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      • Boris, the elder, who was already married and ruled the town of Rostov, was probably regarded as heir apparent to the Kievan throne. Gleb, who was still a minor, ruled the easternmost town of Murom. Both brothers were murdered during the internecine wars of 1015–1019., the elder, who was already married and,were murdered during the internecine wars of 1015–1019.
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    • Overview
    • Origins
    • Sources
    • Prelude
    • Story
    • Aftermath
    • Archaeology
    • Death
    • Reign
    • Retirement
    • Results
    • Religion
    • Legacy
    • In fiction
    • Significance

    Kievan Rus (862-1242 CE) was a medieval political federation located in modern-day Belarus, Ukraine, and part of Russia (the latter named for the Rus, a Scandinavian people). The name Kievan Rus is a modern-day (19th century CE) designation but has the same meaning as `land of the Rus, which is how the region was referred to in the Middle Ages. The Rus ruled from the city of Kiev and so `Kievan Rus simply meant the lands of the Rus of Kiev.

    The Rus are first mentioned in the Annals of Saint-Bertin which records their presence in a diplomatic mission from Constantinople to the court of Louis the Pious (r. 814-840 CE) in 839 CE. The annals claim they were Swedes, and this is possible, but their ethnicity has never been firmly established. The story of the arrival of the Rus in the east is first told in the Primary Chronicle (also known as the Tale of Bygone Years, c. 12th century CE) of Russia. This work relates how the people of the land invited the Rus (identified as Scandinavian Vikings) to rule and maintain order in their country in the mid-9th century CE. Three brothers, including one named Rurik, accepted the invitation and founded the Rurik Dynasty which would last for over 700 years.

    This version of events is supported in the present day by historians who are labeled `Normanists (those who accept a Norse origin for the Rurikid Dynasty) and is challenged by so-called `Anti-Normanists who argue for a Slavic origin of Russia and the other states. The Normanist claims are presently considered more valid and it is generally accepted that the Norse leader Rurik (r. 862-879 CE) founded the dynasty which would endure, in an unbroken line, through the reign of Ivan IV, first Tsar of Russia (r. 1547-1584 CE) also known as Ivan the Terrible.

    The state of Kievan Rus fell to the Mongols between 1237-1242 CE, breaking the region in pieces which eventually developed into the modern states of Belarus, Russia, and the Ukraine.

    The work begins by claiming that, after the biblical Great Flood, the sons of Noah (Ham, Shem, and Japeth) divided the world between them and Japeth received the region of Kievan Rus as part of his allotment. What Japeth did to establish order in his lands is not mentioned but the Chronicle relates that the people fought with each other and eventually were subjugated by the Khazars of Central Asia (Turkey) and the Varangians (Vikings) of Scandinavia.

    The Slavs of the region were forced to pay tribute to the Khazars and the Varangians until they drove the Varangians out but maintained the relationship with the Khazars. Afterwards, however, they found that they could not govern themselves and the tribute paid to the Khazars was too great. Even though they had been tired of paying the Varangians, they recognized that life may have been better under their protection. The Chronicle states: The surviving Drevlians took refuge in the city of Iskorosten, where Igor had been killed, and Olga lay siege to it. When she could not take it, she said she would impose the lightest terms of surrender on the city and asked only for three pigeons and three sparrows from each home. These were quickly given and she had her soldiers attach a piece of hot sulphur by a thread to the birds and then release them to return to their nests in the city. These nests in the eaves of houses, and coops, and elsewhere all caught fire at once and Iskorosten was consumed. Olga killed or sold into slavery most of the survivors but spared others so they could continue to pay tribute.

    Corroboration for Scandinavian settlements in these areas comes from physical evidence unearthed in archaeological digs. In c. 750 CE a settlement was established at Staraja Ladoga near the Volkhov River; the first Scandinavian village in the region. Scholar Thomas S. Noonan writes: The evidence further suggests that Ladoga became a seasonal settlement later or, at least, the population fluctuated which is in line with the Chronicles narrative of the Slavs ejecting the Varangians and then inviting them back. Norse artifacts have also been found at Novgorod and the other sites mentioned in the Chronicle.

