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Study Sheet for Eurasian Studies 201


Early Russia

Pp. 3-9  |  Pp. 11-17  |  Pp. 17-22  |  Pp. 24-35  |  Pp. 36-48
Pp. 48-58  |  Pp. 60-72  |  Pp. 74-83  |  Pp. 85-94  | Pp. 96-104
Pp. 105-114  |  Pp. 116-126  |  Pp. 126-135  |  Pp. 135-142
Test One Questions

Suggestions for using this guide:

  1. Consult this guide while you read the pages indicated; it will serve as your one and only study sheet for TEST ONE
  2. Don't skip the readings or the lectures, thinking that these notes are enough to prepare you for the test!! All three components of the course - lectures, readings and study guide - are designed to complement one another.
  3. The HANDOUTS attached to this guide elaborate on special topics. They are included to deepen your interest, but you don't need to memorize the material on these special handouts unless it is specifically mentioned in the lectures or the study guide as well.
  4. The Cyrillic Russian words in the guide are completely optional and have been include for the benefit of Russian language students. Still, you will need to learn how to pronounce Russian words that have been adopted into English, such as surnames and cultural terms. To help with this I have given pronunciation tips, with capitalized letters representing stressed syllables (example: RE-cord, a musical disk; but ruh-CORD, to take down information).


Pp. 3-9. Introductory data
  1. Your book's inside front cover contains a modern political map of Russia and the other 14 republics that comprised the Soviet Union (USSR) until December 1991. Each of the republics shown in light gray is now an independent country. Know the location of the following: a) political units: Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belarus (Be-luh-ROOS) (these are the three Slavic portions of the former USSR); b) rivers and seas: Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Caspian Sea, Don River, Volga River, Ob River; c) mountains: Urals, Caucasus; d) cities: Moscow, Kiev, Novgorod
  2. What features of geography and climate distinguish Russia? (flatness, northerliness, coldness, no natural access to navigable oceans). Where are the mountains? (only on some of the borders). Know: tundra (arctic plain with permafrost near the surface preventing growth of trees), taiga (cold forest, mostly evergreen, with a layer of permafrost several feet below ground level), steppe (dry, grassy plain, like the US praries). There are also Arctic wastes, where snow and ice lie year round and even lichen cannot grow. Traditionally, the Ancient Slavs lived in none of these zones, but rather in the eastern portion of the great European deciduous (or mixed hardwood) forest, which they hacked away at to create farmland (that's why the untamed forest is always a scary place in Slavic folktales). Why does Russia get increasingly colder and drier as one moves from west to east? (the warm, moist effect of the Atlantic Gulf Stream diminishes).
  3. Know soil types: podzol (pad-ZOL podzo¡l poor, clayey, acidic gray soils), chernozem (the fertile “black earth” zone, hernoz\m pronounced chir-na-ZYOM). Also know that Russian agriculture suffers from a Slavic version of “Murphy’s Law” (teo¡riq pa¡kosti): the best soils are in drought prone areas, while the lousy soils are in areas with ample rain and surface water. Also, note that even the southernmost Russian farming areas are on the latitude of America’s Dakotas (too far north for a long growing season). So Russia has the dubious distinction of being a state founded on farming in an area poorly suited to crops.
  4. Note the map on p. 7 showing where Russians actually form a compact majority. Also know that Russians, Ukrainians and Belorussians (in modern-day Belarus) are 1) Slavs; 2) are historically Orthodox Christians, each with a National Patriarch (rather than following the Pope in Rome); and 3) speak closely related Slavic languages. Russians, Ukrainians and Belorussians were a single nationality (East Slav) before the Mongol occupation of the 1200's and the subsequent occupation of the south and west by Poland (Note that the Russians call this pre-Russian nationality "Ancient Russian," while the Ukrainians call it "Early Ukrainian"; the Belorussians go along with the Russians on this one). All the other peoples of the former USSR are non-Slavic and speak completely different languages. As a rule, no one gets along with anyone else, and it is always the other group's fault.
  5. Note three cultural features traditional to post-Mongol Russia (pp. 8-9): autocracy, collectivism, mysticism.


