Le jeune héros
Recherches sur la formation et la diffusion d’un thème littéraire au Proche-Orient ancien
1. Edition 2011
Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis -
The international conference organized by the College of France on April 6-7, 2009, addressed a major theme within Near Eastern ideology: the »Young Hero.« Different from those »elders« who were given power by traditionalistic Near Eastern civilizations and whose anthroponymy proudly underlined their eldership, the young hero nonetheless succeeds most of the time, or at least for a time, through his personal gifts as much as the inconstancy of gods who do not always favor the same men. Illustrations are multiform. We chose to show that the theme’s typology matched precise criteria within time periods. Over a millennium and a half, each of the different ways of apprehending this figure corresponds to a specific attestation type. It was not possible, even at a regional level, to establish a complete »young hero« typology. Various forms pertaining to romanced myth, most often through epic form, but also to historical discourse, have been studied by our contributors.
After a general introduction, the first part deals with historical and literary accounts of the young hero’s (un)successful rise to kingship: Samsî-Êrah, Idrimi, David, Saul and Esarhaddon. The authors then find a section on non-royal young heroes yet depicted by means of royal categories: Samson, Moses and Daniel. Two contributions on Athaliah and Esther deal with the theme of feminine heroism, and a last section focuses on heroic friendships: Gilgameš and Enkidu, David and Jonathan, Achilles and Patroclus.