Finding of 10th Century Sward near Khortytsia (to the Issue of Prince Sviatoslav’s Campaign «to Rapids» in 972)

  • Maksym A. Ostapenko General Director of National Reserve «Khortytsia»
  • Viacheslav D. Sarychev Associate Director of Zaporizhzhia Affiliate of the National Television Corporation of Ukraine, historian, member of the National Community of Local History of Ukraine
Keywords: hollow part, Khortytsia, Kraryi crosssing, Kychkas settlement, Dniprobud swords, Voznesenivsk hoard, Protovchyi ford, Trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks.

Abstract

Uniquely preserved and decorated sword of the 10th century was found in the course of the Dnipro River near the Khortytsia Island (Zaporizhzhya) in 2001. This artefact is undoubtedly directly connected with the swords, similar in type and period to those discovered during the Dniproges Expedition in 1928. All the findings were located near the strategic Kichkas crossing described in detail by Constantine Porphyrogenitus in the 10th century. The discovery of a large number of elite swords, in combination with other memorials of this period such as Voznesenovsk encampment fortifications, settlements, and cultic center at Khortytsia raises the issue of the value of this part of the route «from the Varangians to the Greeks» for the history of Rus. The combination of geographical, historical, and archаeological data highlights the issue of the death of prince Sviatoslav Igorovych in March 972 in «the rapids». A comparison of these data with evidence of Chronicles may help establishing the causes and course of the events of the last months of prince’s life.

The available data allow the authors to form the hypothesis about the existence of the strategic center on the territory between the Kichkas crossing and the Island of Khortytsia in the 10th century. Its recovery was one of the priorities for Prince Sviatoslav after the cessation of the war with Byzantium. It was necessary to ensure the secure trade and smooth functioning of the route «from the Varangians to the Greeks». Such version allows resolving the conflicting interpretation of Sviatoslav’s «desperation» adopted by the historians in the 18th century yet, and also bringing us closer to understanding of possible economic causes of the campaign «to the rapids». The discoveries of swords and other artefacts allow the authors to speak about the circumstances and nature of the final battle of Prince’s troops. The assemblage of ancient antiquities of the 10th century discovered near Kichkas and Khortytsia is directly related to the genesis of Ancient Rus state.

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2016-09-22
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