The Rise of the First Russian Empire
"The birth of the Russian Empire falls in the period when the Scandinavian Vikings were at the zenith of their power. Just as these hardy rovers sailed over the Baltic, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, until they reached Iceland and North America, and in their small forty oared galleys went up from the mouths of the Elbe, the Weser, the Rhine, the Maas and the Seine far into the interior, striking terror into the inhabitants, so, too, in the east of Europe they followed the course of the rivers and discovered the way to the Black Sea and Constantinople. The route which led up the Dwina and then down the Dnieper to Byzantium was called the Varagian way; even the rapids of the Dnieper bore, so it is said, Scandinavian names. The Norsemen, who had founded here and there independent empires in the west of Europe, could do so still more easily in the east."
| Rurik, the Viking leader who
is traditionally credited with founding the Russian state, was born in
Friesland, a region in present-day Holland, which his father controlled.
After leading raids in France, England, and Germany, Rurik gained control
of a large tract of land in Jutland. However, he soon abandoned his claim
under pressure from rival chieftains.
In the 850s, Rurik and his brothers Sineus and Truvor led a band of Vikings into northwestern Russia where they established a settlement near Lake Ladoga in what is now northeastern Russia very near the border with Finland. Rurik soon moved part of the settlement to nearby Novgorod, according to legend, at the invitation of the local Slavs. There he established the seat of his power and built a fortress from which he could rule the Russian lands. His rule extended as far south as Kiev where his successors founded the powerful Kievan state, which lasted until the 1200s.
From Rurik came the house of Rurikovitch which ruled Russia until the end of the 16th century.
Rurik had a son:
Igor, Grand Prince of Kiev
Born circa 875 at Novogorod, Kiev
Died in 945, murdered by the Drevlanes from the town of Korosten
Although said to be less capable than leaders before and after him, Igor nontheless carried the conquests of Kievian Rus further. He undertook campaigns against Persia, Constantinople and Bulgaria.
Igor married in 903 to St. Olga, Regent of Kiev, who was
born circa 890 and died in 969.
Igor and Olga had a son:
Grand Prince of Kiev
924 - 945
Regent of Kiev
945 - 964
Grand Prince of Kiev
945 - 972
Svyatoslav I, Grand Prince of Kiev
Born circa 942
Acceded in 945
Died in 972, ambushed and killed.
Svyatoslav was only about three years old when his father Igor was murdered in 945, hence his mother St. Olga acted as Regent of Kiev until 964. Olga's first official act was to wreak vengeance on the Drevlanes who had murdered her husband by besieging and burning their town of Korosten. In 957 Olga went with a large retinue to Constantinople, accepted Christianity, and received baptism.
In 964, Svyatoslav took over the government, although his mother continued to administer home affairs until her death in 970. Svyatoslav led Kievan Rus's military conquest of the Bulgars, responding to attacks by the Khazar tribe. He in turn was ambushed and killed by Byzantines from Pecheneg in the south, who, according to legend, converted Svyatoslav's skull into a drinking vessel.
Svyatoslav married Malousha and they had a son:
St. Vladimir the Great, Grand Prince of Kiev
Born in 960
Acceded in 978
Died on July 15 1015 at Kiev
Vladimir was a pagan at the beginning of his reign, which was at first devoted to consolidating his territories into a unified Russian state. By the early 10th century, however, Kievan Rus had established close commercial and cultural ties with the Byzantine Empire, an Orthodox Christian state. He converted in 988 to Orthodox Christianity and made Orthodoxy the official religion of Kievan Rus. Vladimir's choice of Orthodox Christianity, rather than the Latin church (Roman Catholicism) or Islam, had an important influence on the future of Russia.
|Vladimir's choice between the Christian and Islamic faiths was said to have been heavily influenced by the fact that he enjoyed the consumption of alcoholic beverages. The Christian faith allowed for this and the Islamic faith did not. Hence, Validimir chose Christianity.|
Yaroslav I the Wise, Grand Prince of Kiev
Born in 978
Acceded in 1019
Died on Ferburary 20, 1054 at Kiev
Kievan Rus achieved its greatest power
and splendor under Yaroslav the Wise in the 11th century. Yaroslav made
Kiev a great city and built magnificent buildings, including the notable
Cathedral of Saint Sophia or Hagia Sophia of Kiev. Yaroslav did much to
develop Kievan Rus education and culture. He also revised the first Russian
law code, the so-called Russkaya Pravda or Russian Justice.
After his death in 1054, Kievan Rus declined. Yaroslav's grandson,
Vladimir II Monomachus, made the final attempt to unite Kievan Rus, but
after his death in 1125 the fragmentation continued as other Kievan Rus
principalities challenged Kiev's supremacy.
By the 13th century, the East Slavic lands became a loose federation of city-states, held together by common language, religion, traditions, and customs. Although ruled by members of the house of Rurik, these city-states were often at war with one another. The area became an easy target for bands of invading Asiatic Mongols.
Anne of Kiev
Born in 1024
Died after 1075
Anne married on January 20, 1044 to Henry I Capet, King of France and they had the following sons:
The information presented here has been taken from the following sources:
Frederick L. Weis and Walter L. Sheppard: Ancestral
Roots, 7th Edition, Baltimore, 1999
World Book Millenium 2000 Deluxe Edition, © 1999 World Book Inc., © IBM Corp.
Microsoft Encarta Encyclopædia 99, © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation
Norman F. Cantor (ed.) The Encyclopædia of the Middle Ages, New York, 1999
George Andrews Moriarty: The Plantagenet Ancestry of King Edward III and Queen Philippa,
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