Rusian genealogy

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Iaroslav “Mudryi” Vladimirich Georgii

b. unknown – d. 1054 [1]


Volodimer Svjatoslavič [2]


Rogned′ [3]



Jaroslav was ruler of Novgorod prior to his father's death in 1015, which gave him close connections with Scandinavia that would only be furthered through marriage. There is some confusion in the historical record over Jaroslav's marital history, chiefly in the timeline for Jaroslav's marriage to Ingigerd, daughter of Olof Skötkonnung, king of Sweden. [11] . It is acknowledged that Jaroslav had a son, Ilja, [12] by a first wife or mistress who is unknown to historians. [13] Thietmar mentions that Jaroslav had a wife in Kyiv when Bolesław took the city in summer 1018, [14] and this only increased the confusion because it is most likely the first wife/mistress and not Ingigerd. The main line of thought among historians is that it is only after this defeat that Jaroslav married Ingigerd. [15] The tale Snorre Sturluson recorded in Heimskringla bears this out. In the summer of 1018 messengers first reached Olof Skötkonnung on behalf of Jaroslav (who is recorded as being in Holmgard/Novgorod) asking to marry Olof's daughter Ingigerd. [16] Both the timing of these messengers and the recorded location of Jaroslav are important in this instance, for before the summer of 1018 Jaroslav was located in Kyiv. When he was driven out, he left there someone whom Thietmar later recorded was Jaroslav’s wife. While resident in Novgorod in late 1018/early 1019, the PVL records that Jaroslav, with the help of his cousin Kostjantin, was attempting to recruit Scandinavian soldiers to help him in retaking Kyiv. [17] This dovetails nicely with the marriage negotiations with King Olof. [18]

As has been discussed, dynastic marriages have many purposes, but the main one is securing an alliance. Jaroslav was in a tight spot after being evicted from Kyiv. The PVL records that he wanted to flee to Scandinavia and was stopped only by the heroics of his cousin, Kostjantin Dobrynič, and the generosity of the people of Novgorod. [19] This may be the case, but it is more likely that there was another element to Jaroslav’s success, that while in Novgorod he sent men to Olof to negotiate a dynastic marriage that involved Olof supplying Jaroslav troops with which to regain Kyiv. [20] There is some circumstantial evidence for this in the Heimskringla’s description of the marriage contract. The impetus for these demands in Heimskringla comes from Ingigerd, [21] and while this is entirely possible, it may also be a later interpretation based upon the opinion in Scandinavian sagas that Ingigerd was a wise woman who became the power in Rus′. [22] Her first demand was for Ladoga “and the jarldom that goes with it” as her dowry, and she followed this up with a demand for Jarl Ragnvald Ulfson to accompany her and to be jarl in Ladoga. [23] The Heimskringla records that Ragnvald gathered his men and ships and accompanied her to Rus′. There are multiple interesting things to discuss in regard to these demands, but the most immediate is that accompanying Ingigerd on her trip to Rus′ was a powerful Swedish jarl and his men, his warriors, and he was to have a jarldom in Rus′. An alternate interpretation to that provided by Sturluson would be a request by Jaroslav, as part of the marriage agreement, for troops to reclaim Kyiv. In return for that aid, the jarl leading the troops would have the trading city of Ladoga and its demesne, with probably substantial revenues as his own. This interpretation fits the facts and the model of medieval dynastic marriage quite well. The marriage was agreed upon in the summer of 1018 and in spring 1019 Jaroslav sent messengers to collect his bride and troops and lead them to Novgorod. [24] He then went on to make an attack on Svjatopolk, driving him out of Kyiv and reclaiming it for good, [25] making a success of his dynastic marriage alliance with Ingigerd.

The account in Heimskringla provides references to some practices involved in medieval dynastic marriages that are rarely recorded. The first is the consent of the woman to the marriage. Ingigerd is able to set conditions on the marriage agreement before it is ratified, thug playing a crucial role in the creation of the agreement itself, even to the point of choosing her retinue against her father's wishes. [26] As far as the medieval church was concerned, consent was the key to marriage, and women, or men, could not be forced by their parents or anyone else to marry. [27] Though this was countermanded often in practice, in theory it was an absolute, and many families may have honored it. [28] This is something that may have occurred in Rusian dynastic marriages, drawing as they did on Scandinavian traditions in other ways as well, and thus is important to know for the current study.

The process of how the marriage was arranged is also important to note. It seems logical when explained clearly, as in the Heimskringla, but is rarely thought of by historians, nor are its implications considered. In 1018 Jaroslav sent messengers to arrange a marriage with King Olof's daughter, and again in 1019 he sent messengers to conclude the agreement and bring Ingigerd back to Rus′. [29] This was a typical part of the organizing of medieval dynastic marriages and there are other Rusian examples in 1043, when Jaroslav sends messengers to the court of Henry III and when Henry I of France sends messengers to Jaroslav to negotiate for one of his daughters. [30] Unfortunately, for the majority of Rusian dynastic marriages this information is not known, and so where it is mentioned one has to expand that to an understanding that this was commonplace for most dynastic marriages. [31] This exchange of messengers also addresses one of the problems some historians have found with dynastic marriage as a vehicle for cultural or political transmission. The effect is expanded now from one person and an entourage, to an exchange or multiple exchanges of messengers between kingdoms to arrange potential dynastic marriages. These trips would likely be in the way of embassies, who would not travel the long distances of the Middle Ages for a night, but stay and discuss for some time, advertently or inadvertently sharing their culture with their hosts.

