The attitudes of Halych and Volhynia societies towards Daniel Romanovich. Between political practice, ideological program and look of the court chroniclers (a contribution to research on historical policy in mediaeval Rus).

D. Dąbrowski


The attitudes of Halych and Volhynia societies towards Daniel Romanovich aroused a keen interest of researchers for a long time. This is absolutely natural, because it is one of the key issues in the field of political-social history of Halych-Volhynia Rus in the thirteenth century.

    It seems that despite the existence of extensive literature, something new can be however still said on the subject. Not so much concerning the essentially very well known and frequently discussed factual material, but by approaching the problem from a different, until now not very much considered or contemplated perspective. I think primarily of the way in which that particular relationship referred to in the title of this enunciation was expressed, or in other words, how was built the memory of given facts, when this process is viewed from a broader perspective, obviously encompassing not only the relationship between the ruler and the subjects.   

    Of course, for this purpose it will be advisable to cite specific examples contained in the Halych-Volhynian Chronicle - the source somewhat of the nature of "court records" of Romanovich Dynasty - illustrating the attitude of society to the ruler, since this is the area of our interest. I will focus on the discussion of two such examples, related to the beginning of the reign of Daniel, having, moreover, what I should add, a purely formal - in fact - character because of the Duke’s age at the time. It is namely about an episode of the recognition, in 1205, by the Halych and Volhynia inhabitants of the power of the elder son of Roman Mstislavich killed in Zawichost, and of defending his position against the wiles of Prince Rurik Rostislavovich and his allies. The second of the selected passages is the chronicles story about the circumstances of the expulsion of the Roman’s widow and her children from Volodymyr-Volynskyi at the beginning of 1207.  

    Both of these examples show very well, firstly, how strong and how exactly the preferences and the origin of the source’s author influenced the shaping of an image of individual events. This image was built by the use of rhetorical means, concealment, exaggeration and use of or refraining from the use of epithets. Secondly, we have here an instructional testimony on how many factors should be taken into account in the analysis of the given record. For a literal reading of the two passages would give a definitely distorted and simplified, indeed, outright dichotomous (Halych bad - western Volhynians good) image of a very complex, in fact, and rapidly changing reality, subject to a number of different internal and external, political, social and legal-cultural factors affecting the attitudes of Halych and western Volhynian societies to juvenile Daniel in the years 1205 to 1207. All this composes into a vivid image of how the historical policy was conducted in the circles close to Daniel Romanovich, and how its principles could affect the evaluation by researchers of events which took place with the participation of the prince and which were described in his courtly chronicles.


Halych-Volhynian Chronicle; Daniel Romanovich; historical policy; society; edition; source


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