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Melnikova Elena A. Þar var eigi kaupfriðr í milli Sveins ok Jarirfeifs: A Russian-Norwegian Trade Treaty Concluded in 1024-1028?  

Источник: Archiv und Geschichte im Ostseeraum. Festschrift für Sten Körner. – Kiel, 1997 (s. 15-24)


The legal regulation of trade connections between Ancient Russia and Scandinavian countries is usually supposed to start in the late twelfth century1 as the earliest extant trade treaty is dated to 1191-11922. The treaty was concluded by Novgorod authorities with Gotland (OR Gotskij bereg, the Gothic coast) and German towns. It provided for freedom of trade and safety of merchants, defined trade procedures, duties, etc., and promoted diplomatic relations.

In the preamble to the treaty, however, an earlier agreement is mentioned. Novgorod prince "Jaroslav Volodimerich having consulted posadnik Miroshka and tysjatskij Jakov confirms the old treaty [OR mir, peace, peace treaty]..."3. This phrase gave rise to a supposition that the treaty of 1191-1192 was not the first one and that it was preceded by at least one, or more treaties. E. Bonnell suggested that the "old treaty" was concluded not later man in 11604. W. Rennkamp dated it to 1160-11805 assuming that it appeared as a result of the activities of Heinrich the Lion of Bavaria and Saxony who, according to Helmold's "Chronica", sent two ambassadors to Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Russia6. W. Rennkamp regarded it to be a bilateral treaty which regulated trade connections between Russia and Germany. A different dating and interpretation of the "old treaty" was suggested by E. A. Rybina. She thought that it appeared during the domination of Gotland on the Baltic Sea, i. e. in the first half or at the beginning of the twelfth century, and that it regulated the trade between Visby and Novgorod7.

In her recent study A. L. Choroškevič accepted W. Rennkamp's dating of the agreement mentioned in the text of the 1191-1192 treaty, but she thought that there could have been two or even more earlier agreements of Novgorod with different partners. She isolated three chronological strata corresponding to earlier treaties in the 1191-1192 text, the oldest one dating to the early eleventh century, the "old treaty" concluded in the 1160s, and the extant text compiled in 1191-1192. The oldest part of the treaty, according to A. L. Choroškevič, comprised clauses concerning payments for different offences of free men, their wives, and daughters as well as the procedure of extracting debts on merchants. These regulations resemble, in A. L. Choroškevič's opinion, those codified in the short version of the "Russian Law" compiled in 1015-1016 by Jaroslav the Wise to improve the relations between his Varangians and the Novgorodians8.

This hypothetical early eleventh-century treaty of Novgorod left no traces in Old Russian written sources. However, there seems to exist an allusion to a possible trade agreement of Ancient Rus' and Norway in the times of Olaf Haraldsson in one of the Old Norse-Icelandic kings' sagas. This allusion is incorporated in a story about the voyage of two Norwegians, Björn and Karl, to Rus'. The story forms a part of a narration about the stay of Magnus the Good, the son of Olaf Haraldsson, in Rus before his return to Norway.

Magnus's stay in Rus' is described at length only in "Magnúss saga góða ok Haralds harðráða" which is included in "Morkinskinna" and "Flateyarbók" and its first part as a separate "Saga Magnúsar konungs ens góða" exists in "Hulda". The compilation found in "Morkinskinna", GkS 1009 fol. (ca. 1275), is thought to be originally produced at the beginning of the thirteenth century and revised in 1220-1230. The compiler used "Ágrip af noregs konunga sögum" (ca. 1190) and skaldic verses, but his sources for the major part of the text, including "Magnúss saga góða ok Haralds harðráða" are obscure9. According to Finnur Jónsson, the compiler of "Morkinskinna" based on separate sagas about Magnus, Harald and other kings which were composed between 1150 (or 1160) and 118010. At the moment, the existence of only one separate early saga, that of Harald the Hard-Ruler, seems probable. G. Inderbø found no proofs for the existence of early separate sagas about Norwegian kings after Olaf Haraldsson. He supposed that "Morkinskinna" was an original composition and it was the first attempt to present the history of Norwegian kings after Olaf the Saint11. Though with some reservations, Th. M. Andersson shared this opinion and included "Morkinskinna" into a group of original kings' sagas created between 1190 and 1220 and defined it as "a firsthand narrative drawn directly from skaldic and oral prose tradition"12.

