Древнейшие государства Восточной Европы. 2013 год. Зарождение историописания в обществах Древности и Средневековья.
The paper treats the general character of ancient Egyptian apprehension and representation of the country’s history. Egyptians were greatly interested in their historical past: they created numerous literary compositions on historical topics; included historical figures into stories with fully invented novelistic plots; preserved and knew well general schemes of Egyptian history (in the form of king-lists which formed a kind of periodization and provided their readers with knowledge of names and succession of the kings) including theoretical concepts of large historical cycles. Nevertheless they have never created a real history (narratives tracing large periods of time or at least a single reign throughout all its course) because of the specific character of their sources: monuments and literary compositions dedicated to various events but irrelevant to the proper place of these events on the timescale on the one hand, and Pharaonic king-lists which gave the dynastic timeline on the whole but did not include any events on the other. Their combination was out of their possibilities or inclinations till the Hellenistic epoch. As the result Egyptian picture of the past was a chain of episodes within rather firm frames of general dynastic scheme (but the latter was also liable to modifications, transpositions and resulting variability), while these episodes themselves synthesized some elements of real history together with folklore models, belletristic inventions and vast contaminations (even more stimulated by the fact that deeds of many kings were similar to each other and they were often namesakes or similar by name).
The paper deals with the problem of reflection of Slavic legends about first rulers in the text of the Polish chronicle Gesta principum Polonorum by Gallus
Anonymous (the early twelfth century). The author compares the story of the Piast dynasty’s coming to power in Poland with that of the rise to power of King Haraldr Fairhair in Norway (in Snorri Sturluson’s Heimskringla, c. 1230, and Flateyjarbók, 1387–1394). It is obvious that in the basis of both texts lays a common motif: “at a feast of a ruler food suddenly disappears, and then the ruler loses his power and dies”. All the basic and additional motifs in these two stories are the same. The plot is based on the juxtaposition of two feasts, one of which is meager, and the other is generous. In the both texts we clearly see a description of the pagan rite called potlatch — a periodic mandatory emulative public delivery of products and values, which requires the current ruler to outdone his opponent in generosity. We have two implementations of the same invariant plot. There can be two assumptions about the time of the formation of such a plot, common for the Scandinavian and the Slavic traditions. It is possible that it is a “wandering plot”, typical for the period of intensive contacts between the Slavs and the Scandinavians in the circum- Baltic area from the seventh till the eleventh century, or it could be a more ancient time when the contacts between the Germanic tribes and the Slavs are fixed linguistically: the periods of exchange between the Teutonic and Slavonic languages.
A comparison of the texts of Snorri Sturluson and Gallus Anonymous gives us an opportunity to confirm the hypothesis that oral legendary tradition underlays the first Polish chronicle. Even for Gallus, an educated foreign Benedictine monk, an appeal to the pagan past of the ruling dynasty, for which he was writing his chronicle, was actually necessary. We clearly see here a dictate of the local audience, the requests of which could not be ignored. Note also that chronicle was such a form of historiography that badly needed oral epic and folklore sources for its anecdotal narrations.
The early Polish historiography demontsrates a number of typological parallels, as well as a number of structural differences in comparison with the Old Rus chronicles. The arrangement of material in Gesta principum Polonorum seems remarkably close to that in the first Russian historiographical work, the so-called Oldest Tale (or Oldest Chronicle), written in the first half of the eleventh century. This non-extant text can be reconstructed in its main features from the text of the Primary Chronicle of the early twelfth century. The Russian Oldest Tale, just as the chronicle of Gallus, was a record of a series of episodes from the early history of the ruling dynasty. Both texts were purely secular in main topics, both aimed at glorifying the ruling prince and his ancestors, both lacked an annalistic framework.