Malusha

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Добрыня Никитич.jpg

Malusha/Malfrida[1][2] (Old Ruthenian: Малушa, Old Norse: Málfríðr)[3] historically is known as a housekeeper (kholopka) for Olga of Kiev and a concubine of Sviatoslav I of Kiev. According to Slavonic chronicles, she was the mother of Vladimir the Great and sister of Dobrynya. The Norse sagas describe Vladimir's mother as a prophetess who lived to the age of 100 and was brought from her cave to the palace to predict the future.

Origin[edit]

As the chronicles are silent on the subject of Malusha's pedigree, 19th-century Russian and Ukrainian historians devised various theories to explain her parentage and name.

Alexei Shakhmatov considered Malusha to be the daughter of Mstisha Sveneldovich, son of Sveneld, a Varangian warlord. He believed that the name Malusha was a slavinized version of a Scandinavian name Malfried.[4] In this case, Malusha was of Norse origin.[5] The Primary Chronicle records that a certain Malfried died in 1000. This record follows that of Rogneda's death. Since Rogneda was Vladimir's wife, historians assume that Malfried was another close relative of the ruling prince, preferably his wife or mother.

The anti-Normanist historian Dmitry Ilovaisky managed to draw an opposite conclusion: that the Slavic name Malusha was turned into a Scandinavian Malfried. This claim received no wider support. Dmitry Prozorovsky believed that Malusha was the daughter of Mal, a Drevlyan leader.[6]

References[edit]