Volga trade route
In the Middle Ages, the Volga trade route connected Northern Europe and Northwestern Russia with the Caspian Sea, via the Volga River. The Rus used this route to trade with Muslim countries on the southern shores of the Caspian Sea, sometimes penetrating as far as Baghdad; the route functioned concurrently with the Dnieper trade route, better known as the trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks, lost its importance in the 11th century. The Volga trade route was established by the Varangians who settled in Northwestern Russia in the early 9th century. About 10 km south of the Volkhov River entry into Lake Ladoga, they established a settlement called Ladoga. Archaeological evidence suggests Rus trading activities along the Volga trade route as early as the end of the 8th century; the earliest and the richest finds of Arabic coins in Europe were discovered on the territory of present-day Russia along the Volga, at Timerevo in the district of Yaroslavl. A hoard of coins found at Petergof, near Saint Petersburg, contains twenty coins with graffiti in Arabic, Turkic runic and Old Norse runic, the latter accounting for more than half of the total.
These coins include Sassanid and Arabo-Sassanid dirhams, the latest of them dated to 804-805. Having examined major finds of Arabic coins in Eastern Europe, Valentin Yanin conclusively demonstrated that the earliest monetary system of early Russia was based on the early type of dirham minted in Africa. From Aldeigjuborg, the Rus could travel up the Volkhov River to Novgorod to Lake Ilmen and further along the Lovat River. Taking their boats around 3 kilometers over a portage, they reached the sources of Volga; the traders brought furs and slaves through territory held by Finnish and Permian tribes down to the land of the Volga Bulgars. From there, they continued by way of the Volga, to the Khazar Khaganate, whose capital Atil was a busy entrepot on the shore of the Caspian Sea. From Atil, the Rus merchants traveled across the sea to join the caravan routes leading to Baghdad. Around 885-886, ibn Khordadbeh wrote about the Rus merchants who brought goods from Northern Europe and Northwestern Russia to Baghdad: In ibn Khordadbeh's account, the Rus are described as "a kind of the Saqaliba", a term used to refer to Slavs, anti-Normanist scholars have interpreted this passage as indicative of the Rus being Slavs rather than Scandinavians.
In the interpretation of the Normanist scholars, the word Saqaliba was frequently applied to all fair-haired, ruddy-complexioned population of Central and Northeastern Europe, so ibn Khordadbeh's language is ambiguous here. Modern scholars have clashed over the interpretation of ibn Khordadbeh's report that the Rus used Saqlab interpreters. Anti-Normanists construed this passage as evidence that the Rus and their interpreters shared a common Slavic mother tongue. Slavic, was a lingua franca in the Eastern Europe at that time; the Persian geographer ibn Rustah described the Rus communities living along Volga: In 921-922, ibn Fadlan was a member of a diplomatic delegation sent from Baghdad to Volga Bulgars, he left an account of his personal observations about the Rus of the Volga region, who dealt in furs and slaves. Johannes Brøndsted interpreted ibn Fadlan's commentary as indicating that these Rus retained their Scandinavian customs regarding weapons, ship-burials, religious sacrifices. Ibn Fadlan's account includes a detailed description of the Rus praying and making sacrifices for success in trade: On the other hand, the Rus came under foreign influence in such matters as dead chief's costume and in the habit of overloading of their women with jewelry: The Volga trade route lost its importance by the 11th century due to the decline of silver output in the Abbasid caliphate, thus, the trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks, which ran down the Dnieper to the Black Sea and the Byzantine Empire, gained more weight.
