THEOPHANIA MUZALON / Theophano Muzalonissa (year of birth and death unknown), «архонтиссе Росии», Princess of Tmutarakan and Chernigov.


Very little data has been attested about Theophaniya Muzalon. There is information about her only on two seals, traditionally dated at the turn of the XI-XII centuries. [3, p. 843]. The inscription on the seals reads "Lord, help your servant Theophano, archontissa of Rus, Muzalonissa." The seal was first published in the second half of the 19th century by researcher G. Schlomberzhe, who suggested that the seal belonged to a noble Greek woman, probably married to a Rus prince [12, p. 447-458; 13, p. 432-433, 683]. In 1965, V. L. Yanin published the second copy of the seal from the collection of the Berlin Museum [11, p. 76–79, fig. 1.9].

Researchers deduce the origin of Theophania from the aristocratic Byzantine family of the Muzalons. In science, two points of view on the personality of Theophania were established. According to one version, Theophania is identified with the wife of the Tmutarakan prince Oleg Svyatoslavich, although the name of Oleg's wife is not attested anywhere in the annals [5, p. 160-165; 7, p. 647; 10, p. 76-79]. This identification was proposed by H. M. Loparev on the basis of data from the Lyubets Synodik [5, p. 160-165]. Supporters of this version suggest that the marriage between Theophania and Oleg could have been concluded during Oleg's stay in Byzantium and Rhodes [III, p. 7], in 1079-1084. According to the chronicles, Oleg Svyatoslavich was captured by the Khazars in Tmutarakan, where he fled after the battle on Nezhatina Niva, and was later transported to Byzantium [I, cl. 204; II, cl. 196]. In this regard, and taking into account the internal political situation within Byzantium itself, the support of the Rus prince could be beneficial to the new Byzantine emperor Alexei I Comnenus, therefore the idea of marriage with a representative of the Byzantine aristocracy seems to be very reasonable [1, p. 204-213; 2, p. 10]. Probably Theophania could help her husband return the Tmutarkan throne [6, p. 267], to gain a foothold in the Crimea and on Taman.

According to another version, Theophania was the wife of a Byzantine governor in the city of Rusia on the Taman Peninsula or in Kerch. This assumption is related to the discovery in the collection of the Berlin Museum of the bull of a certain Archon Michael. N. Banescu dated  to the end of the XI-beginning of the XII century and suggested that it belonged to the Byzantine governor Michael. Based on the similarity of the bull of Archon Michael with the seal of Theophania, the researcher concluded that Theophania was the wife of Michael [9, p. 157-158]. This point of view was criticized by A. V. Soloviev [14, p. 569-580] and V.L. Yanin, who noted that this bull could well have belonged to Oleg himself, in baptism to Michael [10, p. 77-79]. A. V. Gadlo suggested that this seal could belong to the prince of Tmutarakan Rostislav Vladimirovich [1, p. 204-213; 2, p. 7-10]. This version also found its supporters. To date, there is no final version about the attribution of the seal and identification of Theophania Muzalon.

Theophania died around 1090.


  • Vsevolod (? –1146), Prince of Seversk (1115–1127), Prince of Chernigov (1127–1139), the Grand Prince of Kiev (1139–1146)
  • Igor (? –1147), Prince of Putivl (1127–1142), Prince og Beresteysk-Drahichin (1142–1146), the Grand Prince of Kiev (1146)
  • Gleb (? - 1138), Prince of Kursk
  • Maria (? –1146), the wife of Pyotr Vlastovich, palatine of the Duke of Poland Boleslaw III Wrymouth


Printing-molivdovul (30.5-32 mm). On one side there is a seven-line Greek inscription: Κ[ύρι]ε β[οή]θ[ει] τη ση δούλη θεοθάνου άρχοντήσ[σ]η 'Ρωσίας τη Μουζαλονήσ[σ]η - “Lord, help your servant Theophania, Archontissa Russia, Muzalonissa”). On the other side there is a full-length image of two saints supporting the icon of "Lord Emmanuel" with worn inscriptions. The second copy of the seal was published in 1965 by V.L. Yanin, but the inscription on it is also unreadable [10, p. 25; 11, p. 76-79]. N.P. Likhachev suggested that the two saints depicted on the seal are the Mother of God and St. Theophania [4, p. 138, annex 1].

