SAINT OLGA: HUMBLE INHABITANT OF PSKOV OR THE POWERFUL PRINCESS OF VYSHGOROD?

Abstract

The article is devoted to the problem of the origin of the Saint Olga. The author notes the contradiction in the sources, containing information on the issue. On the one hand, Olga is credited with the origin of Pskov, on the other – it is presented as the owner of located near Kiev of the city of Vyshgorod. The author comes to the conclusion that we have before us two conflicting versions of the place of birth of Olga.
The article analyzes the origin version of the Pskov Olga (as an option, in which Olga belongs to the local nobility, and the option when she was born in a commoner family). The result is a conclusion about the ambiguity of the Pskov version. Analysis of local legends about Olga suggests that they are not a feature of Pskov. Not less carefully analyzed all possible options of purchasing Olga in Vyshgorod. Special attention is paid to the version of the divorce of Olga and Igor, with the subsequent transfer by Igor of Vyshgorod to his ex-wife. Both this version and legends about Olga’s murder of her husband are doubtful. In parallel, the issue of possessory rights of noble women in Russia in the X century is raised. The author concludes that Vyshgorod belonged to Olga by right of birth. The reasons for the emergence of legends about the origin of Olga from Pskov and participation of Oleg in arranging her marriage to Igor are explained.
We must consider both that a well-fortified Vyshgorod originated in the 12-15 km to the North from Kiev and that in the X century its territory was roughly equal to the territory of the capital of ancient Russia. The establishment of the fact of origin of Princess Olga from the family owners of Vyshgorod allows new insight as to the reasons for its approval in Kiev after the death of Igor and the role of women in the political life of Russia of the middle of the X century as a whole.

About the authors

A. S. Korolev

Author for correspondence.
Email: morenov@ssau.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7045-4310

Candidate of Historical Sciences, associate professor, independent researcher.

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