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States with a predominantly Slavic-speaking population:
  • Eastern Slavs
  • Western Slavs
  • South Slavs
  • The Slavs are the largest group of ethnic groups in Europe in terms of population , and they have mainly inhabited eastern Central Europe , Eastern Europe and Southeastern Europe since the 6th century . Slavic languages belong to the Indo-European language family .

    Settlement areas

    States with Slavic titular nations are:

    Large Slavic minorities (around 15 to 35% of the population) live in the states of Lithuania , Latvia , Estonia , Kazakhstan and Moldova, which were formerly part of the Soviet Union . In Germany and Austria , apart from the large population group of Slavic immigrants, live the autochthonous Slavic ethnic groups of the Sorbs in Lusatia , the Croats in Burgenland , the Czechs and Slovaks in Vienna and the Slovenes in Carinthia and Styria . Furthermore, the Slavic Kashubian minority lives in the north of Poland and the Slavonic minority of the Russians in the extreme southwest of Ukraine and Slovakia .


    Spread of the Slavic languages

    The Slavic languages form one of the subgroups of the Indo-European languages and are here closest to the Baltic languages , presumably through a preceding Baltic -Slavic intermediate stage (which some disputed) . There are three main branches, East Slavic , West Slavic and South Slavic .

    The numerous mutual borrowings between Slavic and Germanic characterize the long neighborhood that still exists today.

    Non-Indo-European Hungarian has adopted the names of most days of the week and some other terms from Slavic languages.

    Origins and Spread

    The Roman Empire under Hadrian (reign 117-138 AD). The settlement area of ​​the Venedi was between the Baltic Sea and the Carpathian Mountains
    The spread of the Slavic language in the 5th to 10th centuries

    In the lively and by no means concluded discussion about the origin of the Slavs, two completely different research approaches face each other. Based on the basic assumption that the Slavs have an area of ​​origin, the classic conception is based on the immigration of one or more homogeneous "ancient Slavic" groups, whose identity and origin they seek to determine ("original home"). According to an older model, homogeneous associations should have immigrated, while according to a modified thesis, the Slavic peoples only formed on the migration or at the place of arrival as part of an ethnogenesis from the wandering Protoslavs. Linguists in particular have assumed that the Slavic “original home” was a region north of the Carpathian Mountains between the upper Vistula , the middle Dnepr and Desna .

    In contrast, the Romanian-American researcher Florin Curta has made the claim that the Slavs as an ethno-political category were a Byzantine discovery in the form of a foreign name, i.e. a categorization from outside. Curta's theses have led to a lively debate in which interpretations of archaeological cultures that have long been considered safe are being reconsidered as “Slavic”.


    From the 1st century onwards, Pliny the Elder , Tacitus and Ptolemy of Alexandria mention in different spellings a people of the " Venetians " (Venedi / Venethi / Venadi or Ouenedai) , who settled east of the Vistula or on the Danzig Bay . Thus it is clearly differentiated - already geographically - from the Venetians of the Alpine region.

    An ethnic continuity of Venethi / Venedi and Wenden is doubted in modern research.

    The reservations are based on the late appearance of ceramics that can undoubtedly be assigned to the Slavs. However, this so-called early Slavic ceramics is essentially characterized by its simplicity and inconspicuousness. Between the older cultures of the same region and early Slavic ceramics lie the legacies of the Goths' storm , and the Getica des Jordanes tell of the subjugation of the various peoples by the Goths.

    Slave oi

    At the time of Emperor Justinian I (527-565) Slavs and Antes then came into the field of vision of Eastern Roman historians such as Prokopios of Caesarea , Jordanes, Agathias and in the following time Menander Protektor and Theophylactus Simokates . They tell of numerous slavins (Slavs) and Anten who invaded the Danube provinces of the Eastern Roman Empire from the Carpathian Mountains , the Lower Danube and the Black Sea .

    Prokopios wrote that the Antes and Slavs were the same in almost everything, had the same customs, and spoke the same language. In modern research it is disputed whether the antes were of Slavic origin; other hypotheses assume, among other things, Iranian origin.

