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Old 10-15-2008, 11:50 AM   #1
I of Macedon
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Default Slavs and the Societas christiana principle

The first attestations of the word in the sense of “Slavic” can also be found in Greek, in the 6th century of ourera. According to Vasmer himself, for example, the attestation of sclavos in Agathias (6th century) already has the meaning of “slave” (Aebischer 1936, 485). How do scholars explain the semantic development from “Slavic” to “slave”?

There is a whole collection of medieval sources, studied by the three fundamental studies on the history of Lat. sclavus (Aebischer 1936, Verlinden 1943, 1955), which shows that the earliest attestations of the word sclavus date back to the Early Middle Ages: precisely when the Slavs, in the traditional scenario, should undertake their ‘great migration’.

The only evidence for a great migration of Slavs in historical times lies in a literal reading of the mentions of medieval historians, such as the Thracian Priscus of Panion (5th century), the Greek Procopius of Cesarea (6th century) and the Goth Jordanes (6th century), or those of the Church (e.g.Conte 1990, 33-34). But it is quite evident that such mentions do not point unambiguously to an ‘invasion’ or ‘migration’ of Slavs, but can just as simply be taken as to refer to pre-existing Slavs, in other words a matter of perspective. When, for example, John of Ephesos, bishop of Constantinopolis under Justinian (527-65) mentions the innumerable raids into the Bizantine territori by “the damned people of the Slavs” he damns them because they were still pagan, and not because they are ‘arriving’! And when, in his De rebus Gethicis Jordanes describes the location of the Venedi, and writes that they inhabited the area “From the source of the Visla river and on immesurable expanses”, he does not give the slightest indication of a recent arrival of theirs, but simply describes a status quo.

All historical sources irrefutably show that the Slavic area was the main reservoir of slaves in the whole period of Early Middle Ages, beginning probably in the 6th century, and with a peak around the 10th. This preference for slaves of Slavic origin can be explained: in that period Slavic people were the only ones who were still pagan, and this detail is most important as it explains why, by choosing them, early medieval slave traders – mostly Venetian, Genoese and Jewish – did not violate the new principles of the “Societas christiana”, introduced by Pope Gregory the Great at the end of the 6th century, according to which baptized people must be excluded from slavery.

Now, as this period is precisely the one in which the supposed ‘great migration’ of the Slavs should take place, the question arises: how can huge migrating groups that were supposed to be aggressively busy occupying half of Europe, from the Arctic area to the Black Sea, submerging and extinguishing all previous populations, have at the same time been chosen as the European slaves par excellence? This would clash against all that we know – and that history abundantly shows – , about the characters of ethnic and racial groups systematically reduced to slavery. In fact, if Slavs in the Early Middle Ages became the historical slaves of Europe, this implies that in that period, rather than being migrating to new territories and exterminating pre-existing people, they were known to have been stable in their territories, to be hard workers, and especially to be without much possibility to defend themselves from slave raiders and slave owners.

The basis of massive slav migrations and replacements of all people almost seems to be based on a gut feeling and inturn meaning a vastly embarrassing oversimplification of human history involving half of europe. If assumptions of the great slav migrations are based so strongly on a few yet vague points of historic reference - then that to me is quite extraordinary to say the least. Especially when archaeology, genetics and liguistics doesn't supports the theory of the great slavic migrations - thus the theory should more or less be classified as an obscure theory.

Further;

According to Russian scholar Oleg Trubačev (who still holds some traditional aspects), even the historian Jordanes’ collocation of the Veneti to the North of the Sclaveni, and Anti to their East, implies the Slavic presence in the South (idem, 228).

Many scholars have anticipated Trubačev’s thesis: Budimir, supported by numerous ex-Yugoslavian scholars, is now claiming a greater proximity of Ancient Slavs to the Balkanic region than traditionally thought; Kopitar sought the Proto-Slavic homeland on the Danube and in Pannonia; Niederle admitted the existence of Slavic enclaves in Thracia and in Illyiria already at the beginning of our era; and both Niederle and Šafárik considered as Slavic terms like Vulka, Vrbas, Tsierna e Pathissus (s. further) (idem,223, 227, 229).
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Old 10-15-2008, 05:08 PM   #2
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In a more (relatively) modern context, the Albanians converted to Islam in Ottoman times in order to gain economic benefit and the ability to bear arms. This allowed them to take over many Macedonian, Greek & Serbian regions during this period. Why is it that hard to believe that the Christians did the same thing at an earlier time with their own native population? In order to escape the slavery and oppression, the native Macedonians would have converted over time as well.

It should be noted that Islam was about 600 years behind Christianity and if we look at the antics of Christians about 600 years before Islam became a force, well .... not much difference in my opinion.

Nice post IoM.
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Old 10-23-2008, 03:03 AM   #3
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Default The making of Slavs - Florin Curta

The following is a book that I think is very important and well written. For those that don't know about this book already.

