Chernigov Principality

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Chernigov Principality


an ancient Russian principality that flourished from the 11th through 13th centuries. Chernigov Principality occupied the lands inhabited by the Severiane and some of the lands of the Poliane, Radimichi, Viatichi, and other tribes. It stretched along both banks of the Dnieper and along the Desna, Seim, and Sozh Rivers, extending into the basin of the Upper Oka. The principal cities were Chernigov (the capital), Snovsk, Liubech, Novgorod-Severskii, and Starodub.

From 1024 to 1036 the principality was an independent possession of Mstislav Vladimirovich (seeMSTISLAV VLADIMIROVICH), from 1054 to 1073, of Sviatoslav Iaroslavich (seeSVIATOSLAV IAROSLAVICH), and from the end of the 11th to beginning of the 13th centuries, of the Sviatoslavich princes, descendants of Sviatoslav Iaroslavich. In 1097 the Severskii Principality separated from Chernigov Principality (seeSEVERSKII PRINCIPALITY). In the 12th century, Chernigov Principality rapidly underwent disintegration. The last Chernigov prince was Mikhail Vsevolodovich, who died in 1246 (seeMIKHAIL VSEVOLODOVICH). In 1239, the city of Chernigov was captured and burned by the Mongol Tatars, and the principality soon ceased to exist as a state entity.

The cities of Chernigov Principality were centers of ancient Russian culture. Churches in Chernigov include the Spaso-Preobrazhenskii (Transfiguration of the Savior) Cathedral (1036), the Uspenskii (Assumption) Cathedral of the Elets Monastery (12th century), and the Paraskeva Piatnitsa Church (12th and 13th centuries). The Khozhdenie (Pilgrimage) of Daniil (early 12th century), a work by the abbot of one of the Chernigov monasteries, was well known in ancient Rus’.


Nasonov, A. N. “Russkaia zemlia” i obrazovanie territorii Drevnerusskogo gosudarstva. Moscow, 1951.
Zaitsev, A. K. “Chernigovskoe kniazhestvo.” In the collection Drevnerusskie kniazhestva X–XIII vv. Moscow, 1975.