Department of History of the Middle Ages

The department of Medieval History is the successor of Moscow University’s Department of World History (created in 1804), the foundation of which was laid by Russian medievalists. Its most outstanding representatives were T.N.Granovskii, P.N.Kudryavtsev, S.V.Eshevsky, V.I.Ger’e, P.G.Vinogradov, N.I.Kareev, M.S.Korelin, A.N.Savin, D.M.Petrushevsky, D.N.Egorov, A.P.Rudakov. Some of the exceptional scholars who worked on the foundation of and independent department of Medieval History were academicians and professors E.A.Kosminsky, S.D.Skazkin, A.D.Udaltsov, Z.V.Udaltsova, N.P.Gratsiansky, V.M.Lavrovsky, V.V.Stoklitskaya-Tereshkovich, A.I.Neusykhin, M.M.Smirin, B.F.Porshnev, N.A.Sidorova, A.R.Korsunsky, E.V.Gutnova, Y.M.Saprykin, A.I.Danilov. Presently, professors L.M.Bragina, A.A.Svanidze, N.A.Khachaturyan, senior lecturers S.V.Bliznyuk, N.M.Bogdanova, M.A.Boytsov, V.M.Volodarsky, T.P.Gusarova, O.V.Dimitrieva, I.S.Filippov, R.M.Shukurov, senior academic assistant A.L.Ponomarev, academic staff M.M.Oshchepkova and A.A.Talgzina compose the department’s faculty. Correspondent Member of Russian Academy of Sciences professor S.P.Karpov is the department chair.

The medieval history of Western Europe and Byzantium has occupied and continues to occupy a significant place among the academic and educational disciplines in MSU’s faculty of history. The department’s faculty gives the following lectures to all history majors; «Medieval History», «Medieval and Renaissance Cultural History», holding discussion groups in these subjects. Those students who select a specialization in medieval history study source studies, historiography of medieval history, historical geography, Latin and Greek paleography, Latin and Greek languages, and also a number of modern languages. The collective special course «Introduction to Specialization» includes onomastics, genealogy, armory, numismatology, chronology, metrology, cartography and other auxiliary disciplines.

The department carries out the preparation of experts in all periods of medieval history of almost all countries in Western and Central Europe and Byzantium, and also in the complex and theoretical problems of medievalists. Specialization is possible in the history of England, France, Italy, Byzantium, Latin Rome and the Crusades, Germany, Spain and Portugal, the Scandinavian countries, Hungary and Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands, and in Celtic civilizations. Contact zones are also studied: the history of Muslims on the Iberian Peninsula; Turks in Anatolia; Ottoman Southeast and Central Europe etc. Further, students may specialize in the history of the church, in the history of international relations, archival history and diplomacy, and the history of medieval law.

Special courses, which have been read in the department in recent years, have reflected the basic directions of academic research of the department’s collective and also the demand for specializations. Within the framework of introduction to specialization and regional geography the following special courses are read: «Introduction to Byzantine Studies» (S.P.Karpov), «Problems of Byzantine Civilization» (N.M.Bogdanova, R.M.Shukurov), «Introduction to the history of Medieval Germany» (M.A.Boytsov), «The Fundamental Problems of the Italian Renaissance and Early Modern History» (L.M.Bragina), «Introduction to Spanish Studies» (I.I.Varyash), «The Fundamental Problems of the Socio-Political Development of Hungary» (T.P.Gusarova), «Features of the Socio-Economic and Political Development of England in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Time» (O.V.Dimitrieva), «The Fundamental Problems of Late Medieval French History» (S.L.Pleshkova), «Introduction to Scandinavian Studies» (A.A.Svanidze), «Introduction to Celtic Studies» (G.S.Bondarenko), «Introduction to the History of Law» (I.S.Filippov).

