Battle on Pyana River
The Battle on Pyana River
Pyana River
Pyana is a river in Nizhny Novgorod Oblast and the Republic of Mordovia, Russia. It is a tributary of the Sura River.-History and etymology:...

took place on August 2, 1377 between the Blue Horde Khan
Khan (title)
Khan is an originally Altaic and subsequently Central Asian title for a sovereign or military ruler, widely used by medieval nomadic Turko-Mongol tribes living to the north of China. 'Khan' is also seen as a title in the Xianbei confederation for their chief between 283 and 289...

 Arapsha (Arab-Shah Muzaffar) and joint Russian troops under Knyaz
Kniaz, knyaz or knez is a Slavic title found in most Slavic languages, denoting a royal nobility rank. It is usually translated into English as either Prince or less commonly as Duke....

 Ivan Dmitriyevich, made up of the Pereyaslavl
Principality of Pereyaslavl
The Principality of Pereslavl was a regional principality of Kievan Rus from the end of 9th to 1302 based on the city of Pereyaslavl on the Trubezh river. It was usually administrated by younger sons of the Grand Prince of Kiev...

, Yaroslavl
Principality of Yaroslavl
The Principality of Yaroslavl was an eastern Slavic principality, which existed in 1218—1463.Its first independent prince was Vsyevolod Konstantinovich, who died fighting the Mongols on the Siti river, March 4th 1238. Yaroslavl had been sacked in February...

, Yuryev
Yuryev, sometimes spelled as Yuriev , or Yuryeva/Yurieva , is a Russian last name and may refer to:People*Alexei Yuryev , a Russian Bolshevik...

, Nizhny Novgorod and Murom
Principality of Murom
The Principality of Murom was a medieval Rus' lordship based on the city of Murom, now in Vladimir Oblast, Russia. Murom lay in an area that was strongly Finno-Ugric for much of its medieval history, located in the homeland of the Muromians...


The joint Russian army, being drunken, was almost entirely routed by small forces of Arapsha, while Ivan Dmitriyevich had drowned together with druzhina
Druzhina, Drużyna or Družyna in the medieval history of Slavic Europe was a retinue in service of a chieftain, also called knyaz. The name is derived from the Slavic word drug with the meaning of "companion, friend". -Early Rus:...

 and staff. The river's name Pyana, translated as "drunken" from Russian, is derived from those events. The corresponding events are further recorded in the medieval Russian Chronicle On The Slaughter at Pyana River.


In 1377 Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 became aware of Arapsha and Knyaz Dmitry draw an army to recover his father-in-law Dmitri of Nizhny Novgorod. However nothing had happened and the troops returned to Moscow. Young knyaz Ivan Dmitriyevich, who assumed the joint command, moved the troops to River Pyana. The voyevodas learned that Arapsh was still far away, on the river Volchyi Vody, a tributary of Don
Don River (Russia)
The Don River is one of the major rivers of Russia. It rises in the town of Novomoskovsk 60 kilometres southeast from Tula, southeast of Moscow, and flows for a distance of about 1,950 kilometres to the Sea of Azov....

. Because of hot weather, the awaiting Russian warriors began wandering around and consuming alcoholic beverages like mead
Mead , also called honey wine, is an alcoholic beverage that is produced by fermenting a solution of honey and water. It may also be produced by fermenting a solution of water and honey with grain mash, which is strained immediately after fermentation...

, ale
Ale is a type of beer brewed from malted barley using a warm fermentation with a strain of brewers' yeast. The yeast will ferment the beer quickly, giving it a sweet, full bodied and fruity taste...

, beer
Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

 and the so-called Mordva pure, which the troops of Suzdal prince drank while waiting in the local villages for the battle to begin.

The battle

By the time the Russian troops were intoxicated, Arapsha, drawn by Mordva nobles, had sensibly arrived and divided his troops into five units. On August 2, he unexpectedly attacked the Russian forces from all sides. Unable to fight, the Russians retreated to Pyana. Ivan Dmitriyevich had drowned together with numerous servants and warriors while crossing the river. The rest were slain by enemy troops. The aftermath was catastrophic. The Tatars under Arapsha were then able to reach Niznhy Novgorod, prompting the evacuation of residents by boats, while Dmitry of Suzdal
Dmitry of Suzdal
Dmitri Konstantinovich of Suzdal was a powerful Prince of Suzdal and Nizhny Novgorod who dominated Russian politics during the minority of his son-in-law, Dmitri Donskoi...

 evacuated to Suzdal
Suzdal is a town in Vladimir Oblast, Russia, situated northeast of Moscow, from the city of Vladimir, on the Kamenka River. Population: -History:...

. The town itself was sacked.
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