The Varangians (Normans) and the Origins of the Russian and Ukrainian States.


860-862 (6368-6370) The tributaries of the Varangians drove them back beyond the sea and, refusing them further tribute, set out to govern themselves. There was no law among them, but tribe rose against tribe. Discord thus ensued among them, and they began to war one against another. They said to themselves, "Let us seek a prince who may rule over us, and judge us according to the law." They accordingly went overseas to the Varangian Rus: these particular Varangians were known as Rus, just as some are called Swedes, and others Normans, Angles, and Goths, for they were thus named. The Chuds, the Slavs, and the Krivichians then said to the people of Rus, "Our whole land is great and rich, but there is no order in it. Come to rule and reign over us." They thus selected three brothers, with their kinfolk, who took with them all the Rus, and migrated. The oldest, Rurik, located himself in Novgorod; the second, Sineus, in Beloozero; and the third, Truvor, in Izborsk. On account of these Varangians, the district of Novgored became known as Russian (Rus) land. The present inhabitants of Novgorod are descended from the Varangian race, but aforetime they were Slavs. After two years, Sineus and his brother Truvor died, and Rurik assumed the sole authority. He assigned cities to his followers, Polotzk to one, Rostov to another, and to another Beloozero. In these cities there are thus Varangian colonists, but the first settlers were, in Novgorod, Slavs; in Polotzk, Krivichians; at Beloozero, Ves; in Rostov, Merians; and in Murom, Muromians. Rurik had dominion over all these districts. With Rurik there were two men who did not belong to his kin, but were boyars. They obtained permission to go to Constantinople with their families. They thus sailed down the Dnepr, and in the course of their journey they saw a small city on a hill. Upon their inquiry as to whose town it was, they were informed that three brothers, Kii, Shchek and Khoriv, had once built the city, but that since their deaths, their descendants were living there as tributaries of the Khazars. Oskold and Dir remained in this city, and after gathering together many Varangians, they established their domination over the country of the Polianians at the same tiine that Rurik was ruling at Novgorod.

863-866 (6371-6374) Oskold and Dir attacked the Greeks during the fourteenth year of the reign of the Emperor Michael. When the emperor had set forth against the Saracens and had arrived at the Black River, the eparch sent him word that the Russians were approaching Constantinople, and the emperor turned back. Upon arriving inside the strait, the Russians made a great massacre of the Christians, and attacked Constantinople in two hundred boats. The emperor succeeded with difficulty in entering the city. The people prayed all night with the Patriarch Photius at the Church of the Holy Virgin in Blachemae. They also sang hymns and carried the sacred vestment of the Virgin to dip it in the sea. The weather was still, and the sea was cahn, but a storm of wind came up, and when great waves straightway rose, confusing the boats of the godless Russians, it threw them upon the shore and broke them up, so that few escaped such destruction. The survivors then returned to heir native land.

Source: The Russian Primary Chronicle

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