Taken from Amazon.com

The Making of the Slavs: History and Archaeology of the Lower Danube Region, c. 500-700 (Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought: Fourth Series)

By Florin Curta


Quote from Author "Our present knowledge of the origin of the Slavs is, to a large extent, a legacy of the nineteenth century..."

Editorial Reviews

"The book is notable for the emphasis on the study of the material culture as evidence of cultural process...the novel and thorough approach of the book has a great deal to offer the scholar interested in many aspects of the history and historiography of early Medieval eastern and southeastern Europe and the study of past ethnicities." Slavic Review

"...the author offers quite a coherent and convincing approach...not only intriguing, but quite inspiring...this new study of early Slavic history is a particularly successful attempt to open new perspectives for dealing with the important challenges of history." Comitatus

"...brilliant...this book is a significant contribution to medieval history and an outstanding achievement in Slavic studies." Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"The hypothesis that Curta advances is extremely neat..." International History Review

Product Description

This book offers a new approach to the problem of Slavic ethnicity in southeastern Europe between c. 500 and c. 700. The author shows how Byzantine authors "invented" the Slavs, in order to make sense of political and military developments taking place in the Balkans. Making extensive use of archaeology to show that such developments resulted in the rise of powerful leaders, responsible for creating group identities and mobilizing warriors for successful raids across the frontier. The author rejects the idea of Slavic migration, and shows that "the Slavs" were the product of the frontier.

Customer Reviews

By Fiorella Sorello (Torino, Italia)

Since both reviewers before me made a detailed review, I would like to interpret the content of this scientificaly very well supported scholar work in a larger context. First of all, I would like to inform/remind future readers that the concept of "Slavic migrations" is a residue of the 19-th century scholarship whose conclusions were "firmly based" on the scarcity of the archaeological material and the "prima facie" interpretation of the mediveal Byzantine texts. Curta uses: much more material artefacts, his common sense and analytical approach to the written material. Consequently, it is no surprise that he comes to the conclusion that there was no "arrival of the Slavs" and there were no "massive Slavic migrations" on the Balkans in the early middle ages. The reader will find it difficult to draw a different conclusion on the basis of the presented evidence in the book.

However, the conclusions of Dr. Curta concerning the Slavic ethnogenesis are supported by at least two more independent streams of scholar work.

The first one comes in a form of recent breakthroughs in the field of genetics. The analyses of genetic founder linages on the populations in the Balkans (and eastern Europe) showed that only 10% of the extant mt DNA genetic pool (maternal ancestry)is of recent date (recent = starting from Metal ages onwards). The rest (90%)of the lineages are from Paleo-Mezo-Neolithic migrations that ceased some 5000 -6000 years before present. Similar results were found for the Y-chromosome lineages (paternal ancestry).

The second stream of scholar work that discards the idea of massive Slavic migrations in the early middle ages is the Theory of continuity of professor Mario Alinei. This theory (which is strongly corroborated by the above mentioned genetic findings)claims that the populations and languages in Europe are more or less geographically autohtonous. On several places in his two volume study ( Il Mulino editions 1996 & 2000) he points out that the idea of recent Slavic migrations is inconsistent and unsupported either by archaeological or linguistic evidence.
(I hope that this extremly important and up to date study will be published in English soon).

Those strong correlations between Curta's and Alinei's evidence and conclusions, on the one side, and the genetic evidence on the other, make a really strong case against the concept of Slavic migrations and offers a much more supported model of the prehistory and history of Balkans.

Seen in this larger context, the content of Dr. Curta's book represents a basic component of the new paradigm that emerges in the scholar work.

We cordially hope that time has come to make significant changes in the elementary school and high school history textbooks which are still based on the interpretations of the 19-th century scholar work.



By E. Filson (Chicago, IL)

This is a superb work of scholarship, putting to shame most histories of the Balkans which deal with this time period (e.g., Fine's). Curta smashes modern notions of the Slavic migrations derived mostly through (Byzantine) Roman sources, most of which are purely second hand accounts.

Curta begins with a history of the current thought on the Slavic migrations, influenced primarily by 19th century prejudices and Soviet Union "scholarship" emphasising the reigning hegemony there. He then goes on to offer a critical reading of texts, first those contemporaneous to the period under review, then the centuries immediately following. What's so important is that these readings are truly critical, as opposed to accepting or dismisive: how do these people know what they are writing? All of these texts have value, the argument goes, but they all have different value. What do these texts tell us about their authors?

Curta then reviews the archaeological evidence for the Byzantine-Roman fortifications built along the Danube. He finds Procopius' reports of these forts to be very accurate, but notes a significant absense of evidence that many were destroyed by violence; most were abandonded (and wait until you read his arguments about the coin hordes, a nerd's delight!).

