HOMINOLOGY OF THE BALKAN PENINSULA
By Dmitri Bayanov, Moscow Russia March 2010
Chris Murphy received the following message from Lloyd Pye and forwarded it to me:
"Recently a fan from Serbia named Goran Z. Milic sent me an incredible piece of new information in this field. It is a direct quote from a very old Serbian school textbook designed for the 3rd and 4th grades of primary schools across Serbia. It was printed in 1898, 53 years before Eric Shipton photographed the famous string of yeti tracks across the Menlung Glacier in the Himalyas in 1951, which put such creatures into the modern consciousness. Until that point they were known only by the people who lived in the specific regions where hominoids lived, as was the case in Serbia. Here is the quote using Goran's translation:"There are also people that don't live in houses, nor do they know what houses are. They live in holes and caves, usually hidden. These people walk naked, and their bodies are covered with long hair. They don't know anything about clothing. They eat fruits, or raw animal meat that they hunt. They care about food only when they are hungry. If they have any extra food, they don't save it for some other time, because they don't seem to be aware that they will be hungry again."
Relative to that last line, I would suggest they don't worry because the deep forests and jungles where they live are a literal cornucoia of food if you know how to recognize it and utilize it. Why eat leftovers when you don't have to? But in general, this is an astonishingly accurate description of how all four groups of hominoids live around the world, including the "pygmy" types that live in the band of jungles around the equator, best exemplified recently by the discovery of the "Hobbits" of Flores Island in Indonesia."
I in turn shared this with John Morley who came back with:
"Dmitri,This is most fascinating! I am curious as to the source of the material by the author of the book? Were first hand accounts involved, or did the words result from work or writings of someone else? How is it that in 1898 this knowledge was known to these people, and who were the ones who knew it?"
Wish I could answer these questions. Yes, it's fascinating and marvelous that in 1898 the 3rd and 4th graders of primary schools were taught knowledge which is unknown to most scientists today, in the year 2010.
I then began thinking about the country -- Serbia -- where this knowledge was propounded, and more generally about the Balkan Peninsula, in the South-East of Europe, of which Serbia is a part. Another country of the Balkan Peninsula is Greece, and the specific role of Greece in hominology is in providing us with a lot of most valuable antique material. After I was introduced to hominology and underwent a process of demythologizing regarding a number of mythical names and creatures, the names of pan, silenus, satyr, and nymph were among them. Those were names that ancient Greeks gave to their homins whom they worshiped as gods and semi-gods, that is lords of nature. I recall that when this knowledge was acquired by me, I paid several visits to the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum in Moscow, one of the world's richest, and watched, with quite different eyes and keenest interest, ancient sculptures and pictures of satyrs, feeling pity for other museum visitors who didn't know what I knew.
We know of satyrs not only from sculptors and painters but also from the ancient author Plutarch who wrote of a satyr that was taken asleep by the soldiers of the Roman general Sulla in 86 B.C., in the area of what is now Albania, another country of the Balkan Peninsula, neighboring upon Serbia. Plutarch describes the captive "exactly such as statuaries and painters represent to us", and continues: "He was brought to Sulla, and interrogated in many languages who he was; but he uttered nothing intelligible; his accent being harsh and inarticulate, something between the neighing of a horse and the bleating of a goat. Sulla was shocked with his appearance and ordered him to be taken out of his presence."
The instant repulsive reaction of the general at the sight of a non-sapiens hominid gives a hint regarding the future torturous path of hominology toward scientific acceptance and recognition. And as to the satyr's harsh and inarticulate accent, there was a time when I believed that was proof of his lack of linguistic ability. Today, aware of Janice Carter's description of speaking bigfoots, I am not sure of that at all. According to her, a speaking bigfoot would not be immediatly recognized by a stranger as using language. She wrote: "They do talk deep in their chest and it does not sound like human speech... Most of the time when they speak any given word it comes out in a long drawn out word or that of several words run together.This is especially true if they are yelling at you from off away from you somewhere. If they are near, they talk in voices that sound like a chatter, and it is rapid and deep and gurgled." "Anyway, what I would call their own unique language would not be considered a language at all but an inarticulate one. It consists of screams, howls, chirps, whistles, clicks and clucks of the tongue and throat".
