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Thursday, 11 January 2018 15:53

A HISTORY OF UKRAINE. EPISODE 22. VOLODYMYR MONOMAKH

Oleksandr Palii, A History of Ukraine, 11.01.2018  

 

EPISODE 21 HERE 

 

Volodymyr Monomakh (so named because of his mother, a Byzantine princess from the Monomakh family) ruled in Kyiv in 1113–1125. His rule was victorious and fair. He wrote in his Instruction for My Children (on main picture): “I conducted a total of 83 large campaigns and I don’t remember how many smaller ones.” 

Nevertheless, the prince managed to remain a humanist. It was his idea to abolish capital (and even other lethal) punishment: “Do not kill either someone who is right or someone who is guilty and do not order to have him killed; if [someone] deserves death, do not kill any Christian soul.” 

Volodymyr Monomakh issued a special law prohibiting the beating of debtors and it was out of the question for landlords to beat free people (smerds, i.e. peasants, and town residents, i.e. over four-fifth of the population in the Kyivan state). At the time, some European countries debated whether commoners were the same people as upper classes. In particular, most of the population in Muscovy (Russia), until 1861, were slaves and were sold at markets like cattle. 

 

the monomakh coin

The hryvnia medallion of Volodymyr Monomakh combines Christian and pre-Christian Scythian motifs 

 

Volodymyr Monomakh was married to Gytha, the daughter of the English king Harold II. He gave one of his granddaughter Dobrodeia in marriage to the Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos, thus increasing the prestige of the Kyivan state. Moreover, Volodymyr Monomakh built a bridge across the Dnipro for the first time in history. Like other princes named Volodymyr, Monomakh’s name follows the Ukrainian phonetic norms in all ancient chronicles — Volodymyr. 

Half a millennium later, the Muscovites wished to bask in the glory of the Ukrainian prince. In Muscovy, a Mongol-style cap of Central Asian origin, which Uzbeg Khan of the Golden Horde gave to the Muscovite prince as a sign of the khan’s power over him, was presented as Monomakh’s Cap. The fake cap was supposed to grant the Muscovite prince some special rights. 

the monomakh cap

The fake “Monomakh’s Cap” from the Kremlin; in fact, a Mongol-style cap given by Uzbeg Khan of the Golden Horde to the Muscovite prince as a sign of the khan’s power over him, in early 14th century.

 

TO EPISODE 23 

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