You are watching: Why did the vikings fail spectacularly when they attacked constantinople?
The epic voyeras of the Viqueens to the British Isles, Iceland, The United States and Canada and also points west tend to obscure the reality that the Scandinavian warriors additionally ventured much to the eastern throughout Europe and also parts of Asia. While the Danes and also Norwegians sailed west, Swedish fighters and traders traveled in the oppowebsite direction, enticed initially by the high-high quality silver coins produced by the Abbasid Caliphate that sprawled throughout the Center East.
These Vimajesties who crossed the Baltic Sea and also descfinished across Eastern Europe were branded “Rus”—maybe obtained from “ruotsi,” a Finnish word for the Swedes meaning “a crew of oarsmen” and also the term from which Russia receives its name. As the Rus migrated dvery own the Dnieper and Volga Rivers, they establimelted negotiations along trade routes to the Black and also Caspian Seas and dominated the aboriginal Slavic populations in contemporary Russia, Belarus and also Ukraine.
By the middle of the 9th century, Rus sellers turned up in Baghdad. The capital of the Abbasid Caliphate may have actually been the world’s largest city with a populace of even more than one million civilization, however it faibrought about capture the Viking imagination like Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Realm that was said to harbor even greater wide range.
“Silk and also gold are the big lures,” says John Haytimber, that chronicles the exploits of the Scandinavian raiders on four continents in his new book, “Northmen: The Viking Saga ADVERTISEMENT 793-1241.” “The Rus would certainly have actually heard stories around the wide range of Constantinople. The big attraction in trade was silk, which was a massively prestigious product for which they traded slaves, furs, beeswax and also honey through the Byzantines. Constantinople was likewise one of the few places that still had gold coins, which were in short supply compared to the Romale period.”
Constantinople’s location on the shores of the Bosporus strait, which separated Europe from Asia, allowed it to come to be a prosperous crossroads of trade, the largest city in Europe and also the wealthiest city in the civilization. Great treasures required stout defenses. The most-greatly fortified city in the people, Constantinople was encircled by a moat and also 3 parallel wall surfaces. In addition, an iron chain that could be extended throughout the mouth of the city’s harbor safeguarded it from a naval attack.
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It is not well-known when the Rus initially got to Constantinople, yet it was before 839 as soon as Rus representatives landed on the Frankish court as part of a Byzantine diplomatic mission. In June 860, the Rus released a surpclimb strike on Constantinople at a time when the city was left largely undefended as Byzantine Emperor Michael III was off via his army fighting the Abbasid Caliphate in Asia Minor while the Byzantine navy was engaged through Arab pirates on the Mediterranean Sea.