Novgorodskii detinets i Vladychnyi dvor v XI-XV vv. [Otvetstvennyi redaktor-sostavitel’ M(arina) A(natol’evna) Rodionova]. Sankt-Peterburg: “Dmitrii Bulanin”, 2017. 264 pp. + 144 pp. color illustrations. ISBN 978-5-86007-840-6.
This large-format volume with its extravagantly produced color illustrations reports on the excavations carried out in the Novogorod Kremlin in 2008-2010 just northwest of the current Episcopal chambers and more broadly incorporates related excavations which took place around it from 2006-2012, when restoration work was underway. To contextualize the material, the authors make good use of material from earlier excavations in the Kremlin (notably ones supervised by M. Kh. Aleshkovskii), elsewhere in the territory of Novgorod, and beyond. While one might think the Kremlin is well-known archaeologically, in fact that is not the case. So this material has a great deal to tell us, even if in some important ways what can be demonstrated archaeologically is limited. For example, the earliest levels where one can assume there was construction and/or settlement have been largely destroyed, making it impossible to provide precise stratigraphy and use dendrochronology to establish an exact chronology.
While this is a genuinely collectively authored work, significant parts of the text were written by the editor, Marina Rodionova. It is to her credit that the publication of such a substantial report has appeared relatively soon after the completion of the excavations in question, since too often detailed archaeological reports moulder in the archives and, if they appear in print, do so only with considerable delay.
The main question that much of this work hoped to answer concerned the chronology of the earliest centuries of the development of what is now within the Kremlin and thus to place this development in the broader context of what is known about the emergence of Novgorod as a major town in Rus. Readers who will be impatient with the kind of detail that appropriately has to be included in archaeological reports can nonetheless find a lot here of interest. The introductions to each section generally explain very clearly what its focus is, including, for those not familiar with some of the more technical analytical techniques employed these days in good archaeology, some idea of what they are and why they are valuable. Most sections have good, concise conclusions. For those who want the quick fix, Part V has an essay by Rodionova and I. V. Antipov summarizing the archaeology of the detinets and the Bishop’s Yard and thus as well the history of what we know about their development as told in the written sources. Following that essay is an equally accessible short conclusion by Rodionova which places everything in context.
Even if the conclusions reached are explicitly labeled as tentative, we now have a better idea than before about the chronology in particular of the development of the northern sector of the Krelmin, arguably the first settled, which in its earliest phases was not the most important area of settlement in what became Novgorod but began to develop only at the point when Christianity was adopted and the territory that previously had had some habitation was assigned to the Church. The excavations have not been able to identify the earliest episcopal residence; in fact before the 15th century, most of the structures in the area were of wood. Whereas previously for this part of the Kremlin there was only partial dendrochronological data, the new work has now at least doubled the amount and provides a more or less unbroken sequence from the middle of the 12th century through the 13th century. Among the intriguing structures are the remains of water pipes and wells and a ten-sided wooden foundation for what may have been one of the earliest churches.
The inventory of artefacts includes a lot of familiar material—for example, many iron knife blades, a certain amount of pottery, a few birchbark documents (only one of any length), which are analyzed in one chapter here by the late A. A. Zalizniak, various pieces of leather (a lot of shoe soles), etc. There is technical analysis of the composition of metal objects, and evidence suggesting that probably there had been a metal workshop. Similarly, there is chemical analysis of the glass fragments, among them the remains of a drinking vessel that probably had been made in what is now Syria. Fragments of amphorae are of interest, since generally they were imports; the discussion here in some detail explores different opinions as to their origins. Considerable attention is devoted to the rare discovery of a well-preserved whip handle, on which there is imagery, including a depiction of someone being flogged. Also singled out for particular attention are the fragments of a Song or Yuan Dynasty (13th-14th-century) Chinese celadon bowl with raised images of two fish inside on the bottom. A number of Chinese celadons have been found elsewhere in Russian excavations and in the remains of Golden Horde towns; presumably it was under the Mongols that they made their way north.
Statistical data are very important in the analysis of archaeological material, as we can see here, for example, in the treatment of skeletal remains of animals. There is a breakdown of the various species and an indication of how the percentages and quantities changed over time; this in turn then supports conclusions about the settlement patterns and functions of the excavated structures.
Much more could be said about this impressive book. I would urge those who have an interest in the history of Novgorod to spend some time with it, even if normally they might eschew much of the detailed archaeological reporting which over many decades has informed us of so much concerning the history of the town. There is a lot to be learned here.
A[leksandr] E[vgen’evich] Presniakov. Russkoe letopisanie. Istoriografiia i istoriia. Sostavitel’ S. V. Chirkov. Otv. red. S. M. Kashtanov. Moskva: Novyi khronograf, 2017. 272 pp. ISBN 978-5-94881-335-6.
My interest in obtaining and writing about this book perhaps needs a bit of explanation, as I suspect Presniakov and his writings rarely (at least outside of Russia) draw much attention from historians nowadays. I first encountered his work in my first year of graduate school (think of the “Dark Ages”, if you wish—long ago), when I was enrolled as a woefully ill-prepared participant in the seminar on Russian chronicle writing being offered by John Fennell during his visiting year at Harvard. That course and Fennell’s lectures really were the catalyst for me to commit to the serious study of pre-modern Russia. The work of Presniakov’s that I was using was his published doctoral dissertation, Obrazovanie Velikorusskogo gosudarstva (Petrograd, 1918; originally in LZAK, XXX), in which his mastery of the primary sources, especially the chronicles, was abundantly evident. If there is any work of Presniakov’s still used in the Anglophone world, it is this one (and deservedly so), thanks to the wisdom of Alfred Rieber to arrange for its translation and publication in 1970. However, that translation is diminished by the absence of the original and very valuable notes. While working on my dissertation in Leningrad, I was fortunate to acquire a copy of Obrazovanie and, as well, Presniakov’s popularization, Moskovskoe tsarstvo (Petrograd: “Ogni”, 1918), and the two volumes of his lecture course published for the first time from his original notes in the 1930s.
Sergei Vasil’evich Chirkov, who compiled and annotated this volume, defended his kandidat dissertation on Presniakov in 1975 and in conjunction with that work published articles relating to his study of the chronicles. As Chirkov explains in his concise and informative introduction to the volume under review, Presniakov had originally intended to devote his scholarship to the Russian chronicles, and in fact had done a considerable amount of work (some of it pioneering for its discoveries) on the great illuminated compendium of the mid-16th century, intending that this be the subject of his Master’s thesis (in those days it would have been the equivalent of a modern Ph.D.). In fact the first and longest of the essays in this volume was to be the introduction to that thesis, never published when Presniakov switched subjects and instead wrote on princely law in ancient Rus. As Chirkov explains it, Presniakov seems to have felt he would have little of significance to contribute if he continued to study the chronicles, once Aleksei A. Shakhmatov had begun publishing extensively on them and was setting the new standards for their analysis.
In his teaching career in St. Petersburg/Petrograd, Presniakov developed a considerable breadth of interests; he would eventually publish on a number of interesting topics relating to the “modern” period as well as provide more specialized instruction on study of the early sources. A facet of his activity in the early Soviet period which merits close attention was his involvement in the preservation and organization of museum collections.
There are three essays in this volume, the first and longest (published from a handwritten copy in the Archive of the Institute of Russian History, f. 1A, op. 1, d. 79) being an overview of the historiography on Russian chronicles (down into the major work by Shakhmatov), a study apparently completed in 1901-1902. To a considerable degree, this is more summary than analysis, a scholar-by-scholar presentation, where much of the text is quotations either from those who wrote about the chronicles or from those who responded to their work. Chirkov has added extensive notes identifying the individuals and expanding on the citations of the chronicle texts to include recent editions and at least some of the more important modern studies. However, for those who might wish to delve more deeply into the recent scholarship, there is much left unsaid here.
Not unexpectedly, Shakhmatov’s work receives much attention in all three essays. Apart from several long sections in the first essay, a significant part of the second one (ostensibly an overview of Russian chronicle writing for a survey of Russian literature published in 1916) focuses on Shakhmatov’s studies of the early history of Russian annalistics. And the third, short essay, also previously published (in 1922), is specifically an overview of Shakhmatov’s contributions.
Is there an audience nowadays for a book like this? Its edition of 550 copies in fact is larger than what we get for many important new monographs these days. Presumably in Russia, where there is still a commendable appreciation of the older historiography and its authors, any new publication of work by one of the luminaries of Russian scholarship of a century or even some decades ago is going to be valued. I would imagine that Presniakov’s letters and diaries from 1889-1927, published in St. Petersburg in 2005, should be of particular interest. The essays on the study of chronicles could serve as a useful source for those wanting to find a cogent summary of what any number of earlier scholars wrote about them, though why we should particularly care what, say, V. M. Perevoshchikov or P. S. Kazanskii wrote, is a bit puzzling. Presniakov’s survey does outline clearly several stages in the advancement of thinking about how best to analyze and publish the texts, and his emphasis on the little-noticed scheme for doing just that, enunciated by the eminent slavist Josef Dobrovský, is indeed an original contribution. All this said, I think anyone wanting to learn about the chronicles certainly will not start here. The reality is that those who use them are unlikely these days to read very deeply into the more remote study of them, when there is so much new scholarship which has revised and corrected it.
Presniakov may have been fortunate to die of natural causes (throat cancer) in 1929, thus escaping the fate of many scholars trained prior to 1917, who were suppressed in the “Academic Affair”. One of its victims was another of the most eminent members of the “Petersburg school”, Sergei F. Platonov, who had been one of Presniakov’s teachers and subsequently a colleague. Arrested in 1930, Platonov would die in internal exile in Samara in 1933.
I would end here simply by mentioning another of the books which I treasure, acquired quite by chance in my graduate school days in the famous Goodspeed antiquarian bookstore in Boston. It is the Petrograd 1921 “Ogni” edition of Platonov’s Boris Godunov, inscribed on the title page: “Dorogomu Aleksandru Evgen’evichu Presniakovu ot S. Platonova. 14/IV.21.” I never was able to learn what other books from Presniakov’s library might have made it to the U.S., since a dealer had apparently bought up the lot.
Tamozhennye knigi Sukhono-Dvinskogo puti XVII v. Sostaviteli S. N. Kisterev, L. A. Timoshina. Vyp. 5. Sankt-Peterburg: “Kontrast”, 2017. 344 pp. ISBN 978-5-4380-0138-6.
Tamozhennye knigi Sukhono-Dvinskogo puti XVII v. Sostaviteli S. N. Kisterev, L.A. Timoshina Vyp. 6. Sankt-Peterburg: “Kontrast”, 2017. 152 pp. ISBN 978-5-4380-0140-9.
The commendable project to publish the customs registers of the Russian North continues. One can but hope that the resources and energy are there for this series to continue, as these registers are a hugely valuable resource for a wide range of subjects. The three large volumes edited by A. I. Iakovlev, which appeared in 1950-51 (Tamozhennye knigi Moskovskogo gosudarstva XVII veka), sampled three different periods for the 17th century, but left many gaps in what in some cases are unbroken series over several decades (notably for Velikii Ustiug). For some of the customs registers in the Muscovite South, we have a volume published in the first instance for linguistic study (Pamiatniki iuzhnovelikorusskogo narechiia: Tamozhennye knigi, ed. S. I. Kotkov, N. S. Kotkova, M., 1982).
As a reminder, the new series began in 2013. Its other volumes to date contain the registers for Velikii Ustiug for 1634/5-1636 and 1636-7; for Tot’ma, 1626/7-1628 (and a fragmentary one for 1635/6), 1626/7, and 1628-9. The new volumes continue the Tot’ma series, for 1628/9 (RGADA, f. 137. Boiarskie i gorodovye knigi. Op. 1. Tot’ma, No. 5) and 1629/30 (Loc. cit., No. 6). In both cases, Timoshina has written the substantial introductions on the manuscripts and their fates and the recording practices. Each volume has name and geographic indexes.
I had never paid much attention to this material until recently when I undertook a small project on a rather specific case of trade and communication along the northern river routes in the 17th century (this will appear in the next number of Russian History). Dipping into these sources has suggested many possibilities for studying networking and communication in Muscovy. There is plenty of material here to document very precisely travel routes, times, and the connections among the individuals who made the Russian North a prosperous place. I am convinced we might need seriously to revise conventional wisdom about how hard and slow it was to get around in the Russian provinces in the pre-modern era. Even what from our modern perspective were very remote and perhaps inaccessible places were connected rather effectively for those for whom it was a priority to travel there.
I am delighted to see that finally one of the interminable postings I do about books has provoked a response and hope that this exchange will not be one of the last on EarlySlavic, if no one has stepped forward to take over being the list moderator.
I certainly agree with Sergei about the problematic nature of "juxtaposing printed and manuscript cultures" and hope I was not suggesting otherwise. In things I am currently writing (invoking among others Pozdeeva and Franklin), I am trying to deal with that issue. Your point about how inscriptions be treated is very interesting, though I would hesitate to conclude very much from scrawled handwriting. Many (most?--we would have to see hundreds of them to know, of course) such inscriptions are certainly quite consistent with what those used to writing Muscovite cursive would have produced, even if sometimes, yes, Muscovite cursive is hard to read. To scrawl such an inscription is a different task from undertaking to produce a clean, professional copy of a text, even if one and the same literate scribe might do both. We do have some interesting cases, perhaps neither here nor there as far as this particular discussion goes, where members of the late Muscovite elites who perhaps were dabbling in Polish or some other foreign language, would inscribe, often I think rather awkwardly, owner inscriptions in Latin letter transcription of Russian. When I think about the way I sometimes sign a credit card receipt these days, in a hand that surely might be "notoriously hard to read", I wonder what this tells about my literacy.
Lastly, regarding what you say about the study of oral culture, the subject is worth a serious debate (perhaps others on this list would chime in here!). I remain to be convinced this "ethereal matter" is only for "folklore enthusiasts", even if trying to figure out what to do in analyzing such material is a perhaps impossible challenge. But when have historians ever hesitated to hold forth on subjects about which they may know little? I can speak only for myself here, of course, but I have the unfortunate habit of doing so all too often.
E[lena] V[ladimorovna] Beliakova, L[iudmila] V[ladmirovna] Moshkova, and T[at’iana] A[natol’evna] Oparina. Kormchaia kniga: ot rukopisnoi traditsii k pechatnomu izdaniiu. Moskva; Sankt-Peterburg: Institut rossiiskoi istorii RAN; Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi arkhiv drevnikh aktov; Tsentr gumanitarnykh initsiativ, 2017. 496 pp. + 16 color plates. ISBN 978-5-8055-0316-1.
At the risk of provoking a put-down on Twitter (if, for example, there is a @realSlavicscholar account out there), I would venture that reading about Slavic collections of canon law is not a very popular undertaking. Indeed, I would not recommend anyone begin this excellent volume late in the day when the brain has begun to slow and the eyes are tired. Yet I would recommend you start on it early when fresh. In the process of discovering how interesting and important the material is, you might then not be able to put it down, even if questions of canon law normally do not elevate your pulse rate. Be warned, to absorb everything that is here will make some demands on you.
The history of scholarship on the subject, reviewed in the opening section here by Beliakova, the principal author of the book, glitters with the names of many to whom she gives generous credit. Among them are A. S. Pavlov, who included some of the texts in Russkaia istoricheskaia biblioteka, Vol. 6; V. N. Beneshevich, who undertook still fundamental comparisons of the Slavic translations with their Byzantine sources but was executed by the early Bolsheviks before he could do more; more recently Ia. N. Shchapov, who substantially advanced the knowledge of the various early Slavic compilations and their manuscript histories. Beliakova herself has been writing on the subject for a good many years now, and she acknowledges the important work of M. V. Korogodina, who defended her doctoral dissertation too late to have all its results included in the volume under review. As this introductory section and later parts of the book indicate, the various stages of selection, editing, and supplementing the basic canon law texts often can be connected with particular events, some of them explicitly political. The catalyst for a lot of the modern-era scholarship was the Church Schism of the 17th century (where the Old Believers were diligent in copying and using the canon law texts) and then the interest in codification of Russian law that peaked in the first half of the 19th century.
The particular justification for this volume is that, as with so many other important texts which had a long life in pre-modern Russia, scholarship has tended to focus on “origins” and the earliest centuries in what may be a complex history of editing and copying. Thus, while Beliakova provides a substantial summary of what is known about the earliest translations both among the South Slavs and in Rus and their manuscript histories, she and Moshkova devote even more attention to what we might call the middle and later parts of the history, from, say, the 15th century onwards. The point here in large part is to demonstrate which versions of the texts were the ones actually used when under Patriarch Iosif (Nikon’s immediate predecessor) the decision was made to publish for the first time in Russia the Kormchaia kniga.
To go into details about the various redactions and compilations is beyond the scope of this review note. What is important to emphasize here is that by the time of work on the print edition (1649-53), for practical reasons, the most used versions of collections of canon law did not necessarily include anything like the full original Byzantine corpus but had been supplemented by other documents such as monastic rules, individual decisions by Russian church councils and prelates, and polemical texts against other Christian denominations and non-Christians. Thus, the printed Kormchaia is a complex document, whose final emergence was delayed while it was being reviewed, leading some to claim erroneously that there were two separate editions. Of some interest is the fact that the basic text is the Serbian, not the Russian redaction, the choice made in part on the basis of what was most widely used already and was compact enough to be practical. An effort back in the 16th century under Metropolitan Daniil, akin to the project of compiling the Velikie chet’i minei, was too massive and uncritical a compendium to be of practical value. On the other hand, the so-called Godunov Kormchaia, probably produced in conjunction with the establishment of the Patriarchate toward the end of the 16th century, was one of the direct sources.
Not in the 17th-century edition, though logically they might have been included, are some of the penitentials and an important body of texts pertaining to the question of whether re-baptism is to be required of other Christians who would convert to Orthodoxy. One of the explanations for the omissions here is that the material was to be found in other Muscovite editions and thus need not have been repeated in the already large text of the Kormchaia. In the matter of rebaptism, the issue is complex, as we learn from Oparina’s compelling long essay (pp. 309-404; see below for details) tracing the history of the relevant texts and arguments.
Beliakova’s analysis of the printed Kormchaia includes a careful description of its contents and their sources (pp. 206-49). She is able to provide details of the actual editorial and printing practices, since the key manuscript used for preparation of the edition has been preserved, replete with pasted in additions, marginal notations by the editors, instructions to the typesetters, etc. (RGIA, f. 834. Op. 4. No. 548; sample pages in the excellent color plates). Such an opportunity to get inside the work is a rare window into the world of Muscovite printing. As the process of finally getting the book into circulation was a long and complicated one, she lays out fully the variant versions of the printed text (pp. 250-71).
One of the most important features of this Muscovite edition was an introductory long tale (Skazanie) about the establishment of the Patriarchate in Muscovy, which, as Beliakova suggests, was the fullest statement up to that point of the theory of “Moscow the Third Rome”. This was inserted in the final stages of editing, replacing a much shorter, conventional introduction. She devotes a section to examining the sources of the Skazanie (pp. 272-93) and provides in an appendix (pp. 412-47) parallel texts of the “Izvestie ob uchrezhdenii patriarshestva” (MS RGADA, f. 135. Prilozhenie rubr. I. No 8) and the printed “Skazanie” from the Kormchaia.
Another chapter (pp. 294-308) deals with the subsequent work on translation of canon law involving Evfimii Chudovskii, who was sharply critical of the rendering of some texts in the printed edition. He had apparently been brought in on the production of the printed edition, but only in its final stages at a still early point in his career when presumably he had little influence on the result.
While not directly relevant to the subject of the print edition of the Kormchaia (as Beliakova admits), Oparina’s essay on the rites for conversion certainly has a place here and in many ways is the most compelling part of the book, for her ability to evoke and contextualize the passions which underlay the disputes. It is a subject that Oparina has already published on extensively, while engaged in her other admirable work on foreigners in Muscovy and their legal status. Here she explicitly notes that her study focuses on the normative texts and the narratives about the disputes, not on the realities of Church practice, which would involve a separate monograph.
This history goes all the way back to the responses received in the 12th century by the Novgorod priest Kirik from his bishop, whom he had queried on ritual practice. Over the centuries that text had frequently been copied, and its common-sense recommendations followed. The critical question was whether anointment as opposed to full re-baptism by immersion would be necessary for a convert to become an Orthodox Christian, a distinction being made for those who were “merely” schismatics but not heretics. How Catholics and later Protestants were to be classified then became a serious issue. In Muscovy the matter became complicated from the time of the Livonian War until after the Time of Troubles, with the influx of foreign prisoners, the trauma of the Polish intervention, and then the growing importance of enrolling foreigners in Muscovite service. During that period the more rigorous requirement of re-baptism came to be applied, and this continued to the mid-17th century. Opinions on the matter were shaped by the growing polemical literature against non-Orthodox belief. One of the important episodes in the dispute occurred when the marriage of the Danish Prince Waldemar to a daughter of Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich was being entertained in the 1640s, the Tsar and some of his advisers arguing against insisting on re-baptism, since that would sabotage the negotiations. As is well known, they lost, and Prince Semen Shakhovskoi earned exile on account of his arguing in favor of the less rigorous rite for Protestants.
As Patriarch Nikon was overseeing the final changes in the printed Kormchaia and in the immediately subsequent years and facing criticism by visiting Eastern hierarchs regarding the then Russian insistence on re-baptism, he seems to have been unable to decide what should be required of Western Christians for conversion. So in fact no text specific to that issue was included in the printed Kormchaia or in a subsequent Trebnik. Eventually the council in 1666-67 which deposed Nikon declared re-baptism of Western Christians to be uncanonical, a position the Church subsequently maintained.
There is much in this book that helps us understand the importance of canon law throughout the early centuries of Slavic Orthodox history and the fact that it was an evolving corpus, amended as necessary to address local issues. Bishops were expected to know the texts and use them, at least major monasteries held them in their libraries (and, interestingly, if a bishop retired to a monastery, he usually brought his copy with him). The printing of the Kormchaia kniga made it possible for parish churches and individual priests to own the book, and some copies were acquired by laymen. The Muscovite edition quickly became a rarity; as a result, many manuscript copies were made from it. (See the list of all the complete manuscripts of the various versions of the Kormchaia and the extant copies of the print edition on pp. 469-79.) For the Old Believers, it was a very important text, reflecting as it did the pre-Nikonian norms. The printed Kormchaia of the 17th century in fact cast a long shadow.
One cannot expect of this exciting work of detailed scholarship a close examination of how church law was applied in practice. The little said on that here suggests that practice might in fact not always follow prescription, but this is a subject for other studies. Even short of such, the evidence here certainly is relevant to any inquiry about what texts were read and used amongst the educated Orthodox. The evolving body of canon law was essential to the functioning of the Church in a society where the religious and secular spheres were in many ways inextricably linked. We now know a lot better than before the variant forms that law assumed and the circumstances in which its emendation and copying were undertaken, not just in the early centuries after the conversion of Rus, but also on the cusp of the “modern” era.
Daniel Waugh’s review raises many important issues related to early printing in Muscovy. One of them is the complex relationship between printed books and manuscripts. I could not agree more with Dan’s assessment of I. V. Pozdeeva’s enormous contribution to our understanding of this problem. However, the whole idea of juxtaposing printed and manuscript cultures, and correspondingly the debate about which culture had a greater impact on Muscovy seem to become increasingly irrelevant. As Simon Franklin has demonstrated, the boundaries between printed matter and manuscripts were blurred as Muscovites often produced manuscript copies of printed books and images (Canadian-American Slavic Studies, 2017, vol. 51, issue 2-3).
Simon deals primarily with the fascinating transfer of Western printed material to Muscovite manuscript culture. But even seemingly straightforward ownership inscriptions in Muscovite imprints are in fact complex borderline cases. On the one hand, such inscriptions are part of a printed book and are usually included in the bibliographical descriptions of early printed editions. On the other hand, these inscriptions are handwritten and should therefore be treated as manuscript sources, including palaeographic analysis. I was often astonished at the amateur hands of many ownership notes which are notoriously hard to read. This makes me wonder whether we have any hard evidence corroborating Dan’s assertion that ownership inscriptions were executed by professional scribes on behalf of illiterate book owners. As for pre-modern oral culture, I think the best a historian can do is to leave this ethereal matter to folklore enthusiasts.
With best wishes,
I[rina] V[asil’evna] Pozdeeva. Chelovek. Kniga. Istoriia. Moskovskaia pechat’ XVII veka. Moskva: Fantom-press, 2016. 576 pp. + 24 pp. color plates. ISBN 978-5-86471-745-5.
In the pantheon of the important scholars who have contributed over the decades to our knowledge of early Slavic printing, no name gleams more brightly than that of Irina Vasil’evna Pozdeeva. She is now in her 84th year, and, judging from her bibliography, still actively publishing and teaching (see https://istina.msu.ru/profile/archeograf1/). This well edited collection of her previously published essays provides an excellent overview of what she has accomplished and a clear indication of her, granted not uncontroversial, interpretations of the evidence she has assembled over a career dating back half a century. Even though most of the essays are reprinted unchanged, notes have been added pointing readers to more recent research and publications. There are two short, previously unpublished essays that serve as a conclusion.
As with many of the scholars who have expanded our knowledge of the distribution and possession of early books in Russia, both manuscript and printed, she was long involved in “archaeographic” expeditions to Old Believer villages, where the teams would register the holdings of private libraries, persuade the owners of the books to part with them for the benefit of academic collections, and, among other things, record oral history and folklore. The trove of such material is huge and essential for any research into the culture of many regions of rural Russia.
Beginning around 1980, she initiated and was co-director of a project under the auspices of Moscow University to locate and describe book collections in the Russian provinces, which resulted in the publication of catalogs of the rich holdings of libraries in the Tver, Rostov-Iaroslavl’ and Perm’ regions. The introductory essays to some of these volumes are included in the book here under review (pp. 307-409). This work and the study of other collections unearthed a good many copies of publications that A. S. Zërnova had not come across when compiling her otherwise authoritative catalog of 16th-17th century Muscovite imprints. One of Pozdeeva’s projects shed new light on book printing in Kazan’ (pp. 488-534).
Pozdeeva has also devoted serious study to the archive of the Moscow Printing House, which previously had not received such close attention, its records still intact for the period from about 1615-1652. This then supplemented and substantially expanded the database about the size of print runs and the sales of the books, where a record had been kept of who the purchasers were and how quickly the stock was exhausted.
Not the least of Pozdeeva’s concerns in all this was to pay attention to all the inscriptions on the extant copies of the Muscovite imprints, wherever they may now be. Such evidence attested to how widely the books were disseminated within and in some cases outside of Muscovy, who the owners were, what prices the books fetched, and so on. In her work in the provincial repositories (and, as well in the courses she has continued to teach at Moscow University), Pozdeeva has helped to train cadres in the nuances of proper bibliographic work on old imprints. When she had first arrived in some of the regional centers, there had been no one on the local staffs who had such training. So the impact of Pozdeeva’s work will live on beyond just the catalogs whose compilation she supervised.
One of the fruits of all this labor has been the accumulation of impressive statistics, demonstrating how a significant portion of the output of the Moscow presses made it even to the far reaches of European Russia and often very quickly. Dozens of even the remotest towns may have been the destination of one or another of the books. Furthermore, the evidence indicates that the books passed through the hands of a broad cross-section of Muscovite society. And, perhaps most impressively, insofar as the acquisition of literacy in Muscovy traditionally involved learning from three basic texts—the Primer, the Breviary (Chasovnik) and the teaching Psalter—the data show that huge numbers of such books were printed, usually in larger editions than those of other books required by Russian Orthodoxy, and those print runs quickly sold out. Between 1615 and 1652, some 350,000 books came off the Moscow presses, of which more than 100,000 were “instructional” books (knigi dlia obucheniia—the three noted above plus the Kanonnik) (p. 57). From 1652 to 1700, some 35% of the editions put out by the Printing House were “instructional” books, a total of over half a million copies, of which nearly 260,000 were primers (pp. 154, 206, 213).
What is one to make of such evidence? For Pozdeeva, who argues this with a passion, it is evidence of how the printed word in Muscovy was really the dominant force in shaping Russian culture. When she first began writing about this, her conclusion contested official orthodoxy about Russian book culture, which had emphasized manuscripts, many of which had “secular” content, in contrast to the print books, which for the most part have religious content. As Pozdeeva stresses, religious belief and rituals touched every part of the daily life of Muscovites at all social levels; so the content of the books produced by the Moscow presses was indeed not just very relevant but the most relevant factor in shaping belief and conduct. The fact that so much of the printed output was devoted to instructional books reinforces this conclusion and suggests that there was a much higher premium on education and then presumably a higher level of literacy in Muscovy than many have been willing to admit. An interesting aspect of her argument comes out in the attention she has devoted to the afterwords included in many of the printed books, which articulate forcefully the idea of the divinely sanctioned political order in Muscovy (pp. 96-117). Apart from everything else, the output of the Printing House was one of the main instruments of political propaganda.
Statistical evidence can dazzle, as it does here, but it also has the potential to mislead. Whether the Muscovite presses produced one book for every three or five inhabitants of the state is neither here nor there (cf. p. 49). As Pozdeeva makes very clear, apart from learning precisely about the output of printed books, one must learn about their “consumers”, something in the first instance can be established only by examining sales records, owners’ inscriptions and library inventories. Here the evidence can be quite equivocal. What are we to make, for example, from the fact that often a large part of a print run was purchased immediately by members of the staff of the Printing House? Or if a hundred or so copies of a primer were bought by one individual to take to Kostroma? The obvious answer would be that there was demand, and certainly in the case of the printers, the likelihood, as she suggests, that they were making some money in re-selling volumes that at the official price were often relatively inexpensive. In fact, as her statistics show, prices for the “instructional” books were set quite low, which probably made them affordable even in some of the lower echelons of Muscovite society. Yet tracking the books beyond the initial purchases can be difficult. Few copies of the smallest and cheapest instructional books (the primers) have survived, as presumably they ultimately were worn out from use and disintegrated. In cases where there may be a series of owner’s inscriptions in a single book, we generally cannot know whether the owners (whose names could have been inscribed for them) were literate or whether they read the volumes. Many such inscriptions tell us the books were donated to a church or monastery, which may have been the purpose in acquiring them to begin with. However, while cautioning in passing (p. 87) that purchase or ownership may not indicate readership, at very least she is tending to imply more than what I think the hard evidence of itself should enable us to conclude.
She recognizes that inscriptions on books are of several kinds (see pp. 234-51), where the ones most likely to tell us about actual reading are marginalia that often are very cryptic, and whose significance cannot really be understood unless subject to careful scrutiny in a broader context of examining other writings that may somehow be connected with a given text and/or demonstrably were kept in the same location as the annotated book. To do this kind of detailed research was not the task of the projects in which Pozdeeva has been involved, even if one goal was to record any and all inscriptions. Granted, I am oversimplifying here a rather complex issue of how to establish readership and the impact of books. I think Pozdeeva clearly understands what is needed to do just that.
What I take away from her work then is a much greater appreciation than I had before about the potential significance of the printed book in Muscovy. I am willing to accept the idea that efforts to obtain basic literacy were quite substantial, even if education beyond just basic literacy may have been quite limited and for most Muscovites arguably was irrelevant. (Interestingly, in this connection, there were no full grammars printed in the second half of the 17th century, a fact which somewhat mystifies Pozdeeva. See p. 217.) However, I am less willing than Pozdeeva to put the manuscript culture on a back shelf or to prioritize the written (much less, the printed) word over oral culture, a significant component of which clearly had little to do with the tenets, rituals and texts of Orthodoxy, even as what was contained in the written word would have been in the awareness even of those who could not read it.
Her work has served as an incredibly valuable corrective to other arguments about what was important in Muscovite culture and merits the closest attention. We are very much in her debt.
Vesti-kuranty 1671-1672 gg. Podgotovka tekstov, issledovaniia, kommentarii, ukazateli I. Maier, S. M. Shamina, A. V. Kuznetsovoi, I. A. Kornilaevoi i V. B. Krys’ko pri uchastii E. V. Amanovoi. Pod redaktsiei V. B. Krys’ko i Ingrid Maier. Moskva: Azbukovnik, 2017. 806 pp. ISBN 978-5-91172-150-3.
A little background to the subsequent comments is in order here. I have had nothing to do with the publication of this extraordinary volume, but my involvement with its subject goes back nearly half a century, and I am currently in the process of finishing work on a book about foreign news in Muscovy, co-authored with Ingrid Maier, one of the editors of the book here under review. The series of which this is a continuation began back in the early 1970s, a project of historical linguists. At that time, having worked on some of the files of the Russian translations/summaries of foreign news (a.k.a. “kuranty”), I reviewed the first volume at some length, pointing out ways in which the editing principles might best be re-thought and greater attention paid to analysis of some of the manuscripts prior to publication of the texts. Among other things, I emphasized how important it would be to locate and publish simultaneously the foreign sources for the Russian translations. My review was duly acknowledged in one or another of the subsequent volumes but its recommendations ignored by the then editorial team. Among the first historical linguists to make serious use of what the Russians had been publishing were Roland Schibli and Ingrid Maier, both of whom undertook close examination of the ways in which the Russian translators had treated their foreign texts. Maier began to extend what little had been done to identify the foreign sources.
The management of the kuranty project changed hands as Vol. 6 was in preparation. It was too late for the new editors to address some of the concerns about how best to order the texts, but they did provide some compensatory guidance (in particular, the contributions by Stepan Shamin, who now plays a critical role in exploring the archival sources). Most importantly, Ingrid Maier joined the editorial team—her linguistic ability and access to library and archival collections across Europe made it possible for the first time to include a large collection of the source texts for the Russian translations and situate the Russian acquisition of foreign news squarely in the context of the evolution of news media in pre-modern Europe. In Vol. 6, the editorial standards for the publication of the texts and their sources, the extensive commentaries by Maier on the relationship between the two, and the careful attention to indexing raised the whole project to a new level. With the new volume under review here (Vol. 7 in the series), the editorial team has been able fully to shape the publication according to the best principles and no longer is constrained by the Nachlass of the earlier editorial decisions.
The choice and ordering of the Russian texts is a significant issue. In part because of major lacunae in the archival files containing translations of foreign news, earlier volumes had been rather arbitrary in what they included. This was not necessarily a bad thing, as one finds in those volumes a lot about the various means by which private individuals, rather than any coherent government policy, supplied the Kremlin with news. Ideally both for the historian and for students of the Russian language, the ability to date precisely the receipt and translation of any given text would be significant. In publishing the texts though, the earlier editors arranged them by the date of the latest news item they contained, rather than attempt to order them chronologically by the date in which individual “packets” may have been received. In the process, they sometimes confused which news items belonged to which packet. Given the fact that the documents for the most part were recorded in scrolls, which later archivists then separated into their individual sheets, the correct ordering of the sheets often had been jumbled, a fact which the editors ignored.
With the establishment of the Muscovite foreign post in the mid-1660s, regular acquisition of foreign news became possible, with agents (usually the foreign postmasters) contracted to send with each mail (bi-weekly, soon weekly) a collection of news reports, some in manuscript form but for the most part print copies of foreign newspapers. Generally the headings on the translations from this material indicate when it was received and by which post (that from Riga or that from Vilna), thus identifying precisely the packet and its date but not the actual source of the news (that is, if a published newspaper, its name, place of publication and date of issue).
The nature of the transmission of the news, the way in which it then was processed in Moscow (translation followed almost immediately on receipt), and the particular features of archival preservation have all made it possible to order the texts in the new volume of the kuranty by packet, although with the significant qualification that there are significant gaps in what surely was an unbroken sequence, due to the fact that there have been many losses of the original archival files. Furthermore, it is important to understand that what we get here is far from the full record of foreign news received in Moscow. In the given volume, large as it is, the editors have confined themselves to the kuranty for two years, a partial collection if still a significant and representative one. These are the texts contained in RGADA f. 155, op. 1 (and a few that escaped the chancery environment and are now in BAN 32.14.11, No. 1). Moreover, while the introduction contains a clear indication of the full extent of each of the archival files, not all of the texts in any given binder have been included, a number being separate news letters or translations from pamphlets which cannot be firmly connected with any specific packet of news that had arrived in the post. A few of the more significant translations of individual pamphlets have been published and analyzed in separate articles, and a set of appended texts in this volume include a few other translations specifically from printed news sources.
As we have already learned from the earlier volumes in the series, not surprisingly the particular foreign policy concerns of the Muscovite government usually determined what items of foreign news would be deemed of greatest interest. True, especially in the first half of the 17th century, it can be difficult to understand why some news reports were translated, especially if they dealt with apparently obscure events in some distant place that had no possible connection with Muscovy. However, as the volume and regularity of news acquisition increased, the translators working in the Ambassadorial Office (Posol’skii prikaz) in Moscow had to be very selective. For any given packet of news received, they might choose only a very few datelined reports and then translate or summarize only a part of them. Increasingly, summary, rather than precise translation, seems to have become the norm. They might combine information from more than one source under a single datelined heading. And, importantly, since the resulting translations/summaries were to be read to or by the Tsar and a few of his close advisers, the translators might add explanatory material such as the indentification of geographical locations or the names of individuals who, in the original reports, were mentioned only by an indefinite pronoun.
We can appreciate this treatment of the sources now thanks to Ingrid Maier’s painstaking work of trying to identify the foreign originals, a task that is challenging in part because, just as the Muscovite translation files are often very incomplete, so also are the files of the Western newspapers that served as the sources. Even in the numerous instances where the unique copy of, say, a German newspaper, may be that still preserved in the archive in Moscow and where the translators marked passages they had selected for translation, one cannot always be absolutely certain about the source for what ended up in any given datelined news report that constituted part of the kuranty. For this reason, Maier’s commentaries for each of the texts she has identified as the most likely source make for fascinating reading, as she is able to point out what was or was not selected, indicate the degree of precision (or lack thereof) in rendering the source into Russian, and also make plausible suggestions as to why something in the Russian text is not also in the original. Her command of German, Dutch, Polish, French and Latin enables her to tell us what a particular passage might literally mean, even if that is not the way the Russian translator rendered it. There is a lot here then to inform us about the abilities and knowledge of the Russian translators working under considerable time pressure to churn out news summaries almost immediately upon receipt of the latest post. In some exceptional cases, the translators for individual packets are named—specifically Leontii Gross, Andrei Vinius, and Ivan Tiashkogorskii. Amongst the most capable and best informed of the Muscovite translators, even they might make mistakes, probably due to haste, though in a good many cases, the copyists who produced the clean version of the draft translations may have been responsible for errors.
In looking over the landscape of Muscovite translations in the 17th century, we often come across cases where the results surely would have been almost incomprehensible to Russian readers, if the translator too slavishly followed foreign syntax, failed to find a good Russian equivalent for a foreign word, or the like. Yet what is particularly impressive from Maier’s evidence is how the translators of the kuranty often were able to produce a more readable rendering of the news by simplifying contorted syntax contained in the original, adding necessary indentifications or explanations, and so on. In fact, the foreign originals often were badly written and badly edited and probably would have challenged all but the best informed readers of the German, Dutch (and, rarely, Latin). Furthermore, there are sometimes differences in detail in different copies of a newspaper of a given date, a reflection perhaps of the printers using more than one press. A testimony to the depth of Maier’s research is the fact that she has, where they exist, been able to compare copies now located in Moscow, Bremen, Harlem, or London. Such comparison sometimes elucidates why a date in one version of the same news report differs from that in another version.
There is much here for the historical linguist, the value of this new volume enhanced by the fact that the editors now have included in the texts all the accents and diacriticals found in the original manuscripts, something that had not been attempted in the earlier volumes (see I. A. Kornilaeva’s essay in the introduction explaining this). The several indexes include ones for all the appellative vocabulary, personal, geographical and other proper names. I am aware from personal correspondence how painstaking the work has been to ensure their accuracy.
As a historian, I cannot attempt a full assessment of the value of the publication for its primary audience. However, I would like to look briefly beyond what we have here to consider how the material relates to the question, long posed, but never really adequately answered, about how well informed Muscovites were about the world beyond their borders.
If we really wish to answer that question, we need to look at much more than the kuranty. Arguably, the kuranty themselves may turn out to be less significant than what I (among others) have always tended to assume they were. The full record of what the Muscovite government really knew in the 17th century—and we are talking here in the first instance about a few decision-makers and their circles, since foreign news was generally considered at state secret—can be established only by combing all the diplomatic files, where many of the news reports and translations still are to be found, and by examining all the reports transmitted by officials who ran intelligence networks or otherwise had access to reports about foreign places. Such material is to be found in many archival files, starting with the huge collection of the Razriadnyi prikaz. It has never been the task of the editors of the kuranty to include all such material, nor should it have been: the work could occupy a whole generation of scholars. As it is, with the series now into the last third of the 17th century, the demands of producing each volume, even within a clearly articulated set of limits, threaten to overwhelm the ability of the editors see the series to its logical end of ca. 1700.
What we have here then is a rather selective view of what foreign news may have been deemed of interest, even if we cannot always explain why certain things attracted the attention of the translators and others did not. Was some information ignored, because the makers of Muscovite foreign policy already knew it from other and perhaps more reliable and current sources? Did the translators sometimes “censor” material they thought might offend the Tsar? Why keep translating tidbits indicating Stepan Razin’s rebellion continued, when he had already been executed and the rebellion suppressed? Why would a series of advertisements for new publications in the Netherlands have been translated? Did obvious mistakes in translation make a difference for the presumed consumers of the kuranty? While she does not address all the possible questions, Maier’s comments offer much food for thought here about not only the way in which news was obtained but the way in which it was filtered and epitomized. Maier’s selections are for individual news items (within which she has marked sections that were definitely omitted), not for each newspaper in its entirety, even though she often gives us some sense of what else was in the original source. For a full picture, we would, of course, need to see the entirety of each newspaper, where we have but a tantalizing sampling of the select pages reproduced in the rather darkly printed photographs appended in the book.
In a world where we are now being confronted with accusations about “fake news” and where we cannot always be sure who is providing information and how reliable it may be, the issues of how well (or ill-) informed are our political leaders continue to be as pressing as surely they must have been for decision-making in 17th-century Muscovy. We might all gain some perspective by taking a close look at the kuranty, what they contain, how they were produced. Maybe eventually it will be possible to demonstrate whether their production really had an impact. At very least, their history expands our understanding of the significant changes in Russian engagement with the world which accelerated in the 17th century.
Novgorodskie sinodiki XIV-XVII vekov. [Podgotovka tekstov, issledovanie T. I. Shablovoi.] SPb.: Aleteiia, 2017. 326 pp. ISBN 978-5-906860-81-1.
The attention that is increasingly being given to sinodiki and their publication is certainly welcome. These compilations, which list individuals whose memory was to be commemorated in regular prayers, also contain some of the texts of the services themselves and supplementary materials relating to the circumstances in which the donations for the memorialization were received. Sinodiki identify not only those for whom blessings are to be invoked but also the names of those who have earned merit by commissioning the commemoration.
So we should welcome this volume, given the obvious importance of Novgorod in both the secular and religious spheres. Yet, I come away from reading in it rather puzzled as to what is (or is not) there and wondering whether this book really fulfills expectations we might have as to how to go about properly publishing and analyzing the texts. Perhaps I am missing the obvious and thus would welcome correction by those better versed in the material than I am.
T. I. Shablova’s introduction is a set of somewhat independent essays but not really a proper guide as to what readers would expect from what follows. She plunges right in with a discussion of the Orthodox texts and services of commemoration, leaning heavily on the secondary literature, especially the as yet partially published dissertation by G. I. Afanas’eva, “Drevneslavianskii perevod liturgii v rukopisnoi traditsii XI-XVI vv.” (2012). The second section of the introduction shifts to an overview of the “state” institutions of Medieval Novgorod, among them the eparchial. Then we jump to outlining the introduction to the 1558 sinodik of the Novgorod Cathedral of S. Sophia, which is one of the texts published in this book. She provides bullet point summaries of the differing views of the text by E. V. Petukhova and I. V. Dergacheva, before proceeding to her own commentary on that introduction and its sources. The next section is an overview of the history of the evolution of a pantheon of Novgorod saints, concluding with a summary of the evidence in the Sofiiskii sinodik of 1631 regarding their veneration. Following this is a section on the “Sinodik litiinyi vsednevnyi”, which is either cited or partially reproduced in several of the Sofiiskii collection manuscripts (now in RNB, Nos. 1550-1553). This then leads to the conclusion that codification of the texts may be dated to the time of Makarii, when he was Archbishop of Novgorod and then Metropolitan in Moscow, even if some parts of the texts clearly have an earlier history.
Chapter 2 is the standard archaeographic review of the manuscripts, specifically RGADA, f. 381, No. 141 (Sinodik Lisitskogo monastyria); RNB, Sof. 1552 (Sinodik Novgorodskogo Sofiiskogo sobora 1558 g.) : Sof. 1551 (ditto 1604/5); Sof. 1549 (ditto, end 17th c.); Sof. 1553 (ditto, 18th c.). The descriptive overviews here are quite thorough in providing codicological details and summarizing the evidence about dating. The actual contents descriptions are left to Chapter 3, where, apart from the section by section headings, one finds some detail about which individuals are listed as the relatives of which of the deceased or of the donors.
The text publication occupies the next large section of the book (pp. 69-174). In the first instance here, the goal seems to have been to publish the names of the deceased in full, but for the donors only the names of the families and their heads, without the listing of all the individuals within each lineage. I would have to think we might also like to have that latter information in full.
Moreover, when we see from the notes that even in the lists of those being memorialized, there are numerous instances of names having been added after the copying of the main text and in different hands, we are left to wonder what this means for the history of the compilations and for our understanding of the, yes, important matter of the evolution of the veneration of Novgorodian saints. It is certainly the case (as I know from having seen at least a couple of sinodiki from other places) that such texts were working documents, to which over the years names would be added in various hands either to extend the commemoration for a particular family or to add a new clan or individuals who previously had not been included. Figuring out how best to publish such texts is certainly a challenge, and the matter of when the interpolated names were added needs close scrutiny. It would have been nice in the case of the Novogorod manuscripts used here to have had some plates with photos of sample pages.
The introductory essay within the 1558 sinodik is reproduced here in full, including at the end of it the listings of clerics and members of the royal family who are being remembered. But the list of the donors is presented only in excerpts, much of the original, apparently, omitted.
The appendices open with a section reproducing previously published prayers for the deceased, taken from various sources (not necessarily connected with Novgorod). Then there is a tabulation comparing three versions of the “Intertsessio” and another table showing with parts of the “Proskomidiia” are found in which of several manuscripts. Here too the choice of material clearly is related to the author’s particular interest in the broader patterns of commemoration of the deceased (see the first section of her introduction).
The third through sixth tables, in several parts and quite detailed with notes, show which high clerics and members of the royal family were mentioned in which of the several Novgorod sinodiki. What strikes me here is the irregularity of the commemoration lists, where it would be of some interest to learn more about why a particular sinodik contained some names, but another one a different selection. What does this tell us then about the evolution of a pantheon of locally commemorated saints, where there seems, I think, to be no clear progression in adding names? Are we to assume significant omissions may simply reflect there having been a damaged and incomplete manuscript somewhere in the line of transmission?
The indexes, we are told at the outset, are not intended to include all the names found in the sinodiki. See p. 232 for details, where the statement of that fact leaves one wondering why.
My conclusion is that the book contains a lot of potentially useful bits and pieces for those wishing to study such commemoration practices within the Orthodox Church. Some of this will shed light on such practices in Novgorod. But at least for this reader, this is still far short of what we might wish to have for any kind of coherent history of the subject as far as Novgorod, or for that matter the larger Russian Orthodox world are concerned. Obviously to provide such seems in any event not to have been the author/editor’s intent.
Slovar’ knizhnikov i knizhnosti Drevnei Rusi. Vyp. 4. Ukazateli. S.-Peterburg: “Dmitrii Bulanin”, 2017. 896 pp. ISBN 3-02-027977-3. ISBN 978-5-86007-833-8 (vyp. 4).
With this, the ninth volume and several thousand pages later, one of the most valuable reference works we have, inaugurated back in 1987, seems to have been completed. Or has it? (See below.) Of course I need not elaborate on the contents of the whole, as I have to imagine most readers of this list have had occasion to consult it. Certainly it is the first place I now turn if I need information about an author or work of literature produced in or circulated in pre-modern Rus’. Over the years the Slovar’ has moved down through the 17th century in coverage and has included various supplements not only to fill in things that were missed earlier but also to add the ever-expanding new scholarship and editions. As a reminder, we have Vyp. 1 for the 11th-first half of the 14th century; vyp. 2, now in three parts, for the second half of the 14th century through the 16th century; vyp. 3 in four parts for the 17th century; and finally, vyp. 4, the current index volume.
The first three volumes are already available in re-formatted and easily accessible electronic form on the website of Pushkinskii dom http://lib.pushkinskijdom.ru/Default.aspx?tabid=2048. All but the last most recent volume (vyp. 2, ch. 3) and the current vyp. 4 can be downloaded in pdf format from “Biblioteka cheloveka metamoderna” https://vk.com/wall-67308657_2647. One assumes that digitizing what has not yet been included will eventually make the entire content freely accessible on-line, at least on the first of these sites.