Pp. 11-17. Russian origins: When Europe Met Asia
  1. In class we will discuss the origin of the Slavs. Besides Russians, Belorussians and Ukrainians, modern Slavic nationalities include: Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Slovenes, Serbs, Croats, Bulgarians. Traditionally, Poles and Russians have been enemies, but Russia usually acted as protector of the smaller Slavic nationalities of the central and southern part of Eastern Europe.
  2. In class we will also briefly discuss the origin of European farming (after 6,000BC, Slavs were one of the early European farming peoples), and then of pastoral nomadism (after 4,000BC by the Indo-Iranians, cousins of the Slavs); Slavs were traditionally sedentary farmers who practiced slash-and-burn (swidden) agriculture (podse¡hno-ognevo¡e zemlede¡lie) and later a more stable form of field rotation involving leaving one of two fields fallow (empty) on an alternating basis. The steppe nomads were traditional enemies of the Slavic farmers throughout most of history.
  3. Know the names of the nomadic steppe peoples (living north of the Black Sea on what is known as the Pontic Steppe) who dominated nearby Slavic farmers: Cimmerians (1,000-700BC), Scythians (ski¡fy 750-200BC), and Sarmatians (250BC-200AD). By the way, the Scythians and Sarmatians were definitely predominantly Iranic, not Mongol, Turkic or Slavic (contrary to what your textbook suggests). The Slavs who were dominated by the Scythians were referred to by Greek historian Heroditus (5th c BC) as "Scythian farmers." To learn more about steppe nomads you might take my course EAST ASIAN 313: EARLY INNER ASIA.
  4. Know that after 200AD the Goths (a Germanic tribe from the north) replaced the Iranians as the dominant military power in the East Slavic areas. Although both are farming nations, the Germanic and Slavic peoples have been uneasy neighbors for thousands of years. During Gothic times the Slavs seem to have comprised three super-tribal groupings: Venedae, Antes, and Sclaveni. The last term gives us the modern ethnonym "Slav," which is associated with slovo (the Slavic word meaning "word" or "speech"), and seems to indicate people with a common speech form. We don't know which exact modern Slavic groups derived from each of these three ancient groupings.
  5. Know that the Goths were displaced as overlords of the Slavs in 375AD by the arrival of Turkic-speaking Huns from East Asia. These were followed by Mongol speaking Avars by 560AD. Note how poorly the Slavs living near the Pontic steppe were treated by these conquerors (p. 15).
  6. Despite the poor treatment, the Hunnic and Avar periods, as well as the centuries following 450AD saw a huge Slavic population explosion, probably due to the adoption of the iron-tipped plow (plug, soxa¡) and new, hardy varieties of rye (ro';) which allowed farming to flourish in cold, damp northern areas of Eastern Europe. Before this, the Slavs relied on the following domesticates: 1) grains: wheat, millet, barley; oats; 2) veggies: cabbage, beets, peas, carrots; meat: cows, pigs, goats, sheep, geese. The only spices were mustard (gorh¡ica) and horseradish (xren). Beekeeping (and the production of fermented honey wine, called mead (m\d) was also highly developed. Winter hunting was also important. Slavs lived in small clans (rod), at first in unfortified hamlets (selo¡) consisting of several households related by blood (dom). These clans worked the land communally. Beginning in the 600's, such groups of Slavic farmers gradually displaced Finnic speaking hunter-gatherer tribes in much of what is now the European Russia, a process took over 1,000 years.
  7. After the Avars, a Turkic group called the Khazars (xaza¡ry) established a steppe empire north of the Black and Caspian Seas. The Khazars remained from the 600's to 966, became sedentarized and established long-term trading relations with Byzantium (Christian Greeks who took over the eastern part of the Roman Empire), Arabs (who became Muslims after 632) and Slavs (still "pagans," worshipping many gods before 988). The Khazar elite adopted Judaism; the Khazar leader was called "kaghan."
  8. Note the names of the numerous East Slavic tribes during the Khazar era (p. 17 lists 13 of them). You don't need to memorize them, but note that before the 800's they were different groups each with their own leader and had not joined together into a single nation).


Pp. 17-22. Slavs or Vikings: Who founded Russia?

  1. There are two basic theories on the origin of a unified East Slavic state (which came to be known as Rus (Rus;), probably after the Finnic name for the Vikings, Ruotsi, who founded this state). Know the difference between the Normanist Theory (Vikings founded Kiev and the unified state of Rus; "Norman" derives from "northmen") and the Anti-Normanist Theory (the Slavs did it all themselves through gradual local development and absorption of foreign influence from neighboring states). I personally believe the Norman Theory is essentially correct and that it was the arrival of the Vikings (in Russian history they are called Varangians, varq¡gi) who served as political catalyst for the unification of the dozen or so East Slavic tribes into a single polity. At the same time, the centuries-old influence of local Slavic developments and earlier foreign influences as a factor in the subsequent rise of Kievan Rus can't be discounted either. One of your test questions will be to support with specific evidence the theory you find the most convincing. (regarding this and other controversial issues, I don't require you to agree with my judgement, but only that you know the basic facts supporting the various logically possible arguments).


Pp. 24-35. Kievan Rus: Princes, Warriors and Merchants (the political history)

