Avdo Međedović

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Avdo Međedović (* around 1875 in Obrov near Bijelo Polje , Sandschak Novi Pazar , Ottoman Empire ; † 1953 near Bijelo Polje, Yugoslavia ) was a Muslim Guslar from Sandžak (now Montenegro ) who is attributed to oral poetry as an illiterate Guslen player . In the tradition of the South Slavic heroic epic , he was by far the most important epic in the Serbo-Croatian language area .

Avdo Međedović was "discovered" by Milman Parry in 1934. Avdo's style and skill formed the basis for the confirmation of the oral poetry theory in the Homeric question . After Parry's death, the sound recordings were made, as well as recordings by Međedović in another expedition in 1950/1951, which today form the essential basis of the collection of South Slavic heroic epics at Harvard University ( Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature ). By Albert Lord Međedović was awarded the honorary title of Yugoslav Homer .

Homeric question

The American Homer researcher Milman Parry and his assistant Albert Bates Lord traveled to Dubrovnik in 1933 on the recommendation of the Slovenian folk song researcher Matija Murko to record the epics of the South Slavic bards in the then Kingdom of Yugoslavia using the most modern recording methods at the time. They were accompanied by Guslaren Nikola Vojnović, who conducted the interviews. The aim was to make in situ comparisons on the Homeric question. Parry's original plan to conduct this field research in the Soviet Union failed because of the objective difficulties that an American research team would have expected there at the time.

Parry found two programmatic singers, in particular in the legendary figure of Ćor Huso Husović (whose biography, similar to Homer's biography, is completely distorted by the formation of legends and not secured by any secured biographical data) and in particular in his alleged student Avdo Međedović, two programmatic singers who are labeled as modern equivalents Homers soon achieved exemplary status, especially in American Homer research. Similar to Homer and other bards, these were given a special heroization, which they were also given due to the attribution as "last of their kind".

Of the singers who Milman Parry recorded in 1933 and Albert Lord in 1950 and 1951 in Montenegro and south-west Serbia, Avdo Međedović was by far the most talented. The epic Ženidba Smailagić Meha. (12,323 lines), which Avdo Međedović was able to recite by heart, almost reached the length of the Iliad (15,690 lines). The longest sound recording of a single epic by Avdo Međedović lasted 16 hours and took up 199 pages. The song material recorded in Harvard for Avdo Međedović amounts to 53 hours. Although Avdo had once learned Turkish in the Ottoman army, he nonetheless remained illiterate and did not learn to read or write in any language. However, he was able to keep a 2194-line song that he had heard and remembered it 16 years later without ever having performed it again in the meantime. Because of this exceptional talent and his epic creativity, Parry and Albert Lord bestowed him the honorary title "Yugoslav Homer". He was also the last actual creator and epic in the tradition.


  • Ženidba Smailagić Meha ( The Wedding of Meho Smailagić, 1935)
  • Sultan Selim Uzima Baghdat
  • Đerđelez Alija i Vuk Jajčanin
  • Bolovanje cara Dušana u Prizrenu
  • Robija Tala Oreškog osam godina u Ozimu
  • Osman-beg Delibegović i Pavićević Luka
  • Mujo i Halil ufatili Kostreš Harambašu
  • Ženidba Vlahinić Alije Zlatom Alajbega iz Klisa


  • Georg Danek: Homer and Avdo Međedović as 'post-traditional singers'? In: Michael Meier-Brügger (Ed.): Homer, interpreted by a large encyclopedia: files of the Hamburg Colloquium from 6. – 8. October 2010 at the end of the lexicon of the early Greek epic (=  treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen. New series ). tape 21 . Walter de Gruyter, 2012, ISBN 978-3-11-029257-2 , p. 27-44 .

Individual evidence

  1. Peter McMurray: "Istinski južnoslavenski Homer": Heroizacija pjesnika u Bošnjačkoj epskoj tradiciji. In: Narodna umjetnost: hrvatski časopis za etnologiju i folkloristiku, 43/2, 2006, 115-133 (online: hrcak.srce.hr)
  2. Smiljana Đorđević: Епски певаҷ као јунак - механими хероизачије, pp. 57-72 (PDF; Serbian) ( Memento of the original from February 1, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.fil.bg.ac.rs
  3. ^ Albert Bates Lord: Avdo Međedović, Guslar. In: The Journal of American Folklore. Vol. 69, 1956, No. 273, Slavic Folklore: A Symposium (Jul-Sep, 1956), pp. 320-330.
  4. ^ John Miles Foley: Immanent Art - from structure to meaning in traditional oral epic. Bloomington / Indianapolis 1991, p. 9.
  5. ^ Avdo Međedović: The wedding of Smailagić Meho . Translated by Albert Bates Lord ; with a translation of the conversation [with Nikola Vujnović] on the singer's life and time. David E. Bynum. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass. 1935.
  6. ^ Albert Bates Lord: Avdo Međedović, Guslar . 1956, p. 322.
  7. ^ Albert Bates Lord: Avdo Međedović, Guslar. 1956, p. 320.
  8. Albert Lord, caption under the portrait of Avdo Međedović in the Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature and the President and Fellows of Harvard College (picture of 60-year-old Avdo Međedović Harvard.edu) ( memento of the original from January 23, 2016 on the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / chs119.chs.harvard.edu