The same narration about Magnus's stay in Rus' is also present in "Flateyarbók", GkS 1005 fol. (1387-1394), in "Magnúss saga góða ok Haralds harðráða" written on additional leaves of the second half of the fifteenth century and in "Saga Magnúsar konungs ens góða" in "Hulda", AM 66 fol., compiled in the mid-fourteenth century on the basis of "Morkinskinna" and "Heimskringla".

Another and a much shorter version of Magnus's stay in Rus' is found in Snorri's "Heimskringla". It is included in "Óláfs saga helga" as "Magnúss saga göda" starts with Magnus's return to Norway. Snorri's main sources for this part were "Morkinskinna", "Óláfs saga helga" (Styrmir's variant and "the Oldest saga") and especially "Bergsöglisvfsur" of Sigvat Thordarson.

Thus there exist two versions of the narration about Magnus's stay in Rus, an extended one in "Morkinskinna" repeated in " Flateyarbók" and "Hulda" and an abridged one in Snorri's "Heimskiingla". The extended narration consists of four major episodes. The first one tells how Magnus found himself at the court of Jaroslav the Wise, the great Russian prince. The second describes Magnus's stay with Jaroslav. The third deals with the voyage of Björn and Karl and their later activities to prepare the return of Magnus to Norway. The fourth relates about a Norwegian embassy under Kalf Arnason and Einar Thambarskelfir to Rus' to bring Magnus back to Norway. In his version Snorri made use of only two subjects. He mentioned in passing that on his escape to Rus', Olaf took Magnus with him (ch. CLXXXI) and told about the embassy of Kalf Arnason and Einar Thambarskelfir (ch. CCLI). Neither Magnus's deeds at Jaroslav's court nor the voyage of Björn and Karl are mentioned by Snorri.

Before analyzing the retelling about this voyage, it seems important to say a few words about the nature of the preceding episodes. "Magnúss saga góða ok Haralds harðráða" begins with the first episode telling about the events that caused Magnus's arrival to Rus'. According to the saga, Jaroslav built a magnificent hall which Ingigerd, his wife, a Swedish princess, thought quite remarkable, but still inferior to the hall of Olaf Haraldsson. The king got angry and slapped Ingigerd in the face. As a compensation for the insult, Ingigerd demanded to invite Magnus, the son of Olaf Haraldsson, as a fóstri. Jaroslav forwarded an embassy to Olaf who accepted the invitation and sent Magnus to Rus'.

The episode seems to derive from the Old Norse tradition about the marriage of Ingigerd and Jaroslav13. Ingigerd, the daughter of the Swedish king Olaf Skötkonung, was promised as a wife to Olaf Haraldsson, but the marriage was broken and she became the wife of Jaroslav the Wise. Later Olaf married her sister Astrid. The saga tradition about Ingigerd is dominated by two conceptions, her lasting love to Olaf Haraldsson and her mental superiority over Jaroslav. Sagas stress Ingigerd's attachment to Olaf on many occasions and motivate many of her actions by "their secret love" ("því at hvárt þeirra unni öðru með leyndri ást")14. Most common is Ingigerd's comparison of Jaroslav and Olaf in favour of the latter. In the discussed episode Ingigerd's estimation of his hall is explained by Jaroslav in full agreement with this conception: "oc synir þv enn ast þina vip Olaf konvng" ("and show you again your love for king Olaf")15.

Another feature determining Ingigerd's image in sagas, is her domineering personality. Ingigerd is described as a resolute, brave and wise woman, whereas the stereotype image of Jaroslav presents him as a weak and indecisive ruler, stingy and vindictive, always ready to employ Scandinavians and to shift off the burden of responsibility to his Scandinavian counselors or commanders-in-chief. The saga image of Jaroslav, profoundly different from that in Old Russian sources, is subordinated to the tendency to glorify a Scandinavian konung in Rus16. His relations with Ingigerd are depicted in sagas as dominated by her. In the narration under discussion, Ingigerd suggests to invite Olafs son not only to compensate the insult but to humiliate Jaroslav too. She stresses the fact that the one who upbrings a child is of lower status than the child's father.

The whole episode thus fits the Old Norse tradition. It is in full agreement with the saga stereotype images of Ingigerd and Jaroslav and might well derive from the tradition dealing with the marriage and the married life of Ingigerd. The reliance on stereotypes makes the historical authenticity of this narration questionable. It looks more like a variation of a traditional theme than an account of real events.

