Category Archives: Czechs

Thietmar’s Book VIII

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Chapter 1 [1018]

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

Chapter 2

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

Chapter 3

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

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

** note: John 8:5.

Chapter 4

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

Chapter 5 [1018]

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

Chapter 6 [1018]

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

Chapter 20

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

Chapter 21 [1018]

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

Chapter 22 [1018]

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

Chapter 31 [1018]

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

Chapter 32 [1018]

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

Chapter 33 [1018]

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

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September 12, 2017

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

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.”

Copyright ©2017 All Rights Reserved

March 31, 2017

Thietmar (Book V)

Published Post author

We presented the Slavs and Slavic place names in the first four books of Thietmar’s Chronicle here.  We now continue with Book V (translation is David Warner’s).

Chapter 7 [year 1002]

“…The course of Ekkehard’s life loas so worthy that his lord allowed him to hold the greater part of his benefice as personal property.  He forced the free-born Milzeni under the yoke of servitude.  With flattery and threats, he won Duke Boleslav [III] of Bohemia, called the ‘Red”, for  his military service and turned the other Boleslav [Chrobry of Poland] into a personal ally.  He acquired the office of duke over all of Thuringia by the election of the whole populace.  With only a few exceptions, he reckoned on the support of the eastern counts and therefore of the duchy.  All of this came to such a miserable end.”

Chapter 9 [1002]

“Meanwhile, Boleslav [Chrobry of Poland] , a son far inferior to his father Miesco, rejoiced over the death of Margrave Ekkehard.  Shortly after this, he assembled an army and seized Margrave Gero’s march as far as the river Elbe.  Then, with siege troops sent ahead, he captured the burg Bautzen [Budisin], with all its possessions,and immediately thereafter attacked Strehla.  Secretly, he also tried to bribe the residents of Meissen who were always happy for something new.  One day, when they realized that most of the garrison had left to find fodder for the horses, Duke Gunzelin of Kuchenburg led them in an assault on the east door, in that part of the city inhabited by ministeriales known in Slavic as Withasen [witeź].”

“After killing Bezeko, one of Count Herman’s ministeriales, they took up arms and met at the count’s chamber where they threw large rocks at the window and loudly demanded that Ozer, the lord of the city, be handed over to them for execution.  But the miles Thietmar, having no other protection that the room itself, asked them: ‘Why are you doing this?  What madness so seduced you that, forgetful of the benefits bestowed by Margrave Ekkehard and your willing invitation, you rise up to destroy his son?  If you wish to reveal the reason for such an outrage, either publicly or secretly to one of us, on behalf of my lords and all of us, I firmly promise you an agreeable settlement of the offence and security regarding your future concerns.  As for the man you seek to have handed over, namely so that he can be killed, you will not received him as long as we are living.  We are few and you should know for certain that we will either die together or leave this city unharmed.’  After they had heard this and consulted among themselves, the attackers granted the garrison freedom to leave.  Then, they sent messengers to summon Duke Boleslav and received him with open doors.  Hence, the words of the scriptures were fulfilled: ‘They may rejoice when they act wickedly, and exult in evil things and again.  Their beginnings are as honey and their end as absinthe.'”

Chapter 10 [1002]

“Elated by this success, Boleslav occupied the entire region up to the Elster and secured it with a garrison.  Then, when our people gathered together to resist him, that deceitful man sent a messenger who announced to them that these things had been done with the favour and permission of Duke Henry.  He added that Boleslav would in no way injure the inhabitants and, if Henry came to power in the realm, he would assen  to his will in all things, but if otherwise, he would willingly do whatever pleased them,.  Considering this, our people believed the beautiful words and shamefully advanced to him as if to their lord, thereby exchanging their inborn honour for supplication and unjust servitude.  Hoe unequally are our ancestors and our contemporaries compared!  In the days of the illustrious Hodo, this man’s father Miesco, would not have dared to wear furs when entering a house in which he knew him to be or to sit while he was standing.  May God forgive the emperor for making a lord out of a tributary and raising him to the point that, forgetful of his father’s customs, he might dare to gradually drag his superiors into subjection and seize those caught with the shameful hook of temporal wealth to the detriment of both slaves and free.”

Chapter 11 [1002]

“Also the other Boleslav [III], the Bohemian ruler nicknamed ‘the Red’ and generally a source of the worst impiety, departed from his usual custom and supported Duke Henry…”

Chapter 15 [1002]

“From there [Thuringia], Henry went to Merseburg where he was received by Abbot Heimo and by his faithful count Esiko [24 July].  Esiko had manfully held this city along with Allstedt, Dornburg and all their possessions until his lord arrived, though this had greatly angered Ekkehard while he lived.  Here also were Archbishop Liawizo of Bremen and Giselher of Magdeburg with other colleagues: Rethar of Paderborn, Bernward of Hildesheim, Arnulf of Halberstadt, Ramward of Minden, Eid of Meissen, Bernhar of Verden, Hugh [II] of Zeitz.  Also present were dukes Bernhard and Boleslav with the margraves Liuthar and Gero and the count palatine Frederick.  Many others were also there, both bishops and counts, but it would take too long to give their names individually.  All of these received the king with humble devotion.

Chapter 18 [1002]

Except for Liudger, everyone who had served the previous emperor offered his hand to the king and swore to aid him faithfully.  Meanwhile, Boleslav schemed to acquire the burg Meissen at whatever cost.  Because it was not advantageous to the realm, he got nowhere with the king and only barely succeeded in securing it for his brother-in-law Gunzelin.  He himself received the regions of Lausitz and the Milzeni.  Margrave Henry, my cousin, held Boleslav in great esteem and aided him freely and amicably in whatever way he could.  As he prepared to escort Boleslav, departing well rewarded and with the king’s permission, he saw an armed multitude gathering and moving to attack them.  May God be my witness, this was without the involvement or knowledge of the king!  When he wanted to discover the cause of this great tumult, and resolve it so that more damage might not arise, he was barely able to get away and lead his companion out by breaking the exterior door.  Out of his entourage, some warriors were plundered by the surging mob while others though severely wounded escaped death with the help of Duke Bernhard.  Because they had entered the royal court armed and refused to leave when ordered, the penalty they paid was justified by their own offense.  Boleslav saw this as part of an evil plot and, deeply disturbed, blamed the king although unjustly.  After bidding farewell to Henry and firmly promising his aid, should it ever be required, he quickly returned to his own lands.  When he arrived at the city of Strehla, he immediately set fire to it and abducted a large part of the populace. At the same time, he sent back representatives through whom he tried to attract as many of the king’s supporters as possible.  Soon afterwards, when this came to the king’s ears, he asked his dependents to inquire about the secret plots of the Slav and, if possible, to capture his spies.”

Chapter 23 [1002]

Meanwhile, because the power of a consort and successor always inspires fear, the duke of the Bohemians, Boleslav [III], castrated his brother Jaromir and wanted to suffocate the younger brother in his bath.  Then he sent both brothers and their mother into exile.  Then, ruling alone like the noxious basilisk, he oppressed the people unspeakably.  When they could no longer bear the weight of this outrage, they secretly called Wlodowej [Duke of Bohemia 1002 – 1003] from Poland, whose name means power of the army.  He was a poisonous snake who treated his people without any respect for the law.  After Boleslav the basilisk had been deposed, this one was unanimously elected in his place because of his consanguinity and because of the people’s affection.  I can say one thing about him that is incredible and not to be copied by any Christian, namely that he could not endure even one hour without drink.  As this was the only path of escape open to him, Boleslav fled to Margrave Henry, then his neighbor, who seized him as an enemy because of past injuries.  Afterwards, because he had arrived as a guest, he was set free and, being fond of his life, he went to the like-named son of his aunt who was his equal in shamefulness though unequal in ability.  Inclined to better advice, the other one went to the king, then residing oat Regensburg, and recognized him as his lord with humble subjection and the promise of loyalty.  He received what he sought from him as a benefice and, after being treated warmly in all matters, returned in peace.

Chapter 24 [1002]

“…In the expectation of receiving the abundant support promised by the Italians, the king sent Duke Otto of Carinthia and Verona, Otto the son of Count Heribert, Ernst the son of Margrave Leopold, and a few others to resolve the situation [December 1002 to beginning of January 1003].

Chapter 29 [1003]

Meanwhile Duke Wlodowej died and the brothers who had been expelled along with their mother were recalled by the repentant Bohemians.  But Boleslav, the ruler of the Poles, collected an army and expelled them again.  He then restored his exiled namesake to his previous dignity and went home, with his plots deeply concealed.  He knew that his cousin would be too vindictive towards those who had supported his expulsion and hoped that at a more auspicious moment he might himself intervene.  And so it actually happened.  When Boleslav [III] of Bohemia perceived that his people dedicated themselves to paganism in all security, his own impiety was fortified for breaking the peace treaty which he had confirmed by oath.  Thus, when all the great men had been assembled before him in one house, he himself killed his brother in law by striking him in the head with a sword and then, with his evil supporters, this bloody and deceitful man who was unworthy of half the days conceded to him, killed the others although they were unarmed and it was the holy season of Lent.

Chapter 30 [1003]

The rest of the people, in great fear because of this, secretly sent representatives to Boleslav of Poland who revealed the magnitude of the shameful deed and asked him to rescue them from fear of the future.  He heard these things with pleasure and immediately asked the other Boleslav, through a faithful representative, to come to him at a certain citadel for a personal discussion regarding matters of mutual interest.  The younger Boleslav agreed to this, came to the agreed-upon place, and was affectionately received by him.  The following night he was blinded by the other’s henchmen thereby ensuring that hew would never treat his people in that manner again or even be able to rule there.  He was also sent into a long exile.  On the following day, the elder Boleslav travelled quickly to Prague where he was introduced and unanimously acclaimed as lord by the inhabitants who were always happy to have a new ruler.  As his world power increased, his willfulness became much greater than is normal in a restrained mind.  Note this well, dear reader: he who becomes too proud in prosperity will often be brought lower in adversity.  It is affirmed by scripture that a wise man does not do this.”

Chapter 31 [1003]

“The king learned all of these things from hearsay, and accepted them with the due seriousness of a patient mind.  At least, he imputed to his sins whatever misfortune occurred in the kingdom in his time.  Therefore, as seemed most opportune to him, he ignored everything that had happened to the Bohemians, and sent representatives to Boleslav with the following demand: if he wished to retain the land he had recently occupied, by the king’s grace, as the ancient law requires, and serve him in all things faithfully, the king would agree to his requests.  If otherwise, he would oppose him with arms.  Boleslav received this legation unworthily, though it was just and well composed, and therefore deservedly brought revenge on himself in the future.  When the Lenten fast was finished, as I have mentioned, the king followed the custom of his predecessors by celebrating Easter, in an appropriate manner, at Quedlinburg [28 March].  There, as befits such a great feast, he ignored both Boleslav‘s evil presumption and Henry’s ambitions and enjoyed the company of his familiars.  On the same occasion, the king bestowed royal gifts on Dukes Otto and Ernst, recently returned after their disastrous defeat, and consoled them with fatherly encouragement.  He also received representatives of the Redarii and the people known as the Liutizi and, claiming these rebels with the sweetness of gifts and the joy of promises, turned them from enemies into friends.”*

* Warner’s note: this refers to “Henry II’s controversial decision to form an alliance against Boleslav Chrobry with the pagan confederation of the Liutizi.”

