Commonwealth and a developing society the case of

A change in settlement-patterns is a salient feature of the forest zones of Rus in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Formerly, populations had tended to congregate in so-called 'compact nests', huge clusters of settlements in the vicinity of lakes or river ways engaged in intensive trading in furs and other primary produce destined for distant markets, while gaining from those markets silver, amphorae containing wine, glass beads and bracelets, metal crosses, locks and keys. The pattern of settlement was uneven, with vast tracts of forest and marshland left virtually uninhabited. From the thirteenth century onwards the 'compact nests' broke up, longer-distance trading became less common, and settlements began to be dispersed more evenly across the wilderness. These small agrarian communities and homesteads were essentially self-sufficient and did not need to barter produce for implements or ornaments from the outside world.90 They did not, however, slip out of Orthodox

90 N. A. Makarov et al., Srednevekovoe rasselenie na Belom ozere (Moscow: Iazyki russkoi kul'tury, 2001), 56, 64-8,78-94, 216-26; Makarov, 'Rus' v XIII veke: kharakterkul'turnykh

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