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Kiev 1

: Counts/Dukes/Princes of Kiev, Counts of Novgorod

Godoslav, Count a 808.shown by GenEU but not by 'RoyalData'

Rurik and his brothers, Truvor and
Sineus arrive in Ladog

Prince Igor Exacting Tribute
from the Drevlyans,
by Klavdiy Lebedev 1852-1916.

Ship burial of Igor the Old in 945,
depicted by Henryk Siemiradzki 1843–1902.

Golden coin of Vladimir, with his
portrait and personal emblem
m Umila dau of Gostomys l, Count of Novgorod
1. Rurik, Count of Novgorod, Old East Norse: Rørik, meaning "famous ruler"; c. 830 – c. 879 DNA was a Varangian chieftain who gained control of Ladoga in 862, built the Holmgard settlement near Novgorod, and founded the Rurik Dynasty which ruled Kievan Rus and then Galicia-Volhynia until 14th and Muscovy until the 16th century. the 12th-century Russian Primary Chronicle, which states that Chuds, Slovene one of the tribes of eastern Slavs, Merias, Veses and Krivichs also a slavic tribe "…drove the Varangians back beyond the sea, refused to pay them tribute, and set out to govern themselves". Afterwards the tribes started fighting each other and decided to invite Rurik to reestablish order. Rurik remained in power until his death in 879. He married Efanda Edvina Alfrind Ingrid of Urman. His successors the Rurik Dynasty, however, moved the capital to Kiev and founded the state of Kievan Rus, which persisted until 1240, the time of Mongol invasion. A number of extant princely families are patrilineally descended from Rurik, although the last Rurikid to rule Russia, Vasily IV, died in 1612. The only Hrörek described in Western chronicles was Rorik of Dorestad, a konung from the royal house of Hedeby. Since the 19th century, there have been attempts to identify him with the Viking prince Rurik of Russian chronicles.[4] Alexander Nazarenko objects to this identification.[5]
Roerik of Dorestad was born about 810/820 to Ali Anulo, 9th King of Hedeby. Frankish chroniclers mention that he received lands in Friesland from the Emperor Louis I. This was not enough for him, and he started to plunder neighbouring lands: he took Dorestad in 850, captured Hedeby in 857 and looted Bremen in 859. The Emperor was enraged and stripped him of all his possessions in 860. After that Roerik disappears from the Western sources for a considerable period of time. And at that very moment, in 862, the Rurik of Rus arrives in the Eastern Baltic, builds the fortress of Ladoga and later moves to Novgorod.
Roerik of Dorestad reappeared in Frankish chronicles in 870, when his Friesland demesne was returned to him by Charles the Bald; in 882 he is already mentioned as dead. The Russian chronicle places the death of Rurik of Novgorod at 879. According to Western sources, the ruler of Friesland was converted to Christianity by the Franks. This may have parallels with the Christianization of the Rus', as reported by Patriarch Photius in 867.
m Efanda of Urman
A. Igor 'the Old', Count of Novgorod and Kiev b 877, d 945/6 He twice besieged Constantinople, in 941 and 944, and in spite of his fleet being destroyed by Greek fire, concluded with the Emperor a favourable treaty whose text is preserved in the chronicle. In 913 and 944, the Rus plundered the Arabs in the Caspian Sea during the Caspian expeditions of the Rus, but it's not clear whether Igor had anything to do with these campaigns.
Drastically revising the chronology of the Primary Chronicle, Constantine Zuckerman argues that Igor actually reigned for three years, between summer 941 and his death in early 945. He explains the epic 33-year span of his reign in the chronicle by its author's faulty interpretation of Byzantine sources.[1] Indeed, none of Igor's activity are recorded in the chronicle prior to 941.
Prince Igor Exacting Tribute from the Drevlyans, by Klavdiy Lebedev 1852-1916.Igor was killed while collecting tribute from the Drevlians in 945 Leo the Deacon describes how Igor met his death: "They had bent down two birch trees to the prince’s feet and tied them to his legs; then they let the trees straighten again, thus tearing the prince’s body apart."[2] and avenged by his wife, Olga of Kiev. The Primary Chronicle blames his death on his own excessive greed, indicating that he was attempting to collect tribute a second time in a month.
m c903 Olga of Pskov, Regent of Kiev b c881, d 969 Olga changed the system of tribute gathering poliudie in what may be regarded as the first legal reform recorded in Eastern Europe.