Chapter 32 [1003]

“After this, the king celebrated the Rogation days, which should be observed by all the faithful of Christ, at Merseburg [3-5 May].  There he learned of the open rebellion of Duke Boleslav and Margrave Henry.  Then he celebrated the feast of Pentecost at Halberstadt [16 May].  After this, he travelled to Bavaria where he initially tried to defeat Henry, who was offering resistance with the help of Boleslav but afterwards concentrated on quashing conspiracies instigated elsewhere.  In this regard, he learned that Ernst whom he had recently honoured and Bruno [Henry II’s brother, later the bishop of Augsburg] , his own brother, had also joined the conspiracy.  They were heedless of what has been written: ‘Virtue lacking council fails of its own weight.’  To restrain their arrogance, the king gathered his supporters from all sides and, at the beginning of August, wasted the lands of Margrave Henry, thereby forcing him to abandon his residence and hide wherever he could.  Anyone aware of the cause of the margrave’s stubbornness would say that his actions were necessary: the higher powers may not withdraw something firmly promised to a faithful servant without alienating the devotion of others,  Tho those, I respond, every dominion in this world derives from God and whoever rises against it offends the divine majesty.  One must weather the sudden burst of injustice with the rudder of patience and, with humble supplication await a consolation which will be truly useful.  I think it better to ascend the heights gradually rather than incur a sudden and insurmountable ruin.  I admit that I would defend my cousin in some other way, if I did not fear to violate that truth which must be honoured by all faithful people.”

Chapter 33 [1003]

“In many ways, the proverbs of the ancients have been confirmed: the old crimes of humankind bring forth new acts of evil and shame.  For Margrave Henry’s father had often opposed the father of the king, as if an enemy rather than one of his milites, and himself admitted that he had supported the emperor’s side because of a boon promised under oath.  In similar fashion, Margrave Henry had been faithful to Otto III until the latter’s death and serve King Henry strenuously up to this unhappy time.  The king was still intensely aware of their fathers’ rivalry, but I believe that the love of Christ would have moved him to let it go entirely unpunished, if only he had not seen Margrave Henry in the company of his other enemies, opposing him so cruelly and openly.  Although Margrave Henry alone might appear guilty in this crime, it was not undertaken without the advice of others from the very beginning.  Because betrayal is deemed particularly shameful in this world, however, he preferred to pursue the matter, with his conscience groaning, rather than increase his own blame by endangering others.  Thus, he who once zealously defended the realm from the enemy now opened it to pillaging.  He secretly received aid from Boleslav though it did him no good.”

Chapter 34 [1003]

“When the king was traveling to a place called Hersbuck, the royal treasure, having been sent ahead, was seized by the margrave’s miles Maganus and his band.  Dividing the booty among themselves, they returned happily to the burg at Ammerthal.  The king followed and, after preparing for a siege, forced them to ask only for their lives., through intercessors, and to return both the burg and booty.  Then, after the burg had been virtually destroyed and the many Poles divided among his men, he set forth for the castle at Creussen where Margrave Henry’s brother, Bukko, was supposed to be guarding the Margrave’s wife, Gerberga, and his children.  From outside, Margrave Henry and his supporters fought the army which had surrounded the burg on all sides…”

Chapter 36 [1003]

“Meanwhile, as the king was besieging Margrave Henry’s burg at Creussen, Boleslav was straining with every effort to injure him in some way.  Secretly collecting an army, he sent representatives to demand that his brother-in-law, Gunzelin, surrender the burg of Meissen into his power and renew their old alliance as he had promised.  Gunzelin knew, however, that with Boleslav’s entry he would virtually be excluded from the king’s favour and from his own domain.  Thus, he offered the following response: ‘Everything you ask from me other than this, dear brother-in-law, I will freely provide and, if ever the opportunity arises for doing what you ask, I will not refuse.  But my lords retainers are with me and they would not suffer such things [senioris mei satellites(!)].  And, if this were revealed, my life and all that I possess would be endangered.’  When Boleslav heard this message, he put the messengers under guard and ordered his army to hasten to the Elbe.  He hollowed them, the next morning, after the character of the fords had been determined.  At the burg Strehla, because it was his daughter’s morning gift, he declared that the occupants had nothing to fear from him but that they should not try to warn their neighbors by crying out.  Without delay, the duke ordered the army to divide into four parts and reconvene in the evening at the burg Zehren.  Two detachments were sent ahead to ensure that they would not be troubled by the margrave.  In one day, the whole fertile region of Lommatzsch was ravaged with fuire and sword and had its inhabitants abducted.”

Chapter 37 [1003]

“Here, it might be recalled how Boleslav Chrobry who was so often accustomed to deceive others was himself fooled by the garrison of the citadel of Muegeln.  When they were besieged by the detachment sent against them they asked: ‘Why are you doing this?  We know your lord to be the best and hold him above us.  Just go on, and have no doubt that we will follow with our families and possessions.’  After they said these things their enemies ceased to harass them and reported to their lord that the garrison would arrive shortly.  Nevertheless, when Duke Boleslav saw that his retainers arrived late at the agreed-upon spot, and that the garrison stayed at home, was very angry and threatened to punish this false allies.  The next morning, at sun-up, a huge amount of booty was sent ahead.  A large part of the enemy drowned in the Elbe, but the rest returned home uninjured and divided the booty, assigning the best parts to God and their lord.  There were at least three thousand captives and eye witnesses have said that the actual number was still larger.”

Chapter 38 [1003]

“Margrave Henry, now perceiving that he had failed, hurried to the burg Kronach where he found Siegfried, the young son of Count Siegfried, who awaited him with aid.  Siegfried saw no hope of a rebellion in those parts, whether at his own or Henry’s instigation.  At last, after they had talked for a long time, Henry set the burg on fire and, together with lord Bruno and his remaining supporters, went to Boleslav the invader of Bohemia.  Siegfried, his hope of open resistance frustrated, did not go with them, but instead returned, intent on making amends fro what he had done.  The king had followed his enemy to Kronach and was pleased to see that he had taken the trouble to destroy everything.  Then he sent Bishop Henry of Wuerzburg and Erkanbald, abbot of Fulda, to burn and destroy the burg Schweinfurt.  When they arrived, Margrave Henry’s illustrious mother, Eila, received and greeted them, as was proper for such persons.  As soon as she understood the nature of the king’s orders, she became agitated and hurried to the church, declaring that she would rather die in the flames than cooperate in the burning of this building by departing alive.  Hence, the previously mentioned lords, putting aside secular concerns in favour of the love of Crhist, modified the punishment and merely pulled down the walls and outbuildings.  They also mollified the sorrowful woman with the promise that they would themselves restore everything, whenever the king’s favour permitted.”

“After he had restated all the count’s property and distribute it along with his benefice, the king went to Bamberg where he dismissed his army and celebrated the birth of the Mother of God with joyful festivities [8 September].  From thence he went to the forest of Spessart and relaxed from the labour of the expedition with the pleasure of the hunt.  Having passed a pleasant autumn there, he travelled through Franconia to Saxony where he announced that he would undertake an expedition against the Milzeni during the upcoming winter.  After this, he celebrated the birth of the Lord at Poehlde with spiritual and secular splendor, according to the custom of his predecessors.”

Chapter 39 [1004]

“…The king granted this and the prelate, traveling in a wagon as was his cutom, went to his estate at Trebra where he departed from this world after two days, on 25 January.”

Chapter 44 [1004]

“…Whatever he demanded from his most beloved Tagino, he received as a gift from his abundant good will.  Concerning the bishoprics of Meissen and Zeitz, he ordered a complete restoration, by royal power, because in this instance the earlier situation could justify the removal.  Therefore, I will compose a reface and sing songs of Christ with these verses.”

Copyright ©2017 All Rights Reserved

March 19, 2017

Fragments of Muhammad al-Idrisi’s Tabula Rogeriana

Published Post author

Muhammad al-Idrisi (1100 – 1165) born in Ceuta in Andalusian Spain was the Arab writer of a famous treatise on Geography that was loosely based on Ptolemy and updated through al-Idrisi’s time.  This, together, with the accompanying map has been referred to as the Tabula Rogeriana – a world map and description made by al-Idrisi for the Norman King of Sicily – Roger II in the year 1154.  The book, which was published in Paris in the year 1840, contains references to various Slavic countries in the description of the so-called “Sixth Clime.”  The sections referring to Central and Eastern Europe are found in the third section, fourth section and fifth section.  We may present them all at some point but for now we just present the description of Poland and Russia which is found at the end of the fourth section.

Sixth Clime
Section Four 

“… From Akli to Stlifanos, a large city which used to be even more important before, [it is] one day’s [travel].  We shall hereafter give an indication of the roads leading from this city to the neighboring countries.  As for Poland, a country of science and Greek [ar-Rum, i.e., Byzantine] wisemen, it is fertile, furrowed by streams, covered with towns and villages. The vine and the olive grow there as well as all species of trees and fruits. Its main cities are: Cracal, Djenazia, Anklaia, Serdawa, Neghrada and Chithow.*  They are all beautiful, flourishing and celebrated, especially because there live there men versed in the knowledge of sciences and of the Greek [Byzantine] religion and by skillful and intelligent workmen.  [As regards the city of] Cracal, Djenazia and the other towns we have just mentioned, they are filled with contiguous dwellings, possess very many resources and singularly resemble each other in their size and their appearance.  The objects which are manufactured there are nearly all of the same nature.  This county is separated from Saxony, Bohemia, and Russia by mountains which surround it on all sides.”

[* note: another reading has “Ikraku, Gnazna, Rtslaba, Srada, Ngrada, Stnu”]

Gniezno and Cracow shown in blue on the right (picture is upside down for ease of reading)

“The distances in Poland:”

“From Cracal to Masela, 130 miles
From Cracal to Djenazia, 80 miles
From Djenazia to Anclaia, 60 miles
From Anclaia to Zaca, 12 days
From Zaca to Bermowa, 180 miles
From Bermowa to Galisia, 200 miles”

“These last two countries belong to Russia”


“The principal rivers of Poland include Butent and Tessia [Tisza?]”

“They take their sources in the mountains which separate Poland from Russia, from north to south.  They flow towards the west, then unite and form a single stream which flows into the Danube to the west of Kawor [Sremski Karlovci?].”

“As for Russia, it is a vast country where there are few towns and scattered dwellings, so that to go from one region to another, one must travel immense distances through uninhabited places.   The Russians are in constant wars and disputes either among themselves or with their neighbors.  Among the cities of Russia included in this section are Sermeli, Zana, Barmounia and Galisia.  Among the cities of Russia included in this section are Sermeli, Zana, Barmunia and Galisia.  The first of these cities [Sermeli] is situated on the Dniestr, in the northern part of the course of this river which flows towards the east to Zana, a 12 day distance.  From Zana, a city on its [Dniestr’s] banks, to Barmouni, [it is a] 9 days’ [journey]. And from Barmuni to Galisia, 200 miles.”

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January 29, 2017

All of Thietmar’s Slavs (Books I – IV)

Published Post author

Except for some excerpts, we have not presented here the famous Chronicle of Thietmar of Merseburg.  We begin to correct that now with the first four books (out of eight),  Here are the mentions of the Slavs in Books I – IV of the Chronicle of Thietmar.  The translation by David Warner is based on the manuscript at Dresden (available in facsimile which was prepared pre-WWII; the actual manuscript was destroyed in the bombing of that city) but with additions from the other manuscript in existence that of Brussels which seems to stem from the Corvey Abbey. The Dresden manuscript seems to have been prepared by Thietmar and his team and so is superior but is incomplete due to some pages having been destroyed already prior to the sixteenth century (hence they are not part of the facsimile).  The Brussels pieces are marked with italics as done by Warner.

