How Pereyaslavsky Prince Vladimir Monomah achieved the first global leadership success in stories Ancient Russia
In the history of Russian military victories for a long time the battle on Lake Peipsi, won by Alexander Nevsky, was considered the first and most famous. But where it would be fairer to consider - and today this is exactly what is considered! - the first major military success was the victory that 27 of March 1111 of the year was won by the combined squads of the Russian princes in the battle with the Polovtsi near the Salnitsa river.
This date was not by chance the first in chronology in the current list of Memorable dates of the military history of Russia. The victory won by the Russians under the leadership of Vladimir Monomakh, who at that time reigned in southern Pereyaslavl, the Grand Duke of Kiev Svyatopolk Izyaslavich and Chernigov Prince Davyd Svyatoslavich was a real military-political victory, which had far-reaching consequences and not just a successful outcome of a passing battle. After all, in order to cope with the superior forces of the Polovtsi (according to sources, they had at least one-and-a-half the advantage: 45 thousand nomads against 30 thousand Russian soldiers), Monomakh took several true leadership steps.
First, he implemented the principle of “beating the enemy on his territory with a little blood,” transferring his troops to the land controlled by the Polovtsy. Secondly, he used transport to ensure rapid delivery of infantry to the battlefield, without overworking it with the road. Third, he managed to turn even the weather into an ally, forcing the Polovtsy to fight at a time when nature itself prevented them from using all the advantages of cavalry.
"Vladimir Monomakh". Artist Ivan Bilibin
But not only Monomakh's leadership talents are famous for this victory. In order to gather sufficient forces, the Pereyaslavl prince managed to achieve the almost impossible - to unite the wayward princes, forcing them at least for a while to forget the civil strife! In addition, he managed to convince them to tear off even smerds from the ground, thereby strengthening the army, which traditionally consisted of professional warriors. Finally, Monomakh, who, as the Tale of Bygone Years says, “when traveling before the army, ordered the priests to sing the tropari, and the kondaki of the honest cross, and the canon of the holy Mother of God,” actually turned the campaign into a battle for the Orthodox faith.
Hit the enemy before him
The Russian-Polovtsian wars stretched for a century and a half - from the end of the XI century to the middle of the XIII. Regular successes of the Polovtsy (they were also called Kipchaks in Russia, and in Europe and Byzantium, Cumans) were also contributed by the disunity of the Russian princes.
The situation began to change after Monomakh took up the main business of his life - the gathering of Russian lands. After using diplomatic tricks and direct persuasion, he managed to achieve the holding of two unifying princely congresses (Lyubechsky and Uvetichesky), the strife in the east and west of Russia were stopped. The success of the Dolob Congress, which resulted in the first joint campaign of the Russian troops against the Polovtsy, marked the beginning of their gradual weakening.
But the success of the 1103 campaign of the year, planned at the Dolobskiy congress, only angered the Kipchaks. They undertook several campaigns, which, although they did not lead to great successes, did not allow Russia to re-gather strength and strike back. It took him eight years to prepare.
At the end of 1110, a subordinate of Monomakh, voivod Dmitry, with a small retinue, managed to get into the Polovtsian lands and find out the plans of the Kipchaks. The Polovtsi were preparing for a new offensive, in which almost all the main clans were to take part. This blow could be tried to reflect, as was always done, or to anticipate, unexpectedly inflicting its own.
It was this decision that Monomah made. Knowing perfectly well that it is always more difficult to repel a well-prepared offensive of the enemy, he decided to force the Polovtsy to swap roles with the Russians. But for this it was necessary to have time not only to gather an army, but also to make it large enough to inflict a decisive defeat on the nomads, and also to begin a campaign when the enemy does not expect an offensive.
Traditionally, both the Russians and the Polovtsi went to fight in the spring, when the mudslides ended and one could take full advantage of the cavalry. The latter was important for the Kipchaks: their army practically had no foot soldiers. It was on this and decided to play Monomah. He appointed a campaign for an unusually early date - the end of February. In addition to the fact that the nomads could not have expected the Russian army to take to the road at such an unusual time, this decision had another important goal. Even taking into account the fact that unhurried - due to the presence of foot troops - advancing deep into the Polovtsian lands will take a considerable time, by the time the rati converge on the battlefield, the earth will not have time to dry out. And this means that the Polovtsy will be deprived of its main advantage - the maneuverability and power of the cavalry, which will simply become bogged down in a snow and mud mash. This approach was completely new for the Russian generals, and it is precisely this that makes it possible to consider the battle of Salnits as the first real commander of ancient Rus.
