Rusian genealogy

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b. unknown – d. 1166 [1]



Svjatoslav Ol′govič was one of the handful of Volodimeroviči whose marriages were made with the steppe peoples and were reported in the sources. This trend began near the end of the eleventh century as the rulers of Rus´ attempted to apply the foreign policy tactic that was working for their other relations to the problem of the Polovcians.

In 1107 there were many battles between the Polovcians and the Rusians. [6] Various Volodimeroviči united to battle the Polovcians until finally Volodimer Monomax, Davyd Svjatoslavič, and Oleg Svjatoslavič went to make peace with two of the leaders of the Polovcian clans, both named Aepa. [7] As part of this peace agreement, Volodimer and Oleg committed their sons in marriage, and Oleg’s son married the daughter of Aepa, son of Girgen. [8] The identity of this son is not mentioned in the text, and it is only through later historians’ work that is has been assumed to be Oleg’s youngest son Svjatoslav. [9] This identification cannot be confirmed, as much information is missing for all of Oleg’s children and their spouses, but the identification of this son as Svjatoslav has gained widespread acceptance, including by Martin Dimnik. [10] Unfortunately, nothing more is known of this steppe princess, as she does not again appear in any extant records.

This marriage was designed to keep the peace for Rus´ in general, and like other dynastic marriages, to provide an advantage to the family making it, by making an alliance between the Volodimeroviči (or factions thereof) and one or more Polovcian clans. The primary goal of peace was not accomplished, as the Polovcians still raided Rus´ in general, but the marriage of an Ol´govič to the family of a Polovcian ruler created or cemented a relationship between the two that allowed Svjatoslav and other Ol´goviči to call on Polovcian aid in their future campaigns. [11]

It should also be noted that Svjatoslav married a second time in 1136, this time as ruler of Novgorod. The marriage, though not the name of the bride, is mentioned in multiple chronicles. [12] The bride may have been a daughter of a Novgorodian posadnik, a member of the Mikul´čič family of Novgorod, multiple members of which held the position at this time. [13] However, while this is possible, it is unlikely. The majority of the chronicles that record this marriage, NPL, NČL, and the Voskresenskij Chronicle all record that the marriage was conducted without the approval or services of Vladyka Nifont, and even the one outlying chronicle, Tver, records that Svjatoslavs was forced to use his own priests to perform the marriage. [14] Though largely in communion with one another in the twelfth century, the Latin and Orthodox Churches (broadly construed) often had ecclesiastical conflicts that extended into the political world. [15] It was not unheard of for rulers to use their own, loyal, clergy to officiate because of those occasional conflicts. In this case, the Novgorodian ecclesiastical hierarchy would have supported a lawful marriage of their chosen ruler and the daughter of one of the local noble, posadnik, families, as was the case with M′stislav Volodimerič before, and others after this time. The refusal of Nifont to adjudicate or allow his priests to attend may indicate that the marriage was unlawful in some way, perhaps even suggesting that Svjatoslav’s first wife was still alive. Despite our ignorance of the identity of the bride, the marriage was made, and it seems that it did not ingratiate Svjatoslav with the Novgorodians, as they evicted him a few short years later. [16] Though, of course, this may have simply been the typical Novgorodian response to the changing political situation in Rus´ as a whole. In sum, it can be safely stated that Svjatoslav married a second time, though with whom is not known.


  1. Birth/Death: Hypatian Chronicle, s.a. 1166.[↑]
  2. Father: [↑]
  3. Mother: [↑]
  4. Kniaginia of Chernigov: Hypatian Chronicle, s.a. 1164.; Hypatian Chronicle, s.a. 1164.[↑]
  5. Marriage to Sviatoslav Olgovich: NPL s.a. 1136.; NChL s.a. 1136.; Voskresenskaia Chronicle, s.a. 1136.; Tver Chronicle, s.a. 1136.; For a possible identification see Dimnik. The Dynasty of Chernigov 1054–1146, 337–40.[↑]
  6. PVL, s.a. 1107.[↑]
  7. Ibid., The Voskresenskij letopis′ records one as Aepa and one as Kaepa, though it seems more than likely that this is a later misprint that has been interpolated into the text. Voskresenskij Chronicle, s.a. 1107.[↑]
  8. PVL, s.a. 1107.[↑]
  9. Baumgarten, “"Généalogies,"” 18–19, table IV.[↑]
  10. Dimnik, The Dynasty of Chernigov, 1054–1146, 240.[↑]
  11. There are many examples of this in the various Rusian chronicles. See also Martin Dimnik’s Dynasty of Chernigov books for a refutation of the negative characterization of Oleg and the Olgoviči because of this behavior. One of the best–known examples of Rusian–Polovtsy interaction is contained in the twelfth–century Igor′ tale. Slovo o polku Igoreve: Perevod, predislovie i poiasneniia Ivana Novikova, ed. N. K. Gudzija (Moscow: Xudozhestvennaja literatura, 1938).[↑]
  12. NPL, s.a. 1136; NChL, s.a. 1136; Voskresenskij Chronicle, s.a. 1136; Tver Chronicle, s.a. 1136.[↑]
  13. Dimnik, The Dynasty of Chernigov, 1054–1146, 337–40; Baumgarten, “"Généalogies,"” Table IV.[↑]
  14. NPL, s.a. 1136; NČL, s.a. 1136; Voskresenskij Chronicle, s.a. 1136; Tver Chronicle, s.a. 1136. ““Vladyka”” is the title that the Novgorodian, and some other, chronicles, used for the head of the Novgorodian Church. It is often translated as “archbishop,” though the hierarchical issues implied by that are difficult to apply to the Rusian Church.[↑]
  15. In Reimagining Europe, I discuss Peter Brown’s idea of “micro-Christendoms” at some length. That discussion highlights some of the internal divides in Christian Europe. Raffensperger, Reimagining Europe, ch. 5.>[↑]
  16. NPL, s.a. 1138; Laurentian Chronicle, s.a. 1138; Hypatian Chronicle, s.a. 1139; NChL, s.a. 1138; Voskresenskij Chronicle, s.a. 1138; Tver Chronicle, s.a. 1138; Nikon Chronicle, s.a. 1138. [↑]