2018, vol. 6, no. 2. Khaydarov T.F., Dolbin D.A.

2018, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 264-282

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22378/2313-6197.2018-6-2.264-282


T.F. Khaydarov 1, D.A. Dolbin 2,3
1 Kazan Federal University
Kazan, Russian Federation

2 Kazan Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology
3 Kazan State Medical University
Kazan, Russian Federation

Abstract: Research objective: To present a new concept of the origin and spread of the “Black Death” in the territory of the Golden Horde, the dependent Russian principalities and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania on the basis of textual analysis of medieval sources in Arabic, Persian, Greek, Latin and Russian, as well as recent advances in the studies of the genome of plague bacteria and climate in the Middle Ages.
Research materials: Published narrative sources in Arabic, Persian, Greek, Latin and Russian; modern research in the field of the “Black Death” by both domestic and foreign authors.
Results and novelty of the research: To date, there is quite a strong misconception about the “Black Death”. Authors made an attempt to comprehend this situation in the territory of the Jochid ulus in an integrative historical retrospective. On the basis of the most up-to-date research, the authors succeeded in theoretically visualizing the process of nucleation and spread of the plague in the territory of the Golden Horde and vassal state formations. Modern researchers have often come to the conclusion that the “Black Death” was a kind of decisive “Rubicon” in the development of medieval communities. However, until now there has been no theoretical interpretation of this situation in the territory of the Jochid ulus. Often, most of the studies published so far continue to reproduce clichés of the 14th–16th centuries. The main such cliché is the complete denial of this historical phenomenon in the territory of the medieval Tatar state.
At the same time, recent studies in the field of genome analysis of plague bacteria have proved that the steppe areas of the Jochid ulus were the region from which the “Black Death” began its rampant spread. Judging by the information of the Russian chronicles, the appearance of plague was not limited to one year. These sources speak of constant outbreaks of plague epidemics that occurred before the beginning of the “Black Death” in the vast Russian Plain. At the same time, the scenario of simultaneous parallel movements of several epidemic diseases that had an animal origin has not been taken into account so far. Therefore, the authors consider it appropriate to talk not so much about the epidemic of the “Black Death” as about the onset of a new historical era – this was a period when modern Russia and ethnic groups living on its territory emerged.

Keywords: “Black Death”, biology of the plague, Theory of the Second Plague Pandemic, most famous plague epidemics in history, climate change, epidemic waves

For citation: Khaydarov T.F., Dolbin D.A. Theoretical Aspects of Understanding the Second Pandemic of the “Black Death” Plague in the Territory of the Jochid Ulus. Zolotoordynskoe obozrenie=Golden Horde Review. 2018, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 264–282. DOI: 10.22378/2313-6197.2018-6-2.264-282


