The rapid ethnic, political and social evolution of this term and the people(s) which it denoted during the 3rd-4th/9th-10th centuries produced a series of temporally multi-layered, occasionally contradictory notices in the classical Islamic geographical literature. In contemporary Byzantine sources it appears as ÅR«w (which may, indeed, be the source of the Arabic form, Barthold, Arabskie o ), cf. also ÅRvss¤a, the name of the country derived from it and the infrequently noted form (pl.) ÅRoÊsioi). Modern Russ. (“Russia”) is taken from the Byzantine ecclesiastical usage. Al-, 914, mentions “Outer Russia” ( al- al- ). It is not clear if this usage has any relationship to the ¨jv ÅRvs¤a noted by Constantine Porphyrogenitus, the geographical contours of which are equally uncertain. The form Urus and its variants, found in a number of Turkic languages (e.g. - Orus, , , ) goes back to the Arabic form. Mediaeval Latin sources record them as (Annales Bertiniani, s.a. 838-9) Rhos; (The Bavarian Geographer, 9th century) Ruzzi; (Liudprand of Cremona, mid-10th century) Rusios; (Thietmar of Merseburg, d. 1018) Ruscia; Old Germ. Ruz, Riuz; Old Swed. Ryds. Long-standing attempts to identify this ethnonym with the mentioned in the 6th century Syriac ecclesiastical history of Pseudo- Zacharias Rhetor have generally (with the exception of some Soviet scholars) been rejected (see ).
The origins of the
The origin and etymology of this term/ethnonym and thus, it is averred, the ethnic affiliations of the people or socio-mercantile group that first bore this name in the Islamic and other sources of the 3rd- 4th/9th-10th century, are much debated. It has long been argued (cf. Thomsen) that Rus' is the Slavic rendering of the Baltic Finnic term for “Swede”: Finn. Ruotsi, Est. , Vot. Rôtsi, Liv. R'' (but cf. Volga Finnic: Mari , Udm. , Komi-Perm. “Russian” and Samoyedic [Nenets] , “Russian”. There have been two centuries of occasionally heated discussion of this issue between “Normanists” (those favouring a Scandinavian origin of the Rus' and by extension the Rus' state) and their opponents, the “Anti-Normanists.” The Classical Normanist position, from the philological perspective, posits: Slav. Rus' < Finn. Routsi < Old Norse , , “rowers, seamen” associated with the coastal region of Sweden, Roslagen (see- | [VIII:619a] , and in Jenkins et al ., Constantine Porphyrogenitus De administrando imperio. Commentary. Historical evidence in support of the Scandinavian origin of the Rus' is adduced from the account in the Annales Bertiniani, s.a. 838-9, of an embassy from the “Rhos Chacanus” ( of the Rus') to Constantinople. Unable to return to their homeland because of nomadic pressure in the Western Eurasian steppes, the embassy was diverted to the Frankish court at Ingelheim. There, to the consternation of the Franks, it was discovered that the mysterious Rhos were, indeed, Swedes. A century later, Liudprand of Cremona appears to confirm this ethnic identification in noting in his listing of the northern peoples the “Rusios whom we call by another name the Northmen” (Rusios, quos alio nos nomine Nordmannos apellamus). Elsewhere he further explains that there is a certain people established in the North whom, because of the characteristics of their physical appearance (a qualitate corporis) “the Greeks call RoÊsiow, Rusios, but we, however, because of their location call Northmen (Nordmanni).” On the basis of these and other connections made in contemporary sources with the Viking world, the formation of the Rus' state is thus seen as part of that outpouring of Viking energy aimed initially at gaining control of vital international trade routes and ending in some instances as conquest and colonisation. The name does, indeed, figure in some accounts of Viking raids on Muslim Spain. Al-, s.a. 229/843-4, tells of the attack of the “ who are called ” on Seville (). “” [q.v.] was a term used rather broadly for pagans and more specifically for Zoroastrians and Norsemen. Al- also mentions “a nation of the ” who, before the year 300/912-3, had raided Andalus. He identified them with the and posited the Pontic region as their starting point. Ibn , in his account of the destruction of the cities at the hands of the in 358/968-9 (more probably several years earlier, this date represents the year in which Ibn first heard of these events), remarks that after their despoiling of “they came at once to the land of and Andalus ...” He then refers to earlier expeditions, commenting that they, the , “are the ones who of old went to Andalus and then to .” He also notes that “the ships of the and Turks” sometimes attack Spain. This alliance of Rus' and [q.v.], who were often at odds, while not unknown, is all the more remarkable in that it implies involvement in sea-borne expeditions. A most dramatic turn of events in activities in the Mediterranean occurred in 860, when the “Rhos” mounted an unsuccessful naval assault on Constantinople from which the Byzantines believed themselves to have been spared only through divine intercession. The Patriarch Photius (858-67, 878-86), an astute and well-informed statesman, referred to these invaders as an ¨ynow êgnvston a hitherto “unknown people” (see Vasiliev). The who attacked the Byzantine capital appear to have come from Kiev (Vasiliev) rather than from Western or Northern Europe. Almost a century later, the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus (d. A.D. 959) in his De administrando imperio, written ca. 948-52, gives an account of how the Rus' merchants travel from Novgorod to Kiev and then down the Dnieper and into the Black Sea to trade with Constantinople. The names of the Dnieper rapids are reported in both Rhos (ÅRvsist‹) and Slavic (Sklabhnist‹). The “Rhos” forms are clearly Scandinavian.
G. Vernadsky proferred an Iranian origin: Rus < | [VIII:619b] Alanic -As through a conjectured relationship of the Alans with the early (Eastern) Slavic tribal confederation of the Antes. The Varangians (Old Norse Vaeringi, pl. Vaeringjar, Rus'. (Varag) Mod. Russ. (Varyag), Arab. Warank, Greek Barãggoi < várar “pledge, oath, guarantee” = “men of the pledge”, he argues, who in the 8th- 9th century became the dominant force here, merged with this grouping and assumed their name. This dilution of strict Normanism has found few adherents. Anti- Normanists have countered with a variety of theories, both philological and historical. Perhaps best grounded are the Slavist Anti-Normanists who point to the presence of toponyms and hydronyms with the element rus-/ros- in the Eastern Slavic lands. These, in turn, may be associated with the Slavic or Balto-Slavic *rud/*rus “reddish, ruddy, blond” (e.g. Ukr. “blond”, Lith. “red”, cf. Latin russus etc., see P. Rospond, Mavrodin). H. Paszkiewicz (The origin of Russia, 1954, repr. New York 1969, 143-4), a Normanist, suggested that this was the Slavic name of the Norsemen, so called because of their ruddy complexion.
