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Mstislav Vladimirovich - Prince of Tmutarakansky and Chernigov
Mstislav Vladimirovich the Brave
Mstislav Vladimirovich (nicknamed “Bold” or “Brave”) is the son of Prince Vladimir Svyatoslavich, presumably from Adele. He was appointed by his father to reign in Tmutarakan between 990 and 1010.

He led an active foreign policy, making military campaigns in the southern and southeastern directions. In 1023, he opposed Yaroslav the Wise, who had established in Kyiv. Mstislav having occupied Chernigov and in 1024 the battle of Listven defeated the troops of the Kyiv prince. Two years later, the brothers made peace and actually divided the lands of Kievan Rus along the Dnieper River.

In the future, Mstislav supported Yaroslav, fought with him against Poland in 1030-1031, as a result of which the previously lost Cherven cities were returned under the influence of Kyiv.

In 1036, he died suddenly while hunting, as a result, Yaroslav the Wise became the sole ruler until his death in 1054.[1]wikipedia

Early years and reign in Tmutarakan

Born, presumably, in 983, a little later than Svyatoslav and Yaroslav.

Between 990 and 1010, Mstislav was appointed by his father Vladimir to reign in Tmutarakan, a recently conquered region on the Taman coast of the Kerch Strait. Since ancient times, important trade routes have passed through these places, connecting the countries of the West with the Caucasus, the Urals and Central Asia.

Location of Tmutarakan
Location of Tmutarakan

Not only Khazars and Greeks took root here, but also Bulgars, and Slavs, and representatives of almost all peoples who fell under the rule of Khazaria. Numerous and warlike Adyghe tribes lived in the vicinity, which the Slavs began to call Kasogs.

The suppression of the uprising in the Crimean Khazaria

Since 1015, a second civil strife began in Kievan Rus – Prince Vladimir died and his children began to fight each other for the Kyiv throne. Mstislav was too far away to get involved in the struggle and dealt with local problems.

In 1016, the Crimean Khazars, who retained part of their autonomy, led by Georgy Tsula (in various sources referred to as the “strategic of Kherson” and the “archon of Khazaria”) rebelled against the power of the Byzantine Empire.

Scheme - the second strife in Old Rus
Scheme – the second strife in Old Rus

Returning to Constantinople, the emperor (Vasily II) sent an expedition to Khazaria. Her exarch was Mong, son of Andronicus, grandson of Lida. Together with Sfeng, brother of Vladimir, son-in-law of the emperor, he subjugated the country, capturing its archon George Tzulu in the first clash. – Byzantine chronicler John Skylitzes

According to historians, the name “Sfeng” can hide both Prince Mstislav himself and the voivode sent by him. Warrior relatives often served as co-ruler in Old Rus, if the real heir was too young to reign independently.

After the suppression of the rebellion, the emperor ceded part of the Eastern Crimea to his ally. The structure of the Tmutarakan principality included the city of Bospor, renamed Korchev (Kerch).

Единоборство князей Мстислава и Редеди

Single combat of Mstislav with Rededya. Artist N.K. Roerich. 1943
Single combat of Mstislav with Rededya. Artist N.K. Roerich. 1943

In 1022, Mstislav supported Byzantium in the war with Georgia and opposed the allied tribe of the Alans (Kasogs). Kasogov was led by Prince Rededya – legends and Russian chronicles report that he possessed great physical strength, “there was no one in the Adykhean people who could resist the power of Rededya”

When both troops met, the hero Rededya, confident in his abilities, suggested to Mstislav Vladimirovich:

“Why shall we destroy the squad? But let us come together to fight ourselves without weapons. If you prevail, you will take my riches, and my wife, and my children, and my land. If I prevail, then I will take your’s everything .”

The princes began to fight – Mstislav could not cope with the giant Rededey, he was weakening, exhausted, and then for the first time he prayed:

“O Holy Mother of God, help me! If I overcome him, I will build a church in Your name.”

