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Thread: The Varangian Guards

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    Bringing down the vulgaroisie Member King Henry V's Avatar
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    Default The Varangian Guards

    I am writing a story in the Mead Hall where the hero is a member of the Varangian Guard. Although I have read some basic information in magazines and on the net, I was wondering wether anybody knew anything about the subject.
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    Scruffy Looking Nerf Herder Member Steppe Merc's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    Right, I'll give you a bit.
    They were at first made up of Norse mercanaries, who came down from Russia and sought service in the Empire. They were pretty much mercanaires, but evautnaully evolved into a trusted guard unit. There were other Norse besides the Varagarian serving the Empire, I believe. Evauntaully it became more Anglo, Saxon and English. They were very well paid, and only a couple of times did they rebel, and stuff. Not sure how much real combat they got...

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    Master of the Horse Senior Member Pindar's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    I was wondering wether anybody knew anything about the subject.
    Yes.

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    Senior Member Senior Member English assassin's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    have a read of King harald's saga, King Harald serves in the Varangian Guard for a bit. It will tell you what the Norse themselves were saying about it at the time.
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    Tovenaar Senior Member The Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    To add to Steppe Merc's post, the Varangian Guard was only disbanded after 1204, when they apparently failed to defend the basileios (or mutinied?).



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    robotica erotica Member Colovion's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    During the First Crusade, they were the most intimidating force of arms in Constantinople to the Crusaders. Their silvered breast-plates and scarlet cloaks sheathing their giant stature of the Scandinavian blood was a sight to behold.

    However, besides a few scant images in my mind from books, I dont' know that much more about them.
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    Abou's nemesis Member Krusader's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    The leader of the Varangian Guard was called an akolouthos (sp?) which meant follower in greek.
    In their first decades if not century, they were mainly made up off Norse from the Kiev area, or Rus as they were also called. However, in the years after 1066, most members of the Guard were Anglo-Saxons, Danes or Normans.

    Atm, Im writing a 15-page semester essay at Uni about the Fourth Crusade, and I can say, that the Varangian Guard was the only Byzantine unit during the siege of Constantinople, that succesfully defended themselves. As for protecting the Emperor, the Emperor fled Constantinople, and so did his succesor.

    I have some more info in a Osprey book. Can check it and give some more info back.


    More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varangian_guard
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    If I recall correctly they did indeed see combat quite frequently.
    They generally lived up to their reputation.

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    Tovenaar Senior Member The Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    Quote Originally Posted by Krusader
    The leader of the Varangian Guard was called an akolouthos (sp?) which meant follower in greek.
    In their first decades if not century, they were mainly made up off Norse from the Kiev area, or Rus as they were also called. However, in the years after 1066, most members of the Guard were Anglo-Saxons, Danes or Normans.

    Atm, Im writing a 15-page semester essay at Uni about the Fourth Crusade, and I can say, that the Varangian Guard was the only Byzantine unit during the siege of Constantinople, that succesfully defended themselves. As for protecting the Emperor, the Emperor fled Constantinople, and so did his succesor.

    I have some more info in a Osprey book. Can check it and give some more info back.


    More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varangian_guard
    Hm, they did now?

    As I recall it, didn't the crusaders depose one basileios for the other, and when the new one refused to pay them (or something else that angered them), they attacked and took Constantinople?



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    Abou's nemesis Member Krusader's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    @The Wizard:

    Partially right. The crusaders had with them one Alexius Angelus, whose father was emperor Isaac II. Isaac again was deposed and blinded by his brother Alexius (became Emperor Alexius III), and both Isaac & his son Alexius were put in prison.
    Alexius, the younger fled in 1201, and somehow met up with the crusaders and asked for help. Crusaders agreed and journeyed to Constaninople. There they demanded Alexius III step down and give crown to Alexius Angelus. That didnt happen, so they laid siege to the town. During the siege, Alexius III fled and as I recall only the Galata-section of the town had fallen to the crusaders.

    Alexius Angelus was put on the throne as Alexius IV, and his father Isaac II was made co-emperor (Greeks didnt trust Alexius IV). To cut a story short, Alexius IV owned the crusaders money, but didnt have enough money to pay. So the crusaders attacked again, but a Byzantine noble called Murzuphlus seized the throne and had the two emperors killed, and made himself Alexius V. And during this time, Constantinople did fall, but even though the Greeks could have been able to continue fighting Murzuphlus fled as well. And then Count Baldwin of Flanders was placed on the throne.

