The Russian Empire History PodcastNov 27, 2023
1.43 - The Yaroslavichi
The sons of Yaroslav divide Rus among themselves. How long will they live in peace?
1.42 - The Testament of Yaroslav
As Yaroslav reaches the end of his life, an attempt is made to set the rules of succession in Rus.
SE6 - Rus in Medieval Europe with Christian Raffensperger
Christian Raffensperger is Professor of History and Chair of the Department, Kenneth E. Wray Chair in the Humanities, and Director, Emarth Institute for the Public Humanities at Wittenberg University covering Medieval Europe, Russia, and Ukraine. His works include ‘Reimagining Europe: Kievan Rus in the Medieval World, 988-1146’, ’Ties of Kinship: Russian Genealogy and Dynastic Marriage’, ‘The Kingdom of Rus’ and more.
Christian joins me to discuss why Medieval Europe is much more than just France and England, Rus royal marriages, and why using the right titles is important.
Christian’s book recommendation for listeners is Russia in the Early Modern World: The Continuity of Change by Donald Ostrowski. Find it on Amazon at https://amzn.to/46FXMMp a purchase through this link helps support this podcast.
ME9 - Central Asia Part I
This episode begins a look at Central Asia and the Caucasus from prehistory through to the Mongol conquests.
1.41 - Yaroslav the Wise
As the last brother standing, Yaroslav has finally become the sole ruler of Rus. What will he do now?
1.40 - The Vladimirovichi
Vladimir’s death plunges Rus into chaos as his sons fight over the succession.
1.39 Vladimir the Great IV - Building Rus
This episode looks at Vladimir’s reign from the baptism of Rus until his death. Did he manage to do anything else noteworthy?
1.38 Vladimir the Great III - The Baptism of Rus
What happened at the baptism of Rus, and inventing St. Vladimir/Volodymyr from the Tale of Bygone Years to Vladimir Putin.
1.37 Vladimir the Great Part II - Sacrifices and Choices
Vladimir continues to expand his territory and to consider the role of religion in his kingdom.
ME8 - Christianity in the Steppe and Central Asia
In this member episode, we delve into the fascinating history of Christianity in the steppe and Central Asia.
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1.36 - Vladimir the Great Part I - the Rise to Power
The death of Svyatoslav found Rus unprepared for the succession. The three sons he left in charge of Kyiv, the Drevlians, and Novgorod, soon turn to fighting among themselves.
1.35 - Imaginary Khazars Part III - New Khazaria
In the late Soviet period and in post-Soviet Russia, Lev Gumilev’s passionary theory of ethnogenesis and pseudo-historical ideas of a Jewish-Khazar chimera gained enormous popularity, leading to elaborate conspiracy theories of shadowy forces behind contemporary events.
Read the blog post at: https://therussianempirehistorypodcast.com/blog/133-135-imaginary-khazars
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1.34 Imaginary Khazars Part II: Gumilev’s Chimera
Vladimir Putin says he believes in the “passionary theory”. What does he mean, and where do the Khazars come in?
1.33 Imaginary Khazars Part I: The Thirteenth Tribe
Part I of a short series looking at the Khazars after the fall of Khazaria. Was there a connection between the Khazars and East European Jews?
Member Episode 7 - Manichaeism and the Steppe
This member episode looks at the history of Manichaeism in Central Asia. Once a contender world religion, it failed to withstand the competition as empires from Rome eastwards gradually adopted official religions.
1.32 - Svyatoslav “the Brave"
In this episode, we look at the first Rus ruler with a Slavic name, but a not so Slavic personal style. If it wasn’t for those treacherous Byzantines, things could have turned out very differently...
1.31 - Volga Bulgaria - Part II
In this episode, we continue our introduction to Volga Bulgaria with a look at the ruling dynasty, the capital city, and their conversion to Islam.
1.30 - Volga Bulgaria - Part I
In this episode, we begin exploring the formation of Volga Bulgaria, a major medieval European kingdom that will play a significant role in our story.
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Member Episode 6 - Early Poland
In this Member Episode, we look at the beginnings of the other great power in Eastern Europe - Poland.
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SE5 - Byzantium and Rus - with Dr Monica White
In this special episode, I discuss how Byzantium viewed Rus and aspects of their relationship with Dr Monica White of the University of Nottingham.
