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Earl Morcar or Morkere

religion, moksha, customs, harold, especially and volga

MORCAR or MORKERE, EARL (ft. io66), earl of the Northumbrians, son of Earl Aelfgar, brother of Edwin, earl of the Mercians. He assisted the Northumbrians to expel Tostig, of the house of Godwin, in 1065 and was chosen earl by the rebels, an election which Tostig's brother, Harold, later accepted. In spite of the help which Harold afterwards gave them against Tostig and Harold Hardrada. the two brothers left him to fight alone at Hastings. After trying to secure the crown for their own house, they submitted to William, but lost their earldoms. They attempted unsuccessfully to raise the North in 1068. They were pardoned, but Morcar afterwards joined Hereward in the Isle of Ely (Io7I), and later died in prison.


E. A. Freeman, Norman Comuest vols. 2-4 and William Rufus, vol. i.

MORDVrNIANS, otherwise called MORDVA, MORDVS, or MORDVINS, a people numbering about one million, speaking a Finno-Ugrian language, who inhabit the middle Volga provinces of Russia and spread in small detached communities to the south and east of these. Their settlement in the basin of the Volga is of high antiquity. There are two dialects Erza and Moksha. The southern branch, or the Moksha, have a darker skin and darker eyes and hair than the northern. A third branch, the Karatays, found in Kazan, appears to be mixed with Tatars. The Mordvins have maintained a good deal of their old national dress, especially the women, whose profusely embroidered skirts, original hair-dress, large ear-rings which sometimes are merely hare-tails, and numerous necklaces covering all the chest and consisting of all possible ornaments, easily distinguish them from Russian women. They have mostly dark hair, blue eyes, generally small and rather narrow. They are generally roundish headed, finely built, rather tall and strong, and broad-chested. Their chief occupation is agriculture. They now manufacture wooden ware of various sorts. They are also masters of apiculture. They have

a considerable literature of popular songs and legends, some of them recounting the doings of a king Tushtyan who lived in the time of Ivan the Terrible. Nearly all are Christians; they re ceived baptism in the reign of Elizabeth, and the Nonconformists have made many proselytes among them. But they still preserve much of their own mythology, which they have adapted to the Christian religion. According to some authorities, they have preserved also, especially the less russified Moksha, the practice of kidnapping brides, with the usual battles between the party of the bridegroom and that of the family of the bride. The worship of trees, water (especially the water-divinity which favours marriage), the sun or Shkay, who is the chief divinity, the moon, the thunder and the frost, and of the home-divinity Kardaz serko still exists among them ; and a small stone altar or flat stone covering a small pit to receive the blood of slaughtered animals can be found in many houses. Their burial customs seem founded on ancestor-worship. On the fortieth day after death the dead per son is supposed to return home. One of his household represents him, and, coming from the grave, speaks in his name.

The language is treated of in Ahlquist's

Versuch einer Mokscha mordwinischen Grammatik nebst Texten and Worter-Verzeichniss (St. Petersburg, 1861), and their history, customs and religion by Smirnov (trans. by Boyer), "Les Populations finnoises de la Volga" (in Publications de l'ecole des langues orientales, vivantes, 1898) . Much valuable informatioh respecting customs, religion, language and folk-lore will be found in papers by Paasonen, Heikel, Ahlquist, Mainof and others printed in the Journal de la Societe Finno Ougrienne and the Finnisch-ugrische Forschungen.