Russian Interaction with England

Kievan Period

Another work-in-progress
Updated 11 July 2008

9th Century:


10th Century:

    During his unruly youth, Vladimir I the Great had multiple wives.
    In 988, after taking the town of Chersonesos in Crimea, Vladimir I negotiated for the hand of the emperor Basil II's sister, Anna Porphyrogeneta. Vladimir was baptized at Cherson, taking the Christian name of Basil out of compliment to his imperial brother-in-law; the sacrament was followed by his wedding with Anna. [Wikipedia]
    Anna died four years before Vladimir, yet Thietmar of Merseburg, writing from contemporary accounts, mentions that Boleslaw I of Poland captured Vladimir's widow during his raid on Kiev in 1018. The emigre historian Nicholas Baumgarten referred to the controversial record of the "Genealogia Welforum" and the "Historia Welforum Weingartensis" that one daughter of Count Kuno von Oenningen (future Duke Konrad of Swabia) by "filia Ottonis Magni imperatoris" (Otto the Great's daughter; possibly Rechlinda Otona [Regelindis], claimed by some as illegitimate daughter and by others legitimate, born from his first marriage with Edith of Wessex) married "rex Rugorum" (king of Russia). He interpreted this evidence as pertaining to Vladimir's last wife. It may be that the only child of this alliance was Dobronega, or Maria, who married Casimir I of Poland between 1038 and 1042. Some sources claimed Agatha, the wife of Edward the Exile of England, was another daughter of this marriage and full-sister of Dobronegra. Their marriage took place about the same time of Dobronegra's wedding (the date of birth of her first child support this) so perhaps this was double wedding of sisters. This would help resolve the question about the conection between Agatha and the Holy Roman Empire claimed by several medieval sources. [Wikipedia]

11th Century:
    1034 AD Haraldr Sigurdarson arrives with Varangian detachment via Kyiv to Constantinople. [Jelisavcic]

    1037 AD Period of Rus-Byzantine cooperation, Yaroslav and Emperor in military alliance against nomads, Rus maintains base at Tmutorakhan. [Jelisavcic]

    1038-41 AD Haraldr leads Varangians in Byzantine army campaign to Sicily and Italy.[Jelisavcic]

    1042 AD Haraldr departs Constantinople, marries Elizabeta Yaroslavna in Kyiv and returns to be king of Norway.[Jelisavcic]

    1042-55 AD Constantine IX, Monomachos, Byzantine emperor, continual war with Normans in Italy, sends Varangians. [Jelisavcic]

    1043 AD Yaroslav the Wise sends last Rus naval campaign against Byzantium, unsuccessful. [Jelisavcic]

    Yaroslav married three of his daughters to foreign princes who lived in exile at his court: Elizabeth to Harald III of Norway (who won her hand by his military exploits in the Byzantine Empire); Anastasia to the future Andrew I of Hungary, and Anne of Kiev married Henry I of France and was the regent of France during their son's minority. Another daughter may have been the Agatha who married Edward the Exile, heir to the throne of England and was the mother of Edgar Ætheling and St. Margaret of Scotland. [Wikipedia]

    1048 AD Varangians and Normans sent to fight Seljuk Sultan Toghrul in Asia Minor, defend Manzikert. [Jelisavcic]

    1056-57 AD Michael VI, Stratioticus, Byzantine emperor, revolt led by Katakalon Cecaumenos in name of Isaac Comnenus, Varangians on both sides, Isaac's Varangians will battle at Petroe on 20 May 1057 [Jelisavcic]

    1060 AD First campaign of Rus prince's druzhina against Torks, led by Vsyevolod Yaroslavich [Jelisavcic]

    1065-6AD Varangians defend Otranto and Bari in Byzantine Italy against Normans, capture Taranto and Brindisi. Fight Robert Guiscard in naval battle off Brindisi [Jelisavcic]

