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Polish Names from 1165 (or 1065)

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This grant issued by Bolesław IV the Curly on April 11, 1165 in the city of Płock [puotsk] in favor of the Church of Saint John the Evangelist in Mogilno is interesting mostly for the list of Polish place and individual names it features. Rather than translating the whole thing, I’ve highlighted those names below. I’ve ignored obviously non-Slavic names such as: Stepan, Michal, Iohan or Valter.  The text comes from Bielowski’s Great Poland Diplomatic Codex (document number 3).

One other thing: it is possible that the Bolesław was Bolesław II the Bold (or Generous), in which case the document would have to be dated to 1065.

“In nomine sancte et individue Trinitatis amen. Animadvertat hoc testimonium veritas omnis ecclesia religionis, quod ego Boleslaus exempla fidelium sequtus, quatenus cum defecero recipi merear in thabernaculis iustorum, contuli de omnibus ad me pertinentibus ecclesie Mogilnensi sancti Iohannis Ewangeliste transitus omnes per Vyslam de Camen usque ad mare, transitus Navchre in Wyzna et in Macow, et per totam Mazowiam nonum forum, nonum denarium, nonum porcum, nonum poledrum, nonum piscem sum largitus; quod ne quis ulterius irritum faciat, auctoritate omnipotentis Dei sit prohibitus. Et hec sunt nomina castrorum: Grudenczch, Zacroczin, Syrozch cum medio theloneo per fluvium Bug; Ripin, Scechin, Seprch, Nowum Radcez, Oszelzch, Zyremdzco, Cechonow, Stolpsco, Grebezco, Nasylsco, Wyszegrod, Ploczch, Dobrzin, Wlodislaw, Przypusth, Plonzch; in Llonzin decem marcas, in Sbuczimir septem marcas, in Sarnow duas marcas et dimidiam, in Rospir septem marcas. Hec sunt nomina villarum quas contulimus cum omni libertate et iure supradicte ecclesie sancti Iohannis Ewangeliste in Mogilna: Czirwyenzch, Crzechnow, Bolino, Welerych, Tossowo, (2 litt. delet.) .. romnow, Golumbino, ecclesiam sancti Llaurencii in Ploczch. Item in Byelsco ecclesiam sancti Iohannis Babtiste cum ipsa villa prenotata, foro, tabernis, targowe, et cum omni libertate. Ecclesiam sancti Iohannis in Wladislaw. In Culmine nonum forum cum thabernario. Clestitarw, Czechre, Dalachowo, Opathowo, Woyuczino, Ffaleczino, Maczewo, Llubessowo cum medio lacu, Radzencze cum fluvio ex utraque rippa, Czarnothil per medium, Olsze, Bystrzicza, Zabno, Chelpsco, Sedno, Wyeczanowa, Llezno, Sceglino, Domanino, Subino, Bogdanowo, Sczibersco, Czycharowo; ecclesiam sancti Iacobi in Mogilna quam fundavit Sbyluth miles, addens eidem ecclesie hereditatem Bogussino cum consensu amicorum suorum. Item aliam ecclesiam in honore sancti Clementis miles magnus Dobrogostius, addens eidem ecclesie hereditatem Padnyewo cum consensu amicorum suorum, edificavit. Item Paulus et Zemwa fratres dederunt duas villas, Llizecz et Rypin. Item Odolan dedit Socolowo. Item Andreas Gocunowo. Item ego Boleslaus addiciens predictis notum esse volo concambium villarum quod feci cum Mogilnensi abbate Mengosio: villam enim Raniglow all ipso accepi et homini meo Nanzlav petenti contuli; pro qua villam Krzithe cum medio lacu et fluvio per medium, eidem abbati et ecclesie Mogilnensi tradidi. Sed quia hec recompensacio sufficiens esse non videbatur, sortem Curani cum eodem Curano et filiis suis addidi et in nomine virtutis Ihesu Christi confirmavi. Item hec sunt nomina servorum ascripticiorum quos eidem contuli ecclesie cum omni iure: Wigan cum tota consanguinitate sua, Radecz, Sulentha cum cognacione sua, Zavisch, Radith cum cognacione sua, Wolis, Zabor, Radeg, Zandan, Doman, Damamir, Syla, Nesul, Sulim cum fratre suo, Neszda cum cognacione sua, Malsa cum fratribus, Godes cum fratre suo, Calik, Sulimir, Milon, Wesan cum filiis, Poznomir, Czychon, Belen, Sulen cum fratre suo, Cyrneg, Sciza, Zelistrig, Targossa, Gromiss, Zdema cum fratre suo, Pozar, Golandin, Gudes, Gonen, Riben cum fratre, Unimir, Zabos, Radosth, Zemir, Zyra, Vitosch cum fratre suo, Rucanca, Stepan, Sulimir, Wyscan, Domasul cum fratribus suis, Nedamir cum filiis suis, Sdan cum filiis, Przibislav cum filiis suis, Bogdan, Michal, Stanecz cum fratre suo, Rados. Item homicidia tam inter duos ascripticios quam inter duos liberos, vel ex una parte liberi ex alia parte ascripticii villarum supradicte domus, per totum eidem ecclesie cedant. Ne ergo hec nostra liberalis et salubris donacio, ad honorem omnipotentis Dei et sancti Iohannis Ewangeliste ex intimo affectu collata, aliqua temeritate infringatur, sed ut a me et a meis posteris inviolabiliter observetur, presentem litteram precepi mei sigilli munimine et subscripcione testium confirmari. Actum et datum anno Incarnacionis dominice millesimo sexagesimo quinto, tercio Idus Aprilis in Ploczk, presentibus: venerabili patre Allexandro Plocensis ecclesie episcopo, principe milicie Weszborio, Iohanne cancellario, procuratore Troyano; Wysna, Iohanne canonico Plocensis ecclesie, Valtero eiusdem ecclesie canonico et aliis quam pluribus fide dignis et honestis.”

