Start page

Valentyn Stetsyuk (Lviv, Ukraine)

Personal web site


Anglo-Saxons at Sources of Russian Power

The title of this article is an extension of the title of a book published almost a hundred years ago by one of the Soviet historians which I heard about for the first time when the article was finished (PARKHOMENKO Vl.A. 1924). This counterpart seems surprising, but it is no coincidence. The origin of the Russian state has been of interest to historians for 250 years, and the well-known saying of M.N. Pokrovsky “history is a policy that has been overturned into the past” was well reflected in the “patriotic” study of this topic. Since there is no doubt that the Russian state originated in the bowels of Kievan Rus', the interest was connected precisely with the origin of this state formation, and the mystery of the rise of Moscow in it remained practically unattended. A long struggle against the Varangian sources of Rus' already ends with the triumph of the "Normanists" and the patriotic part of historians now has the opportunity to boldly accept with hostility the evidence of the Anglo-Saxon roots of Russian statehood. However, there are facts that give us evidence that wie es eigentlich gewesen war*, in what Leopold von Ranke saw the task of history. First of all, this is ancient toponymy, which in general, if historians use it by the way, is only where everything is clear without it. Where there are no other facts, divine decoding of geographical names is put at the base of far-fetched hypotheses. In our case, Anglo-Saxon toponymy was used to confirm the results obtained by a completely different method, but due to its large number, it became an additional argument.

The abundance of Anglo-Saxon place names on the territory of Russia is a big mystery since no obvious traces of Anglo-Saxons in any of the regions of the country have ever been witnessed by historical documents. Nevertheless, certain historical facts and information allow us to confidently talk about the presence of the Anglo-Saxons in the case when they are well consistent with the decoding of place names by means of the Old English language. Particularly convincing is the decoding of the name of the village Dydyldino, as part of the urban settlement Vidnoye in the Leninsky district of the Moscow Region using OE dead "dead", ielde "people". The meaning of the name "dead people" is in good agreement with the existence there of a place of burial of people from ancient times. Near the village, there are burial mounds of presumably Old Russian time. In the scribe books from 1627 in the village, there was a church in the name of Elijah the Prophet which decay was noted already at that time. According to legend, at the beginning of the XV century, a female monastery was founded here by the wife of Prince Dmitry Donskoy. At the church there is the Dydyldin cemetery currently known in Moscow, about which the following information was found:

Even at the time of the founder of the monastery, the Cathedral Ascension Church became the last resting place for female persons from the reigning family. In the cathedral were the graves of the Grand Duchesses, the wives of Tsar Ivan the Terrible, beginning from Anastasia Romanovna and ending with Maria Fedorovna – the mother of Tsarevich Dmitry, who was killed in the town of Uglich. Here were the tombs of the queens, the wives of the kings from the house of the Romanovs. The last burial is dated 1731. Then, niece of Peter the Great (daughter of the half-brother of Tsar Ivan Alekseevich) Praskovya Ivanovna was buried in it (Historical reference on the Official website of the administration of the urban settlement Vidnoye of the Leninsky municipal district)

The Anglo-Saxon origin of many place names in Eastern Europe is very transparent to people who speak English. Here are some examples: Berkovo, Burgovo, Wolfa, Goldino, Lindino, Fastov, Firstovo, Fishovo, and many others are less obvious. The highest density of Anglo-Saxon place names is observed on the territory of the former Vladimir-Suzdal principality and especially around Moscow (Ancient Anglo-Saxon Place Names in Continental Europe). From days of yore these places were inhabited by Finno-Ugric tribes, and the Slavs advanced here only at the end of the first millennium AD, but a hundred years later there arose the Rostov-Suzdal principality, which quickly seized the lead from Kyiv. The role of this principality in the history of the state creation of Russia is estimated very highly:

The special history of the Rostov-Suzdal land occupies a very prominent place in the general history of Russia and is very important for understanding our historical life.
In the land of Rostov-Suzdal, the youngest of the three tribes of our people, the Great Russian tribe, was formed and strengthened, consolidating and rallying the Russian land and creating the powerful Russian state. (KORSAKOV D., 1872, 1)

However, Russian historians, in particular, V.O. Klyuchevsky do not see a clear answer to the question on what ground has grown the new Upper Volga Rus (KLUCHEVSKIY V.O. 1956: 272). If we agree that the most ancient cities of this region were founded by the Anglo-Saxons, we must think that they laid the foundations of statehood here, uniting under their domination disparate native tribes, although during the heyday of the Vladimir-Suzdal principality they should have been completely assimilated by the local population, obviously, more numerous. To deal with this issue, it is first necessary to find out how the Anglo-Saxons, or rather their ancestors, could get to Central Russia.

The ancestral home of the Anglo-Saxons, defined by the the graphic-analytical method, was located in one of the ethno-producing areas of the Dnieper Basin, namely between the Teterev, Pripyat, and Sluch Rivers. In the process of the disintegration of the Proto-Germanic language, the initial English and Saxon dialects began to form there. Other Germanic peoples had their settlements nearby along the Pripyat River. And in the basin of the left tributaries of the Dnieper lived different Iranian tribes. It was four thousand years ago.

At left: The territory of the Germanic languages in II BC.

From their ancestral home, the Anglo-Saxons spread in different directions both along the banks of the Dnieper and to the west and east of them. According to toponymy, a part of the Anglo-Saxons, crossing the Dnieper, settled along the banks of its left tributaries Sozh and Desna, displacing the Iranians who lived there before.

These newcomers can be associated with the emergence of the Sosnitsky variant of Trzciniec culture, common to all Germanic tribes. At about the same time, the neighboring Upper Volga region was inhabited by tribes of the Reticulated Ware which basis on Gorodets and Diakovo cultures developed from the VII century BC till V century AD. Their creators were considered to be Finno-Ugric tribes of Ves', Merya, Muroma, Meshchera, and Mordvins (AVDUSIN D.A. 1977: 152-153).

From the area of the Sosnitsia culture, the Anglo-Saxons advanced southeastward and, approximately along the current Kharkiv-Rostov highway, entered the territory of the Donbas. There were rich deposits of copper ore in the vicinity of the city of Stakhanov developed since the Bronze Age. Taking control of the mining and processing of copper, the Anglo-Saxons achieved economic superiority and, accordingly, political dominance in the Northern Azov Sea. They headed a tribal alliance, known in history under the name Alans (in details see Alans – Angles – Saxons).

