Bolokhoveni, also Bolokhovens, or Bolokhovians (Romanian: Bolohoveni; Ukrainian: Болохівці), were a 13th-century ethnic group that resided in the vicinity of the Rus' principalities of Halych, Volhynia and Kiev, in the territory known as the "land of Bolokhoveni" centered at the city of Bolokhov or Bolokhovo (not identified yet). Their ethnic identity is uncertain; although Romanian scholars, basing on their ethnonym identify them as Romanians (who were called Vlachs in the Middle Ages), archeological evidence and the Hypatian Chronicle (which is the only primary source that documents their history) suggest that they were a Slavic people. Their princes, or knyazi, were in constant conflict with Daniil Romanovich, Prince of Halych and Volhynia, between 1231 and 1257. After the Mongols sacked Kiev in 1240, the Bolokhoveni supplied them with troops, but the Bolokhoveni princes fled to Poland. The Bolokhoveni disappeared after Romanovich defeated them in 1257.


The "land of Bolokhoveni", according to Alexandru V. Boldur.[1]

Romanian scholars suggest that the name "Bolokhoveni" may have derived from Voloch, the East Slavic term for Romanians, or Vlachs.[2] If this theory is correct, the Bolokhoveni were Romanians living in the western regions of Kievan Rus'.[3] However this theory is contradicted by archaeological evidence, which indicates that the Bolokhoveni's material culture resembled that of its contemporaries in the western parts of Kievan Rus'.[4] Furthermore, it is well-documented that the Bolokhoveni princes had family ties with boyars of the Principality of Halych.[5]

The ethnonym seems to be connected to the name Bolokhovo, an early medieval settlement that the Hypatian Chronicle – an accurate source of the history of Kievan Rus' – mentioned around 1150.[6][7] According to historian Victor Spinei, this town may have been the same town as Borokhov, which was recorded by the same chronicle in 1172.[8] Alternatively, Spinei states, Bolokhovo may be the same town as Bolechow (now Bolekhiv, Ukraine), which was mentioned as the "town called 'the Vlachs'" in a Polish charter from 1472.[8]


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.[9]

The Hypatian Chronicle refers to the "land of Bolokhoveni" only once.[10] Based on the chronicle, modern historians say that this land bordered the principalities of Halych, Volhynia and Kiev.[7][11] Bozh'skyy, along with other Bolokhoveni towns mentioned in the chronicle, were situated along the Buzhok and Sluch rivers.[11] According to the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, the Bolokhoveni inhabited the region around the sources of the Teteriv, Boh, Horyn and Sluch rivers.[7]

On the other hand, historian Alexandru V. Boldur believes that the Bolokhoveni's land was located between the Dniester and Dnieper rivers.[12] He also says that the Bolokhoveni were located southeast of the present-day town of Ushitsa (Romanian: Ușița).[12]


The Hypatian Chronicle first refers to the "princes of the Bolokhoveni" when documenting a war between Daniil Romanovich, Prince of Halych and Volhynia, and the Hungarians in 1231.[2] The Bolokhoveni princes fought in alliance with the Hungarians.[2][13] The Bolokhoveni princes supported a rebellion against Daniil Romanovich, and they besieged an important stronghold, Kamianets-Podilskyi, in 1233 or 1235.[2][14] However, the princes were captured and brought to the court of Daniil Romanovich in Vladimir.[15] When Mikhail, Prince of Chernigov, and Iziaslav, Prince of Novgorod-Seversk, requested their release, they referred to the princes of the Bolokhoveni as their "brothers".[16]

After the Mongols destroyed Kiev in 1240, the Mongols moving westward did not attack the "land of Bolokhoveni".[17] However, they did force the Bolokhoveni to supply their army with crops.[2][13] At the same time, the Bolokhoveni princes fled to the Duchy of Masovia (now in Poland).[13] They promised Duke Bolesław I of Masovia that they would accept his suzerainty, but the duke captured them.[13] They were released after Daniil Romanovich and his brother, Vasilko Romanovich, promised to give Duke Bolesław I many gifts.[13]

The Mongol invasion of Rus' did not end the conflicts among the local rulers.[18] The Bolokhoveni princes supported Rostislav Mikhailovich when he besieged Bakota, a major town held by Daniil Romanovich's officials, in 1241.[18] In revenge for the attack, Daniil Romanovich invaded and pillaged the land of the Bolokhoveni,[19] and destroyed their fortified towns.[2] Archaeological research at Gubin and Kudin, two Bolokhoveni towns, shows that the town walls were dug up by Romanovich's army.[20] However, no corpses or traces of fire were found, implying that Romanovich took the towns' inhabitants to his own principality.[20] Their defeat by Romanovich's troops in 1257 was the last recorded event of the Bolokhoveni's history.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Spinei 1986, p. 111.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Spinei 1986, p. 57.
  3. ^ Spinei 2009, p. 161.
  4. ^ Spinei 2009, pp. 161–162.
  5. ^ Spinei 2009, p. 162.
  6. ^ Spinei 1986, pp. 14, 57–58.
  7. ^ a b c "Bolokhovians". Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine. Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies. 2001. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  8. ^ a b Spinei 1986, p. 58.
  9. ^ Dimnik 1981, p. 335.
  10. ^ Spinei 1986, pp. 31, 57.
  11. ^ a b Dimnik 1981, pp. 117–118 (note 80).
  12. ^ a b Boldur 1992, p. 111.
  13. ^ a b c d e Dimnik 1981, p. 118.
  14. ^ Dimnik 1981, p. 98.
  15. ^ Dimnik 1981, pp. 98–99 (note 18).
  16. ^ Dimnik 1981, pp. 32 (note 55), 99 (note 18).
  17. ^ Dimnik 1981, pp. 108, 117–118 (note 80).
  18. ^ a b Dimnik 1981, p. 116.
  19. ^ Dimnik 1981, p. 117.
  20. ^ a b Dimnik 1981, p. 119 (note 83).


  • Boldur, Alexandru V. (1992). Istoria Basarabiei [History of Bessarabia] (in Romanian). Editura V. Frunza. ISBN 978-5-85886-027-3.
  • 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.

Further reading

  • The Hypatian Codex II: The Galician-Volynian Chronicle (An annotated translation by George A. Perfecky) (1973). Wilhelm Fink Verlag.

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