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At present the customary name for all the Slavonic races is Slav. This name did not appear in history until a late period, but it has superseded all others. The general opinion is that it appeared for the first time in written documents in the sixth century of the Christian era. However, before this the Alexandrian scholar Ptolemy (about A.D. 100-178) mentioned in his work, "Geographike hyphegesis", a tribe called Stavani (Stavanoi) which was said to live in European Sarmatia between the Lithuanian tribes of the Galindae and the Sudeni and the Sarmatic tribe of the Alans. He also mentioned another tribe, Soubenoi, which he assigned to Asiatic Sarmatia on the other side of the Alani. According to Safarik these two statements refer to the same Slavonic people. Ptolemy got his information from two sources; the orthography of the copies he had was poor and consequently he believed there were two tribes to which it was necessary to assign separate localities. In reality the second name refers very probably to the ancestors of the present Slavs, as does the first name also though with less certainty. The Slavonic combination of consonants sl was changed in Greek orthography into stl, sthl, or skl. This theory was accepted by many scholars before Safarik, as Lomonosov, Schlözer, Tatistcheff, J. Thunmann, who in 1774 published a dissertation on the subject. It was first advanced probably in 1679 by Hartknoch who was supported in modern times by many scholars. Apart from the mention by Ptolemy, the expression Slavs is not found until the sixth century. The opinion once held by some German and many Slavonic scholars that the names Suevi and Slav were the same and that these two peoples were identical, although the Suevi were a branch of the Germans and the ancestors of the present Swabians, must be absolutely rejected. Scattered names found in old inscriptions and old charters that are similar in sound to the word Slav must also be excluded in this investigation.
After the reference by Ptolemy the Slavs are first spoken of by Pseudo-Caesarios of Nazianzum, whose work appeared at the beginning of the sixth century; in the middle of the sixth century Jordanis and Procopius gave fuller accounts of them. Even in the earliest sources the name appears in two forms. The old Slavonic authorities give: Slovene (plural from the singular Slovenin), the country is called Slovensko, the language slovenesk jazyk, the people slovensk narod. The Greeks wrote Soubenoi, but the writers of the sixth century used the terms: Sklabenoi, Sklauenoi, Sklabinoi, Sklauinoi. The Romans used the terms: Sclaueni, Sclauini, Sclauenia, Sclauinia. Later authors employ the expressions Sthlabenoi, Sthlabinoi, while the Romans wrote: Sthlaueni, Sthlauini. In the "Life of St. Clement" the expression Sthlabenoi occurs; later writers use such terms as Esklabinoi, Asklabinoi, Sklabinioi, Sklauenioi. The adjectives are sclaviniscus, sclavaniscus, sclavinicus, sclauanicus. At the same time shorter forms are also to be found, as: sklaboi, sthlaboi, sclavi, schlavi, sclavania, later also slavi. In addition appear as scattered forms: Sclauani, Sclauones (Sklabonoi, Esthlabesianoi, Ethlabogeneis). The Armenian Moises of Choren was acquainted with the term Sklavajin: the chronicler Michael the Syrian used the expression Sglau or Sglou; the Arabians adopted the expression Sclav, but because it could not be brought into harmony with their phonetical laws they changed it into Saklab, Sakalib, and later also to Slavije, Slavijun. The anonymous Persian geography of the tenth century used the term Seljabe.
Various explanations of the name have been suggested, the theory depending upon whether the longer or shorter form has been taken as the basis and upon acceptance of the vowel o or a as the original root vowel. From the thirteenth century until Safarik the shorter form Slav was always regarded as the original expression, and the name of the Slavs was traced from the word Slava (honour, fame), consequently it signified the same as gloriosi (ainetoi). However, as early as the fourteenth century and later the name Slav was at times referred to the longer form Slovenin with o as the root vowel, and this longer form was traced to the word Slovo (word, speech), Slavs signifying, consequently, "the talking ones," verbosi, veraces, homoglottoi, consequently it has been the accepted theory up to the present time. Other elucidations of the name Slav, as clovek (man), skala (rock), selo (colony), slati (to send), solovej (nightingale), scarcely merit mention. There is much more reason in another objection that Slavonic philologists have made to the derivation of the word Slav from slovo (word). The ending en or an of the form Slovenin indicates derivation from a topographical designation. Dobrowsky perceived this difficulty and therefore invented the topographical name Slovy, which was to be derived from slovo. With some reservation Safarik also gave a geographical interpretation. He did not, however, accept the purely imaginary locality Slovy but connected the word Slovenin with the Lithuanian Salava, Lettish Sala, from which is derived the Polish zulawa, signifying island, a dry spot in a swampy region. According to this interpretation the word Slavs would mean the inhabitants of an island, or inhabitants of a marshy region. The German scholar Grimm maintained the identity of the Slavs with Suevi and derived the name from sloba, svoba (freedom). The most probable explanation is that deriving the name from slovo (word); this is supported by the Slavonic name for the Germans Nemci (the dumb). The Slavs called themselves Slovani, that is, "the speaking ones", those who know words, while they called their neighbours the Germans, "the dumb", that is, those who do not know words.
During the long period of war between the Germans and Slavs, which lasted until the tenth century, the Slavonic territories in the north and southeast furnished the Germans large numbers of slaves. The Venetian and other Italian cities on the coast took numerous Slavonic captives from the opposite side of the Adriatic whom they resold to other places. The Slavs frequently shared in the seizure and export of their countrymen as slaves. The Naretani, a piratical Slavonic tribe living in the present district of Southern Dalmatia, were especially notorious for their slave-trade. Russian princes exported large numbers of slaves from their country. The result is that the name Slav has given the word slave to the peoples of Western Europe.
