Notorious Ukrainian Hetman – Ivan Mazepa. Facts About This Legendary Personality.

Groder (CC0), Pixabay

Ivan Mazepa is probably one of the most famous personalities in Ukrainian history. He was the hetman of Viysko Zaporozhske (Zaporozhian army), diplomat and the national Ukrainian hero.

Mazepa was born Ukrainian noble Orthodox family in the village of Mazepintsy, Kiev region. His great-grandfather was granted a big household by the Polish king Sigismund II Augustus, subsequently called Mazepintsy. Ivan’s father was the ally of Bohdan Khmelnitsky. Mother descended from an old aristocratic Orthodox family on Belotserkovshina.

Ivan was a very educated man and at his mother’s insistence, he graduated from Kyiv-Mohyla Collegium, later studied in Poland and then he was accepted to the court of the Polish king Jan Casimir. Mazepa united left-Bank and right-Bank Ukraine, and limited he political independence of Zaporizhska Sich. He was the closest associate of the Russian tsar Petr I for a long time and made a lot for the economic prosperity for the left-Bank Ukraine.

In 1708 he joined the side with the enemy of the Russian state in the Northern war — the Swedish king Charles XII. This very year Petr I elected another hetman – Ivan Skoropadsky, and in a few days Mazepa was cursed, executed symbolically and awarded the order of Judas. After Charles XII’s defeat at Poltava Ivan fled the country and moved to the Ottoman empire, where he died in the city of Bendery.

Let’s take a look at some facts about this extraordinary personality:

1. Besides being a good politician, he was a polyglot and spoke Russian, Italian, Polish, German, French, Tatar and Latin languages.

2. Nobody knows the exact dates of his birth (possible dates – 1629, 1633, 1639, 1644).

3.  At the court of the Polish king Jan Casimir, Mazepa seduced pan Valbowski’s wife, who eventually tied the naked Mazepa to the horse and let the horse run in the field. He was miraculously saved by Ukrainian cossacks.


4. Mazepa was the richest man in the whole Europe. The French monk helped him to develope secret mines of gold and silver ore in Poltavska oblast.

5. At the age of 70 he fell in love and had intimate relationships with his 16 years old goddaughter, Matrena Kochubeevna. The girl left father’s home and went to live with Ivan, but he was beware of the castle assault and send her back to her parents.


6. He once argued with Petr I and the hysterical king pulled Mazepa’s mustache in front of numerous people.

7. Ivan Mazepa ruled as a hetman for the record 22 years.

8. His career at the Polish king’s court was tough because of the religious affiliation: he was Orthodox, meanwhile the majority at the court were Catholics, who treated Ivan scornfully.

9. Ivan managed to win the goodwill of the Princess Sofia’s favorite, Vasily Golitsin. It was Golitsin who voted for Mazepa to become the hetman of the left-Bank Ukraine.


10. The movie “A Prayer for Hetman Mazepa” shocks from the first scenes where Petr I has sex with a soldier.


11. This very movie is the most expensive project in the history of the  Ukrainian cinema with coverage of 4 million dollars.

12. Finally, it was Mazepa who created the first Ukrainian fleet. He built more than 100 plows and 6 hundred ships with his own money. They were located on the Dnipro river to confront the Turkish army.

What do you think?

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