Saint Emmeram died a martyr’s death about 652 (but maybe as late as 715) (at Ascheim). His gallant heroics concerning the fair maiden (or not so much) Uta earned him a Vita written about him – the Vita et passio Sancti Haimhrammi Martyri which was probably written by Bishop Arbeo of Freising circa 770.
The Vita mentions the mission of Saint Emmeram to the lands of the Thuringians and the Porathanorum, a people “ignorant of God”:
“Quidam vero qui ehm exinde redimerat genti Duringorum partibus aquilonis tradidit in confinio Parahtanorum gentis, quae ignorant Deum. Cumque se praedictus senex gentilium idolorumque cultoribus proximum cerneret, coepit viribus, ut potuit, domino suo temporali tam praesenti quam absenti dignum omnino praebere famulatum.” [version B below]
It seems that the Po-rathanorum were the same as the Ratanz-winidi of whom we spoke earlier. The Po- is the Slavic prefix indicating “by” as in Po-meranians or Po-labians. The Po-rathanorum were the Slavs who lived by the Ratanz River (today’s Regnitz).
It is possible that Arbeo was projecting his own time onto that of over a century earlier of course but the fact that he also mentions the Thuringians who were largely pagan too then suggests otherwise.
We will have more to say about the Slavs of the Bamberg area but for now we will leave you with this thought: Bamberg seems to have been named for the nearby Babenburg. Babenburg seems to have been settled as early as 600 A.D. And why is it called Babenburg? Google archaeological finds in the area – you might come across sculptures such as these Three Fellas (discovered in 1858 – anyone tell you that?):
Did we mention that Saint Emmeram died at Ascheim?
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