Who are the Slavs? - Citations and Sources

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts
  • George S.
    Senior Member
    • Aug 2009
    • 10116

    i would say more of a direct fear of macedonian irrendist claims.Greece thinking along the same lines but wanting a bigger slice of macedonia do people know they have irrendist claims on paeonia.So their claim is equally met by their claims they have been doing it since 1913.
    It seems to be ill founded as how can a small dfenceless country be a fear to them,it seems to be the fear of the truth rather than power play.They want the world to know that macedonia is greek & anything else is not worthy of being called macedonian.Sounds familiar.
    "Ido not want an uprising of people that would leave me at the first failure, I want revolution with citizens able to bear all the temptations to a prolonged struggle, what, because of the fierce political conditions, will be our guide or cattle to the slaughterhouse"
    GOTSE DELCEV

    Comment

    • Carlin
      Senior Member
      • Dec 2011
      • 3332

      Excerpt from "The Myth of Nations", Patrick J. Geary.

      Pages 142–150:

      If the Saxons had taken the place of the Franks and the Alamanni to the West, the Avars assumed the roles of the Goths and Huns to the east. This steppe confederation, fleeing the Turkic expansion in Central Asia, appeared in the Carpathian basin in 567 and in 558-559 sent an emissary to the Emperor Justinian, offering to fight against the Empire’s enemies in return for annual payments. In many fundamental ways they resembled other steppe peoples who appeared in Europe in the first millennium. These nomads developed a highly specialized form of survival, based on pastoralism, that allowed them to live in regions otherwise unsuitable for human settlement. Traveling hundreds of miles in seasonal migrations necessitated the development of complex forms of organization and communication. These ecological imperatives developed into characteristic forms of political and social organization. Mobility, flexibility, and mounted warfare were essential for survival. So, too, was the need to combine with other, similar groups and thus develop enormous steppe empires over a rapid period of time. We have already seen this in the short-lived Empire of Attila’s Huns. Where the Avars differed from their predecessors, however, was in their ability to transform themselves from just another steppe people into a fairly centralized and institutionalized, polyethnic kingdom between Byzantium and the western kingdoms that survived, in victory and defeat for 2.5 centuries.

      The Avars achieved this feat because they managed to establish hegemony over the disparate peoples along the Balkan frontier of the Empire and to monopolize the name Avar to an extraordinary degree. For some twenty years, Baian, the ruler or khagan of the Avars, fought Utigurs, Antes, Gepids, and Slavs until he had created a large, polyethnic confederation. Following the departure of the Lombards, Baian firmly established his rule in Pannonia. In 582 he captured the old Illyrian capital of Sirmium. His sons felt strong enough to challenge Constantinople itself: In 626, a vast army, composed of Avar horsemen and Slavic ships, began an attack on the city coordinated with Persian allies. The siege lasted little more than a week and ended in an Avar defeat. Such a catastrophe might easily have meant the end of Avar hegemony. Indeed, some of the subject groups attempted to go their own way following the disaster, but the core held, although, although it was greatly diminished. A century later, Avar horsemen raided west into Bavaria and Italy until they finally met their superior in the person of Charlemagne. Charlemagne penetrated into the center of the Avar kingdom in modern Hungary, and destroyed the Avars’ ability to maintain their polyethnic confederation. Within a generation and without a major battle, the Avars vanished from history.

      If the Avar confederation disappeared without leaving more than rich graves across eastern Austria and Hungary, it nevertheless played a fundamental role in the creation of the most important and enduring phenomenon of Eastern Europe: the rapid and thorough Slavicization of Central and Eastern Europe.

      Between the fifth and seventh centuries, eastern portions of the area long considered Germania, as well as the Balkan and Black Sea provinces of the Empire from the Baltic to the Mediterranean came to be controlled by Slavs. This transformation took place without great fanfare, without tales of powerful kings like Attila, Theodoric, or Clovis; without heroic migrations or desperate battles. It was a process that left no written evidence from the Slavs themselves, and its internal dynamic was even less noted and understood by Byzantine and Latin observers than were the Germanic ethnogenesis processes of Western Europe. And yet the effects of Slavicization were far more profound.

      In the west, barbarian federated troops absorbed Roman systems of government, religion, and settlement. They ultimately became thoroughly Roman, even while changing utterly what this term meant. The Slavic migrations did not adopt or build on Roman systems of taxation, agriculture, social organization, or politics. Their organization was not based on Roman models, and their leaders were not normally dependent on Roman gold for their success. Thus, their effect was far more thorough than anything that the Goths, the Franks, or the Saxons ever achieved. Almost everything about the early Slavs – their origins, their social and political structures, and their tremendous success – has been an enduring puzzle.

