Russia to 1917 Syllabus

History 356 Fall 2003 

Study Questions Week 3

Cracraft, pp. 21-31 (Prince Trubotzkoy):

How does Trubotzkoy's analysis of Rus' geography differ from Pipes'?

What does T. mean by "Eurasia"?

According to T., how did Genghis Khan unify Eurasia?

How does T. describe the Mongol impact on Rus'?

How did the Rus' people make sense of Tatar rule? Explain.

Explain T.'s argument on the relationship between Mongol rule and Rus' religiosity; between Mongol rule and the Russian state system; the Mongol "spirit" and Russian ideas about the state.

According to T., when and how did Rus' free itself of the "Tatar Yoke"?

What is T.'s thesis?


Kaiser & Marker, Section II

Intro to Sect. II:

How do the editors explain the decline of Kiev and the rise of the North East?

When did the Mongols invade Rus', and what were the results? Do the editors think that

Mongol rule had no positive effects on Rus'? Explain.


Kaiser & Marker Ch. 6:


Describe the Novgorod state system, and the state system in Vladimir, Suzdal, and Moscow.

According to the editors, who benefited from Mongol rule over Rus'?




Intro to Novgorod Chronicle on the Mongols:

When did the Mongols invade and how long did they "stay"?

Novgorod Chronicle:

How do the Novgorod chroniclers explain the causes of the Mongol invasion?

How does the chronicle explain Mongol "use" of Rus? How does it describe the Tatar treatment of the Rus' people?

Based upon this document, how extensive was Mongol rule?


Immunity Charter:

Based upon this document, how might Mongol rule have worked to the advantage of the Orthodox Church? Explain.


Treaty of Novgorod with Tver:

According to this document, who had high social status in 13th century Novgorod?

On what basis did Novgorod claim independence?

How are borderlands treated in this document?

What does this document tell you about property rights in Novgorod?

How was the treaty "sealed" and why?

What does this document tell you about the Novgorod state system? Explain.


Galician-Volhynian Chronicle:

How do these chroniclers differentiate between "good guys" and "bad guys"?

What lesson about power and the "true" form of state is passed along by this document?


Intro to Second Testament of Dmitrii Donskoi:

Who was Dmitrii Donskoi? Why is his reign important?

Second Testament of Dmitrii Donskoi:

What role does this document give to Dmitrii's Princess? Explain.

What sorts of property did D. bequeath his children? What does this tell us about his view of

the state and his relationship to his subjects?

How "made out" best in this will, and why?

If you drew a map of Dmitrii's bequests to his family, what would it look like?

How did Dmitrii understand the causes of his fate?

How did Dmitrii try to prevent discord in the state after his death?


Nikonian Chronicle on the Annexation of Novgorod:

How is the authority of God invoked in this document to explain the rule of the Moscow Grand Prince Ivan III?

How did Ivan III understand his relationship with Novgorod?

Did all Novgorod welcome Moscow's rule? Explain.

What sort of state system does this document justify?

How did the chroniclers understand "cause and effect"?

Explain the model of state expansion promoted by this document.

Explain the model of church-state relations promoted in this document.

Why was calling Ivan III "gospodar" an insult?

Why was the veche bell of such symbolic importance?

How did Moscow draw income from Novgorod?


Platonov, "Statebuilding in Moscow":

According to Platonov, how did religion legitimate Muscovite rule?

How might this help us understand the chronicles?

Explain the idea of the "Third Rome"; when did this concept emerge?

What is Platonov's thesis?


Halperin, "Interpreting the Mongol Yoke":

According to Halperin, how did Moscow benefit from Mongol rule? What is his evidence?

How does this help us understand the chronicles?

What is Halperin's thesis? Is Halperin agreeing with Trubotzkoy?


Kaiser & Marker, Ch. 7:

Novgorod Judicial Charter (Late 15th Century):

How do the legal procedures described in this charter differ from those in the Pravda

Russkaia? What role does this charter assign to the state?

What evidence do we have here on landowning and merchant activity?

What evidence do we have here of Muscovite rule over Novgorod?


Intro to Muscovite Judgment Charter:

Explain basic legal procedure in Moscow.

Muscovite Judgment Charter (1463):

What is the offense in this case? What was the defendants' argument?

What sorts of evidence did booth sides present?

What does this tell us about concepts of time?

Who won this case, and is there anything that strikes you as interesting about the Grand Prince's ruling?


Kleimola, "Justice in Medieval Russia":

What do patterns of testimony in land cases tell us about attitudes regarding memory and respectability?

What do trial records tell us about attitudes regarding literacy?

What do trial records tell us about the survival of earlier traditions (esp. pre-Christian traditions)?

What role did the state play in 15th century property disputes?

What seems to be Kleimola's main point?


Intro to Martin, "Fur Trade":

How extensive was Novgorod's fur trade prior to the 1450s?

What is Martin's thesis?

What factors led to the decline of Novgorod's fur trade? Explain.

How might this help us understand the Nikonian Chronicle (pp. 90-99)?


Sakharov, "Mongol Yoke":

What is Sakharov's thesis? Explain.

According to S., how did Mongol rule contribute to the rise of serfdom in Rus'?

How does this essay compare to those by Halperin and Trubotzkoy?


Kaiser & Marker, Ch. 8:

Literacy/Novgorod Birchbark Charters:

Looking at the materials on pp. 128-130, what conclusions would you draw?


Patrikei Stroev's Will:

Based upon this document, what observations can you make about material life in early 15th century Moscovy?


Minstrel Immunity Charter:

Why might the Trinity-St. Sergius Monastery want immunity from minstrels?


Zguta, "Russian Minstrels":

What evidence is there of minstrel activity in the 14th century?

What do we know about minstrels in the 15th century?

Why were 16th century minstrels often "on the road," and what does this show?

What seems to be Zguta's main point.


Sakharov, "Mongols and Cultural Change":

What is Sakharov's thesis? What is his view of the cultural cost of Mongol rule in Rus'?

Explain how Sakharov breaks the history of 13-15th cent. Russian culture down into periods.

How does Sakharov explain the "rebirth" of Russian culture in the late 14 century?


Intro to Alpatov, "Andrei Rublev":

Who was Rublev?

Alpatov, "Andrei Rublev":

What is Alpatov's thesis?

Look at the "Old Testament Trinity" icons on pp. 142, 143. How does Rublev's differ from that of the Novgorod School?

According to Alpatov, what separated Rublev from other icon painters?

Russia to 1917 Syllabus