Lives Journal 3

Davorin Trstenjak




Concerning the tribal kinship of Veneti in Armenia, Paphlagonia,

Illyricum, by the Adriatic Sea, the Baltic Sea and in Armorica


Central Asia is the ancient homeland of the ethnic group, which geographers and historians nowadays call: Aryan. The Himalayas are the home of this ethnic group. Holy texts from Zend books call this ancient centre Ariyana-vaedjo, which means: the seminary (source of the seed) of the Aryans, in the ancient Indian language: vêdzha (seminary). Ancient geographers divided Ariyana into its eastern section, which was populated by the Gandharvas, Parupanishadhâs, Parikans, Gedrosians, Drangians and other Indian groups; to the north a section which was populated by Bactrians, Sogdians, Kharazms, Caspians and other Persian groups; in the west a region populated by Hyrcanians, Parthians and Medes, and finally the south which was populated by Persians, Harmans, the Khuzi etc.1

These Aryan tribes were the brothers and sisters of the European Aryan peoples: Greeks, Itals, Illyrians, Celts, Germans, Slav-Lithuanians, Sarmatians, Thracians, Scythians etc.

This group was known in Asia as Aria and its land was called Ariavarta, Ariaka; it is from the latter form that the New Persian Iraq came about. Aria means: venerable, renowned, ehrwürdig, venerabilis, and this name distinguished them from other nations which were called Mlêkhas and Varvarikas;a this latter name designated a particular black race of Cushites or Ethiopians.2

The larger tribes belonging to the Aryan group did not call themselves Arias only in Asia (e.g. the Medes, and Artai is the most ancient name for the Persians which the learned Lassen3 cleverly deduced from the Old Persian areta, venerated, geehrt), but their relatives too who moved to Europe were proud of their venerable origin; we learn too that the Thracians called their land Aria,4 among Germanic tribes we find the name Arie, and the very learned Gilferding5 proved that the name Sarmat too means venerable. It was indeed Gilferding who succeeded in proving that also the name Veneti, Venti, this ancient name for the Slavs, is a synonym of the names Arias, Aretas, Sarmatas and that it also denotes members of the venerable, renowned Aryan ethnic group. The Sanskrit root van, from which comes the Latin veneror, venustus, Venus, venerabilis, expresses the meanings: amare, desiderare, venerari, and it is this very root that we find in Slav languages in the forms van and un; compare the Old Slavonic uniti with the Greek ποθειν, the Gothic unjan, favere.

The following Old Slavonic people’s names come from the same root: Van, Vanis, Veneta,b Uneta, Unesh, Unimir, Unimysl, Ventoslav, Unegost, Vangost etc.6

As it has been proven and beyond any shadow of a doubt accepted that Tacitus’ Veneti were Slavs, and as the neighbouring Finns and Scandinavians have always referred to the Slavs as Wane or Veneje (Venelaiset means the land of the Veni Veneti), and as the Germans too refer to the Slavs as Wenedi, Wanadi, Vinuli, Windili, Wenden, Winden, and the Celts call them Vineth, Veoned, Gwineth, we must look for the slovenec ethnic group everywhere where we see the name Venet.d

Homer was the first to talk in praise of the Veneti. He mentions that in the war between the Trojans and the Greeks the former were helped by Pylaimenes, leader of the Paphlagonians, with a special detachment from the tribe of the Eneti; this detachment was so heroic and chivalrous that Homer calls it »λάσιον κηρ« – brave heart.7

All critical linguists admit that the forms ’Ενετοι and ‘Ενετοι are particularities of Greek writers. The Greek language did not have the sound v; apparently it could not be pronounced so it was replaced by two spirituses – asper and lenis, or alternatively it broke the v down into vowels. In this way Greek writers write the Indian name of the god of wine Suradêvas – Σουραδειος, the Persian name for King Dârjavush – Δαρειος; they also helped themselves with the sound or οi, so in Greek you see the forms: έσπέρα = Lat. vespera, οiκος = vikos, Lat. vicus, oiνος = vinos, Lat. vinum, αίων = Lat. aevum, έίδω = Lat. video, νάες = Lat. naves etc.e In Latin the sound v is suitable so the Latins wrote the name correctly: Veneti.

