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    This is a thread about the documented history of the Slavs, namely the chronicles depicting the concurrent time they were written in. The historical documents presented serve as the fundaments of the contemporary interpretation of the history as well as the ethnogenesis of the modern Slavic nations that descend from the people mentioned in these chronicles. All we as Slavs know about our history, stands in these documents, everything else is wishful thinking and fabrication.

    The Primary Chronicle, Tale of bygone Years – 1113 AD

    The Primary Chronicle (Old Church Slavonic: Повѣсть времяньныхъ лѣтъ, often translated into English as Tale of Bygone Years) is a history of Kievan Rus’ from about 850 to 1110, originally compiled in Kiev about 1113. The work is considered to be fundamental in the interpretation of the history of the Eastern Slavs.

      Over a long period the Slavs settled beside the Danube, where the Hungarian and Bulgarian lands now lie. From among these Slavs, parties scattered throughout the country and were known by appropriate names, according to the places where they settled. Thus some came and settled by the river Morava, and were named Moravians, while others were called Czechs. Among these same Slavs are included the White Croats, the Serbs, and the Carinthians. For when the Vlakhs attacked the Danubian Slavs, settled among them, and did them violence, the latter came and made their homes by the Vistula, and were then called Lyakhs. Of these same Lyakhs some were called Polyanians, some Lutichians, some Mazovians, and still others Pomorians. Certain Slavs settled also on the Dnipro, and were likewise called Polyanians. Still others were named Derevlians, because they lived in the forests. Some also lived between the Pripet’ and the Dvina, and were known as Dregovichians. Other tribes resided along the Dvina and were called Polotians on account of a small stream called the Polota, which flows into the Dvina. It was from this same stream that they were named Polotians. The Slavs also dwelt about Lake Il’men’, and were known there by their characteristic name. They built a city which they called Novgorod. Still others had their homes along the Desna, the Sem’, and the Sula, and were called Severians. Thus the Slavic race was divided, and its language was known as Slavic.- The Primary Chronicle (document), Page 2

    De Administrando Imperio, On the Governance of the Empire – 950 AD

    De Administrando Imperio (“On the Governance of the Empire”) is the Latin title of a Greek work written by the 10th-century Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VII. The Greek title of the work is Πρὸς τὸν ἴδιον υἱὸν Ρωμανόν (“For his own son Romanos”). The work is a domestic and foreign policy manual for the use of Constantine’s son and successor, the Emperor Romanos II. It is considered fundamental in the intepretation of the history as well as the ethnogenesis of the Southern Slavs, in particular Croats and Serbs, as well as their ethnic territories.

    The Byzantine chronicles mention:

      Of the Pechenegs and the Russians, Chapter 2Of the Pechenegs and the Bulgarians, Chapter 5Of the coming of the Russians in ‘monoxyla’ from Russia to Constantinople, Chapter 9Of the Croats and the country they now dwell in, Chapter 31Of the Serbs and the country they now dwell in, Chapter 32Of the Zachlumi (Serbs) and the country they now dwell in, Chapter 33Of the Terbouniotes and Kanalites (Serbs) and the country they now dwell in, Chapter 34Of the Pagani, also called Arentani (Serbs), and the country they now dwell in, Chapter 36Of the country of Moravia, Chapter 41He who enquires how the Slavs were put in servitude and subjection to the church of Patras, Chapter 49Of the Slavs in the province of Peloponnesus, the Milingoi and Ezeritai, Chapter 50- De Administrando Imperio (document), Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos

    Book of Precious Records, Ahmad ibn Rustah – 10th century

    Ahmad ibn Rustah’s information on the non-Islamic peoples of Europe and Inner Asia makes him a useful source for these obscure regions (he was even aware of the existence of the British Isles and of the Heptarchy of Anglo-Saxon England) and for the prehistory of the Turks and other steppe peoples. He travelled to Novgorod with the Rus’, and compiled books relating his own travels, as well as second-hand knowledge of the Khazars, Magyars, Slavs, Bulgars, and other peoples.

    He wrote of tenth-century city of the Rus’:

      As for the Rus, they live on an island … that takes three days to walk round and is covered with thick undergrowth and forests; … They harry the Slavs, using ships to reach them; they carry them off as slaves and … sell them. They have no fields but simply live on what they get from the Slav’s lands … When a son is born, the father will go up to the newborn baby, sword in hand; throwing it down, he says, ‘I shall not leave you with any property: You have only what you can provide with this weapon.’

