Главная страница «Первого сентября»Главная страница журнала «Английский язык»Содержание №4/2005


continued from № 47

Curriculum Links of Language Studies with Other Subjects

Развитие межпредметных связей: изучение английского языка и мировой художественной культуры в 10–11-х классах

Theme 9

The uprising of Novgorod in 1136 brought an end to its dependence on Kiev. Prince Vsyevolod Mstislavich, who ruled Novgorod as Kiev’s protйgй was forced out of the city and all power was concentrated in the “Veche” – a popular assembly controlled by the boyars. From this time on all major city office positions were filled by election, including the one of the “posadnik” – the mayor of Novgorod and the “Tysyatskii” – the commander of its militia. Even the archbishop of Novgorod had to be chosen by the Veche, usually by balloting from three announced candidates. Vsyevolod died in 1138 and those who succeeded him on Novgorod’s throne became a figurehead until “Gosudar’ Velikii Novgorod,” the title of the new republic, turned into a sort of a democratic city-state. Though elected by the Veche, some of the archbishops, whom the Novgorodians called “Vladyka”, were very powerful and not always mindful of the interests of the boyars. Besides, they controlled the state’s treasuries and all properties that belonged to the prince and exercised the role of chief of state. Among their duties were relations with foreign states. The newly gained independence from Kiev permitted Novgorod to turn towards the West and establish cultural contacts and important trade relations. It did not take long before Novgorod became one of the most important trade centers of Eastern Europe. With this came prosperity and of course great steps forward in the arts.
Novgorodian pagans gave the strongest resistance to attempts to convert them to Christianity. Many lost their lives when in 991 they tried to prevent a Greek bishop from establishing his seat in Novgorod. This strong opposition was due largely to the Meria, a Finnish tribe that, together with the Slavs, lived in Novgorod and its vicinity. Unable to preserve their national identity, they merged with the Russians and in the 13th century completely lost their individuality. The center of religious life and various ceremonies were performed on the main square of Novgorod’s Kremlin, also called “Detinets”. Within its walls the Novgorodians had their heathen temple, totem poles of their gods and the cemetery. It was most probably in this square that one of the first Veche sessions took place in 859. It decided to invite the Varangian Prince Riurik to protect and govern them.
It was also in the Kremlin that the first church was built to replace the temple. It was made of wood and built in 989 by the first bishop of Novgorod, Ioakim. We do not know if this was the same little wooden church of Saint Sophia that burned to the ground in 1045. To replace it Novgorod’s Prince Vladimir, son of Yaroslav the Wise, in the same year laid down the foundations for a new stone cathedral of the same name that was completed in 1052, or just fifteen years after Kiev received its Saint Sophia. It is not surprising that they originally looked alike and that they received the same name. Most probably, the builders of both cathedrals belonged to the same school, if they were not the same people, also a possibility, though some art students prefer to conclude that Novgorodians learned their architectural knowledge and iconography not from Constantinople but from the Armenians and Georgians. Their speculation was based on a legend that says that the first Christian preachers who came to Novgorod had “never seen Kiev nor Constantinople,” and consequently, must be Christians from the Caucasus region. Similar explanation was given for the early Novgorodian architecture’s differences from the Byzantine style. However, more reliable sources confirm that it was not before the beginning of the 12th century that Novgorod started to ignore Byzantine forms and to create its own. By that time its masters had learned stone building techniques and successfully adapted them to the construction methods of their native wooden churches. They also had to take into consideration the specific climatic conditions of northern Russia, which differ so much from the snow-free winters in Constantinople. Because of severe colds and heavy snows, the Novgorodians had to make the roofs of their churches steep and the windows narrow. The large and rather flat Byzantine domes had to be changed so that they could resist the burdens of the snow more easily.
Through centuries Russian builders contributed to the formation of what was to become a typically Russian silhouette of their churches. Their imagination produced a great variety of tent-shaped or bulbous forms that made roofs the most decorative part in their architecture. This was further enriched with decorative details that they borrowed from the west when Novgorod established closer trade relations with her European neighbors. Central and northern Europe was much closer to Novgorod than the distant Byzantium and the Near East and this geographical presence could not but reflect on Novgorod’s architecture. The product of their ambition became known as the Novgorod School of Art. The early known major contributors to its architecture were the “Posadnik” (mayor) of Novgorod Miloneg, and masters Korov Yakovlevich and Peter, whose family name was unknown. The churches they built were smaller and simpler than those in Kiev and they were closer to the ground and more heavy-set. Outside they were barely decorated. Their cupolas resembled ancient Russian princely helmets, as we can see from old icons and frescoes, and this detail became very distinctive of the Novgorod churches. Novgorod was not overrun nor destroyed by the Tatars and the cultural life of the city and its region continued to develop along traditional lines. It lost its prestige when Moscow emerged as the center of the newly formed all-Russian national government. But before this happened Novgorod masters gained experience and achieved a specific style in church architecture characterized, by addition of a single cupola, only one apse for the altar (often square), very few windows, semi-circular vaults, pilasters and by certain other minor details. It is considered that this style was best demonstrated in the small Spaso-Preobrazhensky cathedral built in about1374.
The Cathedral of Saint Sophia in Novgorod, though enlarged in the 12th century and restored several times since, has preserved most of its original structures. Here again we see that the Cathedral was built in the form of a Greek cross with six piers of cruciform section. At that time the Cathedral had a nave and four aisles; the two outside aisles did not end in apses. Then early in the 12th century two additional aisles were added, one on each side. At this time, the cathedral received on the western side, a parvis (Papert) and a staircase tower leading to the gallery on the second floor. The central part of the gallery faces the altar and was used by the prince and his family, often accompanied by domestic and foreign dignitaries attending the church service. The rear of the gallery had rooms that housed the library of the cathedral, and it was here that the Novgorod’s Chronicle (9th – 16th centuries) was written and kept. We have no information whether the gallery was also directly connected to the palace, a feature that existed in several other locations. The cathedral has six cupolas instead of the usual five. Four smaller cupolas surround the large central one and on the southwestern side is the sixth on the top of the staircase tower. This disposition gave the edifice an interesting and asymmetrical appearance. The central cupola preserved the form of an ancient Russian helmet and is the only one that is gilded. It carries a large cross with a dove on it. The legend says that the dove was there to protect Novgorod and its people, who believed that its disappearance from the cross would bring destruction to the city and to them. All other cupolas received a slightly onion-shaped form when they were restored in the 16th century. Unevenly cut limestone, which was found north of Novgorod, was used for the construction of the cathedral. Nature lightly colored it, and its pastel shades of pale grey, blue, yellow, green and purple must have noticeably increased the beauty and softened the stern look of this very little-decorated, almost windowless, austere, but also original and remarkable Russian architectural monument of the 11th century. There are only two others in Russia that date from the same period, which can match its magnitude: the cathedrals of Saint Sophia in Kiev and in Polotsk. This is the legacy of churches named after Saint Sophia.

