Vladimir Vsevolodovich Monomakh

Vladimir Vsevolodovich Monomakh

 

Born 1053; died 1125. Grand Prince of Kiev, 1113-25; political figure, military leader, and writer.

Vladimir Monomakh was the son of Prince Vsevolod laroslavich; he was called Monomakh after his mother, the daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine Monomachus. In 1073 he concluded peace with Poland at Suteisk. When his father became the Kievan prince in 1078, Vladimir Monomakh received Chernigov. In 1093 he began to wage war against the Polovtsy and their ally, Oleg Sviatoslavich. He was forced to yield Chernigov to him in 1094 and base himself in the Pereiaslavl principality, which was subject to continuous Polovtsian raids. Vladimir Monomakh was there-fore particularly interested in putting an end to internecine warfare and in the unification of the forces of Rus’ to repulse the Polovtsy. He persistently expressed this thought at the congresses of princes of 1097, 1100, and 1103. After the Dolobsk congress of 1103, Vladimir Monomakh inspired and directly led campaigns against the Polovtsy in 1103, 1107, and 1111. He began to enlist the support of the popular militia. The Polovtsy suffered a number of defeats and left the Rus-sian lands for a long time.

After the death of Kievan prince Sviatopolk Iziaslavich in 1113 a popular uprising broke out in Kiev. The superstrata of Kiev’s society summoned Vladimir Monomakh to become prince; after accepting the title, he suppressed the revolt but was at the same time compelled to ameliorate the position of the lower classes by legislation. This was the origin of Vladimir Monomakh’s charter; though not encroaching on the bases of feudal relations, the charter attempted to ease the situation of debtors and zakupy (debtors in feudal bondage), at least on paper. His Instruction is imbued with the same spirit; he spoke in favor of the establishment of peace between feudal proprietors and peasants. The Instruction is a striking monument of Old Russian literature, written with talent and literary brilliance.

Vladimir Monomakh’s reign was a time of strengthening for Kievan Rus’. He was able to unify up to three-fourths of the territory of the ancient Russian state and to end internecine wars. After his death the feudal fragmentation of Rus’ intensified anew.

REFERENCES

Povest’ vremmenykh let, parts 1-2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1950.
Pravda Russkaia, vol. 1 (texts). Moscow-Leningrad, 1940.
Pravda Russkaia. Vol. 2: Kommentarii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1947. Pages 425-534.
Ivakin, I. M. Kniaz’ Vladimir Monomakh i ego Pouchenie, part 1. Moscow, 1901.
Tikhomirov, M. N. Issledovanie o Russkoi pravde. Moscow-Leningrad, 1941. Chapter 23.
Budovnits, I. U. “Vladimir Monomakh i ego voennaia doktrina.” In the collection Istoricheskie zapiski, vol. 22. [Moscow] 1947.
Budovnits, I. U. “ ‘Izbornik’ Sviatoslava 1076 goda i ‘Pouchenie’ Vladimira Monomakha i ikh mesto v istorii russkoi obshchestvennoi mysli.” In the collection Tr. otdela drevnerusskoi literatury, [vol.] 10. Moscow-Leningrad, 1954.

I. U. BUDOVNITS

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