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Old 09-28-2009, 08:52 AM   #21
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Default Who are the Slavs? - Citations and Sources

We should create a chronology here with all citations of when people and groups are first referred to as 'Sklave/Sclave' and 'Sloven' so we can get a better picture of what exactly happened, when, where it took place, and the circumstances in which the author's wrote their works. If anybody has quotes to contribute, please do so, and if possible cite the year of the event and/or year of writing. Where this cannot be provided then the year of the writer's passing will be used.

The timeframe of sources and events sought is from the 6th century onwards, and anything up to the 18th century, however, if there are quotes previous to this period that can be useful, they are also welcome. I will start a list with some quotes and update it with each new reference brought forth.


550 AD: Procopius, Secret History, 18.
Quote:
Illyria and all of Thrace, that is, from the Ionian Gulf to the suburbs of Constantinople, including Greece and the Chersonese, were overrun by the Huns, Sklaves and Antes, almost every year, from the time when Justinian took over the Roman Empire; and intolerable things they did to the inhabitants. For in each of these incursions, I should say, more than two hundred thousand Romans were slain or enslaved, so that all this country became a desert like that of Scythia................neither the Persians nor the Saracens, the Huns or the Sklaves or the rest of the barbarians, were able to withdraw from Roman territory undamaged. In their inroads, and still more in their sieges of cities and in battles, where they prevailed over opposing forces, they shared in disastrous losses quite as much.
551 AD: Jordanes, Getica, 34-35.
Quote:
........beginning at the source of the Vistula, the populous race of the Venethi dwell, occupying a great expanse of land. Though their names are now dispersed amid various clans and places, yet they are chiefly called Sclaveni and Antes. The abode of the Sclaveni extends from the city of Noviodunum and the lake called Mursianus to the Danaster, and northward as far as the Vistula. They have swamps and forests for their cities. The Antes, who are the bravest of these peoples dwelling in the curve of the sea of Pontus, spread from the Danaster to the Danaper, rivers that are many days' journey apart.
557 AD: Procopius, Buildings, 4-1-1.
Quote:
For these works have been executed with due regard for the nearness of the Ister River and for the consequent necessity imposed by the barbarians who threaten the land. For it has as neighbours nations of Huns and of Goths, and the regions of Taurus and of Scythia rise up again it, as well as the haunts of the Sclaveni and of sundry other tribes — whether they are called by the writers of the most ancient history Hamaxibian or Metanastic Sauromatae, and whatever other wild race of men really either roams about or leads a settled life in that region.
584 AD: John of Ephesus, Ecclesiastical History, III.25, VI. 25.
Quote:
.......barbarian tribes which had risen up against the powerful empire of the Romans: and after the death of Justin, they pressed upon him with still greater violence, especially the accursed tribes of the Sclavonians, and those who, from their long hair, are called Avars..........being the third after the death of king Justin, was famous also for the invasion of an accursed people, called Sclavonians, who overran the whole of Greece, and the country of the Thessalonians, and all Thrace, and captured the cities, and took numerous forts, and devastated and burnt, and reduced the people to slavery, and made themselves masters of the whole country, and settled in it by main force, and dwelt in it as though it had been their own without fear. And four years have now elapsed, and still, because the king is engaged in the war with the Persians, and has sent all his forces to the East, they live at their ease in the land, and dwell in it, and spread themselves far and wide as far as God permits them, and ravage and burn and take captive. And to such an extent do they carry their ravages, that they have even ridden up to the outer wall of the city, and driven away all the king's herds of horses, many thousands in number, and whatever else they could find.
630 AD: Theophylact Simocatta, History.
Quote:
….the emperor enquired what was their nation, where was their allotted abode, and the cause of their presence in the Roman lands. They replied that they were Sclavenes by nation and that they lived at the boundary of the western ocean…...….....the Getae, that is to say the herds of Sclavenes, they were fiercly ravaging the regions of Thrace………….this is the older name for the barbarians.....
689 AD: Theophanes, Anni Mundi 6095-6305.
Quote:
In this year Justinian campaigned against the Sklavinia and Bulgaria. Advancing to Thessalonike, he thrust back as far as possible the Bulgars he encountered. He conquered large hosts of Sklavenes (some in battle, but others went over to him) and settled them in the Opsikion, sending them across by way of Abydos.
692 AD: Theophanes, Anni Mundi 6095-6305.
Quote:
In this year, Justinian made a selection from the Sklavenes he had resettled. He levied 30,000 men, armed them, and named them the "special army". Their commander was named Neboulos.....but Muhammad suborned the general of the Sklavenes allied to the Romans....deceiving him with many promises, persuaded him to desert to the Arabs with 20,000 Sklavenes. Then Justinian massacred the remaining Sklavenes (and their wives and children) at Leukate, a precipitous place by the sea on the gulf of Nicomedia.
694 AD: Theophanes, Anni Mundi 6095-6305.
Quote:
Muhammad attacked Romania; he had with him the Sklavenes who had fled, as they had experience of Romania.
754 AD: Theophanes, Anni Mundi 6095-6305.
Quote:
The Persians opposed Abd Allah, but the inhabitants of Syria were devoted to him and fought on his side. Abu Muslim raised his army and engaged Abd Allah near Nisibis, where he defeated him and killed many of his men. Most of them were Sklavenes and Antiochenes.
758 AD: Theophanes, Anni Mundi 6095-6305.
Quote:
In this year Constantine captured the Macedonian Sklavinias and subjected the rest of them.
871 AD: Anastasius the Librarian, Miracles, 9.
Quote:
There was a certain bishop from the country of the Africans, Cyprian by name, who cared for the true priesthood and led a life most deserving of God. He arranged to journey to the queen of cities, Byzantium, on a pressing matter of necessity. And when they had sailed for many days and had already drawn near to the regions of Greece, he was captured by the most fierce Sclavenes together with all his [companions]. When they had divided these captives among themselves, the [Sclavenes] enslaved the aforementioned bishop together with his [companions]. When these things had been done in this way, they returned to their native places, and each barbarian placed the burden of slavery upon his captive according as he wished.
899 AD: St Clement, Life of Methodius (Emperor Michael III to SS Cyril and Methodius.
Quote:
You are both Salonikans, and all Salonikans speak pure Slavonic.
905 AD: John Cametinae, On the Capture of Salonika (By Muslim forces).
Quote:
I introduce you to the same, the great and the first city of the Macedonians.......The citizens, in fact, were anything but remiss in their use of archery, and used it to great and conspicuous effect by stationing all the Sklavenes gathered from the neighbouring regions at those points from which it was easiest to shoot accurately and where there was nothing to deflect the momentum of their missiles.
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Old 09-28-2009, 11:03 PM   #22
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I think the title thread should read "Who are the Sklavoi" even though you make it clear that we are talking about the Sklavoi/Sklavenoi in the opening lines.

