The Early Eastern Slavs and Polish influence in Podolia

Concurrent with the legends in Jazlowiec is another history much wider in territorial scope and greater in importance to the people of Podolia. Its roots are also shrouded in the mystery of the past,

and are subject to different interpretations by historians of various culture and nationalities. Even the period of Slavic migration from the regions of the upper and central Vistula to the east has little available resource material for historians to study. Much of this history is a matter of analytical deduction and logical conclusions based on scant information provided by cultures south of Slavic habitats. The period of migration does provide a valuable entry point to the Slavic history of Podolia, however.

With the retreat of the Huns from the southern and eastern parts of Europe at the end of the 5th century; and with the decline of influence of the Sarmatian groups like Alans, Antes and Yazyges, the Podolian plains and the area of the present-day Ukraine became open to the eastern movement of the Slavic tribes from their "Crib" - what is now central and southern Poland. In the course of this migration, some new Slavic names appeared in the western territories of the Pontic Steppe. The Polyanians settled the area of present-day Kiev; Belorus by the Derewlans; Bessarabia and Moldavia by Uliches and Krywiczes; and Podolia witnessed the rise of the local Dulebians to political and military prominence.

The full extent of Dulebian activity in this region has never been established through historical facts, but there are strong indications that this tribe played a significant role in the history of Podolia. At times their influence extended far beyond the limits of Podolia and into the territories of the present-day Vohlynia in Ukraine. In spite of some proven documentation and factual evidence, this Slavic tribe has never risen above an obscure historical level, or had its achievements sufficiently recorded to reflect their significant impact on the history of the area. There are no records to indicate their geographical limits, but in the opinion of some historians, the Uliches, the Slavic tribe which in its eastward movement reached the Black Sea at the estuary of Dniester, were a branch of Dulebians. Evidence of their power and political organization can be found in the chronicles of the Arabian traveler Masudi, who tells of the Dulebian Prince Madzak, the leader of the 6th century invasion of Byzantine territories by combined forces of eastern Slavs.

To date, no tangible proof has been presented giving evidence of the Dulebians residing on the site of present-day Jazlowiec, but that they lived in the immediate area is an undeniable fact. For this reason, we have to accept the possibility of their inhabiting the Jazlowiec site, and the local nomenclature may well support this theory. Just a few miles southeast of Jazlowiec, there was a village called Duliby. Ethnically they considered themselves Polish, but they practiced some traditions peculiar to their village alone. They had also their own dialect, which had to descend from the early Slavs. Geography of the nearby area presents us with five names of identical background, which in itself gives credence to the fact that the Dulebians must have resided there in great numbers.

When at the peak of their power, the Dulebians must have extended their control over a wide range of territory, and Jazlowiec had to be at that time a Dulebian settlement, and larger than a village. As mentioned earlier in this text, the name may have been the result of social and political intercourse between Antes or Yazyges and the Dulebians. While a small village, due to its isolation, could have survived foreign invasion, the survival of a larger settlement would be a different matter altogether. It is likely, therefore, that the Dulebians in Jazlowiec, as a larger and better organized community, became subject to Avars' aggression, and in the course of this were either annihilated or forced to relocate with the invaders to the territory of present-day Hungary. Not all of them were removed, but the number left behind was too small as to render them ineffectual as a dominant political and military organization. They were still there at the time of early Kievian rule and were known to be in opposition to their princes. For this reason, they were severely dealt with the Warengian forces of Princess Olga, the Kievian ruler, in around 950 AD Since then, the Dulebian name became totally obscure.

We do not know what Podolia's role was in the early development of the first state on present Polish territory, known as the Wislan State. This state emerged in the second half of the 8th century in the region of the upper Vistula, around the present city of Cracow. Its founders were unquestionably the western Khorvats (Croats), whose ruler may have extended his domination over a wider area to counterbalance the rising power of the Moravians across the Carpathian Mountains. This state's geographic borders are a matter of speculation, but it would have been logically incorporated the Eastern Khorvats, who, according to the Kievian Primary Chronicle, bordered the Polanyans and Derewlans, and would therefore have also included Podolia. This would have extended the borders of the Wislan State at least as far east as the Zbrucz River, or even the Murchwa River.

