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Reimagining Kievan Rus’ in Unimagined Europe

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Russia’s place in Europe is an old question, one that is answered differently depending on its eras of history, the generations of scholars who study this issue, and their backgrounds. How the Kievan Rus’ period of Russian history may “fit” into medieval European history is perhaps not as well studied as are other epochs, although Soviet historiography is quite strong, as it nearly always attempted to situate Rus’ into “Feudal Europe.” Marxist historians had no doubts that Kievan Rus’ was European, as were West European medieval cartographers and geographers. Reasons for why, when, how, and where Russia came to be written out of medieval Europe, which has been generally understood as the Latin West, are still not clear. Recent scholarship has argued for the need to reevaluate the entire antiquated notion of “medieval Europe” being only the Latin West and include into it the “Other Europe,” or the Eastern-rite states that occupied the other half of the Continent. The new book by Christian Raffensperger attempts to find ways to situate Rus’ into “Europe” through reimagining its place in it. However, because the author does not reimagine “Europe,” he squeezes Rus’ into the Latin West, which compromises the former’s uniqueness as it also writes the rest of the Eastern-rite European states out of medieval Europe.

Affiliations: 1: The College of New Jersey kovalev@tcnj.edu

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/content/journals/10.1163/18763316-04202002
2015-05-20
2017-11-18

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