Monthly Archives: October 2016

The Slavs of Ibn Khurradādhbih (or Ibn Khordadbeh)

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We have previously touched upon the work of the Persian spymaster and geographer Abu’l-Qasim Ubaydallah ibn Abdallah Ibn Khurradadhbih or Ibn Khordadbeh (circa 820 – circa 911) in the context of Radhanite and Rus traders.  But we did not include all the “Slavic” references made by this author.  Here we complete the Slavic excerpts from his Book of Roads and Countries (or The Book of Roads and Provinces) or, as it is also known, Kitāb al-Masālik wa l-mamālik.  Ibn Khordadbeh was the son of a governor and general of the Abbasids (the Abdallah referred to above) and the grandson of a Khorasani convert from Zoroastrianism (the Khurradadhbih referred to above).

The first “scientific” Western edition of this work were de Meynard’s (1865) and M.J. de Goeje’s Classic Editions (1889).

krtz

I
Quibla of the inhabitants of all lands

The inhabitants of Armenia, Adarbaijan, Baghdad, Was it, Qufa, al-Mada’in, Basra, Hulwan, ad-Dinawar, Nahawand, Hamadan, Isbahan, ar-Rajj, Tabaristan, all of Khurassan, the country of al-Hazar and Quasmir in India orient themselves during prayers towards this wall Quaba, in which there are its doors.  [Along the horizon,] this wall stretches from the North Pole towards the left up until the middle of the East.

II
Titles of the kings of the Earth

The King of Iraq, whose commonly called Quisra, [was called] Sahansah, the King of ar-Rum, commonly referred to as Quaisar [Caesar], is called Basil, the kings of the Turks, at -Tubat and al-Hazar [are] all [called] Haqan [khagan/khan] with the exception of the King al-Harluh, who they call Gabgujah.  The King as-Sin [is called] Bagbur.  They are all descendants of Afaridun.  The greatest king of India [is called] Balhara which means the “king of kings”.  The other rulers of India include: Gaba, king al-Taqan, king al-Gurz, Gaba and Rahma and king Qamrub. King az-Zabag [is called] al-Fungab, the king of Nubia [is called] Qabil, the king of Abissinia [is called] an-Nagasi, the king of the islands of the Eastern Sea [is called] al-Maharag, king as-Saqalib [of the Slavs] [is called] Qnaz [knyaz].

byzantz

III

Rumiya, Burgan, the countries of as-Saqalib [of the Slavs] and al-Abar [lie] to the north of al-Andalus.

IV (35)

From the Western Sea there come Slavic, Byzantine [ar-Rum], Frankish and Langobard eunuchs, as well as Byzantine and Andalusian slave women and beaver pelts and other furs.  From among the fragrances [they bring] al-mama and from medicines – mastic.  From the depths of that sea near Francia they harvest bussed which is commonly called corral.

V

As regards the sea located beyond the Slav country, there lies at its shore a city called Tulija.  No ship sails that sea nor any boat and nothing is brought from it either.

VI

Thereafter comes Abidus at the strait.  From there lies the road to the Strait of Constantinople [i.e., Bosphorus].  This is the sea that is also called Buntus [the Pontus].  It lies to the side of the Khazar Sea.

VII

The distance of the entire Strait, from the Khazar Sea to the Syrian Sea is 320 miles.  There sail through it [i.e., the the Strait of Bosphorus] ships from the islands of the Khazar Sea and those parts and there sail it upwards [in the other direction, ships] coming from the Syrian Sea towards al-Qustantinija [Constantinople].

Muslim ibn Abi Muslim al-Garmi says, we are told, that there are fourteen Byzantine provinces, which their king gave to his lieutenants to rule.  Of these three are beyond the Strait.  The first of these is the province Tafla.  This is the province of al-Qustantinija [Constantinople].  On its east side it borders on the Strait all the way till its end at the Syrian Sea; on the west side its border is the wall that runs from the Khazar to the Syrian Sea and whose length one travels in four days. – which wall is two days’ journey from al-Qustantinija [Constantinople]; on the south side the Syrian Sea forms its border; on the north side, the Khazar Sea.

