A history of the peoples of siberia by James Forsyth

By James Forsyth

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In other encounters recorded in S. Remezov's Chronicle (c. 1700) the Russians are helped by St Nicholas, by the banner of Christ and by the apparition of Christ himself. 11 Official Communist Party history maintains 10 11 EntsiJdopedidreslriy slovar, vol. XXlX, p. 798. , vol. I, pp. IQ-I1. 32 SIBERIA INV ADED the same attitude to Yermak: he was 'a man of heroic power, bold, courageous, well-versed in the art of war';Z and his expedition eams especial praise because ostensibly it was carried out not by government troops but 'by men thrown up by the common people - Don and Volga Cossacks led by Yennak, who liberated the Khantys, Mansis, Bashkirs, West Siberian Tatars (lUld others from the yoke of Chingis Khan's descendants ..

From these towns the khan and his mjrzas ruled their subjects not only the Tatars, but also the local Bashkirs, Mansis, Khantys and Selkups - from whom they extorted tribute, known by the Turkic name yasak, in the form of furs and other forest products. The economic importance of Sibir was considerable enough to make it not only a bone of contention between rival khans, but also an enticement to the Russians. Its importance was particularly enhanced by its location on a long-established caravan route linking Kazan with Central Asia by way of Perm, ChimgiTura, the Irtysh, and the Kipchak steppe.

Sokolova, PuushestlJiye v Yllgru, Moscow, 1982, pp. 52-3; Yazyki narodov SSSR, voL rn, pp. 316-21, 359. ·the mountain slopes or towards the sea-shore. Only in the southern part of their range was it possible for the Mansis to carry on agriculture, growing mainly barley and keeping cattle and horses. In this region of mixed forest, ·bee husbandry was also an important part of the economy. Hives ofwild bees in trees would be located and marked with the family symbol, and the ·honeycombs later harvested to be stored in wooden vessels for the winter.

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