Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sings of Lada Part VI – Better Explanations

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What is the etymology of the word “lady” – According to the ver useful Online Etymology Dictionary:

“circa 1200, lafdilavede, from Old English hlæfdige (Northumbrian hlafdia, Mercian hlafdie), “mistress of a household, wife of a lord,” apparently literally “one who kneads bread,” from hlaf “bread” (see loaf (n.)) + -dige “maid,” which is related to dæge “maker of dough” (which is the first element in dairy; see dey (n.1)). Also compare lord (n.)). Century Dictionary finds this etymology “improbable,” and OEDictionary rates it “not very plausible with regard to sense,” but no one seems to have a better explanation.

Here is a better explanation:

  • the bread kneader has nothing to do with “lady”
  • lafdilavede have something to do with “lady” but nothing to do with hlæfdige, bread and dough
  • lafdi comes from lavede
  • lavede is flipped from velade
  • velade is the same as Wald = ruler (Slavic Vlad)
  • velade probably is also reflected in the name of Veleda
  • Veleda > Lada = Polish Goddess
  • Compare Walada in Thuringia
  • Grimm points out too the Gothic name Valadomarca

Now, here is the really interesting stuff.  As we already mentioned:

  • lada in Slavic languages also meant “my love” or “my dearest” or “wife”  (lado meant the same but for males)
  • lada means “wife” or “spouse” in Lycian!
  • lady in English means?

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September 3, 2017

Minor Slav Mention in the Suda

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The Suda or Souda (Σοῦδα SoûdaSuidae Lexicon) is a 10th-century Byzantine encyclopedia of antiquity (but not only).  It has about 30,000 entries.  No one really knows what Suda refers to – it is just how it is known This is from the 1705 edition.

There is one entry dealing with Slavs:

The entry reads simply: Slavs, a people beyond the Ister (or Danube).

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September 1, 2017

Where Are They Now?

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Here is an interesting description of a medicine stamp found in England:

Note that our Ariovist the Oculist is named Vindacus.

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August 24, 2017

Slavs in the Netherlands Once More

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Here is an interesting Dutch name:

Today’s Maarssen, earlier Merseen or Marsenhofen on the Mass river nearby Utrecht.

Its prior names?

  • Marsana
  • Marsna
  • Marna

Even if this does not have anything to do with the Polish Goddess Marzanna, the name is suspiciously Slavic looking.  If the name had been discovered in Eastern Germany, there’d likely be no question about its provenance.  But here it is connected with Mars,,

Marsna and Marzana of Dlugosz

For other mentions of Dutch Slavs see here and here.

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July 26, 2017

Pseudo-Callisthenes’ Völkertafel

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Pseudo-Callisthenes refers to the author of a 3rd century work known as the “Alexander Romance”.  There are numerous version of it including one Greek version (written circa 800) which contains a list of peoples including some of the peoples of more recent vintage:

“I Alexander, king of the Macedonians, conquered a great number of peoples: the Avars, the Slavs … the Rus, the Khazars, the Bulgars … and others we’ve brought under our yoke without war so that they paid tribute.”

From the Heinrich Meusel edition (based on a 15th/16th century manuscript):

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July 13, 2017

Frothy Mountains

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We’ve discussed the Pyrenees and Pirins here.

Here is an interesting set of other similar names:

  • Apennines Range
  • Pennine Alps
  • Pennines (northern England)
  • Pieniny (Poland/Slovakia)

An interesting story shows what people really know about etymologies of names.  For years the English Pennines were assumed to be made up by Charles Bertram in the 18th century.  But George Redmonds in his “Names and History: People, Places and Things” traces it to William Camden (1551-1623) who writing of the town of Skipton in Yorkshire said as follows:

“For the whole tract there is rough all over and unpleasant to see to, with craggie stones, hanging rockes, and rugged waies, in the midest whereof, as it were in a lurking hole, not farre from Are standeth Skipton, and lieth hidden and enclosed among steepe hilles, in like manner as Latium in Italie, which Varro supposeth to have beene so called because it lieth close under Apennine and the Alpes.” [from A description of Yorkshire in William Camden, Britain, or, a Chorographicall Description of the most flourishing Kingdomes, England, Scotland, and Ireland)]

But is the name actually earlier than that?

“Piana” means “flat” in Italian (a “plain”?).

