ANCIENT PROVENANCE OF SLAVS IN EUROPE
(The opening chapters from the book Slavs, a European Protonation)
Foreword to the fifth edition
In its previous four editions, this work was titled Wann wurde Mitteleuropa von dem Slaven besiedelt! (When was Europe Settled by Slavs).
The foregoing opinions on the topic of Slavic prehistory and cultural inferiority will need to be fundamentally altered, even if indirectly. Without adapting to the confines of the system and skewed assumptions, we are going to make use only of those factors, which base the development of prehistoric culture on simple and easily comprehensible inferences. Science aught to be a commonly accessible commodity and even the most unpleasant truth must take preference! Engineering and medicine are making truly unbelievable headway; barely a day passes without news reporting new discoveries, while our prehistory receives not a single ray light, its illumination obstructed by dogmatic paper doctrines, empty statements, and hollow phrases.
Ethnographic and genealogic research is leading towards ever-clearer depictions of prehistoric European culture, the greatness of which remains entirely unknown to the most learned of experts. My writing aims to support current ethnographic assumptions in a fairer and more reliable manner. Assisted by linguistic analysis fitting the nature of the issue I aim to acquaint the reader with the ancient people’s primordial mode of thinking, while simultaneously explaining the evolution of the complex forms of our present-day expressions. I am certain that this is the only way to solve the issue of out national past. This positivist science, which encompasses and delineates the concepts of time, space, and causality, must be ruled solely by the world of our senses rather than fantasy, mysticism, and wishful thinking! – I hope that this work will contribute to the search for the truth!
Kromeřiž, November 1909.
Foreword to the sixth edition
The delectable interest roused by the previous edition of my work among all the tiers of the educated world calls for repetition, which should enliven the previous interpretations with surprising new discoveries.
Ever since it was joined by comparative linguistics, toponymy has grown more popular. The expansion of language zones brings daily new inspirations and explanations of ancient principles.
I am happy to find that, as a result, several words are no longer limited to senses as defined in books, but have been at least partially renewed to the senses they held in the era and place of their inception. Through efforts to gradually find the origin of both ancient and modern-day words and illuminate them from all angles, we are also constructing the fundaments of linguistic prehistory and breaking new ground towards a more balanced understanding of out common linguistic cradle.
We can, however, marvel at the fact that it is those without academic education, who are most vividly interested in discoveries concerning the history of ancient Slavs. Any science of the mind advances all the more lively when there is a sense of aspiration to move from good to better. It is only where the spirit of authorities rules from an elevated throne that everything remains the same. Yet it is Slavic studies, that are actually based on a single authority, the branch of science that half a century ago obstinately denied entire ancient Slavic culture and history, which to this day learnedly expounds the same old rules. It locked its three dogmas in a ring of formality to ensure their continued existence [emphasized in the Slovenian translation]. However, such fossilized science will not retain confidence for long and idols of forced validity will fade because the desire for discovery cannot remain forever suppressed. And this is my writing’s main objective.
Kromeřiž, New Year’s Day 1911
The first thing to keep in mind when proving that Slavs are one of Europe’s oldest peoples, must be the necessity to remove all barriers that are erected by official science and political parties with a view to hinder the path to research. In this we mustn’t take notice of potentially offending any academy or happy company. We can, with complete certainty, state that which has been known for a good long while: As long as fables, fairy tales, and stupidities are counted as historic proof there can be no productive debate. While people believe that there ever existed such a thing as migration of peoples and that Slavs settled exactly in the defined period, there can be no trace of successful ethnographic research of European prehistory. Until there serious efforts are made to research European protolanguage, i.e. the primary elements of our languages, the research of our earliest culture will stand on shaky ground.
I have pursued such disruptive efforts with all my might. I have reached the conclusion that fables about our past, which we are accustomed to hearing, can in no instance withhold serious scrutiny. I am aware that opposing the notion of Slavic autochthony is one of the gravest blunders or scientific falsifications there ever existed.1
Upholding current foundations of scientific establishment causes immense damage, because fear accompanies any revision of categories such as prehistory, study of ancient cultures, anthropology, mythology, and linguistics, because these might cause social, cultural, and political changes. First this impasse must be broken, after which radical positions must be introduced slowly and with careful consideration; haste might result in throwing out the valuable with the rubbish. Once the whole matter is started, we will need to keep in mind the following imperative: The more powerful the force supressing the truth, the more destructively it will break free once the chains keeping it down give!
But keeping the truth down has already caused immeasurable harm for it was accompanied by centuries of forcefully fostering science ridden with lies. Entire libraries were filled with works that would at best be useful to a student of human errors. We can only speculate how many linguistic and ethnographic treasures have been destroyed, even if we focus our attention on a short time period. How many of our customs, traditions, costumes, and dialects are gone forever? Now we can only look for them in the fog of assumptions and fantasy. This is why it is our responsibility to save from oblivion linguistic treasures, which would otherwise be lost forever. We must undertake this effort while excluding nationalist bias! Also, let us not forget that with each passing day the loss of valuable base capital grows greater, the research grows harder, and last traces of our true past are being lost.
