Principality of Turov and Pinsk
Турава-Пінскае княства
Part of the Kievan Rus
10th century–14th century Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Capital Turov
Languages Old East Slavic
Religion Eastern Orthodox Church
Government Monarchy
Prince of Turov
 -  950-980 Tur
Legislature Veche
 -  Established 10th century
 -  Incorporation into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania 14th century

The Principality of Turov, also called Principality of Turov and Pinsk (Russian: Турово-Пинское княжество Belarusian: Турава-Пінскае княства, Ukrainian: Турово-Пінське князівство|) by East Slavic scholars, was a medieval principality and important subdivision of Kievan Rus since the 10th century on the territory of modern southern Belarus and northern Ukraine. Princes of Turov often served as the Grand Princes of Rus early in 10th-11th centuries. The principality's capital was Turov (now called Turaŭ) and other important cities were Pinsk, Mazyr, Slutsk, Lutsk, Berestia, and Volodymyr.

Until the 12th century the principality was very closely associated with the principalities of Kiev and Volhynia. Later for a short period time until the Mongol invasion it enjoyed a wide degree of autonomy when it was annexed to the Kingdom of Rus. In the 14th century it became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Ruthenia and Samogitia.


The duchy originated mainly from the Dregovich tribe and partially the Drevlyans. While circumstances of its creation are not clearly known, the duchy as mentioned in the Primary Chronicle existed in 980. According to the legend, the town of Turaŭ was founded around 950 (first mentioned in 980) by Varangian Prince Tur, a brother of Rogvolod (the first chronicled prince of Polatsk).[1]

Kiev Principality[]

During the times of Vladimir Svyatoslavich the Great (980 - 1015), the city of Turov and the immediate vicinity became part of Kievan Rus. Around 988, Vladimir appointed his eight-year-old son, Svyatopolk Vladimirovich, to be knyaz of Turov. Later,Vladimir jailed Svyatopolk for plotting to rebel. Shortly before Vladimir died, Svyatopolk was freed and upon Vladimir's death, seized the throne of Grand Prince of Rus.


In a series of three battles during 1016-1018, Yaroslav Vladimirovich the Wise overthrew his older brother, Svyatopolk, and became Grand Prince of Kievan Rus. About 1042 or 1043, Yaroslav married his son, Izyaslav Yaroslavich, to the sister of King Casimir I of Poland and appointed Izyaslav to be Prince of Turov and Pinsk. In 1054, Izyaslav became Grand Prince of Rus, with a volatile reign.

In 1078 after Izyaslav 's death, his brother and new Grand Prince, Vsevolod, appointed Izyaslav 's eldest son, Yaropolk Izyaslavich to be knyaz of both Volhynia and Turov. In 1084, the Rostislavichi, rulers of neighboring Galicia (Halychyna), attempted to seize part of Yaropolk's realm, but Yaropolk and Vsevolod's son, Vladimir Monomakh, defeated the invaders. Yaropolk revolted briefly against Grand Prince Vsevolod, was reinstated, and was murdered in 1087 (likely by the Rostislavichi).

Opposition to Vladimir Monomakh[]

The Turov principality was passed to his younger brother Svyatopolk Izyaslavich who administered the land of Novgorod. When Svyatopolk Izyaslavich became Grand Prince of Kiev, he passed the principality of Turov to his nephew and son of Yaropolk Vyacheslav. Later Svyatopolk Izyaslavich gave Volodymyr-Volynskyi and Brest to his sons Yaroslav and Mstislav respectively. As the Grand Prince Svyatopolk Izyaslavich also tried to conquer the rebellious Rostislvichi who established themselves well in the land of Halych. However, his attempts were rather unsuccessful. In 1100 the principality of Turov was passed to Yaroslav Svyatopolkovich who ruled both lands of Turov and Volhynia. During another conflict between the prince of Turov and the Grand Prince of Kiev Yaroslav was eliminated out of his realm in 1118. The land of Turov then was passed to another son of Svyatopolk Izyaslavich Bryachislav, while Volhynia was given to one of the sons of Vladimir Monomakh Roman.

The 1097 Council of Lyubech (1097) modified the rota system such that the Principality became patrimonial land.


After the death of Bryachislav Vladimir, Monomakh gave the Turov principality to his Vyacheslav who kept it until the middle of the 12th century. Around the 1150s Turov belonged to the descendants of Yuri Dolgoruki Andrei and Boris. Finally in 1162 the principality was passed by Yuri Dolgoruki back to Yuri Yaroslavich, grandson of Svyatopolk Izyaslavich, who gained full independence from Kievan Rus'. However, at the same time the duchy became more and more divided. At his death, Yuri Yaroslavich divided the principality among his sons, creating two semi-independent states: the Principality of Turov and the Principality of Pinsk was created. Along with the Principality of Smolensk, the armies of the two principalities participated in the Battle of the Kalka River (1223).


In the early 13th century the Duchy of Turov became dependent of the Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia. To liberate itself from it, the dukes of Turov cooperated more and more with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In the early 14th century the Duchy non-violently joined the Grand Duchy. By that time Hleb Narymunt, the son of Gediminas, was already ruler of Pinsk, while Turov and Haradok were still ruled by Rurikids. Later the territory of the Duchy became part of Brest Litovsk, Nowogródek, and Minsk Voivodeships.

Regions of the Principality[]

Principality of Turov and Pinsk


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  1. ^ Franklin, Simon; Shepard, Jonathan (2014). The Emergence of Rus 750-1200. Longman History of Russia. Routledge. ISBN 9781317872245. "There arrived 'from overseas' a certain Rogvolod (Ragnvaldr in Old Norse). He installed himself on the Western Dvina at Polotsk, reportedly enjoying princely status. Likewise, Tur or Tury set himself up in a promontory fort by the Pripet, staying there long enough to leave his name on the place, Turov. It seems to have been a recent foundation, if not his own." 

Bibliography and External links[]

  • Primary Chronicle
  • Ermolovich M.I., Ancient Belarus - Polotsk and Novogrudskii period, 1990 (Ермаловіч М. І. Старажытная Беларусь. Полацкі і Навагародскі перыяд. Мн., 1990.) (Belarusian)
  • Saganovich G., Outline of the History of Belarus from antiquity to the end of 18th century (Сагановіч Г. Нарыс гісторыі Беларусі ад старажытнасці да канца XVIII ст. Мн., 2001.) (Belarusian)
  • Hrushevsky, M. "History of Ukraine-Rus". Vol.2 Ch.4 (page 5) (Ukrainian)

Coordinates: 52°10′N 26°45′E / 52.167, 26.75