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Russia Engages the World, 1453-1825
1453 Through the Reign of Ivan the Terrible (1533-1584) The Time of Troubles to the First Romanovs (1598-1682) Peter the Great and His Legacy (1682-1762) The Age of Catherine the Great (1762-1801) The Reign of Emperor Alexander I (1801-1825)


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Russia's Globalization: A Key

Events marked Russia Symbol are specific to Muscovy/Russia's internal development.
Those marked World Symbol are important world historical or cultural events.
Engagement Symbol indicates specific points of sociocultural or military engagement between Muscovy/Russia and foreign powers or individuals.



From the Fall of Constantinople (1453) through the Reign of Ivan the IV, the Terrible (1533-1584)

Russia Symbol   A Russian Ladder to Heaven
    A Russian Ladder to Heaven
NYPL, Spencer Collection

Russia Symbol   Russia Looks at the World
    Russia Looks at the World
NYPL, Map Division

Russia Symbol   Gospels for a Russian National Saint?
    Gospels for a Russian National Saint?
NYPL, Spencer Collection

Russia Symbol   Ivan the Terrible
    Ivan the Terrible
NYPL, Slavic and Baltic Division

Modernity in statecraft is usually characterized by secularism, while pre-modern societies tend to be highly religious. East Slavic and Russian development conformed to this pattern. Beginning in the 10th century, Orthodox Christianity commanded center stage in the life of the East Slavic peoples. Indeed, during the period of Mongol domination (1237–ca. 1480), which cut the region off from contact with other cultures, it fell to Eastern Orthodoxy to preserve what it could of East Slavic cultures and traditions.

The grand princes of Moscow succeeded in consolidating a Russian state, known as Muscovy, by the late 15th century. After the Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople (now Istanbul) in 1453, Muscovite Russia considered itself the only remaining true Christian state. Its sacred art, music, books, and manuscripts were specific to their Orthodox tradition and illustrate Muscovy's tendency to distinguish its religion from other forms of Christianity, thus perpetuating the isolation that had prevailed under Mongol rule.

That isolation gradually came to an end as curious churchmen, diplomats, and merchants from other parts of Europe braved the distances to obtain firsthand knowledge about the state's rulers, peoples, and resources. These travelers published accounts that fascinated Europeans with descriptions of a strange and “barbarous kingdom” – a distant world.

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