    The strategicon of Maurikios depicts Slavs as capable swimmers and divers, who fought as guerrillas in swamps and mountains on foot and provided archers and javelin throwers.

    Jordanes wrote in the Getica that Sclaveni , Antes and Venethi are different names for the same group. According to him, the Sclaveni settled between the Vistula and the Danube and the Antes between the Dniester and Don .

    The Slavs also advanced in the areas that had been evacuated by Germanic groups in the course of the migration .

    Arabic sources

    Among Arab authors of the Middle Ages, Ibrahim ibn Jaqub is particularly important, who in the 10th century visited and described Mecklenburg , the seat of the tribal kings of the West Slavic tribal union of the Abodrites , and also mentioned their ruler Nakon by name. In addition, he traveled extensively and described Prague , the center of the emerging Duchy of Bohemia . Like Cracow, he was the first author to mention the city of Prague . As the earliest source, it documents the emerging Polish state under Duke Mieszko I , who appears by name. He also mentioned the center of Hevelli , the Brandenburg and the Sorbs , the Rus , the Prussians , the Moravians , the Slavicized Danube Bulgarians who guduscani and Dudleben , which he calls a ruler who often Wenzel the Saint of Bohemia is identified . Elsewhere he names his brother Boleslav I of Bohemia . Another traveler in Arabic was Ahmad ibn Rustah , who also portrayed the Kievan Rus and their society in the 10th century alongside the society of Croatia , Bulgaria , and Moravia . He and a few other geographers mentioned a city which, according to location and name, was the first political center of the East Slavic Vyatiches in the region around the later Moscow , perhaps old Moscow itself, which was founded under its current name around 1147, according to archaeological criteria Investigations was already an important Vyatich center. A later traveler through the Volga countries, the principalities of Russia and Hungary in the 12th century was Abu Hamid al-Gharnati , who, for example, described Kiev .

    Detailed descriptions of the agricultural, commercial, political and religious conditions in Kievan Rus and neighboring Slavic countries were given by several Muslim geographers, especially Al-Masʿūdī , Ibn Hauqal , but also Ibn Chordadhbeh , Abū Zaid al-Balchī , in Hudud al-Alam and others passed down, but they had not seen the countries themselves, but obtained their information from mostly Waragan mercenaries and traders ( Rus , in contrast to the peasant Saqāliba ) and other traders, travelers and geographers. Some geographical information is difficult to identify today and sometimes the term Saqāliba ("Slavs") is only used as an imprecise geographical collective term for residents of East-Central, Southeastern and Eastern Europe. These occasional deficiencies in the geographical description of distant countries have already been reflected in the Hudud al-Alam.

    More common is news about individuals or groups of Saqāliba in the Diaspora who appeared in or near Islamic rule - traders, mercenaries, slaves, military slaves, dignitaries, etc.

    Modern research discussions

    Slavic tribes in the 7th to 9th centuries

    In the 19th and 20th centuries, often bitter and mostly nationalist- tinged debates were sought for a “ primeval home ” of the Slavs, as “peoples” could only be imagined as homogeneous units. In the meantime, however, it has been recognized that the various historical disciplines such as archeology , historiography and linguistics have their own specific sources and information that cannot easily be put together to form an overall picture. However, they all have great methodological difficulties in approaching ethnogenesis with the help of their sources . Polish and Czech scholars in particular assumed that the prehistoric Slavs could be identified with the Lusatian culture . German and English-speaking scholars rejected this thesis mainly as speculative.

    Only when they are mentioned in the Eastern Roman sources do the Slavs become tangible as a historical greatness, although this large group need by no means have appeared as an ethnically homogeneous group, although it was seen as such from the outside. Newly formed large associations from the time of the Great Migration were mostly fragile and polyethnic. They were made up of people and groups of different origins who were held together by a belief in a common ideology and culture as well as a common ancestry, but who did not necessarily have to be based on a common culture and common language . Ethnogenesis is a historical process, at the end of which in this case there was the historically tangible “people” of the Slavs. For the formation of the Slavic language (topogenesis) an area between the middle Vistula or Bug and the middle Dnepr could be worked out with some probability . However, it was not only the migration of the bearers of this language, but also the assimilation of people of different origins that led to the "Slavization" of East Central and Eastern Europe.

