Arsa-Artania - the ancient power of the Rus

Secrets of ancient Rus. In the medieval eastern sources, one of the three centers of the Rus is repeatedly mentioned, along with Cuyaba (Kiev) and Slavia (Novgorod), the power of the Rus is Arsa-Arta-Artania. Attempts to determine its location have been made repeatedly. The search geography was broad, including all of Eastern Europe, and even reached Denmark. Most often, Arsu-Artania is placed in the lands of North-Eastern Russia.

Arsania on the map of Idrisi (in the leftmost circle). Black and Azov seas from above. Source:

Arsa-Artania in Arabic sources

The Arab geographer Abu Ishaq al-Istahri (10th century) noted (A.P. Novoseltsev. Eastern sources about the Eastern Slavs and Russia of the 6th – 9th centuries. - In the book: The Old Russian State and its International Importance. M., 1965.) :
“... Russ three groups. The group closest to Bulgar, and their king in a city called Kuyaba (it is believed that this is Kiev - the Author), and he is larger than Bulgar. And the group is the highest of them, called as-Slavia (Slovenian land - Auth.), And their king in the city of Salau (Slav, possibly the predecessor of Novgorod, Staraya Ladoga - the Author), and their group, called al-Arsaniya, and the king them sits in Ars, their city. And people with the commercial goals of Cuiaba and its environs reach. As for Arsa, I did not hear anyone mention the achievement of it by strangers, because the local people kill all the strangers who come to them. They themselves go down the water for trade and do not report anything about their affairs and goods, and do not allow anyone to follow themselves and enter their country. ... Black sables, black foxes and tin (lead?) And a certain number of slaves are also taken out of Arsa. ”

Baghdad geographer and traveler Ibn Haukal (X century) actually repeats the above: “As for Arsa, I did not hear anyone mention the achievement of it by strangers, because they (its inhabitants) kill all the strangers who come to them . “They themselves go down the water for trade and do not report anything about their affairs and their goods and do not allow anyone to follow themselves and enter their country.”

The 982 geographical treatise of the year by an unknown Persian-speaking author, Khudud Al-Alam, notes:
“Artab is a city where every stranger is killed and where very valuable blades for swords and swords are taken out, which can be doubled, but as soon as the arm is withdrawn, they take their previous shape.”

The Arab geographer Muhammad al-Idrissi (XII century) writes:
“The city of Arsa is ugly on a fortified mountain and is located between Silak and Kukiyan, and as for Arsa, according to Sheikh al-Haukalgo, none of the foreigners enter there, because they kill every foreigner there. And they (the inhabitants of Arsa) do not allow anyone to enter their country for trade. The skins of black leopards and black foxes and tin are taken out from there. And the merchants from Kukiana take it from there. ”

Al-Idrisi also made a map, which depicts Arsa.

Features of Arsa-Rus. From the Baltic to the Caucasus

There are several features of Arsa. Obviously, Arsa is Rusa-Rus. This is the mystery of Arsa-Artania. She decisively fenced off from outside. It is not surprising that some researchers began to search for Artania in the Baltic. On the island of Ruyan was the most important sacred center of the Western Rus (rugs, ruyan). Temple of the West Russian (Wenedic) god Svyatovit (Svetovit). Huge treasures have accumulated here over the centuries. In addition, the island was one of the most important shopping centers of the Slavs-Rus. The temple was guarded by a special squad, consisting of the best knights-heroes. And the Russians in the most severe way responded to any attempts to penetrate the island.

At the same time, Arsa-Rus lay within the reach of merchants. The Russians themselves took out furs and weapon. However, these goods were delivered to the countries of the East and from other Russian lands, where access to foreign merchants was open. That is, the export of these goods could not give rise to such severe restrictions. But the presence of an important sanctuary of the Slavs-Russians could. Either there were developments of either lead or tin (tin and lead are written in Arabic in the same way).

According to the map of al-Idrisi, it is clear that the mysterious Ars was located west of the Volga-Itil, which excludes the mines of the Urals. It is also obvious that Arsa-Artania was located east of Don-Russia (“Russian River”). In the south are the regions of Alania, part of Khazaria, the North Caucasus (Derbent). Also south of Arsy-Arta is the mountain system, which can be identified with the Main Caucasian Range.

