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Chapter 4

This webpage reproduces a chapter of

History of the Ukraine
By Dmytro Doroshenko

printed by
The Institute Press, Ltd.
Edmonton, Alberta,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


[image ALT: link to next section]
Chapter 6

 p73  Chapter V

 * * * *

(The numbers link directly to the sections.)

(20) The Princedom of Galicia and Volynia. (21) Vladimirko. (22) Yaroslav Osmomisl. (23) Roman. (24) King Daniel and His House. (25) Invasion of the Tatars. (26) The Decline of the Galician-Volynian Princedom. (27) Trade and Cultural Influences.

 * * * *

(20) The Princedom of Galicia and Volynia.

When in the first half of the Thirteenth century the Tatars made their initial appearance in the Ukrainian steppes, the Princedom of Yaroslav the Wise, such as we knew it under him and his sons, existed no longer, it having been divided into separate independent princedoms, among which Kiev was no longer the political centre. The leading part among Ukrainian princedoms fell to the princes of Galicia, and thus the political centre was removed westward.

(21) Vladimirko.

Galicia was ruled at that time by the house founded by Prince Rostislav, a grandson of Yaroslav the Wise. Among the members of this house were many gifted and able princes. In the middle of the Twelfth century we find here one of the most success­ful, Prince Vladimirko (1141‑1153), an energetic and able ruler, who transferred his capital from Peremishl to Halich on the Dniester, overcame and handled success­fully the rebellious boyars, put aside a dangerous pretender to his crown and sat firmly in his new capital, in spite of the hostilities of the prince of Kiev and the proximity of Poland and Hungary, both of whom were extremely desirous of seizing and annexing Galicia. Against the Hungarians, Vladimirko had sought alliance with the Byzantine Emperor Manuel Comnenus. Indeed, Vladimirko's sister was married to his son. Against the great prince Iziaslav II of Kiev, Vladimirko had an ally in the person of Prince Yuri (George) the Longhanded,​a of Suzdal, confirmed by the marriage of Vladimirko's son, Yaroslav, to Yuri's daughter.

 p74  Though Vladimirko succeeded in strengthening Galicia and extending his power to the Podolia, Bukovina and Bessarabia, his heir, Yaroslav, began his reign under very difficult circumstances.

(22) Yaroslav Osmomisl.

Yaroslav, surnamed Osmomisl (1153‑1187) was an even more capable ruler than his father. The Chronicle speaks of him as of a "prince wise and well-spoken, pious and honored in foreign lands, and famous by reason of his armies." Yaroslav was of a fiery and power­ful character, often uncontrollable in his impulses, but he had keen political insight and was a careful manager of the State's finances. During his reign the position of Galicia was very much strengthened and he became one of the most power­ful Slavic princes of his time. The unknown author of the epic "Slovo o polku Igoreve" addresses him with an apostrophe: "O Yaroslav Osmomisl of Galicia! you sit high on your golden throne, propping with your armies the Hungarian (Carpathian) mountains, shutting out the way to the king, closing the gate of the Danube, dispensing justice as far as the river Danube. Your wrath flows on your lands!"

Yaroslav kept up wide diplomatic relations with the Byzantine Emperor, and the German Emperor, Friedrich Barbarossa. In the East he always counted on his father-in‑law, Prince Yuri the Longhanded, of Suzdal. Galicia under his reign extended to the Black Sea. Galician boats went fishing and trading unhindered down the Dniester. The flourishing trade enriched the population and gave to the prince resources for keeping a strong army and carrying on his active foreign policy. His capital, Halich, became an important centre of trade and culture that inherited the chief features of Kiev, being the meeting place of Eastern, Western and Byzantine influences. The ruins of churches, especially those of St. Panteleymon in Halich, are a characteristic monument of the time showing in the architecture, both Roman and Byzantine influences and features. The town of Halich  p75 was strongly fortified and a bishopric was founded there by Yaroslav.

