Winter AS XLIV (2010)
Volume XV, Issue 2 (#56)

 

From the Nachalnik

It's that wonderful time of the year when wearing Russian court garb actually feels good and all those kilt-wearing Scots look longingly at the furs on your collars.

I don't have much to say this quarter except to publicly record my congratulations to Master Ivan Matfeevich Rezansky for his recent elevation to the Laureate for his labors in Russian embroidery. Master Ivan is a long-time member of SIG and wrote a lovely series of articles a few years back in Slovo about his work. I can claim no more credit or involvement than that in his success, but I do wish him the best and hope that we'll have an account of his elevation in a future issue of Slovo .

I also wanted to draw your attention to the third Slavic University, which is coming up in April (around the time when the Spring Slovo will be appearing). This is a wonderful event, bringing together both curious locals and a number of SIG members from both near and far. I am currently planning on attending and hope you will consider doing so as well. See the details in the following article.

 


Slavic University

The Russians are coming! And all the Slavs!!! They will all be gathering for Slavic University III, which will be held in Æ thelmearc this Spring on April 10, 2010 from 10am to 8pm in Shepherdstown, WV, USA. The Shire of Sylvan Glen will be hosting this event on the Shepherd University Campus in the Frank Arts Building (301 North King St., Shepherdstown, WV 25443). Site is discreetly damp.   If you can, come and enjoy a day of classes, camaraderie, and food about all things Slavic and Kievan Rus.


What is Slavic University you might ask? Well, the first one was conceived out of a discussion begun on the SIG List and continued at Pennsic when Pan Zygmunt stepped forward on the spot and volunteered to host the first Slavic University.   It was felt we needed a University that would travel from Kingdom to Kingdom and allow teachers and students of all things Slavic to congregate, share information, and help each other. We realized these gatherings might be small but we were all right with that.  Everyone felt that since Slavic Personas are few and far between it was extra important to nurture each other. It has been a couple of years since our last University met and now the time is coming for the next one.


This inter-Kingdom event will feature experts in Slavic, Russian, Polish and related subjects from all over the Knowne World! Please plan to bring your books to share and items for the A&S Display. The cost for adults will be $5, children $3, under 6 free (plus the non-member surcharge of $3 as always). This will include food for the day, although if you have a Slavic/Rus specialty dish we encourage you to bring it and share! No pre-reg is necessary, but if you are coming please drop me an email if you can for food count purposes. It would be very helpful.


The menu meats will include, but not be limited to, venison, kielbasa, and ham. A more precise menu will be available online as the time approaches.


Please come and spend a day with us learning and eating. If you have something you would be interested in teaching please let us know; we are still accepting class listings!


The website with further information can be found at http://www.zadruga-kotok.org/SlavicU2010.html

Autocrat: Lady Marija Kotok / Marilyn Kinyon  ( mamalynxx@gmail.com  , 304-229-1854)

 


Chernigov, Second Largest City of the Kievan Rus

By Marija Kotok


Chernigov was a major city even before Kievan times. Chernigov is in the present-day northern Ukraine.  Several primary sources give extensive information on the Chernigov area and dynasty. Recently, there has also been the addition of a two-volume history of the Chernigov dynasty by Martin Dimnik (in English). These sources combine to give enough in-depth information to provide a great basis for a persona.


The lands known as part of Chernigov were located on the left bank of a large river called the Dnieper. On the northeast it was bordered by the Volga Bulghars. The Mordvan tribes lived amidst them in the middle areas of the Oka River. The north shared a boundary with the Rostov-Suzdal lands and the area now known as Smolensk. On the northwest lay Polotsk, and on the west Turov and Kiev. To the south was Pereyslavl, and in the southeast there was a sort of no man's land inhabited by the marauding tribesmen of the steppes.


The Chernigov lands consisted mainly of pine forests in a sandy soil and groves that were rooted in fertile black-soiled grasslands. The area provided abundant lumber for crafts and building, great hunting and fishing areas, and favorable agricultural conditions. In addition, it had good iron deposits that were suitable for use in light metal industries, and the sandy soils provided the ingredients for a thriving glass and ceramics industry.


The area attracted many settlers for many tribes. It is known from archaeological finds and primary sources that the Polyane, Severyane, Radamichi, Vyatichi, and Dregovichi all populated this area.  The Khazars also had a strong presence.  In the 1200s it was sacked by the hoardes of Batu Khan. Because Severyane finds were prevalent in the core region of Chernigov for a long time it became known as the land of the Severyane. As more evidence emerges we have become more aware that this area was really a melting pot area. Artifacts from as early as 2000 years BC have been found. Both ceramics and Roman coins provide proof that this area was actively trading with the Mediterranean around the time Christ lived. There are finds supporting heavy Slavic settlement by the sixth and seventh centuries.


