Monday, 08 January 2018 00:02


Oleksandr Palii, A History of Ukraine, 08.01.2018 




In 1018, after a war in which Volodymyr’s sons Borys and Hlib were treacherously murdered, their brother Yaroslav finally established himself in Kyiv. Historians called him “Yaroslav the Wise”. 


Yaroslav defeated the Poles, Lithuanians, Yotvingians and Finns and subjugated the Finno-Ugric tribes in what is now Central Muscovy (Russia). Especially important was his 1036 victory over the Pechenegs near the place where St. Sophia’s Cathedral stands in Kyiv. 


the yar Saint Sophia Cathedral

A reconstruction model of the original form of the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv. 


With Yaroslav’s facilitation, Rusyn Ilarion was elected metropolitan of Kyiv in 1051. This was the first attempt at autocephaly (autonomous management) of the Ukrainian Church. 


He expanded the fortress on Zamkova Hill in Kyiv, adding walls up to 20 meters high, 30 meters wide at the base and 3.5 kilometers long. 


Yaroslav also founded series of the so-called “Yaroslav Cities” — Kyiv’s border outposts named after him were set up in Poland (Jarosław), in Zalesye (Yaroslavl), in Estonia (Yuryev, named after Yaroslav’s Christian name, Yurii-George, now Tartu) and in the Ros region (Yuriv, now Bila Tserkva). These cities, from Ukraine to the current territories of Poland, Estonia and Muscovy (Russia), formed a symbolic cross as a sign of Prince Yaroslav’s blessing of the lands controlled by Kyiv. 


the yar coin

A silver coin of Yaroslav, circulated in Novgorod


In 1019, Yaroslav married Ingegerd Olofsdotter, daughter of the king of Sweden, who bore him six sons and four daughters. Nearly all of Yaroslav’s children became related through marriage with European royal families — Hungarian, Norwegian and Polish kings, Byzantine and German emperors and so on. The descendants of the prince became kings and queens in several European countries. In particular, his daughter, Princess Anna Yaroslavna, married the French king. 


the yar daughters

11th-century fresco of Saint Sophia's Cathedral, Kiev, representing the daughters of Yaroslav I, with Anna probably being the youngest. Other daughters were Anastasia, wife of Andrew I of Hungary; Elizabeth, wife of Harald Harðráði; and possibly Agatha, wife of Edward the Exile. 


French government documents preserve her signatures made in Cyrillic. They are surrounded by crosses made by illiterate French barons. Her letter from Paris to her father Yaroslav the Wise was a favorite source of quotes in later years: “To what barbarian country have you sent me; the dwellings are gloomy here, the churches are ugly and the customs are horrible.” Anna’s descendants ruled France until the 14th century. 


the yar woman
Anna of Kyiv, the queen of France, French portrait, 17th century.


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