Additional Materials (mainly in English) on Novgorod

This bibliography highlights some of the more useful and readily accessible sources but has no pretense to being exhaustive.  As time permits, additional references--for example, to some interesting articles on Novgorod--may be added.  Included here are some resources for Novgorod's former dependency, Pskov, which had a political structure analogous to Novgorod's even after obtaining its independence in the middle of the fourteenth century.  Note that in any electronic search for Novgorod material, unless one limits the search, it will also turn up numerous items for Nizhnii Novgorod, which is a different city.  The material here  is organized under the following headings: 
    I.  Primary Sources (historical texts). 
    II. Secondary Sources (writings/pages about Novgorod and its history).  
    III. Art. 
    IV.  Miscellaneous (including such things as maps, sites with information about current events or business opportunities, sites with links to Russian pages about Novgorod).

I.  Primary sources.

Apart from archaeological material, for which there is an overview on my page about material culture of Novgorod, there are abundant written sources, in part because unlike many of the old Russian cities, Novgorod was not destroyed during the Mongol invasion.  Thus, the oldest dated parchment manuscript from the Kievan period (the Ostromir Gospels) is of Novgorodian provenance, the oldest copy of any Russian chronicle is the Synodal copy of the First Novgorod Chronicle, etc.  The Novgorod chronicle tradition is particularly rich because of its focus on details of local history.   There are numerous charters and treaties, hundreds of the birchbark documents, and much more.

Excerpts from one version of the Novgorod First Chronicle are available electronically, taken from a complete English translation:  Robert Michell and Nevill Forbes tr., The Chronicle of Novgorod 1016-1471.  Intr. C. Raymond Beazley, A. A. Shakhmatov (Camden Third Series, Vol. XXV) (London, 1914).  A complete PDF file of that text, prepared by Tom Dykstra, can be accessed here.  To read it, one needs Adobe Acrobat 4.0, which can readily be downloaded from the website.  Downloading the complete chronicle will take a long time using a slow modem.  The chronicle provides an extraordinary glimpse into the local politics and various aspects of daily life in the city.

Several important Novgorod charters and treaties have been translated by Daniel Kaiser in his The Laws of Rus'-Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries (Salt Lake City, 1992).   He has posted to his web site the following texts relevant to Novgorod and its former dependency Pskov:

An example of a medieval Novgorodian trade agreement is the privileges granted to the merchants from Gotland in 1229.

A rather extensive collection of source excerpts (some overlapping with the above, but also including many different ones) is to be found in A Source Book for Russian History from Early Times to 1917.  Vol. I.  Early Times to the Late Seventeenth Century.  Ed. George Vernadsky et al. (New Haven and London, 1972), Chapter IV.

M. W. Thompson, Novgorod the Great (London and New York, 1967), provides an excellent and well illustrated overview of the results of the early Soviet archaeological investigations of Novgorod.  A brief summary of the results of Novgorod archaeology is in V. Yanine, "The Dig at Novgorod," in Thomas Riha, ed., Readings in Russian Civilization, Vol. I, 2nd ed. only (Chicago and London, 1969).  For more recent work, see The Archaeology of Novgorod, Russia. Recent Results from the Town and Hinterland,  gen. ed. Rhona Huggins; trans. K. Judelson [The Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph Series: No. 13] (Lincoln, 1992); B.A. Kolchin, Wooden Artifacts from Medieval Novgorod, [BAR International Series 495(i)] (Oxford, 1989), Pts. 1 & 2.  On the latest sensational archaeological find of the early 11th-century wax tablets, see Andrei Zolotov Jr., "Ancient Tablets Unearthed in Novgorod," The Moscow Times, Sept. 6, 2000. Note: You probably will have to obtain a temporary pass to the site to view this file.

II.  Secondary works.

There are two volumes of essays by Henrik Birnbaum, some of which provide a good general analysis of aspects of Novgorod's history:  Lord Novgorod the Great.   Essays in the History and Culture of a Medieval City-State.  Part I.  The Historical Background (Columbus, O., 1981); Novgorod in Focus:  Selected Essays (Columbus, O., 1996).

