Novgorod Chronicle and Mongol Invasion

The Novgorod Chronicle presents the Mongol invasion as a punishment sent by God. The Mongols invaded because the princes were selfish and fought against one another, disobeying both their father and God. The Chroniclers write that the Devil himself is responsible for inciting this discord among the princes.

The Chronicle lessens the importance of the Mongol’s role in the invasion because God is named as the one pulling all of the strings. God allowed the Mongols attack as punishment for the people’s sins. If God had not intervened, then the Mongols would never have invaded; therefore, God plays the central role in this story, not the Mongols.

Did the Mongols practice Paganism? Was there religious tolerance under Mongol rule? If God is the one responsible for this devastation, then shouldn’t the people of Rus direct their anger towards God and not towards the Mongols? If the princes had behaved more righteously, does that mean the Mongol invasion would never have happened?¬†What is the point of being a Christian if God offers no protections from such horrors?

7 thoughts on “Novgorod Chronicle and Mongol Invasion

  1. I feel God had nothing to do with this invasion, the princes were selfish and did many wrong things. They were just looking to blame something for the invasion that the mongols caused. I think the mongols were going to attack them no matter how the princes acted. The mongols were conquerors and relentless. The Novgorod chronicle is a way that people used to teach morality or the right way to behave. Because the princes were selfish, fought against each other, and disobeyed their father and God, the Novgorod chronicle explains that this is why God sent the invasion, to teach them a “lesson”. The mongol invasion just happened at the right time that people believed it was actually a punishment sent by God, and not just a random invasion.

  2. I disagree because I don’t think that God could have changed the Mongols mind about the invasion. The mongols still would’ve invaded even if God had interfered. Also saying that how could God let such horror happen was unfair because there’s no guarantee that the princes would have been any less selfish about their decision.

  3. There was all kinds of religious tolerance in Mongolian rule. They acknowledged the fact that their religion came based off their origin and did not accept other peoples they conquered to accept it. While not forcing their religion on others they allowed whoever to practice whatever religion they wanted.

  4. The thing with the Mongols is that they were not forced to be Christian. Some of the Mongols who attacked the princes did not believe in just one God. So even some of the ones that were killed at this invasion wouldn’t even question if God was the one that made them invade the princes. The Mongols would have attacked even if God told them that he was punishing them. There were still the people who did not believe in God that would have convinced the other Mongols to go ahead and attack. So, in a way, God had nothing to do with the Mongols’ invasion of princes.

  5. the mongols invaded all no matter what,they did not care they only wanted to rule ,and expand. God had no role to play when the mongols decided to attack the princes,they only attacked to expand their land, the mongols did not force a religion on the people they conquered they were open about different religions. if the princes had behaved more righteously the mongols more than likely still would have attacked them, the mongols did not care about conduct i mean look at how they acted.

  6. You all make very good points about the religious differences between the Mongols and their conquered realms- and the fact that they practiced religious tolerance despite those disparities is the reason why this document is possible. As the Mongols allowed the church to safely flourish under their reign, the church’s power grew quite strong. This document saying that the reason for the invasion is a punishment by God to the people of Rus’ shows that the church has been able to shift their grasp on the people from a kind and nurturing mentality to a harsh and critical one. Instead of teaching religious principles, they are implementing religious principles as fact and saying that un-Christian activities are worth the wrath of God.

  7. I am not asserting that God caused the Mongol invasion, only that the Novgorod Chronicle states that God’s wrath incited the Mongol invasion. It is not my place to say if the invasion would have happened with or without God’s interference. However, it is evident in the Novgorod Chronicle that many people believed the Mongol Invasion was a manifestation of God’s anger. I likewise do not believe the Mongols attacked Rus because they thought God to be on their side, and I did not mean for my post to support such a claim. The Mongols were not Christian at the time of this invasion; They did not believe in a single God. Therefore, Christianity or the belief that God wanted them to attack Rus had no influence on Mongol behavior. The Mongols invaded because they wanted to expand their vastly growing empire. That said, stating that the Mongols would have attacked regardless of the prince’s actions isn’t entirely accurate. The princes’ inability to unite their individual landholdings contributed greatly to the weakness of the Rus’ state. If the princes had been able to unite Rus’ against a foreign enemy, the Mongol invasion might not have been as successful as it was. I also believe it to be ignorant of us to claim that the Mongols did not care about conduct. The Mongols’ military doctrine included giving advanced notice to people before attacking, allowing them the option to avoid the destruction by paying taxes. Also, the Mongols showed a unique respect and understanding of the social hierarchy of the peoples they invaded, and utilized that hierarchy to their advantage. For example, through the process of dual power, the Mongols gave the Rus’ princes some semblance of local authority while still holding absolute power themselves.

Comments are closed.