Suggested Chronology of Events in the pre-Kievan and Early Kievan Periods

7th-8th c.

Spread of Islam and Arabic conquest to Spain in the west and Central Asia in the east; disruption of trade in the medieval world.

Search for new trade routes to the east; activity of the Frisians in the Baltic and Eastern Europe with the collaboration of the Vikings.

Growth of the Khazar state centered on the lower Volga and under the rule of a khagan; activity of the Radhaniya corporation of Jewish merchants in Khazaria.

late 8th-early 9th c.

Extension of penetration from the north along the river routes in Eastern Europe; establishment of trade down the Volga to the lands of the Arab caliphate.

Establishment of a center in the Volga-Oka triangle, perhaps near Rostov, by people calling themselves the Rus', whose leader was called khagan.


Defeat of the Avars by Charlemagne, opening the way for German expansion to the east and improved trade through the center of Europe.


Byzantine engineers build Sarkel (Belaia vezha) on the R. Don for the Khazars.

A period of disorder in the steppe, apparently due to the movement southward from the Volga-Oka region of a Finno-Ugric people, the Majghari. Possibly this was a consequence of the establishment of the Rus' as indicated above.


Appearance of the Rus' in Ingolheim (S. Germany) with a Byzantine mission sent to the court of the German Emperor. Rus' trip to Ingolheim due to the fact that disorders in the steppe prevented them from returning home by the way they had come.

mid-9th c. or earlier

Establishment of Rorik, Danish Prince of Jutland, and his brothers Sineus and Trvor in Ladoga, Beloozero, and Izborsk.


Rus' attack Constantinople.


Byzantine Patriarch (head of the Church) Photios reports that some of Rus' have converted to Christianity; another Byzantine document records existence of a bishopric for them, location unspecified.

ca. 900

Expulsion of Helgi (Oleg) from Denmark and his settlement at Polotsk on the W. Dvina, followed by gradual penetration eastward into the land of Rus'.


Oleg attacks Constantinople and signs treaty with Byzantium.


Rus' fight back against encroachment on their territory from the west; under Igor' (Ingvar) take Kiev.

Continuation of Igor's attempts at expansion. Pskov, for example, comes under his control, as evidenced by his marriage to Ol'ga, a member of the indigenous elite in Pskov.


Igor' attacks Constantinople.


Igor's treaty with Byzantium.


Igor's death at the hands of the Derevlianians (to W and NW of Kiev), whom he was trying to add to his list of tributaries.

late 940s

Ol'ga, Igor's wife and regent for their son Sviatoslav continues consolidation from Kiev.

ca. 950

Constantine Porphyrogenitos compiles his De administrando imperio, in which he describes Rus' trade on the Dnieper.

ca. 955

Ol'ga converts to Christianity in Constantinople.


Death of Ol'ga.


Death of Sviatoslav. Iaropolk becomes prince of Kiev, with his younger brother Vladimir established in Novgorod.


Vladimir establishes himself as prince of Kiev and secures uncontested control of the whole Dnieper trade route from Kiev northwards.

988 or 989

Vladimir and his retainers (the Rus') convert to Christianity.