This state was short-lived because of Moravian aggression from the south in the middle of the 9th century. Moravian records state that their expanded territories reached as far east as the Styr River in the basin of Prypec. These records also state that the Polish tribe called Lendziany inhabited some of the territories captured from the Wislans. It is also known that these people resided in Vohlynia and in the land east of the Bug River. The Moravians do not mention any name other than the Styr River to provide us with the exact limits of their eastern borders. However, since the river constituted the furthest northeast corner of their domain, there had to be some territories to the south under their control as well. The logical limit of these territories would be the Dniestr River, placing Podolia under their domination.

After the disintegration of the Moravian state in the middle of the 10th century, all territories north of the Carpathians, except the Cracow region, came under the control of the first known Polish dynasty, the Piasts. This would imply that Podolia and Vohlynia became part of Poland at this time in European history. Giving credence to this is Ruthenian information relating to the invasion of the Lekh's lands by the Kievian prince, Vladimir the Great.

This invasion took place in 961 AD, with Kiev sizing the Polish territory known as "Grody Czerwienskie." This name, of purely Polish origin, gives us reason to presume that the land had been populated for some time by Polish-speaking people who had strong traditional and historical bonds with the Slavic tribes under the Piasts' rule. For many centuries, this name was used colloquially in reference to the area, and at times also included the adjacent territory of Podolia.

The phrase "Lekh's Land", as recorded by the Kievian chronicler Nestor, proves in itself that the territory taken by the Ruthenians from the Piast was inhabited by the Lekhs, whose language was Polish. Taking into account such hard factual evidence, there can be no doubt that this area was also of Polish ethnicity. From the above, we can deduce that Jazlowiec, in the heart of Podolia, must have had a Lekhian population, and would have had to be considered a Polish settlement.

Beginning with the first Ruthenian invasion, there were a long series of military conflicts between the Polish kings and the Kievian princes over the possession of this territory. "Grody Czerwienskie", lost to Kiev by the Polish king, Mieszko I, were recovered by his son Boleslaw Chrobry (the Great) in 992 AD The lands were again lost, this time to Kievian prince Jaroslaw, in 1036, but taken back by another Polish king, Boleslaw Smialy, in 1070. It remained in Polish hands until the king's banishment (through a conspiracy of clergy and nobility) in 1086. These early conflicts and changes of rulership over the land were the first in the numerous series of conflicts between the Poles and Ruthenians.

During the sporadic occupation of the Polish eastern territories by the Kievians, the Kievian control would have had to have been minimal due to both internal and external conditions that would have hardly favored the consolidation of their rule over the lands. Soon after the first Kievian invasion, the Ruthenian state came under a lengthy attack by the Turkic people from the east, the Pechengs. This threat drained their human and economic resources, and was deterrent to the solidification of Kievian control over captured Polish territories. The harsh conditions of Ruthenia rule, as evidenced with the Dulebians, continued in their later domination of Podolia. Life of the subdued Poles under the uncompromising princes is well illustrated by a Polish phrase of the time: "Na Rusi to sie musi, a w Polsce jak kto chce." The English translation is "In Ruthenia you have to behave as you are told, in Poland you can do whatever you want." The origination of this phrase had to predate the 14th century, as after that date, these territories became Polish, and there would have been no reason for the saying.

Further analysis of this phrase shows that the use of the ancient word "Russ" implies that it originated in the times when the Ruthenians were known by that name, which would place it in the llth and 12th centuries. This is again an indication that the phrase was in use during Ruthenian presence in the land, and which also indisputably proves that the victims of the harsh Ruthenian rule were the Poles, or Lekhs, as they were called by the Ruthenians.

Additional evidence of Ruthenian presence in the region is its geographical nomenclature. Two miles southwest of Jazlowiec there was a place called Rusilow, mentioned previously in the text. Although this name has definite Ruthenian roots, closer examination reveals a pictorial history, an interpretation presenting a clear picture of the local history.

This name had to have originated with the local Polish-speaking Slavs, which in this case could only be the Lekhs or few of the surviving Dulebians. The name "Rusilow," which translates as "Russes' hunting grounds," would not have "Russ" as its basic component if the local population was of ethnic Ruthenian origin. In a community where there is a single strong ethnic majority, there would be no justification to name a place for a specific nationality unless it was a powerful minority. Using this deduction, we thus know that the Russes (Ruthenians) were considered by the local population to be a foreign ruling power, who allocated to themselves special privileges, such as their own hunting grounds. From this we can also concluded that the Ruthenians, as the controlling power, lived in some secluded place, like a castle. In this area, there would have been no other location or structure but the wooden castle in Jazlowiec.

