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History - Kievan Rus 980-1169

Kievan Rus 980-1169

The historical name of Kievan Rus - Ukraine one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe, Kiev, has stood on the banks of the Slavuta (the ancient Slav name of Dnieper) for many centuries.
According to the early "Chronicle of Bygone Years", written by the monk Nestor of the Pecherska Lavra Monastery, Kiev was founded by the brothers Kyi, Shchek and Khoryv and their sister Lybid on Starokyivska (Old Kiev) Hill - the present site of the Ukrainian State Historical Museum. Kyi sat on the hill that is now Borychiv Descent, Shchek - on the hill now called Shchekovitsa, and Khoryv on the third hill called Khorevytsa. And they founded that town and named it in honour of the eldest brother - Kyi, present Kiev.

The city received the name of the ruling prince of the Poliany tribal association. If the Chronicle is to be taken t face value, in 862 AD there were two princes of Kiev - Ascold and Dir, the last in Kyi's line. They were more likely to have ruled Kiev at various times. In 882 AD, however, the Varangian prince oleg from Novgorod attacked Kiev, killed both Asold and dir, and seized power in Kiev.

As early as the 10th century, there were quite a few towns and fortresses in the kievan State: Vyshhorod, Trepol, Chernihiv, Pereyaslav, Novgorod-Siversky, Putivil, Liubesh, Halych and Peresopnytsia to name the largest. the advantageous geographial location of Kievan Rus benefited its trade as well as political and cultural contacts with Byzantium, the Orient and the Occident. The landof the Kievan Princes expanded to the lower reaches of the Don, the North Caucasus, The Taman Peninsula and the Eastern Crimea. "In the year 945", the chonicle reads, "the Drevliany rose up gainst Prince Ihor, who had levied exorbitant tribute on them. Ihoor's widow, Princess Olha, quelled the uprising with wanton cruelty. Nevertherless, she was foorced to establish tax collection limits".

In 988, Prince Volodymyr, the great father of Yaroslav the Wise, introduced Christianity, a religion which sanctioned the political authority of the ruling classes. that important event had its effect on the entire further develoipment of Kievan rus. The new religion was established "by fire and the sword" to quote the chronicle. Prince Volodymyr the great made short work of those who would not renounce their ancestral beliefs and destroyed pagan temples. The prince addresses the Kievans with these words: "He who is not babtized in the Pochaina River, be he rich or poor, a beggar or wage earner, shall be deprived of his property and excuted for opposing me."

Alongside that, the adoption of Christianity as state religion strengthened the Kievan state internation situation and the cultural ties with neighbouring countries, Byzantium in particular, which was indisputably positive significance.

The Great Prince of Kiev, Volodymyr, formally adopted as the state religion from Byzantium, and the church of Rus-Ukraine was linked with the Patriarchate of constantinople as the separate Metropolitan See of Kiev, which enjoyed broad autonomy. Transcarpathia (Carpatho-Ukraine, its present name), an area along the upper slopes and the valleys of the Carpathian Mountains. In 1015, Carpatho-Ukraine was annexed by Hungary and remained under Hungarian domination for the next nine hundred years. Their relatively isolated location enabled the inhabitants of Carpatho-Ukraine to preserve their ancient RUS name and their religio-cultural tradition during the entire period.

As the Kievan empire began to fragment and decline in the 12th century, Galicia and Volhynia, two principalities in the southwest, united to form a separate state. From that moment on, the Kievan heritage began to develop in a specific Ukrainian context further differentiating the Galician - Volhynian Rusyns from other Slavic inhabitants of the ancient empire, the Bilorus and Muscovites. By the beginning of the 14 century, a uniquely Ukranian ethno-national tradition had emerged in the new state.

During the latter half of the 14th century, most f Ukraine came under Lituanian and later Polish rule. A Roman Catholic nation, Poland attempted to assimilate its Ukrainian population through religious conversion. The Ukrainian people resisted the polonization efforts of the Poles, but with no political state of their own and with the Greek Orthodox Church in decline and moscow claiming to be the third and final "Rome" of the Christian world, maintaining the religio-cultural sanctity of Ukrainian Orthodoxy became increasingly difficult.