Then Curta reveals the evidence for an actual Slavic culture north of the Danube. What he finds, using distributions of sites and artifacts, correspondence analyses, and cluster analyses, is a complex, well-organized and far-ranging system for the distribution of goods. His tentative conclusion is that this notion of Slav is one, while perhaps taken from a tribe somewhere along the northern border, that is projected onto a heterogeneous group of individuals that have long-ranging relationships from just east of Bavaria to east of Crimea to the Baltic seas! In short, there was no migration as such, they were always there, but had not yet formed this group identity they were given. (He does not deny raids into Byzantine-Roman territory, but who didn't raid their territory?)

What I didn't like: Curta has quite a beef with linguists and tars the entire field in his introduction. Linguists, he claims, have used spurious analyses of the Slavic lexicon to invent a purely fictional Slavic Urheimat (roughly, homeland/place of origin). While this might be true, this sort of folk etymology has little place in modern linguistics. Worse, Curta implies that he doesn't believe that Slavic languages are part of the Indo-European family! Anyone who knows a little of a Slavic language will recognize this as fantasy... Curta doesn't bother to justify his claim. It's hard to know how he would answer for this, particularly given that he doesn't seem especially up to date in linguistics.

But that's not the thrust of the book. The evidence is placed in the archaeology and a truly critical reading of the contemporaneous texts. This is a well substantiated iconoclasm that should be read by every student of European history.


By Madgearu Alexandru (Bucharest, Romania)

The main purpose of this volume is "to explore the nature and construction of the Slavic ethnic identity in the light of the current anthropological research on ethnicity". The author proposes an innovative vision about the archaeological evidence, considering that the ethnic boundaries were marked by items of material culture (features of an "emblemic style" used by an ethnic group in order to be different). The `ethnie' results from the interaction of groups with different emblemic styles. Significant changes in the material culture can thus show what Curta calls "the making of the Slavs": the emergence of a new ethnie. This approach is completely new from all what was written before about the Slavic ethnogenesis.

The sources about the early Slavs are classified in three categories according to the position of their authors: eyewitness, possible contact and second-hand information. The interest of the Byzantine writers was focused on the Slavs only in some periods when they were a real danger. The sources are showing that the inroads occurred when the Danubian limes was weak because the Byzantine army was involved in other wars. A major change took place in the Slavic society around 550-560: the anarchy recorded by Procopius was replaced by war operations commanded by several chiefs whose names were preserved in the further sources. The Byzantine answer to the Slavic threat was the building of three defence lines inside the eastern Balkan provinces. The migration of the Slavs south of the Danube can be dated only since the first years of Heraclius. Only after their settlement, the Byzantine sources recorded several real tribal names, replacing the Byzantine ethnic label that was the generic name Sclavenoi.

Curta examines the Byzantine Balkan region, in order to explain how the classical urbanized society turned into a ruralized one in the period of the Slavic invasions. After a detailed archaeological overview of the main cities in the Balkan provinces, the author concludes that the economic decline occurred because they were not supplied with food from the hinterland. The fortified network established by Justinian fell because the state was not able to support the permanent garrisons of the limes with the central distribution of grain; in the same time, the few number of peasants made impossible a defence based on their service. The withdraw of the Balkan troops in the early years of Heraclius was the natural result of the interruption of the annona taken from Egypt. Therefore, the economic decline and the withdraw of the army from the Danube were not caused by the Slavic invasions; both had internal reasons, remarkably emphasized by Curta.

Objects like amber beads, bow fibulae or pots with stamped decoration are items of two well-defined `emblemic styles' developed by the Gepids and the Lombards. The ethnic identity was constructed on the basis of different types of imported objects with symbolic value bore by elite people (especially by women). The spreading of these objects in different areas matches with the territories inhabited by the Gepids and the Lombards. Aristocratic women, with their garnment, played the main role in the establishment and the transmission of the emblemic style and, as a consequence, of the ethnic identity (they were "symbolic vehicles for the construction of social identities"). The need to emphasize the emblemic style increased in periods of instability and competition between neighboring groups. In this way, Curta finally comes to the making of the early Slavic emblemic style. Like the Gepids or Lombards, the Slavs used specific types of pottery and bow fibulae to construct an emblemic style. This does not means that such objects were genuine Slavic products. Curta argues that the earliest specimens of the so-called "bow fibulae" were found in Mazuria and in Crimea. Their diffusion does not show migrations, but another kind of mobility: "gifts or women married to distant groups in forging alliances" and their function was to express a kind of heraldry displayed on the female dressing. The bow fibulae became a part of the Slavic emblemic style shortly before 600, in the same time with a wider change in the material culture which took place during the climax of the raiding activity of the Slavic rulers.