There is another implication in the name that should also be given consideration, and further confirms its Polish origins. The meaning of Rusilow, as stated above, is only understood in the Polish language. Its Ruthenian version, "Rusyliw," represents nothing in either of the two languages, except for recognition of the name "Russ." This is further confirmation that the local population was Polish, and that the Ruthenians were nothing more than the powerful group that ruled the region on behalf of their princes.

This argument can be applied to the entire region of Podolia, It is very unlikely that the area surrounding Jazlowiec would a Ruthenian sea surround a Polish island. More evidence is provided by other geographical nomenclature in the region, which developed in the course of Polovtsian migration into the area.

The Polovtsy, another tribe of Turkic nomads, defeated the Pechengs and pushed them towards upper Danube, becoming another threat to Kievian state. They first attacked Kiev's eastern borders in 1061, and in the process made some territorial gains in the south, occupying the areas bordering the Black Sea. Their furthest advance in the west extended their influence as far as the southern area of Podolia, where some of them settled down to a more stable existence. Their threat to Kievian principality ended with their defeat in 1111 at Salnica by the Ruthenian ruler, Vladimir Monomach. This did not, however, remove their physical presence from the areas of their former occupation. They eventually melted into the local population, leaving behind only some geographical names as proof of their inhabitation in southern Podolia.

The Polovtsian names in the local geography are too numerous to list all of them, but for the purpose of analysis, we will examine some of them. In close vicinity of Jazlowiec, and further southeast of the town of Kamieniec Podolski, several names of Lekhian and Polovtsian composition are still visible on local maps. Closely examining some of them, like Koszylowce, Trybuchowce, Petlikowce and others, it is immediately evident that they are comprised of two basic elements: one Turkic-sounding root and the ending of Slavic origin. In direct translation, they mean "Koszyl's sheep","Trybuch's sheep" and "Petlik's sheep", respectively. There is little argument against the fact that the local population generated these geographical names, which was of Polish and Polovtsy origin. In time, as the settlements grew in size, these became the names of the places inhabited by the people of two ethnic groups. "Owce" meaning "sheep" in Polish, is common to all these names, further demonstrating that the population base in this area was of Slavic/Polish origin, which would be Lekhs.

Translation of these names into the Russ, or Ruthenian version - Koszylivci, Trybuchivci and Petlikivci - leads us even more strongly to assume that no Ruthenian contribution can be detected in their formation, as in this version, the names lose their meaning altogether; the ending "ivci" is meaningless in both Polish and Ruthenian. On this basis, we can safely conclude that there geographical names originated with the Lekhs, also indicating that any Ruthenian influence in western Podolia, apart from political domination, was minimal until the end of 12th century.

After 1086, the Red Ruthenia (Grody Czerwienskie) was lost by Poland to the Ruthenians, the question of Polish political domination over the area becoming unclear. However, for more than a century, there was some evidence of periodic and rather superficial return to Polish authority in the Red Ruthenia territory, while there is none to support that the same authority extended to any part of Podolia. War between Wasylko, the Ruthenian prince of Trembowla and the Polish king, Boleslaw Krzywousty, brought no positive resolution to the Polish claims. The victory in 1100 AD of the same king over the combined forces of the Ruthenians and the Polovtsy did not result in recovery of any former Polish territories to the Polish kingdom. The next attempt - the Polish intervention in the internal war between the Ruthenian princes (1118 AD -1123 AD) only temporarily extended the sovereignty of the Polish king over the Principality of Trembowla. Since this area was at the time under Polovtsian control, it is unlikely that Jazlowiec was part of this arrangement between the king and Ruthenian princes.

The division of Red Ruthenia (after disintegration of the Kievian state), into two basic principalities - one in Vohlynia, with the capitol in Wlodzimierz; the other closer to Podole, with the capitol in Halicz (replacing Trembowla), did not affect Polish claims to these territories. For the next sixty years, Polish kings involved themselves in the internal conflicts between the feuding principalities, to recover lands or assert their authority over them, but were generally unsuccessful. A this time, we also are not sure whether the area of Jazlowiec ever shared its history with the Halicz Principality.

