ, -биѥши> kill -- they... killed
  • же -- conjunction; <жє> and, but -- And
  • и -- adverb; <и> and; also, too, even -- also
  • отрокы -- noun; masculine accusative plural of <отрокъ> boy, servant -- servants
  • многы -- adjective; masculine accusative plural of <мъногъ> much, many -- many

15 - Съ Гєоргӏя же не могуще съняти гривьны и отсѣкъше главу, отъвьргоша и кромѣ; да тѣмь и послѣдь не могоша познати тѣла его.

  • Съ -- preposition; <съ> (w. gen.) (down) from; (w. instr.) with -- from
  • Гєоргӏя -- proper noun; masculine genitive singular of <Гюрги> Georgias, George -- George
  • же -- conjunction; <жє> and, but -- ...
  • не -- adverb; <нє> not -- un-
  • могуще -- participle; masculine nominative plural of <мошти, могѫ, можєши> be able, can -- -able
  • съняти -- verb; infinitive of <сънѧти, съньмѫ, съньмєши> take away from, remove; go down, descend; lead down; (refl.) come together, collect, gather -- to remove
  • гривьны -- noun; feminine genitive singular of <гривьна> collar, necklace -- the necklace
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- and
  • отсѣкъше -- past participle; masculine nominative plural of <отъсѣкнѫти, -нѫ, -нєши> cut off -- having cut off
  • главу -- noun; feminine accusative singular of <глава> head; chapter -- (his) head
  • отъвьргоша -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <отъврѣшти, -врьгѫ, -врьгєши> throw away, renounce -- they cast
  • и -- pronoun; masculine accusative singular of <> he -- him
  • кромѣ -- adverb; <кромѣ> (adv., prep. w. gen.) outside, far away, on the side, against -- aside
  • да -- conjunction; <да> in order to, that; may, let; and, then -- so that
  • тѣмь -- adverb; neuter instrumental singular of <тъ, то, та> that, that one -- then
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- and
  • послѣдь -- adverb; <послѣдь> then, afterward -- after
  • не -- adverb; <нє> not -- not
  • могоша -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <мошти, могѫ, можєши> be able, can -- they could
  • познати -- verb; infinitive of <познати, -аѭ, -аѥши> know -- identify
  • тѣла -- noun; neuter genitive singular <тѣло> body -- body # Note that this noun is originally an *s-stem, but here it shows the influence of the twofold, *o-stem declension.
  • его -- pronoun; masculine genitive singular of <> he -- his

16 - Блаженааго же Бориса обьртѣвъше въ шатьръ, възложивъше на кола, повезоша.

  • Блаженааго -- adjective; masculine genitive singular of <блажєнъ> blessed -- the blessed
  • же -- conjunction; <жє> and, but -- And
  • Бориса -- proper noun; masculine genitive singular of <Борисъ> Boris (name of a prince, brother of Svjatopolk, Jaroslav, Gleb, and Predslava) -- Boris
  • обьртѣвъше -- past participle; masculine nominative plural of <обрътѣти, -штѫ, -тиши> wrap up, envelop, involve; return -- having wrapped
  • въ -- preposition; <въ> (w. loc.) in; (w. acc.) into -- in
  • шатьръ -- noun; masculine accusative singular of <шатьръ> tabernacle, tent -- the tent
  • възложивъше -- past participle; masculine nominative plural of <възложити, -жѫ, -жиши> throw upon, cast upon; impose -- (and) having laid (him)
  • на -- preposition; <на> (w. acc.) onto, against, for, to the extent; (w. loc.) on, at -- upon
  • кола -- noun; neuter accusative plural of <кола, колєсє> wheel -- wheels # Here the plural likely to be taken as connoting a cart.
  • повезоша -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <повєсти, -зѫ, -зєши> tow, drag -- they towed (him)

17 - И яко быша на бору, начать въскланяти святую главу свою.

  • И -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- And
  • яко -- conjunction; <ӏако> as, when; in order to; that; because; (introduces quotation) -- as
  • быша -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <бъӏти, бѫдѫ, бѫдєши> be, become -- they came
  • на -- preposition; <на> (w. acc.) onto, against, for, to the extent; (w. loc.) on, at -- upon
  • бору -- noun; masculine locative singular of <борьѥ> (usu. collective) pine; cypress; cedar; (any) tree; woods, forest -- the forest
  • начать -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <начѧти, -чьнѫ, -чьнєши> begin -- he began
  • въскланяти -- verb; infinitive of <въскланӏати, -нӏаѭ, -нӏаѥши> recline; emerge, bring forth, raise up -- to raise up
  • святую -- adjective; feminine accusative singular of <свѧтъ> holy, blessed -- holy
  • главу -- noun; feminine accusative singular of <глава> head; chapter -- head
  • свою -- adjective; feminine accusative singular of <свои, своє, своӏа> own, one's own -- his

18 - И се увѣдѣвъ Святопълкъ, пославъ два варяга и прободоста и мечьмь въ сьрдце.

