Sviatopolk I of Kiev
Sviatopolk I Vladimirovich was the Kniaz' of Turov and Velykyi Kniaz or Grand Prince of Kiev whose paternity and guilt in the murder of brothers are disputed. Sviatopolk's mother was a Greek nun captured by Sviatoslav I in Bulgaria and married to his lawful heir Yaropolk I, who became Prince of Rus in 972. In 980, Yaropolk's brother Vladimir had him murdered, the new sovereign married his predecessor's wife, who gave birth to a child. Thus, Sviatopolk may have been the eldest of Vladimir's sons, although his parentage has been questioned; when Sviatopolk was eight years old, Vladimir put him in charge of Turov and arranged his marriage with the daughter of the Polish duke Bolesław I Chrobry of Poland. The young princess came to Turov together with the Bishop of Kolberg. Dissatisfied with Vladimir and encouraged by his own wife and Reinbern, Sviatopolk began preparations for war against Vladimir counting on support from his father-in-law. Vladimir soon discovered Sviatopolk's intentions and threw him, his wife and Reinbern in prison.
Reinbern died in prison. Not long before Vladimir's death, Sviatopolk was freed from prison and sent to govern the town of Vyshgorod several miles from Kiev. In 1015, Sviatopolk's retinue concealed Vladimir's death from him to prevent him from claiming the Kievan throne; when Sviatopolk learned of Vladimir's demise, he seized power in Kiev immediately. The citizens of Kiev did not show much sympathy for Sviatopolk and, therefore, he decided to distribute presents in order to win them over, he decided to rid himself of three of Vladimir's sons, Boris and Sviatoslav, whose claims for the Kievan throne threatened his power. Boris presented most danger to him because he had been in charge of Vladimir's druzhina and army, enjoyed the support of the citizens, he sent the boyars of Vyshgorod to execute Boris. Boris and his manservant were stabbed to death; the prince was discovered still breathing when his body was being transported in a bag to Kiev, but the Varangians put him out of his misery with the thrust of a lance.
Sviatopolk's cold-blooded reprisal earned him the nickname of the Accursed. The news of this triple murder reached another son of Vladimir, Prince of Novgorod, who decided to go to war against Sviatopolk with the support from the citizens of Novgorod and the Varangians; the battle took place in 1016 near Dnieper river. Sviatopolk was fled to Poland. In 1018, he returned to Rus', defeated Yaroslav with the help from his father-in-law and seized Kiev. Bolesław I Chrobry of Poland and his army remained in Rus' for several months, but left for Poland. On his way to Poland, Bolesław seized some of the Cherven towns. Meanwhile, the posadnik Konstantin Dobrynich and other citizens of Novgorod persuaded Yaroslav to go to war against Kiev once again. Sviatopolk was fled to the steppes. Soon he returned with the Pecheneg army and attacked Yaroslav on the Alta River, but was once again defeated and fled to Poland dying on his way there. Sviatopolk's death could have been procured by a descendant of Valuk Conqueror who in 1018 helped him and his father-in-law Bolesław I in expedition against Yaroslav.
During the last century, the traditional account of Svyatopolk's career has been somewhat modified. It has been argued that it was Boris who succeeded Vladimir in Kiev, while Svyatopolk was still in prison. One Norse saga called Eymund's saga, with remarkable details, puts on Yaroslav the blame of his brother Burizlaf's murder; this Burizlaf, may be Svyatopolk as well as Boris. Therefore, it has been suggested that Svyatopolk ascended the throne after Boris's assassination and tried to fend off Yaroslav's attacks as well as to punish his agents guilty of Boris's murder; the chronicle of Thietmar of Merseburg, who died in 1018, could have been regarded as the only contemporary and unbiased account of events, if it were not for the fact that Thietmar's data could have been supplied by Svyatopolk himself during his brief exile at the Polish court. It can be interpreted ambiguously as far as the question of Svyatopolk's guilt is concerned. One place in his chronicle can be understood as telling that Svyatopolk escaped from Kiev to Poland after his father's death.