Continuous Internal conflicts between the Ruthenian princes fractionalized the original Kievian state into several principalities, which in 1170 AD, reached the incredible number of 72 warring political states. The rulers of Halicz appeared to be the most powerful and successful in imposing their sovereignty over the lesser princes. One of the Halicz princes, Wlodzimirko, managed to establish domination over the region of Trembowla in 1141 AD, extending his political influence to the lower Danube, which included at least western part of Podolia. This would have naturally included the area of Jazlowiec.

His son, Jaroslaw Osmiomysl, increased the borders of his state through military conquest, but also showed some constructive tendencies during his rule. He is credited with improving methods of agriculture, development of towns, and sponsorship of trade and commerce, especially in the region of his original principality. During his reign, the Polish king, Boleslaw Kiedzierzawy, intervened militarily in 1149 AD to increase the boundaries of his land, but the move lacked sound political thought and was therefore a failure. In fact, during his reign, Polish influence in Ruthenian controlled territories diminished considerably.

In the years following Jaroslaw's death in 1187 AD, internal conflict between his sons led to a Hungarian invasion of the Halicz Principality. Their harsh rule created a revolt of the nobility, resulting in the intervention of the Polish king, Kazimierz Sprawiedliwy. After a decisive victory over the Hungarians in 1189 AD, the king managed to extend his influence over the region, but only for a short period of time.

His successor, King Leszek Bialy, provoked by Roman's, the prince of Halicz, invasion of Polish border lands, undertook immediate military action, which ended in total Ruthenian defeat and the death of the prince in 1205 AD But Polish control over this land was soon contested by the Hungarians. After some military hostilities between the two parties, a mutual agreement was reached, providing for Hungarian succession to the throne of the Halicz Principality. The Hungarian King Andrew then declared himself king of Halicz and Wlodzimierz Principalities. If the Hungarian rule extended as far as the western part of Podolia is anybody's guess.

Hungarian rule in Halicz was short-lived. The growing power of the Wlodzimierz Principality under Prince Daniel Romanowicz upset the arrangements between the Hungarian and Polish kings. After defeating the Hungarians, Daniel incorporated Halicz into his territories in 1236 AD, and three years later conquered the Principality of Kiev. Thus, after several years of infighting between Ruthenian princes, the three basic components of the former Kievian state - Halicz, Wlodzimierz and Kiev - were brought back together under the rule of one monarch. Prince Daniel, with the backing of the Vatican, had himself crowned king of the Ruthenian state.

Somewhere between those years, there was a peaceful migration of Armenians into Podole and evidently into the valley of Jazlowiec. Considering that Armenians were primarily urbanites, the fact that they settled in Jazlowiec proves that the local community was already well-established, with the basic characteristics of a town. It would have had to have been an organized municipality with commercial facilities, defensive walls and perhaps a fort of castle for protection of the populace. If there was a fort or castle, it had to have been of wooden construction, for the knowledge of stone building was at that time still in early stage of development. The likely place for such a fort or castle would have been on the hill on which a future stone castle would be constructed. Traces of the wooden structure were discovered several centuries later, during excavation for the foundation of Poniatowski's palace, in close proximity of the castle's site.

Armenians, a nation of a 3,000 year history, migrated to various countries to avoid oppression after the capture of their capitol, Ani, by the Turks in 1064 AD Some of them traveled as far as the Kievian Principality and settled in several towns in that area. In Podolia, their earliest travels brought them to Kamieniec Podolski, Jazlowiec and Lwow, where they took some solid roots. Their arrivals in those places cannot be confined to a specific date, due to the lack of physical evidence, but there seems to be a consensus among historians that by the end of the 12th century, the Armenians were well-established in that region. This approximation of time is apparently quoted in the Armenian Statue, codified in 1519 during the reign of the Polish king, Zygmunt I (Stary). Some Polish chroniclers of later period also recognized this as the point in time when Armenians settled in Podolia.

Although an exact date of their migration in Jazlowiec will remain an unsolved mystery, we do know that after settling in the town, they built a church, private homes and surrounded the place with defensive walls. It is not known to what extent they fortified the town, because very few segments of the walls were in existence prior to World War Two, and it was not certain whether these remains constituted parts of the original Armenian wall. There is a definite reference to the gate they built in the wall, referred to as the "Armenian Gate". According to Armenian source, this was a massive, fortress-like structure that survived until the beginning of the 20th century. At that time, it was ordered torn down by the town's council for safety reasons.

