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Battle of the Stugna River
The Battle of the Stugna River (26 May 1093) was a battle between the princes of Kievan Rus (Sviatopolk II of Kiev, Vladimir Monomakh of Chernigiv) and the nomadic Polovtsy tribe (a Turkic peoples). The Kievan forces were defeated.
The Polovtsy raided Rus' soon after Vsyevolod's death and sought to buy peace with the new great prince, Svyatopolk. However Svyatopolk incarcerated the Polovtsi ambassadors and the Polovtsy came in force to attack Kiev. Facing an enemy army of eight-thousand, Svyatopolk took the advice of counsel and called for help from Vladimir Monomakh, prince of Chernigiv. Monomakh came with his troops and also called upon his only brother, Rostislav from Pereyaslavl.
Monomakh insisted on peace with the Polovtsy while Svyatopolk wanted war. Union against Polovtsy was achieved and Svyatopolk released the ambassadors of Polovtsy. The armies of the three princes joined together and set out for the city of Trepol' . Approaching the Stugna River the princes were undecided, so they stopped to have a council. The Polovtsy were across the river. Monomakh (whose wife was a Polovtsy princess), continued to demand that they sue for peace, but the Kievan troops wanted battle. They crossed the river and met the Polovtsy in a valley at the rampart of Trepol'. Svyatapolk deployed on the right, Rostislav in the center and Vladimir on the left.
First Polovtsy attacked Svyatapolk's troops and after a bloody battle Svyatapolk's troops ran. Then Vladimir Monomakh was crushed and all the Kievan troops retreated. Svyatapolk took cover in Trepol', but Rostislav and Monomakh attempted to swim the Stugna River. Rostislav, in a heavy chain armour, drowned. Monomakh retreated to Chernigiv and Svyatapolk retreated at night to Kiev.
The Kievan-Pechersky Paterick ascribed Rostislav's death to his own haughtiness. It is said that he refused to enter the church and pray for the battle's outcome. The young prince's death is also recalled in the Tale of Igor's Campaign:
- Not like that is the river Stugna - endowed with a meager stream, having fed therefore on other rills and runners, she rent between bushes a youth, prince Rostislav, imprisoning him. On the Dnieper's dark bank Rostislav's mother weeps the youth. Pined away have the flowers with condolement, and the tree has been bent to the ground with sorrow.
- Svyatopolk biography. Includes description of events.
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