The second province that lies beyond this one, is the Taraqian province.  Its boundary on the east side is the wall, on the south side the Maqadun province, on the west side the Burgan country, on the north the Khazar Sea.  Its length is fifteen days’ journey, its width is three days’ [journey].  There are nine castles there.

The third province is the Maqadun province.  Its boundary on the east side is the wall, on the south side the Syrian Sea, on the West side the country of the Slavs and on the north, Burgan.  Its length is fifteen days’ journey, its width is five days’ [journey].  There are three castles there.

IX (76)

In ar-Rum [Byzantine Empire] there are 12 batriqs whose number neither decreases nor increases.  Six of them reside at al-Qustantinija [Constantinople] at the side of ar-Tagiy [the tyrant] and six in the other provinces: batriq of Ammuria, batriq of Anquira [Ankara], batriq of Armenia, batriq of Taraquiya which lies beyond al-Qustantinija [Constantinople]  in the direction of Burgan, batriq of Siquilya [Sicily] which is a great island as well as a great kingdom that lies opposite from Ifriqiya [Africa], batriq of Sardiniya [Sardinia].  This last one [last batriq] is the master of all the islands in the sea.

X (87)

[A traveler] leaves [the caliphate] through the Darb-as Salam [the safety gate] and stops at al-Ullaqj, next at ar-Rahwa, next at ar-Gawzat, next at al-Gardaqub [this is clearly a Slavic name related to gard], next at Hisn asSaqaliba [the stronghold of the Slavs]*, next at al-Budandun.**

zanti

* Various locations have been proposed such as Anasha-Kalesi (near Bozanti (Podandos) in Idlib).  Another possibility is the Cappadocian Hasin which was also mentioned by Ibn al-stir and Ibn Haldun which lay in the Cappadocian lands that fell to the Arabs of Harun al-Rashid in 806.  This appears to be a location either of Slavic settlers resettled there by the Byzantines (from Europe) or refugees/deserters from the Byzantine army (in which case the city would likely be in Arab territory).  The Hisn asSaqaliba seems different from the madinat as-Saqaliba (the city of the Slavs) which appears in the works of al-Ya’qubi and the later al-Ṭabarī.

** Or al-Badandun – likely the Byzantine Podandos/Podendos, i.e., Bozanti.

fortre

XI

Al-Garbi [meaning the North] is a country in the north… It is here that you find Armenia, Adarbaygan, ar-Rajj, Dumawand [today’s Demawend]… Therein lies too Tabaristan… Here you find [the people] of al-Babr, at-Tajalasan, al-Hazar [the Khazars], al-Lan, as-Saqalib [the Slavs]* and al-Abar [the Avars].

* agreement with Masudi.

XII (100)

The provinces Arran, Gurzan [Georgia was overran by the Arabs in the 7th and the Khazars in the 8th century] and as-Sisagan belonged to the kingdom of al-Hazar [the Khazars].

XIII

The city of Samandar beyond al-Ban and the lands beyond it is in the hands of the Khazars.

XIV (106)

The road between Gurgan [Jurjan] [Hyrcania or Verkâna] and Hamlih [Khamlij], a city of Khazaria is a northern road and it is for this reason that I mention it here.  From Gurgan [Jurjan] to Hamlih [Khamlij] which lies on a river* that flows down from the country as-Saqaliba [of the Slavs] and comes into the Gurgan [Jurjan] [or Caspian] Sea, are eight days’ [journey] by sea if the wind holds.  And these are the cities of Khazaria: Hamlih [Khamlij], Balangar and al-Bayda.  As al-Buhturi says: ‘There is greatness which he added in Iraqn to what he had been given in Hamlih [Khamlij] or Langar.’  Beyond al-Bab there is the king of Suwar**, king al-Lachs***, the king al-Lan, the king Filan, king al-Maqat, and the ‘Master of the Throne’ – the city of Samandar is also there.  This is the end of information about al-Garbi, the land of the north.

mapz

* The river is Volga.  The country of the Slavs refers either to Volga–Kama Bulgars who may have spoken Slavic at that point or to the country of the Novgorod Slavs or Ilmen Slavs close to whose territory were the Valdai Hills with the source of the Volga.