The individual houses were settled according to a pattern that implied specialized sectors for production or for ceremonies involving food consumption. Food was prepared in ceramic pots, whose shape was determined only by practical reasons. Curta points that the pottery shapes "should be interpreted in relation to food preparation, not to emblemic style". Hundreds of hand-made and wheel-made ceramic vessels belong to the same set of shapes. The pots from the sites ascribed to the Slavs have similar shapes with pieces from Gepidic cemeteries and from Danubian early Byzantine fortresses. If so, the `Prague type', which was defined as the genuine Slavic pottery, is an artificial construct of the archaeologists.

The Lower Danubian settlements are earlier than those from the Zhitomir area (the chronology was established with the aid of the metallic objects, including coins). This contradicts the usual theory of the Slavic migration. In this way, Curta comes to one of his main conclusions: "it appears that instead of a `Slavic culture' originating in a homeland and then spreading to surrounding areas, we should envisage a much broader area of common economic and cultural traditions". This means that large migrations should be replaced with short-distance movements caused by the itinerant agriculture. The population from this wide area became Slavic because acquired an identity during the second half of the 6th century. This identity was expressed through a specific emblemic style defined by bow-fibulae and pottery decorated with finger impressions.
The final chapter deals with the political organization of the early Slavs. Curta applies the anthropological theories on chiefdom, distinguishing between great-men (warriors), big-men (rich men with authority inside their community), and chiefs (rulers of organized polities with control over a group of subjects). The Slavs evolved during the 6th century from a "segmentary society" (lack of hierarchy) to a society ruled by chiefs who fought between them. The emergence of the political organization was the result of the contacts with the Byzantine state. By this military elite the Slavs came into being as a new ethnicity.

The book written by Florin Curta will be a turning point both for the Byzantine and the Slavic studies.

This link is to Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Making-Slavs-A.../dp/0521802024

This link is to a sample of the first 28 pages of the book

http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/samples...1/00052915.pdf
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Old 10-23-2008, 08:32 AM   #4
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Just found it in full lenght in pdf.

klick here

don't wait for esnips to convert the document.

instead go at the bottom of the page and click download and download it.
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Old 10-23-2008, 10:41 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makedonin View Post
Just found it in full lenght in pdf.

klick here

don't wait for esnips to convert the document.

instead go at the bottom of the page and click download and download it.
I suggest if anyone downloads the above, to read the conclusion first on pages 335 to 350 and then work backwards (from the start), otherwise its quite a long read - 350 pages.
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Old 11-08-2008, 11:08 PM   #6
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For those that don’t have time reading the whole paper above, I found the following review/summary of the paper.

This is a review of the book The Making of the Slavs [1], written by prof. dr. Florin Curta, for which he received Herbert Baxter Adams Prize of the American Historical Association for the year 2002. This award is offered for a distinguished first book by a young scholar in the field of European history.

Author: Robert Petrič
Proofreading: Jeffrey Hofreiter

Florin Curta is an Associate Professor of Medieval History and Archaeology at the University of Florida. He studied History-Philosophy at the University of Bucharest, Medieval Studies at Cornell University (Ithaca) and received his Ph. D. in History at Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo). He also worked as an archaeologist performing field surveys and excavations with the Institute of Archaeology "Vasile Pârvan" (Bucharest). Prof. Curta wrote numerous articles and several books focused on southeastern Europe. His achievements in both history and archaeology, presented in his comprehensive book, offer a new methodological approach to southeastern Europe in the Early Middle Age. As an excellent basis for further research, this book merits our sincere affirmation.

Formation of Sclavenic ethnicity

The book represents a new approach towards the origin of the Slavs. Curta's conception is that »early medieval ethnicity was embedded in sociopolitical relations just as modern ethnicity is. Ethnicity was socially and culturally constructed, a form of social mobilization used in order to reach certain political goals.« (p. 34)

One could agree that the problem of Sclavenic (I use this medieval term intentionally) ethnicity was a result of a unique linguistic ethnogenesis (taking their wide expansion into consideration). On the contrary, many other tribes were either political (ethnos) or military (folk, fulca, pulkas) groups, from time to time resulting in major ethnic communities or settlements. Therefore in past centuries the term »Slavs« was created, and non-critically applied to some populations and regions. However, avoiding this kind of misunderstanding, Curta often uses the term Sclavenes, a label frequently employed in the early Medieval.

As Curta describes, he finds an original solution to solve the problem of Sclavenic pre-sixth century presence: »Instead of a great flood of Slavs coming out of the Pripet marshes, I envisage a form of group identity which could arguably be called ethnicity and emerged in response to Justinian's implementation of a building project on the Danube frontier and in the Balkans. The Slavs, in other words, did not come from the north, but became Slavs only in contact with the Roman frontier.« (p. 3)

To simplify, the circumstances were a crucial factor in forming the Sclavenic ethnic community. Nevertheless Curta refuses to write or even think about Slavic history before the sixth century: »Though in agreement with those who maintain that the history of the Slavs began in the sixth century, I argue that the Slavs were an invention of the sixth century. Inventing, however, presupposed both imagining or labeling by outsiders and self-identification.« (p. 335)
In other words predecessors of Sclavenes were present in the Balkans already before the 6th century, though not yet formed as an ethnically compact community. Can we therefore assume that proto-Slavic languages were spoken by larger communities in this territory (southeastern Europe) long before the 6th century? This seems to be a logical conclusion. Otherwise we could hardly believe that Curta would be able to state that »Common Slavic itself may have been used as a lingua franca within and outside Avar qaganate. /.../ we may presume that duke Raduald learned how to speak Slavic in Friuli. His Slavic neighbors in the north apparently spoke the same language as the Dalmatian Slavs.« (p. 345)

Sclavenic migrations?