The question still remains to be answered whether the expression Slavs indicated originally all Slavonic tribes or only one or a few of them. The reference to them in Ptolemy shows that the word then meant only a single tribe. Ptolemy called the Slavs as a whole the Venedai and says they are "the greatest nation" (megiston ethnos). The Byzantines of the sixth century thought only of the southern Slavs and incidentally also of the Russians, who lived on the boundaries of the Eastern Empire. With them the expression Slavs meant only the southern Slavs; they called the Russians Antae, and distinguished sharply between the two groups of tribes. In one place (Get., 34, 35) Jordanis divides all Slavs into three groups: Veneti, Slavs, and Antae; this would correspond to the present division of western, southern, and eastern Slavs. However, this mention appears to be an arbitrary combination. In another passage he designated the eastern Slavs by the name Veneti. Probably he had found the expression Veneti in old writers and had learned personally the names Slavs and Antae; in this way arose his triple division. All the seventh-century authorities call all Slavonic tribes, both southern Slavs and western Slavs, that belonged to the kingdom of Prince Samo, simply Slavs; Samo is called the "ruler of the Slavs", but his peoples are called "the Slavs named Vindi" (Sclavi cognomento Winadi). In the eighth and ninth centuries the Czechs and Slavs of the Elbe were generally called Slavs, but also at times Wens, by the German and Roman chroniclers. In the same way all authorities of the era of the Apostles to the Slavs, Cyril and Methodius, give the name Slav without any distinction both to the southern Slavs, to which branch both missionaries belonged, and to the western Slavs, among whom they laboured. As regards the eastern Slavs or Russians, leaving out the mention of Ptolemy already referred to, Jordanis says that at the beginning of the era of the migrations the Goths had carried on war with the "nation of Slavs"; this nation must have lived in what is now Southern Russia. The earliest Russian chronicle, erroneously ascribed to the monk Nestor, always calls the Slavs as a whole "Slavs". When it begins to narrate the history of Russia it speaks indeed of the Russians to whom it never applies the designation Slav, but it also often tells of the Slavs of Northern Russia, the Slavs of Novgorod. Those tribes that were already thoroughly incorporated in the Russian kingdom are simply called Russian tribes, while the Slavs in Northern Russia, who maintained a certain independence, were designated by the general expression Slavs. Consequently, the opinion advocated by Miklosic, namely, that the name Slav was originally applied only to one Slavonic tribe, is unfounded, though it has been supported by other scholars like Krek, Potkanski, Czermak, and Pasternek.
From at least the sixth century the expression Slav was, therefore, the general designation of all Slavonic tribes. Wherever a Slavonic tribe rose to greater political importance and founded an independent kingdom of its own, the name of the tribe came to the front and pushed aside the general designation Slav. Where, however, the Slavs attained no political power but fell under the sway of foreign rulers they remained known by the general description Slav. Among the successful tribes who brought an entire district under their sway and gave it their name were the Russians, Poles, Czechs, Croats, and the Turanian tribe of the Bulgars. The old general name has been retained to the present time by the Slovenes of Southern Austria on the Adriatic coast, the Slovaks of Northern Hungary, the province Slavonia between Croatia and Hungary and its inhabitants the Slavonians, and the Slovinci of Prussia on the North Sea. Up to recent times the name was customary among the inhabitants of the most celebrated Republic of Dubrovnik (Ragusa). Until late in the Middle Ages it was retained by the Slavs of Novgorod in Northern Russia and by the Slavs in Macedonia and Albania. These peoples, however, have also retained their specific national and tribal names.
A much older designation in the historical authorities than Slav is the name Wend. It is under this designation that the Slavs first appear in history. The first certain references to the present Slavs date from the first and second centuries. They were made by the Roman writers Pliny and Tacitus and the Alexandrian already mentioned Ptolemy. Pliny (d. A.D. 79) says (Nat. hist., IV, 97) that among the peoples living on the other side of the Vistula besides the Sarmatians and others are also the Wends (Venedi). Tacitus (G., 46) says the same. He describes the Wends somewhat more in detail but cannot make up his mind whether he ought to include them among the Germans or the Sarmatians; still they seem to him to be more closely connected with the first named than with the latter. Ptolemy (d.about 178) in his Geographike (III, 57) calls the Venedi the greatest nation living on the Wendic Gulf. However, he says later (III, 5, 8) that they live on the Vistula; he also speaks of the Venedic mountains (III, 5, 6). In the centuries immediately succeeding the Wends are mentioned very rarely. The migrations that had now begun had brought other peoples into the foreground until the Venedi again appear in the sixth century under the name of Slavs. The name Wend, however, was never completely forgotten. The German chroniclers used both names constantly without distinction, the former almost oftener than the latter. Even now the Sorbs of Lusatic are called by the Germans Wends, while the Slovenes are frequently called Winds and their language is called Windish.
