Spring AS XXXIII (1999)
Volume IV, Issue 3 (#14)

From the Nachalnik

This quarter's issue is a little later than I would like but I have had a fairly hectic month. The most salient reason is that, for the third time in four years, we are moving. As of May 1, we will be in our new home. Our new address will be: 3071 Cimarron Tr, Madison WI 53719.

The Group continues to grow. We are now 229 members (as of April 11th) which is a far way from where we have come. This August, we will hold our fifth gathering at Pennsic and our third Slavic/Hungarian festival (our fifth anniversary is still a year away, just in case someone has some plans). Full details of Pennsic will be in the Summer issue of Slovo, but at this point the "class" and the festival are both confirmed (in the BIG tent!). There will be classes on beginning Russian and I will be teaching an advanced Russian class for those who would like to dip into speaking and writing a 13th century Novgorodian dialect (don't worry, it will be fairly basic!). In preparation for the Summer issue, please drop me a line in the next couple of months if you have classes, parties, or activities of interest to Slavic personae that you are planning on holding.




Plans for Possible Slavic Encampments: Part Three

By Mordak Timofei'evich Rostovskogo

Thanks to the internet and the exhaustive efforts of the SIG members, the long discussed ideas on having a Slavic encampment at large venue outdoor events like Pennsic, Gulf Wars, War of the Lilies, Estrella and the Great Western War are finally becoming more than theory and speculation. The basic knowledge needed to help new Slavic personas start and develop is slowly making the dream of a Slavic encampment a feasible plan in need of discussion. This final segment will attempt to provide some tentative ideas for possible encampment ideas.

At this point in SIG's development, any encampment will probably contain a truly divergent collection of Slavic personae spanning several areas, time periods and social classes. Considering the social history of most Slavic peoples, a small village might be the most appropriate and pragmatic approach. The strengths of the village approach are many fold. It could be set up in either a haphazard fashion with a central area or as a twisting thoroughfare. There would be no need of gates, fences, central tents or a "street" grid. In the same small setting, you could even have a village in a room at an indoor event (one idea I forgot in part one was having a Slavic Room, if enough personas are at an event). Move the chairs out, set up the indoor tents (or terems) and hold the classes or jam sessions there. You could also do that in a cafeteria during the day and promenade at night.

If you really want to give it that "camp" feel, have someone bring a bale or two of straw or hay (and a broom, rake and trash bags for clean-up). Another floor covering for the indoor village could be a ground cloth painted to look like stone, a church floor with faked tile mosaics or even a couple of the polyester Persian-esque rugs available in many thrift stores, dorm rooms, and nearly all garage sales. It does not necessarily have to be a display set-up like the Living History demos. It could also be a refuge from the hustle and bustle of the event, a calm place for children to take much needed naps (such as behind a curtained terem). Another theme could be the courtyard of a large steading with a wrap-around series of quarters or work areas. Yet another theme could be the inside of a hall with each section resembling a room devoted to a different task or use.

On the other hand, as membership grows and information encourages more Slavic personas in the SCA, encampments imitating specific Slavic cultures or time periods may become possible or even preferable. These campsites could be set up in a variety of ways. A fortified Balkans monastery with lay members living there as crafts people or refugees, a Russian country estate or votchina, a metropolitan estate as described in the Domostroi, a village a town square (say Novgorod). The permutations and layouts are limited only by the goals of the encampment occupants or their resources.

A traditional trend at Pennsic has been the rental of larger (40' x 50') tents by households, baronies, Principalities and Kingdoms. The newest variant of this is the actual purchase and decoration of these tents to display the theme of the group. In my kingdom, this has primarily been limited to peerage households but is slowly catching on in other groups as well. At some point in the future, this option could become feasible for SIG groups at the various large venue events mentioned at the start of this article. The theme here is based on the tent decoration discussed in part one, only on a bigger scale. The tent could become the scene of the Novgorod veche for the population, a large Slavic style church or manor house, a market type area with a wide variety of cultures represented within, a barracks for a fighting-themed group or a tavern setup for other groups. A lot of Pennsic groups either transport these large tents to and from Pennsic or go in on a storage space close to site with other groups. The decoration could be a group project either at home or at Pennsic. I have seen both methods used but the main determinant seemed to have been subject to the geographical proximity of the members.

