The history of the Russian state goes back many centuries. But the very name "Rus" was formed relatively late. At the beginning of the 10th century, in the agreement concluded between Byzantium and the Russian prince Oleg, not only the country, but also the inhabitants of the young state of the Eastern Slavs was called "Rus". Is it possible to reconstruct the history of the origin of the name "Rus"?
Where did the name of Rus come from?
The opinions of researchers on the question of the origin of the name of Rus at all times differed. This name was attributed to mermaids, dew, light brown hair, a river called Ros, and even to the name of the island of Rügen, located in the Baltic Sea.
On the territory from the Baltic to the Black Sea, many words and names are still found and used, which, if desired, can be associated with Russia.
The most authoritative authors, when considering this issue, build a chain of logical reasoning using a historical monument known as the Tale of Bygone Years. The chroniclers, describing the peoples living on the territory of the future Russia, distinguished three categories according to the sound of their names.
The first category - Drevlyans, Polyana, Slovenia. The second - Dregovichi, Radimichi, Krivichi. Both categories originally belonged to the Slavic tribes. Some peoples assigned to the third group had monosyllabic names ending in a soft sign: sum, chud, vod. This was the name given to the peoples who lived in the northern part of the country and spoke dialects close to the modern Finnish language. The word "rus" has an outward resemblance to the third category.
Historical roots of the name "Rus"
The corresponding analogies were also found. From antiquity to this day, the Swedes and their country in Finland have been called the word "ruotsi". This word, as linguists assume, originated from the Scandinavian verb “row, swim”. The inhabitants of Scandinavia have long been known as excellent sailors and skillful rowers. According to the laws of the language "Ruotsi" gradually turned into "Rus".
According to this hypothesis, the ancient Slavs originally called the Scandinavian warriors, the Vikings, by the word "rus". The Scandinavian detachments were often hired to serve in the Slavic principalities, forming squads subordinate to the prince. Gradually, the name "rus" was transferred to these military formations. But the squads also included Slavic soldiers. Therefore, over time, they began to call the entire army as a whole, as well as the vast territory that was controlled by the princely power.
In fact, the name of the ruling group in the state has become the name of the country - Russia.
Not all researchers support the opinion that the word "Rus" comes from the Scandinavian term "row". And yet, such a hypothesis is in good agreement with both the watery expanses of the Russian state and with historical sources: the monk Nestor in his chronicle directly indicated that the Russian land was led from the Varangians, who were called "Rus".