• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

Eastern and Western Europe in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period: historical and cultural commonalities, regional peculiarities and the dynamics of interaction

The project has been carried out as part of the HSE Program of Fundamental Studies in 2014.

The common research object of all the project participants is the particularities of Western and Eastern European cultures and their interaction in the Middle Ages and Early Modern period.

Meanwhile, each of the five 2014 subprojects studied its own object within the common research field.

Subproject A («Nordica. Northern Europe and Rus’») studied the strategies of building dynastic ties as well as name-giving and cultural exchange strategies in Greater Europe of IXth-XIIIth cc., its outer borders being Scandinavia, Kievan Rus’ and Cuman (Polovtsy) steppes. Subproject B («Religious tolerance discourses and the models of confessional and cultural pluralism in Orthodox and Western-Christian European societies in the Middle Ages and Early Modern period (comparative analysis)») focused on the models of interaction between Christian and non-Christian cultures in the West and in the East of Europe in connection with discourses of religious intolerance and tolerance mostly in XVth — XVIIth cc. Subproject C («Symbolic heritage of medieval Europe») investigated the forms of symbolic communication both within European political and cultural communities and between them. It also dealt with the ways and circumstances of geographical and cultural transfer of technologies, knowledge, and images within the so-called Greater Europe from Vth to XVth c. Subproject E («Byzantium and the Caucasus: religion, identity, and political genesis (VII-XII cc.)») was engaged with the political and confessional culture of Caucasian societies of VIth – XIth cc., which were at the crossroads of different cultural influences and at the same time found their own original ways of political genesis, political representation, confessionalization and building their own religious and cultural, as well as artistic identity. Subproject G («Ancient Rus' and Latin West: connections and alienation, convergence and gaps») dealt with dynastic contacts and cultural ties between Kievan Rus’ and Central and Western-European countries.

Research purpose

The final goal of the project in general, including in the future, is to develop a basic concept of the unified European history in the Middle Ages and Early Modern period without dividing it into Western and Eastern European histories. In addition, the project aims at developing and testing methods of interregional and whole-European historical studies. However, each of the subprojects has its own goal, subject to the common one.

Subproject A aims at revealing both the peculiarities of matrimonial and name-giving strategies of the Rurik dynasty as compared with the same strategies of European rulers (including Scandinacian konungs and Cuman princes) and the interaction of these strategies. The purpose of subproject B is to compare models of attitude to the adherents of different faiths (first of all Muslims and Jews) in Catholic Europe and in Orthodox Eastern Europe in the context of confessional specificity of the two branches of Christianity. Subproject C seeks to reveal the peculiarities of mutual perceptions (understanding and non-understanding) of representatives of different cultural regions during symbolic intercultural communication, routes of transfer and degree of assimilation of significant symbolic and cultural practices by different communities, as well as the main ways of intellectual technologies, knowledge, and images transfer. The goal of Subproject E is the reconstruction of political genesis in Caucasian societies of the early Middle Ages and detecting specific local features of the formation of specific forms of state-building in the Caucasus. Subproject G seeks to elicit and clarify the dynastic, cultural, and other connections between ancient Kiev and Western countries with the prospect of revealing a fuller picture of the interactions between Rus’ and its neighbors in pre-Mongol period, complete in terms of facts and methodology.

Empirical base of the research

The empirical base of the research is quite wide and diverse. The research is based on a wide range of unpublished as well as published primary sources with the use of a vast collection of secondary sources in all languages of academic communication. Besides written sources, some subprojects used visual materials as well as artefacts.

Each subproject deals with the relevant collections of primary sources. Even within the subprojects, the source base is diversified. Nevertheless, the key sources for the first subproject (A) are the annals and chronicles of the XIth-XIIIth cc. and Scandinavian sagas. The second subproject (B) relies mainly on the official sources, historiographical, polemical and publicistic narratives, as well as theological, exegetic and evangelical texts of the XVth-XVIIth cc. The main sources of the third subproject (C) are as follows: on the one hand, the coronation orders, liturgical texts, court payment books, chronicles, iconography etc.; on the other hand, Latin scholarly treatises of the XIIth-XIVth cc. (some of which are introduced for academic use for the first time ever), as well as visual sources dating back to the early and high Middle Ages. The fourth subproject (E) uses the Byzantine and Caucasian chronicles of early Middle Ages, other texts of different kinds, but above all different material remnants (architecture, archeological artefacts, coins, stamps, graffiti etc.). Finally, the fifth subproject (G) examines Ancient Rus’ and Western chronicles of pre-Mongol period, as well as liturgical texts («Gertruda’s prayer book»). Like in subproject A, here the additional source is the pattern of dynastic ties, not found in full in any of the sources, but reconstructed by the researcher based on a very careful analysis of the smallest details.

