More than simply a catch-all, the “Black Sea” pulls together the multiple civilizations that have populated the littoral, ranging freely from Bolgars on the Danube with the “relatives” on the Volga, to Genoese traders, to the short-lived kingdom of Trabzon.
The Caucasus became absolutely central to the Russian Imperial Imagination.
The Mongol Conquest, circa 1240-1480. During these years, the Russian principalities were absorbed into the Qipchak Khanate, but retained a high degree of cultural and religious independence. Novgorod, for example, remained its own entity; all paid tribute to the khan in Sarai.
This is were it all began, with antiquarians collecting coins. P. S. Savelev pressed the archeology over the numismatics in organizing the Russian Archeological Society. Coins became much more than collectors’ items, though, transforming into indicators of economic contacts and the evolution of states. By 1902 archeologists were producing maps of where different types of coins had been found.