front cover of Karamzin's Memoir on Ancient and Modern Russia
Karamzin's Memoir on Ancient and Modern Russia
A Translation and Analysis
Richard Pipes
University of Michigan Press, 2005

Russian history was typically studied through liberal or socialist lenses until Richard Pipes first published his translation of Karamzin's Memoir. Almost fifty years later, it is still the only English-language edition of this classic work. Still fresh and readable today, the Memoir-in which Alexander I's state historian elaborates his arguments for a strong Russian state-remains the most accessible introduction to the conservatism of Russia's ancien regime. This annotated translation is a "faithful rendition of the letter and spirit of the original," which not only introduces readers to the sweep of Karamzin's ideas, but also weaves together a fascinating version of Russia's rich history. With a new foreword by Richard Pipes, Karamzin's Memoir on Ancient and Modern Russia is a touchstone for anyone interested in Russia's fascinating and turbulent past.

Richard Pipes is Baird Professor of History at Harvard University.

Nikolai M. Karamzin (1766-1826) was a Russian historian, poet, and journalist. He was appointed court historian by Tsar Alexander I.


front cover of The Kingdom of Rus'
The Kingdom of Rus'
Christian Raffensperger
Arc Humanities Press, 2017
As scholarship continues to expand the idea of medieval Europe beyond "the West," the Rus' remain the final frontier relegated to the European periphery. The Kingdom of Rus' challenges the perception of Rus' as an eastern "other" – advancing the idea of the Rus' as a kingdom deeply integrated with medieval Europe, through an innovative analysis of medieval titles. Examining a wide range of medieval sources, this book exposes the common practice in scholarship of referring to Rusian rulers as princes as a relic of early modern attempts to diminish the Rus'. Not only was Rus' part and parcel of medieval Europe, but in the eleventh and twelfth centuries Rus' was the largest kingdom in Christendom.

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The Origin of Rus'
Omeljan Pritsak
Harvard University Press, 1981

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Reimagining Europe
Kievan Rus’ in the Medieval World, 988–1146
Christian Raffensperger
Harvard University Press, 2012

An overriding assumption has long directed scholarship in both European and Slavic history: that Kievan Rus' in the tenth through twelfth centuries was part of a Byzantine commonwealth separate from Europe. Christian Raffensperger refutes this conception and offers a new frame for two hundred years of history, one in which Rus' is understood as part of medieval Europe and East is not so neatly divided from West.

With the aid of Latin sources, the author brings to light the considerable political, religious, marital, and economic ties among European kingdoms, including Rus', restoring a historical record rendered blank by Russian monastic chroniclers as well as modern scholars ideologically motivated to build barriers between East and West. Further, Raffensperger revises the concept of a Byzantine commonwealth that stood in opposition to Europe-and under which Rus' was subsumed-toward that of a Byzantine Ideal esteemed and emulated by all the states of Europe. In this new context, appropriation of Byzantine customs, law, coinage, art, and architecture in both Rus' and Europe can be understood as an attempt to gain legitimacy and prestige by association with the surviving remnant of the Roman Empire. Reimagining Europe initiates an expansion of history that is sure to challenge ideas of Russian exceptionalism and influence the course of European medieval studies.


front cover of The Rise and Demise of the Myth of the Rus’ Land
The Rise and Demise of the Myth of the Rus’ Land
Charles J. Halperin
Arc Humanities Press, 2023
The concept of the Rus’ Land (russkaia zemlia) became and remained an historical myth of modern Russian nationalism as the equivalent of “Russia,” but it was actually a political myth, manipulated to provide legitimacy. Its meaning was dynastic—territories ruled by a member of the Riurikid/Volodimerovich princely clan. This book traces the history of its use from the tenth to the seventeenth century, outlining its changing religious (pagan to Christian) and geographic elements (from the Dnieper River valley in Ukraine in Kievan Rus’ to Muscovy in Russia) and considers alternative “land” concepts which failed to rise to the ideological heights of the Rus’ Land. Although the Rus’ Land was never an ethnic or national concept, and never expanded its appeal beyond an elite lay and clerical audience, understanding its evolution sheds light upon the cultural and intellectual history of the medieval and early modern East Slavs.

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Ties of Kinship
Genealogy and Dynastic Marriage in Kyivan Rus´
Christian Raffensperger
Harvard University Press

The warp and weft of political and social relationships among the medieval elite were formed by marriages made between royal families. Ties of Kinship establishes a new standard for tracking the dynastic marriages of the ruling family of Rus´—the descendants of Volodimer (Volodimeroviči). Utilizing a modern scholarly approach and a broad range of primary sources from inside and outside Rus´, Christian Raffensperger has created a fully realized picture of the Volodimeroviči from the tenth through the twelfth centuries and the first comprehensive, scholarly treatment of the subject in English.

Alongside more than twenty-two genealogical charts with accompanying bibliographic information, this work presents an analysis of the Volodimeroviči dynastic marriages with modern interpretations and historical contextualization that highlights the importance of Rus´ in a medieval European framework. This study will be used by Slavists, Byzantinists, and West European medievalists as the new baseline for research on the Volodimeroviči and their complex web of relationships with the world beyond.


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