In view of the incessant ideological confrontation between the West and Russia, myths about our country not only do not disappear, but are fed in every way by the media. Lenin, the Kalashnikov assault rifle and the KGB became part of the national image.
But for the sake of justice, it should be said that myths about Russia began to appear long ago, even during the existence of an ancient state on our territory. So, what kind of myths existed, and even today there are myths about Ancient Russia.
Myths about ancient Russia
The Russians lived in underground burrows paved with logs. This myth originated from the records of Arab merchants. They traveled from Europe to Asia for trade. And in parallel, the Arabs wrote in their diaries about all the intricacies of the life of other peoples. But often such observations were subjective, becoming the basis for the emergence of myths. One of the most famous delusions from those chronicles that has come down to us today is the observation of Slavic dwellings. The Arabs wrote that our ancestors live in underground burrows all year round. One room has been created there, in the center of which a fire burns, heating the 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 completely 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 down churches by city," but in Europe for several hundred years they believed that only pagans lived on the lands of the Slavs. 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 dominion of Catholicism.
Beards were a sign of uncleanliness. In Russia, it was really customary to wear beards. For the Orthodox Slav, this was considered the basis of his virtue. And in the West, the beard formed the basis of the myth of the uncleanliness of the Slavs. Only now the Russians washed in their baths much more often than the refined nobles from Parisian palaces. They in general came up with a perfume just to kill the disgusting smells of dirty bodies. Ladies generally had special wooden sticks to drive away fleas.
Slavic warriors prefer to attack from trees. Such a ridiculous myth appeared after the Slavs successfully carried out several raids on Byzantium. In the chronicles, there are memories that the warriors did not wear either armor or an iron sword. In case of danger, they generally climbed trees. In reality, Russian soldiers never hid in trees, moreover, they fought well in the forest. And this myth appeared thanks to various tactics in the conduct of battle. Russian soldiers retreated to the forest not at all because they strove to go to the trees. It was just that it was rather difficult to cope with the heavy cavalry of Byzantium in an open battle. And in the forest, all the advantages of the cavalry were leveled.
The Slavs went into battle naked. This myth has a very specific source - the work "On the Administration of the Empire", written by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. This opinion served as the basis for the emergence of rumors about the barbarism and fury of the army of the Slavs. But in reality, the Russians went into battle not at all naked, but with a bare torso. And usually only the commanders of the detachment removed the chain mail from their bodies. Thus, they showed their intention to fight the enemy to the death, inspiring their subordinates with their courage. Also, the commanders showed that they did not accept any negotiations, which the cunning Byzantines were constantly striving for. But going into battle in this form did not mean that the Slavic soldiers were deprived of protective equipment. In addition, archaeological finds confirm this.
Bears walked in Russian settlements. This myth is popular in the West today. Foreigners are looking for bears on our streets. It turned out that such a belief has deep roots. And this myth appeared even before the baptism of Rus. Back in the 9th century, Byzantine historians wrote that in a foreign and barbarian land of the Slavs, people worship bears as gods, and bears here generally live among people and walk around their homes. It's amazing how this myth about Russian bears has remained relevant since the days of Kievan Rus. And on the streets of Slavic villages, bears really walked, but only during fairgrounds.
The Slavs are extremely intolerant of other religions. In the West, a myth is cultivated that the Slavs recognize only Orthodoxy, aggressively treating other religious beliefs. And although the baptism of Rus was a difficult process for local residents, with the arrival of Christianity here religious tolerance was established. Even in Kievan Rus there were Catholic churches for visiting merchants, synagogues. Even banned paganism preserved the temples of the ancient gods. Even today, Orthodox Christianity as a whole demonstrates tolerance. In Moscow alone, in addition to the traditional 670 churches and 26 chapels, there are 9 more Old Believer churches, 6 mosques, and 7 synagogues. It is difficult to count the number of Muslim houses of worship, and there are also religious institutions of Protestants, Lutherans, Buddhists, Armenians.
The Slavs led a reclusive lifestyle and were inhospitable. For a long time, Europeans were afraid to travel to the lands of the Slavs. This myth, which presented the local people as closed and even aggressive, interfered. This opinion was fueled by the failed first religious mission that came to our lands during the reign of Princess Olga. Only now, even the pagan Slavs had their own deity of hospitality. The myths about the bloodthirstiness of our ancestors arose from the fact that they did not know mercy to those who encroached on their freedom, faith or wealth. But in this regard, the Slavs are easy to understand. Even today, Russians are known for their traditional hospitality. If in the Western world the hero of the occasion expects gifts, then here people like to celebrate their successes, inviting acquaintances and friends. Traditional fairground festivities and fun are reviving today.
The Slavs were farmers. It is customary to depict the ancient Slavs plowing the land and growing the corresponding crops. But this is actually not true. Even in the years of formation and prosperity of Kievan Rus, most of its territory was covered with forests. The slash-and-burn method known at that time for widespread use looks unrealistic. After all, it took a lot of time and effort for him. So agriculture developed very slowly and was not general, but was of a local nature. The ancient Slavs were mainly engaged in fishing, gathering and hunting.
The Slavs lived in the forest. Based on the previous myth, the neighbors even believed that the Slavs lived among the trees like barbarians. Our ancestors really often settled in the forests, building huts and even fortifications there. But over time, the forest around was destroyed, and then a full-fledged settlement appeared.
The Slavs did not exist at all. This is a very serious and insulting myth about the ancient Slavs. Neighbors at that time often identified the Slavs with the Scythians who once lived here. There was even an opinion that the Slavic tribes were too small in number to talk about them seriously. But time passed, and the world was able to be convinced of the greatness of this community.