In general, this sculpture depicts Irina Angelina, the eldest daughter of Isaac II Angela, but she was the eldest sister of Anna Angelina, because somehow it is quite possible to imagine the second wife of Roman Mstislavich
The first contacts of Byzantium with Roman Mstislavich were probably established in the early 1190s, when he gained strength as one of the most influential princes of Southern Russia. However, the true flowering of these relations began only in 1195, when Alexei III Angel took power in Constantinople, and especially after the unification of the Galicia-Volyn principality under Prince Roman, which made him already a very noticeable political figure and military force outside Russia, especially for the Romans. The latter at all costs tried to improve relations with the prince. The reason was simple: Byzantium at that time was in deep decline, undergoing constant uprisings, but, worst of all, it was subjected to regular raids by the Polovtsians, who thoroughly ravaged its lands and reached Constantinople in their raids. Some kind of force was needed that could stop the steppe attacks on Byzantium, and Prince Roman Mstislavich turned out to be such a force in the eyes of the Byzantine emperor.
Apparently, the negotiations were started long before the capture of Galich, since already in 1200 the first signs of a concluded alliance appeared. After that, one of the main tasks of Roman’s foreign policy was campaigns deep into the steppe against the Polovtsy, which was also a traditional occupation for Southern Russia, and provided considerable support to the Byzantine allies. Already in the winter of 1201-1202, he hit the Polovtsian steppe, striking at the nomads and camps of the steppes. The main forces of the Polovtsy at that time robbed Thrace. Having received news of the campaign of the Russian prince, they were forced to quickly return home, abandoning the loot, including the rich one. For this, Roman deserved a comparison with his ancestor, Vladimir Monomakh, who also loved and actively practiced visits to the steppes as preventive measures. In response, the Polovtsy supported Roman's enemy, Rurik Rostislavich, but failed and were forced several times to encounter unexpected guests from Russia. Winter hikes were especially painful when the steppe was covered with snow and the nomads lost mobility. As a result of this, by 1205 the danger of the Polovtsy for Byzantium was minimized.
However, a curious detail emerges here. In the Byzantine chronicles, for example, the authorship of Nikita Honiat, Prince Roman is given a lot of attention, his victories over the Cumans (Polovtsy) are praised in every possible way, but, most importantly, he is called the hegemon. And according to the Byzantine terminology of that time, only a close relative of the emperor could be a hegemon. And here the legend smoothly approaches probably the most interesting riddle connected with the figure of Roman Mstislavich.
About the second wife, the mother of Daniel and Vasilka Romanovich, there is practically no exact news. Even taking into account its important role in the formation of their own children, the annals only remember her as “the widow of Romanov,” that is, the widow of Prince Roman. Which, incidentally, is a completely normal phenomenon, since in the annals and chronicles of that time women might not have paid much attention at all, and in the best case it could be known who the father or husband of this or that woman is. Nevertheless, modern historians have done a tremendous amount of work to find sources and analyze the information obtained. With a high degree of probability, it was possible to establish the origin of the second wife of Prince Roman Mstislavich. It was also possible to determine its intended name and make a probable history life, which in the framework of our legend is of considerable interest.
