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The Vyatichi tribes pay tribute to Prince Svyatoslav I Igorevich (966).
Miniature from the Radziwiłł Letopis, late 15th century.

The Vyatichs or more properly Vyatichi or Viatichi (Russian: вя́тичи) were a native tribe of Early East Slavs who inhabited regions around the Oka,[1] Moskva and Don rivers.[2]

The Vyatichi had for a long time no princes, but the social structure was characterized by democracy and self-government.[3] Like various other Slavic tribes, the Vyatichi people built kurgans on territory which belongs now to the modern Russian state.[4] The 12th-century Primary Chronicle recorded that the Vyatichi, Radimichs and Severians "had the same customs", all lived violent lifestyles, "burned their dead and preserved the ashes in urns set upon posts beside the highways", and they did not enter monogamous marriages but practiced polygamy, specifically polygyny, instead.[5][6]

Modern stylized imagery of the Slavs of the 12th-13th centuries.
People from the Vyatichi tribe and citizens of Veliky Novgorod

The Primary Chronicle names a certain tribal leader Vyatko as the forefather of the tribe, who was a Lyakh brother of Radim from whom emerged the Radimichs.[5] The Vyatichi were mainly engaged in farming and cattle-breeding. Between the 9th and 10th centuries, the Vyatichi paid tribute to the Khazars and later to Kyivan princes.[5] The tribe, however, was constantly trying to defend its own political independence until the early 12th century. By the 11th century, the Vyatichi had already populated the Moskva basin and the area of today's Moscow. In the 11th and 12th centuries, the tribe founded a number of cities due to developing handicrafts and increasing trade, including Moscow, Koltesk, Dedoslav, Nerinsk and others. In the second half of the 12th century the land of the Vyatichi was distributed among the princes of Suzdal and Chernigov. The last direct reference to the Vyatichi was made in a chronicle under the year of 1197. Indirect references, however, may be traced to the early 14th century.

Saint Kuksha of the Kyiv Caves was a missionary who converted many Vyatichi to Christianity (in 1115), being beheaded by their chiefs August 27 ca. 1115.

There are numerous archeological monuments in Moscow that tell historians about the Vyatichi. Their fortified settlements of the 11th century were located in the historical center of today's Moscow, namely the Borovitsky Hill, Kolomenskoye (the spot of the former Diakovskoye village), Kuntsevo (a district of Moscow) and others. One may also find traces of Vyatich settlements in Brateyevo, Zyuzino, Alyoshkino, Matveyevskoye and other localities of Moscow. Burial mounds with cremated bodies have been found along the upper reaches of the Oka and Don.


  1. ^ Subtelny, Orest (2009-11-10). Ukraine: A History, 4th Edition. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 9781442697287.
  2. ^ Diels, Paul, 1882-1963. (1963). Die slavischen Völker. Mit einer Literatur übersicht von Alexander Adamczyk. pp. 38, 39. OCLC 1086798889.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ "Slavic tribes as one people". stuklopechat.com. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
  4. ^ "Footwear from the Stone Age". www.donsmaps.com. Retrieved 2020-01-29.
  5. ^ a b c Samuel Hazzard Cross and Olgerd P. Sherbowitz-Wetzor (1953). The Russian Primary Chronicle. Laurentian Text (PDF). Cambridge, Mass., Mediaeval Academy of America. pp. 37–38, 56–57, 59, 84, 95, 119, 211, 212.
  6. ^ Eve Levin (1995). Sex and Society in the World of the Orthodox Slavs, 900–1700. Cornell University Press. pp. 41–42. ISBN 9780801483042.

See also[edit]

  • Passport of the female costume of the Vyatichi tribe of the late 12th — early 13th centuries.