Prince Svyatopolk Izyaslavich: biography, history and interesting facts
Prince Svyatopolk Izyaslavich (in baptism, Michael) - one of the representatives of the already extensive Ryuriukovich dynasty, who by the 11th century had drawn Russia into a series of socio-economic upheavals. They were caused primarily by constant strife and civil strife in the domestic arena. The matter has not yet come to complete disunity by the efforts of individual princes. However, the rulers of some of the principalities, perhaps, did everything for this. The reason: the dynasty of Rurikovich has grown strongly. In addition, the flourishing of individual lands led to the advancement into the political arena of many cities, which several centuries ago were desolate villages. The possession of Kiev was no longer as significant an event as before. Now, the internal political struggle was fought for other patrimonial cities - Chernihiv, Polotsk, Vladimir-Volynsky, Rostov. In this difficult time lived Svyatopolk Izyaslavich.Briefly consider his family tree.
Pedigree Svyatopolk II
Prince Svyatopolk II was born in 1050. It is still unknown who his mother was. Most historians are inclined to believe that it was Gertrude - the daughter of the Polish king. Some argue that the mother of Svyatopolk was the concubine of his father - Izyaslav Yaroslavich, Prince of Kiev. Be that as it may, but during his lifetime no one disputed the nobility of his blood. Political feuds were among all the Rurik, in which also prince Svyatopolk Izyaslavich was also involved.
His father, Izyaslav, was the middle son of Yaroslav the Wise and Irina, who received this name at baptism. Her real name is Ingegerda, daughter of the Swedish king. During the reign of Yaroslav the Wise, this was not uncommon. Almost all European dynasties wanted to intermarry with Rus. This is quite explicable: Christianity was not officially divided into Catholicism and Orthodoxy, Russia was experiencing a period of the highest prosperity, was a faithful ally of one of the powerful and richest states of that time - Byzantium.
During the life of Izyaslav's father, 19-year-old Svyatopolk was sent to rule in Polotsk in 1069.
After the death of Yaroslav the Wise, periods of constant unrest and wars begin. This is not yet the period of "feudal wars", because feudal fragmentation as such has not yet existed. However, the prerequisites for this, associated with dynastic crises, the flowering of the specific principalities, have already appeared.
Board of Svyatopolk Izyaslavich in Kiev
Svyatopolk ruled in Kiev from 1093 to 1113 after the death of his uncle, the father of Vladimir Monomakh, Vsevolod. This time can be called difficult for the Mother of Russian Cities. Kiev residents themselves wanted to see as their ruler the "more authoritative" Vladimir Monomakh. However, judging by historical sources, “he wanted to obey” the ancient customs of the ancestors and rightfully conceded to Kiev Svyatopolk. In fact, such a generous gesture tells the descendants of a marked decline in the status of Kiev as the largest economic and political center of Russia. This indicates a continuous process of feudal fragmentation. Only a strong leader - Vladimir Monomakh, well, and his son Mstislav - realizing the external danger of the collapse of the state, did not allow the principalities to separate from each other. The rest of the princes at the end of the 11th century were not averse to doing this.
At that time, few of the princes were remembered for outstanding reforms in domestic policy. This is a feature of the circumstances, and not the personal qualities of the rulers themselves. Even such an outstanding personality as Vladimir Monomakh could have done a lot more if he was born a little earlier.
The 11th – 12th century is an objective period of decline associated with many factors. An individual person, even the most prominent one, can do little in such a situation. Svyatopolk Izyaslavich was remembered in history in connection with some foreign policy events, quarrels in the domestic arena. He was also one of the organizers of the princely congresses, which were actively held in this period of time in Russia. He was a friend and ally of Monomakh, but he never received national glory and love.
Having learned about the death of Vsevolod in Kiev in 1093, the Polovtsy decided to raid Russia. Historical sources make guilty of this Svyatopolk himself, who badly treated the arrived Polovtsian ambassadors. However, questions cause the reasons for such behavior of the prince. It is not known that the Polovtsian parliamentarians told him this, but they were in prison.I would like to draw a historical parallel with the Persian embassy to the Spartans who want "land and water." King Leonid and completely threw ambassadors into the well. Perhaps something like this was demanded by the Polovtsian ambassadors from the new Kiev prince. The war began.
Vladimir and Svyatopolk had differences. Monomakh offered negotiations, Svyatopolk Izyaslavich and Kiev residents wanted war. It is difficult to reproach them, since the Polovtsy have already attacked the faithful allies of the Torks, and also burnt the environs of Kiev. Monomakh, though he was an opponent of the war, but spoke with the prince of Kiev.