Book I

Chapter 3

“Merseburg had its beginning with Henry who unified the city’s holdings, legally belonging to many at the time, and treaty added to them through his virtue and industry…  Born of the noble lineage of Otto and Hadwig, he grew from boyhood like a tree in secret.  Like a flower in early spring, moreover, he gradually revealed himself to be a warrior of good character.  His father sent him with a large army to that province which we Germans call Daleminzia but the Slavs call Lommatsch*.  After much destruction and burning, he returned victorious.  But I should now relate how that region acquired its name.  Lommatsch is a spring located not more than two miles from the Elbe.  It is the source of a pool which often produces marvels, so the local populace claims, and many others have verified this with their own eyes.  If a good peace is to be expected, and the earth does not falsely promise its fruits, it is covered with wheat, oats, and acorns.  This brings joy to the hearts of the populace which frequently gathers there.  When the savage storms of war threaten, it gives a clear indication of the outcome with blood and ash.  The entire population venerates and fears this pool more than the churches, albeit with dubious expectations, and this region, which extends from the Elbe up to the Chemnitz, derives its name from it.”

* note: David Warner when translating this chose to supply the appropriate modern place names rather than the archaic form used by Thietmar (here Glomaci). “Widukind notes that the defeated Daleminzi subsequently called on the Hungarians for aid.  As the first known raid by the Hungarians occurred in 906, it has been assumed that Henry’s campaign occurred in the same year,  As a king, Henry continued and even intensified his aggressive posture towards the Slavs and, by 929, had sufficiently dominated them that they could be forced to pay tribute.”

Chapter 4

“While returning from an expedition against the Bohemians, Bishop Arn of Wurzburg set up his tent near this river, in the region of Schkeuditz, on a hill by the road leading to the north.  As he changed the mass, he was surrounded by a hostile army.  After all his companions had been martyred, he too was offered to God, along with the host which had been consecrated to these sacrifice of praise.  This occurred in the year 892 of the Incarnation and in the times of Emperor Arnulf.  Nowadays, burning lights are often seen there and not even the Slavs doubt that these are the holy martyrs of God.  During his period of office, the aforementioned priest built a templet God in the city of Wurzburg and, in ten years, built nine churches on the same model within his bishopric…”

Chapter 10

“As I will be speaking of Otto, I think it unnecessary to discuss each of his father’s accomplishments.  The extent of King Henry’s dignity can be perceived in his son and, in any case, the brilliance of his life shines sufficiently in the writings of many others [presumably a reference to Widukind whose chronic forms the basis for this chapter].  But I will add certain things which I find particularly noteworthy.  He made the following regions pay tribute: Bohemia, Daleminzia, and the lands of the Abodrites, Wilzi, Hevelli, and Redarii.  They immediately rebelled and, inciting others to join them, attacked, destroyed and burned the burg Walsleben.  To avenge this, pour army convened and besieged the burg Lenzen.*  Meanwhile, they beat back and utterly defeated a counterattack by the burg’s defenders, allowing only a few to escape.  The burg was also taken.  Among our people, two of my great-grandfathers, both named Liuthar, fell with many others on 5 September.  They were distinguished men, the best of warriors, of illustrious lineage, and the honour and solace of the homeland.”

* “A Slavic burg located approximately 50 kilometers north-west of Havelberg, at a strategic crossing over the river Elbe.  The Saxons occupied it in 929, and in 948 it was assigned to to the bishops of Havelberg.  After the Slavic uprising of 983, it was occupied by the Abodrites.”

Chapter 16

“He [Henry I]* established a settlement on a then densely forested mountain next to the Elbe and built a burg there which he called Meissen from a certain brook which flowed from it in a northerly direction [928/929].  As is the custom today, he strengthened it with a garrison and certain other remeasures.  From here, he compelled the Milzeni, already subject to his will, to pay tribute.  Furthermore, after long besieging the burg Lebusa, of which I will speak more extensively later, he forced the residents to flee to a small inner fortress and then to surrender. From that day, om which he justly destroyed by fire, to the present, the burg has been uninhabited.  If, as many say, Henry enriched himself unjustly during his reign, may merciful God forgive him.”

* Henry I died in 936.

Book II

Chapter 2

[years 929-935] “Many adversities disturbed his fortunes.  For the wicked Boleslav [I], having killed his brother Wenceslaus, Duke of the Bohemians and faithful to God and the king, remained full of pride for a long time.  But afterwards, the king conquered him by force and placed him in the custody of his brother Henry, the duke of the Bavarians [i.e., in 950].  The Hungarians, once enemies of his father but long pacified, again invaded but quickly retreated [February 937].  No small amount of discord arose among our fellow countrymen and colleagues who incited Tammo, son of the king and Liudgard.  All of this because the office formerly possessed by Count Siegfried of Merseburg,m which he claimed for himself, had been given to Margrave Gero and, so it appeared, Tammo’s maternal inheritance was to be entirely taken away from hi,.  The king besieged his son in the Eresburg and tried to move him from his evil presumption both with threats and promises.  But then the army entered the captured city and drove the youth, exhausted by the fighting, to retreat to the church of Saint Peter where previously the ancient Irminsul had been worshipped.  At last, pierced from behind through a window by Maginzo’s lance, he died before the altar [28 July].  Later, in the second year of his reign, the king punished Maginzo with a cruel death.”

Chapter 12

“As these events were transpiring, the Slavs started a horrible war at the instigation of Counts Wichman and Ekbert under the leadership of Nacco and his brother Stoignew.  Lacking confidence in his own ability to defeat them, the commander, Herman, asked the king for help.  Energetic as he was, the latter took  a strong force and invaded those northern regions which, as scripture teaches, so often produce evil [Jerome 1:14].  There, the king had Stoignew beheaded, after capturing him in a wood in which he had hidden as his supporters fled.  He pursued the authors of this outrage, the brothers Wichman and Ekbert, sons of his maternal aunt…”

Chapter 14

“…Gero, margrave of the eastern march, subjugated Lausitz, Selpuli, and even obligated Miesco [I of Poland] and his subjects to pay tribute to the emperor.  Duke Herman also made Selibur [of the Wagri], Mistui [of the Abodrites], and their followers pay tribute to the emperor.”

Chapter 22

“The emperor summoned Richer, the third abbot of the church of Magdeburg – for Anno and Otwin, then bishops, had preceded him – and wanted to decorate him with the episcopal dignity.  But after examining a letter which had been secretly given to him, he changed his mind.  Instead, he chose the monk Adalbert of Trier who had been previously ordained bishop for Russia but expelled by the heathen.  Otto promoted that illustrious and much-tested father to the archiepiscopal dignity on 18 October, in the year 970 of the Incarnation, and with papal authority.  Then, he sent him to his see with great honour, ordering all the leading  men of Saxony to be with him at the next celebration of Christmas.  The archbishop was received with magnificence by the clergy and the whole populace.  During these feast days, he consecrated Boso as first pastor of the church of Merseburg, Burchard as foist overseer of the church of Meissen, and Hugh as first bishop of Zeitz.  Also present was Dudo, the first guardian of Havelberg who had been previously consecrated.  All of these promised obedience to him and to his successors and to each was conveyed his specific diocese.  Thietmar, first pastor of the church of Brandenburg who had been previously consecrated and Jordan first bishop of Poznan joined these brethren.”*

* Bishop Jordan of Poznan (968 – 984) arrived in Poland as part of the entourage of Dobrawa, wife of Mieszko I.

Chapter 29

“Meanwhile, the illustrious Margrave Hodo collected an army and attacked Miesco [Mieszko I] though the latter was faithful to the emperor and paid tribute for territory extending to the river Warta.  Only my father, Count Siegfried, then a young man and unmarried, came to his aid with warriors of his own.  When the battle began at Zehden, on the feast of John the Baptist, they were initially successful [24 June 972].  But then Mieszko‘s brother, Cidibur [Czcibor], attacked and killed all the best warriors, with the exception of the two counts.*  The emperor was very  disturbed when he learned this miserable news and sent representatives from Italy who ordered Hodo and Miesco to leave off their fighting and preserve the peace until he returned, or risk losing his favour.”

* This refers to the Battle of Cedynia.

Chapter 31

“From thence, he went to Quedlinburg to celebrate the upcoming feast of Easter with divine praise and earthly joy [23 March 973].  Here also, at the emperor’s order, Dukes Miesco and Boleslau, and legates of the Greeks, Beneventans, Hungarians, Bulgarians, Danes, and Slavs gathered along with all the leading men of the kingdom.  When all matters had been settled peacefully and gifts had been distributed, they went home satisfied.  But the emperor’s joy was disturbed when Duke Herman died there on 1 April.  While his son Bernhard was preparing to transport Herman’s body to Luneburg, he encountered Bishop Bruno of Verden, who was near by.  Because the bishop had placed the duke under the ban during his lifetime, the son tearfully asked that he might immediately grant absolution and permit burial in the church.  But his request was not granted.”

Chapter 37

For a portion of this chapter dealing with the Slavs see here.

Chapter 38

“Because i have already spoken briefly about Duke Conrad, the emperor’s son-in-law who was killed at the river Lech, I believe that it would be appropriate for me to reveal certain things which were not discussed at that time.  Much later, during a stay at Merseburg, the emperor learned from an informant that the Slavs at Zwenkau under lord Kuchawiz, whom he much esteemed, had possession of the duke’s armour.  With Kuchawiz‘s aid, a judicial duel was held and the losers were hanged at the emperor’s order.  Most of the booty was restored.  I do not know whether they took these things as murderers or, without guilt, discovered the duke’s death by chance.  In any case, they rightly paid with their lives for having presumed to keep this secret.”

Chapter 42

“In the days of the previously mentioned emperor, there was a certain count, named Hed, who built a church in Heeslingen in honour of the athlete of Christ Vitus.  Because he had no heir, he endowed it with the greatest part of his property and, after establishing a congregation of nuns there, placed the same abbey under the protection of Archbishop Adaldag of Bremen.  But alas, the two venerable matrons who were placed over this foundation – each named Wendelgard – died quickly…”

Book III

Chapter 1

“…The emperor looked upon the still impoverished bishopric of Merseburg with generous concern, giving to Bishop Giselher, whom he loved greatly, first the abbey in Pohlde and then the burg Zwenkau with all its appertinences, this for the service of Saint John the Baptist.  He also granted to him whatever lay within the walls of Merseburg, including the Jews, the merchants, and the mint; also the forest between the river Saale and the Mulde or rather between the districts of Siusuli and Pleissnerland; as well as Kohren, Nerchau, Pausitz, Taucha, Portitz, and Gundorf.  All of this was conveyed through a diploma which he confirmed with his own hand.”*

* The various back & forths regarding these lands conducted by bishops and emperors should not cause us to lose sight of the fact that the lands at the time consisted primarily of Slavic villages.

Chapter 4

“…By election and by the emperor’s grant, Warin was quickly amnointed in his place [as archbishop].”

Chapter 7

“In the year 976 of the Incarnation of the Lord, Henry, duke of the Bavarians, fled to Bohemia after being deprived of both his office and the communion of the church.  While he was residing there, with Duke Boleslav, the emperor attacked with a strong army, but gained nothing at all against these two.  Moreover, through the treachery of one of Boleslav‘s warriors, he lost a great troop of Bavarians who were coming to his aid had just set up camp next to the burg Pilsen.  In the evening, the Bavarians were washing themselves without having set a guard for security.  Suddenly, the mailed enemy arrived and cut them down as they ran naked to their tents and through the meadow.  The enemy returned with all of their booty, happy and unharmed.  Hearing of the loss of so many men, and knowing that no other route of rerun was accessible to him, the emperor went directly to his burg at Cham.  In the following, he brought the duke to submission as the latter sought refuge at Passau.  In the next year, Duke Henry, Count Ekbert, and Bishop Henry were accused before the emperor at Magdeburg.  Afterwards, they were captured and sent into a long exile.

