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Video: Influence of the Battle of Kulikovo on the inhabitants of Russia
2023 Author: Seth Attwood | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 22:42
According to experts, the Battle of Kulikovo became one of the largest battles in the history of medieval Russia. Although the battle did not lead to the final liberation of the Russian lands from the yoke, it demonstrated that the Horde could be successfully fought, and contributed to the consolidation of the inhabitants of Russia.
640 years ago, the united troops of the principalities of North-Eastern Russia under the command of the Grand Duke of Vladimir and Moscow, Dmitry Ivanovich, defeated the forces of the Horde Temnik Mamai. The battle took place between the rivers Don, Nepryadva and the Beautiful Sword in the area known as the Kulikovo field.
On September 21 (September 8 according to the Julian calendar), 1380, a battle took place between the Don and Nepryadva rivers, known as the Battle of Kulikovo. The combined forces of several principalities of North-Eastern Russia under the general command of the Grand Duke of Vladimir and Moscow, Dmitry Ivanovich, defeated the army of the influential Horde temnik Mamai. This event significantly influenced the political situation in the Russian lands and the self-awareness of their inhabitants.
Being in fragmentation and disunity, the Russian lands were captured by the Golden Horde in the XIII century. Russia paid tribute to the Horde, and the princes were forced to ask permission from the descendants of Genghis Khan to take the throne. However, already in the XIV century, the political situation began to gradually change. In North-Eastern Russia, the position of Moscow began to strengthen, uniting the rest of the principalities around it.
In the Golden Horde in the second half of the XIV century, an internecine struggle began. The son-in-law of Khan Berdibek, Temnik Mamai, gained significant influence there, under the actual control of which the Horde lands between the Volga and the Dnieper passed.
In 1359, Berdibek was killed by rivals. Mamai launched a fight against the murderers of his father-in-law and ruled the West Horde lands on behalf of the young khans from the Chingizid dynasty.
In the early 1370s, Mamai tried to make Mikhail Tverskoy the Grand Duke of Vladimir instead of the Moscow prince Dmitry Ivanovich, but practically all the principalities of North-Eastern Russia opposed this, and Mamai had to give up - the golden label remained with the Moscow prince. Soon, Dmitry stopped paying tribute to the Horde and began to pursue an independent policy.
The punitive expedition sent against Moscow in 1378 under the leadership of Murza Begich did not bring success to the Horde. The Horde detachment was defeated in the battle on the Vozha River. But Mamai linked his status in the Horde with the ability to control North-Eastern Russia, so he began to prepare a new large-scale campaign against Moscow.
Start of the hike
Mamai concluded an alliance against Moscow with the Ryazan prince Oleg Ivanovich and the Great Lithuanian prince Yagailo. The Grand Duchy of Lithuania, shortly before that, seized vast territories of South-Western Russia, and its authorities feared that the Moscow Rurikovichs might lay claim to them.
In the summer of 1380, Mamai attracted mercenaries to his army and moved to the upper reaches of the Don, reaching the mouth of the Voronezh River in August, where he began to expect allies.
Upon learning of the approach of Mamai, Prince Dmitry Ivanovich began to gather an army. Representatives of the Serpukhov, Belozersky, Pronsky, Tarusa, Obolensky principalities rushed to his aid, as well as troops from Polotsk, Drutsk, Pskov, Bryansk, Kostroma and other cities. Although the authorities of Novgorod and Ryazan did not officially support Dmitry Ivanovich, according to a number of testimonies, the Novgorod and Ryazan soldiers privately joined the army that was advancing towards Mamai.
Before the campaign, Dmitry Ivanovich visited the Trinity Monastery and met with Sergius of Radonezh. The hegumen blessed the prince and predicted victory for him, albeit at a high price. According to a number of sources, he sent two of his monks with an army - the heroes Peresvet and Oslyabya.
On August 30, 1380 (hereinafter the dates are according to the Julian calendar), the Russian army began to cross the Oka. Dmitry Ivanovich's decision to move so far towards the enemy worried many.
“And when they heard in the city of Moscow, and in Pereyaslavl, and in Kostroma, and in Vladimir, and in all the cities of the Grand Duke and all the princes of Russia, that the great prince went beyond the Oka, then a great sorrow came in the city of Moscow and a bitter cry arose, and the sounds of sobs resounded, says the Chronicle of the Battle of Kulikovo.
Having advanced towards Mamai, Dmitry Ivanovich hoped not to allow the Horde to unite with the forces of Yagailo. His plan was successful. Having learned about the composition of the Russian troops and the route of their movement, the Lithuanian prince took a wait-and-see attitude.
