Kobishchanov Taras

The “Land of Darkness” or the “Earthly Kingdom”: middle easterners’ impression of Rus’ and Moscovia in Early Modern time

Kobishchanov Taras (2019) "The “Land of Darkness” or the “Earthly Kingdom”: middle easterners’ impression of Rus’ and Moscovia in Early Modern time ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia III : Filologiia, 2019, vol. 61, pp. 53-66 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturIII201961.53-66


Geography lessons at secondary school and the universal access to mass media provide for most our contemporaries a relatively clear understanding of where other countries and continents are located. It is more problematic to obtain insights as to what is going on in these countries, but even in this case the idea about the way of life in the “different” world is more or less close to reality, despite all ideological myths, political complications and personal fantasies. This was not always the fact. During the most part of the history of mankind, political and geographical boundaries did not unite peoples in such “imaginary communities” as nations. Up to recent times, in the Arabic world and in the most part of Europe as well, the triad of “politics — identity — geography” has not made up a consistent pattern and was secondary with regard to other social parameters, such as place of birth and upbringing, ancestral and tribal affiliation, faith, belonging to a certain religious community, the allegiance to a particular governor. But geography was very important. Even in the absence of state policies and modern technologies of spatial representation, the maintaining of national identity and imagination helped people build and rank the space of the world. These imaginary spaces were very diverse and were inhabited — even if one takes into account the present-day habit to demonise or (more rarely) to idealise others — by rather bizarre communities and individuals. This article aims to describe how the remote northern lands were perceived in the Middle East at the beginning of modern time.


Middle East, impression of Russia, Arab travellers, Russian-Arab contacts, Mediaeval geography, geography in Modern Time


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Information about the author

Kobishchanov Taras

Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in History;
Academic Rank: Associate Professor;
Place of work: Institute of Asian and African Studies, Moscow State University; 11 Mokhovaia Str., Moscow, 101999, Russian Federation;
ORCID: 0000-0001-8165-0897;
Email: kobischanov@mail.ru.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.