An Economic History of Russia - Vol. 1

By James Mavor | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
FIRST PERIOD OF RUSSIAN HISTORY--EIGHTH TILL THIRTEENTH CENTURY

IT has been observed that the origin of the Eastern Slavs is obscure. The present state of knowledge upon the subject is summarised as follows by Professor Kluchevsky:

"Putting together the vague reminiscences of the Russian chronicler1 and foreign statements, we can, to some extent, not without effort and suppositions, represent to ourselves what led up to the original facts of Russian history. Towards the second century A.D. the streams of nations brought Slavs to the middle and lower Danube. Formerly they had been lost in the population of the Dacian dominions, and only about this time they began to be segregated in the eyes of foreigners as well as in their own recollections from the general Sarmatian mass. . . . The Russian Annals narrate that the Slavs suffered heavily from attacks by the Volokhi, i.e. from the Romans, during the reign of Trajan, and that they were compelled to leave their Danubian dwellings. But the Eastern Slavs, who brought this recollection to the Dnieper, went not directly from the Danube, but only after continuous migrations. The movement was indeed very slow, and it was characterised by a long tarrying in the Carpathians, which lasted from the second till the seventh century. The conquests of the Avars gave an impulse towards the dispersal of the Slavs in various directions. As in the fifth and sixth centuries the Germanic tribes had been moved to the south and west . . . by Hunnic invasions . . . so in the seventh century the invasions of the Avars had a similar effect upon the Slavic tribes. These were moved to emptied places. . . . In this century, in connection with the Avarian movements, there originated a series of Slavic dominations, and

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1
The principal editions of Nestor, the Russian chronicler, are as follow: St. Petersburg, 1767 and 1809-1819; Moscow, 1824. German translation, Göttingen, 1802- 1805, and French translation, Paris, 1834.

-6-

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