On September 5, the advance detachments of the Russian troops reached Nepryadva. The next day, a council of war was held. The Grand Duke decided to adhere to offensive tactics - to cross the Don and independently choose a place for the battle.
On the night of September 7, the main forces of the Russian army began crossing the Don. The site for the battle was the territory bounded by the Don, Nepryadva and Beautiful Sword rivers, known as the Kulikovo field. The features of its relief were such that the Russian regiments could not be afraid of being swept from the flanks by the Horde cavalry.
After the crossing, the Russian troops encountered the Horde intelligence. Mamai received information about the approach of Dmitry Ivanovich's forces, but he could no longer prevent the Russian army from building up in a convenient place.
The regiment of the Right Hand of the Russian army was led by Andrei Olgerdovich, the regiment of the Left Hand - Vasily Yaroslavsky, standing in the center of the Big Regiment - the Moscow okolnichy Timofey Velyaminov. In front of the Big Regiment was the Frontline. Behind the left flank there was a reserve, and even further, in the forest, the Ambush Regiment, which consisted of selected cavalry, under the command of Prince Vladimir Andreevich Serpukhovsky and commander Dmitry Mikhailovich Bobrok-Volynsky.
Mamai put light cavalry in the vanguard of his troops, in the center - heavy infantry recruited from Genoese mercenaries, and on the flanks - heavy cavalry. Temnik also left a reserve. Some historians dispute today the reality of the participation of the Genoese infantry in the Battle of Kulikovo, arguing that in fact only cavalry took part in the battle.
The size of both troops also remains the subject of scientific controversy. Medieval sources estimated the number of soldiers in both armies at hundreds of thousands. Modern scholars consider the chronicle data to be overestimated. The number of troops in our days is estimated by researchers in different ways: the Horde - from 10 to 100 thousand people, and the Russian - from 6 to 60 thousand.
Battle of Kulikovo
When the troops approached, a duel took place between the Russian hero (in different sources they call Peresvet or Oslyabya) with the best Horde warrior Chelubey. Both participants in the duel were killed. After that, the main forces of the Horde and Russian troops came together in battle.
The attacks of the Horde on the center and the right side of the Russian formation were repulsed. Then Mamai threw the main forces against the left flank of the Russian army, which the Horde managed to press. The enemy began to go out to the rear of the Big Regiment. And then the elite Ambush regiment hit the flank and rear of the Mamaevsk cavalry, turning the enemy to flight.
Mamai quickly realized that the battle was lost, and left the battlefield with his personal guard. His army was completely defeated.
Prince Dmitry Ivanovich fought in plain armor in a general formation and was knocked off his horse. After the battle, he was found unconscious. While he was coming to his senses, Prince Vladimir Andreevich collected the shelves.
Jagailo did not dare to engage in battle with the Russian troops and returned to Lithuania. Even earlier, the Ryazan prince refused the idea to fight with Prince Dmitry. Having buried the dead, the army of Dmitry Ivanovich, who received the nickname Donskoy after the victory, returned to Moscow.
Mamai's authority was undermined. He fled to the Crimea and died there under circumstances not fully clarified. Two years later, Tokhtamysh, the Khan of the Golden Horde, raided the lands of North-Eastern Russia, took Moscow with cunning and again began to collect tribute from the Russian principalities.
“Situationally, it was Tokhtamysh who got the most of the benefits from the Battle of Kulikovo, who got rid of the opponent in the person of Mamai. But in the longer term, things turned out differently. Representatives of various cities and principalities walked to Kulikovo Field, and the Russian people returned, Andrei Naumov, deputy director for science at the Kulikovo Field State Museum, told RT.
“The common victory, the understanding that one can fight the Horde on equal terms, consolidated the people. Russia was born in unity on the Kulikovo field,”added the specialist.
Thanks to the victories of Dmitry Donskoy, Moscow's influence continued to grow.
“The victory on the Kulikovo field secured for Moscow the importance of the organizer and ideological center of the reunification of the East Slavic lands, showing that the path to their state and political unity was the only way to their liberation from foreign domination,” wrote the historian Felix Shabuldo.
According to the advisor to the rector of Moscow State Pedagogical University Yevgeny Spitsyn, although in recent decades scientists have questioned the number of participants in the Battle of Kulikovo, this does not in the least diminish the political role of the battle.
“Even if we were talking about 10-15 thousand horsemen, these were colossal armies by the standards of that time. But it is fundamentally important that under Dmitry Donskoy Moscow for the first time expressed its readiness to raise the sword in the struggle to overthrow the Horde vassal relations, and this led to the final establishment of the sovereignty of the Moscow state a hundred years later,”summed up Spitsyn.
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