Those who maintain the theory that the original home of the Slavs was in the countries along the Danube have tried to refute the opinion that these references relate to the ancestors of the present Slavs, but their arguments are inconclusive. Besides these definite notices there are several others that are neither clear nor certain. The Wends or Slavs have had connected with them as old tribal confederates of the present Slavs the Budinoi mentioned by Herodotus, and also the Island of Banoma mentioned by Pliny (IV, 94), further the venetae, the original inhabitants of the present Province of Venice, as well as the Homeric Venetoi, Caesar's Veneti in Gaul and Anglia, etc. In all probability, the Adriatic Veneti were an Illyrian tribe related to the present Albanians, but nothing is known of them. With more reason can the old story that the Greeks obtained amber from the River Eridanos in the country of the Enetoi be applied to the Wends or Slavs; from which it may be concluded that the Slavs were already living on the shores of the Baltic in the fourth century before Christ.
Most probably the name Wend was of foreign origin and the race was known by this name only among the foreign tribes, while they called themselves Slavs. It is possible that the Slavs were originally named Wends by the early Gauls, because the root Wend, or Wind, is found especially in the districts once occupied by the Gauls. The word was apparently a designation that was first applied to various Gallic or Celtic tribes, and then given by the Celts to the Wendic tribes living north of them. The explanation of the meaning of the word is also to be sought from this point of view. The endeavour was made at one time to derive the word from the Teutonic dialects, as Danish wand, Old Norwegian vatn, Lation unda, meaning water. Thus Wends would signify watermen, people living about the water, people living by the sea, as proposed by Jordan, Adelung, and others. A derivation from the German wended (to turn) has also been suggested, thus the Wends are the people wandering about; or from the Gothic vinja, related to the German weiden, pasture, hence Wends, those who pasture, the shepherds; finally the word has been traced to the old root ven, belonging together. Wends would, therefore mean the allied. Pogodin traced the name from the Celtic, taking it from the early Celtic root vindos, white, by which expression the dark Celts designated the light Slavs. Naturally an explanation of the term was also sought in the Old Slavonic language; thus, Kollar derived it from the Old Slavonic word Un, Sassinek from Slo-van, Perwolf from the Old Slavonic root ved, still retained in the Old Slavonic comparative vestij meaning large and brought it into connection with the Russian Anti and Vjatici; Hilferding even derived it from the old East Indian designation of the Aryans Vanila, and Safarik connected the word with the East Indians, a confusion that is also to be found in the early writers.
There are two theories in regard to the original home of the Slavs, and these theories are in sharp opposition to each other. One considers the region of the Danube as the original home of the Slavs, whence they spread northeast over the Carpathians as far as the Volga River, Lake Ilmen, and the Caspian Sea. The other theory regards the districts between the Vistula and the Dnieper as their original home, whence they spread southwest over the Carpathians to the Balkans and into the Alps, and towards the west across the Oder and the Elbe.
The ancient Kiev chronicle, erroneously ascribed to the monk Nestor, is the earliest authority quoted for the theory that the original home of the Slavs is to be sought in the region of the Danube. Here in detail is related for the first time how the Slavs spread from the lower Danube to all the countries occupied later by them. The Noricans and Illyrians are declared to be Slavs, and Andronikos and the Apostle Paul are called Apostles to the Slavs because they laboured in Illyria and Pannocia. This view was maintained by the later chroniclers and historical writers of all Slavonic peoples, as the Pole Kadlubek, "Chronika pol." (1206), Boguchwal (d. 1253), Dlugos, Matej Miechowa, Decius, and others. Among the Czechs, this theory was supported by Kozmaz (d. 1125), Dalimir (d. 1324), Johann Marignola (1355-1362), Pribik Pulkava (1374), and V. Hajek (1541). The Russians also developed their theories from the statements of their first chronicler, while the Greek Laonikos Harkondilos of the fifteenth century did not commit himself to this view. The southern Slavs have held this theory from the earliest period up to the present time with the evident intention to base on it their claims to the Church Slavonic in the Liturgy. At an early period, in the letter of Pope John X (914-29) to the Croatian Ban Tomislav and the Sachlumian ruler Mihael, there is a reference to the prevalent tradition that St. Jerome invented the Slavonic alphabet. This tradition maintained itself through the succeeding centuries, finding supporters even outside these countries, and was current at Rome itself. Consequently if we were to follow strictly the written historical authorities, of which a number are very trustworthy, we would be obliged to support the theory that the original home of the Slavs is in the countries along the Danube and on the Adriatic coast.
However, the contrary is the case; the original home of the Slavs and the region from which their migrations began is to be sought in the basin of the Dnieper and in the region extending to the Carpathians and the Vistula. It is easy to explain the origin of the above-mentioned widely believed opinion. At the beginning of the Old Slavonic literature in the ancient Kingdom of the Bulgars the Byzantine chronicles of Hamartolos and Malala, which were besides of very little value, were translated into Slavonic. These chronicles give an account of the migrations of the nations from the region of Senaar after the Deluge. According to this account the Europeans are the descendants of Japhet, who journeyed from Senaar by way of Asia Minor to the Balkans; there they divided into various nations and spread in various directions. Consequently the Slavonic reader of these chronicles would believe that the starting point of the migrations of the Slavs also was the Balkans and the region of the lower Danube. Because the historical authorities place the ancient tribe of the Illyrians in this region, it was necessary to make this tribe also Slavonic. In the later battles of the Slavs for the maintenance of their language in the Liturgy, this opinion was very convenient, as appeal could be made for the Slavonic claims to the authority of St. Jerome and even of St. Paul. Opinions which are widely current yet do not correspond to facts are often adopted in historical writings. Among the Slavonic historians philologists supporting this theory are: Kopitar, August Schlötzer, Safarik, N. Arcybasef, Fr. Racki, Bielowski, M. Drinov, L. Stur, Ivan P. Filevic, Dm. Samaokvasov, M. Leopardov, N. Zakoski, and J. Pic. We have here an interesting proof that a tradition deeply rooted and extending over many centuries and found in nearly all of the early native historical authorities does not agree with historical fact.
