2015 | 64 | 1 | 7-34
Article title

Książę w drodze. Warunki podróżowania Rurykowiczów w XIII w. na przykładzie Daniela Romanowicza, cz. 1

Title variants
The Prince Takes the Road. The Conditions of Travel of Rurikovichi in the 13th Century on the Example of Danil Romanovich, pt. 1
Languages of publication
The primary objective of this paper is to present the classification of the reasons why the Russian ruler would travel. As the title of the paper suggests, this analysis was done on the basis of material concerning a particular Rurikovichi dynasty ruler, namely Daniel Romanowicz (c. 1201-1264), who was the prince of Halych-Volyn and for a time Kiev.The reason for choosing this particular ruler is clear. In comparision with other Rurikovichis living in the thirteenth century, his travels are relatively well recorded, mainly due to the fact Daniel is the protagonist of one of the essential part of Halych-Volynian Chronicl. Moreover, this source – compared to the “classical” chronicles – even in passing, gives much more “living” information on, among things, protagonists’ travels. Besides, we have, though not many as a matter of fact, foreign remittances certifying to Prince’s sojourns at different places in a more or less exactly specified time. The presented study can be treated only as a prelude to further research on the mobility of medieval Rurikovichi. Comparative research is strongly recommended, it should include collection of any information about travelling of other members of the dynasty, collating their „itineraries”, and all this should definitely go beyond the thirteenth century. The condition of the sources is such that the results of research on the travels of the Rus’ rulers would almost certainly not come near the amount on information we can acquire on Western or even Central European leaders of that time. The cause for this pessimistic view lies in the differences as to the nature of the source material. In the case of Rus’ we have almost exclusively narrative sources, mainly annals. Indeed, they contain a lot of very interesting information on at least the means and manner of travel, but do not allow, for example, to reconstruct the complete itineraries of rulers. Meanwhile, concerning the Western and Central European monarchs from Daniel’s times we have not only narrative testimonies but also, and maybe above all, the normative sources. Very often they are accompanied by the date and place of issue (without getting into the nuances associated with the dates they refer to and the degree of their probability). This provides for completely different research capabilities. After this methodological reflection, let’s get to the essential part of our study. The analysis of the source material allows for specifying the following causes why medieval Rus’ ruler would take to the road: war; diplomacy; religion; related to the exercise of power tours of the country; family; forms of entertainment. Of course, according to the title, we are talking here about a specific, exemplary Rurikovich, but in fact, the foregoing classification also undoubtedly refers to other representatives of the dynasties living in the thirteenth century and in earlier or later periods. The study showed that the travel typology was undoubtedly closely related to the ruler’s functioning mode. But it appears that in the case of Daniel there are clear disproportions between information on particular categories of journeys he embarked upon. This is not, as you might guess, the result of really existing proportions, but it results from the specificity of the source material at our disposal. Complete lack of documents (with the exception of one foreign source) had a negative impact especially on the ability of exploring older Romanovich travels related to the exercise of his powers. The necessity to rely on Halych–Volynian Chronicle, a specific narrative source which to a large extend was aimed at creating the image of the ruler, naturally emphasizes mainly the travels related to Daniel’s activity in the military field, paying also much attention to his diplomatic endeavours. It is no wonder since these were the events that particularly interested the chronicler, allowing him to build apicture of the heroic prince. And for this reason the presented image to the mobility of Daniel is certainly distorted. Trips related to military actions and diplomatic activities are over-represented while definitely skipped, and therefore impossible to evaluate are the travels related to governance, spiritual life and entertainment (especially involving hunting). We are however not able to estimate the magnitude of this distortion,. It is highly probable, but still only aguess, based on analogies with neighbouring countries and snatches of available information. We can be however sure of some of the finding. It is clear, for example, that Daniel moved a lot. We have information on about 60 military expeditions in which he took part and 27 travels on diplomatic missions. Travel occupied major part of his adult life, though – as is apparent from sources – it started on a large scale much earlier, in childhood. Unfortunately, there is no possibility of precise statistical treatment of the issue, but the available statistics are quite impressive. It must have caused serious social consequences, such as impact on family life, because the family moves together with the Prince rarely, and in a variety of configurations, though naturally such incidents were recorded. I think that the continuous life on the road lead by the prince particularly strongly impacted on his relationship with his first and his second wife, but also on the relationships with his juvenile children (grown sons often accompanied him on various travels, particularly those pertaining to warfare). We should note that for long periods father and husband was not at home. Sometimes the absence lasted almost the whole year! In any case, the example of Daniel fully confirms the phenomenon described by A. Gąsiorowski as „rex ambulans” The movement was one of the basic mechanisms of functioning, and one of the most important forms of social activity of the ruler. At the same time we see that in this respect the Russian dynasts did not differ from their Western counter parts, except for the amount and quality of sources illuminating the issue. So much concerning the deliberations contained in this part of the paper. The planned second part will deal with such questions as destinations, that is Daniel’s geographical horizon, means of transport, pace of movement and travel time, the specificity and the effects of travel.
Physical description
  • Uniwersytet Kazimierza Wielkiego, Instytut Historii i Stosunków Międzynarodowych,ul. Księcia Józefa Poniatowskiego 12, 85-671 Bydgoszcz, Poland
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
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