April 09, 2008

Russian History: Origins

SarahK likes Russian History, so here is a tidbit.

Imperial Russia long accepted 862 as the birth of the state. Before that, Russia was a bunch of tribes and marauders and so forth roaming around the countryside. After that, it was actually pretty much the same for awhile. But in 862, the first imperial dynasty was established in Novgorod.

And what totally awesome Russian started it all, you might ask?

Well, as the story goes, a Viking named Ryurik took the first step towards building a mighty Soviet Emp--wait. Viking?!

Vikings aren't Russian!

Yes, well. There is a little controversy about the ethnic origins of the Ryurikids. According to the Russian Chronicle of the 1100s, the locals invited the Viking Ryurik to rule over them and protect them from Huns and the like.

According to later (*cough*Communist*cough*) Russian histories, this is a pack of lies! Russians didn't need any Nordic riffraff to take care of business.

So. What is the truth of the matter? Well, the first Russian princes had Scandinavian names. So they were probably Vikings.

But. Very few Nordic words made it into Old Russian, and not much else culturally seems to have been borrowed from the Scandinavians, either. So if the princes were Vikings, they adopted their new languages and cultures pretty completely.

Today, genetic testing is attempting to answer the question, and thus far it looks like Ryurik came from...(drumroll)...Sweden!

(Reference: Ronald Hingley's Russia. Also see: Ancestry.com.)

Posted by Jennifer at April 9, 2008 05:11 PM | TrackBack



Yep. That's the extent of my contribution to society; skeevy dick jokes.

Posted by: shank at April 10, 2008 08:26 AM

Thank you!

I had no idea (I'm just gonna make that my standard comment around these parts, because I never have any idea before you inform me. History and I have never gone together.).

Posted by: sarahk at April 10, 2008 12:44 PM

It's probably a good thing, Sarah. I hear that Ethel is the jealous type.

Posted by: Pete at April 10, 2008 07:09 PM

Actually Shank, skeevy would be a step up for you.

Posted by: Pete at April 10, 2008 07:10 PM