Research results

Subproject A was the first to detect one of the main rules of name-giving in the Rurik dynasty (not to name sons by the names of their living fathers and grandfathers). This rule is not found in Slavic dynasties but it was followed by Scandinavians. For the first time ever the deviations from this rule as well as its gradual weakening and  transformation due to the spreading of baptismal names were traced. Subproject B revealed the grounds for the hypothesis that the attitude to the Jews was more tolerant in Muscovy, than it was in the Latin West in the same period. This attitude might have originated in Byzantium. The surprisingly wide spreading of the heresy of the Judaizers, not in the last instance among orthodox clergy, may be an indirect evidence even of some kind of liking towards the Jews. Subproject C traced the development of the metaphorical sense of anointing to reign as the key ritual in the establishment of the ruler in different societies of Western and Eastern Europe. Within the formation of different coronation traditions the anointing could be interpreted as a sacral act associated more with the Old Testament, or on the contrary with of the New Testament, or it could even be interpreted as a magical act, pre-christian in its essence. Introduction of the anointing in the Tsardom of Muscovy is different from the versions mentioned above since it lacks any kind of political, historical or theological concepts. It was regarded only as the repetition of baptismal anointing. On the other hand, this subproject drew nearer to the comparison of specific monastic mentality in the West and in the East of Europe and discovery of a correlation between rationality and faith in it. Previously little-known treatise “Meditationes” by English Benedictine Godwin of Salisbury (XII c.) was prepared for publication based on the surviving manuscript. The detailed overview of the development of Christian architecture in the Caucasus (Abkhazia, Georgia, partly Armenia) in IX – XI c. was for the first time ever presented in subproject E, based on the careful examination of almost all surviving (or recently excavated) artefacts. The difference in the guidelines of the commissioners of new church architecture was revealed: they either traditionally oriented on local examples of pre-Arab period (mostly in Western Kartli), or invited construction artels from the West, i.e. from Bizantium (above all in the Kingdom of Abkhazia). These preferences evolved from different political interests. Also two lines of development were discovered. One involved the complication of architectural forms, the other, on the contrary, their simplification. Besides, the style and working areas of a range of strangers’ artels were discovered. Finally, subproject G resulted in the reconstruction of how «Gertruda’s prayer book» could make its way from Rus’ to Cividale (in Friuli), based on a careful analysis of this prayer book. Even more importantly, a pattern of family relations was reconstructed, connecting princes’ families of Rus’, Poland, Bavaria, Bohemia, from Kiev prince Izyaslav to Frederick Barbarossa.

Implementation of research results

Research results of the project are already highly demanded among the Russian and international scholars and in the university teaching, which is proved by a large number of talks given by the participants of the project at the Russian and international conferences, as well as a wide range of lectures, special courses, optional courses (held at the HSE), media presentations. Besides, the participants of the project prepared almost 30 published works in Russian and foreign languages, partly published, and partly being prepared for publication.

Scope of application

The results of this research work are intended for application in Russian and international academic research on Russian History, World History, Source Studies, and Religious Studies.  Moreover, they may be used in the higher education, and partly in secondary education, in the museums, libraries and other cultural institutions, as well as in the media.


Chkhaidze V., Denis K., Vinogradov A. The Mysterious Seal Of Alexios Komnenos From Tamatarch / Basic Research Programme. Series HUM "Humanities". 2014. No. WP BRP 57/HUM/2014.

Бойцов М. А. Помазание на царство: от Саула до Штауфенов и далее // В кн.: Образ и символ в иудейской, христианской и мусульманской традиции. М. : Индрик, 2015. Гл. 9. С. 205-226.

Бойцов М. А. Сословно-представительная монархия: ошибка в переводе? // В кн.: Представительные институты в России в контексте европейской истории XV – середина XVII в. М. : Древлехранилище, 2017. Гл. 2. С. 18-32.