      Scholars have long debated the “original home” of the Slavs. The question of origin is probably as meaningless to ask for the Slavs as for other barbarian peoples, formed as they were through amalgams of what Roman sources termed Scythian or Sarmatian and Germanic populations in the regions east of the Elbe, left behind the military elites who formed the Germanic armies moving toward the Empire. Recent scholarship has argued convincingly that the “birth” of the Slavs took place along the Byzantine frontier under the influence of Byzantine military and economic pressure, much as that of the Franks and the Alamanni along the Rhine had centuries before in the west. However, Slavic culture was much closer to the soil and more deeply attached to agriculture than the fast-moving Frankish and Alamannic armies that became Roman federates and, eventually, conquerors. With their light plows, small-scale agriculture, and small, individually organized social units, Slavs did not simply arrive as tax-collecting armies but as farmers who worked the lands they conquered.

      For conquer they did. Their spread was slow but violent, followed by the absorption of indigenous populations into their linguistic and social structures. But this expansion was uncoordinated and radically decentralized. Into the high Middle Ages, Slavic language and material culture presented a remarkable unity across Eastern Europe, but this was in radical juxtaposition to an equally radical lack of indigenous political centralization. The sixth-century Byzantine historian Procopius described how they were “not ruled by one man, but they have lived from old under a democracy, and consequently everything which involves their welfare, whether for good or for ill, is referred to the people.” This decentralization was perhaps the key to their success: Without kings or large-scale chieftains to bribe into cooperation or to defeat and force into service, the Byzantine Empire had little hope of either destroying or co-opting them into the imperial system.

      Gradually, across the seventh century, Slavic warrior-settlers moved across the Danube and into the Balkans. The chronology is unclear and necessarily so: The process was so decentralized and fluid that it could hardly be dated or documented. Individual reversals at the hands of Byzantine counteroffensives could not stop such a widespread process. Nor did conquest simply mean transfer of tax revenues, as it had for the victims of Germanic conquest two centuries before: Slavs either killed the soldiers they captured or sold them for ransom. Those who remained faced flight or absorption into the Slavic peasantry. In this society of soldier-farmers, there were no other options.

      When large-scale, hierarchical organization of Slavic groups did take place, it was almost inevitably done according to leadership structures introduced from outside. These might be Germanic or Central Asian leaders, whose model of ethnogenesis provided the possibility of greater concentration of power and greater subordination of individuals and groups. Fundamental to this process were the Avars.

      The Slavicization of a wide band from the Elbe to the lower Danube was already well underway before the arrival of the Avars. The Avars settlement may have increased the Slavic pressure against the Byzantine frontier, as Slavic bands fled this new steppe Empire. This may explain the early Slavic invasions of the Greek peninsula in the latter half of the sixth century, soon to be followed by Slavic armies under Avar command. Others were absorbed into it and became a permanent fixture within the Avar kingdom. The Avars demanded winter quarters from their Slavs, requisitioning horses, supplies, and women from them, as needed. In times of war, they used tributary Slavs as infantry and, during the siege of Constantinople, as a navy. However, they seem to have also been prepared to treat some of their Slavic communities with more restraint, offering gifts to their headmen in return for troops and support. Byzantine chroniclers described the Slavs as the oppressed subjects of the Avars; Western observers described the Avars and Slavs as allies rather than as rulers and ruled. Both were probably correct.

      Avar political and military structures provided the context for the ethnogenesis of specific Slavic groups. In the early seventh century, probably in the aftermath of the debacle before the walls of Constantinople in 626, considerable portions of the Avar periphery revolted, carving out autonomous polities between the Avar kaganate – to the west, the Franks; to the east, Byzantium.

      In the region that is now probably the Czech Republic, a Frank, Samo, organized a band of mixed-parentage Slavs who had rebelled against the Avars into a formidable union. According to a Western source, the Slavs elected Samo king, and he ruled a Slavic kingdom for over thirty-five years. The hiving off of Samo’s Slavs from the Avar confederation following the Avar failure to capture Constantinople in 626 was probably only one of several such revolts against the defeated Avar Kagan.