    In the following centuries Slavs gradually settled in this way large areas of Central and Eastern Europe , stretching from the Black and Aegean Sea to the Baltic Sea and the Ilmensee, as well as from the Elbe , the Saale , the Bohemian Forest , the Inn , the Alps and the Adriatic to the Upper Don and Lower Dnieper stretched.

    Archaeological evidence

    The early Slavic Hohennauen-Witzke castle wall in Havelland (7th to 9th centuries)

    The great abundance of archaeological finds gives extensive information about the material culture and way of life of the Slavic population in the various settlement periods.

    The archaeological evidence of the early Slavs (6th – 8th centuries) shows hardly any differences in the entire settlement area between the Black Sea and the middle Elbe. The ceramic is hand-formed and often undecorated. Typical evidence are the remains of Slavic ramparts in the former settlement area.

    In the discussion about the classification of different regional groups, reference is made again and again to the very small differences in material culture. Therefore today a distinction is only made between regional ceramic groups.

    The earliest archaeological groups are the Prague Kortschak group ( Prague group , Kortschak group , Sukow Dziedzice group ) in east- central Europe and the Penkowka group in south-east Europe.

    Expansion of the Western Slavs

    West Slavic tribes in the 9th and 10th centuries

    Towards the end of the 5th century the central Danube region (today's Slovakia, Hungary, probably also today's South Moravia ) and around 550 or in the second half of the 6th century also Bohemia were settled by Slavs. At the same time, after the Lombards withdrew , the Slavs began to spread from the Danube via Pannonia , Noricum and Carnia , and gradually settled in what is now Upper Austria north of the Danube and Lower Austria , Styria , Carinthia , Carniola and East Tyrol . In the 7th century the Slavic settlement area extended to the Elbe and Saale, further south into the river areas of the upper Main (to Ochsenfurt ), Regnitz and northern Naab. Of present-day Poland, only the extreme northeast was not Slavic. The Baltic Prussians settled there .

    Southern Western Slavs

    In 623, as a reaction to the occupation of Pannonia by the Avars in the 60s of the 6th century, the southern Western Slavs formed the empire of Samo with the assumed center in the southern March area .

    In the 9th century the Moravian Empire emerged as an important empire formation in the area of ​​today's Moravia and Slovakia . The written language was Old Church Slavonic, written in Cyrillic . At the beginning of the 10th century, the empire fell apart under the invasion of the nomadic tribes of the Hungarians ( Magyars ). After the end of the Moravian Empire, new centers of power emerged from which today's states have developed, the Empire of the Přemyslids in Bohemia , the basis of today's Czech Republic , and that of the Piasts in Poland . Today's Slovakia came bit by bit, mostly until 1100, under the rule of the Magyars and for centuries was the north of the Kingdom of Hungary (cf. Austroslavism ).

    Northern West Slavs

    Replica of a Slavic merchant ship

    The starting point and time frame of the Slavic settlement between the Elbe and the Oder are still difficult to determine.

    Originally, the research was based on different immigrant groups and directions of immigration. This was based on the idea of ​​large, ethnically and politically homogeneous migrant associations, which, as closed tribal associations, reached the area between the Elbe and Oder in waves. These assumptions were confirmed by appropriately interpreted excavation finds and linguistic discoveries. According to this, the Sukow-Szeligi -type ceramics should be assigned to the tribes of the first wave of immigration who crossed the Oder from the east . On the other hand, one saw in the carriers of the type of the Prague ceramic trunks coming from the southeast along the Elbe to the mouth of the Saale . The multiple occurrence of ethnic names such as the Abodrites, Serbs / Sorbs and Croats in Central Europe on the one hand and in Southeastern Europe on the other hand was seen as evidence of the splitting up of originally larger tribal associations. In addition, differences in burial forms and in house and castle construction were highlighted.

