Ukraine between East and West: Essays on Cultural History to the Early Eighteenth Century


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Ihor Ševčenko’s Ukraine between East and West explores the development of Ukrainian cultural identity under the disparate influences of the Byzantine Empire and western Europe, mediated through Poland. Byzantium was the source from which Kyivan Rus’ received Christianity and a highly developed literary and artistic culture, which stimulated Kyiv’s own achievements in those fields. Professor Ševčenko shows how the prestige of Byzantine civilization was reinforced by the activities of Kyiv’s Greek metropolitans, various Byzantine emperors, and the Byzantine missionaries and teachers of Greek who influenced the outlook of the South and East Slavic elites during the Middle Ages. Byzantine civilization impacted the culture of Rus’ not only during Constantinople’s period of greatness, but even after its fall to the Turks.

Professor Ševčenko also analyzes the importance of the Counter-Reformation in early modern Ukraine. Polish Jesuit scholarship and new instructional methods and the Polish church’s and state’s assimilationist pressures compelled the Ukrainian elite to rise in defense of its ancestral Orthodox faith and reshape its traditional culture with the aid of Western innovations. The intellectual ferment of the era is captured in essays on religious polemical literature and the complex figure of Kyiv’s famous Orthodox metropolitan, Peter Mohyla. Concluding the book is a consideration of the way Byzantine and west European influences combined with the Kyivan legacy to produce a distinctive Ukrainian identity.

Ukraine between East and West provides a wealth of detail and the author’s richly informed analytical perspective. The essays will be a rewarding read not only for students of Byzantine and East European history, but also for anyone interested in cultural formation and development.

Essays presented in this book include:

  1. Ukraine between East and West Byzantium and the Slavs
  2. Religious Mission Seen from Byzantium: The Imperial Pattern and its Local Variants
  3. The Christianization of Kyivan Rus’
  4. Rival and Epigone of Kiev: The Vladimir-Suzdal Principality
  5. The Policy of the Byzantine Patriarchate in Eastern Europe in the Fourteenth Century
  6. Byzantium and the East Slavs after 1453
  7. Poland in Ukrainian History
  8. The Rebirth of the Rus’ Faith
  9. Religious Polemical Literature in the Ukrainian and Belarus’ Lands
  10. The Many Worlds of Petro Mohyla
  11. The Rise of National Identity to 1700

Bibliographic notes are appended to each essay, and the volume is enhanced with 22 pages of fifteen chronological tables and four excellent fold-out maps. This is the second, revised edition of the inaugural volume of the monograph series published by the Peter Jacyk Centre for Ukrainian Historical Research at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies. The series aims to foster the publication of new research, textbooks, source materials, and translations of classical historical works.

Winner of the 1999 Antonovych Foundation Literary Prize

Additional information

Weight 0.4 kg
Dimensions 23 × 15 × 1.5 cm


Hardcover, Paperback



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