The appearance of original cultural centres in different regions was characteristic for Russian spiritual culture of XII-XII centuries. This is called "polycentrism".
The writing of chronicles developed. In the XI beginning of XII centuries the centres of chronicles writing were only in Kiev and Novgorod, but later the chronicles writing was carried in all centres of formed feudal princedoms: Kiev, Chernigov, Pereyaslavl, Vladimir-on-Klyazma, Galich, Novgorod and also in Smolensk and Polotsk. Notwithstanding the "regional" character of chronicles writing, chroniclers enlightened the history of all Russia of XII-XIII centuries.
In the end of XII century "The Word about Igor's Regiment", an outstanding work, was created and first published in the XVI century.
The creator of "The Word about Igor's Regiment" was writing the work when the Great Russia and Kiev were in the difficult position. The huge state created by grand duke Oleg, prospering during the rule of Vladimir Svyatoslavich and Yaroslav the Wise, after his death began to disintegrate into many principalities and fell into decay. Kiev preserved ancient traditions of its military valour; it was famous for historical legends, tombs of celebrated princes beginning from Oleg. The Kiev prince had the rank of "Grand Duke".
Division of the country into small principalities was accompanied by bloody internecine dissensions of the princes who desired to seize the richest lands. At that time enemies came close to southern borders of Russia. In the 80s of the ХII century prince Svyatoslav Vsevolodovich, having mustered Russian princes and their armies, fought with Polovtsy. They were thrown back to steppe. But in 1185 prince Igor Novgorod-Seversky, having collected a small army, waged a campaign against Polovtsy. The prince's retinue was defeated, and the prince was taken prisoner. Due to this event, Polovtsy, feeling dissociation of Russian princes, often make plundering raids on Russia. By his campaign Igor opened a way for Polovtsy to the native land.
"The Word about Igor's Regiment" is a historical monument of old Russian literature. This is the greatest work of its time. "The Word about Igor's Regiment" tells us with high accuracy about the ancient Russia. It includes characters of Russian people, descriptions of nature, peaceful work. The main feeling, which guided the author of "The Word about Igor's Regiment', was the love for the native land, Russian land, and people. The author grieves over the separation of Great Russia. He - the great Russian thinker - draws different strata of the people of the XII century. He contrasts their courage, valour, and diligence with aspiration of princes to isolation. Younger followers of princes, kuryane, are described as "brave", Chernigov soldiers as 'fight demons, successors to their fathers' glory". In "The Word about Igor's Regiment" the sufferings of simple people because of Polovtsy attacks are described.
The main idea of "The Word about Igor's Regiment" is that Russia should be united, there shouldn't be small divided principalities. Such dissociation inevitably brings even the strong state into inevitable destruction. The example of prince Igor Novgorod-Seversky shows that separated armies could not defeat a strong enemy. Only united forces can accomplish this. "The Word about Igor's Regiment" turned out to be a prophetical work. It predicted the further historical development of Russia in the subsequent epoch.
In the second half of XII century, in the northeast Russia there was created another outstanding work of ancient Russian literature "Word of Daniil Zatochnik". It was written in the form of address to the Prince: the author, originated from poor layer, who was in disfavour, was trying to deserve his Prince's grace and to prove his worthiness as a wise adviser. The "Word" is full of aphorisms.
One more outstanding work of ancient Russian literature - "Word about Russian Land Perdition" - was created in the most hard days for Russia - time of Mongol-Tatar invasion. Most probably it was created in 1238, in Kiev, at the court of Prince Yaroslav Vsevolodich, after getting news about Baty's forces invasion and death of Yaroslav's brother Yury in the battle on the river Siti.
This work (remained unfinished) contain unmatched in the ancient Russian literature hymn-glorification of the native land, remembrance about its former power (at the time of Vladimir Monomakh, his son Yury Dolgoruky and grandson Vsevolod) and speculation about the "disease" - internal wars that were wuining Russian power after the death of Yaroslav the Wise.
Building from stone and church painting continued being developed. In the architecture of XII-XIII centuries they combined local traditions and borrowed from Byzantium forms and elements of West-European Roman style. Some of the monuments have been preserved.