This naturally leads to the question of perimeters. I have always personally envisioned a gate with two onion dome cupolas of gold with lettering, Cyrillic (or anglicized Cyrillic) lettering between them or Rus animal motifs in either large relief or as bordering. You could even do a cloth perimeter waist high with sewn in dowl rod stakes every foot with onion top finials. the fence could be painted or appliquéd in any number of ways (the Kremlin's red brick, stone, wicker, logs, motifs, painted icon relief's such as in a Russian orthodox church, figures of Russian folk in costumes like the outer walls of Moldavian churches) . You could roll it up door transportation and storage between events and the gold on the stake finials could be polyurethaned to keep them from flaking or rubbing from weather or transport. My own household has great wooden gates and fencing stained green and constructed in the style of the Hussite waggonbergs. Its been used so often as the Midrealm gates at Pennsic that some folks actually thought that Midrealm Royal had moved locations last year. The point is that a great gate and fence really sets the tone for visitors and inhabitants as well. Gates and encampments are also built up over a period of years, usually by the construction skills of a few, but the funds generating skills and efforts of all.

Taken as an ongoing project at the start, many encampment ideas start life humbly and slowly evolve into beautiful representations of a group's ideal. With all our input on this goal, a Slavic renaissance could be possible in the future. The Slavic encampment is just one facet of our ideal.




Religion in Early Russia

By Ryan Myers

In early Russia, there were three major religious belief systems found among the Slavs: Russian Orthodox Christian, Muslim, and pagan. Surprisingly, by comparison to the rest of Asia and Europe, early Russia was reasonably religiously tolerant.

Evidence of Christianity in Russia goes as far back as the Primary Chronicle itself. In some ways, the father of Christianity in Russia was Constantine. However, it was not until the rule of Prince Vladimir that Christianity truly spread through Russia. This, however was done through rather sadistic and forceful means. For example, Vladimir would hold mass baptisms in which everyone would go to a lake or pond and be christened. Anyone refusing or resisting would be set upon by the other Christians, and drowned. Unlike the Muslim's aggressive view of piety, the Orthodox church concentrated more on art, music, and literature. They wanted the glory of Christ to be expressed through a cultural media, not just personal commitment. However, there is one major thing that makes the difference between the Slavic practice of Christianity as opposed to the rest of Europe. The Slavs translated the great works of Christianity into their own language. To not practice the religion in Latin was unheard of in the rest of the world. According to Professor George P. Fedotov, this stymied the intellectual development of Russia because, not knowing Latin, they could not communicate with the West. I however, feel that, through translation, the religion was more widespread and easily understood by everyone. Instead of slowing Russia's education, it strengthened the educational basis for years to come.

Russia currently has the world's fifth largest Muslim population ratio. Nearly 44 million people today practice Islam in Russia. Therefore, this is a religion that has a solid foundation. Minor evidence of Islam in Russia shows that it was practiced in Russia nearly two centuries before the evolution of Christianity. It gained a true following during the Mongol invasion and occupation. When Ivan the Terrible conquered Kazan, the diffusion of Islam through Russia was complete. Communities of Slavic Muslims began to call themselves "umma." Islam was attractive to Slavs for many reasons. One of the most important was taqiya -- an Islamic practice in which a Muslim may renounce their religion in public if they are being persecuted, as long as they remain true in their heart. Consider the historical conditions. During this time, Europe and Asia were going to many wars for their religions. Innocent people were being tortured and killed for their religious beliefs.

