“Russac is Moscova”. What he saw Russia for the first visitors from Europe?
In any city of Russia were trading women who from the Russian princes were forbidden wine and that Ivan the terrible did to the Jews.
In Soviet times, comedian Gennady Khazanov in one of the rooms said, “I Want to travel, but not on TV, but in person! Stop looking at the world through the eyes of Sienkiewicz!”.
Indeed, the program “Club kinoputeshestvennikov”, which was led by Yuri Senkevich, for Soviet citizens was a window into the world which formed their ideas about different cities and countries. Even today, despite the fact that the international tourism in Russia came to a completely different level, views of our fellow citizens often are influenced by others stories.
Similarly fold and representation of foreigners about Russia. The stereotypes that exist decades are passing with great difficulty.
A few centuries ago the possibility of obtaining information about other countries was minimal. It often happens that the views of residents of the whole state of Russia was formed annotations of a single traveler, and his subjective opinion for many years has turned into a truth.
Aify offers a look at Russia of centuries past through the eyes of European travelers and diplomats.
“The Novgorodians have in your city a market where sell and buy their women”
Gilbert de Lannoy, a Flemish knight, Counsellor and Chamberlain of Duke of Burgundy by Jean the Fearless, in 1413 visited Veliky Novgorod, describing his experience in the book “Journey of Gilbert de Lannoy in the Eastern lands of Europe”:
“The great Novgorod — a surprisingly large city; it is located on a large plain, surrounded by large forests and is located in a low area surrounded by waters and swamps….
Within the said city there are many big seniors, which they called boyars, and there are those citizens who own land within 200 leagues (a little less than 1000 km. — ed.) in length, is rich and surprisingly powerful… They have in your city a market where sell and buy their women having the right to do (but we, true Christians, would not dare to do this ever in my life), and buy their women instead of one another for a piece or two of silver as converge — so, that one gave quite different….
Women wear hair braided in 2 braids hanging on the back, and the men one braid. I was nine days in this city, and the Bishop sent me every day more than 30 people with bread, meat, fish, beech nuts, leeks, beer and honey, and the aforementioned casaccia and the mayor gave me lunch the strangest and most awesome of all that I have seen ever.
One of the miracles produced by the cold, was that when I was driving through the forests, they could hear the trees crack and split from top to bottom with frost. There happens to see, as the frozen clods of horse manure fly up from the cold. And when the night had to sleep in the desert, we found his beard, eyebrows and eyelids Ammersee from human breath and full of ice, so that when you Wake up, you can barely open my eyes.
“They use a drink of honey. The Grand Duke was forbidden to make these wines”
Ambrogio Contarini, a noble Venetian, who in 1474 was sent by the Venetian Republic to Persia on a diplomatic mission. Returning from Persia, Contarini at the end of 1476 visited Russia, including in Moscow, where he spent four months and was accepted personally by Ivan III. Their impressions of Russia stated in the notes, “Journey to Persia”:
“The city of Moscow stands on a small hill; the castle and the rest of the city is wooden. River called Moscow, passes through the middle of the city and has a lot of bridges. The city is surrounded by forests.
A country extremely rich in different varieties of grain… the Country is very cold… In late October, the river flowing in the middle of the city freezes. On the river build a shop here all the trading takes place.
In November, slaughter cattle and brought to the city whole carcasses for sale. Nice to see a large number of stripped cow carcasses, put on foot on the ice of the frozen river.
They have no such fruit, except for a small number of cucumbers, hazelnuts and wild apples. To stock is necessary in the winter because then it is easy to transport on a sled; in the summer — a terrible dirt….
They have no wine, but they use a drink of honey, which is prepared with the leaves of the hops; this is a good drink. The Grand Duke was forbidden to make these wines.
“They are trading with the greatest cunning and deceit. Foreigners they all sell for more”
Sigismund von Herberstein, Austrian diplomat, in 1517 and 1526 was visiting Russia with diplomatic missions. Having been in the country a total of about a year, von Herberstein in 1549 published the book “Notes on Muscovite Affairs”, which was considered the most detailed and reliable description of Russian and the Russian state, made by the foreigner until the XIX century.
About the power: “Of the sovereigns which are now the master of Rousseau, the first great Prince of Muscovy, who owns the greater part of it; the second, Grand Duke of Lithuania; the third, king of Poland, which now presides over Poland, over Lithuania”.
About Russian merchants: “They are trading with the greatest cunning and deceit.
