Mongols in Russia. First strike

Batu invasion of Russia, miniature from the Life of Euphrosyne of Suzdal, XVII century

Having tested the strength of the Russian princes in the battle of Kalka, the Mongols took up more pressing matters.

1224-1236 Calm before the storm

The main direction in which the main forces were thrown was the Tangut kingdom of Xi Xia. The fighting here was already in the 1224 year, even before the return of Genghis Khan from the campaign to Khorezm, but the main campaign began in the 1226 year and was the last for Genghis Khan. By the end of that year, the Tangut state was almost defeated, only the capital was held, which was captured in August 1227 of the year, probably already after the death of Genghis. The death of the conqueror led to a decrease in the activity of the Mongols on all fronts: they were busy with the election of the new Great Khan, and despite the fact that Genghis Khan had appointed the third son of Ugadei as his successor, his election was not a formality at all.

Mongols in Russia. First strike

Only in the 1229 year was Ogedei proclaimed the Great Khan (until then, the empire was ruled by the youngest son of Genghis Tolui).

Ugadei's enthronement, miniature from the Codex of Rashid ad-Din, 14th century

Silver coin with the image of Khan Ogedei, Mongolia

With his election, the neighbors immediately felt the intensification of the Mongol onslaught. Three tumens were sent to the Caucasus to fight against Jalal ad-Din. Subedei went to avenge the Bulgars for his defeat. But Batu Khan, who, according to Genghis Khan’s will, was to inherit power in the Juchi ulus, took part in the war with the Jin state, which ended only in the 1234 year. According to its results, he received the administration of Pinyangfu Province.

Thus, the situation in these years was generally favorable for the Russian principalities: the Mongols seemed to have forgotten about them, giving time to prepare to repel the invasion. And the Bulgars, whose state still blocked the path to Russia for the Mongols, desperately resisted, held on until the 1236 of the year.

But the situation in the Russian principalities over the years did not improve, but worsened. And if for the battle on Kalka it was still possible to combine the forces of several large principalities, then in 1238, even in the face of an open and terrible threat, the Russian princes indifferently looked at the death of their neighbors. And the time allotted to Russia to prepare for a new meeting with the Mongols expired.

On the eve of the invasion

In the spring of 1235, a great kurultai was assembled in Talan-dub, on which, among others, a decision was made to march to the West against the “Aracuts and Circassians” (Russians and inhabitants of the North Caucasus) - “where do the hooves of the Mongol horses go.”

These lands, as Genghis Khan commanded, were to be part of the Juchi ulus, whose heir was finally approved by Batu Khan.

Batu Khan in the medieval Chinese drawing of the XIV century

According to Genghis Khan’s “testament”, four thousand indigenous Mongols, who were to form the backbone of the army, were transferred to the Jochi ulus. Subsequently, many of them will become the founders of the new aristocratic clans. The main part of the invasion army consisted of warriors of already conquered peoples, who were supposed to send 10% of combat-ready men to it (but there were also many volunteers).

Dramatis personae

Batu Khan at that time was about 28 years old (born in 1209 year), he was one of the 40 sons of Jochi, and from his second wife, and not the eldest. But his mother, Uki-Khatun, was the niece of Genghis's beloved wife, Borte. Perhaps this circumstance became decisive in the decision of Genghis Khan to appoint him as heir to Jochi.

Batu Khan, medieval Persian miniature

The actual commander of his army was the experienced Subudey: “a leopard with a chopped paw,” as the Mongols called him. And here the Russian principalities were clearly unlucky. Subudei is perhaps the best commander of Mongolia, one of the closest associates of Genghis Khan, and his methods of warfare have always been extremely cruel. The killing by the Russian princes of the Mongolian ambassadors before the battle on Kalka was also not forgotten by them, and did not add sympathy to the Russian princes and their subjects.

Monument to Subedai in Tuva, unveiled on 1 September 2017

It should be said that, in the end, the number of Mongols in the army of Batu Khan turned out to be significantly more than four thousand, since other noble Genghisides went on a campaign with him. Ogedei sent his sons Guyuk and Kadan to gain combat experience.

Ogedei Khan sits with his two sons, Guyuk and Kadan. Thumbnail from a Persian source "History Mongols ", XV century

Also, the son of Chagatai Baydar and his grandson Buri, the sons of Toluya Munke and Bujek, and even the last son of Genghis Kulhan, born not of Borte, but the mercenary Hulan, joined Batu.

