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Principality of the Descendants of Mamai

A. A. Shennikov

Shennikov A.A. Principality of the Descendants of Mamai / / Deposited in Social Sciences. -7380. Leningrad, 1981. pp.20-22


Mamai talking to his nobles (Source: Kronos Project)


I. Genealogy of Mamai

At the site of the present city of Poltava in the pre-Mongol period, according to some archaeological and written sources, perhaps, was a border village of Kievan Rus, desolate after the attack of the Mongols in the XIII century. In the future, only in the XV century by official sources reappeared information about the presence in the area of the Slavic population and fortified settlements, including Poltava. At this time, the entire region was the preserve of the princes Glinski and was part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

However, there is a written source, which is not considered very formal, but it contains some more information on the early history of the area. This is the genealogy of the princes Glinsky. This genealogy information dating back to before the 1430’s, many historians considered questionable, “legendary.” Some even pass it over in silence, speaking about the history of the area. And those who did not put the information into question, mentioned it only briefly and did not have conclusions that go beyond the interests of the local history. But such a conclusion can be made.

The genealogy contained in Moscow genealogical books of the XVI – XVII centuries in several variants and fragments:
1) The full text of the book, published under the code name “List A” end of the XVI century;
2) The full text of the so-called “Exclusionary Book” early XVII century;
3) incomplete text in the so-called “List of the Synod” early XVII century;
4) a very brief note on Glinsky in the index so-called “Velvet books” of the late XVII century.

That the Glinski history is presented no further than to the 1530’s, is a statement to the ragged decades prior to the compilation of the genealogical books. Apparently, the materials for compiling this genealogy no later than to the 1530’s – 40’s of the family came from the family archives at the central Moscow office, which prepared consolidated state genealogical books, and then there is no longer added new information on Glinski. Therefore, differences in the dates of the lists do not give reason to believe any of them are more reliable than others.

A comparison of the texts shows that there are two versions, which we call a lengthy and brief, differing not only in form but also content. The lengthy edition covers the period from the pre-Mongol period to 1508. The brief begins later, from the late XIV century, but also ends later, in the 1530s. The lengthy edition consists of a brief summary and the main text. For the shorter version there is only the main text, but a note in the table of contents of the Velvet book corresponds in content exactly to the shorter version and, perhaps, proved to be a summary which separated from the main body due to some of the later alterations. “List A” and the “Exclusionary Book” contain the text of both editions, but they are mixed up: after lengthy annotations was entered the primary text of the brief version, and then – the main text of the longer version. In the “List of the Synod” there is only the main text of the shorter version, moreover, with the removal of large fragments.

… In quoting I accept “List A” as the basis for both editions, in parentheses give the words of the “Exclusionary Book”, not in “List A”, and discrepancies in the “Exclusionary book,” and in brackets – words from “List A”, not in the” Exclusionary Book”. The texts “Synodal List” and “Velvet Book” are quoted separately.

Abstract of the longer version: “The Horde King Mamai beaten by [Grand Prince] Dmitry Ivanovich on the Don and a son of King Mamai Prince Mansur-Kiyat (Mansurkian) and the son of Mansur-Kiyat Prince Oleksa (Aleska) and the Metropolitan baptized him {translator’s note: “him” = Oleksa} in Kiev, and (and) from him (went) Glinski (Prince).”

Note the table of contents of the “Velvet Book”: “Princes Glinski. Departed from Lithuania, and before from Tartars, where before traveling to Russia were given them estates Glinsk, and Glinitsa, and from that got their name. ”

As we see, the longer version annotations on Glinski – direct descendants of the Golden Horde Temnik Mamai, the “hero” of the Battle of Kulikovo (he, as is usual in the Russian sources, is incorrectly called “king”, that is, khan, in reality, he was not). According to a note from the “Velvet Book” on Glinski – they are all just some descendants “of Tatars”, of which at that time a large number entered the service of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania and Moscow in exchange for estates with Eastern Slavic population. The silence about Mamai, as we shall see below, is characteristic of the main text of the shorter version, so that we do not rule out, that the article in the “Velvet Book” – is a brief abstract version.

The main text of the longer version begins with a genealogy of Mamai, which it does not in the short version: “Original family tree of the Princes Glinski. The prince Kiyato trekked on the western side of the Volga [before Chingi Tsar, a] name respectable (respectable) State had from other countries wrote to them call them of the Fallen (Padyshag) it is Sovereign. And he came (Tsar) Tsar, the great battle is done with Kiyato and subsequent death and Genghis (Knigiz) Tsar married his daughter Zaholub (Zaholub) to Burluda (Burmu) and Kiyato Tohkospa (Tohtospa) Tsar Genghis (Chingiz Tsar). Childless approaching the days of his death (in the days approaching his death), previously mentioned (previously mentioned) Kiyato that time did not have the title Tsar. And come the Tsar Kutluz (Kutlui) [and] drafted soldiers, Tohtageev (and Tohtago) Horde took, and took for himself three Tsarinas, and became Tsar. Having accomplished [and] a ruled a large Horde many for years and gave rise to a lot of children, and so from the Cherklueva (Cherkugliueva) kingdom (kingdom) the genealogy of the Kiyat family, and (and) a royal family, and even before King Mamai.”

The extreme corruption of the text, not having read the original has, probably, many gaps – this is clearly not only the result of multiple errors of copyists, but also a very bad translation of a document, written in Arabic script in some language of the Golden Horde – probably Persian, Arabic or Kipchak. Trying to match what little, that can be understood, with historical facts, confirmed by other sources, we note the following:

1) Mamai is depicted as a representative of some “princes” of Kiyat. From other Russian sources this is not known, but in sources of different origin, independent of pedigree, it is confirmed.

