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Download PDF by Sigfús Blöndal, Benedikt Benedikz: The Varangians of Byzantium

By Sigfús Blöndal, Benedikt Benedikz

An air of secrecy of romance has clung concerning the Varangians for over six centuries. This publication examines how the Norsemen got here to be drawn into the Imperial provider until eventually the best of all of the Emperors of the East, Basil II, shaped them into the regiment of guards which was once to provide special provider to the Empire. It surveys the historical past of the regiment right down to the cave in of excessive Byzantium in 1204 and lines the remnant of the Varangians to the final day of the Empire in might 1453.

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See below, pp. 118-19. Ibn Khurdadhbeh, Liber viarum, 81. The army and navy z5 military science to a fine art in the time of High Byzantium, certainly to a far more advanced degree than any other European state of that period. Their particular strength lay both in their science, their discipline and in their constant and large choice of exceptionally able generals and other higher officers. They looked down on the Western barbarians with their undisciplined military habits such as wild onrushes before the general had given the order to attack, and had contempt for such uncontrolled behaviour.

The fleet of the naval era was divided into two main sections: the Imperial fleet and the fleet of the themes. The former was organized into two divisions, one for the personal use of the Emperor and Empress, and for the defence of the capital, the other for use on regular military expeditions and for policing the seas against pirates. The fleet of the themes was kept up at the charge of various maritime themes, particularly those of the Greek islands (Aegea, Samos, Cephalonia), Greece and the Cibirriote theme in Asia Minor.

1962), 1, col. 21 (under 866, the assault only); cf. also Chronique by^antine de MS Brux. 11. 376, ed. F. Cumont, Ghent, 1894,. 33-4, and C. de Boor, 'Der AngrifT der Rhos auf Byzanz', BZ3 iv (1895), 445ff. 1025 Acquisitions after 1025 Map i The Empire of Basil II, c. 1025 Doluch CH 35 36 The Varangians of Byzantium Norsemen than before entered the Byzantine services during the last years of Michael Ill's reign. Though there is no reason to believe that Basil I ceased to employ Russians of Norse origin, there is no direct reference to them in any Byzantine or other records of his military activities.

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The Varangians of Byzantium by Sigfús Blöndal, Benedikt Benedikz


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