The meaning of this word has always been in dispute and must remain a matter of sheer conjecture.
There are four references in the text.
I. l. 59. 'Oh Boyán, hadst but thou sung of these hosts. . . weaving together from both ends of this epoch, racing down the path of Troyán!'
II. l. 209. 'There have been the ages [or, reading on the authority of Karamzín, сѣчи, the affrays] of Troyán, the years of Yarosláv have passed by, there have been the regiments of Olég.'
III. l. 288. Contumely arose in the forces of Dažbog's descendant [? Russia, the civilizing power; compare a curious passage in Ипат. 1114 where a myth is told at length of a king of Egypt, Dažbog, who civilized men and was succeeded by the Sun], stepped like a maiden in the Land of Troyán. . .'
IV. l. 569. 'In the seventh age of Troyán, Vséslav cast his lot for a maiden dear to him.' †
In this last passage E. reads Зояни. If my view holds good that Troyán is derived from три three, this would be a natural eror; in the original MS. all numbers were designated by Cyrillic letters; and were copied by Musin-Puškin as Arabic numerals: hence the original may have had Fояни, which was copied out as Зояни by the clerk and then taken for Зояни.
If, again, on reading these passages, it appears that by substituting 'Russia' for 'Troyán,' a simple and satisfactory sense is obtained, the last passage is an amplification of the first, and it will be found there are exactly seven generations between Vséslav and Rurik, the founder of the dynasty.
it is evident that the phrase is highly poetical, and that it is associated with Boyán, the range of whose verse is set out in the very corrupt passage at the end, Рекъ Боянъ и хокды. . . l. 745 [v. the note on this passage].
There have been very many speculations.
1. (1) Geographical. That the land and path of Troyán refer to some country either East or West of medieval Russia, anyhow in Polovsk territory. There is a town called Troitsk in Orenbúrg on the river Уй and Увелка; a place Троянъ in Bulgaria in the Lobeč district on the river Osma whence roads lead to Loveč, Teteren and Selvi.
Sederholm states that the country between the Pruth and the Ister was called Provincia Traiani in the Geographia Antiqua of Cellarius. In the historical map for the year 895 there is a spot in the Danube near Lat. 44° Long. 40°, marked Pons Traiani.--This is the district identified with the "Trojan" country by other theorists.
To these facts may be added a town Troyán in Smolénsk, south of Krásny, and Troyánovka in Poltáva [Dubenski], and Troílov on the River Don near the Kagalnik or Kayála.
No doubt other names can be traced.
(2) Weltmann altogether rejects Троянъ and substitutes Краянъ the border land, This is very violent and does not explain all the passages.
II. That the word stands for Trajan, the Roman Emperor. This theory is not altogether fantastic; for Trajan built a road and a wall in Dacia; the road running from Várhély along the river Strey (which falls into the Máros) thence to Karlsburg and so North to Torda (Salinum) where it divided one branch leading to Kolosvár and the other North East.
There is some evidence that the name of Trajan survived in legend. Sederholm quotes a topical былина of the reign of Catherine II commemorating a Turkish war.
On this theory Boyán's mind soared back very far to the oldest, prehistoric battle-fields of the Slavs.
In South Russia there is a long wall балъ трояновъ connected with traditions of Троянъ Царь Ермаланекій [римлянскій] and coins of Trajan have been found by his walls on the Danube.
Lastly, as evidence of the permanence of Trajan's name, a miracle, of Clement, Pope of Rome, commences thus.
Къ попу Клименту отъ Рима озимьстровану въ Херсонъ Траияну Царемь. [Изв. отд. рус. я. и словес.--VI Спб. 1903].
III. The possibilities of this flexible root are still unexhausted.
The word has been taken, mainly by Petrûševič and Vyázemski, to mean Trojan, to be the Russian tradition of Homer; and in this connection the Maiden is construed as the evil star of Helen, as the blood-thirsty Artemis of Tauris, whose rites were recorded both by Euripides and by Strabo. [V. note незнаемѣ]. This school tries to prove a Russian tradition, similar to that which obtained in England, France and Germany, of tracing ancestries back to Hector of Troy. It is argued that the lower Danube country was called Dardania in Strabo's time. This land would have served as a mart for interchange of the thoughts of the East and the West. But granting these facts--and very much of the vast erudition brought to bear on them is quite irrelevant to Russia--it is difficult to see how the land-locked state of medieval Russia could have imported very much of this lore.
