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The Vikings by Donovan Frank R

Author:Donovan, Frank R. [Donovan, Frank R.]

Language: eng

Format: azw

Tags: History/Europe/Scandinavia

ISBN: 9781612308500

Publisher: New Word City, Inc.

Published: 2015-03-18T16:00:00+00:00

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The Vikings by Donovan Frank R

Slavic Temptations

In the Slavic territories, meanwhile, the process of assimilation continued. When Rurik died in 879, he was succeeded by Oleg, another Viking chieftain who reigned as regent for Rurik’s infant son.

Oleg, who seems to have been unwilling to tolerate any rivals, soon paid a visit to Kiev. The town was too strong to attack, so Oleg lured its rulers, Askold and Dir, onto his ship, where he killed them. He then moved his capital to Kiev and set himself up as its prince, ruling wisely and well, by all accounts, until the year 912. Thus Oleg, rather than Rurik, is considered the first Russian crowned head. He brought the eastern Slavs under his control and built up a strong confederacy of town-provinces ruled by Viking princes. He fortified the borders of his empire against the fierce Khazars to the east, around the mouth of the Volga River, and the savage Patzinaks or Pechenegs, who ruled the Dnieper River delta. His horsemen and his fleet guarded the long river-route to the riches of the East.

 

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The Vikings by Donovan Frank R

Author:Donovan, Frank R. [Donovan, Frank R.] , Date: June 6, 2019

,Views: 23

Author:Donovan, Frank R. [Donovan, Frank R.]

Language: eng

Format: azw

Tags: History/Europe/Scandinavia

ISBN: 9781612308500

Publisher: New Word City, Inc.

Published: 2015-03-18T16:00:00+00:00
Slavic Temptations

In the Slavic territories, meanwhile, the process of assimilation continued. When Rurik died in 879, he was succeeded by Oleg, another Viking chieftain who reigned as regent for Rurik’s infant son.

Oleg, who seems to have been unwilling to tolerate any rivals, soon paid a visit to Kiev. The town was too strong to attack, so Oleg lured its rulers, Askold and Dir, onto his ship, where he killed them. He then moved his capital to Kiev and set himself up as its prince, ruling wisely and well, by all accounts, until the year 912. Thus Oleg, rather than Rurik, is considered the first Russian crowned head. He brought the eastern Slavs under his control and built up a strong confederacy of town-provinces ruled by Viking princes. He fortified the borders of his empire against the fierce Khazars to the east, around the mouth of the Volga River, and the savage Patzinaks or Pechenegs, who ruled the Dnieper River delta. His horsemen and his fleet guarded the long river-route to the riches of the East.

By this time, the Slavic Vikings were living on a grand scale. Ibn Fadlan, who passed through the region in 922, wrote: “It is customary for the king of the Rus to have a bodyguard in his castle of 400 reliable men willing to die for him. Each of these has a slave girl to wait on him, wash him, and serve him, and another to sleep with. These 400 sit below the royal throne, a large and bejeweled platform that also accommodates the forty slave girls of his harem.”

Constantinople’s treasure continued to tempt the Russian Vikings. Both the great trading center of the eastern Mediterranean and the capital of Byzantine Christendom, it was fabulously wealthy, its churches and shrines laden with gold and gems. The Vikings gathered their forces to make a second assault.

According to the Ancient Chronicle, Oleg stormed southward to Constantinople in 907 with 80,000 men in 2,000 ships, with cavalry detachments riding along the riverbank parallel to the fleet. The Byzantine Greeks of Constantinople had barricaded their walled city, so Oleg plundered adjoining settlements instead. The defenders had stretched a chain across the harbor to keep the Vikings out, but Oleg hauled his ships onto land, put wheels under some of them, and proceeded cross-country. At this point, the Byzantine emperor realized that the Vikings were determined to stay; finally, during a truce, he offered tribute and a favorable trade agreement.

This agreement stipulated that the Northmen could enter Constantinople through one gate only, unarmed, and in small groups. But bolder Vikings dreamed of pillage and plunder. In 941, Oleg’s successor Igor sailed down the Dnieper with a fleet variously reported to comprise 1,000 to 10,000 vessels. When Igor reached Constantinople, all but fifteen ships in the Byzantine fleet were away pursuing Saracens in the Mediterranean Sea. A canny Byzantine admiral armed each of these vessels, which were not particularly seaworthy, with a kind of flame-thrower to hurl Greek fire – a liquid

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