The work awaiting us is vast and multifaceted though diverse and creative; it will also introduce much freshness to political activities. It will induct a more complete and cosmopolitan worldview into public thought, widening the horizons of the members of the public. This work must serve as the source of that ideal moral acceptance of differing statements and views, which are so sorely lacking today. It must rouse within us the comprehension of those natural forces, which incite cultural development of all peoples. It will also help to foster a generation capable of forming its own opinions both about the present as well as the past, creating an assembly of esteemed archaeologists, ethnographers, historians, and other experts comprehending the significance of various regions, towns, and nomenclatures in offering prudent observers abundant study materials. But we need to begin!2
This very book will itself enable the reader to comprehend what hidden linguistic and cultural treasures remain untapped among the people. I based my research on Slovenian language for there are numerous indications that Slovenians must be viewed as the best-preserved remnants of European prehistory. In this I have paid particular attention to the origin and meaning of topographic names. Further, I weighed what is natural in our earliest history, what is true and what poetic imagination. This is why I believe that even with the changing linguistic base, a sincere researcher taking into consideration similar postulations will be able to at least generally confirm the correctness of my conclusions.
For greater plausibility it was most necessary to resolve those linguistic, cultural, and historical riddles that prevent us from discarding fossilised dogmas.
The segment of mankind capable of thought must create a spiritual atmosphere that would do away with obsolete views. The following assumptions must be kept in mind particularly:
a) Once a unified European protolanguage existed, the elements of which remain perceivable and morphologically and contextually closer to present-day Slavic than Romance or Germanic idioms.
b) The oldest European written monuments, runes [today we call this script venetska – Verbovshek’s note] are of Slavic origin in the modern linguistic sense; their content discerned so far, is above all comprehensible to Slavs.
c) The prevailing part of older topographical names – provided they were not subjected to subsequent etymological metamorphosis – is only comprehensible with the aid of Slavic languages; the main source for the creation of topographical names remains the designation of borders, since people always live alongside their peers as neighbour-by-neighbours.
d) Slavs cannot be perceived as immigrants to Europe since migration of nations never existed; if any nation is indigenous to Europe, Slavs are surely first in line.
e) Nomads, as imagined by some, never existed in Europe, though we know of annual migrations tied to the herding of cattle [note to Sl. Trans. Ital. trasumanze].
f) The oldest social order was patriarchal-alodial; already in ancient times military service was conscripted; it was based directly on the desire for personal safety and undisrupted governing. This strengthened general safety through technically perfected and fortified defence of borders. In those days precursors to nobility and bourgeoisie began appearing. .
g) In primordial religions man came before gods; in a socially differentiated community special rights were recognized for the oldest person, who was also the guardian of the community, all further transcendent elevations were based on a gradually developing militaristic social stratum; the relevant nomenclature also includes a multitude of house names and various designations.
h) The distribution of common territorial units in central Europe had to have taken place already before the advent of Romans.
i) There is no mutual dependence between language and race; race theory based on language or race is nonsensical.
j) Various cultural monuments viewed as counterfeit, such as for example »barbarian« coins, many runic inscriptions, Kraljedvorski manuscript etc., are not counterfeit, but were proclaimed as such purely due to assumed Slavic inferiority.
k) A culture tied to a permanent area alters geographic permanence in accordance with the sequence of seasons.
1 – Simply gentle nudges would have no effect. – When professor dr. Niederle evaluated my views in 1907 (Česky časopis hist., p. 101), he wrote that now no »intellectual« believes in Slavic migration anymore. Yet nothing changed and we remain enveloped in silence. History textbooks are unchanged, sources for conscious lies. This example demonstrates that even the narrative from behind academic podiums is still far from being able to proclaim the truth.
a) topographical names in all their main forms starting with the oldest. Citations should not be limited to settlements, mountain ranges, bodies of water etc., but also designations of swamps, fallows, commons, fields, meadows, pastures, woodlands, clearings, vineyards, alpine areas, fens, streams etc.; notes should also clarify if names intelligibly reflect the nature of objects;
b) condensed histories of settlements, churches, chapels, squares, ruins, castles and the oldest structures; enumeration of noble families residing in the area; artistic structures and interesting headstones; old inscriptions; notable personalities born or active in the area, short descriptions of all manner of historical sights;
h) records of stories and their versions, fables, fairy tales, legends, and folk tales; superstitions concerning birth, marriage, and death; accounts of customs concerning days and seasons; records of supernatural events, wandering night lights, house ghosts and witches; tales of the right of first night;
Austrian out-dated attitudes toewards the science of ethnography is lamentable. Austria, the land of multinational intellectuals should serve as an example to other countries in seeking answers to the question of the origin of its nations. National discord currently corroding it politically and economically stem from the fact that its nations remain foreign to one another.
FORMATION OF TOPOGRAPHICAL NAMES
Main proof that Slavs are indigenous Europeans rather than immigrants is contained in place names throughout the continent; these all share meanings contained exclusively in Slavic languages.
