Yaroslav the Wise

gigatos | October 15, 2021


Yaroslav Vladimirovich (c. 978 1054, Vyshgorod) – prince of Rostov (987-1010), prince of Novgorod (1010-1034), grand duke of Kiev (1016-1018, 1019-1054).

Yaroslav Vladimirovich – the son of prince Vladimir Svyatoslavich (from sort Rurikovich) and Polotsk princess Rogneda Rogvolodovna, father, grandfather and the uncle of many governors of Europe. At christening he was named George. The Russian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine venerate him as a saint prince; his feast day is February 20 (March 4) in leap years or February 20 (March 5) in non-leap years.

Under Yaroslav Vladimirovich in Russia began to build churches, culture and education began to develop, the population grew, Kiev became the richest city, the first known code of Russian law was compiled, which went down in history as “Russian Truth. Yaroslav the Wise built friendly relations with Sweden and established relations with Byzantium, the Holy Roman Empire, and other countries of Europe. Yaroslav succeeded in victoriously completing the Russo-Pechenezh wars and returning the cities of Chervensk captured by Poland to the Old Russian state.

Jaroslav for the first time is mentioned in Stories of time years in clause 6488 (980) in which it is told about marriage of his father, Vladimir Svjatoslavich, and Rogneda, and after the 4 sons born of this marriage are listed: Izyaslav, Mstislav, Jaroslav and Vsevolod. In article 6562 (1054) where it is told about Yaroslav”s death, it is spoken, that it has lived 76 years (on the Old Russian account of years, i.e. has lived 75 years and has died on 76-th year of a life). Accordingly according to annalistic stories, Jaroslav was born in 978 or 979. This date is the most used in the literature.

However there is an opinion that this year is erroneous. In the annalistic article under 1016 (6524) it is spoken about reigning Yaroslav in Kiev:

But Róslaw then – to҃ and҃ – years

If we believe this news, Yaroslav should have been born in 988 or 989. It is explained differently. Tatishchev considers that there was a mistake and should be not 28, but 38 years old. In the annals which have not remained up to our time, being at his disposal (Raskolnichya, Golitsynskaya and Khrushchev annals), there were 3 versions – 23, 28 and 34 years, and according to the Orenburg manuscript date of birth Jaroslav should be attributed to 972. However, some later chronicles read not 28 years, but 18 years, Archangelogorod Chronicle, Ipatievsky list of the Ipatiev Chronicle). And in the Laurentian Chronicle was stated that “And then Yaroslav Novgorod would be 28 years old”, which gave Solovyov assumes that the story refers to the duration of Yaroslav”s reign in Novgorod: if we assume that 18 years is correct, then from 998, and if 28 years, then the combined reign in Rostov and Novgorod from 988. Solovyov also doubted the correctness of the news that Yaroslav was 76 years old in the year of his death.

Considering that marriage between Vladimir and Rogneda on the now settled opinion has been made in 978, and also that Jaroslav was the third son of Rogneda, it could not be born in 978. In opinion of historians dating in 76 years has appeared to present Jaroslav is more senior than Svyatopolk. However there is an evidence that exactly Svyatopolk was the senior of sons at Vladimir”s death. Indirect evidence of this can be seen in the words of Boris, which he said to his retinue, not wanting to occupy Kiev, because it is Sviatopolk who is the eldest:

He said, “Do not let me lay my hands on my older brother, for if my father dies, he will take his place in my father”s stead.

At present, the fact of Sviatopolk”s seniority is considered proven, and the indication of age is considered evidence that the chronicler tried to present Yaroslav as the senior, thus justifying his right to the great reign.

If to accept the traditional date of birth and seniority of Svyatopolk, it leads to revision of the annalistic story about struggle of Vladimir and Yaropolk for the Kiev throne, and to attributing the capture of Polotsk and Vladimir”s marriage to Rogneda to 976 or to the beginning of 977, before his departure across the sea.

Additional data on Jaroslav”s age at the moment of death represent the data of research of Jaroslav”s bone remains spent in 1939-1940. D.G. Rokhlin specifies, that Jaroslav at the moment of death was more than 50 years old and specifies as probable year of birth 986, and V.V. Ginzburg – 60-70 years old. On the basis of these data it is supposed, that Jaroslav could be born between 983 and 986.