      The various groups known in the tenth century as Croats and Serbs probably had their origins in this same period of internal crisis in the kaganate. The early history of the Croats is impossible to disentangle entirely and is based almost entirely on the account of the Byzantine emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus (905-959). Constantine wrote a treatise for his successors on how to administer the Empire that paid particular attention to the Empire’s Slavic neighbors. He drew both on contemporary experience and on now-lost materials in imperial archives going back centuries, but it is impossible to know exactly how dated, or indeed how accurate anything that he says really is. Constantine speaks of two groups of Croatians, those he calls the “White” Croats living near the Franks and the Croats in Dalmatia. He provides a mythical genealogy according to which once upon a time the Croats lived “beyond Bavaria” but a family of five brothers and two sisters split off from them, led their people to Dalmatia, where they defeated the Avars and then further divided into different groups. Actually, the Croatian name appears in various areas of the periphery of the former Avar kaganate, in what is modern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Moravia, Slovenia, and Greece, as well as in modern Croatia. Attempts to establish proof of some ethnic unity for all these groups, perhaps predating the arrival of the Avars, has proven impossible.

      Certainly, the term Croat does not appear in any source from before the middle of the ninth century as the designation of a people or tribe. The term Croat probably originally designated either a social stratum or was the title of a regional office within the kaganate. Such an explanation would explain why this term, which is not a Slavic word, might eventually designate a Slavic “people” without having to imagine that there had once upon a time been a non-Slavic Croatian people. It also accounts for the appearance of “Croats” on opposite ends of the kaganate without having to imagine great migrations or a family of brothers, each of whom establishes a different part of a Croatian people. Probably, in the course of the eighth and ninth centuries, these breakaway groups, identified as “Croat” by their leadership or organization in the Avar kingdom, gradually coalesced into separate polities with invented ethnic identity and a fanciful genealogy.

      Just as Constantine posits a people known as the “White” Croats related to the Croats of Dalmatia, he tells of Serbian origins in a people known as “White” Serbs living beyond the land of the Huns, bordering the Frankish kingdom and White Croatia. Again he reports a genealogical legend: Two brothers take half the people and request protection from Emperor Heraclius. The emperor then settles these Serbs in the province of Thessaloniki. Later, they decide to return to their homeland, and when they ask permission of Heraclius’s commander at Beograd, they are given land in what is now Serbia. This legend, like that of the Croats, places the origins of the Serbs in the period of the Avar debacle before Constantinople, explains the presence of Serbs on distant ends of the Avar kingdom, and accounts for the emergence of a new “people” who carry another non-Slavic name in the Balkans. Rather than mining the legend for historical evidence on the origins of the Serbs, it should probably be seen as part of the rapid centrifugal forces tearing at the Avar kaganate following its defeat.

      A similar origin can be seen for the Bulgars. Romans had encountered peoples of this name since the fifth century around the Black Sea. They, along with other –gur– named groups, such as the Kutrigurs, the Onogurs, and the Ogurs belonged, in Roman eyes, to the Huns, that is, to Central Asian steppe warriors. In the aftermath of 626, however, rebels against the Kagan are regularly called Bulgars. Again, as in the case of Croats, the diversity of the Bulgars is explained later in the legend of five brothers, the sons of the Onogur Kuvrat who revolted in the 630s, threw off Avar control, and united the Bulgars around the Black Sea. At the same time, Bulgar refugees from an unsuccessful revolt in the western regions of the kingdom fled to Bavaria, where they were first welcomed by the Frankish King Dagobert and then, after being dispersed for the winter, set upon, and killed by royal orders. In the following generation, a Bulgar leader, Kuver, revolted against the Avars and led a mixed population of descendants of Roman prisoners who had been settled in the Avar kingdom fifty years previously south to Thessaloniki. Possibly in the seventh century the names Kuvrat, Kuver, and Croat may all have originated in a title and only came in time to designate individuals or peoples. In any case, none of these groups – be it Samo’s kingdom, the Croats, or the Bulgars of Kuver – were pre-existing peoples revolting against Avar lordship. Rather, they were peoples in the making, forming in opposition to the Avars, but organized in some way according to institutions of principles taken from their lords.

      Over the course of the following centuries these groups, whose non-Slavic names may be derived from Avar titles, developed from political units, created in opposition to their Avar masters, into “peoples,” complete with genealogically informed origin myths that explained their origins in ethnic terms rather than in terms of political organization.

      By the early eighth century, then, political rather than ethnic identities characterized populations in what had once been the Roman Empire.
      Last edited by Carlin; 07-27-2013, 10:34 PM.

      Comment

      • TrueMacedonian
        Senior Member
        • Jan 2009
        • 3820

        Here is a book called "Byzantine sources for the history of the peoples of Yugoslavia" - http://archive.org/stream/ByzantineS...ge/n0/mode/2up

        I'm not endorsing it. I am using SoM's first posting on this topic as to find and gather all the info here.
        Slayer Of The Modern "greek" Myth!!!

        Comment

        • Carlin
          Senior Member
          • Dec 2011
          • 3332

          "The Entry of the Slavs Into Christendom: An Introduction to the Medieval.." - By A. P. Vlasto.