The "Morkinskinna" romantic version of Magnus's coming to Rus' differs cardinally from the "Heimskringla" version. On leaving Norway (in 1028), Olaf was followed by a number of retainers, his wife Astrid and his son Magnus. He left Astrid with her relatives in Sweden and went to the east taking Magnus with him. While returning to Norway he preferred his son to stay with Jaroslav. The situation, as presented in "Heimskringla", lacks the romantic flavour and is devoid of stereotype motifs. It is the version accepted in modern historiography.

The second episode of "Magnúss saga góða ok Haralds harðráða", the stay of Magnus in Rus', is also constructed as a combination of several traditional motifs. He is said to occupy a honorary position at Jaroslav's court, to succeed in sports and war games, and to kill his offender after a quarrel at a banquet. These characteristics belong to the stereotype description of a konung in Rus and can hardly be applied to Magnus who, according to Arhor Jarlaskald returned to Norway at the age of eleven. A similar story about the murder of an offender is also told about Olaf Tryggvason who spent his young years in Rus'17.

The third episode, containing the information about a possible trade treaty, and the fourth episode, differ from the preceding two in their lack of situational stereotypes. They are devoted to the events directly connected with the return of Magnus to Norway. According to "Magnúss saga góða ok Haralds harðráða" as well as other sagas including "Heimskringla" Magnus's inthronization in 1036 was prepared by a common resentment of Danish rule in Norway. Snorri elaborated the theme of Danish suppression in Norway and provided a long list of laws introduced by Svein which aroused special anger of the Norwegians. He also stressed personal dissatisfaction of Einar Thambarskelfir and Kalf Arnason who were later deceived by Knut.

"Morkinskinna" premises the retelling about the embassy of Kalf and Einar with a narration about a voyage of two brothers Karl and Björn. In spite of the absence of peace (úfriðr) between Svein and Jaroslav, they went to trade to Rus', came across the hostility of the local population and were compelled to meet Jaroslav who, on Magnus's insistence, invited them to stay at his court for a winter. In spring, Jaroslav suggested their return to Norway to persuade prominent Norwegians to support Magnus in his claim for the throne. Jaroslav is also said to have supplied money to suborn those hesitating. The brothers came back to Norway and met Einar Thambarskelfir who promised to go to the east. In this way the compiler of "Morkinskinna" connected both missions and made Karl and Björn the initiators of Einar's embassy. Then the brothers went to Nidaros where Karl was captured by Svein's men. Björn escaped and made a second voyage to Rus' to report their progress to Jaroslav and Magnus.

The narration about Jaroslav's participation in the restoration of Norwegian supremacy attracted attention of specialists in Old Russian history who viewed it as a testimony of Jaroslav's active policy in the Baltic (Grekov et al.). However, E. A. Rydzevskaja, a prominent Russian specialist in Old Norse sources for Russian history, severely rejected the very possibility of using this episode in historical studies. She wrote, "...saga researchers have established long ago that the interference of Jaroslav was an invention of the compiler of "Morkinskinna" The fact that this role is attributed to a Russian prince, is certainly not devoid of interest and importance, but all the same, it is not a historical fact"18. Her verdict put an end to using this episode for historical purposes. Nevertheless, Rydzevskaja's estimation of this episode was not based on a special study, neither was it discussed against a background of politics in the Baltic Sea area and the activities of Jaroslav at that time.

To get accepted or rejected as a historical source, the episode needs a special and thorough investigation which is far beyond the scope of this article. Still, it is worth noting that even the episodes which can be believed the compiler's own compositions on even more serious grounds, like that retelling about the quarrel of Ingigerd and Jaroslav, turn out to derive from a current tradition. Recent studies of Jaroslav's policy in the Baltic in the 1010s and 1020s showed his acute interest in the situation there and his efforts to secure the interests of Rus'. Suffice it to mention a few facts. In 1018 or 1019 Jaroslav married his son Ilia to Estrid, the sister of Knut the Great, and in 1019 he himself married Ingigerd, the daughter of the Swedish konung Olaf. The matrimonial connections fastened political and military alliance between Rus', Denmark and Sweden directed against Poland19. In the early 1020s the situation in Scandinavia changed, and a new Swedish konung Anund-Jacob (since 1022) united with Olaf Haraldsson which led to military confrontation between Denmark and a Swedish-Norwegian coalition. In this new political context Rus' supported the latter as in 1028 Olaf Haraldsson, defeated by Knut, could find refuge in Rus'. The death of Olaf in 1030 did not seem to change the relations between Rus' and Scandinavian countries. Magnus's stay with Jaroslav until 1035 and the mentions of hostility between Jaroslav and Svein Alfifason in many sagas speak for the pro-Norwegian orientation of Jaroslav. The banishment of Svein and the restoration of Olaf's son agree well with the policy of Jaroslav. If this is the case, the narration about Jaroslav sending men to campaign for Magnus might have been derived from a genuine tradition. Like the previous episodes, this one might also be not an exact account of real events but rather an elaboration of the tradition which grew on the basis of and reflected a real situation. Consequently the narration, probably invented, presented if not the truth of facts, then the truth of the situation.