Home affairs in Yaroslav's princedom, however, did not correspond with the outward power of his realm. The landed aristocracy of Galician boyars had already in Vladimirko's time, acquired great influence in State affairs. These boyars, as elsewhere in Eastern Slavic lands, originated in the former military followers or druzhina of the prince. They demanded voice in important questions, denied to the prince the right of decision without the consent of the Boyarska Rada, or Council, and seized and disposed of high State offices. Yaroslav managed, somehow, to keep them more or less in check, but after his death in 1187, they seized the power, expelled his sons, and offered the Galician crown to Prince Roman Mstislavich of Volynia, a member of the house of the Monomach, and grandson of Iziaslav II of Kiev.

At first this only led to a great strife, Yaroslav's son Vladimir, fled to Hungary for help. The Hungarian king, Bela III, came indeed, with an army, expelled Roman, and occupied Halich, but not with the intention of returning it to Vladimir. He left in Halich his own son, Andrew, with a strong Hungarian garrison. The Galician boyars were at first well pleased, as in fact, they ruled the country. But the population, and especially the clergy, much resented the foreign occupation, and the metropolitan of Kiev appealed to all Ukrainian princes to deliver Galicia from foreigners. In the meantime, Prince Vladimir of Galicia fled from Hungary, where he had been kept as hostage, to Emperor Frederic Barbarossa, in order to help against the Hungarians. Barbarossa occupied at that time in preparations for his famous Crusade, had little time to put Galician affairs in order, but commissioned the Polish king, Casimir the Just, his vassal, to give help to Vladimir. When the latter appeared in Galicia with a Polish army this time, he was welcomed as a deliverer from the Hungarians. This first Hungarian occupation lasted for about a year, and Vladimir reigned  p76 undisturbed over Galicia till 1199, when, by his death, the dynasty of the house of Rostislav came to an end.

(23) Roman.

Galicia then again returned to the suzerainty of Prince Roman of Volynia (1199‑1205) who was one of the most remarkable Ukrainian princes at the end of the Twelfth century. In a short time, he succeeded in uniting under him, Galicia and Volynia, and creating a new power­ful State that included all the Ukrainian territory between the Carpathians and the Dnieper.

Fearless and determined, Roman was merciless to his enemies, especially the rebellious boyars, but he achieved a lasting and grateful recognition in the memory of the people, in their popular songs and in the Chronicles. They speak of him as of a prince: "wise and God‑fearing, who was watchful as a lynx, attacked his enemies like a lion, brought destruction on them like a crocodile, swept their countries like an eagle; whose courage was equal to that of a bison and who, like his grandfather, Monomach, was the terror of the heathen Polovtsi."

Son of a Polish princess, daughter of Boleslav, the Wry‑mouthed, Roman spent his youth in Poland and Germany, which helped him later on to understand the political situation in Central Europe. His father Mstislav, was for a time Great Prince of Kiev, and had set him up as his lieutenant in Novgorod. After his father's death, Roman returned to the Ukraine and occupied the throne of Volynia. As we have seen, he tried in 1188 to set foot in Galicia, but unsuccess­fully. After Vladimir's death, he made another attempt, and this time held the Galician princedom firmly in his hands. He became now, the most important political power in the Ukraine, subdued the rebellious boyars at home, expelled his father-in‑law, Prince Rurik of Kiev, and set up his lieutenant in that town, thus making Kiev dependent on the Galician-Volynian prince.

Roman kept up friendly relations with Byzantium, with Hungary, and with Pope Innocent III. There is a  p77 legend about Pope Innocent having offered him the title of King if he would accept the Roman Catholic rite, but Roman remained true to the Greek Orthodox religion. Modern historians, however, consider this to be a legend without any foundation. Toward the end of his life, Roman was involved in the strife between the Guelfs and Ghibellines, taking the side of the latter, that is of the German Emperor of the house of Hohenstaufen. He made war against the Polish king Leshko, who sided with the Guelphs, with the intention of bringing help to the Swabian king Philip and was slain in a battle in the summer of 1205.

(24) King Daniel and His House.