  • И -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- And
  • се -- demonstrative pronoun; neuter accusative singular of <сь, сє, си> this, this one -- this
  • увѣдѣвъ -- past participle; masculine nominative singular of <ѹвѣдѣти, -вѣмь, -вѣси> see; know, understand -- having seen
  • Святопълкъ -- proper noun; masculine nominative singular of <Свѧтоплъкъ> Svjatopolk, Svyatopolk, Sviatopolk (name of a prince, brother of Jaroslav, Boris, Gleb, and Predslava) -- Svjatopolk
  • пославъ -- past participle; masculine nominative singular of <посълати, -л҄ѭ, -л҄ѥши> send, summon -- sent
  • два -- number adjective; masculine accusative dual of <дъва, дъвѣ> two -- two
  • варяга -- adjective used as substantive; masculine accusative dual of <варѧгъ> Varangian, of the Varangian tribe (name of a particular group of Scandinavians); bodyguard (of Viking descent, often applied to members of the Byzantine Emperor's personal guard) -- Varangians
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- and
  • прободоста -- verb; 3rd person dual aorist of <пробости, -дѫ, -дєши> wound, injure -- they stabbed
  • и -- pronoun; masculine accusative singular of <> he -- him
  • мечьмь -- noun; masculine instrumental singular of <мєчь> sword -- with a sword
  • въ -- preposition; <въ> (w. loc.) in; (w. acc.) into -- through
  • сьрдце -- noun; neuter accusative singular of <срьдьцє> heart -- the heart

19 - И тако съконьчасӏа и въспрӏӏатъ неувӏадаемыи вѣньць.

  • И -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- And
  • тако -- adverb; <тако> thus, in this way -- in this way
  • съконьчасӏа -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <съконьчати, -чаѭ, -чѥши> complete, end, fulfill + pronoun; accusative singular of <сєбє> -self, oneself -- he was finished
  • и -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- and
  • въспрӏӏатъ -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <въсприѩти, -имѫ, -имєши> take up, receive -- he received
  • неувӏадаемыи -- adjective; masculine accusative singular of <нєѹвѧдаѥмъ> unfading -- the unfading
  • вѣньць -- noun; masculine accusative singular of <вѣньць> crown, diadem -- crown

20 - И положиша тѣло его, принесъше Вышегороду, у цьркве святааго Василӏя въ зємли погребоша.

  • И -- conjunction; <и> and; also, too, even -- And
  • положиша -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <положити, -жѫ, -жиши> lay down, set down -- they placed
  • тѣло -- noun; neuter accusative singular <тѣло> body -- body
  • его -- pronoun; masculine genitive singular of <> he -- his
  • принесъше -- past participle; masculine nominative plural of <принєсти, -сѫ, -сєши> bring, carry -- having carried (it)
  • Вышегороду -- proper noun; masculine dative singular of <Въӏшєградъ> citadel, castle; (as proper name) Vyshegrad, Vyshgorod (name of a city) -- to Vyshgorod
  • у -- preposition; <ѹ> (w. gen.) near, at, by -- near
  • цьркве -- noun; feminine genitive singular of <црькъӏ> church, temple -- the church
  • святааго -- adjective; masculine genitive singular of <свѧтъ> holy, blessed -- of St.
  • Василӏя -- proper noun; masculine genitive singular of <Василий> Vasili, Vasilii, Vasilij, Basil (name of a saint) -- Basil
  • въ -- preposition; <въ> (w. loc.) in; (w. acc.) into -- in
  • зємли -- noun; feminine locative singular of <зємл҄ӏа> earth, land -- the ground
  • погребоша -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <погрєти, -грєбѫ, -грєбєши> bury -- (and) they buried (it)

Lesson Text

1 И ту же и проньзоша. 2 И яко бысть ураненъ, и искочи изъ шатьра въ оторопѣ. 3 И начаша глаголати стояще округъ его, "чьто стоите зьряще? 4 Приступивъше, сконьчаимъ повелѣное намъ." 5 Си слышавъ, блаженыи начатъ молитися и милъ ся имъ дѣяти, глаголя, "Братӏя моя милая и любимая! 6 Мало ми время отдаите, да понѣ помолюся богу моему." 7 И възьрѣвъ на небо съ сльзами и горцѣ въздъхнувъ, начатъ молитися сицими глаголы...