  1. Know the basic dates and political persons associated with the Kievan Rus period (882-1240).
  2. 862 (possibly 859): Rurik (R[¡rik) the Varangian (Swede, Viking) arrives in present-day northern Russia (according to the chronicles, he was invited in 862 to rule over the Slavs). Rurik founds Novgorod. No one is quite sure if Rurik actually existed, but all of the subsequent princes of Kievan Rus are considered his descendants and are known as Rurikids (this dynasty rules Russia, in fact, until 1598, long after the collapse of Kiev).
  3. Rurik's son Oleg rules over an assortment of East Slavic tribal groups from 882-913. Oleg moves south and makes Kiev on the Dniepr River his capital. He extends his rule, exacting tribute (dan;) from many Slavic tribes and even forces a trade treaty with Byzantium. Know the story of Oleg's combined Viking/Slav attack on Constantinople (capital of Byzantium) in 907. This attach is successful and trade agreements favorable to Kiev are concluded in 911 and again in 944. Know that Kiev is called the Mother of Russian Cities (mat; ru¡sskix gorodo¡v). Remind me to tell you in class the legend of how Oleg died.
  4. Know the story of how Oleg's son, Prince Igor (Ingvarr) dies in 945 and how his wife Olga (Helga) becomes the first Russian woman ruler.
  5. Princess Olga rules from 945-962. She personally accepts Christianity, but her people and warriors remain traditional ("pagan"). Olga rules in peace and Kiev is the largest and most prosperous country in Europe.
  6. Olga's son Sviatoslav (the first Russian ruler with a Slavic name, which indicates that the Varangians were becoming Slavicized in language and probably also in custom), spends the next ten years (962-972) conquering all of his neighbors: East Slavic Viatichi (the last East Slavic group to be incorporated into Rus; the legend of Nightingale the Robber (Solove¡j Razbo¡jnik), which I will tell you in class, was actually about the Viatichi, who robbed strangers travelling through their heavily forested lands), Volga Bulgars (an Islamic farming group descended from the Huns who were never totally defeated by Kiev), and Khazars (whose state is annihilated). Sviatoslav falls short of conquering Bulgaria due to Byzantine intervention. Know how Sviatoslav died on his return trip to Kiev in 972.
  7. Several years of civil war between Sviatoslav's sons follow. Vladimir wins in part because he promises to uphold paganism. He himself had hundreds of concubines and erected special temples to the Slavic pantheon of gods. In general , many of the pre-Christian East Slavs were polygamous (husbands had multiple wives).
  8. Sviatoslav's younger son, Vladimir I, later nicknamed the Bright Sun (Kra¡snoe So¡lnywko), rules 980-1015 over a united Rus. At first he reforms paganism by making it into a state cult with Perun as war god. But in 988 he forcibly christianizes the inhabitants of Kiev, an act that helped him marry the beautiful Princess Anne of Constantinople. In class I'll tell the legend of how Vladimir considered which religion to accept. Nomadic Pechenegs (or Patzinaks, Turkic tribes from Central Asia who filled the vacuum created by Sviatoslav's destruction of Khazaria in 960) begin to plague Russia's southern frontier.
  9. There follow years of bloody civil war between Vladimir's numerous heirs. Two murdered sons, Boris and Gleb become the first Russian Orthodox saints (their brother, Sviatopolk, who murdered them, and goes down in history as "the Accursed (okaq¡nnyj)" and sometimes worse). Yaroslav the Wise (Qrosla¡v Mu¡dryj 1019-1054) eventually rules over all of the East Slavic tribes. He smashes the Pechenegs in 1036, the remnants of whom accept Christianity and become part of the Turkic steppe guard of Kiev (the so-called Black Hats, or Chernye Klobuki).
  10. But soon a fiercer wave of Turkic steppe nomads arrive. These Polovtsy or Polovtsi (also called Cumans by the Greeks and Kipchaks by themselves) displace the remaining Pechenegs and cause constant trouble along the southern borders of Rus. The ruler Tugor Khan is used as a word to scare children in Kiev. In class I'll tell the legend of Yaroslav's deathbed admonition to his many sons (they largely ignored it!!). By the way, the back inside cover of your textbook lists all the major princes and the dates of their reigns, so you should consult it regularly as you read.
  11. Know what the Testament of Yaroslav contained and how Rurikid princes were selected to rule over various Russian cities: the eldest brother or uncle was Grand Prince (veli¡kij knqz;) in Kiev. The Grand Prince title was thus not hereditary from father to son (there was no primgeniture as in West, whereby an eldest son inherits the throne and the entier kingdom. Instead, Rus princes and rulers were chosen by the principle of overall seniority (starwinstvo¡) among all of the male descendants of Rurik, with each son getting some share of the realm (so that the state kept dividing and subdividing with every generation. This arrangement was finalized at the Liubech (LYOO-bech) Conference in 1097 to keep rival princes from feuding, blinding or killing one another. Kievan Rus was thus never a centralized monarchy, although occasionally a Grand Prince achieved voluntary universal obedience in recognition of his keen military abilities.
  12. After Yaroslav there was no strong Kievan Grand Prince for two generations. During this time there was constant feuding between princes, who often could not unite even to fend off raids by the nomadic Polovtsy.
  13. The last strong Grand Prince of Kiev was Vladimir II, known as Monomakh (Monoma¡x), who ruled from 1113-1125. Monomakh was so successful at beating the Polovtsy that the nomads used his name to frighten naughty children. In class I'll show you a photo of his famous fur-lined crown, called the "crown of Monomakh" (wa¡pka Monoma¡xa), in which every Russian tsar was crowned, including the last tsar, Nicholas II, in 1895). After Monomakh, there was no unity and Kiev even ceased to be the strongest Russian city. In 1169 Andrei Bogoliubsky of Suzdal even sacked Kiev in 1169 and the Metropolitan (the highest Orthodox Church official in Rus) later moved to Vladimir. Some Russian princes married Polovtsy princesses and even made alliances with their pagan Polovtsy inlaws against rival Rus cities. But despite the constant feuding and raiding, Russian culture and economy generally flourished under this decentralized authority until the devastating Mongol invasion in 1236-1240.
  14. Note the differences of opinion among scholars (pp. 29-32) as to whether Kievan Rus was a feudal society like Western Europe at the time. What was different about its social structure? Was Kiev a real state and if so, how can we characterized its power structure? All of this will serve as a test question.
  15. Know: boyar (boq¡rin), upper-class farmer, hereditary landowner (note: there were two types, an ancient Slavic group of rural nobility beholden to no one, and the newer service gentry, who had been granted estates for service to the princes, this latter group sometimes held their land only on condition of continuing service); the duma (du¡ma), a sort of county or provincial council of landowners advising the local prince and sometimes making local laws and treaties; druzhina (dru'i¡na), prince's retinue of warriors; veche (ve¡he), the town hall assembly of merchants and freemen. In Novgorod the veche was usually more powerful than the town princes, who often got sent packing if they were greedy or incompetent-a sort of quasi-democracy rather than a real monarchy. For this reason Novgorodians called their prince-less city "Lord Novgorod the Great" (Gospodi¡n Veli¡kij No¡vgorod).
  16. Note the salient features of Kievan Rus external political relations with Byzantium, Khazars, Pechenegs, Polovtsy and others (pp. 33-35).