During the Great Migration of Nations, the Anglo-Saxons, fleeing the Hun invasion, migrated in search of free land for settlement. Some of them left together with other Germanic tribes for Western Europe, while the other part migrated towards the Upper Volga region, as evidenced by the place names of Central Russia, deciphered by the Old English language. Moving along the Oka River, the Anglo-Saxons were looking for convenient places and based there their fortified settlements, which eventually grew in large cities of their time, such as Ryazan and Murom. During long stays, the nearest terrain was recognized. Thus, half-open spaces were discovered in the Moscow region and in Zalesye ("behind the forest"), suitable for agriculture. The Anglo-Saxons, who have long since mastered farming in their former habitats in the Forest-Steppe, have found the habitual landscape and settled these regions, displacing the local Finnish population. Place names of the alleged Anglo-Saxon origin throughout Russia were found more than a hundred and fifty. Some of them may be random coincidences but in some cases, this probability can be negligible if the interpretation is confirmed by the features of the terrain or the semantic connection between the constituent parts of the name. In addition, the concentration of place names in a certain territory or their location in the form of a chain can say that at least some of them are decoded correctly. Among the most common names are: Markovo (97 settlements), Levkovo (25), Churilovo (24), Ryazanovo (22), Fatyanovo (18), Boldino (11), Burkovo (10). Their exact location is on the map Google, here only alleged decoding of the names are given.

Markovo – it seems to be the most common place-name of Russia. You can add to it Markino and the derivatives from them. One might think that they all occurred on behalf of a person, but such a name was not so popular in Russia for that the corresponding anthroponyms far surpassed others in number. For example, the anthroponym Matveyevo was found only 20 times, and from the most common name Ivan – only 60. Of course, some of the place names originate on behalf of Mark, but a little, the bulk of them can be compared with OE. mearc, mearca "border", "sign", "mark", "county", "designated space". Such meanings of words are well suited to the names of settlements and are phonetically flawless. It is significant that these place names fill the missing links in their chains and are generally distributed among other Anglo-Saxon ones.

Levkovo, Levkivka, Levkiv a.o. – OE. lēf «weak», cofa «hut, cabin».

Curilovo – there was not found any reliable interpretation of the toponym in Russian, allegedly originating out of the name Churilo, which itself has no explanation. The high prevalence of the place name suggests that it should be based on a commonly used word and such is proposed by OE.ceorl "a man, peasant, husband", which corresponds with Eng. churl. Phonetic correspondence of Russian and English words is good (alternating kč). We find the same alternation in the names of Chertanovo, Chertkovo, originating from the OE ceart "a wasteland, uncultivated public land" (on the contrary, the names of Kartmazovo, Kartino, etc. of the same origin kept k). Frequent use of the name of Churilovo and its derivatives may indicate that it was common for names of rural settlements assigned them by earls.

Ryazanovo – the name can be used partially by migrants from the Ryazan region, and the name Ryazan itself may have a Slavic origin, although there is no complete certainty about it. You can keep in mind the OE rāsian "to explore, investigate", which could be used during relocating people when one has to find a suitable place to stay.

Fatyanovo – OE. fatian «to get».

Boldino – OE bold "house, home" is good suitable by meaning and phonetically. So could be called the individual estates of landowners.

Burkovo – OE burg "borough".

Below is the map of Google with the marked assumed Anglo-Saxon place names in Central Russia and the most convincing explanations of some of them are given:

Anglo-Saxon place names in Eastern Europe

On the map, the most part of settlements of Anglo-Saxon origin are marked with dark-red points. The settlements of Markovo, Markino, and similar have purple color. Hydronyms are marked in blue.

The ancestral home of the Anglo-Saxons is colored red, blue is the territory of the Sosnica culture, the green is the territory of the Rostov-Suzdal principality. Sarmatia is marked in yellow.

Berkino, villages in Moscow and Ivanovo Regions, the village of Berkovo in Vladimir Region – OE berc «birch».

Bryansk (Bryn' in chronicle), an administrative center of a region – OE. bryne „fire”.

Farafonovoо, villages in Oryol and Novgorod Regions, in Udmurtia, a village Farafonovka in Tver Region – OE faran «drive, go», faru “journey”, fōn «take, begin, do something».

Firstovo, two villages in Nizhniy Novgorod Region and a village in Moscoq Region – OE fyrst «first».

Fundrikovo, a village in Nizhniy Novgorod Region – OE. fundian «strive for, wish», ric «domination, government, power».

Fursovo, seven villages in Kaluga, Ryazan, Tula, and Kirov Regions – OE fyrs «furze, gorse, bramble» (the plant Genísta).

Kotlas, a town, Arkhangelsk Region – OE cot "hut, cabin", læs "pasture".

Linda, a village in town district of Nizhniy Novgorod Region, Linda, a village in Ivanovo Region, two villages Lindovo in Tver Region – OE lind «linden».

Moscow (Moskovъ or Moskovь in chronicle), the capital of Russia, villages Moskva in Tver, Pskov, and Kirov Regions, the Moskva River, lt Tisza – OE mos «bog, swamp», cofa «hut, cabin».

Murom, a town in Vladimir Region – OE mūr «wall», ōm «rust».

Nero, a lake in Yaroslav Region which banks on the city Rostov lies – OE neru "rescue", "food".

Ryazan, a city, 22 villages of Ryazanovo in different regions of Russia – OE. rāsian "explore, investigate". 2. ræsan "overthrow".

Romodanovo, a city in Mordovia, a village in the Glinka district of Smolensk region, villages in Starozhilovsky and Rybnovsky districts of the Ryazan Region – OE. rūma „space”, dān „humid”.

Suzdal, a city in Vladimir Region – OE. swæs «nice, pleasant, loved», dale «valley».

Shenkursk, a town in Atkhangelsk REgion – д.-анг. scencan «to pour, give to drink, present», ūr «richness, wealth».

Vytebet', a river, lt of the Zhixdra River, rt of the Oka – OE. wid(e) «wide», bedd «riverbed».

Volfa, a river, lt of the Seym River, lt of the Desna – OE. wulf wolf.

Yurlovo, three villages in Moscow Region and a village in Pskov Region – OE. eorl «noble man, warrior».