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January 28, 2018

Miracles of Saint Demetrius – Book II

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I. Of the Building of Ships by the Drugoviti, Sagudati, Velegeziti and Others

And so this happened, as they say, during the bishopric of John, may he rest in peace. The nation of the Slavs gathered in a large multitude comprised of the peoples of the Drugoviti [Δρο[υ]γο[υ]βῖται/Δραγοβῖται], Sagudati [Σαγουδάται], Velegeziti [Βελεγεζίται], Vaiuniti [Βαϊουνίται], Verziti [Βερζηται] and others. They were the first to discover a way to build a boat hollowed out of a single trunk. Having so prepared themselves to sail on the seas, they plundered all of Thessally, and the Greek islands of the Cyclades, the entire Achaja and the mainland, a large portion of Illyricum and part of Asia. Most of the towns and provinces they made uninhabited  and they desired to attack the by us afore-mentioned city, beloved of Christ and to plunder it much as they [plundered] the others. On this matter they were of a single mind and having constructed a great number of boats made of a single trunk, they set up camp near the sea; the rest of the swarm besieged the city guarded by God from all sides: the East, the North and the West. They had with them their families as well as their belongings for they planned to settle in the city after its taking…

Hagios Demetrios in the city of Thessaloniki saw Slav action

…The entire nation of the Slavs arrayed themselves for battle so as to make a surprise assault on the walls in unison. Those who stayed by the boats planed to cover the same with bars and hides so as to protect their rowers against stones tossed from the city walls or the blows of the javelin throwers. It is said that the first became leery/afraid by reason of the martyr [that is Saint Demetrius] who did not permit them to come close to the city but instead caused them to have to anchor themselves in that bay which from the ancient times has been called Kellarion and it was there that they pondered how best to effect their goals…

Three days passed in this manner and the Slavic boats sailed at a distance of two miles from the walls and each day assiduously looked for east to take places with the aim of plundering those. On the fourth day, with a great roar, the entire nation attacked the city from all sides: some threw stones using engines they had prepared, others had guided siege towers right up to the walls trying to take and plunder them, others set fires before the gates, yet others hurled projectiles onto the walls like hail. One could then see this strange and wondrous host of weaponry for as a storm cloud cloaks sundays so was did they thicken the air with their arrows and stone missiles.  In this great assault the barbarians, ready to sail and prepared to [finally] attack closed in in their boats on places scouted out earlier: some approached the tower on the western part of the church steps where a small wicket exists, others to the places where no wall stood but rather a palisade defended access as well as a construct built out of hidden beams that were commonly called [tulons?]. These latter attacks believed that they will be able to get into the city that way for they were ignorant of these types of defenses and the former thought that they will be able to break through the wicket gate and through that entrance make it into the city.

