Slovieni - Veneti in Russia
Original link:
http://www.carantha.net/forum_veneti_part_i.htm.
By: Dr. Jožko Šavli
Page owner: Igor Pirnovar

 

Foreword by the page owner.    
  1. Prehistoric tribal names of North Europe.
  2. Russians are Veneti too.
  3. Germans seize the lands of their hosts.
    Disagreement
The Slovieni     A Venetic Stock in Russia

The Slovieni (Russia).
  1. The language of Slovieni survived in the dialect of Novgorod:     (title added)
  2. The Slovenich Dynasty:
  3. Slovensk becomes Novgorod:     (title added)
The Slovenci (Carantania).
  1. Contemporary political squabbles:     (title added)
  2. Not necessarily agreeable point.     (title added)
  3. Khazar question     (title added)
Slovenskie kljuci.

 


 

Foreword by the page owner.

Slovieni are important for two reasons: (1) they are at the European East-West meeting point, and hence expose the relationships between Veneti, Venedi, Slavs and other antique European tribes, since they either were indigenous population there or had to cross just mentioned European East-West meeting point, in order to arrive at the area around Lake Ilmen, from the south-west corner of Central Europe, where Adriatic Veneti lived, and (2) because of their name, which confirms the theory about the origin of our ancient name Sloveneti. Both of these two points are very important, hence one will most likely require a much greater effort to explain and to appreciate both individually, on the other hand, they should, indeed, be studied together since the two do overlap in a very profound way.

(1) European East-West meeting point: Most of all we see this European East-West meeting point in two incarnations. As (a) a geographic area, and secondly in a more general way as (b) the European historic and social or cultural crossroads. Let us tackle the latter point (b) first, since here we will not discuss this view extensively, because as a main premise of the "Venetic theory" we deal with it most of the time in most of the articles in our collection here. Namely, the "Venetic theory" claims that Veneti were not only the indigenous Europeans, and that in the prehistory they inhabited some abstract space between the Atlantic and the Pacific, but that among other places they inhabited more or less the whole of European continent. In order to make it more formal, let me expose this (b) point in a more visible manner:

(1.b) European historic and social crossroads: When viewing this European East-West juncture as the "European historic and social or cultural crossroads" we need to take into consideration the sequence of events, that lead to this encounter, and the starting point should be the native population at the point in question. Hence the pivotal statement here is the following: The evidence points in the direction, that in prehistory Veneti inhabited more or less the whole of European continent. This statement has a far reaching consequences, which it should not be possible to neither deny, or hide, nor to ignore! However, this is precisely what we accuse the traditional science and west European academic apparatus, more categorically the historians and linguists. Till now, they had been doing just that, namely, extraordinary efforts and energy is being spent on ignoring and hiding the true Venetic past. The good side about the pivotal statement, is that just as it should not be possible to hide and ignore the truth by the established academia, so too it should not be possible by the other side to claim that statement to be true, if it were truly incorrect.
(1.a) The geographic point of view: The question is, whether Slovieni had to cross first the south western parts of Central Europe, and next most of the eastern Europe, to arrive from the area of the Adriatic to the northwestern Russia in to the areas around Lake Ilmen and now-day Novgorod? This crossing would, indeed, take the route known as the famous "Amber road". Or were they (the Slovieni) the indigenous population of the area they were supposed to cross? For both of these two possibilities, there are plenty of arguments, hence the truth may just be somewhere in between. It may very well be true, that they were the inhabitants along the famous trade route just mentioned as the "Amber road", and which according to many hints in antique texts they controlled. However, they may have just as well have been migrating towards north east due to the ever more hostile newly emerging Etruscan and later Roman states.

In the light of the "Venetic theory", there is no doubt, whatsoever, that Veneti represented the majority of the indigenous European populations. As we know Dr. Šavli alludes to this many times, in fact he mentions this in his article below. These are his words:

... In this connection we dare to warn of the Tripolje Culture (Ukraine), which was a remainder of the Band Ceramic Culture (ca. 4000 – 2000 BC). The Veneti, it is true, originated from the substrate of this culture, which after 2000 BC was overflown by the so-called Indo-Europeans, which arrived from the East.
Since we all agree that at one point in prehistory there, indeed, was a contact between the Indian and European cultures, I do not wish to brag too much against using the ideas from the compromised pseudo-scientific IE theories particularly those dealing with the migrations of Indo-Europeans. I do need to underline that I believe this Indian-European contact happened a few millennial earlier than most, including Dr. Šavli, believe. However, for the sake our discussion, not even that matters too much, since even the proposed IE time frames by which the Indo-Europeans appeared at the doorstep of Europe some odd 2000 BC is early enough to allow considering Veneti indigenous Europeans as well as sprinkled over the two continents from Atlantic to the eastern slops of Himalayas. Of course there is very little if any data at all available about these times, and not surprisingly nobody including Dr. Šavli talks much about the earlier times. These times are barely mentioned and any serious discussion is postponed until the first historic documents mention the subject we are discussing. In our case such a documents is "Germania" by Tacitus (ca. AD 56 - AD 117), in which he talks about Veneti in the area of Balts (Baltic peoples) and Finns. This in fact is more than 2000 years later. Not that there is anything wrong with Dr. Šavli's aproach, whereby he strictly follows the known an accepted historical documents, quite the contrary, had he deviated from that, that would translate into sufficient grounds for the academia to dismiss him on the spot. However, he was able to prove the traditionalists wrong based solely on the evidence they themselves proclaimed to be admissible! In this particular case he proved there exist obvious relationships between Slovieni and Veneti but also pointed out what the relationships to some of the other Slavic groups might be. However, if we accept his basic findings, with the help of linguistics we can even venture a few steps further, in particular this opens to us the view in to the past, for which earlier we found no other admissible documentation or other evidence!
Prehistoric tribal names of North Europe.

