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Heroes of the Kulikovo battle

Heroes of the Kulikovo battle

Heroes of the Kulikovo battle

 Dmitry M. Bobrok-Volynskiy (before 1356-before 1411), a service man of Moscow’s Prince, a son of Lithuanian prince Koriat-Michael, one of the closest boyars to the Grand Prince of Moscow Dmitry Donskoy. Bobrok-Volynsky was married to the sister of the Grand Prince.  He had three sons: Vasiliy (tragically died when he was 15 years old), Boris and David. Bobrok-Volynskiy showed his character of the military leader in victorious battles with Ryazan prince near Skornishchevo village (1371), in the campaigns against the Volga Bulgars (1376), Lithuania (1379), in the Kulikovo Battle (1380). In the events of the Kulikovo battle prince D. Bobrok-Volynskiy was one of the main figures. The epic work “the tale of the battle on the Kulikovo Field” handed us a prediction of victory, made ​​by Bobrok-Volynsky to Prince Dimitry on the night before the battle. On the day of the battle he and other commanders took part in placing of Russian regiments before the battle. Together with Vladimir from Serpukhov he commanded “the Ambush Regiment”. Bobrok Volynskiy was the one who chose the moment for a decisive strike of “the Ambush Regiment”, its putting into the operation provoke panic and mass escape of the Hordean soldiers. After the Kulikovo battle, many people will connect the foundation of Bobrev convent near Colomna to the name of Bobrok-Volynskiy.

Michael I. Brenko (?-1380), Moscow Boyar. To all appearance, Brenko was of humble birth and was a favorite of Dmitry Donskoy. The chronicles just mentioned him as one of the dead in the battle. But “the tale of the battle on the Kulikovo field” made a hero of him. It says that Brenko took the armoury and the horse of Dmitry Ivanovich. Michael remained in the center of the Big Regiment under the coat of arms of Dmitry Donskoy. Of course Michael was killed during the first minutes of the battle, as soon as the Tatars forced way to him, but he gave an opportunity for Dmitry Donskoy to live and to win the battle.

Dmitry I. Donskoy (1350-1389), Grand Prince of Moscow and Vladimir. He was born in1350. A son of Grand Prince Ivan I. Krasniy (1326-1359). He was married to Evdokia - a youngest daughter of Novgorod Grand Prince Dmitry Konstantinovich (?-1407).

Dmitry Ivanovich had 8 sons: Danila (died infancy), Vasiliy (1371-1425), Juriy - the Grand Prince of Moscow and Vladimir (1374-1434), Semen – the Grand Prince of Zvenigorod and Galizia (?-1379), Andrew (1382 - ?), Peter the prince of Mozhaisk and Belozersk, Ivan (after 1385 - ?), Konstantin (1389-?) and 4 daughters: Sophia, Maria, Anastasia, and Anna.

Dmitry became the Grand Prince of Moscow in the age of nine in 1359 after the death of his father. By the will of his father, metropolitan Aleksey became Dmitriy’s advisor.

During the rain, Dmitry succeeds to expand the boundaries of his kingdom. Strengthening Moscow, Dmitry Ivanovich builds the new stone Kremlin in 1366. In 1368 and in 1370, grand prince of Luthianina Olgerd suffered a defeat near the walls of the new Kremlin. Grand prince Dmitry systematically subdues many of the princes of the north-east princedoms to his influence. A military-political alliance of the Russian principalities formed under the lidership of Moscow, it provided a submission to the Grand Prince of other rebellious princes. The marriage union with the princess of Nizhniy Novgorod and Suzdal gave an opportunity for Moscow to establish strong relations with Nizhniy Novgorod.  In 1375 union army in the head of Dmitry Ivanovich takes Tver by storm, and the grand prince of Tver was reluctant to admit Dmitry as the “older brother”.  There also were good relationships with Novgorod. The circle of near supporters and helpers - boyars and generals - was formed about the grand prince of Moscow. Thus, Moscow’s boyarstvo was formed. It became the main support for the grand-ducal power.  Dmitry was very close to his cousin Prince Vladimir from Serpukhov, who was his helper in business of authority. 

