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Digenis Akritis: Maximou

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Abduction (Slavic)

[Tit 183v] Of the Marriage of Devgenij and the Abduction of Stratigovna

(1) [Tit 183v] Glorious Devgenij began [184r] ever to think about Stratigovna, how he might see Stratig and his children and all his soldiers and the fair Stratigovna.

(2) [184r] His father and mother began to restrain him: "Child, give up this thought.

(3) [184r] Many have thought about Stratig himself and about Stratigovna, how they might see her, but it has availed them not."

(4) [184r] Glorious Devgenij took a prayer from his father and from his mother and assembled a few soldiers

(5) [184r] and took with him costly vestments and a musical zither

(6) [184r] and mounted a horse, his swift Far', and went to Stratig.

(7) [184r] And he reached the border of Stratig's land and went within five leagues of the city

(8) [184r] and disposed his army and ordered them to mount guard among themselves and to be strong, while he himself went to Stratig's city.

(9) [184r] And he entered the city through the gates of the city of Stratig

(10) [184r] and met a youth of Stratig's court and questioned him about Stratig and about his sons and about Stratigovna herself.

(11) [184r] The youth replied to him: "Our lord Stratig is not at home, but hunting in another country with his four sons.

(12) [184r] And you ask about Stratigovna: to our lord there is not another so fair in the world. Many have [184v] come, but no one has looked in her eyes,

(13) [184v] since Stratig is brave and strong, and his sons, and the rest of his army; one will attack a hundred.

(14) [184v] Stratigovna herself has manly boldness;

(15) [184v] to no one else is she like save to you."

(16) [184v] When Devgenij heard, he was joyful, since it had been shown to him and written: He who joins with Stratigovna will live for thirty-six years.

(21) [10r] When she heard this, the maiden Stratigovna peered out the window and spoke to Devgenij: "My bright light and beautiful sun! I pity you, my lord, that you wish to perish on account of your love for me,

(22) [10r] for many have laid down their heads on my account, even without seeing me and never having spoken a word with me. And who are you who has determined on such a brazen deed?

(23) [10r] My father is, you know, exceptionally brave and my brothers are powerful, and my father has many warriors, each of whom can taken on a hundred. And you have so few men with you."

(24) [10r] Devgenij answered the maiden: If I did not fear God, then I would commit you to death. But answer me quickly what is in your thoughts: do you wish to become the wife of Devgenij Akrit or do you wish to be a captive — a servant?

(25) [10r] When she heard this, the girl answered him tearfully: "If you love me so strongly, then quickly abduct me while neither my father [10v] and nor my mighty brothers are at home.

(26) [10v] But why must you abduct me? I wish go off with you myself, only dress me in men's clothing.

(27) [10v] For I have the daring of a man!

(28) [10v] If they catch up to me along the way, I will not disgrace myself. Many have been unable to overcome me."

(31) [13r] When he had heard this, Devgenij kissed her and rode out against them, and he met them far out in the field.

(32) [13r] He struck like a strong falcon at the center of the army, like a good mower he cut them down like grass: he galloped through them once and killed seven thousand; he returned and killed twenty thousand.

(33) [13r] A third time he galloped and he caught up to Stratig. He hit him lightly with his club [13v] on the top of his helmet and knocked him from his horse.

(34) [13v] And Stratig began imploring Devgenij:

(35) [13v] Be content with the abducted maiden, my beautiful daughter. Let me live!

(36) [13v] And Devgenij let him go but he caught up to his sons, bound them, and led them off with him.

(37) [13v] He did not tie up Stratig.

(38) [13v] And binding the army, he drove them before him like a shepherd a flock of sheep to where the maiden was standing.

(39) [13v] And she saw her father and said: That is what I told you, father, but you would not believe me.

(40) [13v] And Devgenij ordered his servants to drive the bound warriors of Stratig and he led Stratig himself and his sons along with him.

(41) [13v] And so then Stratig grew sad and together with his sons began to plead with Devgenij, saying to him:

(42) [13v] You did not condemn us to death but granted us life, so do not cart us off with you but return us our liberty.