8 Таче, възьрѣвъ къ нимъ умиленама очима и спадъшемь лицьмь, и вьсь сльзами облӏявъся, рече, "Братӏе, приступивъше, сконьчаите служьбу вашю, и буди миръ брату моему и вамъ, братӏе."

9 Да елико слышаху словеса его, отъ сльзъ не можааху ни словесе рещи, отъ страха же и печали горькы и мъногыхъ сльзъ, нъ съ въздыханӏемь горькымь жалостьно плакаахуся и къжьдо въ души своеи глаголааше, "Увы мнѣ, къняже нашь милыи и драгыи и блаженыи, водителю слѣпыимъ, одеже нагымъ, старости жьзле, казателю не наказанымъ! 10 Кто уже си вься исправить? 11 Како не въсхотѣ славы мӏра сего, како не въсхотѣ веселитися съ чьстьныими вельможами, како не въсхотѣ величӏя, еже въ житӏи семь. 12 Кто не почюдиться великууму его съмѣренӏю, кто ли не съмѣриться, оного съмѣрєнӏе видя и слыша?"

13 И абӏе усъпе, предавъ душю свою въ руцѣ бога жива, мѣсяца ӏулӏя въ 24 день, преже 9 каландъ августа.

14 Избиша же и отрокы многы. 15 Съ Гєоргӏя же не могуще съняти гривьны и отсѣкъше главу, отъвьргоша и кромѣ; да тѣмь и послѣдь не могоша познати тѣла его.

16 Блаженааго же Бориса обьртѣвъше въ шатьръ, възложивъше на кола, повезоша. 17 И яко быша на бору, начать въскланяти святую главу свою. 18 И се увѣдѣвъ Святопълкъ, пославъ два варяга и прободоста и мечьмь въ сьрдце. 19 И тако съконьчасӏа и въспрӏӏатъ неувӏадаемыи вѣньць. 20 И положиша тѣло его, принесъше Вышегороду, у цьркве святааго Василӏя въ зємли погребоша.

Translation

1 And then they stabbed him. 2 And as he had risen early, he emerged from the tent in haste. 3 And they began to speak, standing round him, "What are you standing (there) looking at? 4 Having stepped forward, let us complete what was commanded to us." 5 Having heard this, the blessed one began to pray and to humble himself before them, saying, "My poor and dear brothers! 6 Give me just a little time, that I might at least pray to my God." 7 And having looked toward heaven with tears and having groaned bitterly, he began to pray with the following words...
8 Then, having looked to them with downcast eyes and with a fallen face and all covered with tears, he said: "Brothers, having stepped forward, complete your duty, and let there be peace to my brother and to you, brothers."
9 And as soon as they heard his words, they could not even say a word as a result of their tears, and of their trembling and bitter sadness and great quantities of tears, but with bitter wailing they wept pitifully and each was saying in his soul, "Woe to me, our pitiable and dear and blessed prince, leader to the blind, clothing to the naked, walking stick for old age, instructor to the uninstructed! 10 Who will carry out all these things? 11 Oh how he wanted not the glory of this world! How he wanted not to be merry with the venerable aristocrats! How he wanted not the greatness which was in this life! 12 Who does not marvel at his great humility? Who is not humbled, seeing and hearing that one's humility?"
13 And immediately he died, having conferred his soul into the hands of the living God, on the 24th day of the month of July, the 9th day before the calends of August.
14 And they also killed many servants. 15 Unable to remove the necklace from George and having cut off his head, they cast him aside, so that then and after they could not identify his body.
16 And having wrapped the blessed Boris in the tent, and having laid him upon wheels, they towed (him). 17 And as they came upon the forest, he began to raise up his holy head. 18 And Svjatopolk, having seen this, sent two Varangians and they stabbed him with a sword through the heart. 19 And in this way he was finished, and he received the unfading crown. 20 And they placed his body, having carried (it) to Vyshegorod, (and) they buried it in the ground near the church of St. Basil.

Grammar

36. The Verbal Noun

Old Russian shares with Old Church Slavonic a particular formation of an abstract verbal noun or verbal substantive. This noun represents the abstract action denoted by the verbal root to which it is constructed. In this sense it parallels the formation of the English gerund by means of the suffix -ing. For example, from the root know we build an abstract noun, knowing, by adding the suffix, and the resulting noun denotes the action represented by the root in its most abstract sense: Knowing is half the battle.