The final major religion in medieval Russia was the amalgamation of inherent Slavic pagan beliefs. This has no recognizable origin, but it can be traced back to cave paintings in the steppes. The belief was animistic, meaning that it was based on the belief that every thing on Earth had some amount of life force or spirit. The one pseudo-deity was the All-Mother, a belief that a Great Mother Goddess gave birth to everything in the universe. Slavic culture, for this reason, was matriarchal and matrilineal for its early years. Carved figures of women, given the general name "venuses" and dating back to before the birth of Christ, have been discovered by archaeologists. The Scythians brought the belief of a Baba Yaga, a powerful witch that would cause great suffering in the world through her seductive subordinates, the serpent women. The Slavs expanded this belief, including the existence of river and tree nymphs, who could either hinder or help innocent wanderers. Slavs also borrowed the belief in the Great Destroyer, the goddess Zhiva, who would punish the cruel. The Slavs also believed that those who were of evil heart, or were foolish enough to wander at night, would be stolen away by vampires and werewolves. Around the time of the founding of Kiev, a group of Slavs were given the name "Poliane" for their pagan beliefs. The Poliane believed that the world was governed by a group of Amazonian heroines, called the Poliantsy. Above the Poliantsy ruled the androgynous god Rod and the evil vampire Upir. Joanna Hubbs believes that all these powerful women throughout time lead to the view of Russia as Mother, not only to her countrymen, but also to the world.

Medieval Russia was a melting pot for religion. In the rest of the world, Christians and Muslims were taking up arms to go to war for their beliefs. Religious conversion was enforced through torture and sadistic "re-education." Yet Russia remained a generally safe place to practice religion. For this reason, many different religions were able to live side by side in harmony.




Slavery in Kievan Rus: Part One

By Peotr Alexeivich Novgorodski

It may come as a surprise that European history is filled with slavery. Most of us know that classical Greece, the Roman Empire and the Moslem Caliphates were slave states. But slavery was also common in the Middle Ages: it existed in Visigothic Spain, Merovingian France, among the Vikings and in the Italian city states. Orlando Patterson estimates that in the year 950 between 10-15% of Europeans were bound in servitude. The first Russian State emerged in this cruel and violent time. The "civilized" empires of the Mediterranean were slave states. In the north, barbarian raiders carried off people as pillage. The Vikings, in particular, abducted and enslaved people from Ireland to Russia, for their own use and for sale.

A major Viking trade route ran through the heart of Russian land. Commerce descended from the Baltic Sea, via Novgorod and Kiev to Constantinople; and via the Volga to the Middle East. The Slavic peoples of Russia were among the victims of the Northmen. A tenth century Muslim geographer Ibn Rustah describes their actions: "They harry the Slavs, using ships to reach them; the carry them off as captive/And take them to Hazaran and Bulghar [both on the Volga], and sell them there." It is estimated that at its height the Viking slave trade moved 3400 people a year along this route alone.

These East Vikings warriors and traders soon intermixed with the native Slavs to create the Kievan Rus State. Slavery continued throughout the Kievan period. It is mentioned in the earliest treaties between Russians and Byzantines. Byzantine Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus (c 950) recounted a Novgorodian trading expedition to Constantinople which includes a description of slaves lead in chains for six miles around rapids in Dnieper. When Russia converted to Christianity in 988 it did not abandon slavery. Early Russian law codes give us some idea of its practice. It is also mentioned in the national history The Primary Chronicle and in the epic The Song of Prince Igor.

Despite relatively meager evidence, it is reasonable to attempt a reconstruction of conditions of slavery in Kievan Rus. Some questions to address are: Who was enslaved? What were the conditions of slavery? What was the place of the slave in society? How did the law look on the slave? Did conditions change over time? Did people ever regain freedom?

In this discussion we need to define "slavery"-- slaves are people held in permanent subjugation by means of violence or threat of violence, up to and including death. They are, in addition, people removed from all inherited and familial rights and any place of honor within the slave holding society.