(43) [13v] And the maiden heard the pleading of her father and brothers and she began asking Devgenij:

(44) [14r] "I was given into your hands by God.

(45) [14r] You are the ruler not only of me but also of my family. You have defeated many warriors already but give my father and brothers back their liberty, do not grieve my mother who nursed your wife." And as the maiden spoke this way,

(46) [14r] Devgenij heeded her and said to Stratig: I shall have mercy on your age and grant you and your sons freedom, but I shall place my brand upon you.

(51) [14v] When he had returned to his own country, he sent his trusted servants with great ceremony to his father and mother with the news and requested of them that they prepare a glorious wedding. And he said to his father:

(52) [14v] "You, father, were formerly famed for your strength and glory, and now I, with the help of God and your blessing and the prayers of my mother, what I conceived of has all come true.

(53) [14v] I have no opponent. Stratig alone was stronger than all knights, but with God's help he could not stand against me, for I abducted his daughter.

(54) [14v] And now, father, with great honors come out to greet me and Stratigovna."

(55) [14v] And his runners came to him and told the father all that Devgenij had told them to say.

(56) [14v] And upon hearing this, his father and mother rejoiced [15r] and began preparing for the wedding, and they summoned the entire city and they went out to meet Devgenij and Stratigovna, and they met them eight versts from the city with great honors.

(57) [15r] And all knelt down before Devgenij, exclaiming: O great is the miracle accomplished by you, a young lad, o noble is your daring! You have defeated Stratig and abducted his daughter!

(58) [15r] And Devgenij replied: It was not I who defeated the force of Stratig; he was defeated by the force of God!

(61) [16r] So Devgenij returned home, having seen Stratig off, and he freed all the captives.

(62) [16r] And he branded his uncle Filipap on the face and then sent him off to where he had come from,

(63) [16r] and Maksimijana's liberation he announced through his servants.

(64) [16r] And then he began living and prospering and going hunting, for he loved these bogatyr's pursuits.

(dox) [16r] Oh, what a great miracle, brothers! Who would not be astonished at it? He was an unusual man and he became such not from Amir but he was sent down by God. All brave Christians learned of his glory, and he was made famous throughout all the world with the aid of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit now and forevermore and in eternity, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Alexander

(0) Alexander asked (Sesonchosis), "How many years will I live?" He replied, "It is good for a living man not to know when he is to die." [3.24]

(1) From there (Alexander) marched to the Amazons; and when he had reached them, he sent them a letter with the following contents. [3.25]

(2) "We are marching on you. Meet us with joy; we do not come to do you ill, but to see your country and at the same time do you good." [3.25]

(3) Receiving Alexander's letter and reading it, (the leading Amazons) wrote Alexander this reply. [3.25]

(4) "By our letter we shall make clear the nature of our country and of ourselves, who have a way of life to be reckoned with." [3.25]

(5) "If we defeat the enemy … a terrible disgrace stays with them for all time; but if they defeat us, they will be in a situation of having defeated women." [3.25]

(6) Alexander read (the Amazons') letter and with a smile (a laugh) wrote them this reply. [3.26]

(7) "If you want to live in your own land rather than try your luck in battle, cross your river and be seen by us." [3.26]

(8) On receiving and reading Alexander's letter, (the Amazons) … wrote him this reply. [3.26]

(9) "We give you permission to come to us and see our country." [3.26]

(10) "We accept allegiance to you, in your presence and in your absence: we have heard of your exceptional qualities and your bravery." [3.26]

(11) "We have decided … to be subject to you as master." [3.26]

(12) After this exchange of letters, Alexander wrote his mother, Olympias, this account of his deeds. [3.27]

(13) "… the Amazons (are) women of exceptional height, much taller than other women, notable for their attractiveness and strength." [3.27]

Maximou (Slavic)

[181v] An Account of the Bravery of Devgenij: How Filipap and the Maiden Maksimijana Sent a Missive

(x) [32v] [Hunt (Slavic)] And the youth had not finished speaking when the enormous serpent came flying up to the stream; it was like a three-headed man and it desired to devour people. When he caught sight of it, Devgenij quickly grabbed his sword and went out to meet the serpent, and he chopped off three heads and began washing his hands.

