Rusian genealogy

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Lanka daughter of Bela I of Hungary [1]

b. unknown – d. unknown


Bela of Hungary [3]


unknown daughter of Mieszko II of Poland [4]


Rostislav Volodimerič was the eldest son of Volodimer,, ruler of Novgorod, himself the eldest son of Jaroslav Mudryi, and so it seemed he would be destined for great things as the eldest son of the heir to the Kyivan throne. The actual result was that Rostislav was marginalized in the power politics of Rus´, as Volodimer predeceased Jaroslav by two years and thus Rostislav could not hope to rule Kyiv, or Rus´, through legitimate political measures. Despite this setback, Rostislav was still a grandson of Jaroslav Mudryi, a great-grandson of the first Volodimer, and, some have suggested, a ruler of Novgorod upon his father’s death. Martin Dimnik, for instance, suggests that Izjaslav sent Ostromir as posadnik to Novgorod in 1055 to be his regent, [6] as Rostislav is nowhere listed as ruler of Novgorod, not even in the NPL listing of rulers of Novgorod that goes from the death of Volodimer to Izjaslav’s placement of his son M′stislav. [7] Acknowledging the problems involved with this conclusion, it is certainly possible that he was ruler of Novgorod, even if only nominally as a minor after his father’s death. However, without a clear primary source indicating such, I have not included him as a knjaz´ of Novgorod in part 2.

As an orphaned Volodimeroviči, and possibly a minor, [8] Rostislav’s marital fate was determined by the head of his family, in this case Izjaslav, ruler of Kyiv. In 1060 the need for a new dynastic marriage arose, and as Izjaslav did not have a son of age, he turned to Rostislav to conclude this marriage. [9] As discussed in regard to Anastasia Jaroslavna, in 1060 Andrew of Hungary died, and Anastasia and her son Salomon were expelled to the German Empire, with Andrew’s brother Béla taking over the throne. [10] Béla was closely tied to the Poles, as he had been living in Poland for many years and was married to a daughter of Mieszko II. [11] Though this made him Izjaslav’s brother-in-law (Izjaslav and Béla’s wives were sisters), as well as cousin (Izjaslav’s aunt was mother), there was no direct marital connection between Béla and Rus´. More importantly, there was a strong connection between Béla’s rival Salomon and Rus´. To this end, Izjaslav arranged the marriage of Béla’s daughter Lanka and Rostislav of Novgorod, most likely early in 1060. [12] This marriage provided a direct tie between Rus´ and the new leadership in Hungary.

The marriage was only a few years old when Béla died in 1063 and Salomon regained the throne in Hungary. At the time it was made it was a necessary tie between the Volodimeroviči and a different branch of the Árpáds, and would potentially be important when Lanka’s brothers Géza and Ladislaus took the throne as kings of Hungary. Rostislav died of poisoning after capturing Tmutorokan in 1066, but he left behind three sons, Rjurik, [13] Volodar′, and Vasil′ko. [14] Tatiščev records that after Rostislav’s death, Lanka wanted to return with her children to Hungary, but Izjaslav would not allow her to go. [15] Because of the source, the information has to be taken with a grain of salt, but it seems a likely possibility. After the death of Svjatoslav Jaroslavič, his second wife, Oda of Stade, returned to her homeland with their son, [16] as did Jaropolk Izjaslavič’s wife, Cunigunda, after his death. [17] Byzantine women often returned home after their dynastic marriages ended as well. [18] So it may be a possibility that Lanka wanted to do so, but that Izjaslav preferred to have her Rusian children stay in Rus´, and they were granted territories to hold in Galicia-Volyn´ when they came of age.

The two youngest sons, Volodar′ and Vasil′ko, would become famous when Svjatopolk Izjaslavič, as ruler of Kyiv, attempted to displace them from their territories at the end of the eleventh century. To do this, Svjatopolk called on his dynastic connections with the Hungarian ruler Koloman, the one point at which Lanka makes an appearance in the historical record by name. The Chronica de gestis Hungarorum records that Lanka, widow of a Rusian ruler, begged Koloman for mercy for her people. [19] This entry makes more sense when it is explained that Lanka was begging her nephew for the lives of her sons. Her attempt to play on familial ties was unsuccessful as “the King [Koloman] kicked and pushed her away, saying: ‘It is not fitting that royal majesty should be defiled by the weeping of a woman.’”15 [20] She had the last laugh though—she prayed for help for her people and the Polovcians came and destroyed the Hungarians, [21] though cause and effect are hard to establish.

As with many women who married into Rus´, there are hardly any records of Lanka, and thus there is an incomplete picture of her in the historical record, but what can be determined has been shown here, including the reasons for her dynastic marriage to Rostislav and her role in her children’s lives.


  1. Name: Chronica de gestis Hungarorum, 131.; Tatishchev, Istoriia Rossiiskaia, vol. 2, 83–84.[↑]
  2. Birth/Death: [↑]
  3. Father: Chronica de gestis Hungarorum, 131.; Tatishchev, Istoriia Rossiiskaia, vol. 2, 83–84.[↑]
  4. Mother: Conjectural.[↑]
  5. Marriage to Rostislav Vladimirich: Chronica de gestis Hungarorum, 131.[↑]
  6. Dimnik, The Dynasty of Chernigov, 1054–1146, 46.[↑]
  7. NPL, s.a. 989. This particular listing of rulers is found only in the Komissionnyi spisok of the NPL, not in the Sinodal′nyi.[↑]
  8. Baumgarten places his birth at approximately 1045, though it is not recorded in the Rusian chronicles, and I have accepted this approximate date. Baumgarten, “"Généalogies,"” 15, table III. The general age of marriage was 15 for men, though some did occur younger, and Rostislav may have begun to rule Novgorod on his own behalf at 14, as his father did. Tver Chronicle, s.a. 1052, for length of Volodimer’s rule.[↑]
  9. Though there are no exact dates for the births of his sons, they are believed to have been born just on either side of 1050, making them too young for a marriage in 1060 that needed to happen immediately. Baumgarten, “"Généalogies,"” 10, table 2.[↑]
  10. See above in the entry for Anastasia Jaroslavna.[↑]
  11. Chronica de gestis Hungarorum, 110–11.[↑]
  12. Whether or not Rostislav was the ruler of Novgorod, he was still of Novgorod, as his flight from there indicates in the 1060s, as well as his company at the time, identified as other Novgorodians. PLV, s.a. 1064.[↑]
  13. As a very interesting sidenote, this is the first time in the recorded history of Rus´ that the name Rjurik appeared in the Volodimeroviči line.[↑]
  14. Rostislav’s only appearance in the PVL comes when he leaves Novgorod with friends and takes over the southern city of Tmutorokan. He leaves in 1064 and is poisoned by Byzantines in 1066. PVL, s.a. 1064.[↑]
  15. Tatiščev, Istorija Rossiiskaja, vol. 2, 83–84.[↑]
  16. Dimnik, The Dynasty of Chernigov, 1054–1146, 129[↑]
  17. Annalista Saxo, 693, 737.[↑]
  18. Cecily Hilsdale, ““The Social Life of the Byzantine Gift: The Royal Crown of Hungary Re-Invented,”” Art History 31, no. 5 (2008): 621, but see also n. 64.[↑]
  19. Chronica de gestis Hungarorum, 131. [↑]
  20. Ibid.[↑]
  21. Ibid., 131; and PVL, s.a. 1097.[↑]