1.29 - Olga of Kyiv
Olga of Kyiv has been venerated as a saint and gained popularity in modern times as a vengeful warrior queen, but how true are those stories? Listen to this episode to find out the true story of Olga.
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1.28 - Oleg the Seer and Igor Rurikovich
In this episode, we look at what the Tale of Bygone Years tells us about Rurik’s successors, Oleg and Igor, and try to figure out what actually might have happened.
Read the blogpost: https://therussianempirehistorypodcast.com/blog/128-oleg-the-seer-and-igor-rurikovich
1.27 - Rurik, and what was the Tale of Bygone Years, anyway?
In this episode we look at the traditional founder of the ruling dynasty of Rus, discuss what the Rus chronicles were and how they were created, and cover the mistranslation of Rus titles.
Read the blog post: therussianempirehistorypodcast.com/127-rurik-and-what-was-the-tale-of-bygone-years-anyway
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Member Episode 5 - Varangians
In this episode, we look at Varangians, including the lives of some of the most famous among them. The Varangians provide yet another example of how the Rus were integrated into the world around them.
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1.26 - Enter the Rus Part III
This episode concludes our introduction to the Rus with a look at their move into the Dnieper valley and the trade routes to Byzantium and Western Europe.
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Member Episode 4 - The Northern Slave Trade
More important than furs, slaves were the Rus’ primary trade commodity. The Rus, Volga Bulgaria, Muscovy, and Russia participated in the slave trade for centuries, until the Tsar decided he needed the people more for himself.
1.25 - Enter the Rus Part II
In Part II, we look at Scandinavian and Rus encounters with the Bulgars and Khazars.
1.24 - Enter the Rus Part I
This episode starts a short series considering the early Rus with a look at where Rus began.
1.23 - Before the Rus Part III - Scandinavians in the Northern Forest
The final part of this mini-series looks at the first tentative steps of Scandinavian travelers into the East.
Read the blog post here: https://therussianempirehistorypodcast.com/episode-123-before-the-rus-part-iii-scandinavians-in-the-northern-forest
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1.22 - Normanists and Anti-Normanists
An introduction to one of the biggest controversies in Russian and Ukrainian history - who were the Rus?
Member Episode 3 - Cyril and Methodius
The story of how two brothers brought literacy to the Slavs.
Read the episode blog post: https://therussianempirehistorypodcast.com/blog/members-episode-3-cyril-and-methodius
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1.21 - Before the Rus Part II - Bulgars, Chuvash, Pechenegs, Magyars
Continuing our survey before the Rus with a look at the eastern part of the region. The Bulgars reach the central Volga, Magyars move south, Khazar power preventing new incursions from the steppe starts to crumble.
Read the episode blog post: https://therussianempirehistorypodcast.com/blog/episode-121-before-the-rus-part-ii-bulgars-chuvash-pechenegs-magyars
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1.20 - Before the Rus Part I
This episode begins a look across the region as it transitions from antiquity to the early medieval period.
Read the episode blog post: https://therusianempirehistorypodcast.com/blog/episode-20-before-the-rus-part-i
Support the podcast on Patreon or Anchor, or subscribe through Apple Podcasts for exclusive Member Episodes.
Member Episode 2 - Argimpasa to Zoroaster
This member episode looks at ancient steppe religions and their use in the post-Soviet search for new national identities. Scythian gods and Assianism, Zoroaster and Russian appropriation, Tengrism and nationalism in Tatarstan and Kyrgyzstan.
Read the episode blog post: https://therussianempirehistorypodcast.com/blog/member-episode-2-argimpasa-to-zoroaster
1.19 - From Friends to Enemies
The Khazars began as Byzantium’s closest allies, sealed with the marriage of the khagan’s daughter to the emperor’s son. But one decision by the Khazars turned them into enemies.
Read the episode blog post: https://therussianempirehistorypodcast.com/blog/episode-119-from-friends-to-enemies
Special Episode 4 - The Russian Federation: Could It, Will It, Should It Break Up? - With Alexander Etkind
I’m joined in this episode by Russian historian Alexander Etkind, author of the 2013 book Internal Colonisation to discuss whether the Russian Federation actually could, or, indeed, should break up.
