Category Archives: Poles

Ziza or Zizilia

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Always thought it was curious when German (as opposed to Nordic) Gods sounded Slavic.  One such case – of Lollus – already discussed here.  Others such as Jecha or Biel might want to get to later.  But then there is the curious case that actually is attested as early as 1135 in a story – Ex Gallica Historia –  that is very unlikely to be true but whose value is threefold.

First, the story of how the Swabians defeated the Romans (attributed to Velleius Paterculus but not likely written by him) tells of the founding of the Augsburg.  It is in some ways similar to the stories written by Wincenty Kadlubek about how the Poles (or Lechites as he would have it) defeated the Romans (and others).  The fact that Augsburg sits in the old Vinde-Licia seem very suggestive.  At the very least here may be an inspiration for Kadlubek who was a travelled man.

Second, there is a name here that is clear Slavic and that appears nowhere else.  The author has Roman soldier be called Bogudis.  He seems to be an Avar.

Third, there is a report of who the Swabians relied on for their Divine Protection.  Here we have a name that is at least somewhat similar to a Goddess said to have been worshipped by the pagan Poles.  We know that Marcin Kromer’s list of Gods includes Zizililia.  This is repeated by Maciej Stryjkowski who says:

Venera they called the goddess of love Zizilia, to whom they prayed for fertility and all sorts of bodily pleasures they demanded from her.  

(Another “Z” Divinity is Zievana sive Zevonia (Kromer) about whom Stryjkowski says: “Diana the goddess of the hunt in they tongue they called Ziewonia or Dziewanna.”)

For more of these see here.

In any event, the Swabian Goddess’ name is supposedly Cisa or Zisa.  This, when one thinks of the tree cis, would already be enough to perk up Slavic ears. But in the story the name comes up slightly differently:

  • Zizarim (or Zizarana?)
  • Ziza
  • Ziznberc (mountain)
  • Zicę

Of course, already Grimm noticed the similarity of the name to that mentioned by Tacitus:

Para Suevorum et Isidi sacrificat.

In any event, the Goddess Ziza has been repeatedly cited by the learned men and women of Augsburg throughout the Middle Ages and many places are said to have been named after Her.

There is another potential connection here but about that later.

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September 21, 2017

We Know That We Do Not Know

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One of the readers had asked the question about the location of the “Vistula Venedi”.  This is rather complicated since, with the exception of the Tabula Peutingeriana, we don’t have any actual ancient maps of the region

Pomponius Mela says that: “Sarmatia, wider to the interior than toward the sea, is separated by the Vistula [Vistula] River from the places that follow, and where the river reaches in, it goes all the way to the Ister River. Its people are very close to the Parthians in dress and in weaponry, but the rougher the climate, the cruder their disposition.”  Which sounds about right.

Strabo does not venture that deep (he does mention the Vindilici who previous to Tiberius’ wars lived at the Bodensee).

Pliny, says that “some writers state that these regions, as far as the river Vistula, are inhabited by the Sarmati, the Venedi, the Sciri, and the Hirri.  He does not say who the Sciri and Hirri are.

Incidentally, the Codanus Sinus has also been identified with the Kattegat and not just with the Bay of Gdansk (it appears in Pomponius Mela and in Pliny).

Tacitus does not mention the Vistula and places the Veneti somewhere where Suevia ends.  Where Suevia ends, however, he declines to say.

He also contributes by noting that the Suevi and Esti are very similar except for language with the Estian language similar to that of Britain.

Ptolemy is more detailed and is worth quoting in more detail but is full of issues of his own:

“Lesser races inhabit Sarmatia near the Vistula river. Below the Venedae are the Gythones, then the Finni, then the Soulanes/Boulanes; below whom are the Phrungundiones; then the Avarini near the source of the Vistula river; below these are the Ombrones, then the Anartophracti, then the Burgiones, then the Arsietae, then the Saboci, then the Piengitae and the Biessi near the Carpathian mountains. Among those we have named to the east: below the Venedae are the Galindae, the Sudini, and the Stavani, extending as far as the Alauni; below these are the Igylliones, then the Coestoboci and the Transmontani extending as far as the Peuca mountains. Back from the Ocean, near the Venedicus bay, the Veltae dwell, above whom are the Ossi; then more toward the north the Carbones and toward the east are the Careotae and the Sali; below whom are the Gelones, the Hippopodes and the Melanchlaeni; below these are the Agathyrsi; then the Aorsi and the Pagyritae; then the Savari and the Borusci to the Ripaeos mountains; then the Acibi and the Nasci; below whom are the Vibiones and the Idrae; and below the Vibiones bordering on the Alauni are the Sturni, and between the Alauni and the Amaxobii are the Cariones and the Sargati; near the bend of the Tanis river are the Ophlones and then the Tanaitae; below whom are the Osili extending as far as Rhoxolanis; between the Amaxobii and the Rhoxolani are the Rheucanali and the Exobygitae; and between the Peucini and the Basternae are the Carpiani, above whom are the Gevini, then the Bodini; between the Basternae and the Rhoxolani are the Chuni, and below the mountains named from these are the Amadoci and the Navari.”

Regarding Ptolemy we have “several” issues:

  • The guy was writing in Egypt in pre-Internet days.  He was writing a world geography not a geography of the Vistula region meaning that he had to make sure that he was generally correct across all geographies but he did not need to be specifically correct in any given place.  I mean who was going to call him on whether the Sciri were Sarmatian or something else?
  • He was relying on multiple sources that he was compiling into one “universal” work.  Normally, the way you would do that is you would critically check each against the other and discard the chaff.  But, how could he “critically” look at anything sitting in Alexandria?  My strong suspicion is that, when I’m doubt, he included multiple data points that in reality referred to one and the same thing.  If you can’t check, it’s probably better to be overinclusive than to risk leaving things out altogether.  And he had to fit all of this on his “map”
  • How good were his sources?
  • Even where they were good, to what time periods did they pertain?  The situation north of the Empire was fluid with various watahas carving up their own “kingdoms” until a bigger guy showed up with more men and better weapons. We do not know how long precisely his work took but it was not put together over a day.  Thus, the situation could have changed while he was writing his magnum opus.
  • A very important word in all of Ptolemy is a word that was translated as “below” – what did he mean by that?  Did he mean “south” or “down river” or something else (think of Curta’s arguments about what maps Jordanes was using…).  In fact, did he mean the same thing every time he used the word?
  • The manuscripts vary greatly which means that some of them were copied incorrectly or that some monks “corrected” Ptolemy or both.
  • It is also worth noting that the so-called “Ptolemaic” maps were not his but rather were medieval maps put together as best guesses based on the numbers and names provided by Ptolemy.

There is no good English translation of Ptolemy.  The above comes from Stevenson who, ahem, may have translated from Latin (the original we think was in Greek).

With that said:

  • it is not clear what Ptolemy means by Venedicus Bay – it is safe to say that if the Venedae were really a “great” people then the suggestion that Venedicus Bay is the Bay of Gdansk is ridiculous simply because it is way too small.  A helpful hint is provided by Pomponius Mela who says “Sarmatia, wider to the interior than toward the sea”.  This is, of course true: the further East you go the “thicker” “Sarmatia becomes.  The further West you go the “thinner” it is until you reach the “Cymbrian Peninsula” that is Denmark.  The reason the west is thinner is simple – the Baltic Sea.  Of course, we know that the Baltic is a sea.  But to Ptolemy and others of his age, the north was “Ocean”, Scandinavia was an island and the Baltic Sea was just a “bay” that the Ocean must have carved up in Sarmatia to make it – at that place – thinner than it is to the East.  If you view the entire Baltic Sea as basically a giant bay then you have your Venedicus Bay.  It is the same as the Suevian Sea of Tacitus.  The fact that the Suevian Sea was also called the Sarmatian Sea puts an end to speculation here.  On a large Baltic, you could fit all the Venedi – a “greater” people. This also matches arguably what we see on the Tabula Peutingeriana.
  • There is a potential problem with this.  The “Vistula” was supposed to have separated Sarmatia from Germania.  In fact, the Gotones (assuming they are to be seen as Goths) dwelt in Sarmatia (!) below the Venedae and near the Vistula.  If the Vistula ends Sarmatia then the southern Baltic shore can’t be part of the Venedic Bay. 
  • Or can it?  The assumption that is made is that the Goths must have dwelt at the “mouth” of the Vistula but that is not what Ptolemy says (“Lesser [than the Venedae?] races inhabit Sarmatia near the Vistula river. Below the Venedae are the Gythones, then the Finni, then the Soulanes”).  Moreover, even if the Goths lived at the mouth of the Vistula, we know they moved south at some point.  But there is an even bigger issue here.  We know that the Goths came from Scandinavia (at least those who do not want to deny reality know that).  If so and if they landed on the Baltic shore then it stretches credulity to suggest that they landed in one place that neatly separated different peoples.  It is much more likely that they landed at the mouth of “a river” (will get back to that) and that their landing, in effect, separated the people who lived along that river.  That is the Goths may have simply cut into the Venedae.
  • But there is another issue.  We do not even know what the Vistula River is.  We assume that it must be the river that we call Vistula today because that prevents us from having to think but even this is not certain.  There are quite a number of good reasons to think that the Vistula was the Oder.  For example, in Ptolemy’s mind “Sarmatia is terminated in the west by the Vistula river and by that part of Germania lying between [Vistula’s] source and the Sarmatian mountains but not by the mountains themselves.”  What he is arguably describing here is the land west of the Odra/Oder which is, to the Nysa/Neisse, in Poland.
  • There are other reasons to think that the Veneti extended to the Oder.  Like the name of the river itself.  Whoever you may think the Veneti were the fact that Odra is similar to Adria where the Veneti lived has not escaped notice.
  • Moreover, have you ever thought as to why there were no Rugii at Ruegen in Tacitus’ writings?  But if we assume that Vistula is where the Goths are Vistula must be today’s Vistula, this creates a mess as the Rugii are nowhere near Rugia island.  I mean even if some Rugii marched out, there should have been some other Rugii left behind at… well, Rugia. BUT, if Vistula is the Oder and the Goths are there then the Rugii can be both close to the Goths and close to the island of Rugia/Ruegen.
  • In other words, whether the Goths landed at the Oder or at today’s Vistula has very little bearing on the question of whether there were Veneti West of (today’s) Vistula.  The fact that that whole are is called Wendland (in fact to Denmark) by King Alfred should surprise no one.  And perhaps this matches to with Aethicus Ister who lists “.. Alani, Meotae, Huns, Frisians, Danes, Vinnidi, Riphaeans, and Olches, whom the folk in those parts call orci, very filthy peoples.”  This list seems to be composed of several lists but the Frisians, Danes, Vinnidi description seems to make sense and nicely suggests that the Vinnidi dwell between the Danes and the Riphaeans (which, traditionally meant the Ural mountains or thereabouts).
  •  It is also curious that there are many tribes that Ptolemy mentions that are clearly or very likely the same as the Slavic tribes we know from medieval history.
  • Take the Lincis – all the manuscripts say Lincis – except one.  So 19th century researchers decided to make Silingae out of the poor Lincis.
  • Take the Veltae – the later Veleti who dwell next to the Ossi.  The Ossi speak “Pannonian” we are told by Tacitus.  Then we have Ossentrix be the king of the Wilzi in the Didrek Sagas.  Did the Ossi conquer the Veltae?
  • In fact, take something else… The English translation by Stevenson (corrected above) speaks as follows: “Below the Venedae are the Gythones, then the Finni, then the Sulones.  BUT the manuscripts actually vary and the alleged Sullones are Soulanes or… Boulanes.   
    • The fact that much later in the medieval day the first mentions of the Poles speak of them as Bolanes (not all but enough to ask questions) is interesting
    • the fact that Bol means “great” (Bole-slav) suggests that Boulanes may have been just a different form of Veltae – a “great” people.”
    • Here is a little excerpt from Karl Müller’s 1883 Ptolemy which also discusses the topic (including Schaffarik’s views):


