Malinovská, Nora. Svatopluk’s Regnum Sclavorum as a source of medieval Slavic concepts of Sclavinia

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Tags: Great Moravia, Slavic history, Sclavi, Sclavinia, Sclavonia, regnum Sclavorum, Svatopluk, Slavic world, Kingdom of Hungary, Hungarian-Polish Chronicle, Primary Chronicle, The Tale of Bygone Years, Danube, Danube River, Slovyenskaya zeml’ya, Slavic land, Chronicle of Pop Dukljanin, Chronicle of Gallus Anonymus, Gallus Anonymus, Commentarii / Articles, MALINOVSKA N.

Title of the article Svatopluk’s Regnum Sclavorum as a source of medieval Slavic concepts of Sclavinia
Authors

Malinovská, Nora — Ph. D. in History, Assistant Professor, Institute of Social Medicine and Medical Ethics, Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Scopus ID 57195251828

In the section Commentarii / Articles  
Year 2017 Issue 1 Pages 21-38
Type of article RAR Index UDK; BBK UDK 94(437.6); BBK 63.3(0=Словак)4 Index DOI 10.21638/11701/spbu19.2017.102
Abstract

The Primary Chronicle (The Tale of Bygone Years) is believed to have incorporated and preserved the very archaic West Slavic segments from the unknown historical source belonging to the Great Moravian or Pannonian literary tradition of the late 9th and early 10th centuries. These parts bear the precious testimony about the archetypal motherland of the Slavs on the Danube River, from where they gradually spread out over the extensive parts of Europe, preserving, however, solidly the consciousness of their initial unity. This motherland on the Danube, which they called Slovyenskaya zeml’ya [Slavic land/country], was later then occupied by the Hungarian tribes and consequently renamed into Hungary. Acknowledging this West Slavic tradition as their own, the East Slavs became the apparent successors of the Great Moravian and Cyrillo-Methodian ideological concept of the Slavic world.

The analogical case of an adoption of the Great Moravian tradition into the particular, this time, the South Slavic tradition can be detected in the Chronicle of Pop Dukljanin. Here we have witnessed how the interjection of the (Great Moravian) Svatopulk’s tradition with the tradition of the Slavonic-Croatian statehood laid the basis for the South Slavic tradition of Sclavinia as the powerful and archaic Balkan country of the Slavs. A very similar message is brought forward by the Hungarian-Polish Chronicle, where Sclavonia as Great Moravia is explicitly considered to be a predecessor of the Kingdom of Hungary.

The last discussed concept of Sclavinia, as the vast country of many Slavic tribes, arises when dealing with the Chronicle of Gallus Anonymus. Within this widest portrayal and territorial depiction of Sclavinia we have witnessed the gradual evolution of an idea of the ethnic unity of the Slavs, which was gradually extended into the geo-political dimensions (e. g. references to St. Adalberts’s plan of Sclavinia as the political union of the West and possibly the South Slavs; also to Otto’s III plan of Renovation Imperii Romanorum). Again here, we come to a touch with the Great Moravian legacy and its genius loci, which was influencing the ideological movements in this region for many centuries.

Summarizing the outcomes from the analysed historical sources, we presume to identify the three basic Slavic traditions, which trace their roots back to Great Moravia of Svatopluk and its ideological and territorial legacy: 1) Old-Russian tradition; 2) South Slavic tradition; and 3) Latin West Slavic tradition. All these traditions, as it was shown, are alleged to have fixed the historical memory of the Slavs themselves about their first statehood on the Danube — the river, which as a result acquired a «totemic», sacral character both in oral and written traditions of almost all Slavic peoples. Great Moravia, which served as the model of the powerful and in all aspects important Slavic state, stamped the evolution and history of the majority of its Slavic descendants. These, in order to receive a hallmark of their own legitimacy, preserved, modified and spread further the memory on the common Slavic country (motherland), called Sclavinia.

Keywords Sclavinia, Sclavonia, regnum Sclavorum, Great Moravia, Svatopluk
Full text version of the article. Article language Russian
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