Mythic Russia

Heroic roleplaying in a mythical medieval Russia

Birchbark Homework — January 28, 2017

Birchbark Homework

birch_bark_document_210A sheet of birchbark, the beresta, was the usual medium for letters, records, and documents at the time of Mythic Russia, often salvaged from broken baskets and the like. A fascinating example was the trove of 17 beresty archeologists found from the 13thC Novgorodian boy Onfim. Along with pictures, including one of himself as a monster (with the words “I am a beast” and “Greetings from Onfim to Danila”), are five with text. These are apparently homework, writing out the alphabet and familiar psalms. Nonetheless, kids will be kids: in some of the beresty, he starts out working, but then starts to doodle, too…

The Magnificent Seven (Bogatyrs) — January 2, 2017

The Magnificent Seven (Bogatyrs)

churilo-plenkovich-illustration-for-the-book-russian-epic-heroes-jpglargeThe bogatyrs are the folk superheroes of the Rus’ and I cover several in Mythic Russia, but not all. In this blog post Nicholas Kotar (who apparently writes fantasy inspired by Russian fairy tales, but I haven’t read his work — can anyone out there enlighten me?) runs through the main seven, including the splendidly-foppish Churilo Plenkovich (the illustration here is a picture of him by Andrei Ryabushkin), the Crimean ladies’ man, whose skin “pale as snow” so pleases him that he has a boy follow him with a parasol to keep off the sun…