Kievan rus was a happy exception to the early middle ages

Kievan rus was a happy exception to the early middle ages

Vsevolod Ivanov. «Rainbow over Arkona.»

That was the time when the Franks, Burgundians, Lombards, Bavarians, Angles, divided among themselves the territory of the Roman Empire, have lost their culture, were drawn to Rome. But it lost. Having spent the stolen wealth, clothes rotted away, the buildings were destroyed by time and by the same people — the bricks and stones dragged to the new buildings, and statues of marble slabs on the burn-lime, bronze ornaments melted.

Western kingdoms have fallen into chaos. Kings of handing over ownership of the service vassals, but the commitment quickly forgotten. Dukes, counts, barons did not reckon with the monarchs were fighting among themselves. The population declined in the continuous warfare. The once-cultivated plains of France, England, Italy thicket dense forests. In the wilds of the feudal castles nested: crooked, clumsy.

Serfdom was the cruelest. Advocated a complete master of a feudal lord over the peasants, tried and executed on your own. The self and the «right of the first night.»

The owner himself defined the amount of taxes and the refinement to serfdom. Worked in the literal sense of the word from the sticks: outside the city saw an overseer of their own environment, and the confidence of the club.

The peasants lived in miserable huts without windows and furnaces (for windows and pipes assigned additional taxes). Usual meal was soup, which threw everything — vegetables, grains, edible grass roots. Clothing prostolyudinok served only homespun linen shirt over his naked body, men — the same shirt and pants. Went barefoot in the winter used wooden shoes, sheepskin insulate capes, cloaks sheltering from the rain of matting. Cows and pigs were kept rare. Meadows, woods, ponds belonged to the lord. For hay, fishing, collecting firewood, acorns, watering must be paid separately. Content with goats, sheep, poultry. The animals were kept together with people — so warm. But the peasants themselves meat, milk, eggs, wool, almost did not use — they were going to pay their rent.

Commoners were beyond morality, beyond culture. Such an attitude toward him was imprinted in the poetry of vagrants. «We … grant me the labor of their feed, with the wives and daughters of their mortality and indulge their joy forever.» Or a decline in the word «man», «This man, this dork, that bastard, that bastard.» «What is a man? Noun. What kind? Donkey, because in all his ways and works it like a donkey. What kind? Imperfect, since before the rooster shout twice, three times obgadyat man. «

But the life of the feudal lords was hardly rosy. The castle was damp, cold and gloomy. The walls are covered smoke flares, smoked stinking tallow lamps. Usually, all the host family with servants thronged the kitchens. Interspersed with people scurrying dogs, chickens. When visitors came, heat their fireplace in the great hall, and feasts were poured into a banal listing and gluttony. Upivshiesya asleep right there at the table or under it. A little ochuhavshis continued fun. Beautiful clothes, shoes, thin shirts were expensive, they were passed by inheritance until the crumble from disrepair. Money is not always enough. After all required to purchase and repair the weapon (extremely expensive), repair locks, keep horses. In order not to break up the possessions and did not fail, their entire inheritance passed to his eldest son. A junior gave weapons, horses and sent to «seek happiness.» They died in wars or robbed on the road.

Towns were small, cramped, dirty. Still, the merchants, artisans, money-lenders were. Lent their feudal lords, kings, and for this city obtained privileges, rights of self-government. The European nobility, including kings, could neither read nor write. Was literate only Catholic clergy. Bishops and priests had an important place in the courts, became ministers, secretaries, treasurers. It was extremely profitable, and to maintain a monopoly on literacy Western church in VII. Resolution adopted at the Council: worship and church literature are permitted only in three languages — Latin, Greek and Hebrew. Just try to learn the Key!

The church was also a means of sharing political power of Rome and the German emperors. Germanic and Slavic tribes become dependent on them, subject to the polls baptism. It is from here went to Catholic custom of baptizing by pouring — dip was a bit too long. The soldiers rounded up people in one place, the priests sprinkled with water, mumbling in Latin and given en masse, whole crowds Christian names. From now on, they were considered Christians had to pay a tithe to the church, and this was considered sufficient.