At present most scholars are of the opinion that the original home of the Slavs in Southeastern Europe must be sought between the Vistula and the Dneiper. The reasons for this belief are: the testimony of the oldest accounts of the Slavs, given as already mentioned by Pliny, Tacitus, and Ptolemy; further the close relationship between the Slavs and the Lettish tribes, pointing to the fact that originally the Slavs lived close to the Letts and Lithuanians; then various indications proving that the Slavs must have been originally neighbours of the Finnish and Turanian tribes. Historical investigation has shown that the Thraco- Illyrian tribes are not the forefathers of the Slavs, but form an independent family group between the Greeks and the Latins. There is no certain proof in the Balkan territory and in the region along the Danube of the presence of the Slavs there before the first century. On the other hand in the region of the Dneiper excavations and archeological finds show traces only of the Slavs. In addition the direction of the general march in the migrations of the nations was always from the northeast towards the south- west, but never in the opposite direction. Those who maintain the theory that the Slavs came from the region of the Danube sought to strengthen their views by the names of various places to be found in these districts that indicate Slavonic origin. The etymology of these names, however, is not entirely certain; there are other names that appear only int he later authorities of the first centuries after Christ. Some again prove nothing, as they could have arisen without the occupation of these districts by the Slavs.
It can therefore be said almost positively that the original home of the Slavs was in the territory along the Dneiper, and farther to the northwest as far as the Vistual. From these regions, they spread to the west and southwest. This much only can be conceded to the other view, that the migration probably took place much earlier than is generally supposed. Probably, it took place slowly and be degrees. One tribe would push another ahead of it like a wave, and they all spread out in the wide territory from the North Sea to the Adriatic and Aegean Seas. Here and there some disorder was caused in the Slavonic migration by the incursions of Asiatic peoples, as Scythians, Sarmatians, Avars, Bulgars, and Magyars, as well as by the German migration from northwest to southeast. These incursions separated kindred tribes from one another or introduced foreign elements among them. Taken altogether, however, the natural arrangement was not much disturbed, kindred tribes journeyed together and settled near one another in the new land, so that even today the entire Slavonic race presents a regular succession of tribes. As early as the first century of our era individual Slavonic tribes must have crossed the boundaries of the original home and have settled at times among strangers at a considerable distance from the native country. At times again these outposts would be driven back and obliged to retire to the main body, but at the first opportunity they would advance again. Central Europe must have been largely populated by Slavs, as early as the era of the Hunnish ruler Attila, or of the migrations of the German tribes of the Goths, Lombards, Gepidae, Heruli, Rugians etc. These last-mentioned peoples and tribes formed warlike castes and military organizations which became conspicuous in history by their battles and therefore have left more traces in the old historical writings. The Slavs, however, formed the lower strata of the population of Central Europe; all the migrations of the other tribes passed over them, and when the times grew more peaceful the Slavs reappeared on the surface. It is only in this way that the appearance of the Slavs in great numbers in these countries directly after the close of the migrations can be explained without there being any record in history of when and whence they came without their original home being depopulated.
The question as to the classification and number of the Slavonic peoples is a complicated one. Scientific investigation does not support the common belief, and in addition scholars do not agree in their opinions on this question. In 1822 the father of Slavonic philology, Joseph Dobrovsky, recognized nine Slavonic peoples and languages: Russian, Illyrian or Serb, Croat, Slovene, Korotanish, Slovak, Bohemians, Lusatian Sorb and Polish. In his "Slavonic Ethnology" (1842) Pavel Safarik enumerated six languages with thirteen dialects: Russian, Bolgarish, Illyrian, Lechish, Bohemians, Lusatian. The great Russian scholar J. Sreznejevskij held that there were eight Slavonic languages: Great Russians, Serbo-Croat, Korotanish, Polish, Lusatian, Bohemian, Slovak. In 1865 A. Schleicher enumerated eight Slavonic languages: Polish, Lusatians, Bohemian, Great Russian, Little Russian, Serb, Bulgarian, and Slovene. Franc Miklosic counted nine: Slovene, Bulgarian, Serbo-Croat, Great Russian, Little Russian, Bohemian, Polish, Upper Lusatian, Lower Lusatian. In 1907 Dm. Florinskij enumerated nine: Russian, Bulgarians, Serbo-Croat, Slovene, Bohemian-Moravian, Slovak, Lusatian, Polish and Kasube. In 1898 V. Jagic held that there were eight: Polish, Lusatian, Bohemian, Great Russian, Little Russian, Slovene, Serbo-Croat, Bulgarian. Thus it is seen that the greatest representatives of Slavonic linguistics are not in accord upon the question of the number of Slavonic languages. The case is the same from the purely philological point of view. Practically the matter is even more complicated because of other factors, which often play an important part, have to be considered, as religion, politics etc.
