In 914, Igor conquered the Drevlyans and imposed on them a larger tribute than before. When the Pechenegs appeared on the southeastern borders of Rus in 915, Igor preferred to first conclude a peace treaty, but in 920, he led a military campaign against them.
The chronicles of his reign have many gaps. The next event was marked his war with Byzantium in 941-944. The campaign to Constantinople in 941 was unsuccessful, but in 943, Igor gathered such a large army that the Byzantine emperor preferred to pay tribute, and in 944, a new peace treaty was concluded.
In the fall of 945, at the request of his retinue, Igor went for tribute to the Drevlyans, and during the campaign, his retinue used violence against the locals. After the end of the campaign, the prince sent the retinue home and decided to return and collect more tribute. The outraged Drevlyans killed Igor, tying him to two bent trees and tearing him in half.
Description of the rule of Kiev
by Prince Igor Rurikovich
Until 912, the appointed by Igor’s father to perform the duties of regent and guardian, Oleg the Prophet, was the de facto ruler.
Igor’s reign from 912 to 945 was less eventful than that of his predecessor, Oleg the Prophet. Overall, Igor tried to keep the state he inherited in obedience and expand his power over still unconquered tribes.
Briefly about the essence and directions of foreign policy
In foreign policy, Prince Igor Rurikovich continued the initiatives of his mentor Oleg the Prophet: first, he forced the Drevlyans who had refused to pay tribute after Oleg’s death to pay again, then he sent his voivode Sveneld to conquer the Ugliches (Uliches).
Until 941, the chronicles do not mention anything significant, but then Igor decided to march on Tsargrad – the Greeks had not sent the tribute due under the peace treaty for several years. The campaign was unsuccessful – in a naval battle, Byzantine ships were able to destroy a large number of Russian ships with Greek fire.
By 943, a huge army had gathered under Igor’s banners, and they traveled over land and rivers to the territory of Bulgaria, where they were met by Byzantine envoys. The ruler of Constantinople, learning about the number of troops that had advanced with Igor, preferred to avoid bloodshed and make peace, paying tribute for the past years. In 944, a new peace was concluded.
Table “main events of foreign policy”
|915||For the first time, the Pechenegs appeared on the borders of Rus. Igor made peace with them and let them pass to the Danube.|
|920||Igor went on acampaign against the Pechenegs|
|937-940||on Igor’s orders, his voivode Sveneld besieged Peresecen for three years and, as a result, subjugated the tribe of Uglichs (Ulichs), imposing on them a tribute similar to that of the Drevlyans.|
|941||War with Byzantium began: Igor’s first unsuccessful campaign against Constantinople resulted in a defeat on land and the destruction of the Rus fleet at sea by the Byzantines using “Greek fire.”|
|943||Igor gathered a huge army for a second campaign against Constantinople. The Byzantine emperor sent envoys with gifts to meet the Rus army and offered peace.|
|944/945||Igor and the Byzantine envoys made peace in Kiev and signed a new treaty.|
During the reign of Prince Igor Rurikovich, in addition to the events listed below, two so-called “Caspian campaigns of the Rus” took place in 913/914 and 943/944. The chronicles do not describe these campaigns and do not provide explicit indications of the direct or indirect involvement of the prince.
Brief overview of domestic policy:
After Oleg’s death, the Drevlyans refused to pay tribute, but the following year Igor led a campaign against them and forced them to submit. Then, at his command, the voivode Sveneld subdued the Ulichi and was given the right to collect tribute from the new tribe, after which he was tasked with collecting tribute from the Drevlyans, which caused envy among Igor’s warriors.
At the end of his reign, giving in to the demands of his retinue, he tried to collect tribute from the Drevlyans himself, but due to his own greed, he was killed during an uprising by the tribe.
Results and consequences of the reign
Prince Igor Rurikovich’s activities were highly valued by his descendants, which is not surprising if we briefly summarize his main achievements:
- The Drevlyans were forced by force to pay tribute again.