The prevalent explanations of the origins and meaning of topographical names, which persist to this day border on madness. This is no wonder. It is all due to the fact that experts lost the capacity to discern the immaterial and impossible. Many historical events defy logic. Their assessment did not always take into account objective scientific resources, but rather given capacities, subjective fanaticism, and particularly uncritical approach. And so it was written in all seriousness, that Vindobona stands for »promising«, Graz (Gradec – Sl. For small castle trans. note.) was connected to »Grazie«, and the Czech Znaim (in Czech Znojmo) to the Slavic verb meaning »to sweat«. The romantic rocky landscape of Rosstrappe in the Harz mountain range is supposed to contain in its name tracks left behind by speeding Odin’s horse. Slaven is supposed to mean the same as »sklaven« – slaves (1). And we could go on and on. We must lamentingly state: The greater the renown of the named expert, the greater the stupidity of their explanations. These include several university professors, who promote these inanities around the world without submitting proof. And even this is understandable, for he who always bases his research on the same views is likely to react akin to a person lost in a forest: nervously searching for a way out, running in circles rather than climbing a tall tree to find his bearings.(2)
To explain the meanings of topographical designations (among which I include also popular versions), its earliest form must first be identified, because it is the closest to nature and was exposed to corruption for the shortest amount of time. If anyone uses a word from their own personal vocabulary to define a meaning of a name, they need to examine the location with their own eyes; then they will be able to determine whether the linguistically established designation coincides with the current popular one, although this rarely goes off without complications. On one hand the location may have lost its original meaning through time, on the other sound changes may have done their share. This is why etymological search for former senses is demanding work.
The origin of the name Zips can serve as an example of this. In Hungarian it has already acquired the form Szepes. Today it means nothing to anyone who is not aware that it formed through several stages from a word that was written as »Zübtz, Zueptzer, Zuppez« and that its meaning is understandable to any Slav as »zhupa« or »zhupica« – The evolution of the name Saatz also becomes clear if we recognize the Slavic name form »Zhatec«, as »sad, sat« in Slavic languages meaning border (Grenze, granica). Therefore we can conclude that the warped name »Saaz, Satz« once correctly sounded Sadec, Satec. Several derivatives, such as for example Novi sad (Latin name Neoplanta, transl. note.), Novosady, Neusatz stand for a onetime location near a fortified border or involvement in border negotiations. Some sort of new planting (sl. Saditi – to plant, transl. note) will surely not alter a name of an existing settlement!
Due to mutual co-dependency of the root word and place’s designation it is further necessary that the researcher be familiar with all the fields of natural sciences. They must also take into account folklore and other cultural findings and historical data tied to the environment. Above all, they must be capable of perceiving the topography and the defensibility of the terrain and of tying all the above factors into a sensible whole. They must also often look under the surface to find cultural remnants that would fit the name of the place. Only through these means, i.e. through practical etymology and autopsy is it possible to explain even the more incomprehensible topographical names.
Zhupa – This noun is widespread, appearing in numerous forms, though its sense today is greatly reduced to municipal or ecclesiastic community. The representative of the former was called zhupan (mayor), who could head either a small town or an entire region. From this term derived names such as Zips, Zhupanec (rocky isolated hill and village in Slovakia) and Zhupanjac (in Bosnia, a classical Delminium). A known mediaeval name is the frequently occurring Civitas Ziup.
The concept of zhupan - mayor, (also zhupnik, though this term is today limited to the sense of church official) evolved already in ancient times. In parts of lower Štajerska and in Gorenjska and Venetian regions the representative of a pasture community is still called zhupan; the designation is the last authentic remnant of ancient social community. Similarly, in areas where salt was obtained zhupan was synonimous with Salzrichter, the head of a salt producing community.
Since I am aware of the conditions in my native land, I believe this is worth saving from oblivion. In municipalities with proprietary pastures their commercial management was in the care of the zhupan. His term lasted a single year during which time everyone holding rights to pasture had to have these confirmed by a vote. The number of shepherds zhupan assembled each year correlated with the number of cattle. To prevent any owners from sending too many cattle to pasture, he set a pasture rent on which all parties agreed, allotted manure, set obligatory service (digging drainage ditches or upkeep of boundaries), and settled property tax with the state. On All Hollows all villagers of the common holding the right to use common pastures assembled. The Zhupan, who also minded the economic side of the pastoral community, presented the accounts of his management for the previous year. Shepherds were paid on the spot, partly in grain and partly in cash; their payment was based on the increase of the heads of cattle. Then they considered suggestions, complaints, and current matters, finally they selected a new leadership that was to immediately take over the duties for the following year.
By studying roots of words from behind a desk can rarely leads to reliable results, however many supplements are necessary. In this researchers often forget to check if there is correlation with the outwardly geographic appearance of the area.
Each topographical name is a condensed description of an area’s natural features. We therefore only search the place name directory for the useful and natural basis of the name. It is understandable that objects with the same appearance and meaning would have the same name and that geographers are the ones to expand the use of local designations to encompass wider areas. Thus ancient names of local significance are expanded and preserved. Naming has always been necessary to farmers. It allowed them to differentiate between various parts of properties in a simple way and also to define their usefulness. I will give a few specific examples: Today we will mow the meadow »by the oaks«, then »by the old graves« and then the »damp meadow«, today the shepherd drove the cattle to »the alders«, to »the clearing«, and to the »enclosures«. At first, these designations were only used by the owner. In time they began being used by a neighbour with a similarly shaped territory, and thereafter by others in area. The names came into general use and made their way to the cadastre and maps and so became imprinted forever. Nevertheless, only the first-comer held the right to bestow the natural name to the »Old Graves« plot, for example, to which probably no externally observable indication remains. (3)
There is no need to look to place-names for any mysterious, mythical, symbolic, or genealogic meaning, but only a primary given, reflected by the »language« of the territory. All designations of uncultivated lands, waters, and elevations arose for entirely simple, practical reasons linked to nature. It is therefore understandable that similarly shaped objects carry equally sounding topographical names. A list of these names is regarded as the most precise and faithful cultural and military geography of our territory. Such and no different was the formation of topographical names. The results of personal observation rather than abstract thinking were the deciding factors in the naming process. Therefore we may only accept the explanations of the evolution of individual topographical name’s meaning as true, when it withholds any burden of counterargument.(4)
As we mentioned before, the bases for topographical names are mostly very simple. It is certainly worth noting that seemingly self-explanatory unusual place names can mislead us to feel that no further evidence needs to be examined. This is why place-name examiners, if they are serious about their research, need to keep in mind that explanation without in-situ inspection as well as without awareness of past farming methods, is most often unreliable. Researching in the office of course demands less effort but also yield less trustworthy results!
