From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Rus' (region))
Jump to: navigation, search

Ruthenia (/ruˈθniə/; Old East Slavic: Рѹ́сь (Rus'), Рѹ́сьскаѧ землѧ (Rus'kaya zemlya), Ancient Greek: Ῥωσία, Latin: Rus(s)ia, Ruscia, Ruzzia, Rut(h)enia, Roxolania,[1][2] Old Norse: Garðaríki) is a proper geographical exonym for Kievan Rus' and other, more local, historical states. It was applied to the area where Ruthenians lived.

The word Ruthenia originated as a Latin rendering of the region and people known originally as Rus'. Although Rus' is used as the same root word for Russia in the Russian language, the allusion holds a direct link to the ancestors of the Rus', Varangians or Varyags, sometimes called "Vikings" in English publications. A group of Varangians known as the Rus settled in Novgorod in 862 under the leadership of Rurik. In European manuscripts dating from the 13th century, "Ruthenia" was used to describe Rus': the wider area occupied by the Ancient Rus' (commonly referred to as Kievan Rus'), most of it known alternatively as the Kingdom of Galicia-Volhynia. After the devastating Mongolian occupation of the main part of Ruthenia, then the incorporation of Ruthenian principalities into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, then into the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the territory was converted into the Ruthenian Voivodeship, which existed until the 18th century. A small part of Rus', probably starting from the 8th–9th centuries, historically belonged mainly to the Kingdom of Hungary, with strong cultural ties both to Ruthenia and Hungary, now in Ukraine as a part of Zakarpattia Oblast (annexed by USSR in 1946), with a small part in Slovakia. A territory long disputed[3] as an early part of Hungary, and from the 10th century Ruthenia and Poland, formed the Chervian Towns (hun.: Vörösföldnek, pol.: Grody Czerwieńskie, ukr.:Червенські городи), now mostly in Poland, partly in Ukraine.

Late Middle Ages[edit]

By the 15th century the Moscow principality (or Muscovy) established its sovereignty over a large portion of ancient Rus' territory,[citation needed] including Novgorod, Pskov, and parts of Chernigov and Pereyaslavl principalities,[citation needed] often displacing, exchanging with eastern parts of Russia, or murdering a large part of the Ruthenian population of towns (for example, the former Novgorod Republic).[4][5][6][7] From 1547 the Moscow principality adopted the title of The Great Principat of Moscow and Tsardom of the Whole Rus, and claimed sovereignty over "all the Rus'" - acts not recognized by its neighbour Poland.[8] This laid the foundation of the modern Russian state.[citation needed] The Muscovy population was Eastern Orthodox and used the Greek transcription of Rus', being "Rossia",[citation needed] rather than the Latin "Ruthenia".

In the 14th century the southern territories of ancient Rus', including the principalities of Galicia–Volhynia, Kiev and others, became a part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which, in 1384, united with Catholic Poland to form the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Due to their usage of the Latin script rather than the Cyrillic script, they were usually denoted by the Latin Ruthenia. Other spellings were also used in Latin, English and other languages during this period.

These southern territories have corresponding names in Polish:

The Russian Tsardom, until 1764, has been called Moskva, which means "the Moscow", and in official language Velikoye Kn'yazhestvo Moskovskoye (Великое Княжество Московское), The Great Principat of Moscow.[9]

Modern age[edit]


The use of the term Rus/Russia in the lands of ancient Rus' survived longer as a name used by Ukrainians for Ukraine. When the Austrian monarchy made vassal state Galicia-Lodomeria a province in 1772, Habsburg officials realized that the local East Slavic people were distinct from both Poles and Russians, and still called themselves Rus, until the empire fell apart in 1918.

By 1840 the superior term, Malaya Rus' (or Малороссия, Malorossiya), i.e. "Little Rus'", or Rus' Minora, for Ukrainians became derogative in the Russian Empire, and they began calling themselves Ukrainians, for Ukrayina.[citation needed] In the 1880s and 1900s, the popularity of the ethnonym Ukrainian spread and the term Ukraine became a substitute for Malaya Rus' among the Ukrainian population of the Empire. In the course of time the term Rus′ became restricted to western parts of present Ukraine (Galicia/Halych, Carpathian Ruthenia), an area where Ukrainian nationalism, ardently supported by Austro-Hungarian authorities, competed with Galician Russophilia. By the early 20th century, the term Ukraine had predominantly replaced Malorussia in those lands and by the mid-1920s also in the Ukrainian diaspora in North America.

Rusin (the Ruthenian) has been one of official self-identifications of the Rus' population in Poland (and also in Czechoslovakia). Until 1939, for many traditional Ruthenians and Poles, the word Ukrainiec (Ukrainian) meant a person involved in or friendly to a nationalist movement.[10]


The most numerous population of the ancient Rus' cultural descendants, the Russians, still keep the same name for their ethnicity (russkie), while the name of their state, Rus', was gradually replaced by its Greek transcription, Rossia. However, some other Slavish languages (Polish and Ukrainian) separate the "Ruthenian" meaning from its "Russian" neighbour. Russian population dominates the former territory of Muscovy, Vladimir Rus', the Grand Principality of Smolensk, Novgorod Republic, and Pskov Republic, and they are also a significant minority in Ukraine and Belarus.