Thus, at the turn of the XV – XVI centuries the last Golden Horde Khan Ahmad Shah, shortly before the defeat of the remnants of his hordes of Crimeans, sent to the Polish King Alexander several letters asking for help, but when they were not followed with responses, in 1501 he sent another letter, asking the princes Glinski – brothers Ivan, Basil and Michael L. – to influence the king, since at the time they were very close to the king. In the surviving Polish translation of the letter is an interesting address: “True children of Kiyato princes Mamayev there with my brother (King – A. Sh.), and here with me in my kingdom, right and left lancers, princes, four Korac large (Korac – representatives of a special privileged feudal family. – A. Sh.), I do not have more and better servants than Kiyato princes “…

While the translation is better than the Russian translation of the genealogy of Mamai, the Polish translator, apparently, simplified or did not understand. “Right and Left” – probably, abbreviated words on the status of Kiyat in the right and left wings of the Golden Horde forces. It is more difficult to understand why Kiyato is “four» («czotyri»), while the letter is addressed to the three brothers. Maybe this is not the numeral “four”, and another word was misunderstood by the translator. It is also possible that Kiyat was considered one of the four representatives of the families belonging to the category “Korac” (we know that later on, for example, in the Crimean Khanate, at different times different names belonged to this group, but they always thought it was the tradition of four).

Do not rule out another explanation of the word. As quoted from the treatment, and from the general tone of the letter and the circumstances of his writing can be seen that the relationship between Glinski and the Khan went far beyond mere diplomatic courtesy. The Khan appealed to the not yet extinct Tatar ethnic consciousness of the Glinski’s, recognized their dual citizenship, and treated them as his agents to the King. The Glinski’s obviously still gave a reason for such treatment, or the Khan, being in the role of supplicant, hardly would appeal to them in such a tone. Clearly, a letter of such content was not intended for transfer to the royal archives. But it got there. How could this happen? Seven years later, in 1508, Michael Glinski and his brothers raised a known anti-Polish uprising and were defeated and emigrated to Moscow. We think, that the original letter only fell into the hands of the Polish authorities upon confiscation of the property of the emigrants, and only after it was translated. But, according to the same family tree (see below), at that time there were four brothers, – Fedor was still to be added to the three. Perhaps, as in 1501, and in 1508 he was still a minor, so that he is not mentioned among the addressees of the letter of Ahmad Shah, or in the stories of the Russian chronicles about the arrival of the emigrants in Moscow. But the Polish translator in 1508, knowing, that the brothers were not three, but four, and not having accurate information about their age, simply “fixed” the letter.

But, no matter how the ambiguities in the letter are understood, it is obvious that, first, Ahmad Shah knew the Glinski’s as descendants of Mamai, the Glinski’s did not conceal themselves. Moscow had not yet started collecting summary material for genealogical books, so the Khan and not Moscow knew about the origin of the Glinski’s, and some of their sources. That alone shows how hasty and groundless was the talk about the “legendary” initial part of the Glinski genealogy. And secondly, the Golden Horde did find Mamai a “prince” of Kiyat.

Mamai was named Kiyat by some Crimean Tatar Turkish sources for an unpublished chronicle of Utemysh-Haji prepared in the XVII century, also clearly independent of the Russian ancestry of Glinski.

Until Mamai in the Golden Horde there were no known sources of “princes” Kiyat. But Kiyat is known – a vast group of Mongols, to which belonged Genghis Khan. Those subgroups of Kiyat that were quite loyal to Genghis Khan (primarily Kiyat-Borjigin from which Genghis Khan came directly), had a privileged position in the empire and, apparently, to some extent, in the states that emerged from its base. With the development of feudal relations in the states of Genghis Khan and his descendants to become a “prince” you could be either a valid Kiyat descendant of a Mongol-Kiyat, or anyone who was able to assign the name specifically to promote his career in the service of the Khans-Chinggisids.

2) References to the “King Kutluze (Kutlue),” the “Tohtageevoy (Tohtago) Horde” and about a “Tohkospa (Tohtospa)” are not consistent with the known names and events in the history of the Golden Horde up to Mamai. But here one can see echoes of some of the earlier episodes of Mongol history, described as chronologically impaired and severely distorted translations and correspondence. In 1200 – 1210’s Genghis Khan led a long struggle with the neighbors of the Mongols – the Merkit, which was joined by several sub-Kiyat Mongols. The Merkit – apparently, were Turkic-speaking peoples, and ethnically related to the Altai Sayan Turkic. The Merkit were inflicted a major defeat in 1204, and then the Mongols long pursued the surviving part of them who retreated to the west and found protection and shelter with Kipchak Turks. During this long retreat the Merkit were led for some time by Tokhta Bay (Tohtoa-lords), who died in 1208, and his successor Kiichliig, remaining in Central Asia and died after a long battle in 1218. Remnants of the Merkit almost reached the Volga, where in 1216 they were overtaken and defeated by the Mongols on the river Irgiz.

Judging by the fact that the information about these events was in Mamai’s genealogy, his ancestor was either a Mongol from the Kiyat, or a Merkit, the genealogy of Kiyat appropriated by any one of them (i.e. his ancestors). The latter seems more likely, since the name Mamai (according to Persian chronicles of Mamak) is unknown to the Mongols, and it did not occur in Eastern Turkic-speaking peoples until the Golden Temnik Mamai, but it is known from the Altai and Sayan Turkic, which, as noted, were apparently close to the Merkit.

If so, the “respectable state,” “The Prince” Kiyat – is probably a piece of land on the Irgiz provided to the Merkits by the Kipchaks, and a “great language” – the Merkit were defeated on this land in 1216. If the originator of the original text had ancestry, for example, in Sarai, then, from his point of view, this land was just “this side of the Volga.” Of course, this is the last refuge of the remnants of the Merkit not worthy of the name of “state.” A title corresponding to the Persian “king” was Tokhta Bay (Tohtospa – short Persian spelling of his name with that title), but, as I said, it did not reach Irgiz. Apparently, his successors saw themselves as the heirs of this title, and hence – an exaggerated idea of the size and significance of the “state” of the later compiler of the genealogy.

3) It allows us to understand how corrupt the text is, that a Kiyat named Burlud, or Burma, managed to marry a daughter of Genghis Khan, who remainded, however, childless. This is absolutely incredible. No daughter of Genghis Khan, even barren, could be granted either to any aspiring Merkit or to the Mongol-Merkit Kiyat. After the arrival to the Volga of the Merkit it was impossible for another reason, Genghis Khan was never even close to coming to these places (only his sons and generals went there), and it is unclear, how his daughter could get there.

