Olivia Colman with the Cossacks reply
January 14, 2022 9:01 AM   Subscribe

Olivia Colman + Adrian Edmondson read letters between Sultan Mehmed IV and the Zaporozhian Cossacks (3:56 YouTube)

In 1675, the Zaporozhian Cossacks, a fierce army of warriors based in the Wild Fields of Ukraine whose Koshovyi (chief) at the time was Ivan Sirko, received by courier a letter from Mehmed IV, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, in which he rather grandiosely demanded that they cease all aggression and submit to him. Relations were historically fraught, but a recent spate of guerilla warfare involving the two parties, much of it initiated and won by the Cossacks, had pushed the young Sultan to breaking point. His last hope was to write a letter. Rather than accept the demands, Sirko responded with a letter of his own, co-written with his men, which in the 1880s was immortalised in the famous painting, Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan Mehmed IV of the Ottoman Empire, by renowned Russian artist Ilya Repin.

The painting

Letters Live Channel
posted by Glinn (25 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
 
I was going to link a bunch more of the letters, but some are hilarious and some are heartbreaking, and I thought people might like to discover their own favorites.
posted by Glinn at 9:03 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


So that's "no", then?
posted by flabdablet at 9:31 AM on January 14 [12 favorites]


Olivia is a hoot and has been since at least the early 2000's (which is when I saw her in the Mitchell & Webb TV show)
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:35 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


I was there for that one. It was a few days after she won her Oscar. The outpouring of love and applause she got when she walked out was incredible.
posted by garius at 9:43 AM on January 14 [6 favorites]


What do the Cossacks have against wheelwrights? It's an honest living.
posted by hypnogogue at 9:45 AM on January 14 [5 favorites]


If only I could change my user name to "Pig Of Armenia"
posted by lumpenprole at 9:48 AM on January 14 [7 favorites]


It was a few days after she won her Oscar. The outpouring of love and applause she got when she walked out was incredible.

Sometimes I will pull up and watch her Oscar acceptance speech because she is so endearingly flaily - by the end you can tell she's doing that "oh shit who else do I need to thank" thing and is reduced to randomly looking around the room and thanking whoever she sees, like Lady Gaga in the front row and Frances McDormand who handed her the statuette...but then you go see the performance for which she got that Oscar, or you see her in The Crown or in Broadchurch and that's when you realize "oh, hang on, she really is an incredible talent, isn't she."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:56 AM on January 14 [5 favorites]


I dunno, I thought that left the possibility of future negotiations fairly open.
posted by scruss at 9:57 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]


It's the bit where they put the metal tire onto the wheel, it just gives them the creeps.
posted by biogeo at 10:16 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


per my last email
posted by Kabanos at 11:32 AM on January 14 [5 favorites]


A fine reply by the cossacks, but not as epic as NUTS!
posted by Pendragon at 11:45 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]


That's a great painting! Poor scribe in the middle.
posted by tavella at 11:49 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]


Dumb question, but are those really the real letters?
posted by Jess the Mess at 12:00 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Yes, those are the letters (translated) but whether or not they were really sent is not known. The earliest existing copy is a translation into Russian in the late 1700's.
posted by njohnson23 at 12:10 PM on January 14 [2 favorites]


⭐⭐⭐⭐
very metal
posted by glonous keming at 1:02 PM on January 14 [2 favorites]


No, it is not certain that these are real letters. Most likely not, however actual analysis seems rare and inconclusive. They seem to be imaginative versions of something known to actually happen. There are two extant original Ukrainian versions (not Russian translations), and the earliest version is from 1872, not late 1700s. Some additional info from r/AskHistorians. Another source [pdf], but most of this is linguistic analysis.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 1:11 PM on January 14 [4 favorites]


That painting is well known in my family; according to my father we are descended from Ukrainian government scribes, due to our surname.

I've always liked to think of that poor guy writing the letter as my great-great-great-great-great-etc uncle or something.
posted by medeine at 1:19 PM on January 14 [8 favorites]


It's nice to have theoretical replies to former employers asking for free favors.
posted by winesong at 2:21 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


More details (zoomable) of the 2.03 m x 3.58 m (11 ft 9 in x 6 ft 8 in) painting in WP > Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks (1880-1891) by Russian artist Ilya Repin (1844-1930). He also painted an unfinished second version. Imagine a TED talk by the artist!
posted by cenoxo at 2:51 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


One of my favorite paintings. So many awesome attitudes!
posted by doctornemo at 3:19 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Somehow, ribald insults like "goat-fucker" and "son of a whore" sound almost genteel when delivered in her accent.
posted by panglos at 5:55 PM on January 14


GOD, YOU'D THINK DEVIL WOMAN HAD NEVER EVEN BEEN WRITTEN!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:30 PM on January 14 [5 favorites]


That painting is incredible. I will now spend a week studying it and laughing my ass off.
posted by TheCoug at 7:47 AM on January 15


"Vyvyan, where'd you get that howitzer?"
"Found it among the Cossacks."
posted by doctornemo at 1:01 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Whatever the source, now that is invective.
posted by y2karl at 1:17 PM on January 16


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