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Orest Adamovich Kiprenskii (1778-1836)  Dmitry Donskoy in the Kulikovo field  Oil on canvas, 1805  118167 cm  The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
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Title: Dmitry Donskoy
Description:
Orest Adamovich Kiprenskii (1778-1836)
Dmitry Donskoy in the Kulikovo field
Oil on canvas, 1805
118167 cm
The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

Saint Dmitry Ivanovich Donskoi (Russian: ́ ́), or Dimitri of the Don, sometimes referred to as Dmitry I (12 October 1350, Moscow 19 May 1389, Moscow), son of Ivan II Krasnyi, reigned as the Prince of Moscow from 1359 and Grand Prince of Vladimir from 1363 to his death. He was the first prince of Moscow to openly challenge Tatar authority in Russia. His nickname, Donskoi (i.e., "of the Don"), alludes to his great victory against the Tatars in the Battle of Kulikovo (1380) which took place on the Don River.
Dmitry ascended the throne of Principality of Moscow at the age of 9. During his minority, the government was actually run by Metropolitan Alexis of Russia. In 1360 the highest dignity among Russian princes, that of Grand Prince of Vladimir, was transferred by a Khan of the Golden Horde upon Dmitri Konstantinovich of Nizhny Novgorod. In 1363, when that prince had been deposed, Dmitri Ivanovich was finally crowned at Vladimir. Three years later, he made peace with Dmitri Konstantinovich and married his daughter Eudoxia. In 1376, their joined armies ravaged Volga Bulgaria.

The most important event during the early years of Dmitri's reign was construction of the first stone Moscow Kremlin, completed in 1367. The new fortress allowed the city to withstand two sieges by Algirdas of Lithuania, in 1368 and 1370. Attempt for the third siege in 1372 ended in Treaty of Lyubutsk. In 1375, Dmitri managed to settle his conflict with Mikhail II of Tver over Vladimir in his favour. Other princes of Northern Russia also acknowledged his authority and contributed their troops to his impending struggle against the Horde. By the end of his reign, Dmitri more than doubled territory of Moscow principality.
Marriage and children

Dmitri Donskoi in a World War I patriotic poster by Konstantin Korovin.

He was married to Eudoxia of Nizhny Novgorod. She was a daughter of Dmitry of Suzdal and Vasilisa of Rostov. They had at least twelve children:
Daniil Dmitrievich (c. 1370 - 15 September 1379).
Vasily I of Moscow (30 September 1371 - 27 February 1425).
Sofia Dmitrievna. Married Fyodor Olegovich, Prince of Ryazan (reigned 1402-1427).
Yury Dmitrievich, Duke of Zvenigorod and Galich (26 November 1374 - 5 June 1434). Claimed the throne of Moscow against his nephew Vasily II of Moscow.
Maria Dmitrievna (d. 15 May 1399). Married Lengvenis.
Anastasia Dmitrievna. Married Ivan Vsevolodich, Prince of Kholm.
Simeon Dmitrievich (d. 11 September 1379).
Ivan Dmitrievich (d. 1393).
Andrei Dmitrievich, Prince of Mozhaysk (14 August 1382 - 9 July 1432).
Piotr Dmitrievich, Prince of Dmitrov (29 July 1385 - 10 August 1428).
Anna Dmitrievna (born 8 January 1387). Married Yuri Patrikievich. Her husband was a son of Patrikej, Prince of Starodub and his wife Helena. His paternal grandfather was Narimantas. The marriage solidified his role as a Boyar attached to Moscow.
Konstantin Dmitrievich, Prince of Pskov (14 May/15 May 1389 - 1433).
Dmitri's thirty-year reign saw the beginning of the end for Mongol domination of parts of what is now Russia. The Golden Horde was severely weakened by civil war and dynastic rivalries. Dmitri took advantage of this lapse in Mongol authority to openly challenge the Tatars.

While he kept the Khan's patent to collect taxes for all of Russia, Dmitri is also famous for leading the first Russian military victory over the Mongols. Mamai, a Mongol general and claimant to the throne, tried to punish Dmitri for attempting to increase his power. In 1378 Mamai sent a Mongol army, but it was defeated by Dmitri's forces in the Battle of Vozha River Two years later Mamai personally led a large force against Moscow. Dmitri met and defeated it at the Battle of Kulikovo.

