Lights in the “Cimmerian Darkness”: Journey to Eastern Europe in the 15th Century

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Abstract. The article examines the journeys to Eastern Europe in the 15th century – in the period of “Dark Age” of the East Slavic Middle Ages. The author aims to observe the East   ern Europe in the 15th century from the perspective of people of that time in order to find out, how they structured their geographical and political space. The article presents infor   mation about eight travellers, some of them are well-known in the historiography (Gilbert de Lannoy, Metropolitan Isidor and etc.), the others (Johannes de Galonifontibus, “meister Johannes Rellach”) are provided to research community for the first time. For the first time in historiography the journey reports to Eastern Europe in 15th century were consid  ered through the systematic approach. Putting the question this way helps to understand, how the western people perceived this region. The research suggests that such percep   tion didn’t have the East-West divide, which we are used to. It had a form of the peculiar network structure of the important urban centres as the key points (Novgorod, Vilna, Kiev, Lvov, etc.) as well as historical regions. The establishment of the “new borderland” or the “new frontier” relates to another period – the “long 16th century”.

Keywords: Eastern Europe, East Slavic Middle Ages, trade routs, journeys, itineraries, borderland, frontier.

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