Title: Wild East and Wild West | Cossack Rivals of the Cowboys to be Seen in the Earl's Court Arena

Periodical: The Star

Date: May 31, 1892

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Cossack Rivals of the Cowboys to be Geen in the Earl's-court Arena.

There has always been an atmosphere of melodramatic romance surrounding the Cossack. A branch of the great Cossa[ck] family is immortalised in Byron's "Mazep[pa]," and it is a group of the descendants of the famous Mazeppa who have just reached the Horticultural Exhibition to perform in Buffalo Bill's arena from to-morrow onwards. Settling along the Kuban river as military colonists to defend the Russian frontier against the marauding tribes of the Caucasus, the qualities of horsemanship which made the name of Mazeppa and his warlike followers household words throughout Europe became still further developed with the following generations, and these Cossacks to-day, represented by the 10 fine specimens who have pitched their tents along with the cowboys and the Indians in the Wild West territory of Earl's-court, are the acknowledged

Even Buffalo Bill himself, proud as he is of his cowboys, was compelled to admit to a Star man that the Cossacks "will try them pretty 'high.' Prince Ivan Makharadze is in command of the 10 great strapping, black-bearded fellows from the Georgian village of Ozourgett. Every one of them is said to be of noble blood, and they certainly have the commanding figure and lofty bearing. Their good looks, together with the medals which several of them wear for coastguard service, remind one of Russia's suppression of the trade in Circassian beauties for the harems of Turkey, for which the coastguard were organised. The lovely slave girls, when rescued by the Cossacks, were married by their liberators, and perhaps for their good looks these fine fellows at Earl's-court are indebted to this circumstance. The ages of the members of the party range from 18 to 35. They wear
consisting of a long woollen garment of some shade of brown generally, fastened at the waist by a belt, from which are suspended dagger, sword, and sometimes a pistol. On either breast, fastened on to the cloth, is a row of 10 or 12 sockets, each of a size to hold a cartridge. A rifle is slung across the back, and a tall sheepskin or astrachan hat, finished off at the summit with a piece of colored cloth, completes the costume. The Star linguist talked in the Russian, Polish, and Stonecutterst. tongues without succeeding in keeping the conversation going, for they speak principally Georgian; but their translator arrived during the dialogue, and repeated the information the Prince imparted. He said they had never before been out of their own country, but they were now booked for six months at Earl's-court. The program would be something after this style. Entering on horseback, they would sing one of their national songs, and then dance the lizginka, which is a sort of
The various feats of horsemanship and sword exercises forming the remainder of the show include a game of horseback hunt the handkerchief. Among the break-neck evolutions for which the Cossacks are celebrated is that of setting their horses at full gallop and standing on the saddle and firing all round at an imaginary enemy; or throwing the body completely over to the right, with the left heel resting on their steed's hindquarter, and firing as if at an enemy in pursuit; or turning clean round and sitting astride facing the horse's tail, keeping up a rapid fire. Throwing hat and rifle to the ground, they will wheel and pick them up while the horse goes at full speed. Whether all these feats will be performed at Earl's-court is not yet certain. The fact is the Cossacks have not been able to bring their own horses, the Russian Government preventing even so limited an export of horses as that. But they will soon get accustomed to the mounts with which they have been provided, and the emulation between these new comers and the former occupants of the arena will put all performers on their mettle.

Title: Wild East and Wild West | Cossack Rivals of the Cowboys to be Seen in the Earl's Court Arena

Periodical: The Star

Source: McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody Collection, MS6, MS6.3778.042.01 (1892 London)

Date: May 31, 1892

Topics: Buffalo Bill's Wild West in Britain

Keywords: American Indians Caucasus Circassians Clothing and dress Cossacks Cowboys Equestrian accidents Ethnic costume Exhibitions Firearms Georgians (South Caucasians) Horsemanship Horsemen Horses Indians of North America Russian language Scrapbooks Translators Traveling exhibitions Weapons Wild horses

People: Byron, George Gordon Byron, Baron, 1788-1824 Mazepa, Ivan Stepanovych, 1639-1709

Places: Earl's Court (London, England) Kuban River (Georgia and Russia) London (England)

Sponsor: This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine W. & Robert J. Dellenback Foundation.

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