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By Robin Milner-Gulland, R. R. Milner-Gulland, Robin Miner-Gulland with Nikolai Dejevsk

The Russian Orthodox Church is at present celebrating its millennium, person who coincides nearly with the documented historical past of Russia itself. That 1000-year historical past - either political and cultural - is the critical topic of this quantity. After due acknowledgment of the Hellenistic, Slav, Viking and Byzantine backgrounds, the old account opens with the conversion of Rus to Christianity within the tenth century and with the early facilities of civilization at Kiev, Novgorod and Vladimir. centuries of Tatar rule divide the autumn of Kievan Russia from the increase of Muscovy, however the medieval interval of Russian historical past doesn't absolutely finish till after the accession of Peter the good in 1682. Peter's reforms and extrovert regulations, precursors of past due 20th-century improvement, all at once projected Russia onto the guts level of global politics - a place which, for greater or worse, it hasn't ever relinquished. a gap element of the atlas presents the geographical and ethnic context for the cultural background that follows, the publication ends with a surprising portrait in maps, textual content and photographs of every nation in the former Soviet Union this day.

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Serious historical this period, people, needs questions about the origins of Russia have tended narrowly on the etymological derivation of its name: since the modern controversy about it erupted in the mid-18th century, much nationalistic emotion, pro- or anti-Slav, has surrounded what has come to be known as the "Normanist" issue. Even for the Primary Chronicler in the 12th century the matter had political significance, affecting the legitimacy of the dynasty under whom (and for whom) he wrote and the status of his city of Kiev: "these particular Varangians were known as Rus, just as some are called Swedes, and others Norsemen, English and Gotlanders ...

Though the majority are late medieval, some go back to the early days of Christian Rus, and if inscriptions on other objects (wooden tally-sticks, ceramic fragments) are taken into consideration, Russian literacy can be shown to predate the conversion to Christianity. Literary sources Despite the lack of official documents, the literary sources for knowledge of Kievan Russia are in fact rather rich, and of course are not limited to what archaeologists have managed to uncover. From the late 10th century the newly converted and newly educated nation took readily to the forms of medieval literature as they had developed in the Christian East Roman empire of Byzantium.

The resulting ethnic mix produced a powerful Balkan state, Slav-speaking within a few generations, sometimes an ally but more often an irritating rival to the Byzantines right up to the Ottoman conquest at the end of the 14th century. This Bulgaria was Christianized in the 9th century by followers of Cyril and Methodius, an event that had an impact on the early Russian state, which was in close contact with its South Slav neighbors. The other "Bulgaria" was established in what is now east-central Russia, at the very important junction of waterways where the Kama flows into the middle Volga.

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Cultural Atlas of Russia and the Former Soviet Union by Robin Milner-Gulland, R. R. Milner-Gulland, Robin Miner-Gulland with Nikolai Dejevsk


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