Chapter 11

“While the emperor was still in Rome, Archbishop Adalbert, in the thirteenth year after his consecration, was traveling around Bishop Giselher’s dopes, teaching and confirming his flock – this because Giselher himself was then with the emperor.  He celebrated mass at Merseburg on 19 June and happily spent the following night in Corbetha with Hermuzo, an honorable layman.  The next morning, after arising, he complained bitterly of a severe headache.  He departed nonetheless.  When he had passed through the village of Zscherben, on the way to Freckleben, he began gradually to sink down on his horse and would have fallen to the ground had he not been supported by his companions…”

Chapter 16

“After receiving the emperor’s permission, Giselher came to Magdeburg, on 30 November, in the company of Bishop Dietrich of Metz.  Dietrich was a friend of the emperor and very dear to him.  He also belonged to that group of corrupt men who, in return for obscuring the truth, had accepted one thousand pounds of gold an silver from the archbishop.  One morning, at the emperor’s order, someone jokingly blessed Dietrich in the following manner: ‘May God satisfy you with gold in the hereafter since we here cab by no means do so!’ Then everything previously belonging to our church was wretchedly divided, as if in accord with the custom of the Slavs by which, after a family has been accused, its property is dispersed by being put up for sale.  Bishop of Zeitz received that part of our diocese which lay between the Saale, Elster, and Mulde rivers; and between the districts of Pleisse, Wethau and Teuchern; and including the villages of Possen and Pissen [Bishop Frederik of Zeitz was bishop circa 980 – circa 990].  Bishop Folkold of Meissen was given a piece which included the villages of Wechselburg and Lastau and pertained to eastern Schkeuditz, being bordered by the rivers Chemnitz and Elbe.  For himself, Giselher kept nine burgs, namely: Schkeuditz, Taucha, Wurzen, Puechen, Eilenburg, Dueben, Pouch, Loebnitz and Zoecheritz.  Documents which conveyed royal or imperial gifts he either burned or, by altering the name of the recipient, mad ether refer to his own church.  Payers of tribute, and everything that was supposed to belong to Merseburg, he intentionally scattered so that they might never be gathered together again.  He established an abbey at Merseburg itself and set over it Ohtrad, a venerable monk of the monastery of Saint John.  Later he gave it to Heimo who came front he same monastery.  But note, O reader, what came of this destruction!”

Chapter 17

“Margrave DIetrich’s arrogance so irritated peoples who had already accepted both Christianity and the status of tribute payer in regard to our kings and emperors, that their members unanimously decide to take up arm’s.  This turn of events was predicted to my father, Count Siegfried, in the following way.  In a dream, he saw a sky filled with dense clouds.  Astonished, he asked what it meant and a voice replied: ‘Now that prophecy must be fulfilled: ‘God allows the rain to fall both on the just and the unjust.” [Matthew 5:45]  The outrage began on 29 July, with the murder of the garrison and destruction of the cathedral at Havelberg.  Three days late, at the sounding of prime, the entire band of Slavs attacked the bishopric of Brandenburg, a see established beyond Magdeburg some thirty years previously.  Folkmar, the third bishop of that seem had already fled, and his defender, Dietrich, barely escaped with his warriors on the same day as the attack.  The clergy who remained were captured.  The second bishop, Dodilo, was dragged from his tomb.  He had been strangled by his own people and, though three years in the grave, his body and priestly vestments were as yet uncorrupted.  The greedy dogs then plundered him and carelessly threw him back again.  They also stole all of the church’s treasures and brutally spilled the blood of many.  Thus various cults of demonic heresy were venerated instead of Christ and his fisherman., the venerable Peter.  And not only the heathen praise this sorrowful change, but also Christians!”

Chapter 18 

“In those times, the church of Zeitz was captured and wasted by an army of Bohemians under the leadership of Dedi.  Its first bishop, Hugh, had already fled.  Afterwards, the Slavs devastated the monastery of Saint Lawrence at Calbe and pursued our people as if they were so many fleeing deer.  Our spirits were fearful because of our sins, but their spirits were strong.  Duke Mistui of the Abodrites burned and ravaged Hamburg which was formerly the residence of the bishop.  Yet all of the Christendom should piously note the miracle that Christ performed there from heaven.  A golden hand came down from the highest regions and, with outstretched fingers, reached into the middle of the fire.  This occurred in full view of all.  The army looked on in astonishment, and Mistui was both terrified and dumbfounded.  This incident was related to me by Avico who was then Mistui’s chaplain, but later became my spiritual brother.  We both came to the conclusion that God had, in this way, taken the relic up to heaven and, at the same time, terrified and put the enemy to flight.  Later, Mistui lost his mind and was held in chains. After being immersed in water that ha been blessed, he shouted: ‘Saint Lawrence is burning me!’ But before he could be freed, he died wretchedly.

Chapter 19

“By the time the Slavs had burned and pillaged all the burgs and villages as far as the river Tanger, there were more than thirty bands of warriors on foot and horseback.  Without sustaining any losses and aided by their Gods, they did not hesitate to ravage the rest of the region, as their blaring trumpets preceded them.  We did not remain unaware of these events.  Bishops Giselher and Hildeward joined with Margrave Dietrich and with the other counts: Rikdag, Hodo, Benizo, Frederick, Dudo, my father Siegfried, and many others.  At dawn, on Saturday, they heard mass together.  Then, after fortifying body and spirit with the sacrament of heaven, they confidently fell upon the approaching enemy and, except for a few who found refuge on a hill, completely annihilated them.  The victors praised God, marvelous in all his works, and the truthful word of the treater, Paul, was confirmed: There is neither prudence nor strength nor counsel against the Lord. [actually from Proverbs] Utterly abandoned were those who had once dared to reject God and stupidly chose to worship meaningless idols, which they themselves had made, rather than their own creator.  Unfortunately, as night approached and our forces made camp some distance await, the Slavs of whom I have spoken above furtively escaped.  The next day our people happily returned to their homeland, after sustaining only three casualties.  While on their way, or once they were at home, they were congratulated by everyone they encountered.”

Chapter 21

[this describes Otto’s campaign in Italy in July 982]

“Along with Duke Otto and several others, the emperor fled to the sea where, in the distance, he spotted a ship f the type known as a salandria.  He hurried out to it on a horse belonging to the Jew Calonimus but the ship’s crew refused to take him in and continued on their way.  Returning to the safety of the shore, he found the Jew still standing there, anxiously awaiting the fate of his beloved lord [or the return of his stolen horse :-)].  When the emperor saw that his enemies had also arrived on the scene, he sorrowfully asked this man: ‘What now will become of me?’  Suddenly, he noticed that a second salandria was following the first once, and realized that a among the ship’s occupants was a friend who might be expected to help him.  Once again, he urged his horse into the water hand hurried out to the ship where he was recognized only by his warrior Henry, whose Slavic name is Zolunta.  He was taken on board and placed in the bed of the ship’s commander.  Eventually, the commander also recognized him and asked if he was the emperor.  After denying out for some time, Otto finally conceded and declared: ‘Yes, it is I, reduced to this miserable state because of my sins.  But listen carefully to what we may now do together.  I have just lost the best men of my empire and, tormented by this sorrow, can never again set foot in this land and have no further desire to see those who have befriended it.  Only, let us go to the city of Rossano where my wife awaits my arrival.  We will take he and all the treasure, of which I have an unspeakable amount, and go to your emperor, my brother.  As I hope, he will be a loyal friend to me in my time of need.’  Delighted at this pleasant conversation, the ship’s commander hurried day and night to reach this place.  As they approached their destination, the warrior with the two names [i.e., Henry/Zolunta] was sent ahead to summon the empress and Bishop Dietrich, who accompanied her, and also to fetch the many treasure-lade pack animals.”

Chapter 24

“… In the year 983 of the Incarnation of the Lord, the emperor held court at Verona and Henry the Younger, having been released from exile, was made duke of the Bavarians.  And in this same year, the Slavs united in resistance to the emperor and Margrave Dietrich.  Also, the emperor’s son was unanimously elected lord.”

Book IV

Chapter 2

“After leaving Magdeburg, Henry went to Quedlinburg to celebrate the joyful feast of Easter.  The great men of the duchy also gathered there, and some who did not wish to come in person sent a representative who was to scrutinize everything carefully.  During the celebration, the duke’s supporters openly greeted him as king and he was honoured with divine laudes.  Dukes Miesco, Mistui and Boleslav converted there along with innumerable others and swore oaths confirming their support for him as king and lord.  Many others, not daring to violate their oath to the king, for fear of God, withdrew somewhat and hurried to the Asselburg where there allies, now openly plotting against the duke, were meeting.  These are their names: from the East, along with Duke Bernhard and Margrave Dietrich, there were the Counts Ekkehard, Binizo, Esiko, the count and priest Bernward, Siegefried and his son, the brothers Frederich and Ziazo; from that region also were the brothers Dietrich and SIgbert, Hoiko, the brothers Ekkehard and Bezeko, Brunig and his brother; and, at the order of Archbishop Willigis, the milites of Saint Martin, joined by a great multitude from the West.”

Chapter 5

“In the company of his supporters, Henry then sought out Boleslav [II], duke of the Bohemians, who had always been willing to help him, whatever the circumstances.  The duke receive him honorably and had his army conduct hiom from the boundaries of his territory through those of the territories of Nisan and Daleminzia as far as Muegeln.  Then, with our people coming to meet him, he proceeded to Magdeborn.  Meanwhile, one of Duke Boleslav of Bohemia‘s milites, Wagio, who had been among the trips which ac companied Henry, stopped at Meissen while making his way home.  After conversing with the inhabitants of the place, the had an intermediary invite Frederich, ally and warrior of that Margrave Rikdag, whip then resided at Merseburg, to meet with him for a discussion at a certain church outside of the city.  As he went out, however, the door closed after him.  Rikdag, guardian of that city and a celebrated warrior, was ambushed and killed by them, at a stream called Triebischbach.  The city was soon furnished with a garrison by Boleslav and it quickly accepted him both as lord and resident.”

Chapter 6

“At the instigation of the ever capricious people, Boleslav drove out Bishop Folkold, who then went to Archbishop Willigis and was accorded a friendly reception.  The bishop had nourished him as if he were his own son and, when sent to those eastern regions, had warmly recommended to Otto II that WIlligis succeed him as the king’s teacher.  WIlligis never forgot this favour and acknowledged it with all gratitude, especially now, when Folkold was in greatest need.  He ordered that Folkold be cared for and given every consideration, at Erfurt, a location the bishop himself had chosen.  After residing there [at Erfurt] for a long time, he was able to return to his own see after Margrave Rikdag died and was succeeded by the illustrious Ekkehard, and when Boleslav returned to his own lands [October/November 985].  Afterwards, he became Boleslav‘s close friend.  When he was in Prague, where he had celebrated Maundy Thursday and, on the following day, which is Good Friday, he was rightly proceeding with the memory of he divine passion, he was paralysed vt stroke and had to be carried away…”

Chapter 9

“The king celebrated the next fewest of Easter at Queldinburg where he was ministered to by four dukes: Henry at his table, Conrad as chamberlain, Henry ‘the Younger’ as cellarer, Bernhard as marshal [April 4, 986].  Boleslav and Miesco also came here with their followers and, after everything was taken care of, departed again, richly endowed with gifts.  In those days, Miesco commended himself to the king and, along with other gifts, presented him with a camel.  He also joined the king on two expeditions… The king did not cease to assault the Slavs with many harsh campaigns [June – July 986].  He also conquered certain peoples in the East, who presumed to rise up against him.  In the West he contended by force and guile to conquer an enemy which repeatedly took up arms and plundered far and wide.  It is unnecessary to describe Otto’s childhood, and it would take too long to recount what he accomplished with the advice of prudent counsellors.”

