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11 May 2024

Extraordinary natural phenomena and their impact on the livelihoods of the population of Ukrainian lands in times of the Bohdan Khmelnytsky uprising (1648 – 1657)

Intermarum: istoriya, polityka, kulʹtura
Extraordinary natural phenomena and their impact on the livelihoods of the population of Ukrainian lands in times of the Bohdan Khmelnytsky uprising (1648 – 1657)

The purpose of the article is to summarize information about extraordinary natural phenomena that were recorded on Ukrainian lands during 1648 — 1657, and to clarify their impact on social and political activity, economy and worldview of the local population. The article identifies and analyzes reports in written sources about extraordinary natural phenomena on Ukrainian lands during the Bohdan Khmelnytsky Uprising 1648 — 1657, their periodicity and impact on the socio-economic life of the early modern agrarian society is clarified. Written information on the extent of damage and territories affected by natural disasters was found. The Bohdan Khmelnytsky Uprising took place against the background of the First Climatic Minimum of the Little Ice Age. The impact of extraordinary natural phenomena on a turbulent society that found itself in the conditions of war was particularly noticeable. During 1648 — 1657, on Ukrainian lands an extreme meteorological phenomena were recorded (dry spring of 1648, unstable winter of 1652 — 1653, severe winters of 1654 — 1655 and 1655 — 1656); extraordinary optical phenomena (the appearance of a comet and mysterious signs in the sky in 1647, the eclipse of the sun on August 2, 1654, as well as unconfirmed reports of the eclipse of the moon in 1648 and the eclipse of the sun in 1653); extraordinary hydrological phenomena (floods in Halychyna and Podillya in 1649, 1651, 1656); earthquake of 1650; annual invasions of locusts 1647 — 1652; epidemics of 1648, 1650, 1651, 1652, 1657. The influence of weather conditions on the course of battles and the course of the main campaigns of the Bohdan Khmelnytsky Uprising remains underestimated by scientists. The pattern of man’s perception of extraordinary natural phenomena in early modern period was expressed in the presence of irrational and rational approaches, which, we note, were not always mutually exclusive. Thus, the irrational approach is represented by the church and folk interpretation of a natural disaster, in particular, its nature. The latter, in particular, is characterized by great variability, a mystical worldview, and an appeal to archaic magical practices. In turn, the rational approach consists in attempts at a pre-scientific interpretation of the nature and patterns of the occurrence of cataclysms.

Source: Kompaniyets O. (2022). Extraordinary natural phenomena and their impact on the livelihoods of the population of Ukrainian lands in times of the Bohdan Khmelnytsky uprising (1648 – 1657). Intermarum: istoriya, polityka, kulʹtura. 11: 8-31

Source web-site: http://intermarum.zu.edu.ua/article/view/268122/263882

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