Category Archives: Polabians

The Slavs of Windsor

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A long time ago, came across the below excerpt which was written by Thomas William Shore, a historian of Hanpshire.  It is currently available (along with other interesting English information) here.  While some of its claims are no doubt overreaching, it’s worthwhile to showcase it here as it does contain a thoughtful perspective touching on the history of northern Slavs.

Regarding other Slavic-British connections you can read here or here.

And then there is the matter of these horses:

You can read about the horse worship of:

For more on white chalk British horses, see here.

On the Dutch-Slavic connections mentioned by Shore see here and here.

Without further ado, we give voice to T.W. Shore (the excerpt comes from his “Origin of the Anglo-Saxon Race” – the footnotes are his):

Rugians, Wends & tribal Slavonic Settlers

“The name Wends was given by the old Teutonic nations of Germany to those Slavonic tribes who were located in the countries east of the Elbe and south of the Baltic Sea. It is the name as the older name used by Ptolemy,(1) who says that `Wenedae are established along the whole of the Wendish Gulf.` Tacitus also mentions the Venedi. There can, therefore, be no doubt that these people were seated on the coast of Mecklenburg and Pomerania before the time of the Anglo-Saxon settlement. That there were some differences in race between the Wends of various tribes is probable from the existence of such large tribes among them as the Wiltzi and Obodriti, who in the time of Charlemagne formed opposite alliances, the former with the Saxons, the latter with the Franks. The Wends who still exist in Lower Saxony are ofa darker complexion, and are of the same stock as the Sorbs or Serbs of Servia. They are Salvonic descent fair in complexion. Procopius tells us that those Vandals who were allies of the ancient Goths were remarkable for their tall stature, pale complexion, and blonde hair.(2) It is therefore by no means improbable that the ancient Slavic tribes of the Baltic coast were distinguished by differences in complexion.”

“As the identification of Vandal or Wendish settlers with various parts of England is new, or almost so, it will be desirable to state the evidence of their connection with the origin of the Anglo-Saxon race more fully than would otherwise have been necessary.”

“The Vandals are commonly thought to have been a nation of Teutonic descent like the Goths, but there is certain evidence that the later Vandals or Wends were Slavonic, and there is no reason to doubt that these later vandals were descended from some of the earlier. Tacitus mentions the Vandals as a group of German nations, the name being used in a wide sense, as British is at the present time. The most important reason for considering the early Vandals to be Teutonic is that the names of their leaders are almost exclusively Teutonic, as Gonderic, Genseric, etc.(3) This reason would be valid if there were nothing else to set against it. Leaders of a more advanced race, however, have led the forces of less advanced allies in all ages, and the Goths were a more advanced race than the Vandals, whom they conquered, and who subsequently became their firm allies. Among the collection of Anglo-Saxon relics in the British Museum are a number of Vandal ornaments from North Africa, placed there for comparison with those of the Anglo-Saxon period. These are apparently rough imitations of those of the same age found in Scandinavia and in England – i.e., imitations of Gothic work.”

“Of all the people in ancient Germania east of the Elbe whom Tacitus mentions as Germans, not a single Teutonic vestige remained in the time of Charlemagne. Poland and Silicia were parts of his Germania. When the Germans of Charlemagne and his successors conquered the country east of the Elbe there was neither trace nor record of any earlier Teutonic occupation.(4) Such a previous occupancy rarely occurs, as Latham has pointed out, without leaving some traces of its existence by the survival here and there of descendants of the older occupants. In Germany, east of the Elbe, no earlier inhabitants than the Slavonic have been discovered, excepting those of a very remote prehistoric age. At the dawn of German history no traces are met with of enthralled people of Teutonic descent among the Slavs east of the Elbe, and there are no traditions of such earlier occupants, while the oldest place-names are all Slavonic. If there were Germans, strictly so-called, east of the river in the time of Tacitus – i.e., long-headed tribes – their assumed displacement by the Slavs between his time and that of Charlemagne would have been the greatest and most complete of any recorded in history.(5) Ethnology and history, therefore, alike point to people of Sarmation or Slavic descent – i.e., brachycephalic tribes – as the earliest inhabitants of Eastern Germany, and indicate some misunderstanding in this respect by the commentators of Tacitus.(6) In Eastern Germany place-names survive ending in -itz, so very common in Saxony ; in –zig, as Leipzig ; in –a, as Jena ; and in dam, as Potsdam. All these places were named by the Slavs.(7)”

“The statement of Bede that the Rugini or Rugians were among the nations from whom the English were known to have descended was contemporary evidence of his own time. The Rugi are also mentioned by Tacitus.(8) Their name apparently remains to this day in that of Rugen Island, situated off the coast which they occupied in the time of the Roman Empire.”

“As Ptolemy tells us of the Wenedae seated on this same Baltic coast, and as they were Sarmatians or Slavs, it is clear that the Rugians must have been of that race. Some of the nations mentioned by Tacitus were, he says of non-Germanic origin. Rugen Island was the chief place of worship for the Wendish race, the chief centre of their religion. On the east side of the peninsula of Jasmund in Rugen are the white chalk cliffs of Stibbenkammer, and on the north side of the island is the promontory of Arcona, where in the twelfth century we read of the idol Svantovit, and the temple of this Wendish god. No traces of Teutonic worship have ever been found in Rugen. They are all Slavonic. Saxo tells us of the worship of Svantovit at Arcona with the tributes brought there from all Slavonia.(9)”

“The probability of some very early settlers in Britain having been Wends, and consequently that there was a Slavic element in the origin of the Old English race, is shown in anther way. The settlement of large bodies of Vandals in Britain by order of the Emperor Probius is a fact recorded in Roman history. The authority is Zosimus,(10) and this settlement is said to have taken place in the latter part of the third century, after a great defeat of Vandals near the Lower Rhine. They were accompanied by a horde of Burgundians, and as they were apparently on the march in search of new homes, it probably suited them as well as it suited the Romans to be transported to Britain. Unless it can be shown that the Vandal name is to be understood to mean only certain tribes of Teutonic origin, this arbitrary settlement of Vandals in Britain is the earliest record of immigrants of Slavic origin. It is not possible to ascertain the parts of the country in which they settled, but as they were known to Roman writers by the names Vinidae and Venedi, it is possible that the Roman place-names in Britain – Vindogladia in Dorset, Vindomis in Hampshire, and others – may have been connected with their settlements. It is possible also during the time between their arrival and that of the earliest Anglo-Saxon settlers some of their descendants may have maintained their race distinctions apart from the British people, as descendants of some of the Roman colonists apparently did in Kent.”

“The defeat of the Vandals by Probus near the Rhine occurred in A. D. 277,(11) so that their settlement in Britain was not more than two centuries before the arrival of the Jutes and Saxons. As it is probable there were some so-called Saxons already settled on the eastern coast of England, with whom those of a later date coalesced, it is not impossible that some of the Vandal settlers in Britain in the time of Probus may have preserved their distinction in race until the invasion of the Saxons, Angles, and Jutes began.”

“The names in the Anglo-Saxon charters which apparently marked settlements of Rugians in England are Ruanbergh and Ruwanbeorg, Dorset, Ruganbeorh and Ruwanbeor, Somerset ; Ruwanbeorg and Rugan dic, Wilts; Rugebeorge, in Kent; and Ruwangoringa, Hants.(12) There will be referred to in later chapters.”

“The chief Old English names which appear to refer to them in Domesday Book are Ruenore in Hampshire, Ruenhala and Ruenhale in Essex, Rugehala and Rugelie in Staffordshire, Rugutune in Norfolk, and Rugarthorp in Yorkshire. Close to Ruenore, in Hampshire, is Stubbington, which may have been an imported name, as it resembles that of Stubnitz in the Isle of Rugen.”

“In its historical aspect the Anglo-Saxon settlement may be regarded as part of that wider migration of nations and tribes from eastern and Northern Europe into the provinces of the Roman Empire during its decadence. In its ethnological aspect it may be regarded as a final stage in the westward European migration of people of the Germanic stock. As the history and ethnology of the Franks in Western Germany afford us a notable example of the fusion of people of the Celtic with others of the Teutonic race, so the history and ethnology of Eastern Germany afford equally striking example of the fusion of people of Teutonic and Slavonic origins. It began at a very early period A. D., and the present irregular ethnological frontier between Germans and Slavs shows that it is still slowly going on. The eastward migration of Germans in later centuries has absorbed the Wends. The descendants of the isolated Slavonic settlers near Utrecht and in other parts of the Rhine Valley have also long been absorbed. The ethnological evidence concerning the present inhabitants of these districts and the survival of some of their place-names, however, supports the statement of the early chroniclers concerning the immigration of Slavs into what is now Holland.”

“The part which the ancient Wends, including Rugians, Wilte, and other Slavonic people, took in the settlement of England was, in comparison with that of the Teutonic nations and tribes, small, but yet so considerable that it has left its results. During the period of the invasion and the longer period of the settlement, the southern coasts of the Baltic Sea were certainly occupied by Slavonic people. Ptolemy, writing as he did, about the middle of the second century A. D., mentions the Baltic by the name Venedic Gulf, and the people on its shores as Venedi or Wenedae. He describes them as one of the great nations of Sarmatia,(13) the most ancient name of the countries occupied by Slavs, but which was replaced by that of Slavonia. Pliny, in his notice of the Baltic Sea, has the following passage : `People say that from this point round to the Vistula the whole country is inhabited by Sarmatians and Wends.`(14) Although he did not write from personal knowledge of the Wends, this passage is weighty evidence that they must have been located on the Baltic in his time.”

“During the time of the Anglo-Saxon period of the Slavs in the North of Europe extended as far westward as the Elbe and to places beyond it. On the east bank of that river were the Polabian Wends, and these were apparently a branch of the Wilte or Wiltzi. This name Wiltzi has been derived from the old Slavic word for wolf, wilk, plural wiltzi, and was given to this great tribe from their ferocious courage. The popular name wolfmark still survives in North-east Germany, near the eastern limit of their territory. These people called themselves Welatibi, a name derived from welot, a giant, and were also known as the Haefeldan, or men of Havel, from being seated near the river Havel, as mentioned by King Alfred. The inhabitants of the coast near Stralsund, who were called Rugini or Rugians, and who are mentioned by Bede as one of the nations from whom the Anglo-Saxons of his time were known to have derived their origin,(15) must have been included within the general name of the Wends. As these Rugians must have been Wends, the statement of Bede is direct evidence that some of the people of England in his time were known to be of Wendish descent. This is supported by evidence of other kinds, such as the mention of settlements of people with Wendish or Vandal names in the Anglo-Saxon charters, the numerous names of places in England which have come down from a remote antiquity, and the identity of the oldest forms of such names with that of the people of this race. We read also that Edward, son of Edmund `Ironside`, fled after his father`s death `ad regnum Rugorum, quod melius vocamus Russiam.`(16)”

“It is supported by philological evidence. As a distinguished American philologist says : `The Anglo-Saxon was such a language as might be supposed would result from a fusion of Old Saxon with smaller proportions of High German, Scandinavian, and even Celtic and Slavonic elements.`(17) The migration of the Wilte from the shores of the Baltic and the foundation of a colony in the country around Utrecht is certainly historical. Bede mentions it in connection with the mission of Wilbrord. He says : `The Venerable Wilbrord went from Frisia to Rome, where the Pope gave him the name of Clement, and sent him back to his bishopric. Pepin gave him a place for his Episcopal see in his famous castle, which , in the ancient language of those people, is called Wiltaburg – i.e., the town of the Wilti – but in the French tongue Utrecht.`(18) Venantius also tells us that the Wileti or Wiltzi, between A. D. 560-600, settled near the city of Utrecht, which from them was called Wiltaburg, and the surrounding country Wiltenia.(19) Such a migration would perhaps be made by land, and some of these Wilte may have gone further. The name of the first settlers in Wiltshire has been derived by some authors from a migration of Wilte from near Wiltaburg,(20) and the name Wilsaetan appears to afford some corroboration. It is certain that Wiltshire was becoming settled in the latter half of the sixth century, and such a migration may either have come direct from the Baltic or the Elbe, or from the Wilte settlement in Holland.”