Besides, some historians, following N.I. Kostomarov, expressed doubts that Yaroslav is the son of Rogneda. However, it contradicts the annals, in which Yaroslav is repeatedly called her son. There is also a hypothesis of French historian Arrignon according to which Jaroslav was son of the Byzantium tsarina Anna and by this intervention in 1043 Jaroslav in the internal Byzantium affairs speaks. However this hypothesis also contradicts all other sources.

In “The Tale of Bygone Years” for 6496 (988) it is reported that Vladimir Svyatoslavich put his sons on various cities. Among the sons listed is Yaroslav, who received Rostov as a table. However the date specified in this article, 988, is conditional enough as many events have contained in it. Historian A.J. Karpov assumes that Jaroslav could go to Rostov not earlier than 989.

The chronicles do not report anything about Yaroslav”s rule in Rostov, except the fact of his seating on the table. All information about the Rostov period of his biography have a late and legendary character, their historical reliability is low.

Since Yaroslav received Rostov throne as a child, the real power was in the hands of the instructor sent with him. In Karpov”s opinion, this instructor could be mentioned in the chronicle in 1018 “breadwinner and voivode named Budy (or Budyi)”. Probably, he was Yaroslav”s closest associate in Novgorod, but he didn”t need a breadwinner during the Novgorod reign, so it is likely that he was Yaroslav”s tutor during the Rostov reign.

The foundation of the city of Yaroslavl, named after the prince, is associated with the time of Yaroslav”s reign in Rostov. Yaroslavl was first mentioned in the “Tale of Bygone Years” in 1071, when the famine caused a “revolt of the Magi” in Rostov land. But there are legends that attribute the founding of the city to Yaroslav. According to one of them Yaroslav traveled along the Volga from Novgorod to Rostov. According to the legend on the way a bear attacked him, which Yaroslav with the help of his retinue killed with an axe. After that the prince ordered to cut down on an impregnable cape over the Volga a small wooden fortress named after him – Yaroslavl. These events are reflected in the city”s coat of arms. This legend was reflected in the “Tale of the construction of the city of Yaroslavl,” published in 1877. According to the research of the historian and archaeologist N.N. Voronin the “Tale” was created in XVIII-XIX centuries, but under his assumption in the basis of the “Tale” were folk legends associated with the ancient cult of the bear, characteristic for the tribes who lived in the forest belt of modern Russia. An earlier version of the legend is given in an article published by M. A. Lenivtsev in 1827.

However, there are doubts that the Yaroslavl legend is associated specifically with Yaroslav, although it probably reflects some of the facts of the initial history of the city.

In 1958-1959, Yaroslavl historian Mikhail Germanovich Meyerovich substantiated that the city appeared not earlier than 1010. This date is now considered the date of the foundation of Yaroslavl.

Yaroslav reigned in Rostov until the death of his older brother Vysheslav, who ruled in Novgorod. “The Tale of Bygone Years does not report the date of Vysheslav”s death. The “Book of Stepena” (16th century) reports that Vysheslav died before Rogneda, Yaroslav”s mother, the year of her death is mentioned in “The Tale of Bygone Years” (1000). However, this information is not based on any documents and is probably a guess. Another version was given in the “History of Russia” by V. N. Tatishchev. Based on some chronicles, not surviving to our time (probably of Novgorod origin), he places the information about the death of Vysseslav in the article for 6518 (10101011) year. This date is now accepted by the majority of historians. Vysseslav was replaced in Novgorod by Yaroslav.

After Vysheslav”s death the senior son Vladimir Svyatoslavovich was considered as Svyatopolk. However according to Titmar of Merzeburg it has been put by Vladimir in a dungeon on charge of treason. Izyaslav, the next oldest son, had died by that moment, but he was actually deprived of the right of succession while his father was still alive – Polotsk was apportioned to him. And Vladimir put Yaroslav in Novgorod.