However, be the trastworthiness of the retelling about Jaroslav's participation in Magnus's return to Norway as it may, the narration about the brothers' voyage to Rus' constitutes a special story in itself. A trade voyage to Rus' was a topic widely spread in kings' and family sagas as trade connections of Scandinavian countries and Rus', first and foremost Novgorod, were regular and numerous. Descriptions of these voyages are usually stereotyped. They stress the richness of the Novgorodian market, the profitability of the trade for Scandinavians, and name the most desirable merchandise, Russian furs, Byzantine cloths, Arabic precious utensils. The narration about the voyage of Karl and Björn lacks all these stereotypes and provides a picture quite different from the usual one.

Nv er vfriþr milli Sveins Alfifosonar oc Jarizleifs konvngs. þvi at Jarizleifr konvngr virði sem var at Noregsmenn hof þо nizc a enom helga Olafi konvngi. oc var þar noccora stvnd eigi cavpfriþr i milli. Maðr er nefhdr Karl en annarr Biorn. þeir voro bröðr .ii. litils hattar at bvrþom oc þo framqvemþarmenn. verit salltmenn enn fyrra lvt efi sinnar oc aflat sva peninga. en nv var sva orþit at þeir vorv rikir kavpmenn. ... þa tok Karl til orða oc melti við haseta sina... ec etla at fara i Austrveg cavpferþ. en nv firir sakir vrnmela Sveins konvngs oc Jarizleifs konvngs oc þess vfriþar er i milli þeira er. þa ma þat kalla eigi varlict...

Oc þetta taca þeir raþs. fara nv með honom vnz þeir koma i Austrriki oc leggia þar at viþ eitt mikit cavptvn, oc vildo þeir kavpa ser navðsynia lvti. En þegar er landzmenn visso at þeir voro Norðmenn, þa fengo þeir þeim at siþr cavp at þegar helt viþ bardaga oc vildo lanzmenn veita þeim atgongo. Oc er Karl sa at i oeni for þa melti hann til lanzmanna. Þat mon metit til hvatvisi oc noccot sva diorfvngar at taca slict fyrir hendr konvngi yðrom at meiþa vtlenda menn eþa rena. þott her comi meþ cavpeyri sinn oc gere yþr engan oftiþ. oc vitit aldri hvart konvngr geri yþr þocc fyri eþa eigi. nv er yðr vitrligra at biþa konvngs atqveþa vm slict. Viþ þetta sefaz lanzmenn oc verþr eigi at þeim gengjt með ollo. þo ser Karl at þat endiz eigi sva bvit. hann gerir þa ferþ sina a konvngs fvnd.