i. Svyatoslav I, Count of Novgorod and Kiev b c942, d 972 youth, which he spent reigning in Novgorod. Sviatoslav's father, Igor, was killed by the Drevlians around 942 and his mother, Olga, ruled as regent in Kiev until Sviatoslav's maturity ca. 963.[4] His tutor was a Varangian named Asmud. "Quick as a leopard,"[5] Sviatoslav appears to have had little patience for administration. His life was spent with his druzhina roughly, "troops" in permanent warfare against neighboring states. According to the Primary Chronicle:“ Upon his expeditions he carried with him neither wagons nor kettles, and boiled no meat, but cut off small strips of horseflesh, game or beef, and ate it after roasting it on the coals. Nor did he have a tent, but he spread out a horse-blanket under him, and set his saddle under his head, and all his retinue did likewise. ” Sviatoslav was noted by Leo the Deacon to be of average height and build. He shaved his head and his beard or possibly just had a wispy beard but wore a bushy mustache and a one or two sidelocks as a sign of his nobility. He preferred to dress in white, and it was noted that his garments were much cleaner than those of his men. He wore a single large gold earring bearing a ruby and two pearls. His mother converted to Christianity at the court of Byzantine Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus in 945 or 957. However,[9] Sviatoslav continued to worship Perun, Veles, Svarog and the other gods and goddesses of the Slavic pantheon. He remained a pagan for all of his life; according to the Primary Chronicle, he believed that his warriors would lose respect for him and mock him if he became a Christian.[10] The allegiance of his warriors was of paramount importance in his conquest of an empire that stretched from the Volga to the Danube. More below
m1 Fredslava dau of Taskany of Hungary
a. Yaropolk I, Count of Kiev b 961, d c979
m Malfada or Julia, Princess of Byzantium
1 Svyatoslav I 'the Damned', Prince of Kiev b 980, d 1019
m c1013 ?? of Poland dau of Boleslav I of Poland
m2 Esfir
b. Oleg, Count of Drevliansk b c959, d 977
m3. Malusha d 1002 housekeeper of Yaropolk. described in the Norse sagas as a prophetess who lived to the age of 100 and was brought from her cave to the palace to predict the future.
c. Valdimir Vladimir I 'the Saint', 'the Great', Count of Kiev b c948/960, d 15.07.1015 His mother's brother, Dobrynya, was Vladimir's tutor and most trusted advisor. Hagiographic tradition of dubious authenticity also connects his childhood with the name of his grandmother, Olga Prekrasa, who was Christian andgoverned the capital during Sviatoslav's frequent military campaigns. Transferring his capital to Pereyaslavets in 969, Sviatoslav designated Vladimir ruler of Novgorod the Great but gave Kiev to his legitimate son Yaropolk. After Sviatoslav's death 972, a fratricidal war erupted 976 between Yaropolk and his younger brother Oleg, ruler of the Drevlians. In 977 Vladimir fled to his kinsmen Haakon Sigurdsson, ruler of Norway in Scandinavia, collecting as many of the Viking warriors as he could to assist him to recover Novgorod, and on his return the next year marched against Yaropolk. In addition to his father's extensive domain, Vladimir continued to expand his territories. In 981 he conquered the Cherven cities, the modern Galicia; in 983 he subdued the Yatvingians, whose territories lay between Lithuania and Poland; in 985 he led a fleet along the central rivers of the Kievan Rus' to conquer the Bulgars of the Kama, planting numerous fortresses and colonies on his way.
Though Christianity had won many converts since Olga's rule, Vladimir had remained a thorough going pagan, taking eight hundred concubines besides numerous wives and erecting pagan statues and shrines to gods. It is argued that he attempted to reform Slavic paganism by establishing thunder-god Perun as a supreme deity. "Although Christianity in Kiev existed before Vladimir’s time, he had remained a pagan, accumulated about seven wives, established temples, and, it is said, taken part in idolatrous rites involving human sacrifice."
"In 983, after another of his military successes, Prince Vladimir and his army thought it necessary to sacrifice human lives to the gods. A lot was cast and it fell on a youth, Ioann by name, the son of a Christian, Fyodor. His father stood firmly against his son being sacrificed to the idols. More than that, he tried to show the pagans the futility of their faith: “Your gods are just plain wood: it is here now but it may rot into oblivion tomorrow; your gods neither eat, nor drink, nor talk and are made by human hand from wood; whereas there is only one God — He is worshipped by Greeks and He created heaven and earth; and your gods? They have created nothing, for they have been created themselves; never will I give my son to the devils!”