At the present time some eleven to fourteen languages, not including the extinct ones, can be enumerated which lay claim to be reckoned as distinct tongues. The cause of the uncertainty is that it is impossible to state definitively of several branches of the Slavonic family whether they form an independent nation, or only the dialect and subdivision of another Slavonic nation, and further because often it is impossible to draw the line between one Slavonic people and another. The Great Russians, Poles, Bohemians and Bulgarians are universally admitted to be distinctive Slavonic peoples with distinctive languages. The Little Russians and the White Russians are trying to develop into separate nationalities, indeed the former have now to be recognized as a distinct people, at least this is true of the Ruthenians in Austria-Hungary. The Moravians must be included in the Bohemian nation, because they hold this themselves and no philological, political, or ethnographical reason opposes. The Slovaks of Moravia also consider that they are of Bohemian nationality. About sixty years ago the Slovaks of Hungary began to develop as a separate nation with a separate literary language and must now be regarded as a distinct people. The Lusatian Sorbs also are generally looked upon as a separate people with a distinct language. A division of this little nationality into Upper and Lower Lusatians has been made on account of linguistic, religious, and political differences; this distinction is also evident in the literary language, consequently some scholars regard the Lusatians as two different peoples. The remains of the languages of the former Slavonic inhabitants of Pomerania, the Sloventzi, or Kasube are generally regarded at present as dialects of Polish, though some distinguished Polish scholars maintain the independence of the Kasube language. The conditions in the south are even more complicated. Without doubt the Bulgarians are a separate nationality, but it is difficult to draw the line between the Bulgarians and the Serbian peoples, especially in Macedonia. Philologically the Croats and Serbs must be regarded as one nation; politically, however, and ethnographically they are distinct peoples. The population of Southern Dalmatia, the Moslem population of Bosnia, and probably also the inhabitants of some parts of Southern Hungary, and of Croatia cannot be assigned to a definite group. Again, the nationality and extent of the Slovenes living in the eastern Alps and on the Adriatic coast cannot be settled without further investigation.
From a philological point of view the following fundamental principles must be taken for guidance. The Slavonic world in its entire extent presents philologically a homogeneous whole without sharply defined transitions or gradations. When the Slavs settled in the localities at present occupied by them they were a mass of tribes of closely allied tongues that changed slightly from tribe to tribe. Later historical development, the appearance of Slavonic kingdoms, the growth of literary languages, and various civilizing influences from without have aided in bringing about the result that sharper distinctions have been drawn in certain places, and that distinct nationalities have developed in different localities. Where these factors did not appear in sufficient number the boundaries are not settled even now, or have been drawn only of late. The Slavonic peoples can be separated into the following groups on the basis of philological differences:
The first sub-division includes the Poles, Kasubes, and Slovintzi, also the extinct languages of the Slavs who formerly extended across the Oder and the Elbe throughout the present Northern Germany. The second division includes the Bohemians, Slovaks, and the Lusatian Sorbs.
The Slavs in the Balkans and in the southern districts of the Austro-Hungarians Monarchy are divided philologically into Bulgarians; Stokauans, who include all Serbs, the Slavonic Moslems of Bosnia, and also a large part of the population of Croatia; the Cakauans, who live partly in Dalmatia, Istria, and on the coast of Croatia; the Kajkauans, to whom must be assigned three Croatian countries and all Slovene districts. According to the common opinion that is based upon a combination of philological, political and religious reasons the Slavs are divided into the following nations: Russian, Polish, Bohemian-Slovak, Slovenes, Serbs, Croats, Bulgarians.
The Russians live in Russia and the northeastern part of Austria-Hungary. They form a compact body only in the southwestern part of the Russian Empire, as in the north and east they are largely mixed with Finnish and Tatar populations. In Austria the Little Russians inhabit Eastern Galicia and the northern part of Bukowina; in Hungary they lie in the eastern part on the slopes of the Carpathians. Scattered colonies of Little Russians or Ruthenians are also to be found in Slavonia and Bosnia among the southern Slavs, in Bulgaria, and in the Dobrudja. In Asia Western Siberia is Russian, Central Siberia has numerous Russians colonies, while Eastern Siberia is chiefly occupied by native tribes. There are Russians, however, living in the region of the Amur River, and on the Pacific as well as on the Island of Saghalien. Turkestan and the Kirghiz steppes have native populations with Russian colonies in the cities. There are large numbers of Russian emigrants, mostly members of sects, in Canada and elsewhere in America. Brazil, Argentina, and the United States have many Little Russian immigrants. There are small Russian colonies in Asia Minor and lately the emigration has also extended to Africa According to the Russian census of 1897 there were in the Russian Empire 83,933,567 Russians, that is, 67 percent of the entire population of the empire. Allowing for natural increase, at the present (1911) time there are about 89 millions. In 1900 there were in Austria 3,375,576 Ruthenians, in Hungary 429,447. Consequently in 1900 the total number of Russians could be reckoned at about 93 million persons. This does not include the Russian colonists in other countries; moreover, the numbers given by the official statistics of Austria-Hungary may be far below reality. Classified by religion the Russian Slavs are divided as follows: in Russian Orthodox, 95.48 percent; Old Believers 2.59 per cent; Catholics 1.78 per cent; Protestants .05 percent; Jews .08 per cent; Moslems .01 per cent; in Austria-Hungary Byzantine Catholics, 90.6 percent, the Eastern Orthodox, 8 percent. In the Russian Empire, excluding Finland and Poland, 77.01 percent are illiterates; in Poland, 69.5 percent; Finland and the Baltic provinces with the large German cities show a higher rate of literacy.
