Teaching Masculinities: Young Hero in Traditional Education (Toward the History of Archaic Educational Gender Paradigms).

 If, being adult, I perform my deeds, oh father,

 What will be my benefit? Everyone is capable of that.

 Digenes Acritas, 4, 94 - 95

Vitali Bezrogov



Any culture/epoch develops its own images of the child and the ways of upbringing and instruction of him/her. They act as patterns, models and ideals both for adults and children. Following them means the evolution and the development of a full-fledged member of society in the eyes of this society that is confirmed by the fact that transition to the adult state orients to these patterns.

The history of child developent images as tools for definition of educational approaches is of many pages. The first positive infant image was the image of a hero boy going through a so-called “heroic childhood” which was the privilege of only the most prominent characters of myths and legends. Boy functioned as an infant warrior, athlete, king, wizard, priest, saint, god.

The major ideas relating to the imaginative implementation of differences between male and female education emerged and formed an archetype of the human civilisation at the stage of archaic traditional society largely understanding itself through heroic epos. Ideas of an extraordinary, heroic, in a broad sense, childhood of some not epic, but merely legendary characters pertaining to ethnic, occupational, confessional, or other consciousness took an active part in socialising both the boy of the ancient world and the early medieval boy as a child of a still archaic, traditional society. Beginning to exercise any adult activity, children understood it by symbolic means on the basis of instructions in the tradition.

Ancient texts underline the period during which the hero studies the tradition and his great success in it. He develops a personal relationship with gods, sacralized ancestral arms, with the court and the environment in which certain events with his heroic predecessors, with his horse etc. took place. The central point of this phenomenon of early pedagogical culture - the heroic childhood of a hero boy - is the primary subject of this report.

The history of gender education is not only the history of training in the individual and social perception of gender stereotypes but also the history of upbringing of the sex/age behavioral patterns in practice conduct. Stable and age-old images of traditional consciousness play an important role in this perception and in the reproduction of educational models. And the role of the “hero boy” archetype in this consciousness is very great.

It is known generally enough, that any culture/epoch develops its own image of the child. It acts as a pattern, model and ideal both for adults and children. Following it means the evolution of a full-fledged member of society in the eyes of this society that is confirmed by the fact that transition to the adult state orients to this pattern.

The history of childhood images is of many pages. Most anciently, people perceived a new-born as something foul, that is indicated by the performance of certain complicated purgative rites over it to allow gradual integration of the child into the cosmic structures and eventually into the number of adults[1]. Relics of such attitude are traced not only in the rites being administered for the mother and new-born but also in the custom, occurring back with the Celtic peoples of Europe, not to appear in society with little children[2].

Later on, the first positive infant image was formed, the image of a hero boy going through a so-called “heroic childhood” (often including babyhood) which was the privilege of only the most prominent characters of myths and legends[3]. When in the history of culture a boy’s image is made heroic, he functions as an infant warrior, athlete, king, wizard, priest, saint, god.

This report is based on the assumption that the major ideas relating to the imaginative implementation of differences between male and female education emerged and formed an archetype of the human civilisation at the stage of archaic traditional society largely understanding itself through heroic epos. The central point of this phenomenon of early pedagogical culture - the heroic childhood of a hero boy - will be the primary subject of this report. The image of girls (in contrast to adult women) is likely to have appeared later and is much less widespread.

The heroic childhood is generally defined as the childhood of an epic hero distinguished be well-pronounced athletic qualities serving as prototype for the subsequent behaviour of such heroes and paradigmatic models for the entire profane society. Monuments of archaic traditional society, primarily its epos, have reflected and formulated the concepts of “boy-hero” and, to a certain extend, “boy-seer”. Almost every people has preserved stories about heroes including elements of extraordinary childhood. Scholars are usually confused by the fact that the epos, myths, and legends, following the laws of genre, don’t represent any reliable reflection of reality, but in this case we are not concerned by the fact, since we are specifically interested in the epic concept of this monuments and its impact on young generations in the historic prospect.

