Russian 321
Mid-Term Essay Question

The mid-term essays will be due at sections on Friday, October 31. No late submissions are permitted unless there is a documented medical excuse. Essays should be approximately 5 pp. in length, double-spaced with normal (1-inch) margins. A list of all works consulted for the essay should be supplied, and care taken to identify all quotations and provide exact references to their sources.


The so-called "intellectual silence" of Rus has been a source of much controversy. The central question concerns the nature of the response in Rus to what Byzantium had to offer, with certain value judgments implicit or explicit in some of the answers. Several additional and more focussed questions (which you will need to specify) help to frame the subject of the debate, some involving the nature of Byzantine culture, the more important ones addressing the nature and development of culture in Rus. A particular set of issues concerns writing and literacy, although that aspect of Rus culture by no means exhausts the subject. Is it appropriate to speak of the "intellectual silence" of Rus? If so/if not, why? Your answer should demonstrate that you are familiar with the assigned secondary readings and have a good command of relevant primary sources to use for developing specific examples.


You are encouraged to take advantage of E-Post during the week you are working on this essay, both to post comments or questions about specific readings and to raise issues connected with the essay itself.