The academic research of the department’s faculty is reflected in the special courses of recent years: «The Crusaders and their State in the East XII-XV cc.» (S.V.Bliznyuk), «State and Church in Byzantium» (N.M.Bogdanova), «Italian Humanism in the Renaissance Era» (L.M.Bragina), «The Hapsburgs in the System of International Relations of Early Modern Time» (T.P.Gusarova), «History of the Reformation in France» (S.L.Pleshkova), «History of the English Parliament» (O.V.Dimitrieva), «Political Authority and Society in France» (N.A.Khachaturyan), «Constantinople - Topography and History», «The Birth of Islamic and Byzantine Civilization» (R.M.Shukurov), «Humanism and Art in Germany in the Renaissance Era» (V.M.Volodarsky), «History of the Bible in the Medieval West» (I.S.Filippov).

Students obtain profound specializations in special seminars. As a result of the expansion of international academic contacts, in recent years, the opportunity for the department’s students and post-graduate students to work with unpublished materials from multiple foreign archives and with hand-written collections, opening new perspectives for specialization has appeared. An integral part of this has become lectures on the history of archives, hand-written collections, and diplomatics, and also practical seminar classes for specializing students and post-graduate students with academic advisors on reading medieval hand-written sources.

The course papers and graduate thesis works of recent years, in particular, have been devoted to the following problems: «Medieval Historiography», «Household Culture of the Clergy in the Visigoth State», «The Church in Legal Thought of Byzantium», «An Image the Sacred in Hagiography of the Early Middle Ages», «External Confessional Groups of Medieval Spain», «The Teutonic Order in the X-XV cc.», «Class Monarchy in France XIII-XV cc.», «The Legal Theory and Practice of the French Monarchy XIII-XV cc.», «The Economy of an Italian City ÕIII-XIV cc.», «Navigation and the Navigational Policy of the Italian Sea Republics XIII-XV cc.», «Socio-Economic History and Culture of Latin Rome in XIII-XV cc.», «Italian Notary», «Ethno-confessional Processes in Anatolia and the Black Sea Region in the XIII-XV cc.», «Recognition of ‘Outsiders’ in the Consciousness of Europeans of the XV c.», «Socio-Ethical and Political Ideas in Italian Humanism XV-XVI cc.», «The Reformation in England and Scotland», «Features of Administration in England in the Era of Absolutism», «The Political History of the Baltic Region in the XVI century. From the Data of the Danzig Archive», «The Place of Books in the Court Culture of Prussian Dukes in the XVI c.», «The Establishment of a Control System in the Hapsburg Empire in Central Europe in the XVI c.», «Jesuits in Hungary and Transylvania in XVI-XVII cc.» and others.

Over the past decade, the department has prepared a number of the textbooks and manuals for universities and other institutions of higher education: «History of the Middle Ages. A Textbook for Universities in 2 Volumes» (1997-2000, 2 editions, under the editorship of S.P.Karpov); «General history: a Directory for Students» (1999, collective of authors, including O.V.Dmitrieva); «History of Western European Culture in the Renaissance Era» (under the editorship of L.M.Bragina, 2 issues, 1999); «Introduction to Special Historical Disciplines» (1991, under the editorship of T.P.Gusarova); «The French Reformation» (1994, S.L.Pleshkova); «The Socio-Economic Development of England in XVI c.» (1990), «The English Reformation» (1991, O.V.Dmitrieva); «Hungarian Villages at the End of the XV to the middle of the XVI cc. and the Peasant War of 1514» (1991, T.P.Gusarova); «Crusaders of the Late Middle Ages» (1999, S.V.Bliznyuk).

Textbooks for high schools written by the department’s educators occupy a special place in educational literature. Among them are: «History of the Middle Ages in 2 volumes» (4 editions, 1993-1997, M.A.Boytsov and R.M.Shukurov); «History of the Middle Ages: Europe and the Rest of the World» (2000, M.A.Boytsov and R.M.Shukurov); «From the Middle Ages to Early Modern Time» (1997, O.V.Dmitrieva, R.M.Shukurov etc.); «Atlas of the History of the Middle Ages» (1998, T.P.Gusarova).