The first stage of any heroic childhood is the wonderful conception of the hero. He takes on the ability of gods to be born in an unusual manner. Heracles was conceived by Zeus in the image of Amphitrionus, Alkmene’s husband. The conception of such a hero, the protector of gods and people, required a night thrice longer than usual, for which the ordinary course of time was suspended[4]. Theseus was born by Ephra to Poseidonus, though he was considered a son of Aegeus, son of Pandion and grandson of Cecropus[5]. Volkh and Saur Vanidovich, heroes of Slavic legends, were born by widows without men, and the first of them was born to the cruel serpent[6]. Plutarch tells about a suspicion that Alexander of Macedonia was also born not to Philip, but to a serpent[7]. Conchobhar and Cu Chulainn, heroes of Old Irish legends, were conceived through something drunk by their mothers with water[8]. Tsovinar, the mother of Sanasar and Bagdasar, ancient Armenian heroes, also became pregnant from water (foam), when she,being nude, came into water[9]. Wonderful conception occurs in the Mongolian, Uzbek, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Oguz, and other eposes. It can be accompanied by magic acts, for example, the prospective father’s steed mating with the mares of the future mother[10]. The simultaneity of human and natural conception imparts additional power to both.

The next stage is the birth proper. The unusual nature of the child is expressed either in a universal response to this event or in a too short or too long period of pregnancy, or in the emergence of the child from other parts than the mother’s belly. When Slavic hero Volkh Vseslavievich was being born, the earth shuddered, the sea waved, and all beasts ran away[11]. A similar response, added by thunder, accompanies the birth of Alexander of Macedonia as described by Pseudo-Callisphen, Helgi in Scandinavian legends, Isan in the Nart epos, Gasar in the Mongolian epos etc. Olympic gods fought each other during the birth of Heracles[12]. The mother carried Theseus only four months[13]. Soslan, a Nart hero, was born from a stone treated by his father’s sperm, and another Nart, Batraz was born from a tumour on back of Haemyc in which the foetus had been ripening after his mother had returned from his father to her native home[14]. The hero boy is an intersection of that and this worlds, and the point of birth is the point of transition from there to here.

Hence prenatal phenomena or visions are frequent. Plutarch describes various prophetic dreams and visions haunting Olympias, Philip, and the whole court before the birth of Alexander of Macedonia[15]. The role of visions in the story of Christ the Child is enormous[16]. In “Kissat al-amir Khamza al-Bachlavan” (“The Story of Khamza, a Hero Emir”) Khosrov Anushyrvan, the king of Iran, has a wonderful prophetic dream about a wonderful boy to be born to Ibrahim, the emir of Mecca, who shall be glorious for his deeds and tribulations. The author of the story attributes the following words to the minister interpreting the dream: “Your wife will give birth to a boy like a full moon. That infant is designated to glorify the Arabs famous, but his life will be hard, full of trials, troubles, and sorrows”. The fate of a heroic boy is hard, and he often ends his life in a young age.

The next point of the heroic biography of a child is the feast and prediction of his future life. After the birth of the hero, everyone meets at a feast. Such feast occur in the myths of the Old Irish, Narts, Oirats, Slavs, Buryats. If no prediction of destiny was made before birth, then it ill happen now. Frequently, the father leaving his spouse after the birth of his son announces some instructions or conditions for his son’s in future. Aegeus, the formal father of Theseus, left for the latter a sword inherited from Cecropos, along with his shoes, under a rock then called the Alter of Mighty Zeus. If the boy, as he grows, shifts the rock and recovers the things, then he may and should be sent to Athens, to Aegeus[17]. Cu Chullainn also gives instructions to his son, yet unborn, before leaving the place where his son will be born[18]. The feast often coincides with the next element of a heroic biography, name-giving, which is as if the second birth and the beginning of entering the world[19].

The giving or alteration, of name, is a very significant point for the hero’s fate as well as for his own inner consciousness. The name was transparent and meaningful. Most frequently, the hero changes his name with age. Such alteration was understood as the recovery of our heroes from their powerless, or rather baby-like, “minor” childhood, the first period of infant years, and the point when the hero began to act “really”. Cu Chulainn (“Chulainn’s Hound”) acquired this name after his first infant deed when, being at the age of seven, he killed an enormously big and furious hound of Chulainn, a blacksmith, and undertook, to make up for the damage, to serve the blacksmith until a similar hound would grow. Until that event, he had the name Setanta, given at birth[20]. Mongolian Gasar changes his name on completion of his infant years. The name Heracles (“glorified hero”) came to the hero at a mature age after his recovery from insanity, though this name had been predetermined for him by Zeus[21]. After Ilya Muromets, the Russian hero, was cured at the age of thirty, he, as if for the second time, acquires his “heroic”name at a feast. Finn, the hero of medieval Irish legends, receives this name (instead of the name Demna) after wonderful acquisition of wisdom and secret knowledge during his service to his teacher[22]. The giving / alteration of name proves the transformation of the boy to a hero.

