The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a tribal grouping of Eastern Slavs, occupying the territory of Poles’ia and the Right-bank Ukraine during the sixth to tenth centuries. In the east the Drevliane extended to the territory of the Poliane, along the courses of the Teterev, Uzh, Ubort’, and Stviga rivers. In the west, their lands reached to the Sluch’ River, the territory of the Volyniane and Buzhane, and in the north to the lands of the Dregovichi.

Archaeological remains of the Drevliane include the ruins of numerous small agricultural settlements, graves and grave mounds, and fortified “cities.” Vruchii (present-day Ovruch), near the city of Malin, for example, is the site of an ancient town traditionally believed to have been the residence of Mai, the prince of the Drevliane. The principal tribal city was Iskorosten’ (present-day Korosten’) on the Uzh River, where a number of ancient town sites have been preserved.

Agriculture and handicrafts were well developed among the Drevliane by the end of the first millennium A.D. According to the chronicle, the tribe had its own princedom and warred with the Poliane. In 883 the Kievan prince Oleg levied tribute on them, and in 907 they participated in a raid against Byzantium. The Kievan prince Igor was killed by them during the collection of tribute in 945. His widow, Ol’ga, extracted a heavy vengeance from them, massacring the aristocracy and burning their cities. The land of the Drevliane was then made an appanage of the Kievan state, with its administrative center at Vruchii.


Tret’iakov, P. N. Vostochnoslavianskie plemena, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1953.
Rusanova, I. P. “Territoriia drevlian po arkheologicheskim dannym.” Sovetskaia arkheologiia, 1960, no. 1.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.