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The Aetiological Myth of the Russian Empire and the Study in Russia of Cultural Changes in the North Pontic Region from the 3rd Century BC to the 3rd Century AD (Prior to the 1920s)

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Cultural change in the “barbarian” world of the North Pontic region from the 3rd century BC to the mid-3rd century AD was not a special field of interest for ancient authors. Classical narratives only contain information about certain manifestations of such processes. In Russia, interest in studying the cultural changes that took place in the steppes of Eastern Europe in Antiquity appeared in the early 18th century, in connection with the accession of new territories to the East and West. The core of the cultural-historical model, which took shape and then developed in Russian historical research, was the idea of a constantly changing succession of peoples in the North Pontic region and of the historical role of this region as a buffer zone between East and West. On this basis, an aetiological myth of the Russian Empire took root, justifying its impressive size, its length along the meta-geographical axis of Eurasia and its historic role in the destiny of Europe. This concept assumed its definitive form in the early 20th century in the works of Mikhail Rostovtsev.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of World History, Russian Academy of SciencesRussia v_mordvintseva@mail.ru

10.1163/15700577-12341318
/content/journals/10.1163/15700577-12341318
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2017-12-15
2018-09-25

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