Roman sources such as (Res gestae of Augustus) [rGdA-26] mention that the inhabitants of Jutland were called Cimbrians. Indirectly the quotes exist for even earlier 5th century BC. For instance Pliny the Elder (ca. 77 AD) quotes Greek author Philemon (ca. 362-262 BC) saying: "Cimbrians call Baltic coast Morimarusa (Pomerania)" (Naturalis Historia, 4.95). Obviously Greeks knew about Baltic coast and for Cimbrians already in the 5th century BC. On the other hand there exist hints in Greek mythology, linking North Adriatic and amber which brings us to Adriatic Veneti and the famous trade route called Amber road. When searching for information about Cimbri on the Internet, we find quotes like:

The Cimbri were a Germanic or Celtic tribe who together with the Teutones and the Ambrones threatened the Roman Republic in the late 2nd century BC. The ancient sources located their home of origin in the northern Jutland
The words Cimbri and Ambroni suggest the relationship to the word amber. Also related to amber, for us here is the most interesting the fact that according to ancient writers already in the 5th century BC ancient Greeks knew about the name of indigenous gatherers of amber, namely "Cimbri" ("bri, beri, berry, brati" = "to gather") in the regions of the Northern sea and Baltic coast, which as we know is related to the "Amber road". Interestingly enough, Greek word for amber is a totally different, at the time to Europeans actually foreign, word. Let us check out how this, then important transparent and bright, "stone" is called in different European languages. In Greek "amber" is "ηλεκτρον" (elektron), in Latin it is "electrum, sucinum" ... (su[c<t]inum) - Slavic:"sueti, sveti" = "to shine"), in German "Bernstein" (beere, [English:berry], = Slavic:"beri, brati, biraj, naberi"="to gather"), in English "amber" in French where it means orange "d'ambre".

Here we can see that linguistic prospective opens an entirely new avenues for researchers to explore. Rather striking is the fact that such a view must take into account a much larger time periods than historians traditionalists are sticking with. Indeed, even more striking if not shocking is the reverse understanding of the linguistic changes in the language which sees Venetic i.e. Slavic languages as the base on which in this case German, but indeed also other antique languages, have developed. Not the least of which here is a hint, that for the Latin word amber such a Slavic origin, unrelated to the north European Venetic origin of the different word (amber / beri, berry), might be found, which would prove that Veneti were spread over so vast territories that different dialects evolved so early on. However, we can continue to be amazed, how much additional information linguistics reveals to us. For instance, the fact that so many similarities not only in semantic but also in grammar exist between today so different languages as are most of the Germanic and, indeed, all the Slavic languages can only be interpreted, by the premise that the two ethnic groups once lived side by side in harmony. Linguistics demands that such an eventuality was taking place for a much longer period of time than any historian traditionalist is currently ready to accept. If that was the case, than the name of either tribe or a nation, even if they since separated and became enemies, may originally belonged to a friend or a foe, since the name of the inhabitants in the past most likely denoted the control over their land. So - is it not possible, that the Cimbri of Tacitus if not themselves assimilated Slavs retained the name of once hospitable Veneti, who accepted them as friends when they first arrived from the East.

As we see the linguistics revealed times at least half a millennial earlier, than what were the traditional history devices able to show us. But most likely we are talking even about earlier times, then what would represent a single millennial jump back, since the farther back we look, the slower are the noticeable changes. The language reveals a possibility that in prehistory the tribes living along the coasts of the North sea used Venetic names, that can be explained without any trouble even by contemporary Slavic languages. Note that those were the times before Germans arrived into Scandinavia from the East, or dare we say from behind the Carpathian or Siberia. After their arrival they lived in piece and harmony with their hosts Veneti. These were the times in which the remarkable Slavic imprint in German language originated. Till the beginning of common era, i.e. the times when Greek and Roman written records about the North European lands and peoples appeared, Germans emerged stronger, while Veneti were in steep decline, and even became the refugees, who were being pushed out from their native lands along the Mediterranean coast by the newly emerging antique powers Greeks, Etruscans, and at last by the Romans.
These migrations towards northeast I believe resulted in establishment of the Venetic settlement in the area of Lake Ilman which became known as the Slovieni. There is no doubt in my mind that Veneti started to migrate northeastwards when Etruria was still at the peak of its power, and it continued up until the times when a new revival of Venetic power is noticed during the reign of King Vokk (Vouk) in Noricum from which in a few hundred years latter we enter into glorious times of Carantania.
But we are interested here in the past not revealed by the ordinary history devices, i.e. the times when Etruria became the dominion of African newcomers, who were arriving between the pirates known as the Sea peoples, and just like the Germanic tribes in the north and northeast turned against their Venetic hosts.

