Pereyaslavl Principality: geographical location, culture, Pereyaslavl princes, history

The Old Russian Pereyaslavl principality was formed around the city of Pereyaslavl, the first reliable mention of which dates back to 992, when it was founded by Prince Vladimir Svyatoslavovich. The fortress was built as part of the zashchka line, which protected the country from steppe nomads: first the Pechenegs, and then the Polovtsians. The principality itself appeared in 1054, after the death of Yaroslav the Wise, which was followed by a period of political fragmentation of Russia.

Geographical position

Pereiaslav land was located in the basins of the Trubezh, Sula and Soup. In the north-west of it was the principality of Kiev. From the south and east, the Pereyaslavl possessions were surrounded by a wild steppe, where the hordes of bandits ruled. Throughout its history, the Pereyaslavl principality opposed nomads and ravaged them many times.


Specific Pereyaslavl princedom split from Kiev one of the first. In 1054, it was given to the youngest son of Yaroslav the Wise, Vsevolod Yaroslavovich. Then Pereyaslavl was considered the third most important city in Russia after Kiev and Chernigov. Because of the proximity of the Polovtsian steppe , there was a powerful squad in it. The southern border of the principality was strewn with outposts. Archaeological finds in their ruins show that these fortresses were captured, burned, destroyed and rebuilt.

The first devastating campaign to the Pereiaslav principality was made by the Polovtsi in 1061. Until then, only rumors were circulating about them, and the Rurikovichs did not take the nomads seriously enough. In 1068 the Polovtsian army met with the united squad of the three Yaroslavichs - Izyaslav, Svyatoslav and Vsevolod. The battle took place on the river Alte near Pereyaslavl itself. Polovtsy won. The princes had to flee to Kiev, where the discontent with the passivity of power raised the insurrection.

Internal strife

In 1073, the Prince of Pereyaslavl Vsevolod received from the elder brother of Svyatoslav Chernigov. With this decision, his nephew Oleg disagreed. The conflict led to war. Although the Pereyaslav princes, like no one, fought a lot with the Polovtsi in the steppe, they had to fight with the nomads and during internal feuds in Russia. Some Rurikovichi (like Oleg Svyatoslavovich) did not hesitate to seek help from the horde.

In 1078, Prince Vsevolod Yaroslavich defeated his nephew. After that victory, he became also a Kiev ruler, transferring Pereyaslavl to his son Rostislav, and Chernigov having given to another son - Vladimir Monomakh. The heir regularly defended the inheritance of his father. In 1080 he went to Pereyaslavshchina to suppress the uprising of torques.

The Monk of Monomakh

Rostislav Vsevolodovich tragically died in 1093 in the battle against the Polovtsians on the Stugne River. His brother Vladimir inherited the Pereyaslav Principality. The geographical position of this inheritance required constant strength. Monomakh gave Chernigov to Oleg Svyatoslavovich, and he concentrated on protecting Pereyaslavl from the steppe hordes.

Vladimir Vsevolodovich became the main hero of his time. He was the first among the Russian princes not only to defend himself against nomads, but he himself undertook campaigns to their lands. The old Russian state long ago needed such a leader. It was under Monomakh that the peak of its political significance reached the Pereyaslav Principality. The history of those years is composed of a number of bright victories over the Polovtsians. In 1103, Monomakh persuaded the other Rurikovichs to unite their forces and set off for one of the squads far into the steppe. The army descended the Dnieper rapids and crushed the nomads who did not wait for the blow.

Yaropolk Vladimirovich

As the most influential prince of Rus, in 1113 Vladimir Monomakh occupied the Kiev throne. This was the last period when the Old Russian state still had signs of unity. Vladimir gave Pereyaslavl to his son Yaropolk. In 1116, together with his father, he participated in a campaign against the Minsk prince Gleb Vseslavich. Yaropolk was captured by Drutsk and settled some of its inhabitants in the town of Zheldy in the lower reaches of Sula.

In the same year the son of Monomakh went to Polovtsian Podonye, where he seized the three towns: Balin, Sharukan and Sugrov. In alliance with the Prince of Pereyaslavl, the son of the Chernigov ruler Vsevolod Davydovich was then acting. The victories of Russian weapons did their job. The Polovtsi temporarily left the East Slavic principalities in peace. The world lasted until 1125, when Vladimir Monomakh died in Kiev.