In this same vein is the helpful knowledge about the people Ingigerd brought with her. In Heimskringla it is she who requests the company of Ragnvald on her journey to Rus′. [32] Unmentioned in the account but surely present on the journey were the wives of Ragnvald and his men, especially, Ragnvald’s wife Ingebjörg, the sister of Olaf Tryggvason, who is connected to Ingigerd in other accounts. [33] Thus, the bride did not go into her marriage alone, but with an entourage from her own kingdom creating a pocket of people in the foreign kingdom who speak the same language and have the same culture and customs. Blatant examples of this are rare in Rusian marriages, though there is an example in the marriage of the daughter of Bolesław Chrobry to Svjatopolk Jaropolčič, [34] and there is an implication of another in the marriage of Evpraksia Vsevolodovna. [35] Like the system of arranging dynastic marriages with messengers, entourages for these royal and noble women were the norm. This not a deviation, despite the paucity of Rusian examples.

The last item of note is that Ingigerd asks for the town of Ladoga and its jarldom as her dowry. [36] As I mentioned, this was most likely not Olof's to give, and it came instead from Jaroslav to Ragnvald. But the existence of the request is what is important to note here. As in the examples above, this is a rare piece of evidence. Only one other marriage, that of Evpraksia Vsevolodovna, has evidence that she arrived for her marriage bearing property. [37] That these women brought not only entourages but property into their marriages and into their new kingdoms increases the effect the marriage would have on the new family and the culture of the new family. The most famous example of this is the marriage of the Byzantine princess Theophano to German Emperor Otto II. Multiple records exist of the goods she brought with her as well as the impact that they had on German society in the later tenth century. [38] This is just another important item to consider in a rich description of eleventh–century dynastic marriage.

Ingigerd played an important role in Rus′. As we have seen, her marriage to Jaroslav helped him regain the throne of Kyiv and made possible his reign. Her contacts with Scandinavia were also important in advancing the cause of Rusian foreign policy. Because of his ties to her, King Olad of Norway fled to Rus′ with his son Magnus when he was beaten by Knud the Great in 1029, and even after he left Rus′ the next year Jaroslav and Ingigerd continued to foster his son Magnus (Ingiger's nephew), for five more years. [39] Theodoric, who wrote a Latin history of Norway in the twelfth century, records that it was her decision whether or not to send Magnus back with the Norwegian delegation who came to return him to the throne. [40] This visit of Olaf's set up the visit of his brother Harald Hardrada in 1031, and thus his eventual marriage to Ingigerd and Jaroslav's daughter Elisabeth. The impact of Jaroslav's dynastic marriage to Ingigerd went beyond obtaining a wife, it impacted the immediate and long–term foreign policy of Rus′ and guaranteed the both of them immortality in the Scandinavian sagas. [41]


