[tied] Re: south slavic

From: Vassil Karloukovski
Message: 15540
Date: 2002-09-17

--- In cybalist@..., alexmoeller@... wrote:
> [Moeller]
> no, I did not mean to rumanize them, but to romanize them:-)
> It seems very corect the picture here. In 550 AC there was
> none more to romanize the slavs. I am OK with that:-)))
> How OK , and perfectly in the historical picture is that the
> romanians have few slavic words from the ancient slavs, if we
> remember that in the VII century the slavs from Dacia after
> their defeat by gepidae, were "forced" to move south of
> Danube.

two more old posts about Vlahs, Albanians & Bessoi vs. Slavs.

Vassil K.

From: Stef <sn@...>
Subject: On the ethnogenesis of Albanians, modern Macedonians and the
Vlachs (was
Re: [Albanian`s] Macedonia...)
Date: Sat, 01 Apr 2000 17:27:57 +0100


Not that this racial heritage is of such major importance, but it
is difficult to prove historically the presence of descendants of
Perdiccas' Macedonians (for instance) in the areas north of
Thessaloniki AT LEAST after 4th C. AD., even if we accept the idea
that there had been a movement of peoples northwards in the previous
epoch (during the intense urbanisation of the region under Trajan
and Hadrian). On contrary, we have all reasons to believe that in
the 4th, 5th and 6th century there was a movement of peoples all
along the line Belgrade - Dures (Dyrachium) southwards. If there
were any "Macedonians" who participated in the ethnogenesis of
modern population in modern Northern Greece and RoMacedonia, these
should have been the "Macedonians" having their name from the
diocese Macedonia, established by Justinian in 536. And these
"Macedonians" must have been of Thracian and Illyrian origins.

Clear-cut linguistic boundaries, although they appeal to many
people, seldom exist especially in regions where illiteracy and
bilinguism are the rule rather than the exception. According to
Malchus, in the 5th century Dardania was depopulated, so emperor
Zeno wanted to settle there the Goths. Then the Slavic infiltration
and the Avar invasions from the later 6th and 7th century would have
given another turn of the ethnic roulette in these lands. The
Miracula Sancti Demetrii explicitly states that the Avars captured
populations from all of Thrace and Illyricum and moved these people
from to Pannonia where these people not only mixed between
themselves but also mixed with the local Bulgars and became a new
nation "Sirmissians". In the early 680's, these Sirmissians led by
the Bulgar chieftain Kuver, rebelled against the Avars, crossed the
Danube and settled in the vicinity of Thessalonica, in the
Keremision field (between Stobi and Bitola).

While [there] Kuver entered negotiations with the Byzantine emperor
and established relations with the Slavic Dragovitai and Sagudatoi
dwelling in the area. The Miracles mention of these people as of
Sirmissians and we hear of one of their leaders Mauros "the Bulgar",
perhaps a descendant of the Byzantine captives through his mother's
line. The name has a Greek/Latin origin and we do not have any
evidence that it was a translation from Bulgar. The hagiographer
states that the Sirmissians passed on their identity from father to
child. Mauros was Kuver's most trusted man, and one might speculate
that his father had been of the Bulgar ruling elite. Mauros the
"Bulgar" was acknowledged, however, as a "Sirmissian" by the
imperial authorities. He spoke Slavic, Bulgar, "the language of the
Romans" as well as the "local language". It is most probable that
this Mauros "the Bulgar" is the same person with the patrician
Mauros "the Bessan" we know from the Chronicle of Theophanes and
from a seal with cross and the title of Mauros. Mauros's speedy
career in the imperial hierarchy certainly suggests that he was also
a Christian.

Some central Balkan cities also kept their names long enough to be
adapted by the Slav settlers. These include Naisus (modern Niš),
Lypenion (modern Lipjan) and Scupi (modern Skopje). The
concentration of Latin place-names suggests that Romanized
population must have survived along the valleys of Drin and Fan,
around the lake of Skodër and along the road between Lissus and
Ulpiana in Kossovo. Local population seems also to have taken
refuge to the highlands, where a new type of townships, like the
hill-forts, near Komani-Kruja formed centres of local Romanized
population of Illyrian origin. It is tempting to see in such
remnants the ancestors of the Vlachs and the Alabanians attested in
11th century sources, as N. Malcolm has recently suggested. Still,
Malcolm somewhat underplays the possibility of the Dardanians in the
6th - 9th century to be a mixture of Thracian and Illyrian elements
and that it is precisely this mixture that has given the medieval
Albanians and Vlachs. Linguistic research has shown that modern
Albanian comprises Romanized both Thracian and Illyrian elements.

