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Alexander Howard
1418433.  Thu Sep 15, 2022 7:59 am Reply with quote

Random facts about the Urals bleak, empty, untamed, loveless and barbarous, I feel an affinity with mountains that are also like that, even though I have never seen them nor ever shall.

The Bulgarian and Hungarian peoples have their origin in the Urals. The Hungarian language is classed as 'Uralic', as is Finnish, but not Bulgarian.

Aleksander Sochaczewski, created a harrowing painting (Farewell to Europe) showing a trail of exiles driven through the Ural Mountains in the snow, passing a pillar which marked the end of Europe and the beginning of Siberia. I don't know that any such pillar exists today.

Classical writers wrote of the Riphaean Mountains as marking the uttermost end of the world, later the end of Europe: originally the mountains were probably allegorical but they came to be assumed as an actual geographical feature - perhaps the Urals. In the Middle Ages though some writers applied the name of the Riphaean Mountains to mountains forming a long ridge separating Norway from Sweden. (Which of these was considered beyond the limits of the civilised world, the reader may imagine.)

In Orosius (which I have only read in Old English translation) the eastern boundary of Europe is given as the River Don and the 'Riffeng' Mountains, and these have been taken to mean the Urals. The book says that the border of Europe and Asia is the Don, which begins in the Riffeng mountains in fact its source is in the Central Russian Uplands. The geography of the untamed lands of what became Russia was very generalised.

There is no actual border between Europe and Asia and only convention of convenience denotes the border running through the Ural Mountains and then down the Ural River. It makes for a telling painting though.

The River Ural used to be called the River Yaik - even Mongolian records call it that - but was renamed for political reasons. A disparate band of Cossacks settled here to farm and defend the border region, known as the Yaik Cossacks. In 1773 they rebelled and so Catherine the Great dispensed the band and blotted out their name by renaming the river and the reformed Cossack host settled there.

1418436.  Thu Sep 15, 2022 9:28 am Reply with quote

Welllll... The Ural Mountains are the leftovers of the Uralian orogeny when the continent of Kazakhstania hit Laurasia in the late Carboniferous/ early Triassic, so there is a case to be made that they do form a legit border between Europe and Asia. Once you get down to the former river Yaik and into the Caucasus things very quickly become fishy, though.



1418703.  Tue Sep 20, 2022 3:31 am Reply with quote

Nothing between 'ere and the Urals!


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