• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site
For visually-impairedUser profile (HSE staff only)Search

Eastern and Western Europe in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period: historical and cultural commonalities, regional peculiarities and the dynamics of interaction

Priority areas of development: humanitarian

The common research object for the project participants is the specificities of different (ethnic, linguistic, religious) cultures of Western and Eastern Europe and the diversity of their interaction in the Middle Ages and Early Modern period.

Therewith each of the five 2015 subprojects had its particular research objects within the common research field. Subproject A examined various manifestations of interaction between different ethnic, religious and social groups in Eastern Europe (including Scandinavia, steppes of South Rus’, foothill of the Caucasus). The research object of subproject B consisted of models of attitudes of Christian cultures of Latin West on the one hand and and Moscow Rus’ on the other towards Judaism and Jews in XVI – XVII cc. Subproject C focused on the forms of symbolic communication both in European political and cultural communities (mostly in Latin Europe and Byzantium) and between them, and also the circumstances in which new perceptions of scholarly knowledge were formed. Abkhazia and Alania church architecture which reflected the impetus both from the West (Byzantium in this case) and the East was the research object of subproject E. Subproject H researched the understanding of sanctity in the West (found in the processes of canonization) and Ancient Rus’.

Goal of research

The final goal of the research group in general 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. The project also 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 above mentioned collective goal.

Subproject A aims at identification and detailed elaboration of the phenomena and processes resulting from intercultural interaction in Kievan Rus’ and adjacent regions, as well as estimation of their depth and significance.

The purpose of subproject B is to reveal commonalities and differences of XVI c. polemic literature in Poland and Rus’ in terms of their attitude towards Jews, towards their beliefs, communities and lifestyle, as well as readiness (or reluctance) to cohabitate with them or willingness to forcibly baptize them.

Subproject C seeks to reveal the position in political hierarchy of the Empire that Roman bishops of the VII and VIII c. considered as appropriate for themselves, which they articulated through their symbols of power. On the other hand the it deals with the correlation between verbal and imaginary manifestation of the world views in the works of Western European intellectuals in the XII c.

Subproject E aims at detecting the influences of church architecture in Alania and Abkhazia in IX – XI cc., them being either from the West or from the East.

The goal of subproject H is, on the one hand, to reveal the new stages in the perception of sanctity formation, denoted in canonization processes, and, on the other hand, to compare Western and Eastern notions of sanctity.

Empirical base of the research

The empirical base of the research is quite wide and diversified. The research was implemented based on a wide range of primary sources with the use of a vast collection of secondary sources in all main languages used in academia. The collection of primary sources includes not only written sources, but also visual and material (architecture) ones.

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 as well as data of archaeological excavations. The second subproject (B) relies mainly on the Polish (P. Mojecki, Meletius I Pegas etc.), Russian (Spiridon-Savva, Ermolay-Erasm, Artemij etc.) polemic texts, as well as theological, exegetic and evangelical texts mainly of the XVI c. The main sources used in the third subproject (C) are as follows: on the one hand, these are chronicles, treatises, iconographic materials etc., on the other, Latin scholarly treatises of the XII c. (representatives of the so-called School of Chartres, Wilhelm von Conches above all), and also visual sources of the High Middle Ages. The chief sources for the fourth project (E) are the Caucasian architecture. Finally, the fifth subproject (H) examines documents of Western canonization processes of XIII – XV cc., as well as the works of Russian scribes, such as Zinovy Otensky and Joseph of Volotsk.

Research results

The intensity of the synthesis of Khazar and Varangian influences in the early history of Rus’ was revealed within Subproject A, this synthesis having traces even in Scandinavia where steppe-type burial places are found. An elaborate examination of a certain episode in the Tale of Bygone Years resulted in finding an important example of Scandinavian and Russian interaction on the level of linguistic and historical tradition and in identifying the person mentioned in that episode.

Subproject B revealed significant differences in the anti-Jewish polemics on Polish catholic and Russian treatises. The criticism of Judaism in the latter appears to be feebler, and the tolerance is much stronger. The results of subproject B are twofold: on the one hand, it was established that, contrary to common knowledge, symbolic language of power used by popes in the Early Middle Ages did not contain claims for imperial power or participation in it; on the other hand, another common perception of the contradiction between visual and discursive thinking in medieval culture was refuted. It was shown that the works of the School of Chartres authors, especially Wilhelm von Conches, developed a synthetic concept of a word and an image. Subproject E was the first to outline in detail the development of Christian architecture in the Caucasus (Abkhazia, Georgia, partly Armenia) in IX – XI cc. The investigation concludes that in the region under consideration (unlike some neighboring regions) the Eastern influence of Muslim architecture was minimal, whereas main impulses came from the West, i.e. from Byzantine Asia Minor, from its different regions though. Finally, subproject H found legal grounds and revealed the main stages in the formation of the concept and procedure of canonization in the Catholic Church (under popes John XV, Innocent III, and Gregory IX). Meanwhile, it was established that Russian works of the XVI c. demonstrated quite different attitude towards sanctity from Western ones, the former relying on the doctrine of theosis, taken from the Byzantine Church Fathers.

Level of implementation,  recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results

Research results of the project are already highly demanded among the Russian and international scholars and in the university teaching, which is confirmed through 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 (See a list in the report). The results of the project are planned to be published in a book in the HSE Publishing House.

Scope of application

The research is intended to be applied in the Russian and international academic researches devoted to the Russian History, World History, Source Studies, Religious Studies. medieval past of the peoples and cultures of Europe. Moreover, its results may be used in the higher education, and partly secondary education, in the museums, libraries and other cultural institutions, as well as in the media.


