Duel on the Dnepr river
Viking “Ulfhednar” and Rus’ Kievian warrior, 9th century.
The age of the vikings raids was from 800 to 1000 A.D. From the coast of Sweden, Norway or Dannemark, the Vikings long ships ascended the Russian rives along the trading ways of amber and furs. In 862 the viking Rurik conquered the northern russian city of Novgorod while, 20 years later in 882, a certain Oleg conquered Kiev. A large number of independent principalities divided Russia at that time: Novgorod, Smolensk, Vladimir and more others. In this age the Rus’ principate of Kiev ruled a large territory, from the south to the north, mainly in the Ukraina and Russia of today. Kiev was the capital city of the Rus’ principate, religious centre with beautiful churches and wooden walls on the hills high on the right bank of Dnepr river. Kiev’s famous golden gate and powerful wooden walls were high on the hills to protect the Lavra’s christian orthodox churches with their beautiful gold domes. The russian warrior’s armours of this time, organized in urban militiamen and noble lords, were mainly influenced from Bizantine culture, so as from the neighbouring cultures of Poland and the nomad Cumans, Pechenegs and other peoples. In 882 the Vikings come to Kiev on long ships, a crew of warriors leaded by chief Oleg. Some exuberant warriors chose to vote themselves to the totem-animal protecting their Clan and identify themselves in its spirit. They were the Berserkr or wild-warriors, shaggy and furious men, far from every human dignity that were first to attack the enemies, possessed by their animal-spirit. Ulfhednar was like a wolf-men, but among them were also bear-men, boar-men or any beast living the dark Scandinavian forests.
“Ulfhednar” Viking warrior
Iron helmet, white complexion, blue eyes, red or fair-haired and bard. Wolf hood and cloack chamois lined. Iron mail body armour. Black harsh wool long sleeves tunic, it may be orled with a tiny gold or coloured embroidery. Green cloth trousers. Natural leather shoes. Natural leather waist-belt. Sword with gilded hilt and pommel, wood or bone handle, natural leather scabbard with leather strings, silver or bronze tip. Leather knife-scabbard with bone handle. Battle-axe with steel head and wooden handle.
Rus’ Kiev warrior
Iron helmet with bronze reinforcements and black crow feathers crest. Iron mail-coif and short sleeves iron mail-shirt. Lamellar corselet iron scales made. Dark leather fringes red trimmed. Long sleeves cloth tunic, this may be painted green or ocre with russian decorative patterns. Red leather waist-belt. Natural leather knife-scabbard. Red and blue stripes long cloth trousers. Leather shoes. Natural leather quiver with metal reinforcements. Long sword with gilded hilt and pommel, wood or bone handle, natural leather sword-scabbard, silver or bronze tip. Wooden shield, bronze or iron umbo with metal reinforcements. The shield may be painted red or with bright colours; stilized patterns of animals or vegetables, so as religious icons, may adorn the Kiev warrior’s shield.
THE VIKINGS, Elite series, Osprey n.3
ARMIES OF MEDIEVAL RUSSIA 750-1250, Men-at-arms series n.333.
Sculture Gianni La Rocca
Research and text Marco Giuliani