(1) [181v] When Filipap and the maiden Maksimijana heard about the bravery and about the strength of Devgenij, they began to think how they might catch him

(2) [181v] like a hare in a net.

(3) [181v] Filipap is brave and very strong and has great force;

(4) [181v] the maiden Maksimijana too has manly bravery, her army also.

(5) [181v] And they advanced on glorious Devgenij and came and halted, before they reached the Greek city, on the river Euphrates.

(6) [181v] And Maksimijana sent a guileful missive to glorious Devgenij:

(7) [181v] O light, brilliant sun, glorious Devgenij, you rule among all of us, the brave and the strong,

(8) [181v] like the month of May among all the months. In the month of May all heavenly and earthly beauty flowers; the trees put forth leaves and all heavenly beauty is created;

(9) [181v] even so [182r] are you among us, glorious Devgenij.

(10) [182r] And we, glorious Devgenij, entreat you: play not the sluggard, bestir yourself;

(11) [182r] come to us with no large force to the river Euphrates,

(12) [182r] that we may see your youthfulness and bravery; there is no plot against you at all.

(13) [182r] And glorious Devgenij read the missive

(14) [182r] and laughed

(15) [182r] and said to his father: Father, I wish to go and see glorious and brave Filipap and the maiden Maksimijana,

(16) [182r] But his father said: My dear child, glorious Devgenij, it is too early for you to think of battle;

(17) [182r] you have not been in victorious battles, whereas Filipap in battles is strong and brave and the maiden Maksimijana is also, and he has a great force.

(18) [182r] But Devgenij replied to the missive; he sent his favorite to them and said:

(19) [182r] It is a great shame for me to go to fight against a woman,

(20) [182r] but you, Filipap, old uncle, why have you come in great strength and led a host of innocent people against me?

(21) [182r] The maiden Maksimijana said: Do not, brilliant sun, glorious Devgenij, have any such thought in your mind at all, since we have come see your youthfulness.

(22) [182r] Day after day Devgenij was thinking how he might see the bravery [182v] of Filipap.

(23) [182v] And he took a few of his favorites with him and asked a prayer from his father and from his mother: Quickly bless me, father and mother mine.

(24) [182v] Have no concern at all over this; no wounds will be on my body from the hand of man,

(25) [182v] since I put my trust in the strength of God and in your fatherly grace and that of my mother.

(26) [182v] And mounting his horse he went on his way.

(27) [182v] He reached the river Euphrates and stood on the bank

(28) [182v] and sent his favorites to Filipap and the maiden Maksimijana.

(29) [182v] When Filipap saw that Devgenij had few soldiers,

(30) [182v] he began to chase them with his whole army.

(31) [182v] When Devgenij saw his followers pursued,

(32) [182v] grasping his lance he planted his lance in the river and vaulted over on foot like a fierce falcon from a hunter's hand;

(33) [182v] he cried in a loud voice: Give me my horse called Far'!

(34) [182v] And mounting his horse he began to chase them as a good mower to mow grass: in the first mowing a thousand, in the second another thousand he conquered;

(35) [182v] in the third mowing he overtook Filipap and smote him between the shoulders with his mace and knocked him off his horse.

(36) [182v] When the maiden Maksimijana saw that Devgenij was binding Filipap,

(37) [182v] she aimed her lance, wishing to run glorious Devgenij through [183r] from behind.

(38) [183r] Seeing this, Devgenij grasped her lance and smote her with his lance and knocked her off her horse.

(39) [183r] And having taken Filipap and the maiden Maksimijana,

(40) [183r] some he killed, while some he bound, and he drove them before him as a good shepherd drove sheep through a river.

(41) [183r] At that time old uncle Filipap turned to Devgenij and said:

(42) [183r] Gold-winged hawk, glorious Devgenij, you are glorious among us all, the strong and the brave. But there is yet a braver and a stronger one than you in the world,

(43) [183r] glorious Stratig, who has four sons; the rest of his army the earth cannot contain.