The definition of slavery takes leads us to the discussion of who was enslaved. Typically, slaves were foreigner or disenfranchised members of the community. Patterson identifies eight major sources: [1] Capture in warfare, [2] Kidnaping, [3] Tribute and tax, [4] Debt, [5] Punishment for Crimes, [6] Abandonment and sale of children, [7] Self-enslavement, [8] Birth. In Russia we will find that while at first foreigners were enslaving Russian (and the reverse) very soon Russian were enslaving one another. The early period Viking raids abducting Slavs can be considered either capture in warfare or kidnaping. There is also evidence of Russian prisoners of war enslaved in Byzantium: a 945 Russo-Byzantine treaty provided for their ransom. It was also apparently common for the Russians to enslave shipwrecked sailors, presumably foreigners. From the same treaty as above: "In case the Ruses find a Greek ship cast ashore, they shall not harm it, and if any person remove any object there from or enslave a member of the crew, or kill him, he shall be amenable to both Russian and Greek law."

Very soon after the founding of Kievan Rus, we have evidence of Russians enslaving Russians. During wars, enslavement was an alternative to slaughtering a population. It mentioned at least twice in the Primary Chronicle. The first is the culmination of Princess Olga's revenge in 947: "Thus she took the city and burned it, and captured the elders of the city. Some of the captives she killed, while she gave others as slaves to her followers."

In 1067, during a war between rival princes, Minsk was captured: "Then the brethren captured it, put the men to the sword, sold the women and children into slavery." Warfare shaded into raiding and kidnaping parties. War booty included slaves. A successful war could mean a lowering of the price of slaves in the market. Some of the most revealing lines of the period comes in the epic Song of Prince Igor (1187). The section of note is part of a lament that a great prince was not present at a battle: "If you were here, a female slave would fetch one nogata and a male slave, one rezana [Vladimir Nabokov, in his translation of this work notes in a footnote that "The general meaning of this passage is that 'if you were here, fighting the Kumans, your prisoners would be so numerous that their price on the crowded slave market would become ridiculously small." One nogota is the twentieth part of a grivna which consisted of fifty rezanas The average price of a male slave at the time was five grivnas (a hundred nogotas or two hundred fifty rezanas). In terms of hides, a rezana or ryazana was a cut skin worth twenty kopeks, and a nogota was a whole skin, including the feet, worth fifty kopeks." This seems to indicate that female slaves were worth more at this period.]

Early Russian laws, called the Statutes of Vladimir Monomakh (c.1120), disclose additional means of enslavement. One case refers to a laborer who gets paid in advance and had to repay the loan and interest with work: "If an indentured laborer runs away from his lord he becomes the latter's slave. But if he departs openly, to sue for his money [and goes] to the prince, or to the judge, to complain of the injustice on the part of his lord, they do not reduce him to slavery but give him justice."

Punishment for other crimes could result in enslavement: "If an indentured laborer steals [a horse] or some other [beast], his lord is responsible for him. And when they find him, the lord first pays for the horse or anything else he stole, a then [the indentured laborer] is his full slave." A contemporary Bulgarian lawbook that circulated in Kiev abound 1100, called the Zadon Sudnyi Liuden, provided that in the case of the theft of a horse or weapon or for riding a horse without permission the culprit should be beaten and then sold into slavery.

Russians, on occasion "voluntarily" sold themselves into slavery. The Statute of Vladimir Monomakh set a minimum price and procedures for this: "If anyone buys [a man] willing [to sell himself into slavery], for not less than half a grivna, and produces witnesses and pays [the fee of one nogata] in the presence of the slave himself." "Voluntary" slavery seems to have occurred during famines and economic hardship when a rich lord might feed or take in the poor. A following law from the same statue appears to make enslavement more difficult: "And the recipient of a money grant is not a slave. And one cannot make a man a slave because [he received] a grant-in-ad in grain..." Other sections of this same statute stipulate that if a man marries a female slave, he becomes a slave. Lastly, it also stipulates that one becomes another's steward or housekeeper without a special agreement also becomes a slave.

