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Old 04-23-2009, 07:44 AM   #1
I of Macedon
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Default Eastern Europe and the dispute of the Slavic origins

A history of Eastern Europe crisis and change 2nd edition (2007)
Robert Bideleux and Ian Jeffries

The following are excerpts from pages 137-39 of the book noted.

The much disputed origins of the slavic ‘peoples’....


In truth all that can be stated with any certainty is that by the tenth century AD a people or peoples widely identified as a ‘slavic’ linguistic-cultural group and/or a biological-racial group made up a majority of the inhabitants of East Central Europe....

Paul Barford (2001, 2005) and Florin Curta (2001, 2005, 2006) have demonstrated that there is very little (if any) reliable information concerning the Slavic people(s) and their place(s) of origin prior to the seventh century AD. Data generated by dendrochronology (the use of tree rings for dating past events) indicate that in East Central Europe ‘the so-called Slav culture...cannot be dated earlier than 700AD (Curta 2005: 9). Paul Barford, a leading British specialist on Polish archaeology, maintains that ‘there is little evidence of a Slavic presence in Polabia (modern-day East Germany) or central and northwestern Poland before the end of the seventh or the early eighth century. Indeed, over most of the area, there are only sparse settlement...before the late 600s (Barford 2005; 62). There is still longstanding and still far from resolved disagreements as to when and how the Slavic ancestors of the Poles, the Czechs and the Slovaks ‘emerged’: and whether they first appeared in their current ‘homelands’ at some point during the sixth or seventh century AD; how they originated; and if they ‘migrated’ or ‘arrived’ from somewhere else, whence they came. Nor is there any consensus concerning the nature and timing of the processes by which the Slavic people(s) separated or coalesced into Western, Eastern and southern Slav linguistic and ethnic groupings.

It seems highly unlikely that there were large ethnically or linguistically identifiable Slavic populations in East Central Europe prior to the sixth century AD. Before that time, significantly, the Byzantine (East Roman) Empire was ‘totally oblivious to the existence of a barbaric people called the Slavs on their northern border. The terms (designating Slavic peoples) seem to have been coined or adopted by East Roman writers as descriptions of a certain group of barbarians only in the 550s (Barford 2001: 36). Furthermore, it no longer seems plausible that the forebears of the Western Slavs ‘migrated’ to East Central Europe from elsewhere. There is insufficient evidence to back up older hypothesis suggesting a large scale displacement from what is now Ukraine and/or Belarus into East Central Europe (Barford 2001; 16, 45-6; Curta 2001: 336-7; 2006: 56). The inhabitants of ‘the vast spaces of the Russian plain’ during the third to seveth centuries AD, whose existence and characteristics were not recorded in written documents, ‘had no common name, whether it was “Slavs” or anything else (Dolukhanov 1996: ix-x), and they ‘cannot be ascribed to any ethnic group (Curta 2001: 13).

Furthermore, it is implausible to suppose that large-scale Slavic population pools and movements of this sort could have gone completely unnoticed by contemporary neighbouring peoples and states. Yet the expansion of the Slavic peoples to become the most numerous ethno-cultural group(s) in East Central Europe, the Balkans and Russia by the ninth century AD was also too rapid to be explicable as a natural demographic explosion (Barford 2001: 16; Urbanczyk 2005; 142). ‘The rate of reproduction involved to fill the new territories with descendants of a small original population, no matter how the figures are calculated, is biologically impossible’ (Barford 2001: 46). Curta and Barford have cogently argued that it is simply not known how any of the Slav peoples (not just the Western Slavs) came into existence, although this has not stopped them and others from continuing the long tradition of putting forward ingenious and interesting conjectures and hypotheses on the endlessly fascinating mystery.

Whatever the case, if populations were in an endemic state of movement and flux in most parts of Europe through much of the first millennium AD, it is highly unlikely that God had already led the ancestors of the Poles, the Czechs and the Slovaks to proto-national ‘homelands’ over which they could justly maintain permanent and exclusive jurisdiction for ever more, against all comers and/or prior occupants. Instead of striving to project specious modern ethnic, national and territorial concepts and claims on to pre-modern multi-cultural societies within which modern ethnic and national identities had not yet crystallized (often in misguided attempts to ascribe the origins of modern ethnic and national conflicts to a pre-modern past), it is much safer and sounder to emphasise that the peoples of East Central Europe are all mongrels. Modern attempts to ‘discover‘ or invent ethnically and/or biologically pure medieval pedigrees in pursuit of modern national, racial and territorial claims are largely preposterous. There is much to be said for the mischievous definition of a nation as ‘a group of persons united by a common error about their ancestry and a common dislike of their neighbours‘ (Deutsch 1969: 3).