Now recall that, according to other sources, Mamai appeared on stage in the middle of the XIV century as the Golden governor in Crimea. Then he worked for many years with varying success fighting for power in the Horde, and obviously marrying the daughter of Khan Berdibek contributed to the surname Kiyat. But Chinggisids he was not, and the legal right to become Khan he had not, judging by the fact that he was covered systematically by puppets – young oglanami-Chinggisids. In fact, he was able in the end to become a dictator in all areas of the Kipchak steppe state west of the Volga. But after the defeat of Kulikovo in 1380 he was deposed by Khan Tokhtamysh – a Chinggisid, who relied on the eastern population, part of the state Zavolzhsky.

Attention is drawn to long-term and constant support provided to Mamai in the Crimea and in the adjacent land areas. There he was saved after defeats in Horde strife, and there reappeared with renewed strength. It was not only in the financial (and in 1380 – in the military) by the Genoese, but also the fact that there Mamai recruited the major part of his troops. Even after the huge losses of Kulikovo he immediately gained another army there, and again went to Moscow, which hindered Tokhtamysh. It is unlikely that such crack troops at the time, could only be supplied by Crimea, where there was not a Crimean Khanate, or the Crimean Tatars in the form in which they would become known in the next century. Apparently, the main role is played by those semi-nomads – Tatars, descendants of the Kipchak-Kipchaks and the ancestors of the North Black Sea Nogai, who wandered in the meridian strip of the northern part of the Crimea and adjacent parts of Tavria and the Azov Sea, in the rapids along the left bank of the Dnieper and further north to Vorskla.

It was in this zone that survived place names associated with the name of Mamai, XVII century ruins of stone tombs and other structures were encountered, typical for nomadic Golden Tatars, which are in memory of Crimean Tatars at the time of Mamai, and in XIX century they were called the Ukrainians Polovtsian stone statues on mounds not “broads”, in other places, “Mamais.” Apparently, for these descendants of Kipchaks Mamai was not only sent from Sarai as an administrator, but as their hereditary local lord, someone whose close ancestors are probably not direct successors to the pre-Mongolian Polovtsian khans.

Comparing all this data, we see that the ancestors of Mamai were probably Merkits who somehow appropriated a Kiyat family name matching the name of the Mongols. Perhaps the assignment of the name had been associated with being part of the Merkit Mongols Kiyato hostile to Genghis Khan. After the defeat of the Merkit at Irgiz in 1216 the surviving lineage holder was, likely, in the northern Black Sea region together with Zavolzhsky Kipchaks. There he was able to take a prominent position among the Kipchaks, his descendants coming from there to the service of the Golden Horde as “princes” Kiyat. Mamai inherited from his ancestors only a personal name, but once the Merkits received shelter and military assistance from the Kipchaks, he relied on them until his fall.

But the story of the daughter of Genghis Khan, if we understand it correctly, is included in this genealogy. I think that it was inscribed in the last years of Mamai’s life. It is unlikely that this could make them ancestors of Mamai, when the first strong khans of the Golden Horde were still living, remembering the history of the dynasty as such would make it a victim of gross falsification. And the descendants of Mamai would not need this falsification. But Mamai just needed at the very least some remote and indirect relationship with the Chinggisids, he was lacking only that for the final seizure of power. And only he, in contrast to all his ancestors and descendants, had a real opportunity to make a falsification: on the one hand, he lived in an era of “zamyatni” – the protracted feuds of the khans in the Horde, when the fraud could most easily go unnoticed; but on the other hand, only he had a military force, sufficient, to silence all, who would have questioned the authenticity of his ancestry.

So, in the genealogy of Mamai, inscribed in the genealogy of Glinski, almost everything is explained quite rationally. Some information can be identified with known historical facts, other is fictional, but most of their biases are confirmed by the time and circumstances of the making of the genealogy. And there is nothing left, “legendary”, nothing that could be attributed to the fantasy of Glinski princes of the era when they were already Glinski.


II. Genealogy of the descendants of Mamai – Princes Glinski. The formation of the principality in Poltava.

The following – still only in the longer version – is already quite Russian, with no trace of bad translation and omissions: “[And King Mamai’s] son Mansur-Kiyat (Markisuat) and Mansur- Kiyat’s (Markisuat’s) [Prince] children [two sons: Prince] Aleksa (Alesha), and (and) [other] Skidyr [Prince]. And after the battle of the Don {translator’s note: Battle of Kulikovo} Mamai’s son Mansur-Kiyat (Markisuat) Prince restored three cities Glinsk, [and] Poldova (Poltava), [and] Glechenitsa (Glinitsa) children of Mansur-Kiyat (Mansurkiatov) were youngest son Skider (Skidyr) [Prince] catching [catch] a herd of horses and camels and traveled to Perekop, and great son of [his] Aleksa (Olesko) [Prince, and] remained in the places mentioned before [cities].” The correct spelling of the son of Mamai – apparently, Mansur-Kiyat. The name of his eldest son – Aleksa (Tatar name), others variants of the same – the results of its slavinization.

In the content of this text we do not see anything incredible. When, after the Battle of Kulikovo the new army of Mamai was intercepted and destroyed by Tokhtamysh “on Kalka”, after which Mamai again fled to the Crimea, and was killed there, Mansur with the remnants of Mamai’s army had sought refuge in, farthest from Sarai, the Crimea and Moscow and most closesly to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which Mamai supported until the end. The area of Poltava exactly met these conditions. Moreover the Grand Dukes of Lithuania (at the time the Jagiello) were interested in a combat ready settlement near its borders, hostile to the Golden Horde, and the supporters of Mamai broken by Tokhtamysh were appropriate for this contingent.

