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Sunday, 2 August 2009

Lost...& Found: Croatian Pre-Christian Mythology, Legends & Folk Stories







An artist's interpretive painting of Perun making his presence and lightning powers known in olden days. Behold his mighty lightning and thunder that lights up the darkened skies preparing a mighty bonfire for a large barbecue feast. No need to worry folks and folkettes, he's just wacking out a tree to remind people that he can. No deity in the Slavic deity pantheon has been known or recorded as ordering killings, condemning people to an eternal grisly burning torture or even telling people what to eat, wear or believe. Pre-Christian stories were simply poetic metaphors and a manifestation of the forces of nature and human psychology. The various spirits and deities simply explained the everyday natural world phenomena found around them. They are the "Old Ones", those primordial chthonic deities who always were and will be, since before even the beginning of time. They live among the people now, hiding in plain sight but watching over them in secret...waiting...protecting. Besides, the above image is just an example of "suspension of disbelief", because everyone knows there's no proof of such a thing as a man-cloud or falling sugary cereal from the sky)




Related: pisanica-croatianslavic-easter-eggs

www.paganspace.net

www.spellintime.fsnet.co.uk

www.ancientpoland.org

www.aepress.sk/whitecroats-slovaks-czechs-slavs

christianization.hist.cam.ac.uk

pagan-soul.blogspot.ca

www.discussionworldforum.com

hr.wikipedia.org/Rodnovjerje




I decided to post this interesting article because it's right up my alley, regarding Croatian mythology, folklore, Pre-Chrisgtian deities, legends and I guess just basically early Slavic and Croatian history. I'm not a professor of antiquities or history, but have done a fair amount of reading in the past regarding these topics.(As opposed to most church going androids who think spending 1 hour a week, or year in some cases, makes you holy, or that your bases are covered in case you get a heart attack, run over by a truck or or get some fatal disease or something ). My personal library has become quite eclectic through the years also. (I'm not a bookworm though, just a fast reader and hater of dumbass sitcoms that insult my intelligence and usually waste 30 minutes of my life). I remember reading quite a bit about this subject in the past, along with works of many of the famous thinkers and philosophers, especially when I was in the military, believe it or not. Yep, it's true. While some guys wanted to constantly rent Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rambo and various Vietnam War era flicks and watch them again, ad nauseum, during the weekdays. Seeing "Raw Deal" once was enough for me. I'd drive downtown instead to one of the local used bookstores and found a plethora of intriguing, thought provoking books. (and met some pretty hot women too, I'm talking Kingston Ontario). Books that really made you ask yourself some questions and opened up new possibilities, scenarios and fantastical epochs. Histories that weren't much commented on usually.


Anyway, I guess these subjects interested me and feel closer to me than than mainstream religions. (In this case Christianity, the overwhelming majority of Croatians declare themselves to be Roman Catholic, this is a large part of our early recorded history and also our early inclusion into European history, it defines also our common European heritage. But what does it mean to identify yourself as part of a religious organization these days? That goes for just about any religion really. Everything is convoluted and blurry after so many centuries. Today we have science and facts which dispel many Biblical accounts and stories, archeological evidences proving and disproving much. Saying you're of this or that religion these days is like saying "I'm a Republican", I'm Vegan", "I'm a Green Bay Cheesehead" or "I'm a Libra", perhaps even "I only eat my chicken at KFC, because Chubby Chicken is deceived and going to hell with the Swiss Chalet heretics). Don't even get me started on some of the offshoots and other identity-destroying cults out there, including televangelists and their ilk. For instance, I've felt this way for quite some time, many years, however in the past I've had to attend church services, weddings, I was even part of the wedding party for a cousin in the past and had to recite some stuff in front of the filled church. (I didn't start melting or having green goo coming out of my mouth, eyes turn red and horns start growing at all,  absolutely no levitating or cursing in Latin at the priest either btw). Why, even if I really had to, for traditions sake or official protocol reasons, I wouldn't have a problem checking the box "Roman Catholic" on a paperwork questionnaire at all. (If I had no choice and had to answer that specific question). I did go to Catholic schools when younger after al alsol, the whole Sunday morning thing for years when a kid. (I really didn't mind those kilts all the girls wore in high school either, on some of them anyway) It's a traditional/historical thing also as I've already shown. Even if I didn't, I'm sure as hell not going to check "Serb Orthodox". Afterall, I'm not Serbian, or Russian, Ukranian, Belarusian, Bulgaran, Romanian or Greek either. (I'm not going to check a box of a made up ethnicity, a foreign imposed meaningless and derogatory etic appellation. Read Here if you don't know what I mean, it's better explained there). I'm not going to check the boc for Jewish, Muslim, Zoroastrian, Baha'i, Voodoo, Scientologist, Hindu, Raelian Church or Sikh either obviously, because I'm not any of those things either. I just consider myself Croatian first and foremost. I don't need to fill out some questionnaire, go through motions. believe made up stories, wave flags or wear a big shiny Croatia belt buckle at some event to prove it. Period. Ipso Facto. (In many ways, that makes me more Croatian than regular church goers I think. You see, Croatians/Hrvati were around long, long before Christianity or any other religion came into the picture. Trust me, I'm in good company with a long list of famous Croats throughout  history who weren't particularly religious)  I sort of consider myself like one of the original Croats who arrived to the Adriatic in the 6th-7th centuries, not part of any particular political party, chess club or fanatical die hard soccer/football team supporter, but liking the bacon, shrimp, pecenka, bbq's, music, wine and those evening bonfires and dips in the lakes and sea and maybe bumping into some kind of mermaid. I give credit where credit is due though, acknowledging the parts Catholicism played and contributed vis-a-vis Croatian literary history and progress. I guess I can say that's my club. (Learning and knowing how to read and write comes in handy when publishing material, books, chronicles etc, recording history and important events and people that otherwise may not have been recorded, ie; writing about early Croatian histriography), as well as keeping the Croatian name, culture, language and history alive. It was for these same reasons that when Theoderic conquered Italy in the 5th century, and then established the Ostrogothic Kingdom, he didn't do away with or attempt to destroy Roman Catholicism and Classical Rome culture and then replace it completely with their own. (Like the Muslim Ottoman Jihads would try to do centuries later). Instead, Theodoric and the other Gothic Kings of Italy understood the benefits that I mentioned. The Ostrogoths kept many of the traditions alive and blended it in a way that was beneficial for their rule, to make their rule stronger, for progress in... education, science, literature, philosophy, continuation of the Roman senate and laws. The Ostrogothic barbarian tribes retained the classical culture, they set up their own version of the Roman Empire, they spoke Roman and kept the Roman laws, the "barbarian Germanic tribes" hired Roman philosophers and Roman attornies to teach their children and run their schools. They understood that the continuation of Classical Roman civilization being a part of the Ostrogothic Kingdom was a boon. (The invading Ostrogoths were not some stupid invading dumb barbarians, that's precisely why they retained the Roman classical culture, intending to use it for only themselves, to their advantage and for their rule. They understood it's power and potential, it's connection to the Roman Empire). As for the rest, various stories vis-a-vis the natural world, I'm going to have to stick with science, history and facts. (Which naturally includes the legends, stories, beliefs and mythology involved from our earliest history along with it's development, the development of the natural world myths which do not contradict science). If one feels only comfortable or associate with people who worship a familiar sounding/same ball park deity, ...then by all means..be my guest. (See letmetellyouthis.wordpress.com/list-of-christian-evangelist-scandals for a good laugh also)






Konstantin Makovsky. Rusalki. 1879. A Rusalka (female ghost, water nymph, succubus, or mermaid-like demon that dwelt in a waterway) is common in Slavic Mythology. Many deities and mythological creatures in Slavic countries  are the same because before Christianization they all held the same beliefs. Mythology and deities in the Croatian lands were the same ones they brought with them 1500 years ago.



I took this photo at the Modern Art Gallery in Zagreb. The painting is "Gundulićev san" (Gundulic's dream) by superlative Croatian painter Vlaho Bukovac. The painting portrays the famous Croatian writer/poet Ivan Gundulić, one can immediately sense the earthy, pagan feel. The correlation of the water nymphs to the mythological Rusalka are self evident. The painting based on writings of Ivan Gundulić, portrays the writer's (And painters) desire for freedom and a return to peace, prosperity and nature for the Croatian, but also other Slavic peoples threatened by the Islamic empire and the Moslem Jihads. Gundulić's work was written during the times of the Ottoman wars in Europe. The Modern Gallery in Zagreb is just one of many that contain art with this theme.





I'm not speaking from a personal viewpoint here, but lets take a look at just what exactly a "Pagan" is anyway. What does that word mean exactly when one comes across it, is it a specific religion where the adherents must wear robes in the forest and chant under the moonlight? Is it what one supposes is found in modern day movies...warlocks, witches and sorcerers conjuring up all kinds of magical beings and powers and blah blah blah, maybe even transforming into werewolves or misty fog? The term "Pagan" comes to us from the Late Latin "paganus", revived during the Renaissance. Itself deriving from classical Latin "pagus" which originally meant "region delimited by markers", paganus had also come to mean "of or relating to the countryside", "country dweller". "Pagans" was a Latin slang nomenclature used for all those who were outside of the Roman world and early European Christian civilization, which was mostly centered in the cities and towns up to the 4th century. The Slavic and Germanic peoples in the northern areas during those centuries were mostly rural peoples, They were those "Pagans" who were not a religion, but those who during those early centuries did not belong to their community. Paganism traditionally encompassed the collective pre- and non-Christian cultures in and around the classical world; including those of the Greco-Roman, Celtic, Germanic, and Slavic tribes. Hence, the foreign invaders of the early middle ages were "not of the city" and labelled "rural". "Look at how those pagans have come upon us, with their music, dancing and drinking and strange folk customs." (The glorious Hyperboreans were suddenly transformed into rural invaders, pagans who decorate their homes with strange symbols, woven plants and mysterious bric-a-brac)

I think there is something in the Slavic mentality and spirit that never let their pagan roots completely disappear, and you will see that this is the case exactly.  I see it also in lots of other European countries too. People are searching for more information and are curious about their own peoples past, what they believed. Why they believed what they believed. How they communicated with their neighbors who in many cases had gods and goddesses very similar to their own. I see this interest from my internet friends, various websites and blogs. It's actually all over the web these days, if one felt so inclined as to pursue these topics. This interest is especially evident because of the similarity between deities of the Slavic, Nordic and Baltic peoples. More so between the Roman and Greek peoples, where some deities were borrowed, then given new names. If one follows this blog regularly, or by chance checked out my Croatian history post, which you can click onto, you will notice that I'm not dumb when it comes to religious matters and histories, you have to know how all the pieces make up the puzzle. But "the church" was involved with many people, nations, empires back in medieval times and after. The popes support was almost as important as the various emperors and rulers, sometimes even more so. Recall, that King Tomislav, like his predecessors and many other contemporaneous and later Catholic Kings of Europe, was not interested in ruling a church, administrating or being the head of a church, symbolically or otherwise. He left religious matters to those who took religious vows, nuns and those already in authority in that sphere. King Tomislav instead focused on the governing, strengthening and protection of his and the Croatian realms. Numerous European Kings also used this same influential and powerful ally and their religious orders as an aid for peaceful and progressive rule, spread writing, culture, knowledge etc.

That's just the way it was back then for many, I accept that as the historical fact it is. It would be a sin against my very being, against history and against nature itself, to disregard my ancestors from thousands of years ago and their ways. Ancestors who lived and traveled across the plains, forests and mountains in various parts of Europe, who hunted great beasts, fished from the lakes, who talked and told stories around the fire under the dark and starry skies. To completely disregard them and their/our ways from those more ancient times would be like disregarding myself, like spitting on my own existence, like self-immolation, like cursing that I am able to see the moon at night as well as during the day and even denying myself the option of breathing, all this just because they didn't use modern appliances or have fashion designers schools while making sense of the world around them. After all, their history and blood flows in my blood today like an epic never ending tale to be told, their DNA and molecules are a part of me to this very day also, their moon that hung in the dark murky skies above their homes is the same one that I look up to see at night. Let's get real, should all the people in the world who have similar beliefs or inclinations about their peoples ancient past and history, instead all of sudden run to the mountain tops and curse the winds for blowing? beat their chests at the moon for floating overhead? Should they all curse the blaspheming leaves on the trees for changing colour and falling to the ground? Perhaps even banish the fireflies at night to hell for daring to usurp the godly crickets and frogs? "Get ye back, evil doing naked chickens, bears, wolves and roaming beasts of the earth! Thou mockest God with thine unclothed nakedness and prideful galavanting, thine members and bosoms do blaspheme our eyes and shame the Lord! Thine naked nakedness in front of our souls maketh the rains shamed to cometh and water the crops for future breads and baked goods! (However, when commenting about those religious matters and historical events, I look upon it all in the historical context of those times, as if looking into a magic crystal ball. Totally objective, watching things unfold from above, seeing empires come and go within a mist filled globe, watching as the ethereal absinthe-like smoky haze within the glass orb keeps my hands and fingers from crushing great mountains and even whole nations with just a wave of my fingers. I am the puppet master who looks from afar, however a puppet master without strings, the strings are instead magical lines of ions, electrons and protons) If you want to make a valid argument or prove a point about a historical subject of those time, many times you have to know some things about various topics pertaining to various religious topics also. You need to be able to back up your words and points and not just only talk. That's when you learn that many European Pagan customs (Not just Slavic) and beliefs were absorbed into Christian/Catholic customs, and then in turn, Roman Catholicism also had a profound effect on the spreading of culture, art, philosophy, architecture, literature, languages and more, of those times. (Like I said, the one major good thing I can say about RC from medieval times is that it definitely played an integral part in people learning how to read and write, and so progress in many spheres.  That's very important when it comes to literature. For instance, to write poetry, novels, historical narratives, cook books, maps, books on alchemy, comics, ship building, gardening, weapon forging, how to make medicines and to treat ailments and diseases, philosophy and science, whatever...knowing how to read and write comes in very handy. Importantly also however, if these early chroniclers and writers of manuscripts didn't comment on the people and events around and before them, Slavs/Croatians would know much less about who we are and where we came from. Many of the early chroniclers were writing during the times of major wars and upheavals, epidemics and plagues, at times while gathering huge armies were preparing to attack the towns and people, or already did or were, even lying dead and diseased bodies in the streets and outside their door, someone had to write down the important history. I give credit where credit is due, if all those early era writers didn't comment on their surroundings and knowledge, then we wouldn't know much about Croatian, Slavic, Pagan or even European history. I would basically have nothing to use as sources and so you probably wouldn't even be reading this post) This also had a major part to play in the Croatian, and other Slavic rulers, accepting Christianity as the official state religion. One notices that Christianity did not outright replace Slavic pagan culture, but was added to it over time, a progression and symbiosis actually, even coincidentally contributing to the Renaissance, Humanism, Art and a return to Classical subjects and themes in Europe, a combining of the new age with the more ancient so-called..... "Old Ways" from the never forgotten "Old Ones", those primordial chthonic ancient ones who always were and will be, who existed since before time began. (Remembering the times and old kings past, before the new kings of the carnival creation..incarnated marvels simplified, effects from the new disconsolate kind, given to the once so perfect living, erase and rewind...rewind to the cause of those heroes of old and all those already fallen..to adapt from how a poet once aptly put it). All this of course included the rediscovery of various peoples more ancient past. Economics had a large part to play also. One will also notice that Pagan Croats/Slavs, like many other European peoples, pretty well lived in peace among themselves for centuries. Having early developed democracies and functioning assemblies even centuries before the more recent modern age......








The Slavs of today are the Slavic languages speaking peoples and branches of the Slavic tree that was sprouted from the seeds of Balto-Slavic languages and later Proto-Slavic tribes who inhabited what today is known as the 'Slavic Cradle'. Of course however there are certain differences that developed between the three Slavic groups mentioned by early historians due to gradients occurring and branches intertwining with other peoples, in and around the geographical regions in which they settled post mass-migration. Even though this is the case, this does not eliminate what is termed the 'Slavic Stock'. The Slavs are a distinct ethnographic and linguistic branch of Indo-European people in the same manner that the Germanic, Italic, Baltic, Celtic and other peoples are. Terminology differs, though if one is to use the word 'race' for labeling the different branches of  European peoples as a number of historians have and do. e.g. 'the Germanic race', the Celtic race', Italian race, Greek race, etc, similarly to the others such as the "Negroid race", "Arabic race" or "Semitic race", then one must on this basis likewise also have to label the Slavs in the same manner as well, however there's much to take into consideration also.

Hypothesized by some, during the years 2000 BCE to 100 CE (long before the great mass-migrations of the early common era and middle ages), the Proto-Slavs began their first minor migrations, most of it within their own Slavic Cradle. It has been hypothesized that the hostile environment of the Pripet marshes near modern day southern Belarus and northern Ukraine. forced many Slavic languages speaking tribes to migrate from their Urheimat in all directions at this early stage, although it is certain that previous migrations and movements had already happened previously, outwards and inwards. The experts refer to the Proto-Slavs as nomadic peasants who practiced primitive forms of agriculture. They were also hunters who pursued herds of prey for months. Hunting expeditions called for tenacity and courage and the use of every possible kind of weapon or trap. As the early Slavs were agriculturalists who had domesticated horses and cattle, their migration at this stage was not one of violent conquest by warriors, but of peaceful colonization by peasants moving about with tents in family groups. The early Slavs of this Slavic Cradle also had a deep sense of religion, even though it involved pagan nature worship and ritual sacrifices and traditions. Their religious beliefs and practices were very similar to deities and beliefs of the Germanic and Nordic peoples in many cases.

Since the natural conditions of the Pripet Marshes were unfavourable, the early Slavs developed forms of social organization based on co-operation between large families (zadruga), social equality, and the democracy which curtailed any attempts at centralization of economic or political power. Actually one of the first instances of a true, grass roots democratic society. The great mass migration of the Slavs from the ancient homeland of the 'Slavic Cradle' to the west, east and south of Europe began around the early common era and continued a growing momentum to the middle of the 7th century CE. (It was during this time that the early Croatian tribes (Croats/Hrvati) were further developed into a people centering at in and around the great wide expanse of the Carpathian Mountains and surrounding areas). The name Proto-Slav (aka Veneti, used by Roman and Greek writers who were unfamiliar with pagan peoples in the north and outside of the Roman world, at times also simply called barbarians, along with the Germanics,  as well as being the lands of the Hyperboreans)...can be said for the Slavs before the mass-migrations, and the name Slav for the Slavs after the expansion when coming into contact with the Roman and Byzantine empires, and occasionally during the growing realms of different tribes in the 9-11th century. The mass migrations of the Slavs were also instigated by the movements of other ethnic peoples; namely the neigbouring Germanic tribes and the later Asian nomadic barbarians arriving from the east. Firstly, the migration was to the west, peacefully and quietly, wave after wave, occupying districts and regions, even joining the Germanic tribes (e.g. Vandals, Visigoths and Ostrogoths) in order to attack the Roman Empire, becoming a new substratum of new forming identities and nations. The proverbial cauldron. All the while spreading across the lands at first not like a giant crashing sea wave, but rather more like a great mass of centuries old misty fog.




 A foggy morning scene in the Croatian countryside.




Almost unnoticed at first, ethereal, strangers in a strange new land, unknown people hardly mentioned by writers, as if it was just the fog from their previous dwelling places that was spreading like a mystical hand with outstretched fingers across the lands to newer frontiers. For centuries out of the dreamy fog...voices..shapes...people...this fog does verily speak a strange new language and words with new gods, then more thick fog appearing by the next full moon to blanket the lands, the misty magical thickness coming in wave after wave and year after year taking the Slavs along with it. The mystical fog eventually disappeared and returned back to the abode from whence it came from, but behold, the great multitude of Slavic language speakers remained behind in it's place. It was during this time that Slavic speaking tribes developed relationships with their Germanic neighbours against later eastern invaders from Asia, new Slavic speaking tribes developed their own specific communities and identities, starting a continuity of individual Slavic speaking peoples and nations. As with neighbouring peoples, their early gods and deities were an important part of their communities and lives, the Slavic supreme deity god Perun, mirrored the Baltic Perkunas and the Germanic Thor. We don't know what they called themselves, what term was used by them as a general name for their language, or even if they indeed had any name for it all. All the information we know from those times is the etic accounts by Roman and eastern Roman Greek and Latin writers.




 Hrvati/Croat tribes during their migrations south towards ancient Dalmatia, Pannonia and Illyricum in the early middle ages.




The first known specific recording of this Slavic mass migration was around 79 CE. when Pliny the Elder calls them the Veneti. Tacitus also speaks of the Veneti (Venethi/Venedi). He lists them as among the peoples on the eastern fringes of Germania and well beyond the Roman Empire borders. Thereafter, the 2nd-century Greek-Roman geographer Ptolemy also lists the Venedi (Venethi/Veneti) as the peoples east of Germania. It was only then that Roman and Greek writers seriously started to take note of their numbers and gave them more attention in written works, yet the ancestors of the later Slavic speaking peoples were probably already occupying districts in Central and Eastern Europe as far back as 2000 BCE. (See The ancestors of the Slavs could be in Europe 4 thousand years ago). The early Croats/Hrvati who were already known but included within the previous Veneti, in particular spread far and wide, this is supported by the the various locations they were found in and mentioned in sources, from the western most regions and across the Carpathians and back to the east, later taking part in the forming of the very first "veche's (councils/assemblies). It was also at this time that the new Slavic speaking tribes came more into contact with the major empires of the time to their south, Roman and Byzantine, and so had to forge weapons and fight to protect their new realms. After the introduction of the religions of the empires, Slavic speaking people then continued to develop more specific traits and more personal histories and culture in their more north western and then southern realms. The Croat tribes arriving to Dalmatia, Pannonia and Illyricum in the 6th-7th century were then given important roles and missions to fulfill, to conquer and eliminate the Avars and any other marauding barbarians/mercenaries, repopulate the lands and live in them. Only a strong and brave Pagan people could accomplish this task. An unintelligent and foolish people would have been no match for well armed and experienced horse mounted warriors. The Slavic languages, which were very much the same at that time, and those Slavic speaking people were now contributing to the history of Europa Nostra, and they were there to stay to take on other very important roles.

It's interesting to note how Duke Porin, (also written in Latin as "Porino"/"Porinos" or in Greek as "Porga") is recorded in sources as one of the earliest attested Croatian Princes in the 7th century after the Croatian tribes arrived from their original northern realms. It's also interesting how this name is a cognate etymologically connected to the very name of one of the old pagan gods of the Croats during those times..."Perun", a time when they still practiced their pagan religion which included their pantheon of deities and various spirits. (aka "Perkūnas/Pērkons/Perkūns" in ancient Balto‐Slavic pagan mythology). According to the 30th and 31st chapter of De Administrando Imperio by the Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VII and other sources, the pagan Croatian tribes during the time of Emperor Heraclius still worshipped Perun as a chief deity before and even well after migrating south to ancient Dalmatia, Pannonia and Illyricum from north of the Danube and in and around the Carpathians. (This would mirror in a way the tradition of the Longobards, whose earliest legendary rulers were recorded in Historia Langobardorum Codicis Gothani as being Godan (Odin) and Peron (Perun) before Claffo, and these early Langobard ruler's names likewise were etymologically connected to deities..."ante etronem regnavit godoin; post peronem tenuit principatum langobardorum claffo..."). Even today there are still topographical, nomenclature in nature, theophoric names and compound placenames in Croatia connected to the various old pagan deities and spirits.

(Supplementary Information from Notes To Introduction of Primary Chronicle Laurentian Text: The name Sclaveni/Slav first appears as a source of the early sixth century written work (Pseudo-Cesarius)  [Migne, Patr. Cr., XXXVIII, 847], and then frequently from Procopius and Jordanes forward. By the seventh century, certainly it was the generic term for members of this race or nations/peoples...Popular etymology rapidly developed a legendary derivation from "slava", (glory), while other scholars, including Dobrovsky and Safarik, accepted the derivation from "slovo", (word), this interpreting Slovene to mean "speakers of the same language." This derivation is however not accepted by many and is seen very suspect, in view of the fact that "-enin" (plural. -ene) is invariably a suffix denoting origin from a place or specific locality. Etymological, semantic and historical inconsistencies exist for each of these explanations. The more recent attempt to etymologize Slovenin was explained by the Polish scholar A. Brückner (who was also a student of Croatian scholar Vatroslav Jagić during his studies in Berlin) in his written work Slavia, III (Prague, 1924), 199-203, who characterizes it as a nickname derived from the Pre-Germanic *slaiwa, English."slow/slowly", which he connects with Gothic *slawan, (to be silent/being silent). Apart from the fact of this relation of *slawan to *slaiwa, it remains to be shown at what exact time this Germanic nickname was applied to the Slavs, and to what particular branch originally. A certain parallelism between this derivation and the Slavic use of  "nemets" (dumb/mute/can't speak) for German is apparent. (Njemačka, Německo, Niemcy, Ńymcy, Nemecko, Nemčija ...etc). The early Slavic word "nemets" pertained to the Germanic because they are "those who can't speak the language" and likewise the Gothic "slawan" pertaining to Slavs because of the manner in which they initially overspread the lands far and wide, as opposed to swift and mounted conquering armies. However, B.P. Lozinski argues and reminds that the word "slava" once had the exclusive meaning of "worshipper," in this context meaning "practicer of a common religion," (that would be referring to their old pagan religion, spirits and deities pantheon in their nature worship, even today the Croatian language versions of "slavi/slaviti/slava" has meanings associated with "hail/worship/extol/celebrate/praise/glorify", which without a doubt would then have been connected to their old pagan religion practices, beliefs and deities), and from that evolved into a general description of themselves, perhaps even just one segment, and then eventually used by the foreign writers. He explains how the theory of the derivation of this name from the word slovo meaning "word" is illogical, because a community of language could hardly be indicated by the noun "word." For such a designation one would rather expect a word for "language," or "speech" or any equivalent thereof instead, besides "slovo" actually means the word "letter" in many Slavic languages even today, as in an alphabetical "letter" and not meaning "word." He also reminds that the use of such a term as slava, "glory," for the proper name of a population is entirely without parallel. It might conceivably have been part of a dynastic title hypothetically, but scarcely that of a group of nations, whose written history does not contain sufficient evidence for such a claim. Instead this explanation of the name of the Slavs as the "worshippers" also importantly completely fits the cultural and sociological pattern of the "early Pagan Slavic history", not only philologically based as the other views. Moreover it is in perfect agreement with certain significant aspects of their history and enlarges the scope of our approach to the problem of Slavic history and origins. ie; "Slavs" then would not be an applied pejorative or etic derogatory appellation term used by others at all, but rather those early "Slavs" would quite simply then just have been those other pagan "worshippers." (the earliest recorded sources explain that the early Pagan Croat tribes, and other surrounding Slavic languages speakers as well, already had their own functioning democracies and at times worshipped their various deities using polycephalic idols and statues, with 3 and 4 heads being common and sometimes more. This was also partly related to their views of the different simultaneously existing worlds and planes of existence, where by reincarnation they could be elevated progressively from one world to the next or some arriving back from the other, their beliefs in reincarnation was central and largely mirrored the natural world cycles and seasons seen around them and so it was visually expressed in their idols and imagery also, some of their gods/goddesses characteristics and in other ways). The word "Slavs/Slavi" then would not be an actual specific ethnicity or nation name, but instead a descriptive word directly and etymologically connected to their old pagan religious beliefs and their nature worship. During the time of Jordanes, the peoples he described as the "Sclaveni" populations, no matter what individual tribal/specific ethno-national names were used by themselves, were those peoples beyond the empire borders that weren't Christians, Mohammedans or followers of Judaism, they were all those pagan nature "worshippers.")

The material of Pseudo-Caesarius in the 560s, is the first source to refer to Sclavene/Slavic leaders, some of the extant material probably even reached back to the 4th century to the time of the original Monophysite monk Caesarius of Nazianzus (yet why exactly he called them that name he and the written material does not explain or hint at, only that they were considered barbarians along with the Lombards and other northern peoples). Jordanes in his Latin written work Getica, referring to the 4th century, also identifies the same ancient people Veneti mentioned by Tacitus, Pliny the Elder and Ptolemy, with the Slavic peoples of the 6th century during his time. Among others, Polish scholar, Wawrzyniec Surowiecki (1769-1827) also first claimed that the Veneti of Tacitus, Pliny, and Ptolemy was part of the Slavic nations history. In summary, Slavic noticeable presence started early and slowly, so before the appearance and use by others, and by them, of this generic all-encompassing language group umbrella term "Slav" in the the later centuries, and also being called "Veneti" for the centuries before that, (as this chain of logical reasoning suggests and sources show), then we really don't know what they all called themselves (endonym) or their language, how many there were and what specific areas they inhabited. By the time "Slav" became a commonly used general designation by others, they had already began to develop and use more personal tribal/ethno-national names and different histories/realms as well)

The general term of "Slavs" for today's Slavic languages speakers was actually not commonly used by western European historians until it was introduced for the first time by the 6th century Roman historian Jordanes, when he called them "Sclaveni." Around the year 550 is when Jordanes describes the Veneti (aka Venedi/Venethi) as also ancestors of the Sclavenes. Sclavenes over the next few centuries came to be known as the "Slavs." However, the other oldest mentioned version of the word "Slavic/Slav" is the contemporaneous Eastern Roman scholar Procopius of Caesarea. Procopius writing in Byzantine Greek around 550-551 used – Sklaboi/Sklavoi (Σκλάβοι), Sklabēnoi/Sklavenoi (Σκλαβηνοί), Sklauenoi (Σκλαυηνοί), Sthlabenoi/Sthlavenoi (Σθλαβηνοί), or Sklabinoi/Sklavinoi (Σκλαβῖνοι), while his contemporary Jordanes writing in Latin referred to them as Sclaveni. A very general group language term used by the historians of those times when discussing and mentioning those speakers of the same languages group. The Romans and Byzantine writers would initially broadly group the numerous peoples living north and in proximity to the northern borders of the Roman Empire as the Sklavenoi, no matter the name of any individual tribal names, affiliations or groups.

Interestingly, and deserving of the simple explanation why, Procopius of Caesarea (500-560) was the only writer from the 6th century or later who stated that the Sclaveni did not trace their common origin back to the Veneti (as per Jordanes his contemporary) but to a people he gave the name "Sporoi", which is information not found in any other sources by any other author. (Besides the account of Jordanes, writers from those same times such as Pseudo-Caesarius (560), Menander Protector (mid-6th c.), and Strategikon (late 6th c.) also did not mention or record any similar information). He also wrote that the Antes (considered by historians as an early east Slavic tribal polity which existed in the 6th century, but who soon disappeared and became associated with Eastern Slavic tribes) and the Sclavenes spoke the same language. However, we know Procopius simply derived this name he applied from the common Greek σπείρω ("I scatter grain"), because "they populated the land with scattered settlements." (Exact quote from his excursus written around 550-551 about the Wars of Justinian in Book VII..."...for they were both called Spori in olden times, because, I suppose, living apart one man from another, they inhabit their country in a sporadic fashion. And in consequence of this very fact they hold a great amount of land; for they alone inhabit the greatest part of the northern bank of the Ister. So much then may be said regarding these peoples."). His etic applied appellation then is simply just from the commonly used Greek word "spora" (as in "scattered grain/seeds", occurring singly or widely apart in locality, in only a few places, isolated), the same cognate root noun as used in the Greek word "sporadikos", the Latin word "sporadicus" and from which is derived today's English word "sporadic." (appearing in scattered or isolated instances, as a disease etc, just like the Sporades today are also groups of scattered Greek islands in the Aegean sea and already mentioned in the The Geography of Strabo, circa. 7 BCE..."..Delos, the Cyclades about it, and the Sporades adjacent to these, belong rather to the Ægæan sea.", the Sporades islands also being so named from the commonly used Greek cognate noun "spora"). This appellation descriptive word applied only by Procopius then could not in any way be any actual specific people or a real tribal/group name. (It was not uncommon for some writers in the middle ages to apply an appellation onto an unfamiliar newly appearing and/or unknown peoples or language groups, for instance the very first recorded Greek references to the Goths in eastern Europe and especially around the Black sea in the late 2nd and early 3rd centuries erroneously called them Scythians, which we know was undoubtedly a term geographically based and not ethnological)

Jordanes during that same time instead wrote about the Slavs (Sclaveni) found near the northern frontier borders of the Byzantine empire in his work Getica, (circa. 551)..."although they derive from one nation, now they are known under three names, the Veneti, Antes and Sclaveni" (ab unastirpe exorti, tria nomina ediderunt, id est Veneti, Antes, Sclaveni); that is, the West Slavs bordering Francia, East Slavs around the Black Sea, Moesia and Thrace and the South Slavic tribes who arrived from north of the Danube. Jordanes wrote that..."the populous race of the Veneti occupy a great expanse of land, though their names are now dispersed amid various clans and places.." (Getica 119) and that the Veneti were the ancestors of the Sclaveni and the Antes, the two having used to be called Veneti but are now usually just called Sclaveni and Antes. There is no agreement yet as to the etymology of the name "Sclavenes." In Old Church Slavonic the word (Slaviane) is first attested in tenth-century texts produced in Bulgaria, but preserved only in much later manuscripts. Contemporary sources in Greek, such as the early 7th century second book of the Miracles of Saint Demetrius used "Sclavenes" as an umbrella term for a variety of tribal groups that arrived during the 6th century invasions against Constantinople and the city of Thessalonica in Greece. (Drugubites, Sagudates, Belegezites, Berzites, and Rynchines). Jonas of Bobbio's Life of Saint Columbanus and the Frankish Chronicle of Fredegar, both in the 7th century, are the first Latin sources to mention "Sclavenes" under a different name, the Wends or Winedi (taken from the original Veneti/Venedi), later applied with some consistency to a number of Slavic-speaking tribal groups on the eastern frontier of the Frankish realm.

(Linguistically, contemporary evidence suggests that the later appearing used term Slavic was widely spoken over a large area (from the eastern Alps to the Black Sea) by various ethnic groups, including those Roman provincial, "Germanic" (such as Gepids, Lombards, Goths, and possibly others in Central Europe), particularly evident in the number of Germanic loan words and other similar etymology examples. It has further been proposed by scholars and historians, that the later termed Sklaveni/Sclaveni were not necessarily distinguished from their Veneti origins on the basis of language or culture, but rather on the description and type of their military organization. (they were also recorded by Procopius as fighting the Antes a number of times during Justinian's reign) id est; Because the Sclaveni are first mentioned only in the context of the military policy on the Danube frontier of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, then it seems likely that it was initially only an etic term applied on that specific group of frontier warriors who were advancing southward attacking all across Greece and laying siege to Constantinople. This is the opinion of a number of historians; hypothetically perhaps an early self-designation by only those attacking warriors themselves closest in contact with the Byzantine empire, (or perhaps not), but it would be purely a Byzantine construct in regards to the name of any nation and becoming used most commonly among writers, in its most strictly defined sense, that the Sclavene "ethnicity" is a Byzantine invention designed to simplify and make sense of a complicated configuration of ethnicities on the other side of the northern and western frontier of the Eastern Roman empire. However, regardless of the various scenarios, it would soon be superceded by other more distinct ethnic tribes, their better organized societies and realms and their personal identifying "national names" (Hrvati/Croats included, as well as the Poles, the Kievan Rus' states, Bulgars etc and so forth), but who all nevertheless trace their roots and originate from the Veneti peoples)

However, many scholars and historians have argued that the 2nd century Greek historian Ptolemy (100 -170) was the first to have recorded the name that is possibly the first attestation of the later more commonly used term "Slav." In his main work "Geographike Hyphegesis" ("Geography"), Ptolemy describes a tribe of peoples who are also found just east on the fringes of the Germania border areas, they are a part of the Veneti (Venedi/Venethi) also and them he called the "Stavanoi" (also Stavani). One group of scholars attempted to explain that the Slavonic combination of consonants was later changed in Greek orthography over time into sl-, stl-, sthl-, or skl-. This view was accepted by scholars such as Lomonosov, Schlözer, Tatistcheff and J. Thunmann who in 1774 published a dissertation on the subject. This view was first critically examined and advanced in 1679 by Hartknoch and is still supported in modern times by some scholars.

However, an argument has also been made at times that the names mentioned by Ptolemy in his Geography is open to interpretation and it has, in fact, been interpreted by different cartographers and historians differently. Ptolemy's first mentioned “Stavanoi” (Σταυανοί) was in Book III, chapter 5. (shown on Ptolemy’s “Eighth Map of Europe”) when he's mentioning their primary central hypocenter and elucidates, it reads;....."... lower than the Venedae there are the Galindae, the Sudini and the Stavani (Stavanoi) up to the Alauni." (His descrptions and map in this instance correlates to modern day countries along the Baltic Sea down through Belarus and Ukraine towards the Sea of Azov). Ptolemy through later chapters eventually then goes on to even mention numerous other small tribes stretching much further away eastward right up to his later Book VI. In the 19th century, a few writers went even further and hypothesized that perhaps a small obscure tribe mentioned by Ptolemy as the "Souobenoi” (Σουοβενοι) might theoretically be the earliest attestation for the later name "Slav/Slavic". However this would be immensly more improbable than even the "Stavanoi/Stavini" hypothesis, even ludicrous and impossible, and for the same reasons it was overwhelmingly immediately rejected by most and not even a consideration today. The foremost reason being because this small and very distant obscure tribe he named "Souobenoi" was only mentioned in his much later Book VI, chapter 14 entitled “Scythia this side of the Imaus Mountains” (shown on Ptolemy’s “Seventh Map of Asia”), and the many different small tribes he mentions before eventually extend all the way to the named Souobenoi tribe at the "Imaus Mountains”, which according to his map and his descriptions is clearly translated by scholars to be the Pamir Mountains, in other words, already even far beyond his Asiatic Sarmatia, and near the junction of the Himalayas in Central Asia just east of Pakistan. Most of the Pamir Mountains range lie within Tajikistan and into Afghanistan, China, and Kyrgyzstan. [A few modern day Serb "historians" (example) over the last century have incredibly even implied that Ptolemy's small far east and obscure "Souobenoi" tribe is not only the first attestation of the 5 centuries later name "Sclav/Slav" but also for the very Serb name/endonym also, which is yet another even much more absurd and bizarre proposition to say the least]. We know that either of these above two "Souobenoi" scenarios would most definitely be erroneous and unsupported in any way whatsoever, because they are of course much too far distant east and a small obscure tribe greatly beyond the realms and temporally contiguous lands of the Veneti/Stavanoi/Sclavenoi even during Ptolemy's time, so they could not possibly be a part of the Veneti, Balto-Slavic or any Proto-Slavic speaking peoples linear history in central/eastern Europe in any way either.....




To show more clearly the locations for those not familiar with Ptolemy or his maps and information. The first map is the “Stavanoi” (Σταυανοί) mentioned in Book III, chapter 5. (shown on Ptolemy’s “Eighth Map of Europe”) This is what he says: “Among those we have named to the east: below the Venedae are the Galindae. the Sudini, and the Stavani (Stavanoi), extending as far as the Alauni…”.  We see these Veneti lands between the Black Sea, Baltic Sea, Venedic Bay (today's Gdańsk Bayand extending westwards to the then known Germania around the Vistula River. (this correlates with the descriptions by Tacitus before him) The second map on the right is the “Souobeno (Σουοβενοι). These people are mentioned in Book VI, chapter 14 entitled “Scythia this side of the Imaus Mountains.” (shown on Ptolemy’s “Seventh Map of Asia”). To be clear, the “Imaus Mountains” are understood by historians to be the Pamir Mountains in many sources. In other words, this is way after even the Asiatic Sarmatia (chapter 8). Ptolemy says the following: ...“After this bend of the Imaus toward the north. Those who inhabit Scythia toward the north along the Terra Incognita are called Alani-Scythae, Suobeni (Souobenoi) and Alanorsi." These then are 2 completely different continents and peoples that Ptolemy is discussing, Ptolemy never at any time makes or implies any connection between these far apart peoples and geographical areas. We see also the location of the Caspian Sea which Ptolemy named using the older name Hyrcanian Sea, just above the Median/Persian empire of that time.



A better view of Ptolemy's world map based on his Geographia. The overall view and information presented here shows that it is historically absurd to connect these names and places as even theoretically somehow related, as was the case with a few 19th century theorists, and proven long since to be completely wrong. If the Serb scholar wants to believe that the Suoubenoi are Serbs then that's their personal view, but the reality is that they are categorically proven to be unrelated to the Slavic speaking peoples of Europe. Here and in the other sources the Veneti populations of Central and Eastern Europe are an old continuity of native populations of coterminous peoples and lands, the mentioned Stavanoi would just be a small subset of the multitudinous Veneti even during Ptolemy's time and especially centuries later.




