The Rurik dynasty, a family tree with photos and reigning dates of which can be found in any study of history, are the founders of princely and tsarist power in Russia. Their history goes back to the distant ninth century and lasts more than seven centuries.
Where does the tree of the Rurikovich dynasty come from
Prince Rurik himself and his wife Efanda are semi-mythical figures, and there is still a debate among historians about their possible origin. The most common version, based on the Tale of Bygone Years, says that a native of the Varangians was voluntarily invited to reign, although some suggest that Rurik and his squad captured Novgorod during one of his campaigns. There are also opinions that the founder of the royal dynasty had Danish roots and was called Rorik. According to the Slavic version, the origin of his name is associated with the designation of a falcon in the language of one of the tribes. There are those who believe that the prince, as a historical figure, did not exist at all and was a fictional character.
Ambition pushed Rurik’s descendants into internecine wars and killings. The strongest won the battle for the throne, while the loser was waiting for death. Bloody sections of land were accompanied by fratricide. The first happened between the sons of Svyatoslav: Yaropolk, Oleg and Vladimir. Each of the princes wanted to gain power in Kiev and for this purpose was ready for any sacrifice. So, Yaropolk killed Oleg, and he was destroyed by Vladimir. The winner became the Grand Duke of Kiev. This bright historical figure deserves to be told in more detail about it.
The coming to power of Vladimir Svyatoslavich
The reign of Prince Vladimir, falls at the end of the X century. He was not a legitimate son, since his mother was the keeper of Malush, but according to pagan customs he had the right to inherit the throne from his father of princely origin. However, the story of his birth caused many smiles. For his low origin Vladimir was dubbed the “robic” – the son of a slave. Vladimir’s mother was removed from the upbringing of the child and handed the boy into the hands of the retinue of Dobrynia, who was the brother of Malusha.
When Svyatoslav died, a power struggle broke out in Kiev between Yaropolk and Oleg. The latter, retreating during the battle with his brother, fell into a ditch and was crushed to death by horses. The throne of Kiev passed to Yaropolk, and Vladimir, learning about this, moved with Dobrynya to the Varangian lands to gather troops.
Together with his warriors, he conquered Polotsk, who was at that time on the side of Kiev and decided to marry the bride of Yaropolk, Princess Rogneda. She did not want to take the son of a slave as her husband, which greatly offended the prince and caused his rage. He forcibly took the girl as a wife and killed her entire family.
To overthrow the Yaropolk throne, Vladimir went on a trick. He lured his brother to negotiations, where the soldiers of Vladimir stabbed the prince of Kiev with swords. So the power in Kiev was concentrated in the hands of the third son of Svyatoslav Igorevich, Grand Duke Vladimir. Despite such a bloody backstory, much was done in his reign for the development of Russia. The most significant merit of Vladimir is considered to be the baptism of Russia in 988. From this moment, the state from pagan turned into Orthodox and received a new status in the international arena.
Branching of the family tree of the Rurik dynasty
The direct heirs of the first prince were:
There are documents in which you can find references to Igor’s nephews. According to sources, their names were Igor and Akun, but little is known about them. Branching in the scheme of the Rurikovich tree began after the death of the great Kiev prince Vladimir. In the formerly unified clan, the struggle for power between the princes began, and feudal fragmentation only exacerbated the situation.
So, the son of Kiev’s prince Vladimir, Svyatopolk the Cursed, killed his own brothers Boris, Gleb and Svyatoslav in the battle for the throne. However, another figure claimed power. Opponent of Svyatopolk was Prince Yaroslav the Wise. Between the two pretenders to the throne, a destructive internecine war was fought for a long time. It ended with the victory of Yaroslav in the battle on the Alta River. Kiev passed into the power of Yaroslav the Wise, and Svyatopolk was recognized as a traitor to the Rurik family.
Yaroslav the Wise died in 1054, after which the tree radically changed. Over the years of Yaroslav’s reign, the unity of the clan came to an end, the state was divided into destinies with its structure, laws, power and government. Most of the inheritance and land was divided between the three sons of the Wise:
- Izyaslav – Kiev, Novgorod
- Vsevolod – Rostov-Suzdal possessions and the city of Pereyaslavl
- Svyatoslav – Murom and Chernihiv
As a result, the previously unified power was split and the so-called triumvirate formed – the rule of the three princes of Yaroslavichi.
