Who were the Rus Viking's?


As a generalization Viking's are portrayed as marauding pirates who love raping, pillaging and mead. Yes they did do those acts, but they also traded with other cultures and built the infrastructure of some of the most beautiful and metropolitan cities of the old world.{I have listed a few cities that began life as a viking settlement}. The Viking's did take prisoners and sell them into slavery, but in the same time most other societies had similar practices.

The Viking's were not technically a single race, they had their origins in a Germanic culture. But if you were to visit a Viking town in 900 A.D the inhabitants would be ethnically mixed and so would the make up of their family units. The Viking's took opportunity were they saw it, unfortunately for some the land may have already been occupied.


A Rus Viking outpost
A Rus Viking outpost


The Rus Vikings were the Swedish raiders and traders who settled deep into modern Estonia, Ukraine and Russia. The superior seamanship of the Swedish settlers allowed their ships to navigate the Volga river to travel deep within the lands of the Central and Eastern European peoples. The Rus Viking legend tells us that the Finn and Slavic peoples initially resisted the Rus Viking incursions.

The Finns and the Slav's decided that the Rus Vikings could prove useful in maintaining order of their lands. They decided to ask three brothers who were noble princes to come to their plentiful lands to keep order and rule justly over all the peoples of the lands.


The Viking Dragon boats were highly adaptable in River's, Streams and Sea's.
The Viking Dragon boats were highly adaptable in River's, Streams and Sea's.

Rus Viking trade routes

show route and directions
A markerNovgorod -
[get directions]

A major Rus Viking settlement

B markerKiev -
[get directions]

Rus Trader's laid the foundations for the future city in the Dark Age's

C markerStockholm -
[get directions]

Many Swede's left their homeland for adventure and riches in the East.

D markerIstanbul -
[get directions]

The site of the former Capital of the Byzantine Empire


The Rus Viking's originally came into their lands to trade with the native tribes, as soon as trade developed thriving market towns and ports burst into life. The Swedish settlers initially built fortifications to protect their trading posts. This was a new experience for many of the new settlers,as mainland Sweden had geographical protection from its off shore islands. The towns of Novgorod and Kiev grew rich on the back of trade between the Rus Vikings and traders from the lucrative Black Sea and Eastern European markets.



From the secure Viking settlements, the Rus stretched out deeper into Eastern Europe to trade. The Rus Viking's were full of ambition and the expansion eastwards would guarantee many of the Rus Viking's their fortunes. The Rus Viking's arrived in Constantinople in 838 A.D, They claimed friendship with the Emperor and told him of their Swedish heritage. It is believed that the Greek speaking Byzantines gave the Swedish Viking's their name Rus. It is derived from the Greek word "Rusiori " which was ancient Greek for Blond. It is entirely likely that all the Rus Viking's would be of Nordic descent.

Cities of Viking Origin

  • Dublin, Republic of Ireland
  • Kiev, Ukraine
  • Novgorod, Ukraine
  • Cork, Republic of Ireland


There was a considerable amount of trade between the Rus and the Byzantine Empire. The Viking's traded furs and captured slaves in return for silks and other luxury goods Constantinople had to offer. Silk was highly desired by the Viking's as they had never seen silk before. Some Rus Vikings had tried to raid Constantinople, but never with any real conviction. To assault a city of Constantinople's size would have been a massive undertaking. Instead the Rus Viking's decided to raid the Monastery of Trebinthos on Princes islands, they used exactly the same tactics as what similar Viking's used when raiding the monastery at Lindisfarne Island.

By 941 A.D The Rus Viking's and Byzantine Empire had decided that continued trade and peace would be preferred as it was a good profitable arrangement. The Byzantine Emperor even had Rus Viking's in his own personal bodyguard. The Rus warrior's were highly valued as their military prowess and bravery was legendary. After the Norman Conquest in Great Britain, these numbers were diminished due to an influx of cheaper Anglo-Saxon exiles.



The Rus Viking's inter married and interbred with the Slavic population and by the year 1000 AD the children of the Swedish traders had become as Slavic as the general populace. Although still of Viking descent, the Rus Viking's would eventually forsake their pagan roots and convert to Christianity. The original Rus continued to move on into Asia and there are reports of Rus Viking's been used as a mercenary force by the Muslim world.

The Rus visited Baghdad and traded White slaves for Silver as the Muslim world had a vast amount to trade with. The Rus Viking's had a good trading arrangement with the Muslim world and there was only one major sea battle which the Viking's lost. The Rus left their legacy in the name Russia, and they explored deep into were other Europeans dared not tread.


More by this Author


Comments 3 comments

Asp52 profile image

Asp52 22 months ago from England Author

Thank you for the kind comment. I am glad this article was of use to you.


seraphic profile image

seraphic 22 months ago from Canada

I am exploring migration paths of the Sami and this is very interesting to explore! Thanks for sharing your knowledge!


Yana 6 years ago

Historically Slavonic king invited his grandson Rurik to reign after him.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working