Monthly Archives: September 2016

What’s in a “mir”?

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Several Slavic monarchs had the name Kazimir or Casimir.  But what does Casimir mean?

If you make the mistake of seeking answers in Wikipedia, you will learn that the prefix Kazi– means “to ruin” or “destroy” and since the suffix –mir supposedly means “peace” we have a “ruiner of peace”.  While one can appreciate the quandary of new parents facing a crying baby, it still seems cruel for anyone to give that name to a newborn.

In other words, this smacks of BS.

We have the ending –mir in Germanic languages where we are told the suffix refers to “fame”.  And we are told that that suffix means “fame” whether it comes in the flavor of –mir or –mar or –mer.  Once again a lot of flexibility is afforded to the Germanic languages (3 vowel suffixes are all Germanic but only 1 Slavic (which may also be Germanic BTW)).



So what does the name Ariamir mean?  Well, Ario, supposedly means “eagle”.  Except, another explanation is “army” (*harjazHeer).  So which is it?

And what happened to the “h”?  We are told that the “h” got dropped by the Romans.  Ok, but Ariomir was his own king in Portugal – did his Germanic parents also drop the “h”?

In any event, what does Ariamir mean then? “eagle famous”? “warrior/army famous”?

Let’s try it from a different angle.


Could the Germanic and Slavic names have a common origin/meaning?


Ario or Aria may well refer to the Earth/Erde or orać (to plough, obviously, the Earth).  Orać comes from the “Proto-Slavic *orati (which, supposedly, comes from Proto-Indo-European *h₂erh₃-, however that may be pronounced).   The Earth may also refer to “people” (hence the mystical and (now) infamous Aryans) as in gathering the people from the given area (here is that prefix again).  The same may also refer to an army in the sense of a throng so gathered.


The Slavic mir may mean “peace”.  In Russian it means “world” also.   The peace is established by a ruler, however.  Thus, mir could mean “king”.  This would explain Ariamir as a king of the people (or of the Earth).


What does Kazimir mean then?

The prefix kaz may refer to ordering or ruling (kazat), as in na-kaz or roz-kaz, za-kaz.  Thus, you have the “ordering/ruling king/ruler/boss”.

The Proof?

As proof of this theory (or at least of the fact that the alternate theory makes no sense), we can look to the Bull of Gniezno (we had some names from it featured here).  It is a document from 1136 that lists dozens of Polish names.  The full list can be found here.  There are several mirs on the list.  Note that if mir really means “peace” or even “world” the names make little sense:

  • Tangomir – presumably Tęgomir – a name also possessed by a duke of the Stodorans in the Xth century and reminiscent of the name Tuga in the legend about the arrival of the Croats.  Tęgi to this day means “strong” – “strong ruler” is a much more probably name than “strong peace” or “strong world” – the latter does not make any sense.
  • Vsemir – this has been translated as the “whole world” as in Vesmir.  Except, who names (even a very fat) baby that way?  Vsemir, is much more likely to mean “of all ruler” or “the ruler of all”.
  • Nemir – not a king – sorry but there are other career options.  Given how often kings and dukes fell in medieval Europe, this name could well have been a blessing bestowed by the parents.

Likewise, “Vladimir” would not mean the ruler of the world (as ambitious parents might be inclined to name their baby) but rather the ruling king/boss/leader.

This approach is also consistent with viewing these as an adjective + noun pair. All of those are just descriptive of the kind of mir the child is expected to be.  And this includes Ariamir – “Earth/people ruler.”  (as to Ariovist see here).

As to those mirs that serve as a prefix, they just have to be interpreted as “kingly” and you have, for example, a “kingly Suav” (Mirosuav or Miroslav).  Whether Miranta has something to do with Miranda and miraculous we will leave for another time.

We also note that a version of mir appears in Suevic, Gothic, Slavic and even Eastern names (as seen for, example, in the alleged (because the only evidence for their existence are coins) rulers of Balachistan (Yolamira, Bagamira, Hvaramira but also Mirahvara and Miratakhma) who were named the Pāratarājas).

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September 27, 2016

The Strange Story of Alexander Brückner

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Alexander Brückner (1856-1939) was born to a family of a minor Austrian official in Brzeżany in the Austro-Hungarian partition of the then-former Polish state.  He studied in Lviv and then, in 1881, moved to Berlin where he spent the rest of his life researching Slavic topics.  He is most famous for rediscovering the Holy Cross Sermons (Kazania świętokrzyskie) in the Petersburg Library (probably taken during the partitions of Poland – if not earlier).

Brückner worked hard and generated numerous works which to this day serve as excellent compilations of ancient sources.  He had an encyclopedic knowledge of facts and contributed copiously to publications such Archiv für slavische Philologie.  He wrote an etymological dictionary of the Polish language.

That’s on the plus side.

Under a looking glass, however, a less flattering portrait emerges of a nimble careerist and a loyal citizen of the Prussian state; a man whose reputation is besmirched with chauvinistic, borderline racist, tendencies; an arrogant man whose vast erudition was too often mistaken for intelligence and whose debating style consisted of a spectrum running from disdainful scoffing, through harsh sneers towards outright derision.

A man trapped by his arrogance but, perhaps, too by other circumstances.

We have discussed some of his failings here and here but, given his role, more needs to be said.

A Political Creature

To an outside observer it might have seemed that Brückner spent his entire life avoiding any involvement with political causes.  Some people thought that this aloofness can be excused by Brückner’s desire to remain above the fray for the sake of appearing unbiased in his research – the quest for the the truth and all that.

The reality was that Brückner was very much aware of the limits of free speech in Berlin and understood that the relationship of the German governments to the Slavic peoples within their borders in the 19th century was a very real political issue.  Before he was appointed to his position at Berlin University he had to give a loyalty oath explicitly promising that he would not agitate for the Polish independence cause and, for the most part, he stayed true to that promise.

Thus, in his writings he complained about the state of Polish democracy before the Polish partitions.  He thought the “republic of nobles” ridiculous and responsible for its own downfall.  While that view was hardly original with much truth to it, Brückner seemed blind to the fact that the ridiculousness of that republic’s political system had been continuously enhanced and largely maintained by Poland’s neighbors.  Instead, in Brückner’s writings, Poland deserved its fate.  Although Brückner bemoaned the barbarism of Russia, it wasn’t so much the barbarism of the act of partitions but rather the barbarism that followed.  In other words, Poland deserved its fate but it did not deserve to be under Russian domination.  Poland had to be fixed but the Russians weren’t the ones who could do it right.  This view produced one giant blind spot as Brückner was, in effect, excusing any Prussian (i.e., German) (or Austrian) culpability for the Polish collapse and endorsing continued German occupation.  German barbarism was better, in his mind, or was not barbarism at all.  Yet, while Russia certainly grabbed most of the land area of the old Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, most of the historic lands of the Polish Piast kingdom ended up going to Prussia and Austria – not to the Russian Empire.

When it suited him, Brückner was not above getting dirty and raising his voice in support of Slavic causes.  It just so happened that this “suited him” at those times when it also “suited” the German imperial government.

Thus, when World War I started, he was asked by Wilhelm Feldman (who was born into a Chassidic Jewish family and seemed to exhibit more concern for Poland than Brückner) to help lead an effort to convince the German government of the usefulness of creating an independent Poland, Brückner refused, claiming that, having kept his aloofness from all things political, he would not be trusted by the Polish minority in Germany.  This may well have been true but then he also claimed that the Germans were completely uninterested in anything Polish – which given the politics of the day was clearly false.  Moreover, Brückner went on to express outrage at the fact that the Warsaw Poles did not rise up against the Russians after the German defeat of the Russian armies at Tannenberg, claiming that this showed that Warsaw has been “russified” and to top it off spoke about the “ingratitude” of the inhabitants of Poznan to Germany.

When, however, later in the war the German Kaiser and the Habsburgs declared that they would reconstitute a Poland as a puppet state out of the provinces of the Russian Empire that the Germans and Austro-Hungarians took over, Brückner, as a loyal citizen of Imperial Germany, did take up the mantle of selling this to the Polish populace, though in a way that was less noteworthy for its few meagre squeaks on the topic of Polish independence than for an impeachment of Imperial Russia:*

“And once again it is shown that, stronger than race, it is culture and common development that binds peoples onto one another.  Poland is set between two worlds; with the eastern one connected through a problematic blood- and real language-unity; but through history, culture and belief completely separated from it; strongly divided from the western [world] by blood and language and yet indivisibly connected with it through a common development, traditions and faith so that it harvests today the fruit of its persistence.”

[* note: this comes from his ambitiously titled pamphlet “Slavs and the War” which, in turn, was a version of a lecture he gave under the same title, i.e., Die Slawen und der Weltkrieg]


Thus, according to Brückner, while the Poles shared blood and language with the Russians, the Poles themselves were culturally closer to the Germans.  And since, in Brückner’s mind the war was, to cut to the chase, between German civilization and Russian barbarism (the English, the French and others were almost bystanders in Brückner’s telling), the Poles – so Brückner – could be made part of that civilization as a sort of a younger brother, perhaps along with other “smaller” nations that, more or less, could coexist with the Imperial Teutons.  In some ways this was a pro-Polish (and pro-Slavic) pamphlet in that it correctly pointed out the abuses of Imperial Russia.  But in other ways it clearly showed a path for the Poles (and other “small” Slavs) only as an appendage of Germany.

It was clear that Brückner said as much as the German government would have wanted him to say and nothing more.  While he was opposed to the Kulturkampf policies of Bismarck, Brückner nevertheless continued to have a blind spot as to Germany the size of Jupiter’s GRS.  (See also Maria Rhode’s essay in Kollegen, Kommilitonen, Kämpfer: europäische Universitäten im Ersten Weltkrieg).

Anyhow, events began to move faster than anyone anticipated and once Pilsudski’s legions refused to swear allegiance to the Kaiser, and Poles started asking about former Polish provinces on German territory, Brückner was no longer seen agitating for Poland.

Unser Mann in Berlin

After the war Brückner, refused offers of employment from universities in Warsaw, Poznan and Vilnius and remained in Berlin.  One might view this as an academic choice (Germany was, even after World War I, the center of the world’s academic life).    And having been called a “Stockpole” by some of his German colleagues, Brückner also seemed like a sympathetic case of a representative of the Polish cause in Germany.   In fact, some in Poland might have thought this a better result – viewing Brückner as “our man in Berlin”.

Indeed, Brückner was seen as our man in Berlin but he was seen that way too by various German scholars.  For them he was “ours” – our Slavist – that was better than the “Slavic” Slavists.  Some of them enjoyed using “their” guy to stick it to the “irrational” Slavs.

Here is one citation where the writer claims that:

“one of our best Slavists, Prof. Brückner in Berlin, responded to a letter query presented to him with staunch firmness against the derivation of the word from the Slavic.”


Just to be clear about this “controversy”: The word was the name of the Thuringian Forest during the Middle Ages.  It was LoibaLeubaLeube.  And the question was whether it was Slavic.  A much  more balanced view appears in Reinhold Schottin‘s “Die Slawen in Thüringen” where, as we wrote previously, the author concludes:


“What a difference of opinion!  I can’t see why one wants to force this name to be a German one since, after all, it it was used in an avowedly Slavic territory, was explicitly called a Slavic word by the Braunweiler monk, and otherwise it is commonly found even today in many previously Slavic words – but not in purely German areas.”


Why was Schottin, a German, able to write the above whereas Brückner, who so often is made into an honorary Pole, was so entscheiden that the word could not be Slavic?  See below for his argument regarding the monk.

This is not to say that Brückner always took the “German side” (he did not), it is merely to note that his view of German culture and his personality made him far less “scientific” or “objective” than he wanted to portray himself as.

A Culturalist Snob

Brückner’s role in Prussian academia – whether conscious or not – was more of a “good cop” to the “bad cop” of Kulturkampf and related endeavors.

He clearly regarded Germany to be the carrier of Kultur in those days and various Germanic peoples to have been the carriers of Kultur throughout history.  The smaller nations of Europe could partake in this German enterprise but only as hangers-on.  His language would make most of today’s observers rather uncomfortable.

Thus, when discussing Ketrzynski’s work, he mockingly criticized the latter’s methods (without, which is characteristic of Brückner, actually saying specifically why) concluding that:

[with such methods] one can also try to show that Mecca and Medina were Slavic; no land in the world would be safe from this Slavic plague.

He then went on to dismiss Ketrzynski’s etymologies seemingly on the grounds that “one has to look at the totality of the circumstances,” i.e., on no specific grounds at all:

But the modern German research does not limit itself to doubtful etymologies, or the explanation of controversial places in Tacitus (for example, over the name of the Germanen) or interpolations (for example, in the famous Pythaeus fragment).  To the philological work attaches itself too, for example in the works of [Gustaf] Kossina, the archeological [work], the taking into account of the, still otherwise not understandable [with philology] or silent, discoveries of prehistory.

