Proverbs and sayings are an element of the oral creativity of the people. They are short, but very vivid and imaginative statements. Proverbs have an instructive tone. They generalize life phenomena, reflect the experience and opinion of most people. Sayings are less edifying, but each of them also contains an apt description of everyday situations, human actions and traits of a national character. The sources of most of the catchphrases must be sought in the distant past.
The oldest collections of proverbs and sayings were discovered by archaeologists in Egypt. Unique examples of clay tablets with aphorisms date back to about 2500 BC. Another significant source of catchphrases is, of course, the Bible. Its Old Testament part calls King Solomon, who lived in the 10th century BC, the author of 900 proverbs.
The wise sayings of contemporaries were collected and systematized by the Greek philosophers and cultural figures Aristotle, Zinovy, Plutarch, Aristophanes. The popularity of proverbs and sayings Aristotle explained by their brevity and accuracy.
In 1500, the Dutch scientist and educator Erasmus of Rotterdam published the result of a long study of ancient Greek and Roman history. The multi-page work was called "Proverbs". In it, Erasmus included more than 3000 Roman and Greek catchphrases, adapted by him for understanding by his contemporaries. The most educated representatives of European society became interested in the book. It was translated into national languages and studied in educational institutions. Thus, the proverbs and sayings of the Ancient World penetrated the culture of the peoples of Europe. This explains the presence of figurative expressions that are similar in meaning in different languages.
In Russia, the first proverbs were recorded in the chronicles and literary texts of the XII-XIII centuries: "The Tale of Bygone Years", "The Tale of Igor's Host", "The Prayer of Daniel the Zatochnik" and others. confidence in an early victory. So, the author of the "Tale of Bygone Years" cites the saying "Perished, aki obre", which means "Perished like cliffs." This expression was born after the expulsion of the Obrov nomad tribe from their lands by the Slavic peoples. The proverb that took shape at the end of the 8th century helped the chronicler to figuratively convey his thoughts about the fate of all the invaders of the Russian land.
At the end of the 17th century, an unknown author compiled a collection of "Stories, or proverbs of the whole people in alphabetical order." The book contains more than 2500 catch phrases. On the pages of the collection you can find expressions familiar even to modern Russians. So, since the time of the Tatar-Mongol yoke, which was painful for Russia, the saying "Empty, how Mamai passed" is known.
Some aphorisms entered the national language from ancient tales and legends, for example: "The beaten unbeaten is lucky." But most of the proverbs reflect the customs and everyday worries of ordinary people: "You cannot easily catch a fish from a pond," "He who saves money lives without need," "Augustus the father with care and work of a peasant," and so on.
Russian writers of the 19th century significantly enriched the national vocabulary. From the fables, poems and poems of A.S. Pushkin, A.S. Griboyedov, I.A. Krylov, the people transferred many short sayings into everyday speech. Over time, literary sayings almost completely merged with folk art: "Happy hours are not observed," "All ages are submissive to love," "And Vaska listens, but eats," etc.
The Russian philologist Vladimir Dal was engaged in a detailed study of folk sayings in the 30-50s of the 19th century. Until now, his collection "Proverbs of the Russian people" is considered the most complete. Dahl placed 30 thousand expressions in the book, dividing them into several thematic parts.
Of course, the set of proverbs and sayings used in everyday life changes from time to time.Obsolete in meaning or form of expressions give way to more modern ones. In addition, new objects, phenomena, situations and relationships appear. Folk wisdom fixes social changes in the form of topical sayings: "If you can't return the loan, there will be a bit of a face", "Our people don't take a taxi to the bakery."