Reviews

Professor Zeleneev of Mari State University traces the impact of the Mongol conquest on the Mordvins from the thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries.  Initially the Mongol incursion had disastrous economic consequences, evidenced archeologically by the depopulation of Mordvins territories and the dispersion of their inhabitants.  Later the Mordvins participated in Mongol campaigns.  By the end of the thirteenth and beginning of the fourteenth centuries the Mordvins had recovered and even expanded their zone of occupation. In particular, the new multi-ethnic city of Mokhshi, comprised of Mordvins and Tatar, “pagan” and Muslim elements, even hosted a Jöchid Ulus mint.  Zeleneev led archaeological expeditions in Mokshi in the 1980s and 1990s.  In the fifteenth century the Mordvins were divided, some coming under Muscovite rule, others falling within the purview of the new Kazan Khanate, and as a result fought on behalf of both polities.  Zeleneev doubts that the Mordvins ever constituted a separate ulus.  Zeleneev is very strong on delineating the geographic zone occupied by the Mordvins, but his greatest forte is, of course, his summary of the excavations of Mokshi.  He makes very interesting comments on the absence of town-planning, and examines the cemetery.  More space might profitably have been devoted to presenting the results of this archaeological research instead of observations on the “feudalisation” of the Jöchid Ulus.  This article would have much benefited from a map and archaeological illustrations.

Charles Halperin, Indiana University, Bloomington
CER: I-3.2.B-202