Ziborovo, a village in Zolotukhino district of Kursk Region, Ziborovka, a village in Shebekino district of Belgorod Region, villages Zibrovo in Tula, Oryol, Moscow Regions – OE. sibb «place», rōw "quiet".

Especially a lot of supposed Anglo-Saxon settlements are located near Moscow. Their density is such that it eliminates the possibility of placing all the names on the map above. For this purpose, a map of a larger scale was used (see below).

Some names have given decoding above, for others the following are proposed:

Akhtyrka – OE. æfter «beyond, through», OS. -gā, OE. -gē «district».

Darna – OS. darno, OE. darnunga «secret, covert».

Dedenevo – OE. dead «dead», eanian «to lamb, yean».

Chertanovo – OE. ceart «a wasteland, wild common land».

Fofanovo – OE «colorful, motley, potted, dyed», fana «cloth».

Kartino – OE. ceart «a wasteland, wild common land».

Kartmazovo – OE. ceart «a wasteland, wild common land», māga «son, descendant», or maga «powerful, well-off, capable».

Kitaygorod – д.-анг. ciete «hut, cabin".

Kuntsevo – OE cynca «cluster, bunch».

Ladoga – OE. lađu «invitation», -ga «region, locality».

Lytkarino – OE. lyt «little», carr «stone, rock».

Mamyri – OE. mamor(a) «deep sleep».

Miusy, a historical district in Moscow – OE. mēos «swamp, bog».

Oboldino – see Boldino.

Penyagino – OE. pæneg «coin, money».

Reutov – OE. reotan «cry, complain».

Sin'kovo – OE. sinc «treasure, riches».

White Rast – OE. ræst «quiet, calm».

These place names can be added by the names of the Neglinnaya and Yauza Rivers in Moscow. OE. nægl "nail, peg" suits well for the first river. The derivative of nægling (the name of the sword) is also fixed, but the motivation for such a name of the river remains unclear. The name for the second river can be found in the annals in the form of Auza, so OE. eage "eye, hole" (Old Norse auga) is also well suited for deciphering, although in this case, the motivation remains not entirely clear, especially since the right tributaries of the Lama and Gzhat Rivers have the same name.

It could be assumed that the toponymy of the alleged Anglo-Saxon origin actually belonged to the northern Germans, who already in historical times as Varangians acted on the territory of Russia. Indeed, many place names can be deciphered using the Old Icelandic language, which is considered to be "the classical language of the Scandinavian race" (An Icelandic-English Dictionary. Preface) and this fact deceives scientists who hastened to conclude, "that toponymic data are an exposure to Scandinavian colonization in the territory of Ancient Rus» (RYDZEVSKAYA E. A. 1978, 136). In the author's opinion, this is not so, for "none of the Old Russian large urban centers have a name that would be explained accordingly; none of them was founded by Scandinavian aliens" (ibid). Meanwhile, the names of such famous historical centers as Moscow, Ryazan, Suzdal, Murom can be explained with the help of the Old English language. In addition, there are quite a lot of supposedly Germaniс place names, which cannot be deciphered with the help of Old Icelandic. On the other hand, the phonetic correspondence of Russian names with Old English words is very often better than with Old Icelandic in cases where there is a difference between them. For example, OE. ceorl suits better than Old Norse karl to decipher the name of Churilovo, since the derivative of the latter should have the form of Karlovo. In addition, the analysis of historical documents shows that the Varangians did not create their own settlements:

There is not the slightest indication of the occupation of unsettled territories by overseas visitors, the clearing and processing of untouched lands, the development of their natural resources, etc. As for the areas inhabited, they were also interested here in another: at first robbery and tribute, and in the future those trade relations that connected them with local shopping centers. The goal of not less important and attractive for their wage service in Russia was not the acquisition of landholdings, but wages and pillage (the vassalage without fief relations – according to K. Marx). Undoubtedly, they not only often visited our country in the IX-XII centuries but also settled there in some cases; So, for example, it was in Ladoga, in Novgorod, in Kyiv, in Smolensk Gnezdov (RYDZEVSKAYA E.A. 1978: 135).

On the contrary, judging by the place names, the Anglo-Saxons were interested in mastering the new-found country (compare the meanings of the names used, such as the wasteland, the terrain-space, the searches, the first, farmer-farmer, house, hut, fish). Also, other data say that the question of the Scandinavian colonization of Rus should be considered finally decidedly negative:

Such Scandinavian colonization as in England and Iceland was nowhere in Russia. In addition, the Swedes had no reason for mass emigration to the opposite shore of the Baltic Sea. There were rich and fertile areas In their own country (SAWYER PETER. 2002: 241-242)

On the other hand, population genetics data allow us to conclude that at some time Germanic tribes were present on the territory of Russia:

It turned out that the Norwegians and Germans are genetically closest to the Russian North; the Austrians, Swiss, Poles, Bosnians, Irish, and Scots were also included in the cluster. (BALANOVSKA E.V., PEZHEMCKIY D.V., ROMANOV A.G. a.o. 2011: 27).

According to the Genographic Project, the Russians are genetically close to the inhabitants of England, Denmark, and Germany (BELAKOV SERGEY, 2016: 407).

With all this in mind, the Anglo-Saxon toponymy, particularly in the interfluve of the Volga and the Oka rivers, can be correlated with the assumption of archaeologists about the penetration of a group of migrants of unknown ethnicity here, which resulted in the final end of the development of Diakovo culture in the VII century. AD (SEDOV V.V., 2002: 390). Archaeological research has shown that there was no continuity between local antiquities and the culture of the second half of the 1st millennium. The facts testify to the formation of a completely new culture in these places:

The migration process led to a radical restructuring of the resettlement system. The former small settlements, confined to floodplain meadows, are mostly abandoned. Settlements of larger sizes, which had already gravitated to areas with the most fertile soils, were gaining spread. The leading role in the economy of the population is now played by agriculture. Moreover, the materials of archeology give grounds to talk about the development of arable farming with the possible specialization of individual settlements on livestock, hunting, and fishing. Significantly, the population increases (SEDOV V.V. 2002: 390).