A hero spends the first period of his life in his native house joking and playing, and performing his first deeds. Sometimes he also becomes invulnerable here, for example, through special “hardening” like Achilles, Batraz, or Kabardinian Sosruqo. In this way, he gets the blessing of the superior powers for his fate. At an age under five, Cu Chulainn begins to play with noble boys (150 of them), that all but results in a major slaughter, for they didn’t provide for their mutual patronage and didn’t promise protection to each other.[23] Mger the Junior, the hero of Armenian epos, in the age of 6, is kidding over passers-by, trying either to pass over the bridge built by him, or, when he beats them there, to avoid that and ford yet with the same result (“Why aren’t you passing over the bridge built by me?”)[24]. The epic hero plays wooden toy weapons, balls, sling, tries his force. This force trying starts since his early babyhood. Heracles sucks painfully the breast of his divine wet-nurse, stifles the serpents while playing[25]. Abkhazian Tsvits drinks metal melt instead of his mother’s milk, and another hero of the same epos (Sesrqvaj) carries his own cradle to his home which adults can not even remove from its place. Slavic Volkh demands not to wrap him but to clothe him in armour: “When Volkh is an hour and a half, / Volkh speaks as thunder: / “... Wrap me, mother, / In hard steel armour”[26]. Infant David of the Armenian epos, lying in his cradle, breaks cradle belts and even an iron chain when breathing, and the only thing sustaining his breath is a “vein rope” stretching out to a necessary length when he breathes. Than he will be also invincible in games crippling his opponents. Armenian Sanasar and Bagdasar beat children to tears and injures in games[27]. The epic child displays enviable strength of spirit as for example, seven year Theseus, the only of all boys who was not scared by the lion skin of Heracles, hanging on the back of a chair and who returned with an axe intending to fight with that lying lion (the children were unaware of that being merely a skin)[28]. Such heroic qualities don’t always appear since the very birth, initially many heroes look worse than ordinary children: Gasar, dubbed “sucker”, Batradz, Tsvits, Ilya Muromets[29] and others. Than the heroic qualities emerge at once, through an instantaneous transformation. But that is a rare case. Usually the extraordinary nature of  a child is originally obvious. However, this nature should be concealed for some time. It results in the phenomenon of “secret education”, where the hero accumulates his forces beyond the common environment. Kabardinian hero Batraz is secretly brought up by an old widow as an avenger for this father, another Kabardinian, Badynoko, is also brought up by a certain nameless old couple under the supervision of his mother. Old Irish hero Finn Mac Cumal is secretly raised by his mother as an avenger for his father[30]. The archetype of secret upbringing, outside his own people, outside the world, in a certain liminal position giving the hero sacral power for a dialogue with his tribe, people, and society, became the basis then underlying the biographies of the principal characters of world religions. One may recall the confinement of Prince Gautama in a palace by his father, his subsequent hermitage in the forest and transformation in a Buddha under a boddhi tree. John the Baptist was saved from Herod’s repression by escaping with his mother to the desert, where they hid in a certain “mountain of God”, and he grew in that mountain for some time[31]. In secret from his people, Jesus Christ, generally described by the Gospels as a wonderful boy, was brought up for some time (according to various chronologies of his life, from the first half to three years)[32]. It is characteristic that the Bible contains no descriptions for the childhood of female characters, even the most worshipped ones, while Christ’s childhood has all attributes of an extraordinary childhood, though heroic in spirit, not in strength and smartness. Secret upbringing was also assimilated by the system of genre tools of medieval legends, that is most conspicuously exemplified by the early years of King Arthur[33].

