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)

Today in European history: the Battle of the Kalka River (1223)

The sudden arrival of the Mongols compelled the Kievan Rus’ confederation, in an increasingly rare moment of solidarity (funny how the perception of an existential threat can bring people together), to muster a large army with contributions from each of its component principalities, including the three most important: Kiev, Galicia–Volhynia (the western part of modern… Continue reading Today in European history: the Battle of the Kalka River (1223)

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…

Today in European history: the Battle of the Kalka River (1223)

The astute reader might remember this battle from such blog posts as “Today in European history: the Mongols sack Kiev (1240).” Or not, I wouldn’t blame you. The 1240 siege of Kiev occurred on the Mongols’ second incursion into the eastern European steppe, the one that was intended to conquer territory. The first incursion amounted… Continue reading Today in European history: the Battle of the Kalka River (1223)

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 (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 mean one or the other), but this is a little… Continue reading Today in European history: the Mongols sack Kiev (1240)