Vseslav "the Sorcerer" of Kiev

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Vseslav Bryachislavich of Polotsk, I

Russian: Всеслав Брячиславич Рюрикович, I
Also Known As: "Всеслав Брячиславич Вещий", "Wsjeslaw of Polozk the Sorcerer"
Birthdate: (72)
Birthplace: Polatsk, Vitebsk Province, Belarus
Death: April 14, 1101 (68-76)
Polatsk, Vitebsk Province, Belarus
Place of Burial: Polotsk, Russia
Immediate Family:

Son of Bryachislav Iziaslavich Rurikid, Prince of Polatsk and N1010 wife of Bryachislav Iziaslavich
Husband of N1030 wife of Vseslav Briachislavich, of Polatsk
Father of David iš Polotsko Riurikų; Rogvolod Boris of Polozk; Sviatoslav Prince of Vitebsk; Gleb Vseslavich, Duke of Minsk; Rotislav Vseslavich Georgi of Polozki and 2 others

Occupation: Grossfürst v Kiew 1068, Fürst v Polock und Witebsk 1044/67, Fürst v Tmutarakan (Taman) um 1069, Grand Prince of Kiev 1068, Pr of Polotsk (1044-69)+(1071-1101), Gr Pr of Kiev (IX.1068-IV.1069), князь полоцкий (1044-1101), Storfurste i Kiev
Managed by: Henn Sarv
Last Updated:

About Vseslav "the Sorcerer" of Kiev

Vseslav of Polotsk (Vseslav Bryachislavich, Belarusian: Усяслаў Брачыславіч , Усяслаў Чарадзей; Russian: Всеслав Полоцкий; Ukrainian: Всеслав Полоцький; also known as Vseslav the Sorcerer, also known as the Werewolf.

Born: 1030 Died: 1101

Father: Bryachislav Iziaslavich Mother: Unknown Spouse: Unknown Issue: David Vseslavich Roman Vseslavich Gleb Vseslavich Boris Vseslavich Rogvolod Vseslavich Sviatoslav Vseslavich Rostislav Vseslavich


VSESLAV Briacheslavich "the Werewolf", son of BRYACHESLAV Iziaslavich Prince of Polotsk and Vitersk & his wife --- (1030-14 Apr 1101). The Primary Chronicle names Vseslav son of Bryacheslav, recording that he was born with a caul over his head. He succeeded in 1044 as Prince of Polotsk and Vitersk. He attacked Novgorod in 1066/67, but was defeated by the brothers Iziaslav, Sviatoslav and Vsevolod at the river Nemega 3 Mar 1067. A truce was concluded 10 Jun 1067, but Vseslav was arrested, and imprisoned by Iziaslav and lost Polotsk. He was released in Kiev by a mob dissatisfied with Prince Iziaslav for refusing to attack the Kuman [Cumans] and proclaimed VSESLAV Grand Prince of Kiev in Sep 1068, forcing Iziaslav to flee to Poland. He was deposed in Kiev Apr 1069 when Iziaslav reclaimed the throne with the military help of Bolesław II King of Poland, and fled back to Polotsk. Prince of Tmutorokan [Taman] [1069]. He expelled Sviatopolk Iziaslavich from Polotsk 1071, installing himself once more as Prince of Polotsk. m ---. The name of Vseslav´s wife is not known. Prince Vseslav & his wife had seven children, David, Roman, Gleb, Boris, Rogvolod, Sviatoslav, and Rostislav.


Vseslav was the most famous ruler of Polotsk. Saint Sophia Cathedral of that city (1066) is probably the most enduring monument in Belarus, which remained after his 57-years reign.

Vseslav was the son of Briachislav Iziaslavich, Prince of Polotsk and Vitebsk, and was thus the great-grandson of Vladimir I of Kiev and Rogneda of Polotsk.

Upon his ascension to the throne of Polotsk in 1044, Vseslav was the senior member of the Rurik Dynasty. Unable to secure the capital, which was held by Yaroslav's three sons, Vseslav started pillaging neighbouring areas of Kievan Rus. In 1067 he laid siege to Pskov but was thrown back. A year later he pillaged and burnt Novgorod. After that he was defeated by the Yaroslavichi on the Niamiha river and treacherously captured during the peace talks.

