The First Russia and Europe--Traits of Kinship--Similarities and Dissimilarities--The Varangians--Christianity and Byzantine Training--The Principalities and Frequent Shiftings of the National Centre--The Great Unhingement of Russian History.
EUROPEAN civilization grew upon a triple foundation: the Christian element, the Græco-Roman or classical element, the Teutonic or barbaric element.* All the Western states were erected, so to speak, with identical materials, in the same style, on a more or less similar plan. The three great bases on which reposes the culture of the West, are they found in the foundations of Russia? If we dig deep enough, we do come upon them, but they have neither the same proportions nor the same importance as in the other countries.
The ancients knew of Russia only the shores of the Euxine. The Greeks dropped colonies only on those shores; the Romans scarcely held a nominal sway over them. With the former those wide plains passed for the home of the Cimmerians' eternal night; to the latter the regions north of the Danube and the Black Sea were a sort of Siberia, whither they sent state criminals. Russia was too compact, too continental for antique civilization, which, wending its way along shorelands, could gain a hold only on essentially maritime countries. Germany already had proved too solid a mass and too severe a clime for it; Russia was just touched by it along her southern beaches. The Greeks had had some preco-____________________