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God, Tsar, and PeopleThe Political Culture of Early Modern Russia$
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Daniel B. Rowland

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501752094

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501752094.001.0001

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Two Cultures, One Throne Room

Two Cultures, One Throne Room

Secular Courtiers and Orthodox Culture in the Golden Hall of the Moscow Kremlin

(p.211) Chapter 9 Two Cultures, One Throne Room
God, Tsar, and People

Daniel B. Rowland

Cornell University Press

This chapter talks about American historians of Muscovite Russia that have come to believe that the health, prosperity, and survival of the Muscovite state depended on the maintenance of a consensus among members of the ruling elite and the monarch. It examines how the Muscovite state lacked the wealth, the bureaucratic reach, and the military power to compel obedience from all its subjects that it had to rely on symbolic action to maintain a consensus. It also analyzes the Golden Hall, one of the two main throne rooms of Muscovite Russia, and in particular the murals there, as one site where ideas may have passed between the educated church elite and the far less educated secular elite. The chapter describes the murals that were painted after the great Moscow fire of 1547, which illustrated major themes current in ecclesiastical thinking about politics. It explains how visual means have educated illiterate courtiers to the fundamental tenets of Orthodox political culture.

Keywords:   American historians, Muscovite Russia, Golden Hall, church elite, ecclesiastical thinking

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