He was the son of Ivan
II Ivanovich and Ivan's second wife, Aleksandra, born in 1350 while his
uncle, Simeon the Proud, was the ruling Grand Prince.
Dmitrii married about in 1367 to Evdokia, daughter of Dmitrii Konstantinovich, grand prince of Nizhnigorod.
His sons were Daniil, crown prince of Moscow, who died as a child;
Vasilii I, grand prince of Moscow;
Yuri, appanage prince of Galich; Simyeon, crown prince
of Moscow; Andrei, appanage prince of Mozhaisk;
Petr, appanage prince of Uglich; Ivan; crown prince
of Moscow; and Konstantin, prince of Uglich. His
daughters were Sofia (who married Fedor Ol'govich,
princess of Ryazan), Maria; Anastasia, who married
Ivan Vsyevolodovich, appanage prince of Kholm; and Anna.
In 1353 Simeon died together with his surviving sons and his brother, Andrei of
Serpukhov. This left the inheritance open without multiple divisions not only
to Dmitrii's father, Ivan II, but also to himself. Ivan divided his possessions
between Dmitrii, his brother, Ivan, and his cousin, Vladimir Andreevich of
Serpukhov. But Ivan Ivanovich also died young returning his possessions back to
Dmitrii was only nine when his father died. The Orthodox Metropolitan Aleksei
served as regent for the young princes. He married Evdokia daughter of prince
Dmitrii Konstantinovich of Suzdal and grand prince of Nizhnigorod in 1366 with
whom he had twelve children. His sons included Daniil, prince of Moscow;
Vasilii, grand prince of Moscow; Yurii, appanage prince of Galich; Semyon,
prince of Moscow; Andrei, appanage prince of Mozhaisk; Petr, appanage prince of
Uglich; Ivan prince of Moscow; Konstantin, appanage prince of Uglich. He died
relatively young in 1389 under suspicious circumstances. His daughters included
Sofia, Maria, Anastasia and Anna. He once again divided the principality among
his five sons and Vladimir Andreevich, setting up the scene for the subsequent
civil war between his son, Yurii Dmitriyevich, and his grandson, Vasilii II.
The family is shown on this chart.
Summary of reign:
Dmitrii came to the throne in 1359 when Moscow's leading position among
the Russian cities had been gained by his grandfather, but was not yet secure.
He had to fight not only Tver, but also Suzdal, Nizhnii Novgorod, and Ryazan
within the immediate neighborhood. The overwhelming power of the Tatars
remained a central factor and the rapidly growing power of Lithuania threatened
to draw Novgorod and Pskov away from the Muscovite orbit. Dmitrii received and
relied on extensive assistance from the church. He took an active part in
seeing to it that his candidate would become the Metropolitan. Having the
Metropolitan of the entire Russian church reside in Moscow was itself a
continual source of ideological and economic support for the city. In addition,
Dmitrii obtained political support from using interdicts proclaimed by church
authorities against his rivals.
Dmitrii took more direct control of policy in 1367. He continued the
tradition of outmaneuvering other claimants to the Tatar yarlik to
secure support and devote Muscovite resources to the battle against Lithuanian
expansion. Despite his stunning victory over the Tatars under Mamai in 1380 at
Kulikovo field he still retained the all important yarlik from the rival
Dmitrii followed the traditions and policies of his forbearers. He
continued to attract people to settle in sparsely populated regions in his
domains. He also granted land to service people outside his personal domain.
The Muscovite armies had a provincial and territorial base. This Dmitrii sought
to strengthen so it would not rely so heavily on the system of dependent
servitors. The city militia was not very important and even had difficulty in
defending Moscow itself. The army was composed of the separate armies of the
princes who would agree to participate in any particular campaign. Each of
these independent armies was organized into the polki according to
standard practice. Dmitrii sought to integrate them by joining the like
polki from each subordinate army together to make the corresponding polk
of the total army.
Dmitrii was barely able to hold on to the western frontier against the rapidly
increasing power of Lithuania, but he was more successful in pushing the
eastern frontiers of the Grand Principality of Vladimir down the Volga River
into the Mordvin lands. He used whatever opportunities he had from internal
dissention in the Golden Horde to withhold tribute and conduct an independent
policy, but he was also realistic in submitting to the Tatars when it was clear
that he lacked the power to do otherwise.
