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Government and Political System of Russia in XVI century.
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Russian Culture in XVI century
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Russian Culture in XVI century

Progress of consolidation process affected development of Russian culture as well, which in the first half of XVI century was on the rise. The process of formation of Russian nationality and Russian language was going to an end. Moscow and Rostovo-Suzdalsky dialects played the leading role - they formed foundation for spoken and business language. Formation of generally adopted language norm provided a basis for commonality of material and spiritual culture.

The very character of the culture underwent considerable changes - it became more secular. In conditions of aggravated political struggle that accompanied formation of the Russian State, and developing public thinking the culture became more bound to political tasks faced by the society. In XVI century the interest to narrative belletristic literature characteristic for the second half of XV century declined. Publicism became the prevailing literary genre. Religious and secular authors touched the major problems of life of the state and society.

The legendary and historical narration "The Legend about Princes of Vladimir" (the beginning of XVI century) set the major ideas of the official doctrine of autocracy: the origin of Russian princes was traced back to the Roman Emperor August, and it was also stated that Vladimir Monomah received the royal regalia from the Byzantian Emperor.

The intense searches of solving of such problems as the character and origin of the government, the problem of law and justice, the role and place of the church in the state, the problem of landed property and the status of peasants - all that was reflected in publicistic works of Josephian Metropolitan Daniel and 'non-acquisitors' V.I. Patrikeyev and Maxim Grek (in the world the Greek monk Mikhail Trivolis) who arrived to Russia in 1518, he was a translator and editor of The Holy Writ. In 40-70's of XVI century it was now secular publicists who played the main role, such as an outstanding diplomat F.I. Karpov and a nobleman I.S. Peresvetov.

Chronicle writing got official character in XVI century. 'Nikonovsky Svod' (Nikon's Chronicle) was the biggest according to both, its volume and importance among other chronicles of this period. It included extensive annalistic material from the beginning of Russia to the end of 50's of XVI century. 'Nikonovsky Svod' was totally dedicated to the idea of glorifying the Tsar. In the middle of XVI century 'Nikonovsky Svod' provided a basis for the illustrated world history - "Illuminated Annalistic Svod". It was accomplished in 70's; it represented 12 volumes decorated with splendid miniatures (16000 miniatures came to our time). The last volume of the Svod, 'The Tsar's Book', was devoted to the reign of Ivan IV.

"The History of The Kazan Empire" (1564-1566) became a significant historical work of an official character. 'Kniga Stepennaya Tsarskogo Rodosloviya' (1561-1563) devoted to the Tsar's family genealogy compiled under the direction of Metropolitan Makary is also worth mentioning. This book represented an integral historical work where events were arranged in 17 parts according to the reigns of different rulers, from Olga and Vladimir to Ivan the Terrible. The main task of the plot was to explain the importance of association of the lands under the power of an autocratic ruler from the Ryurikoviches family and significance of the church in this process.

Monumental historical and literary works appeared in XVI century. The most of them were created by members of Metropolitan Makary's circle. The largest literary work of Makary and his adherents was "The Great Chetyi-Mineyis" - 12 volumes collection (according to the number of months). It included hagiographies, bible legends, the works of the church hierarchs, historical stories and other works arranged according to the calendar of the Orthodox Church. In fact, "Chetyi-Mineyis" absorbed all the literature existing in Rus in that period.

National folk-lore was also developing. Legends, songs and fairy tales of XVI century narrated about the defeat of Kazan, a conquest of Siberia, the struggle of Ivan the Terrible against boyards, etc. Development of Russian publicism, literature and national folk-lore testified to the further growth of education in Russia. Written literary works were not only stored in monastic libraries, they were also widely distributed among the population - and that speaks to the increase of literacy.

Increased requirement of the state for literates was reflected in the decision of Stoglavy Sobor (1551) about creation of schools in cities. Besides ecclesiastics, secular masters could also be founders, they opened private two-year schools. The first Russian grammar book was printed in 1574. Mastering of elementary literacy (reading and writing skills) opened a way to the further self-education. In XVI century highly educated Russian people became frequent not only among clergymen, but also among secular people.

Book-printing became an important event in the cultural life. It was started in 1553-1555 in Moscow, when 'Triodiya Postnaya' and 'The Gospel' were printed by unknown masters. But the true rise of printing in Russia was concerned to the name of Ivan Fedorov. In 1564 he put out the first Russian printed dated book - "Apostle", it was distinguished by a very high level of typography.

The process of accumulation of applied knowledge proceeded. The growth of trade and monetary circulation promoted development of arithmetical knowledge. Due to Russian seafarers, travellers and ambassadorial staff geographical knowledge extended as well. Descriptions of other countries, charts and maps of own territories were executed. Practical medicine multiplied its knowledge. A translation of original German medical directory "Vertograd" was made in 1543. In 1581 The first Russian drugstore was opened in Moscow for the Tsar's family.

In the first half of XVI century an intensive construction of stone churches and fortresses was carried out, though, on the whole, Rus, both, rural and urban remained wooden. Renaissance features introduced by Italian architects (The New Arkhangelsk Cathedral of the Kremlin constructed by Aleviz in 1509 represents a perfect example of such architecture) had almost no continuation in the Russian architecture, which turned to revival of Vladimiro-Suzdal heritage. This appeal to the national sources was especially vividly expressed in appearance of traditional Russian hipped style in stone architecture, so characteristic of wooden Russian architecture. The Ascension Church in Kolomna (1532) and The Protection of the Virgin Temple (The Vasily Blazhenny Cathedral 1555-1560) erected by Russian masters Postniks Yakovlev and Barma on the Red Square in honour of the capture of Kazan became masterpieces of the hipped style.

Military installations were also being actively erected. In 1500-1508 Pyotr Fryazin constructed the stone Nizhniy Novgorod Kremlin. Many churches were built on donations of rich merchants (Yu.G. Bobynin, V.A. Bobr, F. Vepr). About the year of 1516 the construction of the brick Moscow Kremlin was accomplished. It replaced the White-walled Kremlin of the time of Dmitry Donskoy. In the end of the century Feodor Kon built in Moscow the wall around The White Town (Bulvarnoye Koltso nowadays) with towers and a gate, he also built a Kremlin in Smolensk.

Painters broadened subjects of their works. The common cultural rise of the period of the single state formation was replaced by evident recession: the period of the Livonian War and Oprichnina was least favourable for the Russian culture. Book-printing, painting and architecture were devoted to the idea of strengthening of the Church and its religious influence. A serious harm to the culture was caused by severe censorship of creative thinking. Many cultural processes tended to penetration into deeper levels (painters, for example, addressed to the development of a technique: a new, Stroganov's school of icon-painting was formed). New development in the culture occurred only in the next century.
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