By that time Veneti were firmly in control of the most important trade routes from Europe to Asia Minor and Middle East. The most famous was the all round route Danube - Black Sea - Adriatic. Along the western side this route became the "Amber Road" connecting Adriatic and Baltic. From the Northern Europe the rivers of Russia led also to the Black Sea. All along these routes we find Veneti and, indeed, today these are the areas where Slavs were never pushed out.

Russians are Veneti too.

In the East in Russia, after the initial contact with the Germanic tribes, Veneti came into contact with Sarmatians (Scythians) and Khazars, which in a millennial prior migration of Adriatic Veneti into the area of the Lake Ilmen either got rather well acquainted with Veneti, possibly so much that they accepted their language. Again we can ask for help the linguistics, to prove there must have been an additional contact between Veneti and other than just Germanic peoples. This time we find evidence in Russian language, where there are found a large number of non-Slavic words that are much older than much more recent foreign i.e. West European linguistic influences in from the second half of the last millennial. We are talking about words like: "хорошо, спасибо [spasi ego], собака (пес), карандаш, гулять, бумага, корабль ..." (harasho, spasiva, sobaka, karandash, guljat', bumaga, korabl'...). These are the words that do not have Slavic semantics nor do they have Slavic roots (stems). Of course this area needs more research, or had it been done, it should be more readily available to the general public as well as at least mentioned in schools across the "Slavic world". For instance it is obvious that the word корабль is an early German word, whose origins, without a proper linguistic analysis could span the period over more than a thousand years, however I believe could be drastically reduced down to a precise point in time with an error of not more than a few hundred years.

The most important conclusion above is that Russians too are Veneti, who due to their distance from the rest, and because they have been in contact with a much different set of nations than were the Veneti in Central Europe, developed a peculiar linguistic as well as some cultural characteristics reflecting just that. However, their overall linguistic and cultural characteristics could not ever be mistaken for anything else but Venetic, in fact their language despite the foreign influences we mentioned earlier are the purest of all other Slavic languages. Only the language of the Slovenes is more archaic in structure than Russian language, however, it is hard to beat Russian semantic purity where it exists!

At the same time we should try to comprehend whether Sarmatians, Khazars and Peucini accepted the language from Veneti, or if they are the remnants of once relatively homogeneous Venetic ethnic mass, which later on mixed with other ethnic groups. It is not inconceivable that among these groups we would find also Germanic tribes, who unlike the Peucini (Balts) totally separated from their hosts Veneti. By reading the earliest antique records which first mention the nations from the North and Northeastern parts of Europe one soon realizes that not much was known about those peoples nor about the relationships between them. So Tacitus admits, he does not really know whether Balts (Peucini), Vends and Finns (Fenni) are of Germane stock. He also incorrectly declared Finns to be a nomadic tribe. We can say "incorrectly" because archaeologists discovered rich cultures, known as "Comb-Ceramic culture" and "Corded Ware culture", which existed for many millennial before the antiquity, hence it would be highly unlikely that only a nomadic population would be found there during the times of Tacitus. Of course in the North there always also lived the Eskimos, which the ancient writers incorrectly called Finns. The following is the quote from his "Germania":
Tacitus:Peucini, Venedi, and Fenni. Here Suebia ends. I do not know whether to class the tribes of the Peucini, Venedi, and Fenni with the Germans or with the Sarmatians. The Peucini, however, who are sometimes called Bastarnae, are like Germans in their language, manner of life, and mode of settlement and habitation. Squalor is universal among them and their nobles are indolent. Mixed marriages are giving them something of the repulsive appearance of the Sarmatians. The Venedi have adopted many Sarmatian habits; for their plundering forays take them over all the wooded and mountainous highlands that lie between the Peucini and the Fenni. Nevertheless, they are on the whole to be classed as Germans; for they have settled homes, carry shields, and are fond of traveling - and traveling fast - on foot, differing in all these respects from the Sarmatians, who live in wagons or on horseback. The Fenni are astonishingly savage and disgustingly poor. They have no proper weapons, no horses, no homes. they eat wild herbs, dress in skins, and sleep on the ground.
Germans seize the lands of their hosts: As the linguistic evidence suggests, Germanic tribes after arrival at the doorstep of Europe from the East must have lived long enough peacefully among the hospitable Venetic populations to have ended up with such a formidable Venetic language imprint. We can only speculate, why this coexistence ended, but it may be safe to conclude, that the two drifted apart due to the social differences which resulted after Venetic flatly organized society of equals was overpowered by newly evolving hierarchical and more aggressive organizations into which Germanic tribes emerged as new owners of the lands that used to belong to their hosts.