It is hardly believable that Brückner was unaware of Kossina’s theories of the Slavic Unkultur or his theories on the German “Aryan” race or his completely results-oriented research (interestingly, Kossina never actually did any field work).  And yet, of all the German archeologists he cited Kossina.  Why?  Only two options present themselves.  Either Brückner really thought Kossina was right or, more likely (Brückner clearly wasn’t that dumb), he wanted to use this as an opportunity to ingratiate (redeem?) himself with the German academic establishment (after all, these were the days during which the dean of German historians – Mommsen – stated that “Czech skulls were “impervious to reason, but … susceptible to blows” and called Czechs the “apostles of barbarism“).

Either reason makes Brückner look like a smaller man than he should have been.


Kabitzsch and Kossina – oh, so German-sounding

(In 1919 Kossina supposedly sent a copy of his book “The Vistula Area, an ancient homeland of the German people” to the participants of the Versailles Conference in order to emphasise that territory claimed for the new Polish state should be German.  The fact that, as his name indicates, Kossina was Polish himself (a Germanized Mazurian) – your basic self-hater type, makes him the aptest case for the use of the Polish word gnida – look it up).

But Brückner’s borderline racism (and, apparent, dullwittedness) continued unabated when he stated:

Even ‘documented’ information must not be given weight sometimes; if Qazwini places Soest and Paderborn in Slavic country, then we know, what we should think of such imprecision of the Arabs; his report is worthless.

What exactly Brückner means by the imprecision of “the Arabs”?

And his engagement with his “fellow” Poles was not the only questionable use of language in the service of politics by the apolitical Brückner.  Employing language reminiscent of later Nazis, he had no qualms about calling the Ukrainians an “ethnographic mass” which was incapable of forming its own state.  (“Der ‘Ukrainische’ Staat: Eine politische Utopie,” Das Neue Deutschland, March 13, 1915, 157-160).

He was disdainful too of the culture of the Balts and Finns.  He wrote:

It is revealed that Slavs, Lithuanians and Finns borrowed from the Goths words that were many and important, [these words] established the appearance of a new, different and higher element.

If there is a common thread here it is that of Brueckner’s dismissive view of all the “little peoples”.  All of which raises a question:  Why should someone who was so dismissive of much of the cultures he studied, keep studying these cultures?

An Overreaching Etymologist

Brückner went on to claim that kuningas and mekus were Gothic borrowings in Finnish, Estonian, Lithuanian and Polish.  That the former appears related to the Scythian kagan and the latter’s etymology has been disputed ever since the above type of claim was made (most recently, see Lewicki) should show, at the very least, that Brückner accepted the teachings of German scholarship at face value.  That, at the same time, he spent his life picking holes (most often with dismissive arguments along the lines of the above “because I said so”) in the theories of those scholars that disagreed with his positions, is telling even of a certain peculiarity of character or of something worse.

Brückner also claimed that mleko was a Gothic borrowing; if one accepts that tree name borrowings are suggestive of the answer to the question of “where the Slavs came from”, one would have to conclude, following Brückner’s “dairy” assertion, that the original Slavs were not mammals at all – perhaps lizardmen, hence Sauromatae?

A Cantankerous Old-Young Man

Brückner’s personality drove his debating style which was full of ornate word choices and hot air that, more often than not, signified little.

Thus, in the above discussion where Brückner calls Qazwini’s report “worthless” one can’t help notice a peculiar line of argumentation, one that always reaches its intellectual crescendo with the phrase “because I said so”.

Thus Brückner wrote when discussing Ketrzynski:

If a history of an abbey from the 14th century calls the Westphallian Ruhr ‘Rura australis sue slavica,’ I will not begin to guess from where this crazy [word] combination may have come from.

Read: “These facts are beneath me so I will not even address them”.

Further on he says:

Just as little am I impressed with the other cited places, for example about the Saale: ‘flume quod slavica lingua Sale dicitur’ from the Annals of Reinhardsbrunn – what should this in the best case prove?

Err…. well, that the “German” name “Saale” is itself of Slavic origin?  But hey, what does that matter? 

Coming back to the mention of Slavs in Thuringia, Brückner says:

False is the report of the Braunweiler monk who claims of the Thuringian forest: ‘in saltu Sclavorum qui iuxta linguam eorum Lovia (Levia, as per Pertz) dicitur quique infinitam ursorum nutrit multitudinem,‘” 

Read: contemporary accounts are only value when they do not clash with my views.


That Suevi were Germans and could only have been Germans, we know from Caesar and Tacitus and no false etymology will shatter our conviction, at least if we should not altogether give up our reliance on these sources.

This is of course just plain dumb…

First of all, it is clear and  does not dispute that in both Caesar’s and Tacitus’ minds the Suevi were “Germans”.  What Ketrzynski is saying however is that by Germans Caesar and Tacitus understood everyone East of the Rhine (and some West) and north of the Alps.  Neither Caesar nor Tacitus say anything about the biological or linguistic nature of these “Germans” that would make it impossible for them to have been today’s Slavs (or at least most of them).

We know today that the name “Germany” was not an ethnic but rather geographic name.  Those that we – today – call “Germans” have consistently referred to themselves as Deutsche – but never (until recently) as Germans.  If tomorrow the Belgians were to try and appropriate the name “European” for themselves, and we went along with this, we would nevertheless not then suddenly conclude that the rest of the denizens of the European continent must have wondered into it at some point recently in the process displacing the native European (i.e., Belgian) population that used to stretch from Spain to the Urals.

Of course, the situation with “Germans” may be worse than that…  If Ketrzynski is right, a better parallel may be that of the Prussians.  The Teutonic (i.e., Deutsch) Knights’ state became Prussia and its citizens became Prussians – notwithstanding the fact that the Baltic Prussians had largely been exterminated or assimilated by the very same people who then picked up their name.  In the 19th century Prussians were Germans but clearly that was not the case before the 14th.  If Brueckner in the 19th century were to find someone in Prussia who spoke Baltic Prussian, presumably he would have concluded that, at some point, a strange new people must have entered Prussia (probably not from the Pripet marshes because that’s reserved for the Slavs but maybe from beyond the Urals) settling among the German Urbevoelkerung… Indeed, Ketrzynski concluded his work by noting with genuine surprise it seems, that there must have been a time “when there were no Germans [meaning Nordics/Deutsche] in Germany”.

Second, as we pointed out before, no one is claiming that you have to throw out Tacitus and Caesar as sources.  This is another one of Brueckner’s red herring arguments.  If tomorrow we were to conclude that the Mona Lisa is not in fact Leonardo’s depiction of Lisa del Giocondo but of some other woman (or of Leonardo!), that obviously does not mean that the painting is now somehow to be thrown into the garbage chute!

Finally, Brueckner’s appeal to his “conviction” appears to be evidence of his belief in what the truth is rather than a measured, rational judgment.  The questioning of that belief seems like an affront to him and so he won’t believe some Ketrzynski.

This is a reaction not of a scientist or scholar but of someone who is a member of a cult who fits all facts that he hears into his preconceived cultish matrix of truth for the alternative would, literally, blow his mind… We all do that to some extent – use new facts merely to confirm our preconceived notions but we expect rather more from people who try to present themselves as our scholars.

All this brings to mind the words of Theodor Pösche:

I have brought up the words of Tacitus.  But I am being reproached that words and names mean nothing.“,

Indeed.  If the facts don’t fit the theory, ignore the facts.

In all of the above statements Brückner does not even try to address the arguments – he just says:

  • “I will not begin to guess from where this crazy [word] combination may have come from”
  • “Just as little am I impressed with the other cited places”
  • “What should this in the best case prove?”
  • “False is the report of the Braunweiler monk who claims”

Brückner seemed to have believed that the point of someone else’s scholarly work was supposed to have been not so much to contribute to scholarly discourse and establish a case as to impress him – Brückner – the final arbiter of all things.

If he did not approve of something, all he had to say was:


A Noble Soul or a Man in Fear?

There is another curious aspect of Brückner’s life.  For the longest time he refused to marry.  Then, suddenly, he married his housekeeper.


We are told that he thought he got her pregnant.

Ok, so a noble (or just plain decent) gesture?


(We might quibble that a person in a position of authority should avoid abusing that authority by entering into a relationship with a subordinate but that would be applying today’s standards to the behaviours of yesteryear).

She – described as a simple woman (and hardly a model) – seems to have been an unlikely intellectual or physical companion of a man of Brückner’s stature (in the last days of his life, she apparently had a lot of her family spend time at hers and Brückner’s house – a number of which visitors turned out to be Nazis or Nazi supporters – whom Brückner, by all accounts, could not stand).

But there is something else.

Read the above one more time.

Wait, how is that again?

He thought he got her pregnant?

Would he have married her just based on what he thought?  Wouldn’t he have waited to see if she was actually pregnant?  (And assuming, for some strange reason, he would not have, wouldn’t he try to divorce her after he found out about the false alarm?)

What if there was another reason to marry her?

This is speculation, of course, but an unmarried man back in the Germany of early 20th century might have raised questions.  Questions, the answers to which, we today shrug our shoulders over but which answers – back then – might have resulted in loss of academic position and, certainly, loss of status.  Would such a risk have been acceptable for someone as career focused and driven as Brückner was?  Was he a homosexual and his wife then just his beard?


Did she blackmail him into a marriage to get a stable life out of this deal?  Would the Preußische Geheimpolizei have been aware of any of this?

What would they have done with such information regarding the West’s most prominent Slavist?

Brueckner r with Stanisław Kot l (Kot was married with two daughters so this is probably nothing)

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September 26, 2016

Zijn of niet Zijn

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If anyone thinks that the above title is from some unknown South Slavic language, they are, of course, mistaken.  What he have here with “zijn of niet zijn” are the words of Hamlet, i.e., “to be or not to be.”  Or “být či nebýt” or”biti ali ne biti”.  The “zijn” obviously is the same as the German “sein”, i.e., “to be” with German phrase rendered “sein oder nichtsein.”

And yet, put this way (the Dutch way) it bears a curious resemblance to the Slavic “žít“, i.e., “to live”.  About the Dutch connections we wrote here:

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September 26, 2016

Hiding In Plain Sight?

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We have spoken here of the many appearances of the Yassa, Jesza, Jaster, Eostre, Jasion (the demi-God but also name Slavic for “autumn”), Jason or Yasser thoughout history.  In Slavic languages the word may be cognate with the words for “being,” e.g., jest as in “[he/she/it] is” (English is, German ist, etc) or for brightness, e.g., jasny (but also jastny) or jawa (consciousness, being).

In light of this (so to speak), it is curious that “I Am that I Am” has been translated as such.  Put differently, ehyeh ašer ehyeh could be translated as ehyeh Ašer ehyeh.  In this way, the conjunction “that” that renders the above almost cabalistic and “mystical” gives way to a real name.  That Ašer is a name (“happy one”) and otherwise appears in the Bible (Tribe of Ašer) would support this interpretation.  Aser is typically placed on the Phoenician (?Venetian?) coast near the city of Tyre.  Further, there have been suggestions that the name of this tribe may be of Assyrian or other origin (Astarte or the Egyptian Isis, etc).

Of course, all of this is pure speculation.

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September 26, 2016

Other Wandas Here, There and Everywhere

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We’ve pointed out some time back that the name “Wanda” comes up in context other than the Wanda legend.

Gesta Abbatum Fontanellensium Again

Thus, in the Gesta Abbatum Fontanellensium we have – in addition to Saint Wandregisel or Wandrille of Fontenelle, the abbey’s founder (circa 570 – 668) – the later abbot and Saint, Wando (abbot 742 – 756) who, strangely, ended up exiled to Utrecht (On Slavic (?) Utrecht see here and here).   traiecto

We mentioned this Saint before but he gets his own chapter in the above Gesta (which also mentions a rivulet and town called Vinlena or Wintlana and other interesting rivers such as Vimina and Visrona):


Tawagalawa Letter

But there are other places where the name comes up.  For example, on the other side of the continent (well, technically, in Asia), there appears the name Millawanda (Milawata; Miletus?) and Waliwanda of the “Tawagalawa Letter” (of the Ahhiyawa Texts) written by a Hittite king (Hattusili III?) to a king of Ahhiyawa (Beckham, Bryce, Cline translation):


“But when I arrived in the town of Waliwanda, I sent to him…” (section 2)

“…And [I wrote to Piyamaradu?] in Millawanda: ‘Come here to me’…” (section 4)

“…Then I went to Millwanada… When Tawagalawa himself, [as the representative of?] the Greak King, crossed over to Millawanda…”  (section 5)

“… If you/he were [to…] Millawanda, then my servants would flee en masse to that […] one.  And, my brother, I have… over against the land of Millawanda.”

