At the beginning of the thirteenth, century the 46-year-old grand prince of Vladimir Vsevolod 111 was at the peak of his career. Six of his eight sons were still alive: Konstantin (15), Yury (12), Yaroslav (10), Vladimir (7), Svyatoslav (4) and Ivan (2).1 His rule extended over the whole of Vladimir-Suzdaiia. As has been seen in the previous chapter, during the last twelve years of his life (1200“ 12), he maintained his position of supremacy, as primus inter pares amongst all the numerous descendants of Vladimir Monomakh and of Oleg of Chernigov, that is he was recognized by all as overlord. In Ryazan1 he kept the distant relatives of the Ol'govichi under the strictest control by vigorously interfering in their affairs and by keeping them at arm’s length from their cousins and western neighbours in Chernigov. Somehow or other he managed to maintain a delicate balance between the warring factions in the south and in the south-west: between Roman of Volynia and Galicia, the powerful RosttslavkM of Smolensk and the at times potentially dangerous Ol'govichi, playing off one against the other with what looks like consummate skill and never allowing too great a concentration of power in the hands of one ruler. - In this he could be compared to the great khans of the Golden Horde in the early fourteenth century, who were to keep a stable equilibrium between Moscow, Tver1 and Lithuania» The only two setbacks in his inter-princely policy occurred in the last years of his life: in 1206 his son Yaroslav was forced to quit Southern Pereyaslavl', which he had held since 1200, and to abandon this the most southerly of all the principalities of the old Kievan realm to the Ol'govichi and later to the Rostislavichi; more serious, he lost control over Novgorod in the winter of 1208-9 when Mstislav the Daring took over the city for the Rostis­ lavichi.