    His impression of the Rus’ is very favourable:

      They carry clean clothes and the men adorn themselves with bracelets and gold. They treat their slaves well and also they carry exquisite clothes, because they put great effort in trade. They have many towns. They have a most friendly attitude towards foreigners and strangers who seek refuge.

    Of ancient Croatia he wrote in the chronicle Al-Djarmi:

      Their ruler is crowned … He dwells in the midst of the Slavs … He bears the title of ‘ruler of rulers’ and is called ‘sacred king’. He is more powerful than the Zupan (viceroy), who is his deputy … His capital is called Drzvab where is held a fair of three days every month.

    Chronicles of Ahmad ibn Fadlan – 10th century

    A substantial cut of Ibn Fadlan’s account is dedicated to the description of a people he called the Rūs روس or Rūsiyyah. Most scholars identify them with the Rus’ or Varangians, which would make Ibn Fadlan’s account one of the earliest portrayals of Vikings. The Rūs appear as traders who set up shop on the river banks nearby the Bolğar camp. They are described as having bodies tall as (date) palm-trees, with blond hair and ruddy skin. They are tattooed from “fingernails to neck” with dark blue or dark green “tree patterns” and other “figures” and that all men are armed with an axe and a long knife.

    Ibn Fadlan describes the Rus as “perfect physical specimens” and the hygiene of the Rūsiyyah as disgusting (while also noting with some astonishment that they comb their hair every day) and considers them vulgar and unsophisticated. In that, his impressions contrast those of the Persian traveler Ibn Rustah. He also describes in great detail the funeral of one of their chieftains (a ship burial involving human sacrifice). Some scholars believe that it took place in the modern Balymer complex.

      I have seen the Rus as they came on their merchant journeys and encamped by the Itil. I have never seen more perfect physical specimens, tall as date palms, blond and ruddy; they wear neither tunics nor kaftans, but the men wear a garment which covers one side of the body and leaves a hand free. Each man has an axe, a sword, and a knife, and keeps each by him at all times. Each woman wears on either breast a box of iron, silver, copper, or gold; the value of the box indicates the wealth of the husband. Each box has a ring from which depends a knife. The women wear neck-rings of gold and silver. Their most prized ornaments are green glass beads. They string them as necklaces for their women.- Ibn Fadlan, on the Rus merchants at Itil, 922

    Book of Roads and Kingdoms, Abu Abdullah al-Bakri – 1068 AD

    Al-Bakri based his work on the accounts of merchants geologists and adventurers such as Muhammad ibn, Yusuf al-Warraq (On the Topography of North Africa), and Abraham ben Jacob (Ibrahim ibn Yaqub). Despite the fact that al-Bakri never left al-Andalus, his writings are regarded as objectively reporting the accounts of other travelers by contemporary historians, and much of what he wrote is substantiated in other sources.

    He mentions the Saqaliba (Arabic: صقالبة, sg. Siqlabi) refering to the Slavs, particularly Slavic slaves and mercenaries in the medieval Arab world, in the Middle East, North Africa, Sicily and Al-Andalus. It is generally thought that the Arabic term is a Byzantine loanword: saqlab, siklab, saqlabi etc. is a corruption of Greek Sklavinoi for “Slavs”. The word was also often used more generally to refer to all slaves from Central and Eastern Europe.

      Ibrahim ibn Yaqub placed the people of “Saqalib” in the mountainous regions of Central Balkans, west of the Bulgarians and east from the “other Slavs” (Croats), thus in the Serb lands. The Saqalib had the reputation of being “the most courageous and violent”The Persian chronicler Ibn al-Faqih wrote that there were two types of saqaliba: those with swarthy skin and dark hair that live by the sea and those with fair skin and light hair that live farther inland. Abu Zayd al-Balkhi described three main centers of the Saqaliba – Kuyaba, Slavia, and Artania.


    Realy good thread mate! ;)



    Good idea. Nice thread!



    Awesome thread, mate :) Btw, here's De Administrando Imperio in Greek print version.



    This flowchart presents a pretty excellent strategy for having a reasonable, rational discussion.
    – Would be nice if posted under tips and guidelines for posting.



    Lol, it is nice, but there are 19 chapters on Croatian wikisource and 6 on Serbian.