Pp. 36-48. Slavic Paganism and Orthodox Christianity: A Match Made in Heaven?

  1. Know the names of two prominent Russian historians: V.O. Kliuchevsky (famous pre-soviet, banned until early 1990's), B.D. Grekov (prominent Soviet historian of the Stalin era). How did these two historians disagree about what constituted the economic foundation of Kievan Rus?
  2. What ecological reasons caused Russian agriculture to be communal rather than consisting of separate farms? Know obshchina (ap-SCHEE-nuh, ob]i¡na), or mir (mir), the traditional Russian peasant commune, with shared tools, livestock, fields and work responsibilities between many families or neighbors.
  3. Know that the written basis of Russian law since the 1050's was called the Russkaya Pravda, or "Russian Truth." It was based in large part on Viking law.
  4. What family occupied the top of the social order? (the Rurikids) Why might the phrase "too many princes spoil the soup" be apt to describe evolving Kievan society? (each male descendant of Rurik would be assigned a realm, but as the number of princes grew with each generation, this policy fragmented the country and caused fratricidal wars).
  5. Know these social elements: wergeld (a Scandinavian word for "man-money"; vira vi¡ra, in Russian), the fine you had to pay if you killed someone and their family didn't avenge it, which differed according to the social position of the victim; muzhi (moo-ZHEE, mu'i¡¡) upper-class but non royal (non-Rurikid) freemen, some were merchants, others ancestral landowners; liudi, (LYOO-dee, l[¡di) middle-class freemen, often craftsmen; molodshie liudi, free but poor farmers in the communes; smerdy (smir-DEE, smerdy¡) poor landless freemen, the word literally means "stinkers"; zakupy (ZA-koopy, za¡kupy) indentured servants, semi-free but like serfs tied to the land, the word literally means "bought"; kholop (ha-LOP, xolo¡p) an enslaved field worker; cheliad (CHE-lyat, he¡lqd;), household slaves, the word is related to "chattel." These particular Russian words for social positions you don't need to memorize, but know that the categories existed.
  6. Know details of urban life: posad (puh-SAT, posa¡d) a town suburb, often centered around a merchant's craft.
  7. Know that northern Russian wood cabins is called izba (eez-BA izba¡), while the southern, mud-daubed hut (later becoming the national peasant dwelling of Ukraine) is called mazanka (MA-zun-ka, ma¡zanka).
  8. Know the basic features of East Slavic paganism, particularly: 1) Perun (Pi-ROON, Peru¡n) the thunder and sky god who under the Vikings was made into a war god and after the Christianization whose image melded with the Prophet Elijah of fiery chariot fame and Saint George of dragon fame; and 2) Mother Moist Earth or Mokosh (Mo¡kow;, Mat; syra¡ zemlq¡), the fertility deity that became the Christian "Holy Mother Russia." We will discuss much more about paganism in class. Know the term religious syncretism (dvoeve¡rie, or "double-faith") to refer to the natural intertwining of traditional Slavic spirituality ("paganism") with Byzantine Orthodox Christianity after 988. Read HANDOUT on traditional East Slavic Paganism.
  9. Know the political circumstances surrounding Vladimir's forced Christianization of Kiev in 988 (p. 45).
  10. Know that most of our political information (and a lot of is in the form of folklore and legend) about Kievan Rus comes from the Primary Chronicle, or Tale of Bygone Years (Po¡vest; vremenny¡x let), a kind of national, year-by-year diary kept by princely scribes and monks.
  11. In class we will discuss the origin of Russian writing (Cyrillic alphabet, kiri¡llica) and other literary genres, including bylina (bi-LEE-nuh, byli¡na), the bard-sung folk epics, or sagas, about heroes or bogatyrs (bug-a-TEER, bogaty¡r;). Read attached HANDOUT on bylina.