For our purposes it is Sclavenic (Venetic) ethnogenesis which is most interesting. Prof. Curta speaks directly to this: »Our present day knowledge of the origin of the Slavs /is/ to a large extent, a legacy of the 19th century. A scholarly endeavor inextricably linked with forging national identities /.../« (p. 6)

He also challenges the reader »to move away from the migrationist model which has dominated the discipline of Slavic archaeology ever since its inception.« (p. 307). The combination of both the historical and archaeological approach could be seen as one that gives the author more freedom to revise the firmly grounded model of the early medieval Slavic mass migration.

According to Curta, among Sclavenes there was no »obscure progression« involving a more or less permanent change of residence in the 7th century. Regretfully, the question of when the Sclavenic ancestors first inhabited these regions has yet to be answered. We can only assume that Protoslavs in the Balkans were a Pre-roman phenomenon. Selected excerpts confirm our conclusion: »I began this chapter with the statement that the nature of the Slavic settlement remains obscure to many modern historians. Several conclusions follow from the preceding discussion, but the most important is that, whether or not followed by actual settlement, there is no "infiltration" and obscure progression. The evidence of written sources is quite explicit about this. /.../ The problem with applying this concept of migration to the sixth- and seventh-century Slavs is that there is no pattern of an unique, continuous, and sudden invasion. Moreover, until the siege of Thessalonica during Heraclius' early power, there is no evidence at all of outward migration in the sense of a permanent change of residence. /.../ What John /of Ephesus/ had in mind were warriors, not migrant farmers.« (p. 113)
Not only in the north, also Sclavenes in the south (to the coast of the Aegean Sea) did not migrate in the 6th century.

Archaeological evidence

According to Curta, there is also archaeological evidence to move away from the »migrationist model«: »More important, assemblages of the Lower Danube area, where, according to the migrationist model, the Slavs migrated from the Pripet marshes, long antedate the earliest evidence available from assemblages in the alleged Urheimat.« (p. 337)
It would be interesting to know which finds in the Lower Danube area were taken into consideration here. Not only new evidence - also new interpretations seem to overthrow the idea of mass migrations: »"Cultures", as one archeologist noted, "do not migrate. It is often only a very narrowly defined, goal-oriented subgroup that migrates. "To speak of the Prague culture as the culture of the migrating Slavs is, therefore, a nonsense.« (p. 307)

Regretfully even modern archaeological research in Slovenia is based on such dubious assumptions, illustrated in a paper by Prof. Mitja Guštin, Ph.D.: »Remains of an extensive early-medieval settlement are among most important discoveries of archaeological research at Nova tabla close to Murska Sobota. These remains prove Slavic settling from the 6th to the 9th Century.« [2] The key argument springs from the assumption that the Prague culture is the one proving migrations, an idea labeled by Curta as »a nonsense«. He moreover points to other »ethnicities« as the ones responsible for the southern branch of the Prague culture: »Such pots were hastily classified as Slavic, Prague-type pottery, in an attempt to provide an archaeological illustration to Procopius’ story of Hildigis and his retinue of Sclavene warriors (see Chapter 3). Similar pots, however, appear in contemporary children burials east of the Tizsa river in “Gepidia.” This further indicates that deposition of handmade pots should be interpreted in terms of age status, not ethnicity.«. (p. 193)

Even where the so called Grubenhäuser (sunken buildings) are concerned we should be more cautious: »Archaeologists /.../ divide "Gepidia" into three areas: the Tisza plain, north Serbia, and Transilvania. Large sixth-century settlements excavated in Transilvania include sunken buildings (Grubenhäuser) /.../ Such buildings were common in contemporary settlement of Central and Western Europe. The earliest, but also richest, burials, dated to the second half of the fifth century also come from Transivania. High-status burials /.../ may indicate the presence of a power center, perhaps the most important in the area during the half-century following the demise of Attila's Hunnic Empire.« (p. 194)

Interestingly in the book Balkan Prehistory, Douglass W. Bailey mentions in the Balkans the semi-subterranean pit buildings similar to Grubenhäuser. These semi-subterranean pit buildings have been a form of simple dwelling places at least from 6500 BC and continued as such even after the breakdown of the élite (end of the Copper age). [3] Indeed there is no reason to believe that archaeological particularities give any hints of a migration of a community. This could only be seen as one of the key arguments, because of which the 6th Century mass migration is loosing its credibility.
Curta argues that »The distribution of hoards in the Balkans would at best indicate that large tracts in the western and central parts were not touched by invasions at all.« (p. 170)

