Rusian genealogy

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Maria Mstislavna

b. unknown – d. unknown


Mstislav “Harald” Vladimirich [2]


Kristin Ingesdottir of Sweden [3]


The only known marriage of the last ruler of Kyiv during the period of a united Rus′ is difficult to find information about, despite its importance. His bride is typically identified as Maria M′stislavna, daughter of M′stislav Volodimerič, [5] mostly because of a passage in the Hypatian Chronicle, under the year 1141 where the M′stislaviči obliquely reference a sister with Vsevolod Ol′govič. [6] The date of the marriage is entirely unknown, though Dimnik speculates that it took place after the Ljubeč conference in 1197. [7] In part, I imagine that he dates the marriage to this time because of the estimation of Vsevolod’s birthdate circa 1083. [8] While that does make Vsevolod a maritally eligible fourteen-year old in 1097, any potential daughter of M′stislav could only be two years of age in 1097. [9] Zotov uses a more viable date of 1116, following Pogodin, but that too is unsubstantiated by primary source material, or convincing analysis. [10] Birthdates are uncommon in the early twelfth century, but marriage dates are more reliable, and M′stislav has daughters who marry in 1111, [11] 1112, [12] and 1115. [13] Marital age in the Rusian world was typically in the teens, with children being born within the first year, or so, of marriage. [14] Thus, M′stislav’s daughter who married in 1111, would have been, at a minimum, approximately fourteen years of age upon her marriage (thus a birth date in 1097). Similarly, the children of Vsevolod Ol′govič can be used to determine the approximate date of his marriage. He has children who marry in 1141 (Zvenislava Vsevolodovna), [15] and 1143 (Svjatoslav Vsevolodič). [16] Assuming a minimum age of fourteen for the marriage of a woman in Rus′, [17] Zvenislava would have been born in 1127 at the latest, and certainly no earlier than 1121, based upon prevailing marital customs. It would be extremely unlikely to have a gap of twenty–plus years between marriage and the birth of your first child, especially in such a society focused upon familial place, and especially for a ruler who ended up in such high office. Thus, we must date this marriage to the 1120s broadly. Further, I will offer a suggestion for a specific date and reason for the marriage below.

Vsevolod Ol′govič appeared upon the Rusian political scene for the first time in 1127/28 usurping his uncle’s throne and taking Černihiv for himself. [18] The Hypatian chronicle in particular records that M′stislav Volodimerič, then ruling in Kyiv, mobilized against this usurpation, but there is no result to that campaign other than Jaroslav Svjatoslavič settling into Murom, his prior place of rule. [19] Invariably such military campaigns are settled with peace agreements and the two parties kissing the cross to one another, often the peace agreement is sealed by a marriage between the two main families involved. Though it is not explicitly noted in this case, this is what I would suggest occurred as part of the peace agreement between Vsevolod Ol′govič and M′stislav Volodimerič in 1127. A marriage between the new ruler of Černihiv, one of the major cities of Rus′, and the daughter of the new ruler of Kyiv, would cement Vsevolod into place as part of the hierarchy of Rus′, despite the past problems of the Ol′goviči, as well as reinforcing Vsevolod’s place in the familial hierarchy of Rus′. Making Vsevolod not only one of the Volodimeroviči, but a son–in–law of M′stislav, and thus (theoretically) bound to his authority. This marriage date makes sense in the context of the political relationships, as well as the dates of the marriages of Vsevolod’s children. [20] This marriage bound together two of the most powerful families in Rus′, and laid the foundation, perhaps, for Vsevolod’s own succession to Kyiv, as well as reinforcing the peace of M′stislav’s reign.


  1. Birth/Death: [↑]
  2. Father: Hypatian s.a. 1141. Though this is an oblique reference.; Dimnik pp. 254-55.[↑]
  3. Mother: Conjectural based upon Mstislav's marriages.[↑]
  4. Marriage to Vsevolod Olgovich: Hypatian s.a. 1141. Though the reference is oblique.; Dimnik pp. 254-55.; This date is conjectural based upon my own analysis. Please see the attached note for more information.[↑]
  5. Dimnik, The Dynasty of Chernigov, 1054–1146, 254, 313; Baumgarten, “"Généalogies,"” Table IV.[↑]
  6. Hypatian Chronicle, s.a. 1141. Additionally, there seem to be seals with her name on them found, but they do little to advance our understanding of the marriage. Janin, Aktovye pečati drevnei rusi X-XV vv. tom 1, 71.[↑]
  7. Dimnik, The Dynasty of Chernigov, 1054–1146, 313.[↑]
  8. Dimnik, The Dynasty of Chernigov, 1054–1146, 165.[↑]
  9. See the entry for M′stislav Volodimerič for the dating of his marriage.[↑]
  10. Zotov, O Chernigovskix knjaz′jakh po Ljubetskomu sinodiku, 262.[↑]
  11. Malfrid M′stislavna, see above.[↑]
  12. N. N. M′stislavna to Jaroslav Sviatopolčič, see above.[↑]
  13. Ingeborg M′stislavna, see above.[↑]
  14. For more on age of marriage see the Introduction, or Levin, Sex and Society in the World of the Orthodox Slavs, 900–1700, ch. 2. ; as well as Carol Jean Diers and Darrell W. Amundsen, “"The Age of Menarche in Medieval Europe,"” Human Biology 45 (1973), 363-369.[↑]
  15. Zvenislava Vsevolodovna, see below.[↑]
  16. Svjatoslav Vsevolodič, see below.[↑]
  17. It appears that menarche began about the age of fourteen in the medieval world. Diers and Amundsen, ““Age of Menarche in Medieval Europe.”” See the Introduction for more information.[↑]
  18. Hypatian Chronicle, s.a. 1128; Voskresenskij Chronicle, s.a. 1127; Tver Chronicle, s.a. 1127; Nikon Chronicle, s.a. 1127.[↑]
  19. Hypatian Chronicle, s.a. 1128.[↑]
  20. As well as their death dates. His eldest son Svjatoslav dies in 1194, making his birth in the late 1120s entirely likely. Hypatian Chronicle, s.a. 1194.[↑]