Mission of the INFO.FAN
Головна » Yaroslav the Wise » Biography » Exhortation to sons
14 мин

In 1054, Yaroslav the Wise, if we consider the approximate date of birth of Yaroslav 978, was about 76 years old. He left the state to be managed by his own sons, and he understood that discord between them could destroy the well-being of Kievan Rus. He knew this from his own example – how, after the death of Prince Svyatoslav, his son Vladimir entered into a devastating internecine war with the brothers Oleg and Yaropolk. And Yaroslav, after the death of Vladimir in 1015, began a war with Svyatopolk, until the death of his brother in 1019.

Feeling the approach of death, Yaroslav called his children and wanted to prevent any strife between them with a prudent instruction.

Yaroslav’s Exhortation to his sons, 1054. Lithograph by B.A. Chorikov. 1836 year
Yaroslav’s Exhortation to his sons, 1054. Lithograph by B.A. Chorikov. 1836 year

Exhortation text

“Soon I will not be in the world, – he said, – you, the children of the same father and mother, should not only be called brothers, but also love each other sincerely. Know that internecine strife, disastrous for you personally, will destroy the glory and greatness of the State founded by the happy labors of our fathers and grandfathers. Your peace and harmony will confirm his power. Izyaslav, the elder brother, will take my place and sit on the throne of Kiev: obey him, as you obeyed your father. I give the city of Chernigov to Svyatoslav, I give the city of Pereyaslavl to Vyacheslav, I give the city of Smolensk to Vyacheslav: let each one be satisfied with his part, or let your elder brother judge you as the Sovereign! He will protect the oppressed and punish the guilty”.

Below is the text for those who wish to read the original version of Yaroslav the Wise’s Exhortations to his sons:

В лѣт̑ . ҂s҃ . ф . ѯ҃в . [6562 (1054)] Престависѧ великъıи кнѧзь Русьскъıи Ӕрославъ . и єще бо живущю ѥму . нарѧди сн҃ъı своӕ рекъ имъ . се азъ ѿхожю свѣта сего сн҃ве мои . имѣите в собѣ любовь . понеже въı єсте брат̑ӕ єдиного ѡц҃а и мт҃ре . да аще будете в любви межю собою . Бъ҃ будеть в васъ . и покоривыть въı противнъıӕ подъ въı. и будете мирно живуще . аще ли будете ненавидно живуще. в распрѧхъ и которающесѧ то погъıбнете самї . [и] [погубите] землю ѡц҃ь своихъ и дѣдъ своихъ иже налѣзоша трудомь своимь великъıмъ . но пребъıваите мирно послушающе брат̑ брата . се же поручаю в со|бе мѣсто столъ старѣишему сн҃у моєму и брату вашему Изѧславу Къıєвъ . сего послушаите ӕко послушасте мене . да то въı будеть в мене мѣсто . а Ст҃ославу даю Черниговъ . а Всеволоду Переӕславль . [а Игорю Володимерь] а Вѧчеславу Смолинескъ . и тако раздѣли имъ градъı . заповѣдавъ имъ не преступати предѣла братнѧ . ни сгонити рекъ Изѧславу . аще кто хощеть ѡбидѣти брата своѥго . то тъı помагаи ѥгоже обидѧть . и тако үрѧди сн҃ъı своӕ пребъıвати в любви . самому же болну сущю . и пришедшю Въıшегороду разболѣсѧ велми . Изѧславу тогда сущю. а Ст҃ославу Володимери. Все[во]лоду же тогда сущю у ѡц҃ѧ . бѣ бо любимъ ѡц҃емь паче всеє братьи . є же имѧше присно ү собе .

Цитируется по: ПСРЛ. — Т. 1. Лаврентьевская летопись. — Л., 1926

Historians’ comments

Here are the explanations of well-known historians regarding the content and meaning of the instruction of Yaroslav the Wise, as well as the further fate of his children:

“After the death of Yaroslav I, the reign of the whole family was established in Russia for a long time; at that time, the areas occupied by the first Varangian-Russian princes were divided between two lines, or tribes of the Rurik family: the first line was the offspring of Izyaslav, the eldest son of St. Vladimir.