    In the meantime, attempts to identify different groups of immigrants for the early days of Slavic settlement are considered to have failed. The more recent findings on ethnogenesis speak against the existence of politically and ethnically homogeneous migration groups and their continued existence in the new settlement areas. When interpreting the archaeological finds, their similarities are highlighted and differences explained by regional environmental influences. Similar tribal names apply as a result of the use of the same name.

    Sclavinia, Germania, Gallia and Roma pay homage to Emperor Otto III. , Master of the Reichenau School, Gospels of Emperor Otto III. , around 1000

    In Schleswig-Holstein , the northern end point of Slavic immigration, settlement is archaeologically verifiable from the middle of the 8th century. The oldest settlement finds are the remains of a Slavic village near Bosau, dated "around / after 726" and the wall of Alt-Lübeck, dated around 730. Timbers of the plank path from the Klempauer Moor come from the year 760/61 and that Well wood from the outer bailey settlement of Alt-Lübeck from the time of 769. A wood from Scharstorf comes from the year 770 without any connection to the findings. Earlier dates based on the C14 method are now considered very dubious. For Brandenburg , Slavic settlement is assumed as early as the late 7th century.

    The westernmost known prince's seat was the Wagrian Aldinburg (Slav. Starigard = Old Castle) on the Baltic Sea, today's Oldenburg in Holstein (today still large visible ramparts and Wall Museum ), at the same time an important trading center for the Baltic Sea trade with relation to the Saxon Hamburg and the Viking settlement of Haithabu . The neighborly relations in northern Germany were not always peaceful. In the 9th and 10th centuries there were multiple raids on Hamburg, in 1066 Haithabu was plundered by the Slavs, and in the 11th century the Slavic trading town Vineta was destroyed.

    The Christianization of the Northwest Slavs began under Emperor Otto I via the archbishoprics of Magdeburg and Hamburg. Dioceses emerged in Oldenburg , Merseburg , Meißen , Zeitz (moved to Naumburg (Saale) in 1028 ), Brandenburg and Havelberg .

    After Rethra was destroyed as the religious center of the northern Western Slavs in the winter of 1068/69, the temple castle at Cape Arkona on the island of Rügen took over its rank until this last important sanctuary in 1168 by the Christian Danes under Waldemar, who were allied with Henry the Lion I. Was destroyed.

    In the Middle Ages after the beginning of the 13th century, a great number of Germans moved to these areas, which were only sparsely populated after two centuries of war ( Slavs uprising , Wendenkreuzzug ), and the Slavs were absorbed by the Germans ( eastern settlement in Germania Slavica ). Although the Slavic language largely died out in these areas at the end of the 16th century, except in Lusatia, many Slavic place and family names have survived to this day (for example Buckow = beech or Kretzschmer = Krüger), some of which are “Slavic” names of places, fields and waters originated from older Germanic names (e.g. Spree = the spray end).

    Several tribes lived in what is now Poland. The land on both sides of the Vistula as far as the Wipper was inhabited by the Polanen (field inhabitants) or Lechen tribe , who in the 10th century formed the core of the emerging state of Poland and joined forces with the Mazovians and other smaller tribes. The capital of the state founded by Prince Mieszko I was Gniezno . The Slavs living between the Wipper estuary and the Oder near the Baltic Sea were called Pomorans , from po morju ("by the sea").

    Expansion of the Eastern Slavs

    Parts of the Slavic silver treasure from Martyniwka , Ukraine (around 550–650 AD)

    The exact time and process of settlement of the East Slavic tribes is unclear.

    The following groups are mentioned for the period from the 9th century:


    The Eastern Slavs were initially pagans and had a pantheon of gods, among which the thunder god Perun had a prominent position.