But in Slavic it means “foam or froth” and in Lithuanian (pienas) refers to milk.

So what’s the snow forecast up there?

As a reader points out, you can also get foam from limestone being exposed to acid.  Limestone is wapno and “made of limestone” is wapienny.  Both words are “native” Slavic.


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July 11, 2017

Berlin, Berlin

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This is probably a nothing (later settlement by German colonists?) but you never know 🙂 :

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June 27, 2017

Once Again on al-Bakri

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Incidentally, if you are interested in reports of Slavs in Westphalia (Quazwini), you may want to check out the edition of al-Bakri‘s Kitāb al-Masālik wa-al-mamālik by Adrian van Leeuwen et André Ferré (Tunis: al-Dar al-‘Arabiyya li-l-Kitab, 1992), where, apparently, al-Bakri, claims that the Rhine was the frontier between Franks and Slavs.

For more see Daniel G. König’s  “Arabic-Islamic Views of the Latin West: Tracing the Emergence of Medieval Europe” from which comes the above.  For more on al-Bakri’s mention of the account of Ibrahim ibn Ya’qub’s see here.

While Arab writers probably did confuse Slavs and Germans occasionally, there is no reason to believe that what they wrote above was anything other than a reflection of the situation at the time.  The Frankish realm was, after all, formed and run primarily from the West of the Rhine.

Even at the Treaty of Verdun (843), the realm of Louis the German consisted primarily of Saxony, Austrasia, Allemania, what was left of Thuringia and Bavaria.  Yet, the Saxons, Allemans and Thuringians were rather latecomers to Germania in any sedentary fashion.  The Allemans may have been, as the name suggests, a mixture of a whole bunch of people and the Bavarians’ origin is rather mysterious itself.  Suffice it to say that:

  • Alemanni appear about the beginning of the third century (213) in Cassius Dio
    • incorporated into the Frankish kingdom in 496
  • Thuringians appear first as Toringi about the year 400 in the Mulomedicina by Flavius Vegetius Renatus
    • incorporated into the Frankish kingdom in 531
  • Bavarians appear first in the Getica about 551 or 576 in Venantius Fortunatus
    • incorporated into the Frankish kingdom by 788
  • Saxons appear first (probably) in Ptolemy (?) north of the lower Elbe (Schleswig?), then about 356 in Gaul, then in Britain in 441-442 and, for the first time in Northern Germany in 555
    • rather brutally incorporated into the Frankish kingdom by 804

Austrasians were not really a tribe – rather Austrasia was an administrative region of the Frankish kingdom meaning the “eastern” portion as opposed to Neustria, which was the “new western” portion of that kingdom.

Did all these tribes come from the North after the birth of Christ? Probably not all but probably a sizable chunk of them which raises the question who were the Gauls or Germans who lived there before?  It is curious that Frankish records later show Slavic presence not just east of the Elbe-Saale but also in Saxony, Thuringia, Bavaria and Carinthia.

For more on the idea of the Rhein as a border see here.  For more on al-Bakri see here.  For more on Thuringia see here.

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June 26, 2017


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We’ve added a Strabo citation to our discussion of the Tropaeum Alpium that previously escaped our notice.  It makes for an interesting confirmation of the Tropaeum’s information.

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March 31, 2017

From Falster to Latvia

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Incidentally, if you are curious how Slavs could have ended up at Ventspylis there are at least three answers.  One is the obvious one – they came from the East.  Another one is that they were there before the Balts came from the Belarus region.  A third one is suggested by Annales Ryenses (Rydårbogen) where there is talk of the Danish king Lotharknut resettling a third of his serfs in Prussia, Karelia and Semigalia sometime between 891 and 901.  At least some of those may have come from the islands of Møn, Falster & Lolland.  These, in turn, it has been suggested were populated at the time by Slavs (articles by Koczy and another by Slaski).

“…et venientes, totam
Pruciam, Semigaliam,
et terram Carelorum,
aliasqve qvam plures
terras subjugaverunt sibi, et…”

What’s striking about this is that it’s not clear whether the Danes included in this settlement process also the Pomeranian coast – if not, then presumably because it was filled with Slavs (the reference to other lands seems rather ambiguous given that lands further removed from Denmark than Pomerania are actually mentioned by name).

A similar tale was apparently also in the lost annals of Valdemar II.

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March 2, 2017