Legends and myths Kulikova field

What we know for certain about the most famous battle in ancient history

Legends and myths Kulikova field

Reproduction of Sergei Prisekin "The Battle of Kulikovo"

September 8, 1380 on the field, located near the confluence of the rivers Don Nepryadva, suprotiv each other at dawn, lined up Russian and Tatar troops. Barely cleared the fog, it began slashing, which lasted at least three hours. The result of it was the complete victory of the Russian regiments that have long driven the enemy fled across the steppe.

And this story is known by every little bit literate Russian citizen, it is taught in school, she wanders from one textbook for centuries. Naturally, these dry facts is not limited, and the story of the battle acquires details. For example, information about the number of troops, the regiment, the participation of Dmitry Donskoy, the famous duel Peresvet and Chelubey and many others. However, this seems to be generally accepted information, everything is much more complicated.

The fact is that in our world at the same time, there are two completely different "stories". There is a subject where all subject didactics, methodology, patriotic education, and other purely pedagogical issues. Most of the descriptions and interpretations in textbooks unambiguous so careless schoolboy was easier to memorize them, almost always there is a clear division between "us" and "them", "good" and "bad."

Another "story" - a complex science, where virtually no precise answers to questions. This is the world of scientific discussions and assumptions complex interplay of these various historical disciplines and polyphony of opinions. Historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, numismatists, chronicles of experts and other scholars (and women of course) trying to create a set of facts do not contradict the version of events that often turns out to be extremely difficult. Agree, in school textbooks do not need to reflect the dozens of points of view on the origin of the Slavs, the emergence of the term "Russia" or the origin of Rurik, which is in modern Russian historical science. But scientists are already two and a half centuries of struggle with these issues, and the unequivocal answer is still no.

Legends and myths Kulikova field

Reproduction of Orest Kiprensky "Dmitry Donskoy on the Kulikovo field"

With Kulikovo battle situation is similar. From the point of view of the subject and the abstract representations of history lovers - like all known and obvious. But from the point of view of professionals - a solid mystery. Try to get a closer look at the events of those years and find out which of the "well-known" facts do have the right to be called so, and which are legendary character.

How do we know about the Battle of Kulikov

First, see what information has modern science and how they are authentic. Let's start with the chronicle sources.

The earliest extant written sources is the so-called A Brief chronicle the story, which, according to experts, was drawn up at the beginning of the XV century - probably until 1409. Anyway, this time dates Trinity Chronicle, who died in a fire in 1812 in Moscow, but partially extant on extracts NM Karamzin in the notes to his "History of the Russian state." Almost word for word identical to her texts preserved in the work Rogozhskoe chronicler (mid XV century) and chronicles Simeon (the beginning of the XVI century), so you can almost certainly claim that they had a source. Apparently, this is the closest in time and the most accurate description of the events in 1380, on the basis of which has already created later works.

Around the middle of the XV century it appears Extensive chronicles the story, which was included in the IV Novgorod Sofia and I record. This record - no longer an informational message, and artistic and journalistic work, which is used to create reminiscences of "The Life of Alexander Nevsky", "Reading about Boris and Gleb", as well as numerous biblical quotations. In the description of mourning and Russian women in the "crying Mamaia" Used apocryphal "Word on the Nativity of the coming of the Magi." Here we find the first relatively detailed account of the battle, the dead princes and boyars, and other details. Some registered indications patently false (mentioned people can not participate in the events of 1380, since then simply did not live), which is explained by the desire of some people create a family tree - tap ancestors in historical events. Two of the most famous source - "Zadonshchina" and "The Legend of Mamay" - were born at least a hundred years after the events described in them. It is not historical, but rather epic works that were to become the basis of a new ideology had just gained their independence Muscovy, the Third Rome, and declared heir to the great traditions. Historical outline taken from the aforementioned lengthy description, but there was a set of inserts, details listed above are not well-known names, and so on. Perceive "Zadonshchina" and "Legend" as historical sources can and should be, but rather as a unique monuments of literature and political thought of the late XV - early XVI centuries, rather than as a source of information about events that happened a hundred years before.

