Monthly Archives: April 2016

Saint Sturm and the Ever-So-Attractive Slavs

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Here is an excerpt from the Life of Saint Sturm (705-779?) the Abbot of Fulda (Vita s. Sturmi abates Fuldensis) regarding Sturm’s trip up the Fulda river on a mission from Saint Boniface (same one who cut down the Holy Oak of Donar).


Sturm’s mission was to discover a suitable place where Boniface could found a monastery.  Sturm was a young  Bavarian noble who was excited to join Boniface in a life of monastic joy.  Before that joy, however, the young virtuous Bavarian would be sorely tempted.

The year of our story is somewhere between 736 and 744:

“[7] Then one day, while he was traveling , he came to the merchant road that leads from Thuringia to Mainz.  At a place where the road crosses over the river Fulda, there was a large multitude of Slavs who discovered the same river swimming in its streams, washing their bodies and snorkeling; their nude bodies made the ass [on which Sturm was riding] tremble in fear and even the man of God found their smells frightening as they mocked the servant of the Lord.  And when they wished to do him harm, they were stopped by divine power.  One of them who was their interpreter asked him where he was going. And he answered he was going to the hills in the wilderness.” 


Slavs’ bathing naturally frightened the gentle Sturm

(Tunc quadam die dum pergeret, pervenit ad viam, quae a Turingorum regione mercandi causa ad Magontiam pergentes ducit; ubi platea illa super flumen Fuldam vadit, ibi magnam Sclavorum multitudinem repreit eiusdem fluminis alveo natantes, lavandis corporibus se immersisse; quorum nuda corpora animal cui praesidebat pertimescens, tremere coepit; et ipse vir Dei eorum foetorem exhorruit, qui more gentilium servum Domini subsannabant, et cum eum laedere voluissent, divina potentia compressi et prohibiti sunt.  Unus autem ex illis qui erat ipsorum interpres, interrogavit eum quo tenderet?  Cui ille respondit, in superiorem partem eremi se fore iturum.)


Sturm felt much safer in the Fulda church

In case you were concerned what happened to Sturm: he followed the course of the river into the wilderness until he was able to find an appropriate place for the founding of the Fulda abbey.  Here Saint Boniface laid the foundations of the monastery (named after the Fulda river) and Sturm was made its first abbot.


Location of Fulda in Germany

And they all lived happily ever after.

Well, not exactly, after Boniface was killed by Frisian highwaymen, Sturm got into a fight with Lull or Lullus, the successor to Boniface as archbishop of Mainz over who would keep the old man’s bone.  Sturm won the relics but got bitchslapped by Lullus who complained about him to Pepin king of the Franks.  Although Sturm was exiled he managed to get back into graces with Pepin and came back to run the monastery.

Problems continued for Sturm afterwards as the pagan Saxons attacked Fulda and Sturm and his fellow monks were forced to flee into the forest.  But then the Saxons left, the monks came back, Sturm died and the Saxons were slaughtered by Charlemagne.  Then Eigil of Noricum wrote the Life of Saint Sturm which is the work cited above.

And after that everyone lived happily ever after (except the local Slavs, of course).


The monastery’s unconventional design was intended to keep any eye on the Saxons and the Slavs

For more on the topic see the C. H. Talbot edition in “The Anglo-Saxon Missionaries in Germany, Being the Lives of SS. Willibrord, Boniface, Leoba and Lebuin together with the Hodoepericon of St. Willibald and a selection from the correspondence of St. Boniface.”

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April 30, 2016

On Slavic DNAs

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Genetology and genetic historiography are the modern battlefields of peoples.   In the Slavic case, the genetologic warriors have proudly claimed R1a as Slavic.  This is because Slavic populations appear to have the highest percentage of certain types of this Y-dna.  So far so good.  In the process, the assumption was made that R1a are the “true Slavs” and the rest found in Slavic countries (we’re talking about Northern Slavs & Slovenes/some Croats – the further South you go the more I2 rather than R1a), that is R1b or I or N or anything else must not be Slavic.  This presents a number of issues…

First, if – in the highest R1a land of them all – Poland, R1a approaches 60% what do we do with the remaining >40% of the male population?  Are they not Slavic?  And considering that Y-dna accounts only for men, what does that mean for the population as a whole – are only 30% of the population true Slavs?  How do you measure women on the “Slavic scale”?

Note too that the 60% R1a is after the various German peoples (including plenty of Slavs) were deported/escaped to Germany and Poland became the most homogenous it’s been in 600 years.  So even with such forced resettlements, you could get only to almost 60%.

Second, how do we know that the original Slavs were only R1a folks?  In fact, how do we know that R1a is “the” Slavic gene?  After all, what if Slavs were I or R1b before, say, the Hun or Avar invasion making the “Slavic” y-dna, the dna of Avars or Huns…  And how that was “infused” into Slavic women, we leave for you to picture.