The current volume contains several indexes: personal names (listing both authors of the historic texts and scholars who have written about them and are cited in the entries); titles of the historic texts (both those found in them and those assigned to them) ; shelf numbers of manuscripts cited; incipits; and authors of the entries in the Slovar’. In the index of names, one notes that for many of the non-Russians, where one might first go to the Romanization of their names, one then is directed to look instead under the Russian transcriptions in order to find the page references. Hence, to cite one example close to my heart, details for Waugh are to be found under Uo in Cyrillic.
This volume also includes (pp. 446-482) a section entitled “Kommentarii k ‘Ukazateliu imen’,” which is, more or less, yet the latest supplement to what was published in the earlier volumes. I say more or less, because the introduction to these “commentaries” makes it clear the entries which follow, arranged alphabetically by name of the author of the early text, are merely for correction and indicating some really important studies or publications not cited earlier, but should not be taken to represent a full attempt at updating all that had gone before.
Of course as one realizes, what this tells us is the obvious, that just as we thought we had reached the top of the beanstalk, it is continuing to grow and we still can’t quite see the top of the head of the Jolly Green Giant. Bibliographies and their relatives by and large can never be complete, unless they relate to a totally dead subject. Thank goodness that is not the case in our “field”. Blessings upon those who over the years have invested so much labor in giving us this magnificent Slovar’, even as what it has accomplished so well is always going to need to be updated until the last Early Slavist is in his/her grave or drowned in the rising seas from the melting of the polar ice.
Drevnerusskii nekropol’ Pskova X-nachala XI veka. V 2-kh t. T. 1. Rannegorodskoi nekropol’ drevnego Pskova po materialam raskopov na territorii Srednego goroda. T. 2. Kamernye pogrebeniia Pskova po materialam arkheologicheskikh raskopov 2003-2009 gg. u Starovoznesenskogo monastyria. Sankt-Peterburg: Nestor-Istoriia, 2012-2016. 500, 624 pp. ISBN978-5-4469-0369-6, 978-5-4469-0826-4.
I suppose there may be no point in posting about publications where the first volume appeared several years back and those who would wish to know about it probably have made its acquaintance long ago. However, the potentially more interesting of these volumes is the large and more recent second one. If my aging memory serves, neither seems to have been mentioned on the pages of H-EarlySlavic, not, I would think, for lack of merit. Nor, if a quick Internet search is any indication, have there been reviews in the journals many of us might regularly consult. So perhaps there is good reason to offer a few comments on what I consider to be a valuable contribution to our knowledge of quite early Rus’.
The burials in question were discovered not long ago and then underwent proper archaeological excavation using the best modern methods, as reported in these abundantly illustrated, large-format volumes. We get here the usual diagrams, a lot of detailed photos, catalogs of the inventories, and essays placing the finds in the broader context of what is known from the relatively few urban cemetery sites of early Rus’ in other locations. A lot of this is the usual kind of technical documentation that has to accompany any proper publication of archaeological work; it is impressive that the publication in this instance came relatively quickly after the excavations had been completed.
The thematic essays in Vol. 2 (following on a grave-by-grave description) are the ones most likely to interest readers who have a broadly defined curiosity about the history and culture of early Rus’, for here we can find analyses with substantial comparative material about: 1) textile finds (importantly, quite a few fragments of arguably Byzantine silk); 2) costume; 3) beads (for which there is chemical analysis of their composition, indicating likely provenance; there are comparisons with ones excavated at Birka in Sweden); 4) metalwork (with technical analysis suggesting most of the silver came from Islamic dirhams even if then melted down and alloyed for the production of other objects); 4) trade (focusing on the finds of scale parts and weights); and several others. Readers who were intrigued several years ago by an article Roman Kovalev published [in Russian History 39 ) in connection with the Pskov discovery of a pendant with a Riurikind monogram and a bird and cross image on it will find the longish essay here analyzing the pendant and introducing details of Christian imitations of Arab dirhams (provided by the eminent Swedish numismatist Gerd Rispling) to be of considerable interest.
As with so many graves, the ones here were looted, presumably long ago, but a surprising amount of interesting evidence remained in them (in one case, including some substantial pieces of wax candles; also, a few Samanid dirhams from Central Asia). Even though the photos of some of the darker objects don’t come across as well as one might like in these books, for the most part the abundant visual material and careful texts, tabulations, statistics, etc. will be an invaluable resource. Most of the sections have short summaries in English, and pages cataloging artifacts also include captions in English.
S[ergei] N[ikolaevich] Azbelev. Letopisanie Velikogo Novgoroda. Letopisi XI-XVII vekov kak pamiatniki kul’tury i kak istoricheskie istochniki. Sankt-Peterburg: “Blits”; Moskva: Russkaia Panorama, 2016. 280 pp. ISBN 978-5-93165-367-9.
I am commenting on this recent volume as a tribute to its late author. Sergei Nikolaevich Azbelev died in his 92nd year on 25 December 2017, ending a productive academic career in which he published well over 400 works, including 16 books. His bibliography, complete through 2015, may be found in the open-access journal Istoricheskii format, 2016/1, along with appreciations of him on the occasion of his 90th birthday and an article by him <http://histformat.com/2016-01/>. A decent overview of his career with references that have been brought up to date is in the Russian Wikipedia (https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Азбелев,_Сергей_Николаевич). Istoricheskii format promises a forthcoming volume in his memory.
As a teenager, he survived the blockade in Leningrad, enlisted in the army at age 17, and fought on the Leningrad front and beyond with distinction. Following the war, he enrolled in Leningrad University. His kandidat dissertation on the 17-century Novgorod chronicles became his first book, published in 1960. Throughout his career he was affiliated with the Academy of Sciences Institute of Russian Literature, and he also taught in the history faculty of Novgorod University. A substantial part of his academic legacy was in folklore studies, at the same time that he never abandoned his interest in the Novgorod chronicles.
The volume under review here will have little new for those who have followed Azbelev’s earlier publications, but it has the virtue of pulling together some of his most important contributions to the study of the Novgorod chronicles, thereby highlighting important themes in his oeuvre. The first three chapters, covering up to the 16th century, are largely reviews of the earlier historiography, in which above all, he emphasizes that the interpretations developed by the eminent specialist on early Russian chronicles, Aleksei Shakhmatov, largely withstand much later criticism.
Azbelev’s pioneering work on Novgorodian chronicles really begins with the 16th century (the subject of Ch. 4) and continues on through to the beginning of the 18th century (Ch. 5). His Chapter 6 discusses the techniques of how the late Novgorod chroniclers went about their work, and Ch. 7 contains selected examples illustrating the historicity of their information. To a considerable degree, large parts of this material merely reprint verbatim what he published in Trudy Otdela drevnerusskoi literatury, Vols. 12, 13, 15, and 16 (1956-1960), as well as in Istochnikovedenie otechestvennoi istorii 1975 and Letopisi i khroniki 1976. Thus one finds here what is still an unsurpassed, if more than half a century old, discussion of the Novgorod Uvarov, Novgorod Third, and Novgorod Pogodin chronicles (to use the common designations for them), work in which Azbelev identified and classified the manuscript copies and laid out carefully the interrelationships amongst the texts. What emerges from all this is striking evidence about the vibrancy of the chronicle tradition in Novgorod right down into the 18th century, at the same time that the chroniclers (in the first instance, the Metropolitans or those working for them) were developing a critical stance toward their sources that anticipates the emergence of what we normally think of as “modern” historiography in the 18th century. It is interesting to see the range of sources they tapped, including sinodiki, epigraphy, and even (with a very critical attitude toward some of what it contained), Gizel’s printed Kievan Sinopsis of 1680.
Azbelev also devotes close attention to the ways in which oral history made its way into the chronicles and how such material deserves serious consideration for the historical fact it may contain. This helps explain his long section in Ch. 7 on the seemingly semi-legendary Gostomysl, concerning whom one of the chief sources of information has been the so-called “Ioakim Chronicle” cited by the 18th-century historian Vasilii Tatishchev. Much has been written arguing that Tatishchev made up such information, but Azbelev is a vigorous critic of the skeptics (among them, notably, A. P. Tolochko). In fact much of Azbelev’s first chapter here is devoted to the historiography about the Ioakim Chronicle, an emphasis which somewhat oddly skews what else might have been said regarding the earlier Novgorod chronicle traditions.
Azbelev’s long appendix on the treatment of the battle of Kulikovo in 1380 in the Novgorod chronicles also is very much connected with his interest in the historicity of oral tradition, since he argues that the oldest layer of accounts about the battle is one probably put down within a few years of the battle and was based on an oral account by an eyewitness. This view, of course, is at odds with a lot of what has been written about the Kulikovo tales, where there are various arguments dating them much later, the narratives refashioned for political purposes.
Azbelev seems never to have been one to shrink from controversy. His vigor in defending Tatishchev and his unwillingness to accept skeptical views about the historical authenticity and substance of a range of texts reflect deeply-seated patriotic convictions concerning the Russian past. This can be seen in another aspect of his focus on the Kulikovo events, where he even undertook surveys in the field to get a first-hand view of the topography of where the battle may actually have taken place. Some recent arguments locate it in an area that was quite confined and probably could not have accommodated armies as large as the written sources suggest were arrayed on both sides. Yet, to so constrict the events by locating them in the wrong place diminishes the battle. To Azbelev this is unacceptable, and he quotes with approval Sergei Solov’ev’s 19th-century assertion as to how important Kulikovo was not only for Russia but for European civilization in averting the threat of conquest from Asia.
In conclusion, I should note that to some degree my (granted, inadequate) effort to honor Azbelev is in part a reflection of a guilty conscience. More than a decade ago, I arranged to meet him in Novgorod, so that we might discuss the possibility of a joint effort to publish at least one of those remarkable, late Novgorod chronicles. Clearly over the decades he must have been frustrated by the lack of support for their publication, even though they contain so much of importance for our understanding of the evolution of Russian historiography, The Zabelin manuscript, for example, is an ”authorial” copy, replete with huge marginalia in the same hand as that of the main text, marginalia that then make their way into subsequent redactions. Those late Novgorod chronicles certainly contain valuable historical source material not found elsewhere. Right at the beginning of his new book, Azbelev pointedly rues the fact that their texts remain unpublished, a fact which he recognizes imposes serious limits on the possibilities for deeper scholarly analysis of them.
So we talked about possible collaboration. He suggested the Zabelin manuscript would be the place to start and indicated he could send me a microfilm of it if I wanted to do some of the basic work in preparing the text. At the same time though, we agreed we both had to deal first with other commitments, in his case involving publishing historic collections of Russian folklore. In the end, I never followed up on that conversation, and whatever promises had been made or implied were never fulfilled. I keep thinking I let him down, though at this point in my life (and without his support and expertise), such a publishing project surely has to be the task for others. The texts are huge, and their preparation might take years of effort. Were even one of those late Novgorod chronicles to appear in a proper scholarly edition, it would be the best tribute anyone could offer to a remarkable scholar who retained his intellectual vigor to the end of his long life.
Jelena Bogdanović. The Framing of Sacred Space: The Canopy and the Byzantine Church. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017. xl + 411 pp. ISBN9780190465186.
Before explaining my enthusiasm for this remarkable new book, I shall inflict on readers a few musings about process which it has inspired and provide a disclaimer. Those who are impatient should scroll ahead or look for the “delete” button.
Reviewing is arguably the most consequential and demanding of all the tasks in which we academics engage. We probably wrote our first “book reviews” in school, to prove to the teacher we had read the assignment. In subsequent education, if so fortunate, we might have acquired a clearer idea of how serious an obligation it is to summarize effectively, yea even pass judgment on someone else’s work. But probably it was only by having to do it in our professional lives that we came to understand that “reviewing” might mean a number of things beyond just writing a few hundred words for the back pages of an academic journal. The ideal which has been instilled in us is to be dispassionately objective. Yet how many times in writing letters of recommendation (a.k.a. “reviews”), reading and discussing them as part of a fellowship application or a promotion file, have we come to recognize that objective criticism may fatally damage someone whom we wish to support or how unabashed enthusiasm may seem suspect?
In methods seminars for both undergraduates and graduate students, I used to give an assignment asking them not simply to write a review, but to read multiple reviews of a book that they might have read and/or which may have provoked considerable controversy. The whole point was to get them to realize that academics often are not dispassionate and objective, and one therefore always should exercise critical judgment in deciding from a single review whether a book would be worth reading. Part of this exercise was to make the students aware of how reviews are solicited and published, where in the ideal world, self-selection of a book one might wish to review (for the right or wrong reasons) would be considered a no-no. In actual fact, a lot of reviewing in respectable academic places is the result some request or personal connection, and, alas, too often reviews, even if solicited in proper fashion, may end up telling us more about the reviewer than about his/her subject. Think of some of the peer review comments you may have received for something you submitted…. Worse yet, in our new electronic age, the ability to blog or otherwise reach a large and unsuspecting audience with what may be a very personal take on someone else’s work is unlimited.
In writing so many “book notices” for this list (I rarely consider them to be “reviews” in the proper sense), naturally I self-select work that interests me personally, about whose subject occasionally I may know a bit, and which I like to think might not otherwise always come to the attention of those who are on EarlySlavic. Generally I avoid scholarship in English, on the assumption that it is likely to be properly reviewed in one of journals we all at least should be reading. Occasionally I have had my knuckles rapped for ill-informed enthusiasms.
Which brings me to my disclaimer: Jelena Bogdanović sent me a copy of her book because I contributed a few photos for it. On beginning to read, I was carried away by enthusiasm and volunteered to write something about it, even if I am far from the most competent judge of its merits. I am not aware that I have ever met her; in fact this involvement resulted, if my memory serves, as a result of offering on this list to share some of my “Byzantine” photos.
Now teaching in architecture at Iowa State University, she defended her Princeton dissertation on this subject in 2008, and, as one might expect, the research goes back well before that time. From the title, some readers of EarlySlavic might immediately wonder why they should want to read the result, especially since, as they would discover, the complexity of what she has accomplished makes a lot of demands on readers. I readily admit to not having plumbed all the depths here. The canopies in question, as she makes clear in her opening chapter on the varied terminology used to describe them and in her next chapter examining the archaeological and architectural evidence for them, assume a number of forms, but share the fact that they mark sacred space, not just in a physical sense but more abstractly as expressions of core Christian belief. (For both the textual and archaeological evidence, note the summary tables in her several appendices.) Probably most readers here will never have paid much attention to canopies, as “micro-architectural” features of churches, in part because so few of the oldest ones have survived to the present except as fragments which may be displayed but not properly identified in a museum or in archaeologically documented evidence from churches where the original structures once stood. At very least, we may think of images, such as that of the Eucharist in the apse mosaic of Hagia Sophia in Kiev, depicting a canopy over the altar, one of the most important of the locations within a church where historically there would have been a canopy. An important part of her task here has been to survey and catalog the more than two hundred instances she knows where there is archaeological or architectural evidence about canopies across the Byzantine world. Her purview indeed is broad, encompassing not just altar canopies, but ones placed over baptismal fonts, receptacles for holy water, tombs or pulpits, and ones that may frame in relief holy images. She reminds us of what ultimately might become a much larger canvas — a lot has been written on canopies in Western contexts; what one finds in the Islamic world is also relevant here, and not simply because canopy remains were sometimes recycled in mosques.
As Bogdanović emphasizes, most studies of church architecture in the world of Slavia Orthodoxa and Byzantium have said little about these micro-architectural structures, concentrating instead on discussion of the plan and architecture of the buildings in which they were contained. And the theological, philosophical and ritual aspects of what they represented, something the educated Byzantines she quotes clearly understood, has then naturally also received too little attention. Even though over the years when teaching, I would always try to incorporate into my courses on early Russia (and in the occasional ones I taught on Byzantium) material on art and architecture (some of it still, embarrassingly, out on the Internet in old web pages I wrote and illustrated), on reading her book, I can begin to see now how limited my understanding of such material really was. Yes, I had read some of Krautheimer, or Demus, or Kitzinger, not to mention Lazarev, but there is a new world of scholarship since those classics were written.
Moreover, in being so fortunate to have visited a number of the sites she discusses and illustrates (think Kiev, Studenica, Nerezi, Ohrid, Istanbul, Ephesus/Selçuk, or more obscure ones, some of which I photographed), too much of what she highlights here totally escaped my attention, as I looked at what was in front of me through eyes conditioned to see it very differently. Examples in Istanbul include the Church of Christ Chora in Istanbul, where it is too easy to be carried away by the stunning mosaics but not see what frames them, or the sculpted fragments arguably from Hagia Euphemia and Hagios Polyeuktos, now displayed out of context in the Archaeological Museum there. Only a few months ago, having only begun her book but not as a consequence of doing so, I had the opportunity to visit the Cathedral of Panagia Ekatontapuliani on the Greek island of Paros, which occupies a place of distinction in her analysis, given the fact that it contains one of the earliest and best preserved of the altar canopies. It was only after entering the church at the end of the service and responding emotionally to the almost miraculous vision of the altar with its canopy, backlit by the morning sun streaming in through the windows of the apse, that I could begin to fathom the significance of what I was seeing and, however imperfectly, understand what that experience might mean for a believer.
One of the important emphases in the book is how the canopied installations relate not just to scripture but to liturgical performance, a subject that, as she points out, is a focus of the prolific writing of Aleksei Lidov about sacred space under the term hierotopy. To attempt to explain here all the complexities of her discussion of sacred space would be impossible (readers can get a clear idea of her book from its introduction and conclusion). What I think may most impress many readers about the significance of her book is the way that toward the end she argues powerfully for a fundamentally new approach to understanding the development of Byzantine architecture. Canopies in both their physical and abstract senses in effect became modular elements in the way the buildings were conceived and constructed.
To the uninitiated, the canopy may seem to be a rather fragile structure on which to erect such far-reaching conclusions, but she sees it as embodying “the essence of a Byzantine-rite church…charged with the significance of sacred time, wherein the present moment recapitulates the total past, present, and future within the framework of a given church space.” “The canopy thus becomes a symbol for what is built, what is not built, and what cannot be built—the visible, the invisible and the un-representable to the eye of the beholder” (pp. 295-96, 299).
The book is beautifully produced and generously illustrated, though one might always wish for additional photos in order to see some of the examples. Not the least of the important contributions here are Zhengyang Hua’s exquisitely drawn plans and visualizations of the architecture and its components.
This is a book to savor, one that demands being re-read, and one which surely will contribute to your better appreciation of what you are experiencing the next time you enter an Orthodox church.
P[avel] A[natol’evich] Filin, and S[ergei] P[avlovich] Kurnoskin. Narodnoe sudostroenie v Rossii. Entsiklopedicheskii slovar’ sudov narodnoi postroiki. Sankt-Peterburg: Izdatel’stvo-poligraficheskii kompleks “Gangut”, 2016. 408 pp. ISBN 978-5-85875-507-4.
This valuable volume just might make you think more about a subject that perhaps too often gets ignored as we cast our gaze over the sweep of Russian history: boats. It certainly has stimulated me to wax poetic (apologies to EBB and long-suffering readers of H-ES): How do I love them? Let me count the ways. Think a bit about what probably are familiar images: The Viking boat cremation on the Volga described so luridly by Ibn Fadlan and offered to the public in a fanciful wall-size painting in the Historical Museum in Moscow; Roerich’s “Guests from Overseas”; any number of miniatures in the Litsevoi svod and in the chronicles of the Russian conquest of Siberia; Surikov’s “Stepan Razin”; the opening scene of that dreadful Soviet film about Peter the Great, where the little Peter, chased by his mother, opens the door of a shed, discovers the dusty “botik” and proclaims how he is going to change Russia…. Well, you get the idea—the images are many, and artistic imagination aside, they reflect a reality we would ignore at our peril. I still find myself impressed when I read about the substantial boats the Stroganovs used to transport their salt to market.
The authors here bring to the task both practical maritime expertise, and a dedicated concern for the serious study of their subject. As they make clear in their introduction, the tendency of those who are interested in shipping in Russia has been to concentrate on the modern period, when, starting with Peter, western models and formal construction techniques including the use of standardized engineering drawings became the norm. (Yes, the Russians, not just Peter, imported boats: think of the sidewheelers with names such as “Colorado” on the lines that served the middle and lower Volga in the late 19th century.) Even though there are various mostly older works (reviewed briefly here) which address bits and pieces of what the book covers, it is the first attempt to bring together in one place everything that can be gleaned about the boats built over the centuries by master craftsmen using traditional tools who did not have to rely on a blueprint and who had learned their trade from a skilled member of the previous generation. With the advent of the “westernizing” influences, over time (though certainly not immediately), traditional knowledge began to be supplanted, and there are now few who have the skills to replicate the ways in which Russians built boats in earlier times. Of course the same thing is true elsewhere: there are few skilled makers of gondolas left in Venice, and it is thanks to the active open-air museum in Roskilde, Denmark, that one is able to see how a Viking craft was built from planks split with an axe and wedges in a way that maximized the tensile strength of the wood and thus made it possible for the boats to be light enough to portage. (For those interested in Viking boats, the museum at Roskilde also displays the remains of several which had been sunk to block a naval attack by other Vikings back in the 11th century.)
The book is an encyclopedic dictionary of mostly short entries for some 950 types of craft. whose names often tell us where they have been documented or what their purpose was: “Angarka” on the Angara River; “Arbuznitsa”, so nicknamed since it carried loads of watermelons on the Volga; “Astrakhanka” whose location should be obvious. Not quite sure about “Amazonka”, the name for boats that carried grain (not Amazons) on the River Sura, though presumably they were large. Naturally, many of these craft were built in similar ways and look very similar to the untrained eye. But there is a huge range in size and inventiveness in practical design for specific purposes: I was struck, for example, by the “Zhivorybnyi sadok”, basically a large holding pen for transporting live fish to market, used on the lower Volga and even in St Petersburg in the early 20th century. A number of entries illustrate types of craft that in fact show European influences, although, after they first were introduced into Russia, copies then were constructed by skilled craftsmen who had never been sent off to study in the shipyards of Amsterdam or London.
The geographic scope of the volume is the territories of the Russian Empire and USSR, with the exception of the Baltic countries, since, as the authors suggest, the shipbuilding traditions there are different enough to merit separate treatment. I would recommend, if readers want to learn more on that front, they visit the wonderful naval museum in Tallinn, one of the highlights for any exploration of that city.
The book is richly illustrated with drawings, old engravings and historic photos (the latter, unfortunately, somewhat muddy as reproduced here but still serviceable). Each entry explains the naming, where the craft was documented, its purpose, may provide detail of measurements, and gives a source citation. The authors and the Museum of the World’s Oceans in St. Petersburg, whose director wrote a preface for the book and which sponsored its publication, should be applauded. I am embarrassed to admit I have yet to visit their museum or, for all the times I walked past it long ago, the Naval Museum in St. Petersburg. If I ever make it back there, I should not just follow the crowds to the Hermitage. Nor should you.
My apologies for the broken link in my original posting of this; I blame the jetlag from having just returned to Kazakhstan from Canada. Here is the correct link: Vestnik Al’ians-Arkheo - http://aarheo.ru/index.php/vestnik-a-arheo
Ocherki feodal’noi Rossii. Vyp. 19. Red. S. N. Kisterev. Moskva; Sankt-Peterburg: Al’ians-Arkheo, 2016. 472 pp. ISBN 978-5-98874-131-2.
The stack of books on my desk about which I would hope to post notices for my colleagues who read H-Early Slavic grows apace as the time even to skim through them first seems to shrink. Probably most will have to wait until after the New Year. Why would I choose then, after a longish silence, to begin with this one? Well, I confess, apart from the substantial merits of the volume in a series that undoubtedly is familiar to many of you, as my comments will reveal, I have a self-serving (gasp!) interest here. For the most part, this will be just a briefly annotated indication of the contents.
Founded in 2005, the publisher Al’ians-Arkheo has already achieved distinction for its attention to early Russian material and the promise on its website that since it is staffed with specialists who themselves are actively publishing in the field, it can effectively deal with the complications of properly editing such work. Indeed, its editor-in-chief, Ol’ga L. Novikova, is a distinguished specialist on Muscovite and Novgorodian chronicles and has been working productively for many years now on the rich manuscript Nachlass of the Kirillo-Beloozerskii Monastery. I first benefited from her work personally, when, some years before the start of Al’ians-Arkheo, she was editing for Dmitrii Bulanin and took in hand my book he published on Viatka. If one goes back through the list of Al’ians-Arkheo books, the other name that appears most frequently is that of Sergei N. Kisterev, who founded (as a much more modest publication initially) Ocherki feodal’noi Rossii.
Apart from that now substantial series, this team produces the on-line Vestnik Al’ians-Arkheo, which can be freely downloaded from the website <http://aarheo.ru/index.php/vestnik-a-arheo>, but, since it is what we might characterize as a kind of “occasional papers” series or even a “newsletter”, may have previously escaped your notice. The pages of both it and OFR are populated by a lot of work by a kind of “inner circle” group of some of the best scholars now editing and writing about Muscovite historical sources. In the Vestnik, the articles often deal with specific issues of archaeographic practice; an outstanding example is the nearly 100-page review essay by L. A. Timoshina in Vestnik, Vyp. 5. keyed to the recent publication of the Moscow-Brandenburg Posol’skaia kniga. A number of Novikova’s codicological investigations of the K-B Monastery manuscripts can be found here. And Kisterev’s review/summary essays on each new volume of OFR go beyond just presenting the contents.
In OFR, many of the contributions are publications of documents, accompanied by all the appropriate apparatus. One has to admire how it is still possible in Russia to place monograph-length pieces in serial publications, the kind of long essays that would be much harder to place outside Russia in anything other than an occasional papers series and for which opportunities are very limited. Too frequently nowadays we are told our journals cannot accept anything longer than a dozen and a half pages, and even separate monographs had better not exceed a couple hundred in markets where there is hardly an insatiable demand for such scholarship.
The contents of the new OFR volume:
T. B. Karbasova. “Tsikl tekstov, posviashchennykh Varlaamu Khutynskomu, v Minee Sofiisogo sobraniia No. 191.” (pp. 3-57). Publication of the first redaction of the saint’s vita from the earliest complete manuscript copy of the cycle of works dedicated to him, with analysis arguing that the author of all the parts was Pakhomii the Serb.
O. L. Novikova. “Iz istorii sozdaniia khronograficheskikh kompiliatsii v seredine XV veka.” (58-93). The manuscripts of the Kirillo-Beloozerskii monk Efrosin keep giving (in this case KB No. 22/1099), here historical text fragments that attest to active work in history writing in the monastery. The analysis is based on careful codicological study; the texts in question are appended.
A. L. Griaznov. “Genealogiia kniazei Ukhtomskikh v XV-XVI vv.” (94-114). Introduces new genealogical evidence to expand what we know about this princely clan (see the summary genealogical table on pp. 106-107), and, interestingly, maps the distribution of its votchiny along the R. Ukhtoma and shows how partible inheritance quickly would have impoverished the younger generations to the extent that it would have been impossible for them to fulfill their service obligations.
S. V. Sirotkin. “Sotnaia 1560 g. s Pistsovoi knigi 1558/59 g. na Uzol’skuiu volost’ Balakninskogo uezda.” (115-76). Publication of a complete copy of the cadaster, which previously had been available only from E. I. Kolycheva’s publication from an incomplete manuscript. Indexed for geographic and personal names.
A. V. Deduk. “Neizvestnyi fragment pripravochnogo spiska 1619/20 g. Pistsovoi knigi Tul’skogo uezda 1587/88-1588/89 godov.” (177-22). Likewise indexed, this previously unpublished part of a cadaster is a copy not found in the normal archival environment of the Pomestnyi prikaz (RGADA, f. 1209) but rather hidden away in MS RNB OSRK, Q.IV.338. Appended here, in addition to the main text, is an excerpt from the f. 1209 files listing the landholders in the Staroe Gorodishche stan of that same uezd.
L. A. Timoshina. “Dozory nachala XVII v. v Galiche i vypis’ iz Dozornoi knigi 1617/18 g” (222-84). Citing the difficulty of working in some of the archives where the great majority of such documents are housed, Timoshina indicates there is much that can be done in locating and publishing copies that are in collections outside the official archival environment. Here, emphasizing the value of work on cadastral material for towns (as opposed to rural districts), after a detailed analysis, she appends the text from MS GIM OPI, f. 251, Op. 1, D. 32, Ch. 2., fols. 9-18.
S. N. Kisterev “K istorii zakondatel’stva ob otkupakh v pervoi polovine XVII veka.” (285-99). Analysis based on unpublished documents showing how government policy during the 17th century changed in regard to tax-farming.
E. N. Gorbatov. “Zhiletskii spisok 7133 g.” (300-63). Indexed publication of one of the previously little noticed lists of members of a lower service rank at the Muscovite court and the location of their pomest’e allotments. His analysis provides statistics on the distributions and also comments on the cases where the individuals had no lands of their own and lived with relatives.
A. V. Beliakov, A. S. Lavrov, A. V. Morokhin. “Novye materialy k biografii protopopa Danila Temnikovskogo.” (364-93). The protopop was one of the provincial adherents of the “Zealots of Piety, about whom the authors here had published separate articles recently but now supplement with the publication of 12 new documents.
Daniel’ K. Uo [Waugh]. “Istoki sozdaniia mezhdunarodnoi pochtovoi sluzhby Moskovskogo godudarstva v evropeiskom kontekste” (tr. by O. A. Goliakova). 394-442. Examination of some new evidence about the functioning of the first Muscovite international post. Although the dedication is not indicated here, the article was presented at the Stanford conference honoring Nancy Kollmann in 2015, but, due to its excessive length, will not appear in the resulting Festschrift. The English original has not been published but presumably will form much of a chapter in the book by DW and Ingrid Maier on news in Muscovy which is scheduled for completion during 2018. This is the first time OFR has published such a translation of work by a foreign scholar; see S. N. Kisterev’s comments about the challenges of translation in his review of the contents of OFR 19, Vestnik Al’ians-Arkheo, vyp. 18 (2017), pp. 24-29.
Ia. G. Solodkin. “Kak sozdavalas’ Naryshkinskaia redaktsiia ‘Opisaniia o postavlenii gorodov i ostrogov v Sibiri…’ (Iz istorii tobol’skogo letopisaniia kontsa XVII veka).” 443-62. While secondary to the version compiled under A. P. Golovin and substantially condensing material in it, this redaction also adds new information, probably derived from documents in the Tobol’sk archive. The article corrects and supplements previous analyses of the relationship of the texts.
D[mitrii] A[natol’evich] Bez’ev. Malorossiiskii prikaz: prichiny sozdaniia, shtaty, osnovnye napravleniia deiatel’nosti. Moskva: Izd-vo. “Prometei”, 2015. 504 pp. ISBN 978-5-9906550-1-0.
Like others (this writer included) who see the light and discover history, after an initial mis-step toward a career in technology or science, D. A. Bez’ev now works for the Lefortovo Museum. Although not identified as such, the awkwardly written introduction to this volume reads like an avtoreferat for a kandidat dissertation; the reviewers for the book were his current boss at the museum and one of the historians at the Moscow Pedagogical University from which he received a degree in history.
The book then continues with a long chapter surveying the history of Ukraine between 1654 and 1662, the year when the Malorossiiskii prikaz (Office for Ukrainian Affairs) was created. This account relies almost entirely on Russian-language scholarship, with extended sections merely summarizing material in a few well-known secondary works, such as B. N. Floria’s Russkoe gosudarstvo i ego zapadnye sosedi (1656-1661), sections of which are themselves derived mainly from Hrushevs’kyi.
Bez’ev then focuses on the staffing of the prikaz, providing biographical sketches of the careers of all those he has identified as having worked for it at one time or another. The sources for most of this are the standard compilations by Bogoiavlenskii, Veselovskii and Demidova, occasionally supplemented by archival material, the key (presumably previously unpublished) documents reproduced in appendices.
The final large chapter provides systematic groupings of the descriptive headings of documents in RGADA, f. 229 (Malorossiiskii prikaz), illustrating the varied responsibilities that department assumed. While the notes in this part of Bez’ev’s book provide direct archival references, it seems very likely that in fact the information has for the most part been copied from the recently published inventories (Malorossiiskii prikaz. Opisi fonda No. 229… [M., 2012]).
While there seems to be little here providing new insights into the history of Ukraine or Muscovite administration, Bez’ev’s book may be useful for quick reference.
Posol’skaia kniga po sviaziam Moskovskogo gosudarstva s Krymom 1567-1572 gg. Otv. red. M. V. Moiseev; podgot. teksta A. V. Malov, O. S. Smirnova; stat’i, komment. A. V. Vinogradov, I. V. Zaitsev, A. V. Malov, M. V. Moiseev. Moskva: fond “Russkie Vitiazi, 2016. 400 pp. [On the cover, indication of series “Krymskoe khanstvo v istochnikakh”; at head of title page: Institut Rossiiskoi istorii RAN.] ISBN 978-5-990-87-48-4-8.
The always welcome appearance of yet another of the hundreds of unpublished volumes of the Muscovite ambassadorial books is an occasion, first, to take stock of where we stand with regard to their publication. Not unexpectedly one of the reviewers listed for this volume is the prolific historian of Muscovite diplomatic administration, Nikolai Mikhailovich Rogozhin, whose colossal efforts over the years have produced the most complete reference inventories we have for the surviving ambassadorial books, reconstruction of the ones no longer extant, and careful analysis of the procedures by which the documentation of the Ambassadorial Office (Posol’skii prikaz) was produced. While it is now slightly dated (in view of recent publications such as the book under review here), his guide to that material (in its current form, updated through 2007, posted collaboratively with A. A. Boguslavskii) can be consulted at: http://www.vostlit.info/Texts/Dokumenty/Russ/XVI/Posolbook/PosolBook.html. It brings together the data published by Rogozhin in 1990, 1994 and 2003 (Obzor posol’skikh knig iz fondov-kollektsii, khraniashchikhsia v TsGADA [konets XV-nachalo XVIII v.]; Posol’skie knigi Rossii kontsa XV-nachala XVII vv.; Posol’skii prikaz: kolybel’ rossiiskoi diplomatii, Ch. 3 and appendices). The guide provides a descriptive list of all the Posol’skie knigi from the late 15th to the beginning of the 18th century, organized by country (archival fond) and indicating which are extant, if and where they have been published, and indicates how, in the absence of the actual books, separate diplomatic files and the several 16th- and 17th-century inventories can be used to reconstruct at least some of the content of what is now no longer extant. The website allows one to search by names of the diplomatic officials who are featured in the texts.
As Rogozhin has explained, the “ambassadorial books” (posol’skie knigi) are compilations pulling together into quires documents that originally had been recorded generally in the less easily handled scrolls. The practice of the compilation into books for easier reference began already in the 16th century, and by the second half of that century assumed a more or less standardized form, grouping the documents by event and generally in chronological order. That is, the paperwork connected with the receipt or sending of an embassy would be brought together; this generally would include instructions to both the diplomatic officials and to the individuals charged with accompanying, transporting, or supplying those coming or going on diplomatic missions. The books included copies of official letters sent or received (if received in a foreign language, usually just the Russian translations) and reports such as the end-of-mission stateinye spiski or interim communications by those Muscovite officials sent to foreign courts. Not everything was copied from the original or draft files; in some cases editing or interpolations changed content. So where other, overlapping documentation exists, it may well need to be consulted to obtain a full picture of diplomatic activity.
There are hundreds of these ambassadorial books preserved primarily in RGADA. Some cover many years and many different missions, but especially as one moves into the later 17th century, an individual book may contain only a single end-of-mission report from an envoy. While some of the standard older series (notably Sbornik Imperatorskogo Russkogo istoricheskogo obshchestva [SIRIO] and Pamiatniki diplomaticheskikh snoshenii drevnei Rossii s derzhavami inostrannymi [PDS]) published a good many of the books, and other publications include significant parts of some, for the most part until very recently, these publications have tended to condense or select from the full texts. Back in 1999 at a conference celebrating 450 years since the creation of the Muscovite Ambassadorial Office, Rogozhin advocated that there be a new series that might eventually make all this diplomatic documentation available, but to the best of my knowledge, little has been done to advance such an ambitious project (see his “Obrazovanie i deiatel’nost’ Posol’skogo prikaza,” in Rossiiskaia diplomatiia: istoriia i sovremennost’ [M., 2001], esp. p. 63).
Hence we make do with (and, of course welcome) individual volumes, where in recent years we such publications have included books from the files on relations with England, with Kabarda, with the Kalmyks, with the Nogais, with Orthodox clerics in the Middle East, and now with the Crimea. At least some of these publications can now be found in digital files at the website: http://www.drevlit.ru/index.php.
The publication of the Crimean books is of particular interest. The first five books in the series, covering 1474-1519 (RGADA, f. 123, op. 1, d. 1-5) were published in SIRIO, vols. 41 and 95, documenting a period when good relations with the Crimea were a key plank in Muscovite foreign policy. Small parts of d. 8 (1533-39) and 10 (1562-64) have been published. There is a gap in the series between 1548 (d. 9) and 1562 (d. 10), but then books/dela 10-15 form a complete series through 1578, followed by another gap. The volume under consideration here contains the entire text of RGADA, f. 123, op. 1, d. 13, and has appeared almost simultaneously with a similarly edited volume containing d. 14 (1571-77), which I have not yet had the opportunity to examine.
Over the whole of the period from the late 15th down through the 17th century, the Crimean books constitute one of the largest deposits in the Muscovite diplomatic archives, given the frequency with which exchanges took place. This is understandable in a period of active Muscovite expansion in the east and south that made a priority of relations with successor states of the Golden Horde and their neighbors. After taking control of the Volga in the 1550s, trade with Persia increased in importance, and willy-nilly, Muscovy began to face challenges in its dealings with the Ottoman Empire. Military and diplomatic initiatives in other directions (e.g., during the Livonian War) made keeping peace in the south (and cultivating possible alliances there) essential, as the main contributor to this new volume, A. V. Vinogradov, emphasizes in his excellent monograph devoted to what proved to be a critical turning point in Muscovite-Crimean relations following the Russian conquest of Kazan and Astrakhan and encompassing the long reign of Crimean Khan Devlet-Girei I (Russko-krymskie otnosheniia 50-e-vtoraia polovina 70-kh godov XVI veka, 2 vols. [M.: 2007]). While he drew on a range of other sources, in that study, Vinogradov leaned heavily on the Crimean posol’skie knigi, nos. 10-14; short of the rest in that series being published, one can learn a great deal about their content from his study.
Book no. 13, published here, encompasses the second part of what turned out to be at that time a rare event for Muscovite diplomacy, the establishment of a resident embassy in another country. When Afanasii Fedorovich Nagoi was sent to the Crimea in 1563, the anticipation was, as had previous envoys, he would return within a year or so, but diplomatic protocols combined with the developing tensions between the two states, meant that he was not allowed to return to Moscow until 1573. As was usual, his staff included a secretary and a number of Tatar interpreters, and he was joined a year after his arrival by another high-ranking diplomat, F. A. Pisemskii (who would much later head an embassy to England). A century would elapse before Muscovy had another long-term embassy abroad (in Poland-Lithuania following the truce of Andrusovo in 1667).
As the history of European diplomacy shows, having a resident ambassador in another country could make a huge difference in the ability of a government to regulate its relations there and to obtain crucial intelligence that might have a broader bearing on foreign policy. Hence part of the great interest in the content of this book. While the way had been prepared in previous interactions with the Crimea, Nagoi and his staff were uniquely positioned to learn about the inner workings of the Crimean court and cultivate the “pro-Moscow” factions there. Even while carefully watched by their hosts, the members of the embassy could obtain information by visiting ports (in particular Kafa) and from conversations with captives the Crimeans had taken in their raids to the north. For all of the benefit of this well-developed intelligence network though, whose gleanings were dutifully recorded in diary form by the embassy, its value was circumscribed by not being able to send the information in timely fashion on to Moscow. That could be done only on the occasion of an officially sanctioned exchange of messengers; with one exception, Nagoi was unable to send out reports by clandestine means.
There is a huge amount to be learned here about Muscovite-Crimean relations and the way in which they developed in the context of the complicated “Great Game” in Eastern Europe involving, inter alia, Muscovy, the Crimea, the Nogais, the Ottomans, Poland-Lithuania, and others. One can appreciate the sophistication of Muscovite diplomacy and its procedures, the special accommodations made in relations with the Tatars (e.g., in the titulature of the documents), the degree to which intelligence reports could be brought to bear in decision making. There is a great deal here to be learned about the Crimea which we cannot get from any other source. One comes away with a vivid impression of the difficulties faced by Devlet-Girei in balancing competing interests within his own political circle, playing off Muscovy against Poland-Lithuania, and trying to maintain some independence from his nominal suzerain, the Ottoman sultan. With the death of Suleyman the Magnificent (1566), Ottoman attentions now began to focus more intensely on the Black Sea area, culminating in the abortive campaign to Astrakhan in 1569, which the Crimeans managed to undermine while ostensibly providing support. Yet within two years, their cavalry would be on the outskirts of Moscow, which they set ablaze.
In addition to the full text publication of RGADA, f. 123, op. 1, d. 13, the book contains introductory essays by Vinogradov, A. V. Malov and M.V. Moiseev concerning the text, Muscovite-Crimean relations and more broadly the history of the Crimea in the first half of the 16th century. The notes, most written by Vinogradov, identify often in some detail the individual actors or comment on specific events, and there are indexes of personal and geographic names.
The publication to date of the posol’skie knigi has tended to emphasize the earliest ones in the series for the various polities with which the Kremlin dealt. Were the current volumes for the Crimea (nos. 13, 14) to be supplemented by the publication from f. 123 of nos. 7-12 and 15, we would then be blessed with a complete set for the first century of Muscovite-Crimean relations, complemented by recent volumes containing the Nogai books.
Malorossiiskii prikaz. Opisi fonda No. 229 Rossiiskogo gosudarstvennogo arkhiva drevnikh aktov. Otv. red. T. G. Tairova-Iakovleva. Sostaviteli V. V. Mushchinskaia, E. A. Andreeva, R. Zagora, V. K. Savchenkov. Moskva: Drevlekhranilishche, 2012. 496 pp. ISBN 978-593646-202-3.
Malorossiiskie dela. Opisi fonda No. 124 Rossiiskogo gosudarstevennogo arkhiva drevnikh aktov. Otv. red. T. G. Tairova-Iakovleva. Sostaviteli V. V. Mushchinskaia, A. V. Bagro. Moskva: Drevlekhranilishche, 2016. 652 pp. ISBN 978-5-93646-271-9.
When I first ventured into the Russian archives several decades ago, to expect to see an archival inventory (opis’) was largely a pipe-dream. Gradually, and depending on which repository one works in, the situation has changed. And now important opisi are appearing in proper editions, in the given instance here thanks in part to outside funding (supplied by the Canadian Institute for Ukrainian Studies. the Koval’skii Program for study of Eastern Ukraine, and the Gerda Henkel Stiftung). While one of the two volumes described here is now several years old, it seemed best to include it in a notice concerning the most recent volume, since they are complementary.
For obvious reasons, the documents in the Ukrainian affairs files are hugely important. Even though, as the editors point out, a good many of them have been published in various standard collections, those editions are too often flawed by ideologically-determined methods and selectivity, publication only in Russian translation (where the original language may not have been Russian), or by other kinds of errors. Even the most recent editions of Ukraine-related documents may be problematic, as unfortunately illustrated in a volume compiled by the responsible editor for these RGADA volumes, T. G. Taira-Iakovleva. On the plus side, her publication of the Baturinskii arkhiv i drugie dokummenty po istorii Ukrainskogo getmanstva 1690-1709 gg. (SPb., 2014) reminds us of how much Ukraine-related material is in Russian collections other than the two RGADA fondy. However, if such publications are to be done well, their compilers must understand clearly the structure of files and documents and command the requisite languages (not least in importance for Ukrainian material being a knowledge of Polish). [I had rather optimistically noted the Baturin volume in an earlier posting to EarlySlavic, but now we have a critical and extensively documented review by Kirill Kochegarov in Quaestio Rossica 5/1 (2017), pp. 257-75.]
Thus, pending full and accurate modern primary source editions, any serious study of Ukraine and its relations with Russia should require examination of the archival originals, the identification of which is now facilitated thanks to these two volumes for RGADA, which, I trust, reproduce the opisi accurately, accompanied by indexes for proper names and (for f. 124), chronology of the contents. It is important to keep in mind though that the inventories vary in detail and precision. The editors give high marks for accurate description to N. N. Bantysh-Kamenskii, whose colossal inventorying of the Russian archives began in the last third of the 18th century, and to I. F. Kolesnikov, who was laboring in the difficult conditions of the early years of World War II.
The inventories included here are f. 124, op. 1-6, and f. 229, op. 1-5. F. 124 contains more than 4600 items, for the most part individual documents (reports, letters, etc.) and covering the period from 1563-1794. While the individual numbered files within f. 229 are fewer, the volume of documentation in fact is substantially larger, as these are the often sizeable books which pull together multiple documents either grouped chronologically or by subject. It is important to remember that the current contents and arrangement of these fondy is an artifact of the work by the archivists of the 18th-20th centuries. Thus, for example, f. 229 includes documents pertaining to Ukrainian affairs transferred from f. 214 of the Sibirskii prikaz. Moreover, in some cases, after the inventories were compiled, documents were removed into other collections. Supplementing the inventories for f. 229 is a short essay by Iu. M. Eskin on the history of the description of the Malorossiiskii prikaz archive, and in the volume for f. 124 Bantysh-Kamenskii’s notes on the under-secretaries of the prikaz.
Polotskie gramoty XIII-nachala XVI veka. Podgotovili A. L. Khoroshkevich (otv. red.), S. V. Polekhov (zam. otv. red.), V. A. Voronin, A. I. Grusha, A. A. Zhlutko, E. R. Skvairs, A. G. Tiul’pin. 2 Vols. Moskva: Universitet Dmitriia Pozharskogo, 2015. 864 + xvi; 522 + civ pp. ISBN 978-5-91244-137-0; 978-5-91244-136-3. Edition of 600 copies.
These magnificent, large format volumes have been occupying space on my desk for weeks, while I hoped to find time to write something of substance that would do them justice. Alas, that time has not arrived, but rather than wait longer, I felt it was time to bring them to the attention of H-EarlySlavic readers who may not yet know of their existence but should be as delighted as I to see them published. Let me say right away, that they belong in every serious library that embraces the history and culture of pre-modern Eastern Europe.
As the distinguished historian Anna Leonidovna Khoroshkevich indicates in her brief preface, the idea of publishing a collection of the Polotsk documents goes back to A. A. Shakhmatov, who never managed to accomplish the task when World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution intervened. It was left to Khoroshkevich, as she was working on Novgorod trade half a century ago, to produce the first significant collection of the material, published in 6 rotaprint (and arguably little appreciated) volumes between 1977 and 1989, which she characterizes quite accurately (as I can confirm from the several I happen to own) as being “v otvratitel’nom vosproizvedenii i neudobnom ispolnenii.” The collapse of the Soviet Union created conditions where it then became possible to collaborate in a meaningful way with Belorussian colleagues in tackling the current project, one which has required, among other things, the ability to work seriously in several languages. While all those listed on the title page made important contributions (and many others are acknowledged for their help), S. V. Polekhov played a key role beause of his knowledge of languages and medieval palaeography. Research in more than 20 manuscript repositories has resulted in a collection of nearly 500 documents (compared to the 330 in that older edition). The collection contains all the known oldest “gramoty” of the Polotsk land from 1263 to 1511, when the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Sigismund granted a charter of privileges to Polotsk.
Where possible the texts have been published from the archival originals; along with the mostly authentic documents, the editors have included a few falsifications. Among the sources which have been tapped is the Lithuanian Metrica, which contains a good many copies. There is a clear explanation of the rules applied for publication from the several languages. Texts whose originals are in Latin, German and Polish have been supplied with parallel translation into modern Russian. For each document there is a careful description of the manuscript and a full bibliography citing other copies, previous publications and, if they exist, translations. To the degree that the older edition had supplied translations and commentary, all that has been carefully checked, corrected and supplemented. The appendices to Vol. 1 include a tabulation of watermarks (with tracings); 16 plates of color images and drawings of seals, with descriptive text for each. The apparatus includes a chronological listing of all the documents, and indexes of personal and geographic names, an index of manuscript numbers arranged by archive, and a correlation table matching the current numbers with those in the old rotaprint edition, and in other publications in various series.
Vol. 2 contains several valuable sections: 1) historical commentary for each document; 2) Khoroshkevich’s long essay assessing the overall historical value of the documents; 3) a tabular guide to Polotsk princes and their main officials; 4) 104 excellent color plates of the manuscripts; 5) genealogical tables; 5) nearly 50 pp. of black and white illustrations, including maps drawn for this edition, photographs of documents and a few city views. There is a list of illustrations and a lengthy bibliography.
