Alexander Nevsky (Dictionary of World Biography: Middle Ages)
Article abstract: Alexander strengthened the Republic of Novgorod by defeating Swedish, Livonian, and German invaders. By skillful diplomacy and appeasement policies, he also secured limited autonomy for the entire Grand Duchy of Vladimir-Suzdal from the Tatars of the Golden Horde.
Alexander Nevsky, nephew of Grand Prince Yury Vsevolodovich (1189-1238), was born to Prince Yaroslav Vsevolodovich of Northern Pereiaslavl, a principality located in Suzdal. Alexander, who had seven paternal uncles and seven brothers, spent his youth in Northern Pereiaslavl and then in Novgorod. Yaroslav was hired as a Novgorodian service prince in 1222, mainly to defend the merchant-dominated society from foreign attackers. In 1236, Yaroslav left to assume the princely throne at Kiev, compelling the Novgorodians to accept his sixteen-year-old son, Alexander, as successor in the republic. Yaroslav held Kiev but a short time before he was ousted by Mikhail of Chernigov. Meanwhile, young Alexander attempted to build a stronger government and a wider territorial base for Novgorod.
Alexander’s rule in Novgorod began in 1236. Three years later he married Alexandra, Princess of Polotsk, a principality between Smolensk and Lithuania. In the 1250’s, Lithuania began its absorption of the old lands of Kievan Russia, including part of Polotsk, held in special regard for Nevsky because of his...
(The entire section is 2381 words.)
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