Eustathius,8 who was of Greek origin, says that the tribe which the Greeks referred to as Ένετοι or ‘Ενετοι, was for him: Βενετοι – i.e. the Veneti because the Greeks pronounced B as V (βητα – vita) already at the time of Suidas. Eustathius adds: όι δε παλαιοι Ούενετιαν την χώραν πεντασυλλάβος έκαλούν κατα γλώσσαν οίκειαν«; therefore: Venetia.

The meaning of the name Venet was known also to Jornand9 (Jordanes, Iornandes; from 525 AD) because he writes: »cujus urbis (Ravenae) dudum ut tradunt majores posessores Venetii, id est: laudabiles dicebantur.«

If we return to the Paphlagonian Veneti, we find out from Homer that the Veneti tribe lived in northern Paphlagonia on the sea coast at »Pontus euxinus« and that it possessed the two cities Kytor and Sesam. According to Lassen’s10 research, the Paphlagonians were related to the Armenians; the Armenian language having an Iranian origin. Homer also writes that the Veneti lived by the Virgin River (άμφί τε Пαρθενιον ποταμον), that their city was Kromna and the shore Aigial, or as Eustathius reads it: Kobial. Castle Erythyn (Έρυθινους) was also theirs. The city of Kytor (compare with the Pannonian clan: Kυτνοι) stood right next to the kita (i.e. a wreath or brow, Lat. frons) of the Black Sea, and this is a very natural name; compare the form with shator, sipor, prapor; Kromna was a fortress, compare with the old Slavonic Krom, arx; Aigial and Kobial are almost certainly names which were distorted in the mouth of a Greek singer; and the Veneti word for shore was Egalo or Igalo, which even nowadays means litus, Meeresufer in the south Slav languages; the Slovene Kobel, Berg, Hügel shows that the form Kobial is more correct.

Eustathius11 tried to explain that Έρυθινος comes from the Greek: έςευθoς, έρυθαινω, saying that this castle got its name from the red colour (από της χρόας) because it stood on »ερευθος σκοπελος.« But deriving the Veneti name from Greek is inconsistent and Eritin means red castle, Rothenburg, Rothenwart, also in Slavonic – from arueru, Russian al', Serbian al' red, and týn, enclosed area.

Strabo and Ptolemy mention even more names of cities, rivers and mountains in Paphlagonia which sound Slovene, for example: Zagora (the name of a mountain), Sivata, Tobata, Rastia, Sekora, Titva, Olen, Elvia, Laskoria, Armen etc.

Homer praises how well the Veneti bred horses and says that there lived in that region an abundance of wild mules. The Slavs were always horse-breeders as they are to this day and that is why I would look for the ancient homeland of the Veneti in Asia on the high-lying plains of Nisha. Nisha means mountain meadow in Sanskrit; in Slav lands too this name has been given to many places and Slavonic tribes.f How did these Veneti get to the northern side of the Black Sea? Together with the learned Gilferding I assert that when the great Veneti tribe moved from central Asia they simply fell behind there by accident; like the Veneti mentioned by Pomponius Mela12 as residing amongst the Armenians and the Cappadocians, and by Apollonius13 as residing amongst the Tibareni ; therefore in the region where the river Halysa had its sources. It is also characteristic that in the same regions we find the names of old cities which sound Slovene: Zara, Zela, Ibora, Komana, Komisha g etc.

These Veneti still existed in Armenia at the time of the historian Moses of Chorene14 (born in 370, died in 489 AD), and he quotes old local writers who said that in 127 BC a group of Bulgarians broke into the Armenian district called Vanat-Vanand, i.e. into the land of Pomponius’ and Apollonius’ Veneti, and mixed with them there so the population acquired the name Bulgar-Vanand or Pulgar-Vend.