Indications are that the Armenians quickly developed into a sizable and influential autonomous community. According to Polish records, there was by 1250 an Armenian bishopric in Jazlowiec, which proves that the town became one of their important centers in the area, equal to Kamieniec Podolski and Lwow. We can thus presume that their presence contributed greatly to the growth and development of the town.

As happened in other parts of the general area, this relatively small minority exercised a disproportionate influence on the town in a wide range of activities. Their contribution to the development of the town must have been substantial, however, because for many years Jazlowiec was known as the "Armenian town". They naturally engaged in such occupations as merchants and craftsmen, which would foster a good business climate and establish the town as an important post on the East-West trading route. As merchants, they specialized in trade with eastern countries like Persia, Turkey and Arabian countries, introducing oriental wares into Podolia. As craftsmen, they created industries such as weaving, jewelry making, weapon making, stone building and carving, wine making and several other occupations of lesser nature. In Jazlowiec, they were also originators of the yearly trade fairs, which brought merchants from as far away as Arabia, Greece and Turkey. These fairs were held outside the town at what is now the nearby village with the tell-tale name of Bazar (the oriental bazaar).

In those days, Jazlowiec spread out in every direction, especially along the two valleys of Olchowczyk and Jazlowczyk streams. This is evidenced by regional names inside and outside the town, names such as Przedmiescie ("suburbia"), Browary ("brewery), Olchowiec (a name taken from the stream), Gora ("high grounds" and Gubernia ("administrative center"). We know about the existence of the Armenian church and their bishopric, but there is nothing to confirm additional houses of worship of other faiths that certainly had to be in the town prior to the Armenian emigration. Among relics in the town that remained until present times were two Armenian wells, which served as places for washing clothing, one of them still in use until World War Two. Also the ruins of an ancient monastery, known to be in the nearby woods, indicated that the Armenian religious order existed in the town.

While the Ruthenian state was still in a process of consolidation, a new threat arouse in the east. The Mongolians, called Tartars, charged through the open, wide steppes of Eastern Europe, devastating all in their path. After defeating the Polovtsy and pushing them into the region of the upper Dniestr, they turned against the Principality of Kiev. The combined forces of the Ruthenian princes made an initial attempt to stop the Tartar invasion at the Kalka River in 1224. Although their stand was not fully successful, they did put a temporary halt to further aggression by the Tartars. This was only a short-lived pause, however, as sixteen years after the battle, Tartar hordes again appeared at the walls of Kiev, this time conquering the town and razing it to the ground. With western Europe as their goal, they proceeded west, in the process invading the provinces of Daniel Romanowicz in 1241, and destroying major town like Halicz and Trembowla. The fate of Jazlowiec at this time is not known, but it is certain that its wooden castle was burned down in accordance with general Tartar military practices. The town may have remained intact, however, due to good relations between the Armenians and the Tartars. Due to a practice developed in the Crimea, the Armenians at this period of history apparently kept records in the Tartar language.

For the next thirty years of his rule, Prince Daniel tried to keep the state together by fighting or accepting the Tartar rule and paying tribute. Just when his goal seemed to be achieved, and life had become peaceful and stabilized, another invasion came from the east. The Tartars again plundered the country and destroyed all his towns. Prince Daniel himself had to seek refuge, first in Hungary and then in Poland, with his relatives, in the province of Mazowsze. He finally acceded to Tartar rule over his land, and became their vassal.

His son, Prince Lew, who aligned himself with Tartars, invaded the territories of Poland in 1280 with their assistance, while King Leszek Czarny was about to ascend to the throne. The Polish nobility hastily organized their forces and defeated Lew's troops at the town of Goslice. King Leszek Czarny followed the Ruthenians deep into their own country, destroying their forces and taking some border towns. After this decisive defeat, the Ruthenians never again dared to invade the king's territory during his lifetime. Leszek Czarny, ever-mindful of the Tartar involvement in the Ruthenian territories, wisely did not attempt to extend his influence into that land.

