RAMBAUD ON THE RISE OF REGIONALISM IN THE APPANAGE PERIOD--THE WEST

[excerpted from Alfred Rambaud, Russia, Leonora B. Lang, tr., vol. 1 (New York: Collier, 1900), pp. 90-94]



ROMAN (1188-1205) AND HIS SON DANIEL (1205-1264) IN GALITCH.

Galitch offers a remarkable contrast to Souzdal ; peopled by Khorvates or White Croats, she had preserved a purely Slavonic character in spite of her conquest by Varangian princes. " The prince," says M. Kostomarof, " was a prince of the old Slavonic type. He was elected by a popular assembly, and kept his crown by its consent."

The assembly itself was governed by the richest men of the country, the boyards. Under the influence of Polish and Hungarian ideas the boyards had raised themselves above the mass of the people, and formed a strong aristocracy which really ruled the country. When Iaroslaf Osmomysl (glorified in the Song of Igor) neglected his lawful wife Olga for his mistress Anastasia, the nobles rose, burnt Anastasia alive, and obliged the prince to send away his natural son, and to recognize his legitimate son Vladimir as his heir.

When Vladimir became prince, he lost no time in incurring their hatred. He was accused of abandoning himself to vice and drunkenness, of despising the councils of wise men, of dishonoring the wives and daughters of the nobles, and of having married as his second wife the widow of a priest. It did not need all this to exhaust the patience of the Gallicians. They summoned Vladimir to give up the woman that they might punish her. Vladimir took fright, and fled to Hungary with his family and his treasures. This was all the boyards desired, and they offered the throne to Roman, prince of Volhynia (1188). But Bela, king of Hungary, brought back the fugitive prince with an army, and entered Galitch. There he suddenly changed his mind, and coveted this beautiful country, rich in salt and minerals, for himself. He threw his protégé Vladimir into prison, and proclaimed his own son Andrew. The Hungarian yoke seemed naturally more heavy to the Gallicians than the authority of their easy-going princes. They expelled the strangers, and recalled Vladimir, who had found means to escape, and had taken refuge with Frederick Barbarossa. When Vladimir died, Roman of Volhynia resolved at all hazards to enter Galitch. His rival had previously appealed to the Hungarians, so he applied to the Poles, and, with an auxiliary army given him by Casimir the just, he reconquered Galitch. The turbulent boyards had at last found their master.

This time Roman held the crown, not by election, but by conquest. He resolved to subdue the proud aristocracy. The Polish Bishop Kadloubek, a contemporary writer, who sympathsized with the oligarchs, draws a frightful picture of the vengeance exercised by Roman on his enemies. They were quartered, buried alive, riddled with arrows, delivered over to horrible tor. tures. He had promised pardon to those who had fled; but when they returned, he accused them of conspiracy, condemned them to death,- and confiscated their goods. " To eat a drop of honey in peace," he said cynically, " you must first kill the bees." The Russian chroniclers, on the contrary, praise him highly. He was another Monomachus, an invincible and redoubtable hero, who "walked in the ways of God, exterminated the heathen, flung himself like a lion upon the infidels, was savage as a wildcat, deadly as a crocodile, swooped on his prey like an eagle." More than once he vanquished the Lithuanian tribes and the Polovtsi ; in the civil wars of Russia he was likewise victorious, and gave to one of his relations the throne of Kief. He attracted the attention of the great Pope, Innocent III., who sent missionaries to convert him to the Catholic faith, promising to make him a great k~on by the sword of Saint Peter. Drawing his own sword, Roman proudly answered the envoys of Innocent: " Has the Pope one I ike mine? While I wear it at my side, I have no need of another's blade." In 1205, when he was engaged in a war with Poland, he imprudently ventured too far from his army on the banks of the Vistula, and perished in an unequal combat. His exploits were long remembered in Russia, and the I Chroni. cle of Volhynia' gives him the surname of " the Great," and " the Autocrat of all the Russias." A historian of Lithuania relates that, after his victories over the barbarous inhabitants of that country, he harnessed the prisoners to the plough. Hence the popular saying, " Thou art terrible, Roman; the Lithuan. ians are thy laboring oxen." Roman of Volhynia is a worthy contemporary of the autocrat of the north-west, Andrew of Souzdal.