But Thietmar states that Boleslaus I of Poland firstly supported his son-in-law against Yaroslav in 1017, the date, according to the Russian Primary Chronicle, of Svyatopolk's first defeat by Yaroslav. Preparing a campaign against Kiev, Boleslaus abruptly stopped a successful war against the German Emperor Henry II. So, it is unlikely that Svyatopolk had been present at his court since 1015, supposed by the historians that consider Yaroslav guilty of Boris and Gleb's murders. List of Russian rulers List of Ukrainian rulers
Vladimir the Great
Vladimir the Great. Vladimir's father was prince Sviatoslav of the Rurik dynasty. After the death of his father in 972, prince of Novgorod, was forced to flee to Scandinavia in 976 after his brother Yaropolk had murdered his other brother Oleg and conquered Rus'. In Sweden, with the help from his relative Ladejarl Håkon Sigurdsson, ruler of Norway, he assembled a Varangian army and reconquered Novgorod from Yaropolk. By 980, Vladimir had consolidated the Kievan realm from modern-day Belarus and Ukraine to the Baltic Sea and had solidified the frontiers against incursions of Bulgarian, Baltic tribes and Eastern nomads. A follower of Slavic paganism, Vladimir converted to Christianity in 988 and Christianized the Kievan Rus'. Born in 958, Vladimir was the natural son and youngest son of Sviatoslav I of Kiev by his housekeeper Malusha. Malusha is described in the Norse sagas as a prophetess who lived to the age of 100 and was brought from her cave to the palace to predict the future. Malusha's brother Dobrynya was most trusted advisor.
Hagiographic tradition of dubious authenticity connects his childhood with the name of his grandmother, Olga of Kiev, Christian and governed the capital during Sviatoslav's frequent military campaigns. His place of birth is identified as Budyatychi or Budnik. Transferring his capital to Pereyaslavets in 969, Sviatoslav designated Vladimir ruler of Novgorod the Great but gave Kiev to his legitimate son Yaropolk. After Sviatoslav's death at the hands of the Pechenegs in 972, a fratricidal war erupted in 976 between Yaropolk and his younger brother Oleg, ruler of the Drevlians. In 977, Vladimir fled to his kinsman Haakon Sigurdsson, ruler of Norway, collecting as many Norse warriors as he could to assist him to recover Novgorod. On his return the next year, he marched against Yaropolk. On his way to Kiev he sent ambassadors to Rogvolod, prince of Polotsk, to sue for the hand of his daughter Rogneda; the high-born princess refused to affiance herself to the son of a bondswoman, so Vladimir attacked Polotsk, slew Rogvolod, took Ragnhild by force.
Polotsk was a key fortress on the way to Kiev, capturing Polotsk and Smolensk facilitated the taking of Kiev in 978, where he slew Yaropolk by treachery and was proclaimed knyaz of all Kievan Rus. Vladimir continued to expand his territories beyond his father's extensive domain. In 981, he seized the Cherven towns from the Poles. Although Christianity spread in the region under Oleg's rule, Vladimir had remained a thoroughgoing pagan, taking eight hundred concubines and erecting pagan statues and shrines to gods, he may have attempted to reform Slavic paganism in an attempt to identify himself with the various gods worshipped by his subjects. He built a pagan temple on the a hill in Kiev dedicated to six gods: Perun - the god of thunder and war "a Norse god favored by members of the prince’s druzhina". Slav gods Dazhd ` bog. A mob killed his son Ioann. After the murder of Fyodor and Ioann, early medieval Rus' saw persecutions against Christians, many of whom escaped or concealed their belief. However, Prince Vladimir mused over the incident long after, not least for political considerations.
According to the early Slavic chronicle called Tale of Bygone Years, which describes life in Kievan Rus' up to the year 1110, he sent his envoys throughout the civilized world to judge first hand the major religions of the time, Roman Catholicism and Byzantine Orthodoxy. They were most impressed with their visit to Constantinople, saying, "We knew not whether we were in Heaven or on Earth… We only know that God dwells there among the people, their service is fairer than the ceremonies of other nations." The Primary Chronicle reports that in the year 987, after consultation with his boyars, Vladimir the Great sent envoys to study the religions of the various neighboring nations whose representatives had been urging him to embrace their respective faiths. The result is described by the chronicler Nestor. Of the Muslim Bulgarians of the Volga the envoys reported there is no gladness among them, only sorrow and a great stench, he reported that Islam was undesirable due to its taboo against alcoholic beverages and pork.
