They say that nature rests on children. Yuri Lvovich, the only son and heir of Lev Danilovich, who headed the Galicia-Volyn state after the abdication of his father in 1300, was a clear illustration of this. From an early age, he began to show outstanding talents to fail all the tasks that he was entrusted with, or to arrange problems for his father from scratch. For example, during the Russian-Tatar campaign on Gorodno, thanks to his skillful command, the siege failed, although shortly before this, his father even managed to take Slonim and Novogrudok with little effort. In 1287, under the same conditions, with complete superiority in power, he lost the siege of Lublin. And the following year, when his father was under siege of Telebughi in Lviv, he made a real mess because of the inheritance of his relative, Vladimir Vasilkovich. According to his testament, all of his possessions were transferred to Mstislav Danilovich, uncle Yuri, but the prince decided to challenge this, and even while alive Vladimir captured Berestye, including him in his domain. Yes, he was finally able to take at least some city! True, the father had to apologize strongly for this to the khan, who patronized Mstislav, and return the inheritance to his younger brother, with whom at that time he had far from ideal relations. I think there is no need to explain that at that time Leo, due to the actions of Yuri, was one step away from a large-scale conflict with the Horde with the support of his younger brother. In general, well done son!
And they say that fools are lucky. After the death of Nogai, the defeat of his army and the abdication of Leo Danilovich, Yuri had to wait in Lviv when the horde of Tohta invaded his lands. The khan could demand anything, up to the dismemberment of the Romanovich state, he could throw Yuri himself in prison with his disowned father-monk, he could ruin the territory of the principality so much that it would not be possible to recover later. Given Yuri’s military talents, there was no hope of winning an open battle. And then a miracle happened! Tokhta decided to leave the Romanovichs for later, paying more attention to the Balkan possessions of Nogai, where, among other things, one of his sons ruled. After that, Tokhta had to go to their eastern borders, and fight with other steppes in the next strife between the fragments of the Mongol Empire. As a result, “for later” turned into “never,” the Horde simply forgot about its great western vassal for a while. To the joy of this, Yuri immediately hastened to be crowned as the king of Russia, and, apparently, refused to pay tribute to the Horde. Quite unexpectedly for everyone, the Galicia-Volyn state again became independent.
Board of Yuri I
Of course, positive events occurred during the reign of Yuri I. So, after a long preparation that had begun under Leo, a new Orthodox metropolis was founded in Galich. Its Byzantine name - Little Russia - later will serve as the basis for the Russian name of all the southwestern territories of the empire, i.e. Little Russia. The capital was moved from Lviv to Vladimir-Volynsky. Old cities were actively expanding and new ones were being built, new churches were appearing. Urban development in general has reached significant proportions, which have been repeatedly marked by future generations. The population was growing rapidly due to both natural growth and a significant influx of immigrants from Western Europe - primarily Germans and Flemings. Trade continued to develop, mainly along the Baltic-Black Sea trade route, which will flourish for many centuries. The coin minting began - however, due to the lack of deposits of precious metals in the country, foreign samples had to be imported and smoked. The prestige of the Romanovici rose quite high, and the royal court was quite rich and famous by the standards of Eastern Europe. Since not much is known about the reign of this king, there could well have been other positive aspects that did not appear in the annals. A number of historians, even on the basis of all this inner well-being, declare the successful rule of Yuri I, but to the author of the cycle such an assessment seems doubtful.
At the same time, King Yuri was very weak. The power under him actually belonged to the boyars, who greatly strengthened their influence, and began to redistribute state revenues and places of “feeding” in their favor. In addition, the rule of Yuri was marked by peace - or rather, by its likeness. The king did not pursue an overly active foreign policy, did not start aggressive wars, and generally seems to have forgotten about the war machine that his father and grandfather created for years. Savings began on training and equipping troops, as a result of which the Galician-Volyn army began to lose its strength. First of all, it seems that this affected the infantry, the maintenance of which required constant expenditures and fees - if earlier it was continued to be prepared and actively used if necessary, then from this moment there are no any hints that the Galician-Volyn infantry either showed itself significantly on the battlefield, and by the middle of the XIV century it would finally turn into an average European infantry, suitable only for auxiliary purposes. Following this, fortification fell - the construction of new fortresses almost stopped, the old ones were practically not repaired and slowly deteriorated. About throwing artillery completely forgotten. Only the cavalry, recruited on a feudal basis, somehow retained their fighting qualities, but this, in fact, was the merit of the boyars, and not of Yuri Lvovich himself.
