This year, we are celebrating the 400 anniversary of Russia's withdrawal from the terrible disaster of the Troubles, the accession of the Romanov dynasty. Although the situation is somewhat paradoxical. It is about the beginning of the dynasty, about the first Romanovs on the throne - Mikhail Fedorovich, Alexey Mikhailovich, Fedor Alekseevich and their era, most of our contemporaries know almost nothing. Moscow Russia is something gray and not interesting. General ignorance, dirt, poverty, slavery.
Whether business abroad! Brilliant France, wise England, luxurious Italy, business and neat Germany ... These are the prevailing stereotypes. It seems to be nothing to argue here. For example, the popular American historian Robert Massey bluntly points out about the 17th century: "Russia's cultural backwardness was too obvious." Obvious, what to say here! Evidence as if not required. But ... the fact of the matter is that such stereotypes are operated without proof! If we consider the real facts, then the whole "generally accepted" picture is spreading at the seams.
By the way, how was it formed, “generally recognized”? Western authors have (and have) a clear tendency to embellish and lacquer their past. In particular, it uses a very ugly reception. Praise your, declining others. Well, Russian historians of the XIX and early XX centuries. were largely infected with fashionable at that time "Westernism". For them, the opposite was the desire. To belittle own ancestors, adjusting to foreign opinions.
However, the formation of mass stereotypes was determined even by not biased historical works, and novels and movies. After all, the XNUMXth century was literally the most romantic century. It was then that the heroes of the most popular novels lived and acted, exciting the imagination of many generations of youth. The swords of the musketeers rang. Weaved cunning networks of political intrigues Richelieu, Mazarin and Cromwell. Under the Jolly Roger, the prototypes of captain Blood, Flint and Silver walked across the seas. Friends of Til Ullenspiegel fought for freedom. Krakowyak danced and fellow soldiers of Pan Volodyevsky chopped with enemies. The mysterious prisoner “iron mask” languished in prison. Adventurers like Angelica rolled around the world. And in the American forests “pioneers” with “trackers” lit up with the leaders of the pipe of the world.
Images of courtly ladies, gallant gentlemen, and scholars appear before their eyes.
Well, remember at least vivid pictures of how brave and refined musketeers click their heels on the parquet floor of the Louvre or pace together in a friendly line on the Parisian pavements! But in general, it would be worthwhile to take into account - these are fantasies, and not even historians, but artistic authors. With historical reality, they have too little in common. And sometimes they don't even have one.
Yes, the West loved luxury and brilliance. But they were not achieved at the expense of scientific progress or more advanced social systems, but due to the extremely steep squeezing of juices from their own common people and the beginning of the robbery of the colonies. Yes, and shine, if you look, turned out to be doubtful. If we talk about the same French musketeers, then there were only 2 companies, they were the personal guard of the king. Besides these, in France there was a 2 regiment of the guard. Only they received a salary and wore a uniform — no other regular units existed in France. The rest of the army was assembled from personal detachments of nobles, from mercenaries, and was a motley rabble. By the way, unlike Russia, where from the XVI century. There was a magnificent 10-thousand body of archers.
Clutching the heels of the parquet with the musketeers would be difficult. Because in their times the floors in the palaces were covered with straw. And the straw was changed once a week for a very prosaic reason. Sorry for the frankness, but there were no toilets in the west. Even in the palaces. Even in the Louvre, Palais Royal, Versailles. However, in England they appeared in 1581 - the British traded with the Russians and the Turks and borrowed a useful innovation. But other European countries did not rush to adopt it. In France, even a hundred years later, they used pots, and special servants went with them around the palace. They were not enough at balls and receptions, gentlemen aristocrats squatted around corners, ladies sat down under the stairs, and one of the German princesses complained: “Palais Royal smelled urine.” Therefore, the kings had several palaces. From time to time they moved, and left the residence washed and cleaned.
But after all, Europeans generally did not differ in hygiene. They perceived the cult of purity much later, in the nineteenth century. - from the Chinese (in a tropical climate, mud led to dangerous infections). Although earlier, before the eyes of Western citizens, there was an example of a more healthy lifestyle: Russians went to the bath at least twice a week. But such custom was described by foreign guests as exotic and “barbaric”. The Dutch, the French and the Germans laughed at him. The British referred to their superstitions and taught that bathing leads to serious illnesses. It got to the point that they lamented - they say, frequent washing "spoils the complexion" of Russian women.
No baths or baths in the west were even in the royal chambers. Lice and fleas multiplied under the wigs and were considered quite normal. In England, the louse was called the "gentleman's companion." When King Henry VII of England was crowned, a dispute arose whether to consider the extreme abundance of lice under the crown as good or bad omen? And in France already at the end of the 17th century, in the era of Louis XIV, a collection of rules of good taste taught that you should not brush your hair at the table so as not to share your insects with your neighbors. The same collection instructed gentlemen and ladies that do not interfere with washing their hands at least once a day (!). Better still, rinse your face.