Scott Nelson, who supports Janice's claim of speaking bigfoots, wrote that "though the creatures are speaking in language by the human definition of it, they are also making sounds that I don't believe humans can make... Many utterances are in frequencies that are beyond the ability of humans. (...) these voices are very different than any human voices that I have ever studied." So the satyr's inability to explain to his captors who he was does not necessarily mean he was as dumb as a fish.
What became of satyrs and the ilk in the next historic epoch, namely the Middle Ages? With the advent of Christianity, all heathen cults and beliefs were condemned by the Church, and heathen gods and semi-gods were declared to be demons. Christianity won the day initially in the cities, while in villages and the countryside heathen cults went on to be observed clandestinely throughout later history.That is a theological and demonological aspect of the matter. Another aspect is that of natural history, and in this respect non-sapiens hominids became known as "wild men". Historical records of them in medieval Europe are very abundant. A lot of them are presented in Richard Bernheimer's famous book "Wild Men in the Middle Ages",1952. In its first chapter, with the heading "The Natural History of the Wild Man", we read the following:
"About the wild man's habitat and manner of life, medieval authorities are articulate and communicative. It was agreed that he shunned human contact, settling, if possible, in the most remote and inaccessible parts of the forest, and making his bed in crevices, caves, or the deep shadow of overhanging branches. In this remote and lonely sylvan home he eked out a living without benefit of metallurgy or even the simplest agricultural lore, reduced to the plain fare of berries and acorns or the raw flesh of animals. (...) In many ways his life resembled that which we now attribute to the raw beginnings of human cultural existence in the Stone Age"(pp.9,10).
If after that you wonder why hominology is still a Cinderella in the world of science, you should read the first sentence in Bernheimer's Preface to his book where he explains that he tells "the case of the imaginary figure to which this book is devoted..."(My italics. -- DB). The author thus informs the reader in advance that the wild men of the Middle Ages are imaginary figures and his monumental, richly illustrated, volume of 224 pages deals with nothing but figments of the mind.
So let's return to the Balkan Peninsula and follow the fate of "imaginary figures" in modern times. In 1984, Western Publishers, Calgary, put out the book "The Sasquatch and other Unknown Hominoids", compiled and edited by Dr.Vladimir Markotic and Dr.Grover Krantz. It contains contributions by authors from different countries, including one from Croatia, bordering on Serbia, both being parts of former Yugoslavia in the Balkan Peninsula. The author presents and discusses Croatian folk tales on the subject of our interest. As folklore is a pillar of hominology, I re-typed the article (with some omissions) for benefit of those who do not have the book, added bold type to words and sentences of special interest and inserted my remarks in italics in brackets.
CREATURES FROM THE BILOGORA IN NORTHERN CROATIA
A considerable number of old stories and legends from the region of Bjelovar in Northern Croatia tell about creatures that possess supernatural abilities or differ physically from people. (...) The present writer has collected stories about them for many years. Leaving aside a number of these stories, for the present we shall pay attention to the stories about Vedi and Woodland Lasses. The stories about these creatures are so realistic and vivid that their very existence in the near past should not be completely doubted.
Once a vast range of woodland covered the territory between the Bilogora mountains and Kalinovac and Ferdinandovac near Drava River. Various kinds of wild animals, as well as some strange man-like creatures lived there. People from the region called them Vedi. (Notes at the end of the article which I inserted here: Ved may be related to "wood" in English and similar words in other Germanic and in the Celtic language, and the root in the proto-Indoeuropean languages is believed to be widhu (Klein 1971:804, 8310. (...) Thus Ved could have originally meant "forest man". My note: Vedi is the Croatian plural from the singular Ved. -- DB ).
Vedi were very tall male creatures, higher than houses (Notes: Some of the inhabitants of the region think that Vedi were not all that tall because houses were very small at this time). Their bodies were very much like man's, except for being covered with hair. When they talked or sang, one could hear them from afar. They were very strong -- they could pluck out whole trees by their roots, and carry heavy loads. They could even raise a storm with their breath -- they had very strange chests (perhaps, barrel-like?). It seems that Vedi wore clothes but very poor ones if one judges according to the saying, "Ragged as a Ved!" which is heard rather often in the region even today. (Parallels elsewhere: "Demons can wear clothes, given by humans or stolen from them. The clothes are usually old, tattered, and worn inside-out" Bigfoot Research: The Russian Vision, 2007, p.48; according to Janice Carter, bigfoot Fox sported a T-shirt of the largest possible size, bought for him by her grandfather Robert Carter. The bigfoot wore it until it turned into rags, then he continued to wear its collar round his neck).
