Creanga de Aur: A Mystical Romance by Mihail Sadoveanu
Creanga de Aur (The Golden Bough) is a novel written by Mihail Sadoveanu and published in 1933. It is one of his most enigmatic and symbolic works, inspired by the ancient history and mythology of Dacia and Byzantium.
The novel tells the story of Kesarion Breb, a young Dacian who is sent by his priest to learn the secrets of the world and the new faith (Christianity) that is spreading rapidly in the Byzantine Empire. He travels to Egypt, where he is initiated into the mysteries of the temples, and then to Constantinople, where he witnesses the intrigues and conflicts of the imperial court.
Along his journey, he meets Maria, a beautiful and noble lady from Amnia, who becomes his love interest. Their relationship is complicated by the political and religious turmoil of the time, as well as by Kesarion's own quest for wisdom and enlightenment. He also encounters a mysterious golden bough that symbolizes his destiny and his connection with the eternal.
Creanga de Aur is a novel that blends realism and fantasy, history and legend, romance and philosophy. It explores themes such as initiation, knowledge, love, fate, identity and transcendence. It is a rich and complex work that challenges and fascinates the reader with its poetic language and its hidden meanings.
The novel also reflects on the fiction of power and the power of fiction, as Kesarion Breb becomes involved in the political and cultural life of Byzantium. He meets influential figures such as the emperor Constantine VI, the empress Irene, the patriarch Tarasius, the general Bardanes and the poet Georgios Pisides. He also witnesses historical events such as the iconoclastic controversy, the revolt of Bardanes and the blinding of Constantine.
Kesarion Breb is both an observer and a participant in these events, as he tries to understand and influence the course of history. He uses his intelligence, his charisma and his knowledge to gain respect and admiration from his peers. He also uses his fiction, his poetry and his storytelling to shape and express his vision of the world. He creates a fictional persona for himself, as a descendant of the legendary Dacian king Decebalus, and a fictional history for his people, as a branch of the golden bough that connects them with the divine.
However, Kesarion Breb also faces the limits and dangers of his fiction. He realizes that his fiction can be manipulated, distorted or rejected by others who have different interests or perspectives. He also realizes that his fiction can alienate him from reality, from himself and from his love. He struggles to balance his fiction and his truth, his power and his humility, his ambition and his happiness.
The novel also explores the theme of identity, as Kesarion Breb tries to find his place and his role in a changing and diverse world. He is a Dacian by birth, a descendant of the ancient kings who resisted the Roman conquest. He is also a Greek by culture, a scholar and a poet who admires the classical heritage. He is a Christian by faith, but also a follower of the old Dacian religion and the Egyptian mysteries. He is a lover, a friend, a warrior, a diplomat, a spy and a leader.
Kesarion Breb is a complex and multifaceted character, who constantly adapts and transforms himself according to the circumstances and the challenges he faces. He is also a conflicted and contradictory character, who sometimes loses his sense of direction and purpose. He questions his identity and his loyalty, his beliefs and his values, his choices and his actions. He searches for his true self and his true destiny, which are symbolized by the golden bough that he carries with him.
The novel also depicts the theme of contrast, as Kesarion Breb travels from one world to another, from one culture to another, from one epoch to another. He witnesses the contrast between the natural and the artificial, the simple and the complex, the primitive and the civilized, the sacred and the profane, the mythical and the historical, the eternal and the temporal. He also experiences the contrast between love and hate, joy and sorrow, peace and war, life and death.
Kesarion Breb is fascinated and enriched by these contrasts, but also confused and overwhelmed by them. He tries to find a balance and a harmony between them, but also to transcend them. He seeks for a higher unity and a higher meaning that can reconcile all the opposites and all the differences. He hopes for a golden age that can restore the original purity and beauty of the world. a474f39169