It was the untidiness that gave birth to the famous French perfumery. Drowning out the odors of sweat and unwashed body, aristocrats generously sprinkled perfume - they then resembled strong colognes. And to hide the dirt, acne and acne, the ladies sprinkled the face, shoulders and chest with a thick layer of powder. He was also fascinated with ointments, creams and elixirs from the most dubious components, often bringing himself to eczema and erysipelas.
By the way, in the Moscow Museum-Estate of the Romanovs on Varvarka pay attention to one exhibit. Fork found during the excavations of Moscow. In our country, forks have been used since the time of Kievan Rus. In Europe, they ate with their hands. In Italy, forks appeared at the end of the 16th century, and in France they were introduced only in the 18th century. And the beds were made of huge sizes. They fit husband, wife, children, with his family could put a guest. And the servants and apprentices spent the night on the floor, side by side.
And the speech of Europeans was very different from the refined turns, which we are used to in novels and films. Memoirists convey the direct speech of aristocrats with a multitude of extremely obscene words, and only in translation are they replaced with allegories. By the way, it was typical in later times. German or English ladies expressed that the boatswain's ears would wither, and in Russian retellings a sublime and courtly vocabulary appeared.
As for the chivalrous attitude towards the ladies, these ideas also migrated into our consciousness from nineteenth-century novels. And in the Renaissance, the German poet Reimer von Tsvetten recommended to their husbands "to take a baton and stretch the wife on the back, stronger and with all his strength, so that she could feel her master and not be angry." The book "On Evil Women" taught that "a donkey, a woman, and a nut need to be hit." Even the nobles frankly, for money, sold beautiful daughters to kings, princes, aristocrats. Such transactions were considered not shameful, but extremely profitable. After all, the lover of a high-ranking official opened the way both to the career and enrichment of her relatives, she was showered with gifts. But could give to another, resell, peel. The English king Henry VIII in fits of bad mood beat the favorites so that they “went out of business” for several weeks. The rule of gallantry did not apply to common people at all. They were treated as if they were to be used.
The economy of European countries remained predominantly agrarian. Peasants made up 90-95% of the population. There were few small cities - Paris (400 thous. Inhabitants), London (200 thous.), Rome (110 thous.) Other centers - Stockholm, Copenhagen, Bristol, Amsterdam, Vienna, Warsaw, were limited to 20-40 thous. Inhabitants, and the population of most cities did not exceed 1-5 thousand. But their common and characteristic feature was dirt and crowding (up to 1000 people per hectare).
The houses were squeezed into the narrow space of the fortress walls, they were built in the 3-4 floor, and the width of most streets did not exceed 2 meters. Carriages did not pass through them. People made their way on horseback, on foot, and the rich men were worn in their sneakers. Even in Paris, only one street was paved, the Boulevard Soures la Reine was the only place for the nobility to stroll to, where they chose to “show themselves”. Other streets were not paved, had no sidewalks, and in the middle of each was a ditch, where waste was thrown right out of the windows and the contents of the pots spilled out (there were no toilets in the houses either). And the land in the city was expensive, and to occupy a smaller area, the second floor had a ledge above the first, the third over the second, and the street looked like a tunnel, where there was not enough light and air, evaporation from garbage accumulated.
Travelers, approaching a large city, felt the stench from afar. Although the townspeople got used to it and did not notice it. Unsanitary conditions caused terrible epidemics. Smallpox rolled about once every 5 years. The plague, dysentery, and malaria have also been targeted. Only one of the epidemics, 1630-1631, killed 1,5 millions in France. In the Italian cities of Turin, Venice, Verona, Milan during the same years, between one third and one half of the inhabitants died out. Infant mortality was very high, of two babies survived alone, the rest died away from disease, malnutrition. And the people behind 50 were considered old men. They really wore out, poor from deprivation, rich from excesses.
On all roads and in the cities themselves robbers raged. Their ranks joined the ruined nobles, impoverished peasants. In Paris, 15-20 robbed corpses were picked up every morning. But if the bandits (or the rebels) were caught, they were ruthlessly massacred. Public executions in all European countries were a frequent and popular spectacle. People left their business, brought wives and children. In the crowd, the peddlers scurried around, offering goodies and drinks. Notable gentlemen and ladies rented windows and balconies of nearby houses, and in England, spectators specially built stands (with paid places).