That the Venetic name appears in Prussian and Polish is quite clear.  See this piece on the meaning of the word.  But there were also a number of villages in Poland with similar names such as, for example, near Wroclaw.

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September 14, 2017

Thietmar’s Book VIII

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Chapter 1 [1018]

In the year 1018 of the Incarnation, in the second indiction, in the sixteenth year of Lord Henry’s reign, and his fourth as emperor, the same Henry celebrated the Circumcision and Epiphany of the Lord in Frankfurt, with great solemnity (1, 6 January).  On January 25, Ezzelin the Lombard was granted his liberty.  He had been held in custody for four years.  Afterwards in January 30, Bishops Gero and Arnulf, the counts Herman and Dietrich, and the emperor’s chancellor Frederick agreed to a sworn peace at the burg Bautzen.  The agreement was are at the emperor’s order and in response Boleslav’s constant supplications.  This was not as it should have been,  however.  Rather, it was the best that could be accomplished under the circumstances.  In the company of a select group of hostages, the aforesaid lords returned.  After four days, Oda, Margrave Ekkehard’s daughter, whom Boleslav had long desired, was escorted to Zuetzen by Otto, the duke’s son.  When they arrived they were greeted by a large crowd of men and women, and by many burning lamps, since it was night-time.  Contrary to the authority of the canons, Oda married the duke over Septuagesima.  Until now, she has lived outside the law of matrimony and thus in a manner worthy of a marriage such as this one.

Chapter 2

In her husband’s kingdom, the customs are many and varied. They are also harsh, but occasionally quite praiseworthy.  The populace must be fed like cattle and punished as one would a stubborn ass.  Without severe punishment, the prince cannot put them to any useful purpose.  If anyone in this land should presume to abuse a foreign matron and thereby commit fornication, the act is immediately avenged through the following punishment.  The guilty party is led on to the market bridge, and his scrotum is affixed to it with a nail.  Then after a share knife has been  placed next to him, he is given the harsh choice between death or castration.  Furthermore, anyone found to have eaten meat after Septuegesima is severely punished, by having his teeth knocked out.  The law of God, newly introduced in these regions, gains more strength from such acts of force that from any fast imposed by the bishops.  There are also other customs, by far inferior to these, which please neither God nor the inhabitants, and are useful only as a means to inspire terror.  To some extent, I have alluded to these above.  I think that it is unnecessary fro me to say any more about this man whose name and manner of life, if it please Almighty God, might better have remained concealed from us.  That his father and he were joined to us, through marriage and great familiarity, has produced results so damaging that any good preceding them is far outweighed, and so it will remain in the future.  During false periods of peace Boleslav may temporarily regard us with affection.  Nevertheless, through all kinds of secret plots, he constatnly attempts to sow dissension, diminish our inborn freedom, and, if time and place permit rise up and destroy us.

Chapter 3

In the days of his father, when he still embraced heathenism, every woman followed her husband on to the funeral pure, after first being decapitated.* If a woman was found to be a prostitute moreover, she suffered a particularly wretched and shameful penalty.  The skin of around her genitals was cut off and this ‘foreskin,’ if we may call it that, was hung on the door so that anyone who entered would see it and be more concerned and prudent in the future.  The law of the Lord declares that such a woman should be stoned, and the rules of our ancestors would require her beheading.**  Nowadays, the freedom to sin dominates everywhere to a degree that is not right or normal.  And so it is not just a large number of frustrated girls who engage in adultery, having been driven by the desire of the flesh to harmful lust, but even some married women and, indeed, with their husbands still living.  As if this were not enough, such women then have their husbands murdered by the adulterer, inspiring the deed through furtive hints.  After this, having given a wicked example to others, they receive their lovers unite openly and sin at will.  They repudiate their legal lord in a most horrible fashion and prefer his retainer, as if the latter were sweet Abro or mild Jason.  Nowadays, because a harsh penalty is not imposed, I fear that many will fund this new custom more and more acceptable.  O you priests of the Lord, forcefully rise up and let nothing stop you!  Take a sharp ploughshare and extirpate this newly sprouted weed, down to the roots! You also, lay people, do not give aid to such as these! May those joined in Christ live innocently and, after these supplanters have been rooted out forever groan in shame.  Unless these sinners return to their senses, may our helper, Christ, destroy them with a powerful breath from his holy mouth and scatter them with the great splendor of his second coming.

* note: according to Boniface, the Wends “observed the mutual love of matrimony with such great zeal that a woman would refuse to live after her husband had died.  Among them, moreover a woman was judged praiseworthy if she chose to die by her own hand and burned together with her husband on a single pure. (Bon. Epistolae 73).

** note: John 8:5.

Chapter 4

Now, I have said enough regarding that matter, since I must still related certain things regarding Duke Boleslav’s misfortune.  The latter’s territory include a certain burg, located near the border with the Hungarians.  ITs guardian was lord Prokui, an uncle of the Hungarian king.  Both in the past and more recently, Prokui had been driven from his lands by the king and his wife had been taken captive.  When he was unable to free her, his nephew arranged for her unconditional release, even though he was Prokui’s enemy.  I have never heard of anyone who showed such restraint towards a defeated for.  Because of this, God repeatedly granted him victory, not only in the burg mentioned above, but in others as well.  HIs father, Deuvix, was very cruel and killed many people because of his quick temper.  When he became a Christian, however, he turned his rage against his reluctant subjects, in order to strengthen this faith. Thus, glowing with zeal for God, he washed away his old crimes. He sacrificed both to the omnipotent God and to various false gods.  When reproached by his priest for doing so, however, he maintained that the practice had brought him both wealth and great power.  His wife, Beleknegini – the name means beautiful lady in Slavonic – drank immoderately and rode a horse like a warrior.  Once, in a fit of anger, she killed a man.  These polluted hands would have been better employed at the spindle, and her frenzied spirit should have been restrained by patience.

Chapter 5 [1018]

The Liutizi were always united in evil.  Now, they attacked lord Mistislav who had not supported them with troops during the emperor’s expedition, the latter having taken place in the previous year.  They devastated much of Mistislav’s territory, forcing his wife and daughter-in-law to flee, and compelling him to seek protection within the burg Schwerin.  He was joined there by his best milites.  Then, the evil cunning of the populace, rebellious against both Christ and their own lord, forced him to abandon his paternal inheritance.  He barely managed to get away.  This detestable presumption occurred in the month of February which the heathen venerate with rites of purification and obligatory offerings.  The month takes its name from the god of hell, Pluto, who is also called Februus.  Then, all of the churches, dedicated to the honour and service of Christ, were wasted by fire and other forms of destruction.  Even worse, the image of the crucified Christ was mutilated and the worship of idols was preferred to that of God.  The minds of this folk called the Abodrites and Wagrii, hardened like the heart of Pharaoh.  They seized for themselves the kind of liberty possessed by the Liutizi and, following the model of that famous deception, removed their neck from the sweet yoke of Christ even as they willingly submitted to the burdensome weight of the Devil’s rule.  They did this even though they had previously had a much better father and nobler lord.  The members of Christ should lament this weakness of theirs and complain about it to their head, constantly asking, with the voice of their hearts, that this might be changed for the better.  They themselves should not allow this situation to continue, to the extent that this is possible.