They were living in groups, and in their own settlements in dark woods. What those settlements looked like and how big their houses were, we do not know, but they must have been very large because in certain clearings large bricks were found. (Notes: Petar Zrinski (...) correctly assumes that the bricks in question were from Roman ruins, i.e., Roman buildings that were abundant along the road leading from Petovio or Petavione to Mursa. My note: So these bricks had no connection with Vedi. -- DB).
There were good and evil Vedi. Evil or wicked Vedi did not associate with people. They remained in the woods, and that is why they were also called "woodland Vedi." They did not kill people, but if they found a young man in the woods, they would take him to their houses, and keep him as a slave there for some time. They would very often maltreat him, but then they would let him go home starved and exhausted.
Good Vedi used to come near people and even helped them. There was almost no household without a Ved. He was so loyal to his master that he would do all kinds of mischief to the neighboring household and their Ved -- such as scatter cattle in the pasture, move a beam of the roof of a stable or a house so that the roof would incline or even collapse.
The following is one of these stories:
There was a man who had his Ved and this Ved always helped him around the house. He had a cherry tree in the garden which bore him a lot of fruit. Once, up there on its top branches, he saw the most beautiful and the reddest cherries of them all, but was not able to reach them. The man called his Ved and told him to bend the top down so he could pick them. The Ved bent the top branches down, and his master started to pick and eat the cherries. However, as the man was eating, the neighboring Ved started to poke fun at his Ved, who suddenly jumped over the fence and started after him. The man was holding fast to the top of the tree, and as the Ved let it go, the tree sprang back to its upright position, dragged the man up, and up it threw him, up into the air, so he never returned back to the earth.
(This humorous and fabulous tale, cooked up of factual ingredients, gives an idea how tall, strong and athletic Vedi were. We have numerous stories from folklore and witnesses in Europe, America, and Australia of homins associating with humans in a friendly way. "Brownie, in the folklore of Scotland, a goblin of the most obliging kind. He was never seen, but was only known by the good deeds which he did. He usually attached himself to some farmhouse in the country, and he was only noted by the voluntary labor which he performed during the night." The Everyman's Encyclopedia, 1913. There are stories in Russian folklore of homins interacting with and helping hunters, fishermen, and shepherds. Also tales of homins, attached to neighboring farmhouses, quarreling and fighting among themselves. Peasants said that when domovoys (Russian brownies) are fighting, it is necessary to cry: "Hey, our own, beat that stranger!" In her book, Janice presents a vivid picture of fighting bigfoots, as well as an incident when Fox saved his good friend Robert Carter from being gored by an angry bull. The whole of the Carter Farm story is an illustration of the homin-human interactions mentioned in this article by the Croatian author. Or rather vice versa, this articles is an illustration of the Carter Farm story. Similar cases regarding North America are to be found in my work "Learning from Folklore". As for Australia, Tony Healy and Paul Cropper tell us of a Yowie's "working relationship" with a group of Aborigines: "Even more remarkable were their accounts of an apparently unique, amicable relationship that once existed between the Goodjingburra and one particular Hairy Man. When the relationship began is unclear, but it supposedly continued even after white people began to settle on the peninsula in the mid-1900s. (...) Up until the early 1900s the Goodjingburra would travel up towards the mountains at different times of the year, 'but instead of carting all their gear, fishing spears etc, they'd leave it here in one of the caves and the Hairy Man used to look after the stuff. I'm not sure if it could actually talk, but it could communicate.'" The Yowie, 2006, pp.78,79).
Vedi used to be good and useful to their masters, but evil and harmful to the others. When something evil happened, a host would find a neighboring Ved guilty although the harm could have been done by another man or perhaps bad weather.