An open abuse of the deities, to which most of our forefathers bowed in reverence in those times, triggered widespread indignation. Rampant crowds killed the Christian Fyodor and his son Ioann. Later on, after the overall christening of Russia, people came to regard them as the first Christian martyrs in Russia and the Orthodox Church set a day to commemorate them — July 25.
Immediately after the murder of Fyodor and Ioann Ancient Russia saw persecutions against Christians, many of which had to escape or conceal their belief.
However, Prince Vladimir mused over the incident long after, and not in the last place, for political considerations too. The chronicles have it that different preachers came to the Prince, each offering a particular faith. Vladimir spoke to Muslims, Catholics, Jews but for different reasons rejected all the religions. Finally, a Greek philosopher told the prince of the Old and New Testaments and presented him with a canvas depicting Doomsday. When he learned of what the unrepentant were in for, Prince Vladimir went numb with horror and after a short pause said with a sigh: “Blessed are the good doers and damned are the evil!”. more bleow
GenEU and 'RoyalData' differ on some of Valdimir's marriages and children. As we are interested mainly in offspring who were ancestors of various British families, we simplify the position as follows:
m1 Olova
m2 c977, div 986 Rogneda b c956, d 1002, dau of Rognvald, Count of Polotsk
Yaroslav I 'the Wise', Prince of Kiev b 978, d 20.02.1054 He was was thrice Grand Prince of Novgorod and Kiev, uniting the two principalities for a time under his rule. During his lengthy reign, Kievan Rus' reached a zenith of its cultural flowering and military power.
He was one of the numerous sons of Volodymyr the Great, presumably his second by Rogneda of Polotsk, although his actual age as stated in the Primary Chronicle and corroborated by the examination of his skeleton in the 1930s would place him among the youngest children of Volodymyr. It has been suggested that he was a child begotten out of wedlock after Volodymyr's divorce with Rogneda and his marriage to Anna Porphyrogeneta, or even that he was a child of Anna Porphyrogeneta herself. Yaroslav figures prominently in the Norse Sagas under the name of Jarisleif the Lame; his legendary lameness probably resulting from an arrow wound was corroborated by the scientists who examined his relics.
In his youth, Yaroslav was sent by his father to rule the northern lands around Rostov but was transferred to Novgorod, as befitted a senior heir to the throne, in 1010. While living there, he founded the town of Yaroslavl literally, Yaroslav's on the Volga. His relations with father were apparently strained, and grew only worse on the news that Volodymyr bequeathed the Kievan throne to his younger son, Boris. In 1014 Yaroslav refused to pay tribute to Kiev and only Volodymyr's death prevented a war.
During the next four years Yaroslav waged a complicated and bloody war for Kiev against his half-brother Sviatopolk, who was supported by his father-in-law, Duke Boleslaus I of Poland. During the course of this struggle, several other brothers Boris and Gleb, Svyatoslav were brutally murdered. The Primary Chronicle accused Svyatopolk of planning those murders, while the Saga of Eymund is often interpreted as recounting the story of Boris's assassination by the Varangians in the service of Yaroslav.
Yaroslav defeated Svyatopolk in their first battle, in 1016, and Svyatopolk fled to Poland. But Svyatopolk returned with Polish troops furnished by his father-in-law Duke Boleslaus of Poland, seized Kiev and pushed Yaroslav back into Novgorod. In 1019, Yaroslav eventually prevailed over Svyatopolk and established his rule over Kiev. One of his first actions as a grand prince was to confer on the loyal Novgorodians who had helped him to regain the throne, numerous freedoms and privileges. Thus, the foundation for the Novgorod Republic was laid. The Novgorodians respected Yaroslav more than other Kievan princes and the princely residence in the city, next to the marketplace and where the veche often convened was named the Yaroslavovo Dvorishche after him. It is thought that it was at that period that Yaroslav promulgated the first code of laws in the East Slavic lands, the Yaroslav's Justice, better known as Russkaya Pravda. More on Yaroslav

