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Vladimir I of Kiev

Vladimir I of Kiev

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Vladimir Sviatoslavich the Great Old East Slavic: Володимѣръ Свѧтославичь Old Norse as Valdamarr Sveinaldsson, , Vladimir, , Volodymyr, (c. 958 near Pskov
Pskov
Pskov is an ancient city and the administrative center of Pskov Oblast, Russia, located in the northwest of Russia about east from the Estonian border, on the Velikaya River. Population: -Early history:...

 – 15 July 1015, Berestovo) was a grand prince
Grand Prince
The title grand prince or great prince ranked in honour below emperor and tsar and above a sovereign prince .Grand duke is the usual and established, though not literal, translation of these terms in English and Romance languages, which do not normally use separate words for a "prince" who reigns...

 of Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

, ruler of Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus was a medieval polity in Eastern Europe, from the late 9th to the mid 13th century, when it disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240....

 in (980–1015).

Vladimir's father was the prince Sviatoslav
Sviatoslav I of Kiev
Sviatoslav I Igorevich ; , also spelled Svyatoslav, was a prince of Rus...

 of the Rurik dynasty
Rurik Dynasty
The Rurik dynasty or Rurikids was a dynasty founded by the Varangian prince Rurik, who established himself in Novgorod around the year 862 AD...

. After the death of his father in 972, Vladimir, who was then prince of Novgorod, was forced to flee to Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

 in 976 after his brother Yaropolk
Yaropolk I of Kiev
Yaropolk I Svyatoslavich was a young and rather enigmatic ruler of Kiev between 972 and 980. His royal title is traditionally translated as "Prince"....

 had murdered his other brother Oleg
Oleg of Drelinia
Oleg was a Rurikid ruler of the Drevlyans from 969 to his death in 977. He was the second son of Sviatoslav I of Kiev.Date of birth is not known, but is probably before 957. Sviatoslav split up his domains, and gave the Drevlyan lands to Oleg. Oleg and his brother Yaropolk went to war after their...

 and conquered Rus
Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus was a medieval polity in Eastern Europe, from the late 9th to the mid 13th century, when it disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240....

. In Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 with the help from his relative Ladejarl Håkon Sigurdsson, ruler of Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, assembled a Varangian army and reconquered Novgorod from Yaropolk
Yaropolk I of Kiev
Yaropolk I Svyatoslavich was a young and rather enigmatic ruler of Kiev between 972 and 980. His royal title is traditionally translated as "Prince"....

. By 980 Vladimir had consolidated the Kievan realm
Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus was a medieval polity in Eastern Europe, from the late 9th to the mid 13th century, when it disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240....

 from modern day Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 to the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

 and had solidified the frontiers against incursions of Bulgarian, Baltic, and Eastern nomads. Originally a pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

, Vladimir converted to Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 in 988, and proceeded to baptise all of Kievan Rus'.

Way to the throne


Vladimir, born in 958, was the natural son and youngest son of Sviatoslav I of Kiev
Sviatoslav I of Kiev
Sviatoslav I Igorevich ; , also spelled Svyatoslav, was a prince of Rus...

 by his housekeeper Malusha
Malusha
Malusha/Malfrida historically is known as a housekeeper for Olga of Kiev and a concubine of Sviatoslav I of Kiev. According to Slavonic chronicles, she was the mother of Vladimir the Great and sister of Dobrynya...

. Malusha is described in the Norse saga
Norse saga
The sagas are stories about ancient Scandinavian and Germanic history, about early Viking voyages, the battles that took place during the voyages, about migration to Iceland and of feuds between Icelandic families...

s as a prophetess who lived to the age of 100 and was brought from her cave to the palace to predict the future. Malusha's brother Dobrynya
Dobrynya
Dobrynya was Vladimir the Great's maternal uncle and tutor who was later transformed into the invincible bogatyr Dobrynya Nikitich in the Russian folklore....

 was Vladimir's tutor and most trusted advisor. Hagiographic tradition of dubious authenticity also connects his childhood with the name of his grandmother, Olga Prekrasa
Olga of Kiev
Saint Olga , or Olga the Beauty, hypothetically Old Norse: Helga In some Scandinavian sources she was called other name. born c. 890 died 11 July 969, Kiev) was a ruler of Kievan Rus' as regent Saint Olga , or Olga the Beauty, hypothetically Old Norse: Helga In some Scandinavian sources she was...

