By Marshall T. Poe
Many americans and Europeans have for hundreds of years seen Russia as a despotic nation within which individuals are prone to simply accept agony and oppression. What are the origins of this stereotype of Russia as a society essentially except countries within the West, and the way exact is it? within the first ebook dedicated to answering those questions, Marshall T. Poe lines the roots of modern day conception of Russia and its humans to the eyewitness descriptions of 16th- and seventeenth-century ecu tourists. His attention-grabbing account―the such a lot entire assessment of early glossy eu writings approximately Russia ever undertaken―explores how identical to "Russian tyranny" took carry within the renowned mind's eye and at last turned the root for the concept of "Oriental Despotism" first set forth via Montesquieu. Poe, the preeminent student of those worthy fundamental resources, rigorously assesses their reliability. He argues convincingly that even though the foreigners exaggerated the measure of Russian "slavery," they safely defined their encounters and properly concluded that the political tradition of Muscovite autocracy used to be in contrast to that of eu kingship. together with his findings, Poe demanding situations the thought that every one Europeans projected their very own fantasies onto Russia. in its place, his facts means that many early tourists produced, in essence, trustworthy ethnographies, no longer works of unique "Orientalism."
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Additional resources for A People Born to Slavery: Russia in Early Modern European Ethnography, 1476-1748
Bomhover played an important role in the Livonians’ effort to solicit foreign aid. In 1501 and in 1506 he helped persuade the pope to allow the preaching of crusades against 19 On Milanese-Muscovite relations and the origins of the tract, see Gino Barbieri, Milano e Mosca nella politica del Rinascimento. 20 Trakhaniot (1486). 21 For sources on Bomhover, see Bibliography 4 below. 22 During these anti-Muscovite campaigns, Bomhover served as commissar of indulgences and organized preaching circuits along the Baltic littoral and in the Empire.
Clearly, more had to be known about the Muscovites if Europeans hoped to deal effectively with them. It was precisely the early ethnographers’ task to provide statesmen with the information necessary to make a productive interchange with the Russians possible. As we will presently see, they generally failed to achieve their goal, though for reasons that are at once understandable and characteristic of the age in which they wrote. The Earliest Renaissance Ethnographies of Russia, 1476 –1526 The ﬁrst Renaissance description of Muscovy was written by an Italian, Ambrogio Contarini.
Herberstein (1517– 49), 1:clx. 46 Hodgen, Early Anthropology, 111– 61. 45 01B-C1217 11/17/00 12:01 PM Page 28 28 “A People Born to Slavery” world, with particular attention to little-known or newly discovered areas such as Muscovy. ” 49 Though the cosmographers were sometimes men of vast experience, they tended to rely on printed ethnographies for information about particular countries. ” 50 As we will presently see, a series of short ethnographies of Muscovy appeared in European cosmographies between 1517 and 1544.
A People Born to Slavery: Russia in Early Modern European Ethnography, 1476-1748 by Marshall T. Poe