Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Novgorod-Seversk (NOV-go-rod seh-VEHRSK). Home of Igor Svyatoslavich. Not to be confused with the northern city of Novgorod, this is a smaller city on the Desna River, in what would later become Ukraine.

*Don River

*Don River. Location of Igor’s first battle against the Polovetsians. This large river of Russia’s southern steppe is a major waterway and would serve as a natural boundary difficult for a rapidly retreating army to cross.

*Donets River

*Donets River (DO-nehts). The lesser Don, a tributary of the Don River. In the rushes along its banks, Igor escapes from his Polovetsian captors with the aid of Ovlur the Polovetsian. The poet personifies the river, having it speak to Igor as he approaches and then loyally protect him in his escape. The bard also portrays the various animals and birds of the region as aiding Igor in his escape, except for the snakes, which prove faithless but can only slither.


*Kiev (kyehv). Principal city of the Russian nation prior to the Mongol invasion. In the hills overlooking the Dnieper River, Svyatoslav the prince of Kiev has his palace. There he has the prophetic dream of his son Igor’s defeat at the hands of the Polovetsians.