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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

Contempt for Byzantine gold: common plot elements in Rus chronicles and Scandinavian sagas

P. 337-344.

An abundance of variants devised according to the plot concerning the Contempt for Byzantine Gold can be identified as the Scandinavian background to the Russian and Byzantine examples. In Rus, we only encounter a particular variant in the story of Prince Sviatoslav and its interpretation in the story of his descendant and namesake – Prince Sviatoslav, son of Iaroslav the Wise. Thus, the assumption that the plot in the Rus chronicle, so rare in Rus, became popular in Scandinavia, remains tenable. Much more likely, however, is the view that in Scandinavia the description of the correct form of behaviour for the ruler during trials by foreign gift-giving had a long history in the form of oral stories. One of the variants of such a story, evidently, served as the basis for the story of Prince Sviatoslav’s meeting with the envoys of the Byzantine emperor.

In book

Edited by: J. Shepard. Oxford: 2016.