Where Did The Rurikovichs Come From

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Where Did The Rurikovichs Come From
Where Did The Rurikovichs Come From

Video: Where Did The Rurikovichs Come From

Video: Where Did The Rurikovichs Come From
Video: Where did Russia come from? - Alex Gendler 2023, October

The Rurik dynasty occupied the Russian princely, grand-ducal, and then the royal throne for more than seven centuries - from 862 to 1598. The founder of the dynasty was the semi-genital prince of Novgorod Rurik, whose origin remains the subject of disputes between historians.

Rurik as presented by the artist I. Glazunov
Rurik as presented by the artist I. Glazunov

The main source of information about the founder of the Rurik dynasty is The Tale of Bygone Years, written in the 12th century, the oldest Russian chronicle known to scientists.

According to the chronicle and later sources, strife began among the Slavic tribes (Ilmen Slovenes, Krivichi) and Finnish (all, chud). Later sources associate this with the death of the Novgorod prince Gostomysl, but nothing is said about him at all in The Tale of Bygone Years.

To end the strife, it was decided to summon the prince from across the sea - from the "Varangians-Rus", this summoned prince became Rurik. According to the Joachim Chronicle, he was the son of Umila, the daughter of Gostomysl.

Discussion is the question of what people can be identified with "Varangians-Rus", from which came Rurik.

Norman theory

German historians G. F. Miller and G. Z. Bayer, who worked in Russia in the 18th century, identified the Varangians with the Normans. There were certain grounds for such an identification. The names of some representatives of the Varangians listed in the annals are clearly of Scandinavian origin: Askold (possibly Heskuld), Dir (Tyur), Oleg (Helgi), Igor (Ingvar). Arab historians (in particular, Ibn Faldan) call the Normans "Rus", the same can be said about Byzantine sources.

The mention of Rurik's brothers, Sineus and Truvor, is also important. Supporters of the Norman theory believe that this is an erroneous interpretation by the chronicler of the ancient Swedish phrase "sine khus truvor" - "with a house and a retinue." This reading is also supported by the fact that the existence of the Rurik brothers with such names is not confirmed by the facts.


One of the first to question the Norman theory was M. V. Lomonosov. She also has many opponents among modern historians.

The Norman theory is perplexing to those who are well acquainted with Old Norse literature. She retained a lot of evidence of contacts with Russia, which were very close. Snorri Sturlusson's "Circle of the Earth" tells how the future Norwegian king Olaf the Saint was brought up at the court of Prince Yaroslav the Wise. Another king - Harald the Harsh - in "Visah of Joy" glorifies his love for his young wife - the daughter of Yaroslav the Wise. There is evidence of trade ties (for example, the mention of the hero's "Russian cap" in the Icelandic "Saga of Gisli"), and even in the "Elder Edda" a certain Yaritsleiv (Yaroslav) is mentioned. Against the background of such abundance, the complete absence of any mention of the Norman leader who became the Russian prince looks strange. Old Scandinavian sources do not know Rurik, and this suggests that he could not be normal.

The Normans could not bring the tradition of statehood to Russia also because they themselves did not possess it: in the epoch being described, they were at the same stage of social development as the Slavs.

The adherents of anti-Normanism identify the Varangians either with the glades (an East Slavic tribal union) or with the Western Slavs-cheers.

Thus, today it is impossible to give an unambiguous answer to the question of the origin of the founder of the Rurik dynasty.