UDC 902(470.332)

DOI: 10.22281/2413-9912-2020-04-04-105-114

Tarasov V. V.


Historiography has developed an idea of the genetic connection between the «Rus» («Ros», early «Rus») with such necropolises of the 10th century. like Gnezdovo near Smolensk, Shestovitsy near Chernigov, Yaroslavl burial grounds (Timerevo, Petrovskoe and Mikhailovskoe). At all these points, a Scandinavian presence is clearly traced, in particular, there are analogies with the materials of the Swedish Birka. Elite burials from the listed points are considered the burials of members of the ancient Russian princely squads of the 10th century. However, how justified is the rapprochement of such monuments as Gnezdovo or Shestovitsy with the «Rus» of Arab and Persian authors or the «Ros» of Leo the Deacon? In order to answer it, author compared the archaeological finds from the points listed above with information from written sources synchronized in time (10th century): data from the eastern authors Ibn Fadlan and Ibn Miskawayh, as well as the Byzantine author Leo the Deacon. Namely, we examined a set of weapons and military traditions. Written sources describe the «Rus» («Ros») exclusively as foot soldiers who wore shields and fought with spears, swords and axes. The use of a bow and arrow was unusual for them. Archaeological data from Gnezdovo and similar monuments paint a completely different picture. Spearheads and axes are rare in them, while bows and arrows, on the contrary, dominate in the set of weapons. Elite burials from Gnezdovo, Shestovitsy, Birka belonged to horsemens, moreover, of nomadic appearance (horsemen-archers), but the «Rus» («Ros») fought on foot («wall of shields»). Thus, the written sources of the X century. contradict the prevailing opinion about the belonging of such monuments as Gnezdovo and Shestovitsy to the early «Rus».

Keywords: «Rus»(«Ros»), Arab, Byzantine, Gnezdovo, graves, weapons.

Academician I.G. Petrovskii Bryansk State University (Russia)

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