views updated May 11 2018

Varangian any of the Scandinavian voyagers who travelled by land and up rivers into Russia in the 9th and 10th centuries ad, establishing the Rurik dynasty and gaining great influence in the Byzantine Empire. The name comes from medieval Latin Varangus, ultimately from Old Norse, and probably based on vár ‘pledge’.
Varangian guard the bodyguard of the later Byzantine emperors, comprising Varangians and later also Anglo-Saxons.