Third, some R1a is found in Scandinavia and that R1a is different – mostly – from the “Slavic” one.  Consequently, that R1a is a portion of R1a has been effectively ceded to the Nordics… But, by focusing on R1a, the “Slavologists” have also effectively ceded all R1b and I and other “haplogroups” to Nordics/Celts.  Suddenly, the quest for “purity” resulted in 90% of all types of dna on the continent not being true “Slavic”.  In effect the Nordic/Celtic “side” is able to claim 100% of R1b, 100% of I and a significant chunk of R1a…  R1b and I are just given up without a fight…

But this is ridiculous.  It may well be that various “African” and “Asian” haplogroups are definitively not Slavic.  However, if someone carries a R1b or I haplogroup, why should that person not be viewed as Slavic?  We are all for advocating blood relations between the Slavs but even we admit that – at some point in the past – there must have been a kernel of a community from which the Slavs arose and it is not at all clear that that kernel was constituted solely out of R1a…

And as an interesting point, note too the primary haplogroup of the speakers of the Algonquian language is R:


And we would be remiss if we did not point out that on the shore of Lake Michigan we have the richest town in all of the state of Illinois with the melodious name of Winnetka.  That name is from the Algonquian language.  It supposedly means “pretty” (see here for a discussion of its copy-town in California) which would also fit Pokorny’s view as to what “veneti” meant.


The other half is on the right

Of course, the town also sits on the water so a hydronomic (as in, “wendka”, “wendit”) etymology cannot be excluded… 🙂

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April 22, 2016

Numero Uno

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The number one in various indo-european languages.

  • *ās (Hittite)
  • *ainaz (proto-Germanic)
  • ains (Gothic)
  • oenus, unus (Latin)
  • aīns (Prussian)
  • vienas (Lithuanian)

There are also some languages where the -s drops out so that you have a variation of uno or ein (in some Latin, Germanic and Celtic languages, e.g., unan in Breton).  Those probably belong as a subgroup of the above.

It is remarkable that the first group’s “one” corresponds to the name of God, e.g., one Ass or the plural Aesir of Asgard.

Then you have the Slavic languages:

  • odin (Russian)
  • odyn (Ukrainian)
  • adzin (Belorussian)
  • jeden (Polish, Kashubian, Slovak
  • jaden (Lower Sorbian)
  • jedyn (Upper Sorbian)
  • (but ena in Slovene)

Here the remarkable thing is that this “one” corresponds to Odin of Asgard.  Now, you might say that the fact that the name for the numeral “one” corresponds to a God’s name is hardly surprising.  However, what is so strange about this is that the Slavic “one” corresponds to what is supposedly a Nordic God.  Did the Slavs not have the concept of one “one” before they ran into the Goths?  Was it ena as preserved by the Slovenes? (in which case the Slovenes would have been the only ones untouched by the Goths?) But the Slovene “one” is likely a later borrowing from Italian.

Note that -in is a typically (though not always) Slavic ending.

And note too that odyniec is the name of the lone male wild boar.  The name is Ukrainian or Russian and a borrowing in other Slavic languages – supposedly.  No proof of this has been given.

Odin is associated with many animals (especially ravens) but generally the boar is more of the animal of Freyr (Gullinborsti) or Freya (Hildisvini)…

(though Varaha the boar is an avatar of Vishnu (albeit only one of ten main ones) and there is also the Govindagam vindata explanation).


The loner “odyniec” only rarely came back to the herd – but when he did, everyone had a good time

Boar Worship in Eastern Europe

What is striking is that we know about boar-worship from Tacitus (Germania, 45) that:

“Turning, therefore, to the right hand shore of the Suevian sea, we find it washing the country of the Aestii, who have the same customs and fashions as the Suevi, but a language more like the British. They worship the Mother of the Gods, and wear, as an emblem of this cult, the device of a wild boar, which stands them in stead of armor or human protection and gives the worshiper a sense of security even among his enemies.”

And much later from Thietmar:

“From the olden days, the stories of which were often falsified with all kinds of erroneous tales, we have the testimony that whenever harsh griefs of a civil war rear their heads, so comes out of the above-mentioned lake a mighty boar with foam glistening on white tusks and in front of all eyes he rolls in the puddle among terrible tremors.”

The cantankerous Brueckner thought that Svarozic was fire, i.e., the “little” Svarog (with the “big” Svarog being the heavenly fire of the Sun).  If one were to apply this logic to Odin you would get the following:

  • Svarog (Sun?) > Svarozic (fire?)
  • Odin > Odyniec

P.S. Then we have the following from Caesar

(Gallic War, Book 6, chapter 21):

“The Germans differ much from these usages, for they have neither Druids to preside over sacred offices, nor do they pay great regard to sacrifices. They rank in the number of the gods those alone whom they behold, and by whose instrumentality they are obviously benefited, namely, the sun, fire, and the moon; they have not heard of the other deities even by report.”

So who were these Germans?

