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21 08 2009- coroglý " the sun of blind fother "
Prof. James R. Russell, Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies at Harvard University, will give the first lecture of NAASR’s fall 2009 series on Thursday, September 17, at 8:00 p.m., at the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) Center, 395 Concord Ave., Belmont, MA. Prof. Russell’s lecture will be entitled “From Parthia to Robin Hood: The Armenian Version of the Epic of the Blind Man’s Son (Köroghlu).”

The epic cycle of the Son of the Blind Man, or Köroghlu in Turkish, is popular from Greece and Anatolia in the west to Iran, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan in the east. Versions exist in many languages, including Kurdish and Armenian, the latter transcribed from an oral reciter and published but not carefully studied hitherto.

Roots in Parthian Armenia

Its hero is a Robin Hood figure; and though the epic belongs pre-eminently to the Turkic cultures, and crystallized around a historical figure of the 17th century, it seems to have roots in Armenia in the Parthian period—two millennia ago.

How can we trace the ancient sources of this epic cycle? Why are legends about bandits perennially popular? Why do they often have apocalyptic overtones? What do they tell us about human self-identity and social development? These are some of the questions to be addressed in this first report on a work in progress.

Prof. James R. Russell has been the Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies at Harvard University since 1992. His books include Bosphorus Nights: The Complete Lyric Poems of Bedros Tourian, Armenian and Iranian Studies, The Book of Flowers, An Armenian Epic: The Heroes of Kasht, Zoroastrianism in Armenia, and Hovhannes Tlkurantsi and the Medieval Armenian Lyric Tradition.

Admission to the event is free (donations appreciated). The NAASR Center is located opposite the First Armenian Church and next to the U.S. Post Office. Ample parking is available around the building and in adjacent areas. The lecture will begin promptly at 8:00 p.m.

More information about the lecture is available by calling 617-489-1610, faxing 617-484-1759, e-mailing, or writing to NAASR, 395 Concord Ave., Belmont, MA 02478.


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