Er eigi getit vm ferþ hans fyrr en hann cømr fyrir Jarizleif konvng oc qvaddi hann. Konvngr spyrr hverr hann er. Ec em norrønn maþr einn segir hann litils verðr oc kominn hingat með goþom peningom oc felagar minir [með góðum friði. – Hulda]. Konvngr melti. Hví vart þv sva diarfr at søkja hingat. hyggr þv noccot þina gefo meiri enn annarra manna, oc hyggr þv at þv munir her draga fram cavpeyri þinn en aðrir fa eigi haldit linnu. oc hafa þeir Noregsmenn aldri sva illt af mer at eigi se þeir verra verþir. [Karl melti. Eigi mono allir iafnir i þvi. ec em saltkarl einn litils verþr. þo at nv hafa ec peninga. hefi ec avalt verit til noccors hentogleika en aldri var ec i moti Olafi konungi i huga minom. þat mon ec etla segir konvngr. at þv monir reynaz sem allir aþrir Noregsmenn. Konvngr bað taca hann ok setia þegar i fiotra. oc sva var gert. Oc siþan segir konvngr Magnvsi fostra sinom oc spyrr hann raðs vm hverso scipa scal við Norðmennina. Magnvs svarar. Litt hafi þer fostri minn haft mic viþ raþin her til. en seint ventir mik at raþiz at minn verþi Noregr ef sva scal at fara at drepa þa alla er þaðan ero ettaþir. en vel mvndot þer vilia fostri minn. þvi at þeir mego at retto allir callaz minir þegnar. – Hulda]. Oc oþrovis get ec venna mvno at at orca en hataz viþ alla þa menn er baðan ero. Konvngrenn let þetta vel melt. oc qvað hans raþom scyldo fram fara. Konvngr callaþi Carll til sin vm morgoninn. oc siþan melti konvngr til hans. Sva litz mer a þic at þv ser giptwenligr maðr. oc þat vill Magnvs konvngs son at þu hafir griþ. oc ero þer nv .ii. costir gervir af minni hendi. annarr at þv farir til scips у þars. oc fø ec yþr oc vist. farit með cavpeyri yðarnn sem yþr syniz. ella far þv til min oc ver með mer i vetr20.

(Now there is no peace between Svein Alfifason and konung Jarizleif because konung Jarizleif minks that Norwegians have betrayed saint konung Olaf, and for some time there was no trade peace between them. A man is called Karl and another man is called Bjurn. They were two brothers, of humble birth but men of prowess. They were salt-makers earlier in their lives and they thus acquired money, and now it happened so that they became rich merchants...

Then Karl spoke and said to his mates, "...I am going to make a trade voyage to the Eastern Route but nowadays this trip cannot be called safe because there is a disagreement between konung Svein and konung Jarizleif and there is no peace between them...".

And they take their decision and go now with him until they come to the Eastern Country [i. e. Rus'] and stopped at a large trade town and want to buy some necessities for themselves. But as soon as the men of the land learned that they were Norwegians, they not only refused to sell anything to them but it came close to a battle, and the men of the land wanted to attack them. And when Karl saw that it was getting dangerous he said to the men of the land, "It can be regarded as reckless and bold [to take a decision] instead of your konung to maim or rob foreigners while they came here with their wares and make you no hostilities. And one can never know if the konung would approve of you or not. Now it is wiser of you to wait for konung's decision on this matter". The men of the land got soothed with this and restrained from attacking them. Nevertheless, Karl sees that it will not end like that, and he starts his trip to the konung.

Nothing is said about his trip until he came to Jarizleif konung and greeted him. The konung asked him who he was. "I am a Norwegian, he says, of humble birth and I came here with good money and my companions with peace". The konung said, "How is it that you got so bold to come here? Do you think that your luck is larger than that of other men or do you think that you can profit from your wares while others could not preserve their lives? And those Norwegians never get as much evil from me, as they are worth". Karl said, "Not all men are equal in this. I am a salt-maker of humble birth, though now I have money, and I have always been ready for any opportunity and I have never been against Olaf konung in my thoughts". "I suppose, the konung says, that you'll turn out to be like all other Norwegians". The konung ordered to take him and put him into irons, and it was done. And later the konung speaks to Magnus, his foster-son, and asks for his advice on what is to be done with those Norwegians. Magnus answers, "Until now you have asked little for my advice, my foster-father, but it seems to me that Norway won't become mine soon if it comes to killing all those who originate from there. But you will be well-disposed, my foster-father, because they all have right to be called my thegns. And I think that it is better for me to behave differently than to share hatred with all those who are from there". The konung thought it well spoken and said that it would be done according to his advice. The konung called for Karl in the morning and then said to him, "It seems to me that you are a man promising good luck, and Magnus, the konung's son, wants that you should be given peace. And there are two possibilities that I can grant you. The first of them is that you go to your ship and I shall give you wine and food and you will go with your merchandise as you wish. Or you go to me and stay a winter with me...").

