By Marshall T. Poe
Many americans and Europeans have for hundreds of years seen Russia as a despotic state within which individuals are vulnerable to simply accept ache and oppression. What are the origins of this stereotype of Russia as a society essentially except international locations within the West, and the way actual is it? within the first ebook dedicated to answering those questions, Marshall T. Poe lines the roots of modern belief of Russia and its humans to the eyewitness descriptions of 16th- and seventeenth-century eu tourists. His attention-grabbing account―the so much whole evaluate of early smooth ecu writings approximately Russia ever undertaken―explores how just like "Russian tyranny" took carry within the well known mind's eye and at last turned the foundation for the idea of "Oriental Despotism" first set forth by way of Montesquieu. Poe, the preeminent pupil of those beneficial basic assets, rigorously assesses their reliability. He argues convincingly that even supposing the foreigners exaggerated the measure of Russian "slavery," they competently defined their encounters and properly concluded that the political tradition of Muscovite autocracy used to be in contrast to that of ecu kingship. together with his findings, Poe demanding situations the concept that every one Europeans projected their very own fantasies onto Russia. as a substitute, his facts means that many early tourists produced, in essence, trustworthy ethnographies, now not works of unique "Orientalism."
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Extra resources for A People Born to Slavery: Russia in Early Modern European Ethnography, 1476-1748
In sum, under the leadership of Ivan III the Muscovites not only moved into the European political sphere but also entered European consciousness via the evolving discourse of Renaissance ethnography. These two developments were not unrelated. Had the Russians been more distant from Europe or had they been perceived as a minor power, European ethnographers would probably have ignored them. But, as the rapid and aggressive movement of Ivan III into the eastern fringe of Renaissance civilization demonstrated, the Russians were both uncomfortably near and seemingly very powerful, at least from the point of view of Livonia, Lithuania, Poland, and the Empire.
63 Hajo Holborn, Ulrich von Hutten and the German Reformation, 103–5. For Herberstein, see Berthold Picard, Das Gesandtschaftswesen Ostmitteleuropeas in der frühen Neuzeit, 168. Also see Theodor G. von Karajan, “Selbstbiographie Sigmunds Freiherrn von Herberstein,” 135ff. 64 Hutten, 348. 65 Pirckheimer (1530), 104 –5. 66 Franck (1534), 30. 01B-C1217 11/17/00 12:01 PM Page 33 Terra Incognita 33 ples of despotic feudalism, he seemed to say, might be found only in Turkey and Muscovy. Signiﬁcantly, Franck added the notion of slavery to this analysis.
To be sure, Herberstein’s famous Notes on the Muscovites of 1549, which was probably based on an earlier diplomatic report, offers an image of Russian tyranny quite similar to that found in Da Collo. Since it seems most probable, however, that Herberstein ﬁnished the seminal ethnography in the late 1540s, it falls out of our chronological purview. Though Rome would occasionally support anti-Russian actions, no amount of Livonian, Polish, or Imperial propaganda could permanently convince the papacy that the Russians were beyond redemption.
A People Born to Slavery: Russia in Early Modern European Ethnography, 1476-1748 by Marshall T. Poe