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He was born in 1024, the third son of Yaroslav I Vladimirovich, the Wise, and became prince of Kyiv in 1054. They are shown on this family chart. His mother was Irina (Ingireda) Olaf'ovna, Swedish princess. He married around 1043 Gertrude, daughter of Mieszko II, King of Poland, and sister of Casimir I, King of Poland. He had three sons, Yaropolk-Peter, prince of Vladimir-in-Volynia (killed in 1086); Svyatopolk II, prince of Kyiv (d 1113); and Mstislav, prince of Kyiv, (d 1069); and a daughter, Evpraxia, married to Mieczslav of Poland. Yaropolk had two sons, Yaroslav and Vyacheslav. Mstislav had one son, Rostislav who died without heirs. But the line of Svyatopolk continued for many generations. He had four sons, Mstislav, Yaroslav, Bryacheslav and Izyaslav, and four daughters. Yaroslav Svyatopolchich had two sons, Yuri and Vyacheslav. Yuri Yaroslavich had five sons, Ivan, Svyatopolk, Gleb, Yaroslav, and Yaropolk. They continued the family rule in Turov and Pinsk. (See individual entries and geneology chart.)
The Laurentian Chronicle describes Izyaslav thusly: He "was a man fair of appearance and imposing in stature, not malicious in temper, but a hater of injustice and a lover of rectitude. In him there was no guile, for he was a simple man who did not render evil for evil." His reign was one of the most troubles of all the Yaroslavichi in Kyiv. He was driven from the city twice, regaining his throne each time with the aid of other's troops. Finally, he was the only one of the Rurikid princes to die in battle with his relatives. The menacing clouds of an imminent storm were gathering on the horizon of the Asiatic steppes. The Polovtsi came up into the Pereyaslavl region in 1055 but Prince Vsyevolod Yaroslavich came to terms with them and they threatened Russia only in 1061. The Chronicle derides the morays of the Polovtsi; they ate raw meat, drank the blood of the freshly slaughtered herds, and also drank the mare's milk. In 1061 under the command of their Prince Sekala, they suddenly burst into regions of Russia, attacked Vsyevolod, thrashed him and returned to the Don with their loot. From this event begins the period of misery. The people's attention was focused on a comet and many other unexplained occurrences.

A first portend of war was the internecine struggle between the brothers which erupted over which of the brothers was the rightful ruler of the Tmutorokan land. Prince Rostislav, son of Vladimir Yaroslavich, was without an appanage, (he ran from Novgorod between 1052 and 1054) and therefor called upon loyal boyars and evicted his cousin, the young Prince Gleb Svyatoslavich, reigning over the Tmutorokan region. Rostislav's uncle, Svyatoslav II Yaroslavich, upon hearing of this decided to punish his nephew and amassed an army, which was enough for the latter to give up the city without a fight. Just as soon as Prince Svyatoslav was gone, Rostislav once again took Tmutorokan. It was at this time that the "Greeks" sent him one of their "Sworn to allegiance trusted plenipotentiaries" whose sole objective was to gain the trust of Rostislav and then poison him while enjoying his hospitality.
This was followed by the appearance of another intruder, Vseslav Polotskii, son of Bryacheslav Izyaslavich, who saw himself as the rightful heir of the throne. His grandfather, Izyaslav Vladimirovich (given Polotsk to rule), was older (senior) to Yaroslav Vladimirovich, hence he considered himself senior to Izyaslav Yaroslavich. First he seized Novgorod. Amassing a war party, he moved on the Yaroslavichi brothers, who came out to meet him on the banks of the river Nemana. The battle was fierce, and Vseslav lost the day. The great Prince sat down with him to talk peace and vowed not to inflict wrath on him but no sooner than Vseslav crossed the Don and entered the tent of his brother, than he was taken with his two sons and thrown into a dungeon in Kiev. I see his entry for interesting events.)
Others were standing in line to break the clan's sworn brotherhood of allegiance. Soon on the river Al'ta after only a few months, Izyaslav and his brothers were swept by the wild Polovtsi and forced to run to Kiev, and Svyatoslav to Chernigiv. The Kiev warriors gathered and within the safety of their walls made demands for taking up arms and giving the Polovtsi a beating. The Great Prince Izyaslav was spiteful and refused to grant their wish. An uprising began and the rebels freed from the dungeon the imprisoned Vseslav Bryacheslavich. Izyaslav with his brother ran scared from the capital, and the people made Vseslav the Rus ruler (1068-69). Meanwhile Izyaslav, ran away to Poland, where he was warmly greeted by his wife's nephew, King Boleslav II.

