Medieval Russia connected Europe and Asia. Three broad times zones with different climates. Northern Forests: ◦ Supplied lumber for building & fuel ◦ Good hunting ◦ No Farming - Poor soil and cold snowy climate• Southern Farming: Fertile Land Location of Russia’s 1st Civilization
3rd Region – Southern “steppe” – an open, treeless grassland. ◦ Pastures for herds and horses of Nomadic peoples ◦ No natural barriers ◦ Great highway for Nomads to migrate• Nomads from Asia settled and conquered this vast territory.• Vast River networks linked early Russians to the advanced Byzantine Empire.
Kiev – capital city of Russian state Peoples: ◦ Slavic: Clans lived in small villages, farming, & trading along rivers between Baltic & Black seas. ◦ Vikings: from Scandinavia – traveled along rivers trading, and collecting “tribute” – forced payments from Slav’s.• Trade with Byzantine Empire opened Kiev up to Christian missions.• In 957, Princess Olga of Kiev converted and Christianity spread widely.• Russians adopt Byzantine culture, art, music, architecture.
Princess Olga’s grandson Vladimir and his son Yaroslav won military victories and spread Christianity. Close ties between church and state under Yaroslav. Church dependent on State. Brings about the Russian Orthodox church. Yaroslav’s Impact: ◦ Religious texts translated into slavic languages ◦ Improvements to the city of Kiev. ◦ Written code of law & legal status to church
Young leader unites nomadic Mongols of central Asia. Genghis Khan – means “World Emperor”. Between 1236 and 1241 the grandson of Genghis led Mongol armies called “Golden Horde” into Russia. Looted & Burned Kiev and other Russian towns.
Mongols convert to Islam Tolerated Russian Orthodox Church New Trade Routes established between China and Eastern Europe Ruled with absolute power – a later model for Russian rulers. Mongol rule cut-off Russia from Western Europe. Russians not a part of growth in arts & science
Located near important trade routes. Russian Princes steadily increased their power. As tribute collectors for Mongols, they subdue neighboring towns. Head of Russian Orthodox church made Moscow his capital. Moscow now political center but also religious center as well.
Princess of Moscow take on new role of “patriotic defenders” of Russia against foreign rule. 1380 – Russians defeat the Golden Horde at the Battle of Kulikova. Ivan the Great – retakes northern Russia from Lithuania. Establishes absolute rule & limits the power of the boyars – great landholding nobles. Referred to himself as “Tsar” – the Russian word for Caesar. Church declares Ivan to be “like the highest God.
Grandson of Ivan the Great 1st official Tsar of Russia at age of 17 in 1547. Extreme Absolute Power Emotionally unstable after wife dies. Kills own son in fit of rage. Creates “Oprichniki” – agents of terror – slaughter anyone suspected of disloyalty. Died 1584. Left country in rebellion.