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The Nature and the Early Rus’ Image of Kievan Princely Power

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Chapter Summary

The annalists and compilers of early Kievan Rus' history and writers of hagiographical and literary works acknowledge the achievements of Vladimir I and his son Jaroslav the Wise. The rise to power of the four princes coincides with the ushering in of a new era in Kievan history, the introduction of Christianity and the implementation of its teachings, but this period also brings to scholarly attention the difficult questions of defining rulership in its political and other contexts within this new framework. From the onset of Rus' annalistic writing, it was essential for the scribes, having been schooled in the Byzantine historiographic tradition, although there is internal evidence in the Rus' sources that they were aware of some traditions found in Germanic and Scandinavian annals, to recall the early decades of Rus' much as the Old Testament books developed their pre-David/Solomon accounts.

Keywords: Byzantine historiographic tradition; Christianity; Jaroslav; Kievan Rus'; pagan; Solomon



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