Due to this, or simply because the king turned out to be the usual laying between the throne and the crown, the Russian kingdom began to quickly lose territory. Already in the years 1301-1302, Lublin with its environs was lost. The circumstances of this loss are also very indicative as an illustration of the talents of Yuri Lvovich - if Lev Danilovich skillfully maneuvered between the Poles and the Czechs, and only indirectly supported Vladislav Lokotka, then Yuri intervened in the war to the fullest, directly supporting the Poles and lost the conflict, losing Lublin. In 1307-1310, under unclear circumstances, Hungary regained all of Transcarpathia. The reason for this loss could be the same as Lublin - in the war between the applicants for the Hungarian crown, Yuri Lvovich supported Otto III of Bavaria (a similar loser), who was arrested in 1307 by another applicant for Hungary, Karl Robert Anzhuisky, and was forced renounce your claims. Apparently, after this there was military action against the Galicia-Volyn state, during which Transcarpathia was lost, or Yuri lost it to Karl Robert in exchange for friendly relations. Under unknown circumstances, the northern cities of Slonim and Novogrudok were lost - although everything is so unclear with them that they could have been lost even under Lev Danilovich (many historians adhere to this point of view, but there is extremely little information on this subject to argue with confidence).
There was no sharp reaction of the king to this: as a pacifist or simply complete insignificance, he did not try to fight for his father’s legacy, and allowed to gradually take away what his predecessors had created with such difficulty. Yuri did not even try to return the lost Kiev principality, which, after the departure of Tohta, was in the hands of the small Olgovichs, and could not provide any serious resistance. In Vladimir-Volynsky, under the crown sat a very weak ruler who found himself at the head of a strong state. The problem was aggravated due to the fact that the Galicia-Volyn principality was created as quite centralized, dependent on the figure of its prince. While Roman, Daniil and Leo were in power, this principality flourished, even during periods of fragmentation and war for unification. With mediocrity as a sovereign, the state itself sank sharply and weakened as an independent entity, and Yuri was not just mediocrity - almost all of his foreign policy could be called a colossal failure. In such a situation, it remained only to wait for the barbarians at the gate, so that everything would collapse at once. And these barbarians were already right there ....
The end is a bit predictable.
Relations with Lithuania began to deteriorate gradually from the moment of the murder of Voishelk by Lev Danilovich, although from time to time there was a thaw. This great principality still did not exist a hundred years ago, and in the early years of the XIV century it successfully withstood the onslaught of the Teutonic knights, and even managed to expand due to the Russian principalities, which became "no man's land" after the weakening of the Horde's influence. The question of time was the large-scale invasion of the Lithuanians into the Romanovich state, and it was difficult to predict who would win in such a war. Yuri I made it easier for the Lithuanians to start the conflict by declaring war on them in 1311–1312 according to an alliance agreement with the Teutonic Order. The Lithuanian prince Vitien in response began to prepare for a great campaign to the south, which promised considerable success.
Even before the Lithuanian offensive, disasters fell on Russia. Due to the very cold and long winter of 1314-1315, a crop failure occurred, and famine began in the country, followed by epidemics that wiped out a great many people. The command of the weakened warriors turned out to be disgusting, as a result of which Gedimin, the son of Viteniy (or grandson, depending on the point of view), taking advantage of the opportunity, in 1315 easily and naturally took Dorogochin and Berestye, tearing off the northern territories of the Romanovichi state. Without stopping, he invaded the very heart of Volhynia, and a massive battle took place between the walls of Vladimir-Volynsky between the Galician-Volyn and Lithuanian armies. The royal troops were commanded by Yuri I himself, and the most savvy of the boyars could not help but guess about his outcome ....
