Performing Early-Modern Russia
Performing Early-Modern Russia

Research Project by Alexandra Vukovich, University of Oxford


My current British Academy-funded project "Performing History in Early-Modern Russia" explores how Muscovite rulers, much like other early-modern and Renaissance rulers, sought legitimacy through intellectual and physical contact with imagined pasts. These new “imaginaries” were developed as a result of connections and opportunities afforded both by expansion and diplomacy. The new cultures of learning that emerged among the literate elite sought to reshape knowledge about the past and employed a series of South Slavonic, Byzantine, Italianate, and other sources to imagine new genealogies of power and legitimate expansion by depicting Muscovy/Russia as the heir to great empires of the past. This project is expected to form the second part of my anticipated book: Politics and Ritual in Rus and Muscovy that examines political practices, the externalization of princely power through ceremony and ritual, and material conditions that produced princely authority, from the time of early Rus' to Muscovy, ending with the period that saw the rise of the Tsardom of Russia.

Further Reading

Vukovich, Alexandra. "How Byzantine was the Moscow Inauguration of 1498?” In Byzantium in Eastern European Culture in the Late Middle Ages, edited by Maria Alessia Rossi and Alice Isabella Sullivan, 3571. Leiden: Brill, 2020.