The Icelandic saga Yngvars saga víðförla describes an expedition of Swedes into the Caspian launched around 1041 from Sweden by Ingvar the Far-Travelled, who went down the Volga into the land of the Saracens. The expedition was unsuccessful, afterwards, no attempts were made to reopen the route between the Baltic and Caspian seas by the Norsemen. Brøndsted, Johannes; the Vikings.. Penguin Books. Golden, P. B. "Rus." Encyclopaedia of Islam. Eds.: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C. E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W. P. Heinrichs. Brill. Logan, Donald F.. The Vikings in History 2nd ed. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-08396-6 Noonan, Thomas Schaub. "When Did Rus/Rus' Merchants First Visit Khazaria and Baghdad?" Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi 7, pp. 213–219
First Bulgarian Empire
The First Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state that existed in Southeastern Europe between the 7th and 11th centuries AD. It was founded in 681. There they secured Byzantine recognition of their right to settle south of the Danube by defeating – with the help of local South Slavic tribes – the Byzantine army led by Constantine IV. At the height of its power, Bulgaria spread from the Danube Bend to the Black Sea and from the Dnieper River to the Adriatic Sea; as the state solidified its position in the Balkans, it entered into a centuries-long interaction, sometimes friendly and sometimes hostile, with the Byzantine Empire. Bulgaria emerged as Byzantium's chief antagonist to its north; the two powers enjoyed periods of peace and alliance, most notably during the Second Arab siege of Constantinople, where the Bulgarian army broke the siege and destroyed the Arab army, thus preventing an Arab invasion of Southeastern Europe. Byzantium had a strong cultural influence on Bulgaria, which led to the eventual adoption of Christianity in 864.
After the disintegration of the Avar Khaganate, the country expanded its territory northwest to the Pannonian Plain. The Bulgarians confronted the advance of the Pechenegs and Cumans, achieved a decisive victory over the Magyars, forcing them to establish themselves permanently in Pannonia. During the late 9th and early 10th centuries, Simeon I achieved a string of victories over the Byzantines. Thereafter, he was recognized with the title of Emperor, proceeded to expand the state to its greatest extent. After the annihilation of the Byzantine army in the battle of Anchialus in 917, the Bulgarians laid siege to Constantinople in 923 and 924; the Byzantines, however recovered, in 1014, under Basil II, inflicted a crushing defeat on the Bulgarians at the Battle of Kleidion. By 1018, the last Bulgarian strongholds had surrendered to the Byzantine Empire, the First Bulgarian Empire had ceased to exist, it was succeeded by the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1185. After the adoption of Christianity, Bulgaria became the cultural center of Slavic Europe.
Its leading cultural position was further consolidated with the invention of the Glagolitic and Early Cyrillic alphabets shortly after in the capital Preslav, literature produced in Old Bulgarian soon began spreading north. Old Bulgarian became the lingua franca of much of Eastern Europe and it came to be known as Old Church Slavonic. In 927, the independent Bulgarian Patriarchate was recognized; the ruling Bulgars and other non-Slavic tribes in the empire mixed and adopted the prevailing Slavic language, thus forming the Bulgarian nation from the 7th century to the 9th century. Since the late 9th century, the names Bulgarians and Bulgarian gained prevalence and became permanent designations for the local population, both in literature and in common parlance; the development of Old Church Slavonic literacy had the effect of preventing the assimilation of the South Slavs into neighbouring cultures, while stimulating the formation of a distinct Bulgarian identity. The First Bulgarian Empire became known as Bulgaria since its recognition by the Byzantine Empire in 681.
Some historians use the terms First Bulgarian State, or First Bulgarian Tsardom. Between 681 and 864 the country was known as the Bulgarian Khanate, Danube Bulgarian Khanate, or Danube Bulgar Khanate in order to differentiate it from Volga Bulgaria, which emerged from another Bulgar group. During its early existence, the country was called the Bulgar state or Bulgar Khaghanate. Between 864 and 917/927, the country was known as the Principality of Bulgaria or Knyazhestvo Bulgaria. In English language sources, the country is known as the Bulgarian Empire. Parts of the eastern Balkan Peninsula were in antiquity inhabited by the Thracians who were a group of Indo-European tribes; the whole region as far north as the Danube River was incorporated into the Roman Empire by the 1st century AD. The decline of the Roman Empire after the 3rd century AD and the continuous invasions of Goths and Huns left much of the region devastated, depopulated and in economic decline by the 5th century; the surviving eastern half of the Roman Empire, called by historians the Byzantine Empire, could not exercise effective control in these territories other than in the coastal areas and certain cities in the interior.
