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The Mongols: An Excerpt from the Novgorod Chronicle

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From the ‘Novgorod Chronicle’, written in 1215, it was revealed how the Mongols or Tartars invaded Kievan Russia, which was “the first development of a Russian civilization centered in what is now western Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus” (Mitchell&Forbes 186). Novgorod became an independent trading city numbering to approximately 250,000 people in totality and was an important route between the cities of Scandinavia and Byzantium (Mitchell&Forbes 186). At the time of Prince Alexander Nevsky, the Mongols invaded Novgorod, since the former were tax gatherers that destroyed cities that objected to giving them taxes.

The Mongols ruled the expanding Russian government that was based in Moscow, and it is evident that the major reason why they attacked Novgorod—together with the other cities surrounding it—was to expand in power, wealth, and territory… capturing cities one by one until there is no one left for the next city to turn to. As Novgorod was terrorized by what the Mongols were said to have done, it divided the common people between those who were and were not willing to stay beside St. Sophia and the True Faith. The chronicler interpreted the Novgorod invasion as a terrible catastrophe, which God allowed to happen.

As stated, “[B]ecause for our sins God has brought wild beasts out of the desert to eat the flesh of the strong, and to drink the blood of the Boyars” (Mitchell&Forbes 188). It was stated that the main reason why the city was saved was because of the prayers of the holy ones (Mitchell&Forbes 187). This the chronicler has done because, apart from the fact that Novgorod’s foundation was built on the people’s faith or religion, revealing the story as one that was ordained by God would truly protect the people’s sanctity and dignity.

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