The Russians are divided into Great Russians, Little Russians or inhabitants of the Ukraine, and White Russians. In 1900 the relative numbers of these three divisions were approximately: Great Russians, 59,000,000; White Russians, 6,2000,000; Little Russians, 23,700,000. In addition there are 3,8000,000 Little Russians in Austria-Hungary, and 5000,000 in America. The Russian official statistics are naturally entirely too unfavourable to the White Russians and the Little Russians; private computations of the Little Russian scholars give much higher results. Hrusevskij found that the Little Russians taken altogether numbered 34,000,000; Karskij calculated that the White Russians numbered 8,000,000. A thousand years of historical development, different influences of civilization, different religious confessions, and probably also the original philological differentiation have caused the Little Russians to develop as a separate nation, and today this fact must be taken as a fixed factor. Among the White Russians the differentiation has not developed to so advances a stage, but the tendency exists. In classifying the Little Russians three different types can be again distinguished: the Ukrainian, the Podolian-Galician, and the Podlachian. Ethnographically interesting as the Little Russian or Ruthenian tribes in the Carpathians, the Lemci, Boici, and Huzuli (Gouzouli). The White Russians are divided into two groups; ethnographically the eastern group is related to the Great Russians; the western to the Poles.
The Poles represent the northwestern branch of the Slavonic race. From the very earliest times they have lived in their ancestral regions between the Carpathians, the Oder, and the North Sea. A thousand years ago Boleslaw the Brave united all the Slavonic tribes living in these territories into a Polish kingdom. This kingdom which reached its highest prosperity at the close of the Middle Ages, then gradually declined and, at the close of the eighteenth century, was divided by the surrounding powers Russia, Prussia, and Austria. In Austria the Poles form the population of Western Galicia and are in a large minority throughout Eastern Galicia; in Eastern Galicia the population of the cities particularly is preponderantly Polish, as is also a large part of the population of a section of Austrian Silesia, the district of Teschin. The Poles are largely represented in the County of Zips in Hungary and less largely in other Hungarian counties which border on Western Galicia. There is a small Polish population in Bukowina. In Prussia the Poles live in Upper Silesia, from a large majority of the inhabitants of the Province of Posen, and also inhabit the districts of Dantzic and Marienwerder in West Prussia, and the southern parts of East Prussia. In Russia the Poles from 71.95 percent of the population in the nine provinces formed from the Polish kingdom. In addition they live in the neighbouring district of the Province of Grodno and form a relatively large minority in Lithuania and in the provinces of White and Little Russia, where they are mainly owners of large estates and residents of cities. According to the census of 1900 the Poles in Russia numbered about 8,400,000; in Austria, 4,259,150, in Germany, including the Kasubes and Mazurians, 3,450,200; in the rest of Europe about 55,000; and in America about 1,500,00; consequently altogether, 17,664,350. Czerkawski reckoned the total number of Poles to be 21,111,374; Straszewicz held that they numbered from 18 to 19,000,000. As regards religion the Poles of Russia are almost entirely Catholic; in Austria 83.4 per cent are Catholics, 14.7 percent are Jews, and 1.8 per cent are Protestants; in Germany they are also almost entirely Catholics, only the Mazurians in East Prussia and a small portion of the Kasubes are Protestant.
Ethnographically the Polish nation is divided into three groups: the Great Poles live in Posen, Silesia, and Prussia; the Little Poles on the upper Vistula as far as the San River and in the region of the Tatra mountains; the Masovians east of the Vistula and along the Narva and the Bug. The Kasubes could be called a fourth group. All these groups can be subdivided again into a large number of branches, but the distinctions are not so striking as in Russia and historical tradition keeps all these peoples firmly united. The Kasubes live on the left bank of the Vistula from Dantzic to the boundary of Pomerania and to the sea. According to government statistics in 1900 there were in Germany 100,213 Kasubes. The very exact statistics of the scholar Ramult gives 174,831 Kasubes for the territory where they live in large bodies, and 200,000 for a total including those scattered through Germany, to which should be added a further 130,000 in America. According to the latest investigation the Kasubes are what remains of the Slavs of Pomerania who are, otherwise, long extinct.
The Lusatian Sorbs are the residue of the Slavs of the Elbe who once spread across the Oder and Elbe, inhabiting the whole of the present Germany. During centuries of combat with the Germans their numbers gradually decreased. They are divided into three main groups: the Obotrites who inhabited the present Mecklenburg, Lüneburg, and Holstein whence they extended into the Old Mark; the Lutici or Veltae, who lived between the Oder and Elbe, the Baltic and the Varna; the Sorbs, who lived on the middle course of the Elbe between the Rivers Havel and Bober. The Lutici died out on the Island of Rügen at the beginning of the fifteenth century. In the middle of the sixteenth century there were still large numbers of Slavs in Lüneburg and in the northern part of the Old Mark, while their numbers were less in Mecklenburg and in Brandenburg. However, even in Lüneburg the last Slavs disappeared between 1750-60. Only the Lusatian Sorbs who lived nearer the borders of Bohemia have been able to maintain themselves in declining numbers until the present time. The reason probably is that for some time their territory belonged to Bohemia. At present the Lusatian Sorbs numbers about 150,000 persons on the upper course of the Spree. They are divided into two groups, which differ so decidedly from each other in speech and customs that some regard them as two peoples; they also have two separate literatures. They are rapidly becoming Germanized, especially in Lower Lusatia. The Lusatian Sorbs are Catholics with exception of 15,000 in Upper Lusatia.
