Rusian genealogy

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Iziaslav Iaroslavich [1]

b. 1024 – d. 1078 [2]


Iaroslav “Mudryi” Vladimirich Georgii [3]


Ingigerd of Sweden [4]



Izjaslav was not the oldest of Jaroslav's living sons when he made his dynastic marriage, and thus what seems like an extraordinarily important tie later, Jaroslav Mudryi’s heir marrying a Polish princess, was a simple dynastic marriage when it was concluded. [10] Izjaslav's marriage is, in fact, not recorded in the PVL, though it is one of the more well known dynastic marriages in eleventh–century Rusian history. Izjaslav married Gertrude, the daughter of Mieszko II of Poland and sister of Casimir. Though the PVL does not record the event in either the Laurentian or Hypatian redactions, it is recorded in both the Nikon and Tver chronicles under the year 1043 in conjunction with the marriage of Dobronega/Maria and Casimir and Jaroslav’s attack on Moislav and the Mazovians. [11] Because it was recorded alongside the other marriage and the attack places it not only in time but in relation to those events, it is possible to conclude that the reason for this marriage was the same as for Dobronega's and in fact the two marriages strengthened the bond between Jaroslav and Casimir and their joint resolve to deal with the Mazovians. As for a date, the marriage of Dobronega can be reliably placed in 1039 due to the Latin sources, and a marriage date of 1043 for Izjaslav makes sense as part of reinforcing the existing Rusian–Polish alliance at that time. [12] We can accept, provisionally then, the dating of the marriage to 1043, and its purpose, which is indicated by its placement in the chronicles, as strengthening the alliance between Casimir and Jaroslav to deal with the Mazovians and to bring peace to Poland and Rus′.

The implications of this marriage and its proximate cause are largely addressed in the implications and causes of the marriage of Casimir and Dobronega, which preceded Izjaslav’s marriage in forming this Rusian–Polish alliance. However, this marriage would have far–reaching consequences for the history of Rus′ beyond that short–term alliance against the Mazovians. The first time this was evident was in 1068, when Izjaslav was forced to flee from Kyiv, due to an insurrection, and chose to go to Poland. This is recorded in the PVL along with the simple statement that “Izjaslav fled to the Liakhs [Poles].” [13] This is enough, when we know that Izjaslav’s wife was a Polish princess and that he could probably find allies there, especially in light of the situation with Svjatopolk Jaropolčič, who also fled to the Poles for support. [14] Bolesław II, ,Casimir’s son, was now ruling Poland and was the most likely source for aid for Izjaslav, who believed that he could rely on Bolesław because of the familial relation confirmed by Izjaslav's’s marriage to Bolesław’s aunt as well as the familial connections between Bolesław’s mother and Izjaslav. [15] As it turned out, Izjaslav was correct and by relying on the connections made by dynastic marriage, both his and his aunt’s, he received aid from Bolesław to reclaim the throne of Kyiv. [16]

Izjaslav was again removed from power in 1073 and forced to rely on his wife's relations. [17] Izjaslav, taking a good part of the Rusian treasury, fled to Poland with his wife and his son Jaropolk. In Poland he attempted to procure aid from Bolesław again, but instead was robbed by Bolesław’s men and turned out of the country [18] in what was most likely a clever dynastic/political move by Svjatoslav. [19] Polish sources do not recall this visit of Izjaslav, but the theft of the money is referenced later in a letter from Pope Gregory VII to Bolesław II [20] and can thus be confirmed. Izjaslav and his family still needed a place to go, and if possible a place to find aid to return to power in Kyiv. Again the solution was to draw on the resources brought about by his dynastic marriage, his wife's family. Gertrude was the daughter of Mieszko II and his wife Richeza, the niece of German Emperor Otto III, and so she had familial connections with many German families. Izjaslav was able to trade on her name and connections and find a place with Dedi, margrave of the Saxon Nordmark. Not incidentally, this connection was solidified with another dynastic marriage between Izjaslav's son Jaropolk and a stepdaughter of Dedi’s, Cunigunda, to seal their alliance. This connection enabled Izjaslav to meet Emperor Henry IV and enlist his aid (unsuccessful) and also provided a base of operations from which he could reach out to the pope (more successful). With the pope’s backing Izjaslav was able to return to Poland, and his cousin/nephew Bolesław II, and again request aid, which was granted after Svjatoslav's death in late 1076, when Polish forces assisted Izjaslav in regaining the throne of Kyiv. [21] This whole exhausting ordeal, which has largely been summarized here was only made possible because of Izjaslav's dynastic marriage to Gertrude and his utilization of her extensive familial ties in the interest of his political career. Their marriage not only fulfilled these goals, but bound the Poles and the Izjaslaviči together for the next fifty years and helped to dictate Rusian foreign policy aims as Izjaslaviči strengthened these ties and other families reacted against them.