Eastern Slavic sources do not help to clarify the situation. The later Kievan Rus' tradition associates “Rus” with the south, i.e. the Middle Dnieper Kievan region (cf.', i). The Primary Chronicle (also called the Chronicle of Nestor), however, in its introductory genealogical comments places the “Rus” among the peoples in Japheth's part of the world, in this case the northern, Finnic ethnic groupings. Further on, it includes them in a listing of the “Varangians, Swedes, Normans (Ourmane), Gotlanders, Angles, Galicians, Italians (), Romans, Germans, etc. Clearly, they are associated with the Germanic North. The Chronicler, often evincing a Byzantinocentric viewpoint, comments (PSRL, i, 17) that the Rus' land began to be so-called at the time of the accession of the Emperor Michael III (852). In another passage (PSRL, i, 23) discussing Oleg's conquest of Kiev, traditionally dated to 882, the Rus' are again associated with the North: ”he (sc. Oleg) had with him Varangians, Slovene (sc. a tribe associated with Novgorod) and the rest who are called Rus'.“ Elsewhere, however, the Chronicle (PSRL, i, 25-6), s.a. 898, notes the Polyane, the Eastern Slavic tribe most closely associated with Kiev, ”who are now called Rus'“ ( Rus'). Still further on, the Chronicler attempts to explain these discrepancies thus (PSRL, i, 28): ”the Slavic nation (sloven' ) and the Rus' () are one; for it was called Rus' from the Varangians (ot bo Rous'yu), but first they were Slavs, although they were called Polyane, nonetheless, they were of Slavic speech ...“
In addition to philological argumentation and to the ethnographic and ethnogenetic data offered by our sources, the Normanist position is based largely on the Primary Chronicle's “historical” account of the genesis of the Rus' state. According to it, in 859 (the dating, at best, is off by several years), the Varangians “from across the sea” levied tribute on the Finnic', the Novgorodian Slovene, the Finnic Merya and the Slavic , while the Slavic Polyane, Severyane and to their south were tributaries of the . In 860-2, the Varangians were expelled, but the northern groupings proved unable to govern themselves. As a consequence, the Varangians, led by Ryurik, who settled in Novgorod, and his two brothers, Sineus and Truvor, were summoned to rule over them. Ryurik brought with him “the whole of Rus'.” From “these Varangians it was | [VIII:620a] called the land of Rus'” (PSRL, i, 19-20). Two Varangian subordinates of Ryurik, Askold and Dir, then came to the south, taking Kiev. Al- (d. ca. 345/956-7) in his (iii, 64 = § 908), mentions the “king al- [Dayr], first among the kings of the .” The occasionally suggested identification of al- with the Varangian Dir is questionable. It is much more likely that, despite the similarity in names, al- 's al- was a Central European Slavic ruler and his contemporary. With Ryurik's death, sometime between 870-9, power was given to his kinsman, Oleg < helgi. Oleg is presented in the traditional narrative as the guardian of Ryurik's son, Igor'. In 880-2, Oleg took Kiev, killing Askold and Dir. Another Rus' tradition preserved in the Novgorodian First Chronicle (NPL, 107, 434), depicts Igor' as the conqueror of Kiev, with Oleg merely as his general. The charismatic Oleg, about whom legends imputing prophetic abilities developed, has also been identified with the hlgw of the Geniza Hebrew document, the so-called “Cambridge” or “Schechter” document. This *Helgu, the “king of Rusia”, perished in the aftermath of an unsuccessful raid on Byzantium. According to the Primary Chronicle, Oleg, after taking Kiev then set about conquering the neighbouring Slavic tribes. In 907, he launched his first raid against Constantinople. Igor', according to the Chronicle, began to rule in 913. There are, indeed, serious problems of chronology and questions regarding the identity of the personages involved. Pritsak, for example, posits a conflation of several Helgi/Olegs, real and mythical. Nonetheless, it is generally accepted that the account has some underlying historical basis.
The Anti-Normanists minimise the importance of the non-autochthonous elements. They contend that in the 6th-7th century there existed in the Middle Dnieper region the Polyane tribal union which took the name Ros or Rus deriving from a toponym or hydronym. Some support for this may be found in the “Bavarian Geographer”, an anonymous work composed before 821, which places the “Ruzzi” next to the “Caziri” (). The power of this Kiev-centred state, according to Soviet Anti-Normanists, grew as reflected in the 838-9 embassy to Constantinople. The Swedes noted here, they suggest, were merely Vikings in Rus' service. The tale of the summoning of the Varangians, they further argue, is mythical. Ryurik may have been a real figure, but his ethnic affiliation is unclear.
The Normanist vs. Anti-Normanist controversy cannot be resolved on the basis of the currently available written sources. Archaeological evidence, similarly, does not provide decisive proof. A recent assessment of the data from a Scandinavianist perspective concludes that the Rus' were Scandinavians, but constituted only one element in a mixed population. The Vikings called Rus' hian mikla “Sweden the Great”, indicating an almost proprietary sense in an area of economic expansion and opportunity. The other Old Norse term for the region was / in the 10th-11th century and , “kingdom of (fortified) towns or steads”, in the 12th-13th century.
The Islamic sources, while not providing the conclusive information needed to resolve these questions, shed some light on the early Rus'. Genealogical tradition, as reflected in the anonymous al-, dated 520/1126, presents the eponymousas the brother of and the son of Japheth. Dissatisfied with his own place of abode, wrote to his brother and “asked for a corner of his country.” | [VIII:620b] He obtained an island, difficult of access, with soggy soil and foul air. These and other themes are drawn from information that was part of the body of Islamic geographical literature of the 3rd-4th/9th-10th centuries (see below). , in his translation of al-, s.a. 22/643, reports the words of , the ruler of Darband/ al- [q.v.], to the commander of the Arab advance forces, b. , to the effect that he was “between two enemies the and the . These peoples are the enemies of the entire world and, in particular, of the Arabs.” This seems very early, indeed, for a Rus' presence in this region. The , of course, were already an important factor in the North Caucasus. The pairing of the with them as enemies of the Islamic world has an anachronistic ring. Nonetheless, some scholars are willing to accept its historicity (cf. Lewicki, arabskie do dziejów ; Togan, Ibn 's Reisebericht. Novosel'tsev cites several other references to the dating to the time of I (531-79), e.g. in al- , who built fortifications against the “Turks, and .” These, too, are most probably anachronistic. The earliest reliable reference to in the Islamic sources is perhaps to be seen in the “mountain of the ” from which the river drws flows, noted in al- w's al- ; Novosel'tsev).
One of the earliest and most important notices is found in Ibn , writing probably ca. 272/885-6, on the “route of themerchants” who brought goods from Northern Europe/Northwestern Russia to . It interrupts a notice on the route of the [q.v.], a Jewish merchant company, which appears to have been supplanted by the . Noonan has recently suggested that the latter may have initiated these contacts as early as A.D. 800. A hoard of coins found at Peterhof, near St. Petersburg, contains twenty coins (, Arabo- and Arab dirhams, the latest dated to 189/804-5) with graffitti in Arabic, Turkic (probably ) runic, Greek and Scandinavian runic (more than half the total). This may be viewed as evidence for the existence of the route described in Ibn by the late 2nd/early 9th century (see T. Noonan, When did /Rus' merchants first visit Khazaria and Baghdad?). In Ibn 's famous account, the are described as “a kind ( ) of the ,” a sentence that has often been taken to indicate that they are a Slavic tribe. The Arabic is much more imprecise. The primary meaning of is “kind, type, variety, species.” The term (sing. < Gr. Sklãbow) while often used to designate the Slavs, was also employed to denote the whole of the fair-haired, ruddy-complexioned population of Central, Eastern and North-eastern Europe. In mediaeval Greek and Latin, sclavus became synonymous with “slave” (the English world [< French esclave] deriving ultimately from the ethnic designation). Our source further notes that these merchants “transport beaver hides, the pelts of the black fox and swords from the farthest reaches of the to the Sea of . The ruler of takes a tithe of them. If they wish, they go to the (ms. Oxford, Bodleian, Huntington 433, fol. 74b , ms. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale 2213, fol. 49a , ms. Vienna, Nationalbibliothek 783, fol. 65a , see also Golden, Khazar studies), *tnys river (variously read/identified as the ”Tanais“ [TãnaÛw] i.e. the Don (so De Goeje), yitil, i.e. Itil (= Volga, see Lewicki, ) or (= Don, see Marquart, or Donets', see Pritsak, An Arabic text on the trade | [VIII:621a] route of the corporation of ar- in the second half of the ninth century), the River of the . They travel to /, the city of the whose ruler takes a tithe of them. Then they betake themselves to the Sea of and they alight on whichever of its shores they wish. ... Sometimes, they carry their goods from by camel to . slaves translate for them. They claim that they are Christians and pay the .” Much has also been made of the use of “” translators, attesting, it is argued, a common Slavic tongue. Although we do not know with certainty what language was used, it may well have been Slavic, the most practical lingua franca in Central and Eastern Europe. b. [q.v.], the 4rd/10th century Jewish traveller, who journeyed to Central Europe and the Western Slavic lands, remarked that “the majority of the tribes of the North speak (most probably, here meaning Slavic) because of their commingling with them. Among them are the Germans (), Hungarians (), , and .” The , has preserved the tradition that among the “lives a group of Slavs who serve them” (see below). There is no doubt that the had very intimate ties with Slavic speakers and the Scandinavian-speaking element was certainly bilingual, if not completely slavicised by the late 10th century. Igor's son, Svyatoslav (d. 972) already bears a Slavic name. There were, it might also be noted, Slavic colonies in caliphal territories that presumably could have also provided speakers fluent in Slavic and Arabic. A variant of Ibn 's account, taken, perhaps, from a common source is found in Ibn al-. See also Pritsak, An Arabic text, and the earlier comments of Marquart, who suggest that the intellectual circle of Ibn al- 's father in served as this common source. Here, the merchants in question are designated as . After their arrival at the Sea of (most probably the Black Sea is meant here) and their payment of the tithe, they go to “ of the Jews” (cf. * of the Khazar “Cambridge” document = = Tmutorokan' /Tamatãrxa /Fanagour¤a; see literature cited in Lewicki, ). Then they turn towards the or they betake themselves from the Sea of the by this river, which is called the River of the , until they come to ...“ Ultimately, their goods may go as far as Rayy. The identification of the various waterways remains problematic. Al-, , remarks that the consist of ”numerous peoples of diverse kinds. Among them are a kind ( ) called al- (or *al- ) and they are the most numerous. They frequently visit, for the purpose of trade, the land of Spain [Andalus], Rome, Constantinople and the .“ The / have been identified with the grouping noted as al- by al- in his , 141. These, in turn, have been viewed as garblings of al- (cf. Marquart, who, while noting this possibility, preferred to view this as a corruption of al-/al- ; Minorsky, Kuda ezdili drevnie ?). Pritsak, following Kokovtsov, has suggested that the Lwznyw of the ”Cambridge“ document, taken from an Arabic-script source () is a corruption of (, see Golb and Pritsak) = Lo(r)dman = Nordman. Pritsak has, moreover, put forward an interesting thesis in explication of the Ibn / Ibn al- notices. The lands were primary sources for the slave trade (the ”river of the “ denoted the ”river of Slaves“ coming from the empire | [VIII:621b] via the Volga and Don rivers). The two major companies involved in this trade on an international level were the / (ca. 750) and the , who ultimately replaced them. Both were based in (southern) France (this is well-established for the , see Lewicki, , who associates the mostly with trade in cloth). Kmietowicz, also places the ”most probably in France, though they were equally connected with Spain.“ He derives the term for this trading diaspora from raeda/rheda, the name for a type of vehicle, > veredarius ”messenger, courier, traveling merchant.“ The , according to Pritsak, were near Rodez: Rutenicis < Celto-Latin Ruteni/Ruti > Middle French Rusi, Middle Germ. (the source of Finnic Routsi). Unlike the , Pritsak argues, who as Jews enjoyed religious neutrality in the Mediterranean, the Rusi were obliged to seek a northern point of entry into Eastern Europe and the Baltic zone. They integrated themselves into the Frisian-Scandinavian world and by the late 8th century, developed a ”Danish“ type ”society of nomads of the sea.“ Ryurik was the Frisian Danish king Rørik. The Slavic and ”Rhos“ (Scandinavian) languages noted by Constantine Porphyrogenitus were simply two of the linguae francae used by this trading diaspora (Pritsak, Origin). While it might be noted that neither of the two passages make any reference to the slave trade, , as is well-known from the Arabic geographical literature, was a major source of slaves entering the eastern Islamic world and the were deeply involved in this trade.
The evidence is highly circumstantial at best. Given the complexities of their conjectured origins, it may, nonetheless, not be amiss to view theat this stage of their development, as they began to penetrate Eastern Europe, not as an ethnos, in the strict sense of the term, for this could shift as new ethnic elements were added, but rather as a commercial and political organisation. The term was certainly associated with maritime and riverine traders and merchant-mercenaries/pirates of “” stock (Northern and Eastern European, Scandinavian, Slavic and Finnic).
We have already noted that the Annales Bertiniani refer to the Rus' ruler as Chacanus. This is the Turkic title “emperor”. Kievan Rus' tradition, although overwhelmed by Byzantine models, occasionally made use of the title in literature of the Christian age: e.g. the references to “ourVladimir” (kagan Vladimir) and “our Georgii” (Yaroslav) in the mid-11th century religio-ideological tract “The sermon on Law and Grace” [Slovo o zakone i blagodati] of Metropolitan Ilarion (see Des Metropoliten Ilarion Lobrede) and the application of this title to several figures in the Igor' Tale (Slovo o polku igoreve). There is also the graffito in the Cathedral of St. Sophia in Kiev which reads “O Lord, save our ” (spasi gospodi kagana , ). The Islamic geographers, based on traditions stemming from the 3rd/9th century, mention the ( Ibn Rusta/- ()/-i (, in /Barthold; al-). This title could only have come to the Rus', or more likely one grouping of them, through intimate contact (i.e. a marital tie) with one of the ruling, charismatic steppe dynasties. In all likelihood, this was the royal line. Such a tie is perhaps hinted at in the Islendingabóc with its references to “Yngve the King of the Turks” (see discussion in Golden, The question of the | [VIII:622a] Rus' ). The location of this has been and remains the source of much speculation. Equally unclear are the inception point and ultimate fate of this polity. Pritsak, Origin, suggests that the was founded by a ruler who fled to the Rus' ca. 830-40. He places the in the Rostov-Yaroslav region of the Upper Volga. Smirnov, was of the opinion that it appeared only briefly, ca. 830, and was soon destroyed by the migration of the Ugro-Turkic tribal confederation that became the Hungarians in Danubian Europe. Since the latter were already on the Don by 838, cutting off the Rhos embassy from its return route from Constantinople and forcing its diversion to the Frankish lands, this would appear to have been a very short-lived political phenomenon. On the other hand, the sacral ruler described by Ibn in 309/921-2 (see below) certainly possessed many of the attributes of a holy Turkic . The memory of this institution, in any event, endured into the Christian era of history, as we have seen, and could be summoned for ideological purposes.
The location of the lands
The tradition represented by Ibn Rusta,and others (cf. al-, , ; al-; Ibn , in Seippel; al-, see also discussion in , place the on an island of three days' journey in width in a lake (or a sea). It is densely wooded, damp, soggy and possessing foul, unhealthy air. (or rather his sources), followed by al-, puts the island's population at 100,000. Ibn and al- comment that the island is a “fortress” that protects them from their enemies. Some scholars are inclined to place this island in the north. Novgorod, it might be remembered, in Scandinavian tradition was termed “Island-Garth” (Barthold, Arab izvest.; Novosel'tsev). Other suggestions include Aldeig-juborg, North-east Rus', Kiev, Tmutorokan' and the Taman peninsula (see literature in Golden, Question). al- , simply notes that they live on islands. This, however, may refer to a later time period. For example, al-, says that they have islands in the “Sea of ” (text has the corrupted form “” = Maeotis, the Sea of Azov). Al-, terms the Black Sea the “Sea of the ”, adding that the “inhabit the islands in it”. Al- , who is uncertain of the geography involved and is perhaps referring to the situation in his day, comments regarding the who raided Spain that they “reach their country from a gulf ( ”bay“ ? ”canal“?) which meets the Sea of , (but) not through the gulf in which are the bronze lighthouses. In my opinion—but God knows best—this gulf is connected to the Sea of and and this people is the ...” A more northerly orientation can be assumed from Ibn 's comment that the honey, wax and beaver furs brought to the Islamic world from actually come from the region around and . Indeed, some of the prized fur animals are only found “in these northern rivers which are near , and ” (see below). Al-, gives us some idea of the distances involved, informing us that “from to the first border of is 10 days' journey. From to it is about 20 days' journey.” The anonymous author of the , probably reporting the situation close to his own time (372/982) places the territory west of the “mountains of the .” To its south is the river (? ?), to the west are the and in the | [VIII:622b] north are the “Uninhabited Lands.” In contrast to the forbidding depiction of the island of the , the views the habitat as “extremely favoured by nature with regard to all the necessities (of life).” Indeed, Ibn Rusta, seemingly contradicting his remarks about the Rus' island but obviously referring to a different grouping of and perhaps conflating earlier and later traditions, notes that they have many towns. The “island” theme, in any event, most probably referred to only one grouping of .
