Rus Articles Journal

How ancient Iskorosten burned down? Already also I do not remember part 1

how information that the management of the city of Korosten submitted the statement of claim against got to me... the cities of Kiev with the requirement to indemnify damage which was caused Korostenya by the Kiev princess Olga which burned completely the capital of the tribe of Drevlyans in the 10th century.

I do not know that here the truth and that the imagination, but say that this funny lawsuit lasts still.

Slavs appeared in the territory of present Korostensky district in the 5-7th centuries of our era. In the valley of the river small settlements began to appear. One of them built on the granite mountain over the river grew up to the capital of the Slavic tribe of Drevlyans over time - the city of Iskorosten. At the beginning of the X century Iskorosten was the constant residence of drevlyansky princes, the powerful fortress enclosed with a high paling from crude centuries-old oak trunks. The name “Iskorosten“ comes from phrase “ From wall bark“.

In 883 the prince Oleg laid Drevlyans under tribute, and in 907 Drevlyans participated together with him in a campaign to Tsargrad. However in 913 when Oleg died, the tribe refused to render tribute to the Kiev prince Igor Starshem (Old). The last had to submit by force Drevlyans.

But in 945 when the prince decided to take from Drevlyans a tribute in a double size, revolt began, Drevlyans broke a princely team, and Igor was betrayed by death.

Revolt of Drevlyans of 945 is reflected in the Russian epic epos and in the Ipatyevsky chronicle. From the last source we know about cunning and military sharpness of the princess Olga today.

Spring of 946 the Kiev princess Olga opposed in a campaign the tribe of Drevlyans. Olga`s teams broke Drevlyans in the hardened fight, then took several drevlyansky fortresses - grad. But Iskorosten which is well strengthened and favourably located capital of the drevlyansky prince Mal on the river, the Kiev combatants straight off could not take.

Within three months the princess Olga with army under Iskorostenem staid. The siege dragged on for all summer. The Drevlyans who are not hoping for forgiveness were not going to give up and died in the last ditch. The fighting spirit of Olginy army began to fall, the discipline weakened. And the coming autumn impassability of roads of optimism to the princess did not add too.

Then as it is written down in the chronicle, Olga thought up the artful course - itself began peace talks. Drevlyans were surprised with this unexpected softness:

- What you want from us? We are glad to give you both honey, and furs.

Olga told:

- You have now neither honey, nor bellows therefore I ask from you the little: give me from each yard three pigeons yes on three sparrows.

Then, having distributed to the combatants - whom a pigeon, a coma of a sparrow, Olga ordered to bind on a pad to each bird on a tinder piece. When began to get dark, she ordered to set fire to tinders and to let out birds. Those departed to the nests - both dovecots, and cages, and mows, and log huts so lit up. And it was impossible to extinguish the fire because fire captured by time all city.

As a result of Iskorosten burned down completely, and the drevlyansky prince Mal was fanatically executed. The part of the population was killed, other part went to caves under the city where princely combatants for some reason were afraid to be put. Iskorosten fell, Olga with a victory came back to Kiev. The prince Igor was revenged.

Many years a legend of capture Iskorostenya occurred in Russia, and the chronicler willingly brought it on a history table. In such look it reached also us.

However this annalistic statement of an event causes deep bewilderment and series of questions.

Why Olga waited almost till fall, but did not apply “bird`s attack“ earlier?

Why birds with the attached and lit tinder were let out only at this time of night, with nightfall?

And why eventually the bird bearing fire (and with it and death), has to fly to the native nest and anywhere any more?

What actually was behind “night fiery birds“ of the princess Olga? Whether Olga resorted, rescuing the army from defeat which could bring - and most likely inevitably would lead - to her overthrow and transition of a princely throne to other hands, to use of some secret weapon of the destructive force huge for those times?

We will try to understand these questions.