If a storm, flood, or some other disaster were expected, people would pray even in church, "Oh Lord, let our Vedi help us!" or "Beloved Lord, let our Vedi help us, and protect us from their Vedi!"(Remarkable example of remnants of heathen beliefs. Note the words "supernatural abilities" in the beginning of this article. It was not for nothing that wild men were once believed to be gods and semi-gods). Veri soon after this kind of prayers, Vedi would come and help. It is still not explained whether they came flying or running. It must have been that they only ran, if one judges according to the saying "He came running as quickly as a Ved!". (Let us note again that homin characteristics are "fossilized" in popular sayings and proverbs, which are a good source of evidence).
Although it is thought by the people of the mentioned region that Vedi were males, some of the reporting people, while talking about Vedi, used adjectives and other expressions that indicate the possibility of there being also female Vedi. (...)
However, it is not impossible that some of the characteristics of Vedi were not spread over to "woodland lasses." Woodland lasses were said to be living in those woods at the same time as Vedi (...)
Vedi had their names too. Some of them had the same names as the fields and meadows, as for example Miklici, Pastacki, Busica, and such. (I am still greatly fascinated by Janice saying her bigfoots have their own and rather poetic names).
It is even said that some of the families were named after their Vedi. The case in question is the family name Patacki, which is rather frequent in the region. (Bernheimer notes a similar phenomenon regarding medieval wild men).
In spite of their height and great strength, it is believed that Vedi were not immortal like fairies, gnomes and other creatures from the woods. They died, but how and why we do not know. People came to this conclusion because they found skeletons of creatures with leg bones longer than 70 to 80 cm. (In the Caucasus, a hundred years ago, village boys hiked in the mountains and found "huge bones" in a cave. When they returned to the village and told the elders about the find, the following dialogue took place between the boys and the elders: "And the upper leg bone was how long?" -- Teddua marked two feet on the floor. -- "And the lower one?" -- He added another two. -- "I think," Miriani said, "you found the place where the Giants came home to die." -- "Were they men?" -- "Yes," Miriani said, "different from us, but men" . In the Footsteps of the Russian Snowman, 1996, pp.44,45. North Americans, don't think that your Bigfoots are the only giants on earth!)
While ploughing, a man even found a "cemetery of Vedi." Dead bodies were buried in a very strange way -- two large skeletons facing each other were found in big hollow tree trunks. (Origin of wooden coffins?)
The last information about Vedi date back to the middle 19th century. Gradually, they started to leave people, fields and meadows, and retreated into the woods. At the end of the century Vedi were scarcely mentioned. They would appear here and there, someone would talk to his ex-Ved, but this grew rare. Something even more strange happened. Vedi became invisible during the day or remained visible only to certain people, under what conditions it is not known.(I find information in this paragraph more subjective than accurate) (...)
According to some old people's stories, Solo lived with Vedi until his last days. He went to the woods to meet them, and they also visited him and helped him with his work, but nobody saw them .
Vedi gradually became visible only at night. The number of people who could see them grew less, and even their names faded away in human memory, until they became legendary creatures:
Once in Palanci, there lived a man who always kept company with Vedi. Whatever they would do, he would do also. If they went somewhere to fight, he went with them. They would fight during the night. But before they left, they would go to one of the village stables to take the best horses and ride away. They would fight and ride all night long, and in the morning they would return the horses to the stable from which they took them. However, those horses were so very tired and all covered with foam in the morning, so that they were of no use in the fields. People cursed the man and his Vedi but nothing helped. He went around with Vedi until his death. (Cases of homins riding horses, and with the effect mentioned above, are recorded in folklore and by witnesses in Russia, but not in America yet; braiding of horse manes is reported both in Russia and America).
During the First World War, the stories about Vedi were very much alive. There were a lot of lonely women whose husbands were fighting in the war, and who were running their farms by themselves. People gathered to dance, eat and drink in their houses during the nights. (...) When a girl or a woman would like to leave the company late at night, one of the group would immediately start telling stories about Vedi who roam around and scare people to death.(Familiar stories and bogies around the world). After such a story no one would dare leave the party before dawn.
After the First World War, about 1920, mothers used to scare their restless children "Beware, if you are not good I'll give you to Vedi!" (Also ubiquitous adults' ploy of very old origin, not "about 1920". Some of the author's conclusions seem hasty and unjustified).
After the Second World War the stories about Vedi almost died out. Only an old man or woman would remember them.
