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 Yaroslav Mudry


Born:   about 978
Deceased:   February 19 or 20, 1054

Prince of Rostov (987 1010), Prince of Novgorod (1010 1034), Grand Prince of Kiev (1016 1018, 1019 1054).

      

Yaroslav Vladimirovich Mudry (born in 978) was the son of Prince Vladimir Svyatoslavich (the christianizer of Russia) from the Ryurik dynasty and Polotsk princess Rogneda. He was baptized as George (or Yury). Yroslav Mudry (i.e. the Wise) was one of the best-known Old Russian princes.

In 987 the nine-year old Yaroslav was sent by his father to reign in the town of Rostov. In 1010 he became the prince of Novgorod. Historians assume that it was at the end of his reigning in the city of Rostov, when he founded Yaroslavl in 1010.

Little is known about this period in life of the prince and the information has been preserved as legends only. It is known, however, that as the prince of Novgorod, Yaroslav wanted to break free from dependence on Kiev and in 1014 refused to pay to his father Vladimir the annual tax of 2000 hryvnias that all Novgorod governors did. Novgorodians tired of the burden of dependence on the Southern Russia, supported the prince. This episode was recorded in chronicles.

Angry with his son, Vladimir was going to attack him personally, but soon got sick and died. His elder son Svyatopolk took over Kiev; being afraid of Boris, who was favoured by Kiev dwellers and willing to prevent his other brothers from claiming the grand prince throne, he killed three of them — Boris, Gleb and Svyatoslav. Yaroslav faced the same danger.

In a fierce battle with his brother Yaroslav defeated Svyatopolk under the town of Lyubech, entered Kiev and took the throne in 1016. The brothers’ struggle went on with mixed results, until Yaroslav could settle on the Kiev throne after the death of Svyatopolk in 1019.

The chronicles speak about the siege of Kiev by the Pechenegs in 1036, while Yaroslav was away in Novgorod. Being informed about the news, Yaroslav rushed back and broke the Pechenegs under Kiev. After that attack defeats to Russia stopped. In 1030 Yaroslav campaigned to Chud and established his power on the coast of Chudskoye Lake; he founded the city there and named it Yuryev, in honor of his angel (according to his Christian name of Yury). Now it is the town of Derpt.

After those military victories, Yaroslav started works that were grandiose for that time. On the place of his victory over the Pechenegs he founded a new architectural complex hinging around the Sofia Cathedral. He built the Sofia Cathedral in Kiev as an imitation of that of Constantinople and wonderfully decorated it with frescos and mosaics.

 
Yaroslav spared no money on church grandeur and invited Greek masters for this purpose. He decorated Kiev with numerous buildings, constructed new stone walls, and fitted the well-known Golden Gate there (in imitation of the Constantinople), and the Annunciation Church above them.
 
Striving to shatter dependence of the Russian Orthodox Church on Byzantium, he undertook actions that led to the fact that the first Russian metropolitan (after all Greek metropolitans) - Illarion – topped the Russian church.
 
In order to implant basics of the Christianity to the Russian people, Yaroslav ordered to translate hand-written Christian books from Greek into Slavic. Yaroslav was very fond of books and often read them. He increased the number of books in Russia and gradually brought them into use. From this time onwards church book knowledge made a lodgment among Russians. For spreading literacy Yaroslav I ordered the clergy to teach children. In particular, he arranged a training school for 300 boys in Novgorod.
 
Under the reign of Yaroslav the Wise there were founded the first Russian monasteries, among them the Kiev – Pechera Monastery, which played an important role in formation of the Russian booklore and annals. 
 
Yaroslav I has remained best known to posterity as a legislator: he is considered to be the author of the Russian Truth law book. His actions gained Yaroslav the nickname Mudry, i.e. the Wise. The reign of Yaroslava Wise was the longest in Russian history - 37 years.
 
He died in 1054 and was buried in a marble coffin, which has remained in the Sofia Cathedral till date.


Tags: Princes Ryurik Dynasty Yaroslav Mudry   




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