“Kalka”, where Tokhtamysh defeated Mamai – it is unlikely the present river Kalmius near Rostov-on-Don, which is usually identified with the Kalka – the place of the famous battle in 1223. V. Lyaskoronsky has long suggested, that the two battles – in the years 1223 and 1380 – took place “on the Kalka” – a group of small rivers, the left tributaries near the rapids of the Dnieper River. Without dismantling the arguments of this hypothesis regarding the battle in 1223, we must recognize, that with regard to the battle in 1380 it is compelling. The shortest path from the Crimea to Moscow ran precisely near the left bank of the Dnieper at the rapids, so there was no reason to deviate far eastward to the Kalmius. In addition by this workaround Mamai would venture to directly face Tokhtamysh, marching from Sarai; and when it goes the right way, on the one hand, he could hope to slip through before the arrival of Tokhtamysh (he, however, failed); and on the other hand, he would walk along the boundary of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, where he could escape if necessary (as Mansur managed). And escape to the Mansour district of Poltava, in which case it would be closer than the Kalmius.

If it is true, that the meridional strip from the Crimea to the Vorskla was nomadic Tartar territory, directly under Mamai, it can be assumed, that the area of Poltava was for Mansur not only the most convenient at the moment, but long familiar. Was not Mansour entrenched just on the northern edge of his ancestral territory?

The quoted text of the following phrases shows, that the heirs of Mansur divided. Apparently, among the Tatars who came with Mansur was a group of some southern steppe nomads or semi-nomads, as evidenced by the presence of camels, and this is the band that went south with Skider (Skidyr), to an environment more familiar to it. And it follows, that it was the other group of Tatars, that adapted to the natural and economic conditions of the region of Poltava and therefore remained with Aleksa. Did not the descendants of local Polovtzy have summer encampments here as early as pre-Mongolian times? Were not their families right here in the autumn of 1380, when Mamai was defeated “on the Kalka”? The originally mentioned departure of Skider to the south, perhaps, was indirectly confirmed by the fact that much later, in the late XVIII century, when several groups of the northern Black Sea Nogai migrated to Turkey, among them there was a group, which the Russians called “mamaevtsami.”

The heirs of Mansour look like a meridian strip divided into two parts as a result of population growth, usual for this type of semi-nomads. It is possible, that this partition was economically motivated. On a direct political motive for this division and its possible date I will say more, after parsing the next part of the text.

Subsequent events are described not only in the long, but in the shorter version, starting from this moment.

Redaction: “And in God’s own purpose (counsel of God) [that] (that) Aleksa [Prince was baptized, and] sent to Kiev (the Metropolitan went to Kiev, to baptize) and the Metropolitan [Kiev] baptized him [in peasant faith] and he gave him in holy baptism the name (the name of the holy baptism) Prince Alexander (Alexander Prince), [and in] the son of Alexander [Prince] Ivan and Father were baptized (baptized along with his father). And at that time (time) [happened] came to Kiev (arrived in Kiev) Grand Duke Vytautas of Lithuania (Lithuanian Grand Duke Vitoft) and invited Prince Alexander (and asked Prince Alexander) [Mansur Kiyatovich], and his son (son) him [to Prince Ivan] to serve (so they went to him in service), and (they) [Prince Ivan and his father Alexander created a want of Grand Duke Vytautas, and came] (in service) to him (and went) humbly to him [in the service] with his foretold (before mentioned) three cities. And the Grand Duke Vytautas accepted (accepted) them (exceedingly) honestly not as servants, but like [united by] kin (kin) of his, and gave them [in order] estates in the towns: Stanki (Stanki), Hozorov (Hozorov), Serekov, Gladkovicha (Gladkovichi); (and Grand Duke Vitoft married Prince Ivan Alexandrovich) [Vytautas] gave [Prince Ivan Aleksandrovich] (him) Prince Danilov’s daughter (daughter) Princess Nastasia Ostrozhenska (Ostrogska).”

The short edition on the same list: “The family Princes Glinski. To the Grand Duke of Lithuania came from the Horde Prince Aleksa (Aleska) and (and) was baptized and the baptismal name he was given was Prince Alexander, and his patrimony was Glinsk (Glinesk) and Glinnetsa (Glinitsa) and Poltava (Poltova) with that fiefdom of Vytautas and he came (and came to Vytautas) and Vytautas gave him a fiefdom parish Stein (Stanski) Hozorov, Gladkovichi and gave him Prince Vladimirov’s (Danilov) daughter (daughter) Princes Nastasia Ostrozhska in marriage. ”

The same for the “List of the Synod”: “To serve the Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas Kestutevich came the Tartar Prince Leksa, he was christened and given the baptismal name Alexander and he had as his patrimony Glinsk and Glinitsa and Poltava”.

The main difference between the editions: The brief version omits all, regarding the ancestors of Aleksa, not only is Mamai not mentioned, but even Mansur, and Aleksa is portrayed as an unknown Tatar from the Horde. As already mentioned, that is why we assume, that a short note in the “Velvet Book” refers to the main text of the shorter version. It omitted mention of Ivan Alexandrovich, and it happens that Vytautas married Anastasia Ostrozhska not Ivan, and not his father. This inconsistency demonstrates that the shorter version is the result of an earlier reduction of the longer version.

How to date these events? Under Vytautas arrival in Kiev meant, of course, his appearance and approval there as in fact the independent Grand Duke of Lithuania after the division of spheres of influence in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with Jagiello in 1392 {translator’s note: Ostrów Agreement}. Obviously, Alexander entered his service this year. But he had to accept the cross no later than in 1390, because in this year the Metropolitan Cyprian (this is certainly about him), was in Kiev until he became Metropolitan of All Russia, went to Moscow and then for the next few years he was there. Aleksa and Skider divided, presumably, after the death of Mansur. The date of his death is unknown. But in two Persian chronicles is a story that, in 1391, on the eve of battle between Timur and Tokhtamysh on the Kundurche River (near the present city of Samara) Timurovtsev wounded, captured and brought to Timur some “son of Mamak”, who said, that the army of Tokhtamysh had rode in. As these chronicles of Mamai named only Mamak, one can understand, that we are talking about his son. Of course, it might not be Mansur (it is not known, how many wives and sons Mamai had). But it is possible, that Mansur would try to make peace with Tokhtamysh, using a good opportunity – the general mobilization against Timur. If so, he, probably, thus died, because Timurovtsev usually spared no prisoners, and after that the army of Tokhtamysh was immediately crushed. Under these assumptions it is probable, that Aleksa was baptized in 1390, during the life of his father, having to do this, presumably, so sufficient support in the Christian population of the principality, had time to appear by this time; this caused a conflict with his father and brother, so that in the following year, 1391, Mansur tried to go back to Tokhtamysh and was killed, and Skider separated and went south.