“It must not be supposed that there is evidence of the settlement of all Wiltshire by people descended from the Wilte, but it is not improbable that some early settlers of this time were the original Wilsaetas. The Anglo-Saxon charters supply evidence of the existence in various parts of England, as will be referred to in later pages, of people called Willa or Wilte. There were tribes in England named East Willa and West Willa ;(21) and such Anglo-Saxon names as Willanesham ;(22) Wilburgeham, Cambridgeshire ;(23) Wilburge gemaero and Wilburge mere in Wiltshire ;(24) Wilburgewel in Kent ;(25) Willa-byg in Lincolnshire ;(26) Wilmanford,(27) Wilmanleahtun,(28) appear to have been derived from personal names connected with these people. There has not been discovered that any other Continental tribe of the Anglo-Saxon period were so named, except this Wendish tribe, called by king Alfred the men of Havel, a name that apparently survived in the Domesday name Hauelingas in Essex. The Wilte or Willa tribal name survived in England as a personal name, like the national name Scot, and is found in the thirteenth-century Hundred Rolls and other early records. In these rolls a large number of persons so named are mentioned – Wiltes occur in seventeen entries, Wilt in eight, and Wilte in four entries. Willeman as a personal name is also mentioned.(29) The old Scando-Gothic personal name Wilia is well known.(30)”

“The great Wendish tribe which occupied the country next to that of the Danes along the west coast of the Baltic in the ninth century was the Obodriti, known also as the Bodritzer. From their proximity there arose an early connection between them and the Danes, or Northmen. In the middle of the ninth century we read of a place on the boundaries of the Northmen and Obodrites, `in confinibus Nordmannorum et Obodritorum.`(31) The probability of Wendish people of this tribe having settled in England among the Danes arises from their near proximity on the Baltic, their political connection in the time of Sweyn and Cnut, historical references to Obodrites in the service of Cnut in England, and the similarity of certain place-names in some parts of England colonized by Danes to others on the Continent of known Wendish or Slavonc origin. Obodriti is aSlavic name, and, according to Schafarik, the Slavic ethnologist, the name may be compared with Bodrica in the government of Witepsk, Bodrok, and the provincial name Bodrog in Southern Hungary, and others of a similar kind. In the Danish settled districts of England we find the Anglo-Saxon names Bodeskesham, Cambridgeshire ; Bodesham, now Bosham, Sussex ; Bodding-weg, Dorset ;(32) the Domesday names Bodebi, Lincolnshire ; Bodetone and Bodele, Yorkshire ; bodeha, Herefordshire ; Bodeslege, Somerste ; Bodesha, Kent ; and others,(33) which may have been named after people of this tribe.”

“The map of Europe at the present day exhibits evidence of the ancient migration of the Slavs. The Slavs in the country from Trient to Venice were known as Wendi, and hence the name Venice or the Wendian territory.(34) Bohemia and Poland after the seventh century became organised states of Slavs on the upper parts of the Elbe and the Vistula. The Slavonic tribes on the frontier or march-land of Moravia formed the kingdom of Moravia in the ninth century. Other scattered tribes of Slavs formed the kingdom of Bulgaria about the end of the seventh century ; and westward of these, other tribes organized themselves into the kingdoms of Croatia, Dalmatia, and Servia.(35) in the North the ancient Slav tribes of Pomerania, Mecklenburg, Brandenburg, and those located on the banks of the Elbe, comprising the polabians, the Obodrites, the Wiltzi, those known at one time as Rugina, the Lutitzes, and the north Sorabians or Serbs, became gradually absorbed among the Germans, who formed new States eastward of their ancient limits. These have long since become Teutonised, and their language has disappeared, but the Slavonic place-names still remain.”

“What concerns us specially in connection with the settlement of England and the Vandals is that these people were Slavs, not Teutons or Germans, as is sometimes stated. They are fully recognised as Slavs by the historian of the Gothic race, who tells us that Slavs differ from Vandals in name only.(36) It is important, also, to note that the Rugians mentioned by Bede were a Wendish tribe. Westward of the Elbe the Slavic Sorabians had certainly pushed their way, before they were finally checked by Charlemagne and his successors. The German annals of the day A. D. 782(37) tells us that the Sorbians at that time were seated between the Elbe and the Saale, where place-names of Slavonic origin remains to this day.”

“Those Wends who were located on the Lower Elbe, near Luneburg and Hamburg, were known as Polabians, through having been seated on or near this River, from po, meaning `on` and laba, the Slavic name for the Elbe.”

“The eastern corner of the former kingdom of Hanover, and especially that in the circuit of Luchow, which even to the present day is called Wendland, was a district west of the Elbe, where the Wends formed a colony, and where the Polabian variety of the Wendish language survived the longest. It did not disappear until about 1700-1725, during the latter part of which period the ruler of this ancient Wendland was also King of England.”

“During the later Saxon period in England the Wends of the Baltic coast had their chief seaport at Julin or Jomberg, close to the island called Wollin, in the delta of the Oder. Julin is mentioned by Adam of Bremen as the largest and most flourishing commercial city in Europe in the eleventh century, but it was destroyed in 1176 by Valdmar, King of Denmark.(38) Its greatest rival was the Northern Gothic port of Wisby in the Isle of Gotland. Whether Jomberg surpassed Wisby as a commercial centre, which, notwithstanding the statement of Adam of Bremen, is doubtful, it is certain that these two ports were the chief porte respectively of the Wends and the Goths of the Baltic. Both of them, even during the Saxon period, had commercial relations with this country, or maritime connections of some sort, as shown by the number of Anglo-Saxon coins and ornaments with Anglians runes on them found either in Gotland or Pomerania.”

“The connection of the Slav tribes of ancient Germany with the settlement of England is supported also by the survival in England of ancient customs which were widely spread in Slavonic countries, by the evidence of folk-lore, traces of Slav influence in the Anglo-Saxon language, and by some old place-names in England, especially those which point to Wends generally, and others referring to Rugians and to Wilte. The great wave of early Slavonic migration was arrested in Eastern Germany, but lesser waves derived from it were continued westward, as shown by the isolated Slav colonies of ancient origin in Oldenburg, Hanover, and Holland. The same migratory movement in a lesser degree appears to have extended even into England, bringing into our country some Slavonic settlers, probably in alliance with Saxons, Angles, Goths, and other tribes, and some later on in alliance with Danes. The existence of separate large tribes among the Wends is probable evidence of racial differences, and the alternative names they had are probably those by which they were known to themselves and to their neighbours. The remnant at the present time of the dark-complexioned Wends of Saxony, who called themselves Sorbs, show that there must have been some old Wendish tribe of similar complexion, from which they were descended. As the country anciently occupied by the Wiltzi included Brandenburg and the district around Berlin, it joined the limits of ancient Saxony on the west. There is evidence, arising from the survival of place-names in and near the old Wendish country, to show that these Wilte have left distinct traces of their Existance in North-East Germany – for example, Wiltschau, Wilschkowitz, and Wiltsch are places in Silesia ; Wilze is a place near Posen ; Wilson in Mecklenburg-Schwerin ; Wilsdorf near Dresdon ; Wilzken in East Prussia ; and Wilsum in Hanover.(39) Similarly, names of the same kind which can be traced back to Saxon time survive in England. If the existence of these Wilte place-names in the old Wendish country of Germany is Confirmatory evidence of the former existence in that part of Europe of a nation or tribe known as the Wiltzi or Wilte, the existence of similar names in England, dating from the Anglo-Saxon period, cannot be other than probable evidence of the settlement in England of some of these people, for no other tribe is known to have existed at that time which had a similar name. This tribal name has also survived in other countries, such as Holland, in which the Wilte formed colonies. The Probian Wends or Wilte were located on the right bank of the Elbe, where some ships for the Saxon invasion must have been fitted out. There were Saxons on the left bank and Wilte on the right. At a later period they were in close alliance, and unless there had been peace between them, it is not likely that a Saxon expedition to England would have been organized.”

“Under these circumstances, if we had no evidence of Wilte or other Wends in England, it would be very difficult indeed to believe that some of them did not come among the Saxons. The general name of the Wends survives in many place-names in the old Wendish parts of Germany, such as Wendelau, Wendemark, Wendewisch, Wendhagen, and Wendorf.(40)”

“It is difficult to avoid conclusion that the old Slavonic tribes not only comprised people of different tribal names, but of different ethnological characters, seeing that at the present time there are dark-complexioned Slavs and others as fair as Scandinavians. No record of the physical characters of the ancient Wends appears to have survived, but observations on the remnant of the race, who call themselves Sorbs, in Lower Saxony have been made by Beddoe. The Wendish peasants examined by him and recorded in his tables(41) showed the highest index of nigrescence of any observed by him in Germany. These observations have been confirmed by the results of the official ethnological survey of that country.(42)”

“The coast of the Baltic Sea as far east as the mouth of the Vistula, and beyond it, is remarkable for having been what may be called the birthplace of nations. Goths were seated east of the Vistula before the fall of the Roman Empire, and Vandals appear to have occupied a great area of country around the sources of the Vistula and the Oder. In the middle of the fifth century the Burgundians were seated in large numbers between the middle courses of these rivers, while the Slavic tribes known as Rugians were located on the Baltic coast on both sides of the Oder. The name Rugini or Rugians thus appears, at one time, to have been a comprehensive one, and to have included the tribes known later on as Wiltzi.”

