by Vladimir KULAKOV, Dr. Sc. (History), RAS Institute of Archeology
The ever first mention of the Slavs comes from Jordan, the Gothic historian who lived in the Byzantine Empire and who completed his work "Getica" after the year 550 A.D. "...Though now they change their names depending on different tribes and habitation sites, all of them are still called Slavs (Sclaueni) and Antes by and large." Fifteen hundred years are a time long enough. And yet even today we know next to nothing about the prehistory of Slavs, their protohistory. Science does not give a clear explanation why, being an "indissoluble" part of the Roman-German world, the Slavs could preserve their distinct ethnic identity. That's the subject of the book by Dr. Valentin Sedov, a prominent Russian archeologist and RAS Corresponding Member (Slavs. A Historical and Archeological Study; M., Nauka Publishers, 2002).
Since there is a wide spectrum of opinion about the historic destiny of the Slav peoples, a retrospective look into their past will be in place. We know all too little about their ethnogenesis and the specific nature of their settlements, though in the Middle Ages the Slavs were populating vast expanses of Central, Southern and Eastern Europe. So archeological findings backed up by written records come as an Ariadne's thread in the maze of Slav history.
One of the basic premises of Dr. Sedov is consonant with what Jordan had to say about the ethnic relationship (even identity perhaps) of the Venedi/Veneti and the Slavs, as evident from the very first pages of his book.
Accordingly, the author sums up data on the Venedi (Venedians) that populated also districts south of the Baltic Sea. As shown by the latest findings, a part of this community in the beginning of our era (A.D.) was exclusively of Celtic, not proto- Slavic origin. Proceeding from the knowledge of contemporary linguistics, the scholar came to the conclusion about the original motherland of Slavs that took body and form in the ... Read more