or iconography, still less a ban on human images. A new church hierarchy eventually established itself. What is more, the Mongols exempted church lands from taxation and levies of recruits. That Russia was 'a conquered land whose conquerors were often not in evidence' allowed the maintenance in written sources of'an ideology of silence' about the very fact of conquest.4 At the same time, the threat of punitive raids was ever present - there were at least forty between i247 and i46o - and the requirement that priests pray for the khans kept alive the consciousness of occupation by an 'infidel' power. There was a population shift away from old urban centres. Refugees built wooden chapels and shrines in forests or on lakes, which attracted more settlers. In the same period over a hundred new monasteries were founded, with a further impetus given to prayerful retreat by the Black Death, which hit Russia in i352-53.5
The Mongol impact on Russian culture was not uniform. The north-western cities of Novgorod and Pskov escaped devastation and their economies, based on trade, revived comparatively quickly. Their art and architecture flourished. Regions in the south-west that initially fell under Mongol control, including Kiev itself, later found themselves incorporated into Catholic Poland-Lithuania, where Orthodoxy had to accommodate itself to alien artistic conventions. In the Russian heartland local princes and primates who co-operated could prosper within a pecking order regulated by the Mongols. Competitiveness between princes manifested itself in support for cults of local saints, donations to monasteries, and commissions for churches, icons, manuscripts, church plate, vestments and other artefacts. The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries witnessed what has been described as a 'renaissance' or a 'golden age' in Russian Orthodox art,6 against the background of the ever-present threat of raids from the east, the encroachment of Catholicism from the west, and internecine conflict as princes competed for supremacy.
This 'renaissance' had few direct links with the contemporaneous Italian Renaissance and was not focused on the rediscovery of Greek and Roman classical antiquity. It did not produce secular art. It was more a revitalising of the Byzantine roots of Orthodox art, which had endowed Russia with elements
4 See C.J. Halperin,RussiaandtheGoldenHorde:theMongolimpactonRussianhistory (London: I. B. Tauris, i985).
5 On the historical background, see R. O. Crummey, The formation of Muscovy, 1304-1613 (London and New York: Longman, i987).
6 M. A. Alpatov Drevnerusskaia ikonopis' (Moscow: Iskusstvo, i974), i2. The i96os-i97os saw an officially approved revival of the study of Russia's early cultural heritage, which produced invaluable scholarly studies, as well as the more ideologically tendentious. See, for example, D. S. Likhachev, Kul'tura Rusi vremeni Andreia Rubleva i Epifaniia Premudrogo (konets XIV-nachalaXV v.) (Moscow and Leningrad: Nauka, i962).
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