Izyaslav drew up an army and campaigned reaching Belgorod, where he was met by Vseslav. Frightened by the strength of the Poles, Vseslav ran at night from the field camp back to his base at Polotsk. The Russians learning of this returned to Kiev and called for a town meeting wherein it was decided to send emissaries to Svyatoslav and Vsyevolod (Izyaslav's brothers) pleading for their help. Svyatoslav replied that he would defend the Kiev city if they swore allegiance to Izyaslav. Izyaslav and a detachment of Poles led by Boleslav II entered Kiev in triumph which was short lived as the Poles soon went home. In the 1060s Izyaslav founded the Dmitrivskyi monastery so-named after his baptismal name Dmitrii. On the 2nd of May 1072, the great Prince Izyaslav erected in Vyshgorod a church and ordered that the sarcophagi of the murdered Boris and Gleb be moved there. The sons of Yaroslav led the funeral procession and metropolitan Georgii declared that the two martyrs were saints.
Soon the quarreling between brothers was renewed and Izyaslav was forced to run once more, though not to Poland, but to German Emperor Henry IV. This time the Kyivan throne was taken by Svyatoslav II (1073-76). . Henry's emissaries to Svyatoslav II Yaroslavich (formerly of Chernigiv) in Kiev were hoodwinked with gifts and promises so the Emperor dropped his insistence that Izyaslav return. Izyaslav turned for help to Pope Gregory VII, thereby recognizing not only his spiritual supremacy, but condoning his rule over Rus'. The intercession of the Pope also did not have any success. Pope Gregory VII and Emperor Henry IV were fully occupied with their own struggle. (Investiture controversy) The situation changed however when Svyatoslav died suddenly in 1076. Svyatoslav probably did not expect that in the famous "Zhitie" of Feodosie Pecherski (another important Russian writer besides Archbishop Illarion), written by the monk Nestor, it would also record and accuse him of attempts at assassinating his eldest brother, Izyaslav, and stealing the throne from him. The emboldened Izyaslav gathered several thousand Poles and met the good natured brother Vsyevolod in Volynia, where they pledged to forget the past and let by gones be bygone. Izyaslav now reigned in Kiev as the rightful ruler, giving his younger brother Vsyevolod, Chernigiv and to Vsyevolod's son Vladimir, Smolensk. He gave Novgorod to his son, Svyatopolk, and to his other son Yaropolk, Vishgorod. Soon Oleg Svyatoslavich, the son of Prince Svyatoslav II Yaroslavich, the fourth son of Yaroslav, who took Chernigiv, Riazan, Murom, Tmutorokan and the lands of the tribe Viatichi, reigning in Vladimir, was obliged to bow to the will of his uncle, Izyaslav, and he moved to Chernigiv under his uncle, Vsyevolod. Oleg, by nature a power hungry man, wished to be free, and to rule independently and so he ran to Tmutorokan'.

The Prince of Polotsk, Vseslav, lived independently, enjoying his realm. The Yaroslavichi declared war on him, and Vladimir Monomakh together with Svyatopolk II set fire to his suburb ending his stay there. While they were north, Oleg Svyatoslavich, teaming up with Prince Boris Vyacheslav, hired an army of Polovtsi and sacked Chernigiv, defeating Vsyevolod, who ran to Kiev to Izyaslav. What followed was the combined forces of Izyaslav, Vsyevolod, Yaropolk and Vladimir Monomakh moved on Chernigiv; Oleg and Boris were nowhere to be found and the inhabitants decided to defend themselves. The army of Oleg and Boris returned to save the city and a battle ensued in which were killed the Great Prince Izyaslav as well as Boris.

