Stylization of the Relationship between Suzerains and Vassals in Bugaršticas

Folkloristics 8/1-2 (2023):
Author:Konstantin Ađanin

The paper discusses the forms of decorous conduct and manners of etiquette between servants and masters, suzerains and vassals in bugaršticas. Attention is drawn to the reflection of the feudal world in the poems and the mutual dependence of mythological and feudal layers. Bugaršticas feature some dominant differences in comparison to decasyllabic poems. The appellative intonation of statements, figures of speech and communicative models of address are observed. The so-far unnoticed formulaic expression od potrebe (‘of need’), in connection with serving and fulfilling vassal obligations is also put under the spotlight. At the stylistic level, the usage of various lexemes and their etymologies are analyzed. The connection between the adjective plemenit (‘noble’) and nouns plemić (‘nobleman’) and pleme (‘tribe’) is indicated. The formulaic phrase plemenita baština (‘noble heritage’) is presented as a link with the inscriptions on stećci (medieval tombstones). The positioning of gentlemen at the table is emphasized and the meaning of the adjective lep (lit. ‘beautiful,’ with the meaning of ‘decent’) is discussed. In the identity-integrity key, the semantics of the attribute rudokos (‘redhead’), attributed to the Ugrians, is analyzed. The semantic core of the meaning of the phrase zemaljski gospodar (‘earthly master’) is reached.

Keywords: suzerain, vassal, servant, master, feudalism, style, bugarštice.