Chapter 6 [1018]

As soon as he learned of these events, Bernhard, one of my brethren at Magdeburg and formerly bishop of those apostates, did not hesitate to bring the issue to the emperor’s attention.  It was not from concern over his secular losses that he did this, but rather from  a deep spiritual sadness.  After receiving the news, the emperor gave a heavy sigh.  Neverthless, he decided to delay his response until Easter, so that, with more prudent advice, what had been engendered through an unfortunate conspiracy might be utterly destroyed…

Chapter 20

Now I shall truthfully explain what provoked them to do this.  In the times of Bishop Giselher and Margrave Gunther, the generous beneficence of Otto II, smiling broadly upon everyone, granted to our church a certain forest.  It was situated between the rivers Saale and Mulde, and between the districts of Siusuli and Plisne.  After the sad destruction of our diocese, during the reign of Otto II, Margrave Ekkehard [I] acquired another forest, in a  place called Soemmering, and traded it for the one belonging to us.  Afterwards, along with most of our property, this forest was returned to us by King Henry, the restorer of our office.  This restitution was confirmed through a legal judgement in the presence of all the king’s leading men, and with the brothers Herman and Ekkehard II unable to support their claim.  This forest had been in our church’s possession for more than twelve years.  And Margrave Herman had in no way succeeded in reacquiring it by offering me sixty manses of land.  Nevertheless, he thought that he and his brother might still claim it by means of imperial diplomats relating to the possession of two burgwards, Rochlitz and Teitzig.  He hoped that the old document which confirmed our rights had been lost.  When he showed me his documents, he realized that they would do him no good.  For at Magdeburg, when our respective diplomata were presented before the emperor, it was clear that our church’s claims took precedence, in every way.  At last, in his brother’s presence and hearing, the aforesaid margrave declared: ‘Until now, whatever we have done regarding this matter has been undertaken because we hoped to have justice, and not out of recklessness.  Now let us give it all up.’

Chapter 21 [1018]

Ekkehard was a young man and therefore immature.  Shortly afterwards, at the instigation of his miles Budislav, he began to erect tall enclosures in his burg ward, Rochlitz, for the purpose of capturing wild game.  When subsequently informed of his actions, I accepted the news peacefully.  Nevertheless, through my intermediary – namely his brother – I asked that he desist.  Also, I immediately complained to his brother.  In each case, I was completely unsuccessful, and so things stood until Easter had passed.  Them, because both the weather and the condition of the roads were favorable, and because I had never visited that part of my diocese, I decided to go there and carefully investigate the situation, as yet unfamiliar to me.  On May 2, a Friday, I went to Kohren and confirmed the people who gathered there.  Continuing my trip, I encountered the area, mentioned above, which had been fitted out with ropes and great nets.  I was astonished and wondered what I shod do.  Finally, because I could not take the apparatus with me, I mediately ordered that part of it to be cut down.  Afterwards, I and directly to Rochlitz. There I confirmed a few people and, under threat of the ban, forbade the withholding of my rightful tithes and use of the forest.  I declared all of  this to be property of our church, and made peace.

Chapter 22 [1018]

Then I returned to my estate at Kohren where, after seven days, I heard that Ekkehard’s millets were threatening my people.  At that time, the chancellor happened to be spending the night with me.  When I explained the situation to him, he responded favorably.  On numerous occasions, those same warriors gathered together and tried to attack me, but our guards stopped them, in timely fashion.  Meanwhile, I sent my representative to the emperor, at Mainz, and humbly sought his mediation.  Now, on his own behalf, Ekkehard agreed to a truce, and his brother, whom I had long awaited, returned from Poland and offered his own hand in peace.  Neither kept his word very well, however.  Six flogged and shave men, and as many devastated houses, prove how others must defend themselves against such lords.  In their accustomed manner, their dependents not only raged against me, but also harmed other, better men.  They attacked Archbishop Gero in Werben and Count Siegfried at Nischwitz and took whatever they wished.

Chapter 31 [1018]

We may not keep silent regarding the sad and harmful events that occurred in Russia.  For, on or advice, Boleslav attacked it with a large army and caused much destruction.  On July 22, the duke came to a certain river, where he ordered his army to set up camp and prepare the necessary bridges.  Also camped near the river, along with his army, was the king of the Russians.  He was anxiously awaiting the outcome of the upcoming battle, for which both rulers had called.  Meanwhile, the Poles provoked the enemy into fighting and, with unexpected success, drove them from the river bank which they were supposed to defend.  Elated by this news, Boleslav hastily notified his companions and quickly crossed the river although without effort.  In contrast, the hostile army, drawn up in battle formation, vainly attempted to defend its homeland.  It collapsed at the first attack, however, and failed to mount any effective resistance.  Among those who fled, many were killed, but only a few of the victors were lost.  On our side, the dead included Erich, an illustrious miles whom our emperor had long held in chains.  From that day on, with every success, Boleslav drove his scattered enemies before him, and the whole populace received and honoured him with many gifts.

Chapter 32 [1018]

Meanwhile, Jaroslav captured a city which had been subject to his brother [Sventopolk], and abducted the inhabitants.  At Boleslav’s instigation, the very strong city of Kiev was disturbed by the constant attacks of hostile Petchenegs and severely weakened by fire. It was defended by its inhabitants, but quickly surrendered to the foreign warriors, after its king fled and abandoned it.  On August 14, the city received Boleslav and Sventipolk, its long-absent lord.  Thereafter, through his favour, and from fear of us, the whole region was brought into submission.  When they arrived, the archbishop of that city received them, at the church of Saint Sophia, with relics of the saints and other kinds of ceremonial apparatus.  In the previous year, this church had been severely, but unintentionally damaged by fire.  Here were found the king’s stepmother, wife, and nine sisters, one of whom had previously been desired by Boleslav, that old fornicator.  Unmindful of her husband, the duke unlawfully took her away.  There, too , he was shown an unspeakable amount of treasure, most of high ch he distributed among his friends and supporters.  He sent some of it back to his homeland, however. Among those rendering assistance to the aforesaid duke were three hundred of our warriors, five hundred Hungarians, and one thousand Petchenegs.  Al of these were no sent home, since, as Sventipolk was happy to see, the populace flocked to him and appeared loyal.  In this great city, the centre of that kingdom, there are more than four hundred churches, eight markets, and an unknown number of inhabitants.  As in this entire land, the city gains its strength from fugitive serfs who converge on this place from everywhere, but especially from areas overrun by the fast-moving Danes.  Until now, it successfully resisted the attacks of the Petchenegs and was also victorious over other enemies.

Chapter 33 [1018]

Elated by this success, Boleslav sent the bishop of this city to Jaroslav, to ask that his daughter be sent back to him.  In return, he promised to send back Jaroslav’s wife, stepmother, and sisters.  Afterwards, he sent his beloved Abbot Tuni to our emperor, with splendid gifts that he might more firmly secure his favor and aid.  He also indicated that he would follow the emperor’s wishes in all matters. He also sent messengers to nearby Greece, who promised good things to the emperor there, if he would consider him as his faithful friend.  Otherwise, they intimated, he would be a most obdurate and invincible enemy.  Among all of these, omnipotent God stands firm., mercifully revealing what pleases him and profits us.  In those days my cousin Udo, took Herman prisoner.  This was a man equal to him in nobility and power; and he led him to his burg against his will.  I fear that another dangerous weed will sprout from this, and be exceedingly difficult or impossible to eradicate.

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September 12, 2017

Ausserordentlich Viele Koinkidinks

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Speaking of Grimm, it is unfortunate that his Deutsche Mythologie has not been translated into a Slavic language (as far as we know).  There are lots of interesting tidbits throughout that book…

For example:

Most adults are aware that light travels faster than sound.  The difference is actually quite significant.  The speed of light is about 186,000 miles per second whereas sound will travel only 1,125 feet in that same second.  It is for this reason that when you see lightning, you then expect to hear thunder.  In fact, you can calculate how far lightning struck from you merely by counting the number of seconds that pass when you hear the thunder sound that follows it.

What does that have to do with Grimm and Slavs?

Well, there is an interesting passage in Procopius that says something like:

“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…”

For years, it was assumed that this was a reference to the Russian Perun.*  And yet, as we know the Polish Piorun, the East Slav Perun or Lithuanian Perkunas refer to thunder not lightning.  Is the same God the maker of lightning?

* note: the cattle reference suggested Veles to some but, to the extent that there even was any Veles, it seems odd to sacrifice “cattle” to the alleged “cattle god”. Veles can, on the other hand, be another name for Piorun.

We might say yes if we look at expressions such as “Jasny piorun”, “jasny grom” and others…  And yet these expressions seem like conflations of two independent atmospheric phenomena.

The distinction of these two phenomena is hinted at in the 8th century work of Cosmography of Aethicus Ister where we learn that:

“Naxos and Melos and these islands are islands of the Cyclades, and the very round Isle of Melon as well, which is ver fertile; Jason, Pluto or Paron, and Pharius were born there.”

Naxon et Melos et ipsae insolae Cicladum insolaque Melon rotundissima adeo et fertilis, ubi Iason et Plutonem uel Paronem et Pharium editos.  

Here Paron is equated with Pluto but “Iason” remains separate.

So what does this have to do with Grimm, again?

Well, we’ve previously noted the strange fact that Odin simply means “one” in Russian/Ukrainian (Polish jeden – eden?).

Did Grimm know that?  He was a competent anthropologist, well-learned in Teutonic, Gallic and Slavic beliefs.

And so right at the beginning of the very first edition of his book, he mentions some Slavic Gods.

Among those, looking for similarities and differences between Slavic and Germanic Gods, he notices a God from the Slavic region of Krain (Italian Carniola) in today’s Slovenia (mentioned in a local dictionary).  That God’s name is Torik or Tork.  Grimm looks at the name and expresses his belief that this (war!) God has nothing to do with either the Germanic Tyr nor Thor.

