Song of Varangian Guests

File:Mark Reizen 1.jpg

Ok, this post is not about Mark Reizen (/z/) who was one of the best performers of this bass aria from Rimsky’s opera ‘Sadko); cf. the notes http://www.notarhiv.ru/ruskomp/rimskiy-korsakov/noti/1%20(84).pdf

It’s about the names of Varangian guests and envoys in the 907, 912 and 944 pacts between Rus and Byzantium. I argue that we gain a lot of linguistic information about proper names and naming traditions of the past if we assume that Varangian (i.e. Scandinavian) names were reproduced in Russian texts of the XIth century mostly phonetically, as Old Russian heard them. See the handout of my talk given 13.06.2012 at the International Workshop  ‘Old Russia and the Germanic world in a philological and historical perspective” (Moscow, High School of Economy/ Russian Academy of Sciences):Varangian_guests

As for Mark Reizen’s performance, you can listen to it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mib5hdWcqfI

One of the Varangian names from the Rus-Byzantium pacts once made it to Russian opera – it is Farlaf from Glinka’s ‘Ruslan and Lyudmila’. The reference to Odin in the text of Rimsky’s opera is a tribute to the spreading of contemporary philogical knowledge about Old Scandinavia, their gods and traditions.

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