Read the episode blog post here: https://therussianempirehistorypodcast.com/blog/special-episode-4-the-russian-federation-could-it-will-it-should-it-break-up-with-alexander-etkind
1.18 - Time to Settle Down, the Domestic Economy of Khazaria
The Khazar Khaganate was the first steppe empire in the west that had an economy capable of self-sufficiency. In this episode, we look at the development of agriculture by Slavs and steppe settlers in the black earth region of the forest-steppe belt, and other regional economies of Khazaria.
Read the episode blog post at https://therussianempirehistorypodcast.com/blog/episode-118-time-to-settle-down-the-domestic-economy-of-the-khaza
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Member Episode 1 - The Scourge of God
1.17 - The Rise of the Khazars and the Arab-Khazar Wars
With the collapse of the Western Turk Empire, a new Khaganate appears. Soon they will face the might of the expanding Caliphate.
Read the episode blog post here: https://therussianempirehistorypodcast.com/blog/episode-117-the-rise-of-the-khazars-and-the-arab-khazar-wars
1.16 - The Mysterious Slavs
In this episode, we look at the origin of the Slavs, something we know remarkably little about. What do linguistic reconstructions, archeology and the written sources tell us?
Read the episode blogpost at https://therussianempirehistorypodcast.com/blog/episode-116-the-mysterious-slavs
1.15 - The Finno-Ugrians
This episode introduces the Finno-Ugrians, the original inhabitants of the forests of Northeastern Europe, whose descendants continue to maintain a distinct culture in modern Russia.
Read the blog post here: https://therussianempirehistorypodcast.com/blog/episode-115-the-finno-ugrians
1.14 - Bulgars of the Western Steppe
In this episode, we look at the origins of the Bulgars, claimed as ancestors by several peoples of the Russian Empire from the Volga Bulgars to the Gagauz in modern day Moldova, and also, through Bulgaria, the source of the Cyrillic alphabet.
Read the episode blog post at: https://therussianempirehistorypodcast.com/blog/episode-114-bulgars-of-the-western-steppe
Special Episode 3 - Putin’s Ukrainian Delusions - with Dr. Oleksa Drachewych
In this special episode, the podcast is joined by Oleksa Drachewych to discuss Putin’s claims regarding Ukrainian statehood and nationhood.
Episode blog post: https://therussianempirehistorypodcast.com/special-episode-3-putins-ukrainian-delusions-with-oleksa-drachewych
Special Episode 2 - From the Steppe to Your Table - with Robert N. Spengler
Dr. Robert N. Spengler is an archeobotanist specialising in the domestication of plants and how they were spread across Eurasia. He joins me today to discuss the role of the steppe in spreading many of the important foods, from grains to fruit and spices, that we all enjoy today.
You can learn much more about this subject in his award winning book Fruit from the Sands: The Silk Road Origins of the Foods We Eat, available in physical, ebook, and audio versions here: https://amzn.to/34FLloZ
See the episode blogpost here: https://therussianempirehistorypodcast.com/blog/special-episode-2-from-the-steppe-to-your-table-with-robert-n-spengler
1.13 - Children of the Wolf
Iranic dominance of the steppe is ending, a new force has arrived. In this episode we take a brief look at the origins of the Turkic peoples and the first Türk Qaganate ahead of a series of episodes on the Turkic migrations into the Western steppe that would lead to the Khazars and Volga Bulgaria.
Read the show blog post here: https://therussianempirehistorypodcast/blog/episode-113-children-of-the-wolf
1.12 - The Scythian Legacy
In this episode, we look at the impact of the Scythians in their time and in later Russian history.
Read the show blog post here: https://therussianempirehistorypodcast.com/blog/the-scythian-legacy
1.10 - The First Steppe Empire
In this episode we return to the narrative with a look at the Scythian migration from Central Asia into the southern Russian and Ukrainian steppe, and the first empire created by a steppe people.
Episode blog post https://therussianempirehistorypodcast.com/blog/episode-110-the-first-steppe-empire
1.11 - Sarmatians and Saka
This episode rounds out our look at the Scythians with the Sarmatians, who displaced the Royal Scythians as the rulers of the Western steppe, and the Saka, the Scythians who stayed in the East.
Check out the episode blogpost at https://therussianempirehistorypodcast.com/blog/episode-111-sarmatians-and-saka
1.09 - Steppe Warriors Part II - Wolf Packs and War Bands
In this episode we look at how a Bronze Age initiation ritual evolved into a cornerstone of steppe culture that drove the expansion and migration of nomadic peoples for centuries.