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Svyatoslav Yaroslavich. Engraving
Svyatoslav Yaroslavich. Engraving
 Svyatoslav Yaroslavich – the third son of Yaroslav the Wise and the Swedish princess Igigerda. For the first time it is mentioned on the pages of chronicles under “6535” (i.e. 1027) year: “The third son was born to Yaroslav, and his name was Svyatoslav.” The second time was in 1054, when Yaroslav divided land of Old Rus between his sons, as a result of which Svyatoslav received Chernigov and the lands adjacent to it.[1]wikipedia

Together with Izyaslav and Vsevolod, he ruled Kievan Rus in the alliance of the “Triumvirate of the Yaroslavichs” until 1073, when Svyatoslav, having entered into a conspiracy with Vsevolod, overthrew Izyaslav and sat on the Kyiv throne.

Triumvirate of the Yaroslavichs

Yaroslav the Wise, dying, entrusted the throne of Kyiv to Izyaslav, bequeathing to the rest of his sons to obey him as themselves, to Svyatoslav gave the city of Chernigov, to Vsevolod – the city of Pereyaslavl, to Igor – the city of Vladimir, and to Vyacheslav – the city of Smolensk.

Izyaslav Yaroslavich. Engraving. 1819
Izyaslav Yaroslavich. Engraving. 1819

Biography of Izyaslav

Vsevolod Yaroslavich
Vsevolod Yaroslavich

Biography of Vsevolod

Most of the reign of Izyaslav is characterized by equal participation in the government of themself Grand Prince, Svyatoslav and Vsevolod. The brothers together owned the core of Kievan Rus on the middle Dnieper, jointly distributed other possessions, together undertook a revision of the Russkaya Pravda (by adopting the so-called “Pravda of the Yaroslavichs”), and also established separate metropolises in their principalities.
Triumvirate of Yaroslavichs - general scheme
Triumvirate of Yaroslavichs – general scheme

In 1060, a united campaign of squads of four princes took place: Svyatoslav, Vsevolod, Izyaslav and Vseslav of Polotsk against Tork tribes. According to the chronicler:

“… the Torks were afraid and fled to this day and died running.”

Subsequently, fragments of Torks and Pechenegs settled on the southeastern borders of Old Rus.

Battle on the Nemiga River in 1065

Prince Vseslav of Polotsk, nicknamed the Sorcerer, in 1065 began to raid neighboring principalities. Historians assume that the actions of Vseslav were provoked by the campaign of the Grand Prince of Kyiv Izyaslav against the Estonians and imposition of tribute on them. In 1065, Vseslav tried to besiege Pskov, and in 1067 he defeated the Novgorod prince Mstislav (son of Izyaslav Yaroslavich), captured and plundered Novgorod. Yaroslavichi invaded the Principality of Polotsk, took city Mensk (Minsk) and went to the Nemiga River.
Vseslav Bryachislavovich Polotsky, nicknamed "The Sorcerer" monument in Polotsk, Belarus
Vseslav Bryachislavovich Polotsky, nicknamed “The Sorcerer”
monument in Polotsk, Belarus

Battle on the Nemiga River. Miniature from the Radziwill Chronicle
Battle on the Nemiga River.
Miniature from the Radziwill Chronicle

The troops converged on the banks of the Nemiga River and stood facing each other in deep snow for 7 days. Finally, Vseslav Polotsky launched an attack on the full moon, but was defeated and fled. Yaroslavichi did not pursue him. 4 months after the battle, the Yaroslavichi called Vseslav for negotiations, kissed the cross and promised safety, but broke their promise – they grabbed him along with his two sons, took him to Kyiv and imprisoned him in an earthen prison.

The battle is described in “The Tale of Igor’s Campaign” and is one of the largest and bloodiest internecine battles in Old Rus.

Battle of Alta in 1068

In 1068, the Polovtsy invaded Old Rus, led by Khan Sharukan, along the left bank of the Dnieper. The Yaroslavichs withdrew their troops towards them and were defeated.

Battle on the river Alte in 1068
Battle on the river Alte in 1068

Battle on the river Alte in 1068
Battle on the river Alte in 1068

Izyaslav and Vsevolod fled to Kyiv. Their unwillingness to organize a new campaign against the Polovtsy, who plundered the outskirts of Kyiv, caused an uprising and the people of Kiev released Prince Vseslav of Polotsk. Vseslav was put on the throne of Kyiv in the hope that he would be able to stop the Polovtsy.

Battle on the river Snov

After the defeat of the princely triumvirate in the battle on the Alta River, the Polovtsians began to plunder the territory of the Kyiv, Pereyaslav and Chernigov principalities. When they began to burn villages near Chernigov, Svyatoslav Yaroslavich, having gathered a squad and the Chernigov militia, went to meet the enemy.

Battle with the Polovtsians near the river Snov in 1069
Battle with the Polovtsians near the river Snov in 1069
Battle of the Polovtsians on the Snov River in 1069
Battle of the Polovtsians on the Snov River in 1069

As the chronicler testifies, before the start of the battle, Prince Svyatoslav delivered a speech to his soldiers:

“Attack, we can no longer sit behind the walls!”

The Russian army attacked first. A powerful attack by heavy Russian cavalry scattered the Polovtsian horsemen, most of whom died or drowned in the Snova River during the retreat. Khan Sharukan was captured.

As a result of the victory of the troops of Svyatoslav Yaroslavich, the Polovtsian threat that arose after the Altinsky defeat disappeared. The remnants of the Polovtsian detachments left the territory of Kievan Rus. In addition, the Battle of Snov is the first known victory of the Russian army over the Polovtsians.