These are in addition to other interesting place names such as  Wilusa or Mount Hariyati that make their appearance in the Ahhiyawa Texts.

Of course, even further East we have Lake Van and even further East there lies Mount Damāvand (Demawend) the tallest mountain in today’s Iran that previously was associated with… Jason (Jasonius Mons).  About India, we wrote already, for example, here.

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September 19, 2016

…sic Suevorum ingenui a Servis separantur

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We’ve already discussed Tacitus’ Germania in numerous places including here.  But let’s revisit one point.  Take this phrase:

“sic Suevi a ceteris Germanis, sic Suevorum ingenui a servis separantur.”

That is the way this is usually quoted.  Except that the “servis” above is actually capitalized in some editions:

“sic Suevi a ceteris Germanis, sic Suevorum ingenui a Servis separantur.”

Why would Tacitus capitalize the noun “slaves”?

And how does that fit with Vibius Sequester’s:

“Albis Germaniae Suevos a Cerveciis dividiit: mergitur in Oceanum”?

More on that here and here.

There is something else.

It is more than strange that the Slavs had always been confused with Serbs (indeed Safarik and some others have previously stated that they thought “Serbs” may have been the original name) and here we have these Suevi and Servis.  And both of these in roughly the same geographic area.

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September 18, 2016


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One of the more interesting Carolingian documents regarding Slavic presence in what is today Germany and Austria is a notice from the early 9th century setting a borderline between the parish lands of Puchenau (aka Buchenau near Linz, in today’s Austria, first mentioned in 807) by the mountain of Chestinperc/Caestinincperc (Pöstlingberg?) and the neighboring Slavic landholdings.


The bishop of Freising and Wilhelm, the count of Traungau (Travensko) on the river Traun decided to settle the matter and in order to achieve this, they brought the local elders from the Bavarian and Slavic side.  Thirty-two Bavarian witnesses and twenty-one Slavic ones testified to where the old boundary ran between the church lands of Puchenau and the lands of clan Techolin (the Slavic count above apparently not including Techolin himself and maybe not his sons either).  Based on the common understanding among them, the bishop and the count laid out and confirmed the boundary line.


At Chestinperc, August 21, 827

Notice of the agreement respecting Puchenau that the Bishop Hitto and Count Wilhelm made with the Slavs

“The venerable men Bishop Hitto and Count Wilhelm came to that place that is called Pohinawa and in that field that is so-called Caestinincperc* [Pöstlingberg?] and how many other nobles came correctly defining and deciding the boundaries between the House of God [i.e., the church parish] at Pohinava and the Slavs remaining there almost until no arguments were left.  But then count Wilhelm accompanied by Gerold commanded the Bavarian and Slav elders [to tell them] where the correct boundary was.  And so he brought agreement amongst the both of these groups: that the boundary ought to run to the House of God [i.e., the church] from that stream that is called Deozinbach [Sagbach?] where that [stream] empties into the Danube and then traveling to the old rocks and to Chestinperc; then on the east side until the border’s end as it runs to Linz and in the middle of which there are three green faunas;** and from the marks etched in them to the other boundaries.  This convention and agreement was made between the venerable Bishop Hitto and Techolin and his sons.  In the presence of count Wilhelm and others.  Altmar. Otperht.  Uolchuni.  Azzo.  Otuni.  Cozperht.  Adaluuart.  Booso.  Cozhelm.  Solih.  Emheri.  Pilicrim.  Uuillipato.  Oadalrih.  Uro.  Aliuuich.  Cozolt.  Alprih.  Cotafrid.  Irminfrid.  Emicho.  Tutti.  Fritilo.  Oaio.  Sigiuole.  Karaheri.  Adalker.  Salakrim.  Toto.  Hrodperht.  Drudolt.  Aaron. isti Sclauanii ibi presentes erant.  Egilolf.  Uualdrat.  Liupisco.  Zanto.  Traninh.  Tal.  Zemilo.  Liupnic.  Trepigo.  Liupin.  Uuelan.  Uuittan.  Uuento.  Tagazino.  Tesco.  Ocatino.  Zebon.  Zenasit.  Zinacho.  Dabramis.  Medilim.  This was done at Chestinperc on the 12th of [September] [Julian calendar].  In the 14th year of  emperor Louis the Pious, the 5th indiction.”

Caestinincperc may (like Puochinawa) be of Slavic origin referring to the tree Aesculus.  Both the Slavic kasztanowiec and the German Kastanienbaum/Kastanie come froom (or are cognate with?) the Latin castanea but the -ninc suffix suggests a Slavic origin.  The -perc probably is a German add-on suffix referring to a mountain (Berg).   

** Faunas has been seen as referring to the Fagus trees, i.e., the beeches or Buchen that seem to have given the name to the municipality of Puchenau (earlier Buchenau).  willi1

ad Chestinperc, August 21, 827

Notitia de illo placito ad Puochinauua quod Hitto episcopus et Uuillihelm habuerunt cum Sclauis.

“Conuenientibus uenerabilibus uiris Hitto episcopus et Uuillihelm comis ad illo loco quae dicitur Pohinauua et in illum campum qui sic dictum est caestinincperc et alii quam plurimi nobiles recte difiniendum et dirimendum terminum illum inter ipsa casa dei ad Pochinauua inter Sclauanis ibidem prope comanentibus ut nulla contentio inde eleuaretur.  tunc uero Uuillihelm comis secundum Keroldi iussionem quesiuit inter uetustissimis uiris Baiouuariis et Sclauaniis ubi rectissimum terminum inuenire potuissent.  et ita se concordantes inter ambobus.  ut ipsa marca ad casa dei pertinere deberet de illo riuolo qui dicitur Deozinbach ubi ipse fluxit in Danubium et deinde circumiens ad ueteranis petris usque ad Chestinperc.  deinde ad orientalem partem ad illo termino, quae marchit ad Linza et in medietatem fauas iii uirentes.  et illae signas in eis habent usque ad aliis terminis.  ista conuenientia et conplacitatio factum fuit inter ipso uenerabili episcopo Hittone et Techolino et filiis eius.  Uuillihelmo comite presente et aliis.  Altmar. Otperht.  Uolchuni.  Azzo.  Otuni.  Cozperht.  Adaluuart.  Booso.  Cozhelm.  Solih.  Emheri.  Pilicrim.  Uuillipato.  Oadalrih.  Uro.  Aliuuich.  Cozolt.  Alprih.  Cotafrid.  Irminfrid.  Emicho.  Tutti.  Fritilo.  Oaio.  Sigiuole.  Karaheri.  Adalker.  Salakrim.  Toto.  Hrodperht.  Drudolt.  Aaron. isti Sclauanii ibi presentes erant.  Egilolf.  Uualdrat.  Liupisco.  Zanto.  Traninh.  Tal.  Zemilo.  Liupnic.  Trepigo.  Liupin.  Uuelan.  Uuittan.  Uuento.  Tagazino.  Tesco.  Ocatino.  Zebon.  Zenasit.  Zinacho.  Dabramis.  Medilim.  Aetum est ad Chestinperc in xii. kalend.  Septembris.  anno Hludouuici imperatoris sui.  xiiii.  indictione v.”  


What’s fascinating about these names is the fact that most would not be identified as Slavic were they to appear out of context.  With the exception of Dabramis and Liupnic the other names are either ambiguous (Zemilo, Zenasit, Zinacho, Liupin, Uuelan and Uuittan) or maybe Germanic (Egilolf certainly, Uualdrat).  

On the other hand, a number of the other names may or may not be Germanic.  Note that the non-Slavs are not specifically identified as Bavarians nor as something else.  Thus, we have Uolchuni, Solih, Pilicrim, Salakrim (!?) not to mention Aaron.


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September 13, 2016

Theodore Syncellus on the Avar Siege of Constantinople

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This is a homily by Theodore Syncellus (written between 626 and 641) regarding the Avar siege of Constantinople. On the same topic we have already presented the Slavic fragments of the Paschal Chronicle here.  Notably, that same Paschal Chronicle mentions that the author of the homily below, Theodore Syncellus, was one of the Constantinopolean envoys sent to the Avar khagan on August 2, 626 (“Theodore syncellus most dear to God”).  The syncellus refers to his position under Patriarch Sergius.  He was the first author to mention the Slavs’ (?) cremation rites: “Because on each point of the wall a so great number of corpses lay, and the enemy fell unceasingly that the barbarians were no longer in a position to take away and to burn their dead.”

The English translation of this homily is by the excellent (i.e., by Roger Pearse in 2007)).  Although the Slavic fragments are only few, for context we include the entire Pearse translation.  A French translation of the same appeared by Makk Ference back in 1975 –  Traduction et commentaire de l’homélie écrite probablement par Théodore le Syncelle sur le siège de Constantinople en 626).   That text itself was based on the text by Leo Sternbach in Analecta Avarica, Cracow (1900).  Pearse translated from the French.  

We include Pearse’s introduction:

“The following sermon on the deliverance of Constantinople from the siege by the Avars, Slavs and Persians in 626 in the reign of the emperor Heraclius is generally attributed in modern times to Theodore the Syncellus.  The events of the siege are also discussed in the Chronicon Paschale and George of Pisidia.  It was first published by the Italian Cardinal, Angelo Mai in 1853 in  Nova Patrum Bibliotheca vol. 6.2 pp. 423-437 with a Latin translation.  However Mai only had access to a truncated form of the text containedin Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1572, on folios 41v-74v. This Vatican library manuscript was dated to the 10th century by Mai, and by 11-13th by various other scholars in the catalogue of theVatican library Greek mss. published in 1899 by the Bollandists.  [Leo] Sternbach discovered the complete text in the only other manuscript known, Codex Parisinus Suppl. Graecus 241, a parchment folio-size codex of the 10th century in the Bibliotheque Nationale Français, on folios 32v-53r…” 

(Note that the pictures are from the Mai edition)


Homily on the siege of Constantinople in 626 AD

“On the foolish attack of the Avars and godless Persians against this city, protected by God, and of their shameful retreat which the divine love brought about for mankind by the intervention of the Mother of God.”

Prophesying long ago, by the prophetic inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the benevolence of God the Father, with regard to the incarnation and the birth of the divine Word by the Mother of God, the eminent prophet Isaiah proclaimed and says: “Go up a high mountain, to announce good news in Sion: raise up your voice loudly, to announce  good news in Jerusalem: ‘Lift up your voice without fear!’ Say to the cities of Judah: ‘Here is our God! Here is the Lord God who comes with power, extending his sovereign arms.'” The prophet says this by divine inspiration; and by the mountains overhanging the naked and the ground, according to my opinion, he referred, tropologically to the high and elevated thought which does not wish anything to see things stuck to the world, except that which is absolutely necessary. Such was his thought and his word, and such of all those who, being prophets and apostles, like Isaiah merited the grace of the Holy Spirit.  Since there are, here and now, such things to tell which, so to speak, by a miracle, resulted from the kindness of God towards us, amidst great suffering, exceeding even the celestial spheres, which none could show to the world and show clearly to men, except someone who had the prophetic heart, and who was worthy of the light of the Holy Spirit.”

Come then, holy Isaiah, because indeed your powerful spirit envisaged and predicted great things, inspire me, by the pen of your prophetic grace, the things which I have to tell; approach me, you who predicted the glory of the only son of God and the mystery of the Virgin, after having seen the throne of God, and having heard the song of the Seraphs, and the doors trembling before you on their hinges, and besides every obstacle depart before he that entered the sacrosanct residence of God. It is for you to paint for me the current miracle, and to give the grace which I can see in the figure and the example of old Jerusalem, all these admirable miracles that the Mother of God accomplished for this city because of the divine love for men. Listen then, and understand thereafter, the picture that is before us, what it represents and what it shows.  In the house of David at once time reigned king Ahaz, the son of Ozias the leper, the heir to both the spite and the kingdom of his father.  And because even Ahaz fell easily into sin, and was inclined to injustice, he did not accept in his heart the teaching of the divine mystery of the Virgin, though he was invited by God, by the prophet, to ask that He grant to him a sign of the end of the reign of death, or further, on the divine incarnation.  The sign was anyway given to the house of David, and this sign is completed, because the Virgin gave birth to God, while keeping until the end her virginity.  Ahaz remained nevertheless the image of unbelief, while the Jewish people shout until our own day: “I do not ask for a sign, because I will not test the Lord.”