    For a more detailed explanation:

    Fourth Crusade information
    Last edited by Krusader; 05-07-2005 at 13:17.
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    Tovenaar Senior Member The Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    Interesting. Thanks for the link!

    BTW, the Galata section? You mean modern Galatasaray (Turkish for 'Galata neighborhood')? Isn't that further up the Bosphorus -- as in, in those days a peripheral town dependant on the Constantinople, but not part of it?

    It could be that I'm wrong and that the section of Istanbul which is on the northern side of the Golden Horn (where the Galata tower is nowadays) is also Galatasaray...



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    Bringing down the vulgaroisie Member King Henry V's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    Galata is the suburb of Constantinople across the Golden Horn. It was mainly inhabited by the Latin trading powers such as the Pisans, Venetians and Genoese since the Golden Horn was the best place they could anchor there ships.

    for a map of constantinople, see here:
    http://www.throneworld.com/oathofemp...tantinople.jpghttp://www.throneworld.com/oathofempire/geographica/constantinople.jpg
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    Abou's nemesis Member Krusader's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    Yes. The tower of Galata was seized in the first siege, due to poor Greek discipline and tactics.

    Some more info on the Varangian Guard:

    Their name "Varangians" used by the Russians and through them the Byzantines to describe Scandinavians, probably derived from the Old Norse word var ,meaning 'pledge' , used to describe a band of men swearing loyalty to one another, observing a common code of conduct, and sharing out profits fairly amongst themselves; all in all a good description of Viking activities in their roles both as merchant-traders and mercenaries.

    Varangian salary:
    Each Varangian Guardsmen seems to have received between 10 to 15 nomismata per month (1,6 to 2,5 pounds of gold per year).
    Thematic soldiers received 1 to 1,5 nomismata pr. month (nomismata = gold coins weighing 1/72 of a pound)

    As well as special gratuities, a large share of the booty taken on campaign and possibly the right to participate in a sort of ritual plundering of the Emperor's private chambers on his accession if the sagas are to be believed.

    Akolouthos, means Acolyte & Follower, due to his constant proximity to the Emperor.

    Varangian Guards usually had the best armour available, and were usually armed with shields, battle axes and longswords. Some Varangians had rhomphaias.
    Last edited by Krusader; 05-08-2005 at 00:30.
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    Tovenaar Senior Member The Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    Ah, the infamous romphaiai... I did not know the weapon was still used by the Byzantines after the 8th century. Did the weapon retain its original shape, as in battle-scythe, that it had when the Thracians and Dacians used it?



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    Abou's nemesis Member Krusader's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    It is mentioned in Byzantine armies 886-1118 by Osprey at least.

    According to the book, the Byzantine military manuals do not mention it, and it seems most experts aren't sure exactly what it was. The theory that seems most certain, is that it was a falx-like weapon with a slightly curved blade of about the same length as the handle.

    One Psellus writes that the Varangians carred a rhomphaia "a one-edged sword of heavy iron which they carried suspended from the right shoulder".

    According to Byzantine sources the Varangians are also described as "those who hang their swords from their right shoulder". Apparently it was a curious way to hang their rhomphaia.

    The book says there are only vague hints about what it was, but it is mentioned somewhere, and apparently Byzantine guardsmen were issued rhomphaias.

    Most likely Varangian Equipment: Battle axes (from homeland), daggers, shields (kite shield from 1100+, round shield before that), rhomphaia (maybe) or homeland longsword, spears, bows, heavy armour (mailshirts, chainmail and lamellar. Anna Comnena mentions chainmail in the Alexiad).

