Map with the ancestral home of the Slavs and their settlement in the Early Middle Ages. Volyn is located just in the middle of this alleged ancestral home.
The Galicia-Volyn principality on the Internet is a kind of paradox. Not much has been written about him than about other parts of Russia, a serious study of it stories It began relatively recently, and before that there were only short, episodic studies that at best superficially covered the history of this region from the Middle Ages. At the same time, the attitude to the very combination of the words “Galicia” and “Volhynia” is obviously biased for many people and, as a rule, reaches extremes: from great enthusiasm to great neglect, despite the fact that both those who express enthusiasm and those who express neglect, usually know a little more than nothing. So, in the network you can find “reliable information” that the Romanovichi state was Uniate and that it was from it that the Greek Catholic Church went. Why then did the Brest Union of 1596 be needed - the question in this case is rhetorical .... And there are plenty of such moments.
However, there is a reason for this, and quite significant - in fact, there is no simple history of Southwest Russia before it was included in the crown of Poland. Until now, some sufficiently detailed, but at the same time simple and understandable set of information has not come to light, and all the materials that can shed light on this question are either required to be found first, or they are simply not yet available and remain unknown . Two other factors do not simplify matters. The first is the relative inaccessibility of truly high-quality historical sources - they must be sought purposefully, an accidental encounter is practically excluded. The second factor boils down to a very complicated historical process at times, which simply does not have a single description in different sources. For example, when writing the current cycle, I had to come across four (at least) descriptions of what happened after the death of Roman Mstislavich in Galich. Similar in general, they differed in the details and sequence of minor events, as a result of which, in order to form a coherent and understandable picture, we had to make assumptions and some simplifications to make everything clear to the ordinary reader.
It was to fill the gap in the general history of South-Western Russia that it was decided to write a series of articles on the history of the Galicia-Volyn land in a broad sense - from ancient times to its absorption by Lithuania and Poland. Everything will be told as simple and clear as possible, but at the same time without omitting important and interesting details. And the story will begin from afar, from the middle of the first millennium, namely from the details that interest us, which can complement the understanding of what was going on in this region before the Rurikovich ...
If the world is a theater, then what is the scene?
The whole world is a theater. There are women in it, men are all actors. They have their own exits, cares, And each one plays a role
If you follow the words of the great British poet and playwright, then we can say that the history of the world in general, and the history of Galicia and Volhynia in particular, are one big idea. In this case, certain territories turn into scenes on which the main action unfolds. Therefore, it will be appropriate, before moving on to people and their actions, to briefly describe the territory on which the main action will unfold. So it will be easier to understand in what conditions the events took place, their nature and basis.
According to the most popular and probable theory about the ancestral home of the Slavs, the ancestors of all modern Slavic peoples once lived in the interfluve of the Vistula and the Dnieper. As a rule, the modern Belarusian swamps are called the northern border of this ancestral home, and the boundary between the steppe and forest-steppe is the southern border. Galicia and Volyn are located approximately in the middle of this territory, i.e. definitely belong to the ancestral home of the Slavs. This immediately determines a number of important conditions that need to be remembered in the future: the Slavs, or rather, their individual tribes, lived on this territory for a very long time, settled it, developed, mastered, built complex economic relations between different settlements, etc. In addition, geographically, this region was closer to Western Europe than the rest of Russia, and therefore faster perceived many trends and technologies. At the same time, the Steppe was still nearby, and therefore the principality remained open to influence from the East.
Thus, it is not surprising that, in some respects, the development of these territories could outrun, for example, the development of many other regions of Russia, which were settled by the Slavs later, or experienced significant external pressure, as was the case with the glades in the region modern Kiev. In addition, geography determined a fairly high protection against large-scale outside intrusions. From the West, the region was covered for a long time by impassable forests, and only along the Western Bug could the Poles get into the Volyn lands. In the north there were impassable Polesie swamps, from the south - the Carpathians, which were the natural border between Hungary and Russia. Only in the east were the territories open enough for large invasions from the steppes or the Dnieper, but there was also a kind of buffer in the form of tribes of the Bokhovites, who, until the end of their existence, had their own opinions about who ruled their land and resisted the rule of the Rurikovich (or at least Rurikovich from other principalities).
