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Dir / Dyr Prince of Kiev

Russian: Дир Prince of Kiev
Also Known As: "Dyri", "Dir", "Sveneld", "Дир или Свенелд"
Birthplace: Kiev, Ukraine
Death: 882 (33-41)
Kiev, Kyiv City, Kyiv city, Ukraine (Slain by orders of Oleg)
Immediate Family:

Son of Efanda, Grand Duchess of Novgorod
Husband of daughter of Niskinin
Brother of Haskuldr / Askold

Occupation: Dir или Sveneld, Princ of Kiev
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Dir, Prince of Kiev

From the 860s until 882, Kyiv was ruled by two brother princes Askold and Dir. There is much controversy and mystery surrounding these figures. The only thing that brooks no doubt is that the Kyivan princes commanded a strong military force and were so powerful that they could not only guarantee the independence of Rus’ but also challenge their mighty neighbors.

About Askold and Dir: · They were Varangians. · 860: Askold and Dir are credited with this year's attack on Constantinople. · Circa 862: They ruled Kiev. · 880-1: were captured and executed by Prince Oleg (or possibly Igor) when he conquered Kiev. · The killer of Askold and Dir employed a strategem to lure them to a place where they could be slain by his soldiers concealed nearby. He approached Kiev from the south -- the first Kievan landmark he came to was the Ungrian Hill. · They were some of Rurik's nobles, though they were not the same race as Rurik. They left Rurik to go to Constantinople with their family. · They may have been Viking adventurers and not princes. · The Primary Chronicle says that two boyars (Askold and Dir) who were connected with Rurik, the founder of Novgorod, sailed down the Dnieper and came upon a little settlement on a hill. They were told that it had been built by three brothers, and that the people living there were Polianians and paid tribute to the Khazars. They took over the hill, gathered their followers together and took command of the Polianians. · Kiev seems to have been taken over by Norwegians and ruled by hereditary jarls, perhaps from Halogaland. Joint rulership of this kind is not uncommon in early Norse tradition, so the dual rulership of Askold and Dir is believable.


About Askold: · An unlikely tradition states that he became an Orthodox Christian.


About Dir: · The Arabic writer, al-Mas'udi, writes of Dir, the conquerer of Kiev that, though not a kaghan, was the greatest of the Slav princes, and ruled huge and populous cities, that were visited by Muslim traders.

Askold (Haskuldr in Old East Norse and Höskuldr in Old West Norse) and Dir (Dyri in both dialects of Old Norse) were, according to the Primary Chronicle, two of Rurik's men who ruled Kiev in the 870s. That chronicle implies that they were neither his relatives nor of noble blood.

Dir might have been the same person as Askold, who was said to be his co-ruler.


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Dir, Prince of Kiev's Timeline

Kiev, Ukraine
Age 37
Kiev, Kyiv City, Kyiv city, Ukraine