Russia to 1917 Syllabus

History 356 Fall 2003

Study Questions, Week Five


From Cracraft:

Intro to Documents/Archpriest Avvakum:

Who was Nikon, why is he important in Russian church history, and why did Avvakum and   the "Old Believers" oppose him?

Avvakum Describes His Struggle (ca. 1673):

What evidence does this document present of Russian expansionism? Of relations between Russians and Siberian natives?

How did Avvakum use his exile to oppose the Nikonian reforms? How does he refer to the reformers? Explain.

Explain the relationship between Avvakum and Tsar Alexei after the former returned from exile.

What sorts of reforms did Avvakum condemn? Explain the evidence.

Why does Avvakum refer to the Morozov sisters as martyrs? What is an apostate?

What evidence does Avvakum give of the arbitrary nature of the Tsar's power?

Does Avvakum's view of holiness concur with earlier church texts we have read? Explain.

Explain Avvakum's account of the 1666-67 church council.

Why didn't Avvakum condemn the Tsar as an heretic?


Kaiser & Marker, Ch. 10

Introduction:  What does the chart on p. 165 demonstrate?

Kolycheva, "Economic Crisis":

What is Kolycheva's main point?

What evidence is there of an economic crisis in the 1570s-80s?

What caused the crisis of the 1550s-70s?

What areas suffered most in the early crisis of 1550s-70s and why?

What happened to bread prices in the 1550s-60s and why?

What impact did epidemics and crop failures have on demographics in the borderlands?

When did Moscow and the "center" begin to feel economic crisis?

What was the economic impact of the Oprichnina?

What pushed Russia into a general crisis in the 1570s?

How did Muscovy respond to the plague and to the Tatar raids of 1571?

What impact did these disasters have on towns? On agriculture? Explain.

Why did abandonment of lands continue after the 1570s? Results?

How did tax policy aggravate this situation?

Did the Muscovite economy recover quickly after the 1580s?

How might this help us understand the Time of Troubles and enserfment?



Kaiser & Marker, Ch. 11

Introduction: What was the mestnichestvo?

Introduction to Documents on Slavery:

Why would people sell themselves into slavery?

Why did self-sale decline in the late 1600s?

"Self Sale into Slavery":

What can we conclude from the graph on p. 174?

Using these documents, explain the process by which people sold themselves into slavery.


Introduction to Grigorii Kotoshikhin document:

Who was Kotoshikhin and why did he write this passage?

Kotoshikhin, "On Boyar Weddings":

What evidence is there here that property was an important factor in marriages?

Did the family patriarch have sole power over marriages? Explain.

What does this document tell us about desirable brides and grooms?

How were marriage agreements settled?

Why justified breaking a marriage contract?

Were these ceremonies and arrangements peculiar to the boyars? Explain.


Introduction to Marriage Contract:

According to the editors, why is this contract unusual?

"Marriage Contract":

How are the identities of the contracting parties defined, and what does this tell you?


Introduction to Hellie, "Law and Enserfment":

What are the two main explanations for the rise of serfdom in Muscovy?

Hellie, "Law and the Enserfment...":

Why does Hellie consider the 1649 Ulozhenie as a turning point in enserfment?

What was the impact of the 169 laws on the peasant economy?

Why was the 1649 law code a "watershed" for the middle service class?

How did the 1649 law code effect taxation? Landlord extraction of dues? The distinction between state peasants and seignorial peasants?

What does Hellie consider to be the motivation behind enserfment? Was it economically rational? Explain.


Intro to Crummey, "Boyars":

What defined the status of the boyars?

Crummey, "Boyars of Muscovy":

What made the boyars' life precarious?

Why were clan ties so important to the boyars?

What determined clan hierarchies?

Why was patronage important to the boyars?

How did the boyars support themselves?

What dangers lurked in the boyars' world?

What made the Russian nobility different from that of the Ottoman Empire or Western Europe?


Kollmann, "Seclusion of Women":

Were all women in Muscovy secluded? Explain.

How were elite Moscow households divided by gender? Was this unique?

How did elite Muscovites determine marriages? Was this unique?

Did elite Muscovite women have independent power? Was this unique?

What public power did elite Muscovite women have?

Why does Kollmann call the seclusion of elite women "political"?

How did boyar families use marriage for a political tool?

What was the Muscovite view of women?

According to Kollmann, why were royal women secluded?

According to Kollmann, did elite Muscovite women play any political role? Explain.

What is Kollmann's main point?


Kaiser & Marker, Ch. 12

Introduction: How did Muscovite high culture change during the 17th century?

"Life of Iuliania Osor'ina":

Why in the style and portrayal of Iuliania makes this "life" different from that of St. Theodosius?

In what ways is it similar to the passage we read by Avvakum?


Likhachev, "Individualism":

What does Likhachev consider special about the tales of Iuliana and of Avvakum?


Marker, "Literacy and Literary Texts":

Why is it so hard to figure out how wide spread literacy was in Muscovy?

What sort of evidence does Marker use to try to solve this problem?

Why were primers important to spreading literacy, and how were they used to teach?

What sort of literacy was achieved by learning from primers? Did it lead to writing?

What conclusion does Marker draw from data in the table on p. 209?

How might the teaching of reading have changed after the 1640s? Explain.

What is Marker's thesis?


Kaiser and Marker, Ch. 13

Introduction to Andrei Bezobrazov Letters:

Who was Bezobrazov?

Andrei Bezobrazov Letters:

Based upon these letters from the late 17th century, what can we say about the role of elite women in the household? Forms of noble income? Elite diets? Transport and communications?


Introduction to Olearius:

Who was Adam Olearius?

Olearius on Food and Drink:

What does this account tell you about 17th century housing? Diet? Manners? Drinking?


Levin, "Sexuality":

What do the rape cases of Tanka Ivanova and Maria Trufanova tell us about Muscovite attitudes towards sexuality? What does the treatment of convicted rapists reveal?

What do rape cases tell us about church doctrine on drunkenness?

What does the "Tanka" and Shilo case tell you about judicial methods? What does Levin conclude about attitudes towards elicit sex based upon this case?

What do sources tell us about domestic violence in Muscovy? What does Levin conclude about attitudes towards domestic violence based upon this evidence?

What is Levin's main point?

Russia to 1917 Syllabus