Avdo Međedović

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Avdo Međedović
Born c. 1875
Bijelo Polje, Sanjak of Novi Pazar, Ottoman Empire
Died 1953 (aged 78)
Bijelo Polje, SR Montenegro, Yugoslavia
Occupation guslar (gusle player and oral poet)
Nationality Ottoman (until 1913)
Genre Epic poetry

Avdo Međedović (c. 1875 – 1953) was a guslar (gusle player and oral poet) from Sandžak.[1] He was the most versatile and skillful performer of all those encountered by Milman Parry and Albert Lord during their research on the oral epic tradition of Bosnia, Herzegovina and Montenegro in the 1930s. At Parry's request Avdo undertook to produce an epic of similar extent to the Iliad (15,690 lines), since Parry needed to investigate whether a poet in an oral tradition would be able to maintain a theme over such length. Avdo dictated, over three days and many cups of coffee (which, in turn, required much urination), a version of the well-known theme The Wedding of Meho Smailagić that was 12,323 lines long. On another occasion he sang over several days an epic of 13,331 lines. He claimed to have several others of similar length in his repertoire.[2]

Many years afterwards The Wedding was published in 1974 by Lord with a parallel English translation.[3]

Early life[edit]

Međedović was a Muslim Slav (see also Muslims (nationality) and Bosniaks), born in the town of Bijelo Polje (now in Montenegro)[4][5] in 1875, while it was a part of the Ottoman Empire. His family had Serbian Orthodox ancestry, being related to the Rovčani and coming from Nikšić, having been converted in the past centuries, though Avdo himself did not know when or why the family converted to Islam.[6]


  • Ženidba Smailagić Meha (The Wedding of Meho Smailagić, 1935)


  • Lord, Albert Bates (1960), The singer of tales, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press 
  • Avdo Međedović, The wedding of Smailagić Meho tr. Albert Bates Lord; with a translation of conversations [with Nikola Vujnović] concerning the singer's life and times, by David E. Bynum. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1974.
  • Parry, Milman; Parry, Adam (editor) (1971), The making of Homeric verse. The collected papers of Milman Parry, Oxford: Clarendon Press 
  1. ^ "Crnogorci ljube lance". SlobodnaEvropa. 18 February 2012. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Video on YouTube
  3. ^ "Povratak "Homera sa Obrova"". danas. 25 March 2010. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "Trebješki je Višnjić naših dana". dan. 10 February 2011. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "Zaslužujemo bogat kulturni život". danas. 4 August 2011. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  6. ^ Albert Bates Lord (1991). Epic Singers and Oral Tradition. Cornell University Press. pp. 57–. ISBN 0-8014-9717-5. In centuries past his family had been Serbian Orthodox and had come from central Montenegro; they were related to the Rovcani and came from Niksic.2 Avdo knew neither when nor why they had embraced Islam. 

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