In the course of their migrations, branches of the Veneti family did not remain just in Paphlagonia and Lesser Armenia, but also on the lower Ister (Danube). Appian15 mentions the presence of Veneti neighbouring on the Dardanians and the Sintians as far as the borders with the Macedonians: »Ένετους και Δαρδανέας, και Σίντους, περιόικια Μακέδονιον έθνη.«

In the olden days Macedonia reached as far as Mt. Orbelos, as far as the present-day Balkan Mountains. Ancient geographers locate the clan of the Sintians next to Mt. Bentiskos which is where their capital city Heraclea Sintica was loacted. But the Sintians lived on the south side of the Balkans. Ancient geographers say the Dardanians lived in the territory from »mons scardus« (the Shar mountain), by the river Drina, by the sources of the Morava. This was upper Dardania while the lower part went past Haimos (Balkans) as far as the Thracian borders. For Appian’s Veneti therefore there is no other area than that from Babichka Gora as far as the city of Nish (ancient Naisos), by the right bank of the Morava up past Jagodina to Pozharevac in the west, and from Vidin (Bulgaria) to the Iron Gates (Demir Kapija, Macedonia) in the east, with the ancient cities Bonionia, Ratiaria and Naisos because lower down we comes across the Triballi; a certain Anonymos mentioned by Eustathius16 also says they were neighbours with the Triballi and that they settled as far as the river Timok. This Anonymos also believes that these Veneti from Paphlagonia moved to Thrace, and only from there on to the Adriatic coast. But they may have been pushed down to the lower Ister from upper Pannonia by attacks from Celtic tribes called Scordisci, who in 370 BC broke through from Gaul through upper Italy and the Julian Alps onto the Illyrian peninsula. The Greek author Arrian17 found out that the Veneti left their ancient homeland in Asia because of war with the Assyrians, who began attacking the Aryan peoples around 2200 BC,18 therefore around 100 hundred years after the death of Abraham. That is probably when the migration of Aryan tribes to Europe began. Gilferding believes this war took place in 1270 BC, but this does not seem very likely and I prefer to support Krüger’s thesis. Whatever the true period was, in Arrian’s report we can find the cause and also the approximate period when the Veneti family set out on its journey to Europe. It is certain that this migration took more than a century, but the route they took remains a mystery. Certainly not just across the Caucasus and the great southern Russian plains towards the Baltic Sea, but also from the Black Sea through the Danube valley to the flank of the Adriatic Sea, possibly even just by this route.

In his book: Ueber die Abkunft der Slaven, Shafaøik19 writes (although it seems he was not aware of Appian’s mention of the Veneti neighbouring on the Macedonians), that in Old Church Slavonic it is possible to find two language families, one from prehistoric times in Illyricum settled by Slavs, and the other mixed with later north Slav arrivals.

It seems to me that the members of those five Slavonic tribes that Moses of Chorene mentions in Thrace and on whose territory the Goths later settled are the remains of Appian’s Veneti.h

Among the Slavs living on the Illyrian peninsula tales of Alexander the Great are still alive and this is why already Shafaøik posed the question: »Datieren sich nicht die späteren Sagen der Slovenen über Alexander der Grossen von da?«; i.e. from the time when he attached the neighbouring Triballi, as Justin reports:20

»Alexander protinus superato jugo per Haemum montem in Triballos ad flumen Lygium profectus est. Syrmus Triballorum rex erat: in cognito Alexandri adventu uxores et pueros caeteramque imbellem turbam ad Danubium in insulam Peucam [v donavski delti] confestim misit, quo et Thraces Triballis finitimi se receperant. Nec multo post et ipse Syrmus eodem fugit. Reliqua Triballorum multitudo ad alteram insulam se contulerat eo in loco, ex quo pridie Alexander moverat, sitam. Alexander Triballos repetens, hostes ex sylvis in aperta provocatos superat 300 caesis.«

These Triballi were considered by Surowiecki, and at first also by Shafaøik, to be Slavs, comparing the name Tribal with the name: Srbal; later he abandoned this idea but I believe he need not have done. Although the derivation of the name is farfetched, the name Triballi can nevertheless be connected to the Lusatian Triebovani; their city of Triebel exists to this day. The name of their governor Syrmus can again be found in the name of the count Sermon who in 1019 AD governed the Syrmian Slavs.21

These Slav Veneti who moved to the north side of the Balkans in prehistory and who remained in this region until the arrival of new Slav settlers from northern Europe, preserved the tales about Alexander the Great and passed them on to their new relatives. There is no other way these tales could have been passed on as almost 800 years separate the arrival of Alexander on the banks of the Ister and the arrival of the northern Slovene Ants in the Balkans.

