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Eastern Slavs and Kyiv Rus State (the 2d century BC - mid 13th centuries)

(46 Голосов)

Exposition halls

 Nr 5 - 8

Hall No. 5

Several ethno-cultural formations resided at the territory of Ukraine at the end of the 1st millenium BC and in the first half of the 1st millenium AD.

They were presented by the following archeological cultures: Zarubyntsi culture, Pshevorsk culture, Lypytsk culture, Late Zarubyntsi culture, Scythian-Sarmatians culture (the 2d century BC – the 2d century AD), Velbar culture, Cherniakhiv culture, Kyiv culture, Carpathian Tumuluses culture (the 3d century AD – the first half of the 5th century AD).
The Veneds, Slavonic tribes, provided a basis for such archaeological cultures as Zarubyntsi culture, partially Cherniakhiv culture and Kyiv culture. This hall exhibits the materials of these cultures and the culture of Carpathian Tumuluses.

Vikenty Khvoika, the well-known Ukrainian archaeologist, was the discoverer of the Zarubyntsi and Cherniakhiv cultures. In 1899, he excavated several burial sites near Zarubyntsi village and Romashky village in Kyiv province. As of today, scientists have studied more than 500 settlements and burial sites of Zarubyntsi culture, discovered several fortified sites, and excavated about 160 houses and more than 1,000 burials. The population of the  Zarubyntsi culture became one of the factors in the formation of the poly-ethnic Cherniakhiv culture, which had occupied Steppe and Forest-Steppe zones of Ukraine, Moldova and the greater part of Romanian territory and reached the Danube River. The culture was named after burial site excavated by Vikenty Khvoika in 1900-1901 near Cherniakhiv village in Kyiv province. As of now, scientists have already researched more than 3,000 sites of the Cherniakhiv culture – numerous settlements and burial grounds, and three hillforts.

The Kyiv culture coexisted with the Cherniakhiv culture in the Upper and Middle Dnieper River Region. In contrast with Cherniakhiv culture, Kyiv culture was not influenced by provincial Roman culture and saved its originality. Scientists believe that exactly the masters of Kyiv culture produced unique decorations made by a grooved enamel technology.
The tribes of agricultural culture of Carpathian Tumuluses were the southern neighbors of the Cherniakhiv culture in the Carpathian Region; researchers attribute this culture to the Karps, the Thracian tribes.
The ideological views of the population of Eastern Europe in the 1st millenium AD were of the pagan character. Their essence was belief in the afterlife as a prolongation of earthly life, deification of forces of nature and rituals dedicated to a new harvest. In the early centuries AD the Christianity expanded to the territory of Ukraine.
As a result of the Great Migration, the Slavonic tribes became a predominant force in the Forest-Steppe zone of Ukraine; they were the predecessors of the so called Prague, Penkivka and Kolochyne archaeological cultures of the 6th and 7th centuries AD.

Halls No. 6 and 7
The Eastern Slavs in the 6th century – 9th century. Formation of the Kyiv Rus State and Ethno-Cultural Processes (the mid 9th – the beginning of the 13th centuries). The Slavs and Surrounding World.