The Novgorod principality at this time had a higher status than the Rostov principality and all others, with the exception of the Kiev principality. The Novgorod prince paid annual tribute to Kiev in 2000 grivnas, which amounted to 23 collected in Novgorod and the lands subordinated to him tribute. 13 (1000 hryvnias) remained for the maintenance of the prince and his brigade, which was inferior only to the size of the brigade of the prince of Kiev.

The period of the Novgorod reign of Yaroslav till 1014 is described in the chronicles as little as the Rostov period. It is probable, that from Rostov Yaroslav at first went to Kiev, and from there left to Novgorod. He probably arrived there no earlier than 1011. Since the time of Rurik before Yaroslav Novgorod princes had lived, as a rule, on the Gorodishche near Novgorod, Yaroslav settled in Novgorod itself, which by that time was a great settlement. His princely court was situated on the Trade side of the Volkhov River, this place was called “Yaroslav”s Court”. In addition, Yaroslav also had a country residence in the village of Rakoma, located to the south of Novgorod.

It is likely that Yaroslav”s first marriage belongs to this period. The name of his first wife is unknown, presumably her name was Anna.

During excavations in Novgorod, archaeologists found the only instance so far of the lead seal of Yaroslav the Wise, once hanging from the prince”s letterhead. On one side it shows a holy warrior George with a spear and shield and his name, on the second – a man in a cloak and helmet, relatively young, with a protruding mustache, but without a beard, as well as inscriptions on the sides of the thorax figure: “Yaroslav. Prince of Russia”. Apparently on the seal is a fairly conventional portrait of the prince himself, a strong-willed man with a crooked, predatory nose, whose death appearance was reconstructed from the skull by the famous archaeologist and sculptor Mikhail Gerasimov.

In 1014 Yaroslav decisively refused to pay to his father, the Kiev prince Vladimir Svyatoslavich, an annual fee of two thousand grivnas. Historians suppose that those actions of Yaroslav were connected with Vladimir”s intention to give the throne to one of his younger sons, the Rostov prince Boris, whom he brought closer to himself in his last years and gave the command to the princely squadron, which in fact meant the recognition of Boris as a successor. Probably, that was the reason why the elder son Sviatopolk rebelled against Vladimir and was imprisoned after that (he stayed there until his father”s death). And exactly this news could encourage Yaroslav to act against his father.

In order to oppose his father, Yaroslav, according to the chronicle, hired Varangians from across the sea, who arrived at the head of Eimund. Vladimir, who in later years lived in the village Berestovo near Kiev, ordered to “trudge the way and bridge the bridges” for the campaign, but fell ill. In addition, in June 1015 the Pechenegs invaded, and the collected army against Yaroslav, headed by Boris, was forced to go to repel the raid of the steppe tribesmen, who, upon hearing of the approach of Boris, turned back.

At the same time, the Vikings hired by Yaroslav, doomed to inactivity in Novgorod, began to make disturbances. According to Novgorod”s first chronicle:

As a result, the Novgorodians, unable to endure the violence, rebelled and in one night killed the Vikings. Yaroslav at that time was at his country residence in Rakom. Having learned about what happened, he summoned the representatives of Novgorod nobility, who took part in the rebellion, promising them forgiveness, and when they came to him, he savagely dealt with them. This occurred in July-August 1015.

Already after that Yaroslav received a letter from his sister Predslava, in which she informed him of the death of her father and the events that followed. This news forced Prince Yaroslav to make peace with the Novgorodians. He also promised to pay the vorus for each person killed. And in subsequent events the Novgorodians invariably supported their prince.

On July 15, 1015 Vladimir Svjatoslavich died in Berestovo, who never had time to put out his son”s rebellion. And Yaroslav began a struggle for the Kiev”s throne with his brother Svyatopolk, who was released from prison and declared the rebellious Kievers his prince. In this struggle, which lasted four years, Yaroslav relied on the Novgorodians and a hired Varangian army under the leadership of Konung Eymund.

