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© Copyright
© Copyright
© Copyright

2013, canvas, oil, 100 X 75 cm.

2013, canvas, oil, 100 X 80 cm. 

Ivan Sulyma


Ivan Sulyma was hetman of the unregistered Zaporozhian Cossacks (1628–9, 1630–5). He descended from the Sulyma family of petty gentry in Chernihiv, who kept their own coat of arms. For quite some time, Ivan had served as an estate manager for the Żółkiewskis and Daniłowiczes near Boryspil. Having witnessed how magnates oppressed their subjects, Sulyma decided to join the Cossack Sich. In 1628 he was elected kish otaman for the first time. Together with the Zaporozhian Cossacks, he became famous for their military expeditions against the Turks and Tatars. During their first seagoing expedition, Samiilo Kishka, a member of Ivan Sulyma’s army, distinguished himself in battle, while kish otaman Sulyma, who got captured by the Turks, managed to escape his captors.

In the summer of 1635, Ivan Sulyma led the Zaporozhian Cossacks on an expedition to volosti (crown administered land holdings). In the night on August 12, his Cossacks successfully stormed and captured the fortress at Kodak, completely destroying the crown garrison. Afterwards, the Cossacks proceeded to Kremenchuk and Krylov, where Sulyma issued universals (political resolutions), calling on the population to rise up against the Polish oppressors. In response, crown agents Adam Kysil and Łukasz Żółkiewski sent troops of registered Cossacks to put down the rebellion. Outnumbered by their opponents, the rebels had defended themselves for several months, on one of the Dniprovian islands.

On 12 December 1635, registered Cossacks captured Ivan Sulyma and handed him over to the Poles. Following the Diet’s decision, Hetman Sulyma and several of his companions were executed in a central square in Warsaw.


History of the Ivan Sulyma portrait

No portrait of Ivan Sulyma, created during his life, has survived to date. At the same time, a family member was later depicted among the representatives of the Cossack elite in the icon “The Protection of the Mother of God.” Artists took advantage of this opportunity to create an image of one representative member of this famous family, based on the existing image of another.

Translated from Ukrainian by Iryna Fedoriw

English language editing by Ksenia Maryniak

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