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EARLY RUSSIA AND
THE KIEVAN RUS
800s to 1100s CE
Spread of Eastern European
Civilization
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864 -- Cyril and Methodius
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Byzantine missionaries
Successful in Russia and the Balkans
Used Slavic
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Eastern Orthodox religion-Eastern Europe
and Russia
Jews immigrated to the region
Cyril and
Methodius
THE KIEVAN RUS
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Heavily influenced by Byzantium
Area was populated by Slavs
6th and 7th centuries – Scandinavian
traders appeared-Set up governments
along their trade routes-Kiev
855 -- Monarchy was established
under Rurik
BYZANTIUM AND THE RUS
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Contacts between the two kingdoms
increased steadily
Kiev became a prosperous trading center
Around 1000 – Vladimir I converted to
Eastern Orthodox Christianity
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Forced his subjects to convert
Controlled major church appointments
Separate Russian Orthodox church developed
Kiev
CHARACTERISTICS OF KIEVAN
RUS
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Largest single state in Europe
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Highly decentralized
Yaroslav – Last of the great Kievan princes
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Codified laws
Built many churches
Translated religious literature from Greek to
Slavic
INSTITUTIONS AND CULTURE
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Byzantine influence
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Literature
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Ceremonies, luxuries, and absolute power of
the leader
Fervent devotion to God
Ornate churches filled with icons
Monogamy
Focused on religious and royal events
No significant philosophical or scientific
contributions
Icons
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Art- Focused on religion
Architecture- Orthodox churches
Society
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Peasants were fairly free farmers
Boyars – Russian aristocratic class
Entertainment
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Low literacy- story telling
Combined music, street performances, and
theater
KIEVAN DECLINE – 12TH
CENTURY
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Causes:
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Rival princes set up regional governments
Fighting within the royal family over
succession
Asian invaders whittled away Russian territory
Decline of Byzantium decreased Russian trade
and wealth
Two Mongol invasions (Mongols are called
Tartars by the Russians)
MONGOL CONTROL OF RUSSIA
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Lasted for over two centuries
Consequences:
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Further separated Russia from western
Europe
Russian literature languished
Trade lapsed
Russia was isolated
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Russian Orthodox Christianity and the
boyars were spared
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Tribute
15th century – Tartars were forced out
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Russian culture and politics began to
reemerge
Mantle of east European leadership fell to
Russia because of the fall of Byzantium
END OF AN ERA IN EASTERN
EUROPE
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Byzantium and Russia were under siege
Eastern Europe fell on hard times
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They had been ahead of western Europe
during Byzantine domination, but fell behind
western Europe after the fall of Byzantium
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