Re: south slavic

From: Vassil Karloukovski
Message: 15539
Date: 2002-09-17

--- In cybalist@..., alexmoeller@... wrote:
> From: "Piotr Gasiorowski" <piotr.gasiorowski@...>
> > Why? When the Vlachs first appear as a significant ethnos in
> > the Byzantine records, it's in coexistence with the Slavic
> > Bulgarians in what is now northern Greece and southern
> > Bulgaria, then expanding north. Who says they borrowed Slavic
> > words while still in their "cradle"?

> [Moeller] Hey, that is nice your word here. "Significant
> ethnos". That is indeed nice. That means that "somewhere" was
> a littel group of romanized population which rezisted to
> everything, even to slavs, and they got bigger and bigger and
> bigger for becaming the largest folk of the balcan. That will
> be a wonderfully prescription for making much bred with few
> meal but will it work for a folk?

here is a Bulgarian view on the problem of Slavs vs. local Balkan
folks, vs. Bulgars, Avars, taken from Usenet. The author, Stephan
Nikolov, is a young historian, now at Oxford.

Vassil K.

From: "Stef" <stephan@...>
Newsgroups: soc.culture.bulgaria,
Subject: Bulgar, Slavic and Bulgarian: Re: You dont have the right
calling ... WHEN WILL THIS SINK IN?, etc.
Date: Sun, 2 Jul 2000 18:48:01 +0100


As far as the history of the "Slavs" is concerned, sources speak of
various "Sclaviniae". This is to indicate that when the Slavs
settled in the Balkans they had no separate ethnic identity but
existed as different tribes: "Severoi", "Ezeritai", "Milingoi",
"Dragovitai", "seven Slavic tribes", "Smolianoi", "Abodriti", etc.
, who clearly failed to develop a group of common ethnic identity,
although the Byzantine and Latin observers would call them under
generic term Slavs.

Slavs were neither bound by any idea of common origin, nor their
name "Slavs" proved stronger than their tribal names, save the fact
that they had little idea of common history and solidarity. It must
be noted that in the Balkans behind these "Slavinae" proved the
major alternative to Byzantine imperial rule with its heavy
taxation. It was quite normal, therefore, once the imperial order
collapsed the surviving remnants of the ancient Hellenised and
Romanised localpopulation, especially in the lowlands, to join these
"Sclaviniae". Hence the exchange of linguistic and cultural
characteristics became inevitable as signalled by the developments
in the material culture (most notably the ceramics) and of course
language. The Avar Slavic idiom prevailed although suffering heavy
"Balkanisation", that is influences from the tongues spoken prior
the Slavic invasions. For an observer from Constantinople, however,
these people would appear indiscriminately "Slavs", while the
highland pastoralists formed isolated pockets where their kept their
linguistic and cultural characteristics for the next centuries when
they reappear as "Albanians" and "Vlachs", and even "Bessoi".

The lower level of organisation might prove attractive for a period
but is weak vis-a-vis higher organised polities. Thus the
"Sclaviniae" people, that is the Slavs, became an easy prey for
organised polities like those of the Avars, of the Bulgars and of
course the Byzantine empire. It must be noted, however, that the
fate of these tribes would prove different depending on the specific
circumstances of the dominant polity. It was under the Avar power
the Slavs were organised as a separate military population and this
in fact helped the development of a common lingua franca and the
generic name employed by the Latin and Greek observers to describe
this type of population. The key factor for such a development was
the highly segregative approach taken by the ruling group in the
Avar khaganate.

In other cases, however, a different type of policy, this of
integration (incorrectly called "assimilation"), won the day, as
were the cases with the Bulgars and the Byzantine empire. Since the
Avar khaganate short-lived it was the second trend that proved more
vital and this is evident in modern days: the Slavic speakers who
inhabit vast areas of Eastern Europe are divided to separate
peoples: Russians, Poles, Serbs, Slovenes, Croats, Czechs,
Bulgarians, etc. The attempts of the Romanovs to further a
panslavic ideology to suit their specific political goals in the
last century proved infertile and failed miserably with the
emergence of national states of Slavic speakers in the later 19th
and the beginning of the 20th c.

The case with the Bulgars was similar, yet different, to that of the
Slavs. The Bulgars appear on several occasions in history before
they established their states in the Balkans and the Volga-Kama
estuary. The first people called "Bulgars" appear in the later 4th
century as a most probably non-Turkic tribe and we see them acting
within Attila's steppe empire.

With the end of the Hunnic empire in the 470's, the Bulgars
disappear from sources to reappear again a century later associated
with tribes whose names most often end with "~ogur" thus indicating
their affiliation with the western Turkic linguistic group.
"Bulgar" in the 6th c., therefore, would have not meant primordial
ethnic demarcation but rather a more or less successful band of
steppe predators led by the highly charismatic clan Dulo who claimed
an Attilid descendancy. It was such a band that revolted in 632
against the Avars and established "The Bigger Old Bulgaria" in the
Black-Sea - Caspian steppes. Yet this "Great Bulgaria" was in fact
a conglomerate of various separate clans "Onogundour", "Cotrag"
etc., who were united under the name Bulgars because the "Bulgar",
that is the Dulo Attlid ideology was an attractive ideological myth
resisting the superiority claims by the other steppe clans: the
Avars and the Turkic Ashina (who would later establish the Khazar

This "Bigger Bulgaria" came to nothing but different members of the
Dulo managed to maintain their power and established their polities
in the Balkans (Asparuch), Volga-Kama region (Cotrag), Pannonia and
then Macedonia (Kuber), and Italy (Altsek).

