Shvarn Daniilovich
Grand Duke of Lithuania
Reign 1267–1269
Predecessor Vaišvilkas
Successor Traidenis
Born c. 1230
Halych (now Ukraine)
Died c. 1269
Kholm (modern Chełm, Poland)
Spouse NN (sister of Vaišvilkas, daughter of King Mindaugas)
House Rurik
Father Daniel of Galicia
Mother Anna Mstislavna of Novgorod (daughter of Mstislav Mstislavich the Bold)

Shvarn or Shvarno Daniilovich (Lithuanian: Švarnas, Ukrainian: Шварно Данилович;[1] c. 1230 – c. 1269), was the knyaz of western parts of Galicia (1264 – c. 1269) and Grand Duke of Lithuania (1267 – c. 1269). An influential leader, he became involved in internal struggles of power within neighboring Grand Duchy of Lithuania. He also held the town of Kholm (modern Chełm, Poland) in his domain.


Little is known of Shvarn and even his name is not entirely certain. The original documents relating to this ruler are scarce and mention him under a variety of names. For instance the first edition of Lithuanian Annals mentions him as Shkvarno, but the following editions use the names of Skirmont and Skirmunt, possibly a Ruthenisation of Lithuanian name Skirmantas.[2] Contemporary sources also mention his Christian name of Ioann (Іоанн), that is either John or George.[3] In modern times the ruler is known by a variety of names in various historiographies, including Lithuanian Švarnas,[4] Ukrainian Шварно Данилович, Russian and Belarusian Шварн, and Polish Szwarno Daniłowicz. All of them are versions of the name of Shvarn, which is likely to be a diminutive of the Slavic name of Svaromir.[5]


One of the sons of king Daniel I of Galicia of the house of Romanovich,[6] Shvarn inherited the north-western parts of the Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia, his fathers' domain. This land included the town of Halicz itself, as well as the land across the Bug River, that is Red Ruthenia with the towns of Bełz, Czerwieńa, Mielnik, Drohiczyn and eventually also Kholm (since 1264).[7] His brother Lev I inherited the southern part of the land, with the cities of Lviv and Przemyśl, while Roman became the heir of duchies of Lutsk and Terebovl.[7]

During the times of king Daniel's reign, the Galician lords were allied with their Polish neighbours against a common threat, the Lithuanian tribes that often raided the neighbouring lands for loot and plunder. However, in 1255 (or the previous year) Shvarn married an unnamed daughter of Mindaugas, since 1253 the first (and only) king of Lithuania.[8] This allied him to Lithuania and together the two rulers undertook numerous military campaigns against the Kingdom of Poland. Already in 1255 they raided Lublin, in 1262 a major campaign against Masovia was started. Shvarn and Treniota captured the city of Płock and besieged Shvarn's brother-in-law, Siemowit I of Masovia in Jazdów (modern Warsaw). In the end Siemowit was killed by Shvarn's troops and his son Konrad II was taken prisoner. The Polish relief force did not arrive in time and was later defeated in a battle at Długosiodło on August 5, 1262.[9]

In 1264 king Daniel of Galicia died and Shvarn received nominal overlordship over all of Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia as its duke. Immediately he mounted a major campaign against Poland, this time aiming for Lesser Poland.[10] However, although joint armies managed to plunder Skaryszew, Tarczek and Wiślica, this time the campaign was less successful and the allied Ruthenian and Lithuanian armies were repelled. The Yotvingian auxiliaries were defeated by Bolesław V the Chaste at the Battle of Brańsk.[9] The following year Bolesław mounted a counter-offensive against Shvarn and his uncle Vasilko Romanovich, and defeated the earlier on June 19, 1266 at Wrota.[9] This weakened Shvarn's position in his own domain.

