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Crossing the River of Battle: A Heroic Motif in Ancient Indian and Old Norse Texts
Stockholms universitet, Humanistiska fakulteten, Institutionen för etnologi, religionshistoria och genusvetenskap.ORCID-id: 0000-0002-5786-1421
2021 (Engelska)Ingår i: Journal of Indo-European Studies, ISSN 0092-2323, Vol. 49, nr 1-2, s. 231-250Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

This article looks at the motif of "the river of battle" - the battlefield as a river/stream/sea, which the warrior attempts to cross - in the ancient Indian Mahābhārata and Old Norse texts. It is argued that this motif should be seen in context of three shared ideas, which we also find in ancient Hellenic texts: 1) Poetic similes of battle/army as river/sea or waves. 2) Mythical-cosmological conceptions of rivers as boundary-markers between the worlds of the living and the dead. 3) Glorification of heroism and granting of special status to warriors in the afterlife. Indian texts typically use terms derived from the verbal root √TṜ (Proto-Indo-European √*terh2), which has the double meaning of 'to cross over' and 'to overcome'. Indian ascetic texts apply similar heroic imagery and terminology to the renouncer who crosses over the saṃsāric river/sea. In absence of lexical cognates, similarities in ancient Indian and Old Norse text-passages can be explained by a shared warrior-ideology.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
2021. Vol. 49, nr 1-2, s. 231-250
Nyckelord [en]
Indo-European, ancient India, Iliad, Old Norse, warriors, heroism, immortality
Nationell ämneskategori
Religionshistoria
Forskningsämne
religionshistoria
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-201217OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-201217DiVA, id: diva2:1630940
Tillgänglig från: 2022-01-21 Skapad: 2022-01-21 Senast uppdaterad: 2022-08-12Bibliografiskt granskad

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