Chapter 11

“At that time, Miesco and Boleslav [II] had a falling out and did much damage to one another.  Boleslav called on the aid of the Liutizi who had always been loyal to him and to his forefathers. But Miesco sought help from Empress Theophanu.  She was then in Magdeburg and sent Giselher, archbishop of that place, and the counts, Ekkehard, Esiko, and Bizino, along with my father and another of the same name, and with Bruno, Udo, and several others.  With barely four weak bands, they set off for the region called Selpuli.  While under way, they stopped by a swamp, over which a long bridge extended.  On the previous day, one of Willo’s companions had been captured by the Bohemians as he was going ahead of the group to inspect his land.  Now, in the silence of night, he escaped and gave Count Binizo the first news of an imminent attack.  At his warning, our forced quickly roused themselves and prepared for battle.  They heard mass in the grey dawn, some standing, others on horseback; and, anxious about the outcome of the coming battle, left their encampment as the sun rose.”

Chapter 12

“Then, on 13 July, Boleslav came with troops and both sides sent out scouts.  From Boleslav‘s side, a certain miles named Slopan approached to inspect our forces.  After returning, his lord asked for his opinion regarding this army and whether or not he would be able do battle with it.  Indeed, his milites had demanded that none of our people be permitted to depart alive.  Slopan offered him the following assessment: ‘This army is small in number, but of the best quality and armed richly in iron.  It is possible for you to do battle with it, but should the victory fall to you, you will be so weakened that you will have to flee your enemy Miesco and will only escape his constant harassment with great effort, or perhaps not at all.  Moreover, you will acquire the Saxons as your enemy in perpetuity.  If you are defeated, it will mean your end and that of your entire kingdom.  There will remain no hope of resistance for you, surrounded everywhere by the enemy.’  Boleslav‘s fury was calmed by these words and, after peace had been concluded, he asked our leading men, who had come to attack him, if they would go with him to Miesco and, in the matter of restoring his property, put in a good word with that prince.  Our people agreed to this and Archbishop Giselher, Ekkehard, Esiko and Benizo went with him.  All the rest departed for their homes in peace.  Now, with the day turning to evening, all were relieved of their arms until an oath was sworn, after which they were returned.  Boleslav came with our people as far sat the Oder.  There, a messenger was sent to tell Miesco that his allies were in Boleslav‘s power.  If he were to return the lands he had seized, he would permit these men to depart unharmed, if not, all would die.  But Miesco responded to him in these words: ‘If the king wishes to rescue his people or avenge third eats, he may do so.  In any case, he would not give up anything for their sake.’  When Boleslav heard this, he plundered and burned the surrounding areas as much as he could but left all of our people unharmed.”

Chapter 13

 “Returning from there, he besieged a fortress called […] and, with no opposition from the occupants, he conquered it along with its lord, whom he ave to the Liutizi for decapitation.  Without delay, this sacrificial victim was offered to their supportive Gods in front of the city and all departed for home.  Boleslav knew that, without his help, our forces could not reach home without being attacked by the Liutizi.  Thus, he dismissed our people at dawn on the following day and warned them to move quickly.  As soon as their enemies learned of this, they were eager to go after them with a large band of chosen warriors.  Boleslav was barely able to restrain them with words such as these: ‘You who came to help me, see that you complete what you have undertaken.  Know that I took those men under my protection and dismissed them in peace; and, as long as I live, I will not suffer even one of them to be harmed today.  It would be neither honorable nor wise for us to turn close friends into open enemies.  I know of the hatred between you, but you will find much more suitable occasions for satisfying it.’  After calming the Liutizi with words such as these, he managed to detain them for two more days.  Then, after taking leave of one another and renewing their ancient alliance, they departed.  Now, those infidels chose two hundred warriors who followed our force which were few in number.  Our forces were soon informed of this by one of Margrave Hodo’s milites.  Immediately quickening their pace, they arrived in Magdeburg unharmed (thank God!), while their enemies labored in vain.” 

Chapter 18

“Meanwhile Archbishop Adaldag of Bremen died and was succeeded by Liawizo who, from his homeland between the Alps and Swabia, had followed there exiled Pope Benedict here and so had put forward a claim to this office before God and the king [29 April 988].  After there fortresses on the Elbe were restored, the Slavs were attacked and made subject to the king.  In the winter, a flood and a great wind did much damage.  Excessive heat did great damage to the crops and many people died from a savage pestilence…*”

* as in Annales Quedlinburgenses under 987 and 988.

Chapter 19

“…In the fourth year, a great pestilence broke out in the eastern regions along with famine and war [995].  Also the king attacked the Abodrites and ravaged the lands of the Wiltzi.”

Chapter 21

“…The preceding winter [994] had been harsh, unhealthy, cold, windy and unusually dry.  At this time, the Slavs were defeated.”

Chapter 22

“But because I have spoken above about the destruction of the church of Brandenburg, now I will briefly explain how it was subjected to the king for a time.  In our vicinity, there was a celebrated miles, named Kizo, who was treated by Margrave Dietrich in a manner that did not please him.  Because of this and because no other means were available to him, he went over to our enemies.  The latter, recognizing him to be entirely faithful to them in all things, commended the above-mentioned burg to him in order to harm us that much more.  But after being mollified by our flattery , he surrendered it and himself into the king’s power.  Thereafter, the Liutizi, burning with anger, attacked him there with every available warrior [October 995].  Meanwhile, the king was in Magdeburg.  When informed of the situation, he quickly sent all the forces he had with him: Margrave Ekkehard, my three maternal uncles, Frederick the count palatine, and my paternal uncle.  As they were arriving there together, along with their forces, they were dispersed by a ferocious enemy attack.  After a number of millets had been killed, one part of our orcs managed to reach the fortress, the remainder had to retreat.  Then, after assembling supporters from all sides, the king himself quickly went there.  The enemy was severely pressing the burg’s defenders, but when they saw our forces in the distance, they quickly abandoned their camp and fled.  Rejoicing in their liberation, the defenders sang Kyrie eleison, and those who were approaching responded with one voice.  The king provided the burg with a a garrison and, after his departure, held it for a long time.  Later, when Kizo came to Quedlinburg, he was deprived not only of his burg, but his wife and milites as well.  Afterwards, he received everything back, except for the burg.  The burg was placed in the power of one of his warriors called Boliliut, on whose advice all of this had been done though he was not then present.  But Kizo, the best of warriors, secretly tried to exact revenge in those regions and was killed, along with his supporters.”

Chapter 28

“In the beginning of the summer, Adalbert, bishop of the Bohemians, arrived.  He had received the name Woyciech at his baptism, the other name, at his confirmation, from the archbishop of Magdeburg.  He was educated in letters, in that same city, Ochtrich about whom we have already spoken.  As he was unable to separate his flock from the ancient error of wickedness through godly teaching, he excommunicated them all and came to Rome to justify himself before the Pope.  For a long time, wit the Pope’s permission, he lived an exemplary life according to the strict rule of Abbot Boniface.  With the same Pope’s permission, he later tried to subdue the Prussians, their thoughts still estranged from Christ, with the bridle of holy preaching.  On 23 April, pierced by a spear and beheaded, he alone received the best martyrdom, without a groan.  This occurred just as he himself had seen it in a dream and had predicted to all the brothers, saying: ‘I thought I saw myself celebrating mass and communicating alone.’ Seeing that he had now died, the authors of this wicked crime increased both their wickedness and the vengeance of God by throwing the blessed body in the water.  His head, however, they scornfully transfused with a stake.  They returned home with great joy.  After learning of this,  Boleslav, Miesco’s son, immediately purchased both the martyr’s celebrated body and his head.  In Rome, after the emperor had been informed, he humbly offered praises to God because, during his lifetime, he had taken such a servant for himself through the palm of martyrdom…”

Chapter 29

“After departing from Romania, the emperor visited our regions and, having learned of a rebellion of the Slavs, advanced with an armed force on Stoderania which is also called the land of the Hevelli [latter half of May 997].  After wasting these lands with fire and great plundering, he returned victorious to Magdeburg [post-20 August].  Because of this, a great multitude of our enemies attacked Bardengau, but were conquered by our forces.  Bishop Ramward of Minden took part in that battle.  Followed by the standard-bearers, he had taken up his cross in his hands and ridden out ahead of his companions, thereby greatly encouraging them for battle.  On that day, Count Gardulf died along with a few others, but among the enemy, a great number were killed.  There remainder fled after abandoning their booty.”

Chapter 38

“Let us recall to memory what wretched damage occurred to Archbishop Giselher because of his carelessness.  For the protection of our homeland, the emperor had the Arneburg reinforced with necessary defensive works and policed it in Giselher’s custody for a period of four weeks [early to mid-June 997]  Through some as yet unknown ruse, he was invited to a meeting with the Slavs and went out, accompanied only by a small entourage.  Some went ahead, while others remind in the fortress.  Suddenly, one of his companions announced that their enemies were bursting out of the woods.  After milites from both sides were joined in combat, the archbishop, who had been traveling in a cart, fled on a fast horse.  Only a few of his companions escaped death.  Thus, the victorious Slavs plundered the belongs of the dead in complete security – it was 2 July – and complained only that the archbishop had escaped.  In spite of the fact that his forces had been so severely cut up, Giselher guarded the fortress up tp the agreed upon day.  While he was returning home, in great sadness, he encountered my paternal uncle, Margrave Liuthar, in whose care the aforementioned burg was now to reside.  Without hesitation, he commended it to him and departed.  When the margrave arrived, he saw smoke and fire coming from the fortress.  A messenger was sent to request that the archbishop return, but without success and Liuthar himself tried to put out the fire, now raging in two different places.  When nothing came of theism he surrendered the portal, open to the enemy, and sadly returned home.  Afterwards, when complaints about him were brought before the emperor, he purged himself of any guilt by swearing an oath.  Nine days after the aforementioned slaughter, on 13 July, my mother, Cunegunde, died at burg Germersleben.”

Chapter 45

“When he arrived at Zeitz, the emperor was received in a manner appropriate to an emperor by Hugh II, third pastor of that see [circa 10 February].  Then he went by a direct route to Meissen where he was honorably received by Eid, the venerable bishop of this church, and by Margrave Ekkehard whom he regarded highly.  Then, having traversed the territories of the Milzeni, he was met as he arrived at the district of Diadesi by Boleslav whose name is interpreted as ‘greater praise’ not by merit but by old custom.  With great rejoicing, Boleslav offered the emperor hospitality at a place called Eulau.  It would be impossible to believe or describe how the emperor was then received by him and conducted to Gniezno.  Seeing the desired city from afar, he humbly approached barefoot.  After being received with veneration by Bishop Unger, he was led into the church where, weeping profusely, he was moved to ask the grace of Christ for himself through the intercession of Christ’s martyr.  Without delay, he established an archbishopric there, as I hope legitimately, but  without the consent of the aforementioned bishop to whose diocese the whole region is subject.  He committed the new foundation to Radim, the martyr’s brother, and made subject to him Bishop Reinbern of Kolobrzeg, Bishop Poppo of Krakow, and Bishop John of Wroclaw, but not Unger of Poznan.  And with great solemnity, he also placed holy relics in an altar which had been established there.”