The incessant warfare internal and external, the barring of the road to Constantinople by the Pólovtsy and Bolgars, and the hostility of the Catholic powers to the North West, have made Russian medieval productions peculiarly native; and it is difficult to discern any connection with ancient Greece, even in its medieval garb.
Rambaud (La Russie Epique) whose authorities are Vyázemski, Kirěyevski and others, also supports the theory of classical origin.
IV. Troyán has also been taken to be a Pagan god of Slavdom. For this theory there is fairly strong external evidence. Míkloziš cites from Vostókov of the ancient Slavs;--"believing in many gods, in Perun, and Khors, Div and Troyán, who were men of past days; Perun amongst the Greeks, Khors in Cyprus, Troyán an emperor at Rome. . .'
It has been supposed that Troyán was the God of the dead, but I cannot find any proof.
In 'The Virgin's Descent into Hell' [Leo Wiener's translation]. 'These are they who did not believe in the Father. . . . They changed Troyán, Khors, Veles, Perún to gods. . . .'
As a supernatural being, Troyán is found in several Serbian legends. Busláyev [Москвитянинъ 1842 No. 11] quotes Karadžić and says; there was once a city of Troyán on Mount Tsera near Dvorišša where Tsar Troyán lived. Every night he drove to Srěm [Sirmia], to see a maiden he loved. He went by night because he feared the day as it might heat him. When he arrived at Srěm, he gave his horses oats and at cock's crow [до Куръ v. l. 595] returned. But one day the husband of the maiden put sand into the manger instead of oats and slit all the cocks' tongues. The Tsar was kept waiting and stayed too long. The sun had already risen. He fled and hid behind a hayrick, but the cows came along and tore it down and so the Tsar melted.'
Further [Древности 1865 Moscow Vol. I Матеріалы] in the Слово и Откровеніе Св. Апостоловъ, XVI. Troyán is recorded amongst the Pagan Gods, the passage, apparently being the one first quoted.
In Serbian and Bulgarian traditions of Troyán or Troím [Vuk Stepanović 1852 2nd edition] Troyán appears as a nocturnal being who fears daylight, may have three heads [? false etymology from три] and wings which melted in the sun; and in further development as a Midas with goat's ears. There are Bulgarian songs of a town Troyán the inhabitants of which believed in gold and silver.
It therefore appears that the Southern Slavs had legends of a nocturnal gnome who bore this name. To attach this tale to Vséslav and to translate до Куръ by cock's crow would be ridiculous and out of style with the poem.
V. It remains to sum up and, if possible, extract something coherent from this nebulous being.
I take it that Troyán is a name for Russia, derived from the significant number three, and that it was thus written in the lost MS. There were the three Scandinavian brothers who arrived at Kíev [v. Nestor 6370], Rurik, Sineus and Truvor. As the hills of Kíev came into sight they asked: "whose is this town?"The reply was;--"There were three brothers Kiĭ, Šček and Khoriv [i.e. the ancestors of Kíev, Čechs and Croatians] who built this little town, and they perished and we sit here paying tribute to the Khozars."
--It was always the same tradition of the subject Slavs.--Druhenski states that all the Slavs use the word Троянъ as a nickname; that it means the third, and generally the third son.--He proceeds to support his argument for шестикрыльци and осмомысле as a play on numbers; [v. notes on these words].
Thus the land of Rurik, of the third brother, may have been a poetical name; the exactness of the Seven Generations (l. 568) seems to me conclusive proof.
The word next acquired alien import; the traditions of Trajan who was worshipped in his lifetime, and who, after his death, was long remembered for his great road and wall, tendered this title of Russia more imperial and more dignified.
There also existed a belief in a subterranean God Troyán, a gnome ar sprite, condemned with the Rusálki (the mermaids) by the ecclesiasts, ever on their watch against the ineradicable lingerings of the old superstitions. The fact that this Troyán could be imagined to have three beads incidentally serves to justify the etymology from три. Probably this Serbian being did not influence the poet of the Slóvo.
The poet of the Slôvo (l. 30) takes up the poetical narrative where Boyán ceased; his scope of narration had been from Ígoŕ the son of Rurik and Svyatoshiv I to the "ancient time" [цтарое бремя], i.e., (as Sederholm remarks Vladímir I) [v. l. 745]
xlix:† дѣвицу. But v. note на седьмомъ.