While different scholars give preference to either Illyrian or
Thracian origin of the Albanians, we have no reason to doubt that
the Roman province of Dardania comprised both Thracian and Illyrian
populations who must have settled the land after the Goths'
withdrawal from the Balkans. We have no reason to doubt that
similar would have been the situation in Macedonia. Again, the
Miracula report that some of the Sirmissians abandoned Kuver and
went to Thessalonika, Constaninople and 'the other cities of
Thrace'. The story of Mauros and the Sirmissians is a key to a
better understanding of the nature of the populations. It enables
us to see why some scholars see Thracian and "Bessan" linguistic
traces in modern Albanian, while others see the Illyrian. The
barbarian invasions from the fourth, fifth and sixth century
facilitated the mixing of more or less already Romanized Bessoi,
Dacians (that is Thracians) and Illyrians either during the process
of fleeing from the enemy, or in captivity, or in the highland
places of refuge.

The Avar menace in the 6th century must have also made this
population to prefer rather transhumant pastoralism for their living
in the fertile highland pastures than to keep the agriculture as the
main source of their living. It is plausible, therefore, to see in
this mixed Thracian and Illyrian population from the highland
pastures in Macedonia and Kossovo the ancestors of the future Vlachs
and Albanians. Being isolated from the central authority in
Constantinople by the Slavs in the lowlands, these people were also
invisible for Byzantine writers as well as they were invisible for
tax collectors and invaders. It is only in the 11th century, after
Byzantium managed to regain full control over these lands, when the
descendants of these people appear as Vlachs and Albanians.

Unfortunately, these cases of migration and change of ethnic
identity can only exceptionally be traced in sources, as in the
Mauros story in the Miracula Sancti Demetri. They allow us,
however, to see the complexity of cultures and languages behind the
Sclaviniae and the Slavs that appear in sources. W. Pohl has
brilliantly depicted these Slavs as peasants who managed to keep
their agriculture and established a model attractive for the lower
classes of the both sides of the old Roman frontier. It was this
model that secured the breakdown of the old limes in the beginning
of the seventh century, and took over large areas of the Balkans and
central Europe following the collapse of the Avar hegemony in the
region. The emergence of the Sklaviniai became possible also
because of the inability of the government in Constantinople to
re-gain control over these lands and to turn this population into
taxpayers. It is difficult to estimate whether these Slavs
developed a "common Slavic identity" or the regional ethnogenesis
was the dominant trend. It is possible that the Avar polity of the
6th century facilitated the development of a Slavic lingua franca,
dated usually only after c. 500. Still, the relatively early
Balkanisation of eastern Balkan Slavic dialects suggests that the
regional developments dominated over "pan-Slavic ones" as well as
that the Slavs from the Sklaviniae had continuous linguistic contact
with the old Balkan population. The first indications of a
typically Balkan linguistic evolution can be found already in Old
Church Slavonic from the late 9th - 10th century texts.

N. Malcolm, Kosovo. A short History (London 1998);
J. Wilkes, The Illyrians (Oxford 1992)
P. Heather, Goths and Romans (Oxford 1991), esp. pp. 244-245.
D. Obolensky, 'The cult of St Demetrius of Thessaloniki in the
history of Byzantine-Slav relations', Balkan Studies 15(1979),
pp. 3-20.
P. Lemerle, Les plus anciens recueils des Miracles de saint
Démetrius et la pénétration des Slaves dans les Balkans,
2 vols., (Paris 1979-81)
M. Vickers, 'Sirmium or Thessaloniki? A critical examination of the
St Demetrius legend', Byzantinische Zeitschrift 67 (1974),
pp. 337-350
T. J. Winnifrith, The Vlachs: The history of a Balkan People
(London 1987), pp. 97-100;
B. Zasterova, Les Avares et les Slaves dans la Tactique de
Maurice.(Praha 1971)
Cf. V. Popovic, 'L'Albanie pendant la basse antiquité', in M.
Garašanin (ed), Ilyri i Albanci (Belgrade 1988), pp. 251-283,
at 269-272
W. Pohl, 'Concepts of Ethnicity in the Easrly Middle Ages',
Archaeologia Polona 23 (1991), esp. pp. 45-46.
W. Pohl, Die Awaren: ein Steppenvolk im Mitteleuropa, 567-822 n.
Chr. (MÜnchen 1988)

