Volume 10 , Issue 6.
Rude & Barbarous kingdom: Russia in the accounts of sixteenth-century English voyagers
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Very good in a very good faded along the spine , price clipped dust jacket. Of Wisconsin Press Of Wisconsin Press, The sources for these troubled times in Russia's history are few, and the reports of the few Western Europeans who visited the court of Muscovy take on a value beyond that usually accorded to travelers' tales. The accounts of six English voyagers who visited Russia between and are here brought together in modernized and annotated form.
For the first time, this rich fund of information about the kingdom of Muscovy has been made easily accessible to the historian and to those interested in an absorbing episode of England's expansion overseas. The authors are six diverse personalities: Chancellor and Jenkinson, sea captains and explorers; Randolph, a seasoned diplomat; Turberville, a poet and man of fashion; Fletcher, a scholar in public life; and Horsey, a trader and adventurer, a dabbler in finance and diplomacy.
But the authors give us much more.
‘The countrey is too colde, the people beastly be’: Elizabethan Representations of Russia
If their observation of Russian life and society is intermittent and often confused, still it offers to the historian vivid descriptions of the land and its resources, of the administration and financing of the Russian government, and of the functioning of the Orthodox church. And from the way these Elizabethan Englishmen looked at a land to them indeed "rude and barbarous," we learn something of their own attitudes to life. The editors have provided succinct introductions and extensive annotations to help readers place these six accounts in perspective.
They have analyzed the travelers' reports of important events in Russian history: the period of the oprichrdna; the Livonian War; and the rise to power of Boris Gudunov. They have sought to assess the value of the portrait of Ivan that emerges in these pages. What political calculation, or complicated personal impulses drove this man? Why, in , did he play out the strange comedy of abdication in favor of the converted Tatar Semen Bekbulatovich? These and other important events are examined. The voyagers can, of course, provide no answers, but by presenting a contemporary view of events, they have given historians a point of departure.
The authors have given biographical details about many figures at the Russian and English courts, and have provided a glossary of Russian terms that frequently occur.
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