, who was Christian and governed the capital during Sviatoslav's frequent military campaigns.

Transferring his capital to Pereyaslavets
Pereyaslavets
Pereyaslavets or Preslavets was a trade city located at the mouth of the Danube...

 in 969, Sviatoslav designated Vladimir ruler of Novgorod the Great but gave Kiev to his legitimate son Yaropolk. After Sviatoslav's death (972), a fratricidal war erupted (976) between Yaropolk and his younger brother Oleg
Oleg of Drelinia
Oleg was a Rurikid ruler of the Drevlyans from 969 to his death in 977. He was the second son of Sviatoslav I of Kiev.Date of birth is not known, but is probably before 957. Sviatoslav split up his domains, and gave the Drevlyan lands to Oleg. Oleg and his brother Yaropolk went to war after their...

, ruler of the Drevlians. In 977 Vladimir fled to his kinsman Haakon Sigurdsson
Haakon Sigurdsson
Haakon Sigurdarsson was the de facto ruler of Norway from about 975 to 995.-Background:Haakon was the son of Sigurd Haakonsson, Jarl of Lade and ruler of Trøndelag and Hålogaland. His mother was Bergljot Toresdatter, daughter of Tore Ragnvaldsson, Earl of Møre...

, ruler of Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, collecting as many of the Norse
Norsemen
Norsemen is used to refer to the group of people as a whole who spoke what is now called the Old Norse language belonging to the North Germanic branch of Indo-European languages, especially Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese, Swedish and Danish in their earlier forms.The meaning of Norseman was "people...

 warriors
Leidang
The institution known as leiðangr , leidang , leding, , ledung , expeditio or sometimes lething , was a public levy of free farmers typical for medieval Scandinavians. It was a form of conscription to organise coastal fleets for seasonal excursions and in defence of the realm...

 as he could to assist him to recover Novgorod, and on his return the next year marched against Yaropolk.

On his way to Kiev he sent ambassadors to Rogvolod (Norse: Ragnvald), prince of Polotsk, to sue for the hand of his daughter Rogneda
Rogneda of Polotsk
Rogneda of Polotsk is the Slavic name for Ragnhild, whose father Ragnvald came from overseas and established himself at Polatsk in the mid-10th century....

 (Norse: Ragnhild). The high-born princess refused to affiance herself to the son of a bondswoman, but Vladimir attacked Polotsk, slew Rogvolod, and took Ragnhild by force. Polotsk was a key fortress on the way to Kiev, and the capture of Polotsk and Smolensk
Smolensk
Smolensk is a city and the administrative center of Smolensk Oblast, Russia, located on the Dnieper River. Situated west-southwest of Moscow, this walled city was destroyed several times throughout its long history since it was on the invasion routes of both Napoleon and Hitler. Today, Smolensk...

 facilitated the taking of Kiev (978), where he slew Yaropolk by treachery, and was proclaimed knyaz
Knyaz
Kniaz, knyaz or knez is a Slavic title found in most Slavic languages, denoting a royal nobility rank. It is usually translated into English as either Prince or less commonly as Duke....

 of all Kievan Rus.

Years of pagan rule


Vladimir continued to expand his territories beyond his father's extensive domain. In 981, he conquered the Cherven cities
Red Ruthenia
Red Ruthenia is the name used since medieval times to refer to the area known as Eastern Galicia prior to World War I; first mentioned in Polish historic chronicles in the 1321, as Ruthenia Rubra or Ruthenian Voivodeship .Ethnographers explain that the term was applied from the...

 (known later as Galicia) shifting his borders toward Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

; in 983, he subdued the Yatvingians, whose territories lay between Lithuania
Duchy of Lithuania
Duchy of Lithuania was a state-territorial formation of ethnic Lithuanians, that existed from the 12th century until 1413. Most of the time it was a constituent part and a nucleus of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania...

 and Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

; in 985, he led a fleet along the central rivers of Kievan Rus' to conquer the Bulgar
Volga Bulgaria
Volga Bulgaria, or Volga–Kama Bolghar, is a historic Bulgar state that existed between the seventh and thirteenth centuries around the confluence of the Volga and Kama rivers in what is now Russia.-Origin:...

s of the Kama
Kama
Kāma is often translated from Sanskrit as sexual desire, sexual pleasure, sensual gratification, sexual fulfillment, or eros54654564+more broadly mean desire, wish, passion, longing, pleasure of the senses, the aesthetic enjoyment of life, affection, or love, without sexual connotations.-Kama in...

