Vikings in Byzantium: The Varangians and their Fearless Conquests

History, Archaeology, Folklore and so on

The Invitation of the Varangians: Rurik and his brothers Sineus and Truvor arrive at the lands of the Ilmen Slavs at Staraya Ladoga.

It is relatively well known that the Vikings were some of history’s greatest travelers, traders, and mercenaries.  Their reach extended far, as they are credited with finding North America and Greenland, their names drove fear into the hearts of many European mainlanders.  What is sometimes less known, however, is exactly how far the arm of the Vikings reached.  In actuality, their culture stretched as far east as Turkey and Russia, culminating in their direct influence in the creation of the Kievan State of Rus‘, lasting well into the thirteenth century.

According to the Russian Primary Chronicle, one of the foremost texts documenting the Viking influence on Russia, the Varangians—as dubbed by the Greeks and Eastern Slavs—settled in Ladoga, Russia in the mid-750s, and then later in the nearby Novgorod.  Not unlike the tracks of the Scandinavian Vikings, their settlements were not…

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