Gostomysl, Leader of the Ilmen Slavs

The region that would later become Novgorod, Russia

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Gostomysl, Leader of the Ilmen Slavs

Russian: Гостомысл, легендарный старейшина ильменских словен
Also Known As: "Gozomuzolo", "Gestimus", "Gestimulus", "Gostomuizli", "Gostomysl von Nowgorod", "Gostomysl Prince of Novgorod", "Гостомысл / Gestimus / Gostomuizli", "rex Gostomuizli of the Obodrites"
Birthdate: (67)
Death: circa 867 (59-75)
Immediate Family:

Father of Mezislav Vendel of the Obodrites; Vybor Obodrite; Eldest Daughter of Gostomysl; Miloslava of the Obodrites and Umila, daughter of Gostomysl

Managed by: Ric Dickinson
Last Updated:

About Gostomysl, Leader of the Ilmen Slavs

Gostomysl (Russian: Гостомысл)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gostomysl

Gostomysl is a legendary 9th-century posadnik of Novgorod who was introduced into the historiography by Vasily Tatishchev, an 18th-century historian. Gostomysl's rule is associated with the confederation of Northern tribes, which was formed to counter the Varangian threat in the mid-9th century and embraced the Ilmen Slavs, Krivichs, Merya, and Chud. Sergey Platonov and Aleksey Shakhmatov believed that the capital of the confederation was in modern Russa and that Gostomysl could have been one of its leaders.

According to Tatishchev, who claimed to have derived his information from the now-lost Ioachim Chronicle, Gostomysl was elected by the Ilmen Slavs their supreme ruler and expelled the Varangians from Russia. Once he had a dream of a large tree growing from the womb of his daughter, Umila. This was interpreted by pagan priests as a prophecy of Umila's son becoming a great leader and of his issue coming to rule a large territory. Indeed, after a period of civil disorder, Umila's son Rurik succeeded his grandfather in Novgorod and his progeny came to rule the largest state in Europe.

The legend of Gostomysl was much aired by the writers and composers working in the nationalist milieu of Catherine II's reign. However, the historians Gerhardt Friedrich Müller and Nikolay Karamzin gave no credit to Tatischev's story, believing that the very name of Gostomysl resulted from a misinterpretation of two Slavic words - gost' ("guest") and mysl' ("thought").

Although Gostomysl's existence is doubted by virtually every modern historian, the name is not an artificial derivation as was previously thought. It was indeed recorded in 844, when Louis the German defeated "rex Gostomuizli" of the Obodrites. Besides, the story of Umila's dream bears striking similarities to the account of Harald Fairhair's birth in some of the Norse sagas, which treat the genealogical tree seen in a dream by his mother on the eve of the childbirth as a symbol of the Fairhair dynasty of which Harald was the author.


Danilevsky, Igor. «Рюрик — это легенда» (in Russian). Русская Планета. Retrieved 12 November 2014.

History about Gostomysl presented in most detaile wothin so-called "Ioakimovskaya Chronicle", a controversial source, published by historian VI Tatishchev in the XVIII century:

   "Burivoy, with a heavy war with the Vikings, repeatedly defeated them and began to enjoy with all Byarmieyu cumene. Finally, at the river thereof defeated was, all his men killed, he barely escaped, went to grad Byarmy that the island was tightly arranged, where the prince remained subordinate to, and staying there, he died. Varangians just came immediately, and others hail the Great conquered and laid a heavy tribute to the Slavs, Rus and Chud.
   People are born with a great burden on the Vikings, were sent to Burivoyu, to ask his son Gostomysla that reigned in the great city. And when Gostomysla took power, they were once Vikings which beat any expelled, and a tribute to the Varangians refused to pay, and, having gone to them, defeated, and hail in the name of his eldest son choice [source not specified 570 days] in the sea built, concluded with the Vikings peace, and silence was over all the earth. This was a man of great Gostomysla courage, the same wisdom, all the neighbors were afraid of him and his people loved him, and the review of cases for the sake of justice. For the sake of all the people close to him, and honored the gifts and tributes were given, buying world of him. Many of the same prince from far countries came by sea and land to hear the wisdom, and his court to see, and ask for advice and exercise it, as so famous everywhere. "

Three daughters were married to neighboring princes of Gostomysl, and his four sons died during his lifetime. Grieving over the lack of male offspring, Gostomysl once saw in a dream, that out of the belly of the middle of his daughter, Umila, grew a huge tree and its branches covered the big city. Priests explained it that one of Umila's sons was ment to be his heir. Gostomysl before his death, collected "elders of the lands of the Slavs, Russia, Chud, villages, worlds, and Krivichy dryagovichey" and told them about the dream, and they sent a request to the Varangians to the princes for his daughter to be grooms. The answer to the call came after the death of Gostomysl, it was Rurik with his two brothers.

Гостомысл. . Скульптор Н.С. Пименов. . Середина XIX в.

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