As practice demonstrates, place names are not subject to particularly perceptible changes: they were mostly merely phonetically adapted to other tongues and sometimes translated into the language of the newcomers. It is not always possible to reliably detect such adaptations because a sound may have been inserted or dropped here and there giving the word a new meaning. (5)
Protolanguage did not have the vowel diversity common to modern languages. This feature remains observable today in languages of the primitive peoples. The oldest words had considerably more consonants than vowels. Love of vowels is the product of a later, higher cultural level, when closer contact with other peoples and adaptation to their languages necessitated sound changes. These were most easily achievable by injecting vowels into hard to pronounce syllables (anaptyxis, trans. n.). Therefore, languages with many consonants are older but also contain more cases and verb inflections than their antecedents. Only with this in mind can we attempt etymologies of challenging place names in Latin, French, and German. The same goes for translated names. Germans are masters of this. Adaptation became habitual at the start of the 12th century, with the first wave of the Germanisation of Slovenian territories. Germans insist Slavs only translated these names subsequently. However, as attested by the oldest forms preserved in land registers and urbaria this is untrue [Verbovshek’s note: Ljubljana would otherwise be derived from Laibach.]. It is generally easier to identify Slavic forms adapted to German than Romance forms adapted a whole millennium earlier. Primary Slavic names also remained in use, which enabled easier preservation. In countless cases, adaptation resulted in false explanations of sense, purely through our own unclear and unsystematic inferring: we like to relate reasoning to our first impressions. In doing so, we forget that in spite of seemingly conforming form, the so-altered name no longer reflects its primary motivation. For example, place name Gastein was tied to foreign visitors of local thermal springs. This explanation is not entirely at odds with the true sense of the word, but is nonsensical. Gastein must have reflected local population before the advent of foreign visitors, as did its previous name. So Gastein does not denote thermal springs, but rather preserves the sense of defensible territory, Slov. Hostin and earlier Gastuna. Bad Gastein is actually called Toplice, preserved in Tobelrisse. [Verbovshek’s note: topli risi = warm lynxes?]
No one in the world has the right to break down the natural order contained in the use of ancient names nor impede expression of linguistic association with the aid of names; historically verified names should be protected by law and arbitrary transformations distorting the meaning, which the names primarily expressed aught be prohibited. Whatever its story, a name always encompasses the oldest history of the location it designates and points to its most defining characteristics.
Almost a hundred years ago, Wilhelm von Humboldt conveyed that »with the help of place names, these oldest monuments, a long since extinct people reports its fate; we need only listen.« We also need to ask ourselves whether their language remains intelligible to us. We are discovering said language in our times. If anyone wants to hinder these discoveries either through force or pretense, they are intent on tackling windmills. The truth, which is guaranteed eternal existence, will always prevail. Certain things, until recently viewed as delusions of irrational minds, have become noteworthy categories. Municipal administrations should try their best to have each place preserve its proprietary historical name, such as is used in everyday communication.
Najprej bi morali prepovedati rabo tistih krajevnih imen, ki izpostavljajo domachine posmehu. Marsikateri umsko omejen pisunchek pri zemljishkoknjizhni upravi se je lahko potrudil z izkazovanjem svoje duhovitosti pa je zapisal takshna imena: Affental (Opichja dolina), Eselsdorf (Oslovska vas), Gaunersdorf (Sleparska vas), Lausheim (Ushivo), Ochsenburg (Goveji trg), Viehdorf (Zhivinska vas) itn. Razpolozhljiva krajevna imena slovanskega izvora so potem z naslado prilagajali nemshkemu jeziku.(6)
Pri raziskovanju svoje pradavne zgodovine na podlagi mitologije moramo paziti, da se strogo drzhimo obmochja, ki ga obravnavamo. Tuji zgodovinopisci so nam vrinili v rabo kup imen z dodanim pesnishkim in bajeslovnim okrasjem, ki s pravo zapushchino starodavnih prednikov nima kaj opraviti. Okrashena topichna imena ne morejo imeti nobene veljave in gradivo takshne vrste smemo kratko malo imeti za balast. Tako se je npr. dr. von Peez (9) lotil obdelave na obmochju s krajevnimi imeni, ki ustrezajo germanski mitologiji. Na koshchku ozemlja med Spodnjo Avstrijo in Moravsko naj bi kar mrgolelo nemshkih bozhanstev in bajeslovnih junakov. Preprosti ljudje v davnini pa niso bili tako ucheni, da bi posegali po fantazijskih predstavah profesorskih glav in jih uporabljali za krshchevanje svojih naselij in ledin. Prav tako niso chutili potrebe, da bi povprashali svoje zelo oddaljene germanske sosede, che jim dovolijo sechi po pisanem venchku njihovih bajeslovnih imen.(10)
V sedanjem chasu pride politiki vse prav. To pomeni, da se bomo tezhko znebili vpliva politichnih interesov na znanost, in to ravno v chasu, ko je obstoj naroda izpostavljen neshtetim pritiskom. S tujimi koristmi prezhete in vsiljevane razlage nimajo nich skupnega z znanstvenim odkrivanjem; te so zgolj orodje za uresnichevanje politichnih zhelja. Neodvisno in umirjeno raziskovanje pa vchasih prinese tudi razocharanje. Vedeti moramo, da se polezhe tudi navdushenje obiskovalca gledalishcha, ko odnesejo prelepe odrske kulise.