Воскобойников О. С. Тысячелетнее царство (300-1300). Очерк христианской культуры Запада. М. : Новое литературное обозрение, 2014.

Дмитриев М. В. Перемены в конфессиональном самосознании духовенства Киевской митрополии в конце XVI в. как фактор сближение украинско-белорусского общества с Московской Русью // В кн.: Современные проблемы изучения истории Церкви. Сборник докладов международной конференции. МГУ им. Ломоносова, 7-8 ноября 2011 года. М. : Паломник, 2014. С. 132-156.

Виноградов А. Ю.Белецкий Д. В., Елшин Д. Д. Кирпич в церковной архитектуре Закавказья IX–X вв. // В кн.: Е. И. Крупнов и развитие археологии Севертного Кавказа. XXVIII Крупновские чтения. Материалы международной научной конференции. Москва, 21-25 апреля 2014 г. М. : [б.и.], 2014. С. 319-322.

Литвина А. Ф.Успенский Ф. Б. Знатная вдова в средневековой Скандинавии и на Руси: Матримониальные стратегии и легенды власти // В кн.: Древняя Русь: во времени, в личностях, в идеях. Каз., СПб. : Издательство Нестор-История, 2014. С. 7-21.

Литвина А. Ф.Успенский Ф. Б. Случалось ли князьям домонгольского времени брать в жены близких свойственниц? Политические выгоды, церковные запреты, прецедент // В кн.: Факты и знаки: Исследования по семиотике истории / Отв. ред.: Ф. Б. УспенскийБ. А. Успенский. Вып. 3. М., СПб. : Издательство Нестор-История, 2014. Гл. 4. С. 72-105.

Uspenskij F. What’s in a Name? Dynastic Power and Antroponymics in Medieval Scandinavia and Rus’ (the Case of Svyatoslav and Svyatoslava), in: Vers l’Orient et vers l’Occident : regards croisés sur dynamiques et les transferts culturels des Vikings à la Rous ancienne. Caen : Presses universitaires de Caen, 2014. P. 377-381.

Boytsov M. Seeking for harmony after chaos: political ceremonies in the first “ceremonial section” of the Golden Bull of 1356 // Micrologus. Nature, Sciences and Medieval Societies. 2017. Vol. 25. P. 335-354.

Бойцов М. А. Сладкая жизнь. Распорядки женской половины Тирольского двора // В кн.: Многоликая повседневность: микроисторические подходы к изучению прошлого. Материалы конференции памяти Ю.Л. Бессмертного (1923-2000). М. : Институт всеобщей истории РАН, 2014. С. 217-245.

Pax Islamica / Под общ. ред.: М. В. Дмитриев. Т. Ислам и христианские культуры запада и востока Европы в Средние века и Новое время. М. : Издательский дом Марджани, 2015.

Успенский Ф. Б. Люди, тексты и вещи: Из истории культуры средневековой Скандинавии. М. : Форум, Неолит, 2015.

Dmitriev P. M. Lа «Sainte Russie» des textes folkloriques russes: un concept «national» ou confessionnel?, in: Confessiones et nationes. Discours identitaires nationaux dans les cultures chrétiennes: Moyen Âge – XXe siècle / Ed. by Dmitriev M.V., D. Tollet. P. : Honoré Champion éditeur, 2014. P. 217-238.

Успенский Ф. Б. К этимологии названий днепровских порогов у Константина Багрянородного: βράσμα νερου // В кн.: Славяне и их соседи. ХХVII конференция памяти В.Д. Королюка: Рассказы о путешествиях, паломничествах, миграциях в источниках Средних веков и раннего Нового времени. М. : Индрик, 2014. С. 87-91.

Виноградов А. Ю., Желтов М. С. «Апокрифическая» надпись с Мангупа и обряды «изобличения вора»: магия и право между Античностью и Средневековьем // Slovĕne. 2015. Т. 4. № 1-2. С. 50-91.

Бойцов М. А. Сословно-представительная монархия: ошибка в переводе? // Средние века. 2014. Т. 75. № 3-4. С. 66-78.

Litvina A.Uspenskij D. F. Russo-Polovtsian Dynastic Contacts as Reflected in Genealogy and Onomastics // The Silk Road. 2014. Vol. 12. P. 65-75.

