Igor made peace with the Pechenegs who came to the borders of Rus, but in 920 he himself led a campaign against them.
The prince also paid attention to the continuation of spreading influence over the nearest Slavic tribes. By the 940s, after a three-year siege of the main city of the Ulichi tribe, Peresechen’, Voivode Sveneld brought these tribes under control.
In 941, the prince gathered a large army and began a war with Byzantium, which had stopped paying the tribute due under a peace treaty.”
The first campaign against Constantinople ended in failure – the Byzantines defeated the Russians first on land, and then in a naval battle burned most of the enemy fleet with “Greek fire.” By 943, Igor Rurikovich had gathered a new army so impressive that upon hearing of it, the Emperor of Byzantium chose to send envoys with an offer of peace and payment of overdue tribute. A new treaty was signed in Kiev in 944.
In addition, foreign sources contain information about the campaigns of the Rus along the Caspian coast (912-913) and in the Transcaucasus (943-944), which are not mentioned in the chronicles but may be indirectly related to the personality of Prince Igor Rurikovich.
Southeastern – interaction with the Pechenegs.
Southern – war with Byzantium (campaign of 941, campaign of 943), conquest of the Ulichi tribe.
Briefly about the main events
Interaction with the Pecheneg tribes
Having first encountered the Pechenegs in 915, Igor Rurikovich made peace with them and let them pass to the Danube. However, already in 920, chronicles mention a military campaign by the prince against this tribe – apparently, the nomads could not maintain peace for long due to their way of life and habit of forcibly taking property from less warlike farmers.
During the war with Byzantium, before the second campaign to Constantinople, Igor hired Pechenegs to strengthen his own army. When he received a ransom from the Byzantine ruler sent to meet him with ambassadors, the prince left the Pechenegs to plunder Bulgaria and himself returned to Kiev.
The Subjugation of the Ulichi Tribe
In 937Novgorod First Chronicle of the younger edition, Igor Rurikovich decided to put an endthe freedom of the disobedient Slavic tribe and sent his voivode, Sveneld, to subdue the Ulichi. Most of their territories were taken under control fairly quickly, but the main city, Peresechen’, withstood a three-year siege before surrendering in 940. As a result, a tribute was imposed on the Ulichi, similar to the one imposed on the Drevlians, and the collection of tribute from the Drevlians and Ulichi was entrusted to Sveneld and his retinue.
In a few years, Sveneld’s retinue became so enriched that Igor’s warriors began to grumble and urge the prince to collect taxes from the Drevlians himself.
War with Byzantium
campaigns against Constantinople
Forewarned by the Bulgarians of a huge fleet of Russes consisting of 10,000 ships, the Byzantine emperor sent a large army to meet them on land and a fleet of ships equipped with Greek fire by sea. Having defeated the Russes on land and forced them to hastily load onto their boats, the Byzantines then blockaded them at sea and burned a large part of the fleet.
Thus, the first campaign ended in a complete defeat, and the returning participants recounted:
«Like a heavenly lightning bolt, — they said, — the Greeks have it with them and, unleashing it, they burned us; that’s why we couldn’t defeat them».“The Tale of Bygone Years”
one or another year is indicated., Prince Igor gathered enough troops for revenge and additionally hired the Pechenegs before the campaign.
After receiving news from the Bulgarians and the Korsunians about the alliance of the Rus with the Pechenegs and the so large fleet of the enemy that “their ships covered the sea without number”“The Tale of Bygone Years”, the Byzantine emperor preferred to avoid a clash. Along with the ambassadors to meet Igor, he sent gifts and promises to pay tribute in accordance with Oleg’s treaty and above it. After consulting with his retinue, Igor Rurikovich accepted the conditions, left the Pechenegs to plunder Bulgaria, and returned to Kiev.
Peace treaty of Igor Rurikovich with Byzantium in 944
of Romanos in the treaty points to 944. In December
944, Roman was overthrown by his sons, Stephen and
Constantine, who were immediately removed from power
by the new emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus., ambassadors arrived in Kiev from Constantinople to conclude a new treaty. The treaty largely repeated the provisions of the peace treaty concluded under Oleg the Prophet, but there were differences.
The ambassadors and merchants were obliged to have princely charters with them so that they could stay on Byzantine lands or live in Constantinople. Legal relations between people from Rus and local residents were regulated. Restrictions were imposed on merchants for staying in the capital, for exporting fabrics, etc. The Rus was obliged to protect the borders with Byzantium in Crimea, and the Ancient Rus state should not claim these lands and, if necessary, provide military assistance to Byzantium.
Campaigns of the Rus during the time of Igor Rurikovich
which are unknown from chronicles.
The raid of the Rus on Berdaa in 943 was preceded by a clash with the Khazars in the Black Sea region, described in the so-called Cambridge Document“Cambridge Document”. . Around 939, a certain Rus ruler named H-l-g-w (Helg), bribed by Byzantium, captured the Khazar fortress of Samkerts on the shore of the Kerch Strait. The Khazar commander Pesakh freed the city and in retaliation attacked Byzantine possessions in Crimea, capturing three cities and besieging Chersonesus Taurica. Then he defeated Helg. According to the Khazar interpretation, Pesakh forced Rus to go to war with Constantinople. Due to the failure of the 4-month campaign (the Rus fleet was burned by Greek fire), Helg was supposedly ashamed to return to his country and, with his retinue, went on a raid on Persia, where he perished in battle.
Results and outcomes
- The Ulch tribe is subjugated and pays tribute.
- The beginning of the confrontation with the Pechenegs.
- The first campaign to Constantinople in 941 was unsuccessful, but the result of the second campaign in 943 was a new peace treaty with Byzantium in 944.
- The Byzantine emperor resumed payment of tribute.
- The new treaty limited the Rus’ claims to Chersonesus and prescribed the defense of Byzantine possessions in Crimea against the Bulgars.
- Rus and Byzantium were obliged to assist each other with troops upon request.
- Unlike the treaty between Byzantium and Oleg the Prophet, the Rus no longer had the right to duty-free trade in Constantinople.
- Novgorod First Chronicle of the younger edition
- V.N. Tatishchev, “Russian History” book 2, chapter 3
- “The Tale of Bygone Years”
- The date is approximate, in different sources either one or another year is indicated.
- “The Tale of Bygone Years”
- ToBY dates the peace treaty to 945, but the mention of Romanos in the treaty points to 944. In December 944, Roman was overthrown by his sons, Stephen and Constantine, who were immediately removed from power by the new emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus.
- Al-Masudi, “Golden Mines”
- “Cambridge Document”