, planting numerous fortresses and colonies on his way.

Though Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 had won many converts since Olga's rule, Vladimir had remained a thoroughgoing pagan, taking eight hundred concubines (besides numerous wives) and erecting pagan statues and shrines to gods. He may have attempted to reform Slavic paganism
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 by establishing the thunder-god, Perun
Perun
In Slavic mythology, Perun is the highest god of the pantheon and the god of thunder and lightning. His other attributes were the fire, mountains, the oak, iris, eagle, firmament , horses and carts, weapons and war...

, as a supreme deity. "Although Christianity in Kiev existed before Vladimir’s time, he had remained a pagan, accumulated about seven wives, established temples, and, it is said, taken part in idolatrous rites involving human sacrifice."

“In 983, after another of his military successes, Prince Vladimir and his army thought it necessary to sacrifice human lives to the gods. A lot was cast and it fell on a youth, Ioann by name, the son of a Christian, Fyodor. His father stood firmly against his son being sacrificed to the idols. More than that, he tried to show the pagans the futility of their faith:
‘Your gods are just plain wood: it is here now but it may rot into oblivion tomorrow; your gods neither eat, nor drink, nor talk and are made by human hand from wood; whereas there is only one God — He is worshiped by Greeks and He created heaven and earth; and your gods? They have created nothing, for they have been created themselves; never will I give my son to the devils!’”

An open abuse of the deities, to which most people in Rus' bowed in reverence in those times, triggered widespread indignation. A mob killed the Christian Fyodor and his son Ioann (later, after the overall christening of Kievan Rus, people came to regard these two as the first Christian martyrs in Rus and the Orthodox Church set a day to commemorate them, July 25).

Immediately after the murder of Fyodor and Ioann, early medieval Rus saw persecutions against Christians, many of whom escaped or concealed their belief.

However, Prince Vladimir mused over the incident long after, and not least for political considerations. According to the early Slavic chronicle called Tale of Bygone Years, which describes life in Kyivan Rus' up to the year 1110, he sent his envoys throughout the civilized world to judge at first hand the major religions of the time—Islam, Roman Catholicism, Judaism, and Byzantine Orthodoxy. They were most impressed with their visit to Constantinople, saying, "We knew not whether we were in Heaven or on Earth… We only know that God dwells there among the people, and their service is fairer than the ceremonies of other nations."

Baptism of Russia



The Primary Chronicle
Primary Chronicle
The Primary Chronicle , Ruthenian Primary Chronicle or Russian Primary Chronicle, is a history of Kievan Rus' from about 850 to 1110, originally compiled in Kiev about 1113.- Three editions :...

 reports that in the year 987, as the result of a consultation with his boyar
Boyar
A boyar, or bolyar , was a member of the highest rank of the feudal Moscovian, Kievan Rus'ian, Bulgarian, Wallachian, and Moldavian aristocracies, second only to the ruling princes , from the 10th century through the 17th century....

s, Vladimir sent envoys to study the religions of the various neighboring nations whose representatives had been urging him to embrace their respective faiths. The result is amusingly described by the chronicler Nestor
Nestor the Chronicler
Saint Nestor the Chronicler was the reputed author of the Primary Chronicle, , Life of the Venerable Theodosius of the Kiev Caves, Life of the Holy Passion Bearers, Boris and Gleb, and of the so-called Reading.Nestor was a monk of the Monastery of the Caves in Kiev from 1073...

. Of the Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 Bulgarians of the Volga
Volga Bulgaria
Volga Bulgaria, or Volga–Kama Bolghar, is a historic Bulgar state that existed between the seventh and thirteenth centuries around the confluence of the Volga and Kama rivers in what is now Russia.-Origin:...

 the envoys reported there is no gladness among them; only sorrow and a great stench. He also said that the Bulgars' religion of Islam was undesirable due to its taboo
Taboo
A taboo is a strong social prohibition relating to any area of human activity or social custom that is sacred and or forbidden based on moral judgment, religious beliefs and or scientific consensus. Breaking the taboo is usually considered objectionable or abhorrent by society...

 against alcoholic beverage
Alcoholic beverage
An alcoholic beverage is a drink containing ethanol, commonly known as alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are divided into three general classes: beers, wines, and spirits. They are legally consumed in most countries, and over 100 countries have laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption...

s and pork
Pork
Pork is the culinary name for meat from the domestic pig , which is eaten in many countries. It is one of the most commonly consumed meats worldwide, with evidence of pig husbandry dating back to 5000 BC....

