Rusian genealogy

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Vysheslava Sviatoslavna

b. unknown – d. unknown


Sviatoslav Iaroslavich [2]


Kilikia [3]


The marriage of Vyšeslava to Bolesław II of Poland is recorded in the book of Jan Długosz, [5] as well as by Tatiščev, [6] both sources whose credibility has been questioned at one time or another. However, the marriage has largely been accepted in the secondary sources and will be considered here as plausible. [7]

Events in Rus´ were disordered in 1067 as Vseslav, ruler of Polack, captured Novgorod and some towns in the north and had to be driven out by the combined forces of Izjaslav, Svjatoslav, and Vsevolod. The situation was resolved in midsummer when Vseslav was captured and imprisoned in Kyiv. [8] Despite the relatively speedy solution to the problem recounted in the PVL, this internal chaos was probably the prime motivator for the marriage of Vyšeslava to Bolesław II. In order to join forces and march against Vseslav, the Jaroslaviči would have needed to secure their western border against threats. This same tactic had been used by both Bolesław Chrobry, who made peace with the Germans to invade Rus´, and Koloman of Hungary, who made peace with the Poles to invade Rus´. As usual, an effective way of securing the agreement was a dynastic marriage. Unfortunately, Izjaslav did not have any daughters that he could use for this marriage agreement,but his brother Svjatoslav did, and because it had to happen quickly, Vyšeslava was sent to Poland to marry Bolesław II. [9]

This was unfortunate for Izjaslav not in the short term, as the Jaroslaviči achieved their goal of a peaceful western border while they dealt with their internal troubles, but in the long term, as it would affect his political aspirations. In 1073 when Izjaslav was expelled by his brothers Svjatoslav and Vsevolod he went to Poland to his cousin/ nephew Bolesław II, who promptly took his money and expelled him from the country. Why Bolesław would help Izjaslav in 1069 but not in 1073 has always been something of a mystery. But in 1069 Bolesław and Izjaslav were fighting against Vseslav as usurper. In 1073, the usurper was Svjatoslav, Bolesław’s father-in-law. It is understandable that he would not want to fight against his own father-in-law, and that Svjatoslav was able to use this marital connection to his advantage and prevent the Poles from aiding the ousted Izjaslav. It was only after Svjatoslav’s death at the end of 1076 that Bolesław aided Izjaslav in returning to the throne of Kyiv, once the conflict of interest, brought on by marital connections, was no more. [10]

The initial purpose of the marriage of Vyšeslava and Bolesław as a dynastic marriage for Rus´ was fulfilled in keeping the western border safe during a chaotic time. The familial context of the marriage, as a marriage with Svjatoslav’s family, was also successful, as Svjatoslav was able to maintain control of Kyiv by denying Polish aid, via his son–in–law, to his enemy, something exiled Rusian rulers had often counted on.


  1. Birth/Death: [↑]
  2. Father: Dimnik, 41.[↑]
  3. Mother: Dimnik, 41.[↑]
  4. Marriage to Bolesław II “the Bold” of Poland: Dimnik, 41.; Dlugosz, Annales, 95.; Tatishchev, Istoriia Rossiiskaia, 123.; Baumgarten, 18-20, Table V.[↑]
  5. Długosz, Annales, 95.[↑]
  6. Tatiščev, Istorija Rossiiskaja, vol. 2, 123.[↑]
  7. Both Baumgarten and Dimnik accept the marriage. Baumgarten, “"Généalogies,"” 18–20, table V; and Dimnik, The Dynasty of Chernigov, 1054–1146, 41.[↑]
  8. PVL, s.a. 1067.[↑]
  9. This interpretation is in contrast with Martin Dimnik’s, who believes that the marriage was not at all for wider political reasons, but only for the advancement of the Svjatoslaviči. Dimnik, The Dynasty of Chernigov, 1054–1146, 57.[↑]
  10. It is debatable whether or not Bolesław would have aided Izjaslav the next spring had Svjatoslav not died. Izjaslav did bring with him to Poland two papal legates, who, most likely, crowned Bolesław II as king, with the purpose of getting his aid for Izjaslav.[↑]