As noted in the introduction to Vol. 1, there are a great many other kinds of historical documents relating to the history of Polotsk in the given period, ones “external” to the principality and thus not included here. These other sources include a lot of correspondence (e.g., between merchants in Polotsk and their counterparts in Riga). A few have been included here as an appendix, but the publication of the bulk of them is planned for a third volume.
All in all, this is one of the most impressive prinary source publications for pre-modern Eastern Europe which I have seen in many a year. Anna Leonidovna, who is now one of the most senior of those who remain from an important generation of Russian scholars, and her colleagues have earned our deep gratitude.
Sergei Mezin. Pëtr I vo Frantsii. Sankt-Peterburg: Evropeiskii dom, 2015. 312 pp. + 16 pp. ill. ISBN 978-5-8015-0348-6.
The Peter the Great Institute continues to enrich Petrovedenie, reinforcing our appreciation of the fact that this discipline is a growth industry. Sergei Mezin, who teaches in Saratov, brings to the task here fluency in French and an unrivalled knowledge of both the French and Russian sources, where previous writers about Peter and France have tended to rely on one but not so much the other. Apart from published work, there is abundant material here from Russian archives; some from Fench archives. Readers of this post presumably are aware, for example, that the publication of Peter’s papers has not yet reached the period of his visit to France in 1717; so the full use of that material still depends on the archives. One of the most interesting aspects of Mezin’s book is his extensive use of published newspaper reports, which, like many of the other sources, are quoted at length in Russian translation and carefully critiqued by juxtaposition with the evidence in other documents.
In many ways this is just a detailed chronicle of Peter’s time in France. There is a long and helpful historiographic review, then a carefully annotated day-by-day diary of what he did and where with reference to the sources for each day. Following that are various thematic chapters about diplomacy, visits to important sites and residences, Peter’s particular interest in architecture, other aspects of the visual arts and science. While he and his associates were indeed busy viewing and collecting painting, this did not necessarily mean, of course, that he did so because of art appreciation; rather, it was more a matter of acquiring the trappings of what any prominent court should have. Theater, it seems, got short shrift. Even if the expense books show quite a bit went out for such entertainments, the one documented case of his attending an opera found him bored by the fourth act and he left early to go drink beer. We learn interesting things about the day-to-day life of the embassy. How often did Peter bathe?—turns out his hygiene in this telling was better than we might have expected…..
While Mezin’s purpose here certainly is not to explore in any depth Russo-French interaction prior to the 1717 trip, he is somewhat disappointing in his brief review of the 17th-century background. For a scholar so well informed about the newspapers reporting on the visit, it is somewhat surprising that he ignores entirely the fact that by the last third of the 17th century, Western newspapers were providing the Tsar’s government with a lot more information about France than one might imagine it had just from the reports of infrequent embassies. That said, we do get some context for undertakings while in France—for example, the efforts prior to the trip to acquire art works. And there is just a bit on the fate of some of those hired in France after they arrived in Russia.
The focus on the Tsar’s personal activity may unduly limit what we might wish to know about the overall impact of the embassy. Even though we learn about who accompanied Peter, if members of his suite engaged in activites outside of the ones within the framework of formal protocol, we may not be seeing enough of that evidence. That said, the book certainly adds a solid block to the foundation of any study of how French influence came to be so important subsequently in Russia. Even for those quite familiar with the Petrine era, there is much here to appreciate, and most of the telling makes for a delightful read.
I[gor’] B[orisovich] Babulin. Kanevskaia bitva 16 iiulia 1662 goda. Moskva: Fond “Russkie Vitiazi”, 2015. 88 pp. ISBN 978-5-9906036-5-3.
O[leg] Iu[r’evich] Kuts. Azovskoe osadnoe sidenie 1641 goda. Moskva: Fond “Russkie Vitiazi”, 2016. 60 pp. ISBN 978-5-9906037-4-5.
Given the fact that in academia these days military history often is deemed unfashionable, one can imagine that this series would attact little enthusiasm, even if one might also posit that it would would find adherents amongst enthusiasts of Russian nationalism. In fact, it would be unfortunate for those interested in Muscovite history (and the series also covers later periods) to ignore the books. The authors are credentialed historians and clearly have done their homework in much of the literature and in the archives. As much as anything, the books inform us of political decision-making and, importantly, contain a great deal about the transmission of intelligence which expands our understanding of the mechanisms of communication in Russia. Yet, despite the attractive medium format and abundant illustrations, given the heavy emphasis on juxtaposing primary sources with almost an excessive attention to small detail, it is a bit difficult to imagine the books would appeal to a broad audience of those for whom history in the first instance is a history of wars, battles and military heroism. That audience in fact is a large one, deserving of being encouraged, if one judges from enrollments in the occasional courses devoted to military history.
Igor’ Babulin’s road to becoming a historian is an interesting one: following an undergraduate history degree, he became a legal specialist for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, working for some two decades as an investigative officer and instructor in Kaluga. He defended his kandidat dissertation in history in 2013, focusing on military history in the wars in Ukraine in 1658-59. So it is not only in the U.S. that we find careers at the intersection of intelligence work and academia—here some academic Slavists first learned their Russian in the military to monitor Soviet radio broadcasts; others, once achieving a Ph.D. and not finding academic employment, turned that expertise into a career in intelligence.
Babulin’s focus here is on what he argues is a neglected victory, the battle in which the Muscovite army and its Cossack allies defeated Iurii Khmel’nits’kyi’s Cossacks and their Polish and Tatar allies in 1662 on the left bank of the Dnieper across from Kanev. The victory in theory laid the basis for a successful Muscovite invasion of Right Bank Ukraine that could have changed substantially the outcome by which Ukraine would be divided along the Dnieper by Truce of Andrusovo in 1667 and the “Permanent Peace” in 1686. That it did not was due to internal conflicts amongst the Left-Bank Cossacks allied with Muscovy and to the military intervention of the Crimean Tatars that was the key to the Muscovite defeat less than a month later on the Right Bank at Buzhin. Babulin argues that the Kanev victory was perhaps the most significant of any of the successful battles involving Muscovite armies in the long war of the 1650s and 1660s in Ukraine. To a considerable degree here, he is able to correct the distortions about the events contained in a report Khmel’nits’kyi wrote for the Poles and repeated in Polish historiography. Apart from abundant use of archival materials from the Razriadnyi prikaz, he draws on both Polish and Ukrainian sources.
The book contains a lot of detail that should interest the military historian. The author does a pretty good job of surveying the armaments of the various forces and provides several tabulations of regimental numbers. The illustrations include several good campaign maps and a lot of pictures of weaponry, armor, etc., some copied from 17th-century publications, others modern “reconstructions” in some cases as drawn by the author himself. The illustrations are not always carefully integrated into the text, but they provide a visual sense of what might have been seen on the battlefields.
My impression of Kuts’s book is that it was less carefully prepared for the specific purpose of inclusion in this series. To a considerable degree it merely copies the relevant section (pp. 174ff) of his very substantial Donskoe kazachestvo vremeni Azovskoi epopei i 40-kh gg. XVII v.: politicheskaia i voennaia istoriia (Moskva: “Staraia Basmannaia”, 2014; 596 pp., ISBN 978-5-904043-88-9), a book that deserves a serious review. Kuts has mined the Russian archival material for contemporary documents to supplement the so-called “Documentary” and “Poetic” tales about the Azov events which have too often served as the basis for discussing the history of the taking of the fortress by the Cossacks in 1637, their defense of it, and ultimately the Turkish re-capture of the fortress in 1641. Apart from his rather detailed discussion of the work of sappers on both sides, and somewhat generalized descriptions of an attack one day or counterattack the next, we get really very little technical military history here. Illustrations are fewer than in Babulin’s book and not as informative. One might wish for a deeper comparative perspective on fortification and armaments. And the discussion of the numbers of the opposing forces provides a lot of general numbers with but somewhat loose assessment of how the larger ones cited in certain sources are clearly exaggerated. Of course it is a bit unfair to Kuts to suggest he might have done otherwise, since his sources simply do not seem to contain the kind of detail it was possible for Babulin to find about the battle in 1662.
To compensate for the distinct Cossack and Muscovite bias of a great many of the sources, for a Turkish perspective Kuts draws on reports of the Russian emissaries in Istanbul and on the descriptions provided by the famous Turkish traveler Evliya Chelebi, but of course one might still hope to see some day what the Turkish archives might reveal about Ottoman decision-making and reactions. That the Turks committed major resources to re-take the fortress is clear, but I remain to be convinced that the siege merits Kuts’s designation as one of the most important battles in world military history (p. 4).
While Kuts continually provides a critical assessment where various sources differ and makes it clear that the “Poetic” tale of the siege contains literary exaggeration, at the same time he seems to place too much faith in the latter’s historical substance. He insists that the determination by earlier scholars of its being a composition by a Cossack probably is accurate. In his larger monograph, he spends several pages (278-81) summarizing and responding to Brian Boeck’s important article questioning that traditional attribution and arguing that the work is a literary concoction produced in the Posol’skii prikaz (B. Dzh. Bouk, “Poeticheskaia povest’ ob azovskom osadnom sidenii kak pamiatnik antiosmanskoi publitsistiki,” in Osmanskii mir i osmanistika. K 100-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia A. S. Tveritinovoi [Moskva, 2010] 314-24). In his discussion, Kuts leaves the impression that he had already made up his mind about the text before ever reading Boeck. And, oddly, there is no mention of Boeck’s work in his “Ratnoe delo” book.
As Kuts’s short book on the siege illustrates (this is to a lesser degree a problem with Babulin’s), contextualizing a specific campaign or battle broadly enough for a general reader can be a challenge, even though he provides a summary introductory section on some of the background and a brief conclusion focusing on the significance of the arguably disastrous losses of men incurred by the Cossacks. Undoubtedly a reading of Kuts’s larger monograph is essential to put things in perspective, and even that may be unlikely to satisfy readers who would wish to understand the broader context. For the latter, one undoubtedly would wish to turn to some of the Western literature he does not cite, e.g. Brian Davies’ Warfare, State and Society on the Black Sea Steppe, 1500-1700 (Routledge, 2007), and the opening chapters of Brian Boeck’s Imperial Boundaries: Cossack Communities and Empire-Building in the Age of Peter the Great (Cambridge Univ. Pr., 2009). The latter in particular is noteworthy for the way in which it avoids the somewhat mechanical narrative approach of the “Ratnoe delo” series. Boeck brings to the discussion theoretical and comparative perspectives that invite the reader to think beyond whether to trust one source or another about the day an attack was launched, however valuable the latter emphasis may be to cut through the contradictions of much of the evidence that has been too uncritically cited regarding specific battles.
The “Ratnoe delo” series promises a lot, with volumes ranging in focus from the Baltic wars of the 1550s (by the noted specialist A. I. Filiushkin) to Peter’s Persian campaign in 1722-23 and to the Sino-Soviet confrontation over Damanskii Island in 1969. I suspect though that for the audience of those who are turned on to history by accounts of wars, these nicely produced and serious books will not satisfy, unless they can highlight dramatic personal heroism, perhaps something that is hard to extract from pre-modern sources. I know from my formative years that stirring accounts of (one’s country’s) military heroes can really make history come alive. As anecdotal evidence, I can recall being thrilled by a U.S. Navy recruiting manual’s account of John Paul Jones’s glorious naval victory in his decrepit Bonhomme Richard. The first serious research papers I wrote in secondary school were on the Crusades (a fraught subject today!) and on the development of ironclad warships in the American Civil War. Little did I know this would lead me to Muscovy and beyond.
A[leksandr] A[leksandrovich] Inkov. Letopisets Pereiaslavlia-Suzdal’skogo: predislovie, perevod, kommentarii. Moskva: [Izd-vo. Moskovskogo gumanitarnogo un-ta.], 2016. 293 pp. ISBN 978-5-906822-30-7.
This chronicle, whose currently authoritative edition is in Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisei, vol. 41, includes a reworked version of the Povest’ vremennykh let, some fragments from the Kievan Chronicle which are otherwise known from the Hypatian Chronicle, and much unique information on northeastern Rus’ for the period 1138-1214. In his introduction, Inkov elaborates arguments that it is a work compiled as the personal chronicle of Prince Iaroslav Iur’evich, much of whose career seems to have been that of a wanna-be failure. There is a great deal in the text about the civil strife amongst the sons of the powerful prince of Vladimir-Suzdal’, Vsevolod “Large Nest”.
This is the first translation of the chronicle into modern Russian, accompanied by nearly 1000 explanatory notes on everything from the most obvious names to the obscure. While I have but superficially checked the translation, it seems to be straightforward and accurate and to a blessedly limited degree includes bracketed words needed to make the text intelligible where the original is too cryptic or has been damaged in copying. The notes reflect an appropriate amount of research and checking. There is a bibliography of works cited, but no indexes (one can, of course, refer to the indexes in PSRL, vol. 41). While the language of early Russian chronicles is not overly opaque for those with a good knowledge of modern Russian, it is easy to see how this translation will be welcome for students and academics.
Slaviano-russkie rukopisi Biblioteki Rossiiskoi Akademii nauk. Opisanie rukopisei XV veka. Vyp. 2. Prologi.Chast’ 1: Sentiabr’skaia polovina goda. Sostavitel’ Ol’ga Petrovna Likhacheva.[Otv. red.A. A. Alekseev; Izd. podgotovili L. B. Belova, A. E. Karnachev, V. G. Podkovyrova.] Sankt-Peterburg: BAN, 2015. 421 pp. ISBN 978-5-336-00179-2. (Table of contents available on line at: http://www.rasl.ru/e_editions/prolog_cont.pdf)
Biblioteka Petra Velikogo. Zapadnoevropeiskie pechatnye knigi. Tom 1, kn. 1-2.; Tom 2: “Vizantiiskaia istoriia” Byzantine du Louvre. [Sostaviteli I. V. Khmelevskikh, A. E. Karnachev; Otv. red. I. M. Beliaeva.] Sankt-Peterburg: BAN, 2016. 981, 138 pp. ISBN 978-5-336-00167-9. (Editor’s foreword and opening of introduction available on line at: http://www.rasl.ru/e_editions/B-ka-Petra1.pdf)
Notwithstanding a long and distinguished tradition in Russian scholarship of bibliographic description, the timely completion of many important cataloging projects has yet to be achieved. In many respects, the undertaking of the Academy of Sciences Library (BAN) to describe its entire manuscript collection was ahead of its time, but more than a century has elapsed since the appearance of the first volumes in the still ongoing series, Opisanie Rukopisnogo otdela Biblioteki Akademii nauk SSSR, which, in addition to the Slavic manuscripts, has included volumes for the Latin and Greek manuscripts. The inception of the Archaeographic Commission’s project to compile a comprehensive national catalog (Svodnyi katalog) of the earliest Slavic-Russian manuscripts in 1960 imposed new standards and undoubtedly diverted resources. BAN’s response to this initiative was to describe its manuscripts on parchment (Pergamennye rukopisi Biblioteki Akademii nauk SSSR. Opisanie russkikh i slavianskikh rukopisei XI-XVI vekov [L., 1976]), which again put it ahead of other repositories in the chronological reach of the volume.
Ol’ga Petrovna Likhacheva (1937-2003) had more or less completed the volume under review here, and it had been approved for publication in 1990, but her firing by the library (no explanation given here) and her premature death meant her work remained in manuscript. While the editors justify its publication now mainly in terms of the growing interest in the study of the Synaxarion/Prolog, as the book’s title suggests, presumably the decision to publish now was in part a way for BAN to meet a commitment to the Svodnyi katalog. The editors have completed her work by checking against the original manuscripts, somewhat editing her explanatory essays and compiling the various indexes.
Likhacheva’s goal in fact seems to have been more ambitious than what we find in the entries for the Svodnyi katalog. Generally, Prolog manuscripts have been considered to have nearly fixed content and are classified as being in one of two redactions according to the old scheme established by Archbishop Sergii in 1901. Likhacheva’s laudatory goal was to describe each and every entry in the massive text. However, limits of space dictated that she was unable to describe fully the “hagiographic” parts of the Prolog, whereas her descriptions of the didactic and paterikon entries are more thorough, quoting titles and incipits and referring to sources for the texts. She opens with a 56-page description of MS 33.19.2, classified as the second redaction, a copy that is the most complete of the seven manuscripts described here and thus can be used as a reference point to shorten some of the subsequent descriptions. The editors have retained as an appendix a brief and admittedly tentative essay she wrote assessing the significance of this particular collection of Prolog manuscripts. The editors have compiled indexes of individual works by title, incipits, personal and geographic names and a brief descriptive listing of the watermarks in the manuscripts. Presumably we can expect the second half of Likhacheva’s catalog to cover all nine of BAN’s 15th-century Prolog manuscripts containing the readings for the March half of the church year.
Efforts to catalog the books of Peter the Great’s library also have a long and fraught history. When his books were collected from various locations to be donated to the Academy of Sciences Library at the end of his life, inventories were compiled, though in a form that often makes it difficult to identify exact titles. Over time, parts of his collection were interfiled with the other books in BAN; many of the books which we might classify as in the humanities eventually were deposited in the University library in Helsinki. E. I. Bobrova’s Biblioteka Petra I. Ukazatel’-spravochnik (L., 1978) was a first attempt to provide a comprehensive list of both his printed and manuscript books and include ones in Russian and foreign languages. However, as the compilers of this new Biblioteka Petra Velikogo point out, Bobrova included a good many volumes which clearly did not enter Peter’s collection. Moreover, her guide contains only short descriptions. For the manuscripts, we now have the detailed description compiled by Irina Nikolaevna Lebedeva, Biblioteka Petra I. Opisanie rukopisnykh knig (L., 2003). The current Vol. 1 provides us for the first time with a carefully vetted set of 341 descriptive entries, each of which includes all that can be established about the history of the acquisition or previous ownership of the item. Many of the publications are maps or engravings, for which illustrations accompany the written descriptions. Vol. 2 is devoted to the 35 volumes of an important collection of sources pertaining to Byzantine History. The project could not have been completed without extensive international scholarly input, especially from France; so a French version of the catalog is also being published.
There is much more here than just an encyclopedic entry for each item. The compilers have written an extensive introduction describing the history of the collection. They make it clear that certain important libraries such as that of Andrei Vinius, which formed an important part of what became the Academy library prior to Peter’s death, have not been included in this catalog, since they have been treated separately. The compilers emphasize that Peter’s was a working library, which he consulted for his various projects; hence his dispersal of many of the volumes in the various residences he occupied. The exception here seems to have been the Byzantine source collection, which apparently was preserved in pristine condition and never became available to those who might have been able to use the Greek and Latin of the texts. Of course one assumes a great deal more needs to be done to explore the way in which the collection as a whole was used, an undertaking which this catalog will now facilitate.
An appendix contains the 18th-century registers of the books. There are name, title, publisher and geographical indexes, an index of owners or donors of the books, and a chronological listing of all the publications. Vol. 2 includes reproductions of all the engraved decorative head- and end-pieces in the elegant volumes containing the Byzantine sources.
The miniscule editions (100 copies) of these two valuable and nicely printed reference works is somewhat puzzling, given the fact that in earlier times BAN’s descriptive catalogs would appear in 1000 or more copies. The new volumes are certainly not a throwback to what was too common in the Soviet era of miniscule, almost unreadable rotaprint editions. Yet one has to wonder whether the size of the print run is an ominous indicator of worse to come in a world where the humanities are increasingly marginalized and under-funded. Surely the library should make such reference volumes available on-line.
Biblioteka literatury Drevnei Rusi. T. 19. XVIII vek. Pod red. N. V. Ponyrko; Podgotovka tekstov i kommentarii E. M. Iukhimenko. Sankt-Peterburg: “Nauka”, 2015. 854 pp. ISBN 978-5-02-038248-0 (T. 19); 5-02-028307-X.
This well-known, ambitious and incredibly valuable series, inaugurated in 2000, is now nearing its completion (one more volume is to come). It contains careful editions of texts, generally drawn from single manuscript copies (that is, they are not critical editions with all the variant readings). Even though most have previously been published, they seem to have been checked against the original manuscripts. For most of the previous volumes, the texts have also been translated into modern Russian on facing pages. There are extensive commentaries. This volume, prepared by two of the leading scholars on Old Believer literature, is devoted to the literature of the Vyg Old Believer community, with extensive collections of works by Petr Prokop’ev, Andrei and Semen Deinsov and many others. We can be grateful that the entire series is being posted to the website of the Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkinskii dom) http://lib.pushkinskijdom.ru/Default.aspx?tabid=2070, where, as of 17 July 2016, the first 15 volumes are available, in most cases with the option of reading both the Old Russian text and in parallel the modern translation, though without the line-by-line commentaries.
Kopiinaia kniga “o opalnykh liudekh”, soslannykh v Sibir’ v 1614-1624 gg. Podgotovka teksta, vstupitel’naia stat’ia i kommentarii A. V. Poletaeva. Ekaterinburg; Verkhoturskii gos. istoriko-arkhitekturnyi muzei-zapovednik, 2014. 438 pp.
It would be easy to miss this valuable volume, given its provenance and the fact that apparently it was issued without any ISBN number. The compiler, Andrei Valentinovich Poletaev, has taught for many years in the Urals State University and is currently a staff member of the Orthodox Museum of the Verkhotur’e Sviato-Nikolaevskii Monastery. In his introdution, he notes the relative scarcity of documents for Muscovite Siberia for the early part of the 17th century, though, as this volume illustrates, there are still valuable groups of them awaiting publication (a few of the documents included here were previously published by Poletaev). This edition is based on a manuscript in the G. F. Miller portfolios in RGADA (f. 199, d. 541); and includes 177 items. With the exception of studies by P. N. Butsinskii in the 19th century (recently reprinted), few scholars have used them. The copy book, which Miller apparently found in Siberia, is particularly valuable, since none of the original documents seem to have survived a fire in Tobol’sk in 1628. Poletaev analyzes the circumstances in which the book was compiled and then provides a brief overview of what we learn from its contents. The numerical breakdown of the origins of the several hundred exiled individuals is interesting. The largest group is Russians, but there are also significant numbers of “Lithuanians,” Cossacks, and others (“nemchiny”) who probably were from the Baltic region. A good many of those sent to Siberia apparently were guilty of little other than the fact they had found themselves on the wrong side of the border in the immediate aftermath of the Time of Troubles. The documents typically are instructions to the Siberian authorities about the arrival of the exiles and what then should be done with them—ranging from keeping them in irons to providing them with land they can work. Poletaev has provided extensive (some 175 pp.) commentary to the documents, where he has pulled together information on who the individuals are. Most will not be household names, a possible exception being Semen Ivanovich Shakhovskoi, familiar to those who know Edward Keenan’s book on the Kurbskii-Groznyi apocrypha and the separate article he published in the Florovskii Festschrift (not cited here). There are name and geographic indexes.
All in all, this is an important work of scholarship.
M[ark] Kh[aimovich] Aleshkovskii. “Povest’ vremennykh let”. Iz istorii sozdaniia i redaktsionnoi pererabotki. Otv. red. F. B. Uspenskii. Podgot. k pechati T. V. Gimon et al. Moskva: Izd-vo. “Ves’ Mir”, 2015. 312 pp. ISBN 978-5-7777-0659-1.
Aleshkovskii, whose life was cut short early in its fifth decade, was known primarily as an archaeologist specializing on Novgorod. In 1971, “Nauka” published a small format popular condensation of his work on the Primary Chronicle, a book whose conclusions seem not to have been particularly influential and has, I judge, been conveniently forgotten. It is to the credit of the editors of the current volume, among them one of the now leading experts on early Rus’ annalistics, T. V. Gimon, that they have exhumed from Aleshkovskii’s Nachlass the full version of the study which Aleshkovskii defended as his kandidat dissertation in 1967 (with some corrections he made in the typescript) and now publish it with only some editorial massaging of the citations.
My task here, for want of time, is not to summarize or analyze Aleshkovskii’s conclusions, where to considerable degree he follows in the footsteps of A. A. Shakhamatov at the same time that he revises many of his conclusions. Where Shakhamatov had developed an arguably too complex scheme of various chronicle compilations in early Rus’, Aleshkovskii simplifies his scheme, employing what he termed a “typological” methodology that in some ways echoes the approach to the analysis of the chronicles advocated earlier by K. N. Bestuahev-Riumin and now largely rejected. It is noteworthy, that in contrast to those who have prioritized the readings in the Laurentian copy of the chronicle (e.g., D. S. Likhachev), Aleshkovskii found that in many respects the Hypatian copy preserves more closely the “authorial” text. As the editors suggest, Aleshkovskii’s conclusions merit close attention in any study of the early history of chronicle writing in Rus’. The writing in the book is quite accessible to the general reader; one can hope that many who may have only a general interest in Kievan Rus’ will make its acquaintance.
Included here are notes on the following:
* Marina Erikhovna Dmitrieva. Italiia v Sarmatii. Puti Renessansa v Vostochnoi Evrope.
* N[ataliia] V[ladimirovna] Eil’bart. Sem’ia Mariny Mnishek: nesostiavshiesia praviteli Rossii.
* T[at’iana] L[‘vovna] Nikitina. Russkie tserkovnye stennye rospisi 1670-1680-kh godov.
* Kniga Iskhod. Drevneslavianskii polnyi (chetii) tekst po spiskam XIV-XVI vekov. Sostavitel’ T[at’iana] L[eonidovna] Vilkul.
* M[ariia] K[onstantinovna] Kuz’mina. Zhitie Semeona Iurodivogo v redaktsii Dimitriia Rostovskogo. Printsipy raboty s istochnikami i metodologiia ikh redaktirovaniia.
Marina Erikhovna Dmitrieva. Italiia v Sarmatii. Puti Renessansa v Vostochnoi Evrope. Perevod s nem. V. Brun-Tsekhovogo, O. Moroz i M. Dmitrievoi. Ser.: Ocherki vizual’nosti. Moskva: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2015. 424 pp. + 16 pp. color plates. ISBN 978-5-4448-0282-3.
Those for whom the German original is less accessible than the Russian should welcome this volume. It was orginally published as Italien in Sarmatien. Studien zum Kulturstransfer im östlichen Europa in der Zeit der Renaissance (Stuttgart: Steiner, 2008). It is inspired by serious reading in the literature about artistic and cultural transfer and indebted to the pioneering work (in English) of Jan Białostocki, published in 1976, which Soviet censorship at that time barred from appearing in Russian. The idea of a kind of pan-Baltic cultural sphere (even if in the Renaissance) was off limits. The focus here is architecture, but with an important emphasis on public symbolism and ceremony (especially in the long chapter on “Triumphs and Celebrations”). The book is well illustrated and has an index of personal names.
N[ataliia] V[ladimirovna] Eil’bart. Sem’ia Mariny Mnishek: nesostiavshiesia praviteli Rossii. Sankt-Peterburg: Filologicheskii fakul’tet Sankt-Peterburgskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta, 2015. 232 pp. + 24 pp. b/w plates. ISBN 978-5-8465-1494-2.
Readers of H-EarlySlavic may recall a laudatory note I posted on 1 November 2013 about the author’s publication of previously unknown Polish sources on the Smuta (Smutnoe vremia v pol’skikh dokumentakh Gosudarstvennogo arkhiva Shvetsii. Kommentirovannyi perevod i istoricheskii analiz). While this new book is clearly intended for a broad readership, it just as clearly is based on the author’s substantial knowledge of the Polish sources, including at least some of the numerous other archival ones which have information on the Mniszek family. The hero of this tale is Jerzy Mniszek, whose character is painted in broad (somewhat over-the-top) strokes, perhaps not inappropriate given his arguably very significant place in Polish-Lithuanian politics. Eil’bart sees the failure of the project which installed his daughter Marina and her husband Dmitrii in the Kremlin as a missed opportunity for the creation of a greater Slavic state in Eastern Europe. Eil’bart is interested in more than just the politics; we gain here a feel for the cultural milieu of her subjects, their residences, portraits, and more.
T[at’iana] L[‘vovna] Nikitina. Russkie tserkovnye stennye rospisi 1670-1680-kh godov. Moskva: “Indrik”, 2015. 464 pp. ISBN 978-5-91674-350-0.
This volume will be essential for anyone wishing to learn about the iconography and patronage of mural painting in north central Russia in the indicated period. The author has been writing on the various churches especially in Rostov for a good many years (her bibliography lists nearly 40 of her publications). She attributes to Rostov Metropolitan Iona a key role in the development of standard iconographic schemes that then spread over a wider area. While much has been written from the standpoint of stylistic comparison and regarding the degree to which foreign models (the “Piscator Bible” is well known as a source) influenced the murals in Rostov, Iaroslavl, Kostroma and elsewhere, hers is apparently the first attempt to synthesize a large body of material on overall iconographic programs and delineate specific regional variations. The first half of the book is a church-by-church descriptive analysis of the iconography (with reference to ritual and texts of services). Then there are a number of important appendices, including the texts of inscriptions about building and painting of the individual churches, chronological tabulations of construction date and sponsorship, tabulations comparing which images are in which churches, and schematic drawings of the actual placement of the images within each building. She concludes that one can correlate changes in patronage (loosely a kind of “democratization” involving increasingly townsmen, not just church and secular elites) with changes in the iconographic schemes. The book is going to be hugely useful for reference, but readers who would wish to view the painting will not find it here and must open Nikitina’s book alongside various others that include photographs of the actual murals.
Kniga Iskhod. Drevneslavianskii polnyi (chetii) tekst po spiskam XIV-XVI vekov. Sostavitel’ T[at’iana] L[eonidovna] Vilkul. Moskva: Kvadriga, 2015. 368 pp. ISBN 978-5-91791-176-2.
As Vilkul indicates in her careful introduction here, there are several different ways in which Old Testament texts spread in Slavic translations. Most commonly, they appear as excerpts in service books and historical compilations such as chronographs. It is something of a surprise that the complete text of Exodus (ascribed to the translators working for Bulgarian ruler Simeon in the 10th century), presented here, has not previously been made available in a modern scholarly edition. Vilkul’s textual commentary includes comparisons with Greek versions of the text. Her edition uses as its primary copy MS F-19-109 of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences Library, with variant readings from a dozen other copies. There is an 80-page word index.
M[ariia] K[onstantinovna] Kuz’mina. Zhitie Semeona Iurodivogo v redaktsii Dimitriia Rostovskogo. Printsipy raboty s istochnikami i metodologiia ikh redaktirovaniia. Moskva; Sankt-Peterburg: “Nestor-Istoriia”, 2015. 128 pp. ISBN 978-5-4469-0663-5.
I learned from this volume that there is now yet another new “discipline” in our field, “dimitrievedenie”. Kuz’mina cites the work of L. A. Iankovskaia and M. A. Fedotova as examples of the kind of textual analysis that may be done to establish exactly how the important Ukrainian cleric and author, Dmitrii (Tuptalo) Rostovskii treated his sources, which in the first instance were Catholic editions in Latin and Polish. That fact required that he occasionally changed the texts not just for stylistic but also for doctrinal reasons. I have to wonder whether we might not have learned a bit more about his editorial processes had he been examined in his Ukrainian context and not just treated, as Kuz’mina does, as though he is a good Orthodox Russian. To date very few of the 664 vitae in Dmitrii’s huge compilation of “Lives” have been subject to the kind of analysis presented here. Presumably dimitrievedenie will be a growth industry. Kuz’mina includes in an appendix the full text of the Life of Simeon the Iurodivyi, apparently reproduced from the 1705 Kiev edition, though she never indicates as much specifically.
Kostromskie monakhi-knizhniki XIV-XX vv. Biobibliograficheskii slovar’. Avtory-sostaviteli O.V. Gorokhova, P. P. Rezepin. Studiorum slavicorum orbis, vyp. 9. Sankt-Peterburg: Dmitrii Bulanin, 2015. 784 pp. ISBN 978-5-86007-782-9.
A volume such as this one requires of its compilers a huge amount of focused effort and no little inventiveness in unearthing sources. Since it appears that monastic bookmen of Kostroma (the location of some very important monasteries) have been quite inadequately represented in standard reference works (among them the Slovar’ knizhnikov i knizhnosti Drevnei Rusi), this substantial volume with entries for more than 300 of them and references to hundreds of previously unknown or little known writings and publications certainly fills a gap. Among other things, it serves as a reminder about how the standard periodizations for Russian history in many ways simply don’t work for any meaningful discussion of cultural continuity and change. One might well ask whether the designation of some of the individuals as Kostroma bookmen is very meaningful, since obviously in a number of cases (e.g., Metropolitan Filipp Kolychev, the victim of Ivan IV’s oprichnina), the important part of their careers clearly had little to do with the town on the Volga. However, the compilers’ enthusiasm for their “Severnaia Fivaida” can be forgiven. They have done a huge amount of digging in manuscript collections and in obscure publications; not least in value here is the inclusion of so many individuals from the “modern” period. The introductory essay is a bit offputting, as it plunges in medias res with no clear indication at the outset as to why this book. Much of the essay is listings of names for various periods. The bulk of the book is then arranged alphabetically by names, with each entry providing biographic information, dated listing of authored or edited works, and a bibliography of sources.
Irina [Valer’evna] Gerasimova. Pod vlast’iu russkogo tsaria. Sotsiokul’turnaia sreda Vil’ny v seredine XVII veka. Territorii istorii, vyp. 7. Sankt-Peterburg: Izd-vo. Evropeiskogo universiteta v Sankt-Peterburge, 2015. 344 pp. ISBN 978-5-94380-195-2.
A brief notice hardly does justice to this judicious and carefully researched volume, which has much to offer to scholars of a wide range of interests. It may come as something of a surprise to learn that the author is a specialist in music history, who wrote her kandidat dissertation on the important composer and theorist Nikolai Diletskyi. For much here is political and social history seemingly far removed from her interesting final chapter on music that in many ways comes across as rather artifically grafted on the rest of the book.
Gerasimova brings to bear on her subject impressive linguistic competence (Polish, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Belorussian, Latin, German, presumably some English), penetrating source criticsm, and a willingness to ask questions of larger significance which point the way to fruitful further research along some of the lines of inquiry she opens here. Readers who may have blithely quoted 19th-century source publications (notably the Akty Moskovskogo gosudarstva, but also the Dopolneniia k aktam istoricheskim) are now well warned of the distortions induced by their editors (she published an article on this issue in Slavianovedenie, 2011, No. 4). So Gerasimova has been careful, while citing the publications, to refer where possible to the archival originals. Her appendix lists the various documents relating to her subject that are now in RGADA, f. 210, Moskovskii stol, which far from exhausts her use of Russian manuscripts, and she has also mined archives in Poland, Germany, Lithuania, and Sweden.
Vilna presents an interesting case study, the city having long been a flourishing, multi-cultural and multi-confessional, autonomously governed entity that had never suffered the kind of catastrophe that the events of the 1650s visited upon it. Naturally the historiography relating to the subject has been contentious, with nationalist passions often distorting the evidence. There are important questions here about how foreign occupation, in the stressful circumstances of ongoing war and a major outbreak of the plague in 1657, affected the inhabitants. For the Russian occupiers, there were new challenges in the administration of such a varied population, challenges which were met with surprising flexibility in certain ways. When petitioned by representatives of Vilna concerning restoration of their privileges (including Magdeburg law), Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich at least met them halfway. Much of the population fled, some were carried off as prisoners, many returned or at least tried to reclaim their property as the tide turned against the occupiers. An important element here was the personal one: the first commandant of the occupation, Mikhail Semenovich Shakhovskoi, seems to have been quite enlightened, and, given his openness to the needs and petitions of the local population, had some success in administration. He even on occasion ignored orders from Moscow, at some risk to his career, when it seemed local conditions required different policies. In increasingly straitened circumstances, his successor Danila Evfimovich Myshetskii tried to rule by brute force and thus destroyed any vestige of sympathy and support that there might have been for the Russian occupiers. Not the least of the problems for both of the commandants was the lack of coordination in the Russian military, when reinforcements were being sent to the region, and the failure of the Kremlin to pay salaries, which contributed to mauraudering by the Russian soldiers.
There is a great deal here on the administration of justice, which was far from a simple matter on account of the multiplicity of institutions to which plaintiffs might turn. Given the nature of the documentation, the picture which emerges is often rather formalistic, requiring that one read a bit between the lines to get a full sense of the human drama of the events. It is rare here to glimpse real people, such as the malt-purveyor (solodovnik) who petitioned the city magistracy because his wife had abandoned him and their children and gone to live with a Russian lieutenant, telling her husband, “Ty mnie nie godznien chłopie prosty.” On investigation the authorities noted that the wife “publice z panem poruczykiem mieszka, na jedynym lożku sypia, obiady i bankiety, męża z dziatkami porzuciwszy, co dzień u pana porutczyka sprawuje. Ktorą pan poruczyk sukienki, trzosicki i panczoszki jako swej własniej żonie daje” (p. 188).
The book also has revealing sections on how the relative peace of multiconfessional cooperation in the city was shattered by the war and occupation, with the different religious communities seeking support from their co-religionists elsewhere. Under Russian occupation, the Orthodox and, interestingly, the Jews, received support from Moscow. Uniates were persecuted; for the most part if they could, Protestants and Catholics fled. Antagonisms that had lurked below the surface now exploded. Another of the questions raised here concerns the degree to which the population identified themselves by their association with the city. Even once they had left, their Vilnius identity continued to be important for them, even if they chose not to return when the Poles reoccupied the city.
As a historian of culture, Gerasimova is particularly interested in the possible impact of displacement (willingly or unwillingly) of people and objects into a different cultural milieu. Her focus here is on what happened to those who ended up in Moscow as artisans or other kinds of specialists. As it turns out, few could compete effectively with the other foreigners in Moscow workshops such as the Oruzheinaia palata. As she makes clear though, tracing the fate of such individuals is difficult given the problems in indentifying them from the names in the Muscovite sources. So, as much as anything, her examples are but suggestive of where more work is going to be needed.
She asserts, more as a hypothesis than any really proven fact, that the huge influx of booty from Vilna had a profound impact in accelerating the processes of cultural “westernization” that were already underway in Moscovy. The one case she examines in detail focuses on music, where some manuscript kanty from near the end of the 17th century both textually and musically reflect Polish-Lithuanian influence, and there are works labeled as “vilenskii napev.” However, most of this evidence is separated from the Russian occupation of Vilna by some decades. She does make the point that, even if the Russians conscientiously tried to observe the terms of the Truce of Andrusovo (1667) about the return of booty, much presumably never went back, and of course the influx of talented individuals from across the borders continued apace. So where this then leaves us in determining the cultural impact of the occupation of Vilna for those few years of the war is a bit uncertain.
Gerasimova is certainly well aware of the limitations of what she has done. Her excellent summary and conclusion clarify very nicely what she thinks she has accomplished and lay out as well an agenda for future research. Her indexes of personal and geographical names provide explanatory identification, a laudatory reflection of her meticulousness as a scholar. We can anticipate eagerly her future publications.
Described here are the following:
Perepisnye knigi Velikogo Ustiuga nachala XVIII veka; issledovanie i teksty.
V. L. Ianin et al. Novgorodskie gramoty na bereste iz raskopok 2001-2014 godov
Delovaia pis’mennost’ Troitskogo Selenginskogo monastyria pervoi poloviny XVIII v.
Okladnaia kniga Sibiri 1697 goda.
Moskovskie sobory epokhi padeniia Moskovskogo patriarkhata v XVII veke
Andrei Kurbskii. Istoriia o delakh velikogo kniazia moskovskogo, ed. K. Iu. Erusalimskii
D. V. Val’kov. Genuezskaia epigrafika Kryma
Perepisnye knigi Velikogo Ustiuga nachala XVIII veka: issledovanie i teksty. [sost.: I. V. Pugach, M. S. Cuerkasova (otv. red.)]. Vologda: Drevnosti Severa, 2015. 352 pp. ISBN 978-5-93061-094-9.
As the editors indicate, this edition of the 1710 and 1717 cadastres for Velikii Ustiug continues the initiative to publish materials from the Velikii Ustiug Central Archive which was begun with Tamozhennye knigi Velikogo Ustiuga serediny XVIII v. (2012). The cadastres included in the current volume (extant in the original copies) are the oldest documents among the large holdings of that archive. While there were earlier (for the most part already published) and later censuses in the town, for some reason those of 1710 and 1717 have largely escaped notice. The very helpful introduction here reviews some of the history of the town’s vicissitudes that had an impact on the demographics and reviews the history of the various cadastral projects and the use of their results by modern scholars. The texts are published here in full, with indexes of personal and geographic names. Apart from the introduction, there are two substantial analytical essays, one by O. N. Adamenko on family structure as reflected in these cadastres, and the late S. N. Smol’nikov’s essay on anthroponymics. This nicely produced, large-format volume belongs in every library which collects seriously the important publications on pre- and early modern Russia.
V. L. Ianin, A. A. Zalizniak, A. A. Gippius. Novgorodskie gramoty na bereste (iz raskopok 2001-2014 gg.), T. XII. Moskva: Iazyki slavianskoi kul’tury, 2015. 288 pp. ISBN 978-5-94457-237-0.
The latest volume in this now venerable and important series hardly needs an introduction. It contains 146 birchbark documents (in the consecutive numbering for the series, Nos. 916-1063) which have been excavated in Novgorod in the decade and a half since the previous volume appeared. The largest number (108) of them is from the Trinity excavation, where, as with the earlier discoveries, a good many of the documents are quite early, dating primarily from the 12th century. The format here is similar to that for the earlier volumes, with a site plan indicating the locations of the finds on the grid of the Trinity excavation, typeset and traced texts, their translation into modern Russian and then linguistic and historical commentary.There is a word index but no actual photographs of the gramoty. A longish appendix contains corrections and notes regarding the decipherment of the previously published documents in the series.
The end of the introduction to the volume reproduces the explanatory opening page on the website gramoty.ru, where the whole corpus is being published in searchable form. So far, from this new collection, Nos. 916-956 are available there, with a promise that the rest will be added. The website is, of course, a huge boon to scholars everywhere. It includes photos of the documents, their tracings, the typeset text, the same but subdivided into separate words, and in most cases the modern Russian translation. There are some supplementary materials—maps and publications.
Delovaia pis’mennost’ Troitskogo Selenginskogo monastyria pervoi poloviny XVIII v. Sankt-Peterburg: Nestor-Istoriia, 2015. 192 pp. ISBN 978-5-4469-0641-3.
Edited by T. N. Mezhenina, this volume publishes 138 documents from the deposit for the Trinity Monastery in Selenginsk, fond 252 of the Buryat Republic National Archive in Ulan-Ude. The monastery, founded in 1681, was the oldest in the region, and given the minimal staffing of any kind of government administrative apparatus, assumed a wide range of administrative responsibilities. Thus, many of the documents in its archive are not directly related to monastery affairs. The collection here is an anthology, in which the documents have been selected as representative a various documentary genres. That is, this is not intended as, say, a first installment in a full publication of the entire archive. So we have various decrees sent to the monastery, petitions, receipts, contracts, records of interrogations, etc. While the introduction cites two unpublished kandidat dissertations on church history in the region (one by A. D. Zhalsaraev, the other by Z. A. Shagzhina), in which possibly the authors used some of these materials, there is no indication that any of them have been previously published. The edition is intended in part for linguists; so the printing of the texts follows the conventions found in other such linguistic publications of early Russian documents. There is an index of personal names and a general word index.
Okladnaia kniga Sibiri 1697 goda. Podgot. teksta k publ. V[ladimir] E[rikovich] Bulatov, E[lena] V[asil’evna] Neberekutina; sost. V. E. Bulatov. Moskva: Istoricheskii muzei, 2015. 296 pp. + illustrations. ISBN 978-5-89076-321-1.
At first blush, this large-format edition of a previously unpublished inventory focusing on expenditures and military prreparedness in Siberia from the end of the 17th century is a coffee-table book, illustrated lavishly with engravings from Nicolaas Witsen’s Noord en Oost Tartaryen and selected full-page images of the manuscript. Financial support for the edition came from the Pepeliaev Group, which apparently has funded other projects of the Historical Museum in Moscow where the manuscript is housed (OPI GIM, f. 113 [sobr. P. I. Shchukina], No. 34). The stated purpose was to produce an edition that would be attractive for a general audience, but in an edition of only 250 copies sold at a pretty lavish price (not excessive for what one gets), it seems unlikely to make its way into the hands of any but the nouveaux riches.
The text in fact is something of an encyclopedic dictionary, since it has a longish historical introduction, based primarily on the Book of Royal Degrees (Stepennaia kniga) and Esipov chronicle of Siberia or a source this book and the chronicle shared. Then, for each region, designated by its chief town or administrative center, there are brief notes on geographic location and routes of communication, followed by the breakdown of the local population into various social or occupational categories. For each group, we learn the size of its financial and other compensation and then for the whole, some summary figures on the degree to which local revenues cover the expenses. The final section of each entry inventories weapons and military supplies. Bulatov indicate that there are numerous such descriptions for Siberia, but this one is unique in its attempt to cover the whole region. He asserts it was intended as a kind of encyclopedic dictionary/reference guide, but then one wonders a bit about the audience, as there seem to have been very few copies made. Included in this edition is a map dated to around 1718, probably a spinoff from one of Semen Remezov’s maps, though why it was chosen instead of an earlier one from one of his atlases that might be dated closer to the date of this text is not clear, apart from the fact that the map here is in the collection of the Historical Museum. Bulatov provide a list of all the locations on the map and indicate which ones are also mentioned in the Okladnaia kniga.
Bulatov summarizes in his introduction the views of several scholars regarding the historical sources for the book. His introduction also includes biographical sketches about the individuals listed as involved in the book’s compilation, notably Andrei Vinius, at the time (1697) head of the Siberian Office. One’s confidence in the accuracy of this essay is somewhat undermined by discrepancies with what has been established from other sources about key dates in Vinius’ career, by the fact that the engraving of his father that has been reproduced here with the explicit indication by the Dutch engraver that it is Vinius père, is nonetheless captioned in contradictory fashion to suggest this is the son. Moreover, Vinius Jr. is indicated as head of the Pochtovyi prikaz, an institution that as such never existed even if, yes, he was in charge of the foreign post. There also is a fairly lengthy section on Witsen, though no attempt has been made to discuss what I would think would be an obvious question: did Witsen have access to a copy of this text (thanks to his known contacts with Vinius), and, if so, did he use it in his pathbreaking published description of Siberia? The section of commentary at the end of the book is a useful dictionary guide to terms which might not be familiar to many readers.
I should note that in recent years we have been increasingly well served by publication and re-publication of important materials describing and mapping Siberia in the late Muscovite period. All of Remezov’s atlases have now been reproduced in full-size facsimile with scholarly analysis and description; so also the Remezov illustrated chronicle. Generally, of course, these lavish editions rarely can be purchased, and the libraries that hold them may be few in number. The same is likely to be the fate of this book, which, however, should be worth having for any library with collections relating to Muscovite Siberia.
Moskovskie Sobory epokhi padeniia Moskovskogo patriarkhata v XVII veke. Sankt-Peterburg: Izdatel’skii proekt “Quadrivium,” 2015. 1160 pp. ISBN 978-5-716406-31-5.
As the title might hint and the introduction rather baldly states, the purpose underlying the publication of this fat volume and the previous one in 2014 containing the documents from the Church Councils of the 1660s (Moskovskie Sobory 1660, 1666 i 667 godov, 2 v.) is to expose the criminal actions of the clergy who betrayed Russian Orthodoxy first by eliminating the Patriarchate and ultimately collaborating in the near destruction of the Church under the Soviet regime. I must leave it to others to dissect or respond to the inflammatory statements in the introduction. However, I have to agree with the compiler (T. G. Sidash) that having so many important documents in one convenient edition is extremely useful. Here are documents starting with those pertaining to the creation of the Nizhnii Novgorod eparchy in 1672 and running through the church councils for the rest of the 17th century. The book thus includes documents pertaining to the affairs involving Ian Belobodskii, Sil’vestr Medvedev and others. An appendix includes texts written by Evfimii Chudovskii and others. Most of the texts are reprinted from earlier (generally 19th-century) editions, but a few are taken from manuscripts. I have not attempted to check whether the book reproduces those earlier texts accurately.
Andrei Kurbskii. Istoriia o delakh velikogo kniazia moskovskogo. Izdanie podgotovil K. Iu. Erusalimskii. Perevod A. A. Alekseev. [Otv. red. Iu. D. Rykov]. Ser.: Literaturnye pamiatniki. Moskva: “Nauka,” 2015. ISBN 978-5-02-039097-3.