Dmitrii wrote in his final will that his son, Vasilii I, should be succeeded as
Grand Prince by his brother, Yuri, rather than by any future son. This gave
Yurii a strong basis for conducting civil war against his nephew after Vasilii
This is a period of internal conflict in the Golden Horde during which there
are at least 25 khans. Dmitrii Ivanovich makes use of this turmoil to
Muscovite armies drive Dmitrii Konstantinovich of Suzdal out of Vladimir and
Muscovite armies drive the Suzdal forces from Vladimir again and set up a
supporting prince in Rostov.
Muscovite armies force Nizhnii Novgorod to take Dmitrii Konstantinovich as
prince. Ivan Ivanovich dies leaving his territories to Dmitrii.
Grand Prince Oleg Ivanovich of Riazan brings troops from Prinsk, Kozel'sk and
Riazan to defeat a Tatar raid.
Muscovite armies support Nizhnii Novgorod expansion eastward along Volga River
against Mordvinian and Bolgar regions.
Ol'gerd of Lithuania supports Tver against Moscow.
Dmitrii Ivanovich and Vladimir Andreivich build first stone walls for Moscow
kremlin in time to resist sieges by Lithuanians.
Dmitrii Ivanovich sends troops to support Novgorod and Pskov against Livonia
and places his local official in charge in Novgorod. He also starts attacks
against Smolensk and Briansk and he supports Vasilii Mikhailovich of Kashin
against Mikhail for control of Tver.
Ol'gerd conducts surprise attack and siege of Moscow without success.
Dmitrii with assistance from Riazan attacks Briansk and Tver and forces Mikhail
to flee to Lithuania. Ol'gerd brings Lithuanians and troops from Smolensk to
besiege Moscow again, for eight days. Dmitrii commands the defense of the city
while Vladimir Andreevich and the princes of Riazan led by Vladimir Yaroslavich
of Prinsk lead field armies against the Lithuanians.
Mikhail attacks Kostroma and seizes several towns including Uglich. Dmitrii is
busy with troops fighting Oleg Ivanovich of Riazan to install his cousin,
Vladimir Yaroslavich as prince. Oleg regains the town with the aid of Tatar
chieftain Murz Salakhmir.
Mikhail in alliance with Lithuania captures Dmitrov and urges the Lithuanians
to attack Periaslavl. Ol'gerd musters his army to attack Moscow. Dmitrii sends
a large army that defeats the Lithuanian advance guard at Liubutsk and then
forces Ol'gerd to sue for peace. Both Oleg and Vladimir of Riazan support
Dmitrii's campaign. Dmitrii Konstantinovich of Suzdal constructs stone kremlin
at Nizhnii Novgorod.
Mikhail returns the towns and booty in exchange for his son, held by Dmitrii.
The Tatars under Mamai raid Riazan, forcing Oleg to seek support from Moscow.
Vladimir Andreivich brings his troops from duty in Novgorod to defend the Oka
Ivan V. Veliamninov (the son of the last commander of the Moscow militia
deposed by Dmitrii)and a Moscow merchant, Nekomat, defect to Tver.
Nekomat obtains title to the Grand Principality of Vladimir for Mikhail.
Dmitrii then brings a large army of troops from Moscow, Vladimir-Suzdal,
Briansk, Kashin, and the Oka river valley to attack Tver. Ol'gerd fails to
support Mikhail and the Tatars also do not intervene. Mikhail agrees to a
treaty subordinating himself to Dmitrii, but does not live up to it. Oleg of
Riazan acts as mediator in this agreement to obtain support against Tatars.
Dmitrii attacks Rzhev to retaliate against Ol'gerd's attacks on Smolensk.
Dmitrii conquers Bolgar on the Volga and obtains tribute. The combined
Muscovite - Suzdalian army is defeated on the P'iana River by Tatars and
Mordvinians who then sack Nizhnii Novgorod. At the same time the Tatars raid
Oleg's capital at Pereiaslavl Riazanskii.
Dmitrii returns to devastate Mordvinian lands.