This particular abstract noun derives from the past passive participle of a given verb. Specifically, given the past passive participle stem, one further adds the ending -ьѥ [-ĭje] to form a soft neuter noun representing the action. For example, the verb знати 'to know' shows past passive participle знанъ 'known'. The abstract verbal noun then becomes знаньѥ 'knowing', i.e. 'knowledge'. Moreover intransitive verbs, which generally do not exhibit past passive participles, nevertheless frequently show verbal nouns constructed by the same formal procedure. For example, въскрьснути 'to rise from the dead' has verbal abstract въскрьсєньѥ or въскрьсновєньѥ 'rising from the dead, resurrection'. In those situations in which the the verb displays multiple past passive participle formations, verbal nouns may be built from each, frequently with a slightly different meaning for each formation. The chart below lists further examples.

Infinitive   Meaning   Past Pass. Part.   Verbal Noun   Meaning
зачяти   take up   зачятъ   зачятьѥ   conception
забыти   forget   забъвєнъ   забъвєньѥ   forgetting
        забытъ   забытьѥ   forgetting
видѣти   see   видѣнъ   видѣньѥ   sight
помышл҄ати   think   помышл҄єнъ   помышл҄єньѥ   thought
пропяти   crucify   пропятъ   пропятьѥ   crucifixion
стати   stand       станьѥ   standing
37. The Third Conjugation

The third conjugation comprises those verbs which, from a historical perspective, show *-je/jo- appended to the verbal root in the present tense. That is, the thematic vowel familiar from the first and second conjugations is immediately preceded by the glide *-j-. In this sense, little is new when compared with the first conjugation: we find the remnants of the *o-theme in the the first person singular and third person plural, and the *e-theme appears elsewhere. The difference consists simply in the preceding glide, *-j-. This however has a dramatic effect on the appearance of some verbal paradigms because this glide will trigger j-palatalization of the immediately preceding consonant (cf. Section 6.4). As an example, compare the present tense paradigms of мєт-а-ти 'to throw' in both Old Russian and Old Church Slavonic.

    CS   Old Russian   OCS
1 Sg.   *met-j-ǫ   мєчу   мєштѫ
2   *met-j-eši   мєчєши   мєштєши
3   *met-j-etĭ   мєчєть   мєштєтъ
             
1 Du.   *met-j-evě   мєчєвѣ   мєштєвѣ
2   *met-j-eta   мєчєта   мєштєта
3   *met-j-ete   мєчєта   мєштєтє
             
1 Pl.   *met-j-emŭ   мєчємъ   мєштємъ
2   *met-j-ete   мєчєтє   мєштєтє
3   *met-j-ǫtĭ   мєчуть   мєштѫтъ

The verbs of the third conjugation fall into three basic subcategories, based largely on the shape of the infinitive:

  • Class IIIA: these verbs append the infinitive suffix -ти directly to the verbal root, with no intervening suffix. Example: пити 'to drink', with present stem пи- [pĭj-]. The verb знати 'to know' also belongs to this subclass: the final of the stem зна- [znaj-] belongs to the root and is not to be confused with the suffix appearing in other subclasses.
  • Class IIIB: these verbs exhibit a suffix -а- which precedes the infinitive suffix -ти, but which does not appear in the present stem. In particular, this class includes a number of verbs with a suffix -у- followed by the glide -j-. Before the suffix -а- of the infinitive stem the -у- appears as -ов-. Example: каз-а-ти 'to say', with present stem каж- (from *kaz-j-) as in кажєть 'he says'; ков-а-ти 'to forge', with present tense stem ку- [kuj-].
  • Class IIIC: these verbs exhibit either the suffix -а- or -ѣ- which precedes the infinitive suffix -ти, and which also appears as part of the present tense stem. Example: дѣл-а-ти 'to work', with present stem дѣла- [dělaj-] as in дѣлаѥть 'he works'.

The following table lists some verbs of each subclass, along with the forms from the present tense and the suffixed stem derived from the infinitive.

