Siversk principality

Siversk principality. One of the appanage principalities of the Chernihiv-Siversk land. It was founded in 1097 and was also known as Novhorod-Siverskyi principality (after its capital, Novhorod-Siverskyi). Initially its territory extended along the Snov River and the middle Desna River, and after the mid-1130s it expanded along the Seim River as far as Kursk. The region around the upper Desna River and the Oka River, settled by the Viatichians, also came under its control.

The first ruler of the Siversk principality was Prince Oleh (Mykhailo) Sviatoslavych; his successors, the Olhovych house, frequently also controlled Chernihiv principality and often contended for the Kyivan throne. In the 1140s and 1150s Siversk principality separated from the Chernihiv region, and by the end of the 12th century it had been divided into several small principalities around Kursk, Putyvl, and other cities. Princes of Siversk clashed with the Cumans, particularly in the late 12th century. One of those campaigns, led by Ihor Sviatoslavych in 1185, was celebrated in the epic poem Slovo o polku Ihorevi (The Tale of Ihor's Campaign).

When Batu Khan attacked Eastern Europe in the 1240s, Siversk principality was ravaged, but it continued to exist under Tatar hegemony. In the mid-14th century it came under the Grand Duchy of Lithuania; the first Lithuanian prince of Siversk was Dymytrii Olgierdovych (son of Algirdas). Muscovy, controlled Siversk principality from 1503 and liquidated it in 1523. The territory was later briefly held by Poland (1618–48).

Golubovskii, P. Istoriia Severskoi zemli do poloviny XIV st. (Kyiv 1881)
Bagalei, D. Istoriia Severskoi Zemli do poloviny XIV st. (Kyiv 1882)
Hrushevs’kyi, M. ‘Chernyhiv i Sivershchyna v ukraïns’kii istoriï,’ in Chernyhiv i pivnichne livoberezhzhia (Kyiv 1928)
Rymut, K. ‘Nazwy miejscowe dawnego księstwa Siewierskiego,’ Onomastica, 1970, nos 1–2
Drevnerusskie kniazhestva X–XIII vv. (Moscow 1975)
Rybakov, B. ‘Chernigovskoe i Severskoe kniazhestva,’ in Kievskaia Rus’ i russkie kniazhestva XII–XIII vv. (Moscow 1982)

Arkadii Zhukovsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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