The origin of one of the most remarkable princesses of the 12th century Maria Alan, the wife of Prince Vsevolod the Big Nest, is still unclear. The most detailed information about her is contained in the Trinity and Laurentian Chronicles. The Tver Chronicle calls Maria the daughter of the king of Bohemia Schvarno [IV, cl. 290]. Some researchers believe that Maria was an Ossetian (Alan) [1, p. 464; 3, p. 535, n. 62; 5, p. 277-291; 6, p. 95; 10, Tabl. V; 11, Tabl. 27; 12, Tafl. 93; 13, p. 115]. M.V. Shchepkina put forward the assumption that Maria was originally a Moravian princess, but this hypothesis is based on the only evidence of a later short Vladimir chronicler (late 15th century). Subsequently, L.S. Kishkin substantiated the origin of the princess from a certain Czech Shvarno Zhiroslavich, voivode of Izyaslav Mstislavich and Izyaslav Davydovich, or from his nephew with the same name [I, cl. 314, 331; II, cl. 335, 425-426, 518, 527; 4, p. 253-269]. This point of view is supported by many modern researchers [2, p. 617; 7, p. 341-347; 8, p. 134]. The identity of the princess's mother is unknown. D. Dombrovsky made a cautious assumption that the chronicle mention of the "Alan" (Ossetian) can be considered a reflection of the ethnicity of Shvarno's wife [2, p. 619], but there is no unequivocal evidence in favor of this. The childhood of the future Grand Princess of Vladimir was spent in Vladimir-Suzdal Rus [I, cl. 424; 2, p. 615, n. 2754]. It is known that she had sisters. Judging by the order of marriage, it can be assumed that Maria was the eldest of the sisters, followed by the names of the unknown wife of Yaroslav Vladimirovich, the grandson of Mstislav Harold and his second wife, and Mstislav Svyatoslavich, the son of the Grand Prince of Kiev Svyatoslav Vsevolodovich [2, p. 618-619; 9, p. 164] A similar conclusion is made based on the chronicle news, that Vsevolod Yurievich and Yaroslav Vladimirovich were brothers-in-law, that is, married to sisters [I, cl. 402, 406, 414; III, p. 37, 227; IV, cl. 287, 289; VI, p. 153, 156-157]. Apparently, the marriage of Maria and Vsevolod took place before 1175 [I, cl. 602; 4, p. 254; Wed: 6, p. 95]. At the time of his marriage, Vsevolod Yuryevich was not an obvious contender for the Vladimir reign, since he had a large number of siblings and cousins of older brothers, as well as a rather complicated relationship with his brother Andrey Bogolyubsky. Until 1171 he did not have his own inheritance at all, but after the death of Gleb Yuryevich (in 1171 according to the Laurentian Chronicle, in 1173 according to the Ipatiev Chronicle [I, cl. 336-337; II, 386-388]) he inherited Kiev. The inhertance of the Kiev throne by the youngest of the Yuryevichs provoked another round of civil strife. Subsequent events are described in chronicles with significant discrepancies. According to the Laurentian Chronicle, the prince of Vyshegorod Davyd Rostislavovich took advantage of the death of Gleb Yuryevich, occupied Kiev with his retinue and captured Vsevolod and his nephew. According to the Ipatiev Chronicle, after the death of Gleb Yuryevich, the youngest son of Mstislav the Great, Vladimir, briefly became prince of Kiev, but after his imminent death, Andrei Bogolyubsky put Roman Rostislavich in Kiev. Upon learning that Gleb Yuryevich had been poisoned by the people of Kiev, Andrey Yuryevich ordered Roman to punish the residents, but he refused. Then Bogolyubsky sent Roman to Smolensk, and gave the Kiev throne to Vsevolod and his nephew Yaropolk. The Rostislavichs responded by attacking the city and capturing all the envoys of Bogolyubsky, and Rurik Rostislavich took the Kiev throne [II, p. 386-388]. In 1174, Andrey Bogolyubsky himself was killed as a result of a conspiracy. Maria waited out most of the internecine clashes with her daughters and sisters in calm Chernigov. After the reign of Mikhail Yuryevich was established, Pereslavl-Zalessky was given to Vsevolod, the princess moved there as well. However, less than six months later, the childless Mikhail Yuryevich died, passing the throne to Vsevolod.
For a long time, there were no sons in the family of Vsevolod Yuryevich, who became the Grand Prince of Vladimir. However, the chronicles contain news about the prince's daughters: traditionally, the dates of birth of the princesses are not mentioned in the narratives, but there are reports of their weddings. Vseslava in 1187 was married to the Chernigov prince Rostislav Yaroslavich. Since Rostislav was the firstborn, Vseslava, according to the marriage traditions of those years, should have been the eldest daughter in the prince's family. She was probably born no later than 1173 [II, p. 454]. The second daughter was Elena, who never married and died earlier than Maria and Vsevolod, the third was Verkhuslava Vsevolodovna.
The fourth daughter of Vsevolod and Maria Zbyslava was born in 1179, as recorded in the Ipatiev Chronicle [II, p. 463] The first-born male Konstantin was born on May 18, 1185. In total, Maria and Vsevolod had 14 children, 12 of them survived to adulthood. Only the twins Boris and Gleb, who were born, probably in May 1187, died a year or two later [I, cl. 384-385].
Chronicles report on the prolonged illness of the Princess of Vladimir, from which she suffered for 7-8 years [2, p. 617]. In 1200, at the request of Maria, Vsevolod laid the foundation stone of the Assumption Cathedral in the monastery of the Assumption of the Virgin founded by Maria [I, cl. 424-425; III, p. 468; V, cl. 311; VII, p. 159-160, 161]. In this monastery, Maria's sister, the wife of Yaroslav Vladimirovich [I, cl. 417] and daughter Elena Vsevolodovna were buried. On March 19, 1205, shortly after the tonsure, Princess Maria Shvarnovna herself also died. In the XV century her detailed biography as a beneficent and righteous woman was included in the Trinity Chronicle, which included the Word with which Mary, before the tonsure, allegedly turned to her sons, Constantine and Yury, wishing to prevent their civil strife. However, after the death in 1212 of Vsevolod Yuryevich himself, who was nicknamed the Big Nest by his contemporaries, his sons unleashed another internecine war.
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