The interior of Novgorod’s Saint Sophia and the decoration of its walls underwent several changes and restorations during its long history. At the end of the 17th century the floor of the cathedral was raised and its windows enlarged. The floor was again raised in the 1830-s making it over four feet higher than the original. At this time its roof was also changed to four-sloped. Despite this, the cathedral preserved most of its original silhouette. From the Chronicle we learn that the walls of the cathedral remained bare for about half a century and that the first frescoes were painted in the beginning of the 12th century. No reason was given for this unusual delay. Then we see that the job was finally completed and the walls entirely covered with frescoes only in the middle of the 12th century. Unfortunately only few fragments still remain. The frescoes were repainted several times, but in most cases repeating the same lines and colors thus preserving the same subject. Important frescoes of the early 12th century were discovered when the cathedral was renovated for the final time at the end of the last century. Of the greatest value was the image of the Christ Pantocrator (Спас Вседержитель) and beneath him the figures of four archangels, all in the central cupola, and further beneath them in the drum there are eight prophets, one on each space between the windows.
In 1941 during the war, twice a shell, seriously damaging the image of Christ, hit the central cupola. What was left of it was completely destroyed later because nobody tried to repair the holes and protect the remaining frescoes from being washed off by rain. When the Soviet archaeologists and restorers came to the cathedral in 1945, they found nothing left of the Pantocrator; and only two archangels and three prophets remained well preserved. The monumental style and the classical simplicity characterize the way the prophets were painted and testify that the work was done by Byzantine iconographers. Of interest are also fragments of the frescoes in the so-called Martiriev Parvis on the south side, which were discovered in 1947 and cleaned in 1955. Here we recognize the Byzantine Emperor Constantine and his mother Helen in their regal garments, then the composition “Deisus” with the Savior, his mother and saints on his sides. Both are a fine work of the Byzantine art school of the early 12th century.