.....This would also mean not even remotely associated with the preceding and contemporaneous Przeworsk culture, Milograd culture, Chernoles culture, Lusatian culture, Hallstatt culture, Proto-Balto-Slavic, Zarubintsy culture, Oksywie culture, Pomeranian culture, Weilbark culture etc, which we know directly contributed to Slavic languages speaking peoples history. (and which has already been overwhelmingly proven by DNA and genomics research findings in the 20th century also). If one was to believe this historically contradictory and ridiculous scenario, just for argument's sake, this small obscure far eastern Souobenoi tribe would then only be some sort of much later intruder tribe of unrelated origins and language, de facto making the Serbs a foreign much later arriving people into Europe and European history primarily on the heels of Atilla and his barbarians. (Maybe they were an Inuit people that moved south to the Pamir mountains? or one of the Kipchak–Nogay and Kyrgyz–Kipchak speaking Turkic peoples found in the area still even today?). Essentially only a group of people that could have only very recently entered Europe from the Himalayan frontiers long after even Ptolemy's time, according to this hypothesis. so most likely as part of the numerous barbarian groups that advanced westward with Atilla and his Huns towards ancient Gaul. Are we to believe then that they are the origins of the later mentioned Slavic languages speaking tribes already centered in and around the Vistula river and Danube river and mentioned by Jordanes and many others? We would then also have to believe that Atilla and the Huns spoke a Slavic language instead of Turkic and Mongolian, according to this absurd hypothesis we would essentially have to believe that a small unpopulous obscure tribe from the Pamir Mountains just simply walked in and took over the whole wide expansive realms of the multitudinous Veneti, who had been there for many centuries already, and then easily imposed their language and name, which would then explain why there are no Slavic languages spoken or cultural/physical remains at the Pamir Mountains today. Besides all this information, we already know that the "Serb" name is just a later Roman-Byzantine construct and applied derogatory appellation anyway, it and the related etic cognate versions is simply a word etymologically directly connected to and denoting a "slave" of the lowliest order, a foreign applied pejorative. Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos (who had at his disposal the Byzantine imperial archives in Constantinople, Roman library sources and privy to many other numerous manuscripts, very old written material from emissaries, ecclesiastics, ambassadors, military notes and journals and records from their expeditions, particularly relevant from the times of Emperor Heraclius), in his domestic and foreign policy manual De Administrando Imperio makes this quite clear when he wrote...(...) "Serbs' in the tongue of the Romans is the word for 'slaves', whence the colloquial 'serbula' for menial shoes, and 'tzerboulianoi' for those who wear cheap, shoddy footgear...this name the Serbs acquired from their being slaves of the emperor of the Romans." (...). So the historical facts, sources and even science overwhelmingly tells us othewise.

For instance again regarding just this particular topic, the Slovenian historian and scholar Bogo Grafenauer, when speaking of the identity of the ancient Veneti/Venedes as mentioned by Tacitus, Pliny the Elder and Ptolemy, altogether ignores even the hypothetical identification of Ptolemy's mentioned "Stavanoi" tribe with the later term "Slavs", this is because he agrees with the interpretations of Niederle and Lehr-Splawinski based on the sources, physical remains and known chain of events, by simply stating that the name...“Veneti/Venedi in this space and time beyond any doubt already refers to Slavs.” (Grafenauer 1988: 411). This also correlates to modern DNA and genomics research results as shown earlier. Essentially, because it is the later named and called "Slavs" which "came out of" the multitudinous "Veneti", and no written historical sources at no time whatsoever record the opposite series of events, hence it would be far secondary and trifling trying to hypothesize the etymological origins of the latter to only just a single tribal name within the multitudinous Veneti populations and areas. (Because they stress be it the later versions...Sklaboi/Sklavoi (Σκλάβοι), Sklabēnoi/Sklavenoi (Σκλαβηνοί), Sklauenoi (Σκλαυηνοί), Sthlabenoi/Sthlavenoi (Σθλαβηνοί), Sklabinoi/Sklavinoi (Σκλαβῖνοι), Slavs or Stavanoi/Stavani, in all these cases they were already a part of the "Veneti" populations and their geographical coterminous realms for many centuries already and known only as the Veneti during all that time). Importantly also to note, by the 6th and 7th centuries different Slavic speaking peoples and tribes were already formed or in the process of being formed via the process known as ethnic consolidation, the Croatian tribes included, (Horvati/Хoървати in Nestor's Chronicle and in De Administrando Imperio etc) as they are recorded in the sources as having largely already migrated southward across the Danube to ancient Dalmatia, Pannonia and Illyricum by then.

*Grafenauer also has to say on page 410 with regard to the relation between Veneti and Slavs, referring to Polish archeologist Witold Hensel;...Around 2000 BCE, within the framework of the Old European Community of IE languages, the area of the Balto-Slavic community (which originated mainly in the east Europe) comprised a quadrangle, reaching from the mouth of the Vistula river [Poland] to the effluence of the San river [Poland/Ukraine] into the Vistula, then to the Dnieper [Russia/Belarus/Ukraine] on the effluence of the Desna, and slightly north from the mouth of the Nemen river [Belarus/Russia/Lithuania]. Between 900 and 700 BCE this wave collided with the Veneti between the Oder [Czechia/Poland/Germany] and Vistula rivers, having assimilated them: since that time, the predominantly Germanic speaking peoples have used cognates of the name Veneti for the easterly, Slavic speaking populations...In the last century BCE, the development of the Slavic languages speaking community is expressed in two parts, in the forming of the Przeworsk culture in the west, and the Zarubintsy culture in the east, all of this within the mentioned broad territorial limits. (Grafenauer 1988: 410, referring to W. Hensel: Etnogeneza Slowian, Mali slownik, 1972, pages 434-444)*

To quickly summarize the above points, whether the unknown tribe of the “Stavani/Stavanoi” (Σταυανοί) mentioned by Ptolemy is without a doubt connected to, or indeed have any connection at all, with the centuries later Greek and Roman accounts of Sklaboi/Sklavoi (Σκλάβοι), Sklabēnoi/Sklavenoi (Σκλαβηνοί), Sklauenoi (Σκλαυηνοί), Sthlabenoi/Sthlavenoi (Σθλαβηνοί),  Sklabinoi/Sklavinoi (Σκλαβῖνοι) and Sclavenes/Sclaveni, it is a subject still being studied and debated by some even today. This is because nobody knows or described what languages they spoke, what they called their language or whether they even had a name for it or for themselves in the first place, how they specifically looked, (they all simply looked like and were the Veneti the oldest sources state, very similar outward appearances, similar lifestyles and cultural customs etc, more on this later), exactly how many of them there were, and who indeed they precisely were because in the end they were also simply just grouped in with as being a part of the much more multitudinous Veneti. All we know for sure and without any doubt is that during the later first accounts of those terms used by Procopius and Jordanes in the 6th century, they were still even during their time a part of and coterminous with the multitudinous Veneti, very simply they (Slavs) "came out of" the Veneti peoples and not vice versa. As already shown, then this later word "Slav/Slavic" soon eventually just became the generic language group umbrella slang term when discussing various Slavic languages speaking tribes, ethnicities and nations.

Interestingly, even still today this ancient Veneti-Slav connection is remembered because even today Finns call Russia "Venäjä" and Russians as the "Venäjän", likewise as the Estonian used terms "Venemaa" and "Venelane" for the same. Russian historian Pavel Tulaev notes that many Russians visiting Finland and Estonia are surprised that Russians are called Vene or Venelane in Estonia and Venaja in Finland. Also, in St. Petersburg, Russia, there are today many members of pagan groups and societies who still consider themselves as Veneti (Tulaev & Smolej 2000). The Estonian-English Dictionary (Saagpakk 1992) has a number of entries that are of interest for this Venetic-Slavic connection:

Vend-brother; on the father's side; fra, brother; monk friar; Christian brother
Vend-Wend; venedid-Wends
Vendkond-fraternity; vendlik-brotherly; vendlus-brotherhood, fraternity
Vene-dugout
Vene-Russian; Muscovite; Russian language
Veneedid-Wends
Veneedid-Veneti
Venetsia-Venice; venetsia-Venetian; venetslane-Venetian
Venelane-Russian; Muscovite; venelased-the Russians
Venelanna-Russian woman
Venemaa-Russia
Venestama-to Russianize, to Russify
Venestuma-to become Russian
Venevastane-anti Russian

Interestingly, for the medieval Scandinavians, the term Wends (Vender) is also etymologically from the Veneti and later meant the Slavic peoples living near the southern shore of the Baltic Sea (Vendland), the term was therefore used to refer to Polabian Slavs like Obotrites, Rugians, Veleti, Lutici and Pomeranian tribes. Mieszko I (930-992), who is the first historical ruler of Poland, also appeared in sources as "Dagome (Dagomir), King of the Wends." Czechs and Moravians and even Slovenians and Croatians were still referred to as Wends in a number of German church chronicles from the Middle Ages. Even later for people living in the medieval Northern Holy Roman Empire and its precursors, especially for the Saxons, the term Wend (Wende) was still used for a Slav living in the area west of the Oder river, an area only later entitled Germania Slavica, areas settled by the Polabian tribes, Warnabi, Veleti, Hevelli, Lutici, Sprevane, Rujani/Rani, Opolans, Obotrites and others in the north and as well as by the Milceni, remnants of the western White Croats (those who didn't migrate to ancient Dalmatia-Pannonia-Illyricum, ie: Kingdom of the Croats/Croatia), Slezanie, Lendians, Golensizi, Prissani and others. Originally as a large homogeneous group in Central Europe, the Veneti soon divided into a variety of smaller tribes and the separate nation building processes followed soon after also. (Croats, Poles, Czechs etc). Compared to those nations and their new national based realms that soon followed, the original Sclaveni were mainly numerous, smaller disunited groups. However, in all these instances, the "Wends/Wende/Vender/Venedid/Venelane etc, all ultimately derives from the ancient Veneti.

One of the other earliest Western European sources that should also be mentioned is Jonas of Bobbio/Jonas Bobiensis’ Latin written work Vitae Columbani, written between 640-643 and excerpted in part in Fredegar's Chronicle (Book I, 27):

"Interea cogitatio in mentem ruit, ut Venetiorum qui et Sclavi dicuntur terminos adiret caecasque mentes euangelica luce lustraret ac ab origine per avia oberrantibus veritatis viam panderet." With the relevant highlighted part meaning..."the Veneti who are now also called Slavs".




Can you pick out the Veneti from the new Sclaveni peoples? They dressed and lived similar in Germania too so Tacitus was in a conundrum. Just as in the later cases, such as when Jordanes circa. 550 wrote that the early Sclaveni/Slavs "came out of the Veneti" and were previous to that known as and called the Veneti, and where sources refer to the already arrived Croats in ancient Dalmatia, Pannonia and Illyricum as being called Goths who are also Slavs (Gothi qui et Sclavi) and Goths who are likewise Slavs (Gothi et nichilominus Sclavi), the earliest sources referring to the Veneti by Cornelius Tacitus, Pliny the Elder and Ptolemy likewise had the same difficulties. The various tribes that were located in Central and Northern Europe beyond the Danube were already especially problematic for the Roman writer Tacitus in the year 98, Cornelius Tacitus at the end decided to just simply classify all the various northern Veneti tribes of Europe as Germanic not based on language, (because he didn't know what languages they spoke, but did admit in his writings that there were other languages spoken in the areas), but just simply because of their similar appearance and way of life customs vis a vis other already known peoples and tribes located much further East. Even Pliny the Elder writing before him places the Veneti even along the Baltic coast when he calls them the Sarmatian Venedi (Latin: Sarmatae Venedi) and when writing about other areas to the east of the Vistula river, naming them from east to west Pliny also states: "...some writers state that these regions, as far as the river Vistula, are inhabited by the Sarmati, the Venedi, the Sciri, and the Hirri..." Basically, to Cornelius Tacitus in the year 98 CE the Lygians, Gothones, Rugians, Helvetii, Lemovians, Helvicones, Manimians, Stavanoi, Elysians, Harii, Naharvalians, Hevelli and other mentioned tribes including the Veneti (Venedi/Venethi) Peucini and Fenni etc (Tacitus writing in 98 CE: "they (Veneti) overrun in their predatory excursions all the woody and mountainous tracts between the Peucini and the Fenni"), they looked and lived culturally similar in their lands without any striking differences so he just grouped them as all the same.




*I should add that I personally hold the same opinion as B.P. Lozinski who's argument makes the most sense based on known facts and oldest sources, he reminds that the word "slava" once had the exclusive meaning of  "worshipper," in this context meaning "practicer of a common religion," (that would be referring to their old pagan religion, spirits and deities pantheon in their nature and ancestor worship, even today the Croatian language versions of "slavi/slaviti/slava" has meanings associated with "hail/worship/extol/celebrate/praise/glorify", which without a doubt would then have been connected to their old pagan religion practices, beliefs and deities), and from that evolved into a general description of themselves, perhaps even just one segment, and then eventually used by the foreign writers. Probably for this reason the Greek and Roman writers in the 6th century labeled all the populations north of the imperial borders as Sklavenoi, because they were the closest attackers along with any other tribes (the Sklavenoi/the Worshippers were the ones who first started to attack the Byzantine Empire, so Sklavenoi would have just been a Byzantine-era slang term for all the various tribes that began to attack the empire). B.P. Lozinski explains how the derivation of this name from the word slovo meaning "word" is illogical, because a community of language could hardly be indicated by the noun "word." For such a designation one would rather expect a word for "language," or "speech" or any equivalent thereof instead, even today the word "slovo" is associated only with the word meaning an alphabetic "letter." He also reminds that the use of such a term as slava, "glory," for the proper name of a population is entirely without parallel. It might conceivably have been part of a dynastic title, but scarcely that of a group of nations whose written or history does not contain sufficient evidence for such a claim. Instead this explanation of the name of the Slavs as the "Worshippers" also importantly completely fits the cultural and sociological pattern of the "early Pagan Slavic languages history", not only philologically based as the other views. Moreover it is in perfect agreement with certain significant aspects of their history and enlarges the scope of our approach to the problem of Slavic history and origins. ie; "Slavs" then would not be an applied pejorative or etic derogatory appellation term used by others at all, but rather those early "Slavs" would quite simply then just have been those other pagan "worshippers", the term being applied then to all the nations in that geographical area that were attacking them. Just like the Goths who at one time occupied areas from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea and even into Spain, there is not one nation/country through the centuries that has kept a personal name etymologically directly derived from this word Sclaveni/Slaveni/Slav, therefore it could hardly have been of any importance in identifying any specific nation/tribe/people or an ethnicity, even by the people themselves. (the earliest recorded sources explain that the early Pagan Croat tribes, and other surrounding Slavic languages speakers as well, already had their own functioning societies and democracies and at times worshipped their various deities using polycephalic idols and statues, with 3 and 4 heads being common and sometimes more. This was also partly related to their views of the different simultaneously existing worlds and planes of existence within the multiverse, where by reincarnation they could be elevated progressively from one world to the next or some arriving back from the other. Their beliefs in reincarnation was central and largely mirrored the natural world cycles, seasons and cosmic events seen around them and so it was visually expressed in their idols and imagery also, some of their gods/goddesses characteristics and in other ways. Dreams were also considered as secret glimpses from a previous existence or from the simultaneously existing parallel universe)

The word "Slavs/Slavi" then would not be an actual specific ethnicity or personal meaningful nation name, but instead a general descriptive word first applied in the 6th century eventually to a large group of newly appearing nations/tribes in that wide geographical area north beyond the Greco-Roman world and Roman empire borders, and directly and etymologically connected to their old pagan religious beliefs and their nature worship. During the time of Jordanes, the people he described as the "Sclaveni" populations, no matter what individual tribal/specific ethno-national names were used or nations being referred to, were simply those peoples beyond the borders that weren't Christians, Mohammedans or followers of Judaism, they were all those ancestor and nature "worshippers."). Knowing this, the word "Slav" today as we know it etymologically, then refers mostly to just a 6th century slang term adjective as "a point in time" referring to a newly appearing threat vis-a-vis the political boundaries and politics of the Roman empire (in the 6th century when the word "Sclaveni" first appeared and it's original meaning, the post-Veneti times), rather than having then or later any special particular meaning associated with a specific people, ethnicity or nation name, and originally used mostly in reference to the customs/beliefs of various groups of those newly appearing "worshippers" coming from the north. (this would be similar to the name of Germans/Germany today in other languages, initially numerous tribal peoples who never used this name for themselves nor even today in their own language, the modern common term "Germanic/Germania" is very recent and originating in classical times but was officially used for the first time only as an umbrella geographic term by Caesar (Germani cisrhenani), he used the name of just one known tribe when referring to many different tribes/peoples around the Rhine river but who still continued for many centuries to use other tribal names, so Germany is also an applied etic Latin based term on numerous tribes and peoples but still not even used by Germans themselves who instead use the endonym Deutschland in their language. (the Croatian endonym similarly being Hrvat/Hrvatska/Hrvatski vis-a-vis the later added Latinized name Chroatorum/Croats/Croatia). The ethnic consolidation of many different named tribes and even peoples into the later Russians/Kievan Rus' named after the Rus' people is another exonym example. *Interestingly, the French/France derives its name from the Franks who were pagan Germanic tribes, yet it is also their endonym name*)

Even further proof of the above explanation is that many scholars believe it would be preposterous to believe that even the small isolated obscure tribe called Stavanoi (the hypothetical and questionable indentification with the Byzantine term 'Sklavenoi'), and mentioned only by Ptolemy along with some fifty other tribes of Eastern Europe, had managed somehow to not only completely overrun a much larger Venetic geographical area and Veneti ethnos, but also the 50 or so other tribes mentioned by Ptolemy, and then proceeded to invade lands south of the Carpathians and Danube river and totally destroy other well established ancient peoples (in the former Illyricum, Pannonia, Noricum etc) to become the "new" and even largest ethnic group of Europe. And all this in just the time from Ptolemy to Jordanes? They would have then needed to have the highest natality rate also, the highest in the history of the world and never experienced before or since, as well as the Veneti having the same astronomical death rates at the same time. Common sense, logic, archeological and scientific results and even the historical written sources instead clearly and unequivocally show that it is the ancient Veneti (Venedi/Venethi etc) who were to become the later new Byzantine-era slang term and so-called Sclaveni/Sklavenoi/Slavs peoples in the 6th century. (and most specifically at first mainly just those original Sclaveni who were were mainly numerous, smaller disunited groups who were closest to the northern Roman borders and attacking the empire)




Polish historian Henryk Łowmianński's interpretation of Tacitus.




Interestingly, the first person to promote a direct relationship between the Veneti and the early Proto-Slavic nations was not Šafárik, but rather studied and examined centuries previously by the Polish humanist, cartographer, diplomat and historian Marcin Kromer (aka Martin Cromer, 1512-1589). Kromer at the time strove to present a specific Polish history that was independent from the western neighbours as well as present the Pole's personal civilizational experience and history vis-a-vis other northern and eastern nations, (ie; the federation of various Slavic languages speaking tribes that eventually became a part of the early Kievan Rus' polity), and therefore in the process confine and respond an answer to the ample concept of the Vandal identity of all Slavs designed by Albertus Krantz. (which was the prevalent theory until then with a long tradition, as the Vandals were first heard of in southern Poland, but then confined to Pannonia by the Goths around 330 CE and later moved around Europe until defeated and absorbed by the Longobards in Europe). The main confusion existed because of the similarity of their names, customs, appearance and mostly because both the Venedi and Vandals in ancient times lived in areas settled by Poles. In 1555 his Polish history in thirty books entitled "De origine et rebus gestis Polonorum" confronted the historical ideas of the German humanists at the time with a pronouncedly more Polish perspective and experience in order to generate a genuine proven prehistory view of the later Slavic tribes and nations experience, for this he received official recognition as Poland's foremost historian from the Polish Sejm (Polish Parliament).

Cromer starts his treatise with the remark that during his time the Polish obviously appear to be a Slavic people (Primum omnium constat, Polonos Slavicam gentem esse) and that the Slavic speaking Poles settled in the former Vandal territories. (which would be analogous to how in the 6th-7th century the Croat tribes conquered and settled the territories formerly held by the Ostrogoths). Rebutting Krantz’ equation of Vandals and Veneti/Wends, he unmistakably distinguishes between Germanic Vandals on the one hand and Slavic speaking Wends/Veneti nations on the other, this was the first time that a comprehensive study and examination of the Vandals vis- a-vis the Veneti question had taken place. Kromer drew a general line at the Vistula River, but importantly reminded that the Venedi populations already lived in the expanse between the Oder and Don rivers during the time that Tacitus was trying to decide whether they were Germanic or not. Both Krantz’ and Kromer’s theories were well-known in early modern Sweden also and were the cause of significant debates and discussions, (also regarding did the Vandals and Goths originate from the Germans or migrate from Sweden first). However still not explained in these cases is the reason why were there so many early tribes and nations from the start to begin with, and especially soon after with separate independent ethnic based national polities, realms and then Duchies and Kingdoms formed, if the Veneti or later called Sclaveni were all just one and the same cohesive populous singular nation and specific identity. (ie; the early beginnings of the later and today's Czech, Slovak, Pole, Croat nations etc). How then did the later called Slavs inherit the various hydronyms that supposedly do not have a Slavic etymology? Why also the many loanwords of Gothic origins from earliest recorded times? An early reference by Gerhard from Augsburg in the year 992 mentioning how there died “Misica dux Vandalorum“ (Mieszko duke of Vandals) referring to Mieszko I of the Polish Piast dynasty and who was often titled as such, and the first Polish King Boleslaw I Chrobry (the Brave) recorded as "Regnum Sclavorum, Gothorum sive Polonorum" (King of Slavs, Goths or Poles) and who also used the title "Gothorum Vandalorumque haereditarius rex" (Hereditary King of the Goths and Vandals) etc. (which coincidentally is similar to and correlates to the written accounts about the early arriving Croatian tribes from the north in the 6th-7th century to ancient Dalmatia, Pannonia and Illyricum, where the arrived Croats are referred to as the “Gothi et nichilominus Sclavi” (Goths who are likewise Slavs) and “Gothi qui et Sclavi” (Goths who are also Slavs), also described in Historia Salonitana is where an envoy after being sent by the Croats to visit Rome to give presents sent by the Croats as gifts for peaceful relations, the envoy returns to the Croats afterwards with good news and then describes how ..."the Goths who had sent him...the Goths greatly rejoiced." (*Interestingly in this case, the writer of Historia Salonitana was actually not a Croatian historian or chronicler or even writing a historical account specifically about the Croats, but mainly revolving around the history of Split and local area, so he can't thus be accused of trying to somehow give the Croats a glorious ancient past history by origins or by association, (although it could just be part of his underlying theme from the start that the Croatian tribes had already arrived in the areas and vicinity already during the time of the Ostrogothic kingdom between 493 to 553 CE), but he was instead the Latin Catholic cleric Thomas the Archdeacon who resided in Split and represented the senior head of a small remaining elite Roman culture clergy hierarchy that had survived the arrival of the Croatian tribes, and according to excerpts he actually perhaps even disliked the Croatian presence, political power and language infringing itself upon his commune world, whom he regarded as just a northern heathen people and tongue, (ie: one of the northern barbarian peoples), and so a threat to his cherished Split clergy hierarchy commune movement that he was more enamored with (However fortunately for posterity, in the process of writing his historical chronicle he does also record individual names used by the Croats and especially significant he praises some of the deeds and accomplishments of the previous early Medieval Croatian Kings, Queens, their Bans/Viceroys, Princes and also about the events and Croatian nobles from during his time when writing, and so in the process he admits to the de facto and de jure rightful Croatian fait accompli in ancient Dalmatia, including Split where he resided, and this extending from centuries previously). Interestingly again in his sources he also associates the Croatian tribes with the Lingones upon their initial arrivals, which could be the Lugii because they were also known in sources as the Lugiones. It is thought Thomas' source for this statement was probably Adam of Bremen (Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum) who mentions the Lingones as a Slavonic languages speaking tribe still living east of the Elbe river during his time around 1073, probably the same as Linonen also, the Linonen were a later mentioned Slavic languages speaking tribe located around the Elbe river where they still predominated between the 9th to 11th century, they also allied and maintained close relations with the neighboring related Obodrites, and in some sources they are also referred to as Hilinones, Linai, Lini, Linaa, Lingones or Linguones, the Bavarian Geographer in the mid-9th century described them as "populus", from areas that closely correspond to where the Western White Croats arrived from according to 10th-century Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VII, who likewise described the Croatian tribes as those who "occupy much territory"*). The Croatian tribes southward migrations from areas north of the Danube and around the Carpathians are also supported in the sources used by the 10th century Roman Emperor Constantine VII in his domestic and foreign policy manual "De Aministrando Imperio", "Nestor's Primary Chronicle"  etc.)...In 796 in the Annales Alamanici one can also find an excerpt saying; "Pipinus...perrexit in regionem Wandalorum, et ipsi Wandali venerunt obvium (Pippen went to regions of Vandals and the Vandals came to meet him). In the Annales Alamanici again about a raid of Charlemagne in the country of the Polabian Slavs; "perrexit in regionem Wandalorum", however we know that the Hevelli, Veleti, Obotrites and other Polabian Slavs lived as far west as the Havel, Elbe and Saale rivers well past Berlin also, and were mentioned in sources up to the 12th century until assimilated. Kronika Dzierzwy mentions a Vandalus in the family tree of the first Poles, the Kronika Wielkopolska (Greater Poland Chronicles) name the Vistula as the River Vandalus, in various other Polish sources also as "Wandala" after the same legendary 8th century Princess Vanda/Wanda, and hence the Poles she ruled over were then known as Vandals etc. (Sarmatian/Sarmatia it should be reminded was not an ethnic concept during those times as much as just a relic geographic term applied to different peoples at different times, similarly to how the Goths around the Black sea in the 2nd-3rd century were erroneously called the long disappeared Scythians by the first recorded Greek references). Elsewhere, in Fredegar, there is a King Crocus (Krakus/Krak the legendary Polish Prince and founder of Kraków? or Duke Krok the first Czech Prince and judge?) who is presented as a Vandal. It could be viewed that the early Gothic-Vandalic hydronyms and loanwords might indeed just confirm that Proto-Slavic languages existed and had largely separated from Balto-Slavic by those times, as well as confirming that the Proto-Slavic nations/tribes Homeland/Urheimat was indeed located in Central and Eastern Europe and so they already incorporated the loanwords there and then, or earlier. (the "worshippers" most likely would have mostly lived, and worshipped, in the forests, among the mountains and along the rivers). Be that as it may and after everything is considered, modern day DNA science and results also unequivocally confirm that Kromer was correct in his Proto-Slavic/Veneti argument, because it is the later so-called Slavic speaking tribes and nations "who came out of" the nations of the coterminous Veneti populations and not vice versa, and as of now we are still not aware of any other major ancient European tribe name that would contain the VEN of the VENethi other than the later appearing applied SclaVENi etic term of Jordanes.

One of the complaints about the connection of the Slavs as the Veneti of Jordanes and the Veneti of Pliny, Cornelius Tacitus, Ptolemy or the Vennones of Strabo is that there is a wide gap in time between the appearance of the latter (1st-2nd century) and the time when the former are identified for the very first time with the new name Sclaveni/Slavs (6th century). However, it seems that what is rather true is that the people who make such claims are not familiar with Roman literature and other works from the early common era. Notitia Dignitatum written around 395-433 CE mentions the Vindelici which are very likely the Veneti. In the Tabula Peutingeriana (Peutinger Map - put together 2-3 centuries before Jordanes’ writings), three Venetic tribes are mentioned including the first location mentioned by Ptolemy, Tacitus and Pliny and near the mouth of the Danube river where we find the later so-called Sclaveni/Slavs later on. The second location is where the Sclaveni/Slavs make their very first appearance under that name (in the writings of Procopius and Jordanes who makes the connection between Slavs and Veneti). Collectio Avellana from circa. 394 CE..."Scythiam vero soliti sunt veteres appellare cunctam septentrionalem plagam, ubi sunt Gothi et Dauni, Venni quoque et Arii usque ad Germanorum Amazonarumque regionem." Latin translation: "In the entire northern region which the ancients used to call Scythia, there are Goths, Danes, Venni and also Arii up to the German and Amazon regions" (Amazon region was an area corresponding to lands north of the Sea of Azov, and at that time conqured and inhabited by Goths). Hippolitus’ Chronicle from pre 235 CE also makes mention of the Venni in the northern regions, (the German historian Josef Markwart (aka Josef Marquart) noted that the Venni in these sources are undoubtedly the Veneti)...being just a few less well known examples.


(Supplementary information; It should be noted since on this topic of the ancient Veneti, that some scholars and historians have put forth hypotheses that the very autonym and personal endonym name of the Croats could very well be etymologically connected to the Veneti in yet another logical way. ie; that the plural form "Hrvati" could ultimately very well be a compound noun resulting from the oldest Slavic languages word for mountain "Hora" adjoined  to the word "Veneti." (Even to this day from the Czech Republic to Belarus/Ukraine and Russia the oldest Slavic word "Hora/Hory" is still present and used as the word for "Mountain/Mountains", as well as cognate versions also directly connected to the word "Hora/Hory." These areas also coincide to the lands inhabited by Croatian tribes in the various old sources, "Horvat/Hrovati/Hrvati" and some other similar cognate noun version names etc) Being that a 5 syllable word name for a topographical name/nomenclature and especially an ethnonym name in any Slavic language is extremely rare, it is has been deduced that a portion was just simply dropped from pronunciation over time, or most likely at a very early stage. (This was also a common custom in many instances in different languages going back to antiquity). The compound "Hora/Hory" + "Veneti" would initially result in a rare 5 syllable compound word name, a straight and rudimentary basic joining of the two words would appear as and sound like the word/name - "Horaveneti" or "Horvaneti."

However, if the easier to pronounce and much more fluidly common 3 syllable version was used instead by dropping 2 syllables, or more specifically just less important consonant syllables, this would blend and merge the remaining vowels, and the syllables, to form a more easier pronunciation and natural fluidness when speaking, (from the "Ve-ne-ti" to simpler spoken "Ve-ti"), the first result would then sound like and be spoken as something similar to "Horveti/Horvaeti/Horvati" and similar derivatives thereof. Through the following Balto-Slavic languages and later Old Proto-Slavic liquid metathesis and pleophony tendencies, then more fluid versions such as Horvathi/Harvathi/Harvaeti etc, would also become available and common in the etymology process and etymology chain. This could very well also even help explain the name "Harvaða" (also Harvatha/Harvathi) being used in the first place as the name of the Carpathian Mountains range in the old epic Norse sagas concerning when battling the armies under Atilla, and further onomastically and etymologically connect to the personal Croatian endonym/ethnonym in those same coterminous geographical areas. (More on this and related information later). Quite simply, the Croatian national name endonym in plural form (Hrvati) would then be a result of the following early Slavonic languages common tendencies for combination of consonants and vowels, pleophany, metathesis and then re-metathesis as seen in many other examples, and this process would ultimately, historically and onomastically, also be linearly connected to the preceding times of the multitudinous ancient Veneti of central and eastern Europe)





It is also interesting enough to mention that even the names of the Croatian months of the year, have retained their earthy, pagan origins and meanings from those Pre-Christian times. a feature that is very rare in European languages and is only still present today in some Slavic languages speaking nations that also retained elements of this Pre-Christian month naming custom as the standard even up to today. (Czech, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Slovenian, Macedonian to a lesser extent). More about Croatian month names later.

It is evident that a strong Pre-Christian Croatian tradition survived through many rituals, folk stories, legends, songs and gastronomy even. It can be seen in especially remote villages. After all, when Croatian tribes first came to the lands that make up our country, it wasn't called Croatia (Hrvatska) already. We didn't take the language of any peoples who were there before us, or of any scattered small populations found here and there. We didn't take the name of any of the peoples who were living there before us either. Just like we didn't take the name or language of people/empires that came after us. We arose and blessed the lands with the name of our people, our nation, which also included our language, customs and pagan religious customs that we brought with us to our new lands and home. THAT'S why it's called "Hrvatska.'





"The arrival of the Croats to the Adriatic" by Croatian painter Oton Ivekovic. Duke Porin, (also in Latin as "Porino"/"Porinos" or in Greek as "Porga") is recorded in sources as one of the earliest Croatian Princes after the Croatian tribes arrived from their original northern realms. It's also interesting how his name is a cognate etymologically connected to the old pagan god of the Croats..."Perun" (interestingly aka "Perkūnas" in ancient Balto-Slavic pagan mythology) The pagan Croat tribes worshipped Perun as a chief deity before migrating south from north of the Danube and in and around the Carpathians.



A series of paintings revolving around ancient Slavic pagan deities. Source: www.culturenet.hr





 1870's painting by Ferdo Quiquerez, The Arrival of the Croats at the sea (Dolazak Hrvata k moru) depicting the five brothers Kluk, Lobel, Muhlo, Kosenc, Hrvat and their two sisters, Tuga and Buga climbing down a clif towards the sea. The painting was inspired by a poem by August Šenoa and a cantata by Ivan pl. Zajc based on the writings of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus about the Croatian people: "One of their tribes, namely five brothers Klukas, Lobelos, Kosentzes, Muhlo, Hrobatos and their two sisters, Tuga and Buga, separated themselves from them and came together with their people to Dalmatia and found the Avars pillaging these lands. After they waged wars with each other for some time, eventually the Croats overpowered and killed most of the Avars forcing the rest into submission." - De Administrando Imperio. Source: wikipedia.org






Source: wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Croatia

The book De Administrando Imperio, written in the 10th century, is the most referenced source on the migration of Slavic peoples into southeastern Europe. It states this Croatian migration was first before all of the other Slavs around or before the year 600 from the region that is now (roughly) Galicia and Silesia near Bavaria and areas of the Pannonian/Transcarpathian (referred to as Great and White Croatia) to the province of Dalmatia. De Administrando Imperio reports a folk tradition that the Croats were led into the Roman province of Dalmatia by a group of five brothers, Klukas, Lobel, Kosenc, Muhlo and Hrvat, and their two sisters, Tuga and Buga. (The hydronyms of the Tuga river in Poland and the Bug river in Poland, Belarus and Ukraine may very well be etymologically connected to the names of the sisters, perhaps also Tugumir the 10th century Prince of the Hevelli)



Source: wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Croats

It is recorded that in the early 7th century A.D., seven tribes led by 5 brothers (Kluk, Lobel, Muhlo, Kosjenic and Hrvat) and 2 sisters (Buga and Tuga) migrated to Dalmatia and simultaneously they populated Pannonia and across Illyricum as part of the migration of the Croats. It was in the 7th century that they were officially invited to settle on this vastly depopulated area by east Roman (Byzantine) Emperor Heraclius (610–641) in order to establish a shield against Avars for his state. (See Dalmatia thema)


*Personal note - I've always found this version extremely interesting, the Croat peoples being led to Dalmatia and the Adriatic coast by the 5 brothers and 2 sisters.  Firstly, in case somebody read the above text too fast or weren't paying attention, they must realize it's not an "Adam and Eve" story.  The Croats didn't start from just the 5 brothers and 2 sisters, even though as the leaders of the Croat tribes, they are usually the only ones portrayed or focused on in paintings.  The text reads that the Croat people were "led" by them, they were 7 leaders of 7 tribes of Croats, which means there must have been quite the number of them. This was very rare in those times and to me actually quite amazing.  Matriarchal societies can be found throughout history extending back thousands of years, however women actually leading into battle and to conquer is a phenomena that harkens back to the times of the stories and legends of the Amazon women in Greek, Roman and other Classical Antiquity writings, reminiscent of a type of Hippolyta?......Perhaps the words of Daurentius extended to women as well as men?......a Croatian version of Xena?...A Hervor from the Hervor alvitr......the progeny of those large breasted Amazonians  from days of yore?....Future Rusalka's, Nymph's, Succubi and Swan Maidens who after battles and victory against the invading mounted warrior Huns (and later the Avars) ...then traded their horses for waterways and lakes? The catalyst for future folk tales and epic legends. (The hydronyms of the Tuga river in Poland and the Bug river in Poland, Belarus and Ukraine may very well be etymologically connected to the names of the sisters, perhaps also Tugumir the 10th century Prince of the Hevelli) 


...It's very interesting that this practice, according to the written material, seems to not have been an issue with the Croats, it was just written as a matter of fact with no special explanation or highlight.  Was it practiced through the hereditary route because the husband died? or just because there was not a male heir to the tribal leader?, or other reasons? How and when this practice started and how prevalent it was is not really known, it seems it wasn't particularly the norm per se, (Although it must be remembered the arriving Croats were all Pagans and it was common to worship female deities and Goddesses back then, so that may very well explain this subject)...Did other Slavic tribes/peoples practice the same? There's hints that could be the case because they all had the same pantheon of deities aferall. (The Goddess Berehynia being just one example vis a vis the Russians, Ukrainians and other Slavs, and that is where some of the Croats arrived from after all...the lands known and written about as White Croatia)  Regardless, one can only deduce that there must have been some cross-cultural correlation in the past, some kind of cultural continuity on some kind of level in some way, where somehow this practice was either introduced to the Croats, or they just adopted it on their own with no special distinction, or through necessity or for whatever reason,  In the end one gets the impression that they just didn't seem to have a problem with a female leading to battle and victory in their new lands.  Very interesting. There is another legend that the 2 female sirens pictured on the city of Karlovac coat of arms, and on the Karlovacko beer logo represents the 2 sisters. (Not really, I just made that up, but then again you never know)  It is also interesting that according to the writings of the 10th century writer Bruno of Querfurt, Croats were to be found between the "Bug" and Dniester rivers as well. Bruno of Querfurt even stated that Red Croatia was neighbour to Kievan Rus' and White Croatia.





Interestingly also, another point to be taken for consideration about the still widespread population and inhabited areas of Croats is the writings of Cosmas of Prague:


Cosmas begins his chronicle with a voluminous history of pagan Bohemia, reworking several older myths:

The tale of the arrival of the Czechs in Bohemia, and their claim to the land at Říp Mount. Cosmas, however, cites only half of the myth, which is preserved in its entirety in 13th-century sources (Dalimil and others). They describe the migration of seven brothers led by Čech (Czech), from Croatia to Bohemia. The story is mirrored in Croatian tradition (Constantine Porphyrogenetos, De administrando imperio 30 and 31) where seven are led by Charvát (Croat) move from Bohemia ('White Croatia') to Croatia.

Cosmas is, however, silent on the story of the 'arrival of the Slavs from the Danube', which was incorporated into the Russian Primary Chronicle from a Czech work, most probably the 'Skazanije o preloženii knig na slavjanskij jazyk' produced in the Slavonic monastery of Sázava in the mid-11th century. The sources for the so-called second arrival of the Slavs in Bohemia are Cosmas (c.1120), the Chronicon regum et imperatorum Bavaricum (shortly after 1292) and Dalimil (c.1314); other separate sources are the Russian chronicle of 1118 and Constantine Porphyrogenetos (c.930, chap. 30-31). The origin of these Slavs is often contradictory, some sources (Dalimil) claiming that Czechs originated in Croatia, while 13th- century Croatian legends traced the origins of some Croats in Bohemia.





Related: lech-cech-rus-croats-poland.pdf


The Russian Primary Chronicle also tells us that prince Oleg of Novgorod  proceeded to prepare a great attack on Constantinople around 904-907. Included within the ranks of his forces were the north eastern Croats who did not travel south to Dalmatia centuries previously but still remained. These eastern Croats eventually helped found Oleg's new capital of Kievan Rus. See Russian Primary Chronicle.

In his work from 1113 CE called "The Russian Primary Chronicle", Nestor the Chronicler, writes that White Croats were progenitors of LendiansHe also writes that they settled along the river Vistula, and later dividing into Polans, Veleti, Masovians and Pomeranians. Over the next centuries, the Croat tribes then assimilated into the nations around them, Germans, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Ukrainians, Russians etc. (Just as the remaining Croats likewise did who didn't migrate south to modern day Croatia)


Source:  christianization.hist.cam.ac.uk






Also not to be forgotten..(and quite possibly the most interesting facts to take into consideration regarding the earliest history of Croats) are the various mentions of the original Croat name and people being connected to the Goths. It has been known for centuries that the early historical accounts written material places Goths and Croats in the same historical chapter. Abundant and very old related onymic material will be shown that dwarfs and vastly outweighs other unsubstantiated contradictory theories. This following section will focus on the legendary Gothic Hervarar sagaFor instance, the saga conveys names of historical places in Ukraine during the period c. 150-450 during their wars with the Huns.  The lands of the "Hrvati-Croats/White-Great Croatia/Hvatska" are mentioned as well.......