Woodland Lasses (sumske dekle) lived in the Bilogora region also, but they differed somewhat from Vedi. There are still a lot of stories about Woodland Lasses in Bilogora, especially in the area of Novigrad, St. Ana and Ferdinandovac. Among stories that are being told, here are the most interesting ones: "In the woods of Bilogora, Kalinovac, Kalinovacki konaci and Virje there lived woodland lasses. In some villages of the area people used to call them 'wild lasses.'"
They were somewhat lower than humans (?), but in every other way they were very much like women. Their bodies were covered with long, thick hair. Their faces were not very hairy, so one could clearly distinguish eyes, mouth and nose. Their hands (arms? -- DB) were longer and stronger than those of humans, they could run very quickly, and in general, they were very strong.
They did not wear clothes. They were never heard to talk to people or to each other, so nothing is known about their language. What is known is that they were heard shrieking in the woods. When they were hungry they squeaked and screamed.
They would leave the woods with the first fogs on the meadows, and approach abandoned shepherds' fires to warm themselves.(Same thing in Russian folklore).
They avoided people because they were very timid, but some instances were known when they visited houses. It is told that they even entered courtyards when very hungry. Housewives used to leave them some food in a corner of the yard."They were grateful for every morsel, and showed their thanks to the housewife usually by sweeping the courtyard, working in the stable, bringing fire-wood, and helping in other ways." (...)
"It was a very cold winter. My brother and I were sleeping in the stable. Once, during the night, I woke up and felt that someone was between us. I touched it, and as it was hairy and warm as a human, I thought at first it was our dog. However, I touched it again and felt that it was a female being. I got frightened, and as I wanted to wake up my brother, the hairy woman felt I was awake and started to draw herself from between us. I called my brother, he woke up but the woman was already at the door. We started towards the door, but she opened it and ran to the courtyard. We started after her, but she was quicker, she ran over the fence to the garden, and on toward the woods. We did not want to chase her because the snow was very deep, but we saw her very clearly under the moonlight. It was a Woodland Lass. Later on, we told all about it to my father, and he said that it was nothing to wonder at because woodland lasses often came to warm themselves beside the boys during cold winters." (I take this story for real, and what a wonderful story it is!!! One more striking example of how unique the beings we study are. Can you imagine any other primate in the wild, say chimpanzee or gorilla, behaving like that woodland lass, warming herself beside the boys?)
In those times, all married men used to sleep in the house, while the grown sons slept on small beds in warm stables during the winters, and in barns during the summers. Thus they were free to go to the village at night. During their roamings they usually met woodland lasses, but they always ran away from them, or at least nothing certain is known about their relations. However, women used to whisper among themselves, but what they knew nobody ever found out.(I witnessed women whispering among themselves on the same subject during my expeditions in the Caucasus, and one young man told me that his friend had children by a "woodland lass", called 'Almasty' there. The children allegedly lived with her in the forest. Chapter 5 in Richard Bernheimer's book has the heading "The Erotic Connotations").Those older ones would joke with young men, "Beware, if I give you to the woodland lass, it will be hard for you!"
If a young man doubted the existence of Woodland Lasses, women would swear, "God willing, I did not move from this place if there were no Woodland Lasses. I saw John with one of them."
Woodland Lasses were not ill-natured or revengeful, and they never did any harm to man. People sometimes used to maltreat them, but they never revenged themselves.
Far, far away in the Blue Woods there lived a man who had a very well fenced pig shelter so that no one would take away or steal his pigs. He also kept a beehive in the yard from which he gathered honey in the autumn. Once he noticed that someone had entered his fold. It was after the rains, and he saw a human footprint in the mud. There was no trace of mischief, all the pigs were there, and no one had even touched this beehive. He was amazed. Another time when he was driving his pigs home from the pasture at sunset, he noticed that something was hidden under the beehive. It resembled a man but wasn't one, it resembled a bear, but wasn't one; one would say it was a man covered with a thick hairy blanket. The man did not get scared, he took a stick and started to beat as heavily as he could. The creature screamed, covered its eyes with its hands, and the man realized that it was not a human voice, but the voice of a Woodland Lass. He immediately stopped beating it, but just poked it a little with a stick so it would leave more quickly. After that, it used to come back again. The man never drove it away because it was hiding in his pig shelter for protection from other wild animals but it never did either him or his belongings any harm.