    And as a sidenote to King Henry V: The Rus took after their Slav and Asiatic neighbours. Like they wore white linen trousers like Slavs, copied their armour-styles, tattoed their arms from hands to elbow, sported Turkish style moustaches, and some even shaved their head Turkish-style (a king of Kiev did it, and just left two long locks of hair to show his rank).
    Maybe that could come in handy? If there is anything specific you want to know, just drop me a PM and I can find it...I love being helpful
    Last edited by Krusader; 05-08-2005 at 02:28.
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    Very Senior Member Gawain of Orkeny's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards



    THE VARANGIAN GUARD

    A contemporary representation of the Varangian Guards - from the copy of the Chronicle of John Skylitzes held in the Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid. Thought to have been produced by Byzantine scribes and artists in Sicily - mid-late 12th century AD
    The Varangian Guards were Viking mercenaries who served the Byzantine Emperors from the 10th to the 13th centuries AD. The word Varangian is thought to come from Old Norse, meaning sharers in an oath - probably to share the profits from trading down the rivers of Russia from Scandinavia south to the Black Sea and thence to Constantinople.

    The name Varangian comes from an Old Norse word relating to sharers in an oath - it is thought it originally referred to Swedish traders on the Russian rivers, bound together by an oath to co-operate and share profits. It was later extended to mean any Viking from the Norse settlements in Russia.

    Vikings had served in the Byzantine army and navy from at least the middle of the ninth century, but in 988 AD Byzantine Emperor Basil II Bulgaroktonos (Slayer of Bulgarians) was sent 6000 Swedish warriors by Varangian Tsar Vladimir of Russia, and it is thought he made them his Imperial bodyguard. They were known as the Axe-bearing Guard, from the enormous two-handed axes they carried. They took part in many of the great battles of the Byzantine Empire, and may also have garrisoned the Empire’s cities.

    The Varangian Guards were among the best-paid of the Empire’s troops - so well paid that membership had to be purchased. Norsemen from all over Scandinavia and Russia came to Byzantium (Constantinople), spent time in the Varangian Guard and returned home wealthy. One such was Harald Hardrada, who later became king of Norway. He was to die in battle in 1066 during an unsuccessful attempt to invade England, shortly before it was conquered by William of Normandy. After the Norman Conquest, many Anglo-Saxons are thought to have left England and joined the Varangian Guard.

    The Guard were renowned for their loyalty to the Emperors, an unusual thing in a society as riddled with intrigue as Byzantium. They stayed in Imperial service for over two centuries, seeing the greatness and decline of the Byzantine Empire.
    Varangian Equipment
    Varangian History
    A Varangian Encampment
    Battle Honours of the Varangian Guard
    Links to more articles on Byzantium and the Varangians


    Armour of the Varangian Guard
    Byzantium - the English Connection

    The Fourth Crusade and the Fall of Constantinople
    The Adoption of Byzantine Equipment and Customs by the Varangian Guard
    Excelent site here

    Check out links at bottom of that link. Fascinating and detailed stuff.
    Last edited by Gawain of Orkeny; 05-08-2005 at 03:43.
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    Bringing down the vulgaroisie Member King Henry V's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    Thanks for the link Gawain it might prove useful for my story. I hadn't heard of the rhomphaia before and I could just imagine several battle scenes with it
    ( He rolled over, dodging the sword's stab at him and then swept the rhomphaia towards the Norman's legs. The man cried as as the blade sliced through flesh and sinew and buried itself deep within the bone.........)

    Thanks for the info Krusader and your help may be useful in the not too distant future.
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    Scruffy Looking Nerf Herder Member Steppe Merc's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    To me, the whole rhompaia thing was based on speculation, rather than archiological evidence or even hard written evidence. I'm pretty sure they thought it was implied, but to my knowledge no source ever said that they actually had rhompaias. And to me, it would make far more sense for them to be weilding axes and longswords, for Vargarians would have take their equipment home if they left, and I haven't heard any Rus or Vikings that wielded the rhompaia.

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    Dragonslayer Emeritus Senior Member Sigurd's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    Quote Originally Posted by Krusader
    Their name "Varangians" used by the Russians and through them the Byzantines to describe Scandinavians, probably derived from the Old Norse word var ,meaning 'pledge' , used to describe a band of men swearing loyalty to one another, observing a common code of conduct, and sharing out profits fairly amongst themselves; all in all a good description of Viking activities in their roles both as merchant-traders and mercenaries.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gawain of Orkeny
    The name Varangian comes from an Old Norse word relating to sharers in an oath - it is thought it originally referred to Swedish traders on the Russian rivers, bound together by an oath to co-operate and share profits. It was later extended to mean any Viking from the Norse settlements in Russia.