In 2003 Kitty Fassett was in the town of Yaroslavl in Russia. Its emblem is a bear because there's a legend that someone released a bear from a cage so it could attack Yaroslav the Wise. Yaroslav won the battle. Little did she know at the time that she had multiple lines of descent from this remarkable man.

m2 1019 Ingigerd of Sweden d 10.02.1050, dau of Olaf Skotkonung, King of Sweden
A Iliya, Count of Novgorod d 1020
B Vladimir II, Count of Novgorod b 1020, d 1052 had issue
C Izyaslav, Count of Turov, Count of Novgorod, Prince of Kiev b 1024, d 03.10.1078 With the aid of his son,Yaropolk, his brother, Vsevolod in 1078 he defeated Vsevolod in battle, when Oleg Svyatoslavich and his son Boris was attemptingto gain the throne of Chernigov from Vsevolod. Oleg had been allied to the Polovtsy, and with their help Grand Prince Izyaslav and Yaropolk, as well as Vsevolod's son Vladimir Monomakh, were able to reverse this result, and Oleg was forced to retreat to Tmutorokan. But Grand Prince Izyaslav died as a result of the battle.
m c1043 Gertrud of Poland d 04.01.1107
i+ Yaropolk Izyaslavich died 1087 was a Knyaz prince in eleventh-century Kievan Rus. He is visible in papal sources by the early 1070s but largely absent in contemporary Rus'ian sources until the year of his father's death, 1078. During his father's exile in the 1070s, Yaropolk can be found acting on his father's behalf in an attempt to gain the favor of the German emperors and the court of Pope Gregory VII. Yaropolk followed his father when the latter returned to Kiev in 1077.
After his father's death in the folloing year, 1078, Yaropolk was appointed Prince of Vladimir-in-Volhynia and Prince of Turov by the new Grand Prince, his uncle Vsevolod. By 1085 however, Yaropolk had fallen into a state of enmity with the Grand Prince and by extension the Grand Prince's son Vladimir Monomakh, forcing him to flee from his principality to his mother's homeland, Poland. He returned in the following year, but was soon murdered. He was remembered in Rus'ian sources as extremely pious and generous to the church, and is recognized as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
The following connection comes from GenEU Rurik4.
partner unknown
ii Svyatopolk, Prince of Kiev b 1050, d 16.04.1113
m1 ?? "a Bohemian princess, apparently a niece of Vratislav II"
a Sbyslava of Kiev d by 1112
m 15.11.1102 Boleslaw III, Count of Poland b 20.08.1085, d 28.10.1138
D Svyatoslav II, Prince of Kiev b 1027, d 27.12.1076 had issue
E Vsevolod I, Prince of Kiev b 1030, d 13.04.1093
m1 1046 Irene of Byzantium d 1067, dau of Konstantinos VIII/IX, Emperor of Byzantium
i Vladimir II 'Monomachos', Prince of Kiev b 1053, d 19.05.1125 had issue
m1 c1070 Gytha of Wessex d 07.05.1107, dau of Harold II Godwineson, King of England
m2 ?? d 1107
m3. ?? d 1126
m2 1067 Anna of Cumin
ii Eupraxia Praxedis of Kiev b c1070, d 10.07.1109
m1 Henry, Count of Stade
m2 17.10.1089, div 1093 Heinrich IV, Emperor of Germany b 1050, d 1106
Ki28 Anna of Kiev b 1024, d after 1075
m1 29.01.1044 Henry I, King of France b 1008, d 04.08.1060
m2 1061/2, div 1067 Raoul II, Count de Crepy
G Anastasia Agmunda of Kiev b c1023, d after 1074
m 1037/8 Andrew I, King of Hungary d 1060
H Elizabeth of Kiev b c1032, d after 1045
m1 1045 Harald III Hardrada, King of Norway b 1015, d 25.09.1066
m2 1067 Svend II Estridsen, King of Denmark b c1019, d 29.04.1076
I+ other issue
m3. Malfrida of Bohemia d 1002, possibly dau of Boleslaw I 'the Brave', King of Poland
m4. Adela
m5.988 Anna Porthyrogenita of Byzantium b 13.03.963, d 1011, dau of Romanus I Lecapenus, Emperor of Byzantium
m6. 1012 ?? of Swabia dau of Konrad I, Duke of Swabia, by Rechlind of Germany
2 Dobronega Maria of Kiev
m 1041/2 Casimir I , Count of Poland b 25.07.1016, d 28.11.1058