“In the Sagas of the Norse Kings, Vindland is the name of the country of the Wends from Holstein to the east of Prussia, and as early as the middle of the tenth century we read of both Danish and Vindish Vikings as subjects of, or in the service of, Hakon, King of Denmark.(43) In this century the Wends were sometimes allies and sometimes enemies of the Danes and Norse. There is a reference to interpreters of the Wendish tongue in the Norse Sagas.(44) The Wends were sea-rovers, like their neighbours, and comprised the largest section of the ancient association or alliance known as the Jomberg Vikings.(45) An alliance was made between the Danes and the Wends by the marriage of Sweyn, King of Denmark, to Gunhild, daughter of Borislav, a King of the Wends. Cnut, King of England and Denmark, was actually King of ancient Wendland, and the force of huscarls he formed in England was partly composed of Jomberg sea-rovers who had been banished from their own country. The evidence of Wendish settlers with the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes in England rests, as far as the Rugians are concerned, on Bede`s statement, and generally on the survival of customs, place-names, and folk-lore. It is certain that large colonies of Vandals were settled in Britain before the end of the Roman occupation, and some of them may have retained their race characters until the time of the Saxon settlement. It is certain, also, that there was an immigration in the time of Cnut. The evidence of a Wendish influence in the English race, arising from these successive settlements, extending from the Roman time to the later Anglo-Saxon period, cannot, therefore, be disregarded.”

“The Anglo-Saxon charters(46) tell us of Wendlesbiri in Hertfordshire, Wendlescliff in Worcestershire, Waendlescumb in Berkshire, and Wendlesore, now Windsor – all apparently named from settlers called Wendel, after the name of their race.”

“In such Old English place-names the tribal name lingers yet, as similar names linger in North-East Germany ; and in the names Wilts, Willi, Rugen, Rown, or Ruwan, and others, we may still, in all probability, trace the Wilte and Rugians – Wendic tribes of the Saxon age. In the old Germanic records the Rugians are mentioned under the similar names to those found in the Anglo-Saxon charters, Ruani and Rugiani.(47)”

“Some manorial customs, and especially that of sole inheritance by the youngest son, maybe traced with more certainty to the old Slavic nations of Europe than to the Teutonic. Inheritance by the youngest son, or junior preference, was a custom so prevalent among the Slavs that there can be little doubt it must have been almost or quite the common custom of the race. The ancient right of the youngest survives here and there in parts of Germany – in parts of Bavaria, for example – bit in no Teutonic country is the evidence to be found in ancient customs or in old records of the identification of this custom with the Teutonic race as it may be identified with the Slavic. In the old Wendish country around Lubeck the custom of inheritance by the youngest son long survived, or still does, and Lubeck was the city in which during the later Saxon age in England the commerce of the Wends began to be concentrated.”

“There is evidence of another kind showing the connection of Wends with Danes or Northmen. At Sondevissing, in Tyrsting herrad, in the district of Scanderborg, there is a stone monument with a runic inscription stating that `Tuva caused this barrow to be constructed. She was a daughter of Mistivi. She made it to her mother, who was the wife of Harald `the Good,` son of Gorm.`(48) The inscription has been assigned to the end of the tenth century, and Worsaae says : `We know that there existed at this period a Wendish Prince named Mistivi, who in the year 986 destroyed Hamburg, possibly the same as in the inscription.` This refers to a generation earlier than that of Cnut, to the time of Sweyn, who married the daughter of Borislav, king of Wends. During the period of Danish rule in England there are several historical references to the connection of the Wends with England. In 1029, Eric, son of Hakon was doubly the King`s nephew, being the son of his sister and the husband of his niece Gunhild, the daughter of another sister and of Wyrtgeorn, king of the Wends.(49) There was at this time an eminent Slavonic Prince who was closely connected with Cnut, and spent sometime with him in England – viz., Godescale, son of Uto, the Wendish Prince of the Obodrites, whose exploits are recorded in old Slavonic history. The Obodrites were the Wendish people whose warlike deeds are still commemorated at Schwerin. Godescale waged war against the Saxons of Holstein and Stormaria, but was taken prisoner, After his release he entered the service of Cnut, probably as an officer of the huscarls, and later on he married the King`s daughter.”

“There is another trace of the Wends in an English charter of A.D. 1026, which is witnessed by Earl Godwin, Hacon, Hrani, Sihtric, and Wrytesleof. The name of the last of these is apparently Slavonic.(50) There is also a charter of Cnut, dated 1033, by which he granted to Bouige, his huscarl, land at Horton in Dorset.(51) Saxo, the early chronicler of the Danes, tells us that Cnut`s Wendish kingdom was called Sembia, and it was in the Wendish war under Cnut that Godwin, the Anglo-Saxon earl, rose to distinction dominions,(52) the migration into England of Wendish people during his reign is easily accounted for.”

“There is additional evidence of the intercourse of the Wendish people of Pomerania with the people of Anglo-Saxon England in the objects that have been found. The gold ring which was found at Coslin, on the Pomeranian coast, in 1839, Stephens says was the first instance of the discovery of a golden bracteates and Northern runes on German soil.(53) The inscription is in provincial English runes, the rune which cannot be shown at present is the sign for yo which is slightly different, for, as Stephens says, it has only been found in England. The ring must be a very early one, for it contains the heathen symbols for Woden and also for the Holy Triskele (Y). Stephens states that it cannot well be later than the fifth century, and that it had been worn by a warrior `who had been in England, or had gotten it thence by barter.` The style is that of six centuries earlier than the eleventh or twelfth centuries, when the Germans came to Pomerania. The well-preserved characters on the ring point to its loss at an early date after its manufacture, and thus to early communication of some kind between England and Pomerania. It may have been the much-prized, rare ornament of a Wendish chief, brought or sent from England. In any case we know that the Wends, who had no knowledge of runes, must have prized ornaments such as this, whose construction was beyond their skill, for the relics of Vandal ornaments we possess from other countries where the Vandals had settled are clearly in many respects rough imitations of those of the ancient Goths.(54) With this English golden finger-ring there were also two Roman coins, one of Theodosius `the Great` (379-395), and the other of Leo I. (457-474), thus fixing the probable date of the ring as the fifth century. At that time the Goths were settling down in Kent, with some Wends, probably, near to them. They can be traced on both Essex and Sussex. The coast of the Baltic, it should also be remembered, was not only Wendish in the parts nearest to the Elbe, but also Gothic in those beyond the Vistula. The discovery of this ring in old Vandal territory with the Roman coins, and especially with the very early English runic characters upon it, assists in proving that the early Goths who settled in Kent were of the same stock as those who overran so large a part of Europe during the decline of the Roman Empire. In considering this, it should also be remembered that inscribed stones discovered at Sandwich, which are marked with very early runes, and are ascribed to the same early period, still exist in Kent.(55)”

“The evidence we possess relating to the connection of ancient Wendland with both the earlier and later Anglo-Saxons thus points to a continued intercourse between that country and our own. It is known to have been very considerable in the time of Cnut, who was the King or overlord of the Baltic Wendland. A large discovery of coins was made at Althofthen on the Obra, in the province of Posen, not far from Brandenburg, in 1872. From sixty to seventy Anglo-Saxon coins of AEthelred and Cnut, and an Irish one of Sithric, were found in this hoard. The Anglo-Saxon coins bear the mint marks of Cambridge, London, Canterbury, Shaftsbury, Cricklade, Oxford, Stamford, Winchester, York, and other places – twenty in all.(56)”

“The local traces of Wendish settlers in various English counties will be stated when considering the evidence of tribal settlers in different parts of England. Among these local traces are customs and folk-lore, which were of great vitality among these people of Wendland. On this subject Magnus, the historian of the Goths and Vandals, give us positive information. He says : `For, as Albertus Crantzius reports of Vandalia, “great is the love men bear to their ancestors` traditions.”(57)”


(1) Morfil, `Slavonic Literature,` 36, quoting Ptolemy.

(2) Procopius, `Wars of the Vandals` (Greek ed., 1607), book i., p.92, and Greek-Latin ed., iii. 313.

(3) Latham,R. G., `Germania of Tacitus,` Epileg. Ixxxix.

(4) Latham. R. G., loc. Cit., Prolegomena, xxvii.

(5) Ibid., Prolegomena, xxvii.

(6) Ibid., xxvi.

(7) Ripley, W. Z., `Races of Europe,` 239.

(8) Germania, Sect. xIiii.

(9) Saxo Grammaticus, translated by O. Elton, 393-395.

(10) Zosimus, i., c. 68.

(11) Hodgkin, T., `Italy and her Invaders,` 217.

(12) Codex Dipl., Index.

(13) Bunbury, E. H., `Hist. Of Ancient Geography,` ii. 591.

(14) Pliny, `hist. Nat.,` iv., chap. xxvii., quoted by Elton, C. I. `Origins of Engl. Hist.,` 40.

(15) Beda, `Eccles. Hist.,` edited by J. A. Giles, book v., chap. ix.

(16) Cottonian Liber Custumarum, Liber Albus, vol. ii., pt. Ii., 645.

(17) Marsh, G. P., `Lectures on the English Language,` Second Series, p. 55.

(18) Beda, loc. Cit., book v., chap. ii.

(19) Hampson, R. T., `The Geography of king Alfred,` p. 41.

(20) Schafarik, `Slavonic Antiquities,` quoted by Morfil, W. R., `Slavonic Literature,` 3-35.

(21) Cart. Sax., edited by Birch, i 416.

(22) Codex Dipl., No. 931.

(23) Ibid., No 967.

(24) Ibid., nos. 641 and 387.

(25) Ibid., No. 282.

(26) Ibid., No. 935.

(27) Ibid., No. 1205.

(28) Ibid.

(29) Hund. Rolls, vol. ii., Index.

(30) Stephens, G., `Old Northern Runic Monuments,` iii. 122.

(31) Monumenta Germaniae, scriptores ii. 677, A.D. 851.

(32) Codex. Dipl., Index.

(33) Domesday Book, Index.

(34) Menzel, `History of Germany,` i. 242.

(35) Rambad, A., `History of Russia,` i. 23.

(36) Magnus, J., `Hist. De omn. Goth. Sueon. Reg,.` ed. 1554, p. 15.

(37) Monumenta Germaniae, Ann. Einh., edited by Pertz, i. 163.

(38) Mallet, M., `Northern Antiquities,` Bohn`s ed., p. 139.

(39) Rudoplh, H., `Orts Lexikon von Deutschland.`

(40) Rudolph, H., loc. Cit.

(41) Beddoe, J., `Races of Britain,` 207.

(42) Ripley, W. Z., `Races of Europe,` Map.

(43)`The Heimskringla,` translated by Laing, edited by Anderson, ii. 12.

(44) Ibid., iv. 201.

(45) Memoires de la Societe Royale des Antiquaires du Nord, 1850-1860, p. 422.

(46 Codex Dipl., nos. 826, 150, 1283, 816.

(47) Monumenta Germaniae, ii. 461.

(48) Worsaae, J. J. A., `Primaeval Antiquities of Denmark,` p. 118.

(49) Freeman, E. A., `Hist. Of the Norman Conquest,` i. 475.

(50) Freemane. A., loc. Cit., i. 650.

(51) Codex Dipl., No. 1318.

(52) Freeman, E. A., loc. Cit., i. 504, Note.

(53) Stephens, G., loc. Cit., ii. 600.

(54) Collection, British Museum.

(55) Stephens, G., loc. Cit., ii. 542.

(56) Warne, C., `Ancient Dorset,` p. 320.

(57) Magnus, O., `Hist. Omn. Goth.,` Quoting Albertus Crantzius, lib. Ix., chap. xxxvii.


