The Russians have trotted out their nonsense historiography of the supposed continuity between the Kievian Rus and Moscow as they gear up to invade Ukraine, one more time.

"Russia-Ukraine Conflict Lies in the Bones of an 11th-Century Prince: Yaroslav the Wise’s legacy is contested by Ukraine and Russia; a search for his remains is under way" by Brett Forrest


The weakness of the claim is exposed by:

"The Horde: How the Mongols Changed the World Hardcover" by Marie Favereau • April 20, 2021


Who you interviewed earlier in 2021:

"Marie Favereau: the Golden Horde and world history: The light out of heathen Tartary?"


The important point to remember is that the Mongols destroyed the Kievean Rus in a series of battles between 1237 and 1242. At that time Moscow was a village of mud huts. Daniel inherited Moscow from his father the kynaz of Vladimir and became its first kynaz in 1263. At that time Kiev lay in ruins.

Moscow grew up as a vassal of the golden Horde who also ruled the territory of Kiev. In the 14th Century Kiev was seized by the Lithuanians. In the 16th century, Lithuania merged with Poland. It was the middle of the 17th century, 400 years after the Mongol conquest before Moscow took Kiev from Poland-Lithuania.

4 centuries is not continuity.

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Can highly recommend a few books on Mexico:

Aztec, by Gary Jennings. A deep dive into immediate pre-conquest Mesoamerica, covering the entire region from the northern deserts to the Maya, but centered on Tenochtitlan. Decent as a novel, but exquisite for its worldbuilding. Gives you a sense for Mesoamerica as its own complete world in a way that non-fiction can't. Scholars on the region generally back up the author's depiction, the brief episode on the Tarascans being the only major exception. I know you don't read much fiction anymore, but this one is worth it.

Aztecs, an Interpretation, by Inga Clendingen. A series of personal ruminations on Aztec society by an expert. Sounds a bit wishy-washy, I know, but it helps to place such a weird cultural complex into wider patterns of humanity. Read it after you get the basics from another book.

Conquest: Cortes, Montezuma, and the Fall of Old Mexico, by Hugh Thomas. Detailed account of the Spanish conquest, but also includes a fairly extensive, matter-of-fact treatment of Aztec society and history. If you're more interested in the grand sweep of history, you can skip it, but the conquest of Mexico is one of the most incredible stories in human history. It's worth a full book.

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Quick recommendation: enjoyed the Mexican historical survey Fire and Blood by T.R. Fehrenbach.

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Related to Mexico, maybe Fernando Cervantes' Conquistadores(which im planning to read this month and seems to have decent reviews)

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Me: "Bullies and Saints:

An Honest Look at the Good and Evil of Christian History"

"The seven sins of memory"

"how rights went wrong: how America's obsession with rights is tearing us apart"

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Your graphic at the top doesn't show the Denisovians...

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Received both "Dawn..." and "Life as We Made It" for the holiday. Really enjoying "Life..." so far and will look forward to complimenting it with "A story of us". Heard the same about Graeber from Academics of all fashions and was even brought up at Thanksgiving table this year, so want to understand the perspective, but was very sceptical of Debt. Looking forward to your thoughts.

Happy New Year to you and your family!

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