He was the sixth son of Vladimir I
Svyatoslavich, prince of Kyiv. He married Ingigerd, daughter of Olaf, King of
Sweden. His sons were Ilya (Elias), prince of Novgorod,
(d 1020); Vladimir, prince of Novgorod (d 1043);
Izyaslav I, prince of Kyiv (d 1107);
Svyatoslav II, usurper prince of Kyiv and prince
of Chernigiv (d 1076); Vsyevolod I, prince of Kyiv
(d 1093); Vyacheslav, prince of Smolensk (d 1057);
and Igor, prince of Vladimir-in-Volynia (d 1060) whose
family is on this chart. And he had three
daughters, Anna, who became Queen of France;
Anastasia, who became Queen of Hungary; and
Elizabeth, who became Queen of Norway. They are
shown on this family chart. Yaroslav's relations
with the leading royal houses of western Europe attests to the significance of
Kyiv at that time.
On the death of their father, Vladimir, Svyatopolk I seized the throne and had the
half-brothers, Boris, Gleb, and Vsyevelod, killed.
Yaroslav was ruling in Novgorod. He marched south
with a combined Novgorodian-Varangian army. See Svyatopolk I. In 1017 Svyatopolk set the Polish
King, Boleslaw Khrabryi, against the Russians. On the 22nd of July, a Polish
army under the command of the Polish king reached the Bug river, then the
border dividing Russian holdings from those Polish. Here they met Yaroslav and
his cohorts. With a surprise attack the Poles routed the Russians and unopposed
came upon Kiev. Here they captured the wife and sisters of Yaroslav, one of
whom became Boleslaw's concubine. In the "Kronika Thietmara," it is
recorded that the Polish bishop Rhinebern in the 1020s found himself in Rus' as
a choir master for the daughter of Boleslaw who was marrying the son of
Vladimir of Kiev--Svyatopolk. Page 150, Priniatiye Khristianstva Narodami
Tsentral'noi I Yugo-Vostochnoi Yevropy I Kreshchenie Rusi, 1988. After
several campaigns Yaroslav was again and firmly ensconced on the throne of Kiev
and generously rewarded to Novgorodians before he allowed them to go home.
The most important monument, (or better, a part of a monument) that dates
from the reign of Yaroslav, is the Cathedral of Saint Sophia in Kiev, built in
1037 to commemorate the Russian victory over the Patzinaks (Pechenegs) in the
previous year. Originally the cathedral was conceived on the Greek cross plan
and built in line with Yaroslav's fondness for monumental forms, solemn
dispositions and very richly decorated frescoes and mosaics. At that time the
Cathedral had five aisles terminated in semicircular apses and six smaller
cupolas, dominated by the seventh central large cupola over the central square.
Four piers each of about 23 feet in diameter mark the square and support four
arched vaults that carry the central cupola. The drum of this cupola has
several (12) tall, large windows that bring light in from all sides and
lavishly enlighten the frescoes and mosaics that are under the main cupola or
the nearby apse, in contrast with other parts of the cathedral which are rather
dark. When the Tatars invaded Kiev they spared the cathedral but when
Lithuanians and Poles moved in after them, Saint Sophia was seriously damaged
and an entire wall collapsed. Since then the cathedral was restored and
renovated several times. Its exterior received an entirely different appearance
when in the seventeenth century Metropolitan Moghila and Hetman Mazepa decided
to enlarge and restore the cathedral. Two more aisles were added, making the
cathedral 176 feet wide, and six more cupolas were put on. At this time the
ancient hemispheric Byzantine cupolas were replaced by pear-shaped cupolas that
became popular in Ukraine in the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries.
Later several more cupolas were added and the entire outline of the edifice,
regretfully, turned into a sort of Ukrainian baroque. To make the exterior of
the cathedral even more exotic, in 1953-1954 Soviet authorities gilded the
cupolas. On a few occasions excavations were made inside and around the
cathedral by the Soviet archaeologists. According to some, the ancient walls
and foundations show that the original building had many details in common with
old churches built in Armenia during or before the eleventh century. These
findings prompted some Soviet historians to conclude that first Russian
monuments were more influenced by Armenian and Georgian masters than by the
1016-1019 AD - Yaroslav organizes two campaigns with Varangian and Novgorodian
troops to unseat Svyatopolk from the throne at Kyiv
1020 AD - Yaroslav's son Vladimir is born. Elias was born while Yaroslav was
still at Novgorod and was placed on command at Novgorod when Yaroslav left, but
died that same year.
1021 AD - Bryacheslav Izyaslavich, grandson of
Vladimir I captures Novgorod and then returns to Polotsk. Yaroslav marches
north and defeats Bryacheslav at the Sudomir River and frees the Novgorodian
prisoners, forcing Bryacheslav to flee to Polotsk.
1022 AD - Yaroslav marches on Brest. Mstislav,
ruler of Tmutorokan, attacks the Kasogians. He defeats the Kasogian ruler,
Rededya, in single combat.
1023 AD - Mstislav marches north with combined Khazar, Kasogian and personal
druzhina to attack Yaroslav.
