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The brothers and sisters of Yaroslav the Wise are very numerous, which is not surprising – his father, Vladimir the Baptist, was very loving both before and after the adoption of Christianity. In total, more or less reliably, we can talk about 15 of his children from different wives. A sad fate awaited most of them – after the death of Prince Vladimir, his sons began to fight each other for the right to primacy in government, as a result of which many were killed.
The battle between the brothers Yaroslav and Svyatopolk near Lyubech (1016). Radziwill Litopis.
The battle between the brothers Yaroslav and Svyatopolk near Lyubech (1016). Radziwill Litopis.

children of Vladimir and Rogneda

Izyaslav I Vladimirovich

Izyaslav I Vladimirovich
Izyaslav I Vladimirovich

(980/981 — 1001)

The eldest son of Vladimir the Baptist and Rogneda became the ancestor of the dynasty of princes of Polotsk, where Izyaslav reigned in 989-1001. Only fragmentary information about the prince remained.

100 years after his death, the chronicler, wishing to explain the reason for the enmity between the descendants of Vladimir, who occupied Kyiv, and those who occupied the Principality of Polotsk, cites a legend about Rogneda’s attempt on Vladimir’s life and about saving her from death by her son Izyaslav. Nevertheless, on the advice of the boyars, Vladimir gave Izyaslav and Rogneda the region of her father (Rogvolod) – Polotsk. In that land he rebuilt the city of Izyaslavl (now Zaslavl) for them. Izyaslav restored the destroyed Polotsk, moving it to a higher and impregnable place at the mouth of the Polota River, on its left bank. It is likely that at first, his mother Rogneda was the regent with him.

Vsevolod Vladimirovich

(983/984 — up to 1013)

ВIn 988, Kyiv Prince Vladimir Svyatoslavich conquered a city called Lodomer on the lands of the Volhynians and Buzhans on the right bank of the Luga River. The prince named the city after himself and handed it over to one of his sons, Vsevolod. So the third oldest son of Rogneda from Vladimir received Volyn with the center in Vladimir.

There are several versions regarding the fate of the prince: D. Likhachev supported Brown’s hypothesis about the identity of Vsevolod with Wissawald, whom Sigrid the Proud burned in a bathhouse; Brown believed that the Varangian companions instigated the boy to break with his father and took him to Sweden (by that time Vsevolod could have been 11-12 years old); Voitovich considers Brown’s version unlikely.

Predslava Vladimirovna

Princess Predslava Vladimirovna
Princess Predslava Vladimirovna

(ок. 983 — после 1018)

One of the eldest daughters of Grand Duke Vladimir the Baptist. In the internecine struggle of the Vladimir sons in 1015-1019, she took the side of her brother Yaroslav the Wise.

Predslava was an educated girl – she would later be known for her letters. Predslava lived and grew up with her mother, and then with her sisters in the village of Predslavino, which was named after her.

In 1015, Grand Duke Vladimir Svyatoslavich died, which marked the beginning of a struggle for power between his sons. Later and a number of foreign sources mention that Boleslav I the Brave, called to help by Svyatopolk to capture Kyiv in 1018, made Predslava his concubine and took her by force to Poland. After that, her name is not mentioned in the annals.

Premislava Vladimirovna

(unknown — 1015)

Almost no information has been preserved. There is indirect evidence that this daughter of Vladimir and Rogneda in 1000 married Laszlo the Bald, the Duke of Hungary, who owns the lands between the Marosh and Gran rivers.

Mstislava Vladimirovna

(978/987 – unknown)

Mstislav is mentioned among the three daughters of Vladimir, taken as concubines by the King of Poland Boleslav I the Brave in 1018. According to the assumption of the Polish historian Lyabuda, in Poland the captured daughters of Vladimir the Holy lived in a palace on Lednice Island, and they were not forced to convert to Catholicism.

Around 1025, when Bolesław died, the captives were released. After that, Mstislava is not mentioned anywhere. She didn’t have a family.


Svyatopolk the Cursed

Svyatopolk Vladimirovich "Cursed" (Art. V. Sheremetiev. 1867)
Svyatopolk Vladimirovich “Cursed”
(Art. V. Sheremetiev. 1867)

(around 979—1019)

According to The Tale of Bygone Years, he was born the widow of Yaropolk Svyatoslavich, whom Vladimir made his concubine after the murder of his brother. Vladimir himself recognized Svyatopolk as his son, but indirect evidence (the origin of the name and further confrontation between Svyatopolk and his brothers) leaves room for the theory of Yaropolk’s paternity.

