Rus’s baptism: what the contemporaries wrote

The baptism of Russia, held at Prince Vladimir at the end of the 15th century, is the most important event in the history of the Old Russian statehood, which has determined its cultural and spiritual development for centuries. Naturally, it is reflected not only in the ancient Russian written monuments, but also in evidence of foreign authors.

And whether the embassy was?

In the "Tale of Bygone Years", the story of baptism is preceded by a semi-minor story about the "Testing of Ver" by Kiev Prince Vladimir. In particular, in the article under 987, it is said about sending Russian embassies to other peoples in order to study their worship services. This information, some researchers who were invalid, find unexpected confirmation in the work of the Medieval Arabic Scientific and Nodynology and the Doctor of Al-Marvazi (XI-XII century).

"… sent ambassadors to the ruler of Khorezm, a group of four people from [Number] of the approximate king. They [have] an independent king, [which] calls himself and tutulating Bowlir … sent to them [Khorezmysh teachers] to teach them the law of Islam and turn to Islam.

According to Al-Marvazi, the Russian embassy visited Volzh Bulgaria to familiarize themselves with the practice of Muslim religion. From Bulgar, Russian ambassadors could go further to the East – in Khorezm, with which the Volga Bulgarians had close ties and where they themselves often treated religious issues.

Completes the story of RUSS a message about their successful attacks on various Black Sea and Caspian cities, as there are evidence of a number of Arab and Persian sources.

Baptism of Russia? Not news!

As you know, the religious choice of ancient Russia ended up was made in favor of Christianity. Economically ("The path from the Varyag in the Greeks") and culturally Russia was connected with Byzantium. In addition, Byzantium in the X century was the most powerful power from neighbors of Russia – the heiress of the Roman Empire with beautiful temples, crowded cities developed by craft. Yes, and in Russia itself, there were already Christians who were kept here – the princes of Prince Igor and Princess Olga.

Actually, therefore, information about the baptism of Russia appear in Byzantine sources in the 9th century, a hundred years before the general Christianization. And the Baptism of Rus Prince Vladimir appears as another (and far from the first) stage.

Scandalous marriage

With the baptism of Prince Vladimir, his marriage with the Byzantine Princess Anna, the sister of Emperors Vasily II and Konstantin VIII – marriage, to put it mildly, uncharacteristic for the matrimonial practice of the empire, for the arrogant Byzantines agreed to encourage "barbarians" only in completely exceptional circumstances.

About these circumstances narrate the chronicle of the XI century John Skilitsa, explaining the "scandalous marriage" by the acute necessity of the Byzantine emperors to get military assistance of Russian budgets.

A similar interpretation of the event gives and aware of the Eastern Authors. The most detailed data on the baptism of Russia and the circumstances preceding this event, we find the Yakhi Antioch (XI century). He wrote that against the Byzantine emperor in 987 he raised the rebellion of Varda Foka and the ruler’s position was so dangerous that he was forced to ask for military assistance to the Russian prince Vladimir, a fee for which Vladimir’s marriage was in Anna:

"And it became a dangerous case of his [Emperor Vasily II], and the King of Vasily was concerned about the strength of his [Varda Rebel Foki] troops and victories over him. And his wealth was exhausted, and prompted his need to send to the king of Rus – and they are his enemies – to ask them to help him in the present position. And he agreed on it. And they concluded among themselves the property agreement, and married the king of Russia on the sister of Tsar Vasily, after he set him the condition so that he was baptized and the whole people of his country, and they are a great people. And sent to him the king of Vasily subsequently Metropolitans and Bishops, and they dubbed the king and everyone who hugged his land, and sent his sister to him, and she built many churches in the country of Rusov. And when it was decided between them a matter of marriage, the troops arrived, the troops were also connected with the troops of the Greeks, who were at Tsar Vasily, and they went all together to fight the warrior Famo Sea and land in Chrysopol [City on Bosphore near Constantinople]. And they won the face … "

