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    "Sarmatism" (also, "Sarmatianism") is a term that designates the dominant lifestyle, culture and ideology of the szlachta (nobility) of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Together with "Golden Liberty," it formed a central aspect of the Commonwealth's culture. At its core was a belief that the Poles were descended from the ancient Sarmatians.

    The term and the culture were reflected primarily in 17th-century Polish literature, as in Jan Chryzostom Pasek's memoirs and the poems of Wacław Potocki. The Polish gentry (szlachta) wore a long coat, trimmed with fur, called a żupan, and thigh-high boots, and carried a saber (szabla). Mustaches were also popular, as well as varieties of plumage in the menfolk's headgear. Poland's "Sarmatians" strove for the status of a nobility on horseback, for equality among themselves ("Golden Freedom"), and for invincibility in the face of other peoples.[1] Sarmatism lauded the past victories of the Polish Army, and required Polish noblemen to cultivate the tradition. An inseparable element of their festive costume was a saber called the karabela.

    [img width=420 height=700]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/15/Stanislaw_Antoni_Szczuka_%281652_1654-1710%29.jpg” />

    Sarmatia (in Polish, Sarmacja) was a semi-legendary, poetic name for Poland that was fashionable into the 18th century, and which designated qualities associated with the literate citizenry of the vast Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Sarmatism greatly affected the culture, lifestyle and ideology of the Polish nobility. It was unique for its cultural mix of eastern, western and native traditions. Sarmatism considerably influenced the noble cultures of other contemporary states — Moldavia, Transylvania, Habsburg Hungary and Croatia, Wallachia and Muscovy. Criticized during the Polish Enlightenment, Sarmatism was rehabilitated by the generations that embraced Polish Romanticism. Having survived the literary realism of Poland's "Positivist" period, Sarmatism enjoyed a triumphant comeback with The Trilogy of Henryk Sienkiewicz, Poland's first Nobel laureate (1905).


    The term was first used by Jan Długosz, in his 15th century work on the history of Poland.[2] He was also responsible for linking Sarmatians to the prehistory of Poland; this idea would be later repeated by other chroniclers and historians, such as Marcin Bielski, Marcin Kromer and Maciej Miechowita.[2] Miechowita's Tractatus de Duabus Sarmatiis became also influential abroad, where it was for a long time one of the most widely used reference works on the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth[2] The alleged ancestors of the szlachta, the Sarmatians, were in reality a confederacy of mostly Iranian tribes north of the Black Sea, described by Herodotus in the fifth century BC as descendants of Scythians and Amazons, and displaced by the Goths in the second century AD and had nothing to do with Poland; the legend however stuck and grew; most in the Commonwealth and many abroad believed that the Polish nobles were descendants of the Sarmatians (Sauromates).[2] Tradition specified that the Sarmatians themselves were descended from Japheth, son of Noah.[3]

    In his 1970 publication The Sarmatians (in the series Ancient peoples and places) Tadeusz Sulimirski (1898–1983), a Polish-British historian, archaeologist, and researcher on the ancient Sarmatian tribes, listed a number of ethnological traits that szlachta shared with Sarmatians, including traditions, weaponry and military practices, tamgas, and relict burial costumes, giving more information on how the legend may have originated.


    Politically influential Elżbieta (Elizabeth) Sieniawska, in Sarmatian pose and male delia coat

    This belief became an important part of szlachta culture, penetrated all aspects of life and served to differentiate Polish szlachta from Western nobility (which szlachta called pludracy, a reference to hose, not worn by the szlachta but popular among the Westerners) and their customs. Sarmatian concept enshrined equality among all szlachta, traditions, horseback riding, provincial village life, peace and relative pacifism[4], popularised eastern (almost oriental) clothing and looks (żupan, kontusz, sukmana, pas kontuszowy, delia, szabla), served to integrate the multiethnic nobility by creating an almost nationalist sense of unity and pride of the szlachta's political Golden Freedoms.

    Sarmatians strongly valued social and family ties. Women were treated with honour and gallantry. Conversations were one of the favourite preoccupations. Guests were always welcomed – relatives, friends, even strangers, especially from abroad. Latin was widely spoken. Sumptuous feasts with large amount of alcohol were organised. Male quarrels and fighting during such events were quite common. At the parties the polonaise, mazurka, and oberek were the most popular dances. Honour was of prime relevance. Men lived longer than women, they also got married later. Marriage was described as ‘deep friendship’. Men often travelled a lot (to the Sejms, Sejmiki, indulgences, law courts, or common movements). Women stayed at home and took care of the property, livestock and children. Although large numbers of children were born, many of them died before reaching maturity. Girls and boys were brought up separately, either in the company of women or men. Suing, even for really irrelevant things was common, but in most cases a compromise was reached.

