Rus' people

The Rus' people (Old East Slavic: Рѹсь; Modern Belarusian, Russian, Rusyn, and Ukrainian: Русь, romanised: Rus'; Old Norse: Garðar; Greek: Ῥῶς, romanised: Rhos) were an ethnos in early medieval eastern Europe. The scholarly consensus holds that they were originally Norse people, mainly originating from Sweden, settling and ruling along the river-routes between the Baltic and the Black Seas from around the 8th to 11th centuries AD. They formed a state known in modern historiography as Kievan Rus', which was initially a multiethnic society where the ruling Norsemen merged and assimilated with Slavic, Baltic and Finnic tribes, ending up with Old East Slavic as their common language. The elite of Kievan Rus' was still familiar with Old Norse until their assimilation by the second half of the 11th century,[1] and in rural areas vestiges of Norse culture lingered as long as the 14th and early 15th centuries.[1]

Map showing the major Varangian trade routes: the Volga trade route (in red) and the trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks (in purple). Sufficiently controlling strongholds, market places and portages along the routes was necessary for the Scandinavian raiders and traders.
The approximate extent of Old Norse and related languages in the early 10th century:
  Other Germanic languages with which Old Norse still retained some mutual intelligibility

The history of the Rus' is central to 9th through 10th-century state formation, and thus national origins, in eastern Europe. They ultimately gave their name to Russia and Belarus, and they are relevant to the national histories of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic states. Because of this importance, there is a set of alternative so-called "Anti-Normanist" views that are largely confined to a minor group of East European scholars.


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