Class   Infinitive   Meaning   1st Sg.   2nd Sg.   Pres. Stem   Suffixed Stem
IIIA   бити   beat   бью   бьѥши   [bĭj-]    
IIIA   знати   know   знаю   знаѥши   [znaj-]    
IIIA   крыти   cover   крыю   крыѥши   [kryj-]    
IIIA   молоти   mill   мєл҄ю   мєл҄ѥши   [melj-]    
                         
IIIB   имати   take   ємл҄ю   ємл҄ѥши   [emlj-]   им-а-
IIIB   купати   bathe   купл҄ю   купл҄ѥши   [kuplj-]   куп-а-
IIIB   плакати   weep   плачу   плачєши   [plač-]   плак-а-
IIIB   пьсати   write   пьшу   пьшєши   [pĭš-]   пьс-а-
IIIB   совати   throw   сую   суѥши   [suj-]   сов-а-
                         
IIIC   дѣлати   work   дѣлаю   дѣлаѥши   [dělaj-]   дѣл-а-
IIIC   раз-умѣти   understand   раз-умѣю   раз-умѣѥши   [raz-uměj-]   раз-ум-ѣ-

Note that we often find forms such as знаѥть 'he knows' written without the iotated ligature ѥ: знаєть. The palatal glide between vowels is left implicit.

The table below lists example paradigms of verbs from the respective subcategories. The verbs колоти (клати) 'to split' and знати 'to know' illustrate the forms of verbs of Class IIIA. The verb глаголати 'to say' illustrates the forms of verbs belonging to Class IIIB, while умѣти 'to understand' illustrates those of Class IIIC.

Class III   IIIA   IIIA   IIIB   IIIC
Stem   зна-   кол҄-   глагол҄-   умѣ-
Present                
1 Sg.   знаю   кол҄ю   глагол҄ю   умѣю
2   знаѥши   кол҄єши   глагол҄єши   умѣѥши
3   знаѥть   кол҄єть   глагол҄єть   умѣѥть
                 
1 Du.   знаѥвѣ   кол҄євѣ   глагол҄євѣ   умѣѥвѣ
2   знаѥта   кол҄єта   глагол҄єта   умѣѥта
3   знаѥта   кол҄єта   глагол҄єта   умѣѥта
                 
1 Pl.   знаѥмъ   кол҄ємъ   глагол҄ємъ   умѣѥмъ
2   знаѥтє   кол҄єтє   глагол҄єтє   умѣѥтє
3   знають   кол҄ють   глагол҄ють   умѣють
                 
Imperative                
1 Sg.   -   -   -   -
2   знаи   кол҄и   глагол҄и   умѣи
3   знаи   кол҄и   глагол҄и   умѣи
                 
1 Du.   знаивѣ   кол҄ивѣ   глагол҄ивѣ   умѣивѣ
2   знаита   кол҄ита   глагол҄ита   умѣита
3   -   -   -   -
                 
1 Pl.   знаимъ   кол҄имъ   глагол҄имъ   умѣимъ
2   знаитє   кол҄итє   глагол҄итє   умѣитє
3   -   -   -   -
                 
Pres. Act. Part.                
Masc./Neut. N   зная   кол҄я   глагол҄я   умѣя
Fem. N   знаючи   кол҄ючи   глагол҄ючи   умѣючи
                 
Pres. Pass. Part.                
Masc. N   знаѥмъ   кол҄ємъ   глагол҄ємъ   умѣѥмъ
                 
Imperfect                
1 Sg.   знаахъ   кол҄яахъ   глаголаахъ   умѣяхъ
2   знаашє   кол҄яашє   глаголаашє   умѣяшє
3   знаашє   кол҄яашє   глаголаашє   умѣяшє
                 
1 Du.   знааховѣ   кол҄яаховѣ   глаголааховѣ   умѣяховѣ
2   знаашєта   кол҄яашєта   глаголаашєта   умѣяшєта
3   знаашєта   кол҄яашєта   глаголаашєта   умѣяшєта
                 
1 Pl.   знаахомъ   кол҄яахомъ   глаголаахомъ   умѣяхомъ
2   знаашєтє   кол҄яашєтє   глаголаашєтє   умѣяшєтє
3   знааху   кол҄яаху   глаголааху   умѣяху
                 
New Aorist                
1 Sg.   знахъ   колохъ, клахъ   глаголахъ   умѣхъ
2   зна   коло, кла   глагола   умѣ
3   зна   коло, кла   глагола   умѣ
                 
1 Du.   знаховѣ   колоховѣ, клаховѣ   глаголаховѣ   умѣховѣ
2   знаста   колоста, класта   глаголаста   умѣста
3   знаста   колоста, класта   глаголаста   умѣста
                 
1 Pl.   знахомъ   колохомъ, клахомъ   глаголахомъ   умѣхомъ
2   знастє   колостє, кластє   глаголастє   умѣстє
3   знаша   колоша, клаша   глаголаша   умѣша
                 