    In Novgorod, Rurik died of natural causes and entrusted his young son Igor to the care of his kinsman Oleg (also known as Oleg of Novgorod, and Oleg the Prophet, r. 879-912 CE) who succeeded him. Oleg began a series of military campaigns from Novgorod, conquering and consolidating the surrounding lands. He came at last to Kiev and saw how Askold and Dir were amassing enormous wealth through raids.

    He tricked them both into coming out of the city, killed them, and took control of the region, moving the capital from Novgorod to Kiev at this time (c. 882 CE). Through negotiations and military strength, he convinced a number of tribes and settlements to stop paying tribute to the Khazars and pay him instead. By the time his reign ended, Oleg had vastly expanded Rus control of the region and filled Kievs treasury. Although he may have initially agreed to convert simply to form an alliance, Vladimir quickly embraced Christianitys best values. He made provision for the poor of his kingdom and made himself personally available to help anyone, no matter their social status. He founded schools to encourage literacy and improved the lives of his people in every respect. Trade flourished and the economy boomed under Vladimir who also founded cities and built numerous churches. Vladimir was succeeded by Sviatopolk I (r. 1015-1019 CE) known as the Accursed for murdering three of Vladimirs sons (including Boris and Gleb, who were later made saints) after coming to power. Sviatopolk I may have been Vladimirs eldest son but this is unclear. His reign was undistinguished and he was deposed by another of Vladimirs sons, Yaroslav I (c. 1019-1054 CE), known as Yaroslav the Wise. Yaroslav I was the last great monarch of Kievan Rus. He married Ingegerd Olofsdotter (c. 1001-1050 CE), daughter of Olof Skotkonung (r. c. 995-1022 CE), King of Sweden, and later forged important alliances through the marriages of his children to those of other nations. He also reformed the laws, brokered important treaties with Constantinople, and secured his borders from invasions by the nomadic Pechenegs of Turkey. In keeping with the tradition of a Rus king as a warrior, he led a number of successful military campaigns and elevated Kievan Rus to its cultural and economic height. Around 1037 CE, he began construction of St. Sophias Cathedral in Novgorod, still among the most impressive medieval churches in the world; its opulence is evidence of the grandeur of Yaroslav Is reign.

    Olga abdicated in favor of Sviatoslav I in c. 963 CE and retired to Kiev to spend the rest of her life in domestic duties. Sviatoslav I quickly began a course of military campaigns even greater than those of Oleg and Igor to expand his territory and control trade routes. He conquered Khazaria first, which had long been a rival power, and then the Volga Bulgars, the Alans, and the Danube Bulgars until he had more than tripled his kingdom in size.

    This pact resulted in the Christianization of Kievan Rus and the establishment of the Varangian Guard in the Byzantine Empire. Vladimir sent 6,000 Varangians to Basil II in Constantinople in c. 988 CE and these would become the elite bodyguard of Byzantine emperors and a formidable body of shock troops from that time until the beginning of the 14th century CE.

    Another version of Vladimirs conversion claims that he had lost faith in his pagan gods and sent emissaries to different nations to talk to the clergy about their religious beliefs and practices. After researching Christianity, Islam, and Judaism he selected Eastern Orthodox Christianity because of the beauty of the churches of Constantinople and there being no prohibition on alcohol or eating pork. This story was created (at some point in the 11th century CE) most likely to distance Vladimirs conversion from a simple marriage contract and emphasize his independence from foreign influences. Whatever the circumstances of his conversion, it had far-reaching effects as scholar Robert Ferguson notes:

    After his death, Kievan Rus splintered as his sons fought each other for power while other cities and principalities rose in revolt. The succeeding monarchs at Kiev were not strong enough to hold the kingdom together and separate, smaller, polities developed. The Northern Crusades, of the 12th century CE especially, toppled the Baltic region of the kingdom and the Fourth Crusade (1202-1204 CE) ruined trade through the sack of Constantinople, cutting off access to the traditional routes to Greece. By the time of the Mongol Invasion of 1237-1242 CE, Kievan Rus was not even remotely a united federation anymore and the separate states were easily taken.