Meanwhile, again by reason of the martyr’s intercession, a great disarray arose among the afore-mentioned boats and so it happened that they started running into each other and some even keeled over hurling their occupants into the water.  And so it happened that the one who was submerged would try to save himself by grabbing onto another boat and in doing so would cause those in it to themselves fall into the sea. Finally, the rowers from the remaining boats would use their swords to cut of the hands of those who came close and they would smite each other on the head with swords and wound each other with their javelins and each, occupied in an attempt to rescue his own life, became the enemy of his companion. And those who managed to reach the camouflaged wooden defense contraption fell there into snares and their boats, moving in a great momentum, halted near the shore and it was impossible for them   to yank them free from there. Then the brave citizens of the city headed down while others reinforced the wicket gate through which the enemies intended to enter the city. And so the work of the fighting and Victorious [martyr] was complete.

It was then possible to behold a sea stained red with the barbarian blood of and to hearken back to the drowning of the Egyptians [in the Red Sea]. And presently was the mercy of the Lord revealed. At two in the morning though at first all was still, there suddenly came a calm wind which scattered those barbarians’ boats that were unable to withdraw, some eastwards while others to the West. The sea surrendered many barbarian corpses tossing them onto the shore and underneath the walls. And finally, the guards of the coast issued onto the walls and showed  the barbarians remaining on land the cut off heads of their compatriots. Those boatmen who survived told tales of the great ruin inflicted upon them through the agency of the Victorious [Demetrius] by God. Having achieved nothing, they left in great distress and shame, leaving behind them numerous constructs and much booty…

And the most wondrous and worthy of remembrance of all was that Chatzon, the leader of the Slavs, in accordance with his custom asked an oracle whether he would enter our city guarded by God. And he was given an answer in the affirmative but it was not revealed to him how he would make his entrance. Yet by reason of the answer delivered to him he believed that the augury was favorable, he boldly proceeded on with his plan. But He who turns the seasons and foils enemy arrows delivered him as a prisoner to the citizens of the city through the above mentioned gate.  Some of those who were people of rank and dignity in the city hid him in a house for profits and for unworthy reasons. But even in this case, Holy Providence of the Victorious martyr did not tarry. He kindled courage in some women who then brought him out from the house where he had remained hidden. Dragged through the city he was stoned to death. And thus he found a death commensurate with his evil plans.

II. Of the War Against the Khagan

After the already mentioned large-scale assault by the Slavs, that is by Chatzon and the just and easily achieved ruin that befell them through the intercession of the Victorious, war against us brought them humiliation. They also suffered a significant loss when prisoners taken by them fled to our city, protected by God, and were freed thanks to their guide and redeemer and our protector, Demetrius.  They had reasons to be troubled not just because they lost their captives but also because the latter fled having taken with them a part of the plunder taken by them [the Slavs] during their pillaging. In their great distress they decided, having collected many gifts, to send them via their messengers to the khan of the Avars with the enticement of a promise of great sums of money that they and already looted and those yet to be captured in our city in our city – as they assured him – should he lend them his help. They said that it will be easy for them to take this city, that was as if already meant by fate for him, unable to defend itself as it sat alone among the cities and provinces which had already been made desolate by them. For it is said that it lies in the middle of all this devastation and accepts all those fleeing from the Danube, from Pannonia, Dacia and Dardania, and all the other cities and provinces, and they all gather to it.