So far so good…

But Grimm then provides an explanation of the Slavic God’s name, the implication of which he does not appear to grasp.

“There is an extraordinary great overlap in Germanic and Slavic superstitions”

He says that the Slavic God’s name simply comes from vtorik, that is the “other” or “second”.  He says this is because the Slavic Torik was a war God and the name was a simple translation of the  name Mars.  Mars or Martis was and is Tuesday (incidentally, Tyr’s day) which was the second day of the Slavic week.  So the Slavs started to call their Mars by using their translated name of the “second” day of the week which day was dedicated to the god Mars.

This may or may not be true, of course.

A much more interesting question, however, is why is Thor called Thor or Tyr called Tyr?

And here is the real brain twister.  How is it that two Germanic Gods’ names Odin and his “son” Thor correspond to Slavic numerals of one and two.  Note also that vtori can mean the returning, repeated.

And why is Odin called Odin, again?  What is the Germanic etymology here?

Moreover, is not the God of Lightning, the “first” God?  You see lightening first before you hear the corresponding thunder.  Lighting is, well, bright.  Brightness corresponds to the name of the God Jasion (the Polish Jaś), the God of the “year” or Jahr or spring (Slavic v-esna or v-iosna) also the God of agriculture rebirth (notice the adventure with Demeter – Dea – meter – the Mother Goddess but also the Earth Goddess).

First, comes Jasion (“lightning”) and then comes Peron (“thunder”).

“Father” and “Son”.

Odin and Vtor

Odin and Thor.

Was then Zeus Thor who struck his father Jasion in an act of not simply “divine punishment” but usurpation?

Incidentally, Jasion is also mentioned in Sacra Moraviae Historia  where He is referred to as “Chasson/sive Jassen”.

It is also noteworthy that “Chasson” was the name of one of the Slavic leaders in Book 2 of the Miracles of Saint Demetrius.

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July 22, 2017

Sermo Secundus

Published Post author

Since we’ve previously discussed Magister Lucas’ Pentacostal sermon mentioning the Three Polish Gods (et andere?) on a number of occasions (here or here), we figured it made sense to put it up in toto.  Thankfulluy, after Maria Kowalczyk’s article discussing it, the whole sermon came to the attention of Richard Tatarzynski who edited and published it (the Biblical references/citations are his) (but seems to have missed the fact that there is no Quia there).  Unfortunately, no one seems to have bothered to translate the whole thing into any language spoken currently on this planet.  Since we’re far too lazy to tackle this whole sermon, if you’re interested in understanding it all, suggest you hit Google Translate or shell out some cash on a professional translator.

Kowalczyk was interested in Lukasz of Great Kozmin years before the publication of her more famous article

Qia, fratres carissimi, custodia mandatorum praeparat ad susceptionem Spiritus sancti, cuius hodie festivitas celebratur, ideo in lectione sancti Evangelii praesentis diel ponitur incitatio omnium nostrorum ad observationem mandatorum divinorum.  Habetur autem Ioan. 14[23] et eius/tenor sequintur in haec verba: ‘Si quis diligit me, sermonem meum sevabit’ etc.

Sed quia ut ait beatus Gregorius in homilia huius lectionis sanctae tractans illud [Ioan. 14.26]: ‘Paraclitus autem Spiritus sanctus, ille vos docebit omnia,’ ‘quod nisi idem Spiritus sanctus cordi adsit audientis, otiosus est sermo doctoris’; et post: ‘Nemo ergo docenti homini tribuat quod ex ore hominis intelligit, quia nisi intus sit qui doceat, doctoris lingua exterius in vacuum laborat’.  Et declarans hoc dicit sicut et ego vobis dicere possum.  ‘Ecce unam loquentis vocem omnes pariter audistis, nec tamen pariter sensum auditae vocis percipitis.  Cum ergo vox dispar non sit, cur in cordubus vestris dispar est vocis intelligentia, nisi quia per hoc quod vox loquentis communiter admonet, est magister interior qui de vocis intelligentia quosdam specialiter docet?’  Quare carissimi humili prece et devotione sincera hunc Spiritum sanctum Paraclitum totius veritatis magistrum invocemus dicentes: ‘Veni Creator Spiritus mentes tuorum visita, implre superna gratia quae tu creasti pectora.  Accende lumen sensibus, infuende amorem cordibus’ etc.  Quatenus ad gloriam tantae sollemnitatis et dici valeant et intelligi eo auctore quae suae sint grata maiestati et nostra saluti proficua.  Ad quod melius impetrandum matris misericordiae auxilium posulemus insuper dicentes: Ave Maria…

Dicit igitur: ‘Si quis diligit me, sermonem meum servabit’ [Ioan. 14. 23]. In quo notatur amoris communitas: omnibus enim se communicat, pusilis et magnis, informis et sanis, divitibus et egenis.  Non enim proprietas et personarum acceptio apud caritate, ‘non enim,’ ut dicitur 1 Cor. 13[5], ‘quaerit quae sua sunt.’  Notatur etiam amoris nobilitas in hoc quod dicitur: ‘Si ouis’.  Nobilitas autem eius attenditur in hoc, quia est illesibilis, secundum quod dicitur 1 Petri 3[13]: ‘Et quis est qui vobis noceat, si boni aemulatores fueritis’ quasi diceret: nullus, nam / et adversa et prospera cooperantur semper in bonum, talibus numquam in malum, iuxta illus Apostoli Rom, 8[28]: ‘Scimus quoniam diligentibus Deum omnia cooperantur in bonum’.

Sed diceres carissime, quomodo in bonum omnia eis cooperantur qui diligunt Deum?  Certe sic, ut ait Glossa ordinaria ibi super Apostolum, quod italis Deus consolatur prosperis et exercet adversis’.  Nam propria ipsorum infirmitate exercetur humilitas, afflictione patientia, contradictione sapientia, odio benivolentia et usque adeo talibus Deus omnia cooperatur in bonum, ut si qui horum deviant et exorbitant etiam hoc ipsum eis faciat proficere in bonum, quia  humiliores redeunt atque doctiores.  Discunt enim cum tremore se exultare debere, non quasi arrogandi sibi tamquam de sua virtute fiduciam permanendi.  Unde et ut dicit beatus Thomas in quaestionibus ‘De veritate’, in responsione ad quintum: ‘Contingit qoud potentiores freequenter succumbunt.  Ostenditur enim per hoc quod victor magis est ex divina providentia quam ex humana virtute’.  Et ergo dicitur in Psalmo [2,11]: Servite Domino in timore et exultate ei cum tremore’.

Unde et hodie cum Spiritus sanctus venit, dicitur Act. 2[2] et in Epistola hodierna, quod ‘factus est repente de caelo sonus tamquam advenientis spiritus vehementis’ vel in hoic quod dicitur” ‘Si quis diligit me’ [Ioan. 14, 23] notatur verorum amicorum raritas, ut sit sensus ‘si quis diligit’ quasi diceret: Rarus, est, quia ‘omnes, quae sua sunt, quarerunt fastigia, multi ambitionem, multi luxuriam, multi gulam et cetera vitia.  Unde rarus est in fastigiosis, in quibus regnat amor propriae excellentiae et tales sunt hodie plures.  Iam enim prophetia Apostoli 2 Tim. 3[2] verificatur dicens: ‘Erunt homines seipsos amantes.’  Rarus est etiam/ amor Dei in ambitiosis, qui amant pecuniam, Mat. 6[21]” ‘ubi thesaurus tuus, ibi est et cor tuum’.  Item rarus est in luxuriosis et voluptuosis.  Plures enim sunt, ut ait Apostolus 1 Tim. 3[4], ‘voluptatum amatores magis quam Dei’.  Haec sonsiderans beatus Chrysostomus dicebat: ‘Argento et voluptate inhonorabilior nobis Deus, etenim pro illis sustinemus pericula, insidias, vigilias, peregrinationes et infinita mala.  Nos autem propter Deum nec verbum asperum possumus sustinere.’

Amor etiam hic in gulosis locum non habet, quia de talibus dicitur Philip. 3[19], quod ‘eorum Deus est venter’, qui certe ventri oboedientes etiam secundum philosophos gentiles loco bestiarum irrationabilium et percorum computandi sunt.  Unde quia gula gignit tenuem sensum, immo premit ingenium, unde et ad primam viam virtutis, quae est doceri secundum Senecam et beatum Bernardum, assurgere non possunt et ita ad virtutem et sic ad caritatem, quae est forma virtutum.  Unde tales, si volunt corrigi et Deo servire, audiant consilium beati Augustini dicentis: ‘Ante omnia quia Dei servus vult esse omni hora legere debet’, in quo non notat continuationem sine interruptione, sed assiduitatem.

Et in lectione intellige etiam auditionem, quoniam lectio ipsa est quae facit servum Dei, ipsa est quae consolatur, ipsa est quae erigit animas ad caelum, ipsa est quae despici facit mundum et amare Deum.  Quare sequitur, cum dixit: ‘Si quis diligit me, sermonem meum servabit’ [Ioan. 14.23]. Qui sermo corrigit in detestationem peccatorum, dirigit in viam praeceptorum, errigit in ascensionem supernorum, colligit in societatme beatorum.  Dicitur autem sermo, quia serit mores in terra cordis, scilicet nostri, et hoc praecisa in contritione, comminuta in confessione, compluta in lacrimarum effusione, bene stercorisata, vulgariter ‘nagnoiona‘, in iugi peccatorum recordatione.

