--- In firstname.lastname@example.org
, "alex" <alxmoeller@...> wrote:
> I wanted to be sure this is what you mean. Now let us see the what
> versus what we suppouse.
> We do know about how people reacted against the Hungarians (late
> after XIII century), against Turks and Tartars.
> We do know from some chronic how people acted agaisnt the Avars. We
> know how people acted in the time of IE-people, Huns and Slavs.
From all we
> know, the refugium in the forests and mountains was allways of a
> period, mostly just then when the people have been surprised by
> and they have not been organised to fight against invaders. Or of
> when they lost the fight and they cuold just flee for surviving.
> agresors got the controle over one region, they managed to get the
> accomodated so they can work and pay their tribute for agresors. In
> there is from the known facts, nothing which will sustain refuggium
> mountains for longer period of times. It was not in the interest of
> either, less the situation they wanted to remain there in the new
> space. At least from the time of Avars until Ottomans. What makes
> supposed people accted in another manner in the times of Huns,
> Romans, Scythians, Cimerians, IE-people?
I agree that lots of different types of things can happen. However,
complete evacuation of large tracts of land is quite a common
reaction to occupations or invasions. It goes without saying that in
many cases the refugees come back after the crisis has passed, but
that does not always happen. In the case of the Balkans there is
evidence for several such episodes:
In the middle of the fourth millennium BC archeologists find that
sedentary life disappeared more or less completely. It may not be too
fanciful to link that fact to the activities of our dear friends the
speakers of Indo-European.
In the forties of the fifth century CE, Attila carried out massive
raids in Serbia and elsewhere (if I'm not mistaken he reached
Thermopylae and even threatened the capital) which the Romans were
powerless to prevent. The principal purpose was to terrorize the
Roman authorities into forking out huge amounts of money, which
succeeded admirably. In addition the Belgrade area had to be given up
and the administrative functions of Sirmium (Mitrovica) as the
capital of "Illyricum" were transferred to Thessalonika. Naissos
(Nis^) became the northernmost Roman outpost. Refugees all over the
place. Priscus in his well-known account of his visit to Attila's
court describes Naissos as almost completely deserted (the only
remaining inhabitants were either too sick to move or dead). After
Attila's death and the collapse of the Hunnic Empire repopulation of
southern Serbia must have been slow to the extent that it was taking
place at all, because a quarter of a century later Theodoric's Goths
were offered "Dardania" as a place to live and till the soil on the
grounds that the area was uninhabited anyhow.
In 560 or shortly afterwards the Avars organized a power center in
the Hungarian Plain, which they were forced to give up only in the
mid nineties of the eighth century (i.e. more than two centuries
later). Their military concept crucially involved the maintenance of
a wide empty zone as part of their elaborate defense system (nowadays
colloquially known as the "Awarenwüste"). In the half century or so
after 560 the combined effect of Avar raids and Slav migrations put
an end to all settled urban life except in coastal locations. There
are reports about huge southward streams of refugees.
As late as 1526 the battle of Mohács led to the partial abandonment
of the Hungarian Plain and adjacent areas. The magnitude of the
refugee problem was such as to have left indelible marks on the
dialectal map of Croatian. It was only after 1699 that resettlement
Now what we're primarily interested in is the period 440-795. In
those centuries the disturbances caused by Huns and Avars/Slavs were
by no means the only ones. Non-trivial nuisance was created also by
Vandals, Gepids, Theodoric's Goths, Kotrigurs, Onogurs, and that is
only a selection. It would be the height of folly not to conclude
from this that the linguistic map as it must have existed in, say,
400 CE, collapsed completely. What we find afterwards are two tiny
pieces, the one is Albanian and the other Rumanian. That is a miracle
and we should cherish those languages and the information that can be
gleaned from them. Both give ample evidence of having passed through
a phase of mountain pastoralism. (Indeed both Albanians and Rumanians
were to be associated with mountain pastoralism for a long time to
come.) And that is exactly what one would expect on general grounds
because the only way to survive those centuries was in the mountains,
where pastoralism was the only viable lifestyle.
Put differently: there is perfect agreement between the external
facts, the linguistic facts, and general considerations.
The next question is: where exactly was it that Albanian and Rumanian
weathered the storm? There is no clear-cut answer to this because
there are several candidates that look more or less suitable
(Transsylvania, present-day Albania, Bosnia, etc.). What is needed is
an in-depth comparative study of the various alternatives,
particularly with respect to the dialectological consequences that
follow from each option. No easy job. To the best of my knowledge
such a study has never been performed. But personally I confess I
would be very much surprised indeed if Albania would not turn out to
be the only viable candidate.