13th-15th century Russian accounts of Constantinople and their value as historical sources

Dietrich A.

RUSSIAN LITERATURE, vol.60, no.2, pp.227-239, 2006 (Journal Indexed in AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 60 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.ruslit.2006.09.003
  • Title of Journal : RUSSIAN LITERATURE
  • Page Numbers: pp.227-239
  • Keywords: Byzantium, Constantinople, pilgrimage, Russian pilgrims


Following their conversion to Christianity in the 10th century the city Constantinople gained new religious significance for the Rus. While appearing in some earlier works, Constantinople figures prominently in several works written by Russian travelers and pilgrims between the early 13th and mid-15th centuries, that is, the period just before the sack of Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade in 1204 and its conquest by the Ottoman Turks in 1453. In addition to the insight that these works provide into medieval Russian religious belief and pilgrimage practice, the accounts left by Russian travelers and pilgrims to Constantinople also form a valuable historical source on several levels: they describe the destruction wrought on the city by the Latins in their sack of the city and subsequent rule, they provide data on the condition of the city once Byzantine rule had been re-established, and they can provide confirmation for the dating of various natural disasters and political events.