Donald Ostrowski. Muscovy a n d the Mongols: Cross-Cultural Influences on the Steppe Frontier, 1304-1589. Cambridge and N e w York: Cambridge University Press, 1998. xvi, 329 pp. $59.95. The nature and extent of the impact o f Mongol rule upon the development o f Musco- vite political and social institutions has long been a matter o f intense controversy among historians o f Russia. Was Mongol civilization more influential than that o f Byzantium or Kievan Rus' in shaping the development o f Muscovy? Did the Mongol conquest mark a clean break with the socio-political system that had evolved during the Kievan era, and did it sever Russia irrevocably from the mainstream o f European civilization and "pro- gressive" developments in Western Europe (to wit, the Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment)? Were the Mongols responsible for inculcating the authoritarian, auto- cratic style o f ruiership that became synonymous with Russian political life? Can the blame for the economic backwardness that is widely assumed to have held sway in Mus- covite Russia be laid at their feet? Were Mongol cultural norms responsible for "Orien- tal" Muscovite social practices such as the seclusion o f women? Although the traditional approach
Canadian-American Slavic Studies – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2003
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