How Muscovy became Russia

History 21/02/20 How Muscovy became Russia

really, why? Where did the name, for example, instead of the traditional “Rus”? Here we must distinguish between the origins of the names and the reasons why it was taken as official.

Greek origin

that the source of borrowing of the word “Russia” in Russia became Greek literacy, no doubt. It is curious that the word emerged without any connection with historical Russia. For the first time ferocious and the Rosh people mentioned in the biblical Book of Ezekiel, and is associated, along with the peoples of Gog and Magog, the prophecy about the end of the world. In the Greek language of the Jewish Rosh was recorded as Ρως or Ηρως. In the VI century BC the Syrian chronicler Zachary Rhetorician mentioned by contemporary people Ηρως somewhere in the North, and some historians believe that this name was already reflected some vague information about specific people of the Rus.

When in the IX century real blonde began to make sea raids on the coast of the Byzantine Empire and devastate its cities, many considered this the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Book Ρως was easily identified with this nation. Already in the X century the Byzantines began to call the country where you live Rus, filename Ρωςια.

In the Slavic (Bulgarian) source title Rusiya first attested in the late fourteenth century. There is no information that in Russian sources it appeared before the end of the XV century. However, this time it happens more and more often, during the XVI century and becoming commonplace in the seventeenth century, was approved finally. The Greek letter Ω is given by the Slavs as the U.

“All rusii”

the Last third of the XV century was the time when Moscow was done to build around the power of the first independent Russian principalities and republics. But the designation of “all Russia” as a claim to all Russian lands appeared in the titles of the princes and metropolitans yet. And not only, however, Moscow.

for the First time the addition “of all rusii” appeared in the title of Kiev Metropolitan Constantine II, who held a chair at 1167-69 he usually Russian metropolitans were Greeks, therefore, used the word “RUSIA, Rosia” in his own way. Hence it has become assimilated and Russian.

the titles of the princes of this symbol appears with the beginning of the XIV century, and originally so called Russian rulers the Greeks themselves. The first title of the ruler of all rusii used the Patriarch of Constantinople Niphon (1310-1314) in a letter to the Grand Prince of Tver and Vladimir, Mikhail Yaroslavich. Later, firmly taking possession of the throne of Vladimir, this title is already on themselves to try the great Prince of Moscow Ivan I Kalita (1325-40), Simeon the Proud (1340-53), Basil I (1389-1425).

In the days of the Tartar yoke, the Russian division of land and entering many of them in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania had not forgotten its former political and national community. The resurrection and Nikon Chronicles in 1395/96, the company cites the “list of all Ruthenian castles”, which lists not only within the former Kievan Rus, but also new ones based abroad.

This understanding of the unity of the Russian land prepared irredentist – for national reunification – the use of the term “all Russia” Moscow Grand princes from the end of XV century. At the same time it paved the way for renaming the state.

the Country by the name of Rosia

the Moscow Principality was just one of the Russian principalities. During the XIV-XV centuries were still fighting for supremacy in the North-Eastern corner of Russia with Tver, Ryazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Veliky Novgorod. Although, as we have seen, since the beginning of XIV century the Moscow princes were rewarded yourself with a title of princes “of all Russia”, this title means only a claim, but had no real content. In addition, a large part of the ancient land was part of Lithuania. Not casually Lithuanian gentry and the Polish gentry continued to call the North-East of Russia Muscovy to emphasise, if this state had nothing to do with Russia.

of Course, the Moscow Russians never called their state to Muscovy, and on the West the word root bad. So, when the Moscow Grand Prince Ivan III in 1472 was the Embassy in Rome to ask for papal pupils, the Byzantine Princess Zoe-Sophia, it was officially named in the documents of Vatican “Embassy of the sovereign the White Ruthenia”. Ruthenium Latin has long been called Russia in the West.

to rise above the other Russian States and in the eyes of the Russians themselves, foreigners needed a break with the old provincialism – with the name of the city. It was hard to do on the basis of the usual term Rus, which was accustomed to attach some sort of adjective and declare that, Yes, there is Russia, Moscow, but that’s not the whole Russia. Muscovy claimed to be the only Russian state, Grand Duke of Moscow – the Tsar over all the Russian lands. And then came to the place of the ancient Greek term. Its consolidation was facilitated by the marriage of the Grand Prince of Moscow Ivan III to Byzantine Princess Sophia.

It was a turning point in the history of the country. The Greek word “Rosia/RUSIA” from the end of XV century is increasingly used in official documents, especially diplomatic correspondence of the Moscow Grand princes and tsars. As it would have meant entry into the international community, one of the Russian States, which used to be a few, but the only legitimate Russian state.


a Long time Russia was called in Western Europe too, not only Ruthenia but also Rusia. So, the Galician Prince Yuri L. (1301-16), received in 1305 from the Pope the title of king, was called, according to the press, Regis Rusicus. Because Rusia was read by most Europeans as “RUSIA”, then with some time it began to add the second “s” for greater accuracy. Hence the double “s” moved to the official title of the Russian Tsarher.

However, it could be another source. In the XVI century in some Russian writings, influenced by the Greek reading found in the ethnonym “Ross”. In the XVII century the adjective “Russian” often replaces the old “Ruthenian”.

But the decisive motive for the adoption of the name “Russia” was the desire to bring together the official Russian language dialect newly annexed Ukraine. For the first time the word “Russia” was used in the theatrical program of the Kiev theatre in 1674 in reference to the Royal title. The end of XVII and beginning of XVIII centuries were a time when all the old names were completely ousted in favor of “Russia” even for internal use. The new value of the state and its increasing international influence have been highlighted in making them the official name “the Russian Empire” by Peter I in 1721, after the victory in the Northern war.

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