During the Kievan rebellion of 1068, the crowd delivered him from prison, and the veche made him a grand duke. Feeling that his throne was insecure, Vseslav escaped to Polotsk just 7 months later. After several years of complicated struggle with Iziaslav of Kiev, Vseslav finally secured Polotsk in 1071. During the last 30 years of his reign, his chief enemies were Vsevolod Yaroslavich and his son Vladimir Monomakh.

His Family

Vseslav died in 1101. He had seven sons: Roman, Prince of Polotsk; Gleb, Prince of Minsk; Boris, Prince of Polotsk; Rogvolod, Prince of Polotsk; David, Prince of Polotsk, Sviatoslav, Prince of Vitebsk; and Rostislav.

Like other Polotsk sovereigns, Vseslav had a great reputation for sorcery and witchcraft. He was rumored to have been conceived by sorcery and to possess magical powers. In modern Belarusian he is known as Usiasłaŭ the Sorcerer. Some people considered him a werewolf, as may be seen from the following lines of The Tale of Igor's Campaign:

In the seventh age of Troyan, Vseslav cast lots for the damsel he wooed. By subterfuge, propping himself upon mounted troops, he vaulted toward the city of Kiev and touched with the staff of his lance the Kievan golden throne. Like a fierce beast he leapt away from them at midnight, out of the white town, having enveloped himself in a blue mist.

Then at morn, he drove in his battle axes, opened the gates of Novgorod, shattered the glory of Yaroslav, and loped like a wolf to the Nemiga from Dudutki. On the Nemiga the spread sheaves are heads, the flails that thresh are of steel, lives are laid out on the threshing floor, souls are winnowed from bodies. Nemiga's gory banks are not sowed goodly - sown with the bones of Russia's sons.

Vseslav the prince judged men; as prince, he ruled towns; but at night he prowled in the guise of a wolf. From Kiev, prowling, he reached, before the cocks crew, Tmutorokan. The path of Great Sun, as a wolf, prowling, he crossed. For him in Polotsk they rang for matins early at St. Sophia the bells; but he heard the ringing in Kiev.

Although, indeed, he had a vatic soul in a doughty body, he often suffered calamities. Of him vatic Boyan once said, with sense, in the tag: "Neither the guileful nor the skillful, neither bird nor bard, can escape God's judgment.


VSESLAV Iziaslavich (-[1002/03]). He succeeded his father in 1001 as Prince of Polotsk. The Primary Chronicle records the death of Vseslav son of Izyaslav and grandson of Vladimir in [1002/03


Izyaslav, inherited Polotsk from his mother - Pr of Polotzk (988-1001), *ca 980, +1001; He had issue:

  • A1. Vseslav, Pr of Polotzk (1001-03), +1003
  • A2. Bryachislav, Pr of Polotzk (1003-44), Pr of Vitebsk (1021-44), *ca 997, +1044; m.N ("a witch")
    • B1. Vseslav "the Sorcerer", Pr of Polotsk (1044-69)+(1071-1101), Gr Pr of Kiev (IX.1068-IV.1069), *ca 1030, +14.4.1101, bur St.Sophia Cathedral, Polotsk
      • C1. Roman, Pr of Polotzk (1101-16), +1116
      • C2. Gleb, 1st Pr of Minsk (1101-19), Pr of Polotsk (1116-19), +in prison Kiev 1119; m.1090 Anastasia of Turov and Lutsk (*1074, +I.1158)
        • D1-D4
      • C3. Boris, Pr of Polotsk (1119-27), Pr of Drutsk (1101-19), +1127/28
        • D1-D3
      • C4. Rogvolod, Pr of Polotsk (1127-28), +1128
        • D1-D3
      • C5. Davyd, Pr of Polotsk (1128-29), imprisoned with his nephews by Mstislav I and sent to Constantinople in 1129
        • D1-D2
      • C6. Sviatoslav, Pr of Vitebsk (1101-29); m.Sofia of Kiev
        • D1-D4
      • C7. Rostislav, fl 1140
        • D1...


