Studi Slavistici XIX (2022) 2

When and How Did Volodymyr Vsevolodovyč Become Monomachos?

Vadym Aristov
Institute of History of Ukraine

Published 2023-01-25


  • Kyivan Rus,
  • Volodymyr Monomachos,
  • Old Ruthenian Historiography,
  • Byzantine-Rus Relations

How to Cite

Aristov, V. (2023). When and How Did Volodymyr Vsevolodovyč Become Monomachos?. Studi Slavistici, 19(2), 7–26.


The article reviews the sources of the late 11th-12th centuries relevant to the use of “Monomachos” to refer to Prince Volodymyr Vsevolodovyč. The author questions the idea that the family name of his mother “Monomachos” was the name by which the prince was known during his lifetime. The analysis shows that reliable references to the name “Monomachos” dating from the time of Volodymyr’s life come from the sources directly connected to him. This is the Instruction written by Volodymyr himself and two types of his seals. Their creation can be reasonably dated to around 1116-1117. The mentions of the name “Monomachos” in the text of the Primary Chronicle are preserved only in its ‘Hypatian’ version. Judging by a number of signs, they were later interpolations. At the same time, in most cases, the chronicles and other sources of the late 11th-early 12th centuries do not apply his mother’s family name to Volodymyr. In the chronicles of the 12th century, the name “Monomachos” is rare. In the Kyivan Chronicle, it appears in edited or interpolated fragments. In the Suzdalian Chronicle, it is mentioned regularly in the year entries of the late 12th-early 13th centuries. It was the editors of the Suzdalian Chronicle of the early 13th century who initiated the revival and further spread of the name “Monomachos” in the literary tradition. It is proposed that the beginning of the use of Volodymyr’s maternal name should be associated with the events of 1116-1117. The prince supported the impostor Leo in the struggle for the Byzantine throne. This ‘project’ required the actualization of Volodymyr’s ‘Byzantine’ identity.


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