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The Development of Russian Military Power 1453–1815

  • Brian L. Davies
Chapter
Part of the Problems in Focus Series book series (PFS)

Abstract

Until the middle of the fifteenth century the grand princes of Moscow had directly controlled only a small household military force (dvor), consisting of their boyar retinue and their boyars’ own retainers (the dvoriane and deti boiarskie). During emergencies, this could be augmented by forming an improvised peasant militia, and by invoking treaty obligations to call up the retinues of the princes of cadet lines of Moscow’s Danilovich house and those of the other clans of princes ruling their own independent principalities. But the grand prince did not yet possess the power to force allied princes to come to his aid, even when it might be politically inconvenient for them; hence the boyar oligarchs of Novgorod and Pskov and the princes of Tver’, Riazan’ and Suzdal’ gave no assistance to Dmitrii Donskoi when he faced the Golden Horde at Kulikovo in 1380.1

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Notes and References

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  • Brian L. Davies

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