Chapter 46

“After all issues nada been settled, the duke honoured Otto with rich presents and, what was even more pleasing, three hundred armored warriors.  When the emperor departed, Boleslav and an illustrious entourage conducted him to Magdeburg where they celebrated Palm Sunday with great festivity [24-25 March]…”

Chapter 55

“I cannot place in its correct order everything that ought to be treated within the context of this book.  In what follows, therefore, I will not be embarrassed to add a few recollections.  Indeed, I rejoice in the change of pace much as the traveller who, because of its difficult or perhaps from ignorance, leaves the course of the more direct road and sets out on some winding secondary path.  Hence, I will relate the remaining deeds of Miesco, the celebrated duke of the Poles, who has already been treated in some detail in the previous books.  He took a noble wife from the region of Bohemia, the sister of Boleslav the Elder.  Her life corresponded to her name – she was called Dobrawa in Slavic, which, in German, means ‘the good’.  For this one, faithful to Christ, and realizing that her husband was mired in various heathen errors, turned her humble spirit to the task of binding him to the faith as well.  She tried in every way to conciliate him, not because of the threefold appetite of this evil world but rather for the sake of the admirable and, to all the faithful, desirable fruit of future salvation.”

Chapter 56

“She sinned willingly for a while, that she might later be good for a long time.  For during Lent, which closely followed he marriage, though she intended to offer an acceptable tithe to God by abstaining from meat and through the affliction of he body, her husband asked and tried to coax her into giving up her plan.  She consented, thinking that he might therefore be more willing to listen to her on some other occasion.  Some say that she only ate meat during a single Lenten period, others say three.  Now, O reader, you have heard her sin, now also consider the attractive fruit of her pious will.  She labored for the sake of her husband’s conversion and was heard by the Creator in his kindness; and through his infinite goodness that most zealous persecutor came to his senses.  After being admonished frequently by his beloved wife, he vomited out the poison of his unbelief and, in holy baptism, wiped away the stain of his birth.  Immediately, members of his hitherto reluctant people followed their beloved head and lord and, after accepting the marriage garments, were numbered among the wards of Christ.  Jordan, their first bishop, labored much with them, while he diligently invited them by word and deed to the cultivation of the heavenly vineyard.  Then the couple rightly rejoiced, namely the man and the noble woman, and all who were subject to them rejoiced at their marriage in Christ.  After this, the good mother gave birth to a son who was very different from her and the misfortune of many mothers.  She named him Boleslav, after her brother.  He first revealed his innate evil to her and then raged against his own flesh and blood, as I will reveal in the following.”

Chapter 57 [977]

“But when his mother died, his father married Margrave DIetrich’s daughter, a nun at the convent called Calbe, without the approval of the church.  Oda was her name and great was her presumption.  She rejected her celestial spouse in favour of a man of war, which displeased all the pastors of the church but most of all her own bishop, the venerable Hildeward.  But the welfare of the land, and the need to strengthen the peace, kept this from leading to a break; rather it provided a healthy and continuous incentive for reconciliation.  For she increased the service of Christ in every way: many captives were returned to their homeland, prisoners were released form their chains, and the prisons of those who had been accused were opened.  O hope that God will forgive her the magnitude of her sin, since such love of pious deeds was revealed in her.  We read, however, that he who does not entirely abandon the evil he has begun, will try in vain to placate the Lord.  She bore her husband three sons: Miesco, Swentepulk and…  She passed her life there, highly honoured, until her husband’s death.  She was beloved among those with whom she lived and useful to those from whom she had come.”

Chapter 58

“But on May 25, in the year of the Incarnation 992, the tenth year of Otto III’s kingship, the aforementioned duke, now old and feverish, went from this place of exile to his homeland, leaving his kingdom to be divided by many claimants.  Yet, with fox-like cunning, his son Boleslav unified it once more in the hands of one ruler, after he had expelled his stepmother and brothers, and had their familiars Odilien and Przibiwoj blinded.  That he might be able to rule alone, he ignored both human and divine law.  He married the daughter of Margrave Rikdag, but later sent her away and took a Hungarian woman as his wife.  She bore him a son, named Bezprym, but he also sent her away.  His third wife was Emnilde, a daughter of the venerable lord, Dobromir.*  Faithful to Christ, she formed her husband’s unstable character completely for the better and strove unceasingly to wash away both of her sins through the generous dispersal of alms and abstinence.  She bore two sons, Miesco and another one whom the father named after his beloved lord.  She also produced three daughters of whom one was an abbess, the second married Count Herman, and the third the son of King Vladimir.  I will say more about them later.”

* Dobromir was probably a Milseni duke of the Lausitz (guess).

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January 22, 2017

Slavs in Space

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Since Slavs now seem to be in control of most of the world (Ivanka is obviously a Slav as is Melania and, sadly, so is Merkel), the nagging question in the Slavic community has been, “well, what about other planets?”.

This is a bit off topic but we want to point out that – while we possess no special insight into which other planets or galaxies are controlled by Slavs – it is the case that the last person to have walked on the moon was a Slav.

Cernan takes control of the moon in the name of Svantopolk (Cernan and moon to scale)

This was US Navy Captain Eugene Andrew “Gene” Cernan (of Czech and Slovak descent) who recently passed away:

We have not even began to scratch the surface of signs of other Slavs in the ancestors of the other moon astronauts but thought we’d mention this one as an easy shoe in for Slavs in Space.

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January 17, 2017

The Slavs of Hermann of Reichenau

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Here are some excerpts from the Chronicle of Hermann of Reichenau in a translation by I.S. Robinson.  Hermann (July 18, 1013 – September 24, 1054) was also called Hermannus Contractus or Hermannus Augiensis or Herman the Cripple or the Lame.  Amongst his many achievements, he wrote a chronicle (which was later continued by his student Berthold of Reichenau).  Here are the Slav passages of Hermann’s chronicle.



“King Henry went by way of Verona into the region of Italy on this side of the Po and subjected to himself all the cities in that region.  On the very day on which he was crowned, he broke into Pavia and subdued it by fire and sword.  After taking hostages, he returned from there into Saxony and after a few days he turned his arms against the Slavs.  He forced the Bohemians to accept their former duties of services and payment of tribute; he also brought Boleslav, the duke of the Polish Slavs, into subjection, together with all his people,* and returned to Saxony victorious.  Duke Herman of Swabia died and he was succeeded in the duchy by his son, Herman, who was a boy and acceptable to all the people.”

* In autumn 1004 Henry restored the exiled Duke Jaromir of Bohemia.  The reference to Boleslav is to Boleslav Chrobry (duke 992 – 1025; king 1025).  The expedition took place in August to September of 1005.


“Rudolf, the indolent petty king of Burgundy, died and his crown and the insignia of the kingship were brought to Emperor Conrad by Seliger.  In these days, while the emperor was leading an army against Miesco, the king of those Slavs who are called Poles,* Odo the son of the sister of the same Rudolf, a prince of Champagne in France, invaded the kingdom of Burgundy, captured the fortresses of Neuenburg and Murten and placed his own garrisons in them…”

* Mieszko II (ruling 1025 – 1034).  The emperor’s unsuccessful expedition was in September.


“…The pagan Slavs known as Liutizi attacked the frontiers of Saxony…”


“…Duke Adalbero of Carinthia and Istria lost the emperor’s favor and was also deprived of his duchy.  The Liutizi captured the fortress of Werben, which was secretly betrayed to them, and killed or led away captive many of our men.  The emperor forced a crossing of the River Elbe, entered their province and laid it waste far and wide.  A great synod was assembled in Tribur.”


“…The Liutizi Slavs were obliged to pay tribute to the emperor…”


“…King Henry undertook an expedition to Bohemia, but when Bretislav the duke of that people, had sen him his son as a hostage and had promised – although it was a feigned promise – that he himself would come and perform what was commanded of him, he at once returned.  During the winter Peter, king of the Hungarians invaded the frontiers of his kingdom and laid it waste, plundering burning and taking captives.”


“King Henry attacked the duke of the Bohemians, who was once again in rebellion.  In order to storm the forest obstruction or rampart on both sides, he sent the lightly armed part of the army through a lonely mountain pass into the province.  When, however, the knights entered the difficult and heavily wooded terrain, on 22 August on this side and on the following day on the other side, and while with futile labour, already wearied, they sought in vain to attack a particular earthwork, the Bohemians poured in all sides and they were slaughtered, taken prisoner or put to flight.  Those of our men who still remained in the province were brought out through the intervention of the hermit Gunther* and returned safely.  Meanwhile the king departed with the loss of very many knights and princes and with his purpose unfulfilled…”

* “from the Thuringial comital familypf Schwarzburg and Kaefernburg, monk of Niederaltaich, founded settlement of hermits at Rinchnach.”


“King Henry restored to the Bohemian duke his son, who had been held as a hostage, and ransomed the prisoners who had been captured in the forest.  The following summer he collected a grate army, entered that province by an unfrequented route and laid everything waste with pillage and burning until the duke was compelled by hardship to sue for peace.*  He summoned the king’s vassals to him and promised them his own surrender and subjection together with all his people and also promised that he would come to the king in Regensburg and perform what was commanded him.  He soon fulfilled his promise through his actions after the king departed.**  In the same year the treacherous Hungarians set up again…”

* “Henry entered Bohemia on 15 August and campaigned until 29 September according to Steindorff (1874).”

** “He appeared in Regensburg in October, paid tribute, took an oath of fidelity and promised service to Henry and received from him Bohemia and two Polish provinces according to Steindorff again (1874).”


“…After the subjection of the Hungarians of that territory since they refused to accept Peter, he installed for them as duke one of their number who was at that time in exile among the Bohemians.  Immediately after the king’s departure, however, Aba drove the duke back into Bohemia and the latter was unable to put up any resistance…”


“…The Slavs who are called Liutizi were troubling the borders of Saxony; but when the king came there with a force of his vassals, they surrendered and promised the customary tribute.  In the autumn the hermit Gunther departed to Christ and was laid to rest in Prague, a city of Bohemia…”


“…At that time he promoted the Swabian count Welf, son of the former count Welf, to be duke of Carinthia…”


“…THe emperor left Regensburg, where he celebrated Easter [3 April] with Duke Otto and Duke Bretislav* and many princes, and, coming back to Swabia, he entered our own Reichenau…”

* “Duke Bretislav I of Bohemia, whose wife Judith (Jutta) of Schweinfurt was Duke Otto’s sister.”


“…After Easter the lord pope agains assembled a synod in Rome and, subsequently advancing beyond Rome, he subjected some of the princes and cities in that region both to himself and to the emperor by means of an oath and excommunicating the Beneneventans, who were still in rebellion.  Some princes of the foreig nations also sent envoys to him as pope and promised him subjection.  The emperor prepared an expedition against Casimir, duke of the Poles, who was planning a rebellion.  He was, however, held back by a serious illness and received him when he requested peace and a treaty and departed…”*

* According to the German scholar Steindorff (1874): “Casimir I (ruling 1034 – 1058) was accused of having usurped by force a province given by the emperor to the duke of the Bohemians.  He came to the emperor on the royal estate of Goslar and defended himself against the accusation by means of an oath and those matters in which he was guilty he corrected according to the emperor’s judgment.”