** Old Turkic name of the Khazars (also in Ibn al-Faqih north of Derbend).  Masudi knows it as Sabir.  Moses Khorenatsi has Savir between Semender and the River Atil or Volga (also capital of the Khazars).  The Savir state fell to the Avars in 558 and later it was reconstituted as a Khazar principality.

*** Perhaps the Lezgic tribes of southern Dagestan.

XV (119)

The routes of the Jewish merchants called al-Radhaniya [Radhanites]

for this section – see here

The routes of the Rus merchants

for this section – see here

The overland routes of the al-Radhaniya

for this section – see here

coin

A coin struck by Ibn Khurradadhbih’s governor father

XVI (180)

The inhabited Earth is divided into four parts:

Aruta [Europe] which contains al-Andalus [Spain], as-Saqalib [Slavonia], ar-Rum [Byzantine Empire], Firanga [Frankish Kingdom] and Tamga [Tangier] all the way to the border of Misr [Egypt].

Lubija which contains: Misr [Egypt], al-Qulzum, al-Habasa [Abyssinia], Berber [country], the country surrounding it and the Southern Sea…

Itjufija which contains Tihama, Yeman, Sind, India and China.

Isquitiya which contains Armenia, Khurassan, Turks and Khazars.

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October 30, 2016

The Two Lakes

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What do Lake Geneva and Lake Constance have to do with the Slavs?  At first, these (mostly) Swiss lakes appear to have very little to do with the Slavic peoples.  Indeed, the question may itself seem ridiculous.  And yet, there are a number of strange connections that, we think, may help solve some of the puzzle about the ancient composition of Europe.

satellitez

Let’s first start with the names.  Oddly they seem to relate to the story of Wanda and the “Lemannic” tyrant.

The Lemannic antagonist of Wanda is supposed to refer to an Alemannic – meaning German – opponent.  Kadlubek had studied in France and would have known the French term for Germans, i.e., Allemands.  The name, according to Agathias (or Quadratus), was supposed to mean “all men”.

And yet, Kadlubek uses the term Lemannic – not Alemannic.

The name Wanda has both a water connotation (wendka – fishing rod, wendzic – to smoke [a fish], i.e., get the water out) and an obvious connection to the Veneti (and, maybe, Vandals).

The fact that Lake Geneva was earlier called Lake Lemanus and Lake Constance (or Bodensee) was earlier called Lake Veneticus is another curious fact.

The fact that Jordanes speaks of Slavs as living as far as Lake Musianus and that Lake Veneticus is as late as the 17th century attested as being named Lake Musianus adds further aura of mystery.

Then you have the fact that the Alemanni supposedly never referred to themselves as such.  Instead, they went by Suevi (as per Walahfrid Strabo).  On the strange connections between Slavs and Suevi/Suavi, we’ve written ad nauseum.

And we know that Tiberius routed out the Vindelici out of the area.  We also know that the Vindelici may simply refer to those Vindi that lived by the River Lech and that the Vindelici may have bee a tribe of Liburnians.  (We know too that the Suevi used Liburnian ships in their worship of “Isidi”).

Further, the River Lech that runs near the ancient seats of the Vindelici just so happens to share its name with the eponymous founder of the Lechites, i.e., Poles, Pomeranians, etc.

And, of course, the Slavs are also known as Wends.

Going down this path, Lake Geneva (Lemanus) is named after the city of Geneva – the earlier Genava of Caesar.  Genava shares its etymological roots with Genoa (Genova) in Italy (Genova aka Stalia aka Zena in Ligurian).  Although Genoa was not in the (historically attested) lands of the Veneti, it was close…

We will leave for you the connection (if any) between the Ligurians and Liburnians.

