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Regular version of the site

Article

К вопросу о понятии русь в древнейшем летописании

Slovĕne. 2018. Т. 7. № 2. С. 356-382.

In the article the author studies what kind of identity the name rus’ referred to in the earliest chronicles of Kievan Rus’. His analysis is based on the ideas and reconstructions of Alexei A. Shakhmatov who proved that the famous “Tale of By-gone Years” (1100s) included some earlier chronicle or annalistic texts composed in the 11th century. According to Shakhmatov, the “Tale” originated from the so-called “Initial Composition” written in Kiev in the 1090s. The author shows that the writer or writers of the “Composition” placed Rus’ in the world history based on eschatological schemes of the Byzantine chronicles. They understood the Rus’ as a Christian people and as a powerful state and tried to “expand” its identity over local communities. The texts which can be dated back to the mid 11th century considered Rus’ in a different way: their authors’ efforts were to specify its identity in relation to other ethnic or political groups stressing its military victories and ignoring religious discrepancies. The author of the article concludes that the intellectuals of Kievan Rus’ were able to propose a variety of distinct “strategies of identification” and “ethnic projects”.