780 years ago, in the spring of 1236, the "Mongolian" army moved to conquer Eastern Europe. A large army, which was replenished on the way with new and new detachments, reached the Volga in a few months and there united with the forces of "Ulas Juchi." In the late autumn of 1236, the combined “Mongolian” forces attacked Volga Bulgaria. This is the official version. stories "Mongol" empire and the conquests of the "Mongol-Tatars".
According to the version included in the history textbooks, from all over the vast region of Central Asia, Mongolian feudal princes (noyons) with their retinues gathered on the banks of the Onon river. Here in the spring of 1206, at the congress of representatives of the largest tribes and genera, Temuchin was proclaimed the Great Khan as the supreme ruler of the "Mongols". It was a tough and successful one of the “Mongolian” clans who was able to defeat his rivals in the course of bloody internecine strivings. He took a new name - Genghis Khan, and his clan was declared the oldest of all generations. Previously, independent tribes and clans of the great steppe united into a single state entity.
The union of the tribes into a single state was a progressive phenomenon. The civil wars ended. Prerequisites for the development of the economy and culture have appeared. A new law came into force - Yasa Genghis Khan. In Yasa, the main place was occupied by articles on mutual assistance in the campaign and the prohibition of deceiving the one who trusted. Those who violated these regulations were executed, and the enemy of the “Mongols”, who remained loyal to his ruler, was spared and accepted into his army. Goodness was considered loyalty and courage, and evil - cowardice and betrayal. Genghis Khan divided the entire population into dozens, hundreds, thousands, and tumens of darkness (ten thousand), thereby mixing up the tribes and clans and appointing specially selected people from confidants and Nukerov warriors as commanders over them. All adult and healthy men were considered warriors who, in peacetime, led their farms, and in wartime were taken to weapon. Many young, unmarried women could also perform military service (the ancient tradition of the Amazons and the Poles). Genghis Khan created a network of lines of communications, courier communication on a large scale for military and administrative purposes, and organized reconnaissance, including economic. No one dared to attack the merchants, which led to the development of trade.
In 1207, the Mongol-Tatars began to conquer the tribes that lived north of the Selenga River and in the Yenisei Valley. As a result, areas that were rich in ironworking were captured, which was of great importance for the armament of the new large army. In the same year, 1207, the “Mongols” subjugated the Tangut kingdom of Xi-Xia. The tangut ruler became a tributary of Genghis Khan.
In 1209, the conquerors invaded the Uighur country (East Turkestan). After the bloody war, the Uigurs were defeated. In the 1211 year, the "Mongolian" army invaded China. Genghis Khan's troops defeated the army of the Jin Empire, the conquest of vast China began. In 1215, the "Mongolian" army took the capital of the country - Zhunda (Beijing). KV further campaign against China continued commander Muhali.
After the conquest of the main part of the Jin empire, the “Mongols” began a war against the Kara-Khitan khanate, defeating which established the border with Khorezm. Khorezmshah ruled a huge Muslim state of Khorezm, which stretched from North India to the Caspian and Aral seas, as well as from modern Iran to Kashgar. In 1219-1221 "Mongols" defeated Khorezm and took the main cities of the kingdom. Then the detachments of Jebe and Subedei devastated Northern Iran and, moving further to the north-west, ravaged the Transcaucasus and reached the North Caucasus. Here they are faced with the combined forces of the Alans and Polovtsians. It was not possible to crush the united Alan-Polovtsian army "Mongols". The Mongols managed to defeat the Alans by bribing their allies, the Polovtsian khans. The Polovtsi left and the "Mongols" defeated the Alans, and attacked the Polovtsy. Polovtsi could not combine forces and were defeated. Having relatives in Russia, the Polovtsi turned for help to the Russian princes. The Russian princes of Kiev, Chernigov and Galich and other lands joined forces to jointly repel aggression. 31 May 1223 of the year on the Kalka River Subedei defeated the much superior forces of the Russian-Polovtsian troops because of the inconsistency of the actions of the Russian and Polovtsian teams. Grand Prince of Kiev Mstislav Romanovich Old and Prince of Chernigov Mstislav Svyatoslavich died, like many other princes, governors and bogatyrs, and Galician Prince Mstislav Udatny, famous for his victories, fled. However, on the way back, the "Mongol" army suffered defeat from the Volga Bulgars. After a four-year campaign, Subedei's troops returned.
