Oleksiy Popovych

Kyivan RusPrincely times

Popovych Oleksiy (Oleksa)– Kyivan Rus hero glorified in epos.

According to some information was born in the town of Pyriatyn (now Poltava Oblast). Historical records testify that he often visited Pyriatyn fairs, helped people, and was very strong.

Folk literature recounts the miraculous birth of Oleksa accompanied with thunder. And the new-born child asks his mother for a blessing to roam around the wide world and not to swaddle him with diapers but with a mail; he can already sit astride a horse, manage a lance and sabre.

During the reign of Old Rus Prince Volodymyr the Great fortifications were built on a mass scale, first of all for the defence of the capital from the south, where it could be threatened by the nomads. Kyiv got several fortifications. A system of outposts was organized to defend southern borders. Epic narrations about the heroism of those outposts have come down to our time. There are tales about Illia Muromets, Oleksiy Popovych, and Dobrynia Mykytych (whose prototype was real Dobrynia Malkovych, uncle of Prince Volodymyr the Great).

In 992 Oleksiy Popovych together with Yan Usmoshvets became famous for their bravery during the defence of Pereyaslav from the Pechenegs. As the Nikon Chronicle testifies, for their feat they were admitted to the Prince’s armed force. In 1001 Oleksa Popovych and Yan Usmoshvets smashed the Pecheneg Khan Radman and captured his three sons.

One of the most archaic subjects connected with Oleksa Popovych is his battle with the dragon Tuharyn, in which Oleksa came off victorious.

According to other information courageous Oleksa Popovych lived later and for his feats in battles was awarded by Prince Volodymyr Monomakh with a massive gold torque to wear on the neck.

In one of his visits to Pyriatyn T. Shevchenko wrote The Ballad of OleksaPopovych from Pyriatyn.

Portrait (imaginary) of Oleksa Popovych