The first Roman reports from Northern Europe most likely were written among these newly "evolved" Germanic tribes, who converted from friends to conquerors and who just started to aspire to expand even further south and westward. The fact that Tacitus can not decide whether Balts, Finns and Vends are also of Germanic origin, only confirms what the linguistics told us, namely that these tribes used to live in peaceful coexistence and cooperation, if not even in a more meaningful union sharing all the resources. I also believe, that when Tacitus talks about the incursions Vends were making over the mountains into the territories of "nomadic" Finns, that these are the fights between Vends and Germans or German allies, and perhaps even more importantly we should conclude, that on the other side of these mountains, where nearby there was the Lake Ilmen, Veneti were in control. You may recall that Adriatic Veneti had been gradually migrating into the area of Lake Ilmen since in Etruria the foreigners became more hostile. These Veneti found refuge among the friendly and rather similar and familiar eastern populations who in fact were the predecessors of the Russians.

Disagreement: I wish to make one point here, namely, that I do violently disagree with Dr. Šavli about his conviction that only the western Slavs are the direct descendants of Veneti, and that the Eastern and particularly the South Slavs only accepted the Venetic language. While, his position is supported with a rather convincing body of evidence and empirical data such as genetics, there may be explanations and exceptions that prove such a stand not to be very productive, though it gives us broad enough basis to explore the theories dealing with the Sarmatians, and Khazars, and also other ethnic groups which undoubtedly left a mark particularly in southern Balkans. However, I do believe that Russian language does prove, just the opposite. Namely, if Russians were not of Venetic origin it would be hard to defend the fact that their language of all Slavic languages retained the richest ancient Venetic semantic, where it exists - (note, I said semantics and not the ancient structure).
Let me repeat, what I have already said in another article, namely, that Russian language of all the Slavic languages became the most polluted, with the influences from the West European languages, which resulted as a side-effect of the popular intermarriages between the Russian nobility and West European nobility. Nevertheless, Russian language also retained many old archaic word forms of the so called old Slavic or Venetic languages, which undoubtedly collaborate one of the list know "linguistic secrets" beyond the Slovenian academic world, namely, the fact that Slovene language beside Basque retained not only the most archaic grammatic forms of all Slavic but also other European languages.
Similarly, the languages of South Slavs have retained some archaic word forms that in Slovenian have been lost. I am not saying that Southern and Eastern Slavs did not assimilate a larger number of non-Slavic ethnic groups than the remote Alpine Slovenians did, and that in areas they have lost most of the typical Slavic base, however, this does not mean, that in prehistory we did not have the same ancient grand-grand-grand... fathers, and that between them must have survived small islands of these "true" ancient common predecessors! The language of the tiny Slovenian nation in the competition for the laurels of the oldest and the most archaic Slavic languages stands shoulder to shoulder with the language of the giant of all Slavic nations the Russians, since unlike Russian, or any other Slavic language Slovenian beside the ancient Venetic semantics retained the ancient language structure as well. Indeed these two facts together represent a very strong case for the argument, that Veneti, indeed, are the predecessors of all Slavs. The fact, that some have assimilated and adopted larger foreign populations, cultures and habits than others, does not invalidate the above thinking.
(2) The name Slovieni: It is true, that the name Slovieni more than a thousand miles away from where the nation of Slovenians is located in Russia is in itself an impressive piece of evidence that the two are most likely related. There exists even more exciting evidence from the 12th century chronicler from Kiev, Nestor, who wrote a statement: "Noricians those are Slovieni!". However, as we can see from the interpretation of this Nestor's statement made by a contemporary Russian author Pavel Tulaev as: "Noricians those are Slavs!", not everybody sees the depth hidden in this name. One can argue how reasonable would it be that in Nestor's time the designation "Slavs", just like the notion of Germanic nations, even existed. The fact that Nestor in his statement uses the name of Novgorod's Slovieni is much more to the point. But the fact remains, that most of the Slavic readers, would not not notice the difference even if it were written in both ancient Nestor's and the contemporary Slavic side by side. Nevertheless, the word "Slovieni" contains the key to the original semantics Sloveneti, Slovinti > Slovinci.

In the interpretation of the name "Slovieni" without considering the grammar, the true weight behind this name becomes completely oblivious, therefore, it is not possible to condemn enough the inappropriate treatment of the relationship between the names Slovieni and Slovenians. Without bragging too much about the obvious similarity between the two, I believe Nestor said it all, when he related "Norici" (Noricians) to however we interpret the name Slovieni. Besides, extensive etymological and linguistic research confirmed the similarities between the Slovieni and Slovenians, and dare I say that, still, the latter is not as important as the fact, that either name is the derivative from the word "slovo" and its meaning "to speak", hence the following slovet, slovenet, sloveneti > sloveneci" can not be denied or swept under the rug. This exactly, is yet another piece of evidence, that we are talking about one and the same Veneti, as well as that the name Vendi merely is another Germanic deformity of the original Slavic name.