So, the principality Mansur founded remained formally independent for 12 years, from 1380 to 1392, when in fact, it seems, from the beginning to some extent dependent on the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

But subsequently for more than a century, to the beginning of the XVI century, the Glinski patrimony in the Polish-Lithuanian state retained many features of an independent principality. Aleksa’s descendants quickly got almost complete hold of the Vorskla and Sula basins and a number of areas in different parts of Ukraine, became magnates, and occupied key positions in the government administration of these lands. This was facilitated by a marginal position of the region in the state and the general weakness of the central government’s successors Vytautas and Jagiello. The territory, despite its gradual division between Aleksa’s multiplying descendants, retained, apparently, a certain unity until the mentioned rebellion in 1508. While many Glinski’s did not participate in the uprising and remained in the service of Poland, yet part of the land was confiscated or fragmented between indirect heirs, so that a single large array, inherited from the first Glinski, ceased to exist.

This whole era, from 1392 to 1508, is described very briefly in the genealogy, in extremely dry language and almost the same in both versions, except for just the “List of the Synod.” Redaction: “And the children of Prince Ivan: Prince Boris, and Fedor and Semen, (and) among (Prince) Boris’ children: Prince Lev, and Vasily, and Ivan the great and among the children of Prince Lev: Prince Ivan the small (Mamai) and Prince Vasily the Blind, [and] Fedor, [and Prince] Mikhail [Lvovich] Dorodnoi [those] all four came from Lithuania to Moscow to serve Grand Prince Vasily Ivanovich of all Russ (Ross) summer 7016 (in the summer of the year 7016).” In the short edition of the same list – almost the same. In the “List of Synod” the same text is cut short after “and the children of Prince Lev …”

Here the son of Ivan, Boris Glinski – this is the first Prince Glinski, of which there is documentary evidence, independent of the genealogy: in 1437 he took the oath to King Wladyslaw III. Note, many historians in the XIX – XX centuries, writing about Glinski, felt it necessary to mention this evidence to confirm, that all earlier information is “legendary.” But for some reason without exception all differently distorted the dates and facts of the case, with invalid references or no references to the source. If we add to this the many distortions of names (“Mansurksan”, “Leksada”, even “Leskhard”), then it turns out, that the scientific literature about Glinski, up to the latest, is no less “legendary” than the genealogy.

Of interest in the same fragment one of the four Glinski emigrants, is named in one of the lists in the longer version as “Ivan the small” and in another extensive list and the two short lists – “Ivan Mamai.” The second spelling is correct – in one of the Russian Chronicles it, too, is “Ivan Mamai.” So, not only, that Ahmad Shah referred to these brothers and princes Kiyat as children of Mamai, and not only, that they allowed the Khan to refer to them in this way – one of the brothers, in addition, even openly called himself Mamai long before the compilation of genealogical books in Moscow.

Above, examining the letter of Ahmad Shah, we have noted a relationship between Glinski and the Khan. With this reasonable agreement and the fact, when the Crimeans were finally broken Ahmad Shah fled to the king, and he put him in prison, then Michael Glinski led a rebellion and tried to free the former khan – however, without success. When could such a relationship arise between Glinski and the Horde – if only with Achmat Shah? Not before it? Maybe, even soon after the fall of Tokhtamysh? Does not all this, mean that the Glinski’s more than a century after Aleksa’s baptism had continued to recognize themselves as Tatars, to a greater extent than would have been expected? And does the availability of appropriate attitudes among people in their ancestral lands not lie behind this, where, perhaps, by this time the Tatar element has not yet dissolved into the Slavic?

Next in both lists the longer version, but not the short, placed, in violation of the chronology, three detailed stories: the participation of Ivan Alexandrovich (the son of Aleksa) in 1399 at the Battle of the Vorskla River beside Vytautas, about getting his son Boris various land grants and the insurrection and emigration of Michael Glinski and his brothers. Without citing these stories, we note only the following.

The story of the Battle of the Vorskla River discussed above in style and language is similar to part of the the genealogy, which speaks of Mansur and Aleksa, and could be considered a continuation of this part. But an isolated position within the context and the content of the story itself raises some doubts. It said, that at the battle Ivan Glinski was in the entourage of Vytautas, then accompanied him while fleeing after defeat, and when the escapees got lost, Ivan was promised a reward by Vytautas for choosing the right path, for which he received a number of land grants. It is only logical, that Vytautas used Glinski as a guide, in the land where the battle took place. But what to call the behavior of the conductor, who managed to get lost on his own land, but for the promised reward to the finder of the fast way? Was Vytautas really so naive, to accept obvious blackmail for faithful service? Do not rule out, this whole story was fabricated to justify the Glinski rights to lands, acquired by some other means and, apparently, not quite legally. The second story – about Boris – is beyond doubt. The third story – about the events in 1508 – is characterized by a tendency to reduce the matter to Michael Glinski’s personal quarrel with the king, which, in many other sources, is far from the case.

This ends the lengthy edition, but continues in the summary. In “List A” and the “Exclusionary Book” are detailed, firstly, the immediate descendants of Glinski, who went to Moscow, including Helena Glinska – the wife of Vasily III and mother of Ivan IV; secondly, other Glinski’s, remaining in the Polish-Lithuanian state, but last – only up to the generation, to which the emigrants belonged, that is, before the beginning of the XVI century. From the “Synodal List” all was carefully removed, as regards the emigrants and Helena Glinska. The short edition ends by mentioning Bohdan Fedorovich Glinski, who lived at the end of the XV century, and was not involved in the rebellion, but was known in other ways. As governor of Cherkassky, he was one of the first organizers of the Ukrainian border troops, which soon after became known as Cossacks (not Zaporozhye). Under his command in 1493 these forces declared themselves very loudly by taking Ochakov which was just constructed by the Crimeans.