    Kievan Rus is slated to be featured in Season 6 of the popular TV series Vikings through the recurring character of Oleg the Prophet (played by Russian actor Danila Kozlovsky). Precisely how the kingdom of the Rus will appear or what role it will play in the on-going drama is unknown but fan speculation suggests that the character of Bjorn Ironside (played by Canadian actor Alexander Ludwig) will travel there on one of his raids. Vikings regularly compresses or combines historical events so it is probable that Oleg the Prophet will be depicted as founding Kievan Rus.

    The inclusion of Kievan Rus is an important development in a show which consistently highlights the impact Viking raids and migration had on other cultures. Although the so-called Anti-Normanist historians continue to maintain that Norse influence in the Slavic regions was negligible, physical and literary evidence argues otherwise. The Varangian Rus who settled at Staraja Ladoga, Novgorod, and Kiev established one of the richest and most stable cultures of the time. The development of a national identity with a common religious faith under Rurikid monarchs like Vladimir the Great and Yaroslav I lay the foundation for the countries which would later emerge in the region.

    • Joshua J. Mark
  2. Boris and Gleb - Wikipedia

    Boris, the elder, who was already married and ruled the town of Rostov, was probably regarded as heir apparent to the Kievan throne. Gleb, who was still a minor, ruled the easternmost town of Murom. Both brothers were murdered during the internecine wars of 1015–1019.

  3. Boris (given name) - Wikipedia

    Boris, Borys or Barys is a male name of Bulgar origin. Nowadays, it is most widely represented in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovakia and Slovenia. Boris Boris I of Bulgaria GenderMale Origin Word/nameBulgar, Bulgarian MeaningWolf, Short, Snow Leopard, Famous Battle or Fame-Bright Region of originFirst Bulgarian Empire Other names Related namesBob, Bobby ru:Борис

    • Wolf, Short, Snow Leopard, Famous Battle (Borislav) or Fame-Bright (Robert)
    • Bulgar, Bulgarian
  4. Kievan Rus | Weapons and Warfare

    Nov 26, 2019 · Principalities of the later Kievan Rus (after the death of Yaroslav I in 1054). (the background map is a modern map of Europe showing current national boundaries, and modern artificial waterways and reservoirs in Russia) Grand Prince Vladimir approached the matter methodically.

  5. Nestor | Russian monk | Britannica

    Nestor wrote the lives of Saints Boris and Gleb, the sons of St. Vladimir of Rus, who were murdered in 1015, and the life of St. Nestor, a monk in Kievan Rus of the Monastery of the Caves in Kiev (from about 1074), author of several works of hagiography and an important historical chronicle.

  6. The foundation and establishment of the Kievan Rus’.

    In an attempt to consolidate his citizens, Olga’s grandson, Vladimir, introduced Christianity to the Kievan Rus’ between 988 and 990 — after discarding Islam and Judaism as unsuitable for his country. During the reign of prince Iaroslav from 1019 to 1054, the Kievan Rus’ reached its zenith.

  7. Princes of Kievan Rus 800 - 1263

    An excellent article has been published in The American Genealogist (TAG): Ryurik and the First Ryurikids, by Norman W. Ingham and Christian Ruffensperger, 82:1,2 (Jan, Apr 2007), p.1-13,111-119.

  8. Sviatoslav II of Kiev - Wikipedia

    Yaroslav the Wise, who divided the Kievan Rus' between his five sons in his testament, willed the Principality of Chernigov to Sviatoslav. Sviatoslav joined his brothers, Iziaslav of Kiev and Vsevolod of Pereyaslav , in forming a princely " triumvirate " that oversaw the affairs of Kievan Rus' until 1072.

  9. Russia: Timeline - HISTORY
    • Mongol Invasions. 862 : The first major East Slavic state, Kievan Rus, is founded and led by the Viking Oleg of Novgorod (although some historians dispute this account).
    • Romanov Dynasty. 1613 : After several years of unrest, famine, civil war and invasions, Mikhail Romanov is coronated as czar at age 16, ending a long period of instability.
    • Lenin, the Bolsheviks and Rise of the Soviet Union. Nov. 6-7, 1917: The violent Russian Revolution marks the end of the Romanov dynasty and Russian Imperial Rule, as the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, take power and eventually become the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
    • Gorbachev Introduces Reforms. March 11,1985: Mikhail Gorbachev is elected general secretary of the Communist Party, and, thus, effectively Russia’s leader.