When Princess Olga’s husband, Igor, was murdered by the Drevlyans (an Eastern Slavic tribe), she took over the rule of Kiev and the surrounding provinces.
The Drevlyans didn’t quite fancy having a female ruler, so they sent Olga a bunch of suitors to win her hand. She had slightly different ideas.
The suitors were carried by boat to the courtyard of her castle, and then dumped into a giant hole where they were buried alive.
That’s one way to say ‘nope, not marrying you’, thats for sure! Olga still felt like she had to keep up appearances with the Drevlyans, so she organised a little tete-a-tete.
Once all her Drevlyan guests had arrived, the doors to the venue were barred, and the building burnt to a crisp.
But, Olga didn’t want to appear crass. She held a memorial for the victims of the fire.
But lo and behold, once the Drevlyan guests had arrived, Olga ordered her royal guard to kill all 5,000 of them.
The Drevlyans had started to see the error of their ways, and asked Olga for forgiveness.
Being a compassionate woman, Olga asked the Drevlyans to send her three pigeons and three sparrows from each home in their capital city, as a peace offering.
Once the birds arrived, Olga had hot coals tied to their legs and sent the birds back home. Safe to say, the city burnt to the ground and any survivors were enslaved or murdered by Olga’s army.
And after all that murder…
Olga is still recognised as a Saint of the Eastern Orthodox Church.