Lives Journal 11

Henrik Tuma








We Slovenians do not have a national history. Our people of farmers and shepherds lived unto themselves from time immemorial and it was only the storm of revolution in January 1848 that began to awaken them. Several decades ago, the body of people slowly became aware of its particularity and what it had in common to move in the direction of forming a nation.

For some people history is the series of events that happen to peoples while for others it is recording the works and lives of great men, kings and heroes. Every event represents a change, some kind of movement. Where there is no movement or settling, where there are no clashes between tribes, no friction and competition, where there is no domination or subordination of one tribe over another there are no visible changes in the life of the people, no visible movement, no military leaders or tsars, there can be no history. And on the other hand, where there was no movement, where there were no visible events, there life has been in age-long peaceful harmony with nature. The history of places that are inhabited and have been inhabited by Slovenes tells us about the settling and arrival of Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Illyrians, Celts, Germanic tribes and Ural-Altaic peoples (Sarmatians, Huns, Avars, Magyars, Kumans), about their marches and their rule, their regiments and their leaders. However, it knows nothing about the ancient Slavs, or about the small tribe of Slovenes. Only some names allow the assumption that the Slavs were spread throughout Europe as a peace-loving tribe from the Veneti living by the Baltic Sea to the Veneti living beside the Atlantic Ocean, from the Veneti by the Adriatic Sea to the Veneti by the Black Sea. Slovenes have since time immemorial been the neighbours of the Adriatic Veneti. The history of the Carinthian principality, Kazelin’s county at Moggio (Slov. Muzhac) in Carnia, Valjhun son of Kajtimar in Upper Carniola – is not the history of Slovene rule. We only know that after the mighty people’s army of the Longobards crossed over into Italy they were followed by a small army of Slovenes-Croats, which occupied the fertile plains of Carinthia, Upper Carniola and the sunny mountains of Carnia where it founded small countries. But there were never any Slovene kings, princes or heroes. No writer ever mentions when the Slovene people arrived in these parts where they now live, where they came from and how they moved, how they gained the land they cultivate to this day.

The historical information that the Slovenes arrived in the region they presently inhabit in the VI century is a fairy tale. Apparently Slovene scholars do not even know who invented it, at best they refer to some old, misunderstood chronicle or the conclusion of an over faithful linguist. History itself does not know this. Ever since Lubor Niederle published his »Slavic Antiquities«, it should be deemed improper for any moderately educated person to even contemplate the myth about the arrival of the Slovene people in the VI century after Christ. As far as it is possible to scientifically show using the historical method, Niederle showed that the Slavs were living in the places they now inhabit already in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD and possibly already in the 1st century AD. He did not prove or even attempt to prove that they arrived there only this late and indeed there is no way he could have proved this. In his latest work entitled: »The Cause and Beginnings of the Western Slavs« (Prague 1919) Niederle even allows for not only the possibility but the probability that at least the western Slavs were aborigines. Niederle’s conclusions, insofar as they depart from strict historical foundations and are founded on Germanic linguistics (of which Slovene linguistics is partially a slave), are obviously incorrect and I expect that Niederle, once he has finished his great work, will himself reject them, and they will certainly be rejected by his pupils. Niederle was never acquainted with our Slovene economic-krajevnega nomenclature and presumably no-one else was either. We Slovenes live at the furthest linguistic limits of the Slavs so without us no final conclusion may be reached.

Where there is no movement or events there is no history. And in the end, where the peace-loving people are tilling the earth there may be an abundance of flourishing life only history knows nothing about it. We do not as yet have any ancient records of the life of the common people on our native soil. We do not know who cleared the land and planted vines under the ancient Greeks and Romans, we only that they were the ones who had been defeated, the slaves without rights, without a history. It is only from their slavery and from the fact that no historian mentions them that we know that all their history consists of being subjugated by belligerent foreign tribes. The life of a man in nature and with nature in ancient times was never recorded by anyone even if man’s contact with nature, man’s domination over nature, created all culture as the word culture itself means: working the land. But it is true that culture only gained its significance in history after the warring tribe had seized the riches, skills and sentiment of the farming tribe. Only then did civilisation arise, i.e. the authority of one man over another and it was only through this system that culture too became evident, i.e. the authority of man over nature through his work. The Slavs reigned over the European arable land a long time before the Greeks and the Romans, they created the first ancient culture which arose from work on the stubborn earth and from life in the woods and the sunny meadows.