Vladimir remarked on the occasion: "Drinking is the joy of all Rus'. We cannot exist without that pleasure." Ukrainian and Russian sources describe Vladimir consulting with Jewish envoys and questioning them about their religion, but rejecting it as well, saying that their loss of Jerusalem was evidence that they had been abandoned by God. His emissaries visited pre-schism Latin Rite Christian and Eastern Rite Ch
Vseslav of Polotsk
Vseslav of Polotsk or Vseslav Bryachislavich known as Vseslav the Sorcerer or Vseslav the Seer, was the most famous ruler of Polotsk and was Grand Prince of Kiev in 1068–1069. Together with Rostislav Vladimirovich and voivode Vyshata, they created a coalition against the Yaroslaviches' triumvirate. Polotsk's Cathedral of Holy Wisdom is one of the most enduring monuments on the lands of modern Belarus and dates to his 57-year reign. Vselav was the son of Bryachislav Izyaslavich, Prince of Polotsk and Vitebsk, was thus the great-grandson of Vladimir I of Kiev and Rogneda of Polotsk, he was born in c. 1030–1039 in Polotsk and married around 1060. He took the throne of Polotsk in 1044 upon his father's death, although since 1093 he was the senior member of the Rurik Dynasty for his generation, since his father had not been prince in Kiev, Vseslav was excluded from the grand princely succession. In fact, since he was the only major prince in Rus not descended from Yaroslav, he was, according to Simon Franklin and Jonathan Shepard, "an outsider from within" Unable to secure the capital, held by Yaroslav's three sons, Vseslav started pillaging the northern areas of Kievan Rus.
In 1065, he was thrown back. In the winter of 1066–1067, he pillaged and burnt Novgorod the Great, removing the bell and other religious objects from the Cathedral of Holy Wisdom and bringing them to decorate his own cathedral of the same name in Polotsk, his attack threatened to cut the sons of Yaroslav in the Middle Dnieper region off from Scandinavia, the Baltic region, the far north, important sources of men and income for the Rus princes in the Middle Dnieper. The attack forced the young Mstislav enthroned in Novgorod, to flee back to his father, Iziaslav, in Kiev, was thus and affront to the Kievan grand prince; the Yaroslavichi joined forces and marched north, sacking Minsk and defeating Vseslav in battle on the Nemiga River on March 3, 1067 Vseslav fled but was treacherously captured during the peace talks in June, when Iziaslav violated his oath. He was imprisoned in Kiev. During the Kiev Uprising of 1068, brought about by defeat at the hands of the Kipchaks on the Alta River and Iziaslav's unwillingness to arm the veche so its members could march out and face the nomads a second time, the crowd freed Vseslav from prison, proclaimed him grand prince of Kiev, forcing Iziaslav to flee to Poland.
Returning with an army seven months Iziaslav retook his throne, Vseslav fled back to Polotsk. After several years of complicated struggle with Iziaslav of Kiev, he secured Polotsk in 1071. During the last 30 years of his reign, his chief enemies were Vsevolod Yaroslavich and his son Vladimir Monomakh. Vseslav died April 24, 1101, the Wednesday before Good Friday according to the Russian Primary Chronicle—indeed the chronicles strangely link the two events, as if the sorcerer had died as a result of the crucifixion and resurrection, he was buried in the Cathedral of Holy Wisdom in Polotsk. Vseslav had six sons: Roman, Prince of?. Roman perished either in Ryazan or Murom, his widow lived in Polotsk, Saint Sophia Cathedral where she opened her charity. They had no children. Gleb Vseslavich, Prince of Minsk; some historians believe that Boris is baptized name of Rogvolod and both of them one and the same person. Davyd, Prince of Polotsk, Prince of Vitebsk, he was the Prince of Lukoml and in 1129 sent by Vladimir II Monomakh to Byzantium with the rest of Vseslaviches.
