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  • #345170

    Anonymous

    Przesieka Śląska or Osek in Polish. Basically a type of border forest where they cut down the edge of the forest bordering other land in such a manner that the forest was impassable. In German Preseka or Hag and in Czech Přeseka or Hvozd. An important historical practice of border management. Given the linguistical characteristics of these names it can be speculated that such forest wall border management was widespread among many early Slavic tribes. What sets apart Silesian Przesieka is that it survived for a long time up to high middle ages. But let me return back to linguistics. Preseka is such a obvious word for me. Here preseka is something like this (excuse me if i don't use proper words in translation);

    Part of the forest with cutted trees in a tight belt.

    And presekati as such means to cut on two pieces or better put cut on half. Then there is also mentioning that in Polish it can be called Osek which reminds me of Osijek in Croatia for example which might be hint that such border styles migth have been more Slavic wide and not exclusively Silesian. Anyways Ozek is tight here and Osek means;

    Fenced area for livestock by the cottage or fence around water well.

    When i say fence i mean something like wooden fence not those modern fences. Overal Osek and Preseka have similar derivation i guess like osek and preseka. Maybe from sekati meaning cutting. What additionally suprises me is alternative Czech word Hvozd which reminds me of our word for forest Gozd. I once heard here on Slavorum that Slovaks use similar word for dense forest which makes sense since this border forest had to be dense to disable people to pass trough.

    There are numerous Slavic placenames with such words. There are several villages with name Preseka in Croatia for example. There are also placenames Przesieka in Poland. Ok let me stop now and read more info from wiki source. I hope its mostly right and not some crap; :D

    Silesian Przesieka, literally Silesian Cutting (Polish: Przesieka Śląska or Oseg, German: Schlesischer Grenzwald, Hag or Preseka, Latin: Indago) was a densely forested, uninhabited and unpassable area in the middle of Silesia, spreading from Golden Mountains in the south, along the Nysa Klodzka to the Odra, and then along the Stobrawa, reaching the towns of Namyslow and Byczyna in northern Silesia. Originally, the Silesian Cutting was a boundary, separating territories of two Western Slavic tribes, the Slezanie and the Opolanie. In the 12th century, along the Cutting a border of Lower Silesia and Upper Silesia was established.

    For a long time, the Silesian Cutting was used as a natural military obstacle, protecting the area of Opole from raids of the Moravian and Czech tribes. However, it did not prevent the Hussites from invading Silesia in 1420.

    [img height=400]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4a/Przesieka_slaka.jpg” />

    Rough position of Silesian Przesieka.

    [size=12pt]Structure[/size]

    The Silesian Przesieka was a wide, uninhabited border forest, strengthened on the inside by cut-down trees whose branches were twisted together, with thick bushes and sometimes ramparts and trenches from the 8th–9th century blocking movements from the west. Gates, which could be closed in dangerous times, controlled all roads leading outwards. The Przesieka was maintained by local Polish peasants and used in their self-defence. If a settlement expanded in size the fortifications were moved outwards. Placenames like Osiek, Ossig, Hag, Hänchen Przesieka, Lower Silesian Voivodeship or Przesieka, Podlaskie Voivodeship commemorated these unique natural circumstances.

    [size=12pt]Geographic distribution[/size]

    Starting at Namysłów and Byczyna, the main Lower Silesian Przesieka (Preseka) comprised the area of Kluczbork, today's woodland between the rivers Stobrawa and Mała Panew and ended at the Silesian Muschelkalk ridge. The fortification continued on the other side of the Oder at the Niemodlin woodland, incorporated the woods to the right of the Nysa Kłodzka and the Golden and Owl Mountains. From there the cutting turned northeast and incorporated the Sudetes, which separated Silesia and Bohemia, including the foothills on a distance of 80 kilometers. The Przesieka continued up to the Lower Silesian heathland, the border to Lusatia, a region which was especially well fortified by three trenches (German: Dreigräben) and a passage to the west of Szprotawa. From the Bóbr knee the Cutting incorporated the woodlands of Zielona Góra and eastwards the border forests between Silesia and Greater Poland. At the river Barycz the Cutting turned south to close the circle around Lower Silesia.

    The distribution of the Upper Silesian border forests is relatively unknown. Only the western Preseka at Hrubý Jeseník and its foothills, the woodlands of the northern Carpathian Mountains and the Moravian Gate as well as at the woodlands of the Polish Jura are established. This enclosed area was divided into two chambers by a border zone. This inner Przesieka is in parts preserved until today, visible at the upper Malapane and between Rybnik and Pszczyna. Equally unknown in detail is the division of the Lower Silesian region, which was also partitioned into small chambers divided by strips of woodland.