Nature created the first differences between the human tribes so there can be no history without geography and geology. The wide steppes gave birth to infinite herds of nomads and wandering the steppes, watching their herds and struggling to preserve them created the combative mind of the nomads. The sunny and fertile hills became the permanent home to families of famers and shepherds and the burgeoning nature with its eternal and returning needs made them aware of their own strength and gave them a creative intellect. All riches were created and are created by nature and the work of man in nature. It was not until the belligerent nomad had seized the famer’s riches with armed force, proclaimed his leader to be king over the warriors and the slaves and proclaimed laws that the state was created and only then did culture come into being. That is why history ascribes all visible culture to the victorious tribes. That is why our life and existence in history remained in darkness. The only rays of light on our most ancient life, on the first creation of culture are shed by names in nature and in the struggle with the nature in which lived and worked our farming people. The Greeks and Romans have a rich history of battles and military leaders but their names of places are dark and incomprehensible, or they harbour the glimmer of foreign and unknown names. But our krajevno nomenclature describes our ancient people and their natural life. It is only from this description that we may also understand the history of tribes that reigned over them. From this description the nations that rule over us may also begin to understand their true history and culture.

Slovene place names tell us that the Slovene has since time immemorial been a shepherd and farmer on the land he tills. Our herds grazed where for ages there have been sheltered valleys and safe, sunny hills. Far to the north to the Danube, far to the west to the Swiss mountains and to the east where the hills slope down to the plains lived the Slovene mountain tribe. Their traces are indicated by the place names. However, they do not only show us the limits of our abodes, they also tell us of the formation of the earth on which we used to live, they tell us about our contact with nature, our original economy. Ever since the history of foreign tribes began to be heard over us, the news of our life has gone quiet, the story of foreign, militant, domineering tribes has rechristened and deformed our old names and flooded them with its more recent names. Only a small island of the great mountain tribe of the Slovenes has survived in the Julian Alps. That is why our Alps must be the starting-point for exploring the local onomastics.



Plinius recorded the names of the main rivers of Carnia and Venetia; Silis – Zila, Liquentià = Livenza, Alsa = Olsha, Natisio cum Turo = Nadizha with the Ter, all genuine Slovene words.

The Socha and Nadizha are undeniably Slovene words (Isonzo and Natisone in Italian). It is enough for us to have these two names and we have clear and unquestionable proof that the Slovene tribe lived where it lives today at the time of the Romans and also before them. The Latin words are incomprehensible and also unexplainable; the Celtic explanation is simply childish. Both Slovene names have a realistic meaning, which suits the subject. The Socha is a river which winds out from behind the mountains. The Nadizha consists of water which surge up to the surface. We have two Nadizhas: one is the source of the Sava, hidden deep in the rocks of the quiet mountain below Jalovec and Strug, and the other is the source of the Slovene-Friulan Nadizha – Natisone, hidden in the mountains below Jalovec 1615 m in the Stol group behind Kobarid. The linguistic root »deg« is rich with meaning. Pletershnik's dictionary (Slovene-German, 1894-1895) has: degmati se, kregati se [Eng. to quarrel] but he does not know the meaning of degati se, krave se degajo = gonijo [Eng. to be in heat, cows in heat], digavchek (primula; Eng. primrose) which cows eat and then mate because the juice of that heats their blood. Degniti means the same as suniti [Eng. to push]. Besides also: dezhe = leavens which raise a dough; dizhen = ranky growing plant which is used as women medication because it hastens a dizha – i. e. menses.

These little known and poorly interpreted ancient Slovene words mean to propel juice, blood, water to the surface. It is enough to see the source of the Sava near Podkoren and the Nadizha in the narrow valley below Brezje to understand the meaning: water that comes up to the surface with force.

Socha, pronounced in the olden days with a nasal sound and which becomes a »u« in Russian, has related words with the same meaning all over Slovenian territory. Such, Suchava etc. = water that spins around (Slovenian: se suche), the Russian suchit has the same meaning, suk = turned wooden gnarl. Of course, geographers and philologists also draw attention to Isonta, Salzach, and try in this way to show Celtic roots. Well, the Salzach is for whoever knows where it lies, also a winding river and it is ridiculous to say its water is being salty as it is a pure Alpine river! Isonta Sontina – this form shows that Salzach was also formerly Socha and that the German word is a distortion of Socha. The explanations for Nadizha – Natisa, Socha – Sontius are so clear and also so important that it is surprising that none of our philologists have yet seriously dealt with them. Of course, my explanation brings a whole load of confusion into the existing history of the Slovenes as I claim that the Slovenes were here before the Romans. The Romans adapted the Slovene names »Socha« and »Nadizh« quite clearly to their language. As soon as we accept this truth, our ancient history becomes clear. And we have another name that proves the same. After the Romans defeated the Carni in the mountains, their main route from the Venetian plain through Carnia and on to Carinthia did not lead through the parallel valleys Bela-Fella, but over dry land past Lake Cavezzano, along the gentle sunny slope that leads across »Klanec« [Eng. slope] to Tumech (Tolmezzo) and past Zuglio (Julium Carnicum) across »Krishki prelaz« (S. Croce) to Zila valley.