Finally, after various expressions of good intent, this important work of Muscovite literature has appeared in the venerable series Literaturnye pamiatniki. The responsible editor, Iurii Dmitrievich Rykov, who long ago wrote his kandidat dissertation on the “History” attributed to Kurbskii and helped edit the Ivan-Kurbskii correspondence for Literaturnye pamiatniki, provides a nice introduction here reviewing the earlier efforts to publish the text. One of the key moments in that history was the appearance of G. V. Kuntsevich’s edition (never completed) in Russkaia istoricheskaia biblioteka. Following Kuntesevich’s lead, the text subsequently was re-published from RNB, Pogodin Collection No. 1494 with a translation by A. A. Alekseev in the two valuable series Pamiatniki literatury Drevnei Rusi and Biblioteka literatury Drevnei Rusi. The most important recent study and publication of the text (from GIM, Uvarov No. 301) is that by the compiler/editor of the current volume, Konstantin Iur’evich Erusalimskii (Sbornik Kurbskogo. Issledovanie knizhnoi kul’tury, 2 v. Moskva: Znak, 2009). There, in addition to a sizeable monographic study, he reproduced the text from the Uvarov manuscript, with variants from a good many other manuscript copies. While the edition here presumably in part is merely a distillation from that earlier work, he does indicate that the text in Literaturnye pamiatniki is a “reconstruction”. The significance of that is something only a careful comparison of this text with his earlier one can establish. One of the important differences between this new edition and the previous ones is that the extensive commentaries to the text here have been provided by a sizeable team of good scholars. In addition to those commentaries and the obligatory “Arkheograficheskii obzor” and set of variant readings, Erusalimskii has a 66-page essay entitled “Naznachenie ‘Istorii’,” which I have to imagine may provoke a certain amount of controversy, since, even amongst the many who still believe Kurbskii wrote the text soon after his defection from Muscovy, there are differeing interpretations regarding exact dating and purpose.
I suppose some might imagine that, as a collaborator of the late Ned Keenan’s when he wrote his heretical book questioning the authorship of Ivan IV and Kurbskii, I should have some special insight here which would encourage my trying to do a proper review of the massive amount of serious scholarship which Erusalimskii has undertaken. In fact, I have neither the time nor will (yea also, expertise) that it would take to respond to everything here, even should it turn out he has not persuaded me to abandon being a “Kurbskii skeptic.” It is probably a safe bet that thanks to his work and that long ago by Rykov, we are unlikely to turn up some smoking gun in still incompletely described and inventoried manuscript collections. To date, nothing has changed significantly the picture that the Kurbskii corpus built around the history (the first letter addressed to Ivan has a separate history) has not been preserved in any Polish-Lithuanian context and is not to be found in the Muscovite manuscript tradition before roughly the 1670s, that is, a century after the supposed writing of the text. Of course the facts of the manuscript preservation of themselves do not prove or disprove authorship. I have to imagine that future arguments then will have to be built around textual analysis, for which we can be thankful that Konstantin Erusalimskii has given us the fruits of his long engagement with the work.
D. V. Val’kov. Genuezskaia epigrafika Kryma. Moskva: Russkii fond sodeistviia obrazovaniiu i nauke, 2015. 368 pp. ISBN 978-5-91244-139-4.
The history of Genoese involvement in the Black Sea trade (important especially following the expulsion of the Latins from Constantinople in 1261) has been rather well studied and is nicely summarized here by Val’kov as the introduction to his discussion of the history of the discovery and previous study of the Genoese epigraphic monuments in “Genorese Khazaria and Romania.” Since the Crimeas was one of the early locations for both amateur plundering and then serious excavation of important sites in the 18th and 19th centuries, the stumulus in the first instance coming from an interest in Greek history in the region, the inscribed stones, often recycled in the building of fortifications, attacted attention, many carried off for private and museum collections. Val’kov presents his effort as a first attempt to pull together in one place the information and texts of the inscriptions in what he projects as an ongoing project to build a complete database of them. There were some earlier scholarly publications (notably by E. Ch. Skrzhinskaia) of a lot of the material, to which he has added information gleaned from museum inventories and descriptions of estates where some of the stone was collected and used. The catalog is then arranged by location where the inscriptions were made and/or may still be found (the great majority are from Kaffa). Each of the 80 numbered entries has a photograph (unfortunately small and not always as sharp as one would like), the transcription of the text, its translation into Russian, an indication of where the inscription was found, notes on heraldry if the inscription is accompanied by a heraldic shield, a bibliography, and some helpful historical notes identifyng, for example, the individuals who are mentioned in the texts. Val’kov’s conclusion focuses on the cultural significance of the texts and the decorative elements that accompany the inscriptions. Many are eulogies, which then may provide some material to date and flesh out the history of particular individuals who were active in the Genoese colonies. The book has several indexes and a concordance matching the numbering of this collection to any previous publications of the same material.
E[vgenii]. V[iktorovich]. Anisimov, T[at’iana]. A[natol’evna]. Bazarova. “Tsentr obshirnoi provintsii…” Velikii Novgorod v epokhu Petra I. Khrestomatiia. Velikii Novgorod: [Novgorodskii gos. universitet], 2015. 486 pp. ISBN 978-5-98769-127-4.
While the compilers (somewhat oddly) never address specifically the relationship of this very useful documentary collection to a predecessor they helped produce (Velikii Novgorod v epokhu petrovskikh preobrazovanii [konets XVII-nachalo XVIII v.]: Sbornik dokumentov [Velikii Novgorod, 2007]), what we have here is an expanded version of that earlier anthology. It is intended in the first instance as a textbook but indeed should find an audience, as the compilers hope, among “all those who are not indifferent to the fate of Velikii Novgorod in the era of Peter the Great.” The material comes from the Archive of the St. Petersburg Institute of History of the Russian Academy of Sciences, where there is a rich array of Novgorod-related material scattered in a range of collections. A good chunk of what is here is published for the first time, but also (with citations to previous publications duly noted), quite a number of the documents have been printed earlier, most in the book cited above.
In his introduction, Anisimov sketches nicely the situation of Novgorod after its incorporation into Muscovy and prior to the Great Northern War and Peter the Great’s administrative reforms. He emphasizes that a good many of the territories Muscovy absorbed (Novgorod among them) were far from fully integrated into the growing empire and retained a certain degree of administrative distinctiveness. However, the war and the Petrine reforms brought an end to Novgorod’s special position, its full integration into the empire, and with the building of St. Petersburg, its relegation to an insignficant stop on the road to Moscow. This collection then is intended to illustrate that process of change under Peter.
The documents are grouped under the following headings:
I. Gorodovye rospisi.
II. Upravlenie i sudoproizvodstvo.
III. Severnaia voina.
IV. Novgorodtsy i stroitel’stvo Sankt-Peterburga.
V. Novgorodskie monastyri i ikh vladeniia.
VI. Zhizn’ monastyrskoi votchiny.
VII. Pomeshchich’i vladeniia, krepostnye krest’iane.
VIII. Byt i povsednevnaia zhizn’ gorozhan.
IX. Prosveshchenie i shkoly.
The apparatus includes a list of the archival units published here, a glossary of terms that may be unfamiliar, an explanation of measures of length, weight and volume, name and geographic indexes, and a selective bibliography of recommended literature.
T. M. Kalinina. Problemy istorii Khazarii (po dannym vostochnykh istochnikov). Moskva: Russkii fond sodeistviia obrazovaniiu i nauke, 2015. 288 pp. ISBN 987-5-91244-127-1.
This is a valuable collection of previously published articles by one of the most prominent Russian specialists on the Arabic and Persian sources with information on Eastern Europe. The introductory essay, written for this volume, provides a compressed summary of what most of those sources are, and then the subsequent articles, many published in places that would be difficult to access, with some overlap take up specific topics such as the treatment of ethnonyms or geographic designations in the various texts, information on trade and routes, and information on the relations between the Khazars and the early Slavs. She knows the literature; among other things, those who work on early Rus will want to take into account her pointed critique of some of what Omeljan Pritsak wrote. Another of the essays addresses the information about the Khazar capital of Itil (somewhere near the mouth of the Volga), concerning whose location there is ongoing controversy. Kalinina sides with V. S. Flërov and others in doubting that any archaeological work has identified the site.
The interpretive emphasis here is important, in that she continually points out how over time the Arabic and Persian texts end up borrowing (and then often distorting) earlier information rather than introducing anything new. However well-informed some of the earliest Arab authors may have been about the Khazars, they also ignored information in other contemporary sources which anyone working on the Khazars must take into account and may find more accurate than what is in the Arabic texts. She warns us against the tendency to mine anthologies of the Arabic and Persian sources as if each of the texts somehow is independent of the others. Of course this caution is not entirely new—one of the pioneering studies which focused on the problem was by B. N. Zakhoder which appeared back in the 1960s. With this caution in mind, one might well read Kalinina’s collection alongside just such an anthology which she helped to compile, the very useful vol. 3 of Drevniaia Rus’ v svete zarubeznykh istochnikov: Khrestomatiia (M., 2009).
On the matter of occasional papers series for Slavicists, my recent conversations with Chester Dunning have revealed that, sadly, the Carl Beck Papers stopped taking new submissions as of December 2015: http://carlbeckpapers.pitt.edu/ojs/index.php/cbp
Happily, the Donald Treagold Studies are still in business: http://ellisoncenter.washington.edu/resources/current-students/the-tread...
Drevniaia Rus’ v srednevekovom mire. Entsiklopediia. Pod obshchei redaktsiei E. A. Mel’nikovoi i V. Ia. Petrukhina. Moskva: Nauchnoizdatel’skii tsentr “Ladomir”, 2014. 992 pp. ISBN 978-5-86218-514-0.
Issued under the auspices of the Institut vseobshchei istorii of the Russian Academy of Sciences, this magnificently produced volume has been long in the making. It was begun back in the early 1990s, when most of the more than 3000 entries were written. It enlisted a long list of distinguished specialists, some of whom have now been dead for a good many years. A proper review would be needed to indicate to what degree therefore the entries are dated, though their bibliographies have been supplemented with recent literature, which may or may not have been consulted when the volume was put in final form. As the editors indicate, an effort has been made to stick to historically documentable realia, and, even though in many of the entries we learn of the history of the study of a particular subject and the often differing interpretations, historiography as such is not the focus. In fact there seems to be a conscious effort to avoid taking sides, and in some instances it is clear that the contributors may have exercised considerable self-restraint in not engaging in polemics that they have written elsewhere. For a book of this type, of course the bibliographic suggestions at the end of each article perforce must be very selective, but generally, if the subject is texts, we learn about most of the standard editions as well as some of the key secondary literature. The scope of the bibliographies includes a lot of the most relevant Western scholarship. I have noted a few, what I judge as obvious, lacunae, but that is inevitable for such an ambitious undertaking.
One thing which distinguishes this volume from other encyclopedic enterprises, some of much larger size, which have been undertaken and in many cases are still underway, is indicated in the second half of the title — namely, that the concern here is not Rus’ in the narrower sense of the territory we might define for the 10th-13th centuries but rather Rus’ in its broader international context. Thus the coverage includes a lot on neighboring (occasionally more distant) territories, where then each entry is careful to point out what the connection is with Rus’, be it diplomatic, dynastic, economic or broadly cultural. Typical of the breadth is what one finds in one section under the letter “G”: Geza II; Genrikha ‘Khronika Livonii’; several Georgievskie tserkvi; Georgii; Georgii Akropolit;….Georgii Shimonovich; Georgiia Armatola ‘Khronka’; …German II, nikeiskii patriarkh; German Voiata; Germaniia…; Gzak…; Gleb Sviatoslavich (d. 1078);…Gnëzdovo…; golova…; gorodishche… Be warned, the entries are generally very compact—this is, after all really an encyclopedic dictionary (the editors term its equivalent a Reallexicon), but not of the Brockhaus and Efron type.
Not least in value are the very useful appendices: genealogical tables, ruler, clerical and posadnik lists, a list of towns with the date of their first mention, a list of bishoprics, another of monasteries, two maps of coin finds with a dated list of the datable hoards, and lists of dated manuscripts and monumental painting. Lastly, after the bibliography, there is an alphabetical list of all the entries.
The production values are first-rate—lavish illustration, a lot in color, clearly drawn maps, all printed on substantial glossy paper. The book does not come cheap, but then the price, if one compares it with volumes of equivalent substance and lavishness produced by certain well-known publishers elsewhere, is not exorbitant. And, in fact, it is better produced than most of them. I am certain I will turn to this for reference as a first choice now for almost anything to do with early Rus’ and those who interacted with it.
K[onstantin] A[leksandrovich] Aver’ianov and S[ergei] A[lekseevich] Romashov. Smutnoe vremia: Rossiiskoe gosudarstvo v nachale XVII v. Istoricheskii atlas. Moskva–Sankt-Peterburg: Tsentr gumanitarnykh initsiativ, 2015. 160 pp. + 45 color maps. ISBN 978-5-6055-0285-0.
This volume serves as a reminder about how poorly we have been served by historical atlases for Russia. I say that not to impugn the value of some of the more generalized ones produced either in Russia or elsewhere, but, as the authors here point out, the tendency in such undertakings has been to compress too much information into one or two maps, which then makes them difficult to read and/or may distort that which merits more detailed, separate illustration. The Time of Troubles in the early 17th century (for which they specify their chronology runs from 1604 [the incursion of False Dmitrii I] to 1618 [the Truce of Deulino]) is indeed a time for which having more detailed maps would be a blessing.
K. A. Aver’ianov wrote the text section of the book and S. A. Romashov drew the maps. Both have a long record of work on historical geography. As they explain, one of the key decisions for any historical atlas involves what to include in captions and accompanying text if the maps are to be useful. What we get here then is a long (nearly 150 pp.) introductory essay on the history of the Smuta, and then the color maps at the end. The essay, lacking in any footnoting or bibliography, strikes me on quick acquaintance as unlikely to produce any new insights, but clearly some effort has been made in describing movements of forces or battles to include details that are relevant to what the corresponding maps illustrate. Scattered throughout the essay are various black and white illustrations, many drawn from late romantic paintings evoking the earlier history. The impression then is somewhat textbookish for a general readership, not necessarily a bad thing for a book in a series called “Historia Russica”.
Many of the maps at first glance seem rather schematic: a few key towns, some rather generalized arrows indicating movement of forces. In the case of certain battles, the maps are those typical for books on military history, showing blocks of troops, arrows indicating attacks and counter-attacks, etc. Along with the lines and symbols, there are brief captions indicating, for example, which force followed a particular path and when. Apart from the movement of forces, which is the focus of most of the maps as the troubles unfolded, there are a couple of maps showing the territorial changes which were eventually enshrined in the treaties that ended the Smuta.
I can very much appreciate how anyone now wishing to read about the Time of Troubles would be happy to have this atlas in hand in order to follow along on a map what otherwise can be confusing information with so many different conflicting parties marching back and forth and, of course, in the process, leaving in their wake paths of devastation from which it would take a long time to recover.
Opis’ tsarskoi kazny na Kazennom dvore 1640 goda. [Podgotovka k publikatsii teksta opisi i sostavlenie ukazatelei M. Iu. Gor’kova, S. P. Orlenko]. Moskva: [Moskovskii kreml’], 2014. 192 pp. ISBN 978-5-88678-279-0.
As the editors indicate in their introduction, there is an interesting institutional history of the royal treasury in Muscovy. Yet, despite the fact that various inventories of royal possessions were drawn up and ones such as the text published here have long been known and mined (for example by I. E. Zabelin back in the 19th century), their full publication is still a desideratum. For the particular collection of objects in the Treasury Court, there was an inventory made in 1634, but the subsequent one from 1640 is much more extensive, hence the choice to publish it here from the original manuscript, RGADA, f. 396, Op. 2, D. 4.
It is important to understand that the treasury inventoried in great detail here was not seen as a permanent collection, but in part was the storage place for valued items which might be there only temporarily prior to their being used for gifting, especially in the context of diplomatic negotiations. The list starts with icons and relics and then moves on to vessels, clothing and a wide range of other objects. In 1640, there were a good many bundles of furs, which presumably were ready to send out the door. Of course some of the objects are still in the Kremlin collections, but matching them with what is listed in this inventory was not a task the editors set for themselves—others have tackled it.
Many of the objects had identification tags attached to them at the time they were deposited; that then makes this inventory particularly interesting. For example, we find a huge range of items (rugs, silk garments, crosses…) which came to Moscow as a result of exchanges with Persia in the reign of Michael Romanov. Apart from identifying the source and date of the acquisition, the listings then include quite a bit of descriptive detail, the emphasis being on that which would allow for the estimates of monetary value included in many of the listings.
The book has terminological and name indexes, the former also serving as a kind of glossary. One would have wished though for more precise definitions beyond, e.g., indications that a particular term refers to cloth or clothing. For many of us, it will be necessary to use this volume in the company of a good dictionary of technical terminology or some other reference work which would actually picture an analogous piece.
The book is nicely produced and, one hopes, may be but the first of a series of similar publications of the 17th-century inventories from that highly bureaucratized entity we call the Muscovite state, which was so insistent on recording so much in writing in such great detail.
A quick reply to Dan's final comment: as H-EarlySlavic editor, I am more than happy for suggestions as to more ways to use the platform, and - even better - co-edtiors, temporary or permanent, who would be interested in developing such projects. You can contact me off-list here email@example.com
The new volume of Letopisi i khroniki, a note, and a modest proposal.
Letopisi i khroniki. Novye issledovaniia. 2013-2014. [Red. O. L. Novikova]. Moskva–S.-Peterburg: Al’ians-Arkheo, 2015. 440 pp. ISBN 978-5-98874-111-4.
I will merely list the table of contents of the latest volume in this valuable series, but then add below that a couple of other comments.
T. V. Anisimova. Tikhomirovskii khronograf. Issledovanie i publikatsiia teksta. Chast’ 1 (3-161).
O. L. Novikova. “Sokrashchennyi svod” v 70-90-kh gg. XV veka i ego Solovetskii vid (162-234).
A. V. Sirenov. Letopistsy v rukopisiakh Mikhaila Medovartseva (235-347).
A. E. Zhukov. K voprosu ob istorii teksta “Letopistsa nachala tsarstva” (348-82).
S. N. Kisterev. Ob avtorakh pervoi i vtoroi redaktsii Solovetskogo letopistsa XVI v. (383-410).
Ia. G. Solodkin. Ob istochnikakh i avtorstve Povolzhskogo letopistsa nachala XVII veka (411-22).
M. A. Savinov. “Famil’nye tsennosti: rukopisi Khronografa Pakhomiia v sobraniiakh kniazheskikh rodov Volkonskikh i Shcherbatovykh (423-34).
Pamiati O. V. Tvorogova (1928-2015) (435).
The editor notes at the end (p. 435) that as the volume was going to press, the sad news arrived that Oleg Viktorovich Tvorogov (1928-2015) had died on 24 June. As far as I recall, his passing was never noted on H-EarlySlavic, which is unfortunate, since he was one of the major scholars of Early Slavic texts in our generation. He was distinguished by a colossal appetite for work on major and very difficult texts, and contributed a great deal else of lasting value for our field, broadly defined. My impression is that with his self-effacing personality, he always stood in the shadow of D. S. Likhachev, whom he eventually succeeded as head of the Division of Old Russian Literature in Pushkinskii dom.
My second comment concerns the articles listed above, not in terms of their content but rather simply in terms of the length of many of them. In looking these days at a lot of what our Russian colleagues are publishing, where often annual volumes include what in effect are whole monographs, but alongside equally substantial contributions, I have to wonder whether the economics of publishing are short-changing those who work in our field outside of Russia. All too often we are told that there is a constricting word limit; so one either publishes a short article or a full-scale monograph (if lucky enough to find a publisher who will take it). Unless I am mistaken, there are few venues for being able to publish work which may fall between the two. This is not a call for unrestricted license in being able to ramble on unchecked just because we are too lazy or too busy to spend the time to chop something down to reasonable size, but I have to wonder whether we don’t need at very least something like an occasional papers series that could handle meritorious longer pieces. Of course such papers can always be posted by individuals to Academia.edu, but perhaps H-EarlySlavic could serve as the venue for such publication on-line. I think the recent changes in the website open that possibility. It is a normal thing in the sciences these days to publish pre-prints on-line, which then make important research available long before it might otherwise appear in a regular journal, collective volume, or monograph no library can afford to have.
Materialy po istorii Uspenskogo Tikhvinskogo monastyria. Vyp. 1. Akty i materialy pistsovogo dela. Chast’ 1. 1560-1644 gg. Sostavitel’ O. A. Abelentseva. Series: Tikhvinskii arkhiv, otv. red. A. V. Sirenov. Moskva–S.-Peterburg: Al’ians-Arkheo, 2015. 336 pp. ISBN 978-5-98874-110-7.
In a brief foreword, the editor for this valuable new series, A. V. Sirenov, reminds readers of how important Tikhvin, its monasteries, and the famous icon of the Tikhvin Mother of God (dated back to 1383) have been down into modern times. I remember being struck by Vasilii Istomin’s probably little known painting of the procession with the icon in 1798 in which Emperor Paul and the royal entourage accompany it. The procession is very much alive today.
Fate has not been kind to the original Tikhvin archives. They key repository for surivivng original documents from the Monastery of the Dormition is now the St. Petersburg Institute of History of the RAN, f. 132. Sirenov notes in his foreword that the archaeographic description of the Tikhvin materials there is being done by the archivists with the assistance of faculty, graduate students and undergraduates of St. Petersburg University. Would that we had similar opportunities to involve our undergraduates in such fundamental historical research in our field!
In her introduction, the compiler/editor of this volume, O. A. Abelentseva, elaborates on the history of the collection and its study. Apart from the materials in several files in SPbIIRAN, there are scattered documents elsewhere, and, importantly, many of the documents were quoted in sources such as the cadastral records for the Novgorod region where the monastery is located. Thus this volume brings together the originals or copies and includes appropriate excerpts from the cadastres where they cover the land holdings of the monastery. It is of some interest, of course, to see how the original charters were subsequently quoted; in the annotations to each document, Abelentseva is careful to provide cross-references to where there is a later quotation of it in this book. A number of the documents have been previously published, most recently in one of the continuation volumes of the Novgorod pistsovye knigi. A subsequent Tikhvin volume will continue the set starting with the reign of Aleksei Mikhailovich.
A lot of thought and effort has gone into the extensive indexing of personal and geographical names. There are two personal name indexes, one for members of the elites, the other for peasants, townspeople and servitors of the monastery. The indexes identify the position/occupation, and for the second group, where possible, the family connection, and the place of residence. For example: “Anna (Annitsa) Istominskaia zhena Kuzmina, bobylikha, vdova, d. v Painitsakh na Kirsine, Ionine, gore v Nikol. Shung. pog.” Included are variant spellings of names.
All in all, this is an auspicious start to an important project. To have the whole Tikhvin archive available in one place will be extremely valuable.
Istoriografiia i istochnikovedenie otechestvennoi istorii. Sbornik nauchnykh statei. Vyp. 7. Istoricheskoe povestvovanie v Srednevekovoi Rossii: K 450-letiiu Stepennoi knigi: Materialy vserossiiskoi nauchnoi konferentsii. [Ed. V. K. Ziborov; A. V. Sirenov; Comp. A. E. Zhukov]. Moskva; Sankt-Peterburg: Al’ians-Arkheo, 2014. 264 pp. ISBN 978-5-98874-103-9.
In consequence of its resurrection as one of the most important and interesting “historical” compositions of Muscovy, the Stepennaia kniga (Book of Royal Degrees, here abbreviated SK) keeps giving. Recent years have seen the appearance of a magnificent new edition in a project directed by N. N. Pokrovskii and Gail Lenhoff (3 vols., M., 2007-2012); Aleksei Sirenov’s substantial monograph on the history of the text (M., 2007) followed by his important and equally impressive history of its place in late Muscovite history writing ((M.-SPb., 2010); Andrei Usachev’s huge monograph placing the text in its 16th century context (M., 2009); and Lenhoff and Ann Kleimola’s publication of the essays from the confrerence devoted to SK organized by Lenhoff in 2009 (Bloomington, 2011). Much here is still controversial, and the history of the impact of SK invites much additional work, given how little we still know about the writing of history in early modern Russia.
Now we have the new volume of an established series, containing the papers of a conference whose ostensible rationale was to celebrate the 450th anniversary of the creation of SK in 2013. As the introduction to the book logically explains (p. 4), to appreciate the place of SK as an important transitional work in early Russian history writing requires broad contextualization. In fact, most of this very valuable volume has little at all to do with SK, but a great deal to do with expanding our knowledge of the history of various chronicles, their sources and dating.
It is worth noting that almost all the contributors, and the publication of the volume itself, received financial support either from the Rossiiskiii gumanitarnyi nauchnyi fond or a Russian Federation President’s grant for young doktora nauk. As we hear of the continuing financial struggles of our impressively productive Russian colleagues, and, outside of Russia, dread the attacks of deficit-hawks on important sources of support such as language fellowships and our own NEH grants, we can only hope that within Russia such financial support will continue, even a troubled economic environment.
Here is an annotated list of the essays, for which the book contains at the end convenient summaries in both Russian and in English.
T. L. Vilkul. “Zaimstvovaniia iz Khroniki Ioanna Malaly v Povesti vremennykh let” (9-35). Shows that some inclusions in the PVL probably came directly from a translation of Malalas, not filtered through another Khronograf compilation.
T. V. Gimon. “Novgorodskoe istoriopisanie v pravlenie arkhiepiskopa Vasiliia Kaliki (1330-1352)” (36-70). Study of the several early Novogordian annals provides new evidence about the important activity of the archbishop’s court in the 14th century in the ongoing compilation and editing of Novogorod’s history.
E. L. Koniavskaia. “Siuzhetnoe povestvovanie v Novgorodskoi I letopisi (pervaia polovina XII v.)" (71-81). Determines that some 16 entries in the chronicle have a distinctive narrative form, where the subject is relations of the prince with the city.
I. S. Agafonov. “Siuzhet ob osade Novgoroda v 1170 godu v rannikh letopisnykh rasskazakh” (82-92). One of the essays in the volume which most clearly demonstrates the compositional techniques of chroniclers in transforming simple entries into larger, more ideologically charged texts.
M. V. Korogodina. “O sostave Merila pravednogo” (94-110). Concludes that the text was created no earlier than the end of the 13th century and that all the known copies derive from a single protograph.
A. V. Sirenov. “O vremeni sozdaniia Voskresenskoi letopisi” (113-25). Given the importance of this chronicle, the argument here that the text must have existed by the end of the 1520s (no earlier than 1520 and no later than 1530-31) and thus was not created in 1533, as others have argued, should be of considerable interest.
A. V. Zhukov. “K voprosu ob istochnikakh Letopisnogo svoda 1560 goda” (126-87). By one of the two graduate students amongst the authors here (the other is Agafonov), Zhukov’s very long essay expands on earlier analysis by A. E. Presniakov and B. M. Kloss regarding the relationship of this compilation to its several sources, the most important of them being the Voskresenskaia and Nikonovskaia chronicles. The inclusion of material from a version of one of the Razriadnye knigi that may have been compiled for the Kolychev clan supports the idea that the 1560s compilation was done for Metropoloitan Filipp (Kolychev).
A. V. Sirenov. “O vremeni sozdaniia Letopistsa vladimirskogo Uspenskogo sobora” (188-201). Using evidence from several copies not known to A. A. Shilov when he published the text in 1910, Sirenov argues that the chronicle, which draws heavily on an early version of the Voskresenskaia chronicle, was compiled in Moscow, not in Vladimir. Appended here is an edition of the text from its earliest known copy, BAN 34.8.3.
A. V. Sirenov. “Pomety Tomskogo spiska Stepennoi knigi i sostavlenie Litsevogo letopisnogo svoda” (202-17). Building on other observations about how the creators of the great illuminated chronicle marked with drops of wax and penciled notations in their source manuscripts where a passage was to be used, edited and illustrated, Sirenov has found in the earliest known copy of SK similar markings which suggest that copy was used by the creators of the illuminated chronicle. It is possible though that a no longer extant draft version of the latter stands between it and its source.
V. G. Vovina-Lebedeva. “Novyi letopisets i Stepennaia kniga (k voprosu o pozdnikh letopisnykh kompiliatsiiakh)” (221-34). In important ways one of the most forward-looking of all the articles here, in that it analyzes the compositional techniques of a text created from SK which then became part of some of the ubiquitous late Muscovite sborniki, themselves a kind of new genre of historical writing which demands a great deal of additional study. In particular, the creator of the text of interest here was less concerned with historical accuracy and reality and more concerned with accounts about the miraculous and paranormal.
A. A. Romanova. “Agiograficheskie pamiatniki XVII-XVIII vv. i istoricheskoe povestvovanie” (236-44). A brief and stimulating introduction to how the boundaries between hagiography and history-writing were blurred in the late 17th century.
Mil’chik on Staraia Ladoga
M[ikhail] I[saevich] Mil’chik. Staraia Ladoga. Ocherk gradostroitel’noi istorii. Graficheskie rekonstruktsii i dokumenty / Staraya Ladoga. The History of Its City Planning. Graphic Recreations and Documents. Sankt-Peterburg: LOOO “Sokhranenie prirody i kul’turnogo naslediia”, 2014. 352 pp. + ill. ISBN 978-5-9900353-9-3.
Mikhail Isaevich Mil’chik’s analogous recent book on Kholmogory was the subject of a laudatory note I posted to H-EarlySlavic on 5 May 2014. Issued in the same format and with similar goals, this volume is, if anything, even more impressive. His considerable oeuvre includes yet another in the series, on Kargopol’ (2008), which I have not seen. Now in his 80s, Mil’chik has earned an honored place among historians and advocates for historical preservation among the specialists on early Russian towns, as recognized when he was awarded the D. S. Likhachev prize in 2008.
Even though Old Ladoga has been the subject of a great deal of scholarly work, Mil’chik is the first to attempt a really comprehensive study of its construction history, not just back in the time of the Vikings and early Rus’ but down into modern times. He lays out that history in the first 70 pages here, the focus being on topography, structures, and the interrelationship between the manmade and the surrounding landscape. One of the most interesting aspects of the book is his emphasis on the somewhat intangible subject of “landscape” in the sense that he is trying to re-capture the visual experience of earlier eras. Thus, while he uses modern photos to illustrate his catalog of buildings, he deliberately avoids them for panoramic views. Historic photos from the 19th and early 20th century show views from which, to a degree, one might extrapolate a sense of what the town and its environs resembled long ago. Changes in recent years, including the erection of large modern buildings and the dismantling of some of the prominent burial mounds, have much altered the skyline and the topography. The archaeology of the early town (whose details are not the subject here) provides a selective snapshot of the Ladoga of Viking times, but then as one moves on into the high Middle Ages, sources about Ladoga become scant until one arrives at the period of the first extant cadastres from the Muscovite period. To reconstruct the town’s history in the longue durée then requires the careful mining of those cadastres and the increasingly numerous descriptive documents of late Muscovy, travel accounts, early engravings and paintings, early maps and, of course, the dozens of historic photographs (most from the collection of the Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences).
Apart from a wish for an even larger format than the book’s 17 x 23 cm, one has nothing but praise for its illustrations. Except for a few instances where the originals undoubtedly were a bit muddy, the historic photos are crisp and clear. Color inserts include a set of watercolors by Dmitrii Ivanovich Ivanov, part of an unpublished four-volume album “Arkheologicheskoe puteshestvie po Rossii” produced at the end of the first decade of the 19th century, and some of the photos by the famous pioneer of color photography, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. There are a good many maps, both historic and newly drawn, some overlaying important sites and areas onto modern topographic maps (included are three large fold-outs). Appendix I is a 100-page illustrated, descriptive catalog of structures and sites recorded in the official list of those under state protection because of their historic interest. Clearly one goal here is to heighten the urgency for their preservation, as many have been damaged or are under threat of destruction. Several projects which have provided additional documentation in that preservation effort have been ignored.
Mil’chik is very much indebted to earlier scholarship, although on one important issue—the history of the construction of the stone fortress in the town—he disagrees with the well-known specialist on early Russian fortification, A. N. Kirpichnikov. Appendix V here reprints (with a brief afterword) an article Mil’chik co-authored with M. I. Koliada back in 1996 revising Kirpichnikov’s argument that the masonry fortress was first erected at the end of the 15th century (the dendrochronology he had cited is in need of review). Instead, it seems clear from a good many written sources that the stone fortress whose remains one sees today (much-rebuilt) dates to the 1580s and 1590s. In another article (co-authored with Koliada and O. G. Guseva and reprinted here), Mil’chik lays out and vividly illustrates the details of their “recreation” of the fortress, some of the important evidence coming from its several detailed descriptions made throughout the 17th century. One conclusion is that the reconstructed sections of the fortress one would see today (work done in 1960-1976) bear little relationship to historical reality. Of particular importance for the remains which came down to the present was a major reconstruction in the second half of the 17th century, treated in a separate article by S. V. Lalazarov reprinted here with some corrections.
A nearly 90-page appendix contains key documents, starting with the relevant section of the cadastre from ca. 1500 for Novgorod’s Vodskaia piatina and ending with a description of the fortress from 1701. Some of these are previously published, but among those printed here for the first time is a significant collection of documents about the repair of the fortress in 1646-1649. Two shorter appendices include I. L. Voinova and O. Iu. Voronina’s typological classification of the houses in the town of the 19th and early 20th centuries and Mil’chik’s synchronic table juxtaposing important moments in its construction history with political, church and other developments.
Surely this book is a model we might wish to see emulated for many other historic Russian towns.
New contribution to Petrovedenie
Petrovskoe vremia v litsakh — 2014. K 300-letiiu pobedy pri Gangute (1714-2014). Materialy nauchnoi konferentsii / Personalities from Peter the Great’s Time — 2014. To mark the 300th anniversary of the Hangö victory (1714-2014). Proceedings of the Conference. Trudy Gosudarstvennogo Ermitazha, LXXIII. Sankt-Peterburg: Izd-vo. Gos. Ermitazha, 2014. 426 pp. ISBN 978-5-93572-579-2.
In the opening scene of Tennessee Williams’ Camino Real, one of the female characters, with a certain sarcasm and innuendo, comments about how in the village square there is at least one fountain which has not yet dried up. The volume under review here is a reminder of how the well in what I would dub the thriving town of Petrovedka is not likely to dry up any time soon. On almost any occasion for which there can be a commemorative event, the plaza is full, and presumably the conversation around the wellhead continues long into the evening. That the Hermitage hosts such events and can then publish the results so admirably with relatively little delay is a cause for celebration.
Oddly, in this case, the naval victory over the Swedes at Hangö gets little attention — but a single article out of the more than three dozen, Pavel Krotov’s discussion leading to the conclusion that short of nautical archaeology, we cannot yet be certain as to the exact location of this first major Russian naval victory. In many ways, his article is typical for several of the contributions here, usefully if painstakingly detailed, but not about to change anything in our overall assessment of the Petrine period. In what follows, I will but highlight a few of the essays which I personally found to be of interest. Other readers’ choices might be quite different.
As the main title of the volume suggests, a good many of the contributions in fact do deal with personalities. That is, they contain nicely articulated biographies, generally with reference to unpublished archival sources, from which we learn about often obscure individuals who lived in and beyond the Petrine era. Some are among the Russians sent abroad to study who on their return contributed in some way to the making of “modern” Russia. I was particularly taken by Evgenii Dolgov’s essay on Sergei Dmitrievich Golitsyn, not exactly an unknown (the son of the famous Dmitrii Mikhailovich Golitsyn), who had a very interesting career as a diplomat and then Governor of Kazan’. Other “personalities” are the foreigners who were recruited and then settled down in Russia, among them three gold- and silversmiths recruited in Hamburg in the 1660s and a landscape architect Jacob Schultz from Danzig who was involved in the design of the Summer Garden. In connection with that garden’s history, also of interest here is Sergei Androsov’s discussion of how the legend came about that Peter acquired the “Venus of Taurida” statue in exchange for the relics of St. Birgitta. And Nikolai Novoselov reports on the findings of the archaeological investigations of some of the original fountains in the garden, undertaken several years ago during restoration work. Technical details of their construction confirms that they were the work of Mikhail Zemtsov.
What we might loosely group here under a heading of “history of science and technology” includes an interesting discussion by Vladimir Belobrovov on “The Role of Peter I in the Development of the Russian System of Length Units” and an adjoining piece, Vladimir Bogodanov and Tatiana Malova’s essay on the early studies of floods on the Neva. Andrei Ukhnalev analyzes Peter’s interest in anemometers for meauring wind velocity and direction and focuses on the history of a particularly famous example in the Summer Palace. That not all exchanges at the well in our village square are friendly ones comes out in two essays on map-making. Dmitrii and Irina Guzevich launch into a spirited defense of the activities of Joseph-Nicholas Delisle, in the process roundly criticizing the assertions by Elena Gusarova about his alleged incompetence as a cartographer and perfidy as a French spy who stole secret Russian maps. The Guzevich’s are particularly upset, because, they insist, these continuing, misleading accusations have undercut collaboration that might have resulted in publication of the Russia-related materials of Delisle from the French archives. Yet Gusarova, in her somewhat oppressively detailed examination of who exactly was responsible for producing the first “academic” plan of Petersburg (it was not Delisle), repeats in passing some of her previous assertions about him.
Those interested in the arts in the Petrine era should want to read Roksana Rebrova’s investigation of the Dutch tiles with images of Biblical scenes (some to be seen now in the restored Menshikov Palace filial of the Hermitage) drawn from the famous illustrated “Piscator Bible.” As has been well documented, late 17th century murals in Iaroslavl’ churches also drew upon its engravings. A most promising subject for further study is the entertainments of the Petrine period. Evgeniia Eremina-Solenikova brings a comparative perspective to a discussion of what, exactly, were the dances at Petrine assemblées. It is somewhat odd though that she seems to have made no attempt to see whether there are musical scores which might shed some light on the matter. In contrast, Anna Nedospasova not only looks at contemporary descriptive material about military music (and the contribution of captured Swedish musicians and their instruments), but shows that we can study the actual compositions.
There is much more here, relating to topics such as Petrine foreign relations, fortifications, modern celebrations of Peter…how he has been remembered and his legacy has been studied is one of the important thematic threads. The volume has some good illustrations, though in one or two cases, their absence (where the reader really wants to see the subject under discussion) is puzzling. As with the other recent volumes of the Hermitage’s Trudy, there are decent English abstracts for all the articles.
Dan's review is also timely as the University of Birmingham (UK) is currently hosting the project 'Christian-Muslim Relations: A Bibliographical History 1500-1900 (CMR1900)'. Cornelia Soldat is involved in the project as section editor for Russia, highlighting the great number of fascinating texts written by Russians about their Muslim subjects and neighbours.
D[amir] Z[iniurovich] Khairetdinov. Starinnye mecheti i musul’manskie ob”ekty iuga Moskvy. Moskva: ID “Medina”, 2015. 335 pp. ISBN 978-5-9756-0107-0.
This nicely produced volume has opened a new world of possibilities for me. At first blush, the sectarian imprimatur might seem un-promising. I have not yet read the author’s earlier publications, including his monograph Musul’manskaia obshchina Moskvy v XIV-nachle XX vv. (Nizhnii Novgorod, 2002) and the various essays in the encyclopedic dictionary Islam v Moskve (2008), for which he was the responsible editor. Nor had I ever come across a publication issued under the auspices of the Moskovskii islamskii institut or one prefaced by the President of the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of the Russian Federation and the Council of Muftis of Russia, Sheikh Ravil’ Gainutdin. That preface though strikes just the right ecumenical note that our era of horrific news about sectarian strife and irresponsible reactions to it so desperately needs. The author of the monograph under review is the Rector of the Moscow Islamic Institute, an ethnographer whose credentials include a kandidat degree in history.
While there has been a good deal of publication about the historical topography of Moscow and the various quarters of the city and their residents, as Khairetdinov notes, very little has been done to study where and in what circumstances the Muslim population lived. In fact, back in Muscovite times, the period in which he is particularly interested here, there were many Muslims in Moscow. Some were permanent residents, involved in trade or serving as interpreters (tolmachi) for the government. Others came and went in large numbers, again in connection with commerce or as part of the frequent diplomatic missions from the various khanates and their successors in territories that were either part of Muscovy or its neighbors, erstwhile allies etc.
So, where did they live in the Russian capital, what kind of permanent residences did they have, where did they worship? As the author explains, answering such questions is not easy, since the material traces of those quarters have not survived. A careful sifting of the documentary record though and a few images on old maps and engravings facilitate at least a tentative reconstruction. Khairetdinov draws heavily on a lot of earlier publications, his own monograph, and, amongst the documentary sources, the Posol’skie knigi po sviaziam Rossii s Nogaiskoi Ordoi. 1551-1561 (Kazan’, 2006). He divides his attention between establishing locations and their buildings and discussing evidence about the residents and visitors who occupied them.
There are a good many high-quality illustrations, including maps, and long appendices reproduce the essential documents, many published here for the first time. The book is a valuable addition to the growing literature which is working its way down through what we might term the archaeological strata of the written record that must be peeled away if we are ever to gain a concrete sense of urban environments in Muscovy for which the physical archaeology either has not been done or may be expected to yield very little.
V[iktor] I[vanovich] Tsvirkun. Soratnik Petra Velikogo. Istoriia zhizni i deiatel’nosti Tomy Kantakuzino v pis’makh i dokumentakh. Sankt-Peterburg: Nestor-Istoriia, 2015. 216 pp. + 16 unn. pp ill. ISBN 978-5-4469-0478-5.
The Moldovan historian Vikor Ivanovich Tsvirkun has published extensively in various languages, among his books one in Romanian on Cantacuzino and another in Russian, Materialy k biografii Toma Kantakuzino (Kishinev, 2005). A good many of the documents reproduced in the volume under review were previously published in the latter book. I have to assume there is also considerable overlap in other parts of the content, although Tsvirkun indicates here that his archival work in Russian collections in the past decade has resulted in a good many changes. Moreover, he credits Cantacuzino’s modern relative (who lives in Paris) with helping him to correct some mistakes in his earlier publications on the subject. For those who have never previously encountered the author’s work, I should note that his biography includes a good many honors, and, interestingly, he is currently the General Secretary of the Permanent International Secretariat of the Organization for Black Sea Economic Cooperation, based in Istanbul.
Toma Cantacuzino (ca. 1670-1721) descended from one of the last ruling families of Byzantium. He was the nephew of the Hospodar of Wallachia and probably was related to his contemporary, the well-known Demetrie Cantemir (father of the poet Antiokh Kantemir). Cantacuzino rose to a position of some importance at the Wallachian court, along the way acquiring a command of several languages, and became involved in various secret diplomatic missions. When Peter the Great was preparing for his Pruth campaign, Cantacuzino was one of those organizing what the Tsar hoped would be a significant contingent of local troops who would rise up and join in the war against the Turks. He played a key role in the taking of the fortress of Braila, only to learn that two days before, trapped by the Ottomans on the Pruth, Peter had signed a treaty ending the war. Given the role he had played in supporting the Russian effort, Cantacuzino was forced to flee to Russia, leaving behind his family and extensive possessions. His next assignment for the Tsar was to continue efforts to recruit soldiers from the Balkans and train those regiments in anticipation of a possible renewal of the war against the Turks. Later, his main assignment was shifted to supervision of work on the Lake Ladoga canal project which dragged on over several of Peter’s last years. By all accounts, Cantacuzino proved to be a capable administrator. Although eventually Cantacuzino’s wife was able to join him in Russia, he left no heirs there, and his service to his adopted country came to be largely forgotten.
He developed a close relationship with A. D. Menshikov, in whose papers were preserved many of the documents used by Tsvirkun for this study and published in the lengthy documentary appendix that occupies the last 120 pp. of the book. Cantacuzino’s extensive correspondence involved in part his continuing secret service and diplomatic activity. Some of his letters to Peter, already published in the Pis’ma i bumagi Petra Velikogo, are reproduced here as are letters addressed to the Ukrainian hetman I. I. Skoropads’kyi. The appendix includes quite a number of previously unpublished documents.
Based as it is on extensive archival research, and making available material that might otherwise be difficult to obtain from the author’s earlier publications, this volume should be of real value for historians of the Petrine period. Among other topics, there is much to learn here about those recruitment efforts in the Balkans which complemented the better known activity there of Savva Raguzinskii.
Ocherki feodal’noi Rossii. Vyp. 18. [Red. S. N. Kisterev]. M.;SPb.: Al’ians-Arkheo, 2015. 392 pp. ISBN 978-5-98874-112-1.
Somewhat more than half of the latest volume in this valuable series is publication of primary source documents. Below is the table of contents with some very brief annotation compiled by me on the basis of quickly skimming all the articles.
R. A. Bespalov. “Rekonstruktsiia dokonchaniia Vitovta s kniaz’iami novosil’skogo doma 1427 goda” (3-48). Reconstruction of content of lost agreement, using careful diplomatic analysis of later ones. Concludes that the two parties negotiated as equals, each with its own direct relationship with the “Golden Horde.”
A. V. Shekov. “K istorii predstavlenii o granitse mezhdu Rus’iu i Litvoi po reke Berezine” (49-72). Even though Muscovite narrative sources cite the Berezina as the border over a long period, contemporary documentary materials name other rivers and regions not on that river, suggesting that the former sources reflect pretensions, not reality. Shekov examines material regarding specific locations mentioned in documentation as belonging to Muscovy and concludes that only gradually (after the 1560s) did the Berezina come to be accepted as the border.
A. V. Antonov. “K istorii bytovaniia zapisnykh votchinnykh knig” (73-89). Since all of the originals of this category of register that had existed for the period 1571-1626 perished in the fire of the latter year, the recent find of a copy from parts of such documents for 1587 and 1597, in which are cited documents from as early as the late 15th century, is important. Text published here.
S. N. Kisterev. “Korporativnye i personal’nye zhalovannye gramoty torgovym liudiam gostinoi sotni” (90-105). Charters of privilege granted to individuals did not thus grant them the same kind of corporate privileges enjoyed by members of the gostinnaia sotnia as specified in other decrees.
Ia. G. Solodkin. “K rannei istorii pervykh russkikh gorodov na “Pole”: neskol’ko spornykh voprosov” (106-15). Attempt to resolve the disputed question of exact chronology of the founding of the first towns along the steppe border in the 16th century, in particular Voronezh, Livny and Valuiki.
S. V. Sirotkin. “Materialy dozora posada Kalugi 1624/25 g.” (116-67). In the wake of the devastation of the city, especially when it was besieged in 1618, it was necessary to carry out a new census, the text of which is revealing about the sad state of the town. The article publishes the text from RGADA, f. 137, Boiarskie i gorodovye knigi, Op. 1, Kaluga, No. l, fols. 146-357v.
A. V. Beliakov; A. V. Morokhin. "Otnoshenie tsentral’noi vlasti k nasil’stvennym kreshcheniiam na mestakh v pervoi polovine XVII v.” (168-88). Generalizations about the steady advance in pressues on the “foreigners” (inozemtsy) in Muscovy to convert as the 17th century proceeded need to be tempered. The challenge here is their being so little documentation before the last decades of the century. New documentation published here shows tension between pressures by the “Zealots of Piety” to push conversion and a government more concerned with extracting military service and fiscal benefits from the non-Orthodox.
S. N. Kisterev. “Delo ob otkupe astrakhanskogo rybnogo promysla gostem Nazariem Chistym v 1628 g.” (189-223). The story of how the rich gost’ Nazarii Chistyi managed to get a profitable Astrakhan fishery, Biriul’, assigned to him, using a strategem to push out the local entrepreneurs who had previously controlled it. Publication of 10 documents about the case from SPb. II RAN, f. 178.
E. N. Gorbatov. “Materialy k istorii zhiletskogo razbora 1643 goda” (224-358). The document published in extenso here is one of such periodic reviews of those who as “zhil’tsy” were waiting to see whether they might be eligible to advancement to higher status in the service. The review documents include summary depositions (skazki) by the more than 1000 individuals involved, which thus lets one see details of their service records. A. P. Pavlov had previously published an extenisve tabulation of data from this particular book, but in the process omitted interesting details in the depositions. The text is from RGADA, f. 210. Stolbtsy Moskovskogo stola, D. 1123; the publication is provided with name and geographic indexes.
A.L. Griaznov. “Dokumenty vologodskoi tamozhni 1663 g.” (359-81). Five documents from RGADA, f. 141, Prikaznye dela starykh let, Op. 3, 1663, No. 9, Ch. 3, with information on 27 transactions between foreign and Russian merchants. The introduction provides information about the foreigners involved, whose names are quite familiar to any student of Muscovite foreign trade in the middle of the 17th century.
S. V. Sirotkin A. V. Morokhin. “Novyi istochnik o samosozhzheniiakh nizhegorodskikh staroobriadtsev 1670-kh godov” (381-89). Analysis and publication of a gramota of Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich to Nizhnii Novgorod Metropolitan Filaret concerning measures against Old Believers in the context of increasing persecution of them that was provoking self-immolation in response.
New book honoring Nikolai Petrovich Likhachev
Nasledie Nikolaia Petrovicha Likhacheva: interpretatsiia teksta i obraza. Materialy nauchnoi konferentsii, posviashchennoi 150-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia akademika Nikolaia Petrovicha Likhacheva (1862-1936). Trudy Gosudarstvennogo Ermitazha LXXI. Sankt-Peterburg: Izd-vo. Gos. Ermitazha, 2014, 446 pp. + 10 pp. color plates. ISBN 978-5-93572-570-9.