As it turned out, 15 years of saving on troops, coupled with famine and epidemics, turned the once large and strong army into one complete joke. The cavalry remained more or less combat-ready, but the mediocre king commanded it personally, therefore he managed to ruin the whole thing. To make it clear how sad everything was under the walls of Vladimir-Volynsky, it’s enough to give one example: the Lithuanian infantry (!) On the offensive (!!) overturned the Russian cavalry (!!!). After this, Roman, Daniel, and Leo spun in coffins at the speed of a jet turbine .... However, King Yuri I did not have time to find out about this: in the same battle he himself died. To the strange, such an inglorious end seemed to be appropriate for such an inglorious king. It is difficult even to determine whether his death was a blessing or a tragedy for the Romanovich state, since Yuri managed to show his inability to rule, and complete mediocrity in the affairs of the military - which, if his reign was preserved, would mean the speedy death of the state under the pressure of the Lithuanians. On the other hand, given the general scarcity of the Romanovichs, the premature death of each of them brought a dynastic crisis closer to which the state was especially sensitive due to the significant centralization by its standards ....
By the way, most sources date Yuri’s death in 1308, but the source of this date is the chronicles of Jan Dlugosh, who, most likely, are very wrong in this case. At least modern experts on the topic believe that Yuri died in 1315, as this is confirmed by various Lithuanian, Russian and Lithuanian-Russian sources during cross-comparison. On the other hand, if he nevertheless died in 1308, then 7 years actually “fall out” of stories kingdom of Russia, which seems extremely unlikely. This situation is quite indicative - if chronicles were still being kept in the Romanovich state itself, and when foreign chronicles were connected, it was possible to compose any integral picture of what was happening then, with the accession of Yuri I, the situation began to change rapidly. Own chronicles were essentially no longer kept, and foreign chronicles were more focused on their own affairs - for which serious reasons appeared.
The beginning of the XIV century turned out to be associated with decline only in the Galicia-Volyn principality, while all the sedentary neighbors - Poland, Hungary and Lithuania - entered an era of rapid growth and boom. In Hungary, the Anjou dynasty gradually ended the chaos of the feudal civil war, due to which the kingdom was almost disintegrated, and prepared the basis for a new, last flourishing of the state. In Poland, Vladislav Lokotok gradually united the state under his leadership, and was preparing to transfer power to his son, Casimir, who was destined to become perhaps the most outstanding ruler of Poland in its history. Well, in Lithuania Gediminas acted with might and main - first as the son (or grandson) of Witten, and then as an independent ruler, the founder of the Gediminovich dynasty and the architect of the future power of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Moreover, even under Lev Danilovich, this gain was not visible - the Lithuanians could hardly withstand the onslaught of the crusaders, half of Poland was captured by the Czechs, and Hungary was on the verge of complete disintegration. And here - over several decades, all three states are abruptly moving ahead! Under the circumstances, even a strong ruler of the Galicia-Volyn state would have been difficult. Meanwhile, things took such a turn that the rulers completely ended. The dynastic crisis and the suppression of the dynasty were approaching, which inevitably led to losses, or even the death of the state in the face of suddenly intensified neighbors.
The end of the Romanovichi
After the death of Yuri I, power passed into the hands of his sons, Andrei and Leo, who became co-rulers. It seems that they turned out to be much more skilled commanders and organizers, or the Polish allies helped them a lot - already in 1315 they managed to stop the Lithuanian invasion and at the cost of abandoning Berestye and Podlasie (which were lost under Yuri I), for some time stopping the onslaught from the north. In 1316, the princes fought with their uncle, Vladislav Lokotk, with the Magdeburg Margraves. There is little information about their rule, but on the whole it seems that the kingdom of Russia has begun to gradually recover from the crisis where it slipped under Yuri Lvovich. Even the loss of the northern outskirts did not become critical for the survival of the country - Berestye and Podlasie were still not the most populated territories, and therefore not the most valuable for the state militarily and economically. Apparently, Andrei and Leo were able to partially restore the combat effectiveness of the army and deal with the aftermath of the famine and epidemics of the past.