“…And having said this, he hit Rededya on the ground. And, drawing a knife, he stabbed Rededya.”— Laurentian Chronicle

Combat between Prince Mstislav Vladimirovich Udaly and Prince Rededey of Kosozh. (Artist A.I. Ivanov, 1812)
Combat between Prince Mstislav Vladimirovich Udaly and Prince Rededey of Kosozh.
(Artist A.I. Ivanov, 1812)

After the duel, Mstislav kills Rededya in front of the Kasozhian regiments. Radziwill Chronicle.
After the duel, Mstislav kills Rededya in front of the Kasozhian regiments. Radziwill Chronicle.

After the victory over Rededey, Mstislav captured his wife and children, and imposed tribute on the Kasogs. Mstislav christened the sons of Rededi with the names Yuri and Roman. He married his daughter Tatyana Mstislavna to Roman, but Roman died in the famous battle of Listven in 1024, leaving no offspring.

This duel was sung by the skalds of Prince Mstislav, and the chronicler Nikon wrote down its details in Taman (later this episode was also mentioned in the Tale of Igor’s Campaign).

In honor of this victory and in honor of the Mother of God, whom the prince prayed for help before the battle, Mstislav founded a stone temple in his capital, traces of which were revealed during excavations:

“And having arrived in Tmutorokan, he founded the Church of the Holy Mother of God, and finished it, it stands to this day in Tmutorokan.”

Return of Mstislav Vladimirovich to Tmutarakan; the erection by him of the vow of the Church of the Virgin in Tmutarakan.
Return of Mstislav Vladimirovich to Tmutarakan; the erection by him of the vow of the Church of the Virgin in Tmutarakan.

Mstislav’s power over the yases and kasogs significantly increased the military capabilities of the Tmutarakan ruler, and he decided to intervene in the struggle for his father’s grand ducal inheritance.

Conflict with Yaroslav the Wise

In 1023, when Yaroslav pacified the rebellion in Suzdal, Prince Mstislav approached Kyiv with his allies, the Khazars and Kasogs, but the city did not surrender to him. Mstislav did not besiege Kyiv and occupied Chernigov. Having extinguished the rebellion in Suzdal, Yaroslav returned to Novgorod and hired the Varangian squad of Yakun the Blind, with whom he went to Chernigov. A squad of Mstislav with a strong Chernigov militia came out of the city to meet him.

1024 – Battle of Listven

The battle took place at night in a heavy thunderstorm, not far from Chernigov near the town of Listven. Here the Varangian squad of Yaroslav met the army of Mstislav. The detachment of the Tmutarakan prince was reinforced by the allied northerners, who stood in the center of the battle formation and took the main blow of the enemy. The Varangians of Yaroslav fought in a continuous line, while Mstislav, for the first time in the history of Kievan Rus, used a battle formation divided along the front. Mstislav’s squad struck from the flanks and defeated him. Yaroslav with the remnants of the soldiers fled to Novgorod.

The battlefield was left to Mstislav. He, according to the chronicler, walked on it, saying:

“Who wouldn’t rejoice at this? Here lies a northerner (Chernigovets), here is a Varangian, and my squad is intact!

1026 – Conclusion of peace

The results of the Battle of Listven were unexpected. Mstislav did not advance to Kyiv, but moved his capital to Chernigov. Then he sent ambassadors to Yaroslav with a proposal to share the lands along the Dnieper with him and stop the wars:

“Sit down in your Kyiv, you are the elder brother, and let this side be for me.”

Yaroslav ruled Kyiv through governors until 1026, until he gathered a large army, after which he returned to Kyiv and made peace with Prince Mstislav near Gorodets. The brothers divided the lands along the Dnieper. The left bank was kept by Mstislav, and the right bank by Yaroslav.

Map showing the influence of the princes after the conclusion of peace between Yaroslav the Wise and Mstislav the Brave
Map showing the influence of the princes after the conclusion of peace between Yaroslav the Wise and Mstislav the Brave

Mstislav – co-ruler of Kievan Rus

After the conclusion of peace, the brothers no longer clashed. Mstislav ruled in Chernigov, but did not forget his Tmutarakan possessions.

