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From this time until nearly the middle of

the eleventh century the family of Ruric occupied the throne. On the death of the great

chieftain, in 879, the succession passed

to his cousin Oleg, who reigned for twenty-three years. During this time the principality of Kiev was conquered and added

to that of Novgorod. The Khazars between the Dnieper and the Caspian were

also subdued, and. the Magyars were driven

out of Russia in the direction of Hungary.

Oleg next made war on the Byzantine Empire, and pressed upon the Greeks with

such force that in 911 the Emperor was

obliged to consent to a peace in every way

advantageous to the Rus.

After the death of Oleg, in the following year, Igor, son of Ruric, came to the

throne, and reigned for thirty-three years.

His career was that of a warrior. He first

put down a revolt of the Dreviians on the

Pripet, and then vanquished the Petchenegs,

who had their seats on the shores of the

Black Sea. Afterwards, in 941, he engaged

in a war with the Greek Emperor, but was

less successful than his predecessor. In a

second conflict with the Dreviians he was defeated and slain, and the crown passed

to his son Sviatoslav, under the regency

of Olga, his mother. This princess became

a convert to Christianity, and the new faith

gained a footing at Kiev.

The Emperor, however, remained a pagan,

and devoted himself to war. He made campaigns against the same nations that had felt

the sword of his father and grandfather. The

Bulgarians also were at one time his enemies,

and were defeated in battle. While returning

from an unsuccessful expedition against the

Greeks of Constantinople Sviatoslav was

attacked and killed by the Petchenegs,

through whose country he was passing. On

his death, in 972, the Empire, which was now

extended to the sea of Azov, was divided

among his three sons, Yaropolk, Oleg, and

Vladimir. The first received Kiev, the

second the country of the Dreviians, and

the third Novgorod. The brothers soon

quarreled and went to war. Oleg was slain

and Vladimir fled. Yaropolk gained possession of the whole country, but Vladimir gathered the Rus tribes to his standard, returned against his brother, put him

to death, and secured the Empire for himself. He then conquered Red Russia,

Lithuania, and Livonia. He became a

Christian, married the sister of the Greek

Emperor, and received the title of the

Great. Under his influence and example

Russia turned from paganism to Christianity. Churches rose on every hand; schools

were founded, and new cities gave token

that the night of barbarism was lifting

from the great power of the North.

Vladimir left twelve sons to contend for

the crown. On his death civil war broke out

among them, and several of the claimants

were slain. At length Sviatopolk, son of

Yaropolk, himself an adopted son of Vladimir, hewed his way to the throne over the

bodies of three of his foster brothers. Yaroslav, one of the surviving sons of the late

Emperor, allied himself with Henry II.

of Germany and returned to the contest. The

struggle continued until 1019, when a decisive

battle was fought, in which Sviatopolk was

signally defeated. He fled from the field and

died on his way to Poland. After this crisis

the Empire was divided between Yaroslav and

Metislav, but the latter presently died, and

the former became sole ruler of Russia.