ABSTRACT

This chapter covers trade relations among the Scandinavians, Rus’, and steppe people during the Viking Age. Written sources will be combined with archaeological evidence to describe the main trade routes – the waterways in the region – and the development of alternative routes. Establishing the chronology of what I label broadly as “Viking-nomadic” trade, I describe the various commodities exchanged among the parties. The chapter will contrast trade in the Volga and Dnieper areas and argue for fundamental differences between them not only in commodities, but also in the organization and underlying motivations for trade. A sub-chapter will deal with Scandinavian and Rus’-Magyar commercial relations. I put forward a hypothesis that the Carpathian Basin was a nodal point for Rus’ traders passing through to the Western markets of Cracow and Prague and that there may have been direct trade between Kiev and the Upper Tisza region in the early tenth century. Trade relations established the basic trust between partners that facilitated a close connection among the Scandinavians, Rus’, and Turkic inhabitants of the steppes.