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Liburnia - the cradle of Croatian ethnogenesis

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Liburnia (En) (Hr) (Sr) is in the North-Eastern Adriatic region and has a considerable geographic and historical significance with regards to Croatian Ethnogenesis.

The region has over time been referred to using a variety of different names, the scope and meaning of which changed over time and according to the writer, so one finds the same area has been referred to as Liburnia, the Croatian Littoral and as a part of Illyria, Illyricum and (Venetian and Napoleonic) Dalmatia - at times with differing borders, which has occasionally led to confusion. For this project, the area referred to is that which was controlled by the Iron Age Liburian tribe from around 500 BC. In addition to briefly covering the history of the region, those individuals who have influenced historical and contemporary thinking on the origins of the Croats will be mentioned together with a brief description. Sources, reference material and relevant quotations will appear towards the end of the project text.

For a fuller insight into current views on Croatian ethnogenesis, refer to the sources, quotations and documents listed below.

Note: A Project was created by: Ivo Lušić

A Short History of Liburnia

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Liburnia as described in ancient geography was the land of the Liburnians an Illyrian tribe who controlled a region along the northeastern Adriatic coast, whose borders shifted according to the extent of the Liburnian dominance at any given time between 11th and 1st century BC. That the Liburians dominated the Adriatic Sea is confirmed by various Roman era writers, however this gradually declined, owing to the expansion of Etruscan, Greek and Roman territories. As the original inhabitants left no written records, we have to rely on Grecian and Roman sources, who used their own nomenclature to describe the Liburians.

  • In 33 BC, the Liburnians were overrun by the Romans, and Liburnia became a part of Roman Illyricum.
  • In 84 BC, the consuls, Lucius Cornelius Cinna and Cnaeus Papirius Carbo, planned to transfer soldiers from Ancona into Liburnia in order to have a base against the approaching army of Sulla (source 3 )
  • The Adriatic was a significant naval battlefield in the Roman Civil Wars. Julius Caesar built one of his two fleets in the Adriatic and that fleet employed the Liburni or Librarian-constructed ships. (source 3 pg 91)
  • The citizens of the Liburnian city, Iader (Zadar) helped Caesar’s legate Quintus Cornificius to win a naval engagement against the Pompeian fleet. (source 3 pg 124)
  • Some indigenous Liburnian families rose to prominence and the first consul of Liburnian origin appears to have been Tarius Rufus, who was consul in 16 BC. (source 3 pg 124)
  • Circa 190 AD, Lucius Artorius Castus was appointed procurator centenarius of the province of Liburnia (source 1)
  • During the Early Middle Age, after the decline of the Roman Empire, the Adriatic coastal region was ruled over by Ostrogoths, Lombards, and the Byzantine Empire. The region was under Ostrogothic rule from 490 until 535. The position of Byzantium in the Adriatic was destabilized by the fall of Ravenna and Istria to the Langobards in 751.
  • The expansion of the Carolingians quickly brought them into conflict with the Byzantines for the control of the Dalmatian coastal cities and islands, as well as Venice. The conflict lasted from the 780's, but it greatly intensified in the period 806–812.
  • The Byzantines at one time lost the Dalmatian cities, when the bishop Donatus and dux Paulus from Iader (Zadar) surrendered to Charlemagne in December 805, together with the Venetian deputies. However, after a change of fortune had been brought by the Byzantine fleet commanded by the capable patrician Nichetas, the Byzantines avoided disaster and achieved an honorable peace with Charlemagne in Aachen in 812. The treaty left the Dalmatian coastal cities to Byzantine rule, while Venice, Dalmatia and Liburnia were confirmed as being under the dominion of the Carolingians. (Source 2)
  • The Carolingian Empire arose and subsequently the Frankish Kingdom of Italy took control of the Adriatic Sea's western coast extending to the Kvarner Gulf, while Byzantine control of the opposite coast gradually shrank owing to the Avar invasions which had began during the 7th century.
  • At this time, we begin to find the first records of an emerging Croatian identity with Duke Borna being probably the first to be named as a Croatian ruler (albeit under Frankish over-lordship).
  • The earliest direct evidence of early Carolingian involvement was probably the news about the death of Erich, the duke of Friuli, in a battle against the citizens of the castrum Tarsatica (modern Trsat, or even Rijeka) in Liburnia. The peace of Aachen in 812 confirmed Dalmatia, except for the Byzantine cities and islands, as under Frankish domain, and in the 810's Dalmatia appeared to be under the general jurisdiction of the March of Friuli and its dukes in the later period, but the real extent of that jurisdiction is unclear – whether it was only a recognition of the nominal Frankish over-lordship, or if the area was formally a part of the March. The power of Cadalus (Cadolah), the Margrave of Friuli, over Dalmatia, was clearly visible in 817, when the envoys from Constantinople (Byzantium) came to the court of the emperor Louis the Pious to settle a dispute over boundaries in Dalmatia. (source 2 pg 183)
  • The region was gradually incorporated into the medieval Kingdom of Croatia by the 11th century, when the kingdom had reached its territorial peak.

Liburnia - profiles

Croatian Ethnogenesis

The Early Croatian Rulers

  1. Duke Višeslav ruled from 785 until 802
  2. Duke Borna, ruled from 810 until 821
  3. Duke Vladislav ruled from 821 until 835
  4. Duke Mislav (aka Mojslav) ruled from 835 until 845
  5. Duke Trpimir ruled from 845 until 864, although he was based in Klis, he was described as a duke of the Croatian Littoral and was a vassal of the Frankish Emperor Lothair I

For further information, please refer to the Croatian rulers project

History of the theories of Croatian Origins

In the mid 19th century, the European nation-states had all developed various theories regarding how they had come (or were still developing) into existence. Croatia and the other South Slavic states were not alone in developing an origo genti, but because they were smaller nations, it was assumed that they were only a minor part of a greater whole (i.e. the Slavic peoples). Early writers had simply distinguished between Slav and non Slav, and thus regarded ancestry and ethnicity as synonymous and this delusion has persisted until a few decades ago, when genetic testing proved that these two ideas were not the same.

These ideas were born out of the romantic nationalism that arose during the 19th century, but there still exists a great confusion between two quite different concepts;

  • ancestry (or genetic origins) and
  • ethnicity (or group identity, nationhood).

There exist various theories regarding the origins of the Croats, these may be separated into two major groups,

  1. the allochthonous model, which proposed that the Croats (and other South Slavs) had arrived en masse as invaders from elsewhere to occupy post-Roman Illyricum either as Slavs, Goths, Iranians or Turks, and
  2. the autochthonous model, which saw the Croats (and the other South Slavs) as an indigenous group, who had always inhabited the region.

These differing and changing views regarding the origin and arrival of the Croats were developed and exploited to underscore emergent concepts such as nationalism, Pan-Slavism and South Slav brotherhood in opposition to subjugation to others (such as Germans, Italians, or Hungarians), and then later to distinguish the Croat identity from that of the other Slavs, (and especially the Serb identity). There has always been an ideological aspect to the formulation and support of the theories regarding the origins of the South Slavs.

Some modern historians have proposed new models comprising of a synthesis between elements from the various models, in order to address certain issues which had not been resolved by earlier theories.

The autochthonous model has its origins during the Renaissance, and was first mentioned by writers from that era, such as Vinko Pribojević, Matija Petar Katančić, Mauro Orbini and Pavao Ritter Vitezović . The idea was also advocated by the Illyrian national movement of Ljudevit Gaj during the early nineteenth century.