Nothing is known about their origin. How are they born and do they ever die? Do they have children? These have remained secrets which we will never find out. Those generations who knew the answers disappeared at the end of the 19th century.(The Sasquatch and other Unknown Hominoids, Western Publishers, Calgary,1984, pp.266-72).
(What I have learned from hominology is that in all ages, including antiquity, hairy wild men, whatever their names and habitat, have always been cryptic denizens of nature, always subjects of mythology, folklore and hearsay among countryside people, "the erotic connotations" being one of the reasons for that).
Well, "How is it that in 1898 this knowledge was known...?" The answer to John Morley's question is no longer inscrutable. The information was all there for those who wanted to use their heads. Why then was it "unknown" to science? I answered long ago: because there was no science to know it. It's not a witticism, but mere statement of fact. As also noted earlier, the situation was analogous to the history of meteoritics. Stones falling from heaven have always been known to people, but not to science because there was no science of the phenomenon. Scientists regarded all reports of stones fallen from heaven to be mythology and folk tales, which in truth they partly were. To tell meteorites from usual stones, witnesses and oaths were not enough: a self-consistent scientific discipline was needed for that. As soon as it was built, the science of meteoritics has demythologized popular and religious beliefs connected with the phenomenon.
Our situation is similar. From the information available to date, the hairy bipedal primates we study appear to be on the human side of the divide between human and non-human primates, and thus no longer subjects of zoology, but anthropology, At first sight, this makes our task easier, for there is no need to get as proof a type specimen, demanded by biologists. But in reality the task becomes harder than we ever imagined. By all signs, we deal with non-sapiens hominids, which is neither surprising nor unnatural. Would be surprising and unnatural if all hominids except ourselves had died out. But then all modern encyclopedias and anthropology textbooks solemnly tell us as indisputable fact that all pre-sapiens hominids died out in prehistoric times, and the only hominid survivor on earth is our own glorious species. If this stumbling block were not enough, there is another, which is surprising and mind-boggling even to the hominologist. It's the fact that these non-sapiens hominids inhabit, side by side with modern humans, the six continents and have been reported in every State of the U.S.! No wonder such "fantasies" are viewed by academics as modern mythology.
Are we strong enough at present to refute and "demythologize" academic beliefs? We are up against a coalition of mighty forces: the cover-up by the US government, strong corporate business and clerical interests, deep preconceptions and myopia of scientific orthodoxy. Against this giant force we are smaller than Lilliputians in front of Gulliver. No amount of evidence can make us victorious against a coalition of formidable adversaries.Truth is our only tool and weapon. So our only viable strategy can be in building up hominology as a self-consistent scientific discipline, with its own organization, staff and journal. It is with the authority of a scientific discipline that the world-shaking truth of our research can be made believable. Helped by science, the truth shall topple untruth and appear for good in textbooks, including those for primary schools.
Finally, the latest from the Balkan Peninsula. Kosovo is a war-ridden part of Serbia, which has declared its independence, unrecognized however by Serbia and some other countries. In 2005, Will Duncan received a surprising message about a homin sighting in Kosovo, which occasioned my June 15, 2005, email to some people on this list. I repeat it in part here:
Some Thoughts triggered off by the Kosovo Sighting
Robert Kinion, of the U.S., was stationed at the FOB (Forward Observation Base) in Kosovo as a civilian contractor, and while driving to Camp Monteith to do a distribution run and pick up laundry and such, in the morning of February 15, 2005, sighted a hairy biped, that he calls "hominid", coming down a fairly steep slope and then crossing the road in front of the vehicle. For details visit http/www.cryptozoology.com website.
The witness was, in his words, "afraid of ridicule" from his work mates and feared for his security clearance, "so kept quiet about it," but after talking to his wife felt that he "can share it with like minded peeps."
We have a lot of old-time "wildman" information from Western Europe, but only few, no more than half a dozen present-day sighting reports west of Russia. Now it took an American (!) to add one more. He was observing and reporting possible unlawful actions by humans in the area and ended with observing and reporting the "unlawful" presence of a relict hominid. What a marvel!!! Being familiar with the Bigfoot problem, the witness knew how highly such information is valued by those who are after it, and he knew how to bring it to the attention of interested researchers. Imagine scores of daily sightings around the world by those who lack such knowledge or even have it but do not report what they saw for fear of ridicule or something worse.
International Center of Hominology
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