Russia and Europe: the story of an inverted

Russian thinkers saw one of the problems of our country to lead mankind from the one-sided development. Categories of identity, not stereotypes imposed image of Russia, its true place in the world community offers a comparison of Western and Russian past writer and historian Valery Shambarov:

Appolinary Vasnetsov · Novgorod bargaining

"In our country since the XVIII-XIX centuries. infiltrated a very peculiar method of studying history. Separately presented world (and in fact, the history of Western civilization) and individual domestic. And for selected estimates only criterion of "progress" — when and at what stage of Russia "catches up" Europe. "
Why she needed to play catch-up, means automatically. On the one hand — "land of nod", ignorance, filth, poverty, slavery. On the other — France brilliant, wise England, luxury Italy, Germany and accurate business … But if by "generally accepted" stereotypes go to reality, such a comparison gives at once the cracks.

The fact that all Western writers had (and have) an understandable tendency to gloss over the past and varnish. For Russian historians, infected by liberalism and "Westernism" was typical reverse tendency — to belittle his own ancestors, adapting to foreign opinions. But the formation of mass stereotypes had a decisive influence even biased historical works, novels and art and movies.
Take the XVII century before Peter the Great. In Russia, as expected, full of "barbarism", which will only rectify tsar-reformer, cutting through the "window to Europe." And abroad — immediately brought before the eyes of the images kurtuaznyh ladies, gallant, and scientists.
Well, who does not remember the vivid images, as brave and fine musketeers clicked his heels on the parquet Louvre or the streets of Paris? Although had to take into account that these pictures have little in common with the true facts. West liked luxury and splendor. But they are not achieved at the expense of scientific progress or improved social systems, but due to extremely steep squeezing juice from their own common people and began plundering the colonies.
And shine, if you look, turned out to be questionable. For example, if we talk about the same Musketeers, they were only 2 companies, they were bodyguards of the king. Besides them, there were 2 in France Regiment Guard. Once they receive a salary and took the form — no other active units in France did not exist.
The rest of the army was made of individual units nobles of mercenaries and was a rabble of different color.
In contrast to Russia, where there was a ten thousandth gorgeous body archers, and from 1630 began to form on the shelves of the "new order": the soldier, dragoon, Reitarska hussar. In 1660-ies. there were already 75.
Clatter heels on the parquet musketeers would be difficult. In their day the floors in the palaces strewn with straw. A straw is changed once a week. WC was not. In England they appeared in 1581 — the British trade with the Russian and Turkish and borrowed a useful innovation.
But other European countries to adopt it in no hurry. In France, even a hundred years later to use the potty, with them went through the palace special servants. At balls and receptions were not enough, gentlemen, aristocrats defecate in the corners, the ladies sat down under the stairs, and one of the German princess complained: "Palais Royal smelled of urine." Therefore, the Kings had several palaces. From time to time they moved and left the residence washed and cleaned.
But Europeans do not differ hygiene. The cult of purity they took much later, in the XIX century. — The Chinese (in tropical climates dirt led to dangerous infections.) In general, before the sight of Westerners was an example of a healthy lifestyle: Russian went to the baths at least twice a week.
But this custom of foreign guests was described as exotic and "barbaric." Even laughed at him. British indicated their belief that bathing leads to severe disease, lamented that frequent washing "spoils the complexion" of Russian women.
No bath, no bath was not even in the royal chambers. Lice and fleas were multiplied in hair under wigs and considered quite normal. In England, a louse called "gentleman's companion."
And in France at the end of the XVII century., In the era of Louis XIV, a collection of good manners taught that at a party at the table do not have to comb his hair, so as not to share with neighbors insects. The same collection instructed gentlemen and ladies, that does not stop at least once a day (!) Wash their hands. Better yet, at the same time and rinse face.