The migrational model was first formulated by writer Ivan Lučić , in his work De Regno Dalmatiae et Crotiae, these ideas were later elaborated by the historian Franjo Rački and the linguist Vatroslav Jagić . The idea of the Croats "arriving" together with the Serbs in post-Roman Illyricum suited proponents of Pan-Slavism and the supporters of the Yugoslav idea within the intellectual and political circles gathered around Josip Juraj Strossmayer. The historical framework outlined by Rački also ideally suited the new Yugoslav state. Ferdo Šišić incorporated Rački’s ideas into his book on the history of the Croats in the era of its own ruling dynasties (Povijest Hrvata u vrijeme narodnih vladara),which was to become the cornerstone of Croatian historiography. The works of early 20th century writers and painters such as Oton Iveković did much to popularize the idea of a "Slavic arrival" to the Adriatic region during the Middle Ages.

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The myth of the South Slavic migration was heavily promoted by ideologues in various Slavic countries. Even today, it remains popular, with many refusing to accept the findings of more recent research, However, attempts to explain ethnogenesis using nationalist or ideological mythologies are just as outdated as the Aryan and Nordic ideologies of pre-WW2 Germany and thus should be regarded as being equally offensive. Furthermore, the migrations of the West and East Slavs comprise a completely separate subject, and those events are unrelated to the origin and history of the South Slavs.

Most, if not all, of these "migrationist" theories, are based upon the mythical South Slavic "Migration" into the Balkans, which was first mentioned in chapters 29 to 31 of the "De administrando imperio" DAI, attributed to Byzantine emperor (913-959) Constantine VII (*905 +959). Chapters 29 to 31 of the DAI described events which had occurred some three centuries earlier during the reign of Byzantine emperor (610-641) Heraclius (*575 +641). The early Greek writers tended to explain the appearance of previously unknown groups of people as being due to migrations. The DAI should be regarded as an attempt to depict the Slavs as "newcomers" to a region which was claimed by the Byzantine empire, rather than being a true reflection of historical events.

Modern historians regard the DAI as codified reflections of historical positions and completely unreliable as a historical source. M. Ančić's paper "Imperij na zalasku Nestanak bizantske vlasti" (Empire in the dusk, the disappearance of Byzantine rule) showed that by the beginning of the 9th century, the Byzantine control over the Dalmatian coast was first weakened by the defeat inflicted by the Franks, and Byzantium would eventually disappear from the Adriatic region, leaving it's former client state, the Republic of San Marco, (more popularly known as the Venetian Republic) to become the major power within the Adriatic region. //s3.amazonaws.com/photos.geni.com/p13/3d/76/fe/2c/534448478b388769/soldi_medium.jpg

The Gothic theory of the origin of the Croats arose from the medieval perception that all migrating groups were Goths, an idea expressed by Thomas Archdeacon of Split in his book on the history of Roman Salona (Solin), (a pseudo-historical narrative by Thomas of events which had supposedly occurred some six hundred years earlier, but which had remained unknown until it was published by Ivan Lučić in the mid 17th century (and which cannot be considered either reliable or authoritative, as it was not intended as a history, but was written as an explanation of the ecclesiastical "succession" of the Catholic Church from "Late Roman" Salona to "Medieval" Split).

A modified view of the origin of the Croats, early medieval in nature, appeared in the 1970s and 1980s, when Lujo Margetić and then Nada Klaić linked the appearance of the Croats with the Avar Khaganate and to the Frankish expansion which had occurred during the late 8th and early 9th centuries rather than to any Slavic "migrations" during the 6th and 7th centuries.

The biggest problem facing the migrationist theories on the origins of the South Slavs is the complete absence of contemporary written sources and of archaeological finds that would confirm the South Slavic migrations which were supposed to have taken place during the 6th and 7th centuries. Disturbingly, there has long existed a tendency to ignore any dissenting historical, anthropological, archeological, linguistic and genetic evidence which would challenge the idea of "South Slavic migrations",

  1. In 1920, the historian J. B. Bury in "The Early History of Slavonic settlements" dismissed the DAI as an erroneous and fraudulent history of Dalmatia, stating ", that the Slavs first occupied the lands of Croatia, Dalmatia, and Serbia, in the reign of Horaclius, misrepresents facts. The Slavs had been already settling in these lands in the sixth century, and what occurred in the reign of Heraclius was the recognition by the Imperial Government of a, fait accompli." (source 4)
  2. In 1976, physical anthropologists concluded that there was "little morphological difference between the Pre-Slavic and Slavic populations of the karst zone and the explanation for Slavicization in the karst zone must be sought in terms of cultural linguistic assimilation and not in a phenomenon of population replacement." - A Test of a Migration Hypothesis_ Slavic Movements into the Karst Region of Yugoslavia_ Current Anthropology_ Vol 17, No 3 1976
  3. In archaeologist Huw Evans' book The Early Medieval Archaeology of Croatia 1989, there is no mention of migrating Slavs and no material evidence for a separate Croat migration.
  4. Even the linguists argue against any South Slavic migration - J. Nichols (1993): “…since in their physical anthropology the various modern Slavic populations resemble their respective nearby non-Slavic neighbors more than all Slavs resemble each other, there is no reason to assume the Slavic expansion was primarily a demographic event […] the Slavic expansion was primarily a linguistic spread
  5. In 2003, the report on The History of Slavs Inferred from Complete Mitochondrial Genome Sequences by Mielnik-Sikorska et al. argued "one may exclude the migrationist assumption that Central European territories were populated by the Slavs only at the very beginning of sixth century, following whole scale depopulation of the northern areas of Central Europe. Indeed, the data presented herein indicates that visible changes of material culture of Central Europe in the fifth century did not result from extensive demographic changes, but were rather accompanied by continuity of some maternal and paternal lineages between Bronze and early Middle Ages."
  6. In 2011 - the report on the "Croatian genetic heritage: Y-chromosome story" by Primorač et al., determined from genetic evidence that the majority of Croatian men were descendants of survivors of the last Ice Age viz. "More than 3/4 of the contemporary Croatian men are most probably the offspring of Old Europeans who came here before and after the Last Glacial Maximum. The rest of the population is the offspring of the people who were arriving in this part of Europe through the southeastern route in the last 10 000 years, mostly during the neolithization process" .

various other researchers have recently provided additional conclusions -

  • Hungarians have "Slavic" genes yet are not regarded as a Slavic nation - see Y-Chromosome Analysis of Ancient Hungarian and Two Modern Hungarian-Speaking Populations from the Carpathian Basin by Csányi, Bogácsi-Szabó, Tömöry et al. 2008 "The R1a1-M17 frequency in Hungarians (30%) and Szeklers (18.6%) is comparable to that in their neighbours (e.g. Czechs and Slovaks, mainland Croatians, Bosnians, Romanians, Serbians) and some other Uralic-speaking populations (e.g. Estonian, Komis, Mordvin)... Similar frequencies of R1b as in the Hungarian speakers are found in some Slavic populations (mainland Croatians, Slovenians, Poles, Bulgarians); and in some Uralic-speakers (Komis, Khanties, Mordvin) as well as in Romanian and Turkish populations..."
  • The final nail in the coffin of "Slavic migration" is that the South Slavs are not genetically identical to the Western and Eastern Slavs (this discrepancy was first pointed out by J. Skulj) See Genetic Heritage of the Balto-Slavic Speaking Populations: A Synthesis of Autosomal, Mitochondrial and Y-Chromosomal Data by Kushniarevich, Utevska, Chuhryaeva et al. 2015 - "In contrast to this apparent genetic homogeneity of the majority of West and East Slavs, the gene pool of South Slavs, who are confined to the geographically smaller Balkan Peninsula, differs substantially and shows internal differentiation, as testified by their NRY and autosomal variation" .
  • The inhabitants of the Balkan peninsula have a similar (though not identical) genetic makeup, as can be seen below, including the Romanians who are not regarded as a Slavic nation

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Conclusions

Primorač's report has two important implications;

  1. Croats were NOT descendants of barbarian invaders that had arrived during the Middle ages from the mythical "Slavic homeland" and
  2. the re-population of northern Europe involved a series of prehistoric migrations that took place after the ice sheets covering Northern Europe had receded some tens of thousands of years ago, by small groups which had originated from the LGM refugia, this meant that there would have been a "migration of (proto-)Slavs" but also that this migration would have been in the opposite direction and which had occurred many thousands of years before any Medieval Slavic "migration" into the Balkan region. It is also possible that these small prehistoric migrations were responsible for the diffusion of the early (proto-)Slavonic language.

