Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks

17 Oct

The Zaparozhye Cossacks Writing a Mocking Letter to the Turkish Sultan
*oil on canvas
*358 × 203 cm
*signed b.c.: И.Репин 1880-91


Sultan Mehmed IV to the Zaporozhian Cossacks:

As the Sultan; son of Muhammad; brother of the sun and moon; grandson and viceroy of God; ruler of the kingdoms of Macedonia, Babylon, Jerusalem, Upper and Lower Egypt; emperor of emperors; sovereign of sovereigns; extraordinary knight, never defeated; steadfast guardian of the tomb of Jesus Christ; trustee chosen by God Himself; the hope and comfort of Muslims; confounder and great defender of Christians – I command you, the Zaporogian Cossacks, to submit to me voluntarily and without any resistance, and to desist from troubling me with your attacks.

–Turkish Sultan Mehmed IV

The Cossacks’ reply came as a stream of invective and vulgar rhymes:

Zaporozhian Cossacks to the Turkish Sultan!

O sultan, Turkish devil and damned devil’s kith and kin, secretary to Lucifer himself. What the devil kind of knight are thou, that canst not slay a hedgehog with your naked arse? The devil shits, and your army eats. Thou shalt not, thou son of a whore, make subjects of Christian sons; we have no fear of your army, by land and by sea we will battle with thee, fuck thy mother.

Thou Babylonian scullion, Macedonian wheelwright, brewer of Jerusalem, goat-fucker of Alexandria, swineherd of Greater and Lesser Egypt, pig of Armenia, Podolian thief, catamite of Tartary, hangman of Kamyanets, and fool of all the world and underworld, an idiot before God, grandson of the Serpent, and the crick in our dick. Pig’s snout, mare’s arse, slaughterhouse cur, unchristened brow, screw thine own mother!

So the Zaporozhians declare, you lowlife. You won’t even be herding pigs for the Christians. Now we’ll conclude, for we don’t know the date and don’t own a calendar; the moon’s in the sky, the year with the Lord, the day’s the same over here as it is over there; for this kiss our arse!

– Koshovyi otaman Ivan Sirko, with the whole Zaporozhian Host.



9 responses to “Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks

  1. The Wolf With The Keyboard

    October 17, 2019 at 1:26 am

    Powerful stuff man!

    • Will S.

      October 17, 2019 at 1:27 am

      Oh yeah! 🙂

  2. Dave

    October 17, 2019 at 2:37 am

    The illiterate Cossacks have conscripted two monks to pen the letter for them. The monk on the right struggles to steady his hand and not laugh, while the one on the left is shocked to see such vile words laid down on paper.

    I doubt that the Sultan ever saw this letter — who would dare to deliver it?

    • Will S.

      October 17, 2019 at 3:05 am

      Cossacks, that’s who!

      μολὼν λαβέ

    • red

      October 18, 2019 at 6:32 am

      don’t forget, they were kin to Chinese Kossacks (Tartars) and Vikings, both of which had people allied or subjugated to the sultan. There would have been messengers and emissaries (both of which were considered holy, no matter their religion) from the sultan there. The Cossack’s’ own emissaries would have had a safe passage to and from Turkey, or the sultan would have been scorned by his own people. And, Cossack were pure brass. Something Poland found out the hard way.

  3. Name (required)

    October 20, 2019 at 11:09 pm

    The Yupik word for White folks is gussuk. It’s the closest they could come to Cossak.

    • Will S.

      October 21, 2019 at 12:08 am

      Amusing. 🙂


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