While in Western Europe the mixture of Norse adventurers and Low Franconian settlers created the Nortmand
people, in the cold taiga of Northeastern Europe a seperate people would be formed by the mixture of Rucian adventurers and Sclaves called the Væringi
to the Norse, Varjag
to the Sclaves, and the Varengae
to the Romans. In these northernmost lands of the Sclaven' kingdom along the trade routes from Scandinavia to the Goths and the Near East, trade posts were constructed. The most notable founded in this formative period from 800-950 was the city of Novgorod
. Varengian traders, mercenaries, and adventurers descended from these lands southward into the Mediterranean seeking glory and fortune. In 988, Varengians entered the Optimates, the Roman guard. In the chaos of the early 11th century in the Mediterranean, skilled Varengian warriors stepped up to fill the void. In 1012, the first state ruled by Varengians was created. Varengians protecting pilgrims from Bari to Salerno successfully defeated a Arab raiding party. Seeing their warrior fervor, Dux of Salerno Gisulfo offered the leader of the guard, Agmondo Riurico
, the city of Bari if he helped him attack the city. Agmondo was granted the county of Bari,
beginning the era of Varengian dominance in Southern Italy and the rise of the Riurico family
Agmondo expanded his domain till his death in 1041, at the time of his death he had successfully conquered all of southern Italy, declaring himself of Duke of Apulia and Lucania. After almost 200 years of unchallenged Arab rule in Sicily, Agmondo's son Gaufrido
began an invasion of Sicily
, in 1061 declaring himself Duke of Sicily. Sicily had collapsed into warring Taifas, and in the gap of power, the Varengians filled it, at invitation of the Christians of the island. Gaufrido took 20 years to completely establish authority over the Island. Gaufrido died in 1110, and would be succeeded by the greatest Varengian monarch, Gandolfo I the Caesar of the Crusaders
. Gandolfo in his reign declared himself King of Sicily, moving his capital from Bari to Palermo. In his Kingdom, a uniquely cosmopolitan cultural mix best described as Varengo-Sicilian formed, mixing the Gothic Italiots, Arab Muslims, Catholic Sicilians, Varengians, and Habards together.
In eastern Hispania, another Varengian adventurer involved himself in a major power gap. Named Hervé FillVarenc by Vandalician chroniclers and Herveo Varengez
by Cantabrians, he was employed as the leader of the Vandalician Navy during its fight against the Malachate. Seizing Tarragona, he was granted the title of Duke. The Varengian period in Eastern Iberia was short lived, but had a significant effect in the long term. The conquest of the duchy by Emperor of All Hispania Rodrigo Campeador
prevented further expansion by the Vandalicians southwards into Spain. Similar to the Sicilian Varengians, the conquered subjects were granted significant autonomy, allowing for the survival of Berber and Arab populations in the region.
The collapse of the Gothic Empire
at the hands of the Pizenacs
created another major destabilizing event to the Mediterranean region. The Uzes had converted to Gothic Christianity in year 1000 in opposition to the rising Pizenac threat, and the Varengian's own liege at home, the Kyivans also converted to the Gothic creed in a pseudo-Triple Alliance against the threat. In the political-religious order of the era, the Pizenacs looked to Rome for alliance against their sworn enemies at all sides. In 1049, Pecheneg chief Kuchug was baptised by the Pope of Rome as Paulus I, King of Illyricum
, an was given censure to invade and reestablish the Diocese of Illyricum. In 1050, an alliance of Goths and Tocurgur forces were annihilated at Beroia, killing the heirless Reik Gaislaik and throwing the Empire into a chaotic Interregnum made worse by the Magyar invasion coming from the west. In an attempt to restore the Gothic throne, claimant Fridaric personally requested help from the Magyars to take his throne. Magyar forces conquered Anatolia and placed Fridaric as a puppet.
In 1065, with relations between the sects at an all time low, the Pope of Rome under the Roman emperor ordered an armed pilgrimage to restore the patriarchates to Papal authority and to help the Pizenacs. Dubbed the Great Crusade
, the sees of Ephesus, Antioch and most importantly, Jerusalem were retaken by the Latin Christians. In the aftermath of the Crusade, the Kingdom of the Orient
was created. Varengian crusaders found themselves ruling extensive territories that would be extended to borderlands of Syria during the Second Crusade
Gandolfo I invaded Africa, taking advantage of the collapse of the Kutama, restoring the see of Carthage and declaring himself King of Africa in 1145. In 1157, Gandolfo was elected King of the Orient. Seeking to be recognized as a Caesar, he successfully invaded Egypt in 1160. He was recognized as Caesar of the Orient
by both the Roman Emperor and the German Kaiser. One of the greatest rulers of the Medieval period, he went from a Duke to a Caesar in a lifetime. Gandolfo also encouraged the orientalization of his court, gradually shifting from the use of Latin to Arabic over the course of his life. Known as Jandulfu to the Arabs, he also took a daughter of an Imam as his second wife, and led one of the first major translation schemes of ancient materials from Arabic to Latin. Gandolfo represented the absolute peak of Varengian influence in the Mediterranean.
After Gandolfo's death in 1171 he was succeeded by Osmondo the Good, the last significant Varengian ruler. After his death in 1190, it would take only 4 more years for the title of Caesar to go extinct. After a disputed succession in 1208 in the Kingdom of Sicily, their rejuvenated Roman rivals invaded and made the title part of their own, ending the Varengian period in Italy. The Riurico family escaped to their African territories, which were effectively just a coalition of coastal cities and Malta. Their line went completely extinct in 1569, ending the last vestige of Varengian rule in the Mediterranean, closing the book on the Varengian period.