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    NOTE: I resent that the author(s) call this folk hero "The Slovak Robin Hood." I have also seen him referred to as "The Polish Robin Hood." It's all Anglo-centric chauvinism. That's just like calling Buddha the Oriental Jesus. Janosik is a Slavic folk hero, end of story.


    [size=12pt]The Slovak Robin Hood In the Light of Documentary Evidence and Popular Legend[/size]
    Part One

    MUCH has been written about Juro (George) Janosik, the leader of the Slovak mountain boys, who has become a great legendary national hero in his country, and much more will, doubtless, still be written about him in his native land where his name is an inspiration to both the old and the young. It is rather appropriate to recall, at this time, the exploits of this so-called rebel against society in his day, for Janosik is the symbol of a people's just indignation against injustice and oppression, as well as a symbol of hope of ultimate victory, of justice, and of truth.

    The sources from which we are able to draw a reliable character sketch of this remarkable man are, twofold: the official records of his trial, and the numerous folk songs, stories, and legendary accounts of him. The former are necessarily dry, the latter rich and varied. These sources represent people of conflicting views: the one class feared and hated the bold youth as its enemy; the other loved and immortalized him as a national hero. It is a difficult task to reconcile these widely divergent points of view; yet, these sources, which give us two different pictures of him, are not really contradictory, but rather complement each other.

    The original Latin-Slovak judicial documents were kept in a special file in the county archives of the Liptov District records, in St. Mikulas, the county seat. Unfortunately, these disappeared rather mysteriously in the second half of the last century. Duplicates of these documents, however, have been preserved and their contents were first publicized by Gaspar Fejerpataky in the Vlastenskil Kalendar (1831-1832). These are a faithful copy of the authentic record know as Fassio Janosikiana) dated 1713. In 1880, Paul Dobsinsky published his views in the Prostonarorodne Obycaje (National Customs) in the Slovak Museum's publication of that year (Muz. sl. spol;VIII, Podtatranskil Juro Janosik). Paul Sochall's Zbojnik Juro Janosik, published in 1924, is a good source of information and from it and the other contemporary records and legendary accounts which have been handed down for generations, we are able to reconstruct most of the scenes of the time, and reenact the events in the life of this popular hero, so that they may be considered to be truly historical, not merely legendary.

    Both sources give Tarchova in Trencin County as his birthplace, where he was born about 1688. But research has indicated that Janosik was actually born on a small farm in the highlands in the vicinity of that hamlet, and the spot today is marked by a small, dilapidated hut with the number "575" on it. It stands between two linden trees in a place called Janosov, which boasts of a population of 17 persons, most of whom bear the name Janosik.

    Janosik was still a child when the revolution under Rakoczy II (1703-1711) took place, but he joined the insurgents, whose motto, "Pro Liberate," was emblazoned on their banner. Later, he joined the imperial army. He was sent to Bytciansky Castle as a guard, where he met one of the Emperor's prisoners, an adventurous brigand and soldier of fortune, Thomas Uhorcik. This fateful acquaintance proved to be the turning-point of his life.

    Rakoczy's ill-fated rebellion was put down in 1711, and the youthful Janosik returned home after being ransomed out of the army by his parents. Tradition has it that he became an outlaw and a highwayman because his father was flogged to death by the lord of the manor when he refused to leave the deathbed of his wife in order to work in the fields of his master. This fatal flogging took place in Tarchova, at the village bridge, according to one account, and at the castle of Teplicka in Zilina, according to another report. The judicial documents, however, merely record the fact that Uhorcik, who had escaped from prison, had come to Tarchova and had persuaded Janosik to join his robber band in the forest.

    As a background to the future of Janosik it is well to recall that the social conditions in Slovakia at the time were, perhaps, at their worst. The Revolution had failed, but many a peasant's son was unwilling to bow down under the yoke of a feudal system after tasting freedom as a soldier of fortune. Conditions among the peasants in the kingdom of Hungary after the death of the liberal monarch, "Matthew, the Just," became steadily worse until they became unbearable. The peasants' revolt under George Doza in Transylvania and in the Dolna valley was cruelly stamped out by the nobility, and the lot of the former was actually that of serfdom or virtual slavery.

