Treasures of “Mercure Galant”: 1685

Esteemed Readers,

I have discovered a wonderful collection of coins published in various editions of “Mercure Galant”. So I will share it with you, as besides a numismatic & historical value, they are true gems of art. These coins come from 1685 & they depict the most important events happened in France of that time, sometimes in an allegoric way. The curious thing is that the coin role in the past was indeed informative: it allowed anyone to learn what happened in the country even without reading any newspaper. We would call these messages a sort of an ancient “Instagram”.

Vive le Roy! 🙂

Maria KethuProfumo

Source: The image belongs to the National French Library (BNF). The purpose of its posting is educative.

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Mercure Galant: Messenger of the Past – The Spirit of Carnival

Esteemed Readers,

Carnival always creates a special sort of spirit! It is a joy, hope for better life & finally sunny warm days. So, I have discovered this curious drinking song in one of “Mercure Galant” editions & share it with you. Those who know to play the piano might even perform it.

French Original text: “Que le temps soit laid, ou qu’il soit beau, c’est de quoy jamais je ne murmure. Il n’apartient qu’aux Beuveurs d’eau de se plaindre de la froidure. Pour avoir chaud dés le matin, le vray secret est de prendre du vin”.

Translation: ” No matter if the weather is nasty or nice. I will never grumble about that. It belongs not only to water Drinkers who complain about cold. To get warm in the morning a true secret is to have some wine.”

Happy Spring Spirit to all of you!

Vive le Roy! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  Maria KethuProfumo 

Source: The image belongs to the National French Library (BNF). The purpose of its posting is educative.

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Animals in The Russian Fairy Tales

If we classified the Russian fairy tales according to the plot, we would divide them into 3 main groups: animal tales, animal-human tales & human-spirit tales. The first group represents a set of rather simple stories commonly known as “for kids”. The second & the third ones are more complicated & usually have a deep, profound sense, so they are for those who are older.

Unlike the modern trend telling foreigners that Russia is the place where bears with balalaikas wander, the bear is not a common animal in our folklore. Certainly, there are stories about them, (mostly belonging to the second group), – but rather few.

The most popular animals in the Russian fairy-tales are Fox, Wolf, Hare, then Bear and Rooster or other birds. Fox symbolizes slyness & too often wisdom. Its behaviour has something in common with the famous le Roman de Renart veiled with the Slavic spirit. Wolf represents simplicity or cowardice & he often is punished for his friend Fox‘s doing, but never anger or violence. It is very likely that originally this character was a dog. Its manner of behaviour points to that. Hare is an example of courage, creativity & helplessness. He usually suffers from Fox & Wolf’s crafty designs. Bear is stupid & ignorant. He always gets into a pretty mess due to his reluctance to think or to learn. Rooster is a symbol of justice, but he is a rather rare character in our folklore.

I wonder why we have no horse, pig or cow stories though. Maybe because our Slavic ancestors used to live in the forests & they did not regard domestic animals as ones deserved to be mentioned in folk-tales.

Maria KethuProfumo

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Fairy-tale: The Languages of the Birds

 

Esteemed Readers, here is the first Russian folk-tale I would like to share with you. The name Vasili derives from the Greek Βασίλειος (king), in English is more common as Basil. It is very rare in our folk-tales…well at least in those I have read or heard. I suppose that it comes from the South as it tells about sea-voyages. 

The structure of the fairy-tale is traditional. It tells about a boy who tells their parents the truth but instead of gratitude he is mistreated. As a result the boy is forced to travel overseas, but there he is welcomed by foreigners. His wit & talents are appreciated abroad, he helps others to solve their problems & is rewarded afterwards. In the end of the story he encounters his wicked parents and forgives them, as he is a noble man, so they all live to enjoy good. 

The plot is very popular in our tales. The topic of a family ingratitude touches almost all of them. Animals & birds are other important characters of the Russian fairy-tales. There are few magic creatures, though. Most of those who help humans are real, forest or sea creatures, while their help is mostly practical: a piece of advice, an action, very rarely magic weapons & never spells.

Here is the full text: Russian FairyTale 1

Maria KethuProfumo 

The Source: Afanasiev A.N. “Russian Folk-Tales”, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co, Ltd. London. 1915

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Louis XIV Asks Riddles II

Esteemed Readers,

we go on our riddle section. 🙂 I would like to present you a riddle of a bit different sort, more allegoric and that’s why more intricating. I hope that it will flash up your imagination & you will offer a set of curious answers:

I do more good than harm, many people rush with ardour to take me, but their fatal zeal burns me & turns into ashes. 