These precursors also passed on to the novices Thracian songs about Orpheus. Orpheus’ tale begins on Mt. Pangaon near Libethra and in the proximity of Kykon. From there it came to the Greeks and via them to the Romans, then via Haemus to the Veneti and the Triballi who passed it on from one generation to another and that is why the Bulgarian Verkovich 22 found memory of Orpheus in a folk song among the Bulgarian Slavs in the Balkan hills. In the region where Appian’s Venetii and Triballi lived, Prokop (552) mentions a multitude of fortresses which sound perfectly Slovene, for example: Labutza, Skaplitza, Klesvetitza, Vraziste, Balesina etc. These towns were probably built by the Veneti as they could not have been built in the middle of the fifth century by Slavs that had migrated from the north in the short period of around 50 years during constant fighting. The famous emperor and legislator Justinian probably also originated from the tribe of Appian’s Veneti; before he Latinized his name he was called Upravda. The same was the case with the noble army commander Belizar. This also explains why according to Solinus’s report we can nowadays find the word for buffalo bonas in the Rhodope Mountains; according to Pliny the Pannonians used the same word for this animal; this is further proof of the kinship of the Pannonians and the Veneti, neighbours of the Macedonians.

These Veneti who lived in the land of the Illyrians were probably known by Herodotus,23 who mentions that the Illyrian Veneti (»τώ και Ίλλυριων Ένετους«) had the same custom as the Babylonians, namely that they took their brides to the fair and married them all off on the same day; this custom was also known to the Russian Slavs.

The Dardanians, Mysians, Sintians etc were relations of the Illyrian tribe and represented the majority of the population settled there (a potiori fit denominatio), that is why Herodotus also called these Veneti Illyrians, comparing them with the Veneti by the Adriatic whom he also knew because he says the Singini, Medes by origin, spread from the Ister to the borders with the Veneti by the Adriatic Sea. In ancient times the Veneti tribes therefore lived by the lower Ister and their settlements reached through Pannonia, Noricum, Carnia as far as Ravenna in northern Italy, and in the west they spread over north Tyrol as far as the Bodensee which was called lacus Veneticus as is recorded by Pomponius Mela and Ptolemy;24 even to this day the Slovene word for boat is used by people living by this lake: Lädis,25, ancient Slav: lad', Polish and Sorbian: lodz.

The Slovene identity of the Adriatic Veneti has so clearly been proven by the learned Gilferding that I am left only with the leftovers. I have already presented many of them to the academic world in Novice so I present here only some of the more recent ones.

It is proven that in ancient times the Baltic Veneti sold amber to the Adriatic Veneti.

Writers in ancient times did not know how amber is created and where it is found.

Theophrastus thought it was found in Liguria; he must have been confused by the name given to amber: λυγκουρίον. This is also what the Greeks called amber, as we know from Aelian who thought that it comes from: »λυγκος ουρον« – from lynx (Luchs) urine. Demostratus was also of this opinion as Pliny writes: »Demostratus lyncurion id (succinum) vocat, et fieri ex urina lyncum.« Zenothemis was of a different opinion and said that it is called langurium – coming from the animal langurus, this wild animal (beast) lived in the forests by the River Po.26 The Po is a river which also flowed through the land of the Veneti, langur may therefore be a Veneti word. The most natural explanation comes from the ancient Slav lang, лaгь, sylva; therefore langur (compare with: dihur (skunk), animal silvestre. Even the Serbs call animals which live mainly in dense woodlands – lugare.27