Genghis Khan himself, completing the conquest of Central Asia, attacked the previously allied Tangut. Their kingdom was destroyed. Thus, by the end of Chinggis Khan’s life (he died in 1227), a huge empire was created from the Pacific Ocean and Northern China in the East to the Caspian Sea in the West.
The successes of the Mongol-Tatars are explained:
- their “chosenness and invincibility” (“The Secret Story”). That is, their morale was much higher than that of the enemy;
- the weakness of neighboring states that were experiencing a period of feudal fragmentation was split into state formations, the tribes little connected with each other, where elite groups fought among themselves and offered their services to the conquerors. The masses of people, tormented by internecine wars and bloody feuds of their rulers and feudal lords, as well as heavy tax oppression, were difficult to unite to repel the invaders, often in the "Mongols" even saw liberators, in which life would be better, therefore they were handed cities, fortresses, the masses were passive, waiting for someone to win;
- Reforms of Genghis Khan, who created a powerful shock horse fist with iron discipline. At the same time, the “Mongolian” army used offensive tactics and maintained a strategic initiative (Suvorov's eye, speed and onslaught). The "Mongols" were striving to deliver sudden blows at the enemy who had been taken unawares ("like snow on their heads"), to disorganize the enemy, to beat him piecemeal. The “Mongolian” army skillfully concentrated its forces, inflicting powerful and crushing blows with superior forces on the main axes and crucial sectors. Small professional squads and poorly trained armed militias or huge Chinese loose armies could not withstand such an army;
- using the achievements of the military thought of neighboring nations, like the Chinese siege technology. In their campaigns, the "Mongols" massively used the most varied means of siege equipment of the time: rams, battering and throwing machines, assault ladders. For example, during the siege of the city of Nishabura in Central Asia, the "Mongolian" army had 3000 ballist, 300 catapults, 700 machines for throwing pots with burning oil, 4000 assault ladders. 2500 carts were brought to the city with stones, which were laid on the besieged;
- thorough strategic and economic intelligence and diplomatic training. Genghis Khan thoroughly knew the enemy, his strengths and weaknesses. They tried to isolate the enemy from possible allies, to inflate internal strife, conflicts. One of the sources of information was the merchants who visited the interesting conquerors of the country. It is known that in Central Asia and the Transcaucasus "Mongols" quite successfully attracted to their side the rich merchants, who led international trade. In particular, trade caravans from Central Asia regularly went to the Itil Bulgaria, and through it to the Russian principalities, delivering valuable information. The effective method of reconnaissance was reconnaissance campaigns of individual detachments that went very far from the main forces. So, during the 14 years of the invasion of Batu, far to the west, right up to the Dnieper, a detachment of Subedei and Jebe penetrated, which went a long way and collected valuable information about the countries and tribes that were about to conquer. Much information was also collected by the “Mongolian” embassies, which the khans sent to neighboring countries under the pretext of negotiations on trade or union.
Empire of Genghis Khan at the time of his death
The beginning of the Western campaign
The plans of the campaign against the West took shape at the time of the “Mongolian” leadership long before the campaign of Batu. In 1207, the city of Genghis Khan sent his eldest son Juchi to conquer the tribes that lived in the valley of the Irtysh River and further west. Moreover, already then the lands of Eastern Europe that were to be conquered were included in the “ulus Juchi”. The Persian historian Rashid-ad-Din wrote in his “Collection of Chronicles”: “Juchi, on the basis of the greatest commandment of Genghis Khan, was to go with the army to conquer all areas of the north, that is, Ibir-Sibir, Bular, Desht-i-Kipchak (Polovtsian steppes ), Bashkird, Rus and Cherkas to Khazar Derbent, and subordinate them to their power. ”
However, this broad aggressive program was not implemented. The main forces of the "Mongolian" army were connected by battles in the Middle Kingdom, Central and Central Asia. In 1220, they only undertook a reconnaissance campaign by Subedei and Jebe. This campaign made it possible to study information about the internal situation of states and tribes, the routes of communication, the capabilities of the military forces of the enemy, etc. Deep strategic intelligence was carried out in Eastern European countries.