New theories arise to displace the older ones whenever new findings challenge the old ideas and assumptions, there have always been population movements in Europe, at no time has Europe's population been static., However, the important questions are; when did these population movements occur?, who did they affect and how?, as well as why did these movements take place? A single population "group" may also be impacted by a number of different "migrations".

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Here we see a number of prehistoric migrations which are assumed to have occurred prior to the Bronze Age in Europe.

While recent works in the fields of genetics, linguistics and anthropology have failed to give any support the "South Slavic migration" theory, they also do not readily provide any concrete answers to questions about the history of group identities (ethnicities) in the region, for these are social constructs rather than biological groupings. Ethnicity or nationhood is not based on one's genetic roots, but instead on the Society and Culture that one accepts and adopts. Slavic (and Croatian) identity is defined by intangibles such as language and culture rather than by any genetic similarities. New findings in genetics and linguistics have not yet provided a undisputed and final result, they merely give rise to newer and more complete theories. New findings in genetics may seem to provide grounds for simplistic theories regarding the ethnogenesis of groups, but those new theories must also resolve historical, anthropological, archeological and linguistic issues.

Profiles - Croatian Ethnogenesis

The Earliest Croatian Language and its distribution today

The oldest Croatian dialect has survived and is still being spoken in the coastal regions of Croatia.

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  • Čakavština je u Istru došla s prvotnom hrvatskom naseobom već početkom VII. stoljeća. Taj se prvotni govor razvio u klasičnu čakavštinu ekavskoga tipa kakva je do danas u središnjoj Istri i istarskoj Liburniji, u Kastvu pa istočno uz primorje sve od Rijeke do Bakra. Taj tip ima pet kratkih i pet dugih vokala te dugo i kratko slogotvorno r u konsonantizmu nema zvučnih afrikata j i j; fje zatvorni palatalni dental. Glasovni skup *dj u pravilu se ostvaruje kao j: preja, meja. U ovom govoru spjevane su najljepše Nazorove i Gervaisove čakavske pjesme. Čakavska Čitanka (Šimunović 2011)
  • Linguistics shows the spread of the Slavic languages throughout Eastern Europe during the second half of the first millennium CE; and history and archaeology shows us about at least some of the major migrations in specific areas during this same period which were caused by worsening living conditions (inter alia due to the Late Antique Little Ice Age and Justinian’s Plague); while population genetics shows the relatively recent common ancestry of most of the population in the region.
  • to be expanded, meanwhile refer to Cakavian project

Sources and references used - Liburnia & Croatian Ethnogenesis

  1. The Heroic Age - Lucius Artorius Castus
  2. Becoming Slav, Becoming Croat - Danijel Dzino (2010)
  3. Illyricum In Roman Politics 229BC-AD68 - Danijel Dzino (2010)
  4. "The Early History Of The Slavonic Settlements In Dalmatia, Croatia, And Serbia" - John Bagnell Bury (1920)
  5. Prva stoljeća Hrvatske - Neven Budak (1994) pg10
  6. Etnogenza Hrvata - urednik Neven Budak (1995)
  7. Hrvatski vladari od sredine VI. do kraja IX. stoljeća - Ivan Mužić (2012)
  8. Genetičko podrijetlo Hrvata: etnogeneza i genetička otkrića - Ivan Jurić (2003)
  9. Crkva i društvo uz Jadran - Vicko Kapitanović (2006)
  10. Tko je ubio vojvodu Erika? - Nenad Labus (2000)
  11. Uvod li hrvatsko imenoslovIje - Petar Šimunović (2009)
  12. Čakavska Čitanka - Petar Šimunović (2011)
  13. Cakavian prosody : the accentual patterns of the cakavian dialects of Croatian - Keith Langston (2006)

