I want to reply just about the languages question in Suzdal-Vladimir. First of all the Mongols that arrived there were mostly Kipchaks and the Mongols were just the”generals” pr NOYON. The language among them therefore was a Turkish very close to Bulgar spoken usually on the banks of Upper Volga. As Suzdal had everyday connections with Volga Bulgaria due to commercial connections and since Russian was not yet standardized, despite the church’s efforts, Udmurt/Komi were the languages spoken in the area beside Savonic of some kind but above all nearly everybody understood and spoke Bulgar-turkish. Andrei Bogoliubskii’s mother was a Petcheneg, the same was with Alexander Nevskii and much earlier even one of Vladimir’s wives was a Bulgar girl mother of BARS and ULEB or in Russian BORIS and GLEB. Can this help?
From: Lisa Kies
Sent: Sunday, October 16, 2011 4:48 AM
Subject: Re: [sig] Historical questions for 13th century Russia
Greetings from Sofya!
I'm sorry it's taken me so long to respond, but I found it unexpectedly
difficult to answer your questions about the fate of Suzdal in the Mongol
On Sun, Aug 14, 2011 at 9:32 PM, CrimsonOctopus
> Hi everyone! I'm planning to write a children's novel set in 13th century
> Russia, during the Mongol invasion, and I have a bunch of historical
> questions which hopefully someone here could answer.
> First of all, I'm looking for sources on the Kitezh legend, in English
> (French might work too).
I don't know anything about the Kitezh legend - first I've heard of it,
unfortunately. Looks interesting, though, now that I've Googled it.
> Now, onto some more historically specific questions:
> 1. What exactly happened to the town of Suzdal in 1238? I know it was
> sacked but did the Suzdalians put up a fight (like Ryazan, Moscow, and
> Vladimir did)? Did they know the Mongols were coming? The only thing I can
> find about it is the story from St. Euphrosyne's hagiography which states
> that her monastery was the only place spared (due to her prayers).
This is the question I had unexpected trouble with. I thought I would find
an answer in Vernadsky's multi-volume History of Russia. No such luck. Or
maybe in the Towns of Ancient Rus book by M. Tikhomirov that I'd been
wanting and decided to finally order thanks to your question. But that book
concerns itself chiefly with pre-Mongol events. There is a brief note in The
History of Russian Architecture by William Brumfield that very few great
buildings of Suzdal survived the Mongol attack. The Crisis of Medieval
Russia 1200-1304 probably has something, but I can't find it in the limited
snippet views on Google books.
> 2. What was standard, everyday dress for a Russian peasant girl at this
> time? Especially during winter. Everything from headgear to footwear. I'm
> aware that girls wore the kokoshnik but was this really worn every day?
> Nowadays its traditional for Russian women and girls to wear headscarves, at
> least around churches and monasteries. Were similar headscarves worn in the
> 13th century?
This question is easy. See my website about early Russian clothing.
Note that _maidens_ did not wear the kokoshnik. The kokoshnik, technically,
is for married women although we English-speakers tend to use the term
indiscriminately for all fancy Russian headresses. Also note that it is not
clear that these headresses had the same form in the 13th century that we
find them in 19th century peasant costumes.
Medieval headscarves were different from the modern "babushka" headscarves.
> 3. I know many people fled the towns and villages and hid deep in the
> forest. Do we have any information on how they lived?
You might try finding "The Tale of the Destruction of Riazan by Batu" which
would be a period text mentioned in the book Russian and the Golden Horde.
(although the entry in Wikipedia doesn't look too promising) As I recall,
some of the lives of saints also talk about surviving in the forest on short
> 4. What was the likelihood for an ordinary Mongol soldier to speak any
> Russian? I'm guessing highly unlikely but I just thought I'd ask.
Good question. Which, of course, means that I don't know. Within a
generation of the conquest, there were lots of Mongols and Russians that
knew each other's languages. How many Russian-fluent
spies/expatriates/negotiators the Mongols had with them, I don't know. But
they were generally very well-prepared for their conquests.
You might research the number of linguists the American forces take with
them to places like Iraq and Afghanistan, and how much of the local
languages modern U.S. soldiers pick up during their tours of duty. When I
was there, within a week we had all learned how to say "no" and "go away" to
the ever-present roadside vendors. Within a couple of months we had learned
to say "How much?" to the rug merchant, in addition to "hello" and "thank
you", etc. but it was pretty minimal.
The Mongol invasion of Rus did take a couple of years to finish, so there
would have been some time to absorb the local lingo by the end.
> Generally I'm trying to find as much information as I can about everyday
> life in this period.
If you want to know more about daily life in this period, I recommend George
Vernadsky's book, Kievan Russia. It has some great stuff.
At your service,
Lisa M. Kies, MD aka Sofya la Rus, OL, CW, CSH, druzhinnitsa Kramolnikova
Mason City, IA aka Shire of Heraldshill, Calontir
"Si no necare, sana." "Mir znachit Pax Romanov"
"Nasytivshimsya knizhnoj sladosti."
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