The Romans did not build roads through deep and narrow valleys but on slopes that were safe from flooding, not on the gravel of Bela-Fella, but on the safe and sunny path through the present-day Friulan Cesclans – lat. Cesclanium. I do not know how the learned Celtologists and Italian philologists interpret this word, but I do know that archaeologists have found the certain traces of a Roman road (Bollettino sociale geografico italiano, 1894) and the tourist who sees the world at his feet from the 1906 m high Amariana 1906 m above Tumeche, exclaims: this is where the road leads from the Friulan plain »across the slope« into the valley of the upper Tilment (Tagliamento).

The Roman legions therefore waded across the Nadizha and the Socha and marched across Klanec.



If we can see that the local names are genuinely Slovene, if we see that the names of the Friulians and the Ladins become increasingly Slovene, the further back we go in history, we must admit that Slovenes have lived here since time immemorial and that the Friulian language arose from two elements: the ancient Slovene one onto which the Latin of the Roman veteran-colonist sent to Aquileia implanted itself. When the Huns destroyed the city, the Latin colonus fled into the forests and marshes, then when there was peace again he spread amongst the Slovenes and ousted them with the support of foreign nobility. Past historians and geographers wrote that most of the Friulian territory was covered by gravel from torrents, muddy towards the sea and covered with extensive forests. Only the sunny hills were inhabited. Wherever there are hills we come across clear traces of the former Slovene population. We may find traces of Slovene names in the high mountains in sheltered spots which were not exposed to floods and torrents and where bands of robbers did not venture. Typical names of places lead us far to the west, always to hidden nooks or sunny slopes of high mountains. Localities where mountaineers come across undoubtedly Slovene names are often beautiful corners of Alpine nature.



I consider the Slavs to be European aborigines. They came from the east, slowly walking along the sunny hills that were the only places accessible to man and could be cultivated after the Ice Age, in two swarms towards the east – the southwest Slavs, the ancient Veneti and Thracians who occupied the Balkans, the Danube Basin, Subcarpathia, Subsudetia, the Alps, southern Germany and central France and the north-west Slavs, Polabian Slavs, Poljani and Anti.

When they arrived, the river valleys and plains were filled with gravel and mud. Their first settlements were on sunny hills. In the fertile lands hill-lands, the first culture was established, we can see traces of it in Pannonia-Moravia and northern Greece, and Luzhica (Lusatia). Both these ancient cultures, shown by archaeology, are ancient Slav.

The ancient Slavs reached the so-called Lusatian-Pannonian culture early on. They had cultural and trading ties with the Mediterranean culture of the pre-Greek period. There are traces of the trade route from the Black Sea via Marseille across the Rhône and the Rhine up to the north and backwards.

When the ancient Slavs arrived, the Russian, Hungarian, German and Padan plains were unpopulated. The ancient Slavs in these areas were pure. In Italy (in the Apennines) they came across the new tribe of Eurasians and the old tribe of Euro-Africans; as categorised by anthropologist Sergi. Latin is an amalgamation of the former Mediterranean language with the language of the Ancient Slavs, the mixing of both tribes produced Italians who can to this day be distinguished by bone and by blood: the northern Italians with the dominant Slav component and the southern Italians with the dominant Euro-African component.


The oldest migrations, as the historians say, changed European civilisation. The cause of the migration must lie only in the change in nature that followed a fall in temperatures in the north and a rise in temperatures in central Asia. There must have been a rush of Asian tribes from the east and Scandinavian-Germanic tribes from the north. The Germanic tribes advanced in fighting groups known as Gefolgschaften across Denmark, the Weser and the Rhine. These fighting groups ceased the Germanic lowlands and drove the Slavs into the marshes and forests. They lived by hunting and looting. One large group crossed the Rhine in the 1st millennium BC and carved up Gaul which was inhabited in the centre by the Slavs, as far as the Armorican Veneti, in the south the Iberians and in the north the Celts. They founded the first Germanic feudal system of civilisations. A mixture of tribe gave the old Gauls, with Franks and later Ladini French.*1 /*1