Documents regarding Croatian Ethnogenesis

Various useful quotations

  • The Formation of Croatian National Identity, A Centuries-Old Dream (Bellamy - 2003) - the Slavs were a diverse and disunited group and that there were indeed recognisable differences between different Slavic groups. According to Emperley, the Slavic tribes were scattered and numerous and recognised no external authority. Furthermore, the Slavs were ‘split up into several distinct groups which are approximately those of today’. This view was supported by Roger Portal who argued that ‘[t]here is at the present time no specifically Slav civilization, common to all the Slavs … and in all probability there never has been’. Furthermore, Portal insisted that other than sharing linguistic characteristics the Slavs exhibited more differences than similarities. The view that the Slavs migrated from one particular area is also dismissed, as George Hoffman suggested that Slavic tribes descended on the Balkans from every conceivable direction, adding to the difficulty of speaking of the Slavs as a common ethnie. What can be determined is that it was in this milieu of migration and conflict that a group (or groups) that came to be known as ‘Croats’ settled in the territories that make up present day Croatia. One of the most basic statements concerning the Croats is that they are ethnically Slav, though as we have seen it is probably problematic to consider the Slavs as an ethnie. it has proven impossible to point to an ethnic predecessor to Croatian nationhood, even though many writers have tried to do so. It is difficult to tell who the Croats were prior to the first Croatian kingdom. This suggests that rather than being a single ethnic group they were a collection of tribes, a mixture made all the more confusing by their interaction with the earliest inhabitants of Pannonia and Dalmatia. It is only with the advent of a Croatian state that it is possible to speak about Croats with any clarity.
  • Franks, Northmen and Slavs (Garipzanov ed. 2008) - Identities and state formation in early Medieval Europe - From the seventh and eighth centuries we have no contemporary information about any ethnic name in Dalmatia, but we can presume on the basis of later data that outsiders to the region would have distinguished two groups: Romans and Slavs.
  • Becoming Slav, Becoming Croat (Dzino 2010) - The Sclavenes started to be included more frequently in other western literary sources in relation to events from the very late 6th and 7th centuries. The Chronicle of Fredegar gave attention to the rebellion of the Sclavenes in Bohemia led by Samo in 623 against the Avars, and the subsequent conflict of Samo and the Austrasian Franks. Fredegar perceived the Sclavenes (Sclauini) and Wends (Winidi/Winodi/Winedi/Venedi) as social and political categories, related to the terms ‘state’ and ‘ethnos’, and the Slavs (Sclaui/Esclaui) as a geographical and loose cultural term
  • The early Slavs culture and society (Barford 2001) - No source specifically talks about Slavs before the reign of Justinian, despite Jordanes’ efforts to fabricate a venerable ancestry for them by linking Sclavenes and Antes to Venethi. It was the first half of Justinian’s reign that witnessed the rise of a Slavic problem.”
  • The Origins of the Slavic Nations (Plokhy 2006) - The first distinct East Slavic identities bore little relation to the three future East Slavic nations. Instead, they were called into existence by the Rurikid elites living under the suzerainty of the Mongol khans in the east and the Lithuanian princes in the west of the former Kyivan realm
  • Byzantium's Balkan Frontier (Stephenson 2004) - So barbarism could be brought within frontiers of the empire and modified by the contacts with the civilized (or, according to Psellus, Romanity could mix with barbarity). Even in defeat the civilized would triumph by the extension of its cherished values, its defining characteristics: by baptism, soothing the brutish nature of the barbarian; or by treaties, obliging barbarians to recognize the force of law. Since authority in the lands beside the Danube relied on the Byzantines retaining the support of the local elites,and harnessing their interests to those of the empire, to allow regular raids into Paristrion undermined the status quo in the frontier region, even while they may not penetrate very far into the empire. Between 1040 and 1042 four rebellions occurred in the various lands of the southern Slavs.
  • Genetic Heritage of the Balto-Slavic Speaking Populations: A Synthesis of Autosomal, Mitochondrial and Y-Chromosomal Data (Kushniarevich, Utevska, Chuhryaeva et al. 2015) - The Slavic branch of the Balto-Slavic sub-family of Indo-European languages underwent rapid divergence as a result of the spatial expansion of its speakers from Central-East Europe, in early medieval times. This expansion–mainly to East Europe and the northern Balkans–resulted in the incorporation of genetic components from numerous autochthonous populations into the Slavic gene pools. Balto-Slavic speakers comprise around one-third of present-day Europeans and occupy nearly a half of the European subcontinent. There is a near consensus among linguists that the Baltic and Slavic languages stem from a common root, Proto-Balto-Slavic, which separated from other Indo-European languages around 4,500–7,000 years before present (YBP) and whose origin is mapped to Central Europe. The Balto-Slavic node was recognized in the pioneer Indo-European tree. The split between Baltic and Slavic branches has been dated to around 3,500–2,500 YBP, whereas further diversification of the Slavic languages probably occurred much later, around 1,700–1,300 YBP. Uniparental genetic markers, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and the non-recombining part of the Y-chromosome (NRY), indicate that the genetic composition of Slavs does not differ significantly from that of their neighboring non-Slavic populations. In addition, age estimates for major paternal and maternal lineages of East-Central Europe point to an expansion that pre-dates the historic spread of Slavs. Most South Slavs are separated from the rest of the Balto-Slavic populations and form a sparse group of populations with internal differentiation into western (Slovenians, Croatians and Bosnians) and eastern (Macedonians and Bulgarians) regions of the Balkan Peninsula with Serbians placed in-between. The mean population pairwise genetic distances for South Slavs are comparable or higher to the ones for East Slavs despite the smaller region within the Balkan Peninsula that they occupy. Furthermore, Slovenians lie close to the non-Slavic-speaking Hungarians, whereas eastern South Slavs group is located together with non-Slavic-speaking but geographically neighboring Romanians and, to some extent, with Greeks
  • Ljetopis popa Dukljanina i južni smještaj Moravske Kneževine (Gračanin 2016) - "A breakdown of methods ... vividly shows the unrewarding and treacherous a priori acceptance of sources that are chronologically considerably distant from the times which they describe as irrefutably valid data, including the extrapolation of individual data from their original narrative context in order to fit them into a new historiographical interpretation."
  • Plague and the End of Antiquity: The Pandemic of 541-750 (Little ed. - 2007) - Again in the autumn of 597 a severe shortage took hold of Thessalonica barely after the city had experienced an outbreak of plague and an Avaroslavic siege. Finally in 618–619, a famine ravaged Constantinople followed immediately by the plague.
  • The Mediterranean world in Late Antiquity (Cameron 1993) - The early 540's also saw one of the greatest plagues in history. The disease, a form of bubonic plague, struck Constantinople and the eastern provinces in AD 542 and is vividly described by Procopius, who was an eyewitness (BP II.22–3). Even allowing for exaggeration in the literary sources (the plague is also described by the Syriac church historian John of Ephesus), the level of casualties was clearly extremely high, perhaps approaching that of the Black Death.
  • The Middle Ages Between the Eastern Alps and the Northern Adriatic (Štih 2010) - National histories structured in this vein started to form in the last decades of the 18th and 19th centuries and they are a product of European nationalism. Those pseudo-historical images, which continue to prevail in Europe at the level of historical memory and consciousness, were adopted as entirely self-evident and undisputed historical realities in the 20th century, even though they are utopian projections. According to more radical notions, usually referred to as theories of indigeneity, the Slovene national history started already in prehistoric times. Those notions assume a generic and continuous line of development between the prehistoric inhabitants – the most recent favourites are the Veneti – and the present-day Slovenes, bestowing on the Slovenes a history of over two thousand years. This medieval Slovene glory referred, on the one hand, to the notion that the Slovene ethnic territory of the 9th century was three times bigger than it is today, extending to the north as far as the Danube between Vienna and Linz and even across the river. This belief has survived into the present and until recently nobody has thought of questioning it and consigning it the place where it really belongs – the dustbin of historical myths.
  • Ethnography After Antiquity (Kaldellis 2013) - But to talk about the structure or meaning of the DAI (as it is often called) is just as challenging as sifting through the details, if not more so. It is obviously a compilation, some would say a patchwork, put together from a diverse range of sources. One solution is simply to accept that the text was formed through the operation of heterogeneous literary and ideological influences, including classical geographical determinism, encyclopedism, etymology, and origines gentium that were meant to bolster Byzantine imperial hegemony over client states, especially in the Balkans and Caucasus; and also that a paucity of easily digestible written information about current cultures was responsible for its frequent lack of contemporary relevance, as imperial information-gathering was limited to military operations and was not always in writing.
  • Greek & Roman Historians; Information and Misinformation (Grant 1995) - One of the main reasons why the ancient historians were biased was provided by politics. Another reason why the Greek and Roman historians fell short of modern standards of historiography was because they made mistakes. They got a number of their facts wrong. One must not, of course, be over-critical of this, because they were human and it is human to make mistakes. Besides, their sources were not as good as those which are available for modern scholars. Nevertheless, it remains true that the ancient historians did make mistakes and rather too many of them. Some of these mistakes were accidental, and are therefore cases of misinformation. Others are deliberate, and for deliberate reason, and are therefore disinformation. ‘Individual elements of the tradition were conflated, modified and sometimes invented.’
  • Nationalizing the Past; Historians as Nation Builders in Modern Europe (Berger 2010) - It soon became obvious, however, that the gap between ancient and modern Greece had to be bridged. This was even more so after 1830, when Jacob Philipp Fallmerayer published his Geschichte der Halbinsel Morea während des Mittelalters. Greek intellectuals turned to Byzantium in order to refute his argument about the Slavonization of the Greeks as a result of the Slavic occupation of the Peloponnese from the late sixth to the tenth century. Spyridon Zambelios (1815–1881) published his Byzantine Studies in 1857, arguing that Byzantium provided the necessary link between ancient and modern times in terms of popular culture. Konstantinos Paparrigopoulos’s History of the Greek Nation from the Most Ancient Times until the Present, published in five volumes between 1869 and 1874, claimed an unbroken continuity for the Greek nation. Paparrigopoulos’s threefold scheme of ‘ancient-medieval-modern’ Greece made it possible for Byzantium to be integrated in the Greek national narrative, as the second link of the chain.