So Ahaz reigned over Jerusalem, but the picture that I intend to give differs anyway from the description of the prophet.  Because my emperor is religious and without misdeeds, devoting, it can be said, all his life to completing and observing the divine commands and he encourages all his subjects to do the same.  How could our city not obtain help and divine support more than the other Jerusalem, — our city which has received from God such an emperor (1), who loves God particularly, and has another Isaiah, i.e. my archpriest (2), ever vigilant, and who transmits in a sober spirit the decrees of God to his people?  But, my prophet, paint for me the other details of the picture, since the difference between the two monarchs and their characters is obvious! So while Ahaz was the king to devastate the town of Jerusalem, and to dethrone the descendant of David, and to help to power the son of Tabeel who formed part of and became companion in their spite, it is beautiful to read the words of the prophet himself about them, not only because they are full of holiness and divine grace, but also so that you see your own eyes, by listening to what was said in paraboles, the figure of the prophet, painting this picture.”

“In the time of Ahaz, son of Joatham, son of Oziah, king of Judah, Rezin, king of Aram, went up with Phacaeus, son of Romelius, king of Samaria, against Jerusalem, to besiege it.  He brought this news brought to the house of David while saying: Aram has allied itself to Ephraim. Then the heart of the king and the heart of his people began to sway, like the trees in the forest sway in the wind.  The Lord said to Isaiah: So go and join Ahaz, you and your son that survives and is called Jaschub (i.e. “returning to God”), at the end of the channel of the upper pool, on the road of the field of the Fuller, and you will say to him: Hey, don’t be disturbed! don’t be afraid, so that your heart does not weaken because of these ends of smoking firebrands.  Because every time my anger is raised, it is calmed.  The son of Aram and the son of Remaliah have exploited your loss, saying: Let us go up against Judah, to terrify it and to plunder, and we will make the son of Tabeel king there!  But that won’t happen.”

And all that the prophet said and wrote, as history and parabole, happened to those of the Jews who then lived in Jerusalem, as a figure and example, but was used also as a prediction for us, to whom God spread the grace of his love, by the mediation of the Mother of God. Because look: God revealed by the prophet the blessed message of the redemption of Ahaz, a descendant of David in the carnal way, and through him of the unbelieving people of the Jews, by the way of the channel of the higher pool, on the road of the field of the Fuller. Because the word clearly shows that any redemption which was purchased, purchases and will purchase mankind, flows from the teaching of the mystery of Christ.  Because I know that his words say “field” for the Universe, because man is a microcosm, and he symbolically names the Fuller, according to the Bible, that which can clean the stain.  From all that, it is obvious that conversion, leading to baptism by true knowledge, opens to the men the way to heaven.”

But it is time to return to our main subject, because there is no point in missing the target, however skillfully one draws one’s arrows.  “Hear this, therefore, all the peoples, listen, all the inhabitants of the world, the descendants of earth and the sons of men. (Because the descendants of earth (3) are those who are interested only in terrestrial things, and the sons of men are those who keep the dignity of the image of God.)  Listen well, and I will tell you what great things the Lord of armies has done through the Mother of God.  But I will not relate further events with these details (because that would exceed the power of even the wisest) but, as a my talent allows, my report will have the value of the words of a modest historiographer. In the past Syria and Samaria undertook the war against Jerusalem, of which the monarch and the king in Damascus was Rezin, and that in Samaria, the son of Remaliah, who reigned indeed over the people living next to the country of Judah, but which were rightly minimised by their neighbors, because their power was short-lived.  But the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people began to sway anyway as the trees in the forest sway, as you heard in the prophetic words. Against this city and the man reigning there in the love of God with his pious father, the Chaldaeans and Assyrians started to boast; they had been formerly the Masters of the Eastern people, vicious and cruel, according to every writing, famous for their malice and power. The other dog also started to boast and was mad, furious and barbarous, the ruler of savage peoples, who made foreign peoples migrate, living in the north and most of the west, whose the number is only like the grains of sand of the beaches of the sea; these deliberated, advanced, sprang, and surrounded the earth and the sea, like a swarm of bees.”

However the powerful emperor was far away, because he had left on campaign for a remote area, against those who were devastating all the Eastern part of the Roman empire; he did not see the the three-headed chimera, but the many-headed, Nabuchodonosor (4); I speak about the current tyrant of Babylon: of the devil Chosrau who owes his life and empire over the Persians to the grace of the Christian emperor (5). The mighty emperor was thus far away, and entrusted the throne to his son, the imperial prince (6), who wished to follow the piety and devotion of his father.  The emperor thus entrusting him with his brothers and the city to the guardianship of God and the Virgin, left them.  But the Persian Shahrbaraz (as the Babylonians call this Holophernes) outrunning all the elite army of Persia, encircled Chalcedon nearby with his cavalry and his siege-engines, because God prevented his passage, because of the favorable situation of the city: he laid out in front of the city our Jordan, to put an obstacle to the incursion of those which are uncircumcised in their hearts. But he did not prevent the wickedness of that demented person who showed himself by words, councils and by the sending of troops, the ally and battle-companion of this pig, attacking our city from the west; and after having burned all the holy places, every imperial building, every warehouse and private dwelling, in his advance without delay and his effervescent fury, he even intended to burn the imperial city.”

However, the enemy of the west, which was led by a terribly abominable little runt, called by the barbarians in their own language the Khagan, attacked the ramparts of the city for several days, making advance innumerable people which covered the land and the sea with their arms. Because he was the devastating revenge of the eternal malignant spirit; he showed himself to be the child of the devil, not by nature, but by his own decision, and every diabolical wickedness was incarnate in him. Like an anti-god, believing that he had power over land and sea, he mouthed off at heaven and reached the land of his language, to crush the people of God, like abandonned eggs, according to his plan. This is why he extended his hands, soiled with blood, from the confines of the land down to the sea.  Using his pirate fleet, he transformed the sea into firm ground, and he covered the firm ground with cavalry and infantry, because he wanted to devastate this Jerusalem from all sides.  So what led him into so great a nonsense?  And who inspired him with this malevolent plan?  I will answer the first question initially, then finally I will be able to do the second also.”

Firstly, I say and I report as the primary cause, the multiplicity and the variety of our sins, and that we run our public life unworthily from every point of view of the divine commands of our redeemer God, because we corrode ourselves and we devour ourselves, and we attempt to commit every form of wickedness.  In the second place I mention the insatiability and culpability of this wild beast, and there is nothing which could and would satisfy this leech.  Because his carnal procreator (if only it had not happened!) had taken refuge, like a plague sent by God, in the remote lands near these regions, where his people currently live, by beseeching previous Roman emperors.  Those had treated him then as a refugee, had clothed him naked, and had given food to him starving; they did not even suspect what a infamous creature they admitted in their vicinity, and what a devastating danger for the Roman empire they accomodated almost at their heart! (7)  The empire of the father was inherited by his son, the successor, the elder brother of this dog of today.  However in a short time, these seized control of nearby people by plunderings and massacres, and making them their slaves; little by little they grew and multiplied, and covered that land by their multitude.”

And when this crafty and malignant fox became his brother’s heir (which he was not!), which means of intriguing did he not try against us?  And on the other hand what did our emperor not do to try to alleviate his spite?  Which forms of kindness did he not show towards this dog?  But apparently there is no end to the spite of this wild beast, and there is nothing so strong and capable which can soften his low and barbarian intentions.  So who does not know of his devastating invasion that it dared to carry out a few years ago, when the pious and good emperor left to meet him, according to certain treaties, to greet him from the Long Walls.  At the same time the emperor gave orders to surround him with every care and courtesy, hoping by this to reconcile and appease this savage.  Who doesn’t know the plot and the trick of this serpent, and that his unexpected trickery seized a mass of men, and made them captives?  With the men, women, old men and children also were chained and removed in great number to the enemy land.  But he did not put an end to his spite, even there, and spread himself with threats that he would devastate this city, reigning over the other cities, unless he received half of all the treasures and goods in the city. But it is inappropriate on this occasion to recount now all the events then.  In short, he received enough money and property to fill even the hands of Briaraeus, and would have improved the cruelty of Phalaris also, but all that did not satisfy this leech; on the contrary, the payment of treasure became the stimulant to still greater faithlessness for this dog.  He received all that in consequence of the earlier peace treaty, and he reinforced the terms of the treaty also with an ancient formula on oath, given by his emissary.  But neither the ancient oath, nor the payment of so much treasure, nor the imperial treatment, nor the wisdom and the influence of so powerful an emperor were effective to change his perfidy.”

However, when the most pious emperor left, as was told earlier, against the Eastern enemies of God, he did not leave this proud and boastful man without making peace with him.  But he entrusted the city, his imperial children and the palace to God and the Virgin, and in the unquestionable hope, flowing from what he had done, he left courageously on campaign, supposing at the same time that he would succeed in appeasing this wild beast by a reasonable subsidy; he thought this since he had already earlier entrusted to this barbarian the city, his children and the palace (8).  For a good man is to be able to conclude his business reasonably, and the judicious king makes the prosperity of his people and his city, as the wise kings, David and Solomon say in the Holy Scriptures.  But even this did not make the spite of this dragon more moderate, though even demons would have been ashamed.  On the contrary, when he was informed that the emperor had gone on campaign against the Persians, when he learned that his benefactor and his father — as he called him — had left the city, at once the preparations started: the concentration of the barbarian peoples, better called the wild beasts, the preparation of arms and helepoles, the gathering of the monoxyles on the sea which can travel the sea by oar, while transporting the tribes.  There they devised all kinds of tricks, even manufactured engines, to make the town of God, protected by the Virgin, the booty of this deer.  All this was premeditated and carried out by him;  he concentrated all the barbarian armed forces subjected to him, he covered land and sea with the wild tribes whose element of life is war.”

The most pious emperor, after having heard all this, stimulated to action the guardian of public affairs (this was Bonos, a man known by all), directed him by letters, and  helped him with all things necessary.  While raising his hands towards the sky, he protested thus to the Lord: “You, Lord, you see all, and you know all, and you know that I had entrusted to you and your Immaculate Mother my children, the city and your people living there.  I believed that the Khagan, this barbarian savage, would quieten down, and based on this opinion, I entrusted my business to him; I believed that thus this beast would change, perhaps.  Even so I could not achieve a result, and I did not succeed in dominating the insatiability of his spirit.  However you see what great things he devises against your people trusting in your name.  Therefore you, Lord of the Universe, to whom I entrusted my heart, my life and the children that you gave me, just as the city given by you to my care, keep your pledge intact.  Because you gave the law to Moses, your servant on pledges, when you ordered that a deposit or a pledge was to be kept intact and without fault.  So keep now, according to your own law, safe and well, the city which I entrusted to the force of your power and the mother of your kindness, to the Mother of God.”

Is it thus that the powerful emperor beseeched God? balancing up this and that, weighing up his care and plans, finding himself between two distresses.  While the children of the emperor, in the oratory of the Mother of God, being attached to the palace, offered their ingenuous innocence and their heart, just as the virginity and the purity of their bodies, as an entreaty and an aromatic incense, and they exclaimed all in tears: “All-Powerful Lady! our father had entrusted to you your city and us, your servants who are still children, as you see it, very Holy Lady, and he had given us to you; then, raising his cross, he went against these wolves which were ravaging the sheep of the sheep-fold of your son.  So save us, save the city and its inhabitants, save us from the snake who attacks us.” The Preceptor of the city, spending his nights in prayer and speeches, was the worthy archpriest, our Isaiah who knew himself the concentration of the troops and their armament. The fact that they raised their hands to God, and asked the Virgin for assistance and protection, was a weapon, sabre and shield for all the inhabitants of the city, because our archpriest gathered everyone, if he were a priest or clerk, living as a monk or among the people, — of the men of any age, from the child to the old man, and by the following words, as if he armed them, he harangued them to be brave and not discouraged. “Come, and let us prostrate ourselves before the only son of God the Father, because it is him, our God. Come and cry before the Lord who created us; and because he holds the fate of the war in his hands, except by the will of God the multitude cannot be saved, even by unequalled power the emperor cannot be saved, nor will the city remain intact, if the Lord does not keep it. The enemy attacks us on horse and with war engines, with an enormous multitude, but we will overcome by the holy name of our Lord God. Because the Lord himself fights for us, and because the Virgin Mother of God will also be protective of this city, if we ourselves turn all our heart  toward them with all our heart and a devoted soul.” So saying, and so teaching the city, the archpriest prayed to God, day and night, unceasingly.”