Queen of the Fields - Infantry
But simply to deprive the enemy of the opportunity to fully use the advantages of his army is not enough, you still need to ensure your advantageous position. And this question Monomah decided, significantly increasing the number of foot soldiers. After all, if the Polovtsy could not fully use the cavalry, then it was precisely the infantry that was assigned the main role of millstones, which were supposed to grind the enemy army.
"Rest of Prince Vladimir Monomakh". Artist Victor Vasnetsov
Old Russian squad was a mixed army in which the ratio of equestrian and foot units were shifted towards the first. What is clear: the Russian warriors had to confront first of all the equestrian troops of the nomads, while the foot rats converged, as a rule, in the internecine battles of the princes. So, the basis of the Russian infantry of that time was the peasants, who had to be taken off the ground during the march. Therefore, the decision of Monomakh to strengthen the army at the expense of infantrymen met with resistance from the Allied princes and even his own squad. This is how the chroniclers describe it: “The squad said:“ It’s not time to destroy the smerds now, taking them from the arable land. ” And Vladimir said: “But it’s surprising to me, brother, that you feel sorry for the Smerds and their horses, and you don’t think that this spring will begin this plowing on that horse, and half of them, having arrived, will strike the smerd with an arrow and take the horse and the wife it, and the threshing floor will set it on fire. Why don't you think about that? " And the whole squad said: "Indeed, indeed it is." And Svyatopolk said: "Now, brother, I am ready (to go to the Polovtsy) with you."
Most likely, the matter here was not only in Monomakh's eloquence. Surely played the role of the early start of the campaign. After all, the end of winter is not the time when the peasants are seriously busy on the ground. It is much easier to get them out of their homes, equip and send in a campaign than in a month and a half.
And in order not to overstrain the infantrymen for a long time (in the end, it took almost a month!), The campaign to the main battle site, Monomakh, went for another innovation. Since the end of February in the XII century, due to the small ice age, was more severe and snowy than today, the foot soldiers were sent on a journey ... on sleds!
"And they went, putting hope in God ..."
Here's how the preparation for the march, the march itself and the battle of Salnitz are described in the Primary source of information about these events - in the Tale of Bygone Years: “In the year 6619 (1111. - RP.). God introduced Vladimir to the thought in his heart to urge his brother Svyatopolk to go to the pagans in the spring ... And they sent to Davyd Svyatoslavich, telling him to speak with them. And Vladimir and Svyatopolk rose from their seats, and said goodbye, and went to the Polovtsy Svyatopolk with their son Yaroslav, and Vladimir with their sons, and Davyd with his son. And they went away, putting hope in God and on his Most Holy Mother, and on his holy angels. And they marched on the second Sunday of Lent, and on Friday were on Sula. On Saturday, they reached Khorol, and the sleds were abandoned. And that Sunday they went when the cross was kissed. They came to Psel, and from there they crossed and stood on Golte. Then they waited for the soldiers, and from there they moved on to Vorskla and there on the next day, on Wednesday, they kissed the cross, and placed all their hope on the cross ... And from there they passed through many rivers in the sixth week of the fast. And went to the Don on Tuesday. And dressed in armor, and built shelves, and went to the city Sharukanyu ... And they went to the city in the evening, and on Sunday the townspeople came out ... to the Russian princes with a bow, and carried the fish and wine. And slept there the night. And the next day, on Wednesday, they went to Sugrov and set it on fire, and on Thursday they went to the Don; on Friday, the next day, March, 24 gathered the Polovtsi, built their shelves and went into battle. Our princes laid their hope on God and said: "Here we have death, let us be firm." And they said goodbye to each other and, turning their eyes to heaven, called upon the highest God. And when both sides came together, there was a fierce battle. The highest God turned his eyes on foreigners with anger, and they began to fall before Christians. And so were foreigners, and many enemies fell ... before the Russian princes and warriors ... And God helped the Russian princes. And they gave praise to God that day. And on the morning, on Saturday, they celebrated Lazarus Sunday, the Annunciation of the Day, and, giving praise to God, spent the Sabbath, and waited Sundays. On Monday, Holy Week, foreigners again gathered ... a lot of regiments ... and made ... thousands of thousands. And overlaid the Russian shelf. And the Lord God sent an angel to help the Russian princes. And the Polovtsy regiments and regiments of the Russians moved, and the regiment fought with the regiment ... And the fierce battle ensued