Hagia Sophia Interior

Viking Script

Varangian Scripts Hagia Sophia

In the upper South gallery, a Viking Script which dates back to the 10th century is still can be seen. A sentence is inscripted on the marble with runic letters: ‘’Halvdan was here.’’ This script isn’t unique in Hagia Sophia. There are about five other writings done by the Vikings. What on earth a Viking does in Constantinople and even Hagia Sophia?

When Swedish Vikings made their way to Russia in the 9th century for trading, they established a quick relationship with Slavs. They married them and got the name ‘’Rus’’ as a Nordic Slavic nobility. This community chose ‘’Varangians’’ who were Viking warriors from the North to trade.

Varangians preferred invading Byzantium first. However, when they couldn’t achieve it, they established a business connection with Byzantium. Later, Byzantines hired them as mercenaries. In time, they fought against Turks, Arabs and even Catholics in the Crusades. Moreover, Varangians of Constantinople converted to Christianity and found a place in the Imperial Army until the end of the empire in 1453.

  • Varangian Scripts Hagia Sophia

About the author


Hagia Sophia Research Team (HSRT) consists of a group of people who likes to research Byzantine Heritage in Turkey by visiting and taking photos of the historical places.

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