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Stratum plus. 2014. No.5

F. Androshchuk (Stockholm, Sweden)

Rus’ and Byzantine Contacts of Scandinavia in 11th—14th Centuries

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Pages: 199-212

This paper deals with finds of Byzantine origin discovered on the territory of Northern Europe. The author challenges the idea that they should be viewed as evidence for Scandinavian contacts with Rus’ (especially the area of Novgorod), rather than Byzantium. The paper discusses the mediating role of Rus’ in the transmission of objects of Byzantine origin in Scandinavia. The presence and trade activity of the Novgorodians in Baltic and especially on Gotland is attested by written and archaeological evidence. However, their real impact on trade in Sigtuna was rather moderate. The distribution of Byzantine imports and objects originated from Southern Rus' in Sigtuna and Novgorod shows clear chronological differences and indicates alternative ways of their penetration to Sigtuna. Judging from the written sources the Scandinavians visited Byzantium as pilgrims and mercenaries in 11th and 12th century. Their visits were reflected in the distribution of Byzantine objects as well as the appearance of copies and imitations in local material culture. These items must be seen as evidence of syncretistic Christianity spread among the local population.

Keywords: Rus’, Scandinavia, Varangians, Novgorod trade, Byzantine influence

Information about author:

Fedir Androshchuk
(Stockholm, Sweden). Ph.D. Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul. P.K. 125 Beyoglu, Istanbul, TR-34433, Turkey
E-mail: [email protected]

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