Besides it should be borne in mind, and foreign (German, Polish and Horde) references and archaeological data. The latter could give the most accurate picture, but they are very scarce. Already quite a few years in the Don area and Nepryadva works complex expedition of the State Historical Museum, but only recently began to appear relatively bright artifacts - pieces of armor, arrowheads and spears. finds humility should not be confused: a weapon in those days it was a great value, and it was collected immediately after the battle, and the graves of the soldiers were located (in the written sources) on the high bank of the Don and could go under water when changing the coastline. In addition, black soils, and especially made to them over the years of fertilizer is very aggressive and does not contribute to the preservation of bones and things.

Legends and myths Kulikova field

Found Kulikovo

But there were reports recently about paleobotanic studies that clarify the picture's great. Scientists have proven that changed and focus on the current landscape is not necessary at the reconstruction of the events due to climate change in the structure of forests and steppes. It was composed relatively accurate map of the area for the end of the XIV century, and almost certainly defines the place of the battle - a relatively small glade among coastal forests. This is a great success, giving the opportunity to more accurately interpret events.

The guards against the "Genoese"

If you believe "Transdoniad" and "legends", the number of Russian troops reached 300 thousand people. In the space of the vault is said about 100 thousand. Impressive figures, but, no doubt, greatly exaggerated.

If we compare our existing reliable data on quantitative indicators of medieval armies, you will find that they are never more than a few tens of thousands, and more fit in five to seven thousand people. This is consistent with the population of Russia at that time. For example, Moscow in the second half of the XIV century hardly numbered more than fifty thousand inhabitants, and the population was of fighting, of course, many times less.

The army was going quickly, so the time to collect and militias from distant villages was not simple. Apparently, most of the Army Dmitry made the prince's retinue, knights and urban militia units.

Based on various sources it can be argued that in the Kulikov battle was attended by soldiers from the Moscow, Vladimir, Rostov, Yaroslavl, Belozersk, Mologa, Starodub, Kashin, Smolensk, Novosilsky, Obolensky, Tarusa, possibly Suzdal-Nizhny Novgorod and Murom principalities and their destinies. In addition, there were small personal retinue of princes landless, small detachments of Pskov, where the "sit" Prince Andrei of Polotsk and Novgorod. Never before has Russia not collected such a large and representative forces, yet its number, according to most researchers, not exceeding thirty thousand warriors. In recent years, referring to the size of the battlefield (as already mentioned, recent data), the experts say about 7-10 thousands of soldiers who took part in the battle. Tatar army, apparently, a few outnumbered Russian. Although there are Horde sources that speak of the superiority of double Dmitry likely, this is also an exaggeration. But some small advantage in Rus was. It should be noted that actual Mongols have Temnik (or beklyarbeka) Mamaia was very little, and most of his army were hired troops of peoples inhabiting the Black Sea steppes, the North Caucasus and the Crimea. It makes sense to remind you that my mother, who is sometimes mistakenly referred to as Khan was in relation to the Golden Horde, a renegade separatist - at this time he controlled only the steppe regions of the west of the Volga, the Northern Black Sea region and the Crimea. However, most of the Golden Horde until the northern Azov had already won Tokhtamysh Khan. Unlike Mamaia latter was present Genghisides - a descendant of Genghis Khan.

The army Mamaia were jars, kosogs, Burtases, Circassians, Cumans were the notorious "Genoese" - mercenaries recruited in the Cafe (Feodosia) and Sugdeya (Sudak). Hardly any of them were real Italians, which was in the Crimea, quite a bit - rather, it was a motley rabble port.

