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Traditional form of orally transmitted Old Russian and Russian heroic narrative poetry. Though byliny originated about the 10th century, or possibly earlier, they were first written down around the 17th century. They have been classified into several groupings, the largest of which deal with the golden age of Kiev in the 10th–12th centuries. Taken together, they constitute a folk history often at variance with official history.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on bylina, visit Britannica.com.