    Although the right to emigrate was restored to the peasantry, in view of the fact that the people were subject to burdensome taxation and many restrictions, their status by the end of the seventeenth century had grown worse, so that in reality the nobility had assumed the right of life and death over their subjects. The Slovaks, especially, became the victims of a cunning and unscrupulous nobility which enslaved them. Frequent class struggles, wars, and plagues added to the misfortunes of the Slovak people. Many areas were reduced to poverty-stricken regions where extreme misery and want prevailed.

    Northern Slovakia which had, perhaps, suffered the most in these trying times, became the home of the discontented, the discouraged, and the desperate. These men organized robber bands and preyed on the surrounding countryside from their mountain hideouts. Thomas Uhorcik was a member of one of these bands as early as 1704; and in 1711, Janosik became a member after taking the brigand's pledge and sealing his oath with his blood. His exploits soon won him far reaching fame in his own country, and even in Moravia, Poland, Hungary, and Silesia. After being elected chieftain, the youthful bandit extended the zone of his operations from the eastern counties of Liptov, Spis, Orava, Turiec Tekov, Malohont, and Saris to Zvolen, Trencin, and Nitra, and even crossed into Moravia, Silesia, Poland, and Hungary.

    His comrades were, according to his own admission: Thomas Uhorcik (Uhrik); Paul Gasparec-MlynarCik from Rakov; Barte, the shepherd from Predmier; "Red" Ondras from Dlha; Plavcik from Dunajov; Gabor from Valkov; Juro Turiak (Huncaga, or Huncik); Kubo Chlastiak from Otomic; Juriak, Satora, Gavel, and several Poles. Not a few secret accomplices, like Juro and Kubo Stukovec in Krasny, furnished him with supplies and information.

    Folk stories about this interesting outlaw are, undoubtedly, guilty of several anachronisms. They list the following as his associates: Uhorcik, Gajdosik-Mlynarcik, Surovec, Hrajnoha, Adamcik, Ilcik (the chief scout); Garaj, Postavcik, Tarke, Mucha, Durica. Most of these were not even Janosik's contemporaries. For instance, Jakub Surovec, from Rovny in Trencin, who terrorized Orva, Trencin, and Pohronie, was not born until 1715, two years after Janosik's death. And he himself was executed in 1740. Nitran Hrajnoha, famous dancer, lived in the middle of the 18th century, and was broken on the wheel in Smolensky Castle. In 1873 Hrajnoha's treasure was unearthed by some laborers who were building a highway near Nadas. Adamcik was a notorious bandit in Moravia, and Ilcik lived in Trencin. Garaj must have preceded Janosik, because a brook is mentioned by that name in the judicial documents covering the trial of Slovakia's most famous outlaw. Some of Janosik's associates are, perhaps, purely imaginary characters, products of the popular imagination.

    A triangular area, known as the King's Plateau lies on a high point overlooking the counties of Liptov, Pohron, and Malohont, near Hochwald, or Hovald, at the spot known as the "Tall Pine," directly above the road running from Liptov to Spis. This region was at one time covered with a thick forest, which was the hiding place of robber gangs in every century. Queen Maria Theresa destroyed this picturesque rendezvous of the highwaymen by having the forest cut down by royal proclamation. But in Janosik's time, this area was the favorite haunt of brigands, and it was there that Lord Jan Radvansky, while on his way to the funeral of the former revolutionary general, Petroczy, was robbed by the Slovak Robin Hood. Lord Paul Revay, Lady Schardon, and Lord Ladislaus Zmeskal were held up in this region by Janosik's merry band. Lord Skalka fell into their hands, as did Sipos from Zilina, some horse dealers from the same town, several wine merchants, and many others.

