ELIZAVETA YAROSLAVNA (Ellisif, Elisabeth) (born in Novgorod or Kiev after 1022 - † 1066 or 1067 in Norway), Queen of Norway, since 1043/44 the wife of Harald Sigurdsson, King of Norway since 1046 (Harald III Hardrada)


  • Yaroslav Vladimirovich the Wise, the Prince of Rostov (987-1010), the Prince of Novgorod (1010-1034), the Grand Prince of Kiev (1016-1018, 1019-1054)


  • Ingegerd Olofsdotter of Sweden, the Swedish princess, the Grand Princess of Kiev


Elizaveta (Ellisif) was the second daughter of Yaroslav the Wise and Ingegerd-Irina. The exact date of her birth is unknown. Like all the children of Yaroslav the Wise she received an excellent education and played a significant role in strengthening Rus-Norwegian relations [5, p. 253-256; 10, c. 26].

Most of the information about her have survived in Scandinavian sources, as she married Harald Sigurdsson, the king of Norway, in 1044/1045 [4, p. 274], or in 1043/1044 [3, p. 50], or in 1035 [10, p. 26] . The story of their courtship was told in royal sagas "Morkinskinna" [VI, p. 55-364], "Fagrskinna" [VIII, 129-163], "Heimskringla" by Snorri Stuoluson [II, p. 89], as well as by Adam of Bremen (without mentioning her name) [I, p. 75 or III, p. 375]. Harold was in the service of Yaroslav the Wise, but the first time he proposed to Elizaveta, he was refused by her father. Then he went on a long journey, visited Byzantium, Palestine, Sicily [V, p. 54-58; VI, p. 73-115; 13, p. 3, 26] and, according to Snorri Stouloson, returned to Rus with incalculable wealth, “which no one in the northern lands has seen in the possession of one person” [II, p. 89]. During the trip, Harald written love poems (the so called "Visas of Joy") dedicated to his beloved [VI, p. 55–373]; their translations became very popular in Russia in XVIII and XIX centuries. [3, p. 255] After Harald's triumphant return to Russia, Yaroslav supported of the Norwegian king and agreed to the marriage. Apparently, the decision of Yaroslav was influenced not by the "axcessive" wealth brought by Harald, but by the news that he was about to become the Norwegian king, so that the marriage would be beneficial for Rus [6, p. 212; 10, c. 26]. As T.N. Jackson argued that this marriage turned out to be beneficial for Norway as well, as it indirectly contributed to the strengthening of the Danish-Norwegian union [2, p. 63-71]. G.V. Glazyrina and S. Bagge adhere to the opposite point of view, they believe that the alliance with Rus did not bring the expected results, so that Harald almost immediately married Tora, the daughter of the Norwegian magnate Torberg Arnason [1, p.16; 11, p. 134]. However, an analysis of sources shows that Tora was not a wife, but a concubine of Harald. So Elizabeth remained the queen of Norway until the death of her husband in 1066 [3, p. 174]

It is unknown whether Elizaveta left with her husband immediately after the wedding or, for some reason, remained in her parents' house [10, p. 26]. The assumption that the spouses were initially separated due to Harald's military campaigns is based on the Scandinavian Haunksbok, in which the letters that Elizaveta wrote to her husband during the separation and her gifts from the treasury are mentioned [VII, Bl. 333; IX, p.196-198]. However, the sagas also mention two daughters of Harald and Elizaveta, Mary and Ingegerd, which implies that Elizaveta left Russia with her husband [3, p. 177]. Otherwise, if we assume that the spouses spent only one spring together [V, p.54–58; VI, p. 323; VIII, p.121 etc.], the daughters were supposed to be twins, which, were it true, must have been reflected in the sources [3, p. 178].

When Harold went to England, he left his wife and daughters in the Orkney Islands, where they were overtaken by the news of Harald's death at the Battle of Stamfordbridge on September 25, 1066. The further fate of Elizaveta Yaroslavna is unknown. The sagas contain only a dramatic indication that on the same day and hour when Harald died, his daughter Maria died on the Orkney Islands as well [II, p. 32; VI, p. 323; VIII, p. 121.]

N.M. Karamzin believed that Elizaveta died even earlier, soon after the wedding, leaving two daughters orphans [5, p. 346. 41]. This suggestion, however, was not supported by other researchers.

For a long time it was believed that after the death of Harald Elizaveta married the Danish prince Sven Estridsen [9, p. 28, 135, 419; 10, c. 26; 12, p. 7; 14, s. 307; 16, s. 117], but this hypothesis was proved to be wrong by A.V. Nazarenko [7, p. 480-481; 8].


  • Maria, the princess of Norway
  • Ingegerd Haraldsdotter, Queen of Denmark (1086–1095), Queen of Sweden (1105–1118)


I. Adam Bremenskii. Deianiia gamburgskikh arkhiepiskopov // Drevniaia Rus' v svete zarubezhnykh istochnikov: Khrestomatiia / Pod red. T.N. Dzhakson, I.G. Konovalovoi, A.V. Podosinova. T. 4. Zapadnoevropeiskie istochniki. Sost., per. i komment. A.V. Nazarenko. M., 2010. S. 122–152.

II. Snorri Stuoluson. Krug zemnoi / Podg. A.Ia.Gurevich, Iu.K. Kuz'menko, O.A. Smirnitskaia, M.I. Steblin-Kamenskii. M., 1980.

III. Adam Bremensis. Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum // Quellen des IX und XI Jahrhunderts zur Geschichte der Hamburgischen Kirche und des Reiches / Neu uertr. von W.Trillmich. Darmstadt, 1961.

IV. Annales Islandorum regii // Islandske annaler undtil 1578 / Udg. G.Storm. Christiania, 1888.

V. Antiquites russes d ’apres les monuments historiques des lslan d a is et des Scandinaves. T. II. Copcnhague, 1852.

VI. Fagrskinna // Noregs konunga tal / Bjarni Einarsson // Íslenzk fornit. Reykjavík. B. XXIX. Bl. 55–364.

VII. Hauksbók / Eiríkur Jónsson og Finnur Jónsson. København, 1892–1896. 

VIII. Morkinskinna: The Earliest Icelandic Chronicle of the Norwegian Kings (1030–1157) / Theodore Murdock Andersson, Kari Ellen Gade. NY, 2000.

IX. Two of the Saxon Chronicles. T. I. Oxford, 1892.


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