Chernigov city itself is located on the right bank of the Desna on top of a wooded area. To its west a well-known monastery, Eletskiy, was founded.  It also hosts the oldest church in Ukraine, Saviour Cathedral, which broke ground in 1030.  The town had natural defensive of barriers of rivers on the east and south sides. In addition, it is known that on the west and north lay Zamglay and Peristoe, extensive wooded areas and marshlands. These natural barriers help protect Chernigov from casual invaders.


It was also a crossroads of commerce. Located at the meeting place for several rivers, it was in the perfect position to receive commercial traffic from all the rivers that came into its area. It was also at a crossroads for ground traffic. Four major roads emanated from the four main gates of Chernigov. The Northgate led to Starodub and Novgorod, the northwest gate to Lyubech and eventually Kiev, the eastern gate to Putivl and Kursk, and the gate from the Eletskiy Monastery was actually the shortest route to Kiev through Podol. Because of its position merchants traveled to and through Chernigov from all over Asia and Europe. making it one of the largest Rus markets. In fact, it was considered second only to Kiev itself.


Sources do not give any proof for a princely dynasty in the Chernigov area before the ninth century. The earliest written information came from Constantine Porphyrogenitus (905-959) and described the arrival of boatloads of merchants from many areas including some from Chernigov.


The PVL under the year 907 (in a Rus-Byzantine treaty) mentions a demand that the Greeks pay tax to a number of Rus towns including Chernigov. From the context of this mention, it is also implied that Chernigov was at that time under the direct jurisdiction of Kiev.


We also know from the Nikon Chronicle under the year 992 that the Metropolitan of Kiev appointed Neofit as Bishop of Chernigov.

There is no exact record of when Chernigov was founded, but we have enough evidence to see that it was a thriving area from a very early time and was continually occupied during what the SCA considers period.  From 1054 on we have an accurate and very extensive genealogy of the Chernigov dynasty which can provide precise information for name registration purposes. It is interesting to note that Rus nobility had a penchant for reusing names. Thus if a name was used in one period of time it is likely that if you look around a bit you'll find documentation for it in another time period.


If you're looking for a Rus city in which to base your persona and want to be able to give it a lot of detail, Chernigov may be an ideal place for you to consider. The extensive history available on it will give you plenty of possibilities and allow you to develop an in-depth persona.

 

Bibliography

•  Dimnik, Martin. The Dynasty of Chernigov, 1146-1246 . New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

•  Chernihiv City Rada official website ( chernigiv-rada.gov.ua ).

•  Nikon Chronicle

•  PVL – Primary Russian Chronicle .

 


New Alternate Russian Titles

By Sofya la Rus

At her March 1998 meeting, the Laurel Sovereign of Arms formally approved a complete revision of the alternate titles for use in the Society by Russian personae. The list is a compromise worked out between Paul Wickenden, Predslava Vydrina, and Mikhail Kramolnikov (with input from a lot of folks in SIG-- thanks!) and represents some incredibly good research and documentation work from Mikhail and Predslava.


In 2008, a major revision to the list was submitted and the changes that have so far been approved have been included here. The titles of boiarin and boiarynia have been accepted as listed here, but are in the process of being re-evaluated as of December 2009.

For more information, please see my website (http://russiansig.wikispaces.com/SCA+Alternative+Titles ).

SCA TITLE
RUSSIAN EQUIVALENT
APPROXIMATE PRONUNCIATION
NOTES
King
Tsar
tsahr
for late period personas
Queen
Tsaritsa
tsahr-eet-tsah
ruler in her own right or wife of the Tsar
King
Velikii Kniaz
veh-lee-kee knyahz
for most of SCA period
Queen
Velikaia Kniaginia
veh-lee-ka-yah knyah-gee-nya

