Meanwhile, each of the five 2014 subprojects studied its own object within the common research field.
Subproject A («Nordica. Northern Europe and Rus’») studied the strategies of building dynastic ties as well as name-giving and cultural exchange strategies in Greater Europe of IXth-XIIIth cc., its outer borders being Scandinavia, Kievan Rus’ and Cuman (Polovtsy) steppes. Subproject B («Religious tolerance discourses and the models of confessional and cultural pluralism in Orthodox and Western-Christian European societies in the Middle Ages and Early Modern period (comparative analysis)») focused on the models of interaction between Christian and non-Christian cultures in the West and in the East of Europe in connection with discourses of religious intolerance and tolerance mostly in XVth — XVIIth cc. Subproject C («Symbolic heritage of medieval Europe») investigated the forms of symbolic communication both within European political and cultural communities and between them. It also dealt with the ways and circumstances of geographical and cultural transfer of technologies, knowledge, and images within the so-called Greater Europe from Vth to XVth c. Subproject E («Byzantium and the Caucasus: religion, identity, and political genesis (VII-XII cc.)») was engaged with the political and confessional culture of Caucasian societies of VIth – XIth cc., which were at the crossroads of different cultural influences and at the same time found their own original ways of political genesis, political representation, confessionalization and building their own religious and cultural, as well as artistic identity. Subproject G («Ancient Rus' and Latin West: connections and alienation, convergence and gaps») dealt with dynastic contacts and cultural ties between Kievan Rus’ and Central and Western-European countries.
The final goal of the project in general, including in the future, is to develop a basic concept of the unified European history in the Middle Ages and Early Modern period without dividing it into Western and Eastern European histories. In addition, the project aims at developing and testing methods of interregional and whole-European historical studies. However, each of the subprojects has its own goal, subject to the common one.
Subproject A aims at revealing both the peculiarities of matrimonial and name-giving strategies of the Rurik dynasty as compared with the same strategies of European rulers (including Scandinacian konungs and Cuman princes) and the interaction of these strategies. The purpose of subproject B is to compare models of attitude to the adherents of different faiths (first of all Muslims and Jews) in Catholic Europe and in Orthodox Eastern Europe in the context of confessional specificity of the two branches of Christianity. Subproject C seeks to reveal the peculiarities of mutual perceptions (understanding and non-understanding) of representatives of different cultural regions during symbolic intercultural communication, routes of transfer and degree of assimilation of significant symbolic and cultural practices by different communities, as well as the main ways of intellectual technologies, knowledge, and images transfer. The goal of Subproject E is the reconstruction of political genesis in Caucasian societies of the early Middle Ages and detecting specific local features of the formation of specific forms of state-building in the Caucasus. Subproject G seeks to elicit and clarify the dynastic, cultural, and other connections between ancient Kiev and Western countries with the prospect of revealing a fuller picture of the interactions between Rus’ and its neighbors in pre-Mongol period, complete in terms of facts and methodology.
Empirical base of the research
The empirical base of the research is quite wide and diverse. The research is based on a wide range of unpublished as well as published primary sources with the use of a vast collection of secondary sources in all languages of academic communication. Besides written sources, some subprojects used visual materials as well as artefacts.
Each subproject deals with the relevant collections of primary sources. Even within the subprojects, the source base is diversified. Nevertheless, the key sources for the first subproject (A) are the annals and chronicles of the XIth-XIIIth cc. and Scandinavian sagas. The second subproject (B) relies mainly on the official sources, historiographical, polemical and publicistic narratives, as well as theological, exegetic and evangelical texts of the XVth-XVIIth cc. The main sources of the third subproject (C) are as follows: on the one hand, the coronation orders, liturgical texts, court payment books, chronicles, iconography etc.; on the other hand, Latin scholarly treatises of the XIIth-XIVth cc. (some of which are introduced for academic use for the first time ever), as well as visual sources dating back to the early and high Middle Ages. The fourth subproject (E) uses the Byzantine and Caucasian chronicles of early Middle Ages, other texts of different kinds, but above all different material remnants (architecture, archeological artefacts, coins, stamps, graffiti etc.). Finally, the fifth subproject (G) examines Ancient Rus’ and Western chronicles of pre-Mongol period, as well as liturgical texts («Gertruda’s prayer book»). Like in subproject A, here the additional source is the pattern of dynastic ties, not found in full in any of the sources, but reconstructed by the researcher based on a very careful analysis of the smallest details.
Subproject A was the first to detect one of the main rules of name-giving in the Rurik dynasty (not to name sons by the names of their living fathers and grandfathers). This rule is not found in Slavic dynasties but it was followed by Scandinavians. For the first time ever the deviations from this rule as well as its gradual weakening and transformation due to the spreading of baptismal names were traced. Subproject B revealed the grounds for the hypothesis that the attitude to the Jews was more tolerant in Muscovy, than it was in the Latin West in the same period. This attitude might have originated in Byzantium. The surprisingly wide spreading of the heresy of the Judaizers, not in the last instance among orthodox clergy, may be an indirect evidence even of some kind of liking towards the Jews. Subproject C traced the development of the metaphorical sense of anointing to reign as the key ritual in the establishment of the ruler in different societies of Western and Eastern Europe. Within the formation of different coronation traditions the anointing could be interpreted as a sacral act associated more with the Old Testament, or on the contrary with of the New Testament, or it could even be interpreted as a magical act, pre-christian in its essence. Introduction of the anointing in the Tsardom of Muscovy is different from the versions mentioned above since it lacks any kind of political, historical or theological concepts. It was regarded only as the repetition of baptismal anointing. On the other hand, this subproject drew nearer to the comparison of specific monastic mentality in the West and in the East of Europe and discovery of a correlation between rationality and faith in it. Previously little-known treatise “Meditationes” by English Benedictine Godwin of Salisbury (XII c.) was prepared for publication based on the surviving manuscript. The detailed overview of the development of Christian architecture in the Caucasus (Abkhazia, Georgia, partly Armenia) in IX – XI c. was for the first time ever presented in subproject E, based on the careful examination of almost all surviving (or recently excavated) artefacts. The difference in the guidelines of the commissioners of new church architecture was revealed: they either traditionally oriented on local examples of pre-Arab period (mostly in Western Kartli), or invited construction artels from the West, i.e. from Bizantium (above all in the Kingdom of Abkhazia). These preferences evolved from different political interests. Also two lines of development were discovered. One involved the complication of architectural forms, the other, on the contrary, their simplification. Besides, the style and working areas of a range of strangers’ artels were discovered. Finally, subproject G resulted in the reconstruction of how «Gertruda’s prayer book» could make its way from Rus’ to Cividale (in Friuli), based on a careful analysis of this prayer book. Even more importantly, a pattern of family relations was reconstructed, connecting princes’ families of Rus’, Poland, Bavaria, Bohemia, from Kiev prince Izyaslav to Frederick Barbarossa.
Implementation of research results
Research results of the project are already highly demanded among the Russian and international scholars and in the university teaching, which is proved by a large number of talks given by the participants of the project at the Russian and international conferences, as well as a wide range of lectures, special courses, optional courses (held at the HSE), media presentations. Besides, the participants of the project prepared almost 30 published works in Russian and foreign languages, partly published, and partly being prepared for publication.
Scope of application
The results of this research work are intended for application in Russian and international academic research on Russian History, World History, Source Studies, and Religious Studies. Moreover, they may be used in the higher education, and partly in secondary education, in the museums, libraries and other cultural institutions, as well as in the media.