The Bohemians and Slovaks also belong to the northwestern branch of the Slavonic peoples. They entered the region now constituting Bohemia from the north and then spread farther into what is now Moravia and Northern Hungary, and into the present Lower Austria as far as the Danube. The settlements of the Slovaks in Hungary must have extended far towards the south, perhaps as far as Lake Platten, where they came into contact with the Slovenes who belonged to the southern Slavonic group. Probably, however, they did not formerly extend as far towards the east as now, and the Slovaks in the eastern portion of Slovakia are really Ruthenians who were Slovakanized in the late Middle Ages. Directly after their settlement in these countries the Bohemians fell apart into a great number of tribes. One tribe, which settled in the central part of the present Bohemia, bore the name of Czechs. It gradually brought all the other tribes under its control and gave them its name, so that since then the entire people have been called Czechs. Along with this name, however, the name Bohemians has also been retained; it comes from the old Celtic people, the Boii, who once lived in these regions. Soon, however, German colonies sprang up among the Bohemians or Czechs. The colonists settled along the Danube on the southern border of Bohemia and also farther on in the Pannonian plain. However, these settlements disappeared during the storm of the Magyar incursion. The Bohemians did not suffer from it as they did from the later immigrations of German colonists who brought into the country by the Bohemian rulers of the native Premsylidian dynasty. These colonists lived through the mountains which encircle Bohemia and large numbers of them settled also in the interior of the country. From the thirteenth century the languages of Bohemia and Moravia became distinct tongues.
The Bohemians have emigrated to various countries outside of Bohemia-Moravia. In America there are about 800,000 Bohemians; there are large Bohemian colonies in Russian in the province of Volhynia, also in the Crimea, in Poland, and in what is called New Russia, altogether numbering 50,385. In Bulgaria there are Bohemian colonies in Wojewodovo and near Plevna; there is also a Bohemian colony in New Zealand. Nearly 400,000 Bohemians live at Vienna, and there are large numbers of Bohemians in the cities of Linz, Pesth, Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig, Triest; there are smaller, well-organized Bohemian colonies in nearly all Austrian cities, besides large Bohemian colonies in Hungary and Slavonia. In the last-mentioned country there are 31,581 Bohemians. These settlements are modern. The Slovaks occupy the southeastern part of Moravia and the northeastern part of Hungary from the Carpathians almost to the Danube. But there are scattered settlements of Slovaks far into the Hungarian plain and even in Southern Hungary, besides colonies of Slovaks in Slavonia. On account of the barrenness of the soil of their native land many Slovaks emigrate to America. According to the Austrian census of 1900 there were 5,955,297 Bohemians in Austria. The numbers may be decidedly higher. In Germany there were 115,000 Bohemians, ; in Hungary 2,019,641 Slovaks and 50,000 Bohemians; in America there are at least 800,000 Bohemians; in Russia 55,000; in the rest of Europe 20,000. Consequently taking all Bohemians and Slovaks together there are probably over 9,000,000. If, as is justifiable, the figures for America, Vienna, Moravia, Silesia, and Hungary are considered entirely too low, a maximum of about 10,000,000 may be accepted. As to religion 96.5 percent of the Bohemians are Catholics, and 2.4 percent are Protestants; 70.2 per cent of t the Slovaks are Catholics, 5.3 percent are Byzantine Catholics, and 23 percent are Protestants.
The Slovenes belong, together with the Croats, Serbs, and Bulgarians, to the southern group of Slavs. The Slovenes have the position farther to the west in the Alps and on the Adriatic. They first appeared in this region after the departure of the Lombards for Italy and the first date in their history in 595, when they fought an unsuccessful battle with the Bavarian Duke Tassilo on the field of Roblach. They occupied at first a much larger territory than at present. They extended along the Drave as far as the Tyrol, reaching the valleys of the Rivers Riem and Eisack; they also occupied the larger part of what is now Upper Austria, Lower Austria as far as the Danube, and from the district of the Lungau in Southern Salzburg through Carinthia, Carniola, Styria, the crownland of Görz-Gradiska, and a large part of Friuli. Under German supremacy the territory occupied by them has grown considerable less in the course of the centuries. They still maintain themselves only in Carniola, in the northern part of Istria, about Görz, and in the vicinity of Triest, in the mountainous districts north of Udine in Italy, in the southern part of Carinthia and Styria, and in the Hungarians countries bordering on the farther side of the Mur River. Carinthia is becoming rapidly Germanized, and the absorption of the other races in Hungary constantly advances. According to the census of 1900 there were 1,192,780 Slovenes in Austria, 94,993 in Hungary, 20,987 in Croatia and Slavonia, probably 37,000 in Italy, in America 100,000 and 20,000 in other countries. There are, taking them altogether, probably about 1,5000,000 Slovenes int he world; 99 percent of them are Catholics.
In speech the Croats and Serbs are one people; they have the same literary language, but use different characters. The Croats write with the Latin characters and the Serbs with the Cyrillic. They have been separated into two peoples by religion, political development, and different forms of civilization; the Croats came under the influence of Latin civilization, the Serbs under that of the Byzantines. After the migration the warlike tribe of the Croats gained the mastery over the Slavonic tribes then living in the territory between the Kulpa and the Drave, the Adriatic and the River Cetina, in Southern Dalmatia. They founded the Croat Kingdom on the remains of Latin civilization and with Roman Catholicism as their religion. Thus the Croat nation appeared. It was not until a later date that the tribes living to the south and east began to unite politically under the old Slavonic name of Serbs, and in this region the Serbian nation developed. Decided movements of the population came about later, being caused especially by the Turkish wars. The Serbian settlements, which originally followed only a southeastern course, now turned in an entirely opposite direction to the northeast. The original home of the Serbs was abandoned largely to the Albanians and Turks; the Serbs emigrated to Bosnia and across Bosnia to Dalmatia and even to Italy, where Slavonic settlements still exist in Abruzzi. Others crossed the boundaries of the Croat Kingdom and settled in large numbers in Serbia and Slavonia, also in Southern Hungary, where the Austrian Government granted them religious and national autonomy and a patriarch of their own. Some of the Serbs settled here went to Southern Russia and founded there what is called the New Serbia in the Government of Kherson. Consequently, the difference between the Croats and the Serbs consists not in the language but mainly in the religion, also in the civilization, history, and in the form of handwriting. But all these characteristic differences are not very marked, and thus there are districts and sections of population which cannot be easily assigned to one or the other nation, and which both peoples are justified in claiming.