Vseslav "The Sorcerer" Grand Prince of Kiev (1068-1069)

Born: Abt 1030 Marriage: Unknown Died: 14 Apr 1101 about age 71 Buried: St Sophia Cathedral, Polotsk

Family Links


  • Unknown


  1. Sviatoslav Prince of Vitebsk (1101-29)+
  2. Gleb OF MINSK 1st Prince of Minsk+

Vseslav of Polotsk or Vseslav Bryachislavich (c. 1039 – 1101), also known as Vseslav the Sorcerer or Vseslav the Seer, was the most famous ruler of Polotsk and was briefly Grand Prince of Kiev in 1068–1069. Together with Rostislav Vladimirovich and voivode Vyshata, they created a coalition against the Yaroslaviches' triumvirate. Polotsk's Cathedral of Holy Wisdom (completed in 1066) is one of the most enduring monuments on the lands of modern Belarus and dates to his 57-year reign.

Vselav was the son of Bryachislav Izyaslavich, Prince of Polotsk and Vitebsk, and was thus the great-grandson of Vladimir I of Kiev and Rogneda of Polotsk. He was born in c. 1030–1039 in Polotsk (with Vasilii as his baptismal name) and married around 1060.

He took the throne of Polotsk in 1044 upon his father's death, and although since 1093 he was the senior member of the Rurik Dynasty for his generation, since his father had not been prince in Kiev, Vseslav was excluded (izgoi) from the grand princely succession. In fact, since he was the only major prince in Rus not descended from Yaroslav, he was, according to Simon Franklin and Jonathan Shepard, "an outsider from within".

Unable to secure the capital, which was held by Yaroslav's three sons, Vseslav started pillaging the northern areas of Kievan Rus. In 1065, he laid siege to Pskov but was thrown back. In the winter of 1066–1067, he pillaged and burnt Novgorod the Great, removing the bell and other religious objects from the Cathedral of Holy Wisdom and bringing them to decorate his own cathedral of the same name in Polotsk. His attack threatened to cut the sons of Yaroslav in the Middle Dnieper region off from Scandinavia, the Baltic region, and the far north, important sources of men, trade, and income (in furs for example) for the Rus princes in the Middle Dnieper. The attack also forced the young Mstislav, then enthroned in Novgorod, to flee back to his father, Iziaslav, in Kiev, and was thus and affront to the Kievan grand prince. The Yaroslavichi joined forces and marched north, sacking Minsk (then under the control of Polotsk) and defeating Vseslav in battle on the Nemiga River on March 3, 1067 Vseslav fled but was treacherously captured during the peace talks in June, when Iziaslav violated his oath. He was then imprisoned in Kiev.

During the Kiev Uprising of 1068, brought about by defeat at the hands of the Kipchaks on the Alta River and Iziaslav's unwillingness to arm the veche so its members could march out and face the nomads a second time, the crowd freed Vseslav from prison, and proclaimed him grand prince of Kiev, forcing Iziaslav to flee to Poland. Returning with an army seven months later, Iziaslav retook his throne, and Vseslav fled back to Polotsk. After several years of complicated struggle with Iziaslav of Kiev, he finally secured Polotsk in 1071. During the last 30 years of his reign, his chief enemies were Vsevolod Yaroslavich and his son Vladimir Monomakh.

Vseslav died April 24, 1101, the Wednesday before Good Friday according to the Russian Primary Chronicle—indeed the chronicles strangely link the two events, as if the sorcerer had died as a result of the crucifixion and resurrection. He was buried in the Cathedral of Holy Wisdom in Polotsk.

Vseslav had six sons: 1.Roman (?-1114/1116), Prince of ? (probably of Drutsk). Roman perished either in Ryazan or Murom. His widow became a nun and lived in Polotsk, Saint Sophia Cathedral where she opened her charity. They had no children. 2.Gleb Vseslavich, Prince of Minsk; 3.Rogvolod-Boris, Prince of Drutsk; There are some discussion whether Vseslav had six or rather seven sons. Some historians (L.Alekseev and Vasily Tatishchev) believe that Boris is baptized name of Rogvolod and both of them one and the same person. 4.Davyd, Prince of Polotsk, 5.Sviatoslav, Prince of Vitebsk; 6.Rostislav (?-?). He presumably was the Prince of Lukoml and later in 1129 sent by Vladimir II Monomakh to Byzantium with the rest of Vseslaviches. Who was his wife is uncertain as well as his descendants.