    1071 AD Great Seljuk Turk victory destroys Byzantine Army at Manzikert, Varangian guard die defending emperor Romanos IV. [Jelisavcic]

    1071 AD Byzantine catepan Stephen Pateranos surrenders Brindisi and Bari to Normans, some Varangians depart or settle there. [Jelisavcic]

    According to the Saga of Edward the Confessor, a large group of Anglo-Saxon lords left England after the Norman Conquest. After ingratiating themselves to the Byzantine Emperor he offered them membership in the Varangian Guard, however, they said they preferred to rule their own lands rather than serve as body guards, so they were granted permission to retake lands lost to his predecessor. [Jelisavcic]

    1078-81 AD After Michael deposed, Nicephorus III, Botaniates, Byzantine emperor, by now many Saxons entering Varangian Guard. [Jelisavcic]

    1080 - factory of merchants from Gotland (Sweden) established in Novgorod around St. Olaf's church. [Chronicle of Hanse]

    1082 AD Trade monopoly through Byzantine empire held by Venice in exchange for aid against Norman Robert Guiscard, St Mark church receives tribute. Venice allowed into Black Sea. Guiscard defeats Alexis on 18 Oct. and most of Varangian Guard killed in battle. [Jelisavcic]

    1083 AD Oleg Svyatoslavich returns from Rhodes to Tmutorakhan, rules there 10 years and then moves to rule Chernigiv when Polovtsi take Taman region. [Jelisavcic]

    1094 AD After this time no mention of Tmutorakhan as Polovtsi and Venice have trade control, Rus connection with Chernosesus broken, Sudak increasing as major Polovtsi city - also last mention of Khazars in Rus chronicles. [Jelisavcic]

    Vladimir Monomakh, son of Vsevolod I and a Byzantine princess, married Gytha of Wessex, daughter of Harold Godwinson. She died in Palestine around 1098, possibly following Godfrey of Bouillon in the first Crusade. [Wikipedia]
    Vladimir's sister, Eupraxia married Henry the Long, Markgraf of Nordmark. [Wikipedia]
    Eupraxia then married the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV, taking the name Adelheid. [Wikipedia]

12th Century:
    1100 AD Norsemen from Norway on crusade return via Constantinople and Russia [Jelisavcic]

    Mstislav I was the eldest son of Vladimir II Monomakh by Gytha of Wessex. He figures prominently in the Norse Sagas under the name Harald, taken to allude to his grandfather, Harold II of England. [Wikipedia]

    1122 AD Byzantine emperor John II uses Varangian guard to crush Pecheneg in Battle of Beroe. [Jelisavcic]

    1142 - Foreign traders noticed in Novgorod. [Michell]

    1149 AD Byzantine Varangians attack Roger of Sicily at Thebes in Greece, where Roger has been campaigning since 1147. [Jelisavcic]

13th Century:

    1204 AD Fourth Crusade takes Constantinople - establish Frankish empire - Venice by alliance receives major share of spoils, merchants favored in Black Sea trade, Venice controls Dardanelles and Adriatic and Crete. [Jelisavcic]

    1220-1460 - The growth of the Hanse trade was aided by the business acument of the German merchants, but also the troubles with the Lithuanians, Tartars, and Teutonic knights. Merchants from Brunswick, Dortmund, Duisburg, Magdeburg, Munster, etc. were represented in the Novgorod Hanse. And even medieval Russians sometimes venture far overland to reach customers. [Michell]

    1245 AD John of Plano Carpini begins journey as Papal envoy to Mongol khan at Qaraqorum - Daniil of Galicia goes to Sarai to obtain yarlik and avoid a Mongol governor going to Galicia. Batu confirms Daniil Romanovich as Prince of Galicia and Volynia.[Jelisavcic]