One of the Icons in the Cathedral

One of the Icons in the Cathedral

Most other frescoes, or better to say their small fragments, belong to the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. Many of them were retouched or entirely repainted in the beginning and at the end of the 19th century, when the cathedral underwent partial restoration. The cathedral has two very old portals: The so-called “Sigtuna” portal at the main entrance on the west side, and the “Korsun” portal at the entrance to the chapel of the Nativity of the Virgin located on the south-east side. The name of the first portal comes from the ancient Swedish capital Sigtuna from where, according to the legend, the army of Novgorod took the portal after defeating the Swedes. The portal consists of two massive oak leaves, each adorned with 13 high-relief bronze panels, laminated with gold and silver. They relate events from the Bible.
Most historians agree that Magdeburg artists of whom a certain Requinus, who lived in the middle of the 12th century, appears to be the most important made the portal. The Korsun portal most probably dates from the 11th century. It was also made of bronze panels, which show only crosses, decorated with floral ornamentation. Similar ornamentation is engraved on the bronze frames around the panels. The portal is most probably the work of Byzantine artists and the legend says that the Grand Duke Vladimir brought it to Novgorod from Korsun after he had been converted there to the Christian faith. The cathedral contained many old icons (there were about seventy in its iconostasis alone) and remarkable old church decorative objects, some of great artistic value. Russian princes and tsars were indeed generous in their gifts to churches, and the Cathedral of Novgorod was often favored. The existing archbishop’s throne dates from 1560.When Ivan the Terrible learned that there was not one in the cathedral for the tsar; he ordered that a throne for himself be made and installed during his expedition to Novgorod in 1572. Both thrones are fine pieces of woodcarving. In 1600 Boris Godunov donated to the cathedral an enormous church chandelier of over four tons with a large double-headed eagle on the top. These are just a few of hundreds of objects that lavishly decorated the interior of the cathedral.
The services held in it on important holidays must have been a fascinating experience. In 1929, all its valuables were confiscated and the cathedral was declared a historical museum. Many valuable items were removed and the cathedral was locked up and left to deteriorate. The war and the German army did further damage and pillaging. They even took the gilded roof of the main cupola. After the war Soviet authorities restored the building and the roof, and archaeologists often came to do more excavation. They went through everything, including the tombs of the founder of the cathedral, Prince Vladimir Yaroslavich (1020–1052), of Prince Mstislav Rostislavich the Brave (? – 1180) and of some fifty tombs of Novgorod’s bishops and archbishops who were all buried there.

I. Study the vocabulary.

VOCABULARY (borrowed words or loanwords):

Ксенонимы    языковые единицы, обозначающие элементы внешних культур, например, лорд, килт, пудинг – в русском языке или boyar, Cossack – в английском языке.

Read the loanwords, find some more loanwords in the text above and try to give them appropriate definitions.

Veche    people’s assembly in Novgorod the Great
Boyar    a member of the old nobility of Russia
Posadnik    the Mayor of Novgorod
Tysyatskii    the commander of militia in Novgorod the Great
Vladyka    archbishop

VOCABULARY (words linked with architecture):

cupola    a dome, especially one covering a circular or polygonal area (купол)
apse    a vaulted semicircular or polygonal recess in a building, esp. at the end of the choir of a church (апсида)
vault    an arched structure, usually made of stone, concrete or bricks, forming a ceiling or roof over a room, hall or any other construction (свод)
pilaster    a shallow rectangular feature projecting from a wall, having a capital and base and usually imitating the form of a column (пилястр)
pier    a portion of wall between doors, windows, etc (простенок)
aisle    any of the longitudinal divisions of a church or the like (боковой неф, проход)
BI    a vacant enclosed area in front of a church (паперть, например, стоять на паперти, т.е. просить милостыню)

