At requests of readers: why kolbyag call the most mysterious tribe of ancient Russia

Published: 23.1.2018
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In Ancient Russia there were many people which disappeared over time, having dissolved in other ethnoses: slightly, merya, chukhon, all, etc. The mysterious tribe of kolbyag stands alone in this row as some researchers consider that it is even not the people, but the certain social group existing in the northwest of our country in the 11-12th centuries. And still them it is mentioned in several monuments to ancient writing, and a number of archeologists believe that kolbyag created priladozhsky kurganny culture.

the Origin of the kolbyag living in the north of Russia causes heated arguments. Some scientists consider that these people resulted from mixture and assimilation of various Finno-Ugric and Scandinavian tribes, others rank kolbyag as slav brothers. There are also original versions about their Turkic or Lithuanian origin.

Archeologists think that the city of Alaborg about which it is told in the Scandinavian sagas about Hrolva Peshekhoda and Halvdana Eysteynsson was the central settlement of kolbyag. He settled down, according to scientists, on the river bank Syas near the village the Ancient settlement. Existence of Alaborga is dated for 750-920 years. Possibly, then kolbyag moved to the area of inflows of Vikhmesi and Syaznegi.

The famous Russian historian Vasily Tatishchev (1686-1750) who considered them residents of Kolobrzeg - one of the Pomor cities was one of the most prominent supporters of Slavic origin of kolbyag. Some experts recognize kolbyag which Scandinavians called people with cudgels and stakes, social group of Slavs of the Russian North. They could be such representatives of local outlaws, similar to Cossacks. The free people who were not recognizing the power of neither official Novgorod, nor capital Kiev and living on the coast of Ladoga together with Finno-Ugric tribes. They quite could make attacks on neighbors therefore in the saga about Egile Skallagrimsson kolbyag act as enemies, prostrate as the valorous Viking. And to register in army of Byzantium as mercenaries to receive money for military skill - than not earnings for free people of the Russian North?

The first of legislative codes of our country known to historians - the "Russian Truth" dated the 11th century - contains several curious facts about kolbyaga which are mentioned on an equal basis with Varangians there. In particular, it is said that representatives of these two people have to pay a penalty of three hryvnias in favor of mister who possesses the disappearing people for concealment of runaway lackeys. This measure, obviously, had to stop escapes of the servants trying to hide among living is free Varangians and kolbyag, having joined them. In the addition to article "About the Husband to a Krovava" which was made to "the Russian Truth" in the middle of the 12th century, kolbyagi-pagan who "without having a baptism", as well as Varangians are mentioned.

Scientists find a lot of weapon in barrows of priladozhsky culture and the jewelry characteristic of the Scandinavian burials. Swords, fighting axes, a spear and an armor accompanied in an afterlife of men, buried women together with bracelets, a beads, zoomorfny buckles and pendants. Such barrows built like houses, placed kitchen utensils, household items in them: coppers, frying pans, ochazhny shovels, ceramic vessels, etc. Often together with notable dead men dug in also the treasures consisting of gemstones, gold and silver coins.

It is how possible to trust such legends - a controversial issue. However a conclusion arises that kolbyag were the strong tribe, differently inhabitants of the neighboring territories just would not begin to render them tribute. Besides in the Scandinavian saga the earth on which there lived prostrate the hero representatives of the tribe of kylfingar is called the kingdom of Gardarika, and so Vikings often called Russia.

Data on this mysterious tribe can be found not only in Old Russian monuments to writing. In the Icelandic national legend of the 14th century "The saga about Egile" containing the description of a campaign Torolva Kveldulvssona on Finnmark's territory (area in the north of Norway), is narrated that kolbyag (kylfingar) treated locals badly, having laid them under tribute, and the Scandinavian hero exterminated all negative characters, having won himself military glory.

The trace of kolbyag can be met also in documents of the Byzantine empire. At transfer of the groups employed on military service they are specified together with Varangians and others the "dashing people" ready for money to battle on side of Constantinople.

Whom were mysterious kolbyag? It is one of questions on which scientists still look for answers.

This version easily explains sudden and total disappearance of kolbyag about which in sources of the 13th century there are no mentions any more. The power of the Novgorod republic which simply strengthened by then covered these outlaws. And kolbyag were forced to pass to service or work in local artels.

Historians, ethnographers and linguists broke many copies in disputes on origin and life of kolbyag. For example, the famous German linguist Max Fasmer (1886-1962) expressed opinion that the ethnonym of "kolbyaga" is derivative of the drevneskandinavsky word kylfingar. And kylfa is meant by "a cudgel, a stake or a kind of a spear". In that case leaves that it is about certain people with cudgels - soldiers or bandits.

Why then "the Russian Truth" ranks kolbyag as strangers, similar Varangians? It is probable because they lived separately from representatives of the tribe of rus, keeping pagan belief, customs and traditions.

The most authoritative expert in the field all scientific world recognizes the domestic archeologist Dmitry Machinsky (1937-2012). Having devoted a lot of time to studying of kolbyag, the researcher came to a conclusion that they represented the ethnosocial group consisting of descendants of priladozhsky Finns, alien Scandinavians and also various non Slavic tribes of the Russian North, such as Vod, slightly and chukhon. According to D.A. Machinsky, these people lived in the Novgorod lands and were engaged in various crafts, hunting, agriculture, trade and also military service in troops of Byzantium and Ancient Russia. They created so-called priladozhsky kurganny culture.

The matter is that in the territory of the northwest region of our country archeologists found many burials combining the Scandinavian and Finno-Ugric elements of funeral ceremonies. Scientists believe that these barrows built kolbyag. As historians found out, on the coast of Ladoga Normans and the local Finno-Ugric people long since lived, then the Scandinavians who adjusted trade in furs and other goods with the tribe of Sami, laymen and to a vesye came there. Over time descendants of all these people also began to be called as kolbyaga.

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