Battle of Shelon

Battle of Shelon River
Part of the "Gathering of the Russian Lands"
Date14 July 1471
Location
ResultDecisive Novgorodian defeat
Belligerents
Nowogród.svg Novgorod RepublicCoat of arms of Russia (XV Century).svgGrand Duchy of Moscow
Commanders and leaders
Dmitry Isakevich BoretskyDaniil Kholmsky
Strength
ca. 30,0005,000
Casualties and losses
ca. 15,000 killed, 2,000 capturedunknown

The Battle of Shelon (Russian: Шелонская битва) was a decisive battle between the forces of the Grand Duchy of Moscow under Ivan III (r. 1462–1505) and the army of the Novgorod Republic, which took place on the Shelon River on 14 July 1471. Novgorod suffered a major defeat and ended with the de facto unconditional surrender of the city. Novgorod was absorbed by Muscovy in 1478.

Background

The clash between the Muscovy and the Novgorod Republic was a continuation of the conflict between them going back into the late 14th century. This particular episode was caused by Novgorod's violation of the Treaty of Yazhelbitsy (1456) signed between Grand Prince Vasily II and the Novgorodian delegation headed by Archbishop Evfimy II. In particular, the treaty limited Novgorod's ability to conduct its own foreign affairs and gave the Grand Prince of Moscow more control over the city (he controlled the city's seals and became the court of higher instance for the Novgorodian courts). When the Novgorodians turned to Poland–Lithuania for help in limiting Moscow's growing power, Ivan III and the metropolitan accused them not only of political treachery, but of attempting to abandon Eastern Orthodoxy and go over to the Catholic Church. A draft treaty between Novgorod and the Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland, Casimir IV Jagiellon (r. 1440–1492), said to have been found in a cache of documents after the battle of Shelon, made it clear that the Lithuanian Grand Prince was not to interfere with the election of the archbishop of Novgorod or the Orthodox faith in the city (by building Catholic churches in the city for example.)[1]