Danylo of Halych

XIII pageKyivan RusPrincely times Kings and Queens

Danylo Romanovych of Halych (baptismal name Ivan [John]; 1201, evidently the town of Halych, now in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast – 1264, Kholm, now Chelm in Poland) – Prince of Halych-Volyn, Grand Prince of Kyiv, first King of Rus-Ukraine (from 1253).

Prince of Halych-Volyn, Grand Prince of Kyiv (1240), first King of Rus-Ukraine (1253). Son of Prince Roman Mstyslavych from the Riurik dynasty and his second wife Anna, daughter of Isaac II Angelos. During his childhood he was brought up (but actually was under surveillance) at the court of the Hungarian King Endre II. In 1211 boyars put him on the Halych throne but in 1212 he was expelled. In 1221 began to reign in Volyn and completed the unification of Volyn lands by 1229.

In 1223 he distinguished himself in the battle against the Mongol-Tatars at the River Kalka. Aiming to restore the Halych-Volyn Principality of his father, Danylo Romanovych captured Halych (with the assistance of its citizens) in 1238. With time, he transferred Volyn to his brother Vasylko Romanovych and took Kyiv for himself. Struggling against princely conflicts and boyars’ dominance, against growing aggression from Hungarian and Polish feudal lords, Prince Danylo relied not only upon his army but also upon petty noblemen and townspeople. He promoted the development of towns inviting artisans and merchants. During his reign the towns of Lviv, Uhrovsk, and Danyliv were founded, Dorohochyn was restored, and new powerful fortresses Kremenets and Kholm built. Danylo transferred the capital of the Halych-Volyn Principality from Halych to Kholm. After the Mongol-Tatar invasion into South-Western Rus (1240) and establishment of dependence from the Tatar khans, Danylo took drastic measures to prevent new incursions. He set himself the task to unite Rus for repulse of the Golden Horde and entered into an alliance with Prince Andrei Yaroslavich of Vladimir-Suzdal.

In 1245 in the battle near Yaroslavl Danylo’s army defeated the united regiments of Hungarian and Polish feudal lords and Halych boyars, which completed the almost forty-year struggle for the restoration of the unity of the Halych-Volyn Principality. Danylo of Halych interfered in the war for the throne of the Austrian Duchy and at the beginning of the 1250 s got the recognition of the right to it for his son Roman. He married his youngest son Shvarn to a Lithuanian Princess and helped him to ascend the Lithuanian throne. In 1952, together with his brother Vasylko and sons, organized the liberation campaign against the Mongol-Tatars in Volyn. Relying upon Western allies in resistance to the Horde, he agreed to receive the royal title from the papal curia; the coronation act was held in the town of Dorohochyn. However, he had to wage war with the Tatars by his own forces, and it was for the first time in the history of Rus-Ukraine that its prince defeated regularly the Mongol-Tatars, then considered invincible. In 1245–1264 Danylo Romanovych was the sovereign ruler of the Halych-Volyn Principality. The time of his reign was the period of the highest economic and cultural development and political consolidation of the Halych-Volyn state.

Portrait (imaginary) of Danylo Romanovych