Rus'-Byzantine Treaty (907)

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Rus-Byzantine Treaties

According to the Primary Chronicle, the first Rus'-Byzantine Treaty was concluded in 907 as a result of Oleg's raid against Tsargrad (see Rus'-Byzantine War (907) for details). Scholars generally consider this document as preliminary to the Rus'-Byzantine Treaty (911).

The text of the treaty, as preserved in the Kievan chronicle, opens with a list of signatories on the part of the Rus. They are all Norse. Kievan Rus figures in the text as a conglomeration of major urban centres: Kiev, Chernigov, Pereyaslav, Polotsk, Rostov, and Lyubech. Aleksey Shakhmatov commented that the list of the towns is arbitrary and that some of them may have been inserted by later scribes.

Most conspicuously, the treaty regulates the status of the colony of Rus' merchants in Constantinople. The text testifies that they settled in the quarter of Saint Mamas. The Rus' were to enter Constantinople through a certain gate, without weapons, accompanied by the imperial guard, not more than fifty people at a time. Upon their arrival, they were enregistered by the imperial authorities in order to be supplied with food and monthly alimentation in the space of half a year.

In the concluding lines of the treaty, the Byzantines kiss the cross, while the Rus swear by their arms, invoking their gods, Perun and Veles.

[edit] References

  • (Russian) Повесть временных лет, ч. 1—2, М.—Л., 1950.
  • (Russian) Памятники русского права, в. 1, сост. А. А. Зимин, М., 1952 (библ.).

Rus'-Byzantine Treaty (907)

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