Russia 1215 CE

The Russian state fragments into separate principalities.

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What is happening in Russia in 1215CE

Vladimir, grand prince of Kiev, was converted to Christianity by Byzantine monks (988). This conversion was followed by a period of political stability and cultural creativity under Iaroslav the Wise (1019-54). The Byzantine church introduced the Slavic (Cyrilic) script and, along with its faith, brought its distinctive literature, art and architecture.

The huge area of the Kievan state made it difficult to govern from one centre, and power became fragmented amongst different members of the royal family, with each governing a separate principality. Kiev itself was sacked by the warlike Kipchak nomads (1093) and the centre of political and cultural life in Rus shifted further north, away from the steppes.

By this time the original Norse elite had intermarried with the surrounding Slav peoples and adopted Slavic names and language. Even the kings soon came to have Slav names.

In 1126, Novgorod declared its independence from Kiev and became a republic. Novgorod is a flourishing commercial and cultural centre, as well as being a powerful military state in its own right.

Next map, Russia in 1453

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