; Vladimir said on that occasion: "Drinking is the joy of the Russes. We cannot exist without that pleasure." Russian sources also describe Vladimir consulting with Jewish envoys (who may or may not have been Khazars
Khazars
The Khazars were semi-nomadic Turkic people who established one of the largest polities of medieval Eurasia, with the capital of Atil and territory comprising much of modern-day European Russia, western Kazakhstan, eastern Ukraine, Azerbaijan, large portions of the northern Caucasus , parts of...

), and questioning them about their religion but ultimately rejecting it, saying that their loss of Jerusalem was evidence of their having been abandoned by God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

. Ultimately Vladimir settled on Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

. In the churches of the Germans his emissaries saw no beauty; but at Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, where the full festival ritual of the Byzantine Church was set in motion to impress them, they found their ideal: "We no longer knew whether we were in heaven or on earth," they reported, describing a majestic Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy is the common term for the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine tradition of Christian liturgy. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, use the same term...

 in Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey...

, "nor such beauty, and we know not how to tell of it." If Vladimir was impressed by this account of his envoys, he was yet more so by political gains of the Byzantine alliance.
In 988, having taken the town of Chersonesos in Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

, he boldly negotiated for the hand of the emperor Basil II
Basil II
Basil II , known in his time as Basil the Porphyrogenitus and Basil the Young to distinguish him from his ancestor Basil I the Macedonian, was a Byzantine emperor from the Macedonian dynasty who reigned from 10 January 976 to 15 December 1025.The first part of his long reign was dominated...

's sister, Anna. Never before had a Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 imperial princess, and one "born-in-the-purple"
Porphyrogenitos
Porphyrogénnētos, Latinized as Porphyrogenitus was an honorific title given to a son, or daughter , of a reigning emperor in the Byzantine Empire. However, not every imperial prince or princess was accorded this distinction...

 at that, married a barbarian, as matrimonial offers of French kings and German emperors had been peremptorily rejected. In short, to marry the 27-year-old princess off to a pagan Slav seemed impossible. Vladimir, however, was baptized at Cherson, taking the Christian name of Basil out of compliment to his imperial brother-in-law; the sacrament was followed by his wedding with Anna. Returning to Kiev in triumph, he destroyed pagan monuments
Baptism of Kievan Rus'
The Christianization of Kievan Rus took place in several stages. In early 867, Patriarch Photius of Constantinople announced to other Orthodox patriarchs that the Rus', baptised by his bishop, took to Christianity with particular enthusiasm...

 and established many churches, starting with the splendid Church of the Tithes
Church of the Tithes
The Church of the Tithes or Church of the Dormition of the Virgin was the first stone church in Kiev. It was built by the order of Grand Prince Vladimir the Great between 989 and 996 by Byzantine and local workers to commemorate the Baptism of Kievan Rus' and was originally named the "Church of...

 (989) and monasteries on Mt. Athos
Mount Athos
Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula in Macedonia, Greece. A World Heritage Site, it is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty of the Hellenic Republic. Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the...

.

Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 sources, both Muslim and Christian, present a different story of Vladimir's conversion. Yahya of Antioch
Yahya of Antioch
Yahya of Antioch, full name Yaḥya ibn Saʿīd al-Anṭākī , was a Melkite Christian physician and historian of the 11th century....

, al-Rudhrawari, al-Makin, Al-Dimashqi, and ibn al-Athir all give essentially the same account. In 987, Bardas Sclerus and Bardas Phocas revolted against the Byzantine emperor Basil II
Basil II
Basil II , known in his time as Basil the Porphyrogenitus and Basil the Young to distinguish him from his ancestor Basil I the Macedonian, was a Byzantine emperor from the Macedonian dynasty who reigned from 10 January 976 to 15 December 1025.The first part of his long reign was dominated...

