mercoledì 14 febbraio 2007

Medieval Russia

A Brief History of Medieval Russia
A casual glance at the map of Europe and Asia will reveal quite clearly certain of the physical conditions under which Russia has developed. Compared with England, France, or Spain in point of size, what a vast extent of territory is embraced by a single state: running east and west, from the Baltic to the Sea of Kamchatka; and north and south, from the Arctic Ocean to the Black Sea, the Caspian, and, as it may some day appear, the waters of the Indian Ocean. A heritage truly imperial, and offering a greater expanse of continuous land than any other empire. Examined more closely, other features in contrast to the states of western Europe begin to appear. The mountains of Continental Europe lie for the most part in the western and southern quarters. But easterly from the Carpathians, the Continent broadens out into a huge monotonous plain, watered by rivers of considerable length. And were the Ural Mountains correctly appreciatedÑtheir blackness on the ordinary map making them seem much more formidable than they really are, being for the most part only hillsÑit would appear that this vast plain extends almost uninterruptedly from shore to shore of the several bodies of water mentioned above. Scarcely within this enormous expanse of level country is there to be found any one feature which offers itself as a natural frontier or boundary line. The essential unity of the whole, physically, seems to have contributed in no small measure to the political unity which is now fast being achieved.
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