Znanost je velika svoboshchina, ki potrebuje samo odprtost. Ko bi se vsak raziskovalec ravnal po pravilu, da se mora pri delu izogibati osebnim zheljam, bi stali zhe zdavnaj na trdnih tleh in ne v pravljicharskem mochvirju. Edino pravilna pot pri odkrivanju zgodovinske resnice je induktivna: nashe sklepanje mora voditi iz posameznosti na sploshno, iz neznanega v znano, iz zhivega na izumrlo!
Che je bila v pradavni Evropi vechina etnografskih nazivov ter imen gora, rek in krajev slovanskega izvora, so jih morali zatorej ustvariti le Slovani. To pa kazhe, da Slovani niso prishli na ta ozemlja shele v chasu »preseljevanja narodov«, temvech so zhe stoletja prej odlochilno vplivali na poimenovanja. In che imajo tudi druga ljudstva slovanska imena, pomeni, da so zhe pred njimi na njihovem sedanjem ozemlju bivali Slovani. Che pa bi se Slovani naselili pozneje, bi tam nashli zhe ustaljena imena in jih prevzeli, saj novih ne bi potreboval nihche. Niti Rimljani niti Nemci niso mogli vnashati bistvenih sprememb.
First the use of those place names should be forbidden, which expose locals to ridicule. Many-a narrow minded scribbler employed by the land registrar was able to apply their wit in recording names such as Affental (Ape Valley), Eselsdorf (Ass Village), Gaunersdorf (Charlatan Village), Lausheim (Lice-home), Ochsenburg (Cow Sq.), Viehdorf (Cattle village) etc. The available place names of Slavic origin were then slyly adapted to German.(6)
When we are researching our ancient history based in mythology it is important to remain strictly in the confines of the territory in question. Foreign historiographers introduced an abundance of names into our use along with added poetic and mythical ornamentation that has nothing to do with actual heritage of our ancient ancestors. Decorated topographical names cannot be taken seriously and such materials may freely be discarded as ballast. In this manner, for example, dr. von Peez(9) undertook the process of examining place names in correlation with Germanic mythology. The piece of land between lower Austria and Moravia was supposedly teeming with Germanic deities and mythological heroes. Simple people of the olden times were, however, not so educated as to reach for fantastic imaginings of academic minds when christening their settlements and lands. They likewise felt no need to ask their very distant Germanic neighbours, whether they allowed them to make use of the colourful bunch of their mythical names.(10)
In modern times politics finds use for anything. This means that it will be difficult for us to rid science of political interests, particularly at a time when the endurance of the nation is facing countless pressures. Foreign interest-filled and imposed explanations have nothing in common with scientific discovery; they are merely tools used for the realization of political desires. Meanwhile independent and measured research may at times also lead to disappointment. We need to be aware that even the enthusiasm of a theatrical audience subsides once the gorgeous scenery is taken away.
Science is a great freedom, which needs only openness. If every researcher took care to follow the rule of avoiding personal desires during their work, we would long since be standing on solid ground rather than in a bog of fantasies. The only true path to discovery of historical truth is inductive: our conclusions must lead from the individual to the general, from the unknown to the known, from the living to the extinct!
If the majority of ancient European ethnographic designations and names of mountains, rivers, and settlements were of Slavic origin, they had to have been named by Slavs. This further indicates that Slavs did not settle these areas during the later »migration of nations period«, but that they significantly influenced the naming process centuries earlier. And if other peoples also use Slavic names, this means that before their arrival their current territories were inhabited by Slavs. If Slavs had settled later, they would have come upon already fixed names and adopt them, for nobody would have need for new ones. Neither Romans nor Germanic peoples were able to introduce significant changes.
We can say it is flat out incredible, that the primary meaning of most names was so beautifully preserved!
But where are the millions of previously settled people, who were subjugated by Romans who then, in their administrative wisdom allowed them to preserve their religion, language, and customs? How probable is it that, after the fall of this invincible superpower throngs of millions of Slavs suddenly appeared and settled immeasurable territories? We know for certain, that centuries of Roman presence precluded large-scale destructive battles. Who was it then, that eradicated the local population? And how did the multitudes of Slavs manage to replace the indigenous peoples in such a short time? Any large-scale massacre of the indigenous inhabitants, which the Slavic newcomers are supposed to have committed would surely be too significant to have been missed by the Greek or Roman chroniclers, who are known to make note of much smaller occurrences. It is in no way possible that they would the absence of the population of half the known world would have gone unnoticed. In addition, records of the purported migration of nations make very few mentions of Slavs. Those proficient in reading countless place names rooted in Slavic languages, aware that their meanings correlate to their environment and that these names were in use already B. C. can understand that thousands of place names cannot be treated as mere coincidences.