That's just the Horde as it left South-West Russia, and returned. After the crisis of reign under Toht in 1313, Uzbek became the khan of the Golden Horde, one of its most powerful rulers in history. Under him, the state of the steppes began to experience a new heyday, and by itself he remembered the rebellious Romanovichs, who owed him a tribute. This would inevitably lead to war, as Andrei and Leo intended to fight to the end. Alas, the exact information, unfortunately, has not been preserved about what happened in 1323. Some specific information is provided only by Vladislav Lokotok in correspondence with the Pope, indicating that both of his nephews (i.e., Andrei and Lev Yuryevich) died during the battle with the Tatars. There is another version - that both rulers died in the war with the Lithuanians, but this seems unlikely, since the war with Lithuania had already been completed by that time.
Andrei had only one daughter, who would later become the wife of the Lithuanian prince Lubart, but Leo had a son, Vladimir, who received the state in his own hands. He was deprived of any talents, and was simply deposed by the boyars. Perhaps the reason was precisely the lack of talent, or maybe it was done to make room for a more politically beneficial ruler. Be that as it may, Vladimir remained to live in the Galicia-Volyn state, and in 1340 died, protecting Lviv from the army of the Polish king Casimir III. With his death, the Romanovich dynasty on the male side was finally interrupted.
True, there is one problem: the existence of Vladimir is generally weakly provable, and it is possible that such a ruler did not exist in principle. It may well be that he was invented only in order to somehow fill the vacuum of power formed between 1323 and 1325. It is possible that he did not really exist, and after the death of Andrei and Leo, the kingdom and boyar rule established for some time in the country, while negotiations were underway with possible candidates for the royal throne. Then it is these two co-rulers who died in the same year in the war with the Tatars who turn out to be the last representatives of the male Romanovich dynasty. The author of the current cycle adheres to this particular version, since the story about Vladimir Lvovich is poorly justified and looks like a fiction.
The history of the Romanovichs as a result, taking into account the life and rule of Roman Mstislavich, took about 150 years, and spanned only 5 generations (with an unproven sixth). This did not prevent the family from becoming one of the most prominent representatives of the Rurikovich in Russia, and to strengthen South-Western Russia as much as it was possible at all in those conditions of constant upheaval, war and a change in the layout of alliances. And the end of their offspring was nearing the end of their brainchild - a vacuum of power was formed in a fairly centralized state, and this, I recall, in the conditions of the rapid strengthening of all the main settled neighbors. In such circumstances, the problems that swept South-West Russia threatened to bury it in the coming years.
The last years of the Galicia-Volyn state
In 1325, for one reason or another, the princes of Mazovia, Boleslav Troydenovich, who was the nephew of Andrei and Leo, who died two years earlier, were invited to rule in Lviv. To receive the crown, he had to go to Orthodoxy, as a result of which he became known as Yuri II Boleslav. Contrary to the views of Polish historians, there is no information that Yuri recognized himself as a satellite of the Polish king, and information that the childless king of Russia appointed King Casimir III as his heir is at least unreliable. The princes of Mazovia were always distinguished by their willfulness within Poland, they were quite hostile to the Krakow Piasts (i.e., Vladislav Lokotka and Casimir the Great), Mazovia itself remained for a long time its isolation among other Polish principalities, and therefore it is not surprising that Yuri II began to conduct independent public policy. Claims for his prowess are mainly based on subsequent events after his death and affiliation with the Piast dynasty. In the end, Casimir III later needed to somehow substantiate his claims to Galicia-Volhynia, and all the means were good - especially considering how cynical and quirky this great Polish monarch was.