The “positive” secret upbringing of men in the archaic epoch is often neighboured and contrasted by the “negative” secret upbringing of women - they are brought up in confinement, in order to prevent a predicted evil from such a character[34]. The secret upbringing in the isolated premises also occurs: David of Sassun is brought up in jail, Ilya Muromets, Batraz, Chinese epic character Hyang Yuj are brought up in certain closed, not to say dark, premises. Boy David tries to fight a sun beam which got to his prison for the first time, yet he is discouraged by the failure[35]. Sometimes the secret upbringing of a boy is introduced due to the reluctance of the boy’s parents to follow his destiny. That is the case with upbringing of the medieval Welsh hero Peredur, son of Evrawg in a remote, wild, and woody area. His mother makes every effort to save him from the career as a knight[36].

The first deed often falls on the early years; in this way, ancient and medieval heroes act including Heracles, Cu Chulainn, Gasar, Batraz, and Spanish Cid in a version of the Old Spanish epos, where he, being twelve years old, kills a count who has offended his father[37]. Gui, the nephew of epic Guillaume d’Orange, breaks his home education and escapes[38]. Sometimes the first deed proves the last one: many epic heroes represent not only the type of heroic childhood, but also its separate species of a child hero, who encounters his early death. The hero as an avenger executes his function and leaves the stage. Such are Scandinavian Vali, Ossetian Togradz, Slavic (Russian) Mikhailo Danilovich and Yermak. The child hero is often similar to a fabulous wonderful assistant and adviser to adult charters. The notion of a wonderful child persisted for a very long time. In Ireland after Lord Edward Fitzgerald, a revolutionary and conspire dreaming to separate Ireland from Great Britain, died in jail in 1798, a legend developed that “once in 7 years Count Gerald rides into a racing ground in Kilder. His horse, like Arthur’s horse in Cadbury, has silver horseshoes. In the year that Gerald fell asleep, they were half an inch thick. When they become no thicker than a cat’s ear, the miller’s son, six fingers on both hands, will blow his horn, and Gerald will give a battle to the English”[39].

The games, jokes and first deeds are followed by two episodes whose sequence is reversible. Let’s arrange them in the most organic version. These are fosterage and then initiation and introduction to arms. The hero is given to various famous teachers either concurrently or in a sequence. Thus, Heracles, after his formal father Amphitrion had taught the boy to drive, turn, and generally control the chariot, was given for training to Castor (fencing, weapon techniques, fighting tactics in foot and mounted arrays, basic strategy), Autolycos (first fighting), Euritos or Scythian Teutaros (arching), Eumolpos (singing, playing cithara), Linos (literature), than he lived with shepherds until the age of eighteen[40]. The Athenians sacrificed a ram to Connides, Theseus’ teacher on the eve of the Thesean festival[41]. Cu Chulainn enumerates his six teachers who instructed him in his uncle’s estate, in addition to the fact that all members of the tribe “raised me - chariot drivers and warriors, kings and the first singers”, and eventually, he has to go overseas, to Scotland, for further education[42]. In the Old French Novel of Seven Sages  the royal offspring is committed to the seven most educated teachers[43]. Slavic Volkh Vseslavievich was sent to study at his seven, and by the age of ten he learned not only reading and writing, but also some “arts” - to turn into a falcon, wolf, “gold horned bay bull”. Many heroes were brought up by their uncles and suite, and such uncles might act as both positive and negative characters. Uncles bring up Slavic Dobrynya, Volga, Yermak, Irish Cu Chulainn, Mongolian Gasar. Leaving the home was possible also for another reason - “to look at people, to show oneself” (Mger the Senior), perilous labour, search, revenge, merely departure for “the early ages are over” etc.

After training with teachers and numerous exercises the moment of trial, initiation comes. Theseus in his sixteen, having sacrificed his curl to Apollo in Delphi, managed to remove the rock easily and get the hidden sword and shoes[44]. This episode reflects the remembrance of so-called “arms taking”, a widespread type of trial. In the most detail, it occurs in the heroic childhood of Cu Chulainn. He passes it very early (for an ordinary child) - before the age of seven[45]. The early medieval epos “The Abduction of the Bull of Cualnge” narrates that Cu Chulainn, on learning from a druid that the current day is favourable for taking arms by those who wish to win a great glory but shortly die, gives up his still infant games and heads for the king to take arms in this day. He successfully passes a test for proficiency in adult arms (he was trained for it with toy wooden spares, sword, balls etc.). Cu Chulainn tests the arms, and the arms test him[46]. The trial as a game with spares and arrows also waits for Khamza, Arabian hero of the medieval folklore novel, close to the prosaic epos in its initial chapters[47]. Such customs are recorded in the historical German and many other peoples[48]. It is partial or complete initiation.