Who was his wife is uncertain as well as his descendants. St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk is sometimes said to be his daughter, although her date of birth is given as 1120, two decades after Vseslav's death and thus she could not be his child, she founded a number of monasteries in Polotsk and the surrounding region and is considered one of the patron saints of Belarus. Vseslav had a great reputation for sorcery; the Russian Primary Chronicle states that he was conceived by sorcery and was born with a caul on his head, that the sorcerers told his mother that this should be bound to his head for the rest of his life as it was a sign of good luck. In modern Belarusian he is known as Usiasłaŭ the Sorcerer. Vseslav appears in the 12th-century epic The Tale of Igor's Campaign, where, as in several byliny or folk-tales, he is depicted as a werewolf. In The Igor Tale, his defeat at the Nemiga River is shown to illustrate that inter-princely strife is weakening the Russian land. Vseslav is said to be able to hear the church bells of his cathedral at Polotsk all the way from Kiev: "In the seventh age of Troyán Vséslav cast his lots for the Maiden dear to him."
"He with wiles at the last tore himself free: and galloped to the city of Kíev. "On the Nemíga the sheaves are laid out with heads.
Bulgaria the Republic of Bulgaria, is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north and North Macedonia to the west and Turkey to the south, the Black Sea to the east; the capital and largest city is Sofia. With a territory of 110,994 square kilometres, Bulgaria is Europe's 16th-largest country. One of the earliest societies in the lands of modern-day Bulgaria was the Neolithic Karanovo culture, which dates back to 6,500 BC. In the 6th to 3rd century BC the region was a battleground for Thracians, Persians and ancient Macedonians; the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, Empire lost some of these territories to an invading Bulgar horde in the late 7th century. The Bulgars founded the First Bulgarian Empire in AD 681, which dominated most of the Balkans and influenced Slavic cultures by developing the Cyrillic script; this state lasted until the early 11th century, when Byzantine emperor Basil II conquered and dismantled it. A successful Bulgarian revolt in 1185 established a Second Bulgarian Empire, which reached its apex under Ivan Asen II.
After numerous exhausting wars and feudal strife, the Second Bulgarian Empire disintegrated in 1396 and its territories fell under Ottoman rule for nearly five centuries. The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 resulted in the formation of the current Third Bulgarian State. Many ethnic Bulgarian populations were left outside its borders, which led to several conflicts with its neighbours and an alliance with Germany in both world wars. In 1946 Bulgaria became part of the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc; the ruling Communist Party gave up its monopoly on power after the revolutions of 1989 and allowed multi-party elections. Bulgaria transitioned into a democracy and a market-based economy. Since adopting a democratic constitution in 1991, the sovereign state has been a unitary parliamentary republic with a high degree of political and economic centralisation; the population of seven million lives in Sofia and the capital cities of the 27 provinces, the country has suffered significant demographic decline since the late 1980s.
Bulgaria is a member of the European Union, NATO, the Council of Europe. Its market economy is part of the European Single Market and relies on services, followed by industry—especially machine building and mining—and agriculture. Widespread corruption is a major socioeconomic issue; the name Bulgaria is derived from a tribe of Turkic origin that founded the country. Their name is not understood and difficult to trace back earlier than the 4th century AD, but it is derived from the Proto-Turkic word bulģha and its derivative bulgak; the meaning may be further extended to "rebel", "incite" or "produce a state of disorder", i.e. the "disturbers". Ethnic groups in Inner Asia with phonologically similar names were described in similar terms: during the 4th century, the Buluoji, a component of the "Five Barbarian" groups in Ancient China, were portrayed as both a "mixed race" and "troublemakers". Neanderthal remains dating to around 150,000 years ago, or the Middle Paleolithic, are some of the earliest traces of human activity in the lands of modern Bulgaria.
The Karanovo culture arose circa 6,500 BC and was one of several Neolithic societies in the region that thrived on agriculture. The Copper Age Varna culture is credited with inventing gold metallurgy; the associated Varna Necropolis treasure contains the oldest golden jewellery in the world with an approximate age of over 6,000 years. The treasure has been valuable for understanding social hierarchy and stratification in the earliest European societies; the Thracians, one of the three primary ancestral groups of modern Bulgarians, appeared on the Balkan Peninsula some time before the 12th century BC. The Thracians excelled in metallurgy and gave the Greeks the Orphean and Dionysian cults, but remained tribal and stateless; the Persian Achaemenid Empire conquered most of present-day Bulgaria in the 6th century BC and retained control over the region until 479 BC. The invasion became a catalyst for Thracian unity, the bulk of their tribes united under king Teres to form the Odrysian kingdom in the 470s BC.