But so accustomed to blood and death in the West, that they were not enough to intimidate criminals. Investigated as much as possible agonizing reprisals. According to British law, a “qualified penalty” was imposed for treason. The man was hanged, but not to death, pulled out of the loop, opened the stomach, cut off the genitals, cut off the arms and legs and in the end - the head. In 1660, Mr. S. Pins described: “I went to Charing Cross to watch how they hang up, release insides, and quartered Major General Harrison. At the same time, he looked as cheerful as possible in a similar position. Finally, they finished him and showed his head and heart to the people — loud cheering was heard.
In the same England for other crimes, gradually, one by one, weights were put on the chest, until he gave up the ghost. In France, Germany and Sweden, wheeling was often used. Counterfeiters were boiled alive in a cauldron or molten metal was poured into the throat. In Poland, criminals were put on a stake, fried in a copper bull, hung on a hook under the rib. In Italy, the skull was broken with a beater. Decapitation and gallows were quite commonplace.
A traveler in Italy wrote: "We saw along the road so many corpses hanged, that the journey becomes unpleasant." And in England they hung tramps and petty thieves who dragged items worth 5 pence and above. The justice of the peace was single handed down by the justice of the peace, and in every city on bazaar days another batch of guilty persons was torn up.
Western science and universities are very often stuck out. But they forget or deliberately silence some little things. The concepts of science of that time were very different from those of today. In the universities of the XVI – XVII century. studied theology, jurisprudence, and in some - medicine. There were no natural sciences in the universities. Passed, however, physics. But she (the science of nature's device) was considered humanitarian, and it was crammed according to Aristotle. And mathematics was studied purely by Euclid, Europe did not yet know any other mathematics.
As a result, universities produced empty scholastics and judicial chiclets. But medicine remained in its infancy. Generally recognized remedies for various diseases were considered bleeding and laxatives. King Henry II, wounded with a spear in the eye and brain, was given a laxative and began to bleed. During suppuration of the abscess behind the ear, Francis II was given enemas, and in addition closed the exit of pus and caused gangrene. Laxatives brought Queen Margot to death with pneumonia. Louis XIII from childhood suffered from catarrh of the stomach - he was given anemia by bleeding. And Cardinal Richelieu with hemorrhoids was tortured with daily enemas. But they were treated by the best doctors!
The Europeans attributed magic, alchemy, astrology, and demonology to the field of “science”. Of the natural sciences, astronomy first began to develop - it became a “by-product” of the then fashionable astrology. But any serious research has long remained a lot of lonely enthusiasts. What kind of scientific level can we talk about here, if Giordano Bruno was burned down in 1600 in Rome, Copernicus’s work "On the conversion of celestial bodies" was banned in 1616, and Galileo was forced to renounce evidence of the Earth's rotation in 1633. Similarly, the founder of the theory of blood circulation, Miguel Servet, was burned in Geneva. Vesalia for the work "On the structure of the human body" starved to death in prison. And at the same time, all the Western countries enthusiastically burned "witches". The peak of the terrible orgy fell not at all on the “dark” times of the Middle Ages, but on the “brilliant” XVII century. The women were sent to the fires by the hundreds. And universities are actively involved in this! It was they who gave the "scientists" conclusions about the guilt of the "witches" and earned good money on such scientific research.
Well, now let's compare with Russia, at least in general terms. In the era of the reign of the first Romanovs, it developed vigorously and dynamically. She was often visited by foreign merchants and diplomats. Their impressions speak for themselves. For example, the English ambassador Carlyle was impressed by the palace of Alexei Mikhailovich, calling the Russian court the most beautiful and majestic "among all the Christian monarchs." Admired and wealth. “From the inside, the palaces are so beautifully decorated and hung with Persian rugs, which are so delightfully made with gold, silver and silks, that you don’t know by surprise where to look. There you can see such a collection of gold, precious stones, pearls and magnificent objects that you cannot describe everything ”(Ayrman).
Moscow has made an indelible impression on all the guests. It was called "the richest and most beautiful city in the world" (Perry). The Hungarian traveler Ercole Zani wrote: “I am surprised by the enormity of the city. It surpasses any of the European or Asian ... There are countless people living in the city - others are a million, and others, more knowledgeable, more than 700 thousands. Without a doubt, he is three times more than Paris and London I have seen. ... Although most of the buildings there are made of wood, but outside they are quite beautiful and interspersed with the boyars' mansions represent a wonderful view. The streets are wide and straight, many large squares; it is laid out with thick round solid logs ... ".
The impressions of foreigners came not only about the capital. They described "many large and in their own way magnificent cities" (Olearius), "populous, beautiful, original architecture" (Juan Persian). Noted “temples, elegantly and magnificently decorated” (Kampenze). “It’s impossible to express how gorgeous a picture is when you look at these brilliant chapters ascending to heaven” (Lizek).
