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Lecture 18

SLAVC 90 Lecture Notes - Lecture 18: Ukrainian Culture, Western Christianity, Hooj Choons

Course Code
Roman Koropeckyj

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Slavic 90
Lecture 18: Cossacks
- modern Ukraine generally democratic (as compared to other post-Soviet countries)
- discontinuity in development of most Slavic cultures, exemplified in Ukraine
- overview of eras within Ukraine:
- late ninth to mid-thirteenth century = Kievan Rus
- sixteenth to seventeenth centuries = Cossack period
- nineteenth century = became peasant culture
- Shevchenko (nineteenth century) = 10-20 years of rival of Ukrainian culture,
eventually suppressed by Russia
- 1920s-1930s = revival of Ukrainian culture, suppressed by Stalin
- 1990s = revival of modern independent Ukraine
- long periods of peasant culture in which elites were absorbed/assimilated into groups of
other elites or disappeared
- during early nineteenth century romantic revival, Cossack age rediscovered and
reappropriated as Ukrainian golden age due in part to poetry and influence of Shevchenko
- Ukraine became part of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in fourteenth century after
Mongol invasion
- by sixteenth century, almost all of Ukraine ruled by Grand Duchy of Lithuania, small
portion became part of Polish Crown
- during fifteenth century, men fleeing serfdom, criminal activity, adventurers, etc, settled in
area in eastern Ukraine and begin to absorb certain traits from Tatars, over time these
people created Cossack society of warriors
- Christian Cossacks often in conflict with Tatars
- by sixteenth century, almost all of Ukraine ruled by Grand Duchy of Lithuania, small
portion became part of Polish Crown
- 1569 - Polish Lithuanian commonwealth created, Ukraine became part of commonwealth
- described as union of Lithuanians and Poles, but east Slavs (Ukrainians) were
significant part of population, lack of recognition reflected in later discrimination
against Ukrainians inside commonwealth which led to seventeenth century
- over course of sixteenth century as Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth grew, Cossacks
became mercenary/border force used to defend against Ottomans and Tatars (similar to
Serbs at Krajina)
- Cossacks wore clothes with Ottoman and Polish influences
- overlapping conflicts involving Cossacks within Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth:
- socio-political rights: Cossacks within Commonwealth
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- Commonwealth had strict social hierarchy that did not have space for
- gentry > burghers (city folk) > peasantry
- Cossacks socially liminal, were free men who did not fit description of
burghers or gentry
- generally, defending of Commonwealth was role of gentry, Cossacks felt
they should be compensated for taking on mantle of defender
- small portion of Cossacks were descended from gentry, so a few had gentry
privileges but vast majority did not
- gentry made concessions for Cossacks-- would be treated like gentrymen
during periods of wartime, but still couldn’t vote in Sein
- religion: east vs west Christian
- originally diverse group (Jews, Tatars, Orthodox, Poles) from different
circumstances (fleeing serfdom, nobility looking for adventure)
- with time, became more associated and identified with Orthodoxy because of
pressures from Catholic Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth on Orthodox
- by beginning of seventeenth century, Cossacks assumed role as defenders of
- at beginning of Counter-Reformation (sixteenth century), Catholic clergy
pushed to convert eastern Christians to Catholicism
- 1596 - Uniate Church created as hybrid eastern and western
Christian church but did not maintain foothold in Ukraine
- Cossacks against Uniate Church, pushed for legal, official Orthodox
hierarchy which they would defend
- gentry refused to recognize an Orthodox Church
- social: Polish/Ukrainian relations
- Cossacks usually peasants, constant fear of enserfment at hands of Polish
- social defenders against Polish landowners
- beginnings of national consciousness: religious revival
- as western Christianity pushed eastwards, Cossacks countered them
intellectually by absorbing and learning about intellectual trend from the
west and adapting them to Orthodoxy
- in sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as result of Counter-Reformation
push, Orthodox renaissance/revival occurred which absorbed values and
systems of Catholic west
- university in Kyiv built as first institute of higher learning in Orthodox Slav
lands; for next two centuries, university produced literate Cossack leaders
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