The Varangian Guard was an elite unit of the Byzantine Army from the tenth to the fourteenth century, whose members served as personal bodyguards to the Byzantine Emperors. The Varangian Guard was known for being primarily composed of recruits from northern Europe, including Norsemen from Scandinavia and Anglo-Saxons from England.
Vikings sent emissaries to Byzantium in the 9th century, working as mercenaries for the empire then in the Imperial Guard. One member of the Varangian Guard named Harald Hardrada, future king of England spent fifteen years in the guard when he then ended up becoming King of Norway when he returned home. The Varangians relied on the broad-bladed Dane axe as their main weapon, although they were often also skilled swordsmen or archers.
#viking #norse #varangianguard
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