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The cataclasmic eruption from Scandinavia, which remodelled so much of Europe from England to Sicily, transformed the face of the Russian land. As in England, in France, in Italy and in the Eastern Empire these alien elements were quickly absorbed into the native population; they were few, but they established dynasties. In Western Europe the Northmen founded chivalry; they came as buccaneers, and stayed to virilise and enrich.

In Russia it might be said that they came with a sword in the right hand and the merchants' scales in the left. The incursions began in the ninth century; the Northmen hired out their military services to the market cities on the Dněpr which the Kagans (probably pressed in the rear by the Pečenegs (Πετζανικῖται) could no longer protect. Out of these cities the Northmen carved principalities for themselves. They came as armed merchants.

In this part of the Continent they were called Vaerings; in Russian Варягъ in Greek Βάραγγοι. As the Varangian guards of Constantinople, they afterwards became the mainstay of the state.

In the early chronicles of Russia, all of their names are still pure Scandinavian: Thorvardr Труворъ, Hrörekr Рюрикъ, Helgi Олегъ, Ingvar Ингварь or Игорь, Höskuldr Оскольдъ, Dyri Диръ, Sikniutr Синеусъ, Rognvaldr Рогволодъ, etc. In Slav Russia, where the land was fat, but there was no good governance, these princes invaders became

p. ix

the kings, konungar, or in the Slav form князи. The land which until then had no name was then called Russia, Русь after the word Rus, with which the Finns (who then peopled all central Russia) formerly designated the Scandinavians, and to this day designate the Swedes.

In establishing their own sovereignty, these new rulers released Russia from subservience to the Asiatic Khozars. Their descendants were to have the ceaseless task of beating off the successive swarms from Turania.

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