    Using the route from the Varangians to the Greeks via the Eastern European river system, Viking traders, settlers and warriors traveled to the Eastern Slavic area, which they called Gardarike because of its numerous castles and cities . These people, called Varangians or Rus , united the entire region of what is now northern Ukraine, Belarus and western Russia towards the end of the 9th century to form the first East Slavic empire, the Kievan Rus ( Christian from 988 ).

    In the late Middle Ages , the Eastern Slavs split up into Belarusians , Ukrainians and Russians , the latter spreading from the late 16th century and increasingly in the 19th and 20th centuries along the Trans-Siberian Railway to the Pacific .

    Spread of today's southern Slavs

    The Slavs in Southeast Europe (1869)

    In the late late antiquity , in the 6th century, the Slavs advanced over the lower Danube ( abandoned by the Visigoths in the 5th century ) to Moesia , Thrace , Illyria , Macedonia and the Peloponnese . The church historian John of Ephesus reports of a great Slavic invasion since 581, which for the first time had a permanent settlement as its goal. In fact, the Slavs began to settle in the Balkans soon afterwards, but this almost became an episode due to Maurikios' Balkan campaigns . In the 7th century, most of the Slavs' conquest of the Balkans took place (see also slave lines ), but this did not lead to the complete elimination of the original population. The exact processes of the Slavic “land grab” are the subject of lively scientific discussions, which also include political and national motives. One example is Fallmerayer's outdated thesis , according to which the modern Greeks are exclusively Hellenized Slavs.

    From the middle of the 6th century, Slavs also settled in the Eastern Alps . The migration of the Lombards to Italy (568) favored the colonization of large parts of Pannonia by Slavs. Around 600, the Alpine Slavs, ancestors of today's Slovenes , fought against the Bavarians on the Upper Drava and advanced as far as Italy. Its expansion was stopped by a chain of Lombard fortresses (Limes Langobardorum) along the eastern edge of Friuli .

    According to the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII , the Croats and Serbs invaded the Danube in the first half of the 7th century and, after the Avars were driven out, settled in Pannonia , Dalmatia and the rest of Illyricum .

    In the second half of the 7th century, a part of the Proto- Bulgarians arrived on the eastern Balkan Peninsula and founded the Bulgarian Empire there in 681. The Asiatic cavalry people very quickly mixed with the original Slavic population and formed the present-day Slavic people of the Bulgarians .

    At the end of the 7th century, the great western and southern migrations of the Slavs were completed.


    As a historical people, the Slavs first appear under the names of the Serbs ( Spurs ) and the Venetians . They lived under this name until the 5th century in the countries between the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea, between the Carpathian Mountains and the Don, from the upper Volga to Novgorod and from there to the divide of the Vistula and the Oder . Around the 6th century, the names Anten (for the Eastern Slavs, although the historical Anten people were perhaps not Slavic at all) and (for some Western Slavs) Slověne (see above under the expansion of today's Western Slavs) appear. However, both did not last long as a term for the whole, and the name Serbs narrowed down to the naming of individual Slavic tribes. The name Venetians became Wenden , the name of the Slavs among the Germans (for today's Sorbs). The term Slavs has been common at least since the early Middle Ages; Adam von Bremen calls them Sclavi in his chronicle of the Archdiocese of Hamburg .

    Alongside other Slavists, the Sorbian scholar Heinz Schuster-Šewc also writes in his treatise on the history and geography of the ethnic name Sorb / Serb / Sarb / Srb , according to which the Serbian name should be derived from the original Slavic * sĭrb- " slurp ", cf. Old Eastern Slavic sereblju , Lithuanian srebiù , Albanian gjerb , Latin sorbeō , ancient Greek rhophéōslurp ”, Armenian arbi “drank”, Hittite sarāpi “sips” (presupposed Urindo-European root * srebʰ-slurp ” according to LIV ). The semantic development was then found further in Srb for brothers and sisters after breast milk, i.e. those who were suckled by the same mother without necessarily being related by blood. This was followed by the name for members of the same family or clan and later for members of the same tribe. Others want to associate the Serbian name with the ancient Sarmatians . The Slavist Pavol Jozef Šafárik (1795–1861) as well as Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646–1716) were of the opinion that Srb was originally the proper name of all Slavs. In any case, the Serbian-Sorbian name with the historical appearance of both the Serbs and the Sorbs in the 7th century stood for tribesmen, relatives, allies.

