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[1125 A.D.] not the poor, feed them; and remember that every possession is God's, and only confided to you for a time. Do not hide your riches in the bowels of the earth: this is against the law of Christianity. Be fathers to orphans; judge the widows yourselves: do not let the strong destroy the weak. Do not slay either the righteous or the guilty: the life and soul of the Christian are sacred. Do not call upon the name of God in vain; ratify your oath by kissing the cross, and do not transgress it. My brothers said to me: Let us drive out the sons of Rostislav and take their possessions, otherwise thou art no ally of ours! But I answered: I cannot forget that I kissed the cross. I turned to the Psalter and read with compunction: 'Why art thou so vexed, O my soul? O put thy trust in God, for I will yet thank him. Fret not thyself because of the ungodly: neither be thou envious against the evil doers.' Do not forsake the sick and do not fear to look upon the dead: for we shall all die; receive the blessing of the clergy lovingly; do not withdraw yourselves from them; do good unto them, for they shall pray to the Most High for you.

"Do not have any pride either in your mind or heart, and think: we are but mortal; to-day we live, to-morrow we are in the grave. Fear every lie, drunkenness and fornication, equally pernicious for the body and the soul. Esteem old people as fathers, love the young as brothers. In your household see carefully to everything yourselves, do not depend either on your pages or bailiffs, that your guests may not blame either your house or your dinner. Be active in war, serve as an example to your captains-it is no time then to think of feasting and luxury. When you have set the night watch, take your rest. Man perishes suddenly, therefore do not lay aside your arms where you may meet danger; and get to horse early. When you travel in your dominions, do not let the princely pages be a cause of offence to the inhabitants, but wherever you stop give your host food and drink. Above all, respect your guests and do them honour, both the distinguished and the supplicants, both merchant and ambassador; if you cannot give them presents, at any rate regale them with food and drink, for guests spread good and evil reports of us in foreign lands. Greet every man when he passes by. Love your wives, but do not let them have an authority over you. Everything good that you learn, you must remember; what you do not know, learn. My father, sitting at home, spoke five languages, for which those of other lands praised him. Idleness is the mother of vices; beware of it. A man should ever be occupied; when you are on the road, on horseback, without occupation, instead of indulging in idle thoughts repeat prayers by heart — or the shortest, but best prayer of all, 'Lord have mercy!' Never sleep without bowing yourself down to the earth; and if you feel unwell, bow down to the earth three times. Let not the sun find you in your bed! Go early to church to render morning praise to God: so did my father; so did all good men. When the sun shone on them, they praised God joyfully and said: 'Lighten mine eyes, Christ God, and give me Thy beauteous light.' Then take counsel with the droujina, or judge the people, or go to the chase; and at midday sleep, for God has ordained that not only man but also the beasts and birds should rest at midday.

"Thus lived your father. I myself did all that could be ordered to a page; at the chase and at war, day and night, in the heat of summer and the cold of winter I knew no rest. I did not put my trust in burgomasters or heralds, I did not let the strong give offence to the poor and widows, I myself supervised the church and the divine service, the domestic organisation, the stables, the chase, the hawks and the falcons." Enumerating his military exploits, Vladimir thus writes: "My campaigns were in all eighty-three; the other

[1132 A.D.]

smaller ones I do not remember. I concluded nineteen treaties of peace with the Polovtsi, took prisoners more than a hundred of their chief princes and let them go free, and I had more than two hundred put to death and drowned in the rivers. Who has travelled faster than I? Starting early from Tchernigov, I was at Kiev with my parents before vespers. We loved the chase, and often trapped and caught beasts with your grandfather. How many times have I fallen from my horse! Twice I broke my head, injured my arms and legs, without caring for my life in youth or sparing my head. But the Lord preserved me. And you, my children, fear neither death nor combats, nor wild beasts, but show yourselves men in every circumstance sent from God. If providence decrees that a man shall die, neither his father nor his brothers can save him. God's protection is man's hope."

