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Historical questions for 13th century Russia

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  • 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
    Message 1 of 5 , Aug 14 7:32 PM
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      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). Right now I have Munin Nederlander's book, which is useful because it contains a medieval account of the story as well as the libretto for Rimsky-Korsakov's opera. It also contains some byliny which aren't really related to the Kitezh legend. Unfortunately the Anthroposophical commentary which takes up much of the book is basically useless except for a good laugh.

      If anyone can recommend some other sources, on or offline, that would be wonderful.

      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).

      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?

      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?

      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.

      Generally I'm trying to find as much information as I can about everyday life in this period. The book will be more of a fantasy than a historical novel but I'd like have as much historical background as I can. Thank you very much.
    • aldo
      I have a few replies to your questiones but as I am writing about Russian Middle Ages in Italy I have only some pages either in Italian or in Russian (and/or
      Message 2 of 5 , Aug 15 10:29 AM
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        I have a few replies to your questiones but as I am writing about Russian Middle Ages in Italy I have only some pages either in Italian or in Russian (and/or in German). Let me know which you can use of above languages and I will lead you into the pages.

        Ciao

        Aldo

        From: CrimsonOctopus
        Sent: Monday, August 15, 2011 4:32 AM
        To: sig@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [sig] Historical questions for 13th century Russia


        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). Right now I have Munin Nederlander's book, which is useful because it contains a medieval account of the story as well as the libretto for Rimsky-Korsakov's opera. It also contains some byliny which aren't really related to the Kitezh legend. Unfortunately the Anthroposophical commentary which takes up much of the book is basically useless except for a good laugh.

        If anyone can recommend some other sources, on or offline, that would be wonderful.

        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).

        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?

        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?

        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.

        Generally I'm trying to find as much information as I can about everyday life in this period. The book will be more of a fantasy than a historical novel but I'd like have as much historical background as I can. Thank you very much.





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • aldo
        Dear Octopus, as I see that it is for me difficult to condense a few words for your topics, I decided to send over a book of mine where you can find a few
        Message 3 of 5 , Aug 22 12:49 AM
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          Dear Octopus, as I see that it is for me difficult to condense a few words for your topics, I decided to send over a book of mine where you can find a few replies to your arguments. If you read better Polish than Italian then the book I intend to send over is also available in the former language. If you think it is feasible just let me have your address and I’ll ship it FOC.

          Ciao

          Aldo

          From: CrimsonOctopus
          Sent: Monday, August 15, 2011 4:32 AM
          To: sig@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [sig] Historical questions for 13th century Russia


          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). Right now I have Munin Nederlander's book, which is useful because it contains a medieval account of the story as well as the libretto for Rimsky-Korsakov's opera. It also contains some byliny which aren't really related to the Kitezh legend. Unfortunately the Anthroposophical commentary which takes up much of the book is basically useless except for a good laugh.

          If anyone can recommend some other sources, on or offline, that would be wonderful.

          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).

          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?

          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?

          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.

          Generally I'm trying to find as much information as I can about everyday life in this period. The book will be more of a fantasy than a historical novel but I'd like have as much historical background as I can. Thank you very much.





          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Lisa Kies
          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
          Message 4 of 5 , Oct 15, 2011
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            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
            invasion.

            On Sun, Aug 14, 2011 at 9:32 PM, CrimsonOctopus
            <CrimsonOctopus@...>wrote:

            > 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.
            http://www.strangelove.net/~kieser/Russia/KWC.html

            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
            rations.


            >
            > 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,

            Sofya

            ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Lisa M. Kies, MD aka Sofya la Rus, OL, CW, CSH, druzhinnitsa Kramolnikova
            Mason City, IA aka Shire of Heraldshill, Calontir
            ___
            http://www.strangelove.net/~kieser
            {o,o}
            "Si no necare, sana." "Mir znachit Pax Romanov"
            (__(|
            "Nasytivshimsya knizhnoj sladosti."
            -^-^-`
            ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • aldo
            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
            Message 5 of 5 , Oct 15, 2011
            • 0 Attachment
              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?

              Ciao

              Aldo

              From: Lisa Kies
              Sent: Sunday, October 16, 2011 4:48 AM
              To: sig@yahoogroups.com
              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
              invasion.

              On Sun, Aug 14, 2011 at 9:32 PM, CrimsonOctopus
              <mailto:CrimsonOctopus%40hotmail.com>wrote:

              > 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.
              http://www.strangelove.net/~kieser/Russia/KWC.html

              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
              rations.

              >
              > 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,

              Sofya

              ----------------------------------------------------------

              Lisa M. Kies, MD aka Sofya la Rus, OL, CW, CSH, druzhinnitsa Kramolnikova
              Mason City, IA aka Shire of Heraldshill, Calontir
              ___
              http://www.strangelove.net/~kieser
              {o,o}
              "Si no necare, sana." "Mir znachit Pax Romanov"
              (__(|
              "Nasytivshimsya knizhnoj sladosti."
              -^-^-`
              ----------------------------------------------------------

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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