He argues that distribution and frequency of the so-called coin hoards do not support the migration theory: »The distribution of sixth-century hoards in the Balkans reveals, however, a striking difference between central regions, such as Serbia and Macedonia, and the eastern provinces included in the diocese of Thrace. With just one exception, there is no hoard in the eastern Balkans with a terminus post quem before 600.« (p. 171)

In light of this, the presence of the coin hoards could be re-interpreted. Curta suggests that they could be the result of a closed Byzantine economy. For example, the hoards of five to nine solidi could »indicate the presence of the Roman army, not Avar or Slavic attacks.«. (p. 178)

Furthermore, it was not only mis-interpretations but also inaccurate dating and flawed methods that forced the migrationist model into a »cul-de-sac«. Such arguments had encountered a dead-end and could no longer be expanded upon. In the Chapter titled DATING THE CHANGE: WHERE WERE THE EARLY SLAVS? (pp. 228-235) Curta cites »serious methodological flaws« and misdatings in archaeological approaches towards migrations of the Slavs, even in the »Greek territory«. This argument strikes yet another crippling blow against migrationism.

With these and other proofs, Curta challenges scholars to revisit migrationist conceptions: »First there is already enough evidence to move away from the migrationist model which has dominated the discipline of Slavic archaeology ever since its inception. A retreat from migrationism is necessary simply because the available data do not fit any of the current models for the study of (pre)historic migration. Cultural correspondences were too often explained in terms of long-distance migration, despite lack of any clear concept of migration to guide such explanations.« (p. 307)

Slaveni - Veneti - Wends?

Regarding the connection between Sclavenes and Veneti, Curta's conclusion is breathtaking even if applied only to the northern Veneti: »Archaeological research has already provided an enormous amount of evidence in support of the idea that the Venethi were Slavs.« (p. 13)

The failure to distinguish between various Veneti groups may lead to a link between the Baltic Veneti and the Alpine Wends (or Winds). If such a link existed, the relations should be visible to us. For example, present day Wendic toponyms (Wendisch, Windisch, Venediger, etc.; http://www.veneti.info/index.php?option ... Itemid=188, 1. 3. 2008) could be relics of past Venetic settlements.

Curta also analyzes Jordanes on the Veneti: »Jordanes calls one and the same river Viscla when referring to Sclavenes, and Vistula, when speaking of Venethi. This was interpreted as an indication of two different sources. In the case of Venethi, the source may have been an ancient similar to Ptolemy's geography. It is equally possible, however, Jordanes was inspired here by Tacitus, for, like him, he constantly associates Venethi with Aesti.« (p. 40)
However, Jordanes' report retains a convincing validity regardless of his sources.

On the next page (p. 41), Curta divides the Veneti with the following argument: »In the "catalogue of nations" /from Jordanes' Getica/, we are told that the Venethi were "chiefly called Sclaveni and Antes," which could only mean that Venethi were subdivided into two categories, the Sclavenes and the Antes.« This seems an interpretive difference and is perhaps best left decided by readers. However when analyzing Fredegar's and Bobbio's report, Curta forms a more solid conclusion: »Fredegar had two apparently equivalent terms for the same ethnie: Sclauos coinomento Winedos. There are variants for both terms, such as Sclavini or Venedi. The 'Wends' appear only in political context: the Wends, and not the Slavs, were befulci of the Avars; the Wends, and not the Slavs, made Samo their king. It is therefore, possible that 'Wends' and 'Sclavenes' are meant to denote a specific social and political configuration, in which such concepts as state or ethnicity are relevant, while 'Slavs' is a more general term, used in a territorial rather than an ethnic sense. 'Wends' and 'Slavs' were already in use when Fredegar wrote Book IV. They first appear in Jonas of Bobbio's Life of St. Columbanus,([termini]Venetiorum qui et Sclavi *bad word*). written sometime between 639 and 643. According to Jonas, Columbanus had once thought of preaching to the Wends, who were called Slavs.« (p. 60)
Representing another very interesting interpretation of a source, Curta once again supports the idea that medieval authors were not mistaken or misled.

A surprise in the scientific field?

