chapter  7
25 Pages

The Swedes and the east

And a road led to the east. The Vikings who left Uppland and the island of Gotland followed this road by river and portage deep into the interior of eastern Europe and beyond to the capitals of Byzantium and, perhaps, Islam. A Viking guard was even established by the emperor in Constantinople. Towns such as Novgorod and Kiev were ruled by Vikings. Lines were kept open with the old country. Coin hoards were deposited decade after decade in Scandinavia. The perils encountered were not perils of the open sea - except the occasional storm in the eastern Baltic - but the physical obstacles of rapids and overland hauling and the human obstacles of fellow trader-pirates and unfriendly tribes.