However, the man that the wise and powerful emperor left to manage and supervise the affairs of the city did not neglect at all his duties; he showed his ingenuity in various ways in accomplishing everything that depends on the effort and diligence of man. Because God himself delights in such men, because he does not wish that those who have confidence in him to be saved, be lazy and impotent. It was thus that Joshua, son of Nun, in the past gave the order in which he drew up an ambush against the town of Hal; and he made Gideon arm his men with jugs and torches against the Midianites. The guardian of the affairs of the emperor thus examined everything with a very vigilant eye, reinforced the walls, and made provision for all that was necessary for the battle. He was motivated to this by fear of the mighty emperor, and by his letters, arriving unceasingly from afar, and containing instructions, because even in his absence the struggle was led by the servant of God: the emperor, teaching his duty, and motivating his most faithful guardian.”

At the same time at all the western doors of the city, from which left even the revenge of darkness, the holy archpriest, after having painted on icons the holy features of the Virgin carrying in her arms that which she had given birth to, the Lord, — and these icons were like the most brilliant sun, driving out the darkness by its rays, — the archpriest, I say, shouted in a comprehensible and reasonable voice to the masses of barbarians and the demons leading them: “Oh foreign people and diabolical hordes, you have undertaken the whole war against these. But the Mother of God will put an end to all your boldness and pride by its only call, because she is really the mother of He which drowned Pharaoh and all his army in the middle of the Red Sea, and discouraged and weakened all the diabolical horde.”  This was done and said by the archpriest, then he beseeched God and the Virgin to keep the city, the lighthouse of the law of the Christians, intact, because it is to be feared that with her even the lessons of the mystery of Christ could run into extreme danger.”

The enemy tribes thus encircled the city on the East and on the West, by sea and on the North. A poet named what he saw on one side Scylla, on the other side Charybdis. But the city begged in tears the Virgin by the words of the inspired mouth of the archpriest: “Save me, oh Lady, save me, because I will perish. Do not remain dumb, inactive, silent any longer, because I know that you are powerful. See, my adversaries thunder and say: ‘Come let’s cut it off from the nations so that no-one will remember the name of Israel. ‘Have they conspired there, with one heart, Moab and Agaranians, Gebal, Ammon and Amalek and all the Philistines? even Assur has joined them. But treat them like a straw blown in the wind, when a fire devours a forest, so that they can never say: ‘She has no refuge in her God.’ ” The city was in this state and did what it did, because there are not human words which took to tell what was done and said in their houses and publicly in this city entrusted to the government and direction of the most holy shepherd.”

The barbarian of the East, camped with all his army close to the town of Chalcedon, was the first to start fires. The enemy of the West at once put himself in contention with him, as if they were responding to each other and wanted to increase their zeal on both sides; they set ablaze and razed to the ground the sanctuaries of God and all the imperial buildings and all the private buildings.  Moses, when he led in Israel to war against Amalek, lifted his arms towards the sky (his form thus showing the shape of the cross), while Aaron and Hur supported the hands of the legislator on the two sides, because they were tired. That means the loss of the power of the Law, because it dealt too much with the flesh, it is for this reason that God sent his Son into the world. However, our Moses raised with his own innocent hands the effigy of the only son of God whom even the demons fear and of whom it is said that He was not created by human hands. He did not need corporeal support, because, according to the Gospel of Christ-God, He died, crucified, for the world. He passed, pouring tears, around all the ramparts of the city, and he showed the effigy, as an invincible weapon, towards the nebulous troops of darkness and the phalanxes of the West. And in a low voice, like the first Moses, when he had the Ark of the Covenant carried before of the people, said to the Lord: “Arise, Lord! let your enemies be scattered! Let those who hate you flee before you!” and he added to it again the words of king David: “As smoke is dissipated, they are dissipated; as wax melts before a fire, so perish the foreign tribes opposing our God who comes from the west to help us.”

So it was the first day of the siege of the peoples come from the west, when things happened thus. And it was the third day of the week (9). The archpriest, like a second Moses, instead of going up the mountain, went up on the Western wall, preceded and followed by a procession of priests, all selected. The guardian of the affairs of the emperor, on the other hand, ordered the soldiers and a selected part of the people to make a fierce résistence, like Gideon once, who faced tens of thousands with a limited number of soldiers. The barbarian tribes lined up opposite, from sea to sea, like swarms of wasps, and filled all the earth with their weapons. At the same time, on the side of the sea, the barbarian army was not yet prepared for battle. On the other hand, the view from the side of the land was most terrible, and the aspect of the enemies was such as to almost drive one mad. Because for each of our soldiers there was a hundred or even more barbarians, each one was covered in armour, they all wore a helmet and they carried all kinds of military machines. The sun which reflected on them, on the side of the East, refleced its rays on their steel, and showed them still more terrible, making those who looked at them shiver with fear. But so far the barbarian only wanted, so to speak, to show his power and numbers; then — yielding to the night — he withdrew into his camp. The following day, the barbarian prepared all that was necessary for war, and covered the ground, in front of the army, with turrets, so called.  But this voracious and greedy dog did not restrain himself even then, and demanded food from the city. This the son of the emperor gave him, with a generosity of an emperor, while letting the barbarian dog know what follows: “Even if you hate me, I treat you with friendship, and all while preparing myself for war, my goal is peace.  This is because I am raised thus by my God and my very pious father.” The other, though he accepted the food and listened to the remarks of the monarch, remained the mad and barking dog that he had been before, and continued to behave like a voracious dog.”

The third day arrived, and the enemy attacked the walls, like a hail accompanied by lightnings, because he thought that he would subjugate all, with a single blow. But the All-Powerful Virgin, after having made known to him  her own power by experience, revealed to him the presages of the fall which quickly awaits the sinner. Because she attracted a great number of soldiers of the Khagan into a trap before of one of her churches, being in front of the wall of the city. This place bore the name of a healing spring which was there. The Virgin, by massacring the barbariabs at the hands of the Christian soldiers, struck the pride of the Khagan down to the  ground, and weakened all his army. The crafty man did not show his fear then, but all this gave courage to our men who knew on the one hand by experience the power of the Virgin, and on the other hand believed that the Mother of God really hastened to fight for the interest of her city. Because then, throughout the day, unceasingly, different local skirmishes took place and shooting with bow and sling, all along the wall. The Virgin was present everywhere, overcame without being overcome, spread fear and horror on the enemy, while giving strength to her servants. She preserved her subjects safe and sound, and devastated the enemy masses. The third day of the presence of the barbarians proceeded thus, as we said, when all this occurred.”

On the fourth day, this imbecile started to draw up the helepoles and the catapults; in addition, he built siege-towers out of wood. The construction of all that was a very easy task for him, and did not require much time; all this was done almost more quickly than the pronunciation of the orders, on the one hand, because a whole multitude of barbarians worked there, on the other hand, because the wooden material was within his range, since he used the waggons, on which he travelled here, and at the same time material from the houses destroyed by him. But God made fun of him, and in his fury he addressed sarcastic words to him, terrifying him in his rage, he and all his people. On the fifth day, the very young monarch, having taken men on his side, those naturally which were his companions in all the plans and his support in the execution of the decisions: the archpriest himself and the best of the senate, — he sent gifts and a delegation, to again summon the tyrant to a armistice. So he sent Somnas, Eliakim and Joach; I overlook the fourth legate (10), because Hezekiah in the past also sent only three men to the Babylonian Rabshakah who in the past wanted to devastate Jerusalem.”


“But the legates returned without result, though they had handed over the gifts willing or not; then they said to those which had sent them: “We saw a terrestrial Proteus, a demon in human form whose word is unstable, his appearance and character terrible. Ah! the filth of his body and clothing — which we saw — ah! his words — which we heard —, we feel sick to speak to you about him and we are afraid of him. Like a second Salmoneus, he tattoos his skin below, thinks nothing of the future, and never reasons justly. But, since it is absolutely necessary that we tell you the essence of the words that he said to us, the tyrant, this depraved monster said to us what follows: ‘Let your God not mislead you. You trust him by saying that you will not hand over the city, to me and to the people which are with me Tomorrow I will occupy the city in any case, and I will render it uninhabited. I will make —by my kindness — a gift of their lives to the inhabitants, and I will make possible for them to leave the city completely naked, but in mercy I will leave  to each one a chiton, to hide their shame. I will summon Shahrbaraz to them and the Persian troops so that they cause you no loss. So leave, right now as I said, the city, but do not ask anything humanitarian of me!’ These are the words that he said to us, and he threatened us with still more serious things. He added further: if we do not leave early, we will see that tomorrow the mass of Persians will fight beside the tyrant in front of the ramparts of the city. And, indeed, we saw also the Persian legates sent by Shahrbaraz who brought him gifts. We understand again that they have concluded an alliance, to send the Slavic monoxyles, to transport the Persian army from Chalcedon, by sea.”


These were the words of the legates. Of course the barbarian did not ask for an army of Perses, as if he was short of allies, because the firm ground and the sea were both full of wild people under his command, but he wanted to make known to us his alliance with the Persians, who moved against us. When night fell, the monoxyles were launched; there were a multitude of Slavs who directed them to transport the advancing army of the allied Persians. Because the Slavs had already great experience with regard to bravery at sea, since the time when they also attacked the territories of the Romans. The monarch, the archpriest and guardian of the affairs of the emperor, after listening to the words of the legates, sighed seriously, raised their hands with all those which lived the city towards the sky, and said: “Mighty Lord — you who bring low every proud man, you who can decide according to your will everything that happens in the world, whose force is incomparable and whose power can be neglected by none, because all the Universe is suject to you — hear all the words of Sennacherib that he transmitted, to blaspheme you, the Master of the Universe. For our hope does not reside in our arrows, and we do not have a sword to save us. It is you, our strong bastion, even against these so powerful enemies. And for this reason thus, you, omnipotent and all-mighty — who is seated on the Cherubins, and it is from there that you look at the Hells — throw a glance from the throne of the Master on the masses of the peoples who do not know each other, and who have surrounded us from the east and the west.”

Our Lord, it is in your power to save small and great, because you have the power to do so, when you wish. And so who could face the strength of your arm, our Lord God? Do not give the sceptre of your glory to those which do not even exist! (11) Do not let these men overcome you. Because, see, see that this Rezin and the son of Remaliah were allied, fell into agreement, and concluded a contract, in order to abolish the tabernacle of your glory, and to choke the voice of those who glorify you, ‘Let them fall into their own traps, our Lord, because under the pride of the impious people your unhappy people is consumed.’ Who is it that by his will alone conquered the Ethiopian Zare who led formerly his army with a thousand times a thousand men against king Asa? Who killed the enemy peoples whose number was innumerable, when Josaphat, deprived of any human help, lifted his hands towards you? Since you are able, now also, to do everything, by your pure will, save then the city of your heritage, and save the people who are called by your name, so that no-one can say ‘Where is their God?’ On the contrary: Let these people understand that they are only men.” Thus they the monarch, the archpriest, the head of the army and the city prayed constantly.”

But God put an obstacle in the passing of the Persians to this dog, preparing an ambush for them, and by killing some of those which were sent by the tyrants to each other. The fight did not cease, neither on the sixth, seventh, nor eighth day and continued with shootings and local brawls. For the barbarian, it was a very tiring and extremely serious task, on the one hand, to draw up on the land the siege-engines, to build helepoles against the bastions, and on the other hand, to prepare on the sea the monoxyles of the Slavs, so that they could start the siege at the same time, at the same hour, by land and sea, against the city. Because he had already transformed earlier, using the monoxyles filled with foreign tribes, the bay of the Horn into firm ground. He thought that to approach the city this was the best place. But he did not know, the devil, what he knew later, by experience, that the invincible guard of the city was the holy house of the Mother of God, being at Blachernae, close to the bay of Horn, and this is what safeguarded the city and all its inhabitants. It is there, that it was necessary that all the army of this Pharaoh perish in the sea, and so the bay was named Red Sea after the event. While this nutcase prepared the fight by land and sea, he advanced some armoured riders, selected as well as he could — this happened in the areas where those who were sailing towards the Euxine Sea took to sea — to show himself to the Persian army and to Shahrbraz which showed themselves in their turn. Because on the other side, he did the same, and filled all the opposite bank with heavy cavalry. The latter attacked the part of the city in Asia, and the former that in Europe, like mad beasts, thinking that she would be surely their booty.”