It may be valuable to note that some of Curta's predecessors outlined a similar approach. Archaeologist Colin Renfrew states that there is no evidence for cultural and linguistic changes in Europe which archaeological research could offer. [4] There are also papers such as these two modern works: Veneti -First Builders of European Community (M. Bor, J. Šavli, I. Tomažič, 1989, 1996-English version) and Origini delle lingue d'Europa (M. Alinei, 1996, 2000). In the former, though written by non-professionals seeking to validate a specific national identity, some arguments still find support in the historical and linguistic evidence: »colonization of Slavs in the Alps during the above time /6th Century/ cannot be authenticated by any historical source. It represents a fabricated, fictitious view that is repeated without critical examination.« (p. 5)
In the latter, Mario Alinei also uses a linguistic argument: »I have to commence by clearing away one of the most absurd consequences of the traditional chronology, namely, that of the 'arrival' of the Slavs into the immense area in which they now live.«

Prof. Florin Curta deftly maneuvers among German, French, English, Romanian, Italian, Russian, Bulgarian, Czech, Ancient Greek and Latin texts. This is surely a big advantage for doing comprehensive research work, since there is a much wider spread of material available. In addition, Curta's ability to span many languages with his research may also have inspired him to mount a successful challenge against some traditional or national linguistic-based theories.

Conclusions

The Making of the Slavs is a must-read for every researcher of Slavic origins. The work reveals an absence of crucial factors to support a model of early Medieval mass migrations and clearly indicates a different scenario. It supports both a more conservative and yet augmented view on the origin of Europeans. Regretfully, these ideas have yet to merit a noteworthy discussion or echo among scholars. Mainstream thinking in this field seems to prefer simply to ignore the concepts in Prof. Curta's book. Hopefully he will not be the last to take up this mantle. For the sake of good scholarship the traditional, and according to Prof. Curta inaccurate, models must be discarded in order to avoid constructing future theories on obsolete misconceptions. This book is a highly interesting work for scholars who would like to evaluate or revise »Our present day knowledge of the origin of the Slavs«!

A final remark: A number of genetic studies have been made recently in order to determine the structure of ancient European populations (see a letter to Curta: http://www.maknews.com/html/articles/sk ... lavs.html; 3. 2. 2008). Joseph Skulj concluded that »/a/bsence of HG16 /a genetic marker/ in the male population of the Pannonian plain and in Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Romania and the Balkan populations /…/ disproves the theory that the ‘southern’ Slavs migrated to the present locations 1500 years ago, from the areas beyond the Carpathian Mountains. Had they done so, they would have brought with them HG16, which is frequent and widely distributed genetic marker north and northeast of the Carpathian Mountains – in Poland, Russia and Ukraine.«[5] Prof. Curta's position towards such studies is significantly absent from his book.
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Old 11-09-2008, 06:44 PM   #7
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I'm not convinced about the whole Veneti/Slav connection.

Where does that leave the all the various ancient scripts found in Macedonia and Bulgaria - which is has no relation I think to the Venetic alphabet. Scripts and words which are clearly a form of proto-slavic but not Venetic ??
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Old 11-10-2008, 12:14 AM   #8
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Well there is “two or three supposed” types of venetics as stated by those experts, those that inhabit the northern Adriatic next to Italy (Adriatic Veneti), in France (Veneti – Gaul) and those that supposedly resided in and around what is now modern day Poland (Vistula Veneti) - thus where the so called slavs come into the picture.

There are experts (Germans for one) that like to differentiate between the all the veneti above, that is that they are all different to one another, yet to this day it is highly disputable, as with the slavic migration model.

There are also experts that will differentiate the veneti (that supposedly reside in Poland) and the so called Slavs in what is modern day Ulraine. One must remember, that is because those experts believe in the migration model, that is the slavs started migrating further west (thus assimilating or exterminating the veneti and their language in Poland – which is the basis of the traditional migration model of the slavs (replacing and/or assimilating) and further into Europe only in, I believe the 5th to 6th century, therefore eliminating the so called slavs (as is known today of all the slavic speakers) as having a justifiable connection to the ancient ventics and the language that may have been.

Remember the veneti are an obscure people that seem to have been everywhere.

For instance

Roman historians such as Plinius, Tacitus and Procopius mention tribes of Veneti, Eneti, Sclavini and Anti living as far south as the Dnieper and as far north as the Vistula River in the first and second centuries AD. The Veneti are also mentioned in the writings of a number of ancient authors such as Strabo, Pomponius, Mella, and Cassius Dio which place this people in various regions in more ancient times all across Eastern Europe and as far south as Asia Minor. Quintus Curtius Rufus mentioned the Veneti as part of Alexander the Great's army in the 4th century BC. Herodotus in the 5th century BC mentioned a people of the Balkans he calls the Eneti. And an even older source, the Iliad of Homer, mentioned the Veneti as allies of Troy, pushing their possible existence in the Balkans as far back as the 8th century BC.

With the scripts I don’t know exactly which you are referring to, but I will place the following that I do know.

