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Bolokhoveni,[1] also Bolokhovens[2] or Bolokhov,[3] (Romanian: Bolohoveni)[4] was an ethnic group living along the frontiers of the Principality of Halych (now in Ukraine) in the 13th century. The Hypatian Chronicle writes of their princes or knyazi in connection with events occurring between 1231 and 1257. The chronicle relates their fights against Daniil Romanovich who finally defeated them. Their ethnonym may imply their identification as Romanians who were mentioned as Vlachs in the Middle Ages.


The ethnonym "Bolokhoveni" may have derived from voloch, the East Slavic term for Romanians.[5] If this identification is valid, the Bolokhoveni were Romanians living in the western regions of Kievan Rus'.[6] Indeed, place names, hydronyms and personal names of Romanian origin abound in written sources relating to the same territories in the 13th-15th centuries.[7] However, this identification is not without contradictions, because the Bolokhoveni's material culture was not dissimilar from the contemporary culture of the western parts of Kievan Rus'.[8] Furthermore, the Bolokhoveni princes' family ties with boyars of the Principality of Halych are well-documented.[9]

The ethnonym seems to be connected to the name of Bolokhovo, an early medieval settlement mentioned under the year 1150 by the Hypatian Chronicle.[10] This town may well have been identical with Borokhov, the name of which was recorded for 1172 by the same chronicle.[7] Furthermore, Bolechow (Bolekhiv, Ukraine), a settlement to which a Polish charter from 1472 refers as the "town called "the Vlachs'" can also be identified with Bolokhovo.[11]

The "land of Bolokhoveni"[edit]

The "land of Bolokhoveni", according to Alexandru V. Boldur.[12]
In sharp contrast to Boldur's view, Martin Dimnik identifies the Bolokhoveni's land as a small region to the north of the uppermost course of the river Bug.[13]

The Hypatian Chronicle makes it clear that the princes of the Bolokhoveni were independent of Daniil Romanovich.[14] Even so, their country, the "land of Bolokhoveni" is only once mentioned by the chronicler.[15] His report suggests that this land bordered on the principalities of Halych, Volhynia and Kiev.[16] Bozh'skyy and the Bolokhoveni's other towns mentioned by the chronicler were situated in the region of the rivers Buzhok and Sluch.[17] Archaeological research also identified the location of 13th-century fortified settlements in this region.[7] Historian Alexandru V. Boldur identified Voscodavie, Voscodavti, Voloscovti, Volcovti, Volosovca and their other towns and villages between the middle course of the rivers Dniester and Dnieper.[18] He places the town Ushitsa[19] (Romanian: Ușița) in the vicinity of the Bolokhoveni's land.[20]


The Hypatian Chronicle refers for the first time to the "princes of the Bolokhoveni" in connection with a war between Daniil Romanovich and Andrew II of Hungary[citation needed] in 1231.[5] In this year, the knyazi fought in alliance with the Hungarians.[5] Next they supported a rebellion against Daniil Romanovich and besieged Kamenets, an important stronghold in 1233 or 1235.[5][21] However, they were captured and brought to the court of Daniil Romanovich in Vladimir.[22] When Michael, prince of Chernigov, and Iziaslav, prince of Novgorod-Seversk requested their release, they referred to the princes of the Bolokhoveni as their "brothers".[23]

Following the destruction of Kiev by the Mongols in 1240, the invaders who continued their westward invasion bypassed the "land of Bolokhoveni".[24] However, the Mongols forced the Bolokhoveni to supply their army with crops.[5][14] Even so, their princes fled to the Duchy of Masovia (now in Poland).[14] However, they were captured by Duke Bolesław I, although they had promised to accept his suzerainty.[14] The duke only released them after Daniil Romanovich and his brother, Vasilko Romanovich promised him many gifts.[14]

The Mongol invasion of Rus' did not put an end to internal fights among the local rulers.[25] For instance, the Bolokhoveni princes supported Rostislav Mikhailovich in besieging Bakota, a major town held by Daniil Romanovich's officials in 1241.[25] In revenge for their attack, Daniil Romanovich invaded and pillaged their land,[26] and destroyed their fortified towns.[5] Archaeological research at Gubin and Kudin, two of these towns, shows that their walls were dug up.[27] However, no corps or traces of fire were identified in the towns, which suggest that Daniil Romanovich resettled the locals in his own principality.[27] The Bolokhoveni disappeared from the chronicles after their defeat in 1257 by Daniil Romanovich's troops.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Spinei 1986
  2. ^ Spinei 2003
  3. ^ Dimnik 1981
  4. ^ Boldur 1992, p. 111-119
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Spinei 1986, p. 57.
  6. ^ Spinei 2003, p. 161.
  7. ^ a b c Spinei 1986, p. 58.
  8. ^ Spinei 2003, pp. 161-162.
  9. ^ Spinei 2003, p. 162.
  10. ^ Spinei 1986, pp. 57-58.
  11. ^ Spinei_1986_58'
  12. ^ Boldur 1992, p. 111
  13. ^ Dimnik 1981, p. 335.
  14. ^ a b c d e Dimnik 1981, p. 118.
  15. ^ Spinei 1986, pp. 31., 57.
  16. ^ Dimnik 1981, note 80 on pp. 117-118.
  17. ^ Dimnik 1981, note 80 on pp. 117-118., p. 171.
  18. ^ Boldur 1992, p. 111.
  19. ^ Spinei 2009, p. 116.
  20. ^ Boldur 1992, p. 111
  21. ^ Dimnik 1981, p. 98.
  22. ^ Dimnik 1981, pp. 98-99., note 18 on p. 99.
  23. ^ Dimnik 1981, note 55 on p. 32., note 18 on p. 99.
  24. ^ Dimnik 1981, p. 108., note 80 on pp. 117-118.
  25. ^ a b Dimnik 1981, p. 116.
  26. ^ Dimnik 1981, p. 117.
  27. ^ a b Dimnik 1981, note 83 on p. 119.


  • Boldur, Alexandru V. (1992). Istoria Basarabiei ["History of Bessarabia"]. Editura V. Frunza. ISBN 978-58-58-86027-3.
  • Dimnik, Martin (1981). Mikhail, Prince of Chernigov and Grand Prince of Kiev, 1224-1246. Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. ISBN 0-88844-052-9.
  • Spinei, Victor (1986). Moldavia in the 11th–14th Centuries. Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste Româna.
  • Spinei, Victor (2009). The Romanians and the Turkic Nomads North of the Danube Delta from the Tenth to the Mid-Thirteenth Century. Koninklijke Brill NV. ISBN 978-90-04-17536-5.