Chagatai, the second son of Genghis and Borte, the keeper of Yasa. Modern Monument, Mongolia

Toluy and his elder wife Sorkhokhtani, mother of the Khans Munke, Khubilai, Ilkhan Khulagu, Persian miniature

Despite the strict order of the parents, other Genghisides considered directly subordinate to Batu Khan below their dignity, and often acted independently of it. That is, they could sooner be called Baty’s allies than his subordinates.

As a result, Genghisides quarreled among themselves, which had far-reaching consequences. “The Secret Legend of the Mongols” (“Yuan Chao Bi Shi”) reports on the complaint that Batu Khan sent to the Great Khan Ugedei.

At the feast he had arranged before returning from the campaign, he, as the eldest among the Genghisides present, “drank the first cup of the feast”. Guyuk and the Storms, who left the feast very much, didn’t like it, offending the owner before it:
“And away they left an honest feast, and then Storm said, leaving:
"Desired to be with us
Bearded old women.
They would poke their heels,
And then I’ll trample my feet! ”
"To beat, or something, a good old woman, whose quivers hung on their belts!" - Guyug haughtily echoed him.
"And hang up wooden tails!" - added Argasun, the son of Elzhigday.
Then we said: “If we came to fight foreign aliens, shouldn’t we strengthen the accord among ourselves amicably ?!”
But no, Guyug and Storms did not heed the mind and the honest feast left, scolding. Reveal, Khan, now to us your will! "
After hearing the envoy Bata, Ugadei Khan became furious. ”

Guyuk will not forget this letter of Batu Khan, and will not forgive him the wrath of his father. But more on that later.

Beginning of the campaign

In the 1236 year, the Volga Bulgaria was finally conquered, and in the autumn of the 1237 year the Mongol army first entered the borders of the Russian land.

“Scolding of the pious with the unholy Baty”, medieval Russian miniature

Having proclaimed his goal “a trip to the last sea”, “where the hooves of the Mongol horses will reach,” Batu Khan moved his troops not to the west, but to the north and north-east of the ancient Russian state.

The defeat of the principalities of Southern and Western Russia can easily be explained by the further campaign of the Mongols in Europe. In addition, the squads of precisely these Russian lands fought in 1223 with the Tumens of Subedai and Jebe at the Kalki River, and their princes were directly responsible for the murder of the ambassadors. But why did the Mongols "make a detour" by entering the lands of the northeastern principalities? And was it necessary to do this?

Recall that the forests of central Russia for the Mongols and the steppes of other tribes involved in their campaign were an unfamiliar and alien environment. And the Genghisides did not want the grand princely thrones of Moscow, Ryazan or Vladimir, the Horde khans did not send their children or grandchildren to rule in Kiev, Tver and Novgorod. The next time the Mongols would come to Russia only in the 1252 year (Nevryuev’s army to the northeast, the Kuremsa army, and then Burundai to the west), and only because the adopted son of Batu Khan, Alexander Yaroslavich, informed him about the anti-Mongol the intentions of brother Andrew and Daniel Galitsky. In the future, the Horde khans will be literally drawn into Russian affairs by the warring princes, who will demand from them to be arbiters in their disputes, to solicit (and even buy) punitive armies of all kinds of princes. But until that time, the Russian principalities did not pay tribute to the Mongols, confining themselves to one-time gifts when visiting the Horde, and therefore some researchers say that Russia was re-conquered in 1252-1257, or even consider this conquest to be the first (considering the previous military campaign as raid).

Batu Khan, indeed, very soon became not up to Russia: in the 1246 year, his enemy Guyuk was elected the Great Khan, who in the 1248 year even went on a campaign against the cousin's ulus.

Guyuk Khan on holiday. Miniature from the Tarih-e-Jehangush Juvaini

Batu was saved only by the sudden death of Guyuk. Until that time, Batu Khan was extremely merciful to the Russian princes, treated them more likely as allies in a possible war, and did not demand tribute. The exception was the execution of the Chernigov prince Mikhail, who, the only one of the Russian princes, refused to go through the traditional rites of purification and thereby offended the khan. At the 1547 Council of the year, Michael was canonized as a martyr for the faith.

Veil "Holy Right Prince Mikhail of Chernigov", church sewing, 1660 years

The situation changed only after the election of the Great Khan Munke, who, on the contrary, was a friend of Batu, and therefore historians who consider the "yoke" a forced union of Russia and the Horde justify the actions of Alexander Yaroslavich, saying that Andrei and Daniil Galitsky were late with their speech.

