Muscovy's Soldiers

The Emergence of the Russian Army 1462-1689

Michael Fredholm von Essen

The early modern Russian army emerged from contacts with Mongols, the Caucasus, and Siberia, yet held its own against adversaries such as Sweden, Turkey, and China.
Publication date:
July 2018
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Century of the Soldier
Illustration :
60 b/w ills/photos 8pp colour plates, 3 maps, 4 tables
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781912390106

Dimensions : 248 X 180 mm
This book is temporarily out of stock.


• Describes the Mongol legacy of the early Muscovite army
• Explains, for the first time, the continuous impact of Oriental influences on the early modern Russian army including the conflict with Manchu China
• Details, for the first time, the Swedish military intelligence handbook on the Russian army from 1673/1674
• Describes the comprehensive military reforms of the Russian army before those of Tsar Peter the Great

The book describes and analyses the emergence of the early modern Russian army, before the military reforms introduced by Tsar Peter the Great brought it in line with developments in Western Europe. It will be shown that Tsar Peter's reforms, although decisive, rested on a legacy of previous reforms. Yet, the origin of the early modern Russian army can be found in the East, not the West. The close association during the Middle Ages with the Mongol Golden Horde had transformed the Muscovite military system into a Eurasian one. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, links with the Northern Caucasus and Siberia brought further Oriental influences into the Russian military system. While the Mongol legacy of the early Muscovite army has been described elsewhere, the real and continuous impact of Oriental influences in the early modern Russian army has not yet been detailed. Besides, the detailed information on the Russian army in 1673/1674 which can be found in the military handbook then produced by a Swedish intelligence officer has never been fully used in English-language works. This information shows that by the second half of the seventeenth century, Russia already had an army that although not up to date according to Western standards, still was able to hold its own against both Western and Eastern adversaries. The book ends with 1689, when Tsar Peter's reign began and Russia's border in the east with China was negotiated.


This is a great reminder that the Muscovite military system in its origins looked more to the East than to the West.
Military History Monthly

As usual, production quality is high, with well-written text and helpful illustrations…
Miniature Wargames - Chris Jarvis

A very good work if the English Civil War is your cup of tea!