Today in European history: the Mongols sack Kyiv (1240)

Historians often cite the 1240 Mongol sack of Kyiv as the final end of the Kyivan Rus’ federation, but as with most things there’s more to the collapse of the Rus’ than one solitary event. For nearly two centuries prior to 1240, the balance of power in the Rus’ federation had been shifting gradually away from its central authority and toward its individual principalities, who fought each other for supremacy just as much as they fought any external enemies in self-defense. The federation’s ruling Rurik Dynasty began to fragment, as uncles contested with nephews for succession and local princes refused to be governed by the Grand Prince of Kyiv. The federation was the kind of political entity whose cohesion depended in large part on the strength of any given Grand Prince, and so when a series of weak (or weakened by infighting) monarchs came to the throne one after another, decentralization was the inevitable result.

Read the rest at my new home, Foreign Exchanges!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.