The narration contains numerous indications to the political relations of Rus' and Norway and to the trade connections of the two countries in the form of both author's statements and depiction of events caused by the state of affairs. The author's summary of the political situation, i.e. his declaration about the absence of peace between Jaroslav and Svein, stands apart from the enormous bulk of the "Russian evidences" of the sagas. The characteristic of political situation in Rus' was irrelevant for the saga authors as travels to Rus' and Eastern Baltic were always presented as private enterprises organized and carried out on the personal basis with no interference of the authorities. The only other survey of the political situation in Rus' can be found in "Eymundar þáttr". Eymund's decision to go to Rus' and to serve with Jaroslav's army is motivated by a feud between the sons of great prince Vladimir, and the description of the causes of the feud and the aims of each of Vladimir's sons provides the outline of the political turbulence in Rus' after the death of Vladimir the Saint21. This summary, correct in its essence but wrong in many details, was highly appropriate in a saga telling about a viking who participated in all these events profiting by opposing interests of the Russian rulers. However, even this survey has nothing to do with the international relations of Rus'. Eymund's voyage was his personal adventure and of no concern of Norwegian authorities.

On the contrary, the survey in "Magnúss saga góða ok Haralds hardráða" is a characteristic of political relations between Rus' and Norway. It is a brief declaration of the absence of peace (úfriðr) between Jaroslav and Svein after the death of Olaf Haraldsson. The state of úfriðr meant a war or hostility between the partners and it seems, in spite of the lack of corroborating evidence in Old Russian and Old Norse sources, that the enmity did exist at that time. Rus' became an asylum for Svein's enemies who had earlier supported Olaf Haraldsson. Jaroslav was bringing up Olafs underage son Magnus who later expelled Svein and became the king of Norway. Another prominent relative of Olaf, Harald the Hard-Ruler, who participated in the battle at Stiklastadir found refuge in Rus' and later married Jaroslav's daughter. In this context, the characteristic of the relations between Jaroslav and Svein in the saga does not seem wrong. The hostility to Danish Norway in the early 1030s was a continuation of Jaroslav's policy in the Baltic in the second half of the 1020s.

The idea of the state of úfriðr is further elaborated in the saga by literary means. Jaroslav's negative attitude to Norwegians is expressed in a number of speeches of

Jaroslav and Magnus and in the retelling about Jaroslav's treatment of Björn and Karl on their arrival to his court. According to the saga, Jaroslav's hostility to the Danish ruler of Norway was accompanied by his hatred to all Norwegians. He is said to accuse them of betraying their lord, Olaf Haraldsson, to regard them worth the most cruel punishment, and to execute all the Norwegians coming to Rus'. Though the speeches, as well as probably the episode of the arrest of Karl and Björn are nothing more than illustrations and literary embodiment of úfriðr their introduction is significant as an indication of the author's position.

Another manifestation of the úfriðr was the break of trade. The saga author makes a special note of the absence of trade peace (kaupfriðr) for some time (noc-cora stvnd). This is the only occasion to my knowledge that a rupture in trade between Rus' and a Scandinavian country is mentioned in a saga. Trade voyages like all other voyages to Rus' were represented as private enterprises even if a konung participated in the partnership (félag) with his money. The success or the failure of a merchant therefore was depicted as depending utterly on his own abilities. In "Magnúss saga góða ok Haralds harðráða" on the contrary, the official status of the break in trade is stressed. It is kaupfriðr between Jaroslav and Svein, the rulers of the states, i.e. between the two states, that is suspended. Like the úfriðr, the absence of kaupfriðr is regarded as a governmental action. Thus, both the situation itself and its presentation in the saga is quite different from the traditional stereotypes. In the context of the actual deterioration of political relations between Rus' and Norway, the prohibition of trade activities could have really taken place.

Temporal suspension of trade with a specific partner by Novgorod authorities seems rather a common practice. The First Novgorod chronicle tells s.a. 1188 about a conflict between Novgorodian and German merchants on Gotland22 which resulted in the break of trade peace. Russian merchants were not allowed to go overseas while Scandinavian merchants left Novgorod "without peace" and with no officials to accompany them, i.e. with no one to secure their safety en route23.

The mention of the absence of kaupfriðr on a state level for a period of time presupposes its existence earlier. It might mean that some time before the 1030s a trade treaty had been concluded by Russian and Norwegian rulers which established official kaupfriðr between the two countries.