between them ... And Vladimir began to attack with his regiments and Davyd, and, seeing this, the Polovtsi fled. And Polovtsy fell before the regiment of Vladimir, invisibly killed by an angel that many people saw, and heads flew to the ground, invisibly chopped off. And beat them on Monday of the Passion Month of March 27. Foreigners were beaten up ... set on the river Salnica. And God saved his people, Svyatopolk, and Vladimir, and Davyd glorified God, who had given them victory ... over the pagans, and took a lot of them, and cattle, and horses, and sheep, and captives took a lot ... And they asked the prisoners, saying: "How could such a force and such a multitude resist you and so quickly fled?" weapons and helped you? "It is only and can be angels sent from God to help Christians. It’s because the angel put into the heart ... Monomakh the idea to raise ... Russian princes to foreigners. ... Therefore, it is necessary to give praise to the angels, as John Chrysostom said: they always pray to the Creator to be merciful and meek towards people, for the angels ... our intercessors, when we fight with opposing forces ... So now, with God's help, through the prayers of the holy Mother of God and holy angels, the Russian princes returned to their people with glory, which came to sun ex distant countries - to the Greeks, to the Hungarians, the Poles and the Czechs, even Rome came to her ... "
For faith and fatherland
The chronicler, as he should be, was only a diligent registrar and paid more attention to the relationship between the princes among themselves, a literal description of events and, naturally, manifestations of God's favor towards the Russians. Behind the narrative brackets are the subtleties of the tactics of Monomakh, his allies, the princes and the governor, as well as the role that the campaign played in the unification of Russia and the strengthening of Orthodoxy.
"Vladimir Monomakh on the advice of princes." Artist Alexey Kivshenko
Tactically, the second, the main battle of the campaign - the Battle of Salnitz - was played flawlessly. After the Polovtsians, who had the advantage, surrounded the Russian regiments, planning to break up their ranks with massive shelling from bows, mix them up and hit the cavalry on them, the princes, on the advice of Monomakh, led the troops themselves to the offensive. As a result, the Polovtsians were already mixed up and were forced to leave their bows and attack the infantry. It was then that Vladimir’s intention worked: in the snow mixed with mud, the Polovtsian horses began to get bogged down, and the long spears of the Russian infantry negated the advantage of the Kipchaks who were beating with curved swords from above. And soon, the reserve regiment of Monomakh himself, who personally led him to the attack, collapsed on the Polovtsian cavalry that was stuck in a senseless hand-to-hand combat with the lancers, who transferred command of the slowly retreating, but still maintaining, peshim son to Yaropolk. The blow proved decisive: losing people and horses, the Kipchaks turned back, but few managed to escape the muddy ground. They lost no fewer than 10 people on the battlefield, 000 people, most were captured.
The victory played a crucial role in the implementation of the idea of Monomakh about the unification of Russia. No wonder: the campaign elevated the authority of the Prince of Pereyaslav, who had shortly before ceded the throne of Kiev to his brother in order to avoid new wars, and achieved a sharp strengthening of the Russian principalities through peaceful coexistence, to an unattainable height. So two years after the victory, Monomakh, without any dispute, took the throne in Kiev and went down in history as the first peacemaker prince, who achieved the union of principalities and ceased internecine wars. And it was not his fault that the descendants, despising the Monomakh “Teaching”, failed to keep the united Russia in their hands, which the Horde khans took advantage of.
But another result of the campaign - the glorification and strengthening of the Orthodox faith - could not be shaken. And for the warriors of the princes-allies, and for commoners, it was undeniable that success was predetermined by the heavenly patrons of Russia. Such an obvious victory like nothing else contributed to the strengthening of Orthodoxy in Ancient Russia, its formation as a state religion. We add only that the legendary victory of 27 in March of 1111 of the year fell on the day of the Theodore Icon of the Mother of God, glorified as the keeper of Russian statehood.
Of course, it is now difficult to unequivocally assert that even such a far-sighted ruler, like Vladimir Monomakh, has foreseen all these consequences. But even if not, it is impossible not to pay tribute to his instinct, because the steps taken by him led to the most important results. Which ultimately made the Battle of Salnitsa the first famous victory of Russian weapons - the point from which we should count all the other victories, including on Lake Peipsi, and in the Battle of Kulikovo, and under Poltava, and under Borodino, right until the very victorious May 1945 th ...