".....The matter on the Gothic wars with the Huns is of considerable age, and is based on events from the early or mid-4th century that were transmitted for almost 1000 years.  It is a testimony to its great age that names appear in genuinely Germanic forms and the at the time current local form variant, not in any form remotely influenced by Latin, which they did not know.  Names for Goths appear that stopped being used after 390, such as Grýting (Ostrogoth, cf. the Latin form Greutungi) and Tyrfing (Visigoth, cf. the Latin form Tervingi). They comprise for instance a form of the name for the Carpathians which most scholars agree is "a relic of extremely ancient tradition and the events take place where the Goths and Croats (Hrvati-Horvati) lived during their wars with the Huns. The Gothic capital Arheimar is located on the Dniepr (...á Danparstöðum á þeim bæ, er Árheimar heita.. Heiðrek dies in the Harvatya (...und Harvaða fjöllum...) and the Battle with the Huns takes place on the plains of the Danube (...á vígvöll á Dúnheiði í Dylgjudölum). The mythical Mirkwood [Croatian: Mrk = "dark" also]...which separates the Goths from the Huns, appears to correspond to Maeotian marshes......."  The place name Árheimar has been connected to the name Oium by both Heinzel and Schütte, originally spelled as 'Harvaða' using the phoneme feature of eth. (Later through Slavic liquid metathesis and other onomastic based versions, 'Horvati/Hrovati' would also be written as a manifestation of the same identification continuum, such as the equivalent match in the OCS Cyrillic of Kievan Rus'centuries later in Nestor's Primary Chronicle, [Хoървати/Horvati] or in Greek from Emperor Constantine's 'De Administrando Imperio' [Χρωβάτοι/Hrovatoi]...etc)





This subject of the Slavs in the 4th century being wedged between the approaching Huns and the Goths was expressed in a 1912 painting by Alfons Maria Mucha. The Primeval Slavs: Between the Turanian Whip and the Gothic Sword (from the Cycle, “The Slavonic Epic”, nr 1) and featuring a floating Pagan Slavic priest with the choices of war and peace/life and death as Attila's armies approach. Their much more familiar Goth neighbours were the choice as new allies against the approaching eastern barbarian invaders. The saga conveys names of historical places in Ukraine during the period c. 150-450 and take place where the Goths and Proto-Slavic Croats lived during their wars with the Huns. (The Gothic capital Arheimar is located on the Dniepr (...á Danparstöðum á þeim bæ, er Árheimar heita...), King Heidrek dies in the Harvatya (...und Harvaða fjöllum...) and the Battle with the Huns takes place on the plains of the Danube. "und Harvaða fjöllum" literally meaning "in the mountains of the Croats", etymologically connected to the Carpathians. This Proto-Slavic land of "Horvatya."  Harvaða being the local Non-Latinized version name of the Slavs inhabiting today's Carpathian mountains. (The Goths did not know Latin or of the Romans at that time so did not use the Latinized version) Photo: www.tumblr.com





In the footnotes to 'The Saga of Hervör and Heiðrek', Nora Kershaw translates from the oldest sources available, which were written in Old Icelandic, aka 'Old Norse'.  She adds that 'Wendeland', i.e. the 'Land of the Slavs (from Veneti), after the expansion of the Slavs from the fifth century onwards especially, this term came to denote an enormous expanse of country, including the coast of Eastern Germany. In much earlier times however, when the Goths still occupied Poland and Galicia, the Slavs were restricted to the regions east of these countries. Regarding the 'Mountains of Harvathi', she writes...It is believed by scholars that 'Harvathi' is the much earlier Teutonic name for the Carpathians—so clearly a reminiscence of Gothic times. The Russian-German scholar F.A. Braun in the name Harvata also saw 'Harvaða fjöllum' from Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks as what would be an early Germanic name form of the Carpathian Mountains. The old Gothic word 'Har' meaning 'heights/tall/high/lofty/highness', just as 'Har' in Icelandic even today. (Gothic: Harvathi/Latin: Carpathi) This would indicate early arriving populations of Veneti-Slavs continuing to use this ethnonym from even before the early common era, and so well before the later generic group ethno-term of 'Slavs' became the common form in usage from the 6th century onwards for the people and language group.  (This very evident source of information would seem to explain the genesis of the Croatian ethnonym to a very large degree, and it shows that Croats/Hrvati are directly related to the first appearances of Slavs and Slavic language into Central Europe, all pointing towards an early, long and steady process. (This can also be deduced by the self-evident reasoning and simple facts of linear onymic markers, ie: if the early Croats (Veneti-Slavs) had instead arrived to Central Europe only after the 4th-5th centuries, then "Harvati/Hrvati" would already be just a long forgotten, unused and unknown relic of history. If the above was not so, then the early Croats would have gone on to instead be known as the 'C(a)rpati' instead of 'H(a)rvati')

Using the oldest and most accurate Icelandic text sources, the 'Saga of King Heiðrek the Wise' which is also found in the 'Hervarar saga', was translated again by the academic Christopher Tolkien in 1960. In his Introduction, Notes and Appendices he also goes on to comment that...

...'The most remarkable of the place-names of this part of the saga is perhaps 'Harvaða fjöll', ...that must be among the most extraordinary fossils in the whole range of Old-Norse...I think, that Harvaða- is the same name in origin as 'Carpathians'. Since this name in it's Germanic form is found nowhere else at all, it must be a relic of extremely ancient tradition, one can hardly conclude otherwise than that these four lines are a fragment of a lost poem (presumably on the subject of Heidrek's death against the Huns) that preserved names reaching back to the early common era of central and south-eastern Europe, when the Gothic empire reached from the Baltic to the Black Sea'. Tolkien also comments that this name and phrase 'undir Harvaða fjöllum' (beneath the mountains of Harvathi) had crossed thousands of miles to Iceland and then had been preserved in fossilized form in heroic poetry that told the story of the battle between the Goths and Huns, and that it was evidently originally composed in Gothic.

It is also interesting that many scholars consider that Croats could have been mentioned in the Old English and Nordic epic poems, the verse in the Old English poem Widsith (10th century) reads: "Wulfhere sohte ic ond Wyrmhere; ful oft þær wig ne alæg, þonne Hræda here heardum sweordum, ymb Wistlawudu wergan sceoldon, ealdne eþelstol Ætlan leodum. (English translation:..."I visited Wulfhere and Wyrmhere; there battle often raged, when the Hræda with their sharp swords, in the Vistula woods had to defend, their ancestral seat against Attila's host")

The mentioned "Hræda" is genitive plural of "Hraede", and is sometimes related with the Goths (Hred-Gotum, Hreth-Gotan, Hreidhgotar). However, this verse is similar to the one in Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks, where prior to the battle between Goths and Huns, Heidrek died in Harvaða fjöllum (ie: Carpathian Mountains) which is often translated as "beneath the mountains of Harvathi". Lewicki and other historians have pointed out that it was not uncommon for western sources, as in the case of Alfred the Great where he called the Croats as Horithi, to often distort unfamiliar foreign names.

(From a personal observation, based on the sources and information shown so far, even just the 2 examples shown above about the connection to the Carpathians and the time periods involved, it seems that this ancient relic term 'Harvaða' that was written in the old poetic sagas is not just a pin in a haystack, but rather more like a small diamond in a haystack. A haystack found not close to the nearby barn either, but in a haystack found beyond the mountain range far off in the distance. An important and very fortuitous anomaly from the early common era movement of peoples matrix. A pretty accurate analogy I think, and quite amazing. Early Croatian history (Hrvatski povijest) just like the rest of early Slavic history in general, really doesn't have much, if any, recorded history that was written by us, but rather by surrounding peoples and their authors. (Greek, Roman and later Germanic...). Events in those areas of Europe and in those early common era times were moving so quickly and erratically that they were more concerned with just existing and surviving. However very, very fortunately other people did record names, events and places. All this centuries before the generic term 'Slav' came into existence in written sources. This is what makes the above information truly a diamond in a far off haystack. Seemingly almost insignificant at first to an unaware casual reader, 'undir Harvaða fjöllum' combined with the other written sources, tells us where, how, why and importantly..when. It correlates to the lands later recorded as 'Great and White Croatia' in other language sources, it verifies onomastic continuity, it proves that the early Veneti-Slavs in the early common era of central/northern Europe were the original 'Croats/Hrvati', who later went on to eventually found early states after migrating towards the Adriatic)


In case the reader may not understand this very obvious and simple population movement pattern and linear onymic and migration model, I present the following easy to follow analogy. Think of the earliest westward moving and traveling early Veneti-Slavs towards the Vistula and then beyond, as an early common era westward movement of reconnaissance Veneti-Slavs, early colonists and the first to arrive to those areas, a spearheading population movement. (Just like later towards the Adriatic) Akin to early Veneti-Slav population migrations ahead of the in tandem following other populations. These early Veneti-Slavs formed relationships with the Goths and/or any other remaining peoples from the La Tène culture and others, early bartering and some kind of co-existence, common coterminous inhabited lands and temporally contiguous realms, most assuredly also forging weapons and becoming an early Slavic speaking foederati against the soon to be invading Atilla and his Huns from the east. They familiarize themselves with the surrounding lands, rivers, mountains and how they are called, with the seasons and what gods they should agree to appease and honour for bountiful harvests, valor and health...(...winds blowing from the tops of the massive and majestic Harvathi mountains spreading far and as wide as the eye can see and beyond) All the while more population waves of Veneti-Slavs over time arrive and proceed to settle and inhabit the lands also, making homes, farming, simple economies..."Who are all these people that speak the language as well? Have you a name also? And they reply......"Mi smo ovdje već dugo stoljeća, ovih planine naša krov, Mi smo svi Harvati. (We are Hrvati/Croats) According the epic sagas, 'Harvaða' was the last remaining free realm against the advancing Huns. Hence the ethnonym is kept alive through the following centuries, the continuity is very evident and can only be explained by the fact that the early Veneti-Slavs (Hrvati/Croats) must have already been there in those times to continue on the onomastic and oral traditions. All this centuries before the word  'Slav' became an all-encompassing general languages term and well before their existence was even acknowledged by Romans or the Greeks. Even quite a few centuries longer before the word 'Rus'' (Russian) was known to other Slavs and entered Slavic vocabulary. (When you factor in that Tacitus mentioned the Veneti-Slavs as already inhabiting the regions east of Germania in the year 98, and others even earlier, then it is evident that the genesis of 'H(a)rvati' could have began previous to that time period)  Hence, 'Harvati/Hrvati' is a carry over name of a Slavic language speaking nation from long before even the acknowledged existence of any Slavic speaking peoples by the Romans and the Greeks, or the use of that term by anyone. However, a few more interesting related facts to take into consideration, written accounts which uncannily again point to these same locations and early time periods and which show again that the Croatian ethnonym of 'Hrvati' extends back to European early common era antiquity. (More as you read on)


*Some updated information which adds further undeniable proof and evidence based on Mitochondrial DNA studies. (mtDNA) Results which again corroborate that the the early Croat people existed in Central Europe for long before we migrated south. We now know that earliest ancestors of the early Croats, as well as Slavs, could have populated the areas in and around the Carpathians in Central Europe as far back as 2000 BCE. This recent scientific affirmation again supports that the Veneti mentioned in ancient Roman and Greek sources were the early Croats, all this for long before we migrated south from in and around the Carpathans. (Unknown and beyond the frontiers of the then Roman Empire, called also White Croatia in other early sources as well as the "mountains of Harvaða" in the legendary sagas. These mtDNA studies confirm an extremely long history of the Croatian ethnogenesis. (See The ancestors of the Slavs could have been in Europe 4000 years ago from a Polish science website for more information)



Could "Hrvati-Hrvatska" have a cross cultural correlation with the name of the Valkrie Hervör alvitr etc, as well?  Historians undoubtedly believe so based on empirical evidence, ancient onomastic/onymic material and even topographical markers. There is abundant linear onymic material which has survived even to this day.  (See The Lay of Hervör, Hervararkviða, The Lay of Helgi the Son of Hjorvarth, or The Saga of Hervör and Heithrek for similarity of names to the ethnonym of Croats/Horvati, which shows to also have it's genesis related to the Carpathians, which at that time was called Horvatya/Harvaða/Harvathi/Hervati etc, which in turn is most probably directly related to the root word that was also used for the very name of the early Croats, obvious linear and peripheral onymic continuity markers, affecting even names of Scandinavian peoples and toponyms/place names and personal names elsewhere eventually also) According to Alfred the Great in his "Geography of Europe", who relied on the 4th century writings of Orosius, Croat inhabited lands were to be found north of Great Moravia as well. It's interesting that the Gothic sources all wrote using the older and the at the time in use tradition of names and locations, not the Latinized versions that we all use today.  One must remember the Balto-Slavic connections of long ago, Goths and Slavs were in the same lands in early Slavic times as well.  Even today historians and archeologists are at odds whether some peoples mentioned in the early common era of north easter Europe were Germanic or Slavic. (Interestingly, many people don't know the story of the origin of the ethic name of the Russian people, or the name of the Italian regions of Lombardy and Tuscany as other examples),  the connections between the Slavic God Svetovid. and the Valkrie Hlaðguðr svanhvít or even the importance and effects of the Chernyakhov, Wielbark or Przeworski culture in early or Proto-Slavic days. Further proof that Hrvati-Croats inhabited the lands discussed so far is this amazing fact that the legendary Gothic "Hervarar saga" did not use the Latinized name of the Carpathian Mountains, (again, this is because they did not know Latin or have any major contact with the Romans at that time) ....but rather the archaic and the at the time in use local current form...."Harvaða" (Horvatya-Hrvatska etc)  This fact is again proved as today's Carpathians is situated exactly in the midst of where "Velika Hrvatska/Great Croatia" existed and where even today, ALL Slavic countries still use the Croatian endonym variants for our name......"HRVATSKA".  (Before the final standardized modern spelling of our name into the current form, at times through the centuries because of Slavic metathesis or local onomastic variations it would also be spelled starting as Horv-..Herv...Harv...)  How do Hungarians pronounce Croatia?...Horvátország.  How do even the Baltic countries pronounce Croatia in their languages? Lithuania - Kroatija yet have and still do at times use the voiceless velar fricative  "H" sounding "CH" Slavic digraph version of Chroatija,...Listen to the Polish version - Chorwacja.....Estonian language - Horvaatia.....Latvian language - Horvatija. (An excellent example of the old Balto-Slavic/Early Slavic language connections from long ago also, again showing the long continuity of our ethnonym)




....."und Harvaða fjöllum" literally meaning "in the mountains of the Croats" (in effect the "Croat mountains")...today's Carpathians.  The Proto-Slavic land of  "Harvatya". (Sometimes also translated as Harvathi, Harvatha, Harveth..) Harvaða being the local Non-Latinized version name of the Slavs inhabiting today's Carpathian mountains... In the Harvaða. (originally in the text spelled as 'Harvaða' using the phoneme feature of ethNestor's Primary Chronicle also wrote the Croatian name starting with an "X" which is the equivalent of the Croatian "H" sound, yet it also shows how eventually the "H" sound came to be pronounced as a "K" sound after Latinization, Listen Here.




(Listen one more time and compare again the names of "Great Croatia and Croats" [Today's 'Velika Hrvatska' and 'Hrvati' in Croatian] from the originally written Byzantine Greek of Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VII in the 10th century work of De Administrando Imperio. The people and the northern lands they arrived from: Βελοχρωβάτοι i Χρωβάτοι)



In the already above mentioned  "The Saga of Hervör and Heithrek (Translated by Nora Kershaw in 1921)....notice the names..".....By her he had twelve sons.  The eldest was Angantyr, then Hervarth, then Hjörvarth, Sæming and Hrani, Brami, Barri, Reifnir, Tind and Bui.......... "This pike at the mouth of the river, Has paid the penalty,  For the slaughter inflicted on Heithrek, 'Neath the Mountains of Harvathi......"

Compare to my previously mentioned traditional folk account from; De Administrando Imperio where the Croat tribes were led into the province of Dalmatia in the 7th century by a group of five brothers, ..."Klukas, Lobel, Kosenc, Muhlo and Hrvat, and their two sisters, Tuga and Buga.....Also interesting, on the topic of the name of "Hrani." The Croatian word for food is "Hrana" coincidentally. (The hydronyms of the Tuga river in Poland and the Bug river in Poland, Belarus and Ukraine may very well be etymologically connected to the names of the sisters, perhaps also Tugumir the 10th century Prince of the Hevelli)


Now listen again, according to 10th century Greek... Βελοχρωβάτοι i Χρωβάτοι.....and according to a pronunciation version similar to 4th century Gothic...Hjörvarth...Hervarth...Harvaða...Harvathi. (onymic continuity markers, until our name spelling was finally standardized in the 19th century as "Hrvatska", at times through the centuries it was also written starting as "Harv...Horv...Herv".  The above names show a continuum also from the time the early Croats inhabited the lands of the old White Croatia/Hrvatska, lands of the Hrvati. (originally spelled as 'Harvaða' using the phoneme feature of ethNestor's Primary Chronicle also wrote the Croatian name starting with an "X", the OCS Cyrillic of  Kievan Rus', which is the equivalent of the Croatian "H" sound, yet it also shows how the "H" sound eventually came to become pronounced in a "K" sound after Latinization, Listen Here.


The ancient Croat name and name of our ancient homeland "Neath the Mountains of Harvathi..." is found in many places it seems and has an exceedingly long history, especially in regards to the specific areas and territories that the original 'Hrvati/Croats' inhabited, which has been shown.  The Slavic-Gothic-Croat connection extending back to early Slavic times, when Goths and Slavs lived, formed alliances or became foederati against common enemies during the early common era.  There has been much study of this topic especially since the 19th century, by Croats and even more so by Non-Croatian historians and writers.  Interestingly however,  it was  discouraged by authorities from both of the failed "Yugoslavia's".  This topic and other related subjects discussed here were especially not to be talked or written about during Tito's communist rule. The facts and truths revealed in the study of this topic was in conflict with the regime, which just wanted to invent a new people...the so-called generic and subservient Yugo-Slavs, who must lose their historic identity to become only (South-Slavs)  A policy that in reality attempted to negate the peoples various languages, history and cultural past and then forcefully lump them all together in some kind of patchwork that resembles a horrendous looking homemade quilt.  Before Tito during the fist Yugoslav regime and dictatorship it was the same case. The policy from Belgrade was for silence regarding factual history and the Gothic connection of Croats/Hrvati. When the outstanding Croat sociologist and historian, Dr. Milan Sufflay, espoused the theory of the Gothic past of his people, Serbian patriots and nationalists immediately became so alarmed at the threat to their concept of Jugo-slav identity, which according to "Greater Serbia" aspirations and politics, would make it an obstacle in attempting the "Serbianizing" of Non-Serbs, that they murdered the Croat savant in the open street in one of the most brutal killings that even the Serbs have charged against their records.  If Croats and Serbs have been distinct separate nations since time immemorial according to all historical sources, that was an obstacle enough, but if the Gothic past of Croats was brought to light also, it would make it that much more difficult to fulfill their "Greater Serbia" aspirations. (It was only in the 19th century that just Serbian literature became more similar to the centuries old Croatian literary continuum)  However, facts and valid historical sources and information should not and must not be thrown into the garbage when studying a peoples past and history.

After all, Croats/Hrvati didn't just pop out of the ground, like some dandelion on a spring day on the lawn, just a few hundred years ago, or more recently. Serb psuedo-historians who would attempt to negate Croat history and even other histories, or vilify any inclusion of the Croats ancient Gothic past as somehow making them less Slavic speaking today, should be wary of labeling any Slavic nation or attempting to define history for them, according to what their definition of a Slav is in their mind. This can also extend to what their definition of who and what other people are. Also, a peoples history should not be suppressed just because it will make another people feel better about themselves, or because it will fit in better with their plans, aims and politics in attempting to conquer the other peoples land by using false histories and nefarious means. Will they also call Russians...(or any other Slavic nation with a Gothic, Varangian, or Celtic substratum from their early beginnings)...as just "Those bastard Rus....offspring of Varangian potato soup eating shoemakers"?)  Read an interesting editorial excerpt regarding even the subject of Gothic-Polish history at Slav and Goth.  This history is now also strengthened because of  important genetic support (Y chromosome lines, haplogroup distribution etc) which also disproves fallacy theories. Modern day historians and archeologists having modern day technology and tools unavailable in the past has also buttressed Gothic-Croat-Slav history, proving the direct linguistic markers, historical and archeological proofs. These are facts, not made up fanciful stories based on illusions and sophism, to invent Croatian history and past somehow through osmosis. (See more Polish-Goth and Russian-Goth discussion as well...Here and Here. This section "Linguistic evidence for the early migrations of the Goths" from "The Visigoths from the Migration Period to the Seventh Century: An Ethnographic Perspective (Studies in Historical Archaeoethnology") gives interesting information about the Goths and early Slavic and Baltic peoples)



(More on this topic at croatsgothsslavs.blogspot.ca)




....."und Harvaða fjöllum" literally meaning "in the mountains of the Croats" (in effect the "Croat mountains")...today's Carpathians.  The Proto-Slavic land of  "Horvatya". Harvaða being the local Non-Latinized version name of the Slavs inhabiting today's Carpathian mountains... In the Harvaða. (originally spelled as 'Harvaða' using the phoneme feature of ethNestor's Primary Chronicle also wrote the Croatian name starting with an "X", the OCS Cyrillic of  Kievan Rus', which is the equivalent of the Croatian "H" sound, yet it also shows how eventually the "H" sound came to be pronounced as a "K" sound after Latinization, Listen Here.




 (Listen and compare the names of "Great Croatia and Croats" [Today's 'Velika Hrvatska' and 'Hrvati' in Croatian] from the originally written Byzantine Greek of Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VII in the 10th century work of De Administrando Imperio. The people and the northern lands they arrived from: Βελοχρωβάτοι i Χρωβάτοι)




If as scholars and historians tell us, that the Veneti (Venedi/Venethi) contributed to both Slavdom and Germanic peoples, then it is quite obvious that the early Croats did also, the same people but distinguished through the later centuries by the languages they spoke. Some became Germans speaking Germanic languages, some became eventually today's modern Croats who spoke a Slavic language. (The Croats who stayed behind in the 'White Croatia' eventually assimilated into the nations around them). The 'Veneti', it is believed, were the early Slavs under a different name, a name used by the early Germans and Roman historians and writers. We are told by historians in the early common era that the peoples were already similar in appearance, so there was no great obstacle in transferring technology, customs, clothing and culture back and forth, in essence it was the languages which played the greatest part in the forming of identities between Germanic, Roman, Veneti-Slavic etc. Only from the 6th to 10th century did 'Slav' become used and continue to be the most referred name/term. This short examination then clearly shows us that not only 'H(a)rvati', but also 'Veneti' is a part of the early Croatian historical chapter and that both precede by centuries the later used general group ethnonym of  'Slavs' in the European  middle ages era history, and a term starting to be used by Roman and Greek writers only after the 6th century especially. Slavic in essence described many times only 'the language of the people' and not always a specific and pure race of 'Slavs'. In the Croatian case, the old and early original 'H(a)rvati', were centered in and around the Carpathians mountains in the early common era of Europe. (called 'Harvaða fjöllum' in the legendary sagas), Since they were also being called 'Veneti' (Venedi/Venethi) in the early centuries of Croatian history, the early common era Croats were then also temporally contiguous as Slavs and Goths, just as the 'Veneti' were.


I came across a reply on a forum regarding this topic once. Something to the effect that, (taking into account this history of Croats/Hrvati from areas of modern day Russia/Ukraine to our most western habitations in present day Czech Republic, Poland and even Germany) that.....Russia could properly be called the mother of the Croats and that the Carpathians/Horvatya  (" 'Neath the Mountains of Harvathi " as Translated by Nora Kershaw in 1921")...can also likewise be considered the Croats father.  It's as simple as that and correlates to the facts presented.  A very accurate, apropos and cool summary which I thought was perfect. It is also fitting that our name is associated with today's Carpathian mountains, because since we were originally found all along those areas, from modern day Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine before our migrations. Our beginnings can be said to have started in the very heart of early Slavdom, areas where Slavdom was first given a special attention and gaining the interest of the classical Roman and Greek writers. Interestingly, the word Polje, or Polye and variations of, which means an interior valley, plains or less mountainous areas, is thought to be the origin for the name of the Poles and Poland.





Among various archeological evidences, including swords, stone monuments and other artifacts, I found the above image interesting and worth noting here. Rare and dated from the migration period of the Early Middle Ages, this iron helmet (commonly called the spangenhelm today in Europe) was found in Croatia and would be what the early Croatian soldiers/warriors would have been wearing in the 6th-7th century during their movements south towards modern day Croatia (Dalmatia, Pannonia and Illyricum) and up to the 9th-10th century. It is very similar to what was being used around early Kievan Rus', by Germanic tribes as well as other areas inhabited by the "White Croats" in Europe. This one can be viewed in person at the Museum of the Cetinska Krajina in the town of Sinj.



A Croatian soldier dressed in the military style of the 6th to 9th century based on archeological findings where Croats were recorded to be found. Helmets like the one pictured date from the migration period of the early middle ages and have been discovered in Croatia and found in areas of Kievan Rus as well as more northern areas corresponding to the already mentioned "Great and White Croatia." One of them can be viewed in person at the Museum of the Cetinska Krajina in the town of Sinj.



The typical weaponry and protection from the 6th century and through the middle ages did not change to a large degree, and would differ slightly depending on whether they were mounted cavalry, spearhead shock troops, foot soldiers or frontier bowmen and archers. Above is seen various Croatian soldiers in typical military dress from circa. late 10th century, around the time of the rule of the Croatian King Krešimir III.



By the 11th and 12th century however, Croatian soldiers and knights started to incorporate more variety in weaponry and armour as well, a precursor to the suits of armour of later medieval centuries. Above a Croatian knight in military dress during the late 11th century, around the time of Croatian Kings Stephen I and Petar Krešimir IV.





*Excerpt of text from King Alfred's "Geography of Europe" regarding the still present Croats north of Moravia is expounded upon in "The whole works of King Alfred the Great ".........



.....21 Horithi, Horiti, (Horoti) C.'— Horigti, L. A Slavonic race, placed by Alfred to the east of the Slavi Dalamenti, who occupied the district north-east of Moravia...... See note 23. R. T. Hampson,. Notes and Qrs, No 17,. p. 258.— S. W. Singer says,— The Horiti of Alfred are undoubtedly the Croati, or Crowati of Pomerania, who still pronounce their name Horuati, (the h supplying the place of Graecized style ch) Nor does it seem unreasonable to presume that the Harudes of Csesar (De Bel. Gall. I, 31, 37, 51) were also Croats; for they must have been a numerous and widely spread race. They are also called Charudes, (In the Graecized digraph form) *ApovO€^, The following passage from the Annales Fuldenses, A. 852, will strengthen this supposition ; — '' Inde transiens per Angros, Harudos,. Suabos, et Hosingos • . .. Thuxdngiam ingreditur." Notes and Qrs, No 20, p. 314.........



*The above excerpt from the added notes and opinion of S.W. Singer is illuminating and interesting, not so much whether he is correct or not in his assumptions, but rather for noticing the onomastic and etymological connection and continuity of the root word features which is more important, because it better helps explain the linear continuity and etymological cognate traditions in those coterminous and temporally contiguous reams and epochs. ie; cognates which undoubtedly also connect to the "Harvaða" mountains (Harvathi/Harvata mountains) passed down in the old legendary sagas. (ie: this Latin version Harudes is also attested in Old English as Hæredas and related to Old Norse Hörðar "Hords, inhabitants of the Hardangerfjord in Norway".

A number of scholars consider that at least some of the Croats could also have been mentioned in the Old English and Nordic epic poems. The verse in the Old English poem Widsith (10th century), also using old sources that were passed on it reads: "Wulfhere sohte ic ond Wyrmhere; ful oft þær wig ne alæg, þonne Hræda here heardum sweordum, ymb Wistlawudu wergan sceoldon, ealdne eþelstol Ætlan leodum. (English translation:..."I visited Wulfhere and Wyrmhere; there battle often raged, when the Hræda with their sharp swords, in the Vistula woods had to defend, "their ancestral seat" against Attila's host."

The mentioned "Hræda" is genitive plural of "Hraede", and is sometimes related with the Goths (Hred-Gotum, Hreth-Gotan, Hreidhgotar). However, this verse is similar to the one in Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks, where prior to the battle between Goths and Huns, Heidrek died in Harvaða fjöllum (ie: Carpathian Mountains) which is often translated as "beneath the mountains of Harvathi". Lewicki and other historians have pointed out that it was not uncommon for western sources, as in the case of Alfred the Great where he called the Croats as Horithi, to often distort unfamiliar foreign names.

This particular name is considered to possibly be an extension of Germanic *xaruþaz (IE *k^osdho) "forest" (cf. OE harað, OHG hard "mountain forest, wooded hills", MHG hart), making the Harudes the "forest and mountain dwellers"). These Harudes are also noted in the 2nd century writings of Ptolemy, and as already mentioned, also much earlier by Caesar himself, when mentioning the Haruske (Harudske in the fuller form) and the 24,000 strong Harudes (Χαροῦδες) military force from around 60 BCE Many historians believe (just one example shown above) that the Harudes (written as Charudes in Graecized digraph style) were not just a single peoples, but also included employed early Slavic/Proto-Croat soldiers also forming an alliance as part of the army of Ariovistus, eventually coming to be known as, or at the very least onomastically coterminous to the later recorded "Hrvati/Horvati" etc, tribes ethnonym, from "Horvatska/Hrvatska/Horvatya/Harvaða" in later writings. The etymology is very evident. Located within the distant eastern border areas of the then Germania, it is no surprise that these imported soldiers are so numerous and mentioned in slightly different spellings by different writers, as they were also a large community as well. Their mention in this example is remarkably similar to the later Byzantine accounts where the Croats/Hrvati are asked to invade Dalmatia and free the lands from the Avars and then possess the land afterwards, except in that instance they were there to stay. These Harudes are also mentioned as being a part of the armies of Ariovistus on the temple walls of the Monumentum Ancyranum, at the order of the first Roman emperor Augustus in 27 BCE. In the 'Opuscula. Essays, Chiefly Philological and Ethnographic' by Robert Gordon Letham, besides corroborating the Croat existence to at and north of the Carpathians before their migrations south to Dalmatia and spreading across Illyria and Pannonia, he also is of the opinion that these distant eastern lands of Germania during that time of Caesar were most likely Proto-Slavic populated as well, (Proto-Slavic extending from the Balto-Slavic, at times called Veneti by Latin writers) just as they were later during the times of Emperor Heraclius. This could mean that the Harudes (Χαροῦδες) were in all likelihood an early Proto-Slavic-Gothic alliance, (also Veneti who were absorbed by both the Proto-Slavs and Germanics) which would account for their large numbers and highly regarded standing and privileged position. (They are recorded by Caesar as needing much land set aside for them, because they intended on bringing their community and families there to settle also)

The Heruli could also be considered as a variant in this long etymological chain, because they lived north of the Black Sea near Tanais and the Sea of Azov already around 249 CE, (In modern day Ukraine and Russia), before they moved west towards the Danube again. In the 3rd century they were named along with Goths as one of the most important groups from the area called by the Greeks as Scythia and who attacked Greece from the Black Sea, meaning they were considered barbarians. (They are not to be confused with the Hermunduri who lived in northern Bavaria along the Elbe river). Interestingly, the Herules are probably first mentioned as the "Hirri" (Called the "Harii" also in some sources) in the writings of Pliny the Elder circa. the year 70 CE. Pliny stated that the territory extending from the Vistula river, as far as Eningia (probably he meant Feningia = Finland), is inhabited by the following nations: the Veneti (Wends), the Scirii and the Hirri, at times all of them being considered as the Veneti. (Venethi/Venedi). This would be a century before the accounts of the Veneti by Tacitus.

These various root cognate nouns, tribal names then very likely have a part to play in the genesis of the later emerging and recorded and more specific "Hrvati" ethnonym and people down to this day, (aka Horvati/Harvati/Hrovati/ Hæredi' etc) it also affected the Gothic name for the Carpathians....."Harvaða". It is all part of one large epoch and the corresponding temporally contiguous areas, effecting topography nomenclature also. (So we then see that it also had a part to play in topography, names and place names elsewhere, the very Carpathians mountains recorded as dating back to at least the 3rd century, but also even well before that if it was already recorded so in the 3rd century....[Horvatya/Harvathi/Harvaða in the later Gothic epics]...over 2 centuries before the later incursions of Atilla and his Huns. An etymological and cognate tradition who's results are very common today in many instances of names, nouns and topography, yet which reach back to antiquity in all those areas. Even to this day from the Czech Republic to Belarus/Ukraine and Russia the oldest Slavic languages word "Hora/Hory" is still present as a word for "Mountain/Mountains."

In the oldest recorded Czech legends, two brothers who founded the early Czech and Polish nations lived in Charvátská země (pronounced Harvatska country, ie: the early White Croatia) Alois Jirásek believed that this was the original first great homeland of the Slavs - north of the Tatra Mountains and the basin of the Vistula. The first chapter of the Old Czech Legends begins: "In the Tatras, in the plains of the river Vistula, stretched "from time immemorial Charvátská country", part of an initial large Slavic country. Probably this is the territory of the White Croats (Bili Chorvati) that ranged from Ostrava to Lviv and also to Kievan Rus'. It is also known from legends that Kiev was co-founded by the brothers Kije and Chorivem (pronounced Horivem, each on its hill) and Šček (probably Forefather Čech) Even genetic and DNA evidence falls in line with the linear etymological/onomastic information because we now know conclusively that the ancestors of the Slavic speaking people could have been in Europe 4 thousand years ago, long before any recorded mention of the language they spoke. So whether the opinion of  S.W. Singer is precisely correct or not is not so important, because it is just yet one more of many examples of the common root word in all these cases. It is important that he notices the same root word in all the various instances, which highlight and show the linear commonality, onymics and related etymology that is present coterminously during those particular times and particular places and it's effects in those temporally contiguous realms. An etymology related to the mountainous and forested lands in and around the Carpathians and which connects to very far back in history. ..."... stretched from time immemorial Charvátská country." All this again would partly explain and emphasize the truth of the descriptions of Croats being described as Goths as well as Slavs in later Roman and Byzantine accounts also, when the writers of the sources used their language versions of our proper ethnoym, the endonym/autonym version, as already shown. More on this at croatianearlyhistory.blogspot.ca)*

These old sources concerning the early Croats is also supported indirectly from other sources. It is very interesting and relevant to note that Bolesław I was the first King of Poland in the year 1025, and that his official royal realm was recorded as "Regnum Sclavorum, Gothorum sive Polonorum", ie; "Kingdom of Slavs, Goths or Poles." This would be well over 400 years after the Croatian tribes had already migrated south according to the various sources, especially the sources which correlate and describe the early migrating Croats being called Goths as well as Slavs also. (In the chronicle "Historia Salonitana" the archdeacon and historian wrote in Latin when he described the history of the arriving Croats as  “Gothi et nichilominus Sclavi” (Goths who are likewise Slavs), this information also completely corresponds to the designation “Gothi qui et Sclavi” (Goths who are also Slavs) made by Presbyter Diocleas when he referred to the Croats. (Hrvati). Both of these sources are also extremely similar to the accounts of the migrating Croatian tribes to Dalmatia, Pannonia and Illyricum in De Administrando Imperio)

It is also interesting to note that the medieval Polans tribe is how and from where the later Poles/Poland name originated from, a word denoting "field", and that this same Old Slavic word has the same meaning in the Croatian word "polje" (fields) which again is even used regarding the very red and white alternate "fields" in the modern day Croatian chequy COA. (25 crvenih i bijelih polja) In about 850 CE a list of western Slavic speaking tribes was written down by an anonymous author in a text known today as the Bavarian Geographer. Although the Polans are absent in this anonymously written list (as well as the Pomeranians, Masovians and other tribes who were recorded later by Nestor the Chronicler in his Primary Chronicle and by others), soon the Poles would go on to become much more visible taking on a primary role in central Europe as well as becoming a powerful kingdom. This would seem to indicate that, very similar to and mirroring the Croatian example, the various tribes "shared a fundamentally common culture and language and were considerably more closely related to one another and the Polans tribe than to some other East, West or South Slavs and other peoples." This process is called ethnic consolidation, in which several ethnic communities of kindred and racial origin and cognate languages, merge into a single one larger and superordinate tribe who are all already within the same coterminous and temporally contiguous civilizational sphere and experience, ie; becoming a part of the foremost preeminate tribe and subsequently forming their societies, and organized lands/realms/kingdoms. Medieval sources recorded that this already took place among the Croatian tribes also, (aka the eastern White Croats [Belo Horvati] in sources, some eventually becoming Poles also as well as part of Kievan Rus' and elsewhere), who were located along the breadth of the Carpathians, and most noticeable in sources after the 9th century after their southern migrations. The even later most well known examples being the numerous Slavic languages speaking tribes (some Croats included again as already shown) that constituted early Kievan Rus' formation, and the various Turks, Arabs, Iranic and Levant peoples who became Serbs since the middle ages and during the centuries long Ottoman empire occupation especially.




Over 400 years after the Croatian tribes had already migrated south to ancient Dalmatia, Pannonia and Illyricum from their more northern realms called "Great and White Croatia" according to De Administrando Imperio, Bolesław I was coronated as the very first King of Poland in the year 1025, and his official royal realm was recorded as "Regnum Sclavorum, Gothorum sive Polonorum" (Kingdom of Slavs, Goths or Poles) and was also known to have used the title "Gothorum Vandalorumque haereditarius rex" (Hereditary King of the Goths and Vandals). This information correlates to sources which speak of the early southern migrating Croatian tribes as also being called Goths as well as Slavs. These areas then are undeniably proven to have been a great wide expanse of territory where the early Croatian tribes (plural; Horvati/Harvati/Hrovati/Hrvati etc) lived and which were likewise also temporally contiguous and coterminous orbits and realms, the linear hypocenters of the same continuous populations from antiquity.





An excerpt from an interesting Polish publication which shows historical descriptions of the appearance of the early medieval Slavs and as you will see later, how it would also show that the Croat tribes could be described as Goths as well as Slavs in medieval sources. A number of sources describe the ancient Slavs/Croats hair as being blond, black haired, light blonde/brown/russet haired and even red haired, at times even indistinguishable from the Goths who are likewise also described as having ruddy complexion. These are some of the earliest physical descriptions of ancient Slavic speaking peoples appearance ever recorded, and it gives some interesting insight regarding the first impressions by the foreign writers when they first saw them. (translated from Polish):

Source: www.archeo.uw.edu.pl/swarch/Swiatowit.pdf


Excerpt from "Phenotype of old Slavs, 6th to 10th centuries", by Łukasz Maurycy Stanaszek. (Polish anthropologist and archaeologist, curator certified, head of the Laboratory of Anthropology at the National Archaeological Museum in Warsaw):



I. Byzantine sources:

1. Procopius of Caesarea (6th century):

- "(...) Valerian chose one of the Sklaveni (Slavs) who are men of mighty stature. (...)"

- "(...) Nay further, they do not differ at all from one another in appearance. For they are all exceptionally tall and stalwart men, while their bodies and hair are neither very fair or very blond, nor indeed do they incline entirely to the dark type, but they are slightly ruddy in color. (...)"

(Tacitus when describing ancient Germanics also called them ruddy, using the same word as these later sources when describing Slavs, much like a "tawny" colour, reddish-yellow or brown-orange, the same or similar words were also used later by early sources describing hair of Slavic people)

2. Theophilact Simokatta (describing events from year 595):

"(...) The Emperor was with great curiosity listening to stories about this tribe, he has welcomed these newcomers from the land of barbarians, and after being amazed by their height and mighty stature, he sent these men to Heraclea. (...)"

3. Theophanes the Confessor (describing the same event from year 595):

"(...) The Emperor was admiring their beauty and their stalwart stature. (...)"

4. Pseudo-Maurice (Strategikon) - late 6th century/early 7th century:

"(...) Tribes of Sclaveni and Antes (...) are very resistant to hardships, they easily endure both heat and cold, rain and lack of garment. (...)"

5. Pseudo-Caesarius of Nazianzus (6th century) when describing Slavs did not mention hair colour, only that "they are numerous and tall". He confirms info given by Procopius and others who lived during the 6th century, that Slavs were exceptionally tall.

6. Constantine Porphyrogennetos (10th century Eastern Roman Emperor):

About ancestors of Croats....

"(...) their ancestors were Pagan Croats...known also as White Croats. *Great Croatia, called also White [Croatia], until today is still Pagan (...) [*correlating to modern day Czechia, Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and Transcarpathia]

"(...) But the Croats at that time were dwelling beyond Bavaria, where the Belocroats [White Croats] are now. From them split off a family of five brothers, Klukas and Lobelos and Kosentzis and Muhlo and Hrovatos, and two sisters, Tuga and Buga, who came with their folk to Dalmatia and found the Avars in possession of that land. After they had fought one another for some years, the Croats prevailed. (...)"

II. Muslim and Sephardi Jewish sources:

7. Al-Baladuri (late 7th century):

"(...) Slavs are a tribe of ruddy complexion and fair hair. (...)"

8. Ibn Qutajba (describing events from years 691 - 694):

"(...) If only Prince wanted, outside of his doors would be negro [black] Sudanians or ruddy Slavs (...)"

9. The same information is repeated also by Al-Baladuri (9th century).

10. The earliest Arabic description of Slavic language speakers and contacts can be traced all the way to the 500's, and most likely occurred on or near the territory of the East Roman (Byzantine) Empire. The earliest Arabic sources from historians and geographers, who were also spies for Muslim Caliphs and leaders, describe the Slavs as a people with pale skin or pink, that turns "red" while under the sun, and blond hair.

11. Al-Ahtal (late 7th century):

"(...) Birds of the desert saw in those people a crowd of fair-haired Slavs. (...)"

12. Jaqut (13th century, but using much older primary sources):

"(...) Slavs are a tribe of ruddy complexion and fair hair. (...)"

13. Ibn Al-Kalbi (late 8th century/early 9th century):

"(...) Slavs are a numerous nation, fair-haired and of ruddy [pink] complexion. (...)"

14. Al-Gahiz (early 9th century):

"(...) Among Slavs, abominable, grotesque and ugly are their smoothness of hair [as opposed to curly/afro hair] and delicateness, as well as blond [or russet/fair?] colour of their hair and beards, and also whiteness [light colour] of their eyelashes (...)"

