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This book introduces readers to a little-known place and time in world history – early modern Russia, from its beginnings as Muscovy, in the fourteenth century, through the reign of Peter I (1689-1725) – by portraying the lives of representative individuals from the major levels of the society of that era. The portraits, written by professional historians, are imaginative reconstructions or composites of individual lives, rather than biographies. The portraits are arranged into socio-political categories, and include members of ruling families, government servitors, clerks, military personnel, church prelates, monks, provincial landowners, townspeople and artisans, Siberian explorers and traders, free peasants, serfs, slaves and holy fools. Using these portraits, the book brings old Russian society to life in an interesting way.
This is the first major re-assessment of Ivan the Terrible to be published in the West in the post-Soviet period. It breaks away from older stereotypes of the tsar – whether as ‘crazed tyrant’ and ‘evil genius’, on the one hand, or as a ‘great and wise statesman’, on the other – to provide a more balanced picture. It examines the ways in which Ivan’s policies contributed to the creation of Russia’s distinctive system of unlimited monarchical rule. Ivan is best remembered for his reign of terror, the book pays due attention to the horrors of his executions, tortures and repressions, especially in the period of the oprichnina (1565-72), when he mysteriously divided his realm into two parts, one of which was under the direct control of the tsar and his oprichniki (bodyguard). This work argues that the often gruesome forms assumed by the terror reflected not only Ivan’s personal cruelty and sadism, but also his religious views about the divinely ordained right of the tsar to punish his treasonous subjects, just as sinners were punished in Hell. Primarily chronological in its organisation, the book focuses on three main aspects of Ivan’s power: the territorial expansion of the state, the mythology, rituals and symbols of monarchy; and the development of the autocratic system of rule.
A revised edition of the history of Russia from 980-1584.
Providing a unique glimpse into the domestic life of Russia's nobility in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Days of a Russian Noblewoman combines a rare memoir and a diary, now translated into English for the first time. Anna Labzina was relatively well educated by the standards of her day, and she traveled widely through the Russian empire. Yet, unlike most writers of her time, she writes primarily as a dutiful, if inwardly rebellious, daughter and wife, reflecting on the onerous roles assigned to women in a male-centered society. Labzina was married young to Alexander Karamyshev, who, while well regarded in political and scholarly circles of his day, proved to be brutish and abusive at home. A "Russian Voltairian," he professed atheism and free love. His unbridled behavior caused Labzina much grief, which she vividly recalls in her memoir. Because she moved among aristocratic circles, her reminiscences bring readers face to face with celebrated figures of politics and literature, including the Empress Catherine the Great and the "Radiant Prince" Grigorii Potemkin. As a pious and charitable woman, Labzina also speaks for others who rarely had a voice in literature: serfs, prisoners, and political exiles. Labzina wrote both her memoir and her diary during her second marriage, to Alexander Labzin, a leader in Russian Freemasonry and in the movement for religious revival. At the same time, she became actively involved in the spiritual life of his lodge, the Dying Sphinx. Her account of her spiritual development and her social sphere offer unparalleled insights into male and female sensibilities of the time.
A 1998 study of the impact of the Mongols on the Rus lands using a broad and extensive source base.
An award-winning professor of economics at MIT and a Harvard University political scientist and economist evaluate the reasons that some nations are poor while others succeed, outlining provocative perspectives that support theories about the importance of institutions. Reprint.
This monumental series, acclaimed as a "masterpiece of comprehensive scholarship" in the New York Times Book Review, reveals the impact of Asia's high civilizations on the development of modern Western society. The authors examine the ways in which European encounters with Asia have altered the development of Western society, art, literature, science, and religion since the Renaissance. In Volume III: A Century of Advance, the authors have researched seventeenth-century European writings on Asia in an effort to understand how contemporaries saw Asian societies and peoples. Book 3: Southeast Asia examines European images of the lands, societies, religions, and cultures of Southeast Asia. The continental nations of Siam, Vietnam, Malaya, Pegu, Arakan, Cambodia, and Laos are discussed, as are the islands of Java, Bali, Sumatra, Borneo, Amboina, the Moluccas, the Bandas, Celebes, the Lesser Sundas, New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Mindanao, Jolo, Guam, and the Marianas.

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