“…The following autumn the emperor, disdaining to accept the pact that King Andreas offered through his envoys, invaded Hungary with a great army.  While Bishop Gebhard of Regensburg, Duke Welf and Duke Bretislav were sent to lay waste to the northern Danube region, he himself marched through the territory of Carinthia.  He made a long detour because of the overflowing of rivers, while supplies were brought from the ships, as far as possible on horses.  He invaded the treacherous kingdom and laid waste all the surrounding territory, as long as supplies were available for the army, since the Hungarian army fled rapidly higher and thither like a band of robbers, nowhere daring to give battle on equal terms.  When, however, the army began to suffer from scarcities and hunger, the Hungarians prepared to cut off their retreat, having stationed their forces on the riverbanks that they had previously fortified band in shallow marches, and threatened either to force them all to surrender or to starve them to death.  The knights were undismayed and unhesitatingly waded over and put to flight the enemies who opposed them on the rivers.  Certain Burgundian, Saxon and Polish knights* crossed the river, not without danger to themselves, and in a short time stormed and captured a very strong fortress built at the bridge over the River Repcze, in which the enemy had t he greatest trust.  They cut down and scattered the Hungarians and opened the way for the rest of the army.  After almost all had passed through, the fortress was set on fire, which cut off some of the hindmost, placing them in great danger because the enemy was pushing them.  The emperor thus returning and those whom he had sent beyond the Danube having png since come back after achieving success in their enterprises, King Andreas sent a request for peace to our Margrave Adalbert and promised peace on his own part.”

* The presence of Polish knights may be explained by the fact that Casimir I had previously gotten German support for the enterprise of reclaiming the Polish throne.


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December 4, 2016

On the Pagan Rebellion

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On July 13, 1024 Boleslaw Chrobry’s great rival, the German Emperor Henry II passed away.  The next Easter (either on April 18 or April 23, 1025), Boleslaw crowned himself king (most probably in Gniezno).  He too would pass away shortly (on June 17, 1025) but the deed was done.  Poland was a kingdom and it was up to Boleslaw’s son Mieszko II to continue the legacy.

The Unhappy Reign of Mieszko II

Mieszko II was crowned king most likely already by Christmas 1025.  At that time the German throne was held by Conrad II.  At first Conrad had to deal with some opposition in Swabia and Lotharingia and it appears that West Germans tried to get Mieszko energized about helping them.  Unfortunately for Mieszko, by the time he launched his campaign against Conrad (in 1028), the latter had already dealt with his internal opponents (sometime in 1027).  Mieszko’s invasion of Saxony in January 1028 was largely a success (apparently he took huge numbers of hostages) but it only served to refocus the Emperor on the East.


Mieszko II

Conrad began his counterattack in 1029 wanting to finally deal with his meddlesome Polish neighbors.  To do that he raised a truly giant army and set out for Poland.  However, at first things did not go so well for him.  The German advance crossed the Polish border at the river Solawa (Saale) and entered Milsko and Luzyce (today’s Meissen and Lausitz).  But the army never reached Poland proper getting stuck and coming apart at Budisin (Bautzen).  In 1030, in turn, the Emperor’s attention was diverted by the Hungarians who decided that they wanted to have Bavaria for themselves.


Conrad II

From then on things went south for Mieszko.  The Hungarians and Germans concluded a peace treaty in 1031.  Conrad tried his hand against Poland again.  But this time he did not go it alone. For starters, he’d drawn in the Czechs.  They had previously been humiliated by Mieszko’s father, Boleslaw who conquered most of Bohemia and Moravia and made it part of his realm.  Since then the Czechs revolted on Mieszko’s watch and under their duke Udalrich were ready to assist the Germans.  Moreover, Conrad coordinated with the leader of Kievan Rus, Yaroslav.  Since the Rus had been defeated by Boleslaw as well, they too were ready to help out and recover some of their lost lands.  Furthermore, both the Germans and the Rus brought with them each a son of Boleslaw’s.  With the Germans came Otto, Boleslaw’s youngest son (named after Otto III the Red).  With the Rus there came Bezprim, Boleslaw’s oldest son.  Although Mieszko II was clearly his father’s choice to succeed him, he was not the only contender.  He likely had kicked his brothers out of his kingdom after his father’s death but that only wounded their pride and so they sought help abroad.


Oldřich (Udalrich)

Mieszko sought refuge.  Because of a temporary break between Conrad and Udalrich, his best bet seemed to be to go to Bohemia.  Udalrich had already met Mieszko and indeed had imprisoned him back in 1014 when Mieszko tried to win Udalrich over to an alliance.  But Udalrich was not ready to risk everything for the now weak Mieszko.  Mieszko’s father, Boleslaw, had blinded Udalrich’s brother (Boleslaw III) and now, allegedly in revenge, Udalrich had Mieszko castrated.  The Rus recovered some of the lands they’d previously lost to the Germans.  Milsko and Luzyce went to the Germans.  The Polish crown was sent to Germany either by Bezprim or by Mieszko’s wife (whom he left in Poland).  Bezprim was installed as a duke and Otto may have gotten a piece too.  The Pomeranians revolted.  In the meantime, Mazovia apparently also separated from the rest of Poland under the leadership of one Maslaw or Mieclaw (Mieszko II’s former cup bearer).



This situation was not stable, however.  Bezprim was apparently not the most beloved leader and, it seems, was quickly murdered by local opposition.  Mieszko was released by Udalrich but was forced to go see the Emperor at Merseburg.  There, he was forced to confirm the Emperor’s overlordship as well as agree to have his younger brother Otto get Silesia and to have Dietrich (another grandson of Mieszko I) obtain possession of another part of the country.

But things did not turn out so badly for Mieszko (other than the whole castration thing).  Apparently, full of energy he used the Emperor’s to reclaim Polish lands if not the crown.  About 1033 both Otto and Dietrich die or disappear.  How that came about you can speculate just as well yourself.  The Rus, satisfied with their prior land grab, did not intervene without German help.  Thus, Mieszko was able to reunify the country briefly before his own death (apparently of natural causes) in 1034.

And then we come to a bit of a hole in history.

What Happened Next?

What happened next is, to put it mildly, very unclear.  There is a suggestion (happily jumped on by all kinds of conspiracy theorists and various reflexively anti-Catholic personas) that next in line to the throne was Mieszko’s oldest son, Boleslaw.  Boleslaw’s very existence, however, has been questioned (hence, he is called Boleslaw the “Forgotten”).  As per the conspiracy theorists, Boleslaw’s being “forgotten” is a result of a vast nefarious Catholic conspiracy to erase his memory from the list of Polish rulers.  Why would the Church do that?  Well, the theory goes because Boleslaw’s faith was Slavic-rite or maybe he was even a pagan (anything but Catholic).  There are a number of sources that provide some support for the existence of a Boleslaw but they are either very late (such as the Greater Poland Chronicle – see below) or the support they provide is only very indirect.  We will perhaps get back to this controversy to discuss it in detail.  For now, suffice it to say, that it is highly unlikely that such a ruler (not mentioned by the rather meticulous German annalists or by any of the Czech, Russian or Hungarian sources) existed.  On balance, it is more likely that the next Polish ruler really was Casimir the “Restorer”.

Nevertheless, Casimir did not take charge of Poland in 1034.  Between 1034 and 1039 a lot of things happened though information regarding these things is scant.  For one thing, we know that Udalrich’s son, duke Bretislaw ascended the Czech throne in 1034.  By 1037 he had made his way to Poland leveling both Gniezno and Poznan and taking the bones of Saint Adalbert (Wojciech) to Prague.  Casimir had fled Poland earlier and had been held in Hungary.  He was only released in 1038 when the Hungarian throne changed hands.  He then went to see his mother in Germany and, apparently against her advice and that of the Emperor, decided to return to Poland taking with him about “500 knights.”  It was that group that effectively reconstituted the Polish realm building alliances inside the country, routing the Mazovians and defeating the Pomeranians.

But let’s get back to 1034 – 1039.  These are the years of the so-called “pagan rebellion.”

What we know is, well, very little.  Nevertheless, it seems that in light of the total collapse of rule in 1034, secessionism and foreign invasions, some form or a rebellion took place against whatever then remained of the Piasts’ authority.  Whether the rebellion had more of a “class” dimension or was more of a religious character is unclear.  It was probably some combination of both.

The written sources are scant and likely, some of them, wrong.  Let’s break this up a bit.

The Year 1022

The first mention of a “pagan” revolt comes in the year 1022 and it appears in two places.  Cosmas of Prague and the much later Jan Dlugosz.

Cosmas notes laconically in Book I of his Chronicle of the Czechs under the year 1022:

“A persecution of Christians was carried out in Poland.”



This would have put, at least this, “pagan” revolt during the reign of Boleslaw Chrobry (died 1025) rather than after the death of Mieszko II.



Sure, but the problem with Cosmas is that, writing almost a hundred years after the events in question his knowledge of them seems highly distorted.  For example, he ascribes many of the deeds of Boleslaw Chrobry to his father Mieszko I.  Not only that, he does not even know some Czech matters.  Thus, he claims that Uldrich was the son of Boleslaw III of Bohemia, rather than, as we know, the latter’s brother.  It is, therefore, highly unlikely that such a small detail would have been gotten right by Cosmas.

Cosmas does later (in Book II) discuss the Czechs invasion of Poland in the year 1037 but says nothing at that time about any pagan or other rebellion.

Another source for an earlier rebellion is  Jan Dlugosz who does have an entry under 1022 that characterizes the events in a similar but slightly different way:

“…For some among the nobles, incited by satan, found giving sheaf tithes and the fulfillment of Christian duties to be burdensome, which complaints were made especially by those who having been raised in the errors of paganism grew weary of the yoke of the true faith of Christ; [and] after much scheming they decided to return to the old life of impiety and idolatry, to fail to timely pay their tithes, nor to attend churches, to throw out, in fact, priests and God’s servants from the temples.  And when Boleslaw the Polish king found out about this, he would not, this fervent evangelist of the Catholic faith, allow this smoldering rebellion to grow but nipped it in the bud; sending out squadrons of knights he captured the ringleaders and some of them he ordered beheaded while others he had flogged; and only those that had less guilt, having been seduced by others’ persuasion, did he spare any punishment.”

A slight problem with Dlugosz, of course, is that he writes even later in the 15th century and, for all we know, may have relied here on Cosmas.

The Year 1025 (or 1030?)

Nestor’s “Primary Chronicle” (PVL) mentions under the year 1030 the following:

1030 or year 6538:

“… At this same time, Boleslav the Great died in Poland, and there was a revolt in the Polish country.  The people arose and killed the bishops, the priests, and the boyars, and there was rebellion among them.”


He goes on to say that in the “year 1031 (or 6539)] Yaroslav and Mstislav collected a large force and marched into Poland.  They recaptured the cities of Cherven, and ravaged the Polish country side.  They also captured many Poles and distributed them as colonists in various districts.  Yaroslav located his captives among the Ros’, where they live to this day.”


Since Nestor places this event immediately after Boleslaw Chrobry’s death and since Chrobry died in 1025, it seems reasonable to assume that some sort of a pagan rebellion took place at that point.

Unless, of course, Nestor also confused Boleslaw Chrobry with Mieszko II.

The Year 1034

The Greater Poland Chronicle (GPC) places these events after Mieszko II’s death.  Although the chronicler gets the year wrong (1033 versus 1034), he seems nevertheless to associate the “pagan” rebellion with the time immediately before Casimir the Restorer took charge.



The GPC says:

“After he [Mieszko II] died in the year of Our Lord 1033, his firstborn son Boleslaw* came to rule.  But after this one was crowned, he caused his mother many indignities.  His mother, who came from an excellent family, not being able to endure his wickedness, taking her little son Casimir, returned to her homeland to Saxony, to Brunswick and placing her son there to study was said to have entered some convent.  Whereas Boleslaw, on account of his cruelty and monstrosity of deeds that he committed, poorly ended his life and, though honoured with a royal crown, is not counted among the kings and princes of Poland.”

* Boleslaw the (Previously) Forgotten or Boleslaw the Made-Up depending on your point of view.