However, this is just part of the whole story. The other part we have already discussed rather thoroughly above, where we discovered, that the names of prehistoric tribes along the coasts of the North Sea and the Baltic can, indeed, be interpreted by the help of Slavic languages, and that their names are related to then very valuable commodity - amber, which the ancient Greek myths additionally connect with the famous trade route a.k.a. Amber Road and of course the Adriatic Veneti, into which Greeks ran for the second time up north, where too, as we have just learnt, their original name Sloveneti was used and which Greeks deformed as enet(i):

Sloveneti   >   Ένετόί (Enetoi)

 

Page owner: Igor Pirnovar

 

 


O r i g i n a l   a r t i c l e   b y   Dr. Š a v l i


 

 

The Slovieni
A Venetic Stock in Russia

They were the founders of the Slovenia there,
which later was called »The Republic of Novgorod«

The discovery of common roots represents a new base of friendship between Russians and Slovenians

by Dr. Jožko Šavli

Quite by chance I came across an interesting article entitled "Wie die Sloviene an den Ilmensee kamen" (How did the Slovieni reach Ilmen Lake), which was issued in the magazine "Welt der Slaven" (Munich 1985). The publisher is the well-known linguist and Slavist Heinrich Kunstmann, who strongly believes he can prove, that the Slovieni at Ilmen Lake (Russia) originated from the "Illyrian, Makedonian and Thracian". Indeed, Kunstmann's article is very instructive and reflects a great linguistic knowledge. But his argument is not convincing enough. What's the matter?

The well-known Russian chronicler Nestor mentions the appearance of the Slovieni race among the first Russian tribes in his "Povest' vremennych let" (11th/12th century AD). According to Nestor, they settled around the Ilmen Lake south of Sankt Petersburg, and founded the city of Novgorod. - It is certain, that the Slovieni of this area came from elsewhere. But Nestor does not state, where did they migrate from and when did this happen. Therefore, several scholars researched their primordial homeland, and they are still doing so.

The early settlement area of the Slovieni (Russia)
Slovieni in Russia. Slovieni in Russia.

Some time ago, I myself tried to explore this question by adducing findings of fact from Tacitus (Germania, 46), who quotes, that the Veneti are making incursions across the territory of the Peucini (Balts) into the territory of the Fenni (Finns). Apart from Tacitus (ca. 56 - 117 AD) there are no other charters, from which we could conclude, that a migration wave of the Veneti really reached the area of Ilmen Lake, i.e., that of Novgorod (Russia). But several other evidences lead us to such a conclusion. The first one is the fact, that Nestor's Slovieni preserved their original Venetic name. Indeed, the Veneti called themselves Sloveneti, abbreviated Sloventi (Matej Bor). In the Alps developed from this name the form Slovenci (Carantania), at the Baltic coast that of Slovinci (Pomerania), and in the present-day Novgorod region that of Slovieni (Russia). - Cf. my article "The Vends and the Slavs" (opens in new window).

The Venetic language was spread over several peoples, making them the present-day »Slavs«. However, only the original Venetic race, not because of their language, but because of their ethnological peculiarities, preserved the primordial Venetic name. It also seems to be preserved in the name of the Slovakians (the Slovakian woman is called Slovenka), as well as in that of the Swedes (svensk - Swedish is an abbreviation of »slovensk« - Slovenian). Indeed, the question of the Veneti - Sloventi is very ample, it deserves a particular research.

In this article I want to point out only the problem of two peoples, who preserved the Slovenetic name: one was found in the extreme north-east in Russia (Slovieni), the other one in the Alpine south-east region (Slovenci). A comparison of several peculiarities of both ethnic groups make it possible to infer their Venetic autochthonism.

 

The Slovieni (Russia)

Tacitus, it is true, indirectly quotes the settlement of a group of Veneti in the then Finnic territory. That this group was called Veneti in the West is evidenced by the following facts: Still in the 16th century, on a "carta marina", elaborated by Olaus Magnus, the Finnic Gulf is denoted as: Mare Finonicvm sive Sinvs Venedicvs (I.H.P.:Finnish Sea or Venetic Bay). The Sinvs Venedicvs (Venetic Gulf) could only have been named after the Slovieni (Novgorod), at that time already subjected to the supremacy of Moscow.

Slovensk (Novgovord)
Slovensk (Novgovord).
Slovensk (Novgovord) in the 1st century AD (reconstruction).
The settlement was composed of wooden houses.

Further on, recently researchers with a Novgorod dialect, as published by the miscellany »Ocerki kulturi Slavjan« (Moscow 1996), discovered astonishing similarities between the Slovieni and the Western Slavs (Veneti). As reference, I adduce two of these testimonies.

 

The language of Slovieni survived in the dialect of Novgorod:
(title only added by page owner)

The excavations at the St. Sofia Cathedral in the Novgorod Citadel (kremlin) brought to light a large number of birch-bark inscriptions. A. A. Zaliznjak, who examined many of them, stated that:
the Novgorod dialect developed directly from the ancient Slav (i.e. Venetic) language, and that some phonetic, morphological, morphosyntactical, and lexical isoglosses are connected with the Western Slav languages and with the Slovenian ... (Lisjak, ibidem, 72). - S. M. Gluskina, a linguistic scholaress, but says, that the language of the ones (i.e. Slovieni), who settled the Novogord area, developed separately from that of the other Slavs, because at that time the phonetic process of the second palatalization appeared, which lasted there for some generations and was an isolated linguistic continuum (Lisjak, ibidem).

