The Historical Writing of Catherine II: Dynasty and Self-Fashioning in “The Chesme Palace” (Chesmenskii Dvorets)
The article explores the Russian empress Catherine II’s attempt to fashion her individual and monarchical “self” in historical plays and articles written and published in the late 18th century (“Chesmenskiy dvorets (Chesma Palace)” in particular). The author interprets how Catherine II as an enlightened European monarch used theatrical stage and literature to communicate her political and ideological views as well as to position herself as a dynastic figure among the Rurikids, the Romanovs and members of the European monarchical houses.
The Russian Primary Chronicle story of Prince Vladimir marriage proposal to Rogneda traditionally attracts reader’s attention by the emotional coloring, ethnographic details intercultural coincidences. With the evident and indisputable dramatic effect of the situation depicted in the Chronicle, there are a lot of concealed meanings, not all of them has been studied. Thus, the plot of this episode is rather built on Rogneda abusing Vladimir («не хочю розути робичича . но Ӕрополка хочю») and on the subsequent revenge and return actions by Vladimir to the family ruling in Polotsk. Meanwhile, if consider this story not only as a most interesting and rather a complicated narrative, but also as a reproduction of the essence of some dialogue that took place in reality, then alongside with the abusive character of Rogneda’s remark, it is impossible to ignore its proper juridical aspect. The daughter of a settler in the first generation, she naturally uses juridical categories inherent to her former motherland. In the archaic Scandinavian law there was a special norm according to which a child born from a free man and slave woman (and, respectively, from a free woman and a slave) can not inherit the family property of his father, even if that would make the mother free and marry her. The Rogneda of the Chronicle acts quite in the tradition of her motherland, simplifying and aggravating some rather complicated life situation, to drive it to the understandable and peremptory situation in law: Vladimir as a son of the slave woman is not a heir of the family property either of the first or of the second order. In other words, from the Rogneda viewpoint he can not inherit this property even in the case of his brother’s death. Rogneda appears to be wrong considering Kiev a usual family estate and Vladimir — only the son of her free fellow countryman and a slave woman. The “groundlessness” of such position is, in some sense, a mark of the transition of the Rurikids from the status of clan to status of the dynasty, always living by somewhat altered rules of inheritance.
The Russian Princes of the pre-Mongolian time quite sequentially followed the prohibitions not only on the marriages of the close relatives, but also on the matromonies related by marriage.A unique case of the violation of the Canon prohibition on so called Crisscross Matrymonies when a sister and the brother from one family get into marital union with a brother and a sister from another family is studied in this paper. Also the authors consider the matrimonial strategy of Rurikids dynaty. and showed the extraordinary importance of the affinity in the organization of the military and political unions and coalitions in the 12th century
This study focuses on the interaction between Russian princes and nomadic Cumans (Qipčaqs, Polovcians). The starting point of our work are names and family ties of individual Cumans captured in the oldest Russian chronicles which represent "minimum quanta" of the historical information. N. M. Karamzin in the notes to his History drew attention to the fact that some of the names of the Cuman families representatives are obviously associated with Russia. These "Russian" names, in our opinion, are the most important indicator of the cross-dynastic interaction, contacts between Russia and the nomadic world. What is the composition of the corpus of Russian names of Cuman elite representatives? In essence, it consists of only a very limited number of anthroponyms: Yuri (George), Daniil, Roman, Gleb, Yaropolk, Davyd (?), Vasili. It is crucial that all of these names are regularly used as dynastic by the Rurikids in the 11th — beginning of 13th century. Most of the names, borrowed by Cumans from Russians, are Christian names. At the same time attention is drawn to the non-trivial distribution reflected in the information of sources; while discovering Christian names of some representatives of the highest Cuman nobility, we do not find any mention of the fact that any of the owners of these names, their fathers and other close male relatives took baptism. On the contrary, they are consistently characterized as pagans. Moreover, ancient chronicles contain no reports of Cuman princes taking baptism until the beginning of the Tataro-Mongol invasion. Interestingly, Christian names of those few Cumans of whose conversion we can speak more or less confidently cannot be found in any records, whether it is a Cuman wife of a Russian prince, an anonymous monk of Kiev-Pechersk Monastery, an author of an inscription on the church wall or a powerful Cuman Prince, who was baptized on the eve of the Battle of the Kalka. In our work we have sought to demonstrate that the cause of the appearence of Russian names in this environment is a cross-dynastic, intergenic anthroponymic communication, a desire to consolidate the alliance with the Russian princes, but not a conversion of the male representatives of the Cuman elite. The set of "Russian" names used by Cumans allows us to determine the circle of their "anthroponymical donors" among the Rurikids and identify a number of rules and laws on which this communication in the language of names was carried out.
Dans les "Mélanges philosophiques" pour Catherine II, Diderot, reprenant un projet de l’impératrice, insiste sur la nécessité de confectionner un petit catéchisme moral. Il avance quelques propositions dans ce sens et revient sur ce sujet dans les lettres écrites à Ivan Betskoï et à Catherine II en 1774, pendant son second séjour à La Haye. Des découvertes récentes dans les archives de Moscou permettent de préciser certaines circonstances de son intervention, mais soulèvent de nouvelles questions sur ce que fut son rôle dans cet épisode, qui comporte plusieurs points obscurs.
The chapter is dedicated to the problem of correlation of the ideology of Enlightenment and the practical implementation of the ideas of the philosophers in the politics and social life of Prussia and Russia.
The article investigates the ways in which the celebration of the name day (imeniny) of Russian princes or their entourages was presented in the Russian chronicles. The custom of celebrating the name day was firmly rooted in the Russian princely environment. For a chronicle narrative, the very rootedness of this custom and the number of its associated actions plays an important role—it is this rootedness that makes stories told in the chronicles quite opaque to the modern reader. A prince’s Christian name and the day of his patron saint were considered to be important background knowledge for the audience of the medieval compiler. There were, apparently, clear ideas about appropriate behavior for prince or a person from his environment on his name day or on the eve of this day but, on the other hand, such assumptions explain why this kind of “normal” behavior rarely forms the subject of special reflection in the chronicles. It is not only a description of the celebration itself that might be very informative, whether it be a church service, a ceremonial feast with various relatives, or an exchange of gifts, but also the description of acts and deeds that were undertaken specifically on a prince’s name day. Therefore, particular attention is given here to stories about undue or inappropriate behavior on this special day. The paper deals with the function and nature of such episodes in the broader context of historiographical narrative.