He was the eldest son of
Mstislav II Izyaslavich, prince of Kyiv. His mother
was Yudifu (Agnes), a Polish princess. He was prince of Novgorod (1168-69), prince of Vladimir-in-Volynia
(1170-1205), prince of Ovruch, and prince of Galich (1199-1205). He married
first Predslava, daughter of Rurik Rostislavich,
prince of Kiev, and then, after divorcing Predslava, he married Anna, Byzantine
princess. His sons were Daniil, King of Galicia;
Vasil'ko, prince of Vladimir-in-Volynia;
Roman, prince of Galich, who most likely was a baby when his father died; and
his daughter was Feodora. They are shown on this family chart.
He was one of the most successful of the Rurikid princes on the late 12th
century. He combined great energy with astute political and administrative
policies. He recognized the importance of increasing the economic potential of
his domains. After much campaigning and maneuvering he managed to unite
Vladimir-in-Volynia and Galich increasing the importance and power of this far
western region and making it independent of Kyiv. He fought the Polovtsi,
routing them repeatedly, and also fought the Poles and Lithuanians. At one
point he even had as his guest the Byzantine Emperor Alexius III Angelus, when
the latter was driven out of Constantinople by the 4th Crusade. He was famous
throughout Europe. Pope Innocent III offered to raise his title to king on
condition of his recognizing Rome, but he refused. However, his son, Daniil,
decided to try this as a way to get more European support. Roman died on
campaign in Poland at the battle of Zawichost.
1167 AD - Roman supported his father, Mstislav II
Izyaslavich for the Kyivan throne against Andrei
Bogolubskii and in reward was sent to be prince of Novgorod to replace Andrei's
man, Svyatoslav Rostislavich, was expelled. This was typical of the way in
which the prince holding Kyiv would try to have his son or a close accomplice
hold Novgorod. As prince of Novgorod he was successful in campaigns for the
city against Polotsk and Toropets.
1169 AD - Andrei Bogolubskii again campaigned against Kyiv and in support his
allies from Smolensk and Toropets attacked Roman in Novgorod. Roman heroically
defended the city. But the difficulty of having him there caused the
Novgorodian leaders to show him the gates. In one sense increasingly Novgorod
was able to pick and choose its prince but in another it was most likely to
find its choice was the nominee of the strongest of the competing houses -
Suzdal, Kyiv, Smolensk. No matter for Roman, he promptly moved to more secure
family territory at Vladimir-in Volynia where he enjoyed more local support
from the leading citizens. Besides he needed to defend Vladimir from Andrei's
1174 AD - Now Roman was able to involve himself in the struggle in neighboring
Galich between Yaroslav Osmomysl and his son, Vladimir Yaroslavich.
1187 AD - When Yaroslav Osmomysl died, Roman encouraged the local leaders in
Galich to throw Vladimir Yaroslavich out and occupied the city himself. Roman
made the mistake of leaving his brother, Vsyevolod, in charge in Vladimir-in-
Volynia. But Vladimir Yaroslavich brought Magyar troops of King Bela III back
to throw Roman back out but they installed Bela's son, Andrew, as ruler after
putting poor Vladimir in prison. To make matters worse for Roman, at this point
his brother, Vsyevolod, refused to give him his city back.
1188 AD - Roman ran to King Casimir II of Poland but the king was not willing
to get too involved with both the Magyars and Russian internal disputes. Two
abortive campaigns failed to produce results for Roman. However, Roman's father
in law, Rurik Rostislavich, was powerful enough to force Vsyevolod to give
Yladimir-in-Volynia back to his brother.
1190 AD - Vladimir Yaroslavich escaped to Germany and talked Emperor Frederick
Barbarossa into getting Casimir II to support him so he could regain Galich.
This again changed the balance of power throughout southwestern Rus.
1194-5 AD - Roman tried to aid Casimir' sons against their uncle, Mieszko III,
but they failed to hold Cracow. Roman was wounded in the battle of Mozgawa. At
this point Roman turned against his father-in-law, Rurik Rostislavich, at Kyiv.
He sent Rurik's daughter, Predslava, back home.
1196 AD - Roman campaigned against the Yatviagians in Lithuania.
1199 AD - Vladimir Yaroslavich died in Galich and the local leaders supported
Roman instead of Vladimir's sons. Now with the combined resources of Galich and
Vladimir-in-Volynia as well as Polish support Roman was able to confront
Rurik Rostislavich in Kyiv.
1200 AD - Roman led a major campaign in support of Byzantium against the
1200 AD - Roman married Anna Angelos, Byzantine princess and expanded
diplomatic ties with Byzantium.
1202 AD - with local Kyivan support Roman was able to oust Rurik from Kyiv.
Rurik fled to get Polovtsi support. The experience of having left his brother
at Yladimir once taught Roman that he could not hold three cities at once. So
he appointed his cousin, Ingvar Yaroslavich, to
rule Kyiv. Rurik, however, soon showed up with a major Polovtsi force and
devastated the Kyivan region and regained his city. Roman retaliated and forced
Rurik to take vows as a monk. Rurik came back yet again. This time Vsyevolod
Yur'yevich at Suzdal forced the parties into agreement. Rostislav Rurikovich
was named prince at Kyiv.
1203-4 AD - Roman lead another campaign against the Polovtsi.
1205 AD - Roman died on campaign in Poland. His death caused renewed struggle
between Hungary, Poland and the several Russian principalities over
southwestern Rus. Galich and Vladimir-in-Volynia were again split until
reunited again by Roman's son, Daniil who later gained the title of King of