There are several essays on Novgorod, selections from some of the primary sources (including the birch bark letters), and a few photographs of archaeological finds in Daniel H. Kaiser and Gary Marker, eds., Reinterpreting Russian History.   Readings, 860-1860s (New York and Oxford, 1994).

From the home page entitled "Velikiy Novgorod for Travelers" one can select the English version of the  Novgorod State United  Museum's site, which contains various short pages dealing with history and culture of Novgorod.  Some of these are presented in an overview of the Museum exhibits, with a nice but small selection of good photographs of the objects and minimal text.  There are pages with a decent introduction to major historic buildings, the Museum of Wooden Architecture, and much more.  The Museum site also connects to other Novgorod resources, including a collection of current news articles.  These pages are best viewed through a fast internet connection.

The other major Novgorod web site is that run by Novgorod State University, "Novgorod On-Line."  The site is still under construction, with the most developed section being that for "History."   There one finds a short but decent historical overview, an excellent illustrated discussion of Novgorod icon painting, a gallery of Novgorod icons, a nice collection entitled "Between Two Centuries," displaying turn-of-the-century postcards photos from the Yuri Markitanov Collection, and some pages on Novgorod's medieval architecture.   The "Culture" section so far has two items of interest, agenerous selection of Russian Orthodox Hymnody (church music) from a CD, and photographs by Yuri Karpov, the first section of which is architecture and the remaining sections nature photos.

III.  Art.

One of the standard introductory surveys of Novgorod architecture has been translated:   M. K. Karger, Novgorod:  Architectural Monuments, 11th-17th Centuries (Leningrad, 1975).  Major Novgorodian churches are discussed in surveys of Russian architecture such as William Craft Brumfield, A History of Russian Architecture ((New York etc., 1993; pb ed. 1997), and Hubert Faensen and Vladimir Ivanov, Early  Russian Architecture (New York, 1975).  Also, for electronically-available images of most of the surviving medieval Novgorodian buildings, search under Novgorod in the Cities/Buildings Database at the University of Washington. The quality of the photoshopping for some of these still needs to be improved.   The beginning of a collection of excellent photographs of Novgorod's historic arcitecture (taken by Sergey Buchholz and nicely photoshopped) can be found in the CEIR Regional Images Database, which is part of a larger internet database on Russian regions being developed at the University of Washington.  There are some nice photographs of early Novgorodian architecture by Boris Kuznetsov, in his "Churches of Novgorod."

One of the great experts on medieval Russian painting published a lavishly illustrated book with parallel English and Russian text:  V. N. Lazarev, Novgorodskaia ikonopis'/Novgorodian Icon-Painting (Moscow, 1969 and 1976).  Also, there are sections on Novgorodian frescoes in his Old Russian Murals and Mosaics (London, 1966).

Some architecture and a lot on icons, both images and a well-illustrated discussion, are on the slow-loading "Novgorod On-Line" site described above.  The Novgorod Museum site (above) has other objects on display such as metal work.

IV. Miscellaneous.

Maps:  1. a map of Novgorod in its region (inscriptions in Russian but good for a sense of the geographic setting); 2. Three maps, showing where Novgorod is in a broader context and then a useful, detailed English/Russian map of the city, sections of which can be enlarged.

Current Novgorod economic and business issues:  1.  The U.S. Commerce Department's Bisnis Bulletin, where you can do a Novgorod search at the bottom of the opening page;   also, some material on the Bisnis pages under regional reports for the northwest part of the Russian Federation--scroll down to Novgorod; 2. The Novgorod Regional Investment Initiative.

Novgorod Regional Government page.  Not much in English; more material, including news releases, in Russian.

"Web Novgorod" (Novgorod setevoi):   an extensive set of links to various Novgorod pages mostly in Russian, divided topically (headings in English).

Return to Novgorod home page.
2000 Daniel C. Waugh.  Last revised November 7, 2000.