Whether Lemanus may have a Slavic etymology (lemiesz – see Plaumorati) we also leave as a homework assignment.

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October 28, 2016

The Herbs Divine

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A Polish herbarium by Marcin of Urzędów (circa 1500 – 1573) contains an interesting passage regarding the worship of Diana (Devanna) in Poland when discussing the herb bylica.  The herbarium itself was published in 1595 (after Marcin’s death).  We present a translation of the entry on bylica:

herbarz1

Artemesia Valentina.  Herba Regia, Olus Regium.
in Polish called Bylica

“This herb was named, from the Greek word Artemesia, after Artemis, that is the Goddess Diana, whom others call Artemis in Greek.  For it was she who had discovered this herb and taught Greek ladies it use: and most noteworthy she taught Chyron, that illustrious doctor and he later taught the ladies the use of this herb.  For this reason these pagan [maidens] dedicated this herb to her and when the day [of Diana/Artemis] was celebrated some hung it up around houses while others girded it on: and this was done on the twenty fourth day of the moon [month] June, on our day of Saint John: and so they [the ladies] lit fires in the night, danced, praying and honoring the devil.  [And] this pagan custom they [women] refuse to forsake to this day, for so they make offerings of this herb hanging it and girding it on.  And they honour holidays of this devil [i.e., Diana/Artemis] by making sabaths [sobotki], burning fires, kindling fires with planks [sticks], so that there should be the right devilish holiness: there they sing devilish songs, obscene/filthy while dancing.  And the devil too jumps [i.e., dances], delighted that Christians are praying and honoring it, while they neglect the dear Lord for on the Day of Saint John you won’t find any peasants/villagers honoring the dear Lord but at the sabbath [sobotka] they will do all kinds of evils.”*

* that is, on the 24th of June, the villagers won’t be going to Church but will attend the various dances for Artemis/Diana.

herbarz2

“Some write that bylica, called Artemesia, was so named after that noble lady Queen Artemesia, who was the wife of King Mansedlus of Carissus, who by reason of her great love [for him] built him so illustrious a tomb that it one of its kind in the whole world, [and] about which so many historians write. And as regards the hanging of bylica around the homesteads, then this may perhaps have been tolerated but for the fact that they also so honoured the devil.  For so writes Pliny [Li 26, cap 10] that when it shall hang over the gates, doors or gateways, windows, then magic shall have no power over that house nor over the man that has it with him.”

herbarz3

“Dioscorides separately writes in his Kapitulum that there be three [types of] Artemesia.  The one he calls Platisfillos, Latifolia in Latin, and in Polish Bylica, [with] wide leaves.  And this is the true Bylica one is red and the other white.  The second one he names Leptofillos, Lennifolia in Latin, in Polish Maruna, this one we have named in the chapter Matricaria.  The third one he names MonoclonosTanacetu in Latin but incorrectly.  Fuchsius says that it should be Tages, and this bylica is called Tages Indicus, in Italian Gariofilli Dziuerni, in Polish Gwoździki zimne [cold] or Indian Gwoździki, which also sometimes grow in Poland, a beautiful and pretty flower: about this in more detail, [see] Fuchsius.”

herbarz4

Paulus writes that bylica has a warming effect… [the rest does not discuss pagan rituals any further]”

For prior entries on Dziewanna (Devanna) see here, hereherehere and here See also here for another relation to Diana.

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October 24, 2016

Solaris

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We already discussed some of the similarities between Slavic and other (or are they?) idols like the Krieger aus Hirschlanden here.  But take a look at the famous Światowid from Zbruch again here:

wits

and compare it with the so-called Taanach Cult Stand from Israel:

asherahz

The Światowid steele features a sun disk or solar symbol just like the Taanach column (albeit at a lower tier and mostly eroded) but the disk was hidden and an empty space is visible to the naked eye.

