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"Take the swords Tatar and sec them": who really was the legendary defender of Russia from the Mongols evpatiy Kolovrat
Material posted: Publication date: 11-01-2018
11 Jan 1238, according to legend, was solemnly buried a hero of the resistance to the Mongol-Tatar invasion yevpaty Kolovrat. Of the fearless and mighty warrior, which is 780 years ago was killed in battle who came to Rus by the Horde, we know from "the Story of the destruction of Ryazan Batu". According to one historical hypothesis, Ryazan hero is a collective image, symbolizing the heroic struggle of the Russian people against the Golden Horde, on the other — at the heart of tradition lies the heroism of a real person. In the history of the Kolowrat Evpatii intertwined myth and reality, understood RT.

Of Evpatii the Kolowrat known only from a single source — "the Story of the destruction of Ryazan Batu". According to the works of ancient literature after the capture by the Mongols of Ryazan in December 1237 Kolovrat led the resistance to the invaders, rallying around 1.7 thousand warriors.

If you believe the chronology described in the "Tale" of events, Kolovrat was killed in battle in the first third of January, 1238. According to one version of this literary works, the solemn funeral of Evpatii took place on January 11.

According to another view, which is based on the information about the participation Ryazantsev in battles with the Mongols, Kolovrat (or warrior, which became its prototype) could fight with the invaders till spring. It is assumed that yevpaty died in the battle of the Sit river 4 Mar 1238, fighting in the army of the Vladimir Prince Yuri Vsevolodovich, and was buried on the left Bank of the river Vozha. However, his tomb was never discovered.

Do not stop disputes among historians about the origin of the name of the hero of the "Story." Evpatiy is a modified Greek name Hypatia, very common in ancient Russia. With the nickname Kolovrat story is more complicated. Nickname in Russia, as a rule, were given by occupation of the person. The most popular among scientists hypothesis is: Bogatyr yevpaty Kolovrat become known as skill in combat ("Kolo" circle "gate" — rotation).

"And was slashing evil and terrible"

In 1237-1238 the Russian state has undergone a large-scale invasion of the Golden Horde. Various historians estimate the number of Mongol troops (from 60 thousand to 150 thousand), but it is known that the invaders were far superior to the power of the squads of Russian princes.

Because of the feudal fragmentation of Rus ' could not present a United army, which facilitated the Horde's conquest of the principalities. The invasion was headed by the grandson of Genghis Khan, the ruler of the ulus of Jochi (Golden Horde) Batu Khan. The first city that was destroyed, became Ryazan, southern edge of North-Eastern Russia.

"The story of the destruction of Ryazan" is one of the main sources of information about the tragedy that occurred in December 1237-rich city on the right Bank of the Oka. Anticipating imminent death, the Ryazan Prince Yuri tried to buy off the Batu. But the ruler of the Golden Horde declared its claim to the "whole Russian land" and demanded "the princes of Ryazan daughters and sisters to his bed." Ryazan know gathered an army and took an unequal battle near the city.

Что известно о легендарном русском воине Евпатии Коловрате

Diorama "The Capture Of Old Ryazan Batu". © Detail of diorama "defense of old Ryazan in 1237,"

"And attacked him and smote him hard and courageously, and was slashing evil and terrible. A lot of strong regiments Batu Palo. The king saw the Batu that the power of the Ryazan beating hard and courageously, and scared. But against the wrath of God who will stand up! Batyeva same forces been great and invincible: one Riazan fought with a thousand and two from ten thousand," — said in "Story."

After the victory of Batu destroyed the surrounding Ryazan and the village took possession of the capital of the Principality. "The story" and the data of archaeological excavations indicate that the Mongols practically wiped off the face of the Earth Ryazan and cut out all the surviving citizens. At the end of December of 1237 the hordes of Batu Khan moved to conquer the Suzdal Principality.

The news of the invasion of Ryazan came to one of the "princes of Ryazan on behalf of yevpaty Kolovrat", which at that time was in Chernigov. "With a small retinue," Lord "ran quickly," the Ryazan Principality.

"And came into the land of Ryazan, and saw it deserted, cities destroyed, churches burned, people killed. And rushed to the city of Ryazan, and saw the city destroyed, princes murdered and a lot of people down: some killed and massacred, others burned, and others drowned in the river" — the "Story".