Modern Ruthenia[edit]

Ruthenia in 1927
Map of the areas claimed and controlled by the Carpathian Ruthenia, the Lemko Republic and the West Ukrainian People's Republic in 1918
Autonomous Subcarpathian Ruthenia and independent Carpatho-Ukraine 1938-1939.

After 1918, the name Ruthenia became narrowed to the area south of the Carpathian mountains in the Kingdom of Hungary, named Carpathian Ruthenia (including the cities of Mukachevo, Uzhhorod, and Prešov) and populated by Carpatho-Ruthenians, a group of East Slavic highlanders. While Galician Ruthenians considered themselves to be Ukrainians, the Carpatho-Ruthenians were the last East Slavic people that kept the ancient historic name (Ruthen is a Latin deformation of the Slavic rusyn). Nowadays, the term Rusyn is used to describe the ethnicity and language of Ruthenians who are not forced to the Ukrainian national identity. Carpatho-Ruthenia formed part of the Hungarian Kingdom from the late 11th century, where it was known as Kárpátalja. In May 1919, it was incorporated with nominal autonomy into Czechoslovakia. After this date, Ruthenian people have been divided among three orientations. First, there were the Russophiles, who saw Ruthenians as part of the Russian nation; second, there were the Ukrainophiles who, like their Galician counterparts across the Carpathian mountains, considered Ruthenians part of the Ukrainian nation; and, lastly, there were Ruthenophiles, who said that Carpatho-Ruthenians were a separate nation, and who wanted to develop a native Rusyn language and culture. On 15 March 1939 the Ukrainophile president of Carpatho-Ruthenia, Avhustyn Voloshyn, declared its independence as Carpatho-Ukraine. On the same day Hungarian Army fascist regular troops, allies of Adolf Hitler, brutally invaded the region. The Hungarian invasion was anti-Ruthenophile.[citation needed] In 1944 the Soviet Army occupied Carpatho-Ruthenia, and in 1946, annexed it to the Ukrainian SSR. Officially, there were no Rusyns in the USSR. In fact, Soviet and some modern Ukrainian politicians, as well as Ukrainian government claim that Rusyns are part of the Ukrainian nation. Nowadays some of the population in the Zakarpattya oblast of Ukraine consider themselves Rusyns (Ruthenians) yet they are still a part of the whole Ukrainian national identity. A Rusyn minority remained after World War II in northeastern Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia). According to critics, the Ruthenians rapidly became Slovakized.[11] In 1995 the Ruthenian written language became standardized.[12]

Cognate word[edit]

The element ruthenium was isolated in 1844 from platinum ore found in the Ural mountains. Ruthenia is the Latin word for Rus'.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nazarenko, Aleksandr Vasilevich (2001). "1. Имя "Русь" в древнейшей западноевропейской языковой традиции (XI-XII века)" [The name Rus' in the old tradition of Western European language (XI-XII centuries)]. Древняя Русь на международных путях: междисциплинарные очерки культурных, торговых, политических связей IX-XII веков [Old Rus' on international routes: Interdisciplinary Essays on cultural, trade, and political ties in the 9th-12th centuries] (DJVU) (in Russian). Languages of the Rus' culture. pp. 40, 42–45, 49–50. ISBN 978-5-7859-0085-1. Archived from the original on 14 August 2011. 
  2. ^ Magocsi, Paul R. (2010). A History of Ukraine: The Land and Its Peoples. University of Toronto Press. p. 73. ISBN 978-1-4426-1021-7. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  3. ^ The dispute noted in written sources, as an old one, even before the year 981: Połnoje sobranije russkich letopisiej, t. I., Leningrad 1926-1928.
  4. ^ Roginskiy, M. G. (1922). Послание Иоганна Таубе и Элерта Крузе: Послание Иоганна Таубе и Элерта Крузе, как исторический источник [The Writings of Johann Taube and Elert Kruse: The missives of Johann Taube and Elert Kruse as an historical source]. Russian historical journal (in Russian). 8. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  5. ^ Kovalenko, G. M. (2005). Великий Новгород в иностранных сочинениях XV - нач. ХХ века [Veliky Novgorod in foreign writings from the 15th century to the beginning of the 20th century] (in Russian). Publishing House 'Strategia'. p. 288. Archived from the original on 23 May 2012. 
  6. ^ Shtaden, Genrikh (1925). "On Ivan IV's campaign against Novgorod (1570)". О Москве Ивана Грозного [About the Moscow of Ivan the Terrible] (in Russian). pp. 90–91. Archived from the original on 9 November 2007. 
  7. ^ Kagan, M. D. (2006). Повесть о разгроме Новгорода Иваном Грозным [The story of the defeat of Novgorod by Ivan the Terrible] (in Russian). Archived from the original on 24 May 2011. 
  8. ^ Dariusz Kupisz, Psków 1581–1582, Warszawa 2006, s. 55-201.
  9. ^ Norman Davies: Boże igrzysko : historia Polski. Kraków: „Znak”, 2006, p.363. ISBN 83-240-0654-0
  10. ^ Robert Potocki, Polityka państwa polskiego wobec zagadnienia ukraińskiego w latach 1930–1939, Lublin 2003, wyd. Instytut Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej, ISBN 83-917615-4-1, s. 45.
  11. ^ "The Rusyn Homeland Fund". 1998. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  12. ^ Paul Robert Magocsi: A new Slavic language is born, in: Revue des études slaves, Tome 67, fascicule 1, 1995, pp. 238-240.

General sources[edit]

External links[edit]