Al-Gahiz:

"(...) Tell me friend, after how many generations a Zang became a negro [black], and a Slav became white? (...)"

15. Abraham ben Jacob (years 965 - 966):

"(...) What is peculiar [when it comes to Slavs], most of Bojema people [Bohemians/Czechs] are of swarthy complexion and dark hair, while fair colors are rare among them [compared to frequencies among other Slavs. (...)"

Abraham ben Jacob:

"(...) Slavic people are often haunted by two diseases (...) these are two types of rash: redness and abscess (...)" [sunburn? acne? blisters?]

16. Ibn Al-Faqih (10th century Persian historian and geographer):

"(...) There exist two kinds of Slavic people. First kind are people of swarthy complexion and darker hair. The other kind are fair people, who live inland. (...)"

"(...) Inhabitants of Iraq are people (...) who are not born with hair colour intermediate between russet, blond, matt-white and white [bright blond], as it happens among children born from Slavic women. (...) People of Iraq are free from abominable russet hair colour of Slavs. (...)"

17. Ahmad ibn Rustah (10th century Persian explorer and geographer in the chronicle Al-Djarmi/Book of Precious Records):

Does not mention physical or hair but describes good hygiene customs. His impression of the Rus':

"(...) They carry clean clothes and the men adorn themselves with bracelets and gold. They treat their slaves well and also they carry exquisite clothes, because they put great effort in trade. They have many towns. (...)"

Of 10th century Croatian Kingdom he wrote:

"(...) Their ruler is crowned … He dwells in the midst of the Slavs … He bears the title of 'ruler of rulers' and is called 'sacred king'. He is more powerful than the Zupan (viceroy), who is his deputy …There he wears beautiful, durable and precious chainmail. His capital is called Drzvab [Zagreb] where is held a fair of three days every month. (...)"

18. Al-Masudi (10th century Arab historian and geographer)

He writes that dominant complexion among Slavic people is fair, not dark.

19. Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos (10th century Eastern Roman Emperor):

"(...) 'Serbs' in the tongue of the Romans is the word for 'slaves', whence the colloquial 'serbula' for menial shoes, and 'tzerboulianoi' for those who wear cheap, shoddy footgear. This name the Serbs acquired from their being slaves of the emperor of the Romans. (...)"

III. German sources:

20. Saint Bruno of Querfurt:

He wrote that in Poland having a beard is a common custom among men.



It's also worth noting and interesting, that after being called the"Veneti/Venethi/Venedi" in early Greek and Roman accounts, the above descriptions are the first ever recorded instances of the modern word "Slavs" in various Greek and Roman forms (ie; Sklaveni, Sklavoi, Sclavi, Sklaúēnoi, Sclaveni, Sclavi, Sklábēnoi, Sklaúēnoi, Sklábinoi, Sclaueni, Sclauini, Sthlaueni etc) between the 6th and 9th century by Jordanes, Pseudo-Maurice, Menander Protector, Procopius, Paul the Deacon, Chronicle of Fredegar etc, and they point to the Slavs being described as not a specific and easily identifiable "genus" (race) but rather as a "gens" (nation) like other "gentes" (nations) that needed to be dealt with. At times they are also called Goths or even just grouped as one of the northern "barbarians" outside the borders of the Roman Empire, even called Scythians just as the Goths were before them. They are described as having come from their central and northern European original "patria" (homeland) and that it was their languages that was their most striking difference from other northern barbarian nations. All the information about the early Slavic languages speaking tribes grouped under the name "Slavs" tends to fall into three avenues of research: the archeological, the historiographic, and the linguistic. Already in the 9th century the Croats and other major Slavic languages speaking tribes would go on to form more personally specific cultures and better organized realms and kingdoms, so "Slavs" then became secondary and essentially pertained mostly as just an applied group name of the languages they spoke, they were the peoples/nation (gens) who spoke those languages, (as opposed to Germanic/Italic-Latin/Greek etc) and not about a specific tribe or genus/race. The above phenotypical descriptions of the early "Slavs" then shows that they possessed varying degrees of difference in hair colours and pigmentation characteristics but their material culture and most importantly languages group is what made them Slavic nations. (ie; Sclavorum Gentem)





Chart summarizing the above findings in Łukasz Maurycy Stanaszek's "Phenotype of old Slavs, 6th to 10th centuries", the earliest recorded physical descriptions of the earliest Slavic languages speaking tribes and first impressions by foreign writers. (translated from Polish)






An interesting piece of related information that also fits into this topic, as well as the previously mentioned "Carpathian" connection is this. As you will see, the Latin version (which eventually became the English version) of our name came to be mainly because of the voiceless velar fricative /X/ sound, which came to be pronounced and spelled slightly differently from language to language. (Similar to the Scottish pronunciation of the word "Loch")  However, even Ptolemy himself, (Ptolemy III.10) wrote the Carpi tribe name originally as "Harpii", which was the local variant name and not his Latin written version. See Here (This information will make more sense as you read on...Metathesis (linguistics) and Onymics etc. It's also interesting that Ptolemy found them between the Tyras and Ister rivers, today's Dniester and Danube, back in the 1st century. Interesting because again, this correlates to where the Slavs were to be found, but also especially where the "Croats/Hrvati" were also located before their steady movement north-westwards to even modern day Germany.  The lands over the next centuries referred to as "Great or White Croatia" (Velika/Bijela Hrvatska)




(*Note- Interestingly, these are the viewpoints of numerous classical and modern day historians regarding this specific point, that the Goths and the Veneti-Slavs were temporally contiguous, and so also the foundations of the Croats . The chronicle of Ivan Lučić Lucius gives an account of the arrival of the Croats where he wrote ...."The people called Croats…Many call them Goths, and likewise Slavs......".  Some Gothic names mentioned by the 6th century Roman writer Jordanes: Telefus, Gradivus, Filimer, TheudemirValamir, Videmir and Vithimir. Do these not even sound Slavic? (related to Branimir? Muncimir? Trpimir? Krešimir? Zvonimir? Selimir? etc) There are numerous historical written works concerning those times that portray the Goths as largely composed of recruited Veneti-Slavs (usually referred to as just barbarian pagan peoples as a whole, by early Roman and Greek writers), especially by the time they reached the shores of the Black Sea and then moved more westward. During 200 year Goth rule in Southern Russia and Ukraine and around the Black Sea, to their western movements, it is Slavic place names and hydronyms which were left behind and remain to this day.  What does this all mean? Very simply, that the Goths were not a homogeneous ethnicity, but were also largely composed of early Veneti-Slavs, who were only speaking their Germanic language. (It is widely known that speaking a specific language does not necessarily make one of that ethnicity. Think of the Spanish Civil War from the 1930's as a recent example where there were many foreign volunteers on both sides). Also historians assure us that before the time of the Gothic Wars in the 4th century against the Huns, they encountered and formed alliances with these Veneti. The old and early original 'H(a)rvati', were centered in and around the Carpathians mountains in the early common era of Europe. (called 'Harvaða fjöllum' in the legendary sagas) and it was actually in and around these areas where the famous last stand against the Hunnish armies took place. (The very personal endonym name of the Croats (Hrvati) can attest to this fact) Since they were also being called 'Veneti' in the early centuries of Croatian history, the early common era Croats were then also temporally contiguous as Slavs and Goths, just as the 'Veneti' were. We are told by historians in the early common era that the peoples were already similar in appearance, so there was no great obstacle in transferring technology, customs, clothing and culture back and forth, in essence it was the languages which played the greatest part in the forming of identities between Germanic, Roman, Veneti-Slavic etc  All in all, very interesting and illuminating)





This Croat-Gothic connection, first published into Latin by Ivan Lučić Lucius, is recorded and supported by the original writings of one Thomas the Archdeacon, in his historic chronicle Historia Salonitana from the 13th century, as well as the Chronicle of the Priest of Duklja from the 14th century.

Historia Salonitana:  "........From the Polish territories called Lingonia seven or eight tribal clans arrived under Totilo. When they saw that the Croatian land would be suitable for habitation because in it there were few Roman colonies, they sought and obtained for their duke...The people called Croats...Many call them Goths, and likewise Slavs, according to the particular name of those who arrived from Poland and Bohemia......." (Thomas is of course writing in reference to his time when mentioning Poland and Bohemia, as those entities did not yet exist in the 6th century)

It is also interesting that many scholars consider that some Croats could have been mentioned in the Old English and Nordic epic poems, the verse in the Old English poem Widsith (10th century) reads: "Wulfhere sohte ic ond Wyrmhere; ful oft þær wig ne alæg, þonne Hræda here heardum sweordum, ymb Wistlawudu wergan sceoldon, ealdne eþelstol Ætlan leodum. (English translation:..."I visited Wulfhere and Wyrmhere; there battle often raged, when the Hræda with their sharp swords, in the Vistula woods had to defend, their ancestral seat against Attila's host")

The mentioned "Hræda" is genitive plural of "Hraede", and is sometimes related with the Goths (Hred-Gotum, Hreth-Gotan, Hreidhgotar). However, this verse is similar to the one in Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks, where prior to the battle between Goths and Huns, Heidrek died in Harvaða fjöllum (ie: Carpathian Mountains) which is often translated as "beneath the mountains of Harvathi". Lewicki and other historians have pointed out that it was not uncommon for western sources, as in the case of Alfred the Great where he called the Croats as Horithi, to often distort unfamiliar foreign names.

 ...... This topic of the earliest existence of Croats/Hrvati is a very interesting subject that over the years has been studied by Russian historians especially.  There are many sources that have to be taken into account when talking about the history of any people from those times, of course this would also include Croats.  A few things I've learned though, being privy to documents and copies of very old text sent to me is this. Firstly, as many learned historians try to avoid and warn,  to not fall for "theories" that are based on nothing but conjecture-you have to have a basis that is found in written material, read the texts, books etc. Also, before the historical instances of mentioning the more western Croat inhabited lands of"White Croatia/Bijela Hrvatska", it was known previously as "Velika Hrvatska/Great Croatia".  (Meaning very large and old, having a long history)  As shown, our ethnonym/endonym of "Hrvati/Hrvatska" was in use before the Latinized version of today's "Croats/Croatia" name came to be, but importantly both refer to the same thing. (Few other examples: Hungary-Magyarország, Greece- Hellas, Germany- Deutschland, Japan- Nippon, etc. In the Croatian language Germany is called "Njemačka")  "Hrvati" was our name used before and during the arrival of the Huns and Avars into Europe, during their battles with the Croats and especially after their disappearance from history. This "Gothic Connection" is important and valid because it is just one  part of the various ancient sources which document that Croats, before arriving to the Adriatic Sea, initially lived and inhabited areas from between today's modern nations of Ukraine/Belarus/Russia to Silesia/Germany.


(*Our ethnicity and ethnic name is a very cherished thing. Croats/Hrvati came to our present lands as the generic languages group Slavs/Sclaveni yes, but through the continuity of our ethnicity we refused to be renamed, take another name or to be appropriated a name and be regarded as Byzantium's slaves and personal pool of conscripts for their future wars. To be lumped together with various peoples by the Byzantine Empire as just simply Slavic Slaves/Servs and then use that as our peoples name and ethnicity.  After our long, eventful and interesting history, even to this day we have kept our traditions and name, we are Croats/Hrvati  who brought our name with us to the Adriatic sea long, long ago. Serious scholars and historians are of the opinion that by the time the Croats (Hrvati) arrived to Dalmatia from in and around the Carpathians, they were most assuredly not a 'pure' single monoethnic group, but rather more like a large federation of people with their own centuries long common customs, language and laws of ancestors which contributed to their cohesiveness and culture. (Even to this day, ALL Slavic countries use slight variations of our original name in our language..."Hrvatska/Hrvati") That's why it's called "Hrvatska/Croatia"


The name of Croatia derives from Medieval Latin Croātia, from Dux Croatorum ("Duke of Croatians") attested in the Branimir Inscription, itself a derivation of North-West Slavic *Xrovat-(Hrovat), by liquid metathesis from proposed Common Slavic *Xorvat-(Horvat), from proposed Proto-Slavic *Xarwāt- (*Xъrvatъ) or *Xŭrvatŭ (*xъrvatъ), (Harvat, Hurvat). The origin of the name is not wholly certain, but is known to have been related to the Goths as well as the early Slavic tribe who went on to become the Croats, all this from well before the time of the territory of Oium being ruled by Filimer. It is most likely that it was originally connected to a Gothic name that after Slavicization remained to become a widespread ethnonym , a fairly long process that started in the early common era (ECE) and went through various mutations in written accounts until the more commonly known versions from the 8th to 12th century were recorded. The original root also went on to affect naming customs of other peoples in various ways. (Hróðhvatr, Hruod, Hruot, Hroat etc) and toponyms including early versions for the Carpathian mountains and other locations. The oldest preserved record of the Croatian ethnonym *xъrvatъ written in the Croatian language and in stone is attested in the Baška tablet in the style "zvъnъmirъ kralъ xrъvatъskъ" (Zvonimir, the Croatian King/Zvonimir, Kralj Hrvatski)




 A little more background information about the name and origins of the Pagan Croats and where they were to be found, according to the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Volume 7 and 9 (Spread of the Slavs) by H.H. Howarth:............. 



......."It was after they had arrived on his borders that he incited the Croats to attack and drive out the Avars and give them their land (id 394)  We must therefore consider them as fugitives from their own country. I may add that a branch of the Croats together with the kindred tribes of Stoderani and the Suselzi made their way to Carinthia occupied a district on the Mur between the towns of Knittenfeld and Leoben where a place called Kraubat still recalls their name. The district they occupied was known in the middle ages as the "Pagus Crauuati" and is so called in a deed by Henry the First dated in 954. In another of Otto the Second of 978 it is called Chrouat and in a Saltzburg deed of eleventh century we read of praediae Chrouata Runa (Schafarik ii 337 note 5)

......."The synonymy of the Croats has been collected with great patience by Schafarik and from his classic work I take the following list of synonyms. By the Emperor Constantine Porphyrognitus they were called Chrobatoi, by Cedrenos Khorbatoi, by Zonaras Kxabatoi, by Nicephorus Bryennios Khorobatoi, by Khoniates Khrabatia, by Khalkokondylas Krokatioi, The Arab Masudi calls them Khorvatin, A gau in Karinthea is called Crawati in an early document In deeds of 954 and 978 they are called Khrovat, by Dithmar Khruati, by the Annalista Saxo Krovate in the Saxon Chronicle Kruvati, a village Crubate is mentioned in 1055, another Gravat in 1086, the land of Kurbatia by Lupus Protospathes, Chrowati by Cosmas of Prague, Cruacia by Martin Gallus, Croatii by Kadlulek, Alfred the Great calls them Horithi, (Horiti) Croate and Croatia occur in native documents of 892, 925, 1076 and 1078, Chrobatae in a deed of 1059 etc.  

In the Cyrillian legend of Saint Wenzel dating probably from the tenth century the name is written Khrbate Khorbate Khrabate, Khrobate by Nestor in the copy written in 1377, Khrbate in the oldest Servian MSS, Khrbaten in an old Bulgarian MS, Harvati in the Dalmatian Chronicle of Diokleas, Kharvati in Dalimil etc. The Croats pronounce their own names Hr'vati, Horvati. The Serbs call them Hr'vat, plural Hr'vati.  In both cases as in the words hrabren, hrast, hren, hvala, hud etc. H stands for the old CH.  Hungarians call them Horva -tok, the Germans Kroats and Krobats. 




*(See Metathesis linguistics and Grimm's law for more information on Voiceless velar fricative's and Digraphs in relation to other languages.  For explanation on the Latin spelling and pronunciation regarding Croatia/Hrvatska see rules pertaining to "H" and "CH in medieval Latin HERE.  Listen to the name of "White Croatia and Croats" from the originally written Byzantine Greek: Βελοχρωβάτοι i Χρωβάτοι )




Croatia/Hrvatska.....it's just Onymics





 ........The Hungarians call them Horva -tok, the Germans Kroats and Krobats.  The original form of all these names is Khr'vatin in the singular and Khr'vati in the plural and according to all authorities known to me, including Schafarik, is derived from the Carpathians, which in old Slavic were named Krib or Khrebet. This word means a mountain or hill, and occurs in composition in many Slavic localities as; Slovenski hribi in Steiermark,  also several places in Russia as Khriby.  A village on the Kolpinka, and the Khribian woods and marshes in the same district.  Khrebine, a village west of Vladimir etc.  From Khrib we get Khrebet, the term applied generally to large mountain ranges by the Russians, as Yablonoi, Khrebet, Uralskoi, Khrebet, Kamskatskoi, Khrebet etc. (Id i 488) Croat therefore means an inhabitant of and near the Carpathians. According to Schafarik, the whole of the northern slopes of these mountains, stretching from the Sutschawa to the sources of the Vistula, was known from the fifth to the tenth century as Khrby, and sometimes by the permutation of consonants, Khrvy or Khrvaty (id) and this is the region according to the best authorities whence the Croats originally came".......  




Finally, H.H. Howarth goes on to reiterate and point out again about the "before" and "after" scenario I touched upon elsewhere (before) and paints an even clearer picture of this subject.  This text which is based on all the historical sources available to Byzantium historians from those times can be considered an historical trump card regarding the arrival of the Croats and the lands they possessed and inhabited.  No matter what any political situation on the ground may have been alluded to 300 years later when Emperor Constantine Porphyrognitus in DAI is referring to his time, (circa 950), it's plain to see, needs no further explanation and cannot be refuted ......



......"So far as we know the Croatians were the first Slavs who permanently settled in Dalmatia and in Pannonia beyond the Sava and in Prawallis [Praevalitana] (Schafarik ii 237) .... A portion of the Croats who entered Dalmatia detached itself from the main body and occupied Illyriia and Pannonia (Const Porphyr op cit Stritter ii 391)  This detached body seems to have settled, in fact, in that part of Pannonia situated between the Danube and the Sava and known as Pannonian Croatia, with its chief town at Sisek (Sisak) and partly also in Illyria where there was subsequently a Croat ruled principality (Id 279) There were thus constituted two Croat States, one in Dalmatia with its chief towns of Belgrade (Biograd) on the Adriatic, and Bihatsch on the Una, and a second whose  junction was at the Kupa  and the Sava......



.....We are told the Croats became attached, seafaring and frequented the coast as far as Venice (Porphyr Stritter ii 394 5) Unlike other Slavs, the Croats were never subject to the Bulgarians nor did they even pay them tribute. They only had one struggle with them in the days of Michael Boroses of Bulgaria who failing to beat them made peace with them and gifts were interchanged (Id 395 and 878)"....





An excerpt from "Revisiting the Poetic Edda: Essays on Old Norse Heroic Legend" edited by Paul Acker, Carolyne Larrington. The early Croats, todays "Hrvati", our presence and name is connected by folk etymology to the areas and times of the early common era of Europe. Centuries before the first recorded mentions of "Slavic" peoples or "Slav" languages started to make an appearance and used in written Greek and Roman sources. Before any of todays "Slavic" languages speaking peoples were even called "Slavs". The above excerpt also explains why and how the former "White and Great Croatia" stretched from Bavaria and Silesia all the way to the Croats around the Dnieper and Dniester rivers of early Kievan Rus'Therefore, today's Croats/Hrvati are etymologically connected to the areas in and around the Carpathian mountains from centuries before any European Slavic languages were recognized or called as such, a continuum showing the modernday etymological origins of perhaps the first specific Slavic language speaking nation. 




Since on the topic, although the later appearing 'Serbs' ethnicity played no part in these early Croatian historical chapters, the below comment from the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos  brings to the surface an interesting revelation after he earlier explains that..."Croats in the Slav language means those who occupy much territory." (This would correlate to the already shown areas in and around the Carpathian mountains, that wide stretch of lands that was also known centuries previously as "Harvaða" in the epic sagas). During the times that the Serbs were subjugated, ruled and enslaved by the Bulgarian Empire, he went on to write the following words into his Latin titled Greek work "De Administrando Imperio", Chapter 32.




Omeljan Pritsak, Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History at Harvard University and the founder and first director (1973–1989) of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, also corroborates the uncontested scholarly view that Harvaða in these oldest sagas was the Carpathians. He does not fail to make note of this in his very thorough published work about the multi-ethnic origins of Kievan Rus': "The origin of Rus': Old Scandinavian sources other than the Sagas", (Harvard University, 1984) that the Carpathians were indeed called "Harvaða" extending back to at least the 4th century, and so geographically located at the hypocenter of Central-Eastern Europe, ie: corresponding to the areas of the first recorded Urheimat/Homeland of the Slavs and of the "Sclaveni" mentioned by Jordanes in the 6th century before the peak migration period. [aka White Croatia in the later sources] Again this would be centuries before the appearance of any word etymologically related to the later word "Sclaveni/Slavs" and still centuries more before any Rus' identity or Kievan Rus' polity entered the European historical chapter. (Closer also within the coterminous linear timescale and territorial limits of the Veneti/Venedi/Venethi mentioned by Pliny, Ptolemy and Tacitus)







Another painting by Ferdo Quiquerez symbolizing the Croatian National Revival during the times of the Turkish Ottoman incursions. (It's interesting that it was during this time that Catholic Croatian women in Bosnia and Hercegovina incorporated the previous Pagan practice of tattooing themselves in order to avoid being forced to marry Turks or being taken away as Ottoman slaves.  More on this topic Here)




Another interesting fact worth quickly noting and which is directly related to the information presented thus far, shows that the earliest Croatian tribes never travelled from the west or the east to where we are today or in their past more northern abodes, but on the contrary they spread westward and eastward from their ancient hypocenter. That's because genetically, on the Y chromosome line, a majority (87%) of Croats belong to one of the three major European Y-DNA haplogroups -- Haplogroup I (38%), Haplogroup R1a (35%) and Haplogroup R1b (16%). All three of these groups appeared in Europe during the upper paleolithic around 30,000-20,000 BCE. Furthermore, the dominant presence of Haplogroup I-M170 is rather interesting, as it is considered the oldest and only native European Haplogroup and is found nowhere else. The Haplogroup I-M170 exists only in Europe and is fairly widespread, but in relatively smaller percentages extending westward and eastward. Its frequency in the Croatian lands and among Croats is high, but the only populations that have similar levels of the I Haplogroup are the Scandinavians. Haplogroup I-M170 has been shown to have weathered the last glacial maximum in the lands corresponding to modern day Croatia and surrounding area in central Europe and then migrated north as the ice sheets retreated. Also, by these statistics we can clearly see that the strongest Haplogroup in Croatians is Haplogroup I-M170, thus when combined with much later middle ages historical written records about Croats mentioned here, we see that the early common era Croat history as being categorized as Gothic and Slavic descendants is absolutely correct and supported scientifically also. (ie: We share subclades of Haplogroup I-M170 with Scandinavians more than anyone else in Europe, so the early European populations that went on to become Scandinavians also went on to become Croatians, the Croats quite simply have been in central Europe since time immemorial and never arrived as tribes from anywhere else). It is then not surprising that the early arriving Croats in those middle ages sources are described as being Goths as well as Slavs, and even more interestingly as the Veneti/Venethi/Venedi before that. Territorially and demographically speaking, it is then clear and easy to see that the early Croats were temporally contiguous with Slav, Veneti, Celtic and Germanic speakers reaching very far back in history. (For more see The ancestors of the Slavs could have been in Europe 4000 years ago, which further connects with DNA and genetic evidences the earliest pre-migration Croatian tribes southward to the Bronze Age Unetice Culture, which was long before there even were any Veneti, Slavic or Germanic languages that we know of)






Traces of our old pre-Christian mythology are still visible in those areas with its unique fusion along with Roman Catholicism. I've noticed over the past few years that interest in the the old pagan beliefs and earthy Croatian folk customs from ancient times are making a comeback, and a topic of interest to many. After all, a vegan still has to perform duties for and with meat eaters, vegans still have to work for and go to meat eating locations and buildings filled with meat eaters and even meat on their breath. Like I said, many of the worlds greatest thinkers, writers, scientists were agnostics, (which can be construed as a pagan philosophy) if not downright atheist. The odd statement from any religious leader purporting to have all the answers or answers without any verifiable proof really doesn't do well to gain support from educated, well read, life experienced people who live in the real world non-flat earth world. (Although I should add, I've come across many absurd statements in the news over the years, mind-boggling and crazy religious statements from world religious leaders that make cavemen seem more enlightened and cultured) I personally call this kind of phenomena "god on the brain syndrome", it's a fundamentalism which disregards history and facts and instead focuses on ad lib stories. It's best for any religious leaders to stick to religious topics and issues and to leave science and real history to those who who know what they're talking about, or at least to those who are informed enough to understand history and the difference between the real world and invented stories and characters. Unfortunately this thinking pattern has multiplied a millionfold with the advent of cable televangelist programs, crusades and foreign country conversion and subversion  tours. (they never mention the dinosaurs, Neanderthals, Cro-Magnon man, things we know that are fact, or the many mysterious unexplained phenomena, peoples and events of history). For instance, throughout history numerous of the greatest minds, greatest scientists, artists, musicians, composers, writers, philosophers etc, were agnostic and had a different view of the world around us, yet still were a part of the religious culture and did not give up their nationality or identity. This list of agnostics is just the tip of the iceberg and shows what I mean, not a stupid bunch. (Isaac Newton likewise would have been declared an evil heretic if he had let his personal agnostic views be fully known)  Even Tom Araya is Catholic, yep it's true, like I said, various Christian customs and rituals are a cultural thing that involves many Non-Christian elements. These elements in turn contributed to the history and culture of the people. This is very evident especially among many Slavic and other European nations. Look at it this way, if I was offered a full scholarship to the University of Notre Dame (which is a Catholic University remember), I wouldn't turn it down over some principles thing. Afterall, they do teach science and real history and related courses where you can learn about all these things I'm discussing. (I'm not as extreme as some vegans are in their principles)



Now the interesting thing about this painting, named "Pokrštenje Hrvata" (Christianization of the Croats) by Croatian painter Bela Čikoš Sesij, is that the people always look unwilling to be converted.  As if tremendously sad to have to throw away their familiar age old gods, goddesses, beliefs, and any trace of their remembrance. Scared by teachings of fire and eternal damnation, demons with pitchforks and big sharp yellow teeth, prodding you into a lake of fire to burn and burn forever, worse than any sunburn. This is not just a common theme in similar paintings by other Slavic painters regarding their peoples Christianization either.  It is a common visual portrayal  by painters all over Europe. People weren't exactly lining up to become Christians, but were rather sort of given the "boogie-man" treatment or forced. Click for larger image HERE.

A similar example is when Pagan Slavic tribes built a religious center at  Arkona in the North Sea, (part of modern day region of Pomerania in Germany) dedicated to Svetovid, and whose Slavic temples/fortifications existed right up to the 12th century before they were converted and then assimilated. The pagan slavs were also sun worshippers, with priests refered to as "sviat-chenik or "he of the light." This word went on to form today's word svećenik. There are strong indications that ancestor worship also had a part to play in their beliefs
 


   
Veles is a very influential and cherished pagan deity, revered even these days in parts of Croatia. For instance, in some wedding ceremonies of northern Croatia (which continued up to 20th century), the music would not start playing unless the bridegroom, when making a toast, spilled some of the wine on the ground, preferably over the roots of the nearest tree. The symbolism of this is clear, even though forgotten long ago by those still performing it: the musicians will not sing until a toast is made to their patron deity. Source: wikipedia.org/veles







"The Gods told us to do it"
 




The first authoritative reference to the Slavs and their mythology in written history was made by the 6th century Byzantine historian Procopius, whose Bellum Gothicum described the beliefs of a South Slavic tribe (believed to be the earlier arriving Croat tribes before their larger migration about 40  years later) that crossed the Danube heading south in just two days. According to Procopius, these Slavs worshipped a single deity, who crafted lightning and thunder. Though not named explicitly, it can be deduced this is a reference to the deity known as Perun in later historic sources, as in many Slavic languages today (Polish 'piorun' for example). Perun simply means "thunder" or "lightning bolt". He also mentions the belief in various demons and nymphs (i.e. vilas), but does not mention any other names. Duke Porin, (also in Latin as "Porino"/"Porinos" or in Greek as "Porga") is recorded in sources as an early Croatian Prince after the Croatian tribes arrived from their more northern realms. It's interesting how his name is a cognate etymologically connected to the old pagan god of the Croats..."Perun" (also "Perkūnas" in ancient Balto-Slavic pagan mythology) The pagan Croat tribes worshipped Perun as a chief deity before migrating south from north of the Danube and in and around the Carpathians. More on this later.





....I even have a tattoo of the symbol of the Slavic deity Perun on my chest.  It covers over a maple leaf that I had there for quite a few years, until one day it just sort of became oh,...you know, you walk into corner stores and it's all NY hats, American flag zippo lighters, California tee's, tshirts and flags of various countries, or their sports teams, depending on which part of the city you're in, etc and so on.  Besides, I spent a few years in the military for starters, which is more than most "Canadians" have done, dontchya think? The tattoo artist actually agreed..."Now that there's an ancient, powerful, meaningful cool looking symbol") Come to think of it, during the 10 years or so that I had, I don't recall ever coming across someone else with a similar tattoo. (Some other similar Perun tats I came across HERE)  I've walked into many mall foodcourts, coffee shops and other places across this country since, and know this tat makes much more sense to me on top of being historical and a part of the earliest Croatian and Slavic history. Listening to various foreign language chatter at public places, and then even "Canuck" news stories like this also prove my point I think. (It's just one of the reasons I never leave the house without my iPod)  All of my Myspace friends (At the time of this writing), especially the ones in Europe agree. Christianity and many religions seem to be some sort of a big hoax of edited, and re-edited Middle East religions when you really think about it.. With just some feel good elements, usually borrowed from pagans, repeated in churches and on 24 hour televangelist channels ad nauseum. (See videos below for just a small example of what I'm talking about)  Anyone who believes those biblical stories literally shouldn't be allowed to preach on the streets I say, but rather go see a psychiatrist. Nobody preaches the other 90% that is written because,  well, it's just very boring, many times scientifically wrong and many times not very nice or peaceful and fun at all.  People have been forced to enter psychiatric hospitals for far less. Or possibly be forced to read the entire bible, front to back, everyday, like everyone is supposed to.

People who have wasted years on drugs, and doing nothing with their lives, are suddenly "born again" and actually set up shop on downtown corners, attracting crowds. They hoot and holler about "Brother, do you have Jesus in your heart?!" and slapping their bibles. One of these guys sets up on a downtown corner by the Central Public Library. He will sometimes get over 100 of his downtown people to come down. He even had the audacity to grab my sleeve one time and ask me if I was saved. This is normality here. The drug pushers a few feet away he doesn't feel inclined to save. Some of the most selfish, hypocritical, busy bodies I have ever met were proud Christians. Paganism, Atheism, Agnosticism, whatever you want to label it as, just feels right, an apt description.  (If by chance the reader has reservations concerning the tattoo's, rest assured. I do not rob liquor stores on weekends, sell crack to kids or sacrifice virgins). Tomislav (Tom) Sunić, a former US professor, author, translator and a former Croat diplomat concures with me on this point. He touches upon this topic in his written piece Marx, Moses and Pagans in the Secular City.




Another way to help explain my view, (and you can talk to people who went to university to study religions and ancient customs/beliefs and they can tell you the same)...Many of the religions that currently stem from the middle-east (using that as an umbrella term) actually have the same roots ultimately, from religions that go further back to the ancient Chaldeans, Babylonians and Sumerians and that revolved around living by and near the Euphrates and Tigris rivers.  Many religious beliefs from that time were transferred to later, newer religions.  It's a known fact that many of today's important biblical stories/myths , Adam/Eve, Noahs Ark, The Creation Stories and much, much more. (The popular image of angels/beings with wings originated from there)... originated from these ancient peoples and times. But life for the Pagan Slavs many centuries later were much different, they didn't live in or near deserts, their life and customs didn't revolve around one or two major rivers.  Their religious customs didn't revolve around the same natural surroundings, desert hygiene, Euphrates river flooding, diseases and epidemics related to living near deserts, sandstorms....etc and so on. Living by rules that were associated to living in those surroundings. Rules related to eventual patriarchal societies where a plethora of rules were written to abide by.  The Slavs were living in the north, in Europe, near and north of  the Caucasus Mountains, north of the Black Sea.  Practically a different world, totally different surroundings, different foods that came from different ingredients, different plant life, different outlook on life and living because they never saw a desert and never even heard of the ancient Euphrates River. The northern Proto-Slavs of 1500 BCE, their Slavic Language and the Balto-Slavic language from which it emerged, extend back to circa. 3000 BCE.  The Pontic Caspian steppe didn't have any camels, it was the lands of the original cowboys, mounted warriors and societies from the northern outlands. High Steppes drifters slowly expanding west, south and north forming new confederations and alliances.  The new Slav homelands.  (Domestication of horses are believed to have started there) The patriarchal desert religions and codes of conduct just did not apply.  They had no clue about deities that ruled the deserts or what desert life is like. Whereas the average person in those areas was concerned about how to conserve water, how to travel across long stretches of desert, how to pray to their deities to avoid getting eaten by a crocodile, or bitten by a scorpion when sleeping, or where to find grazing areas for their various herds, Pagan Slavs many centuries later were more worried about not getting eaten by a bear or wolf, how not to freeze to death come the winter months, how to avoid flooding of their homes in the spring, how to catch those tricky fish swimming around everywhere, how to hunt down those fast jumping deers, rabbits and such. They were not concerned with finding grazing areas for herds but how to best preserve porkchops, ham and beef through the winter, which the desert nations didn't eat because some of them thought them dirty animals, but mostly because swine ate just about anything put in front of them, except for grass..etc. Also, whereas "some" of the desert religions evolved eventually to monotheism, the Pagan Slavs couldn't fathom this because of the very numerous mysterious natural world wonders and phenomena all around them that needed explanation, changing of the seasons, changes in the days, different animals around them, changes in terrain and climate as they moved around, different stars in the sky, in contact with different peoples,...from green pastures in the summer to snow capped mountains in the icy winter. With so many changing seasons, animals and different climates and geographical features as they moved around, they thought that there surely must be numerous deities behind them all, it only made sense. The ancient Slavs didn't even know of the Roman or Greek pagan deities either until much later, but as you have seen and will see, had deities, and customs that were similar to and related to the Germanic, Gothic and Norse deities and people. Even the modern day Finns at that time originally migrated from the Ural Mountains. There are university courses and degree programs that are dedicated to these topics, I presented just a few general points for the sake of contrast.......






My tattoo of the symbol of "Perun." I decided to go with this very old historical symbol because it is part of Croatian prerecorded history and for all off the reasons discussed in this post. It's cool because it relates to Croatian history more than 1500 years ago. (I have shorter hair now and don't color it black anymore btw) Duke Porin, (also in Latin as "Porino"/"Porinos" or in Greek as "Porga") is recorded in sources as one of the earliest Croatian Princes after the Croatian tribes arrived from their original northern realms. It's interesting how his name is a cognate etymologically connected to this old pagan god of the ancient Croats..."Perun." (aka "Perkūnas" in ancient Balto-Slavic pagan mythology) Interestingly, just as there are visible similarities between the old Pagan Slavic deities and their Northern and Western counterparts, there is also a visible connection between today's Croatian surnames and surnames of other European nations.....Polish "-wicz", German "-vitz/-witz" Hungarian "-vics" Latvian "-vičs" Lithuanian "-vičius" are all related to the surname suffix "-vich/-evich/-ovich", a result of the Balto-Slavic connection from centuries ago, see example Here. Fuller explanation at croatiansurnames.blogspot.ca.



This tattoo of a "Kolovrat" (Slavic spinning wheel) looks pretty cool too.  The 8 pointed Kolovrat symbol represents fire/the sun, strength, the cycle of life and is popular with Slavic pagans or even those who have an interest in their peoples long historical past. This would also make it a symbol of Svarog,  who is God of celestial fire and blacksmithing. Photo: www.tumblr.com



(A related interesting quick mention while on the topic of tattoos. The custom of Croatian Catholic women tattooing themselves in Bosnia and Hercegovina goes back centuries, starting around the time of the Habsburg-Turkish Ottoman wars in Europe. This tradition which involved Croatian women tattooing themselves with Christian symbols and designs, so as not to be forcefully married off to Muslims or taken as slaves, has existed right up to this day even. Since Croatian independence this custom has become very popular with the younger generation who admire the artistic designs and symbols. (This centuries long tradition was almost non-existent during Tito's Communist Yugoslavia, when it was dangerous and punishable to show anything related to your ethnic background)... It is believed however, that this custom of women tattooing Christian symbols was just the continuation of the tattooing custom from Pagan times. More on this topic at tetoviranicovjek.bloger.index.hr)



Interestingly, there are numerous toponyms, towns and villages located in eastern and central Europe that include the name "Kolovrat" (Just one of the 'Kolovrat' locations in Croatia shown above) In Croatia there are social clubs, companies, organizations, hotels, buildings etc that include the name 'Kolovrat' even now. Popular Croatian folk dances performed in a circle (Kolo) are related to the very name Kolovrat.  Kolovrat is also even a Croatian surname. 

Slovenian kolovrat,  Croatian kolovrat, Polish kołowrót, Czech and Slovak kolovrat, Belarusian колаўрат, Russian and Ukrainian коловрат or коловорот, German kolowrat. 






I was raised a Catholic, but in my early years when I was still just a tween, I saw through a lot of the hypocrisy, fables, falsehoods and the borrowing of beliefs from other more ancient belief systems, in this case, pagan Slavs.(If there is any fun thing about Christianity for instance, you can usually thank our Pagan predecessors from which we incorporated into Christianity pagan customs and then gave it a new name.). And I felt there was something not quite right, an element of chicanery one might call it, and not with Catholicism alone. Heck no. It was the whole package that left me scratching about a number of things. Orthodoxy, Protestantism, Ecumenism and all the rest.  And not only that, but pretty well any religion/theology  that stemmed from, or had it's roots from the same basic tenets/beliefs/source, with just some modifications and a new name and different hats etc. Y'know, all those fantastical stories that contradict science and astronomy and what we know today, from that book(s) written ages ago by who knows who? (And don't tell me you know who, because you don't, they didn't have Youtube, Twitter or Skype in those days. There was lots of chicanery in those days, lots different types pretending to have all the answers or pretending to be the next great one, going around telling all kinds of stories, anecdotes and promises, always with the promises, boring anecdotes and pea in the shell games. Most people don't even know that Charlie Chaplin started the moonwalk)..and then those books re-edited countless times again, stuff added, stuff taken away, re-worded and translated in different ways by who knows who, putting words into animals mouths etc.

Perhaps me not having any of those epiphanies, speaking in tongues, visions or miraculous events take place or to witness had something to do with it. I never heard one voice or glowing vision. When I was a kid I used to even pray. Why I remember quite a few instances of praying really hard, fervently, wholeheartedly even, just like Jesus in the desert, like that guy who's family turned into salt, like that guy who used to eat bugs and honey wearing fur in the hot desert yelling at people who came to wash themselves or just relax, except it was at my bed, but the bed time prayers were not answered.  It seemed to be a trend as time moved on I noticed. I even remember praying really hard regarding the topic of some girls in my elementary school classes, especially a few of the ones in gym class. Oh how I prayed with the zeal and clasped hands of Charleton Heston in his movies...I prayed with both hands clasped, fervently, eyes closed and on my knees, asking that if the girl in the pew in front of me at Croatian church service bent for.. that if what I asked for would come to pass, that I would do a thousand Hail Mary's the next Saturday morning after WWF wrestling. That instead of watching sports or movies or listening to music, I would mow the lawn without being asked and then only ask for 5 bucks instead of 10. Needless to say those prayers weren't answered either.  Around that time I even prayed for more important things, but it was always the same ol' nuthin'. No sounds of harps, chimes or smokey haze or winged people and glitter or waking up to find a new stereo under the Christmas tree, not even 20 bucks under the pillow from the tooth fairy.

Then I got to thinking after a while....."Hey wait a second here, this guy got arrested and all his pals took off, then when he died his pals pretended they never heard of him. That's weird, what the heck kind of friends and eternal pals are that?". I thought..."Hey, this guy should have made some lightning storm and floated off his cross to some place, materialize some crown and nice robe and throne and then have a big celebration party with lots of wine, dancing virgins and roasted beef. Why didn't he conjure up some big muscled cavemen with laser guns or dinosaurs to attack and smite the Romans and Jews?..or at least make them all start itching and scratching like crazy? The guy could turn water into wine and make fish sticks appear out of thin air, he could hypnotize pigs to go crazy and start jumping around and jumping off of cliffs, he had all these powers so what the hell happened?" Then all the things he said that never happened. He supposedly healed tons of people and they couldn't care less either, some gratitude, just lots of stories afterwards, seems sort of phoney if you ask me. Supposedly his very own dad was God himself, and even he could supposedly make pillars of salt, plagues out of thin air, stone tablets, make water turn red, make the earth stop revolving around the sun and even he had lots of people die for him, but he couldn't pull a few strings and save his own son? That's weird too. (Also, how come he always looks like some ancient bearded Slavic ruler or middle ages Viking anyway? Straight out of some medieval times movie. What the heck was King Tomislav or a medieval age Viking doing in the middle east 2,000 years ago and starting a new religion for anyway? Wandering around turning over tables and turning water into wine) Also, who the heck were all these Jebusites, Canaanites, Zemarites, Arkites, Girgashites, Perrizites, Ammonites, Moabites and hundreds of other tribes walking around in the desert thousands of years ago. I thought, "Let's get real", those people weren't anywhere near central Europe, or even Eurasia. What possible connection is there from early common era Europe and those peoples riding around on camels and the places where they saw bushes on fire, talking serpents and donkeys and spinning wheels with eyes in the sky? That's when I realized...none. Yep, none. Why those middle east people probably never heard of Perun, Svarog, Lada, Rusalki, about Mermaids, Forest Nymphs and various spirits that ruled the skies and inhabited the mountains, fields and forests.