    Some of the booty was given to the poor and needy. Hence, the story circulated that Janosik robbed the rich to feed the poor. This is not quite in keeping with the facts, for his comrades preyed upon the lower classes as well as on the wealthy nobility. The jewels taken from Lord Skalka were distributed among the young ladies in Tarchova. Romantic tales, which have little historical basis, however, have become apart of the Janosik saga in Slovakia. The authentic documents do not even allude to most of the feats attributed to Slovakia's legendary hero. At his trial, Janosik admitted that he often raided the sheepfolds of the lords of the manor, that some of the shepherds, either from fear or friendship, cooperated in these robberies and then accompanied him to celebrate at the "Black Ant" in Klenovce, owned by the inn-keeper, Martin Mravec, or at the "White Horse" in Dunajov, and sometimes at the "Blue Star" in Krasnej, or the "Golden Eagle" in Tarchova.

    Winter time found the mountain boys seeking employment in the nearby homesteads because the snow would have betrayed their footprints leading to their hiding-places, deep in the pine forests of King's Plateau. Thus, Janosik served as a farmhand in the winter of 1712-1713 at Kovalcik's and Ondrejcik's in Kokava. In the spring they hastened to their mountain rendezvous at the foot of the Tall Pine.

    Janosik's romantic career as Slovakia's Robin Hood was a short one, lasting less than two years. Although he escaped after his first capture at Klenovce in the autumn of 1712, he was caught in the summer of the next year. The commissioner at Malohont had granted him an amnesty after he had been confined in Jakoffy Castle in Hrachov, but after the county police of Liptov arrested him he never regained his freedom. No official record gives us the exact details of this final capture; but, according to tradition, Janosik was apprehended either because of the treachery of one of his band, namely, Gajdosik, who had given away the secret of his chief's gigantic strength (the magic belt) , or because of the treachery of Janosik's former sweetheart, who lost her heart to the Police Captain, Joseph Lehotsky, when he came to her father's inn, the Golden Goose, in search of the renowned outlaw. The scene of his arrest, in the first version, was said to have been in the Little Mountain inn in Polhora, Zvolen County, between Brezno and Tisovec. At any rate, the famed outlaw was taken in chains to Liptov, where he was lodged in Vranov Castle, built by Francis Palugyay. There, in a dark cell, Janosik was chained to the wall, to await his trial and death.

    Janosik was allowed to plead his case. He pleaded guilty to certain charges of robbery, but denied having committed crimes that were not his. Some of the acts he was accused of were perpetrated while he was in prison. Thus, he denied having anything to do with the robbery of a priest from Orava, or the hold-up of Vitko from Silesia, the murder of the blacksmith's son in Dobrovce, the robbing of the Galusovecs, the looting of churches in Hungary, Poland, Silesia, or Moravia, where the sacrilegious robbers are alleged to have nailed the sacred hosts to a tree in order to determine whether blood would flow from them when shots were fired into them! He was also accused of having freed one of his band as he was about to be hanged in Zilina. It is noteworthy that the county sheriff, John Litisky, and the mayor of the town of Oscadnice were suspected of being overly friendly with Janosik.

    To all the charges of which he was falsely accused the stout-hearted robber-chieftain simply pleaded innocent. Attempts to prove that he was in collusion with other notorious brigands in Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary were unsuccessful. When he was accused of having shot a priest from Domanize, it was proved that two of his associates, Turiak and Plavcik, had committed this dastardly crime: in his absence. No crime, other than robbery, was proved against Janosik, who never killed anyone; but in those days a thief, as well as a murderer, might be hanged.

    Legendary accounts of the trial picture Janosik as remaining silent about the identity of his comrades, but the official records indicate that he gave the Court a list of their names, but refused to reveal their where-abouts. As to the buried treasure, he told his listeners that it was hidden in a large fir tree opposite an oak on which a hand was carved indicating the exact location of the fir tree, in the glade where the road winds down from Jablonka to Klenovce. Lord Skalka's jewels he had hidden in the mountains of Handlov, although legends have it they were bestowed on the maidens of the village of Tarchova.

