Elisiv of Kiev

Elisiv of Kiev
Elisiv of Kiev.jpg
Queen consort of Norway
Reign 1045–1066
Predecessor Emma of Normandy
Successor Ingerid of Denmark
Spouse Harald III of Norway
Issue Maria Haraldsdotter
Ingegerd, Queen of Denmark and Sweden
Full name
Elisaveta Yaroslavna
House Rurik dynasty (by birth)
Hardrada dynasty (by marriage)
Father Yaroslav I of Kiev
Mother Princess Ingegerd Olofsdotter of Sweden
Born 1025
Died c. 1067 (aged 41–42)

Elisaveta Yaroslavna of Kiev (Norwegian: Ellisif or Elisiv), (1025 – ca. 1067), was a Princess of Kiev and Queen Consort of King Harald III of Norway.[1]


Elisaveta was born to Prince Yaroslav I of Kiev and Princess Ingegerd Olofsdotter of Sweden. She was the sister of Anne of Kiev, queen and regent of France, and Anastasia of Kiev, queen of Hungary. She was the sister of Anastasia of Kiev to the future Andrew I of Hungary and Anne of Kiev who married Henry I of France and was the regent of France during their son's minority. [2]

During the winter of 1043–44, Elisaveta was married to Prince Harald Sigurdsson of Norway. Harald had left Norway in 1030 after having participated in the Battle of Stiklestad on the side of his half-brother, King Olav II of Norway. Harald had since then served under the protection of her father as well as that of the Byzantine monarch.[3]

Elisaveta was the addressee of Harald's surviving poems where he lamented her suggested lack of affection towards him (no implications about their actual affections can be derived, as this might well be a poetic cliche). In 1045, she followed Harald to Norway, were he became co-king with his nephew, King Magnus the Good. In Norway, Elisaveta was known as Queen Elisiv. The marriage is only documented by the court poet Stuv den blinde (Stúfr blindi Þórðarson kattar). There are no other existing documentation about her stay in Norway. [4][5]

In 1047, King Harald became the sole ruler of Norway after the death of King Magnus. In 1048, Harald took another wife, Tora Torbergsdatter. The marriage can largely be explained by politics and alliance building. The chiefs of the Giske family played a key role in power politics. It is possible, that Elisiv stayed in Russia, or that she died on her way to Norway. However, that would mean that the daughters of Harald, Ingegerd and Maria, who are attributed to her, must have been Tora's, which is not considered likely, as Maria was engaged to Øystein Orre fra Giske, who would have been her uncle had she been the daughter of Tora. It is therefore possible, that Tora was Harald's concubine. Tora became the mother of both King Olav Kyrre and King Magnus II Haraldsson.[6]

In 1066, Harald invaded England, where he was killed in the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Tradition says that Elisiv and her daughters followed Harald to England, where Maria died, as it was said, at the news of her father's death. Afterward Elisiv and her second daughter, Ingegerd, returned to Norway with the Norwegian fleet. Elisiv was to have stayed at the Orkney islands during this trip. However, the oldest of the sagas claim that it was Tora Torbergsdatter and not Elisiv who accompanied Harald on the trip, which is considered more likely, as Tora was the cousin of Thorfinn Sigurdsson, Earl of Orkney.[7][8]

According to Adam of Bremen, the mother of King Olav Kyrre remarried either King Sweyn II of Denmark or an unnamed Swedish king as a widow, but this is unconfirmed. It is also unknown whether this refers to the actual mother of Olav Kyrre, which would mean Tora Torbergsdatter, or his stepmother, which would mean Elisiv. The date and place of the death of Queen Elisiv is unknown.[9]


Elisivand Harald had two daughters:


  1. ^ Ellisiv – norsk dronning (Store norske leksikon)
  2. ^ Ellisiv (Elisabeth), Dronning (Dansk biografisk Lexikon / IV. Bind)
  3. ^ Stiklestad (Store norske leksikon)
  4. ^ Stúfr enn blinde Þórðarson kattar (heimskringla.no)
  5. ^ Stúfr inn blindi Þórðarson kattar (Old Norse Teaching Texts)
  6. ^ Tora Torbergsdatter (Store norske leksikon)
  7. ^ Blundell, Michael C. 2012. The Battle of Stamford Bridge 1066 A.D.: An Alternative Interpretation)
  8. ^ Earl Thorfinn the Mighty (Orkneyjar)
  9. ^ Ellisiv – utdypning (Norsk biografisk leksikon)

Other Sources

Eliza Yaroslavna
Born: 1025 Died: c. 1067
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emma of Normandy
(Queen consort)
Royal Consort of Norway
(Queen consort)
Succeeded by
Ingerid of Denmark
(Queen consort)