|Prince of Ladoga|
Rurik in the Tsarsky Titulyarnik, 1672
|Died||879 (aged 48 or 49)|
Rurik or Riurik (Old Church Slavonic: Рюрик, from Rørik; c. 830 – 879) was a legendary Varangian chieftain who gained control of Ladoga in 862, built the Holmgard settlement near Novgorod, and founded the Rurik Dynasty, which ruled Kievan Rus (and later the Grand Duchy of Moscow and Tsardom of Russia) until the 17th century.
There is a debate over how Rurik came to control Ladoga and Novgorod. The only information about him is contained in the 12th-century Primary Chronicle, which states that Chuds, Eastern Slavs, Merias, Veses, and Krivichs "...drove the Varangians back beyond the sea, refused to pay them tribute, and set out to govern themselves". Afterwards the tribes started fighting each other and decided to invite the Varangians, led by Rurik, to reestablish order.
According to the Primary Chronicle, Rurik was one of the Rus, a Varangian tribe likened by the chronicler to Danes, Swedes, Angles, and Gotlanders. In the 20th century, archaeologists partly corroborated the chronicle's version of events,[clarification needed] but mostly the excavations denied most of the chronicle's data about Rurik's arrival when it was apparent that the old settlement stretched to the mid-8th century and the excavated objects were mostly of Finno-Ugric and Slavic origin, dated to the mid-8th century, which showed the settlement was not Scandinavian from the beginning.[page needed]
Rurik remained in power until his death in 879. His successors (the Rurik Dynasty), however, moved the capital to Kiev and founded the state of Kievan Rus', which persisted until the Mongol invasion in 1240. A number of extant princely families are patrilineally descended from Rurik, although the last Rurikid to rule Russia, Vasily IV, died in 1612.
According to the entries in the Radzivil and Hypatian Chronicles under the years 862–864, Rurik’s first residence was in Ladoga. It is only later that he moved his seat of power to Novgorod, a fort built not far from the source of the Volkhov River. The meaning of this place name in medieval Russian is 'new fortification', while the current meaning ('new city') appeared only later.
Possible identity with Rorik of Dorestad
The only similarly named figure described in Western chronicles was Rorik of Dorestad (also spelled Rørik, Rörik, Roerik, Hrörek, etc.), a Germanic king from the royal Scylding house of Haithabu in the Jutland Peninsula (then in Denmark, today within Germany). Since the 19th century, there have been attempts to identify him with the Rurik of Russian chronicles.
Rorik of Dorestad was born about ca. 810–820 to Ali Anulo, 9th king of Haithabu. Frankish chroniclers mention that he received lands in Friesland from Emperor Louis I. This was not enough for him, and he started to plunder neighbouring lands: he took Dorestad in 850, captured Haithabu in 857, and looted Bremen in 859. The Emperor was enraged and stripped him of all his possessions in 860. After that, Rorik disappears from the Western sources for a considerable period of time, while only two years later, in 862, the Russian chronicle's Rurik arrives in the eastern Baltic, builds the fortress of Ladoga, and later moves to Novgorod.
Rorik of Dorestad reappeared in Frankish chronicles in 870, when his Friesland demesne was returned to him by Charles the Bald; in 882 Rorik of Dorestad is mentioned as dead (without a date of death specified). The Russian chronicle places the death of Rurik of Novgorod at 879, a three year gap prior than the Frankish chronicles. According to Western sources, the ruler of Friesland was converted to Christianity by the Franks. This may have parallels with the Christianization of the Rus', as reported by Patriarch Photius in 867.
The idea of identifying Rurik, a legendary figure, with the historical Rorik of Dorestad was revived by the anti-Normanists Boris Rybakov and Anatoly H. Kirpichnikov in the mid-20th century, while modern scholars like Alexander Nazarenko object to it. The hypothesis of their identity currently lacks support among scholars, though support for a "Normanic" (i.e. Norse, rather than Slavic) origin of the Rus' has increased.
The Rurikid dynasty went on to rule the Kievan Rus', and ultimately the Tsardom of Muscovy, until 1598. Numerous noble Russian and Ruthenian families claim a male-line descent from Rurik, and via Anne of Kiev, wife of Henry I of France, Rurikid ancestry can also be argued for numerous Western European lineages.
Vasily Tatishchev (a Rurikid himself) claimed that Rurik was of Wendish extraction and went so far as to name Rurik's wife, Ufanda of Norway (Endvinda? Alfrind?); mother, Umila; his maternal grandfather, Gostomysl; and a cousin, Vadim (apparently basing his account on the lost Ioachim Chronicle).
According to the FamilyTreeDNA Rurikid Dynasty DNA Project, Rurik appears to have belonged to Y-DNA haplogroup N1c1, based on testing of his modern purported male-line descendants. N1c1 is not widely found in Scandinavian countries, but is overwhelmingly found among Baltic and Finnish ethnicities. The N1c1 haplotype possess the distinctive value DYS390=23, also rarely found in Scandinavia. The closest relatives of the Rurikid haplotype are found in coastal Finland, but Jaakko Häkkinen with the University of Helsinki has later argued that the Rurikid N1c1 lineage can in fact be traced back to Scandinavia.
- It was discovered that the settlement of Ladoga, whose foundation has been ascribed to Rurik, was actually established in the mid-9th century, although doubt is now cast on this by the dendrochronological evidence that Ladoga existed by the mid-8th century. Earthenware, household utensils, and types of buildings from the period of Rurik's purported foundation correspond to patterns then prevalent in Jutland.
- Kirpichnikov, Anatoliy N. (2004). "A Viking Period workshop in Staraya Ladoga, excavated in 1997" (PDF). Journal of Swedish Antiquarian Research. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
- Ipat’ievskaia letopis’ 1962:14; Radzivilovskaia letopis’ 1989:16
- Kirpichnikov, Anatoly H. "Сказание о призвании варягов. Анализ и возможности источника". Первые скандинавские чтения, СПб; 1997; ch. 7–18.
- Nazarenko, Alexander. "Rjurik и Riis Th., Rorik", Lexikon des Mittelalters, VII; Munich, 1995; pp. 880, 1026.
- Andrei Mozzhukhin (5 October 2014). «Рюрик — это легенда» ["Rurik – is a legend"] (in Russian). Russian Planet. Retrieved 12 November 2014. Interview with Igor Danilevsky.
- "Rurikid Dynasty DNA Project - News". familytreedna.com. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
- Häkkinen, Jaakko (17 January 2012). "Structure of the Y-haplogroup N1c1 updated to 67 markers" (PDF). University of Helsinki.
- Häkkinen, Jaakko (9 December 2012). "Scandinavian origin of the Rurikid N1c1 lineage" (PDF). Retrieved 5 January 2017.
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