The First Christian Rus’ Generation: Contextualizing the Black Sea Events of 1016, 1024 and 1043

A. M. Feldman


Many scholars have weighed in on the changing nature of the relationship between Byzantium and Russia throughout the late-10th century from prince Vladimir’s baptism onwards into the 11th century.  In particular, three encounters between Christian Byzantine forces and the newly Christianized Rus’ in the first half of the 11th century stand out as markers of a shifting dynamic on either side of the Black Sea.  These three events, taking place in the years 1016, 1024 and 1043 respectively, as decades of scholarship have discussed, mark this dynamic as one transitioning from a pagan-versus-Christian dynamic to a rather more subtle paradigm of internecine Christian strife.  Whereas some scholarly traditions have depicted this period as one of a developing and unifying Rus’ “state,” by assessing the events of these three years together, this article will attempt to demonstrate that the Rus’ “state” ruled by Jaroslav Vladimirovič was not as unified or monolithic as previously supposed.


Kievan Rus’, Jaroslav the Wise, Byzantine History, Black Sea History, Eleventh Century, Baptism of Russia, Naval Warfare, Orthodox Christianity.

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