• Lee Roach

The History Behind Novgorod Song By Song Volume 2:  Siege of Miklagard


The History Behind Novgorod Song By Song Volume 2: The Siege of Miklagard

Our new E.P. Novgorod (released today) is a concept album that narrates the story of the Viking Rus’s journey into modern day Russia and Ukraine. Track number one (Forging a New Land) painted the picture of men wandering into the unknown wilderness, uniting Slavic tribes under one ruler, Rurik. Wasting no time, they quickly built up their kingdom around a vast network of river that acted as highways to both Europe and the Middle East.

Our Second song on Novgorod (The Siege of Miklagard) continues exactly where Forging a New Land leaves off. Immediately after gaining control of new lands the Rus’ sail south. A powerful nation greater than any other in Europe, the Ottoman Empire lay beyond. Trade had existed between the peoples of both countries for years prior, frequent contact gained Rurik inside information on many happenings inside the Ottoman Empire’s biggest city Constantinople. Constantinople was a city so big it rivaled Rome itself. The Rus’ called it Miklagard (the great city) for its impenetrably thick walls of stone and building that towered over anything they had ever seen. It marked the gate into the Middle East anything going to or from Asia had to pass through this enormous city. With such economic importance it was well fortified with soldiers at all times except once.

Constantinople was a Christian nation and was at war with Islamic caliphates to the east. Threatened by such oppositions, most of the army had recently left the great city to fight in the Middle East. Rurik informed of these recent events hastily assembled a fleet of just 200 ships to immediately sail south. With no army to guard the city, the sacking of Miklagard would be a quick source of income for a brand new nation hungry for wealth.

Vibrant shades of red and orange dance on the waves of the Marmara sea one warm summer when the first ships were spotted. Writings from the day say the Rus’ describe the attack as a “a thunderbolt from heaven” and “a swarm of bees”. Little is known of the attack but these Viking ships seemed to Descend upon the great city with such swiftness and ferocity that it is unlikely they had any time to defend themselves. With the footsteps of an army departed still fresh they Byzantine had been left to mercy of north men. Gold, Silver, Jewels, Slaves for sex, slaves for labor, and slaves to sell would have been collected and loaded onto Rus’s long ships.

Most of the loot from raids such as this would be sailed eastward and sold for food and goods to bring home. Native homelands would have been cold with short seasons to grow crops. Most Scandinavians raided because they had too. Financial stability was directly tied to trading stolen goods and conquering land to farm. Not all objects of international trade were stolen. The Rus’ made their international mark on the world by means of fur, a rare commodity in South Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

In an unexpected turn of events the Rus’ did not stay in Miklagard. The looted and left. Returning the sea from which they came. Other Vikings groups did this in Western Europe but this phenomenon came as a surprise. Many called it an act of god that such savages left as quickly as they came and did not stay to indulge in the slaughter the locals were assured awaited them. Never the less, this event did not signify an end to the trade between these two nations.

Trade between the two countries if anything actually increased in following and the Byzantine Empire actually ended up immortalizing the Rus’ by bringing some of them into their army as soldiers for hire. They were the royal protectors of emperor, his royal guard. They also were used as a sort of special operations unit, hired to snuff of resistance, or paid to expand the empire. Syria, Sicily, and parts of France, would soon feel the Axe, the spear, the sword, and the shield of a new army blood thirsty and ruthless. An army called the Varangian Guard.

Lyrics

A fleet of 200 ships emerges from the north

Descending as fast as lightning

On the city of Miklagard

A great Christian nation

The Byzantine Empire

Now lay defenseless

Ripe for pillaging

Burning houses raping women with our axes killing Christians

Taking slaves and stealing gold

We are the Rus’

No army to guard the city still our men show no mercy

With great haste the capital falls

The siege of Miklagard

All who cross our path will be cut down

Women, children, men

All will succumb to Odin’s furry

Our men have no fear of death

for they know Valhalla awaits them

a great hall of eternal glory

full of virgins, mead, and feasting

the greek soldiers left

To fight Arabs in the south

Leaving their cities bare

No protection from the wrath of Odin

Burning houses raping women with our axes killing Christians

Taking slaves and stealing gold

We are the Rus’

No army to guard the city still our men show no mercy

With great haste the capital falls

The siege of Miklagard

Burning houses raping women with our axes killing Christians

Taking slaves and stealing gold

We are the Rus’

No army to guard the city still our men show no mercy

With great haste the capital falls

The siege of Miklagard

Hacking and slashing our way to unknown riches

Before returning to the sea

Massacre a bloody siege no one can stop us

Sending our foes straight to hell

For Rurik for Odin for glory for honor

Hacking and slashing our way to unknown riches

Before returning to the sea

Massacre a bloody siege no one can stop us

Sending our foes straight to hell

For Rurik for Odin for glory for honor

We travel this land to rape to pillage

Our legacy will last forever

#Novgorod #Pestilentage #TheSiegeofMiklagard

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