Anna Angelina was born around the 1st half of the 1180s. Her father was the future emperor of Byzantium, Isaac II, at that time only one of the many representatives of the Angels dynasty (and therefore Angelina: this name is not personal, but dynastic). Nothing is known about the mother at all, but after analyzing all sources, historians came to the conclusion that she was probably from the Paleolog dynasty, the very ones who would become emperors of Nicaea, and then the last ruling house of Byzantium. Isaac had other children, Anna was the youngest of all. For certain reasons, of which it remains only to speculate, from childhood she was placed in a private convent and raised as a nun, which at that time was not the rarest occurrence for Byzantium. Perhaps, in this way, Isaac II, a rather God-fearing person, wanted to protect her from the vicissitudes of fate or to thank God for giving him the imperial throne in 1185, or simply decided to give her the appropriate monastic upbringing. Be that as it may, the girl grew up locked up, while receiving an excellent education. Perhaps it was at this moment that the church name Euphrosyne was added to her secular name Anna, or maybe she became Euphrosyne only at an old age, when she really gave up as a nun after the son of Daniel restored the Principality of Galicia-Volyn, now you can’t say for sure. Or maybe it was all the other way around, and in the world she was Euphrosyne, and Anna became after tonsure. There is also a third version of her name - Maria. That is what the “Romanova Widow” was called in Soviet fiction historical literature. Alas, now this hypothesis does not seem sufficiently substantiated, since it is based on too complicated constructions and does not fit in with foreign sources. Be that as it may, the first option will be used in the future, since it is generally accepted among historians, although far from certain.
Isaac II rules only 10 years. In 1195 he was overthrown by his own brother, Emperor Alexei III. He tried to solve the great many problems that fell upon Byzantium, and began to look for a reliable ally. At the same time, Roman Mstislavich was gaining strength and had recently divorced Predslava Rurikovna. The Russian prince needed a wife, the Byzantine emperor, an ally, so the further course of events was already predetermined - the Greek church ranks in this case were inevitably inferior to the will of the secular authorities, as a result of which the emperor’s niece, suitable for marriage, was removed from the monastery. It is possible that negotiations on Roman’s marriage with the Byzantine princess had begun even before the divorce from Predslava and served as another reason for the act, which was quite rare at that time, which was the divorce. Be that as it may, the marriage was concluded in 1200, shortly after Roman settled in Galich. After the wedding, Anna Angelina bore him a son, and then another one. In order to achieve the maximum possible legitimacy of the second marriage and children from him, the Galician-Volyn prince, most likely, organized a church trial for the former father-in-law, mother-in-law and wife, sending them to the monastery and achieving recognition of the illegality of such closely related marriages. For some time, such a decision turned out to be unique in Russia, since the princes for a long time entered into marriages with those relatives whose marriage was forbidden according to Greek canons, which makes a more significant version of the political motives for violently tonsuring Rurik with his wife and daughter, rather than exclusively religious.
Anna Angelina, having become the founding mother of the Romanovich dynasty, presented her husband, children and the entire Galicia-Volyn principality a huge heritage. It was thanks to her that a large number of Greek names appeared in Russia, which until then had not been recorded by the chronicles among the Rurikovich. It was this Byzantine princess who brought to Russia two Christian shrines - the cross of Manuel Paleolog with a part of the tree from which the cross was made on which Jesus Christ was crucified (now stored in the Notre-Dame de Paris), and the icon of the Mother of God of authorship of the Evangelist Luke, which is now known as Polish Czestochowa icon of the Mother of God. Thanks to Anna's accession to the imperial dynasty, in much later years, Daniil Galitsky in negotiations could “crush the style” before the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, wearing a purple cloak (and at that time only relatives of emperors could have such a cloth). She brought to Russia the cult of Daniel Stolpnik, which later became popular in the North-East of Russia thanks to dynastic ties with the Romanovichs. Because of Anna Angelina, Roman and his children will be close relatives of the Arpad, Babenberg and Staufen, which will expand the possibilities of conducting foreign policy. But the most important thing is that during the childhood of her sons, Anna Angelina will gnaw out teeth for them wherever possible, and thanks to her willpower and mind, Daniil Galitsky will not only become what he becomes, but simply will not die in her infancy from a boyar knife or poison.
In short, this is one of the very successful examples of the fact that not everything that is called marriage is something bad.
There is a Benedictine monastery of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in the Thuringian town of Erfurt. It is quite old, existed already in the XII century, and enjoyed special status with the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire of the Hohenstaufen dynasty. According to the traditions of that time, certain representatives of the aristocracy could provide the monasteries with the highest protection, primarily financial, due to which, in addition to purely Christian motives, secular authorities could gain influence on the church life of this institution. In addition, such a ward monastery became a kind of political instrument, a kind of indirect connection with its patron. Having donated a large sum of money to the monastery, it was possible to make up or at least start negotiations with a noble patron, and joint patronage, as a rule, was a sign of an alliance or just friendly or family relations between two or more people.