“After his death, there arose in the Polish country much turmoil and many wars, rather internal than external.  But when the Polish state – by reason of [these] wars – fell almost completely , the great lords of the country set out immediately on a journey to Saxony to their Lady, the queen with the aim of finding their Lord, Casimir.”


“From her they learned that she had sent him to Paris to study the liberal arts where, while spending time there and working, he took on the oath of Saint Benedict at the Cluney Abbey.  Rushing to him, they beheld that he had already been ordained a deacon.”

In accord with this dating are the Hildesheim Annals which have the following entry under the (correct) year 1034:


The famous Hildesheim Annals entry (Paris MS)

“Mieszko the duke of the Poles died prematurely and Christianity there so well begun by his predecessors and by him [Mieszko II] even strengthened, alas, lamentably perished.”


(the same entry is also in the Magdeburg Annals)

Other Sources

Gallus Anonymous does speak of a pagan rebellion.  He does not say when it took place but does place it after the death of Mieszko II and after the expulsion of Casimir the Restorer from Poland.   Thus, it seems that we are looking at 1034 – 1036.  Since he discusses these events before the Czech invasion of 1037 we can tentatively say no later than that year.  Perhaps.

Here is Gallus’ Chapter 19: 

“At this time kings and dukes neighboring Poland, each in his own turn violated her and took towns and border castles or, after the taking, burn them down.  And so exposed to so many sorrows and painful defeats, she was treated even shabbier and more abominably by her own inhabitants.  For the slaves rose against masters, freedmen against the nobles, announcing themselves as nobles in turn, taking their [nobles’] wives and beds and most cruelly persecuting the same [nobles].”




“Renouncing too the Catholic faith, which we are unable to mention without shedding many a tear, they rebelled against the bishops and priests, and some of these, in their eyes being more prominent/honorable, they put to the sword; and some others, as if deserving a more ignoble death, they had stoned.  In the end, by reason of foreign causes as too by reason of her own inhabitants, did Poland suffer such ruin, that she was almost completely deprived of riches and people.  It was then that the Czechs destroyed Gniezno and Poznan and took the body of Saint Adalbert.  And those who managed to flee the hands of the enemies or who were escaping the rebellion of their serfs, made their way across the River Vistula to Mazovia.*  And the aforementioned cities remained abandoned so long that in the Church of Saint Adalbert as well as at Saint Peter’s wild animals set up their dens…”



* Of course, Mazovia too was going to rebel under Maslaw (or Mieclaw) the recently repurposed cup bearer.


There is not else on the pagan rebellion.  Thietmar’s Chronicle only reaches the year 1018.  Kadlubek’s Chronicle is silent.  There is another Bohemian source and some Russian sources (preserved in much later books) but they all add little else to the topic.  Nevertheless, a “pagan” rebellion was altogether possible.  A similar rebellion took place in Bohemia between 921 and 935 and, of course, the Great Slav Uprising of 983 in Polabia had not only anti-Frankish/Saxon but also anti-Christian character.

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November 30, 2016

The Slavs of Regino of Prüm (& Adalbert of Magdeburg)

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Here we present entries related to Slavs (or of interest to Slavs, see 889 regarding the name “Germany” – similar word play again to germs/spores) from the less known Chronicle of Regino of Prüm (circa 840 – 915) and from the Continuation of the same Chronicle by Adalbert of Magdeburg (910 – 981).  The translation and annotations are by Simon MacLean.


Book I


…King Dagobert fought with the Slavs and overcame them.  At that time a dux named Samo ruled over them.  He also restrained the rebellious Gascons with the sword.  The Huns and Bulgars joined in battle among themselves.  The Huns defeated the Bulgars.  Utterly defeated and driven from Pannonia, nine thousand with their wives and children appealed to King Dagobert for land they needed to live on.  The king ordered that they be received in scattered houses in Bavaria for the winter, and one nigh he ordered them all to be killed together with their wives and children…

Book II


In the year of the Lord’s incarnation 860, Eigil voluntarily renounced the abbacy of Prüm, and Ansbald, a man notable in all sanctity and goodness, succeeded him in command.  In these times the elder Louis [the German], brother of Emperor Lothar [I], very strenuously prosecuted many wars against the Slavic peoples.  Accordingly, he invaded the lands of the Moravians and completely tamed everything by force of arms, capturing their leader Rastiz and ordering his eyes to be gouged out for violating treaties…


…After this, the three aforementioned brothers met in the place called Schwaifeld, and there they divided the paternal kingdom.  Karlmann received Bavaria, Pannonia and Carnuntum [Carinthia], which in bad style is called Carantanum, and also the realms of the Slavs, Bohemians and Moravians.  Louis got east Francia, Thuringia, Saxony, Frisoia and part of Lothar’s kingdom.  To Charles’s portion fell Alemnania and some cities in the kingdom of Lothar.


In the year of the Lord’ incarnation 880, King Karlmann ended his last day on 22 March after a decline into paralysis.  He was buried with due honour in Bavaria, in the place called Altoetting. That most excellent king was learned in letters, dedicated to the Christian religion, just. peace-loving, and in all of  his habits adorned with probity.  The beauty of his body was extraordinary, and his strength too was remarkable; no less so was his greatness of his spirit.  In fact he fought very many battles together with his father, and still more without him, in the lands of the Slavs and always brought back the triumph of victory.  He added to and extended thus the borders of his kingdom with the sword.  He appeared mild to his own people., terrible to his enemies.  He was affable in speech, decorated with humility, and unusually gifted in ordering the affairs of the realm.  In short, nothing which was appropriate to royal majesty seemed to lack in him…

…When Louis [the Younger] heard that his brother had died, he went to Bavaria and came to Regensburg, where all the leading men of the kingdom flocked to him and put themselves under his command.  The king conceded Carinthia to Arnulf because his father had already conceded it to him.; there lies the very well defended stronghold of Moosburg, so called because of the impenetrable bog which surrounds it and offers very difficult entry to those who approach it.


…This is why such great numbers of peoples spring up under the northern skies, so that it is quite correct to call that entire region from the Don to the west by the general name of Germany, though individual places in it also have their own names.  Because Germany is so populous, innumerable groups of captives are often taken from there and sold to southern peoples for money.  Peoples have frequently led this region because it produces so many human beings that there re barely enough resources to feed them.  These groups have afflicted Asia, but mainly they have troubled adjacent parts of Europe.  Ruined cities throughout Illyricum and Gail testify to this, but a hove all unhappy Italy has experienced the savagery of almost all of these peoples.

The Hungarians were thus driven from their home in these lands by a neighboring people called the Petchenegs, because they were superior to them in strength and number and because, as we said before, their own country was not sufficient to accommodate their swelling numbers.

After they had been forced to flee by the violence of the Petchenegs, they said goodbye to their homeland and set out to look for lands where they could live and establish settlements.  First they roamed the wildernesses of the Pannonians and the Avars, and sought their daily food by hunting and fishing.  Then they attacked the lands of the Carinthians, Moravians and Bulgars with the infestation of constant raids, killing a very few with the sword and many thousands with arrows, which they fire from their bows made of horn with such skill that it is almost impossible to avoid being hit by them…


In the year of the Lord’s incarnation 890, King Arnulf gave the command [ducats] of the Bohemians to King Zwentibald of the Moravian Slavs.  Hitherto, the Bohemians had rulers from among their own kind and people, and had kept the fidelity they promised to the kings of the Franks by inviolable agreement.  Arnulf did this because, before he had been raised to the throne of the kingdom, he had been joined to Zwentibald in close friendship.  In fact, he raised from the holy font Arnulf’s son, who was born to him by a concubine, and named him Zwentibald after him.  This matter [the granting of Bohemia to Zwentibald of Moravia] provided a considerable stimulus for discord and defections.  For the Bohemians, on the one hand, withdrew the fealty that they had long kept, and Zwentibald, on the other, believing himself to have gained considerable strength through that acquisition of another realm and puffed up with the arrogance of price, rebelled against Arnulf.  When Arnulf learned about this reinvaded the Moravian realm and razed everything outside the cities to the ground.  Finally, because even the fruit trees were being uprooted, Zwentibald asked for peace and, having given his son as a hostage, belatedly gained it…


…While this [invasion by the Northmen] was going on, King Arnulf was staying in the furthermost parts of Bavaria, restraining the insolence of the Slavs…


…At that same time Arn, the venerable bishop of Wuerzburg, set out to fight the Slavs at the urging and encouragement of Poppo dux of the Thuringians, and was killed in battle [July 13].  Count Conrad’s brother Rudolf gained his seat and succeeded him as bishop.  Arnulf granted some of Count Megingoz’s offices to his son Zwentibald…”


…Also around this time Zwentibald king of the Moravian Slavs, a man most prudent among his people and very cunning by nature, ended his final day.  His sons held his kingdom for a short and unhappy time, because the Hungarians utterly destroyed everything in it.*

* Moimir and Zwentopulk.  By 906 the Hungarians encouraged by the Franks, had effectively destroyed Moravian power.

Adalbert’s Continuation 


The Bavarians fought the Hungarians, and many were cut down with a great slaughter.  In this battle dux Liutpold [of Bavaria] was killed.  His son Arnulf succeeded him in the command [ducatus]*

* The Battle of Bratislava was a major defeat for the Franks.


…Meanwhile King Henry strongly persisted in stabilizing peace and restraining the savagery of the Slavs.


King Henry attacked the Bohemians with hostile intent and with God’s aid he courageously conquered them.  At that time a son named William was born to the same king’s son Otto…


King Henry made the king of the Abodrites and the king of the Danes into Christians…


King Henry cut the Hungarians down with a great slaughter, and took even more prisoner.  In that same year he attacked the Slavs called Vucrani with hostile intent; he defeated them and made them his tributaries…


…In the same year Boleslaw, ruler of the Bohemians, rebelled against the king, who went against him with a very strong force and enforced his lordship completely…


The Hungarians came forth with such a great multitude that they said they could not be defeated by anyone unless the earth swallow them up or the sky fell and crushed the them.  With God’s support they were defatted at the River Lech by the army of the kings with so great a slaughter that never before among our people was such a victory heard of or accomplished.  Conrad, the former dux, was killed there.  When he had returned from there there king sent his army against the Slavs, where he won a similar victory and struck them down with a great massacre.*  Wichmann was expelled.  The king’s brother Henry, after recovering from his desperate situation and receiving the dukedom of Bavaria, died.  The pious king gave the ducats and the march to Henry’s son Henry.  The king’s son Otto [future Otto II] was born.

* The Battle of Recknitz (October 16), at which Otto defatted the Abodrites and their allies.


The king attacked the Slavs [Redarii] again…


…In that same year, by the doing of Archbishop Brun’s faction, Count Reginar was captured and sent into exile among the Slavs…


The king invaded the Slavs again, and Thietmar was killed there.*

*Presumably Otto’s battle against Slavs led by Wichmann the Younger during the previous year.


…Their sons Adalbert and Guy wandered aimlessly here and there, but they along with their followers still possessed certain fortifications, namely the strongholds at Garda* and Val Travaglia, and an island on Lake Como…

* notice the Slavic (?) Garda near Lake Como.  For Jesen in the area see here.


…Back home the Slavs called Lausitzer were also subdued.


…In the meantime Bishop Guy of Modena approached the emperor in Saxony on a mission for Adalbert, pretending with fox-like cunning to be loyal to the emperor and boasting that he would betray those who were unfaithful.  But he did not share in the emperor’s presence or conversation.  Instead, after he had been allowed to return home in shame, he was arrested int he Alps on the other side of Chur and, after being sent back to Saxony, wass placed in custody among the Slavs.

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November 25, 2016