Rusian genealogy

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Oda of Stade of the German Empire

b. unknown – d. unknown


There is, perhaps, more mystery and controversy about the marriages of Svjatoslav Jaroslavič than any other figure in Rusian medieval history. Even the preceding statement would engender controversy because of the use of the word “marriages,” as some believe there was only one marriage. [5] This is not the place to get into the specifics of any of these arguments, though reference to them will be made in the text with further information or citations in the notes. Instead, this section will merely focus on the available data.

There are two women who are connected to Svjatoslav, or at the very least two different names, the first of which is Kilikia. The name Kilikia for the wife of Svjatoslav is recorded in the Ljubeč Sinodik, a very late, and often contested source for information on the Svjatoslaviči. [6] Martin Dimnik, whose work has concentrated on the restoration of the Svjatoslaviči to the pages of Rusian history, has theorized that the marriage to Kilikia took place between the marriages of his older and younger brothers, Izjaslav and Vsevolod, which Dimnik dates to 1043 and 1046 respectively. [7] This is merely a supposition, however, as no actual information exists about the marriage or about Kilikia herself, but for the sake of argument the logical supposition that the brothers would marry in order of seniority has been accepted as a starting point for discussion. As mentioned, there is no record of Kilikia's identity. Dimnik, among others, has advanced the idea that the name indicates that she is Greek, from the province of Cilicia, which is rendered in Greek and Slavonic as “Kekiliia.” [8] This seems possible simply based on the onomastic evidence of the name, but in the window created by Dimnik, there does not seem to be a reason for a marriage between Rus′ and Byzantium. In 1043 Rus′ attacked Constantinople, and in 1046 there was the marriage of a Monomaxina to Vsevolod Jaroslavič. [9] A marriage with a Byzantine woman not from the royal house (which at the time was that of Constantine IX Monomachus), would seem an odd choice to make. The only explanation that makes sense from the perspective of the Byzantines would beif perhaps Svjatoslav was allying himself or being allied with a rival faction, but one from Cilicia in this time period is not known, and no such marriage is recorded in contemporary Byzantine sources. With the overwhelming lack of evidence, it is impossible to confirm that this was a Byzantine marriage. Alternately, V. M. Mošin has suggested that the woman may have been of Norman origin, though this is just as speculative. [10] The identity of Kilikia will have to wait for the discovery of more evidence.

Following the theory of multiple marriages, Kilikia was the mother of all of Svjatoslav’s children with the exception only of his youngest son, Jaroslav. The mother of Jaroslav Svjatoslavič was a German woman by the name of Oda of Stade. Oda of Stade was the daughter of Ida of Elsdorf and Lippold, count of Ditmarschen. Ida was herself the niece of Emperor Henry III and Pope Leo IX, and thus a woman of some importance in the German Empire. [11] This marriage can be dated to the early 1070s. A continuer of Herman of Reichenau recorded under the year 1072 that the “king of Rus′” married the daughter of “Count Lippold and Ita of Oterisburg” [12] with the mediation of Henry IV. [13] Potentially corroborating this account is a story from Bruno’s Saxon war that Henry IV sent an embassy to Rus′, though the story is undated and serves only to advance the idea of Henry IV as a crafty ruler. [14] Nazarenko suggests that the embassy was sent in 1069/70 to discuss the marriage between Svjatoslav and Henry IV’s cousin. [15] Though this is not concrete corroboration, it is acceptable as a basis to build the theory that Henry IV was involved in Oda of Stade’s marriage. He was Ida’s cousin as well as the ruler of the German Empire and thus would have had the ability to marry off his cousin’s daughter, should he so choose. Nazarenko has suggested that the reason behind such a marriage would be an anti–Polish alliance between the Svjatoslaviči and the Salian dynasty. [16] If the marriage negotiations began in 1069/70, it was after the Poles had restored Izjaslav to the throne, and Bolesław II was beginning to war against the Bohemians (who had attacked Poland while Bolesław was in Rus′), staunch allies of the German Empire. This reasoning makes sense on the surface, as the Svjatoslaviči and Izjaslaviči are often contrasted in their Polish–anti–Polish stances, but it is difficult to reconcile with the earlier marriage of Vyšeslava Svjatoslavna to Bolesław II of Poland. [17] The marriage may have just been another form of insurance against further Polish help to Izjaslav, should he need it, or perhaps it was part of the future planning of Svjatoslav, who was already preparing a campaign against Izjaslav and wanted to take extra measures to be sure that the Poles were both unwilling (because of Bolesław’s marriage to Svjatoslav’s daughter) and unable (because of the threat of attack) to aid Izjaslav’s return to Kyiv.