. Both rebels briefly joined forces, but then Bardas Phocas proclaimed himself emperor on 14 September 987. Basil II turned to the Kievan Rus' for assistance, even though they were considered enemies at that time. Vladimir agreed, in exchange for a marital tie; he also agreed to accept Christianity as his religion and bring his people to the new faith. When the wedding arrangements were settled, Vladimir dispatched 6,000 troops to the Byzantine Empire and they helped to put down the revolt.

Christian reign



He then formed a great council out of his boyars, and set his twelve sons
Family life and children of Vladimir I
Until his baptism, Vladimir I of Kiev was described by Thietmar of Merseburg as a great profligate . He had a few hundred concubines in Kiev and in the country residence of Berestovo. He also had official pagan wives, the most famous being Rogneda of Polotsk...

 over his subject principalities.

It is mentioned in the Primary Chronicle
Primary Chronicle
The Primary Chronicle , Ruthenian Primary Chronicle or Russian Primary Chronicle, is a history of Kievan Rus' from about 850 to 1110, originally compiled in Kiev about 1113.- Three editions :...

 that Vladimir founded the city of Belgorod
Belgorod Kievsky
Bilhorod Kyivsky was a city-castle of Kievan Rus' on the right bank of Irpin River. The city was quite prominent in the 10th-12th centuries but ceased to exist after 1240 destruction of Kiev by the Mongols. Currently there is a small village of Bilohorodka, Kiev Oblast near the location of the...

 in 991.

In 992 he went on a campaign against the Croats, most likely the White Croats (an East Slavic group unrelated to the Croats
Croats
Croats are a South Slavic ethnic group mostly living in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and nearby countries. There are around 4 million Croats living inside Croatia and up to 4.5 million throughout the rest of the world. Responding to political, social and economic pressure, many Croats have...

 of Dalmatia
Dalmatia
Dalmatia is a historical region on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. It stretches from the island of Rab in the northwest to the Bay of Kotor in the southeast. The hinterland, the Dalmatian Zagora, ranges from fifty kilometers in width in the north to just a few kilometers in the south....

) that lived on the border of modern Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

. This campaign was cut short by the attacks of the Pechenegs on and around Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

.

In his later years he lived in a relative peace with his other neighbors: Boleslav I of Poland, Stephen I of Hungary, Andrikh the Czech (questionable character mentioned in A Tale of the Bygone Years
Primary Chronicle
The Primary Chronicle , Ruthenian Primary Chronicle or Russian Primary Chronicle, is a history of Kievan Rus' from about 850 to 1110, originally compiled in Kiev about 1113.- Three editions :...

).

After Anna's death, he married again, likely to a granddaughter of Otto the Great.

In 1014 his son Yaroslav the Wise
Yaroslav I the Wise
Yaroslav I, Grand Prince of Rus, known as Yaroslav the Wise Yaroslav I, Grand Prince of Rus, known as Yaroslav the Wise Yaroslav I, Grand Prince of Rus, known as Yaroslav the Wise (Old Norse: Jarizleifr; ; Old East Slavic and Russian: Ярослав Мудрый; Ukrainian: Ярослав Мудрий; c...

 stopped paying tribute. Vladimir decided to chastise the insolence of his son, and began gathering troops against Yaroslav. However, Vladimir fell ill, most likely of old age and died at Berestovo, near Kiev.

The various parts of his dismembered body were distributed among his numerous sacred foundations and were venerated as relic
Relic
In religion, a relic is a part of the body of a saint or a venerated person, or else another type of ancient religious object, carefully preserved for purposes of veneration or as a tangible memorial...

s.

Family





The fate of all Vladimir's daughters, whose number is around nine, is uncertain.
  • Olava or Allogia (Varangian or Czech), speculative she might have been mother of Vysheslav while others claim that it is a confusion with Helena Lekapena
    Olga of Kiev
    Saint Olga , or Olga the Beauty, hypothetically Old Norse: Helga In some Scandinavian sources she was called other name. born c. 890 died 11 July 969, Kiev) was a ruler of Kievan Rus' as regent Saint Olga , or Olga the Beauty, hypothetically Old Norse: Helga In some Scandinavian sources she was...