After Gaul was founded and overfilled, two powerful families emigrated: one, the »Sigovesa« ventured over the Rhine and back across Bavaria, Czech and vanished among the Poljani. Members of this family founded the central-European Celtic states among the Vindelici in Bavaria and Boii in Czech. These states extended to the foot of the Carpathians. The small numbers of their troops drowned in the sea of Slavic languages. The second Gallic troop of »Belovesa« made their way across the lakes of southern French Alps into Italy as far as Rome. In upper Italy they founded Italo-Celtic states, which were later defeated in the centuries of battles against the Romans. Their camps were demolished and transformed into Latin towns and their bellicose youth either destroyed or driven out. In search of new settlements these Italic Gauls in parts settled open Alpine valleys and ventured beyond into Karst and to the Balkans; the last troop of Gallo-Italics disappeared in Asia Minor. These were the troops of a low-cultured people. They disappeared nearly without a trace, but for the few names of their camps, which testify to their history.

As a result, there is scarcely a trace of Celtic in the Italian language. The linguist of Romance languages Dietz mostly excludes it as a part of Italian stating: »The most significant old linguistic remnants come from the ancient Osci. Etruscan plays no part (Etrusci had only lived in towns, which were demolished or occupied by Romans, which is why they are entirely extinct). Since many Italian word stems have no parallels in French or Spanish, we must assume that Italian evolved from popular dialects rather than directly from Latin. Nevertheless, out of all the Romance languages, Italian preserved the most Latin elements, which is particularly true of central Italian dialects.

South Italian language demonstrates more foreign elements predominately from Greek with some Arabic additions. But when studying dialects across old Italy, i.e. this side of the Apennines, one feels as though immersed in a different linguistic world. In the Po Valley, Latin could not surmount barbaric linguistic influences. The pressures of Germanic languages are understandable (particularly in view of the Lombard occupation), and if one were to look for Celtic remnants, one would be in for a disappointment; the entire Italian territory displays little. The written language has barely one single Celtic word, which is exclusive to Italian. Careful etymologic examination of dialects at the foot of the Alps or in the Alps would richly profit the field of linguistic history.«

Philologist and Romance linguist Dietze’s contention that Italian contains almost no Celtic also fits with historical evidence. Like the Etruscans – Semites who populated town colonies after having migrated across the sea – were exterminated by Romans, so too the immigrant battle troops of Gauls only settled in towns and camps whence they were later driven out or eradicated by the Romans. They had to have disappeared without a trace. The northern subalpine and alpine dialects are yet to be researched, which is why Philologists remain ignorant of the newer Slovenian linguistic treasure buried in Italian. Furthermore, Philologists researching Italian took little to no notice of Slovenian for the simple reason that they did not know it. We can state that ancient Latin derives from the languages of the Mediterranean peoples and proto-Slavs. Pure Latin only existed in Roman municipia. Roman coloni did not settle in mountains and forests, but allowed the indigenous herdsmen to live undisturbed, which they did well into the Middle Ages. Their dialects introduced new words to late Latin, which in the 9th c., having assimilated Germanic Lombardic, became modern Italian.

Toponymy of our Alps confirms this. Late into the middle ages, they were populated by Slavs. By the end of Antiquity, the Alps were only populated by Romans in sporadic camps and posts by military roads and passages. The assaults of barbarian tribes quickly cleared eastern Alps, where Roman camps were already sporadic. Only the ancient inhabitants remained, who still persist there in condense settlements now, having been driven south by the Germanic Bavarians. The Latin coloni of southern Germania and fugitives from the northern Po Valley fled the Germanic incursions from the north into the Alps.

Only after the migration of battle troops at the close of Antiquity and start of the Middle Ages were northern and southern Alps Italianised. The scarcer Latin element in the northern Alps was quickly germanised by the Alemanni in Switzerland and Bavarians in Tirol; in the southern Alps the Latin element was preserved, i.e. present day Ladin language.

Through the Middle Ages and the first centuries of the Modern Age the Ladini gradually Latinised Slovenian alpine herdsmen. This is why Slovenian peaks still bear name elements »lasta«, »polica – pala«, »meja – meli«, »tamar«, »kuk«, »lanezh – lana«, »kalishche«, »chrche« et alia. Judging by documents and oral tradition, the main drive occurred from the 11th century onward. At this time northern Italy unified its language and its people. Feudalism spread over the fertile soil. And so, like the Germanic farmers pressing due south, the coloni pressed due north. Because Germanic pressure of the mighty Germanic state was greater, it extended downwards across Brenner to the vicinity of Trident, planting large alpine colonies on the southern Alpine slopes in Sette Comuni and Monte Zebio.