Currently, the seal is stored in the numismatics department of the State Hermitage [8, p. 157-158]. 


I. Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisei (PSRL). Lavrent'evskaia letopis'. T. 1. M., 2001.

II. PSRL. T. 2. Ipat'evskaia letopis'. M., 2001. 

III. Puteshestvie igumena Daniila ko Sviatoi zemle v nachale KhII veka. SPb., 1864.


1.      Gadlo A.B. K istorii Tmutorokanskogo kniazhestva vo vtoroi polovine XI v. // Istoriko-arkheologicheskoe izuchenie Drevnei Rusi. Itogi i osnovnye problemy. Slaviansko-russkie drevnosti. Vyp. 1. L., 1988. S. 204–213.

2.      Gadlo A.V. Tmutorokanskie etiudy. V. Oleg Sviatoslavich // Vestnik Leningradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Ser. ІІ. Vyp. 2 (9). 1991. S. 7–10.

3.      Drevniaia Rus' v srednevekovom mire: entsiklopediia / Pod obshch. red. E.A. Mel'nikovoi, V.Ia. Petrukhina. M., 2014.

4.      Likhachev N.P. Materialy dlia istorii vizantiiskoi i russkoi sfragistiki. Vyp. 1 // Trudy muzeia paleografii. Vyp. I. L., 1928.

5.      Loparev Kh.M. Vizantiiskaia pechat' s imenem russkoi kniagini // Vizantiiskii vremennik. T. І. Vyp. 1. 1894. S. 160–165.

6.      Morozova L.E. Velikie i neizvestnye zhenshchiny Drevnei Rusi. M., 2009. 

7.      Nazarenko A.V. Drevniaia Rus' na mezhdunarodnykh putiakh. Mezhdisitsiplinarnye ocherki kul'turnykh, torgovykh, politicheskikh sviazei IX–XII vekov. M., 2001.

8.      Chkhaidze V.N. Feofano Muzalon–arkhontessa Rosii (k voprosu ob identifikatsii) // Vizantiiskii vremennik. Vyp. 66 (91). 2007. S. 155–170. 

9.      Chkhaidze V.N. Feofano Muzalon: novye nakhodki – starye otkrytiia // Antichnaia drevnost' i srednie veka. Vyp. 43. Ekaterinburg, 2015. S. 289–319.

10.   Ianin V.L. Aktovye pechati Drevnei Rusi Kh–KhѴ vv. T. I. Pechati X–nachala KhIII v. M., 1970.

11.   Ianin V.L. Pechati Feofano Muzalon // Numizmatika i sfragistika. Kiev, 1965. № 2. S. 76–79.

12.   Schlumberger G. Description de cinq sceaux de l’époque Byzantine // Revue Numismatique. 3-e série. T. І. Paris, 1883. S. 454–455.

13.   Schlumberger G. Sigillographie de Empire Byzantin. Paris, 1884.

14.   Soloviev А.Ѵ. Domination Byzantine ou rasse au nord de la Mer Noire à Гépoque des Comnéne? // Akten des XI. Internationalen Byzantinisten-Kongresses, 1958. München, 1960.


Internet Resources 

1.Ul'ianovskii V.I. Novaia bulla Feofano Muzalon i zagadka "arkhontessy Rosii': pochti kramol'nye zametki istorika na sfragisticheskuiu temu // Sfragіstichnii shchorіchnik. Vip. 4. Kiїv, 2013. S. 54–87.

2. Chkhaidze V.N. Feofano Muzalon–arkhontessa Rosii (k voprosu ob identifikatsii) // Vizantiiskii vremennik. Vyp. 66 (91). 2007. S. 155–170.  

3. Chkhaidze V.N. Feofano Muzalon – novye nakhodki, starye otkrytiia //  Antichnaia drevnost' i srednie veka. 2015. Vyp. 43. S. 289–319.