    • Vysheslav (~977-~1010), Prince of Novgorod (988 - 1010)
  • a widow of Yaropolk I
    Yaropolk I of Kiev
    Yaropolk I Svyatoslavich was a young and rather enigmatic ruler of Kiev between 972 and 980. His royal title is traditionally translated as "Prince"....

    , a Greek nun
    • Sviatopolk the Accursed
      Sviatopolk I of Kiev
      Sviatopolk I Vladimirovich was the Kniaz' of Turov and Velikii Kniaz of Kiev whose paternity and guilt in the murder of brothers are disputed.-Early life:Sviatopolk's mother was a Greek nun captured by Sviatoslav I in Bulgaria and married to his lawful heir...

       (~979), possibly the surviving son of Yaropolk
  • Rogneda
    Rogneda of Polotsk
    Rogneda of Polotsk is the Slavic name for Ragnhild, whose father Ragnvald came from overseas and established himself at Polatsk in the mid-10th century....

     (the daughter of Rogvolod), later upon divorce she entered a convent taking the Christian name of Anastasia
    • Izyaslav of Polotsk
      Izyaslav of Polotsk
      Izyaslav was the son of Vladimir I of Kiev and Rogneda of Polotsk.Following Norse tradition, Izyaslav was sent with his mother to rule her homeland. There is also a legend that Rogneda tried to get Izyaslav to slay his father....

      (~979, Kiev), Prince of Polotsk (989-1001)
    • Yaroslav the Wise
      Yaroslav I the Wise
      Yaroslav I, Grand Prince of Rus, known as Yaroslav the Wise Yaroslav I, Grand Prince of Rus, known as Yaroslav the Wise Yaroslav I, Grand Prince of Rus, known as Yaroslav the Wise (Old Norse: Jarizleifr; ; Old East Slavic and Russian: Ярослав Мудрый; Ukrainian: Ярослав Мудрий; c...

       (no earlier than 983), Prince of Rostov (987-1010), Prince of Novgorod (1010–1034), Grand Prince of Kiev (1016–1018, 1019–1054). Possibly he was a son of Anna rather than Rogneda. Another interesting fact that he was younger than Sviatopolk according to the words of Boris
      Boris and Gleb
      Boris and Gleb , Christian names Roman and David, respectively, were the first saints canonized in Kievan Rus' after the Christianization of the country....

       in the Tale of Bygone Years and not as it was officially known. Also the fact of him being the Prince of Rostov is highly doubtful although not discarded.
    • Vsevolod (~984-1013), possibly the Swedish Prince Wissawald of Volyn (~1000)
    • Mstislav, other Mstislav that possibly died as an infant if he was ever born
    • Mstislav of Chernigov
      Mstislav of Chernigov
      Mstislav of Chernigov was the earliest attested ruler of Chernigov . He was Vladimir the Great's son, probably by Rogneda of Polotsk, although his exact position in the family has been disputed. It is not clear, for instance, whether Yaroslav the Wise was his younger or elder brother...

       (~983), Prince of Tmutarakan (990-1036), Prince of Chernigov (1024–1036), other sources claim him to be son of other mothers (Adela, Malfrida
      Malfrida
      Malfrida was the probably Bohemian wife of grand prince of Kiev Vladimir I of Kiev.Primary Chronicle mentioned about a death of woman named Malfrida...

      , or some other Bulgarian wife)
    • Predslava, a concubine of Bolesław I Chrobry according to Gesta principum Polonorum
    • Premislava, (? - 1015), some source state that she was a wife of the Duke Laszlo (Vladislav) "the Bald" of Arpadians
      Árpád dynasty
      The Árpáds or Arpads was the ruling dynasty of the federation of the Hungarian tribes and of the Kingdom of Hungary . The dynasty was named after Grand Prince Árpád who was the head of the tribal federation when the Magyars occupied the Carpathian Basin, circa 895...

    • Mstislava, in 1018 was taken by Bolesław I Chrobry among the other daughters
  • Bulgarian Adela, some sources claim that Adela is not necessarily Bulgarian as Boris and Gleb were born from some other wife
    • Boris
      Boris and Gleb
      Boris and Gleb , Christian names Roman and David, respectively, were the first saints canonized in Kievan Rus' after the Christianization of the country....

       (~986), Prince of Rostov (~1010-1015), remarkable is the fact that Rostov Principality as well as the Principality of Murom used to border the territory of Volga Bolgars
    • Gleb
      Boris and Gleb
      Boris and Gleb , Christian names Roman and David, respectively, were the first saints canonized in Kievan Rus' after the Christianization of the country....

