Power Politics in Kievan Rus': Vladimir Monomakh and His Dynasty, 1054–1246


Studies and Texts 202. xxii, 432 pp., plus 16 b/w plates. 2016. ISBN 978-0-88844-202-4 • Cloth • $95

The aim of this study is to write the political history of the dynasty of Kievan Rus′ descended from Vladimir Vsevolodovich Monomakh, which ruled from the middle of the eleventh century to the middle of the thirteenth century. In doing so, it argues, both from documented evidence and from circumstantial evidence, that Monomakh manipulated the politics of Rus′ to his advantage.

The book attempts to address all relevant political information that the chronicles report on Vladimir Monomakh. The events are examined in chronological order in imitation of the method used by the chronicles. It is hoped that this method of presentation will give the readers a clearer understanding of the relationship of the various events, such as succession rivalries, territorial disputes, and treaties. From the time of Yaroslav’s death in 1054 to the first half of the 1240s, of all the dynasties, Vsevolod’s descendants most consistently wielded political supremacy. In large part, the groundwork for their success was laid by Vladimir Monomakh. In addition to being blessed with good fortune, Monomakh exercised exceptional foresight, ambition, and political acumen. To date, however, no comprehensive study has been written concerning the dynasty as a whole. This study proposes to fill that lacuna.

This book is addressed to scholars and students of the history of Kievan Rus′. It proposes to introduce students to the princely dynasties of Kievan Rus′ and to the problems that the princes of these dynasties faced, such as succession in an orderly manner. It also provides a detailed examination of these problems for the mature scholar.


Martin Dimnik is Fellow and President Emeritus at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto, and Professor of Medieval History at the University of Toronto. His books include Mikhail, Prince of Chernigov and Grand Prince of Kiev, 12241246 (1981), The Dynasty of Chernigov, 10541146 (1994) and its sequel The Dynasty of Chernigov, 11461246 (2003) and, most recently, The Apocrypha of Adam and Eve in Russia: The Forbidden Fruit (2010). He has also published numerous studies on a range of other topics, including biblical and scriptural studies and numismatics.


“A unique and comprehensive study of Vladimir Monomakh and the dynasty he founded, Power Politics in Kievan Rus′ follows the members of Monomakh’s family from the mid-eleventh through the mid-thirteenth century. Like his investigations of the Chernigov dynasty, Martin Dimnik’s scrupulous research into the lives and activities of Monomakh and his successors is rooted in primary sources. His exploration of the princes’ personal lives, familial relationships, and marriage alliances enrich and enliven his innovative and thought-provoking analyses and interpretations of the roles Monomakh and his descendants played in political affairs and of the critical contributions they made to the dynamic history of Kievan Rus′.” — Janet Martin, University of Miami


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