Podkabluchnik - who in Russia was called by this word?
Podkabluchnik - who in Russia was called by this word?

Royal amusements often result in difficult and sometimes dangerous work for those people who are forced to arrange these entertainments. So, with the spread of falconry, in the Middle Ages the profession of hunting bird catchers appeared. In order to get especially valuable gyrfalcon, these people made long journeys to the northern regions. In Russia they were called "pomytchiki falcons".

Falconry is a very ancient form of food production, which later turned into entertainment for the nobility. The first mentions of it can be found in the sources of ancient Assyria, they are already more than four thousand years old. In Russia, this fun has been known since pagan times, and the word "gyrfalcon" has been found since the 12th century, it is mentioned in the "Lay of Igor's Host." It was possible to hunt with almost any bird of prey, but it was the gyrfalcon - larger and dexterous, that were valued in Russia much higher than falcons. However, the area of ​​their distribution is the northern regions. Therefore, to catch chicks, the catchers made long journeys to the White Sea, to the polar regions of Siberia and the Kola Peninsula.

The endless fields of our country seem to have been created for falconry, therefore, almost all Russian tsars, starting from the Rurikovichs, were fond of this noble entertainment. There are many documents and evidence left, by which one can judge that great importance was attached to this fun. So, for example, there is a legend, partially supported by facts, telling about the falconer of Tsar Ivan III Tryphon. He allegedly missed a bird, especially valuable and beloved by the sovereign, and then miraculously found his falcon in the village of Naprudny and in gratitude built a white-stone church on this place. In the 1930s, the church was blown up, but one of its chapels survived and still adorns Trifonovskaya Street in Moscow. Despite the fact that this legend has many variations and some of which diverge, on the whole it reflects the level of fear and respect that ordinary people felt before the royal fun.

During the reign of Ivan IV, a special place was allocated for hunting with birds of prey - a huge forest on the north-eastern outskirts of the city. This area of ​​Moscow is still called Sokolniki. The first Romanovs were also known as passionate hunters. Mikhail Fedorovich, for example, even issued a decree on the right to confiscate the best dogs, birds and bears from people of any class, which in those days were sometimes kept on a chain near the house for the royal hunt. He first took his son, Alexei Mikhailovich, into the forest when he was only three years old. Of course, he also grew up to be an ardent fan of this entertainment. During his reign, it became a status event. By the way, another Moscow name is associated with the beloved royal fun. Alexey Mikhailovich knew all his best falcons and took care of them like children. Therefore, when, in front of his eyes, his beloved gyrfalcon Shiryai, having missed, crashed on the ground, the inconsolable sovereign ordered to name the field on which the tragic event took place Shiryaev. Many centuries later, Bolshaya and Malaya Shiryaevskaya streets appeared here.

It is clear that such a popular game required a massive influx of new birds. Falcons and gyrfalcons are not bred in captivity, all the tsar's favorites were caught or taken from their nests by little ones, brought, sometimes thousands of kilometers away, and then trained in hunting techniques.For these needs, a whole class of special serfs was created, which were called "falconers" (the original meaning of the word "push" is to train, to keep in captivity). Moreover, if the birds were really cared for in a royal manner, then the people who hunted and tamed them were themselves very reminiscent of forced animals. Their living conditions were much more difficult than those of ordinary peasants. So that they would not be lazy and concentrate on only one task, they were forbidden to have large land plots. The only source of livelihood for such families was bird catching. To catch the most valuable gyrfalcons, fishers made long, sometimes up to a year, trips to the North - along the Dvina River, to the Kola River and to Siberia.

Of course, the locals also got involved in this business, handing in a certain number of chicks, but the bulk of the work fell on the shoulders of professional catchers. So that they do not deceive the tsar, do not be lazy and do not sell the caught bird abroad, even under Mikhail Fedorovich in 1632 a decree was issued, ordering each of them to hand over 100-106 gyrfalcones to the court annually, “and if anyone is caught stealing, then he will be in great disgrace and execution. " These figures show the scale of this difficult work. In total, the royal court annually required hundreds of thousands of hunting birds, because besides their own needs, the tsars always used them as gifts for boyars, courtiers, foreign sovereigns and ambassadors. Such a gift has always meant a special royal favor.

After the birds were caught, they had to be delivered to Moscow. This stage of extraction was probably more difficult than fishing itself, since the long journey along the loose roads sometimes stretched for many months. Young birds were transported in special carts or boxes, upholstered from the inside with felt or matting. Thanks to special tsarist charters, this "special cargo" was allowed through at all outposts and was provided with food. To prevent the scavengers from replacing the birds along the way, a detailed description was compiled for each individual. At the end of the difficult journey, the birds were waiting for truly royal conditions of existence, but the serfs who risked their heads because of them on difficult expeditions were often awarded with batogs if part of the gyrfalcons died on the way. For them, it also meant hunger for the whole family.

In Moscow, two special towers were built for birds - krechatni. One of them in Kolomenskoye has survived to this day. In winter, the krechatnyi were heated, next to them, hundreds of thousands of pigeons were bred to feed the tsar's favorites. Pigeons, by the way, in those days were part of the peasant rent. Gyrfalcons lived their entire lives, absolutely not needing anything. Here training began for the young brought birds. At first, the gyrfalcons were taught to sit under a hood - a special cap that covers their eyes. It is believed that the birds accustomed to obedience were then called "podkobuchnik". Later, when the word "klobuk" went out of use, it was replaced by the consonant "heel" and they began to call so men who obey their wife.

Falconry was popular among our tsars up to Alexander III, who is considered the last august admirer of this game in Russia. Today this art is a very rare hobby of individual enthusiasts, although, as in ancient times, there are individual amateurs who can pay a lot of money for such an exotic entertainment.

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