ABSTRACT

During the Viking Age (c. 750–1050 CE), Scandinavians migrated to various parts of the globe and came into contact with a wide variety of people, among them the Turks who dwelled in the Western reaches of the Eurasian steppes at the time. The introduction explores the topic of Viking diasporas, which connected the steppes with mainland Scandinavia and the North Atlantic. Setting the scene with an episode of the Icelandic Grœnlendinga saga, this chapter delves into far-reaching Scandinavian networks in which the steppes may have played a part. The second part of the chapter focuses on Viking-Age Scandinavians active in the East, often labelled as Rus’ in contemporary sources, discussing scholarly terminologies and previous scholarship on possible Scandinavian, Rus’, and steppe interactions. The chapter closes with a list of written sources – Muslim, Byzantine, Old Norse, Latin, Slavic, and other – and archaeological evidence as well as basic methodological considerations for combining them in an investigation of the Eastern Viking diasporas from a ‘steppe perspective’.