    The meaning of the terms Venetians , slaves , spurs and antes mentioned in the Byzantine sources is controversial, but it is probably less ethnic than political or geographical terms. Only the name of the Slavs (sklabenoi, sklaboi) is a self-description today. The names of the Wends / Venetians and Anten, on the other hand, are originally used by Germanic peoples and Avars for the Slavs.

    The origin of the name Slavs is still unclear in linguistic research. It is generally assumed that it is derived either from the common Slavic * слŏвŏ (today slóvo ) "word", with which the speakers or eloquent people differentiate themselves from the "dumb" (némec) , with the word Némec developing to denote the Germans Has. When Roman historians in the Baroque era described Slavs as barbarians and uncultivated peoples in general as comparatively inferior peoples, without having dealt more intensively with their history, with which the supposed etymological origin of the self-name from the Latin sclavus , developed in Counter-reaction among a large number of learned Slavic humanists was the elaboration of their own histories, in which they traced the popular name back to slawa ( Eng . "Fame") and formulated and published this just as clearly.

    Way of life and traditions

    Slavic castle Raddusch (near Lübbenau ) - reconstruction of a Slavic castle wall

    The family constitution was a patriarchal one . The inhabitants of a place formed a clan linked by blood relationship (obschtina, rod) , whose members had a common name, owned common property and were under an elected elder. The tribe (pleme) was formed from several such clans , at the head of which was the head of the tribe, the leader in the war. The tribes, for their part, reunited into a larger whole, into individual peoples (narod) .

    The marriage was kept holy, it was originally ruled monogamy . Even before they were separated into individual branches, the Slavs had traditionally established legal norms (pravo, zakon) ; the term “inherit” was missing, however, as the family constitution excluded inheritance .


    Cultural and moral history of the entire people: According to the Greek and German writers, the ancient Slavs were a peace-loving and hardworking people, clinging to the traditional, passionate about agriculture and animal husbandry and also, as can be seen from the language and the archaeological finds, trading. Their hospitality is also praised. The sick and the poor were carefully cared for , only the evil one was cast out , and chud means poor and evil at the same time in the Slavonic language. Polygamy was permitted, but was practiced almost exclusively by the noble.

    The basic structure of the civil and state constitution was democratic; originally there was no class, no hereditary prince (see also: Wetsche ). The bond of the kinship unit kept everyone entangled, and the starosta (elder) was only the administrator of the whole property of the kinship. The unity of the clan precluded inheritance. In this way the Slavs differed significantly from the Germans and Romans . Class differences, hereditary princely power, serfdom and slavery only developed later among the Slavs as a result of foreign influences. The names for the princes power (knez, kralj, chrabia, cjesar) and the nobility (szlachta, gender) are of foreign origin.

    Religion and mythology

    The Slavs are portrayed as very fond of songs. Soul and mind are revealed in their graceful songs and chants. No clear and consistent overall picture can be drawn of the mythical ideas and the worldview of the ancient Slavs expressed in them, as a coherent tradition is missing.

    The original religion of the Slavs was similar to that of other early Indo-European peoples. In the phenomena of nature, especially the phenomena of heaven, the Slavs saw real beings, whom they imagined endowed with thought and feeling, some beneficial, others destructive. The former were called bog by the Slavs , the latter called Bjes , and Christianity partly adopted these words for God and Devil.

    They worshiped a supreme god, the author of heaven and earth, of light and thunderstorms . The other gods were subject to this. The name of this god was Svarog (the creator ), as the author of the thunder he is called Perun (balt. Perkunas ). His sons were the sun and fire. The sun god (Daschbog, "giver of goods") was also the god of war , as the theomorphosis of the air Sventovit or Svantovit (after Miklosich only Sanctus Vitus) appears as the god of the storm Stribog .

