Yaropolk I

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(d. 980), son of Svyatoslav and the grandson of Igor and Olga; fourth grand prince of Kiev.

The date of Yaropolk Svyatoslavich's birth is unknown, but the Primary Chronicle reports that in 968 he and his two brothers were under Olga's care. In 970 their father Svyatoslav gave Kiev to Yaropolk, the Derevlyane lands to Oleg, and Novgorod (after Yaropolk and Oleg rejected it) to their half-brother Vladimir. Yaropolk married a Greek woman, a former nun whom Svyatoslav had taken captive. In 973, after the death of his father, Yaropolk became the grand prince of Kiev. In 977, after Oleg killed the son of Yaropolk's commander Sveneld while on a hunting trip, Yaropolk avenged his death by attacking Oleg. The latter died in battle, and Yaropolk appropriated his domain. When Vladimir learned of Oleg's fate, he feared for his own life and fled to Scandinavia to seek aid from the Varangians. Yaropolk then appointed his man to Novgorod and became sole ruler in all Rus. In 980 Vladimir returned to Novgorod and attacked Yaropolk because the latter had killed Oleg and refused to divide Oleg's domain with him. On June 11, 980, Vladimir's men treacherously killed Yaropolk. Vladimir then took Yaropolk's pregnant wife to himself, and she gave birth to Svyatopolk, who would later have Vladimir's sons Boris and Gleb murdered. In 1044 Vladimir's son Yaroslav "the Wise" exhumed the bodies of Yaropolk and Oleg, baptized them, and buried them in the Church of the Mother of God (the Tithe Church) in Kiev.

See also: grand prince; kievan rus; olga; primary chronicle; svyatopolk i; vladimir, st.; yaroslav vladimirovich


Dimnik, Martin. (1996). "Succession and Inheritance in Rus' before 1054." Mediaeval Studies 58:87117.

Vernadsky, George. (1948). Kievan Russia. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Martin Dimnik