(The ancient deities of the early Slavs, and others, made very simple and common sense to them actually. It wasn't too complicated and philosophical. No need to rack brains over thousands of philosophical and contradictory philosophical questions, no need for endless dialectics and back and forth dogma arguments either, proper way to this and that etc. Very simple view of things and the natural world, outlooks which explained why it rained, hailed or thundered or why the moon was in the sky, without your eternal life depending on definitions and so many rules lest you..... You know, questions like What is God? What is Evil? Did God make Evil? Is Evil stronger than God? Can God stop Evil? If not, why doesn't he? Because he can't or he just doesn't want to? Did God know Evil would exist eventually? He is all-knowing so he obviously knew Adam and Eve would choose Evil before he even made them, so why get angry at Adam and Eve for eating a fruit and damning humanity if he knew they would eat the fruit before he even made the earth or universe. It was then pointless even making the tree now. Also, why did he tell them not to eat of or even touch the fruit of the......(symphonic music and voice of Richard Burton..).."Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" and then make it the most pleasing to the eye and delicious looking tree and fruit in the whole Garden Of Eden? "Hmmm? Now these are interesting questions" I thought. Why didn't he make the tree and fruit look all rotten and oozing greenish-black toxic puss, smelly, sticky and squishy, and then plant it way over by the bubbling tar pits. Wouldn't that make sense? Nope, instead he puts it right smack in the very middle of the garden, right in front of their noses looking like the most beautiful and best tasting fruit in the whole garden. What is going on here? Who is in charge of this fiasco? He was practically nudging them to pick the evil. (Remember, he already knew they would pick it before he even planted the tree) What in the heck gave him the idea to make a fantastic looking "Knowledge of Good and Evil Tree" in the first place to complicate things, why not instead a "Tree of Eternal Bliss". Did the serpent trick God to make the tree in the first place and plant it where he did. Was Evil smarter than God then? Would the Neanderthals or Cro-Magnons have eaten the fruit also? Was the serpent a type of dinosaur? Besides, the serpent didn't actually tell them to eat the fruit at all, he never gave them the fruit or even said they should eat it,  he only said they that they won't die on the day they eat it or touch it and instead their eyes will be opened if they do. Also, they didn't die on the day they touched it like the God said they would, he said that they will surely die on the day they touch it, so it seems the serpent was right after all, they didn't die after even touching the fruit. (The serpent was just giving his opinion anyway, an observational commentary while he/she/it was wandering about, like some person making a comment at the bus stop or grocery store checkout line. He never told them to go step on a bug, eat a bug or to eat mud cakes, he never told her to go have sex with a dog, ape or turtle, strangle a kitten, jump off a cliff, eat a shit sandwich, take a cow piss shower or stab a cow in the eye or anybody else either). Heck, the serpent was making sense. After eating the fruit they realized they were naked and then made themselves fig leaf clothes. But hold on, they were naked before and it was ok and swell and paradise and not an issue, so what's the difference now? How the heck could they have not known that they were naked before? Were they dumb and blind? It seems that the serpent ends up being right and smarter than God according to the story, but he supposedly made the serpent as well as the Evil that the serpent spoke. Where was God during all this time? He didn't know what was going on? "Hey Adam where are you, who told you that you were naked?" How could he not know, he knows all and is everywhere supposedly. Why so much leprosy afterwards if he knew from the start they would eat the fruit that he planted. How come Adam and Eve don't get leprosy afterwards? Where the heck did Cain, Abel and Seth find their wives? If they didn't eat the fruit from the tree, would we still have internet, planes, electric guitars and comic books today? Why not just turn back time then and fix things? Make it like it never happened right away and start from scratch. Is all this afterwards existence then really just all about God making a point about not eating fruits he tells you not to eat? Oh, then afterwards God hands over to them some animal skins to cover themselves properly before sending them on their damned and merry way. So God was the first one to kill animals to make leather and fur clothing? Seems that way. Were the animals not supposed to eat the fruit either? What diabolical mind wrote all this stuff? How the heck is a thinking person supposed to believe this talking serpent and 6 day universe creation thing? It's a conundrum, and that's just the first couple of pages. Don't get me started. Christians, Jews and Muslims need to get together and figure out between themselves just what the hell is going on, because they all use the same old sources and each one thinks they're right. Draw straws, flip a coin or whatever. Perhaps see who can do the most miracles in a 24 hr period, those televangelists are doing miracles all the time)

Perhaps some people may ask "Aren't you scared or worried that after you die you'll be sent to bla bla bla or that this or that or such and such will happen?" I find questions like that hilarious and absurd, like I said, if the reader ever at anytime Googled topics like "bible contradictions"..."origins and history of bible/torah/koran"..."dinosaurs in the bible"..."lies/interpolations/mistranslations in..."....and other similar terms and really looked into it, then they will come to the same conclusions. If there was a god of the bible/torah/koran, (which there's not remember, because of all the false fake fables, lies, absurdities and multitudes of contradictions), then I and many others like me are the ones who are going to have pages and pages of points and a long list of questions that we are going to require and even demand answers to, satisfactory answers and explanations for so many contradictions and absurdities. And if we don't get them then we'll just ask around where the exit door is and just leave..."A really great show but we gotta go, have fun with that whole floating around playing trumpets and harps around bronze lamps thing and all the choir singing all the time, its been a slice and really interesting but we gotta go." But since those "gods" and most of his/her/it's made up invented books characters don't exist, then it's pointless even thinking about that situation because it won't happen, it's like worrying about falling off the edge of the flat earth planet if sailing out too far. (because to believe in written and proven contradictions as some sort of truth about something is absurd and only an idiot would do it). When it's proven you know something is fake because its been proven wrong numerous times and the book just keeps kicking itself in the ass repeatedly with errors and contradictions and phoney-baloney magic beans stories, then why worry about it? Instead practice cool magic tricks or read some other books, or maybe just start your own religion like so many already have already.

Now, I don't have all the answers to the mysteries of the world, and never claimed to, but these are questions that should be asked and pondered if your eternal life supposedly depends on it. I'm not claiming that my way of thinking is "the right way." I'm not saying what "the right way" is, but rather this post about the early Pagan Slavs shows that it was "the right way" for them, and it worked pretty well and tidily explained the world around them. (You see, an explanation simply brings to a conclusion a query in a satisfactory way, the query is explained and then you move on to making dinner and taking a bath before going to sleep. "Mom, what's that noise outside my window?...It's the boogyman looking for awake boys and girls, now go to sleep." "Dad, why does God let kittens die?Because every time you sneak cookies before dinner, God kills a kitten to teach you a lesson, now pass over the remote control and chips." Philosophy and metaphysics are an explanation also. Explanations are not facts, numbers, decimal points, fractions, atoms, neutrons, protons, physics, gravity, polygons and quantum mechanics which travel backwards infinitely to the times when the first life forms appeared from bacteria in carbon and graphite which was made after stars exploded. That instead is called "the scientific method" and "proven facts")

Sometime later I took the time to look into the book and see what exactly was going on here anyway. Wow, it was full of nothing those suit and ties on television or those yelling strange haircutted people were talking about at all. (Are they reading a different book or a better version?) One part would be full of magical animals all glued together, then weird people talking about really weird stuff, going on and on and on about hookers and wine and super long weird names, someone's great-great-great-great-great times 20 grandfather who lived on a boat and was eaten by a fish. Then I'd turn some pages and it was about harlots again, smooth breasts and virgins with wine. (Well, those parts weren't actually written by God, but some other guys who wrote for him. Those parts you're not supposed to read or mention though because it's Biblical porn)...clouds, virgins this and virgins that. (That was those same guys again and not God, they really had a thing for virgins with smooth breasts for some strange reason) I'd turn the page and then it was about killing babies and slaughtering people, how to own slaves, more harlot virgins and clouds and even more weird animals. It was almost like it was written by a schizophrenic with multiple personalities who was just sitting around in the desert always crying to the clouds about...love, virgins, kill, slaughter, fear this...wine, clouds, love, destroy, fear that, virgins dancing around the olive oil, harlots, lust, kill, wine, smite, swine, coins, beating his chest for lusty breasted virgins and saying "pass me the wine and olive oil". And that was only a few pages. Back and forth all over the place. This 'God' character seems to have been some angry, jealous, vengeful guy who hated people and things when they didn't go exactly the way he wanted them to go, then he'd get all pissed off and throw plagues, diseases, famines and earthquakes around to show he was still in charge. (He would never mention Cro-Magnon man, Neanderthals or the "Old Europe" civilizations either, like they didn't even exist)  He seems to have been sort of vain too, always talking about how great he is and mighty and all-knowing and all the things he can do, yet he only spent time in a small part of the one time zone. (There's 24 time zones btw). That's weird. Even some people who were on his side, or who were him or whatever, they said and expected some really weird things that I don't recall any of the other deities saying. (Example) Why was he always telling people to do nonsensical and tortuous things, was he a sadist? It even seems lots of angels who knew him for a gazillion years got fed up with his boring speeches and antics and crappy cereal rain and even they decided to go elsewhere and try to find smooth breasted virgins with lustful wine and olive oil instead. Far away from the Jebusites, Moabites and Girgashites etc. (Now go ahead and take a 20 Question Gospel quiz, if you get more than 3 questions right you are qualified to host your own televangelist show)

I started wondering why is it that when there is a major catastrophe, a tsunami, hurricane, earthquake or airplane that crashed, and many people died because of it, they call it "a miracle" if a survivor is found amongst the rubble or buried under the buildings, wreckage or other bodies. A miracle?..How's that? Later that summer some punk-ass stole my bike, 3rd one in 2 years. I decided right then and there that I was done with this praying business because it seemed pointless. I was quitting while I was ahead because I had no plans on becoming some sort of Job plaything down the road with boils and plague-like sores and much worse things, thank you very much. Boils and sores don't look good on me at all. Then not long after I got to thinking, "Hey, those Muslim people blowing each other up on the news, they supposedly worship the exact same God too, that's weird."  The exact same one. I don't think I have to remind the reader about the early history of Islam, the centuries of Ottoman Jihads against Europe, the history of and events going on in the middle east and some other muslim countries, all you have to do is put on the news these days. Supposedly these people think their God is the real version and that Christians have the crappy version. They also think Non-Muslim countries are Infidel barbarians but when they try to escape from being blown up by other muslims, they hightail it to anywhere but other muslim countries where their club and God is in charge, usually to the evil Infidel countries. That's really weird too. How many frikin versions of God and truth and hookers and virgins and wine are there anyway?.....

 ......Even many saints and their stories are nothing but pagan deities and their stories painted anew on a Christian person believe it or not. Yep, substituting the saints miracles from the powers of the pagan deities. Some of the clubs believe some things, some of the clubs believe other things. Some of the clubs make their own rules and heroes that the other clubs don't particularly care about and vice versa. These days anyone can start a club and sell handkerchiefs and sand for thousands of dollars on television. Some clubs on television will raise the dead for just a few measly bucks. This may ruffle some feathers, but to me Christianity seems foreign, imposed on the Slavic mentality when you think about it. (The way some men at weddings have to wear those dumb looking cumberbuns)...which really isn't far off the mark if you read about this topic. (Economics had a large part to play)  Like I said, it was great for helping to learn how to read and write all those centuries ago, helping with organizing defence against Muslim attacks and other invaders centuries previously, thus saving western civilization, but does that mean I or anyone else has to believe a bunch of stories about talking burning bushes or snakes?...about giving giving away all my belongings and becoming a bum, going around making fish sticks appear and then disappear, believe I can walk on water too if I just ask for it and believe it hard enough?.... Who knows? Perhaps someday Croatians/Slavs and other Europeans will be looking at the centuries old cathedrals and churches dotting the landscape the same way we admire and gaze upon Roman, Illyrian, Etruscan and  Greek buildings and ruins today. Perhaps, just like on those history and archeology channels, where they find remains, pottery, gold, jewelry, statues, stone monuments etc, from people living 10, 20 or 40,000 years ago...in the future they will find remains of televangelists and buried suits, water vials, ribbons, miracle sand pouches, shiny coins and various religious pamphlets, some with even cartoons in them. The archeologists and paleoanthropologists will then say..."This was a civilization of people that believed in a God who had a harem of naked girls and that he could make fish sticks disappear and re-appear out of thin air, make people into salt, turn water into wine, make it rain fluffy sugared cereal, make pigs and jump off of cliffs, make fig trees die for not giving fruit. Here lies a civilization who believed that a ventriloquist snake could talk from out of a burning bush to trick people into not eating pork chops or picking up sticks, make oozing sore plagues on blind people, make pigeons float over peoples heads, talk in parables so people won't understand what he's talking about, put his face into potato chips, toast and tree bark and turn Christmas trees into hopping rabbits, a God who was the best pea and shell game magician in all of history, a hundred times better even than Phil Cass."....





The acknowledgement of Europe's ancient past, traditions and roots is even exemplified in the pagan symbol of the goddess Europa. Europa is the official symbol of Europe and her image is portrayed in art and represented in many other ways. Europa is even printed on coin currency and banknotes in the European Union. The very continent was named after her. Just one of numerous examples showing that Europe's real origins and roots do NOT come from any of the 3 biblical/Abrahamic religions sources, but from other civilizational processes and histories entirely.





An interesting brief related mention on this particular topic before continuing on. Many people probably didn't know that the very name of Europe was named after the goddess Europa. (which is how all the languages of Europe call the continent, except in English as 'Europe') Yep, how apropos that Europe was named after a pagan deity goddess. How ironic that various early pagan mythologies and deities had such a large part to play in centuries later western European civilization, in the arts, in philosophy, in traditions, in astronomy etc. As one version of the story goes, it was a beautiful day as she and other daughters of nobility went off gathering flowers by the sea. Zeus noticed this charming group, particularly Europa, who was the prettiest of the maidens. Zeus then appeared to the group as a bull  more beautiful then any other. A bull that smelled of flowers, and lowed musically. A bull so obviously gentle that all the maidens rushed to stroke and pet it. The bull laid down in front of Europa. She slid on to its back and then instantly, the bull charged off, plunging into the sea, and began to swim rapidly from the shore. Zeus then revealed his true identity after bringing her back, and thus Europa became the first queen and all the lands named after her. (Televangelists and fundamentalist sects and gurus have been cursing the continent ever since, abhorring the significance and meaning behind the imagery which is an eternal stumbling block for other much later and alien theism-dogma hordes, intent only to usurp and redefine using strange foreign rigmarole. However, it is they who are oblivious to the egregious accumulating flotsam and jetsam in the midst of their own habitations and in their own eyes. 'Europa' therefore is a synonym for the ancient past and the beliefs of the various peoples in the lands before the common era, in fact it is an assent of their early pagan roots. The continent will not change her name and so neither can history be changed)





Another interesting fact worth quickly noting and which is directly related to the information presented thus far and information to follow. Genetically, on the Y chromosome line, a majority (87%) of Croats belong to one of the three major European Y-DNA haplogroups -- Haplogroup I (38%), Haplogroup R1a (35%) and Haplogroup R1b (16%). All three of these groups appeared in Europe during the upper paleolithic around 30,000-20,000 BC. Furthermore, the dominant presence of Haplogroup I-M170 is rather interesting, as it is considered the oldest and only native European haplogroup and is found nowhere else. The Haplogroup I-M170 exists only in Europe and is fairly widespread, but in relatively smaller percentages extending westward and eastward. Its frequency in the Croatian lands and among Croats is high, but the only populations that have similar levels of the I Haplogroup are the Scandinavians. Haplogroup I-M170 has been shown to have weathered the last glacial maximum in the lands corresponding to modern day Croatia and surrounding area in central Europe and then migrated north as the ice sheets retreated. Also, by these statistics we can clearly see that the strongest Haplogroup in Croatians is Haplogroup I-M170, thus when combined with much later middle ages historical written records about Croats mentioned here, we see that the early common era Croat history as being Gothic and Slavic descendants is absolutely correct and supported scientifically. We share subclades of Haplogroup I-M170 with Scandinavians more than anyone else in Europe, so the early European populations that went on to become Scandinavians also went on to become Croatians. These scientific evidences prove that the ancient origins of Croatian tribes before recorded history, that they were already present in large parts of central Europe since time immemorial. (ie: the early Croats never arrived as tribes from the east or the west, on the contrary the facts prove that only later did they spread west and east, and north and south, from their ancient hypocenter). It is then not surprising that the early arriving Croats in those middle ages sources are described as being Goths as well as Slavs and before that as the Veneti/Venethi/Venedi. Territorially and demographically speaking, one can see this also affected many other areas inhabited by later Slavic languages speaking communities and even others as the early Croats were temporally contiguous with Slav, Veneti, Celtic and Germanic speakers reaching very far back in history. (For more see The ancestors of the Slavs could have been in Europe 4000 years ago, which would connect with DNA and genetic evidences the earliest pre-migration Croatian tribes southward to the Bronze Age Unetice culture, which was long before there even were any Slavic or Germanic languages that we know of) 





Returning back to main theme, besides, most of today's customs and rituals relating to Christmas and Easter have many pagan elements also. From Christmas trees, mistletoe and exchanging of gifts to wreathes, bunny rabbits, Easter eggs and much more. Things really opened my eyes when I started coming across scientific and archeological findings and theories in a written article or some documentary program on television. With our modern day technologies, which gives us even more information and possibilities from our past based on evidences, it seemed that perhaps those old surviving legends and stories passed down to us from thousands of years ago, just may have some of the information that explains much more. Why, if you were to take all the Pre-Christian and Pagan elements out of Christianity, what you would have left would be something almost unrecognizable and very strange. (That's probably why people these days follow some made up ""Gospels according to Oprah", "Gospels according to CBS, NBC, ABC" or "Bible according to the Fox Entertainment Group" and which will continue right after these important messages from our sponsor, they make those mini-series' and blockbuster star studded films with those posters and trailers) For instance, here's an interesting fact. Easter, which is not even a commandment or in the bible, is not even regulated to be on a fixed calendar date every year, but rather it is guided according to lunar phases, ie: governed according to when the full moon appears after the Spring Equinox. How heathen and pagan is that? Yep, archeological findings, old legends, mythology and folk tales actually explaining some of the realities from long before cable, satellite television, televangelists and Twitter/Instagram actor selfies. You see, it's an old movie-making trick even these days, it's called "suspension of disbelief." Assuming power over your mind to think, act and believe irrationally and unnaturally. Suspension of disbelief is basically the same as believing in a tooth fairy or space aliens among us. Lots of this is explained at the link at the very beginning of this post. Easter eggs and such are more or less pagan traditions that are more here and now than the "suspension of disbelief" of made up characters and stories. (See also Is it a bird, is it a plane etc?)





Some footage of some of the giant Easter Eggs found in Zagreb during the holidays. Eggs like this can be seen in other cities across Croatia as well.




Dating back from pagan times, Croatian Pisanica (Easter Eggs) are still very popular today.

Related: pisanica-croatian-slavic-easter-eggs





People also have been uninformed and have misconceptions about what Slavic paganism is and was. (We call them "Pagans" today, ie: a person not belonging to any mainstream religion or their beliefs, but back then it was just natural common sense, back then they were pagan because it was just life) At the time, their beliefs and rituals made perfect sense. They had to make an understanding of the world they lived in and that they could see and touch. Many of the gods, goddesses, elfs, fairies, tricksters and other deities made perfect sense, and showed great imagination and common sense.  One of the misconceptions about our Slavic pagan ancestors is that they were simple, ignorant and simpletons. On the contrary, the average person in those days was smarter than most people today that these days you pass on the street.  A person back then didn't have just one occupation, but had to know many different skills. An average person had to know about agriculture/horticulture/husbandry and farming methods to grow crops. Carpentry skills to build homes and shelter.  Knowledge of science to forge their weapons, tools, ornaments, jewelry and build homes of brick and stone with mortar, make wines, incense and  medicines. Even an artist to decorate their homes, important places and places of worship. And of course astronomy and science again to know when to plant the crops, the coming of the seasons, weather patterns, just to name a few.  They were not a rush rush and hectic group of peoples, back then they took things on a more... generational basis of completion.. it if took 5 yrs to do, fine, but if it took 50, that is fine too, if it took more than my life, fine.. my children will complete it after me. They didn't have modern materials technology, which takes time to develop, but that doesn't mean they were any more stupid than people are now. In fact some of their practical skills and possibly their social skills may have been better. They managed to have complex societies, international trade, social stability and to survive and develop their societies without the benefit of having earlier societies or written histories and science/instructions to learn from.






It was from these everyday tasks that their deities made sense of the world around them and spoke to them. Their concept of good and evil were totally different in those days. Many of today's Christian and Non-Christian beliefs to them would seem very strange and bizarre, however they did have their own code of ethics and rules which they followed. In many instances the lives of Pagan Slavic people really didn't change much after the introduction of Christianity, they just exchanged one god for another one, or some incorporated them into the traits of saints. Life went on, they still conducted themselves in the same way, still had crops to harvest and cattle to feed.  (I've found over the years many people can't understand the meaning of the words "Pagan" and "Fucko", (I've seen plenty of fucko's in my time)...what is implied by the word "Pagan", it's ancient history, belief structure, pantheons that are related to other deities from antiquity, contribution to society, humanism, philosophy, even especially connections to various facets of today's mainstream religions. You'd be very surprised to find out the source of some of your religious customs and beliefs, very surprised)   Some people get spooked by that word, they get visions of some kind of Hollywood movies or cartoon characters in their heads. I've seen many, many, people who wear religious trinkets, say or give the appearance that they're Christian, but in reality they're really just "Fuckos". Fuckos pretending to be some kind of religious something, holy, special or trying to fool people that they're so and so and such and such. You see it in the newspapers, TV and on the internet/interwebs everyday. (example)





Followers of Slavic neo-pagan religious movements gather in a Russian forest for a summer solstice 2010 celebration on Saturday. The summer solstice is recognized and often celebrated in many cultures around the world—in both the past and present, experts say. For instance, Stonehenge in the United Kingdom has been associated with the winter and summer solstices for about 5,000 years.(Pictures: "Summer Solstice Marked With Fire, Magic" [2008].) Source: nationalgeographic.com  



Evening celebrations of the Summer Solstice in Croatia.  Link to images of Slavic pagan celebrations in Croatia, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and other Slavic countries: www.slavorum.com



Ivan Tsarevich on the Grey Wolf, 1889, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.






Belorusian youngsters celebrate the festival of Ivan Kupala, a traditional Belorusian one mixed with ancient Pagan Slavic beliefs,  the Summer solstice and the day of birth of John the Baptist. This feast is usually celebrated on June 22 or 23 or July 6 (accorded to Julian calendar). Traditionally, village youngsters made wreaths, light fires and jumped over them which meant cleansing from sins. Young men and girls tried to find a fern flower that blossomed this night only. Those who had found it got magic abilities.  Girls put their wreaths with candles on a river water and those men who would get them would become their suitors. Source: www.demotix.com



Zvončari, or Pagan Bell Ringers, during the Rijeka Karneval in Croatia. A custom that dates to Pre-Christian times.





Even the names of the Croatian months of the year, have retained their earthy, pagan origins and meanings from those Pre-Christian times, a feature that is very rare in European languages and is only still present today in some Slavic languages speaking nations that also retained elements of this Pre-Christian month naming custom as the standard even up to today. (Czech, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Slovenian, Macedonian to a lesser extent)...


Croatian...... English


Siječanj...... January.....(month of cutting (wood)
Veljača....... February.....(Possibly from "Velja Noć" (Great Night), old Slavic pagan festival that falls in modern-day February
Ožujak........ March.....(lying month)
Travanj....... April.....(month of grass)
Svibanj....... .May.....(month of budding, svibovina = Cornel tree)
Lipanj.......... June.....(month of the lipa - lime / linden tree)
Srpanj...........July.....(month of reaping with a sickle, srp=sickle)
Kolovoz....... August.....(month of driving the wagon for harvest) — kolo + voziti
Rujan...... September.....(month of animal mating, from archaic verb for animal roar "rjuti", referencing mating calls. Also the Slavic tribe on the island of Rugia were sometimes called Rujani)
Listopad...... October.....(month of falling leaves — list + padati)
Studeni........ November.....(cold month)
Prosinac...... December.....(the beginning of the Sun's shining [sinuti = to dawn]. Also, possibly month of begging/asking, from prositi = beg/ask, to ask for one's hand in marriage etc.



Note: In Macedonian, Listopad is also the (archaic) name for October but in Polish, Czech listopad and Ukrainian "lystopad" means November. Likewise, Polish sierpień, Czech srpen and Ukrainian "serpen'" mean August rather than July, and Polish lipiec (Ukrainian "lypen'") means July rather than June.



Source: en.wikipedia/Croatian_months

Related: www.irminsul.org

www.ancientpoland.org

www.os-popovac.skole.hr 



You know, there are people out there who might misconstrue this piece and categorize me as a hater, bad, lost, having a stinky finger and a whole bunch of other derogatory terms. (ouuu, your're gonna be the main course in a 4,893 year long barbeque, being pitchforked by chubby little demons with pointy tails and big yellow teeth!!!). If that is the case, then all I can say as my rebuttal is quite simply.. "I don't make the rules, I just ask the questions and present the facts."  I will have many artists, writers, philosophers, scientists, teachers, musicians, professors, comedians being pitchforked with me.  Does this mean if someone rubs garlic on me, or sprinkles some kind of water or oil on me, that I will melt,  grow a big hairy butt, start listening to gospel-rap or start watching Benny Hinn? ..The answer is definitely NO. Heck, if the situation arises and I have to attend someone's funeral or marriage in a church, rest assured, I wont burst into flames or melt into steaming jellified mucous. Just don't expect me to go any further than attending the event.  I actually don't even think about religion, per se, anymore. I only did this piece because of some recent experiences and an interesting article I came across and ignorant people.





Lada.






Just to elaborate a little more on this theme of comparing an organized mainstream religion, (Christianity in this case), I present this comparison of two different ways for a person to profess their beliefs, views, feel closer to their deity, show allegiance to a particular way of thinking...whatever you want to call it. I ask the reader to compare the following two methods and decide which one seems more sensible, and which one gives you the heebee-geebees and seems sort of "sick". (Whatever makes you happy I guess)  I just hope people like this don't start taking this kind of stuff  literally in this day and age either. This strange kind of behaviour can also be found in other faiths and customs too btw. All in all, one can see that the various Slavic Pagan extends to far more than just some kind of spiritual or religious movement or belief system. Many of the archaic traditions and rituals are inherent in many of today's folk related dances, customs and stories etc. In many ways you didn't even realize you will come see. That's why it can also properly be classified a cultural phenomena and movement, similarly like numerous other cultures in today's world.  A very, very old cultural history that has even permeated into the later arriving religious spheres and continued on in various forms. It would not be denied or forgotten because these so-called Slavic "Pagan" ways and past WAS the culture.  The boundaries of time and foreign philosophies were proven wrong and denied in trying to completely destroy it. Croatians, or any Slavic languages speaking people were not hatched out of chicken eggs in one day during the recent past on a flat earth, during some Sunday church service with a bible in one hand and palm fronds in the other. See also www.jesusneverexisted.com......




 I don't understand...How are people going to get their children to do their chores and errands if your're sending them to go blow themselves and other people up? Helping to make the explosives belt fit snug and secure before sending them off to school seems kind of creepy if you ask me. (Not one ancient god or goddess or follower of the Slavic deity pantheon is known to have ordered killings btw)



If one wakes up one day and feels like blowing themselves up, that's all fine and dandy, but is this the kind of behaviourocities you want your children to be exposed to at the Hallowe'en party or Easter egg hunt? I see cake, hot dogs, ice cream and brains/limbs being plastered all over the walls. This just doesn't do it for me and would make me lose my appetite. 



"Freedom Can Go To Hell"?...I'm not even sure what that means, but it sure doesn't sound very Croatian or like a fun or interesting event. Roger and Ebert would've gave it 2 thumbs down. I'm pretty sure Slavic Pagans these days wouldn't go as far as amputations for swearing, wearing a bikini or stealing a chicken either. (What does freedom have to do with blowing people up anyway?)



After the fun is over and you've done your part in saving the world, it's recommended to take vitamin E pills to help heal the wounds faster. More info: www.wikihow.com
  Foto: news.bbc.co.uk



I'm not even gonna touch this one...next.. 



 Well, nothing lets people know your house is going to have the funnest Christmas party on the street than a flogging Jesus light display. Maybe after the cider and double-fudge cookies everyone gets to sit around the den listening to Bible stories and sing along on the Mr Microphone. Similar headscratchers Here.



Great fun for all (Don't push and shove children, who wants to nail his feet?) Also, make sure that none of the thousands of spectators who arrived to watch the show run up and try to stop the guy from nailing......



Most crucifixions actually took place on a single beam or tree trunk with the hands nailed above the head. Many mental health specialists believe historically inaccurate presentations and allusions such as the above portrayal ingrain a deep seeded hatred against the Romans/Italian people. Is it right to teach children that we should blame the Romans/Italian people or Pagan Slavs or other people who were at home having pork barbeques and drinking wine for premature death, plagues, floods and earthquakes? For little Jimmy or Lisa developing leukemia at 3 years of age or being born crippled or blind?



Yet another failed attempt at emulation and another historical inaccuracy. It is a historical fact that criminals were crucified naked, to increase the amount of shame and embarrassment so as to discourage other possible insurgents/criminals. (We want to torture and nail their hands and feet but let's not embarrass them that would cruel?). Many people also disregard the historical fact that crucifixion was reserved only for the most dangerous trouble makers and criminals, and that it was disallowed for the body to be buried after death, but rather historical sources tell us the body was to be left hanging for days if need be, so that the birds would start pecking to the bone leaving a visible warning to future insurgents and criminals. (The Romans were serious when it came to making a statement and capital punishment ). It's also highly advised to blunt the nail tip with a hammer first, then drive them in on a slight angle, increasing holding power and less chance of the nail becoming loose. A common nailing faux pas. More info: www.popularmechanics.com and  www.jesusneverexisted.com.




Sources: dnevnik.hr



www.tportal.hr







We must not forget that it is not only Slavic Paganism that explores it's peoples past and history...by far. (See Here, and even Semitic Pagans, you probably didn't know that) Various cultures worldwide also still celebrate the legends, beliefs, mythology and traditions from their long historical past. Some have been doing so from time immemorial and can even be called 'mainstream' in their society today. Celebrating their ancient culture through folk costumes, song, dance, mythology, legends and rituals is a way of keeping the memory of their origins alive. Remembering and respecting their ancient and interesting past.....



Many Native peoples still hold onto their rich cultural past, traditions and beliefs and hand their legends and mythologies down from generation to generation. Native folk costumes, sacred narratives, art, spirituality, song and dance at festivals and Pow Wow celebrations are popular as a way to celebrate their common past, cultural bonds and protect their self-identity. See www.gatheringofnations.com for more information and images.



On the Indian sub-continent ancient deities, mythology and tradition is the norm and a part of everyday life. Even these days their long Pre-Christian era ancient culture and customs is a large part of what defines them and is focused on in their art, decorative clothing, song, legends and dance celebrations/festivals. Ancient traditions that harken to far back in their early history. Existing long before the concept of modern nations, these same traditions have crossed the sands of time and play an important part today just as in the distant past.



Numerous tribes across Africa still honour their gods and goddesses, their passed down customs and beliefs connect them to their common heritage and origins as well. Various traditional music and singing, folk costumes, decorative folk jewellery and folk dancing are used to tap into their ancestral African history. Stories, legends and African mythology is passed down from old to young to remind them of how their ancestors lived and what they believed. Likewise, this recalling of their folk culture and customs and ancient past keeps their ancestors close to them in these modern days. The various folk rituals are performed so they will not be forgotten, their spears also look remarkably similar to spears portrayed in the stone age cave art drawings of the early Slavic European, Baltic and Nordic peoples as well. (As well as some Japanese ones). Below some African pagan customs that also seem remarkably similar to 4th century sketched scenes on rocks found near the Baltic sea, eastern Styria, the Pannonian basin and parts of the Carpathian mountain range. There are parallels with some traditions and customs of the early Greeks and Romans that were borrowed from the Dinka tribe. The Habsburg and Romanov Royal dynasties and the Monarchy of Sweden and Denmark are probably direct descendants of this tribe according to some internet sources I read.



In Japan, as well as many other parts of Asia, the peoples cultural past, traditions and spiritual beliefs extend far back into the past also. Just as in Europe and Africa, elements from those Pre-Christian times are evident and represented in their art, music, spirituality and legends and mythology at many of their celebrations and festivals in Japan. Even their communities living outside of Japan keep their ancient past traditions in remembrance of their ancestors and roots.



In Brazil there are various events which take place that harken back to the old ancient ancestors and spirits of the Brazilians. The music, art, and folklore costumes are an extension of their essence and commonality with their surrounding nature and jungle deities. This is especially evident during Rio Carnival, which is the time of year when traditional folklore costumes are elaborately decorated with bananas, coconuts, colourful feathers and other fruits which pay homage to the ancient spirits and ancestors of the Brazilians.








Croatian Pentagram marble relief with a round interlacing-ribbon pattern, found on an 11th century church choir screen panel in Solin, near Split, Croatia. The Pentagram has a very long tradition well before the introduction of Christianity or other religions into the area. Coincidentally, the shields located on the wings of the 3 falcons are believed by historians and archaeologists to be the earliest portrayal of the Croatian coat of arms carved in marble, being accredited to Croatian King Petar Kresimir IV the Great(The Pentagram's association with magic derives from the fact that kings were thought to possess magical powers...(at times they were called "lofty ones" or "shining ones")..so it is both a symbol of their dynasty and their doctrine. The Pythagoreans saw in the pentagram a mathematical perfection. Leonardo da Vinci centuries later saw in the pentagram a relationship to the Golden ratio, and included it in his famous drawing of "Vitruvian Man." (Some scholars have argued that it is connected to the times when early Croatian populations were referred to as "Hyperboreans" by ancient Greek and later Roman writers. Herodotus's Histories (Book IV, Chapters 32–36), wrote about them circa 450 BC, as well as 7th century BC Greek poet Aristeas. Many people these days have phobias and complexes at the sight of pentagrams for some reason, mainly because they're dumb). Photo: www.soa.hr





Before proceeding again, let's take a quick step back and take another look at the 11th century baptistery in Split. A look from afar at the overall pattern to see what else the symbols and patterns can tell us. Let's recall the words of Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus in his 10th century work "De Administrando Imperio (DAI).... ".....From the Croats who came to Dalmatia a part split off and possessed themselves of Illyricum and Pannonia; they too had an independent prince, who used to maintain friendly contact, though through envoys only, with the prince of Croatia......Great Croatia, also called 'White', is still unbaptized to this day....."...

Some historians have pondered as to why 3 of the 4 falcons have the checkered shields on their wings, but the remaining falcon does not. (A better look below). This would seem like a logical question to ask. The answer  is self-evident and interesting enough to show here. Firstly, the reader should know that the birds carved into the stone are falcons, in Croatian a falcon is a sokol. The sokol/falcon has been a very honored animal and bird throughout Croatian history. The birds are found throughout various parts of Croatia, and especially commonplace along the coast. Many sports, literary and other clubs and organizations through the centuries have used the "sokol" in their emblem and the sokol name as part of their name. (just one example: www.hrvatskisokol.hr)

Recall that it has been recorded in the 10th century work De Administrando Imperio (DAI) of Byzantine emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos that Illyricum, Dalmatia, and Pannonia is where the arriving Croat tribes migrated to in the 7th century from their previous homeland of White Croatia. (..."....Great Croatia, also called 'White', is still unbaptized to this day"...."). The top 2 falcons who are supported on the pentagram, and the falcon underneath who is enclosed within the pentagram, represent those 3 areas where the Croats migrated to. The remaining falcon to the left who is without a shield, he represents the Croats who were left behind in the "Great/White Croata", Croats who did not go on to form a kingdom but instead eventually assimilated into the nations around them. (Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus etc)



 
The falcons with the shields therefore are the Croats who battled the pillaging Avars and liberated those 3 lands, lands which are called by their more ancient classical names in De Administrando Imperio. The far left falcon without a shield looks on, just as the left behind "White Croats" are looking on, part of but not included within the new Croatian realms and kingdom of that time. Yet they are all located within the interlacing pleter circle. (Which coincidentally incorporates a 3 ribbon pattern characteristic). Circles commonly represent unity, wholeness, and infinity, without end, without sides or corners, the circle is also associated with the number one. Wholeness. Circles are often seen as protective symbols. Standing within a circle "shields" a person from supernatural dangers or influences outside of the circle. The pentagram has long been a symbol of magic. The pentagram has five spiked wards and a womb shaped defensive, protective pentagon at the centre. It commonly denotes five senses - sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. We perceive five stages or initiations in our lives - eg. birth, adolescence, coitus, parenthood and death, as well as the 5 elements from time immemorial...earth, fire, water, air and spirit.

Notice also the rose in the middle and to the right, the middle flower with 6 petals and the other with 7 petals. It has been well established that to the ancients and practitioners of arcane secret knowledge even up to today, that seven is a number associated with shamanism and that number six is the number of perfection. These 2 numbers add up to 13, and it is interesting that there are 13 lunar months or "moons" in a calendar year. ( A 13 Moon calendar is a harmonic timespace matrix). This also tells us it was clearly a place of ritual, of worship, an assembly – in effect, what today is called a church. (Yet, the modern day word 'church' derives incorrectly from an intentional mistranslation of the original Greek term ἐκκλησία, which is transliterated as "ecclesia", which simply means, and is correctly defined as 'assembly'). A ‘church/assembly’ implies the inclusion of a priest-like leader, but not necessarily at all, it can also be.....a shaman. (Technically and truthfully, any time the Croatian kings, princes or dukes convened assemblies, they were in effect calling their princes, lesser nobles and subordinates to go to church)

These middle ages Croatian shamans were also the ‘magicians’ who conferred blessings, powers and kingship to the Croatian rulers and their realms. (This can likewise be applied to the Croatian kings themselves as well, as they held the power to confer, grant and enforce decrees and the laws)  Some scholars have come to the conclusion that the falcon/sokol without the shield, but still within the protective pleter circle, represents the ultimate royal head of the Croats, ie the King. This would seem quite valid also in retrospect. One notices that the falcon without the shield does not have his wings to his side as the others. His wings are instead lifted upwards and spread out, as if conjuring, guiding, looking inwards at them all and in agreement, setting them forth, conferring magic and allotting duties. The Croatian king is not in need of a protective shield afterall, as he is the one who guides his subordinates, princes, military and soldiers and people, and in turn protected by them all. Perhaps even a representation of the guiding hands/wings continuing from the earliest Gotho-Slavs, the people who centuries previously came to Dalmatia, Pannonia and Illyricum, ie: the Croats. It's apparent then that we see not just a spontaneously made pentagram symbol with flowers and birds with shields in a circle for aesthetic reasons only, or as a spur of the moment decision of the artist. They were carved to last a very long time and for a special and specific purpose, so we instead see being represented wizardry, supernatural gifts, esoteric continuity, arcane knowledge, rightful rule and magic being bestowed upon and even from the Croats in this stone representation. (Some interesting and amazing facts about the sokol/falcon that you may not have known...Falcons are the fastest member of the animal kingdom and so also the fastest bird in the world, able to reach recorded speeds over 250 mph/400 kmh. Falcons also have the the best binocular and stereoscopic vision vision among all the larger birds of prey, large eyes able to spot intruders that are a threat to their nest and inhabited areas, or prey such as rabbits, mice and especially pigeons and other birds, being able to see them up to an extraordinary 5 km away before using their pure high speed to intercept. When threatened by any other larger birds, including even eagles, the falcon's body is configured to make the sharpest turns at the highest speeds with it's sharp beak and claws extended to attack and kill their target. When soaring to lofty and dizzying heights and then diving sharply with pure hyperspeed, they actually shift their shape to slip through the air molecules, literally transforming into a silent missile that seems to come out of nowhere upon their target or prey. Falconry has a history in Europe that reaches back to at least 380 BCE. Falcons also rate highest on the scale for innovative feeding habits and avian intelligence)

The falcon/sokol, and some other birds in Slavic, and even Germanic mythology, is seen as a symbol of a returning life and a spiritual guide. He is an intermediary between the earthly sphere and the otherwordly sphere of the beyond. The sokol is the speaker of great secrets which he brings with him after soaring the otherwordly heights, his eyes have tales to tell. (The always present and unseen 13th moon, only the moon can be seen at night and during the day ....the sokol still flies to this day across Croatian skies)









Very interesting subject all this, very interesting indeed, why we believe what we believe. I'm not particularly religious, but perhaps in the future I may start another blog dedicated solely to these topics. My opinion of the article I posted below is this. Slavic Mythology never really was totally lost. It just needs to be re-examined and studied more, on the same level as archeologists and historians examine ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece, Mesopotamia, The Etruscans, The Illyrians, etc. I feel Slavic Mythology and Pre-Christian Slavic writing is much more of an interesting topic to study than finding out whether there is ice or carbon on a rock or meteor in another solar system or on a planet light years away. For further reading on the subject of Croatian/Slavic Mythology, I recommend www.leluya.org




The Indo-European custom of communal feasts was known as bratchina (from brat, "brother") in Kiev Rus, as slava ("glorification") in Macedonia and as sabor ("assembly") in Croatia and Bulgaria. Foto/Source: wikipedia.org






Let's think about this for a minute; if the Ancient Slavs, and also Europeans, were so willing to get rid of their old religion in favour of Christianity, then why are 100% of the holidays we today think of as Christian actually of Pagan European origin? That doesn’t add up. If you embrace a new religion and cast aside your own, then why would you keep practicing your own religion – and with time force the new religion to incorporate your festivals into itself? The early Christian hierarchies, when not squabbling and fighting amongst themselves, tried desperately to remove the old religion, but the Slavs, and other Europeans, refused to stop practicing it, even after they officially had become ‘Christianized’. 