Nonetheless, it never relinquished the claim to the whole region up to the Danube. A series of administrative, legislative and economic reforms somewhat improved the situation but despite these reforms disorder continued in much of the Balkans; the reign of Emperor Justinian I saw temporary recovery of control and reconstruction of a number of fortresses but after his death the empire was unable to face the threat of the Slavs due to the significant reduction of revenue and manpower. The Slavs, of Indo-European origin, were first mentioned in written sources to inhabit the territories to the north of the Danube in the 5th century AD but most historians agree that they had arrived earlier; the group of Slavs that came to be known as the South Slavs was divided into Antes and Sclaveni who spoke the same language. The Slavic incursions in the Balkans increased during the second half of Justinian I's reign and while these were pillaging raids, large-scale settlement began in the 570s and 580s; this migration is associated with the arrival of the Avars who settled in the plains of Pannonia between the rivers Danube and Tisza in the 560s subjugating various Bulgar and Slavic tribes in the process.
Consumed in bitter wars with th
Georgius Tzul was a Khazar warlord against whom the Byzantine Empire and Mstislav of Tmutarakan launched a joint expedition in 1016. He appears only in the account of the Byzantine court historians Kedrenos and John Skylitzes, who place him at Kerch and calls him "khagan". Kedrenos states that he was captured by the expeditionary force but does not relate his ultimate fate. Inscriptions and other references exist referring to a Tzul or Tsal clan in Crimea during this period. Nothing else about him, including the extent of his holdings, is known. Despite the fact that earlier writers maintained that the Khazar khagan was required to adhere to Judaism, Georgius is a Christian name. Whether Georgius Tzul was himself a Christian, a Jew or Shamanist with an unusual Greek name, or whether the name is a Byzantine attempt to transliterate a Turkic or Hebrew name, is unknown. Byzantine campaigns occurred during this period against the Georgians and the Bulgarian Empire, suggesting a concerted effort to re-establish Byzantine dominance in the Black Sea region.
Kevin Alan Brook. The Jews of Khazaria. 2nd ed. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc, 2006
John of Gothia
John of Gothia was a Crimean Gothic metropolitan bishop of Doros, rebel leader who overthrew and expelled the Khazars from Gothia in 787. He was posthumously canonized as an Eastern Orthodox saint. John of Gothia was born to a Crimean Gothic family, the son of Leon and Fotina, in Partenit, where he grew up to become a bishop. John went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, stayed there for three years. From there he became a bishop in Georgia in 758, until he returned to Gothia and became metropolitan bishop of Doros. In 787 John led a revolt against Khazar domination of Gothia; the Khazar garrison and Tudun were expelled from Doros, the rebels seized the mountain passes leading into the country. The Khazars however managed to retake the city in less than a year, John was imprisoned in Phoulloi, he managed to escape, sought refuge in Amastris in the Byzantine Empire, where he died in 791. His remains were brought home to a church on the Ayu-Dag mountain, Crimea, where a memorial to him has been built. John was posthumously canonized as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church.
His memorial day is 26 June. Vasiliev, Aleksandr A; the Goths in the Crimea. Cambridge, MA: The Mediaeval Academy of America, 1936. Metropolitanate of Gothia Nicene Christianity Media related to John of Gothia at Wikimedia Commons
The Abbasid Caliphate was the third of the Islamic caliphates to succeed the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It was founded by a dynasty descended from Muhammad's uncle, Abbas ibn Abdul-Muttalib, from whom the dynasty takes its name, they ruled as caliphs for most of the caliphate from their capital in Baghdad in modern-day Iraq, after having overthrown the Umayyad Caliphate in the Abbasid Revolution of 750 CE. The Abbasid Caliphate first centred its government in Kufa, modern-day Iraq, but in 762 the caliph Al-Mansur founded the city of Baghdad, near the ancient Sasanian capital city of Ctesiphon; the Abbasid period was marked by reliance on Persian bureaucrats for governing the territories as well as an increasing inclusion of non-Arab Muslims in the ummah. Persianate customs were broadly adopted by the ruling elite, they began patronage of artists and scholars. Baghdad became a centre of science, culture and invention in what became known as the Golden Age of Islam. Despite this initial cooperation, the Abbasids of the late 8th century had alienated both non-Arab mawali and Iranian bureaucrats.