REPLY to the Riddle posted on January 11, 2019: PARIS

Oh, well…The French of that time were great patriots even without knowing this notion yet. 🙂

Vive le Roy! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Maria KethuProfumo

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Russian Slavic Pagan Gods

The Russian Pagan Pantheon is very similar in its meaning to the Roman mythology as the Slavic society used to be pagan & shared the same views. However, the ancient Russians carved statues of their gods from wood. Often they were made right in the air in forests or in fields in places that considered to be sacred.  Although we know their names & functions, we are lack of tales. I suppose that the list was far richer, as territory of Russia included plenty of various pagan peoples with their own beliefs. Here are the most common gods kept until now.

The Main Russian Gods (in accordance with the written sources we possess):

Rod – a pagan Creator, I would name him a Russian Jupiter. He was accompanied by two goddesses, named Rojanitsi. They were keepers of kin, life, rain, protectors of women & little children.

Svarog – a god of fire, iron, our Russian Saturn. It is believed that he sent people pincers, so they learnt to work with iron.

Dajd’bog – a god of fertility,warmth, harvest. He joins functions of Jupiter & Juno.

Hors  – a god symbolizing the sun. It has no human shape & depicted as a golden circle.  Slavic spring round dances were dedicated to this god.

Lada & Lelya – goddesses, a mother & a daughter alike Cerere & Proserpina. Lada meant abundance, fertility, while Lelya was a goddess of marriage, maidens, etc.

Veles – the mighty god, a god of deads, power, magical forces. As well he was the god of ancestors, harvest, fertility.

Morena – a goddess of deads, the queen of the Dead Kingdom. It is difficult to say if they were spouses with Veles, though. She protected the Past, ancestors, roots too.

Yarilo – a god of grain, symbolizing rebirth. He was one of the strongest & popular Russian gods. People offered bloody sacrifices to him.

Perun – a god of thunder & war. He combines functions of Jupiter & Mars. He was the god of those who had power, protector of first Russian princes.

Maria KethuProfumo

Source: The Dictionary of the Slavic Mythology Mudrova I.A.

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Russian Mythology: Slavic Origins

What is comprehended under the Russian mythology is a branch of various Slavic beliefs & traditions once wide-spread all over Europe. The Slavs represent a huge Indo-European group of diverse peoples, which had a bright individuality. We can make this conclusions comparing languages & folklore of neighbouring countries. They all have something in common, but not as much as in Western European cultures. The Slavic family includes Russians, Belorussians, Ukranians, Baltic nations, Poles, Bulgarians, Macedonians, peoples of ex Czechoslovakia & ex Yugoslavia. The major religion is the Orthodox Christianity, while the Cyrillic script is very well-spread. Comparing some samples of the Ancient Russian I have come to an amazing discovery that our ABC is based on the runic letters. Why & how is yet a great question for me, but one day I will find the answer.

The origins of the true Russian mythology are very blur, as, unfortunately, our great nation has passed some dark historical periods which erased our ancient past for ever. (So, people, keep your customs & traditions safe! not to stay like the modern Russian society: without knowing its own history, true roots, God). It is very likely that there was a great Slavic pagan empire on the territory of Russia. It is very likely that some evil neighbours who were jealous with our wide lands decided to conquer them…The proved fact is that by the 17th century the process of destroying the ancient Russian culture began.

The first period lasted until the 19th century. By that moment our history had been rewritten & the people had forgotten the ancient language. The second period did until Lenin & the Bolsheviks’ appearing on the historical stage & meant Europeanizaion of the new Russian society.  The third period happened during the Soviet Union. On one hand Communists cut God & Faith from people’s hearts & minds, on the other they created their own culture, in which the Soviet person was the only master of the Universe. I must admit that the Communistic ideology had yet some positive thinking: Soviet people did not know God, but they had to be honest, good, responsible, longing for art & culture. And indeed the Soviet culture represents the flowering of classical arts. Since 1990 Russia has re-entered in the epoch of a new chaos and nobody know when it will be over. The sad thing is the majority of gems of the rich Russian culture have been lost for ever.

All what we know for certain is that once upon a time there was a great mysterious land named Rus’ (in Gaelic it means “race, knowledge, skill, wood” & in Latin language it does“a village”) & it had a very interesting & complicated folklore, pieces of which I’m going to share with you, Esteemed Readers. There is an opinion that first settlers of Rus’ were Venedi or Veneti who arrived from Venetian lands. My own linguistic research proves it, as there is an incredible mysterious interconnection between the Italian & the modern Russian languages.

Maria KethuProfumo

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