Having become the full-fledged in traditional society, the hero starts to perform his young deeds for the benefit of his tribe and gods. Heracles defends town of Phoebes from Aergin, Minoan king, collecting contribution from it[49]. Young Theseus seeks to repeat Heracles’ deeds, he takes away a club of Periphetos, a robber, defeats Sinis, a “pine bender”, kills a creature of Tiphon and Echidna, swine of Crommion, having invented the art of fighting, he defeats fighter Cercion, kills Procrustos on his own bed, defeats his 50 nephews, tames the white bull of Poseidon, and, finally, crashes Minotauros. Seven-year Cu Chulainn in his first chariot ride defeats three mature warriors[50]. Being the same age of Theseus, who performs his outstanding deeds, he successfully stands against all famous fighters of the Irish island.

The heroic childhood turns into heroic match-making and ends in it. During this match-making the hero has to overcome numerous obstacles, to learn the most sophisticated martial and magic arts, to resolve contradictions and ruin intrigues.

This is the sequence of the epic hero’s living through his childhood. Moulded in the lines of legends, its features and stages acquired the function of the pedagogical imperative for many generations living in the conditions of military aristocracies. Epic heroic boys supported and reproduced the tradition of military aristocracies for which the epos itself existed. The real socialisation of these societies’ children retained many elements defined by the epic heroic childhood.

The epic genre laws had much more impact on the matter of the hero’s origin and exaggeration of all his superhuman features. The hero grows and develops faster than usually. His appearance is beautiful. He exceeds everyone in physical and mental abilities. He is wise though he is underage. His life cycle is greatly accelerated (from 1,5 to 50-60 times). In his seventeen Cu Chulainn stands against the entire army of all four other Irish kingdoms. Being twelve years old, Volkh Vseslavievich gathers a squad of the same age, and in his fifteen he leads them into battle as its commander. The young men, born the same day with Khamza, the Arabian hero, form his squad. The force of Finn include young teenage men for they are not integrated with society[51]. Even the deeds are made by the heroes in the marginal areas of the world, at the boundary between cosmos and chaos dominated by madness and asocial forces.

Such structural principles of the heroic childhood influenced subsequent phenomena in the extraordinary childhood series as well as the boy wizard, boy seer image. We see the features of such character in both some epic heroes and their succeeding characters. The wizard and sorcerer features belong to Volkh Vseslavievich who is able to turn into a beast, having obtained this skill during his training since 7 till 10 years old, and to Finn Mac Cumal, who, also while being young, got the opportunity to understand the language of animals and gift of a seer (serving to a wiseman, he accidentally puts his finger with a grave of a cooked “salmon of wisdom” into his mouth). Jesus Christ also has features of the boy wizard and boy seer. Apocrypha depict vividly the structure of Jesus Christ’s childhood biography under the canons of the extraordinary heroic childhood[52].

It is known that the Middle Ages approved the paradigm of a child as a holy child. Holiness is sex insensitive, childhood of a holy man and holy woman are approximately similar. A phenomenon is formed, defined as “universally accepted codes of conduct and behaviour”[53]. The archetype of the holy childhood is the childhood of Christ. Jesus Christ had to pass all normal periods of the first part of human life as he was sent to the World to break out sins of mankind. But from the very beginning of Christianity an another attitude has been created into Christian communities. Christ ought to have himself unusual features from the very birth. So, for example, the episode with Christ the Child in the Temple during the lesson of Hebrew sages had been transformed into various apocrypha about the deeds of Christ the Child. This paradigm was transferred into the early hagiography. A boy hero became a holy child. A holy  man/woman was described via the image of puer senex during their childhood[54]. He/she had been noticed as a child of age but a wise adult of a mind. Any creation of a holy man/woman during their childhood had been begun with the rejection by him(her)self of childish games, toys etc. At the same time Christianity used “a child image” in another kind. All Christians had been thought as “infants in front of God”[55]. God Allmighty and Christ the Savior were considered as Teachers of Mankind distributing the real birth for everybody, the birth to Eternity.