They were forced to cede authority over al-Andalus to the Umayyads in 756, Morocco to the Idrisid dynasty in 788, Ifriqiya to the Aghlabids in 800 and Egypt to the Isma'ili-Shia caliphate of the Fatimids in 969. The political power of the caliphs ended with the rise of the Iranian Buyids and the Seljuq Turks, who captured Baghdad in 945 and 1055, respectively. Although Abbasid leadership over the vast Islamic empire was reduced to a ceremonial religious function, the dynasty retained control over its Mesopotamian domain; the Abbasids' period of cultural fruition ended in 1258 with the sack of Baghdad by the Mongols under Hulagu Khan. The Abbasid line of rulers, Muslim culture in general, re-centred themselves in the Mamluk capital of Cairo in 1261. Though lacking in political power, the dynasty continued to claim religious authority until after the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517; the Abbasid caliphs were Arabs descended from Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, one of the youngest uncles of Muhammad and of the same Banu Hashim clan.
The Abbasids claimed to be the true successors of Prophet Muhammad in replacing the Umayyad descendants of Banu Umayya by virtue of their closer bloodline to Muhammad. The Abbasids distinguished themselves from the Umayyads by attacking their moral character and administration in general. According to Ira Lapidus, "The Abbasid revolt was supported by Arabs the aggrieved settlers of Merv with the addition of the Yemeni faction and their Mawali"; the Abbasids appealed to non-Arab Muslims, known as mawali, who remained outside the kinship-based society of the Arabs and were perceived as a lower class within the Umayyad empire. Muhammad ibn'Ali, a great-grandson of Abbas, began to campaign in Persia for the return of power to the family of Prophet Muhammad, the Hashimites, during the reign of Umar II. During the reign of Marwan II, this opposition culminated in the rebellion of Ibrahim the Imam, the fourth in descent from Abbas. Supported by the province of Khorasan though the governor opposed them, the Shia Arabs, he achieved considerable success, but was captured in the year 747 and died assassinated, in prison.
On 9 June 747, Abu Muslim, rising from Khorasan initiated an open revolt against Umayyad rule, carried out under the sign of the Black Standard. Close to 10,000 soldiers were under Abu Muslim's command when the hostilities began in Merv. General Qahtaba followed the fleeing governor Nasr ibn Sayyar west defeating the Umayyads at the Battle of Gorgan, the Battle of Nahāvand and in the Battle of Karbala, all in the year 748; the quarrel was taken up by Ibrahim's brother Abdallah, known by the name of Abu al-'Abbas as-Saffah, who defeated the Umayyads in 750 in the battle near the Great Zab and was subsequently proclaimed caliph. After this loss, Marwan fled to Egypt; the remainder of his family, barring one male, were eliminated. After their victory, As-Saffah sent his forces to Central Asia, where his forces fought against Tang expansion during the Battle of Talas; the noble Iranian family Barmakids, who were instrumental in building Baghdad, introduced the world's first recorded paper mill in the city, thus beginning a new era of intellectual rebirth in the Abbasid domain.
As-Saffah focused on putting down numerous rebellions in Mesopotamia. The Byzantines conducted raids during these early distractions; the first change the Abbasids, under Al-Mansur, made was to move the empire's capital from Damascus, in Syria, to Baghdad in Iraq. This was to both appease as well to be closer to the Persian mawali support base that existed in this region more influenced by Persian history and culture, part of the Persian mawali demand for less Arab dominance in the empire. Baghdad was established on the Tigris River in 762. A new position, that of the vizier, was established to delegate central authority, greater authority was delegated to local emirs; this meant that many Abbasid caliphs were relegated to a more ceremonial role than under the Umayyads, as the viziers began to exert greater influence, the role of the old Arab aristocracy was replaced by a Persian bureaucracy. During Al-Mansur's time control of Al-Andalus was lost, the Shia revolted and were defeated a year at the Battle of Bakhamra.