But Christianity remained formal. Neither know nor common people did not understand the Latin prayers. Lived as necessary. In the kings and aristocrats were «their» bishops, clergymen. Do not let any sin? Kings relied on the bishops in the internecine wars with the rebel lords. Church leaders have gathered an impressive land area, they turned to the secular princes, had his troops. Monasteries contained crafts, taverns. A church positions were evaluated in terms of income — they get a reward, an acquaintance, buying. In the West, known for 11-12-year-old bishop, 8-9-year-old abbots.

Down and Rome as pope appeared most scandalous figure. In the X century. The Vatican for decades ran the nominees dissolute aristocrats. Improve the church tried in the XI century. energetic Pope Gregory VII. He published a treatise on «The dictates of the pope,» proclaiming the universal monarchy. His. It has been argued that the Roman pontiff — «king of kings». He must obey the emperors, kings. And only God above him. Church to become an instrument of papal power over the world. Purges began in the monasteries were introduced stricter regulations, the bishops Gregory reassigned not kings, and himself. To post was not hereditary, set celibacy for the clergy, «celibacy».

But it really did not like the German emperors. Its something they called the Roman Empire, and believed that Italy and the pope in particular, should serve them. Europe tore a long war between supporters of the championship Dad, «Guelphs» and emperors — «Ghibellines.» Moreover, the emperor took the bishops who opposed the papal innovations and dads side — secular dukes and princes who refused to obey the emperors.

That Europe is in fact inherited from ancient Rome, it’s the infamous «cult of law.» I mean the legal chicanery. Sue in the West is very well liked. In XI. in Germany during the invasion of frogs and worms, even some bishops have started legal proceedings against evil spirits by sending them to attack. Returns a verdict that the evil spirits had no such right. Performed if their toads and worms, history is silent.

European law has been extremely frustrating. Mixed laws of different ages, kingdoms, duchies and cities. And above all this prevailed «club law.» Who has the power, he is right. But to seize the property of others, kings and feudal lords necessarily trying to find a «legal» justification, and lawyers were the second educated classes. To prepare them, and priests have the first universities.

Hearth where a higher culture Spain was captured by the Arabs. They brought from the East sound knowledge in geography, mathematics, astronomy, engineering, and medicine. They had great architects. Western rulers have tried to get the service of such professionals, enthusiasts have been coming to Spain for the improvement of education. But along with the knowledge brought here and heresy. Among the downtrodden and oppressed population, they ranged widely in Europe was shaken by the devastating movement Cathars, Waldenses, Albigenses.

Against the backdrop of Western decadence stood out Byzantium. It has maintained a high ancient culture, denounced its remnants to future generations. It has created its own unique culture and — Christian. But Byzantium already decaying. Constantinople, the greatest and most beautiful city in the world, became the focus of intrigue, abuse of power squabbled greedy courtiers. Official piety did not prevent lies, deceit, greed, depravity.

Meanwhile, in the north rose the powerful and extensive power — Russia. From Byzantium she took all the best, but remained alien to her vices. And the Russian rulers were able to organically combine the achievements of Greek civilization to the native Slavic basis. By the way, the Scandinavians called our country «Gardarica» — country towns. And they can understand. In all the Nordic countries combined, there were only seven cities. In Kievan Rus only in written sources mention more than 200.

Kievan rus was a happy exception to the early middle ages

Outstanding architectural monument is the Cathedral of St.. Sophia in Novgorod, built in the years 1045-1052.

Foreigners have described almost fairytale of their beauty and wealth. Erected impregnable walls of cities, magnificent palaces, temples — Tithe church of St. Sophia, Kiev and St. Sophia Novgorod, monasteries — St. George, St. Irene, The Crypt, etc., temples in Chernigov, Pskov, and then and Vladimir. There were still small, but in the West building of this size generally have not been built. Large stone cathedrals in Europe began to build for 200-300 years later, and construction dragged on for decades, if not for centuries — not enough funds.

Kiev admired foreigners, it was called the «second Constantinople», a German historian Titmar wrote that there were more than 400 churches and 8 retail space and «unusual cluster of people.» These certificates are in the top XI., And Yaroslav the Wise and his sons, the city has grown to a few more times!

