Rusian genealogy


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Elena daughter of the ruler of the Ossetians of Ossetia [1]

b. unknown – d. 1124 [2]

Marriages

The marriage of Jaropolk Volodimerič was not a typical dynastic marriage, and perhaps does not belong in this listing, but it has been included because it involves an important medieval custom that is not discussed in any of the other marriages—wife as hostage. In 1116 Volodimer Monomax sent his son Jaropolk to the Polovtsian lands along the Don to attack the Polovtsy and to capture people and cities. [6] Jaropolk did this and while there he also captured many “Jasy,” including one whom he took as a wife. [7] This woman is believed to be the same woman who is mentioned as the wife of Jaropolk in 1145 in regards to their re–burial, and is called there Elena. [8] The Hypatian redaction identifies Elena at her capture as the daughter of the ruler of the Jasy. [9] This was clearly not an arranged marriage, since capture is a clear part of the entry, but it may have been a case where Jaropolk took her to ensure the cooperation or lack of retaliation from her family. Alternately, she could also have been taken for her great beauty (“Jaropolk privede sobě ženu krasnu velmi”), which is explicitly mentioned. [10]

If we can assume that this is the same woman who was listed in 1145 as Jaropolk’s wife, which is a safe assumption based upon her identification there as an “Jaska.” [11] An interesting point is her religious orientation. When she was captured this was unknown, and might depend on a correct identification of the Jasy. The most common interpretation is that they were Ossetians or Alans, [12] and thus a Turkic people living in the Caucases and the lower steppe, leaving their religion a mystery as they could have been pagan or Muslim. However, they could also have been a group of Volga Bulgars, as a recent study suggests, [13] in which case a safer assumption would be that they were Muslim. At her death Elena, which was most likely her Christian name, was laid to rest in a Christian church in Rus′. [14] While the conversion of non–Christian or even non–Orthodox wives has been assumed, there are not as many instances of proof, which makes this case important. The marriage of Jaropolk Volodimerič and Elena of the Jasy was not a dynastic marriage in the traditional sense, but it was a marriage between two kingdoms that had a political purpose and thus deserves inclusion in this area and consideration when discussing Rusian foreign politics of this period.

Footnotes

  1. Name: Hypatian Chronicle s.a. 1116 for her father, s.a. 1145 for her name.[↑]
  2. Birth/Death: Nikon Chronicle s.a. 1124.; Hypatian Chronicle s.a. 1145 mentions the moving of her tomb.; Laurentina Chronicle s.a. 1145 mentions the moving of her tomb.[↑]
  3. Father: [↑]
  4. Mother: [↑]
  5. Marriage to Iaropolk Vladimirich: Laurentian Chronicle s.a. 1116.; Hypatian Chronicle s.a. 1116.; Voskresenskaia Chronicle s.a. 1116.; Nikon Chronicle s.a. 1117.[↑]
  6. Laurentian Chronicle, s.a. 1116; Hypatian Chronicle, s.a. 1116; Voskresenskij Chronicle, s.a. 1116; Nikon Chronicle, s.a. 1117.[↑]
  7. Laurentian Chronicle, s.a. 1116; Hypatian Chronicle, s.a. 1116; Voskresenskij Chronicle, s.a. 1116; Nikon Chronicle, s.a. 1117.[↑]
  8. Laurentian Chronicle, s.a. 1145; Hypatian Chronicle, s.a. 1145[↑]
  9. Hypatian Chronicle, s.a. 1117.[↑]
  10. Ibid.[↑]
  11. Hypatian Chronicle, s.a. 1145.[↑]
  12. Hypatian Chronicle, xiv.[↑]
  13. Riza Bariev, Volžskie bulgary: Istorija i kul′tura (Saint Petersburg: Accessed online at http://fstanitsa.ru/his_bariev1_3.shtml, 1999).[↑]
  14. Nikon Chronicle, s.a. 1124 (records her death); Her tomb is transferred in 1145 – Laurentian Chronicle, s.a. 1145; Hypatian Chronicle, s.a. 1145[↑]