Front Page Titles (by Subject) 9.: THE WATERFALLS OF THE DNIEPER — ( P. 56, 57 ) - The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 10
9.: THE WATERFALLS OF THE DNIEPER — ( P. 56, 57 ) - 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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THE WATERFALLS OF THE DNIEPER — (P. 56, 57)
In the 9th chapter of his Treatise on the Administration of the Empire, Constantine Porphyrogennetos gives a most interesting description of the route of Russian merchants from Novgorod (Νεμογαρδάς) to Constantinople, by way of Kiev and the Dnieper, and enumerates the rapids of this river, giving in each case both its Russian and its Slavonic name. This passage is of high importance, for it shows that the language which Constantine meant by Russian (Ῥωσιστί) was Scandinavian and not Slavonic. Dr. Vilhelm Thomsen of Copenhagen in his Ilchester lectures on “Relations between Ancient Russia and Scandinavia, and the Origin of the Russian State” (1877) has supplied an excellent commentary.
|1st||waterfall is called Essupê (Ἐσσουπη̑) in both languages, with the meaning sleepless (μὴ κοιμα̑σθαι). It follows that the two names sounded nearly alike to Constantine. The Slavonic for “do not sleep” would be ne spi (and perhaps Ἐσσουπη̑ is an error for Νεσσουπη̑); and Professor Thomsen says that the corresponding phrase in Old Norse would be sofeigi or sofattu. This is not quite satisfactory.|
|2nd||waterfall is (a) in Russian, Ulvorsi (Οὐλβορσί), and (b) in Slavonic, Ostrovuniprach (Ὀστροβουνίπραχ), with the meaning the islet of the fall; (a) = holm-fors; (b) = ostrov’nii prag (islet-fall).|
|3rd||waterfall is called Gelandri (Γελανδρί), which in Slavonic means noise of the fall. Only one name is given, and it is said to be Slavonic. But it obviously represents the Norse participle gellandi, “the echoing”; so that the Slavonic name (probably nearly the same as the modern name zvonets with the same meaning) is omitted. Constantine’s usual formula is Ῥωσιστί μὲν . . . Σκλαβανιστὶ δὲ; but in this place he changes it: τὸν λεγόμενον Γελανδρί, ὂ ἑρμηνεύεται Σκλαβινιστὶἠ̑χος ϕραγμου̑. I would suggest that ζβινιτς or σβινιτς or something of the kind fell out after Σκλαβινιστί.|
|4th||waterfall is Aeifor (Ἀειϕόρ, so in Paris MS. 2009) in Russian, and Neasit (Νεασήτ) in Slavonic, — so called, Constantine says, because pelicans make their nests in the stones. The Old Slavonic for pelican closely resembles Νεασήτ, but the fall cannot have been called pelican; this must have been a misinterpretation. Thomsen very ingeniously suggests that the true name corresponded to the modern Nenasytets and meant insatiable (a name appropriate to the nature of this rapid); while Aeifor (ei-forr) meant ever-forward, ever-precipitate.|
|5th||waterfall is Varuforos (βαρουϕόρος) in Russian, Vulne prach (βουλνηπράχ) in Slavonic; “because it forms a great lake,” or, if we read δίνην for λίμνην, “because it forms a great vortex.” Both words can be recognised at once as meaning “wave-fall.”|
|6th||waterfall is Leanti (Λεάντι) in Russian, Verutze (Βερούτζη) in Slavonic, meaning “the seething of water” (βράσμα νερου̑). Verutze is obviously from v’rieti, to boil. Thomsen explains Leanti as the participle hlaejandi, laughing. In this case the meaning of the two names is not identical.|
|7th||waterfall is Strukun (Στρούκουν, so in Paris MS. 2009) in Russian, Napreze (Ναπρεζή) in Slavonic, meaning a small waterfall. Thomsen identifies Strukun with Norse strok, Swedish struk, a rapid current (especially where narrow — as in the case of this rapid); and suggests that the Slavonic name might be connected with brs, quick. I suspect that (Να-) πρεζή represents a diminutive of porog, prag (waterfall).|