          Dr Vlasto reviews the early history of the various Slav peoples (from about AD 500 onwards) and traces their gradual emergence as Christian states within the framework of either West or East European culture. Special attention is paid to the political and cultural rivalry between East and West for the allegiance of certain Slav peoples, and to the degree of cultural exchange within the Slav world, associated in particular with the use of the Slav liturgical language. His examination of all the Slav peoples and extensive use of original source material in many different languages enables Dr Vlasto to give a particularly comprehensive study of the subject.


          Page 8:

          "The density of Slav settlements in Greece was also far from even; study of Slav place names suggests that the western parts both of peninsular Greece and of the Peloponnese received or retained a denser Slav population than the eastern. Over 500 Slav place names are still identifiable in the area Epirus-Acarnania-Aetolia, only some 300 in the larger area Thessaly-Attica. Similarly in the Peloponnese there are about three times as many Slav place names in the western as in the eastern half (Argolis, Laconia). As is to be expected, the absolute figure for Macedonia is very high indeed."

          Comment

          • Carlin
            Senior Member
            • Dec 2011
            • 3332




            Comment

            • George S.
              Senior Member
              • Aug 2009
              • 10116

              The greeks are slavs too just as anyone in the balkan area.Just because the greeks speak greek it doesn't make them greek.The labelling of macedonians as just slavs is a fallsehood.
              Those that hate us call us slavs & all sorts of names to smear us to tell us we are not macedonians .Hence the greeks claim to be the macedonians.
              "Ido not want an uprising of people that would leave me at the first failure, I want revolution with citizens able to bear all the temptations to a prolonged struggle, what, because of the fierce political conditions, will be our guide or cattle to the slaughterhouse"
              GOTSE DELCEV

              Comment

              • Šarlo
                Junior Member
                • Jul 2013
                • 7

                Originally posted by TrueMacedonian View Post
                Here is a book called "Byzantine sources for the history of the peoples of Yugoslavia" - http://archive.org/stream/ByzantineS...ge/n0/mode/2up

                I'm not endorsing it. I am using SoM's first posting on this topic as to find and gather all the info here.
                Hi TrueMacedonian,

                I don't know who uploaded those pages on the archive.org site, but they certainly messed up.
                They are not part of the book "Byzantine sources for the history of the peoples of Yugoslavia"

                All of these pages actually comprise a chapter in the english translation of the Macedonian book titled:
                "Документи за борбата на македонскиот народ за самостојност и за национална држава", Том први, Од населувањето на Словените во Македонија до крајот на првата светска војна, Скопје, 1981 г.



                This book was a joined publication of the:
                Филозофски факултет, група за историја
                and
                Институт за национална историја

                The chapter is the first chapter of the book, and its original title is:
                Населувањето на Словените во Македонија и создавањето на Склавиниите (VI - средината на IX век)

                Here's the first page from the original, that matches the first page in the link you provided

                Comment

                • George S.
                  Senior Member
                  • Aug 2009
                  • 10116

                  Sarlos welcome aboard the mto,& happy posting,enjoy all the best.
                  gs
                  "Ido not want an uprising of people that would leave me at the first failure, I want revolution with citizens able to bear all the temptations to a prolonged struggle, what, because of the fierce political conditions, will be our guide or cattle to the slaughterhouse"
                  GOTSE DELCEV

                  Comment

                  • Šarlo
                    Junior Member
                    • Jul 2013
                    • 7

                    Originally posted by George S. View Post
                    Sarlos welcome aboard the mto,& happy posting,enjoy all the best.
                    gs
                    Thank you George S.
                    I'll try and do my best to contribute to an already excellent Macedonian forum.

                    Comment

                    • TrueMacedonian
                      Senior Member
                      • Jan 2009
                      • 3820

                      Originally posted by Šarlo View Post
                      Hi TrueMacedonian,

                      I don't know who uploaded those pages on the archive.org site, but they certainly messed up.
                      They are not part of the book "Byzantine sources for the history of the peoples of Yugoslavia"

                      All of these pages actually comprise a chapter in the english translation of the Macedonian book titled:
                      "Документи за борбата на македонскиот народ за самостојност и за национална држава", Том први, Од населувањето на Словените во Македонија до крајот на првата светска војна, Скопје, 1981 г.



                      This book was a joined publication of the:
                      Филозофски факултет, група за историја
                      and
                      Институт за национална историја

                      The chapter is the first chapter of the book, and its original title is:
                      Населувањето на Словените во Македонија и создавањето на Склавиниите (VI - средината на IX век)

                      Here's the first page from the original, that matches the first page in the link you provided

                      Fala Sarlo.
                      Slayer Of The Modern "greek" Myth!!!