In the Balkans, the Bulgars faced the "Sclavinae" and the collapsing
imperial rule concentrated in the declining cities that survived the
previous assaults of Avars and their Slav troops. The highland
pockets of local populations remained , at least in the beginning,
out of the reach of the Bulgars who were naturally interested in the
plains and the river valleys that might provide them with pasture
for horsing and with sedentary population to exploit. The Bulgars,
therefore, established their power relatively easy.

There are two periods of accommodation between the Bulgar elite and
their subjects: the urban population and the "Sclaviniae". The
first period resembles strongly the Avar approach. The "Sclaviniae"
were left intact , a tribute was extracted and their manpower was
used for various military operations. Tribute was most probably
taken also by the cities that survived: Dorustorum, Varna, perhaps
Tomi (which seems after all to have survived contrary to earlier
belief), etc. Similar was the type of accommodation between Kuber's
Bulgars and the Sclaviniae of the Dragovtai and Sagudatoi in
Macedonia. Further, the Bulgars seems to have established relations
with those Sclaviniae that were out of their immediate power to
secure a safety belt against the Empire and the Avar khaganate.

By the middle of the 9th century, however, this modus vivendi proved
started gradually giving way to another approach: and that is the
process of integration of Slavs into the Bulgar elite, a trend that
fully developed , however, only after the Christianisation of 864.
This change of approach would have been forced by Byzantine revival
in the Balkans and the Byzantinisation of the Bulgar elite itself.
It was only in the middle of the 9th c., we see the self-designation
Bulgars in the Bulgar stone inscriptions, the first one from 822 and
the second one from the later 830's (Philippi).

The war 811 - 816 witnessed the first incorporation of Slavs in the
Bulgar army and after the 820's sources don't speak anymore of
barbarian armies composed of Bulgars and Slavs. A new
administrative trend, districts called "comitates" seems to have
been introduced about the same time and the rebellions of the
proponents of the old system of local autonomy, such as the case
with the Timochani, suppressed.

The urban population also seems to have followed this fate, new bulk
of imperial subjects was incorporated in the khanate, and indeed a
trend of 'urbanisation' developed to complement the spread of Greek
inscriptions from the 820's and the 830's. Army and new
administrative structures would have prompted homogenisation of the
population, first attested by the unification of the material
culture, again especially ceramics in the beginning of the ninth
century and the Slavic vocalism that influenced some of the Bulgar
titles from the stone inscriptions. The conversion to Christianity
proved another powerful integration factor as well as the
introduction of the Old Church Slavonic in Bulgaria after 886.

The invention and the introduction of OCS was extremely important
turnpoint for the history of South-eastern Europe.

It is irrelevant whether this was a Byzantine plan for creating a
powerful, Byzantine-friendly Slav identity in central Europe to
combat Frankish and Bulgarian influence in service for the empire or
a genuine missionary approach exploited by the papacy to combat
Frankish and Byzantine appetites for the diocese of Illyricum as I
would personally think. The importance of this story is that both
Byzantium and Rome failed but it was primarily Bulgaria that
profited from the work of St Cyril and Methodius. The unthinkable
happened: it was the Bulgar rulers who introduced OCS with their
eye kept precisely on Macedonia to counter the Byzantine initiative
regarding the Slavs. Boris demonstrated again and again his deepest
concern on the Byzantine religious, ecclesiastical and cultural
advance and after his son's Symeon failed to get the imperial throne
of Constantinople the OCS as well as the establishment of the
Bulgarian patriarchate became the two major manifestations of the
Bulgar policy of detente. Hence the translation works, the mission
in Slavic (not in Greek) and the education in OCS (we are told that
Clement educated more than 3, 000 people) became a royal enterprise
of high priority. I wrote elsewhere that the major characteristics
of the Bulgars was to employ and synthesise various cultural trends
and to give them a completely new meaning without the need to
eradicate foreign cultural concepts. Although it was not precisely
an ethnic policy in the strict meaning of the term , the Bulgar
policy in fact created a new ethnic identity to last for the next
millennium. It is most notable that while the monk Chrabr speaks of
"the Slavs" profiting from the invention of St Cyril, 150 years
later Theophylact would call Cyril's disciple Clement "the first
bishop of Bulgarian tongue" and Theophylact contemporaries would
believe that St Cyril's brother had actually baptised the Bulgars.
It was precisely then when a common ancestral myth appeared:
Theophylact would not distinguish between Slavic and Bulgar
invasions in the Balkans, a Bulgarian anonymous chronicle from his
time would link Theophylact's Bulgarians with the "third part of
Qumans", again omitting "the Slavs" from the story. By the 11th
century, therefore, "Bulgarian" had a completely new meaning: the

Once emerged, this Bulgarian identity proved stable and powerful
enough to absorb the Vlach, Quman and even the Tartar rulers of the
country in the 13th century and to resist the unifying efforts of
the Ottoman empire.




That means this little group
> was so strong that it rumanized everything north of danube as
> they migrated there.But if they were so strong, why did not
> remained in moesia foar assimilating and rumanizating the
> future bulgars and serbo-croatian?:-))
> The simple fact they have both old slavic and bulgarian should
> be a hint. Isnt it?