Rusian genealogy

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unknown daughter of Dmitrii Zavidich

b. unknown – d. after 1169 [1]


Dmitrii Zavidich [2]


unknown [3]


M′stislav was the son of Volodimer Monomax, and over the course of his life occupied the two premier spots in the Rusian hierarchy as ruler of Novgorod and of Kyiv. M′stislav also married twice, once a dynastic marriage with a foreign princess, and a second time with a Rusian woman.

The date for M′stislav’s first marriage is not known precisely, though Baumgarten following Tatiščev chooses to date it to the year 1095, [5] the year of M′stislav’s inception as ruler of Novgorod. [6] At approximately this time M′stislav married Kristín, the daughter of King Inge Steinkelsson of Sweden. [7] Typically, the Rusian chronicles record none of these details, though the NPL does record her name as “Xristina.” [8] Even the Scandinavian sources that record the marriage do not record the context. Sturluson simply mentions it as part of the genealogy of the marriage of Malfrid and King Sigurd of Norway, [9] and Abbot Wilhelm uses it as background for the marriage of Malfrid’s sister Ingeborg to Knud Lavard. [10] To search for a reason, we must stretch the sources a bit farther.

Inge of Sweden was the son of King Steinkel. Steinkel died around the year 1066, and was followed by a series of other rulers, including two Erics and possibly Inge’s brother, Alstan, before Haakon took the throne. [11] During that time, Inge was forced to flee, most likely in the years 1075–80, [12] because one of the current rulers was attempting to eliminate all possible rivals. Inge found refuge in that paradise for Scandinavian refugees, Rus´, where he probably lived in Kyiv, or possibly Novgorod, though the latter may have been too close to home for safety. During that time in Rus´, it is quite possible that he became friendly with the Volodimeroviči and was grateful for their assistance. When the Swedes were again in need of a king, they called him home from Rus´ to rule. [13] The possible reasons for a marriage between Inge and the then ruling Vsevolodoviči are numerous, but there are two probable ones. The first is that it was an alliance made because of the friendship created during Inge’s exile. An outgrowth of this idea is that the marriage was pledged during Inge’s time in Rus´, and only occurred when both M′stislav and Inge’s daughter Kristín were old enough. Prearranged marriages of this sort were relatively common; see the marriage of Sbyslava Svjatopolkovna and Bolesław III of Poland as just one example. [14] The other potential reason for the alliance was that it was part of Inge’s attempt to forge peace with his neighbors. In the 1090s, he was warring with King Magnus Barefoot of Norway over disputed lands, [15] and it would have been prudent for him to ensure that he was at peace with his other neighbors. Indeed that conflict was finally resolved with a marriage between Magnus and Inge’s other daughter, Margaret, who was called the “Frithkolla” (Peace Woman). [16] Unfortunately there is not enough evidence to report a definite reason for the marriage, but it would seem logical for a marriage agreement to have been concluded while Inge was in Rus´, despite the fact that M′stislav was then only a boy. This would fit with the Rusian policy of marrying exiles in the hopes that they would return to power.

Kristín’s death is recorded in 1122 and there is an interesting question of property that becomes important at her death. [17] In Scandinavian tradition a daughter inherits part of her father’s patrimony, though not the core lands. [18] In Denmark in the early twelfth century, we see Kristín’s sister, Margaret, pass on her patrimony to various people, including her niece Ingeborg. [19] Kristín would have had the same potential to pass on land she had inherited from her father King Inge, and the question is, where did that land go? Because of the dearth of Rusian sources, and their profound ignorance of the activities of women, we have no idea, but the fact that she had such land and that something must have happened to it is important to remember in attempting to understand this period of Rusian history. This land would have created or added to Kristín’s power and influence in Rus´, and it could have been a gift she passed on to her children to increase their power and influence.

