Every day in history is like a snowflake from heaven’s snowflake garden.
It’s unique and it is fragile. Put it in your brain before it melts. This is
what happened on September 8, 1380…
No one on the Guffaw’s Board of Directors fancies themselves
a military strategist. We are not schooled in the art of combat tactics. Sure,
the success of a hard-earned victory in a game of Risk has gone to our heads once
or twice. After the plastic game pieces have gone back into their containers
and the game board has folded. Once the box is put back on its shelf on top of
a never opened 1980′s edition of Trivial Pursuit given six Christmases ago and the taste of victory has faded from the tongue. Then and only then do we admit it was the roll of the dice and not cunning generalship that held the Urals for the duration of the contest.
On September 8, 1380, Dimitri, the Prince of Moscow defeated the Golden Horde in the Battle of Kulikovo to give Russia a dollop of independence. Basically, anytime anyone defeats anything described as a Horde, the Guffaw gives kudos. Up until this point, the Mongols or Tartars as the Russians called them were on a roll. They had conquered everything, first under Genghis Khan and then his sons, including most of Asia and parts of Europe into Russia, Bulgaria and Hungary.
The princes of Russia got together and raised an army. Then met the Horde head on in Kulikovo and hid their cavalry in the nearby woods. The battle started with a Russian monk charging a single Mongolian warrior with a lance (they both died but the Russian monk stayed on his horse). When it looked as if the Horde would have another ho-hum victory, Dimitri’s calvary came charging out and the Golden Horde scattered. Two years later, the Golden Horde returned, wrecked shop, and went back to ruling Russia. It would not be until 1502 that all of Russia would be ruled by Russian monarchs.