Sources: GenEU Rurikids1, 8, 'RoyalData'
A currentDNA research project by Professor Andrzej Bajor of Poland, under the auspices of the Family Tree DNA Rurikid Dynasty Project, seeks to more accurately place Rurik within the light of history and out of the shadows of legend, while simultaneously trying to find his modern descendants. This project also seeks to study the DNA of male descendants of the medieval Lithuanian ruler Gediminas Gedymin, whose line includes some of the highest princely families of Russia and Poland. The Gediminids intermarried with the Rurikids, and there is a possibility that they may even descend from Rurik, or at least from one of his ancestors within historical times - the project seeks to answer this question. So far, only two modern Rurikid princes have agreed to take this DNA test. Their results indicate that their male line originated in Uppland province in Sweden. So far, one Swede shares 11 of the prince's markers, and he believes that his own male line goes back to the 15th century in Roslagen. The DNA results of modern Rurikid princes indicate that Rurik was of Finno-Ugrian descent haplogroup N3a1 [2]. Further genetic studies seem to indicate the existence of two haplogroups among modern Rurikids: the descendants of Vladimir II Monomakh Monomakhoviches are of N3a1 group typical for Finno-Ugrian people, while the descendants of Oleg I of Chernigov Olgoviches are of R1a group typical for Slavic peoples. According to the Russian Newsweek magazine it indicates that the official genealogy is probably incorrect but leaves the ethnic origin of Rurik unclear [3]

More on the reign of Sviatoslav:
Eastern campaigns

The site of the Khazar fortress at Sarkel, sacked by Sviatoslav c. 965 aerial photo from excavations conducted by Mikhail Artamonov in the 1930sShortly after his accession to the throne, Sviatoslav began campaigning to expand the Rus control over the Volga valley and the Pontic steppe region. His greatest success was the conquest of Khazaria, which for centuries had been one of the strongest states of Eastern Europe. The sources are not clear about the roots of the conflict between Khazaria and Rus', so several possibilities have been suggested. The Rus' had an interest in removing the Khazar hold on the Volga trade route because the Khazars collected duties from the goods transported by the Volga. Historians have suggested that the Byzantine Empire may have incited the Rus' against the Khazars, who fell out with the Byzantines after the persecutions of the Jews in the reign of Romanus I Lecapenus.[14]

Sviatoslav began by rallying the Khazars' East Slavic vassal tribes to his cause. Those who would not join him, such as the Vyatichs, were attacked and forced to pay tribute to the Kievan Rus' rather than the Khazars.[15] According to a legend recorded in the Primary Chronicle, Sviatoslav sent a message to the Vyatich rulers, consisting of a single phrase: "I want to come at you!" Old East Slavic: "???? ?? ?? ???"[16] This phrase is used in modern Russian usually misquoted as "??? ?? ??" to denote an unequivocal declaration of one's intentions. Proceeding by the Oka and Volga rivers, he invaded Volga Bulgaria and exacted tribute from the local population, thus bringing under Kievan control the upper Volga River. He employed Oghuz and Pecheneg mercenaries in this campaign, perhaps to counter the Khazars' and Bulgars' superior cavalry.[17]

Sviatoslav destroyed the Khazar city of Sarkel around 965, and possibly sacked but did not occupy the Khazar city of Kerch on the Crimea.[18] At Sarkel he established a Rus' settlement called Belaya Vyezha "the white tower" or "the white fortress", the East Slavic translation for "Sarkel".[19] He subsequently probably in 968 or 969 destroyed the Khazar capital of Atil.[20] A visitor to Atil wrote soon after Sviatoslav's campaign: "The Rus attacked, and no grape or raisin remained, not a leaf on a branch."[21] The exact chronology of his Khazar campaign is uncertain and disputed; for example, Mikhail Artamonov and David Christian proposed that the sack of Sarkel came after the destruction of Atil.[22]

Although Ibn Haukal reports Sviatoslav's sack of Samandar in modern-day Dagestan, the Rus' leader did not bother to occupy the Khazar heartlands north of the Caucasus Mountains permanently. On his way back to Kiev, Sviatoslav chose to strike against the Ossetians and force them into subservience.[23] Therefore, Khazar successor statelets continued their precarious existence in the region.[24] The destruction of Khazar imperial power paved the way for Kievan Rus' to dominate north-south trade routes through the steppe and across the Black Sea, routes that formerly had been a major source of revenue for the Khazars. Moreover, Sviatoslav's campaigns led to increased Slavic settlement in the region of the Saltovo-Mayaki culture, greatly changing the demographics and culture of the transitional area between the forest and the steppe.[25]

Campaigns in the Balkans

Pursuit of Sviatoslav's warriors by the Byzantine army, a miniature from 11th-century chronicles of John Skylitzes.The annihilation of Khazaria was undertaken against the background of the Rus'-Byzantine alliance, concluded in the wake of Igor's Byzantine campaign in 944.[26] Close military ties between the Rus' and Byzantium are illustrated by the fact, reported by John Skylitzes, that a Rus' detachment accompanied Byzantine Emperor Nicephorus Phocas in his victorious naval expedition to Crete.