Even under threat of torture, execution and imprisonment, they refused to get rid of the old Pagan religion! In the end the Christians had to steal the Pagan high festivals (like Pope Julius I did in 350 with the Yule festival as just one example), get involved in the Pagan festivals and eventually give them more or less new contents – but even there they failed; the ‘Christian’ festivals still have the Pagan contents, and this can be seen as bright and clear as the sun and moon in most most of them. All the holidays that are celebrated in Christianity are not according to some God given laws or from any so-called messiah or saint, the holidays that did not come directly by way of previous Pagan holiday, are not fixed annual dates but rather set according the Moon. (Easter is always the first Full Moon after the equinox)


Today Slavic Neopaganism movements can be found in all of the countries concerned. In Croatia it is called the "Rodnovjerje Movement" and similar movements are in existence in other Slavic countries. "Rodnovery" in the Slavic languages, is a compound of the archaic Slavic root word of rodna "native" and vera "faith", sometimes it is called "Straroverism" (Old faith believers/Oldbelievers) or similar in the native language.






The symbol of the Croatian association of Old faith believers (Hrvatski Rodnovjeraca) ......"Perunova Svetinja"




Footage of members of the Croatian "Perunova Svetinja" performing an invocation for rain using old elements and ancient customs of "Rodnovjera" that would have been common among  many Slavic nations in the Pre-Christian era. Notice the dancing, spinning in a circle like a wheel (kolo) which is still a common feature of todays Croatian folk dances...dancing in a kolo. A "kolo dance"  is related to the previously mentioned Slavic spinning wheel symbol... "Kolovrat".  (Dancing the Croatian "Kolo" has nothing to do with the Bible, Moses, Allah or even Selahammahlekoth- Mahershalalhashbaz the Ashkolon of Baal-Hazor and Goshen) 










The crescent moon and star are the old Proto-Slavic symbols which the original Croats brought from their northern homeland.  They symbolize the primeval Slavic deities Ledo/Lejla (Moon) and Lada (Star). The above seal of Gradec (today a part of the city of Zagreb) from the 16th century shows it's "Free City" legal status, but more importantly the walls and towers of the city, and the new moon and star show that Zagreb belongs to the Croats/Croatia. The moon and star were early Croatian symbols. (All this centuries before it started to be associated with Islam and Mohammedanism)  It is found on medieval minted coins on Croatian territory as well as in the 19th century, it was eventually incorporated into some coat of arms of the Croatian realms, including the coat of arms of the city of Zagreb dated to 1499, and of course included as the Zagreb coat of arms and part of the coat of arms on the official flag of the Republic of Croatia today. It appears on the shield of Theodoric and other Ostrogothic kings, as well as on the mosaics that date from the period of Ostrogothic rule at Ravenna., right around the time that the first Croatians started to arrive at the Adriatic. More on this at croatsgothsslavs.blogspot.ca







"It all started with the doubt that the Gods do not know how to talk"





This following short article was the original single source of text of this particular post. I added more to it over time now and then, and now you can see and read it the way it is now.  In retrospect, considering all the added information I've added over time, the various sources, as well as the numerous websites, blogs, books, forums and video material that I've come across since then, it seems that Slavic Mythology is not lost at all.  On the contrary it is developing a larger following than previously supposed, and growing more daily. More archeological projects and study of ancient manuscripts, orally transferred information handed down through the centuries, newer discoveries and even university programs dealing with these subjects, shows that it is being more studied and re-examined than ever before.  People do have an interest about the  lives of our ancestors from long ago, how they lived, what they believed and how they came to believe what they did.......






From Slavic mythology up to today, little has been preserved with the people.  At best only few have heard of Perun, Svarog or Veles.





Source: dalje.com

Author: Josip Madunic



Published: May 16, 2007 09:31h

As opposed to the ancient Greek, Slavic mythology did not leave any written documents behind. Why?

Slavic peoples did not use writing before Christianisation. Due to “illiteracy”, Slavic believes, and myths together with them, continued to be passed down orally after Christianisation and the beginning of literacy and in time have disappeared “into oblivion".

Up to today, little has been preserved with the people. At best, we have heard of Perun, Svarog or Veles. We see the word Triglav as a toponym and we do not know that Triglav was a three-part Slavic god who unified three roles of beings. The realistic one, the unrealistic and the right one.

On the other hand, we have Nordic or Scandinavian mythology. North-European peoples were Christianised in the 11th century and they started writing down their tradition since the 13th century, as well as mythology. Today, it is exactly because of this fact that Nordic mythology is alive and known, but exploited to the maximum for popular-cultural purposes.

For instance, an entire music style, Viking Metal, is focused on Nordic myths and folk-Nordic melodies. There are countless computer games inspired by the Vikings. Not to mention literature and film.





"The Slavic Tolkien"
Ivana Brlić – Mažuranić (1874-1938)





And Slavic? We know that Croatian Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić captured a part of this tradition and recorded it in “Tales of Long Ago”, therefore we can even see Svarogich on multimedia CD editions. She is the only one who captured a small part, in the 20th century. What could have been if Ivana was born earlier and had heard some other interesting tales?.......

Related: croatia.hr/Ivana-Brlic-Mazuranic

Animated Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić stories at www.bulaja.com/FAIRYTALES 






Footage of Etno Selo performing the popular Mažuranić tale 'Stribor's Forest' (Šuma Striborova) at the main park in the town of Lukavec, Croatia in 2009.





........Why have the “literate” and the Christianized people from the Middle Ages failed to record what mattered from the Slavic tradition? Numerous questions, and until the uncertain future finding of the answers, meet some of the Slavic mythology characters:





  A visual interpetation of Svarog


 


Svarog: According to legends, god of fire and heaven, creator of all on heaven and Earth. The first divinity of the Sun with the Slavic people linked with heaven, blacksmithing and fire. He can be compared to Greek gods Uranus and Hephaestus.





 Visual interpretation of Morana (Not to be confused with morans)





The name Morana is linked with the ancient Indian word “mara” which means to die with force. Morana is a goddess of death and winter. Most often, she has the form of a beautiful dark-haired girl and has extremely fair skin, wolf-like fangs and claws on her hands.

Jarilo was a major male Slavic deity of vegetation, fertility and spring, also associated with war and harvest.  Jarilo and his sister Morana (goddess of winter and death), children of Perun, are both associated with the end of winter and the beginning of spring. In Northern Croatia similar spring festivals were called Jurjevo or Zeleni Juraj or Zeleni Jurij (Green George); nominally, this was a festivity day of Christian St. George, but almost all elements of the celebrations were of pagan origin, and fairly similar to Jarilo festivals of other Slavic nations. See Jarilo





Perun even as a Marvel Comics Superhero. marvel.wikia.com



Y'know, I wonder if any of the 'Conan' artwork of Frank Frazetta or Boris Vallejo was influenced by the feats, legend and imagery of Perun. (Coincidentally, 'Conan the Barbarian' was always my favorite Easter holiday movie to watch since I was a kid. It has it all, suspense...drama...swords...adventure...great soundtrack...honor...and victory) But that's another topic...




Perun, Slavic god of thunder and lightning, similar to Scandinavian Thor. He is a supreme divinity of the Slavic pantheon. It's interesting to note how Duke Porin, (also written in Latin as "Porino"/"Porinos" or in Greek as "Porga") is recorded in sources as one of the earliest attested Croatian Princes in the 7th century after the Croatian tribes had arrived from their original northern realms. It's also interesting how this name is a cognate etymologically connected to the very name of one of the old pagan gods of the Croats during those times..."Perun", a time when they still practiced their pagan religion which included their pantheon of deities and various spirits. (aka "Perkūnas/Pērkons/Perkūns" in ancient Balto‐Slavic pagan mythology). According to the 30th and 31st chapter of De Administrando Imperio by the Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VII and other sources, the pagan Croatian tribes during the time of Emperor Heraclius still worshipped Perun as a chief deity before and even well after migrating south to ancient Dalmatia, Pannonia and Illyricum from north of the Danube and in and around the Carpathians. (This would mirror in a way the tradition of the Longobards, whose earliest legendary rulers were recorded in Historia Langobardorum Codicis Gothani as being Godan (Odin) and Peron (Perun), and these early Langobard ruler's names likewise were etymologically connected to deities). Even today there are still topographical, nomenclature in nature, theophoric names and compound placenames in Croatia connected to Perun and tthe various old pagan deities and spirits.





 Perun is usually seen holding his trusty axe as a symbol of strength and unwavering rule and protection over the the Slavic lands and people. His axe represent the victorious struggle of early Slavic peoples against subjugation by intruders. Sometimes like in the image above, he can also be represented sending forth his lightning and thunder across the lands to wack out his enemies or a tree, or as just a reminder that he is there. 



There are numerous music acts in Slavic countries who incorporate Slavic pagan and folk elements into their music.  Croatian crossover industrial/alternative band "Omega Lithium" features the symbol of Perun as part of their CD cover design and logo.



A poster from an annual pagan/folk themed music celebration that draws on older histories and pays tribute to the ancient native Slavic pantheon and ancestors. (Including the act "Stribog" from Croatia who are named after the pantheon deity). This music festival which takes place in Slovakia includes acts from Croatia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Russia, Hungary, Ukraine, Poland and more.



An image of a pendant of the Axe of PerunSimilar to Thor's Hammer, miniature amulets were worn by the Pre-Christian Slavs as pendants honouring their various Slavic Gods who protected them from invaders and foreign armies. Perun's Axe is a symbol of progress, wisdom and understanding the unknown world around us as well as strength and power. (This inherent ability to rise in defense and resistance at critical times had a part to play in the Croats involvement during the Ottoman-Habsburg wars). These days one can choose from many different types of pendants, charms, talismans and jewellery pertaining to Slavic deity symbolism and mythology. More information Here 





As one can see by the above introduction to Perun, for the early Slavic peoples the concept of a deity that was betrayed, tortured and then died, would have seemed like the most bizarre, illogical and strangest thing to have believed in, let alone worship as the foremost important deity in their pantheon. At critical times, when the existence of the various Slavic tribes and people was being threatened by foreign invading armies intent to destroy them and take all of their possessions, or to enslave them all, they needed a strong, powerful, wise and fearless deity to seek protection from and pay homage to for victory. Perun was this deity who would help save them and bring victory over their enemies. The early Slavs most likely wouldn't even respect, let alone worship a weak deity who couldn't save his followers, who was essentially put to death by the people he supposedly came to save, and especially vexing to them, someone who couldn't even save himself.

Perun also had another type of weapon in his arsenal, as destructive as his firestone arrows, but even more unusual: mythical golden apples. While this may not seem to be much of a weapon, in many Slavic folk accounts, the golden apple appears as a talisman of ultimate destruction. An example below is from an old Croatian folk song originating from near the small town of Otok in the eastern Slavonia region of Croatia, with strong mythical elements it relates.....



... Te izvadi tri jabuke zlatne I baci ih nebu u visine... ...Tri munje od neba pukoše Jedna gađa dva djevera mlada, Druga gađa pašu na dorinu, Treća gađa svata šest stotina, Ne uteče oka za svjedoka, Ni da kaže, kako pogiboše.


"...He grabbed three golden apples
And threw them high into the sky...
...Three lightning bolts burst from the sky,
One struck at two young grooms,
Another struck at pasha on a horse,
The third one struck six hundred wedding guests,
Not an eyewitness left
Not even to say, how they died."




It is conjectured that mythical golden apples of Perun were symbols of a rare but notorious form of atmospheric discharge, ball lightning. The same is probably true for the thunder marks of East Slavic folklore, of which two examples are shown above.



Here we see a raising of a "Totem of Perun" on Mount Perun near Split, Croatia – during the busy tourist season a team of brave and young Croatian cultural activists decided to climb and raise an old totem (idol) of the old Slavic God Perun on Mount Perun in Croatia. The name of the peak has been commonly called Perun because the old Croats used to call mountain peaks by the God Perun and the valley’s below those mountains usually were coined from the name of Veles, another Slavic God of fertility, water and underground which is through mythology usually a counter with Perun, but actually also complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, ie; they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another in a tangible duality. There are also other mountain tops in Croatia traditionally still bearing the name of Perun, similar scenes such as this can be seen among other Slavic languages speaking nations and people also, such as Poland, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovenia, Czechia, Slovakia, Macedonia, Bulgaria. The aim of ceremonies like this is to commemorate a remembrance which harkens back to the times when the pagan Croatian tribes still had their own religion and rituals in antiquity, (to the times when they used to also be known as the Veneti, as already previously discussed) It was during those pre-common era times that they had their own deity pantheon and practiced their own democratic ways before the introduction of the later foreign desert Semitic peoples gods beliefs. As shown near the beginning of this post, Duke Porin, (also in Latin as "Porino"/"Porinos" or in Greek as "Porga") is recorded in old sources as one of the earliest attested Croatian Princes in the 7th century after the Croatian tribes arrived from their original northern realms to ancient Dalmatia, Pannonia and Illyricum. His name is also a cognate etymologically connected to this very name of one of the old pagan gods of the Croats during those times..."Perun." (aka "Perkūnas/Pērkons/Perkūns" in ancient Balto‐Slavic pagan mythology)



An ancient Slavic pagan symbol found in the island town of Vrbnik.








Excerpt from  "STUDIA MYTHOLOGICA SLAVICA XI" - 2008, 105 - 112 105 Procopius, De bello Gothico III 38.17-23 by Eugenio R. Luján:






Source: sms.zrc-sazu.si/pdf


...."....It is generally agreed that Procopius' History of Wars, and specifically his Gothic War, is our oldest source for the study of Slavic pre-Christian religion. In a well known passage of this work (Procop. Goth . III 14.22–30) he describes the habits and way of life of the Slavs and provides some information about the religion of these peoples (III 14.23–24)

....For they believe that one god, the maker of the lightning, is the only lord of everything and they sacrifice to him cattle and all kinds of victims, but they do not know the fate nor do they think that it has any bearing whatsoever on human beings. Instead, when death is getting close to them, either when sickness strikes them or when they get ready for war, they promise that, if they escape, they will make a sacrifice to the god in exchange for their life and once they have escaped, they sacrifice whatever they have at hand, believing that they have bought their safety thanks to that sacrifice. Nevertheless, they also worship rivers, nymphs and some other divine beings and they also sacrifice to them all, making divinations in those sacrifices. Meyer (1931: 80) included Herodotus' passage on the lycanthropy of the Neuroi in the section of dubia of his collection of the sources of ancient Slavic religion and the text is usually mentioned in connection with Slavic pagan rituals.....

.....Some scholars have been quite skeptical about the reliability of the information provided by Procopius. However, in one of the most detailed analyses of the ethnographic excursus on the Slavs, Benedicty (1965) showed how, even if Procopius' report keeps within the traditional frame of the description of barbarian peoples in Greek historiography, the information that provides can, nevertheless, be considered reliable, in as much as most of it can be compared to other sources that support his views. Focusing specifically on the religious aspects of his description of the Slavs, the reference to a supreme god, master of the lightning, fits well with the information about Perun that later sources provide, regardless of whether this god was or not already named in that way.  It is described how the Russians and Slavs used to come down to Constantinople for trading after the winter was over. They stopped at an island with a big sacred oak, where they used to sacrifice birds and the ritual also involved planting arrows in a circle ("they plant arrows in a circle"). In various sources, specifically Thietmar of Merseburg (VI 22-25), Herbord (II 33), and Saxo Grammaticus (XIV 39. 10), we find the description of Slavic divination rituals for which spears had to be planted in the earth too, after which a horse had to step over them, and according to how this happened, favorable or unfavorable, presages could be obtained.

He also states that they worshipped rivers, nymphs, and some other divine beings (da...monej) and this information can be checked in other sources, too, such as the Homiliary of Opatovice (sermon 5, p. 4 Hecht), Helmold of Bosau's Chronica Slavo- rum (I 47), or Cosmes' Chronica Boemorum (I 4) 5. In the latter text, the introduction of this type of cults is attributed to the mythical figure of Tethka. The nymphs mentioned by Procopius have been usually linked to various female supernatural beings known in later Slavic traditions, such as the vila (Reiter 1973: 203-204, s.u. Vila) or the rusalki and beregini (Brückner 1923: 176-181, Benedicty 1965: 72-73). The information that presages were made during the sacrifices appears to be accurate, too, since it can be confirmed in later sources, especially Thietmar of Merseburg (VI 22-25)......It would thus seem that the three ways in which the Slavs used to kill their enemies, according to the passages of De bello Gothico, (Gothic War) are not accidental. If our arguments are right, Procopius, who is very well informed about the facts that he is describing, would be providing here a quite detailed account of the rituals followed by 6th century Slavs for putting their enemies to death. It would thus be a very valuable source for our knowledge of Slavic pre-Christian religion. It is not the aim of my paper to analyze once more this well known passage, but it was important to show how the information provided by Procopius concerning pagan Slavic religion seems to have a factual basis. I would like to draw attention to another interesting passage of the same work (Procopius. Gothic Wars . III 38.17-23)........"....








In the small town of Vrbnik on the northern Croatian island of Krk is where can be found some of the oldest written in stone examples of the Glagolitic alphabet, not far from the Valun tablet on the island of Cres. The first alphabet, as far as we know, in which the Croatian language was written in.

In that very old and small town of Vrbnik,  however, we also find a symbol, (Image above)...an array of stones set on the ground permanently, stones forming the symbol on which the very Glagolitic alphabet and characters are believed to be based on. (See The_Oldest_Croatian_Type_Of_Glagolitic_Script for more information and explanation). What symbol could it ultimately be that is just steps from the Glagolitic documents and manuscripts?..From whence and why this seemingly unremarkable matrix and pattern of stones?  What symbol is it that the these speechless stones are forming to make, which has ties to the very design of Croatian Glagolitic writing?  Remarkably, none other than that ancient solar symbol of the ancient Pagan Slavs....The symbol for the Svetovid sun circle.  (And as already discussed, very related to the symbol for Kolovrat)






Stone relief of Perun in Žrnovnica, Croatia, circa. 8th century.



The above image of Perun on an 8th century relief is from the wall of the Catholic Church of St. Mary.  The church is near Perun mountain not far from the city of Split. Unknown to many for centuries, it was just thought to represent some saint. However, after comparisons with Perun figures found in Russia, experts and historians have concluded that it is indeed the presentation of the Slavic God Perun defeating a bear.   A Bulgarian men's folkore group is named after Perun: See Here.



Image of  Sv.Vid (St. Vitus) church in the small Croatian town of Ozalj.





As mentioned earlier, the permeation of Paganism into Christianity can also be found among Saints. An interesting example worth noting here is the connection between the popular Roman Catholic St. Vitus and the Slavic deity Svetovid (Svantevit/Svetovid/Vid). In the late Middle Ages, even people in Germany and countries such as Latvia celebrated the feast of Vitus by dancing before his statue. This dancing became so  popular it was named "Saint Vitus Dance". Vitus is considered the patron saint of actors, comedians, dancers and epileptics. He is also said to protect against lightning strikes, animal attacks and oversleeping, and is the patron saint of Bohemia. Vitus is the patron saint of the city of Rijeka in Croatia, where can be found the St. Vid Cathedral. ( Katedrala Svetog Vida)  Sveti Vid churches on the island of Krk. Churches dedicated to this popular Roman Catholic Saint can be found throughout Europe, especially Roman Catholic populated countries.  In Croatia, on the island of  Brač, the highest peak is called Vid's Mountain. (Vidova Gora). In the coastal Dinaric Alps there is a peak called "Suvid" and a Church of St. Vid.  It's not uncommon for people to name their pets "Vid", especially dogs and cats.

In Croatia alone, 123 churches are dedicated to the popular Roman Catholic St. Vitus. (Sveti. Vid)  and Sveti Vid toponyms, names and places are numerous as well. The cult of St. Vitus became very popular in Slavic lands, where his name (Sveti Vid) replaced the old cult of the god of light Svantovid. In Hungary this Roman Catholic saint has been venerated as Szent Vid since the early Middle Ages. Numerous instances in Slavic countries, especially Poland. The relic of his hand is a sacred treasure in the St. Vitus Cathedral (Katedrála svatého Víta) in Prague. (It has been surmised that to convert their subjects to Christianity more easily, they chose a saint for the Cathedral whose name (Svatý Vít in Czech) sounds very much like the name of Slavic solar deity Svantevit). A common practice of the Christian Church was to replace existing pagan deities and places of worship with analogous persons and rituals of Christian content, so it seems more likely that the Catholic Saint-Vitus was created to replace the original Svanto-Vit, or at the least this was the reason this saint became so popular especially in Catholic Slavic countries, remembering his predecessor and so celebrating this Roman Catholic Saint as a victory with dancing, song and fond memories through the centuries.  An annual folkore festival, the "Muraside Folklore Festival" is even organized between Croatia and Hungary, recently hosted by the small border town of "Donji Vidovec", aptly named..."St. Vid Days". The name Vid has been incorporated as part of various social clubs, names for businesses, hotels, etc, and has even been a part of Croatian/Slavic surnames over the centuries...Vidović, Vidovski...etc  The term for a clairvoyant in Croatian is "Vidovita"...


*(Note- The Catholic St. Vitiius/Vid and related discussion so far is not to be confused with the Serbian Vivovdan.  St. Vitius is a Catholic saint so is not celebrated in Orthodox Christianity.  His name and the Vid connection is however  used in a highly ethnicized form by the Serbian church, a Vid cult for Serbs known only as Vidovdan. (Vid's Day). This Serb church holiday however, is just wholly centered on and only revolves around commemorating the Serbs crushing defeat to the Turkish Ottoman empire on St. Vitius day (June 28) in 1389,  which ushered in over 400 years of Turkish rule and occupation. Since that time it has also been used by Serbs as a special day to start wars, proclaim oncoming wars or have speeches about Serbs and the wars they started and then lost, or just to wave flags and get drunk etc. Ex Serbian/Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic and Serb nationalist Gavrilo Princip both chose Serbian Vidovdan specifically as their date to proclaim wars. Vidovdan was also used by Serbs as an important symbolic date during their wars in the Ex-Yugoslavia. Serbian Vidovdan should not be confused with the so far discussed other European/Slavic versions of St.Vitius/Sv. Vid or Vid celebrations discussed so far because serbs are really not a Slavic people or any sort of ethnicity anyway, except for the Slavic languages they have used that are found around them. Serbs are mainly a mixture of Triballian, Turkish, Iranian, Albanian, Romanian and Gypsy but also have early Bulgarian roots also)


Related: (Not a complete list)  wikimedia.org/wiki/Saint_Vitus_churches_by_country

www.alenferina.com/st.vid-samobor

hr.wikipedia.org/Rodnovjerje





In Croatia, the Catholic version of St.George's day, "Jurjevo" is celebrated on April 23 by the Gregorian calendar, yet the long Slavic tradition is plainly evident. According to tradition this day marks the beginning of spring. The use of bonfires is similar to Walpurgis Night. Seen above near Turopolje, Jurjevo involves a Slavic tradition where five most beautiful girls are picked to play as Dodola goddesses dressed in leaves and sing for the village every day till the end of the holiday. According to some interpretations, she is the Slavic goddess of rain, and the wife of the supreme god Perun (who is the god of thunder). Slavs believed that when Dodola milks her heavenly cows, the clouds, it rains on earth. Each spring Dodola is said to fly over woods and fields, and spread vernal greenery, decorating the trees with blossoms. In Northern Croatia and similar spring festivals were called Jurjevo or Zeleni Juraj or Zeleni Jurij (Green George), nominally dedicated to St. George, and fairly similar to Jarilo festivals of other Slavic nations. Dodole is often performed by folklore groups.



Related: www.gorica.hr

os-popovac.skole.hr

os-akovacica-mgorica.skole.hr

www.vgdanas.hr/galerija




Pans for the baking of “Pogača” from the island of Pag, Croatia. The pans from the XIX century feature examples of pagan symbols which today we know was common among Slavic pagans and popular again today. The highest point on the island is Sveti Vid mountain, which was already mentioned above.





Veles is the god of the flock, a chthonic god associated with waters and valleys. Worshiping Veles was practiced South Slavs and Carpathian peoples for the longest period of time. Even though Veles and the supreme deity Perun are known to be adversaries and represent different Slavic supernatural forces, this does not directly affect the daily lives of the early Slavs. Perhaps surprising to many, the Slavs are not commanded to take any sides as the conflict is between them alone. As the Yin-Yang like eternal conflicts take place between Veles and Perun, they affect the natural world around us, yet the Slavs are just inhabitants of the world who only witness the resulting natural world after effects around them.





 As a God of the Underworld, snakes, dragons and wolves, the horned Veles of course, eventually became identified with the Devil. His more benevolent sides though were transformed to several Christian saints. As a protector of cattle, he became associated with Saint Blaise, popularly known among various Slavic nations as St. Vlaho, St. Blaz, or St. Vlasiy. Some groups have used the person of Veles as a symbol against cruel cow strangling events and cattle abuse in rodeos worldwide. He brings a humanity to the character of the Christian Devil.



Veles, Perun and Svarog are featured as characters in the Croatian developed video game "Lords of Dawn". The previously mentioned first Croatian and Slavic alphabet, "Glagolitic" is also featured in the video game as the rune-like script. (Cool video previews and info about this game at  steamcommunity.com/lords.of.dawn)





(This would probably be an opportune time to touch upon the more recent phenomena of associating "horned deities" with the concept of "the Devil" or "Satan". The truth is that they have absolutely nothing to do with each other and never have.  More recent attempts to associate a biblical Devil with pagan horned gods is erroneous and ignorant as there is no written material to be found anywhere whatsoever which describes any kind of Devil as having horns, a tail or hooves either. The imagery of horned gods goes back long before the appearance of Slavic Pagan deities.  Horned deities were also part of deity pantheons in Rome, Greece, used by the Celts, stretching back to Egypt and even further back. Horns have been present in religious imagery and in Slavic beliefs as just simply symbols of fertility and power as well. It was only when Christianity attributed horns to Satan as part of his iconography, art and modernday cartoons that horned gods became associated with evil in western mythology)......





Coincidentally, and intriguing at the same time, some historians have theorized that the very name of the very first Croat (Hrvati) warriors may possibly be related to the word for 'Horns', in one intriguing scenario. 24,000 of them are first mentioned by Ceasar in 60 B.C.  According to the historians they may be related to the term for 'Horned Armor'  as well as 'To defend oneself' and also as  'Mounted soldier of Horvatya (Carpathians)'.  Elite soldiers who were representatives of their people and eventual namesake territories....'Horvatya/Hrvatska'. For much more information and fuller explanation see croatsgothsslavs.blogspot.ca






Since horned deities were held in high regard as powerful, this may very well have been the way the soldiers envisioned themselves. Would it make you look forward to a battle when seeing something like the image below or above? This is very different from the eventual ethnonym of today's "Serbs", who centuries later acquired their 'username' which went on to eventually become their name. In the book "De Administrando Imperio" by the 10th-century Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VII, he writes that "...'Serbs' in the tongue of the Romans is the word for 'slave', whence the colloquial 'serbula' for menial shoes, and 'tzerboulianoi' for those who wear cheap, shoddy footgear. This name the Serbs acquired from their being slaves of the emperor of the Romans.....".  The area of Servia, near Thessaloniki, is also where they were recorded as fist migrating to, which again confirms this applied 'username' to be the origins of their eventual national ethnonym.

It is interesting that many scholars consider that Croats could have been mentioned in the Old English and Nordic epic poems. The verse in the Old English poem Widsith (10th century) reads: "Wulfhere sohte ic ond Wyrmhere; ful oft þær wig ne alæg, þonne Hræda here heardum sweordum, ymb Wistlawudu wergan sceoldon, ealdne eþelstol Ætlan leodum....

English translation:..."I visited Wulfhere and Wyrmhere; there battle often raged, when the Hræda with their sharp swords, in the Vistula woods had to defend, their ancestral seat against Attila's host."

The mentioned "Hræda" is genitive plural of "Hraede", and is sometimes related with the Goths (Hred-Gotum, Hreth-Gotan, Hreidhgotar). However, this verse is similar to the one in Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks, where prior to the battle between Goths and Huns, Heidrek died in Harvaða fjöllum (ie: Carpathian Mountains) which is often translated as "beneath the mountains of Harvathi". Lewicki and other historians have pointed out that it was not uncommon for western sources, as in the case of Alfred the Great where he called the Croats as Horithi, to often distort unfamiliar foreign names.







Source: europeanfolklore


Chernobog is a divinity that is associated with calamity and disaster, bringing bad luck and misfortune wherever he turns . He is an evil god, with wirey wool on his head, or many times no hair at all, sometimes a pointy head and eyebrows, big nostrils, black skin, big teeth and lips, god of darkness. Literally meaning black god in old Slavic. He is an accursed phantasm with the foreign stench, strange sounds and hot foul breaths.  He is the strange black ghoul from another world and harbinger of the plagues from his kingdom. The only historical sources, which are Christian ones, interpret him as a dark, accursed god. The name is attested only among West Slavic tribes of the 12th century, hence it is speculated that he was not a very important or a very old deity in the Slavic deity pantheon. He was probably invented by the western Slavs to look as gruesome and hideous as their imagination could conjure up. Not many would pray to such a bizarre looking deity, but one early passage reveals that people would spit curses into a bowl during feasts to keep him at bay, lest he brings his plague to their lands. To Slavs he symbolized the enemy, a jealous being intent to steal against and weaken the Slavs in their lands, taking spoils back to his kingdom, stealing of the chickens, eggs, ruining crops, devouring the cattle and leaving terrible stench of half eaten carcasses and desolation in his wake, poisoning wells, spoiling the milk. Something to abhor, likely used to frighten children to perform chores lest the Chernobog takes them away to perform duties for him. The opposite of Belobog, in old Slavic meaning white god, and of course the supreme god Perun. A being so utterly malevolent and bent on contaminating the Slavs from the start, that even the later Satan character (who started off as an all-wise Archangel btw, leader of angels and actually hardly mentioned in the bible let alone described as possessing malevolent traits) does not even acquire many of his utterly vile attributes. Interestingly, many peoples across Europe and Eurasia held similar views regarding enemy deities. (Interesting trivia fact - The Devil actually is responsible for only 10 deaths in the bible, and it was actually Gods idea for a bet. So he's only partly to blame anyway)




Chernobog features in the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence in Disney's Fantasia (1940), as  black demon who summons ghosts and demons. In an interview, Walt Disney referred to him as Satan himself, according to the Christian viewpoint. This rendition also appears in the video game Kingdom Hearts as a boss character. Famous Russian composer Modest Petrovich Moussorgsky (1860) used the mythology as the inspiration for his piece "Night on Bald Mountain”.  Photo: disney.wikia.com/wiki/Chernabog






Ziva is the goddess of life. She is normally presented sitting down with an ornament on top of her head, which suggests of sun rays.

Pagod was god of beautiful weather, while Semenik or Karas god of food and drink.
 
Pikutic was god of the dead, while Davor or Rugovit was god of war, a seven-headed creature.





Many generations of Slavic artists were inspired by their national folklore. Illustrated above is Ilya Yefimovich Repin's Sadko in the Underwater Kingdom (1876).
Foto/Source: wikipedia.org



Slavic Pagan deities and romanticized ancient pagan memories and folk legends were recalled and played a large part in many areas of the Bulgarian lands in rallying soldiers to freedom from the Ottomans. "The Bulgarian Martyresses," an 1877 painting by the Russian painter Konstantin Makovsky included this theme. Depicting the rape of Bulgarian women by Ottoman bashi-bazouks during the supression of the April Uprising a year earlier, it served to mobilize public support for the Russo-Turkish war (1877–1878) waged with the proclaimed aim of liberating the Bulgarians.



"The Celebration of the God Svantovit" from Mucha's "Slav Epic." There are indications that ancestor worship also had a part to play in their beliefs. More information about the series of paintings can be found at www.pricejb.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk
  


Defense of Sziget deals with an important episode from Croatian history.

In January 1566 turkish Sultan Suleiman “the Magnificent” went to war for the last time. His advance was eventually halted at the city of Sziget by a citizens’ army led by Croatian nobleman Nikola Zrinski. The Battle of Sziget was fought from 5 August to 8 September 1566. Count Zrinski found himself besieged by a hostile army of 150,000 soldiers with powerful artillery while he had assembled a force of only 2300. There were heavy losses on both sides. Both commanders died during the battle – Zrinski in the final charge and Suleiman in his tent. More than 20,000 Turks had fallen during the attacks and almost all of Zrinski’s 2,300 man garrison was killed, with most of the final 600 men killed on the last day. Although the battle was an Ottoman victory, it stopped their push to Vienna that year. It was not threatened again until the Battle of Vienna in 1683. The importance of the battle of Sziget was considered so great that Cardinal Richelieu has described it as “the battle that saved civilization.”





Alphonse Mucha was a famous Czech Art Nouveau painter and artist. He included in his massive "Slav Epic" series of paintings, an underlying respect and homage to Slavic pagan history, highlighting which were for him important moments in Slavic culture. Even though some of the paintings in the series deal with the introduction of Christianity to the Slavs, it is nevertheless done against the backdrop of Slavic people's history through the ages along with their never to be forgotten pagan beginnings. The Century magazine in 1904 described Mucha’s unique conception of God as “no longer the benign or wrathful Father, but a mysterious Being whose shadow fills the earth. Nature is personified as a luminous, adolescent giant, and Love descends from heaven in the guise of a woman.” .......





 1900 issue of "Le Pater", above, was Mucha’s  examination of the themes of The Lord’s Prayer combined with occult mysticism and only 510 copies were produced.  Photo: www.tumblr.com



From a 1930 poster advertising the showing of Mucha's "Slav Epic" series of paintings.



This is an example of Croatian/Slavic music..(which has many earthy, pagan themes as already shown).. being performed even by Non-Slavs at locations one would not usually connect to Slavic folklore singing or legends...at Yale University of all places. More info at yaleslavicchorus.com



A Serbian peoples Kupala.



A scene from a localized form Serbian People Summer Solstice celebration in Serbia.



As opposed to the various Croatian and Slavic themed festivity examples shown thus far, above instead is a scene from a Serbian people spring equinox festival, featuring their very popular Serbian people song "српски дупе мирише на руже након силовања пса" (Serbian ass smells like roses after raping the dog). However, interestingly many Serbian songs are really just stolen Albanian and Bulgarian songs with changed lyrics.






Lada was goddess of beauty and opulence and at the same time the most beautiful female.
 
Svibor, on the other hand, was god of light, knowledge, fertility and war victory.

The one who is least known is goddess of winter, Zermagla, and probably most famous among Slavic goddesses is Vesna, goddess of youth and spring time.





Lidija Bajuk, (Above) An internationally recognized Croatian folk musician/poet who has penned many songs based on Croatian stories, myths and legends.



Jasna Horvat is a Croatian writer, cultural theorist and a Professor of Economics at the University of Osijek. She has writen works which explore this topic of Croatian-Slavic mythology, deities, glagolitic script and a host of other subjects.  She also writes novels, essays, books for children and young people, and about the scientific and professional work of the two branches of knowledge (humanities and social).  You can find out more about her and these subjects at www.efos.unios.hr and www.jasnahorvat.com



"LADO" - An archaic Slavic word which is a synonym for nice, kind and friendly.





Also very well known is the the Croatian National Folk Dance Ensemble "LADO" which is based in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. Every major Croatian community in the world has it's own folk dance ensemble. Folk dance ensembles carry on the folky traditions that have been carried on through the centuries. They are earthy, folksy songs and dances that tell the stories of life, joy, relationships, thinking about getting hitched, all that, and taking pleasure in the simple things. (You have to remember, believe it or not cable and satellite TV is just a recent invention, and pop music hits, Flock of Seagulls hairstyles and Michael Jackson jackets come and go)

Also, folk dance ensembles tell different stories, depending on which region of Croatia you came from, be it the North Western Zagorje, Eastern Slavonija or Dalmation coast regions. Pride is also taken in recreating the beautiful costumes, intricate patterns, lacework, jewellery,  etc, that people used to actually wear centuries past in the rural areas. Every Slavic country has it's own regional and National Folk Dance Ensembles, much like any other ethnic group in the world. Surprising to many who don't know, the songs and dances really have nothing to do with religion.  It's old songs and dances about life in the country with themes like'  Hey Ana, Are you coming to the party this weekend after chores" kind of stuff.  Kind of a simplification, but essentially true. Again, many of the themes of the songs involve earthy cultural themes that are Pagan influenced because of the customs. They help to keep ones culture and heritage alive, as well as remind one of their roots, where his/her people came from.  Just a few examples below:





The LADO Croatian National Folk Ensemble website: www.lado.hr

The Hrvatska Zora Croatian Folklore Ensemble.


The Lindjo Folk Ensamble based in Dubrovnik.

The Koraci Folk Enemble 

 The Nova Nada Folk Ensemble 

The Oštrc Folk Ensemble





Some footage and background information about the Croatian National Folk Ensemble LADO.








Croatia - Folklore and regional stories











I decided to add this short addition to give insight on how many Slavic pagan deities are common throughout many Slavic nations. In this case showing the background also how many cultural similarities in general are present. The following translated text is based upon the research of historian Leontiy Voytovych (Dr. of historical sciences, professor at Lviv University) and shows Croat presence throughout various parts of Europe, besides present day Croatia and neighboring areas. More information on this topic at croatianmedievalhistory.blogspot.ca





"Carpathian Croats (Horvats) - one of the most important and biggest proto-Ukrainian tribes of 5-11th centuries AD from western Ukraine (ancestors of most of western Ukrainians (Galicians, Carpathians, Transcarpathians, Lemkos, Boykos, west Bukovinians and west Podolians) as well as of Dalmatian Croats (Bosnians among them). Carpathian Croats played one of the key roles upon the formation of the Ukrainian nation and language.

Major centers of Ukrainian Croats were the tribal centers of Horvat (upon the Prut river), Stolsk (on the northen Dniester, in Lviv region, tribal center of Carpatho-Croatian subtribe of bobrians and west terebovlians), Terebovlia (capital of the eastern Carpatho-Croatian subtribe of trebovlians in Ternopil region), Peremyshl (center of Carpatho-Croatian subtribe of zasians). Later Carpatho-Croatian centers were HalychZvenyhorod as well as Peremyshl and Terebovlia.

Carpathian Croatia (Great Croatia, modern western Ukraine - Subcarpathia) is the ancient home of all Croats that migrated first westwards, as far as northern Czechia and Silesia reaching the Laba and Saale rivers (so called "White Croats, or Western Croats") and later south to Dalmatia, where the "New Croatia" (or "Red Croatia") emerged, the location of the modern states of Croatia and Bosnia and Hercegovina.  Bruno of Querfurt stated that Red Croatia was neighbour to Kievan Rus' and White Croatia, and found between the Bug and Dniester rivers as well. Carpatho-Croatian population of Zakarpattia (Ukrainian Transcarpathian province), as well Croats of the Upper Dniester, especially the major Croatian subtribe of trebovlians took part in the first wave of Croatian migration to the so-called Balkans, into Dalmatia (which is modern day Croatia and Bosnia and Hercegovina) where there are at least 53 toponyms/placenames that are connected with the ancient Ukrainian-Croatian tribes of trebovlians, many with zasians and poborans (bobrians) and some with dulibs and buzhans" 

Nestor's "Primary Chronicle" (Tale of Bygone Years) tells us that prince Oleg of Novgorod  proceeded to prepare a great attack on Byzantium and the Greeks around 904-907.  Included within the ranks of his forces were the north eastern Croats who did not travel south to ancient PannoniaIllyricum and Dalmatia centuries previously, but still remained in those areas according to the text of "De Administrando Imperio" (The northern Croats are mentioned in various chronicles and writings for still a few centuries after already arriving to the Adriatic sea and founding new realms there). Constantine Porphyrogenitus in his work "De Administrando Imperio" refers to a part of these north-eastern Croat populations when he wrote: "Great Croatia", also called 'White', is still unbaptized to this day....". Those remaining northern Croats eventually assimilated into the nations around them..Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Czechs, Slovaks, Belarus etc. Croats are also among the first five Slav peoples who were cited by their own names in the "Primary Chronicle".