  1. Birth/Death: unknown.; PVL s.a. 1054.[↑]
  2. Father: PVL s.a. 980.[↑]
  3. Mother: PVL s.a. 980.[↑]
  4. Kniaz′ of Rostov: PVL s.a. 988.; Iaroslav is listed as ruler of both Rostov and, after Vysheslav's death, Novgorod under the year 988, after 988, he is seen only in Novgorod.; PVL s.a. 988.; Iaroslav is listed as ruler of both Rostov and, after Vysheslav's death, Novgorod under the year 988, after 988, he is seen only in Novgorod.[↑]
  5. Kniaz′ of Novgorod: PVL s.a. 988.; PVL s.a. 1015.[↑]
  6. Kniaz′ of Kiev: PVL s.a. 1016.; PVL s.a. 1018.[↑]
  7. Kniaz′ of Novgorod: Ilia Iaroslavich dies near 1020, and Novgorod is left without a ruler. Briacheslav Iziaslavich usurps the throne in 1021 (PVL s.a. 1021), and Iaroslav defeats him. With the absence of a Iaroslavich ruler on the throne of Novgorod it should escheat to Iaroslav himself. As is apparent when Iaroslav is listed as being in Novgorod, and ruling in Novgorod during the war with Mstislav (PVL s.a. 1024).; PVL s.a. 1036.; The PVL records, in 1036, that Iaroslav names his son, Vladimir, as ruler in Novgorod.[↑]
  8. Kniaz′ of Kiev: PVL s.a. 1018.; PVL s.a. 1054.[↑]
  9. Marriage to unknown: Conjectural based on a son listd in NPL p. 161.[↑]
  10. Marriage to Ingigerd of Sweden: Heimskringla pp. 342-43.; Morkinskinna ch. 1.[↑]
  11. Nazarenko briefly reviews the controversy and the positions of various Russian authors. Nazarenko, Drevnjaja Rus′ na meždunarodnyx putjax, 492–93.[↑]
  12. Ilja is listed in the NPL’s list of rulers of Novgorod as Jaroslav’s son, who ruled in Novgorod after Jaroslav had gone to Kyiv and died. NPL, s.a. 989.[↑]
  13. Though Nazarenko has an elaborate theory that her name was Anna, based upon a convoluted chain of reasoning that started with Volodimer Jaroslavič’s mother being misnamed by a fifteenth–century chronicler or copyist. Nazarenko, Drevnjaja Rus′ na meždunarodnyx putjax, 490–91.[↑]
  14. Thietmar of Merseburg, bk. 8, chap. 32.[↑]
  15. Jonathan Shepard and Simon Franklin, The Emergence of Rus 750–1200, Longman History of Russia (New York: Longman, 1996), 202.[↑]
  16. Sturluson. Heimskringla, 340.[↑]
  17. PVL, s.a. 1018.[↑]
  18. Further buttressing the 1019 marriage date is the 1020 date, recorded in multiple copies of the Rusian chronicles, of the birth of Jaroslav’s son Volodimer, who is elsewhere described as the oldest of his children, presumably with reference to the oldest of his children by Ingigerd or from his Christian marriage. PVL, s.a. 1020 (the birth), s.a. 1052, (death of eldest son of Jaroslav); Nikon Chronicle, s.a. 1020, 1052.[↑]
  19. PVL, s.a. 1018.[↑]
  20. Nazarenko agrees with the basics of this assertion though he posits a much grander theory of a Rusian–Danish–Swedish coalition against Poland formed by dynastic marriage, a theory that I cannot subscribe to. Nazarenko, Drevnjaja Rus′ na meždunarodnyx putjax, 492–97.[↑]
  21. Sturluson. Heimskringla, 342–43.[↑]
  22. Cross has listed multiple examples of this from a wide range of Scandinavian saga sources. Samuel Hazard Cross, “"Yaroslav the Wise in Norse Tradition,"” Speculum 4, no. 2 (1929), 192.[↑]
  23. Sturluson. Heimskringla, 342–43.[↑]
  24. Ibid., 304.[↑]
  25. PVL, s.a. 1018, s.a. 1019.[↑]
  26. Sturluson. Heimskringla, 342. [↑]
  27. Michael M. Sheehan, “"Choice of Marriage Partner in the Middle Ages: Development and Mode of Application of a Theory of Marriage,"” in Marriage, Family, and Law in Medieval Europe: Collected Studies, ed. James K. Farge (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), 91.[↑]
  28. This is especially true in the Scandinavian sagas, where daughters are usually given the choice with their father’s endorsement of one candidate. Saxo Grammaticus gives multiple examples of consent as an issue as well, in both mythical and historical times. Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum: The History of the Danes, ed. Hilda Ellis Davidson, trans. Peter Fisher (Totowa, N.J.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1979).[↑]
  29. Sturluson. Heimskringla, 340, 342.[↑]
  30. Both of these situations are discussed in more detail below in regard to Anna Jaroslavna.[↑]
  31. And it was commonplace. Examples range from tenth–century expeditions from the German Empire to Byzantium to negotiate for a bride for Otto II, and later for Otto III, to twelfth–century embassies from Denmark to Portugal. [↑]
  32. Sturluson. Heimskringla, 342–43.[↑]
  33. Ibid.[↑]
  34. It is explicitly stated that Reinbern the priest came with her. Thietmar of Merseburg, bk. 7, chap. 72.[↑]
  35. J. Vogt, Monumenta inedita rerum Germanicarum praecipue Bremensium (Bremen 1740), 1. bd. 125, cited in S. P. Rozanov, “"Evpraksija–Adel′geida Vsevolodovna, (1071–1109),"” Izvestiia Akademii Nauk SSSR VII Seriia 8 (1929), 623.[↑]
  36. Sturluson. Heimskringla, 342.[↑]
  37. J. Vogt, Monumenta inedita rerum Germanicarum praecipue Bremensium, 1. bd. 125, cited in Rozanov, “"Evpraksija–Adel′geida Vsevolodovna, (1071–1109),"” 623.[↑]
  38. Saint Bernward talks about the contemporary artifacts and influence of Theophano. Francis J. Tschan, ed., Saint Bernward of Hildesheim. 2. – His Works of Art, vol. 2 (South Bend, Ind.: University of Notre Dame, 1951). More recently, there has been an entire conference volume dedicated to Theophano. Adalbert Davids, ed., The Empress Theophano: Byzantium and the West at the Turn of the First Millennium (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).[↑]
  39. Sturluson. Heimskringla, 474, 486.[↑]
  40. Theodoricus Monachus, “"Theodrici monachi Historia de antiquitate regum Norwagiensium,"” in Monumenta Historica Norvegiae, ed. Gustav Storm (Kristiania: A. W. Brøgger, 1880), 45.[↑]
  41. As an interesting sidenote on this, in the sagas Ingigerd is mentioned alone or when with her husband as “King Jarisleif and Queen Ingigerd.” Jaroslav is rarely mentioned on his own. It is her presence that lends him the literary immortality.[↑]