Owing to his untimely death, Roman had not time to strengthen his throne and his young sons were put aside by the boyars, who seized the power, in order to invite a prince of the house of Chernigov. The eldest of Roman's sons, Daniel, was brought up at the court of the Hungarian king Andrew, and it was only after forty years of very adventurous life, full of hardships and danger, that he recovered the inheritance of his father, the throne of Galicia. To the land itself, these forty years brought no peace, and the name of "great revolt" by which this period is designated in the Chronicle seems to be justified by the events. Several times the land was occupied either by the Hungarians or the Poles; several princes of distant Chernigov and even of the more distant Novgorod, sat one after the other on the Galician throne or divided the princedom among themselves. Daniel, however, succeeded in the end in overcoming all the pretenders and all the hindrances put in his way by the rebellious boyars. In the year 1240 he finally took possession of Galicia, and very soon united all the Ukrainian lands this side of the Dnieper and put his lieutenant in Kiev.

[image ALT: A map of what is now the western half of Ukraine, showing the Kiev and Turiv lands, and in greater detail, Galicia and Volynia, including small areas temporarily ceded to them. Some of the area west and north is also included, labeled Poland and Hungary.]

Galicia-Volynian State
in the Eleventh to Thirteenth Centuries

[A larger version, in which the placenames are more easily readable, opens here.]

It is about this time that the great invasion of the Tatars took place. Like all former nomads, the Tatars came from the East. Their advance into the Ukrainian  p78 steppes was only a ripple in the mighty upheaval made in Central Asia by the Great Khan of Mongolia, Temuchin, at the beginning of the Thirteenth century.

(25) Invasion of the Tatars.

The home of the Mongols was the steppe of Gobi, beyond lake Baikal, in the south-eastern basin of the river Amur. The Mongols led a nomadic life in these steppes, plundering the neighbors, hiring themselves out for military service, as they did, for example, to the Chinese. Each of these hordes had its own dynasty at its head, who chose a Khan from among themselves. One of these Khans, the Chingiz Khan (Great Khan) Temuchin, elected in 1206, set out on a series of success­ful campaigns which led him to the conquest of Turkestan, Bokhara, Khiva and Northern Persia. Advancing always westwards the Tatars plundered and devastated till their countless hordes arrived at the Caspian Sea and attacked in 1222, the Polovtsi. The alarm spread over the whole Ukraine and in consequence an assembly of almost all the Ukrainian Princes was held in Kiev, where it was decided to meet the enemy in the field. The Polovtsi were invited to take part in the campaign.

The Tatars spent the winter 1222‑23 in the Ukrainian steppes making a diversion in the Crimea where they ruined and plundered several towns. In the spring of 1223 a united Ukrainian army set out against the Tatars. The foot regiments went down the Dnieper in boats, and the horse followed along the river. The Galician army came in boats down the Dniester into the Black Sea and then up the Dnieper. The armies rallied just below the rapids of the Dnieper and started eastward in the steppe. The Chronicles which preserve all these details, tell us that there was an embassy from the Tatars asking for peaceful relations, but the Ukrainian princes would not hear of entering in parleys. The Galician prince, Daniel, advanced in the vanguard and was the first to meet the advance posts of the Tatars. The Ukrainian army came as far east as the Azov Sea when they met the  p79 principal force of the Tatars. The battle fought on 31st May, 1223, on the river Kalka (now Kalmiyus) was fatal to the Ukrainians. There was no unity of command in the Ukrainian army nor a common plan of campaign. The Polovtsi who were in the front, did not resist the onslaught of the Mongols, and fled, infecting the Ukrainian armies with such panic, that it was impossible to rally them. Though they fought with great courage, the advantage of the battle and the superior numbers being on the side of the enemy, the Ukrainians were utterly routed. The Kievans, with their Prince Mstislav, resisted three days, defending themselves in a hurriedly fortified camp, but were defeated. A number of princes were taken prisoner and slain by the Tatars. The Galician Prince Daniel saved his life, though severely wounded. The united Ukrainian forces, according to the Chronicles, had numbered about a hundred thousand. The remnants fled to the Dnieper. Many perished in flight, especially in crossing the river. The defeat of the Ukrainian army made a tremendous impression in the Ukraine, according to the Chronicles. The Tatars, however, did not this time pursue their success. They returned to the East and disappeared for some fourteen years. The Chronicler could only note down, at that time, that "the unknown enemy came, nobody knows whence, and vanished, no one knows whither".

