Fearful Contempt. How the Polish Nobility Viewed on the Cossacks of Chmielnicki's Rebellion
Thema: Kosakische Aufstände und ihre Anführer. Heroisierung, Dämonisierung und Tabuisierung der Erinnerung
Furchtsame Verachtung. Die Kosaken des Chmielnicki-Aufstands
in den Augen des polnischen Adels
The Rebellion of the Zaporozhian Cossacks under the leadership of Bohdan Chmielnicki in the years 1648–1657 has ever since been the subject of various and conflicting interpretations in the historical traditions of Ukrainians, Poles, Russians and Jews. The present article deals with one aspect of it, the view on the Cossacks of the Polish nobility, their principal enemies during the rebellion. The Cossacks wanted to get rid of noble rule in the Ukraine, while the Polish nobles despised them as peasants and a lower sort of human beings. But this view was contested when the Cossacks inflicted some severe defeats on the Polish forces. The nobles in their pamphlets and poems were eagerly looking for reasons why this could have happened, the most widespread among them being the idea that the morals among the nobles had degenerated. This could be seen as a temporary problem that could be solved by their own efforts. Consequently the successful defense of the fortress of Zbaraż against the siege of a great army of Cossacks and Tatars was enthusiastically greeted as proof for the restoration of the old and natural order. One can reasonably assume that there was never a real chance for the integration of the Cossacks into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and that the Treaty of Hadiach of 1658 had to fail because of the unwillingness on both sides to accept its terms.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2017
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