Oleg's trip to Constantinople: description, history and consequences

907 in the history of Russia is marked by the legendarya trip to Constantinople (or as it was called - Tsargrad), which was headed by the Novgorod prince Oleg. This event is associated with a lot of speculation and doubt on the part of historians, many of whom do not believe in its authenticity for a number of reasons. In this article we will tell you in detail about Oleg's trip to Constantinople (short summary), and we will try to understand whether this event really happened as the ancient Russian chronicles draw it.

Who is Prince Oleg?

Oleg was the prince of Novgorod and the great KievPrince, from 882 to 912, which became the year of his death. After he received authority over the Novgorod land (which happened after the death of Rurik) as regent of the minor Igor, he was captured by ancient Kiev. It was to this city that at that time it was destined to become the capital and symbol of the union of the two main centers for the Slavs. That's why Prince Oleg is often regarded by historians as the founder of the Old Russian state. And the subsequent campaign of Oleg to Constantinople became the reason for him to be called "Prophetic".

march of Oleg to Tsargrad

Why was Oleg called the Prophet?

As the Tale of Bygone Years tells us, a hikeOleg to Constantinople was held in 907. In the annals we are talking about how the city was besieged and taken, and the courage and sharp mind of the prince, who outwitted the Byzantines, was glorified. According to this source, he refused to take poisoned food from them, which is why he was nicknamed "The Prophet." People in Russia just so began to be called Oleg, who defeated the Greeks. In turn, his name comes from Scandinavia, and when translated means "holy."


The campaign of Prophetic Oleg to Constantinople

As already mentioned above, the content of the hike andThe Russo-Byzantine War is described in the PVL (The Tale of Bygone Years). These events resulted in the signing of a peace treaty in 907. In the people this has gained fame thanks to these words: "Prophetic Oleg nailed his shield on the gates of Constantinople." But, nevertheless, this campaign is not mentioned in the Greek sources, and, as a whole, nothing is said about it except in Russian legends and chronicles.

the story of the temporary years of the campaign of Oleg to Tsargrad

In addition, as early as 911, the Rusichi signed a new document. And in the authenticity of the conclusion of this treaty, none of the historians doubt.

Byzantium and Russ

It should be noted that after the RussTsargrad in 860 in Byzantine sources nothing is indicated about conflicts with them. However, there is a number of indirect evidence confirming the opposite. For example, the exhortation of Emperor Leo IV already beginning of the 10th century contains information that hostile "northern Scythians" use small ships, floating at fast speed.

Oleg's campaign on the "Tale of Bygone Years"

As the legend says about Oleg's campaign, Tsargradtook not only with the involvement of the Slavs, but also Finno-Ugric tribes, which are listed in the ancient Russian written language of the early 12th century - "The Tale of Bygone Years." If you believe the chronicle of the vault, some warriors moved on horseback along the coast, and others - by the sea with the help of two thousand ships. And in each ship there were more than thirty people. Historians are still hesitating whether it is worthwhile to believe the "Tale of Bygone Years" and whether the data on the campaign indicated in the annals are genuine.

The trip of Prince Oleg to the Tsargrad year

Legends in the description of the trek

Legend of the campaign of Prince Oleg to Constantinoplecontains a large number of legends. For example, the narrative indicates that the ships were moving on wheels, to which they were supplied by Oleg. The Byzantines were frightened of the Russ who were going to Constantinople and asked for peace. However, they carried poisoned food, which the prince refused. Then the Greeks had no choice but to give their consent to what Oleg had suggested. As the legend says, they had to pay 12 hryvnias to all the soldiers, as well as a separate amount to the princes in Kiev, Pereyaslavl, Chernigov, Rostov and other cities, except Novgorod. But the prince's victories did not end there. In addition to the one-time payment, the Greeks of Byzantium needed to pay the Russians a permanent tribute, and also to agree to the conclusion of a treaty (this is the same treaty signed in 907), which was supposed to regulate the conditions of stay, as well as the trade of Russian merchants in Greek cities. The parties brought mutual oaths. And Oleg, in turn, committed the most famous act, which made him legendary, according to legends, in the eyes of the common people. They hanged a shield on the gates of the Byzantine capital of Constantinople as a victorious symbol. The Greeks were given the order to sew sails for the Slavic army. The chronicles say that it was after Oleg's campaign to Constantinople was completed in 907 that the prince became known as the "Prophetic" among the people.

the campaign of Oleg to the kings in 907

However, if the stories of the Old Russian chroniclerthe foray of the Rus to Constantinople in 860 is based only on the Byzantine chronicles, the narrative of this raid is based on information obtained from legends that were not recorded. And several stories coincide with those of the Scandinavian sagas.