Liburnia (En) (Hr) (Sr) is in the North-Eastern Adriatic region and has a considerable geographic and historical significance with regards to Croatian Ethnogenesis.

The region has over time been referred to using a variety of different names, the scope and meaning of which changed over time and according to the writer, so one finds the same area has been referred to as Liburnia, the Croatian Littoral and as a part of Illyria, Illyricum and (Venetian and Napoleonic) Dalmatia - at times with differing borders, which has occasionally led to confusion. For this project, the area referred to is that which was controlled by the Iron Age Liburian tribe from around 500 BC. In addition to briefly covering the history of the region, those individuals who have influenced historical and contemporary thinking on the origins of the Croats will be mentioned together with a brief description. Sources, reference material and relevant quotations will appear towards the end of the project text.

For a fuller insight into current views on Croatian ethnogenesis, refer to the sources, quotations and documents listed below.

Note: A Project was created by: Ivo Lušić

A Short History of Liburnia

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Liburnia as described in ancient geography was the land of the Liburnians an Illyrian tribe who controlled a region along the northeastern Adriatic coast, whose borders shifted according to the extent of the Liburnian dominance at any given time between 11th and 1st century BC. That the Liburians dominated the Adriatic Sea is confirmed by various Roman era writers, however this gradually declined, owing to the expansion of Etruscan, Greek and Roman territories. As the original inhabitants left no written records, we have to rely on Grecian and Roman sources, who used their own nomenclature to describe the Liburians.

  • In 33 BC, the Liburnians were overrun by the Romans, and Liburnia became a part of Roman Illyricum.
  • In 84 BC, the consuls, Lucius Cornelius Cinna and Cnaeus Papirius Carbo, planned to transfer soldiers from Ancona into Liburnia in order to have a base against the approaching army of Sulla (source 3 )
  • The Adriatic was a significant naval battlefield in the Roman Civil Wars. Julius Caesar built one of his two fleets in the Adriatic and that fleet employed the Liburni or Librarian-constructed ships. (source 3 pg 91)
  • The citizens of the Liburnian city, Iader (Zadar) helped Caesar’s legate Quintus Cornificius to win a naval engagement against the Pompeian fleet. (source 3 pg 124)
  • Some indigenous Liburnian families rose to prominence and the first consul of Liburnian origin appears to have been Tarius Rufus, who was consul in 16 BC. (source 3 pg 124)
  • Circa 190 AD, Lucius Artorius Castus was appointed procurator centenarius of the province of Liburnia (source 1)
  • During the Early Middle Age, after the decline of the Roman Empire, the Adriatic coastal region was ruled over by Ostrogoths, Lombards, and the Byzantine Empire. The region was under Ostrogothic rule from 490 until 535. The position of Byzantium in the Adriatic was destabilized by the fall of Ravenna and Istria to the Langobards in 751.
  • The expansion of the Carolingians quickly brought them into conflict with the Byzantines for the control of the Dalmatian coastal cities and islands, as well as Venice. The conflict lasted from the 780's, but it greatly intensified in the period 806–812.
  • The Byzantines at one time lost the Dalmatian cities, when the bishop Donatus and dux Paulus from Iader (Zadar) surrendered to Charlemagne in December 805, together with the Venetian deputies. However, after a change of fortune had been brought by the Byzantine fleet commanded by the capable patrician Nichetas, the Byzantines avoided disaster and achieved an honorable peace with Charlemagne in Aachen in 812. The treaty left the Dalmatian coastal cities to Byzantine rule, while Venice, Dalmatia and Liburnia were confirmed as being under the dominion of the Carolingians. (Source 2)
  • The Carolingian Empire arose and subsequently the Frankish Kingdom of Italy took control of the Adriatic Sea's western coast extending to the Kvarner Gulf, while Byzantine control of the opposite coast gradually shrank owing to the Avar invasions which had began during the 7th century.
  • At this time, we begin to find the first records of an emerging Croatian identity with Duke Borna being probably the first to be named as a Croatian ruler (albeit under Frankish over-lordship).
  • The earliest direct evidence of early Carolingian involvement was probably the news about the death of Erich, the duke of Friuli, in a battle against the citizens of the castrum Tarsatica (modern Trsat, or even Rijeka) in Liburnia. The peace of Aachen in 812 confirmed Dalmatia, except for the Byzantine cities and islands, as under Frankish domain, and in the 810's Dalmatia appeared to be under the general jurisdiction of the March of Friuli and its dukes in the later period, but the real extent of that jurisdiction is unclear – whether it was only a recognition of the nominal Frankish over-lordship, or if the area was formally a part of the March. The power of Cadalus (Cadolah), the Margrave of Friuli, over Dalmatia, was clearly visible in 817, when the envoys from Constantinople (Byzantium) came to the court of the emperor Louis the Pious to settle a dispute over boundaries in Dalmatia. (source 2 pg 183)
  • The region was gradually incorporated into the medieval Kingdom of Croatia by the 11th century, when the kingdom had reached its territorial peak.

Liburnia - profiles

Croatian Ethnogenesis

The Early Croatian Rulers

  1. Duke Višeslav ruled from 785 until 802
  2. Duke Borna, ruled from 810 until 821
  3. Duke Vladislav ruled from 821 until 835
  4. Duke Mislav (aka Mojslav) ruled from 835 until 845
  5. Duke Trpimir ruled from 845 until 864, although he was based in Klis, he was described as a duke of the Croatian Littoral and was a vassal of the Frankish Emperor Lothair I

For further information, please refer to the Croatian rulers project

History of the theories of Croatian Origins

In the mid 19th century, the European nation-states had all developed various theories regarding how they had come (or were still developing) into existence. Croatia and the other South Slavic states were not alone in developing an origo genti, but because they were smaller nations, it was assumed that they were only a minor part of a greater whole (i.e. the Slavic peoples). Early writers had simply distinguished between Slav and non Slav, and thus regarded ancestry and ethnicity as synonymous and this delusion has persisted until a few decades ago, when genetic testing proved that these two ideas were not the same.

These ideas were born out of the romantic nationalism that arose during the 19th century, but there still exists a great confusion between two quite different concepts;

  • ancestry (or genetic origins) and
  • ethnicity (or group identity, nationhood).

There exist various theories regarding the origins of the Croats, these may be separated into two major groups,

  1. the allochthonous model, which proposed that the Croats (and other South Slavs) had arrived en masse as invaders from elsewhere to occupy post-Roman Illyricum either as Slavs, Goths, Iranians or Turks, and
  2. the autochthonous model, which saw the Croats (and the other South Slavs) as an indigenous group, who had always inhabited the region.

These differing and changing views regarding the origin and arrival of the Croats were developed and exploited to underscore emergent concepts such as nationalism, Pan-Slavism and South Slav brotherhood in opposition to subjugation to others (such as Germans, Italians, or Hungarians), and then later to distinguish the Croat identity from that of the other Slavs, (and especially the Serb identity). There has always been an ideological aspect to the formulation and support of the theories regarding the origins of the South Slavs.

Some modern historians have proposed new models comprising of a synthesis between elements from the various models, in order to address certain issues which had not been resolved by earlier theories.

The autochthonous model has its origins during the Renaissance, and was first mentioned by writers from that era, such as Vinko Pribojević, Matija Petar Katančić, Mauro Orbini and Pavao Ritter Vitezović . The idea was also advocated by the Illyrian national movement of Ljudevit Gaj during the early nineteenth century.