The Abbasids had depended on the support of Persians in their overthrow of the Umayyads. Abu al-'Abbas' successor, Al-Mansur welcomed non-Arab Musli
Sviatoslav I of Kiev
Sviatoslav I Igorevich spelled Svyatoslav was a Grand prince of Kiev famous for his persistent campaigns in the east and south, which precipitated the collapse of two great powers of Eastern Europe and the First Bulgarian Empire. He conquered numerous East Slavic tribes, defeated the Alans and attacked the Volga Bulgars, at times was allied with the Pechenegs and Magyars, his decade-long reign over the Kievan Rus' was marked by rapid expansion into the Volga River valley, the Pontic steppe, the Balkans. By the end of his short life, Sviatoslav carved out for himself the largest state in Europe moving his capital in 969 from Kiev to Pereyaslavets on the Danube. In contrast with his mother's conversion to Christianity, Sviatoslav remained a staunch pagan all of his life. Due to his abrupt death in ambush, his conquests, for the most part, were not consolidated into a functioning empire, while his failure to establish a stable succession led to a fratricidal feud among his three sons, resulting in two of them being killed.
The Primary Chronicle records Sviatoslav as the first ruler of the Kievan Rus' with a name of Slavic origin. Sveinald is the Old East Norse cognate with the Slavic form as attested in the Old East Norse patronymic of Sviatoslav's son Vladimir: Valdamarr Sveinaldsson; this patronymic naming convention continues in East Slavic languages. In Rus', it was attested only among the members of the house of Rurik, as were the names of Sviatoslav's immediate successors: Vladimir and Mstislav; some scholars see the name of Sviatoslav, composed of the Slavic roots for "holy" and "glory", as an artificial derivation combining the names of his predecessors Oleg and Rurik. Nothing is known about Sviatoslav's childhood and youth, which he spent reigning in Novgorod. Sviatoslav's father, was killed by the Drevlians around 945, his mother, ruled as regent in Kiev until Sviatoslav reached maturity. Sviatoslav was tutored by a Varangian named Asmud; the tradition of employing Varangian tutors for the sons of ruling princes survived well into the 11th century.
Sviatoslav appears to have had little patience for administration. His life was spent with his druzhina in permanent warfare against neighboring states. According to the Primary Chronicle, he carried on his expeditions neither wagons nor kettles, he boiled no meat, rather cutting off small strips of horseflesh, game, or beef to eat after roasting it on the coals. Nor did he have a tent, rather spreading out a horse-blanket under him and setting his saddle under his head, all his retinue did likewise. Sviatoslav's appearance has been described clearly by Leo the Deacon, who himself attended the meeting of Sviatoslav with John I Tzimiskes. Following Deacon's memories, Sviatoslav was a bright-eyed, man of average height but of stalwart build, much more sturdy than Tzimiskes, he had bald head and a wispy beard and wore a bushy mustache and a sidelock as a sign of his nobility. He preferred to dress in white, it was noted that his garments were much cleaner than those of his men, although he had a lot in common with his warriors.
He wore a single large gold earring bearing two pearls. Sviatoslav's mother, converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity at the court of Byzantine Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus in 957, at the approximate age of 67. However, Sviatoslav remained a pagan all of his life. In the treaty of 971 between Sviatoslav and the Byzantine emperor John I Tzimiskes, the Rus' are swearing by Perun and Veles. According to the Primary Chronicle, he believed that his warriors would lose respect for him and mock him if he became a Christian; the allegiance of his warriors was of paramount importance in his conquest of an empire that stretched from the Volga to the Danube. Little is known of Sviatoslav's family life, it is possible. The Russo-Byzantine treaty of 945 mentions a certain Predslava, Volodislav's wife, as the noblest of the Rus' women after Olga; the fact that Predslava was Oleg's mother is presented by Vasily Tatishchev. He speculated that Predslava was of a Hungarian nobility. George Vernadsky was among many historians to speculate that Volodislav was Igor's eldest son and heir who died at some point during Olga's regency.
