Appendix 1. Motifs and Patterns of the Heroic Battle Story

I. Characters

A. “our” side

1. leaders

a. helpless leader (s)
b. strong leader (s)
c. parent
d. divine leader (deity)

2. leader’s court

a. helpless people
b. counselors
c. religious officials
d. messengers

3. heroes

a. false heroes
2. the hero

4. hero’s helpers

a. hero’s army
b. hero’s friend

2. enemy side

a. enemy leader
b. enemy people
c. enemy champion
d. enemy army

II. The Beginning: Tension

A. Description of the Hero: hero’s impediment

B. Enemy’s threat and great power

1. muster of enemy army
2. challenge, attack, siege, outrageous demands

C. Reaction of helplessness by “our” side: fear, weeping, retreat, provisional capitulation

III. The Middle: Development

A. Search for a hero

1. council

a. general call
b. offer of a reward

2. call, commission

a. call, commission, and failure of false hero
b. call and commission of the hero by parent or leader or deity

1) leader initiated pattern

a) leader calls and commissions the hero
b) hero raises an objection or question
c) leader answers
d) hero accepts

2) hero initiated pattern

a) hero calls for the commission
b) leader raises an objection or question
c) hero answers
d) leader commissions hero

3. motifs connected with the call and commission

a. hero’s reaction of righteous indignation (anger)
b. exhortation to duty
c. blessing of human hero by human leader
d. assurance of divine presence and aid from deity
e. encouragement
f. counsel, especially battle plan

4. preparation for battle by leaders and/or the hero

a. hero’s weapons, armor, and chariot
b. call and commission of hero’s army

5. journey

IV. The End: Resolution

A. Single-combat between the Hero and the Enemy Champion

1. meeting of warriors

2. verbal exchange

a. . enemy’s false confidence
b. . enemy’s insults
c. . hero’s indictment of the enemy

3. hero’s initial failure

4. hero’s victory

a. hero’s mortal blow to the enemy with a missile

b. enemy’s fall to the ground

1) hero’s triumphal stance
2) mutilation of the enemy with a hand weapon (decapitation)

B. The enemy’s recognition of defeat and reaction of helplessness

1. fear
2. flight

C. recognition of victory by “our” side

1. pursuit
2. destruction of the enemy army
3. plunder of the enemy with the hero receiving a prize share

D. return journey

E. recognition of the hero by the leader and other

1. by means of acclamation or loyalty oaths

2. by means of reward:

a. a great name
b. rank/kingship
c. symbols of victory
d. symbols of kingship
e. wife and progeny/dynasty
f. dwelling, city (mountain), land/kingdom

3. victory hymn or shout with dance

4. banquet

F. recognition of deity and loyal servants by human hero

G. restoration of order, fertility, and peace


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Mighty in Battle by Harry Hagan, OSB, © Saint Meinrad Archabbey, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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