The 1122 chronicle entry in the NPL that announces the death of Kristín also announces the second marriage of M′stislav, this time to a daughter of Posadnik Dmitri Zavidič of Novgorod. [20] This was also a politically advantageous marriage, but an internal one, attempting to strengthen the ties between Kyiv and Novgorod by having a Volodimeroviči marry one of the daughters of the Novgorodian nobility. Though there are certainly caveats, such as the simple lack of information on non-Volodimeroviči Novgorod politics at that time (despite the rich Novgorod chronicle tradition), this is an acceptable conclusion when put in such broad terms. A familial relationship between M′stislav and Dmitrii Zavidič is unlikely, as Dmitrii died in 1118, [21] and his son (a potential arranger of the marriage) did not hold the position of posadnik until 1128. [22] However, the idea of a sense of corporate loyalty is possible in which M′stislav would be creating a familial relationship with the Novgorod nobility, as an entity rather than one single family. This would be especially important, as M′stislav had left Novgorod in 1117 to assist his father in Kyiv. [23] If this interpretation is correct, the marriage can then be seen to serve the purpose of uniting the two poles of Rus´, Kyiv and Novgorod, and ideally bringing the Novgorodian nobility onto the side of M′stislav in an assumed succession battle after his ailing father’s death. This conclusion, while speculative, offers a reasonable suggestion for a marriage between a Volodimeroviči and non-Volodimeroviči Rusian, the first of its kind. It also seemed to correctly anticipate the succession struggles that followed and perhaps helped to cement M′stislav’s position on the throne of Kyiv.


  1. Birth/Death: Hypatian Chronicle, s.a. 1169 (mentions her as still living).; Voskresenskaia Chronicle, s.a. 1169 (mentions her as still living).[↑]
  2. Father: Hypatian Chronicle s.a. 1122.; NPL s.a. 1122.[↑]
  3. Mother: Conjecture based upon the existence of the daughter herself.[↑]
  4. Marriage to Mstislav “Harald” Vladimirich: Hypatian Chronicle s.a. 1122.; NPL s.a. 1122.; NChL s.a. 1122.; Voskresenskaia s.a. 1122.[↑]
  5. Baumgarten, “"Généalogies,"” 22–23, table V.[↑]
  6. PVL, s.a. 1095.[↑]
  7. Wilhelm, ““Wilhelmi abbatis genealogia regum Danorum” ,” in Scriptores minores historiae Danicae medii aevi, ed. M. Cl. Getz (Copenhagen: I Kommission hos G. E. C. Gad, 1917), 182.[↑]
  8. NPL, s.a. 1122.[↑]
  9. Sturluson, Heimskringla, 702.[↑]
  10. Wilhelm, “"Wilhelmi abbatis genealogia regum Danorum,"” 182.[↑]
  11. Adam of Bremen, liii.52, schol. 84 (85, 86). See also Sturluson. Heimskringla, 678.[↑]
  12. Adam of Bremen, note to bk. 3, ch. liii.52, schol. 84 (85, 86).[↑]
  13. Ibid., bk. 3, ch. liii.52, schol. 84 (85, 86).[↑]
  14. See the entry for Sbyslava Svjatopolkovna below.[↑]
  15. Sturluson, Heimskringla, 678–80.[↑]
  16. Ibid., 680.[↑]
  17. Laurentian Chronicle, s.a. 1122; NPL, s.a. 1122.[↑]
  18. Saxo Grammaticus, “Danorum Regum heroumque historia,” bk.13, p. 110, n8. There is a similar, though not identical, tradition of female inheritance in Rus, which is described in the Russkaia Pravda. Medieval Russian Laws, trans. George Vernadsky (New York: Oxford University Press, 1947), 51–53.[↑]
  19. Saxo Grammaticus, “Danorum Regum heroumque historia,” bk. 13, 110[↑]
  20. NPL, s.a. 1122. This is replicated in several other chronicles as well. Hypatian Chronicle, s.a. 1122; NChL, s.a. 1122; Nikon Chronicle, s.a. 1122.[↑]
  21. NCL, s.a. 1118.[↑]
  22. NPL, s.a. 1128; NChL, s.a. 1128. Also the year of Zavid Dmitreevič’s death after being posadnik for only a few months.[↑]
  23. NPL, s.a. 1117.[↑]