In 1016 Yaroslav defeated the army of Sviatopolk near Lyubech, and in late autumn he occupied Kiev. He generously rewarded the Novgorod retinue, giving each soldier ten hryvnia.From the annals:

The victory at Lyubech did not end the struggle with Sviatopolk: soon he came to Kiev with the Pechenegs, and in 1018 the Polish king Boleslav the Brave, invited by Sviatopolk, defeated the armies of Yaroslav on the banks of the Bug, captured in Kiev the sisters, wife Anna, and stepmother of Yaroslav, and, instead of giving the city (“table”) to the husband of his daughter Sviatopolk, made an attempt to establish himself in it. But Kievers, angered by the violence of his detachment, began killing Poles, and Boleslaus had to leave Kiev hastily, depriving Sviatopolk of military aid. And Yaroslav, having returned to Novgorod after his defeat, prepared to flee “beyond the sea”. But Novgorodians, led by the posadnik Konstantin Dobrynich, chopped up the prince”s ships, and told him that they wanted to fight for him against Boleslaw and Svyatopolk. They collected money, made a new treaty with the Vikings of the konung Eymund, and armed themselves. In the spring of 1019 this army, led by Yaroslav, undertook a new campaign against Sviatopolk. In the battle on the river Alta Sviatopolk was defeated, his banner was captured, and he himself was wounded, but escaped. The kong Eymund asked Yaroslav: “Will you order to kill him, or not?”, to which Yaroslav gave his consent:

In 1019 he married the daughter of the Swedish king Olaf Shötkonung – Inhigirda, whom Norway”s konung Olaf Haraldson had previously wooed, who dedicated a vista to her and subsequently married her younger sister Astrid. Inhiggerda in Rus was baptized with a consonant name – Irina. As a “wedding gift” from her husband Inhiggerda received the city of Aldeigaborg (Ladoga) with the adjoining lands, which have since been called Ingermanlandia (land of Inhiggerda).

In 1020 Yaroslav”s nephew Bryachislav attacked Novgorod, but on his return journey was overtaken by Yaroslav at the river Sudom, smashed by his troops here, and fled, leaving behind captives and loot. Yaroslav pursued him and in 1021 forced him to agree to the peace conditions, giving him two cities Usvyat and Vitebsk as his inheritance.

In 1023 Yaroslav”s brother – the Tmutarakan prince Mstislav – attacked with his allies, the Khazars and the Kasogians, and seized Chernigov and the whole left bank of the Dnieper, and in 1024 Mstislav vanquished Yaroslav”s forces under the direction of the Varangian Jakun at Listven (near Chernigov). Mstislav transferred his capital to Chernigov, and, having sent messengers to Yaroslav, who had fled to Novgorod, offered to divide with him the lands along the Dnieper and to cease the wars:

In 1024 the Suzdal land, according to the Story of time years, because of drought and a crop failure has been grasped by famine. The famine caused social tensions that broke out in a popular uprising: the Suzdal people, incited by pagan priests (Volhvs), who connected the famine with the imposed Christianity, began to smash Christian churches and kill “the eldest child”. Having learned about the rebellion, Yaroslav went with a party to Suzdal and captured the magi, some of whom were executed as a consequence.

In 1025 the son of Boleslaw the Brave, Mieszko II, became king of Poland, and his two brothers, Bezprim and Otto, were expelled from the country and found refuge with Yaroslav.

In 1026 Yaroslav, having gathered a great army, returned to Kiev, and made peace at Gorodets with his brother Mstislav, agreeing with his peace proposals. The brothers divided the lands along the Dnieper. The left bank was held by Mstislav, and the right bank by Yaroslav. Yaroslav, being the great prince of Kiev, preferred to remain in Novgorod until 1036 (the time of Mstislav”s death).

In 1028 the Norwegian king Olaf (later called Saint), was forced to flee to Novgorod. He arrived there with his five-year-old son Magnus, leaving his mother Astrid in Sweden. In Novgorod Ingigirda, the half-sister of Magnus”s mother, Yaroslav”s wife and Olaf”s former bride, insisted that Magnus should stay with Yaroslav after the king”s return to Norway in 1030 where he was killed in the battle for the Norwegian throne.

