huri logo 2015 black
Fellows for Academic Year 2017-2018

Natalia Zajac

Natalia Zajac

Center for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, Canada

Title of Research: 

"Forgotten Female Rulers of Medieval Europe: Reconstructing the Reigns of Ten Early Rus' Queens, Noblewomen, and Princesses, 1000-1250"


“Forgotten Female Rulers of Medieval Europe” will reconstruct the reigns of ten princesses of Kyivan Rus' in the eleventh to mid-thirteenth centuries, both Orthodox Rus'-born brides who became Western medieval queens, duchesses, and noblewomen, as well as Catholic women who came to Rus' as brides. It will examine the political activities and cultural patronage of these women, and how their activities shed light on social and political relations between Orthodox and Catholic elites in the Middle Ages. The research project, leading to a book manuscript, will highlight cultural exchanges and interactions that resulted from these inter-confessional marriages such as the transmission of saints’ cults and material objects across borders. As a result, it will further our understanding of the close links of Ukraine’s early religious, political, and cultural history with lands traditionally considered to be part of “Western” medieval Europe.