    Janosik was tried by the county court of Liptov, presided over by the vice-commissioner, Ladislaus Okolicsanyi, on March 16-17, 1713, in the county courthouse of St. Mikulas in Liptov. The other members of the court were the magistrates of the four districts of Liptov county, namely, Jan and Andrew Rady, Andrew Andreansky, and Matthew Joob. The official prosecutor was Alexander Cemicky, and the attorney for the defense was Balthasar Palugyay. The defense pleaded guilty to the charges of robbery and asked the clemency of the Court. Moreover, Janosik promised to give up his former way of life and wished to become once again a law-abiding citizen. The prosecution, however, demanded the highest penalty and succeeded in exacting a two-fold sentence from the Court, so that the "double-dealing" prisoner might first pay the penalty for his lighter crimes by being tortured on the rack, and then by being hanged on the gallows to forfeit his life for his graver transgressions. This was in accordance with the laws of the Tripartitum of 1515, 1625, and 1655.

    The death sentence was carried out on March 17 or 18, before a vast assembly of people, on the execution grounds of St. Mikulas, on the Vah near the Paludzky bridge. There the young robber-chieftain was hanged on the gallows, and his lifeless body was buried beneath it as was the custom of that time.

    According to popular legends, Janosik, though weighed down by his heavy shackles, danced the "hajduchy" (a lively folk dance) four times around the gallows, just before his death. Another legendary story tells of a courier who came directly from the Emperor with his imperial pardon, but it was too late, for the daring youth, who had promised to recruit four regiments of soldiers for the Emperor , was already hanging on the rack. He refused the amnesty with the words, "Now that you have roasted me, you might as well devour me." He is said to have died after being suspended by his rib on the rack for three days.

    All nature seemed to go into mourning for this youth, whose merry songs once resounded through the glen. The babbling brooks became silent, the animals in the forest ceased their activity momentarily in silent tribute to their departed hero. A sudden hush came over all, and his many friends, far and near, were overcome by sorrow at his passing. An annual penalty was imposed on Liptov County by the Emperor for having sentenced Janosik to death, and, until recent times, four measures of gold ducats were paid to the imperial treasury each year. That is the story in legendary accounts.

    The people believed in Janosik's nobility of character. It is said that his body was buried in the crypt of the church in St. Mikulas, where it lies in a state of complete preservation awaiting the day when a new Janosik will arise and strike down the oppressors of his people. Many years after this sad event, it was reported that while some youngsters were playing near the town of Hajasov, one of the boys playfully lifted the corner of a nearby hut and hid his cap underneath. This feat of amazing strength reached the ears of the nobility, who quickly removed this new performer, whom they considered another Janosik.

    Janosik's execution was the signal for the authorities to capture all the remaining outlaws still at large in Slovakia. Emerich Kubiny, the registrar of Liptov, was sent to Malohont with warrants to arrest all suspects. In April, Uhorcik, alias Martin Mravec, was captured at St. Mikulas, where he had married and settled down as a tavern-keeper, the proprietor of the Gray Falcon. He was given a hasty trial and condemned to die on the rack. An imperial decree was issued by which the county magistrates would be held responsible in the future for all banditry in their areas, and on April 17 , 1713, the assembly at Liptov approved of the motion to round up the outlaws. The imperial marshal, John Palfy, arrived to enforce the emperor's instructions.

