Between Two Armies
Victor Morris Udwin
Epic poetry depicts single combat between champions as a substitute for pitched battle.
By analyzing poetic representations of warfare, this study reconstructs the circumstances under which the duel emerges as a mechanism for avoiding catastrophic battlefield losses. Thus the duel proves to be the pivotal element in a complex system of practices and institutions that define "epic culture".
Individual chapters focus on the dynamics of battle, the protocols of dueling, the roles of champion, king, and queen, and the talesinger’s function in presenting these relations to epic-cultural audiences.
Offering new insights into the Nibelungenlied, Beowulf, the Iliad and Odyssey, "Hildebrandslied" and the Bible, this volume will appeal particularly to medievalists, classicists, historians, and cultural theorists interested in epic poetry, ancient warfare, and Dark Age culture.