We might begin here with a comment on the venerable series in which this volume appears. The Trudy of the Hermitage Museum have been issued with admirable frequency in recent years, published with high production values, including good illustrations. These substantial volumes generally have a thematic focus, and many are the proceedings of conferences commemorating noteworthy scholars. Here as examples, I would mention: Vol. XLIX (2009) (Slozhenie russkoi gosudarstvennosti v kontekste rannesrednevekovoi istorii Starogo Sveta); LXII (2013) (Sogdiitsy, ikh predshestvenniki, sovremenniki i nasledniki, a memorial conference volume honoring the great archaeologist and art historian of Sogdian Central Asia, Boris Marshak) and LXXII (Ermitazhnye chteniia pamiati V. G. Lukonina 2007-2012, Lukonin one of the most prominent specialists on ancient Iran), both reviewed briefly by me in The Silk Road 12 (2014); LXIX (2013) (Vizantiia v kontekste mirovoi kul’tury); LXX (2013) (Petrovskoe vremia v litsakh—2013), briefly reviewed by me on H-EarlySlavic, 5 April 2014; LXXIII (2014) (Petrovskoe vremia v litsakh—2014), to be the subject of another brief review soon. As with all such volumes of collected essays, the importance and length of the contributions vary significantly, some essays focusing rather narrowly on a single object, but others providing far-reaching suggestions or fundamental publication of basic information about sources. Each volume includes good abstracts in English. The new volume on N. P. Likhachev is a worthy example of what this important series offers.
Why N. P. Likhachev, the “other Likhachev” and surely one less well known to most than the un-related Dmitrii Sergeevich? Nikolai Petrovich was a scholar of impressively wide and deep accomplishment who published fundamental work in a range of what too often are somewhat deprecatingly labeled as “auxiliary” historical disciplines. Born in a noble family and married to the daughter of a wealthy Old Believer entrepreneur, Likhachev was able to finance his own academic undertakings, and he set about at an early age collecting manuscripts, coins, seals, icons, and much more. His idea was to create in particular a uniquely representative collection for the broad comparative study of palaeography; after the Revolution, his collection became a Museum of Palaeography under the auspices of the Academy of Sciences before being dispersed among several institutions in the 1930s. He published a number of major and still valuable books and left in his archive several more significant studies which merit publication. Not the least of the desiderata for future publication of his Nachlass is his extensive archive of correspondence.
Fate was not kind to him and his many children. In the difficult years of the Civil War, he had to sell some of his collections to put food on the table. He was arrested in the “Academic Affair” of 1930 and sent in exile to Astrakhan’, effectively ending his scholarly career. Of his 10 children, one died in infancy, one fell to the Purges in 1937, one died in a fire bombing in Moscow in 1941, three died of starvation or disease in besieged Leningrad during the War, and one perished in 1958 at the hands of “bandits” in Moscow. Fortunately his son Gennadii (1899-1972) left a revealing family memoir, excerpts of which are published for the first time in the volume under review. Since he never held a formal academic teaching position (though he did lecture on diplomatics for the St. Petersburg Archaeological Institute), he left no “school” of those who would carry on his work. Given his non-Marxist and non-proletarian background, it was convenient to relegate his name to the shadows of academic honor in the difficult decades of mid-20th century Soviet scholarship. However, he was recognized in the early 1960s at the time of his centenary, and now, half a century later, he has finally been honored in the way he has long merited. As E. V. Stepanova and T. I. Galich describe here, in 2012 the Hermitage mounted in ten rooms a special exhibit of key items from Likhachev’s collections and archive, accompanied by a published catalog. The volume under review is another contribution to that celebration of his achievement.
I can but briefly sketch the contents. Several of the essays deal with the medieval Latin and Greek manuscripts Likhachev collected, among them important early Norman ones, Italian notarial acts, and a 15th-century Greek grammar. Part of this material has been published (e.g., four volumes of the Italian documents), and some individual items now are published here for the first time. Slavic manuscripts of the 13th-18th centuries occupy an important place in the collection, as we learn from the survey by E. K. Piotrovskaia and Iu. B. Fomina. V. P. Panchenko takes up what may seem to be an obscure topic of small stone crosses in the collection, eliciting from the examples an interesting picture of a previously little-noticed case of cultural and artistic interaction across the Novgorodian lands. Likhachev collected some Islamic and East Asian materials. Among the former are manuscript pages from a Qu’ran copied in a distinctive square format, whose study here by Valerii V. Polosin revises long-standing views about the medieval Arab designations for sorts of paper. Among the contributions on iconography, perhaps the most interesting article is that by P. V. Zapadalova on two icons painted by Kirill Ulanov, one of the better-known artists in the Oruzheinaia palata who then in the first quarter of the 18th century devoted himself to religious art.
Sphragistics (the study of seals) was a particular interest of Likhachev’s. Several of the essays here pertain to the subject, one describing the recent discovery in Novgorod of a unique 14th-century boulloterion, the hinged device with dies used to create the metal (largely lead) seals which have been found in large numbers in Novgorod. Another article, by S. V. Beletskii and A. N. Kirpichnikov, describes a sizeable and important new collection of such seals which have been excavated in Old Ladoga. Among the most significant of the articles is a long one by N. S. Moiseeva on the metrology of the earliest monies produced in Rus, a subject of particular interest to Likhachev, who attempted to establish the degree to which their production might have been influenced either by Byzantine or Arab coinage. Moiseeva points out the limits of what Likhachev was able to accomplish and also takes issue with some of the conclusions by V. L. Ianin, whose work has long been one of the authoritative contributions to the subject and who is one of the important keepers of the Likhachev legacy.
The early modern period also receives some attention here, including two articles relating to printed blanks that were used beginning in the late 17th century in Russia. One of these essays, by Simon Franklin, will be familiar to some readers who have heard his presentations on the subject at recent conferences.
There is much more of interest. For me, perhaps the greatest value of the volume is what so many of the essays reveal about the history of Russian scholarship, in which N. P. Likhachev was a visionary pioneer. In reading about the seriousness with which he undertook his collecting (he had contacts with dealers in many countries and regularly visited all the antiquarian shops in Petersburg), one has to be impressed by the fact that, unlike many other wealthy collectors, he became the expert on the material and had a clear idea of the cultural and educational purpose of what he was buying.
Readers of this list may not realize it, but many of you have been in N. P. Likhachev’s home in St. Petersburg, where the building first erected in 1902 and then expanded by the addition of a third story in 1914 (so that it could house both his collection/museum and his large family) is now the home of the St. Petersburg branch of the Institute of History of the Russian Academy of Sciences. I had not been aware of the connection when I first set foot there in 1968 to hear a talk by Aleksandr Zimin, when I then worked in the reading room (where one of the staff tried to trap me by suggesting I might like to “check out” one of the manuscripts to read back in my room), and where I briefly was allowed to do some work in the closed stacks in 1975. I did have a chance to use a few of the Likhachev collection manuscripts, and over the years frequently consulted his important publications of watermarks, which, oddly, receive no mention in the volume under review.
Likhachev as a pioneer in the discipline of diplomatics is evident in many of its essays, even if no one here writes about his text-book volumes on the subject published in 1901 with an expanded reprint in 1905-6. It would be remiss though to conclude without emphasizing Likhachev’s contributions to filigranology (watermark study), where his magnum opus in three volumes remains the most carefully produced of all the watermark albums ever published in Russia. Its translation and reprint in the Netherlands, edited by J.S.G. Simmons for the Paper Publications Society, occupies an honored place alongside the Society’s reprint of Charles-Moise Briquet’s famous four-volume work. Likhachev was the Russian Briquet, and much, much more. As one of the quarter of a million visitors to the Likhachev exhibit in the Hermitage in 2012 noted, “khochetsia, chtoby cherez 25-50 i dalee let ego imia i trudy pochitalis’.”
A new history of churches and monasteries in Vologda
Istoriia pravoslavnykh khramov i monastyrei Vologdy. [By] M. V. Vasil’eva, E. A. Vinogradova, A. V. Kamkin (glav. red.), F. Ia. Konovalov, A. I. Men’shikov, I. V. Spasenkova, A. V. Suvorov. Vologda: “Drevnosti Severa”, 2014. 208 pp.ISBN 978-5-93061-093-2.
This beautifully illustrated, large format volume is the work of a group of local history specialists, headed by the noted historian of the Church in the Russian North, A. V. Kamkin. After an opening essay on the Orthodox topography of Vologda and its immediate region, the volume systematically examines monasteries, cathedrals, parish churches, etc. For each there is an essay on its history, in which the typical story is a familiar one regarding the fate of the buildings in the Soviet era. Some of the essays have biographical sketches of the leading clerics, most of whom did not survive the Purges. The churches which survived and in many cases now have been returned to the Church and restored, did so because they could be re-purposed or because an argument was made concerning their historic significance. It is interesting to note that through the middle of the 17th century, there was only one masonry church in Vologda, the main cathedral, even though the town boasted dozens of wooden ones. The real boom in masonry church construction began in the second half of the 17th century. Vologda was hugely important as a commercial and cultural center on the routes to the White Sea and across the Urals into Siberia.
The book is of particular value for the archival photos, the majority of which come from what has to be a very rich collection in the Vologodskii gos. istoriko-arkhitekturnyi i khudozhestvennyi muzei-zapovednik. These can be juxtaposed to the numerous, excellent modern color photos, at least a couple of which are William Brumfield’s (one cropped from an even more evocative interior shot). It seems somewhat odd that the bibliography lacks a reference to his richly illustrated volume on Vologda published by Tri Kvadrata in 2012 and based on numerous trips he has made to the region over several decades. For a tantalizing preview of what the town has to offer architecturally (not just the religious buildings), one should visit his illustrated essay in Rossiiskaia Gazeta’s “Russia beyond the Headlines” series <http://rbth.com/articles/2011/08/26/vologda_cultural_center_of_the_russian_north_13292.html >.
New publication of “podlinnye” boiarskie spiski
“Podlinnye” boiarskie spiski 1626-1633 godov. Sbornik dokumentov. Sost. E. N. Gorbatov. Moskva: Drevlekhranilishche, 2015. 736 pp. ISBN 978-5-93646-255-9.
As E. N. Gorbatov explains in the introduction, these registers are essential for any study of the personnel of the Muscovite royal court. A. L. Stanislavskii published earlier registers for the late 16th and beginning of the 17th century. Of the 8 documents included in full here, only one had previously been published (by Gorbatov), that one now reprinted to provide a complete set for the indicated period. By “podlinnye” boiarskie spiski we are to understand registers of the full complement of personnel of the court except for zhil’tsy. That is, these are not just listings of boiars, but of the individuals at all ranks. The distinction of this group of the records is that they include the individuals affiliated with the court of Patriarch Filaret, a listing of d’iaki with an indication of the office to which they were assigned, and listings of compensation allocations (cheti) by region. These were working copies, on which changes were recorded. The information in them can be compared with that in “nalichnye” boiarskie spiski recording those actually present at court; such comparison reveals mistakes (in some cases, omissions in the “podlinnye” spiski of individuals recorded in the other lists). The archival originals are in RGADA, f. 210. Razriadnyi prikaz, Op. 9. Stolbtsy Moskovskogo stola, except for the register for 1632/33 which is in Op. 24.
Gorbatov’s introduction indicates for each register where the information differs from that in the “nalichnye” spiski and provides other information relevant to the process by which the records were compiled. The index of personal names is nearly 200 pages; also there are indexes of geographic names and administrative departments. The end papers have four photos of manuscript folios.
New reference guide to Muscovite prikazy
D. V. Liseitsev, N. M. Rogozhin, Iu. M. Eskin. Prikazy Moskovskogo gosudarstva XVI-XVII vv. Slovar’-spravochnik. Moskva; Sankt-Peterburg: Institut rossiiskoi istorii RAN; Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi arkhiv drevnikh aktov; Tsentr gumanitarnykh initsiativ, 2015. 303 pp. ISBN 978-5-8055-0279-9.
Compiled by three of the leading Russian experts on the Muscovite administrative offices, this volume will have lasting value as a handy reference. It claims to be the most complete and accurate such guide to the prikazy, with a short introductory essay on the evolution of the prikaz system, followed by entries for each administrative office. Each entry includes a brief description of the history of the prikaz and a complete listing in chronological order of the department heads. For the most part the latter is based on the now well-known earlier sources (Veselovskii, Bogoiavlenskii, Demidova, etc.), but with corrections and supplementary material compiled from archival sources. The brief bibliography for each department’s history includes the essential Russian works, though it is somewhat curious that the only non-Russian ones cited are Peter Brown’s 1983 article in Russian History and Marshall Poe’s 2004 monograph. There is an index of personal names.
Akademicheskaia arkheologiia na beregakh Nevy (ot RAIMK do IIMK RAN, 1919-2014 gg.). [Otvetstvennyi redaktor-sostavitel” E. N. Nosov]. S.-Peterburg: Dmitrii Bulanin, 2013. ISBN 978-5-86007-764-5. 416 pp. + 88 photo plates.
This large-format official chronicle of the Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences is the continuation of a two-volume publication issued in 2009 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Imperial Archaeological Commission. The chapters in the current volume, which takes Russian archaeology (at least as practiced by the members of the Institute in St. Petersburg) through the Soviet period and up to the present are at least nominally authored for the most part by the division heads within the Institute. There are surveys of the major regional or thematic divisions (Central and Caucasus, Slavonic and Finnish, Classical Culture…) and surveys of the work of the special laboratories and the archive. Much here is documented by citation of the Institute’s archive.
While I have found some parts of this valuable tome even a decent substitute for my usual bedtime fare of detective fiction, readers should be warned that a great deal (notably in the section on Central Asia and the Caucasus) is little more than an annotated listing of what expedition under whom went where and when, usually with some summary statement about its major discovery. For details, one obviously would have to go to published reports, if they exist. What redeems the prose are the many biographical sketches and the unvarnished comments on the tragedies of the period of the Purges and the impact of shock therapy on the budgets after 1991. I have always felt that for us to appreciate fully the monographs and collective studies we read, we really should know as much as possible about their authors. Of course the biographies here are short — about what one would expect in an encyclopedic dictionary — but they are nonetheless revealing about the routes many of the famous (and also many lesser-known) archaeologists in St. Petersburg took to arrive at a prominent place in their profession.
Comments about individuals can be surprisingly frank, witness the treatment of Mikhail Konstantinovich Karger (1903-1978), one-time head of the Institute, who is known for his big volumes on the excavations in Kiev and his work on Novgorod. The judgment seems to be that he was and still is respected for his scholarship, at the same time that he was a pluperfect SOB in his dealings with colleagues and especially the underlings whom he exploited and did not credit when he incorporated their work into his own. An example of the latter is Marianna Vladimirovna Malevskaia-Malevich (née Dement’eva) (1918-2011), daughter of a sibiriak and a French woman, who first studied in the ballet school in Leningrad, and while she never became a ballerina, “redkostnoe iziashchestvo ne izmenialo ei dazhe v glubokoi starosti.” She completed the work for a kandidat degree in the history of architecture but never defended the dissertation, not for its lack of quality. In fact, Karger in essence preempted the defense by incorporating a lot of it in his volumes on Kiev, never even mentioning her in those books. She was not the only one of his “assistants” whom he never would let off the leash to publish their own work. After the appearance of his first volume, she finally quit his tutelage and then managed to carve out a career working with other noted scholars and independently, leaving her mark on the study of the architecture of the 13th and 14th centuries.
Of course in the Stalin years, most promising careers were derailed, all too often ending tragically. Among those arrested in the 1930s were S. I. Rudenko, M. P. Griaznov and S. A. Teploukhov. The first two survived (Rudenko because his knowledge of hyrdology was put to use when he was sent off to work on the infamous White Sea Canal) and went on to produce extremely important work in the archaeology of Central Asia and southern Siberia. Teploukhov, who had done significant excavation in, e.g., Mongolia, committed suicide while under interrogation in 1934. In 1936, Karger, who had been working with G. F. Korzukhina in Novgorod, was with her accused by Novgorod colleagues of destroying artefacts, although it appears to have been a trumped-up case mainly so that the Novogorodians could get rid of the obnoxious Mikhail Konstantinovich. N. N. Voronin (later known for his work on Vladimir-Suzdal’ architecture and at the time Korzukhina’s husband) intervened on behalf of the accused, but what seems to have saved them, as Karger later would recall probably with some glee, was the arrest of their accuser. Thus Karger finally received his kandidat degree (which the affair had postponed). He served as a volunteer during the War in the politotdel of the 8th army outside Leningrad; perhaps it is significant that one of the photos in the book shows him in his military uniform.
There is much more here to be learned about the Institute and its history (I have but skimmed parts of the book). Readers should be warned though that it is in a sense a very narrowly focused volume. Important as the Institute was and is, it has been only one of many organizations in the Soviet and post-Soviet period doing archaeology in that former imperial space. So, for example, we learn about the beginnings of the excavations in Sogdian Panjikent (Tajikistan) inaugurated by IIMK archaeologists, one of whom, Valentina Raspopova, continued to work there when the direction of the excavation was turned over to her husband, Boris Marshak, based in the Hermitage. What Marshak accomplished is left for the Hermitage to tell. There are only occasional hints here about the sometimes strained relations with the equivalent Academy of Sciences Institute of Archaeology in Moscow. The book laments the breakup of the Soviet Union, which then meant that archaeology in Central Asia came under the purview of the academic institutions in the newly independent states. V. A. Alëkshin, writing about the work of his department covering that region, has no qualms about stating that, apart from the value of exchanging scholarly expertise, the contacts between the Russian and non-Russian scholars “pomogut sokhranit’ prostranstvo russkogo iazyka i v konechnom schete budut sodeistvovat’ sokhraneniiu kul’turnogo i politicheskogo viliianiia Rossii v etom regione.” Surely a statement to warm the heart of the current Russian head of state. Thus there is little here to reveal what such administrative and political changes meant in terms of accomplishment at the sites whose excavation extended through these decades. Similarly, while various international initiatives are touted -- including a growing number of working conferences — we never learn who the foreign archaeologists were or what their Russian colleagues might have learned from them.
In some ways, the most delightful part of the book is the archival photos. A great many are formal portraits of unsmiling academics. There are occasional photos of work at excavations and formal group pictures. Over time though, one sees some of the stiffness soften — hints of a smile or even a broad grin (such as that on T. S. Dorofeeva in 2003, where she is wearing a crown of wildflowers). In 2007, E. V. Bobrovskaia posed with a bunch of vegetation in one hand and the other around the neck of the camel she is hugging. That archaeologists did and do have fun while on a dig, for all of the hard work it involves, is not surprising. And to emphasize the importance of the social interactions and informal gatherings by members of the Institute, the concluding essay is N. V. Khvoshchinskaia’s “Ne naukoi edinoi” which recalls the many “kapustniki” and publishes some of the verses that would be declaimed at such gatherings. The economic pressures following the collapse of the Soviet Union in fact undermined a lot of the collegiality and interaction, only some of which now has been revived, as the insitute members had to scramble to find outside work to supplement their meager salaries.
I for one wish I could have made the personal acquaintance of many of the archaeologists highlighted in this book. Except maybe Karger.
Posted by Daniel C. Waugh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Materialy k istorii staroobriadchestva Verkhokam’ia po itogam kompleksnykh arkheograficheskikh ekspeditsii istoricheskogo fakul’teta MGU imeni M. V. Lomonosova. Sbornik dokumentov. Otv. red. V. P. Bogdanov, V. P. Pushkov. Moskva: MAKS Press, 2013. 276 pp. (Trudy istoricheskogo fakul’teta—60: Seriia I. Istoricheskie istochniki—6). ISBN 978-5-317-04624-8.
This deceptively slim volume is packed with material that should be of great interest to students of the Russian North and the Old Belief in that region. The publication is the latest in a series generated by a major project in the History Faculty of Moscow University, which has been engaged in archaeographic/ethnographic research in/on the Kama River region over four decades beginning in 1972. The first of the important publications was a collection of essays, Russkie pis’mennye i ustnye traditsii i dukhovnaia kul’tura (M., 1982). The manuscripts collected were described in Rukopisi Verkhokam’ia XV-XX vv.: Katalog (M., 1994); the “dukhovnye stikhi” were published in “Komu povem pechal’ moiu…”: Dukhovnye stikhi Verkhokam’ia. Issledovaiia i publikatsii (M., 2007). The current volume is a companion one to Materialy k istorii staroobriadchestva Iuzhnoi Viatki [po itogam kompleksnykh arkheograficheskikh ekspeditsii MGU imeni M. V. Lomonosova]: sbornik dokumentov (M., 2012).
After an introduction providing an overview of the contents, there is a general section on land and people, which publishes, inter alia, depositions collected by the Stroganovs back in the 18th and 19th centuries. As the book makes clear, the region is one where there were several different Old Believer sects, some documents reflecting the polemics between them. There are sections on Old Believer genealogies, on the history of local Old Believer councils in the 20th century, on book culture (featuring an extensive formal description of printed books collected by the expeditions and documents from family archives). The final section is “Narodnaia Bibliia”, with excerpts from oral records, grouped around various topics pertaining to daily life, belief in spirits, ethical norms, and Biblical and church history. It is interesting that in 1990, an 80-year-old cited advice reminiscent of that recorded from Kirik back in the 12th century: “Esli v chashku popadet tarakan, mukha—prosto vykinut’, esli myshka—posuda uzhe ne godna k upotrebleniiu” (208). I was surprised to learn, “Telefon byl predskazan v prorochestvakh; bylo skazano, chto vsia zemlia budet oputana provodom…” (221) Could one assume, by extension, this would encompass Wi-fi and the iPhone? Obviously selfies ought to be cited as evidence of the Sin of Pride. After all, “Televizor—satanina ikona” (207).
Much of the material is published here for the first time (for descriptions of the manuscripts and some previously published excerpts, see the 1982 publication cited above). Apart from the collections now in MGU, documents are drawn from RGADA and the Gos. arkhiv Permskogo kraia. The book contains a “biographical index” of personal names, a geographical index and a bibliography.
Two new publications from B. L. Fonkich.
B[oris] L[‘vovich] Fonkich. Issledovaniia po grecheskoi paleografii i kodikologii: IV-XIX vv. Monfokon, Vyp. 3. Moskva: Rukopisnye pamiatniki Drevnei Rusi, 2014. 888 pp. + 64 pp. plates. ISBN 978-5-9905759-4-3.
Spetsial’nye istoricheskie distsipliny. Vyp. 1. Otv. red. B. L. Fonkich. Moskva: Institut vseobshchei istorii RAN, 2014. 612 pp. ISBN 978-5-94067-419-1.
The first of these books is not really new, containing as it does 87 previously published articles by Fonkich on a wide range of subjects involving Greek manuscripts. At least a couple of the articles are very recent, published essentially simultaneously in the edited volume which I annotate here. The huge collection of Fonkich’s work is in fact the third such to appear (earlier ones were published in 1999 and 2003) all attesting to the wide range of his expertise and his impressive productivity. The introductory essay on his first encounter with a Greek manuscript when a student back in 1958 provides an interesting glimpse of how he was drawn to specialize on Greek manuscripts and palaeography. The only changes in the original articles for this reprint collection (where they have been newly typeset) is the addition of a good many photographs, since the original publications in a number of cases could not include them. The photos are of good quality, though the smaller hands in some cases may be difficult to decipher. A great deal of the material here involves dating, scribal attribution and the like; Fonkich’s purview has extended over collections in many different countries. A number of the essays will be of particular interest for those studying book culture and contacts in Muscovy.
For a broader audience, the launching of a new series sponsored by the Institute of World History of the Russian Academy is certainly very welcome. Presumably the choice of the title is in part to distinguish it from the long-established Vspomogatel’nye istoricheskie distsipliny; it is significant that within the Institute there is now a division for the special historical disciplines whose journal the new venture represents. The editorial board is a distinguished one, including in addition to Fonkich, S. M. Kashtanov, I. G. Konovalova, M. S. Petrov and A. P. Chernykh. Clearly the intention here is to cover a broad range of academic spcializations, though in the first volume, Fonkich’s hand can certainly be seen in a good many places.
Apart from the several contributions pertaining to Greek and Latin texts and manuscripts (including important copies now in Russian collections), there is a long article by A. A. Frolov on the key manuscript copy of the cadastre for the Rzhev Volodimerskii uezd, whose text he just published (see my review note recently posted to H-EarlySlavic). Fonkich has also co-authored with V. V. Kalugin here a very interesting article, with accompanying primary source texts, pertaining to how the Patriarch Cyril Lukaris helped arrange translations of letters from the Transylvania ruler Gabor Bethlen being sent via a Russian embassy in Istanbul to Moscow in 1628. A separate essay by A. P. Chernykh discusses the seal on the letters. G. A. Tiurina writes about the huge archive of the eminent Muscovy specialist Sergei Alekseevich Belokurov (1862-1918), providing as an example some of the correspondence relating to Belokurov’s still valuable book on the 16th-century library of the Muscovite rulers, a book which, it should be remembered, forcefully dismissed the notion that Ivan the Terrible had any kind of library of Greek classics etc. Clearly the intent here is to help restore Belokurov to his rightful place in the solar system of the great scholars of Muscovy whose work is so basic to any study of Muscovite culture. In a separate article, Tiurina publishes some of Belokurov’s correspondence with Oskar von Gebhardt, an important if little known specialist on Biblical textology.
A section of “memoirs” includes Fonkich writing about Evgeniia Eduardovna Granstrem, one of the most important Soviet-era scholars who contributed so much to the cataloguing and description of Greek manuscripts in Russian collections. This section also includes S. M. Kashtanov’s memoir of his visit to Mt. Athos and Fonkich’s essay on his first steps in studying Greek manuscripts. A lengthy section of reviews and annotations of books and articles concludes the volume. In one of them, Fonkich continues his criticism of recent work that in his view has distorted the reality of what can really be established about the “school” in Moscow where Arsenii the Greek is supposed to have taught. The target here is S. N. Kisterev’s recent article in Kapterevskie chteniia 11 concerning the evidence in Adam Olearius’s account.
N[ikolai] A[natol’evich] Okladnikov. Poseleniia Kanino-Timan’ia: Iz istorii russkikh poselenii v Kaninskoi i Timanskoi tundrakh. Arkhangel’sk: OAO “IPP ‘Pravda Severa’”, 2014. 223 pp. + 8 pp. color photos + 1 foldout color topographic map. ISBN 978-5-85879-886-6. 500 copies.
N[ikolai] A[natol’evich] Okladnikov. Ekspeditsiia v proshloe: putevye zametki uchastnika lodochnogo perekhoda po drevnemu vodno-volokovomu puti iz Arkhangel’ska na Pechoru (1992 g.). Arkhangel’sk: OAO “IPP ‘Pravda Severa’”, 2013. 294 pp. ISBN 978-5-85879-860-6. 300 copies.
Readers of H-EarlySlavic will already know from earlier posts (14 November 2013; 24 February 2015) something about Nikolai Anatol’evich Okladnikov and his books on the Russian North. From one of the old settler families in the Mezen’ region, he describes himself as a “legal expert [iurist] by profession,” who worked for two decades “in the organs of the Ministry of Internal Affairs [MVD]” in Nar’ian-Mar, the major town on the lower reaches of the Pechora River, before taking up his “calling as a regional history enthusiast [a po prizvaniiu--kraeved]" (Ekspeditsiia, p. 25). A flood of popularly oriented books and essays produced in his “retirement” has followed, the two volumes here illustrating well their strengths and weaknesses.
In several of his earlier volumes, he has systematically documented the history of the town of Mezen’ and its region located northeast of Arkhangelsk on the White Sea. In the first of the volumes here, he extends his purview further to the northeast to encompass the Kanin Penisnula and the shores of the Cheshskaia Guba located east of it. The first and fourth chapters, devoted to the history of Russian settlement and the Orthodox churches established for the predominantly Nenets indigenous population of the area, repeat an earlier publication. The two middle chapters, providing a village-by-village guide to settlements in the region, are to a considerable degree apparently previously unpublished. They follow a standard format, with Wikipedia-like treatments of what can be documented about the founding and early history, then statistics from various censuses which tell how many households and inhabitants there were and sometimes how many domestic cattle they had. For those of you who have been wondering, the village library in Nes’ had 767 books in its collection in 1934, and back in 1911, its 41 households owned 172 cows, 78 horses and 219 sheep (pp. 66-67). Dairy farming and fisheries were the mainstays of the local economies. Other information on economic life may be included, for example regarding the lumber industry. Sadly, fires were common, most of the earliest churches burned, were rebuilt, burned again, and if they survived into the Soviet era, were decapitated and put to other uses. In some cases, fires decimated entire villages.
As we move toward modern times we learn about administrative changes and the fact that many of the locations were part of the Gulag (continuing a long-standing tradition of exile to the North that had consumed such luminaries as Vasilii Golitsyn, followers of Stepan Razin and the archpriest Avvakum). The Second World War had a major impact, as most of the able-bodied males were shipped to the front, the women and children then moving to larger neighboring towns. Eventually in the 1960s, when a major effort was being undertaken to consolidate smaller rural entities into regional centers, many of the villages were deemed no longer to have a future (neperspektivnyi) and subsequently disappeared from the censuses of inhabited places. The log houses might be dismantled and re-erected in another location, if not left to decay while serving as shelter for seasonal fishermen or hunters. Some of Okladnikov’s material is drawn from regional archival files. Interspersed are descriptive passages from earlier travelers in the region or citations from interviews recorded amongst the last of the older generation of inhabitants.
This descriptive approach extends to the Expedition book, which, however, offers as well something quite different. In it, a framework of an actual journey leads us from one town to the next, where we pause to learn about its history before moving on. In some ways this volume would seem to be a valedictory testament from Okladnikov, who was already 63 years old during the expedition in 1992. He describes it as taking place in his old age (na starosti let), and at the end of the journey we see him with his 16-year-old grandson (a head taller) in one photo and in another the memorial cross erected by the expedition in Pustozersk with an inscription commemorating the undertaking. It might not be too much of a stretch to interpret at least the final stages of the long trip as a pilgrimage to that once most important town of the region, now a landscape bare of habitation and marked by only a few monuments, one on the spot where Avvakum and his followers were burned in 1682. A cynic indulging in pop psychoanalysis might even suggest that to erect the traditonal “obetnye kresty,” as the expedition did also at the major portage, was a way of expiating latent guilt for two decades of labor in the MVD. It took Okladnikov 20 years to write up the trip from what seem to have been rather minimally informative diary entries recorded at the time, now padded by his extensive researches into local history. The result is not destined to be a travel classic, but we can be very grateful he wrote it.
Speculative interpretations aside, the expedition itself was a rather curious affair, led by a retired naval officer Ivan Prosvirnin, like Okladnikov a native of the North and a local history enthusiast. The goal was to travel on boats replicating those of earlier centuries which had been used in the North, tracing a historic route that began in Novgorod and ended up at Pustozersk near the mouth of the Pechora. The modern expedition extended over two years, in the first (1991) making its way from Novgorod to Arkhangelsk, and then in May of 1992, setting out from there to the Pechora. Okladnikov joined it only for the second half, which he describes here. They dubbed it the “Ushkuiniki” expedition, whose root designates boats used on the medieval Russian river networks. In the much of the literature, the Ushkuiniki from Novgorod who used such boats were pirates, even though Okladnikov would prefer we think of them as young adventurers. The modern Ushkuiniki found boatwrights in New Ladoga who could still construct more-or-less authentic replicas, the resulting vessels some 7 m long, weighing empty 400 kg and held together with aluminium fasteners. They were equipped with a mast, square sails, and, significantly, outboard motors.
In all, as summarized in an appendix giving travel distances between villages, they traveled 1697 km from Arkhangelsk to Pustozersk, the trip lasting from May 14 to June 26. Yet little of that was by “traditional” means: for significant stretches they took advantage of tows from larger motor launches and tugs, at one point had to call in a helicopter to airlift themselves and their boats over a last difficult stretch of portage, and, despite the numerous photos showing the boats under sail, for the most part they used the outboard motors. Other modern re-enactments of trips along the Russian rivers have in fact been much more “traditional” or “authentic” in their efforts to replicate the historic modes of travel.
That said, the route traveled was definitely one used in earlier centuries. For a long time, until eclipsed by more southerly paths through the Urals, it had been important in travel to western Siberia. Many of the villages or other locations (for example early copper or silver mines) have histories that can be documented even as early as the 14th century. (NB: some innocent readers here may be misled by Okladnikov’s citation [tongue-in-cheek?] of century-old speculation by a Russian scholar that the considerable amounts of copper known to have been used in ancient Greece might have come all the way from the far Russian North. See pp. 206-207.) The book can be mined for historical demography, for information on the impact of state-sponsored projects and economic modernization, and much more. All along the way, they took photos (generally well reproduced here and supplemented both with archival photos and a number of maps) which capture a flavor of the historic houses, some in good repair and occupied, others falling into ruins, along with images of the still flourishing settlements where most people live in newly constructed homes. Granted, a lot of the photos are what in today’s world would pass for “selfies” — pictures of the members of the expedition in front of this or that or being feted by local officials.
Arguably the most interesting aspect of the expedition is what we learn about conditions of travel in the unforgiving climate and landscapes where, somehow, people survived and often thrived over the centuries. The timing of the trip was critical, as one had to wait for the thaw but not wait too long. In spring, much of the landscape floods (including many of the villages through which they passed). As long as the rivers run high, boats can pass over shallows and what might otherwise be un-navigable rapids, at the same time that going upstream against the current is the more challenging (thank Heaven for those outboard motors!). Yet the water levels drop rapidly, something which was already happening before they reached their destination. The weather often was nasty — a lot of rain and some snow showers; in the wider reaches of river mouths, storm winds could make navigation impossibly dangerous.
The critical point in the route was the long portage (some 15 km) over the watershed between the Pëza, a tributary of the Mezen’, and the Tsil’ma, a tributary of the Pechora. Even the locals who guided them to its starting point had not been quite sure where to find it, as it had not been used with any regularity since way back in the 19th century. By the time they got there and located the blazes on the trees, several members of the expedition had decamped (including the leader [!], who went off to facilitate arrangements at the destination of the expedition). This then placed a heavier burden on the remaining personnel, who had to drag the boats up steep embankments and through swamps, while hacking their way through the underbrush, clearing deadfall and cutting logs for rollers on which to slide the keels of the boats. The boats had to be stripped down to their 400 kg minimum weight; the gear and supplies they contained weighed close to a ton and required many back and forth trips from one camp to the next. After two weeks of this, with food supplies diminishing and time running out in the pre-arranged schedule to meet others coming up the Pechora, they hauled the boats off to a clearing that had been used long ago for aerial supply to a Russian geological expedition, called in a helicopter and were airlifted, the boats slung beneath, to the Tsil‘ma River.
Okladnikov is barely apologetic about that decision, reminding readers that back in the old days, the portage was staffed with horsemen whose assignment was to haul boats and goods (one can read details in an appendix containing a document from the 1840s). As it was, back then the horses often became hopelessly mired in the swamps where men might sink in only up to their knees. Okladnikov’s description (in Ch. 9) of the slow progress over the portage is vivid, enlivened by his quotation of how difficult the conditions were when Alexander Shrenk passed along the same route in the 1830s. The 1992 expedition was undoubtedly understaffed for such an undertaking. And, one wonders, were its boats optimal for the conditions? After all, as Gunilla Larsson has shown (Ship and Society, Uppsala, 2007), earlier attempts to build and test replicas of Viking boats have tended to get it wrong, not realizing that radial splitting of logs to produce the strakes can make a huge difference in weight. Modern sawing of logs for boards produces heavier and less flexible boats. One of the experimental boats produced by the radial splitting method was 7.2 m long, yet weighed only 250 kg. By the time Okladnikov’s 1992 expedition reached the Tsil’ma, one of its boats had been so beaten up that major repairs were needed to fix the leaks before it could be put back in the water.
Reading Okladnikov reinforces a long-standing desire I have had to travel along some of those same rivers and see what in the nearly quarter century since his journey has to be an even more significantly diminished remnant of the traditional village culture. Along the way he periodically laments how that way of life has been abandoned in modern times, how spiritual and cultural values are being lost: “ne budet nam dostoinoi zhizni kak v dukhovnom, tak i v material’nom smysle bez opory na dukhovnye ustoi, po kotorym zhili pokoleniia nashikh predkov” (p. 269). What was in his eyes the good in Old Russia is fast disappearing, a trend which can lead only to a sad end. Where he is pointing the finger here may be somewhat unclear — is Stalinism to blame, the suppression or wilful abandonment of religion, the consolidation of collective farms into sovkhozy in the 1960s, the depradations of unbridled capitalism in the post-Soviet period? Probably all that and more, some of it rooted in Tsarist times. At very least, he feels the rich resources of the North have either been over- or paradoxically are currently under-utilized. It was and still is a region of inspiring, if somewhat severe beauty, endowed by nature, but now the environment is being degraded. Once abundant fisheries are in decline, trees are chopped down for no particular reason, the geologists leave all their trash scattered across the landscape. He does not even tiptoe into what petroleum extraction has to be inflicting on nature. Most significantly for him, an enterprising and venturesome local population (whether there by choice or because they fled to or were forcibly transported to the region) has been dwindling. He sees only occasional glimmers of hope where a younger generation may return for a few weeks to the family village, maintaining a slender connection to their roots while helping out the grandparents who have stayed behind. Using the grandparents’ home as a summer dacha is hardly a substitute for living there full time.
Okladnikov’s expedition was less a nostalgic journey into the past than it was a painful encounter with the present.
Three new collections of Muscovite primary sources
Tamozhennye knigi Sukhono-Dvinskogo puti XVII v. Sost. S. N. Kisterrev, L. A. Timoshina. Vyp. 2. S.-Peterburg: Kontrast, 2014. 328 pp. ISBN 978-5-4380-0044-0.
Pistsovaia pripravochnaia kniga 1588-1589 godov Uezda Rzhevy Volodimerovoi (polovina kniazia Dmitriia Ivanovicha). Podgot. A. A Frolov. Moskva; S.-Peterburg; Al’ians-Arkheo, 2014. 488 pp. + color insert of 21 pp. of photos of manuscripts and 11 pp. of maps. ISBN 978-5-98874-106-0.
Pistsovaia i mezhevaia kniga Tveri 1685-1686 godov. Sost. A. V. Matison. M.: Staraia Basmannaia, 2014. 348 pp. ISBN 978-5-906470-32-4.
The first of these volumes continues the series noted in an earlier posting to H-EarlySlavic (8 April 2014). Here Kisterev and Timoshina publish the customs book for Velikii Ustiug for 1637/37, the earlier vypusk containing the books for 1633/34-1635/36. The original manuscript is RGADA f. 137, op. 1. Usitug, No. 34. Kisterev’s introduction includes information on the individuals who were involved in the compilation and certification of the book and describes at some length the distinct features of the manuscipt, which has a good many lacunae and also some evidence of editorial correction. There are indexes of personal and geographic names, the former including where possible identification of the town of residence/origin of the individuals. In view of the current discussion on H-EarlySlavic regarding possible use of oils for fuel in lamps, I did a bit of skimming of the entries but so far have not turned up any listings of such things as barrels or flasks of such oils.
For the the imposing Rzhev volume we can thank A. A. Frolov, who has been working for a good many years on the Novgorodian cadastres and was a co-author of the impressive historical atlas of the Derevskaia piatina published in 2008 (see my posting to H-EarlySlavic 23 May 2009). Frolov explains his interest in Rzhev because of its importance for Muscovite historical geography, located as it is on a “borderland” adjacent to the Novgorodian lands, the territories of Smolensk, and Muscovy’s western boundaries and encompassing the headwaters of three important rivers, the Dnieper, the Volga and the Western Dvina. In the sixteenth century, the territories around Rzhev had been divided into two main parts, associated with the lands of the then apanage princes, the names then continuing to be used for reference even after the territory reverted to the direct control of Moscow. The current volume concerns what had been designated as the lands of Prince Dmitrii Ivanovich.
Whether the Volga had divided those two territories had been disputed by earlier scholars. In an appendix addressing this issue and in considering other questions of the boundaries of the administrative divisions of the territory, Frolov argues that Iu. V. Got’e was correct in designating the Volga as the boundary. That essay also takes up the interesting question of the impact of the assignment of certain lands within Rzhev to the Oprichnina.
The editorial work that went into this volume was substantial, given the fact that the main text has not survived in its original, but rather was transmitted and then copied again in the 17th century via a “pripravochnaia” book (basically one made preparatory to an intended new cadastre). Some fragments from the original cadastre of the 16th century have survived separately as has an 18th century copy of most of the book, a copy that in important ways seems to be more accurate than the seventeenth-century one used as the basis for the edition here. So Frolov has carefully compared the copies in order to determine most accurately the spellings of the many place names. This in turn then has allowed him to map a good many of them with reference to a very detailed 19th-century map of the region. The maps are Figs. 36-46 in the color insert, the remaining figures being facsimiles of a good many of the different hands which went into making the 17th-century copy in what appears to have been great haste. Frolov provides a careful descriptive analysis of the manuscript and the circumstances around its copying, which seem to have been connected with disputes over the delineation of the border following the Muscovite war with Poland in the early 1630s. The text we have offers a detailed picture primarily of the pomest’e holdings of the Muscovite elite in the territory toward the end of the 16th century. There are indexes of geographical and personal names.
A. V. Matison’s publication of the Tver survey of 1685-86 concludes the publication of the Tver’ cadastres surviving from the 17th century (he also just published the perepisnye knigi for 1646 and 1677-78 (Perepisnye knigi Tveri XVII veka [M., 2014]). His brief introduction describes the manuscript and indicates briefly what we know about those involved in the compilation and in the certification of the results of the survey. Indexes include personal names, family names of local Tverians, and geographical names.
In considering the way efforts are now being made to map the data from such cadastres, it is disappointing there has been no such effort here, but perhaps a project to do that will yet be undertaken. The content of the mezhevye knigi is of particular interest in that it specifies the measurements of each holding as well as its owner (and other occupying males) or former owner. For churches, the officials provide rather detailed descriptions of the buildings and their physical contents (icons, vestments, bells, etc.). It would seem that the process of recording the information proceeded systematically through each area of the town and following along the streets. So it should be possible to reconstruct a property map of the city at the time of the census. Apart from the main book published here, Matison includes a separate inventory compiled for the sizable Iamskaia sloboda on the outskirts of the town, a document that again informs us of the size of each holding and its occupancy. Those interested in the history of the Muscovite horse relay system in the late 17th century may find this detail to be of considerable interest.
Recent books on the Russian North
Posted by Daniel C. Waugh <email@example.com>
N[ikolai] A[natol’evich] Okladnikov. Starinnyi pomorskii gorod Mezen’. Istoricheskie ocherki. Arkhangel’sk: OOO “IPP ‘Pravda Severa’”, 2014. 184 pp. + foldout map. ISBN 978-5-85879-925-2. 300 copies.
N[ikolai] A[natol’evich] Okladnikov. Iz proshlogo Mezenskogo kraia. Istoricheskie ocherki. Arkhangel’sk: Izd-vo. “KIRA”, 2014. 120 pp. ISBN 978-5-98450-323-5. 120 copies.
Kurgomen’. Istoriia sela Kurgomen’ Vinogradovskogo raiona Arkhangel’skoi oblasti v dokumentakh i vospominaniiakh zhitelei. [Sost. G. N. Rudakova]. N. p.: [OOO “Komi respublikanskaia tipografiia”], 2014. 359 pp.
Russkii Sever. Po stranitsam letopisi vekov Kargopol’ia. Nauchn. red. i sost. N. I Reshetnikov. M.: [Tovarishchestvo issledovatelei Russkogo Severa; Izd-vo. Logosvos], 2014. 268 pp. ISBN 978-5-419-01420-6. 100 copies.
These volumes have to be but the tip of an iceberg now that publication of local history in Russia has so expanded. In part, they are testimony to the importance of some family “clans” in the villages of the Russian north, whose members now are trying to rescue their history before it is lost. The published results are very mixed if judged by some standard of academic history writing, but to my mind that does not in any way diminish the value and interest of the material. Clearly there is a readership for these books; one can only hope they inspire local teachers to involve their students in their regions’ histories and develop an interest in preservation.
Back in November 2013, I posted to H-EarlySlavic (for a copy, http://faculty.washington.edu/dwaugh/publications/H_ESreviews_14november2013.pdf) a review note about another of the books by the prolific Nikolai Anatol’evich Okladnikov, a rather substantial volume (Mezenskie derevni) in which he systematically traced the histories of a good many villages along the various tributaries of the Mezen’, many of the settlements now abandoned. The new volumes contain both somewhat revised reprints of articles in his several other essay collections and some new material. He mines published material (citing central archival references, but often only second-hand), and he has done extensive work in the Arkhangel’sk regional archive. The resulting essays are often long on quotations, statistics and lists of names culled from archival sources. The volumes are illustrated both with historic photos and modern ones.
In the volume on the town of Mezen’, even though there probably is little new here, of interest is what he has pulled together about famous exiles who were there (Avvakum, followers of Stepan Razin, Artamon Matveev and Vasilii Golitsyn). He has sketches about occupations, shipping, support provided by locals for explorers of the North and much more. He has compiled brief biographies of ten generations of his Okladnikov family starting in the 17th century; a separate essay is devoted to Aleksei Fedorovich Okladnikov (b. 1808). Also of interest for the history of local architecture is an essay on the local churches.
Okladnikov’s collection on the larger region is all reprints, the essays covering a wide range of topics: the landholdings of the Antoniev-Siiskii Monastery, local legends about bandits, Mikhail Lomonosov’s connections with the region which inspired some serious projects for its study, the history of local river pilots and of the traditionally trained local veterinarians, whose fame was such that they worked in a wide swath of the Russian north. The essays on the windmills and memorial crosses in the region pull together and illustrate a lot of material. Those who cannot access Okladnikov’s book can enjoy an elegant sampling of these and more of the local architecture in an essay by William Brumfield http://rbth.co.uk/articles/2011/03/11/kimzha_outpost_of_tradition_in_the_russian_north_125...
In the first instance, Kurgomen’ is a Churakov family project. The Churakovs were the largest of several families who dominate the history of the villages which surround this now dying town located some 354 km up the Northern Dvina River from Arkhangel’sk. Galina Rudakova (née Churakova) took on the project suggested by Antonina Viktorovna Churakova (deceased), whose brother (?) Vladimir Viktorovich has been working on family history, mining what appears to be a huge archive that includes letters, detailed diaries, and photographs. The book was published by the Komi Republic press, whose general director is yet another Churakov, Viktor Stepanovich (Vladimir and Antonina’s father?).
The material is organized loosely by chronology, with a succession of short essays that may introduce an individual, a village, or some aspect of the local economy (forestry, but in the first instance, dairy farming), interspersed with lengthy excerpts from interviews, diaries, or the regional newspaper. Rudakova includes verse which she has written, evoking her personal responses to subjects in any given section of the book. For the villages, lists of residents as recorded in earlier censuses are provided from the regional archive, followed usually by indications of how many (or few) of the houses once occupied are still standing or have residents. It is not just a history of the Churakovs, as each family nest gets its due. The absence of an index and (with a single exception) genealogical diagrams is frustrating, should one want to cross-check and really grasp the intermarriages of the families and the relationships. Clearly permanent population is shrinking rapidly, as is the case in so much of rural Russia. Houses may be merely seasonal (dacha) residences, often for those whose families were from the region originally but now live elsewhere. The volume has an abundance of evocative historic and recent photos in decent reproductions. The most recent photos document the annual celebration of Il’in den’ as a local cultural holiday, revived in 2005, and the even more recent family gatherings of the Chudakovs.
Of course the story told here is in many ways a familiar one: as Rudakova puts it, her generation has to be impressed by the harshness of the life the earlier generations experienced. The interviews may provide considerable descriptive detail about labor, but often are quite cryptic about some of the suffering (hunger, losing relatives to the purges and war…). We can trace here changes in the Soviet and post-Soviet era. Bolshevik bombardment of the town to drive out the foreign “interventionists” during the Civil War destroyed the historic churches. Four of the Churakovs died fighting as partisans against the Whites. The great-grandfather of Vladimir Viktorovich, Andrei Semenovich Churakov, had obviously been one of the more prosperous of the local townsmen, owning the only flour mill. The Bolsheviks decided to nationalize it. At first he sent them away; when faced with an armed detachment, he gave up, went into his house, lay down and died. With collectivization, even though they had helped in its organization, several of the Churakov’s disappeared into the Gulag. Vladimir Viktorovich managed to have some of them officially rehabilitated posthumously, but the authorities refused to take up all of the cases. Nine Churakovs died in World War II, but Viktor Fedorovich survived through the taking of Berlin and returned to become the president of the local kolkhoz. Galina Rudakova’s mother, Lidiia Stepanovna Churakova was a zootekhnik and brigade leader in a local sovkhoz, and, judging both from quoted memoirs and the several newspaper reports praising her (in typical fashion for the extolling of economic achievement), she was very good at her job. Among the interesting vignettes here is a description of the entertainments at the local club.