Russian cities were much more spacious than in Europe, with each house there were large courtyards with gardens, from spring to autumn they were buried in flowers and greenery. The streets were three times wider than in the West. And not only in Moscow, but also in other cities in order to avoid dirt, they were covered with logs and bridges with flat wooden blocks. Russian masters were awarded the highest marks of their contemporaries: “Their cities are rich in masters diligent in various kinds” (Mihalon Litvin). There were schools at monasteries and temples - they were still organized by Ivan the Terrible. And there were higher educational institutions that trained qualified officials, clergymen. Under Alexey Mikhailovich there were 5 in Moscow.
There was urban transport, cab drivers - until the end of the XVII century. foreigners talked about them as a curiosity, they have not had this before. They did not have yamskoy mail, which connected remote areas with each other. “There is a good order on the big roads. Special peasants are kept in different places, who must be prepared with several horses (1 has a village with 40-50 and more horses) so that, upon receiving the grand-prince's order, they can immediately harness horses and rush on (Olearius). From Moscow to Novgorod we arrived in 6 days.
Travelers have reported "a multitude of rich villages" (Adams). “The whole land is well sown with bread, which the inhabitants take to Moscow in such quantity that it seems surprising. Every morning you can see from 700 to 800 sledges going there with bread, and some with fish ”(Chensler). And the Russians lived very well! Without exception, all foreigners who visited Russia drew pictures of almost fabulous prosperity compared to their home countries! The land “abounds in pastures and is well-processed ... There is a lot of cow butter, like all sorts of dairy products, thanks to the great abundance of animals, large and small” (Tjapolo). They mentioned "the abundance of grain and livestock" (Perkamot), "the abundance of vital supplies that would honor even the most luxurious table" (Lizek).
And the abundance was affordable! “There are no poor people in this country, because edibles are so cheap that people go on the road to look for someone to give them to” (Juan of Persia - obviously, referring to the distribution of alms). “In general, in all of Russia, due to the fertile soil of the foodstuffs, it is very cheap” (Olearius). Barbaro, Fletcher, Pavel Aleppsky, Margaret, Contarini also wrote about low prices. They were amazed that the meat was so cheap that it was not even sold by weight, “but with carcasses or chopped by eye”. And chickens and ducks were often sold in hundreds or magpies.
Money was made by the people. Peasant women wore large silver earrings (Fletcher, Brembach). The Danish Ambassador Rode reported that "even women of modest origin sew a taffeta or damask outfit and decorate it on all sides with gold or silver lace." They described the Moscow crowd, where "there were many women decorated with pearls and hung with precious stones" (Mass). I suppose there were no boyars in the crowd. Meyerberg came to the conclusion: "In Moscow, such an abundance of all things necessary for life, convenience and luxury, and even obtained at a reasonable price, that it has nothing to envy any country in the world." A German diplomat Geis, arguing about the "Russian wealth", stated: "But in Germany, they probably would not have believed it."
Of course, welfare was not provided by the climate and not by some special fertility. Where were our northern edges before the harvests of Europe! Wealth was achieved by the extraordinary diligence and skills of peasants, artisans. But it was also achieved by the wise policy of the government. Since the Time of Troubles, Russia has not known catastrophic civil strife, devastating enemy invasions (Razin’s uprising in its scale and consequences could not be compared with the French Fronde or the English revolution). The royal army invariably trashed any enemies.
And the government did not rob people. All foreign guests admit that taxes in Russia were much lower than abroad. The people are not ruined. This was not an accident, but a deliberate policy. Adam Olearius wrote about Alexei Mikhailovich that he was “a very pious sovereign who, like his father, does not want to allow at least one of his peasants to be impoverished. If any of them are impoverished due to crop failure or other accidents and misfortunes, then he, whether he is a royal or boyar peasant, is given an allowance from the order or the office in which he is in charge, so that he could recover again, pay his debt and pay taxes to his superiors. ” Merchants, peasants, artisans had the opportunity to expand their farms, put the children on their feet. As a result, the whole state benefited.
By the way, and the epidemic occurred much less frequently than in "civilized" Europe. "In Russia, in general, the people are healthy and durable ... they haven't heard much about epidemic diseases ... there are often very old people here" (Olearius). And if we continue the comparison, then the blood flowed much less. “Crime is extremely rarely punishable by death” (Herberstein); “The laws of criminals and thieves are opposed to English. You can't hang for the first offense. ”(CHENSLER). Executed only for the most terrible crimes, and the death sentences were approved only in Moscow - personally by the tsar and the Boyar Duma. And our ancestors never knew such sadistic follies as mass witch hunts ... This is how stories about wild and downtrodden Russia — and about enlightened, refined Europe — are scattered.