In 1029, aiding his brother Mstislav, he made a campaign against the Yasses, expelling them from Tmutarakan. In the following year 1030 Yaroslav defeated the Chud and founded the city of Yuriev (now Tartu, Estonia). In the same year he took Belz in Galicia. At that time a revolt rose in the land of Poland against king Mieszko II, and the people killed bishops, priests, and boyars. In the year 1031 Yaroslav and Mstislav, supporting the pretensions of Bezprim to the Polish throne, gathered a great army and marched upon the Poles, recaptured the towns of Peremyshl and Cerven, conquered the Polish lands, and, capturing many Poles, divided them. Yaroslav settled his captives along the river Ros. Shortly before that in the same year of 1031 Harald III the Fierce, king of Norway, half-brother of Olaf the Holy, fled to Yaroslav the Wise and served in his retinue. He is believed to have participated in Yaroslav”s campaign against the Poles and was co-leader of the army. Subsequently Harald became Yaroslav”s son-in-law, taking Elizabeth as his wife.

In 1034 Yaroslav made his son Vladimir the prince of Novgorod. In 1036 Mstislav suddenly died during a hunt, and Yaroslav, apparently afraid of any pretensions to the Kiev princedom, imprisoned his last brother, the youngest of the Vladimirites – the Pskov prince Sudislav – in prison (lath). Only after these events Yaroslav decided to move with his court from Novgorod to Kiev.

In 1036 he defeated the Pechenegs and thus freed Kievan Rus from their raids. In memory of the victory over the Pechenegs, the prince laid the famous Cathedral of St. Sophia in Kiev, and artists from Constantinople were called to paint the temple. The building of the cathedral was done in the context of a significant expansion of the territory of the Upper city of Kiev. Under Yaroslav to the south from Kiev citadel was founded vast fortified roundabout town, named after the prince – Yaroslav”s city. Its prominent surviving structures include not only the St. Sophia Cathedral, but also the Golden Gate of Kiev.

In the same year, after the death of his brother Mstislav Vladimirovich, Yaroslav became the sole ruler of most of Rus, with the exception of the principality of Polotsk, where his nephew Bryachislav reigned, and after the death of the latter in 1044 – Vseslav Bryachislavich.

In 1038 his armies Yaroslav have made a campaign on Jatviagi, in 1040 on Lithuania, and in 1041 a water campaign on ships to Mazovia. In 1042 his son Vladimir has won Yam, and in this campaign there was a big loss of horses. Approximately at this time (1038-1043) from Cnud the Great the English prince Edward the Exile has run to Yaroslav. In addition, in 1042, Prince Yaroslav the Wise rendered great assistance in the struggle for the Polish royal throne to the grandson of Boleslav the Brave, Casimir I. Casimir took Yaroslav”s sister Maria as his wife, who became the Polish queen Dobrogoj. This marriage was concluded in parallel with the marriage of Yaroslav”s son Izyaslav to Casimir”s sister, Gertrude, as a sign of union with Poland.

In 1043 Yaroslav for murder ” one famous Russian ” in Constantinople has sent son Vladimir together with Harald Severov and colonel Vyshata to a campaign to Byzantium in which military actions unfolded on the sea and overland with variable success and which has ended with the peace, concluded in 1046. As a sign of the conclusion of the world Yaroslav”s son Vsevolod married the Byzantium tsarina. In 1044 Yaroslav organized a campaign to Lithuania.

In 1045, Prince Yaroslav the Wise and Princess Irene (Ingigirda) went to Novgorod from Kiev to their son Vladimir to lay the stone St. Sophia Cathedral instead of the burnt-out wooden one.

In 1047 Yaroslav the Wise broke the alliance with Poland.

In 1048 ambassadors of Henry I of France arrived in Kiev – to ask for the hand of Yaroslav”s daughter Anna.

The reign of Yaroslav the Wise lasted 37 years. The last years of his life Yaroslav spent in Vyshgorod.

Yaroslav the Wise died on February 20, 1054 in Vyshgorod on the Feast of Orthodoxy in the arms of his son Vsevolod, having outlived his wife Ingigirda by four years and his eldest son Vladimir by two years.