II. Read the text.


One of the most fascinating archaeological findings in Russia has been the discovery of hundreds of “birchbark documents” (messages written on the bark of birch trees with a sharp stylus) that were created from the 11th to the 15th century.
The birchbark documents of Novgorod are a major source of information about life in Medieval Novgorod because they are not the writings of church theologians or political leaders, but rather, personal messages, love letters, shopping lists, and so on. One of the most fascinating items is a collection of children’s drawings.
Children’s drawings in the Middle Ages?! Even if such things were created, how could they have survived to the present day? After all, paints, magic markers, and crayons were not yet in use, paper was far too valuable of a commodity to waste on children. In the Dark Ages most of the products of childhood inspiration probably were expressed on the ephemeral canvas of dirt or sand.
But birchbark was a different story. The bark was widely available (although there are indications that excessive use of the medium caused a decline in the local birch population) and easily cultivated. Anyone could use it. When one was finished with the message, it was simply thrown into the mud, where the presence of water and clay created an unusually bacteria-free environment, which preserved the documents. So, we have the ideal medium: cheap, easy to come by, and (thanks to unique geology) preserved for hundreds of years.

A. Choose the correct item according to the text:

1.    Birchbark documents are…

a.    made of paper.
b.    made of clay.
c.    made of bark that covers birches.

2.    The Dark Ages were called dark because…

a.    there was no electricity in that period of time.
b.    science, technology and education developed slowly.
c.    there was very little sunshine.

3.    An ephemeral canvas of dirt or sand is…

a.    a dirty piece of light cloth.
b.    an old painting of a great artist.
c.    any spare piece of land the children could find.

Keys: 1. c; 2. b; 3. c

B. Complete the following sentences according to the text:

1.    Birchbark documents were written with ________.
2.    Birchbark documents were rather personal messages than ______________________________.
3.    __________ was too valuable of a commodity to waste on children.
4.    The local birch population has declined because of _________________.
5.    ____________________ helped to preserve the documents.

Keys: 1. a sharp stylus; 2. the writings or church theologians or political leaders; 3. Paper; 4. excessive use a birchbark; 5. A bacteria-free environment

III. Read the text and answer the questions below.

The Passion of the Holy Martyrs Faith, Hope, and Love, and Their Mother, Sophia

During the reign of the impious Roman Emperor Hadrian, a widow of Italian ancestry called Sophia, whose name means wisdom, lived in Rome. She was a Christian. This wise gentle woman, while living in honorable wedlock, bore three daughters, whom she named after the three great virtues. The first was named Faith, the second Hope, and the third Love.

Soon after the birth of her three daughters, Sophia was widowed. She reared her three daughters in a manner befitting a wise mother. As they matured, they increased in virtue, and they learned well the holy books of the prophets and the apostles. They became accustomed to listening to the words of their teachers and earnestly occupied themselves with spiritual reading, prayer, and household chores. Moreover, they submitted themselves in all things to their holy mother, who was filled with divine wisdom.

Word spread throughout Rome of the wisdom and beauty of the three sisters, as well as their faith. They glorified Christ, showing disdain for idols openly. All these things reached the Emperor, who immediately sent his servants to bring the virgins before him. When the servants arrived at Sophia’s house, they told the woman that she was to come, together with her daughters, to the Emperor. Realizing the purpose of this summons, they arose to pray and said, “O Almighty God, do with us according to Thy holy will, and forsake us not, but rather grant us Thy holy aid, that our hearts be not frightened by the proud tormentor, that we be not terrified by his fearful tortures nor terrorized by bitter death, and that nothing might separate us from Thee, our God.”

After praying and bowing down before God, all four martyrs, the mother and her daughters, took one another by the hand and went forth, frequently looking up to the heavens, committing themselves with sighs and silent prayers to the help of Him, “who commanded us to fear not them, which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul”. When they arrived at the Emperor’s palace, they crossed themselves with the sign of the Cross and said, “Help us, O God our Savior, for the sake of the glory of Thy holy name!”

