This is the first volume of John Abercromby’s extensive study of Finnish magic songs and their background. First he details the history, ethnography and linguistics of the Finns, indeed, constructs a century-long history of the entire Finno-ugric group from the evolution of vocabulary. Finally in the last (long) chapter he gets to the first part of the exposition of the ‘magic songs.’ This is a summary of the various characters in the songs including a whole range of Finnish gods, goddesses, heroes, wizards, nature-spirits, and so on. He also goes into detail about Finnish Shamanistic practices, including drumming, trance ceremonies, and guide spirits. This book is a treasure trove of Finnish lore, and invites repeated browsings.
This is the second volume of Abercromby’s Magic Songs of the West Finns, which contains the core text here, a translation of Lönnrot’s Suomen Kansan muinaisia Loitsurunoja, ‘Bygone Magic Songs of the Finns.’ Lönnrot was the scholar who pieced together the Kalevala, the national epic of Finland.
Reminiscent of the Carmina Gadelica, the collection includes a wide variety of spells, formulae, prayers, and origin myths, all used on a regular basis by shamans, healers and peasants from ancient times in Finland. The songs include dozens of names of gods, goddesses, heroes, nature spirits, and weave them together using surreal and symbolic language. Although scholars could wish for better attribution of the source of each song, this collection is an incredible look into an archaic way of thought.–J.B. Hare, March 9th, 2010.
But the situation changed dramatically in 1891. The new Governor General of ‐ Moscow, the Grand Duke Sergey Alexandrovich* , an almighty man due to his position and dependent on no one due to his fortune, took the decision to expel all the Jewish craftsmen from Moscow, without any preliminary inquiry as to who was truly a craftsman and who pretended to be a craftsman. Whole neighbourhoods—Zariadie, Marina Roscha—were emptied of their inhabitants. It is estimated that as many as 20,000 Jews were expelled. They were allowed a maximum of six months to liquidate their property and organise their departure, and those who declared that they did not have the means to ensure their displacement were shipped in prison vans. (At the height of the expulsions and to control how they were executed, an American government commission—Colonel Weber, Dr. Kamster—went to Russia. The astonishing thing is that Sliosberg brought them to Moscow, where they investigated what was happening, how measures were applied to stem the “influx of Jews”, where they even visited the Butyrka prison incognito, where they were offered a few pairs of handcuffs, where they were given the photographs of people who had been sent in the vans… and the Russian police did not notice anything! (These were the “Krylov mores”**!) They visited again, for many more weeks, other Russian cities. The report of this commission was published in 1892 in the documents of the American Congress… to the greatest shame of Russia and to the liveliest relief of Jewish immigration to the United States.70 It is because of this harassment that Jewish financial circles, Baron de Rothschild in the lead, refused in 1892 to support Russian borrowing abroad.71 There had already been attempts in Europe in 1891 to stop the expulsion of the Jews from Moscow.
The American‐ Jewish banker Seligman, for example, went to the Vatican to ask the Pope to intercede with Alexander III and exhort him to more moderation.72 In 1891, “a part of the expelled Jews settled without permission in the suburbs of Moscow.” But in the fall of 1892, following the measures taken, an order was made to “expel from Moscow former soldiers of the retired contingent and members of their families not registered in the communities.”73 (It should be noted that in 1893 the large Russian commercial and industrial enterprises intervened to soften these measures.) Then, from 1899, there was almost no new registration of Jews in the first guild of Moscow merchants.74 In 1893 a new aggravation of the fate of the Jews arose: the Senate first noticed the existence of a bulletin issued by the Ministry of the Interior, in force since 1880 (the “Charter of Jewish Freedom”) which allowed Jews who had already established themselves outside the Pale of Settlement, illegally however, to remain where they were. This bulletin was repealed (except in Courland and Livonia where it was retained). The number of families who had settled over the last twelve years amounted to 70,000! Fortunately, thanks to Dournovo, “life saving articles were ‐ enacted which, in the end, prevented the immense catastrophe that threatened.”75 In 1893, “certain categories of Jews” were expelled in turn from Yalta, for the summer residence of the Imperial family was not far away, and they were forbidden any new settlement there: “The always increasing influx in the number of Jews in the city of Yalta, the appetite for real estate, threatens this holiday resort of becoming, purely and simply, a Jewish city.”76 (here could have been at play, after all the terrorist attacks in Russia, the security of the Imperial family in its residence in Livadia. Alexander III had every reason to believe—he was only one year away from his death—that he was cordially hated by the Jews. It is not possible to exclude as motive the idea of avenging the persecution of the Jews, as can be deduced by the choice of terrorist targets—Sipiagin, Plehve, Grand Duke Serge.) This did not prevent many Jews from remaining in the Yalta region—judging from what the inhabitants of Alushta wrote in 1909, complaining that the Jews, buyers of vineyards and orchards, “exploit ‘to foster their development’ the work of the local population,” taking advantage of the precarious situation of said population and granting loans “at exorbitant rates” which ruin the Tatars, inhabitants of the site.7
The Kishinev pogrom produced a devastating and indelible effect on the Jewish community in Russia. Jabotinsky: Kishinev traces “the boundary between two epochs, two psychologies.” The Jews of Russia have not only experienced deep sorrow, but, more profoundly so, “something which had almost made one forget the pain—and that was shame.”1 “If the carnage of Kishinev played a major role in the realisation of our situation, it was because we then realised that the Jews were cowards.”2 We have already mentioned the failure of the police and the awkwardness of the authorities—it was therefore natural that the Jews had asked themselves the question: should we continue to rely on the protection of public authorities? Why not create our own armed militias and defend ourselves weapons in hand? They were incited by a group of prominent public men and writers—Doubnov, Ahad Haam, Rovnitsky, Ben Ami, Bialik: “Brothers… cease weeping and begging for mercy. ‐ Do not expect any help from your enemies. Only rely on your own arms!”