Imagine the astonishment of historians when they learned that one of the donors of a large amount of silver to the monastery in Erfurt was a certain “Roman, King of Russia”, namely Prince Roman Mstislavich, who supposedly visited Germany somewhere at the turn of the 19th-XNUMXth centuries. After his death, the “King of Rus” was annually mentioned on June XNUMX (the day of death) during the funeral service ... This discovery was the impetus for the study of the issue of Prince Roman Mstislavich’s participation in German politics. The research results are still clearly incomplete, and this topic can be studied for a long time, but the discoveries made are enough to boldly assert an active foreign policy of the Galician-Volyn prince on the territory of the Holy Roman Empire.
And what happened at the turn of the XII and XIII centuries in the Holy Roman Empire? It’s just an ordinary, amusing struggle between two leading dynasties that claimed the imperial crown: the Staufen and the Welfes, into which England, France, Denmark, Poland and many other states of the time intervened, choosing one side or another. At that time, the Welfs controlled the imperial throne, but the Staufen in the person of the King of Germany Philip of Swabia acted as the true heart of Germany, and perhaps all of European politics. It was they who had a great influence on the Fourth Crusade, as a result of which Constantinople fell. On the other hand, Welfa was supported by the Pope ... In general, the good old strife, only in a special, German-Catholic way, affecting almost all of Europe at that time.
Roman Mstislavich’s relations with the Staufen took shape long before the prince’s visit to Germany. Firstly, they were related to each other, albeit distant (the grandmother of the prince was just a representative of the German dynasty). Secondly, the Staufen had certain interests in Southwest Russia and had already intervened in local affairs, having put Vladimir Yaroslavich, who formally was their vassal, to rule in Galich. By the way, from this side, the Staufen’s unexpected support of the last Rostislavich looks completely different - as if they had “agreed” with Roman to prepare the latter a warm little roost after Vladimir’s death ... Thirdly, Philip Swabsky was married to Irina Angelina, Anna Angelina’s sister, wife Roman Mstislavich; thus, the king of Germany and the Galician-Volyn prince were each other's brother-in-law. According to all the customs of that time, such ties were more than enough to establish close contacts and request military assistance without a formal alliance. And this request was directly followed in 1198, when Roman probably personally visited Germany. He could not, and did not want to refuse a powerful relative: an alliance with the king of Germany and the possible emperor of the Holy Roman Empire promised him great political benefits, and such a chance could not be missed.
Polish campaign and death
Leszek White. The fatal figure in the life of Roman Mstislavich, who managed to visit both an ally and the cause of his death
However, Roman Mstislavich was in no hurry to get involved in a distant and not necessary war for him. The man whom some chroniclers and historians accuse of near-zero political and diplomatic talents, soberly reasoned that at the moment he did not really need participation in German swaras and he needed to first gain a foothold in his home. Therefore, he continued to conduct his Russian part of politics, terminated the old and made new marriages, strengthened the borders and developed his princedom. At the same time, he still occupied Galich, significantly strengthening his power. In addition, the situation in Germany itself was precarious, so Roman did not want to take the side of the loser, waiting for Philip to gain a decisive advantage. Only by 1205 did all the conditions exist for Roman to be able to leave his native lands and, together with his army, go to war far to the west.
The plan of the campaign was made together with Philip Swabsky, who acted as the central figure of the upcoming big game. It was planned to inflict several blows on the Welsh and their allies. The main forces of the Staufen were to develop an attack on Cologne, where the main supporters of their opponents were entrenched, while the French were to divert the strength of the British. Roman was given an important task - to strike at Saxony, which at that time was the land of the Welsh and the loss of which was to undermine their military capabilities. The offensive plan itself was kept secret: fearing an information leak, only the most needed people in Germany, France and Russia were informed about the upcoming campaign. Only as he approached Saxony of the Galician-Volyn army did Roman have to notify his people of the main purpose of the campaign.
