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(1889) [MARC] Author: Georg Brandes Translator: Samuel Coffin Eastman - Tema: Russia
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Even if the Russians of our day are not the
descendants of the races which in remote times ruled the
countries north of the Black Sea, they are at least their
heirs, and he who is much interested in modern Russia
gladly turns to the Greek and Roman authors for their
descriptions of these countries and their climates, and
for their accounts of the people and their manners and

What made the deepest impression upon the classical
authors is without doubt the cold, the eight months’
winter, which Herodotus describes (iv. 28), and which is
followed by a cool and rainy summer. That whole
arms of the sea and broad rivers are frozen, so that
people can drive and ride over them, is a terrible prodigy
to them. We read in Ovid: “They protect themselves
against the cold by skins and sewed trousers, and of
the whole form only the face is to be seen. The hair
often rattles from the ice which hangs on it, and the
beard shines with the frost which covers it. The wine
keeps the shape of the bottle, when the bottle is broken
in pieces, and they do not pour it out, but divide it up.
Why should I say that all the brooks are stiffened by
the cold and that they dig water out of the sea that they
can break into pieces? Even the Ister (Danube), which
is not less broad than the Nile, and which, through its

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