- The beginning of the confrontation with the Pechenegs.
- The first campaign to Constantinople in 941 was unsuccessful, but the result of the second campaign in 943 was a new peace treaty with Byzantium in 944.
- The Byzantine emperor resumed tribute payments.
- The new treaty limited Russia’s claims to Chersonese and required the protection of Byzantine possessions in Crimea from the Bulgarians.
- Rus’ and Byzantium pledged to help each other with troops upon request.
- The Russes were obliged not to interfere with Greek fishermen at the mouth of the Dnieper, and they themselves were not allowed to winter there, as well as in Beloberezhie and near St. Euphemia.
- Unlike Byzantium’s agreement with Oleg, the Russes no longer had the right to duty-free trade in Constantinople.
- The Ulchians tribe was subdued and paid tribute.
- The voivode Sveneld was entrusted with collecting tribute from the Drevlyans and Ulchians.
- When attempting to collect tribute from the Drevlyans again, Igor was killed.
Family and Personal Life
of 12, a girl was already considered an adult.. This date is in doubt because, according to the Hypatian Chronicle of the same “Tale,” their son Svyatoslav was born only in 942.
There is another versionStepennaya book (“Book of degrees”, the
second half of the 16th century), according to which Igor accidentally met Olga during a crossing over the river near Pskov, fell in love, and when it was time to look for a bride, did not want any other wife.
According to the chronicle, in 945, Prince Igor was killed by the Drevlyans after repeated collection of tribute from them. The heir to the throne, Svyatoslav, was only three years old at the time, so in 945, Olga became the de facto ruler of Rus.
The chronicles mention the existence of other wives of Igor and their names are not mentioned.
920/942 — 972
Svyatoslav’s mother, Princess Olga, largely ruled Kievan Rus, first because of Svyatoslav’s youth, and then because of his constant military campaigns. The campaigns he conducted against the Khazars, Bulgars, and Byzantines marked a wide arc around the strengthening of Kievan Rus. Upon returning from the campaign against Bulgaria, Svyatoslav died in battle against the Pechenegs in 972.
Gleb (or Uleb) Igorovich – is only known from V.N. Tatishchev’s Ioakimovskaya Chronicle, the accuracy of which is doubted by many historians. Very little is known about his life and activities. The Ioakimovskaya Chronicle calls Gleb the only brother of the Grand Prince of Kyiv, Svyatoslav. V. N. Tatishchev – “Russian History”, book 1, chapter 4, section “G”. M.Yu. Braichevsky proposed two versions of his relationship with the Kyiv princes: either he was the youngest son of Igor and Olga or a cousin of Svyatoslav.
And Igor listened to them – he went to the Drevlians for tribute and added a new one to the old one, and his men committed violence against them.“Tale of Bygone Years”
After collecting the tribute, Igor decided to release most of his accompanying warriors and collect the tribute again with a small retinue:
«Go home with the tribute, and I will return and go again».Ibid
When the prince ignored the request to leave and not collect the tribute again, the Drevlians came out of Iskorosten and killed most of Igor’s men, and then, in front of a few survivors, tied the prince to two bent trees and tore him in half.Leo the Deacon “History”
Kievan Rus after Igor
Svyatoslav Igorovich, who had grown up, paid more attention to campaigns, leaving the responsibility for domestic policy on his mother’s shoulders.
The image in the culture and memory of generations
The personality of Igor left a mark on the history of modern Russia and Ukraine. Over the centuries, various paintings and engravings have been created describing various episodes from the prince’s life.
- According to the customs of that era, from the age of 12, a girl was already considered an adult.
- Stepennaya book (“Book of degrees”, the second half of the 16th century)
- V. N. Tatishchev – “Russian History”, book 1, chapter 4, section “G”
- “Tale of Bygone Years”
- Leo the Deacon “History”