By the late 9th century, there were three urban- territorial units associated with the Rus'. The , following the tradition also found in al- and Ibn (a mélange of these and other traditions are also recorded in al-), notes three subdivisions of the , each based on an urban centre: (1) (= Kiev, cf. the  of the 10th century Kievan letter, Golb and Pritsak, the K¤oba/K¤aba noted by Const. Porph., who mentions that the city is also called Sambatãw, the meaning of which is unclear (Pritsak, op. cit., 44, derives this term from Balkan Latin sambata “Saturday”, the principal market day. He further suggests that Kiev is based on the name of the vizierial family of w origin (< *kaoya “peculiar to the Iranian sacred ruling dynasty Kaway + -”). This form arose in the late 9th century), and the Cuiewa of Western sources (Thietmar of Merseburg). Old Norse knew it as “Boat-Garth”. This is the southernmost of the lands (“nearest to the Islamic lands”). It is also closest to and bigger than . A king resides in . (2) ( in the ). Barely commented on by al- (who says that it is the farthest from them) and Ibn , the remarks that it is a “pleasant town from which, whenever peace reigns, they go for trade to the districts of .” Only Ibn notes the presence of a king in it. Al- says that it is on the top of a mountain. The are clearly the Slovene of the Lake Il'men region and Novgorod. The latter was actually founded ca. 930, the earlier “Novgorod” is perhaps to be identified with the “Ryurikovo ”, to the south which contains some Scandinavian finds (Clarke and Ambrosiani). It continued to have a strong trade orientation towards the Finno-Ugric forest peoples, competing here with Volga up to the Mongol conquest. (3) (< *Rothania? Ruthenia?) whose city is (n) (: , recte was noted for its secretiveness and inhospitality (killing all strangers who enter). Yet they actively engaged in trade bringing their goods to the outside world. According to al- and Ibn , they exported black sable, black fox, beaver pelts, lead and mercury (see also al-, 917-18). The also ascribes to them the production of “very valuable blades and swords which can be bent in two, but as soon as the hand is removed they return to their former state.” Al- locates it four days' travel from both and . (iyya) is probably to be located near the Volga or in the Volga-Oka mesopotamia (hence some efforts have been made to identify them with one or another Finno-Ugric people, cf. Swoboda). It might be noted in this connection that Arabo-Jewish documents refer to the Volga as and the furs imported from there were termed (Goitein). It is unclear which, if any, of these centres may be identified with the .
Al-gives the names of a large number of cities in “” and its immediate envirions: (), (Sakov), , (Galicia, ), , (Turov), | [VIII:623a] (Pereyaslavl'), Qnw (Kanev?), , , (on the /Dnieper = Kiev?), , Usiyya, , , Armn, , at the mouth of the river Danast/Dnestr (some of these are discussed in Lewicki, Polska i kraje w Ksiegi Rogera geografa arabskiego z xii w. al- Idrîsî'ego, and Beylis.
Relations with neighboursas the principal victims. The come by boat, capture them and send them off to the slave markets of and . They also take their foodstuffs since they have no cultivated fields of their own. adds that many agree to take service with the , working as servants (confirmed by the , loc. cit.: “among them lives a group of Slavs who serve them”). It has often been assumed that these were the servants who functioned as translators for the merchants who came to noted in Ibn (see above). How these translators acquired Arabic, if this was, in fact, the language to which they translated, is unclear. b. remarks that the commerce of the “frequently comes by land and sea to the and Constantinople.” The in question here are probably the Western Slavs. That same author, 5, reports that the also attack the Pruss (), crossing over to attack them in ships “from the West.” These would appear to be operating in the Baltic. Prior to the 10th century and were to be found in the military service and as the servants of the , living in the capital. The judiciary made provisions for its ethnically variegated subject population. There were seven judges, two each for the Jews, Muslims and Christians and “one for the and who render judgment according to pagan judicial principles (bi- al-), the judgment of reason” (al-, ; al-). Al-, , mentions groups of , who like the Armenians, Bulgarians () and , had entered the Byzantine military service. By the late 10th century, contingents, whose assistance, unlike the free-lance mercenaries already found in Byzantine service, had been requested by Constantinople, were used to suppress domestic rebellions in Anatolia (see below). - relations (the entered the Pontic steppe, driving out the Proto-Hungarian tribal union in the late 3rd/end of the 9th-beginning of the 10th century) were very complex. In 915, the first of a number of Rus'- “peaces” were arranged, but by 920, Igor' had launched a campaign against the nomads. Thereafter, the periods of hostility largely overshadowed the periods of more pacific interaction. As a consequence, Ibn 's statement, that the are the “fighting power” () of the and their allies ( )“ seems quite remarkable, as does also his statement (see above) that and ships attacked Spain. Minorsky, Kuda ezdili, suggested a very different sense of this passage, translating as ”thorn“ and emending to ”opponents.“ This seems closer to the general tenor of Rus'- relations. Although the had ceased to be a threat to the Kievan state and had largely been driven into the Byzantine borderlands by the and by his day, al- made note of the warfare of these nomads on | [VIII:623b] Rus' and Byzantium. He also was aware of the internecine strife that had become increasingly characteristic of Rus' domestic politics, commenting that the ”have wars and constant dissension with their own kind ( ) and with lands that are close to them“ (904, 960). Allusions to similar problems may be seen in the statement of the that ”they do not favour one another.“ Ibn Rusta and , however, using notices that go back to an earlier era, stress their unity, cf. Ibn Rusta: ”if a people () goes to war against them, they all go on campaign. They are not disunited, but are as one hand against their foes until they defeat them.“ He also comments that they are less fearless in combat when fighting on foot rather than from ships, their favoured mode of warfare. These two authors also note their use of ”swords of Solomon“ (al- al-), which were similar to ”Frankish“ blades, but less ornate. They appear to have been produced in the land of in (see Lewicki, ).
We have already noted the reports of the Muslim geographers regarding the. Of our written sources, it is only Ibn , however, who appears to have actually encountered in Volga , during his sojourn there in 309/921-2. It is from him that we gain a detailed description of a ruler. It is not made clear if this ruler was the ; our source merely refers to him as the “king.” According to Ibn , he resides in a castle, surrounded by his retinue of 400 select warriors who die when he dies. Each of them has a slave-girl to serve them. The king sits on a jewel-encrusted throne (al-, in Seippel, Fontes, calls it a golden throne) along with 40 slave-girls, with whom he sometimes has public sexual intercourse. The king does not normally step down from the throne, even for the performance of natural functions. If he leaves the throne, his feet are not permitted to touch the ground. A horse is brought up to the throne and he mounts upon it from there. In addition, “he has a deputy who commands the armies, attacks the enemy and stands in his place before his subjects.” This is clearly a description of a sacral king, in many respects similar to that of the (except for the sexual licentiousness), with its holy and the /beg/yilig who ran the actual affairs of government. If this notice is not a contamination from the notice on the which immediately follows it in the text, it may be viewed as a significant piece of evidence in support of the thesis of the origins of the . Ibn , however, never refers to the ruler as “.” This special retinue or comitatus (perhaps the body referred to as “one group of them who practise chivalry” in the ), may be a variant of the Scandinavian (Rus'. grid' “warrior, princely bodyguard”, Fasmer; Jones). Ibn Rusta; , see also al-). If one of the disputants disagrees with the verdict, the king orders that they engage in a ceremonial sword fight. Whoever has the sharper sword and succeeds in chipping the blade of the other is declared the winner. Ibn Rusta adds, however, that “their companions come and stand armed. The two fight and whosoever of the two is more powerful than the other becomes the arbiter in his case as he | [VIII:624a] wishes.” A later report, from the 8th/14th century author ad- al- (in Seippel, Fontes), states that “they do not obey a king or any law ( ).” There is a very distinct tradition found in al- which is repeated and slightly mangled in . The former remarks that the king is called (bi-). In this was transformed into “” (Kawerau; Barthold, Novoe musul'manskoe izvestiye o ). This, of course, is a reference to Volodimir/Vladimir I (972-1015), who brought about the conversion of Rus' to Orthodox Christianity. Curiously, Ibn , who gives the titles of the various rulers of interest or importance (including those of the ), makes no mention of the ruler.
