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Stratum Plus. 1997

Mark Shchukin (St.-Petersburg, Russia)

The Birth of the Slavs

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Pages: 110-147

The problem of the Slavs’ origin is reviewed on the basis of joint archeological, historical and linguistic sources. The author’s opinion is that not a single from the proposed hypotheses, but it is, as it seems, more is free from contradictions and discrepancies. Proceeding from the written sources on the Veneti, the conclusion is drawn, that they cannot be localized on the territory between the Oder and the Vistula, as it was thought before. The author regards the records of the Veneti in the Baltic and Danubian areas as well as in the Adriatic area as a consequence of the real cultural and economic relations between the territories, which beares could be the military-commercial groups, called the Veneti. The Baltic and Adriatic territories are the ends of the famous Amber Road. Probably the local Baltic population could get the name of the professional group of the amber traders somewhere in the middle of the I century A.D., it was the time when the relations between the Baltic areas and Rome were recorded particularly clear. In the author’s idea the Veneti were a kind of “the Vikings before the Vikings”, the ethnonymus, that became in the course of time so collective as the term “Rus” (Russia). The model of the processes was similar the archeological aspect of this problem is regarded by the author as a search for convincing sources of the structure for the archeological culture of the Slavs, that the researches knows on the basis of the VI century monuments. The search area is limited to the territory, extending from the western Bug, Pripyati Forest area (“Polesje”) up to the Middle Dnieper zone, where the East-Baltic and most probably the Baltic-Slavic toponymy are common. The start of the events was ushed by the Sarmatian Strike in the middle of the I century A.D., that scattered the population of the Zarubintsy culture. A number of the cultural post-Zarubintsy horizon Rakhny-Pochep, Grini-Vovki sites sprang up, which should be most promisingly related to the historical Veneti. The structure of this horizon, its area testify in the favour of it. But the most important is that it was the post-Zarubinetsk horizon of Rakhny-Pochep, that was the base for the formation of the IV century historic Slavs’ antiquities. The ethnonymum “the Veneti” obviously disserminated in the Slavic world in the time of the Kiev culture. The common Slavic self-conscience emerged only at the end of the VI — middle of the VII century, when the Slavs returned from the Danube, gradually assimilating their Baltic and Baltic-Slavic relatives.

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Mark Shchukin

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