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April 22, 2016

Der Natur auf der Spur

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In the Alps there is a little skiing village of Lech.  Next to it is a village of Zug (not the only one in the Alps).  So we have Lech & Zug.  Now, the former is named after the river that runs through both towns – the river Lech.

won't even cause a mild Kopfschmerz for your typical historian - academic thought moves ohne Eile

won’t even cause a mild Kopfschmerz for your typical historian – academic thought moves ohne Eile

Now, the River Lech is very likely the same river after which the Vindelici were named.  But if that is true, i.e., that the “-lici” refers to the River Lech then the first part of their name becomes even more curious because it suggests that these are simply Vindi-lici, i.e.,  Wends who live by the river Lech (as opposed to some mythical “Vindelician” tribe).


That these were the same as Ligurians of Illyria we have already mentioned.  That Nestor in the PVL affirmatively calls Slavs Noricans (suggesting that they came to Pannonia from Noricum)* we have also mentioned.  That we have a Lech and a Zug right next to each other we mention now.

* But Noricum is not Vindelicia! Correct, except that Noricum bears all the trademarks of a native name whereas the Roman province of Vindelicia was named in the Roman fashion after the inhabitants.  If the inhabitants did not call themselves Vindi at the time, a reasonable supposition would be that the name came to the Romans via a Germanic intermediary – perhaps the “Galls” who forced their way into Northwestern Italy BC.

What else?

Female Adjectives

How about some river names nearby.  For example we have the Wertach which also has given its name to the town nearby.  But that is the old Wertaha.  What could that mean?  After all, -aha is old Germanic for water, like agua.  So the name must be Germanic or at least a “Germanization”.  But is it?

Notice that virtually all Slavic river names end in an -a.  That is because reka/rzeka is a feminine noun in Slavic languages.  Consequently, so are the names of the rivers.  But there is something else.

Virtually, all of these Slavic names can be explained by viewing them as descriptive – or in plain English, as adjectives.  Thus -awa would not be some “water” name but merely an -a suffix to a female adjective of reka/rzeka.  Some town names also have this -awa ending in Slavic countries – even towns that have absolutely nothing to do with water.  Others that have a neutral gender have an -owo ending.  Masculine gendered towns have just an -ow.

By this reasoning the “-awa” names have nothing to do with water.  Rather all the rivers have “-awa” because the underlying language’s gender assigned to the word river was female, e.g., rzeka/reka.


Not every “-ach” is a Bach

Notice that virtually all Slavic river names end in -a (but not all if Lech were to be a Slavic name!).  Virtually all German river names do not (der or ein Fluss is a masculine noun).  Also notice that many German names (though not all) did previously have an -a ending.

Which brings us to the river Wertach which flows close to the Lech.  Its prior name was Wertaha.  Note too that although “-awa” could be a Slavic ending so could “-aha” (as in gospocha, wataha, etc).  And we mean today – not in some reconstructed past.

But what can it mean then?

Wartka (which also applies to the river Warta/Warthe) simply means “fast flowing.”  But  wierci[e]c also means “to drill” (thus, wiertarka, i.e., a drill – BTW note too the ending –arka – we will have something to say about that when we come to lavercas and the like).  Either of those could apply to a fast flowing river (as in Wiertawa).


Incidentally, the Gothic wairthan is related to the German werden = to become.  It may be that these words are in fact related to the Slavic wiercic.  However, what better expresses a river name:

  • the “becoming”  river
  • the “drilling” (or “fast flowing”) river;

But, hey, the books say that Vindelicians were “Celts”, right?


The endprodukt of Keltologie

Now, the really cool thing is that Lech may mean the “white” river which brings up some really cool questions about the name of Lechites and other tribes such as the Leucosyrians (or “White” Syrians) who lived in Anatolia.

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April 21, 2016

Emperor Julian & the Adriatic Veneti

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The Emperor Julian (Flavius Claudius Iulianus) (circa lived 331-332 to 363) was born in Constantinople as a Chrisitian.  He survived the massacre of 337 where many of his older relatives were slaughtered by Emperor Constantius II (Julian’s cousin).  He was instead sent to study in Greece where he devoted himself to Greek literature and philosophy and returned to European religion (hence the Church’s name for him – the “Apostate”).  In 355 he was made governor of Gaul by his cousin, the then Emperor Constantius II (and named the honorary title “Caesar”).  In Gaul he fought the “Alemanni” defeating an army three times the size of his own at Strasbourg in 357.  He then successfully rebuilt much of Gaul.


When the Persians invaded in the East, Constantine II ordered (February 360) Julian’s armies to the front from Gaul.  This did not sit well with the soldiers who rebelled proclaiming Julian the Emperor.  Whether Constantine tried to get rid of his popular cousin on the Eastern Front is not known.  In any event, a Civil War ensued (during which Julian managed to defeat the Franks on the side) but before it could really take off Constantius II died (November 361).     Constantius II had named Julian his successor and so Julian became Emperor.  In the next few years Julian tried to restore Roman and Greek religions.  He also cut the bloated Roman bureaucracy.  Notably he attempted to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple – a project which was allegedly derailed by expense, an earthquake and ambivalence of the local Jewish community (or by divine intervention as per Christian authors of the time).  Julian died from a festering would during the campaign against the Persians.  By some account he had been stabbed by a Christian soldier (on the orders of the Greek bishop of Caesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia) although this has not been confirmed and the general belief is that he was wounded by the Persians.

