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BASHKIRS—BASIL

done. The bazaar is small, although a thriving trade is done with the mountain districts. Owing to the great elevation the winter is extremely severe, and the summer of short duration. Wheat, barley, millet and sesame are cultivated on the plain, but fruit and vegetables have mostly to be imported from Persia. Roads lead to Van, Urmia in Persia and Mosul through the Nestorian country. The Kurd and Nestorian tribes in the wilder parts of the Hakkiari Mountains are under slight government control, and are permitted to pay tribute and given self-government in a large degree.  (F. R. M.) 


BASHKIRS, a people inhabiting the Russian governments of Ufa, Orenburg, Perm and Samara, and parts of Vyatka, especially on the slopes and confines of the Ural, and in the neighbouring plains. They speak a Tatar language, but some authorities think that they are ethnically a Finnish tribe transformed by Tatar influence. The name Bashkir or Bash-kûrt appears for the first time in the beginning of the 10th century in the writings of Ibn-Foslan, who, describing his travels among the Volga-Bulgarians, mentions the Bashkirs as a warlike and idolatrous race. The name was not used by the people themselves in the 10th century, but is a mere nickname.

Of European writers, the first to mention the Bashkirs are Joannes de Plano Carpini (c. 1200-1260) and William of Rubruquis (1220-1293). These travellers, who fell in with them in the upper parts of the river Ural, call them Pascatir, and assert that they spoke at that time the same language as the Hungarians. Till the arrival of the Mongolians, about the middle of the 13th century, the Bashkirs were a strong and independent people and troublesome to their neighbours, the Bulgarians and Petchenegs. At the time of the downfall of the Kazan kingdom they were in a weak state. In 1556 they voluntarily recognized the supremacy of Russia, and, in consequence, the city of Ufa was founded to defend them from the Kirghiz, and they were subjected to a fur-tax. In 1676 they rebelled under a leader named Seit, and were with difficulty reduced; and again in 1707, under Aldar and Kûsyom, on account of ill-treatment by the Russian officials. Their third and last insurrection was in 1735, at the time of the foundation of Orenburg, and it lasted for six years. In 1786 they were freed from taxes; and in 1798 an irregular army was formed from among them. They are now divided into cantons and give little trouble, though some differences have arisen between them and the government about land questions. By mode of life the Bashkirs are divided into settled and nomadic. The former are engaged in agriculture, cattle-rearing and bee-keeping, and live without want. The nomadic portion is subdivided, according to the districts in which they wander, into those of the mountains and those of the steppes. Almost their sole occupation is the rearing of cattle; and they attend to that in a very negligent manner, not collecting a sufficient store of winter fodder for all their herds, but allowing part of them to perish. The Bashkirs are usually very poor, and in winter live partly on a kind of gruel called yûryu, and badly prepared cheese named skûrt. They are hospitable but suspicious, apt to plunder and to the last degree lazy. They have large heads, black hair, eyes narrow and flat, small foreheads, ears always sticking out and a swarthy skin. In general, they are strong and muscular, and able to endure all kinds of labour and privation. They profess Mahommedanism, but know little of its doctrines. Their intellectual development is low.

See J. P. Carpini, Liber Tartarorum, edited under the title Relations des Mongols ou Tartares, by d'Avezac (Paris, 1838); Gulielmus de Rubruquis, The Journey of William of Rubruck to the Eastern Parts of the World, translated by W. W. Rockhill (London, 1900); Semenoff, Slovar Ross. Imp., s.v.; Frahn, "De Baskiris," in Mém. de l'Acad. de St-Pétersbourg (1822); Florinsky, in Westnik Evropi (1874); Katarinskij, Dictionnaire Bashkir-Russe (1900).


