Where many Danes looked to the coasts of England and Francia and Norwegians raided Scotland and Ireland, Swedes frequently turned to the Baltic and the lands beyond.
The key commodity in the east was silver, usually in the form of Arab dihrems, which appear in large numbers in hoards on Gotland and in Sweden, as well as across the viking diaspora. Silver flowed north-west in exchange for high-quality furs and pelts. While some of these came from Scandinavia (often extorted from Sami tribes), there was also a generous supply on the way, in the lands between the Baltic and the Black Sea. Groups of Scandinavian adventurers began to travel the river-routes of the Volga and Dniepr, coercing tribute from the Slav tribes of the region, trading with the ‘Great City’ (Miklagard or Constantinople) and beyond. Increasingly they came to found fortress-towns at strategic locations such as Staraya Ladoga, Novgorod and Kiev, whose rulers could control and profit from trade. In addition, they demanded tribute from the neighbouring tribes in return for their protection.
Useful information on eastern soft kit can be found on the website of the New Varangian Guard.
Specialist racial types
Widely-travelled as the vikings were, there seems to have been a definite separation between those who went west to Britain, Ireland and Frankish Gaul, and those who went east to lands of the Rus and Byzantium. Since our shows are set in early medieval Britain, evidence from Birka (in Sweden) is not necessarily relevant.
Members of the Vikings Society may only use these kit types - including Rus kit - at Society events at the datelines indicated. If you are at all in doubt, please contact the show organisers beforehand.
Specialist racial types and kit checks
Specialised racial type from a region with significant contact with the British Isles c.800-1100 (e.g. Norman, Hiberno-Norse, eastern Viking, ‘Rus, Pictish or Irish) may be used as a second kit check for members of the Vikings Society seeking promotion to Drengr.
This category has only the following subcategory.
- ► Lamellar (3 P)