Under Germanic colonisation in the north and Ladine in the south, Slovenians vanished from Tirol and the southern Sub-Alpine area, the final remnants disappearing, in my opinion, as late as in the 17th and 18th centuries. The previously indigenous Carni – Slovenians were limited to Gorizia and Slavia Friuliana. Frulian is a particular language element. According to historical sources Friuli was filled with forests, gravel, and marshes. Ancient hill- and mountain dwellers were Slavic. When the Romans repelled the bellicose Illyrians and Gauls attacking their north-eastern border, they founded Aquileia, a large encampment and centre of Latin culture. Aquileia was a linguistic and cultural island surrounded by Slavs. From the Aquileian agri (fields) bestowed to Latinate veterans, coloni slowly spread out as the Roman knights expanded their latifundia. The Huns demolished Aquileia and the Latin fugitives settled in sheltered areas and among the Slavs. Even later, when Lombards stormed Friuli, the land must have still been mostly Slavic. Even during the second Germanic wave in the 9th century the German toponyms were derived from Slavic rather than Latin. Lombard and Germanic nobility was Latinised in the 8th and 10th centuries. At this time, and even faster after the fall of the Aquileian patriarchate in the 15th c., the Latin element quickly spread among the Slavs. As late as the 14th century, much Slavic was still spoken in Videm. In 1694, an Englishman by the name of Brown established in his »Account of Some Travels« that Slavic language extends to Videm. »Il linguaggio slavo era assai più usato nei villaggi di quello della favella friulana, allora incolta e d'un ingrato suono«.

History describes troop migrations, kings and heroes rising victorious from the crowd, establishing a rule, and founding states. Toponymy, however, reveals that the Eastern European land was tilled and populated by peaceful families of Slavic shepherds. European civilisation was shaped in Hun, Latin, and Germanic states, joined by Hungarian, Bulgarian, Croatian and Serbian and also Czech and Polish states of the Germanic type. European culture, however, arose from Proto-Slavic agriculture. Philologist Krek, deserving more recognition and respect, described the first great culture of Europe; The Greek, Roman, or Germanic cultures can match its authenticity and strength. Their victorious troops profited from riches, knowledge, and emotion of the Slavic farmer. Only so was a sophisticated culture possible, as no culture can exist but as fruit of the working relationship between man and nature. So it is certain that the core of European culture also contains Slavic elements!


(Jadranski alamanah, za leto 1923; Nasha zalozhba v Trstu)







A few railway stations above Bozen formerly in southern Tirol presently Venetian Trentinio or »Alto Adige«, the mountain of Schlern (2546 m) extends above the valley of the river Isarco (Jezer[ni]ca? / ‘of a lake’, trans. n.) – or Eisack (305 m). Schlern is the westernmost peak of the Dolomites above the (Talzug) lowlands of Isarco – Adige (Eisack – Etsch). Due to its relative remoteness, Schlern offers a magnificent and broad view of presently Italian Tirol: the snowy peaks of the Oetzthal and Zillerthal Alpine ranges in the north reaching 3741 m and 3523 m respectively, and the Brenner Pass reaching 1370 m and High Tauern with the Venediger group 3660 m; in the west Ortler 3902 m, Adamello 3524 m, and Brenta–Tosa, 3155 m–3176 m; in the South Weisshorn 2316 m and Schwarzhorn (Cima di Rocca) 2440 m, and Latemar 2864 m.

The most beautiful sight extends due east featuring the true Dolomites: the Rosengarten group reaching 3001 m, the Marmolada Glacier 3344 m, Boè 3152 m, Langkofel 3178 m, Ghardenaccia 2670 m, Puez 2915 m, Sas Rigais 3027 m. Due west, in the north before Schlern, extends the long green back of Raschötzeralpe, known as Rascieza in Ladin language, reaching 2308 m; beneath lay Grödnertal (Val Gardena), its front is Germanised and its vale (Schlusstal) Ladin.

Schlern is accessible from all sides, most easily from the Waidbruck station (471 m) via the road or path past Count Wolkenstein’s castle Trostburg (621 m) to Kastelrut (1090 m), currently the seat of the district court; from here by cart tracks to the Ratzes baths 1207 m, following a beautiful forest trek and then winding paths of the north-western slopes to the grassy and here and there marshy Schlern plain. It is about a 5-hour walk from Kastelrut to Schlernhäuser.

