Man who built bridge from Byzantium to modern times

By Vestnik Kavkaza
Man who built bridge from Byzantium to modern times

On January 3, President of the History Department of Lomonosov Moscow State University, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a member of the Presidium of the Russian Historical Society, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Sergey Pavlovich Karpov, delivered a report titled 'Reflections on the understanding of history' at Lomonosov Moscow State University. The report was timed to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the outstanding scientist.

"It's not about philosophy or methodology, it's about certain aspects of understanding history, an understanding which has nothing to do with scientism, a historiographical glass bead game and abstract theorizing with a heap of pretentious words. As a specialist in the Western European and Byzantine Middle Ages, I was not going to specifically deal with historical theory issues. Only discussions about the crisis of historical science, the constant and persistent demands of society on historians to assess current events and phenomena prompt reflections on the understanding of history, its capabilities, its role," Karpov said.

All the pedagogical, administrative and scientific activities of Sergey Karpov are connected with the historical department, where he went from a student to a dean. Heading the historical department from 1995 to 2015, Karpov has done a great deal to significantly update its structure. New divisions determining the development of humanitarian thought and reflecting social changes in the country were created.

In 2016, Sergei Karpov was appointed president of the History Department by the order of the rector of Moscow State University Viktor Sadovnichy. The rector of Moscow State University, Academician Viktor Sadovnichy, thanked Sergey Pavlovich for his long-term, fruitful scientific and pedagogical activity for the benefit of the university and in connection with the anniversary.

"The star of Sergei Pavlovich was bright and unexpected for the outside world. For many years he headed the history department, the classical university together with Yuri Stepanovich Kukushkin, and before that with Ivan Antonovich Fedosov. Of course, it was a fundamental faculty, but still it was a faculty, which was more focused on the study of history from the point of view that existed at that time. In 1995, Yuri Stepanovich wished to resign, and then all turned to Sergei Pavlovich. A talented scientist, eloquent person who already enjoyed a great reputation among scientists, was supported and became dean of the history department," the MSU rector Viktor Sadovnichy said.

Sergey Karpov is widely known in Russia and abroad as an outstanding medievalist, educator and public figure. His research findings were reflected in more than 480 scientific publications in Russian and many other European languages. Karpov has a wide scope of scientific interests: Italy and the Black Sea region in the Middle Ages, Byzantium, archival studies and the study of medieval manuscripts.

"We all know that Byzantine studies have always been the heaviest obedience in history. Only those who were endlessly devoted to history and could cast much in life aside are able to become real Byzantinists. Sergei Pavlovich followed this path. Of course, Byzantine studies in our country is a school, a study of traditions. Traditions are essential for a historian, and Sergei Pavlovich, of course, is a person who devoted to the traditions of Russian Byzantine studies," the vice president of the Russian Academy of Sciences Nikolai Makarov said.

"We are grateful to Sergey Pavlovich for the school of life, history, his constant devotion to work, the faculty, the Moscow University. Sergei Pavlovich dealt with problems, about which not many people thought about at that time - Byzantium. It was a long time before we all understood great intentions of Sergei Pavlovich and the greatness of God's plan, because Byzantium is the source of our culture, our spirituality. Sergei Pavlovich built a bridge from the Byzantine Empire to modern times for all our historical science, and not just historical science, but for our society. The bridge, which we really need and which helps us a lot," the chairman of the State Duma Committee on Education and Science, Vyacheslav Nikonov, said.

For outstanding services to domestic science, Sergei Karpov was awarded the Order of Saint Stanislaus of the 1st degree.