       (~987), Prince of Murom (1013–1015), as Boris, Gleb is being also claimed the son of Anna Porphyrogeneta
    • Stanislav (~985-1015), Prince of Smolensk (988-1015), possible of another wife and a fate of whom is not certain
    • Sudislav (?-1063), Prince of Pskov (1014–1036), possible of another wife, but he is mentioned in Nikon
      Patriarch Nikon
      Nikon , born Nikita Minin , was the seventh patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church...

      's Chronicles. He spent 35 years in prison and later before dying turned into a monk.
  • Malfrida
    Malfrida
    Malfrida was the probably Bohemian wife of grand prince of Kiev Vladimir I of Kiev.Primary Chronicle mentioned about a death of woman named Malfrida...

    • Sviatoslav (~982-1015), Prince of Drevlians (990-1015)
  • Anna Porphyrogeneta
    • Theofana, a wife of Novgorod posadnik
      Posadnik
      Posadnik was the mayor in some East Slavic cities or towns. Most notably, the posadnik was the mayor of Novgorod and Pskov...

       Ostromir
      Ostromir
      Ostromir was a statesman, voivod and posadnik of Novgorod in 1054-1057 and probably for some decades previous....

      , a grandson of semi-legendary Dobrynya
      Dobrynya
      Dobrynya was Vladimir the Great's maternal uncle and tutor who was later transformed into the invincible bogatyr Dobrynya Nikitich in the Russian folklore....

       (highly doubtful is the fact of her being Anna's offspring)
  • a granddaughter of Otto the Great (possibly Rechlinda Otona [Regelindis])
    • Maria Dobroniega of Kiev
      Maria Dobroniega of Kiev
      Maria Dobroniega of Kiev , was a Kievian Rus princess of the Rurikid dynasty and by marriage Duchess of Poland.-Family:She was one of the youngest children of Vladimir I, Grand Prince of Kiev...

       (~1012), the Duchess of Poland (1040–1087), married around 1040 to Casimir I the Restorer, Duke of Poland
    • Agatha
      Agatha, wife of Edward the Exile
      Agatha was the wife of Edward the Exile and mother of Edgar Ætheling, Saint Margaret of Scotland and Cristina of England...

      , a theoretical daughter according to Jette
  • other possible family
    • an out-of-marriage daughter (?-1044), a wife of the Nordmark Margrave Bernard
      Bernard, Margrave of the Nordmark
      Bernard was the Margrave of the Nordmark from 1009 until his death. He was the son of Dietrich of Haldensleben and a rival of the counts of Walbeck, one of whom, Werner, he succeeded in the march following his deposition....

    • Pozvizd (prior to 988-?), a son of Vladimir according to Hustyn Chronicles. He, possibly, was the Prince Khrisokhir mentioned by Niketas Choniates.


Significance and legacy


One of the largest Kievan cathedrals is dedicated to him. The University of Kiev was named after the man who Christianized Kievan Rus. There is the Russian Order of St. Vladimir
Order of St. Vladimir
The Cross of Saint Vladimir was an Imperial Russian Order established in 1782 by Empress Catherine II in memory of the deeds of Saint Vladimir, the Grand Prince and the Baptizer of the Kievan Rus....

 and Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary
Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary
Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary is an Orthodox Christian seminary in Crestwood, New York, in the United States. Although it is under the omophorion of the Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in America, it is a pan-Orthodox institution, providing theological education to students...

 in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate the feast day of St. Vladimir on 15 July.

His memory was also kept alive by innumerable Russian folk ballads and legends, which refer to him as Krasno Solnyshko, that is, the Fair Sun. With him the Varangian period of Eastern Slavic history ceases and the Christian period begins.

See also


  • List of Russian rulers
  • List of Ukrainian rulers
  • Belarus
    Belarus
    Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

  • Family life and children of Vladimir I
    Family life and children of Vladimir I
    Until his baptism, Vladimir I of Kiev was described by Thietmar of Merseburg as a great profligate . He had a few hundred concubines in Kiev and in the country residence of Berestovo. He also had official pagan wives, the most famous being Rogneda of Polotsk...

  • List of people known as The Great