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July 2, 2017

Chapels in the West

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In his Westphalian annals (volume 3), the Catholic priest Hermann Stangefol makes the following curious statement regarding the so-called Drüggelter Kapelle (which just means chapel) just south of Soest.  The place was first mentioned during the Crusades as apud Druglete and the “Kapelle” as Capellam Druchlete.

“The Paradise Monastery is noteworthy for the fact that it was spared by the enemy in the siege of Soest in 1447.  At around the same time, by reason of a pious gift, the farms of the town Drüchgelte on the River Möhne were transferred to [the ownership of] this new monastery.  There in an ancient temple, that still exists, there stood there an statue of the Goddess Trigla, which had three heads, to which the pagans in times of greatest need typically ran, pleading for help. It may be thought that it is from this statue [Goddess] that the village derives its name.  This statue was destroyed in 1583 during the Cologne War [1583-1588].”

“Monasterio Paradiso in obsidione Susatensi a. 1447 hostes, quod notabile admodum est, pepercerunt.  Villae in Druechgelte ad Moenam fl. ex piorum oblationibus huic novello Monasterio simul obvenerunt.  Ubi in pervetusto templo, quod etiamnum supcrest, extitit olim simulachrum Triglae deae, tria habens capita, ad quam gentilitas in summis necessitatibus opem imploratura cofugere solebat.  Est credible, quod ab eadem imagine hunc pagaum nomen suum mutuasse.  Status haec anno 1583 in bello trucksessisno omnino periit.”

This from the Annales circuli Westphalici, hoc est Opus Chronologicum Et Historicum rerum omnium, maxime notabilium sub hoc circulo gestarum, a Christo nato ad annum MDCLVI deductum et in IV partes distinctum.  The Moenam/Moyne refers to the river Möhne.

It is curious that Stangefol mentions Trigla as having “three heads” but does not seem to be aware that the name is likely a direct translation of that same concept.  He also does not mention the Slavs or the Slavic God Triglav suggesting that he may not even have been aware that Triglav had been attested in the Life of Otto of Bamberg.  These facts would add credibility to his report.  And it is true that the columns of the Kapelle feature a number of “strange” symbols and carvings including a column with three heads (notice too the boar’s or ram’s head in the middle below):

 Then there is the column with multiple heads:

Whether the various carvings visible on other columns may be solar symbols or something else is up for debate.

Speaking of reports, as we observed previously, there certainly have been reports of Slavs in the neighboring Soest.  We’ve also mentioned that Soest itself sounds vaguely Slavic or at least features the “Venetic” prefix -est (as too does Tergeste/Triest).  Note too that Slavic idols may have been found in places such as Bamberg (Bababerg arguably referring to Slavic (?) sculptures).

It is also true that in some cases former pagan sculptures/images were incorporated in the structures of the new Christian churches as in Altenkirchen (incidentally, located between Arkona and Glowe with the latter meaning “head”).  Of course, one may legitimately guess that such “incorporation” was usually intended as either pragmatic (useful building materials) or humiliating (we put your “god” into our wall upside down) or both.  The notion that pagan sculptures should be incorporated as prominent features of a church may seem to stretch credulity.  And yet, if you wanted to have the local pagans attend mass, what better way to do that than pretend “nothing’s changed”.

Whether Druglete can in fact derive its name from Triglav is another question.  That seems unlikely.  If one were to seek a Slavic etymology, a druch or drug would seem to fit better – meaning a “friend” or “companion” (this presumably from the numeral drugi meaning “the second”).

As an aside, it is also remarkable that drugubica means a net/trap/snare and has a definite Slavic etymology.  Yet Druch apparently means the same in German – as in Schlinge, Fusschlinge or Latin pedica.

This was noted by Wilhelm Engelbert Giefers in his study of the Three Strange Chapels of Westphalia. Giefers presumably did not know that the same is true in Slavic.  He also noted that Trigla cannot be the name of a goddess since, among other reasons:

“neither in the Germanic, nor Roman nor Greek mythology is there anywhere a reference to a Goddess Trigla.”

This, however, is not exactly true.

The 12th century Eustathius of Thessalonica (Commentary on the Illiad, XVII, 73) observes otherwise regarding Diana saying that she used to be called Trigla (by reason of three heads or eyes?).  Note too that “eyes” would work – gała/gały/gałka/gałki – compare with Russian galaz (or głazy – meaning stones, pebbles – or to simplify, something round). (Note too glaesum for “amber”).  Yet tri by itself won’t do it to make this Slavic since that is an IE prefix (at least in Slavic and Celtic – compare Tarvos Trigaranos on the Pillar of the Boatmen).

And earlier we have in Atheneus (3rd century AD, Deipnosophistae, Book 7) the following quote regarding a “trigle” fish (taxonomy continued to today):

“The Red Mullet (triglê). — This word, like chichlê (thrush) is spelled with an ê. For all feminines ending in la require a second l: Scylla, Telesilla. But all words in which g is inserted end in ê, like troglê (hole), aiglê (brilliance), zeuglê (yoke-strap). “The red mullet,” Aristotle says in the fifth book of Parts of Animals, “spawns thrice a year.” He says that fishermen infer this from the roe, which is seen three times a year in certain localities. Perhaps, therefore, the name triglê is derived from this circumstance, just as the amias are so‑called because they do not go solitarily, but in schools, scarus (parrot-fish) and caris (shrimp) from scairo (leap), aphyae (anchovies) because they are aphyes, that is, of poor size; from thyo, dart, the darting thynnys (tunny), because at the time when the Dog-star rises it is driven forth by the bot-fly on its head.”

“The triglê (red mullet) is jagged-toothed, gregarious, spotted all over, and also carnivorous. The third spawning is infertile; for certain worms develop in the womb, which devour the roe that is to be spawned. From this circumstance Epicharmus calls them the “squirming” in these lines from The Marriage of Hebe: “So he brought some squirming mullets and disgusting baiones.” Sophron, again, mentions trigolae, whatever they may be, in Mimes of Men, thus: “With a trigolas that cuts the navel-cord;” and “the trigolas that brings fair weather.” On the other hand, in the mime entitled Puffing Passion, he has: “The jaw of a Triglê, but the hind parts of a trigolas.” And in Mimes of Women: ‘The barbelled Triglê.” Diocles,in his work addressed to Pleistarchus, mentions the Triglê among fish with hard flesh. Speusippus says that the piper, flying-fish, and Triglê are similar. Hence Tryphon declares in his work On Animals that some persons identify the trigolas with the piper because of the hardness of their hind parts, which Sophron has indicated when he says, “the jaw of a Triglê, but the hind parts of a tirgolas.” Plato says in Phaon: “But the red mullet will give no strength to the glands. For she is a daughter of the virgin Artemis and loathes the rising passion.” The Triglê, on account of the syllable in its name which is common to the epithets of Hecate, is dedicated to her. For she is the goddess of the three ways and looks three ways, and they offer her meals on the thirtieth days. By like analogies they associate the turbot (citharus) with Apollo, the boax with Hermes, the ivy with Dionysus, the coot (phalaris) with Aphrodite, by way of insinuating phallus, like Aristophanes’s pun in The Birds. (So some persons associate the duck, called netta, with Poseidon.) The sea product which we call aphyê, others aphritis, others still, aphros (foam) — this, I say, is most dear to Aphrodite, because she also sprang from foam. Apollodorus also, in his treatise On the Gods, says that the Triglê is sacrificed to Hecate because of the associations in the name; for the goddess is tri-form. But Melanthius, in his work On the Eleusinian Mysteries, includes the sprat with the Triglê because Hecate is a sea-goddess also. Hegesander of Delphi declares that a Triglê is carried in the procession at the festival of Artemis, because it is reputed to hunt sea-hares relentlessly and devour them; for they are deadly. Hence, inasmuch as the Triglê does this to benefit mankind, this huntress fish is dedicated to the huntress goddess. Further, Sophron called the Triglê barbelled, because those mullets which have barbels are better to eat than other kinds.”

At Athens there is also a place called Trigla, and there is a shrine there dedicated to Hecate Triglanthinê. Hence Charicleides says in The Chain: “Mistress Hecate of the three ways, with three forms and three faces, beguiled with triglas.” If a Triglê be smothered a live in wine and a man drinks this, he will not be able to have sexual intercourse, as terpsicles narrates in his book On Sexual Pleasure. If a woman, also, drink of the same wine, she cannot conceive. The same is true even of a bird. The encyclopaedic Archestratus, after praising the trials of Teichious, in the Milesian territory, goes on to say: “Also in Thasos buy a red mullet, and you will get one that is not bad. In Teos it is inferior, yet even it is good. In Erythrae, too, it is good, when caught by the shore.” And Cratinus says in Trophonius: “No longer may we eat a red mullet from Aexonê, nor taste sting-ray or black-tail of huge growth.” The comic poet Nausicrates commends the red mullets of Aexonê in these lines from The Skippers: “A. With them, excellent in quality, come the tawny-skins, which Aexonê’s wave fosters as its own children, the best of all. With these, sailorfolk pay honour to the goddess, light-bringing virgin, whenever they offer her gifts of dinners. B. You are talking about mullets.”

Whatever your judgment on Trigla, the Slavs are not mentioned by Eustathius or Atheneus.  Perhaps the mystery is deeper and its solution lies with the Laconians/Lacedaemonians or the Pelasgians (as per Pokorny, from pelag-skoi “flatland-inhabitants” – Polanie?) who were descended (perhaps) from the mythical Phoroneus Φορωνεύς (Piorun/Perun/Perkunas?).

For more see Ernst Maaß’ Hekate und ihre Hexen in the Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung auf dem Gebiete der Indogermanischen Sprachen.

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June 17, 2017

Krakows Gallore

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That there are multiple Krakows in Germany we’ve written about before.  The furthest one is on the west bank of the Rhine.  But here is another one – this one near Magdeburg (previously Krakow – currently Cracau):

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June 16, 2017


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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

The Astronomer’s Slavs

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One of the principal sources for the times of Louis the Pious is the so-called Astronomer‘s “The Life of Emperor Louis” or Vita Hludovici (the others include Thegan as well as Ermoldus Nigellus that is Ermold or Ermoald the Black).  It was written sometime after 840.

Here are the Slavic excerpts from that work.  The translation is that of Thomas Noble (and the notes are his).  (Note that we do not include references to place names that might have an etymology suspiciously resembling Slavic such as Triburi, that is, “three forests” (Drevergau) not necessarily “drei Höfe”; Vlatten (“probably of Celtic origin” as in Vlatos = the ruler… but certainly not from Wladyka); or the River Cisse flowing into the Loire; or monastery at Vadala (San Salvador de la Valeda in Berga near Barcelona? Or Vandala? Or Veleda?).

