Three brothers, princes of Ras, called respectively Rurik, Sineus and Truvor, accepted the invitation and founded a dynasty, from which many of the Russian princes of the present day claim descent.
In theory the whole Russian land was a gigantic family estate belonging to the Rurik dynasty, and each member of that great family considered himself entitled to a share of it.
It had to be divided, therefore, into a number of independent principalities, but it continued to be loosely held together by the dynastic sentiment of the descendants of Rurik and by the patriarchal authority - a sort of patria potestas - of the senior member of the family, called the grand-prince, who ruled in Kiev, " the mother of Russian cities."
Since the days when Rurik had first chosen it as his headquarters, the little town on the Volkhov had grown into a great commercial of Nov- city and a member of the Hanseatic league, and it had brought under subjection a vast expanse of territory, stretching from the shores of the Baltic to the Ural Mountains, and containing several subordinate towns, of which the principal were Pskov, Nizhniy-Novgorod and Vyatka.
Ambitious members of the Rurik dynasty, instead of seeking to acquire territory by conquest in the field, now sought to attain their ends by intrigue and bribery at the Mongol court.