Many of you might know that the Byzantines were renowned for their tactical prowess, those of you might be confused by the fact that Byzantines loathed fighting. Unlike their European cousins, the Byzantines believed that killing was against their Christian nature. The Rus, as just one example, mistook this for cowardice, thinking the Byzantines weak. The Rus learned (once reportedly by a miracle) that Constantinople was an invader's forbidden fruit, that underneath their supposedly soft shell, they were soldiers, hardened by war. The Rus attacked the Byzantines relentlessly until Vladimir the Great. You see, Vladimir was interested in other religions, so he sent emissaries to see which he would favor. The emissaries told him of Roman Catholics, Muslims, Jews, and Orthodox Christians. The Rus were unimpressed by the Roman Catholics, saying that they saw no beauty in it. As for the Muslims, the envoys said there was no gladness among them, all that was there was sorrow, and a stench, besides, the Islamic taboo regarding not consuming alcohol and pork was against Rus principle, "Drinking is the joy of all Rus, we can not exist without that pleasure." The Rus disregarded Judaism, saying that losing Jerusalem was a sign that they were not favored. Last but not least, the emissaries reported on the Orthodox. "We no longer knew if we were in heaven or earth," the envoys reported, after attending mass in Hagia Sophia. This appealed to Vladimir, so he married the Byzantine Princess and converted to Orthodox Christianity. What became of that alliance? That's for another article my friends.
A peaceful Empire?
How the Byzantines peaceful nature was turned into a tactical asset. And how the Rus became allies of the Eastern Roman Empire.
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