There is a certain sense here of viewing the past through rose-colored lenses—an understandable desire perhaps to suppress what was really awful and instead to remember the small pleasures. Family members are valorized. So the historian wishing to use this material obviously has to be careful. It is very likely many darker parts of the story (whatever that story may be) will never be told, or at least were consciously excluded from the selection here. Should a scholar of earlier Russian history care about this material? I think so—in a sense any effort to understand life in the Russian countryside centuries ago might well start by working back from the evidence of modern times, especially given the fact that change came to rural Russia so slowly.
My personal interest in the material is not so much nostalgia (this is not my family’s history, even if my great grandfather grew up on a farm in Maine), but has been sparked by all-too-brief opportunities to see the same kind of processes in other towns of the Russian north. The last residents die off or move away as the local economy crumbles and the lure of the cities for the young becomes too great. Community institutions—churches, schools, clubs—close, and the network of public transport created in the Soviet era shrinks, even if local residents who are left may be better served by roads, and instead of land-lines, mobile phones. The once impressive large houses and the local churches decay, which is why Brumfield’s photodocumentation of the buildings is so important. The inevitable was already in sight in 1974, when Grigorii Iakovlevich Churakov noted in his diary: “Tserkovnaia ograda bez tserkvei, v derevushkakh rodnykh—doma bez zhitelei…” (p. 171). Nikolai Okladnikov’s books on Mezen’ described above document a similar picture, with less nostalgia but tinged with bitterness about how the end of Soviet rule accelerated the process.
The last of the books reviewed here is of a different genre. Starting back in 1996, the local museum in Kargopol’ has been holding regular conferences and publishing the results, this volume the eleventh to date. Despite the small print runs, most seem to be available in library holdings accessible via WorldCat (in fact four of them in my own university’s library). That said, I suspect the essays in these volumes do not always receive the attention they might. The latest volume is therefore useful in that it provides bibliographic information on all the preceding ones, including a listing of all the articles and N. I. Reshetnikov’s long analytical essay about what we can learn from them. He is the founding editor of the series.
Three substantial articles in the current volume deal with the architectural history of local churches. There is an article on largely forgotten monasteries founded in the Kargapol’ region and another with evidence about how local monks rejected the Nikonian reforms. An article by A. B. Moroz explores and publishes folklore about “maned wolves” recorded in recent field work. I struggled with the long, abstruse article by philosopher Iu. V. Linnik, “O filosofskom osmyslenii kul’turnogo naslediia Kargopolia,” which focuses on what he terms “baroque allusions” in cubic-shaped churches of the Russian north and on two different types of locally produced toy figurines (polkany and pani). The concluding section of the book has brief personal statements by the authors about their interest and participation in the study of Kargopol’. There are a few good color plates. A quick check of WorldCat turns up a good many other publications on Kargopol’ written or edited by Reshetnikov, whose labors merit our attention.
New volumes of Muscovite cadastres
Posted by Daniel C. Waugh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ivan Groznyi — zavoevatel’ Polotska (novye dokumenty po istorii Livonskoi voiny). Sost., podgot. k publ., vstup. st. V. Iu. Ermak; opisanie rukopisi K. Iu. Erusalimskii. [Tri stoletiia Vostochnoi Evropy (XV-XVII vv.). Seriia izdanii istochnikov, I. 1} Sankt-Peterburg: “Dmitrii Bulanin”, 2014. 484 pp. ISBN 978-5-86007-768-3.
Materialy po istorii Nizhegorodskogo kraia kontsa XI-pervoi chetverti XVII veka. Sost. A. V. Antonov (otv.), A. A. Bulychev, V. A. Kadik, S. V. Sirotkin. Chch.1-2. Moskva: “Drevlekhranilishche”, 2015. 1040, 960 pp. ISBN 978-5-93646-210-8; 978-5-93646-235-1.
Shatskii uezd XVII veka. Gosudarevy sluzhilye liudi. Sostavitel’ I. P. Aliab’ev. Ul’ianovsk: UlGU, 2014. 472 pp. ISBN 978-5-88866-531-2.
Pistsovye materialy Rostovskogo uezda XVII veka. Perepisnaia kniga goroda Rostova i Rostovskogo uezda 1646 g. Moskva: “Drevlekhranilishche”, 2014. Sost. V. A. Kadik. 366 pp. ISBN 978-5-93646-241-2.
In my title, I am using the word “cadastres” rather loosely, both because other kinds of documents are included here and because in Muscovite terminology and practice there are several different types of population/resource inventories which these valuable collections contain. It is indeed difficult to keep up with the flood of riches which are now coming out of the archives in such carefully edited and indexed volumes; I can but sketch here what they contain.
The Polotsk volume is something of a surprise, since its focus is not on military or diplomatic events but rather on the administration of occupied territories. As V. Iu. Ermak explains in his introductory essay, those administrative policies offer a very early insight into the development of “imperial features” of the Muscovite government. Newly conquered lands were assigned here in the first instance to those who were forcibly uprooted from their Novogorod lands, but then oprichniki were also assigned lands in Polotsk uezd apparently as a guarantee of the security and control over the “exiles” in a strategically important territory. The record of this is in the previously only partially published Pistsovaia kniga Polotskogo poveta, otherwise known as book No. 573 of the Litovskaia metrika (RGADA f. 389). The surveys were carried out over several years between 1567 and 1572, but the results then brought together in a single volume which exists both in the original and in a copy made for Count F. A. Tolstoi in the 19th century. Both the Tolstoi collection copy and the partial publication by N. V. Kalachov (Pistsovye knigi Moskovskogo gosudarstva, Ch. 1, Otd. 2 [SPb. 1877] have been mined for the variant readings to the publication here of the original.
Ermak’s informative essay includes summary analysis of the patterns illustrated in the land grants—who got them in which locations, etc.—with some useful schematic maps. The series editor, A. I. Filiushkin, contributes a brief afterword emphasizing, among other things, how this source offers new insights in the policies of the Oprichnina. Ermak provides both personal and geographic name indexes.
We can thank the 400th anniversary of the liberation of Moscow from “foreign interventionists” for the appearance of the two massive volumes of documents on Nizhnii Novgorod, whence came the liberators. The goal here is to publish (with a few exceptions) only the archival materials which had not previously been satisfactorily published. There is some duplication of ones included by G. N. Anpilogov in his 1977 volume (Nizhegorodskie dokumenty XVI veka), but several of the cadastres deemed satisfactorily published a more than a century ago (see p. 6 for details) have not been repeated here. Combined with the present volumes, we then have what would appear to be a quite complete set of the documentation for Nizhnii Novgorod for the period indicated in the title, starting before the Smuta and continuing into the period when we can assess its impact. While most of the material pertains to the secular realm, not least of interest here is the inclusion of descriptions of village churches, and in one case, the Amvrosiev Dudin Monastery, in several detailed pages. Some well-known Muscovite magnates held lands in the region, along with a lot of lesser servitors. There were a good many foreigners, possibly ones who had been captured during the Livonian war and re-settled far away from the center.
The contents here include:
- pomestnye akty 1591-1610 gg.
- dozornye knigi 1612/13 g., 1613/14 g.
- pistsovye knigi 1621-1623 g. (two different ones)
- platezhnaia kniga 1627 g. noiabria 9
- desiatnia denezhnoi razdachi…nizhegorodskim dvorianam i detiam boiarskim 1606/07 g., 1615/16 g., 1681 g. noiabria 30
- desiatnia razbornaia…1622 g. ianvaria 30
- a number of archival excerpts made from now lost desiatni from 1568/69 through 1615/16. There is a separate index for these.
For the rest of the two volumes (the exception being for one desiatnia found after everything else had been typeset; it is included here as an appendix), there are complete personal and geographical name indexes. These two volumes are testimony to a colossal effort on the part of the several compilers.
For those who are not familiar with the geography (I admit I had to look it up, in the absence of a map in I. P. Al’iabev’s otherwise admirable volume), Shatskii uezd (a.k.a. Meshchera), extends north of Tambov up to the dip in the Oka River. The brief introduction provides some summary statistics, but then, following the epigram quoted from P. N. Bartenev (“Esli khoches’ znat’ istoriiu, vsegda luchshe obrashchat’sia k pervoistochnikam.”), the reader plunges into the rich collection of documents, ranging chronologically from 1614 to 1646. The largest of them is the detailed Pistsovaia kniga Shatskogo uezda 1617 g. At least one of the texts is what I would probably term a “muster roll” of the local military servitors being sent to Tula in 1624. There is remarkable detail in the various documents—careful records of the size of allotments, the fiscal obligations expected from each, the dependents of each pomeshchik, and in at least one record, whether or not the individual had armor, a stallion to ride (as opposed to a mare), etc. If the holding included a church, there is a brief (generally formulaic) description, but also the indication of who the clerics were who served it. There are substantial paragraphs on the holdings of widows, who could provide someone to do the required military service in lieu of the deceased husband. While the detail in the documents is spread unevenly over the several decades they cover, there is enough in the later records to trace changes in holdings, economic status etc. for at least some of the families.
Aliab’ev’s edition includes excellent color plates to illustrate the manuscript hands of each of the books he publishes. The personal and geographical name indexes occupy 75 pages; there is a brief glossary of obscure terms.
The Rostov volume continues the publication which V. A. Kadik initiated in 2012 (Pistsovye materialy Rostovskoog uezda XVII veka. 1629-1631 gg.). Included in the second installment are the Perepisnaia kniga of 1646 (preserved only in a copy made some decades later), a desiatnia from the end of 1648, compiled as part of a larger review of provincial servitors in connection with compensation for service on the Belgorod zasechnaia cherta, and a smotrennyi spisok of 1653, compiled on the eve of the Polish war. All are being published here for the first time. The first of these provides the usual kind of complete inventory of holdings. The second includes, interestingly, copies of the oral records of military men who were testifying as to their service in a process of seeking proper compensation for it. We learn what arms they had and some details of what their assignments were. The third document is a cryptic listing of men and their sons (presumed future servitors), with the ages of the latter given. The volume is provided with personal and geographic name indexes.
Now, apart from continuing publication of such documents, what we really need is a searchable computerized database of all such texts, which would open the doors to a rich range of possibilities for plumbing the bottomless depths of Muscovite history.
Posted by Daniel C. Waugh <email@example.com>
I[ra] F[edorovna] Petrovskaia. Drugoi vzgliad na russkuiu kul’turu XVII veka. Ob instrumental’noi muzyke i o skomorokhakh. Istoricheskii ocherk. Sankt-Peterburg: Izd-vo. “Kompozitor”, 2013. 288 pp. ISBN 978-5-7379-0640-5.
Too often, it seems, music escapes the purview of those who write about Muscovite culture. This book clearly is intended to rectify that situation, at least within the confines of its somewhat narrow focus. Petrovskaia argues that instrumental music in Muscovy was widespread amongst all social classes, a fact that she feels has not been adequately recognized. In particular, a focus on the decrees issued against the skomorokhi in the middle of the 17th century has led some to assume that those popular performers were then hounded out of existence. The strictures against popular musical entertainment and its associated, allegedly ungodly revels were but a manifestation of the concerns of the “Zealots of Piety” (here characterized as “hesychasts”), yet in fact were never enforced. Moreover, a close look at the sources provides plenty of evidence about the widespread possession of various musical instruments and the various situations in which music was played on them. The role of the skomorokhi in all this was, it seems, but a small part of the picture.
The book is valuable as a compendium of quotations from the primary sources, where in some cases excerpts rather than the extended text would have served nicely. There are chapters on Church attitudes toward instrumental music, on the skomorokhi, on folk instruments, on foreign musicians, on music in the military, and music in court, elite and lower-class urban and village settings. Wind instruments, drums, and both plucked and bowed strings were common; there are numerous references to keyboard instruments (analogous to cembalos) and organs. Of course since the music itself was not written down, little is said here about its substance. Since she assumes a general readership, the author offers brief descriptive characterizations to introduce the social classes or institutions and also includes a glossary of terms no longer used in modern Russian. Her subject index includes the names of the instruments but, with few exceptions does not really serve as a glossary—one must go back to her text to find her explanation as to what the instruments were.
Petrovskaia is critical of those who have mis-quoted or elided evidence in the sources, usually in an effort to downplay the importance of instrumental music in Muscovy. She deconstructs comments by foreign observers who denigrated Muscovite music. She makes a point that to understand what instruments are being described in the foreign sources, one must look at the original language.
Yet oddly, she has used no foreign scholarship, where some of the points she emphasizes have in fact already been stated clearly. Years ago in his book on the skomorokhi Russell Zguta emphasized that the decrees of the mid-17th century seem not to have been enforced. Claudia Jensen’s monograph on Muscovite musical culture published in 2009 has a good chapter on instrumental traditions at court and another on the court theater (whose history is now being re-written by her and Ingrid Maier). A virtue of Jensen’s book is to contextualize instrumental music within a broader analysis of Muscovite musical culture and not treat it somewhat artificially in isolation from singing, as does Petrovskaia. Even if Jensen does not cite every source Petrovskaia does (many of them repetitive and better relegated to footnotes, as in Jensen’s book), she does use a source one would think Petrovskaia should have explored but does not: several early glossaries or dictionaries compiled by foreigners who included in their vocabularies various musical instruments. Furthermore, if one has a choice nowadays, rather than rely on the original Russian edition, it would be preferable to use the new translation of Nikolai Findeizen’s pioneering history of early Russian music, with its extensive, updated and corrected annotation (a project in which Jensen did a major portion of the work, and— for the record—I am credited with a role).
Posted by Daniel C. Waugh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A[leksei] P[avlovich] Sinelobov. Personal’nyi sostav gorodovykh prikazchikov i gubnykh starost Moskovskogo gosudarstva XVI-XVII vv. Monografiia. Moskva: INFRA-M, 2014. 174 p. ISBN 978-5-16-009673-5 (print); ISBN 978-5-16-100997-0 (online).
Modest in format and number of pages, written by an apparently little known scholar (at least I cannot claim to remember reading him, which may not prove anything), and published by (for most early Slavic specialists) an unknown publishing house, this book merits close attention. As the author reminds us, efforts to date have provided guides to the personnel who manned many of the important positions in Muscovite administration. We have lists of namestniki, volosteli, prikaznye sud’i, gorodovye voevody, and d’iaki. One of the important groups not yet blessed with comprehensive treatment includes the gorodovye prikazchiki and gubnye starosty, who were part of the administrative reforms underway with the consolidation of the Muscovite state in the early 16th century, for a time ostensibly fell into eclipse, but then revived to survive down into the time of Peter the Great’s first administrative reforms. Assigned policing and judicial functions, these officials may seem to be an anomaly in the growing absolutism of the Muscovite state in that they were selected or elected locally. Of course they have not been invisible in the scholarship on local Muscovite administration, but it seems that before Sinelobov, no one had attempted to trace their history over the approximately two centuries for which they can be documented or explore carefully their position in local society, much less compile, as he has done, a listing of them organized by city and region.
His 35-page introduction here is a model of clarity in presenting their history, with carefully selected examples to illustrate the way that the local networks of lesser nobility tended to dominate the ranks, even if one can also document instances where the central government might void local elections or send someone in from the outside. Members of the same families (either by direct descent or by marriage) keep cropping up in some localities. Many of those involved seem to have engaged in this service because they were no longer able (due to disabilities or other reasons) to fulfill their state service by going out on active military campaigns. There are other examples where this local service seems to have been a stepping stone to career advancement in the center. We learn here about the requirements for office, including literacy, which were not, however, always enforced when the government reviewed the appointments. Local communities might defend their elected officials, but they might also petition for their removal if their “feeding” exceeded the bounds of what custom sanctioned or if they proved to be incompetent. There are interesting issues here of the relationship between officials serving in suburbs and the administrative apparatus based in their adjacent main towns. We even get a glimpse into departmental rivalries, where the Razriadnyi prikaz might want to require that one of the local officials give up his post and return to active military duty, but the Razboinyi prikaz might insist on keeping its local administrator in place. So there is much here to illuminate the social and political contexts within which Muscovite local administration was staffed and functioned. However, this is not an attempt to write the actual history of how that administration dealt with its day-to-day tasks, a subject for a very different book (or two or three).
Compiling the lists of the officials, which occupy nearly 100 pages of the book, has required looking at a wide range of published and unpublished documentation. The entries are arranged alphabetically by location, with the prikazchiki listed first for each town. The ordering of the officials’ names is then chronological, the dates not necessarily reflecting the full length of any individual’s term in office but rather the range of what the sources document. Occasionally the entries include additional information on the service of relatives or other positions an individual might have held. The source for each entry is indicated. There is an index of names, referenced by place name in the table (not by page number). By my estimate, that index includes some 1400 names.
How complete are the data? Hard to say, given what I think might be other possible options in the mass of unpublished Muscovite archival files. It is safe to say though that Sinelobov has secured for himself a place alongside such luminaries as Zimin, Bogoiavlenskii, Barsukov, Veselovskii and Demidova, who were responsible for the well-known and much-used earlier guides to other members of Muscovy’s officialdom.
Posted by Daniel C. Waugh <email@example.com>
M. A. Shibaev. Rukopisi Kirillo-Belozerskogo monastyria XV veka. Istoriko-kodikologicheskoe issledovanie. Moskva-S.-Peterburg: Al’ians-Arkheo, 2013. 560 pp. ISBN-978-5-98874-092-6.
[Readers of this review need to be warned at the outset: it is R-rated, for I invoke the “F word”. No, not the one you expect. F as in “filigranology.” Those who are allergic to discussions of filigranology (and, for that matter, codicology) should probably stop reading now.]
When more than four decades ago I was fumbling my way to learning about how to study manuscript books, I wrote a (now-forgotten) piece on filigranology/the study of watermarks (it appeared in the "original" Kritika: a Review of Current Soviet Books on Russian History, VI/2 [Winter 1970]: 78-111; http://faculty.washington.edu/dwaugh/publications/waughwatermarkskritika_6_2_1970.pdf). While at the time I may have been optimistic that this “auxiliary discipline” would develop and flourish, for it to achieve, finally, the importance it occupies in this pathbreaking book has taken a lot longer than I would have wished.
On the surface, much in Shibaev’s book may seem unexceptional. After all, as he is careful to credit, there has been a huge amount of scholarly attention devoted to the books of the Monastery of St. Cyril at White Lake (here abbreviated KBM). One of the most important contributions was that of N. K. Nikol’skii before the end of the 19th century, when as part of his major study of the monastery, he published its 15th-century book inventories and manuscript descriptions in a still valuable edition that was far ahead of its time. These guides to the collection as it existed ca. 1480 are still extremely important to work such as Shibaev’s in attempting to trace its early history. In recent years, especially fueled by the interest in the manuscript miscellanies owned/copied by the monk Efrosin, there has been an outpouring of descriptive and analytical material. Many of the most recent works rely on sophisticated modern approaches to codicology, studying the history of individual manuscript books. Among the significant contributors to this study are S. N. Kisterev and O. L. Novikova, who are close collaborators in various publications of “Al’ians-Arkheo,” for which Novikova is the chief editor.
The importance of the books of KBM in part stems from the fact that much of the original collection remained intact down to modern times, unlike most of the other major book collections in pre-modern Russia. Shibaev argues that this then offers a unique opportunity to examine in detail the process of book production and accumulation in the monastery, especially for its first century of existence (the 15th century), where there is a large, but not overwhelming quantity of material. To anticipate, one of his conclusions here is that the evidence points not to the production of a scriptorium (in the sense of a special workshop staffed by professional copyists whose main purpose was the regular production of fine manuscript books). Rather, it is more accurate to speak of the monastery as a “center of book copying” (knigopisnyi tsentr) where books might be produced on demand, not necessarily in particularly elegant copies, often assembled piecemeal, and largely not by professional copyists. His book then is an attempt to trace in chronological order, the processes of book production in the monastery during most of the 15th century. He is not especially concerned here with content analysis or textual filiations; rather the main data are codicological evidence such as palaeography, foliation, quire structure, and, of course, watermarks. Attribution to particular copyists does require close attention to colophons and other annotations and the careful comparison of hands. Whereas such serious codicology to date has tended to focus on individual manuscripts or small groups of them, this is a pioneering attempt to extend such analysis broadly to write the history of a major center of book production in Russia.
The chapters then are organized around groupings of manuscripts associated with particular copyists and those who, on the basis of the codicological evidence, can be most closely associated with them (even if anonymous). Within each chapter, the discussion is manuscript-by-manuscript, most of them ones still housed in the KBM collection in the Russian National Library (RNB, ex-GPB), but a good many, identifiable because of inscriptions or handwriting as having come from KBM, in other collections. Parchment manuscripts are part of the discussion, even if a relatively small percentage of the identifiable 15th-century books of the monastery, and do yield important data from their palaeography, even if by their material they do not contain watermarks.
The technique Shibaev uses to tabulate codicological and filigranological data is very helpful, since one can see from the charts the exact correspondence between changes in hand or paper, foliation, and signature divisions. This then enables one to see easily where one copyist’s work may appear in separate sections of a given manuscript, where paper used in one section overlaps into another or recurs later. Then it is possible to compare these data with another manuscript that may contain the same hand(s) or paper(s). As one progresses through the book, the annotations to these tables identifying other KBM books with the same hands or paper increase, demonstrating the ways in which copyists must have been collaborating, interacting, or incorporating the work of their predecessors.
Of course there is much here which will be controversial. Shibaev does not hesitate to argue even with some of his closest colleagues about datings and identification of hands. (While it has nothing to do with this book, he mentions in passing that he believes the “Slovo o polku Igoreve” was composed in the KBM in the 15th century.) He warns the reader up front that he sees his study as but a first step in what has to be a much more extensive study of the material and one likely to be subject to much revision. Assessing the validity of his conclusions will be difficult for anyone who relies solely on this book, since important parts of the evidence have been left to the discussions by others. In the matter of handwriting analysis, for example, he does not engage in any kind of detailed discussion of methodologies. That is, there is nothing innovative here which may advance our ability to identify scribal hands in early Slavic manuscripts. He adopts the approach others have used of talking about what may seem a rather vague “manner of writing” which can be associated with a particular scribe. There then seems to be a range in the confidence of such attributions. Rarely does he go into specific details about the shape of particular letters and then only if he is trying specifically to refute someone else’s attributions. Of great help, of course, is the substantial number of excellent photographs of manuscript pages, scattered throughout in black-and-white and included in 71 color plates at the end. The hands of most of the copyists he discusses are thus illustrated, in one or more examples. Yet at times, one wishes to see illustrations from other manuscripts he is using for comparison. Often those are to be found in some of the recent scholarship he cites.
One of the important contributions Shibaev has made in his previous publications on the KBM manuscripts is to identify all the instances where the famous bookman Efrosin annotated manuscripts other than ones he seems to have owned and assembled. This is extremely important for the larger task of writing the full history of KBM book production, since Efrosin was the one really in charge of the work and the keeper of the collection in the late 15th century. Often his hand provides the most important evidence for determination of a book’s provenance. Shibaev published his preliminary list of all these annotations by Efrosin in the most recent volume of Knizhnye tsentry drevnei Rusi (2013) and reproduces that material here in an appendix to his last chapter.
Unblushingly taken as I am by the “F word,” filigranology, that aspect of his book really caught my attention. When I wrote about it ere long ago, I indicated that much needed to be done in the way watermarks in manuscripts were described and compared. Among the desiderata were to look at the paper evidence of each and every page in a manuscript (that is, not cite only selectively from amongst any watermarks that were present), and to have a clear hierarchy of descriptive terms when referring to possible analogies or identity of the marks with ones in published albums. Moreover, I emphasized how such careful analysis of paper evidence might help determine provenance of manuscripts, as the use of the same paper might help prove different books originated in the same center. For future generations, it was going to be important to expand the database of watermarks, not only those in dated manuscripts and books but all others that might be recorded accurately. Ideally the catalogue of the future would be a searchable electronic one, and comparisons be facilitated by some kind of computerized optical scanning.
To a considerable degree (and I claim absolutely no credit), Shibaev and his equally skilled colleagues (both within and outside of Russia) in manuscript codicology and filigranology have been doing all these things for some time and now have begun to put in place the cornerstone for the future development of the “ultimate” reference work we might hope to have for studying paper evidence. Shibaev distinguishes among “identity” (generally followed by a question mark), similarity and type when comparing watermarks. Given the largely 15th-century date of the papers in his sample, he has been able to use for reference the huge online Piccard image bank of watermarks http://www.piccard-online.de (as well as the earlier multi-volume published selection from it) and another online watermark archive http://www.ksbm.oeaw.ac.at/wz/wzma.php, electronic tools which had yet to be invented back in 1970. He has thought very carefully about the variations in watermarks induced by deformation of paper moulds, and he recognizes the limits in accuracy where in most of the albums we have at best tracings of the watermarks.
The only way to move beyond the limits of tracings is photography or some kind of contact imaging. To date, most techniques for this have been slow and technically problematic. Shibaev has worked with the technical laboratory in RNB in devising a method of photographing watermarks using infrared digital photography (see a photo of the apparatus, p. 19), where the images can be manipulated and stored directly in an electronic database. Thus, he has created a digital catalog of the KBM watermarks, and reproduces in an appendix in this book 452 high-quality photographic images of them obtained by that method. (Does RNB plan to put it online, as it should be?). Granted it has its limits, where some of the watermarks were too fragmentary to provide useful images, but most of those would be useless if merely examined de visu. The photographic technique can be used successfully even for small format manuscripts (where the marks might be divided on separate pages, depending on how the sheets had been cut), and the infrared lighting and filters render the watermarks quite clearly, “seeing through” much of the ink on the pages. The techniques used here seem clearly to point the way to a bright future for filigranology.
Awed though I am by what Shibaev has accomplished, I would venture a few criticisms. In his detailing of the evidence from individual manuscripts, he identifies the watermarks with reference to published albums (mainly, N. P. Likhachev, C. M. Briquet, G. Piccard) or the databases mentioned above. However, in some instances where he has told the reader Likhachev or E. M. Shvarz had published the marks from those very manuscripts, those citations have not been included in the annotations to the tables themselves. It is not always clear, for example, why a mark is termed only “similar” to one in Likhachev, if Likhachev actually published an image of it. Perhaps of greater consequence here is the absence of proper indexing for the appended 452 photographs of watermarks. Nothing in the main text of the book refers the reader to any of those individual images by sequential number, nor is there an index keyed to manuscript number which then would facilitate locating all the watermarks from that one manuscript which have been illustrated in the catalog.
That is, the appended plates (and this is true for the color plates of manuscript pages too) are not cross-referenced or indexed properly. The organization of watermark catalog is by type (head of bull, grapes, bell…) in the traditional manner of all watermark albums (but for Likhachev’s which grouped them by source, an idea which Shibaev seems to applaud); the illustrations of manuscript hands are roughly by the chronological sequence in which they are discussed in the book (which, granted, makes looking through the plates for them not overly burdensome).
The production values in the book are wonderful, from the solid cloth binding to the excellence of the plates; I noticed but a few typesetting glitches. Important as this book is though for anyone who would study seriously the manuscript legacy of the KBM, it is not a volume most subscribers to this list would want actually to read, unless they too were to be embarking on serious codicological study of early Slavic manuscripts. Short of actually engaging in such analysis themselves though, readers can learn here a great deal regarding what underlies some of the best modern scholarship that looks beyond simply the study of texts.
Posted by Daniel C. Waugh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Germenevtika drevnerusskoi literatury: Sbornik 16-17. Otv. red. M. V. Pervushin. Moskva: Rossiiskaia akademiia nauk: Institut mirovoi literatury RAN, 2014. 1216 pp. ISSN 1726-135X; ISBN 978-5-91366-794-6.
Those wanting the table of contents (with minimal explanatory notes) of the most recent volume of this series may wish to skip these opening remarks, which are something of a personal indulgence.
The nature of publishing and distribution of books in the bad old days of the USSR often meant that books were bibliographic rarities before they could ever be purchased. Unless one ordered a copy in advance, the local outlet of Akademkniga or Dom knigi might not have a book, even though it would turn out that a dozen copies had been sent off to some place in Siberia (or abroad to, say, Poland), where they languished on a shelf for want of purchasers. Of course there were always exceptions of the obvious things. An American professor related how he went into Dom knigi in Leningrad back in one of the early years of the academic exchange (post-1956) and saw on the shelf the complete works of Iosif Vissarionovich, which the salesperson was trying to get rid of (“Drugogo izdaniia ne budet…”). After pondering the offer and turning it down, he changed his mind and returned to make the purchase. Seeing this, another customer turned to him: “Molodoi chelovek! Why on earth are you wanting to buy those?” Response: “Drugogo izdaniia ne budet!”). Well, as we know, there now is yet another edition (not to mention the fact that the spirit of I.V. seems to live on…).
Aware of the difficulty in obtaining real and desirable rarities, even if newly published, when I was told by a colleague in Moscow in 1990 about the just issued first two volumes of Germenevtika, I made a pilgrimage to the Gorky Insititute of World Literature (apparently the only place one could get them), brought several copies back home to the U.S., and then provided them to our library and interested colleagues. The very idea that one would launch a series under that title was an indication of how the old order was changing, even if the editors made it clear that they understood hermeneutics in a very general way: “Germenevtika, to est’ iskusstvo istolkovaniia pamiatnikov (ne tol’ko bibleiskikh i ne tol’ko slovesnykh), vsegda trebovalas’ i trebuetsia v gumitarnoi nauke. Na germenevtiku v izvestnoi mere vsegda defitsit. V nastoiashchee vremia germenevticheskie potrebnosti dazhe obostrilis’: i potomu, chto v obshchestve proiskhodit peresmotr suti mnozhestva istoricheskikh faktov, i potomu, chto rastet vzaimnyi interes spetsialistov iz raznykh gumitarnykh oblastei i rabote drug druga, osobenno v podkhodakh k istochnikam.” (Gemenevtika…Sbornik 1 (M., 1989), p. 3). Hence, the decision to begin publishing quickly (in rotaprint), papers from the ongoing “all-Moscow” seminar on Russian culture from the 11th-18th centuries being held under the auspices of the Institute of World Literature.
The in-house focus of the volumes has continued, serving in the first instance the staff of the Institute (several of whom have more than one article here), though the range of contributors is in fact much broader. Since those first volumes published in 1989 (in an edition of 800 copies), the series has included monograph-length work as well as shorter articles. The more recent volumes are properly typeset and, it seems, ever more massive in size. Even if the current volume is in an edition of only 500 copies, given better distribution, it is not the bibliographic rarity that its ancestor was. Oddly, perhaps, one searches almost in vain on the website of the Institute http://www.imli.ru/ to discover this amongst its publications, and then the only reference is in a dated short descriptive paragraph for the Division of Early Slavic Literatures http://www.imli.ru/structure/show/Otdel-drevneslavyanskih-literatur/. One would think this is a publication of which the sponsoring institution should be proud.
The contents of Sbornik 16-17:
L. G. Dorofeeva. Chelovek smirennyi v agiografii Drevnei Rusi (XI-pervaia tret’ XVII veka). pp. 9-388. Her introduction provides a good sense of where hermeneutics fits amongst the analytical approaches in the scholarship on early Russian literature. Although it makes no claim to being more than a very selective treatment, the monograph is an excellent indication of how far we have come now from Likhachev’s pioneering Chelovek v literature Drevnei Rusi (1970).
O. V. Ivanainen. ‘Az”’ letopistsa v ‘Povesti Vremennykh Let’, ego varianty i sposoby vyrazheniia. pp. 389-582. This goes well beyond merely examining instances where one can document directly first-person narrative in the chronicle.
A. S. Demin. Materialy dlia monografii o khudozhestvennoi evoliutsii drevnerusskoi literatury. pp. 583-690. Demin was the responsible editor for the first volumes of Germenevtika and is the current chair of the Division of Early Slavic Literatures at IMLI. These “materials” indeed are just that, separate discrete essays with no overarching framework to pull them together. The topics are very interesting ones: prophesies, depictions of the surrounding environment, literary cycles, etc.
A. N. Uzhankov. K probleme istoricheskoi poetiki drevnerusskoi literatury. A lengthy argument as to why the subject merits study, as in the author’s own previously published monograph, Istoricheskaia poetika drevnerusskoi slovesnosti. Genezis literaturnykh formatsii (M.: IMLI, 2011).
I. G. Dobrodomov. Istochnikovedenie i istoriia slova. The focus here is specifically interpretations of the word ‘k”met’’. In reviewing the literature, D. takes up, inter alia, the effort of Edward Keenan (described here by the curious epithet “medievist-shutnik”, which the author explains in a note) to interpret it as one of Dobrovsky’s “czechisms” or “bohemisms”.
M. V. Pervushin. Obraz eretika v russkoi polemicheskoi literature XI-XVII vekov
D. S. Mendeleeva. Tema ‘sviatoi zemli’ i ‘vtorogo Ierusalima’ v ‘Slove o Zakone i Blagodati’ mitropolita Ilariona
A. A. Pautkin. Povest’ ob osleplenii Vasil’ka Terebovl’skogo: kul’turno-istoricheskii kontekst i struktura letopisnoi stat’i 6605 goda
N. V. Trofimova. ‘Tako li mne chasti netu v Russkoi zemli?’ Iz istorii letopisnoi povesti o mezhdousobnoi voine 1149 goda
A. A. Shaikin. Plot’ i telo v ikh sootnosheniiakh s dushoi v rannikh drevnerusskikh tekstakh
A. N. Uzhankov. K interpretatsii avtorskoi idei ‘Slova o polku Igoreve’
V. I. Maksimov. Stugna i Dnepr ili Istoriia utopleniia iunogo kniazia Rostislava, brata Monomakhova (po tekstu ‘Slova o polku Igoreve’)
V. I. Maksimov. ‘Dukh” iuzhny’ i ‘chas osmy’ v “Skazanii o Mamaevom poboishche’—mistika ili real’nost? (Zametki o dispozitsii voisk i khode srazheniia na pole Kulikovom). I found this interesting for the review not only of text, but of evidence from topography, the discussion of the position of the sun at particular moments in the day, etc.
V. I. Maksimov. O ‘poloniannykh vestiakh’ v ‘Zadonshchine’
M. V. Pervushin. Sravnitel’naia geroika: pravednyi Avraam in blagovernyi Dmitrii
M. V. Pervushin. ‘Smirennogo inoka Fomy slovo pokhval’noe’: avtor i ego geroi
V. M. Kirillin. Panegiricheskoe nasledie Pakhomiia Logofeta
E. V. Dzhidzhora. Kompozitsionnye formy izlozheniia v Shestondneve Ioanna Ekzarkha Bolgarskogo i Khristianskoi Topografii Koz’my Indikoplova
G. P. Chiniakova. K voprosu o slozhenii ikonografii russkogo litsevogo Apokalipsisa. An essay which one wishes had included images.
O. A. Tufanova. Motiv ‘Sodoma i Gomora ostavshuiu glavniu…’ v “Tak nazyvaemom inom skazanii’
D. S. Mendeleeva. Rodoslovie pravednogo Iova i motiv ‘poganogo roda’ v sochineniiakh protopopa Avvakuma
D. S. Mendeleeva. Sviatootecheskaia simvolika v tvorchestve protopopa Avvakuma (obraznye pereklichki v sochineniiakh protopopa Avvakuma i sv. Ioanna Zlatousta). Of interest in part because of the methodological challenges of trying to establish exactly what texts Avvakum had in hand (or in his mind).
E. Dal’berg. Novolatinskaia poeziia Shvetsii perioda Severnoi voiny na primere stikhov Magnusa Rënnou. Specifically on various verses pertaining to Russia and the noteworthy military encounters of the war.
M. Iu. Liustrov. Datskie i russkie pobedosloviia epokhi Severnoi voiny. The main focus is the Danish responses.
A. Iu. Zhigalov. Legenda ob apostole Andree v trudakh A. D. Sedel’nikova
Jubilee: celebrating the work of V. M. Kirillin, with a bibliography of his publications.
Bibliography: the complete publications of L. I. Sazonova, through 2013.
In memoriam: on Ivan Vasil’evich Lëvochkin, with a bibliography of his works.
Posted by Daniel C. Waugh <email@example.com>
E[duard] V[iktorovich] Demin. Selenginskaia doroga—pervyi karavan. (Pervye plavaniia po Selenge i Khilku i predistoriia Kiakhtinskogo torgovogo puti). Ulan-Ude, 2013. 68 pp.
-------, Selenginskie kazaki—tolmachi i diplomaty (vtoraia polovina XVII-pervye desiatiletiia XVIII vv.). Ulan-Ude, 2013. 100 pp.
_______, “Zaveshchanie” 1684 g. selenginskogo kazaka Vavily Grigor’eva. (Irkutskie obstoiatel’stva i motivy). Ulan-Ude, 2013, 56 pp.
These three, slim self-published books invite readers to ponder a number of matters. Quite apart from the question of the quality of what they contain, they serve as a sharp reminder of how difficult it can be for those of us outside of Russia to keep up on literature that is published outside of a few major cities and which may be devoted to the subject of local history. I cannot imagine many libraries would have stumbled across these volumes, each published in 150 copies and probably intended in the first instance for sale in Transbaikalia to enthusiasts about its local history. Unless eventually all such regional publications can be made available in digital form on line, it seems likely that many which deserve wider attention (both within and outside Russia) may never reach a broader audience.
This then raises a second question: Should we care? That is, do the works of “amateur” enthusiasts merit our attention? It would not be difficult to document how “professional scholars” have generally tended to look down their noses at “provincial amateurs,” arguably not always without cause, even though we might also suggest that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. My, granted limited, personal experience has led me to have deep respect for efforts and publications of those who have a passionate, direct and personal interest in their regions, however distant those regions may seem from the mainstream of the concerns of scholarship about Russia. Fortunately nowadays, there has been a serious revival of interest in the Russian provinces, kraevedenie is flourishing, and dated attitudes are changing along with the blossoming of interesting publications.
Where does Eduard Viktorovich Demin fit in all this? I confess this is my first encounter with his work, though, had I been seriously studying Transbaikalia (apart from my interest in the Xiongnu period there of two millennia ago), I surely should have tried to read his publications, many in a journal Baikal, some in the local newspapers, and now many collected in a series of volumes containing his essays, published under the overall title “Zolotaia rossyp’ Selenginska. The books under review here are part of the fourth volume of these collected essays (the first three appeared in 2009 and 2010), conveniently made separately available here in nicely printed, illustrated booklets. His subject is the region of the Selenga River, which flows north into Lake Baikal and along which, starting back in the middle of the 17th century, there was Russian exploration and settlement. Selenginsk was one of the forts the Russians established there, founded in 1665 and occupying an important point in the regional communications and control network. With the establishment of Kiakhta as the main border crossing and trade emporium by the first treaties between Muscovy and the Qing Empire, Selenginsk was a stopping point on the trade route from China.
Many readers will get impatient with Demin, since he loves to explore discursively every little byway that might even remotely connect with his subject, and his style of exposition is largely to quote in extenso from both secondary and primary sources. That is not necessarily a bad thing of course, where many of those sources of themselves may be difficult of access for the reader. While he apparently has done some archival work, and has turned up some interesting evidence such as gravestones in abandoned cemeteries, for the most part the primary sources he uses are those published either in standard series (such as Dopolneniia k aktam istoricheskim or Russko-kitaiskie otnosheniia) or in anthologies of sources pertaining to the region.
By stringing together such material loosely grouped around a topic of interest for the local history, he encourages readers such as me to consider studying subjects which certainly merit further exploration. His Selenginskaia doroga provides a great deal about the early exploration and the beginnings of the trade routes. His Tolmachi pulls together every shred of information he has found about those based in or somehow associated with Selenginsk who served as interpreters and often were given full responsibility for diplomatic missions. His “Zaveshchanie” builds on a single “testament” which he argues (convincingly) was probably “forged” in the sense that it was composed posthumously to ensure that the not insubstantial property of the deceased Vavila Grigor’ev be inherited by a monastery in Irkutsk rather than by the Church establishment in his hometown of Selenginsk. We learn quite a bit here about the establishment of churches and monasteries, the local clerics, and their connections with the local officials.
The books are illustrated in the first instance with somewhat pixelated details from the maps drawn in the 17th century by Semen Remezov, from 18th century drawings and from some reconstructions of the original appearance of buildings by modern scholars. There are notes carefully documenting the text but no indexes. That he frequently highlights in bold face key passages or names in his long quotations can help when one wishes to focus on that which is most relevant.
Posted by Daniel C. Waugh <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Ocherki feodal’noi Rossii. Vyp. 16. Moskva; S.-Peterburg, 2013. 408 pp. ISBN 978-5-98874-086-5.
Ocherki feodal’noi Rossii. Vyp. 17. Moskva; S.-Peterburg: Al’ians-Arkheo, 2014. 496pp. ISBN 978-6-98874-091-9.
Founded in 1997, the initial volumes somewhat modest in size and production values, this series publishes some of the most substantial articles on medieval (primarily, Muscovite) “Russia” of any periodical. Essays may occupy several dozen pages or more; many include publication of primary source texts. The editor is the prolific S. N. Kisterev, who includes regularly his own work and that of what I gather is a close group of colleagues, one of whom, O. L. Novikova, is the chief editor of the publisher. (By way of disclosure, I should note she did a very careful job of editing a volume of mine several years ago.) Each volume is nicely produced, often with a good many decent photographs to illustrate features of palaeography and even watermarks.
My only critical note here regards what I think was an aberration and the fault of the printer/binder (“Al’ians-Arkheo” is otherwise doing a great deal of valuable and careful publication of books in our field). The vol. 16 I first received had several blank pages where obviously one side of a sheet did not print; the replacement volume I was sent had the right cover, but a totally different book inside. On the third try, my helpful dealer in Moscow came up with a complete and correct copy. So, if your library has that volume, make sure it is all there…
Here I will simply list the contents of the two most recent volumes.
Zh. L. Levshina. “Bolgarizirovannoe” pis’mo russkogo knizhnika pervoi poloviny XV veka Serapiona i vtoroe iuzhnoslavianskoe vliianie.
O. L. Novikova. Izbornik 1073 g. i “Efremovskii sbornik o latynekh”.
A. A. Frolov. Volosti Buitsy i Lopastitsy: opyt sootneseniia toponimov obysknoi knigi 1562 g. so svedeniiami pis’ma 1495-1496 gg. i problema “domoskovskogo” zemel’nogo kadastra.
A. V. Fominov. Nereshennye voprosy istorii “pol’skikh” gorodov Moskovskogo gosudarstva: osnovanie Valuek i gibel’ Tsareva-Borisova.
S. N. Kisterev. Struktura gostinoi sotni vo vtoroi polovine XVI-pervoi polovine XVII veka.
Ia. G. Solodkin. Iz kommentariev k zakliucheitel’nym stat’iam Novogo Letopista (o nekotorykh diskussionnykh voprosakh proiskhozhdeniia pamiatnika).
S. N. Kisterev. Nizhegorodskii konflikt moskovskikh gostei v 1619 godu.
A. V. Morokhin. Protopop Spaso-Preobrazhenskogo sobora v Nizhnem Novgorode Konon Petrov: materialy k biografii.
S. V. Zverev. Delo o krazhe u F. Isakova v Sevske v 1685 g. zolotykh, efimkov, pol’skikh chekhov i russkikh deneg.
V. G. Chentsova. Illiuzii i realii paleografiii (2). Tak chto zhe nam delat’? [part 1 of this ongoing polemic with B. L. Fonkich appeared in Ocherki Feodal’noi Rossii, vyp. 15]
A. V. Kuz’min. Voennye i vneshnepoliticheskie posledstviia porazheniia voisk Velikogo knaizhestva Litovskogo v bitve na r. Strave (2 fevralia 1348 g.).
O. L. Novikova. K izucheniiu sbornikov knizhnika Efrosina.
A. V. Shekov. Letopisnye izvestiia ob uchastii kiazei Odoevskikh v Lutskom i Trotskom s”ezdakh 1429 i 1430 godov.
O. L. Novikova. Arkhivy kirillovskikh startsev.
Ia. G. Solodkin. Pokhod kniazia S. D. Bolkhovskogo i ekspeditsiia I. A. Mansurova: o nekotorykh spornykh traktovkakh (K rannei istorii pravitel’stvennoi kolonizatsii Sibiri).
S. V. Sirotkin. Pistsovaia kniga goroda Kalugi 1625/26 g.
S. N. Kisterev. Delo 1643 g. o podmoskovnoi votchine gostei Iur’evykh.
E. N. Gorbatov. Otpusknye chelobitnye sluzhilykh liudei 1626-1629 godov.
S. N. Kisterev. K izdaniiu nauchnogo naslediia N. B. Golikovoi.
A. V. Antonov. Chastnye arkhivy russkikh feodalov XV-nachala XVII veka. Dopolnenie. [supplement to the publication in Russkii diplomatarii, vyp. 8 ).
Posted by Daniel C. Waugh <email@example.com>
D[mitrii] V[ladimirovich] Karnaukhov. “Russkie” i “moskovskie” izvestiia v trudakh pol’skikh istorikov votoroi poloviny XV-nachala XVII vv. (istoriograficheskii aspect). Novosibirsk: Izd-vo. Novosibirskogo gosudarstvennogo pedgogicheskogo universiteta, 2014.209 pp. ISBN 978-5-00023-388-7.
This slim volume complements (and might well have introduced?) the author’s Kontseptsiia istorii srednevekovoi Rusi v pol’skoi khronografii epokhi Vozrozhdeniia (Novosibirsk: Izd-vo. NGPU, 2010), which I have not seen. The author has obviously benefitted from several Polish grants to be able to work in Polish libraries; he relies in the first instance on careful examination and comparison of the early Polish and Latin editions.
The material here is organized into three chapters, the first providing a succinct introduction to his main authors and the history of the publication of their texts and then a review of modern scholarship about them. The main sources are Długosz, Mechovius, Wapowski, Kromer, Marcin and Joachim Bielski, Stryjkowski and Guagnini. Karnaukhov is well aware of the confusion regarding the role of Joachim Bielski in composing parts of the work attributed to his father. And he is also well versed about the questions raised concerning the Italian mercenary Guagnini’s evident plagiarism from Stryjkowski.
The long Chapter 2 traces systematically their treatment of the information pertaining to Rus, and is particularly valuable for its indication of the relationship amongst the various texts (where one can be documented) and other indications of the sources upon which the authors drew (Herberstein looms large in all the later works). This is not, however, an attempt to discuss all aspects regarding the accuracy of the texts. Even those which present little in the way of really new information are of interest for the way they organize and contextualize it—one can trace here a significant advance in the writing of history in Poland as the 16th century proceeded. In the first instance, the explanation for the degree to which the Polish authors paid attention to Rus and Muscovy is to be found in aspirations for territorial control and the fluctuating successes or failures in Polish relations with its eastern neighbors. That said, Renaissance “Sarmatian” ideas were important too in the treatment of the culturally different territories to the east.
The final chapter deals with Polish and Russian historiography relating to these texts, where naturally the closest attention to the “Russian” information they contain has come from Russian scholars. There are, of course, some rather substantial analyses by A. I. Rogov, B. N. Floria, N. I. Shchaveleva, and others, all duly cited. However, what has been done to date is uneven in its focus; hence Karnaukhov’s attempt at a much more systematic analysis. The important thing to keep in mind is how influential some of the Polish authors were in the work of later historians. He makes little attempt to contextualize the Polish material on the larger canvas of foreign accounts about Russia and thus does not cite possibly relevant Western scholarship. However, one has to admit that by and large that scholarship has paid too little attention to the Polish texts. Karnaukhov’s work certainly provides a useful entry point for those who might be interested in filling that gap.
Even though O. N. Kashionov is indicated as the “nauchnyi redactor” on the title page, the book is “v avtorskoi redaktsii” and was formatted by the author. He writes well and should be read by anyone who studies Muscovy and is interested in the images of it created by early published narratives.
Posted by Daniel C. Waugh <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
V[asilii] N[ikolaevich] Berkh. Tsarstvovanie Tsaria Alekseia Mikhailovicha. Moskva: Kuchkovo pole, 2013. 352 pp. ISBN 978-5-9950-0325-0.
I[van] I[vanovich], Golikov. Deianiia Petra Velikogo, mudrogo preobrazitelia Rossii. 15 vols. [2nd ed.] Moskva: “Kniga po Trebovaniiu,” 2014.
Valentin [Lavrent’evich] Ianin. Ocherki istorii srednevekovogo Novgoroda. Izdanie vtoroe, pererabotannoe i dopolnennoe. Moskva: Izd-vo. “Russkii Mir”; IPTs “Zhizn’ i mysl’,” 2013. ISBN 978-5-8455-0176-9.
Fridrikh-Khristian Veber. Preobrazhennaia Rossiia. Novye zapiski o nyneshnem sostoianii Moskovii. Perevod i kommentarii D. V. Solov’eva. Sankt-Peterburg: “Iskusstvo—SPB,” 2011. 304 pp. ISBN 978-5-210-01640-9.
