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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