    Why is there a difference between Croatian and Serbian?



    Different Wikipedia moderators probably.



    Because there is Serbian Wikipedia and Croatian one, as well Serbian and Croatian Wiktionary and Wikisource.



    Procopius in Seven Volumes, excursus on the Slavs – 551 AD

    Procopius of Caesarea is one of the greatest historians of Late Antiquity. He was born around 500 and died ca. 560, having thus lived much of his life as a contemporary of Emperor Justinian (527-565). Procopius was an assessor (legal advisor) on the staff of General Belisarius and accompanied him on campaign in Mesopotamia, Africa, and Italy. His longest and most important work consist of a history of the wars of Emperor Justinian, comprising two books on the Persian, two on the Vandal, three on the Ostrogothic wars, and a final book continuing the story on all three fronts. The work covers the period 527-551 and is one of the most important sources for the sixth-century history of the Empire and its barbarian neighbors. The excursus (digression) on the Slavs in Book VII is the longest description of any barbarian group in the entire work on Justinian’s wars, an indication of the special interest Procopius and his audience had in things Slavic. The excursus was most likely written in 550 or 551 on the basis of information that Procopius may have obtained through interviews with Sclavene and Antian mercenaries in Belisarius’ army in Italy. Translation from  Procopius in Seven Volumes, with an English translation by H. B. Dewing, vol. 4 (London/New York, 1924), pp. 269-273.

    • (VII. 14. 22-30). For these nations, the Sclaveni and the Antae, are not ruled by one man, but they have lived from of old under a democracy, and consequently everything which involves their welfare, whether for good or for ill, is referred to the people. It is also true that in all other matters, practically speaking, these two barbarian peoples have had from ancient times the same institutions and customs. For they believe that one god, the maker of lightning, is alone lord of all things, and they sacrifice to him cattle and all other victims; but as for fate, they neither know it nor do they in any wise admit that it has any power among men, but whenever death stands close before them, either stricken with sickness or beginning a war, they make a promise that, if they escape, they will straightway make a sacrifice to the god in return for their life; and if they escape, they sacrifice just what they have promised, and consider that their safety has been bought with this same sacrifice. They reverence, however, both rivers and nymphs and some other spirits, and they sacrifice to all these also, and they make their divinations in connection with these sacrifices. They live in pitiful hovels which they set up far apart from one another, but, as a general thing, every man is constantly changing his place of abode. When they enter battle, the majority of them go against their enemy on foot carrying little shields and javelins in their hands, but they never wear corselets. Indeed, some of them do not wear even a shirt or a cloak, but gathering their trews up as far as to their private parts they enter into battle with their opponents. And both the two peoples have also the same language, an utterly barbarous tongue. Nay further, they do not differ at all from one another in appearance. For they are all exceptionally tall and stalwart men, while their bodies and hair are neither very fair or blonde, nor indeed do they incline entirely to the dark type, but they are all slightly ruddy in color. And they live a hard life, giving no heed to bodily comforts, just as the Massagetae do, and like them, they are continually and at all times covered with filth; however, they are in no respect base or evil-doers, but they preserve the Hunnic character in all its simplicity. In fact, the Sclaveni and the Antae actually had a single name in the remote past; for they were both called Spori* in olden times, because, I suppose, living apart one man from another, they inhabit their country in a sporadic fashion. And in consequence of this very fact they hold a great amount of land; for they alone inhabit the greatest part of the northern bank of the Ister. So much then may be said regarding these peoples.

      * interesting fact, spori in Serbian means, the slow ones, from spor meaning slow.

      Procopius History of the Wars (document), Book V and VI



    Nice thread. I would love to see full text about Slavs by Strategikon. One one site i found this;

    Maurice's Strategikon, a Byzantine guide to warfare, describes the Slavs living among nearly impenetrable forests, rivers, lakes, and marshes, and explains how they made use of the cover in ambushes. They were particularly adept at hiding under water, breathing through hollow reeds.



    Are you talking about this?



    I dont know. I cant open that file. :-



    You need a program called WinRAR. Just download the one that’s compatible with your computer (it’s free). Btw, the document is in Polish, so if you’re really interested, you’re probably going to have to use an online translator; you can highlight and copy the text.



    Aha rar lol silly me. I have rar on my comp and acutaly i use it alot. But on this comp there is no rar it said you cant open. Ok thx. ;D

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