Julian’s Commentaries on his western campaigns against the Alemanni and Franks did not unfortunately survive.  However, some of his “Orations,” “Letters” as well as satirical works and the portions of the work Against the Galilaeans did survive.  Among those is The Heroic Deeds Of Constantius (a panegyric to Constantius II) written in 357/358 (before their falling out).  In it, we have the following description of northern Italy:


“But he [Constantius II] did not himself march all the way there, but remained in the neighboring city [Aquileia].  This is a trading centre of the Italians on the coast, very prosperous and teeming with wealth, since the Mysians and Paeonians and all the Italian inhabitants of the interior procure their merchandise thence. These last used, I think, to be called Heneti in the past, but now that the Romans are in possession of these cities they preserve the original name, but make the trifling addition of one letter at the beginning of the word.  Its sign is a single character [i.e., the “v”] and they call it “oo,” and they often use it instead of “b,” to serve, I suppose, as a sort of breathing, and to represent some peculiarity of their pronunciation.  The nation as a whole is called by this name, but at the time of the founding of the city an eagle from Zeus flew past on the right, and so bestowed on the place the omen derived from the bird.  It is situated at the foot of the Alps, which are very high mountains with precipices in them, and they hardly allow room for those who are trying to force their way over the passes to use even a single waggon and a pair of mules.  They begin at the sea which we call Ionian, and form a barrier between what is now Italy and the Illyrians and Galatians, and extend as far as the Etruscan sea.  For when the Romans conquered the whole of this country, which includes the tribe of the Heneti and some of the Ligurians and a considerable number of Galatians besides, they did not hinder them from retaining their ancient names, but compelled them to acknowledge the dominion of the Italian republic.  And, in our day, all the territory that lies within the Alps and is bounded by the Ionian and the Etruscan seas has the honour of being called Italy.  On the other side of the Alps, on the west, dwell the Galatians, and the Rhaetians to the north where the Rhine and the Danube have their sources hard by in the neighbouring country of the barbarians.  And on the east, as I said, the Alps fortify the district where the usurper stationed his garrison.  In this way, then, Italy is contained on all sides, partly by mountains that are very hard to cross, partly by a shallow sea into which countless streams empty and form a morass like the marshlands of Egypt.  But the Emperor by his skill gained control of the whole of that boundary of the sea, and forced his way inland.”

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April 20, 2016

The Slavs of Josippon

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Top to bottom but right to left:

  • q (qoph) / r (resh) / a (aleph) / v (vav) / (vav) / t (teth) / y (yod) > qravvty
  • s (samekh) (or m?) / l (lamed) / q (qoph) / (yod) / (yod) > slqyy
  • l (lamed) / (yod) / ts (samekh) / p (pe) / (yod) / > lytspy
  • l (lamed) / (vav) / (vav) / (mem) / (yod)  > lvvmy
  • k (kaph) /  r (resh) / k (kaph) / a (aleph) / r (resh) > krkar
  • (kaph) / (zayin) /  r (resh) / (mem) / (yod) / (nun) > kzrmyn
  • (beth) (or k?) / (zayin) / (mem) / (yod) / (nun) > bzmyn
  • s (samekh) / k [or q] (qoph) / l (lamed) / (beth) / (yod) > sklby


Josippon was a medieval interpretation/reworking of Flavius Josephus’ “Antiquities of the Jews”.  It has been dated first to the 9th century, then to the mid-10th and now it is thought to have been written about 980 AD (somewhere in Italy).  It is of little interest to Slavic antiquities except in its first book where, much as the other histories of the time, it provides a list of peoples (albeit primarily of Europe) with their Biblical (in a version of Genesis) pedigree.  Interestingly, it lists among other peoples, the Slavs.

The author distinguishes, what we would today call the Slavs, assigning them to their Biblical progenitors as follows:

  • Thogharma – Bulgars (and also Hungarians, Pechenegs, possibly with Turks and Khazars?);
    • Thogarma refers to Togarmah, a descendant of Japheth whose people are associated with Anatolia.
  • Thiras (Tiras, son of Japheth) – Rus, Bosni (Bosnians? Poznanians?) (along with the Angles);
    • Thiras refers to Tiras who is the last son Japheth and whose people were associated with the Thracians (as per Biblical interpretations).
  • Dodanim – These cover the countries of the Danes (Dena), towns of Mechba (of the Veleti?) and Bardena (Bardvik?);  here we have Croats, Cracovians (?), Bohemians (?) (and Danes, Letts? (or Lithuanians?), Livonians (?) and Khazars?  All these are called Slavs.
    • Dodanim (or Rodanim) is a son Javan (who was the fourth son of Japheth) whose people are associated with the island of Rhodes or, alternatively, just with Greeks.