In summary, we find that slaves in Russia came from warfare and kidnaping, as well as unlucky sailors. Period laws also document enslavement for socio-economic reasons: debt, crime and self-enslavement because of need and by marriage to a slave.




On Being A Slav in Meridies

By Isabelle de Foix

"Nice outfit, Lady Isabelle!" says my Celtic friend. "English? French?" "Neither", I reply, "It's Czech". "Since when did you wear Czech? Hey, your name is French!" "True", I say. "But my persona's mother is a Czech. You see, my father is a merchant in Lyons, and business takes him to Prague. Well, that's where he falls in love. I remember when I first got interested in Slavic stuff, four years ago. We had a joke on the Rialto that were six Czech personas in the SCA".

Meridians, being mundanely Southerners, are in large part descended from Scots, Irish, English, and German settlers. We are not super-adventurous when it comes to deciding on a persona; it's usually among the Western European countries like England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France, Germany, Italy, and of course those lovable Vikings. Let's face it, when you're going to the Scottish Games six times a year, and you feel like that's a part of you, you're not exactly going to leave your tartan at home when you attend events. So I caused a bit of confusion when I got interested in things Slavic and decided that my French persona had to be half-Czech so I could claim Slavic identity. It's not like we have no Slavs -- I know a couple of Russians, and there was a Pole who spilled the Gatorade at a war when I was water-bearing years ago. Still, Slavic personas are rare in Meridies, and my Russian garb has been mistaken for Byzantine. On these occasions, I point out that the Russian rulers were great admirers of the Byzantine Emperors and adopted their court dress. Of course, I had to explain why I'd made a French-style vest out of gold and black painted cotton and embroidered it with Austrian crystal. The Czechs, like other Slavic peoples, were influenced by both Western European and Byzantine fashions. When they made French-style bodices, the material would be more ornate than the French styles, heavily embroidered and perhaps beaded, like Byzantine-influenced garb. But what got the talk about me being a Slav really going was my kokoshnik project. Oh, my goodness.....

Once I got going on the pearling of the kokoshnik, I started mentioning the project on the Meridian listserv. "I don't need a coronet", I said on one of my posts, "I've got a kokoshnik in the works". I have a reputation -- some might say notoriety -- for putting on the Ritz on my French roll hats. I have a serious addiction to Austrian crystal, even though I know it's not period. But heck, I reason, diamonds are, and these are just a cheap, if garish, substitute. So people were totally confounded about this strange head ornament I was writing stupid notes about on the listserv. Then I finished the kokoshnik and put it in an A&S exhibition at an event. I toned down the beading- yes, it has crystal beads on it, but they are tiny, only 3 millimeters big. It's ornate but not nearly as garish as my earlier hats were. Overall, the beadwork is much more complex on the kokoshnik than it was on those earlier hats as well. People started to say "oh, so that's what you were talking about" when they saw me wearing the hat at feast. At one event, a friend of mine playfully took the kokoshnik off of my head and started to run around the site wearing it. Now I know what it's like to see someone else wearing a kokoshnik!

Now that I've finished beading a dalmatik, in a dark green velveteen with beadwork that matches that of the blue velvet kokoshnik -- I'm waiting to see what the response to it will be. Your guess is as good as mine, but I hope it leads to more interest in the Slavic Middle Ages.




The Union of Jadwiga and Jagiello: Part Two

By Jadwiga Zajaczkowa

It's clear that the Polish nobles had already resolved not to let Jadwiga marry an Austrian, infant marriage or no; they had also probably already gotten word that Jagiello, Grand Duke of Lithuania, was interested in an alliance. Jadwiga's mother, Elizabeth, may not have intended the marriage arrangements to go through either; she was already scheming to marry Maria to the king of France instead of Sigismund.