On Linguistic issues:
H. Birnbaum, Common Slavic, (Slavica 1975).
R. Tzejtlin, Leksika Drevnobolgarskih rukopisej X - XI vv.
(Sofia 1986), with the literature on p. 34 ff.
G. Weigand, 'Sind die Albaner die Nachkommen der Illyrer oder der
Thraker', Balkan Archiv 3(1927);
V. Georgiev, 'Albanisch, dakisch-mysisch und rumänisch:die Herkunft
der Albaner', BE 2(1960), pp. 1-19.
G. Schramm, Anfänge des Albanischen Christemtums: die frühe
Bekehrung der Bessen ihre langen Folgen (Freiburg am Breisgau 1994)


From: Stef <sn@...>
Newsgroups: soc.culture.bulgaria, alt.news.macedonia,
soc.culture.albanian, soc.culture.greek
Subject: Re: On the ethnogenesis of Albanians, modern Macedonians
and the Vlachs (was Re: [Albanian`s] Macedonia...)
Date: Tue, 04 Apr 2000 05:47:25 +0100

"Anastassios D. Retzios" wrote:
> On Sat, 01 Apr 2000 17:27:57 +0100, Stef <sn@...>
> Stef:
> I have read your extensive piece and unfortunately your
> narrative misses the point and misinforms. You portray an
> almost peaceful, bucolic transition in Northen Macedonia
> when this was clearly not the case. It was in fact, quite
> violent.

Eh? Where do you see that peaceful and bucolic transition.

> You forget to mention that the Slav settlers were usually the
> camp followers of the Avars and the Avar attacks on Byzantium
> led to a humongous stream of refugees. In cases, Byzantine
> commanders agreed to evacuate whole towns upon surrender.

Not always, and not usually. The Avars disappear from the scene after
the disaster of 626 and the civil war that followed.

> As the Slav settlers were idolatrous, I think that we can rule
> out a peaceful transition in the countryside. My guess is that
> heathen Saxon / Christian Briton bloody encounters of the early
> 6th century provide a very good model as to how things evolved
> in the para-Danubian areas. Do not forget that, for example,
> Berrhoia was fully abandoned and empress Zoe repopulated it;
> The account of her trip from Thessaloniki to the abandoned city
> clearly portrays an abandoned and looted countryside, more
> of a "marsh" than of a "farmers paradise"!!!
> I think that you need to rethink your narrative.
> Anastassios

Well, I would not be that sure that comparison with the Saxons is
valid. A good point to departure, I believe, is the virtual lack of
Slavic aristocracy.

The booty they won apparently did not create aa new military class
with greed for more and contempt for work, as this had happened with
the Germanic tribes.

I do not know how do you imagine these Slavs,but the Strategicon of
Pseudo-Maurice is ratyher explicit when speaking of the equality and
the egalitarian spirit of these Slavs. Pointedly, these people gave
freedom to their captives in the due course (again clear from the
Strategicon). Thus, I subscibe the opinion of W. Pohl, that the
Slavic model proved attractive for the lower classes of both sides
of the Roman frontier.(Die Avaren, pp. 121 ff., 159 ff.) Of course,
in some regions one might trace tendencies toward creation of a
military class and indeed of a military kingdom, but these leaders
and their organisations never coud compare to that of Avars and
Bulgars for instance.

As for the Avars and Bulgars, I doubt it very much if they were
killing the local population en masse. The specific of pastoralist
economy requires sedentary population, and indeed again and again we
hear of "Romans" taken captives and settled in the kingdoms of Huns,
Avars and Bulgars. These people were obviously turned slaves, still
one needs to bear in mind the specific of slavery in societies of
this type.

Again (this time Priskos is our source, comparison goes with the
Miracles and the story of the "Macedonians" from Adrianople) we hear
of compact masses of captives who enjoy local autonomy, have their
own leaders.

As for the heathen part, see, apart from several specific cases with
the Bulgars, we do not have evidence of Christians who suffered
because of their religion. Still, even the Bulgars percecuted
Christians for political rather than purely religious reasons.
Although not bucolic, the picture was not as bloody as one would
expect, Anastassios!