By the way, unlike the West, forced baptism in Russia was not. The new faith is easily established in Kiev, and St.. Vladimir ordered to immediately baptize Novgorod. But there occurred unrest, clashes — and the Grand Duke made a decision that defined Russian church politics for many centuries to come: to act only by persuasion and the power of God’s Word. The Baptism of the next big city of Chernigov, there was only 3 years after the Novgorod. Adjacent to Chernigov, Smolensk was baptized in 21 years. But in general circulation of Russia to Christianity took about 150 years. But it was a solid, thorough. Especially because the service was carried out in an understandable Slavonic.

Baptism of Russia and became inseparable from her education. I must say, writing the Slavs existed since ancient times, archaeologists found many examples of so-called Slavic runes. In the IV. St.. Jerome, Slav nationality, has developed the alphabet in Dalmatia, translated the Bible. In 790, the Byzantine Empress St.. Irina at the conclusion of peace with the Bulgarians told to give up and Slavs alphabet.

And in 861 St.. Cyril, heading to the Greek mission to the Khazars, and saw in Hersonissos, the Gospel and the Psalms, written by «russkimi letter.» I became acquainted with a host of books, Christian-Rusichah, has mastered his instrument.

On his return to Constantinople St.. Kirill Patriarch Photios expressed the idea to translate the Scriptures into the Slavic language — and received a blessing. We do not know how the alphabet were written he had seen the book, but Sts. Cyril and Methodius streamlined it, closer to the Greek spelling, undertook to translate religious literature. First Slavic liturgy took place in Moravia. The German clergy did everything to stop them, but the disciples of St.. fellow educators with open arms was in Bulgaria, where he was born Slavic church.

Kievan rus was a happy exception to the early middle ages

Birch bark. Wrote. Wax board.

In Russia convenient in everyday life started to use the Cyrillic alphabet, even before the adoption of Christianity. A St.. Vladimir has opened in Kiev schools, Yaroslav the Wise founded them in Novgorod. Russia has become a country of mass literacy! In Novgorod, peat soil is well-preserved wood, and come down to us a lot of birch bark letters. Samples found them in Staraya Russa, Smolensk, Pskov, Vitebsk, Mstislav. They show that knew how to write, men, women, children, servants, — even cobblers sign their shoes!

And as rulers for education could serve as an example to his subjects. St. Vladimir was a connoisseur of the «book of wisdom», Yaroslav the Wise founded at the church of St.. Sophia first in our country, the city library, his son Vsevolod was also a man of high culture, fluent in five languages. Created real masterpieces, spiritual and literary — «Word on Law and Grace,» Metropolitan Hilarion of Kiev-Pechersk patericon, chronicles, «The Tale of Boris and Gleb,» «The Life and Pilgrimage of Abbot Daniel of Russian land», «Instruction of Vladimir Monomakh» «The story of the murder of Prince Andrew Bogolyubsky», «The Tale of Igor’s Campaign», all kinds of «words of praise» church services.

And in the oral transmission remained remarkable cycles of heroic tales dating back to the Kievan Rus. By the way, and in the cultural traditions can notice a significant difference from other countries. Western epic praised for valor valor, praised the Knights had fought among themselves. Scandinavian sagas praised the slaughter and production of the Vikings. After all, the authors were paid the same, or the Knights of the Vikings. Russian mercenaries also visited the seas, in the service of the Greek emperors, deeds committed there, brought home a considerable booty — but they did not devote epics. Narrators sang only those warriors who defended the motherland and the people! In our country, since the times of Kiev is quite different system of values — not selfish, and patriotic.

Kievan rus was a happy exception to the early middle ages

Claudius Lebedev. «Baptism of Kiev.»

Serfdom in Russia was not. Villages and cities belonged to the princes boyars were given «in feeding» the combatants, but the farmers are not covered. If you do not like it — could go to another place. There were serfs and slaves — of captives, sold debtors or criminals. But the proportion was small, they were used mainly in the backyard setting. The people were much more landscaped and protected than abroad.