                      Comment

                      • TrueMacedonian
                        Senior Member
                        • Jan 2009
                        • 3820

                        Were there any Slavs in seventh century Macedonia?
                        by Florin Curta

                        Slayer Of The Modern "greek" Myth!!!

                        Comment

                        • Soldier of Macedon
                          Senior Member
                          • Sep 2008
                          • 13674

                          For the sake of quick reference, here is a summary of some of the more relevant sections of Florin Curta's 'The Making of the Slavs'. Some of these may have already been posted previously.
                          More than any other artifact category, however, pottery became the focus of all archaeological studies of the early Slavic culture.........Initially just a local variant of Borkovsky´’s Prague type, this pottery became the ceramic archetype of all Slavic cultures. The origins of the early Slavs thus moved from Czechoslovakia to Ukraine. The interpretation favored by Soviet scholars became the norm in all countries in Eastern Europe with Communist-dominated governments under Moscow’s..........The “Prague-Korchak type,” as this pottery came to be known, became a sort of symbol, the main and only indicator of Slavic ethnicity in material culture terms. Soviet archaeologists now delineated on distribution maps two separate, though related, cultures. The “Prague zone” was an archaeological equivalent of Jordanes’ Sclavenes, while the “Penkovka zone” was ascribed to the Antes, fall-out curves neatly coinciding with the borders of the Soviet republics..........To speak of the Prague culture as the culture of the migrating Slavs is…….nonsense…….the archaeological evidence……..does not match any long-distance migratory pattern. Assemblages in the Lower Danube area, both east and south of the Carpathian mountains, antedate those of the alleged Slavic Urheimat in the Zhitomir Polesie, on which Irina Rusanova based her theory of the Prague-Korchak-Zhitomir type. More recent attempts to move the Urheimat to Podolia and northern Bukovina are ultimately based on the dating of crossbow brooches found at Kodyn and some other places. These brooches, however, are not the only late fifth- or early sixth-century artifacts in the area.
                          ………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. The implementation of an agricultural economic profile, which is so evident on later sites, is very likely to have involved some short-distance movement of people. The dominant type of economy seems to have been some form of “itinerant agriculture” which encouraged settlement mobility…….Such population movements, however, cannot be defined as migration. There is simply no evidence for the idea that the inhabitants of the sixth and early seventh-century settlements in Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine were colonists from the North. Nor does the idea of a “Slavic tide” covering the Balkans in the early 600s fit the existing archaeological data. South of the Danube river, no archaeological assemblage comparable to those found north of that river produced any clear evidence for a date earlier than c. 700. By contrast, there is no doubt that many early Byzantine forts in the Balkans were abandoned only during Heraclius’ early regnal years………..Though both Greece and Albania produced clear evidence of seventh-century burial assemblages, they have nothing in common with the “Slavic culture” north of the Danube river.
                          Since no other source referred to either Sclavenes or Antes before Justinian, some have rightly concluded that these two ethnies were purely (early) medieval phenomena.
                          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.
                          After Heraclius’ reign, there are no other sources referring to Slavs, except Book II of the Miracles of St Demetrius. Justinian (the mid-sixth century), Maurice (the late sixth century), and Heraclius (the second third of the seventh century) are thus the major chronological markers of the historiography of the early Slavs.
                          Procopius is the first author to speak of Slavic raiding across the Danube. According to his evidence, the first attack of the Antes, “who dwell close to the Sclaveni,” may be dated to 518. The raid was intercepted by Germanus, magister militum per Thraciam, and the Antes were defeated. There is no record of any other Antian raid until Justinian’s rise to power. It is possible therefore that this attack, like that of the Getae equites of 517, was related to Vitalianus’ revolt.
                          Procopius claims that the Sclavenes of 549 “had never in all time crossed the Ister river with an army before.” It is hardly conceivable that Procopius forgot what he had reported about the invasions following Chilbudius’ death, particularly about that of 545. Could he have implied that the Sclavenes of 549 were not those of 545?
                          ......just as with contemporary Gepids, Lombards, or Bulgars, no particular item was ethnically specific to the Slavs.
                          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.
                          The Slavs did not migrate from the Pripet marshes because of hostile environmental conditions. Nor did they develop forms of social organization enabling them to cope with such conditions and presumably based on cooperation and social equality (zadruga). Niederle’s thesis does not stand against the existing evidence and has at its basis an outdated concept of migration. That the migrationist model should be abandoned is also suggested by the archaeological evidence examined in Chapter 6.
                          Neither Theophylact nor the author of the Strategikon knew any other area of Slavic settlements except that located north of the Danube frontier. Furthermore, no clear evidence exists of an outright migration of the Slavs (Sclavenes) to the regions south of the Danube until the early years of Heraclius’ reign. Phocas’ revolt of 602 was not followed by an irresistible flood of Sclavenes submerging the Balkans. In fact, there are no raids recorded during Phocas’ reign, either by Sclavenes or by Avars. By contrast, large-scale raiding activities resumed during Heraclius’ early regnal years.
