Front Page Titles (by Subject) 8.: ORIGIN OF RUSSIA — ( P. 49 sqq. ) - The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 10
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8.: ORIGIN OF RUSSIA — ( P. 49 sqq. ) - Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 10 
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. J.B. Bury with an Introduction by W.E.H. Lecky (New York: Fred de Fau and Co., 1906), in 12 vols. Vol. 10.
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ORIGIN OF RUSSIA — (P. 49 sqq.)
No competent critic now doubts that the Russians, who founded states at Nevgorod and Kiev, subdued the Slavonic tribes and organised them into a political power, — who, in short, made Russia — were of Scandinavian or Norse origin. It is therefore unnecessary to treat this matter any longer as a disputed question, though there are still “anti-Normans” in Russia; it will be enough to state briefly the most important evidence. The evidence is indeed insuperable, except to insuperable prejudice.
(1) The early writers, who mention the Russians, attest their identity with the Scandinavians or Normans. The first notice is in the Annales Bertiniani ad ann. 839 (Pertz, Mon. i. 484), Rhos vocari dicebant . . . comperit eos gentis esse Sueonum. Liutprand (Antapodosis, v. 15) says that they were Normans (nos vero a positione loci nominamus Nordmannos). The chronicle of “Nestor” identifies them with the Varangians, or regards them as belonging to the Varangian stock; and for the Scandinavian origin of the Varangians see above, p. 51, note 58. The Continuation of George the Monk (Symeon Magister) states more generally and less accurately their German origin (= Theoph. Contin. p. 423, ed. B., ἐκ Φράγγων γένους).1
(2) The Russians spoke Norse, not Slavonic. This is proved by the 9th chapter of Constantine’s de Administratione, where the Russian and Slavonic languages are distinguished (Ῥωσιστί and Σκλαβινιστί), and the Russian names of the waterfalls are unmistakably Scandinavian. See below, Appendix 9.
(3) The names of the first Russian princes and the names of the signatories of the first Russian treaties are Norse. Riurik is the old Norse Hraerikr; Oleg is Helgi; Olga, Helga; Igor (Ἴγγωρ; Inger in Liutprand) is Ingvarr. The boyars who are named in the treaty of 912 (Nestor, c. 22) are Kary (Swedish, Kari), Ingeld (O. Norse, Ingialdr), Farlof (Swedish), Vermud (O. Norse, Vermunde), Rulaf (O. Norse, Hrodleifr), Ruald (O. Norse, Hroaldr), Goud (cp. Runic Kudi), Karn (Scandinavian), Frelaf (O. N., Fridleifr), Rouar (O. N., Hroarr), Trouan (O. N., Droandr), Lidoul (O. N., Lidufr?), Fost (Swedish). There remain two uncertain names, Aktevou and Stemid. Similarly the large proportion of the names in the treaty of 945 (c. 27) are Scandinavian.
(4) The Finnish name for Sweden is Ruotsi, the Esthonian is Rôts; and we can hardly hesitate to identify this with the name of Russia; Old Slavonic Rous’, Greek Ῥώς.2 This name (neither Finnish nor Slavonic) is derived by Thomsen from the Scandinavian rods (rods-menn = rowers, oarsmen); the difficulty is the dropping out of the dental in Rous, Ῥώς.
Thus the current opinion which prevailed when the Russians first appeared on the stage of history; the evidence of their language; the evidence of their names; and the survival of the ancient meaning of the Russian name in Finnic, concur in establishing the Scandinavian origin of the Russians.
For a development of these arguments and other minor evidence see Prof. V. Thomsen’s work, The Relations between Ancient Russia and Scandinavia, and the Origin of the Russian State (Ilchester Lectures), 1877; E. Kunik, Die Berufung der Schwedischen Rodsen durch die Finnen und Slaven, 1844; and see Mémoires of the Imperial Academy of Russia, vii. sér. 22, p. 279 sqq. and 409 sqq.; Bestuzhev-Riumin, Russkaia Istoriia (vol. i.), 1872; Pogodin, O proischoždenii Rusi, 1825, Drevniaia Russkaia Istoriia, 1871, and other works. The two most eminent opposition advocates are: Ilovaiski, Razyskaniia O nachalie Rusi, 1876, and Istoriia Rossii (Part 1, Kiev period), 1876; and Gedeonov, Izsliedovaniia o variazhskom voprosie, 1862, Variagi i Rus’, 1876.
[1 ]Yakūbi, writing before the end of the 9th cent., calls the heathen who attacked Seville in 844 Rūs.
[2 ]Ῥώς is the exact equivalent of Nestor’s Rous’, which is a collective tribe name = “the Russians.” Ῥωσία, Russia, was formed from Ῥώς, and the Russian name Rossiia was a later formation on Greek analogy.