Struggle for Pereyaslavl

Heir to Vladimir in Kiev was his eldest son Mstislav the Great. He died in 1132. Yaropolk took the place of his elder brother. After this rotation in Pereyaslavl, a period of constant change of rulers began. The city began to claim the Rostov-Suzdal prince Yuri Dolgoruky. During the internecine war he expelled from Pereyaslavl two sons of Mstislav the Great (Vsevolod and Izyaslav).

In 1134 Yaropolk of Kiev recognized the rights of his brother Dolgoruky to the southern principality. However, this decision was dissatisfied with representatives of the Chernigov branch of the Rurik. In alliance with the Polovtsi, these princes devastated the Pereyaslavl land. They even came to Kiev, after which Yaropolk went to negotiations. Pereyaslavl was transferred to one of his younger brother, Andrei Vladimirovich Dobrom, who ruled there in 1135-1141.

The future of the principality

In the middle of the 12th century, once united Russia finally split into many principalities. Some areas became fully independent of Kiev. Pereyaslavl belonged to the type of secondary principalities, where no dynasty was established, and the city itself with the surrounding lands chaotically changed rulers as a result of internecine wars and diplomatic combinations.

The main struggle for this region unfolded between the Kiev, Rostov and Chernihiv rulers. In 1141-1149 years. In Pereyaslavl ruled the son and grandson of Mstislav the Great. Then the principality passed to the descendants of Yuri Dolgoruky, whose next older relatives controlled Suzdal Northeast Russia.

In 1239, Pereyaslavl was on the way of the invading Mongols to Rus. The city (like many others) was captured and destroyed. After that, he was never able to fully recover and become an important political center. Pereyaslavl was included in the ownership of the Kiev prince and ceased to play an independent role. At the beginning of the fourteenth century, Southern Russia was dependent on Lithuania. Finally, the Pereyaslavl principality was annexed to it in 1363.

Culture and religion

The Old Russian Pereyaslavl princedom, whose culture survived its flourishing in the 11th-12th centuries, was located on the territory of the East Slavic tribal unions of glades, northerners and ulicha. Related archaeological monuments are found in the basins of Sula, Seimas, Worksla, Psla and Seversky Donets. They are mostly burial pagan (burial mounds, graves, etc.).

Christianity came to Pereyaslavl, as well as to other Russian cities, at the end of the 10th century after the baptism of Prince Vladimir Svyatoslavovich. There is an unconfirmed theory that it was in this city that the first residence of the metropolitans was located, until Kiev acquired the St. Sophia Cathedral.


The economic and cultural development of the Pereyaslavl princedom was stimulated by the proximity to trade routes, according to which Rus traded with the eastern and southern countries. The main one was the river artery of the Dnieper, linking the Eastern Slavs with Byzantium. In addition to the route "from the Varangians to the Greeks", there was also the Salt Road, which was traded along the coast of the Azov and Black Sea. Through Pereyaslavshchina merchants reached far eastern Tmutarakan and partly the Volga region.

It was the protection of profitable trade that was one of the main factors of the princes' special attention to the defense of this forest-steppe land. Caravans and flotillas (including those on the Dnipro rapids) were often attacked by nomads and simply bandits. As a consequence, fortified fortresses and small towns were built just on trade routes. The ships of Pereyaslav merchants entered the channel of the Dnieper through the Trubezh. At the mouth of this river there was a parking lot. In its place, archaeologists discovered fragments of Greek amphorae.


The largest cities of the principality, in addition to Pereyaslavl itself, were the Ostersky town built by Vladimir Monomakh, the transit trade point Voin, Baruch, Ksnyatin, Lukoml, and also the fortress on the site of the present Miklashevsky fort. Most of them belonged to the Posol defense line, which circumambulated the tributary of the Dnieper Sulu. Their decline occurred after the invasion of Batu.

The main attraction of Pereyaslavl itself was the Cathedral of St. Michael. The residence of the prince was on detintsse. In the same place lived the highest clergy of the city. The courtyard of the bishop was protected by a stone wall, the ruins of which have survived to our time. As in other medieval cities, the population mainly lived on the land. Archaeologists have found there many items of trade and craft. In the city was a rare for its time workshop for the manufacture of glass.

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