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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages


Professor Simon Franklin

Professor of Slavonic Studies
Slavonic Studies
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
+44 (0)1223 333 263

Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages
Raised Faculty Building
University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue
United Kingdom


Simon Franklin has written on Russian history and culture of all periods, but his principal research interests are medieval.

Research interests: 

Most of my research has been concerned with Rus and Russia in the pre-modern period. I have focused particularly on the emergence of the earliest East Slav polity and on the formation of a distinctive culture. though I have also published occasional studies of 19th- and 20th-century Russian literature.

I have supervised PhD students in medieval history and culture, and in 19th century literature.

Recent research projects: 

My long-term project is a cultural history of information technologies in Russia, and I am currently working on the volume covering the period c. 1450-1850.

Published works: 

Principal publications


  • Sermons and Rhetoric of Kievan Rus (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1991)
  • (ed., with Jonathan Shepard), Byzantine Diplomacy (London: Ashgate, 1992)
  • The Emergence of Rus, 750-1200 (with Jonathan Shepard) (London & New York: Longman, 1996)
  • Writing, Society, and Culture in Early Rus, c. 950-1300 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002)
  • Byzantium - Rus - Russia: Studies in the Translation of Christian Culture (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002).
  • (ed., with Emma Widdis), National Identity in Russian Culture. An Introduction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004)
  • (ed., with Katherine Bowers) Information and Empire: Mechanisms of Communication in Russia 1600-1850 (Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2017) [electronic version from]

Selected Articles

  • 'Pre-Mongol Rus: New Sources, New Perspectives?' , The Russian Review 60 (2001), 465-473
  • 'Po povodu ''intellektual'nogo molchaniia'' Drevnei Rusi' ['On the ''Intellectual Silence'' of Early Rus']'', Russia Mediaevalis 10 (2001), 262-270
  • 'Byzantium and the Origins of Written Culture in Rus', in: Literacy, Education and Manuscript Transmission in Byzantium and Beyond, ed. Catherine Holmes and Judith Waring (Leiden, Boston, Cologne: Brill, 2002), 187-197
  • 'On the Pre-History of Inscribed Gravestones in Rus' Palaeoslavica 10 (2002), 105-121
  • 'The Igor' Tale: a Bohemian Rhapsody?' , Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History , 6:4 (Fall, 2005), 833-44
  • 'The Culture of Writing', in Sacred Arts and City Life: the Glory of Medieval Novgorod., ed. C. Griffith Man and Evgenia Petrova (Baltimore and St Petersburg, 2005), 35-41
  • 'Kievan Rus (1015-1125)', in The Cambridge History of Russia, vol. 1, ed. Maureen Perrie (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 73-97
  • 'On Meanings, Functions and Paradigms of Law in Early Rus', in Russian History, 34 (2007), 63-81.
  • Slavonic Sources', in May Whitby (ed.), Byzantines and Crusaders in Non-Greek Sources, 1025-1204 (Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 122. London: The British Academy, 2007), 157-81
  • (with Maria Mavroudi): 'Graeco-Slavic and Graeco-Arabic Translation Movements and their Cultural Implications: Problems and Possibilities of Comparison', in Byzantinoslavica 65 (2007), 51-67 [part of Franklin & Mavroudi (introd. & contrib.), 'Byzantino-Slavica and Byzantino-Arabica: Studies in the Translation and Transmission of Texts', ibid., 8-67]
  • 'Dirty Old Books', in Picturing Russia: Explorations in Visual Culture, ed. Valerie A. Kivelson and Joan Neuberger (New Haven and London: Yale U.P., 2008), 12-16
  • 'Znachenie drevnerusskoi pismennosti dlia istorii russkoi kulturi': Vestnik Rossiiskoi Akademii nauk 2008, no. 11, 1005-1010
  • 'Printing Moscow: Significances of the Frontispiece to the 1663 Bible', in: Slavonic and East European Review 88 (2010), 73-95
  • 'Printing and Social Control in Russia, 1: Passports', in: Russian History 37.3 (August 2010), 208-237
  • ‘Mapping the Graphosphere: Cultures of Writing in Early 19th-Century Russia (and Before)’, Kritika 12.3 (2011), 531-60
  • ‘Tekhnologiia vlasti v XVIII veke: o zarozhdenii i tipologii “svetskikh” pechatnykh blankov’, in: Trudy Gosudarstvennogo Ermitazha LXXI (St Petersburg: Izdatel’stvo Gosudarstvennogo Ermitazha, 2014), 372-383
  • ‘Printing and Social Control in Russia 3: Blank Forms’, Russian History 42/1 (2015): 114-135
  • ‘A Polyphony of Rules and Categories: the Case of Early Rus’, in: Legalism: Rules and Categories, ed. Paul Dresch and Judith Scheele (Oxford: OUP, 2015), 177-203
  • ‘K voprosu o malykh zhanrakh kirillicheskoi pechati’, in: 450 let Apostolu Ivana Fedorova. Istoriia rannego knigopechataniia v Rossii (pamiatniki, istochniki, traditsii izuchaniia), ed. D. N. Ramazanova (Moscow: Pashkov dom, 2016), 228-239
  • ‘Rost grafosfery v publichnom prostranstve (ok. 1450-1850 gg.)’ in: Trudy Instituta russkogo iazyka imeni V. V. Vinogradova. Vyp. 9 (Moscow: Institut russkogo iazyka RAN, 2016), 238-252
  • 'Three Types of Asymmetry in the Muscovite Engagement with Print’, Canadian-American Slavic Studies 51.2-3 (2017): 351-375