Historical Tales, Vol. 8
OLEG THE VARANGIAN.
For ages and ages, none can say how many, the great plain of Russia existed as a nursery of tribes, some wandering with their herds, some dwelling in villages and tilling their fields, but all warlike and all barbarians. And over this plain at intervals swept conquering hordes from Asia, the terrible Huns, the devastating Avars, and others of varied names. But as yet the Russia we know did not exist, and its very name had never been heard.
As time went on, the people in the centre and north of the country became peaceful and prosperous, since the invaders did not cross their borders, and a great and wealthy city arose, whose commerce in time extended on the east as far as Persia and India, on the south to Constantinople, and on the west far through the Baltic Sea. Though seated in Russia, still largely a land of barbarous tribes, Novgorod became one of the powerful cities of the earth, making its stren