Chapter 25

“…The emperor then ordered the Saxon counts and the Abotrits, who had formerly submitted themselves to the lord Charles, to give aid to Harald, so that he could be restored to his own kingdom.  Baldric was deputized to carry this message.  When they had crossed the Eider River, they entered the land of the Northmen in a place called Sinlendi.  Although the sons of Godfred had abundant forces and two hundred ships, they did not wish to come close and give battle.  Both forces withdrew, and our men destroyed and burned everything they encountered, and what is more, they received forty hostages from that same people.  Having done this, they returned to the emperor in a place called Paderborm, where he had gathered all his people in a general assembly [July 815] .  To that same place came the princes of the eastern Slavs and all their most important men*…”

[* note: “Other sources specify Abotrits, Sorbs, Wilzi, Bohemians, and Moravians.” The wording used is Quo in loco principes Sclavorum orientalium omnes primoresque venerunt]

Chapter 26

“After the emperor spent the harsh winter in restful health and calm success, and with the approach of summer’s most welcome charms, those who are called the eastern Franks and the counts of the Saxon people were sent by him against the Slavic Sorbs, who were said to have withdrawn from his authority.  With Christ’s help their attempt was suppressed very quickly and easily…”

Chapter 27

“…While he was staying in that palace [Aachen], he also received the envoy of Emperor Leo of Constantinople, whose name was Nicephorus.  Apart from friendship and alliance, the legation treated the boundaries of the Dalmatians, Romans, and Slavs.  But because they [the Slavs] were not present, nor was Cadalo [margrave of Friuli], the prefect of those border regions, and because without them affairs could not be brought into order, Albgar was sent to Dalmatia to pacify and organize the situation, along with Chadalo, the prince of those very same borderlands…”

Chapter 29

“…With these things already properly ordered, the emperor then, in that assembly, wished for his firstborn son Lothar, to be, and to be called, co-emperor, and he sent forth two of his sons, Pippin into Aquitaine and Louis into Bavaria, so that people might know whose authority they ought to obey.  Immediately, a defection of the Abotrits was announced to him.  They had come to an understanding with the sons of Godfred and were disturbing Saxony beyond the river Elbe.  The emperor sent adequate forces against them, and with God’s favor their movement was stopped…”

Chapter 30

“…The emperor, for the purpose of avenging their [the Bretons’] insolence, assembled a military force from all sides and headed for the Breton frontier.  He held a general assembly at Vannes [August or September 818], entered the province, an with little time or effort devastated everything until Murman [Breton leader], while he was attacking the baggage train, was killed by a certain keeper of the royal horses named Coslus [see Ermoldus Nigellus for more].  All of Brittany was conquered with him, gave up, and surrendered to whatever conditions the emperor might wish to impose, in the end, future servitude..  The Bretons gave and accepted hostages – who they were and hoe many, he decided – and he organized the whole land according to his will.”

Chapter 31

“…Meanwhile, the envoys of other peoples were there too, that is, of the Abotrits, Goduscani, and Timotani,* who had recently renounced an alliance with the Bulgars and associated themselves with us.  And the envoys of Liudewit [Croat leader rebelled in 819 and was murdered in 823], the commander of lower Pannonia, were there also accusing Cadalo [margrave of Friuli], falsely as it turned out, of being unbearably cruel to them.  All these were heard, dealt with, and dismissed, and the emperor moved on to that very palace where he planned to spend the winter.   While he was there, King Slaomir of the Abotrits was paraded before him by the Saxon leaders.  Since he was accused of defection and could not answer the charge, he was sent into exile, and his kingdom was given to Ceadrag, a son of Thrasco.**”

[* note: These are the south Abotrits “who lived on the north bank of the middle Danube.  The Goduscani lived on the Croatian-Dalmatian coast.  The Timotiani lived along the Serbian-Bulgarian frontier.  These people were pressured by the recent expansion of Bulgaria.”]

[** “Slaomir had mirdered Thrasco in 809 or 810 and the, from about 816 or 817, shared rule over the Abotrits with Ceadrag”]

Chapter 32

“…In the following summer [819], his people came to him in the palace of Ingelheim.  There he received the messengers from his army that had been sent to suppress the open treachery of Liudewit, but that affair remained more or less unresolved.  Indeed, puffed up by arrogance on account of his actions, Liudewit, through his envoys, laid before the emperor certain demands that, if the emperor were prepared to fulfill them, would lead him to return to his former obedience to Louis’ commands.  But these seemed pointless to him, and so he tossed them aside and did not accept them.  Liudewit decided to remain disloyal, and he associated with himself in perfidy whomever he could.  Indeed, after the return of the army from the frontiers of Pannonia, and while Liudwit was still in opposition, Duke Cadalo of the Friuli succumbed to fever and lived his last day.  Baldric took his place. When he first came into the provide and entered the lands of the Carinthians, he put the forces of Liudewit to flight near the river Drava with only a few men.  Harrying the rest, he compelled them all to leave his territory.  Chased out by Baldric, Liudewit confronted Borna, the duke of Dalmatia, who was camped on the Kupa River.  Borna had been deserted because of the treater or the fear of the Goduscani – it is not clear which – and he escaped the impending reckoning of accounts safe and sound only by using a force of personal bodyguards.  Later on he dealt with those who had deserted him.”

“Meanwhile Liudewit entered Dalmatia again, in the following winter. and he tried to destroy everything by cutting down with the sword every living thing and by setting fire to every inanimate thing.  Since Borna was unable to meet his attack, he looked for a way to harm him by cunning.  He did no declare open war on him but harassed him and his army with sneak attacks such that Liudewit was ashamed and sorry that he haas undertaken such things.  With three thousand of his soldiers killed and many horses and lots of equipment of various kinds destroyed, he was forced by Borna to leave the region.  The emperor, who was them at Aachen, heard all these things most joyfully…”

Chapter 33

“In that same palace, with winter [January 820] coming on, the emperor gather together an assembly of his people.  At that time Borna, who complained bitterly about the attack of Liudewit, received form the emperor substantial forces to help him grind down Liudewit’s land.  The forces were int he first place divided into three, and they devastated almost all the land under his authority by fire and sword, but Liudewit protected himself by the heights of a certain fortress and would not come forth to fight or to talk.  After these forces returned home, the people of Carniola and certain of the Carinthians who had give over to Liudewit surrendered to our duke Baldric…”

Chapter 34

“In this year the lord emperor spent the winter [820/821] season in Aachen.  In that same winter, im February, an assembly was held at Aachen, and three armed bands were dispatched to lay waste the land of Liudewit…In the midst of these things, Borna lost his life, and the emperor made his nephew Ladasclao his successor…”

Chapter 35

“…At the same time, he sent an army from Italy into Pannonia against Liudewit, Since he was unable to maintain himself there, he left his own city [Sisak as per the Carolingian Annals] and went to a certain chieftain of Dalmatia and was admitted to his city.  Then, however, he turned the gables on his host, brought him grief, and subjected the city to his own domination.  And although he would neither fight nor talk with our men, nevertheless he sent envoys to say that he had made a mistake and he promised that he would come to the lord emperor…”

“…With these things taken care of, he spent the autumn, hunting in the way of the kings of the Franks, and to pass winter, he sought out a place across the Rhine whose name is Frankfurt.  There he ordered an assembly of the neighboring peoples to come together, of all of those, that is, who lived beyond the Rhine and who obeyed the command of the Franks.  He discussed with them everything that appeared to contribute to the public good, while he took thought suitably for the affairs of each.  In that same meeting, a legation of the Avars appeared bearing gifts*…”

[* note: apparently last ever contemporaneous mention of the Avars]

Chapter 36

“In that same estate, that is, Frankfurt, after winter had ended, the emperor in May held an assembly of the eastern Franks, the Saxons, and of the other peoples who bordered on them.  There he brought to a fitting end a struggle between two brothers who were fiercely contending for the kingship.  They were WIlzi by birth, sons of King Liubi, and their names were Milegast and Celeadrag.  When their father, Liubi, declared war on the Abotrits, he was killed by them, and the kingdom was conveyed to the firstborn,  But when he showed himself to be more sluggish in the administration of the kingdom than the situation demanded, the favor of the people shifted on behalf  of the younger son.  They came into the emperor’s presence on account of this altercation.  He investigated, discovered the will of the people, and declared the younger to be chief.  The emperor endowed both with ample gifts, bound them by oaths, and dismissed them as friends, both to himself and to each other…”

“…In that same assembly the death of the tyrant Liudewit was announced.  He was killed by some trickery.  The emperor dissolved this assembly and called for another one at Compiegne in the autumn [of 823].”

Chapter 39

“Later the emperor ordered an assembly to be celebrated by his people in May [of 825] at Aachen.  While it was meeting, a legation from the Bulgarians, who had for a long time lived in Bavaria according to his instructions, was brought in to be heard.  They were especially concerned about the boundaries to be observed between the Bulgarians and the Franks after the establishment of the peace.  Present as well, and promising submission and obedience with many words, were not a few leaders of the Bretons, among whom was Wiomarc’h, who seemed to exceed the others in authority, the very one who had by reckless boldness and stupid audacity gone so far as to provoke the emperor to send a expedition into those regions to suppress his insolence.  Therefore, when he said that he regretted his deeds and that he would commit himself loyally to the emperor, he was received mercifully by him in his usual fashion – for he was always accustomed to bestow clemency – and he, along with totters of his countrymen, was endowed with gifts.  He was allowed to go home. But later, not unmindful of his customary perfidy yet forgetful of all that he had promised an dog the good things that he ha experienced, he did not miss a chance to complain about his neighbors, the emperor’s faithful men, and to harass them with persistent harm.  So it happened that, overwhelmed by the men of Lambert, he met the end of all his evils and the term of his life in his own house.”

“So, having dismissed the envoys of the Bulgarians and of the Bretons, the emperor went off hunting in the wilds of the Vosges, believing that he could do that until the month of August, when he would return to Aachen to hold an assembly, as he had planned.  At that time he ordered that the peace which the Northmen were seeking be confirmed in October…”

“…When the envoys of the Bulgarians returned from that assembly bearing the emperor’s letters, their king received what was written with little pleasure, because he had not obtained what he had sought.  With a certain irritation he sent back that same messenger and demanded that either a common boundary be established or he would, with whatever force he could muster, see to his own frontiers.  But then the rumor spread that the king who had made such demands had lost his kingdom, so the emperor retained the envoy for a bit, until he could send Bertric, the count of the palace, who learned that what was going around was false.  Having learned the truth he dismissed the envoy with that affair still unfinished.”

Chapter 40

“…On the first of June [of 826] the emperor came to Ingelheim and an assembly pif his people met him there, just as he had instructed…  Moreover, two dukes, Ceadrag of the Abotrits and Tunglo of the Sorbs, when they were accused and the verdict did not appear clear enough, were chastised and sent home…”

Chapter 42

“In February of the following winter [in 828], there was a public assembly at Aachen… Also a charge was lodged and investigated against Duke Baldric of the Friuliu, that on account of his laxity and carelessness the Bulgarians had wasted our land.  He was expelled from his duchy, and his power was divided among four of his counts.  But, then, the spirit of the emperor was most mild by nature, and he was always eager to request mercy for those who had sinned…”

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June 6, 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

On Herbert’s Recorded Miracles

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We cannot emphasize enough that telavic mythology has not been thoroughly explored.  The major studies of sources have produced plenty of material but missed some items.  Note that a lot of these items are not well known even in their respective countries of production.  This can be said of the mentions of Slavic religious practices by:

We were guided to yet another such find just recently.  A scholar of the Jagiellonian University* from Kielce – Michał Łuczyński with a translation by Małgorzata Kruszelnicka – published an article  in 2009 wherein he notes a reference to Slavic religion in  Herberti turrium sardiniae archiepiscopal De miraculis libri tres (Herbert Archbishop of Torres in Sardinia – Of the Miracles in Three Books).  The specific reference is to a confrontation between a Christian monk and a Slavic pagan “demon”.