Examples and explanations in this book were not constructed, invented or conceived by the writer. They can be found already in languages and in nature, outdoors, where they can be tested by anyone. All these names communicate in an ancient language, comprehensible mostly only to Slavs.
2. – It is high time that otherwise serious scientists discard certain foolish explanations of place names, such as p. ex. Chrastova, the inhabitants of which are scabby (krastavi), Shalinci due to jokes (shala = joke, transl. n.), Komen linked to kamin, (a type of fireplace), et. sim. A particularly prolific source of such explanations is the Viennese publisher Guido von Liszt. In 1909 he published a gathering of his »epochal revelations« titled Die Namen Völkerstämme Germaniens und deren Deutung (The Names of Germanic Tribes and their Meaning); all are »Arian-Germanic«.
3. – Slavic territory encompasses several landscape-names, such as u mrtvich, u groblju, u zabiteho (with senses tied to death or graves, transl. n.). We can thoroughly rely on these names, even though excavations do not always yield support.
4. – It is extremely difficult to explain ancient names. So, for example, Asia may be understood by a Russian as Foreign Land, for he calls foreigners asej, asejka, asov. And so there are several places on the Black Sea coasts called Asia (border place, march). What Russians took to be foreign, a territory beyond a certain border, received the collective designation Asia. However, this explanation is predominately accessible only to Russians.
5. – Known land subsidence Macocho in Moravia has the popular etymology tied to macheha (mother in law), peoples’ imagination once tied it to a folk tale cementing the current meaning. If we take into account natural-scientific terms, we soon realize that it is related to the verb mači with the semantic range of to cave in.
8. – The above discoveries bothered me as well, because I ascribed modern meanings to original names. Then I became convinced that these types of explanations will not provide consistent logic and became an adherent of the keltomani. Delving deeper into Celtic studies soon convinced me that I myself strayed into linguistic error, since purportedly Celtic names contained Slavic roots. I continued erring until I became aware that in examining names expressing, for example, relief of the terrain, natural features must also be taken into account. As an officer I was perpetually in the field, having abundant opportunities to discern meanings of most such names.
10. – Dr Peez makes use of unacceptable evidence. Czech towns were supposedly founded by Germans; they evolved from very enlarged settlements and not founded based by individual discretion. And where is his evidence that in prehistoric times Czech was populated by Germans?
Etymology of Place Names
In depth linguistic place-name research leads us to a previously unconsidered conclusion: most can be explained through use of Slavic languages and corresponding natural features. It is only non-Slavic names that point to a secondary settlement of older uncultivated lands. This is particularly true of Slavic areas settled for political reasons by the Germans, French, Italians, Romanians, Hungarians, and Turks. Among those place names non-Slavic are possible, but after an in depth study there are a precious few of these left. As an example of a seemingly non-Slavic name we can examine Rosstrappe in the Harz mountain range, which is not nonsensical »horse bustard« but the territory with a tattered (Sl. ‘razdrapan’, trans. n.) surface. Further: wherever we come across the name element Slatina, we can predict the presence of a spring of mineral water. Where there are Toplice (thermal spa, trans. n.), a thermal spring is present; there are thousands of instances of names such as Dobl, Tobel, Tobelrisse, Teplitz , and they all stem from the Slavic adjective topel meaning warm.
However, occurrences of place names with Slavic origin are not limited to Germanic areas of Austria and Germany, but also appear in Switzerland, Italy, Spain, France, the Netherlands, and Denmark. It would benefit science, particularly pre-history, to define the external limits of territories containing places with names of Slavic origin. This would enable the discovery of territories formerly settled by Slavs, territories certainly much greater than today’s.
There are many poorly explained or incomprehensible place- and family names. For example Czech and Moravian families germanised by their 13ht century successors due to fashion tendencies; the majority of these have identifiable previous Slavic forms. Slovenian noble family names are long since difficult to discern, with their meaning translated into fluent German. So Turjashki became Auerspergs (-perg, -berg = breg, Sl. for ‘slope’, trans.n.) and Ostrovrhars = Scharfenbergs (literal translation, sharp peeks, tras. n.). The lords of Prueschenk once lived in Prezhnik, which is currently probably translated to Lauer, Lauerer (Sl. Prezha, Eng. ambush, trans. n.). Various last names, such as Schinkowitz, Lugaster, Osterwitz, Garrach, Jabornegg, Katzianer etc. are unknown in Slovenian history, but their linguistic provenance can be defined with the aid of etymology.
In all this we merely aim to prove the existence of Slavic names, which were known and recorded long ago. Etymologically reinforced, they become the earliest proof of our assertion that Slavs inhabited these territories long before their officially alleged immigration. It goes without saying that equivalent names for which there is no evidence also stem from the same ethnographic and equal topographical meaning, or their natural meaning can be determined exclusively in Slavic languages, irrelevant of temporal remoteness of their inception. People who created older names therefore spoke the same language as those, who imprinted the younger names with their own linguistic base, which means that names of later inception are just as old as ancient ones, though there is no written proof for this.
