GARDARIGE. (Garderige, Gardariki, Icelandic Gar­arÝki or Gar­aveldi, Scandinavian Gňrdarike, Gardarna).

Gardarige is a province in part of Russia in medieval times, the states of Rus' Khaganate and Kievan Rus'. The shortened form Gardarna also refers to the same country, as does the general term for "East", Austr, with its various derivations: Austrvegr ("Eastern way"), Austrl÷nd ("Eastern lands") and AustrrÝki ("Eastern realm"). {S2}.

The meaning of the word is usually interpreted as "the kingdom of cities", which probably referred to a chain of Norse forts along the Volkhov River, starting with Lyubsha and Ladoga. Gardar contains the same root as Slavic grad ("town") and English garden. For Germanic etymology of the second element, see the article on Reich. {S2}.

As the Swedish armies moved eastward, they encountered the Slaves, who let the foreigners whom they called "Rus" (Rusland = Russia), established settlements. They made their capital at Hilmar (Novgorod).

From here they sailed down the DnjŠpr river, and conquered the country of Kiev (Kjev-S1). Kiev had been founded by other Normans, who had even raided on Miklegaard. {S1}. Some of these Nordic warriors obtained service as huskarls, partly to the Russian Emirs, partly to the (Byzantine?) Emperor. They were called "vŠringer". {S1, S2}.

As the Varangians dealt mainly with Northern Russian lands, their sagas regard the city of Holmsgardr (Holmgar­r, Novgorod the Great) as the capital of Gardariki. Other local towns mentioned in the sagas are Aldeigjuborg (Old Ladoga), Kťnugar­ar (Kiev), Pallteskja (Polotsk), Smaleskja (Smolensk), S˙rsdalar (Suzdal), Mˇramar (Murom), and Rß­stofa (Rostov). {S2}.