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“Like a Flame Through the Reeds”: An Iranian Image in the Buzandaran Patmut‘iwnk‘

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Chapter Summary

The paper discusses the simile of the fire running through the reeds, which is well attested in classical Armenian literature and is used to describe a formidable assault of an army. The connection of the image with the Iranian concept of kingship and supernatural valour is confirmed by the occurrence of the same simile in the Iranian epic. The original value of the image still survives in some later attestations, though in a less clear and conscious form, and sometimes it is reinterpreted with a Christian context. In most of the later occurrences, anyway, this meaning is completely lost, and the image is employed just as a simile for the violence and destructiveness of an attack. That is the reason why it is applied not only to Armenian troops but also to the enemies, and some later authors show a contact between the original image and a similar simile occurring in the Bible. However, a closer analysis of the texts and a comparison with the Septuagint shows that the interference of the Bible with the traditional Armenian image is just a formal one.



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