The term Schlern is is an alpine dialectal word used by the ox-herds for marshy plains under rocky summits. Schmeller, etym. Bayr, Wörterbuch gives »Schlier – Lehm, in Oesterreich, Mergel«; the word denotes gravelly and marshy areas. Schlern is too steep and windy for good pasture (Alm) so oxen and non-dairy cattle are grazed there. Above the vast gravelly Schlern, circa 2300 – 2400 m, lay a dry grassy terrace and by its edge the 2451m Schlernhäuser, the most visited tourist shelter in Tirol, a true hotel in excellent care of the former Bozen section of the German Alpine Society. It offers 82 beds and 25 additional folding beds. Before the war, up to 300 people dined in the spacious hall on Sundays and certain holidays. From the hotel to the summit is a good 100 m, 20 minutes of slow walking, easily cut down to 15. Its face is devoid and rocky with spread out broken limestone rubble and a rock slab at the top. In the east, the Schlern plain beholds a white rock-face (Felswand), with a clear peak, morphologically a true »pech«.

Pletershnik gives 2) »pech« - Felsenstück, pechi, Felsgegend for Rezija pech, Stein, pecha Felsenhöhle, pechevje Felsgegend, pechevina Felsengrund, pechina Fels, Felsenhöhle, pechinka Grotte, pechnato feslig. Gorizia’s highlanders make a reasonably exact morphological distinction; pech = kompakter Fels, rock = Felsstück, edge = Felsrand, tunnel = das abgestürzte Felsstück, pechina = Felswand, pechevje = Felsmasse, pechevina = Felsboden. Mikloshich for »pek« cites the »pech« as a generally Slavic term, Lithuanian pechius, Hungarian pest, Romanian pesht, Tirolan dialect of German: Pötsche, Höhle unter dem Felsen. He adds: die ursprüngliche Bedeutung ist Ofen, which does not strike me as right, at least in the sense gebauter Ofen. The sense pech for Fels is autonomous; the mountain herdsman sees it as a pech, because he is scorched by the afternoon sun. Pech as personal name is used by all Slovenians living in mountains. Particularly notable in the Julian Alps are: Bela Pech (Biela Peit) 2143 m above neveja; until recently Monte Cimone (2380 m) was Stermapeit – Strma Pech. Pechi appear above Kanin and Prestreljenik, from Vogel to Rodica; »Na Pèchah (plur. tantum fem.)« above Bovec by the path to Kanin; Pechje = edge under Polovnik, Maklena Pech under Vrshich above Trenta. There is a Pechínka in Kras, a hill of 291 m, a known battle point of the great war between Opatjeselo and Kostanjevica. Peche, a village by Krka, Peche = Pöckau at Podkloshter etc. Taler cites for Tirol: Pöntsch. On the road at the southern Austria-Salzburg border stand die Petschen; in the Fervala group (Preval?) the Pezinerspitze. Schiber, Zeitschrift des deutsch-osterr. A. V. 1902 knows of sources using Petsch for Ampezzo. This name is composed, in a similar vein as »Na gori« giving Langoris in Friuli under Kormin, from »Na pechi«. Another Ampezzo exists in upper Tagliamento Valley, both are known resorts. Pech is also the old name for rocky undergrowth protruding from the marshy Schlern in fact and morphologically the proper sense is the white, naked rock-side above the green Schlern grasslands. Germans view Pech to be a Ladin word for fir tree. Ladin pronunciation equals Slovenian, with a hard ch. Friulian pezz=pinus, picea, whilst pin=pine, pinus silvestri, laris, Larch = Lärche.

Karn Friulians borrow Dane from Germanic coloni, obviously Tanne. Sense: The Ladin pech = spruce or fir (for the true morphological pech) for a rocky growth at 2500 m above the marshy plain of Schlern at 2400 is impossible. The area from Slovenian Julian Alps, across Karnia and Tirol up to the western Alps is filled with Pech, Peza, Pueza, Pezze, Pezes etc. Meanwhile Slovenian pech, like German Pöntsch, Petschen has a single sense only, the Friulian-Ladin and northern Italian dialect two senses must be distinguished: pech = Felsen and pezes = spruce, fir. The morphologically typical Pech – Fels rises above Schlern.

The words pekel, pecol are likewise mixed. Pekel 2106 m, under Triglav is known among tourists; in Resia »Na pékale« and further westward the morphological meaning of the steep »Pecol« is Slovenian pekel = hell. Pecol and Friulian Pocol frequently denote pe = foot, col = hill; the Pecol mountain is therefore a foothill, while Pocol (post-col) means hinter-hill. Beneath the steep Civetta, lay the village Pecol, above it extends the 1813 m Crep di pecol, Krepa nad Podbrdom (above the foothill, trans. n.). Meyer-Lübke (Etym. rom. Wörterbuch) misinterprets the word to stem from the Latin pediculus. In fact pecoll in Friulian means peduncolo, but Piron’s Friulian dictionary combines both: pecóll, peduncolo in piede di mobiglio, i.e stem, and somita, in cima di un colle, i.e. hell.