For readers who would like to find out more details about the history of the Adriatic Veneti I recommend Gilferding’s essay, meanwhile, I will turn our attention the Baltic Veneti. From where did they come to the Baltic region? I believe they came from the south when they broke off from the Danube and Noricum-Pannonian branches. This is confirmed by all ancient tales of the northern Slavs. The Polish Krak originated from Korotan (Carinthia), Lel and Cheh from Zagorje in Croatia; Nestor (Russian monk-chronicler, 12th cent.), says that the northern Slavs, who once lived by the Danube in Noricum and in Illyricum, were ousted from the lower Danube region by the Vlachs, i.e. the Celts. Surowiecki, Shafaøik, Schlötzer and Mannert found that in ancient times the Slav tribes reached in one continuous belt from the Adriatic to the Baltic Sea. They occupied all the land between the river basins of the Sava, Drava, Ina, Danube, Elbe and the Vistula. Schultze, Wersebe, Müller, Landau28 and other impartial Germans, and the Slavs Shembera and Hanush, found that the Slavs in east Germania lived mixed with the Germanics and the Celts already in prehistoric times and that this mixture created a special germano-celtic-slav tribe called the Svabini (Svabi, Svebi), which was governed by the Germanics. That is why there is such a fundamental difference in the social life of the Germanics and the Svabins which the clever Landau discovered also in the construction of sanctuaries, the repartition of land (Hufen) etc. So we must not look for the first settlements of the Slavs in the regions of the Tanais and further down towards the Maotidi, where the Celts and Germanics lived originally and who were followed by Thracian, Scythian and Sarmatian tribes. The Veneti settled along the Danube plain, across the mountains of Noricum into Germania and across the Carpathians and Krkonoshe to the plains of the Visla and the Oder as far as the Veneti Sea. At the furthest reaches they retained the name Veneti; by the River Po, by the lower Ister (Danube), in the west near the Bodensee and in the north by the Baltic Sea. So the old writer was right when he wrote: »Heneti Asiae incolae jam in Evropa aliis permixti incolis habitabant.« j

It is not known if the Veneti came to Europe before the Germanics; Gilferding believes the Germanics were emigrants from the Aryan family but I do not believe this is correct and would agree more with Surowiecki who places the Slav arrival before the Germanic one. Future research will also shed light on this question.

In the course of my research I have accumulated much material on the language and religion of the ancient Slavs, comparing them with the language and religion of other related European Aryans, but before I can publish this research I need more time to analyse this material.

As the Slovene identity of the Baltic Veneti is indisputable, let us consider the Veneti in Armorica. They lived by the Atlantic Ocean29 in the province of Lugdun, which is nowadays in Brittany (Fr. Bretagne, Armorique). They did not live only on the mainland or on the coast but also on the islands of Siata, Sena, Vindillis; the latter actually means »island of the Veneti« in the language of the Celts. The present-day city of Vannes, called Venet and Gwenet in Breton, at the edge of the department of Morbihan still resembles the old settlements of the Veneti in the Breton coastal region. Their sea port was called »vindana portus« by the Gauls which meant: »port of the Veneti«; geographers say that the city of Dariorigum was also held by the Veneti. The first part of the word sounds Slovene while the second part reminds one of the city of Riga and the Russian word riga. It is known that the »island of the Veneti«, known as Vindillis by the Celts, is nowadays called Belle Isle – beautiful, bright, clear island, while the neighbouring island was called Siata, this name again refers to the shining, bright quality of the island. Roman geographers referred to the coastal foothills as »promontorium Gobaeum«, which comes from the word gob (Rücken, Höcker, gibbus) or guba (Bai, kleiner Meerbusen). Nowadays they are called: Pic de Penn marche. The port was called Vorganium, that is: Бръганіе from Бръгаіoн, werfen, anstossen. Even nowadays places on riverbanks where ships and boats run aground are called vrzhenja. The other coastal town was called Blavia by ancient geographers; this name probably comes from a distortion of the name Plavia, i.e. the place where the marine alluvium begins. Uckert also links the Veneti with the islands of Riduna, Sarnija k and the island, which got its name from Caesar – Caesarea.30 Ancient writers preserved no further toponyms for us.

