This is not the full update.
This merely describes the major technological breakthrough I made in 1200 AD. I've written about half of the military campaign update, but the rest will have to wait until tomorrow after I'm well rested. I hope this little bit tides you over until I finish the Russo-Chinese war.
The Great Renaissance
Though Moscow had become politically irrelevant during the feudal era, it was still the center of Russian culture and the nominal capital of all the Russian Empire, and nobody seriously questioned its place. The Great Library at Moscow was the wellspring of technological and philisophical progress, and anyone who had the money, the talent, and the academic inclination moved to Moscow to study under one of the many scholars that frequented the library's great halls.
So even as the empire drew apart, Moscow held the pieces together with intellectual and cultural ties that ran deeper than any struggle over taxation or governorship. However, the Tsar--and anyone else in Moscow who felt entitled to a unified empire--was worried about the fracturing grand duchies. In that climate of growing fear, many philosophers and historians began to question the nature of the social and civic order of their civilization. If certain trends were not reversed, many felt that the dissolution of Russia was as inevitable as the sunset.
In this climate, two directly opposed philisophical movements were born.
The first, Inevitabilism, was founded by the Indian nationalist Arya Samaj. In his master work, The Lifetime of a Nation, Samaj proposed that all of nature followed set temporal forms, and that nations were no exception. He believed that men and their affairs were bound to a single form known as the Aging; and hence, he believed that governments grew old and senile like men, and after years of decline and graying, they died and decomposed. He claimed that India had died, now Russia's turn was at hand, and that an enlightened government's greatest purpose was to smooth the otherwise violent transition from life to death.
The second, Denaturation, was founded by the Moscovian scholar Francis Bacon. In a three-volume series of essays colloquially known as The Bacon Books, Bacon claimed that the inevitable decline of empires was due to aspects of human nature which only existed in the poorly educated and "barbaric" souls of commoners. Futhermore, he believed that a perfect state would cultivate citizens who were educated and therefore "reborn" as beings of reason. Reasonable beings, he concluded, would recognize the obvious benefits of unity, and would reverse all the corrupt trends that undermined the growth and prosperity of a single world state.
Though Samaj's cynicism had its adherents, the vast majority of Russian philosophers grasped the optimism inherent in Bacon's otherwise classist social order, and they sought zealously for a way to implement Bacon's three "aspects of a perfect society."
1. Widespread education.
2. Passion for the state.
3. Rational control of will.
Bacon himself eventually left to Shanghai to found an academy, but not before convincing hundreds of young men to follow his model. On the day he made to leave, he supposedly told his favorite student, "A good first step is to teach the nobles. Then, in time, they will teach their serfs." Though this was an offhand comment, his student took it to heart. Within ten years, the world's first private university was founded in Moscow, with the advertised purpose of educating the nobles "so that in all things they may apply reason, and by example lead their people's to a better world."
Though nobody would name it for hundreds of years, not until long after the end of the Russo-Chinese war, the foundation of the University of Moscow was eventually considered the beginning of the Great Renaissance.
In 1200 AD, I discovered Education. This is a Renaissance technology, so the game switched over to the Renaissance Era. Education is a very powerful technology. It allows me to build Universities, the second big research bonus building (+25% beakers), and it allows me to build the Oxford University national wonder, which gives that particular city another +100% beaker boost.
It also leads to three very, very powerful technologies: gunpowder (guns!), Liberalism (a free technology!) and Economics (another trade route!). I can't wait to see where this leads. :]