Comparison of the texts to the family tree allows some conclusions about its history. Judging by, which branches of the Glinski family are reflected in a given list and until the time they are traced, we can conclude, that redaction was written for fellow emigrants and, probably, was completed immediately after their arrival in Moscow in 1508. The short edition was composed in the same place during the regency of Helena Glinska, that is, in 1533 – 38 years (her marriage is mentioned in the past tense, after the death of Vasily III). “Synodal List” – the result of further reducing the shorter version. The blatant bias of this reduction indicates, that the list was made by someone from the Glinski’s, who went back to Poland, or was going to go back, for the names Michael Glinski, his brothers and Helena Glinska were only odious to Polish readers.

To explain the main difference between the two editions – the sequential removal from the shorter version of the information about Mamai. In the Polish-Lithuanian state, except for the Glinski estates, Mamai was little known and soon forgotten. But the antiquity and nobility of race, even if Tatar, is appreciated. Moscow also appreciated this kind of antiquity and nobility, but not all – Mamai was not forgotten in the XVI century, but was remembered unkindly. Therefore, while the first generation of Glinski emigrants still saw no reason to conceal their origin from Mamai (one of them was even called Mamai), the second generation, looking at the situation in Moscow, understood, that it was better to remain silent about Mamai. And it was to understand especially well that Helena Glinska, had obviously no need to advertise the origin of her son, the heir to the throne of Moscow, from such an unpopular ancestor. That’s when and why the shorter version of the Glinski genealogy could and had appeared. But all these political considerations began to lose sharpness after the coronation of Ivan VI and were no longer applicable by the end of the XVI century. And when, at last, the combined genealogical books were compiled, the Glinski genealogy was inscribed in both editions, and some of them were mixed up, because the compiler did not understand the political meaning of the occurrence of two editions.


III. Principality of the descendants of Mamai in economic, social, and ethnic relations in the XIV – XV centuries.

So, for all the fraud in separate details of the Glinski genealogy, there is little doubt, that Glinski’s – actually are the descendants of Mamai so their ancestral lands were not only granted to them, but developed out of their very own principality near Poltava. Moreover, it is conceivable that this principality did not appear out of nowhere, and on the northern edge of the territory of nomadic groups of Tatars, descendants of the Kipchaks, were subordinated by Mamai and his immediate ancestors. It is observed, that a certain degree of independence in the Glinski’s in the XV and early XVI century could have its roots in the history of the Principality of Mansur.

Such is the political history of the descendants of the principality of Mamai. And what might it be in economic, social, economic, cultural and ethnic relations?

In 1638 in the refinement of the Russian-Polish border, then held through the area, the Polish representatives presented a number of documents, from the late XV before the XVII century, of separate estates in the area under the ownership of Polish feudal lords. Estates not owned by Glinski, although they were there and their relatives under other names. In two papers, in the 1570’s and 1590’s, were mentioned as inhabitants of this localty the “Sevryuk Vorskolskie.” They lived on the land as successors of Glinski, but in court cases each group “Sevryukov” acted independently of the feudal lord, as independent collective entities – a sign of the presence of territorial-based organizations partially dependant on those feudal lords, in the lands where they lived. In 1570, the Polish government released the “Sevryukov” of taxes for some of their services.

Sevryuk (Sevruk) – a specific population, known by this name in the XV, XVI and XVII centuries in the meridional strip from the middle course of the Dnieper, through the basin of theVorskla and Sula rivers, to middle course of the Desna. There are many reasons to believe the Sevryukov were direct descendants of the northerners of the chronicles. In the XV – XVII centuries the Sevryuk were a militarized border population, which guarded the borders of adjacent parts of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Muscovy. Apparently, they were a lot like the early Zaporozhye, Don and other such Cossacks, and had some autonomy and communal military organization. In contrast to the southern groups of Cossacks, they had also appeared, respectively, to be earlier in the rear with respect to the departed south borders, earlier lost their military importance, developed a predominantly agricultural economy, and earlier became ordinary farmers. Some authors attempt to discern the deeper differences between the Sevryuk and Cossacks based only on the comparison of both in some historical moments, without taking into account the entire historical evolution of both, which does not occur synchronously, but in one and the same scheme.

As we can see, if the principality of Mansur in the 1380’s was still primarily or largely Tatar, at the end of the XV century it found there Sevryukov. Probably some of them were already living there at the time of the arrival of Mansur (though generally they are unlikely before the XIV century to have been in the area, which lies to the south of the ancient northern area). At least two of the three “cities” (of course, only small fortresses), Glinski and Glinitsa, appear from the beginning under their Slavic names, and the name Poltava – if not completely clear in origin, is, in any case, not Kypchak.

In the future the Slavic element in the population of the principality, undoubtedly, would increase due to the influx of the Slavic population in the west and north, due to the departure of Skider, and by the gradual slavinization of the remaining Tatars (the process, started, probably, even with their ancestors the Polovtsy). The fusion of Slavic and Türkic parts of the population, perhaps, facilitated by the fact, that the ethnogenesis of the northerners themselves at one time, apparently, played a big part of the Bulgarian-Savirs, from which occurred the very ethnonym ‘northerners’. Hardly much of this population was left by the XIV century, but something of the language and culture might still be preserved. More traces could have remained from contacts of the people of the Seversky and Polovtsy principalities in the XI – XIII centuries. By the way, why were other dokievskie East Slavic ethnic groups completely redefined long before the XIV century, and their names forgotten, and only the northerners survived as the Sevryukov? Did not the presence of non-Slavic elements just slow their final dissolution among the rest of the Slavs?

However, political and ethnic factors would not have been sufficient for the peaceful co-existence and gradual integration of the Turkic and Slavic parts of the population, if it were not for the unity of the economy and domestic order. Although there is no direct evidence of it, we have reason to believe, that the unity of the economy and life was indeed there. On the one hand, after the departure of Skider there remained, as mentioned, likely descendants of the local Polovtsy, steppe semi-nomads, who no doubt already had a long and well-developed agriculture, permanent winter villages, and so on, like, for example, the West Siberian Tatars or Bashkirs. On the other hand, the Sevryuk in the XIV century, especially the extreme boundary of their group, were hardly more sedentary, than we find later for the same stage of Zaporozhian and Don Cossacks, were before the XVIII century is typical of semi-nomads of the same type of forest-steppe.