In 967 or 968[27] Nicephorus sent to Sviatoslav his agent, Kalokyros, with the task of talking Sviatoslav into assisting him in a war against Bulgaria.[28] Sviatoslav was paid 15,000 pounds of gold and set sail with an army of 60,000 men, including thousands of Pecheneg mercenaries.[29][30]

Sviatoslav defeated the Bulgarian ruler Boris II[31] and proceeded to occupy the whole of northern Bulgaria. Meanwhile, the Byzantines bribed the Pechenegs to attack and besiege Kiev, where Olga stayed with Sviatoslav's son Vladimir. The siege was relieved by the druzhina of Pretich, and immediately following the Pecheneg retreat, Olga sent a reproachful letter to Sviatoslav. He promptly returned and defeated the Pechenegs, who continued to threaten Kiev.

Byzantine Wars

830s – 860 – 907 – 941 – 968–71 – 988 – 1024 – 1043

Boris Chorikov. Sviatoslav's Council of War.Sviatoslav refused to turn his Balkan conquests over to the Byzantines, and the parties fell out as a result. To the chagrin of his boyars and mother who died within three days after learning about his decision, Sviatoslav decided to move his capital to Pereyaslavets in the mouth of the Danube due to the great potential of that location as a commercial hub. In the Primary Chronicle record for 969, Sviatoslav explains that it is to Pereyaslavets, the centre of his lands, "all the riches flow: gold, silks, wine, and various fruits from Greece, silver and horses from Hungary and Bohemia, and from Rus furs, wax, honey, and slaves".

In summer 969, Sviatoslav left Rus' again, dividing his dominion into three parts, each under a nominal rule of one of his sons. At the head of an army that included Pecheneg and Magyar auxiliary troops, he invaded Bulgaria again, devastating Thrace, capturing the city of Philippopolis, and massacring its inhabitants. Niceforus responded by fortifying the defenses of Constantinople and raising new squadrons of armored cavalry. In the midst of his preparations, Niceforus was overthrown and killed by John Tzimiskes, who thus became the new Byzantine emperor.[32]

John Tzimiskes first attempted to persuade Sviatoslav into leaving Bulgaria, but was unsuccessful. Challenging the Byzantine authority, Sviatoslav crossed the Danube and laid siege to Adrianople, causing panic on the streets of Constantinople in summer 970.[33] Later that year, the Byzantines launched a counteroffensive. Being occupied with suppressing a revolt of Bardas Phocas in Asia Minor, John Tzimiskes sent his commander-in-chief, Bardas Sklerus, who defeated the coalition of Rus', Pechenegs, Magyars, and Bulgarians in the Battle of Arcadiopolis.[34] Meanwhile, John, having quelled the revolt of Bardas Phocas, came to the Balkans with a large army and promoting himself as the liberator of Bulgaria from Sviatoslav, penetrated the impracticable mountain passes and shortly thereafter captured Marcianopolis, where the Rus were holding a number of Bulgar princes hostage.

Sviatoslav retreated to Dorostol, which the Byzantine armies besieged for sixty-five days. Cut off and surrounded, Sviatoslav came to terms with John and agreed to abandon the Balkans, renounce his claims to the southern Crimea and return west of the Dnieper River. In return, the Byzantine emperor supplied the Rus' with food and safe passage home. Sviatoslav and his men set sail and landed on Berezan Island at the mouth of the Dnieper, where they made camp for the winter. Several months later, their camp was devastated by famine, so that even a horse's head could not be bought for less than a half-grivna, reports the Kievan chronicler of the Primary Chronicle.[35] While Sviatoslav's campaign brought no tangible results for the Rus', it weakened the Bulgarian statehood and left it vulnerable to the attacks of Basil the Bulgar-Slayer four decades later.

The Death of Sviatoslav by Boris Chorikov.Fearing that the peace with Sviatoslav would not endure, the Byzantine emperor induced the Pecheneg khan Kurya to kill Sviatoslav before he reached Kiev. This was in line with the policy outlined by Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus in De Administrando Imperio of fomenting strife between the Rus' and the Pechenegs.[36] According to the Slavic chronicle, Sveneld attempted to warn Sviatoslav to avoid the Dnieper cataracts, but the prince slighted his wise advice and was ambushed and slain by the Pechenegs when he tried to cross the cataracts near Khortitsa early in 972. The Primary Chronicle reports that his skull was made into a chalice by the Pecheneg khan, Kurya.[37]

Following Sviatoslav's death, tensions between his sons grew. A war broke out between Sviatoslav's legitimate sons, Oleg and Yaropolk, in 976, at the conclusion of which Oleg was killed. In 977 Vladimir fled Novgorod to escape Oleg's fate and went to Scandinavia, where he raised an army of Varangians and returned in 980. Yaropolk was killed and Vladimir became the sole ruler of Kievan Rus'.