The initial picture presented is that of mobile, urban-based traders/raiders. Ibn Rusta reports that the“possess no real estate property (), nor villages, nor cultivated lands.” He subsequently notes, however, that they have many towns. Rather than engaging in agrarian pursuits, “their profession is trade () in sable, grey squirrel and other such furs which they sell to purchasers. They take the value of the goods in gold and fasten it to their belts.” This mercantile emphasis is noted by the other Muslim authors, who universally speak of their involvement in extensive trading relations with their immediate neighbours, the empire and Volga (through which their goods reached the Islamic lands), Byzantium, Spain and Central Europe (al- ; al-, ). b. reports that and traders come to “ [Prague] from [Kraków]” for trade. Kiev's importance as a major commercial centre continued and is reflected in later Muslim sources. Thus al- comments that Muslim merchants from Armenia come to Kiev. This finds confirmation in contemporary Georgian sources (e.g. the journey of the “great merchant Zankan Zorababeli” of T'bilisi who was sent off to on a diplomatic-marital mission ca. 1184 “by relays of horses”, K'art'lis ts'), using an already well-established route. The importance of this region for trade with the Islamic world would appear to be supported by considerable numismatic evidence (Islamic dirhams first begin to surface in what became Russia and the Baltic region ca. 800; on this see Noonan, Why dirhams first reached Russia: the role of Arab-Khazar relations in the development of the earliest Islamic trade with Eastern Europe). The volume of this trade seems to have exceeded that of their commercial relations with Byzantium. Although Sawyer (Kings, 123-6) cautions that the presence of these dirhams does not necessarily constitute evidence of a great volume of trade, nor need they have reached these areas solely by trade, Ibn (see below) gives direct evidence of goods being exchanged for Islamic coins. The , it may be concluded, at least in the early stages of their history, were largely merchant middlemen and on occasion pirates. They produced nothing of their own, but raided, extorted/collected tribute or traded for furs and other commodities of the Northern forest zone which they then brought to the Mediterranean or the Islamo-Central Asian world either directly or through yet other middlemen, Volga or . However it was obtained, the volume of Islamic coinage entering Rus' declined in the late 10th century and had largely stopped by 1015. The causes of this change, much debated, remain unclear. Local sources of precious metals were not unknown. Thus, | [VIII:624b] al- () mentions silver mines in territory more or less equal to the silver sources in the mountains in .
Personal appearance and clothing
Ibn Rusta describes theas possessed of “long bodies, a (good) visage and fearlessness.” Our sources ( Ibn Rusta, ) stress their personal neatness; some are clean-shaven, others braid or plait their beard. and Ibn attribute this personal fastidiousness to their mercantile pursuits. Ibn Rusta further remarks that they treat their slaves well. This, too, could be viewed as an indication of a higher cultural level. Their clothing is made of linen () and they wear arm bands/bracelets of gold. Their trousers, according to Ibn Rusta and the , are made out of 100 cubits of (cotton) fabric, which they gather in at the knee and fasten there. They also wear “woollen bonnets with tails let down behind their necks” (). Al- and Ibn report that they wear short coats. Ibn , however, who remarks that they are as tall as date palms, blond and ruddy, says that they do not wear short coats or caftans but a (a cloak, see Dozy, Supplément, ii, 476). He goes on to note that each of them carries an axe, a sword and a knife from which they are never parted. Their women are bedecked with various gold and silver ornaments in displays of ostentation commensurate with their husband's wealth.
Customs and religion
Our sources are impressed with the spirit of independence and enterprise inculcated among thefrom birth. Ibn Rusta, followed by , al- and the , reports that “when a baby boy is born to one of them, he sets before the baby boy a drawn sword and places it between his hands and says to him 'I leave you no goods as inheritance. You have nothing except what you may acquire for yourself by this, your sword.'” (in Kawerau) adds that the daughter receives her father's inheritance, while the son is given a sword and told “your father acquired his wealth by the sword, imitate and follow him.” This same sense of rugged individualism was reflected in their treatment of the ill. Ibn remarks that “when one of them falls ill, they pitch a tent for him, in a secluded place away from them, and they cast him away there. They place with him quantities of bread and water” and leave him alone until he either recovers or dies. Transgressors were dealt with harshly. Thieves, this same source informs us, were hung by the neck from stout trees until dead and then left to rot.
This same author was quick to note their human frailties. He appears to contradict, at least in part, the report of their personal neatness noted above, declaring them the “dirtiest of God's creations” because of their lack of personal hygiene. To this failing were added inordinate suspicion and covetousness. Ibn Rusta andreport as an example, in this regard, that they go out to perform their natural functions only when accompanied by several friends to stand guard. Otherwise, a man on his own would be killed. So great is their distrust and perfidy that if one acquires even a little wealth “his brothers and friends who are with him crave it, try to kill him and dispossess him of it” ( Ibn Rusta). How much of this is accurate and how much travellers' tall tales highlighting the greed of the “barbarian” is difficult to gauge. It is highly doubtful, however, that the Rus' could have been as effective a commercial and | [VIII:625a] military force as they were, given such a state of bellum omnium. Ibn was also shocked by their lack of modesty (engaging in sexual intercourse with their slave-girls while their friends looked on).
This same source has much to say about their beliefs. When ships arrive, he reports, they each come out bearing bread, meat, onions, milk and wine. They proceed to a long piece of wood planted in the ground on which has been carved the face of a man. It is surrounded by smaller idols and other long pieces of wood planted into the ground. They prostrate themselves before the large image, which they address as “Lord” and announce what goods they have brought. They conclude their devotions by saying “I want you to provide me with a merchant who has manyand dirhams, who will buy from me everything that I want him to buy, and he will not contradict me in what I say.” If business is good, more offerings are made. In especially good circumstances, sheep and cattle are slaughtered, much of which are consumed, at night, by dogs. Ibn , occasionally adopting a mocking tone and anxious to display their ignorance to his readers, reports that nonetheless, he who made the offering says “my lord is satisfied with me and has eaten my gift”.
According to the tradition preserved in the accounts of Ibn Rusta and, their shamans or “medicine men” (/), enjoyed a very high status. They could pass judgment on the king and govern them. They could select as sacrifice to their gods whomsoever they pleased, human and animal. These unfortunates were hung by the neck until dead. The commandments of their “medicine men” must be carried out ( Ibn Rusta; ). We have relatively brief descriptions of their funerary customs in Ibn Rusta, and the . Ibn Rusta reports that “when one of their important people ( minhum) dies, they dig him a grave, like a spacious house, and place him in it. Together with him, they place his personal clothing ( badanihi), gold bracelets which he wore, much food, vessels with drink and gold money also. They bury with him in the grave the wife that he loved (best). She, after this (sc. his burial) is still alive. They seal up the door of the grave and she dies there.” Al- and al-, , also note that they cremate their dead, together with their wife or slave-girl, horses and finery. Al- further adds that “when the wife dies, the husband is not cremated. If one of the unmarried men dies, he is married after his demise, and the women request that they be cremated (with him) so that they may, according to their own thinking, enter among the souls of paradise.” Ibn , however, provides us with one of the most extraordinary, ethnographically detailed depictions of the funeral of a chief. The customs were related and explained to him on a number of occasions (“they told me of the things they did with their chiefs at their death, the least of which is cremation”). He also appears to have witnessed one such spectacular funeral. The deceased was placed in a grave over which a roof was erected. He remained there for 10 days while new clothing was fashioned for him. When a great man dies they ask his household “who of you will die with him?” Those who answer in the affirmative are duty-bound to fulfill this commitment. The majority of those who agreed to do so were slave-girls. One of the slave-girls was then given this honour. The deceased was to be taken out of his grave and placed in a special structure on a boat which was taken out of the river and mounted on a kind of wooden holding frame. The corpse, because of the cold was remarkably well-preserved. An old woman | [VIII:625b] called the “angel of death,” was now put in charge. The deceased was placed in the special structure. Food (bread, meat, onions) was placed before him. A dog was sacrificed, cut in half and thrown on the boat. Two cows were also sacrificed (as well as other animals). The slave-girl who was to die with her master then had sexual intercourse with her master's relatives or boon companions and she was given copious amounts of wine so that she became dullwitted (taballadat). The men outside began to strike their shields with wooden sticks in order to drown her cries as she was strangled. A close relative of the deceased man, completely naked, set fire to the wood under the boat. The sacrificed slave-girl was placed beside her master. In response to Ibn 's questions, one of the explains their views: “You Arabs are stupid. You take the most loved and distinguished among you and dump them in the earth. The earth consumes them (as do also) insects and worms. But we cremate them in fire, in the flick of an eye, and he enters Paradise immediately.” A small burial mound was then set up on the site in which the boat was burned. A large piece of wood was placed on the spot and the deceased's name was written on it as well as that of the king of the . This wood was especially associated with the lands (see , al-). The corpses of slaves were simply abandoned to dogs and birds of prey.