The Ukrainian princes probably soon recovered from the defeat on the Kalka, as it made apparently no change in their internal relations. Their quarrels continued, especially that between Daniel and his adversaries for the possession of Galicia which finally ended by Daniel's temporary recovery of Halich in 1237. In the same year, the Tatars returned. The catastrophe on the river Kalka, appears to have been only a prelude to the great ruin and devastation they brought into Eastern Europe for centuries to come. This time they came even in greater numbers, under the Khan Batu and directed their attack against the Great Russian princedoms which fell one after the other into their hands and were plundered and  p80 ruined. In the spring of 1239, the Tatars attacked Ukrainian territory; they took and laid in ruins Pereyaslav and Chernigov, crossed the Dnieper and laid siege to Kiev. The city was defended by Daniel's lieutenant, Dimitri, but after a heroic resistance was taken and then pillaged and devastated. The Tatars continued their way westwards, traversed Volynia, Galicia, Poland and Hungary carrying with them ruin and devastation. It was only in Silesia, near Liegnitz, in 1242, that their advance was checked by the united forces of the Czechs and the Germans. Furthermore, some event in Mongolia, in connection with the death of the Great Khan and the elections of a new ruler compelled the Khan Batu to return. He then began his retreat, retraversed the whole of the ruined Ukrainian territory, and stopped on the Volga. Here he founded his residence, and sent ambassadors to all the princes of the ruined territories demanding tribute and submission. Thus began the period known in the history of the Ukraine and Great Russia as the "yoke of the Tatars".

For Great Russia, this period lasted until 1480. In the Ukraine it was very much shorter and had a different character altogether. Here, the domination of the Mongols never produced the influences it had in Russia on the social and political structure of the State and the life, culture, usages and customs of the population. There was a difference of geographical position. Russia was in close vicinity to the Volga where the Tatars remained encamped, and the facility of access by that river rendered possible to the conquerors, frequent interventions in the home affairs of Great Russian princedoms and exactions of tribute. Every prince had to be confirmed in his rights to his throne by the Khan, had to appear personally in his camp, to pay homage to him, performing humiliating ceremonies and bringing rich gifts. The Russian population had to pay heavy head-taxes collected by the Tatar officials. The Great Russian princedoms, and especially that of Suzdal, the most important among them, were completely cut off by the Tatars from the  p81 rest of the world. The Republic of Novgorod alone, among the North-Eastern Slavic States was not conquered by the Mongols and continued to stand in close relations with the Hanseatic League of commercial towns of the Baltic. The Great Russians were in complete submission to the Asiatic conqueror during centuries, and it was only slowly that they freed themselves from their control and domination. This long period of Asiatic domination left a very strong stamp on the subsequent national and historical development of Russians. It is to this long and close intercourse with the Tatars and centuries of submission to their control that the Russians owe the autocratic despotic form of their own government in Moscow, and at later period in St. Petersburg, as well as all the Asiatic or Eastern features of their character and conception of life, features that were entirely foreign to the Eastern Slavs and that distinguish the Russians from the Ukrainians and from other Slavs.

The situation in the Ukraine during the Tatar conquest was different. First of all, in the sense that this conquest was never accepted; on the contrary, it provoked resistance. In the beginning, it is true, the Tatars laid their hands also, on the Ukrainian Princes. Prince Daniel himself, was forced to pay homage to the Khan and acknowledged his supremacy, but it was only temporarily. We see from the Ukrainian Chronicles how deeply this humiliation was felt, and how they were never reconciled to it. Also, several acts of residence, such as the refusal by Prince Michel of Chernigov to pay homage to the Khan, for which he was tortured to death, show another spirit in the Ukraine. The geographical position of the Ukraine and the distance from the Tatar camp was also more favorable, as well as the uninterrupted connection with Central and Western Europe.

Recovered from the first blow of the Tatar invasion, Prince Daniel directed his policy towards closer alliance with his western neighbors. He sought from them and from the rest of Europe help against the Mongols. Daniel made peace with the king of Hungary and married his son  p82 Lev to his daughter. His further step was to obtain from the Pope, Innocent IV, a call to a crusade against the Tatars.

