On the “beds” in “The Tale of Igor’s Campaign” (“na krovaty tisovе” and “skhoty yu na krovat’”)

2020. № 4, 65-79


The article is devoted to the lexeme “bed” in medieval Russian epic poem “Slovo o Polku Igoreve” (“The Tale of Igor’s Campaign”). The word ‘bed’ is mentioned in the novel twice: fi rst, in so called “The dream of Svjatoslav
the Great Knyaz of Kiev” and then in the story of the battle of young knyaz (prince) Izjaslav against Lithuanians. The article proposes that in “The dream of Svjatoslav” the phrase “bed of yew” does not refer to the real bed of the Great Knyaz, but is a euphemism, denoting a different object in the terem (prince’s residence). It is suggested that “a bed of yew” was a wooden bench, which was traditionally used for putting dead bodies on it. Another theory says that the phrase ‘bed of yew’ is actually a mere fusion of completely different words. The new interpretation of the phrase mentions the unnamed father of Izjaslav and his two brothers. It says that it is plausible that the phrase says: “and came to (his) farther for escape, and that (man) said”. Such interpretation shows the way the phrase is connected to
the context and gives a clearer idea of the whole episode.

For citation:

Maximov V. I. On the “beds” in “The Tale of Igor’s Campaign” (“na krovaty tisovе” and “skhoty yu na krovat’”). Russian Speech = Russkaya Rech’. 2020. No. 4. Pp. 65–79. DOI: 10.31857/S013161170010737-9.