The stay of the Anglo-Saxons in the vicinity of the Finno-Ugres was to have a consequence of lexical correspondences between the Old English and Finno-Ugric languages. For example Mari pundo "money" can be correlated with OE. pund "a pound, a measure of weight and a monetary unit." This word could reach the Mari through the Mordva, whose languages have pandoms "to pay", pandoma "fee", borrowed from the Anglo-Saxons. Other Germanic languages have similar words. It is believed that this is an early borrowing from Latin, which have pondō "pound" and pondus 'weight" (KLUGE FRIEDRICH, SEEBOLD ELMAR. 1989: 542). The Mari word is closer to the Latin and Old English, and not to the Mordovian words, so borrowing could only come from the Anglo-Saxons or from the Italics. The presence of the latter in Central Russia is considered separatly, where Mari-Latin parallels are presented: Mari pundash "bottom" – Lat. fundus "bottom, foundation", Mari tuto "full" – Lat. totus "the whole" a.o. Below is a list of Mari words that could have been borrowed from Old English, where other words of the Italic substratum are also present:

Mari ar "conscience" – OE. ār "honor, dignity, glory, respect, mercy, happiness";

Mari archa "casket" (Chuv. archa "chest") – OE. earc(e) "ark, box" (лат. arca);

Mari, Moksha asu "utility" – under the condition of metathesis, one can consider OE. use "use, utility, custom" (Lat. usus "utility, custom");

Mari ȁngur "fishing rod" – OE. angel "fishing rod, hook, fishing hook";

Mari ȁngysyr "narrow" – OE. enge "narrow, tight";

Mari moštaš «be able to», Mok. maštoms "be able to, to own", Veps. mahtta "be able to", Fin. mahtaa "be able to" – OE. moste, past tense of mōtan «have to, be able to»;

Mari sala "whip' – OE. sȁl "rope, hobble, bridle";

Mari vadar "udder" (Fin., Est., Veps. udar "the same") – this borrowing could be only a rather late one from OE. udder "udder", but not, say, from the ancient Indian udhar, since initially Finno-Ugric languages had no sound d, and similar words in the North Germanic languages are phonetically far away;

Mari var "feral, wild" – OE. bar "wild boar";

Traces of Anglo-Saxons can also be found in the dialect vocabulary of the Russian language, especially in areas of their mass settlement, for example, on the territory of the Vladimir-Suzdal principality. One of these traces can be the expression Elman language "an ancient Galician language", that is, the language of residents of the city of Galich (Kostroma Region). It is assumed that this word comes from close to Mari iylma "tongue as the organ in the mouth" (TKACHENKO O.B. 2007: 99). A tautology makes us search for the origins of a word in OE. el "alien, strange" and mann "man". Fixed in Yaroslavl, Kostroma, and Ivanovo Regions the word yols "devil, fearful forest spirit" can be linked to OE. eolh"elk, moose". The roar of an elk in a forest could frighten the surrounding inhabitants. These words were discovered by chance, but if you search purposefully in dialect dictionaries, then there should be much more ancient Anglicisms in Russian.

However, if we even agree with the presence of Anglo-Saxons in the space of the Rostov-Suzdal principality and especially around Moscow, this still does not say anything about the reason for the later successes of the principality and especially the future capital of Russia. We have already assumed the cause of the political elevation of the Anglo-Saxons among the tribal alliance in economic superiority. The same reason must be sought in this case. Events in Central Russia in the period after the appearance of the Anglo-Saxons there had a great impact on Western Europe due to the activity of the Vikings, who ensured the flow of huge capital to Scandinavia in the form of silver, the size of which can be judged by the content of hoard finds along the routes of their trade and plundering campaigns.

Silver is the most significant feature in the famous hoards of the Vikings, and silver along with the tools of measurement can be found in the trading centers of Scandinavia. It clearly played an important role in the exchange practices of the Vikings and for the economic and political development of Scandinavia (MERKEL STEPHEN WILLIAM. 2016, 35).

A significant part of the silver in the form of Kufic dirhams came to Scandinavia from Bulgaria, which was often visited by Muslim merchants from the countries of the Arab Caliphate for exchange trade with the local population and arrived there the Varangians, who were called in Russia as the Vikings, already in the VIII century. In exchange for the fur of sable, squirrel, ermine, ferret, weasel, marten, fox, beaver, goat and horse skins, wax, honey, fish glue, beaver stream, amber, and slave merchants offered luxuries and silver, the accumulation of which was a great passion for the Varangians. As far as the scale of the slave trade can be judged by the words of Ibn Fadlan, who pointed out that the Rus, arriving in Bulgaria, traditionally had to give one "head" from every dozen slaves to the local tsar. From this, it can be concluded that the total number of slaves brought with each Varangian caravan consisting of a multitude of ships could amount to hundreds.

Silver obtained in Bulgaria by robbery and trade was delivered by the Vikings to Sweden, where the distribution point was Birka, located on the island of Björkö in Lake Mälaren near Stockholm (SAWYER PETER, 2002: 14). The delivery of silver from Bulgaria to Birka was carried out in different ways, some of which were preferred for various reasons. It is believed that all the trade went through Novgorod, but it acquired the importance as a shopping center only in the tenth century ( ibid), but before that, a shorter and long-established route along the Western Dvina River could be used. The northern Germanic tribes migrated to Scandinavia from their ancestral home by this way at the end of the second millennium BC. (see the section North Germanic Place Names in Belorus, Baltic States, and Russia ). If the Varangians were stocked with wax and honey in Novgorod, then they had no need to return to Sweden by this way back. The finding of a treasure of Kufic coins weighing up to 40 kilograms in Murom indicates that the Varangians traveled along the Oka River, while it was easier to get to Novgorod by sailing along the Volga and further along the Tver River to the rivers of the Baltic basin. From the Oka merchant vessels could go up the Moscow River and then through the Ruza, Vazuza, Dnieper Rivers to get to the Western Dvina. This way is not easy, because several times they would have to pull ships from the river to the river by dragging. The trek lasted several months and from time to time it was necessary to make stops for providing food from the local population, which required certain expenses.

However, the Great Volga Route stands out among all the main thoroughfares, connecting Europe with Asia at that time. It is evaluated as "of outstanding geopolitical, cultural, transport and trade, international and interstate importance." Export-import operations on it brought fabulous profits to merchants, reaching 1000 %. (KIRPICHNIKOV A.N. 2006, 34). Particularly profitable was the trade with slaves.

