The Varangian Guard was an elite force of Viking warriors who
served the Eastern Roman Empire.
Where did all the Russian Runic Inscriptions come from? From the
early 9th century Vikings traveled from Scandinavia down the
rivers into Russia.
They raided and traded as far south as the Black Sea, and as far
east as Baghdad on the Caspian Sea. Where ever they went the runes
went. You can find rune stones, rune grave markers, rune trade
agreements and even runic graffiti. Viking sailors were no
different from modern day sailors who carved their names where
ever they could.
They founded settlements in Russia. Kiev, Novgorod and Ladoga
were a few.
The Vikings were known as the 'RUS' and gave their name to Russia.
They ruled over the large Slavic population who lived there.
The name Varangian means "sharer of oaths'.
The reign of the Varangian Guard, as a separate fighting unit, is
dated 988 CE when Tsar Vladimer (a Viking himself) of Kiev sent
6000 Swedish warriors to Basil II of Byzantine.
They helped him put down a rebellion. Basil then made great use
of his Viking guardsmen in his campaign in Syria, Asia Minor and
Bulgaria till his death is 1025.
Where ever the Vikings went they not only took the runes but they
took their shields with the three red TYR runes
combined into a bind rune, flashing outwards, into battle.
The Vikings were much taller than anyone else in these regions.
They were ferocious and exceptionally loyal, in a land of liars
and turn coats.
They were known by the Byzantines as the PELELEPHORDI - "Axe-Men"
They carried large two handed axes into battle and caused many
enemy formations to break and flee just at the sight of their
The Varangian Guard was an elite group and membership was not
automatic to any Scandinavian warrior.
There was one notable exception as far as size went. When Thormoth Indrithason wanted to join the Guard, the emperor thought he was too small and said he would not be able to do a man's job. He changed his mind when he saw Thormoth slaughter an enormous bull, cutting its head off with a single stroke of his rune painted battle axe.
In 1034 the nineteen year old Harold Sigurdssen (Hardrada) of Norway, joined the Varangian Guard. He brought 500 Viking warriors with him.
He campaigned in Italy and Sicily and helped destroy the Arab pirate fleet, which preyed on Byzantine shipping.
The Varangians were stationed at various places in Constantinople.
During the Fourth Crusade of 1204 a huge force of Franks and Venetians attacked and sacked Constantinople. The Rune Shields of the Varangian Guard were in the forefront of the city's defenses and repelled several attacks.
The fall of the city and the loss of so many of the Viking Guard, due to overwhelming odds, effectively ended the reign of the Varangian Guard.
You can find a rune name "HALFDAN" scratched in the South Gallery of the cathedral of Hagia Sofia. So much for Viking subservience to other religions.
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Ragnar Storyteller (AKA Ellis Peterson is a Korean War Vet living with his wife Lory and dog Dixie in the boonies of the Pocono Mountains. He is a retired math professor and electronics engineer. He is the inventor of the simple radionics device called “The Nordic Ond Orgone Generator”. He has written over 200 articles and booklets on runes, radionics, quantum physics, viking history, orgone generators and alternate healing methods. Ragnar is 70+ but looks 50's thanks to his inventions. You can see more of his works on his websites:
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