    Italian Friar John Pian de Carpine traveled through the Rus lands on his way to the Court of Kuyuk Khan as the envoy of Pope Innocent IV. He speaks of the generous hospitality he received from Lord Vassilko who provided him escorts through the Rus lands, the ambassadors from "Ruscia" to the Tatars, frequent trips of the Rus leaders to the khan, translating the Pope's letters into "Ruthenian" in addition to Saracen and Tartar, the presence of Duke Ieroslav of Susdal at the khan's court and his later death there, the assistance of a certain goldsmith Ruthenian named Cosmas, the presence of other Ruthenians in the khan's service as clerks some for as long as thirty years, the khan's friendliness toward Christianity, Friar John's attempt to get the Rus to submit to the Pope, and ambassadors from the Rus to the Pope. [Rockhill]

    1246 AD John de Plano Carpini passes through Ukraine but not Crimea on way to Sarai. [Jelisavcic]

    1253, 21 May Friar William de Rubriquis passes through Sudak on his way from Acre to Sarai and Mongolia. He describes it as major trade center, and discusses Crimea in general. He notes that he met there some of the same merchants he had met in Constantinople. (Did these include Venetians?) [Jelisavcic]

    William of Rubruck traveled among the Mongols from 1253-55. His account mentions merchants from Roscia coming to Cherson. The Mongols receive from Ruscia costly furs of many kinds. William crossed the river Tanias (Don) at a village of Ruthenians that had been established by Batu and Sartach to ferry envoys and merchants to the Mongols. These Ruthenians gave William food, including a fresh eel-pout, rye bread, a little meat, and dried fish. William was afraid of the Mongol's slaves, including Ruthenians, Hungarians and Alans, "of whom there are very great numbers among them" because they would band together as robbers at night. On the Etilia River (Volga?) the Tartars made a new village with a mixed population of Ruthenians and Saracens to ferry envoys across. He speaks of a woman from Metz in Lorraine named Paquette who belonged to the ordu of the khan's Christian wife and who was married to a young Ruthenian husband who knew how to make houses. At Easter a great number of Christians came to him, including Ruthenians, all of whom had not seen the sacrament since their capture. They confessed to theft, excusing themselves because their masters did not provide enough to survive, and of being obliged to go to wars as soldiers of the khan. He said there was one church of Christians in Karakorum. [Rockhill]

    1259-61 AD Michael VIII, Paleologus, Byzantine emperor at Nicea (at Constantinople until 1282) has Englishmen Varangian guard. [Jelisavcic]

14th Century:

    1329 AD King John of Bohemia Crusade. Prussia at war with Poles and Lithuanians. English knights are serving as temporary help to Teutonic Order in Lithuania from 1329 to 1408. [Jelisavcic]

15th Century:

    1413 - Visit of Guillibert de Lannoy to Russia. [Michell]

16th Century:
    Ivan formed new trading connections, opening up the White Sea and the port of Arkhangelsk to the Muscovy Company of English merchants. [Wikipedia]
    1533-84 AD Ivan IV Vasil'yevich, Tsar of all Russias (his mother, Elena Glinskaya regent until 1538, then Vasilii Shuiskii regent for a year, then Ivan Bel'skii). [Jelisavcic]

    Boris Feodorovich Godunov was the most famous member of an ancient Russian family of Tatar origin, which migrated from the Horde to Kostroma in the early 14th century. Godunov's career of service began at the court of Ivan the Terrible.

    As regent and tsar, his policy was generally pacific, but prudent.
    Godunov encouraged English merchants to trade with Russia by exempting them from tolls. [Wikipedia]
    He saw the need for Russia to catch up to the intellectual progress of the West and was the first tsar to import foreign teachers on a great scale, the first to send young Russians abroad to be educated, the first to allow Lutheran churches to be built in Russia. Having won the Russo–Swedish War (1590–1595), he felt the necessity of a Baltic seaboard, and attempted to obtain Livonia by diplomatic means. He cultivated friendly relations with the Scandinavians, in order to intermarry if possible with foreign royal houses, so as to increase the dignity of his own dynasty. [Wikipedia]

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