Buying foreign goods, they always lower their price by half. Foreigners they sell everything more expensive.
If the transaction is inadvertently mentioned, promise something, they will remember this and consistently will require the promise to be fulfilled, and they themselves very rarely do what they promise. They have a custom to put himself as an intermediary between the seller and the buyer, and took the gifts themselves, and with that, and on the other hand, both promise their faithful assistance.”
About the holidays: “Eminent men of honor the holidays that after the service, arrange the feast and drunkenness and clothed in elegant white robes, and ordinary people for the most part works, saying that prazdnikami and to refrain from work — it city.
Citizens, and artisans present at the service, after which we return to work, believing that work is more pleasing to God than wasting wealth and time to drink, game and that sort of thing.
Man the simple title of forbidden beverages: beer and honey, but still they are allowed to drink in some special days, such as the Nativity of the Lord and other days in which they refrain from working, of course, not from piety, but rather to plantomania”.
“If anyone is caught stealing, imprisoned and whipped”
Clement Adams, the second captain of the ship “Edward Bonaventure” in the expedition of Richard Chanslor, visited Russia in 1553-1554 years and described his impressions in the book “English journey to the Muscovites”:
“Space in Moscow is equal to how our claim, the value of London suburb. Buildings though a lot, but without any comparison with ours; streets also many, but they do not have stone bridges, walls of wooden buildings, on the roof of the lath is used. The city is the castle beautiful and well-fortified… In the castle of 9 pretty beautiful monasteries….
Russian tolerate cold beyond belief and is content with the small amount of food.
When the ground is covered with deep snow and stiff from the bitter cold, Russian hanging his cloak on the pegs, the side from which the wind is blowing and falling snow, throws himself a small fire and goes back to the wind; the same cloak he serves as roof, wall and all. This tenant snow draws water from the frozen river, throws in her oatmeal, and dinner is ready. Sated, he is also here and is resting in the fire.
Frozen ground serves as his jacket, and a stump or a stone pillow.
His constant companion, the horse eats no better than his hero. This true fighting Russian life under the icy sky of the North — what a strong rebuke effeminate effeminacy of our Princes, that, in a climate far better use warm boots and coats….
If you catch someone stealing, imprisoned and whipped. For the first guilt does not hang, as we do, and it is called the law of mercy. Who will fall next time, that otesyvajut nose, and branded forehead; for the third guilty hang. Pulling from the pockets of the wallets so much, that if justice is not pursued them with the utmost rigor, they would not pass.
“Among them are many elderly people, 80-, 100 – or 120-year-old. Only at this age they are susceptible to disease”
Jacques margeret, a professional mercenary soldiers, consisting on the Russian service in the time of Troubles (1600 — 1606, 1608 — 1611 years), described his impressions in the book “the State of the Russian Empire and Grand Duchy of Moscow”:
“Russian for some time, after they have thrown off the yoke of the Tatars and the Christian world found something out about them, were called Muscovites — the city of Moscow, which bears the title of Prince, but not the first in the country, as the Czar was once called the Grand Prince of Vladimir, and now calls himself the Grand Prince of Vladimir and Moscow.
Therefore, it is a mistake to call them Muscovites, not Russian, not only how do we, living in the distance, but the closer their neighbors.
They themselves, when they are asked what they nation, the answer is: Russac, i.e. Russian, and if they ask where, they say, is Moscova — from Moscow, Vologda, Ryazan and other cities….
The Emperor grants everyone the freedom of conscience in the administration of rites and beliefs, with the exception of the Roman Catholics. They do not allow themselves a single Jew since, as Ivan Vasilyevich, called the Terrible, ordered to collect all of them, how many were in the country, and, tying their hands and feet, lead to the bridge, ordered them to renounce their faith and forced to say what they want to Krestitelja and believe in God the Father, Son, and Holy spirit, and at the same time ordered them all to throw into the water….
Among them are many elderly people, 80-, 100 – or 120-year-old. Only at this age they are susceptible to disease.
They don’t know what the doctor is only the Emperor and several of the chief nobles.
They also believe unclean much of what is used in medicine, among other things, reluctant to take the pills; with regard to prominately means they hate them, as musk, civet, and the like. But if the commoners get sick, they usually take vodka for a good drink and fall asleep there arcabucero charge of gunpowder or a head of crushed garlic, stir it, drink it and immediately go to the steam room, so hot that it is almost impossible to sustain, and remain there until you sweat for an hour or two, and do so at every disease.