Dmitriev P. M. Tolleranza religiosa a Mosca? La cultura orthodossa dello stato zarista moscovita e i “musulmani russi” // Acme. 2015. Vol. 68. No. 1. P. 23-40.

Дмитриев М. В. «Разум духовный» в посланиях старца Артемия (сер. XVI века): понятие или метафора? // В кн.: Символы, понятия, метафоры в иудейской, исламской и христианской традициях. М. : Исследовательский центр Еврейского музея Москвы, 2015. С. 227-256.

Виноградов А. Ю. Абхазское царство - опыт политогенеза между христианством и исламом (конец VIII - начало Х в.) // В кн.: Polystoria: Цари, святые, мифотворцы в средневековой Европе / Отв. ред.: М. А. БойцовО. С. Воскобойников. М. : Издательский дом НИУ ВШЭ, 2016. Гл. 1. С. 11-59.

Успенский Ф. Б.Литвина А. Ф. Христианские имена половецких язычников // В кн.: Восточная Европа в древности и средневековье: Язычество и монотеизм в процессе политогенеза. XXVI Чтения памяти члена-корреспондента АН СССР В. Т. Пашуто. Москва, 16–18 апреля 2014 г. / Отв. ред.: Е. А. Мельникова. Вып. XXVI. М. : Институт всеобщей истории РАН, 2014. С. 158-163.

Bojcov M. A. Die Konstantinische Schenkung und ähnliche Gaben – im Westen und im Osten Europas // Jahrbucher fur Geschichte Osteuropas. 2015. Vol. 63. No. 1. P. 23-46.

Bojcov M. A. Der tote Papst im Sessel und andere Gespenster, in: Papst Johannes XXII. Konzepte und Verfahren seines Pontifikats. Berlin : De Gruyter, 2014. Ch. 16. P. 501-533.

Успенский Ф. Б.Литвина А. Ф. Правитель и его тёзки на Севере и Востоке Европы в IX — начале XIII в. // В кн.: Polystoria: Цари, святые, мифотворцы в средневековой Европе / Отв. ред.: М. А. БойцовО. С. Воскобойников. М. : Издательский дом НИУ ВШЭ, 2016. С. 60-84.

Виноградов А. Ю. Стратегия имянаречения у восточнохристианских правителей VII–XIII вв. в сравнительной перспективе (Багратиды, Комнины, Рюриковичи) // В кн.: Средневековая Европа: Восток и Запад. М. : Издательский дом НИУ ВШЭ, 2015. Гл. 2. С. 122-172.

Дмитриев М. В. От антииудаизма к иудаизантизму в православной культуре Востока Европы в конце XV – XVI вв. // В кн.: Polystoria: Цари, святые, мифотворцы в средневековой Европе / Отв. ред.: М. А. БойцовО. С. Воскобойников. М. : Издательский дом НИУ ВШЭ, 2016. С. 207-265.

Voskoboynikov O. Deux harmonies en comparaison: Michel Scot et Grégoire du Mont Sacré // Micrologus. Nature, Sciences and Medieval Societies. 2017. Vol. 25. P. 169-196.

Воскобойников О. С. Право на миф. Введение в поэтику Шартрской школы // В кн.: Polystoria: Цари, святые, мифотворцы в средневековой Европе / Отв. ред.: М. А. БойцовО. С. Воскобойников. М. : Издательский дом НИУ ВШЭ, 2016. Гл. 4. С. 139-181.

Воскобойников О. С. Сколько тел у короля? // Логос. 2014. № 99. С. 279-288.

Яцык С. А. Мудрость святых у языческих философов: к эволюции этических взглядов Иоанна Уэльского // В кн.: Polystoria: Цари, святые, мифотворцы в средневековой Европе / Отв. ред.: М. А. БойцовО. С. Воскобойников. М. : Издательский дом НИУ ВШЭ, 2016. С. 183-204.

Бойцов М. А. Как Александр Македонский по пути из Чехии поддержал московитов // В кн.: Polystoria: Цари, святые, мифотворцы в средневековой Европе / Отв. ред.: М. А. БойцовО. С. Воскобойников. М. : Издательский дом НИУ ВШЭ, 2016. Гл. 7. С. 265-300.


Have you spotted a typo?
Highlight it, click Ctrl+Enter and send us a message. Thank you for your help!
To be used only for spelling or punctuation mistakes.