2a :expression of high regard :respect
- bowed in homage to the king
—often used with pay
- Her work pays homage to women artists of the past.
b :something that shows respect or attests to the worth or influence of another
I do so love this place where I live, more than I am able to express.
Unfortunately, I’d need more lifetimes to study it at all adequately.
Fortunately, I do have some busy neighbours.
I dwell on the other side of this mountain, this is the Newport side.
Well, blow me down! Bing Maps has recently put up some new imagery of North Pembs, showing a winter landscape with a low sun.
In the centre of this image is the Cot Llwyd “roundhouse” — with a diameter of about 10m. It’s on the edge of the common, on the northern slope of Carningli. Generally this is assumed to be one of the better preserved of the Bronze age dwelling sites in this area. Grid ref: SN056380.
I have never seen this before, on other satellite images, but suddenly we can see that there is a much bigger circular structure, with the roundhouse in the middle. I estimate that the diameter of the big circle is about 70m. The shape is that of a reversed capital D — very strange. Maybe the planned circular feature was not completed, and was finished off later with a straight wall on its eastern flank? Was it a henge? There does not seem to be an associated ditch either outside or inside the wall or embankment.
I live on the dark green part, once owned by a Rev. Peter Richardson.
Every now and then I throw out some comment or other about one or other of the tors on Preseli, forgetting that not everybody is familiar with the local geography. Thanks to the wonders of Apple Maps, here is an annotated satellite image showing how the tors are related.
Below is another image — a closer zoom in on the Carn Meini tors. Enjoy! If you click on the images, you should be able to enlarge substantially.
The erratic assemblage here includes unspotted dolerites, foliated rhyolites, ignimbrites and quartz boulders. Some of the boulders are heavily weathered and have clearly been exposed for a very long time — others are quite fresh in appearance, having been dragged out of the ground by a JCB during a building project next to the track.
A truly holy place, I climbed it twice while on holiday in Wales, once in the daytime and once at night. The steady climb gets steep at the top, ending in a scramble to the summit. Just before the very top there’s an amazing circle of grass providing shelter from the prevailing wind… this must be where St Brynach slept. It’s a fantastic view, over there at the bottom of the mount is Newport, the river, the mudflats and the sea. Up the river there’s the Gwaun valley and right over there are the twin mounts (can’t remember what they’re called now) just near White Sands (nr. St Davids).
It’s very strange, almost eerie if it wasn’t so calming, a little like being in a beautiful cathedral. All is calm, which was the case also when I climbed it at night. The mists rose and nothing was visible, just a shining sea of moonlit cloud hanging in the valley below.
The holiest mountain I’ve climbed so far…
Most summer visitors to Pembrokeshire head for the beach, and with good reason. But take a look inland and you’ll see some easily accessible hills which are well worth a visit. One of these is Carn Ingli – its modest height of 346m belies the magnificent views you get from the summit, which take in much of the coast of north Pembrokeshire and on a clear day all of Cardigan Bay as far north as the hills of Snowdonia. Carn Ingli is easily accessed from the pretty Norman village of Newport and its wide, golden strand, Traeth Mawr. The hill is famed locally as being the home to Saint Brynach who is said to have communed with angels here – although it should be noted that the local hills are also known for their ‘magic mushrooms’. If you don’t fancy the long slog up from town you can drive onto Carn Ingli Common and park just a mile or so away from the summit, which is reached via an easy amble across open moorland. The peak itself is a jumble of frost shattered volcanic rocks and the remains of 2000-year-old Iron Age defensive ramparts and stone walls. Clamber across these to sit on the summit – you may not get into conversation with any angels but you’re pretty sure to agree the views are heavenly.
All around Carn-ingli hillfort, particularly on the lower hillslopes to the north and west, survives a rich and well-preserved landscape of old field boundaries, clearance cairns, round huts and farmsteads which represents one of the great surviving prehistoric landscapes of southern Britain, . Unploughed in recent centuries., but enclosed and improved along its northern fringes by historic fields radiating from Newport and Dinas Cross, an Aerial photography is a particularly powerful way to show the dense surviving remains of a prehistoric hillside as it was farmed and settled, probably dating to the Bronze and Iron Ages. Doctoral research by Alastair Pearson of the University of Portsmouth in the 1980s and 1990s suggested that many of these fields and worn trackways had their origins in the Bronze Age.