Even before Prince Daniel began his negotiations with the Pope, the Metropolitan of Kiev, Peter Akerovich, dispossessed by the Tatars of his see, went to Rome and not finding the Pope there, followed him to Lyons where, in 1245, Pope Innocent IV, presided over the Ecclesiastical Council. The Kievan Metropolitan told the assembly about the horrors of the Tatar invasion, and warned Western Europe of the danger from the East. We know about his presence in Lyons from two contemporary English Chronicles. From these also, is derived our knowledge about his mission to the Pope, and about his activity in Lyons, where he accepted the Union with the Roman Catholic Church.

It is probably under the influence of Peter Akerovich that the Pope sent his legate, Plano Carpini, to the Tatars to reconnoitre. On his way to the Horde, Plano Carpini saw Daniel's brother Prince Vassilko, and tried to persuade him to acknowledge the Union with the Roman Catholic Church. Later in the year, he met Prince Daniel on the river Don, as Daniel was on his way from the Khan, and heard from him that his ambassador was already on his way to the Pope. Returning from his journey to the Tatars, Plano Carpini took with him another ambassador from the Galician prince to Rome. In this way an active correspondence was started between the Pope and Prince Daniel. The Pope sent him one Bull after another, took the Galician prince under "the protection of St. Peter" and promised help. However, he was not able to carry out Daniel's most desired wish — to organize a crusade against the Tatars. Thus Prince Daniel soon abandoned his plan of Union with the Roman Catholic Church.

Besides his negotiations with the Pope with a view to a crusade, Prince Daniel worked out another plan that was meant to bring him certain support in the West. When after the death of the last Duke of Austria of the House of Babenbergs, his inheritance was seized by the Czech  p83 king Ottokar II, the Pope advised Daniel to marry his son, Roman, to Gertrud, the daughter of the late Duke of Austria who was heiress to the Austrian throne. Roman, however, though duly married to Gertrud, was overcome by the Czechs and fled back to his father. Thus Daniel's Austrian plan led to nothing. Daniel's relation­ships with the Poles were, on the whole, good.

In the meantime, there grew up in the North of the Galician-Volynian Princedom a new political power that began to threaten Ukrainian territories. This was Lithuania. Already, Prince Roman Mstislavich carried on success­ful wars against them when they made attacks on Volynia, and his allies were Poles and the Teutonic Order. Bearing always in mind a crusade against his chief enemy, the Tatars, Daniel made peace with the Lithuanians, but when the Lithuanian Prince Mendovg united all the tribes and grew to be a dangerous neighbor, Daniel formed a strong coalition against him together with the Poles and the Knights of the Teutonic Order, following thus his father's policy. Now Daniel's frontiers and the spheres of his influence spread to the North in the basins of the rivers Nieman and Narew.

It was in the midst of these campaigns that the Pope sent his Legate to Prince Daniel with the royal crown and Daniel was crowned King of Galicia (1253) with high hopes of soon being enabled to begin an active struggle with the Tatars. However, his expectations of a crusade against the Tatars and of an effective help from Central and Western Europe for a war against them came to nought. Daniel's disappointment was very great and probably shortened his life.

With his death in 1264 there disappeared one of the ablest Ukrainian princes. As such he is unanimously considered by all Ukrainian historians. Even in the contemporary Galician-Volynian Chronicle we find a short but expressive characterization of this prince: "the King Daniel," we are told, "was a good, a brave and a wise prince who built many towns and churches and beautified them with different adornments; he shone in brotherly  p84 love to his brother Prince Vassilko. This king Daniel was second only to Solomon."

The Ukrainian historian Kostomarov of the last century gives us a happy characterization of King Daniel: "the destiny of this prince", he says, "was a tragic one: he achieved more than any other Ukrainian prince, making an effort that perhaps no other could emulate. The whole of the Ukraine was at one time united under his power. But his inheritance did not last because he did not strengthen it sufficiently for the future. He was not allowed to bring about a complete victory over the Tatars and with regard to his western neighbors his policy was not cunning enough to be completely success­ful. Courageous and fearless, Daniel was too frank and great-minded to be a success­ful politician. In all his dealings we do not find a trace of craftiness, even of that most innocent artfulness used by men if they do not wish to be deceived by others. This Ukrainian prince was a complete contrast to prudent and crafty Russian princes who, to differing in their respective natures and temperament, all had in common the policy of craftiness and violence and were not accustomed to choose their means. . . . The person of King Daniel remains a noble and the most attractive personality in Mediaeval Ukrainian history."