    The two above are old and speculative explanations of the term “Varangians”

    New insight in trading routes and migration based upon archaeological evidence show that it was not the Swedes that came up the rivers running out in the White Sea.
    It was in fact Norse from the North of Norway or more specifically Norse from the Varangian peninsula (Varanger halvøya).
    The trade was extensive and lasted many centuries and the population of Russia named them quite logically Varangians.
    In fact they even got a king from the Varangian princes (at this time any Norse was a Varangian), Rørek (Rurik) eldest son of King Harald Finehair (Hårfagre), and a true descendant of Odin.
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    Abou's nemesis Member Krusader's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigurd Fafnesbane

    The two above are old and speculative explanations of the term “Varangians”

    New insight in trading routes and migration based upon archaeological evidence show that it was not the Swedes that came up the rivers running out in the White Sea.
    It was in fact Norse from the North of Norway or more specifically Norse from the Varangian peninsula (Varanger halvøya).
    The trade was extensive and lasted many centuries and the population of Russia named them quite logically Varangians.
    In fact they even got a king from the Varangian princes (at this time any Norse was a Varangian), Rørek (Rurik) eldest son of King Harald Finehair (Hårfagre), and a true descendant of Odin.
    I don't know if I understood your post correctly.

    But how is what you say possible? I was raised in the same county as where Varanger-peninsula is, heck I've even lived on that peninsula and the first Norwegians to arrive in Finnmark (which is the county) came almost exactly a millenia ago. In the 16-17th centuries there only lived around 3.000 Norwegians here plus the native Saami. It wasnt until the last decades of the 19th century and during the 30s that many more Norwegians moved to north Norway.
    Last edited by Krusader; 05-10-2005 at 18:34.
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    Dragonslayer Emeritus Senior Member Sigurd's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    Quote Originally Posted by Krusader
    I don't know if I understood your post correctly.

    But how is what you say possible? I was raised in the same county as where Varanger-peninsula is, heck I've even lived on that peninsula and the first Norwegians to arrive in Finnmark (which is the county) came almost exactly a millenia ago. In the 16-17th centuries there only lived around 3.000 Norwegians here plus the native Saami. It wasnt until the last decades of the 19th century and during the 30s that many more Norwegians moved to north Norway.
    Ah but Sir, your history are running circles in modern times and are circumspect on the modern term “Norwegians”.
    There was quite a lot of activity pre 800 AD in the said area.
    Have you heard of Nor and Gor? There are quite interesting tales in the Orknøyingasaga about the two men who conquered in what is today Norway. They originally lived in Finland but were considered Norse. Nor traveled by land and conquered first Kvenland (Lapland) and conquered what is today North of Norway. His brother Gor went by sea and conquered from the Baltic Sea and around westward before they met in Sognefjorden.
    In fact excavations done in Nordfjord reveals a great King buried there in the 4th century with many “exotic” burial gifts. Things like kauri shell and other items that can only have come from Asia.
    Kauri shells have been found in burial grounds in Lofoten and most certainly brought to these places via Russia.
    The Varanger fjord has always been the most populated fjord that far north. A trip to Dvinas outlet was just as short as to the fishing lodges in Lofoten for these people; in fact many of the Viking kings went to Bjarmeland (what is today part of Russia) to trade and fight which also suggest a lot of activity in the Varanger area.
    Even Harald Hårfagre moved his capital from the south up to Trondheimsfjorden.
    Why on earth would he do such a thing if it was not to get closer to the north and the tax money derived from that area?
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    Tovenaar Senior Member The Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    Sigurd, all is well, but the Varangian Guard was not institued until the 10th century, when the Prince of Kyiw sent to Constantinople some 6000 Rus' or Scandinavian soldiers as mercenaries to help the emperor combat his enemies.

    The first recorded use of 'viking' mercenaries was in 911, when seven hundred Scandinavians were recorded as being present in Constantinople for a campaign (presumably against the Bulgars).



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    Dragonslayer Emeritus Senior Member Sigurd's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    Quote Originally Posted by The Wizard
    Sigurd, all is well, but the Varangian Guard was not institued until the 10th century, when the Prince of Kyiw sent to Constantinople some 6000 Rus' or Scandinavian soldiers as mercenaries to help the emperor combat his enemies.

