Olga was the widow of Russian ruler Igor; she became regent for their young son (the later Sviatoslav I) on Igor's death in 945. She is the first known female ruler of the Rus, and also the first one to convert to Christianity (specifically to the Orthodox Church of Byzantium).

Since her husband had been killed by a conquered tribe who wanted to stop paying tribute to Kievan Russia, Olga went to great lengths to subjugate this tribe (the Derevlians) and avenge her husband for both personal and political reasons. The Derevlians' towns were burned and most of their people killed or enslaved. She also put into place a better method of collecting the tributes of conquered tribes and appointed officials to control financial and judicial matters, generally strengthening Kievan control.

She also visited Byzantium a few years after her conversion, and tried to get close ties established to the Christian church there, despite the fact that very few of the Rus or those they controlled were Christian. When this didn't go to her complete satisfaction, she also sent to Otto I in what's now Germany for a bishop to come and establish Christian churches in her land. (The man who was sent didn't have enough authority for her, but by then her government had closer ties to Byzantium anyway.) Nonetheless, Olga and Igor's son Sviatoslav I did not convert, though he took over from his mother in 964. She retained a large place in government, helping control Kiev while her son was out expanding the territory their government controlled. Olga died in 969. She was later canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church.

The On-Line Guitar Archive (http://www.olga.net) was born out of the need to archive usenet articles posted on the alt.guitar and rec.music.makers.guitar newsgroups -- It's an online repository of music, by musicians, for musicians. At one point OLGA held nearly 35,000 tablature and chord files. Now it contains under 5000, but submissions are still rolling in and files continue to be moved from the old to new archive.

A Brief History

Created in 1992 by James Bender, the original OLGA was hosted by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In 1996, EMI contacted the University of Nevada and alleged that OLGA was infringing on copyright. Rather than face legal troubles, OLGA was asked to leave.

In 1998, The Harry Fox Agency threatened OLGA with legal action if it didn't shut down -- again, breech of copyright was the allegation. OLGA shut down, but didn't quit -- OLGA incorporated as a charitable organization in order to accept donations.

In an attempt to move beyond these legal squabbles, diet-olga was born.


It could be strongly argued that files containing copyrighted lyrics infringe upon the rights of the copyright holders. Solution? Remove the lyrics -- It's much less clear cut that there's anything wrong with an individual's by-ear transcription of a song, especially if it's only their interpretation.

With this in mind, OLGA modified their submission requirements and re-opened.

OLGA's Archiving Criteria

OLGA's submission requirements boil down to the following:
  1. It's not lifted from a copyrighted source.
  2. It's in plain ascii text.
  3. Lyrics are excluded.
  4. It's either tablature or a chord file.

Olga (Ольга) is the Russian form of the Scandinavian feminine name Helga, which derives from Old Norse heilagr "lucky, healthy", or "holy, blessed" (the original meaning was extended after the advent of Christianity).

If you're lucky enough to be called Olga, you're indeed blessed with a whole range of lovely diminutives, e.g.

Russian: Olgunya (Ольгуня), Olya (Оля), Olyusha (Олюша)

Polish: Ola, Oleńka, Olesia

Also, you can celebrate your name day on 11 July (or 24 July if you're an Old Calendarist) as it is the feast day of Saint Olga, or to give you her full title as used by Eastern Orthodox Church: "Blessed Equal-To-The-Apostles Olga, princess of Russia, named Helen in holy Baptism". So much for diminutives.

Olga (d. 969) was a ruler of Kievan Rus, who had to juggle her time between avenging the death of her husband and trying to convert her subjects to Christianity. I suspect that like every career woman she felt undervalued and unappreciated but at least after her death her evangelising efforts got recognised and she was duly canonised. Way to go, sister!

As it is 11 July today, I'd like to celebrate by mentioning my three favourite fictional characters named Olga:

1. The eldest sister in Anton Chekhov's play Three Sisters. She's a 28-year-old spinster and a teacher. You can't but feel for the girl.

2. One of the Grand Light Sorceresses in Sergei Lukyanenko's Watch tetralogy. As a sorceress, she's cool by definition. Even though she starts off as a stuffed owl.

3. The guinea pig in Michael Bond's series The Tales of Olga da Polga. She may not be as famous as Michael Bond's other creation, Paddington Bear, but that's only because there's a worldwide conspiracy to suppress hard-working rodents in favour of cuddly opportunists.

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