Download e-book for iPad: Russian Identities: A Historical Survey by Nicholas V. Riasanovsky

By Nicholas V. Riasanovsky

ISBN-10: 0195156501

ISBN-13: 9780195156508

This ebook investigates the query of Russian id, adjustments and maintains over a big territory, many centuries, and a number of political, social, and financial constructions. Its major emphases are at the fight opposed to the steppe peoples, Orthodox Christianity, autocratic monarchy, and Westernization.

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Extra info for Russian Identities: A Historical Survey

Sample text

The most obvious result of the conversion was the appearance in Kievan Russia of the Christian Church itself. But Christianity extended beyond the Church proper to permeate Kievan society and culture, and eventually the societies and cultures of Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. Politically it gave the Kievan prince and state a stronger ideological basis, urging the unity of the country and at the same time emphasizing its links with Byzantium and with the Christian world as a whole. To put it differently, Christianity quickly became part of Russian identity, and later of Russian nationalism.

The conversion to Christianity meant not only an influx of Greek terms, but also certain borrowings from the Balkan Slavs, notably the Bulgarians, who had accepted Christianity earlier and who helped its dissemination in Russia. Indeed, the Bulgarians, and the South Slavs in general, can be considered to have been, at that time and even during the centuries that followed, teachers of the Russians second in importance only to the Greeks. Kievan religious literature included Church service books; collections of Old Testament narratives, canonical and apocryphal, known as Palaea after the Greek word for Old Testament; sermons and other didactic works; hymns; and lives of saints.

The language of Kievan written literature has been generally considered to be the same as Church Slavonic, a literary language based on an eastern South Slavic dialect that became the tongue of Slavic Christianity. A few Soviet scholars, however, emphasized the popular element in it and even concluded that the basic written, as well as spoken, language of Kievan society had been and remained essentially Russian, although it experienced strong Church Slavonic influences. Perhaps it would be best to say that many written works of the Kievan period were written in Church Slavonic, others in Russian—Old Church Slavonic and Old Russian, to be more exact—and still others in a mixture or blend of both.

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Russian Identities: A Historical Survey by Nicholas V. Riasanovsky


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