(44) [183r] And he has a daughter, the very glorious and beautiful Stratigovna; she has manly boldness and bravery,

(45) [183r] while there is nothing fairer on earth than her fairness.

(46) [183r] Many tsars and kings, brave and strong, have come, but no one can take her,

(47) [183r] and to no one is she like in beauty and strength.

(48) [183r] But now spare my years; after a little let me go. Glorious Devgenij said: I wish to learn whether you are speaking the truth; then I shall let you go; I shall put my mark on your face for all time.

(49) [183r] The maiden Maksimijana also began to entreat him: O light, brilliant sun, glorious Devgenij [183v] , to me have come many tsars and kings, brave and strong in much strength, but no one has dishonored me with a single word;

(50) [183v] all have been conquered by my hands.

(51) [183v] But now God has submitted me to you.

(52) [183v] If you join with me, there will be nothing stronger than we and no one can stand against us.

(53) [183v] Glorious Devgenij said: Brother, Maksimijana, I have no man's help save the grace of God and my mother's prayer: that will help me.

(54) [183v] For Devgenij it is written: If you join with Maksimijana, his life is sixteen years; if he joins with Stratigovna, his life is thirty-six years.

(55) [183v] Devgenij called loudly for his favorite and said: Go to my father and my mother and say to them thus:

(56) [183v] Rejoice, father and mother mine, that I have defeated Filipap.

(57) [183v] And take him to my father and Maksimijana here to my mother. If you offend her with even a single word, this day you cease to live.

(58) [183v] The favorite came to his Devgenij's father's and mother's house and brought them Filipap and the maiden Maksimijana and told them all in order.

(59) [183v] His father and mother were ever very joyful about him.

(y) [19r] [Emperor (Slavic)] And he placed brands on the faces of Kanam and Ioakim and sent them to their native country.

(z) [16r] [Abduction (Slavic)] And he branded uncle Filipap on the face and then sent him off to where he had come from, and Maksimijana’s liberation he announced through his servants.

Emperor (Slavic)

[16r] The Tale of How Devgenij Defeated Tsar Vasilij

(1) [16r] There was a certain tsar named Vasilij. And he became extremely angry, hearing of the daring and bravery of Devgenij, and he burned with the desire to capture him

(2) [16r] for tsar Vasilij controlled all the land of Cappadocia.

(3) [16r] And so he equipped his envoys and sent off an epistle to Devgenij and with feigned cordiality [16v] he wrote thus:

(4) [16v] Famed Devgenij! I very much want to see you. Do not hesitate now to visit my tsardom; your daring and courage have resounded over all the earth.

(5) [16v] And I have come to love you with all my soul, and I wish to gaze upon your youth.

(6) [16v] They delivered the royal epistle to Devgenij, and Devgenij read it and understood that the epistle to him was false.

(7) [16v] And Devgenij answered the tsar: I am a simple man. Your royal highness has no need of anything from me,

(8) [16v] but if you wish to see me, then take a small number of warriors with you and come to the River Euphrates.

(9) [16v] And then he ordered the envoys to say to their tsar: If you wish to see me, an unworthy one, then take a few warriors with you, so as not to anger me, for youth brings many irrational acts with it.

(10) [16v] And if I should become angry and destroy your army, then you will not return alive!

(11) [16v] So they rode back and the envoy transmitted all that Devgenij had said. When he heard this, the tsar became extremely angry and sent the envoy back to Devgenij with the words:

(12) [16v] My child! I do not wish to bring many warriors with me but only to admire your youth. I have nothing else in my heart.

(13) [16v] The royal envoy came to Devgenij and related all that had been said by the tsar and Devgenij answered him: Tell your tsar this:

(14) [16v] I do not fear [17r] you, tsar, nor your innumerable army, for I place my hopes on God.

(15) [17r] I do not fear your evil plot but I say to you:

(16) [17r] Come to the River Euphrates and you and I shall see each other.

