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  • Where did Russia come from,

  • why is it so big,

  • and what are the differences between it and its neighbors?

  • The answers lie in an epic story of seafaring warriors,

  • nomadic invaders,

  • and the rise and fall of a medieval state known as Kievan Rus.

  • In the first millennium,

  • a large group of tribes spread through the dense woodlands of Eastern Europe.

  • Because they had no writing system,

  • much of what we know about them comes from three main sources:

  • archaeological evidence,

  • accounts from literate scholars of the Roman Empire and the Middle East,

  • and, lastly, an epic history called the Primary Chronicle

  • compiled in the 12th century by a monk named Nestor.

  • What they tell us is that these tribes who shared a common Slavic language

  • and polytheistic religion

  • had by the 7th century split into western, southern and eastern branches,

  • the latter stretching from the Dniester River

  • to the Volga and the Baltic Sea.

  • As Nestor's story goes, after years of subjugation by Vikings from the north,

  • who, by the way, did not wear horned helmets in battle,

  • the region's tribes revolted and drove back the Northmen,

  • but left to their own devices, they turned on each other.

  • Such chaos ensued that, ironically,

  • the tribes reached out to the foreigners they had just expelled,

  • inviting them to return and establish order.

  • The Vikings accepted, sending a prince named Rurik and his two brothers to rule.

  • With Rurik's son, Oleg, expanding his realm into the south,

  • and moving the capitol to Kiev,

  • a former outpost of the Khazar Empire,

  • the Kievan Rus was born,

  • "Rus" most likely deriving from an old Norse word for "the men who row."

  • The new princedom had complex relations with its neighbors,

  • alternating between alliance and warfare with the Khazar and Byzantine Empires,

  • as well as neighboring tribes.

  • Religion played an important role in politics,

  • and as the legend goes, in 987,

  • the Rus prince Vladamir I decided it was time to abandon Slavic paganism,

  • and sent emissaries to explore neighboring faiths.

  • Put off by Islam's prohibition on alcohol

  • and Judaism's expulsion from its holy land,

  • the ruler settled on Orthodox Christianity

  • after hearing odd accounts of its ceremonies.

  • With Vladimir's conversion and marriage to the Byzantine emperor's sister,

  • as well as continued trade along the Volga route,

  • the relationship between the two civilizations deepened.

  • Byzantine missionaries created an alphabet for Slavic languages

  • based on a modified Greek script

  • while Rus Viking warriors served as the Byzantine Emperor's elite guard.

  • For several generations,

  • the Kievan Rus flourished from its rich resources and trade.

  • Its noblemen and noblewomen married prominent European rulers,

  • while residents of some cities enjoyed great culture,

  • literacy, and even democratic freedoms uncommon for the time.

  • But nothing lasts forever.

  • Fratricidal disputes over succession began to erode central power

  • as increasingly independent cities ruled by rival princes vied for control.

  • The Fourth Crusade and decline of Constantinople

  • devastated the trade integral to Rus wealth and power,

  • while Teutonic crusaders threatened northern territories.

  • The final blow, however, would come from the east.

  • Consumed by their squabbles,

  • Rus princes paid little attention to the rumors

  • of a mysterious unstoppable hoard

  • until 1237, when 35,000 mounted archers led by Batu Khan

  • swept through the Rus cities,

  • sacking Kiev before continuing on to Hungary and Poland.

  • The age of Kievan Rus had come to an end, its people now divided.

  • In the east, which remained under Mongol rule,

  • a remote trading post, known as Moscow,

  • would grow to challenge the power of the Khans,

  • conquering parts of their fragmenting empire,

  • and, in many ways, succeeding it.

  • As it absorbed other eastern Rus territories,

  • it reclaimed the old name in its Greek form, Ruscia.

  • Meanwhile, the western regions whose leaders had avoided destruction

  • through political maneuvering until the hoard withdrew

  • came under the influence of Poland and Lithuania.

  • For the next few centuries,

  • the former lands of Kievan Rus

  • populated by Slavs,

  • ruled by Vikings,

  • taught by Greeks,

  • and split by Mongols

  • would develop differences in society, culture and language

  • that remain to the present day.

Where did Russia come from,

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TED-ED】ロシアはどこから来たのか?- アレックス・ゲンドラー (【TED-Ed】Where did Russia come from? - Alex Gendler)

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    周杰 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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