What Was Russia in Ancient Times?

Russia, a vast country located in northern Eurasia, has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. The land that is now known as Russia was once home to several ancient civilizations that played an important role in shaping the country’s culture and traditions. In this article, we will take a closer look at what Russia was like in ancient times.

Ancient Civilizations of Russia

Russia is home to several ancient civilizations, including the Scythians, Sarmatians, and Slavs. These civilizations flourished between the 7th century BCE and the 4th century CE.

The Scythians were known for their skilled horsemanship and their fierce warriors who fought with bows and arrows. The Sarmatians were also skilled horsemen who lived in what is now modern-day Ukraine and southern Russia. They were famous for their beautiful gold ornaments and jewelry.

The Slavs were one of the most influential ancient civilizations in Russia. They were a group of tribes that lived in Eastern Europe and played a significant role in shaping Russian culture. The Slavs developed their own language and script, which eventually evolved into modern-day Russian.

The Rise of Kievan Rus

In the 9th century CE, a group of Slavic tribes united under the rule of Rurik, a Viking prince from Scandinavia. This led to the creation of Kievan Rus – one of the first states to emerge in Russia. The Kievan Rus was centered around Kiev (now the capital of Ukraine) and extended from modern-day Belarus to western Russia.

Under the rule of Prince Vladimir I, Kievan Rus became a powerful state with strong ties to Byzantine culture. Vladimir I converted to Orthodox Christianity in 988 CE, which helped establish Christianity as the dominant religion in Russia.

The Mongol Invasion

In 1237 CE, the Mongols invaded Russia and conquered the Kievan Rus. The Mongol invasion had a significant impact on Russian history and culture. The Mongols ruled over Russia for two centuries and left a lasting legacy on the country.

During this period, Russia was divided into several smaller states that were controlled by Mongol-appointed rulers known as Khans. However, despite the Mongol rule, Russia continued to develop its culture and traditions.

The Rise of Moscow

In the late 15th century, Moscow emerged as a powerful state in Russia. Ivan III, also known as Ivan the Great, became the Grand Prince of Moscow in 1462 CE and began consolidating power in his own hands. Under his rule, Moscow became a center of political and cultural power in Russia.

Ivan III also expanded Moscow’s territory by annexing neighboring states, including Novgorod and Tver. This expansion paved the way for Moscow to become the capital of a united Russian state.


Russia’s rich history dates back to ancient times when various civilizations flourished on its land. From the Scythians to Kievan Rus to modern-day Russia, each era has left its mark on Russian culture. By understanding this history, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the traditions and customs that make this country unique.