    Part Two

    Authentic documents, with the record of Janosik's apprehension and trial, make him out to be an ordinary highwayman, similar to hundreds of his kind who roamed about the country and terrorized the gentry. He was considered to be a dangerous character, as were the others of his notorious profession. Nevertheless, the fact that his name has become an illustrious one in the legendary songs and stories of his people, is in sharp contrast with the official picture of this colorful, albeit lawless, personality. The question arises, why has he, alone, maintained his position as an idol of the Slovak nation? Obviously, he must have been different from all his companions and contemporaries, both in vice and virtue. Although the aura of glory and honor that surrounds his memory is no doubt the result, in some measure, of the people's rich imagination, yet, his deeds during his life are an argument in favor of some outstanding qualities in his makeup.

    We cannot account for his tremendous popularity among the people, nor can we explain why his name is a symbol of virtue rather than vice, unless we attribute virtuous qualities to this youth who so fired the imagination of the old and the young that he has become the immortal hero of his native land. The areas known as the "Queen's Meadow," "Warm Springs," and many other regions in the Pohron and Malohont districts, abound even today in folk songs, ballads, and stories of his exploits in behalf of the poor and the oppressed. We can safely conclude that the official records suppressed much of the truth in regard to Janosik's actual personality and deeds. Since he was the selfconstituted champion of the oppressed everywhere, one can understand why his name should be simply put on the list as an ordinary criminal by the oppressors, who used their power to liquidate all those who were dangerous rebels against their form of society. But despite their precautions, Janosik's name, for almost two and a half centuries, has been the symbol of hope and courage to his people.

    Unlike other parts of the Austrian Empire, which revolted from time to time (Magyar, Romanian, Croatian and Serbian outbreaks occurred intermittently in 1514, 1569, 1571, 1635, 1655, 1784, etc.), the Slovaks revolted only once. This uprising happened in the Potisie region when a rumor was spread throughout Eastern Slovakia that the nobility had poisoned their wells. It turned out, however, that the cause of wide-spread deilth was actually the cholera epidemic of that year, 1631. Historical facts make it evident that the Slovaks were a patient people who would not rise in rebellion except in defense of their life as a nation.

    Passive endurance and resistance under the merciless system of political oppression was, however, accompanied by the active revolt of the more highly spirited Slovak youths, who rebelled against the existing order of things by taking the law into their own hands, and by retiring into their mountain strongholds from which they emerged at night to right the wrongs inflicted on their people. They paid for their daring and courage by their lives, sooner or later. But their spirit kept alive the spark of freedom and the love of justice in the hearts of the Slovaks. There were, to be sure, common felons and blackguards among the forest highwaymen, but Janosik was not one of them. He was the true embodiment of his age, wild and untamed but not ignoble and ruthless, not savage and unrestrained, but gallant, generous, honest, and honorable with his people.

    The first attempts to trace the popular series of Slovakian poems, ballads, songs, and legends were made in the early 18th century. Tablic published a poem entitled "JdnosikJ lyptovsky loupeznik" (Janosik the Robber of Liptov) in his collection called Slovensti versovci (Vol. II, 1809). Jan Kollar discovered several poems about Slovak highwaymen and published them in his Narodnych Zpievankach (National Ballads) in 1834 and 1835. Slovak news-bulletins and almanacs contain poems and folk stories about Janosik. The Casopis a Sbornik Muzealnej Slovenskej Spolocnosti (The Periodical and Almanac of the Slovak Museum Association) also published a number of works on Janosik, based largely on early manuscripts found in the museums in Liptov and Ruzomberok. The Matica Slovenska (Slovak Institute) plans to continue its splendid task of collecting these old publications, which are rich in folklore. By the middle of the last century, the last of the outlaws in Slovakia had disappeared, but the stories of their daring exploits continued to interest the common people because of their highly imaginative appeal.

