Name given to the Vikings (also called Varangians [qq.v.]), who organized the first Russian state at Kiev (qq.v.), and who traversed the Dnieper (q.v.) to attack and trade with Constantinople (q.v.). The first Rus attack on the city was in 860, according to a homily of Photios (q.v.). An attack by Oleg (q.v.) in 907 was followed by a trading agreement in 911. Igor (q.v.) launched more raids in 941 and 943 (or 944), resulting in a renewal of trading privileges; the last Rus attack on Constantinople was in 1043. The growing power of the Rus is seen in Nikephoros II Phokas's (q.v.) request for the Rus to invade Bulgaria (q.v.). Svjatoslav did so in 968. The highpoint in this trajectory of Byzantine-Rus relations was Vladimir I's (q.v.) marriage in 988 to Anna, sister of Basil II (q.v.), followed by Vladimir's conversion to Christianity. Vladimir's loan of 6,000 Varangians to help Basil II (q.v.) fight against Bardas Phokas (q.v.) inaugurated a policy of using Varangians as mercenaries, most prominently in the elite Varangian Guard. Byzantine civilization had a profound impact on the converted Rus. For example, Jaroslav the Wise (q.v.) remade Kiev in the image of Constantinople, with a Cathedral of St. Sophia and its own Golden Gate (q.v.). After the demise of Byzantium (q.v.) the influence of Byzantine civilization continued in Moscow (q.v.), the self-proclaimed "Third Rome."

Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . .

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