Plague in Naples, 1656

Plague in Naples, 1656

Plague in Naples, 1656

Uncleanliness and spawned the famous French perfume. Drowning out the smell of sweat and unwashed bodies, aristocrats generously watered spirits — they then reminded strong colognes. And to hide dirt, pimples and acne, ladies sprinkled face, shoulders and chest a thick layer of powder. Addicted and ointments, creams and elixirs of the most dubious ingredients, often bring themselves to eczema and erysipelas.
Ate in Europe, usually by hand. In our country, forks were used from the time of Kievan Rus', and they have been found during excavations in Moscow. In Italy, the fork appeared in the late XVI century., While France has been introduced only in the XVIII century.
A bed made of enormous size. They fit the husband, wife, children, and his family could put and guest. And the servants and apprentices spent the night on the floor, side by side.
And it was very different from Europeans exquisite turns, familiar from the novels and films. So, one of the memoirs of the then transmits dialogue aristocrats. Duc de Vendôme asked: "You probably will side of Guise, since you (four-letter word) … his sister?" What Marshal Bassompierre replies, "Not at all, I (four-letter word) … all your aunts, but it is not mean that I was loving you. "
As for the Knights to do with the ladies, then these ideas moved into our consciousness from the novels of the XIX century. And the Renaissance German poet Reimer von Tsvetten recommend husbands to "take the baton and pull the wife on the back, but harder, with all her might, that she felt his master and not mad." The book "On the evil women" taught that "a donkey, a woman and a nut need a stroke."
Even the nobles frankly, for the money, selling beautiful daughters of kings, princes, aristocrats. Such transactions are not considered shameful, and extremely profitable. After all, a high official mistress and opened the way to a career, and to enrich family, it showered with gifts. But they could give to another, resell, thrash.
English King Henry VIII of mumps since beating the favorites, they are a few weeks "out of order". And the rules of chivalry prostolyudinok did not spread. They were treated as objects for use.
European economy remained predominantly agrarian. Farmers were 90-95% of the population. Major cities was not enough — Paris (400 inhabitants), London (200 thousand), Rome (110 thousand). Stockholm, Copenhagen, Bristol, Amsterdam, Vienna, Warsaw — 20-40 thousand, and the population of most cities did not exceed five thousand, but their characteristic feature was the filth and overcrowding (up to 1,000 persons per hectare).
Houses crammed into the narrow space walls, they were built in the 3-4 floors, and the width of most streets do not exceed 2 meters. Coaches not pass through them. People made their way on horseback, on foot, and the servants of the rich wore sedan.
Even in Paris, was paved only one street, boulevard Sours la Reine was the only place for walking to know where to choose the "show yourself." Other streets are not paved, sidewalks were not, and in the middle of each was a ditch, where thrown from the windows of waste and splashed the contents of the pots (after all the houses the toilets were also missing.) And the land was expensive in the city, and to take up less space, the second floor had a ledge above the first, the third on the second, and the street was like a tunnel, which was not enough light and air, fumes from accumulated waste.
Travelers approaching the big city, far away feel the stench. But the townspeople used to and did not notice it. Unsanitary conditions often cause epidemics. Smallpox rolled about once every 5 years. Frequented and plague, dysentery and malaria. Only one of the epidemics, 1630-31 years., Killed in France, 1.5 million lives. In Turin, Venice, Verona, Milan, died from one third to half of the population.
Infant mortality was very high, two babies survived one, the rest faded from disease, malnutrition. And people over 50 were considered old. They really wore out — the poor from destitution, the rich from the excesses.