Genghis Khan transferred to the management of his son Jochi the “Kipchak country” (Polovtsy) and ordered him to take care of the expansion of possessions, including at the expense of land in the west. After Juchi's death in 1227, the land of his ulus passes to his son, Baty. Great Khan became the son of Genghis Khan Ogedei. The Persian historian Rashid ad-Din writes that Ugedei "in pursuance of the decree given by Genghis Khan to Juchi, commissioned the conquest of the Nordic countries to the members of his house."
In the 1229 year, ascending the throne, Ogedei sends two corps to the west. The first, led by Chormagan, was sent south of the Caspian Sea against the last Khorezm Shah Jelal ad-Din (was defeated and died in 1231 year), to Khorasan and Iraq. The second corps, led by Subedei and Kokosh, moved north of the Caspian Sea against the Polovtsy and the Volga Bulgars. This was not a reconnaissance campaign. Subedey conquered the tribes, preparing the way and the springboard for the invasion. The Subedei detachments pressed the Saksin and Polovtsy in the Caspian steppes, destroyed the Bulgarian "watchmen" (guard posts) on the Yaik River and began to conquer the Bashkir lands. However, Subedey could not advance further. For further advance to the west, much larger forces were required.
After kurultai 1229, the great Khan Ugedei moved the Ulus Juchi troops to help Subedey. That is, the campaign to the west was not yet common. The main place in the policy of the empire was the war in China. At the beginning of 1230, the Ulus Juchi troops appeared in the Caspian steppes, reinforcing the body of Subedei. The "Mongols" broke through the Yaik River and broke into the possession of the Polovtsy between Yaik and the Volga. At the same time, the "Mongols" continued to pressure the lands of the Bashkir tribes. Since 1232, the “Mongolian” forces have increased the pressure on Volga Bulgaria.
However, the “ulus Juchi” forces were not enough to conquer Eastern Europe. Bashkir tribes stubbornly resisted, and for their complete submission took several more years. Persisted against the first strike and Volga Bulgaria. This state had a serious military potential, rich cities, a developed economy and a large population. The threat of external invasion forced the Bulgarian feudal lords to combine their squads and resources. On the southern frontiers of the state, on the border of forests and steppes, for the defense against the steppe people built powerful defensive lines. Huge ramparts stretched for tens of kilometers. On these fortified lines, the Volgari Bulgars were able to contain the onslaught of the “Mongolian” army. The "Mongols" had to winter in the steppes, they could not break through to the rich cities of the Bulgars. Only in the steppe zone did the “Mongol” detachments advance quite far to the west, reaching the lands of the Alans.
At a council meeting in 1235, the issue of conquering Eastern European countries was again discussed. It became clear that the forces of only the western regions of the empire, “Juchi ulus”, could not cope with this task. The peoples and tribes of Eastern Europe fought hard and skillfully. The Persian historian Juvayni, a contemporary of the “Mongolian” conquests, wrote that the kurultai 1235 of the year “decided to take possession of the Bulgars, Ases and Russia countries that were located in the Batu camp, were not yet subjugated and were proud of their multiplicity”.
The collection of “Mongolian” nobility 1235 of the year announced a general march to the west. "To help and reinforce Batu" troops were sent from Central Asia and most of the khans, descendants of Genghis Khan (Chingizids). Initially, Ogedei himself planned to lead the Kipchak campaign, but Munke dissuaded him. The march was attended by the following Genghis Khan's sons Jochi - Batu, Orda-Ezhen, Shiban, Tangkut and Burke, the grandson of Chagatai - Buri and son Chagatai - Baydar sons Ogedei - Giiyuk and Kadan, sons Tolui - Munch and Buczek, the son of Genghis Khan - Kyulhan ( Kyulkan), grandson of Genghis Khan's brother - Argasun. One of the best generals of Genghis Khan, Subedei, was summoned from Kitawa. At all ends of the empire, messengers were sent with orders to the clans, tribes and nationalities under the authority of the Great Khan to assemble on a campaign.
All winter 1235-1236 "Mongol" gathered in the headwaters of the Irtysh and the steppes of the Northern Altai, preparing for the big march. In the spring of 1236, the army marched. Previously, they wrote about hundreds of thousands of "fierce" warriors. In modern historical literature, the total number of "Mongolian" troops in the western campaign in 120 — 150 thousand people is estimated. According to some estimates, the army initially comprised 30-40 thousand warriors, but was then reinforced by the allied and subjugated tribes, who deployed auxiliary contingents.