The defeated Mamai was presently dethroned by a rival Mongol general, Tokhtamysh. That khan reasserted Mongol rule over parts of what now is Russia and overran Moscow for Dmitri's resistance to Mamai. Dmitri, however, pledged his loyalty to Tokhtamysh and to the Golden Horde and was reinstated as Mongol principal tax collector and Grand Duke of Vladimir. Upon his death in 1389, Dmitri was the first Grand Duke to bequeath his titles to his son Vasili without consulting the Khan.
Battle of Kulikovo
The Battle of Kulikovo (Russian: , ) was fought by the Tartaro-Mongols (the Golden Horde) and the Russians. The battle took place on September 8, 1380 at the Kulikovo Field near the Don River (now Tula Oblast) and resulted in a Russian victory. The battle's site is commemorated by a memorial church, built to a design by Aleksey Shchusev.
Moscow, along with many other Russian lands, was conquered by the armies of Batu Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan in the 13th century, and was made a tribute payer to the Golden Horde. Russian leaders long sought for independence. Under Prince Dmitri Ivanovich, Grand Duchy of Moscow became the most powerful of Russian princedoms.

In 1370, Tatar warlord Mamai took the power in Golden Horde and accepted the title of Great Khan. As he wasn't a Genghisid, his position remained vulnerable as there were legal descendants of Genghis Khan who were in a position to lay claim to the throne. Mamai sought to affirm his sovereignty over the tributary lands of the Golden Horde. In 1378 he sent forces led by warlord Murza Begich to enforce the Moscow Prince's obedience. But the Horde army was defeated at the battle of the Vozha River and Begich was killed.

Two years later Mamai led his armies to Rus himself. Prior to invading, he conducted negotiations with Prince Jogaila of Lithuania and Russian prince Oleg of Ryazan, a fierce enemy to Dmitry. The armies of Lithuania and Ryazan were sent to join the Tatars. Mamai set his camp on the shore of Don, waiting for allies.

Dmitry mobilised his troops and allies in Kolomna to resist the invasion. In Troitse-Sergieva Lavra he met St. Sergius of Radonezh, who blessed the Russian armies to fight[citation needed]. Dmitri knew about the approaching armies of Lithuania and Ryazan, and decided not to wait but to attack Mamai immediately, before he could be reinforced. On September 7, 1380, the Russians crossed the Don.
Combined Russian armies under the command of the Grand Prince of Vladimir, Dmitri Ivanovich of Moscow (called "Dmitry of the Don" afterwards) faced a much larger Tatar force under the command of Mamai, a strongman of the Golden Horde. Mamai's allies, Grand Prince Oleg of Ryazan and Grand Prince Jogaila of Lithuania were late to the battle. The old Russian poem Zadonshchina lists 150,000 Russians and 300,000 Tartaro-Mongols, but the actual size of the Kulikovo Field would not allow such a quantity of troops. Most likely the figures were closer to 80,000 Russians, including seven thousand rebel Lithuanians, and 125,000 Tatars.
On the morning of September 8, a thick fog covered the Kulikovo Field. The fog cleared around 11 A.M, at which point both armies began simultaneously advancing on each other. The battle was allegedly opened by a single combat of two champions. The Russian champion was Alexander Peresvet, a monk from the Trinity Abbey sent to the battle by Saint Sergius. The Horde champion was Temir-murza (also Chelubey or Cheli-bey). The champions killed each other in the first run, though according to Russian legend, Peresvet did not fall from the saddle, while Temir-murza fell.

After approximately three hours of battle (from noon to 3 p.m.) the Russian forces were successful, although suffering great casualties, in holding off the Horde's attack. The cavalry of Vladimir, Prince of Serpukhov (Dmitri's cousin), led by Dmitri Bobrok, Prince of Volynia launched a flanking surprise counter strike and achieved victory over the Horde forces. Mamai escaped to Crimea, he was assassinated by his enemies, leaving the Horde under the command of Tokhtamysh.
This victory was the early signal of the end of the Mongol yoke, which officially ended with the great standing on the Ugra river a century later. Its spiritual importance for the unification of the Russian lands was even more important. As one historian put it[citation needed], the Russians went to the Kulikovo Field as citizens of various principalities and returned as a united Russian nation. This view was possibly not shared by prince Oleg of Ryazan, who allied with the losing side.

A minor planet 2869 Nepryadva discovered in 1980 by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh was named to honor the Russian victory over Tataro-Mongols in the battle at Kulikovo near Nepryadva River on September 8, 1380.


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Orest Adamovich Kiprenskii (1778-1836)  Portrait of Anna Alexeevna Olenina, 1828  Italian pencil, sanguine on paper  The Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, RussiaOrest Adamovich Kiprenskii (1778-1836)  Dmitry Donskoy in the Kulikovo field  Oil on canvas, 1805  118167 cm  The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, RussiaOrest Adamovich Kiprenskii (1778-1836)  Portrait of Count Dmitri Nikolaevich Sheremetev  Oil on canvas, 1824  The State Historical Museum in Moscow, Russia
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