....Europe consists of racially impure nations...(Ignotus 1972: 21)

All Europe’s peoples have diverse and often very obscure racial and ethnic origins. The only significant differences are that: (i) there is even less reliable and unambiguous evidence about the ethnic composition, cultures, ways of life and social organisation of the populations of East Central Europe during the first millennium AD than those of southern Europe (including the Balkans) and parts of western and Germanic Europe; (ii) this has made it relatively easy for nationalistic (Western) Slavic historians, philologists and archaeologists to advance specious ethnic, racial and territorial narratives and claims with regard to the first millennium AD; and (iii) this in turn has contributed to the emergence of relatively narrow and exclusive ethic and racial conception of the nation in modern East Central Europe.

Finally, it needs to be emphasised that the emergence of the medieval Polish, Czech and Magyar kingdoms substantially pre-dated modern conceptions of exclusive territorial jurisdiction and statehood. The seats of power around which royal authority could be directly enforced were usually separated by vast expanses of ill-defined border country controlled by ‘marcher lords’ who were, to varying degrees, laws unto themselves. ‘Political power radiated from a few centres of authority, whose spheres of influence constantly waxed and waned and very frequently overlapped (Davies 1981a: 33). In East Central Europe, much of the terrain of which was either densely wooded or marshy and (partly for these reasons) more difficult to traverse than most parts of western Europe, such condition persisted until the middle of the seventeenth century in the Kingdom of Bohemia and until the end of the eighteenth century in Poland and Hungary. This makes it even less sound to try to link particular ‘peoples’ or ethnic groups to particular territories or (supposedly) continuously occupied ‘national homelands,’ and to try to buttress modern territorial claims with bogus historical narratives of that sort.
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Old 04-23-2009, 12:41 PM   #2
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Quote:
Curta and Barford have cogently argued that it is simply not known how any of the Slav peoples (not just the Western Slavs) came into existence, although this has not stopped them and others from continuing the long tradition of putting forward ingenious and interesting conjectures and hypotheses on the endlessly fascinating mystery.
I myself too don't have a enough coherent answer, but I think that we should stop not relying just on old ideas but also old methodology. We need to stop thinking that the name of a group was also the name of the ancestors of that group. What were the ancestors of Slavs called before their offspring became to be called Slavs? But that too can be called just another "ingenious and interesting conjecture to the endlessly fascinating mystery". I suggest we just start from scratch.
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Old 04-23-2009, 01:29 PM   #3
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I have Paul Barfords book 'The Early Slavs' http://books.google.com/books?id=1Z9...arford#PPP1,M1 in which he provides many archaeological finds. It's interesting that today there are close to 300,000,000 that belong to the Slav language group. Click this link http://books.google.com/books?id=1Z9...arford#PPA3,M1

The first paragraph says alot.
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Old 04-23-2009, 02:09 PM   #4
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You perhaps know where one can download a PDF version of the book? If there is one.
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Old 04-23-2009, 10:07 PM   #5
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You see, there is the problem.

They are assuming that the original Slavic speakers were "a small population".

Quote:
‘The rate of reproduction involved to fill the new territories with descendants of a small original population, no matter how the figures are calculated, is biologically impossible’ (Barford 2001: 46). Curta and Barford have cogently argued that it is simply not known how any of the Slav peoples (not just the Western Slavs) came into existence,
This has been their downfall all along - so many bullshit assumptions.
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Old 04-24-2009, 05:36 AM   #6
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Here lies the problem, these “Slavs” (and this is following comments from the Thracian thread) in a space of a few hundred years were to repopulate and simultaneously exterminate all previous native populations throughout Eastern Europe, including the mighty Thracians whose settlements stretched from the Balkans to parts of southern Russia and various other parts of Eastern Europe.

I think the difference between the period (where historians were using the name Slavs to identify people), and the actual people(s) referring to themselves as such but some 500 to 600 years later says it all.

I think maybe the similarity of language (just one aspect that comes to mind may well be a dominant one) between the Balkans and those further north lead to the confusion of what to label the people attacking Byzantine territory from the north. Further I must assume that the Thracians residing in the Balkans would have to share a simular language to those other Thracians who settled north in numbers when ever that may have occurred or continued to occur (we also must remember that the sources state that the Thracians took up various names depending on where they resided).