Slave trade is connected with logistical difficulties, so the acquisition of them by Scandinavian merchants should have taken place in the area nearest to Bulgaria. The towns of Rostov and Suzdal, the future centers of the principality didn't lie on the main trade routes, so the slave trade was obviously only the base of their subsequent raising. Local princes supplied slaves for the Varangians to the ports on the Oka and Volga at the time of flourishing trade with the countries of the Caliphate. Local princes, in exchange for silver dirhams, supplied the Varangians with slaves to the ports on the Oka and Volga during the heyday of trade with the countries of the Caliphate. Trade with Abbasid Tabaristan on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea and Samanid Central Asia proceeded in two directions:

during the first eighty years of the IX cen. Islamic silver entered Eastern Europe from the Middle East through the Caucasus / Caspian Sea and Khazaria, between about 900 and the beginning of the XI cen., it was delivered there mainly from Samanid Central Asia through South Ural steppes and Volga Bulgaria. This flow of Central Asian dirhams ceased in the second decade of the XI cen. (KOVALEV R.K. 2015: 96-97).

Silver trade routes reconstructed from the scale of dirham hoards.

(MERKEL STEPHEN WILLIAM. 2016: 63. Fig. 4-7).

The path of the Abbasid dirhams through the Caspian Sea and through Khazaria from Iraq and Iran is marked in yellow, the path of the Samanid dirhams from Central Asia is red, and the conditional path from Bulgaria to Sweden is orange.

The dense concentration of Anglo-Saxon place names around Moscow obviously has a reason in favorable geographical conditions, which caused intensive settlement of this region. At the time of prince Yuri Dolgoruky (the XII century), Moscow was already a rich village and the success of the economic activities of the local population was provided by the diversity of the local landscape:

In fact, the Moscow area represented, at first, many rural amenities for the founding of broad agriculture. The so-called Great Meadow of Zamoskvorechye, lying against the Kremlin mountain, delivered a vast pasture for cattle and especially for prince's horse herds. The surrounding meadows and fields with crossed them rivers and streams served as glorious lands for farming, horticulture, and gardening, not to mention fattened hayfields. There is no doubt that the field adjacent to the Kremlin mountain Kuchkovo was covered with arable land (ZABELIN IVAN. 1905: 4).

The developed cattle breeding, as, obviously, and beekeeping were for Muscovites a good source of enrichment – horse and goatskins, honey, and wax were in great demand in the East. The Varangians enjoyed the goods here with pleasure, leaving for the local entrepreneurs a considerable part of the silver coins that were earned when selling luxury goods in Birka. Thus, large capital was accumulated in Moscow, which ensured political success for the local elite later.

The existence of an older settlement on the site of ancient Moscow is confirmed by repeated random discoveries of silver items and coins dating from the X century. And, obviously, it is not by accident that the name of the former village of Penyagino, which now belongs to Moscow, lurks OE pæneg "coin, money". However, numerous settlements of Moscow space of the VII-IX centuries remain still poorly studied, its history seems vague, especially in the part of ethnogenetic processes (SEDOVV.V., 2002: 390). The Volga-Klyazma interfluve is more explored in archaeological terms, and archaeological finds indicate that the local population was mixed, but the main creators of the Merian culture spread here were not local Finns, but, according to V. Sedov, "Central European newcomers" (ibid: 393). Ethnic heterogeneity of the population of the region forced the aliens, who were in the minority, to build fortified settlements, an example of which may be Sarskoye hillfort on the shore of Lake Nero. Its middle part, enclosed by ramparts, occupied an area of 8,000 square meters. (ibid, 391).

Lake Nero and Sarskoye hillfort.

The photo from the sine Historicsl notes

The map shows that there is a peninsula on Lake Nero, and it is appropriate to give a description of Bulgaria by one of the eastern scholars of the first half of the X century:

Ibn Rustah told about some Ruses who lived on the island (or peninsula) of the inner lake, this island was covered with forest, and its circle was equal to three daytime transitions. These people were ruled by a kagan, and raided the Slavs on their ships. They did not cultivate the land, but lived at the expense of the Slavs; Their only occupation was trading, and they sold sables and other furs, as well as slaves for coins (SAWYER PETER, 2002: 265-266)

Ibn Rustah spoke about the Ruses and Slavs, but the ethnicity of both people in the modern sense may be erroneous. The local population could call the Ruses the Varangians and related to the Anglo-Saxons, but the Slavs were absent there at that time. In fact, Arab scholars often talk about a people "Sakaliba" different from the Ruses, and, as Ashmarin pointed out, they generically called so all the white-skinned people of northeastern Europe.

Most likely the peninsula on the lake, as well as the Sarskoye hillfort, were their strongholds for the Anglo-Saxons. The sense "rusty" of the names of Rostov and another fortress Murom (OE rūst "rust", mūr "wall", ōm "rust") seems to be enigmatic. However, in Germanic, as well as in other languages, the words meaning rust go back to the same root as the words "red" (KLUGE FRIEDRICH, SEEBOLD ELMAR. 1989: 606), therefore, OE rūst could mean different shades of red.

Anglo-Saxon place names on the territory of Vladimir-Suzdal principality

Obviously, both the towns of Rostov and Murom were the administrative centers of the ruling tribe, the top of which concentrated in its hands a considerable amount of capital earned on trade in furs and slaves from the indigenous population. Identifying them with the Anglo-Saxons, we can assume their close cooperation with the Varangians. Moreover, the Anglo-Saxons could join the Varangians in armed actions. Moreover, the Anglo-Saxons could join the Varangians during their several trips to Byzantium along the Dnieper River through Kyiv, although this direction was not too attractive for the Varangians. “The way from the Varangians to the Greeks” begins to be mastered only in the X century:

in the IX cen. and earlier – on the one hand, there was trade movement from the Black Sea to the middle of the Dnieper, and on the other hand – from the Baltic Sea up the rivers flowing into it; on the upper reaches of the Dnieper at this time for merchant shipping was not yet closed with the rivers of the Gulf of Finland; then the Western Dvina, and especially the Volga, were of commercial importance, sending the Scandinavians across Eastern Europe to the Arab East, which had previously been the leader in trade (PARKHOMENKO Vl.A. 1924: 86).

Until the end of the Viking era, the activities of Kievan Rus had very little significance for Scandinavia, if any; for the latter, the Islamic East was the most important market. Muslim merchants arrived from lands unusually rich in silver and purchased a wide variety of northern goods from the Bulgarian markets (SAWYER PETER. 2002: 265).