Svyatopolk was married to the daughter of the Polish prince Boleslav the Brave. In the last years of the life of Prince Vladimir, having learned that he wanted to bequeath power to his beloved son Boris, Svyatopolk tried to organize a conspiracy, but was caught and imprisoned with his wife. After the death of Vladimir in 1015, Svyatopolk was released by his supporters and took the throne of Kyiv. From this moment, a bloody civil strife begins, during which (according to official history – on the orders of Svyatopolk) three half-brothers of Svyatopolk were killed – Boris, Prince Gleb of Murom and Svyatoslav of Drevlyansk.

Children of Prince Vladimir and Bulgarian Princess Milolika

Boris Vladimirovich

Boris Vladimirovich - a fragment of the icon
Boris Vladimirovich – a fragment of the icon

(around 986 — 1015)

According to the initial Kievan chronicle, he was born from a Bulgarian woman and, during the second division of land, he received the city of Rostov in possession. In 1015, Prince Vladimir fell ill, and Boris was called to Kyiv. Soon after his arrival, it became known about the invasion of the Pechenegs, and his father sent him with a squad to repel the raid. Boris did not meet the Pechenegs anywhere and, returning back, stopped on the Alta River. Here he learned about the death of his father and about the occupation of the Grand Ducal table by his half-brother Svyatopolk. The squad offered to go to Kyiv and seize the throne, but Boris rejected this proposal, as a result of which his father’s warriors left him and he stayed with the closest people.

According to official history, Svyatopolk sent a servant, Putsha, and boyars to kill his brother. The body of Boris was secretly brought to Vyshgorod and buried there in the church of St. Vasily. Boris was about 25 years old. Later, he, along with his brother Gleb, was canonized.

Gleb Vladimirovich

Gleb Vladimirovich - a fragment of the icon
Gleb Vladimirovich – a fragment of the icon

(around 987 — 1015)

Baptized David, Prince of Murom. According to the official historical theory, after the murder of Boris, Svyatopolk, fearing revenge, decided to kill Gleb as well. Chronicles report that Gleb, having heard about the death of his father, hurried to Kyiv. Down from Smolensk, he sailed along the Dnieper on a boat. He had a small group with him. At Smyadyn river, an ambassador from Yaroslav the Wise from Novgorod caught up with him and conveyed a message:

“Don’t swim any further. Your brother Boris was killed by Svyatopolk”.

Hearing this, Gleb began to cry and pray, and in the meantime, the assassins sent by Svyatopolk arrived, whom he sent to intercept Gleb on the road. Having quietly crept up to the prince’s ship, the murderers captured him and disarmed all his servants. One of the killers named Goryaser intimidated the Gleb’s cook named Torchin and cook stabbed the prince.

In 1019, when Yaroslav occupied Kyiv, on his orders, the body of Gleb was found, brought to Vyshgorod and buried with the body of Boris at the church of St. Basil.

Children of Prince Vladimir and Adele

Mstislav Vladimirovich

Mstislav Vladimirovich - Prince of Tmutarakansky and Chernigov
Mstislav Vladimirovich the Brave

(around 983—1036)

Around 990/1010, Mstislav was appointed by Vladimir to the Tmutarakan principality. In 1023, while Yaroslav was pacifying the rebellion in Suzdal, Mstislav approached Kyiv, however, he did not besiege the capital and occupied Chernigov. In 1024, a battle between Mstislav and Yaroslav took place near Listven in the Chernihiv region, in which Yaroslav was defeated and fled to Novgorod.

In 1026, the brothers made peace in Gorodets, according to which Kyiv and the right side of the Dnieper departed for Yaroslav, the left side with Chernigov and Pereyaslavl remained for Mstislav.

In the future, the brothers made a joint campaign against Poland in 1031, returning the Cherven cities, lost during the internecine war of 1015-1019, to the power of Kyiv.

Until the death of Mstislav on a hunt in 1036, Yaroslav preferred to rule from Novgorod.