Han Munke

Batu Khan was no longer afraid of a blow from the Karakorum, and therefore a new invasion of the Mongols could become for Russia, truly, catastrophic. Having “headed” it, Alexander saved the Russian lands from even more terrible defeat and ruin.

The first Horde khan to completely subjugate Russia is Berke, who was the fifth ruler of the Jochi ulus and was in power from 1257 to 1266. It was under him that the Basques came to Russia, and it was his rule that marked the beginning of the notorious “Tatar-Mongol yoke”.

So viewers saw Khan Berke in the TV series "Golden Horde"

But back to 1237 year.

Usually they say that Batu Khan did not dare to go to the West, having on the right flank the unshattered and hostile principalities of the Northeast. However, the northeastern and southern Russian principalities were ruled by different branches of the Monomashich, who were at war with each other. This was perfectly known to all neighbors, and the Mongols could not know about it. Both the Volga Bulgars conquered earlier and the merchants who visited Russia could tell them about the situation in the Russian principalities. Subsequent events showed that, striking the northeastern lands, the Mongols were completely not afraid of the Kiev, Pereyaslav and Galich squads.

As for the Western campaign, it is clear that it is more profitable to have neutral, if not friendly, then neutral states, and, given the complex relations of the Russian Monomashites, the Mongols could hope, at least, for the neutrality of Vladimir and Ryazan. If, however, they really wanted to defeat the potential allies of the South Russian princes before, then it must be recognized that this goal was in 1237-1238. has not been reached. Yes, the blow was very strong, the losses of the Russians were great, but their armies did not cease to exist, others took the place of the dead princes, from the same dynasty, rich and strong Novgorod remained unharmed. And the losses in manpower were not too large, since the Mongols did not yet know how to catch people who took refuge in the forests. They will learn only in the 1293 year, when the soldiers of the third son of Alexander Nevsky, Andrei, will actively help them in this (this is why the army brought by him to Dudenev was so remembered by the Russians, and the children were scared of “Duduk” in Russian villages in the 20th century).

In 1239, the new Grand Duke Vladimir of Yaroslav Vsevolodovich had a large and quite combat-ready army, with whom he made a successful campaign against the Lithuanians, and then captured the city of Kamenetz of the Chernigov Principality. Theoretically, it could have become even worse, because now the Russians had a reason to strike from the rear in order to take revenge. But, as we see and know, the hatred between the princes was stronger than the hatred of the Mongols.

Mongols at the borders of the Ryazan land

Opposing information about the Mongol attack on Ryazan lands has been preserved.

On the one hand, it tells about the desperate resistance of proud Ryazan and the unshakable position of its prince, Yuri Ingvarevich. Many from school years remember his answer to Batu: "When we are gone, then take everything."

On the other hand, it is reported that the Mongols, at first, were ready to be satisfied with the traditional tribute in the form of “tithes in everything: in people, in princes, in horses, in the tenth.” And in the "Tale of the Ruin of Ryazan Batu", for example, it is said that the council of the Ryazan, Murom and Pronsky princes decided to enter into negotiations with the Mongols.

"The Tale of the Ruin of Ryazan Batu"

Yuri Ingvarevich, indeed, sent his son Fedor with rich gifts to Batu Khan. Justifying this act, historians later said that in this way the Ryazan prince tried to buy time, because at the same time he asked for help from Vladimir and Chernigov. But at the same time, he missed the Mongolian ambassadors to the Grand Duke of Vladimir Yuri Vsevolodovich, and perfectly understood that he could conclude an agreement behind his back. And Ryazan did not receive any help from anyone. And, perhaps, only the incident at the khan's feast that ended in the death of his son prevented Yuri Ryazansky from concluding an agreement. After all, the Russian annals claim that at first Batu Khan received the young prince very graciously and even promised him not to go to Ryazan lands. This was possible only in one case: Ryazan at least has not yet refused to pay the required tribute.

The mysterious death of the Ryazan embassy in the headquarters of Batu Khan

But then suddenly there is the assassination of Fyodor Yuryevich and the "eminent people" accompanying him at Batyi headquarters. But the Mongols respected the ambassadors, and the reason for their killing should have been very serious.

The strange, simply monstrous demand of the "wives and daughters" of the Ryazan ambassadors, nevertheless, seems to be a literary fiction that hides the true meaning of this incident. After all, the Horde khans never made such demands on the Russian princes completely submissive to them.