    Janosik's fame is preserved for the ages in the many poems that have been a distinct contribution to his nation's literature. The following poems have immortalized his memory: Paul Safarik's "Janosik" in the Slaveni pacholu Slovanskych 1814; Absolon Mesko's "Pisen Janosikova," 1842, (Slavenske Pohl'ady, 1897, sqq.) ; Michal Hodza's poem in the Mator; Sava Pepkin-Mednasky's "Janosik" in his Poezi, Vol, II; Jan Botto's "Pisen Janosikova" in Zpevy, 1847, and "Smrt' Janosikova" in Lipa; Samo Chalupka's "Likavsky Vazen" in the Orol, 1846, "Na Kral'ovej Holi," 1862, and "Junak," 1860; August Lojko's "Janosikov Stol" and "Janosikova Podkova"; Jakub Graichmann's "Harni Chlapci" in the Sakol, 1860; William Pauliny-Toth's "Junosik s milou"; Jan Cajak's "Janosik" in the Orol, 1870, and "Janosikova Nahrada," 1875; Jonas Zaborsky's "Smrt' Janosikova" in the Slov. Pohl'ady, 1894.

    Paul Beblavy wrote an interesting historical story about him in the Slov. Pohl'ady, 1889; Augustus Marschal-Petrovsky, a long novel, Janosik, Kapitun Horskych Chlapcov, in 1901, Samo Zdychavsky wrote a play, Janosik,. Jonas Zaborsky, a drama, Janosikova Vecera,. Michal Skackansky, a tragedy, Janosik, 1880; L'ud. Kubany, a play, Horni Chlapci; Jur Mahen, a moving tragedy, Janosik, 1910; Frances Svoboda-Goldman, a historical drama; John Porod, a play, Janosik, 1928, etc. Other articles and historical studies about him were written by the following: Gaspar Fejerpataky in Vlast. Kalendar, 1831; Stephen Hyros in his Zamok Lykava, 1876; Pavel Dobsinsky in Prosta-narodne obycaje, 1880; Rudolph Pokorny's Z potulek po Slavensku, 1883; Jan Bobula's Janosik, 1863; K. Salva-Cebradsky's Janosik, Julius Botto in his article "Leopold I and Francis Rakoczi II" in the Slov. Pohl'ady, 1904, mentions Janosik; Carl Kalal's Slavoci a Slovensko, 1905, and his Na Krasnem Slovensku, 1903; Carl Dubravsky's Janosik, 1911; Gregor Uram-Podtatransky's "Juro Janosik in the Sbor. Muz. Slov. Sp. VIII, 1908; Jaroslav Tuma's "Janosik," in 1911, Nase Slovensko; Michal Jiranek's "Zbojnici" in Slov. Citanka, 1911; Samo Czambel's "Janosik" in Parickov's Ruzombersky Kalendar, 1913; Joseph' Skultety's "Janosikova Doba" in Slov. Pohl'ady, 1913; Ignac Gessay in the Almanac of the Slovak v Amerike; Pavel Sochan's "Zbojnik Juro Janosik," 1924. Jan L. Bella put Botto's poem, "Svadba Janosikova" to music for solo, with piano accompaniment and orchestration. Vitezslav Novak also composed an original musical score on this subject called "Janosik," which is to be found in Mladi, op. 55.

    Almost without exception the foregoing works presented, Janosik as the idol of his people, as portrayed in the folk songs and ballads which have become a rich heritage of the Slovak nation. In some he is a patriot, in others a young theologian who has been led away from his high calling by the cruel circumstances of his time, while in all of them, with one exception, he is depicted as a knightly highwayman who is devoted to his poor, oppressed people. The one exception is Pavel Sochan, who endeavors to debunk all the legendary glory surrounding the name of Janosik by basing his Zbojnik Juro Janosik, akym bol v Skutocnosti (The Real Janosik) entirely on the case records found in the County Court House of Liptov. But this is, perhaps, the passing fancy of the times, to smash all the traditional idols of the past, and Sochan is one of this class of modern iconoclasts. Despite his efforts and those of others to defame the character of the legendary heroes of yesterday, the fact remains that Janosik has been an influence in popular Slovak poetry, literature, and drama, and his name is imperishable in the history of his people. Botto's poems, alone, would make his fame immortal.

