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Archaeologists of Russian Academy of Sciences found complete list of murderers of Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky

Archaeologists and epigraphers from HSE and RAS made an amazing discovery – they were fortunate to discover on the walls of the cathedral in Pereslavl-Zalessky a complete list of conspirers, who killed prince Andrei Bogolyubsky in 1174.

Fragment of the graffiti with the list of the murderers of Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky

Fragment of the graffiti with the list of the murderers of Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky

Fragment of the graffiti with the list of the murderers of Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky

Fragment of the graffiti with the list of the murderers of Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky

While restoring Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral in Pereslavl-Zalessky, scientists found a graffiti, revealing the list of twenty conspirers, who killed Saint Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky in 1174, informs the press-service of the Institute of Archaeology RAS.

“The murder of the prince – is one of the most mysterious events of the second half of the twelfth century. We can suppose that this event was caused by the bitter conflicts among the political elite of the Vladimir-Suzdal land. But the details of these conflicts, which are often interpreted as a strife between the prince’s authority and the boyars’ (the nobility), are unknown to us.

The opportunity to obtain new data on the events of 1174, known to us from the chronicles’ record – is an absolutely unexpected luck,” – stated Nicolai Makarov, member of the Academy and Head of the RAS Institute of Archaeology.

The unique inscription, which happened to be the oldest dated written monument of the North-East Rus, has been discovered and is studied by Moscow epigraphers – Professor at the Higher School of Economics Alexei Gippius and research associate of the Institute of Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Savva Mikheyev.

According to the scientists, this inscription was nearly destroyed during the restoration works. It was rescued through the interference of the scientific workers of Pereslavl-Zalessky memorial museum, who insisted on the cathedral’s walls being washed by pressurized water instead of abrasive cleaning, which had been originally planned.

Andrei Bogolyubsky made two successful raids to Volga Bulgaria. After the last one, he was killed by some conspirers from among his attendants. The plot was formed, when by the prince’s order his wife’s brother was executed. The other brothers headed up by Petr Kuchkovich and some attendants of the prince, whose number was up to twenty people according to the chronicle, on the night of June 29, 1175, came to the doors of his chamber in Bogolyubov and struck the prince down.

The inscription concerning the murder is located right in the middle of the south apse of the cathedral. It is made in two columns, encircled within one frame with a cross above it. The left column contains a full name list of the murderers of Andrei Bogolyubsky, a curse on them and a few lines that have not been interpreted yet, and the right column – a short message about the murder.

In the right column it says, “In the month of June, 29, murdered was prince Andrei by his servants, to the former be eternal remembrance, but to these – eternal torture.” The following text is unreadable. According to Alexei Gippius, the phrase, “to the former (that is, for the prince) be eternal remembrance, but to these (the conspirers) – eternal torture” means that the inscription was made after their execution.

In the left column, there is a list of murderers with more than twenty names in it. The first three names are known from the chronicle: they are Peter Kuchkov, the prince’s son-in-law, and his brothers Ambal and Yakim Kuchkovichi. Then a significant part of the text is lost, and at the end, there are three names that have not been known before: Ivka, Petrko, and  Styryata. The last name could be a nickname, derived from the word “styr”, meaning a steering oar. The end of the column has not been read yet.

Another question is why this inscription is found in Pereslavl, whereas Andrei was murdered in Bogolyubov, and the principality’s capital was Vladimir.

“It seems that this is an official text, which was sent to all the cities of the diocese and inscribed as an admonition for the future generations on the walls of its main temples. Of course, its location on such a strategically important spot as the altar apse is not accidental. Theoretically, we could search for similar inscriptions in other temples of the principality,” Gippius concludes.

This article is taken from the following web-resource: News of the World of Archaeology, posted on 30.12.2015.


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