There are no grounds to suppose that this treaty appeared before Jaroslav's times. It could have been rather a result of Jaroslav's active policy in the Baltic, and the possible span of time for its conclusion is rather short. A treaty with Olaf Haraldsson's Norway was impossible while Jaroslav maintained close and friendly relations with Knut It was the time when Olafs enemies were well received in Rus', like Eymund Hringsson employed by Jaroslav in 1018 (1019). Only after Jaroslav joined the Swedish and Norwegian alliance against Denmark which emerged after Anund-Jacob's enthronization in 1022, the treaty could have been concluded. The defeat of Olaf Haraldsson in 1028 and his escape to Sweden and Rus' is the upper limit for the conclusion of the treaty.

The exact time Jaroslav joined the alliance is unknown but its most probable date can be suggested. The middle of the 1020s was crucial for Jaroslav's position in Rus. In 1023 Jaroslav's brother Mstislav, the prince of Tmutarakan, took the opportunity of Jaroslav being in Novgorod and attacked Kiev in an attempt to become Great prince. Though Mstislav failed, Jaroslav collected an army in Novgorod and in 1024 met Mstislav at Listven not far from Chernigov. Jaroslav got defeated and had to escape back to Novgorod. For two years Jaroslav resided in Novgorod before he came to an agreement with Mstislav in 1026 and returned to Kiev. It seems reasonable to suppose that the most suitable time for Jaroslav to conclude a trade treaty with Norway was the period between 1024 and 1026 when he permanently stayed in Novgorod. It was the time when Jaroslav consolidated his political and economic position, and the revision of his international relations was appropriate. For Norway with its traditional contacts with England violated by the rivalry of Knut and Olaf, Novgorod, one of the richest centers of the Baltic trade and tightly connected with Scandinavian countries from of old, was a desirable partner. So, the most probable time for the conclusion of a trade treaty by Jaroslav and Olaf Haraldsson was 1024-1026.

The saga can also provide some indications as to the content of the treaty. The term kaupfriðr corresponding exactly to the Old Russian torgovyj mir, "trade peace", and "a trade treaty", implied first and foremost the freedom of trade for foreign merchants and some warrants for their personal safety. The experience Karl and Björn encountered in a Russian town illustrate what the absence of kaupfriðr meant for a merchant.

Having arrived in Rus', Karl and Björn found themselves in trouble only after the citizens came to know that the newcomers were Norwegians. The prohibition of trade thus concerned only Norway whereas the trade with other countries seems not to be affected. The rapture of the trade with Gotlanders in 1188 is presented in the same way in the First Novgorod chronicle, as an action directed only against the offender party.

The local citizens are told to have refused to sell anything to the brothers and to have prepared to attack them. The interdict of trade with Norwegians seems to have caused two main problems. On the one hand, it excluded any business with Norwegians, not only large-scale operations, but even minor purchases, like those the brothers wanted to make ("some necessities for themselves"). On the other hand, it provoked the citizens to attack the Norwegians who "made them no hostilities". The aim of the attack, as summed up by Karl, was to "maim or rob" the merchants. It seems that in the absence of kaupfriðr the citizens regarded the merchants to be an easy booty. The lack of responsibility for the merchants' safety could result from the fact that neither their lives, nor their wares were secured according to a valid agreement. However, the mention of a possible displeasure of Jaroslav stopped the assaulters.

The interdict of trade was not restricted to any specific place. The town Karl and Björn stopped in is said to have been a large trade center (eitt mikit cavptvn), me first one on the way from the Baltic to Rus'. It is most probably Old Ladoga, Aldeigjuborg of the sagas, the gates to Novgorod and the second largest town in Northern Rus'. The travellers from the Baltic to Novgorod had to stop in Old Ladoga to change ships or to take pilots to pass the rapids on the Volkhov24. Trade was one of the main occupations of the citizens of Old Ladoga. Being subordinated to Novgorod, Old Ladoga authorities had to obey the orders of Novgorod princes. The prohibition of trading with Norwegians could also find better understanding in Ladoga than in any other place as its citizens were well acquainted with visitors from Scandinavian countries25. The interdict thus spread at least over all Northern Rus', and it was most probably issued by Jaroslav (together with Novgorod authorities like the treaty of 1191?) as Karl had to apply to the Great prince to get a permission to trade.

Taken together, these observations seem to allow some suggestions as to the character and the content of the treaty. It must have been concluded by the heads of the states, Jaroslav and Olaf Haraldsson, between 1024 and 1026 (1028). It was valid at least in the Novgorod land. The most important clauses of the treaty must have provided freedom of trade, and safety of Norwegian merchants and safety of their wares in Rus'.


