Byzantium - Rus - Russia: Studies in the Translation of Christian Culture, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Byzantium - Rus - Russia

Studies in the Translation of Christian Culture, 1st Edition

By Simon Franklin


352 pages

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Hardback: 9780860788904
pub: 2002-10-15

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The Christian culture of Rus (the medieval precursor of modern Russia, Ukraine and Belarus) is sometimes presented either as a reflection of an indigenous spirituality wrapped in borrowed (Byzantine) forms or, by contrast, as merely a provincial version of its Byzantine original. The essays in this volume start from the premise that neither view is adequate. The history of culture - even of a self-consciously imitative culture - involves a continual process of inevitable 'mistranslation', as the imported models are reshaped and reinterpreted according to local resources, circumstances and preconceptions. These essays explore aspects of the 'translation of culture' on several levels: from the semantic processes of the actual translation of written texts from Greek into Slavonic, through to larger issues of ideology and identity. They consider both the initial stages of such 'translation' (from Byzantium to Rus) and some of the subsequent 'retranslations' of the Byzantine heritage in the culture of Rus and - eventually - of Russia.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Byzantino-Rossika: The reception of Byzantine culture by the Slavs; The empire of the Rhomaioi as viewed from Kievan Russia: aspects of Byzantino-Russian cultural relations; Some apocryphal sources of Kievan Russian historiography; Malalas in Slavonic; An obscure sentence in the Slavonic translation of the Chronicle of John Malalas; Who was the uncle of Theodore Prodromus?; Echoes of Byzantine elite culture in 12th-century Russia?; Diplomacy and ideology: Byzantium and the Russian Church in the mid-12th century; Annotationes Byzantino-Russicae; Writing and Learning in Early Rus: Literacy and documentation in early medieval Russia; The writing in the ground: recent Soviet publications on early Russian literacy; Greek in Kievan Rus'; Booklearning and bookmen in Kievan Rus': a survey of an idea; On 'philosophy' and ’philosophers' in Kievan Rus; Perceptions and descriptions of art in pre-Mongol Rus; Borrowed time: perceptions of the past in 12th-century Rus'; The Post-Medieval Tradition: the invention of Rus(sia)(s): some remarks on medieval and modern perceptions of continuity and discontinuity; Towards post-Soviet pre-Modernism: on recent approaches to early Rus(s)ian hagiography; Nostalgia for Hell: Russian literary demonism and Orthodox tradition; Index.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General