This secrecy as a result played a cruel joke with the prince. When his troops advanced on a campaign in 1205, they had to go through Polish territories. Roman did not conclude any special agreements with the Poles, fearing an information leak. In the Polish chronicles it is indicated that the prince went to war on them and began to take over the cities, claiming to be Lublin, but now it has already been proved that this is a mistake of the chroniclers of later times, who brought together two completely different campaigns - Roman Mstislavich and Daniil Romanovich. The Galician-Volhynian army did not conduct any seizures, and if it did, it was only for "supply", requisitioning food from the local population. Of course, the Polish princes reacted to this as an invasion. Even before negotiations with Roman, they decided to attack the Russian army, probably not having enough forces to confront the Russians in the open field and believing that they came to them with war, and did not go further, to Saxony. There is a version about the relations of the Poles with the Welsh, but so far it has not been proved. When the army of Roman began crossing the Vistula River at Zavihost, the Poles unexpectedly attacked the vanguard of the Rus. As a result, the small squad, together with the prince himself, was killed. The army, having suffered minimal losses, but having lost the commander, returned home.
So suddenly and ingloriously ended the life story of Prince Roman Mstislavich, the founder of the Galicia-Volyn principality. And although he lived a long and eventful life, the prince did not manage to sufficiently strengthen his power in the new state formation on the territory of Russia - the Galician-Volyn principality. This played a huge role both for his heirs, the minors of Daniel and Vasilk, and for historians, many of whom gave a low assessment to Roman solely because the prince of Galicia-Volyn created by him began to burst at the seams almost immediately after his death. However, it is difficult to negatively assess a person who was trying to build something new, more promising than the traditional state system in the territory of South-Western Russia with constantly crumbling destinies, a ladder, regular change of ruling princes, strife in one place and boyar domination in another. Therefore, the high marks given to him by the Galician-Volyn chronicle, written with his sons, look quite justified, and as the role of this person in history was revised, he was more than once called the Great Roman - not as magnificent as Vladimir Krasno Solnyshko, but certainly outstanding against the background of most of his contemporaries from among the Rurikovich. After tonsuring his former father-in-law, Roman became one of the most influential princes in Russia, a figure who could compare with Vsevolod the Big Nest, but due to his imminent death, this period of maximum influence of the prince often goes unnoticed.
Separately, it is worth mentioning the two historical tales associated with Roman Mstislavich, which are now becoming increasingly believable. The first of them is connected with the papal embassy to Roman, when in exchange for conversion to Catholicism he was offered the crown of Russia, but the Galician-Volyn prince rejected the offer. Historical disputes continue to this day. Set with accuracy whether there was such an event or not until it comes out. To eliminate the possibility of this, contrary to the assertions of some historians, is not yet possible. It can only be argued that in the light of new facts about this prince, such an embassy could well have taken place, as well as his decisive refusal. A similar situation exists with the draft reform of Roman Mstislavich, attributed to him by Tatishchev. According to this reform, all of Russia was to be transformed according to principles similar to the principles of the Holy Roman Empire, with an elected Grand Duke and electoral princes. Previously, it was believed that this was an invention of Tatishchev, and Roman did not offer anything like that. However, in light of all of the above, as well as the peculiarities of Roman’s marriage policy in the case of daughters from Predslava Rurikovna, modern historians come to the conclusion that Roman could at least offer such a project, being familiar with the realities of the Holy Roman Empire firsthand and being a very powerful prince on the moment of his death. However, both of these “stories” have not yet received the status of even firmly based hypotheses, but they can complement the reader’s image of the Galician-Volyn prince Roman Mstislavich.
To be continued ...