The reason why I suggest that is because "Slav" when used today is too vague - and could in the mind of any given reader mean very different things.

I am sick of the way so called "scholars" like Vryonis use it in an ethnic sense. Strictly speaking today "Slavic" referes to a language. The "Sklavoi" of the early middle-ages, could have been anyone or anything - so a distinction needs to be made in the classification from the begginning.

The way things a going every time the term "Slav" is mentioned, some people might immediately think "Macedonians".

Hopefully I can contribute a bit to this. I just took out the Florin Curta book.
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Old 09-29-2009, 01:12 AM   #23
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I appreciate where you are coming from Pelister and the negativity that many of you have towards the term, and everything you stated above I considered prior to deciding on the title. Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that because 'Slav' is so commonly yet vaguely used and not properly understood, and given that it is this term and not 'Sklave/Sclave' that is being used today to refer to this 'elusive' and 'fluid' group, it would be the best option. At least this way, when people search for 'Slavs' they will eventually come across this thread, which will document, detail and eventually explain away the vagueness and negativity concerning the term, in the context of all its various meanings and derivatives. We can also discard any inconsistencies relating the term and its history, whereas leaving it at 'Sklave/Sclave' will mean limited this little project to between the 6th and 9th century, which would not do the topic justice. We have nothing to hide, let's study, criticize and inspect this topic as thoroughly as can be, and show the world the truth.
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Old 09-29-2009, 08:52 PM   #24
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A good source would be Constantine Porphyrogenitus. I cannot find what he said exactly from his memoirs (Constantine Porphyrogenitus: De Administrando Imperio By Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Gyula Moravcsik, Romilly J. H. Jenkins 2009) but I do recall him saying something to the extent that 'all of greece is Slav' etc etc. I am going to get the above book and post the exact words he used. Also I think he relates pechenegs and the slavs??? I may be wrong on this but I think I remember reading this somewhere.
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Old 09-29-2009, 10:25 PM   #25
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I think that excerpt is in 'The Themes'. I have his books, I will get to them soon, probably later today.
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Old 09-29-2009, 10:40 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soldier of Macedon View Post
I appreciate where you are coming from Pelister and the negativity that many of you have towards the term, and everything you stated above I considered prior to deciding on the title. Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that because 'Slav' is so commonly yet vaguely used and not properly understood, and given that it is this term and not 'Sklave/Sclave' that is being used today to refer to this 'elusive' and 'fluid' group, it would be the best option. At least this way, when people search for 'Slavs' they will eventually come across this thread, which will document, detail and eventually explain away the vagueness and negativity concerning the term, in the context of all its various meanings and derivatives. We can also discard any inconsistencies relating the term and its history, whereas leaving it at 'Sklave/Sclave' will mean limited this little project to between the 6th and 9th century, which would not do the topic justice. We have nothing to hide, let's study, criticize and inspect this topic as thoroughly as can be, and show the world the truth.
My concern is the confusion caused by the use of the term "Slav". I don't think its accurate to be calling the 5th and 6th century invaders by that term, even though Western writers do just that. It would be better to investigate who the Roman writers and later writers were referring to - that is identifying them. I would be less concerned about convincing Western writers that they do not know Who they are talking about - and more concerned with getting the terminology right, because I feel that much of the confusion stems from poor translations and poor classifications. I would argue that "Sklavonoi" and the later use of the term "Sklavoi" which are direct translations from the Greek, are not the same as "Slav". I would argue that the use of the term "Slav" is simply a distortion. The wrong classification/mispelling of the names given to these tribes - is where the problem begins because the term "Slav" has OTHER uses in the modern age. I thought that a good way to begin - and its only a begginning - would be to first of all accurately study these tribes by the names given to them by their contemporaries, not us. It is only a suggestion though. Any connection to the "Slavic speakers" of today will come later, once we find out Who the Sklavoi were. One reason I would argue for using the term conteporaries used, is because it clears up befuddled classifications. I think a correction probably needs to start here. I think it is important to discuss this and I am glad I am having this talk with you about it because "Who are the Sklavoi"? rather than "Who are the Slavs?" is a far more accurate and more focused study. Furthermore, it opens up the possibility (perhaps) that the term Sklavoi - was eventually used to describe other groups of people, other cultures, perhaps some native? But this suggestion needs to be focused within the Roman/Byzantine period - using "their" terms, not ours before any connections (if at all) can be made with 'Slavic speakers' today. I think that this shift in how they are classified should start with us to tell the world the truth yet to be revealed. You see I think this is where Florin Curta has it wrong.