St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk is sometimes said to be his daughter, although her date of birth is given as 1120, two decades after Vseslav's death and thus she could not be his child; other sources, however, say she is the daughter of Sviatoslav Vseslavich, and thus the granddaughter of Vseslav. She founded a number of monasteries in Polotsk and the surrounding region and is considered one of the patron saints of Belarus.

Vseslav had a great reputation for sorcery. The Russian Primary Chronicle states that he was conceived by sorcery and was born with a caul (a veil of birth membrane) on his head, and that the sorcerers told his mother that this should be bound to his head for the rest of his life as it was a sign of good luck. In modern Belarusian he is known as Usiasłaŭ the Sorcerer; in Russian he is Vselav Charadei or Vseslav Veshchii, Vseslav the Sorcerer or Vseslav the Seer.

Vseslav also appears in the 12th-century epic The Tale of Igor's Campaign, where, as in several byliny or folk-tales, he is depicted as a werewolf. In The Igor Tale, his defeat at the Nemiga River is shown to illustrate that inter-princely strife is weakening the Russian land. Vseslav is also said to be able to hear the church bells (stolen from Novgorod) of his cathedral at Polotsk all the way from Kiev:

"In the seventh age of Troyán Vséslav cast his lots for the Maiden dear to him."

"He with wiles at the last tore himself free: and galloped to the city of Kíev; with his weapon took hold of the golden throne of Kíev; galloped from them like a wild beast at midnight from Bĕ́lgorod, swathed himself in a blue mist, rent asunder his bonds into three parts, opened wide the gates of Nóvgorod, shattered the Glory of Yarosláv [the First]; galloped like a wolf from Dudútki to the Nemíga."

"On the Nemíga the sheaves are laid out with heads; men thresh with flails in hedgerows; on the barn-floor they spread out life; they winnow the soul from the body."

"On the blood-stained Nemíga the banks were sown with bane,—sown with the bones of the sons of Russia."

"Prince Vséslav was a judge to his subjects, he appointed cities for the princes: but he himself at night raced like a wolf from Kiev to the Idol [or, (accepting the reading of the text unaltered)—to the Lord] of Tmutarakáń, raced, like a wolf across the path of the great Khors."

"To him at Polotsk they rang the bells early for matins at Saint Sophia; and he at Kíev heard the sound."

Vseslav may also be the basis for the bogatyr Volkh Vseslavich or Volga Sviatoslavich, who is found in a cycle of byliny. Volkhvs were priests of the pre-Christian Slavic religion and were thought to possess magical powers. This fact may be tied to Vseslav's alleged magical as well as his lupine aspects. In the Ruthenian Christianity volkhv is said to have been the son of a serpent and the Princess Marfa Vseslavevna and could transform himself into a wolf and other animals. That, of course, sounds as a fairy tale, however Christianity as a religion while still being challenged by people that followed the older traditions used this misinterpretation to outcast the followers of Slavic paganism. Volkhvs of Novgorod were well known to challenge the well established Christianity in Kiev in the 11th century, which resulted in Vseslav's victory when Mstislav Iziaslavovich fled to Kiev. Not long after that the same volkhvs were calling to uprising against Gleb Sviatoslavovich. Volkh appears in a number of drawings by the late-19th and early 20th-century Russian artist Ivan Bilibin, who was heavily influenced by Russian folklore.

Всесла́в Брячисла́вич, прозваний «Чародієм» (1029 — 14 квітня 1101) — руський князь з династії Рюриковичів, роду Ізяславичів Полоцьких. Великий князь київський (14 вересня 1068 — квітень 1069). Князь полоцький (1044—1067, 1070, 1071—1101). Син полоцького князя Брячислава Ізяславича, онук Ізяслава Володимировича, правнук великого князя київського Володимира Святославича. Намагався унезалежнитися від Києва. 1065 року пограбував Псков, а 1066 року спустошив Новгород; у відповідь триумвірат Ярославичів — Ізяслав, Святослав і Всеволод — пограбували Мінськ. 3 березня 1067 року розбитий Ярославичами на Немизі, ув'язнений Ізяславом в Києві. Звільнений киянами в ході повстання 1068 року проти Ізяслава, який утік закордон. Посів київський престол, але 1069 року, після повернення Ізяслава, відмовився боротися за Київ. Повернувся до Полоцька, де правив до кінця життя. Збудував полоцький Софійський собор (1066).

