By Paul Wickenden of Thanet
While it is certainly true that period Russians, like most medieval Europeans, had a fairly business-like attitude towards marriage and that love was rarely a deciding factor in determining a union, it would be extreme to state that romantic love (and even lust) did not exist in period. Archaeologists, digging in Novgorod, have uncovered hundreds of pieces of birch bark which contain period official communications (letters and orders) as well as numerous more pedestrian shopping lists, children's drawings, and even love letters. All of these "documents" are period and provide us with great insight into medieval Novgorodan life.
Perhaps the steamiest find yet is a piece (cataloged as #521) uncovered in 1974 and dated to the late 14th century that reads: "What fire in my heart, and my body and my soul for you and your body and your person, let it set fire to your heart and your body and your soul for me, and for my body, and for my person."