    Sarmatian costume stood out from that worn by the noblemen of other European countries, and had its roots in the Orient. It was long, dignified, rich and colourful. One of its most characteristic elements was the kontusz, which was worn with the decorative kontusz belt. Underneath was worn the żupan, and over the żupan would be the delia. Clothes for the mightiest families were made of crimson and scarlet. The szarawary were a typical lower-body clothing, and the calpac, decorated with heron’s feathers, was worn on the head.

    Funeral ceremonies in Sarmatian Poland were very elaborate, with some distinctive features compared to other parts of Europe. They were carefully planned shows, full of ceremony and splendour. Elaborate preparations were made in the period between a nobleman’s death and his funeral, which employed a large number of craftsmen, architects, decorators, servants and cooks. Sometimes many months passed before all the preparations were completed. Before the burial, the coffin with the corpse was laid in a church amid the elaborate architecture of the castrum doloris ("castle of mourning"). Heraldic shields, which were placed on the sides of the coffin, and a tin sheet with an epitaph served a supplementary role and provided information about the deceased person. Religious celebrations were usually preceded by a procession which ended in the church. It was headed by a horseman who acted the role of the deceased nobleman and was covered in his armour. A horseman would enter the church and fall off his horse with a tremendous bang and clank, showing in this way the triumph of death over the earthly might and knightly valour. Some funeral ceremonies lasted for as long as four days, ending with a wake which had little to do with the seriousness of the situation, and could easily turn into sheer revelry. Occasionally an army of clergy took part in the burial (in the 18th century 10 bishops, 60 canons and 1705 priests took part in the funeral of one of Polish noblemen).


    Philosophy and religion

    In the sphere of religion, Catholicism was the dominant faith. Providence and the grace of God were often emphasised. All earthly matters were perceived as a means to a final goal – Heaven. Penance was stressed as a means of saving from the eternal punishment. It was believed that God watches over everything and everything has its own sense. People willingly took part in the religious life: masses, indulgences and pilgrimages. A special devotion to Saint Mary, the saints and the Passion was practiced.Religious tolerance was quite common.

    [img width=500 height=320]http://www.rozanehmagazine.com/NoveDec05/Pic29-Saka.gif” />



    In the second half of the 20th century linguistic analysis tends to generally confirm the prehistoric 'Sarmat' roots of Slavdom. The following words, for example, follow Z. Golab's examination of a number of Slavic words with the initial x-: First of all, the problem of the prehistorical ethno-linguistic contacts between the Slavs (Proto-Slavs) and the Pontic Iranians (Scythians and Sarmatians) reappears as an important problem. Such a number of loanwords concerning such different semantic spheres cannot be accidental: it must be interpreted as a result of a prolonged period of very close inter-ethnic relations, especially because among the words discussed there are such for which we should a phonemic 'Iranization' rather than simple borrowing. Briefly, we should 'rehabilitate' the idea of close relations between the Proto-Slav and the Scythians or Scytho-Sarmatians … Another conclusion which can be drawn from the above lexical facts concerns the location of the oldest 'retrievable' habitat of the Slavs in the period of their close contacts with the Pontic Iranians (Z. Golab, ThelnitialX- in Common Slavic: A Contribution to Prehistorical Slavic-Iranian Contacts, American Contributions to the VIIInternational Congress of Slavists, 1973).



    "Sarmatians believed that the Polish nobility were the descendents of the ancient Sarmatian people who conquered and enserfed the local Slavs and, like the Bulgars in Bulgaria or German Franks who conquered Gaul (France), adopted the local language. They believed that they, the nobility, belonged to an entirely different people than the Slavs whom they ruled. The Sarmatian Poles erroneously felt that their supposed Sarmatian ancestors were a Turkic people and accordingly viewed their Turkish and Crimean Tatar enemies as peers, albeit ones who were unredeeemed because they were not Christians. Sarmatians believed that the Slavs whom they ruled (whether Polish-speaking Roman Catholic or Ruthenian-speaking Orthodox) were in their essence backward and servile. This ideology placed the Polish followers of Sarmatism squarely at odds with Russian pan-Slavists." This is pretty depressing, Polish Nobles betrayed Slavs and viewed the enemy as more equal to them than Slavs.



    Do you have a source for this quote?



    Thats interesting and sucks however it wasn't much different in other European countries. Serfs and Peasants always had a shitty life and the nobles barely considered them people. On the subject of Sarmatians its intereting to note that apperantly Croatians and Serbs also descend (in some part) from the Sarmatian tribes, who took over groups of Slavs and were eventually assimilated by them. I wonder how much of this is true and whether Croats carry any amount of Sarmatian genetics (possibly R1a?). However many believe Slavs in general descend from Scythians/Sarmatians who drove out the Cimmerians. As far as I know.



    This Sarmatisms and similar Turkism's was a common thing of the time.