Всеслав Брячиславич був сином полоцького князя Брячислава Ізяславича. Точний рік народження княжича невідомий. У «Повісті временних літ», що написана особою ворожою до Всеслава, є билинна легенда про його народження. На її підставі вважають, що Брячислав довгий час не мав спадкоємця і тому його дружина звернулася за допомогою до язичницьких волхвів.

Цього Всеслава мати народила від волхвування, тому, що коли вона народила його, то була у нього пляма на голові, і волхви сказали її: нав'яжи ти на язву чарівну пов'язку, котру хай носить він до смерті своєї; Всеслав точно носить її до сих пір, тому він такий кровожадний

Після смерті батька в 1044 році Всеслав успадкував полоцький престол. На початку свого правління він мав мирні стосунки із київськими князями — Ярославом Мудрим і його наступником Ізяславом Ярославичем. Так, 1060 року полоцький князь взяв участь в поході на торків, який організував триумвірат Ярославичів (Ізяслав, Святослав і Всеволод). Проте 1064 року він розсварився з ними, вступивши у конфлікт із Ізяславом, що володів Київщиною і Новгородщиною.

1065 року Всеслав здійснив грабіжницький похід на Псков у Новгородській землі. 1066 року він тимчасово захопив сам Новгород. У відповідь 3 березня 1067 року київсько-чернігівсько-переяславські дружини триумвірату Ярославичів розбили Всеслава у битві на річці Немига. 10 липня того ж року Ізяслав захопив у полон самого полоцького князя із двома синами й посадив у поруб в Києві.

1068 року, під час повстання в Києві, спричиненого поразкою Ярославичів у битві з половцями на річці Альті, великий князь київський Ізяслав втік; кияни визволили Всеслава Брячиславича і проголосили своїм князем. Він зміг залишитися на київському престолі, поступившись Волинню та Новгородом на користь Святослава і Всеволода Ярославичів.

1069 року, коли Iзяслав повернувся на Русь з військом польського князя Болеслава II, Всеслав із киянами вийшов їм назустріч. Але під Білгородом раптово покинув військовий табір й подався до Полоцька. Ізяслав повернув собі Київ і вибив Всеслава із Полоцька, посадивши там свого сина Святополка Iзяславича.

1071 року Всеслав повернув собі Полоцьке князівство, але його вдруге вигнав звідти Ярополк Ізяславич. 1072 року вигнанець остаточно повернув свою вотчину й закірпився на полоцькому столі. За роки правління Всеслав значно розбудував Полоцьк. За його наказом було зведено полоцький Софійський собор (1066), що став третім після Софійських соборів Києва та Новгорода.

Після смерті в.Б. Полоцьку землю було розділено між його шістьма синами. Нащадки в.Б. володіли нею до серед. 13 ст., періоду входу її до складу Великого князівства Литовського.

1078 року Всеслав здійснив похід на Смоленськ. 1084 року він перебував у конфлікті з Володимиром Мономахом.

Після смерті Всеслава Полоцьке князівство розділили його шестеро синів. Його нащадки володіли Полоцькою землею до середини ХІІІ ст., до часу входження Полоцька до складу Великого князівства Литовського.

Сучасникам та нащадкам також запам'ятався як «волхв», чародій. У «Слові о полку Ігоревім», а згодом й у східнослов'янському фольклорі, в котрому асоціювався з Волхом, постає як богатир-вовкулака здатний розмовляти зі звірами.

Батько: Брячислав Ізяславич Сини: Давид Всеславич Рогволод Всеславич Гліб Всеславич Роман Всеславич Святослав Всеславич Ростислав Всеславич

О Всеслав Брячиславич (русский)

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Vseslav "the Sorcerer" of Kiev's Timeline

Polatsk, Vitebsk Province, Belarus
Age 18
Polozki, Russia
Age 28
Polozki, Russia
Age 35
Age 39
Nowadays Minsk, Minsk Province, Belarus
Age 41
Polozki, Russia
Age 42
Polatsk, Polatsk District, Vitebsk Region, Belarus
Age 43
Polozki, Russia
April 14, 1101
Age 72
Polatsk, Vitebsk Province, Belarus