Taking Serbs and Croats together there are: in Austria 711,382; in Hungary and Croatia, 2,839,016; in Bosnia and Herzegovina, probably 1,7000,000; in Montenegro, 350,000; in Serbia 2,298,551; Old Serbia and Macedonia, 350,000; Albania and the vilayet of Scutari, about 100,000; Italy 5000; Russia 2000; America and elsewhere, 300,000. In addition there are about 108,000 Schokzians, Bunjevzians, and Krashovanians, Serbo-Croatian tribes in Hungary who were not included with these in the census. Consequently the number of this bipartite people may by reckoned approximately as 8,700,000 persons. According to Serbian computation there are about 2,300,000 Croats in Austria-Hungary; the Croats reckon their number as over 2,700,000. The controversy results from the uncertainty as to the group to which the Bosnian Moslems and the above-mentioned Schokzians, Bunjevzians, and Krashovanians, as well as the population of Southern Dalmatia, belong. As to religion, the Serbs are almost exclusively Eastern Orthodox, the Croats Catholic, the great majority of the inhabitants of Southern Dalmatia are Catholic, but many consider themselves as belonging to the Serbian nation. The branches in Hungary mentioned above are Catholic; it is still undecided whether to include them among the Croats or Serbs.
The Slavonic tribes living in ancient Roman Mœsia and Thrace south of the Danube and southeast of the Serbs as far as the Black Sea came under the sway of the Turanian tribe of the Bulgars, which established the old Kingdom of Bulgaria in this region as early as the second half of the seventh century. The conquerors soon began to adopt the language and customs of the subjugated people, and from this intermixture arose the Bulgarian people. The historical development was not a quiet and uniform one; there were continual migrations and remigration, conquests and inter- mingling. When the Slavs first entered the Balkan peninsula they spread far beyond their present boundaries and even covered Greece and the Peloponnesus, which seemed about to become Slavonic. However, thanks to their higher civilization and superior tactics, the Greeks drove back the Slavs. Still, Slavonic settlements continued to exist in Greece and the Peloponnesus until the late Middle Ages. The Greeks were aided by the Turkish conquest, and the Slavs were forced to withdraw to the limit that is still maintained. The Turks then began to force back the Slavonic population in Macedonia and Bulgaria and to plant colonies of their own people in certain districts. The chief aim of the Turkish colonization was always to obtain strategic points and to secure the passes over the Balkans. The Slavonic population also began to withdraw from the plains along the Danube where naturally great battles were often fought, and which were often traversed by the Turkish army. A part emigrated to Hungary, where a considerable number of Bulgarian settlements still exist; others journeyed to Bessarabia and South Russia. After the liberation of Bulgaria the emigrants began to return and the population moved again from the mountains into the valleys, while large numbers of Turks and Circassians went back from liberated Bulgaria to Turkey.
On the other hand the emigration from Macedonia is still large. Owing to these uncertain conditions, and especially on account of the slight investigation of the subject in Macedonia, it is difficult to give the size of the Bulgarian population even approximately. In approximate figures the Bulgarians number: in the Kingdom of Bulgaria, 2,864,735; Macedonia, 1,200,000; Asia Minor, 600,000; Russia, 180,000; Rumania, 90,000; in other countries 50,000, hence there are altogether perhaps over 5,000,000. In Bulgaria there are besides the Bulgarian population, 20,644 Pomaks, that is Moslems who speak Bulgarian, 1516 Serbs, 531,217 Turks, 9862 Gagauzi (Bulgarians who speak Turkish), 18,874 Tatars, 66,702 Greeks in cities along the coast, 89,563 Gypsies, and 71,023 Rumanians. The kingdom, therefore, is not an absolutely homogeneous nationality. In religion the Bulgarians are Eastern Orthodox with the exception of the Pomaks, already mentioned, and of the Paulicians who are Catholics. The Bulgarians are divided into a number of branches and dialects; it is often doubtful whether some of these subdivisions should not be included among the Serbs. This is especially the case in Macedonia, consequently all enumerations of the population differ extremely from one another.
If, on the basis of earlier results, the natural annual growth of the Slavonic populations is taken as 1.4 percent, it may be claimed that there were about 156-157 million Slavs in the year 1910. In 1900 all Slavs taken together numbered approximately 136,500,000 persons divided thus: Russians, 94,000,000; Poles, 17,500,000; Lusatian Serbs, 150,000; Bohemians and Slovaks, 9,800,000; Slovenes, 1,500,000; Serbo-Croats, 8,550,000; Bulgarians, 5,000,000.
APA citation. (1912). The Slavs. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14042a.htm
MLA citation. "The Slavs." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14042a.htm>.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Angela Meady.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.
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