A large army, which was replenished on the way with new and new detachments, reached the Volga in a few months and there joined forces with the "Juchi ulus". In the late autumn of 1236, the combined “Mongolian” forces attacked Volga Bulgaria.
Source: V. V. Kargalov. Mongol-Tatar invasion of Russia
The defeat of the neighbors of Russia
This time Volga Bulgaria did not resist. First, the conquerors increased their military power. Secondly, the "Mongols" neutralized the neighbors of Bulgaria, with whom the Bulgars interacted in the struggle against the invaders. At the very beginning of 1236, the allied Bulgars of the eastern Polovtsi were defeated. Some of them, led by Khan Kotyan, left the Volga region and migrated to the west, where they asked for protection from Hungary. The remaining subjugated to Batu and along with the military contingents of other Volga peoples later joined his troops. The Mongols managed to agree with the Bashkirs and part of the Mordovians.
As a result, Volga Bulgaria was doomed. The conquerors broke through the defense lines of the Bulgars and invaded the country. The Bulgarian cities fortified by ramparts and oak walls, one after another fell. The capital of the state, the city of Bulgar, was taken by storm, the inhabitants were slaughtered. The Russian chronicler wrote: “The godless Tatars came from the Eastern countries to the Bulgarian land, and they took the glorious and great Bulgarian city, and beat them with weapons from an old man to a young man and a baby, and took a lot of goods, and captured the city and all the land they captured.” Volga Bulgaria was terribly devastated. The ruins of the city were converted Bulgar, Kernek, Zhukotin, Suvar and others. The countryside was also devastated. Many Bulgars fled to the north. The other refugees were received by the Grand Duke Vladimir Yuri Vsevolodovich and settled them in the Volga cities. After the formation of the Golden Horde, the territory of Volga Bulgaria became part of it, and the Volga Bulgarians (Bulgars) became one of the main components in the ethnogenesis of modern Kazan Tatars and Chuvash.
By the spring of 1237, the conquest of Volga Bulgaria was completed. Moving north, the “Mongols” reached the Kama River. The “Mongolian” command was preparing for the next stage of the march — the invasion of the Polovtsian steppes.
Polovtsi. As is known from written sources, the Torks replaced the “disappeared” Pechenegs in the XI century (according to the classical version, the southern branch of the Seljuk Turks), then the Polovtsi. But for two decades of being in the South Russian steppes, the Torks did not leave any archaeological sites (S. Pletnev. Polovtsian land. Old Russian principalities 10 - 13 centuries). In the XI-XII centuries, the Polovtsi, direct descendants of the Siberian Scythians, known to the Chinese as the Dinlins, advanced into the steppe zone of European Russia in southern Siberia. They, like the Pechenegs, had a "Scythian" anthropological appearance - they were blond Caucasian. The paganism of the Polovtsi practically did not differ from the Slavic: they worshiped the father-heaven and mother-earth, the cult of ancestors was developed, the wolf enjoyed great respect (we remember Russian fairy tales). The main difference between the Polovtsy and the Rus of Kiev or Chernigov, who were fully sedentary farmers, was paganism and a semi-nomadic way of life.
In the Ural steppes Polovtsi strengthened in the middle of the XI century, and this is due to their mention in the Russian chronicles. Although not identified a single burial of the XI century in the steppe zone of southern Russia. This suggests that initially military units, not a nationality, came to the borders of Russia. Somewhat later, traces of Polovtsians will be clearly visible. In the 1060-s, military clashes between Russians and Polovtsi became regular, although Polovtsians often act in alliance with someone from the Russian princes. In the 1116 year, the Polovtsy won up over the Yas and occupied the White Tower, from that time on, and on Don and Donets, their archaeological traces - “stone women” - appear. It was in the Don steppes that the earliest Polovtsian "women" were discovered (the images of "ancestors" and "grandfathers" were called so). It should be noted that this custom also has a connection with the Scythian era and the time of early bronze. Later Polovtsian statues appear in the Dnieper, Azov and Ciscaucasia. It is noted that the sculptures of women-Polovchanok have a number of "Slavic" signs - this is the temporal rings (a distinctive tradition of the Russian ethnos), many on the chest and belts have multipath stars and crosses in the circle, these charms meant that their mistress is patronized by the Goddess-mother.
