He was born around 1100 to
Mstislav I Vladimirovich, prince of Kyiv and his
first wife, Christina Ingovna, Swedish princess. He wife's name is not known.
He was sent to govern Smolensk in 1128-68 by his father, and soon made it an
important princely seat, bringing in a bishop and strengthening the city
fortifications. See geneological chart. His sons
were Roman, prince of Smolensk;
David, prince of Smolensk; Svyatoslav, prince of Novgorod; Rurik, prince of Kyiv; Yurii,
prince of Smolensk; and Mstislav Khrabri, prince of
Novgorod. Roman Rostislavich ruled Smolensk (1160-1173, 1174-5, 1177-80) and
Kyiv (1171-72 and 1175) and had sons Yaropolk and
Mstislav III-Boris Starii who died at Kalka river
and who had sons Svyatoslav, Vsyevolod, Rostislav, and
also ruled Kyiv seven times (1207-1211) and had sons, Rostislav, and Vladimir;
and daughters Vsyeslava, and Predslava. David Rostislavich had sons, Izyaslav,
Konstantin, and Mstislav and this Mstislav had a son
Rostislav. Mstislav Rostislavich Khrabri had three
sons, David, Vladimir and
Mstislav Udaloi. All these folks played significant
roles in Russia from Novgorod to Kyiv and even to Galicia. In about 1165 Rostislav
Mstislavich's daughter, Agraf'ia, married Oleg
Svyatoslavich, appanage prince of Novgorod-Severia and then prince of
Rostislav from Smolensk supported his father and uncles (Yaropolk and Yyacheslav)
ruling Kyiv in their campaigns against Polotsk, Galich, Lithuanians and
Polovtsi. When Rostislav arrived, Smolensk was already becoming a more
important river port and transshipment point. In recognition of this
economic-political importance he was able to separate the princedom from
Periaslavl to which it had been joined since the time of Vsyevolod Yaroslavich.
In 1146 he supported his brother, Izyaslav II, to
regain Kyiv from the Ol'govichi. This resulted in many battles not only between
the Monomashichi family and the Ol'govichi but also between the Izyaslav -
Rostislav alliance and their uncle, Yuri Dolgoruki. In
1151 Izyaslav named his uncle, Vyacheslav, as prince of Kyiv, to satisfy Yuri's
political policy, since Vyacheslav was Yuri's elder brother. In 1154, when
Izyaslav died, Rostislav was invited to become prince of Kyiv along with his
uncle, Vyacheslav, and then assigned his sons, Svyatoslav and David, to govern
Novgorod. But when Vyacheslav then promptly died,
war again broke out with both the Ol'govichi and Yuri Dolgoruki. Rostislav was
forced back to Smolensk. Yuri then was named prince of Kyiv as well as Suzdal
and Rostislav had to aquiese. When Yuri died in 1157, Rostislav's nephew, Mstislav II Izyaslavich, invited him back to rule
Kyiv. But in 1157 the Novgorodians invited Yuri's son, Andrei Bogolubski of Suzdal to send them a prince,
throwing Svyatoslav and David out. Rostislav was prince of Kyiv again from 1157
but didn't secure his position until around 1161. He first had to fight the
Ol'govichi scion, Izyaslav III Davidovich of
Chernigiv. So in 1161 he sent his son, Svyatoslav, to Novgorod. Once on the
Kyivan throne Rostislav managed to rule without the inter-family feuding. He
was able to keep both the Ol'govichi and the other Monomashichi quiet if not
totally happy. But frontier warfare with the Polovtsi continued. He married one
of the Khan's daughters, in 1162, but that didn't stop the raids. Actually for
many years already it was the policy of various Rus princes to hire Polovtsi
warriors or gain an alliance with a khan in order to fight other Rus princes.
He died in 1167 and his nephew, Mstislav
Izyaslavich, took the throne.
1128 -68 - He rules Smolensk and establishes dynasty there.
1146 - he supports Izyaslav Mstislavich to gain
throne at Kyiv.
1154 - when his brother, Izyaslav Mstislavich dies at Kyiv, Rostislav takes
throne. Vut Yuri Dolgoruki comes and throws him out
temporarily but Rostislav returns and regains throne.
1157 - Yuri dies and Rostislav again regains throne at Kyiv
1166 - Andrei I conquers Kyiv.