It was weakened and vassalized by Philip II of Macedon in 341 BC, attacked by Celts in the 3rd century, became a province of the Roman Empire in AD 45. By the end of the 1st century AD, Roman governance was established over the entire Balkan Peninsula and Christianity began spreading in the region around the 4th century; the Gothic Bible—the first Germanic language book—was created by Gothic bishop Ulfilas in what is today northern Bulgaria around 381. The region came under Byzantine control after the fall of Rome in 476; the Byzantines were engaged in prolonged warfare against Persia and could not defend their Balkan territories from barbarian incursions. This enabled the Slavs to enter the Balkan Peninsula as marauders through an area between the Danube River and the Balkan Mountains known as Moesia; the interior of the peninsula became a country of the South Slavs, who lived under a democracy. The Slavs assimilated the Hellenized and Gothicized Thracians in the rural areas. Not l
Thietmar of Merseburg
Thietmar, Prince-Bishop of Merseburg from 1009 until his death, was an important chronicler recording the reigns of German kings and Holy Roman Emperors of the Ottonian dynasty. Two of Thietmar's great-grandfathers, both referred to Liuthar, were the Saxon nobles Lothar II, Count of Stade, Lothar I, Count of Walbeck, they were both killed fighting the Slavs at the Battle of Lenzen. Thietmar was a son of the Saxon count Siegfried I the Older of Walbeck and his wife Kunigunde, daughter of Henry I the Bald, Count of Stade, his father fought with Margrave Odo against Duke Mieszko I of Poland at the 972 Battle of Cedynia. At the time of Thietmar's birth, his family sided with the Ottonian duke Henry II of Bavaria in his uprising against his cousin Emperor Otto II. A balance was achieved. Baptized in Halberstadt, Thietmar prepared for an ecclesiastical career, he was educated at the St. Servatius chapter of Quedlinburg Abbey and from 987 onwards at the Benedictine abbey of Berge in Buckau near Magdeburg.
From 1 November 990, he attended the Magedeburg cathedral school, together with his relative Bruno of Querfurt. He was familiar with the works of Augustine of Hippo, but more with classical authors like Virgil, Horace and Macrobius. Thietmar witnessed the struggles of the young Ottonian king Otto III and his mother Theophanu to secure their reign, he took some part in some political events of the time. Upon the death of his parents, he inherited large parts of the Walbeck estates and in 1002 became provost of the family monastery, established by his grandfather Count Lothair II. On 21 December 1004, he was ordained as a priest by Archbishop Tagino of Magdeburg. In 1009, through the intercession of Archbishop Tagino, he became Bishop of the Merseburg diocese, re-established by King Henry II in 1004. Thietmar was concerned with the full restitution of his bishopric. A loyal supporter of the German kingship, he interfered in political affairs, he was buried in Merseburg cathedral. Between 1012 and 1018 Thietmar, while Bishop of Merseburg, composed his chronicle Chronicon Thietmari, which comprises eight books, that cover the period between 908 and 1018, the Saxon Emperors Henry the Fowler, the three Ottos, Henry II the Saint.
As counsellor of the Emperor and participant in many important political transactions he was well equipped for writing a history of his times. The first three books, covering the reigns of Henry I and the first two Ottos are based on previous chronicles most of which are still extant; the Latin style and the composition are not of a high standard because, as the original manuscript reveals, Thietmar continued to make amendments and insertions to the text after it was completed. Nor does he always discriminate between important and unimportant events; the chronicle is an excellent source for the history of Saxony during the reigns of the emperors Otto III and Henry II. No information is excluded by Thietmar, but the fullest details refer to the Bishopric of Merseburg, to the wars against the Wends and the Poles; the original manuscript was moved in 1570 to Dresden. When the city was destroyed by bombing during World War II the manuscript was damaged, only a few folios remain intact. A complete facsimile edition had been published by L. Schmidt.
