A couple of interesting axe pictures.

Here are a couple of interesting pictures that recently showed up on the Facebook group Carpatho-Rusyns Everywhere.

Both show axes with very long handles, in fact both look like wood axes put on a longer handle than normal. Both are from the USA in the 20th century as well. Don’t really know what to make of these photos but the axes are clear.

The first is from Pennsylvania 1939.

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The second is from Buckner Illinois 1925.

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Kupala

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Kupala…the traditional day of jumping over the fire with axe in hand! This day did not go unnoticed in our home as my youngest daughter and I built a bonfire and hung around it with axes. She did no leaping, I on the other hand am not so wphotoise…1011348_10201418779175953_750179446_n

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Аркан – Arkan – heroic warriors dance of Ukrainian hutsuls (instrumental)

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Not a dance video despite the name…there are some interesting images shown under the song. The knife is particularly interesting.

2 Rusyn Soldier folk poems

Taken from Alexander Bonkalo’s “The Rusyns” 1940:

POEM 1

Greetings to you emperor, my good emperor, my royal emperor!
We defeated the French and I long to go home.
Greetings to you emperor, my good emperor, you made me a soldier;
Do me the favor to enlist also my lover!
Help us, good lord, to beat the Turks.
And in that nice country to embrace the girls.

POEM 2

Don’t cry my rose, don’t cry
Because you will cry your eyes out.
Levoca is a far away place
Where they take me in haste.

A bloody creek flows
Near Uzhhorod with a splash,
My loving rose inquires if my skull was crushed?
No, it’s not blood of that sort.

It’s not from my head,
It’s from my enemy’s instead.
Cut in pieces by my sword.

The New and complete American encyclopedia 1808

The inhabitants ire a mixture of the descendants of the ancient Hunns, Sclavonians, Camani, Germans, Walachians, Greeks, Jews, Turks, and a wandering people called Zigduns, said to b: of uncertain origin, but probable the fame as those we call Gypsies. The Hungarians are said to be of a sanguine choleric temper, and somewhat fierce, cruel, proud and vindictive. They have been always reputed good soldiers, being much more inclined to arms, martial exercises and hunting, than to arts, learning, trade, or agriculture. The nobility affect great pomp and magnificence, and are much addicted to feasting and carousing. The men in general are strong and well proportioned. They shave their beards, but leave whiskers on the upper lip ; wearing fur caps on their heads, a closebodied coat girt with a fain, with a short cloak or mantle over all, buckled under the arm) leaving the right hand at liberty. Their horse are called Hussars, and their foot Heydukes. The former wear a broad sword, or scymeter, and carry a hatchet or battle-ax. Their horses are fleet, but not near so large as the German horses, and therefore they stand upon their short stirrups when they strike. The heydukes usually wear feathers in their caps, according to the number of the enemies they pretend to have killed. Both horse and foot are an excellent militia, very good at a pursuit, or ravaging and plundering a country but not equal to regular troops in a pitched battle.

Johann Georg Kohl 1843

Austria, Vienna, Hungary, Bohemia and the Danube, Galicia, Styria, Moravia, Buckovina, and the military frontier

Johann Georg Kohl 1843
” It is often very difficult,” continued my informant, ” to say whether these Bacony foresters are swineherds or robbers. Their wandering and uncertain mode of life, and their superiority in strength to their more settled countrymen, are circumstances by no means favourable to their honesty. It is of them that the poet says:

“Fern von Liebe, Lust und Leben,
Weil’ ich Mer im diistern Wald,
Wo im Sturm die Eichen beben,
Und der Wolfe Heulen schallt.
Sonnenschein und Sturmeswiithen
Schwarzten Brust mir mid Gesicht,
Und die borst’ge Heerde hiiten
Im Gebiisch ist meine Pflicht.
Keine Menschenstimme dringet
Durch die Oede an mein Ohr,

Selbst das Voglein flieht und singet
Lieber fern in Busch und Rohr.
Aus dem Thale nur zuweilen
Suninit herauf der Glocke Klang, &c.*

” The bad character of these swineherds has given rise to a law in Hungary, that any one absent from his herd without permission, is regarded as a robber, and punished accordingly. These men, however, on the whole, are not so bad as might be supposed; they never harm the poor, and they pay proper respect to the clergy, confining their depredations to the rich nobility, for they are friends of liberty and equality. About two years ago they attacked a castle and plundered it of seventeen thousand florins ; but within six months afterwards, I saw the sparrows build their nests in the skulls of those who had performed this exploit.”

The principal weapon which the ” Gonasz” (swineherd) carries, is a small, neatly made hatchet, fixed to a handle about three feet long, which serves as a walking stick, a pastoral crook, or to cut wood for fuel. When several of them meet in the forest, they often amuse themselves by throwing this weapon at a mark, and in this game they have attained an extraordinary degree of skill.

My companion went on to inform me he had once witnessed an instance of this in Pesth, whither two ” Gonaszi” had driven a pair of buffaloes for sale. The animals had somehow become suddenly enraged, and had rushed down a hill and over the Danube bridge into the very centre of a crowded market-place. The one was soon taken, but the other continued overthrowing and treading down every thing in its way, and no way remained but try to hit him with the hatchet. This was accordingly done, and the weapon thrown so accurately, that the animal, though in the midst of a crowd, was struck exactly in the right place, and instantly fell to the ground. Their skill in the use of this weapon is, however, by no means always desirable, for they are often tempted to try it on men as well as on trees and buffaloes. In their quarrels among themselves, these hatchets often play as important a part as the daggers among the Spaniards. One may often observe them, when they are inclined to come to blows, suddenly turn round and wheel away to a considerable distance, in order to obtain the space necessary for throwing the hatchet, and if they have a mind to attack a stranger, they often throw a hatchet at him, as other banditti will fire a pistol.

Kita’iescha

From: The Poles in the seventeenth century By Henryk Krasiński 1843

There are on the Carpathians, individuals, who are born, and who die without ever going down to the plains. Some engage in smuggling Hungarian wines, and at times shew themselves in great numbers in the fairs to purchase salt and gunpowder, and to vend skins. They are then all armed, not only with their axes, but with short staves called Kitai’escka, incrusted with silex, which they handle with great dexterity, and with which they can easily break the best sabres. When they make their appearance in any place, they know, by means of a chain of spies maintaining an easy correspondence, that the troops are not present, or that their number is very small.

The following is the manner in which they prepare their Kita’iescha: they select a young tree, either a crab or a pear tree perfectly straight, of about an inch in diameter. They then incrust upon the whole surface of it, fragments of silex; a year, or longer after, when the bark of the tree has grown over them, they cut down the tree and leave it to dry in the sun ; they then trim and fashion it into a staff, which in this manner, is covered with an incrustation of silex, and which is then capable of inflicting very dangerous wounds.

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Needless to say I am looking for a period illustration of such a stick but no luck so far.