Although/ was famous for its inhospitality to strangers, killing all outsiders who came to it (al- and al- ), the other areas of ' were not. Ibn Rusta says that they were generous to their visitors. They were ferocious, however, in exacting revenge ().
The Caspian raids and the fall of
It was undoubtedly the lucrative trade routes of the Volga that first drew theto Eastern Europe. The both traded with and raided the Islamic lands. As early as the era of the al- b. Zayd (250-70/864-84 [q.v.]), leader of the principality in , the attempted to raid the region. A second raid took place in 297/909-10, aimed at [q.v.]. A third raid took place in 299/911-12 and a fourth one, according to al- “sometime after 300/312” (Dorn, Aliev, Minorsky; slightly different dates in Barthold and Pritsak). At the outset of this last raid the in return for being allowed passage through lands in order to raid the Caspian coasts, offered half of the spoils to the ruler. The raid caused much devastation, especially in the regions of , al-, , , and the city of . The then returned to the Volga estuary. Here they were attacked, apparently with the acquiescence of the ruler, by Muslims (the Ursiyya and others), as well as some Christians, desirous of revenge. According to al-, those that escaped were finished off by the and Volga . An even more ferocious eruption of the into the Caspian Islamic lands took place in 332/943-4. In that year [q.v.] was again a target. It was taken and the settled in, showing every intention of remaining for some time, but remained there only for some months. The - Byzantine entente by this time had come to an end. The now figured prominently in actions that were overtly hostile to . According to the “Schechter” document, when the ruler Joseph, responding to Byzantine persecutions of Jews under the emperor Romanus I (920-44), “did away with many Christians” in his realm, Romanus retaliated by inciting “Helgu | [VIII:626a] [/Oleg, see above], king of Rusia” against . “Helgu” was forced to flee by sea where he and his men perished. The Letter of the ruler, Joseph, to Hasday b. , the Jewish courtier of the Spanish Umayyads, reports, ca. 960, that the were continually at war with the . “If I left them (in peace) for one hour, they would destroy the entire land of the Ishmaelites up to Bagdad” (Kokovtsov). The main confrontation appears to have taken place in 354/965. The immediate causes for the assaults on are not elucidated in our sources. Given the ongoing hostilities reported in the Letter of Joseph, however, Byzantine involvement in inciting revolts within the sphere of influence, the attempts to gain unrestricted passage through the -controlled Volga route to the Caspian, these may be easily conjectured. was a fading power. The formed an alliance with the Turks and together they advanced on . The Primary Chronicle has a very laconic notice reporting only that in 6473/965 the ruler, Svyatoslav (d. 972) attacked the and “took their city and Bela ” (= Sarkel, a var. lect. says only that Bela was captured). Al- reports two accounts that he “heard.” According to the first, was attacked by al- of who captured the ruler. He subsequently heard that “an army from , called , conquered them and took possession of their land.” Miskawayh writes that in 354/965 “news came to the effect that the Turks had invaded the territory of the Khazars. The latter invoked the aid of the people of Khw, who declined saying: You are Jews; if you want us to help you, you must become Muslims. They all adopted Islam in consequence with the exception of their king.” Ibn al- has, basically, the same report, adding, however, that after the w drove off the Turks (the ), the ruler converted to Islam as well (see Golden, The migrations of the , 77-80). Ibn , who learned of these events in 358/968-9, paints a picture of large- scale devastation. The dating of the events described in Ibn has been the subject of some debate, some scholars placing them in 358/968-969, the year in which our source first heard of the raid (Kalinina, Ibn o Rusi vremeni , who, following Marquart and Barthold, Arab. izvest., does not believe that Volga was affected by the raids). There is no reason, however, to doubt Ibn , who had firsthand information. In addition, the and their allies followed a similar pattern 20 years later, in 985, when they attacked Volga , the first in boats, the second by land (PSRL, i, 84). A distant echo of these events is found in al-, writing in the mid-6th/12th century, who says of the who neighbour “on the land of the Unkariyya (Hungarians) and ; they have at present, at the time that we were writing this book, conquered the , the and , taken away control of their lands and nothing remains of these people except the name in (their former) lands.” This, of course, is inaccurate for his day since the and Volga were still very much on the scene.
There are references toactivities in al-/Darband found in the al- . In 377/987, the called in the to help him against local chiefs. The came with 18 ships but uncertain of their reception, sent only one in to reconnoitre the situation. When these men were massacred by the local population, the went on to | [VIII:626b] , which they looted. professional soldiers appear to have already been on the scene. Thus in 379/989, this same is reported to have refused the demand of the preacher, al-, to turn over his to him for either conversion to Islam or death. 's attempt to have a counterbalance ( ) to the local population ultimately failed, for he was driven from the city and forced to surrender the (Minorsky, ). He returned in 382/992. In 421/1030, the raided the region, but were then induced, with “much money,” to aid the ruler of , b. , in suppressing a revolt in . “The then quitted for and thence proceeded to their own country” (see ibid.). One of the variant mss. of this source (see idem, Studies in Caucasian history), using only the Top ms. 2951 of -'s al-duwal, which contains extracts from the , says that in 422/November 1031, the “came a second time and set forth and fought them near . He killed a large number of their warriors and expelled them from his dominions.” This was followed in 423/1032 by a raid into , joined now by the Alans and . They were defeated, in 424/1033, by local Muslims who “wrought great havoc” among them (Minorsky, Studies, and idem, ). It is unclear to which grouping these raiders may have belonged. Pritsak, Origin, suggests that they operated out of a base near the Terek estuary and had their principal home in Tmutorokan'. He also conjectures that shortly thereafter, the , operating in the Caspian, may have provided some military assistance to the in a power struggle in w. tells of a raid ca. 569/1173 or 570/1174. These appear to have been Volga pirates who came in 73 ships. At the same time, although it is unclear if their actions were coordinated, the [q.v.] attacked Darband and went on to take as well. The , / I turned to the Georgian king, Giorgi III (d. 1184), for aid. Together they defeated both the and the . The Georgian, sources, however, only mention attacks of the of Darband. Completely anachronistic, of course, is the tale of Alexander's wars against the found in 's Iskandar-. The king, called , is presented as the ruler of the , , Alans and (W) (Vepsi).
Later sources offer little new historical or ethnogeographical information regarding the, being largely compilations based on the earlier sources. We have a brief description of the Mongol conquest of Rus' in , lacking in specific details. Other sources, e.g. , merely note them in passing.
There are occasional references to the “”, here designating the Russians/Muscovites, in later Ottoman- era Islamic sources, e.g. (Russ. ' Ivan = Ivan IV “the Terrible”), mentioned in a discussion of Russo- Crimean Tatar relations s.a. 980/1572-3, in Hasan , 584-5. The Crimean Tatars had raided and burned Moscow in 1571, but another raid the following year was repulsed. Ottoman materials for the history of the later Eastern Slavic peoples have been relatively little investigated (cf. 's comments on the - “inauspicious ” Ukrainian Cossacks).
