It was almost terminally weakened by Andrei Boglyubsky, prince of a rival Slavic clan, who attacked and plundered Kiev in 1169; he then took on the title of Grand Prince. He chose not to rule from Kiev, however. His decision marked the beginning of the end of Kievan Rus and the city of Kievs influence.
Starting in 1223, large armies of Mongols began invading the region, further weakening the power of Kiev. As that citys power waned, Moscows grew. By 1308, the Metropolitan of the Church chose to move his see to Moscow, furthering the transference of power from Kievan Rus to Russia.
It was during Ivan IIIs reign that Kiev was finally liberated from the menace of the Tatars. Since Byzantium had fallen to the Turks in 1453, Ivan proclaimed Russia to be the successor state to Byzantium, a claim that was enhanced by Ivan IIIs 1472 marriage to Sophia Palaeologus, the niece of the last Byzantine Emperor.
The Church is one of Kiev Russ legacies to present-day Russia, another being the cozy relationship between church and state (except during the Communist period), which comes from the practice of the Kievan princes of keeping the Church dependent on them for its financial welfare.
Since Kievan Rus conversion to Christianity in the 10th century, the Eastern Orthodox Church has been a primary influence in Russian life to the present day. Because icons are an important part of Orthodox rites, the tradition of iconography was born in Kievan Rus and handed down to Russia. From the beginning, it was not just a way of expressing ones faith and a tool for instructing the faithful; it was also the major expression of the visual arts in Russia.
As Kies put it, the information represented by the images made them excellent instructional aids in the tenets of the faith for even the illiterate members of congregations. In addition, the beauty of the art encourages contemplation of the Divine Mysteries represented.
Slavery, which existed at the time of the founding of the Kievan Rus, remained an institution throughout its existence. it, in fact, continued on through the history of Russia that followed until its abolition in the early 19th Century, at which time is was superseded by a practice particular to Russia, serfdom.
But there was also a positive legacy. With a high literacy rate in its largest cities, it was more culturally advanced than many parts of Europe. The city of Novgorod had a sewage system, something seldom found in other parts of the world at that time. Despite its being a slave-holding society, its Russkaya Pravda confined punishments to fines; capital punishment was quite rare. Moreover, women held property and inheritance rights, something also rare at that time.
Kievan Rus. [email protected] State University, Mankato.
Kievan Rus. Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kievan_Rus.
Kies, Lisa. The Iconography of the Russian Iconostasis. http://www.strangelove.net/~kieser/Russia/iconostasis.html.
Sofya la Rus — 13th-14th Century Medieval Russian Life. http://www.strangelove.net/kieser/Russia/index.html.
Xenophon Group International. Russian Military History. http://www.xenophon-mil.org/rushistory/main.html..