But, paradoxically, the childhood of both Christ (especially in apocrypha) and saints is structured with regard to more ancient paradigms of the archaic heroic and magic childhood - that of a seer, magus, wizard, and sorcerer, too wise for his age. The basic principle of extraordinarity produced by the epoch of the heroic childhood is preserved here in the Old and New Testaments. However, within the Bible its rests upon the lines from “Solomon’s Wisdom”: “Senectus enim venerabilis est non diuturna, neque annorum numero compulata: cani autem sunt sensus hominis, et aetas senectutis vita immaculata” (“For venerable long age is not that of long time, nor counted by the number of years: but the understanding of a man is grey hairs, and a spotless life is old age” 4: 8-9). It is through God’s blessing that saint qualities can be obtained, and when it happens at birth or in an early childhood, then the further biography of the character will unfold to the pattern of an extraordinary, largely heroic, childhood.

The Middle Ages retained the age/sex models of pedagogical consciousness relating to the epoch of the heroic epos[56]. Of course, they were carried on to the fullest extent by the military aristocracy where they were supported not only the old characters of archaic epic tradition, but also newly emerging images of the medieval epics. The heroic childhood retains the same role of a paradigm for the upbringing and initiation of the youth, especially in the form of serial trials before knighting or tests on the way to virtuous and fair life (the basic principle of structure and perception of a normative childhood, irrespective of its contents, is preserved). Development of medieval noble young men and the epic heroes includes the same stages: birth, name-giving, games, upbringing in a family, fosterage, trial-initiation, deeds of youth, match-making, early death. The heroic epos’ standards still function in their military environment: the first ride of the hero, sworn brotherhood, boasting before fighting, prophetic dreams and miracles, sword and war horse.

Ideas of an extraordinary, heroic, in a broad sense, childhood of some not epic, but merely legendary characters pertaining to ethnic, occupational, confessional, or other consciousness took an active part in socialising both the boy of the ancient world and the early medieval boy (as a child of a still archaic, traditional society), often through symbols of  the environment, space, material world and not only through genealogical stories. Beginning to exercise any adult activity (corresponding to their sex and age), children understood it by symbolic means on the basis of instructions in the tradition and the extent of its knowledge. Reasonably enough, medieval texts, as well as more ancient ones, underline the period during which the hero studies the tradition and his great success in it. He develops a personal relationship with sacralized ancestral arms, with the court and the environment in which certain events with his heroic predecessors, with his horse etc. took place.

The social history of gender is not only the history of its individual and social perception of it but also the history of sex/age patterns. Stable and age-old stereotypes and images of traditional consciousness play an important role in this perception and in the reproduction of educational models. And the role of the “hero boy” archetype in this consciousness is very great and creative.



[1] Arnold van Gennep. The Rites of Passage (Chicago, 1960), 50ff.

[2] C.Julius Caesar. De Bello Gallico, VI, 18.

[3] In Motif-Index, given by Stith Thompson, “boy hero” corresponds to Index Z 251, but the plots relating to it are very few. See: S.Thompson. Motif-Index of Folk Literature. A Classification... Reviewed and enlarged ed. Vol. 5. L-Z. Bloomington, 1957. Z 251. Boy hero. See also: Neklyudov, Sergej. “‘Geroicheskoe detstvo’ v eposakh Vostoka i Zapada”, Istoriko-philologischeskie issledovaniya (Moscow, 1974).

[4] Hesiodi carmina. Ed. A.Rzach (Lipsiae, 1913); Mythographi graeci. Vol. 1: Apollodori Bibliotheca. Ed. R.Wagner (Lipsiae, 1926); Higini fabulae (Lipsiae, 1872), 29; Pindari carmina cum fragmentis. Ed. D.Snell & H.Maehler. Bd. 1 -2 (Leipzig, 1975-1980); Lucani opera. Rec. C.Jacopi (Lipsiae, 1913), 10.

