946 year. The two armies lined up in order of battle, ready to come together in a fierce battle. On the one hand — drevlyan army, on the other — the squad of Princess Olga, who came to avenge the murder of her husband. And before Olga's Ratiu struck four year old boy with a spear in his hand, and swung his might threw his gun in the direction of Drevlyane. "The prince has already begun. Follow, the squad, the prince "- shouted the soldiers and rushed into the fight. The boy's name was Svyatoslav, he was the son of the murdered Drevlyane Prince Igor and the new ruler of Kievan Rus. Drevlyane troops rout was his first victory.
Great old Russian
Svyatoslav was born in 942, but in the 945-meters, after the death of his father, was forced to inherit the throne of Kievan Rus.
Since the young prince was too young to rule the state, the role assumed by his mother, Olga. But she had to rule Rus and her son after growing up as Sviatoslav chose to affairs of state military glory. He always went to the military campaigns, and returned home again soon eager to fight: a messenger sent in yet conquered land with the words "I'm coming to you," and after leading his squad.
Chroniclers describe the prince quickly like Pardus (leopard), and very low-maintenance. Despite the fact that Sviatoslav was born and raised in the princely houses, in the campaigns he preferred to sleep without a tent on the ground, his head tucked under the saddle. He had not carried with him carts with food, did not use pots to cook food, and be content with just roasted meat on the coals. He dressed simply, just as his soldiers.
Almost every year of Svyatoslav brings new victories. In 965, Prince went to war against the Khazars, defeated them and seized the capital of the Khazar Khanate White Vezu.
In the same year defeated jars and Kasogs. In 966, the squad won the Prince vyatichey. 967 year — the defeat of the Bulgarians and the capture of their capital Pereyaslavets. Not for nothing the famous Russian historian Nikolai Mikhailovich Karamzin called Prince Svyatoslav Igorevich Alexander the Great, our ancient history.
The horse did not see?
In the year 968 in the Russian lands invaded Pechenegs. Their huge army besieged Kiev, which was Princess Olga with her grandchildren Yaropolk, Oleg and Vladimir. Besiegers were so many that the city was surrounded by a solid wall, neither enter nor leave. People were weakened by hunger and thirst, and all went to the fact that the capital of Russia is about to fall. At
This came up to help Kiev under the governor Pretich stood in boats from the other bank of the Dnieper, and did not dare to attack. Kiev puzzled: how to send a message arrived that if they do not attack immediately, the city will have to take? And then found Kyivites young man who dared to break through the cordon. He got out of town and went straight to the enemy camp. Knowing in pechenzhski few words, the young man said, holding the reins, "Have not seen anyone my horse?"
Pechenegs, thinking that it was his, said they have not. So, looking for a non-existent horse and going from one park to another Pechenegs, savvy messenger easily reached the Dnieper and across the river. Pechenegs realized their mistake and started to shoot him after the bows, but it was too late — the young man managed to get to her.
— Well, tomorrow will have to attack — said the governor Pretich heard about the situation in Kiev. And thinking about how to overcome the clearly superior numbers of the enemy. When morning came and the Russian boats headed into battle, Pretich commanded his men to blow the horn loudly. Hearing this, the people of Kiev gleefully shouted back.
Pechenegs decided that Svyatoslav returned with his invincible army and scattered. But soon the Pecheneg prince realized that the rooks came to Kiev too little. He returned to Kiev and, riding up to Pretich, asked:
— You're a prince?
To which he replied:
— No, I'm just one of his men, and came with an advance party. A prince is followed with an army, and his countless.
Then Pecheneg leader decided it was best to conclude with Rusichi world than to experience the wrath of Svyatoslav. He offered Pretich: "Be a friend to me." He agreed and, having accepted a gift from the Pechenegs horse, sword and arrows, gave in return armor, shield and sword. Nomads retreated from Kiev. Narrowly escaped death Kiev sent messengers to Svyatoslav Pereyaslavets in saying:
— You, Prince, looking for the land of others and take care of her, and left her. We nearly took the Pechenegs, and your mother, and your children. If you do not come and do not protect, then, did we take.
Svyatoslav had to interrupt his victorious campaign and return home.
Want to or not — have to fight
By next year, the prince said:
— You do not like me sitting in Kiev, I want to live in Pereyaslavets on the Danube, for there the middle of my land.
But his departure prevented the serious illness of the mother. When Princess Olga died, Svyatoslav planted Yaropolk reign in Kiev, Oleg instructed drevlyan, Vladimir — Novgorod, and he still went to Pereyaslavets.