We saw that this Izyaslav’s father gave the Principality of Polotsk, the parish of his maternal grandfather Rogvolod. Izyaslav died during the life of his father, not being the eldest in the family, or the Grand Prince, therefore, his offspring could not move towards seniority, change the volost, and therefore had to be limited to one Polotsk volost, which was approved for him under Yaroslav.

The second line was the offspring of Yaroslav Vladimirovich, who began to own all the other Old Russian regions. After the death of Yaroslav, five sons remained: the eldest of them, Izyaslav, became the father’s place with the other brothers; younger brothers were: Svyatoslav, Vsevolod, Vyacheslav, Igor; they also had a nephew Rostislav, the son of the eldest Yaroslavich, Vladimir; this Rostislav, also due to the premature death of his father, could not hope to receive seniority; he himself and his offspring had to confine themselves to one of some volost, which fate or older relatives would give them.

The Yaroslavichi disposed of their tribal volosts in this way: four elders brother settled in the Dnieper region, three in the south: Izyaslav – in Kyiv, Svyatoslav – in Chernigov, Vsevolod – in Pereyaslavl, the fourth, Vyacheslav, set up his home in Smolensk, the fifth, Igor – in Vladimir-Volynsky.

As for the regions farthest from the Dnieper in the north and east, we see that Novgorod finally became dependent on Kyiv; the entire region to the east of the Dnieper, including up to Murom, on the one hand, and Tmutarakan, on the other, became dependent on the princes of Chernigov; Rostov, Suzdal, Beloozero and the Volga region – from the princes of Pereyaslav.

We said definitively, because Beloozero, for example, belonged at one time to Svyatoslav; Rostov also did not suddenly go to Vsevolod Pereyaslavsky: the Yaroslavichi gave it first to their nephew, Rostislav Vladimirovich.

So Yaroslav’s offspring owned the Old Russian regions. But one of the sons of St. Vladimir, Sudislav, languishing in prison for 22 years, where he was imprisoned by his brother Yaroslav. In 1058, the nephews freed the forgotten, apparently childless and therefore harmless old man, taking, however, an oath from him not to start anything reprehensible for them. “

Quoted from: Solovyov S. M. “History of Russia from ancient times”

«Having received what everyone got according to the division, did they remain permanent owners of the areas they inherited and how were their areas inherited? I just mentioned Yaroslav’s dying will. You probably read it in high school, and I don’t repeat it. It is paternally sincere, but very poor in political content; one involuntarily asks oneself whether the chronicler speaks here through the mouth of Yaroslav.

Among the instructions to sons to remain in love with each other, only two indications of the further order of relations between the heir brothers can be caught. Having listed the cities assigned to each, the testament inspires the younger brothers to obey the elder, as they obeyed their father: “… yes, you will be in my place.” Then the father said to the eldest son: “If a brother offends a brother, you help the offended one”

That’s all. But there are two important additions to this will. In the legend about Boris and Gleb, the monk Jacob, already known to us, we read that Yaroslav left not all five of his sons, but only three older ones, as heirs and successors to his throne.

This is a well-known norm of tribal relations, which later became one of the foundations of parochialism. According to this norm, in a complex family consisting of brothers with their families, i.e., from uncles and nephews, the first, powerful generation consists of only three older brothers, and the rest, younger brothers are relegated to the second, subject generation, are equated with nephews: according to the local account, the eldest nephew to the fourth uncle a mile away, and the father of the nephew was considered among the uncles.

Then the chronicler, having told about the death of the third Yaroslavich, Vsevolod, remembered that Yaroslav, loving him more than his other sons, told him before his death:

“If God will allow you to accept the authority of my throne after your brothers with truth, and not with violence, then when death comes to you, order them to put your body where I will lie, near my tomb.”

So, Yaroslav clearly imagined the order that his sons would follow after him in the occupation of the Kyiv table: this is the order in order of seniority. »

Quoted from: V. O. Klyuchevsky “Course of Russian history. Lecture XI.”

Section “Yaroslav the Wise”

Rate this article - help the project
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

Опубликовано: 14.08.2022
Изменено: 14.08.2022