Battle on the banks of the Stugna
The bank of the river Stugny was the second frontier of Kiev. This is where the Russian troops are located. Vladimir stood on the left, Svyatopolk on the right, the third ally Rostislav Vsevolodovich in the center. The main drawback of all the Russian princely armies at that time was the lack of a unified command. Everyone managed his squad. None of the princes had the right to give orders and instructions to the whole army. Before the battle, a common tactic was worked out, which was reduced only to deciding who would be located where. For the first time the unity of command and combat tactics with a large army used Dmitry Donskoy, planting an ambush regiment in the bushes. This was the complete surprise for Mamai.But it happened after almost 300 years. In the 11-12 century, each of the princes himself decided when he could retreat, when to attack. This often resulted in a complete rout for the whole army. It happened this time. Knowing the weak spot of the Russians, the Polovtsy defeated the princes one by one.At first they attacked Svyatopolk, turning him to flight, then to Vladimir. The last got Rostislav, who, running away, drowned in a river in heavy mail.
The second defeat of Russia. Siege of Kiev
Prince Vladimir, after his defeat, left for his safe fiefdom, Chernigov. Svyatopolk Izyaslavich was left alone with the external enemy. Rostislav Vvolvolodovich drowned during the retreat. He was buried in Kiev, next to his father.
Polovtsi, defeating the Russian army, divided. A part laid siege to Torchesk, who then gave up. The second part came to Kiev.
July 23, 1093 near Kiev was another battle. Apparently, the prince himself understood his futility, since the sources accuse him of cowardice and unwillingness to fight. Under the influence of Kiev, he still decided to give battle. The battle ended with the second defeat of the Russians.
Peace and marriage
After that, Svyatopolk had to make peace and marry the daughter of the Polovtsian Khan Tugorkan. Apparently, the ambassadors in Kiev and insisted on this before the war.The marriage of the Russian Christian princes, whose spouses before were only prominent European princesses, on the “nasty” Polovian, even the daughter of Khan, is obviously a forced step. This event can be compared with the fact that the once prince and pagan Vladimir, later called the Saints, by force forced the Byzantine emperor to give his daughter Anna to his wife. The purpose of such marriages is political influence and prestige. For a Polovtsian Khan, intermarrying with a Kiev prince was equivalent to a few centuries ago for Russians to intermarry with a Byzantine emperor.
After these events, the war with the Polovtsy did not stop. However, their character began to resemble strife. Battles ceased to be brutal, negotiations were constantly held, opponents agreed peacefully. Russia will find out about the real cruelty of the steppe people during the invasion of the Mongol-Tatars.
The congress of princes in 1097 in Lyubech was the result of the defeat of the Russian troops from the Polovtsy. The princes decided that only a single force can withstand external danger. At the congress, which was organized by Vladimir and Svyatopolk, it was decided to defend against enemies together.To avoid civil strife, the princes decided to leave all the lands and cities in the fiefdoms to the rulers who owned them at the time of the congress. In fact, he secured the right of the princes to permanent possession, which could not but affect the future fragmentation.
Violation of the oath and the new congress in Vitechev
It was Svyatopolk who became the first accomplice to break the oath given in Lyubech. With his consent and direct participation, Prince David Igorevich in Kiev blinded his political opponent Vasilka and took him to Vladimir.
After these events, Svyatopolk was forced to side with Vladimir Monomakh and go to war against Vladimir-Volynsky against David. The result of this campaign will be the accession of Vladimir-Volyn to Kiev. The decision was taken at the congress in 1100 in Vitichevsk.
Death of Svyatopolk Izyaslavich
Svyatopolk died in 1113. From the wife of Khan Tugorkan he had two sons: Bryachislav and Izyaslav. In addition to them, from his first marriage he had a son, Yaroslav. After the death of Svyatopolk Izyaslavich in Kiev, Vladimir Monomakh began to rule. This time is still considered the period of the unified Kievan Rus. The official date of fragmentation is 1132 - the death of Mstislav, the son of Monomakh.
Is Svyatopolk a negative character in the story?
Svyatopolk Izyaslavich, whose reign came at an unfavorable time of wars with the Polovtsy and the beginning of civil strife, is mentioned in negative terms in sources and modern textbooks. Is it deserved? This question is still unanswered. A faithful ally of Monomakh, he still managed to get a negative assessment. Perhaps, Svyatopolk is that character in the story, on which it was possible to “hang” all the mistakes of Monomakh, and to attribute all merits only to Vladimir Vsevolodovich.