The migrational model was first formulated by writer Ivan Lučić , in his work De Regno Dalmatiae et Crotiae, these ideas were later elaborated by the historian Franjo Rački and the linguist Vatroslav Jagić . The idea of the Croats "arriving" together with the Serbs in post-Roman Illyricum suited proponents of Pan-Slavism and the supporters of the Yugoslav idea within the intellectual and political circles gathered around Josip Juraj Strossmayer. The historical framework outlined by Rački also ideally suited the new Yugoslav state. Ferdo Šišić incorporated Rački’s ideas into his book on the history of the Croats in the era of its own ruling dynasties (Povijest Hrvata u vrijeme narodnih vladara),which was to become the cornerstone of Croatian historiography. The works of early 20th century writers and painters such as Oton Iveković did much to popularize the idea of a "Slavic arrival" to the Adriatic region during the Middle Ages.

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The myth of the South Slavic migration was heavily promoted by ideologues in various Slavic countries. Even today, it remains popular, with many refusing to accept the findings of more recent research, However, attempts to explain ethnogenesis using nationalist or ideological mythologies are just as outdated as the Aryan and Nordic ideologies of pre-WW2 Germany and thus should be regarded as being equally offensive. Furthermore, the migrations of the West and East Slavs comprise a completely separate subject, and those events are unrelated to the origin and history of the South Slavs.

Most, if not all, of these "migrationist" theories, are based upon the mythical South Slavic "Migration" into the Balkans, which was first mentioned in chapters 29 to 31 of the "De administrando imperio" DAI, attributed to Byzantine emperor (913-959) Constantine VII (*905 +959). Chapters 29 to 31 of the DAI described events which had occurred some three centuries earlier during the reign of Byzantine emperor (610-641) Heraclius (*575 +641). The early Greek writers tended to explain the appearance of previously unknown groups of people as being due to migrations. The DAI should be regarded as an attempt to depict the Slavs as "newcomers" to a region which was claimed by the Byzantine empire, rather than being a true reflection of historical events.

Modern historians regard the DAI as codified reflections of historical positions and completely unreliable as a historical source. M. Ančić's paper "Imperij na zalasku Nestanak bizantske vlasti" (Empire in the dusk, the disappearance of Byzantine rule) showed that by the beginning of the 9th century, the Byzantine control over the Dalmatian coast was first weakened by the defeat inflicted by the Franks, and Byzantium would eventually disappear from the Adriatic region, leaving it's former client state, the Republic of San Marco, (more popularly known as the Venetian Republic) to become the major power within the Adriatic region. //s3.amazonaws.com/photos.geni.com/p13/3d/76/fe/2c/534448478b388769/soldi_medium.jpg

The Gothic theory of the origin of the Croats arose from the medieval perception that all migrating groups were Goths, an idea expressed by Thomas Archdeacon of Split in his book on the history of Roman Salona (Solin), (a pseudo-historical narrative by Thomas of events which had supposedly occurred some six hundred years earlier, but which had remained unknown until it was published by Ivan Lučić in the mid 17th century (and which cannot be considered either reliable or authoritative, as it was not intended as a history, but was written as an explanation of the ecclesiastical "succession" of the Catholic Church from "Late Roman" Salona to "Medieval" Split).

A modified view of the origin of the Croats, early medieval in nature, appeared in the 1970s and 1980s, when Lujo Margetić and then Nada Klaić linked the appearance of the Croats with the Avar Khaganate and to the Frankish expansion which had occurred during the late 8th and early 9th centuries rather than to any Slavic "migrations" during the 6th and 7th centuries.

The biggest problem facing the migrationist theories on the origins of the South Slavs is the complete absence of contemporary written sources and of archaeological finds that would confirm the South Slavic migrations which were supposed to have taken place during the 6th and 7th centuries. Disturbingly, there has long existed a tendency to ignore any dissenting historical, anthropological, archeological, linguistic and genetic evidence which would challenge the idea of "South Slavic migrations",

  1. In 1920, the historian J. B. Bury in "The Early History of Slavonic settlements" dismissed the DAI as an erroneous and fraudulent history of Dalmatia, stating ", that the Slavs first occupied the lands of Croatia, Dalmatia, and Serbia, in the reign of Horaclius, misrepresents facts. The Slavs had been already settling in these lands in the sixth century, and what occurred in the reign of Heraclius was the recognition by the Imperial Government of a, fait accompli." (source 4)
  2. In 1976, physical anthropologists concluded that there was "little morphological difference between the Pre-Slavic and Slavic populations of the karst zone and the explanation for Slavicization in the karst zone must be sought in terms of cultural linguistic assimilation and not in a phenomenon of population replacement." - A Test of a Migration Hypothesis_ Slavic Movements into the Karst Region of Yugoslavia_ Current Anthropology_ Vol 17, No 3 1976
  3. In archaeologist Huw Evans' book The Early Medieval Archaeology of Croatia 1989, there is no mention of migrating Slavs and no material evidence for a separate Croat migration.
  4. Even the linguists argue against any South Slavic migration - J. Nichols (1993): “…since in their physical anthropology the various modern Slavic populations resemble their respective nearby non-Slavic neighbors more than all Slavs resemble each other, there is no reason to assume the Slavic expansion was primarily a demographic event […] the Slavic expansion was primarily a linguistic spread
  5. In 2003, the report on The History of Slavs Inferred from Complete Mitochondrial Genome Sequences by Mielnik-Sikorska et al. argued "one may exclude the migrationist assumption that Central European territories were populated by the Slavs only at the very beginning of sixth century, following whole scale depopulation of the northern areas of Central Europe. Indeed, the data presented herein indicates that visible changes of material culture of Central Europe in the fifth century did not result from extensive demographic changes, but were rather accompanied by continuity of some maternal and paternal lineages between Bronze and early Middle Ages."
  6. In 2011 - the report on the "Croatian genetic heritage: Y-chromosome story" by Primorač et al., determined from genetic evidence that the majority of Croatian men were descendants of survivors of the last Ice Age viz. "More than 3/4 of the contemporary Croatian men are most probably the offspring of Old Europeans who came here before and after the Last Glacial Maximum. The rest of the population is the offspring of the people who were arriving in this part of Europe through the southeastern route in the last 10 000 years, mostly during the neolithization process" .

various other researchers have recently provided additional conclusions -

  • Hungarians have "Slavic" genes yet are not regarded as a Slavic nation - see Y-Chromosome Analysis of Ancient Hungarian and Two Modern Hungarian-Speaking Populations from the Carpathian Basin by Csányi, Bogácsi-Szabó, Tömöry et al. 2008 "The R1a1-M17 frequency in Hungarians (30%) and Szeklers (18.6%) is comparable to that in their neighbours (e.g. Czechs and Slovaks, mainland Croatians, Bosnians, Romanians, Serbians) and some other Uralic-speaking populations (e.g. Estonian, Komis, Mordvin)... Similar frequencies of R1b as in the Hungarian speakers are found in some Slavic populations (mainland Croatians, Slovenians, Poles, Bulgarians); and in some Uralic-speakers (Komis, Khanties, Mordvin) as well as in Romanian and Turkish populations..."
  • The final nail in the coffin of "Slavic migration" is that the South Slavs are not genetically identical to the Western and Eastern Slavs (this discrepancy was first pointed out by J. Skulj) See Genetic Heritage of the Balto-Slavic Speaking Populations: A Synthesis of Autosomal, Mitochondrial and Y-Chromosomal Data by Kushniarevich, Utevska, Chuhryaeva et al. 2015 - "In contrast to this apparent genetic homogeneity of the majority of West and East Slavs, the gene pool of South Slavs, who are confined to the geographically smaller Balkan Peninsula, differs substantially and shows internal differentiation, as testified by their NRY and autosomal variation" .
  • The inhabitants of the Balkan peninsula have a similar (though not identical) genetic makeup, as can be seen below, including the Romanians who are not regarded as a Slavic nation

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Conclusions

Primorač's report has two important implications;

  1. Croats were NOT descendants of barbarian invaders that had arrived during the Middle ages from the mythical "Slavic homeland" and
  2. the re-population of northern Europe involved a series of prehistoric migrations that took place after the ice sheets covering Northern Europe had receded some tens of thousands of years ago, by small groups which had originated from the LGM refugia, this meant that there would have been a "migration of (proto-)Slavs" but also that this migration would have been in the opposite direction and which had occurred many thousands of years before any Medieval Slavic "migration" into the Balkan region. It is also possible that these small prehistoric migrations were responsible for the diffusion of the early (proto-)Slavonic language.