Dressed very well. Commoners could afford clothes of wool fabrics — in the West wore them only to know. Notions of «lapotnoy Russia» appeared much later, in the XVIII — XIX centuries. Archaeology shows that in times of Kiev in all walks of shoes were leather. Girls and ladies trying to look attractive. Russian jewelers produced for them amazing earrings, bracelets, necklaces. Women followed the Byzantine fashion, copying new items. However, the Greek cuts were only for ceremonial attire, and then sewed them more spacious, more comfortable than that of the Greeks themselves. And in everyday life prefer Russian costumes — sundresses, annuals, kokoshniki, coats, hats with fur trimming, elegant boots. Embroidered dress with beautiful patterns, pearl beads.

Church took care of the poor and the emperor. Annals of talk about the huge St. almsgiving. Vladimir the Baptist. For the elderly and infirm who are unable to come for her in the palace, the food was transported from house to house. And in the church of St. statute. Vladimir entered the apostolic rule, that the wealth of the church — it is the «poor in wealth, churches, monasteries, deserts podyatie, lively resort, and dead storage.»

Russia achieved the highest power. No enemy could not even dream of her crush. Except that dared to foray or grab a slice on the edge (for which he received severe reprimand). And in Russia’s foreign policy credibility has been tremendous. It is considered one of the most important centers of world politics. Kiev court resorted to the deposed Scandinavian, Hungarian, Polish, English kings and princes were asked to help. Came to the embassy, make alliances. And intermarry with the great princes of European monarchs considered the highest honor. Daughter of St.. Vladimir was the Polish queen. Yaroslav the Wise was married to a Swedish princess married to the sons of Polish, German and Byzantine princess, princesses, and the daughters married off to the King of Hungary, Norway and Denmark.

Daughter, Anna, sir away behind the German Emperor Henry III, but he chose another bride (as later regretted). In 1049 Anna’s arms asked French Henry I. In France, the princess was struck by all the beauty and grace, and the dowry and outfits there seemed unimaginable luxury. Admired and brought her books. Perfectly placed in the gospel of Reims Cathedral, it began to give the oath of kings. Seven centuries later, in 1715, the book revealed to Peter I. Reverently explained that this is the most ancient scripture written extinct language, which no one knows. Peter looked more closely, laughed and began to read in Slavonic. It was the gospel of Anna Yaroslavny.

But its very disappointing France. She wrote to her father: «In what kind of barbaric country you sent me, here are gloomy dwellings, churches are ugly and horrible manners.» Indeed, compared with Russia was hard. Save the document, which flaunts a neat signature of Anna in Latin, and the next cross, delivered illiterate husband. Queen loved to travel to hunt, shoot a bow — it was a wonder the French. Their women stayed at home, at her embroidery frame or idle chatter. Anna first began to organize in France social receptions. In 1060 Henry I died, she became regent for her son Philip I. Even when the son grew up, he is deeply revered mother, they ruled France and signed the state acts together.

Such marriages and later, and not only on a dark West, but also in Byzantium were famous Russian high level of education. Granddaughter of Vladimir Monomakh Dobrodeya Evpraksiya-woo was the heir to the Greek emperor of Constantinople, and was surprised by his learning. «Civilize» the Greeks even tried to accuse her of «witchcraft and quackery» — she was a talented physician, was able to heal with herbs, wrote medical works. Preserved her treatise «Alimma» («Masi»). To any witchcraft and he was not lying close, but for its time, the princess had the deepest knowledge. The book contains sections on general hygiene person hygiene marriage, pregnancy, child care rules, diet, external and internal medicine, treatment, ointments, massage techniques. Surely Dobrodeya-Evpraksiya was not the only such a specialist. At home she had mentor have mentors — other students.

We note one more feature: Russian never turn up their noses before the Europeans did not try to impose their habits of thought and behavior. In contrast to the Europeans themselves.

In XII-XIII centuries. in the Crusades, they felt their strength, drove east whopping looted treasures. And Russia was under the hoofs of the horde. It was then that the pope and the Russian kings and declared «heretics.» And at the same time and «savages.»

Well, how could it be otherwise, they were so dissimilar to the representatives of the Western world!

Valery Shambarov

See also What is Russia lagged behind Europe in modern times?

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