Unfortunately, few testimonies and documents have survived to characterize Yaroslav the Wise’s domestic policies, with the most significant ones being discussed below.
Education and Enlightenment
School for children in Novgorod
1030. «In the year 6538, Yaroslav came to Novgorod and gathered 300 children from elders and priests to teach them reading.».
The activities of Yaroslav’s school were based on a widespread network of schools for elementary literacy, as evidenced by the large number of birch bark letters, wax tablets, and writing tablets discovered by archaeologists.
Library in St. Sophia Cathedral
The Tale of Bygone Years:
In the year 6545 . Yaroslav founded a great city, which is now known as the Golden Gates, and he also founded the Church of St. Sophia…
…Yaroslav loved church rituals and greatly valued priests, especially the black-robed ones. He was diligent in his reading of books, often spending his nights and days reading them. He gathered a multitude of scribes who translated from Greek to Slavic, and they wrote many books that served as sources of learning for the faithful…
…As we mentioned before, Yaroslav loved books, and after copying many of them, he placed them in the Church of St. Sophia, which he had built himself.
According to the well-known Leningrad bibliophile M. Rozov, some of Yaroslav’s library works may be partially located in the Russian National Library named after Saltykov-Shchedrin.wikipedia
The “Ancient Truth” consists of 18 articles. It provided for the right to blood revenge (but limited it, replacing punishment for murder with a fine (viry)), punishment for beatings, riding someone else’s horse, damaging property, etc.
Later, Yaroslav the Wise’s sons supplemented the “Ancient Truth” (called “Yaroslavich’s Truth”) with the Monomakh’s Capitulary, and it became part of the “Russian Truth,” a collection of legal norms of Kievan Rus, which is one of the main written sources of Russian law.
According to Ya.N. Shchapov, it was with the assistance of Yaroslav the Wise that the church statute was compiled, which was coordinated with Metropolitan Ilarion.
The statute defined crimes subject to ecclesiastical court and regulated marital relations. The main significance of the statute lies in the demarcation of church and secular judicial jurisdiction, as well as the inclusion of cases in the composition of the church court that were resolved jointly by representatives of both authorities.
Metropolitan Ilarion’s Appointment
According to the “Primary Chronicle,” in 1051 (year 6559 by the Byzantine calendar), Yaroslav gathered bishops and appointed Ilarion as metropolitan himself. This event was significant – before this, only the Constantinople Patriarch had the authority to appoint someone to this position, emphasizing Kiev Rus’ dependence on Constantinople and Byzantine emperors.
Succession to the Throne – Ladder Principle
After Yaroslav the Wise, the “ladder” principle of land inheritance within the Rurik dynasty was firmly established. The eldest in the lineage (not by age, but by blood relation) received Kiev and became the grand prince, while all other lands were divided among other members of the family according to seniority. Power passed from brother to brother, uncle to nephew. When a member of the family died, all the younger Rurikids related to him moved to lands corresponding to their seniority. When new members of the family appeared, they were assigned a town with land (volost).
- The eldest brother
- Younger brothers in order of seniority
- Sons of the eldest brother (by seniority)
- Sons of the next brothers (by seniority)
- Grandchildren, great-grandchildren in the same order, etc.
Before his death, Prince Yaroslav gathered his sons and divided the lands among them, appointing Iziaslav as the eldest. The princes ruled together for 19 years, but then their union fell apart, and they resumed their internecine conflicts.