Mikhail Kutorga

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kutorga, Mikhail Semenovich


Born Apr. 6 (18), 1809, near Mogilev; died there May 26 (June 7), 1886. Russian historian; specialist in the history of ancient Greece. Corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1848).

Kutorga graduated from the University of St. Petersburg and the Dorpat Professorial Institute. In 1838 he defended his doctoral dissertation, “Attic Estates and Kinship Clans.” He taught at the University of St. Petersburg from 1835 to 1869 and at Moscow University from 1869 to 1874. During the 1840’s and 1850’s, Kutorga was active in public education, library science, and the popularization of history and was closely associated with the journal Sovremennik.

Kutorga’s principal works were devoted to the study of archaic and classical Greece, especially Athens, as well as to problems in medieval studies and historiography. In his study of antiquity he applied the critical methods first developed by the school of historians founded by the German scholar B. G. Niebuhr. Advanced for their time, these methods emphasized the critical analysis of source materials. Kutorga’s work on the crucial problems of the social and political history of antiquity was influenced by the French historians A. Thierry and F. Guizot (for example, “The Social Status of Slaves and Freedmen in the Athenian Republic,” Sobr. soch., vol. 1). Kutorga defended the reliability of the information provided by classical traditions concerning early historical periods.


Sobr. soch., vols. 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1894–96.


Alpatov, M. A. “Mirovozzrenie M. S. Kutorgi i ego kontseptsiia istorii Drevnei Gretsii.” Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1955, no. 3.
Madisson, J. “Molodoi Kutorga.” Uch. zap. Tartuskogo gos. un-ta: Trudy istoriko-filologicheskogo f-ta, 1956, issue 43.
Konstantinova, A. D. “Zhizn’ i nauchnaia deiatel’nost’ M. S. Kutorgi.” In Voprosy istoriografii vseobshchei istorii, issue 2. Kazan, 1967. Pages 80–122.
Konstantinova, A. D. “Obshchestvenno-politicheskie i istoriko-filosofskie vzgliady M. S. Kutorgi.” Op. cit., issue 3. Kazan, 1968. Pages, 113–44.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.