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September 03, 2014



"Rus" being, if I recall correctly, a word basically meaning "Swedes" (from ancient Indo-European root meaning "rowers", ie of longboats). Rather like "Scotland", an English word meaning "Land of the Irish".


They got everywhere, didn't they?


They did, and they dropped Iraqi coins everywhere they went. People doing archaeology in northern Poland often want to distinguish Viking from other settlements, and the giveaway is the presence of silver Mesopotamian dirhams in the burial sites. They rowed longboats down the Danube and traded them for furs. The Vikings really loved middle Eastern coins.


If the characteristic trade of northern Poland was Vikings giving other people dirhams and other people giving Vikings furs, then I'd have thought that the one way you could tell a non-Viking site would be that it would have dirhams in it.


As I understand it, they trapped the furs, or potentially bartered other items for them, then made the long trip to Mesopotamia to trade the furs for dirhams, then basically stashed the dirhams, presumably exchanging them among themselves from time to time, but not using them as a currency to any extent that would allow local non-Vikings to build up a stash worth being buried with.

nick s

Melvyn Bragg had an In Our Time on them, with the jaunty title 'Volga Vikings', though like any IoT, I assume the amount you get out of it is negatively correlated with the amount you already know.

Richard J


I'm sure we've all read this?

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