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- December 3, 2011 at 9:48 pm #342436
Carinthian Slovenes are Slovene speaking Carinthians in Austrian state of Carinthia. Carinthia is called Kärnten in german and Koroška or Korotan in slovene language. In the old days they were most iconic, rich and influential of all Slovenes. They are my favorite and i am learning about them every day especialy becouse they are sadly almost extinct like Sorbs. Infact Carinthian Slovenes are more endangered than Sorbs becouse of Carinthian political and ideological scene.
Dialects of Carinthian Slovenes are regarded as sole survivors of Carantanian language. Altho there is no doubt Carinthian dialects are very archaic and a bit different from the rest of slovene dialects we cannot say that they form seperate language becouse other slovenes generaly understand them.
History of Carinthian Slovenes begins in medieval period. This is a time when old slavic Carantanian language began to transform from Slavic Carantanian language into "Old Carinthian Slovene" and it is also period when Carantania transformed from tribal principality into Carinthian duchy under Frankish kings.
Except for some small parts of Carinthia in Slovenia and Italy, modern borer of Austrian Carinthia didnt change much from the medieval border. Note that when Carantania was "transformed" into Duchy of Carinthia its area became much smaller and it didnt change alot after that.
In medieval age slovene speaking Carinthians had special and uniqe position that is realy shocking given the political situation in that era. The thing about this special position is that slavic Carinthians had very strong and numerous class of Kosezi. Kosezi also existed in other slovene lands but in Carinthia they were most numerous and powerful. Kosezi institution is comparable to yeomanry. They were free farmers without tax obligations and with special right to have weapons.
Dukes stone chair:
Becouse of their power and numbers Kosezi had stong influence in Carinthia. Carinthian dukes never managed to get huge sways of Carinthian lands under their control. But thats was not realy so bad for Carinthian dukes if we consider an ancient Carinthian ceremony which was considered realy embarrassing for some dukes. This tradition is called ustoličevanje koroških vojvod or enthronement of carinthian dukes. Meinhard count of Tyrol described this event in 1.9.1286. This is his text:
Near the curch of Saint Peter there is a stone on which sits free peasant (Kosez or Svobodnjak), he inherited this errand from his ancestors. In one hand he holds a colourful bull and in the other he holds equaly colourful mare. The duke must arrive near the stone dressed up in peasant clothing with the company of his knights, nobelmen, clerks and high officials. When they arrive the free peasant shouts in windisch language: "who comes, marching like that?" then dukes company shouts back: "this is lord of the land". Peasant continues; "is he righteous judge who cares about prosperity of our homeland, is he freeborn and worthy? Is he venerator and defender of our christian faith?" Dukes men shout again: "he is and he will be!" Peasant-enthroner continues: "so i ask with what right can he remove me from this seat?" They reply: "with 60 coins, this colorful animals, clothes in which our duke is dressed and he will keep your house free with no taxes!" Then free peasant lightly strikes duke on his cheek's with hands, command him to be just ruler and leaves stone seat to the duke. Duke steps on the stone seat holding sword and then he waves his sword towards all sides of the sky. With this gesture he shows to all men that he will be just ruler. In the end he must drink cold water from peasants hat. Meinhard also mentiones that peasants clothes and hat worn by duke and peasants during the ceremony are all gray in colour.
Romaticised picture of the enthronement ceremony:
Besides this description, Meinhard and other chroniclers from other times also mention that Carinthian lord is obligated to speak in windisch language. However besides obligation duke also had "privilege". This so called privilege was such that any Carinthian duke had the right to speak in windisch (slavic) infront of Holy Roman Emperor himself. This was actualy confirmed by emperor Rudolf I.
Altho most carinthian dukes had german names and nicknames they all spoke in main language of Carinthia which was Old Carinthian Slovene, this is evident in following example:
When Ulrich von Lichtenstein dressed himself into godess Venus infront of Carinthian duke Bernhart von Spanheim, he saluted him like this: Búge waz prími, grálva Vénus or in modern Slovene language Bog vas prejmi kraljica Venus (May God receives you queen Venus)
Ulrich von Lichtenstein with Venus on his helmet:
Generaly medieval chroniclers like John of Viktring always say that Carinthia is Slavic land and that its dukes are "der windische herre" or in english it means Slavic gentelmen. Thats becouse Old Carinthian Slovene was dominat language among Kosezi who had alot of power in Carinthian politics. All rulers had to communicate in majority language of Koseszi and other common folk. Germanisation of Carinthia was and still is long process thats why we can without doubt say that most of medieval Carinthia was slavic.December 3, 2011 at 10:21 pm #368648
Sorry i made mistake in this thread it was John of Viktring and Otacher who said dukes are "der windische herre". Piccolomini said: "Sunt enim et ipsi Carinthiani Sclaui" or Carinthians are Slavs. Finaly chronicler Unrest also said: Carinthia is Slavic land.
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