It is known that lead was mined in the Caucasus, the richest mines are deposits of Sadon (Alania - Ossetia). Deposits of the North Caucasus, in addition to lead, as a rule, also contain silver. The same Sadon owes his glory more to silver than to lead. At Sadon, silver was also mined in the Middle Ages. The news of the development of Sadon silver ores raises the question of whether silver was mined by the Arsian Rus. Al-Masudi reports about silver mining from the Rus:
"The Russians have in their land a silver mine, similar to a silver mine located in the mountain of Banjgir, in the land of Khorasan." Other medieval Muslim authors also mention the silver as well as the gold mine of the Rus. The famous silver mines of the Rus were also Marco Polo (13th century): Russia is a large country in the north ... There are many difficult passages and fortresses on the border ... They have many silver ores; they mine a lot of silver. ”

Therefore, it was suggested (V.V. Gritskov. Cimmerian Center. Issue 3. Rus. Part II. The disappeared mainland. 1992.) That the Ars-Russ lived in the North Caucasus and were related to the Alanian tribes (Alan-Asam). Both Russ-Ars and Alans were descendants of the Scythians, who are considered by some researchers to be the direct ancestors of the Slavs-Rus. They lived in this region since the days of Great Scythia. Other facts speak of the presence of Rus in this region. So among the troops of the Khazar Hagan there were pagan Rus. Later the main role in the army of the Khazar Khaganate began to play some Muslim mercenaries-arsies, which Masudi withdraws from the vicinity of Khorezm. Eastern sources also report that among the Russians there were Muslims (How the Russians converted to Islam), who were professional warriors, and could serve the eastern rulers. It is possible that the Muslim warriors of the Hagan were part of the warlike highlanders of the Arsian Rus who converted to Islam, who were not connected with Khorezm, but with religion.

Tmutarakan or Ryazan?

The question of the location of the third Russian family aroused numerous and contradictory assumptions in Russian historiography. In many ways, this question about the three state centers of Russia was connected with another problem - the origin of Russia and Rus (Russians) in general.

Thus, the authors of the 19th century (Fren et al.) Suggested that Artania is Erdzian (Mordovian Erzya tribe), the name preserved in the name of Arzamas. Shcheglov, who considered the inhabitants of Artania to be a Finnish tribe, adhered to the same point of view, but searched for Artu not in Arzamas, but in Ryazan: “Ryazan is a Slavic, glorified form of this name (Arzania). The rearrangement of letters, consonant forward, vowel back - a common thing among the Slavs in such cases. " The same researcher was supported by the great scholar of Russian chronicles Shakhmatov (A. A. Shakhmatov. The most ancient fates of the Russian tribe). Mention of the Persian historian and geographer Gardisi XI century. that “there is a city of Vantit in the country of the Slavs”, gave Shakhmatov an opportunity to bring Vantit closer to the Vyatichi and declare Artania as Ryazan, the most important city of the Slavic tribe of Vyatichi. In addition, it was suggested that Artania is Perm.

L. Niederle suggested that in the word “Artania” “p” stands erroneously instead of “n,” and associated Artu-Artania with the name “antes”. Ants lived in the IV - VII centuries. in the Northern Black Sea region, between the rivers Dnieper and Dniester. Ants formed the population of Kiev region, Chernihiv region and Polesye. B. A. Rybakov adhered to the same point of view. He connected Artania and Parkhomenko with the name of the Ants, but he went further and suggested that Artania was Tmutarakan. Earlier, the same idea was expressed by Ilovaysky (D. Ilovaysky. Investigations about the beginning of Russia). This theory received considerable support, since it proved the existence of the southern center of statehood of the Rus and the prescription of the Slavs in the Podonsko-Azov region. So this idea was supported by researchers S.V. Yushkov, A.I. Sobolevsky and others.

Some data allow us to call the Ryazan region at least one of the centers of Arsa-Artania. Archaeological data show that Old Ryazan in the IX-X centuries. already existed as a city and, therefore, could be one of the centers of Russia. Arab authors recognized the Vyatichi as one of the main Slavic tribes. On the territory of the Vyatichi tribal union there are many finds of dirhams (Arab silver coin). And these findings are concentrated along the main Vyatichi river - the Oka. Black foxes and tin were taken out of Artania - hunting for “black foxes” was carried out in Ryazan as early as the 15th century, and near Old Ryazan, in the area of ​​s. Bestuzhev, found outlets of tin ore, in ancient times developed. Tin products are known from the Maklakovsky mounds of this region of the XII century.

Thus, Arsa-Artania, like Kuyavia and Slavia, was a Slavic power created in the 4th century. n e. Apparently, Artania initially consisted of several principalities and occupied a large territory from the Kuban, part of the North Caucasus in the south to the Upper Volga region (Ryazan, Vyatichi lands), from the Dnieper in the west and the Volga in the east. In the 8th century, Artania collapsed under pressure from the Khazars. Part of the Slavs-Russ became part of the population of Khazaria (The Mystery of Russian Khazaria) Obviously, some state entities (principalities) of Artania survived. One of them, according to Eastern authors, was located between Khazaria and the Volga Bulgaria. Later, when Rurikovich united Novgorod (Slavia) and Kiev, part of Artania (including the Tmutarakan principality and the lands of the Vyatichi) was also included in the new Russian state.
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