Ossetic and Indo-European fratricide

Mallory and
Watkinsin in their efforts to reconstruct parts of the cosmology of
Indo-European cultures, both working from the foundations of that discipline
that were laid by Georges Dum
ézil, and the myths that accompanied them
assumed a bifurcality and duality within the three functions of Indo-European
society. The third function, being the function associated with the dioscuroi
or the heavenly twins, portrays just the kind of duality that Dumézil also wanted
to see in the other classes. The story of the heavenly twins is in some
Indo-European traditions accompanied with a family drama which may be an
archaic traditional core. Fratricide as the bane of peaceful kinship plays a
large role in the universal motives of human storytelling. Abel and Kain are herein
the Semitic counterparts to the Indo-European Romulus and Remus, the latter one
deriving from PIE *yemos (Sanskrit yama, Old Icelandic Ymir).
A nice reflex of the Indo-European fratricide by heavenly twins motive one
finds in the Ossetic Nart-sagas. Here my translation of the first part of the
story about the death of Aexshaer and Aexshaertaeg (the story goes on from the
place I left it, a couple of blog-entries ago).




æмæ Æхсæртæджы мæлæт


Дзерассæ Æхсары йæхи лæг фенхъæлдта, уымæн æмæ
Æхсар æмæ Æхсæртæг æмхуызæттæ уыдысты, асæй дæр æмæ уындæй дæр: бурхил,
дæргъæлвæс, фæтæнриу æмæ цæхæрцæст гуырдтæ, æмæ сæ ничи зыдта, чи сæ кæцы у,
уый, Хуыцау æмæ зæххы йеддæмæ. Мусонджы дуарæй куы бакаст æмæ Дзерассæйы куы
федта Æхсар, уæд загъта йæхинымæры: «Хуыцауты Хуыцау, нæ амонд нын фæндагыл дæр
ма фесаф æмæ бынаты дæр! Уый та кæм æнхъæл уыдтæн, æмæ Æхсæртæг æд бинойнаг

Дзерассæ йæм скаст æмæ йæ фæрсы:

— Куыд æрæгмæ цыдтæ?

Æхсар æм ницы сдзырдта.

— Уаих фæуай! Нал мæ зоныс?— афæдзæй-афæдзмæ
доны бын иумæ куы уыдыстæм,— зæгъгæ, йæм бадзырдта Дзерассæ.

Уæд бæлвырд базыдта Æхсар, ай йе ’фсымæр
Æхсæртæджы ус кæй у, уый.

Ус лæппумæ йæхи ласын байдыдта, фæлæ йæм Æхсар
йе ’ргом нæ лæвæрдта. Хуыссын афон куы æрцыд, уæд Æхсар йæ нымæт Дзерассæйы бын
бакодта, Æхсæртæджы нымæт та сæ уæлæ ныккодта æмæ, цæмæй кæрæдзимæ хæстæг нæ
уыдаиккой, уый тыххæй йæ кард фелвæста æмæ йæ сæ дыууæйы астæу нывæрдта. Ус
фæмæсты ис, фестади æмæ бустæгонджи хицæнæй сбадтис.

Уæд уалынмæ Æхсæртæг æрхæццæ ис æмæ саджы мард
æрхаста æд къала бæлас. Æмæ Дзерассæйы æнкъардæй, бустæгондæй бадгæ куы федта,
уæд йæ зæрдæ фехсайдта,— афтæ ’нхъæл уыдис, æмæ йын Æхсар батых кодта. Æмæ
хъама фелвæста æмæ йе ’фсымæр Æхсары ныццавта æмæ йæ амардта. Уæд ын ус
радзырдта, куыд уыдис, уый. Æхсæртæг фæсмоны бацыдис, ме ’фсымæры æнаххосæй
амардтон, зæгъгæ, æмæ йæ хъама фелвæста, йæ фистон ын Æхсары риумæ сарæзта, йæ
фындз та йæхи зæрдæмæ æмæ йыл йæхи ’руагъта, æмæ хъама йæ зæрдæйы сфардæг ис,
æмæ фæмард ис. Дзерассæ байдыдта дзыназын, кæуын, ниуын, додой кæнын; хоста йæ
сæр, йæ уæрджытæ — ай мыл цæй æбуалгъ ми æрцыд, мæн тыххæй куы фæмард сты дыууæ
’фсымæры, зæгъгæ. Йæ дзыккутæ тоны, йæ рустæ рæдувы, хъарæг кæны, æмæ йæ хъарæгæй
арауынц хæхтæ; сырдтæ дæр ныхъхъус сты арф хъыгæй; згъалы хъарм цæсты сыгтæ
Дзерассæ дыууæ ’фсымæрыл. Сæ астæу сбадти æмæ æмбисæхсæвмæ фæкуыдта Æхсары
мардыл, æмбисæхсæвæй бонмæ та — Æхсæртæджы мардыл.



The death of Aexshaer and Aexshaertaeg


supposed that Aexshaer was her husband, because Aexshaer and Aexshaeraeg looked
alike, both in length and appearance: they were born blond, tall, broad-chested
and agile and no one, except God on the earth, knew who is which of them. When Aexshaer
looked from the door of the tent inside and when he saw Dzerasshae, he said to
himself: “God of the gods, don’t destroy our fortune, neither on the road, nor
in the house! But where am I to suspect, that Aexshaertaeg will come down with
a wife!”

            Dzerasshae looked up at him and asks
him: “How late have you come!” Aexshaer answers nothing to her. “Shame on you! Don’t
you know me anymore? Even when we were together for a year on the bottom of the
sea?” said Dzerasshae to him. Then Aexshaer knew for sure that this was the
wife of his brother Aexshaertaeg. Then the woman began to approach to him, but
Aexhaer didn’t yield to her. When the time came for sleeping, Aexshaer put his
coat under Dzerasshae, but the coat of Aexhaertaeg he put on top of them both
and, as to they wouldn’t be close to eachother, he drew his sword and he laid
it amidst them. The woman was offended, stood there for a while and, whilst
complaining, sat down apart from him.

            Then by that time Aexshaertaeg
arrived and brought the carcass of a deer together with a tree with branches.
And, when he saw Dzerasshae sadly sitting there and complaining, his heart was
troubled –thus was his suspicion- and because of this he overpowered Aexshaer.
And he drew his dagger and stabbed his brother and killed him. Then the woman
told him what the situation was. Aexshaertaeg went down in remorse saying, I
killed my own brother who was innocent, and he drew his dagger; he pointed the
handgrip from the breast of Aexshaer to himself; it’s point lowered to his own
heart and on himself; his dagger pierced his heart and he died. Dzerasshae
began to moan, to cry, to wail, to lament; she hit her head, her knees: “What
an unusal case that happened to me, when because of me two brothers are dead,”
she said. She ripped her bangs and scratched open her cheeks, she yelled
elegies and the mountains resonatedwith her lamentations; the beasts were also silent
because of deep grief; Dzerasshae poured warm tears down upon the two brothers.
She sat down amidst them and wept untill midnight on the body of Aexshaer and
from midnight till dawn on the body of Aexshaertaeg.

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