Glozel signs (found in France)

http://www.magtudin.org/Mystery%20of%20 ... age002.jpg

Vinca signs (Balkans) 6000BC to 3000BC

http://www.prehistory.it/ftp/img_winn/fig_4.jpg

http://www.geocities.com/protoillyrian/vinca3.jpg

Venetic script (1000BC – northern Adriatic near Italy)

http://www.ancientscripts.com/venetic.html


Archaeological interpretations of the similarities between the Vinca and Glozel signs

http://www.museedeglozel.com/Documents/newinter.pdf

NOTE: As of today there is enough evidence to move away from the migration model, also because much of today’s data doesn’t fit (as stated in the review) within the migration model of the so called Slavs. Remember this is a theory introduced over 100 years ago, and intern is losing credibility, and not gaining as such or even maintaining its credibility for the reasons mentioned.

I thought that I will also mention that there was a review on a book that mentioned symbols that are termed Thracian, and basically stated the following about what the scientific community may think about them.

“This discovery may appear quite threatening and paradigm shifting for some present “scientific” historical, archaeological and anthropological dogmas. Thus it may trigger negative reactions and opposition by those readers who remain unprepared for significant set-of-mind changes and by those former “authoritative” figures in science, who would rather deny this unique discovery, than loose their personal “scientific” ground and territory.”
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Old 11-10-2008, 09:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I of Macedon View Post
Well there is “two or three supposed” types of venetics as stated by those experts, those that inhabit the northern Adriatic next to Italy (Adriatic Veneti), in France (Veneti – Gaul) and those that supposedly resided in and around what is now modern day Poland (Vistula Veneti) - thus where the so called slavs come into the picture.
So, Venetic script is no where near balkans, really ? And that doesn't answer the question did the "Slavs" really come from Poland ? And how do you explain Slavic writing in present day Bulgaria and region BC ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by I of Macedon View Post
There are experts (Germans for one) that like to differentiate between the all the veneti above, that is that they are all different to one another, yet to this day it is highly disputable, as with the slavic migration model.

There are also experts that will differentiate the veneti (that supposedly reside in Poland) and the so called Slavs in what is modern day Ulraine. One must remember, that is because those experts believe in the migration model, that is the slavs started migrating further west (thus assimilating or exterminating the veneti and their language in Poland – which is the basis of the traditional migration model of the slavs (replacing and/or assimilating) and further into Europe only in, I believe the 5th to 6th century, therefore eliminating the so called slavs (as is known today of all the slavic speakers) as having a justifiable connection to the ancient ventics and the language that may have been.

Remember the veneti are an obscure people that seem to have been everywhere.

For instance

Roman historians such as Plinius, Tacitus and Procopius mention tribes of Veneti, Eneti, Sclavini and Anti living as far south as the Dnieper and as far north as the Vistula River in the first and second centuries AD. The Veneti are also mentioned in the writings of a number of ancient authors such as Strabo, Pomponius, Mella, and Cassius Dio which place this people in various regions in more ancient times all across Eastern Europe and as far south as Asia Minor. Quintus Curtius Rufus mentioned the Veneti as part of Alexander the Great's army in the 4th century BC. Herodotus in the 5th century BC mentioned a people of the Balkans he calls the Eneti. And an even older source, the Iliad of Homer, mentioned the Veneti as allies of Troy, pushing their possible existence in the Balkans as far back as the 8th century BC.

With the scripts I don’t know exactly which you are referring to, but I will place the following that I do know.

Glozel signs (found in France)

http://www.magtudin.org/Mystery%20of%20 ... age002.jpg

Vinca signs (Balkans) 6000BC to 3000BC

http://www.prehistory.it/ftp/img_winn/fig_4.jpg

http://www.geocities.com/protoillyrian/vinca3.jpg

Venetic script (1000BC – northern Adriatic near Italy)

http://www.ancientscripts.com/venetic.html


Archaeological interpretations of the similarities between the Vinca and Glozel signs

http://www.museedeglozel.com/Documents/newinter.pdf

NOTE: As of today there is enough evidence to move away from the migration model, also because much of today’s data doesn’t fit (as stated in the review) within the migration model of the so called Slavs. Remember this is a theory introduced over 100 years ago, and intern is losing credibility, and not gaining as such or even maintaining its credibility for the reasons mentioned.

I thought that I will also mention that there was a review on a book that mentioned symbols that are termed Thracian, and basically stated the following about what the scientific community may think about them.

“This discovery may appear quite threatening and paradigm shifting for some present “scientific” historical, archaeological and anthropological dogmas. Thus it may trigger negative reactions and opposition by those readers who remain unprepared for significant set-of-mind changes and by those former “authoritative” figures in science, who would rather deny this unique discovery, than loose their personal “scientific” ground and territory.”

Sure, but how are Veneti and Sclaveni related ?

I would have to search more closely to produce the scripts I am referring too, and will get back to you with that info as soon as I can.
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Old 11-10-2008, 09:47 PM   #10
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Found one.

Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

http://www.unet.com.mk/ancient-macedonians/sitivo_a.htm

It's not a new discovery either.

"This written monument was published for the first time in the archaeological literature in 1950 by Z. R. Morfova and in 1971 with an inverseordinaire it was published by J. Todorovic"
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