• Lee Roach

The History of Novgorod Song by Song: Volume 5: Baptizing the Rus'


At long last we reach the conclusion of our concept E.P. Novgorod. We’ve enjoyed the telling of tales long forgotten. This last installment talks about the Rus’s forced conversion to Christianity in order to gain alliances and score trade deals. The end of an era it was, but arguably it was the beginning of middle ages Russia. Now, without further delay let’s do this.

The year was 988 A.D. Vladimir the great ruled the Rus’. He had accomplished much in his rule, the consolidation of Novgorod and Kiev into a single state, taking the throne back from Yaropolk after being forced out of power, and securing the region from foreign invaders. Respected amongst his people, respected in lands beyond his kingdom, Vladimir remained a Pagan in a world being overtaken by monotheism. Catholics to the west, Orthodox Christians to the south, Islam to the east, these new religions were gaining traction. Hostility amongst all of these religions ran rampant and past leaders of Novgorod often were forced to defend their country from growing threats in the surrounding regions. The disappearance of Paganism marked the disappearance of regional allies willing to band together in order fend off foreign threats that upon invasion would surely purge eastern Europe any non-Christian culture.

An urgency to make alliances grew stronger and stronger until Vladimir sent men abroad to study each religion. Islam’s ban on alcohol and pork made it undesirable, the loss of Jerusalem was thought to be proof the Jews were abandoned by their god, and he saw no beauty in the German Catholic churches. Orthodox Christianity had more to offer, the Byzantine Empire was the mightiest in all of Europe. This strategic alliance offered more than sheer might, it offered more freedom than an alliance with Islam, Catholicism, or Judaism. The Rus’ would still be free to rule as they pleased. The Rus’ had a long outstanding trade relationship with the Byzantine Empire and had even employed the Rus’ as mercenaries. The choice seemed to be an easy one and once the opportunity presented itself, Vladimir began negotiations with Emperor Basil of Byzantine.

When social uprisings took hold of Basil’s mighty empire he called on Vladimir to help stomp it out. Vladimir’s chance to unify his people with powers outside of Novgorod had come at last. He made a deal. In return for the use of Novgorod’s armies Vladimir would marry Basil’s sister Anne. As Vladimir knew Basil would not marry his sister off to a barbaric Pagan, and so the two leaders agreed to a baptism. After the civilian upheavals of Byzantine were stomped out Vladimir was baptized.

Upon returning to Kiev Vladimir Christianized his people. This drastic cultural change was at first met with resistance, but that resistance was quickly crushed when Vladimir made the executions of Pagan priests and the burning of Pagan temples a public display. Though the rule of Novgorod and Kiev was left mostly up to the Rus’, Basil did appoint an arch-bishop to look over Vladimir’s reign. European history is often crafted by compromise, this tale is no different. A welcoming of new alliances, friendships, and opportunities came with a cost. The Rus’ gained security over their lands but lost a culture rich in history. Novgorod had been one of the last European Pagan strongholds, by the turn of the millennia polytheism had all but died out, and with it the Vikings.

LYRICS

Conquered land a legacy down Odin’s path victory

Favored by the one eyed god who guides our ships to lands afar

Thor Odin Freya Tyre

The fate the Norns have carved out leads us to Valhalla to feast beside the gods to await Ragnarok

Those deemed unfit reside in Hel ruled by Helliem the wicked the sick and those who’ve died of old age

A thousand year belief now under attack a threat from the south Christianity

A thousand year belief now under attack a threat from the south Christianity

The end of an age battle of gods without Fenrir Jormungandr

Fading away from ritual the winds of change hammer meets cross

The grand prince of Kiev Vladimir the Great answering Byzantine comes to Basil’s aid

Under the condition to wed to convert Basil’s Sister Anne forcing unity

Conversion brings rebellion bound to change a way of life

Unwilling was Novgorod forced upon the city Kiev

Burning the sacred systematic purge cut down defiance killing the old gods

The hammer of Thor presence of Odin no longer at hand no blood offerings

To die in battle without Valhalla without Fenrir without Jormungandr

Lost identity traveling this world stripped of our culture from our beliefs

Baptizing the Rus’ purging our their own religion abandon the gods trading culture for unity

Baptizing the Rus’ purging our their own religion abandon the gods trading culture for unity

The fate the Norns had carved out led us to Valhalla to feast beside the gods to await Ragnarok

Those deemed unfit reside in Hel ruled by Helliem the wicked the sick and those who’ve died of old age

Baptizing the Rus’ destroying heritage casting the gods aside no longer Viking burning our own shrines murdering our priests

Baptizing the Rus’ purging our their own religion abandon the gods trading culture for unity

Baptizing the Rus’ purging our their own religion abandon the gods trading culture for unity

Baptizing the Rus’ destroying heritage casting the gods aside no longer Viking burning our own shrines murdering our priests

#LeeRoach #Metal #deathmetal #PestilentAge #Novgorod #NewAlbum #2017 #melodicdeathmetal #ThehistoryofNovogorodsongbysong

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