Pp. 48-58. Frescoes and Fratricide: Culture and Politics in Kiev

  1. We will also discuss the Tale of Igor's Campaign (Slo¡vo o polku¡ I/goreve), the only surviving piece of secular literature from the Kievan period (p. 48). What does this story reveal about the political situation in late Kievan Rus on the eve of the Mongol invasion?
  2. In class we will also discuss the origins and growth of literacy in Kievan Rus and the different types of genres of written literature. See HANDOUT on Kievan literature.
  3. We will also discuss the hierarchy of power in the Russian Orthodox Church (pp. 48-49), and the lack of true separation between church and state - usually state politics interfered with religion rather than the other way around - a prime characteristic of Russian history. Know: patriarch (the national Orthodox Church leader of a given country; Russia has one, so does Ukraine, Serbia, Bulgaria and every Orthodox Christian country), black clergy (couldn't marry, but could rise to high ranks in the church), white clergy (parish priests who were expected to marry, but couldn't rise in the church hierarchy). Also read the short HANDOUT on organization of the Russian Orthodox Church. Understand the significance of the Great Schism of 1054, in which Catholic Rome and Orthodox Byzantium split the Christian world in two. Since Russia followed Byzantium, this event led to a cultural barrier between Russia and Western Europe.
  4. In class we will discuss icons and church architecture (not included in the book, unfortunately). Read HANDOUT on Kievan art and architecture.
  5. Note that the last hundred years before the Mongols, from 1125 to 1236, there is a general tendency of political and cultural shift of primacy from Kiev to the northeast to the towns of Vladimir, Suzdal, Riazan, and to the southwest to Galicia and Volynia. See map on p.30). Know the names of Princes Roman and Daniil of Volynia, and Andrei Bogoliubsky and Vsevolod Big Nest (fah-SYEV-uh-lut, Vse¡volod Bol;wo¡e Gnezdo¡ he had numerous children) of Vladimir-Suzdal. All of these princes were more important that the rulers of Kiev during this time. Note the constant warfare between Vladimir-Suzdal and the Muslim Volga Bulgars during the late 1100's and early 1200's (the Bulgars were completely annihilated by the Mongols in 1236).
  6. Note also the gradual change from the practice of constantly rotating Rurikid princes to the attempt by some branches of the family to establish permanent hereditary ownership of certain provinces. Votchina (VO-chi-nuh vo¡thnia, from the Russian ote¡c "father") means a hereditary land holding, like in feudal Western Europe. Note also the concept of appanage, or udel (oo-DELL, ude¡l), an estate that could be disposed of by the owner according to his discretion (and I mean "his" not "hers" since Rus was a patriarchal society).
  7. Despite the political divisions of the Rus provinces and the princely bickering, a single language (Old Russian), religion (Russian Orthodox Christianity) and culture (composed of Byzantine painting, architecture and literature, Scandinavian laws, and Slavic agrarian folk traditions) unified the country and set the stage for the emergence of Russia after the Mongols.


Pp. 60-73. The Devil's Horsemen: The Mongol Invasion

  1. Know the basic history of the rise and expansion of the Mongols under Chingis-Khan (pp. 60-62). Who was Temujin (Temuchin)? What is a khan (supreme ruler among the nomads), kuriltai (a political gathering among the Mongols to elect a leader), ulus (a private holding, like Russian "udel"). To learn more this fascinating people and culture take my course EAST ASIAN 314: THE MONGOLS. (Personally, I've never met a Mongol I didn't like; but I also didn't live in the 13th century.)
  2. Know that Subudai, Chingis Khan's most able general, led a reconnaissance mission across the Pontic steppes in 1222-23 which resulted in the defeat of a combined force of Russian princes and Polovtsy. The captured princes were killed in a particularly gruesome way.
  3. Know the difference between Mongols and Tatars. Also distinguish between "Tatar" and "Tartar." I'll explain all this in class.
  4. Know that Batu, grandson of Chingis Khan, returned in 1236 and by 1240 he had conquered all the Russian cities and principalities except Novgorod, which bribed him off. In general, the southern areas nearest the steppes were most lastingly affected by the Mongols.
  5. Know that Batu set up his personal ulus as the Golden Horde, with Russia as its backwater provinces, exploited for tax revenue and military conscripts. See maps on pp. 64-65.
  6. Know yarlyk (yar-LICK, qrly¡k Mongol written permission formally allowing local rulers to have their positions of privilege), yam (transcontinental Mongol pony express postal service), baskak (bass-KACK baska¡k Mongol tax collector). Remind me in class to show you how each Russian prince had to journey to Sarai, the Horde's Volga River capital, and kowtow before the Khan for permission to be prince.
  7. Note that the Mongols would not allow their subjects to fight each other (a tough break for the Kievan princes!!). This is sometimes referred to as the Pax Mongolica, or "Mongol Peace."
  8. Read pp. 68-72 carefully. One of your test questions will be to join the debate about the long term effect of the Mongol Yoke (mongo¡l;skoe i¡go) on Russia (a yoke is a device placed on an ox to force it to carry a plow and here signifies the domination of Russia for over two centuries).
  9. Note that although the Mongols and their Turkic speaking successors (called the Tatars) adopted Islam within a century of the conquest of Russia, they maintained their general policy of religious tolerance to the subjugated Russian provinces.