The conversion of the
The Islamic and Arabic-writing Christian authors provide useful data on the conversion of theto | [VIII:627a] Orthodox Christianity. In 987, the Byzantine emperor Basil II (976-1025) was faced with the revolts of Bardas Sclerus and Bardas Phocas. The latter, having double-crossed Sclerus, with whom he briefly joined forces, proclaimed himself emperor on 17 377/14 1298/14 September 987, as we are informed by of Antioch (d. ca. 1066). Basil, now desperate, sent to the , “even though they were enemies,” for assistance. The ruler, Volodimir/Vladimir, agreed to send troops in return for a marital alliance. He was to marry Basil's sister. Volodimir also agreed to convert to Orthodoxy and, with him, his people, who were without any religion or religious law. Basil subsequently sent him a metropolitan and bishops. When the wedding arrangements were settled, the troops were sent and they helped to put down the revolt. Essentially similar accounts are given by Abu al- [q.v.] (d. 1095), al- , al- and Ibn al- (see Rozen and Kawerau; Ibn al- dates these events to 375/985-6). Some of the 6,000 troops sent to aid Basil remained in Byzantine service, forming the nucleus of the famous “Varangian Guard” (see V.G. Vasil'evskiy). The Rus' tradition relates only that Volodimir, who had long been considering the adoption of a monotheistic religion and had examined Islam, Judaism and Christianity, was already inclining towards the latter in its Orthodox form. Islam he rejected because of its prohibition on alcohol, remarking that “for Rus', drinking is a joy, we cannot exist without it” (PSRL, i, 84 ff.). In 988 he marched on Byzantine Crimea, taking Chersones/Korsun'. With this he now forced Basil and his brother Constantine into a marital tie. Their sister Anna was sent to Volodimir, who in return agreed to convert himself and his people to Orthodoxy (PSRL, i, 109 ff.). The two accounts do not necessarily contradict each other. Volodimir may well have used his excursion to the Crimea to insure that he received his Byzantine princess.
Another Islamic tradition, however, depicts theas first converting to Christianity and somewhat later to Islam. , who mentions that their ruler is called (see above) relates that after they “entered Christendom,” their new faith “sheathed their swords” and prevented them from acquiring wealth by their customary means (warfare). They were reduced to poverty. They were then drawn to Islam, which allowed them to engage in holy war. They dispatched an embassy, consisting of four relatives of the king, to w. The w- sent an Islamic scholar to instruct them and they converted to Islam (Kawerau, also found in /Barthold, placing this event in 300/912).
Ibnspeaks of wooden grave markers on which the inscribed the name of the deceased and that of the king. Similarly, writes that one of his informants “believes that they have writing inscribed in wood, and he showed me a piece of white wood with an inscription on it.” This may perhaps be a reference to writing on birchwood bark, well known in later Kievan Rus'. The Byzantine missionary Constantine (Cyril), before his famous mission to the Slavs of “Moravia” journeyed, ca. 860, to the empire. According to the Vita Constantini, in the Khersonese he found a Psalter and book of the Gospel written in the Rus' or script (ros' [rous', ] pisano). He also encountered someone who spoke this language and found that he could understand him. Indeed, he quickly began to read | [VIII:627b] and speak this tongue (Grivec et al .; Istrin). Since, Constantine/Cyril was bilingual, in Greek and Slavic, it could only have been the latter tongue, whose writing system he was able to assimilate so quickly. Needless to say, there is much debate over the significance and indeed historicity of this passage. The existence of calendrical and other types of markings among the Eastern Slavs by the 2nd-4th centuries A.D. is posited by some Russian scholars (). The use of a “proto-Cyrillic” alphabet based on Greek, which was already employed in Danubian Bulgaria, is also suggested for Pre-Christian Rus' (Istrin). The oldest Cyrillic monument dates to 863 (from Preslav, Bulgaria). The earliest writings in Cyrillic in Rus' are dated to the early 10th century. There is still some debate over whether Constantine/Cyril invented the “Glagolitic” alphabet, itself perhaps derived from a Greek or Cyrillic base, but quite different in appearance from “Cyrillic”, or the script that now bears his name.
1.Primary sources (including translations).
Collections of Sources. S.D. Goitein, Letters of Medieval Jewish traders, Princeton 1973, 69
Labuda, skandynawskie i anglosaskie do dziejów [Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon sources for the history of the Slavs], Warszawa 1961, 187
T. Lewicki, arabskie do dziejów [Arab sources for the history of the Slavs],-Kraków-Warszawa 1956, 1969, 1977, i, 127, 132-7, ii/1, 76-7, 82-3, ii/2, 139
P. Kawerau, Arabische Quellen zur Christianisierung Ru b lands (Marburger Abhandlungen zur Geschichte und Kultur Osteuropas, 7), Wiesbaden 1967, 14-41, 46-7
A.P. Novosel'tsev, o [The eastern sources on the eastern Slavs], in V.T. Pashuto, L.V., Drevnerusskoe gosudarstvo i ego [The ancient Rus' state and its international significance], Moscow 1965, 362-5, 373, 403
A. Seippel, Rerum Normannicarum fontes arabici, Oslo 1928, 108, 113
B.N., Kaspiyskiy svod svedeniy o evrope [The Caspian codex of information on Eastern Europe], Moscow 1962-7, ii, 78-80.
Arabic Sources. Anon., al- , see excerpts in Minorsky, , and Studies, al- wa- al-Malik al-, ed. Z.M. , Moscow 1971, facs. 67a, Ru. tr. 104
Ibn: Z.V. Togan, Ibn 's Reisebericht (Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes, Bd. xxiv/3, Leipzig 1939, 36-43/86-98
= ed. S., Damascus 1389/1959-60, 60, 149 ff., 152-66 Volga in 921-922], facs. ed. and Russ. tr. A.P. Kovalevskiy, Khar'kov 1956
Ibn al- , ed. De Goeje, 270-1
Ibn , ed. Kramers, i, 15, ii, 92, 392-8
Ibn , ed. De Goeje 16-17, 154
Miskawayh, al- umam, ed. H.F. Amedroz, tr. D.S. Margoliouth, in Eclipse of the caliphate, Oxford 1914- 21, ii, 62-7, 209, v, 67-74, 223
Ibn Rusta, ed. De Goeje, 145-6
al-, Nuzhat al- al-: Opus | [VIII:628a] geographicum sive Liber ad eorum delectationem qui terras peragrare studeant, ed. A. Bombaci et al., Leiden 1970-84, 912-14, 917, 919-20, 955 : T. Lewicki, Polska i kraje sasiednie w Ksiegi Rogera geografa arabskiego z xii w. al-'ego [Poland and neighbouring lands in light of the Book of Roger, an Arab geographer from the 12th century, al-], Kraków 1945, Warsaw 1954 al-Ard des Ga'far Muhammed ibn Musa al-, ed. H. von (Bibliothek arabischer Historiker und Geographen, iii), Leipzig 1926, 136 , al- wa 'l- , ed. Cl. Huart, Paris 1899-1919, iv, 66-7
, al- , ed. Barbier de Meynard and Pavet de Courteille, ed. and tr. Ch. Pellat, Beirut 1966-89, i, 354-5 = § 404, ii, 9 = § 449, 11 = § 451, 14-15 = §§ 454-5, 18-26 = §§ 458-61
idem, , ed. De Goeje, 140-1, ed. De Goeje, 361, ed. M. , Beirut 1408/1987, 286
, Fihrist , ed. M. al-, Tunis 1406/1985, 105, tr. B. Dodge, New York-London 1970, i, 37 , al-arab, Cairo 1342/1923, 247 of Antioch], St. Petersburg 1883, text 20- 4, tr. 21-5, comm. 194 ff.
Armenian sources.Dasxurançi, The History of the Caucasian Albanians, tr. C.F.J. Dowsett, London 1961, 224.
Byzantine Sources. Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De administrando imperio, ed. Gy. Moravcsik, Engl. tr. R.J.H. Jenkins (Corpus fontium historiae Byzantinae, vol. 1), Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C. 1967, 56, 58.
Georgian Sources. K'art'lis Ts' [History of Georgia], ed. S.', T'bilisi, 1955, 1959, ii, 17, 36-7.
Hebrew Sources. N. Golb, O. Pritsak, Khazarian Hebrew documents of the tenth century, Ithaca, N.Y. 1982, 114-21, 129, 139-42
P.K. Kokovtsov, Evreysko- perepiska v X veke [The Jewish-correspondence in the 10th century], Leningrad 1932, 122-3 n. 25.
