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Stratum Plus. 2000. № 5

P. V. Shuvalov (St.-Petersburg, Russia)

The Weakness of the Venethi and the Srength of the Anti : on the Question of the Epic Image of the Early Slavs

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Pages: 141-144

According to Iordanus’ (i.e. Cassiodorus’) Getica the Venethi are very numerous, but very unwarlike, the Anti are very heroic and strong. The message of these phrases in Iordanus’ text is based on the epic Gothic sources. I think these ideas of heroic Anti and unwarlike Venethi  are the traces of some mythological or, better to say, epic ‘topoi’ of the Gothic tradition. It is very intresting to add there that the image of unwarlike and numerous Venethi is twice accompanied in the text of Getica by mentionings of the Ocean, the Huns and the Aestians. These images of the Venethi  and the Anti  existed in the Gothic culture at the end of 5th – early 6th centuries too. May be the Gothic mercenaries and generals of Gothic origin in the East-Roman army knew about this tradition. Therefore the Gothic epic image of  Venethi  should influence over the lack of real interest of Justinian to save big armies against the Sklavenoi on the Eastern Balkans at the time of Gothic War. The image of heroic Anti  should help Constantinople to elaborate the treaty with Anti.

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