Here is the text regarding the Dodanim:

“Dodanim, are a people called Daniski, who dwell in cities at the very end  the Peninsula of the Ocean in the country [called] Dana; [the cities] called Mechba and Bardena, in the middle of the great sea.  And they bound themselves with oaths never to serve the Romans and hid in the middle of the waves of the Ocean; but they could not deny [the yoke] that reached them and the Roman domination even to the furthest islands and could not rely on the waves [to stop the Romans]; the Croats [?] and Lachs [?], Letts [?], Livonians [?], Cracovians [?], Khazars [?] & Bohemians [?] are thought to be the children of the Dodanim too.   And these who are called Sklabi set up their towns/burgs from the ends of the Bulgar lands to the Venetian Sea [Venice on the Adriatic?]; and from there they extended up until the great sea;  some think they are Canaanites [presumably because of the Slav > slave connotation present at the time; note the same remark made by Benjamin of Tudela] but they  count themselves among the Dodanim.”

Incidentally, we weren’t able to see Moravians or Serbs in this list.

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April 18, 2016

Wistlawudus & Moravias

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Here are some topics of interest from the British Isles.  The source for these words may be Scandinavian Norse or Slavic.  If it were Slavic, it should be remembered that the there were Slavs in the various Viking raiding parties that seized vast tracts of Britain so no great surprise there.  Of course, if these names were older…

Wistla Water

This is an outtake from the 1654 map of Orkneys and Shetlands.  The area of interest is the Shetland island of Mainland (yes, they weren’t very creative back then).  Here is the first picture:


Now take a look at this one where we highlighted some interesting water names:


For another Wiesle in the Alps see here.  And what of Tresta?  Croce sound? Twar?  What is the Vo. exactly to stand for?

Moravia & Rosia

We should note, however, that interesting names abound in Britain (particularly in the North), such as that of the Lugi or the Smertes.  Or for that matter of the Iceni and its leader Boudicca.  We raised some questions before on this topic and will return to it but in the meantime.. on a more lighter note:

Enjoy the first printed – surviving – map of Scotland (so called Paulo Forlani Map) dated to 1566-1570 but based on earlier materials (of George Lily and Hector Boece); another version apparently exists in the Netherlands:


Now, Nessa (Nysa) can be explained with “wet” (German nass) albeit, if that explanation were to be accepted, a name like “wet river” does not exactly differentiate that body of water from any other… but it leads to… Loch Ness – hence Nessa?  But why is Loch Ness so ness as compared to other lochs?  What’s the differentiating factor here?  (does this explain the need for a sea-monster to put the place on the map?).

Rossia could be explained by the presence of Roslagen Vikings among the invaders…

Moravia – a Latinization of the name for the land next to Murray Firth.  But what does “murray” then really mean? It may come from Muireb (or Moreb) or, earliest form (736): Moerheb.  Note too the Norse Merrhaefi.  Or for that matter the Polish murawa or, if you want to get creative, marchew; after all carrots sit in the ground.  Is it wet ground?


What’s interesting, however, is that here we have all three such names right next to each other – a situation which would be easily explainable in Eastern Europe but is a remarkable coincidence in Britain.

And this before we even get to Britain’s Pennines range.  If you thought the the Pyrenees were fun, wait till these hillocks come under consideration.


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April 17, 2016

The Few Slavs of John of Biclar

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John of BiclaroBiclar, or Biclarum (circa 540 – after 621), also Iohannes Biclarensis, was a Visigoth chronicler born in Santarem in Portugal (Scallabis).  He was educated in Constantinople.  Upon his return to Lusitania, the locals tried to draft him for the Arian Church.  When he refused, he was banished by Leovigild, the King of the Visigoths. After Leovigild’s death in 586, John founded the Benedictine monastery of Biclar(o) where he became abbot.  Thereafter, he became a bishop of Gerona/Girona.


He took part in many church synods.  His chronicle covering the years 567 to 591 is arranged according to the reigns of Byzantine Emperors and Visigothic kings and is a continuation of the chronicle of Victor of Tunnuna   (Chronicon continuans Victorem Tunnunensem).  Various editions exist:

  • Hendrik Canisius (Ingolstadt, 1600) (pictures below are from that version);
  • Scaliger in “Thesaurus Temporum” (Leyden, 1606);
  • Migne, P.L., LXXII (1849);
  • Mommsen in “Mon. Germ. Hist.: Auct. ant.”, XI (1893), 211-220;

The table below is from Mommsen as are the dates (though, admittedly, they are not exact) – which refer to reigns of the Visigothic King Leovigild (568-586) and the Byzantine Emperors Justin II (565-574) and Tiberius II (574-582)).


Chronicle of John of Biclar

YEAR 576?


1. Badurius gener Iustini principis in Italia a Longobardis praelio vincitur, et non multo plus post inibi vitae finem accepit.