It is currently not yet feasible to list all place names in alphabetical order in keeping with pronunciation. This exceedingly demanding work would stand as fundament for a sort of «General Etymological Directory of Places«. Due to the immense scope of such a work, it would be most suitable to apportion it into a number of individual monographs, which would later be revised. We would thus most clearly present the examined materials in the following conceptual sections:
a) protection of pastoral surfaces
b) territorial demarcations
c) defense of the prehistoric peoples – place names stemming from defense
d) place names of other origins
THE PROTECTION OF PASTORAL SURFACES
Research of names reflecting care for the defence of personal freedom and preservation of means of survival yielded marvellous scientific results. Forms of protection demonstrate the earliest elements of our constitutional provisions.
History states that the earliest inhabitants were nomadic hunters, fishers, and shepherds without permanent residence. But a deeper examination quickly shows that this is not entirely accurate. A fisherman could settle on the coast, which yielded an opulent catch; man is not a beast constantly chasing prey. Still today there are primitive peoples making a living fishing and selling fish whilst dealing with competition. In coming upon richer fishing grounds, they do not relocate but stay in their settlement. The same goes for hunting. They travel to hunt in new hunting grounds with better yield while leaving their families in their permanent settlement; this is dictated by the law of self-preservation. Nomadic hunters are constantly on the move, which puts them at risk of encountering hunters from other families and conflict with them. And lastly, men also needed to provide for food at a time, when a good return was not very likely (during sea-storms, floods, or snow storms in forests). Were they then to abandon their homestead?
We can be sure that even prehistoric man would not be this clumsy. This is why archaeologists find various animal bones in the same locations: hunters brought their play to a constant place, their dwellings.
The statements of historians to the effect that pastoral peoples were nomadic, are also erroneous, Justinus for example wrote that »Scythians allowed their cattle to wander unchecked from place to place; they were not worried any would go missing since punishment for thievery was severe.« If owners followed their cattle, the latter would be all the better protected. It is therefore self-evident that herds grazed in a limited area otherwise they could wander away. We know common grazing to this day. Owners mark their beasts individually with a certain colour. However the matter can also be viewed in a different light; to a degree pastoral peoples can be defined as »nomadic« but only relative to the seasons. Each spring shepherds and their families left their winter residences and accompanied the cattle to first green pastures. Also, summer drought incited them to drive the cattle upwards, to colder areas, for example alpine pastures, but come autumn, they returned to their ancestral homes. Temporary migrations of pastoral peoples leaving each year to graze their cattle and returning home before winter cannot be viewed as nomadic. In the mountainous European lands such nomads remain known to this day. In upper Styria, for example, cattle is driven to lower hills in May, in July and August it grazes in the upper hills, then relocates to the lower hills, descending into the valley in mid October. This ensures that in spite of changes in climate the animals always receive good pasture. Exploitation of mountainous pasture and hills of Tirol, Salzburg, Norway, Italy, and Switzerland can be partially defined as nomadic. Similarly as in the Balkans, the masters do not take their whole family, but only the most necessary equipment and a few women, for which they have dwellings.
Even Gypsies cannot be counted entirely as nomadic. It is also their custom that only those family members travel the land, who make their living as travelling blacksmiths, potters and fortune-tellers, and even they only during suitable seasons.
The use of common pasture (which in the occupied Roman territories became praedia owned by the state) was often cause for conflict and fighting.(1) Individual families held century-long rights to pasture, an advantage they were prepared to defend by force. Montenegrins, Albanians and Turks were constantly at odds with each other precisely because of this social institution, since in places where nature is stingy the right to pasture ensures survival. In fear of being driven from their native land and robbed of the possibility to make a living, pastoral peoples were constantly ready for defence. I see this as an explanation of why their conduct displays a clearly evident militant character.(2) This is why their pastoral territories caused the creation of the admirable while naturally suitable defence system. This fact reliably attests that pastoral peoples could not have been »nomadic«, driving their cattle without a plan and to foreign pasture. Such nomads can only be sought in fairy tales, and have no place in history.
Based on this, all communities that owned pasture surfaces or enjoyed the ancient right to pasture on neutral soil formed a natural requirement to be outwardly represented by a suitable person holding all pertinent rights and responsibilities who is also entrusted with defence. It is not at all surprising that words designating the most notable individuals as well as deities stem specifically from the social establishment of pastoral peoples. Points of defence also received names corresponding with their location, usefulness, and technical furnishing. Their designations were incredibly varied and it is difficult for us today to grasp the exceptionally subtle differences between them…
In my opinion Basques are the remnants of those Slavs [L. Verbovshek's note: to us rather Slo-Veneti], which inhabited the Iberian Peninsula in ancient times. There were some who believed that their language was Celtic. In the end this could well have been the case. If Celtic is a Slavic language it had to have remained in use fairly late leaving a topographical heritage. Was this the case? They don’t even want to look for an answer. This is why they are now dancing around this Celtic heritage to prove its non-Slavic origin. Nevertheless, place names stand as a remnant of the language of our common ancestors. This is irrefutable both for Basque territories and the entire Iberian Peninsula. If we add to this the landscape of Basque territory all becomes even clearer. Autonomous inhabitants of mountainous regions were never exposed to all-out Romanisation: hills impeded traffic and natural barriers were the best defence against de-nationalization. Alpine peoples are also better at preserving ancient customs than occupants of flatland settlements, where the local populace has more contact with foreigners.