Prince
Tsarevich
tsahr-yeh-veech
male offspring of the tsar
Princess
Tsarevna
tsahr-yehv-nah
female offspring of the tsar
Prince
Kniazhich
knyah-zhich
male offspring of kniaz or velikii kniaz
Princess
Kniazhna
knyazh-nah
female offspring of kniaz or velikii kniaz
Territorial Prince
Kniaz
knyahz
pronounced as one syllable
Territorial Princess
Kniaginia
knyah-gee-nyah
with a hard 'g', not a 'j'
Duke
Kniaz
knyahz
pronounced as one syllable
Duchess
Kniaginia
knyah-gee-nyah
with a hard 'g', not a 'j'
Count
Kniaz
knyahz
pronounced as one syllable
Countess
Kniaginia
knyah-gee-nyah
with a hard 'g', not a 'j'
Viscount
Kniaz
knyahz
pronounced as one syllable
Viscountess
Kniaginia
knyah-gee-nyah
with a hard 'g', not a 'j'
Master
Master
mah-ster

Mistress
Masteritsa
mah-ster-ee-tsah

Master
Boiarin
bo-yar-een
for ranks from AoA to Bestowed PoA
Mistress
Boiarynia
bo-yar-een-yah
for ranks from AoA to Bestowed PoA
Knight
Rytsar
ree-tsahr
the "ee" is pronounced in the back of the throat, a foreign term
Knight
Boiarin/Boiarynia
see above
for ranks from AoA to Bestowed PoA
Sir
(none)


Baron
Posadnik
poh-sahd-neek
"governor of a city-state"
Baroness
Posadnitsa
poh-sahd-nee-tsah
feminine of above
Baron
Voevoda
voy-yeh-vohd-ah
Means "commander" or "governor"; military overtones
Baroness
Voevodsha
voy-yeh-vohd-shah
feminine of above
Baron
Boiarin
bo-yar-een
for ranks from AoA to Bestowed PoA
Baroness
Boiarynia
bo-yar-een-yah
for ranks from AoA to Bestowed PoA
Lord
Pomestnik
poh-myehst-neek
late period personas only
Lady
Pomestnitsa
poh-myehst-nee-tsah
ditto
Lord
Dvorianin
dvor-yah-nin
suitable for all of SCA period
Lady
Dvorianka
dvor-yan-kah
ditto
Lord
Boiarin
bo-yar-een
for ranks from AoA to Bestowed PoA
Lady
Boiarynia
bo-yar-een-yah
for ranks from AoA to Bestowed PoA

 


Book Review

•  Andrei Sinyavsky. Ivan the Fool, Russian Folk Belief, A Cultural History . Moscow: Glas New Russian Writings, 2007.

Ivan the Fool is an unusual scholarly book. It is a surprisingly in-depth exploration of Russian folk culture with language that is remarkably simple and clear. One reason for this may be that it was originally composed in letters mailed out from a Soviet prison camp. The discussions of ideas are presented without lots of scholarly reference, but with what appears to me to be a great deal of reflection and insight. The reader may be startled by the occasional change to the first person, but this doesn't detract from the rigor of the writing.

The book is divided into four sections: The Folktale, Paganism and Magic in Daily Life, In Search of Holy Russia and Schism and Religious Sects. (The fourth part deals with events after the era of SCA interest.) Ivan the Fool describes many core beliefs, such as the importance of beauty in Russian worldview, circuitous conventions of story telling (in a section titled ‘Opening Flourishes and Closing Remarks, Endless Tales and Drollery') and roles of heroes, fools and thieves in Russian stories. The layers and relative importance of pagan deities, from gods to house spirits and sorcerers are carefully spelled out, creating an elaborate, unexpected cosmology. From the author's point of view it is the local, household, river and forest gods that hold more of people's consciousness than the more cosmic deities. The section on Christianity is sensitively handled, delineating the parallel systems of beliefs of Church teaching and folk understanding.

This is a well-translated and useful book, appearing for the first time in English with this edition. It includes some short tales and short sections of verse. I particularly like the stories about St. Nicholas, one of the most popular saints in Russia. Those interested in the medieval Russian mind will find this book a valuable resource.

-Peotr Alexeivich

 


Standard Disclaimer Stuff: Most of us are members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc (SCA) but our Interest Group and its newsletter are not officially affiliated with the SCA. Naturally, then, Slovo does not bear any intentional resemblance to anything that the SCA officially endorses.

The original authors retain the rights to their works. Please contact them directly for permission to reprint. Uncredited material is the property of the publisher.

The publisher and editor is Paul Wickenden of Thanet (Paul Goldschmidt), 5625 Highland Way, Middleton WI 53562, 608-827-6891, e-mail: goldschp@tds.net. There is no subscription fee and copies of this quarterly newsletter are available free of charge from the editor. Slovo is also available on-line at the Interest Group web site (http://slavic.freeservers.com).