These Armorican Veneti later also founded a settlement in nearby England which was called Venedotia or Gwineth. They are mentioned by Einhard31 in the eighth century when he talks about the return of the British Veneti to Gaul. How did this Slovene tribe make its way to these places by the Atlantic? Was it brought here by fate when the Veneti began moving to Europe from Asia and carried on towards the Alps? Or did they somewhere separate from those who lived by the »lacus veneticus«, and carried on as far as the Breton coast? Or did they possibly separate from the Adriatic Veneti and march on through Switzerland where even nowadays in the canton of Valais we can find some small traces of Slavs, and from there to the western border of old Gaul? It seems to me more likely that they arrived in Gaul by way of the sea from the Baltic coast as it was already Caesar who praised their outstanding seamanship and trade. They probably ferried amber from the Baltic to the coast of north Gaul where it was then taken over by the Phoenicians and the Greeks. This transportation gradually led to the creation of a large colony, which acquired a considerable reputation so that even Caesar acknowledges their excellence when he writes:

»hujus (veneticae) civitatis longe amplissima auctoritas omnis orae maritimae regionum earum, quod et naves habent Veneti plurimas, quibus in Britaniam navigare consuerunt et scientia atque usu nauticarum rerum reliquos antecedunt, et in magno impetu maris atque aperto paucis portibus interjectis, quos tenent ipsi omnes fere, qui eo mari uti consuerunt, habent vectigales32

The ships of the Veneti were very strong, as Caesar too describes them, and this is why the Veneti caused serious problems for him before he succeeded in defeating them in war. It is in fact known that the Slavs had always been excellent sailors. All the writers from that time praise the skilful trading of the Baltic Veneti and the flourishing Baltic market town of Volin (Vineta); Byzantine writers praise the navigation of Russian Slavs on their rivers; Roman writers often mentioned the outstanding trading skills of the Adriatic Veneti.

I would say that the Veneti probably lived by the sea in their ancient Asian homeland and that they were involved with shipping so it is reasonable if we look for their ancient settlements in Asia by the Caspian Sea, which the ancient Slavs called Hvalinsko. The Cambrian (Cambria, North Wales) Britons referred to Armorica as Letavia and its population as Letewicion. An old Cambrian interpolator already tried to explain this word as coming from the Cambrian language, namely from the words lled, semi, and tewi, tacere, and writes: »Nos illos Britones armoricos vocamus in nostra lingua Letowicion, idest semitacentes, quoniam confuse loquuntur.« This remark is very significant for our research because it proves that alongside the population which spoke an ancient Celtic language there was also another population present. He could not have been thinking of the Roman language because it was present in British dialects so the language of the Veneti must also have had an influence on the language of the Armoricans. It would be useful if a scholar would critically appraise the language of the population living in Brittany, especially in the coastal region where the Veneti once lived. I have found words in Zeuss’ Grammatica Celtica 33 which are known only in former Armorica and are completely Slovene, e.g.: bran, corvus, that is in Slovene vran, niger; Latvian varns, yen, glacies, Slovene inje, pruina, bud, victoria is the Slovene beda, pobeda, coant, pronounced: koant, desiderare, amare, Russian kantovat, to love; yar, gallina is in Slovene jara, jarika, gallina pullus, gueluet, vocare is in Czech volat, volovat, to call; gai, sylva is in Slovene gaj; compare the phrase: »ez eo ret techet«, necesse est fugere, where the techet corresponds to the Slovene tekati.

It is also known that the herb, which the Russians call bjelena (belená in Slovene: zobnik, blen) and which was dedicated to Belbog – Belin, was also called βελινoντια = belinovica, by the ancient Gauls: and that Bretons34 now call: louzawen saòtes Apollina, while the Slovenes call it: trava svete Apolonije (the grass of Saint Apollonia.

This is all the evidence I have been able to gather so far to prove the kinship of the Veneti in Armenia, Paphlagonia, in Illyricum by the Adriatic, by the Baltic Sea and in Armorica. I wish that other Slovene historians may have more success in this kind of research.

At the end of this essay I will say some words about the headdress of the Adriatic Venetithe kukuljica.

The historian of Venetia Romanin (I., 15) writes that the ancient Veneti wore the kukula headdress as depictions on old monuments show. The Roman satirist Juvenal mentions the kukula in the following lines:

»Translatus subito ad Marsos mensamque Sabellam

Contentusque illic veneto duraque cucullo

(Satyr. III. v 169. seq.)

