The Tale of Igor’s Campaign (Old East Slavic: Слово о плъку Игореве, Slovo o polku Igoreve) is an anonymous epic poem written in the Old East Slavic language. The title is also occasionally translated as The Song of Igor’s Campaign, The Lay of Igor’s Campaign. The poem gives an account of a failed raid of Igor Svyatoslavich (d. 1202). The authenticity of the poem is disputed. Prevailing current opinion is that the poem is authentic and dates to the medieval period (late 12th century). The Tale has been compared to other epic poems including The Song of Roland, the Daredevils of Sasun, and The Song of the Nibelungs.
The plot of this classic work is based on a failed raid of Kniaz Igor Svyatoslavich, Prince of Novgorod-Seversk (of the Chernigov principality of ancient Rus’) against the Polovtsians (Cumans) living in the southern part of the Don region in 1185. Other Rus’ historical figures are mentioned, including the bard Boyan, the princes Vseslav of Polotsk, Yaroslav Osmomysl of Halych, and Vsevolod the Big Nest of Suzdal. The author appeals to the warring Rus’ princes, pleading for unity in the face of the constant threat from the Turkic East.
GENRE: Folk Russia