Treaty of 907

What were the terms of the contract, and whether he wasis it concluded? If you believe the "Tale of Bygone Years," after the victorious actions of Prince Oleg in Constantinople, a document that was quite advantageous for Russia was signed with the Greeks. The purpose of its main provisions is considered to be the resumption of peaceful and good-neighborly relations between these peoples and states. The Byzantine government undertook to pay a certain amount of the annual tribute to the Russians (and its size is quite substantial), as well as to pay a lump sum of the indemnity, both in money and in things, gold, rare fabrics, etc. The contract specified the above The size of the ransom for each soldier and the amount of monthly maintenance that the Greeks had to give to Russian merchants.

Information about Oleg's hike from other sources

According to the information of the Novgorod First Annalsa number of events occurred in a different way. At the same time, the campaigns against Constantinople were carried out under the leadership of Prince Igor, and the "Prophetic" was only a voivode. Chronicle describes the legendary trips of Oleg to Constantinople. The year is indicated as 920, and the date of the next raid relates the events to 922. However, the description of the campaign in 920 is in details similar to Igorev's description of the 941 campaign, which is reflected in several documents.

In the information that is contained in the Byzantinechronicles written by Pseudo-Simeon at the end of the 10th century, are given information about Ruses. In one of the fragments, some historians see details indicating the predictions of the wise men about the future death of Oleg, and in the person of Ros, the prince himself. Among the popular scientific publications there is an opinion expressed by V. Nikolayev about the dew hikes on the Greeks committed around 904. If we believe his constructions (about which there was no speech in the chronicles of Pseudo-Simeon), then the dew was defeated by Trikefal from the Byzantine leader John Radin. And only a few managed to escape from Greek weapons because of the insight of their prince.

A. Kuzmin during the study of the text of the chronicle of the "Tale of Bygone Years" about the deeds of Oleg suggested that the author used the texts of Bulgarian or Greek sources of raids under the guidance of the prince. The chronicler quoted the phrases of the Greeks: "This is not Oleg, but St. Demetrius, who is sent to us by God." Such words indicate, according to the researcher, at the time of the events in 904 - the Byzantines did not render assistance to the Thessalonians. And the patron of the robbed city was considered to be Demetrius of Thessalonica. As a result, a large number of inhabitants of Thessaloniki were cut out, and only some of them were able to free themselves from Arab pirates. In these obscure Greek words about Dimitry, there could be indications of revenge from St. Constantinople, who was indirectly guilty of such a fate of the population.

legend about the trip of Prince Oleg to Tsargrad

How do historians interpret the information of the annals?

As already mentioned above, information about the raid is contained only in the Russian chronicles, and in the Byzantine writings on this account nothing is indicated.

However, if you look at the text partfragments of documents, which is given in the "Tale of Bygone Years," we can say that after all the information about the campaign of 907 is not completely fictional. The lack of data in Greek sources by some researchers is due to the incorrect date to which the war is referred in the Tale of Bygone Years. There are a number of attempts to make its connection with the march of the Russes (Dromites) of 904, while the Greeks fought against the pirate force, which was headed by Lev Tripolis. The theory, which most resembles the truth, belongs to the authorship of Boris Rybakov and Lev Gumilev. According to their hypothesis, information about the raid in 907 should be attributed to events in 860. This war was replaced by information about unsuccessful campaigns led by Askold and Dir, which was inspired by the traditions of the extraordinary liberation of the Christian population from pagan tribes.

the campaign of prophetic Oleg to Tsargrad

Date of trekking

It is not exactly known when exactly was committedthe campaign of Prince Oleg to Constantinople. The year to which these events are related (907) is conditional and appeared after the chroniclers made their own calculations. From the very beginning, the legends about the reign of the prince did not have an exact date, in view of which later information was divided into stages that were attributed to the initial and final period of his reign.

In addition, the "Tale of Bygone Years" isinformation and on the relative dating of the raid. It contains information about what the sages predicted (the death of the prince) actually happened five years after the campaign to Tsargrad was made. If Oleg died no later than 912 (this is evidenced by the data on the sacrifice of victims in Tatishchev's works, which were committed during the appearance of Halley - the legendary comet), the author calculated everything correctly.

The importance of Oleg's campaign to Constantinople

If the hike really happened, then it can beconsider a significant event. The document, which was signed as a result of the campaign, should be considered as determining the attitude of the Greeks and Russians for the next ten years. Subsequent historical events, one way or another, were associated with those raids that were committed by Prince Oleg, regardless of their correct dating.

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