                          The earliest archaeological evidence of settlement assemblages postdating the general withdrawal of Roman armies from the Balkans is that of the 700s. This suggests that there was no “Slavic tide” in the Balkans following the presumed collapse of the Danube frontier. In addition, the archaeological evidence confirms the picture drawn from the analysis of written sources, namely that the “Slavs” were isolated pockets of population in various areas of the Balkans, which seem to have experienced serious demographic decline in the seventh century. The discussion in Chapter 4 has been based on the concept that the disintegration of the military system in the Balkans, which Justinian implemented in the mid-500s, was the result not so much of the destruction inflicted by barbarian invasions, as of serious economic and financial problems caused both by the emperor’s policies elsewhere and by the impossibility of providing sufficient economic support to his gigantic building program of defense. This conclusion is substantiated by the analysis of sixth-century Byzantine coin hoards, which suggest that inflation, not barbarian raids, was responsible for high rates of non-retrieval.
                          Furthermore, there is no evidence, until the early regnal years of Heraclius, of an outright migration of the Slavs (Sclavenes) to the region south of the Danube river.5 No evidence exists that Romans ever tried to prevent the crossing, despite the existence of a Danube military fleet. Moreover, all major confrontations with Sclavene armies or “throngs” took place south of the Stara Planina mountains.
                          The earliest changes in material culture which can be associated with emblemic styles and arguably represent some form of group identity postdate by a few decades the first mention of Sclavenes and Antes in historical sources. Can we call (Slavic) ethnicity this identity constructed by material culture means? The analysis presented in Chapter 5 shows that material culture may have been and indeed was used for the construction of ethnicity. Despite intensive interaction across the “no man’s land” between the Tisza and the Danube, clear material culture distinctions were maintained in a wide range of artifacts.
                          To judge from the existing evidence, the rise of the local elites was coincidental with the dissemination of emblemic styles which may have represented some form of group identity. It is very likely that this is more than simple coincidence. Big-men and chiefs became prominent especially in contexts in which they embodied collective interest and responsibility. Chiefs like Dauritas and Samo “created” groups by speaking and taking action in the name of their respective communities. Political and military mobilization was the response to the historical conditions created by the implementation of the fortified frontier on the Danube.
                          As suggested in Chapter 3, the Sclavene ethnicity is likely to have been an invention of Byzantine authors, despite the possibility, which is often stressed by linguistically minded historians, that the name itself was derived from the self-designation of an ethnic group. It is interesting to note that this ethnic name (slovene) appeared much later and only on the periphery of the Slavic linguistic area, at the interface with linguistically different groups.
                          …….contemporary sources attest the use of more than one language by individuals whom their authors viewed as Antes or Sclavenes. The “phoney Chilbudius” was able to claim successfully a false identity, that of a Roman general, because he spoke Latin fluently, and Perbundos, the “king” of the Rynchines, had a thorough command of Greek. In fact, language shifts were inextricably tied to shifts in the political economy in which speech situations were located. Just how complicated this political economy may have been is shown by the episode of the Gepid taken prisoner by Priscus’ army, during the 593 campaign. He was close to the Sclavene “king” Musocius and communicated with him in the “king’s language.” Formerly a Christian, he betrayed his leader and cooperated with Priscus, presumably using Latin as the language of communication. Finally, both the Gepid traitor and Musocius’ Sclavene subjects, who were lured into the ambush set by Roman troops, were accustomed to Avar songs, which were presumably in a language different from both Slavic and Latin.
                          …..Common Slavic itself may have been used as a lingua franca within and outside the Avar qaganate. This may explain, in the eyes of some linguists, the spread of this language throughout most of Eastern Europe, obliterating old dialects and languages. It may also explain why this language remained fairly stable and remarkably uniform through the ninth century, with only a small number of isoglosses that began to form before Old Church Slavonic was written down. This is also confirmed by the fact that Old Church Slavonic, a language created on the basis of a dialect spoken in Macedonia, was later understood in both Moravia and Kievan Rus. The same conclusion can be drawn from the episode of Raduald, duke of Benevento, reported by Paul the Deacon and discussed in Chapter 3. Raduald, who had previously been duke of Friuli, was able to talk to the Slavs who had invaded Benevento, coming from Dalmatia across the sea. Since the duchy of Friuli had been constantly confronted with Slavic raids from the neighboring region, 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. Slavic was also used as a lingua franca in Bulgaria, particularly after the conversion to Christianity in 865. It is only the association with this political development that brought Slavic into closer contact with other languages. This explains why, despite the presumed presence of Slavic speaking communities in the Balkans at a relatively early date, the influence of Common Slavic on the non-Slavic languages of the area – Romanian, Albanian, and Greek – is minimal and far less significant than that of Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian, and Macedonian. The absence of a significant influence of Common Slavic in the Balkans is also evident from the small number of Balkan place names of Slavic origin, which could be dated on phonetical grounds, with any degree of certainty, before c. 800. As with material culture emblemic styles, the Slavic language may have been used to mark ethnic boundaries. The emblematic use of Slavic, however, was a much later phenomenon and cannot be associated with the Slavic ethnie of the sixth and seventh centuries. Slavs did not become Slavs because they spoke Slavic, but because they were called so by others.
                          Ethnies were not classified in terms of language or culture, but in terms of their military and political potential. Names were important, therefore, because they gave meaning to categories of political classification.
                          The Antes were constantly allies of the Romans, while Sclavenes always appeared on the side of their enemies. A different Antian ethnicity may thus have existed irrespective of the common, “utterly barbarous,” language, which, according to Procopius, both ethnies used.
