Rus Articles Journal

Don icon of the Mother of God: whether the Don Cossacks could present it to the prince Dmitry Ivanovich?

In the first day of fall in the Moscow Donskoy Monastery celebrate day of the Don icon of the Mother of God. According to the legend the icon was brought by the Don Cossacks to the Moscow prince Dmitry Ivanovich, according to one version, on the eve of the Battle of Kulikovo, on another - after the Battle of Kulikovo.

it is permissible to i to ask

a question: whether there corresponds this bringing to the historical truth and whether the Don Cossacks could present this icon to the Moscow prince Dmitry Ivanovich?

First of all, it should be noted that history of the 14th century knows nothing about the Russian Cossacks, but knows about the Novgorod ushkuynik who by the situation a little in what differed from Cossacks. So in the Russian history the Novgorod ushkuynik were the first zemleprokhodets and freebooters.

Considering difficult relations of Novgorod with Moscow, the Novgorod ushkuynik could not present to the Moscow prince an icon. As for Cossacks, they did not represent at this time an independent community yet and served the Tatar khans.

When forming ethnos “zolotoordynsky Tatars“ there was an institute of the Cossacks, the lowest military layer of zolotoordynsky society. This layer consisted of representatives of the people subdued by Tatars who already came off from some kind of - the tribe, but did not receive yet the status which “indigenous“ Tatars had. Only after disintegration of the Golden Horde numerous groups of Cossacks appeared provided to themselves. They begin the independent activity in extensive spaces of the Wild Paul who appeared by the neutral earth.

The Ryazan principality for the first time was attacked by Tatars in 1237. Since then chronicles repeatedly narrate about devastating attacks of Tatars on the Ryazan principality. Only history of the end of the 15th century mentions that it Ryazan Ukraine was attacked by the Horde Cossacks.

But the end of the 15th century is time of final disintegration of the Golden Horde: with weakening of the central power in the Horde there was a tendency of strengthening of independence of Cossacks. It should be noted that the chronicler not incidentally emphasizes that the Cossacks who attacked Ryazan were the Horde Cossacks.

The problem is that in the second quarter of the 15th century on Ryazan there was a lightarmed type of army which ratnik were called the Ryazan Cossacks. For the first time the Ryazan Cossacks are mentioned in the chronicle of 1444 when they together with troops of the Moscow prince Vasily Temny smashed the army of the Tatar tsarevitch Moustapha which came to the Ryazan earth.

In the same time on Don free groups of the Russian Cossacks are formed. Formation of the free Cossacks disturbs the Moscow prince Vasily III. In the order to the Ryazan princess Agrippina which ruled the principality in view of the early childhood of the son Vasily III demands that the princess allocated one hundred ratnik for protection of the Tatar Embassy and would give them in the help thirty, i.e. the Ryazan Cossacks. In the same order Ivan III demands submission to himself residents of Ryazan and writes the princess: “And will disobey who you will go to Don to a molodechestvo, them, Agrafena, order to execute...“

the Russian element among the Cossacks lodging on Dnieper and Don became over time prevailing: Russian and orthodox belief became a Cossacks basis.

We will remember that the hudy humble monk Christian Alexey writes to “Stories of the state Russian from Gostomysl to Timashev“:

Poles returned,
of Cossacks brought;
Went confusion and fights: Poles and Cossacks,
Cossacks and Poles
of a paka beat Us with
also pak;
We without tsar as crayfish, we Grieve

Despite playful tone of the poem, A. K. Tolstoy does not depart from the historical truth - in days of a samozvanshchina Distemper Poles really brought Cossacks …

About 200 years separates a distemper of Samozvanshchina from the Shemyakinsky distemper which occurred in the first half of the 15th century. The reasons of both distempers are identical: fight for the Moscow inheritance. And here the structure of participants of distempers significantly differs.

If during a distemper of Samozvanshchina Poles “brought Cossacks“, then about participation of Cossacks during the Shemyakinsky distemper there is no mention. However, then there were no Poles, but there was Lithuania - on the eve of a distemper the Lithuanian prince Vitovt at the request of the daughter undertook a role of the patron juvenile Moscow prince Vasily II. However he did not bring Cossacks.

Write about Cossacks often and many. Allow to ask where there were Cossacks in days of the Shemyakinsky distemper? Let`s take, for example, year 1380. Mamay prepares for a campaign to Moscow. As report historical documents, Mamay collects the Tatar and Polovtsian hordes of Don and Lower Volga area, Fryazey, Bessermen, Armen, Yasov and Burtasov employs teams. The Don Cossacks in the list are absent. If they also were, then they could only be in the Tatar and Polovtsian hordes of Don. How they could present an icon then?

The Russian chronicles are silent about presence of Cossacks at troops of the Moscow prince also. Only the Cossack folklore history tells about how Cossacks of the Quiet Don presented to the prince Dmitry an icon...