Cossacks

The Cossacks were a huge community of runaway serfs, free men and adventurers living on the frontier lands of the steppe, from the Ukraine eastwards to the River Don. They were proud of their independence, their Orthodox faith, and of the military help they could bring to the rulers of Muscovy - if they chose. But in the Ukraine, they also fell under the control of the Catholic Poles, and the story of their struggle with the Poles - and their hatred of the Jews who served them - in the seventeenth century is the main action of the 'Cossack' chapter of RUSSKA. (See also Karpenko). The subsequent revolt of the Cossack 'hetman' Mazeppa against Peter the Great occurs in 'Peter'.




 

 

 

Did You Know?
For perhaps 600 years, the patron saint of England - not Britain - has been Saint George. Before St George, there were several candidates for the position, including the last king of the ancient Saxon royal house, St Edward the Confessor, son of the disastrous King Ethelred the Unready. But St Edward was a monkish fellow, always praying, and never popular. Whereas St George, by repute, had slain a dragon on top of a well-known beauty spot in southern England. The fact that he was most likely an obscure third-century Roman, who had never been to the British Isles in his life, and is unlikely to have met a dragon, could be forgotten. He was heroic, he had a fine silver shield with a bold red cross on it, like a crusader. And the Londoners liked him and made him their own. When this author was a Wolf Cub and a Boy Scout in his childhood, he always had to march in the big St George’s Day parade, on the twenty-third day of this month !




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