GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2003-02 > 1046097087
From: (Igor Sklar)
Subject: Re: Iaroslav the wise
Date: 24 Feb 2003 06:31:27 -0800
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"Todd A. Farmerie" <> wrote in message news:<>...
> Igor Sklar wrote:
> > 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.
Rogvolod appeared in Rus about 30 years after the death of Harald.
It's not such a long term for kin relations to pass into oblivion.
Judging by sagas, there were so many Norwegians at the Kievan court
that any lie would have been easily exposed.
> That being said, you have suddenly narrowed from overseas to Scandinavia to
One may infer from the analysis of Norse sagas that there was a clan
of 'Russian Norwegians' who easily moved between western and eastern
shores of the Baltics in time of need. They were particularly
associated with the Vik, or fjords of Southern Norway. Perhaps it
wouldn't be too much to say that Russian and Norwegian rulers were
regarded by skalds as one family.
Exact links are hard to reconstruct. According to Tatishev, Efanda of
Norway (a daughter of Norwegian konung) was the wife of Rurik, the
sister of Helgu, and the mother of Igor. Chronologically Efanda could
be a sister of Harald Fairhair. In this case Igor was the 1st cousin
of Eric Bloodaxe, and Svyatoslav - the 2nd cousin of Harald Greycloak.
Don't take this inference too seriously, though.
> > 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
> on Olaf?
Who knows... Olaf was only 10 at the time, and had a natural guardian
(maternal uncle) to help him. Sigurd had both means and desire to
help. But for some reason Olaf was assisted by a woman that apparently
never had seen him before.
> > 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
> > lands).
> It is dangerous to assume two Tryggvis are the same person, let
> alone a Turi in Russia and a Tryggvi in Norway.
Certainly. Yet the name Tryggvi was so extremely rare in Norway, that
some vague parallels with Russian names occur.
However rare the name, coincidence of names doesn't imply coincidence
of persons. For example, we know from Snorri that Hrolfr the Ganger
spent some part of his life in Ladoga. The Russo-Byzantine treaties of
907 and 911 mention one Rulav as a Varangian negotiator. And yet noone
attempts to identify Rulav with Hrolfr.
Nevertheless, some ties of Rus and Orkneys are impossible to deny. You
may remember Snorri's remark that Ragnvald II Brusisson (jarl 1038-46)
spent some time on service of Yaroslav/Jarisleiv.
> > 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.
The sobriquet of Ragnvald the Glorious leads one to expect that Snorri
would pay much attention to this personage. And yet Snorri but
mentions his name: no mother is given, circumstances of his death are
not described, which is quite unusual. This vagueness of data strikes
me all the more since Ragnvald Olafson is the person to whom the
Yngling Saga was dedicated.
Nobody can tell for sure when the Yngling Saga was created. I strongly
suspect that Tjodolv the Wise was a skald of Harald Greycloak (konung
960-975) not of Harald Fairhair. Since Rogvolod/Ragnvald was still
alive at that time, Tjodolv couldn't mention his death and a place of
burial. This would explain why no deeds of the "glorious" person were
recouned by Tjodolv in his saga. He could have heard that
Ragnvald/Rogvolod ruled overseas and was 'glorious', but had no
specific information about him.
> > 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. 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.
All the more remarkable! This single instance sustains a theory of
Rogneda's descent from Harald.
Of course, all this is just a conjecture. But I don't think that some
filiations of contemporary Western European rulers are accepted on any
more solid ground. Princess of Ohningen is declared the wife of St.
Vladimir in every second genealogical reference without any historical
support whatsoever. Or let's take the origin of Robert the Strong.
There is much evidence, but it's all controversial. In Rogneda's case
the evidence is scarce, but it all points to one conclusion.