The potential of this territory was extremely large. In the era of agrarian economies, it was agriculture that determined the welfare of the local population - and for its rapid development, all the conditions were here. The rivers on the northeastern slopes of the Carpathians at that time were full of water, the land yielded good crops, the forests were full of game. Apparently, by the time of accession to the state of Vladimir the Great, these territories were quite densely populated, and therefore economically they represented a tidbit. In the coming years, all aspects of economic activity were rapidly developing here, but first of all - animal husbandry, beekeeping and gardening, of which the largest number of references has been preserved. However, there are periodic references to other household affairs and crafts: foundry and jewelry, wheat cultivation, pottery, etc. The fairly rapid growth of cities in this region contributed to the development of crafts, as a result of which chroniclers very actively mention masters of various specialties.
Already at the beginning of the XIII century, the export of lamb skins amounted to thousands, and local horse breeding, which was carried out mainly by hired representatives of the steppe peoples, provided not only the needs of the troops, but also a substantial profit from the sale of horses to neighbors. In addition, rich deposits of salt were concentrated on the territory of the Galician land, which was mined and transported both in Russia and to the west, to neighboring countries. Finally, an important trade route from the Baltic to the Black Sea passed through Galich, going along the Vistula River to the south, and then passing to the Dniester, which was navigable at that time, on the banks of which the city of Galich stood. Even when the Path from the Varangians to the Greeks died down, this branch of the Amber Road continued to exist and brought big profits to those who controlled it. Finally, three-field farming came to Southwest Russia earlier than its other territories, significantly increasing the efficiency of agriculture - it seems that it was taken from Poland somewhere between the middle of the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries, while it appeared in the Novgorod and Moscow states only in the XV century. All this suggests that in the Middle Ages Galicia and Volhynia were very rich regions, the possession of which promised considerable benefits, which inevitably gave rise to constant conflicts over the possession of this land, and provided significant potential for a hypothetical state that could arise in the South-West Russia.
And what are the actors?
The social development of Southwest Russia repeated what happened among the Eastern Slavs as a whole, but with some differences that brought Galicia and Volyn closer to Novgorod land - another region where the Slavs lived a long time ago, and managed to not only noticeably develop in terms of development territory, but also in terms of the progress of society. Initially, of course, it all started with a tribal system. Each clan, as a rule, founded a hillfort and cultivated a certain territory of the earth, and over time, the clan-hill forts began to unite in more or less permanent tribal unions. From among the community members, even before the unification of Russia, it was distinguished to know - “sculpted”, “best” people, the richest and most influential representatives of local society. At first they were truly the voice of the people, and defended exclusively the interests of the community, since their own wealth and position of the nobility depended strongly on the will of the national assembly, the eternity. Veche could either endow a noble person with power and wealth, or deprive him of everything and expel him for any misconduct. For a long time this predetermined the preservation of the integrity of the community, the absence of a pronounced antagonism in it, as a result of which the community members acted as a united front on important issues, be they representatives of the nobility, or ordinary citizens or free peasants. Later, already in the time of Russia, representatives of the local nobility would be called boyars, and as influence and prosperity accumulated, they would nevertheless gradually separate from the community, sometimes using it for their own purposes, and sometimes even entering into a confrontation with it.
After generations, the development of the social system led to the formation of a kind of vertical power, tied to settlements. The smallest ones that did not have their own political will were villages and ancient settlements that formed rural communities and generally retained signs of a tribal society. Suburbs with their communities stood a little higher - large settlements, by the standards of their time - full-fledged cities. Despite a rather high degree of development, a large (again by the standards of the time) population and quite active development of handicraft production, they still remained dependent, although they already had their own well-established boyars. Above these suburbs stood the main city, it is the capital city, where, as a rule, the prince sat, and whose nobility was "the highest state elite." The largest cities of this kind in the southwest were Galich and Vladimir-Volynsky, both of which were founded already under Rurikovich. A little smaller were the much older Cherven and Przemysl, which formed a network of suburbs and rural communities around them even before the advent of the Rurikovich. Over time, their suburbs could grow stronger and become cities themselves - for example, the same Galich himself was originally only a suburb of Przemysl. All this formed a structure reminiscent of ancient Greek city-states, as modern historians have repeatedly mentioned, with the reservation, of course, that the similarities are only the most common. Such a structure was found almost throughout the territory of Russia since the Middle Ages, but in the South-West it has probably reached its greatest development.
