I have seen the Rus as they came on their
merchant journeys and encamped by the Atil (Volga). I have never seen more perfect
physical specimens, tall as date palms, blond and ruddy; they wear neither tunics nor
caftans, but the men wear a garment that covers one side of the body and leaves a hand
free. Each man has an axe, a sword, and a knife and keeps each by him at all times . . .
Each woman wears either a box of iron, silver, or gold on each of her breasts. The value
of the box indicates the wealth of her husband. Each box has a ring from which hangs a
knife . . .
When they have sailed from their land and anchored in the Volga,
which is a great river, they build big houses of wood on the shore, each holding ten to
twenty Rus. Each man has a couch on which he sits. With them a pretty slave girls whom
they sell to merchants. A man will have sexual intercourse with his slave girl while his
wife looks on. Sometimes the Rus do this in groups. A merchant who arrives to buy a slave
girl from them may have to wait and watch while the Rus has intercourse with the girl.
Translation adapted from Gwyn Jones, A History of the Vikings (Oxford-London-New
York: Oxford University Press, 1973) 164-165