Poetry Guide: Bylina
Bylina (Russian : были́на, also Byliny and Stariny) is a traditional epic, heroic narrative poetry of early East Slavs of Kievan Rus, the tradition continued in Russia and Ukraine.
Bylina comes from the Russian "byl'" (быль), a word which signifies a story of real events, as opposed to a fictional one.
Bylinas are kind of poetry without rhyme (blank verse), but with a characteristic rhythm, a kind of free verse. Most of bylinas were preserved in northern regions of Russia, and their style was imitated by several famous Russian poets.
There are quite a few bylina cycles. Bylinas may be roughly classified into the following series:
- Of the older heroes (Volga Vseslavich, Mikula Selianinovich, Sviatogor)
- Of Vladimir, prince of Kiev, tales of the Golden Age of Kiev, of Kievan Rus'. Here belongs the Ilya Muromets, Alyosha Popovich and Dobrynya Nikitich cycle, being among the most popular ones.
- Of Novgorod (Vasily Buslaev, Sadko the merchant)
- Of Moscow (of Yermak Timofeyevich, Ivan the Terrible)
- Of the Ukrainian cossack history (in Ukrainian language, of invasions of Turks and Tatars, of Haidamak uprisings)
- Of cossack insurgents (Stenka Razin)
- Of Peter the Great
- Bylina - an airline based in Russia
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