The defeat of Nizhniy Novgorod and Moscow’s armies from the Hordeans near the P’yana river was the first trial of struggle against the Golden Horde.  In 1378 Moscow’s army defeated the Hordeans near the Vozha river.  September 8, 1380 Mamai’s army was defeated by Dmitry Donskoy’s army on the Kulikovo Field.  Dmitry Ivanovich took part in the battle, and, as it said in “the tale of the battle on the Kulikovo Filed”, he was injured. This victory consolidated the influence of Moscow among Russian principalities. Coining of Moscow’s coins was one of the consequences of the  growth of Moscow’s influence. In 1382 Moscow was burnt by the new Hordean Khan Tohtamish. But even that fact, didn’t shake the political predominance of Moscow in the North-East Rus.

In 1389 in the age of 39 the Grand Prince of Moscow Dmitry Donskoy deceased and was buried in the Archangel cathedral of Moscow Kremlin. 

After the death of Dmitry, his son Vasiliy became the Grand Prince of Moscow. The main result of Dmitry’s reign was the final approval of Moscow as the center of unification of Russian lands. Success in this unification and the defeat of the Horde on the Kulikovo field promoted the accelerating of the process of creation of Russian State and liberation from the Yoke of the Golden Horde.  During the rain of Dmitry, after the victory on the Kulikovo Field, the beginning of changies had begun in the awareness of Russian people, as well as the growth of spirital and cultural level of the nation. In the 60-70th of the 16th century, Dmitry was given the title Donskoy.  His feat of arms on the Kulikovo Field was often used in the history of Russia of 15-20th centuries as a symbol of struggle against an enemy.

In 1988 the Grand Prince of Moscow Dmitry Ivanovich was canonized by Russian Orthodox Church. Memory day of Dmitry Ivanovich is celebrated June 1st on the day of his passing away.

Oslyabya (? – after 1392), Ljubutsk and Moscow boyar, a monk of Old Simonov monastery (was processed under the name Andrew) (after 1380).

  There is always an argument weather Oslyabya was a real brother of Peresvet or not. Some sources like “Zadonshchina” and “the tale of the battle on the Kulikovo Field” say that they were brothers, but most probably, that means they were brothers in God.  Oslyabya took part in the battle together with his son Jacob. According to “Zadonshchina”, Andrew foretold the death to his son and Aleksandr Peresvet. Name of Andrew Oslyabya,  as well as the name of Aleksandr Peresvet, were mentioned in “the tale of the battle on the Kulikovo Field”, where it says that they  were sent in the campaign against the Tatars to the Kulikovo Field from the Holy Trinity Lavra at the  request of Dmitry Donskoy. Some of the researchers suppose that Andrew is his mundane name and Rodeon is his processed monk’s name.

As opposed to Aleksandr Peresvet and the son of Oslyabya, Andrew stayed alive after the battle.

Aleksandr Peresvet (?-1380), Bryansk and Moscow’s boyar, later became a monk. Killed during the battle.

There is always an argument weather Peresvet was a real brother of Oslyabya or not. Some sources like “Zadonshchina” and “the tale of the battle on the Kulikovo Field” say that they were brothers, but most probably, that means they were brothers in God. Both of them belonged to metropolitan soldiers, one of their main duties were to take part in military campaigns of Moscow’s prince.  

Aleksandr Peresvet is one of the epic figures in the cycles of literature works about the Kulikovo battle. “Zadonshchina” dedicates the whole episode to Peresvet, where he says a lofty speech to Moscow’s prince: “Dear Dmitry, it’s better for us to die instead of being captured by the Tatars”. “Zadonshchina” points to the fact that Peresvet fought in the battle and Oslyabya foretold his death as well as his own son’s death. Probably, such a big attention to his personality tells us that Peresvet was the general, who commanded one of the regiments during the battle.

“The tale of the battle on the Kulikovo field” shows us the other point of view. Thus, it tells us that Dmitry I. Donskoy asked his spiritual adviser Sergius of Radonezh to give him two monks-soldiers. They were Peresvet and Oslyabya. Thereby two brothers became a part of Russian Host. “The tale” values Peresvet a lot and tells that he was the one who started the battle, taking the dare of powerful Tatar’s soldier Temir Murza. “Met together, stroked hard, as hard as everyone thought the soil will break under them, and fell from their horses, both on land and both died”. Later many writers, poets, painters used this episode in their works. However, in this case “The Tale...” gainsays “Zadonshchina”, which doesn’t say about any duels. Probably, duel between Peresvet and Oslyabya is one of the epical literature legendary plots.

Peresvet was mentioned in “the tale…” ones more, when Dmitry overrode the battle place after the combat, he saw Peresvet lying dead.

Peresvet was buried in the Old Simeon Monastery as well as Oslyabya.