place your cursor over individuals to see which are linked directly to brief
descriptions. Unfortunately we had to make this table very wide in order
to place all the members of a generation on the same line. Then, in the lists
of individuals all the individuals are linked in the text to fathers and sons.
Rostislav Mstislavich was the second son of MstislavVladimirovich (the Great). He was sent to rule
Smolensk where he established another of those long-lasting family dynasties.
He managed to be prince at Kyiv briefly as well, as did his son, Rurik, but his
family continued to control the important region around Smolensk for eight more
generations until it was absorbed into Lithuania.
Although Smolensk was one of the more ancient of towns in Rus, it became an
independent principality much later. The town is mentioned in "Povosti
vremennikh let" in connection with the spread of the Slavic tribes. The
name of the town most likely came from the ancient Rus term, "smola".
In the 10th century Smolensk lands were occupied by the Krivichi, who settled
in a broad swath of north-central Russia. The town became important very early
due to its location near the headwaters of the Dniper and close to the portages
from the rivers flowing north and northwest into the Baltic. After Oleg took
Kyiv, Smolensk land became included in the ancient Kyivan state and was
governed by a lieutenant sent by the Kyivan prince. In 1054 was given by
Yaroslav the Wise to his son, Vyacheslav and on the
latter's death it went to his brother, Igor. From that time the Smolensk lands
began to gain some independence.
After the death of Igor the Yaroslavichi divided the Smolensk lands into three
parts. In 1073 Vsyevolod Yaroslavich obtained
Smolensk and gave it to his son, Vladimir Monomakh,
who appointed his sons, Mstislav and
Izyaslav to govern the region temporarily. In 1095
David Svyatoslavich obtained the town. But after a few
years the principality went to Svyatoslav
Vladimirovich after he superceeded his brother, Vyacheslav, who not later than
1125 replaced Monomakh's governor. About this time the prince of Polotsk tried
unsuccessfully to unite Smolensk into the Polotsk principality.
In 1125 after the death of Vladimir Monomakh, the
throne at Smolensk was taken by his grandson Rostislav
Mstislavich, during whose reign Smolensk became completely independent of
Kyiv. Thus it is with Rostislav Mstislavich that we begin the above
geneological table of the princely family of Smolensk.
Smolensk reached its powerful position during the reigns of Rostislav
Mstislavich and Roman Rostislavich (1161-1180) but after the death of the
second Rostislav Mstislavich, grandson of David Rostislavich, the Smolensk land
began to decay and to be divided into udels. At the end of the 13th century out
of the appanage of Vyazma more udels were created with their capitals at
Bryansk, Mozhaisk and other towns. All these as usual tried to obtain if not
full independence than at least internal autonomy, which further weakened
Smolensk principality as a whole.
By the middle 13th century Smolensk found itself on the border of an expanding
Lithuania. The weakened principality gradually lost its territories. In 1303
Moscow took Mozhaisk. Under Smolensk prince Svyatoslav
Ivanovich and his descendents the land began to be divided. By then some of
the Smolensk princes were going into service of Moscow.
Under Ivan Aleksandrovich Smolensk became more
closely under Lithuanian influence. In 1345 the Lithuanian grand duke Ol'gered
tried unsuccessfully to regain Mozhaisk. In 1351 Grand prince
Semyon Ivanovich Gordi of Moscow sent his troops to
Smolensk to 'free' the Smolensk people from union with Lithuania. In 1355
Ol'gered siezed Rzhev. after which all relations between Smolensk and Lithuania
were severed and Smolensk government considered itself a subordinate of Moscow.
The Smolensk troops participated in Dmitri Donskoi's campaigns against Tver. In
1386 in a battle at Mstislav Vitovt defeated the Smolensk polki and
began to pressure the city. In 1395 Vitovt besieged Smolensk and took it by
storm taking the princes prisoner and appointing his own governor to the place.