Slovenian »Pech« in Schlern is not an exception. Circa 7th century, when knights Wolkenstein built their small castle in the hollow of the Groden Valley east of Langental, their fields were on the slopes of the Cheri, Tschierspitzien group 2592 m, and pastures and pens under La Pizza (Shpica 2498 m) Stevia- or Stava-alpa.

»Pod Nivabize« are houses Sot Nives. Since latin nix, nivis and Ladin neif = snow and history attests that Ladins settled the Groden Valley only in the late Middle Ages, Nivabize, can in my opinion stem neither from latin nives nor Ladin neif. »Biza’ perhaps the German Wiese, »niva« Slovenian njiva = field. »Stevia« and »Stava« are unknown in Ladin, however Slovenian has staja or pristava (pen, admin. building). Wolkensteins could have had Slovenians as their first thralls; later Ladins immigrated but the names Niva and Stava remain preserved to this day. The Kukovo Sedlo pass = Sella Cuca. Ladin mountain guides told me that Ladins settling the Groden Valley, came upon old settlers high in the mountains, who had relations with each-other on forest trails and to this day a trail under the Rascenza pasture is called Raschötztal, Rashica, »Troi dei pajans«, trail of Pagans.

In the parallel valley to the north, in presently germanised Vilnösstall several purely Slovenian meadow names are preserved: Praprot (fern, trans. n.), Ravni, Chrindoj (dale), Got = corner, Gost = wood, Trebe, Trebich.

In the Ladin Ortisei municipality, St. Ulrich, are Lip = lipa (lime tree, trans. n.) and Rona = Ravna (streigth, trans. n.). In municipality Selva-Wolkenstein are Lepotza, indubitably Lepocha, a characteristic Slovenian alpine name for watering hole.

Here, therefore, pure Slovenian names* are found, overlooked by linguists, because they never properly learned neither Slovenian, Friulian nor Ladin.




Like Pech, there is a plethora of Slovenian proper names throughout Tirol of Ladin and Bavarian dialects. Romance linguists did not carefully examine this area, Tirolan Germans, however, have a rich collection of proper names. Though not a single one knows Slovenian and so they search for words of unknown origin in Celtic, Illyrian and other ideologies.

So Tarneller »Hof u. Burgnamen in Meran« etc. for example counts as Ladin or pre-Roman i.e. Veneto-Illyrian words the following words: Perval = Perfl = Pirbler – obviously Slovenian Prevala, also corrupted in Zadlaz by Tolmin to Pirbla. Kanzen, kanz, konz, kunz – obviously konec (end, trans. n.). »Konec« often appears as the name of valley ends.

Gichl am Grèben, from 1694 needs no interpretation (greben = »ridge«, trans. n.).

Troier, Ladin troi does not derive from trivium but rather from Slovenian utro, i.e. cleared ground, a word widely used in Slovenian hills.

Tel, Töll = dol (dale, transl. note).

Loch = Gebüsch, Sald, obviously: log (marsh, trans. n.). Schmeller (Bavarian) gives »Lo, Loh, Logen, Lohen, besonders in Zusammensetzungen.«

Pletzenbauer is not middle German Streifen Landes, but corresponds with Pleche, a frequent designation for mountain ledges.

Morphologically Küchelberg, like Salzburg’s Kuchel is Slovenian kukla.

Tarneller describes »langgestreckter Hügelrücken, der plötzlich abflält«, i.e. the steep incline lends the morphological shape of kukla, like p. ex. Kukla v Trenti etc.

Lazins are Lazne.

Brizsche, documented in 1311, are Brishche, frequent name in Gorishka and Venetian areas, a shortened form of brdishche (brdo = hill, transl. note).

In der Laner, d. i. Bergmahd is obviously Lanezh, a mountain with meadows of wild flax. There are numerous Lanezhs in the Julian Alps.

In der Gande, d. i. Boden mit grobem Schutt. Schmeller gives the Bavarian Gund, Gunten, »Luftloch«. Slovenian and Latin k in Tirolan usually mutates to g and t, and often d. Both match in sound and meaning »konta« in our Julian Alps. Kuntner is also a Slovenian name, personal and alpine, Kuntar with konta. See instances of Kuntar in the Julian Alps, hills next to a konta (sinkhole, trans. n.).

Gatsche, in der Gatsche – frequent Slovenian name Gache, Zweisel; Gachnik, Gachnikar, der Zwieselbauer.

Táber is in fact not derived from German taub, but our tabor (camp, trans. n.).