                          In the light of these remarks, the very nature of a Sclavene ethnicity needs serious reconsideration. Procopius and later authors may have used this ethnic name as an umbrella-term for various groups living north of the Danube frontier, which were neither “Antes,” nor “Huns” or “Avars”. Jordanes did the same, though unlike others, he chose an ancient name, the Venethi, probably because he believed that the contemporary configuration of gentes beyond the limits of the Empire was a conse-quence, if not a reincarnation, of that described by ancient authors such as Tacitus or Ptolemy. To him, in other words, the barbarians of the sixth century, unless touched by the course of Gothic history, were frozen in time and space, basically the same and in the same places as viewed by the ancient authors. That no Slavic ethnicity existed in the eyes of any sixth- or seventh-century Byzantine author, which could be compared to the modern concept of ethnicity, is shown by Pseudo-Caesarius’ usage of the term “Sclavenes”. To him, the opposite of “Sclavenes” is .RipianoŰ, which was not an ethnie, but a name for the inhabitants of the Roman province of Dacia Ripensis. The contrast is that between a group living north and another living south of the Danube frontier, to which Pseudo- Caesarius referred by the biblical name Physon. His focus was on the specific location, within one and the same climate, of groups supposedly different in customs and religious life. The same is true for the author of the Strategikon. If Sclavenes were discussed in a different chapter than Avars, it is because, in his eyes, they had radically different social and political systems and, as a consequence, different forms of warfare. Roman generals, therefore, ought to learn how to fight them differently. Nevertheless, when it comes to real raids, the evidence discussed in Chapter 3 reveals that many authors were not at ease pinning down who exactly was ravaging Thrace in the 580s and who, at the same time, was in Greece. This, I must emphasize, is in sharp contrast to other authors’ concepts of Slavic ethnicity. That to our sixth- and seventh-century authors, ethnicity was an instrument to differentiate between enemies and allies is also shown by Theophylact Simocatta’s episode of the Gepid captured by Priscus’ army in 593. To the author of the Feldzugsjournal used by Theophylact as a source for Priscus’ campaign, this “Gepid” was different from “Sclavenes,” even if he had chosen to live among them and was a friend, if not a subject, of “king” Musocius. His “Gepid” ethnicity became apparent and important only when it became necessary to make a difference between him, a former Christian, and the other, “Sclavene” prisoners, who refused to reveal the location of their chief ’s village. Unlike them, the “Gepid” deserter would become a key factor for the successful conclusion of Priscus’ campaign. Viewed from this perspective, ethnicities were just labels attached to various actors in historically determined situations. Like all labels, they were sometimes misleading. The author of the Strategikon warns against those still claiming to be “Romans” ('RvmaÝoi), but who “have given in to the times,” forgot “their own people,” and preferred “to gain the good will of the enemy,” by luring Roman armies into ambushes set by the Sclavenes. To the experienced soldier who wrote the Strategikon, any ethnicity, including a Roman one, should be treated with extreme suspicion, if not backed by a politically correct affiliation. Byzantine authors seem to have used “Sclavenes” and “Antes” to make sense of the process of group identification which was taking place under their own eyes just north of the Danube frontier. They were, of course, interested more in the military and political consequences of this process than in the analysis of Slavic ethnicity. Chiefs and chief names were more important than customs or culture. When customs and culture came to the fore, as in the case of the Strategikon, it was because its author believed that they were linked to the kind of warfare preferred by Sclavenes and Antes. A similar concept may have guided Procopius in writing his Slavic excursus. It is because of their military skills that the Sclavenes and the Antes caught the attention of the Roman authors. As early as 537, Sclavene mercenaries were fighting in Italy on the Roman side. The first Sclavene raid recorded by Procopius predates by only five or six years the publication of the first seven books of the Wars. In his work, Procopius viewed the Sclavenes and the Antes as “new” and their presence in the Lower Danube region as recent. Although he constantly referred to Sclavenes in relation to Huns or other nomads, there is no indication that he believed them to have recently come from some other place. That he considered them to be “new” can only mean that they had not, until then, represented a political force[/B] worth being treated like the Lombards, the Gepids, the Cutrigurs, and other “allies” surrounding the Empire. It is because he thought the Sclavenes and the Antes were not politically important (or, at least, not as important as Lombards, Gepids, or Cutrigurs) that Procopius failed to record any chief names. To be one of Justinian’s ¦nspondoi, one needed first to have a “king.” The irony behind the episode of the “phoney Chilbudius,” with its plot setting imitating that of a neo-Attic comedy, is that the Antes, who eventually became Justinian’s ¦nspondoi, did not have a true leader, for they had “lived from old under a democracy.” The making of the Slavs was less a matter of ethnogenesis and more one of invention, imagining and labeling by Byzantine authors. Some form of group identity, however, which we may arguably call ethnicity, was growing out of the historical circumstances following the fortification of the Danube limes. This was therefore an identity formed in the shadow of Justinian’s forts, not in the Pripet marshes. There are good reasons to believe that this identity was much more complex than the doublet “Sclavenes-Antes” imposed by the Byzantine historiography. Book II of the Miracles of St Demetrius and Fredegar’s chronicle give us a measure of this complexity. That no “Slavs” called themselves by this name not only indicates that no group took on the label imposed by outsiders, but also suggests that this label was more a pedantic construction than the result of systematic interaction across ethnic boundaries. The first clear statement that “we are Slavs” comes from the twelfth-century Russian Primary Chronicle. With this chronicle, however, the making of the Slavs ends and another story begins: that of their “national” use for claims to ancestry.
                          Our present knowledge of the origin of the Slavs is, to a large extent, a legacy of the nineteenth century.
                          Either as “cumulative mutual Slavicity” or as Sclavene military units organized and controlled by steppe nomads, the idea that the Slavs became Slavs by speaking Slavic is pervasive.
                          In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.

