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p. xxii


At the age of sixty-one, in the year 1113, Vladímir ascended the throne. He had eight sons, one, Izyasláv had been killed in the campaign of 1096 against Olég Svyatoslávič: another, Svyatosláv died in 1114; a third one, David, is mentioned in 1116, and probably predeceased his father.

Vladímir's formal accession makes no break in the policy of Russia which he led and initiated.

The Chronicle for 1114 contains a curious apocalyptic tale, an Egyptian legend of Svarog (the Slav god of the sky) instituting an Elysian age, and being succeeded by his son Dažbog, the Sun-god, under whose rule cities were founded and civilization prospered. The interpolation of this piece of mythology may be symbolic of Vsévolod I and Vladímir II.

The forays against the peoples of the steppes were almost continuous during the thirteen years of this reign and very successful. The Russian arms were carried as far north as the Bolgars of the Volga (e.g. by Yúri Vladímirovič in 1120) and the cities of the Pólovtsy beyond the Don were taken and sacked. The steppes were cleared and the enemy driven back to the Caucasus. As Vladímir himself says in his 'Instruction to his children,' he had beeen engaged in eighty-three campaigns of consequence, concluded nineteen treaties with the Pólovtsy, and captured three hundred of their leaders.

Vladímir was also a good legislator, remedied the condition of the закуны (half-free debtors) and left his impress on the internal organization of the State.

In 1126 he died; the Chronicle justly says:--"He enlightened Russia like the sun, shedding its beams. His fame went forth to all countries. He was a terror to the Pagans, a lover to his brothers [this attribute has at this time no mere conventional value] and charitable; and a good champion for Russia.

On his five surviving sons, Mstíslav of Kíev, and Mstíslav's sons Nóvgorod, Kuŕsk and Smolénsk; Yaropólk was granted Pereyáslavl’; Vyáčeslav Turov, Yúri Suzdal’; and Andréy Volhynia.

Next: The Successors of Vladímir II