At least one scholar has suggested that the empty space in the second tier (from the bottom) of Taanach steele was meant to represent the concept of the incorporeal YHWH.  This is similar to the representation of God in the Jerusalem Temple which we are told the presence of God was marked simply by an empty space with two cherubim keeping guard.  See here for more.  Apparently, YHWH was initially also a Sun God.

Interestingly, it was the American author – Alexander Del Mar – that first suggested a connection between the Veneti and solar worship (allegedly via their God Jasius or Jason).  While some of his suggestions are a little bit unhinged, others appear quite interesting.

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October 23, 2016

Lingos

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We know from Procopius that Goths and Vandals spoke the same language.  It is assumed that that was some form of East Germanic – presumably Gothic.

eilz

Nevertheless, there is very little evidence of Vandalic language.  It is assumed further that the following passage referring to Gothic is really Vandalic:

scapiam

This comes from the so-called Latin Anthology put together first by Peter Burman the Younger and then by Alexander Riese.

scapi

The “Anthology” is a collection of Latin poems that came from various manuscripts.  The “Vandalic” above comes from an 8th century codex (the olim Salmasiani).

salma

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October 22, 2016

Walager

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One of the curiosities of Middle Age chronicles is the story of Walgierz found in the Greater Poland Chronicle.  It seems to be primarily based on the story of Walter of Aquitaine/Waltharius – the earliest version of which comes from the 9th century.  What is interesting about the Polish version (which also weaves in Polish legends and places) is that the Polish Walter’s name is Walgierz.  How did the “t” become a “g”?

It seems incorrectly.  That is the name should really have been Walcerz.  Why would this happen?  Here we should look to the similarities between the tales of Walter and those of Theodoric or Didrek of Bern (Dietrich von Bern).  Although these two appear to be separate heroes, there are hints that they may be one and the same person.  Intriguingly, the Polish “g” version may provide a solution or, the Didrek Saga may provide a solution to the Polish error.  The connection comes from Book I of Regino of Pruem’s Chronicle where he says under the years 413-420 [incorrect dating obviously]:

Theoderic, also called Walager, wasted Macedonia…”

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October 21, 2016

Are Poles Autochtonous to Poland?

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This question has been asked numerous times and some Poles obsess about it.  Based on everything that we’ve seen, the answer currently seems to be a qualified ‘yes’.

Why a ‘yes’ and why ‘qualified’?

cropped-picture2.png

Well, let’s start at the beginning.  First, of all, who do we mean by Poles?  This is simply the genetic nation.  Basically, the ‘Polish-looking’ population.  What does that mean though?  Well, you can extrapolate to saying the generally white, more specifically, ‘Eastern European’ population of Poland with their relatives (and, of course, their biological descendants, wherever in the world located).  Of course, there were some additions to (and subtractions from) that gene pool over historical time but the fundamental fabric of it has not really changed.  The description of Slavs given by Procopius (hair not too blonde, not too dark) still holds approximately true for Slavs everywhere and so too for Poles.

Virtually all of that nation, as with most Slavic nations, is derived from the peasant-farmers who had lived there over the course of the last millennium.  But what about before that?

Here we come to our qualified yes.

First of all, there is the technical question of the first usage of the name Poles for the nation that we described above.

On the one hand, it is true that the name ‘Poles’ does appear in relation to pre-10th century periods in the Nestor Chronicle and in certain Scandinavian documents.  On the other hand, the Nestor Chronicle was written in the early 12th century and it uses the name to refer to the Eastern (Kievan) Poles* whereas the antiquity of the tradition of the Scandinavian sources is debatable.

