Welcome to our website, dear readers. Yaroslav the Wise (aka Yaroslav I) is the son of Grand Duke Vladimir and the governor of Novgorod after the death of his father in 1015. Yaroslav, with the active support of the Novgorodians and Varangian mercenaries, defeated Svyatopolk and seized power in Kyiv in 1019, becoming the Grand Duke of Kyiv.
And this is not all that can be said about this outstanding ruler. In the article we have collected the most interesting facts from the life of Yaroslav the Wise.
Yaroslav was the son of Vladimir I Svyatoslavich from the Rurik family. It is not known for certain when he was born. But thanks to The Tale of Bygone Years, it is approximately known that he was born in 978 or 979. The story says that he lived for 76 years (according to the old Russian account of years, he lived for 75 years, and died in the 76th year). And Yaroslav died in 1054.
In 1010, he became the governor of Novgorod (before that he was the prince of Rostov), and Rostov was given under the control of his younger brother Boris Vladimirovich. Shortly before the death of Vladimir the Great, Svyatopolk, one of his sons (or nephew), was in prison in Kyiv. He was preparing the murder of his father with a further seizure of the throne. After the death of Vladimir in 1015, Svyatopolk was released from prison and sat on the throne. At the same time, the throne was assigned not to Svyatopolk, but to Boris. In the same year, Svyatopolk’s half-brothers were killed: Boris, Gleb and Svyatoslav. The Tale of Bygone Years says that these murders were organized by Svyatopolk.
After the capture of the Kyiv throne by Svyatopolk, Yaroslav, together with the Novgorodians and the Varangians, rebelled against his brother. In 1016, the troops of Yaroslav clashed with the troops of Svyatopolk near Lyubech on the Dnieper. Then the “Wise” defeated Svyatopolk and captured Kyiv. Svyatopolk fled to Poland and asked his father-in-law, Prince Boleslav I the Brave, to help him regain the throne of Kyiv. In 1018, their troops met again, this time on the Bug, where Yaroslav lost and was forced to retreat to Novgorod. Svyatopolk captured Kyiv again. Not wanting to feed the Polish troops that remained in Kyiv, he broke the agreement with Bolesław and drove the Poles out of the city. Together with the Poles, some boyars also left. Just a year later, Yaroslav again came to Kyiv with the Varangians and defeated Svyatopolk. He fled to the Pechenegs and nothing is known about his further fate.
He is credited with the creation of a collection of legal norms of Kievan Rus – “Russian Truth”. This collection is one of the main written sources of Russian law. “Russkaya Pravda” became the basis of Russian legislation and retained its significance until the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th century.
In 1019, having become the prince of Kyiv, Yaroslav granted freedom to Novgorod. Such a gift was his gratitude to the people of Novgorod for helping him ascend the throne in Kyiv.
He was married twice. His first wife was Norwegian Anna. In 1018, she was captured by the Polish king and taken away forever. The second wife (since 1019) Ingigerda (baptized Irina), was the daughter of the King of Sweden, Olaf Schötkonung. In total, Yaroslav the Wise had ten children: seven sons and three daughters.
The sister of Yaroslav the Wise, Dobronega Vladimirovna, became the queen of Poland. His youngest daughter Anna Yaroslavna became Queen of France (after her marriage to King Henry I of France). His second daughter Elizabeth Yaroslavna became the wife of Harald III Sigurdarson and Queen of Norway. The third, eldest daughter, Anastasia Yaroslavna, became the wife of Andras I and Queen of Hungary.
Under Yaroslav Vladimirovich, the first public library was created, where everyone could take the manuscript and study it freely. To give people “books”, the prince invited translators from Byzantium, who translated ancient manuscripts (mainly church ones) from foreign languages.
In addition to the nickname “Wise”, Yaroslav was known by the nickname “Lame”. It is not difficult to guess that they called him that because of his lameness.
In his foreign policy, he relied on the Scandinavian alliance and on rapprochement with the Byzantine Church to create strategic alliances. He recognized the Patriarch of Constantinople as the guardian of the Russian Church, which for several centuries made a Greek appointed from Constantinople the head of the Russian Church. He also used dynastic marriages to strengthen relations with Sweden, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Byzantium and Germany.
When his brother Mstislav Vladimirovich the Brave died in 1036, only Yaroslav the Wise and his younger brother Sudislav Vladimirovich, Prince of Pskov, remained among the living sons of Vladimir the Great. Fearing that Sudislav would become his rival and try to seize the throne of Kyiv, he captured him and imprisoned him, where he spent 23 years, outliving Yaroslav the Wise himself.
To maintain peace on the northern borders, he annually sent tribute to the Varangians in the amount of 300 hryvnias of silver. This payment, in fact, was more symbolic, but it allowed Yaroslav to maintain peaceful relations with the Varangians and protect his northern lands.
It is known that he had a huge Library. According to the most common version, she was in the St. Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv or in the dungeons below it. Unfortunately, it has not survived to this day.
As Prince Yaroslav stayed for 37 years. This is a huge period of government given the specifics of that time. But with 37 years of reign, Yaroslav failed to surpass Ivan IV Vasilyevich the Terrible – the Grand Duke of Moscow, the tsar and great sovereign of all Russia, who ruled for 50 years (despite the fact that he lived only 53 years). Ivan the Terrible both sat on the throne at the age of 3, and sat on it until the end of his life. This concludes our article, dear readers. Thank you for paying attention to our resource.