    The first recorded use of 'viking' mercenaries was in 911, when seven hundred Scandinavians were recorded as being present in Constantinople for a campaign (presumably against the Bulgars).



    ~Wiz
    I am not arguing against this, it’s the speculations of the origin of the name Varangian that I contest.
    In the Rus area, Varangian meant Norse and was already an old term used by non-Scandinavians.
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    robotica erotica Member Colovion's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    During the Crusades, when Giant Erik the Good, King of Danemark marched south towards the Holy land, they stopped in Constantinople. Imagine the festivities when the Norsemen were reunited with their brethren! While feasting in Constantinople they effectively removed the Varangians from their duties as Alexis initially allowed them to celebrate and feast with their former King and his men. He didn't regain their services until Erik left.
    Last edited by Colovion; 05-11-2005 at 19:54.
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    Member Member Kalle's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    New insight in trading routes and migration based upon archaeological evidence show that it was not the Swedes that came up the rivers running out in the White Sea.
    It was in fact Norse from the North of Norway or more specifically Norse from the Varangian peninsula (Varanger halvøya). The trade was extensive and lasted many centuries and the population of Russia named them quite logically Varangians. In fact they even got a king from the Varangian princes (at this time any Norse was a Varangian), Rørek (Rurik) eldest son of King Harald Finehair (Hårfagre), and a true descendant of Odin.
    I do not question what you say about trade in the north of norway and eastwards. But to call it new insight is not true. Why? Because it is described in various of the Islandic sagas - so in fact its old news.

    On the other hand you give some new information on other things. Rurik being the son of Harald Hårfagre was news to me, please tell me where I can read evidence of this or at least some respected historian/archeologist saying it.

    And making Odin a real historical figure might be going to far And if indeed he was a historical figure he was Swedish (or from the start from Troja) and that would make Harald Swedish and it would make the traders/fighters in northern Norway Swedish.

    Also there is great distances involved in the areas you talk about. Looking at a map over the region it is easy to see why it was the norwegians who traded in the north region of what is today barentssee, kola peninsula and lappland (sappmi) but that region is not the same region that Rurik became ruler over. You will have to come up with some evidence to make Rurik and the Rus Norwegians.

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    Dragonslayer Emeritus Senior Member Sigurd's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalle
    I do not question what you say about trade in the north of Norway and eastwards. But to call it new insight is not true. Why? Because it is described in several of the Icelandic sagas - so in fact its old news.

    If you read my statement more closely I said there is new insight based on archaeological evidence. There has been some digging in Russia in the late 90’s by Russian and Norwegian archaeologists that is indeed new insight. The location of Holmgård the stronghold of the Rus nobility, Norse tools and artefacts with older dating than any of those found in Scandinavia etc… all pointing to the fact that the migration came through Russia and followed the coast of Norway.
    On the other hand you give some new information on other things. Rurik being the son of Harald Hårfagre was news to me; please tell me where I can read evidence of this or at least some respected historian/archaeologist saying it.

    Well, the Nestor chronicle (the oldest Russian piece of history text) claims that Rus invited three Varangian brothers to come and rule them in 860AD. Traditionally the Swedes were blamed for fostering this Rurik (one of the three brothers), because of a sloppy homework done by the three historians that postulated this thesis (1918; R.Beazley, N.Forbes and G.A.Birhett: Russia, From the Varangians to the Bolsjeviks).
    The Slavic tribe that invited the Varangians was the Chuds. They lived furthest north in the White Sea and dominated the Kola peninsula.The Slavic tribes they spoke on behalf of never ruled as far as the Baltic ocean (there was no connection to the Baltic!).
    The historians just assumed they came from Uppsala when logic says otherwise.
    The Slavic tribes had already encountered the sons of Harald Hårfagre as they fought many battles by Dvinas outlet. One of them was called Rørek and was the oldest son of Harald Hårfagre (he had many sons).
    The chronicle tells us that Rurik was the eldest of the three Varangian brothers.
    Nothing is mentioned in the sagas as to what became of Rørek, he did not succeed Harald on the throne.
    The Slavic tribes wanted a king and he had to be of noble birth and they had contact with the princes of the Northmen.