I think, these statements confirm Tacitus' quotation, from which one must conclude that Nestor's Slovieni only could have originated from the ancient Veneti (Sloveneti), who in the 1st century AD still settled in Central Europe.

The Venetic or Slovenetic settlement in the present-day Novgorod area is also witnessed by many Slovenian names all around this city. They could have arisen only in a previously Finnic territory. Later, when the Venetic (Slovenetic) language widely prevailed, it still possessed the proper ethnic characteristics of the Veneti (Sloveneti) in confront to their Russian neighbours. The latter, it is true, were of the same language, but they, in my opinion, preserved in their tradition many ethnic elements of the older substrate (customs, phonetic peculiarities in their speech...). Therefore, they manifested a particular ethnic entity, which could not have been overlooked by other groups.

With regards to the »Slovenian names« in that region, we are surprised to learn, that the same Ilmen Lake at one-time was called Slovenskoe morje (Slovenian Sea). A minor river in this area, today known as the Slavjanka, used to be called Slovenskaja reka (Slovenian River) until the First World War. Moreover, in the city of Staraya Russa, located on the southern bank of Ilmen Lake, the following story has become a legend:

Two warriors, brothers Sloven and Rus, as they moved from the Black Sea area far to the North, had been looking for quite some time for a good place to settle down. At last, they came to a beautiful lake. They named it Ilmen, after their sister. And, following the advice of the Magi , the older brother founded the city, Slovensk-the-Great. And, he named the river 'Volkhv', to commemorate the wise Magi, or, Volhv, in Russian. The younger brother founded the town Rusa at the confluence of two rivers. And, he named those two rivers 'Polist' and 'Porusya', after his wife and daughter.

Indeed, the first founded township of the later Novgorod, on the northern part of Ilmen Lake, was called Slovensk. In the aforesaid story, the Slovenian (Venetic) and the Russian ethnic entities are still distinguishable. The well-known Slovenian historian, Jože Pirjevec (Trieste), found the interesting data in the city library of Novgorod, that the first princess there was called Slovenka (Lisjak ibidem, 61).

Since so many references point to "Slovenian" names, the only correct conclusion that can be drawn is, that almost in its entire first period the region of Nestor's Slovieni was called Slovenia. But there is still more to it! We have witness of the very existing Slovenian dynasty called Slovenich.

 

The Slovenich Dynasty:

In 870, Vadim I (Vladimir) finally abdicated ( 872). He was followed by Godoslav, a Varyag (Viking), and the prince of Kiev, who married Umila, Gostomysl's daughter. But it seems, that Godoslav only held the title of a Slovenian prince. Indeed, according to ancient traditions, already in 862, the inhabitants of Slovensk invited his son Rurik I to become their ruler. Then, with the initial interruptions, Rurik's dynasty governed in (Nestor's) Slovenia also. - How the name Novgorod came about?

The centre of the administration of the Slovieni was first in Gorodišce (pron. gorodishche, meaning a hill fort). It was situated on the isle in the middle of the Volhov River. In the 10th century, new settlements were created close to this centre on both sides of the riverbanks. On the one side, where the Kremlin (citadel) was, the cathedral of St. Sophia was erected, in 989. In the 11th century, Prince Jaroslav had his new residence built on the other side, and called it Jaroslavovo dvorišce (pron. yaroslavovo dvorishche).

 

Slovensk becomes Novgorod:
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In 886, Oleg transferred the capital to Kiev. Novgorod, however, remained the centre of foreign trade, and in 997 it obtained self-government. One of Oleg's successors was St. Vladimir I the Great (of the Rurik line), Prince of Kiev and All Russia ( 1015), grandson of St. Olga. He was the first Russian ruler to embrace Christianity. In 1136, Slovenia achieved independence from Kiev, and it became the capital of an independent republic. In 1044, Vladimir II ( 1052) granted city status to all settlements on both sides of the Volhov River. At that point in time the name Novgorod (new city) was officially introduced. It was the expression of the sovereign Slovenian (Venetic) Republic now called Great Novgorod, that embraced the whole of Northern Russia to the Urals.

The new capital of the ancient Slovenia (in Russia), Novgorod, was so important and rich, that the state itself started to become known as the Republic of Novgorod or solely Great Novgorod. It is very interesting, however, that a particular quarter of the new city was named Slovenski konec (Slovenian quarter). It stretched out behind Jaroslavovo dvorišce. On its edge, the Slovenski holm (Slovenian hills) are raising, on which later the Sts. Peter and Paul Church was erected in ca. 1406.

Medieval Novgorod
Medieval Novgorod and the city plan.
View on medieval Novgorod and the city plan, indicating the Slovenski konec with the Slovenski holm (Slovenian hill).