But in the Bulgarian lands it expected neradushny reception. On the contrary, the Bulgarians met his squad mighty army. Svyatoslav not accustomed to retreat, and despite the numerical superiority of the enemy, he decided to give battle. Bulgarians began to press Russian troops. Defeat seemed inevitable. Then the prince said to his squad:
— Looks like we are here and die. So we'll stand as bravely brothers!
Encouraged by these words, the men gathered in spirit and desperately rushed to the enemy. Bulgarians did not expect such a rush and were broken.
By the evening of the same day, Russian troops stormed Pereyaslavets.
Prince does not become complacent, and immediately sent a messenger to the Byzantine Empire, saying:
— I want to go to you and take your capital.
The Greeks began to bargain with the Prince, offering a tribute to the latter refused to march to Byzantium. In fact, it was a feint: Greeks buying time to bring to the border as possible forces. When the ancient Russians went to Byzantium, and saw what a great force out against them, said Svyatoslav squad:
— We have no place to go. Whether we like or not — must fight. So do not disgrace the Russian land, but the bones lie down here, for the unknown dead shame.
If the run — it will be a shame.
The battle took place near the walls of a Byzantine fortress and ended in victory Arkadiopol Rusich. Svyatoslav army moved on, ruining the Byzantine city. When the prince and his entourage appeared under the walls of Constantinople, the Greeks were forced to agree to any tribute to preserve the capital. Svyatoslav, realizing that he had left too few soldiers to continue the war with the Greeks took a large ransom, including to the fallen soldiers, and returned to Bulgaria.
The following year, stung by the defeat of the Byzantine Emperor John Tzimisces, gathering an army personally led her to Bulgaria. And that Russian could not go to Kiev and ordered to block the waterway fleet of 300 ships, armed with Greek fire.
For Svyatoslav, which has not yet come reinforcements from Kiev, the appearance of the Byzantines was a complete surprise. April 14 971, the Greeks captured the Bulgarian capital, but the main force in the city were rusichej Dorostol. 23 up relational Tzimisces besieged army and his.
The siege lasted three months.
Rusichi repeatedly went beyond the walls, but each time retreating — the balance of power was unequal. By the end of the third month of Svyatoslav realized that the Byzantines at any moment to go on the attack and easily kill weakened by prolonged blockade defenders Dorostol. To avoid this, July 19, the prince made a daring maneuver. His squad managed to pounce Greek positions and burn the siege building, killing the head of siege engines. So the Byzantines lost the opportunity to storm the city. But the next sortie failed: this time, the Greeks were ready and repelled the attack. Examining the bodies of the dead, the Byzantines were surprised to find among the fallen rusichej — women.
July 21 at the council offered Svyatoslav squad to leave the city and try to fight to break through to Kiev, to which the prince replied:
— Perish glory — the companion of Russian arms, if we succumb to shame Romans. We do not have the custom to flee. Or stay and live the winners, or to perform the feat, to die with glory.
The next morning, all the host of Svyatoslav went to meet the Byzantines to give a last desperate battle. And not to be tempted to fall back, the prince ordered the city gates locked. Of course, the battle was lost. Many have not returned to the walls Dorostol.
Revenge of the Emperor
Svyatoslav realized that the squad is too exhausted, and further attacks will only lead to the complete defeat of his army. And then the prince personally went to the talks to John Tzimisces to conclude a peace. As he wrote later X century Byzantine historian Leo the Deacon, Sviatoslav came to the boat, while he sat at the oars and rowed with the approximate, does not differ from them.
The prince told the emperor that the Russian are ready to leave Bulgaria, provided that they ensure the smooth passage to Russia, as well as remnants of squads will provide a two-month supply of food. The situation was a stalemate. Russian could not attack, but had enough power to restrain long siege. The Greeks could not take the city without siege engines. And while the Emperor was with the troops in the field, in Byzantium brewing political upheaval. So John Tzimisces gladly accepted the offer of the prince.
After leaving Bulgaria, Svetoslav army easily reached the mouth of the Dnieper, was there for the winter and spring of 972 moved to Kiev. But Rusich was not to return home. When the boat crossed the Dnieper rapids, they were suddenly ambushed by a horde of Pechenegs attacked. Many researchers believe that the Pechenegs bribed the Byzantine emperor, thus decided to get rid of them and undefeated Duke. So, in a battle fell legendary Sviatoslav.