“Fight with the bears, he grabbed my ears, holding them until they are exhausted”
Jacob Reichenfels, a native of Courland, a diplomat stationed in Russia in 1670 — 1673 years, described his impressions in the book “tales of the serene Duke of Tuscany Kozma to Third on Muscovy”:
“Mosh is highly capable of withstanding all kinds of difficulties as their bodies are hardened from birth cold. They quietly tolerate the harshness of the climate and did not fear to go out with her head under the snow or rain as well as heat, in short, in any weather.
Children three to four years old, often in the most severe frosts, walk barefoot, barely covered by a plain clothes and play in the yard, running a race…
The consequence of this are the famous hardened body, and men, though not a giant in height, but well and tightly folded, from which other, completely unarmed, sometimes come into the fight with the bears, he grabbed my ears, holding them until they are exhausted; then they are quite subordinate and lying at the feet, wear a muzzle….
Appearance women are a little more delicate, but the face are round, lips protrude and eyebrows always touched up, and all the face paint because they’re all using ointments.
The habit of reddening is considered, force of habit, so necessary that the woman, who asked not to paint her face, I think it’s arrogant and want to stand before the other, because it de boldly considers himself quite beautiful and elegant without dyes and artificial embellishment.
Most women devote so empty this occupation a lot of work, but in return for all this fake beauty they are approaching old age, have face, furrowed with wrinkles, so much they bleach and romanet it, ugly in its natural form, although can not deny the fact that Russian Dating your Venus.
However, they pretend to be humble, serve directly and very slowly because of the high heels. Hands they say, are very delicate and, perhaps, softer than wool, as they are, indeed, hardly produces any household, more or less rough work.
“Moscow — the most wide field of activities for the fashionable libertine”
Beginning in the eighteenth century information about the life of Russia come to Europe on a regular basis through foreign embassies in our country, as well as numerous trips of Russians abroad. However, not to mention the notes of another traveler, which appeared in the nineteenth century.
The Marquis Louis Leonor de Custine, a French aristocrat who visited Russia, he published a book “Russia in 1839”. For this work de Custine for the past two centuries it has preserved the glory of one of the most Russophobic of works about Russia. Suffice it to say that for the first time excerpts from the book were published in our country only in 1891, and the full version notes de Custine was only released in 1996.
However, there is an alternative view, according to which a false impression of the scrapbook de Custine was formed due to the fact that they deliberately took on the negative aspects.
About Moscow: “…all the European cities in Moscow — the most wide field of activities for the fashionable libertine.
The Russian government understands that the autocratic power necessary outlet for revolt in any field, and, of course, prefers a rebellion in the moral sphere, rather than political unrest.
That’s the secret promiscuity of some and the connivance of others.”
About the aristocracy: “Russia’s high society ladies and gentlemen are able to carry on a conversation with the casual courtesy, the secret of which we French have almost completely lost… If that is the consequence of despotic government, long live Russia”.
About the farmers: “the Meek and ferocious appearance together Russian peasants, is not devoid of elegance, loftiness, strength, broad shoulders, a gentle smile on his lips, a mixture of tenderness and fierceness that is read in their wild, sad eyes — all of this gives them the appearance, so different from our farmers… these people have some sort of obvious, but an ineffable beauty, a blend of Oriental languor romantic dreaminess of the Northern peoples”.
About Petersburg: “due to its emptiness everywhere monuments are tiny; they are lost in the vast spaces.
Even the column of Alexander, rising over the Winter Palace, resembles hammered a stake into the ground.
Imagine a fenced-in space, which can hold maneuvers a hundred thousand people and at the same time remain a lot of space: such spaces nothing can look huge. If there’s ever gonna be a stampede, it will end in tears; in a society built the way it is, the crowd will give rise to revolution”.
About the officials: “Russia controls the class of officials… and often operates contrary to the will of the monarch… autocrat of all Russia often notices that he is not as omnipotent as they say, and with surprise, which he is afraid to admit to myself, he sees that his power has a limit. This limit is put to it by the bureaucracy…”.
About the Russian nation: “Russian people are immensely clever: after all, this human race… were pushed to the very pole… the One who would be able to penetrate deeper into the fields of Providence, may have come to the conclusion that war with the elements is a severe test, to whom the Lord wished to subject this nation, the chosen one, the one that put it above many other”.
About his book: “No need to catch me in contradictions, I noticed them before you, but don’t want to avoid them, for they are inherent in the things themselves; say it once and for all. How to give you a real idea about what I describe, if not contradicting himself at every word?”.