New Rus Culture Post Mongol Occupation

Little evidence of culture and everyday life was left behind after the Mongol occupation. As A.M. Sakharov had pointed out in our previous readings, the Mongol Yoke destroyed centers of elite culture, cities, and markets all around Rus. Despite all that was lost during the occupation, it seems that starting in the  early fourteenth century, a new Russian culture had awakened.

One of Russian history’s most famous painters, Andrei Rublev lived during this era. Rublev pioneered a whole new style of art and invented painting techniques never known before. Not only is he considered one of the greatest artists in early Russia, but his work has been compared to some of the most well known artists in Western Europe. The discovery of pieces of birchbark writing gives evidence that there was, to some extent, literacy in Novgorod. One of them lists letters of the alphabet while the other is a picture of a horse and rider spearing an opponent. It also includes the name Onfim to the right.The drawing is very simple and looks as if it was drawn by a child. This means that education of reading and writing for children could potentially have existed.

Another form of culture that seems to be fairly significant at the time was the travel of Skomorokhi. The Skomorokhi were people that provided entertainment throughout Russia to mostly the peasant class. They included musicians, dancers, actors, and tamed animals dressed in colorful costumes. Using a variety of instruments from the gusli to percussion and wind instruments, the Skomorokhi were very popular at the time.

I found it most impressive that so much of this culture arouse independent of the Mongols. For instance, Rublev’s paintings did not have any Mongol cultural influence. His style was his own, and did not borrow from other cultures. The Skomorokhi’s instruments were ones they developed themselves and were not things made by the Mongols. There was a new and innovative culture in Rus, and that is something that is unique for a people ruled by a different culture for so long.