"Specialise all the shelves Tatar"

Evpatiy collected a "small squad" of 1.7 million people and all of a sudden attacked "mills Batyeva" on the territory located to the North of the Ryazan Suzdal Principality.

"And began to flog without mercy, and specialise all the shelves Tatar. And the Tatars definitely drunk or crazy. And beat them yevpaty so mercilessly that the swords were blunted, and he took the swords Tatar and sec them. Seemed to the Tartars, that the dead shall rise. Yevpaty, passing through a strong Tatar regiments, and beat them mercilessly. And went among the Tatar regiments so bravely, so bravely that the king was afraid," — said in "Story."

Batu sent to the extermination of Russian of his "shuricha" (son of brother-in-law) Hotorola, who promised to bring Kolovrat alive. Army Evpatii was surrounded by the most capable Mongolian troops. Hectorol called Ryazan nobleman to a duel and was killed in battle by Kolowrat.

"And became (Kolovrat) to whip effect Tatar, and many here, the famous warriors of Batu broke, some cut in half, and the other to the saddle cut. And fotbalist Tatars, seeing what yevpaty strong giant. And brought upon him many vices (siege), and began to beat on him from countless vices, and barely killed him" — so "Story" tells about the last battle Kolovrat.

Frame from the film "the Legend of the Kolowrat" (2017). © Photo from the film "the Legend of Kolowrat" (2017)

Batu was delighted with the courage of Kolovrat. Looking at the body of a dead nobleman, he said, "Well you got me Poptchev with his small retinue, and many strong warriors of the Horde to my beat, and many of the regiments broke. If so, I have served — would have kept it close to my heart."

The Khan ordered to release the surviving Russian soldiers and gave them the body of Kolovrat. If you believe the "Story", a hero of the resistance to the Mongol-Tatar invasion, was buried in Ryazan with the dead princes and boyars.

Mysterious Colourat

Historians have a lot of doubts the veracity of the events described in "the tale of the destruction of Ryazan Batu", which was created not earlier than the end of the XIV century. For example, the work argues that the Kolovrat and other dead members of the nobility were are read the burial service and buried in Ryazan, although it is after the capture was 

The researchers noticed that the "Story" tells of a Prince who in 1237 was no longer alive. In particular, mentioned David of Murom (died in 1228) and Vsevolod Pronsky (died 1208).

Also in battles with the Mongols "involved" Prince Ingvar Ingvarevich, the debate about the existence of which is still ongoing. There are suggestions that Ingvar Ingvarevich is Ryazan Prince Ingvar I., who ruled from 1217. However, he died in 1235 — two years before the Mongol invasion.

Questioning the existence of Kolovrat, which is not reported in other works and written documents of Ancient Rus. Besides "the Story" does not specify the origin of Evpatii and its place in the power hierarchy of the Ryazan Principality.

On Kolowrat describes as gifted military leader, and courageous professional warrior, possessing incredible physical strength. Evpatii tends to be a stocky man of strong physique. The nature of Ryazan boyar is a brave and Patriotic Russian soldier.

This description of Kolovrat in common with the heroes of Russian epic — heroes Ilya Muromets, Alyosha Popovich and Dobrynya Nikitich.

Что известно о легендарном русском воине Евпатии Коловрате

Sculpture evpatii Kolovrat (2009), created by Ivan Korjavin. ©

Doctor of philological Sciences, specialist in Russian literature Anatoly Demin, said in an interview with RT that the nickname "Kolovrat" has nothing to do with the symbol of the Sun, a Slavic swastika, or other pagan symbols.

Demin noted that Kolovrat is distinguished by its "humanity" against the typical heroes of Russian epics. According to him, despite the hyperbole, yevpaty shown in General, an ordinary man who sought to protect their land from invaders.

Folk hero

Ryazan boyar is quite a popular character of the domestic works of art.

Feats Kolovrat, in particular, sang a native of the province of Ryazan, Yesenin. In the "Legend of Evpatii the Kolowrat, Khan Batu, the Color of the three hands, the Black Idol and Savior our Jesus Christ" (1912) he described the hero as an unusually strong man, who with two fingers, "stretched" "pesniya porini" (red-hot crowbars). While Kolovrat in the poem Yesenin, it appears not "the honorable" as in "Story," and a blacksmith — a man of the people.

Soviet writers have referred to the Kolowrat as a symbol of popular resistance to the invaders. Renaissance of popularity Ryazan heroes occurred in the period of the great Patriotic war. Evpatiy became a hero of works by Sergei Markov (1941) and Vasily Yan (1942).