[5] Pausaniae Graeciae descriptio. Ed. M.H.Rocha-Pereira. Bd. 2 (Leipzig, 1977); Mythographi graeci. Bd. 1: Apollodori Bibliotheca. Ed. R.Wagner (Lipsiae, 1926); Plutarchi vitae parallelae rec. Cl.Linskog et K.Ziegler (Leipzig, 1969-1980).

[6] Bylliny in 2 vols. Vol. 1 (Moscow, 1958), 8 - 10.

[7] Plutarchi vitae parallelae rec. Cl.Linskog et K.Ziegler (Leipzig, 1969-1980).

[8] Revue celtique, 6 (Paris, 1883-1885), 173-179; Ancient Irish Tales. Ed. by T.P.Cros & C.H.Slover (New York, 1969).

[9] David of Sassun (Moscow, 1958), 12 - 30.

[10] And villy-nilly Mger went to Ismil-khatum.

    But before Khatum had ordered her stablemen:

    Rapidly drive Jalaly to a herd of mares!

    Ismil-khatum became pregnant of Mger,

    And the mares became pregnant of Jalaly (David of Sassun. Moscow, 1958, p.155).

[11] Bylliny in 2 vols. Vol. 1 (Moscow, 1958), 8 - 10.

[12] Homeri carmina. Hrsg. G.Dindorf und C.Hentze. Bd. 1 (Lipsiae, 1930), 19: 91, 95, 115; Apollodori Bibliotheca, II, 4-5; Diodori bibliotheca historica, IV, 9 - 10; Pausaniae Graeciae descriptio, IX, 11.1-2; P.Ovidii Nasonis Matamorphoses, IX, 258f; Aeliani de natura animalium, XII, 5.

[13] Pausaniae Graeciae descriptio, II, 31. 12, 33. 1; Apollodori Bibliotheca, III, 15.7; Hygini fabulae, 37.

[14] See: G.Dumиzil. Lиgendes sur les Nartes suivies de cing notes mythologiques (Paris, 1930); G.Dumиzil. Romens de Scythie et d’alentour (Paris, 1978).

[15] Plutarchi vitae parallelae..., 2 - 3.

[16] Matt. 1 - 2; Luke 1 - 2; etc.

[17] Apollodori Bibliotheca..., III, 15.7.

[18] Kuno Meyer. “Tochmarc Emire”, Zeitschrift fuer celtische Philologie, 3, 229-263.

[19] Nart heroes Aehsaer and Aehsaertaeg are given their names at a feast, the similar situation exists in Buryat epos and some others.

[20] O’Rahilly, C., ed. Tбin Bу Cъalnge from the Book of Leinster (Dublin, 1971).

[21] Diodori bibliotheca historica, IV, 11; Apollodori Bibliotheca, II, 4.12.

[22] Kuno Meyer, ed. “Macgnнmartha Finn”, Revue celtique 5 (1882); Joseph Falaky Nagy. The Wisdom of the Outlaw: The Boyhood Deeds of Finn in Gaelic Narrative Tradition (Berkeley - Los Angeles, 1985); Comyn, D. Mac Gniomharta Fhinn (Dublin, 1929). In Medieval Welsh legend about Taliesin, the singer, one can see the receiving of wisdom by hero in his previous, another life before he was born and named as Taliesin. See: The Mabinogi and Other Medieval Welsh Tales. Ed. & tr. P.K.Ford (Berkeley, 1977); Matthews, C. Mabon and the Mysteries of Britain. An Exploration of the Mabinogion (London, 1987).

[23]See note 20.

[24]David of Sassun (Moscow, 1958), 342 - 345.

[25] Diodori bibliotheca historica, IV, 9; Pausaniae Graeciae descriptio, IX, 25.2; see also: G.Dumиzil. Lиgendes sur les Nartes suivies de cing notes mythologiques (Paris, 1930).

[26] Bylliny in 2 vols. (Moscow, 1958), 8 - 10.

[27] David of Sassun (Moscow, 1958), 173, 174, 178 - 185, 27 - 30.

[28] Pausaniae Graeciae descriptio, V, 27.8.

[29] And Ilya didn’t have his feet walking, / And Ilya din’t have his arms working, / And he was thirty years old (Bylliny, vol.1, Moscow, 1958, p.123).