They were then led before the Emperor, who sat proudly upon his throne. He questioned the mother as to their lineage, names, and faith. Having heard Sophia’s truthful answers, he sent all four martyrs to a certain noblewoman named Palladia, whom he charged to watch over them and to present them on the third day to be judged.

Staying in Palladia’s house, Sophia had sufficient time to instruct her children and explain to them the meaning of martyrdom. She confirmed them in the faith day and night, teaching them with words inspired by God.

Having listened to their mother’s words, the daughters were stricken in heart, and they rejoiced in spirit, waiting the time of their martyrdom as though it were the hour of their nuptials.

When the third day had come, the saints were brought to judgment before the impious Emperor. Thinking that they were but young maidens who could easily be brought to obey his deceptive words, he began to speak to them thus, “I see, children, that you are fair, and I feel pity for your youth. I advise you as a father to worship the gods who rule the universe. If you obey me and do what I command, then I shall call you my own children”.

The holy virgins answered the persecutor as though with a single voice, saying, “God, Who dwells in heaven, is our Father, Who takes care for our life and has mercy on our souls. His love we desire, and we wish to be called His true children. We keep His commandments, and we spit on your gods. Your threats do not frighten us, for we wish to suffer and bear bitter torments for the sake of our sweet God, Jesus Christ.”

The wicked persecutor commanded that the saints be tortured and executed. Their mother Saint Sophia did not cease praying to God for her daughters, that He grant them patience to the end. She sat by their grave, praying to God for three days, after which she slept the sleep of death and was buried by the faithful people of Rome together with her daughters. Thus Sophia finished her course, having brought as a gift to the Trinity her three virtuous daughters, Faith, Hope, and Love.


1.    What are the Christian virtues mentioned in the text?
2.    What were Sophia’s daughters occupied with?
3.    Did the four martyrs know what was awaiting them in the Emperor’s palace? Why?
4.    What did Sophia do before the Emperor’s judgment?
5.    What was the Emperor’s plan? Did he succeed in its implementation?


Perfective Verb Forms

We use the Perfective “-ing” form to say that something happened before a certain time:
Having heard Sophia’s truthful answers, he sent all four martyrs to a certain noblewoman named Palladia.
Having listened to their mother’s words, the daughters were stricken in heart.

IV. Rephrase the following sentences as in the example.

The Emperor heard Sophia’s truthful answers. Then he sent the martyrs to Palladia. – Having heard Sophia’s truthful words, the Emperor sent the martyrs to Palladia.
1.    The girls listened to the words of their teachers. After that they increased in virtue.
2.    The girls learned well the books of the apostles. Then they became devoted to spiritual reading.
3.    The servants arrived at Sophia’s house. Then they told the woman to go to the palace.
4.    Sophia brought as gift to the Trinity her three virtuous daughters. Then she died.


1.    Having listened to the words of their teachers, the girls increased in virtue.
2.    Having learned well the books of the apostles, the girls became devoted to spiritual reading.
3.    Having arrived at Sophia’s house, the servants told the woman to go the palace.
4.    Having brought as a gift to the Trinity her three virtuous daughters, Saint Sophia died.

V. Note the following examples and complete the table with adjectives used with “the” as nouns.

Saint Sophia was buried by some faithful people of Rome together with her daughters. (a specific group of faithful people, not all of them)

All the faithful should read about the passion of the holy martyrs Faith, Hope, and Love, and their Mother, Sophia.
(faithful people in general, all of them)

When we talk about one person we say: a/the faithful man, e.g.

A faithful man should read about the holy martyrs. (any faithful man)

The faithful woman was praying to God for her daughters. (the above mentioned Saint Sophia)


A Specific Group
of     People

People in General,
All of One Group

One Person


elderly people


the elderly

the young

elderly man
old man


blind people


the deaf


the sick

a/the dead man


hungry people
strong people


the poor


the unemployed

a home-less
a rich man

a weak man

Submitted by Irina Ishkhneli, School No. 1738, Moscow

to be continued