Servatur autem sermo Domini / in corde, ore, opere, iuxta illud Deut.  6[6]: ‘Erunt verba haec, quae praecipio tibi hodie in corde tuo’.  Ecce primum: ‘et narrabis ea filiis tuis’ [Deut. 6, 7]; ecce secundum: ‘et ligabis ea quasi signum in manu tua’ Deut. 6,8; ecce tertium, scilicet operatio.  In corpde autem servatur sermo Domini per amorem et iugem meditationem iuxta illud psalmistae: ‘In lege Domini fuit voluntas eius et in lege Domini meditabitur die ac nocte’ [Ps. 1,2].  Item: in intellectu autem per cognitionem sine errore, in affectu per amorem sine contradictione, in ore autem servatur sicut fons fluendo, nam vitium capiunt nisi moveantur aquae, ita corrumpitur scientia, si non aliis derivetur.  In opere autem servatur sicut vitis cultura arescit et deperit, Os. [10,1]: ‘Vitis frondosa Israel, ructus adaequatus est ei’, id est opera respondent sermonibus, alias enim non est sons 1 Cor 13[1]: ‘Factus sum velut aes sonans aut cymballum tinniens’.  Item servatur sermo Dei in opere sicut vita per cibum, opus enim est cibus spiritualis.  Unde Ioan. [4,34] dicitur per Christm: ‘Meus est cibus ut faciam voluntatem eius, qui misit me’; unde Gen 30[1[ dixit Rachel ad Iacob: ‘Da mihi liberos, alioquin moriar’.

Sed diceres: qua elitas observationis? certe dicitur, quia Pater caelestis diliget eum.  Signum autem dilectionis Patris non solum in Filii missione, de quo 1 Ioan. [4,9]: ‘In hoc apparuit caritas Dei in nobis, quoniam unigenitum Flium suum misit Deus in mundum, ut vivamus per eum’, sed etiam, quia inhabitat animam tota Tinitas iuxta illud 1 Cor. 3[17] et [2 Cor] 6[16]: ‘Templum Dei sanctum est, quod estis vos’.  Et de hoc subditur [Ioan. 14,23]: ‘et fortem faciendo, quia ei attribuitur potentia, Filius illuminando, quia ipse est Patris sapientia, Spiritus sanctus caritatem inflammando, quia ipse est caritas et benignitas.

‘Et mansionem apud eum faciemus’ [Ioan. 14,23] gratiam confirmando, roborando, augmentando, perseverantiam tribuendo, vel veniemus in praesenti inhabitando per gratiam ‘et mansionem apud eum faciemus’ in futuro.  Et haec mansio est visio Dei, quando manifestabit se ipsum diligentibus, sed non malis, de quibus subdit: ‘Qui non diligit me, sermones meos non servat’ [Ioan. 14,24].  Unde et si alias, maxime hodie deberemus insistere sermonibus divinis, non idolorum.  Tales etiam debent esse sermones nostri, ut possent referri ad Deum Patrem iuxta illud 1 Petri 4[11]”: ‘Si quis loquitur, immo non solum sermones, sed etiam meditationes: nam sermones summi Patris sunt meditatio iusti.

Hoc deberent advertere hodie in choreis vel in aliis spectaculis nefanda loquentes et in cordibus immunda meditantes, clamantes et nominantes idolorum nomina: ‘LadoYassa‘ et attendere an possit referro ad Deum Patrem? Certe non venit ad summum bonum nisi quod bonum. Non enim festa Liberi, id est Bachi, quales proh dolor celebrant ex remanentiis rituum exsecrabilium paganorum, quales fuerunt praedecessores nostri, pervenire possunt ad aures Dei nisi ad ulciscndum, sicut ascenderat clamor Sodomorm et Gomorrhorum.  Nam in hoc festo Liberi fiebant turpes / denudationes et alia turpia, quae deixit Apostolus etiam non nominari gratia Domini Dei, tamem talia iam auctis praedicatoribus cessant et in multis locis cessaverunt.

[Ioan. 14,25]: ‘Haec locutus sum vobis apud vos manens’ corporali praesentia, quae scilicet sunt salutis, quae vitae aeternae.  Unde et Petrus dicebat Ioan. 6[69]: ‘Ad quem ibimus? verba vitae aeternae habes’.  Locutus est nobis ea quae sunt caritatis, quae est via excellentior in vitam aeternam.  Nam et si alias Scriptura sacra, ut dicit Augustinus libro tertio ‘De doctrina christiana’, capitulo decimo: ‘nihil aliud docet nisi caritatem et nihil damnat nisi cupiditatem’, multo magis evangelica quae est Christi.

‘Paraclitus autem Spiritus’ [Ioan. 14, 26], ubi advertatis, quod Spiritus sanctus quadrupliciter, ut hic sufficit, nominatur.  Dicitur enim Spiritus sanctus primo, secundo Spiritus veritatis, tertio Paraclitus, quarto amor sive caritas.  Dicitur Spiritus sanctus, id est purus, ut expellat immunditiam; Spiritus veritatis, quia expellit errorem vel ignorantiam; Paraclitus, quod sonat, consolator, quia expellit tristitiam; Amor vero dicitur quia sedat discordiam.  E contrario vero spiritus malus dicitur etiam spiritus immundus iuxta illud Luc. 11[24]: ‘Cum immundus spiritus exierit ab homine’ etc. spiritus erroris, spiritus vexationis et spiritus discordiae et dissensionis.

Spiritum sanctum autem Pater mittit in nomine Christi, unde dicitur” ‘Quem mittet Pater in nomine meo’ [Ioan. 14, 26].  Nicholas Gorran hic. id est in fide nominis mei, quia non nisi credentibus in Christum datus est.  Unde Ioan. 7[38] dicitur: ‘Qui credit in me, sicut dicit Sciptura, flumina de ventre eius fluent aquae vivae’ et Act. 4[12]: ‘Non est aliud nomen sub caelo, in quo oporteat nos salvos fieri’.

Non enim salvatur in hoc nomine Lado, Yassa, Nia, sed in nomine Iesus Christus.  Quid ergo vis habere Spiritum Dei, invoca in nomine Christi, quod est Iesus, id est salutaris; quaera ea quae sunt salutis, non quae damnationis.  Hoc nomen saepius digne nominatur, / quod iuxta Bernardum ‘est mel in ore, melos in aure, iubilus in corde’.  Non Lada, non Yassa, non Nia, quae sunt nomina alias idolorum in Polonia hic cultorum, ut quaedam cronicae testantur ipsorum Polonorum.  Unde plures interficiebantur tunc, utinam non nunc, eo quod non invocabant nomen illud, de quo dicit Ioel 2[32]: ‘Omnis, qui invocaverit nomen Domini, salvus erit’.  Istis namque invocantibus nomen Domini, qui sunt veri Israel, pax: unde subditur: ‘Pacem relinquo vobis, pacem meam do vobis’ [Ioan. 14,27].

Tria reliquat vel legavit Deus specialiter discipulis suis: humilitatem, de quo Ioan. [13,15]: ‘Exemplum dedi vobis, ut et vos similiter faciatis’; dilectionem, Ioan. ibidem 13[34]: ‘Mandatum novum do vobis’ [Ioan. 14,27].  Haec autem tria reliquit eis, ut nullo indigerent, sed in omnibus abundarent, ut humilitas, id est humilis opinio sui esset in rationabili apud eos, caritas seu dilectio in concupiscibili pax in irascibili.

‘Non, quomodo mundus dat, ego do vobis’ [Ioan. 14,27], ‘Dominus enim dat abundanter et non improperat’ Iac. 1[5].  Sed e contra de mundodicitur Eccli.  20[15]: ‘Pauca dabit et multa improperabit’; [Ioan. 14, 27]: ‘Non turbetur cor vestrum’ ad interiores dolores neque formidet ad exteriores afflictiones.  Unde in consolationem subdit: ‘Audistis, quia ego dixi vobis’ [Ioan. 14,28], qui ‘sum via, veritas et vita’ [Ioan. 14,6], et quid dixit ‘vado’? scilicet vobis parare locum, ‘et venio ad vos’ [Ioan. 14,28] et assumam vos ad me ipsum.  Supra eodem in principio capituli simile dicitur: ‘Non turbetur cor vestrum’ et subdit, quare non deberet turbari: quia ‘in domo Patris mei mansiones multae sunt’ [Ioan. 14,1-2].  Nam consideratio praemii minuit vim flageli, unde et hic dicitur [Ioan. 14,28]: Si diligeretis me, gauderetis utique quia vado ad Patrem, quia Pater maior me est’, homine scilicet.  Ita et nunc gaudendum est nobis dum homines / vadunt ad Deum, dolendum dum vadunt ad diabolum, sicut fecit David dicens: ‘Defectio tenuit me, pro peccatoribus derelinquentibus legem tuam’ [Ps. 118,53].

Multi et multae sunt quae tristantur hodie, quod eorum filii vel filiae Deo illuminati vel illuminatae sunt humiles, non verbosi, non mundum sequentes, cum tamen deberent gaudere, eo quod eos, quos spernit mundus, eligit Deus, quia iuxta Apostolum 1 Cor. 1[27]: ‘Infirma mundi elegit Deus’.  Et certe sunt plures, de quo dolendum, de quibus dicit Chrysostomus super Matthaeum: Alii filiis suis militiam praevident, alii honores, nemo filiis suis praevidet Deum, perditionem ollorum magno pretio comparant, salutem autem eorum nec accipere volunt.  Sed si viderint illos pauperes tristantur, si viderint peccatores et ita mundum sequentes non tristantur, ut ostendant, quod corporum amatores sunt non animarum.

