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

The successful Mongol siege of Kiev in 1240 is generally identified as the final end of the Kievan Rus’ federation, but this is a little too convenient for historical terms. For nearly two centuries, the balance of power in the federation had been shifting gradually from the central authority to the individual principalities, who fought… Continue reading Today in European history: the Mongols sack Kiev (1240)

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

So describing the siege of Kiev as the “end” of Kievan Rus’ is kind of a cop out, akin to identifying Odoacer’s conquest of Rome in 476 as the “end” of the Western Roman Empire. It’s not not true, and it is a sort of dramatic punctuation mark on which to hang a basic understanding… Continue reading Today in European history: the Mongols sack Kiev (1240)

World update: December 2-3 2017

ASIA AFGHANISTAN A suicide bomber struck a soccer stadium in Jalalabad on Sunday, killing at least six people. There has been no claim of responsibility, but given that the attack took place in Nangarhar province ISIS is a strong possibility. On the plus side, Afghan authorities say their forces killed Mullah Shah Wali, the commander of… Continue reading World update: December 2-3 2017

World update: October 28-29 2017

ASIA AFGHANISTAN A Taliban attack on a checkpoint in Kunduz province killed at least 13 Afghan police officers on Sunday. Meanwhile, in the city of Peshawar, Pakistan, the deputy governor of Afghanistan’s Kunar province, Mohammad Nabi Ahmadi, was reportedly kidnapped by…somebody. The Afghan Taliban denied involvement in the kidnapping, saying that they don’t do that sort… Continue reading World update: October 28-29 2017

Europe/Americas update: October 25 2017

EUROPE RUSSIA Moscow is planning to test its new intercontinental ballistic missile, the RS-28 Sarmat, twice before the end of the year. The Sarmat was supposed to be tested in March but that’s been delayed. Actually, if you want to be all nitpicky about it, the Sarmat was really supposed to be tested in 2015, but… Continue reading Europe/Americas update: October 25 2017

Europe/Americas update: June 28-29 2017

TRAVEL BAN The Supreme Court’s decision to reinstitute Donald Trump’s travel ban isn’t going over well in the Middle East, and you can understand why. As it turns out, though the decision did leave exceptions for travelers with “bona fide” connections to the United States, the court, in its inimitable way, decided not to explain… Continue reading Europe/Americas update: June 28-29 2017

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

Originally posted on and that's the way it was:
The successful Mongol siege of Kiev in 1240 is generally identified as the final end of the Kievan Rus’ federation (I’m going to use “Kiev” here to describe both the city and the federation, but I think you’ll be able to figure out when I…