1. Goetz L. K. Deutsch-Russische Handelsgeschichte des Mittelalters. Lübeck, 1922. S. 16.

2. Рыбина E. A. Иноземные дворы в Новгороде XII-XVII вв. М., 1986. С. 27-31.

3. ГВНП. С. 55.

4. Bonnell Е. Russisch-livländische Chronographie von der Mitte des neunten Jahrhunderts bis zum Jahre 1410. St. Petersburg, 1862. S. 48.

5. Rennkamp W. Studien zum deutsch-russischen Handel bis zum Ende des 13. Jahrhunderts. Nowgorod und Dünagebiet Bochum, 1977. S. 64-65.

6. Helmoldi presbyteri Bozoviensis Cronica slavorum / B. Schmeidler // MGH SRC 1937. XXXII. S. 169.

7. Рыбина E. A. Иноземные дворы. С. 30.

8. This interpretation of the origins of the "Russian Law" has been abandoned long ago by the majority of Russian historians as the rules specified by the code have almost nothing to do with Scandinavians. The Varangians are mentioned in only three clauses, and the term varjag most probably stands for a collective designation of foreign merchants in Novgorod. Cf. Horoszkiewicz, A. L. Zagadkowe okoliczności powstania kopii najdawniejszych umów Nowogrodu z Gotlandą i Niemcami z końca XII i z połowy XIII wieku // Balticum. Studia z dziejów polityki, gospodarki, kultury XII-XVII wieku. Toruń, 1992. S. 105-111; Choroškevič A. L. Der Ostseehandel und der deutsch-russisch-gotländische Vertrag 1191/1192 // Der hansische Sonderweg? Beiträge zur Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte der Hanse. Köln; Weimar; Wien, 1993.

9. Andersson Th. M. Kings' Sagas (Konungasögur) // Old Norse-Icelandic Literature. A Critical Guide / C. J. Clover and J. Lindow. Ithaca; L., 1985. P. 217-218.

10. Finnur Jónsson. Introduction // Morkinskinna / Finnur Jónsson (SUGNL. 53). Copenhagen, 1928-1932. S. x-xxxviii.

11. Inderbø G. Nokre merknader til den norröne kongesoga // ANF. 1938-1939. B. 54. S. 58-79.

12. Andersson Th. M. Kings' Sagas. P. 219.

13. Cf. Джаксон Т. Н. ИКС-1994. С. 153-161.

14. Eymundar þáttr // Ibid. P. 104.

15. Cf. Джаксон Т. Н. ИКС-2000. С. 48.

16. Джаксон Т. Н. Исландские королевские саги как источник по истории Древней Руси и ее соседей. X-XIII вв. // ДГ. 1988-1989 гг. М., 1991. С. 70-79.

17. Ibid.

18. Рыдзевская E. А. Древняя Русь и Скандинавия в IX-XIV вв.: Материалы и исследования. М., 1978. С. 227, примеч. 237.

19. Назаренко А. В. О русско-датском союзе впервой четверти XI в. // ДГ. 1990 год. М., 1991. С. 189.

20. Morkinskinna. Pergamentsbog fra første halvdel af det trettende aarhundrede / С. R. Unger. Christiania, 1867. Bls. 3-4.

21. Eymundar þáttr // Джаксон Т. H. ИКС-1994. С. 92.

22. The interpretation of this passage has recently become a subject of discussions. Cf. Рыбина E. A. Иноземные дворы. С. 27-29; Lind J. Varæger, nemtser og novgoroder ar 1188. Hvor var Choruzek og Novotorzek? // (F)HT. 1981. S. 145-177; Линд Дж. Загадочная статья Новгородской первой летописи. Что случилось в 1188 году? // Архив русской истории. 1994. Т. 4. С. 191-206.

23. Die erste Novgoroder Chronik nach ihrer ältesten Redaktion (Synodalhandschrift) 1016-1333/1352 / J. Dietze. Leipzig, 1981. S. 169.

24. The most detailed description of the passage from Ladoga to Novgorod is given in the treaty of Novgorod with German towns of 1269 (ГВНП. C. 58-61).

25. It is worth noting that only the First Novgorod chronicle (but for the geographical introduction to the Primary chronicle) makes use of specific Scandinavian ethnic names, Донь, the Danes, and Г(о)те, the Gotlanders. Southern- and Eastern-Russian Chronicles use exclusively the term Варяги, a cumulative designation of Scandinavians.