Those planning to attend the seminar are asked to register before Tuesday 3 November with the Institute Registrar: firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite accepting Christianity from Byzantium in 988/989, the ruling clan of Rus’ nonetheless concluded the majority of its marriage alliances with Latin Christian rulers during the eleventh to mid thirteenth centuries. Though raised in an Orthodox environment, Rus’ princesses crossed confessional and geographical boundaries to become queens consort and noblewomen ruling over Latin Christian subjects. While adapting to Latin Christian elite culture, they often maintained ties with their natal kin following their respective marriages, especially in the case of brides sent to neighbouring lands, such as Poland. Examining the experiences of these brides can thus contribute to a greater understanding of political power, religious patronage, and cross-cultural exchanges faciliated by Rus’ brides at medieval Europe courts, and raises the wider question of how the so-called ‘Church Schism’ (traditionally dated to 1054 or 1204) was perceived by lay elites outside the ecclesio-political centres of Rome and Constantinople.
This seminar will introduce my PIMS research project on a relatively well documented case study of an active Rus’-born bride in Latin Christendom: Gremislava (Polish: Grzymisława, d. 1258), wife of Duke Leszek the White of Kraków (d. 1227), and regent for her son Bolesław V (d. 1279). The seminar will begin by discussing the wider framework of this project before analysing the early years of Gremislava’s reign (1207–1228) from her marriage to the end of her official regency in 1228, when she ruled from Kraków as official guardian of her son. The seminar will discuss Gremislava’s rulership as well as her ongoing ties with her Orthodox homeland, especially through contact with her cousins, the Rus’ princes Danilo and Vasil’ko Romanovich. In this way, the seminar will address how a Rus’ bride exercised rulership in a foreign land and negotiated emerging religious differences between her natal Byzantine Christianity and the Latin Christian culture into which she married.