    The supreme deity of the West Slavic Wends was Radegast , who was also worshiped as the god of war. Wesna (spring) and Deva (or diva, beautiful beauty) appear as the goddesses of spring , and Lada as the goddess of love and beauty. Among the evil deities, the representative of winter (Moraua) comes first.

    However, there was no actual dualism, and what is reported by some writers of a battle between the gods of light and darkness (the Bjelbog and Tschernebog of the Northern Slavs ) seems to indicate Christian influence.

    The following were revered as mythical beings of a lower degree: the Vílen and Rusálka , the rulers of rivers, forests and mountains, who play an important role in the folk poetry of the Slavs to this day (1888) ; also the Rojenitze or goddesses of fate as well as numerous house and field spirits and the dark forces Baba Jaga (witch, old crazy woman), Bjes and Vjed, to which the solar and lunar eclipses were attributed.

    The Slavs sought to gain the favor of the gods and their protection through prayer and sacrifice. The latter consisted of burning cattle and sheep on mountains and in groves, where there were also images of gods. Human sacrifices were rare. The tribal elders were the executors of the victims. The ancient Slavs knew just as little about a priesthood as about special temples. The festivals that should be mentioned are those that are linked to the change of the seasons: the winter solstice (koleda, ovsen, kratshun), the beginning of spring with winter and the summer solstice (kapalo, jarilo).

    According to the Slavic view, life did not end with physical death, rather the soul (dusza) was immortal. She came to paradise (nav, ráj) , which was thought of as a beautiful meadow. The corpses were either cremated or buried; both types of burial occur next to each other. Alexander Afanassiev's work The poetic conceptions of nature of the Slavs contains valuable studies on the ancient culture and mythological ideas of the Slavs, as far as they have been preserved in superstition, in popular legends and fairy tales .

    Economy and architecture

    Reconstructed Slavic village Ukranenland

    Slavic ceramics were widespread in Central Europe in the 7th century. The Slavs hardly bet on cattle breeding, but on grain cultivation. Rye, wheat, barley, oats and millet were grown on two thirds of a field demarcation. The grain was mowed with sickles. The scythe was also used later. The houses were built slightly deepened on an area of ​​16 to 30 square meters.

    Around 700 the Slavic castle ramparts were built in Spandow, today's Berlin district of Spandau . The villages were laid out round or in a semicircle. A larger settlement could be built under the protection of a castle, which grew into a town. There special branches of handicraft were developed, food was kept in stock, long-distance trade was carried out and cultural buildings were built. The houses were fortified with wooden palisades and wooden earth walls.

    Especially in the water-rich north-east Central Europe, the Slavs built considerable wooden bridges, including four over the middle Havel and one 2 km long over the Oberuckersee .

    In Germany, for example, detailed reconstructions of the Slavs' way of living and living in the 9th and 10th centuries can be found in the Ukranenland open-air museum in Torgelow (Western Pomerania), in the Groß Raden archaeological open-air museum (Mecklenburg) and in the Bärnau-Tachov historical park (Bavaria).

    The Slavs established their settlements in strategically advantageous locations, often surrounded by lakes. The towns of Lychen , Feldberg and Penkun are typical here . Their castles were often built on islands or in wetlands and were therefore difficult to conquer. The only access to these consisted of wooden planks and could be picked up in case of danger. Rarely were hilltop castles, typical of which is Starigard Castle ("Altenburg", today Oldenburg in Holstein ).