[30] O’hOgбin, D. “Magic Attributes of the Hero in Fenian Lore”, Bйaloideas, vol.54-55 (1986-1987), 226 - 227.

[31] Amann, E. Le Protoиvangelie de Jacques et ses remaniemant latenes (Paris, 1910); Tezutz, M. Bodmer Papyros V: Nativitи de Marie (Cologne-Geneve, 1958); Apocryphal Gospels, Acts, and Revelations (Edinburgh, 1870); The Apocryphal Gospels and other documents relating to the history of Christ (London, 1867); “A New Life of John the Baptist”, Woodbrooke Studies. Vol.1 (Cambridge, 1927), 138-145, 234-287.

[32] See: Knaurs Grosser Bibelfuehrer (Muenchen, 1985).

[33] The Works of Sir Thomas Malory. Ed. by E.Vinaver (Oxford, 1947).

[34] See: “Oidhe Cloinne Uisneach”, Irische Texte. Hrsg. E.Windish (Leipzig, 1880), 59-92; etc.

[35] David of Sassun (Moscow, 1958), 175.

[36] Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch. Ed. with introd. by R.M.Jones (Cardiff, 1973); The Mabinogion. Tr. with an introd. by J.Gantz (New York, 1977), 218-219.

[37] Poesнas espanolas en versiones rusas 1792 - 1976 (Moscow, 1978), 976.

[38] La Chanson de Guillaume. Publiйe par D. McMillan (Paris, 1949-1950), ll. 1435-1980.

[39] Chambers, E.K. Arthur of Britain (Oxford, 1927), 225. Pay attention to mythologizing of a mill and characters relating to it that is common for traditional folklore culture.

[40] Servii Grammatici qui feruntur in Vergilii Aeneidos libros commentarii, I, 475; Apollonii Rhodii Argonautica, I, 97; Hygini fabulae, 14; Pausaniae Graeciae descriptio, IX, 29.3; 10.4; Apollodori Bibliotheca, II, 4.9; Diodori bibliotheca historica, III, 67; IV, 10.

[41] Pausaniae Graeciae descriptio, II, 32.8; Lactancii Placidi scholia, XII, 194.

[42] Kuno Meyer. “Tochmarc Emire”, Zeitschrift fuer celtische Philologie, 3, 229-263.

[43] Le Roman des Sept Sages  (Paris, 1933).

[44] Homeri Ilias, II, 542; Pausaniae Graeciae descriptio, II, 32.7.

[45] Jackson, K. The Oldest Irish Tradition: A Window on the Iron Age (Cambridge, 1964); Hull, E. A History of Ireland and her People to the Close of the Tudor Period (London, 1926).

[46] Tбin Bу Cъalnge. Ed. by C. O’Rahilly (Dublin, 1972).

[47] Kissat al-amir Khamza al-Bachlavan (Cairo, 1969).

[48] Tacitus, Germania, 13.

[49] Strabonis Geographica, IX, 11.40; Apollodori Bibliotheca, II, 4.1; Diodori bibliotheca historica, IV, 10; IV, 18.7; Pausaniae Graeciae descriptio, IX, 37.1-2; 38.5.

[50] O’Rahilly, C. Tбin Bу Cъalnge from the Book of Leinster (Dublin, 1971).

[51] Nagy, J.F. “Fenian Heroes and their Rites of Passages”, Bйaloideas, vol. 54-55 (1986-1987), 161-182; Meyer, K. Fianaigecht (Dublin, 1910).

[52] See: Michel, C. Evangйlies apocryphique (Paris, 1924).

[53] Gernot Heiss. Adapting to subordination. The education of the aristocracy in the Habsburg territories of early modern Central Europe. Unpublished paper, reading at the 12th Meeting of The International Standing Conference for the History of Education, Prague, 1990.

[54] See, for example: Das Leben des heilige Symeon Stylites. Hrsg. H.Lietzmann (Leipzig, 1908); Burrow, J. The Ages of Man (Oxford, 1986).

[55] Clementis Alexandrini opera omnia. Hrsg. O.Staelin. 1.Bd.: Protrepticos und Paedagogus. 3.Aufl. (Berlin, 1972).

[56] Orme, N. From Childhood to Chivalry. The Education of the English Kings and Aristocracy, 1066-1530  (London - New York, 1984).