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The Brodnici (or Brodniks) were a 13th-century people whose ethnicity is uncertain, as various authors suggest they were Romanian, Slavic, mixed Romanian-Jassic, Romanian-Slavic, or Turkic-Slavic population, probably vassals of Galicia for a period. Brodnici did not leave any provable material or written traces, which makes their identification difficult. The only known contemporary ethnical description of Brodnici ("Bordinians") is by Byzantian chronicler Niketas Choniates in his History, who describes them as a branch of "Tauroscythians," and this term he seems to apply to the Rus people drawing a distinction of them from Turkic Polovtsians and from Vlachs.

The territory of Brodnici consisted of the southwestern part of today's Ukrainemarker Budjak and the southern part of today's Vrancea and Galaţi counties of Romania, and probably the coastline between the Dniestermarker and the Dnieper.

In some opinions, the name, as used by foreign chronicles, means a person in charge of a ford (water crossing) in Slavic language (cf. Slavic brod - "ford"). The probable reason for the name is that the territory of the Brodniks constituted the link between the mountain passes in the Carpathians and the mouths of the Danube, having a major economical importance, assuring the access to the Genovesemarker colonies. According to other opinions, their name is related to Slavic бродить ("to wander"), probably referring to the nomadic way of life of this population.

They were the neighbours of another mediæval Romanian population of what was to become the Principality of Moldavia, namely the Vlachs, situated to the north.

In 1216 they were in the service of the knyaz of Suzdal.

In 1222, the Hungarian king Andrew II gave the "Burzenland" to the Teutonic Knights, delimiting it by the land of the Brodnici. A Papal bull of Pope Honorius III confirmed the charter in the same year; however, in the copy approved by the Vatican, "Brodnicorum" was replaced by "Blacorum" (i.e., "Vlachs" in Latin). While some historians believe that this shows that the terms were equivalent, others claim that this was just an error. The latter base their claim on the fact that the two terms were used together in several Hungarianmarker documents, very unusual if referring to the same population.

The Novgorod First Chronicle says that in 1223 the Brodnici took part in the Battle of Kalkamarker on the side of Mongols ("Tatars"). After this date, they disappeared from Russianmarker sources.

In August 1227 Pope Gregory IX wrote a letter to the bishop of Esztergommarker instructing him to convert to Christianity "in Cumania et Bordinia terra illis vicina".

A November 11, 1250 letter of king Béla IV of Hungary to Pope Innocent IV says that Tatars imposed tribute onto the countries neighboring with his kingdom: "que ex parte Orientis cum regno nostro conterminantur, sicut Ruscia, Cumania, Brodnici, Bulgaria".


  • Ghyka, Matila, A Documented Chronology of Roumanian History, Oxford: B. H. Blackwell Ltd. 1941.

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