2. Romanus filius Anagasti Patricii magister militiae gentis Suanorum regem vivum cepit, quem cum suo thesauro, uxore et filiis Constantinopolim adducit et provinciam eius in Romanorum
dominium redigit.

3. Liuuigildus (Leovegildus) rex in Gallaecia Suevorum fines conturbat: et a rege Mirone per legatos rogatus pacem eis pro parvo tempore tribuit.

4. Sclavini in Thracia multas urbes Romanorum pervadunt, quas depopulatas vacuas reliquary   

[The Sclavini took many Roman cities in Thrace which they have left depopulated and empty or (if you prefer Joan Rowe Ferry’s translation) The Sclavanians spread through many Roman cities in Thrace, which they leave ravaged and deserted]


Whoever made the side notes obviously disagrees with Mommsen’s timing

5. Abares (Avares) litora maris captiose obsident et navibus litora Thraciae navigantibus satis infesti sunt.

6. Post Benedictum Romanae ecclesiae Pelagius iunior ordinatur episcopus: praeest annis XI.

YEAR 581


1. Longobardi in Italia regem sibi ex suo genere eligunt vocabulo Autharic, cuius tempore et milites Romani omnino sunt caesi et terminos Italiae Longobardi sibi occupant.

2. Sclavinorum gens Illyricum et Thracias vastat. 

[The nation of the Sclavenes laid waste to Illyria and Thrace or (as per Rowe Ferry) The people of the Sclavanians ravage Illyrica and Thrace]


3. Liuuigildus  (Leovegildus) rex partem Vasconiae occupat et civitatem, quae Victoriaco (Victroriacum) nuncupatur, condidit.

4. Tiberius imperator Mauricio Magistro militum Orientis filiam suam in coniugium tradit.

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April 16, 2016

John of Ephesus on the Slavs

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Here are some early mentions of Slavs in the work of John of Ephesus.  The events take place during the reigns of:

  • Justin II (emperor 565-574)
  • Tiberius II  (emperor 574–582)
  • Maurice (emperor 582-602)

John of Ephesus (or of Asia) (circa 507 – circa 588) was a leader of the non-Chalcedonian Syriac-speaking Church in the sixth century.  In his Ecclesiastical History (Third Part) he says (R. Payne Smith translation):


[Book III.25.] “The merciful Tiberius [Tiberius II Constantine] during the whole time he was Caesar in Justin’s [Justin II] lifetime, because of the king himself having fallen a prey to various maladies, was entirely occupied with the wars which surrounded him on all sides: for, besides the struggle with the Persians, he was constantly threatened in every direction by those other barbarian tribes which had risen up against the powerful empire of the Romans: and after the death of Justin, they pressed upon him with still greater violence, especially the accursed tribes of the Slavonians, and those who, from their long hair, are called Avars. For after he became sole ruler, they gave him neither rest nor breathing-time, but constantly wars and rumours of war multiplied around him: so that many, both of the chiefs and the commonalty, used to express their sorrow for him, and say, ‘Verily the kingdom has fallen to his lot in a time of trial and in evil days; for day and night he is anxious, and full of care how best he can gather troops from every quarter, and send them to maintain these incessant wars.'”

[Book V.19.] “One relative, however, needs more particular mention, namely, Domitian, metropolitan of Melitene. Already Maurice, when sent by Tiberius to the East with the title of count, had shewn his devotion to the interests of his family by making him bishop of Melitene in Cappadocia: and when, after spending a period of two years more or less in the East, he had returned to the capital, and been made king, immediately Domitian hastened to him, and became his counsellor and most intimate adviser, and the person who thought for him, and encouraged him in all the severe and painful difficulties with which he had to contend in the wars which pressed upon him on all sides, with the heathen and Magian people of the Persians, and the barbarous and savage tribes who came from the ends of the world, and are called Avars, and also with the Slavonians.  And in all these difficulties the bishop of Melitene was the king’s comforter and counsellor, although he was still but a young man.  He was however thoroughly imbued with the opinions of the council of Chalcedon and of Leo. The great and important matters then, which pressed upon the empire on all sides, he laid before the king, together with his advice; and he let him settle them as he chose, and so he continues to do to this day.”


[Book VI. 25.] “That same year, being the third after the death of king Justin [A.D. 581], was famous also for the invasion of an accursed people, called Slavonians, who overran the whole of Greece, and the country of the Thessalonians, and all Thrace, and captured the cities, and took numerous forts, and devastated and burnt, and reduced the people to slavery, and made themselves masters of the whole country, and settled in it by main force, and dwelt in it as though it had been their own without fear. And four years have now elapsed, and still, because the king is engaged in the war with the Persians, and has sent all his forces to the East, they live at their ease in the land, and dwell in it, and spread themselves far and wide as far as God permits them, and ravage and burn and take captive.  And to such an extent do they carry their ravages, that they have even ridden up to the outer wall of the city, and driven away all the king’s herds of horses, many thousands in number, and whatever else they could find.  And even to this day, being the year 895 [A. D. 584], they still encamp and dwell there, and live in peace in the Roman territories, free from anxiety and fear, and lead captive and slay and burn: and they have grown rich in gold and silver, and herds of horses, and arms, and have learnt to fight better than the Romans, though at first they were but rude savages, who did not venture to shew themselves outside the woods and the coverts of the trees; and as for arms, they did not even know what they were, with the exception of two or three javelins or darts.”