Roman left two sons, minors. Daniel the elder was pro. claimed prince of Galitch (1205- 1264), but in such a turbulent country, rent as it was by factions, it was impossible for a child to reign under the guardianship of his mother. Red Russia fell a prey to a series of civil wars, complicated by the intervention of Poles and Hungarians. The ferocity shown by the Gallicians in their intestine struggles has gained for them the name of atheist in the Kievian Chronicles. The princes of the blood of Saint Vladimir were tortured and hung by the boyards. Daniel was first replaced on the throne, then expelled, then again re. called. His infancy was the toy of intriguing factions. Mstislaf the Bold also came hither in search of adventures. He chased the Hungarians from Galitch, took the title of Prince, and married his daughter to Daniel. Both were immediately obliged to turn their arms against the Poles. Daniel, whose character had been formed in such a rough school, displayed remarkable energy and courage in these campaigns. The aid of the Polovtsi had to be sought against these enemies from the west, the Hungarians and the Poles-now rivals, now allies. At the death of Mstislaf the Bold (1228), Daniel, who five years previously had taken part in the battle of Kalka against the Tatars, became prince of Galitch. Towards the boyards, whose turbulence had ruined the country, he acted with the salutary policy of Roman, though without employing the same severity.

The great Mongol invasion once more expelled him from Galitch, which it covered with ruins. Daniel, who had fled to Hungary, did his best to help his unhappy country. To fill up the void made by the Mongols in the population, he invited Germans, Armenians, and Jews, whom he loaded with privileges. The economic consequence of this measure was a rapid development of commerce and industry; the ethnographic consequence was the introduction into Gallicia of a Jewish element, very tenacious and very persistent, but alien to the dominant nationality, and forming a separate people in the midst of the Russians. Daniel was one of the last princes to make his submission to the horde. "You have done well to come at last," said the khan of the Mongols. Bati treated him with distinction, allowed him to escape the ordinary humiliations, and, seeing that the fermented milk of the Tatars was not to his taste, gave him a cup of wine. Daniel, however, bore with impatience the yoke of these barbarians.

Feeling himself insolated in the general abasement of the orthodox world, the prince of Galitch turned towards Rome, and promised to do his best for the union of the two Churches and to add his contingent to the crusade preached in Europe against the Mongols. Innocent IV, called him his dear son, accorded him the title of king, and sent him a crown and sceptre. Daniel was solemnly crowned at Droguitchine by the abbot of Messina, Legate of the Pope (1254). Both the crusade against the Asiatics and the reconciliation between the two Churches came to nothing. Daniel braved the reproaches and threats of Alexander IV., but kept the title of king. He took part in the European wars with great success. " The Hungarians," says a chronicler, "admired the order that reigned among his troops, their Tatar weapons, the magnificence of the prince, his Greek habit embroidered with gold, his sabre and his arrows, his saddles enriched with jewels and precious metals richly chased." Encouraged by the Hungarians and the Poles, he tried to shake off the yoke of the Mongols, and expelled them from a few places; but he was soon obliged to bow to superior force, and dismantle his fortresses. No prince better deserved to free Southern Russia, but his activity and talents struggled in vain against the fate of his country. He terminated in 1264 one of the most memorable and most checkered careers in the history of Russia. The civil wars of his youth, the Tatar invasion in his ripe age, the negotiations and wars with Western Europe, left him no repose. After him, Russian Galitch passed to dif. ferent princes of his family. In the '4th century, she was absorbed into the kingdom of Poland. She was lost to Russia.