Mamai

Mamai

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Mamai of Borjigin
Borjigin
Borjigin , also known as the Altan urug , were the imperial clan of Genghis Khan and his successors....

 kin, was a powerful military commander of the Blue Horde in the 1370s which is now the Southern Ukrainian
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 Steppes and the Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

n Peninsula.

Mamai became a governor sometime in the second half of 1350s of a territory that later would become Crimean Khanate
Crimean Khanate
Crimean Khanate, or Khanate of Crimea , was a state ruled by Crimean Tatars from 1441 to 1783. Its native name was . Its khans were the patrilineal descendants of Toqa Temür, the thirteenth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan...

. During the rule of Berdi Beg
Berdi Beg
Berdi Beg was Khan of the Golden Horde from 1357 till 1359, succeeding his father Jani Beg of whom Berdi Beg may have been behind the poisoning. His reign was marked by turmoil and political murders, and in 1359 he was assassinated by his brother Qulpa, after which the Golden Horde fell apart...

 (since 1357) Mamai was appointed as beqlar beg - general of the army, minister of foreign affairs, and the head of the supreme court all simultaneously.

Upon the assassination of Berdi Beg by Qulpa
Qulpa
Qulpa was Khan of the Blue Horde from 1359 till 1360, after having deposed his brother Berdi Beg. Ruling for just a year, Qulpa was murdered by another brother in 1360....

 in 1359, Mamai associated himself with one of the coalitions to depose Qulpa. During that period of time Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

 was in a relative chaos while numerous regional governors were striving to become the Khan. Qulpa eventually was killed by Nawruz Beg who also was assassinated less than a half year later. Mamai who was not a direct descendant of Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

 played a key role in promoting and supporting rival khans in White Horde (western part of Golden Horde). In 1361 he supported Ğabdullah, son of Uzbeg Khan
Uzbeg Khan
Sultan Mohammed Öz-Beg, better known as Uzbeg or Ozbeg , was the longest-reigning khan of the Golden Horde, under whose rule the state reached its zenith...

 who became a khan in Crimea. Upon the death of Ğabdullah in 1370, Mamai supported Bulak who could only stay in power for couple of years was replaced by his main opponent Urus in 1372.

After being badly defeated by Russians under Dmitri Donskoi
Dmitri Donskoi
Saint Dmitry Ivanovich Donskoy , or Dmitry of the Don, sometimes referred to as Dmitry I , son of Ivan II the Meek of Moscow , reigned as the Prince of Moscow from 1359 and Grand Prince of Vladimir from 1363 to his death. He was the first prince of Moscow to openly challenge Mongol authority in...

 first in 1378 at the Battle of the Vozha River
Battle of the Vozha River
Battle of the Vozha River was a battle fought between the Grand Duchy of Moscow and the Golden Horde on August 11, 1378. Mamai sought to punish the Russians for disobedience....

 and then at the Battle of Kulikovo
Battle of Kulikovo
The Battle of Kulikovo was a battle between Tatar Mamai and Muscovy Dmitriy and portrayed by Russian historiography as a stand-off between Russians and the Golden Horde. However, the political situation at the time was much more complicated and concerned the politics of the Northeastern Rus'...

 (1380), Mamai began to assemble a large force to punish Dmitri. But he was defeated by Tokhtamysh
Tokhtamysh
Tokhtamysh was the prominent khan of the White Horde, who briefly unified the White Horde and Blue Horde subdivisions of the Golden Horde into a single state. He was a descendant of Genghis Khan's eldest grandson, Orda Khan or his brother Tuqa-Timur...

 (who was of genghisid lineage) on the banks of the Kalka River and fled to Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

. There he was assassinated in Caffa (Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

) by the Genoese
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

, who could not forgive the total waste of a military unit of Genoese crossbow
Crossbow
A crossbow is a weapon consisting of a bow mounted on a stock that shoots projectiles, often called bolts or quarrels. The medieval crossbow was called by many names, most of which derived from the word ballista, a torsion engine resembling a crossbow in appearance.Historically, crossbows played a...

men who were slaughtered by the Russians. The assassination of Mamai paved the way for the next khan to reunify the Golden Horde.