It seems that the word veneto is in its combination with the word duro a noun, respective: a synonym with the word caeruleus, but Juvenal’s comment points to the Veneti, who covered their heads with the kukuljica. Romanin also mentions that the garments of the ancient Veneti were fringed (fimbriata) and colourful, such as are worn by Asian tribes and even nowadays by Slavs living on the coast; the main colour of these garments must have been blue because the word venetus is a synonym for caeruleus.l It is known that even nowadays Slavs in lower Styria and Carniola like blue garments, especially coatsm. Romanin also writes that simple people on Veneti islands wore the kukula – »kapishon«n on their heads for a long time.

Our renowned Mikloshich considers the word kukuljica to be of foreign origin and compares it with the Latin word cuccullus, cuculla, the Modern Greek κουκούλα and the Old High Germanic chugela. Ancient Greek does not know this word, which is only used by later glossators from the time of Saint Jerome. It was well known to the Latins, was also used by Martial and Juvenal and in Church Latin in Jerome’s texts. The Romans did not use the kukuljica for a headdress; it came to them from the Veneti o together with the name. But Martial talks also about »santonico bardocucullu« from »liburnici cuculli«, but it is precisely this which shows that the kukuljica is not of Roman origin. The kukuljica is mentioned also by Collumella and Trebellius Pollio; from these two writers we know that they sewed it onto coats and even Katon writes: »Cum tempestates pluviae fuerint, centones, cuculliones familiam oportuisse sibi sarcire.«

But in Latin there is no root to explain this word. When the Roman Church established monasticism and monks connected their habit with their kukuljica (hood), monasticism and the kukuljica spread all over Europe, the Latinised word reached the Irish (Hibernenses) and in the biography of Saint Kadoka the garment cocula is mentioned for the first time. It is later also mentioned in the texts of the Council of Clovishoff (747 AD). In the United Kingdom the word kukula was heavily distorted so we find the forms: gwccwll, cwccwll, cugol, cyccyllu, cwgwl, kongowl, cochl, cwfl, cwfle, cufle, cochull, cochal, cubhail culladh, all meaning: vestis monachalis, pallium, Kapuze. Distorted forms of this word in new Celtic words show that it is not of Celtic origin. It is equally distorted in Germanic dialects where it is called: kogel, gugel, gogel, kugula, kugel etc. Romance languages also distorted this word quite heavily; in French it has been shortened to coule, in Spanish cuculla, cugulla, cogulla, Provencal cogula, Portugese cugula, Italian cuculla, cocolla.p If this word was part of a general vocabulary of Indo-European languages, as Diefenbach believes, it should have the following forms in Germanic: chochel, huhel, huhula, and not: kugula, gogel, kogel etc.

Forms arising from Latin and Romance languages are: caputium, capucio, capuchon, all coming from the root: caput. This group would also include: kappe, kapa, chapka etc.

I do not understand how Diefenbach could have translated the word cucullus with the German kugel (globe), the Scandinavian kula, globe; further: keule, kolbe, Czech, Polish, Sorbian kula, globe; Finnish kula, Schiesskugel – for a krogla (ball) is okrogla (round), while a kukuljica is shpichasta (pointy).

The Kukol was first used by the Veneti, its practicality was discovered by the Liburnians and the Gauls, who were their neighbours, then the Romans, and so the headdress spread through the world together with its name.

The word kukul is known by all Slav dialects; the old Bulgarian kukulj, kuklar cucullus, the Serbian kukuljica, the Russian kukul, the Czech kuklice, the Slovene kukma, kuchma, this latter shows that the word cucullus is not just a reduplication as Diefenbach sees it. The Hungarians too got it from the Slavs: csuklya. The root kuk means the same as the Latin cac in the words cac-umen, cacuminatus, cacumino, zugespitzt; compare with the Old Slavonic kukonos, aduncum nasum habens; the Serbian, Bulgarian kuka, uncus; Czech and Russian kukla, kukulj, cacumen tecti, from which the Finns borrowed their kukkula, cacumen; in Romania, following the softening of the accent, çucluiu, Zipfel, Wipfel; from this root comes the south Slav kukuljava, alauda, Schopflerche, avis cristata, der bewipfelte Vogel, kukmast ptich; compare with the Slovene kukma, Zipfel, Wipfel, Schopf;r also names for pointed mountains: Kuk, Kukenbergen, Kuklice etc in Styria.