1055 AD - Death of Yaroslav Vladimirovich. Izyaslav, who is at Novgorod, returns to rule Kyiv. His brothers are - Svyatoslav at Chernigiv, Vsyevolod at Peryeyaslavl, Igor at Vladimir and Vyacheslav at Smolensk. This year Vsyevolod attacks the Torks near Voin and conquers them. They became frontier guards for the Kyivan rulers. The Polovtsi (Cumans - Kypchaks) then advanced toward Peryeyaslavl and Vsyevolod makes a treaty with them.
1056-7 AD - Vyacheslav Yaroslavich dies at Smolensk, Igor moves there from Vladimir.
1058 AD - Izyaslav conquers the Galindians living on the Oka river.
1059 AD - Izyaslav, Svyatoslav and Vsyevolod release their uncle, Sudislav, from prison in Pskov, where he had been held for 24 years by Yaroslav. He then becomes a monk.
1060 AD - Igor Yaroslavich dies. Izyaslav, Svyatoslav and Vsyevolod organize a joint expedition by river boat and cavalry against the Torks who fled into the steppe.
1061 AD - The Polovtsi (Cumans - Kypchaks) return to wage war. They are overlords of the Torks, so may have come to revenge their subordinates. In February Vsyevolod goes out to meet them and is defeated, but the Polovtsi then return into the steppe.
1062-3 AD - Sudislav Vladimirovich dies.
1064 Rostislav Vladimirovich, grandson of Yaroslav Vladimirovich, flees from Novgorod to Tmutorokan. There he throws Gleb Svyatoslavich from the city.
1065 AD - Svyatoslav II Yaroslavich (then ruling Chernigiv) then campaigns against Rostislav at Tmutorokan. Svyatoslav retakes the city for his son, Gleb, and returns to Chernigiv. With Svyatoslav gone, Rostislav returns and throws Gleb out a second time. This time Vseslav Bryacheslavich at Polotsk also begins war. The chronicle also records several ominous portents.
1066 AD - With Rostislav at Tmutorokan busy controling the Kasogians and collecting tribute the Byzantines decide that he might be dangerous so they send an agent to poison him. The agent is then killed at Chersoneses. Svyatoslav then puts his son, Roman, on the throne at Tmutorokan. Gleb is sent to Novgorod by 1069.
1067 AD - Vseslav Bryachislavich of Polotsk captures Novgorod. At this Yaroslav's three sons, Izyaslav, Svyatoslav and Vsyevolod jointly march in winter to Minsk (one of Vseslav's towns). The towns people resist but are put to the sword or sold into slavery. The brothers continue to Nemiza. Vseslav marches back from Novgorod to meet them. On March 3rd the brothers defeat Vseslav in a bloody battle and he flees again. That summer the brothers swear they want peace with Vseslav. He accepts their word and goes to their camp on the Dniper, near Smolensk, whereupon they capture him and his two sons and take them to prison in Kyiv.
1068 AD - Behind the brothers' back the Polovtsi again advance north. The three brothers meet them in battle at the Al'ta. The Polovtsi win. Izyaslav and Vsyevolod flee into Kyiv and Svyatoslav flees into Chernigiv. At this the Kyivan population demands that Izyaslav arm them and lead them into battle. When he refuses they release Vseslav from prison and proclaim him prince of Kyiv, where he lasted seven months. Izyaslav and Vsyevolod flee to Poland. That fall Svyatoslav marches from Chernigiv with 3,000 troops and routs a Polovtsi force of 12,000.
1069 AD - Izyaslav returns to Kyiv with an army of Boleslaw of Poland. Vseslav goes out to meet them at Belgorod but then gives up and flees to Polotsk. The paniced Kyivan population appeals to Svyatoslav and Vsyevolod to protect them from Izyaslav. This they do. Izyaslav sends his son, Mstislav, into the city to execute the ringleaders and then enters and takes his throne again. He then sends Mstislav to throw Vseslav out of Polotsk. When Mstislav dies, he is replaced by Svyatopolk, Izyaslavich.
1070 AD - Vsyevolod has a son named Rostislav.
1071 AD - The Polovtsi attack Rastovets and Neyatin. Vseslav returns to throw Svyatapolk out of Polotsk. Then Yaropolk Izyaslavich defeats Vseslav.
1072 AD - Izyaslav, Svyatoslav and Vsyevolod supervise the internment of the relics of Boris and Gleb at Vyshgorod.
1073 AD - The brothers begin to quarrel with Svyatoslav and Vsyevolod uniting against Izyaslav. Svyatoslav convinces Vsyevolod that Izyaslav is plotting against them with Vseslav. In March Izyaslav flees again and Svyatoslav takes the throne. See Svyatoslav for more on this individual.
1075 AD - The Church of the Pechora Lavra is being built. Ambassadors from Germany come to Svyatoslav.
1076 AD - Vladimir Vsyevolodich and Oleg Svyatoslavich campaign to assist the Poles against the Czechs. In December Svyatoslav Yaroslavich dies and is burried in the Church of the Redeemer in Chernigiv. He is succeeded by his brother,Vsyevolod Yaroslavich.
1077 AD - Izyaslav returns with Polish military support. Vsyevolod marches out against him and they meet at Volynia. Then Vsyevolod welcomes Izyaslav to return to Kyiv and his throne. Vsyevolod goes to Chernigiv instead of Peryaslavl, along with Oleg Svyatoslavich, who is not happy to share this throne with his uncle. Boris Vyacheslavich attempts to capture Chernigiv and holds it for all of 8 days until he is thrown out by Vladimir Monomakh. He flees to Tmutorokan, where Roman Svyatoslavich is still in control.
1078 AD - Oleg Svyatoslavich flees from Vsyevolod at Chernigiv to Tmutorokan in April. Gleb Svyatoslavich is killed at Zavoloche and burried in the family church of the Redeemer in Chernigiv. Now with Svyatopolk Izyaslavich ruling Novgorod and Yaropolk Izyaslavich at Vyshgorod and Vladimir Vsyevolodovich Monomakh at Smolensk, Oleg Svyatoslavich and Boris Vyacheslavich campaign with Polovtsi troops from Tmutorokan against Chernigiv,circling around from the north. Vsyevolod marches to intercept them on the Sozhitsa river in August. Vsyevolod is defeated and retreats into Kyiv to join Izyaslav. Oleg and Boris go to Chernigiv, thinking they have won. But now Izyaslav with his son, Yaropolk, and Vsyevolod with his son, Vladimir, gather all their forces and march on Chernigiv. By now Oleg and Boris have left, but the people refuse entrance. So Vladimir attacks the eastern gates and ignites the outer city. Then Boris and Oleg return and Izyaslav and Vsyevolod go out to battle. At the Nezhata meadow there is a terrible battle. Boris Vyacheslavich dies. Izyaslav is struck by a spear and dies. Oleg again flees to Tmutorokan. Thus dies Izyaslav Yaroslavich, laying down his life in battle for his brother, Vsyevolod, as he promised he would.


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