Zaporozhtsy, by Ilya Repin

Legend has it that around 1676 the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire sent an ultimatum to the Cossacks after they defeated his army and demanded that they commanded to his rule. It was probably the absurdity of the whole situation that prompted the Cossacs to write back to the Sultan mocking his own style, parodying Sultan’s countless titles, cracking one insulting joke after another, and declaring that ultimately they would not obey to his rule.

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