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   Course Title    Anthropological History of Russia (from Prehistory to the Emergence of the Russian State)
Lecturer    Vladimir Ja. Petrukhin
Institution    Russian State University for Humanities
Country    Russia



The course includes the Prehistory of Russia and the Beginning of the Russian State (IX-XIII centuries) in the context of World and Eurasian History. In the course the main aspects of ethnic history of the peoples of Eurasia sub specie cultural anthropology are observed: from the Indo-European problem to the problems of the Slavonic and Russian ethnogenesis. The making of a common Slavonic consciousness is linked with the contacts (and conflicts) with other peoples (the Goths - nemtsy, Turkic Avars) and civilizations (Rome, Byzantium). Social, economic and ethnic history of the ancient Slavs is connected with the process of agricultural colonization of Central and Eastern Europe. The main stages of ethnic and state development in Ancient Russia and in the feudal (udel) period are considered from the point of view of anthropological understanding of  old Russian ("inner") historical sources, as well as foreign ("outer") sources. The problem of the place of Ancient Russia in the system of world civilization is also considered, the relations with Scandinavia, Byzantium, the Turkic (Khazarian, Cuman etc.) and Muslim East and the Latin West are characterized. One of the main problems is the problem of the correspondence of the data of Russian chronicles to historical realities. The legend of the calling-in of the Varangian princes correlates with the Slavonic (Novgorodian) custom of the invitation of princes with their retinue (rus') in the terms of treaty (rjad) about the princely duties and tribute. The State power is based on the network of settlements, where the tribute is redistributed. The central event of the ancient Russian history is the Christianization of Rus'. The historical context of the Chronicle tale about the choice of the faith by Vladimir the Saint  - polemics with the Volga-Bulgarian Muslims, German missionaries "from Rome", Jewish Khazars is analyzed. The problem of "double faith" and specificity of the Pagan revivals is considered.


Lecture Synopsis


1.Prehistory of Russia and territory of Eurasia.

The first population of Eurasia. The problem of ethnic and cultural differentiation. Prehistoric art in Eurasia. The Indo-European problem. The Greek colonies in the Northern Black Sea region and "barbarian" periphery.  Scythians and Sarmatians. 4 hours


2. The ancient Slavs and their neighbors .

The Migration period and the problems of ethnogenesis of the Slavs. Balto-Slavonic community. The Slavs and the Goths. The Slavs and Byzantium: the "Danubian Motherland" of the Slavs. The Slavs and the Nomads: Conflict and Interaction. Settling and tribal division of the Slavs. Agricultural colonization and the beginning of urban development. 4 hours


3. The Beginning of Russia. The Khazars and the Varangians in the history of Eastern Europe.  The Slavs and the Khazarian khaganate. Old-Russian and foreign sources on the origin of Rus'.  Rus' and the Varangians. The social meaning of the name Rus' in light of the historical onomastics. 4 hours


4. The Beginning of the Russian State.

The legend of the calling-in of the Varangian princes and the historical reality. The first Russian princes and the emergence of the State law. The retinue (druzhina) and the tribute (poljudje). The formation of the network of urban settlements (goroda, pogosty). 4 hours


5. The Baptism of Russia.

Christianity and Paganism: necessity for a state religion. The choice of the Faith by prince Vladimir. The Tithe and the emergence of the Church organization. The Formation of the "new Nation": the Old-Russian people. Pagan survivals and the problem of the "double faith". 4 hours


6. Kievan Russia.

Jaroslav the Wise: The Building of the State and the Russian Law (Russkaja pravda). Princely interrelations in the Russian State: the sons of Jaroslav and the clan rulership in Russia. Princely intestine wars and meetings.  Vladimir Monomakh and the united Old-Russian State. 6 hours


7. Russian princedoms and Lands in the 12th - the beginning of 13th centuries. The feudal (udel) period in Russia, its social and economic preconditions. The Formation of the Vladimir and Suzdal princedom and the princes-autocrats: Jurij Dolgoruky, Andrej Bogoljubskij and Vsevolod Bol' shoje Gnezdo. Chernigov princedom. Smolensk princedom. Galich and Volyn' princedom. "Bojar Republic" in Novgorod and birch bark documents. The emergence of the social hierarchy: bojare and dvorjane. 6 hours


8. Russia, Latin West and Byzantium.

The entrance of Russia in the system of the World civilizations. Attitude to the Latins, Antique and Byzantine heritage. Princely culture, Church culture and Folklore in Ancient Russia. 4 hours


9. Russia and the Eurasian problem.

Ancient Russia and the Great Steppe in the medieval and modern historiography. The Mongol invasion and the fate of Russian culture. 4 hours

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