More on Vladimr:

Main article: Christianization of Kievan Rus'

The Baptism of Saint Prince Vladimir, by Viktor Vasnetsov 1890The Primary Chronicle reports that in the year 987, as the result of a consultation with his boyars, Vladimir sent envoys to study the religions of the various neighboring nations whose representatives had been urging him to embrace their respective faiths. The result is amusingly described by the chronicler Nestor. Of the Muslim Bulgarians of the Volga the envoys reported there is no gladness among them; only sorrow and a great stench, and that their religion was undesirable due to its taboo against alcoholic beverages and pork; supposedly, Vladimir said on that occasion: "Drinking is the joy of the Rus'." Russian sources also describe Vladimir consulting with Jewish envoys who may or may not have been Khazars, and questioning them about their religion but ultimately rejecting it, saying that their loss of Jerusalem was evidence of their having been abandoned by God. Ultimately Vladimir settled on Christianity. In the churches of the Germans his emissaries saw no beauty; but at Constantinople, where the full festival ritual of the Byzantine Church was set in motion to impress them, they found their ideal: "We no longer knew whether we were in heaven or on earth," they reported, describing a majestic Divine Liturgy in Hagia Sophia, "nor such beauty, and we know not how to tell of it." If Vladimir was impressed by this account of his envoys, he was yet more so by political gains of the Byzantine alliance.[citation needed]

A mid-19th century statue overlooking the Dnieper in Kiev, by Peter Klodt and Vasily Demut-MalinovskyIn 988, having taken the town of Chersonesos in Crimea, he boldly negotiated for the hand of the emperor Basil II's sister, Anna. Never before had a Byzantine imperial princess, and one "born-in-the-purple" at that, married a barbarian, as matrimonial offers of French kings and German emperors had been peremptorily rejected. In short, to marry the 27-year-old princess off to a pagan Slav seemed impossible. Vladimir, however, was baptized at Cherson, taking the Christian name of Basil out of compliment to his imperial brother-in-law; the sacrament was followed by his wedding with Anna. Returning to Kiev in triumph, he destroyed pagan monuments and established many churches, starting with the splendid Church of the Tithes 989 and monasteries on Mt. Athos.

Icon of Saint Vladimir, Novgorod, 16th centuryArab sources, both Muslim and Christian, present a different story of Vladimir's conversion. Yahya of Antioch, al-Rudhrawari, al-Makin, al-Dimashki, and ibn al-Athir[6] all give essentially the same account. In 987, Bardas Sclerus and Bardas Phocas revolted against the Byzantine emperor Basil II. Both rebels briefly joined forces, but then Bardas Phocas proclaimed himself emperor on September 14, 987. Basil II turned to the Kievan Rus' for assistance, even though they were considered enemies at that time. Vladimir agreed, in exchange for a marital tie; he also agreed to accept Orthodox Christianity as his religion and bring his people to the new faith. When the wedding arrangements were settled, Vladimir dispatched 6,000 troops to the Byzantine Empire and they helped to put down the revolt.[7]

Christian reign
He then formed a great council out of his boyars, and set his twelve sons over his subject principalities.

It is mentioned in the Primary Chronicle that Vladimir founded the city of Belgorod in 991.

In 992 he went on a campaign against the Croats, most likely the White Croats an East Slavic group unrelated to the [Croats]] that lived in Dalmatia that lived on the border of modern Ukraine. This campaign was cut short by the attacks of the Pechenegs on and around Kiev.

In his later years he lived in a relative peace with his other neighbors: Boleslav I of Poland, Stephen I of Hungary, Andrikh the Czech questionable character mentioned in A Tale of the Bygone Years.

After Anna's death, he married again, most likely to a granddaughter of Otto the Great.

In 1014 his son Yaroslav the Wise stopped paying tribute. Vladimir decided to chastise the insolence of his son, and began gathering troops against Yaroslav. However, Vladimir fell ill, most likely of old age and died at Berestovo, near Kiev.