The difference between the Galicia-Volyn land from most of the territories of Russia (with the exception of Novgorod again) was that the local boyars had already been developing for many generations by the time the united state was created, deeply rooted, and was much stronger than, for example, in Kiev, Smolensk or elsewhere. In addition, the process of decomposition into a single community has already been launched - both rural and urban. The boyars gradually gained wealth and strength, reaching the point where they were already free to manipulate the mood of the community, or even completely fight it. Around the end of the XII century, all the conditions for the existence of the boyars and the community separately were already formed, signs of which began to meet more and more often, especially against the background of the turbulent political history of this region. In Novgorod, a similar process led to a weakening of the prince's role and the formation of the republic; certain trends also existed in Galich. The strength of the local boyars along with the development of his ambitions led to a clash with the interests of the Rurikovich communities and princes, which over and over again led to aggravations and problems. And if you add to this the strife that goes on among the Rurikovichs themselves, you get a completely unimaginable political mess, worthy of the best seasons of the Game of Thrones. On such a magnificent and richly decorated stage, the performance simply had to turn into such an impressive action that a harsh real world would more than interest any fiction of contemporary authors. However, first things first ...
About Ants, Goths, God and the rest
Prior to the formation of united Russia, a large number of different tribes lived in and around Volyn. Little is known about some of them, more about others. In general, there is not much information, but some conclusions can be drawn from it. First of all, this information is associated with the tribes of Duleb, Buzhan and Volhynians, who lived in the territory of present-day Galicia and Volhynia from the XNUMXth to the XNUMXth centuries AD. Some historians describe them as different tribes that replaced each other, while others are inclined to believe that all three names belong to the same tribe, possibly to different parts of it, or at different times. There were also smaller tribes that played a role in the history of the region: the Bokhovtsy, worms, streets, Tivertsi; some territories of the future Galicia-Volyn principality were also inhabited by Drevlyans, Dregovichi, and White Croats. Nevertheless, the Buzhanians (Volhynians) remained the most numerous at any moment of time, and the two most interesting episodes from the history of Southwest Russia from the Early Middle Ages are associated with them.
The first dates back to the end of the 70th century AD. The historian Jordan, talking about the Ostrogoth war with the Ants, mentions the leader God, who won a number of victories over the Goths, but in the end his troops were defeated, and he himself was captured with his sons and 375 elders. They were all crucified by order of the Ostrogoth king Vitimir, who defeated God. God himself is attributed by modern historians to the Buzhan tribe, which did not prevent him from leading the army of the Antsky Union and being defeated on the territory of the Left Bank of the Dnieper. With a very brief mention and the absence of numerous details from this episode, we can already draw a definite conclusion. The Ants in general, and the Buzhan in particular, had already gone far enough in the process of decomposition of primitive society by the year XNUMX, since they had formed the military nobility (who undoubtedly were the elders mentioned) and had their own leader. For the Slavs of those times, this was a sign of a very high degree of development.
The second episode is difficult to determine chronologically, but it can be dated no later than the beginning of the XNUMXth century. The Arab geographer Al-Masudi wrote about certain tribes of the “Valinan” and “Dulibi” (Volhynians and Dulebov), which King Madjak once ruled. If we discard possible exaggerations and mistakes made due to ignorance of local realities, then from the text you can make a very definite and logical picture of past times with respect to the author. Volynians were one of the indigenous Slavic tribes, from which all the others had once left, which fits well with the theory of the ancestral home of the Slavs. During the time of the leader (king) of Madzhak, they ruled over all the Slavs, but soon other tribes became stronger, strife began, and a powerful tribal union crumbled. How similar this picture is to the truth is a rhetorical question, since the times are too long and nobody canceled the effect of the damaged phone, and the name “Majak” is uncharacteristic for the Slavs, to put it mildly. Nevertheless, from scratch, such a story, most likely, could not have arisen, and therefore one can draw another conclusion that since ancient times, the territory of Volyn was inhabited by highly developed Slavic tribes that had one way or another influence on the territories surrounding them. With fairly serious assumptions, one can even assume that the times of “King Madjak” were somehow connected with the Antsky Union, which clearly included the Volyn-Buzhan people, and who could play a significant, if not leading, role in it.
However, these are just assumptions and rather shaky information from sources that are not of the nature of the ultimate truth. On this, conversations of the “one grandmother said” level about South-Western Russia can be completed by finally imagining what happened there until the X century of our era and which territories then became part of Russia. Therefore, after a brief acquaintance with the legends of antiquity, you can switch to closer times, which are much more known, - the period of unification of East Slavic lands under the rule of the Rurikovich dynasty.
Speaking of sources
Usually in such cycles, a list of sources is given either under each article or at the very end. However, anticipating an ambiguous reaction from uninitiated readers, I publish a list of sources on which the current cycle is based, at the very beginning, in the first material, in order to make it clear that all descriptions and logical constructions are not based on nothing.