When the ninth day came, on firm ground, the most violent fighting burst out, all along the wall, and consequently the enemy perished in heaps, carrying off his dead in the sight of all our men. Some of ours were also wounded. Even the following night did not put an end to the fight, and the combat continued on both sides throughout the night, without rest. The foreign tribe, in its combat against us, did not have men who would have been worthy of ours. Our army overcame the enemy everywhere with great courage. There came the tenth day of the stay of this dog. It was the fifth day of the week, and the seventh of the month, that the Romans call August. But who has the strength to tell the miraculous deeds of God, and who is able to show the power of the Virgin? Glory to he that names holy the chosen day which was the day of the most and most miraculous deeds, of the divine love, shown towards us. Because even the fifth, but the seventh also, and especially the tenth proved — one for certain things, the other for others — clearly such days which showed us all the miracles of our rescue, of divine origin. The fifth day, by its effect, fills with divine happiness all our senses which are at the center of the spiritual combats. The seventh on the other hand, like a virgin and without mother, was worthy of the grace of the Eternal Virgin, the Mother of God. Finally the tenth, which completes all, brought to us, by God and the Virgin, total freedom.(12)

I believe that even Zachariah, one of the twelve minor prophets, prophesied by his prophetic heart that day, and he named it that of happiness and of divine exaltation, in the words that he says to us: “The fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth will become for the house of Judah happiness, joy and merry feastdays.” It is true, we know that the sons of the Hebrews interpreted differently the words of prophecy, by saying that the fact that Jerusalem would pass into the hands of strangers in the days mentioned, and what would follow: the disastrous humiliation and the austere fasting, would become joy and happiness for Judah. What I do not know, it is the date when the Jews hope for that, the Jews which are always precisely in mourning, because they condemned innocent blood. It is God whom they nailed on the cross, and it is very right which they wear mourning for that. Moreover nobody prevents them from understanding, and believing in the words of Zachariah, as they wish. In any case for us the fifth, the seventh and the tenth days became absolutely identical, because they carried in themselves the love of God and the Virgin towards us.”

The tenth day has also another mystery about which I cannot keep silent, because doing so, in my opinion, would be a sin against justice itself. Because Nabuzardan, the commander of the guard of the Babylonian Nabuchodonosor, set fire to the Temple of Jerusalem on the tenth day of the fifth month of the Hebrews, and conquered the city by assault. The infallible witness is Jeremiah who is wisest in the things of God, and who was crowned already in the belly of his mother by the Lord; he writes in his book these words: “This happened in the fifth month, the ten of the month. Nabuzardan, commanding the guard, one of the immediate entourage of the king of Babylon, made his entry into Jerusalem. He set fire to the Temple of the Lord, the royal palace, and he set fire to all the houses of the city and all the palaces. The army of Chaldaeans which was with the commander of the guard, threw down all the ramparts which surrounded Jerusalem. Nabuzardan left part of the ordinary people of the country, as vine growers and ploughmen.”

These words of the prophet tell us that the fifth month of the Hebrews was in its tenth day, when the Persians set fire to the Temple and the capital of the Jews. Among the Hebrews the fifth month is named Ab, because God had ordered that they hold and call Nisan the first among the months newly named. And thus we find the month Ab is the fifth starting from Nisan. Nisan among Hebrews is usually what is among Romans April. Among the Romans we find that the fifth month is August, starting from April. And if the Hebrews learned how to count the months according to the changes of the moon, then it is clear — as anyone could say — that the months and the days of the Hebrews are not harmonized exactly with the days and the months of the Romans, but they agree only in general: thus the month of Nisan often falls in April. As the commander of the guard thus occupied Jerusalem on the tenth day of the fifth month of the Hebrews, the Khagan hoped to occupy Constantinople, on the tenth day of his arrival.”

Because even the Roman emperor who carried out the punishment of the Jews, for their sin against our Saviour, set fire to the Temple of Jerusalem and destroyed the city, on the tenth day of the fifth month. Josephus, a writer worthy of trust, writes thus in the sixth book of the History of the Fall of the Jews:(13) “God already condemned beforehand the Temple to be delivered to the flames; and by the passage of time, the tenth day of the month Loos arrived, on which day the monarch of Babylon had formerly made it burn. Therefore everyone can admire the punctuality of the flow of time: because fate fixed the same month and the same day when Babylonians had set fire to the Temple formerly.” However, Josephus correctly wrote that the tenth day of the month of Ab, where according to divine Jeremiah, the king of Babylon had occupied the Temple and Jerusalem, is identical with the tenth day of the month of Loos, when Titus devastated the same city; it is thus proof that Josephus knew himself that the months of the Hebrews show, from time to time, several times a simultaneity; and it happens that the fifth month of the Hebrews is at the same time as August of the Romans.”

All that is true, even if it is a digression. Our history shows that Nabuzardan demolished the Temple and Jerusalem, on the tenth day of the fifth month. Titus destroyed them in the same way, on the tenth day of the fifth month. The Khagan also, this sinful tyrant, spread out against the city so great a mass of enemies, from the east, from the west, by land and sea, exactly in the fifth month, and on the tenth day of his stay, if we count the first month in the series of the months lately established in accordance with the law of God. But God and the Virgin covered him with shame, him and those who were gathered, in order to show their divine kindness towards us, who were unworthy of rescue, and to show that before God the worship which is pure and without cruelty of the Christians is much more valuable and much better received than that which is according to the law. This last includes all the fatty and bloody sacrifices that the people of Israel, according to the flesh, had to carry out. Our worship is better received, even if we, so to speak, are not afraid to approach boldly, very many of the divine sacraments, with sinful conscience and hands which were not washed.”

That which is to be told about the tenth day, was not hidden by me; but with regard to the numerical coincidence with the tenth day, I believe that I did not understand it until the end. As for the devastation of Jerusalem, it; was accomplished by the devastators on the tenth of the month. And the tyrant thought, even now, that he was going to take the city on  the tenth day after his arrival. Because the months did not differ much from the other, since the Jewish Ab, the Macedonian Loos and the month named August among the Romans, often coincide completely, even if they differ in their names. That is allowed, and that will surely be it, because it is really thus. That is to say August the fifth month, and the day the tenth, even if we do not count it from the beginning of the month, but of the arrival of this enemy criminal. Both the two dates coincide with the former ones. But with regard to the care of God towards us, our case is very differ from the others. It is about this that we will speak in the continuation.”


Now it is time to tell, if possible, the miraculous deeds of God and the Virgin, accomplished that day. It was the fifth day of the week, as we mentioned earlier, the seventh of August, the tenth day of the attack against us by this ravaging dog. He began the battle, on land and sea, at the same time against the city. Strong clamours were heard and a great noise of war all along the wall and over all the sea; the bugles sounded the signs of the attack everywhere and all the city was filled with noises and clamours all around. The tyrant prepared so that the catapults were put in motion and a multitude of projectiles was launched, at a single gesture, all along the wall; he had everything prepared that he wanted for the attack against the city. In the bay of Horn he filled the monoxyles with the Slavs and other wild peoples, which he had brought with him; and he gave the order that the barbarians with the heavy weapons, being transported in an innumerable mass in the monoxyles, should start to row against the city with terrible cries. Because he had tested and planned: while the besiegers from the land were going to destroy the walls of the city, those who attacked from the sea, in the bay of Horn, could easily approach the city. God and the Lady Virgin, on the other hand, showed him that his hopes were unrealizable and were overcome on all sides. Because on each point of the wall a so great number of corpses lay, and the enemy fell unceasingly that the barbarians were no longer in a position to take away and to burn their dead.”

The Mother of God, in the sea battle, in front of her holy church of Blachernae, made the monoxyles with their men sink. If this expression were not serious, one could have said that all the bay could have been passed on dry foot because of the corpses lying there, and the monoxyles tossing randomly quite empty and moving without a goal. The fact that the Virgin herself won this fight, and won this victory, was shown clearly by the following facts: those who fought on the sea, on our vessels, turn around at the first attack of the enemy force and they failed to beat a retreat, and by that they would have made almost possible attacks by the enemy, if the pity of the Virgin had not prevented this misfortune, refusing to endure such a spectacle. She put in action her own force and power. Not like Moses, dividing and uniting again the floods of the Red Sea by his staff, but only by her gesture and her pure will she made the chariots of Pharaoh  and his army to sink. Everyone sank there, with the sailors and their instruments. Some say that ours were not withdrawn from the fear of the enemy, but that it is the Virgin itself which ordered ours to pretend to retire, because she wanted to achieve a miracle. In consequence of that, the barbarians sank completely, in front of her holy church, in the bridge of our rescue, our calm harbour, because all that was the church of the Mother of God in Blachernae. And this sight and astonishing and mighty miracle could be seen: while all the bay became firm ground, covered in blood, because of the corpses and abandoned monoxyles, some of the barbarians who — as good swimmers — succeeded in escaping from the dead and devastation at sea, and to reach the north bank, fled into the mountains, not being pursued by anybody.”

It is said that even the wicked tyrant was an eyewitness of his own shame, courtesy of the Virgin, and at the same time he was the minister of his own loss. After having contemplated his own defeat from a hill, sitting on a horse and surrounded by his men-at-arms, he returned shaken to his camp, drawn up in front of the walls of the city, while beating his chest and his cheeks with his hands. Many days passed during which our men succeeded, on the one hand to collect with weariness the corpses of the barbarians floating in the water, on the other hand to fish out their monoxyles so that they could be burned. When those who fought on the walls against the enemy, learned the happy news of the loss of the barbarians at sea, and still more admired the multitude of the heads splitted on the lances that our men carried slowly towards the man to whom the mighty emperor had entrusted the management of the affairs of state, encouraged by the power of God and protected by the strength of the Virgin, they opened wide the doors of the ramparts and — making noise and cries, indicating confidence and victory — poured outside for a hand- to- hand fight against the enemy and his engines. Our men were full of such happiness and strength, while the barbarians felt grief and despair to such a state that even the children and the women marched against them, arriving in the camp of the enemy. One could see how one can drive out a thousand, and two pursue ten thousand in an attack, as Moses said formerly.”

The Mother of God, the Virgin, the Lady gave such strength to those which did not have any and such power to the weak, only by her goodwill. It is also obvious that the Mother of God did this so that our men could burn the siege-engines of the enemy, and she wanted to show by that also a greater sign of her love for us. Because very wisely she influenced the guardian of the affairs of the state, to justly prevent those who were leaving with all enthusiasm, to have care for a greater security, and  prevent the exit of our men, and recall at the same time those which were running outside of the walls. And he did it, not by bugles sounding the retirement, but by cries, by running, by gesticulating and by exhorting with words our men with sure and reasonable words. That was affirmed as a safety measure and an precautionary act by the head of the army. The Virgin Mother of God reached and ensures that these orders are carried out by the barbarians themselves, because she trusted them to destroy by fire their own siege-engines. The course of the events proves it too. At sunset, when the night fell, these devils lit and burned, along the wall, the tortoises, the caltrops, the helepoles, assault-towers on wheels, all the machines of war and the catapults, all that was there, or had been transferred onto chariots, or had been manufactured on the spot. So they started the similar fire which does not die out and which will absorb them. In consequence of that, during all the night, in the Western part of the city, all the air was lit by the light of the burning. For most of the following day, we could see neither the city nor the sea, because of widespread smoke. The archpriest, the General and a considerable multitude of townsmen, being outside the door whom we call, in accordance with reality, the Gilded Door, and looking at the fire and the smoke of the barbarian engines, raised their hands towards heaven, and uttered cries and tears of gratitude: “Your law, Lord, was shown by its strength; your right hand, Lord, cut the enemy in pieces, and by the excess of your glory, you have defeated the adversaries.”

Since the impudent dog thus received the reward of his own baseness, he withdrew to his own lands. In his retreat, he was to see thousands of corpses of the men and animals which he had brought with him; he was about to leave even more as casualties; the fugitives reported to us that these soon died. This fool could thus learn, by experience, that there is no god more powerful than our God, and that there is no power which could oppose the very Blessed Virgin. Thus the enemy of the west returned empty-handed and ashamed, the son of darkness; and as it is said, he blamed extremely those which had instigated him to this boldness, and that with true title, though he never needed a Master in spite.”

The other enemy, the tyrant of Babylon who camped in the surroundings of Chalcedon, seeing the smoke of the fire, caused by the burning of the engines by the barbarians of the west, thought, it is said, that the city burned (God keep us!), was delighted at this, but at the same time he was saddened. He was delighted, because he thought in error that the capital of the Romans was already vanished; but he sighed and was saddened at the same time as it was not him, but — as he believed — the other tyrant who had devastated the city. Because this Holophernes had promised to his king Nabuchodonosor that he would succeed, either by fighting, or trickery; and that this scumbag would be the Master of the city. This is why he still camped several days at Chalcedon, even after the departure of the Western enemies, and the unlucky one hoped for the execution of his own foolish plan. Finally when God and the Virgin also reversed his hopes, he himself withdrew, ashamed and rightly humiliated, as he had made him his companion and accessory to turpitude.”