So it may or may not have been a surprise for Jadwiga when her advisers urged her to agree to the proposals of the embassy from Jagiello in January of 1385. Jagiello was one of the 12 sons of the famous Olgierd, who had incorporated much of Russia into Lithuanian lands, and had been designated as heir apparent. However, it took a number of squabbles with his brothers before he could solidly claim his inheritance -- at some points, both he and is brother Andrew and his cousin Vytautas (Witold) had taken refuge with the Teutonic Knights, ardent foes of the Lithuanians.

The Teutonic Knights were a Crusading Order who had been invited in by Conrad of Mazovia years before to deal with the raids of the Pagan Prus. Being a crusading, not a missionary, order, they killed or enslaved (rather than converting) the heathens, and moved into their territory. After exterminating the Prus, they advanced on Lithuania. Many of the nobles of Europe had fought with the Order on occasion (Norman Davies called these "crusading package tours"), including Louis of Anjou, and they were considered to be notable allies -- or foes.

What drove Jagiello to his proposal isn't clear, but he offered to marry Jadwiga, unite Poland and Lithuania, and convert himself and his people to Christianity. Some of his brothers were already Christian (though of the Eastern rite) probably because both of Olgierd's wives had been Christian. But Jagiello was still unbaptized.

While this proposal was in consideration in Poland, the Austrians were planning to advance their interests by confirming the marriage of Jadwiga and Wilhelm. As soon as she came of age, the marriage could be consummated and Wilhelm would then be king-apparent of Poland. So, while Wilhelm traveled toward Cracow, and messengers traveled to Elizabeth of Hungary. A storm brewed; the result of which was that poor Jadwiga was between a rock and a hard place.

Whether or not she had seen her betrothed since she was in Vienna, her choice was either to confirm the marriage (which her Polish advisers forbid) or break her solemn vows in order to marry a man three times her age, and a pagan whom her father had warred against to boot. This was complicated by two separate sets of messages arriving from her mother -- one telling her to do what her advisers thought best, the other telling her to confirm the marriage with Wilhelm.

As Wilhelm neared the city with his guard or troops, the Castellan ordered the doors shut and no one allowed in or out. The romantic version of subsequent events says that Jadwiga was locked in, despite her desire to see her childhood beloved, and took an axe to the door in an effort to get out; the Franciscans took pity on her and allowed her to meet with Wilhelm in their premises. But, realizing it was hopeless and that she could accomplish more good by marrying Jagiello and Christianizing Lithuania, she sent Wilhelm away. The saintly version is that Jadwiga took the advice of her counselors and refused to see Wilhelm, for the safety of Poland and the salvation of Lithuania.

I'm rather fond of the axe story myself, and think that an adolescent of the passionate Angevin/Piast heritage may well have lost her temper in the face of conflicting politics and taken a swing at something, especially when dealing with Dobeslaus of Kurozweki, "who loved her like his own daughter and protected her like his own right hand" -- the sort of thing likely to drive any adolescent into fits. Certainly, some historians claim that Jadwiga, despite her youth, was no puppet princess either way, displaying the same precocious involvement with government as her ancestor Boleslav II, who conducted his first raid at the age of eleven.

Be that as it may, Wilhelm and his entourage left Cracow under protest. Jadwiga then publically repudiated the marriage made in her name by her parents. However, some stories claim that she was still nervous about Jagiello, sending one of her knights to inspect him; Jagiello obligingly invited the man to the baths, so that he could report back that the Grand Duke was a fine figure of a man and so reassure the teenage queen about her prospective husband. She accepted Jagiello and the union of rulers and countries were set forth in the Treaty of Krewo. The queen used the signing (on August 23, 1385) as an excuse to have all the prisoners in Cracow released as a sign of her joy.

Jagiello journeyed into Poland in January of 1386, under a safe conduct from the ambassadors, and was joined by a growing entourage of important nobles and officials on the road to Cracow. On January 11, the Polish nobles agreed to elect Jagiello as King of Poland upon his marriage. Behind his back, his brother Andrew and the Teutonic Knights tried to invade Lithuania at this time, but Skirgiello, another brother, drove them out. Around February 10, Jagiello was presented to the queen in Cracow, where he was supposedly smitten with her beauty. The queen's beauty is repeatedly mentioned, but of course the fond romancers are not to be trusted, and I have found no contemporary portrait or sculpture reproduced.