Past Act. Part.                
Masc./Neut. N   знавъ   коловъ, клавъ   глаголавъ   умѣвъ
Fem. N   знавъши   коловъши, клавъши   глаголавъши   умѣвъши
                 
Resultative Part.                
Masc. N   зналъ   кололъ, клалъ   глаголалъ   умѣлъ
                 
Past Pass. Part.                
Masc. N   знанъ   кол҄єнъ, клатъ   глаголанъ   умѣнъ
                 
Infinitive   знати   колоти, клати   глаголати   умѣти
                 
Supine   знатъ   колотъ, клатъ   глаголатъ   умѣтъ
                 
Verbal Noun   знаньѥ   (рас)колєньѥ   глаголаньѥ   умѣньѥ
38. The Locative Case

The Old Russian locative case provides, in some sense, a box within which an event is situated. When the noun in the locative denotes physical space, it provides the place at, on, or within which the event being described takes places. When the noun in the locative denotes some unit of time, then it provides the time span within which, or the point of time at which, the event occurs. Consider the following examples of the locative of place at which or time within which.

  • бысть пожаръ великъ кыевѣ городѣ 'There was a great fire in the city Kiev' (Primary Chronicle, Laurentian Codex).
  • отъ нихъже суть Поляне Кыевѣ до сего дьне 'from among whom there are Polianians in Kiev to this day' (Primary Chronicle).
  • томь же лѣтѣ приде мстиславъ 'In that year Mstislav arrived' (Primary Chronicle, Laurentian Codex).

The locative also forms the complement of certain verbs. Consider the following examples.

  • жритва его облацѣх ся конєтъ 'His sacrifice touches the clouds' (cf. Sreznevskij, 1898, vol. 1, p. 1296).
  • пѹсыни... горахъ прилежаше высокыихъ 'A desert... lay in the high mountains' (cf. Sreznevskij, 1898, vol. 2, p. 1422).

Though the use of the locative is common and widespread in Old Russian, we already see a tendency for its use in conjuction with prepositions such as на 'in, into' or при 'at, near'. Generally the sense elicited by the prepositions coincides with the basic sense of the locative case itself denoting spatial or temporal location or position.

39. The Dative Case

The Old Russian dative case shows a dazzling variety of functions. Nearly all the functions, however, exhibit a common theme: reference. The dative generally serves to mark an entity with reference to which an event takes place. Frequently this notion of reference overlaps with the notion of the indirect object, as in English He gave the book to me. But the notion of reference may be more general: That doesn't bode well for me. Consider the following examples of the dative marking the indirect object.

  • рече дружинѣ своеи 'he said to his retinue' (Death of Igor).
  • сътворю тризну мужю моему 'I will perform a funeral for my husband' (Olga's Revenge).
  • дадите ми отъ двора по три голуби да по три воробиѣ 'Give me from (each) household three pigeons and three sparrows' (Olga's Revenge).

At times the dative can mark a point of reference with such close association as to overlap with the sense of the genitive. Compare the following example of the so-called dative of possession: единому имѧ кии, а другому щекъ, а третьєму хоривъ, сестра ихъ лъӏбедь 'To the first the name was Kii, but to the second Shchek, and to the third Khoriv, (and) their sister was Lybed' (Primary Chronicle). Note the use of the dative in demonstrating possession of the names of the individual brothers, but the possessive construction shifts to the genitive ихъ when referring to their sister.

However at times the use of dative marks an interested party, one with reference to whom the statement as a whole is valid. Such uses of the dative often form the complements to certain adjectives. The following statements provide examples of the dative of reference.

  • люба ми есть рѣчь вашь 'Your proposal is pleasing to me' (Olga's Revenge).
  • добра ли вы чьсть? 'Is the honor good (enough) for you?' (Olga's Revenge).

In some situations the use of the dative overlaps with that of the accusative in denoting the endpoint of directed motion. This parallels English usage of the preposition to, which can either denote the indirect object (Give it to me) or the destination (I'm going to the store). The following provide examples of the dative marking the goal of directed motion.

  • си же Ольга приде Киеву 'and this Olga came to Kiev' (Primary Chronicle, Laurentian Codex). Compare поиде ... Киевъ in the discussion of the accusative (Section 29).
  • но пришедъ Смолинску и поимъ вои 'but having come to Smolensk and having gathered troops' (Primary Chronicle, Laurentian Codex).
  • идѣте съ данию домови 'Go home with the tribute' (Death of Igor).

Moreover, the dative often forms the complement of certain verbs, where one might expect an accusative to mark a direct object. Consider the use of the dative with certain verbs in the following examples.

