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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Vasilief, A History of the Byzantine Empire

The Macedonian epoch (867-1081)

The Byzantine Empire and Russia. The Patzinak problem 


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The friendly relations established by this treaty were expressed more concretely under Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus in the year 957, when the Russian Grand Princess Olga (Elga) arrived at Constantinople and was magnificently received by the Emperor, the Empress, and the heir to the throne. Olgas reception has been described in detail in an official contemporary record, the famous work of the tenth century Concerning the Ceremonies of the Byzantine Court. The relations of Nicephorus Phocas and John Tzimisces with the Russian prince Sviatoslav have been discussed in connection with the Bulgarian wars.

Still more important were the relations of Basil II Bulgaroctonus with the Russian Prince Vladimir, whose name is closely connected with the conversion of Russia to Christianity. In the ninth decade of the tenth century the position of the Emperor and his dynasty seemed very critical. Bardas Phocas, the leader of the rebellion against Basil, won over to his side almost all of Asia Minor and drew close to the capital; at the same time the northern provinces of the Empire were in danger of being invaded by the victorious Bulgarians. Basil appealed for help to the northern Prince Vladimir, and succeeded in forming an alliance with him on the condition that Vladimir should send 6000 soldiers to aid Basil, for which he was to receive the hand of the Emperor's sister, Anna, and promise to accept Christianity and convert his people. With the help of this subsidiary Russian regiment, the so-called Varangian-Russian Druzhina (Company), the insurrection of Bardas Phocas was suppressed and its leader killed. But Basil was apparently unwilling to live up to his promise of arranging the marriage of his sister, Anna, to Vladimir. Then the Russian prince besieged and took the important Byzantine city of Cherson (Chersonesus, or Korsun) in the Crimea and forced Basil to yield and fulfill his original promise.

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