‘Et nunc dixi vobis, it, cum factum ferit, credatis’ [Ioan. 14,29].  Glossa ordinaria: ‘Non quod factum videritis, quia non est laus vel meritum fidei, immo nec fides est de eo quod videtur, sed de eo quod non videtur.  Sed credatis me Filium Dei, non nova fide, quia et prius crediderunt’, apostoli scilicet, ‘sed aucta fide et refecta, quia et modo cum haec diceret parva fides erat et cm moreretur, nulla’.  Si igitur in apostolis fides aucta est per crementum et in nobis per gratiam, unde plura credenda discere possumus et possemus saltem secundum explicationem.

‘Iam non multa loquar vobiscum’, dixit Christus apostolis [Ioan. 14,30], ita ego etiam finiturus sermonem, quia adversarius noster diabolus 1 Petri [5,8] ‘circuit nos quserens quem devoret’ et maxime nunc, utinam igitur una vobiscum possem dicere: ‘Venit enim princeps huius mundi’, id est diabolus qui principatur non creaturis, sed peocatoribus et mundi amatoribus, ‘et in me non habet quidquam’ [Ioan. 14,30], scilicet mortalis / pecccati nec actus nec occasiones nec voluntatem, et sic non superbiam, non avaritiam, non luxuriam, non invidiam, non gulam, non iram, non acediam, non perccatum oris, non cordis, non operis, non ignorantiae, non impotentiae et infirmitatis; maxime non ex malitia: nam certe, si is spiritus malus quod absit, aliquid horum in nobis invenerit.

Spiritus sanctus, cuius festivitas hodie celebratur, ut dicitur Sap. 1[4-5]: ‘Fictum’, id est diabolum, ‘effugiet nec habitabit in corpore subdito peccatis’ et ita quod absit suavitate et donis eius maximis privaremur, et si non esset alia causa nobis movens nos ad peccatum vitandum, virtutes faciendum sufficere deberet, et maxime dilectione Dei uti Christus nobis ostendit dicens: ‘ut cognoscat mundus quia diligo Patrem et, sicut mandatum dedit mihi Pater, sic facio’ [Ioan. 14,31].

Ita enim nos carissimi ad veritatis, quid dicit egregius doctor, beatus Augustinus, in libro tertio ‘Catechizzandis rudibus’, etiamsi impune peccare possent, Dei tamen dilectionem offendere verentur, qui etiam inferni poenas non timerent dummodo Deum diligerent.  Nam, ut tactum est, talibus ‘omnia in bonum cooperantur’ Rom 8[28], non solum in vita praesenti, sed etiam in aeterna, ad quam nos perducat Spiritus sanctus qui cum Patre et Filio regnat.

The castle at Kozmin – portions of it even predate the Magister

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July 3, 2017


Published Post author

We’ve previously described here the curious case of the town of Soest.  However, what can be said about Soest can also be said about other places in Westphalia.  Take, for example, Osnabrück.  What is the origin of that name?

One theory holds that the oldest version of the name – Osenbrugge* – was a reference to a bridge (German Brücke) and that the Osen was a reference to German Gods, i.e., Asen.

* note:  elsewhere Asnabruggensi

First off, there is the interesting matter that the German Brücke seems like it should be related to the Slavic bereg (Берег) meaning “shore” (also related probably German Berg meaning “mountain”.  Either “bridge” or “shore” would be a fitting description of the settlement’s location.  However, on balance, brugge seems closer to Brücke

But what about the “Asen”?  Apparently, someone who knows a lot about water names – particularly Slavic ones –  Jürgen Udolph (the author of, among other titles, Die Stellung der Gewässernamen Polens innerhalb der alteuropäischen Hydronymie) – stated in an interview for the Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) that the name *Osna or a similar form was once  the name of a portion of the run of the River Hase* and that, later, it was renamed Hase.  According to this version, the name *Osna would have survived in the name of the city of Osnabrück, which would mean something like “a bridge over the river Osna.”

* note: Regarding the river Hase, it appears in 763 as Hassa (elsewhere Assa).  Those who’d like to connect it to Tacitean Chasuarii will, however, find a gap of seven centuries.  In German Hasa or Hassa is supposed to mean “grey” – similar to “hazy”.

Haven’t heard this interview so can’t say for sure how far Udolph took this but one has to observe that Osna is actually the first reported name of the Polish Silesian town of Ośno Lubuskie.  The name of that town before WWII was a German Drossen but the name (as far back as we can tell) is Slavic.  It was written as civitas forensi Osna in 1252 in the report on the possessions of the bishopric Lebus (Polish/Slavic Lubusz).  In the same document,the other towns listed as belonging to the Osna grant are such Slavic towns as Boriza and Boleseouiz. Indeed, in 1856 the Landbuch der Mark Brandenburg und des Markgrafthums Nieder-Lausitz expressly admitted that the town’s name was likely Slavic and even provided an etymology noting that the place was probably named by the “immigrant Slavs” – eingewanderte Slawen:

As late as 1350, the name of the town was still reported as Osna.

One observation that also deserves making is that the combination of:

  • vowel > s > n > vowel

is a rather Slavic combination.  Take, for example, jasna (“light”) or vesna/wiosna (“spring”) or, for that matter, sosna (“pine”)  

While it is true that similar combinations appear in France too – as an example you have the name Chesney – it is striking that the appearance of such French names seems limited to the northwest of the country – just slightly East of where would have expected to find the Gallic Veneti.

Further, there is also the Ptolemaic tribe of the Ossi who lived close to the Wilzi/Welatabi (note that the Dietrich of Bern saga features a “king of the Wiltzi” named Ossantrix).

Just for kicks you can open the Westfälisches Urkunden-Buch which has a rather nice list of early Westfallian documents.  There are plenty of German/Nordic names but there are a number of place names which, again, seem rather Slavic as these names and fragments:

  • Ysin-burg, Lippia (yes, the same one as this), Bure
  • in fluuuio Uuisura, in pago Uimodia nuncupato, cui confinis est uilla Liusci uocata
  • in ducatu Budinisuelt
  • in pago Logni
  • Uualanae
  • Chestinacha

And there are plenty of others even more interesting.

So the question that has to be posed is “how far have these Slavs really eingewandert“?

For more on this question see here and here and here and here and here and, of course, here.

We leave you with the coat of arms of the town of Osnabrück (for more on such rosettes, see here):

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June 13, 2017

Lollus of the Borderlands

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It has been assumed that Germanic gods were Odin/Wotan, Thor and the like.  But their worship in Germany proper is attested only poorly.  On the other hand, during the Enlightenment, German amateur anthropologists and folklore collectors began to write down and study local folk tales, myths and superstitions.  The most well-known of this bunch are, of course, the Brothers Grimm.  However, already many years before them, folklore research was well under way in Germany.

Some of the more curious discoveries in the Main include references to old German Gods.  Many of these have been discarded as untrustworthy but they nevertheless merit mention.  This is particularly so since – whether or not they were actual Gods – their names suggest a Slavic origin and, thus, a Slavic presence far West of the Elbe.

Such names include Germanic Krodo (perhaps related to the Polish Krotoszyn/Krotoschin?), the Sorbian Flins but also, among a number of Thuringian Gods, Jecha, Ostara, Cisa and Biel (a Sun God!) and others.

Take Lollus described usually as a Frankish agricultural God.  Apparently, a statue or a figurine was discovered at some point near Schweinfurt (originally mentioned as Suinuurde in about 720 – what does it really refert to?).

The statue was of a youth with curly hair who holds his stretched out tongue in his right hand and a bucket of corn (mixed with wine?) in the left.  According to the tale, he was worshipped along with the Goddess Diana in a holy grove on the shore of the river Main.  The locals are supposed to have given him grape offerings (Dionysus?).  Saint Killian the Irish monk had the effigy of Lollus thrown into the Rhein but… after Killian perished a martyr’s death, a new statue was cast and worshipped.  The name of the God survives in the name of a square in Schweinfurt called the little Lollein.  A second effigy of the God was found in the wall of a churchyard at Lellenfeld near Eichstadt.

The first to report the figure’s discovery was Johann Laurentius in his chronologic Swinfurtensia in the 1600s (though an earlier 16th century letter may have mentioned the same).  He reported that even in his day the place where the Lollus was worshipped previously was called the Löhle or Lölle.

(Then the story appeared many other folklore works – in Johann Heinrich Bockreuß’ (or Bochris’) the Elder’s (1687-1716) Miscellanea lipsiensia, ad incrementum rei litherariæ edita volume 3 (1716) (edited by Karl Friedrich Pezold), in Johann Wilhelm Englert’s Dissertatio historico-theologica Franconiam in tenebris Ethnicismi et in luce Christianismi sistens…, in Johann Georg Sulzer’s Charaktere der vornehmsten Dichter aller Nationen, volume 7 (1803); in Heinrich Christian Beck’s the Chronik der Stadt Schweinfurt (1836) and in many other authors).

The name Lollus appears also as Lullus, Loellus and Lallus.

Whether he may have something to do with the Polish Lel (or Polel)  is an obvious question.

Another question is whether the name could have something to do with Tacitus’ Alcis.

Yet another question can be asked whether this has something to do with “dolls.”  A lalka is a doll in Polish (as also in Slovene and among some East Slavs).  Was the name “dolls” originally applied just to little idols?

In some Slavic languages a similar word indicates a familial relationship.  Thus:

  • lola means father (Polabian, portions of Ukraine/Belarus)
  • lela means aunt and lelak uncle (Bulgarian/Balkan and portions of Ukraine/Belarus)

Note also that a laluś in Polish is a boyish dandy who cares about his looks a bit too much (with all the same connotations as in English).

A more nuanced question could be asked why is it that in the Frankish dialect Loell or Lolli refers to someone who can’t speak well.  Why does that matter?  Because lulac means to try to put to sleep (and or ululac means to put to sleep).  This is, of course, in some unknown way cognate with a “lullaby” and the English “lull” as in a peaceful pause.