Pp. 74-84. Novgorod: the First (and Last!) Russian Republic

  1. Understand the special historical position of Novgorod ("Lord Novgorod the Great"): first seat of Varangian (Rus) power; always tended toward being a democratic city republic with a real functioning veche or town assembly, where Rurikid princes had less power than elsewhere; survived mainly on trade, not on rich farming; special cultural contacts with the Baltic and the Germanic worlds; never conquered or sacked by Mongols.
  2. Know that Novgorod Prince Alexander (later nicknamed Nevsky) for his defeat of the Swedes at the Neva river in 1240. He also repulsed an invasion of the Catholic German Teutonic Knights in 1242 at the so called Battle on the Ice (Ledovo¡e pobo¡i]e). Remind me to tell you about this famous battle and why it is not a good idea to walk across a frozen lake wearing Medieval German armor.
  3. Know also that Novgorod gradually lost its independence to the autocratic Moscow princes. This is a story for future lectures. Ivan the Terrible was the one to finish Novgorod off.
  4. Know also that nearby Pskov (puh-SKOFF) was similar in many ways to Novgorod (see location of the city of Pskov on p. 30).
  5. Know that modern Latvians and Lithuanians are Baltic peoples, the closest European cousins to the Slavs. They also remained pagan for longer than the Slavs. During the time when Mongols ruled most East Slavs, Lithuania (later joining Poland) was a powerful state that chipped away at the westernmost Russian lands. Know the names of two great Lithuanian pre-Christian rulers: Gediminas (ge-di-MEEN-us) and Vitovt (VEE-toft). Lithuania (despite its union with Poland in 1385) later succumbed to Moscow's expansion.


Pp. 85-95. The Rise of Moscow: Crime Does Pay

  1. This chapter chronicles the rise to prominence of Moscow (once a log-and-earth stockade founded in 1147 by Prince Yuri the Long Arm ({/rij Dolgoru¡kij). The general trend was thus: the Moscow branch of the Rurikid clan turned out to be greedier, more conniving, and more willing to collaborate with the Mongols. Through brown-nosing and trickery they gradually got to be the official Russian tax collectors for the Mongols (and stole plenty of the money during the process). In return for their services, in the 1340's the Mongols appointed the senior member of the Moscow Rurikid branch as the hereditary Grand Prince over all Russian cities, thereby beginning a tradition of centralized, despotic autocracy (samoder'a¡vie) that had not existed in Kievan Rus, with its rotation of princes.
  2. During Moscow's rise, it first defeated and swallowed up Tver (ta-VER Tver;) and later Novgorod. Tver was crushed with Mongol help in 1327 when it rebelled against Mongol tax collectors while the Horde was still strong enough to defend its interests. Gradually, however, Moscow began to rival even the Tatar Khans of the Golden Horde. See map of Moscow's expansion on p. 90 and p. 107.
  3. The first really important Moscow Grand Prince was Ivan I, nicknamed Kalita (kull-ee-TAH, Kalita¡) which means "Moneybag," who ruled from 1328-40. Guess what he was good at? After the Tver tax revolt of 1327, Ivan succeeded in becoming the tax collector for the Mongols in Russia. This would be a good time to consult the royal genealogical tables in your book's back inside cover.
  4. Another important Moscow prince was Dmitri nicknamed Donskoi (ruled 1359-1389). He exploited civil wars in the Golden Horde (which had broken up into several competing Hordes by the 1360's). Dmitri defeated Khan Mamai at Kulikovo (cool-ee-KOV-uh) in 1380 (the first Russian military victory over the Tatar-Mongols). But Mamai was a usurper, and not of royal blood. He was soon killed and a descendant of Chingis Khan took control of the Golden Horde. The new and rightful khan Tokhtamysh (tok-tuh-MISH) burned Moscow down in 1382. The Mongol yoke would endure for another century.
  5. Note that the southern areas, including Kiev, never regained their power after the Mongols, but rather became a no-man's land contested by Catholic Poland-Lithuania and the various Islamic Tatar (Turkic) successor states of the Golden Horde. By the time Moscow incorporated it 1666 the area was known as Ukraine (borderland) and the people there had developed a different version of Slavic called Ukrainian. Many Ukrainians today feel that Kievan Rus was really Old Ukraine not Old Russia (but let's not take sides in that argument: the truth is somewhere in between).