    Web links

    Commons : Slavs  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

    Individual evidence

    1. The partially recognized independence of Kosovo is not included on this map. Kosovo has an Albanian-speaking majority of the population.
    2. Brockhaus, Volume 20, ISBN 3-7653-3680-7 , p. 311.
    3. Alicja Karszniewicz-Mazur: The loan words of Germanic origin in Ur- Slavic and Old Polish . In: Orbis Linguarum . No. 27 , 2004, ISSN  1426-7241 , p. 299-303 ( Digitalisat ( Memento of 7 September 2006 at the Internet Archive ) [PDF; 198 kB ; accessed on April 21, 2019]).
    4. Florin Curta has recently denied that there was such a thing . He assumes that the Byzantines only wanted to mark the new groups on their border and that their own identity only developed there later (Florin Curta: The Making of the Slavs. Cambridge 2001, p. 335ff.).
    5. Roland Steinacher: Studies on Vandal History. The equation of the ethnonyms Wends, Slavs and Vandals from the Middle Ages to the 18th century. Dissertation - abstract and table of contents. (No longer available online.) In: 2002, archived from the original on May 13, 2006 ; accessed on April 19, 2019 .
    6. For his Balkan politics and the first contacts with the Slavs see now in detail Alexander Sarantis: Justinian's Balkan Wars. Campaigning, Diplomacy and Development in Illyricum, Thace and the Northern World AD 527-65. Prenton 2016.
    7. ^ Christian Lübke: Eastern Europe. The Germans and the European Middle Ages. Munich 2004, p. 42ff .; Sebastian Brather: Archeology of the Western Slavs. Settlement, economy and society in early and high medieval East-Central Europe. 2nd edition Berlin 2008, p. 51f.
    8. Antae . In: The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium . Vol. 1, New York / Oxford 1991, pp. 108f.
    9. Jordanes: Getica 34f., Map with Sebastian Brather: Archeology of the Western Slavs. Settlement, economy and society in early and high medieval East-Central Europe. 2nd edition Berlin 2008, p. 53.
    10. On this process see Walter Pohl : Die Völkerwanderung. 2nd Edition. Stuttgart u. a. 2005, pp. 206-212.
    11. All information according to: al-Saḳāliba . in: Encyclopaedia of Islam . New Edition, Vol. 8, Leiden 1995, pp. 872-881
    12. See also Sebastian Brather: Archeology of the Western Slavs. Settlement, economy and society in early and high medieval East-Central Europe. 2nd edition Berlin 2008, p. 51ff.
    13. cf. on this Sebastian Brather: Archeology of the Western Slavs. Settlement, economy and society in early and high medieval East-Central Europe. 2nd edition Berlin 2008, p. 47 and ö.
    14. Joachim Herrmann: Settlement, economy and social conditions of the Slavic tribes between Oder / Neisse and Elbe. Studies based on archaeological material. German Akad. Wiss., Schr. Section Pre u. Mornings 23, Berlin 1968, pp. 39-77.
    15. Sebastian Brather: Archeology of the Western Slavs. Settlement, economy and society in early and high medieval East-Central Europe. 2nd edition Berlin 2008, p. 58.
    16. Ulrich Mueller, Donat Wehner: Wagrien in the focus of Slavic research in: Kathrin Marterior, Norbert Nübler (ed.): Multilingual language landscapes? Leipzig 2016, pp. 209-260, here p. 220.
    17. Helmold von Bosau: Slawenchronik (orig. Around 1170). Selected sources on German history in the Middle Ages. Freiherr vom Stein memorial edition. Volume XIX. 4th edition. Darmstadt 1983.
    18. Милан Будимир, Ο старијим поменима српског имена, Глас САН 236, Одељење литературе и јесика 4, .Беза 4,. 35-55, Резиме на латинском (Eng. Milan Budimir, About the ancient mention of the Serbian name )
    19. Sonja Ćirić: Među Lavom i Drokunom . Interview with Zlata Bojović . In: Vreme . No. 1266 , April 9, 2015 (Bosnian, [accessed August 24, 2019]).
    20. Russian; Moscow 1865–1869, 3 volumes
    21. Winfried Schich: The Havel as a waterway in the Middle Ages: bridges, dams, mills, flood channels. (PDF; 292 kB) Inaugural lecture. In: November 24, 1992. Retrieved July 28, 2019 .