  1. Artyukhin Yu.V. Prirodnye kataklizmy kak odna iz prichin «Velikoy zamyat- ni» v Zolotoy Orde i poyavlenie Azaka [Natural cataclysms as one of the reasons for the “Great Turmoil” in the Golden Horde and the appearance of Azaq]. Bosporskie issledovaniya [Bosporian Studies]. 2009, no. XVI, pp. 314–334. (In Russian)
  2. Akhmetzyanov M. Tatarskie etnonimy po dannym tatarskikh shedzhere [Tatar ethnonyms according to the Tatar shejeres]. Istoriya tatar Zapadnogo Priural’ya. Vol. I: Kochevniki Velikoy stepi v Priural’e. Tatarskie srednevekovye gosudarstva [History of the Tatars of the Western Cis-Ural Region. Vol. I: Nomads of the Great Steppe in the Cis-Ural Region. Tatar medieval states]. Kazan, Sh.Marjani Institute of History of Tatarstan Academy of Sciences Publ., 2016, pp. 448–452. (In Russian)
  3. Barash S.I. Istoriya neurozhaev i pogody v Evropy (po XVI v.n.e) [History of poor harvests and weather in Europe (until the 16th century CE)]. Leningrad, 1989. 237 p. (InRussian)
  4. Bachchi M.L. Demograficheskaya istoriya Evropy [The Demografic History of Europe]. St. Petersburg, 2010. 304 p. (In Russian)
  5. Bogolepov M.A. O kolebaniyakh klimata evropeyskoy Rossii v istoricheskuyu epokhu. S prilozheniem materialov, izvlechennykh iz russkikh letopisey [On the fluctuations of the climate of European Russia during the historical epoch. With the application of materials extracted from the Russian chronicles]. Moscow, 1908. 114 p. (In Russian)
  6. Borisenko E.P., Pasetskiy V.M. Tysyacheletnyaya letopis’ neobychaynykh yavle-niy prirody [The millennial annals of extraordinary natural phenomena]. Moscow, Mysl’ Publ., 1988. 522 p. (In Russian)
  7. Vasil’ev K.G., Segal A.E. Istoriya epidemiy v Rossii [The history of epidemics in Russia]. Moscow, 1960. 397 p.
  8. Volodarskiy Ya.E. Naselenie Rossii za 400 let (XVI – nachalo XX vv.) [The population of Russia for 400 years (16th – the beginning of the 20th century)]. Moscow, Prosveshchenie, 1973. 159 p. (In Russian)
  9. Domaradskiy I.V. Chuma: K 100-letiyu protivochumnoy sluzhby Rossii [The Plague: To the 100th anniversary of Russia’s anti-plague service]. Moscow, Meditsina, 1998. 176 p. (In Russian)
  10. Kramarovskiy M.G. Bogatstvo, khrupkoe kak son. Petrarka o bedakh Skifii [The wealth fragile as a dream. Petrarca about the woes of Scythia]. Antichnaya drevnost’ i srednie veka [Antiquity and the Middle Ages]. 2002, no. 33, pp. 169–186. (In Russian)
  11. Klimenko V.V, Sleptsov A.M. Klimat i istoriya Rossii v IX–XVI vv. [Climate and history of Russia in the 9th–16th centuries]. Available at: http://sleptsov.chat.ru /Climruss.htm (last accessed 11.01.2017). (In Russian)
  12. Kotenev E.S., Dubyanskiy V.M. et al. Istoriya epidemiy chumy na Severnom Kavkaze i sovremennyy epidemicheskiy potentsial prirodnykh ochagov chumy [The history of plague epidemics in the North Caucasus and the current epidemic potential of natural plague foci]. Meditsinskiy vestnik Severnogo Kavkaza [The medical bulletin of the North Caucasus]. 2016, vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 612–616. (In Russian)
  13. Kul’pin-Gubaydullin E.S. Ekologicheskiy kriteriy tsivilizovannosti [The ecological criterion of civilization]. Zolotaya Orda: fenomen stepnoy gorodskoy tsivilizatsii [The Golden Horde: a phenomenon of the steppe urban civilization]. Moscow, 2004, pp. 127–158. (In Russian)
  14. Maksimov A.A. Prirodnye ochagi tulyaremii v SSSR [Natural foci of tularemia in the USSR]. Moscow, Leningrad, Akademiya nauk SSSR, 1960. 290 p. (In Russian)
  15. Naselenie Evropy 1300–1800 godov [The population of Europe from 1300 to 1800]. Available at: http://www.warconflict.ru/rus/new/?action=shwprd&id=1509 (last accessed 11.06.2017). (In Russian)
  16. Naselenie i territoriya Rossii v 1000–1987 [The population of Europe from 1000 to 1987]. Available at: http://www.warconflict.ru/rus/new/?action=shwprd&id=1498 (last accessed 11.06.2017). (In Russian)
  17. Pavlovskiy E.N. Prirodnaya ochagovost’ transmissivnykh bolezney v svyazi s landshaftnoy epidemiologiey zooantroponozov [The natural focality of vector-borne diseases in connection with the landscape epidemiology of zooanthroponoses]. Moscow, 1964. 211 p. (In Russian)
  18. Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisey. Vol. 3: Novgorodskaya pervaya letopis’ [Complete Collection of Russian Chronicles. Vol. 3: Novgorod First Chronicle]. St. Petersburg, 1841. (In Russian)
