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Early medieval slavs in their myths and archaeology
Jerzy Gassowski  1@  
1 : Institut polonais d'anthropologie et d'archéologie de Pultusk

In the early Middle Ages (it is between 4th and 9th Century AD), a new nation settled in Middle Europe, the Slavs. We know that people of Slavs, divided in many tribes, represented very primitive material culture, which was quite different from a rich preceding civilizations. There is an interesting difference between the written sources, the myths and the archaeological statements. The written sources were showing the Slavs as cruel nation, killing enemies and destroying the towns and villages. They were robbing and plundering the Balkan Peninsula, including Greece, and returning home to their settlements north of the Danube. The retour was slow, because of the heavy booty broth by them.

What surprises is the fact, that most of the same Slaves, on the large territory, had not only treasures, nor robed gold or silver. Their women did not use any kind of metal or stony jewelry, especially in Middle Europe. The centuries between 5th and 8th were the time, when neighboring nations: Germans, Prussians (the people in present north Poland), Avars, Magyars, and other nomads from Asiatic steps, both men and women loved the decorations in gold, silver and precious stones. Bernard Salin observed in 1904 that if there are not any decorations in the settlements and graves in that time in Middle Europe, it confirms the evidence of Slavic occupation. As it was noticed above, the Slavic culture in archaeological evidence shows extreme poverty. Powerful and brave fighters, robbers and plunders, behave in their homeland like beggars? Strange but it is confirmed by hundreds of excavated settlements and graves. At the same time Slavs have good rural economy, they cultivated rye, kept domestic animals cows, pigs, horses, and sheep. They were not a hungry people. And they have been ALL even. The Greek sources showed the Slavic war bands led by warlords, and they names are known. Bat if they governed home, there is no archaeological evidence for it. It means that the power was executed not above people, but inside people. The myths about geneses appear quite late, at the eve of creation first states, mostly in 9th century AD. The best known concerns Poland, Czechs, Kroatian Slavs (eastern part of Austria) and partly Rus. In first three of them the first legendary ruler and founder of the dynasty was a simple peasant, villager. The coronation dress of Kroation prince was countryman's cloth, and simple stone served for the throne. Exactly the same was celebrated in Czech. The prince to be coroneted should dress in countryman's cloth and boots, which were conserved for next coronations. Polish dynasty was founded by a poor countryman.


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