This image shows Peresvet and Osliabia, two monk-warriors from the Trinity Monastery of Saint Sergius, the spiritual center of Russian Orthodoxy near Moscow. Each carries a morning star, a medieval weapon and symbol of God’s power that gained currency again in the First World War.
The page is the first of a sequence of images in which Goncharova summons forth religious figures in order to declare the triumphant faith and pious justness of the Russian cause in the current war. Peresvet and Osliabia were “well trained in military affairs and could command the army regiments; they also had strength and boldness, and courage.” They fought the Tatars in the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380 and became venerated models of patriotism, inspiring everyone to arm themselves with bludgeons to defend the holy Russian soil.
monks; warriors; horses
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