Modern Ukrainian historians, such as M. Hrushevsky and Stephan Tomashivsky, find King Daniel to be one of the most idealistic personalities in Ukrainian history. His failures do not diminish his political abilities because the circumstances in which he had to reign and display his activity were unusually difficult.

Daniel's son Lev (1264‑1301) did not enter into any conflict with the Tatars, though his lands were several times devastated during their wars with Poland and Hungary. King Lev exploited adroitly the internal difficulties of Poland and the weakness of Hungary, ruined by the Tatar invasions. Allied to the Czech King Wenceslas II, he annexed the Polish territory of Lublin and recovered from Hungary the Ukrainian territory of Munkach, now called Carpathian Ukraine, which in 1919 was joined  p85 to Czechoslovakia. He also used to his own ends the temporary weakness of Lithuania after the death of Mendovg, and pushed his frontier northwards beyond the river Narev. The reign of King Lev and that of his son Yuri, was the last period of the greatness and power of the Galician-Volynian princedom as a Ukrainian independent State. The political situation in the beginning of the Fourteenth century turned to their disadvantage.

Poland, reconstructed under Casimir the Great, started an aggressive policy against the Ukraine. The Hungarians, on their side, recovered strength under the new dynasty of Anjou and took back Ukrainian Munkach. Though the Tatars for some time left the Ukrainian territories in peace, the Lithuanians under Gedimin became very dangerous. Against all these power­ful neighbors, who coveted the rich and fertile Ukrainian lands, the Galician dynasty could not muster sufficient resistance, especially, when after the sudden death of two sons of King Yuri, Lev II and Prince Andrew (1324), the dynasty came to an untimely end. Their nephew, King Yuri II (1324‑1340) was the last king of Galicia-Volynia; he was poisoned by the boyars, and the kingdom became the prey of Poland, Lithuania and Hungary. For some time the boyars, supported by the Tatars, resisted Poland, whereas Volynia was seized by the Lithuanian prince Lubart. In the year 1349, Casimir the Great of Poland, made a pact with the Tatars and annexed Galicia. For some time, however, the Hungarian king Louis, took Galicia from Poland, but in 1387 it was finally incorporated into Poland.

(26) The Decline of the Galician-Volynian Princedom.

Thus, the Galician-Volynian princedom, the second in importance among Ukrainian States that had united almost all the lands with a Ukrainian population, ceased to exist as an independent State at the end of the Fourteenth century. The princes of the Galician-Volynian house, having held out for two centuries against the Poles and the Magyars, and promoted the development of Ukrainian  p86 culture, preserved Western Ukrainian lands from being completely absorbed by their Western neighbors. On the other hand, by breaking dynastic and ecclesiastical connections with the princedom of Suzdal, they protected the Ukrainian population in the East from being assimilated by the Great Russians. By opening Ukrainian territories to West European influences they neutralized, to a certain extent, the exclusive Byzantine influence on Ukrainian culture.

The political and social structure inherited from the Kievan State was thus exposed to the influence of contemporary mediaeval conditions in Central Europe. The struggle of Galician-Volynian princes with the Ukrainian aristocracy, the boyars, developed in the same way as the conflicts of Western European rulers with their great vassals, the barons. The boyar class in Galicia acquired a great importance. Prince Roman, though often victorious over them, was not able to break down entirely their political importance and their economic power. Political troubles in the first half of the Thirteenth century were very propitious to the pretentions of the boyars and they asserted themselves so vigorously, that even King Daniel, at the height of his power, was often obliged to consider the claims of the boyar oligarchy. The Chronicle noted this in observing: "the Galician boyars call Daniel their prince, but in fact they held the land in their hands." The ranks of the Galician aristocracy had been strengthened by a number of impoverished princely houses or disinherited princes, who entered into the service of the reigning house. The boyars, at times, seized even the right to distribute grants of land and State monopolies, and the Princes, as for instance, Daniel and Vassilko, had to assert their princely right of granting monopolies, as was the case in the conflict about the salt monopoly of the mines in Kolomya. The economic power of the boyars rested, as it was said, on their owner­ship of great stretches of land. As the soil here is very fertile, farming was very advantageous and brought great incomes. The labor on great land estates was chiefly performed by  p87 slaves and serfs; the latter were personally free but attached to the land. Free peasants, "smerdy," gradually became also bound either to pay tribute in kind to the prince or landowner, a boyar, or to work on his estate. The transfer of Galicia and Volynia to the Polish sovereign brought with it great changes in the social structure of the country. Of these more will be said in subsequent chapters.​b

(27) Trade and Cultural Influences.