Low population density, poor development of the territory, low level of agricultural machinery, constant distraction from farm work for military service – all this dictated to the Slavs, and the Turks were most cost-effective in these conditions with a predominantly pastoralist economic system and with a background in farming based on steppe fallow cropping systems. And this corresponded to the semi-nomadic economic and household way, with seasonal migrations from winter to summer pastures of villages and far fields. Perhaps, that in this case there might be some differences between the two ethnic groups in the ratio of agriculture and animal husbandry, in the range of seasonal migrations, etc., but these differences might be in the nature of the social division of labor within a single economic system. In any case, there was no reason for an economic and household incompatibility between the two ethnic components of the Principality of Mansur. We believe that it must have created a solid foundation for the political unity of the principality and for the integration of its ethnic population, although, of course, this issue requires further study.

We are not certain that integration of the slavinzed part of the Turkic-speaking population was continuing and unilateral. The process could get such a nature later on, in the last of its stages, when at the end of the XVI century and especially in the XVII century the whole area was being overwhelmed by Ukrainian Cossack colonization from the right bank, which created the current ethnic character. But earlier, when there was still a significant proportion of the Turkic element, there was no less likely tendency to form a singular hybrid Turko-Slavic ethnic group. Is not this trend reflected in the politics of the Glinsk’s, their balancing between Poland, the Horde and Moscow?

It is unlikely that the principality of the descendants of Mamai was a completely feudal system. Of course, in the more western estates with purely Ukrainian peasantry, who in various ways fell into the hands of the Glinski’s in the XV century, the usual feudal relations, were traditional in these places for a long time. But a nucleus in the original Turkic-Slavic principality is hardly possible due to the low population density, the presence of large reserves of undeveloped land, the tense military situation and the militarized nature of the entire population. It is easier to assume that the rulers there were more like Cossack chieftains than real feudal lords. Apparently, something similar to this was represented by the mentioned Bogdan Glinski to the more southern, Cherkassy group of the same border military population, and very likely, that in Poltava at first the Glinski situation could be approximately such. By the way, the same Bogdan possessed part of the prisulskoy territory at the end of the XV century. We think those are the remnants of such a relationship and can be seen mentioned in the documents “Vorskolskih Sevryukov” in the XVI century.


IV. Cossack Mamai and some closing thoughts.

Maybe all of the above is confirmed and concretized by some later facts. In the XVIII – XIX centuries in Ukrainian folk art was a common characteristic story: a Zaporizhia Cossack was portrayed sitting “Turkish” (cross-legged) and playing the bandura. Under the picture there was verse written, usually containing the characteristics of a Zaporozhye Cossack general, often ironic, but always quite friendly. Sometimes that was the only Cossack hero of the composition, in other cases other pieces and entire scenes were added, often associated with the “Haidamaks” revolts on the right bank in the middle of the XVIII century. But in all the scenes will certainly be present, sometimes inappropriately, a Cossack bandura player in his stereotyped position. Often there is written the name of a Cossack. The names were different, but among them is a “Cossack Mamai”, and people knew all the paintings of this type as portraits of the “Cossack Mamai”.

Ukrainian art historians have long been interested in why a clearly positive image of the Cossacks or “Haidamak” was associated with the name Golden Temnik. According to the theory Initially developed, which has supporters to this day, the story of this picture is not older than the XVII – XVIII centuries. The main arguments in favor of this theory – no image can reliably be dated to earlier than the beginning of the XVIII century, the existence of a “Haidamak” theme and, most importantly, the availability of information about a real “Haidamak” called Mamai. But then observations gradually began to accumulate showing that the situation is not so simple.

The real Mamai – “Haidamak” was, it appears, at least three, if not four. Named simply Mamai in all sources, they all about the same time led the small group of rebels. It is not known whether the word meant a first or last name, but we know that one of them was actually called Andrey Kharchenko. It becomes quite clear that “Mamai” – is a traditional nickname, which covers “Haidamaks” who participated in the Zaporozhian Cossacks movement. The latter aliases were generally very common, because in this way Cossack families who often remained on the estates of the Polish feudal lords were protected from reprisals.

The possibility of using the name Mamai is indirectly confirmed by the fact that, among the signatures on the portraits of Cossack bandura players also appears the name Bonyak, Bonjaku. Bonyak is the name of the Polovtsian Khan, who lived in the XI century, and then in the pages of the chronicles obtained the nickname Mangy. Later Mangy Bonyak became a character of West Ukrainian folklore, where he has appeared in contexts that did not have anything to do with the historical Bonyak and is a compilation of stray global fairy tales. What has not remained obscured by the same fabulous folkloric details of the message is that Mangy Bonyak was himself one of the Ukrainian rebels of the era of Bohdan Khmelnytsky. So, the Golden Horde temnik Mamai – is neither the only nor the oldest of non-Slavic historical figures whose names could be used as aliases by anti-Polish speaking parties in the Ukraine.

Furthermore, the analysis of portraits of the “Cossack Mamai” revealed them to be layers from different times. Later poetic texts were of the image derived from Ukrainian folk theater of the XVIII century. In images were also revealed details specific to the time well before the XVIII century, for example, the form of weapons and bandura. There are variants with a bow and arrows and even without firearms, which in the XVIII century, spread from the Cossacks. A Cossack in a sitting position in the whole composition of the picture shows a distinct similarity with popular medieval songs and ancient Eastern art, from the Middle East and Persian motifs, to the Central Asian Buddhist iconography, and it is the last similarity that is particularly striking.

There are reasons to think that in the XVIII century the needs of the Cossacks and “Haidamaks” were adapted to some very old stereotype previously existing in folk art, perhaps, for many centuries. It could be repeatedly turned in relation to changing political circumstances, the paintings could be produced in short-lived materials, when the situation changed they could be destroyed and replaced with new ones. The hero of the picture being called “Cossack” is unlikely before the early XVI century, but “Mamai” as well as “Bonyak”, could be in the past. Most likely, the Zaporozhian Cossacks and “Haidamaks” used the name “Mamai” as a nickname, precisely because it was already in use in folk art and was associated with a positive character.