Izjaslav had three sons who are known in the historical record, M'stislav, Jaropolk, and Svjatopolk; at issue is whether or not Gertrude was the mother of all of them. This has been discussed by various scholars and hinges on two key pieces of evidence. The first is from Gertrude's Psalter, known as the Codex Gertrudianus, which contains an illustration of Jaropolk/Peter, the caption of which reads “my only son.” [22] The second piece of evidence is a graffito on the wall of St Sophia in Kyiv that says “Lord help your servant Olisava, mother of Svjatopolk, Rusian princess.” [23] The reference in the graffito is thought to be to the mother of Svjatopolk Izjaslavič, due to a variety of circumstances discussed in an article by V. L. Ianin. The obvious inference would be that Svjatopolk and Jaropolk had the same father but different mothers. However, this easy answer has not been generally acceptable, and scholars such as Ianin have gone out of their way to attempt to show that Gertrude and Olisava were one and the same, his explanation being that Olisava was the name Gertrude took upon her conversion to Orthodoxy. [24] This is tenuous, as it is not proven, but it still leaves the “my only son” from her Psalter. Ianin explains this away in the traditional manner by saying that what was meant was “my only Catholic son,” or perhaps, “my only son who emigrated to Latin Europe with me.” Neither explanation is entirely convincing. Neither is A. V. Nazarenko’s extended discourse on this subject in which he creates a second wife and a second dynastic marriage for Izjaslav out of a series of tenuous connections based upon various assumptions. [25] With the available evidence this situation cannot be resolved satisfactorily, and so the situation should be accepted at face value. Izjaslav was their father, Gertrude was the mother of at least Jaropolk, and Svjatopolk may have had a mother named Olisava, the last conclusion only being in doubt because of the brevity of the graffito recording it.


  1. Name: PVL s.a. 1024.[↑]
  2. Birth/Death: PVL s.a. 1024.; PVL s.a. 1078.; NPL s.a. 1078. Though there is no patronymic listed. There are also no accolades, just a simple notation of the death of two kniazia, Iziaslav and Boris.[↑]
  3. Father: PVL s.a. 1024.[↑]
  4. Mother: Conjectural.[↑]
  5. Kniaz′ of Novgorod: Conjectural, but based on the death of Vladimir Iaroslavich in 1052. PVL s.a. 1052.; Iziaslav is in Novgorod when Iaroslav dies. PVL s.a. 1054.[↑]
  6. Kniaz′ of Kiev: PVL s.a. 1054.; NPL p. 17.; PVL s.a. 1068.; NPL p. 17.[↑]
  7. Kniaz′ of Kiev: PVL s.a. 1069.; NPL p. 17.; PVL s.a. 1073.; NPL p. 18.[↑]
  8. Kniaz′ of Kiev: PVL s.a. 1077.; PVL s.a. 1078.; NPL s.a. 1078. Though there is no patronymic listed. There are also no accolades, just a simple notation of the death of two kniazia, Iziaslav and Boris.[↑]
  9. Marriage to Gertrude of Poland: Tver Chronicle p. 149.; Nikon Chronicle p. 83.[↑]
  10. Jaroslav’s eldest son was Volodimer, who died in 1052, only two years before his father. PVL, s.a. 1052.[↑]
  11. Nikon Chronicle, s.a. 1043; Tver Chronicle, s.a. 1043[↑]
  12. Annalista Saxo, s.a. 1039; Lambert of Hersefeld, s.a. 1039.[↑]
  13. PVL, s.a. 1068.[↑]
  14. See Svjatopolk Jaropolčič above for details of this affair.[↑]
  15. Izjaslav and Bolesław were related by blood as first cousins and by marriage as brothers–in–law.[↑]
  16. Gesta principum Polonorum, 88–89, for the Polish perspective. The PVL also records the attack under 1069, and Bolesław’s critical role. PVL, s.a. 1069.[↑]
  17. PVL, s.a. 1073.[↑]
  18. PVL, s.a. 1073.[↑]
  19. See the marriage of Vyšeslava Svjatoslavna for more info on these events.[↑]
  20. The Register of Pope Gregory VII 1073–1085, trans. H. E. J. Cowdrey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 2.73.[↑]
  21. PVL, s.a. 1077.[↑]
  22. ““Unicus filius meus.”” Nazarenko, Drevnjaja Rus′ na meždunarodnyx putjax, 567. However, upon my examination of a copy of the plate in the Regenstein Library collection (U. Chicago), I was not able to see such an inscription. H. U. Sauerland and A. Haselhoff, eds., Der Psalter Ezbischof Egberts von Trier: Codex Gertrudianus, in cividale (Trier: Selbstverlag der Gesellschaft für nützliche forschungen, 1901), tafel 42.[↑]
  23. V. L. Janin, “"Russkaja knjaginja Olisava–Gertruda i ee syn Jaropolk,"” Numizmatika i epigrafika 4 (1963), 142.[↑]
  24. Ibid., 158.[↑]
  25. Nazarenko, Drevnjaja Rus′ na meždunarodnyx putjax, 559–84. In his version, Olisava turns out to be a Bohemian princess. [↑]