Pp. 96-104. Muscovite Culture: The Icon and the Axe

  1. Note that the period from the Mongol conquest of Rus (completed 1240) to the completion of the "gathering of the Russian lands" by Moscow in the 1500's is often known as the Appanage Period, since each local area had its own prince with a yarlyk (special seal of authority) from the Khan allowing him to rule it as his own property (provided that the right amount of taxes flowed unimpeded to the Khan's treasury in Sarai). The period from about 1450 until Peter the Great moved the capital north to St. Petersburg in the early 1700's is known as the Muscovite Period. It is also possible to say that "Ancient Rus emerged from Mongol domination as Medieval Russia."
  2. In this chapter pay careful attention to what changed and what stayed the same during this transition. How did princely politics evolve? Land ownership and tenure? The role of the Orthodox Church? Also, how "feudal" was Russia during this period? We will also discuss demographic trends, including the shift of population centers northeastward into the forest and away from Kiev and the Pontic Steppe. We will also discuss the effect of the Black Death (huma¡, bubonic plague of 1350-53) on Russia and the Mongols. The plague killed Moscow Grand Prince Simeon in 1353 and most of his family.
  3. What was the significance to Russian peasants of the two weeks surrounding St. George's Day ({r;ev den; Nov. 26)? (This is when Russian peasants were free to switch landlords). When the tsar abolished this at the end of the 1500's, the peasants became serfs (agricultural slaves that could not change masters).
  4. Know the basic facts of the lives and careers of two monks, St. Sergius of Radonezh (14th c.), who developed communal living in monasteries, and the icon painter Andrei Rublev (roo-BLYOFF), who worked in the early 15th c and developed an intensely emotional symbolism in his paintings.
  5. How did the Mongol Yoke "help" the church become a central symbol of Russian culture?


Pp. 106-116. Tsars, Two-Headed Eagles, and Moscow as "Third Rome" and Capital of "All the Russias"

  1. In class we will discuss the Moscow Kremlin (fortress) and Red Square from a historical and architectural point of view.
  2. Note the awful political instability that plagued Moscow between 1425 and 1456 (pp. 106-108) and the extraordinary life of Vasily II, nicknamed the Dark, (Moscow Grand Prince from 1425-62). Who was Dmitry Shemiaka and what did he try to do?
  3. Note the cultural and political importance of the Rule of Ivan III from 1462-1505 (he was known as Ivan the Great, not the Terrible; he was Ivan IV and came later): annexation of virtually all competing Russian cities and the first real subordination of Novgorod; marriage to the niece of the last Byzantine emperor (Zoya Paleologue, who took the name Sophia) and adoption of Byzantine symbols such as the title tsar (Caesar, at the time used only unofficially to refer to Ivan), and the two-headed eagle. The Moscow took the title Tsar of all the Russias (actually, this is a mistranslation of an Old Church Slavonic genitive case ending: it should be "Tsar of All Russia": Car; Vseq¡ Rusi¡)
  4. Understand the significance of the Ottoman Turk conquest of Constantinople in 1453 and the development of the doctrine of the "Third Rome" (p. 114). Moscow remained as the only important Orthodox Christian country, and the Moscow Metropolitan became the Patriarch, the most important church official in all the Orthodox Christian world.
  5. In class we will discuss the Uniate Church (Orthodox in form but subordinate to the Roman Pope) formed by agreements with the Vatican in 1436 and 1595. Uniates today are called Byzantine Rite Catholics, or Greek Catholics.
  6. The year 1480, when the Ivan III refused to pay the Tatar Great Horde (the main successor state of the Golden Horde) Khan Akhmad. The Russians and Tatars exchanged arrows with Russian armies across a river but withdrew without making Moscow pay its taxes, is sometimes considered the official end of the Mongol Yoke. This phony battle is called the Stand on the Ugra River (1480). Akhmad was soon killed and the Great Horde dissolved into warring successor states. Ivan III unified all Russian lands, a process called "the Gathering of Russian lands" (sobira¡nie ru¡sskix zeme¡l;) and established diplomatic relations with other countries, and completely stopped paying homage (or anything else) to the Tatars. But the Tatars were still a force to be reckoned with. As late as 1571 the Crimean Tatars burned Moscow down and killed or led away into slavery at least 200,000 Russians.
  7. Note also the creation of the first Muscovite Law Code, the Sudebnik, in 1497 (based largely on the Kievan Russkaya Pravda). Note, however, that this law code strengthened the autocratic, hereditary rule of the Moscow Grand Prince.
  8. All of these trends were continued under Ivan III's son, Vasili III (1505-1533), who was the father of Ivan IV (the Terrible). It was Vasili who actually popularized the theory of Moscow as the Third Rome. See pp. 113-114. Also, recall that the back inside cover of your textbook lists all the Russian rulers and the dates of their reigns.
  9. Know the basic details of the Strigolnik (shorn head) heresy in the late 1300's (opposition to excessive ritual formality and icon veneration), which resembled some of the pre-Protestant religious ferment taking place in Catholic Europe. In Russia, the Strigolniks and other church dissidents (especially those later influenced by Western Europe's Protestants), were collectively called "Judaizers" ('ido¡vstu[]ie). Also note the church debate between the Trans-Volga elders led by Nil Sorsky (who were opposed to church property and worldly distractions, a movement called Hesychasm nestq'a¡tel;stvo) and Joseph Sanin of Volokolamsk (a wealthy abbot who advocated a church rich in worldly possessions, including serfs and huge estates). Guess who won? Josephism (the status quo) won in 1531 when the Trans Volga elder Vassian was sentenced to life imprisonment. In general there was very little widespread dissent in the Russian church until the mid 1600's.