Another chronicle told. At the time of Igor's death, Sviatoslav was still a child, he was raised by his mother or under her instructions, her influence, did not extend to his religious observance. Sviatoslav had several children. By his wives, he had Oleg. By Malusha, a woman of indeterminate origins, Sviatoslav had Vladimir, who would break with his father's paganism and convert Rus' to Christianity. John Skylitzes reported. Shortly after his accession to the throne, Sviatoslav began campaigning to expand Rus' control over the Volga valley and the Pontic steppe region, his greatest success was the conquest of Khazaria, which for centuries had been one of the strongest states of Eastern Europe. The sources are not clear about the roots of the conflict between Khazaria
A vizier is a high-ranking political advisor or minister. The Abbasid caliphs gave the title wazir to a minister called katib, at first a helper but afterwards became the representative and successor of the dapir of the Sassanian kings. In modern usage, the term has been used for government ministers in much of the Middle East and beyond. Several alternative spellings are used in English, such as vizir and vezir; the word entered into English in 1562 from the Turkish vezir, derived from the Arabic wazir . Wazir itself has two possible etymologies: The most accepted etymology is that it is derived from the Arabic wazara, from the Semitic root W-Z-R; the word is mentioned in the Quran, where Aaron is described as the wazir of Moses, as well as the word wizr, derived from the same root. On the other hand, the presence of a Middle Persian word vizīr or vicīr, cognate to the Avestan vīcira, meaning "decreer" or "arbitrator", could indicate an Indo-European origin; the Muslim office of vizier, which spread from the Persians, Turks and Mongols and neighboring peoples, arose under the first Abbasid caliphs.
The vizier stood between sovereign and subjects, representing the former in all matters touching the latter. The term has been used in two different ways: either for a unique position, the prime minister at the head of the monarch's government, or as a shared'cabinet rank', rather like a British secretary of state. If one such vizier is the prime minister, he may hold the title of another title. In Muslim Persia, the prime minister under the political authority of the Shahanshah was styled Vazīr-e Azam, various Ministers held cabinet rank as vazir, including a Vazir-i-Daftar and a Vazir-i-Lashkar. In Al-Andalus appointed by the Caliph of Cordoba. In many of the emirates and sultanates of the taifas which the caliphate was broken up into. In Muslim Egypt, the most populous Arab country: Under the Fatimid Caliphs. Again since the effective end of Ottoman rule, remarkably since 1857 (i.e. before the last Wali, Isma`il Pasha, was raised Khedive, exchanged for the western prime ministers on 28 August 1878.
During the days of the Ottoman Empire, the Grand Vizier was the—often de facto ruling—prime minister, second only to the Sultan and was the leader of the Divan, the Imperial Council. "Vizier" was the title of some Ottoman provincial governors, use of the title indicating a greater degree of autonomy for the province involved and the greater prestige of the title holder. In the Sherifian kingdom of Morocco, a Sadr al-A'zam was in office until 22 November 1955, replaced since 7 December 1955 a Prime Minister. In the Hashemite Kingdom of Hejaz, the sole Vizier was the future second king Ali ibn Hussein al-Hashimi, under his father Hussein ibn Ali al-Hashimi, maintained after the assumption of the Caliphal style In the'regency' of Tunisia, under the Husainid Dynasty, various ministers of the Bey, including: Wazir al-Akbar:'great minister', i.e. grand vizier, chief minister or prime minister. Wazir al-'Amala: Minister for the Interior. Wazir al-Bahr: Minister'of the Sea', i.e. for the Navy/ Marine.
Wazir al-Harb: Minister for the Army or Minister for War. Wazir al-Istishara: Minister-Counsellor. Wazir al-Qalam: Minister of the Pen. Wazir ud-Daula: Minister of State. Wazir us-Shura: Privy Counsellor. In Oman the Hami/Sultan's chief minister was styled Wazir till 1966, but in 1925–1932 there was or instead a chairman of the council of Ministers. Viziers to the Sultans of Zanzibar. Grand Viziers to the Sultan of Sokoto – this is however disputed; the title "Waziri" is a derivative of this word, is a regarded chieftaincy title in most of northern Nigeria. Indeed, most of the emirs in northern Nigeria have a "Waziri", a high-ranking adviser to the emir. In pre- and colonial India many rulers some Hindu princes, had a vizier as chief minister – compare Diwan, Nawab wasir, etc. In the sultanate of the Maldives, the prime minister was styled Bodu Vizier, various Ministers held cabine