Conclusion by Payne Smith (after Book VI, Chapter 36 which is the last preserved one):

“Of the remaining thirteen chapters of the book but a fragment exists, and it contains little more than is told us in the headings, all of which are still extant.  From them we learn that an embassy was sent to Maurice, now emperor of the Romans, to sue for peace; and that he in return sent an ambassador to the Persian court, which was followed by a second embassy to Constantinople. The fortieth chapter contained a statement of the mutual losses sustained by the two states of Rome and Persia during the ruinous wars occasioned by the weak policy of Justin: and this was succeeded by an account of the rise and subsequent decline of the kingdom of the Roman Arabs, occasioned possibly to some extent by the defection of several of their leading princes to the Persians.  Next, there was the capture of some famous Marzbans, who were sent as prisoners of war to the capital. The forty-fourth chapter detailed the history of another war, waged probably with the Persians in the third year (of Maurice), and of the victory which God gave the Romans. The next three treated of the ‘base, barbarian, long-haired people,’ called Avars, who invaded Thrace, captured many cities, and numerous forts, and carried terror and alarm to the very walls of Constantinople, at a time, when, says our historian, we ourselves were there. The forty-eighth chapter gave an account of the manner in which the land was taken possession of, and wasted by the Slavonians: and the forty-ninth, and last, recorded the destruction of the city of Anchialus, and described the warm baths there.”

“It seems plain that these chapters were penned one by one as the events themselves occurred, and probably they were brought to an abrupt conclusion by the death of the good old man who wrote them.”

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April 15, 2016

Jassa of the Veneti

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A claim has been made that the Veneti worshipped – as their Sun God – Jason or maybe Jasion/Iasion.  This claim, if true, would, combined with the reports of the Polish God Jassa and the Czech God Chasson (identified, at least in Jan Rosa’s Grammatica Linguae Bohemicae, as a sun God, that is Sol or Phoebus or Astron), suggest that at least these two nations were in fact connected with the Veneti or perhaps descend from the Veneti.


What’s more, because the claim was made regarding the Adriatic Veneti, this would not only further strengthen the Slavic-Venetic connection but, in fact, expand it all the way to Venice – no doubt helping “Venetologists” such as Matej Bor.

But, as regards the Adriatic Veneti at least, is the claim true?

What Says Strabo?

Strabo does say (Book V, I):

“And in the very recess of the Adriatic there is also a temple of Diomedes that is worth recording, “the Timavum“; for it has a harbour, and a magnificent precinct, and seven fountains of potable waters which immediately empty into the sea in one broad, deep river.  According to Polybius, all the fountains except one are of salt water, and what is more, the natives call the place the source and mother of the sea.  But Poseidonius says that a river, the Timavus, runs out of the mountains, falls down into a chasm, and then, after running underground about a hundred and thirty stadia, makes its exit near the sea.”


Timavus – the underground portion stretches quiteaways before getting to the waters of the Adriatic

“As for the dominion of Diomedes in the neighbourhood of this sea, not only the “Islands of Diomedes” bear witness thereto, but also the historical accounts of the Daunii and Argos Hippium, which I shall relate insofar as they may be historically useful; but I must disregard most of the mythical or false stories, as, for example, the stories of Phaethon, and of the Heliades that were changed into poplar-trees near the Eridanus (the Eridanus that exists nowhere on earth, although it is spoken of as near the Padus), and of the Electrides Islands that lie off the Padus, and of the guinea-fowls on them; for not one of these things is in that region, either.  It is an historical fact, however, that among the Heneti certain honours have been decreed to Diomedes; and, indeed, a white horse is still sacrificed to him, and two precincts are still to be seen — one of them sacred to the Argive Hera and the other to the Aetolian Artemis.”