    Per Lillieström (Swede) agrees,
    Thor Heyerdahl (Norwegian) agrees,
    Omeljan Pritsak (Russian) criticises the three historians for their lack of insight but makes no assumtion to where Rurik hailed from.
    And making Odin a real historical figure might be going too far and if indeed he was a historical figure he was Swedish (or from the start from Troy) and that would make Harald Swedish and it would make the traders/fighters in northern Norway Swedish.

    Come on, you claim to have read the Icelandic sagas and it is quite clear that Odin came to Sweden and was given a large piece of land from the king in Sveariket.
    Yes, he lived and died in Uppsala but was never a Swede.
    One of his sons Sæmund conquered lands in what is today furthest east in Norway and it is thru that line Harald Hårfagre came to rule that area.
    Besides, Rørek came from two lines of nobility. Odin’s line and Nor’s line. Rørek's mother was Gyda the daughter of a King in Hordaland. The same that told Harald that she wouldn’t marry him until he ruled all of Norway.


    Oh, Odin was as real as any historical man.
    It is trough the bad historical material of the 18th century that he becomes a mythical figure.
    Last edited by Sigurd; 05-17-2005 at 22:17.
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  27. #27
    Member Member Kalle's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    Actually I thought you were joking about Odin in your first post but this shows that you were not joking. And it pretty much make all you say into noncense.

    Ill give a longer reply after workday.

    Kalle
    Playing computer strategy games of course, history, got a masters degree, outdoor living and nature, reading, movies wining and dining and much much more.

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    Member Member Kalle's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    If you read my statement more closely I said there is new insight based on archaeological evidence. There has been some digging in Russia in the late 90’s by Russian and Norwegian archaeologists that is indeed new insight. The location of Holmgård the stronghold of the Rus nobility, Norse tools and artefacts with older dating than any of those found in Scandinavia etc… all pointing to the fact that the migration came through Russia and followed the coast of Norway.
    The location of Holmgård?? As far as I allready knew and as far as every source i checked now tells me that Holmgård was located at present day Novgorod.

    Stronghold of the Rus nobility..., I have searched and searched and found nothing pointing towards Rus being Norwegians. Runestones, chronicles, sagas - everything says they came from what is today Sweden. Even the name rus is connected to sweden - go check the finnish word for sweden

    If Norway was populated from Russia ill leave to you, I would not call it fact though.

    I also searched for support for your claim that the word varjag comes from the location in Norway that you suggest. I found no such support. If the name of the peninsula and the name Varjag is at all related it can just as easily be the name of the people (and the people is the scandinavians) that gave name to the peninsula as the other way around.

    Well, the Nestor chronicle (the oldest Russian piece of history text) claims that Rus invited three Varangian brothers to come and rule them in 860AD. Traditionally the Swedes were blamed for fostering this Rurik (one of the three brothers), because of a sloppy homework done by the three historians that postulated this thesis (1918; R.Beazley, N.Forbes and G.A.Birhett: Russia, From the Varangians to the Bolsjeviks).

    The historians just assumed they came from Uppsala when logic says otherwise.
    The Slavic tribes had already encountered the sons of Harald Hårfagre as they fought many battles by Dvinas outlet. One of them was called Rørek and was the oldest son of Harald Hårfagre (he had many sons).
    The chronicle tells us that Rurik was the eldest of the three Varangian brothers.
    Nothing is mentioned in the sagas as to what became of Rørek, he did not succeed Harald on the throne.
    The Slavic tribes wanted a king and he had to be of noble birth and they had contact with the princes of the Northmen.

    Seems to me you are the one who didnt do your homework. Where in the Nestorchroicle does it say that Rurik is the son of Harald Hårfagre? Snorre Sturlasson lists Haralds sons in Heimskringla (if its a complete or correct list i dont know) - Rurik is not among them. (Both Snorre and Nestor are sources to be viewed with great critisism - both have been proven wrong on many things.) Instead everything suggest, and logic also, that Rurik and his brothers and people came from present day Sweden, not necesserily Uppsala.

    Come on, you claim to have read the Icelandic sagas and it is quite clear that Odin came to Sweden and was given a large piece of land from the king in Sveariket.
    Yes, he lived and died in Uppsala but was never a Swede.
    One of his sons Sæmund conquered lands in what is today furthest east in Norway and it is thru that line Harald Hårfagre came to rule that area. Besides, Rørek came from two lines of nobility. Odin’s line and Nor’s line. Rørek's mother was Gyda the daughter of a King in Hordaland. The same that told Harald that she wouldn’t marry him until he ruled all of Norway.