    Not only did Slovak and Czech writers devote their talents to the singing of his praises, but we find that the Polish author, Przerwa-Tetmajer, wrote a whole series of ballads about him, as well as a beautiful, touching poem about his death. His collection of fables, folk stories, folk songs, and poems (Baje z Tatier) was very popular in his native Poland. Vlad. Hnatjuk, the famous Ukrainian ethnographer, wrote a treatise on Janosik in 1889, and included numerous Slovakian songs about this national figure in his collection of Russian, Slovak, Moravian, and Polish folklore.

    Janosik has been the frequent subject of creative art in his native country. Thus, his likeness appears on glassware, in primitive paintings, pottery, etc., in which he and his gay mountain lads are shown dressed in green blouses, red and white breeches, shiny black boots, gaily colored hats with feathers in them, wide waistbands richly studded with gold, silver, and precious stones, and armed with muskets and hatchets. Janosik always has the place of honor as the leader, while Surovec is shown brandishing his hatchet; Hrajnoha shoots off the tip of a tall pine as he leaps high into the air in a playful mood; and Gajdosik is playing his bagpipe while the others dance to his mountain music.

    The Slovak artists, Mikulas Ales, Martin Benka, and Jan Alexy, have made paintings of Janosik. The sculptor Franta Uprka made a number of figures of Janosik and his companions, the best of them being his sculpture of the entire group gathered around a bonfire on the mountaintop near the Tall Pine. L. Fulla executed a gorgeous linoleum design of the group. Vladyslav Skoczylas, a Polish artist, made several exquisite wood carvings of these Tatra mountaineers of long ago. Among them are one of Janosik, alone, another of Janosik and his sweetheart, one of his profile, and a fourth of his men on the march.

    Janosik's buried treasure has engaged the popular imagination everywhere in Slovakia for centuries. The probable hiding places most frequently mentioned are: Kozia Skala, located in the Sutov valley in Turiec; Janosikova Pivnica a cavern near Balna in the Nem. Lupcianska valley; Biela Skala in the Sucha Valley near Liptov; and Zemsky Kl'uc. Belopotecky's Mss., 1835, now in the Liptov Museum in Ruzomberok, refer to all these places, besides Pod Jedlou near Trnovce in Liptov, the Baranec Meadow near St. Andrew's in Liptov county, and many others. Pavel Sochan's "Janosikove Poklady" in the Slov. Pohl'ady, 1922-23, and Jan Porod's "Poklad a ine povesti z okolia Bytce" also contain clues to the secret hiding places of gold, silver, and gems. Numerous articles have appeared in the official publications of the Sbornik Muz. SI. Spol. in recent years under the title of "Janosikov Poklad." Emma Bohuna wrote a fantastic novel on the subject.

    The following places have been named after the famous outlaw: Janosikova Kolkaren (Janosik's Bowling Alley) ; this is located in Liptov. Janosikove Husle (Janosik's Fiddle) in Mala Smrekovice; Janosikova Jaskyna (Janosik's Cave) in the Prosiecka valley; Janosikov Stol (Janosik's Table) in Vazec; Janosikove Sedlo (Janosik's Saddle) in the Queen's Meadow; Janosikova Stupa (Janosik's Footprint) in the Gadierska valley, in Turiec; Janosikova Stolica (Janosik's Bench) in the Vratna valley near Tarchova; Janosikova Skala (Janosik's Rock) at Lisenik, near Polhora, Zvolen county; Janosikov Chodnik (Janosik's Path) and Janosikova Jaskyna (Janosik's Cave) near Tisovce; Janosikova Podkova (Janosik's Horseshoe) in the Rimavska valley under Zlamanecin Hill; and Janosikov Skok (Janosik's Leap) at Dunajec. These and many other names will preserve the name of Janosik even if all the poems and stories disappear.