A similar description of events is contained in the composition of Vazir Califa Al-Muktadi (XI century) Abu Shuji Ar-Rudravari:

"When their position knew [Byzantine emperors Vasily II and his brother Konstantin VIII], they joined negotiations with the king of Russia and asked him to help. He suggested that they marry their sister for him. They both agreed. But a woman has opposed to pay himself to someone who will spread with her in faith. Negotiations began about this, which ended with the entry of the king of Russia to Christianity. Then the marriage was concluded, and the woman was presented to him. He sent them both to help the great many of his squad, and all were great strength and courage. ".

Western Europe offended

Baptism of Rus what contemporaries wrote

European courtyards Vladimir were unhappy. Contemporary Events, Bishop Titmar Merzeburgsky in his "chronicle" the reason for this was determined like this:

"… Touching injustice, the King of Russia Vladimir. He took his wife from Greece by name Elena, who was previously wounded for Ottone III, but inspired by him admired. In her insistence, he accepted the Holy Christian faith that did not decorate with good deeds, for he was an unrestrained and cruel liberter and revenge the great violence against weak danshants [Byzantines] ".

Chronist here clearly confused the names: called Elena Anna and Ottone III instead of the right Ottone II, but otherwise everything is true. Back in 967, whether to Anna, then quite another girl, whether her senior sister was walked by his son Ottone II German emperor Otton I Great, but received a categorical and very disadvantaged refusal, which even caused the war between Germany and Byzantium in the south Italy.

As a result, the parties went on a compromise: the Germans were forced to be satisfied with the niece of the Byzantine emperors of Feofano, which became the wife of Otton II. In the dynastic terms, the difference between Feofano and Anna was huge: the first was "only" by one of the relatives of the Byzantine emperor, while Anna is a porphyryry princess.

By the way, just then, in 989, the French king of Gugo Cappes was going to try happiness with the Byzantine marriage, but was forced to cancel the walling of his son Robert II.

However, not all Europeans have been tuned unfriendly to what is happening. For example, a peers and a relative of the aforementioned Titmar Merzeburg Bruno (in the monogram of Bonifacea) Kversfurt, on the contrary, remained in perfect admiration for the personality of the Russian prince, which he told in the message to the German King Henry II.

This Bruno was and himself in many ways of an outstanding person: came from a noble family, was well educated and burned to preach Christianity, and in the most dangerous places – among the Black Hungarians (Magyar. – approx. Red.), Prussians and Pechenegs. Just during his missionary trip to the Pechenegs of Bruno and visited Kiev, personally met there with the Grand Duke. "The ruler of Russia, the Great Power and Wealth" – so revealed Bruno. By the way, the Archbishop noted that Prince Vladimir for defense from Pechenegs of the Southern Land of Russian Lands "The Strong and Long Fence". No confessional or cultural alertness in relation to Russia, Bruno was not manifested, moreover, under his pen, the Kiev Prince turned out to be among those exemplary rulers who all make "for the success of God’s degree".

Sources: Ancient Rus in the light of foreign sources / Ed. E.A.Melnikova. Authors M.V. Bibikov, G.V.Glazerina, T.N.Jackson, I.G.Konovalova and others. M., 2015. WITH.103-110, 221-224, 315-318.
Ancient Rus in the light of foreign sources: Reader / ed. T.N. Jackson, I.G. Konovalova and A.V. Posinova. Tom III: Eastern sources. M., 2009. WITH.60-61.
Ancient Rus in the light of foreign sources: Reader / ed. T.N. Jackson, I.G. Konovalova and A.V. Posinova. Tom IV: Western European sources. M., 2010. WITH.61, 72-73.

T. A. Egeren, Candidate of Historical Sciences, Lecturer, Lecturer of the Cultural and Education Center "Arhet".

Baptism of Rus what contemporaries wrote

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