  • насилѧше имъ и мужи єго 'he and his men were oppressing them' (Igor's Death).
  • и повелѣ людьмъ съсути могылу велику 'And she ordered the people to heap up a great burial mound' (Olga's Revenge).
  • нє браните ѥмѹ 'Do not hinder him' (Ostromir Gospel, Mark 9.39, cf. Sreznevskij, 1898, vol. 1, p. 166).
39.1. The Dative with Infinitive

One important use of the dative in Old Russian occurs with the infinitive. In particular, where Old Russian employs an infinitive to denote an action, the subject of that infinitive (when not the same as the subject of the finite verb of the clause) typically appears in the dative. This parallels English usage of the preposition for: It's not easy for me to admit it. Here English employs the prepositional phrase for me to denote the subject of the action represented by the infinitive to admit. Old Russian employs the dative in a similar construction. Consider the following examples of the dative with infinitive construction.

  • ... то видока ему нє искати, нъ платити ему продажю .г. гривнъӏ '... then (it is) not for him to produce a witness, but (it is) for him (the offender) to pay 3 grivnas' (Russian Truth [Russkaja Pravda]). Less strictly, '... then he need not produce a witness, but the other must pay 3 grivnas'.
  • тѣхъ бо пророци прорицаху яко Богу родитися 'For their prophets prophesied that God (was) to be born' (Primary Chronicle).
39.2. The Dative Absolute

Absolute constructions run rife through ancient Indo-European languages. The term absolute refers to the fact that such constructions generally have no grammatical relation to the surrounding material. Rather they serve to set the tone, so to speak: the absolute construction generally provides some attendant circumstances for the event described, or it elaborates some conditions necessary for the event to take place. Even English has its absolute constructions, made famous -- or infamous -- by the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:

    A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

The italicised section, a ... militia being necessary..., forms an absolute construction. Grammatically it bears no relation to the remainder of the sentence (after the comma). It nevertheless provides important information relevant to the interpretation of the remainder of the sentence, and thereby we understand the reason for their use: absolute constructions provide a means of adding extra information without adding an entire sentence.

The format for an absolute construction is rather formulaic: a noun plus an accompanying adjective form the nucleus of an absolute construction. Typically the adjective is a participle; when it is a bare adjective (i.e. not obviously derived from a verbal root), the reader generally supplies an appropriate participial form of the verb 'to be'. In the Second Amendment, we see that the nucleus is a... militia being necessary, i.e. a noun (militia), an accompanying adjective (necessary), and here an explicit participial form of 'to be' (being, the present participle). The remaining phrases of the italicized absolute above are, grammatically speaking, window-dressing: they add extra information to the absolute construction, but they are not essential to its structure.

As the Second Amendment shows, English just tacks the absolute construction on to the accompanying sentence. This is rather simple for English, which shows rather simplified case-marking when compared to Old Russian. But if we try to do the same in Old Russian, that is tack a noun and accompanying adjective or participle onto a sentence, we immediately confront a fundamental issue: what case should the noun and adjective be in? If they take the nominative case, they might be construed as the subject of the accompanying sentence, and so they would not be absolute (grammatically isolated from the remainder). If the accusative, they might be construed as the direct object. Almost any other case might work, and other Indo-European languages employ one or other of them in their own absolute constructions: Greek chooses the genitive (and the accusative at times!), Sanskrit the locative (and the genitive at times), Latin the ablative, Gothic the dative. Old Russian, like Gothic, places a noun and accompanying adjective in the dative for absolute constructions. Hence the terminology: the dative absolute.

When in doubt as to how to translate, a standard formula using the English preposition with often works. Supposing a nucleus consisting of the noun cookie and the adjective (past passive participle) eaten, we might render an absolute in English by means of the formula with the cookie eaten, or more explicitly with the cookie (having been) eaten. If the participle were the present passive, being eaten, then the corresponding absolute might be rendered with the cookie being eaten. From there one might add further refinements: with the cookie being eaten by my sister right this very instant.

The following selections provide examples of the dative absolute in Old Russian.

  • полем же жившемъ ѡсобѣ, и володѣющемъ и родъӏ своими иже и до сеє братьѣ бѧху полѧне 'with the Polianians living by themselves and ruling their own families, even up to this (time) brothers were the Polianians' (Primary Chronicle).
  • ѹбиѥнѹ жє глѣбови и повьржєнѹ на пѹстѣ мѣстѣ мѣжю дъвѣма колодама и господь нє оставлӏаѧи своихъ рабъ 'with Gleb having been struck down and having been cast into an open space between two tree trunks, the Lord (was) not deserting his servants' (Story of Boris and Gleb).
  • сущю самодрьжицю вьсеи русьскѣи земли Володимиру сыну Святославлю, вънуку же Игореву 'with Vladimir, son of Svjatoslav and grandson of Igor, being autocrat of the whole Russian land' (Boris & Gleb).

