The Vikings had longstanding and lucrative trade relations with the peoples who inhabited the lands to the east of Scandinavia. But, as one might expect, the Vikings’ relations with them weren’t entirely peaceful, and included activities of a more military nature as well.
Vikings made up the elite warriors of the army that fought for and defended the Byzantine emperor in Constantinople (modern Istanbul, Turkey). They were called “Varangians,” and although they were mercenaries, they were famed for their unwavering loyalty.
In the ninth century, Vikings invaded and conquered Russia, establishing the Rurikid dynasty that ruled until the sixteenth century. They even gave Russia its name, as they were called Rus by the local Slavic inhabitants.