The beginning of the reign of Yuri II was generally successful. Recognizing the supremacy of the Horde, he got rid of the threat of raids from the steppe, and even received military support, not out of place in his position. Having married Gedimin’s daughter, Yuri established good relations with the Lithuanians, and all his life he kept an alliance with them. As a rule, he had peaceful relations with other neighbors, which did not prevent him from invading Hungary in 1332 with the aim of either upsetting the Polish-Hungarian alliance or returning the lands of Transcarpathia lost under Yuri I. In addition, he and the Tatars carried out an invasion of Poland in 1337, as its king, Casimir III, too openly began to claim the Galicia-Volyn state. However, this venture turned out to be a failure - the Poles defeated the allied army, Casimir was not going to give up claims - painfully tempting prey was his weakened eastern neighbor.
Alas, over time, various kinds of contradictions began to accumulate. There are two likely pictures of what is happening that will have one or another justification, but at the same time they will retain certain weaknesses and a share of unreliability. According to the first version, Yuri began a conflict with the boyars over power, and instead of the Orthodox elite, the king relied on the Catholic - good, in the cities there were already quite a lot of foreign migrants. The administration of the kingdom became completely Catholic, the persecution of the Orthodox began, the forced planting of the Roman rite. The second version is much simpler - part of the nobility was corny bought by Hungarians and Poles, who had already prepared in absentia for the division of the Galicia-Volyn principality, and sought to accelerate the fall of its ruler. Given, again, the peculiarities of the character and current policies of the Polish king, this option looks almost the most plausible. It should be understood that Casimir’s claims to Galicia-Volyn were so obvious, and the Russian boyars traditionally loved the Poles only at a distance, resisting the assertion of Polish dominion over themselves that the likelihood of any widespread opposition to Yuri Boleslav was low enough. Any actions against Yuri Boleslav were in the hands of the Polish king, and the boyars could not understand this, because of which the whole story becomes even more vague and ambiguous.
Be that as it may, in 1340, Yuri II Boleslav was poisoned, and his wife was drowned in an ice hole during the ensuing riots. The riots themselves in a number of sources are described as religious, anti-Catholic, but the murder of the Orthodox Lithuanian does not fit into this canvas, and the sudden inter-confessional crisis does not have sufficient justification - such a pronounced conflict between Catholics and Orthodox is not confirmed by sources either after the specified events. A new vacuum of power was formed, and Dmitry Detko, an influential boyar of the Galician land, who had considerable political weight during the life of Yuri II and, apparently, was part of his government, became the new prince. In fact, he led the boyar-oligarchic party, which began to play an important role in the life of the state since the reign of Yuri I Lvovich, and acted as the main force interested in maintaining the state. However, Dmitry Detok no longer had a chance to keep him - from the west, Polish regiments invaded Russia.
The war for the Galician-Volyn inheritance
The murder of Yuri Boleslav took advantage of Casimir III, who planned to expand his possessions at the expense of the Galicia-Volyn state. His troops invaded the principality and quickly captured the main cities. The key to success was decisive action and the large number of the Polish army - so large that it would take a lot of time to collect it. Given that Kazimir made the campaign almost immediately after the news of the death of Yuri Boleslav, the participation of the Polish monarch in the murder of the last Galician-Volyn prince seems even more likely. Against Casimir, who was in alliance with the Hungarians, the Lithuanians and Tatars came out, who in every possible way interfered with the assertion of Polish power over South-Western Russia. The Tatars justified their interference with the vassal status of Galicia-Volhynia, and the Lithuanians had very specific claims on the Romanovich’s legacy - Prince Lyubart was married to the last representative of this dynasty, the daughter of Andrei Yuryevich, and he, and especially his children, were now the most legitimate heirs of the Romanovich state. The Poles’ claims to Galicia and Volhynia were illusory, but Casimir III made every effort to inflate from them a complete justification of his actions, which led to the emergence of a number of myths about the will of Yuri Boleslav, which exist today.