New theories arise to displace the older ones whenever new findings challenge the old ideas and assumptions, there have always been population movements in Europe, at no time has Europe's population been static., However, the important questions are; when did these population movements occur?, who did they affect and how?, as well as why did these movements take place? A single population "group" may also be impacted by a number of different "migrations".

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Here we see a number of prehistoric migrations which are assumed to have occurred prior to the Bronze Age in Europe.

While recent works in the fields of genetics, linguistics and anthropology have failed to give any support the "South Slavic migration" theory, they also do not readily provide any concrete answers to questions about the history of group identities (ethnicities) in the region, for these are social constructs rather than biological groupings. Ethnicity or nationhood is not based on one's genetic roots, but instead on the Society and Culture that one accepts and adopts. Slavic (and Croatian) identity is defined by intangibles such as language and culture rather than by any genetic similarities. New findings in genetics and linguistics have not yet provided a undisputed and final result, they merely give rise to newer and more complete theories. New findings in genetics may seem to provide grounds for simplistic theories regarding the ethnogenesis of groups, but those new theories must also resolve historical, anthropological, archeological and linguistic issues.

Profiles - Croatian Ethnogenesis

The Earliest Croatian Language and its distribution today

The oldest Croatian dialect has survived and is still being spoken in the coastal regions of Croatia.

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  • Čakavština je u Istru došla s prvotnom hrvatskom naseobom već početkom VII. stoljeća. Taj se prvotni govor razvio u klasičnu čakavštinu ekavskoga tipa kakva je do danas u središnjoj Istri i istarskoj Liburniji, u Kastvu pa istočno uz primorje sve od Rijeke do Bakra. Taj tip ima pet kratkih i pet dugih vokala te dugo i kratko slogotvorno r u konsonantizmu nema zvučnih afrikata j i j; fje zatvorni palatalni dental. Glasovni skup *dj u pravilu se ostvaruje kao j: preja, meja. U ovom govoru spjevane su najljepše Nazorove i Gervaisove čakavske pjesme. Čakavska Čitanka (Šimunović 2011)
  • Linguistics shows the spread of the Slavic languages throughout Eastern Europe during the second half of the first millennium CE; and history and archaeology shows us about at least some of the major migrations in specific areas during this same period which were caused by worsening living conditions (inter alia due to the Late Antique Little Ice Age and Justinian’s Plague); while population genetics shows the relatively recent common ancestry of most of the population in the region.
  • to be expanded, meanwhile refer to Cakavian project

Sources and references used - Liburnia & Croatian Ethnogenesis

  1. The Heroic Age - Lucius Artorius Castus
  2. Becoming Slav, Becoming Croat - Danijel Dzino (2010)
  3. Illyricum In Roman Politics 229BC-AD68 - Danijel Dzino (2010)
  4. "The Early History Of The Slavonic Settlements In Dalmatia, Croatia, And Serbia" - John Bagnell Bury (1920)
  5. Prva stoljeća Hrvatske - Neven Budak (1994) pg10
  6. Etnogenza Hrvata - urednik Neven Budak (1995)
  7. Hrvatski vladari od sredine VI. do kraja IX. stoljeća - Ivan Mužić (2012)
  8. Genetičko podrijetlo Hrvata: etnogeneza i genetička otkrića - Ivan Jurić (2003)
  9. Crkva i društvo uz Jadran - Vicko Kapitanović (2006)
  10. Tko je ubio vojvodu Erika? - Nenad Labus (2000)
  11. Uvod li hrvatsko imenoslovIje - Petar Šimunović (2009)
  12. Čakavska Čitanka - Petar Šimunović (2011)
  13. Cakavian prosody : the accentual patterns of the cakavian dialects of Croatian - Keith Langston (2006)

