2007/01/11

Russian history 8: Results achieved by the Varangian kings

We have seen that the most important goals of the Varangian kings were:

  • to unite the Slavic tribes;
  • to establish trade routes and to secure them;
  • to protect Russia from outside enemies.

The goods, received as a tribute, were transported to Kiev in spring. The Kievan rulers used these large quantities of goods to trade with Byzantians. Every spring, large caravans of boats gathered in Kiev. Such boat (ladya in Russian or monoxyle in Greek) carried thousands of kilograms of cargo and 40-50 crewmen. Going down the Dnieper, they reached the cataracts, took the cargo and slaves to the dry land and carried them around the dangerous place. While some people carried the cargo, others stood on guard to ward off possible attacks of Pechenegs. The unloaded ladyas passed the cataracts. Having reached the Black Sea, they went to the West, following the Bulgarian banks. When they came to Constantinople, they settled in the suburb called St. Mama and lived there for six months or more. Russian merchants and ambassadors received food from Byzantian stores for free. No more than 50 people were allowed to enter the city itself. So, it was a kind of a Russian fair in the suburbs of Constantinople.

It should be clear now why Oleg named Kiev "the mother of the Russian cities" and why Kiev achieved such prominent position. Kiev was the southernmost Russian city and it served as the main store of the exported goods and the primary market for the imported goods. Kiev was the trade centre of the whole country.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am pleased to comment on the professional and scholarly effort that has been demonstrated by the author and wish much continued success.

LW Jensen
Captain (R) USA
5th US Cavalry

'Blackknights'

Dmitri Minaev said...

Thank you, Captain.