Polish campaigns of 1030-1031

In the early 1030s, Poland, like Russia, was shaken by civil strife. In addition, the new Polish king Mieszko II got involved in a war with Germany, not having a reliable rear inside the country.

Yaroslav used the current situation. Just as once Boleslav I took away the “Cherven cities” from Kyiv during internecine wars in Old Rus, so now Yaroslav, in alliance with Mstislav, struck at the Polish lands. Old Rus became an ally of Germany.

In the summer of 6539. Yaroslav and Mstislav took the land of Poland, and conquered the city of Cherven again and conquered the polish land, and brought many Poles and divided them between each other. Yaroslav plant them on the Rsi River, and they lived there to this day.

Map showing the direction of the Polish campaigns of Yaroslav the Wise in 1030-1031
Map showing the direction of the Polish campaigns of Yaroslav the Wise in 1030-1031

The brothers gathered a large army, invaded the Polish lands and returned the Cherven cities under the rule of Kyiv. During the campaign, many prisoners were captured. According to Tatishchev, the Poles inherited by Mstislav were settled near the city of Chernigov.

In memory of this event, Mstislav invited craftsmen from Byzantium and laid the stone Transfiguration Cathedral in Chernigov.

War with the state of the Shirvanshahs

In the late 1020s and early 1030s. Mstislav’s activity continued in the North Caucasian and even Transcaucasian regions. In 1031, the Russian-Alanian fleet headed by Mstislav appeared on the Caspian Sea. A landing force was landed near Baku, which managed to defeat the army of the Shirvanshah. Rising up the Kura River, the Rus and Alans entered the land of Arran.[2]http://rushist.wikia.com

The Caspian campaign of Mstislav the Brave - a miniature of the Radzivilov Chronicle
The Caspian campaign of Mstislav the Brave – a miniature of the Radzivilov Chronicle
Emir Fadl has just died in Arran. His son Musa inherited his throne, but another son, with the support of the Shirvanshah, hoped to win the throne. The arriving army supported Musa, laid siege to the pretender in the city of Bailakan and got him. After that, the detachment went through Armenia to Byzantium. Perhaps, at the cost of Musa’s support, Mstislav and his ally the Alanian prince hoped to get a trading post at the mouth of the Kura River.

In 1032 they reappeared in Arran. But the situation has changed. Musa married the daughter of the Shirvanshah and became his ally. Emir of Derbent Mansur also joined this alliance. Mansur was married to the daughter of King Sarir Bukht-Shishe. Sarir, who traditionally supported the Tmutarakan-Alanian alliance, also took a hostile position. The arriving army was attacked by the combined forces of the Derbents, Lezgins and Tabarasans. Only a small detachment led by the Alanian prince managed to break through the mountains.

In 1033, the united Russian-Alanian army tried to take revenge on the Derbents, but without much success.

The death of Mstislav Tmutarakansky and the memory of him

Mstislav died hunting in 1036. It is known from the Lyubetz Synod that Mstislav’s baptismal name was Konstantin. Mstislav’s son Evstafiy died before his father, and Mstislav’s possessions passed to Yaroslav, who, according to the chronicler, became “an autocrat in the Russian land.”

The feats and military merits of Mstislav did not go unnoticed by the ancient Russian singer Boyan. The chronicler wrote about Mstislav:

“Mstislav was burly in body, ruddy, brave in battle, merciful and very fond of the squad, he did not spare property for her, he did not limit her to drink or food.”
Chernihiv residents remember their first annalistic prince. For several years now, in the last days of September, the city cultural festival “Mstislav-Fest” has been held near the Spassky Cathedral. Within the framework of the holiday, an exhibition-fair of folk art masters, exhibitions of artworks and literature are held.

Fight in medieval attire at "Mstislav-Fest" in Chernihiv, Ukraine (photo by R. Vilensky)
Fight in medieval attire at “Mstislav-Fest” in Chernihiv, Ukraine
(photo by R. Vilensky)

Section “Yaroslav the Wise”

Список литературы

  1. wikipedia
  2. http://rushist.wikia.com
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Опубликовано: 10.08.2022
Изменено: 10.08.2022