It is also noteworthy that it is the oldest Basque words from everyday use, which are demonstrably related to Slavic languages, especially Slovenian. Their meanings are incredibly closely tied.(3) I do not intend to delve into research here, but I would like to stress that there are enough examples available to make easy work for anyone who may decide to undertake an in depth research of our mutual affiliations. Let us compare a mere few Basque words taken here and there:
Bazca - Ger. Weideplatz, pashnik, Sl. pastvo, pastvisko; lat. Pascua - pasture; behia - Ger. Weidevieh (grazing cattle)1*, Slov. beka in bekati Czech bečeti – sheep, bleating; cepois Holzprügel (wooden club), Slov. oklesh-chek, cep - branch; choco -Winkel, Slov. Kot -angle; derna - Ger. Handfläche (Palm of hand), Slov. drn, boleche zbadanje v roki - turf, pain of the hand; err - Ger. Ende, Spitze (end, point), Slov. rt - cape; ezcura - Ger. Eiche, Slov. hrast, shura = Korkeiche / oak, cork oak; gar - Ger. Flamme, zhar – burn, flame ; garabia - Ger. Hacken, Slov. grabiti, grablje – to rake (also to grab); gori - Ger. brennen, Slov. goreti / to burn; gora - Ger. hinauf, auf der Höhe, Slov. gor, gori - up, above; goren - Ger. hoher Berg, Slov. gorski kraji, Gorenjsko – alpine places, mountenous; goinerritar - Ger. Gebirgsbewohner, Bergbewohner, Slov. gorichar – hill-dweller; heya gora! – Slov. oj, gorje! - woe; kukudatz – Slov. kokodakanje - cackling; leka - Ger. Hülse, Schote (husk, pod, shell), Slov. lecha - lentil; menast - Ger. Metallen (metallic), Slov. medeninast (made of brass); palanka - Ger. Stange, Stab (rod, pole), Slov. planka – board, plank = Ger. Zaunpfahl (also planek – trans. n.); phuncella - Ger. Mädchen, Slov. devica, dekle, punca (4) - girl; poistarika - Ger. Bachstelze (wagtail), Slov. ptichka pastirica –in Slovenian literally shepherd bird; picher - Ger. Wassertopf = lonchen pisker za vodo, Slov. pisker - pitcher; pikarda - Ger. scheckig, prim. Slov. pikast - spotted; senar - Ger. Ehemann, Slov. zakonski mozh, soprog, prim. zhenar, zhenin / husband, (in Slovenian also refered to as 'zhenin' (adj. pf possesion), from 'zhena' = 'wife' i.e. of the wife; sopa - Ger. Zimmer, soba - room; sama, zama - Ger. Last, prim. Slov. samar = Tragtier, tovorna zhival, samariti = voditi tovorno zhival – beast of burden, to lead a beast of burden; zamarra - Ger. Bluse, hochgeschlossenes Kleid (blouse, high-necked vestment), Czech čamara - enako, del njihove narodne noshe (part of the Cz. national costume), Slov. chamer = vodilni planshar, volnena chepica – head alpine farmer, woolen cap; zanko - Ger. Franse, Slov. franzha, resica – fringe, frazzle; zapi - Ger. Stück Leinen, Slov. lanena krpa, capa – linen cloth; zapata - Ger. Schuh, Slov. chevelj (Slov. copata = Flechtschuh) – shoe (slipper).
Due to the influence of its Romance neighbours, France and Spain, the Basque language is artificially overladen with vowels. Dictionaries of the currently used language are not written by native speakers. And so it the etymological nuclei of words are difficult to discern.(4) We must in no way depend on merely coincidental solutions and must therefore collect as many comparisons as possible.
1 – A similar establishment is in force on modern-day Scandinavian Peninsula. After the union between Sweden and Norway ended, an international agreement was struck. One of its five conventions contained stipulations concerning the right of pasture for Lapponian caribou. In determined months Lapponians were allowed to drive their herds into the neighbouring country without having to ask permission from the land proprietors. This is a good example of pastoral migration without abandonment of permanent residence.
2 –Grimm views ancient Germans as armed pastoral peoples, as seen by Tacitus, who wrote that they never settled neither common nor personal matters without holding weapons. Modern-day rules are considerably updated. After Montenegrins and Albanians fell out of habit of carrying weapons on their persons, daily Turkish raids ceased.
3 – This was first recorded by Joh. Topolovshek in his Dise basko-slavische Spracheinheit (Vienna, 1894), which drew attention in scientific circles. The author supported his findings with evidence, but »scientists« attacked him branding him a fantast and idiot.
Translated from German to Slovenian by Leopold Verbovshek – and from Slovenian to English by Jaka Jarc.
The text above has been adapted (with the publisher’s permission) from the book Davorin (Martin) Zhunkovich – Leopold Verbovshek: V senci zgodovine (Ljubljana, Jutro, 1998). This publication by two authors comprises part one titled Slovanski temelji (Slavic Foundations, trans. n.), a translation of Zhunkovich’s book Die Slaven, Ein Urfolk Europas (Vienna, 1911), along with a few of his journal articles. Part two is the author’s original contribution titled Resnica na dosegu (Truth in Reach, trans. n.). The above beginning chapters from Zhunkovich’s book are here assembled under a common editorial title; in the translation only small lapses have been corrected, while Verbovshek’s notes are in square brackets. (Editor’s note I. A.)
(The notes of the English translator are in brackets marked separately as ‘trans. n.’)