Rusian genealogy

Maintained by: Christian Raffensperger ( and David J. Birnbaum ( [Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 Unported License] Last modified: 2021-03-01T12:09:18-0500 About this site:

Introduction | About | Browse | Query | Sources | Maps

Leo Diogenes of Byzantium

b. unknown – d. 1116 [1]


The marriage of Marija Volodimerovna is almost completely speculative but has been included here because it is widely commented on, if not always recognized, in the scholarship. Marija was the daughter of Volodimer Monomax, and it is believed that she married Leo Diogenes. The only reference to Leo in the Rusian chronicles is under the year 1116, when “Leon Diogenevič´” attacked Alexius Comnenus and was killed. [5] In the Hypatian Chronicle his surname is left out and he is referred to only as “Leon carevič.” [6] As is mentioned in other examples, however, the chroniclers’ attribution of the title carevič may not always refer exactly to the son of a tsar. The important fact for these purposes is that in that entry he is explicitly identified as Volodimer Monomax’s “zjat´.” [7] “Zjat´,” like the Greek “gambros,” can mean either brother-inlaw or son-in-law, but in this case it has been taken to be son-in-law. [8] Baumgarten advanced the idea that Leo was the son of Romanus IV Diogenes, the Byzantine emperor, [9] which is most likely not true given his complete absence in Byzantine sources. There is some corroboration for the existence of this marriage, though, in multiple chronicles in the year 1136. In that year, a “Vasilko Maričič´” dies; he is further identified in the Hypatian Chronicle as Vasilko “Leonovič´.” [10] This person, otherwise completely unknown in the chronicles, combines the two names of Marija and Leo in different patronymics, or one patroand one matronymic, as the case may be. This is the best evidence of the identity of Marija, and the existence of the marriage. Litvina and Uspenskij further discuss the onomastic evidence for the marriage in this child, and show that he was named after the Christian name of his grandfather, Volodimer–Vasilij Monomax. [11] This is certainly plausible, adding to the evidence for the marriage, as well as of the naming power of Rusian women.

However, Leo as the son of Romanus IV Diogenes seems unacceptable, as shown by Každan in his analysis of Rus´-Byzantine marriages, where he illustrates the fate of all the known children of Romanus IV. [12] Thus we are left with a Leo Diogenes (“Leon Diogenevič′”), who was almost assuredly a Byzantine and married to a daughter of Volodimer Monomax. Leo may have been another royal refugee who went to Rus´, perhaps even a member of the extended Diogenes family, but he was certainly not the son of Romanus IV. If he was a Diogenes, of whatever rank, it would have been in keeping with Rusian policy for Volodimer to marry a relative to him, in case his fortunes changed and he was able to return home with some measure of power, as had worked so effectively for Volodimer’s aunts. But no more can be made of his identity than this


  1. Birth/Death: Laurentian Chronicle s.a. 1116.; Hypatian Chronicle s.a. 1116.; Nikon Chronicle s.a. 1117.[↑]
  2. Father: [↑]
  3. Mother: [↑]
  4. Marriage to Marija Vladimirovna: Laurentian Chronicle s.a. 1116.; Hypatian Chronicle s.a. 1116.; Kazhdan, 420.[↑]
  5. Laurentian Chronicle, s.a. 1116.[↑]
  6. Hypatian Chronicle, s.a. 1116.[↑]
  7. Laurentian Chronicle, s.a. 1116; Hypatian Chronicle, s.a. 1116.[↑]
  8. See Kazhdan, “"Rus′–Byzantine Princely Marriages in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries,"” 420.[↑]
  9. Baumgarten, "Généalogies," 22–23, table V.[↑]
  10. Hypatian Chronicle, s.a. 1136; Laurentian Chronicle, s.a. 1136; NChL, s.a. 1136; Voskresenskij Chronicle, s.a. 1136; Nikon Chronicle, s.a. 1136[↑]
  11. Litvina and Uspenskii. Vybor imeni u russkikh kniazei v X–XVI vv., 140–41.[↑]
  12. Kazhdan, “"Rus′–Byzantine Princely Marriages in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries,"” 420–22.[↑]