(17) [17r] If you come with a large force, then you will not rejoice in the fact that you rule, and your entire force will be destroyed.

(18) [17r] And the envoy came to tsar Vasilij and related the words of Devgenij to him.

(19) [17r] When he had heard this, the tsar immediately ordered his warriors summoned and having gathered them together, he moved off with that force to the place indicated by Devgenij. And having come to the River Euphrates, he set up his tents at some distance from the river.

(20) [17r] And the royal pavilion was enormous, bright red in color, and the top of it was sewn in pure gold; and inside the tent were quartered several thousand warriors. And the entire force of the tsar was covered: some in tents and other in sheltered places.

(21) [17r] And the tsar stayed for six days on the river and he said to his voevodas: Devgenij has found out something and contrived something against us for he himself intends to come with a large force.

(22) [17r] And having said this, tsar Vasilij shook from fear.

(23) [17r] And Devgenij sent a servant to the tsar with these words:

(24) [17r] I am amazed that you have put forth so much labor [17v] on my account as I am nothing.

(25) [17v] But I already told you of my custom: if you wish to meet me, then come with a small detachment.

(26) [17v] But you have gathered an enormous army thinking to defeat me, and that is disgraceful,

(27) [17v] for my fame has gone throughout all the earth and to all lands. And so now do as you have intended to do.

(28) [17v] Tsar Vasilij answered: How dare you that you do not wish to submit to me, a tsar! And fitting out his envoy, he sent him across the river and received Devgenij's envoy.

(29) [17v] And the royal envoy came to transmit the royal words to Devgenij.

(30) [17v] And Devgenij replied; Tell your tsar: if he is relying on his great force, then I hope on God the Creator. And your force cannot compare with the might of God.

(31) [17v] This day is nearly over but prepare for battle as of tomorrow morning, and come forth with your innumerable force and you will see the courage of an insignificant man who will appear before you; otherwise, I will be shamed for that which is not undertaken.

(32) [17v] And the envoy of tsar Vasilij came back from Devgenij and told his words [18r] to the tsar.

(33) [18r] The tsar quickly called his boyars and began taking counsel with them, and the magnates said to him: What is your rule worth, tsar, if you are afraid of a single warrior – no forces are seen with him.

(34) [18r] And Devgenij's envoy hurried across the river and told Devgenij all that had occurred with the tsar.

(35) [18r] The next day at daybreak tsar Vasilij placed his forces and got ready to cross over the river

(36) [18r] to catch Devgenij like a hare in a trap.

(37) [18r] Devgenij saw that tsar Vasilij had prepared an innumerable force, and he guessed that when he had crossed the river, he would surround him.

(38) [18r] Furious, Devgenij said to his servants: Join me in a little while, first I shall myself undertake some little labor and serve that tsar.

(39) [18r] And having said these words, he propped himself up with his lance and leapt across the river like a strong falcon,

(40) [18r] and he shouted at the top of his lungs: Where is this tsar Vasilij who wanted to see something of me?

(41) [18r] He shouted and immediately the warriors rushed at him, and he stuck his lance in the ground and rushed at the warriors with his bare sword.

(42) [18r] And he galloped up and like a good mower cutting grass, the first time he galloped through, he defeated a thousand, then he came back and galloped through them again, and another [18v] thousand he defeated.

(43) [18v] Tsar Vasilij saw the courage of Devgenij and with but a handful of his men fled.

(44) [18v] Devgenij killed the remaining warriors and then bound up the remainder

(45) [18v] and shouted to his servants across the river: Bring that swift horse of mine, the one called Wind.

(46) [18v] They drove the horse over to him, he leapt onto it

(47) [18v] and Devgenij tore off and soon caught up to tsar Vasilij at the walls of his city,

(48) [18v] and he killed all the warriors who were with him, and took the tsar and three of his companions captive.

(49) [18v] And he sent one of them into the city with the news. And he said to the citizens:

(50) [18v] Come out to meet Devgenij; from this day on God has granted it that he will rule in your country.