    Oh, Odin was as real as any historical man.
    It is trough the bad historical material of the 18th century that he becomes a mythical figure.
    What a piece of crap. Making Odin a historical figure as a fact makes arguing with you pointless. You ever heard of sourcecritisism? If one thing in a source is believable does not mean the next thing is, every statement a source makes must be checked before drawing conclusions and Odin is and forever will be nothing but mythology. I remember reading bedtimestories when I was a kid, just becasue it is written on paper doesnt make it true.

    Kalle
    Last edited by Kalle; 05-18-2005 at 11:20.
    Playing computer strategy games of course, history, got a masters degree, outdoor living and nature, reading, movies wining and dining and much much more.

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    Dragonslayer Emeritus Senior Member Sigurd's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalle
    The location of Holmgård?? As far as I already knew and as far as every source I checked now tells me that Holmgård was located at present day Novgorod.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kalle

    That is what everyone thought until 1994 when they found Holmgård a few miles north of Novgorod (they are still digging).
    It was a small stronghold located on an islet just like the name suggests. It was relatively small and could house about 200 people.
    It grew and needed more space and the people of Rus relocated to what is today Novgorod (the new place/farm) also what its name indicates.
    Stronghold of the Rus nobility..., I have searched and searched and found nothing pointing towards Rus being Norwegians. Rune stones, chronicles, sagas - everything says they came from what is today Sweden. Even the name Rus is connected to Sweden - go check the Finnish word for Sweden

    Yes the ever disputable source of names. Well I don’t agree.
    Have you read anything on this dispute?
    The Russians have disputed over the source of this name quite a while now. There is no agreement.
    Two camps: the pro normanist and the anti normanist.
    (note: there are no pro swedes )

    The chronicle states: the Varangians were known as Rus, just as some are called Swedes, and others Normans and Angles and still others Gotlanders, for thus they were named.
    If Norway was populated from Russia ill leave to you, I would not call it fact though.

    What would you call fact? What is written or what is found in the ground as archeological evidence?
    You know very well that any dogma based on written texts or previously found archeological material could be overturned with any new findings whether they are older texts or older artifacts.
    I also searched for support for your claim that the word varjag comes from the location in Norway that you suggest. I found no such support. If the name of the peninsula and the name Varjag is at all related it can just as easily be the name of the people (and the people is the Scandinavians) that gave name to the peninsula as the other way around.

    If we eliminate all names and all theories and just look at geography.
    Where is the most likely route the Norse would travel to the inhabited places of the Slavic tribes of 860 Ad?
    Seems to me you are the one who didn’t do your homework. Where in the Nestorchroicle does it say that Rurik is the son of Harald Hårfagre? Snorre Sturlasson lists Haralds sons in Heimskringla (if it’s a complete or correct list I don’t know) - Rurik is not among them. (Both Snorre and Nestor are sources to be viewed with great criticism - both have been proven wrong on many things.) Instead everything suggests, and logic also, that Rurik and his brothers and people came from present day Sweden, not necessarily Uppsala.

    The name Rurik is a Slavic version of the Norse name Hroerekr.
    Do you agree with this?
    The oldest son of Harald Hårfagre was Hroerekr or Rørek as we in present day Norway calls him.
    He was a Norse prince that fought battles in Slavic territory. It is found in the Norse version of Kringla heimsins.

    What can you tell me about the Swedish version of Rurik?

    The general agreement of today is that Rurik came from Friesland. What would be your objections to this?

    The Varangians that the Slavic people of the White Sea talks about are the Norse they dealt with on a daily basis, and you said it yourself that this was old news.
    In other words those who could sail to the White Sea with a ship full of cargo.
    What a piece of crap. Making Odin a historical figure as a fact makes arguing with you pointless. You ever heard of source criticism? If one thing in a source is believable does not mean the next thing is, every statement a source makes must be checked before drawing conclusions and Odin is and forever will be nothing but mythology. I remember reading bedtime stories when I was a kid, just because it is written on paper doesn’t make it true.