On the roads and in cities plagued by robbers. Their ranks replenished ruined nobles, impoverished peasants, the unemployed mercenaries. In Paris every morning picking up 15-20 ravaged corpses. But if the bandits (or rebels) were caught, dealt ruthlessly.
Public executions in all European countries have been frequent and popular show. People left their affairs, brought their wives and children. The crowd scurried hawkers offering goodies and drinks. The noble ladies and gentlemen rented nearby windows and balconies of houses in England built specifically for the audience stands with paid positions.
But the blood and death in the West are so used that to intimidate political and criminal offenders them is not enough. Devised as possible painful punishment. According to British law, for treason relied "Qualified punishment." Man hanged, but not to death, pulling out of the loop, opened the abdomen, genitals cut off, cut off the hands and feet, and in the end — the head.
In 1660 S. Pins described: "I went to Charing Cross to see how it hung, quartered and let the interior of Major-General Harrison. However, he looked as cheerful as possible in such a situation. Finally finished with him and showed him the head and heart of people — there was a loud shouts of joy. "
In England the same for other crimes gradually, one by one, put a weight on the chest sentenced until he breathed his last. In France, Germany and Sweden, often used the wheel. Counterfeiters boiled alive in a pot or pouring molten metal into the throat. In Poland, the criminals were put on a stake, roasted in a copper bull, hung from a hook in the ribs. In Italy break through the skull with a mallet.
Decapitation and the gallows were just too common. Traveler to Italy, said: "We have seen so many dead bodies along the road were hanged, the journey becomes unpleasant." And in England hanged vagrants and petty thieves to carry off items in the amount of 5 pence and above. Sentences sole judge magistrate, and in every city on market days vzdergivali next party guilty.
So I ask, in what way, our country had to "catch up" to Europe? However, I can recall that in the West there was a system of education, and universities.
But here it is necessary to amend — these universities were very different from today's schools. They studied theology, law, and in some — medicine.
Natural sciences in the universities was not. Were, however, physics. But it (the science of the nature of the device) was considered the humanitarian, and crammed it in Aristotle.
As a result, universities fetus empty scholastic judges pettifogger yes. But medicine remains in its infancy. Generally accepted means of various diseases considered bloodletting and purging. Illiterate treatment starved of King Francis II, Louis XIII, Queen Margot, Cardinal Richelieu. But they were treated, then the best doctors! Better schools began to emerge at the turn of XVI-XVII centuries. — The school of the Jesuits, Oratory, Ursulines. There have been taught, and mathematics.
In the realm of "science" Europeans attributed magic, alchemy, astrology, demonology. However, what kind of education we can talk, if in 1600 in Rome, burned Giordano Bruno, in 1616, banned the work of Copernicus' On the Revolutions of the Celestial Bodies, "in 1633 Galileo was forced to deny the evidence of Earth's rotation. Similarly, the founder of Geneva burned Michael Servetus theory of blood circulation. Vesalius for work "On the structure of the human body" was starved to death in prison.
And at the same time for all the western countries enthusiastically burned "witches." Peak brutal mayhem took place not on the "dark" times of the early Middle Ages, and just on the "brilliant» XVII century. Women were sent to hundreds of fires. And universities actively participated in it! They gave "scientists" conclusion about the guilt of "witches" and a good living on such scientific research.