[* Incidentally, it was also a scholar of the Jagiellonian University – Maria Kowalczyk (or Kowalczykówna) – who discovered the most ancient references to Polish Gods in in the sermons of Lucas of Great Kozmin (see “Wróżby, czary i zabobony w średniowiecznych rękopisach Biblioteki Jagiellońskiej,” 1979).  Like Szacherska’s work, this was ignored until the Leszek Kolankiewicz’s (a theatrical scholar!) book “Dziady” brought it back to light in 1999.   Łuczyński’s article came out in 2009 – ten years after Kolankiewicz’s book so it seems something is brought to light every ten years – we’ll take it.]

This story is only present in three manuscripts of the Miracles where (as Chapter 93) it is referred to as: Quomodo zabulus in scemate regio se ipsum ydalatris ostendebat or “How the devil revealed himself to idolaters in [some] unattractive country.” (elsewhere aka De converso, qui vidit ante conversionem dyabolum ydolatris se ostendere in scemate regio)

The same was previously also noted by a Danish writer in the 1930s (exact source now escapes memory), by Stella Maria Szacherska in 1968 in her work Rola klasztorów duńskich w ekspansji Danii na Pomorzu Zachodnim u schyłku XII wieku (“The role of Danish monasteries in Denmark’s expansion in Western Pomerania at the end of the 12th century”) and, more recently, in 2005 by  Gabriela Kompatscher Gufler (Herbert von Clairvaux und sein Liber miraculorum: die Kurzversion).  For other mentions of this work, you can see Łuczyński’s article in Mythologia Slavica, volume 16, 2013, page 69.

Note that the Miracles appear in Migne’s Patrologia Latina – volume 185 (starting on p. 1272) but do not contain the aforesaid adventure.  This is because the Migne version used the most common manuscript version.  Interestingly, even that version contains a reference to Slavs in Book Three, Chapter 36 (which corresponds to Chapter 94 of the version containing the Quomodo story) (though that story of the Slavs has been interpreted to refer to Prussia instead in Wiener’s work which was also accepted by Marian T.W. Łodyński).  Because the Slav portion appears right after the Quomodo story we showcase both here (For the Quomodo story we use the Łuczyński/Kruszelnicka translation with some alterations – for example, scemate regio probably refers to an unattractive country not to “regal gowns”).  

So who was Herbert?  We are talking about Herbert of Clairvaux (circa 1130 – circa 1181) Monk at Clairvaux (1153–68/9), abbot of Mores in Champagne; but later also archbishop of Sassaria or Porto Torres, Sardinia (circa 1181).  To be clear he did not perform the miracles in his “Miracles”.  Rather his book is a composition of stories regarding others’ miracles put together by Herbert.  In the case of the Quomodo story Herbert notes that it was relayed to him by Henry of Clairvaux but the name of the protagonist monk remains unknown.

How the devil revealed himself to idolaters in [some] unattractive country
[Chapter 93]

“This is [the story] that the dignified-looking Henry, once a monk of Claraevallis, now an abbot residing in Denmark for many years, told us – [a story of] a noble monk from his abbey.  The monk in question, now still wearing holy gowns, in his youthful years went to the pagan land mentioned above* for the purpose of [carrying on of] negotiations.”

[* note – if above refers to the prior Chapter 92, that would be the same as Migne’s Book III, Chapter 35 in which indeed a “ad terram paganorum” does appear.  Since nothing says that that is a Slavic country, It is also, therefore, possible that this story also does not have anything to do with Slavs though, given, the timing of composition, that is unlikely – given that in the 12th century the only openly pagan European countries would have been parts of Slavic lands and Baltic regions – but the Christianization of the Baltics did not start in earnest till the 13th century and also those lands were further from Denmark which is the residence of the abbot conveying the story]

“However, in that territory there is an unclean statue inhabited by a most frightening God, who answers many calls and who is worshipped by the local inhabitants solely out of fear.  Sometimes he made himself visible and appeared as if a tyrant with a terrifying countenance and voice and he made these unhappiest people worship him by means of threats and beatings.  Furthermore, on that God’s order, he frequently sent diseases, disasters, infertility and other plagues and aroused fear in the unfaithful.”

“[But] if it had ever appeared that he was giving up those criminal acts or that he was acting more gently, [then] he was regarded as the deliverer of blessings.  Every year, on specified days they [these people] used to arrive festively at his temple from everywhere and they used to feast together although their participation was dishonorable [from a Christian view]. They used to set up a separate table and set it lavishly with delicious dishes, and all that used to be devoured in an invisible way by the gluttonous spirit. Then, when they [the people] saw everything had been eaten, they themselves ate joyfully because they thought the tipsy deity would be favourable to them.”

“One day, when they gathered in one place, the young Christian [I] mentioned before happened to be there. Suddenly, the well-known spirit appeared, decorated with royal ornamentation, sat down on his throne and spoke to them in a proud and contemptuous way.  Yet, those lamentable people mocked at by that shameless deity stood terrified at the sight of him and worshipped him.  When the young Christian saw it, he understood that it was the devil turned into an angel of light.  He felt fear of Satan and, calling the name of Christ, he secretly made a sign of the cross . He did not dare, however, to make the sign of the cross openly on his forehead due to a great number of people being there.  Having noticed what he did secretly, the wild deity spoke to him in his native language: ‘Hey, you deceitful Christian, tell me what you are plotting in secrecy.  Hiding under the cloak, you have made the hateful sign of the cross on your chest.  Are you also making an attempt to throw me out of my temple?  I had left the place from which you came to [come to?] my land.  I hid in the sea escaping from your cross and now that I have returned, you do not allow me to find shelter from your cross in my own temples.  You have eaten my food, you have armed against me with your signs and once again you are expelling me against my will from my domicile like an ungodly traitor’.”

“When the pagans heard the demon’s voice, they hardly understood the conversation and they were very surprised at who participated in the conversation and what it was about.  The alarmed young Christian who heard and who understood the speech, hid in the crowd because he was weak and inexperienced in his faith to such a degree that he was afraid he would be captured by the infidels and punished with death.  However, once the demon disappeared, the crowd dispersed, the young man’s wonderment diminished and [instead] what he saw and heard helped him to deepen his Christian faith.  Soon, when he returned to his native land, he went to the abbey mentioned above, where he [continued] in the service of God, and he revealed to the abbot and to the other monks what had happened to him, in order to strengthen them spiritually.”

“What else can be said: if the power of the Cross is so great that a Christian of small faith furtively and fearfully made the sign of cross [and that] caused the rulers of darkness to escape, what do you think [then] happens when men of virtue and missionaries strong in faith arrive with what is the word of God?  How many piles of corpses they created, what great multitudes of pagans they gained [for the faith] in a short time, they discovered it [all] in the words of truth which are in the Psalm: ‘A thousand fall by your side, and ten thousand to your right. And in the Ministerial Book: Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred will chase ten thousand. God wishes this kind of [bountiful] harvest in order to send harvesters to reap. Harvest is plentiful, but [there are] very few harvesters.  However, those very few harvesters who came from all over are blessed profusely and they reap the harvest of souls for God.  As a result, thousands of pagans only just baptized, in a short time grow in number more and more to such a degree that the bishops and metropolitans are appointed in many cities and God’s grapevine is spread far and wide among barbaric people, who [previously] may have heard the name of wine but [until then]  did not taste [that] wine.”

Quomodo zabulus in scemate regio se ipsum ydalatris ostendebat
aka De converso, qui vidit ante conversionem dyabolum ydolatris se ostendere in scemate regio

Vir venerabilis Hainricus, quondam monachus Claraeuallis et nunc iam per annos plurimos abbatizans in regione Danensi, de quodam honesto monasterii sui converso tale aliquid nobis significavit.  Predictus itaque frater dum adhuc secularem habitum gereret, in iuvenili aetate perrexit ad negociandum in supradictam terram paganorum.  Est autem in illis locis symulacrum inmundum, in quo demon atrocissimus habitans et responsa plurima prestans pro solo timore ab illis incolis excolebatur. Siquidem interdum visibiliter seipsum ostendens, quasi tyrannus aliquis vultu et voce terribilis apparebat atque miserrimos homines illos minis ac verberibus illatis ad suam reverenciam imperiose cogebat. Preterea morbos, clades, sterilitates atque similia ex divina permissione inducens frequenter, terrorem suum super infidelibus populis incuciebat. Si quando vero ab huiusmodi malignacionibus cessare aut micius agere videbatur, magni beneficii largitor tenebatur.  Statutis quoque diebus in anno soliti erant undique ad phanum ipsius sollempniter convenire et pollutis sacrificiis participando convirare. Aliam vero e regione mensam laucioribus epulis copiose refertam seorsum apponebant, que videlicet omnia spiritus ille gulosus plerumque adveniens avida voracitate invisibiliter absorbebat. Cumque universa consumpta conspicerent, tunc et ipsi letanter epulabantur, quia crapulanti numinis gratiam iam secure prestolabantur.  Quadam itaque die, convenientibus in unum, contigit et interesse prefatum illum iuvenem christianum. Et ecce repente apparuit ibi notifer ille spiritus imperialibus ornamentis fantastice redimitus, qui residens in throno suo in superbia et in abusione concionabatur ad illos. Porro miserandi homines illi tanta demonis impudencia ludificati in aspectu eius obstupescebant et execrando prodigio divinitatis honorem impendebant. At vero iuvenis christianus cum talia cerneret, intelligens esse diabolum in angelum lucis transfiguratum, exhorruit a facie maligni et invocans nomen Christi adhibita pectori suo manu signum crucis latenter impressit. Neque enim audebat se propter gentilium multitudinem in fronte signare. Ferum tamten spiritus nequam quae facta fuerant in abscondito linceis oculis deprehendens materna iuvenis lingua allocutus est eum dicens: Eia, perfide christiane, decito mihi, quid est, quod in abscondito machinaris? Ut quid nunc in pectore tuo operiente te pallio crucem illam idibilem figurasti? Numquid etiam de phano meo eicere me queris? Ex quo venisti ad terram meam, ego inde exivi ac fugiendo crucem tuam usque nunc in pelago latitavi et nunc tandem sero reversus, ne pateris me a facie crucis tue saltem in delubris meis habere refugium? Nunc enim saturatus epulis meis armatus es contra me signaculis tuis iterumque me de statione mea tanquam proditor impius violenter expellis. Cum ergo barbari illi homines hanc vocem demonis audirent et minime loquelam intelligerent, satis superque mirabantur, quid diceret aut cui loqueretur. At vero iuvenis audiens et intelligens pavidus in turba latitabat, quia fragilis adhuc et fide tenellus teneri ab infidelibus atque ad supplicium protrahi metuebat. Disparente autem demone solutoque conventu cum grandi admiracione recessit et ex hiis, quae viderat et audierat, multum in fide christiana profecit. Postmodum autem cum ad natalem patriam repedasset, in supradicto monasterio se convertit, ubi religiose conversando domino militare curavit et ea, quae sibi acciderant, ad multorum edificacionem abbati et fratribus indicavit. Si quid nos ad ista dicemus: Si tanta est virtus et gloria crucifixi, ut ante pusillanimem et modice fidei christianum propter signum crucis et trepide et latenter inpressit, principes tenebrarum ita diffugerent, quid putamus fieret, si viri virtutum et fortes in fide predicatores cum gladio spiritus, quid est verbum Dei, accederent. Et quantas hostium strages darent, quantas gentilium turbas in brevi acquirerent, vere cito cognoscerent de verbo veritatis, quid legitur in psalmo: Cadent a latere tuo mille et d[ecem] m[ilia] a[d] d[exteris] tuis. Et in Levitico: Persequentur quinque de vobis – centum alienos, et centum ex vobis – decem milia. Pro huiusmodi ergo rogandus est dominus messis, ut mittat operarios in messem suam. Messis est enim multa et operarii autem pauci. Verum tamen ipsi pauci, immo ut verius dicam, paucissimi, qui in partibus illis reperiuntur in missis undique; falcibus predicationis cum tanta benedictionis habundantia et animarum fruges Domino colligunt et ut nimia paganorum milia nuper in brevi tempore baptizata cottidie magis ac magis multiplicentur et adeo ut episcopi atque metropolitani in civitatibus plurimis nunc de novo creentur et vinea domini Sabbaoth in populis barbaris, qui vini forsitan nomen antea audierant, vinum tamen non biberant, hodie longe lateque propagetur.