The two ends of smoking firebrands thus appeared, according to wise Isaiah: Rezin, the king of Syria and son of Remaliah, Phaceus, the monarch of Samariah, this one because of the flame and smoke of the fire which he had lit himself, the other because of the darkness and the sadness of his sinful conscience. They were in no state either to harm Jerusalem, either to strip the son of David of his power or to make the son of Tabeel monarch, — plans in which they agreed and that they concluded at the time of their alliance. On the contrary: their lot became opprobrium and eternal shame before each people and nation. It became obvious to us that very holy Isaiah depicted in the figure and example of the old Jerusalem the miracles accomplished today, and now he spoke to the descendant of David reigning in our time; “Do not fear a allied attack of these two ends of smoking firebrands which they have organised against you, against my city and my people.” According to what I know, all this also occurred as divine Isaiah had predicted, in the figure and example in connection with Jerusalem and Achaz, of the then king of the two tribes.”

However, we all were eyewitnesses of the fact that the Virgin and Mother of God put to flight with a single blow the armed strength of both enemies; she did not do it with a blow of a lance, like Phineas who transfixed a Midianite and an Israelite. She did that by her voice and will only, terrifying and pursueing this one and that one at the same time. Because it is not only the tyrant of the west who withdrew shamefully, but the Persian also returned humiliated, as he was to ruminate in these words, himself: ” If so strong peoples of which the number can be compared only with the grains of sand of the sea, camped so many days under the walls of the city, reaching without a battle the edge of the sea, but could do nothing against this city and were lost despite every apparent advantage, then why I do remain still here, on the beach, ready, in vain, for the fight, and why I still nourish in myself these vain hopes? It is obvious that a divine and superhuman power guard this city and have kept it safe and sound; it is impossible for anyone to harm it.” This said, and apparently very astonished, he took the road of retreat, the murderer. Because disappointment in their hopes usually determines even the barbarians to hold the power of God as invincible. This was the experience of the Egyptians also who, after having tried the divine power at sea, were constrained to say: ” Let us run, run because God fights against the Egyptians for Israel.”

I believe that the words and the visions of the prophet Ezechiel who saw great things, are fulfilled now. In these, instigated by the prophetic inspiration, he gave a prophecy in the Holy Scriptures on Gog. There are some who say that in Hebrew “Gog” means “assembly of the people” because they believe that no-one was ever called by this name. It appears obvious that what Ezechiel said was prophesied about the land of the people of Israel according to the flesh, but neither the date of what the prophet condescended to predict, nor the events of war against Judah which followed, make it acceptable to us to think that the things said concern the land of Israel and the people which mark themselves by the circumcision of the flesh. Because the prophet Ezechiel wrote what has been said before the deportation of the people to Babylonia; after this time, on the other hand, the people which marched against Judah did not withdraw empty-handed, and did not become, as the prophet says, the spoils of the wild beasts and the birds of prey. Because did not the Romans and Titus attack Judah after the activity of the prophet Ezechiel, and burn the Temple by fire and the city to the ground, and killed the majority of the population, by famine and sword? those who remained, men and the holy objects, became their property, as booty. But before that, Titus and the Romans, when Mattathias and his sons had to face the attack of the peoples neighbouring Judah which wanted to exterminate the remainder of the people, the enemy often fell, but, in these wars, we do not find anything similar to what the prophet wrote.  Since neither time, nor the events make it possible for us to accept prophecy as relating to the land of Israel, it must be that we seek that which the prophet names Israel, and what he names his land, against which Gog led his armies, then it became the grazing ground of the birds of prey and the wild beasts.”

But so that what I say become clear and quite comprehensible, it is reasonable and suitable to quote words of the prophet, finding the place given; but the prophetic words will not be complete and continual; I restrict myself to what is relevant because the length of the place quoted: “The word of the Lord was addressed to me in these terms: Son of man, turn to Gog and prophesy against him and say to him: Thus speaks the Lord God: Here, I declare myself against you, Prince de Rosh, Mesoch and Thobel; and I will make you go out, with all your army, horses and riders, all perfectly armoured, many troop, all bearing shields and helmets.  The Persians, the Ethiopians and the Libyans are with them and you. Many peoples will come from the extreme north with you. That day, thoughts will be born in your spirit and you will utter evil designs: I will go up against a country without defense, march against the quiet people which live in the land in safety where there are no ramparts, nor bolts, nor doors.  I will plunder them and make booty of them. I will go up against those which live on the navel of the earth. They are Sheba, Dedan and the traffickers of Chalcedon (14). You will get under way and you will leave your residence in the extreme north and of the many people with you, all will be mounted on horses. You will go up against Israel, my people. You will be like a cloud which covers the earth. And I will bring you against my country so that all the nations know me, when I express my holiness, on your subject, Gog, in their eyes.  Thus speaks the Lord God to Gog: My anger will go up and my jealousy in the heat of my fury, and I will express my greatness and holiness and glory and I will make myself known to the eyes of the many nations, and they will know that I am the Lord. I will break your bow in your left hand, and I will make your arrows fall from your right hand. I will drive you over the mountains of Israel and you will succumb, and all your army and the people with you will be given to the multitude of the birds of prey. I give you like pasture to the wild beasts of the earth; and people will live in the islands in safety; and the day will arrive, says the Lord God, when I will give a famous place for his burial to Gog, in Israel, the common grave of the Passers- by which is on the sea; and the people of Gog will be buried there. Says the Lord God.”

So, you have heard the words of the prophet.  Can anyone, by clear reasoning, form an opinion, which examines whether the prophecies quoted relate to the old Israel and its land, and if they can be accomplished on them? The date excludes the accomplishment of the prophecy in Israel, and even the places where according to the words of the prophet all that should be accomplished do not lead us to think of the land of Israel, according to the flesh. Because the prophet had said that for the people marching against the land of Israel their common grave will be in the sea, and by their fall, the islands will be delivered from their terror. My attention is not diverted from the fact that the prophet has predicted that with the people Gog himself would fall to earth and would subside, and thus time could come when somebody will set out again and say that if this assassin did not fall with those who perished, then we cannot well relate the prophetic predictions to the events of today.”

“However, everyone who knows the Holy Scriptures well, knows that the verb “to fall” into the divine writings has several senses and several meanings. It can be interpreted in several fashions and in various ways.  The verb “to fall” is used in one of its meanings and senses: to break down in certain foolish hopes. The divine Ezechiel prophet declared rightly in this sense that the wicked tyrant falls, and his fall can be also noted by that the part armed with his people fell indeed and really. But if the sons of the Hebrews wish to interpret the words of the prophet in another way, and not of this one, they can understand them as they wish. But what other common grave, to be found at sea and pertaining to the people travelling with Gog against the land of Israel, can they show? When and how were the islands lived in in safety after Gog, fighting against Israel, had vanished?”

And if after the deportation of the Jews, when Ezechiel did prophesy, nothing accomplishes the words of the prophet in the land of Israel, according to the flesh, what then must we think? Because the Romans, as we have just said, undertook their attack only after these events against the land of Israel; they devastated all the landd, they returned with booty, they killed the majority of the people by a terrible famine and the murderous sword, and they put in prison those which remained. At the time of Hasmonaeans, the sons of Mattathias heroically fought against the neighbouring peoples, threatening Israel; however, from the words of the prophet nothing occurred with the people which went on campaign against the land of Israel.”

“It remains after that to examine whether in the times which follow, the words of the prophet could have been accomplished.  The fact that the Jews live today all dispersed, among all the peoples, and Israel, according to the flesh, does not have its own land, against which Gog could fight in the intention to have profit and booty, is obvious to any reasonable man. After all that, what goal could there be for peoples attack the land of Israel? The goal of war is in general the hope of booty, the removal of men, the seizure of goods; this is why the barbarian peoples begin a war. On the land of Israel there is nothing, neither today, nor in the future of any sort that could be such a cause of war. If thus the words of the prophet, neither in the past, nor in the future, could not and cannot be fulfilled, it only remains to interpret them in fact by the events of the present.”

Thus, I have reasoned carefully, if it is not inconsiderate to say so, that we should interpret the word “Gog” for the assembly of these people led against us by this mad dog.  I have learned from other people that the name Gog means the multitude and the assembly of the people, but it is I who took this city for “the land of Israel” where God and the Virgin is glorified with a holy piety, and where the rite of the true piety of God is celebrated. Because the real existence of the true Israel means that the Lord is glorified with true heart and a devoted soul, and to live the innocent land of Israel means to celebrate a sacrifice everywhere pure and without bloodshed to God.  What other but our city would rightly be that which could be named infallibly and correctly, in its totality, the place of sacrifice of God, and one can see that it is generally speaking the only church which sings the glory and the anthems of God and the Virgin.  Thus, Gog, i.e. a multitude of people, assembled against this land of Israel, saying: “So let us go up against those who live on the navel of the earth where Sheba, Dedan and the traffickers of Chalcedon are found, let us pillage plunder, and get booty.” Those who know the significance of the names, existing among the Hebrews, say that Sheba and Dedan are people subject to the Romans.  However, so that I do not appear one who deploys more zeal than one should, and who deals too much with superfluous things, I pass over the circumstances which relate to this. But if we must understand for traffickers of Chalcedon the neighbours of this city, then my reasoning is on the right road and is irrefutable. Even if somebody said that by the “Chalcedonians” it is necessary to understand Libyan traffickers, even in this case there is no possibility that the prophet spoke about the land of Israel, according to the flesh.  Because the Chalcedonian traffickers never traded with that land of Israel.”

It is also necessary to examine these words of the prophet, where he ensures that Gog, in arranging his wicked plans, says: “I will go up against a country without defense, march against quiet people which live on the land in safety where there are no ramparts, bolts, or doors. I will plunder them and make booty of them. I will go up against the navel of the earth.”  Because the fool thinks that the country is without defense, and the city without monarch, because he had news of the departure of the powerful emperor.  He supposed that the people lived quietly and lived in the city in safety; he believed that the people of the Christians were not expert in war, and he missed men too. And when this most shameless dog advanced against the Long Walls, and did all that he did, as a foolish man, he said in his heart: “There is no God here, and as ramparts, neither the Virgin, nor the arm of the divine power will save the city. This is why I go up against the navel of the earth, and I will plunder it and I will make booty of it. And there will be nobody who can stop me.” The insatiability and the greed of the barbarian pushed him to think all that.”

And what other place could one name as “the navel of the earth” but this city where God put the imperial residence of the Christians, and that He made, by its central position, such that it can by itself be used as an intermediary between the east and the west.  It is against this city that sovereigns, peoples and nations gathered, and it is their strength which was overcome by the Lord who had said in Sion: “Be without fear, Sion! Let not your hands weaken! See, your God is in the midst of you, it is He which can save you.” The gathering of the peoples of the northern lands, of the horses and armoured riders, and with them of Persians, presented themselves in front of this city. That was said word for word by the prophet. The strength of our God made their bows fall from their left hands and from their right, it was the Virgin who broke their arrows. They fell on the mountains of Israel and they became the pasture of wild beasts and birds of prey. All that was prophesied by Ezechiel, the divine prophet: “On that day, says the Lord God, I will give to Gog a famous place for his burial in Israel, the common grave of the Passers- by which is on the sea, where all the people of Gog will be buried.” I think that that means another thing than the loss of the foreign people, on the sea, the mass of whom was drowned by God and the Virgin in the bay of Horn. This bay is named not only the Bay of Horn, even if it is here that the Mother of God became the “horn of safety” for the city, but also the common grave of Gog, the place of burial of the people which is on the sea, and at the same time the Red Sea, where the chariots of Pharaoh drowned, even all its army.”

Because the zeal of the Lord of armies, God Almighty, did all that, and as the prophet says: “Our Lord God manifested His greatness and His holiness and He became glorious in the eyes of the nations and the people. And all the earth knew, that he alone is the Lord.  Because our enemies learned from all that they had suffered, even if they wander in darkness, and the sun of justice has not yet risen on them, that death carries out them to feed and that their strength is lost in Hell, and that they are banished from glory, and that they will be thus too in the future.”

“I thought that it is good, in this place, to quote the words of the prophet Ezechiel, and my opinion which follows, though I know indeed that it is possible to accuse me of verbosity. You who judge rightly, it is for you to decide if you accept my procedure, i.e. if it is necessary that I refer to this prophecy, or indeed to correct me by saying that the prophecy did not logically relate to my discourse. However, the fact of the achieved rescue, in your interest, by the Lord, cannot be discussed, because it is an indisputable fact.”