In 1401 the Smolensk princes managed to regain their udel thrones but not for
long. In 1404 Vitovt again took Smolensk and finally united it with Lithuania.
From that time the independent Smolensk principality was ended and then in the
17th century it went with Lithuania into the Polish kingdom.
The Vyazemski udel - had its center at Vyaz'ma. The date of Vyaz'ma's founding
is not known but it likely was there already by the 10th century when
Fino-Ugric tribes occupied the region. Vyaz'ma was first mentioned in the
Chronicles only in 1300. At the beginning of the 13th century Vyaz'ma was in
the Dorogobuzh udel but was made independent as the udel of
Andrei Dolgya Ruka, son of the Kievan prince
Vladimir IIIRurikovich. Andrei Vladimirovich was
killed at the Kalka River in 1224 but the family kept the throne until 1403,
when the city was taken by Lithuania. However the princes as Vyaz'ma managed to
retain their udel (ruling) authority initally even under the Lithuanian duchy.
In 1403 the Muscovite army besieged Vyaz'ma and captured it, ending its
independence. The local families of princes entered Muscovite service.
The Dorogobuzh udel - the center was at Dorogobuzh. It was first mentioned in
1300 in the Suzdal Chronicle. but the town was probably founded in the middle
12th century. It remained a part of the Smolensk lands until becoming an
independent udel in the 13th century. The udel fell to Lithuania at the
beginning of the 15th century along with Smolensk.
The Porkhovski udel - The center was at Porkhov, near Pskov on the Shelon
river. Porkhov entered into the organization of the Smolensk lands around 1329.
It was first mentioned in chronicles in 1346 when Ol'gerd was besieging it. It
was separated from the Smolensk principality at the end of the 14th century and
given to Ivan, the 4th son of Smolensk prince Svyatoslav Ivanovich. At the beginning of the 15th
century the Porkhov udel was taken by Lithuania and in practice lost its
independence. In 1442 the Porkhov prince, Semyon, fled from Lithuania and moved
to Rus were he began to serve the Muscovite grand prince. The family of the
Porkhovski princes died out in the 16th century.
The Toropetski principality - The principality center was Toropets. It was
first mentioned in chronicles for 1074, but was certainly founded well befor
that. It is named for the Toropa river on whose banks it stands. In 1167
Toropets with the lands around it was divided from the Smolensk lands and made
an independent udel under the rule of Mstislav
Rostislavich Khrabri. Being located between Novgorod, Polotsk, Suzdal, and
southern Rus, the Smolensk principality played an important role in trade
between them, which meant also it was important politically. Toropets itself
held only a relatively small territory between the Torop River and upper course
of the Western Dvina, and the portages in the Valdai hills reaching nearly to
the Lake Seligir. Mstislav Khrabri strongly fortified his principality and
operated energetically in alliance with other south Rus princes and
participated in many military campaigns. His son and successor on the Toropets
throne, Mstislav Udaloi, followed the same policy.
At the beginning of the 13th century the principality began to fall to
Lithuania. In 1320 Toropets was taken by Ol'gerd andunited with Lithuania. In
1499 Toropets was taken by Ivan III's army and by the peace treaty of 1503
became a part of the Moscow government.
The Fominsko-Beryezuiski udel - This area was divided from the Smolensk lands
at the beginning of the 13th century and given to Yuri, son of the Smolensk prince,
Konstantin Davidovich. The location of the capital
is not known. This udel didn't play a significant political role. When Smolensk
itself fell to Lithuania at the start of the 15th century the Fominsk udel did
The Kozlovski udel - At first this udel was only a volost in the property of
the Fominsko-Beryezuiski prince. It gradually became an independent udel in the
14th century under prince Vasilii Fedorovich. The
location of his capital is not known. At the end of the 15th century Vasilii
Romanovich and Lev Ivanovich lost governing rights as udel prince status and
were subordinated to Lithuania. At the beginning of the 16th century the
Kozlovski princes entered into Muscovite service.