Rusian genealogy

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Cunigunda of the German Empire

b. unknown – d. unknown


As was mentioned in the discussion of his father’s, Izjaslav Jaroslavič’s, dynastic marriage, Jaropolk fled Rus′ in 1073 with his father and mother and ended up at the court of Dedi, margrave of the Saxon Nordmark. The traditional wisdom is that while there, Izjaslav arranged a marriage between his son Jaropolk and one of Dedi’s stepdaughters, Cunigunda, to seal an agreement in which Dedi would present Izjaslav and his case to Henry IV and use his influence to help Izjaslav. Recently, however, Nazarenko has suggested that this narrative may not be accurate. Instead,he suggests that the reason for going to Dedi’s after fleeing Poland was because Jaropolk was already married to Cunigunda. [6] In this scenario, the marriage was made in 1073 as a counter to Svjatoslav’s marriage to Oda of Stade, daughter of a rival of Dedi’s, implying that the politics of the German Empire and Rus´ were intertwined and playing off one another. [7] This argument is persuasive, but contains problematic elements. The main, substantive, piece of evidence for this theory is the notice of the death of Jaropolk 's daughter in the Hypatian Chronicle. It says that she died in 1158 and that she had lived for eighty-four years, placing her birth sometime in the year 1074. [8] With only this evidence it is possible to revise the estimate of Jaropolk and Cunigunda 's marriage to 1073 (or early 1074 at the latest). Izjaslav and his family did not leave Bolesław II’s court until Easter 1074, making the timeline for the marriage and consummation quite quick if the daughter was born in 1074. [9] However, the idea that Jaropolk traveled to the German Empire in 1073, at the time of his father’s expulsion, or slightly before, is entirely unsourced. Not to mention that it would be an amazing amount of good planning on Izjaslav 's part, something that is difficult to accept, even though Izjaslav was a clever political actor in his foreign relations. [10] Despite these complications, the reason Nazarenko gives for the marriage can still be valid. Not only would an alliance with Dedi help Izjaslav to gain access to and potentially influence Henry IV, but it would also ally the Izjaslaviči with the enemies of Svjatoslav’s marital kin. Thus the date for their marriage can be slightly altered, and the reasons for the dynastic marriage can be reconciled. Like many dynastic marriages, there turn out to be multiple reasons behind it.

Not much is recorded of the marriage of Jaropolk and Cunigunda. Saxo records the fact of their marriage in a listing of the history of Dedi’s family, under the year 1062. [11] The Rusian chronicles do not record the marriage, but they note three of the children of the marriage, two sons who lived into the twelfth century, and the aforementioned daughter. Another daughter of the marriage returned with Cunigunda to the German Empire after Jaropolk 's death in 1086, and was later married to Count Gunther of Keffenburg. [12] The political success of the dynastic marriage depends on the interpretation of the cause of the marriage. Izjaslav was introduced to Henry IV by Dedi, and Henry IV did send an embassy to Svjatoslav at least to attempt a negotiation, [13] though the embassy may have been doomed to failure from the start because of the presence at its head of Svjatoslav’s brother-in-law, Burchard, dean of Trier. However, Jaropolk’s marriage with Cunigunda may also have been useful to him on his mission to Pope Gregory VII, [14] establishing the Izjaslaviči as tied to Latin Christians, and thus, potentially, loyal to the pope. It does not seem that there were further political considerations of their marriage after the successful return of the Izjaslaviči to Rus′ in 1077, though Cunigunda’s influence may have been influential in Jaropolk 's construction the first Church of St. Peter to be built in Kyiv, which in turn led to the start of the cult of St. Peter in Rus′. [15] Whether or not there were long–term consequences to their dynastic marriage, it seems to have fulfilled its goal in the short term of helping Izjaslav regain the Kyivan throne. A secondary consequence was that Rusian children ended up with positions of prominence in both Rus′ and the German Empire.


  1. Birth/Death: [↑]
  2. Father: Pertz, ed., Annalista Saxo, s.a. 1062.[↑]
  3. Mother: Pertz, ed., Annalista Saxo, s.a. 1062.[↑]
  4. Marriage to Iaropolk Iziaslavich: Hypatian s.a. 1158 references a daughter, though Cunigunda's name is not mentioned.; Pertz, ed., Annalista Saxo, s.a. 1062.[↑]
  5. Marriage to Cuno of Beichlingen of the German Empire: Annalista Saxo, s.a. 1062.[↑]
  6. Nazarenko, Drevnjaja Rus´ na meždunarodnyx putjax, 527–28.[↑]
  7. Ibid.[↑]
  8. Hypatian Chronicle, s.a. 1158.[↑]
  9. Laurentian Chronicle, p. 247. This information comes from Volodimer Monomax’s “Testament.”[↑]
  10. I think quite highly of Izjaslav’s conduct of foreign relations, which can be seen in my “Iziaslav Iaroslavich’s Excellent Adventure: Constructing Kinship to Gain and Regain Power in Eleventh-Century Europe,” Medieval Prosopography (forthcoming).[↑]
  11. Annalista Saxo, s.a. 1062.[↑]
  12. Ibid., s.a. 1062, 1103. This marriage has not been included in the list of Rusian dynastic marriages presented here because it appears that the marriage was arranged by Cunigunda’s new husband and did not concern Rus´.[↑]
  13. Lamberti Hersfeldensis Annales, s.a. 1075.[↑]
  14. H. E. J. Cowdrey, Pope Gregory VII 1073–1085 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), 452–53. For Gregory’s letter to Jaropolk and Izjaslav, see The Register of Pope Gregory VII 1073–1085, 2.74.[↑]
  15. PVL, s.a. 1086, for his construction of the church. Ščaveleva discusses it and its implications in more depth. Ščaveleva, “"Knjaz′ Jaropolk Izjaslavič i xristianskaja tserkov′ XI v.,"” 135.[↑]