While one may wonder who needs some of them, just about any of the classics of Russian historiography appear nowadays in reprint editions.
If your library lacks the 1831 ed. of Berkh, it might want this one, newly typeset and with a few notes added to his original ones. It is, of course, a curious antique, but perhaps retains some value for the quotations from sources, an eclectic mix of which printed in full in the several appendices of what he offered as a volume 2 (both volumes combined into the one here). Even if the lists are now dated, Berkh was ahead of his time, was he not, in compiling lists of members of the upper echelon of court ranks?
The Golikov likewise can be of value for its mining of the sources and its sheer size and detail. It is interesting that we now have a print-on-demand publisher here, producing decent paperback volumes, each of substantial size. Content aside, they seem to be a good value for the money (you should be able to get them for under $30 each). The text is a facsimile of the 1837 edition, with merely the addition of a new title page. Vol. 1 covers through 1699, and vol. 2, 1700-1705.
The essays by the distinguished expert on Novgorod, 85-year-old Valentin Ianin, constitute a loosely connected history of the city, distilling his vast knowledge accumulated over the decades. One essay is by E. A. Rybina on the international connections of Novgorod. The book was published first in 2008 by “Iazyki slavianskoi kul’tury,” an edition I have not compared to see what changes he may have made here. The new edition was occasioned by his having been awarded in 2010 the Literary Prize of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn “for outstanding archaeological and historical discoveries, which have overturned our perceptions about our early history and about man in Ancient Rus’.” The presentations made at the award ceremony in Moscow on 21 April 2010 are included here as an appendix, Ianin himself given the last word in reflections entitled “Magistralnyi put’ sovremennoi nauki: ot differentsiatsii k integratsii,” extolling the virtues of interdisciplinary analysis such as that represented in his own work.
Going back now into the 1990s (ancient history, it seems!), we have been treated to many reprints of Russian translations of foreigners’ descriptions of Russia, notably in the series entitled Istoriia Rossii Doma Romanovykh v memuarakh sovremennikov XVII-XX vv., which supplies new analytical essays and indexes for each volume. There have also been important new editions and translations, e.g., A. I. Malein and A. V. Nazarenko’s magnificent two-volume edition of Herberstein and Dmitrii Fedosov’s now nearly complete Diary of Patrick Gordon (with the first ever full publication of the original text). Friedrich-Christian Weber’s account of Russia in the years 1714-1719 is a much-cited classic, which appeared in several German editions, an English translation, and a French edition within a short time after his return to Hannover. This new translation is from the Paris edition of 1725 (Nouveaux mémoires sur l’état present de la Moscovie), which the translator, D. V. Solov’ev, claims is the “most authentic” version of the text. The first Russian translation had appeared in Russkii arkhiv in 1872. Included here is the essay on Weber and his text published in ZhMNP in 1881 by A. G. Brikner and the translator’s extensive commentary/notes and index. I have not checked the translation against the French or the German and English versions.
Posted by Daniel C. Waugh <email@example.com>
Tri opisi Iosifo-Volokolamskogo monastyria XVI veka. Podgotovka tekstov i publikatsiia T. I. Shablovoi. Sankt-Peterburg: “Renome,” 2014. 192 pp. ISBN 978-5-91918-430-0.
Pistsovye i perepisnye knigi Torzhka XVII-nachala XVIII v. Chast’ 1. Sostaviteli I. Iu. Ankudinov, P. D. Malygin. Moskva: Rukopisnye pamiatniki Drevnei Rusi, 2014. 648 pp. ISBN 978-5-9551-0728-8.
The first of these valuable source publications contains the descriptive inventories of the important Monastery of St. Iosif at Volokolamsk from 1545, 1572 and 1591, which are significant for enabling one to document the contents of its early churches prior to the Time of Troubles. While the 1545 opis’ apparently has not survived in the original and thus has been reproduced here from two publications of 1911, the other two are here published for the first time from their manuscripts. As the editor points out, they were included as appendices in the unpublished 1991 kandidat dissertation of V. A. Meniailo (Ideino-khudozhestvennye dvizheniia v russkoi zhivopisi kontsa XV-pervoi poloviny XVI v. [Po materialam Iosifo-Volokolamskogo monastyria]). Indeed, Meniailo really deserves to be included on the title page here, for, while invited to contribute to this edition and unable to find the time, she provided her unpublished material to Shablovaia. She also is author of several articles cited in the bibliography. Much of the extended commentary here, which focuses on various aspects of the arts (buildings, icon painters, embroideries) is Meniailo’s work. The opisi themselves are confined to the churches, their icons, embroideries, and vestments. There are name, subject, and iconographic indexes and a glossary. An appendix lists another 15 opisi for the monastery compiled from the 17th through the 19th centuries, presumably all or most of them as yet unpublished. Since for some time now we have had studies and publications reconstructing the monastery’s library, and publications of important parts of its financial records, the sources in this volume fill a significant gap.
We can be thankful for the revived interest in publishing cadastres for pre-modern Muscovite towns. Torzhok, as the editors point out, is one of a relatively few for which almost all the 17th and early 18th century censuses have been preserved, the earliest extant one from 1624/5. That is, its early manuscript had survived until the 1920s but has since disappeared. Fortunately it had been published by then, the edition of 1865 (with some variant readings from late copies) serving as the basis for the publication here. The cadastres of 1627/8, 1646, 1678 and 1686 are all published here for the first time from their manuscripts. A second volume is to include the cadastres of 1709 and 1710.
The book includes an introduction to the sources and manuscripts and Malygin’s essay on the topography of medieval Torzhok as it can be documented from all sources (chronicles, documents, cadastres, archaeology and the drawings in the Mayerberg album). Interestingly, his diagrams reconstruct the routes the census takers took in their inventory of the city’s population. The indexes of personal and geographic names and occupations/social groups occupy 170 pages of this substantial and most welcome volume.
Posted by Daniel C. Waugh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
New book: Bessonov on Narodnaia eskhatologiia
I[gor’] A[leksandrovich] Bessonov. Russkaia narodnaia eskhatologiia: istoriia i sovremennost’. Moskva: Gnosis, 2014. 336 pp.+ ill. ISBN 978-5-94244-044-2.
For a non-specialist like me, Bessonov’s book is very informative. The first part provides a systematic, chronologically organized exposition of the development of eschatological ideas primarily in the Abrahamic (and especially Christian) traditions. He starts with some pre-Abrahamic background; then, with selective but extensive quotation, explores scripture, apocrypha and the writings of Church fathers. Following this is a compact, almost too compressed, review of the transmission of these ideas in Rus down to the 18th century. He draws on a broad range of scholarship in Russian, English, and German.
Since he is a specialist in folklore, the remaining two-thirds of the book explore the subject of the title, popular eschatology, drawing on texts and interviews recorded from the 19th century down to very recent times (where the Internet comes into play in the dissemination of the ideas). Here the organization is thematic, which results in a certain amount of repetition, as he explores successively various aspects of eschatological beliefs (“the miraculous world,” “eschatological war,” “the antichrist,” etc.). In each case he returns to the pre-modern textual basis for these concepts. Specific stimuli for eschatological interpretations range from Napoleon’s invasion (where official propaganda encouraged people to think of him as the antichrist) to rumors about European Union computers taking possession of people’s souls. In a period of American hegemony, some located the home of the antichrist there, something which in my gloomier moments nowadays seems not far off the mark. Since he has a broad comparative perspective, Bessonov notes occasionally that the expression of popular eschatological beliefs is not confined to Russia.
As he emphasizes, there is much more to be done on this subject: his intent here has been mainly to provide an introductory survey (based on his kandidat dissertation, defended in 2010). Even though it is possible to show how the modern views have, say, a scriptural basis, we are generally left with unstated assumptions as to how the individuals interviewed would have acquired their ideas. If asked, they seem to have responded merely with “from books” or something to the effect “everyone knows.” Since much of the modern evidence comes from rural informants in the Russian North (and in particular Old Believers), one avenue for further study would be to contextualize the material with what has been learned about Old Believer libraries. He is aware of regional differences, which could be explored more fully. Furthermore, at least some of the modern material was recorded in urban settings, which makes for interesting comparisons (it clearly is not the case that modern eschatological beliefs are ideas to be found only in the “traditional” countryside). The book has a few excellent color plates—a couple of miniatures from a 17th-century manuscript Apokalipsis, a propaganda poster produced by the Whites in the Civil War, and an icon of the Last Judgment. Such interesting visual evidence is another of the areas that invite further exploration.
Posted by Daniel C. Waugh <email@example.com>.
The new volume of Fedosov’s translation of Patrick Gordon
Patrik Gordon. Dnevnik 1690-1695. Perevod s angliiskogo, stat’ia i primechaniia D. G. Fedosova. Moskva: Nauka, 2014. 620 pp. + ill. ISBN 978-5-02-038041-7.
Neither Patrick Gordon, Peter the Great’s distinguished Scottish general, nor Dmitrii Fedosov’s translation of Gordon’s diary should be unfamiliar to H-EarlySlavic subscribers. Fedosov’s laudatory project, now one volume short of completion, is providing the first full and accurate translation of one of the most important sources for late Muscovite history. Simultaneously, though with a deliberate delay by agreement with Nauka, the University of Aberdeen is publishing Fedosov’s edition of the previously unpublished complete original English text. Five volumes of the Russian translation have appeared, and four of the diary in English http://www.store.abdn.ac.uk.
In each volume in Russian, Fedosov provides a carefully researched essay, documented in the first instance from Gordon, which contextualizes and highlights the information it contains. The notes to the Russian edition are extensive, identifying individuals mentioned in the text, explaining abbreviations, and here including translations of the several letters Gordon wrote in Latin (and one in German). There are indexes of personal and geographical names.
This volume of Gordon’s diary is a rich one, for what it tells us about the training of Peter’s new regiments in the first years after the overthrow of Sophia’s government, for the detailed descriptions of Gordon’s journey to Arkhangel’sk in 1694 and participation in Peter’s White Sea adventure that year, and for its uniquely thorough account of the first Azov campaign in 1695. He is often obsessive about exact detail (e.g., listing everything in a shipment of supplies down to the single turkey). He includes such things as copies of payment records, his calculations regarding the materials needed to build a bridge across the Don for the 1696 campaign against Azov, and the instructions as to how that was to be done. Those interested in Muscovite medical history will find a lot here on disease and its treatment.
Gordon kept a separate letter book with copies of his vast correspondence. While that book as such has not survived, this volume of the diary in fact contains more than 100 of the letters he wrote, appended to each of the first two years and then scattered through the remainder. For my immediate interests, what we can learn from the diary about the post and the often indirect channels through which communication passed is extremely valuable, as Gordon recorded to whom he wrote, from whom he received letters, and their dates. While some of the correspondence simply went through “the post,” commonly he enclosed letters to trusted correspondents or couriers who then forwarded or delivered them to the addressee. We have letters to his relatives in Scotland, to Hetman Mazepa, to Father Schmidt in Braunsberg, where Gordon sent his son Teodor to study, to Johann Kurts in Vienna….
The diary is revealing about Gordon’s devotion to his family, his financial interests, his deep Roman Catholic faith, his passionate royalist support for the deposed King James II. When Tsar Peter called, Gordon jumped to obey, even if it was in the middle of the night, as was often the case. He had daily access to the Tsar and met him socially as he did most of the luminaries of the Foreign Suburb of Moscow and a good many of the prominent figures in the Muscovite government to whom he dutifully wrote at the same time when he was writing to his wife and daughter if away from home. Gordon frequently attended weddings, was godfather to newly baptized infants, and experienced the realities of the often abrupt deaths both of colleagues and members of his family. Infant deaths from disease were common. How Gordon himself survived to live into his 60s is something of a miracle. Quite apart from the dangers of military maneuvers with live ammunition, he was on the front lines in battle. While he seems to have had a bottomless reserve of energy and health on campaign, his life in Moscow and its environs increasingly was interrupted by bouts of ill health, some of it undoubtedly brought on by the all-night revels in which he was forced to participate.
We are in Dmitrii Fedosov’s debt for the fact that we no longer will have to rely on Posselt’s old partial and inaccurate translation of the diary into German, Maikov’s translation from it into Russian, or the old and greatly condensed publication of excerpts from Gordon’s original English text.
Posted by Daniel C. Waugh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The new volume of Ierotopiia
Ierotopiia Ognia i Sveta v kul’ture vizantiiskogo mira / Hierotopy of Light and Fire in the Culture of the Byzantine World. Ed. Alexei Lidov. Moskva: OOO “Feoriia,” 2013. 558 pp. ISBN 978-5-91796-039-5.
Published under the auspices of the Moscow University Research Centre for Eastern Christian Culture, this latest substantial volume in the productive series inspired and led by Aleksei Lidov should encourage those not yet acquainted with the books to read them. He invented (out of two Greek words) the term Hierotopy /Ierotopiia, which he explains in one of the earlier volumes as “the creation of sacred spaces regarded as a special form of creativity, and a field of historical research which reveals and analyses the particular examples of that creativity.” He has organized conferences that have produced a broad array of stimulating contributions, the main focus being on the Eastern Orthodox world, but also with a much broader comparative interest. As he indicates, a full bibliography of the publications which have resulted may be found under Ierotopiia on the Russian Wikipedia <http://ruwikipedia.org/wiki>.
As in the earlier volumes, a good many of the contributions are in English. Here longer English texts may be provided with often extensive Russian summaries, or vice versa if the original paper was in Russian. There are a good many b/w illustrations, though often unfortunately small and dark. In the case of one paper with figure references, the illustrations are absent, suggesting that they might be found in a different published version of the same essay. There are some other editorial glitches. However, it is laudatory that a serious effort is being made here to ensure that this scholarship is accessible to a wide audience, many members of which may not read Russian.
I have but quickly skimmed in the book, often relying on the summaries. Among the essays that will be of particular interest for H-EarlySlavic is one by the late Victor Zhivov, arguing that there is no hard evidence Byzantine Hesychasm had any impact in Russia before Nil Sorskii. Given the emphasis of this volume on light and fire in belief, ritual and its setting, it is not surprising that hesychasm enters the discussion in other essays as well. A number of the essays focus on natural and artificial illumination within churches. I had been unaware that on Mt. Athos, certain liturgies involve the deliberate swinging or rotation of candelabra. A. V. Murav’ev’s essay on Old Believer attitudes regarding light and fire includes interesting material on the responses to the introduction of uniform, artificial (eventually electric) illumination by the official (Nikonian) Church. Among the most interesting essays is one by Vsevolod Rozhiatovskii in which he illustrates how the interior space of a church looks very different depending on time of day and whether the illumination is natural or artificial. The movement and resulting emphasis of light during the day was calculated to correlate with and reinforce the liturgy. Vladimir Sedov discusses the impact of the evolution of Russian church architecture in which the larger windows of Byzantine models shrank or were eliminated, or the positioning of windows changed. Galina Zelenskaia’s long essay on the Resurrection Cathedral of Patriarch Nikon’s New Jerusalem Monastery emphasizes how there was a conscious decision to open up as much of the space as possible to natural light, with results that differed from what the architecture of its model in Jerusalem may have achieved.
Other essays focus on Byzantine ceremonial, with Eleni Dimitriadou cautioning her readers at the outset that to enter Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia today is not to experience what Byzantine celebrants would have in the Church as originally planned — polished marble is dimmed with dirt, windows have been bricked up, of course most of the mosaic decoration is gone, and the artificial lighting on that which remains distorts how the images would have looked when illuminated by natural and/or lamp light coming from a different angle. In her essay and some of the others, ritual “performance” is an important consideration. Maria Cristina Carile’s essay attempts to reconstruct the effects of light on the no longer extant Byzantine Great Palace, in the process considering not only the interior spaces but the question of whether roofs were gilded or sheathed in lead (which, depending on the angle of the sun, can appear to be white). Even though Lidov’s comparative project has, as far as I know, not taken us to East Asia, I could not but think here of the fact that Liao Dynasty pagodas in northern China built in the 11th and 12th centuries often included mirrors on their exteriors. Studying the hierotopy of light in the Orthodox world undoubtedly could inspire new considerations of the interior spaces of Buddhist temples too, where it is clear their patrons and decorators were very much concerned with the effects produced by lighting and its close connection with ritual practice and belief.
Poated by Daniel C. Waugh <email@example.com>
New books on “modernization” and “europeanization”
Istoriia Rossii: teoreticheskie problemy. Vyp. 2. Modernizatsionnyi podkhod v izuchenii rossiiskoi istorii. Otv. red. A. S. Seniavskii. Moskva: Institut Rossiiskoi istorii RAN, 2013. 383 pp. ISBN 978-5-8055-0248-5.
T[at’iana] V[asil’evna] Chernikova. Evropeizatsiia Rossii vo vtoroi polovine XV-XVII vekakh: monografiia. Moskva: Izdatel’stvo MGIMO-Universitet, 2012. 944 pp. ISBN 978-5-9228-0876-7.
Let me be so bold as to suggest that most of the historians of Russia on this list who were trained in the West were introduced to their subject through the lens of “modernization” paradigms and have dealt in one way or another with questions of Russia’s “westernization” or “Europeanization.” Speaking for myself, that certainly is the case, my dissertation and various publications intended to contribute to the study of late Muscovite “westernization.” By their very nature these paradigms involve comparisons. Once I co-taught in a course comparing modernization in Russia and China, joining a colleague who, in addition to his major field in Qing history, had, like me, done a graduate field with Richard Pipes. I still think there are very interesting comparisons to be made between Peter the Great and the Kangxi Emperor. In my Imperial Russia course, I persuaded a student or two to write papers comparing Peter’s efforts at reform (a.k.a., “modernization,”) with those of Ottoman Sultans Selim III and Mahmud II.
In the Soviet Union, even though Western “modernization” paradigms, which became codified during the Cold War, were officially subjects for condemnation, ironically the prevailing Marxist orthodoxies were in fact but another variant of ideas about modernization which could trace their genealogies back through German Idealism and the Enlightenment and which, in various forms, had animated the Russian Intelligentsia and shaped the interpretations of many prominent pre-revolutionary Russian historians. Even though the collapse of the Soviet Union opened the doors to consideration of different interpretive approaches, little more than a decade ago, when I was confronting the question of what words I might use in Russian to discuss “modernization,” “modernity,” etc., it seemed that the Western terms still had no common equivalents. Somewhat perversely wanting apply to the Petrine era the idea of “non-modernity” (while doing penance for my earlier embrace of the “modernization” paradigm) and wanting to avoid calques, I settled on “ne-sovremennost’,” for which S. M. Kashtanov pointedly criticized me in a review. How quickly things change: as the books under review here show, “modernizatsiia” and even a bastardization such as “vesternizatsiia” (representing concepts that may overlap but are not identical) seem now to be quite acceptable.
Neither of these books has much new to say to those who were nursed on modernization approaches to Russian history. And in fact, as the authors of Modernizatsionnyi podkhod recognize, there is now a substantial body of scholarship suggesting we should leave the old paradigms behind, since they were so flawed in many ways. Indeed, the most interesting new scholarship on Russian history today has been doing precisely that. Nonetheless, as A. S. Seniavskii and his co-authors argue, it should be of interest at least for Russian scholars to see how those once-condemned theories just might provoke new ways of thinking about questions that never could be addressed by Marxist scholarship.
At first blush, there would seem to be little here for the historian of “pre-modern” Russia―Seniavskii’s opening essay, a tight, smart overview of modern Russian history down to the present that could be assigned to our students, clearly is animated by concerns about very recent history and the present. Those looking for anything of substance on Muscovy or the eighteenth century here will not find it, but I suspect they might just enjoy the author’s skewering of Jeffrey Sachs and those who adopted his ideas of shock therapy. Several of the other essays have an explicit modern focus.
Some authors do address the earlier history; I will mention but three of the contributions. V. V. Kerov takes up what might be considered the counter-intuitive case of the Old Believers and modernization, the question, of course, being how we parse their success as innovative entrepreneurs in a society where entrepreneurship was often hard to find. Not surprisingly, Max Weber does make a bow in one note. The essay concentrates on religious thought, but leaves one wanting a closer examination of the social basis for Old Believer commercial success, an issue which I think others have successfully explored. V. V. Alekseev’s essay addresses what he terms “protoindustrialization” and focuses on the example of the Demidovs’ iron works in the Urals. Again, a familiar topic: in the early going the Demidovs did manage to be at the forefront of the European iron industry, though eventually Russian production fell behind due to the failure to introduce new technologies and, as might have been emphasized, the cost of transportation. K. I. Zubkov’s contribution on the “Geopolitical Basis of Petrine Modernization of Russia” is concerned in the first instance with the theory and practice of mercantilism, a subject that provoked substantial disagreement (was Peter a mercantilist or not?). As, Zubkov suggests, some who claim Peter to be a mercantilist need to distinguish early and late phases of mercantilism, the first involving territorial expansion to control resources and develop markets, the second more focused on protectionist measures. I looked for, but did not find here, references to the work of Arcadius Kahan and Alexander Gerschenkron.
Modernizatsionnyi podkhod certainly is worth reading for what it tells us about the thinking of this new generation of Russian scholars. Even though they are not attempting to go into lengthy theoretical discussions or analyses of the Western literature (Russian readers might in fact wish to know more), for the most part they have done their homework. At very least the essays might persuade a reader that Henri Pirenne was right when he suggested to Marc Bloch that the two start their exploration of Stockholm with what was new: “If I were an antiquarian, I would have eyes only for old stuff, but I am a historian. Therefore I love life.” (Bloch, The Historian’s Craft, p. 43).
Tat’iana Vasil’evna Chernikova <http://www.mgimo.ru/users/document2519.phtml> teaches broadly on Russian History at the Moscow State Institute (University) of International Relations (under the aegis of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) <http://www.mgimo.ru/about/>, which published the book under review. While MGIMO began mainly as a training school for foreign service officers, it has now broadened its scope, although the emphasis still seems to be on “political economy.” Chernikova has co-authored the methodological guide for first-year students taking a semester-long seminar on Russian History <http://www.mgimo.ru/files/241384/history_russia_mo.pdf>. The recommended readings (all in Russian), include for the pre-modern period two Western scholars: George Vernadsky and, ironically perhaps, Richard Pipes. The Institute also apparently offers a course on Russian History in English, where the readings are entirely from Western literature in English.
Pipes’s Russia under the Old Regime lays the basis for Chernikova’s argument in her fat volume, although in many ways the books are quite dissimilar. Animated by Cold War modernization theory, he set out to expose the origins of the Communist political system as an extension of the “patrimonial system” of the Old Regime. Her goal is a more positive one, to make a strong case that Russia was part of Europe long before many have been willing to admit, but that at various points when Europeanization (a largely elite development, fostered from above) could have led to modernization (social, political and economic change which had a broader social base), it failed to do so. What Europeanization had been occurring merely strengthened the “patrimonial regime” (votchinnyi uklad) and prevented modernization. She looks for various analogies between Russia and the West (colonial expansion, involvement in international relations with the potential to lead to alliances, military modernization) which of themselves may not in fact say much about whether Russia was becoming “European.” Much of her attention understandably is on the hiring of foreign specialists, the development of international trade, and the growth of a foreign community in Russia. As a consequence of this, the culture and ideas of at least some of the Russian elite had changed significantly by the end of the 17th century, despite church-inspired efforts to prevent that from happening. All this, of course, is not news to us. In fact one of her favorite authors is V. O. Kliuchevskii, whose elegantly phrased distinction between “borrowing” and “influence” is invoked here to reinforce her argument. As had S. M. Solov’ev and Kliuchevskii, she finds the beginnings of Russian westernization well before the era of Peter the Great, but she goes them one step farther. She is more enthusiastic about the limited “westernizing reforms” and plans of the brief reign of Fedor Alekseevich (a critical point when history might have turned), than the efforts of Peter, who but strengthened the patrimonial regime with a vengeance and deepened the cultural divide between the elite and the mass of the population.
Many of my colleagues distance themselves from Pipes’s book, and some have in fact written explicit rebuttals of parts of his argument, although as Chernikova’s distressingly limited bibliography of works in English suggests, she is quite unaware of that scholarship. Indeed, not the least of the problems in her book is her selection of sources. The largest part of her primary source material is the foreign accounts of Muscovy, which she often quotes in extenso and excess (a single observation is never enough, even if we cannot be sure whether the third or fourth one is really independent of the first). When she gets into the 17th century, she finds a great deal of her evidence in a very few recent scholarly books (e.g., to her credit, T. A. Oparina [Inozemtsy v Rossii XVI-XVII vekov] and S. P. Orlenko [Vykhodtsy iz Za;adni Evropy v Rossii XVII v.], and the Russian translation of Jan Willem Veluwenkamp’s Archangel: Nederlandse ondernemers in Rusland). Among other things, we miss here a lot of important work on Muscovite diplomacy, and the institutional and human framework in which it operated. No one today should write about medicine in Muscovy relying on scholarship no more recent than 1907 and ignoring Sabine Dumschat’s Ausländische Mediziner. While periodically Chernikova mentions Muscovite translations of foreign books, there is no sustained effort to treat that important topic or, for that matter, come to grips with the facts regarding the history of publishing in Muscovy. Too often she falls back on textbookish treatments or popularizations, and often is hopelessly out of date. For example, her brief discussion of painting (pp. 764-9), focusing on the development of portraiture, relies on E. S. Ovchinnikova’s pioneering study published in 1955, even though more recent scholarship has abandoned Ovchinnikova’s attributions of some of the famous parsuny to Russians. Her “analysis” of new developments in Russian cartography in the 17th century (pp. 761-64) cannot see beyond the Kniga Bol’shomu Chertezhu, even though Semen Remezov would be a perfect example to illustrate important points she wishes to make. She cites none of the important works, new or old, on Russian geography. It is odd that the only mention of the “torgovyi chelovek” Arsenii Sukhanov here (p. 713) is for his “discovery” of Egypt for Russians. Chernikova lists all the volumes of the important series of vesti-kuranty, but her brief treatment of what they tell us (pp. 668-70) suggests she has not really read them or learned very much from the recent book by S. M. Shamin on the subject. She really should have used the most recent translation of Jacques Margeret’s account of the Smuta, rather than the earlier ones. In the process, from that new volume’s appendix on Conrad Bussow, she might have been forced to re-think her bold assertions as to how highly cultured Bussow was. Her point in doing so, incidentally (p. 331), is to justify why she is so comfortable in relying so heavily on the foreign sources, even as she seems unaware of many of the important critiques of them.
More disturbing is the way she cites certain authors in support of her points, without telling the reader those scholars were using the evidence to suggest just the opposite. Thus, Richard Pipes’s statistics on Russian urban growth, which he adduced to prove how little of it there was, are enlisted in the service of proving how much urbanization had advanced (cf. pp. 712-13 and Pipes, Russia, pp. 200-01). In general, Chernikova is wanting to attribute to a kind of Muscovite incipient middle class a much more modern sense of political awareness than the sources would seem to justify (cf. p. 497). Lindsey Hughes, frequently cited from the Russian translation of her book on Sophia, is invoked to confirm certain conclusions (by, among others, A. P. Bogdanov), where in fact she expressed skepticism as to whether we should take at face value what the sources say. Did Vasilii Golitsyn really think seriously about the abolition of serfdom as Foy de la Neuville claimed? Well, no (cf. here pp. 830-31, and Hughes Sophia [Engl. ed.], pp. 109-11).
As a compendium of a huge amount of material on the foreigners in Russia, Chernikova’s book has some value, but her interest too often is biographical, leaving one wanting more substance on what they actually did. This is the case, for example, in her treatment of those involved in the Tula iron works. She clearly has her favorites, dictated in part by the ease of writing page after page based on Oparina’s important book. I can share Chernikova's interest in Patrick Gordon, where the new publication and translation of his diary now make possible proper use of him as a source. That said, I think we need to ask questions as to how much we can safely generalize from what he tells us, and we certainly need to be more careful than she in citing him: his memo to V. V. Golitsyn on Russian southern policy in 1684 was a judiciously balanced treatment of pros and cons, not unequivocal support for the Crimean campaigns; and there is little reason to imply that it set the course for much of later Russian policy in the south (cf. pp. 658-59). For the most part Andrei Vinius the younger is but a coda to the book, but even his empathetic recent biographer, I. N. Iurkin, does not go so far as to claim for him fluency in Russian, German, Dutch, Latin, English, French and Greek, and surely most of his translation activity should not be characterized merely as his hobbi (cf. here pp. 835-36).
A good editor could have made this into a much better book. Pipes at least is focused. Chernikova rambles, backtracks, and in general includes a huge amount of irrelevant detail. She frequently lapses into clichés about backwardness or the opposite. More importantly, whereas the essays in Modernizatsionnyi podkhod really do point the way forward, even if telling us little we did not already know, Chernikova seems caught in a time warp somewhere between Kliuchevskii’s Kurs and Pipes’s Russia. Don’t ignore her book entirely though, as it might help you to appreciate the views of Russian consular officials who studied with her or more broadly Russian support for the current idea that Russia must reclaim its status as a “great power.”
First I want to thank Daniel Waugh for bringing so many new books to our attention, including the ninth of the Knizhnye tsentry Drevnei Rusi series, this one devoted to Kirillov-Belozerskii (Knizhnye tsentry Drevnei Rusi. Knizhniki i rukopisi Kirillo-Belozerskogo monastyria - 2014).
Among the chapters therein which he notes, is one by Elena. V. Romanenko (author of the excellent Nil Sorskii i traditsii russkogo monashestva – 2003), adds to our knowledge about Nil’s sources by elucidating his unattributed use of “Kassian Rimlianskii” (that is, John Cassian , c 360-423/5).
Indeed, Romanenko’s contribution, “Sviatiotcheskie istochniki sochinenii Prepodobnogo Nila Sorskogo” (pp. 52-63), does precisely that, and does it very well, but most of its information about Nil’s use of John Cassian, including the mystery of several passages that are in his original, but not in the Old Slavic “Kassian Rimlianskii” (or, for that matter, its immediate Greek intermediary source, as printed in the late 18th c. Philokalia), is found in my own 2008 book, Nil Sorsky. The Authentic Writings (= Cistercian Studies , Vol 221).
This notice does not aim to belittle Romanenko’s excellent scholarship, which I duly credit in my 2008 book, but if someone is interested in moving well beyond Fairy von Lilienfeld’s identification of Nil’s sources, I would suggest starting with the following:
- my “Nil Sorskii and Nikon of the Black Mountain, in Russian History/Histoire russe 33:2-3-4 (2006): 365-405. – this shows almost line by line how Nil adapted Nikon for (71% of) his Predanie, and how Nil employed Nikon in adapting John Climacus et al. in Slovo 1 of the so-called Ustav in typifying the stages of attacks by pomysly (logismoi – my transl: - urges).
- the sub-section of my 2008 Nil Sorsky: “The Centrality of Sources,” (pp. 68-80), where I discuss the known provenance and importance of every known source, and identify, where we have a “pseudo-” along with a real church father (such as Symeon the New Theologian) ; a “pseudo-” (again Symeon; also Neilos the Sinaite—really Evagrius of Pontus); and even a “pseudo-pseudo-” (Symeon Metaphrastes’s reworking of pseudo-Macarius of Egypt): in this section I refer to Nikon and John Cassian as “the two patristic elephants in the scriptorium whom Nil declined to mention, though they could not have been a secret to the better read” (p. 70).
- the next sub-section, “The Acolyte as Adapter” (pp. 80-83), where I show how Nil adapts others’ texts, even when he claims to cite them, and how he sometimes blends two or more sources. I end my paragraph identifying two dozen or so such combinations (involving 17 monastic fathers): “Such was Nil’s conscious, didactic, and artful pick and mix from the available ascetic salad bar” (p.83).
- and for the minute details, the translations in the 2008 book with all of the footnotes identifying sources, as much as possible in their medieval Slavic, as well as the Greek originals and a modern translation (pp. 113-256).
For sure, more work remains to be done on these patristic sources and those of other original Muscovite religious texts.
Posted by Daniel Waugh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
New book: Filiushkin on the invention of the Livonian War
A[leksandr] I[l’ich] Filiushkin. Izobretaia pervuiu voinu Rossi ii Evropy. Baltiiskie voiny vtoroi poloviny XVI v. glazami sovremennikov i potomkov. Studiorum Slavicorum Orbis, vyp. 6. Sankt-Peterburg: “Dmitrii Bulanin”, 2013. 880 pp., 282 ill., maps. ISBN 978-5-86007-726-3
This is the seventh monograph by Aleksandr Il’ich Filiushkin, one of the most productive Muscovite history specialists, who teaches at St. Petersburg University. His earlier books include one on titulature (reviewed at length by the late Isabel de Madariaga in Kritika 8/3 ) and both popular and academic and biographies of Prince Andrei Kurbskii. The latter includes a long “hermeneutic” phrase-by-phrase analysis and commentary on the letters to Ivan IV, emphasizing their use of scriptural references. The end product of that analysis is versions of the letters rendered as “translations/interpretations,” in which Filiushkin interpolates what he understands Kurbskii really meant. In important ways, that approach informs his analysis in his new book.
A substantial collection of essays Filiushkin edited, entitled Baltiiskii vopros v kontse XV-XVI vv., appeared in 2010, some of them anticipating the volume under review here. He has been working on this subject for nearly two decades and promises yet another book (“a large academic history of the Livonian War”) to which this massive volume is preliminary. In a sense, it constitutes the conventional review of the literature and sources that introduces many a monograph, but in fact it is far more than that, as the treatment is encyclopedic in its range. Even if concerned specifically with the parts of the primary sources which reflect on the war, he does a very good job of contextualizing each and every one of them. Filiushkin is not one to shrink from bold conclusions or innovative analytical approaches. Not the least of his qualifications is his command of an impressive array of the most relevant languages, something few others can boast.
The goal here is not to write a history of the war as such, with a full account of military campaigns and diplomacy. Rather, the subject is the “invention” or imagining of what contemporaries, especially in Muscovy, seem not to have viewed as a single quarter-century-long conflict, but rather as a series of distinct episodes. Since initially the events of the 1550s tended to be seen as merely the continuation of the earlier history of international relations in the region, even defining the beginning of “the war” was problematic. What started as a possibly minor, localized problem quickly expanded, but at each stage there was little sense that the conflicts were all part of a larger cataclysmic event. As events unfolded and the dramatis personae changed, at least the Western response to what was happening shifted substantially. As much as anything, the war was important for its role in shaping what came to be the common Western treatment of Muscovy as the barbarian “other.” Within Russia the idea that the conflicts together constituted a single, major and disastrous chapter in Ivan’s reign, developed fully only in the writings of Russian historians of the 19th century; that narrative has continued to dominate in almost all subsequent scholarship. Western attempts to treat the conflicts in some kind of coherent and linked fashion began to appear not long after it had ended. As Filiushkin points out, ironically it is the Western sources which have done so much to shape Russian perceptions of the war; whereas to study it using in the first instance Muscovite documents is in a sense still a task for the future (i.e., the one he plans to tackle in his next volume).
Since his focus is the primary sources, Filiushkin treats the secondary literature in somewhat cursory fashion. Importantly, he emphatically rejects the common assumption that Muscovy’s goal, connected with economic interests, was to gain warm-water access to a Baltic port. In fact, he insists, nothing in the Russian sources supports such an idea, much less any notion that the Muscovite military actions were intended from the start to result in permanent occupation of Baltic territories. In dismissing these ideas common to most modern treatments of Ivan’s reign, he comes across as rather harsh in particular on Anna Khoroshkevich’s work, even as he frequently draws upon it. He feels hers exemplifies a kind of “liberal” romanticized interpretation common in the immediate post-Soviet period. More generally, he expresses little sympathy for reading earlier history through the lens of present concerns.
He makes it clear that his approach to this material is not unique. For example, Reinhard Frötschner has recently taken a similar approach, writing about a “Glaubenskrieg,” although possibly in fact reflecting the influence of Filiushkin’s own views. Without engaging in distracting excurses into the theoretical and methodological literature, Filiushkin plunges into his discourse analysis (using throughout that good Russian term diskurs). That is fine by me, though I do have to wonder a bit when he characterizes as “feminist discourse” some of the sixteenth-century propaganda that used examples of violence to women to underscore the barbarity of Muscovite actions.
Filiushkin systematically examines first the Russian sources and then the Western ones, summarizing often in some detail and with extended quotations of what each one in turn had to say about the war. While he explicitly states that his goal is not to determine how accurate each source is, perforce in many cases while contextualizing the sources, he has to comment on their accuracy. Perceptions here in the first instance are what is important. The Russian sources (chronicles, epistles, diplomatic documents) are in many ways quite uniform in their treatment of the conflicts (especially in their religious justifications for Muscovite policy), at the same time that they lack the depth and variety of the Western sources. Indeed, the Russian material has major lacunae, not necessarily because “much has been lost” but rather because much of what was happening was probably perceived as not meriting special comment. He supplements the standard published Russian sources with a considerable amount of archival material, a reminder of how key parts of the documentation for 16th-century Muscovite history as yet remain in manuscript.
Filiushkin admits that the quantity of western material is much greater, much of it unpublished and unstudied (e.g., private correspondence, scattered in all too many collections). Hence, perhaps a bit modestly considering the scope of what he does here, he feels he can but point the way to its future analysis. That analysis, he suggests, must employ a whole team of scholars competent in a dozen languages. His treatment of the western material focuses to a considerable degree on the “usual suspects” (among the most influential, Balthasar Rüssow), although where possible he draws on published archival documents that may not be familiar to most readers. I found his pages on Livonian correspondence of particular interest in this regard. To a considerable degree the responses to the conflict reflected not so much foreign policy concerns as domestic ones. This is especially clear in the Polish, Lithuanian and Livonian sources, where Catholic or Protestant sympathies were often the defining factor in the discussions. Discussion of the war often seems to have provided merely a rhetorical framework for addressing very different concerns.
Among the texts considered here are Western pamphlets and news sheets, precursors of regular newspapers. They were a key source of anti-Muscovite propaganda and did much to carve in stone what became the standard perceptions about Muscovite tyranny. As much as anything this was a propaganda war. Filiushkin clearly appreciates the significance of what some argue was the communications revolution embodied in such publications. He is indebted to the pioneering study by Andreas Kappeler which appeared nearly half a century ago (Ivan Groznyj im Spiegel der ausländischen Druckschriften seiner Zeit) and to the recent treatment of the shaping of the Western image of Muscovy by Stéphane Mund (Orbis Russiarum). Importantly, the relationship between Western muscovitica and turcica, which they and others have noted, gets full play here, since it is essential for our understanding of how the image of Russia developed. (As an aside, I should mention that years ago I offered an undergraduate seminar on “the barbarous kingdome” and “the terrible Turke,” which treated this literature comparatively. A spokesman for an organization defending the image of Turks saw the course title and came by to give me a lecture, thinking I was engaged in defaming them. I launched into a summary of the material from my dissertation on Muscovite turcica; he quickly got bored and left. Can’t blame him.)
150 pages of appendices follow the main text, several of them containing reprints of primary sources (with accompanying analytical introductions) published by Filiushkin and V. E. Popov; others publishing for the first time some key archival documents. The primary goal is to make the material readily available in Russian translation. Nonetheless, one might wish that the source publications had included all the non-Russian originals (where they exist) and might question decisions about which one of multiple copies to publish.
The book is illustrated throughout with more than 200 (!) decent black-and-white images of contemporary engravings, title pages, and modern photos of the remains of fortresses and buildings. Also, there is an insert of high quality color plates, most being miniatures from the Muscovite Litsevoi svod. While there are geographic and name indexes, alas, there is no bibliography.
A number of people subscribed to H-EarlySlavic are more qualified than I to write the long and serious review(s) this important book deserves. Perhaps my notes here will encourage them to consider doing so. I hope that Filiushkin completes his history of the Baltic wars, although I would argue that what he does in this volume is much more stimulating than any detailed history of campaigns and the diplomacy of the period is likely to be.
Posted by Daniel C. Waugh <email@example.com>
The new volume of Knizhnye tsentry Drevnei Rusi.
Knizhnye tsentry Drevnei Rusi: Knizhniki i rukopisi Kirillo-Belozerskogo monastyria. Redkol. N. V. Ponyrko, S. A. Semiachko. Sankt-Peterburg: Izd-vo. “Pushkinskii dom”, 2014. 440 pp. + 32 color plates. ISBN 978-5-91476-056-1.
The ninth volume of this valuable series is the second devoted specifically to the St.Cyril-Beloozero Monastery. Three previous volumes have focused on the Solovki Monastery, one on the St. Joseph-Volokolamsk Monastery, and three on various scriptoria. The often long articles in these volumes range in focus from codicological analysis, the study and publication of individual texts, or the activities of individual bookmen to more general compendia providing essential reference material for future studies of some of the most important Muscovite scriptoria. It is not coincidental that the first of these volumes appeared in the year the Soviet Union collapsed, and that in part as a consequence of that event, the emphasis in much of the material is on religious texts that previously had not received due attention. One of the editors here, S. A. Semiachko, introduces her essay relating to the writings of the most famous of the Kirillov bookmen, Efrosin, with a pointed reminder of how the scholar who first really cast a spotlight on him, the eminent medievalist Ia. S. Lur’e, perforce focused on what his manuscripts tell us about “secular” interests in pre-modern Russia and dismissed as uninteresting the works of largely “religious” content.
Indeed Efrosin looms large here, given his apparently encyclopedic interests reflected in manuscripts that securely have been attributed to him and described in some detail. Apart from those large miscellanies largely in his own hand, it turns out, as M. A. Shibaev documents in his “Predvaritel’nyi spisok avtografov Kirillo-Belozerskogo knizhnika Efrosina,” that there are a good many others in which Efrosin personally added edits or commentary. N. V. Ponyrko’s contribution to Efrosiniana here is a very interesting article on the evidence that an important facet of his activity was that of “ustavshchik i liturgist.” Indeed he seems to have had a particular interest in liturgical music. Semiachko’s essay which follows is part of an ongoing study (she has several other recent articles on the subject) on the parts of Efrosin’s writings on monastic life which draw on the compendium “Starchestvo.” For all of his prominence as a monastic bookman, we know little for sure about his biography before he took monastic vows. In the earlier (2008) volume of Knizhnye tsentry devoted to the Kirillov Monastery, A. G. Bobrov elaborated at length on his hypothesis that Efrosin was Ivan Dmitrievich, son of Prince Dmitrii Iur’evich Shemiaka. As Bobrov admits in his essay here, few have supported his idea; so he sets out to provide at least some additional indirect evidence by reviewing the insertions by Efrosin (in his own hand) of information about his putative princely relatives that most likely could have come only from family traditions. Whether or not one is convinced about Efrosin’s lineage, of particular interest here will be the discussion of how the epithet “Kalita” came to be applied (long after his death) to Moscow Prince Ivan Danilovich.
Another of the very interesting essays here is the opening one by T. B. Karabasova and E. E. Shevchenko on the Abbreviated Vita of St. Cyril of Beloozero, a text which had always been in the shadow of the long vita composed by Pakhomii the Serb. They conclude that the text probably originated either in the Kirillov Monastery or in Nil Sorskii’s hermitage and was composed by someone close to Nil. Its later manuscript history is of some interest because of its connections with other prominent Muscovite bookmen; arguably the copying and spread of the text in the 17th century is to be connected with a move to canonize Nil. The article includes a description of the key manuscripts and publication of a critical text.
Scholars who work on Nil Sorskii will find E. V. Romanenko’s article discussing Nil’s use of the writings on early Church fathers to be of real interest, as Romanenko expands considerably what we know about the repertoire of those sources. Fairy von Lilienfeld had compiled statistics of the writers most frequently cited by Nil, but in the process missed some of real importance such as Kassian Rimlianin. Romanenko’s second essay here caught my attention. Its subject is a late Muscovite text concerning a miracle-working icon associated with the veneration of Nil Sorskii. While Romanenko admits the argument is somewhat hypothetical, she traces the source for the tale to depositions made by Moscovite captives of the Tatars who escaped and were then interrogated on their return to Muscovy. Some of these tales include references to divine intervention in response to prayer and then a commitment to paint or at least commission an icon that would be donated to a saint’s monastery.
There is much more here. For example, three articles bring to our attention little-known bookmen of the Kirillov monastery and thus help us to appreciate how its rich library was drawn upon down through the decades. In some cases, the evidence convincingly points to the use of Efrosin’s own autograph manuscripts. A. A. Romanova’s publication of the late 17th-century manuscript listing loans from the library (“Knigi rozdatochnye”) extends our knowledge of its contents based on a whole series of earlier inventories which have survived and, of course, helps document the important subject of readership.
Lastly, I would note E.M. Iukhimenko’s “Neizvestnyi pamiatnik pozdnei palomicheskoi literatury: Khozhdenie po Rossii ustiuzhskogo meshchanina Petra Ivanova Tipukhina v 1813-1822 gg.” As Iukhimenko’s discussion and publication of a long excerpt suggest, that text surely merits full publication. Over a decade, in various separate trips, Tipukhin managed to visit most of the important religious sites (and many lesser ones) in European Russia. He recorded all this in often precise detail, the result of value, inter alia, as evidence concerning church architecture, relics and wonder-working icons, and much more. Illustrating the article are 23 excellent recent color photographs of many of the churches he described and a few photos of the modern pilgrims who still visit them.
The superb color plates in this volume, including photographs of manuscript pages, are visual testimony to how far Russian scholars have been able to move beyond the constraints of the “bad old days” when the religious content of Muscovite writings might have to be dismissed as “uninteresting” and the production values of academic books left a great deal to be desired.
Posted by Daniel Waugh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The 2011 volume of Drevneishie gosudarstva
Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy. 2011 god. Ustnaia traditisiia v pis’mennom tekste. Otv. red. G. V. Glazyrina. Moskva: Russkii Fond Sodeistviia Obrazovaniiu i Nauke [& Universitet Dmitriia Pozharksogo], 2013. 592 pp. ISBN 978-5-91244-107-3.
Readers might join the editors (headed by E. A. Mel’nikova) in taking as the starting point for this volume the very brief essay by S. M. Kashtanov (pp. 218-20). His response to the question posed in his title (“Est’ li u medievista ‘ustnye istochniki’?”) is an unequivocal “Net!” in the sense that medieval oral sources come down to us only in written form. Thus, these “oral tales …[are] not a source for the history of early times, but a form of folk historiography.” ln their preface then, apparently construing Kashtanov’s remarks as unduly negative, the editors argue that for much of the early history of northern and eastern Europe (not to mention other areas, depending on what period one is studying), we have no choice but to try to extract from the written records of what may have been “folk historiography” that which may be based on some historical reality or at least allows us to write about the mental world of those responsible for the texts. The focus of this volume then is to address issues of how that might best be done. The next volume in the series (for 2012) is already out and apparently will have a similar focus on the relationship between oral and written text. (I expect to post a note about it at some later date.)
The range of the essays here is broad—a lot on early Scandinavian sources, a lot on early Rus, material on both Western and Byzantine church texts, material on early Greek texts, and essays of some substance on Arabic sources. I can but comment briefly on a few of the articles.
The most abstractly methodological one is by Iu. A. Kleiner, “Ustnaia traditisiia i traditsiia fiksirovannykh tekstov,” in which he engages in a dialogue with Milman Parry and Albert Bates Lord, and to a lesser degree with M. I. Steblin-Kamenskii. At very least this has to sensitize us to the question of how we should try to understand the different traditions which govern the transmission and reception of oral and written texts.
V. A. Arutiunova-Findanian and A. S. Shchavelev write about the apparent coincidence between the well-known tale of the founding of Kiev in the Povest’ vremennykh let (PVL) and the Armenian “History of Taron,” a subject that has provoked much scholarly debate. They leave open several possibly interpretations, apparently favoring the idea that there was some common folkloric source, possibly transmitted (via the Alans) to Kiev.
A. B. Van’kova posits that early Byzantine vitae may transmit some aspects of monastic typika which were never in fact formally written down. O. V. Gusakova’s essay on the cult of St. Edmund, King of East Anglia, who was killed by the Vikings in 869, explores the possible relationship between oral tradition and the written vita.
For students of early Rus, T. V. Gimon’s monograph-length essay “Ian’ Vyshatich i ustnye istochniki drevnerusskoi Nachal’noi letopisi” should be of particular interest. He carefully reviews the historiography concerning what PVL contains about Ian’, cited as a source of oral information the chronicler wrote down. There are thorny issues here of Ian’s genealogy, and a larger question of the source of the Novgorod information in the Chronicle. Gimon concludes, inter alia, that pace Shakhmatov, there was no Novgorodian chronicle compendium in the hands of the compiler of the Nachal’nyi svod of ca. 1093, and that the entries cited in support of Shakhmatov’s view could easily have been transmitted in Kiev orally. As Gimon explains, his article to a considerable degree was written as an extended commentary on and response to one by D. S. Likhachev (in Istoricheskie zapiski 17 ) on the oral sources for PVL. Gimon supports many of Likhachev’s main points, while disagreeing with some of his observations about the genealogical connections and whether Ian’s father had also provided information to the chronicler.
