Rus'-Byzantine Treaty (911)

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Rus-Byzantine Treaties

The Rus'-Byzantine Treaty of 911 is the most comprehensive and detailed treaty concluded between the Byzantine Empire and Kievan Rus in the 10th century. It was preceded by the preliminary Rus'-Byzantine Treaty (907).

The text of the document, incorporated into the Primary Chronicle, has many affinities in content and phrasing with the trade treaties later concluded by Byzantium with the merchant republics of Italy. It was composed in two languages and signed personally by Emperor Leo VI. The text also includes speeches of the parties on the occasion. No treaties of comparable complexity and antiquity are known among the other barbarian societies of Europe.

The treaty opens with a lengthy enumeration of the Rus' envoys, whose names are exclusively Norse. The articles 3 to 7 regulate criminal law and the life of the Rus' colony at Constantinople. There is also a proviso on inheritance of a Rus' merchant who died in the imperial capital. The article 8 is dedicated to maritime law. The following articles enlarge on ransom of captives, exchange of criminals, and the status of the Rus' mercenaries on Byzantine service.

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Rus'-Byzantine Treaty (911)

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