[* Interestingly though for anyone familiar with the eagle nest of the Lech legend, the Norse name hreiðr – which some connect with the Hreiðgoths of Hreiðgotaland – means “nest”.  The fact that the Western Poles had their early capital at Gniezno (meaning “nest”) while Gnezdovo was a major Slavic (Eastern Polanian?) and Viking site in Russia seems suspicious.  Add to that the fact that the Slavic for “burg” was gard or gord but also horod (see Horodło/Городло) and that the concept of a “home” or “nest” and a protected enclosure (as in a burg) are quite obviously related and you cannot help but wonder what this all means.  For more fun note that rod is also the name for clan or family just as ha-rod is the name for nation.  Since the latter is related to “birthing” it is not too much of a stretch to tie that too to the “nest”.  For more fun yet just see the Lombard king name Lethuc]

bezg

All in all, we can accept that the name ‘Poles’ – as relating to the inhabitants of present-day Poland – appears for the first time around the turn of the millennium.  That said, however, not much of an inference can be drawn from the fact that first attested use is so late.  

While some BS purveyors have claimed that the name was “invented” around the year 1000 in conjunction with the state-building activities of the Piast dynasty, such a claim is pure speculation.  For one thing, there are very few sources regarding Polish territories prior to the 11th century.  Consequently, given such source material paucity, one cannot reasonably equate the first attested appearance of the name with any “invention” of it (and the fact that the name was very likely used for Eastern Polans around Kiev speaks against attributing it to the Piasts’ creativity). (Take the name “Germans”.  It was clearly not “invented” the first time some Roman mason etched the name Germani in Italian stone).  

More importantly, even an invention of the name would have no relevance to the issue any more than the invention of the Polish state.  The ancestors of the American Anglo-Saxons existed before the name Americans ever became known and the history of that “American” people certainly did not begin only in 1787 with the creation of the modern American state (Jamestown was founded in 1607 – interestingly, the first Poles and Germans arrived there just a year later) .

So too with the Poles.  It appears the same people (whatever may have been their name) lived in the territories of Piast (and today’s) Poland not only around year 1000 but also around the year 1 and, likely, a thousand years before.  Hints of this appear not only in the historiography (Legii, Lechites, Licikaviki) of the region but also in the anthropological studies and, most recently, in genetic studies.  We will not get into detail regarding the same here.  Nevertheless, population continuity of the Central European Plain since at least 1000 BC may – tentatively – be assumed.  (The same may also be true of other Slavs (Belarussians, Ukrainians, Slovenes (they had their own Veneti too) and, maybe, Czechs and Slovaks)).

What this does not mean is that the people who lived in Poland were Poles by name.  It also does not mean that these people spoke the same language as they speak today (or as they spoke a millennium ago).  It further does not mean that other tribes (or warrior bands) did not pass through “Polish” territory or that these bands did not form their own “states” on that territory (or bring their own language?).  Nor does it mean, in the longer horizon, that these “Poles” did not come “out of Africa” (that’s a separate discussion in any event) or even that they were the “first” humans in Poland.

But it does mean, again, that more or less the same people – by blood – have lived in the same geographic space as far back as we can tell (and, more obviously, the nation, as defined above, must have had a northern Urheimat since the lighter hair and skin are unlikely to have come with the original migrants from Africa).

Thus, it seems more than likely that the people of Biskupin were, after all, what we could call proto-Poles.

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October 17, 2016

Saint Amand’s Fail Among the Danubian Slavs

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Amandus (circa 575 – circa 676) aka Saint Amand of Maastricht was a bishop of Tongeren-Maastricht and one of the Christian missionaries in Flanders.  The primary source for the details of his life is the, appropriately named, Vita Sancti Amandi, an eighth-century Saint’s Lives text written by Beaudemond/Baudemundus and later expanded by Philippe of Aumône.

amat

During the course of his rather unusually long life, Saint Amand also tried his hand at converting the Slavs (probably the Carantanians) which, it turns out, did not go so well.  We present here chapter 16 of the Vita which deals with that episode (and is yet another very early mention of Slavs).  The events described below likely took place immediately prior to or during the reign of Samo.

