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Superstitions and resources

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  • Jenne Heise
    I was checking into www.findarticles.com (searchable full text from 300 magazines & journals) to see if the SIG group might find it helpful [The answer is yes,
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 3, 2002
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      I was checking into www.findarticles.com (searchable full text from 300
      magazines & journals) to see if the SIG group might find it helpful [The
      answer is yes, the first article that comes up if you search for Medieval
      Russia is the History Today article from 1995 giving excerpts from
      recovered birchbark letters)

      And came across a review of _The Bathhouse at Midnight: A Historical
      Survey of Magic and Diviniation in Russia_ by W.F. Ryan. (University Park:
      Penn State University Press, 1999). The reviewers noted that the author
      did use ethnography but also worked from primary texts. So, I checked our
      library and we have it. It includes interesting snippets like this one
      about divination:

      "In Kiev Rus' this ambivalence is neatly illustrated by the juxtaposition
      in the _Russian Primary Chronicle_ for the year 1064 of a long and
      entirely creduluous digression on contemporary and historical portents of
      disaster (celestial phenomena, monstrous births, earthquakes, behavior of
      birds, etc. ) and a sermon under the year 1068 condemning as pagan the
      belief in divination by chance meetings, ill-omened encounters with a monk
      or a pig, or sneezing (all of which continued to be omens into modern
      times).
      It is worth remembering that most natural signs and omens recorded for
      Russia have exact counterparts in other parts of Europe, and many can be
      shown to have been known in classical antiquity, from which, by devious
      routes, they are probably derived."

      The syncrenous nature of the book means that readers will have to pay
      close attention to dates in the text and check the footnotes to see which
      are attested in period and which are from other times. The author also
      cites analogous cases attested in other cultures, so you'd have to check
      that a date in the text referrs to Russia and not elsewhere.

      --
      Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, mka Jennifer Heise jenne@...
      disclaimer: i speak for no-one and no-one speaks for me.
      "You're down as expendable. You don't get a weapon." Diana Wynne Jones
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