Pp. 118-128. Ivan the Terrible (He was!)

  1. Know the basic details of Ivan IV's life and reign. He is still Russia's longest reigning head of state!! (1533-1584) and has many parallels with his contemporary, England's Henry VIII. Ivan was the first ruler to be officially crowned Tsar of All Russia in 1549 when he came of age (He promptly killed all of his advisors).
  2. Know kormlenie (carm-LEN-yuh, or "tax feeding," whereby local officials weren't paid by the state but rather allowed to take what they needed to live on from the local inhabitants), streltsy (strilt-SEE, musketeer guards of the Moscow Kremlin).
  3. Note the eastern lands conquered by Ivan (see p. 121), which included the Khanates of Astrakhan and Kazan. In class I'll tell you about the legend of the building of St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square, which is unusual in that it is both a church and a military monument.
  4. Know that Ivan's Livonian War in the Baltic against Sweden and Poland was an expensive, 20 year disaster that left Russia with no outlet to the ocean.
  5. Know the oprichniki (Ivan's sadistic henchmen who terrorized the countryside in the name of state security). The second half of Ivan's reign destroyed the traditional Kievan-era hereditary nobility (boyars) and replaced them with service gentry (dvorq¡ne) appointed by Ivan for their help and obedience. Ivan killed off almost all the Rurikids and ultimately caused the extinction of his dynasty.
  6. Who was Prince Kurbsky? (heroic general and ultimately renegade prince who wrote Ivan nasty letters from exile in the Baltic; Ivan never got a chance to kill him and the letters make interesting reading).


Pp. 134-143. Boris Godunov: The Man who would be Tsar (at least for a while)

  1. Note the political and social effects of Ivan's reign and the controversies that still surround them (pp. 127-8).
  2. Know that Ivan killed his healthy heir in 1582 and was succeeded by his sickly younger son Fyodor, who died childless in 1598.
  3. What happened to Ivan's youngest son Dmitri? (In 1591 he was murdered at age 9, possibly by Boris Godunov (guh-do-NOFF). Godunov was brother-in-law and advisor to Fyodor and tried to establish a new dynasty after 1598. He was very energetic, determined, shrewd and talented, but extremely unlucky.
  4. Know the basic events of Godunov's brief, tumultuous reign (1598-1605).


Pp. 134-143. The Time of Troubles: When everything that could go wrong did go wrong

  1. In class we will discuss all of the social problems, inflamed by famines, armed revolts and terrible epidemics of smallpox and bubonic plague that descended on Russia during Godunov's reign (the people blamed it on the tsar's sins). The time 1598 to 1613, especially 1605-1613, when Russia had no real tsar, is known as the Time of Troubles (Smu¡ta, or Smu¡tnoe vre¡mq). During this period the Russian state was almost torn apart by these internal troubles exacerbated by foreign invasions.
  2. Key terms: Ivan Bolotnikov's Rebellion (peasant rebel who advocated genocide against all nobles, crushed in 1607), the False Dmitry I and his Polish Catholic wife, Marina Mniszek, the False Dmitry II (also know as the Thief of Tushino), Prince Shuisky (a oyar who ruled briefly after the expulsion of the False Dmitrys), Minin and Pozharsky (two commoners who raised a successful Moscow rebellion against the invading Poles), zemsky sobor (ZEM-ski suh-BOR, local assembly, who elected an new tsar and new dynasty in 1613), Ivan Susanin (Russian peasant boy who deliberately led the Polish army into a swamp to give Michael Romanov, future tsar, a chance to escape).
  3. Read attached HANDOUT on the Time of Troubles.


**TEST ONE: 80 points objective questions taken in-class, and 20 points of discussion to be written at home in advance of the test day. For the discussion you will have to answer two of the following four questions. Bring your completed written answers to two of these to class and attach them to the in-class portion of your test.

    1. Describe the salient features of both sides of the Normanist vs. Anti-Normanist controversy and summarize by agreeing with one or the other (or some combination of both).
    2. Discuss the main political, social, and cultural differences between Kievan Rus and the countries of Western Europe during the 11th and 12th centuries. Be sure to cover differences involving how rulers were chosen, the issue of feudalism, and religion and literacy.
    3. Summarize the main effects of the Mongol invasion and occupation of the Rus principalities. What was destroyed and what survived and became stronger? Explain demographic changes, changes in the people's attitudes to Russian Orthodox Church. And explain how Muscovite Russia after 1480 differed politically from Kievan Rus before 1236.
    4. Describe the origins, main events and overall effect of the Time of Troubles on the course of Russian political and social history.