Looking back at post Kievan Rus’ the only thing we can all agree on is that we don’t know enough. The information gathered is mangled and confusing but if looked at in depth it does give us an idea of what society was like.
In chapter seven the economy and society of post Kievan Rus is explored through a few documents. In examine these texts “the reader ought to note what the laws tell us about social differentiation, about the legal standing of women, and about the role of documentation in judicial hearings.” (109).… Read the rest here
The Kievan Rus’ were once a formidable power, but that strength shifted away from Kiev in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The reasons for this shift were numerous, and the power structures which came in Kiev’s place were also varied.
Indeed, according to A History of Russia to 1855, “there is considerable controversy about the precise nature of these factors [related to the decline and fall of Kiev] and no consensus concerning their relative weight” (Riasanovsky and Steinberg 36).… Read the rest here
One of the more overlooked aspects of culture of post- Kievan Rus’ was the role of the minstrel. The minstrel, or skomorokhi, was a musician, actor, and all-around entertainer that operated in a wide variety of venues. These could range from small villages to large cities such as Novgorod. The minstrel sub population moved Northeast in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries into the region more known as Russia.
It is very surprising to note that Minstrels often played secular music and preformed secular entertainment. … Read the rest here
The evidence of the growth of literacy among the population in post- Kievan Rus’ breaks ground for many reasons. First off, it shows an attention to the youth and the next generation- not only so that they could have the ability to utilize these resources, but also as the investment to further generations. The fact that there were young people learning to write shows that society wanted further preservation of it’s culture past the point of the monks and the church.… Read the rest here
In post- Kievan Rus’, the power dynamics shifted significantly because of the changing sources of the power. There were two specific ways that the power in the area shifted: through dispersing power from the prince to other officials in the area, and to give the elite citizens more power. The first type describes a system where officials had to be elected to power, but once in office had authority to limit the prince’s power and to govern the area (mainly found in the northwestern region).… Read the rest here
Due to several factors, most of which were a result of the Mongol invasion, there is very little evidence detailing the day-to-day culture which existed in Post-Keivan Rus. What we do have, however, does provide interesting clues about literacy, the arts, and entertainment of the day.
One source is a doodle by a boy distracted in the middle of practicing his alphabet. The boy, Onfim, provides a drawing of an unidentified man atop a horse stabbing another unidentified man lying upon the ground.… Read the rest here
The readings, focused on culture during the fourteenth and fifteenth century, shed light on literacy rates and leisure. Birchbark charters show evidence of literacy among children, while artifacts (instruments, masks and manuscript initials) are indicative of traveling minstrels. Despite the information provided, however, the author and compiler speaks of many things we don’t know or have evidence of (possibly due to the Mongol occupation). Art and architecture are almost absent, prior to what Sakharov notes as a ‘cultural renewal.’
The birchbarks were particularly interesting, providing some evidence to the notion that literacy was spreading.… Read the rest here
Although many aspects of daily life in Post-Kievan Rus’, both during the Mongol invasion and directly after, have been lost in the intervening centuries, scholars have been able to determine several valuable insights into Post-Kievan culture. Literacy was not widespread at all during this time period–even some princes were illiterate. However, “birchbark charters” c. 1220 show us that some non-royal children did learn the alphabet and to write their names. Furthermore, the Mongols, through their violent occupation, destroyed buildings and left little market for artists to sell their goods.… Read the rest here
The judicial system of 15th century Rus’ was significantly more developed than the old system used during the time of Kievan dominance. While we don’t have much more evidence for the Kievan judicial system, we do know the basics of the system. In contrast, a large amount of evidence remains from the Post-Kievan period that details the workings of the system, and in many cases, individual court cases.
The system used in 15th century Rus’ was probably more developed because of use and years of troubleshooting.… Read the rest here
Looking at The Second Testament of Moscow Grand Prince Dmitrii Donskoi allows the reader to gain a better understanding of the post-Kievan society. Specifically, one can learn through this primary source about the practice of “partible inheritance”. This term refers to the system of bequeathing one’s holdings among members of the next generation. While this certainly included the sons of Dimitrii, the prince’s wife, referred to as “my princess” throughout the text, would receive considerable rights in this will.… Read the rest here