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16o SEER, 86, I, 2008 the often virulent theological divergences, rose above controversies by refusing to take sides, thus preserving their friendshipwith both conflicting parties. The last paper, twelve, by Christopher Giros, 'Pr?sence athonite ? Thessalonique, XIIIe-XVe si?cles' (pp. 255-78) deals with the property and administration of dependencies owned by differentmonastic foundations, known as metochia,used for the lodging of themonks who visited Thessalonike for the affairs of themonastery. The metochiausually comprised a church, lodgings for themonks, other annexes and a well, all these in an enclosed courtyard. The management of this property was in the hands of monks, though, when necessary, assisted by lay administrators. In the course of time these properties increased through donations, exchange, purchase, or con fiscation for non-repayment of loan. This expansion of monastic property, dating from the middle of the thirteenth centuiy onwards, and ranging from houses and shops, to vineyards, orchards and wine presses, encountered complications often leading to litigation. At other times the upkeep of immovable property proved too expensive, forcing themonastery to transfer these metochiato individuals for a specific time on condition that repairs were undertaken and completed before they were restored to the monastery. Giros's paper provides a wealth of detail that casts light not only on the actual management and holdings of the Athonite monasteries, but also on the topography of the city, the shape of itshouses, shops, open spaces and the occupation of its inhabitants, who ranged from doctors and lawyers, to master builders, masons, painters and saddlers. No less valuable is the information on cost of labour and materials. The volume ends with twoArchaeological Reports, 'The Amorium Project: Research and Excavation in 2000', by C. S. Lightfoot, Y. Mergen, B. Y. Olcay, and J. Witte-Orr, (pp. 279-97 w^m illustrations), and 'Excavations and Survey at Androna, Syria: The Oxford Team 2000', byMarlia Mundell Mango (pp. 293-97 with illustrations), followed by a brief report on the themes and conclusions of the Dumbarton Oaks Symposium held in 2002, entitled 'Realities in the Arts of theMedieval Mediterranean, 800-1500 (PP- 299-301). This volume on Late Byzantine Thessalonike, important and often thought provoking, is a most welcome contribution to scholarship. The Hellenic Institute J. Chrysostomides Royal Holloway, Universityof London Ransel, David L. and Shallcross, Bozena (eds). Polish Encounters, Russian Identity.Indiana-Michigan Series inRussian and East European Studies. Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis, 2005. vii + 218 pp. Maps. Notes. Index. $22.95 (paperback). The book under review is a collection of diverse essays set in different time periods and differentfields but nevertheless well connected through theirfocus on one important topic: the role of Poland and Poles in the development of Russian (as well as Soviet) identity. Poland and Russia are important as 'significantothers' which played key roles in their respective histories. Even if REVIEWS l6l one could argue thatRussia was more important forPoland than Poland for Russia, at least during the last two centuries, there seems to be a dispropor tionately stronger interest in the role of Russia in the construction of Polish identity than in the functionswhich Poland had for the development ofmodern Russian identity.Thus the book can be viewed as an important step in balancing an inequality in the study ofmutual perceptions of nations in Central and Eastern European culture. As all the essays in the volume demonstrate, for centuries, up until the time of the late Soviet Union, in cultural termsPoland was Russia's closest signifi cant European neighbour as well as a key intermediary in its relations with West European culture. Like Western Europe, Poland isperceived inRussia in a very ambivalent way, both as arrogant, haughty and often domineering but also as fascinating and culturally attractive. This collection of studieswell illustrates how, on the one hand, Poland was an important face of theWest toRussia, but on the other hand, as a Slavic country which had profound cultural and historical tieswith Russia, itwas not perceived as truly Western and alien. Paradoxically, Poland was, at least since the late eighteenth cen tury, not only a nation dominated by Russia, seen as a minor, often ignored actor, but also perceived at the same time as a dangerous, covert enemy...