Stanislav Vladimirovich

(984/987 — up to 1015)

The son of Vladimir Svyatoslavich and, presumably, Adele. According to the late Nikon chronicle, around 988, Stanislav received Smolensk as an inheritance. Stanislav interfered little in the life of the city, he could not or did not want to fight the Varangians, only twice a year he went to the Krivichi for tribute and sent it to Kyiv.

Obviously, Stanislav died before his father, leaving no offspring. It is worth noting that Stanislav is the only known bearer of this name among the Rurikids in the pre-Mongolian period.

Sudislav Vladimirovich

(984 — 1063)

The son of Vladimir Svyatoslavich and, presumably, Adele. Nestor mentions him for the first time under 988. According to the Nikon Chronicle, when Yaroslav’s struggle with his father began, Vladimir separated Pskov from the Novgorod principality and gave it to Sudislav. There is no information about Sudislav’s participation in the Vladimirovich strife of 1015-1019.

In 1036, after the death of Mstislav, Yaroslav apparently decided to protect himself from further claims to the throne of Kyiv and captured Sudislav, putting brother in prison and liquidating the Pskov principality.

He spent about 23 years in prison and was released after the death of Yaroslav – in 1059, the “Yaroslavi Triumvirates” took an oath from uncle and released Sudislav. After his release, he took the vows as a monk at the Kiev monastery of St. George, where he died in 1063.

Other children of Prince Vladimir

Son of Vladimir and “Czech”
Vysheslav Vladimirovich

(ок. 977 — после 1010)

Prince of Novgorod, the eldest of the sons of Vladimir, from the “Czech” (according to the “Saga of Olaf the son of Tryggvi” – Allology, according to Tatishchev – the Varangian Olova, “the Norwegian princess Olava”). In 988 (989) he received from his father the reign of Novgorod, on which he died, according to Tatishchev – in 1010, and according to Miller – in 1012. His brother, Yaroslav, was transferred from Rostov to Novgorod in his place.

Svyatoslav Vladimirovich
Prince Drevlyansky

(around 982—1015)

Around 990, Svyatoslav received the Drevlyansk principality. In 1015, having learned about the death of Boris and Gleb, Svyatoslav left his capital and tried to flee to the Carpathians. Svyatopolk with his retinue caught up with the prince on the banks of the Opir and gave the order: “Chop them all off.” The legend connects the name of the city Skole with this episode. Prince Svyatoslav died in this battle, and his warriors refused to go to the service of Svyatopolk.

The daughter (according to another version – the wife) of Svyatoslav, Paraskovia (Parashka) took refuge on the top of the mountain and, overtaken by Svyatopolk’s warriors, rushed off the cliff. Now the mountain is named in her honor Parashka.

Pozvizd Vladimirovich

(before 988 — unknown)

The son of Vladimir Svyatoslavich, mentioned only in the chronicle list. Information about him has not been preserved. Some researchers considered him not a son, but a nephew of Vladimir. It is not known who exactly his mother was, and also whether he owned any inheritance in Russia. According to the Gustinsky chronicle, he had possession in Volhynia. The time of death is unknown.

Maria Dobronega

Maria Dobronega
Maria Dobronega

(1011/1012 — 1087)

Princess of Kyiv, presumably the daughter of Vladimir the Baptist. Probably, in 1018, together with her sisters, she was a prisoner of the Polish king Boleslav I, who helped her brother Svyatopolk take Kyiv from Yaroslav the Wise. The Polish scientist G. Lyabuda suggested that the king ordered to build a Byzantine-style palace for the captives in a secluded place on Lednice Island, with a near house church (that is, women were not forced to accept Catholicism).

In 1038 or 1042, Yaroslav the Wise married her to the Polish prince Casimir the Restorer. Only after this wedding, the Russian people, captured by Boleslav in 1018, gained freedom. She gave birth to Kazemiru four sons and a daughter.

The Tale of Bygone Years conveys Vladimir’s way of life before baptism:

“Vladimir was defeated by lust, and he had wives […], and he had 300 concubines in Vyshgorod, 300 in Belgorod and 200 in Berestovo, in a village now called Berestovoye. And he was insatiable in fornication, bringing married women to him and corrupting girls.

Thus, it is not possible to find out for certain how many brothers and sisters Yaroslav the Wise could have.

Section “Yaroslav the Wise”

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Опубликовано: 08.08.2022
Изменено: 12.08.2022