Thietmar's statement that the Gero Cross in Cologne cathedral was commissioned by Archbishop Gero, who died in 976, was dismissed by art historians, who thought he meant another cross, until the 1920s, confirmed as correct in 1976 by dendrochronology. Thietmari Merseburgensis episcopi Chronicon: Mentzel-Reuters and Gerhard Schmitz. Chronicon Thietmari Merseburgensis. MGH. Munich, 2002. Images of the Dresden MS, a search facility and Holtzmann's 1935 edition, available online Holtzman, Robert and J. C. M. Laurent, J. Strebitzki und W. Wattenbach. Die Chronik des Thietmar von Merseburg. Halle, 2007. ISBN 978-3-89812-513-0. New publication based on earlier editions and German translations and including 48 illustrations by Klaus F. Messerschmidt. Holtzmann, Robert. Die Chronik des Bischofs Thietmar von Merseburg und ihre Korveier Überarbeitung. MGH Scriptores rerum Germanicarum NS 9. Berlin, 1935. Available from digital MGH Wattenbach and Friedrich Kurze. Thietmari Merseburgensis episcopi Chronicon. MGH Scriptores rerum Germanicarum in usum scholarum separatim editi 54.
Hanover, 1889. PDF available online from the Internet Archive. Lappenberg, J. M.. "Thietmari Chronicon a 919-1018." In Annales, chronica et historiae aevi Saxonici, ed. Heinrich Pertz. MGH Scriptores 3. Hanover, 1839. 723–871. Available online Warner, David A.. Ottonian Germany; the Chronicon of Th
Vasily Nikitich Tatishchev was a prominent Russian statesman, ethnographer, best remembered as the author of the first full-scale Russian history and founder of three Russian cities: Stavropol-on-Volga and Perm. Throughout this work, he advocates the idea that autocracy is the perfect form of government for Russia. A male-line descendant of the 9th-century prince Rurik, Tatischev was born near Pskov on April 19, 1686. Having graduated from the Engineering school in Moscow, he took part in the 1700-1721 Great Northern War with Sweden. In the service of Peter the Great he gained a prominent post in the Foreign Office, which he used to oppose the policies of the Supreme Privy Council and support Anna's ascension to the Russian throne in 1730, he was entrusted by Anna with a lucrative office of the management of Ural factories. At that post he founded the cities of Perm and Yekaterinburg, which have since grown into the veritable capitals of the Urals. A monument to him was opened in Perm in 2003.
During the Bashkir War of 1735-40 he was in command of Siberian operations from the winter of 1736-37 and head of the whole operation from the spring of 1737. He was removed from command after March 1739, nominally on charges of corruption, but because he had made too many enemies. Tatischev finished his official career as a governor of Astrakhan, he died at the Boldino estate near Moscow on July 15, 1750. Having retired from active service, the elderly statesman dedicated himself to scholarly pursuits. Feeling that the Russian historiography had been neglected, he discovered and published several legal monuments of great interest, e.g. Russkaya Pravda and Sudebnik of 1550, his magnum opus was the first sketch of Russian history, entitled Russian History Dating Back to the Most Ancient Times and published in 5 volumes after his death. He compiled the first encyclopedic dictionary of the Russian language; the scientific merits of Tatischev's work were disputed in the 18th century. It is true that he used some chronicles that have since been lost, leading Iakov Lur'e to write of "Tatishchev Information," which he defined as "data unique to that historian," but most of them were of dubious authenticity.
It is true that he could never tell a genuine work from a fake, some incidents inserted in his history could have been products of his own fancy. Only some prominent historians have demonstrated that Tatischev's lost sources may be relied on. A settlement and a district in Saratov Oblast are named after Tatishchev. There are monuments to Tatishchev in Perm and Yekaterinburg and in 1998 a large equestrian statue of Tatishchev was estasblished in Tolyatti. Tatischev family Popov N.: Tatischev and His Time. Moscow, 1861. Deutch G. M.: Vasily Nikitich Tatischev. Sverdlovsk, 1962. Peshtich S. L.: Russian historiography of the 18th century, vol. 1-2. Leningrad, 1961, 1965. Anikin, Andréi: Los Pensadores Rusos. Ideas Socioeconómicas en la Rusia de los Siglos XVIII y XIX,Editorial Progreso, pp. 34-37,URRSS, Moscú, 1990. Russian biography with a portrait Tatischev's views on history History of Perm
The Varangians was the name given by Greeks, Rus' people, others to Vikings, who between the 9th and 11th centuries, ruled the medieval state of Kievan Rus', settled among many territories of modern Belarus and Ukraine, formed the Byzantine Varangian Guard. According to the 12th century Kievan Primary Chronicle, a group of Varangians known as the Rus' settled in Novgorod in 862 under the leadership of Rurik. Before Rurik, the Rus' might have ruled an earlier hypothetical polity. Rurik's relative Oleg conquered Kiev in 882 and established the state of Kievan Rus', ruled by Rurik's descendants. Engaging in trade and mercenary activities, Varangians roamed the river systems and portages of Gardariki, as the areas north of the Black Sea were known in the Norse sagas, they controlled the Volga trade route, connecting the Baltic to the Caspian Sea, the Dnieper and Dniester trade route leading to the Black Sea and Constantinople. Those were the critically important trade links at that time, connecting Medieval Europe with Arab Caliphates and the Byzantine Empire.
