Iaroslav the Wise

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Iaroslav the Wise


Born circa 978; died Feb. 2, 1054, in Kiev. Grand prince of Kiev. Son of Vladimir Sviatoslavich.

As the ruler of Novgorod, Iaroslav refused in 1014 to pay tribute to Kiev. War was prevented by the death of his father, the grand prince of Kiev, in 1015. From 1016 to 1018, during an internecine struggle with his brother Sviatopolk Okaiannyi, Iaroslav occupied the Kievan throne; in 1019 he became grand prince of Kiev. Iaroslav united almost all of the Russian lands under his rule. During the 1030’s and 1040’s he undertook a number of campaigns, notably against the Poles, the Yotvingians, the Lithuanian tribes, and the Häme. In 1036 his troops crushed the Pechenegs.

During Iaroslav’s reign feudal relations in Kievan Rus’ underwent considerable development. Under his direction the Russkaia Pravda, a code of ancient Russian law, was compiled. A large amount of construction took place in Kiev during his reign; for example, work was begun on the Cathedral of St. Sophia. Many books, notably Byzantine works, were translated into Church Slavonic and Old Russian. Chronicle writing developed markedly. On Iaroslav’s initiative the first Russian metropolitan, Ilarion, was appointed; the international prestige of the Kievan state was thereby considerably enhanced.

Iaroslav the Wise was a relative of many European rulers.


Grekov, B. D. Kievskaia Rus’. Moscow, 1953.
Rybakov, B. A. Pervye veka russkoi istorii. Moscow, 1964.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.