The Empire of Russia eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 601 pages of information about The Empire of Russia.

The effeminate Greeks from the walls of the city gazed upon this sweep of desolation, but ventured not to march from behind their ramparts to assail the foe.  Oleg draw his barges upon the shore and dragged them on wheels towards the city, that he might from them construct instruments and engines for scaling the walls.  The Greeks were so terrified at this spectacle of energy, that they sent an embassage to Oleg, imploring peace, and offering to pay tribute.  To conciliate the invader they sent him large presents of food and wine.  Oleg, apprehensive that the viands were poisoned, refused to accept them.  He however demanded enormous tribute of the emperor, to which terms the Greeks consented, on condition that Oleg would cease hostilities, and return peaceably to his country.  Upon this basis of a treaty, the Russian array retired to some distance from the city, and Oleg sent four commissioners to arrange with the emperor the details of peace.  The humiliating treaty exacted was as follows: 

=I.= The Greeks engage to give twelve grivnas to each man of the Russian army, and the same sum to each of the warriors in the cities governed by the dependent princes of Oleg.

=II.= The embassadors, sent by Russia to Constantinople, shall have all their expenses defrayed by the emperor.  And, moreover, the emperor engages to give to every Russian merchant in Greece, bread, wine, meat, fish and fruits, for the space of six months; to grant him free access to the public baths, and to furnish him, on his return to his country, with food, anchors, sails, and, in a word, with every thing he needs.

On the other hand the Greeks propose that the Russians, who visit Constantinople for any other purposes than those of commerce, shall not be entitled to this supply of their tables.  The Russian prince shall forbid his embassadors from giving any offense to the inhabitants of the Grecian cities or provinces.  The quarter of Saint Meme shall be especially appropriated to the Russians, who, upon their arrival, shall give information to the city council.  Their names shall be inscribed, and there shall be paid to them every month the sums necessary for their support, no matter from what part of Russia they may have come.  A particular gate shall be designated by which they may enter the city, accompanied by an imperial commissary.  They shall enter without arms, and never more than fifty at a time; and they shall be permitted, freely, to engage in trade in Constantinople without the payment of any tax.

This treaty, by which the emperor placed his neck beneath the feet of Oleg, was ratified by the most imposing ceremonies of religion.  The emperor took the oath upon the evangelists.  Oleg swore by his sword and the gods of Russia.  In token of his triumph Oleg proudly raised his shield, as a banner, over the battlements of Constantinople, and returned, laden with riches, to Kief, where he was received with the most extravagant demonstrations of adulation and joy.

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The Empire of Russia from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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