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Eupraxia of Kiev

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Title: Eupraxia of Kiev  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Vsevolod I of Kiev, Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor, List of Holy Roman Empresses, 1071 births, 1109 deaths
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Eupraxia of Kiev

Holy Roman Empress
Reign 1088–1105
Born c. 1070
Died 20 July 1109(1109-07-20) (aged 37–38)
Spouse Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Father Vsevolod I of Kiev
Mother Cuman princess

Eupraxia of Kiev (c.1067/1070 – July 10, 1109 AD[1]) (sometimes westernised as Praxedis; in Ukrainian Євпраксія, in Russian Евпраксия[2]) was the daughter of Vsevolod I, Prince of Kiev, and his Kypchak wife Anna. She married Henry IV of Germany and took the name Adelaide (or Adelheid).[1]


  • First marriage 1
  • Second marriage 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4
  • Notes 5

First marriage

Eupraxia was first married to Henry I the Long, count of Stade and margrave of the Saxon Northern March, who was the son of Lothair Udo II.[3] Eupraxia and Henry had no children before his death in 1087.

Second marriage

After her first husband's death, Eupraxia went to live in the convent of Quedlinburg, where she met Henry IV, who was then the Saxon king. He was greatly impressed by her beauty. After his first wife Bertha of Savoy died in December 1087, Henry became betrothed to Eupraxia in 1088. The couple married the following year on 18 August 1089 at Cologne. Immediately after the wedding, Eupraxia was crowned and assumed the name Adelaide (or Adelheid).[4]

During Henry's campaigns in Italy, he took Eupraxia-Adelaide with him and kept her imprisoned at Conrad. Conrad refused indignantly, and then revolted against his father. He began to support the papal side in the Italian wars which formed part of the Investiture Controversy. This legend [9] takes its origin from the hostility between Henry and Urban II during the Investiture Controversy.

According to an account written in the mid-twelfth century, because Henry forced Eupraxia-Adelaide to take part in orgies, when she became pregnant she was unable to tell who the father of her child was. Eupraxia-Adelaide thus decided to leave Henry.[10] Christian Raffensperger has suggested that there might be some truth to this story, based on a reference to the death of one of Henry’s sons in Donizo’s Vita Mathildis (written c.1115).[11] Since Henry’s children by his first wife Bertha are accounted for, according to Raffensperger this could be a child by Eupraxia-Adelaide (alternatively, it could be a reference to a child by a mistress, or simply a mistake).[12]

Eupraxia-Adelaide left Italy for Hungary, where she lived until 1099, when she returned to Kiev.[13] After Henry's death in 1106 she became a nun until her own death in 1109.[14]


  • G. Vernadsky, Kievan Rus (New Haven, 1976).
  • C. Raffensperger, ‘Evpraksia Vsevolodovna between East and West,’ Russian History/Histoire Russe 30:1–2 (2003), 23-34.
  • C. Raffensperger, 'The Missing Russian Women: The Case of Evpraksia Vsevolodovna,' in Writing Medieval Women's Lives (ed. Goldy, Livingstone) (2012), pp.
  • H. Rüß, ‘Eupraxia-Adelheid. Eine biographische Annäherung,‘ Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas 54 (2006), 481–518
  • I.S. Robinson, Henry IV of Germany, 1056-1106 (Cambridge, 2003).
  • G. Althoff, Heinrich IV (Darmstadt, 2006).

External links

  • Medieval Lands Project
  • Adelaide of Kiev, c.1070-1109 (subscription required)
  • Praxedis-Adelheid von Kiev, Deutsche Deutsche Königin (in German)
  • Women of Ancient Rus (in Russian)


  1. ^ a b (subscription required)
  2. ^ Women of Ancient Rus (In Russian)
  3. ^ Rüß, ‘Eupraxia,’ pp. 487f.
  4. ^ Althoff, Heinrich IV., pp. 207f.
  5. ^ Robinson, Henry IV, p. 289.
  6. ^ Robinson, Henry IV, p. 290
  7. ^ Althoff, Heinrich IV, p. 213
  8. ^ Robinson, Henry IV, pp. 289ff.; Women of Ancient Rus (In Russian)
  9. ^ Not a legend. Proved by various historic editions.
  10. ^ Gerhoh of Reichersburg, De investigatione Antichristi, MGH LdL 3, I.17, pp. 324f., accessible online at Monumenta Germaniae Historica (in Latin)
  11. ^ Raffensperger, ‘Missing Russian Women,’ pp. 76, 83 n. 31, with reference to Donizo of Canossa, Vita Mathildis, Book II, v.665.
  12. ^ According to one of the editors of the Vita Mathildis, this is a reference to one of Henry’s illegitimate children: Vita Mathildis, celeberrimae principis Italiae, ed. L. Simeoni (Bologna, 1940), p. 77.
  13. ^ Raffensperger, 'Missing Russian Women,' pp. 78f.
  14. ^ Rüß, ‘Eupraxia,’ pp. 511-514.
Eupraxia of Kiev
Born: 1071 Died: 1109
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Bertha of Savoy
Holy Roman Empress
Succeeded by
Matilda of England
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