The Thracians would thus very well explain the large “Slav” population that appeared out of know where – due to the motion that the Thracians may very well be the pillars of what would became the modern day Slavs. And when I use the name Thracians I prefer to use it loosely as it’s more of a generalisation to name the various tribes and people that came under or knew themselves different from one another even though they may share a common bond such as language and/or culture etc.

Also when considering the exhausted topic of genetic haplogroups all markers (except for R1A) peak in the Balkans and flow northward throughout eastern and central Europe which means there must have been a large movement of people from the South moving northward and this movement would have occurred anytime throughout human history, and which large numbers of people would have moved northward I wonder????
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Old 04-03-2010, 08:48 PM   #7
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Kundera was especially alert to the dangers of pan-Slavism: The Czechs…loved to brandish naively their “Slavic ideology” as a defence against German aggressiveness. The Russians, on the other hand, enjoyed making use of it to justify their own imperial ambitions. “The Russians like to label every thing Russian as Slavic, so that later they can label everything Slavic as Russian.” The great Czech writer Karel Havlicek declared in 1844, trying to warn his compatriots against their silly ignorant enthusiasm for Russia.’ Kundera emphasized that for thousands of years the Czechs ‘never had any direct contact with Russia. In spite of their linguistic kinship, the Czechs and the Russians have never shared a common world: neither a common history nor a common culture.’ Moreover, the relationship between the Poles and the Russians ‘has never been less than a struggle of life and death.

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Old 04-04-2010, 05:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pelister View Post
You see, there is the problem.

They are assuming that the original Slavic speakers were "a small population".

Quote:
‘The rate of reproduction involved to fill the new territories with descendants of a small original population, no matter how the figures are calculated, is biologically impossible’ (Barford 2001: 46). Curta and Barford have cogently argued that it is simply not known how any of the Slav peoples (not just the Western Slavs) came into existence,
This has been their downfall all along - so many bullshit assumptions.

"a small population"? i could not more agree, bullsh1t assumptions.

Those romantic stories are simply pathetic. It is writen often about this issue.

Macedonian is very , very , and again very similar with Sanskrit / Tamil.

They were NOT influenced from some "roman period" or "slovenisation".

The "slavic migration" theory is even more pathetic. It is also so oft discussed. I´ll "repeat" few moments here.

- We talk about the East and the West Roman Empire on those Teritories, both very powerfull states, and military oriented / anvanced Empires / Civilizations.

- We talk about teritories with strong cultural influence and heritage, with history full of educated and wise people, beside the military part.

- We talk about teritories with long history of conflicts, where the male children were usualy starting their military education and practice from their early ages

- we talk about the same people from the Macedonian Phalanx and the Roman Legions, their sons and grandsons, we talk about the mighty Calvary / Riders from the Panonian / Slavonian Region (today big part of Croatia and part of Vojvodina - Serbia), the Tribali and others.

on other side

- They talk about "group of tribes" who were RUNING AWAY from someone. (Avars?)

- They talk about primitive tribes who had to cross Dunav / Donau / (b)Istar / (b)Ister with help of strows, couse had no knowledge to make ships.

- They talk about unalfabet shepards, who somehow managed to spread on such large teritory, defeat the mentioned East and West Roman Empire (no records of that, the records are mentioning something else), to defeat all the natives, to dominate them / spread their language and culture, over SUPERIOR military and cultural powers / regions / nations?

is anyone of them aware of the number of "slavic speakers", and the teritories on which the "slavic" languages are spread?
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Old 04-04-2010, 05:10 PM   #9
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furthermore...

- they change the dating, first it was spoken that the slavic migration happened in 7-8th century, but from various reasons later changed it on 6th to 8th century, and later to 5th (early)-8th+9th (late).

- they can never explain the mentioning of "slavs" much earlier, like in the first and the second sentury A.D. , my favourite example the Respected and Loved "Svjata Velikomuchenica Irina Makedonskaja, rodom Slavjanka"

- they can never explain how come so many "ancient greek" (and modern greek) words who oficialy have NO ethymology, and / or are classified as "arhaic / unknown origin - meaning" , have PERFECT ethymology on "slavjanski", or Macedonian

- they can never explain the real Number of the Ancient Macedonians and their related tribes / nations, couse if we see that in most of the Ancient Macedonian Cities we can find so big number, and so BIG Arenas / AmfiTheaters, some for over 10 - 15 000 people, and some for much more, and we concider the fact that many of them are from the early period of Roman occupation of Macedon(ia)...
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