The second half of the 1st millenium AD witnessed the increasing role of Slavonic tribes in European history. They finished their resettling in Europe. The process of differentiation and formation of Eastern, Western and Southern groups of Slavs was in progress. Starting from the 6th century, the written sources contained more and more detailed information about Slavonic tribes. Arable agriculture was the main sphere of economy of Eastern Slavs. Cattle breeding, hunting, fishing, and different works play the important role in their life. They significantly developed the handicrafts and early commodity production. Thus, there were all preconditions for a feudal structure.
In the 6th and 7th centuries the Slavs developed a system of hillforts, i.e. economic and political centers of tribe unions, the residences of military retinues. At the end of the 5th century, such hillfort was built on one of the hills in the Middle Dnieper River Region. It was named Kyiv after the name of Kyi, its founder. At that time, this Region was a point of contact of three cultural groups – Pragua, Penkivka and Kolochyne archeological cultures, and then (in the 7th – 9th centuries) – Raikovetska and Romny cultures. Thus, from the very beginning Kyiv was forming as inter-tribal center, and later as the capital of the Ancient Rus State.
Treasures of richmen was an important component of the Penkivka culture and, to some extant, the Kolochyne culture. For example, such treasures have been found in the following villages: Martynivka, Khatsky, Pastyrske in Cherkasy oblast and Fatyvyzh in Sumy oblast. Recent researches opened up the possibility to connect some archeological sites of the 8th and 9th centuries with the Slavonic tribes mentioned in annals (litopysy) – Polyany, Drevlyany, Radymychi, Vyatychi, Dregovychi, Siveryany and others.
In the 10th century, as a result of a long period of development of Eastern Slavonic tribes, the Kyiv Rus State, one of the most powerful states in the medieval Europe, came to exist. The rise of the state was related to the periods of rulling of Prince Volodymyr Sviatoslavych (980-1015) and Prince Yaroslav the Wise (1019-1054). Implementation of Christianity as a state religion in 988 was connected with Prince Volodymyr. It created incentives for consolidation of Prince’s power, economic expansion, strengthened political and cultural contacts with European countries and made it possible to use the achievements of Byzantine culture.
The movement of Nomadic tribes appreciably affected the developments in Europe. The Avar Union was one of the strongest tribal unions in the 6th century and at the beginning of the 7th century.  And from the second half of the 7th century till the beginning of the 10th century the so called Khazar Kaganate became one of the most powerful political forces in Eastern Europe.

Hall No. 8
Social and Economic Development of the Rus During the 9th – 13th centuries. The Period of Feudal Disintegration (mid 12th – first half of the 13th centuries). The Culture of the Kyiv Rus.

Arable agriculture was a basis of economy of the Ancient Rus. Also, the structure of agriculture included cattle breeding, hunting, fishing, beekeeping, trucking and gardening. Handicraft was an integral part of the population; there were more than 60 craftsmanship specialties in Rus. Chronicles contain the information about some 300 cities in Rus; they were the centers of handicraft, commercial, political and cultural life. Kyiv, Novgorod, Chernihiv, and Polotsk etc. were the biggest cities of Ancient Rus. For example, about 350 crafts workshop of blacksmiths, potters, jewelers, glassworkers, woodworkers, and masters of bone, skin and stone processing have been found in Kyiv. The complex of artifacts from the workshop of Kyiv artist, excavated in 1938 on the territory of the St. Myhail Golden-Cupola Monastery, is worth attention.
In the mid 12th century the Rus faced the process of feudal disintegration. Nevertheless, the state persisted continuing its development and reached the level of the advanced European countries. Kyiv, Chernihiv, Rostov-Suzdal, Polotsk and Novgorod princedoms became the most influential realms at that time. After decline of Kyiv in the 13th century, the Halych and Volyn Princedom kept on the statehood and cultural traditions of the Kyiv Rus.
Although the culture of Ancient Rus was developing under the complicated historical conditions, it had reached extremely high level during comparatively short period of time. As for idea content and high artistic qualities, it was highly competitive with cultural achievements of other nations of the early medieval age.
The Mongol-Tatar invasion broke down the development of Rus. On December 6, 1240, Kyiv was conquered by the army of Batu Khan (grandson of Genghis Khan). In 1242, Mongol conquerors had formed the Golden Horde, the new state inside the Mongol Empire with the capital in the Saray-city. The Kyiv Rus ceased to exist as independent state. It was subjected to economic, political and military dependence. The state was trapped in the long-term foreign yoke. During the centuries the Rus was the savior of the European civilization that crashed numerous hordes of Nomadic tribes of the Steppe – Pechenegs, Torks, Polovеts. The Rus had executed its historical mission during Mongol-Tatar invasion at the expense of its own existence.


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