Литвина А. Ф., Успенский Ф. Б. Княжеское сиротство: Об одном актуальном параметре престолонаследия на Руси XII в., in: Вспомогательные исторические дисциплины и источниковедение: Современные исследования и перспективы развития. Материалы XXVII Международной научной конференции. Москва, 9-11 апреля 2015 г.. Москва : Изд-во РГГУ, 2015. С. 58-64. 
Виноградов А. Ю. Очерк политической и церковной истории Абхазского царства, in: Церковная архитектура Абхазии в эпоху Абхазского царства. Конец VIII — X в.. Москва : Индрик, 2015. С. 17-88. 
Boytsov M. Hus und seine Zeit in russischer und sowjetischer historisch-literarischer Verarbeitung // Bohemia. Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Kultur der böhmischen Länder. 2015. Vol. 55. No. 1. P. 1-17. 
Виноградов А. Ю., Коробов М. И. Готские граффити из Мангупской базилики // Средние века. 2015. Т. 76. № 3-4. C. 57-75. 
Виноградов А. Ю., Гугушвили Ш. Очерк истории Абхазского католикосата. Часть 1. VIII–X вв. // Богословские труды. 2015. № 46. C. 77-116. 
Litvina A., Uspenskij D. F. The Prince and His Names in the 12th Century (A Philological Approach to Medieval Political History) // Die Welt der Slaven. Internationale Halbjahresschrift für Slavistik. 2015. Vol. 60. No. 2. P. 346-364. 
Литвина А. Ф., Успенский Ф. Б. За что убили Ярополка Изяславича? // Древняя Русь. Вопросы медиевистики. 2015. Т. 61. № 3. C. 73-74. 
Петрухин В. Я. О балканских мотивах в русском летописании и миниатюре, in: Балканский тезаурус: Начало. Балканские чтения 13. Тезисы и материалы. Москва 7-9 апреля 2015 г.. Москва : Институт славяноведения РАН, 2015. С. 162-165. 
Петрухин В. Я. Саркел и Бертинские анналы: Хазарское начало русской истории?, in: Восточная Европа в древности и средневековье. Государственная территория как фактор политогенеза. XXVII чтения памяти чл.-корр. АН СССР В.Т. Пашуто. Москва : Институт всеобщей истории РАН, 2015. С. 216-221. 
Виноградов А. Ю., Виноградова Е. А. О дате фресок Моквского собора, in: Россия – Грузия. Диалог культур: Сборник статей по материалам конференции 2013 года и научных чтений 2014 года, посвященных памяти Давида Ильича Арсенишвили.. Москва : Музей им. Андрея Рублева, 2015. С. 48-56. 
Дмитриев М. В. Peccatum originale. Был ли возможен диалог Московской Руси с августинизмом?, in: Блаженный Августин и его наследие в истории христианской культуры. Москва : Издательство ПСТГУ, 2015. С. 140-156. 
Петрухин В. Я. Ересь и кощунственное в народной аксиологии, in: Категория оценки и система ценностей в языке и культуре. Москва : Индрик, 2015. С. 274-284. 
Boytsov M. Ghostly Knights: Kings’ Funerals in 14th Century Europe and the Emergence of an International Style, in: Death in Medieval Europe: Death Scripted and Death Choreographed. London : Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 2016. С. 149-163. 
Бойцов М. А. Нюрнбергская гордость, «корона с дугой» и покойные императоры, in: Искусство и культура Европы эпохи Возрождения и раннего нового времени. Сборник трудов в честь Всеволода Матвеевича Володарского. Москва : Центр гуманитарных инициатив, 2016. С. 222-241. 
Бойцов М. А. Первое прощание с последним князем Тироля, in: Universitas historiae. Сборник статей в честь Павла Юрьевича Уварова. Москва : ИВИ РАН, 2016. С. 254-261. 
Дмитриев М. В. Peccatum originale. Был ли возможен диалог Московской Руси с августинизмом?, in: Блаженный Августин и августинизм в западной и восточной традициях. Москва : Издательство ПСТГУ, 2016. С. 154-175. 
Бойцов М. А. Папа римский в Константинополе, in: Polystoria: Зодчие, конунги, понтифики в средневековой Европе. Москва : Издательский дом НИУ ВШЭ, 2017. С. 11-42. 
Воскобойников О. С. Литературные истоки готической физиогномики, in: Polystoria: Зодчие, конунги, понтифики в средневековой Европе. Москва : Издательский дом НИУ ВШЭ, 2017. С. 174-213. 
Polystoria: Зодчие, конунги, понтифики в средневековой Европе. Москва : Издательский дом НИУ ВШЭ, 2017. 
Бойцов М. А. «Aqua Spiritus sanctus est»: символизм воды у Гильома Дюрана, in: Святая Вода в иеротопии и иконографии христианского мира. Москва : Феория, 2017. С. 278-294. 
Voskoboynikov O. La fisiognomica scolpita nel Duecento, in: Statue. Rituali, scienza e magia dalla tarda Antichità al Rinascimento. Florence : Edizioni del Galluzzo, 2017. С. 417-442. 
Дмитриев М. В. «Вода вся - святая». О древнерусских обрядах освящения воды в «народной» и «высокой» культуре, in: Святая Вода в иеротопии и иконографии христианского мира. Москва : Феория, 2017. С. 659-671. 
Успенский Ф. Б. К характеристике культа святых в династии Рюриковичей домонгольского времени, in: Европа святых. Социальные, политические и культурные аспекты святости в Средние века. Санкт-Петербург : Алетейя, 2018. С. 253-260. 
Бойцов М. А. Папа римский в Константинополе, in: Зодчие, конунги, понтифики в средневековой Европе. 2-е изд.. Москва : Издательский дом НИУ ВШЭ, 2021. С. 10-35.