    [size=12pt]Impact of German Ostsiedlung[/size]

    Town-like settlements already existed before the Ostsiedlung, as craftsmen and merchants formed suburbs of fortified strongholds (burg(h)s, castra). Usually, Slavic marketplaces were set at an open range with few or no permanently inhabited buildings and, after Christianization, a church. Market fields (ring, rynek) were in close proximity to fortified strongholds. This system was borrowed from 10th century East Francia and persisted in the Slavic regions until the Ostsiedlung. As the Silesian dukes initiated the German Ostsiedlung the border forests offered the chance to plan irrespective of older settlements. This approach was started by Henry I in the late 12th century, and soon other noble and clerical landlords competitively followed his example. The German settlers cleared the forests and thus destroyed the protective effect of the Preseka. To defend their now unprotected soil the Silesian dukes replaced the dissolving Preseka by a strip of villages, fortified towns and castles. The area became the center of the evolving society (Neustamm) of the German Silesians.

    #413176

    Anonymous

    Great topic Povhec ! A lot of interesting informations :)

    #413177

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Great topic Povhec ! A lot of interesting informations :)

    Thx. I am fascinated by this Przesieka. Somehow i feel this was quite widespread among other Slavic tribes as well. Surelly larger chains of forests meant borders. That is what i suspected before. However i didn't knew about this tactic of cutting edges of forests into a manner of impassable forest. I really wonder how that looked like. I have rough imagination on how it might have been. I hope any Poles come up with more info bout it.

    #413178

    Anonymous

    i think indagines on portion of borders of early medieval hungary were something similar – a large swath of barren, sparsely inhabited land (terra nullius), road defense posts garrisoned by various guard settlers (cumans, pechenegs, rusyns, magyars…) and the border between kingdom proper and "terra ultra indagines" was marked with tree alleys or lines (as far as i know, at least one portion of hungarys northern indagines was marked by lines of appletrees).
    purpose of these border defenses was to slow down and exhaust raiding army and to deter from attack.

    when you cut some branches (of a tree or a bush) in the right way, youll cause a wildgrowth. branches will become more dense, and after some times its impossible to get through such bush line unless you burn or cut it completely. i think this might have been used at hungarys borders, too.

    #413179

    Anonymous

    Thx for this info Barov. Your explanation bout cutting branches sounds reasonable. :D Btw on which part of old Hungarian border was that?

    #413180

    Anonymous

    these indagines were built through most of carpathian portion of borders, am not sure about the rest. maybe later when i have enough time ill search for something  :)

    #413181

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    these indagines were built through most of carpathian portion of borders, am not sure about the rest. maybe later when i have enough time ill search for something  :)

    Ok. :)

    #413182

    Anonymous

    Maybe word granica has some connection with this kind of borders ? It does contain branches in its name xD

    #413183

    Anonymous

    You bet.  ;)

    image

    #413184

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Maybe word granica has some connection with kind of borders ? I does contain branches in it's name xD
    Quote:
    You bet.  ;)

    Thanks, interesting. Which part of granica steems from word for branches? Elaborate please! :)

    #413185

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Thanks, interesting. Which part of granica steems from word for branches? Elaborate please! :)

    The root. *granь /*grana meant 'branch', –ica is, of course, a diminutive suffix; and in the case of South Slavic the word granica was also applied to some species of oak, which were often planted inbetween pieces of land that were property of different communities/villages etc. I imagine the semantic evolution like that: 'branchy tree'>'tree(s) on the border'>'border'.

    #413186

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Thanks, interesting. Which part of granica steems from word for branches? Elaborate please! :)

    First of all, sorry for my spelling mistakes in previous post, I really should have checked what I wrote twice.
    (luckily I still had the option to edit it and hide the shame ;D )

    And Mratinjak explained everything perfectly :)
    Mratinjak bratko, where do you get all those informations ? You and Dalibor here are like living encyclopedias or something : )
    I was just guessing because "granica" is like a little branch and the whole story here is about cutting trees and causing wildgrowth :)

    #413187

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    The root. *granь /*grana meant 'branch', –ica is, of course, a diminutive suffix; and in the case of South Slavic the word granica was also applied to some species of oak, which were often planted inbetween pieces of land that were property of different communities/villages etc. I imagine the semantic evolution like that: 'branchy tree'>'tree(s) on the border'>'border'.

    Interesting. Thx! :D

    #413188

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Mratinjak bratko, where do you get all those informations ? You and Dalibor here are like living encyclopedias or something : )

    Well, in my case it's just a hobby of sorts, I'm collecting all sorts of studies on Slavic traditional culture all my conscious life.  :D I have some philological education as well, but I'm not a linguist sensu stricto, neither am I an expert on anything. I'm just quoting men (and women) far wiser than me in most cases.

    Quote:
    Interesting. Thx! :D

    You're welcome!

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