Also of substantial interest for the historian of Rus are the articles by N. F. Kotliar on the Galician tradition in the 12th-century Kievan svod (the continuation of PVL) and P. V. Lukin’s article discussing whether the pagan “reform” by Prince Vladimir recorded in the chronicle reflects mainly oral or written traditions. There is something here for the Muscovite specialist in L. V. Stoliarova and P. V. Belousov’s discussion of Jerome Horsey’s account about death of Tsarevich Dmitrii in Uglich in 1591.
For me, some of the most intriguing essays concern the representations of space, real and imagined. Here I would note F. V. Glazyrina’s article on the treatment of imaginary landscapes in the “Saga of Eirik the Traveler”; T. N. Dzhakson and A. V. Podosinov’s contribution on the name for the Sea of Azov in Scandinavian sources; T. M. Kalinina’s discussion of the ethnonym “Burdzhan” in medieval Arabic geographies; and I. G. Konovalova’s contribution on the methodology of analyzing data about itineraries recorded in such geographies. All of these authors have published important earlier work on related subjects, with the work by Konovalova and Podosinov of particular interest for questioning common assumptions about early cartography.
Finally (and I emphasize, this does not exhaust the contents of the volume) I note two contributions by E. A. Mel’nikova, the first, her long essay on the Christianity of the Vikings in early Scandinavian oral tradition and in the evidence recorded by contemporaries. Her second contribution here may be deemed trivial: analysis of a recently discovered Runic inscription (“Arinbard carved these runes”) on a windowsill in the Cathedral of Haghia Sophia in Istanbul. They were found by Iu. A. Artamonov and A. A. Gippius as they were documenting the Cyrillic graffiti in the church in 2009. For me, as I am about to re-visit Haghia Sophia, which I understand finally is free of the scaffolding in its interior, this is a particularly intriguing bit of news.
Posted by Daniel C. Waugh <email@example.com>
Kashtanov’s new study of princely proto-chanceries
S[ergei] M[ikhailovich] Kashtanov. Issledovaniia po istorii kniazheskikh kantseliarii srednevekovoi Rusi. Moskva: Nauka, 2014. 674 pp. ISBN 978-5-02-035519-4.
It has been more than four decades since Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Zimin introduced me (a non-entity graduate student) to Sergei Mikhailovich, his most accomplished student and already then one of the leading Russian medievalists. Little did I know then that Zimin had been fighting bitter battles to keep the subject of diplomatics in the curriculum at the Moscow Historical-Archival Institute. Those battles presumably were reflected in some of what Sergei Mikhailovich wrote in the 1960s that suggested there was something like “Marxist diplomatics.” I subsequently was so bold as to write a review of SM’s important Ocherki russkoi diplomatiki (Slavic Review 32/1 (1973): 158-60). Much later, Sergei Mikhailovich generously took time out from his busy schedule to produce a formal otzyv at my department’s request when I was being considered for promotion on the eve of my retirement and then published a version of it as an extended review of my 2003 monograph on Viatka.
I wish I could reciprocate here with an equally penetrating review of his new book, which in important ways might be considered the capstone of his career. Arguably though, for such a review we would need to identify a reincarnation of, say, A. S. Lappo-Danilevskii (1863-1919) and give him several decades to review everything Sergei Mikhailovich has written pertaining to the subject at hand (not to mention a vast corpus of work by Western medievalists). It might take that long, since a decade ago when a Festschrift was published in SM’s honor, his bibliography of scholarly publications already exceeded 600 items. (See the excellent, detailed review of Kashtanov’s career and publications by L. V. Stoliarova in Ad Fontem / U istochnika: Sbornik statei v chest’ Sergeia Mikhailovicha Kashtanova [M.: Nauka, 2005]: 7-77.)
The title of this volume is a bit misleading, as the author himself makes clear at the outset when he boldly states that there was nothing in medieval Rus resembling a princely chancery akin to that which can be documented in the medieval West. What one has is at best “proto-chanceries.” By his definition, the Muscovite prikazy do not constitute a “princely chancery”; so he is not concerned here with studying their histories. Indeed, the approach here in the first instance is not to attempt to study institutions that did not exist, but rather to study the form and procedures of the production of documents—that is, engage in diplomatic analysis. An appropriate sub-title to the book might have been Ocherki russkoi diplomatiki, T. 2, in that, as the author states, he cannot pretend to have covered all aspects of the subject but rather is offering a series of essays on particular problems. That form is bound to challenge many readers, in part because so much of the analysis is technical in its detail, and in part because there is often little in the way of summary and generalization. For a coherent exposition of the subject of diplomatics, the history of its scholarship, and methodologies of its application to Russian material, one should consult Sergei Mikhailovich’s textbook, Russkaia diplomatika (M.: “Vysshaia shkola,” 1988).
A further challenge here for some readers will be to figure out how much of the material is really “new” and how much largely a reprint of Sergei Mikhailovich’s earlier publications. I have only begun to check against some of them, and find that long sections are verbatim reprints. Some of the material―for example in his chapter on the treaties with Byzantium that were copied into the Primary Chronicle―is pre-figured in his Iz istorii russkogo srednevekovogo istochnika. Akty X-XVI vv. (M.: Nauka, 1996). His treatment of the 16th-century documents of Muscovite communication with the monasteries on Mt. Athos reproduces his contributions to the important volume Rossiia i grecheskii mir v XVI veke, T. 1 [M.: Nauka, 2004], for which, inter alia, he went to Mt. Athos to examine the manuscripts still preserved there. Of course there is nothing wrong with this, since having so many important studies by SM in one place is a boon, especially where there has been some updating, some expansion of ones only partially published previously, and, the inclusion of some apparently previously unpublished chapters. It would have been nice though had there been a more explicit indication of the relationship between the current essays and the earlier publications. Something like a retrospective self-analysis of the development of his ideas on this material would have been most welcome.
Typically these essays contain an overview of scholarship on a particular set of documents or particular problem in the analysis of their contents, an examination of what we know about the dating, provenance and preservation, and then formal diplomatic analysis of some part of the documents (e.g., the form of certification, the preambles to wills, the intitulatio or invocation, etc.). One of my personal favorites here is the chapter reviewing all the evidence for the earliest use of paper in Russian document production, analysis which falls outside any narrow definition of diplomatics as the study of form, but is of interest for any overview of the evolution of chancery practice. Sergei Mikhailovich has long been a notable practitioner of the careful study of paper evidence. I also found of great interest the chapter on the Siberian component of the titulature of the Muscovite rulers in the 16th and 17th centuries, in which he clarifies the chronology of the evolution of Muscovite claims. We find in other chapters insights into the role of the Metropolitanate in documentary production and how that changed with increasing princely control over the church. There is material on the way falsification of documents became an important concern in the Muscovite period and much more.
An important feature of Sergei Mikhailovich’s work is his deep acquaintance with Western medieval scholarship. Over the years he was able to attend major congresses of medievalists, and he then would publish often very detailed accounts of their proceedings, something which has to have been a great boon to those who were not so privileged to travel and which surely had a significant impact on the methodologies used by Russian scholars. Many of the essays in this volume are heavy with comparative material from the medieval West, since an important aspect of diplomatic analysis may be to explore whether documentary forms adhered to general norms or how they differed (and why). In the first long appendix to the book are several of Sergei Mikhailovich’s reviews of the western congresses’ proceedings, with the inclusion of, if not the full text, then at least an extended summary of the paper he gave which may have appeared in print only in French or German.
The third appendix is a monograph in itself, the publication of the previously unpublished but important treaty of 1535 between Muscovy and the Livonian Order. Prefacing the critical Russian and German texts is a lengthy introduction setting the historical context and describing in fine detail the manuscripts (even to the inclusion of drawings of the way the pendant seals were affixed). There are word indexes for both the Russian and German and a terminological glossary that lists the equivalents in the two languages.
At the end of the book is an index of personal names.
I can only begin to suggest the richness of what this volume contains. I would stress that it is not aimed at a “general reader”: Sergei Mikhailovich takes no prisoners. While in Russian scholarship there are many other examples of diplomatic analysis, no one I can think of has applied it as precisely as has Sergei Mikhailovich and with such a deep knowledge of the whole shape of the field, East and West. Of course this is not the last word on Russian chancery practice, as he has clearly indicated. What we have here are solid foundations and much of the structure above the ground, a structure that, unlike the Cathedral of the Dormition in the Moscow Kremlin when the first effort to rebuild it under Ivan III occurred, is not going to collapse.
Posted by Daniel C. Waugh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Postnikov's Pskov Museum document catalogue
A[rsenii] B[orisovich] Postnikov. Drevlekhranilishche Poskovskogo muzeia. Obozrenie russkikh rukopisnykh dokumentov XVI-XVIII vv. Moskva:BuksMArt, 2013. 976 pp + 76 color plates. ISBN 978-5-906190-08-6.
One can almost visualize the compiler of this magnificent volume, A. V. Postnikov, spending years on end in the pose of the copyist shown in the frontispiece depicting a monastery scriptorium, a miniature in one of the Pskov Museum’s illuminated books from the early 18th century. Known previously primarily from a number of articles in local history publications, Postnikov has performed a great service. The nearly thousand pages here in large format include:
- A history of the collection and previous efforts at its systematization and cataloguing.
- A description of more than 1200 documents in nearly 200 files of the Museum, the earliest dated 1538, the most recent early 19th century.
- Some 175 pp. of detailed personal and geographic name indexes.
- A generous selection of excellent color plates sampling across a range of the documents.
In compiling his catalogue, Postnikov undertook further systematization of the collection, where often documents had been mis-filed and in some cases cannibalized for use in the re-binding of books. He is describing here individual akty and various categories of administrative and legal paper, but not literary and religious manuscripts, which had been described in two volumes by N. P. Osipova in 1991. Her catalogue of printed Cyrillic books in the collection appeared in 1985, but she never completed her catalogue of Old Believer manuscripts.
The descriptions here follow the current standards for such catalogues. The entries are grouped under three main categories: state institutions, religious institutions, and personal fondy. Within each of these categories are subdivisions for individual offices, individual monasteries and churches, and private collections. Descriptions provide ample detail to indicate clearly contents, inscriptions, dating, etc. Where a copy book with multiple sections or documents is involved, the entry lists all the individual parts. Generally the indications of watermarks are cryptic, with apparently no effort made to identify them in standard albums. Where there is other indication of dates, of course, this may be irrelevant, though I suppose someone might like to know more about patterns of paper usage in Pskov. One goal Postnikov had was to provide a clear indication of the state of preservation of each manuscript, in order to identify which ones need more immediate attention for survival; so there is rubric on “preservation” at the end of each entry.
This imposing volume takes me back in memory to my only visit to Pskov, in the cold of November 1968, when we had to travel after dark by train from Leningrad in order not to be able to see anything strategic along the way. We arrived in the middle of the night and walked the snowy streets to our lodging. The river next to the fortress had just frozen over enough for youngsters to be playing hockey on it the next day. The trip was memorable for a visit to Izborsk and to Pechory, where we were conducted through the caves below the monastery by candle light. And it also was memorable for a too brief visit to the Pskov Museum, where for some in our group the excitement was its having on display a painting by Marc Chagall at a time when exhibiting him in the USSR was verboten. I suspect none of us appreciated the fact that the Museum’s collection of old manuscripts, which since has grown, is a major one, to which, thanks to Postnikov (and, earlier, Osipova) we now have access. Postnikov’s volume belongs on the shelf of every serious Slavic collection.
Posted by Daniel Waugh <email@example.com>.
Fedorova’s edition of Mikołaj Radziwill’s Peregrinacya in its Muscovite translation
I[rina] V[ladimirovna] Fedorova. “Puteshestvie v Sviatuiu Zemliu i Egipet” kniazia Nikolaia Radzivilla i vostochnoslavianskaia palominicheskaia literatura XVII-nachala XVIII v. Issledovanie i tekst. Sankt-Peterburg: Izdatel’stvo “Pushkinskii Dom,” 2014. 608 pp. + 6 pp. color insert. ISBN 978-5-91476-059-2.
Were I one of Irina Fedorova’s parents, to whom she dedicates her book, I would be hugely pleased at the tribute this scrupulously edited and informative volume offers.
Radziwill’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land was undertaken to fulfill a vow he made when recovering from a serious illness in 1575. His obligations (notably, he was in Stefan Bathory’s army when it besieged Polotsk and Pskov in 1581-82) delayed his departure so that his travels took place in 1582-84. Tomasz Treter took his narrative of the pilgrimage in hand, edited it into the form of several long letters, and published the result in Latin (1st ed. 1601). A German translation was printed in 1603 and a Polish translation in 1607. The book was certainly popular, judging from the number of subsequent reprints. While there is some uncertainty about the date of the Muscovite translation, Fedorova cogently argues it was made in 1677 (from the Polish edition of 1628), and most of the manuscript copies of its text date from the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Copies were in the Patriarchal treasury in Moscow, in the library of A. T. Likhachev (Tsarevich Aleksei Alekseevich’s tutor), Evfimii Chudovskii, Archbishop Afanasii of Kholmogory, and a bit later in the Arkhangel’skoe library of Dmitrii Mikhailovich Golitsyn. Copies of the Latin and Polish editions are also known to have been in the collections of several important Muscovite bookmen. A new Russian translation was produced and published in the 18th century, and a careful edition of the Muscovite translation (based on Evfimii’s manuscript) was published with very useful annotation by P. A. Gil’tebrandt in 1879, an edition that was reprinted in Riazan’ in 2009.
Even though the text has attracted the attention of scholars who write on Russian pilgrimage literature, as Fedorova argues, it has not to date received a really thorough analysis in a comparative framework, nor had there been a proper annotated edition, such as is offered here, based on all the manuscripts. She distinguishes three redactions of the Muscovite translation, the primary one being a literal translation of the Polish text. What she calls the “Pilgrimage redaction” merely adds occasional material from the marginal annotations of the Polish text which had not been included in the primary redaction. The third redaction is one done personally by Evfimii Chudovskii, who apparently was preparing the text for a publication that never appeared. Evfimii made some stylistic changes and completed the process of incorporating some of the marginal notations the translator had omitted. Fedorova’s critical edition here then is the primary redaction, with variants from the other redactions included in notes.
Apart from her introduction concerning Radziwill and the history of his text, she has a chapter documenting her analysis of the redactions and the expected archaeographic description of the manuscripts. The bulk of her lengthy and heavily documented introductory essay is devoted to contextualizing Radziwill’s account with reference to medieval and Baroque pilgrimage accounts. She follows Radziwill on his journey, noting carefully where his descriptions are similar to or differ from the other well-known (and some lesser known) pre-modern Russian (and occasionally other) pilgrimage accounts. While in many ways his is typical of the medieval devotional narratives, in other respects (especially when he moves on to Egypt from the Holy Land), he provides more of a documentary descriptive record. For the well-known holy sites, even though he is concerned to relate his personal impressions in visiting them, he consciously limits his detail if other pilgrims (with whose work he was familiar) had already described them. The concluding chapter of Fedorova’s introduction makes for particularly interesting reading, as she is arguing that earlier approaches to pilgrimage accounts, which had emphasized the generic features of them, now must give way to a fuller analysis and contextualization of each individual text if we are to be able to write a true literary history of it. She admits that even for Radziwill there is still much that can be done in this regard.
Her notes to her edition of the text are impressively thorough. Some merely explain each and every person or place reference or term, but others quote descriptions of the same specific locations from other pilgrimage narratives. She complements the notes with numerous illustrations from period engravings and prints and from illuminated manuscripts of some of the well-known medieval Russian texts. The insert of well-printed color plates includes several pages from different manuscripts of the Muscovite translation, a couple of plates from the Polish edition (one with Radziwill’s portrait), and several of the color city images in the well-known 1575 publication of Civitates Orbis Terrarum. One goal here is to illustrate the different ways Western and Russian artists visualized the landscapes and sites the pilgrims visited. There are indexes of personal names and of geographic locations and holy sites.
The format of this edition is similar to that of the long-established series “Literaturnye pamiatniki,” in which there have been several recent editions of pre-modern Russian travel accounts. The availability of these good annotated text editions and a growing body of scholarship on this literature is a boon to those who are interested in the so-called “transitional” period between the “medieval” and the “modern” in Russia. Clearly Radziwill’s text, which seems to have a foot in both worlds, fitted nicely into the context of changing literary norms and cultural interests in late Muscovy.
Posted by Daniel Waugh firstname.lastname@example.org
The new Katalog pamiatnikov drevnerusskoi pis’mennosti
Katalog pamiatnikov drevnerusskoi pis’mennosti XI-XIV vv. (rukopisnye knigi). Otv. red. D. M. Bulanin. [Sost. D. M. Bulanin, A. A. Romanova, O. V. Tvorogov, F. Tomson, A. A. Turilov.] S.-Peterburg: “Dmitrii Bulanin”, 2014, 944 pp. (Studiorum slavicorum orbis, vyp. 7). ISBN 978-5-86007-759-1.
This welcome volume is intended to fill the gap between two other fundamental reference works which have different purposes: the multi-volume Slovar’ knizhnikov i knizhnosti Drevnei Rusi (SKKDR), and the Svodnyi katalog slaviano-russkikh rukopisnykh knig, khraniashchikhsia v SSSR XI-XIII vv. with its ongoing continuation for the 14th and early 15th centuries. The largest part of the book is a substantially revised version of Oleg Viktorovich Tvorogov’s “Drevnerusskaia knizhnost’ XII-XIV vekov. Katalog pamiatnikov,” published in three installments in TODRL, vols. 56, 57, and 59 between 2004 and 2008, a compilation all the more remarkable for its representing the work of a single individual. To appreciate Tvorogov’s “encyclopedism” of a rather traditional type that may seem out of step in the 21st century, one might start here with Dmitrii Bulanin’s essay on pp. 915-35, which tells us as much about Bulanin’s personal take on such artefacts of the modern age as Wikipedia as it does about Tvorogov’s hugely impressive contributions over the years. Even as Bulanin, in his introduction to this volume, rather discursively explains how the revised edition differs from Tvorogov’s original, he admits that whatever reservations he and others might have about Tvorogov’s organizational scheme, no one has stepped forth with a substitute for it. So, in practical terms, short of waiting for an imagined collective project of the future which might re-do the whole thing from scratch, the most sensible tactic was to work within the given framework. Tvorogov’s starting point was the preliminary listing of Slaviano-Russian manuscripts in the USSR published back in the 1960s. Of course much has changed since then. So for this edition, there are many new entries, new information on dating, some omissions of items no longer considered to be of East Slavic provenance, and a thorough updating of bibliographic references. The bibliography alone here occupies 160 pages.
Even though the collective nature of the editorial revisions is emphasized, left unclear is the organization and delegation of responsibility in that work. Bulanin comes across as slightly apologetic for exercising his authority as the responsible editor, though the tone of his remarks should not surprise those who have read his introspective long essay added to the most recent volume of SKKDR.
What we have then is entries arranged under headings starting with biblical texts and moving through service books, florilegia (whose contents in the most important cases are also analyzed into separate entries under the appropriate subjects), patristics, hagiography, etc. As Bulanin explains, how to treat florilegia, of themselves in many cases specific genres, is an interesting question. For certain major compilatory works such as synaxaria (prologi), in the future it will still be necessary to do further analytical breakdowns to complete the catalogue all the individual parts they contain. As partial compensation for that, S. A. Davidova provides in an appendix here a listing of the incipits of all the didactic readings of the Prolog in copies of the 13th-15th centuries. Given uncertainties about dating, some flexibility has been allowed to accommodate works which may span the late 14th to early 15th centuries. Another of the challenges posed by the material is how to name each entry—does one use a modern analytical attribution to a particular author, the heading supplied in the original manuscript, the incipit? Well, it all depends… The attributions, of course, as Bulanin and Tvorogov recognize, may be accurate or may be fictitious. Until we know for sure one way or the other, both have to be accepted. The separate works attributed to any given author or genre/subject are listed under that heading, along with references to publication of the text (if there is such), literature on it, and the location in the manuscript(s) which contain it. There are indexes of incipits and manuscripts.
But this is not all. Bulanin has exercised his privilege as responsible editor (and publisher) of the volume to include in it ten substantial essays of his own on the textual history of a number of works (“Iz istorii teksta slavianskogo ‘enkhiridiona’”; “Eshche raz o vyderzhkakh iz sochinenii Grigoriia Bogoslova v Izbornike 1073 g.”; “K sporam o slavianskom perevode ‘Istorii’ Psevdo-Nonna”; etc.). I leave it to specialists to comment on them and to point out possible errors of commission or omission in the rest of the book.
This volume will join now the several other fundamental reference works for students of early East Slavic texts. Bulanin surely is right that we are unlikely to see its replacement any time in the foreseeable future, if ever.
Posted by Daniel C. Waugh email@example.com.
New book on iurodivye.
Iurodivye v russkoi kul’ture. Otvetstvennyi redaktor i sostavitel’ E. M. Iukhimenko. Trudy Gosudarstvennogo istoricheskogo muzeia, Vyp. 197. Moskva, 2013. 184 pp. ISBN 978-5-89076-235-1
About the same size as (and weighing less than) my new tablet, this fine little collection of essays by accomplished scholars will be ideal to take to the beach or read in your rowboat while waiting for the fish to bite this summer. It is the materials of a scholarly conference held in 2007 in the State Historical Museum on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of the death of Vasilii Blazhennyi. Some essays are specific to that saint; others contextualize him among the other Muscovite Holy Fools. There is new material here on architecture, iconography, illuminated manuscripts, regional traditions and the veneration of iurodivye among the Old Believers. The book is nicely illustrated, for the most part in color. One can but wish that it did not take more than half a decade for conference materials to appear in print. The contents:
- L. Batalov, “Pridel Vasiliia Blazhennogo v sobore Pokrova na rvu i osobennosti pochitaniia sviatogo v kontse XVI v.” [inter alia, discusses date of Vasilii’s death (1557, not 1552)].
- T. P. Rudi, “Ob odnom siuzhete iz ‘apokrificheskogo’ Zhitiia Vasiliia Blazhennogo” [episode about Vasilii’s prediction that a merchant would never live to wear boots he ordered, in a distinct late redaction of Vita, sheds light on possible connections between literary and folk traditions]
- E. A. Ryzhova, “Motiv ‘khozhedenie po vode’ v zhitiiakh iurodivykh i ustnykh predaniiakh” [iconographic as well as textual evidence; an appendix publishes a copy of the Vita of Nikolai Kochanov, a Novgorod iurodivyi.]
- S. Preobrazhenskii, “Ikonografiia Vasiliia Blazhennogo: nekotorye aspekty izucheniia” [illustrates a broad range of comparative examples]
- V. V. Gorshkova, “Vnov’ vyiavlennaia ikona Vasiliia Blazhennogo XVII v. iz chastnogo sobraniia v Iaroslavle” [evidence for continued popularity of cult in Russian North, even as it faded in Moscow during the 17th century]
- Iu. A. Gribov, “O maloizvestnom litsevom spiske Zhitiia Vasiliia Blazhennogo iz sobranii GIM” [lavishly illustrated from the manuscript]
- A. N. Vlasov, “Iurodivye Prokopii i Ioann Ustiuzhskie: problema preodoleniia individual’nogo nachala”
- A. G. Mel’nik, “’Gorod iurodivykh’” [on Rostov cults]
- S. A. Ivanov, “Iurodstvo i staroobriadchestvo: k postanovke problem”
- E. M. Iukhimenko, “Iurodivye v pokhval’nykh slovakh i sluzhbakh russkim sviatym” [interesting comments on coverage in and sources for the most important compendia of pokhval’nye slova to Muscovite saints]
- Arkhimandrit Makarii (Veretennikov), “Dukhovnaia druzhba dvukh podvizhnikov-sovremennikov: Mitropolit Makarii i prepodobnyi Aleksandr Svirskii”
Posted by Daniel C. Waugh <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Several new publications.
Il’menskoe Poozer’e i smezhnye territorii v kontse XV-XVII vv. Publikatsiiu podgotovil I. Iu. Ankudinov. (Materialy po istorii Novgoroda i Novgorodskoi zemli. Vyp. 3). Moskva: Rukopisnye pamiatniki Drevnei Rusi, 2014. 456 pp. ISBN 978-5-9551-0719-6.
This is the third volume of an important new text series, whose first two installments were noted by me in a previous post. The main region covered here extends south from the outlet to the Volkhov River along the west shore of Lake Il’men to the mouth of the Veriazha River. Some 20 by 5 km in area, the region was important for its several monasteries and connections with several river routes. In fact the documents in this collection encompass an even larger area, including some other administrative districts (pogosti) along the Veriazha. Included here is the complete corpus of cadastral records for that region, only some parts of which had previously been published. The largest part of the texts are from 18th-century copies. A short introduction discusses the circumstances in which several of the surveys were carried out and there are indexes of personal and geographic names. A schematic map indicates the approximate boundaries of the 89 villages included in the area between the Veriazha and Lake Il’men.
Iu[rii] S[ergeevich] Vasil’ev. Izbrannye trudy po istorii Evropeiskogo Severa Rossii XII-XVIII vekov. 2-e izd., ispr. i dop. Vologda: Drevnosti Severa, 2013. 256 pp. ISBN 978-5-93061-076-5.
For those (like me) who missed the first edition of this reprint collection, this nicely printed medium-format volume is most welcome, in that it brings together a very valuable set of articles by Vasil’ev, the majority published in regional collections that would not be readily accessible in most libraries. The first section contains source analysis and guides to the cadastral books, for the most part for the Vaga and Kargopol’ areas. Much of the rest of the book is studies focused on the local economy and land ownership. There are articles locating (and mapping) holdings of Novgorodian elites in the region, analysis and tabulations of population counts and the different categories of land, some biographical sketches, and more. A bibliography of Vasil’ev’s more than 150 publications (the first dating from 1970) concludes the book.
Pistsovye knigi iugo-zapadnogo porubezh’ia. [Sost. M. Iu. Zencheko i dr.]. (Katalog pistsovykh knig Russkogo gosudarstva. Dokumenty zemel’nogo kadastra i zemleustroistva XVI-XVIII vv. RGADA. F. 1209. Pomestnyi prikaz. Vyp. 5). Moskva: Pamiatniki istoricheskoi mysli, 2013. 792 pp. ISBN 978-5-88451-324-2.
Beginning in 2001, this series has been publishing detailed descriptions of the cadastral record holdings of RGADA’s collection for the Pomestnyi prikaz. To date we have volumes for the Russian North, the Novgorod lands, the eastern suburbs of Moscow and the Upper Volga region. The new volume encompasses the upper Oka region (Orel, Mtsensk etc.), Tula, Belgorod, Elets, Kursk, etc. Entries often include the full text of the opening protocol to a volume. Where more than one town or region is covered in a given book, a table of contents referenced to folio numbers is provided. All told there are 1850 numbered entries. What we wouldn’t give (I dream) if we could trade a few dozen of these cadastres for even one of the no-longer-extant Mongol censuses of the 13th century! That said, they are a huge resource, now more readily accessed, for many important questions of the history of pre-modern Russia. The last 150 pages are the geographic and name indexes.
S[ergei] V[asil’evich] Saitanov. Staraia Ladoga: arkheologiia i istoriia: istoriografiia arkheologicheskikh issledovanii i nekotorye voprosy istorii ee vozniknoveniia, razvitiia i znacheniia v period obrazovaniia drevnerusskogo gosudarstva. Moskva: Ontoprint (Izdatel’ Markhotin P. Iu.), 2013, 136 pp. ISBN 978-5-00038-074-1.
Readers might well ask whether to take seriously any “academic” book such as this pocket-sized volume published by what we might term a “vanity press.” This, especially when in his introduction here the author makes special note of his indebtedness to A. G. Kuz’min, whose prolific output on early Rus’ and its sources has been, to put it kindly, controversial. The argument of this volume is that Ladoga was hugely important as a trading center, and it was in defense of its interests that the “calling of the Rus” occurred. In this telling, the founders of Ladoga were Slavs from the southern shores of the Baltic, and the Rus were their compatriots from that region. Understandably then, the review of archaeological investigations of Ladoga, which occupies two-thirds of the book, is highly selective. This is a kind of “anti-normanism redux,” which, given the unlikelihood that we can ever prove the ethnicity of the possessors of material objects found by archaeologists, has to be treated at least as a provocative hypothesis, however unconvincing it is likely to be once subjected to closer scrutiny.
Posted by Daniel C. Waugh <email@example.com>.
New book: B. N. Floria on foreign policy of Ordin-Nashchokin.
B[oris] N[ikolaevich] Floria. Vneshnepoliticheskaia programma A. L. Ordina-Nashchokina i popytki ee osushchestvleniia. Moskva: “Indrik”, 2013. 448 pp. ISBN 978-5-91674-267-1.
I open eagerly every new publication by the prolific Boris Nikolaevich Floria. His new book does not disappoint.
At the time he was feted for his 60th birthday (b. 1937), his bibliography already numbered nearly 200 items, including half a dozen monographs and several other major collectively authored works. The breadth of his interests encompasses much of eastern Europe and extends from the Cyrillo-Methodian mission through the 17th century. He reads most of the relevant languages. A significant part of his oeuvre focuses on foreign relations in Eastern Europe. As the introductory essay by his admirers who published the birthday Festschrift emphasized, his knowledge of the archives is unsurpassed, and the intensity which he brings to his scholarly work impressive. In fact, one is struck by how little they had to say about anything but his scholarship (see Florilegium. K 60-letiiu B. N. Floria [M.: Iazyki russkoi kul’tury, 2000], 9-16).
The new book is a sequel to his recent Russkoe gosudarstvo i ego zapadnye sosedi (1655-1661 gg.) (2010) which has to be considered the standard work on Muscovite diplomatic relations with its East European neighbors in the indicated period. The task he has set himself here is somewhat narrower, even if the focus on Ordin-Nashchokin touches on a broad range of issues affecting Muscovite foreign policy. As Floria repeatedly and generously acknowledges, there are already a lot of important scholarly contributions relating Muscovite diplomacy of the 1660s. Of particular relevance here is the work of I. V. Galaktionov, who mined the Russian archives in his work on Ordin-Nashcokin but whose publication of the results half a century ago in Saratov was somewhat circumscribed by the opportunities there (and, one might add, thus his work today is not always readily accessible). For the Polish archival materials, the monographs by Zbigniew Wójcik (Traktat andruszowski 1667 i jego geneza [Warszawa, 1959]; Między traktatem andruszowskim a wojną turecką. Sostunki polsko-rosyjskie 1667-1672 [Warszawa, 1968]) have never been superseded. Floria finds those two scholars’ judgments to be basically sound (even as he revises some details), and draws heavily on Wójcik for the Polish side of things. Of course there is much more here in Floria’s use of published primary sources and scholarship, and, above all, his careful analysis of everything that is relevant in RGADA.
If the existing scholarship has painted a fairly clear picture of Afanasii Lavrent’evich Ordin-Nashchokin’s foreign policy goals leading up to the truce of Andrusovo in 1667, a close reading of the sources can tell us a lot more about his views and that of his government and colleagues concerning the larger questions of Muscovy’s place in European politics and invite a re-examination of the degree to which he succeeded or failed in reaching his goals. His ideas and activity following Andrusovo, when he was placed in charge of the Diplomatic (and Malorossiiskii) chanceries, have drawn less attention. Filling these gaps then is Floria’s goal. Sources for understanding Ordin-Nashchokin’s thinking include memoranda he wrote to the Tsar, some of which are couched in tones that may surprise us for their bluntness. Aleksei Mikhailovich seems to have tolerated a lot from Afanasii Lavrent’evich even when he chose to overrule or ignore his suggestions.
What we get here then is a careful, step-by-step analysis of the making of foreign policy, one whose nuances show clearly how the Kremlin had to adapt to changing circumstances, responded to news which may have caught it off balance, and failed in some cases to avoid the consequences of events it did nor forsee and in any event could not control. The role of intelligence gathering and more generally the acquisition of news was critical in this, sources including reports by spies and ambassadors, translations from foreign newspapers, personal communications between Ordin-Nashchokin and key members of the Lithuanian elite, and much more.
He had an abiding concern with the threat posed by Sweden in the Baltic and thus placed great hopes on stabilizing relations with Poland and in Ukraine (vis-à-vis the Tatars and the Ottomans). This then explains the sometimes torturous and ultimately unsuccessful efforts he made to get a permanent peace with Poland and convert it into a meaningful alliance that would enforce peace in the south. The inability of Moscow to control events within Ukraine, and the growing weakness of Poland defeated what at least on the face of it had been sensible goals, and this in turn had a negative effect on the ability of Muscovy to strengthen its position in the Baltic. While it would be wrong to judge Ordin-Nashchokin’s career in the 1660s as a complete failure, his star burned out, the situation exacerbated by his ego and abrasive character. Understanding he could no longer get his way, he retired to a monastery in February 1672.
For a full biography of Ordin-Nashchokin, one must look elsewhere (arguably a good scholarly one has yet to be written). For a complete and detailed treatment of many facets of Muscovite diplomacy, one also must read other work (Floria explicitly directs his readers to it rather than cover ground that is well trodden). Even though it is mentioned here only in passing (much of it is not directly relevant), among the broadening readings one might consult is the two excellent two-volume Osmanskaia imperiia i strany Tsentral’noi, Vostochnoi i Iugo-Vostochnoi Evropy v XVII v. (M., 1998-2001), to which Floria contributed.
That said, one might well start with Floria’s new book for any exploration of Muscovite foreign policy in the 1660s. The prose is exquisitely crafted, the details often make for a compelling narrative, and one senses everywhere that the author is thinking about them critically and offering sound judgments, even where this may require reading into the silences left by the not infrequently spotty preservation of the documents.
posted to H-EarlySlavic by Daniel C. Waugh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Three new publications in the academic “discipline” of petrovedenie.
Below are review notices of three recent books:
*Puteshestvie po Evrope boiarina B. P. Sheremeteva 1697-1699
*D. Iu. Guzevich. Zakhoroneniia Leforta i Gordona
*Petrovskoe vremia v litsakh—2013 (Trudy Gos. Ermitazha, LXX).
Puteshestvie po Evrope boiarina B. P. Sheremeteva 1697-1699. Izdanie podgotovili L. A. Ol’shevskaia, A. A. Reshetova, S. V. Travnikov. [ser.: Literaturnye pamiatniki]. Moskva: Nauka, 2013. 511 pp. ISBN 978-5-02-038103-2.
For decades we have all benefitted from the text publications in this venerable series, known for its careful editions, interpretive essays, and extensive commentaries. The scholars responsible for this volume have also produced “companion” ones, containing the account of the European travels of Petr Andreevich Tolstoi during the same years Boris Petrovich Sheremetev was abroad and that of Ioann Luk’ianov, who went to the Holy Land in 1701-1703. Often the works published in Literaturnye pamiatniki are ones available in many earlier editions and in translation. The long redaction of Sheremetev’s narrative is no exception, having first appeared in print in 1773 (!); it is also known in French and Polish translations. As the editors point out here, none of the earlier editions might be termed “scholarly.”
This new volume offers four different versions of the text: prostrannaia, sokrashchennaia, osobaia and kratkaia, the last two being made available for the first time. The long text reproduces Novikov’s 1773 edition (with variant readings from an 18th-century manuscript copy based on it), for it seems that the original manuscript he used that had been held by the Sheremetev family may have been destroyed when Novikov’s paper’s were confiscated after his later arrest.
While the various shorter versions of the text contain occasional material not found in the long version, for the most part they will be of interest as evidence of how Sheremetev’s text was treated by posterity. The condensed (sokrashchennaia) version probably was created while Sheremetev was still alive, its feature being to eliminate some of the formal reportage that Sheremetev would have included in his official report (stateinyi spisok) on his return to Russia, and thereby to create a text that might have interested a more general readership. This contrasts with the fate of P. A. Tolstoi’s narrative, which seems never to have been intended for broader distribution. The editors posit that someone close to Sheremetev who had accompanied him on his travels was responsible for the alteration of the text. The osobaia redaction, involving a different kind of condensation and based on the condensed redation, has survived in a single copy, the work attributed to a functionary who worked for a merchant in Simbirsk in the 1730s or 1740s. Lastly, the short version of the text reflects the work of someone who had a particular interest in traditional religious pilgrimage accounts; hence it selects in the first instance Sheremetev’s many descriptions of visits to shrines and the relics they contained. This redaction eliminates most of the longer text’s descriptions of diplomatic affairs.
The hundred-plus-page essay on Sheremetev by Ol’shevskaia and Travnikov is going to add little to what we know about this important man, based as it is largely some of the earliest biographical accounts of him and on well-mined documentary collections. There is no pretense here at providing a full biography. His life prior to his departure on the “secret” mission Peter authorized is but sketched out, with some of the most interesting issues such as his education (about which, granted, we know little for sure) left vague. His later career as an important army commander is not relevant here. Much of the essay is simply following in his footsteps as he traveled, summarizing his narrative account, but helpfully for the general reader placing the events on a broader canvas. Thus, there are digressions on some of the political questions which his mission was intended to address. Of some interest are the comments about what Sheremetev knew concerning their history and the broader canvas of current events (how he knew such subjects is not discussed though).
Travnikov is presumably the one responsible for the interesting section of the essay discussing the genre of the account (somewhere between a stateinyi spisok and a medieval pilgrimage narrative), a subject on which he wrote in his kandidat dissertation and a book based on it (Putevye zapiski petrovskogo vremeni [problema istorizma]. M., 1987). Both the specific content and the descriptive devices raise the question (which others have addressed previously) as to whether Sheremetev himself wrote the account. The editors here hypothesize that his son may have been responsible for a lot of the text.
To a considerable degree this essay reflects the discomfort we still find among scholars who have yet to reach a consensus on how to treat figures such as Sheremetev who were very much anchored in Muscovite tradition (especially in their deep religiosity) even as they served the Tsar-Reformer and perforce had to learn new ways. Significant parts of the narrative concern visits to churches and shrines and descriptions of the important relics they contained. Can we simply characterize all this as evidence of the curious dichotomy or “contradictions” of Baroque culture, where the secular and sacred could coexist, comfortably, it seems, in the same person? Does that kind of interpretation (repeated here from standard treatments including ones by D. S. Likhachev) really work very well in helping us to understand Sheremetev? At least now we have a readily accessible edition of his important travel narrative, which may help in re-examining such questions about the culture of the Russian elite in the Petrine era.
Dmitrii [Iur’evich] Guzevich. Zakhoroneniia Leforta i Gordona: mogily, kladbishcha, tserkvi. Mify i realii. Sankt-Peterburg: Evropeiskii dom, 2013. 336 pp. + illustrations. ISBN 978-5-8015-0305-9.
If petrovedenie is anything like an academic “discipline,” then I suppose its institutional home, as much as anywhere, is in the Institut Petra Velikogo (headed by the emininent specialist E. V. Anisimov), whose imprimatur stands at the head of the title page here and on two other volumes which Paris-based D. Iu. Guzevich has produced (co-authored with Irina D. Guzevich): a 900-page analytical bibliography of publications about Peter’s “Great Embassy” of 1697-8 and a nearly 700-page monograph on it. The Institute (which receives funding from several academic and cultural organizations) is not only supporting original scholarly publication but also sponsoring Russian translations of important Western scholarship. On the face of it then, there was every reason to expect the current volume to be of substantial interest, given the prominence of both Franz Lefort and Patrick Gordon among Peter’s most trusted early collaborators.
Unfortunately, my expectations here were not met, largely because the book has no real argument (beyond the simple conclusion we don’t currently know where either Lefort or Gordon’s remains are, or whether they even still exist), and it consists at least metaphorically (in an age where people presumably no longer use note cards) of little more than a stack of such cards thrown at the printer without any serious attempt to edit out a great deal that is hardly relevant to the ostensible subject of the book. My annoyance here is compounded by the references by number, to the 615 consecutively numbered items in the bibliography (in many cases separate volumes in a single series having been given separate numbers), which then require so much back and forth if one is interested in reading the extensive endnotes and knowing what their sources are. Short titles, please!
Guzevich’s diligence in searching out sources is certainly to be admired, ranging from a close examination of everything we know about the earliest Protestant and Catholic churches and cemeteries in Moscow to searches in the Lefort family papers in Switzerland. One of the main points here is that the analysis can educate the reader in how historical myths are created and how one must therefore peel away layers of mis-understanding and error and get back to the most basic sources in order to discover the truth. But to a considerable degree here the “myths” that are being dispelled don’t amount to much — someone misunderstood or mis-represented where the bodies were interred (or where they were moved) and then the error was repeated and compounded in general accounts that may have had no pretense to original research. There is no real interest here in what we might learn about the larger issue of the mythical aura that grew around Peter and his companions. The search for the facts boils down to determining where the cemeteries were or might have been, which churches existed when and whether there is evidence about remains having been moved when the possible burial places were destroyed or rebuilt. True, for anyone interested in the history of the Protestant and Catholic communities in early modern Russia, there is something new to be had here. Also, for this reader, it was some interest to see how the deaths and funerals of Lefort and Gordon were reported by contemporaries (the reports finding their way into Dutch newspapers).
An appendix contains a revised version of the author’s earlier article on Lefort’s illness and death (updated with some new analysis by medical experts). Those interested in the history of Russian medicine of the time will find this of value. Another appendix is in the form of a dialogue between Guzevich and Irina Kuvshinskaia, who had written a critical review of the book manuscript and disagrees with some of the author’s conclusions.
There is a chronology of the main dates concerning the buildings of the Protestant Reformed and Roman Catholic churches in Moscow. There is an index of personal names, and 43 good quality black-and-white illustrations, to which, however, there is no explicit cross-referencing when the material in them is discussed in the text. There is little to help us understand the relevance of illustrating two versions of the famous lubok of the mice burying the cat. On the other hand, for the discussion of the buildings in Moscow’s Foreign Suburb and their later fate, some of the images, maps and modern photographs are of real interest, if for no reason other than the fact that they illustrate how much has been irretrievably lost and how difficult it is to trace their history.
In conclusion Guzevich suggests possible lines for further inquiry about the burials. One can share his pessimism about possible new discoveries, a pessimism that perhaps is intended to throw cold water on schemes by enthusiasts to start digging around in the way the myths about Ivan IV’s supposedly rich library continue to inspire calls for actual excavations. May Lefort and Gordon rest in peace.
Petrovskoe vremia v litsakh—2013. K 400-letiiu Doma Romanovykh (1613-2013). Materialy nauchnoi konferentsii / Personalities from Peter the Great’s Time—2013. To Mark the 400th Anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty (1613-2013). Proceedings of the Conference. (= Trudy Gosudarstvennogo Ermitazha, LXX). Sankt-Peterburg: Izdatel’stvo Gosudarstvennogo Ermitazha, 2013. 340 pp. ISBN 978-5-93572-531-0.
Starting soon after its extensive restoration and reopening, the Menshikov Palace Museum in St. Petersburg (a branch of the Hermitage) began hosting an annual conference generally devoted to a topic connected with the Palace itself and its original owner or to the Petrine era more broadly. Initially, short summaries of these conferences were published under the main title Petrovskoe vremia v litsakh (the first I have found cataloged appeared in 1998), that choice of title illustrating what Ernest Zitser in a review article several years ago (Kritika 6/2 ) pointed out as one of the laudatory features of the new outpouring of scholarship on the Petrine period, namely a focus on individuals’ and families’ histories, where the subjects were not just the famous few or the monarch himself. Starting around 2004, the proceedings of these conferences have been published more fully, the current volume containing a number of rather long essays alongside short communications. I shall not attempt here to comment on each and every one.
Such collections of conference papers rarely can be expected to inspire a fundamental shift in historical analysis. That certainly is true here, where the meticulously documented essays for the most part either focus on what may seem inconsequential detail or add “more of the same” to what is already pretty well known. If there is a guiding “theme” it has to be the rather worn cliché about the Peter the great reformer, but that is hardly the main point here, even if we come away with interesting insights into his personal involvement in matters as inconsequential as where Dutch tulip bulbs were to be planted in the Summer Garden. Many of the articles are a pleasure precisely because they cast light on the familiar and largely well studied. Recalling strolling through the Summer Garden in St. Petersburg and visiting the lovingly restored rooms of the Menshikov Palace, I greatly enjoyed reading several such pieces. Sergei Olegovich Androsov writes about the recent re-discovery of two of the Italian sculptures Peter’s agent Savva Raguzinskii had purchased for him in Italy but which had later disappeared (one now in a private gallery in St. Petersburg, the other in a private collection in Paris). Galina Aleksandrovna Khvostova offers an engaging “history of an object,” an account of the “misfortunes” (zlokliucheniia) of a single statue, the allegorical depiction of Beauty that had been in the Summer Garden, which was damaged and badly restored several times before finally ending up in the Mikhailovskii Palace museum when all the remaining original statuary of the garden was replaced in situ by replicas in 2009-12. Viktor Abramovich Korentsvit’s re-examination of several plans for the Summer Garden and the correspondence concerning its design argues strongly that Peter’s personal preferences (and even perhaps preliminary sketches) had the determining role in its initial design. Until I read Boris Sergeevich Makarov’s essay here, I had no idea gardeners had been hired in Sweden by Peter’s agent and had substantial careers in Russia. A documentary appendix to this article includes interesting documents about how one of them traveled on commission to the Netherlands to buy specific trees to bring back to St. Petersburg. We even have here the log of his trip, indicating times of travel and arrival in each city as he went West across Europe. Supplementing L. P. Dorofeeva’s earlier good work in studying the Dutch tiles which still decorate several of the rooms in the Menshikov Palace, Ekaterina Aleksandrovna Andreeva provides a more refined classification of the basic types (following the standard Dutch study by Jan Pluis), illustrating each with good photographs.
Two of the articles bear directly on some of my current research concerns. Artem Alekseevich Andreev describes the embassy sent by the Emir of Bukhara (it was his initiative) to St. Petersburg in 1716-1717. The other also relates to Petrine diplomacy— Svetlana Romanovna Dolgova introduces and publishes the contemporary Russian translation (and provides a picture of the obverse of its German source, a printed sheet) of a “program” for a costume ball which Peter and his entourage attended (and for which they went in costume) at the Habsburg court in Vienna in 1698. We know which “role” each of the named Viennese grandees had; while anonymous, the Russian participants were also listed among the dramatis personae. Peter apparently sent the printed program back to Russia, where, as with other foreign newspapers, it was translated in the Diplomatic Chancery.
Two other articles here deserve particular comment. One is Elena Vasil’evna Gusarova’s sharply worded, long essay laying out the evidence that the French astronomer Josef-Nicolas Delisle, who was persuaded to join the Russian Academy of Sciences, was mainly interested in feathering his own nest and was really in the employ of the French secret service. As a result, he agreed to undertake mapping projects which he never completed, and used the opportunity to obtain as many Russian maps as he could and ship them off to France. Gusarova is incensed that what she (and other serious students of early Russian cartography) consider to be important primary source material is still relatively inaccessible in French collections and that projects for its proper elucidation and publication have to date never succeeded. She has particularly harsh words for N. I. Nevskaia, considered to be an authority on the early development of scientific astronomy in Russia, for whitewashing Delisle and, as implied here, obstructing any efforts to publish the Delisle materials.
In a very different vein, Galina Ivanovna Sergeeva devotes her long article to a pioneering museum exhibition organized on very short notice in 1925, in conjunction with a major celebration of the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The exhibition’s theme was Russian daily life (byt) in the first quarter of the 18th century; the venue was the Petrine summer palace in the Summer Garden. As she emphasizes, the idea of organizing a museum exhibition with the broad goal of illustrating aspects of the lives of various social classes was quite new and served as a model then for a lot of subsequent museum exhibitions in Russia. For those who know him mainly for his “reconstruction” of the medieval “Trinity Chronicle,” the role of Mikhail Dmitrievich Priselkov in the conceptualization and execution of the exhibition may come as a surprise. He was at the time the head of the Istoriko-bytovyi otdel of the State Russian Museum, which was given the responsibility for the work. In a matter of only a couple of months, the organizers pulled together from a wide range of library, archival and museum sources in St. Petersburg an astonishing array of artefacts (not only their collection but also how they all fitted into the exhibit space seems miraculous). Not the least of the challenges which had to be overcome was that precisely in this period many of the cultural institutions were in chaos, as administrative control was changing, personnel were being replaced, and in some cases the very institutions were being packed up and closed. Since some of the key documentation has been lost (oddly, there is no surviving copy of the guidebook published for the exhibition), part of Sergeeva’s task here has been to reconstruct a list what items were included in each of the thematically arranged displays.
In short, this volume (and, I would assume, the earlier ones in the series) has a lot to offer anyone with a serious interest in the Petrine period and in some of the later commemorations of Peter and his times. Apart from the subjects mentioned above, there is much more, including new information on Aleksei Petrovich’s childhood, a previously unpublished inventory of Menshikov’s possessions and a detailed review of Peter’s contacts in Paris in 1717, drawing on new information from French sources including contemporary newspapers. There are clearly written abstracts in English for all of the articles and a table of contents in English. My only regret is that several essays keyed to visual material include no pictures of what is being discussed.