    Janosik's hat is in the Liptov museum in Ruzomberok. It is made of cloth richly embroidered with gold lace and decorated with mussel shells, and is high and cylindrical in shape. His hatchet is now in the national museum at Budapest, while his pipe is in the Slovak Institute's collection. The famous belt which had been given to him by a fairy and was said to have given the Slovak hero preternatural powers, is now in the Slovak National Museum in St. Martin-on-the-Turiec. A cane and two ancient pictures of his band depicted on glass are there also. Two pictures of him are in the collection of the Moravian Natural Museum in Brno.

    The Liptov Museum at Ruzomberok has a photograph of his hatchet, a copy of the paintings in Brno, a copy of the original court records of the trial of Janosik, several paintings by Fulla and Skoczylasa, and a large number of literary works. In Rovno, Joseph Buchcar is the proud possessor of an artistic leather belt, filigreed lengthwise with goose quills, which was found in his old mill in the course of some repairs. Although it is said that this belonged to Janosik, it was more probably the property of Janosik's lieutenant, Surovec, as Rovno was Surovec's home town. The Tatransky Museum has six old Polish glass likeness of Janosik and his merry men, similar to the glassware in St. Martin-on-the-Turiec. One, however, shows the outlaws carrying a bag of ducats, another has the picture of his sweetheart. The collection there contains four pistols, ten knives, four powder horns, and a bag (empty) in which the robbers used to carry their stolen ducats.

    Beneath the paintings of these colorful personalities of Slovak folklore there is a brief explanation of the initiation of new members to the robber gangs. They were required to prove their prowess in shooting off the tip of a tree with a pistol, or cutting it off with a throw of a hatchet, by drinking a bottle of brandy, and then by performing the difficult "Robber's Dance." The initiation took place in the evening around their bonfire. Each outlaw was armed to the teeth with a hatchet in his belt, a brace of pistols, and a musket. Of course there was the powder horn, the wide belt, the knapsack, a Hussar's hat, and the brightly colored shirt and trousers to make up the rest of their accoutrement. Janosik's breeches were said to have been red and white in color.

    It seems incredible, in view of Janosik's fame, that no monument stands to honor his memory, or that no plaque marks his birthplace. But he lives in the hearts of his people, hence needs no image of iron or stone to remind them of his life and his deeds. No other record exists of the merry mountain boys who had been Janosik's companions. Most probably they disbanded and under assumed names followed peaceful and honorable professions until the end of their lives. Uhorcik, however, was caught and executed; and "Red" Ondras disappeared in the vicinity of Tesinka while Janosik was still at large.

    The woodlands grew silent and peaceful with the passing of Janosik from the scene. The songs of, his merry men were silenced forever, and the forests were left undisturbed for the deer, bear, fox, and wild boar as they went about unchallenged. And high o'erhead, an eagle on swift and silent wings surveyed the glen far below, abandoned and cheerless, for the happy throng of Janosik's youths had dispersed …and their chief was dead.

    Translation of an article in the Slovenske Pohl'ady (Slovak Review)
    V. XLV, Nos. 1-2, 1929, by Cyprian Tkacik, O. S. B.

    Part 1: http://www.iarelative.com/history/janosik.htm
    Part 2: http://www.iarelative.com/history/janosikpt2.htm


    NOTE: I resent that the author(s) call this folk hero "The Slovak Robin Hood." I have also seen him referred to as "The Polish Robin Hood." It's all Anglo-centric chauvinism. That's just like calling Buddha the Oriental Jesus. Janosik is a Slavic folk hero, end of story.

    National boards should stay informal – at least the Slovakia thread. Your note falls within the Battleground thread.


    National boards should stay informal – at least the Slovakia thread. Your note falls within the Battleground thread.

    Oh, my bad. At least it's only the short note and note the whole long article ;D



    National boards should stay informal – at least the Slovakia thread. Your note falls within the Battleground thread.

    Oh, my bad. At least it's only the short note and note the whole long article ;D

    Sorry, I meant informative, not informal. I don't know why I wrote informal.. I should sleep more  :-

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