by Valery PERKHAVKO, Cand. Sc. (Hist.), RAS Institute of Russian history
"The Tale of the Rout of Mamai" (late 15th-early 16th centuries) narrates: in 1380, the Moscow Grand Prince Dmitry Ivanovich set out to the Kulikovo Field to fight against troops of the Golden Horde, headed by the commander Mamai, and as informants, interpreters, ambassadors took with him 10 guests-residents of Surozh ("what will happen to him, the guests would be able to tell in far countries"). It seems that they, representatives of the "best people" from the merchants, also made feasible contribution to the victory of Russian army in the Battle of Kulikovo, which paved the way to the liberation of the country from the Mongol-Tatar yoke.
The chronicler even mentioned names of the merchants--associates of the prince Dmitry, who got for his feat of arms the honorary nickname "Donskoi" (the Kulikovo Field is situated on the bank of the Don, nowadays Kurkino district of the Tula Region), among them are Timofei Vesyakov, Dmitrei Chernoi, Dementei Salarev, Vasily Kapitsa, Sidor Yelferyev, Konstantin Volk, Kuzma Koverya, Semion Ontonov, Mikhail Salarev, Ivan Shikh (in other lists of The Tale of the Rout of Mamai one can see different variants of the same surnames). And the merchants in Moscow together with other citizens greeted the victor, who was returning from the battlefield, and that was depicted in one of the miniatures of the Illuminated Manuscript of The Tale of the Rout of Mamai (17th century). Who were then these guests-residents of Surozh and what is their place in our history?
The first reference to Russian merchants--intermediaries between a producer and a consumer--can be found in agreements of the 10th century with Byzantine Empire,
Science in Russia, No.5, 2011
in its capital--Constantinople-already then there was their settlement. Domestic trade business was rapidly developing, and our enterprising predecessors looked for new thruway ... Читать далее