In the inscription (graffiti) on the central nave of St. Sophia Cathedral under the fresco of Yaroslav the Wise, dated 1054, it says about the death of “our king”: “In 6562 m. February 20, the Assumption of our tsar on the Sunday of Feodor”. In different chronicles the exact date of Yaroslav”s death was determined differently: either February, 19, or 20th. V.S. Drachuk explains these discrepancies by the fact that Yaroslav died in the night of Saturday on Sunday. In ancient Russia, to determine the beginning of the day there were two principles: according to the church account – from midnight, in everyday life – from the dawn. That”s why differently is called also the date of Yaroslav”s death: according to one account, it was still Saturday, but according to another, the church, it was Sunday. Historian A.Yu. Karpov believes that the prince could die on 19 (according to the chronicles), and was buried on the 20th.

Nevertheless, the date of death is not accepted by all researchers. Professor Viktor Ziborov dates the event to February 17, 1054.

Yaroslav was buried in the St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev. Yaroslav”s marble six-ton sarcophagus still stands in the Cathedral of St. Sophia. It was opened in 1936, 1939 and 1964 and not always qualified research. Based on the results of the autopsy in January 1939, anthropologist Mikhail Gerasimov in 1940 created a sculptural portrait of the prince. His height was 175 cm. He had a Slavic-type face, medium-high forehead, narrow bridge of nose, prominent nose, large eyes, sharply outlined mouth (with almost all teeth, which was very rare in his old age), and pronounced chin. It is also known that he was lame (because of what he walked badly): according to one version, from birth, according to another – as a result of a wound in a battle. Prince Yaroslav”s right leg was longer than his left leg because of damaged hip and knee joints. This may have been a consequence of hereditary Perthes disease.

According to Newsweek magazine, during the opening of the box with the remains of Yaroslav the Wise on September 10, 2009 it was found that it contained, presumably, only the skeleton of Yaroslav”s wife, Princess Ingegerda. During the investigation carried out by journalists the version has been put forward that remains of prince have been taken out from Kiev in 1943 at retreat of German armies and now, probably, are at the disposal of the Ukrainian orthodox church in the USA (jurisdiction of Constantinople patriarchy).



The future Orthodox Saint Prince Yaroslav (konung Jaritzleiv) was the brother-in-law of the all-Christian future saint, the Norwegian konung Olaf the Holy – they were married to sisters: Yaroslav to the older sister, the future Orthodox Saint Ingigird, Olaf to the younger sister – Astrid.

The young son of the future saint Olaf Magnus the Kind was, after the death of his father, adopted by the future saint Yaroslav the Wise, was brought up in his family, and upon reaching adulthood with the help of his adoptive father he received back the throne of Norway, and then Denmark.

Also Yaroslav the Wise – brother of the Orthodox, the first glorified saints in Russia – Princes Boris and Gleb, father of the Orthodox saints Vladimir and Svyatoslav Yaroslavich, grandfather of the local Orthodox saint Vladimir Monomakh and Catholic Hugo the Great, Count of Vermandois.

Yaroslav was buried in Sofia of Kiev in the former six-ton Prokonnesian marble tomb of St. Clement of Rome, which his father Vladimir Svyatoslavich took out from the Byzantine Chersonesos that he conquered. The tomb is still intact.

There is also a point of view that Yaroslav the Wise had another daughter named Agatha, who became the wife of Edward the Exile, heir to the throne of England. Some researchers cast doubt on the fact that Yaroslav was the son of Rogneda, and there is also the hypothesis that he had a wife, Anna, who died about 1018. Perhaps Anna was a Norwegian, and in 1018 she was captured by Boleslav the Brave during the capture of Kiev. There it is hypothesized that a certain Ilya is the “son of the king of Rus” Yaroslav the Wise.

The origin of the wife of one of the sons, the German princess Oda, daughter of Leopold, is a disputed fact as to whether she belonged to the family of the Stadens (rulers of the Northern Marches) or the Babenbergs (rulers of Austria before the Habsburgs). It is also debatable whose wife Oda was, Vladimir, Sviatoslav, or Vyacheslav. Today the prevailing view is that Oda Leopoldovna was the wife of Sviatoslav and came from the Babenberg family.