On February 15, 1386, after three days of instruction, Jagiello was baptized, taking the baptismal name Wladyslaw. His pagan brothers were also baptized, though his Eastern rite brethren did not convert. On February 18, Jadwiga and Wladyslaw-Jagiello were married; Wladyslaw-Jagiello was crowned on March 4. This did not apparently lesson the status of Jadwiga as the Slavs were used to having multiple kings at any one time.




Book Reviews

  • Pavel M. Dolukhanov. The Early Slavs: Eastern Europe from the Initial Settlement to the Kievan Rus. New York: Longman, 1996.

    Most history books say little or nothing about the Slavic groups prior to their Christianization around the first millennium CE. This book, laden with archeological material, may fill in a good deal of the background of the history of human occupation of Eastern Europe. The author is by training a geologist and an environmental scientist working in field archeology, who participated in digs and research in the Soviet Union for many years before emigrating to the West. This book is written based his research and the research of other Russian archeologists. However, the author is careful to keep a neutral tone, describing and labeling the theories of the competing schools and warning us about the Marxist and Slavophile schools of archeological analysis.

    The book begins with a chapter on 'The Slavs and Archeology in Russia', an overview of the academic field which I heartily recommend. With maps, charts, and illustrations he then plunges into his story. When Dolukhanov says Early, he means early. The first 50 pages are full of glaciations. He traces the people of the Russian plains from the Mesolithic onward, careful to present first the archeological evidence, then the theories drawn from that evidence. Special attention is of course paid to evidence of agriculture and animal husbandry, along with burials, and theories about the development of the Slavic, Finno-Ugric, and Baltic language groups are discussed. When reaching historical time (1000 BC and onward) the author connects the archeological data with the history of the Scythians as known to the Greeks, and continues to do so onward. Of most interest to SIG readers will be the final chapter, "The Vikings and the Rus," which covers the second half of the first millennium.

    The book is enhanced by excellent maps (though you may want a modern map at hand for comparison), illustrations of pottery, and diagrams of archeological finds. There is a glossary, but it varies in coverage (Iron Age is defined, but not Celt or BP [Before Present]). There is also an index, and an excellent list of sources.

    While this volume is slow reading and will be of limited use to the recreationist, it is an excellent background to the history of the Slavic lands and peoples.

    -- Jadwiga Zajaczkowa




    Forthcoming Publications

  • Maria Dembinska and William Woys Weaver. Food and Drink in Medieval Poland, Rediscovering a Cuisine of the Past. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania Press, June 1999! (ISBN 0-8122-3224-0) Expected price: $29.95.

    The book contains 35 period recipes and is the result of a twenty-five year collaboration. It is not released yet, but University presses are usually happy to take a direct advance order if you want a copy.




    Resources

    Tower of Tyn Church (Prague) by Peotr Alexeivich
Novgorodski

    •There is a new listserv for Hungarians in the SCA called Magyar-SCA. It discusses all aspects of medieval and renaissance Hungary and is geared primarily towards SCA members. It is available in a digest form for those who prefer to receive it in batches. To subscribe, go to the ONElist web site (http://www.onelist.com) and type "Magyar-SCA" in the search engine.

  • If any of you have taken the plunge and purchased a DVD player, you might want to spend a few more bucks and purchase a copy of Alexander Nevsky on DVD. I do not know if this is a digital version of the cleaned-up version or the old scratchy original (I rather suspect it is the former and better version), but at $24.99, this is worth buying in either case. You can buy it from Facets Video in Chicago (800-331-6197).

  • Some of our Polish members have been praising a new Polish film set in period. For those who want to look at the pretty pictures, there is a publicity web site (with a downloadable trailer) at http://ogniem-i-mieczem.comart.com.pl/english/film.htm.




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