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News

Sholokhov Museum Opens the Exhibition “The Sovereign’s Guards”

16.05.2016

On May 28, 2016, one of the days of celebration the 111st anniversary of M.A.Sholokhov, the Excursion and Exhibition Centre “People’s House” opens the exhibition “The Sovereign’s Guards” from the collections of the State Museum-Reserve of War History and Nature “Kulikovo Pole”.

In the XVI–XVII centuries, the years of the struggle of the Russian State against numerous invasions of the Crimean and Nogai Tatars, in the southern outskirts of Russia there was founded a town of Yepifan. Together with other fortified places this town played an important role in defending the State borders. Yepifan and the adjacent territories were located on the way of Tatar invasions, and in the XVI–early XVII centuries they were often attacked and ruined. In the years of 1571, 1592, 1634–1635, the raids were especially devastating.

Yepifan was defended by military servitors recruited by Prince Mstislavsky, who gave them land and money for their military service. In 1572, the Government settled Cossacks around Yepifan. There were formed eight settlements which later became big and small villages. Cossacks were recruited from different groups of personally free inhabitants: townsfolk and peasants. The most part of life Cossacks served guards in campaigns in Dikoye Pole. That is why their everyday life bore clearly pronounced military features with the steed playing an important role in the life of Cossacks.

The environmental conditions of the Yepifan region, the River Don and its numerous tributaries rich in fish contributed to development of agriculture and fisheries. Different crafts most important for the farm husbandry were woodworking, bone carving, spinning, weaving and manufacturing of pottery household utensils. Almost all the necessary things were made by the folks.

A special place in spiritual life of the locals was occupied by Orthodox Church. Already in the 70s of the XVI century there appeared churches in Yepifan and in Cossack settlements. Children’s clay toys of that time reveal one of the aspects of the peaceful life of ordinary residents of Yepifan and its neighbourhood.

The life of Yepifan and its surroundings in the XVI–XVII centuries went under the conditions of incessant enemy raids with short periods of peaceful life and labour.

The exhibition will display the results of archaeological investigations of Yepifan which were carried out in 1983–1998 by the Upper Don archaeological

expedition of the State Historical Museum and the Tula archaeological expedition of the State Museum-Reserve “Kulikovo Pole”. The exhibition will help to learn more about the peculiarities of performing the guards’ duties at the early stage of Cossacks in Russia.

It will be particularly interesting for the visitors to compare the peculiarities of performing military service and of Cossacks’ everyday life in the regions distant from each other – the Rostov and the Tula regions, to see a common aspiration of Cossacks to serve at the borders of the Country and to be permanently ready to defeat the enemy’s attacks.

The exhibition will run till September 4, 2016.

Irina Panchenko