In the XX century Sarcophagus of Yaroslav Mudry has been opened three times: in 1936, 1939 and in 1964. In 2009 the tomb in the Sofia Cathedral was opened again, and the remains were sent for examination. Soviet newspapers “Izvestia” and “Pravda”, dated 1964, were found during the autopsy. Published in March 2011, the results of genetic analysis are the following: the tomb contains not male, and only female remains, and composed of two skeletons dating from completely different times: one skeleton of the ancient Rus, and the second a thousand years older, that is, the time of the Scythian settlements. The remains of Old Russian period, according to scientists-anthropologists, belong to a woman, in her life was engaged in a lot of hard physical labor – obviously not of princely kind. The first to write about women”s remains among the found skeletons was M. M. Gerasimov in 1939. Then it was announced that in addition to Yaroslav the Wise in the tomb are buried and other people. Traces of the ashes of Yaroslav the Wise can bring out an icon of Nicholas the Wet, which was taken from St. Sophia Cathedral by the UGCC, retreated along with the German occupants from Kiev in autumn 1943. The icon was found in the Holy Trinity Church (Brooklyn, New York, USA) in 1973. According to historians, the remains of the Grand Duke should also be sought in the United States.

He founded Yuryev (now Tartu) (first written mention of Tartu), Yaroslavl in the Volga region, Yuryev Russian, Yaroslavl in the Pre-Carpathian region and Novgorod-Seversky.

Titmar of Merzeburg already at this time considered Kiev an extremely large city, with more than 400 churches and 8 markets. Another Western chronicler of the same century, Adam of Bremen, called Kiev a rival of Constantinople, “the most beautiful pearl.

Under Yaroslav the first Russian monasteries arose. In 1030 Yaroslav founded the monasteries of Saint George: the Yuryev Monastery in Novgorod and the Kievo-Pechersk Monastery in Kiev; he commanded to celebrate the feast of Saint George on November 26 (“Yuryev Day”) throughout Rus”. He issued the Church Charter and Russian Pravda, the code of ancient Russian feudal law. In 1051, having assembled the bishops, he himself appointed Hilarion metropolitan, for the first time without the participation of the Constantinople patriarch. Hilarion became the first Russian metropolitan. Intensive work was begun on the translation of Byzantine and other books into Church Slavonic and Old Russian. Enormous sums were spent on the copying of books. In 1028 in Novgorod the first large school was founded which gathered about 300 children of priests and headmen. Under him appeared coins with the inscription “Yaroslavl silver”. On one side of it was depicted the princely sign of Yaroslav, on the other – George the Victorious, the patron saint of Yaroslav.

It is known that in order to maintain peace on the northern borders Yaroslav annually sent the Vikings 300 grivnas of silver. This payment was small, rather symbolic, but it ensured peace with the Vikings and protection of the northern lands.

М. D. Prisyolkov interpreted one of the translations of Yaroslav”s title as “emperor. Metropolitan Hilarion referred to him as “Hagan,” and in the fresco on the wall of St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev, narrating the death of the prince, Yaroslav Vladimirovich is called Caesar.

Prince Yaroslav the Wise was venerated in Russia immediately after his death. The first mention of it is in the “Acts of the High Priests of the Hamburg Church”, dated 1075, where the contemporary of the Grand Duke the chronographer Adam Bremensky calls Yaroslav Vladimirovich a saint. Yaroslav the Wise was not formally included among the saints of the Russian Orthodox Church.

On March 9, 2004 in connection with the 950th anniversary of his death he was included in the sanctuary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, and on December 8, 2005 with the blessing of Patriarch Alexii II, February 20 (March 5) was entered into the monthly church calendar as the memorial day of the blessed prince Yaroslav the Wise. By a resolution of the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church of February 3, 2016, the Church-wide veneration of Prince Yaroslav the Wise was established.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate canonized Yaroslav the Wise as a saintly prince at the Local Council of 2008.


The nickname of Prince Yaroslav Vladimirovich “Wise” appeared in historiography at the turn of the XIX-XX centuries. In the annals we periodically meet only similar single definitions of the prince – “premudry” and “Bogomudry”, alternating with other definitions. The first historian to emphasize Yaroslav”s wisdom was Nikolai Karamzin. He wrote that “Yaroslav earned the name of the Wise Sovereign in the annals.” However, as a nickname the epithet “Wise” was firmly fixed for the prince only in later historiography.