After the collapse of the USSR Kolovrat was also mentioned in many works of art. In 2007 in Ryazan, a monument was erected to Kolowrat.

Что известно о легендарном русском воине Евпатии Коловрате

A monument to the Yevpatiya Kolovrat at the Postal square in Ryazan. © Wikimedia Commons

Two of the monument to Yevpatiya appeared in Shilovo and the village of Frolovo.

In 2009, honored artist of Russia Ivan Korzhev created a Kolovrat sculpture of cast stone. Evpatiy sitting in a thoughtful pose, easily holding the right hand a huge axe. In the same year, there were oil on canvas of Maximilian Presnyakov. It mangled with shafts Kolovrat holds in his hands two swords, trying to rise to continue the fight with the Mongols.

In November 2017 on the Russian cinema screens released film "the Legend of Kolowrat," directed by Janik Fayzieva. In the story, in December 1237 evpatiy was sent to negotiate with the other princes, to provide a joint resistance to the invasion of the Mongols. However, the Ryazan was burned, and Kolovrat, gathering a squad of Avengers, began a heroic struggle against the invaders.

True story or legend

A significant part of historians believes that "the Story" twisted fiction and actual events, and the Kolovrat is a collective image of Russian soldiers who fought with the Horde.

"What we see in this novel, describes the perception of ancient human not of the XIII century. Evpatiy described with certainty, the motives of his soldiers is justified. Everything else, in particular pohvaliti Batu Russian soldiers , designed reminiscent of a later legend, created in the XV—XVI centuries. Therefore, experts refer to this monument, rather as a literary, not a documentary" — said in an interview with RT, doctor of historical Sciences, Professor of the Department of History and theory of culture, Russian state University for Humanities Konstantin erusalimsky.

Medievalist Klim Zhukov adheres to the same position. He believes that most of the events of "the Story of the destruction of Ryazan Batu", including the story of the Kolowrat untrue.

"The Kolowrat should be treated as a legendary epic hero. There are still a few characters whose fates is present in almost a similar story of the heroic struggle against the invaders. One of them — Merkurii of Smolensk, the description of the deed which belongs to the historical monuments of the literature of the XV century", — said in an interview with RT bugs.

However, there is an alternative point of view. Its essence lies in the fact that the Kolovrat was a real warrior who rallied around him a small detachment, but the "Story" attributed to him some of the qualities of the epic characters.

This approach is based on the facts, testifying to the persistent resistance of the Mongol tumanom (tactical unit of the Mongol army), which continued to provide the village after the fall of the city.

"Many researchers believe that the monument is based on real events, and the number of names in it is absolutely reliable," — said Jerusalem.

According to the Chronicles, Batu really devastated the Ryazan Principality, but one of the survivors of the princes of the Roman Ingvarevich able to gather all the warriors and took the fight to the invaders on the territory of the Suzdal Principality.

It is also known that in the first half of January, 1238 there was a major battle with the Mongols near Kolomna (to the North of Ryazan). The battle was attended by Grand Prince Yuri Vsevolodovich, fearing that Vladimir Principality will repeat the fate of Ryazan land. His troops joined the Ryazan vigilantes.

It is assumed that at the time of death of the Kolowrat was about 35 years, although reliable information about when and where he was born, no. There is a version that yevpaty was born in the village of Frolovo (current Shilovsky district of the Ryazan region) approximately in the year 1200. 

Historian–folklorist, doctor of Philology Boris Putilov (1919-1997) in their scientific works claimed that "the Story of the destruction of Ryazan" should not be regarded as a purely literary work with fictional characters. Thus he refuted adopted in the Soviet period, the approach to the legend of Kolowrat as "fiction" the author of "the Story".

"The story of Evpatii the Kolowrat in the scene relation is not as simple as it may seem at first glance. For the folk song this story is very complicated, there are a lot of episodes (or "motives") which are easily developed in the framework of military stories, but which are much harder to develop in the folk songs," the article says Putilov "Song of Evpatii the Kolovrat".

According to the historian, the story of the Kolowrat is characterized by a sharp plot twists and quick changing theatre of action. The lack of art sketches, characteristic of the epic genre, allows to make a conclusion about the presence of "Story" elements of the documentary. Respectively, and the story of the Kolowrat could have a real basis.


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