    Kalle

    I will tone down the Odin matter as there is no possible way I could convince you to “believe”…
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    Member Member Kalle's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Varangian Guards

    That is what everyone thought until 1994 when they found Holmgård a few miles north of Novgorod (they are still digging). It grew and needed more space and the people of Rus relocated to what is today Novgorod (the new place/farm) also what its name indicates.
    Cant see that this in any way makes your case stronger. In your previous posts it sounded as Holmgård had been relocated hundreds of kilometres. Now you admit that is not the case, thank you.

    Why does the name imply new? Usually it is translated with as "the new town" -because it grew and took over the role of other older centres like Staraja Ladoga and Gorodische.

    Yes the ever disputable source of names. Well I don’t agree.
    Have you read anything on this dispute?
    The Russians have disputed over the source of this name quite a while now. There is no agreement.
    Two camps: the pro normanist and the anti normanist.
    (note: there are no pro swedes )
    Oh, you dont agree, well that certanly helps your case
    Do you know what happened to Russian (Soviet) researchers who did not write "good" history about the russians? Giving swedes or norwegians or any other people part of credit for the founding of russia was not possible. This have changed...

    The chronicle states: the Varangians were known as Rus, just as some are called Swedes, and others Normans and Angles and still others Gotlanders, for thus they were named.
    Well then this crushes your theory about the word varjag and the peninsula bearing the same name.... because they cant be both rus and varjag can they? It definatly does no make them less from sweden. And gutarna from gotland were very well established in holmgård with surroundings, maybe rurik came from there I dont know.

    What would you call fact? What is written or what is found in the ground as archeological evidence?
    Well since I dont know about the russian colonisation of norway and never heard of it in spite of much studying on this part of history i will not call it fact until it is proven to me.

    If we eliminate all names and all theories and just look at geography.
    Yes lets do this. Tell me what route to Holmgård is closest and easiest - the one from present day sweden into the gulf of finland and riversystems inland to the settlements or the way from north of norway around the kola peninsula crossing the white sea and then through a longer inland riversystem Not even your relocation of Novgorod makes the journey easier then the one from sweden

    The journey from sweden has also been undertaken many times in modern time in "reconstruction travels" proving it was indeed a very possible journey.

    The name Rurik is a Slavic version of the Norse name Hroerekr.
    Do you agree with this?
    The oldest son of Harald Hårfagre was Hroerekr or Rørek as we in present day Norway calls him.
    He was a Norse prince that fought battles in Slavic territory. It is found in the Norse version of Kringla heimsins.

    What can you tell me about the Swedish version of Rurik?

    The general agreement of today is that Rurik came from Friesland. What would be your objections to this?
    Yes, I checked again and this time found a Rörik in the list of Haralds sons. I must give in on that. He was not the first son though, that was Ålov according to the same source. Same source also tells me that Rörek spent his time with his father - allthough i didnt reread the entire thing for this debate so maybe it says somewhere he was fighting in the east im not sure. But of course this does not make Haralds son the Rurik who is mentioned in the Nestorchronicle.

    Rurik was a common name in Sweden into the middle ages and is still used today by a small number of swedes, dunno if the present day ruriks were givven that name at baptism or if took it later as some sort of nationalistnostalgia though.

    The norse version of Heimskringla? So you mean the word norse means norwegian? Lol. Norse has more to do with nordic. Norse mythology (odin ) is not norwegian mythology.

    The general agreement? LOL i thought you were trying to make the case he was from Norway lol, which way are you gonna have it??? Fact is one can not be certain where Rurik comes from. Most likely from some part of Sweden though - and about the RUS there is a general agreement that they came from somewhere in present day Sweden

    The Varangians that the Slavic people of the White Sea talks about are the Norse they dealt with on a daily basis, and you said it yourself that this was old news.
    Uummmm i said it was old news that the contact between people in lappland, kola peninsula and prolly white sea region was with norwegians. But again - Holmgård and Novgorod is very far from there and much closer to the swedish areas with whom they dealt with on a daily basis. And they also talk about varangians - doesnt make them norwegians.


    I will tone down the Odin matter as there is no possible way I could convince you to “believe”…
    Sigh

    Kalle
    Playing computer strategy games of course, history, got a masters degree, outdoor living and nature, reading, movies wining and dining and much much more.

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