Anthology of Old Russian Literature

By Adolf Stender-Petersen | Go to book overview

HISTORIOGRAPHY
The principal difference between Old Kievan annalistic literature and Old Muscovite historiography was the latter's diminishing interest in past history and increasing concern with current events. With the rise of the Muscovite Empire and with its succession to the authority once centered in Byzantium, literature became a means of glorifying the tsars of Moscow, especially Ivan the Terrible. Even the interpretation of past history underwent a radical revision: by means of purely theoretical scholastic concepts a completely new view of the history of Muscovite Russia was created. Of the many writings of this period, the ones selected here are particularly characteristic of the evolution of the newly developed historiography, and even of the growth of a pompous literary language:
The Tale of the Taking of Constantinople by Nestor-Iskander
The Legend of the Princes of Vladimir by Pachomius Logothetes
The anonymous Tale of the Taking of the Empire of Kazan'
The anonymous Tale of the Attack of the Lithuanian King Stefan Batory in the Year 7085 on the Great and Famous Town of Pskov, and of Its Liberation.
The Book of Degrees of the Imperial Genealogy.

NESTOR-ISKANDER:
THE TALE OF THE TAKING OF
CONSTANTINOPLE

The conquest of Constantinople ( 1453), the center of Eastern Orthodoxy, by the Moslems under the Turkish sultan Mohammed II, was an event of prime historical significance for the fate of Eastern Europe and for the rise of the Muscovite Empire as heir to the political and religious mission of Byzantium. Nestor-Iskander's Tale was written but a short time after the conquest by a participant of the siege, a Russian who—by a strange twist of fate—had been compelled to embrace the Islamic faith and who found himself in the camp of the Turks. Based in all probability on a journal maintained during the long siege and upon accounts heard from the surviving defenders of Constantinople, the Tale gives a colorful and realistic description of the fierce struggle between the

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Anthology of Old Russian Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introductton v
  • Contents xix
  • Abbreviations xxii
  • Old Kievan Literature 1
  • Annalistic Literature 3
  • Hagiography 34
  • Rhetoric and Lyricism 109
  • Heroic and Epic Literature 153
  • Old Muscovite Literature 187
  • Hagiography 189
  • Historiography 239
  • New Muscovite Literature 315
  • Historiography 317
  • Hagiography 380
  • Fiction 425
  • Glossary 471
  • Index of Authors and Titles 505
  • Index of Names 511
  • Genealogical Tables 529
  • Errata 541
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