Problems of academic work of the department are socio-economic and socio-political development of the countries of Western Europe and Byzantium in the Middle Ages and early modern time; ideology and culture; historiography, source studies and auxiliary historical disciplines. The results of the department’s academic work have been reflected in such books over the last decade, as «Elizabeth I» (1998, O.V.Dmitrieva); «The World of Trade and Politics in the Kingdom of the Crusaders on Cyprus 1192-1373» (1994, S.V.Bliznyuk); «The Italian Sea Republics and the Southern Black Sea Region XIII-XV» (1990), «By the Paths of Medieval Navigators: Black Sea Navigation of the Venetian Republic in XIII-XV cc.» (1994, issued also in Italy in Italian, 2000), «Latin Rome» (2000) (S.P.Karpov); «The French Monarchy and the Church in the XV - middle of the XVI cc.» (1992), «The Memoirs of Queen Margot» (1996), «The Black Queen Catherine de Medici» (1995) (S.L.Pleshkova); «Herson in the X-XV cc. Problems in the History of the Byzantine City» (1991, N.M.Bogdanova); «The Book of Sunni and the Tsars of the Moores» (1995, I.I.Varyash). The department further issued collective works: «Byzantium. Mediterranean. The Slavic World» (1991, edited by S.P.Karpov), «Foreign: experiences of negotiation» (1999, edited by R.M.Shukurov), «Anthology of a Worldwide Legal Conception. Volume 2: Europe from the V-XVII cc.» (1999). The faculty likewise actively participates in the preparation of a 25 volume «Orthodox Encyclopedia».

The department is the organizer, coordinator, and its employees are active members of the All-Russia Association of Medievalists and Historians of Early Modern Time (president - S.P.Karpov). The association regularly issues a Bulletin (currently 12 issues), within the framework of which function: Humanism and the Renaissance» (director L.M.Bragina) and «Authority and Society in the Middle Ages» (director N.A.Khachaturyan). The group of prof.Khachaturyan carries out a large research project «The Royal Court and Court Life in Europe». The association organizes academic conferences, seminars, and invites Russian and foreign medievalists to give reports and lectures.

The department’s faculty and post-graduate students are active participants in international conferences, symposiums, and colloquiums for medievalists. Over the last decade they have gone with lectures and reports to Austria, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Hungary, Germany, Holland, Greece, Denmark, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Romania, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, the United States, Turkey, France, Switzerland, China, Cyprus etc.

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Within the department there is a laboratory for the study of the countries of the Black Sea region and Byzantium.

The research laboratory on the study of the countries of the Black Sea region and Byzantium in the Middle Ages was established in 1990 for the purpose of conducting detailed research on the history of this region, searching for and publishing new archival sources, creating databases, and revealing historical-typological laws of development of Byzantium and the Black Sea region in their connections with Ancient Rus, Western Europe, and states of the East. The laboratory is assigned with the function of coordinating all scientific research in the field of Byzantine studies and the medieval history of the Black Sea region at MSU.

The academic director of the laboratory is Professor S.P. Karpov. Within the structure of the laboratory are highly skilled medievalists, specialists on Byzantium and Asia, experts in computer science and diplomatics N.M.Bogdanova, B.A.Makeev, A.L.Ponomarev, A.A.Talizina and R.M.Shukurov.

The laboratory regularly carries out systematic studies of unique and under-researched funds of archival sources stored, mainly, in the State archives of Venice, Genoa, and also other archives and hand-written collections. The laboratory has assembled and houses a significant fund of copies of major documents. Search and processing work on sources (including their transcription, archaeographical and substantial analysis, formalization of the data, publication of the texts in entirety and as regest) is constantly carried out.

The main academic organ of the laboratory is the publication «The Black Sea Region in the Middle Ages» (issues 1-4: Ì., 1991-2000), where sources and academic research is published. The employees of the laboratory have prepared a series of works and editions of sources, including: The Territory and Population Genoan Caffa on the data of Massaria 1381-1382». (A.L.Ponamarev), Regest of Documents Concerning the Black Sea region, from the largest fund of the judicial magistrate of Genoa – Diversorum, Filze (S.P.Karpov), Notary Acts of Venetian factors of Tanna (Azov) in the beginning of the XV c. (A.A.Talizina and N.D.Prokof’eva).

The laboratory has prepared a number of electronic resources on the Internet.

The department and laboratory have won many grants from Russian and foreign scientific funds.