If myths are sacred knowledge, then the heroic epic of the peoples of the world is important and reliable information about the development of the people, expressed in the form of poetic art. And although the epic develops from myths, it is not always as sacred, because along the way, changes occur in the content and structure of the narrative. An example of this is the heroic epic of the Middle Ages or the epics of Ancient Russia, expressing the ideas of social justice, glorifying Russian knights who defend the people, and glorifying outstanding people and great events associated with them.
In fact, the Russian heroic epic began to be called epics only in the 19th century, and until then they were folk "old times" - poetic songs that glorify the life story of Russian people. Some researchers attribute the time of their formation to the X-XI centuries - the period of Kievan Rus. Others believe that this is a later genre of folk art and it belongs to the period of the Muscovite state.
The Russian heroic epic embodies the ideals of courageous and dedicated heroes fighting against enemy hordes. Mythological sources include later epics describing such heroes as the Magus, Svyatogor and the Danube. Later, three heroes appeared - the famous and beloved defenders of the Fatherland.
This is Dobrynya Nikitich, Ilya Muromets, Alyosha Popovich, who represent the heroic epos of the Kievan period of Rus' development. These antiquities reflect the history of the formation of the city itself and the reign of Vladimir, to which the heroes went to serve. Unlike them, the Novgorod epics of this period are dedicated to blacksmiths and guslars, princes and noble farmers. Their characters are lovable. They have a resourceful mind. These are Sadko, Mikula, who represent a bright and sunny world. On its defense, Ilya Muromets stands at his outpost and leads his patrol near high mountains and dark forests. He fights evil forces for the sake of good on Russian soil.
Each epic hero has his own character trait. If the heroic epic gives Ilya Muromets tremendous strength, like Svyatogor, then Dobrynya Nikitich, in addition to strength and fearlessness, is an outstanding diplomat capable of defeating a wise snake. That is why Prince Vladimir entrusts him with diplomatic missions. Unlike them, Alyosha Popovich is cunning and savvy. Where he lacks power, there he puts cunning into action. Of course, these images of heroes are generalized.
Epics have a fine rhythmic organization, and their language is melodious and solemn. As artistic means, there are epithets, comparisons. Enemies are presented as ugly, and Russian heroes are presented as grandiose and sublime.
Folk epics do not have a single text. They were transmitted orally, so they varied. Each epic has several options, reflecting the specific plots and motifs of the area. But miracles, characters and their reincarnations in different versions are preserved. Fantastic elements, werewolves, resurrected heroes are transmitted on the basis of the historical idea of the people about the world around them. It is clear that all the epics were written during the independence and power of Russia, so the era of antiquity has a conditional time here.