GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2003-02 > 1046039765
From: "Todd A. Farmerie" <>
Subject: Re: Iaroslav the wise
Date: Sun, 23 Feb 2003 15:36:05 -0700
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Igor Sklar wrote:
> What do we know about Rogvolod/Ragnvald? According to Nestor, he came
> from overseas, i.e. from Scandinavia.
> What do we know about Rogvolod/Rogneda's family? Judging from
> Rogneda's arrogance, it was a princely family of high repute in her
> native Scandinavia.
I have known some arrogant people who have no such haughty pedigree.
> We also know from Heimskringla that all the
> Norwegian konungs at the time were descendants of Harald Fairhair (all
> others were called jarls).
We know that all Norwegian kings _claimed_ to be descended from
Harald Fairhair, claims that should not, perhaps, be accepted at
face value. That being said, you have suddenly narrowed from
overseas to Scandinavia to Norway.
> Several authorities, notably Rydzevskaya ("Ancient Rus and Scandinavia
> in 9-14 cent.", 1978), identify Rogneda with Vladimir's Varyangian
> wife Olava/Allogia, mentioned in Norse sagas. Snorri tells us that
> when Olaf Tryggvason came to Novgorod as criminal runaway Allogia
> sheltered him in her house and payed a large fine for him. This is
> particularly striking, since Olaf's maternal uncle Sigurd Eyrickson
> was one of Vladimir's boyars at the time and would naturally help his
> nephew. Allogia/Rogneda's behavior is natural for a kinswoman of Olaf.
Perhaps, but are there no other reasons a woman might take favor
> How could Ragnvald and Ragnhild be relatives of Olaf Tryggvason and
> yet descendants of Harald Fairhair?
Both halves of this question gloss over significant jumps in
logic. The only evidence you have given for a relationship to
Rogneda is that she took Olaf into her favor (and even this
depends on Rogneda being identical to Allogia). Likewise, I see
no evidence that the family was from Norway, let alone descended
> There are two possiblilies.
> Ragnvald could be a half-brother of Tryggvi Olafson, or his wife
> (Ingigerd?) could be a sister of Tryggvi. In both cases Rogneda would
> be the first cousin of Olaf Tryggvason, and Yaroslav I would be the
> second cousin of Olaf's sons (it perfectly suits the evidence of
> Northern sagas). The connection of Ragnvald and Tryggvi is further
> reinforced by Nestor, who mentiones as Rogvolod's neighbour one prince
> Turi who could be Tryggvi himself (he was a frequent guest in Russian
It is dangerous to assume two Tryggvis are the same person, let
alone a Turi in Russia and a Tryggvi in Norway.
> Now, I'm inclined to think that Ragnvald was Tryggvi's brother rather
> than his brother-in-law. Snorri mentiones one Ragnvald the Glorious as
> a first cousin of Harald Fairhair. The full name and complex
> sobriquets of Ragnvald's father are identical with those of Tryggve's
> father Olaf.
Yet this Ragnvald appears to be supported by the works of his
contemporary court poet, so if there is a mistake, then perhaps
it was in applying these names to the younger Olaf.
> Apparently, Snorri made some mistake. I'll say more. As
> you know, Harald's children were brought up by their mothers and
> inherited their lands.
So the tradition goes, and each has their own mother, almost as
if they were entirely different lines, all grafted onto the
required ancestor of a Norwegian king, Harald Fairhair.
> With Ragnvald/Rogvolod this custom was
> introduced to the House of Rurik: Ragnhild's son Izyaslav was brought
> up by his mother in Polotsk and inherited the land of his grandfather.
Was this tradition introduced in this generation? It is hard to
call it a tradition with just one instance.
> I don't know how others explain the connection of Yaroslav and Harald,
> but that's what I think. Any comments are welcome.
I don't see that there is one.