Besides agriculture, trade was an important source of the wealth of the country. As a result of growing trade with Central and Western Europe, we see already in the Thirteenth century, the rise of Galician and Volynian towns. Even at the time of the supremacy of the Kievan Princedom, a lively trade with Western Europe was carried on chiefly through these Western Ukrainian provinces. With the downfall of Kiev, the role of intermediary in the trade between the East and the West fell to Galicia. Here came the merchants from Poland, Germany, Hungary, Greece, and the Balkans bringing their merchandise and taking with them local products and goods imported from the East. The navigation on the Dniester played then also a very important part. Galician towns, such as Halich, Lvov, Lutsk and Kholm, became important centres and had considerable foreign colonies within their walls. After the Tatar invasion, the princes undertook the repopulation of devastated areas and invited foreigners to settle, especially artisans and traders. Thus many Germans came and settled in towns, receiving from the princes certain privileges, such as self government, according to the custom of the German towns from which they came. Thus German city self-government was at this date introduced into Ukrainian towns and played an important part in later times. Undoubtedly, in promoting the growth and development of the towns, Galician princes counted on their support in the struggle against the landed aristocracy, the boyars, as it indeed was often the case.

 p88  Prince Daniel was especially a great town builder. Among his chief foundations was Lvov, named after his son and successor, the Prince Lev, and also the town of Kholm, which soon became very important. The Chronicle gives us a vivid picture of how King Daniel had built this town, how he called in architects and masons, Ukrainian, as well as German and Polish. Daniel's brother Vassilko, Prince of Volynia, was also an active builder: the Chronicle names quite a number of churches, castles, and towers built by him and especially by his son Vladimir Vasilkovich who, in his turn, was a generous patron in building and adornment of churches not only in his own land, Volynia, but even in far away Chernigov. In the Chronicle we read a panegyric to this prince for his building activity: he built the towns of Brest-Litovsk and of Kamenets-Litovsk and many others.

Very little remains of all this building activity of the Galician princes except ruins. But even from those ruins and occasional archaeological discoveries, we can judge of the high standard of artistic development and trace influences, Byzantine, Roman and Gothic in the architecture and sculptural adornment. The Chronicle has preserved for us the name of one of these Ukrainian sculptors, Avdiy (Obadiah), whom King Daniel employed in the adornment of one of the churches built by him in Kholm.

Frequent political contact with Central and Western Europe brought to Galicia and Volynia West European cultural influences and created a community of interests. The Ukrainian Chronicle gives us a number of facts and details about conditions of life in Western Europe and notes down historical and political events from which we see how well informed these Chroniclers were about what was going on in Western and Central Europe. We also notice what is astonishing to us in the light of later history, the existence of religious tolerance; there was almost no difference made between the Christians of the Greek and Roman rites. But, though the Pope was held in great esteem, the Chronicle shows us that Ukrainians remained  p89 faithfully attached to the Greek form of worship, accepted by their ancestors. At the same time, the Chronicle shows a conscious national feeling. Chroniclers note down with pride and delight everything in their country that could be admired by foreign visitors whether it was the wealth and prosperity of Galician and Volynian towns, or the strength and beauty of King Daniel's armies, or his greatness and power.

The Galician-Volynian princely house stood in dynastic relations with different reigning houses in Europe. It was at this time that Latin came into general use, first as the means of diplomatic relations and then as the official language of the State. Seals of princes came into use with Latin, instead of the old Ukrainian inscriptions, and the charters of the last Galician kings were written in Latin.

Thayer's Notes:

a His name is usually given in its original Slavic form, Yuri Dolgoruky or Dolgoruki. (This note mostly to help search engines catch this page.)

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b P116 f. but especially Pp123‑128.

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Page updated: 20 Jun 22