Attracted by the riches of Constantinople, the Varangian Rus' initiated a number of Rus'-Byzantine Wars, some of which resulted in advantageous trade treaties. At least from the early 10th century many Varangians served as mercenaries in the Byzantine Army, constituting the elite Varangian Guard. Most of them, both in Byzantium and in Eastern Europe, were converted from paganism to Orthodox Christianity, culminating in the Christianization of Kievan Rus' in 988. Coinciding with the general decline of the Viking Age, the influx of Scandinavians to Rus' stopped, Varangians were assimilated by East Slavs by the late 11th century. Medieval Greek Βάραγγος Várangos and Old East Slavic Варягъ Varjagŭ are derived from Old Norse væringi a compound of vár'pledge' or'faith', gengi'companion', thus meaning'sworn companion','confederate', extended to mean'a foreigner who has taken service with a new lord by a treaty of fealty to him', or'protégé'; some scholars seem to assume a derivation from vár with the common suffix -ing.
Yet, this suffix is inflected differently in Old Norse, furthermore, the word is attested with -gangia and cognates in other Germanic languages in the Early Middle Ages, as in Old English wærgenga, Old Frankish wargengus and Langobardic waregang. The reduction of the second part of the word could be parallel to that seen in Old Norse foringi'leader', correspondent to Old English foregenga and Gothic fauragaggja'steward'; the terms “Varangian” and “Rus” can sometimes be used interchangeably but there are slight differences between the two groups. Both refer to the peoples of Scandinavian descent who settled in the Dnieper-Volga region during and after the 8th century; the Varangians are a more definable group. They were Scandinavians in Eastern Europe who were associated with Byzantium and the Byzantine emperor’s Varangian Guard; these mercenaries were entirely men who either returned to their Scandinavian homeland or married into the local Slavic culture. The term “Rus” is more difficult to define.
The Rus were more inclined to settle in towns with their families. The term “Rus” is sometimes used in primary sources to describe Slavic peoples as well as Scandinavians, its definition becomes clearer in the period when it developed from the name of a people to the name of a political entity and area of land. The confusion in the primary sources about the meaning of Rus' has led to arguments between scholars about whether Russia was named after a Scandinavian people or a Slavic people; these are grouped into anti-Normanist views. Current scholarship supports the Normanist argument – that the Rus were a Scandinavian people – but there have been heated debates in the last century between certain scholars fueled by nationalism, it is now accepted that the Rus' were of Scandinavian origin but adopted Slavic cultural characteristics quickly. Having settled Aldeigja in the 750s, Scandinavian colonists played an important role in the early ethnogenesis of the Rus' people and in the formation of the Rus' Khaganate.
The Varangians are first mentioned by the Primary Chronicle as having exacted tribute from the Slavic and Finnic tribes in 859. The Vikings were expanding in Northern Europe: England began to pay Danegeld in 859, the Curonians of Grobin faced an invasion by the Swedes around the same period. Due to geographic considerations, it is argued that most of the Varangians who traveled and settled in the eastern Baltic and lands to the south came from the area of modern Sweden. In the 9th century, the Rus' operated the Volga trade route, which connected Northern Russia with the Middle East; the Volga route declined by the end of the century, the Dnieper and Dniester routes overtook it in popularity. Apart from Ladoga and Novgorod and Gotland were major centres for Varangian trade. According to the Primary Chronicle, in 862, the Finnic and Slavic tribes in the area of Novgorod rebelled against their Varangian rulers, driving them overseas back to Scandinavia, but they soon started to conflict with each other.
The disorder prompted the tribes to invite the Varangians back "to come and rule them" and bring peace to the region. Led by