There are among the names of Varangians mentioned in the annals which can be most convincingly deciphered only with the help of the Old English language:

Aktewu – OE. āk «oak», đeaw «custom», – u – adjective suffix.

Kutsi – OE. cwic, cucu «quick». Cf. Kuchka.

Prasten – OE. prass «costume, splendor» teon «pull, take, seize».

Stemid – OE. steam «steam, smoke», -ed – adjective suffix.

Tilen – OE. tielen "effort, work, diligence"

Twad – OE. twæde «dual».

Almost all the names of tribes mentioned in the chronicle correspond with the names of modern peoples. The exception is the Merya tribe, of which there is no consensus, although in general it is considered to be a Volga-Finnish one, and some scholars identify the Merya with the Mari people. Obviously, it is true, but it could be an ethnicon, that is, the name of a population of a certain locality. The Slavs of the Volga-Klyazma interfluve are mentioned as "Merya" in the Tale of Bygone Years (TBY). The people under this name stood out especially in the TBY, obviously, it was noticeably different from other Finno-Ugric tribes and was very influential, at least numerous. When enumerating the Finno-Ugric tribes in the TBY, the Merya always ranks second after the Chud'. And only Meria from all the Finno-Ugric peoples took part in the military campaigns of Prince Oleg. The Anglo-Saxons who inhabited the Meria area could also be called by this name and under this name take part in Oleg’s campaigns. At the same time, Merya people had their own language, in the knowledge of which, judging by historical documents, "a rather high value was seen, apparently due to its role in the Vladimir-Suzdal principality" (TKACHENKO O.B. 2007. 10)

However, "after the X-XI cen. the Merya ceases to be mentioned in the ancient Russian chronicles" (ibid: 10). The question arises – why such a tribe influential up to this time will cease to be mentioned in the annals. The fact that it could not so quickly assimilate among the Slavs, modern scholars cannot agree and therefore seek evidence that it nevertheless continued to exist on its lands, where the Eastern Slavs began to penetrate from X-XI. There is no reliable evidence for this, therefore, it is assumed that there is a certain process of “economic and ethnolinguistic consolidation” (ibid: 11). If this is so, then it will be necessary to admit that the people of Merya simply disappeared without a trace, while other Finno-Ugrians have retained their national identity to this day.

As for the name of the Varangians, Old Norse Væringi, from which it allegedly comes, is translated into English as "confederate". They could not call themselves the Varangians, but by that name they could be called by the Anglo-Saxons, whose language was wær "union, contract" and quite possibly, could be the word wæring "ally".

Alex Tolochko in the foreword to his book "Sketches of Primary Russia" writes:

Anyone who begins to study a new historical topic is asked three questions: what reliable evidence has been preserved? What does science say about this? And: how everything was really? (TOLOCHKO ALEKSEY. 2015: 12)

For our study, reliable evidence is toponimy, while historical documents (mostly the Tale of Bygone Years) and materials from previous studies are used very prudent. I fully share the thought of Alex Tolochko that all attempts to expose the early history of Eastern Europe, for lack of other reliable sources, basse upon the Tale of Bygone Years, which he treats critically, pointing to the obvious speculations of the chronicler in those cases when it refers to the affairs of yore. He himself tries analyzing the text of the chronicle to find reliable evidences for his hypothesis that the common name of Rus hides two related communities, even societies – the Scandinavian and Southern Rus. At the same time, he recklessly argues that "we will never know what origin was the word that gave rise to Russia" (ibid: 154). Meanwhile Fin. ruotsi, which has no phonetic correspondences in the North Germanic languages and which from linguists derive the word Rus strikingly resembles Goth. rauþs "red". This suggests that the Goths could call red-bearded Swedes as "the red" and from this word was got by the Finns. Why the Vikings called themselves Ruses is an enigma of the same plan, why Russians also call themselves so, although they have nothing to do with the chronicle of Rus. Neither Rostov-Suzdal nor Ryazan princedoms, nor even Novgorod and Smolensk were not considered to be Rus (NASONOV A.N. 1951: 29).

Developing the idea of the two communities of Russia, Tolochko notes that it is possible to single out among the population of Eastern Europe "rustic Vikings" engaged in cultivating the land, and in connection with this he writes:

It should be borne in mind that agrarian colonization and long-distance trade are two completely different phenomena in a seemingly uniform stream of Scandinavian advancement to Eastern Europe. Strikingly different occupations, ways of life, cultural experience, social positions were to form, ultimately, and different identities (TOLOCHKO ALEKSEY. 2015; 168).

In what exactly places "rustic Vikings" left their traces, Tolochko does not specify. But with attention to his conclusion, we can consider them to be Anglo-Saxons. At least in the Moscow area they showed themselves just so. If the "village Vikings" are considered to be Scandinavians for the swords found in rural contexts, what A. Tolochko believes is characteristic of Scandinavia, then this is too little to say about their true origin. Relations between the Anglo-Saxons and the surrounding population, among whom they acquired through violence "living goods" for the practiced slave trade, could not be peaceful. In this regard, and the villagers were supposed to have weapons just in case, and in such conditions a military feudal estate had to form among the Anglo-Saxons, but without a legitimate single ruler. Vague memories of local nobles are contained in the legends of the boyar Stephan Kuchka (cf. with the name Kutsi obove), who owned Moscow before Yuri Dolgoruky. Historical information about Kuchka is not preserved but numerous place names in the outskirts of Moscow containing his name speak of his role in the region’s history, and even Moscow itself was first called Kuchkovo. For disrespecting the prince, who came in Kuchka's dominion, Yury Dolgoruky ordered to bring him to death (KORSAKOV D., 1872, 78). Hiding evil for the princely family, over time his sons and son-in-law entered into a conversation with other boyars and killed Andrew Bogolyubsky, the son of Yury. M. Tikhomirov believed that the great Kuchka family was a close-knit force in this region and left memory in folk legends until the nineteenth century. (TIKHOMIROBV MIKHAIL. 2003, 35). This memory reflects the hostility of the independent local, so-called land boyars to the alien princely power of Rurik dynasty from Kiev. Kuchka's name may be connected with OE cuc, cwic "lively, quick".