  19. Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisey [Complete Collection of Russian Chronicles]. Vol. 4. St. Petersburg, 1848. (In Russian)
  20. Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisey [Complete Collection of Russian Chronicles]. Vol. 5. St. Petersburg, 1851. (In Russian)
  21. Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisey [Complete Collection of Russian Chronicles]. Vol. 6. St. Petersburg, 1853. (In Russian)
  22. Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisey. Vol. 6: Sofiyskaya pervaya letopis’ starshego izvoda [Complete Collection of Russian Chronicles. Vol. 6: Sofian First Chronicle of the Elder Izvod]. Moscow, 2000. Is. 1. (In Russian)
  23. Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisey [Complete Collection of Russian Chronicles]. Vol. 11. St. Petersburg, 1897. (In Russian)
  24. Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisey [Complete Collection of Russian Chronicles]. Vol. 12. St. Petersburg, 1901. (In Russian)
  25. Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisey. Vol. 15: Rogozhskiy letopisets [Complete Collection of Russian Chronicles. Vol. 15: Rogozhsky Chronicler]. Petrograd, 1922. (In Russian)
  26. Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisey. Vol. 18: Simeonovskaya letopis’ [Complete Collection of Russian Chronicles. Vol. 18: Simeonovskaya Chronicle]. St. Petersburg, 1913. (In Russian)
  27. Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisey. Vol. 23: Ermolinskaya letopis’ [Complete Collection of Russian Chronicles. Vol. 23: Ermolinskaya Chronicle]. St. Petersburg, 1910. (In Russian)
  28. Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisey. Vol. 24: Tipografskaya letopis’ [Complete Collection of Russian Chronicles. Vol. 24: Tipografskaya Chronicle]. Petrograd, 1921. (In Russian)
  29. Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisey [Complete Collection of Russian Chronicles]. Vol. 31. Moscow, 1968. (In Russian)
  30. Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisey [Complete Collection of Russian Chronicles]. Vol. 34. Leningrad, 1978. (In Russian)
  31. Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisey [Complete Collection of Russian Chronicles]. Vol. 35. Moscow, 1980. (In Russian)
  32. Priselkov M.D. Troitskaya letopis’ [Troitskaya Chronicle]. Moscow, Leningrad, 1950 (In Russian)
  33. Supotnitskiy M.V. Gde skryvaetsya chuma? [Where is the plague hidden?]. Universum. 2005, no. 3, pp. 20–30. (In Russian)
  34. Tizengauzen V.G. Sbornik materialov, otnosyashchikhsya k istorii Zolotoy ordy. Vol. I: Izvlecheniya iz sochineniy arabskikh [Collection of materials related to the Golden Horde’s history. Vol. 1: Extracts from the Arabic writings]. St. Petersburg, 1884. 579 p. (In Russian)
  35. Urlanis B.Ts. Istoricheskaya demografiya: izbrannye trudy [Historical demography: selected works] [otv. red. A.G. Vyazemskiy]. In-t narodnokhozyaystvennogo prognozirovaniya RAN. Moscow, Nauka Publ., 2007. 468 p. (In Russian)
  36. Fasikh Akhmad ibn Jalal al-Din Muhammad al-Havafi. Fasikhov svod [Fasikh’s Codex]. Tashkent, FAN, 1980. (In Russian)
  37. Khaydarov T.F. Epidemiya «Chernoy smerti» v russkikh knyazhestvakh i v Zo-lotoy Orde (1345/46 – 1430): predposylki i posledstviya [The epidemic of the “Black Death” in the Russian principalities and the Golden Horde (1345/46 – 1430): the prerequisites and consequences]. Istorijcki chasopis [The Historical Review]. 2015, vol. LXIV, pp. 9–42. (In Russian)
  38. Khaydarov T.F. Rubikon Zolotoy Ordy [Rubikon of the Golden Horde]. Zoloto­ordynskoe obozrenie = Golden Horde Review. 2016, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 314–335. (In Russian)
  39. Khaydarov T.F., Dolbin D.A. Vtoraya pandemiya chumy v Zoltoy Orde i ee po-sledstviya [The Second Plague Pandemic in the Golden Horde and Its Consequences]. Zolotoordynskoe obozrenie=Golden Horde Review. 2014, no. 4, pp. 96–112. (In Russian)
  40. Chizhevskiy A.L. Epidemicheskie katastrofy i periodicheskaya deyatel’nost’ Solntsa [Epidemic catastrophes and periodic activity of the Sun]. Moscow, 1930. (In Russian)
  41. Chuma verblyudov pestis camelorum. Available at: http://zhivotnovodstvo.net.ru /maloizvestnye-zaraznye-bolezni-zhivotnyh/1986-chuma-verblyudov-pestis-camelorum.html (last accessed 01.09.2017). (In Russian)
