Varangians in Constantinople
Author(s) : Kiriakidis Savvas (9/1/2008)Translation : Makripoulias Christos
For citation: Kiriakidis Savvas, "Varangians in Constantinople",Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World, ConstantinopleURL: <http://www.ehw.gr/l.aspx?id=11802>
Initially the term “Varangians” denoted Scandinavian and Slav mercenary soldiers arriving at Byzantium through the territories of the Kievan Rus’. From the end of the eleventh century the majority of Varangians were of Anglo-Saxon descent. Varangians participated in numerous campaigns and distinguished themselves as part of the Byzantine emperors’ bodyguard. In the sources they are often described as “axe-bearing”, because of their armament, and “Tauroscythians” or “Celts”, due to their northern European origins. Their presence in Constantinople is evidenced until the fifteenth century.
Varangians, Varyags; Varangoi, Variagoi (Greek names); Tauroscythians, Celts (in Greek sources)
988 - Fifteenth c.
1. The Varangians and Basil II (976-1025)
2. From the death of Basil II to 1081
3. From 1081 to 1204
4. The Varangians after 1204
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