In the meantime in 1263 Mindaugas of Lithuania was murdered. In the chaos that followed Mindaugas' assassination, the lands of the Grand Duchy were in disarray, with both local and foreign rulers struggling for power. Shvarn gave his support to Vaišvilkas, one of Mindaugas' sons and his brother-in-law. Together they managed to depose Treniota and expel Dovmont all the way to Pskov. After Vaišvilkas returned to monastic life in 1267,[11] Shvarn became the new Grand Duke. No details are known about Shvarn's rule over Lithuania[11] and he probably did not gain a strong foothold in that country.[12] However, he was apparently fairly successful in expanding his borders. Following successful military campaigns, in 1267 he defeated his brother Mstislav in the battle of the Yaselda River and captured Turov and Pinsk.[2] He then campaigned against the Volga Tatars and defeated khan Balaklay in the battle of Kojdanow (modern Dzyarzhynsk, Belarus), which allowed Shvarn to capture the towns of Mozyr, Chernigov, Karachev and Starodub.[2] The struggle for power within Lithuania however continued. Before a clear winner could emerge, Shvarm died in Kholm (nowadays Chełm, Poland) some time between 1269 and 1271. He was buried in an Orthodox Cathedral that once stood on a place now occupied by the Basilica of the Birth of the Virgin Mary. After his death most of his lands reverted to Lithuania[13] and came under control of Traidenis, a noble from Lithuanian Highlands.

See also


a.^ The capital of the land of Red Ruthenia (Czerwień Towns, or Grody Czerwieńskie in Polish). Its location remains unknown and disputed, possibly it was located where the village of Czermno stands today.


  1. Dimnik, Martin (1981). Mikhail, Prince of Chernigov and Grand Prince of Kiev 1224-1246. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. p. 220. ISBN 9780888440525.
  2. 1 2 3 Oleg Łatyszonek (2006). Od Rusinów Białych do Białorusinów : u źródeł białoruskiej idei narodowej (in Polish). Białystok: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu w Białymstoku. pp. 270–271. ISBN 978-83-7431-120-5.
  3. various authors; Hieronim Grala (1985). "Chrzestne imię Szwarna Daniłowicza. Ze studiów nad dyplomatyką południoworuską XIII i XIV w.". In Leszek Jaśkiewicz; et al. Słowiańszczyzna i dzieje powszechne. Studia ofiarowane Profesorowi Ludwikowi Bazylowowi w siedemdziesiątą rocznicę Jego urodzin (in Polish). Warsaw: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe. pp. 197–220. ISBN 83-01-05859-5. LCC DJK40 .S56 1985
  4. various authors (2004). Vytautas Spečiunas, ed. Lietuvos valdovai (XIII-XVIII a.) [Rulers of Lithuania (13-18th centuries)] (in Lithuanian). Vilnius: Mokslo ir enciklopediju leidybos institutas. p. 25. ISBN 5-420-01535-8.
  5. Jeremiah Curtin (2010). The Mongols in Russia (reprint ed.). Forgotten Books. pp. 327–329. ISBN 978-0-217-35771-5.
  6. Jerzy Krzysztof Horwat (2005). Książęta górnośląscy z dynastii Piastów: uwagi i uzupełnienia genealogiczne (in Polish). Ruda Śląska: Drukarnia Archidiecezjalna. pp. 34–35. ISBN 83-922482-3-6.
  7. 1 2 Antoni Mironowicz (2003). Kościół prawosławny w państwie Piastów i Jagiellonów (in Polish). Białystok: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu w Białymstoku. pp. 103–107. ISBN 83-89031-39-6.
  8. Artūras Dubonis (2005). "Belated Praise for King Mindaugas of Lithuania". Mindaugo knyga: istorijos šaltiniai apie Lietuvos karalių. Transl. by Darius Baronas. Vilnius: Lithuanian Institute of History. pp. 17–22. ISBN 9986-780-68-3. Archived from the original on 26 October 2008.
  9. 1 2 3 Piotr Bunar; Stanisław A. Sroka (2004). Słownik wojen, bitew i potyczek w średniowiecznej Polsce (in Polish). Cracow: Universitas. ISBN 83-242-0397-4.
  10. various authors; Brygida Kürbisówna (1965). Aleksander Gieysztor, ed. Kronika wielkopolska (in Polish). Warsaw: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe. p. 283.
  11. 1 2 Paweł Jasienica (1990). Myśli o dawnej Polsce (in Polish). Warsaw: Czytelnik. p. 187. ISBN 83-07-01957-5.
  12. Zigmas Kiaupa (2002). The history of Lithuania. Transl. by S. C. Rowell. Vilnius: Baltos lankos. p. 37. ISBN 9955-429-75-5.
  13. John Lister Illingworth Fennell (1983). The crisis of medieval Russia, 1200-1304. London: Longman. p. 144. ISBN 978-0-582-48150-3.
Preceded by
Grand Prince of Lithuania
Succeeded by
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