By Paul Dukes
With its breadth of scope and conciseness of presentation, this 3rd version of A heritage of Russia may be priceless to scholars of eu and Russian background, and in addition to scholars of Russian language, literature, and social science.
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Extra resources for A History of Russia: Medieval, Modern, Contemporary c. 882–1996
With new churches and monasteries being built and the administration being extended into rural areas as well as the towns, Russian Orthodoxy was basically well prepared to take on the succession after the failure of the union of the Greek and Roman Churches concluded at the Council of Florence in 1439 and the fall of Byzantium in 1453. It continued to produce great works of art and architecture, of which more below. With such individuals as St Sergi us of Radonezh, founder of the Trinity Monastery to the north-east of Moscow and adviser to Prince Dmitrii before the battle of Kulikovo, it produced outstanding figures deemed capable of deep piety and national leadership.
Commerce and, to a lesser extent, government would also play their part in the maintenance and expansion of literacy, numeracy and learning, but such schools and libraries as there were would almost exclusively be found attached to the monasteries and churches. Orthodoxy also produced not only works of spiritual uplift and admonition but more records of the past as well, including the Trinity Chronicle destroyed by fire in 1812 but skilfully reconstructed by Soviet scholars. Universal history as well as national (both in a medieval sense) retained the interest of Russian clerics.
The meagre obituaries or eulogies dutifully supplied by the chroniclers are little more than a concoction of cliches which tell us nothing of the men whose piety or goodness they extol. 4 Thus, little can be said about the rulers or their administrations. The central figure in the political story of Russian development at this time is not so much an individual or an institution as a principality Moscow (as Moskva is generally called in English). Denied the opportunity to exercise his great talent for characterisation on one of its princes, Kliuchevskii turned to Moscow itself for the subject of one of his clear and convincing portraits.