Oleg of Novgorod Biography
(Grand Prince of Kiev From 882 to 912)
Oleg of Novgorod, also known as Oleg Veshchy, was a ninth century Viking prince, who is believed to have founded the Kievan Rus, the first East Slavic state, located in the Dnieper basin. He was a semi-legendary figure, and the little that we know about him comes mainly from the ‘Rus Primary Chronicle’ and the ‘Novgorod First Chronicle’. Believed to have moved either from Staraya Ladoga or from Veliky Novgorod, both of which fall under modern day Russia, he became an army commander under Prince Rurik, a kinsman. Although the nature of their relationship is not known, he must have won the prince’s confidence because before his death, Rurik made him the custodian of both his young son and his land. Beginning his reign sometime in 879, he soon decided to spread his domain, eventually transferring his capital to Kiev, which he captured in 882. Going further south, he attacked Constantinople in 907, eventually concluding a favorable political as well as a trade treaty with the Byzantine Emperor. After his death, he was succeeded by Rurik’s son, Igor of Kiev.