The aforesaid khagan of the Avars eagerly trying to fulfill their wish, gathered at his side all the barbarian tribes controlled by him, together with all the Slavs, Bulgars and other peoples all in an innumerable multitude and after the passage of two years he readied an army to battle our city protected by the martyr. He ordered to arm elite riders and to send them with great haste, for he did not know when he would arrive at the city with his army. And these riders captured and, in some cases, even killed those residents who found themselves outside [of the city gates when the riders attacked]. After some time the khagan himself arrived together with his warriors who were bringing various machines and war contraptions in order to destroy our fatherland.

[to come]

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January 26, 2018

Monkeying Around with Others’ History

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If you want to read something truly laughable, you should read “The History Files”, an amusing set of descriptions of various tribes in Europe.

Based on a review of this pseudo-history site, an inescapable conclusion is that a pair of retarded monkeys with a history fetish could have put together a more accurate and honest description of Europe’s past.

The reader should be already alerted by the fact that for a history of Poland, the only thing that is cited is a work by one M. Ross of Durham (!) from 1835:  A History of Poland from its Foundation

The thing is put out by a one man shop out of Taunton in the UK.

Here are some pearls from the site:

“Poland occupies a large area of Central  Europe bordering the southern Baltic Sea. Its history is a long one, covering several Bronze Age and Iron Age cultures, the latter of which saw the settlement of Belgic groups [!] who became collectively known as the Venedi, settling along the east bank of the Vistula.”

Did you know that the Venedi were “Belgic”? (The source for this is unclear but I assume that it must be Strabo who thought the Veneti of Vannes to be a Belgic tribe and, perhaps, the Adriatic Veneti but 1) that should make you think about who the Belgae really were and 2) Strabo said nothing at all about the Vistula Veneti).  There are tons of “Venetic” names throughout Europe – all you have to do is look at Ptolemy.

Or this:

“the last two centuries BC Germanic settlement from Scandinavia formed minor (tribal) states on the southern Baltic coast and west bank of the Vistula. Of these, the Buri and Lugii occupied areas of southern Poland,”

Did you know that the Buri and Lugi were Germanic?  No? No problem, now you do.

But the most amusing thing is this:

“The Late Bronze Age Lusatian culture … covered all of modern Poland with extensions into modern Czechia [!] and Slovakia, north-western Ukraine, and areas of central eastern Germany and eastern Pomerania… the Lusatian evolved directly into the subsequent Pomeranian culture. The ethnic composition of the Lusatian people is questionable, but they would have pre-dated the arrival of Germanics into the region.”

Here is a hint:

  • The Lusatians were the Veneti

So what happened?

  • Pre-Lusatian > Lusatian = Venetic = Suevic > Slavs

That said, it is probably true that some people really did crawl out of the Pripet Marshes.  You can tell who they are by the fact that they think they are Slavs and since their ancestors did crawl out of the marsh, so, too, must have the Slavs.

Lesson learned:

when they arrived on Slavic doorstep, still dripping with Pripet’s marsh goo, the Suavs should have just given them the Saint Adalbert treatment.

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October 7, 2017

Metz’s Troubles

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Speaking of Metz, thanks to Maciej for reminding me of this. I did want to mention the Slavic incursion of 1009 but the whole topic slipped my mind.  Thietmar says this:

“Ecclesia namque una, quae extra Metensem stabat civitatem, et congregatio ibidem (Deo) serviens a Sclavis Deum non timentibus vastatur.””

Pertz claimed in the MGH that, “not so”, that these were Northmen.  He then points to Alpert as proof and indeed Alpert does mention attacks of the Northmen.  Problem is that he does not provide any dates.

The only dating comes from Sigebert of Gembloux’s Universal Chronicle.  But he does not say that the Northmen invaded Metz.  Rather he only mentions Northmen in Frisia in 1009 – though Frisia is aways from Metz.

And remember the attacks happened about 1009.  Here are the dates when the three characters involved lived:

  • Sigebert circa 1030 – 1112
  • Alpert ? – 1024
  • Thietmar – 975 – 1018

So it seems that the oldest contemporary here was Thietmar whereas Sigebert wasn’t even alive in 1009.   Alpert must have been but he did not tell us when the Northmen ravaged Metz.  He does say that Henry subdued the Winidi.  It is also possible that both Slavs and Northmen raided Metz and Frisia that year.

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October 7, 2017

Signs 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