  42. Shamil’oglu Yu. Izmenenie klimata v Tsentral’noy Evrazii i Zolotoy Orde [Climate change in Central Eurasia and the Golden Horde]. Zolotaya Orda v mirovoy istorii [The Golden Horde in World History]. Kazan, Sh. Marjani Institute of History of Tatarstan Academy of Sciences, 2016, pp. 665–678. (In Russian)
  43. Eyger Ya.B. Istoriya i sovremennoe sostoyanie voprosa o bubonnoy chume [The history and current state of the bubonic plague issue]. St. Petersburg, 1897. 74 p. (In Russian)
  44. Benedictow O.J. The Black Death 1346–1352: the complete history. Woodbrige, 2004. 433 p.
  45. Bjoern P.Z., Dunkelberg H. The History of the Plague and research on the causa-tive agent Yersinia pestis. International Journal of the Hygiene and Evironmental Health. 2004, no. 207, pp. 165–158. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1078/1438-4639-00259
  46. Campbell B.M.S. The Great Transition: Climate, Disease and Society in the Late-Medieval World. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2016. 463 p. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/envhis/emx030
  47. Chwolson D. Grabinschriften aus Semirjetschie. Neue Folge. Herausgegen und er-klaert von D. Chwolson. Mit vier Phorotypischen Taffeln. St. Petersburg, 1897. 62 p. (In German)
  48. Comez J.M., Verdu M. Network theory may explain the vulnerability of medieval human settlements to the Black Death pandemic. Scientific Reports. 2017, no. 7. URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5338018/ (last accessed: 01.09.2017). DOI: 10.1038/srep43467
  49. Cui Y., Yu C., Yan Y., Li D., et al. Historical Variations in Mutation Rate in an Epidemic Pathogen. Yersinia pestis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. 2013, vol. 110, №. 2, pp. 577–582. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1205750110
  50. Dols M.W. The Black Death in the Middle East. New Jersey, Princeton University press, 1977. 390 p.
  51. Green M.H. Taking “Pandenic” seriously: making the Black Death global. Pan-demic disease in the medieval world. Kalamazoo and Bradford, 2015, vol. 1, pp. 27–61.
  52. Langer L.N. The Black Death in Russia: Its Effects upon Urban Labor. Russian History. 1975, vol. 2, pp. 53–67.
  53. Langer L.N. Plague and the Russian Countryside: Monastic Estates in the Late Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries. Canadian-American Slavic Studies. 1976, vol. 10, pp. 351–368.
  54. Rasmussen S., Allentoft M.E. et al. Early Divergent Strains of Yersinia pestis in Eurasia 5,000 Years ago. Cell. 2015, no. 163, pp. 571–582. DOI: http://dx.doi.org /10.1016/j.cell.2015.10.009
  55. Schamiloglu U. Preliminary Remarks on the Role of Disease in the History of the Golden Horde. Central Asian Survey. 1993, no. 12(4), pp. 447–457.
  56. Schamiloglu U. The Impact of the Black Death on the Golden Horde: Politics, Economy, Society, Civilization. Zolotoordynskoe obozrenie=Golden Horde Review. 2017, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 325–343. DOI: 10.22378/2313-6197.2017-5-2.325-343
  57. Schmid B.V., Buentgen U., et al. Climate-driven introduction of the Black Death and successive plague reintroductions into Europe. PNSA. 2015, vol. 112, no. 10, pp. 3020–3025. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1412887112
  58. Spyrou A.M., Tukhabatova R., et al. Historical Y. pestis Genomes Reveal the Euro­pean Black Death as the Source of Ancient and Modern Plague Pandemics. Cell Host & Mic­robe. 2016, vol. 19, pp. 874–881. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2016.05.012

About the authors: Timur F. Khaydarov – Cand. Sci. (History), Associate Professor, Kazan Federal University, ORCHID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1909-5727 (18b, Kremlevskaya Str., Kazan 420008, Russian Federation). E-mail: timkh2000@yandex.ru

Dmitry A. Dolbin – Cand. Sci. (Biology), Senior Research Fellow at the Laboratory of Immunology and development allergens, Kazan Scientific Research Institute of Epidemio­logy and Microbiology (67, Bolshaya Krasnaya Str., Kazan 420015, Russian Federation); Assistant at the Department of biochemistry, Kazan State Medical University (49, Butlerov Str., Kazan 420012, Russian Federation). E-mail: dda_sns@mail.ru

Received  February 10, 2018   Accepted for publication  May 30, 2018
Published online   June 29, 2018