Don’t Mess With A (Russian) Mother
I had to include this image of Olga of Kiev by Mikhail Nesterov when reblogging the article below. Her expression is not exactly saintly. It reminds me more of cunning, female Disney villains. Read on below!
Princess Olga of Kiev had a husband, Igor, who was murdered by the Drevlyans, an Eastern Slavic tribe. Olga took over the Kievan Rus as regent for their three-year-old son. The Drevlyans wanted Olga to marry their Prince Mal, making him the ruler of Kievan Rus, but Olga was determined to remain in power and preserve it for her son. The Drevlyans sent twenty men to persuade Olga, and she had them carried by her servants on a boat to the courtyard of the castle. The boat was dumped into a giant hole and the suitors were buried alive.
Then Olga annouced to Prince Mal that she accepted the proposal, but required their most distinguished men to accompany her on the journey. When they arrived, she greeted them warmly and invited them to clean up after the long trip in a bathhouse. Then she locked the doors and burned the bathhouse to the ground. With the top men of the tribe out of the way, Olga planned to destroy the remaining Drevlians. She invited them to a funeral feast so she could mourn over her husband’s grave, where her servants waited on them. After the Drevlians were drunk, Olga’s soldiers killed over 5,000 of them.
But wait, there’s more! Olga gathered her soldiers and prepared to annihilate the survivors. When they requested her forgiveness, Olga asked the remaining Drevlyans to give her three pigeons and three sparrows from each home. When the birds arrived, she had hot coals tied to their legs and set them back home. As the city burned to the ground from the resulting fire, the people that ran out of the city were either killed, enslaved, or extorted by Olga’s army. The entire Drevlyan tribe was basically wiped out in the following years.
Olga of Kiev is a saint in the Russian Orthodox Church.