In medieval literature

Yaroslav is a traditional character in literary works of the hagiographic genre – Lives of Boris and Gleb.

The very fact of the murder serves as a favorite topic for ancient chroniclers for certain tales. The Tale of Boris and Gleb has survived in more than 170 folios, of which the oldest and most complete are attributed to the Monk Nestor and the black man Jacob Mnikh.

It says, for example, that after Vladimir”s death Sviatopolk, Vladimir”s stepson, seized power in Kiev. Fearing the rivalry of the great prince”s own children – Boris, Gleb, and others – Svyatopolk first of all sent assassins to the first pretenders to the table in Kiev – Boris and Gleb. A messenger sent by Yaroslav tells Gleb the news of the death of his father and the murder of his brother Boris… And now Prince Gleb, grieved with grief, sails down the river in a boat, and is surrounded by his enemies. He understood that it is the end, and said with a humble voice: “Since we have already begun, when you have begun, do what you were sent to do. And Yaroslav”s sister Predslava warns that their brother Sviatopolk is going to eliminate him too.

Yaroslav is also mentioned in Metropolitan Hilarion”s “Word on the Law and Grace” and in Jacob Mnich”s “Remembrance and Praise of Prince Vladimir”.

Because Yaroslav was married to Ingegerda – the daughter of the Swedish king Olaf Shötkonung – and arranged dynastic marriages of his daughters, including Elisabeth (Ellisiv) – with the Norwegian king Harald Surov, he himself and his name are repeatedly mentioned in the Nordic sagas, where he appears as “Yarislev of Konung Holmgard,” that is, Novgorod.

In 1834, Professor O. Senkovsky of St. Petersburg University, translating the Saga of Eymund into Russian, finds there that the Viking Eymund along with his retinue were employed by Yaroslav the Wise. The saga tells how the konung Jarisleif (Jaroslav) fights the konung Burisleif (Boris), and in the saga Burisleif is deprived of his life by the Vikings on the orders of Jarisleif. Then some researchers, on the basis of the Eymund saga, supported the hypothesis that Boris”s death was “the handiwork” of the Vikings sent by Yaroslav the Wise in 1017, considering that, according to the chronicles, Yaroslav, Bryachislav and Mstislav refused to recognize Svyatopolk as the rightful prince in Kiev.

However Senkovsky”s hypothesis, based solely on the data of the “Saga of Eymund”, an active supporter of which at present is a historian-sourceologist I. N. Danilevsky, proves the possible “involvement” of Yaroslav only in the murder of Boris (“Buritsleiv”), but not Gleb, who is not mentioned in the saga at all.

At the same time it is known that after the death of prince Vladimir only two brothers – Boris and Gleb – declared their loyalty to the new Kiev prince and pledged to “honor him as his father”, and it would be very strange for Sviatopolk to kill his allies. To date, this hypothesis has both supporters and opponents.

Also historians, starting with S. M. Solovyov, suggest that the tale of the death of Boris and Gleb is clearly inserted in the Tale of Bygone Years later, otherwise the chronicler would not repeat again about the beginning of the reign of Sviatopolk in Kiev.

Old Russian chroniclers lift a theme of wisdom Jaroslav, since “praise to the books”, placed under 1037 in ” Stories of time years ” which consisted, according to their stories, that Jaroslav is wise because has constructed temples of Sacred Sofia in Kiev and Novgorod, that is has devoted the main temples of cities to Sofia – wisdom of God to which the main temple of Constantinople is devoted. Thus Yaroslav declares that the Russian church is on a par with the Byzantine church. Mentioning wisdom, the chroniclers, as a rule, reveal this concept by referring to the Old Testament Solomon.

In contemporary literature

He is a minor character in historical novels:

in a historical narrative:

as well as in the narrative:

In painting.

The oldest of the Kiev prince”s portraits was done during his lifetime on the famous fresco in the Cathedral of St. Sophia. Part of the fresco with portraits of Yaroslav and his wife Ingegerda has been lost. Only a copy by A. van Westerfeld, the court painter of Lithuanian hetman A. Radzivil, made in 1651 from another whole fresco.

At the movies.


  1. Ярослав Владимирович Мудрый
  2. Yaroslav the Wise
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