Weaning Dmitry and Sergius of Radonezh

On the pediment of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, you can see a high relief (the script it is in the Donskoy Monastery): Sergius of Radonezh blessing to battle kneeling Prince Dmitry Ivanovich and his brother Vladimir Andreyevich. Behind the elder warriors are monks and Relight Oslabya. This scene is so firmly established in the Russian soul and the heart, that the credibility of her no doubt. Meanwhile, it has more legendary than real. Do Dmitry called in the Trinity-Sergius Lavra on the eve of the Battle of Kulikov? This question is not idle, since the relations in the Moscow prince with the official church at this time was very tense. In 1378 Metropolitan Alexy rested (in the world - Eleutherius F. Byakont), replacing Dmitry early deceased father and virtually ruled the country in the childhood and adolescence of the prince. Theoretically, in accordance with a letter of the patriarch, the vacancy should take the Metropolitan of Kiev and Lithuanian Cyprian, who immediately went to Moscow. But Dmitry new metropolitan did not accept - indeed, Cyprian was robbed, imprisoned in the chop and then hounded out outside the principality. Not surprisingly, then insulted Prince metropolitan betrayed anathema, as sent out letters to all dioceses.

Legends and myths Kulikova field

Reproduction of Mikhail Nesterov's "Blessing of St. Sergius of Radonezh Dmitry Donskoy in the Kulikov battle"

Dmitry, meanwhile, went to Constantinople embassy headed by a priest close to him by Michael-Mityana, which he asked to ordain metropolitans. But the young and healthy Mityai upon arrival at Byzantium suddenly passed away. Perhaps not without someone's help. Then, in the former embassy of the archimandrite decided to nominate a new candidate of his team, Kojima became Pimen, the abbot of the monastery Goritsky in Pereslavl. Patriarch Neal confirmed him Metropolitan of Kiev and Russian, but at the same time, Metropolitan of Lithuania and became Malorosskim Cyprian, had already returned to Constantinople to seek protection.

As a result, Cyprian went to Lithuania and Pimen moved to Moscow. But as soon as the new Metropolitan of Kolomna reached as he was captured, shackled in iron and exiled to Chuhloma - Dmitry found it an impostor. It turned out that the highest ecclesiastical authorities in Moscow do not have, and Prince kind of anathema quite legitimate bishops of the Church. Given the mentality of the people of that time, it could create serious problems when Dmitry assembled troops. Blessing of St. Sergius of Radonezh unconditionally revered as a spiritual leader once changed to the picture, though that would require from the elders to go against the line of the official church. And yet, it seems, with Dmitry Kulikov Sergius before the battle is not met. In earlier texts there is no mention of this, there is the story only in the "Legend of Mamay" and "Life of St. Sergius of Radonezh". But the last monument, originally created by Epiphanius the Wise at the beginning of the XV century, has reached us only in the later so-called pahomievyh (written by Pachomius the Serb) editions, which appeared even later "Legends". Most likely, a beautiful story about the arrival of Dmitry to Sergius migrated to the "Life" of "Legends", where it first appeared.

Legends and myths Kulikova field

The sculptural group that decorates the walls of Christ the Savior

In this story, a lot of inconsistencies - both historical and factual. After analyzing them, the majority of researchers agree that described the prince's visit and blessing of St. Sergius in reality must have been, but it happened in 1378 - before the battle on the river Vozha in which soldiers squad defeated Dmitry Mamajevsk Murza Begich. Apparently, this was discussed in the original text of the Epiphany, and a hundred years later stories are intertwined, and the time in the "Legend" mixed. Principally in relation revered elders and the prince is no difference, only clarifies the situation. In any case, without looking at its relationship with the Metropolitan, Sergius of Radonezh he assumed a great responsibility, and blessed him to battle with the Tatars. And perhaps even sent him monks Peresvet and Oslabya ​​what it was about to come. By the way, according to other sources it is known that which went on the Don Russian army in Kolomna blessed local Archbishop Gherasim.

George Oltarzhevskaya