The Old Print Shop

Moral of the Russo-Turkish War.

  • ARTIST: Thomas Nast

  • PUBLISHER: Published by Harper's Weekly. July 13, 1878.

  • MEDIUM: Wood engraving,

    DATE: 1878.

  • EDITION SIZE: Image size 13 1/2 x 9 1/8" (34.3 x 23.2 cm).

  • DESCRIPTION: "Two men were traveling together, when a Bear suddenly met them on their path. One of them climbed up quickly into a tree, and concealed himself. The other, seeing that he must be attacked, fell flat on the ground, and when the Bear came up, and felt him with his snout, and smell him all over, he held his breath, and feigned the appearance of death as much as he could. The Bear left him, for it is said he will not touch a dead body. When he was gone, the other traveller [sic] descended from the tree, and accosting his friend, jocularly inquired what it was the Bear had whispered in his ear. He replied: 'He gave me this advice: Never travel with a friend who deserts you at the approach of danger.' - Aesop's Fables." <br><br> This cartoon likely references how Great Britain had come to Turkey's aid against Russia during the Crimean War, but abandoned them during the Russo-Turkish War several years later. Here Russia (depicted as the bear) has pinned a helpless Turkey to the ground. Britain, depicted through John Bull, hides in a tree with a sack full of money. The Turkish sword has been shattered and the soldier has lost a shoe. These likely symbolize how the Ottoman Empire was broken up after the war through the Treaty of San Stefano and the Treaty of Berlin.


  • CONDITION: Good condition, save some soft partial creasing in upper.