Bolokhoveni, also Bolokhovens or Bolokhov, (Romanian: Bolohoveni) 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. If this identification is valid, the Bolokhoveni were Romanians living in the western regions of Kievan Rus'. Indeed, place names, hydronyms and personal names of Romanian origin abound in written sources relating to the same territories in the 13th-15th centuries. 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'. Furthermore, the Bolokhoveni princes' family ties with boyars of the Principality of Halych are well-documented.
The ethnonym seems to be connected to the name of Bolokhovo, an early medieval settlement mentioned under the year 1150 by the Hypatian Chronicle. This town may well have been identical with Borokhov, the name of which was recorded for 1172 by the same chronicle. 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.
The "land of Bolokhoveni"
The Hypatian Chronicle makes it clear that the princes of the Bolokhoveni were independent of Daniil Romanovich. Even so, their country, the "land of Bolokhoveni" is only once mentioned by the chronicler. His report suggests that this land bordered on the principalities of Halych, Volhynia and Kiev. Bozh'skyy and the Bolokhoveni's other towns mentioned by the chronicler were situated in the region of the rivers Buzhok and Sluch. Archaeological research also identified the location of 13th-century fortified settlements in this region. 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. He places the town Ushitsa (Romanian: Ușița) in the vicinity of the Bolokhoveni's land.
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 in 1231. In this year, the knyazi fought in alliance with the Hungarians. Next they supported a rebellion against Daniil Romanovich and besieged Kamenets, an important stronghold in 1233 or 1235. However, they were captured and brought to the court of Daniil Romanovich in Vladimir. 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".
Following the destruction of Kiev by the Mongols in 1240, the invaders who continued their westward invasion bypassed the "land of Bolokhoveni". However, the Mongols forced the Bolokhoveni to supply their army with crops. Even so, their princes fled to the Duchy of Masovia (now in Poland). However, they were captured by Duke Bolesław I, although they had promised to accept his suzerainty. The duke only released them after Daniil Romanovich and his brother, Vasilko Romanovich promised him many gifts.
The Mongol invasion of Rus' did not put an end to internal fights among the local rulers. For instance, the Bolokhoveni princes supported Rostislav Mikhailovich in besieging Bakota, a major town held by Daniil Romanovich's officials in 1241. In revenge for their attack, Daniil Romanovich invaded and pillaged their land, and destroyed their fortified towns. Archaeological research at Gubin and Kudin, two of these towns, shows that their walls were dug up. However, no corps or traces of fire were identified in the towns, which suggest that Daniil Romanovich resettled the locals in his own principality. The Bolokhoveni disappeared from the chronicles after their defeat in 1257 by Daniil Romanovich's troops.
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