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changes in Cossack society 19th century

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calvo View Drop Down
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    Posted: 21 Apr 2010 at 23:06
I've recently read the first part of "Quiet Flows the Don".

From the stories told, it seems like that by the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Don Cossacks were a rather closed, endogamic society where marriages were most commonly arranged, and that a Cossack who had taken a Turkish war captive as a wife was considered scandalous.
This phenomenon obviously wasn't the case during the earlier centuries, during which Cossackdom received runaway serfs, army deserters, bandits, and peasants from all over the world, regardless of ethnic origin. Judging from the fact that most of the migrants would have been male, they surely would have taken native women and war captives as wives.
Even in Tolstoy's short novel "The Cossacks", they Cossacks were described as frequently taking Circassian, Chechen women as spouses.
I read some time ago another source that described the Don Cossacks as a mixed society that included substantial number of Kalmyks and Nogais among their ranks, as well as Russians and Ukrainians.

If both Tolstoy and Sholokov had been right, then obviously Cossack society underwent a transformation between the 18th and 19th century, from an open to closed society, and from a free host to identifying themselves with the Russian nation.


 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2010 at 13:33
Tolstoy was writing in the mid 19th century from his own experiences. That would indicate that the transformation was much faster.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2010 at 14:17
The explanation is quite simple. Tolstoy was vriting Terek/Kuban Cossacks that lived next to the border amond Caucasians and Nogays.
 
Unlike them, the Don Cossack host by the end of the 20th century was located in the middle of Russian/Ukrainian populated areas. And Don Cossacks were able to interact with "aliens" only during their expeditions abroad. By that time, the Don Cossack society was solidly formed and it was rather typical for them to marry local Cossack women. But still, there were instances were Cossacks were bringing the brides from abroad. But they simply didn't have that much chances as Kuban Cossacks did.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2010 at 23:24
I thought Don Cossacks lived next to Nogays and Kalmyks.
At least in the earlier centuries many Nogays and Kalmyks did apparently join the Don Cossacks. By the 19th centuries, with the lack of new joiners, the Cossack hosts, although of diverse roots, were probably well-integrated and established.

Roughly from what time did the peasants, serfs, and deserters stop joinning the Don Cossack host? and why?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2010 at 23:51
There were no Nogays left in proximity to Don Host by the end of the 19th century. But, some Kalmyks, indeed formed a part of Don Host.
 
The serfs stopped joining largely by the beginning of the 18th century. Mainly because, Cossacks already considered themselves as a distinct group and didn't view outsiders favorably.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Apr 2010 at 21:49
Regarding the Kalmyks who joined the Don Cossacks, did they mostly convert to Orthodox Christianity or did they remain Buddhists?

Another thing that I find intriguing is that the steppes north of the Black Sea has long been known for its fertile terrain, that made it Russia's bread basket. Yet it was until relatively few centuries ago that agriculture was practiced there. Before the 18th century, most of this region was occupied by steppe nomads who didn't exploit the fertile terrain to grow any crops.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Apr 2010 at 02:04
Originally posted by calvo calvo wrote:

Regarding the Kalmyks who joined the Don Cossacks, did they mostly convert to Orthodox Christianity or did they remain Buddhists?
 
They mostly remained Buddhist

Originally posted by calvo calvo wrote:

Another thing that I find intriguing is that the steppes north of the Black Sea has long been known for its fertile terrain, that made it Russia's bread basket. Yet it was until relatively few centuries ago that agriculture was practiced there. Before the 18th century, most of this region was occupied by steppe nomads who didn't exploit the fertile terrain to grow any crops.


 
Yes, you're absolutely right. Now those lands are bread baskets for Russia and Ukraine
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 2010 at 21:17
After all, with new theories that Cossacks were descended from pre-Mongol invasion settlers in the steppe, whether of Slavic or Iranic origin, has the " runaway peasant" theory been made redundant?
For example, are there solid records of large numbers of serfs and peasants running away to join the Cossacks in the 1500s and 1600s, or was it just an assumption?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 2010 at 22:09
Well. I believe the "two" theories should only complement each other.  And, yes there are records, of course. There is even a Cossack chronicle "The tale of the Siege of Azov" of the 17th century that directly says that Cossacks escaped from the selfdorm in Muskovy and came to live "the free life in the steppe."
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