The memory of Mamai has endured for centuries. Contemporary Russian language
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 has an expression "как Мамай прошел" (kak Mamaj prošel), which translates roughly to "it's as if Mamai came through here", used to describe an utter mess.

The burial of Mamai was found by the native Crimean and famous Russian painter Ivan Aivazovsky
Ivan Aivazovsky
Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky July 29, 1817 – May 5, 1900) was a Russian world-renowned painter of Armenian descent living and working in Crimea, most famous for his seascapes, which constitute more than half of his paintings...

. Mamai was buried in a village of Şeyh Mamay (today Aivazovske, Kirovske Raion
Kirovske raion
Kirovsk Raion is one of the 25 regions of Crimea. It is located in the eastern part of the republic. The southern part of the raion is occupied with the foothills, while the northern one is situated in the Crimean steppe...

).

Purported descendants


Khan Mamatsios or Mamatzios, Mamatsu (Mamai-son) Macedonie was a supposed son of Mamai. One of his sons, Manzur Kiyat, purportedly escaped to Lithuania
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a European state from the 12th /13th century until 1569 and then as a constituent part of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until 1791 when Constitution of May 3, 1791 abolished it in favor of unitary state. It was founded by the Lithuanians, one of the polytheistic...

, and, serving Grand Prince Vytautas the Great
Vytautas the Great
Vytautas ; styled "the Great" from the 15th century onwards; c. 1350 October 27, 1430) was one of the most famous rulers of medieval Lithuania. Vytautas was the ruler of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania which chiefly encompassed the Lithuanians and Ruthenians...

, received the title of Prince of Hlinsk with multiple estates around the modern city of Poltava
Poltava
Poltava is a city in located on the Vorskla River in central Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Poltava Oblast , as well as the surrounding Poltava Raion of the oblast. Poltava's estimated population is 298,652 ....

 (Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

). These legendary events could have taken place in the 15th century, although the first documented mention of the Glinski
Glinski
Glinski, Glinskii, or Glinsky is a family name. Feminine form: Russian: Glinskaya , Polish: Glińska. It may refer to one of the following....

 princes is made in 1437. Michael Glinski
Michael Glinski
Michael Glinski was a noble from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania of distant Tatar extraction who was also a tutor of his nephew, Ivan the Terrible. As a young man, Glinski served in the court of Emperor Maximilian I and earned distinction for his military service. Around 1498 he returned to Lithuania...

 was the most illustrious member of the family: he studied at the German university, took part as a knight in the Italian Wars
Italian Wars
The Italian Wars, often referred to as the Great Italian Wars or the Great Wars of Italy and sometimes as the Habsburg–Valois Wars, were a series of conflicts from 1494 to 1559 that involved, at various times, most of the city-states of Italy, the Papal States, most of the major states of Western...

, was the most powerful man in Lithuania in the 16th century, but later rebelled and run away with his brothers to Muscovy and helped the Russians to retake the city of Smolensk
Smolensk
Smolensk is a city and the administrative center of Smolensk Oblast, Russia, located on the Dnieper River. Situated west-southwest of Moscow, this walled city was destroyed several times throughout its long history since it was on the invasion routes of both Napoleon and Hitler. Today, Smolensk...

. His niece Elena Glinskaya
Elena Glinskaya
Elena Vasilyevna Glinskaya April 1538, Moscow) was the second wife of Grand Prince Vasili III and regent of Russia for 5 years .- Background :...

 was married to Vasily III
Vasili III of Russia
Vasili III Ivanovich was the Grand Prince of Moscow from 1505 to 1533. He was the son of Ivan III Vasiliyevich and Sophia Paleologue and was christened with the name Gavriil...

, Grand Prince of Moscow
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...

, and Ivan the Terrible was her son.