Interestingly, some Slavic historians in the late 19th century had some doubts about the text of  "De Administrando Imperio" in regards to the existence of the "Great Croatia that is also called White" and their early migrations southward, so they then started developing other scenarios as to how and from where the Croats could possibly have arrived to ancient Dalmatia. They were to later get further confirmation however, that Croats did indeed arrive from beyond the Danube river, centering at the Vistula river and across the east and west stretches of the Carpathians, because it was only in 1908 that the outstanding Russian philologist Aleksey Shakhmatov published for the first time a pioneering textological analysis of Nestor's Chronicle narrative, the information being previously unavailable and unknown to the wider audience and the aforementioned historians. His seminal work again confirmed the migration accounts of the Croats in "De Administrando Imperio" that the "White Croats" were also found more northward and added information about their locations and roles before and during early Kievan Rus'. New later Arab sources were also discovered around this time, mentioned notably by al-Mas'udi, a traveling Arab historian and geographer in the year 943. He wrote about the Slavs he knew of and wrote that the "H(o)rvatin" (White Croats) are still living in the middle and upper reaches of the Laba river, in the upper reaches of the Vistula river, and in the basin of the middle Danube. (This also correlates to the mention of Croats by King Alfred in his Anglo-Saxon translation of Orosius' 4th century work "History of the World", where he also locates some of the "White Croats" north of Great Moravia)




Full text of "Primary Chronicle" (Tale of Bygone Years) with references to these remaining north eastern Croats Here and croatsnestorsprimarychronicle.blogspot.ca (Pages 53, 56, 64, 72, 119)



Note- The below Great/White Croatia map is not of a single Croatian ruled kingdom, but a map where old written material about them and archaeological traits left by White Croats from a White Croatia Duchy near Kievan Rus' to White Croatia in Poland/Galicia/Silesia/Bohemia and into Germany (Bavaria) is shown. This is why through the centuries White Croatia was written about and portrayed on different maps as being located in slightly different locations. (Example map at bottom). It was importantly also referred to as "Great Croatia" by Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos in "De Administrando Imperio" because this special term signified numerous, covering a very large area and of an old and distinguished lineage.


One will also notice on page 56 of the "Primary Chronicle" some very illuminating text from before the time of the introduction of any other religions or new beliefs.  From the time various tribes of early Rus' were all still Pagans..... "...... thus the Polyanians, the Derevlians, the Severians, the Radmichians, and the Croats lived at peace....." It is also in Nestor's Primary Chronicle, as well as other works by historians and writers from antiquity, where we find important information about the pagan beliefs and practices of the early Slavs. One cannot read about the Slavic history of those times without getting an insight into their pagan religious views and practices, and conversely, this also is true the other way around. The Slavic pagan ways from those times WAS the culture. To adapt from an old Russian proverb...If you were to scratch a Slav from any of the Slavic people from the Czechs to Poles to Slovaks to Ukrainians to Russians etc, you might find a Croat.






This below map image from circa. 1000 focuses on the northern Baltic Lands. Notice the strategic location of a still existing northern polity and remnant of the former White Croatia, shown here as bordering Poland and Russia. A remnant of the original northern pagan Croatian lands shown while focusing on the more northern areas of Europe. One then recalls that Croatia is really only considered Southern Slavic for its linear evolving language and culture, not its origins. Origins of Croats are actually from here and the other nearby previously mentioned and documented areas. This below map image also correlates to information which proves that many Croatian surnames and surname suffix traditions were brought to the early and modern day Croatian lands by the Croats themselves, especially the Croats who were found among the east Slavs. More information about that at croatiansurnames.blogspot.ca and croatsnestorsprimarychronicle.blogspot.ca.



Over 400 years after the Croatian tribes had already migrated south from their more northern abodes,  and settled in ancient Dalmatia, Pannonia and across Illyricum, Bolesław I was coronated as the very first King of Poland in the year 1025, and his official royal realm was recorded as "Regnum Sclavorum, Gothorum sive Polonorum", ie; "Kingdom of Slavs, Goths or Poles." This information correlates to sources which speak of the early southern migrating Croatian tribes as also being called Goths as well as Slavs. These areas (the former White and Great Croatia written about in De Administrando Imperio by the East Roman Emperor Constantine VII) then are undeniably proven to have been a great wide expanse of territory where the early Croatian tribes lived in and which were likewise also temporally contiguous and coterminous orbits and realms, the linear hypocenters of the same continuous populations from antiquity. This is also supported in the historical work Nestor's Primary Chronicle as well, where he notes that the Croats were one of the first 5 Slavic speaking nations to be called by "their own names" and also that they were one of the twelve Slavic speaking tribal unions who by the 9th century settled between the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea. (recorded by him as "Хoървати", which translated into Latin script phonetically is "Horvati, ie; Croats)






This video is in Ukrainian language and is based upon the research of Lviv historian Leontiy Voytovych (Dr. of historical sciences, professor at Lviv University) - the above text are quotes from his scientific articles: www.academia.edu






In central part of Kyiv there are three hills: Starokyivska gora, gora Shchekovitza and gora Horevitza, and even a street Horev (ulica Horeva). The very beginning of Nestor's "Povest Vremennyh let" (Tale of Bygone Years aka Primary Chronicle) mentions this legend of the 3 brothers and sister who founded medieval Kiev: "I bysha tri brata: Kij, Shchek i Horev, i sestra ih Lybed'. I sotvorisha grad vo imya brata svoego, i narekoshe ego Kyiv."
 
Ukrainian archaeologist Dr. Orest Korcinski has undertaken an extensive study of White Croatian site from 8th-11th centuries near the town of Stiljsko, not far from Lviv in Ukraine. He estimates that in the 9th century the Stiljsko archaeological site with environinig settlements had nearly 40,000 inhabitants, which would be more than Kiev at that time.

The name of the Croats is met in many places throughout Ukrainian soil. It is contained in Ukrainian written documents until the end of the 10th century. The famous Ukrainian chronicler Nestor from Kiev (in his ``Povest vremennyh let'', 1113) mentioned also the White Croats inhabiting early-medieval Old-Ukrainian empire, known as the Kiev Rus'. According to a very old legend, one of the three brothers who founded the Ukrainian capital Kiev was Horiv, whose name might be at least hypothetically related to the Croatian name: Horvat. See [Hrvatska/Ukrajina], p. 9, and [Pascenko], p. 105. Even today some of the Ukrainian citizens say for themselves to be the White Croats. There are many proofs that the Croats once lived in common with Ukrainian and Slovak people: their language (very widespread ikavian dialects in Croatia and Slovakia, ikavian language in Ukraine), legends, customs, many common toponyms etc. In the “Bavarian geographon” (written in 666-890) there is a description of various tribes in the north of the Carpathian and Sudeten mountains, where the Croats are also mentioned.

The region of historical Pagania around the Neretva river has many common toponyms and hydronyms with Western Ukraine, like Neretva, Mosor, Ostrozac, Gat. Also Sinj, Kosinj, Kostrena, Knin, Roc, Modrus, and many other throughout Croatia and Western Bosnia. Too many to be just coincidence. There are numerous names of villages, hills and rivers in Slovakia, Czechia (especially in Moravia), Poland and Ukraine, which have their obvious equivalents in Croatia and Bosnia - Herzegovina. Many of them are indeed surprising:

Bac, Bajka, Baska, Bila, Bistrice, Blatce, Bohdalec, Boskovice, Brezovica, Budin, Budisov, Cehi, Chrast, Chvojnica (= Fojnica), Dol. Krupa, Dolni Lomna, Dolni Domaslovice, Doljani, Doubrava, Doubravice, Doubrovnik, Drienovac, Gat, Harvatska Nova Ves, Hor. Mostenice, Hradec, Hvozd (Gvozd), Javornik, Kal'nik, Klenovec, Klenovice, Klobuky, Kninice, Konice, Koprivnice, Kostelec, Krasno, Kuhinja, Lipa, Lomnice, Ljubica, Mali Javornik, Markusovce, Nova Ves, Novosad, Odra, Okruhlica, Parac, Plesivec, Pohorelice, Porin, Raztoka, Rogatec, Ribnik, Rudina, Selce, Slatina, Sopotnia, Stitary, Sumperk, Tabor, Tajna, Travnik, Trebarov, Trzebinia, Tucapy, Veliki Javornik, Vinica, Vinodol, Vrabce, Vrdy, Vrbovec, Zabreh, Zubak, Zumberk.

The once prosperous and rich Ukrainian village of Horvatka near Kiev (note: Horvat = Croat) disappeared overnight in 1937, together with all of its inhabitants, during Stalin's infamous collectivization, sharing the tragic destiny of millions of Ukrainians. The only witness is an innocent brook, called Horvatka even today. In the 1990s in Kiev, Ukraine, a youth organization of scouts was founded, and named - White Croat (Bili Horvat; reported by Croatian ambassador Gjuro Vidmarovic in 2000) There are numerous names of villages, hills and rivers in Slovakia, Czechia (especially in Moravia), Poland and Ukraine, which have their obvious equivalents in Croatia. Haplotype and genetic results also show that a significant proportion of today's Croat population contain haplotypes which are most concentrated in an around the Carpathians and Ukraine








More interesting information which illustrates and will buttress some previously made points. Taking a step back to the Bronze Age (3300-1200 BCE) above we see the origins and spread of the Proto-Slavic languages from early Balto-Slavic. Notice how the spread of early Slavic languages and populations falls in line again with the later recorded Veneti, as well as with border areas that correspond to Celtic and Germanic speakers. Amazingly again, these areas again are centered in and around the "Carpathian" mountains, ("Harvaða" in the old epic legendary sagas)... the areas where according to his (and by other historians) oldest sources and recorded by Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VII in De Administrando Imperio as the lands where the southern migrating Croats had arrived from in the early middle ages...Great Croatia, also called White Croatia. It is then easily seen that the early Croats were temporally contiguous with Slav, Veneti, Celtic and Germanic speakers reaching very far back in history. It is no surprise again as to why today there are many archaic Germanic loanwords in Croatian and other Slavic languages and other words which are rooted in and reach far back to even these Balto-Slavic/Proto-Slavic times. Image: wikipedia.org






It's a little known fact there is still a community of Croats in parts of the Czech Republic and Slovakia even these days. During the Turkish Ottoman invasions in the 1500's, up to 150,000 Croats migrated or were transferred to other places within the Austro-Hungarian empire as the Islamic Jihad incursions gained momentum leaving large areas desolate. Namely in East AustriaWest HungaryCzech Republic and Slovakia. Above is a recent Croatian folk performance in Moravia. (This added piece of related information in no way implies that these areas have become "Croat lands." More information Here and Here)










Folklore




Source: observer.guardian.co.uk

Related: www.jasnahorvat.com



Croatian mythology should be told on a cold winter's night. It's the sort of stuff that needs flickering light from a dying fire and a howling wind whistling outside, occasional draughts sending extra shivers down your spine. Sitting in a semi-circle before a wise old woman, or a huge bearded man, you don't get Croatian folk stories from a book, just from memory and invention.

Croatian myth is part of the Slavic tradition that sweeps across Baltic, Central and Eastern Europe, terrifying children and giving nightmares a ghoulish flavour. There is almost nothing that can be called specifically Croatian, hardly surprising given that there has hardly been an area that would answer to the name of Croatia for very long.

The Slavic tradition itself is nothing like as hard and fast as Greek mythology. There are no ancient written authorities and all that survive are the characters, but without any actual stories.

There are Gods like Perun, God of Thunder, King of the Gods, who are recognizable from all mythologies. Most of the Slavic Gods, like Veles, God of the Underworld, would feel at home round a Greek or a Norse Gods' banqueting table. But it is the lesser deities, who inhabit the world around us every day, who give Slavic myth its own peculiar dimensions.

Harry Potter fans might recognise the Vila, fairies who appear in the shape of beautiful women. There are also the domaci, good house spirits who live in cupboards and under the stairs. And who could forget those most famous of mythological demons, the vampires and werewolves!

Some fables are specific to Croatia, like that of Malik Tintilinic, a very naughty little boy dressed in red from head to toe. Known to the story-tellers of coastal Croatia, Malik loves to joke and dance and brings good fortune to his master. Typical to all Croatian stories, though, there is a darker subtext: folk tales say that Malik is the spirit of an unbaptized dead child.






 An image of elves Malik Tintilinic and Kosjenka from the story “Regoč” by Ivana Brlić Mažuranić.  More information about them at: www.posta.hr



The "Little Devil Macić" above.



"Monster Fairy Orko"on a Croatian postal stamp.



The mermaid 'Halugica' from a written work by 19th century born Croatian poet Vladimir Nazor. Depicting the continuation of the very old Slavic and Croatian pagan themes of the Vila, water nymphs/spirits and the Rusalka. Found in the seas, lakes and rivers, they possessed mysterious powers, sometimes they appear as demon-like mermaids or succubus. A water-way habitating version of the mountain and woodland Vila, it is said that if one hair of theirs is plucked, they will die. At times said to represent the spirit of unbaptized babies or women who died of suicides and other origins. Able to leave the water at night, especially come full moons, if one comes across ring shaped mounds of grass at the spot where they have danced, they must never step on it or it may bring bad luck. Sometimes if offerings of cakes, ribbons, flowers, fruits or vegetables are left for them, they won't harm you and may even bring you good luck. Image and more info: www.posta.hr.





These, and many other Croatian stories - like the tale of the frozen city of Legen - have been adopted and put into stories by one great Croatian writer. In her Croatian Tales of Long Ago (1916), long overdue for a new English edition, Ivana Brlic Mazuranic, used the rudiments of Slavic mythology to create a real mythology just for her country Croatia.

Called by contemporaries "The Croatian Andersen", and more recently "The Slavic Tolkien", Ivana was nominated twice for the Nobel Prize for Literature. Her characters include Mokos, wife or helper of the chief God Perun, who is the Earth Goddess. We also meet gods of beauty, morning, bright skies, and a sphinx-like creature who asks travellers awkward questions.

In Brlic's work, as in all Slavic tales, everything is black and white: there are creative and destructive forces and each good character has a nemesis, an opposing force in a dualistic universe.

These are folk tales with simple messages and characters in search of narrators; luckily, although Croatian mythology lacks a Homer or an Ovid, it has its Tolkien.







Krk Island Fairies (Krk Otok Vila)










Above is a photograph by Croatian photographer Iva Lulić, from her photographic series "Krk otok vila". (Krk island fairies). Based on the Veglian Legends, (or Old-Croatian sagas of Antiquity and Middle ages), they are themed around the early legends associated with the Croats when they first colonized and settled the island of Krk during their southern migrations. One such legend is that the new Croat settlers on the island came upon some golden fairies wearing white dresses. The Slavic speaking newcomers decided to build a town, a place from which they could also easily access by boats from fishing the sea, and so the fairies upon hearing this directed them to the most ideal and perfect spot on the easternmost edge of the Krk island. The folk legends were conserved by oral tradition in the Kvarner Archipelago of the  northeastern Adriatic. The essential and most valuable part of the local ethnocultural heritage in Kvarner islands are these Veglian legends. Croatian rulers and Kings came to rule over the island, as well as the later dukes of Krk, known as the Frankopans. In the 13th and 14th centuries the Frankopans were one of the most powerful Croatian noble families. Krk was also a prominent centre of the Croatian Glagolitic literacy (the oldest preserved Glagolitic monument of Krk is from the 11th-century and contains the first mentions in stone of Croatian King Zvonimir and Croatian people, it was written in a dialect of the Croatian language and in the first Slavic/Croatian alphabet)  These legends are probably the oldest major epic cyclus conserved up to recently among Slavs, being of medieval and even earlier origins. By its organized complex style they are quite different from usual rural tales, and are more comparable with Nordic Sagas or with the Iliad and Odysseus of the old Greeks. About half of these legends deal with extensive nautical contents and themes which is rarer among other Slavs. Related: www.akademija-art.hr








Vila Velebita




(lit. Fairy of Velebit) is a Croatian patriotic song. It originates from the second half of the 19th century, after the Illyrian movement who's embryo was the Croatian National Revival (Hrvatski Narodni Preporod).  It's earliest recorded public performance was in 1882 in Zagreb, on the Croatian singing society "Kolo"'s twentieth anniversary party. (During the years of communist rule in the ex-yugoslavia, this song was banned by authorities and any performance of it, among others, would result in imprisonment)





 Velebit mountain






The first recording of the lyrics and the melody dates from 1893, when Vjekoslav Klaić recorded it in the "Hrvatska Pjesmarica" (lit. Croatian Songbook). He wrote down the first verse based on Vjenceslav Novak's rendition of how the people of Senj sang it. The original author remains unknown, but it was sometimes ascribed to the poets Danilo Medić or to Lavoslav Vukelić, while some sources claim the melody was written by the composer Mijo Majer.  In J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, the Veela are stunningly beautiful and magically captivating women who put men into a trance when singing or dancing and can turn into hideous bird-like creatures capable of throwing balls of fire when angered. They first appear in book 4 of the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.







Ružica and the Legends of Ružica Grad








A particular attraction to visit this area of Slavonian Croatia because of the Croatian castles, fortresses and manors and  Legends of Ružica grad, a few version's are as follows:


...."During the times of the Croat battles against the  Frank's, there lived a princess named Ružica .  All of her brothers had died in the wars and battles against the Franks as soldiers, so she decided to that it would be best to marry some powerful and wealthy knight. She and her remaining family decided then to organize a knights tournament. With the aim of the victorious knight winning Ružica's hand in marriage. The tournament was held as planned and finally a victor was declared.   Ružica thought that finally now she will be happy. The knight's identity was unknown as his face was hidden. The knight then took off his armour and helmet and Ružica then knew that this was the Frankish night who had led his army to battle and killed her brothers. That night Ružica climbed to the top of the castle, saddened to have to spend the rest of her life with the Frankish knight who had killed all of her brothers and bragged of his battlefield accomplishments. She walked to the very top and standing at the edge decided to throw herself against the rocks far below, thus ending her life.  It was just before she jumped that the skies filled with thunder and lightning, and it rained small red roses. Red roses blossomed on that hill from that day forward.


Another version.....


...."Some powerful and boastful baron decided to build a castle at the place which was known as a meeting ground of mountain fairies. The Fairies were shocked and offended so each night they would make a mess at the construction site and used spells to throw the rocks that were built into the walls all the way down to the valley below. This spiteful man would not give up however, he forced his labourers to drag the stones back up to the hill and continue building the castle. Neither the fairies would give up, they came back to their place each night to destroy the building again and again..... Finally, the merciless baron ordered a net to be placed around the building and the next night Ružica (Little Rose), a very beautiful and young fairy got caught in it. Her long hair ended up getting tangled in the net. (Sometimes it happens that the long hair of the fairies gets tangled in the thorny bushes, and since their magic originates from their hair,  they need help to untangle it. If you help a fairy to free herself she’ll reward you generously, with loyal friendship). But this cruel baron grabbed Ružica by her hair, dragged her out and threw her into the very foundations of the castle and walled her up  inside with bricks and mortar. The fairies never returned to this place of horror, leaving it desolate, so the baron continued his work undisturbed. This baron finally finished his damned castle, but in the moment when trumpets marked the end of his accomplishment in celebration and the castle was complete, a large stone fell from the highest tower and crushed him. He disappeared and even his name disappeared. Nobody remembers the baron, yet everyone remembers the name of Ružica.  It is said that when it thunders during storms, one can hear the laughing of the fairies or the sound of battle from the knights tournament." See short video of Legends of Ružica

....Another version is that a merciless and arrogant baron was forcing his servants and workers to build a castle where there was no business of one being built, an out of the way place unsuited for a castle at the top of a large hill. The workers looked around and saw lands with easy access, plenty of available stone and large forests for plentiful wood, but then remembering the barons words, they decided to start building on top of a hill where there was no trees or materials be found at all, only blossoming red roses.








The Witches of Klek Mountain











Here is just one of numerous legends and folk tales that revolve around the natural world all across Croatia. Many rivers, mountains, plains and place names have a legend or mythology behind them,   Near the town of Ogulin is the starting point for this Croatian legend of witches. Folk legends have even been interpreted in the emergence of Klek itself, long ago when gods and giants lived on the earth. The gods kept all the food and drink for themselves. This caused dissatisfaction amongst the giants, and one of them – Klek went to war with the god Volos, who turned everything he wanted into stone with a magical sword. At the place where today the Klek mountain sits the god of Volos turned the giant Klek to stone. Before he was turned to stone, Klek swore that he would wake up and seek his revenge. Coincidently or not, at the foot of Klek the River Dobra flows out which our ancestors believed were the veins of Klek, and that during stormy nights the witches of Klek, (as well as other wizards, fairies and other worldly beings) would gather and try to wake up Klek the giant from his centuries’ of sleep. It is said that they fly down to the top of Klek mountain during stormy nights and one can hear them echoing all through even the nearby town of Ogulin below. Who knows?, maybe one day they will succeed.





Petar Zoranić (1508 - 1569) Image: www.posta.hr




It was a common theme that witches, fairies and supernatural beings were connected with mountains through the centuries. The great Humanist Renaissance writer Petar Zoranić, (above) who wrote the first Croatian novel "Planine" (Croatian: Mountains) in 1536, wrote that the character Zoran (i.e. Zoranić himself) is contacted by a fairy Consciousness (Svist) who directs him to the fairy Dinara, then in a dream also the fairies Latinness (Latinka), Helleness (Grkinja) and Croatess (Hrvatica)  Besides the inclusion of these supernatural folkloric beings, the work "Planine" was important for it's defense of the Croatian language when Latin was the lingua franca in large parts of Europe. It is apropos and fitting that his work which was the first Croatian novel, included these themes of supernatural folklore spirits and beings, it shows that the author was aware of the folklore and legends of his time.



   
A scene from "Planine" performed by the Zadarski plesni ansambl (Zadar dance ensemble) in Petar Zoranić's hometown of Zadar. Images/article: www.plesnascena.hr





Related images/info: www.tzzadar.hr/petar-zoranic-planine

www.zadarskilist.hr/petar-zoranic-planine

www.ezadar.hr/planine







The Legend Of How The City Of Zagreb Got Its Name, Manda & Manduševac Fountain





Manduševac fountain in downtown Zagreb at Ban Jelačić Square decorated during the holidays.





As already mentoned above, there are numerous examples of legends and folk stories behind the names of the natural world, rivers, mountains and place names.  I added just one more personal favourite example here. The name Zagreb appears to have been first recorded in 1134 in a document relating to the establishment of the Zagreb bishopric around 1094, although the origins of the name Zagreb are less clear. The Croatian word "zagrabiti" translates approximately to "to scoop", which forms the basis of some legends. One Croat legend says that a Croat Ban (Viceroy) was leading his thirsty soldiers across a deserted region.  He drove his sabre into the ground in frustration and water poured out, so he ordered his soldiers to dig for water. The idea of digging or unearthing is supported by scientists who suggest that the settlement was established beyond a water-filled hole or graba and that the name derives from this.  Some sources suggest that the name derives from the term 'za breg' or 'beyond the hill'. The hill may well have been the river bank of the River Sava (the modern Croatian word "breg" or "brijeg", meaning "hill", originally meant "river bank"), which is believed to have previously flowed closer to the city centre. Another possible origin is the term "za grabom", meaning "behind the moat", as the city was heavily fortified since its beginnings.




From the city of Zagreb medieval times reenactment group, Red Srebnog Zmaja (Order of the Silver Dragon)..a Croatian female dressed in the style that Manda would similarly have been dressed in. Image: www.zagreb-touristinfo.hr






According to another old and most well known and popular legend, a city noble was thirsty and ordered a beautiful girl named Manda to bring some water from a nearby natural well using the sentence: "Mando dušo, zagrabi vode" which translated means "Manda dear, scoop up some water", seeing how tired and thirsty the noble and soldiers were, she hurried and and did as was asked. From that time forward the water well source and the city received their names. (Manduševac from "Mando, dušo", and  Zagreb from "zagrabi"). The water source has been present there since the beginning, but when Ban Jelacic Square was reconstructed in 1896 it was buried and forgotten about. However, during another reconstruction in 1986 the water source was found again, and though not initially part of the city plans, it was naturally included again. Manduševac fountain  in Ban Jelačić Square is said to be the very spot from where she scooped up the water. Centuries later during Austrian rule, Zagreb was more commonly known outside of Croatia by its Austrian German name Agram. Occasionally one will come across other similar versions, where Manda is portrayed as a fairy and that it was her words to the Duke which named the city. It is said she smiles everytime she hears a coin being dropped into her fountain, and will once a day grant a wish. (There were instances of young children seeing unexplained visions of her scooping up water with a vessel in the early 1890's,  the sightings were in the evening time when the moon was full, surprisingly however, no other adults close by at the same time could see her. There was the little crippled and blind girl who was visiting Zagreb in 1903, Valerija from Donji Miholjac, she claimed that she saw a woman scooping up water in a bowl and giving it to a man on a horse, she remained blind and crippled for the rest of her short life, but she said she saw them, telling everyone at school excitedly when she got back home..."...Manda i čovjek na veliki konj!" The medicines didn't work and she passed away at the age of 11 unfortunately. That last night before passing away she cried, but they were the tears of joy her mother said, she said she was happy because she was going to see Manda again.  According to some sources from her time, famous Croatian watercolor painter Slava Raškaj once claimed to have seen her in her youth and credited Manda for helping her to become a painter.  See more Here.  (Some say that Manda died of tuberculosis shortly after these events, (tuberculosis was common in those times) and in gratitude for scooping up the well water for the noble Duke, he ordered that they were to preserve her bones in the town for posterity. They are said to be located somewhere within the walls of the medieval section of Zagreb called Gradec even to this day)








A Legend About The Croatian Coat Of Arms

 


 An early representation of the Croatian coat of arms on the Church of St. Lucy Jurandvor near Baška on the island of Krk. The exact same church where after centuries and by accident, quite possibly the most important early Croatian carved in stone monument, the Baška tablet was discovered in 1851. (The tablet is called "the jewel of the Croatian language" and "the baptismal certificate" of Croatian literary culture because the Baška tablet is the oldest carved in stone instance of the Croatian language being written in the first ever Slavic script, as opposed to Latin being used through the centuries up to that time,. The references to Croatian King Zvonimir in the stone tablet within being extremely important). The church is dated to the year 1100,  yet the checkered design is thought to be substantially older, a remains of an older unknown church.






Source: www.family-treasure.com.hr


The legend of the origin of the Croatian coat of arms has been linked to Croatian King Stephen Držislav. Legend recalls that King Držislav fought a lot against the Venetians who wanted to conquer Croatia's Adriatic coast. It was during such a war, that the King was captured and fell into Venetian slavery and he was thrown into prison in Venice. After a while, the Venetian Doge Peter II Orseolo was told that King Držislav played chess very well and was known for never being beaten. So the Venetian Doge sent him the challenge: If the King could win 3 consecutive games of chess, he would be released and could freely return to his country and his throne. King Držislav naturally accepted the challenge and won all three games against the Doge, who kept his word and the King was set free to return home. Then, to the memory of that moment, grateful Držislav took a chessboard as his own emblem and the coat of arms of his people, thus the chequey pattern has remained with us even up to this day.






"Adriatic Islander' sagas" of antiquity and the early middle ages (original title Veyske Povêde = "Proto-patria's legends"): This is an insight in the early folk mythology of Croatian islanders, originating from medieval and earlier times. The richest early legends there are registered in some Adriatic islands, and in Dalmatian mainland at Poljica, in Duvno valley, and northwards in Zagorje hills. Nearly all Croatian legends of earlier medieval origin are conserved by the bardic tradition (folk rhapsodes) chiefly in Croatian medieval dialects. By its organized complex style they are quite different from usual rural tales, and are more comparable to the Scandinavian Hervararsaga or with Iliad and Odysseia of the old Greeks. Among the various legends, the 8th legend entitled "King Zvonimir and the Croatian Emblem" is of particular interest and translated as follows.....

"In the medieval times, there appeared the rich and powerful Harwâtye-Korolêstvo (Hrvatsko Kraljestvo/Croatian Kingdom), and its kings had their seat in Dalmatia mostly at Kashtýli Bay (now Kaštela). Under the Croatian king were also his princes (Bani) of Meyharvâska, Delmatýa, Boshnyá and Schavunýa (= middle Croatia, Dalmatia, Bosnia, and Slavonia), and under these were the county governors (zhupâne). The Croatian navy of the Adriatic (noãvye) was controlled by a mariakýr (admiral), and the land army was in the hands of yezdakîyre (generals) and subordinated colonels (satenýk).  In that time at Yurandvõr village (Jurandvor) on Krk island was a hoary monastery, and its monks received the report on the forthcoming visit of the Croatian King Zvonimêr (Zvonimir) to Krk island and to this monastery. All dwellers at port Baška and in this monastery prepared a big feast for that visit. In the related time on Kvarner Gulf appeared the huge Croatian navy, and in the biggest ship was the king Zvonimêr with his governors, generals, admirals and other statesmen. On the arrival, the Krk inhabitants saluted them: "Long live Your Majesty King Zvonimêr, and also governors, generals and admirals!". The musicians played, and dancers danced domestic dances. Then all came into the monastery at Yurandvõr, and there king Zvonimêr made the donation of a major parcel from his feudal estates for his new votive church of St. Lucy. He decided to engrave on its portal his royal symbol, i.e. the Croatian emblem, and to place two tablets with Glagolitic inscriptions about this royal donation at its altar.  The next day king Zvonimêr came into the center of Krk island at Mt. "Thunderer" (Triskávec), and he decided to build there his palace, where the ruins are now called "Zvonimêr's walls". Then he came on that Mt. Triskávec, where around a big oak in Boyná he organized the general assembly of all the islanders; there they made him in stone a big throne now called Bishop's seat. He was then the last Croatian ruler that spoke to the islanders in their domestic language. Afterwards, all subsequent monarchial rulers were foreigners speaking mostly other languages i.e. Hungarian, Italian, German. This legend is specific of the heritage on Krk island. A memory on this legend was conserved also in Adriatic islander' heaven, where the constellations Pegasus + Andromeda have their local name Zarye-Harvâtye (= Croatian Dawn), and its main star Alferaz is called Zvonimêr.




Stone remains from the Croatian town of Solin near Split, dated to between the 9th-11th century. Chequy design in stone with ornamental patterns exactly like the stone altar fence mentioning Croatian Duke/Knez Trpimir I.




(To some, the checkerboard represents free will, and with that points to the alchemist or magician (who historically also had a kind of relationship with royalty and rulers). You have the freedom of choice (within the laws/rules of the chess match) to move within the framework (laws of nature) to create, choose, manifest, achieve etc.....This is like directing your will to create the reality for better or worse (like directing the chess pieces on the black and white polarity of the chessboard) and it's up to you to choose according to the possibilities and the broad spectrum allowed through your free will. See also www.jesusneverexisted.com)







HAIR (lasi/kosa/vlasi)  











The centre of life and soul. It circles the head. If it is yellow, gold or red it is an image of the sun rays and thus connected to the heaven. That is why it must not be combed after sunset, but, also, because it grows during the night. Perhaps this is the reason it is called ''vlasi'', after the ancient deity Volos (Veles, Vlasin, Vlašic, Vlas, etc.) Fairies can braid their hair to make a golden fishing-net to catch magic fish. If you put these nets on your hair you make decorative hats and they become a part of the women's festive costume. They can become crowns. When gods of the daytime become gods of the night, their hair becomes darker. Autumn gods' hair is the colour of the earth and winter gods' hair is grey. If you comb your hair too often, or if you cut it, you take away your strength. That is why the hair of the newborn babies was cut and sacrificed to their life's judges and oracles, called ''suđenice''. Long hair and beard were a sign of a higher rank and independence so men in Medjimurje used to have long hair. But, it was also a sign of disregard for the norms of society. 






Wearing your hair undone or cut short is a sign of mourning or devotion, i.e. submissiveness. It is best to cut your hair on Shrove Tuesday or during the waxing moon. Boys should not have their hair cut before they reach their seventh year or they will lose their courage. This belief has something to do with the superstition that the Sun loses its good qualities after July. When a child had its first haircut there was a feast and the child was given presents. The boy or the girl had a godfather who was considered a more important person in a child's life than the godfather at your christening or wedding (best man) who became a more important figure in a child's life later.






From mythology the Rusalka could come out of the water at night, climb a tree, and sit there singing songs, or sit on a dock and then comb her hair. The Rusalka could not live long on dry land, but with her comb she was always safe, for it gave her the power to conjure water when she needed it. According to some legends, should the Rusalka’s hair dry out, she will die. Mermaids in Slavic mythology like to comb their long hair. In art, they are often shown with a mirror and a magic comb. If you find her comb which she has left, you must not take it home with you. She will return to search for it later come nightfall and then know who took it.       




 Rusalki.




If a woman has only one braid it is a sign of virginity. A sign of an acceptable, but discreet courting (seduction) was the fact that single girls did not have to cover their hair and married women had to wear hats or caps and comb their hair in a certain way to hide it. In southern Medjimurje it was a wedding custom for the groom to partly unbraid the bride's tightly braided hair. It is a custom similar to the one in Herzegovina where the best man unbraided the bride's hair after the exchange of the rings as a symbol of her giving up her freedom that she had as a single woman and becoming a married woman and therefore not free, but a part of a union with her husband.  It was forbidden to wash your hair during the so called ''dog days'' (in August) when it was believed that the water was poisonous because the dragon spilled its poisonous seed in it. People who farmed land gave special meaning to the hair because they connected it to the earth's hair, i.e. plants. You welcomed somebody into your house by combing their hair. It was a sign of love and trust to let your hair be combed by somebody else. Owning somebody's hair meant owning and having power over that person. If you comb somebody's hair they can fall asleep. Women who had babies shouldn't comb their hair for a fortnight after the delivery or it will fall off. The custom of holding your eyelash that you found on your cheek and blowing onto it to make a wish is a remnant of old customs of telling your fortune by looking at your hair. 








Horsehoe/Potkova











Horseshoe (Croatian: Potkova) is probably one of the most recognizable and cherished luck symbols in many Slavic countries, and even other places in Europe. A symbol of luck associated with the horse as being a valuable animal. Ever since early times when horses were domesticated and used for transportation and to work the fields, horses for many people came to mean happiness and good fortune. The efficacy of the horseshoe as a protector of people and buildings depends not solely upon its arched shape, nor on its bifurcated form, nor yet upon its fancied resemblance to a snake. Its relation to the horse also gives it a talismanic value; for in legendary lore this animal was often credited with supernatural qualities. An English myth ascribes to the horse the character of a luck-bringer, and horse-worship was in vogue among the early Celts, Teutons, and Slavs. Horseshoes, preferably lost by the horse and found by you bring luck. However, the horseshoe, if hung up, must have the open end upwards to prevent the luck falling out.




 A souvenir horseshoe keychain from the State Lipizzaner Stud Farm in the town of Đakovo, a horse farming tradition reaching back to 1506.




Drink offerings were anciently poured from vessels made from horses' hoofs, and witches are popularly supposed to drink with avidity the water which collects in equine hoof-tracks. Early traditions and folk-lore agree in ascribing to the horseshoe magical properties, whose origin is vaguely connected with the ancient pagan conception of the horse as a sacrificial animal. There are various rhymes and poems among different Slavic people involving horseshoes. One old version is about a blacksmith in a village who failing to find the last nail to attach to the last horseshoe, still decided to give the horse back to the army commander. The horseshoe eventually becomes loose and falls off, causing the horse to fall, killing both the horse and the commander. The soldiers on the battlefield without the orders of the commander are all killed by the enemy who then take control of the whole village, all because the blacksmith was negligent in finding the last nail for the horseshoe. This children's poem can be found in different versions. Horseshoes once a year may start to glow, usually at or near the winter solstice, this is the time to make a wish. Various legends revolve around the finding of a great golden horseshoe.




 A number of Croatian pastries, cookies and baked goods are formed into the shape of the lucky horseshoe, like the Croatian kifla.




If nailed to or above near the door it should keep the house and property safe from evil spirits who can not pass under the horseshoe. Spirits and beings looking to bring bad luck or misfortune are stopped by the horseshoe. It must be remembered to have the right side of the horseshoe pointing upwards to have any effect against evil spirits. A number of Croatian pastries, breads or cookies are made into the shape of a horseshoe, which also has connotations with the moon, again for good luck and to avoid misfortune. Horseshoes have been made into talismans and pendants for many years. The horseshoe is said to also have a calming healing effect as the iron wards off stress, improves health. It is said that the horseshoe brings good luck only if it has already been used. Finding a horseshoe or just touching it is considered very positive. There is a Croatian belief stating that a horseshoe is put above the bed to keep the person sleeping in it safe from nightmares, as well as other bothersome spirits.








Lech, Čech & Rus...(and Croats)...Three twigs of the King Svätopluk





Legendary founders of Poland, Czechia and Russia...Lech, Čech and Rus.







One old folk legend regarding the arrival of the Croats to the Adriatic was already mentioned near the beginning of this post...."The book De Administrando Imperio, written in the 10th century, is the most referenced source on the migration of Slavic peoples into southeastern Europe. It states that they migrated first before all of the other Slavs around or before the year 600 from the region that is now (roughly) Galicia and Silesia near Bavaria and areas of the Pannonian/Transcarpathian (referred to as Great and White Croatia) to the province of Dalmatia ruled by the Roman Empire. De Administrando Imperio reports the folk tradition that the Croats were led into the Roman province of Dalmatia by a group of five brothers, Klukas, Lobel, Kosenc, Muhlo and Hrvat, and their two sisters, Tuga and Buga, invited to settle on this vastly depopulated area by Roman (Byzantine) Emperor Heraclius (610–641) in order to establish a shield against Avars for his state."....

However, versions of folk legends regarding the beginnings of the Polish, Czech and Russian nations are also fairly well known, especially amongst members of those nations. Lech, Čech (or Czech), and Rus are three legendary brothers who founded three Slavic nations: Lechia (Poland), Czechia (Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia; thus modern Czech Republic), and Ruthenia (Rus', modern Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine). There are multiple versions of the legend, including several regional variants that mention only one or two of the brothers. In the Polish version of the legend, three brothers went hunting together but each of them followed a different prey and eventually they all traveled in different directions. Rus went to the east, Čech headed to the west to settle on the Říp Mountain rising up from the Bohemian hilly countryside, while Lech traveled north. There, while hunting, he followed his arrow and suddenly found himself face-to-face with a fierce, white eagle guarding its nest from intruders. Seeing the eagle against the red of the setting sun, Lech took this as a good omen and decided to settle there. He named his settlement Gniezno (Polish gniazdo - 'nest') in commemoration and adopted the White Eagle as his coat-of-arms. The white eagle remains a symbol of Poland to this day, and the colors of the eagle and the setting sun are depicted in Poland's flag.  Other variations of Lech's name (pronounced [ˈlɛx]) include: Lechus, Lachus, Lestus, and Leszek. Czech, or Praotec Čech (pronounced [ˈpra.otɛts ˈtʃɛx]; Forefather Čech) also comes under the Latin name Bohemus, for the name is based on a pre-Slavic Celtic designation (Celtic tribe Boii, Latin form Boiohaemum that was used for Czech lands).

A variant of this legend known as the Czech version, involving only two brothers, is also known in the Czech Republic. As described by Alois Jirásek in Staré pověsti české, two brothers came to Central Europe from the east: Čech and Lech. As in the Polish version, Čech is identified as the founder of the Czech nation (Češi pl.) and Lech as the founder of the Polish nation. Čech climbed up the mountain Říp, looked across the landscape and settled with a tribe in the area, whereas Lech continued to the lowlands of the north. The two brothers who founded the early Czech and Polish nations lived in Charvátská země (Harvatska country, ie: the early White Croatia) Alois Jirásek believed that this was the first great original homeland of the Slavs - north of the Tatra Mountains and the basin of the Vistula. The first chapter of the Old Czech Legends begins: "In the Tatras, in the plains of the river Vistula, stretched from time immemorial Charvátská country, part of an initial large Slavic country." Probably this is the territory of the White Croats (Bili Chorvati) that ranged from Ostrava to Lviv and also to Kievan Rus'. It is also known from legends that Kiev was co-founded by the brothers Kije and Chorivem (pronounced Horivem, each on its hill) and Šček (probably Forefather Čech). Some researchers believe that the Slavniks belonged to the White Croats.