(51) [18v] When the heard this, they gathered together and came out to fight with him before the city, thinking that they would be fighting with an ordinary man.

(52) [18v] And he sent a message to them, saying: Put down your weapons and do not anger me.

(53) [18v] They replied: A single man cannot stand against our entire city.

(54) [18v] When he heard their reply, Devgenij grew angry and rushed at them:

(55) [18v] some he killed, others he bound and handed over to his servants, and then he entered the city and began ruling there.

(56) [19r] And he soon freed the captives, as it says in scripture: The servant cannot be greater than his master, nor the son greater than his father.

(57) [19r] But I still have twelve years to live and now I wish to rest, I have seen many wars and victories in my youth,

(58) [19r] so spoke Devgenij to his father and he sat him on the royal throne and he summoned all his captives and gave them their freedom.

(59) [19r] And he placed brands on the faces of Kanam and Ioakim and sent them to their native country.

(60) [19r] And he summoned all his relatives and shared in their great joy, and thus it continued for many days.

(dox) [19r] Glory to our God now and forever and to the ages of ages! Amen.

Maximou (Greek)

The meadow in May [E1097–1196; G6.1–175]

(1) Rhetorical introduction: Narrator's preamble [G6.1–3]

(2) Rhetorical introduction: Encomium of May [G6.4–11]

(3) Rhetorical introduction: Ekphrasis of the meadow and the girl [G6.12–41]

(4) Encounter with serpent and lion: Serpent seduces the girl at the spring [G6.42–62]

(5) Encounter with the serpent and the lion: Digenis kills the serpent at the spring [E1097–1119; G6.63–85]

(6) Encounter with the serpent and the lion: Digenis kills the lion at the spring [E1120–1138; G6.86–97]

(7) Encounter with the serpent and the lion: Digenis plays the lute, the girl sings [E1139–1150; G6.98–114]

(8) The guerrillas encounter Digenis [E1151–1196; G6.115–175]

Digenis defeats Philopappous, Kinnamos, and Ioannakis [E1197–1315; G6.176–310]

The guerrillas summon Maximou and Melimitzis [E1316–1420; G6.311–475]

Digenis defeats the guerrillas and Maximou [E1421–1553; G6.476–713]

(31) The guerrillas take counsel [E1421–1438; G6.476–496]

(33) The guerrillas attack Digenis: Digenis unhorses Melimitzis (with a strike between the shoulders) [E1439–1450; G6.497–507]

(34) The guerrillas attack Digenis: Philopappous spears Digenis from behind [E1451–1460; G6.508–516]

(35) The guerrillas attack Digenis: Philopappous and Kinnamos [G6.516–522]

(36) Digenis hides the girl [E1461–1481; G6.523–545]

(39) Maximou observes Digenis: Maximou with the guerrillas [E1482–1485, 1497–1500; G6.546–549]

(40) Maximou observes Digenis: Ekphrasis of Maximou [E1486–1496; G6.550–556]

(41) Maximou observes Digenis: Maximou sees Digenis and is angered [E1501–1527; G6.557–568]

(42) Digenis crosses to defeat Maximou [E1528–1547; G6.569–617]

(45) Digenis defeats four guerrillas [G6.618–643]

(48) Digenis and Maximou arrange single combat [E1548–1553; G6.644–713]

Digenis defeats Maximou again and commits adultery [E1554–1605; G6.714–805]

(51) Digenis defeats Maximou in single combat: Digenis returns to his tent [G6.714–729]

(52) Digenis defeats Maximou in single combat: Ekphrasis of Maximou [G6.730–739]

(53) Digenis defeats Maximou in single combat: Digenis unhorses Maximou [E1554–1561; G6.740–763]

(54) Digenis defeats Maximou in single combat: Maximou offers Digenis alliance [E1562–1573; G6.764–776]

(55) Digenis deflowers Maximou [E1574–1577; G6.777–Z.3720]

(57) Digenis returns to the girl [E1578–1599; GZ.3721–6.802]

(60) Maximou's men, Kinnamos, Ioannakis, and Philopappous scatter [E1600–1605]