Verchoslava (Viacheslava) Vsevolodovna 1181 - † 1215, Princess of Torchesk, Grand Duchess of Kiev, wife (since 1189) of Rostislav Rurikovich, Prince of Torchesk, then Prince of Vyshhorod, Grand Prince of Kiev (1204-1205)


  • Vsevolod Yurievich the Big Nest, Grand Prince of Vladimir (1176-1212), Prince of Kiev (1173), Prince of Pereyaslavl’ (1175-1176)


  • Maria Shvarnovna (Yasynya)


Verchoslava (Viacheslava) was daughter of Vsevolod Yuryevich the Big Nest and his first wife Maria Shvarnovna, Verhuslava, was born around 1180 [3, p. 487] The name of the princess is quite rare. A. F. Litvina and F. B. Uspensky believe that Vsevolod Yuryevich’s daughter was named after her full namesake Verchoslava (Viacheslava) Vsevolodovna of Novgorod, daughter of Prince of Novgorod Vsevolod Mstislavich [II, p. 358-360, 359-361; 6, p. 249-250]. Moreover, even the baptismal name of the two princesses coincides: both were Anastasias.

The chronicles preserved rather detailed evidence about the arrival to Suzdal of Rurik Rostislavich’s matchmakers who solicited Verchoslava. The delegation consisted of Gleb Svyatoslavich (Rurik’s son-in-laws), his wife and boyars, who were supposed to make an agreement on the marriage of Verchoslava and Rurik’s son, Rostislav Rurikovich. The significance of this marriage for both parties is quite significant. Rurik tried to secure the support of a powerful prince for his claims to the Kiev throne. As for Vsevolod, he actively used matrimonial alliances to strengthen this influence all over the principalities governed by Rurikids at that time [6, p. 264]. As noted by A. F. Litvina and F. B. Uspensky, at the end of the 12th century, matrimonial alliances with Western European and Byzantine dynasties did not have any more the same political significance as before, and dynastic marriages with different branches of Rurikid dynasty became much more advantageous [ibid.], because they met the demands of local politics. The ramification of the clan made it possible to enter into dynastic marriages without violating canon law. Verchoslava and Rostislav, for example, were in the fourth degree of kinship, which was already allowed by tradition [5, p. 45]. In the description of the magnificent celebration of the upcoming wedding, the chronicler specifies the age of the bride is also indicated, 8 years. Marriages of minor children, as noted by D. Dombrovski, were allowed in cases of exceptional necessity, which is obvious in this case, if the Letopis contains this information [3, p. 488].

Despite the fact that the sources contain quite a lot of information about this marriage, there is a discrepancy in the date of the wedding. The dates provided by the sources also differ. So, the Kievan Chronicle places a message about the wedding under September 25, Laurentian Codex — under July 30 [III, col. 407; IV, col. 658; V, p. 34; VII, p. 94; VIII, p. 157; IX, p. 119]. According to D. Dombrowski, this information is less contradictory than it might seem, as it probably described different stages of the wedding [3, p. 488]. N. G. Berezhkov was able to establish the year, but not the day. According to him, the event took place in March 6696, i.e. about 1188/1189 [1, p. 83–84, 203–204]. Thus, there are still many hypotheses on when the wedding was celebrated: June 15, 1187 [2, p. 521, 552; 7, table IX; 8, table 28; 10, table 94], September 26, 1187 [9, table 8], 1188 [3, p. 488] or 1189 [4, p. 144].

The Kiev chronicler reports that Prince Rurik sent a large embassy to Suzdal, headed by his son-in-law Gleb Svyatoslavich. On the St. Boris’s Day (July 24), the bride was solemnly presented to matchmakers. As the chronicler notes, Vsevolod received the embassy with great honours, prepared a rich dowry for Verchoslava and made generous gifts to the matchmakers. After the reception organized by Vsevolod, the bride left to Belgorod where the wedding took place at the Church of the Holy Apostles [IV, col. 658].

The couple had at least two children. The firstborn daughter was Euphrosine Izmaragda, whose birth is thoroughly described in the chronicle [ibid, col. 708]. D. Dombrovski believes that such close attention paid to Euphrosine by the chroniclers who mostly ignored women’s biographies indicates that Euphrosine was the first surviving child of Verchoslava and Rostislav [3, p. 569]. The girl was born in the winter of 1198/1199; Mstislav Mstislavich and Predslava Rurikovna became godparents. It is possible to assume that there also was one more child, but the evidence is indirect. In the description of the capture of Rostislav with his family in 1203/1204 by Roman Mstislavich during the struggle for the throne of Grand Prince, the chronicle mentioned the “children” of Rostislav, emphatically using a plural noun [III, col. 420-421; V, p. 39; VI, p. 143; VII, p. 101; VIII, p. 162; IX, p. 126]. The chronicler said that Vsevolod the Big Nest was extremely upset by the news about Rostislav’s imprisonment, because he understood Verchoslava was captured together with him [III, col. 420-421].

For the last time, Verchoslava is mentioned in a chronicle under 1199 among the participants of the celebration organized by Rurik Rostislavich in the monastery of St. Michael in Vydubychi in Kiev on the St. Thecla’s Day [IV, col. 711]. Scholars believe, however, that she was still alive not only during the campaign of Roman Mstislavich, but also in the middle of 1220s. [II, p. 360-361; 4, p. 149]. D. Dombrovski argues that the last mention of the princess, dates back to 1225-1226 and is preserved in the letter of the Bishop of Vladimir and Suzdal Simeon to Polycarp [I, p. 21; 3, p. 490]. The date of death cannot be established with precision. The burial place of the princess is also unknown.


  • Euphrosine Izmaragd Rostislavovna (1198/1199, probably 15 or 17 February 1199 — † 1203/1204) [3, p. 567]


The town of Bragin [IV, p. 658]


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