In view of the incessant ideological confrontation between the West and Russia, the myths about our country not only do not disappear, but are also fueled in every way by the media. So it seems to the European and American public that eternal winter reigns in Russia, bears roam the streets, and the whole population drinks vodka altogether. Part of the national image was Lenin, the Kalashnikov assault rifle and the KGB.
But for the sake of justice it is necessary to say that the myths about Russia began to appear long ago, even during the time of the existence of the ancient state in our territory. And often people did not pursue selfish goals, but simply did not understand our world, and did not have full information about it. So, what existed, and today there are myths about Ancient Russia.
Russians lived in underground burrows paved with logs.
This myth appeared due to records of Arab merchants. They traveled from Europe to Asia, on trade matters. And in parallel, the Arabs recorded in their diaries about all the subtleties of everyday life of other nations. But often such observations were subjective, becoming the basis for the emergence of myths. One of the most famous misconceptions from those chronicles that has come down to us today is the observation of Slavic dwellings. The Arabs wrote that our ancestors live all year round in underground burrows. There was created one room, in the center of which a fire burns, heating stones. According to the Arabs, people poured water on these stones, as a result of which the steam became so stuffy and hot that the Slavs had to sleep naked.
All Slavs were all pagans.
In 988 the baptism of Rus took place, after which a new stage in the development of the ancient community began. Even then Vladimir ordered “to chop churches on hail”, but in Europe for several hundred years believed that the lands of the Slavs are inhabited by pagans alone. It is possible that with the help of such a myth, the elite from Western Europe covered up their numerous attempts to bring a strong community under the rule of Catholicism.
Beards were a sign of uncleanliness.
In Russia it was really customary to wear beards. This for the Orthodox Slav was considered the basis of his virtue. And in the West, the beard formed the basis for the myth of uncleanliness of the Slavs. Only then the Russians in their baths washed much more often than the refined noblemen from the palaces of Paris. There in general they came up with perfume only in order to kill the hideous smells of dirty bodies. At ladies in general there were special wooden sticks for otgona fleas.
Slav warriors prefer to attack from trees.
Such a ridiculous myth appeared after the Slavs unsuccessfully carried out several raids on Byzantium. There are memories in the chronicles that the soldiers did not wear armor or an iron sword. In case of danger, they generally climbed on the trees. In reality, Russian soldiers in the trees never hid, moreover, they fought well in the forest. And this myth appeared thanks to various tactics in the conduct of the battle. Russian soldiers retreated to the forest, not because they wanted to go to trees. Just in an open battle to cope with the heavy cavalry of Byzantium was quite difficult. And in the forest all the advantages of the cavalry were leveled.
Slavs went into battle naked.
This myth has a very specific source – the work “On the Management of the Empire,” written by the Emperor of Byzantium Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. This opinion served as the basis for the appearance of rumors about the barbarity and frenzy of the army of the Slavs. And in reality Rusich came out to fight not at all naked, but with a bare chest. And they removed chain armor from their body usually only commanders of the detachment. Thus, they showed their intention to fight the enemy to death, inspiring their subordinates with their courage. The commanders also showed that they did not accept any negotiations, which the cunning Byzantines constantly sought. But the output in this form did not mean that the Slav warriors were deprived of protective means. In addition, archaeological finds confirm this.
There were bears on Russian settlements.
This myth is popular in the West today. Foreigners are looking for bears in our streets. It turned out that this belief has deep roots. And this myth even appeared before the baptism of Rus. As early as the 9th century, Byzantine historians wrote that in a strange for them and barbarian province of the Slavs, people worship bears as gods, and bears generally live among people and walk around their dwellings. It’s amazing how this myth about Russian bears remains relevant from the times of Kievan Rus. And on the streets of Slavic villages really bears went, but only during the fair shows.
Slavs are extremely intolerant of other religions.
In the West, a myth is cultivated that the Slavs recognize only Orthodoxy, aggressively referring to other religious beliefs. And although the baptism of Rus was for the local people a difficult process, with the coming of Christianity there was also established religious tolerance. Even in Kievan Rus there were Catholic churches for visiting merchants, synagogues. Even the pagan religion, which was forbidden, was preserved by the temples of the ancient gods. And today Orthodox Christianity as a whole demonstrates tolerance. In Moscow alone, in addition to the traditional 670 churches and 26 chapels, there are 9 other Old Believer churches, 6 mosques, and 7 synagogues. The number of Muslim prayer houses is difficult to calculate, and yet there are also religious institutions of Protestants, Lutherans, Buddhists, Armenians.
Slavs were reclusive and were inhospitable.
For a long time Europeans were afraid to travel through the lands of the Slavs. This myth interfered with the idea that the local people were closed and even aggressive. Warmed up such an opinion and a failed first religious mission, which came to our lands even during the reign of Princess Olga. Only now, even among the Slavs, the pagans had their own deity of hospitality. Myths about the bloodthirstiness of our ancestors came from the fact that they did not know the mercy of those who encroached on them freedom, faith or wealth. But in this respect the Slavs are easy to understand. And today the Russians are known for their traditional hospitality. If in the Western world the culprit of the celebration expects gifts, then people like to celebrate their successes, calling friends and acquaintances. Traditional fair fairs and amusements are being revived today.
Slavs were farmers.
It is customary to depict the ancient Slavs, plowing the land and cultivating the appropriate crops. But this is really not true. Even in the days of the rise and flowering of Kievan Rus, much of its territory was covered with forests. Known in those days, the slash-and-burn method for widespread use looks unlikely. After all, it took a lot of time and energy for him. So agriculture developed very slowly and was not general, but had a local character. The ancient Slavs were engaged mainly in fishing, gathering and hunting.
Slavs lived in the forest.
Based on the previous myth, the neighbors even believed that the Slavs lived between trees like barbarians. Our ancestors really often settled in the forests, building there huts and even fortifications. But eventually the forest around was destroyed, and then a full-fledged settlement already appeared.
Slavs did not exist at all.
This is a very serious and offensive myth about the ancient Slavs. Neighbors in those times often identified the Slavs with the once living Scythians. There was even the opinion that the Slavic tribes were too few to speak seriously about them. But time has passed, and the world was able to see the greatness of this community.