By Paul Dukes
With its breadth of scope and conciseness of presentation, this 3rd variation of A heritage of Russia may be beneficial to scholars of ecu and Russian background, and likewise to scholars of Russian language, literature, and social science.
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Extra resources for A History of Russia: Medieval, Modern, Contemporary c. 882–1996
Social stratification from the highest to the lowest level was more clearly demarcated, with both the service nobility and the enserfed peasantry taking on recognisable if still embryonic shape. As well as arousing the hostility of foreign powers, particularly its neighbours, of which Poland-Lithuania was the most formidable, Moscow also became the centre of diplomatic blandishments proferred by European states, from England to Venice, not to mention the contacts reinforced in Asia. In order to support such rising status, the economic resources of the state had to be exploited to the full, and even beyond.
So far, however, we have been talking for the most part of the higher levels of activity; we must now attempt to say more about the middle and lower levels, about literacy and education, and about folk culture. With some justification, Soviet historians asserted that literacy was widespread; some evidence for this was found in the birch-bark documents dug out of the soil of Novgorod. 31 The written language used in Kievan Russia was based on the kirillitsa or Cyrillic alphabet, one of the two uniform systems introduced at the time of Christianity and replacing more primitive and disparate systems.
As a further addition to his income, he carried on campaigns in the north to strengthen Moscow's grasp on the fur trade. To counter the growth of Moscow's control, Tver and other principalities attempted to gain the support of the Lithuanians. But they were not able to muster sufficient strength to overthrow Ivan, who gained the support of the Church and the boyars as well as of the Tatars. At his death in 1340, the tomb of Ivan Kalita in Moscow became an object of veneration, the chronicle celebrating his reign as the time from which 'there was a great peace in all the land' .
A History of Russia: Medieval, Modern, Contemporary c. 882–1996 by Paul Dukes