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Maksym Kryvonis
Died 1648
Place of death Lviv
Allegiance Zaporizhian Host
Years of service ?-1648
Rank Colonel
Battles/wars Khmelnytsky Uprising:
Battle of Pyliavtsi,
Battle of Korsuń,
Battle of Starokostiantyniv

Maksym Kryvonis (aka "Crooked-nose", or Perebyinis) (???? - 1648) was one of the Cossack leaders of Khmelnytsky Uprising. In the first stage of the uprising he was the leader of the most radical faction of the rebels who rejected all compromises with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and wanted to drive all Catholics and Jews out of Ukraine.


File:Contemporary woodcut of Kryvonis's likeness.jpg

Contemporary woodcut of Kryvonis's likeness (probably a Polish caricature) [1]

The question about his origins remains unresolved. Polish pamphlet published in 1648 states that he was a serf of the Nemyrych family [2] (a hypothesis favoured by Soviet historiography). However, a German source about a meeting with Kryvonis in 1648 says that he is of Scottish origin ("ein gebohrenen Schott")[3] In this case his real name may well have been not a nickname based on his crooked or broken nose, but a translation of his Scottish family name Cameron.

Khmelnytsky Uprising

Kryvonis was one of the most effective generals of the Uprising. He was awarded the rank of colonel of Cherkasy Regiment. His actions in Korsun and Pylyavtsi battles in 1648 led to crushing Cossack victories over the Polish armies. His actions against prince Jeremi Wiśniowiecki at Makhnivka and Starokostiantyniv were less successful.

Kryvonis earned a reputation among the Poles and Jews for wanton cruelty as the rebels under his leadership perpetrated serious atrocities.

Also there are different accounts of Kryvonis's demise: killed (shot) during the siege of Lviv, assassinated (poisoned) by Jesuits, killed by orders of Bohdan Khmelnytsky who loathed him, or perished of plague during the siege of Zamość in 1648.

In literature

Kryvonis (Polish: Maksym Krzywonos) was also a character in With Fire and Sword, a novel by Nobel-winning 19th century Polish author Henryk Sienkiewicz. In the 1999 movie based on the novel he was played by Maciej Kozłowski.


  1. Іван Крипякевич, ІСТОРІЯ УКРАЇНСЬКОГО ВІЙСЬКА, Видання Івана Тиктора, Львів, 1936
  2. Документы об освободительной войне украинского народа 1648-1654 г.г., Киев, Наукова Думка, 1965, p.70: "Nie gniewajac na siebie wlasnego dziedzica... cnego Niemierzyca" "Do not make your master, honorable Nemyrych, angry".
  3. Дмитро НАЛИВАЙКО "ОЧИМА ЗАХОДУ: Рецепція України в Західній Європі XI-XVIII ст.", КИЇВ — «Основи» — 1998, German anonymous pamphlet "On the new rebellion of Cossacks against Poland", 1649, possibly by polish general of German origin Christopher Houvaldt. D.Nalyvayko, however, is sceptical on the matter of Scottish origins of Kryvonis.

External links

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