Tatars raid Riazan and then Dmitrii defeats Tatar army of Mamai on the Vozha
River. The Riazan prince Daniil of Pronsk participates with Dmitrii. Mamai (a
Tatar temnik) used these years to strengthen his control of the western part of
the Golden Horde.
Ol'gerd's brother, Keistut, opposes Ol'gerd's son, Iagailo, for Lithuanian
throne. Dmitrii sends army to Briansk in support.
Iagailo negotiates with Mamai against Moscow, but is blocked from supporting by
pressure from Keistut and the Teutonic Knights. Oleg of Riazan tries to play
Tatars against Muscovites, but Tatars devastate Riazan anyway and drive Oleg
across the Oka River, forcing him to abandon Dmitrii. Tver and Nizhnii Novgorod
also remain neutral, but Novgorod sends troops in support.Dmitrii musters his
forces against the Tatar threat.
Mamai marches north up the Don river valley. Dmitrii crosses the Don and meets
him at Kulikovo Field. (The chronicles give 80,000 casualties on both sides.)
Battle of Kulikovo Field (See battles)
The victorious Russian army is plundered by Lithuanians (or Riazantsi) on
the way home.
Dmitrii sends his governor to Riazan driving Oleg out. Oleg agrees to
subordinate himself and Riazan to Moscow. Toqtamish reunites Golden Horde after
killing Mamai. Dmitrii sends gifts. Dmitrii concludes treaty with Keistut.
Toqtamish favors Iagailo who drives Keistut out of Vilna and kills him.
Toqtamish takes Russian vessels on Volga River and attacks Riazan and Nizhnii
Novgorod. Dmitrii hurriedly assembles troops but retreats to Kostroma. His
family flees Moscow. The townspeople organize their own defense with leadership
from a Lithuanian prince Ostei. Toqtamish with assistance from Dmitrii
Konstantinovich of Suzdal tricks defenders into opening gates. The Tatars sack
and burn the city killing abut 24,000. Toqtamish does not attack Dmitrii's army
at Kostroma and Vladimir Andreevich defeats a Tatar detachment at Volokolamsk.
Oleg attempts to divert the Tatars away from Riazan territory during this
campaign, but fails with the result that his lands are devastated by both the
Tatars and the pursuing Muscovites. Toqtamish returns to Sarai leaving Moscow
in ruins and its prince greatly weakened. He demands the eldest sons as
hostages from all the princes.
Dmitrii again attacks Riazan.
Dmitrii places heavy taxes on Novgorod to pay the heavy Tatar tribute. Oleg
attacks Kostroma while Dmitrii is busy with Novgorod. Oleg defends successfully
against retaliation launched by Vladimir Andreevich. Iagailo decides to marry
Polish Queen, Jadwiga, rather than Dmitrii's daughter and convert Lithuania to
Catholicism rather than Orthodoxy.
Dmitrii's son, Vasilii, escapes from being hostage at Sarai to Moldavia and
Dmitrii makes peace with Riazan. Dmitrii's daughter, Sofia, marries Oleg's son
Fedor of Riazan. Dmitrii sends large army against Novgorod
Dmitrii assists sons of Dmitrii Konstantinovich of Suzdal to take Nizhnii
Novgorod. Rodoslav of Riazan escapes from Sarai and Tatars raid territory.
Dmitrii arrests Vladimir Andreevich and his boyars to force them to recognize
Vasilii as senior.
Dmitrii dies. His son, Vasilii I, becomes grand prince of Moscow. Another Tatar
raid against Riazan.
Tatar raid against Riazan.
Oleg of Riazan decisively defeats Tatars. Oleg begins conflict with Vitovt of
Lithuania. Both sides conduct campaigns against the other.
Continuing war between Riazan supported by Tatars and Lithuania
Tatar leader Edigei defeats Vitovt at Vorskla River.
Oleg with allies from Prinsk and Murom attacks Smolensk
Oleg sends his son, Rodoslav, to capture Briansk, but he is captured. Oleg
dies, ending Riazan's last effort to gain supremacy. Fedor Ol'gevich signs
treaty with his brother-in-law, Vasilii I of Moscow, subordinating Fedor to the
equal status with Vasilii's eldest brother Yurii. Fedor's daughter married Ivan
Vladimirovich, son of the Prince of Serpukhov