But, interestingly, in Polish the same meaning of “not being able to speak well” is expressed but the word ululany which just means someone who is way drunk.  That someone like that won’t speak well is, of course, obvious (it seems to be the opposite of the Latin ululare, that is, to howl).  That Lel/Polel were also described as bar drinking expressions in the Polish late Renneisance is also interesting (in fact, the much later Brueckner is on the record for claiming that these were not deity names but merely drinking shouts).  And so we may come all the way to Jas, Dionyssus or Bacchus.

About the Main and Regnitz Wends we already wrote here.  About Würzburg we wrote here.  About Bamberg here.  About the River Jossa/Jassa in the vicinity of Aschaffenburg, here.  Here is a map showing these places in relation to Schweinfurt with the terra Slavorum in rough outline.

And here is another German map of Slavic place names – the roughly same highlighted area, this time in the western portion of the map.Make of it what you want but something tells us that at least some of the Slavs did not come from the East.

Interestingly, in 1990 halfway between Bamberg and Munich, in Kemathen – which these days is  a part of the town of Kipfenberg (Landkreis Eichstätt) there was discovered a Germanic warrior grave from about 420-450.  In it was found this belt (picture from Ludwig Wamser’s book). 

While the rosette is a common symbol, this type was particularly popular as a protection symbol in Polish houses.  Check these out from the Podhale region.

Starry Detour

Incidentally, if the rosettes above remind you of the asterisk symbol, you should know that an asterisk is derived from Greek for “little star”.  On the star of Jastarnia see here.  The interesting thing about stars is that Balto-Slavic languages have a very different word for them:

  • gwiazda (Polish)
  • żwai(g)zdē (Lithuanian)

Interestingly, in Prussian swaigstan meant “light” (Polish światło). Even more interestingly, stara in Slavic means “the old one” (female gender).  Whether this goes to something meaning “stars” or has more to do with old people lacking a certain flexibility (compare “to stare” or “stiff) is another matter.

Back to Our Stary, err… Story

Finally, it is also interesting that a lelek refers to a stork in parts of Poland (lelek is also a separate type of bird – the nightjar.  The more typical name for stork (nowadays German Storch) is bocian (compare that with Latin buteo and Germanic buse and busart (!)).

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May 27, 2017

Modelski & the Franks

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You ask where is the rest of the Teofil Modelski’s article (parts 1 & 2 being here) on the Opusculum‘s Lechia?  (No translation… too much of a pain in the ass).

Well, here is part 3 of 5:

Here is part 4:

And finally part 5:

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May 12, 2017

The Legend of Walther and Wisuav

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We have previously presented some of the legendary tales from the various chronicles of the Slavs.  These included the legends of:

Another legend is that of Walther of Tyniec (and Wisuav of Wislica) found in the Greater Poland Chronicle (also known as Boguphal’s Chronicle).

Tyniec is a former village about seven miles southwest of Cracow center (it’s now been incorporated into Cracow).

Tyniec Benedictine Abbey

Wislica is a town on the River Nida northeast of Cracow on the road to Sandomierz.

Wislica fort – courtesy of the local museum and of Google

This story bears a resemblance to the various Walther sagas of Western Europe.  In most Polish versions the protagonist is referred to as Walgierz.  The curious fact that this should have been Walcerz but may have been influenced by a reference in the Chronicle of Regino of Pruem speaking of a certain Walager we’ve already discussed here – where we also pointed out the identification of that Walager with Theodoric the Great.

That last one’s “adventures” became the adventures of  Didrik af Bern (Dietrich of Verona) and also happen to contain a bridal drama.  Curiously, the Dietrich von Bern saga contains references to Osantrix the king of the Wilzen (Wilzenkoenig) or Osantrix von Wilzenland which is clearly a reference to the Veleti.  The fact that we know from Ptolemy that: “Back from the Ocean, near the Venedicus bay, the Veltae dwell, above whom are the Ossi” makes these references all the more curious.

Another curious fact is that Thomas Nugent in his “The History of Vandalia” mentions no less than three Vandalic king by the name Wisislaus (an idea of uncertain provenance). This is the same name as Wisuav or Wislaw.

Some Slavs, some Germans

About some of the similarities between all these tales you can read in “Origin and Development of the Walther Saga” by Marion Dexter Learned PMLA Vol. 7, No. 1, The Saga of Walther of Aquitaine (1892), pp. 131-195 (published by the Modern Language Association).

Here is the tale – for ease of use we use the name spelling Walther and Wisuav.

The Legend of Walther and Wisuav
Or Of the Betrayal of the Town of Wislica

“In those days there was in the kingdom of the Lechites a very famous town, surrounded by tall walls, called Wislica.  Back then, in heathen times, its lord was Wisuav the Fair who was descended from the clan of King Pompilius [Popiel].  A certain lord, who also came from the same family, great in strength, by the name of Walther the Strong, who in Polish was called Walther the Comely and who held the town of Tyniec in the vicinity of Cracow where these days there is the abbey of Saint Benedict founded by Casimir the Monk [Kazimierz Mnich or Casimir the Restorer – Odnowiciel] the king of Poles, that is of Lechites, took him [that is Walther took Wisuav captive] in some campaign, threw him into prison and ordered that he be held under close guard in the depths of the Tyniec tower.”

Wisuav was in the one on the right

“This Walther had for his wife a certain noble lady, by the name of Helgunda, the betrothed of the son of a certain duke of the Alemans and who was also the daughter of the king of the Franks; whom, as they say, he secretly spirited away to Poland at great personal danger.”

“For when the son of that certain duke of the Alemans – in order to learn good manners – was being raised at the court of the Frankish king – the father of the aforesaid Helgunda – Walther, a man who was clever and crafty, seeing that the princess Helgunda returned the feelings of the son of the duke of Alemannia, on a certain night climbed the walls of the town, paid off the guard such that this one should not reveal him [or his name] and sang so loud and sweet that the princess awoke and hearing the sweet sound of his voice, came out of bed and, together with other maidens, forgetting about her nightly rest, she listened for as long as the singer intoned his melodious voice.”

Walther’s serenades were irresistible

“And when morning came, Helgunda ordered to bring in front of her the guard and urgently queried him who it had been [that gave the concert].  This one, did not dare to name Walther, assuring her that he knew not who the singer was.  But when the young Walther during the two subsequent nights, from a hidden place proceeded as before [to serenade], Helgunda unable to withstand this, with threats and intimidation tried to force the guard to reveal the singer[‘s name].  And because he nevertheless refused to do so, she ordered him put to death.  Thus, when the guard confessed that it had been Walther signing, she burning with hot love, succumbed completely to his [Walther’s] wishes, completely spurning the Aleman prince.”

Walther & Helgunda’s escape

“The Aleman prince seeing thus that Helgunda had foully rejected him and that in his place in the game of love she chose Walther, burning with great wrath at Walther returned to his father, and had all the crossings over the river Rhine be held and guarded such that no one should traverse it without paying a gold price for the ferrying across.  And when some time had passed, Walther and Helgunda see an opportunity to flee and escape upon the long-awaited day.  But when, in accordance with their plans, they arrive at the Rhine shore, the boat masters demand a golden price for the crossing but receiving it, they refuse the crossing until the Aleman prince should arrive.  Seeing that the delay brings danger, [Walther] gets on a mighty horse, orders Helgunda to sit behind him and spurring the horse into the river, crosses it faster than an arrow.  And when he had left Rhine somewhat behind, he hears behind him the pursuing Aleman’s voice: ‘Foul traitor!  So, you have skulked away with the king’s daughter and crossed the Rhine without paying the duties!  Halt now and stand so that I can duel you – and he that should triumph shall keep the horse, the arms and too Helgunda.'”

“Walther, fearlessly answers as follows: ‘Tis a lie, what you say, for I have given the boatmen their gold and the princess i did not take by force but made her my companion for she willingly wanted to come with me.’  And after these words they boldly strike each other with spears.  And when these shatter, they fight with swords testing their manly prowess.  The Aleman seeing Helgunda stand in front of him, aroused by her glances, forced Walther backwards until, that is,  this one retreating cast his eyes on Helgunda.”

The Aleman proved more of an annoyance than any serious challenge to Walther

“And seeing her he halted, filled both with the greatest shame as well as with limitless love for her.  Regaining his strength he boldly charged at the Aleman and immediately killed him.  Then, taking his horse and arms, he set out home to his fatherland, twice honoured by the happy and  praiseworthy victory [that is, the winning of Helgunda and the defeat of the prince of the Alemani].  Arriving at the town of Tyniec after successfully navigating many adventures in his travels, he spent some time in rest so as to regain his strength.”

“It was there that he learned from the complaints of his people that Wisuav the Fair the duke of Wislica during his [Walther’s] absence caused them certain wrongs.  Having become aware of these, with great regret he challenges Wisuav to avenge them [the wrongs] and eventually he fights him, wins and then, as already, he puts him in chains to be guarded in the dungeon of the Tyniec Castle tower.”

“After some time has passed, he crosses far away lands on military campaigns as is the knightly custom.  And when two years have passed of his absence, Helgunda greatly disturbed by her husband’s absence, felt forced to confide in a certain girl, her confidante, announcing with a downcast face that they are ‘neither wives nor widows’; and by that she meant those [women] who are bound in matrimony with men of an entrepreneurial spirit who seek opportunities for military skirmishes. And her confidante, trying to ease her lady’s miserable wretchedness which she endured so long a time, immediately set aside the shame which comes with betrayal, states that Wisuav, the duke of Wislica [and a man] of a refined appearance and a comely body, beautiful to the eye, sits imprisoned in the tower.”

