The Progression Of The Early Slavs

CULTURE | October 14, 2019

Trade in an Early East Slavic State, 19th century. Private Collection. Artist : Anonymous. Source: (Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images#599906863)

The Slavic people were an unusual group with little known facts about their origin. Most of what is known about them came through archaeological means and possibly biased writers.

The early Slavs were tribes that lived during what is called the Migration period and the Early Middle Ages (the Dark Ages). At that time they lived in Eastern Europe. According to the Romans, they were uncivilized, primitive, and violent.

Living of East Slavs by Ivanov. Source: (wikipedia.org)

As they began to expand into other territories including Western and Southern Russia, they picked up other languages. They picked up the Iranian language and as they continually moved westward, they picked up some German lingo. The Slavic language is varied as it is mingled in with other languages such as the Proto-Slavic, the Balto-Slavic, and other language influencers such as German and Iranian. 

1280px Bulgarians and Slavs VI VII century. Source: (wikimedia.org)

Roman troops began to attack various groups including the Slavs during the years in the middle 500 AD as the Slavs were advancing toward Thessalonica. They destroyed settlements and took women and children as slaves while killing the men; however, the Romans protected Thessalonica from a complete disaster. The Slavs, with the help of the Avars later were able to overtake Greece, Thrace, and Thessaly. They eventually were able to establish their first real settlement in Greece. More confrontations with the Romans took place as the Slavs and the Avars reunited, along with the Bulgars to attack Constantinople; however, the Romans held them off.  

Ethnographic map of the Southern Slavs, 1913. Source: (wikipedia.org)

During the 9th century AD, the Byzantines defeated the Slavs in Greece but they were still strong in the Balkans and other parts of Central and Eastern Europe. During this century, the Slavs converted to Christianity, abandoning their polytheistic views, at which time; they became a large number of the population in medieval Christian states. They had spread throughout many regions such as: East Slavs (Kievan Rus’), South Slavs (Bulgarian Empire), Kingdom of Croatia (Central Europe), Banate of Bosnia, Grand Principality of Serbia, West Slavs (Great Moravia), Kingdom of Poland, Duchy of Bohemia, and Duchy of Nitra. 

The Slavs Worshipping Their Gods. Source: (en.m.wikipedia.org)

Before they converted to Christianity, the Slavs had many mythological gods. Perun, the thunder god, was the most important one to them. Jarilo was a male god of youth and spring, and Lada was the female goddess of love. The gods Jarilo and Lada died and resurrected on an annual basis.  

Slavs Celebrating Svantovit. Source: (tresbohemes.com)

Svantovit was the four-headed god of War - two females and two males. Porevit was a five-headed god who was representative of the summer season. Rujevit represented autumn and had seven faces. Triglav was a three-headed god that represented the sky, earth, and the underworld.

After they turned away from these gods, they became either Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Uniate. During the Nazi regime, a lot of them were forced into slavery by Hitler with thousands of them from Poland being killed.

The Slavs in the Age of Empires. Source: (ageofempires.wiki.com)

Many different civilizations were added to the Age of Empires games. The Slavs were one of them. These games highlight educational facts from history. Those who play the games can actually learn a lot of history about different cultures.

Today most of the Slavic population resides in Russia in places like Ukraine, Poland, Serbia, Bulgaria, and many more in Central and Eastern Europe.

Tags: The Progression Of The Early Slavs | The Slavic people

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