Formation of the influential nobility of the land boyars took a long time, so its roots must go deep in history. There are no legends about the foundation of the town of Rostov, but by the time of Yuri Dolgoruky, the town was already called great. This fact and the very foundation of Rostov in the wilderness, away from waterways causes bewilderment (KORSAKOV D., 1872, 61-62, 79). In the period from 913 to 988 there is no mention of the Rostov land in the annals, but it can be assumed that the silver crisis that began in the second half of the 10th century put an end to the prosperity of Rostov and Suzdal.This crisis completed the period of the initial accumulation of capital which was concentrated in the hands of the land boyars and it needed to find an application with the use of local resources and the existing infrastructure. This opportunity appeared some time after the entry of Rostov into the Kiev state.

The mutual relations of the Kiev princes and the Anglo-Saxons are to a certain extent reflected in the Russian epic of Churilo Plenkovich. About the Anglo-Saxon origin of the name Churilo mentioned above, but the patronymic Plenkovich can also have Anglo-Saxon roots, if we take into account OE flean "flay" and -ing is a verbal suffix meaning action or its result. Circumstances of the epic and its hero are significantly different from the realities of other epics. Its essence is in the peculiarities of Churila’s service to the Kiev Prince Vladimir. There is an assumption that the plot of the epic is connected with the stay in Kiev of one of the leaders of the conquered tribes:

The victory of Kiev, won over a hostile tribe, the capture of the leader of this tribe and his relocation to Kiev, the service of a noble captive in the house of the victorious prince – all this could be the subject of chants, inspire the creation of epics. Over the long years of existence of the song, measured by centuries, its primary basis has lost its clarity under the influence of innovations, becoming one of the components of a multi-layered epic structure (FROYANOV I.Ya. 2012: 33).

Analyzing the epic, I. Froyanov sees in the relations of Vladimir and Churilo "subject relations", in which the latter acts as a defeated party and his service is not voluntary, but forced and relating only to the prince’s person:

Despite the fact that some epic records narrate about the service of the Churils to all of Kyiv, one must nevertheless say: he serves Vladimir specifically as a private individual and householder, which makes him noticeably different from other heroes who usually serve Russia, the people of Russia, defending their native land from the enemy (ibid: 30).

From the second quarter and middle of the XI cen. with the development of the path "from the Varangians to the Greeks", close trade, cultural, and political ties between Kyiv and Byzantium begin, and first from south to north, because "the initiative in international trade relations belongs always to a more cultural and economically developed nation" (PARKHOMENKO Vl.A. 1924, 87). In such a way, Kyiv gained experience in state-building and the development of state traditions. The dynastic ruling of people "ready to convert economic dominance into political power" is being established there (TOLOCHKO ALEKSEY. 2015. 314). In this sense, the Upper Volga region was best prepared economically, but not politically. The absence of princes of the Kyiv dynasty until the very last years of the XI cen. gives reason to assume "that there should have been local princely dynasties here" (PARKHOMENKO Vl.A. 1924: 103).In the end, they could not resist the onset of Kyiv. Intending to establish domination in the newly acquired land, Yaroslav the Wise lays down the city of Yaroslavl on the Volga, and Vladimir Monomakh founded the city of Vladimir on the Klyazma River as base points. Alien rejection by the land boyars led to the so-called "revolts of the volhves" in 1024 and in 1071. Usually, the "volhv" means some priests or sorcerers in accordance with the meaning of Old Rus. vŭlhv "magician". Similar words are present in the South Slavic languages, the ancestors of the speakers of which populated the areas of the left bank of the Dnieper River. In the Western Slavic languages formed on the Right Bank, such word is absent, so it is not Common Slavic, but its etymology is controversial.

Wizards, magicians, and all sorts of soothsayers and healers were rare among ordinary people, while the volhves were supposed to be numerous. According to the chronicles during the uprising of 1024, the volhves killed many ordinary people, mostly women, but also men. A handful of rebels couldn’t do it, and it’s not a affair of magicians to raise revolts. I. Froyanov concludes that "the ethnicity of the participants in the events of 1024 does not lend itself to precise definition" (FROYANOV I.Ya. 2012:91). He did not know about the presence of the Anglo-Saxons in Suzdal land, otherwise he would have concluded that the volhves were Anglo-Saxon nobility, called themselves "wolves" if we take into account OE. wulfs "wolves". According Herodotus, a belief existed that the Neuroi, which we associate with the Anglo-Saxons, turned into wolves once a year. Therefore, they could get the name "volf", which the Slavs pronounced as "volhv". These Volhves worshiped their gods, among whom Veles was in the first place. His figure as the main deity was preserved in Rostov for a long time even after the adoption of Christianity. The name of Veles can be of Anglo-Saxon origin, if we take into account OE. wela "good, happiness".

It is not clear from the annals how these revolts ended, but there were no big changes in the region until activity was showed by Yuri Dolgoruky here, setting up cities among which were Pereslavl-Zalessky, Yuriev Polsky, Dmitrov and others. His affair was continued by Andrei Bogolyubsky, who strengthened on the reign in 1155 after the seizure of power by his father in Kiev. The constrution required money and there is no other explanation than that it was provided by the capital accumulated by the local nobility in the good old days.The richness of Christian architecture, preserved in the descriptions of chroniclers, is especially impressive. The abundance of gold in the decoration of the Dormition Cathedral in Vladimir struck contemporaries and compelled them to compare the building with the temple of Solomon (PLUGIN V.A. 1989: 27). It is absolutely clear that the greedy Dolgoruky and his son obtained funds for the construction and decoration of temples through expropriation from the owners, they simply did not have other opportunities.

Especially important evidence for our topic is the fact of participation in the construction of the Assumption Cathedral in the sity of Vladimir of an architect and the German masters who gave the cathedral the features of the Romanesque style first appeared in Russia. According to V.N. Tatishchev architect together with the embassy was sent to Andrei Bogolyubsky by Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa (ZAGRAEVSKIY S.V. 2013, 184-195). There is also an assumption that some relations between the emperor and the Grand Duke existed expressed, in particular, in the exchange of gifts. Such a relationship is a great historical enigma and its solution may be that contacts with the emperor could be established due to the presence in the principality of the Anglo-Saxons. It is also possible that military experts could attend the German embassy,who helped organize an operation against Kiev where Grand Pronce Mstislav reigned at that time:

In 1169, 12 princes opposed Mstislav, which came from the seven ends of Russia – all Rostislavichi, Oleg and Igor Svyatoslavich, Gleb Yurievich, Vladimir Andreevich and others. According to the Nikon annals, the forces of the Russian princes were joined by "Cuman princes with the Cumans, and Ugrians, and Czechs, and Poles, and Lithuanians, and many many armies together moving to Kiev" (TOLOCHKO PETRO. 1996: 123).