Family tree of the Rurikovich: branching scheme
There could no longer be any talk about the original unity of the race, the branches multiplied and intertwined. Let us consider in more detail the largest of them.
Izyaslavichi of Polotsk
The line received a name from the founder of the branch – Izyaslav, son of Vladimir Yaroslavich and Polotsk princess Rogneda. According to legend, Rogneda decided to take revenge on her husband for what he did to her and her family. At night, she sneaked into his bedroom and wanted to stab him with a knife, but he woke up and repelled the blow. The prince ordered his wife to wear an elegant dress and stood in front of her with a sword in his hands. Izyaslav stood up for his mother and Vladimir did not dare to kill his wife with his son.
The prince decided to send Rogned and Izyaslav to live in the Polotsk lands. From here came the line of the Izyaslavichs of Polotsk. There is evidence that some descendants of Izyaslav made attempts to seize power in Kiev. Thus, Vseslav and Bryacheslav tried to supplant Yaroslav the Wise, but their expectations were not destined to come true.
They originate from Prince Rostislav. He was an outcast and did not have the right to claim the throne after the death of his father, but with the help of wars he managed to gain power in Tmutarakan. After himself left three sons:
Rurik did not leave any descendants, and the sons of Vasilko ruled Terebovle and Galicia. The son of Volodar – Vladimirko, trying to expand the estates of the Rostislavichs, annexed Galich to the lands. His cousin Ivan Galitsky helped him. He added Terebovl to the possessions. So the large and influential Galician principality was formed. The Rostislavich branch was interrupted when Vladimir Yaroslavich, the son of the famous Prince Yaroslav Osmomysl, died. After this event, Roman the Great began to rule in Galich – one of the heirs and descendants of Yaroslav the Wise.
Izyaslavichi of Turov
Another descendant of the Wise – Izyaslav Yaroslavich, ruled in Turov. The prince died in 1078, his brother Vsevolod began to rule in Kiev, and the youngest son Yaropolk in Turov. However, a fierce struggle was waged over these lands, as a result of which the descendants of Izyaslav perished one after another. In the end, they were forever expelled from their possessions by Vladimir Monomakh. Only in 1162, the distant descendant of Izyaslav Yuri was able to get back the lost possessions and strengthen them. According to some sources, some Lithuanian-Russian princely dynasties originate from the Izyaslavichs of Turovsky.
This branch of the Rurikovich family tree originates from Svyatoslav, one of the participants in the triumvirate formed after the death of Yaroslav the Wise. After the death of his father, the sons of Svyatoslav fought with their uncles Izyaslav and Vsevolod, as a result of which they were defeated. However, one of his sons – Oleg Svyatoslavich, did not lose hope of regaining power and expelled Vladimir Monomakh. The lands rightfully owned by the Svyatoslavichs were divided among the surviving brothers.
The line was formed from Vladimir Monomakh – the son of Prince Vsevolod. He also had a brother who died in the fight against the Polovtsy. Thus, all princely power was concentrated in the hands of Vladimir. The princes of Kiev gained control and influence on all Russian lands, including Turov and Polotsk. But fragile unity did not last long. With the death of Monomakh, feuds resumed and the power in destinies again became fragmented.
It is noteworthy that Prince Yuri Dolgoruky was a descendant of the Monomakhovichi branch on the genealogical tree of the Rurikovich dynasty. It is he who is indicated in the annals as the founder of Moscow, which later became a collector of Russian lands.
To compose the family tree of the Rurik dynasty with dates and years of reign is a difficult task for historians, requiring deep knowledge and lengthy research. The point here is in the remoteness of the era, and in the numerous interweaving of names, clans and branches. Since there were many descendants of the Grand Dukes, it is now almost impossible to find a man on whom the royal dynasty finally broke off and ceased to exist. It is only known that the last tsars from this ancient family before the Romanovs came to power were Fedor Ivanovich and Vasily Shuisky. It is difficult to answer the question whether there are now descendants of the first Russian prince or whether the family has sunk into oblivion forever. Researchers have tried to figure this out using a DNA test, but reliable data on this subject still does not exist.
Good luck in finding.