Svjatoslav and Oda only had one known child. The Izbornik Svjatoslava of 1073 carries a picture of Svjatoslav and his family in which his children are grown except for a baby held by his wife. This baby was most likely Jaroslav, and the wife, Oda of Stade. [18] After Svjatoslav's death, Oda returned to the German Empire with Jaroslav, and he was not seen again in Rus′ until 1096, [19] after which he began to rule various Svjatoslaviči towns. [20]

Svjatoslav’s marriage to Oda is best known for the assistance it gave him when Henry IV sent an embassy to Rus′ in 1075 ostensibly on behalf of Izjaslav. The head of Henry's delegation was Burchard, the dean of Trier, specifically chosen because he was the brother of Oda of Stade, and thus the brother–in–law of Svjatoslav. [21] Burchard was sent to Rus′ to negotiate a peaceful settlement to the struggles between Izjaslav and Svjatopolk. Burchard returned from his brother–in–law’s court with riches for both himself and Henry IV, most likely as further inducement not to intervene in the struggle. [22] The marriage, then, had served its purpose of allowing Svjatoslav an entrée to Henry IV that allowed him to maintain his seat in Kyiv and frustrate his brother’s chances to return to Rus′.

This marriage, for all of the convoluted struggles in the historiography, was a very important one for Rus′. It fulfilled its goal of an alliance with Henry IV, as well as preventing Polish aid to Izjaslav while Svjatoslav ruled in Kyiv. But perhaps more importantly, it brought imperial Salian blood into the Rjurikid line (in the person of Jaroslav Svjatoslavič), an important symbol that the Rusians were eligible partners throughout Europe and potentially leading the way for Henry IV himself to marry a Rusian princess.


  1. Birth/Death: [↑]
  2. Father: Albert of Stade.; Nazarenko (2001), 506-10.[↑]
  3. Mother: Albert of Stade.; Nazarenko (2001), 506-10.[↑]
  4. Marriage to Sviatoslav Iaroslavich: Nazarenko (2001), 515 - citing Herman of Reichenau, I believe this manuscript is currently unavailable, though it is in preparation for publication as MGH SS 18 NS.; Bruno de Bello Saxonico, 333, cap. 13.[↑]
  5. S. M. Kaštanov might be such a one. S. M. Kaštanov, “"Byla li Oda Štadenskaja ženoi velikogo knjazja Svjatoslava Jaroslaviča?"” in Vostočnaja Evropa v drevnosti i srednevekov′e, ed. V. T. Pašuto (Moscow: RAN, 1994), 18; as would Baumgarten whose involved theory of the marriage of Svjatoslav will be discussed briefly later. Baumgarten, “"Généalogies,"” 7, table I.[↑]
  6. Zotov, O Chernigovskix knjaz′jakh, 24, 33.[↑]
  7. Dimnik, The Dynasty of Chernigov, 1054–1146, 37.[↑]
  8. Ibid.; Nazarenko, “"Kievskaja knjagina – vnuka papy L′va IX (1049–1054),"” 28. [↑]
  9. More on which can be found in the marriage of Vsevolod Jaroslavich.[↑]
  10. Mošin, “"Russkie na Afone i russko–vizantiiskie otnoshenija v XI–XII vv.,"” 773.[↑]
  11. There are multiple sources for the genealogy of Ida. The best is Albert of Stade; Nazarenko provides a Russian translation as well. Nazarenko, Drevnjaja Rus′ na meždunarodnyx putjax, 506–10.[↑]
  12. Oterisburg is very near to Elsdorf, and she may have held both properties.[↑]
  13. I was unable to find the primary source which Nazarenko cites, and have as a result simply cited Nazarenko himself. Nazarenko, Drevnjaja Rus′ na meždunarodnyx putjax, 515.[↑]
  14. Bruno de Bello Saxonico, 333, cap. 13.[↑]
  15. Nazarenko, Drevnjaja Rus′ na meždunarodnyx putjax, 519–20.[↑]
  16. Ibid., 520–21.[↑]
  17. Unfortunately due to the structure of this section, the marriages of Svjatoslav are dealt with before the marriage of his daughter Vyšeslava, which occurred after his marriage to Kilikia, but before his marriage to Oda of Stade. See below for the marriage of Vyšeslava Svjatoslavna.[↑]
  18. T. S. Morozov, ed., Izbornik velikago knjazja Svjatoslava Jaroslaviča 1073 goda, Monumenta Linguae Slavicae Dialecti Veteris Tom 3 (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1965), 1.[↑]
  19. PVL, s.a. 1096.[↑]
  20. See Dimnik for more details of his life and rule. The Dynasty of Chernigov, 1054–1146.[↑]
  21. Lambert of Hersefeld, s.a. 1075.[↑]
  22. Ibid.. Also recorded obliquely in the PVL. PVL, s.a. 1075.[↑]