For a long time, it was considered that the Polovtsy were almost Mongoloid in appearance, but Turkic in language. However, in their anthropology, the Polovtsians are typical northern Caucasians. This is confirmed by statues, where the images of male faces are always with a mustache and even with a beard. Türkic language of the Polovtsy is not confirmed. The situation with the Polovtsian language is reminiscent of the Scythian - with respect to the Scythians, they adopted a version (unconfirmed) that they are Iranian-speaking. Almost no trace of the Polovtsian language, like the Scythian, remained. An interesting question is where did he disappear in such a relatively short period of time? For analysis there are only a few names of Polovtsian nobility. However, their names are not Turkic! There are no Turkic analogues, but there is a consonance with Scythian names. Bunyak, Konchak sound the same as the Scythian Taksak, Palak, Spartak, etc. The names of such Polovtsian are also found in the Sanskrit tradition - Gzak and Gosak are noted in Rajatorongini (a Kashmir chronicle in Sanskrit). According to the "classical" (Western European) tradition, all those who lived in the steppes to the east and south of the state of Rurikovich were called "Turks" and "Tatars".
In anthropological and linguistic terms, the Polovtsy were the same Sarmatian Scythians as the inhabitants of the Don Oblast, of the Azov region, on whose lands they came. The formation of the Polovtsian principalities in the southern Russian steppes of the 12th century should be considered as a result of the migration of Siberian Scythians (Rus, according to Yu. D. Petukhov and several other researchers) under pressure from the Turks to the west, on lands related to the Volga-Don yas, and the Pechenegs.
Why are related peoples fighting with each other? It is enough to recall the bloody feudal wars of the Russian princes or look at the current relations between Ukraine and Russia (two Russian states) in order to understand the answer. The ruling groups fought for power. There was also a religious schism - between pagans and Christians, somewhere already penetrated Islam.
The archeological data confirm this opinion about the origin of the Polovtsi as the heirs of the Scythian-Sarmatian civilization. There is no big gap between the Sarmatian-Alanian cultural period and the “Polovtsian” one. Even more than that, the cultures of the “Polovtsian field” show affinity with the northern, Russian. In particular, only Russian ceramics were found in the Polovtsian settlements on the Don. This proves that in the XII century, the main mass of the population of the “Polovtsian field” was still constituted by the direct descendants of the Scythian-Sarmatians (Rus), and not the “Turks”. This is also claimed not written down and written sources of the XV-XVII centuries. Polish researchers Martin Belsky and Matvey Stryikovsky report the kinship of the Khazars, the Pechenegs and the Polovtsy with the Slavs. The Russian nobleman Andrei Lyzlov, author of the Scythian History, as well as the Croatian historian Mavro Orbini, in the book The Slavic Kingdom, claimed that the “Polovtsy” were related to the “Goths” who stormed the limits of the Roman Empire in the 4th-5th centuries, and "Goths", in turn, are Scythian Sarmatians. Thus, the sources that survived after the total “cleansing” of the XVIII century (carried out in the interests of the West) speak about the kinship of the Scythians, Polovtsians and Russians. Russian researchers of the 18th and early 20th centuries also wrote about this, who opposed the “classical” version of the history of Russia, composed by the “Germans” and their Russian echoes.
The Polovtsi were not “wild nomads” with whom they like to portray. They had their cities. The Polovtsian cities of Sugrov, Sharukan and Balin are known to Russian chronicles, which contradicts the concept of the “Wild Field” in the Polovtsian period. The famous Arab geographer and traveler Al-Idrisi (1100-1165, according to other 1161 data) reports on six fortresses on the Don: Luka, Astarkuz, Barun, Busara, Sarad and Abkad. There is an opinion that Barun corresponds to Voronezh. Yes, the word "Baruna" has a Sanskrit root: "Varuna" in the Vedic tradition, and "Svarog" in the Slavonic-Russian (God "welded", "bungled", created our planet).
