Navigation – Plan du site

AccueilNuméros63/3-4Comptes rendusRussie ancienne et impérialeД. Ю. ГУЗЕВИЧ, И. Д. ГУЗЕВИЧ, Пар...

Comptes rendus
Russie ancienne et impériale

Д. Ю. ГУЗЕВИЧ, И. Д. ГУЗЕВИЧ, Парадигма Герберштейна, или от царя к императору. Пролог ко второму путешествию Петра I

Paul Bushkovitch
p. 781-782
Référence(s) :

Д. Ю. ГУЗЕВИЧ, И. Д. ГУЗЕВИЧ
Парадигма Герберштейна, или от царя к императору
Пролог ко второму путешествию Петра I

[D.JU. Gouzévitch, I.D. Gouzévitch, Le paradigme d’Herberstein, ou du tsar à l’empereur : Prologue au second voyage de Pierre Ier]
Saint-Pétersbourg : Evropejskij dom, 2021, 432 p.

Texte intégral

1Irina and Dmitri Guzevich have devoted several decades to rewriting the history of Peter the Great’s first trip to Europe in 1697-1698 on the basis of new sources, Russian and western, and an extremely careful rereading of those already known. They have now moved on to his next great journey in 1716-1717. To that end they have begun with an investigation of one of the main preoccupations of the tsar, one that figured in his travels: the assumption and recognition of an imperial title.

  • 1 Frank Kämpfer, ed., Sigismund von Herberstein, Rerum Moscoviticarum Commentarii, Osteuropa-Institut (...)

2In their view the issue of the imperial title for the ruler of Russia began with Herberstein. It was not the first time the issue arose: there is the 1514 treaty with Emperor Maximilian that gave the title “emperor’ (Kayser) to Vasilii III, but that usage was never repeated and not generally known. Herberstein was the first person to interpret the Russian ruler’s title to the European public in his 1549 Rerum Moscoviticarum Commentarii1. Herberstein made it clear that the proper translation of Czar was not emperor but king, as the Guzevichi note (68-69). The result was that many European courts interpreted the tsar’s title to mean king, but not emperor. Any attempts to change the situation led to a blind alley, they believe. This interpretation is not entirely new for A.I. Filiushkin argued in much the same way for the sixteenth century in his Tituly russkikh gosudarei of 2006. The authors go on to argue that the only Russian ruler who presented himself clearly as emperor before Peter was the first False Dmitrii, a point which they note was already made by V.N. Kozliakov (102-103). The argument here is detailed and intricate, with attention to the notion of the Third Rome and the story of the various crowns used by Russian rulers. There is much food for thought even if many details are necessarily conjectural.

3For all its detail and thoroughness, there are gaps in the argument. The most striking is that it is by no means clear that the title tsar was only connected to an imperial claim directed at the West. To be sure tsar was the Slavic version of the title of the Byzantine emperor, but, as Herberstein already observed, it was also the Russian version of the title of the Ottoman ruler and of all the Chingisid rulers of Western Eurasia, the khans of Kazan´, Astrakhan´, and Crimea. Those at least could be seen as imperial titles, but what about the kings of ancient Israel, tsars David and Solomon in the Slavonic Bible? Israel may have been chosen by God, but it was not an empire. The Russians may have wanted the West to see “tsar” as equivalent to the western “emperor/imperator” but giving their own ruler the same title as David and Solomon points to an entirely different notion, perhaps Russia as the New Israel. Both reasons may have been present at the same time.

4The Guzevichi are at their best when they come to Peter’s time. Here they have provided a chronological account of Peter’s experiments with his title, his signature, medals and coins, and even the titles in the “all-drunken council” as it will inevitably if inaccurately be known. What emerges is a slow but steady movement toward the eventual decree of 1721 that made him “imperator”. Many of the incidents or documents that the authors cite are known, some are not, but their contribution is also to put them in order. The result is a picture of continuous experiment, but always toward the aim of establishing an imperial title that would be recognized. The realities of politics were always crucial, and it is certainly no accident, as the authors show, that it is only in 1710 that the title “imperator” appeared in official documents. These were the grants of privileges to the nobility of Estland and Livland, composed in German for the recipients, but presumably also intended for more general Western consumption (125-127). The process was far along when Peter went to Europe in 1716, and what happened with the title and other issues should be the subject of the next book in the series. There is a great deal of detailed argument that may not satisfy every reader, but the overall result is a challenging view of the imperial title in Russian history before Peter and a very useful and convincing account of his own progress toward the final proclamation.

Haut de page

Notes

1 Frank Kämpfer, ed., Sigismund von Herberstein, Rerum Moscoviticarum Commentarii, Osteuropa-Institut München (München, 2007), 74-75.

Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Paul Bushkovitch, « Д. Ю. ГУЗЕВИЧ, И. Д. ГУЗЕВИЧ, Парадигма Герберштейна, или от царя к императору. Пролог ко второму путешествию Петра I »Cahiers du monde russe, 63/3-4 | 2022, 781-782.

Référence électronique

Paul Bushkovitch, « Д. Ю. ГУЗЕВИЧ, И. Д. ГУЗЕВИЧ, Парадигма Герберштейна, или от царя к императору. Пролог ко второму путешествию Петра I »Cahiers du monde russe [En ligne], 63/3-4 | 2022, mis en ligne le 02 décembre 2022, consulté le 07 décembre 2022. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/monderusse/13373 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/monderusse.13373

Haut de page

Auteur

Paul Bushkovitch

Yale University

Articles du même auteur

Haut de page

Droits d’auteur

Tous droits réservés

Haut de page
  • Revue soutenue par l’Institut des sciences humaines et sociales du CNRS
    CNRS - Institut national des sciences humaines et sociales
  • OpenEdition Journals
Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search