The Introduction of the Christian faith in Slavonia, demons scatter from it with horrible noise, as if defeated in battle by an army, and they are routed and put to flight
Chapter 94 (also Migne, Book 3, Chapter 36)

“In the country of Slavonia, the greater part of which has only recently been converted to Christianity, many Cistercian monasteries have already been founded.  Furthermore, the monks who toil daily there for the Lord on converting the heathens received the power to baptize [them] from the Supreme Pontiff.”

“It happened that some of these brothers, who were invited from certain of the faithful, one day came to one of the neighboring villages, baptizing a multitude of pagans in it, [a village] which had recently received the faith and which and which required a regeneration of grace.”

“And the prior night, before they reached this [village], there is a huge noise to be heard from [that place] and a great roar, as if [made] by a great army resonating during the entire night time in the streets and squares of that town; seemingly, as if another army made a powerful assault and finally defeated [the first] from the back and left in a great upheaval.  Moreover, the locals fleeing heard the noise and flights sounds [but] not seeing anyone became dismayed and greatly frightened not knowing what this new thing was or what malice [?] it portended.”

“The next day the monks who arrived at the village baptized there throngs [of people] of [men and women].  But at this time it was made known to the faithful that the noises of the prior night were nothing other than legions of demons complaining and fleeing the Lord for they were not able to withstand the angels and the coming of the Holy Spirit.  Truly many are consoled in the presence of the Lord and especially so the newly-baptized who were saved from eternal damnation.”

Christiana fide in Sclavoniam inducta, diffugiunt ex ea daemones cum horrendo strepitu, velut exercitus praelio victi, et fusi ac fugati

In regione Sclavoniae, quae noviter est ad fidem Christianam conversa magna ex parte, plurima jam Cisterciensis Ordinis monasteria constat esse fundata.  Porro monachi illi qui ibidem Domino serviunt, ob quotidianam conversionem gentilium baptizandi potestatem a sumno pontifice acceperunt.  Factum est autem ut aliqui. de fratribus illis, a quibusdam fidelibus invitati, statuta die venirent ad unam de proximis viltis, paganorum multitudinem in ea baptizaturi, quae nuper fide recepta regenerationis gratiam flagitabat.  Praecedenti ita que nocte, antequam illuc pervenissent, auditus est ibi sonus et fremitus ingens, quasi exercitus grandis, toto tempore noctis per vicos et plateas ejusdem villae perstrepentis, qui velut ab alio exercitu forteter impugnatus, tandemque superatus, terga vertere, atque cum magna turbulentia exire videbatur.  Porro homines loci, recedentium strepitum et fugam communiter audientes, et personam aliquam non videntes, stupebant ac metuebant, nimirum ignorantes quae ista novitas esset aut quid boni malive portenderet.  In crastinum autem venientes monachi ad eamdem villam, baptizaverunt ibi promiscui sexus turbam copiosam.  Tunc vero cunctis fidelibus manifeste innotuit quod tumultus ille nocturnus nihil aliud exstitit, nisi daemonum legiones, ab obsessis hominibus increpante Domino fugientes; qui beatorum angelorum praesentiam, et sancti Spiritus adventum sustinere non poterant.  De qua videlicet re multum in Domino consolatu sunt universi, praecipue vero neophyti illi qui ab immunda damnatione fuerant liberati.

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May 15, 2017

Willibald’s Life Of Saint Boniface

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And speaking of Würzburg.

We have previously discussed Boniface’s comments on Slav matters here, here and here.  Boniface died in 754 but Slavs managed to follow him and make it (once) into the “Life of Boniface” when that work was penned by Willibald about the year 768:

“…Burghardo verotionis parrochiam commendavit in loco qui vocatur Wirzaburg dignitatis officium delegavit, et ecclesias in confiniis Francorum et Saxonum atque Sclavorum suo officio deputavit…”

According to the translator of that work, this WIllibald was not the Willibald of Eichstätt whose own “Life” we already discussed here.  Rather, the author of Saint Boniface’s “Life” (incidentally, the first of such works regarding Boniface) was “a simple priest who had never come into direct contact with Boniface and what he says is based upon the facts that he was able to collect from those who had been Boniface’s disciples.”

Here is that Slavic mention (from Talbot, C. H., trans., The Anglo-Saxon missionaries in Germany; being the lives of SS. Willibrord, Boniface, Sturm, Leoba, and Libuin, together with the Hodoeporicon of St. Willibald and a selection from the correspondence of St. Boniface)

Chapter 8

How throughout his whole life he preached with zeal and how he departed from this world

“During the rule of Carloman all the bishops, priests, deacons, and clerics and everyone of ecclesiastical rank gathered together at the ruler’s instance and held four synodal councils. At these Archbishop Boniface presided, with the consent and support of Carloman and of the metropolitan of the see and city of Mainz. And being a legate of the Roman Church and the Apostolic See, sent as he was by the saintly and venerable Gregory II and later by Gregory III, he urged that the numerous canons and ordinances decreed by these four important and early councils should be preserved in order to ensure the healthy development of Christian doctrine. For as at the Council of Nicaea, held under Constantine Augustus, the errors and blasphemies of Arius were rejected; as under Theodosius the Elder an assembly of one hundred and fifty bishops condemned Macedonius, who denied the divinity of the Holy Spirit; as in the city of Ephesus under Theodosius [II] two hundred bishops excommunicated Nestorius for declaring that there are two Persons in Christ; and as at the Council of Chalcedon an assembly of six hundred and thirty bishops, basing their decision on an earlier one of the fathers, pronounced an anathema against Eutyches, an abbot of Constantinople, and Dioscorus, who defended him, for attacking the foundations of the Catholic faith – So in the Frankish territories, after the eradication of heresy and the destruction of wicked conspirators, he urged that later developments of Christian doctrine and the decrees of the general councils should be received. With this in view there should be a meeting of the bishops in synod each year in accordance with the decree of the aforesaid council of bishops. This holding of synods had fallen into desuetude through the constant fear of war and the hostility and attacks of the surrounding barbarian tribes and through the attempts of hostile enemies to destroy the Frankish realm by violence. They had been forgotten so completely that no one could recall such an assembly’s having taken place within living memory. For it is in the nature of the world to fall into ruin even though it is daily restored, while if no attempt is made to reform it it quickly disintegrates and rushes headlong to its predestined doom. Therefore if in the course of this mortal life means have been discovered to remedy such evils they should be preserved and strongly defended by Catholics and fixed indelibly in the mind. Otherwise human forgetfulness and the enticement of pleasure, both of them instigated by the devil, will prove a stumbling block. For this reason the holy bishop, in his anxiety to deliver his people from the baleful influence of the devil, repeatedly urged Carloman to summon the episcopal synods already mentioned in order that both present and later generations should learn spiritual wisdom and should make the knowledge of Christianity available to all. Only in this way could unsuspecting souls escape being ensnared.”

“After he had set before all ranks of society the accepted norm of the Christian life and made known to them the way of truth, Boniface, now weak and decrepit, showed great foresight both as regards himself and his people by appointing a successor to his see, as ecclesiastical law demands. So, whether he lived or whether he died, the people would not be left without pastors and their ministration. He promoted two men of good repute to the episcopate, Willibald and Burchard, dividing between them the churches that were under his jurisdiction in the land of eastern Franks and on the Bavarian marches. To Willibald he entrusted the diocese of Eichstätt, to Burchard that of Würzburg, putting under his care all the churches within the borders of the Franks, Saxons, and Slavs. Nevertheless, even to the day of his death he did not fail to instruct the people in the way of life.”

“Then Pepin, with the help of the Lord, took over the rule of the kingdom of the Franks as the happy successor to his above-mentioned brother [i.e. Carloman]. When disorders among the people had subsided, he was elevated to the kingship. From the outset he conscientiously carried out the vows he had sworn to the Lord, to put into effect without delay the synodal decrees, and he renewed the canonical institutions which his brother, following the advice of the holy archbishop Boniface, had so dutifully set on foot. He showed the saint every mark of veneration and friendship and obeyed his spiritual precepts. But because the holy man, owing to his physical infirmities, was not able to attend the synodal assemblies, he decided, with the king’s approval and advice, to appoint a suitable person to minister to his flock. To his purpose he appointed Lull, a disciple of outstanding ability, whose duty it would be to continue his instruction to the people. He consecrated him bishop, and committed to his care the inheritance that he had won for Christ by his zealous efforts. Lull was the man who had been his trusted companion on his journeys and who had been closely connected with him both in his sufferings and his consolations…”

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May 6, 2017

Würzburg’s Roots

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The city of Würzburg is perhaps first listed in the Ravenna Cosmography under the name Uburzis.

A bit later (?) (704) the city is mentioned as castellum Virteburch.

Incidentally Solist (which some connect to Hohenzollern) looks much like Soest of which Quazwini says later:

“Schuschit [Soest] is a town in the land of the Slavs.  There lies a salty spring, while there otherwise is no salt in that area.  When the people need salt, they take water from this source, fill with it a pot and set it on a stone oven and make a great fire underneath so that it becomes thick and turbid.  Then it sits until it becomes cold and turns into hard, white salt.  In this way is salt made in all the lands of the Slavs.”