Looking forward to your thoughts.

Last edited by Pelister; 09-29-2009 at 10:45 PM.
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Old 09-30-2009, 06:23 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Pelister
My concern is the confusion caused by the use of the term "Slav".
That's the point mate, we cannot deny that this is the term, 'Slav', that is used today for whatever matters as opposed to 'Sklave/Sclave'. Therefore, let us clear that confusion with this thread, and expose when they are connected and when they are not, as the years go by.

Naming the title 'Sklave' would put limits on the period of time, and will also restrict matters concerning the connection (later or otherwise) to 'Slav'. Perhaps what you are suggesting is for a separate topic where we could research and detail the term 'Sklave' specifically. With this thread I was hoping to highlight the terms in light of their relation to each other and how they developed throughout the years.
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Old 09-30-2009, 08:28 PM   #28
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I'm just wondering if any of you have the book by Barford called 'The Early Slavs'?
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Old 10-01-2009, 03:13 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Soldier of Macedon View Post
That's the point mate, we cannot deny that this is the term, 'Slav', that is used today for whatever matters as opposed to 'Sklave/Sclave'. Therefore, let us clear that confusion with this thread, and expose when they are connected and when they are not, as the years go by.

Naming the title 'Sklave' would put limits on the period of time, and will also restrict matters concerning the connection (later or otherwise) to 'Slav'. Perhaps what you are suggesting is for a separate topic where we could research and detail the term 'Sklave' specifically. With this thread I was hoping to highlight the terms in light of their relation to each other and how they developed throughout the years.
How do we clear the confusion ? I have thought about that question alot.

The first step is to drop the term "Slav". To beat the liberal and loose use of the term "Slav" by Westerners - we need to be specific about "Who" the "Sklavenoi/Sklavoi" were, what language they spoke before any connections can be made between them, and modern day "Slavic speakers".

Are you asking who the descendants of present day "Slavic speakers" were, or are you asking Who was behind the term "Sklavenoi/Sklavoi"? That would be far more effective. The term "Slav" the way you are using it is neither here nor there - it is neither a linguistic group, nor a tribe - it connects nothing, because it is nothing. I would suggest you define your group, before you start asking questions about "Who they are"?.If you answer that you are talking about "The Slavs?" - well, who do you mean ? I think its best to avoid vague connections across groups spanning over a thousand years. If we do not know what the language of the Sklavenoi was - we do not know. But at least then we can say there is no material evidence that are connected to modern Slavic speakers. If modern Slavic speakers use a language identical to the ancient Thracians, and the ancient Sklavenoi can be shown to be a Thracian tribe, then there is a connection.

I think this is the most effective way to hit back.

I have noticed that some Greek historians like to replace the term "Roman" with the term "Greek" because some of them used the Greek language. Kaldellis exposes it best in his book "Hellenism in Byzantium ...see footnote 220".

If you were trying to find out where the term "Slav" sits in the literature, I can understand why you would use it, but if you are assuming that there is a real material/linguistic connection between the tribe "Sklavenoi" and the term "Slav" (how would you know that? You do not know who the "Sklavenoi" were, and "Slav" is neither an ethnic group, nor a national group, even though it is wrongly referred to as such). When Westerners use the term "Slav" what do they mean by it , and how can we correct them ?

The term "Slav" cannot be used scientifically to refer to both 6th century invaders (firstly because they were NOT called "Slavs" by their contemporaries) and at the same time to be used to describe modern day "Slavic speakers", because there is no evidence of a material and/or linguistic connection between the two groups.

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Old 10-01-2009, 03:23 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by TrueMacedonian
I'm just wondering if any of you have the book by Barford called 'The Early Slavs'?
I have heard of it, but don't have it. I have meaning to get Florin Curta's book for a while but haven't got around to it yet. Have any of you read it thoroughly?
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