In 1340, the Polish king invaded the Galicia-Volyn state, taking advantage of the situation, and quickly occupied all its main cities, which were not ready for Polish aggression, and could not organize effective resistance. The boyars also did not have time to gather their army, and therefore their defeat in this lightning war was inevitable. Dmitry Children Kazimir forced to recognize himself a vassal of Poland. At the same time, the Poles behaved like conquerors, and arranged a large-scale export to Krakow of all the valuable that could be found in the Principality of Galicia, including Christian shrines. The loot included a cross and an icon that Anna Angelina, the wife of Roman Mstislavich, brought to Russia. Nevertheless, the Galician boyars did not put up with submission, and already in 1341 they made a trip to Poland with the support of Lithuanians and Tatars, trying to overthrow the Polish rule. The child actually recognized himself as a vassal of the Lithuanian prince Lubart, who, after 1340, bore the title of Grand Duke of Galicia-Volyn. Formally, the unity of South-Western Russia was restored, although the Principality of Galicia now existed a little apart, while Volyn Lyubart ruled directly. Dmitry Detko died around 1349, after which a new round of Polish-Lithuanian confrontation started. Thus began the war for the Galicia-Volyn inheritance, full of chaos, intrigue and the change of alliances in an effort to share the inheritance of the already dying Romanovichs.
Together with the Child and the Lithuanians, a significant part of the Orthodox boyars fought, who did not want to see a sufficiently authoritarian and ambitious Pole above themselves. For this, Casimir did not spare them and the Russian cities - for example, Przemysl, one of the strongholds of the opposition, was destroyed by Polish troops, and the local boyars (to whom Detko belonged) were either betrayed by the sword or expelled. The city restored later had almost nothing in common with the old, Russian-Orthodox Przemysl. This or similar was repeated wherever the Poles met resistance. During the subsequent events, many boyars swore allegiance to Lithuania, and many will go into exile, looking for good luck and a new home in the east, in North-Eastern Russia. South-Western Russia will quickly become a harsh, unfriendly home for those boyars who tried to maintain the old order and resisted the assertion of Polish rule. Over time, the list of reasons for their dissatisfaction was supplemented by a series of strife that began in Lithuania, which only interfered with the fulfillment of the main tasks, among which was the restoration of the Galicia-Volyn state, even if it was part of the Gediminids' state. Among such emigrants will be Bobrok Volynsky, who left his native lands in the 1360s and played an important role in the Battle of Kulikovo.
Russian Orthodox boyars suffered heavy losses, and at a rapid pace began to lose its influence and significance in society. After several centuries, it will completely disappear, succumbing to polonization or emigrating to Lithuania or Moscow. It was such a tough, forceful policy that allowed the Poles to consolidate this region and to significantly separate it from the rest of Russia. This will have the greatest effect on the territory of the former Galician principality, somewhat less on Volhynia, but the fact remains: it was the Poles who dealt a mortal blow to the Russian boyars of South-Western Russia, forcing him to flee, die or merge with the Polish gentry. It was the Polish king, Casimir III, who became the chief architect of the death of the state itself, extremely skillfully and efficiently taking advantage of the situation that prevailed for him with the suppression of the Romanovichs and the approval of Piast as head of the Galicia-Volyn principality.
The war for the Galicia-Volyn inheritance was either gaining momentum or subsiding for 52 years, until 1392. Its final result was the partition of the Romanovic state between Poland, which went to Galicia, and Lithuania, which occupied Volyn. Hungary, which for some time claimed the whole region, was forced back into the Carpathians, although during the existence of the Polish-Hungarian Union under Lajos I the Great, it was still able to take possession of Galicia for a short while. As a single state, the Galician-Volyn principality ceased to exist, having briefly survived the dynasty of its creators. In the future, these lands experienced many more vicissitudes of fate, change of borders, invasions of the enemy armies and uprisings, and the people of the region had to significantly change their appearance both culturally and religiously, undergoing large-scale colonization and polonization, on which the Poles had already managed to fill hands in their own state. However, this is a completely different story, and the story of South-Western Russia, the Galicia-Volyn state and Romanovichi ends here.
End of cycle