                          Comment

                          • Risto the Great
                            Senior Member
                            • Sep 2008
                            • 15658

                            It is only the association with this political development that brought Slavic into closer contact with other languages. This explains why, despite the presumed presence of Slavic speaking communities in the Balkans at a relatively early date, the influence of Common Slavic on the non-Slavic languages of the area – Romanian, Albanian, and Greek – is minimal and far less significant than that of Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian, and Macedonian. The absence of a significant influence of Common Slavic in the Balkans is also evident from the small number of Balkan place names of Slavic origin, which could be dated on phonetical grounds, with any degree of certainty, before c. 800.
                            An interesting point which does seem to confirm some commonality that must have pre-existed in the language of the Macedonians.
                            Risto the Great
                            MACEDONIA:ANHEDONIA
                            "Holding my breath for the revolution."

                            Hey, I wrote a bestseller. Check it out: www.ren-shen.com

                            Comment

                            • Soldier of Macedon
                              Senior Member
                              • Sep 2008
                              • 13674

                              The absence of a significant influence of Common Slavic in the Balkans is also evident from the small number of Balkan place names of Slavic origin, which could be dated on phonetical grounds, with any degree of certainty, before c. 800.
                              There may be an absence of 'Slavic' place names prior to this period but that doesn't mean it wasn't related to Balkan languages. The direct predecessors of the modern Italian, French and Spanish languages all started to take shape around the 9th century (see Veronese Riddle, Oaths of Strasbourg and Glosas Emilianenses respectively). At some point prior to that period, place names in these languages would have also been minimal, however, that doesn't mean they aren't largely derived from Latin.
                              In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.

                              Comment

                              • George S.
                                Senior Member
                                • Aug 2009
                                • 10116

                                for the sake of a reference point can we make this a sticky so that other people can see these references and not start umpteen threads on slavs.You guys have said what is said to say.
                                "Ido not want an uprising of people that would leave me at the first failure, I want revolution with citizens able to bear all the temptations to a prolonged struggle, what, because of the fierce political conditions, will be our guide or cattle to the slaughterhouse"
                                GOTSE DELCEV

                                Comment

                                Working...
                                X