Pöntsch – pech.

Tamasseg, doc. in 1560 as Tamerseg, widespread alpine word tamar (cattle pen, trans. n.).

Marling, in 1290 and Merning, for measure, Slovenian mernik (bushel, trans. n.)

Ursinig, docum. in 1380 as Virshinich is akin to the documented Friulian Verzegnis, the Slavic word Vrshich.

Zoche, documented in 1580, Zouch is Suha as Zouch = Suha ob Chrni Prsti. Schmeller gives Bavarian Zauch.

Tsiens, docum. in 1259 as Tisna, in 590 the supposed Tesena fort, the object of fighting between the Franks and Lombards, perhaps Slovenian Tesna.

Lass, Laas; Tarneller proposes »die Lass«, i.e. timber slide »durch die Lass wird Holz getrieben.« This could be true in the mountains, but the large village of Laas above Meran is Slovenian Laze.

The word Werd, Werder, Wert is widely attested wherever Germans are found, according to Schmeller Bavarian, Frankish, and Austrian, »erhöhter Ort’, I believe it to be related to our brdo (hill, trans. n.).

Rang, Rank, Rangen, Rung, Rungen is also widespread. Schmeller gives Frankish Rang, fortlaufender Bergabhang, i.e. morphologically apt Friulian ronc; Slovenians have ronek, obronek (rim, edge, trans. n.).

Schmeller features several Slovenian words. Gosse (Sennhütte) = kocha, (die Grappen = grapa, Graus (Greuss, Gros, Gries) = Grizha (hut, gorge, barren land – respectively, trans. n.).

Lam, Erzgrube im bayrischen Wald, is the Slovenian word Lom; see V Lomeh beneath Vrshich in Trenta.

Lus (Morast) = Luzha.

Lewer, Leberberg (Hügel) = Slovenian léb, lebanja.

Sedelkot is simply sedlo and kot (saddle and corner, trans. n.)

Philologists will find a treasury of old Slovenian, and due north-west Czech, words in Tarneller, Schmeller and others.

Since the 1st century A.D. the Etsch - Eisack lowlands and open fertile Inn valley were Latinised; in the 5th and 6th centuries Germanic Baiuvari pushed Latins south. The chroniclers do not say who at the time and in the following centuries settled steep hills and alpine backwoods. Bavarians from the north and Ladins from the south only colonised these areas from the 12th century onwards.


(Planinski vestnik, 1926, no. 7; publisher: Slovensko planinsko drushtvo v Ljubljani)




* After their immigration Slovenians also entered this space but gradually disappeared among other residents leaving clear remnants of their language. – Editorial board.


(The asterix and appended note were not added by Tuma, but by the editorial board of Planinski vestnik – editor’s note.)



HENRIK TUMA (Ljubljana, 1858-1935), politician, journalist, mountaineer. Born in the Krakovo suburbs of Ljubljana (father Matija cobbler, immigrant from Prague, mother Ana, nee Vidic), at first teacher then received his doctorate in law in Vienna, lived in Primorska (Littoral) for several years (Trst, Gorica), where he also married (to Marija Gianola, they had ten children). After World War I, he was a lawyer in Ljubljana. At first a member of the Liberal Party, he later became a Social Democrat and Austro-Marxist; erudite in various disciplines (history, psychology, literature), he studied names of Slovenian Mountains in support of the thesis of Slovenian autochthony in the Alps; editor of the Nashi zapiski periodical (as A. Dermota’s successor, he changed its previous subtitle from »social magazine« to »socialist magazine«, 1913).

Here he is featured through two essays (only excerpts of the first, which is extremely lengthy, the second is given in its entirety) from among those containing his linguistic opinions; the official field negated their validity, however in spite of a few perhaps questionable toponymical details, it is possible to follow his solid argumentation to a wider explanation of toponymical traces of the geographic and historical alpine context in the light of Slovenian (Slavic) etymology. And so also according to Tuma, Slovenian with its dialects is outlined as a relic of probably the first migration (c. 3000 B.C.) of Indo-European peoples from the Eurasian north-east westward into Europe all the way to the Atlantic; a later influx of more militaristically organised tribes (of the same Indo-European origin) pressed these herdsmen and agricultural predecessors from all sides through the centuries, pushing them into remote areas protected by mountains, while their original toponymy was transformed and erased in various ways.


Selection and note about the author by Ivo Antich




*1 Translated by Marko Petrovich (up to paragraph 3, p. 12 )

/*1 Translated by Jaka Jarc (from paragraph 3, p. 12 )




Slovenian (gajica)

Slovenian (bohorichica)