Meanwhile, Izyaslav fled to Poland, and Vseslav to Polotsk. Svyatoslav came with his brother Vsevolod to Kyiv and in 1069 acted as an intermediary between the people of Kiev and Izyaslav, who was approaching with Polish troops.

The Truth of the Yaroslavichs

Uprisings of the late 1060s – early 1070s demanded vigorous action from the princes and boyars. “Russian Truth”, compiled by Yaroslav the Wise, was supplemented by a number of articles and received the name “Truth of the Yaroslavichs”. The purpose of the additions was to protect the property of the feudal lord and his fiefdom.

In Pravda Yaroslavichi, the structure and procedure for managing the patrimony was regulated by the prince’s butler – ognischanin (from the word “ognishe” – house), the prince’s entrance was responsible for collecting taxes.

Truth of Yaroslav
Truth of Yaroslav

Truth of Yaroslav

The wealth of the patrimony was land, so the princely boundary was guarded by an extremely high fine. Dependent smerds and slaves (serfs, servants) worked on this land. The work was supervised by the ratai (novelye) elders, to whom the slaves obeyed, and the village elders who watched the smerds. There were also artisans in the patrimony.

“Pravda Yaroslavichi” abolished blood feuds and set a fee for the murder, depending on the category of the population to which the murdered belonged. The largest fine was paid for the murder of senior combatants, ognischanins, princely servants, whose life was estimated at 80 hryvnias. The life of the free population – people (husbands) – was estimated at 40 hryvnias; rural and military elders, as well as artisans – 12 hryvnias; smerds who lived in estates, and slaves – 5 hryvnias.

Grand reign of Svyatoslav Yaroslavich

In 1073, Svyatoslav entered into a conspiracy with Vsevolod, and the brothers accused Izyaslav of conspiring with Vseslav of Polotsk. Together they overthrew the prince of Kyiv, forcing him to flee to Poland.

Vsevolod moved to Chernigov, ceding Pereyaslavl to Davyd Svyatoslavich. Oleg Svyatoslavich sat in Volhynia. Thus, most of Rus was under the control of Svyatoslav and his sons.

Svyatoslav Yaroslavich. Portrait of a late artist
Svyatoslav Yaroslavich. Portrait of a late artist

In 1076, the son of Svyatoslav Oleg took part in the campaign of the Polish king Boleslav the Bold against the Czech prince Vratislav II. When the Czechs, defeated by Russian and Polish squads, tried to make peace by offering 1,000 hryvnias of silver, the Russian princes refused. Despite the obvious desire of Boleslav to end the war and even to conclude peace with the Czechs, they refused to put up and devastated the Czech land for four months.

Svyatoslav Yaroslavich entered the history of culture as the customer of two Izborniks of Svyatoslav, rewritten for him in 1073 and 1076. The first of them includes a miniature depicting the prince with his family.

Izbornik Svyatoslav
Izbornik Svyatoslav

Wives and children

First marriage – Killikia (or Kikilia, Cecilia), of unknown origin.


Gleb (d. 1078) – Prince of Tmutarakansky, Novgorod and Pereyaslavsky

Roman the Red (d. 1079) – Prince Tmutarakansky

Davyd (David) (d. 1123) – Prince of Pereyaslavsky, Murom, Smolensk, Novgorod and Chernigov

Oleg (baptized Michael) (d. 1115) – Prince of Volyn, Tmutarakan and Chernigov

Svyatoslav (far right) with his family. Miniature from Izbornik (1073)
Svyatoslav (far right) with his family.
Miniature from Izbornik (1073)

Second marriage — to Oda (in Russian historiography — Oda Stadenskaya), possibly the daughter of Margrave Luitpold Babenberg, a relative of Pope Leo IX and Emperor Henry III.


Yaroslav – later also the Chernigov prince (in the miniature, little Yaroslav is depicted next to his mother); according to German sources, after the death of his father, he was brought up in Germany and then returned to Russia, where he found treasures buried by his mother. Yaroslav became the ancestor of the dynasty of Murom and Ryazan princes (later the Grand Dukes of Ryazan), which ended at the beginning of the 16th century.

There is a hypothesis (A.V. Nazarenko), according to which, from the second marriage with Oda Shtadenskaya, Svyatoslav had another daughter who was married to Byzantium. Her daughter, the granddaughter of Svyatoslav, was captured by the Seljuks in the first quarter of the 12th century and became the mother of Sultan Kylych-Arslan II. The Sultan, as is known from Western sources, considered himself, through his Russian mother, a relative of the German crusaders.

Death and burial

On December 27, 1076, Svyatoslav died at the age of 50, becoming the first known victim of an unsuccessful surgical operation in Russia: he died from “cutting the zhelve” (cutting the tumor). Despite the fact that Svyatoslav died in the reign of Kiev, he was buried in Chernigov. The throne of Kyiv was occupied by Vsevolod, who soon returned it to Izyaslav.

The Svyatoslavichs who were sitting in Novgorod, Tmutarakan, Vladimir-Volynsky and a number of Chernigov lands in 1077/1078 lost everything except the Tmutarakan principality. Only after a fierce struggle, by decision of the Lyubech Congress of Princes in 1097, were they able to get the Chernihiv land.

Section “Yaroslav the Wise”

Список литературы

  1. wikipedia
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Опубликовано: 11.08.2022
Изменено: 11.08.2022