It is a beautiful and worthy thing that the Deborah of today employs the words of the Deborah of before, in singing the anthem of the victory against this Sisera. This current Deborah is called by me the church of God who — raising his hands towards God — pierced this Sisera with a lance. However, the mother of this Sisera watched by the grilles of her window, believing that her son already was distributing the spoils. What does she say, then, our Deborah, singing a song of victory to our Lord: “Kings, listen; princes, lend an ear; let us sing for the Lord, God of Israel! How the great ones of the people praise the Lord! Make heard the song of those who sing briskly, marching in the middle of the road. May they do justice to the Lord! Lord! Strengthen justice among the people of Israel, and humiliate those who are stronger than your people!” The current Deborah, the church of God, says this, and adds to it, in giving the example of virginal purity, of the mortification of the flesh, and the sound of drum also to its song, as the sister of Moses did. Let us sing with the Lord because He was greatly glorified, because Bel has bowed and Dagon broken down; and all those who adored the idols were humiliated, and those who glorified images were covered with shame. We others — the people God saved with so much difficulty, beyond hope, and that He saved, by the sttrength of His own arm, from death and bitter and imminent slavery — let us show by good deeds our recognition of the Saviour. Because it is not those who just say: My Lord, My Lord, who will be saved, but those who fulfill the will of the Lord.”

However, let us not look only at the deeds committed towards us by the barbarians, by burning the forsaken houses and by devastating the best lands, so as not to reduce  in this way our recognition of the rescue and kindness of being delivered! It is necessary that we consider also from what a powerful danger the Lord delivered us! And at this point in time we will recognize the greatness of the benefits with which God and the Virgin have filled us. Because we already believed that we saw with our eyes, as an immediate danger, priests, leaders, children — all who could beforehand have fled from death and in exchange ensured a miserable life, carried in a bitter servitude, in irons to foreign lands, to a deplorable life to which even death is preferable. As if we had seen women and children, – – women who were obscenely dishonoured and who became toys of barbarian vice, and at the same time, objects of mockery placed in the sight of their husbands who do not dare to howl, even if they must endure such terrible things. As if we had seen children who, because of their age cannot be useful yet, massacred; those, on the other hand, which can be, are deported in front of our eyes, by these foreign hands. Is there a sight more miserable than this? It would be all as well as to traverse, contemplate and count the holy churches, the palace, all the city lying on the ground.”

Even if we have received forgiveness now, because of the multitude of our sins, we could have been the cause of the devastation of this great city, the beautiful buildings and the brilliant houses, and we could have become unworthy of all that. But now, that the Lord saved us of all these dangers, what thanksgivings do we owe, in exchange for what they did for us, to the Lord and the Virgin Mother of God? What praise and what glorification should we sing for the benefits in which we have taken part — even unworthily? “Because the Lord has rescued the poor, He did not scorn the prisoners! How the heavens and the earth acclaim Him, the sea and all that is stirred up there! Because the Lord God has saved Sion, and He comforted the poor wretches of its people.”  It is necessary that we appear neither good-for-nothings, neither lazy, nor inactive; each one according to his possibilities must accomplish good deeds, and thus he will glorify and praise the Saviour.”

And while these miraculous things took place by the love of God the merciful, proven towards us, according to the envoys bringing the imperial rescripts the faithful and mighty emperor who, himself held open day and night his ears and eyes, and his spirit was vigilant, he looked at and watched for every part of the roads and the sea; and his spirit meditated ceaselessly, and he reflected during long sleepless nights on the outcome of this complex concern: what news would he receive on the rescue of this city by God. There when on the other hand, as it is reported, the couriers arrived, announcing the marvellous deeds of God, he did not ask them the news that they brought. Beforehand he ran to the church of the Virgin and the Mother of God, and prostrated himself on the ground, asking Her that he would hear good news brought by the newly-arrived legates. And when he found that the news corresponded to that which he solicited, he knelt again on the ground, in the sight of the army and the people present, and while pouring out tears, he prayed to God and the Virgin: “I give you grace, he said, Divine Word, our Saviour and king of all things visible and invisible, and you also Virgin, Mother of God and Lady, because you did not denied anything to the city which you condescended to entrust to me and the people of whom you made me shepherd, and more precisely you have made them praise you with myself, but you have carried them towards the waters of saving baptism giving peace, you safeguarded them from any distress and you made the herd inaccessible to the wolves.” Those which brought back the imperial rescripts, have said that the most wise emperor said and did all that, but this was proven by the letters of the emperor also which he condescended to address in imperial manner to several; all this shows, how it was in cosideration of former pains taken, and what happened, at the invitation of God, after these events.”

At the same time, the very worthy archpriest dedicated himself to God without ceasing, like a favourable holocaust, on the one hand by the mortification of his own flesh, on the other hand by the divine enthusiasm of his heart. And he obtains for us safety for the future not by the blood of sheep and goats, but by the sacrifice without bloodshed, offered in favour of the delivery in the sacrosanct church of the Mother of God, at Blachernae. He unceasingly celebrates the triumphal festival of the delivery from evil with communal litanies and asks that the city remain intact for the eternity of all time. Oh, very wise Isaiah — as you outlined to me at the beginning of my speech in broad outline the delivery of this city —, seal, yourself, with your seal again the end of this sermon, and announce that the city will be safeguarded, in the future also, from war. Speak thus to this city: “Here is the oracle of the Lord, our God: I will protect this city to save it, because of myself, and David, my servant.” Because by the devotion for God and tenderness for his subjects, our emperor is also a David; and with the example of David, that the Lord adorned him with victories, just as he makes his son reigning with him a man distinguished for wisdom and love of peace, with the example of Solomon, and that he is endowed with devotion and the true faith, just like his father! Because the devotion and the faith of Solomon was not to follow. Pray, prophet, to God, and also beseech the Virgin whom you saw in your heart, in advance, that she would be really the Mother of God, and you announced it by your prophetic words. Thus beseech them that they save always the city and its people which are sinners, but can always escape thanks to God and to the Virgin. Because it is God who has glory and strength in the centuries of the centuries. Amen.”


1. Heraclius (610-641 AD).

2. Sergius, Patriarch from 610-658 AD.

3. Cf. Hesiod, Theogony 185; also George of Pisidia, Bellum Avaricum 215.

4. The references to Nabuchodonosor and Holophernes are a reference to the apocryphal book of Judith.

5. Khosrau II was restored to his throne by the emperor Maurice in 590 AD.  After the murder of Maurice, Khosrau used the murder as a pretext to throw off his obligation and wage war on the Eastern Roman Empire.

6. Constantine, the 14-year old son of Heraclius.

7. In Pannonia.

8. When Heraclius was preparing to campaign against the Persinas, he addressed a letter to the Avar Khagan, reminding him of the treaty agreed in 620, and appointing him tutor to his sons.  In April 622 the emperor left to campaign in the east against the Persians.

9. 29th July 626 AD.

10. Theodore the Syncellus himself.

11. See Esther 4:17 and Deuteronomy 6:4.  The gods of the pagans do not really exist, nor their worshippers.

12. This numerology of 7 and 10 is discussed in Hierocles Alexandrinus, Commentarius in Aureum Carmen 20, 45-48.  Ed. Fr. G. A. Mullachius, Fragmenta Philosophorum Graecorum, vol. 1. Paris (1883), pp. 464-465.

13. Josephus, Jewish War, book 6, 4:8.

14. The Septuagint reads Καρχηδόνιοι, so the biblical reading may have been massaged here to fit the interpretation.  The whole passage is from Ezechiel 38-39.

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September 11, 2016

What Language Did the Goths Speak?

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While this question may seem absurd to anyone who has spent any time with the Wulfila Bible or who is aware of any of the Gothic names, it is by no means such.  The Nordic character of the above is obvious.

But what does that tell us about the “Goths”?

It turns out, precious little.

Take the Wulfila Bible – a fourth century creation.  Wulfila or Ulfilas was a Goth… of “Cappadocian Greek” descent.  Or, in other words, he was an Anatolian Greek whose parents appear to have been kidnapped by the Goths during one of their forays into Anatolia.  (One could also ask how many of the Anatolians were actually descendants of Greeks).

He was raised a “Goth” – perhaps – notwithstanding the fact that no Goth “blood” flowed in his veins.  He also converted the Goths to (Arian) Christianity.  Since religion was and is part of culture, how Gothic was he if he was converting his people to a foreign religion?  He spoke Gothic… but we may well suppose he also spoke Greek.

Jordanes’ famous list of the various peoples that were conquered by the Gothic king Ermanaric is impressive. To recite it we have “Golthescytha [,] Thiudos, Inaunxis, Vasinabroncae, Merens, Mordens, Imniscaris, Rogas, Tadzans, Athaul, Navego, Bubegenae and Coldae.”*  After they were conquered, were all these peoples “Goths”?  Were the men that were placed into the Gothic “army” Goths?  Or do we believe that the Goths, after conquering all these tribes, did not utilize their manpower in war?  And this, before we even get to the Heruli and the “populous nation of the Veneti.”

[* The names of these tribes are not all clear but:

  • Thiudos are likely Finnic Chuds;
  • the Vasinabroncae may be the Ves (Visu of Ibn-Fadlan) or today’s Veps or Vepsians (a Finnish people with an apparently remarkable genetic similarity to the Poles) who may have something to do with the Vesi or the Visi-goths;
  • Merens are likely Meria, a Finnish people at both sides of the upper Volga by today’s Rostov;
  • Imniscaris are likely the Mescera – also Finnish;
  • Mordens likely the Mordvins, Mordva, Mordvinians, Mordovians – also Finnic;
  • Athaul was likely Atil or the Turkic name for large river (usually Volga but also possibly the Don);
  • Navego may refer to naevaeg mentioned as a Sarmatian tribe of Naevazae already by Pliny;
  • Coldae may be Coldui who may be Quadi (though that last emendation seems like a stretch);

an interesting aspect of the above names is that it appears to indicate that the Goths began their conquests somewhere in the Far North]

What languages did these people speak?  Most, probably, did not originally speak Germanic (the Heruli being the equally probable exception).  Did they learn Gothic?  Or did they pick up a few Gothic words here and there?  When they moved west with the Goths (or did the Goths leave them all behind?) did they change their language?  Or were their numbers such that the languages were retained?  Was there a need of single language in the Gothic “commune”?  If so, was it Gothic?

Ask yourself how much British there is in today’s America or Australia?  All (most of) these people speak English – a Germanic language by any standard classification – are they all Germanics?  On the other hand, there are sizable pockets of Americans and Australians that are bilingual (or who speak much better, say, Spanish than English) – they are all Americans and Australians.  Are they therefore Germanic?  Linguistically, sure.

In other words, how much Goth was there in the Goths of the 6th and 7th centuries?

P.S. and this before we even get into thorny questions of what “Tervingi” may mean or whether Ostr- and Vesi- really mean East and West (or something entirely different, like island Goths and field Goths).

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September 9, 2016

Emporial Embargoes

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The following is an 805 list of Frankish trading places with the Slavs as well as requirements regarding what things not to sell to the Slavs – perhaps a lesson of the events, almost two centuries earlier, relating to the merchant Samo.  The list of the Frankish missi also shows the rough contours of the Frankish-Slav frontier at the beginning of the 9th century (some towns’ names are open to interpretation).  The source is Boretius (43-44) (translation by King) (pictures from the Parisian Codex 4995):


Double Capitulary of Thonville
(Duplex Capitulare Missorum in Teodonis Villa Datum,
Diedenhofener Kapitular Karls des Grossen)
December 24, 805

To One and All
(Ad omnes generaliter)

23(7) “Concerning merchants who travel to the territories of the Slavs and the Avars: how far they ought to proceed with their merchandise – to wit, in the regions of Saxony, as far as Bardowick, where Hredi is to be in charge, and to Scheessel [or Scheßlitz?], where Madalgaud is to be in charge, and to Magdeburg [first mention of the city], where Aito is to be in charge; and to Erfurt where Madalgaud is to be in charge; and to Hallstadt, where Madalgaud again is to be in charge; to Forschheim [first mention of the city] and to Premberg [or Pfreimd?] and to Regensburg, where Audulf is to be in charge; and to Lorch, where it is to be Werinar.  And that they are not to take arms and coats of mail to sell; and if they are discovered carrying them, all their stock is to be taken away from them, half going to the fisc, the other half being divided between the aforesaid missi and the discoverer.”


(De negotiatoribus qui partibus Sclavorum et Avarorum pergunt, quousque procedere cum suis negotiis debeant: id est partibus Saxoniae usque ad Bardenuwic, ubi praevideat Hredi; et ad Schlezla, ubi Madalgaudus praevideat; ad Magadoburg praevideat Aito; et ad Erpesfurt praevideat Madalgaudus; et ad Halazstat praevideat item Madalgaudus; ad Foracheim et ad Breemberga et ad Ragenisburg praevideat Audulfus, et ad Lauriacum Warnarius. Et ut arma et brunias non ducant ad venundandum; quod si inventi fuerint portantes, ut omnis substantia eorum auferatur ab eis, dimidia quidem pars partibus palatii, alia vero medietas inter iamdictos missos et inventorem dividatur).

The Ansegisi Abbatis Capitularium collection contains a similar list:


Here is a map with the place names (some based on guesses, as noted above):


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September 6, 2016