Another well known early Slavic legend is the Czech legend of St.Wenceslaus, regarding the early 10th century Czech Duke Wenceslaus. We find that when his mother Drahomira was mourning his death, her other son Boleslav tried to murder her and so she fled to the Croats/Croatia. This would most likely refer to the still present "White Croats" who still inhabited Silesia and/or parts of northern Bohemia rather than the Croatian Kingdom already formed to the south. (These Croats formed a part of the Croat migrations of the early 7th century mentioned in the 10th century work "De Administrando Imperio" as coming from "White and Great Croatia", and who are also mentioned in Nestor's "Primary Chronicle." (More on Drahomira and these Croats HereHere and Here)




"Arrival of the Croats to the Adriatic Sea" by Ferdinand Quiquerez (1870)




Interestingly also, there is a Croatian connection to the above mentioned folk legends of Lech, Čech and Rus. A similar legend (with partly changed names) was also registered in folk tales at two separated locations in Croatia: in the Kajkavian dialect of Krapina in Zagorje (northern Croatia) and in the Chakavian dialect of Poljica on the Adriatic Sea (central Dalmatia). The Croatian variant was described and analyzed in detail by S. Sakač in 1940.  Historia Salonitana also tells the story of Croats migrating north to found the early Czech lands, which corroborates with some Czech sources. (Cosmas of Prague in his 12th century "Chronica Boëmorum" describes the migration of seven brothers led by Čech (Czech), from Croatia to Bohemia) One version has it that they are all 3 brothers that sprang from a Croatian father, an ancestral prince of the Slavic people. They have a sister named Vilina as well, but she is left behind. The Croatian Renaissance writer, inventor and polymath, Faust (Veranzio) Vrančić, draws upon several Czech and Polish sources from previous centuries, in the preface to his book Život nikoliko izabranih divic from 1606, he includes them and writes that the ur-homland (place of origin) of the Czechs and Poles was Dalmatia/Croatia, because from that place their first princes Čech and Leh had migrated northward. A short time later Pavao Ritter Vitezović, a Croatian historian, writer, linguist and publisher, also included the Čech, Leh and Rus legend. However the Lech, Čech and Rus legend gets much more interesting in another Croatian version and series of events, it reaches back further and associates them with early Croatian history, and important European history as well.

Polish historian Aleksander Małecki writes about the possible Croatian origins of the founders of the Czech, Polish and Russian lands. He delves a little deeper into this Croat-Pole-Czech-Rus connection. (His written work on pdf at the link) Besides mentioning the Polish source of Ioannes Dlugossius (Jan Długosz, 1415-1480) who stated that the Poles original homeland was in the Croatian lands, he also finds a telling of events where Lech is the brother of Selimir Harvoi, (Latin for Hrvat/Croat) who was the early Gotho-Slav Croatian King. (Harvatski Kralj) He refers to the Dubrovnik historical work by 17th century (1551-1615) historian and noble family member, Jakov (Luccari) Lukarić also Lukarević, who according to his various sources AND from the mentioned "Book of the Goths" in the Dioclea chronicle, finds a connection. He also cites Pavao Skalić (English, Skalich, Scalich, Scaliger; in Latin, Scalichius or Scaligius) In those sources from his 1605 work "Annali di Rausa" (Annals of Ragusa) he notes that Selimir Harvoi was an early Croatian King around 550..... 





Excerpt from page 15 of the original Copioso Ristretto degli Annali di Rausa (Ragusa) Click image for larger view.




According to the chronicle of Dioclea from the edition of it in Latin, (subjoined to the "De regno Dalmatiae et Croatiae" (The Kingdom of Dalmatia and Croatia)  by Ivan Lučić Lucius  in 1666).. Totila and Ostroilo are two brother kings of the "Goths, who are Slavs" who conquer Pannonia and then take Dalmatia. As they descend upon the empire, Totila takes a part of the armies and moves on to take Italy for his share, which he ravages, passes into Sicily and dies there. We are told that the Croats remained behind in Dalmatia after Totila. Ostroilo continues to rule all Illyriia and Dalmatia, being opposed only by the armies of Byzantine emperor Justinian. Ostroilo leaves a son Svevlad who reigns twelve years and is succeeded by his son Selimir, who then reigns as the Gotho-Slav and Croat King of Dalmatia around 550, which was divided into White Croatia (Lower Dalmatia) and Red Croatia (Upper Dalmatia) ("Croatiam albam, quae et inferior Dalmatia dicitur... Croatiam Rubeam vocavit, quae et superior Dalmatia dicitur").  His realm is described as a Kingdom of the Goths as well as of the Slavs.(Goths who are likewise Slavs...called Croats) Even though this falls more into the sphere of documented history, nevertheless, near the beginning of Luccari's "Annali di Rausa", this early Croatian Gotho-Slav King Selimir Harvoi (Selimir "the Croat/Hrvat") is presented as an early Croatian ruler of all the later south Slav lands of today, and most intriguing in relation to this subject, that at that time he had three brothers..... Lech (for the Poles), Čech (for the Bohemians) and Russ (for the Russians)

In "Historia Salonitana" the archdeacon wrote in Latin when describing the arriving Croats as “Gothi et nichilominus Sclavi” (Goths who are likewise Slavs) this also completely corresponds to the designation “Gothi qui et Sclavi” (Goths who are also Slavs) made by Presbyter Diocleas when referring to the Croats. (Hrvati) Both of these sources are also extremely similar to the accounts of the migrating Croatian tribes in De Administrando Imperio as already discussed. (These sources concerning the early Croats seem to also be supported indirectly from other sources. It is very interesting and relevant to note that Bolesław I was the first King of Poland in the year 1025, and that his official royal realm was recorded as "Regnum Sclavorum, Gothorum sive Polonorum", ie; Kingdom of Slavs, Goths or Poles. This would be well over 400 years after the Croat tribes had already migrated south according to the various sources.

Jakob Kelemina was a Slovenian literary historian, literary theorist, folklorist and professor at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana, publisher of many books as well as receiving the Prešeren Award for lifetime acheivement in the field of literary studies in 1954. The central themes of his later research associated with traces of the Goths and the Lombards in southern Europe as well as early Slovenian history. During his research about the earliest history of Slovenians, he also delves into and discusses some of the points brought forward earlier. He investigated the various medieval sources, including De Administrando Imperio, and points out the that the earliest Croat migrations south to our present locations could very well have coincided with the times of Totila. He agreed with many of the connecting points that it was during the campaign into Italy by Totila circa. 550 that the earliest Croats simultaneously arrived to ancient Dalmatia as a foederati of Goths and Slavs. In one of his books published in Maribor in 1932, the section Popa Dukljanina „Libellus Gothorum" (I-VII) examines the medieval sources that also pertained to Selimir Harvoi, a legendary early Croatian King who would have ruled ancient Dalmatia at that time. After all the sources were taken into consideration and scrutinized it seemed to point to the arrival of the Croatian tribes recorded in De Administrando Imperio as actually talking about the 2nd larger migration of Croats (Horvati). Based on his thorough research, the esteemed Polish historian Henryk Łowmiański was also convinced that these sources trace the origin of the Croats in the early middle ages from in and around the Carpathians and centering at the Vistula river. Note again that Bolesław I was the first King of Poland in the year 1025, and that his official royal realm was recorded as "Regnum Sclavorum, Gothorum sive Polonorum", ie; Kingdom of Slavs, Goths or Poles. This would be well over 400 years after the Croatian tribes migrated south.




Statue of Svatopluk I in Bratislava, Slovakia.





Excerpt from www.slovakia.travel


The early beginnings of the Slovak nation are accredited to Svatopluk I, ruler of Great Moravia in the 9th century. Known even these days is a legend concerning the 3 twigs of Svatopluk. (or Svätopluk I, (Latin: Zuentepulc, Zuentibald, Sventopulch, Old Church Slavic transliterated as Svętopъłkъ). During the reign of Svätopluk I, the Great Moravia started to develop and became an important European superpower. Nitra was one of its main centres if not its metropolis. It is documented in one of the most famous of Slovak legends. Svatopluk I with three twigs or the legend of Svatopluk's twigs and his three sons Mojmír II, Svatopluk II and Predstav. The legend of Svatopluk's twigs appeared in a fairy tale by the enlightened Byzantine emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitos around the 10th century.

It says that the powerful Great Moravian king Svatopluk asked his sons to come to him before his death. He gave a twig to each of them and asked them to break it. The young noblemen could easily do it. Then he asked them to tie together three twigs and asked the sons again to break them. This task appeared to be more difficult. Thus the king demonstrated how it is necessary to be united. That only the strength of a united kingdom guarantees the country its power and prosperity. After Svätopluks death in 894, Great Moravia was divided among the three brothers (Mojmír, Svätopluk II and Predslav) in spite of their fathers warning. The country was eventually weakened by wars and so could not defend against the Hungarian attacks, in 907 the powerful empire vanished. Interestingly, Svatopluk in the already above mentioned Chronicle of the Priest of Duklja, is also mentioned as the eighth descendent of the original Gothic invaders into Dalmatia, namely the Gotho-Slav Croat king Selimir from around 550.

The Slovaks are identified with the Tatra Mountains for many years. Mountains mean for the Slovaks a protection (majority of Slovakia is created by mountains). Orol tatranský (eagle from the Tatra) is an integral part of the Tatra landscape. Mountains and Kriváň peak are also a Slovak symbol, it is said that it's a symbol of impregnability. From a legend, a guardian of Kriváň is Modroň and an incurve of the peak means that the truth is only one, even though some try to distort the truth.




Monument of the founders of Kiev, in the city of Kiev, Ukraine.  According to the oldest written record of how the early Kievan Rus state was formed, Nestor's Primary Chronicle (Tale of Bygone Years), states that the 3 brothers Kyi, Schek, Horev and their sister Lybid  also (Kiy, Kij or Kyj) Shchek and Khoryv (Ukrainian: Кий, Щек, Хорив and Либідь) were the founders of medieval Kiev.  Source: gyrno.net: According to this tale, the brothers were struck by the beauty of the hills, situated on the shores of the Dnieper. In this regard, they decided to live here. Kyi founded on Borychevoy, Schek - Mount Schekovitsa and Mount Horev in the third, which was later named in his honor as Horivitsey. Kiev city came to be called in honor of the eldest brother Kyi. According to the chronicles, dating back to the 11-12th century, namely Horeb, Kyi, Schek and Lybed initiated a unified field, which became the founders of the three settlements which later formed Kiev. In honor of the founders of the city today the Hill Kiyanitsa street is called Hariva, Mount Schekavitsa and a small creek Lybid. Image: www.flickr.com








"Master Of Wolves" & "Werewolves": Wolves In Slavic Legends









Excerpt text source from work by Mirijam Mencej


In the Croatian language a wolf is called "vuk'. Wolves are parts of various Slavic legends. They can also be found among other European peoples as well. In 1961 Lutz Röhrich published a paper on Herr der Tiere ‘the Master of the Animals’ in European folk tradition. In the paper he argues that in European folk legends and tales we can find a series of folk beliefs about a master of animals in some form. One of the masters of animals briefly mentioned in the paper is the master of wolves known in Slavic tradition. There are various legends about the Master of Wolves, but most often one encounters variants of the legend following an identical, typical structure: a man sitting in a tree in a forest sees the Master of Wolves, who is giving out food to the wolves or sending them in all directions to search for food. Various Slavic peoples’ legends assigned many different roles to the Master of Wolves. The last in line to eat is the lame wolf. Since there is no more food to hand out, the Master of Wolves says he can eat the man watching from the tree. The wolf – either immediately or after various twists of the plot – actually succeeds in eating the man in the tree. Various Slavic peoples’ legends assigned many different roles to the Master of Wolves. The function of allotting food or feeding is found in one or another manner in all Slavic legends of this type (the Master of Wolves determines what the wolves will eat, apportions food among them, sends them out after a man or into a corral after livestock, takes care of their feeding, etc)




"Master of Wolves"




We also find a function of the Master of Wolves in the legends in that that he protects livestock and/or people from wolves: in a Croatian legend he calms some wolves who want to tear a man apart (Valjavec 1890: 96–7, no.8); the same holds for a Ukrainian legend (Voropai 1993; Čubinski 1872:171–2) and the same function can also be detected in a Latvian legend. Croatian folk belief says that the Master of Wolves (wolf herdsman) is Saint George: he summons together the wolves from all over the world and tells them which animal to slaughter (Deželić 1863: 222). St. Nicholas, who appears as the Master of Wolves especially in the Ukrainian and Polish legends; in Poland this saint is sometimes addressed through incantations (prayers) on the eve of his name day, which to some extent represents a turning point in the year, especially in the pasturing of horses, for which he is the patron saint (Čičerov 1957: 18; Uspenski 1982: 44–55). In Macedonia, there is St. Mrata who usually appears in the role of the Master of Wolves: he commands wolves and sends them wherever he wants (Raičević1935: 54). According to a Russian belief most often either St. George or St. Nicholas is considered the Master of Wolves: they were supposed to order them, tell them where and what to eat, and to be their leader (Čičerov 1957: 36–37). In Ukrainian beliefs, St. George or a wood spirit (Po)lisun, who are usually considered the masters of wolves there, send the wolves off to search for food, but also forbid them to attack livestock.




Werewolf legends and folklore also went on to become told in other areas of Europe, above from a 1722 German woodcut.




At the same time, many of the legends speak of the fact that it was forbidden to watch the Master of Wolves while he was apportioning food to the wolves. Watching could lead to the death of the watcher or his being turned into a wolf. In a Croatian legend, a man who went to wait for the wolves on Christmas Eve is first taken as food for the lame wolf by the white wolf (who appears here in the role of the Master of Wolves who apportions food), and then turned into a wolf, because “no-one should go out hunting on Christmas eve” (Lang 1914: 217–218) Many Slavic proverbs express folk belief that winter is the time ruled by wolves, and a message about the “driving off ” of wolves can be heard in spring, one could hear on St. George’s day, in the carol to St. George from Croatia (Bučica): “Give George some bacon, so he’ll chase the wolves from the hills” (Huzjak 1957: 16).




The coat of arms of the Croatian noble family "Novosel". They were influential during the period in history marked by the Ottoman wars in Europe in the Kingdom of Croatia and Hungary in the later Austro-Hungarian Empire. Novosels in the 15th century were highly expressed in the battles against the Turkish Jihads into Europe, as evidenced by the coat of arms of Duke Mark (Marko) Novosel portrayed as a wolf and holding the severed head of the Turkish Duke.  




***Supplementary information: The Brethren of the Croatian Dragon (Croatian: Braća hrvatskoga zmaja) is a Croatian historical and cultural society established in 1905. In 1907, the Brethren claimed to have found the remains of Petar Zrinski and Fran Krsto Frankopan, and by 1919 those were moved to the Zagreb Cathedral. (See THE ORDER OF THE DRAGON AS REFLECTED IN HUNGARIAN AND CROATIAN HERALDRY)  The Society of the" Brethren of the Croatian Dragon" is the legal successor of the Croatian variant of the Dragon Knights order "equestris Ordo Draconis" (Croatian: Red Zmajskih Vitezova). Croatian-Hungarian King and Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund of Luxemburg  founded the "Order of the Dragons" (Latin: Societas Draconistrarum, literally. "Society of the Dragonists") in the year 1408 with the primary aim of defending against the Jihad of Islam and the Turkish Ottomans incursions into Europe. The Croatian noble and Ban (Governor) Hrvoje Vukčić Hrvatinić was one of the early members of the order, other Croatian nobles later also became members. Coincidentally,  the "equestris Ordo Draconis" (Latin) also had the famous Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia within it's ranks. (Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia  is better known to us today as Vlad Ţepeş or Vlad III the Impaler and also known commonly by his patronymic Dracula). Interestingly, the Croatian noble family of the House of Novosel (coat of arms seen above featuring a wolf) in turn is connected with the same famous family Ţepeş (House of Drăculeşti) and Count Dracula (Vlad Ţepeș) In the hall above the Stone Gate in Zagreb there is a large heraldic tree containing coats-of-arms of all the members between 1905 and 1940, with the arms of the knights of the original "Order of the Dragons" of 1408 at the bottom. ***

In Slavic folklore the wolf personifies the dark cloud covering the sun, and a general darkness. Wolf is close in the mythological functions to other predators (raven, lynx and especially a bear) and it is closely connected with a dog. According to Slavic legends, god modeled the wolf from clay or hewed it from a tree trunk, but could not put a soul in it, to animate it. Recovered by the god, the wolf rushes to get a soul, but it suffices for a leg. Chthonic properties of the wolf (his origin connected with the earth surface, clay, legends about treasures ‘leaving’ the soil in the form of the wolf) put it together with reptiles, especially with snakes. Snakes / reptiles (in Russian – ‘gadu’), cranes and jackdaws appeared from shavings of wolf’s made by devil.

The wolf acts as the representative of alien and demonic forces. The period of the highest activity of pack of wolves coincides with the period of the highest activity of the dark demonic forces. Wolf is considered a friend of demonic force or a demonic creature. Czechs allegorically named the devil as ‘wolf’. The wolf often serves as a horse for a witch. Croats and Southern Slavs named a walking in the night dead man - today's vampire, as a wolf...Vukodlak, or werewolf. It turns up in various Slavic languages as vlokodlaci, vorkolak, vârcolac, vrykolaka, vurkolak, vârcolaci and svârcolaci. A groom, looking for the bride is symbolically associated with the wolf, looking for the prey. Functions of the intermediary between "this" and that" world, between people and evil spirits, between people and forces of the other world are inherent to the wolf. To ensure that the wolf has not eaten grazed cattle, Slavs were putting iron in the furnace, sticking a knife in a table, or covering a pot in oven with the stone. At the first pasture of cattle with the same purpose Slavs close the locks, strew ashes from oven on a threshold of a stable.




 Vukodlak/Werewolf




Bulgaria (varkolak, vulkodlak), Czech Republic (vlkodlak), Croatia (vukodlak), Russia (oboroten’ , vurdalak), Ukraine (vovkulak(a),vovkun, pereverten’ ), Poland (wilkolak), Romania (varcolac), Serbia (вукодлак),  Denmark/Sweden (Varulv), Galicia(lobisÛn), Lithuania (vilkolakis and vilkatlakis), Latvia (vilkatis and vilkacis), Estonia (libahunt). There are also tales about people changing into animals including bears and wolves.  The Croatian word is "vukodlak," meaning wolf's hair, though this creature is like a cross between a vampire and a werewolf. The north western Croat Slavs around the area of Istra believed that every family has a vukodlak, which battles with their kresnik (a good spirit)

There is an old Serbian folk legend poem from the 16th century. It is a very long epic poem consisting of almost 10,000 couplets that revolves from the centuries when Serbia was a Turkish colony. A certain Serbian woman had secretly left her home when her husband was away hunting, she would go to the tents of the Turks nightly for jewels and money in exchange for carnal pleasure. Eventually she told the Turkish general that she would like to leave her husband and go away with him to Istanbul and give him many future children, or to become one of the Sultans wives and become a follower of Mohammed. The Sultans general praised her strong will and choice of a future and so agreed to take her with him to Istanbul. He told her the next night to come to a certain tent by the river and forest, and after arriving there she was to blow the trumpet and put out the lantern flame within the tent and wait for her journey to bliss. The next night she did as the Turkish general told her, but after she blew the trumpet and put out the lamp and was eagerly awaiting to be taken to a waiting wagon, a pack of wolves entered the tent and devoured her. There is another version where the woman also takes her 3 daughters with her, they all enter the wagon and leave for Istanbul, however halfway through the trip the driver transforms into a Werewolf and devours her, and instead takes only the 3 daughters to become servants of the Sultan.

The relationship of the werewolf to the vampire, it is virtually impossible to separate the two, particularly in Slavonic languages where they share the same name. Montague Summers explained these groups of terms for his English readers: "These Slavic names volkodlak, vukodlak ,vulkodlak, etc,  is a compound form of which the first half means "wolf" whilst the second half has been identified with the Old Slavonic word for "hair", similar to a horses mane. The wolf was a totem animal for the ancient Slavic peoples. It’s always had a major role in the people’s folklore, and the same goes for mythology. The magical practice of the Slavs is connected to wolves as well, whether it’s about protection rituals, astral or ethereal projection or rituals for the cult of the ancestors. Interestingly, Herodotus, writing in the 5th century BCE recorded that the Neuri, who are thought by many to be ancestors of the Veneti, (the early name for Slavic people) changed once a year into wolves, this is likely a reference to shamanic practices, and so may partly explain the long held belief in werewolf legends among Slavic peoples. Some of these rituals are practiced even today, therefore it is essential that we examine the role of this animal in the ancient Slavic religion.








Medvjed/Bear in Slavic Legends





Croatian Brown Bear (Hrvatski Mrki Medvjed)







The Slavic word for "Bear" in Croatian is "Medvjed" and comes to mean "Honey eater".  "Med" being the old common Slavic word for  "honey" and "jed" meaning to eat.  Although the old Slavic word for honey is med, the combining form is medv- which becomes medu, a partitive genitive of med, so the literal meaning is “eater of honey.” Many centuries ago the people realized that Medvjed had an uncanny ability to sniff out and find honey in the least likely of places, hence the name. For this reason the bear has ever since been considered a very special animal in later Croatian and Slavic mythology, folklore and legends. Honey was a very important ingredient in making the honey and wine drink mead. The Slavic word "med" for honey being a cognate for the name of the drink.  Seeing a bear in the wild even these days is considered good luck. The bear is usually one of the main characters in folk performances that involves animals. The bear is closest with the wolf, with which it shares similar demonological and other traits, yet the Medvjed is lord over all the creatures of the forest, over even the wolf.  Medvjed's very complex mystical nature and otherworldly aura distinguishes him from all others, if he did not exist, then we surely would have had to make him up. 






The bear has a special place in almost every culture that has come in contact with them, the very personality and appearance of the bear was made for stories and legends.  Attributes of the bear vary, but the ones that concern us most are based on wisdom, enormous strength, intelligence, intuition and of course a big appetite. In Slavic mythology a Medvjed, because of its "human" eyes,  plays a very important role because it is considered to be semi-human in nature. A reputation as being generally good and amicable is valid over the summer when they have enough food for the winter, but that changes and the bear can become a very dangerous animal because of hunger, and will not hesitate to attack humans. They are known to be the fastest animals to adapt to new conditions. Bears are one of the fittest animals and the only danger to them is man, who also pollutes his environment. 



The reverse of the Croatian 5 Kuna coin features the Croatian Brown Bear/Mrki Medvjed.




Over the centuries the bear has come to be included in numerous tales and anecdotal legends. Origins of bear folk legends are primarily associated with man, whom God has punished for sinning and so was turned into the animal: a miller who cheated on the scales, bread bakers who would hide the butchers meat into their pants. According to some legends, God turned a man into a bear for the murder of his parents, for belligerence or for a lust for power that would scare people to the bone. Medvjed used to be able to speak as a man for a time, but speech was finally taken away from him because he cursed the day he was transformed into a bear. The seasons depended upon the bear, it was his choice when to come out of hibernation sleep and reclaim his forest, only then the seasons could continue again...




A mythological interpretation of the Slavic Bear legends. Image: masiani.deviantart.com




The human origin of the bear is reflected in the belief that when the bear removes his skin, he looks like and is a man. He has human eyes, soles on his feet and toes, he knows how to walk on two legs, he knows how to bathe and wash himself, the female bear breastfeeds and pampers and loves their children, the bear knows how to pray, beg, rejoice, play and suffer as a man, he understands human speech. Like humans, the bear is not indifferent to partaking of honey and strong liquor.  He is "wise" and possesses a mind, though, as they say, "The bear has a lot of thoughts on his mind, but doesn't let them be known to anyone." Another evidence for its human origins was that hunters noticed that the dogs barked at them in the same way that they barked at humans. They barked only at humans and bears in the exact same way. He used to be killed (13th century) at the end of the Carnival in Rome, as the Devil. Among Slavs, if they have killed a bear, they hang his skin on a tree and apologize humbly to it, declaring that they did not forge the metal that pierced it, and they meant the arrow for a bird instead; from which it is plain to see that they relied on Medvjed's inquisitive and usually amicable nature to kill him.



Examples of some of the previous made points.





Bear folklore is widespread. It is not surprising that this awesome beast was one of the first animals to be revered by our ancestors. From as far back as the Palaeolithic (around 50,000 years ago) there is evidence of bear cults in which the bear was seen as lord of the animals, a god, and even the ancestor of humans. The oldest discovered statue, fashioned some fifteen to twenty thousand years ago, is of a bear. Remains of bear bones, tools made of bear bones, drawings, bear statues and ritualistic use of the bear skull etc. Even the writers of the old testament included the bear in their stories, the god of the old testament required help from the bear to be a deliverer of death to unruly children. (which is strange because the bear wasn't known to be religious or even fond of children, but usually preferred wild boars, deer and fish, sometimes even berries)  From antiquity to the Middle Ages, the bear’s centrality in cults and mythologies also left traces in other European languages, literature and legends from the Slavic East to even Celtic Britain. In early Europe the warriors from the northern areas would go to battle many times dressed in wolf and bear skins, seeking to transform themselves into the animals known for their brute strength and fearless ferocity when attacked.




 Image: Katarina Plotnikova




The once widely venerated bear was deposed by the advent of Christianity and continued to sink lower in the symbolic bestiary before rising again in Pyrrhic triumph as today's popular Teddy Bear.  The early Church was threatened by Pagan legends of the bear’s power, among them a widespread belief that male bears were sexually attracted to women and would violate them, producing half-bear, half-human beings—invincible warriors who founded royal lines. Marked for death by the clergy, bears were massacred. Once the undefeated champions of the Roman arena, for a time the demonic bear was thought to have been defeated, and so other animals, bats, goats, asses and owls were assigned as the new dark demons. Bears became entertainers in the marketplace, trained to perform tricks or muzzled and devoured by packs of dogs for the amusement of humans.






According to the new religion, like the wolf, the bear may attack and eat a cow only with God's permission, the bear can attack a man only by God's appearance and assent, as punishment for committing some sort of sin. A bear can attack a woman only if he was invited to come with her.  A bears characteristic was double symbolism, symbols of fertility and gender. If the young man goes to look at a bear in the eye, then in his mumbling he will determine whether the man is innocent or not. Bear hair was burned as incense to the maternity and those sick of a fever. Bear jaws were used to help heal a sick child. It was believed that the one who eats the bears heart will be cured of all diseases. Bear grease would be used to anoint the forehead of a child to have a good memory. If a child would hang itself around the neck of a bear, it would grow up to be brave. The claws and hair of the bears were used as amulets. A medieval fortified town located on the south slopes of Medvednica mountain, approximately halfway from the Croatian capital Zagreb to the mountain top Sljeme, is named "Medvedgrad", which is Croatian for "bear-town or "city of bears".







*Before finishing this post, I thought I would add here a quick word about the interesting possibility that the suffix "-vich" etc, may even be related to and influenced by the name of  Merovech/Merovich, (other spellings include Merwich, Latin: Meroveus or Merovius; German: Merowech; Spanish: Meroveo; French: Mérovée )...founder of the Merovingian dynasty of the Franks. The Franks for centuries were the most powerful kingdom in Europe and bordering Croatian lands. It's been well established that the early Croatian Dukes and their realms had to deal with them and at times even ruled as temporary vassals of the Franks. Frankish religion (Catholicism) and power under the Merovingian then Carolingian dynasties, influenced greatly in art, culture and their immense political power was pivotal in the formation of much of Europe, and likewise had to be dealt with in the later Croatian Kingdom. They attained their kingship with the approval of the popes and eventually their realms were proclaimed as a kind of continuation of the Roman Empire. If this may seem to some readers as preposterous, outrageous or fanciful, let's recall that the very name of 'France' originates from the 'Franks', and everyone knows that the Franks were.....Germanic tribes. (More on that at croatianearlyhistory.blogspot.ca). Or was it perhaps the other way around and a combination of factors, a result of previous meetings, contacts and alliances with Slavs that have been recorded since the times of Caesar, the Slavs as foederati already mixed in among them? Tacitus, writing in 98 CE locates and mentions the early Slavs/Veneti among the peoples on the eastern fringe of Germania, just as previous Roman writers had alluded to over a century before him.  As already shown, even the Croatian/Slavic words for "King".....'Kralj/Kral/Kraly' and "Knez" (Kniaz/Knyaz) both derive from the name of Frankish King and Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne (742–814; Latin name Karolus Magnus) and the early Germanic/Gothic word "Kuningaz" which also meant Duke/Prince/King in Croatian. Interestingly, Merovech traces his legacy from his predecessor, the East Frankish Duke Marcomer/Marcomir. Also, the great-grandson of Merovich was King Chlodomir.  Could the names of Croatian Royalty, Dukes and Kings such as Branimir, Muncimir, Trpimir, Krešimir, ZvonimirSelimir etc, have some kind of connection to Duke Marcomir and King Chlodomir of the enigmatic Frankish wizard Kings? An onymic, yet also an esoteric continuity? Perhaps something even more?  More information about "Merovich", the enigmatic founder of the Frankish Merovingian dynasty at:









www.myheritage.com/brunhilde-merovich-queen-austrasia-burgundy


(*Note - Before you continue on reading, since I brought up the topic of the possible 'Merovech/Merovich/Merovingian' connection to the surname suffix "-vich", I should make the reader aware of one thing. Namely, there are haters...I mean stooges....I mean certain types of  "people" out there with complexes who would not be enamored with the idea of various Slavic names ending in "-vich" being connected to the Merovingians, in anyway at all.  Why?...well, basically according to the interpretocities of some of these types of "people" [some who you may have seen on Sunday morning television wearing toupees, shabby suits, doing lots of pointing while offering free gifts for money, etc]..have the bizarre idea that Merovech is nothing but a by-product of none other than that dagnabit ol' Lucifer-fish, and that's just for starters. (Example) For the average Croatian/Slavic person if the onymic connection were true, it wouldn't really be of much concern or hold any negative connotations at all, on the contrary perhaps actually enlightening and intriguing.  However, just be warned that you may be inundated by people trying to give you strange pamphlets on the street or stuffed in your mail box, they may even attempt to get you to go to some strange "meetings" or "functions" to "talk" and/or to "listen" and "agree". That's all I'm saying, moving on.......)







Synopsis:




*So if after reading this post one is left scratching their head, wondering what to make of all this information, or you are asking yourself "What's the point?"  I guess it would be this.  Slavic/Pagan traditions ARE alive and found in some of the least likely of places. Found in those songs and poems that you thought had nothing to do with Paganism or early Slavic history. One just has to scratch beneath the surface, to find what was there all along.  Just by touching upon this fascinating and ancient topic, one can see that it far transcends any kind of religiosity, theistic worshiping system or other various supernatural beliefs. It cannot and must not be misrepresented as unimportant, it must not be tampered with.  It's actually an ancient and ingrained Croatian-Slavic cultural thing, as has been shown.  To even attempt to stamp it out or destroy it would be futile, tantamount to denying the existence of a Slav, and so one's self.  Tantamount to denying the sky above your head or the moon in the night time sky. The introduction of Christianity, (and this has been documented) was not a replacement of the native Slavic peoples beliefs, way of life and culture. (Hence, "cult" being the origin of the word "culture")...but rather was added to it, after quite some time as well. (Economics) Anyone who denies this is not scratching beneath the surface, or doesn't want to know the facts.  They are still in denial, like those people who believe the United States was founded upon Christianity and that the founding fathers were pious Christians, god-fearing bible thumpers, or at least believed in and founded the new country based on biblical or any other religious tenets. (Many of the American founding fathers had slaves btw)  In actuality they would have associated and shared the views more of the classical pagan philosophers of Rome, Greece and the many other European philosophers through the centuries, especially from the Age of Enlightenment...Meaning, they just basically didn't really care about religion, nor did it play a large part in their views.  They were rather more focused on the natural world, and their part in it, secular...sort of like pagans. One of the most important people and rulers in Russian history, Peter the Great, was irreligious and secular. He discarded the traditions and power of the Russian Orthodox clerics. He was at odds with their prevailing religious views and influence of the time and in the process he went on to single-handedly transform a very large and populous, yet underdeveloped and backward Russian Tsardom, into a modern Russian Empire and a mighty world power in just a few years. (I read a biography and material about him a long time ago, the clerics and traditionalists used to even call him "the devil..."There he goes now, the devil himself". Thomas Paine?...big, huge anti-biblical scripture guy.  Don't believe a word from all the televangelists out there stating the opposite. Just some examples here. I could go on an on and make a series of blogs about this subject alone. One doesn't even have to believe every little thing about the various Slavic Pagan mythologies, legends or folk tales, just like one doesn't have to believe everything the preacher on the television is telling you or television infomercials. One can look at it with a kind of Apatheism, and just accept it for the historical and cultural phenomena that it is. (The last time I checked, a crucified political agitator/criminal (which is what he was accused of) on a wooden post was not the national ethnic symbol of Croatians or Croatia, we transcend such a definition)

The deities and spirits, legends and accompanying mythology of times past was just the acknowledgement of the here and now. The making sense of the world and phenomena around them.  The deities did not tell the people what not to eat, to gouge their eyes out if they see someone bathing in a lake or the sea, to love enemies, give more to those who robbed them and a whole bunch of other very strange codes of conduct.  The followers of those deities did not have fixations and obsessions with numbers, with end of the world scenarios, with eternal burning punishments, talking serpents  etc and so on.  It was making sense of the natural world around them, explaining (using imaginative, yet at the same time very sensical stories and beliefs when everything is taken into consideration) the mysteries that actually can not even be explained today. Cause and effect was a very empirical basis in their minds.......(Don't tease the wolf or snake or you'll get bitten, don't touch the fire or you'll get burned, when Perun comes around don't stand in the field picking your nose...take cover, don't eat the entrails because it tastes like crap etc)  There are no words that are attributed to the deities, no putting of words into their mouths. There are no anonymously strange written  commands or promises stating that "Perun said that......Lada wants you to......Veles commands that....or else......"

.....These legends, deities, mythologies and folk stories are found in some of those popular songs, poems, stories, traditions and customs that you thought had nothing to do with ancient deities, elves and beliefs in gods and goddesses.  Interest in this long unstudied, hidden away  and gathering dust on the shelf topic is growing in many countries. To some these beliefs may seem odd or strange today, but in those days they made perfect sense. (Rodnovjerje)  Long before knowledge about atoms, magnetism, satellite images, electric toothbrushes and  nuclear weapons,  these were the truths of the day.  Although in retrospect, because there are so many natural phenomena still with us even these days, events and occurrences that in many cases are unexplainable even to modern science and technology.  Enigmas that have been witnessed by many, many people....perhaps "The Old Ones" (as many endearingly call them)... are speaking to us still, but we just haven't been listening.....

*If you're one of those types who have an interest to know even more about even earlier history of the Pagan Croats, of Pagan Slavs in general, of the Balto-Slavs, of even Goths and Varangians etc, it's really not the purpose of this blog. For that you'll have to read more about the Kurgan hypothesis, Proto-Indo-European Urheimat hypothesesCorded Ware culture, Dnieper-Donets culture, even about the R1a gene. (which some have coined as the "Slavic gene", they even have tshirts now in different colours and sizes believe it or not) It is believed that Haplogroup I originated from near the Black sea sometime between 40,000 and 30,000 years ago and developed specifically into Haplogroup I branch, this approximately 25,000 years ago. This would make Haplogroup I the first, oldest and only native European Haplogroup and the one most common among all Europeans, with the highest concentrations in Scandinavia and south-eastern Europe, especially where Croats are found.  It is also found among modern populations of the Caucasus, and even parts of Anatolia, and so it is believed to have spread from there to Eastern Asia eventually also. For those really smarty pants types who need lots of numbers, decimal points, phylogeographic chromosome distributions, hablogroups and graphs concerning early Croatian history in relation to other European nations and peoples, then you should check out neuron.mefst.hr. (There's interesting information about the autochthonous European Y chromosome haplogroup percentages between Croatian and Scandinavian areas and which are contemporaneous with the Last Glacial Maximum, which buttress some of my previous points) Or you can just remember East-European type (Eu19 or R1a) and Germanic-Dinaric haplogroup (Eu7 or I) being the types that are relevant to Croatians most, and that Croats, like all other native European peoples, are directly descended from Cro-Magnon man who migrated across Europe from ancient Hyperborea......





As one can see, Croatian and Slavic legends and stories can be a lot more interesting than a John Hagee gospel wowserama fun-time hour show. Grab some cold liquid refreshment to wash down your snack before continuing on.







Excerpt from "Towards the Other Mythology – The Offspring of Darkness: Jocasta’s Daughters and Granddaughters" by Ivan Lozica




...."So where do the differences lie today in the two orientations in Croatian mythological research? It is clear that there is no longer any conflict between folklorists and ethnologists regarding whether legends about witches, fairies, moras, krsniks and similar supernatural creatures represent oral literature, or narration about the beliefs of people. One does not exclude the other, they augment each other: mythic legends are beliefs, while beliefs are expressed in the literary genre of mythic legends. Ambivalence is a component of the mythic nature of those legends, and we have seen that the myth is both a fabricated and a sacred story. There is a similar situation with the ritual songs that preserve the fragments of ancient myths, since they are both a folklore literary and music genre, a component part of custom or a folklore performance on stage. Both trends reveal and recognize traces of pagan heritage in contemporary Croatian folk-lore, and both agree that we must take into consideration both the historical and our contemporary dimension in researching phenomena......"






As a humorous adendum to this post which sort of touched upon topics I didn't really plan on discussing originally at all, and which may leave some people thinking this post is all a bunch of hogwash and rubbish (Mrs Crabtree would call it all gobbledeegook)... I leave some  humorous observations and views about some other well known stories and beliefs.  Some of the footage may really be leaving you scratching your head, perhaps even running out to get a special recorder, so you can slow-mo and reverse through Disney cartoons frame by frame looking for vaginas, penises and listen for esoteric freaky sex messages. (Bolesnik - uvijek misli o kurac i uvijek ima gej sex na pamet, osobito gdje ne postoji. lol)  Be careful when your children are around these types who are finding penises and vagina symbols everywhere.....shivers.


 .....Maybe this comment I came across from one of the links to the "Jesus Camp" video sum it all up.....

"I find that I can't fit myself anywhere on that scale. It speaks of "God" as if it's a clearly defined concept. Some people think a god is an old man in white robes with super powers, others think the universe itself is a god. It means different things to different people. How about "I can't answer your question about [blank] until you all come to an agreement about what exactly [blank] is supposed to be."

Perhaps that's the crux of the matter?  Just too many definitions of so-called "God" floating around from various sources, a noun that has almost lost all meaning. "Only God can judge me" is a saying sometimes heard.. that's all nice and all, but, well, guess what? That person next to you, and those people over there by that building or church, or those people all dressed up on television....their "God" has already judged you and he's the same "God" supposedly, so go figure. (They have the answers) So many versions, definitions and people pointing out that "God said that..."He" didn't say this, well...maybe he did say this but "He" or "She" meant such and such and not this and that like you think"  It's become quite surreal and almost meaningless in a way when you think about it. Take the definition of"meat eater"  as a similar example.. Is there one definition of "meat eater" for everyone?  One "meat eater" will not eat bacon, ham or pork but will eat beef and lamb, another meat eater will eat pork and poultry but not fish, another one will only eat poultry meat and that's it, on top of that only the white meat and not dark meat. Some meat eaters will not eat liver and kidneys etc, some will only eat the liver if it is seasoned just right and has a tasty breaded coating and along with lots of mashed potatoes..  Some will only eat seafood meat..but no shelled fish fish of any kind, well, some shelled fish...lobster and crab but not shrimp....some people eat frogs, but some people eat frogs only if they are fresh and pan fried in butter along with lots of garlic and herbed olive dipping oil. Some of the meat eaters eat beef and fish but not pork or shelled fish, lobster or clams. Some pigs eat anything given to it, including even chicken, fish, shrimp, frogs and beef leftovers, so you might technically be eating all 5 when you eat a porkchop or pork roast. This scenario can be changed around in various ways. Some people like to eat mud cakes. To each his own I guess. The Vegans think that the meat eaters, leather wearers and the fake semi-vegetarians are all going to Hell. (But do Vegans really even exist?)  It's just one big eternal conundrum and definition whirlpool, a definition vortex swirling to the bottom of the sea, sucking in all the fish, shrimp, lobsters and bacon and all the while the King of noncontradiction sits upon his throne and watches from above, laughing while ordering a pizza. (with extra cheese and dipping sauce, no anchovies)





The main point of the following videos is to show that there is absolutely no myth, mythology, legends or stories in the bible. That instead it is scientifically proven and was written by god sometime in the 2nd century.



Buy the spring water dammit, my pool needs a gazebo.





Were YOU making the flat pancakes?





Don't eat the 666 twinkies, they're evil.



Don't let this guy watch cartoons with your kids, he might get aroused finding genitalia and sex talking sponges and crustaceans throughout the cartoon. Likewise if he's spotted walking through the toy department. People who spend time dreaming up sex fantasies imagery and situations just because it's what "they fantasize'" people who don't follow them are doing... is creepy. People who tell other people to search for penises and vaginas in cartoon flowers and poles have serious issues. More ironic-porn here.



"Arm thyself with the grenade of righteousness and fresh dubstylin' beats"



Don't let him drop him again..and again.





What's wrong with you? Get it right and speak the tongues already.




We're in space and space is the place.





66 books in the bible...it's them Japanese and Chinese conspiracy Beelzebubs.



Phantasm in the mirror is you.



It's that image of the beast told in the Bible code.



Jesus doesn't accept quarters or travellers cheques.



Say it after me..."God brought in death and bloodshed and billions of dead things." 




No dancing in the church.



Bacon dance for Jesus and Dunkin' Donuts.



Don't go to the Hell in there, there's lots of zero's.



Raise the dead and kill them Harry Potter's to death on channel 11 after the game bitch.





Jesus is Lord of Iraq.





Why hath the Lord potato?




Pop a cap in Jesus' ass from the original G.




Bewildered. "You mean the Easter Bunny happened before the Christmas tree?"








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