This Great Novgorod was the first and the only republic in Russia. It gained control of a vast swath of territory in Northern Russia and was a centre of trade. It was far less autocratic than the other Russian principalities of those times. The Prince was elected by a council of nobles, also known as the "Novgorod Vece" (pron. veche), which had the legislative competence. It was the ancient parliament, the democratic assembly of representatives of all city parts or all free people in most important cases. The Vece not only elected, but also exiled the princes. Although, they held supreme military and judicial powers, the princes had no administrative function. This power was vested in elected magistrates. However, the first popular assemblies were disorderly, and power was gradually amassed by the aristocracy.

The strength of the republic rested on its economic prosperity. Situated on the great trade route to the Volga valley, it became one of the four chief trade centres of the Hanseatic League. German merchants had a colony in Novgorod. The enterprising merchants of Novgorod extended the power of the republic over the entire north of Russia, levied tribute even beyond the Urals, and founded many colonies. The citizens of Great Novgorod escaped the Mongol invasion of Russian territory, after 1236. With Alexandr Nevskij on the head they also repulsed the attacks of the Swedes (1240) and of the Teutonic Knights (1242). At its height, in the 15th century, the population of the Novgorod Republic rose to ca. 400,000. Its splendour during that period, its hundreds of churches, its great shops and arsenals, its huge fairs, have all furnished rich themes for later Russian art and folklore.

The 15th century, however, also witnessed the start of Novgorod's long struggle with Moscow for supremacy. Internecine disputes among the republic's leaders weakened it in the face of growing Muscovite strength. Although it became a vassal of Moscow after the Muscovite invasions, in 1456 and 1470, Novgorod was allowed to retain its self-government. It was not until 1478 that it came under Moscow's complete control and lost its freedom. Novgorod retained its commercial position until St. Petersburg was built in 1703.

The cathedral of St. Sophia and the church of Sts. Peter and Paul (1406)
Novgovord, the cathedral of St. Sophia and the church of Sts. Peter and Paul (1406).
Novgorod - The cathedral of St. Sophia and the church of Sts. Peter and Paul (1406) found on the Slovenian Hill. The latter, as it seems, still reflects a Slovenian touch.

 

The Slovenci (Carantania)

In this article, the reader's attention was directed to several similarities between the Slovieni (Russia) and the Slovenci (Carantania), as referenced by the Russian scholars A. A. Zaliznjak and S. M. Gluskina, who adduced the linguistic similarities between both ethnic groups, as well as many Slovenian (Venetic) names. But there are many other similarities.

Regarding their ancient state organization there has to be particularly pointed out the great conformity between the ancient Slovenian and Russian people's law (consueto). It is very possible that the ancient Russian people's law prevalently descended from that of the Slovieni. Its similarities with the people's law of the Slovenci must be searched in the common Venetic (Sloventic) origin and tradition.

Without having any knowledge of the existence of the Veneti, the well-known Slovenian historian, Josip Mal (Mal, Probleme 1939), draw people's attention to this problem already before the Second World War, when he referred to the work of authors like Vladimirskij-Budanov or T. Taranowski. Like in Novgorod, the popular assembly in pre-feudal Carantania was also called Veca (pron. vetchah). In this (national) assembly the delegates, called "good men", were the peoples' representatives, who elected the "Prince (duke)". Among the aforesaid similarities, the Veca is the most characteristic one on the judicial field. Carantanians also elected magistrates, etc. Both, the Slovieni (Russia) and the Slovenci (Carantania) are the evidence of an ancient State organization, which was based on social structure and on territory.

 

Contemporary political squabbles
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Nevertheless, scholars already as a rule are reckoning Slovenians to the group of Southern Slavs, who demonstrate a whole different juridical tradition and social structure. Beside the ignorance, under such circumstances the forced subjugation to a state ideology, the Yugoslav (Southern Slav) one, is evident. The Southern Slavs (Yugoslavs) have to be regarded as the ancestors of Slovenians, on the other hand they should have appeared as »separatists«. Milko Kos, a well-known Slovenian historian says:

In the period between the end of the 6th and the end of the 9th century AD, a Slovenian does not differ from his neighbours of the same stock and blood in the South and South-East... (Kos, Zgodovina 1955).
This statement, it is true, was given without the necessary argumentation, but it must have been written in accordance with the ideology of the State, which financed the academic institutions.

Some years later, Francé Bezlaj, the Slovenian linguist, just because of the so great structural diversity of the Slovenian language in contrast to the Southern Slav ones, concluded, that a Slav tribe must have arrived in the Eastern Alps (i.e., the historical Slovenian territory) already before the supposed great migration wave from the Balkans in the 6th century AD (Bezlaj, Eseji 1967, 122). Then, with regards to the Slovenian language he also envisaged further »waves« and said:

There is an astonishing great number of Russian - Slovenian lexical parallels in the Slovenian vocabulary. They are not limited to the defined dialectical environs only, they are found all over Slovenia. The majority is found in the western area... One can conclude, that the »Easterlings« arrived among the last migration wave, and settled at the most exposed and the poorest soil... (Bezlaj, Eseji 1967, 132, 133).

