Vasil Karazin Kharkiv National University, War and Ancient History
(Associate Proffessor, Vasil Karazin Kharkiv National University, Ukraine)
V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University is one of the largest universities in Ukraine, and earlier in the Russian Empire and Soviet Union. It was founded in 1804 and is the second oldest university in modern Ukraine. Now the university includes 19 schools, the Institute of High Technologies, several scientific institutes, the Museum of the History of the University, the Museum of Nature, the Museum of Archeology and an excellent scientific library with a collection of ancient manuscripts. Three Nobel laureates have graduated from the university. In 2021, according to QS World University Rankings, it was the best university in Ukraine and ranked 477th university in the world.
Since the university foundation, starting with its first rector Ivan Rizhsky, much attention has been paid to the study of ancient history, including the history of the Northern Black Sea region Greek cities (Tyra, Olbia, Chersonesos, the Bosporan kingdom). The Department of Classical and Medieval Studies conducted archaeological researches in the south of Ukraine and Crimea.
One of the most important areas, which, in particular, falls within the scope of my scientific interests, is the study of the Olbian polis (Nikolaev region) from the 6th century BC to 4th century AD. Olbian history is divided into two parts: the Greek period – from the 6th to the 1st century BC, i.e. from the moment of the polis foundation to the conquest and destruction of Olbia by the Getae, and the Roman period – from the 1st to the 4th century AD, associated with the entry of Olbia into the sphere of the Roman Empire influence. The rich burials of the archaic period from Olbia testify that Hellenic first settlers made up a local aristocracy, from which the next generations of citizens descended. Other groups of additional colonists, the “Epoikos”, were significantly curtailed in their rights, compared to the first settlers, and obeyed to already established rules and laws. Greek civil society joined together due to the common revered deities and its further development depended on the unity within the collective. Establishment of a permanent democratic system in Olbia in the first quarter of the 4th century BC led to the further spread of Hellenic traditions among the Hellenized barbarians. In the 1st century BC Olbian polis became the object of the Getae tribe invasion and was unable to recover its former borders. In the first centuries AD a Roman garrison and a small group of the population with the rights of Roman citizenship appeared in Olbia. Sharp changes in the general political situation in the Northern Black Sea region took place starting from the second quarter of the 3rd century AD. The invasions of the Goths with their allied tribes, and then the Huns, led to the destruction of Olbia, as well as some other cities of the Northern Black Sea region, which worsened the economic situation in the polis and led to the extinction of urban life in the 4th century AD. And yet, despite the difficult historical periods, the Olbian polis managed to preserve the self-government of the civil society and the cultural traditions of the Hellenic ethnos until the very end of its existence.
Ancient history, rich in complex twists and turns, teaches us to understand the true face of events. It proves that it is possible to resist an external threat by maintaining the unity and cultural traditions of the ethnic group. The current War in Ukraine interrupted not only scientific activities at Kharkiv University, but it destroyed the university itself, destroyed the infrastructure of the city and people’s lives.