From the earliest periods, however, we find examples in which the structure of the dative absolute, as outlined above, begins to break down. We find that the participles fail to agree with the noun (in the dative) forming the nucleus of the absolute construction. Consider the following example: идуще же ємѹ въспѧть размъӏсливъ рече дрѹжинѣ своєи 'Having gone back (and) having considered he said to his retinue...' (Olga's Revenge).

The isolated participial forms that result in this way, which do not display agreement with their referents, comprise the raw material from which arises later the Russian gerund (cf. Section 46).

40. Negation

Old Russian possesses two basic negative particles: не and ни. To distinguish between them, we might characterize не as the basic negative adverb, similar in function to English not or Latin no:n. The particle ни, by contrast generally serves as a negative conjunction, similar to English neither or nor, or similar to Latin neque. Thus Old Russian не generally negates the item before which it stands, or the clause as a whole; ни, on the other hand, connects one clause to another, or one phrase to another, while negating the clause in which it stands or the element before which it stands. Such is the tendency though, as with most things, Old Russian allows for variation. The following excerpts provide examples of the coordination between не and ни.

  • не ѣдемъ на конихъ, ни пѣши идемъ, нъ понєсѣте ны въ лодии 'We will not ride on horses, nor will we go on foot, but carry us in a boat' (Olga's Revenge).
  • нынѣ у васъ нѣсть меду, ни скоры 'Among you now there is neither honey, nor fur(s)' (Olga's Revenge).

Between clauses and phrases, then, Old Russian employs ни. But within a clause or phrase Old Russian uses не. Within a larger clause containing both не and ни, the negative не generally occurs once, while ни may be repeated. Consider the following example of repeated ни with a single не: ни хытру ни горазду, ни птицю горазду суда божиа не минути '(It is) neither for the clever nor for the smart man, nor (even) for the smart bird to escape God's judgement' (Igor Tale).

In addition to its role as a negative conjunction, we also find ни employed as a prefix with certain indefinite pronouns or adverbs to create negative pronouns or adverbs. For example, whereas къто can be the interrogative 'who?' or the indefinite 'anyone', the prefixed form никъто has the sense 'no one'. Similarly: чьто 'what?' or 'anything', but ничьто 'nothing'; къде 'where?' or 'wherever', but никъде 'nowhere'. The same applies to interrogative adjectives such as кыи 'which?': thus никыи 'no, not a, not any'. When Old Russian employs such negative pronouns, adverbs, and adjectives, the clause as a whole may still contain не without double negation as in Standard English. Consider the following use of не with the ни-prefix: нє вѣдущю никому 'with no one knowing', i.e. 'unbeknownst to anyone' (Uspenskiji Sbornik). The two negatives reinforce one another, rather than cancelling each other out as in Standard English: e.g. with no one not knowing is equivalent to with everyone knowing in Standard English.

Moreover Old Russian may drop the negative не when the ни-prefix appears elswhere in the clause. The following example shows the use of the ни-prefix without не: никто же приходилъ къ нимъ 'nobody came to them' (Uspenskiji Sbornik).

Other sections in this series discuss in greater detail the switch from accusative to genitive marking of direct objects in the presence of negation (cf. Sections 15, 29, 34). However when the negation is clearly confined to one particular item or phrase, this may fail to trigger use of the genitive-accusative. Consider the following examples of negating a single item.

  • не язъ бо почалъ братью бити '(It was) not I (who) began to beat the brothers' (Primary Chronicle, Laurentian Codex).
  • то не сь то створи, но сын его '(It was) not he (who) did this, but his son' (Primary Chronicle, Laurentian Codex).

Finally we find a composite conjuction неже 'than'. This may clearly be analyzed as не же 'and not', and frequently it may be translated as such. This particle generally appears in the context of comparisons. Consider the following example of the use of неже 'than': лице жъ бы потяту быти неже полонену быти 'It would be better (for one) to be slain than to be captured' (Igor Tale). The conjunction неже here could easily be translated with 'and not': 'it is better... to be slain and not to be captured'. The past passive participles потяту 'slain' and полонену 'captured', here in the dative, agree with the implicit dative subject of the infinitives быти (cf. Section 39).