After a long siege, Kiev was captured and plundered, which gave rise to its subsequent decline. Historians find no apparent reason for such an organized campaign with the goal of destroying the capital of the principality, which could not be hostile to absolutely all its close and distant neighbors. The joining of dissimilar forces can be explained only by the intention of Andrei Bogolyousky, who only one had sufficient funds to organize and finance this whole grandiose undertaking. The fall of Kiev Russian historian S.M. Soloviev called "an event of the greatest importance, a turning point event, from which history took a new course, from which a new order of things began in Russia" (SOLOVYEV S.M. 1960. Book II, chapter 6). Bogolyubsky himself did not reign in Kiev, but put his younger brother to reign, thus becoming the founder of a new state.

For the construction of new cities in Rostov-Suzdal land, additional labor was required and they were attracted by the authorities as free settlers, which also contributed to the development of agriculture and manufacturing. Tatishchev wrote that Yuri Dolgoruky gathered people from everywhere, but mainly from the south and provided them with a considerable loan and other assistance (KORSAKOV D. 1872: 76). No information from where he took the money was preserved in the annals, but his successors used the same sources.

So gradually the Grand Duchy of Vladimir was being built and gaining strength and at the heart of its success lay the entrepreneurial tradition and capital of the Anglo-Saxons settled here once, but forced over time to seek new happiness somewhere else. The activities of Andrei Bogolyubsky, who needed funds for further town planning and active foreign policy, caused a new dissatisfaction of the "wolves", in particular, from the Kuchkovich clan. Their struggle with the prince ended with his assassination in 1174. According to the report of the Institute of Archeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2015, during the restoration of the Transfiguration Cathedral in the city of Pereslavl-Zalessky, a list of 20 names of participants in the murder of the prince was found on the wall of the church. However, only a few were able to read, among them Prince Pyotr Kuchkov's son-in-law, his brothers Ambal and Yakim Kuchkoviches, and certain Ivka, Petko, and Styryata. Non-Christian names may be Anglo-Saxon. At least the last of them can be associated with the OE styria "sturgeon" or styrian "move, excite, drive."

Two years after the murder, most of the conspirators were executed and this did not foreshow a reconciliation between the Vladimir prince's power and the Anglo-Saxons, which continue to have great influence in the towns of Suzdal and Rostov. It can be assumed that, fearing further harassment and not being able to withstand the hostile growing Vladimir, leaders of the Anglo-Saxons considered it best to flee with majority of their tribesmen beyond the Urals (see further The Development of Siberia and Far East by the Anglo-Saxons). The remaining part was quickly assimilated among the Slavs, but thanks to the laws of evolutionary psychology certain features of the social behavior of the Anglo-Saxons were nevertheless transferred to the Muscovites and also played a role in the formation of Russian statehood.

The picture presented here of the Anglo-Saxon colonization of the Upper Volga basin is partly contradicted by Timerevo archeological complex near the city of Yaroslavl. However, its general description and significance for the development of statehood do not contradict this picture at all:

The concentration of the largest for the IX century treasures of Arabic silver finds of household items, weapons, and jewelry of imported origin, a large area of ​​the settlement, the multi-ethnic composition of its population suggest that Timerev was a key trade and craft and military administrative point on the Baltic-Volga route. The beginning of the functioning of Timerev dates back to the third quarter of the IX century, as evidenced by the treasures, the first burials of the burial ground, and the early settlement complexes. Since the inclusion of the territory of the Yaroslavl Volga region into the ancient Russian state, Timerevo, taking into account the existing potential, could play the role of a stronghold of the princely local authority — a pogost and at the same time a stronghold for the further development of Finno-Ugric lands, which in large numbers began in the second half of the XI century while resetting peasants – the farmers, already with the help of the emerging feudal power (SEDYKH V.N. 2007: 5)

Our picture is contraficted by the close ties between Timerevo and Scandinavia and the leading role of Scandinavians in a military organization, what the author repeatedly underlines. It may be objected that items of the Scandinavian material culture could penetrate the Upper Volga via the trade route, and as for the similarity between the device of Timerev’s mounds and the Scandinavian ones, it can be noted that their possible connection with the Alanian Black Sea mounds was not checked. V.N. Sedykh also indicates that in addition to trade, craft and military affairs, "the Timerevo population was engaged in agriculture, hunting, fishing, various crafts" (Ibid: 4). Such activities, as mentioned above, were not typical for the Vikings, and they had no reason to establish their own settlements, especially aside from the trade route.

Thus, there are no serious reasons for admitting that the Timerevo was founded by the Anglo-Saxons. The etymology of its name speaks in favor of this too – OE team "tribe, clan, family, gang" and ear "earth", i.e. "tribal land". In the dictionary of Old Norse language nothing suitable for the interpretation of the name was found. It is also worth noting that, far from the Volga trade route, there are three villages Timerevo in the Ivanovo, Vladimir, and Moscow Region.

The importance of the Anglo-Saxons in the creation of Russian statehood is enormous. It was they who, realizing the dependence of politics on capital, laid down the principle of the state acquisitions, which accompanied the entire history of Russia, which S.M. Solovyov described in the following words:

Sometimes we see how entire generations in the course of many and many years accumulate great wealth through hard work: a son adds to what his father has accumulated, a grandson increases the amount collected by his father and grandfather; quietly, slowly, imperceptibly they act, are subjected to deprivations, live poorly; and finally, the accumulated funds reach an extensive size, and finally, the happy heir of the hardworking and thrifty ancestors begins to use the wealth he has inherited. He does not squander it, on the contrary, increases it; but at the same time, the method of its actions, by the vastness of the funds itself, is already large, it becomes loud, visible, attracts everyone’s attention, because it has an influence on destiny, on the welfare of many. Honor and glory to the man who so wisely knew how to use the means he got; but at the same time should the modest ancestors be forgotten, who by their labor, thrift, and deprivation delivered these funds to him? (SOLOVIEV S.M. 1960. Book III: 7)

Following the words of the Russian historian, Russia should thank precisely the Anglo-Saxons, who stood at the origins of its statehood.

Free counter and web stats