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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2003 14:35:42 -0000
From: Sergei Bogatyrev <s.bogatyrev@...
Reply-To: Early Slavic Studies <H-EARLYSLAVIC@...
Subject: new book on foreign accounts of Muscovy
Sent: Thursday, October 30, 2003 11:43 AM
Subject: From Stephane Mund
Stephane MUND, "Orbis Russiarum". Genhse et diveloppement de la
reprisentation du monde "russe" en Occident ` la Renaissance, Geneva, Droz,
2003, 600 p. (Travaux d'Humanisme et Renaissance) SBN: 2-600-00849-7 -
Price: CHF 172
Though the history of relation between Western Europe and the world of the
Eastern Slavs (Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians) is ancient and goes
back to the beginning of recorded Russian history in the early Middle Ages,
significant development occurred only from the second half of the fifteenth
century onwards. At this time, many Western European States, that were
looking for an ally in Eastern Europe against the continuously expanding
Ottoman empire and for new markets, began to develop interest in the
emerging powerful Muscovy and, with a lesser degree, in Ruthenia, i.e. the
eastern Slavic territories of Poland Lithuania. Diplomats and merchants,
mainly from Italy, Germany, England and Poland, were among the first people
to write descriptions about Muscovy and Ruthenia. They were soon followed
by some famous humanists who developed a strong interest in Muscovy, the
strange customs of its people and the despotic regime of its rulers.
Knowledge about Muscovy and Ruthenia in Renaissance Western Europe
circulated through many different manuscript and printed sources:
chorographic treatises, cosmographies, chronicles, atlases? Most of the
authors of these descriptions have never been to Muscovy nor Ruthenia. They
wrote second-hand descriptions. Therefore the quality of their information
about these territories are variable depending on the quality of their
sources. The way of describing them clearly indicates the cultural shock
provoked between Renaissance Western Europe and the world of the Eastern
Slavs. The ?orbis Russiarum? was a strange one for the majority of Western
European authors who tended to present a stereotyped image of the Eastern
Slaves that still survives today.
Junior Research Fellow
Charge de Recherche FNRS
Universite Libre de Bruxelles