As for Russia, it is in this period developed vigorously and dynamically. It is often visited by foreign merchants and diplomats. They described "a lot of big and beautiful in their own cities" (Oleary), "crowded, beautiful, unique architecture" (Juan Persian). Marked "temples, elegant and richly ornamented" (Kampenze), admired: "We can not express what a great picture appears when you look at these shiny head, ascended to heaven" (Lizek).
Russian cities were much more spacious than in Europe, where every house had a large yard with gardens, from spring to fall, they were buried in flowers and greenery.
The streets were about three times larger than in the West. And not only in Moscow but also in other cities in order to avoid their mud littered with logs and paved flat wooden block. Russian masters have received the highest ratings contemporaries: "Cities are rich in their diligent labor in different masters" (Mihalon Litwin). There were schools in monasteries and temples — they even arranged Ivan the Terrible.
Was public transport, cabs — until the end of the XVII century. strangers spoke of them as curiosities: they have, this has not happened. Did not have them and Yamskoy mail connects the remote areas. "The main roads wound good order. In different places hold special farmers who need to be ready with a few horses (1 village has with 40-50 horses and more), on receipt of the Grand Order they can immediately harness horses and hurry on "(Oleary). From Moscow to Novgorod arrives in 6 days.
Travelers reported "many wealthy villages" (Adams). "The land is planted all the good bread that people carry in Moscow in an amount such that it seems surprising. Every morning you can see from 700 to 800 sled riding there with bread and some fish "(Chancellor).
And once upon a Russian very well. Without exception, all the foreigners who were in Russia, drew pictures almost fabulous prosperity compared to their home countries!
Land "abounds in pastures and well treated … butter a lot, like all kinds of dairy products due to the great abundance of their animals, large and small" (Tyapolo). Mentioned "an abundance of grain and livestock" (Perkamota), "the abundance of foodstuffs, which would have done honor even the most luxurious table" (Lizek).
And all of it was available to everyone! "In this country there is no poor people, because the food is so cheap that people take to the road to look for, who would give them" (Juan Persian — apparently referring to the distribution of alms). "Generally speaking, the whole of Russia due to the fertile soil purveyance very cheap" (Oleary).
About cheap wrote and Barbaro, Fletcher, Paul of Aleppo, Margeret, Contarini. They were amazed that the meat is so cheap that it does not even sell by the pound, "as carcasses or cut on the eye." And chickens and ducks often sold hundreds or forty.
Were carried out to the people and the money. Peasant women wore large silver earrings (Fletcher, Brembo). Dane Rhodes wrote that "even a woman of humble origins sew dress of taffeta or Damascus and decorate it with all the gold and silver lace." Moscow described the crowd, where "there was a lot of women, adorned with pearls and adorned with precious stones" (Mass). So probably not in the crowd huddled boyar.
Meyerberg concluded: "In Moscow there is an abundance of all things necessary for life, comfort and luxury, but still produced at a reasonable price, it has nothing to envy any country in the world." A German diplomat Geis, talking about "Russian wealth", stated: "In Germany, perhaps, would not believe."
Of course, the climate is not ensured the welfare and some special fertility. What could be our northern edges to crops in Europe! Wealth reaches extremely hard work and skills of farmers and artisans.
But accomplished and wise policies of the government. Since the days of the Troubles Russia has had disastrous strife, devastating enemy invasions (Razin rebellion in scale and consequences did not go to any comparison with the French or the English Revolution Fronde).
Tsarist army always bully any enemies — Poles, Swedes, Tartars, Persians, under Chyhyryn buried two Turkish army under Albazin Nerchinsk and stop the aggression Manchu and Chinese.
And the government is not fleecing the people. All foreign guests recognize — taxes in Russia were much lower than abroad. Not only that, the king actually protect citizens from oppression and lawlessness. Most rasposledny slave could refer the complaint directly to the Emperor!
The documents show that the ruler reacted intervened, protecting the "truth." As a result, people do not go broke. Merchants, farmers, artisans were able to expand their farms, bring up children. But that win and the state …
By the way, and epidemics have occurred much less frequently than in the "civilized" Europe. "In Russia, people are generally healthy and long life … you never heard of epidemic diseases … there are often very old people" (Oleary).
And if you want to continue the comparison, then the blood flowed like a lot less. "The crime is punishable by death is extremely rare" (Herberstein), "Laws of criminals and thieves opposed to English. You can not hang for a first offense "(Chancellor). Executed only for the most heinous crimes, the death sentences were approved only in Moscow — the king himself and the Boyar Duma. And it is such a sadistic follies as massive witch hunt, our ancestors did not know ever …
That's scattered stories about wild and downtrodden Russia — and the enlightened, sophisticated Europe.
However, I want to make a reservation: the author does not seek to denigrate and insult the West Europeans. They had their accomplishments, achievements and ideals. But would not be worth, giving them their due, denigrate Russian.

Valery Shambarov.

Valery Shambarov.

Pussia and peace. Valery Shambarov: "Russia was richer than the West."

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