Vikings in Georgia

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Map showing the major Varangian trade routes: in orange are shown trade routes of the 8th–11th centuries.

Vikings in Georgia (Georgian: ვიკინგები საქართველოში) — separated by several thousand kilometers, medieval Georgia and Scandinavia, surprisingly, had a common link. Around 1036, a Viking force, known as Varangians or Varyags, unexpectedly appeared near the village of Bashi on the Rioni River in western Georgia. The old Georgian chronicle Kartlis Tskhovreba described them as 3,000 men who had traveled from Scandinavia through Russia, rowing down the Dniepr River and across the Black Sea. King Bagrat IV welcomed them to Georgia and accepted some of them into the Georgian army; several hundred Vikings fought on Bagrat’s side at the Battle of Sasireti in 1046. Other Vikings continued westward, thereafter disappearing from history. Swedish researchers recently suggested that the story in the Georgian chronicle was about the Swedish expedition by the Viking chieftain Ingvar den Vittfarne (Ingvar the Far-Traveled), which features in many rune stones in mid-Sweden.


  • Alexander Mikaberidze — Historical Dictionary of Georgia, Historical Dictionaries of Europe, No. 50 (The Scarecrow Press, Inc.Lanham, Maryland • Toronto • Plymouth, UK. 2007)