Latin Sources. Annales Bertiniani, Annales de Saint-Bertin, ed. F. Grat, J. Vielliard and S. Clément, Paris 1964, 30
Liudprand of Cremona, Antapodosis in Liudprandi Episcopi Cremonensis Opera, 3rd ed. J. Becker, in Scriptores Rerum Germanicarum in usum scholarium ex Monumentis Germanicae Historicis separatim editi, Hanover-Leipzig 1915, repr. Hanover 1977, i, 11, v, 15.
T. Lehr-(ed. and tr.), Konstantyna i Metodego (obszerne), 1959.
Old Russian Sources. Des Metropoliten Ilarion Lobrede auf Vladimir den Heiligen und Glaubensbekenntnis, ed. L. Müller, Wiesbaden 1962, 13, 100, 103, 129, 143
letopis' i izvodov, ed. A.N. Nasonov, Moscow-Leningrad 1950
Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisey, St. Petersburg/Leningrad-Moscow 1846-
Slovo o polku igoreve, ed. D.S., Moscow 1982, 143
S.A., Drevnerusski graffiti sofii kievskoy, in Numizmatika i epigrafika, iii (1962). | [VIII:628b]
Persian Sources., W. Barthold, Novoe musul'manskoe izvestiye o [A new Muslim notice on the Russians], in Akademik V.V. Bartol'd , Moscow 1963-73, ii/1, 805-9 , 1391/1971, 601 al- [An excerpt from the work of , the Zayn al-], in , viii, 23-62
anon., al- , tr. V.F. Minorsky, London 1937, repr. with additions 1970, 159, 181-2, 422, 432
, -i -yi , ed. al-, Tehran 1316/1898-9
al- , -i -Dín Mubáraksháh, ed. E. Denison Ross, London 1927, 42
anon., al-, Tehran 1939, 101-2, 421
b. , al- , ed. M., Tehran 1386/1966, 312.
2.Secondary literature . S. Aliev, O datirovke nabega rusov, Ibn Isfandiyarom i Amoli [On the dating of the raid of the Rus' mentioned by Ibn and ), in A.S. Tveritinova (ed.), po istorii narodov - i tsentral'noy evropy, ii, Moscow 1969, 316-21
W. Barthold (V.V. Bartol'd), Akademik V.V. Bartol'd, , Moscow 1963-73, see his Arabskie o [Arabic notices on the Rus], ii/1, 810-58
idem, Mesto oblastey v istorii musul'manskogo mira [The place of the Caspian districts in the history of the Muslim world], ii/1, 651-772
V.M. Beylis, Al-Idrisi (XII v.) o 'e i - okraine zemel' [Al-(12th century) on the eastern Black Sea and southeastern borderland of the Russian lands], in gosudarstva na territorii SSSR, 1982, Moscow 1984, 208-28
I. Boba, Nomads, Northmen and Slavs, The Hague-Wiesbaden 1967
H. Clarke and B. Ambrosiani, Towns in the Viking age, New York 1991
M. Fasmer (Vasmer), slovar' russkogo [Etymological dictionary of the Russian language] tr. O.N., 2nd ed., Moscow 1986-7, i, 458, iii, 522-3
B. Dorn, Caspia. Über die Einfälle der alten Russen in Tabaristan, nebst Zugaben über andere von ihnen auf dem Kaspischen Meere und in den anliegenden Ländern ausgeführte Unternehmungen, St. Petersburg 1875, 5-6
P.B. Golden, The migrations of the , in Archivum Ottomanicum, iv (1972), 45-84
idem, Khazar studies (Bibliotheca Orientalis Hungarica, xxv), Budapest 1980
idem, The question of the Rus' , in Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi, ii (1982), 77-97
idem, Aspects of the nomadic factor in the economic development of Kievan Rus', in I.S. Koropeckyj (ed.), Ukrainian economic history. Interpretive essays, Cambridge, Mass. 1991, 58-101
M.S.', - [History of Ukraine-Rus'], i, 3rd ed., Kiev 1913, repr. Kiev 1991
V.I. Istrin, 1100 let azbuki [1100 years of the Slavic alphabet] 2nd ed., Moscow 1988, | [VIII:629a] 19
G. Jones, A history of the Vikings, rev. ed. Oxford 1984, 76 n. 1, 152-3, 211, 246-7, 248 n.3
F. Kmietowicz, The term ar- in the work of Ibn , in Folia Orientalia, xi (1969), 163-73
F. Kruze (Kruse), O [On the origin of Ryurik], in Ministerstva Narodnogo , ix (1836), 47-73
E. Kválen, The early Norwegian settlements on the Volga, Vienna 1937
H., Zagadnienie roli normanów w genezie [The question of the role of the Normans in the genesis of the Slavic states], Warsaw 1957, Russ. tr. Rus' i normanny [Rus' and the Normans], Moscow 1985, 283
J. Marquart, Osteuropäische und ostasiatische Streifzüge, Leipzig 1903, 343-5, 350, 352, 355 ff., 385 ff., 474-5
V.V. Mavrodin, russkogo naroda [The origin of the Russian people], Leningrad 1978
V.F. Minorsky, and Andronicus Comnenus, in BSOAS, xi (1945), 555-78
idem, Studies in Caucasian history, London 1953, 11-12, 76-7
idem, A history of and Darband , Cambridge 1958, 9/31-2, 19/45, 21-47, 111
idem, Kuda ezdili drevnie ? [Where did the ancient Rus' go?], in e po istorii narodov - i tsenral'noy , ed. A.S. Tveritinova, Moscow 1964, 19-28
idem, Why dirhams first reached Russia: the role of Arab-Khazar relations in the development of the earliest Islamic trade with Eastern Europe, in Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi, iv (1984), 151-282
idem, Khazaria as an intermediary between Islam and Eastern Europe in the second half of the ninth century: the numismatic perspective, in Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi, v (1985), 179-204
idem, When did /Rus' merchants first visit Khazaria and Baghdad?, in Archivum eurasiae medii aevi, vii (1987-91), 213-19
N.V., rus' v siriyskom VI b. n.e. [The name 'Rus in a Syriac source of the 6th century A.D.], in Akademiku B.D. Grekovu ko , Moscow 1952, 46-8
N.. Polovoy, O na Berdaa i Russko- v 943 g. [On the route of the expedition of the Rus' against in 943], in Vizantiyskiy vremennik, xxv (1961)
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idem, The origin of Rus', Cambridge, Mass. 1981, 23-8, 44, 182, 442-4, 450-1
S. Rospond, Pochodzenie nazwy Rus' [The origin of the name Rus'], in Rocznik Slawistyczny, xxxviii/1 (1977), 35-50
A.V. Riasanovsky, The Embassy of 838 revisited: some comments in connection with a Normanist source on early Russian history, in Jahrbücher für die Geschichte Osteuropas, x/1 (1962), 1-12
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idem, Rus' i Russkie xii- xiii vv. [Kievan Rus' and the Rus' principalities], Moscow 1982, 165 ff.
idem, drevney Rusi [The paganism of ancient Rus'], Moscow 1987
P.H. Sawyer, Kings and Vikings. Scandinavia and Europe A.D. 700-1100, | [VIII:629b] London- New York 1982, 123-6
A.A., sud'by russkogo plemeni [The ancientmost fortunes of the Russian tribe], Petrograd 1919
P. Smirnov, Volz' i starodavni [The Volga route and the ancient Rus'], Kiev 1928, 132-45
A. Stender-Petersen, Zur Rus-Frage, in his Varangica, Aarhus 1953
W. Swoboda, --al- Artâniya, in Folia Orientalia, xi (1969), 291-6
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V.G. Vasil'evskiy, - i - v Konstantinopole xi i xii vekov, in Trudy V.G. Vasil'evskogo, St. Petersburg 1908, repr. The Hague- Paris 1968, i, 176-401
G. Vernadsky, Ancient Russia, New Haven 1943, 107,147,278
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A.P. Vlasto, The entry of the Slavs into Christendom, Cambridge 1970.