From then on events worked in favor of the Poles. Prince Lew's successors adopted a more conciliatory attitude toward Poland, turning their attentions against the continuing Tartar threats from the east. After the last two princes of the Romanowicz dynasty, Andrew and Lew, died in a battle against the Tartars in 1324, the boyars (nobility) called the Polish prince of Mazowsze to the Ruthenian throne. Although this newly-elected ruler was poisoned during an internal friction between Ruthenian nobility, his short rule opened the door to the recovery of Vohlynia and Podolia by Poland.

This period also witnessed radical change in the social system in the areas under Ruthenian domination. Individual freedoms, practiced by the early Slavs, gradually gave way to the absolute power of the rulers, creating the system of social classes and serfdom. While in Poland, the ruling nobility was already in possession of vast territories and enjoyed a wide range of rights and privileges, the boyars in Ruthenia were more or less administrators of the princes' estates and obligated to provide for the defense of the country. In some instances, they revolted against their rulers and eventually developed into an independent political force that the Ruthenian princes had to reckon with. The land, which had once been the property of the ruling prince, was in time acquired by lesser men, who in turn became absolute rulers in their own right.

The most numerous of the population were the villagers, or serf, who at best possessed small plots of land for which they had to pay yearly tributes to the princes or their administrators. In general, the serfs were considered the property of the princes and landlords and were forbidden to leave the land. Even in religious matters, they had to follow the ruler's convictions and be of the same faith. They also bore the brunt of all invasions and were frequently sold as slaves in eastern markets if captured by the invading armies.

The towns at this time were not as numerous and therefore not recognized as an influential part of the social system. Some, populated by foreign ethnic minorities, still enjoyed their autonomous privileges, although subordinated to the laws of the princes. Their social position was much higher than that of the serfs and they basically enjoyed freedom of movement and religion. A typical example would have been Armenians, and most likely, the Jews, whose presence in the area dates back to the 8th century, when they became an influential group among then powerful Khazars.

Due to Kievian influence, the basic religion of the entire Ruthenian region during this time was the Christian Orthodox faith. While in Poland, church leaders and clergy enjoyed exceptional privileges and often influenced state affairs, in Ruthenia, the Orthodox clergy was subjugated to the will of the princes and functioned more or less as part of state administration. With time, their position improved somewhat in proportion to that of the nobility and boyars, and at the end of the Romanowicz dynasty, they had become quite vocal and were often instrumental in the choice of new rulers.

The acquisition of Lekhian lands by the Ruthenians brought some social changes for the Lekhs. As conquered people, they were considered lower-class by the Ruthenians, and, following the practice of the time, were relegated to serf status. Proof of this can be seen in the prejudicial and antagonistic attitudes of the Ruthenians towards the Lekhs throughout the entire period of their domination over the land. It is safe to assume that the Lekhs' traditional ties with the Poles were weakened during this time period, though not completely destroyed.

The Lekhian bond to Poland, which survived in a limited fashion during the Ruthenian domination, has to be considered in the light of religious preferences. We will have to deal with this subject on the basis of assumption, as no viable records that specifically relate to this matter are available. It is possible that some Roman Catholic influence prevailed in the region since the time of the Polish king, Boleslaw the Great, an ardent propagator of the faith. It is known that he had introduced Catholic missionaries into the region, and that their followers may have survived until another Polish king, Boleslaw the Brave, retrieved their lands from Ruthenians. The Catholic religion was definitely reinforced by a new wave of missionaries, whose efforts may have contributed to the attempts of the later Ruthenian prince, Daniel Romanowicz, to seek direct contact with Rome. His leaning towards Rome is a viable proof that the Catholic religion had at that time a solid following among some of his subjects.

Some evidence to that effect is also provided in the records of the Catholic Church in Poland. From these, we learn that the Dominican Order had a monastery in the town of Halicz around the mid-13th century. As this period in time was hardly suitable for missionary work, due to the Tartar invasions, it can be presumed that this mission was set up at much earlier date and might have been an extension of Polish efforts in the prior century. We also know that somewhat later in that century as Roman Catholic church was built in Lwow and that the Polish missionary, Jacek Odrowaz, carried out his work as far as the distant city of Kiev. This in itself is an indication that there were some followers of Catholic teaching in that city, and it is also likely that there were other followers of Roman Catholicism in other towns in the region. From this we cam summarize that during the Ruthenian rule, the Lekhian bonds with Poland were maintained through the Catholic religion. This may also have been true in areas under Tartar control, since in the beginning of the next era, Catholic churches were already in existence in some areas under their domination.