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collection of articles in series «Archaeological records of Eastern Europe»

S. G. Bocharov (Simferopol, Crimea), A. G. Sitdikov (Kazan, Russian Federation)


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Pages: 15-16

The articles in this volume titled The Genoese Gazaria and the Golden Horde focus on the period of 13th—15th centuries, when vast lands spanning from the Danube to the Urals — a huge territory for the Middle Ages — saw evolvement and active development of a state ruled by a Mongol dynasty. At the same time, the Pontic possessions of the declining Byzantine Empire saw evolvement of a new West-European formation founded by the Genoese Republic, which is known to the academic circles as Genoese Gazaria.
The thirteenth century was marked by some dramatic political changes in the South-Eastern Europe. The changes were connected with a number of events: emergence of the Mongol state, rebirth of the Byzantine Empire in 1261 when Emperor Michael VIII, following the Treaty of Nymphaeum, allowed the Genoese to lead free trade on the Black Sea and offered them some commercial privileges. Thus, Western European merchants started coming to the Black Sea region and built their trading settlements known as factories. That is how the Asian terrestrial and the European maritime trade routes met in the Northern Pontic area; the latter turned into a crossroads with streams of goods coming from the West and the East. Further historical events were determined by these states and their successors — the Golden Horde, followed by the Crimean, Kazan and Astrakhan khanates; the Greek Trabzon Empire, then by the Feodoro Principality, the Genoese and the Venice Republics.
Although history and culture of the Golden Horde is seemingly well researched, the main generalizing monographs were written in the middle of the last century, while modern papers are either locally focused, i. e. discussing some separate regions, or dedicated to a folk group inseparably connected with the Golden Horde time.
The first attempt to combine historical-geographic and archaeological studies of Jochi’s Ulus was undertaken by V. L. Egorov in his monograph “Historical Geography of the Golden Horde in 13th—14th cc.” published in 1985. Ever since, the Golden Horde artefacts have been actively studied, with new relevant texts offered for the academic research.
We hope our volume will be seen as the first step towards an overarching summarized work on history and archaeology of South-Eastern Europe in 13th—14th cc. in view of the now available sources. It contains articles prepared by nineteen researchers from Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and Kazakhstan on history and archaeology of Byzantium, the Golden Horde and the Genoese Gazaria in 13th—15th cc. and their successors in 16th—18th cc.
The book has four sections: Genoese Gazaria, Golden Horde, Byzantium post Byzantium and Sources. The articles in these four sections can be grouped into the following thematic blocks.
The first block is about historical geography of some regions in Eastern Europe. Each paper in this block follows its own scenario in accordance with the traditional approach to studies of a given territory. That is why some of them focus rather on archaeology and study specific artefacts in a particular region in the context of its past, as well as histories of some peoples with their own cultures within the Golden Horde. These include articles by M. V. Elnikov, E. E. Kravchenko, E. M. Pigarev, K. A. Rudenko, Yu. A. Zeleneev. A few contributions within the same thematic block are dedicated to historical and ethnic topography of some cities or forts, whose story can illustrate the history of a vast region. These are papers written by A. N. Maslovsky, N. D. Russev, A. G. Sitdikov, S. G. Bocharov and D. A. Kubankin. O. A. Ilyina’s article treats some topical historiographic aspects of the history of the Lower Volga region within the borders of the modern Volgograd Oblast. L. V. Yavorskaya’s contribution is a study of economic geography of the Volga region. Each of the abovementioned papers formulates its own issues, addresses them by involving various groups of sources, and thus offers new accounts and concepts for discussion. Most importantly, this thematic block embraces almost all main territorial formations of the Golden Horde and considers their typical features.
Another big thematic block is closely connected with the previous one. The studies focus on analysis of historical precedents in the past of Byzantium and the Golden Horde. The authors often polemicize their discussions, however one can observe their tremendous effort behind and careful selection of sources and views. They use a big variety of sources — archaeological, epigraphic, architectural-archaeological, cartographic, as well as written accounts. This thematic block includes articles by A. G. Emanov, V. L. Myts, V. P. Kirilko and all of I. V. Volkov’s contributions published in this volume. Discussions of this kind give a new turn to historically established ideas about some stages or events in the history of the Byzantine Empire, the Genoese Gazaria or the Golden Horde, and thus also contribute towards achievement of the main objective of the previous thematic block.
The third thematic block is also connected with the previous two. It comprises studies of medieval ceramic products which can be used as a very important archaeological source on history of industries and relations with different regions. O. V. Kuzentsova’s and I. B. Teslenko’s articles are a good example of such studies, while they, in fact, focus on material features of two regions in the Mongol state.
Thus, the present volume is an attempt to address three major objectives of the historical study of Byzantium, the Genoese Gazaria and the Golden Horde. Number one: a vast territorial coverage of the articles in the historical-topographic block enables us to find specific functions of the Golden Horde as such and its local provinces, while putting them in a broad historiographic context. The second objective addressed in this volume is about showing new approaches to historical subjects and sources on history of Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages. The third objective is to demonstrate how different types of sources can be integrated into research of extensive historical problems.
We hope that the suggested format and topics of this volume will be useful to our colleagues and enjoy their approval. We also hope to make it a serial publication.

Information about authors:

Serghei Bocharov
(Simferopol, Crimea). Candidate of Historical Sciences. Kazan Federal University. Butlerov St., 30, Kazan, 420012, Russian Federation; Crimea Branch of Institute of Archaeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.Yaltinskaya St., 2, Simferopol, 297800, Crimea
E-mail: [email protected]

Ayrat Sitdikov (Kazan, Russian Federation). Candidate of Historical Sciences. Mardjani Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan, National Centre for Archaeological Research. Kremlin, entrance 5, Kazan, 420014, Russian Federation
E-mail: [email protected]

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