BASHKIRTSEFF, MARIA CONSTANTINOVA [MARIE] (1860-1884), Russian artist and writer, was born at Gavrontsi in the government of Pultowa in Russia on the 23rd of November 1860. When Marie was seven years old, as her father (marshal of the nobility at Pultowa) and her mother were unable through incompatibility to live together, Madame Bashkirtseff with her little daughter left Russia to spend the winters at Nice or in Italy, and the summers at German watering-places. Marie acquired an education superior to that given to most girls of her rank. She could read Plato and Virgil in the original, and write four languages with almost equal facility. A gifted musician, she at first hoped to be a singer, and studied seriously in Italy to that end; her voice, however, was not strong enough to stand hard work and failed her. Meanwhile she was also learning to draw. When she lost her voice she devoted herself to painting, and in 1877 settled in Paris, where she worked steadily in Tony Robert-Fleury's studio. In 1880 she exhibited in the salon a portrait of a woman; in 1881 she exhibited the "Atelier Julian"; in 1882 "Jean et Jacques"; in 1884 the "Meeting," and a portrait in pastel of a lady—her cousin—now in the Luxembourg gallery, for which she was awarded a mention honorable. Her health, always delicate, could not endure the labour she imposed on herself in addition to the life of fashion in which she became involved as a result of her success as an artist, and she died of consumption on the 31st of October 1884, leaving a small series of works of remarkable promise. From her childhood Marie Bashkirtseff kept an autobiographical journal; but the editors of these brilliant confessions (Journal de Marie Bashkirtseff, 1890), aiming apparently at captivating the reader's interest by the girl's precocious gifts and by the names of the various distinguished persons with whom she came in contact, so treated certain portions as to draw down vehement protest. This, to some extent, has brought into question the stamp of truthfulness which constitutes the chief merit of this extraordinarily interesting book. A further instalment of Marie Bashkirtseff literature was published in the shape of letters between her and Guy de Maupassant, with whom she started a correspondence under a feigned name and without revealing her identity.

See Mathilde Blind, A Study of Marie Bashkirtseff (T. Fisher Unwin, 1892); The Journal of Marie Bashkirtseff: an Exposure and a Defence, by "S." (showing that there is throughout a mistake of four years in the date of the diary); Black and White, 6th Feb. and 11th April 1891, pp. 17, 304; The Journal of Marie Bashkirtseff, translated, with an Introduction, by Mathilde Blind (2 vols., London, 1890); The Letters of Marie Bashkirtseff (1 vol.).

 (B. K.) 


BASIL[1] known as Basil the Great (c. 330-379), bishop of Caesarea, a leading churchman in the 4th century, came of a famous family, which gave a number of distinguished supporters to the Church. His eldest sister, Macrina, was celebrated for her saintly life; his second brother was the famous Gregory of Nyssa; his youngest was Peter, bishop of Sebaste; and his eldest brother was the famous Christian jurist Naucratius. There was in the whole family a tendency to ecstatic emotion and enthusiastic piety, and it is worth noting that Cappadocia had already given to the Church men like Firmilian and Gregory Thaumaturgus. Basil was born about 330 at Caesarea in Cappadocia. While he was still a child, the family removed to Pontus; but he soon returned to Cappadocia to live with his mother's relations, and seems to have been brought up by his grandmother Macrina. Eager to learn, he went to Constantinople and spent four or five years there and at Athens, where he had Gregory (q.v.) of Nazianzus for a fellow-student. Both men were deeply influenced by Origen, and compiled the well-known anthology of his writings, known as Philocalia (edited by J. A. Robinson, Cambridge, 1893). It was at Athens that he seriously began to think of religion, and resolved to seek out the most famous hermit saints in Syria and Arabia, in order to learn from them how to attain to that enthusiastic piety in

  1. The name Basil also belongs to several other distinguished churchmen, (1) Basil, bishop of Ancyra from 336 to 360, a semi-Arian, highly favoured by the emperor Constantine, and a great polemical writer; none of his works are extant. (2) Basil of Seleucia (fl. 448-458), a bishop who shifted sides continually in the Eutychian controversy, and who wrote extensively; his works were published in Paris in 1622. (3) Basil of Ancyra, fl. 787; he opposed image-worship at the second council of Nicaea, but afterwards retracted. (4) Basil of Achrida, archbishop of Thessalonica about 1155; he was a stanch upholder of the claims of the Eastern Church against the widening supremacy of the papacy.