1024 AD - Yaroslav is still at Novgorod when Mstislav arrives at Kyiv. The
Kyivans refuse him entry so he marches on to take Chernigiv on the other side
of the Dniper. The chronicler reports that in the same year magicians appeared
at Suzdal and than Yaroslav had to march there to expel them before organizing
a campaign to Kyiv. He follows the standard practice by sending for Varangian
troops. The two armies meet at Listven. Mstislav deploys his Severians in the
center of his line opposite Yaroslav's Varangians. He keeps his personal
druzhina out of the fray during a night battle in the midst of a tremendous
thunder storm. The result is a victory for Mstislav after which he is doubly
pleased that the Severians and Varangians had taken all the casulaties while
his personal troops remained unscathed. Meanwhile Yaroslav flees again to
Novgorod. Mstislav proposes a peace treaty by which he will have the left bank
Dniper from Chernigiv to Murom and Yaroslav will have the right bank Dniper
including Novgorod. Yaroslav is warry and stays at Novgorod.
1026 AD - Yaroslav has a new army of sufficient strength to venture south and
enter Kyiv. He accepts Mstislav's proposal for split domain. They manage to
live in peace until Mstislav dies.
1026-7 AD - Yaroslav's fourth son, Svyatoslav, is born.
1030 AD - Yaroslav captures Bel'z. His fourth son, Vsyevolod, is born. He
founds Yur'yev. There is a revolt in Poland after the death of Boleslaw the
Great. Many priests and bishops are killed.
1031 AD - Yaroslav and Mstislav lead a joint campaign into Poland. They retake
the Cherven towns and resettle many Poles along the southern Russian frontier.
1032 AD - Yaroslav expands Russian towns and fortified line south along the Ros
1033 AD - Mstislav's son, Eustathius, dies, leaving his without heir.
1036 AD - Mstislav dies while hunting and his part of Rus reverts to Yaroslav.
Yaroslav goes to Novgorod and installs his son, Vladimir, at prince. This year
Yaroslav has another son, Vyacheslav. Yaroslav also imprisoned his brother,
Sudislav, at Pskov.
1036 AD - While Yaroslav is in Novgorod the Pecheneg again launch a major
offensive to besiege Kyiv. Yaroslav sails to Kyiv. He enters the city and then
sallies out toward the Pecheneg force in the field where the St Sophia
cathedral is now. Yaroslav deploys his forces with Kyivans in right, Varangians
in center and Novgorodians on left. The struggle lasts most of the day before
the Pecheneg are routed and flee in all directions.
1037 AD - Yaroslav expands the city fortress and also the outer city walls. He
builds the great St Sophia cathedral and the Church of the Annunciation over
the Golden Gate, the most impressive of the three gates in the new city wall.
1038 AD - Yaroslav attacks the Yatvingians (southern Lithuania).
1039 AD - The Church of the Blessed Virgin, (The tithe church) started by
Vladimir in the inner part of the city, which was damaged in the city fire of
1017, is re-consecrated.
1040 AD - Yaroslav again attacks Lithuania. (Probably trying to open a more
direct route to the Baltic via the Dvina river.
1041 AD - Yaroslav campaigns by river against the Masovians, who live along the
Northern Bug and Vistula.
1042 AD - Yaroslav's son, Vladimir, attacks the Yam district (between Novgorod
and the coast).
1043 AD - Yaroslav sends his son, Vladimir, to attack Byzantium with a very
large naval expedition. The Byzantine emperor, Constantine IX, is surprised but
eventually victorious by use of "Greek Fire". On the return voyage
they attempt an attack at Varna and are again defeated.
1043 AD - Yaroslav arranges the marriage of his sister, Dobronega-Maria, to
Casimir, prince of Poland. Yaroslav's son, Izyaslav, marries Casimir's sister.
Casimir returns 800 prisoners captured by Boleslav.
1044 AD - Bryachislav Izyaslavich, prince of Polotsk, dies and is succeeded by
his son, Vseslav.
1045 AD - Vladimir Yaroslavich founds the church of St Sophia in Novgorod,
which is largely intact to the present time.
1046-7 AD - Yaroslav conquers the Mazovians and gives the region to Casimir.
1048-50 Yaroslav's wife, Ingigerd, dies.
1051 AD - Yaroslav appoints Hilarion as Metropolitan of Rus with his chair at
the new cathedral of St Sophia. The Cave Monastery (Pechersky Lavra) just south
of Kyiv and the Church at Berestovo were also founded during Yaroslav's reign.
1052 AD - Vladimir, Yaroslav's eldest son, dies at Novgorod.
1054 AD - Yaroslav dies at Vyshgorod and is succeeded by his eldest remaining
son, Izyaslav I, who is at Novgorod at the time.
The Chronicle contains Yaroslav's testament in which he urges his sons to live
in peace with each other. He designates Izyaslav to be prince of Kyiv,
Svyatoslav to be prince of Chernigiv, Vsyevolod to Pereyaslavl,
Igor to Vladimir-in-Volynia, and Vyacheslav to