Even if we assume that one of the hungry Mongols (the same Guyuk or Storms), who wanted to end the negotiations and start the war, suddenly shouted such words at the feast, deliberately provoking ambassadors, the refusal of the guests could be a reason for breaking up relations, but not reprisals them.

Perhaps, in this case, there was a tragic misunderstanding of the traditions and customs of the first meeting of representatives of different nations. Something in the behavior of Fyodor Yuryevich and his people could seem to the Mongols defiant and inappropriate, and provoke a conflict.

The easiest way to imagine their refusal to go through the ritual of purification by fire is a must when visiting the yurt of the khan. Or, a refusal to bow to the image of Genghis Khan (this plan is reported, for example, by Plano Carpini). For Christians, such idolatry was unacceptable, for the Mongols it would be a terrible insult. That is, Fedor Yurievich could have anticipated the fate of Mikhail Chernigov.

There were other bans that the Russians simply could not know about. Genghis Khan’s “Jasa” forbade, for example, stepping her foot on the ashes of a bonfire, because the soul of a deceased family member or clan leaves traces on it. It was impossible to pour wine or milk on the ground - it was considered as a desire to harm the dwelling or livestock of the owners with the help of magic. It was forbidden to step on the threshold of the yurt and enter the yurt with weapons, or with rolled up sleeves, it was impossible to urinate, before entering the yurt, sitting on the north side of the yurt and changing the place indicated by the owner. And any treat served to the guest must be accepted with both hands.

Recall that this was the first meeting of Russians and Mongols at such a level, and there were no one to tell Ryazan ambassadors about the intricacies of Mongolian etiquette.

The fall of Ryazan

Subsequent events Russian chronicles, apparently, are transmitted, right. Ryazan ambassadors died in the Batu Khan headquarters. The wife of the young prince Fyodor Eupraxia, in a state of passion, could very well have thrown herself from the roof with her young son in her arms. The Mongols went to Ryazan. Eupatiy Kolovrat, who came from Chernigov “with a small squad”, could attack the rearguard units of the Mongols between Kolomna (the last city of the Ryazan principality) and Moscow (the first city of the land of Suzdal).

In The Legend of Kolovrat, perhaps the most shameful historical film in the history of Russian and Soviet cinema, Fedor Yurievich bravely fights with the Mongols in front of the transvestite-looking Batu Khan, and his retinue, led by the boyar Yevpata, boldly runs away , leaving the protected person to the mercy of fate. And then Kolovrat, apparently realizing that for this Prince Yuri Ingvarevich, at best, hangs him on the nearest aspen, hangs around the forests for several days, waiting for the fall of his city. But let's not talk about sad things, because we know that everything was completely wrong.

Prince Fedor Yuryevich Ryazansky and Eupraxia before the Mother of God

Evpatiy Kolovrat, a monument in Ryazan

“Ruin ​​of the Ryazan Land”, A miniature from the front annalistic vault of the 16th century. Russian National Library

Having defeated the Ryazan troops that came out against them in a border battle (three princes died in it - Murom David Ingvarevich, Kolomna Gleb Ingvarevich and Pronsky Vsevolod Ingvarevich), the Mongols captured Pronsk, Belgorod-Ryazansky, Dedoslavl, Izheslavets, and then, after Pyatyandalov Ovyazladov, five-yards . Together with the townspeople, the family of the Grand Duke perished.

Deshalyt E.I. The heroic defense of Old Ryazan from the Mongol-Tatar troops in 1237 (diorama). Ryazan Kremlin

Kolomna will soon fall (the son of Genghis Kulhan will die here), Moscow, Vladimir, Suzdal, Pereyaslavl-Zalessky, Torzhok ...

In total, during this campaign, 14 Russian cities will be taken and destroyed.

"The capture and ruin of the Mongol-Tatars of Moscow in 1238." Thumbnail from the front annalistic vault, XVI century. Russian National Library

"The capture of Suzdal by Batu." Thumbnail from the front annalistic vault, XVI century. Russian National Library

We will not retell the history of Batu Khan’s campaigns on Russian lands, it is well known, we will try to consider two strange episodes of this invasion. The first is the defeat of the Russian squads of the Grand Duke of Vladimir on the River City. The second is an incredible seven-week defense of the small town of Kozelsk.

And let's talk about this in the next article.
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