Hauptmann, head-man or captain; the Russian form is ataman), a military title formerly in use in Poland; the Hetman Wielki, or Great Hetman, was the chief of the armed forces of the nation, and commanded in the field, except when the king was present in person.
From Poland the word was introduced into Russia, in the form ataman, and was adopted by the Cossacks, as a title for their head, who was practically an independent prince, when under the suzerainty of Poland.
The title of "ataman" or "hetman of all the Cossacks" is held by the Cesarevitch.
"Ataman" or "hetman" is also the name of the elected elder of the stanitsa, the unit of Cossack administration.
The town is an archiepiscopal see of the Orthodox Greek Church, and possesses a cathedral (1904), a museum, the palace of the ataman (chief) of the Cossacks, and monuments to M.
The assembly of all householders in villages of less than 30 households, and of 30 elected men in villages having from 30 to 300 households (dne from each io households in the more populous ones), constitutes the village assembly, similar to the mir, but having wider attributes, which assesses the taxes, divides the land, takes measures for the opening and support of schools, village grain-stores, communal cultivation, and so on, and elects its ataman (elder) and its judges, who settle all disputes up to fio (or above that sum with the consent of both sides).
On the I Ith of April 1648, at an assembly of the Zaporozhians (see Poland: History), he openly declared his intention of proceeding against the Poles, and was elected ataman by acclamation.
But the ataman was as crafty as he was cruel.
But fortune, so long his friend, now deserted him, and at Beresteczko (July I, 1651) the Cossack ataman was defeated for the first time.