In this way, the Slovenian question of origin was somewhat corrected, but it was not explained in a persuasive way. In his statement Bezlaj ascribed the aforesaid parallels to the supposedly "preceding migration wave", as assumed by him. But the parallels, it is true, are prevalently found in dialects of western Slovenian territory. He overcame an evident contradiction with the explanation, that the »Easterlings« were one of the last ones who arrived, and that they must have settled on the poorest soil (Bezlaj, Esseji 1967, 132). But even this territory, in regards to Slovenian linguistic and cultural traditions, is the most archaic one. Besides, the same migration wave, which first was considered to be a "previous one", now became "the last one". Thus, a new contradiction.

Kremlin (citadel) of Novgorod
Kremlin (citadel) of Novgorod.
View on the very well maintained Kremlin (citadel) of Novgorod.

 

Not necessarily agreeable point
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So many discrepancies regarding the Slovenians are also found with other authors. They can only be solved by taking into consideration the existence of the ancient Veneti. Their original language was gradually widely spread to many other peoples, who from the ethnic point of view never were Veneti. In this way the »Slavs« appeared. Such a denomination is, now as before, an academic construct. It was shaped on linguistic similarities only, and it became the base for the Slav and Southern Slav ideology. Its unreliability becomes clear, if we, for example, should have reckoned to the »Romans« also the Spanish speaking Mexicans, Argentineans etc., or to the »Germans« the English speaking Americans... Yes, Slovieni and Slovenians, until now, one could not have foreboded that the common roots go back to prehistory. The question of the origin of the »Slavs« must be revised again.

 

Khazar question
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((( Concerning the origin of Khazars as a direct connection between them and the Veneti is not known. But we think about the mission, that St. Cyril carried out among the Khazars in the early 9th century. He and his brother Methodius thereafter were missionaries among Slovenians (from the linguistic point of view: Veneti) in Pannonia and among Moravians. The saint brothers spoke the Slav language very well, which they knew from their native Salonika (Macedonia). After our sondages, ancient Macedonians spoke a Venetic language. Now, one must ask, how did St. Cyril carry out his mission among the Khazars? The conclusion is, that they only could have spoken a Slav (in fact a Venetic) language. In this connection we dare to warn of the Tripolje Culture (Ukraine), which was a remainder of the Band Ceramic Culture (ca. 4000 – 2000 BC). The Veneti, it is true, originated from the substrate of this culture, which after 2000 BC was overflown by the so-called Indo-Europeans, which arrived from the East. Thus, it is very probable, that the Khazars spoke a Venetic language, which was similar to the Slav. )))

 

Bibliography:

  1. Heinrich Kunstmann: Wie die Sloviene an den Ilmensee kamen, in: Welt der Slaven (Halbjahresschrift für Slavistik, Jg. XXX, 2, N.F. IX, 2), München 1985
  2. Bruno Volpi Lisjak: Cupa, prvo slovensko plovilo in drevaki /Cupa, the first Slovenian sailing gear and the canoes/, Trst 2004, 61 ff. - For the existence of the Slovensk name, B. V. Lisjak quotes the annals of the Holopievsky monastery on Mologa River and other authors.
  3. Milko Kos, in: Zgodovina Slovencev /Slovenian History/, Lublana 1955, pp. 33, 34
  4. France Bezlaj: Eseji o slovenskem jeziku /Essays about the Slovenian language/, Lublana 1967, p. 122
  5. John Nikolls: The House of Rurik, in: The Augustan Society Omnibus 14, Torrance (Calif.) 1993, p.19
  6. Ocerki kulturi Slavjan /Outlines of the Slav Culture/, published by the Institut Slavjanovedenia i balkanistiki (Rossiskaja akademija nauk), Moskva 1996, pp. 86 - 93
  7. Josip Mal: Probleme aus der Frühgeschichte der Slowenen, Lublana 1939, p. 120 ff.

 

Slovenskie kljuci
by Simone Arnoffi

Slovenskie kljuci
The surroundings of Izborsk (west of Pskov), Russia.
The surroundings of Izborsk (west of Pskov), Russia.

This discovery was made by Simone Arnoffi, a young student of Russian language and culture from the Treviso area of Venetia, Italy. On a student trip to the surroundings of St. Petersburg and Izborsk, which is 30 km west of Pskov, he came across the area's well known water sources called Slovenskie kljuci (pron. klyutchi), literally meaning Slovenian springs. Not long ago, we introduced in Carantha the one-time Slovenia (Venetia) in Russia, as the Great Principality of Novgorod or Slovensk as it was first called until the 15th century AD. We quoted already many Slovenian names, which were preserved in this region until today. (cf. current article above The Slovieni).

Waterfall called "Slovenskie kljuci"
Waterfall called 'Slovenskie kljuci'.
The waterfall called "Slovenskie kljuci" near Izborsk, in the region of Pskov (Russia).

Simone Arnoffi's current research adduced another Slovenian name found in the area. In today's Slovenia, the etimon "kljuc" or "kluc" has been conserved only in the meaning of "key". However, in the original Croatian language, which is close to Slovenian, the word "kljuc" still means a water source. This reminds us of the name Kluc, as the creek is called, which flows under the main street of Trieste (now Via Carducci). At one-time, this street was known as Klutsch Street.

 

 

 


 

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©2005, 2007 Igor H. Pirnovar
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