The various parts of his dismembered body were distributed among his numerous sacred foundations and were venerated as relics.

[edit] Vladimir's significance and historical footprint

Modern statue of Vladimir in LondonOne of the largest Kievan cathedrals is dedicated to him. The University of Kiev was named after the man who Christianized Kievan Rus. There is the Russian Order of St. Vladimir and Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in the United States. The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate the feast day of St. Vladimir on 15 July.

His memory was also kept alive by innumerable Russian folk ballads and legends, which refer to him as Krasno Solnyshko, that is, the Fair Sun. With him the Varangian period of Eastern Slavic history ceases and the Christian period begins

More on Yaroslav:

Leaving aside the legitimacy of Yaroslav's claims to the Kievan throne and his postulated guilt in the murder of his brothers, Nestor and later Russian historians often represented him as a model of virtue and styled him the Wise. A less appealing side of his personality may be revealed by the fact that he imprisoned his younger brother Sudislav for life. Yet another brother, Mstislav of Tmutarakan, whose distant realm bordered on the Northern Caucasus and the Black Sea, hastened to Kiev and inflicted a heavy defeat on Yaroslav in 1024. Thereupon Yaroslav and Mstislav divided Kievan Rus: the area stretching left from the Dnieper, with the capital at Chernihiv, was ceded to Mstislav until his death in 1036.

In his foreign policy, Yaroslav relied on the Scandinavian alliance and attempted to weaken the Byzantine influence on Kiev. In 1030 he reconquered from the Poles Red Rus, and concluded an alliance with king Casimir I the Restorer, sealed by the latter's marriage to Yaroslav's sister Maria. In another successful military raid the same year, he founded Yuriev after St George, or Yury, Yaroslav's patron saint and forced the surrounding province of Ugaunia to pay annual tribute.

One of many statues of Yaroslav holding the Russkaya Pravda in his hand. See another image here.In 1043 Yaroslav staged a naval raid against Constantinople led by his son Vladimir and general Vyshata. Although the Rus' navy was defeated, Yaroslav managed to conclude the war with a favourable treaty and prestigious marriage of his son Vsevolod to the emperor's daughter. It has been suggested that the peace was so advantageous because the Kievans had succeeded in taking a key Byzantine possession in Crimea, Chersones.

To defend his state from the Pechenegs and other nomadic tribes threatening it from the south he constructed a line of forts, composed of Yuriev, Boguslav, Kaniv, Korsun, and Pereyaslav. To celebrate his decisive victory over the Pechenegs in 1036 who thereupon never were a threat to Kiev he sponsored the construction of the Saint Sophia Cathedral in 1037. Other celebrated monuments of his reign, such as the Golden Gates of Kiev, have since perished.

Yaroslav was a notable patron of book culture and learning. In 1051, he had a Russian monk Ilarion proclaimed the metropolitan of Kiev, thus challenging old Byzantine tradition of placing Greeks on the episcopal sees. Ilarion's discourse on Yaroslav and his father Vladimir is frequently cited as the first work of Old Russian literature.

[edit] Family life and posterity
In 1019, Yaroslav married Ingegerd Olofsdotter, daughter of the king of Sweden, and gave Ladoga to her as a marriage gift. There are good reasons to believe that before that time he had been married to a woman named Anna, of disputed extraction.[citation needed]

In the Saint Sophia Cathedral, one may see a fresco representing the whole family: Yaroslav, Irene as Ingigerd was known in Rus, their five daughters and five sons. Yaroslav had three of his daughters married to foreign princes who lived in exile at his court: Elizabeth of Kiev to Harald III of Norway who had attained her hand by his military exploits in the Byzantine Empire; Anastasia of Kiev to the future Andrew I of Hungary, and the youngest daughter Anne of Kiev married Henry I of France and was the regent of France during their son's minority. Another daughter may have been the Agatha who married Edward the Exile, heir to the throne of England and was the mother of Edgar Ætheling and St. Margaret of Scotland.

Sarcophagus of Yaroslav the Wise.Yaroslav had one son from the first marriage his Christian name being Ilya, and 6 sons from the second marriage. Apprehending the danger that could ensue from divisions between brothers, he exhorted them to live in peace with each other. The eldest of these, Vladimir of Novgorod, best remembered for building the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod, predeceased his father. Three other sons—Iziaslav, Sviatoslav, and Vsevolod—reigned in Kiev one after another. The youngest children of Yaroslav were Igor of Volynia and Vyacheslav of Smolensk.

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