Finally, it appears, that although the “Cossack Mamai” was known all throughout the Ukraine, this picture was most prevalent in the “Haidamaks” movement on the right bank and in Kiev, and in Chernigov, Poltava and Kharkov, that is, in the territory centered on the Poltava region. And then one can only wonder that none of the many critics who have written about the “Cossack Mamai”, did not remember Glinski, and just as many historians engaged in Glinski did not notice the “Cossack”.

Of course, the immediate prototype of “Cossack Mamai” was not the Golden Horde temnik Mamai. But, knowing about Glinsky, we can assume the following.

In the steppe and forest-steppe the semi-nomads of Eurasia had a tradition of education in so-called “genealogical birth.” The population, now long out of the tribal system and having a territorial unit community with more or less significant elements of feudalism and even capitalism, grouped into associations, which had the external form of patriarchal families, but consisted not only of relatives. This group took the name of an ancient clan or a new name. An elected military leader posed as patriarch, hereditary lord, or at the beginning of the XX century, even a rich capitalist type herdsman. Such a “family” could have an elaborate and even written but fictitious genealogy. Of course, this “family” was reshaped and renamed as easily as it was created. All this is long and well established among many peoples, such as the Cossacks.

With this free circulation with the trappings of the tribal system initially the descendants of Mamai could easily turn him into Mamai Kiyat (because the name Mamai was closer and more understandable for their subordinates than the name Kiyat), and then the whole Turkic part of their subjects could form a “clan” of Mamai. Were not the above mentioned Nogai later called “mamaevtsami”, because these Tatars were probable descendants of Skider? And could not this tradition spread to the descendants of the Slavic population of the principality in the mixing of Kipchaks with Sevryuk, which had, as stated, their own Turkic ancestors?

In this case, the portrait of a warrior-bandura could appear first as a collective image of the frontier principality where Mansur and his immediate descendants resided – a portrait of Mamai, but not Mamai and certainly not a “Cossack”. A composition for the portrait which could be used – a product of Oriental painting, which circulated among Mansur’s Tatars, perhaps even preserved from the time of old Mongolian Buddhist religious painting, the meaning of which has long since been forgotten. This Mamai – polutatarin, polusevryuk – was far from Ukrainians in their ethnic identity and cultural make-up, but he successfully defended the Slavic population from the raids of Crimeans and therefore became very popular. The subsequent transformation of Mamai into the work of Mamai might have been facilitated by the mentioned Bogdan Glinski, who for the local people had to remain as Mamai, like his contemporary and cousin, who emigrated to Moscow (see above). Painters named “Cossack” after their hero, when the role of the main defenders of the south-eastern borders of the Ukraine passed first to the right bank Sevryukov Cossacks (one of the first major figures to appear among them was again Bogdan Glinski), and then to the Zaporozhian Cossacks. And then the word “Mamai”, which originally meant belonging to a certain “genealogical family,” finally became a personal name shown in the picture of the Zaporozhyian Cossacks, who have not been associated in popular memory with either Bogdan Glinski, nor, especially, with the long-forgotten Golden Horde Temnik Mamai.

The principality of the descendants of Mamai was a small episode in the history of our country. He adds some interesting touches to the political history of the empire of Genghis Khan, the Golden Horde, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Muscovy in the XIV – XVI centuries. But, perhaps, more importantly, this episode sheds new light on that long-debated by Slavists – the medievalist problem of so-called “desolation” in South-Eastern Russia in the XIV – XV centuries.

There are two versions. In one, the area had faded from the control of the East Slavic orientation of Lithuania and the Duchy of Moscow into the era of the Golden Horde, had completely lost the Slavic population, and since the XVI century was re-settled by Russians and Ukrainians. According to the other version, it was not “desolated”, the Slavs hid in the woods from the Tatars, resisted, and so survived the entire era of the Golden Horde, constituting then the basis of the modern population of these places. There is not a particularly intense debate between the supporters of the two versions, and that is understandable, because both versions are based on the same assumption, which is taken as an axiom: it is believed that there was a certain primordial, eternal antagonism between the Slavs, who could only be sedentary, and the Turks – only nomads, between Europe and Asia, between the West and the East, etc. Hence it was concluded that the Slavs under the authority of the Golden Horde could only do one of two things: either run without exception, or be partisans in occupied territory.

But in the example of the descendants of the Principality of Mamai in Poltava, we see something new and unexpected for Slavic-medievalists: instead of antagonism – peaceful co-existence and gradual fusion of Turkic and Slavic populations into a single and rather peculiar political formation.

Was this episode some unique exception to the rule? Or, perhaps, is it a sign that the Slavists misrepresent temselves as a general rule?

But the descendants of the Principality of Mamai were not the only group of people on the supposedly “desolate” territory, others are known, though still more distant from the borders of Eastern Slavonic states. The mysterious land of the Chervlena Yar on Khopersky-Don interfluve and the Elets principality in the XIV – XV centuries, the “Yagoldaeva Darkness” at Oskol in the XV century, the first, are far from being purely Slavic embryos of the Zaporozhian and Don Cossacks in the XV – beginning of the XVI century – is still not a complete list of objects, which historians usually hurriedly say are Slavic or even keep silent, because these objects do not fit into the concept of “eternal antagonism.” Should not the study of these objects take into account the observations made in the study of the descendants of the Principality of Mamai?

It remains to note, that all possibilities of studying the descendants of the principality of Mamai are not yet exhausted. There exist in different stores Glinski genealogy lists that have not yet entered into scientific circulation. It is necessary to examine ethnographic materials of the XVIII – the beginning of the XX century in the area of the principality. Perhaps, archaeological research is feasible.


See also: GLINSKI FAMILY TREE – Slavic Encyclopedia: Kievan Rus, Muscovy. Vol. 1. Author: Boguslawski V.V. Publisher: Olma-Press, Moscow, 2003, page 287

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