And later (Book VI, III):

“Now, however, Argyrippa is smaller; it was called Argos Hippium at first, then Argyrippa, and then by the present name Arpi.  Both are said to have been founded by Diomedes.  And as signs of the dominion of Diomedes in these regions are to be seen the Plain of Diomedes and many other things, among which are the old votive offerings in the temple of Athene at Luceria — a place which likewise was in ancient times a city of the Daunii, but is now reduced — and, in the sea near by, two islands that are called the Islands of Diomedes, of which one is inhabited, while the other, it is said, is desert; on the latter, according to certain narrators of myths, Diomedes was caused to disappear, and his companions were changed to birds, and to this day, in fact, remain tame and live a sort of human life, not only in their orderly ways but also in their tameness towards honorable men and in their flight from wicked and knavish men.  But I have already mentioned the stories constantly told among the Heneti about this hero and the rites which are observed in his honour.  It is thought that Sipus also was founded by Diomedes, which is about one hundred and forty stadia distant from Salapia … In Daunia, on a hill by the name of Drium, are to be seen two hero-temples: one, to Calchas, on the very summit, where those who consult the oracle sacrifice to his shade a black ram and sleep in the hide, and the other, to Podaleirius, down near the base of the hill, this temple being about one hundred stadia distant from the sea; and from it flows a stream which is a cure-all for diseases of animals.  In front of this gulf is a promontory, Garganum, which extends towards the east for a distance of three hundred stadia into the high sea; doubling the headland, one comes to a small town, Urium, and off the headland are to be seen the Islands of Diomedes.  This whole country produces everything in great quantity, and is excellent for horses and sheep; but though the wool is softer than the Tarantine, it is not so glossy.  And the country is well sheltered, because the plains lie in hollows.  According to some, Diomedes even tried to cut a canal as far as the sea, but left behind both this and the rest of his undertakings only half-finished, because he was summoned home and there ended his life.  This is one account of him; but there is also a second, that he stayed here till the end of his life; and a third, the aforesaid mythical account, which tells of his disappearance in the island; and as a fourth one might set down the account of the Heneti, for they too tell a mythical story of how he in some way came to his end in their country, and they call it his apotheosis.”

You can read more about the Veneti of the Adriatic here.

So we seem to have the worship of Diomedes by the Veneti…

Is Diomedes Jason?

Well, for many years Jason was equated with Diomedes…

In 1711, Abbe Antoine Banier claimed that “[Chiron] taught [Jason] the Sciences, which he himself professed, especially Medicine, and gave him for that Reason the name of Jason, instead of Diomedes, which he had before.”

This was repeated as fact by many subsequent scholars.  What is the source of this information?

Apparently, it is this:

“When Jason became a man and had learned from Chiron the healing art, he was called Jason, having first been called Dolomedes.”

This is from the 1581 edition of a Natali Conti Mythologiae.  However, the first edition of the same (in the year 1567) did not contain the last clause.

It seems that Conti added this, misreading

Winifred Warren Wilson claimed in 1910 that in the 1581 edition Conti added new material (from Apollonius of Rhodes), and misread the Greek word δολόμηδες (“crafty”) as a proper name and then attributed it to Jason – as a proper name of Jason’s.  And then Dolomedes became Diomedes.  How?  Well, apparently there was a misprint of Diomedes for Dolomedes in subsequent editions of Comes’ treatise.  More on this on a site by this guy (yes, he is Jason too) who claims that there are no ancient sources equating Jason with Diomedes.

If this is true then the story ends right there and the temple to Diomedes is not any temple to Jason.  And so the Slovenian Venetologists lose (at least one argument)…

Enter the Dragon

But… did you know that (according to the website for the Slovenian capital Ljubljana:

“Once upon a time, Greek hero Jason and his Argonaut comrades stole a golden fleece, the coat of a golden ram, from the King of Colchis on the Black Sea. On board the Argo they fled their pursuers and found themselves at the mouth of the River Danube instead of going south towards the Aegean Sea and their Greek homeland. There was no way back, so they went on, up the Danube and then along the River Ljubljanica. They had to stop at the source of the Ljubljanica and overwintered here. They then took the Argo apart and in the spring carried it on their shoulders to the Adriatic coast, where they put it back together again and went on their way. According to the legend, on their arrival between what is now Vrhnika and Ljubljana, the Argonauts came across a large lake with a marsh alongside. Here lived a terrible marsh dragon that Jason killed after a heroic struggle. The monster would have been the Ljubljana dragon. It is said that Jason should have been the first real Ljubljana citizen.


Of course, Jason actually did encounter a dragon – Ladon (Lada?) – who had just been defeated by Hercules but was still twitching (Apollonius of Rhodes’ Argonautica).  And is there any connection to Krak of Wawel?

After all we do know that the word (accusative) for “God” does appear among the Venetic inscriptions.  And does Iazze really mean “I” (ia se)?

So how old is this Slovenian legend?  Older than Conti’s misprint or not?

And here is another interesting thing: a river mentioned in ancient times (including later in the Getica ad Pontem Sontii) that bears a striking similarity to Jason’s name: its Slovene name is Soča but, at various times, it went in antiquity by AesontiusSontius, and Isontius then – as per Marko Snoj – super Sontium (in 507–11), a flumine Isontio (1028), in Lisonçum (1261), an die Ysnicz (1401), and an der Snicz (ca. 1440).

Snoj suggests that the Latin (and Romance) Sontius was probably based on the substrate (!) name *Aisontia, presumably derived from the PIE root *Hei̯s- ‘swift, rushing’, referring to a quickly moving river (or the pre-Romance (!) root *ai̯s- ‘water, river’.

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April 13, 2016