In general, as already mentioned above, the whole cycle is only an attempt to bring everything together and give the most general, but integral picture of the history of the development of South-West Russia in the Middle Ages, and therefore each person who desired more details can safely get acquainted with them, having studied materials from the current list. Despite the fact that the names are given in Russian, a significant part of these materials is written in the Ukrainian language, and among the historians are Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Poles and one Kazakh. It is also worth noting that in different works an absolutely opposite point of view on the same question can be given, therefore, those who want to study the topic in more detail will have to think and choose for themselves which version is more plausible for them. I will draw up a description of historical events from my analysis and the conclusions arising from it.
Mayorov A.V. Galician-Volyn Rus. Essays on socio-political relations in the pre-Mongol period. Prince, boyars and urban community.
Kupchinsky O. Acts and documents of the Galicia-Volyn principality of the XII - the first half of the XIV centuries.
Mayorov A.V. Was Daniil Galitsky a participant in the Battle of Leyte?
Voloshuk M.M. Hungarian presence in Galicia in 1214-1219.
Stefanovich P. S. Fidelity in the relations of the prince and the squad in the XII-XIII centuries.
Mayorov A.V. From the history of foreign policy of Galicia-Volyn Rus during the time of Roman Mstislavich.
Dombrowski D. Galician-Volyn annals about the death of the King of Germany Philip of Swabia and the fate of St. Elizabeth of Hungary.
Froyanov I. Ya. Galitsko-Volyn Rus: between Byzantium, the Mongols and Rome (achievements and problems of recent historiography).
Kripyakevich I. Galicia-Volyn principality.
The Galician-Volyn Chronicle.
Mayorov A.V. Daniil of Galitsky and the Crusade to Prussia.
Mayorov A.V. Daniil Galitsky and Friedrich the Warlike: Russian-Austrian Relations in the Middle of the XNUMXth Century
Mayorov A.V. Daniil Galitsky and the beginning of the formation of the cult of St. Daniel Stolpnik at the Rurikovich.
Mayorov A.V. Daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Isaac II in Galicia-Volyn Rus: Princess and Nun.
Kotlyar N.F. The ideological and political creed of the Galicia-Volyn arch.
Tolochko A.P. Is the year of birth of Daniil Romanovich Galitsky known?
Dombrovsky D. On the issue of the dates of the birth of Daniil and Vasilka Romanovich (notes to the article by A.P. Tolochko).
Tolochko A.P. What was the name of the second wife of Roman Mstislavich?
Kotlyar N.F. Princely court in Galich in the XII century.
Kotlyar N.F. Yard of the Galician Romanovichs (XIII century).
Voitovich L.V. Prince Lev Danilovich - commander and politician.
Martynyuk A.V. Prince Rostislav at the Battle of the Leyte River. "Russian episode" of Austrian history.
Tolochko A.P. Constitutional project of Roman Mstislavich in 1203: an attempt at historiographic research.
Mayorov A.V. Mongolian conquest of Volyn and Galicia: controversial and unresolved issues.
Litvina A.F., Uspensky F.B. Violent tonsure of the princely family in Kiev: from interpretation of circumstances to reconstruction of causes.
Kotlyar N.F. On the possible nature of unconventional structure and form of the Galician-Volyn annals.
Voitovich L.V. On some problems of the study of Galicia-Volyn Rus at the time of Roman Mstislavich and Daniil Romanovich (notes on recent historiography).
Ivanova E.E. On the issue of the Horde policy of Prince Daniil Romanovich Galitsky.
Stefanovich P. S. Relations between the prince and the nobility in the Galician and Volyn principalities at the end of the XII century.
Mayorov A.V. The First Union of Russia with Rome.
Moiseev D. A. On the field fortifications of the Russian army in the XII-XV centuries: islands, ramparts, ditches, city, firmament, pillar, prison, goods.
Yurasov M.K. Arpadov’s policy towards Russia after the failure of Boris Kalmanovich’s adventure.
Tolochko A.P. Did Roman Mstislavich accept the embassy of Pope Innocent III in 1204?
Lukin P.V. Was there a militia in ancient Russia? Some comparative historical observation.
Tomenchuk B.P. Four princes' courtyards of the chronicle Galich: results of archaeological research of palace complexes (1991-2012).
Chebanenko S. B. Execution of Princes Igorevich in Galich: legal and ritual aspects of events.
Voitovich L.V. Reforms of the army by the princes Daniil Romanovich and Lev Danilovich in the middle of the XIII century.
Voitovich L.V. Military activity of Prince Daniil Romanovich in the context of the military development of Central and Eastern Europe of the XIII century.
Grushevsky M.S. History of Ukraine-Rus.
Sabitov Zh. About the size of the Mongol army in the Western campaign.
Materials that are freely available on the Internet, and much more.
To be continued ...