    Ukrainians claimed descent from Sarmatians or a related tribe, the Roxolianins. They also claimed descent from the Turkic Khazars. For example, the 1701 Zaporozhian cossack constitution included the following declarations: "the valiant and ancient Cossack people, formerly called Khazar, was at first exalted by immortal glory…so much so that the Eastern Emperor…joined his son in matrimony to the daughter of the Khagan, that is to say, the Cossack prince"; "…the Orthodox faith of the Eastern confession, with which the valiant Cossack people was enlightened under the rule of Khazar princes by the Apostolic See of Constantinople…"; "whereas the people formerly known as the Khazars and later called Cossacks trace their genealogical origin to the powerful and invincible Goths…and join together that Cossack people by the deepest ties of affectionate affinity to the Crimean state…".[/li]

    More about it here.

    However many believe Slavs in general descend from Scythians/Sarmatians who drove out the Cimmerians. As far as I know.

    P.S. Wasn't Conan a Cimmerian?


    However many believe Slavs in general descend from Scythians/Sarmatians who drove out the Cimmerians. As far as I know.

    P.S. Wasn't Conan a Cimmerian?

    hahaha yep! The creator of Conan was inspired by ancient Cimmerians who some believe to be ancestors of Celts. However I think nowadays Its more probable they were ancient Slavs, or a Paleo-Balkans group or even a group of Sarmatians. Only because of genetics and yaddayadda…



    Your quotation comes from Dan D. Y. Shapira – "“Turkism”, Polish Sarmatism and ‘Jewish szlachta’
    Some Reflections on a Cultural Context of the Polish-
    Lithuanian Karaites"

    Dan Shapira is an Associate Professor at the Bar Ilan University and a leading authority in the Khazar and Karaite Studies; he is widely recognized for his studies of the philological aspects of some key Early Slavic texts; for his multiple and unparalleled contributions to the Eastern (Iranian and Turkic) aspects of the Early Slavic and Old Rus’ian and of Yiddish; works relevant for the study of minority groups in Early-Mediaeval Eastern Europe. He coedited the volume entitled The Tombstones of the Cemetery of the Karaite Jews in Çufut-Qal’eh (the Crimea). Report of the Ben-Zvi Institute Expedition. A Collection of Studies, published Ben-Zvi Institute, Jerusalem 2008 (in Hebrew). Currently he is preparing the Khazar Anthology, a compendium of all sources referring to the Khazars, commented and translated into Hebrew, which will be a fundamental contribution to the study of this much disputed issue of Judaic and Slavonic history and culture.

    Shapira has no idea what he is talking about and there are hints.  Not to pull an Ad hominem but the man is only an Associate Professor and I don't think someone who specializes in Khazar History should be taken as a primary source, which Wikipedia did, on the history of the Polish Commonwealth.  That otherwise makes as much sense as using a quotation from a Professor in North Korea on the American Revolution.

    As to the hints – First, there was no Pan-Slavism in the sixteenth century – thus it seems out of place to reference the concept in an article about the sixteenth century Szlachta.  Second, the Russians (then) never called themselves Russians but either Muscovites, Rus or rarely Romans ("Moscow as the Third Rome" – after 1453)

    Dan P. Shapira belongs to the fringe academia (although common in Israel) which claims that European nobility and inventors like Da Vinci were Jews.  One problem with this thesis, of a Jewish nobility, was that it was the nobility which forced the Jews into the Shtetl and Ghettos.

    But I am no fan of the Szlachta.  The British and French and Spaniards may have known serfdom since the fall of the Western Roman Empire but the Slavs never had serfdom until the Szlachta and Moscow introduced it in the 1520s-1580s.  And… an even worse form of slavery existed in the Tatar and Mongol Khanates and in the Middle East.

    The natural condition for Slavic people has either been populist republics (Novgorod) or princely confederations – Slavs have never been slaves but Slovo (speaker of the word) and Slava (warrior people).



    @Kanadets So are you saying that all this info is false (Sarmatism in general) or just the bit about nobles believing they aren’t Slavs ("They believed that they, the nobility, belonged to an entirely different people than the Slavs whom they ruled.").



    The paragraph is incorrect.

    Otherwise, the entry does appear to be accurate compared to what I have read.  Druzhina is correct that this wasn't limited to Poland – Orientalism in Europe largely coincided with the Ottoman invasions and Orientalism competed with Latinism in this period.  The Scottish, Irish, Rus, Hungarians, Croats, Ossetians and Serbs also claim Sarmatism / Scythianism



    @Kanadets-Thanks for the information and for debunking the lies



    Merged this thread with existing thread started by [email protected] Please continue.



    I don't think this article is trustworthy. Many of this seems like total nonsense.



    This is a Scyntian-Sarmatian pre-Slavic warrior:



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