If it had not been for this wisely written testament, we should not have known all the beauty of Vladimir's soul; he did not lay waste other states, but was the glory, the defender, the consolation of his own, and none of the Russian princes has a greater right to the love of posterity, for he served his country jealously and virtuously. If once in his life Monomakh did not hesitate to infringe the law of nations and perfidiously slay the Polovtsian princes, we can but apply to him the words of Cicero, "The age excuses the man." Regarding the Polovtsi as the enemies of Christianity (they had burned the churches), the Russians thought that the destruction of them no matter in what manner was a work pleasing to God.d

The Fall of Kiev and the Rise of Suzdal

In the forty-four years that followed the death of Vladimir Monomakh, the over-lordship passed eighteen times from one hand to another, the average duration of governments being only two years and a half, and the dignity attaching to the grand princedom declined in rapid progression until it sank to a complete nullity. With this constant change of rulers, the devastation and barbarisation of south Russia proceeded apace, so that it soon ceased to be the centre of political life. A rapid review of these evil years will suffice for an understanding of the causes that brought about this retrogression.

We have seen that Vladimir Monomakh reached the throne of the grand princedom in violation of the superior right of the Olgovitchi. He succeeded in bringing the greater part of Russia under his sons. Mstislav, the eldest, held Kiev and southern Russia, while his sons were in Novgorod, Kursk and Smolensk; Iaropolk held Pereiaslavl; Viatcheslav, Tourov; Iuri, Suzdal; and Andrew, Vladimir in Volhinia. On the other hand, the princes of Polotsk were independent; the descendants of Rostislav ruled in Red Russia or Galicia; and the descendants of Oleg, in Tchernigov, Murom, Riazan, erstwhile the land of the Viatitchi and Radimitchi, and in the extreme southeast, Tmoutorakan. With union among the descendants of Monomakh and with strong grand princes at Kiev, south Russia might have been able to maintain its ascendancy notwithstanding its unfavourable proximity to the steppe; but these conditions did not exist. Monomakh's first successor, Mstislav, did, indeed, maintain his position, and even annexed Polotsk, whose princes fled to Greece. But he soon died (1132), and his successor, the brave but wavering Iaropolk, sowed the seeds of discord in his family by bestowing Pereiaslavl upon the eldest son of Mstislav and naming him his successor. Therewith he offended his own younger brothers, one of whom, Iuri Dolgoruki (Longhand), sought to maintain his right by force. The prince of Pereiaslavl found support among the Olgovitchi, who were delighted at the


[1146-1157 A.D.]

sight of quarrels among the descendants of Monomakh. One of the Olgovitchi, Vsevolod by name, raised himself to the grand princedom by utilising these quarrels (1139-1146). But immediately after his death his brother was overthrown, and Iziaslav, son of Mstislav, became grand prince (11461154). Twice he was expelled by Iuri Dolgoruki, and only maintained himself by making one of his uncles the nominal ruler.

After his death the turbulence and confusion increased still further. His


brother Rostislav of Smolensk was expelled after one week's reign by the prince of Tchernigov, who was expelled in his turn by Iuri Dolgoruki. The latter might have shared the same fate, for a confederation of the princes of Smolensk, Tchernigov, and Volhinia had already been formed against him, but for his timely death (1157). One of the confederates ruled for eight months, and then he had to make room for his successor, who ruled four months. In the eightythree years that elapsed between the death of Iuri and the capture of Kiev by the Mongols, the government changed hands thirty times. How much the importance of Kiev and the dignity of the grand princedom had declined at this period, we can estimate from the refusal of Andrew of Suzdal, son of Iuri Dolgoruki, to take the throne, though he came next in the line of succession. He rightly comprehended that the future belonged to the Russian north, rather than to the south, and it was his constant endeavour to consolidate his power in that quarter; and when one of those powerless grand princes, Mstislav Iziaslavitch, attempted to strengthen himself by forming an alliance with Novgorod,


After a

Andrew brought about a combination of eleven princes against him. three days' siege Kiev was taken by assault and plundered for two days (March, 1169), and Andrew's brother Gleb was then installed as grand prince of Kiev. The decay of the south is attributable chiefly to the following causes:

(1) Its geographical position exposed it to the constant inroads of the nomads of the steppe. This evil, it is true, existed from remotest times, but its seriousness was increased by the action of the Russian princes themselves, who employed the nomads in their civil wars. Many of these nomads, Torks, Berendians, and Petchenegs, settled on the Ros and Dnieper, meddled in Russian affairs, and contributed to the barbarising of the country. (2) Every new grand-prince brought with him into Kiev a new following from

[1157-1175 A.D.]

his own principality. These foreign elements contributed ever anew to the unsettling of existing conditions, and prevented the growth of a landed aristocracy that had its roots in the soil, and of a burgher class. The establishment of a political tradition thus became impossible. (3) The trade with Greece had greatly declined owing to the increasing dangers of the journey to the sea, and more than once the princes were obliged to defend caravans to and from Byzantium with their entire army.