During the period of disunity of the Rus, the Polovtsi actively participated in the showdown of the princes of Rurikovich, in the Russian strife. It should be noted that the Polovtsian Khan princes regularly entered into dynastic alliances with the princes of Russia, became related. In particular, the Kiev prince Svyatopolk Izyaslavich married the daughter of the Polovtsian Khan Tugorkan; Yuri Vladimirovich (Dolgoruky) married the daughter of the Polovtsian khan Aepa; Volyn prince Andrei Vladimirovich married the granddaughter of Tugorkan; Mstislav the Redeem was married to the daughter of the Polovtsian Khan Kotyan, etc.
Polovtsy suffered a great defeat from Vladimir Monomakh (V. Kargalov, A. Sakharov. Commanders of Ancient Russia). Part of the Polovtsy went to Transcaucasia, the other to Europe. The remaining Polovtsy, reduced their activity. In 1223, the Polovtsi were twice defeated by the “Mongolian” troops - in alliance with the Yasy-Alans and with the Russians. In 1236-1337 The Polovtsy took the first blow of Batu's army and put up stubborn resistance, which was finally broken only after several years of brutal war. The Polovtsi constituted the majority of the population of the Golden Horde, and after its collapse and absorption by the Russian state, their descendants became Russians. As already noted in anthropological and cultural terms, they were descendants of the Scythians, like the Rus of the ancient Russian state, so everything was back to normal.
Thus, the Polovtsy, contrary to the opinion of Western historians, were not Turks and Mongoloids. Polovtsi were light-eyed and blond-haired Indo-Europeans (Aryans), pagans. They led a semi-nomadic (“Cossack”) way of life, settled in the creeks (remember Aryan Vezhi - the creeks-ves of the Aryans), if necessary, fought with the Russians of Kiev, Chernigov, and the Turks, or were friends, made friends and fraternized. They had a common Scythian-Aryan origin with the Rus of the Russian principalities, a similar language, cultural traditions and customs.
According to the historian Yu. D. Petukhov: “Most likely, the Polovtsy were not some separate ethnic group. Their constant presence to the Pechenegs suggests that both were one people, more precisely. A nationality that could not be attributed either to the Russians of Kievan Rus that had been Christianized by that time, nor to the pagan Russians of the Scythian-Siberian world. The Polovtsi were located between two huge ethnocultural and linguistic cores of the super ethnic group of the Rus. But they did not belong to any "core". ... Non-occurrence in any of the gigantic ethno-massifs and decided the fate of both the Pechenegs and the Polovtsy. ” When the two parts of the two super-ethnos nuclei collided, the Polovtsi left the historical arena, were absorbed by two arrays of the Rus.
The Polovtsi were one of the first to take the blows of the next wave of the Scythian-Siberian Rus, which, according to Western tradition, are usually called “Tatar-Mongols”. Why? In order to reduce the civilization, historical and living space of the Russian-Russian super-ethnos, to solve the “Russian question” by deleting the Russian people from history.
In the spring of 1237, the “Mongols” attacked the Polovtsy and Alans. From the Lower Volga, the “Mongolian” army moved westward, using tactics “raids” against their weakened enemies. The left flank of the ravine arc, which ran along the Caspian Sea and further along the steppes of the North Caucasus, towards the mouth of the Don, formed the corps of Guyuk Khan and Munk. The right flank, which moved north, along the Polovtsian steppes, consisted of Mengu Khan's troops. To the aid of the Khans, who fought stubbornly against the Polovtsy and the Alans, they later advanced Subedea (he was in Bulgaria).
The “Mongolian” troops marched across the Caspian steppes on a broad front. Polovtsi and Alans suffered a heavy defeat. Many died in fierce battles, the remaining forces rolled over the Don. However, the Polovtsy and Alans, the same courageous warriors, like the "Mongols" (heirs of the northern Scythian tradition), continued to resist.
Almost simultaneously with the war, fighting in the direction of the Polovtsy took place in the north. In the summer of 1237, the “Mongols” attacked the lands of the Burtases, Moksha and Mordovians, these tribes occupied vast territories on the right bank of the Middle Volga. The corps of Batu himself and several other khans — the Horde, Berke, Storm, and Kulkan fought against these tribes. The lands of the Burtases, Moksha and Muzzles were relatively easily conquered by the "Mongols". They had a hollow advantage over tribal militias. In the autumn of 1237, the "Mongols" began to prepare for the campaign against Russia.
To be continued ...