So what is Uburzis?  Oddly, the Polish house spirits Uboże come to mind…

Apparently, when the bishopric at Würzburg was founded (which happened a few decades later in 741) it was permitted to collect taxes from the Franks and the Slavs.  This grant was later reconfirmed in Arnulf of Carinthia’s 889 confirmation of Würzburg’s rights), it was mentioned that it should collect taxes (steora vel osterstuopha) from the Slavs:

decimam tributi, quae de partibus orientalium Franchorum vel de Sclavis ad fiscum dominicum annuatim persolvere solebant, quae secundum illorum linguam steora vel ostarstuopha vocatur, ut de illo tributo sive reditu annis singulis pars decima ad preductum locum persolvatur, sive in melle sive in paltenis seu in alia qualibet redibutione, quae, ut diximus, prius e pagis orientalium Franchorum persolvebatur.  Id est de pago uualdsazzi. et de pago thubargouue. et vuingartuueiba. et iagasgeuui. mulahgeui. necchargeuui. et chochangeuui et rangeuui et gollahgeuui. et iphgevui. hasagevui. et grapfeld. et dullifeld. salageuvi. uueringeuui. gozfeld. et badanahgeuui. et decimam de fiscis dominicis. Id est de ingulunheim. reotfeld in rangevue. roudeshof in folhfeldon. ad chruzinaha et neristein. et omuntesstat. et albsteti. et chuningeshofa et sundrunhofa. et gollahofa. et berenheim. et ikilenheim, et uuielantesheim. et roumfeld. Gouvmheim in gozfeldon. et drozoltesheimhalazesstat in ratenzgovue, chungeshofe. et item chuningeshofe. et salz. et hamulunburcg. et iphahofa et thetilabach. et in blaihfeld. et heiligbrunno. et louisin.  In his fiscis et uillis dominicis. seu in predictis pagis….

Pippin is presumably Pepin the Short who would have been around in 741.  What secundum illorum lingua means we will let you guess. Maybe, it means German – as opposed to Latin – but the Latin language would not have been the language of the illorum

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May 3, 2017

The Slavs of Wipo’s Deeds of Conrad II

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We present here the full Slavic contingent from Wipo’s The Deeds of Conrad II (Gesta Chuonradi II imperatoris).  We previously featured one little component of that work but here is the full account in Karl Morrison’s translation.

Wipo of Burgundy (also Wippo circa 995 – circa 1048) was Conrad’s chaplain and served also his son Henry III so he was intimately familiar with the goings on at court.  Although he is obviously biased towards his masters, his sycophancy does not prevent him from delivering a number of interesting facts.

I. On the Assembly of Princes

“In the year 1024 from the incarnation of the Lord, the Emperor Henry II, although of sound mind, was taken with an infirmity of the body, which prevailing, he departed this life the 3rd of the Ides July [July 13]… [lists the various eminent members of the Empire]  These were the dukes, on the other hand, contemporaries of the wove-mentioned men: … Udalric, duke of Bohemia…”

II. On the Election of the King

“…While all the magnates, and, so to say, the valor and the vitals of the kingdom, had convened there, they pitched camps on this side and in the region about the Rhine.  As it [the Rhine] separated Gaul from Germany the Saxons, with their neighbors, the Slavs, the eastern Franks, the Bavarians, and the Alamanni, convened from the German side; and from Gaul, the Franks who live above the Rhine, the Ribuarians, and the Lotharingians were joined together.

IX. Of Boleslaus, Duke of the Slavs

In the same year [1025] which I have mentioned above, Boleslaus Sclavigen [of the Slavic nation], duke of the Poles, took for himself in injury to King Conrad the regal insignia and the royal name.  Death swiftly killed his temerity.”

“But his son Misico, similarly rebellious, cast his own brother Otto out into the province of Russia because he favored the partisans of the King [Conrad].  I shall tell in its proper place how King Conrad afterwards curbed the impudence of this Misico and the perfidy of a certain Udalric, duke of Bohemia.”

XXI.  That the King of Burgundy Came to meet the Emperor at Basel

“…Shortly after, Adalbero, duke of the [H]istrians or Carinthians, convicted of less majesty, was exiled  with his sons by the Emperor, and that Cuono just mentioned received from the Emperor his dukedom, which the father of this very Cuono is said to have had once.  So Duke Cuono, as long as he lived, remained faithful and one who strove well for the Emperor and also for his son, King Henry.”

XXIX.  Rudolf, King of Burgundy, Died, and Odo Invaded His Realm

“In the year of the Lord 1032, Rudolf, king of Burgundy, the uncle of the Empress Gisela, died in peace.  Count Odo Francigen, son of his sister, invaded his realm, and took certain very well-armed castles or cities by craft or battle.  Neither did he dare to make himself king nor, indeed, did he wish to lose the kingdom.  Some persons related that he had often said that he never wished to be king, yet always to be the master [magister] of a king.  In this fashion he drew away [for himself] a great part of Burgundy, although King Rudolf had already confirmed, not long ago, through a solemn oath that the kingdom of Burgundy should go to Emperor Conrad and his son, King Henry, after his death.  But while Count Odo did these things in Burgundy, Emperor Conrad was in Sclavonia with his troops.*  What he did there and how he afterwards repelled Odo from Burgundy, I shall tell in the following [passages].”

* note: In his expedition against Misico (Mesko), which was begun in 1031 and concluded with a treaty at Merseburg in 1032. [notes are Morrison’s]

“When the aforementioned Boleslaus, duke of the Poles, died, he left two sons, Misico and Otto.  Misico persecuted his brother Otto and expelled him into Russia.  While Otto lived there for some time in a miserable condition, he began to ask the favor of Emperor Conrad, in order that through his intercession and assistance he might be restored to his fatherland.  Since the Emperor was willing to do this, he decided that he himself would attack Misico with troops on one side and Otto on the other.  Since Misico was unable to withstand this attack, he fled into Bohemia to Duke Udalric, against whom at that title the Emperor was enraged.  But Udalric was willing, in order to please the Emperor, to give Misico up to him.  Caesar renounced this dishonorable pact, saying that he did not wish to buy an emery from an enemy.  Otto was restored to his fatherland and made duke by Caesar; but since, after some time, he acted wit too little caution, he was slain secretly by one of his household.**  Then Misico sought in every way the favor of the Empress Gisela, and of the othe princes, that he might be found worthy to return to the favor of the Emperor.  Caesar, moved by compassion, granted him pardon; and after the province of the Poles had been divided into three parts, he made Misico tetrarch and commended the remaining two parts to two other men.  So, with his power diminished, his temerity was reduced.  After the death of Misico,*** Casimir, his son, has served our emperors faithfully until this very time.****”

** note: 1032
*** note: 1034
**** note: From 1042 his relations with Henry II worsened, and in 1050 Henry readied an expedition against him.  The expedition was canceled however by Casimir’s voluntary submission.

XXXIII.  That King Henry Subjected the Slavs

“In the meantime, while the Emperor was doing those things in Burgundy which have been recounted above, his son, King Henry, although still in the years of boyhood, attended no less energetically the affairs of the commonwealth in Bohemia and in the other regions of the Slavs, where he vigorously subjugated Udalric, duke of Bohemia, as well as many other opponents of Caesar.  When his father returned, he met him, and thus he gave to the peoples double joy because of the double victory.”

“Then, when troops had been collected from Saxony, the Emperor came upon those who are called Liutizi and who, once semi-Christian, now are wholly pagan through the wickedness of apostasy; and there he brought to an end an implacable conflict in an astounding fashion.  For there were at that time many quarrels and border raids between the Saxons and the pagans.  And when Caesar came, he began to to inure by which side the peace, which had lon bgeen inviolate between them, had been destroyed first.  The pagans said that t peace was disturbed first by the Saxons and that this would be proven through a duel, if Caesar so commanded.  The Saxons, on the other hand, although they contended unjustly, similarly pledged before the Emperor their willingness to engage in single combat to refute the pagans.  The Emperor, even though he took the counsel of his princes, did not act cautiously enough and permitted this matter to be adjudged by a duel between them.  At once two fighters met, each elected by his own men.  The Christian began to fight boldly, confiding in that faith alone which, however, is dead without works of righteousness, and not diligently heeding the fact that God, who is Truth, disposes everything in true judgment, He who makes His sun to rise over good and evil, who causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.  The pagan, however, put up a staunch resistance, having before his eyes only the consciousness of the truth for which he fought.  Finally, the Christian fell, wounded by the pagan.  Because of this outcome, the pagans became so greatly elated and bold that, if the Emperor had not been present, they would have thrown themselves upon the Christians straightaway.  But, in order to curb their incursions, the Emperor constructed the castle of Werben in which he stationed garrisons of knight,s and he constrained the princes of Saxony by solemn oath and imperial order to resist the pagans of one accord.  Then he returned to Franconia.”

“But in the following year, the same castle was taken by the pagans through craft, and many of our men who were in it were killed by them.  Disturbed by this, the Emperor again came with troops to the Elbe River.  But since the pagans prevented the crossing, the Emperor sent part of the army across under cover through another ford of the river.  When the enemies had been set to flight in that way, Emperor Conrad entered the region by the now-free bank of the river and laid them so low with immense devastations and burnings everywhere except in impregnable places that afterwards they paid to him the tax which had been imposed by emperors of old and which was now increased.”

“For both before and at that time, Emperor Conrad toiled greatly amidst the nation of the Slavs. Because of this, one of us composed a short account in verse which afterwards he presented tot he Emperor.  There one may read how the Emperor sometimes stood in h marshes up to the thighs, fighting in person and exhorting the soldiers to fight; and how, after the pagans had been conquered, he slew them with the greater ferocity because of a certain reprehensible superstition of their.  For it is said that at some time the pagans kept a wooden effigy of our crucified Lord Jesus Christ in shameful mockery and spat upon it and struck it with blows; finally they tore out the eyes and cut off the hands and feet.  To avenge these deeds, the Emperor in a similar manner mutilated a great multitude of captured pagans for one effigy of Christ and destroyed them with various deaths.  Therefore Caesar is called an avenger of the Faith in these verses and is compared with the Roman princes Titus and Vespasian, who in avenging the Lord had exchanged thirty Jews for one coin since the Jews sold Christ for that many denarii.”

“After his return the Emperor imperiously cast aside whatever resistance he found in the kingdom.  In the same year, Adalbero, duke of the Carinthians lost the favor of the Emperor and was deprived dog his dukedom and sent into exile.”

40. Verses on the Death of the Emperor Conrad

[after telling how Conrad subdued the Saxons, Alemanni, Bavarians, Rome, Ravenna and Verona  (Pavia?) he comes to the Slavs]

“…The Emperor never tarried, everywhere the giver of peace.
He carried war to the pagans lest they harm Christians:
The marsh did not defend them, nor was there safety in the waters;
Well he made the barbarian Slavs and all peoples depraved feel his force.
O King God, guard the living and have mercy upon the dead.”

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March 31, 2017