amanti1

“When the holy man saw that his preaching had already converted some, he still burnt with a great desire to convert others and when he heard that the Slavs, horribly misled by the lies of the devil who’d bound and oppressed them, [and] especially convinced that he could win the prize of martyrdom, he crossed the Danube in the same places to free them by preaching the Gospel of Christ.   [Yet] only a few of those turned to Christ and seeing himself not increasing the fruit and not able to obtain martyrdom which he’d always sought, he returned again to his own sheep, to care for their needs and induce them, by preaching, to turn to the heavenly kingdom.”

amantus2

(Cum iam vir sanctus videret praedicatione sua nonnullos converti, et adhuc maiori aestuans desiderio, quatenus adhuc alii converterentur, audivit, quod Sclavi, nimio errore decepti, a diaboli laqueis tenerentur oppressi, maximeque martyrii palmam se adsequi posse confidens, transfraetato Danubio, eadem circumiens loca, libera voce euangelium Christi gentibus praedicabat.  Paucisque ex his in Christo regeneratis, videns etiam sibi minime adcrescere fructum et martyrium, quem semper quaerebat, minime adepturum, ad proprias iterm reversus est oves, curamque gerens earum, ad caelestia regna praedicando perduxit.)

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October 17, 2016

The Slavs of Flodoard of Reims

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Flodoard of Reims (circa 894 – 28 March 966) was a “canon, chronicler, and presumed archivist of the cathedral church of Reims in the West Frankish kingdom during the decades following the dissolution of the Carolingian Empire”.  He was an author of several works including his Annals (Annales) as well as of the history of the Church of Reims and of three (surviving) poems.

chronica

The Annals of Flodoard of Reims (covering the years 919 – 966) contain few mentions of the Slavs.  Nevertheless, there are some.  Here are all those mentions.  The translation is that of Steven Fanning and Bernard Bachrach (of Widukind fame).

As an added bonus, we note that Reims itself sits on the river Vesle.  Its etymology supposedly goes back to Vesula (the good river) or Vidula (river in the woods) – seemingly of Gallic origin.  For the Slavic derivation see here.  Regarding the strangely Slavic-sounding names in northern France/portions of Belgium see here.  On other mentions of the Vistula (Vidsla, Wyeslale, Wiesle, see here and here).

***

[6F] “Henry [king of Germany] was in the lands bordering on the Sarmatians [i.e., Slavs] when he, like Raoul [Rudolf, king of Francia], fell ill and was delayed for the entire summer.  Meanwhile, a dispute arose between Gislebert [of Lotharingia] and his brother Ragenarius, as eel as conflict between Otho [son of count Ricinus/Ricwin of Verdun] and Boso [son of Richard the Justiciar].  The result was killings, fires and raids by both sides.  The Northmen made a peace with the Franks by oaths, due to the efforts of Count Hugh [the Great], Count Heribert [of Vermandois], and Archbishop Seulfus because King Raoul was absent.  However, with the king’s consent, more lands were conceded to the Northmen in a pact of peace, that is, Maine and the Bessin.”

[32D] “King Otto laid siege to Prague*, the great urbs of the Wends.  He received their king in subjection and made the Magyars submit to him.”

* Only Flodoard mentions the siege of Prague here.  Widukind speaks (at 3.8) of the siege of Nimburg/Nymburk, east of Prague.

[37C] “A very large force of Magyars attacked Bavaria, seeking to invade Francia.  King Otto, along with Boleslav, the princeps of the Sarmatians,* and Conrad [of Lotharingia], who was now reconciled to the king, fought against them.  He cut down the Magyars, almost annihilating them.  However, Conrad, who had fought very bravely that day and had inspired the king to victory, was killed.**”

* Boleslav I (926-967), the duke, or king of Bohemia.

** the reference here is to the Battle of Lechfeld on August 10, 955.

[37D] “After this war, King Otto fought against two kings of the Sarmatians and with the support of King Boleslav,* who had submitted to him shortly before, he gained the victory.”

* Flodoard uses the title “rex“; same form used in Widukind who speaks of Boleslav as king of the Bohemians (at 3.8, 3.69).

[40B] “King Otto made war against the Sarmatians…”

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October 10, 2016