But while the south was decaying, a new centre was forming in the north that was destined to gather around itself the whole of Russia, the principality of Suzdal-Rostov. The city of Rostov, situated in the country of the Finnish Merians, was one of the oldest in Russia, and it is reported that Rurik had bestowed it on one of his warriors. Suzdal also arose at an early date, at the latest toward the end of the ninth century. The early history of the region is not known to us, but we know that Iaroslav founded the city of Iaroslavl, that it was temporaily united to Novgorod, and that after the death of Sviatoslav II (1076) it was merged in the principality of Pereiaslavl. Vladimir Monomakh founded Vladimir on the Kliasma, a tributary of the Oka, and built a church at Rostov. The congress of Lubetz assigned the entire territory to Monomakh's sons, and Iuri Dolgoruki became the first independent prince of Rostov. Although this prince always looked to the south, yet the colonisation of the north made rapid progress during his reign. We know that three cities were founded by him, and the chronicle also attributes to him the foundation of Moscow in 1147. Suzdal was his capital. When he became grand-prince of Kiev he bestowed this whole country upon his son Vassilko, while he gave Vishgorod, to the north of Kiev, to his eldest son Andrew.

But the latter had no liking for the south, and fled from Vishgorod with a miracle-working image of the Virgin, which he deposited in a church that he built at a place where he had a vision and which he called Bogolubvo (God's love). After the death of his father, in 1157, Rostov and Suzdal refused to obey his younger brothers and called in Andrew, who was also joined by those of his father's followers who had fled from Kiev. But it is most characteristic of the man and his far-sighted policy that he made no claims to the throne of Kiev, nor did he establish himself at Rostov or Suzdal but stayed at Vladimir, where there were no old families nor refractory citizens to deal with. His brothers, his nephews, the boyars of his father, he expelled from his dominions and made himself sole ruler. In 1169 he gave Kiev to his brother Gleb, but he took to himself the title of grand prince. To become the virtual master of the whole of Russia he only needed to subject Novgorod, and though the combination of princes that he formed against it was routed before its gates, yet he ultimately succeeded, by cutting off its supply of corn, in compelling it to acquiesce in his supremacy and to accept the prince that he chose for it.

This first would-be autocrat of Russia also comprehended the importance of making the clergy subservient to his will. He tried to make his capital Vladimir independent of Kiev in church affairs by establishing in it a metropolitan, and though he failed in his object, owing to the determined refusal of the patriarch of Constantinople, yet he succeeded in obtaining the important concession that in future the Russian metropolitan was to be appointed only with the assent of the grand prince.

His despotic and cruel rule finally made him hated by his nobles, and he was assassinated on June 29th, 1175, at Bogolubovo. After a period of confusion his second brother, Vsevolod, became grand prince. During this

[1205-1221 A.D.] reign the influence of Suzdal was still further increased, and the entire north, and even the Olgovitchi of Tchernigov, recognised his supremacy. In the west and south, however, Roman Mstislavitch of Volhinia, who conquered Galicia and ruled temporarily at Kiev, offered a successful resistance. But after the death of the latter in battle with the Poles in 1205, Vsevolod conquered Riazan, and even deprived the Olgovitchi of Tchernigov, giving them Kiev in exchange. This prince, like his predecessor, attained his object by diplomacy rather than by the sword, and at his death in 1212 he was the most powerful prince in Russia.

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His death was followed by a civil war between his two sons Constantine and Iuri. The latter, though the younger, was nominated by Vsevolod as his successor, but in 1217 he was beaten by Constantine and his alliesNovgorod amongst them and compelled to resign the throne. But Constantine died in 1218 and Iuri reigned undisturbed till 1237. He fought with success against the Volga Bulgarians, and founded Nijni-Novgorod (1221). But his power never became as great as had been that of his father, and he exerted no influence in southern Russia, which was devastated by Petchenegs from the steppe and by Poles and Hungarians from the west. All south Russia now lay exhausted before the impending irruption of the Tatars.c

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