Usually Helgunda was not so easily impressed but this time was a little different

“And the wretch urges her [Helgunda] to order him removed from the tower during the silence of the night and having satiated herself with the much coveted embraces then to send him back carefully to the tower dungeon.  This one [Helgunda] applauds her confidante’s persuasions, and though frightened of the perilous consequences nevertheless not fearing to wager her life and good name, orders that Wisuav be brought out of the depths of the prison; and upon seeing him she delights in his beauty, filled with great admiration.  And she did not order that he be sent back to the prison dungeon but rather she chose entirely to leave the bed of her own husband and to flee to the town of Wislica with that one with whom she had bonded in friendship and united in an inseparable knot of love. In this manner Wisuav returns to his own town thinking that he had achieved a double victory – though this [victory] in the course of dangerous events was to bring both of them a deadly end.”

“After a short time the returning Walther is asked by his townspeople why is it that, in this moment of [his] joyful return, does Helgunda not rush to his side at the very least to the castle gates.  [It is] from them that he learns how Wisuav, trusting in the help of the guards, carried Helgunda with him.  Himself imbued with terrible wrath, he immediately hurries to Wislica and without fear for himself or his fate in unexpected adventures, he suddenly enters the town of Wislica at a time when Wisuav outside the town was busy on a hunt.”

“Helgunda seeing him in the city rushes quickly towards him and falling face down in front of him she complains that Wisuav kidnapped her by force.  She urges Walther to enter an out of the way part of the dwelling promising that if he so desires, she will forthwith bring Wisuav there so that he [Walther] should seize him.  Trusting this fraudster and ensnared by the deceptive persuasions he enters a fortified chamber, where, due to trickster’s efforts, he falls into Wisuav’s hands.  Joyful are Wisuav and Helgunda, happily applauding this auspicious result which now for the third time brought fortune; they do not ponder how this happiness may come to an end though ones such as these often do happen to be taken by a sad death.  He [Wisuav] did not wish to keep him [Walther] under prison guard but rather he wanted to oppress him with something worse than prison muck.  Instead, he ordered to have him bound in irons to the dining hall’s wall, with arms outstretched, with his neck and feet completely straight.  To the same hall he ordered be brought a bed in which during summer time he and Helgunda would lie devoting themselves to love’s pleasures.”

Walther’s anguish knew no limit

“[But] Wisuav had a sister of his own blood whom no one wanted to take as wife by reason of her ugly looks.  Her watchfulness did Wisuav trust more than that of Walther’s other guards.  But this one greatly sympathizing with Walther’s sufferings, [and] entirely casting aside a maiden’s timidity, asks whether Walther would have her as his wife should she come to his aid in his misfortune by freeing him from his chains.  He solemnly swears and confirms the same with a promise that so long as he should live, he will give her marital love and will not fight with his sword against her brother Wisuav, as per her wishes; and asks her to take his sword from her brother’s bedchamber and to bring it here forth so as to cut away his fetters with it.  [And] she, bringing the sword, then in accordance with Walther’s command cut away the peg at the very end on each of the iron cuffs and the sword she placed between Walther’s back and the wall so that he could remove himself at an opportune moment.  And he waits till noontime of the next day.”

Wisuav’s sister with friends

“And when Wisuav with Helgunda reveled in their embraces in the dining hall bed, Walther, uncustomary, speaks to them with these words: ‘How would you feel, should you gaze upon me in front of your bed, freed from my binds, holding my melodious sword in my hands and threatening to take revenge for [your] crimes?’  At his words, Helgunda’s heart stopped and shivering she spoke to Wisuav: ‘Oh woe my lord!  I had not seen your sword in the bedroom but engrossed by your kisses I forgot to mention this to you.’  At this Wisuav replied: ‘Even had he ten swords to aid him, without the adroitness of smiths he would not be able to rip apart his irons.’  When they so spoke with one another, they note that Walther, free of his chains, jumps forth and brandishing his sword stands by their bed; and soon tossing curses at them, raises his sword hand high and drops WIsuav’s own sword onto them both; this falling cuts both in the middle.  And so each of them ended their miserable life in an even more miserable manner.  And this Helgunda’s tomb, forged in a rock is to this day shown in Wislica town to all those who wish to see it.”

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May 9, 2017

On the Errors of the Franks

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A reader asked a question about the so-called Opusculum contra Francos: is it true that the word Lechia appears there (meaning Poland) and is true that this is dated to the ninth century?  Or, as someone told him, was this really written in 1101?

Ok… so the answer is “no one really knows”.  Satisfied?

Well, there is one thing that is probably not true.  It’s very unlikely that we can pinpoint the Opusculum to 1101 (any such precising dating should be immediately suspect).

But let’s start at the beginning…

The Opusculum is a Byzantine polemic against the version of Christianity practiced by the Roman Latin Church that is, the “Franks” (since the Franks had by then taken over what was left of the Latins and the Popes were anointing Frankish emperors).  It is one of a number of such works and similar works also exist on the Catholic side directed against the Byzantines, of course.

Photius enjoying some morning foot kissing

The Opusculum has traditionally been ascribed to Photius and, if you believe that, then it is a work of Photius.  If you do not, then it is a work of Pseudo-Photius (meaning “we don’t know who wrote it but it wasn’t Photius but may as well refer to Photius since people think he wrote it”).

Photius or Phōtios or Φώτιος (circa 810 – circa 893) was the Patriarch of Constantinople (who had a hand in a schism now called by his own name (!) the “Photian Schism” of 863-867.

Apparently, the Opusculum was translated from Greek to Latin by Hugo Etherianus in 1178 and again in 1252 by the Dominican Bartholomew of Constantinople, who appended it to his Tractatus contra Graecos.  Presumably, the Latins needed to know what the Greeks’ arguments were in order to counter them effectively (the level of the polemic in the document itself is rather low with bitching about dress and hairstyle mascara ding as theological arguments).

In any event, this means that the Opusculum was written before 1178.

The “recent fame” of the Opusculum is due to Zachariae‘s edition of 1839 and then to Joseph Cardinal Hergenröther (1824 – 1890), Cardinal-Prefect of the Vatican Archives who was also, in addition to being an archivist, a church historian and canonist.  Hergenröther was interested in the Schism with the Byzantine Church and in the role played in that by Photius.  In addition to a number of articles he published the following on Photius:

  • Photii Constantinopolitani Liber de Spiritus Sancti mystagogia (Regensburg (Ratisbonae), 1857)
  • Photius Patriarch von Constantinopel, sein Leben, seine Schriften, und das griechische Schisma (3 volumes, Regensburg, 1867-69)
  • Monumenta Græca ad Photium ejusque historiam pertinentia (Regensburg, 1869)

His work was also instrumental in helping Migne put together his version of Photius (P.G., CI-CIV) (1860).

So here is the Hergenröther version of the Opusculum from his Monumenta Græca ad Photium ejusque historian pertinentia:

As can be seen, Lechia does appear in argument 24 (dealing with how long one ought to fast – in the East they do better than in the West, etc.).  What this actually says is:

“The forty day fast is undertaken in their countries and among the surrounding peoples unevenly: thus, Lechia fasts for nine weeks and among the others, some fast for eight and some for more whereas others fewer [weeks].  The Italians only six.”

(presumably their dolce vita puts limits on their piety)

Note also the mention of the Venetians/Veneti/Slavs? at the beginning of the Opusculumgermanikoi, molphinoi, benetikoi

In volume 3 of Photius Patriarch von Constantinopel Hergenröther discusses the Opusculum and concludes that it is not a work of Photius because (among other reasons) Lechia must mean Poland and Poland was not Christianized until the second half of the tenth century so people in Poles can’t possibly have kept a Christian fast in the ninth century.  Of course, we can’t use the same logic if the question on the table is instead when did Poland begin to be called Lechia without running into circular reasoning problems.

But we can say that Hergenröther’s logic is based on two crucial assumptions, of course:

  • that Lechia must refer to Poland (likely but not entirely certain) or, for that matter, to all of Poland (that is very unclear), and
  • that a country is either Christian or it is not (this is doubtful and, as we know from the “Life of Methodius” that the Byzantine Christians (Photius’ buddy Methodius) were already threatening conversion of the “duke in Visla” just as the Franks were threatening Slavic lands to the West).

Following Hergenröther a pamphlet was issued on the work by the Czech priest František Snopek (1853-1921) in 1908 and then a more extensive article was written by Teofil Modelski (1881-1967) under the title of “Pseudo-Photius’ Lechia” (Lechia Pseudo-Focyusza)  in 1914.

parts 1 & 2 (of 5)

You can read all the arguments in those works (no, we won’t translate it all – too much work).  In the end, no one really knows.  It’s certainly possible that Lechia had been used in the ninth century.  But even if not, the use of the term (assuming it refers to Poland) is still one of the earliest uses of the term for Poland (predating Kadlubek).

The one thing that can be said is that the Opusculum probably started out in Photius’ “intellectual circle” – perhaps with Photius himself – and that it was likely not written in 1101.  1101 is an error by someone who misread the number to mean a year – instead it is the number of one of the manuscripts housing the Opusculum – Vat. gr. 1101.

First page of the Opusculum from Vat. gr. 1101 (note Benetikoi three lines down from the “1”)

Note that Hergenröther himself dated the Opusculum to somewhere in 1054-1100.

As regards the word lach the best idea on this that we’ve seen was Piotr Czarkowski’s and later Jan Karłowicz’s who said it just  means a “large forest” (and so it more apt than pole meaning “field” since Poland was covered by forests back in the 10th century.  For other examples of s > ch (or vice versa?):

  • piasek > piach
  • las(ek) > lach
  • pas(ek) > pach
  • laska > lacha

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May 1, 2017