Documents regarding Croatian Ethnogenesis

Various useful quotations

  • The Formation of Croatian National Identity, A Centuries-Old Dream (Bellamy - 2003) - the Slavs were a diverse and disunited group and that there were indeed recognisable differences between different Slavic groups. According to Emperley, the Slavic tribes were scattered and numerous and recognised no external authority. Furthermore, the Slavs were ‘split up into several distinct groups which are approximately those of today’. This view was supported by Roger Portal who argued that ‘[t]here is at the present time no specifically Slav civilization, common to all the Slavs … and in all probability there never has been’. Furthermore, Portal insisted that other than sharing linguistic characteristics the Slavs exhibited more differences than similarities. The view that the Slavs migrated from one particular area is also dismissed, as George Hoffman suggested that Slavic tribes descended on the Balkans from every conceivable direction, adding to the difficulty of speaking of the Slavs as a common ethnie. What can be determined is that it was in this milieu of migration and conflict that a group (or groups) that came to be known as ‘Croats’ settled in the territories that make up present day Croatia. One of the most basic statements concerning the Croats is that they are ethnically Slav, though as we have seen it is probably problematic to consider the Slavs as an ethnie. it has proven impossible to point to an ethnic predecessor to Croatian nationhood, even though many writers have tried to do so. It is difficult to tell who the Croats were prior to the first Croatian kingdom. This suggests that rather than being a single ethnic group they were a collection of tribes, a mixture made all the more confusing by their interaction with the earliest inhabitants of Pannonia and Dalmatia. It is only with the advent of a Croatian state that it is possible to speak about Croats with any clarity.
  • Franks, Northmen and Slavs (Garipzanov ed. 2008) - Identities and state formation in early Medieval Europe - From the seventh and eighth centuries we have no contemporary information about any ethnic name in Dalmatia, but we can presume on the basis of later data that outsiders to the region would have distinguished two groups: Romans and Slavs.
  • Becoming Slav, Becoming Croat (Dzino 2010) - The Sclavenes started to be included more frequently in other western literary sources in relation to events from the very late 6th and 7th centuries. The Chronicle of Fredegar gave attention to the rebellion of the Sclavenes in Bohemia led by Samo in 623 against the Avars, and the subsequent conflict of Samo and the Austrasian Franks. Fredegar perceived the Sclavenes (Sclauini) and Wends (Winidi/Winodi/Winedi/Venedi) as social and political categories, related to the terms ‘state’ and ‘ethnos’, and the Slavs (Sclaui/Esclaui) as a geographical and loose cultural term
  • The early Slavs culture and society (Barford 2001) - No source specifically talks about Slavs before the reign of Justinian, despite Jordanes’ efforts to fabricate a venerable ancestry for them by linking Sclavenes and Antes to Venethi. It was the first half of Justinian’s reign that witnessed the rise of a Slavic problem.”
  • The Origins of the Slavic Nations (Plokhy 2006) - The first distinct East Slavic identities bore little relation to the three future East Slavic nations. Instead, they were called into existence by the Rurikid elites living under the suzerainty of the Mongol khans in the east and the Lithuanian princes in the west of the former Kyivan realm
  • Byzantium's Balkan Frontier (Stephenson 2004) - So barbarism could be brought within frontiers of the empire and modified by the contacts with the civilized (or, according to Psellus, Romanity could mix with barbarity). Even in defeat the civilized would triumph by the extension of its cherished values, its defining characteristics: by baptism, soothing the brutish nature of the barbarian; or by treaties, obliging barbarians to recognize the force of law. Since authority in the lands beside the Danube relied on the Byzantines retaining the support of the local elites,and harnessing their interests to those of the empire, to allow regular raids into Paristrion undermined the status quo in the frontier region, even while they may not penetrate very far into the empire. Between 1040 and 1042 four rebellions occurred in the various lands of the southern Slavs.
  • Genetic Heritage of the Balto-Slavic Speaking Populations: A Synthesis of Autosomal, Mitochondrial and Y-Chromosomal Data (Kushniarevich, Utevska, Chuhryaeva et al. 2015) - The Slavic branch of the Balto-Slavic sub-family of Indo-European languages underwent rapid divergence as a result of the spatial expansion of its speakers from Central-East Europe, in early medieval times. This expansion–mainly to East Europe and the northern Balkans–resulted in the incorporation of genetic components from numerous autochthonous populations into the Slavic gene pools. Balto-Slavic speakers comprise around one-third of present-day Europeans and occupy nearly a half of the European subcontinent. There is a near consensus among linguists that the Baltic and Slavic languages stem from a common root, Proto-Balto-Slavic, which separated from other Indo-European languages around 4,500–7,000 years before present (YBP) and whose origin is mapped to Central Europe. The Balto-Slavic node was recognized in the pioneer Indo-European tree. The split between Baltic and Slavic branches has been dated to around 3,500–2,500 YBP, whereas further diversification of the Slavic languages probably occurred much later, around 1,700–1,300 YBP. Uniparental genetic markers, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and the non-recombining part of the Y-chromosome (NRY), indicate that the genetic composition of Slavs does not differ significantly from that of their neighboring non-Slavic populations. In addition, age estimates for major paternal and maternal lineages of East-Central Europe point to an expansion that pre-dates the historic spread of Slavs. Most South Slavs are separated from the rest of the Balto-Slavic populations and form a sparse group of populations with internal differentiation into western (Slovenians, Croatians and Bosnians) and eastern (Macedonians and Bulgarians) regions of the Balkan Peninsula with Serbians placed in-between. The mean population pairwise genetic distances for South Slavs are comparable or higher to the ones for East Slavs despite the smaller region within the Balkan Peninsula that they occupy. Furthermore, Slovenians lie close to the non-Slavic-speaking Hungarians, whereas eastern South Slavs group is located together with non-Slavic-speaking but geographically neighboring Romanians and, to some extent, with Greeks
  • Ljetopis popa Dukljanina i južni smještaj Moravske Kneževine (Gračanin 2016) - "A breakdown of methods ... vividly shows the unrewarding and treacherous a priori acceptance of sources that are chronologically considerably distant from the times which they describe as irrefutably valid data, including the extrapolation of individual data from their original narrative context in order to fit them into a new historiographical interpretation."
  • Plague and the End of Antiquity: The Pandemic of 541-750 (Little ed. - 2007) - Again in the autumn of 597 a severe shortage took hold of Thessalonica barely after the city had experienced an outbreak of plague and an Avaroslavic siege. Finally in 618–619, a famine ravaged Constantinople followed immediately by the plague.
  • The Mediterranean world in Late Antiquity (Cameron 1993) - The early 540's also saw one of the greatest plagues in history. The disease, a form of bubonic plague, struck Constantinople and the eastern provinces in AD 542 and is vividly described by Procopius, who was an eyewitness (BP II.22–3). Even allowing for exaggeration in the literary sources (the plague is also described by the Syriac church historian John of Ephesus), the level of casualties was clearly extremely high, perhaps approaching that of the Black Death.
  • The Middle Ages Between the Eastern Alps and the Northern Adriatic (Štih 2010) - National histories structured in this vein started to form in the last decades of the 18th and 19th centuries and they are a product of European nationalism. Those pseudo-historical images, which continue to prevail in Europe at the level of historical memory and consciousness, were adopted as entirely self-evident and undisputed historical realities in the 20th century, even though they are utopian projections. According to more radical notions, usually referred to as theories of indigeneity, the Slovene national history started already in prehistoric times. Those notions assume a generic and continuous line of development between the prehistoric inhabitants – the most recent favourites are the Veneti – and the present-day Slovenes, bestowing on the Slovenes a history of over two thousand years. This medieval Slovene glory referred, on the one hand, to the notion that the Slovene ethnic territory of the 9th century was three times bigger than it is today, extending to the north as far as the Danube between Vienna and Linz and even across the river. This belief has survived into the present and until recently nobody has thought of questioning it and consigning it the place where it really belongs – the dustbin of historical myths.
  • Ethnography After Antiquity (Kaldellis 2013) - But to talk about the structure or meaning of the DAI (as it is often called) is just as challenging as sifting through the details, if not more so. It is obviously a compilation, some would say a patchwork, put together from a diverse range of sources. One solution is simply to accept that the text was formed through the operation of heterogeneous literary and ideological influences, including classical geographical determinism, encyclopedism, etymology, and origines gentium that were meant to bolster Byzantine imperial hegemony over client states, especially in the Balkans and Caucasus; and also that a paucity of easily digestible written information about current cultures was responsible for its frequent lack of contemporary relevance, as imperial information-gathering was limited to military operations and was not always in writing.
  • Greek & Roman Historians; Information and Misinformation (Grant 1995) - One of the main reasons why the ancient historians were biased was provided by politics. Another reason why the Greek and Roman historians fell short of modern standards of historiography was because they made mistakes. They got a number of their facts wrong. One must not, of course, be over-critical of this, because they were human and it is human to make mistakes. Besides, their sources were not as good as those which are available for modern scholars. Nevertheless, it remains true that the ancient historians did make mistakes and rather too many of them. Some of these mistakes were accidental, and are therefore cases of misinformation. Others are deliberate, and for deliberate reason, and are therefore disinformation. ‘Individual elements of the tradition were conflated, modified and sometimes invented.’
  • Nationalizing the Past; Historians as Nation Builders in Modern Europe (Berger 2010) - It soon became obvious, however, that the gap between ancient and modern Greece had to be bridged. This was even more so after 1830, when Jacob Philipp Fallmerayer published his Geschichte der Halbinsel Morea während des Mittelalters. Greek intellectuals turned to Byzantium in order to refute his argument about the Slavonization of the Greeks as a result of the Slavic occupation of the Peloponnese from the late sixth to the tenth century. Spyridon Zambelios (1815–1881) published his Byzantine Studies in 1857, arguing that Byzantium provided the necessary link between ancient and modern times in terms of popular culture. Konstantinos Paparrigopoulos’s History of the Greek Nation from the Most Ancient Times until the Present, published in five volumes between 1869 and 1874, claimed an unbroken continuity for the Greek nation. Paparrigopoulos’s threefold scheme of ‘ancient-medieval-modern’ Greece made it possible for Byzantium to be integrated in the Greek national narrative, as the second link of the chain.