Kukuljica is therefore cacuminatum tegumentum, eine zugespitzte Kopfbedeckung; kukule are even nowadays worn by Russians and Carpathian Huculs, as well as by deities on Norican Roman-Slovene monuments. The Roman Church adopted suitable garments from foreign nations to use for its church vestments, such as the dalmatic from the Dalmatians, and the chasuble is even nowadays worn in winter by Croatian women from Zagorje. In this way the kukuljica too was deemed suitable for monastic dress, so the capuchin is therefore kuklar, kukuljichar, kukman, kuchmar. It is known, as Festus writes, that the kukuljica was woven from rush (ex scirpo; scirpus, bulrush). Even nowadays Slovene shepherds make kuchme (hats) and Serbs raincoats from spikerush.



1 Lassen, Indische Alterthumsk. I., 5 Gfrörer, Urgesch. des menschl. Geschl., pg. 145 etc. Benfey, article Indien in Ersch. and Gruber’s Encyklop.

a From ancient Indian varvara comes the Greek βαρβαρος, the root var means the same as the Slovene vr, from which comes the word na-vretí, aufwinden, vrv, das Gewundene, das Seil, German reduplicated as in Indian: wirwar, worren, verworren, ie. the people who spoke a mixed, incomprehensible language or, as Benfey believes, who had verwirrtes Kopfhaar (dishevelled hair), which is also a characteristic of the Cushite tribe. A branch of the wild Cushites were known by the Indians as Padjas, die Schlechten, from ancient Indian padja, compare with the Slovene podli, armselig, schlecht.

2 Read: Haug, Ueber die ältesten Namen der sogenannten Indogermanen v Allgem. Monatsch. für Wissensch. in Liter. 1844, pg. 785 etc.

3 Lassen, 1. c. I, b. 518, 526.

4 Steph. Byz. vox Thrake.

5 Gilferding, Drevnejshi period istorij Slavjan in review »Vjestnik« Evrop., pg. 239.

b Veneta, name of the daughter of the Croatian mayor. Venet families still live in Carinthia.

6 Moroshkin, Imenoslov, sub vocibus.

c Reasons for different names are listed by Shafaøik in Slov. starozh. I. 8.

d I initially tried to connect the name Venet, Vend, Vind with the Celtic find, albus, and also with vand, Slovene vad, loqui; but as I find Gilferding’s explanation natural and more likely, I am not ashamed to renounce my opinion because in all my writings I stick to the principle: may the truth prevail.

7 Homer, Odyss. 11., 852.

e In this way the Greeks too turned the Persian name Vastashpas into Υστάσπες and Varkanija (Wolfsland) became ‘Υρκανια.

8 Eustath. ad Dyonis Pierg. 378.

9 Jornand 29., compare: Paul Diacon. Histor. Longob. II., 14. Chronicon Altinum in Archivio storico italiano, append. V., 103.

10 Lassen v Zeitsch. der deutach morgenl. Gesell. X. B. pg. 386.

11 Eustath. ad Il. II. v. 855.

f Nis, Nisovci, the inhabitants of the Russian principality of Volodimir; Nishani, a municipality in the land of the Slavs living by the river Laba; Nishava, the surroundings of the city of Nish and the river Nishava in Bulgaria.

12 Pomp. Mela I, 2.

13 Apollon. II. 378.

g Komana, Komisha, a city standing on the kom (mons rotundus).

14 See Langlois: Collection des historiens de l' Armenie I, 45.

15 Appian, Bellum Mithrid C. I. V.

16 Eustath. ad Hom. Iliad 852.

17 Pri Eustath. ad Dyon. Pierg. v. 378.

18 Krüger, Urgesch. des indogerman. Stammes I. Heft, pg 34. – Moses Chorens pri Shafaøiku: Abkunft der Slav., pg 140.

19 Shafaøik l. c., pgs 147, 148.

h The Goths came to Thrace in the period 220-251 AD. Moses Chorens mainly drew from Papp Alexandria. He could have known the branches of Veneti that still lived by the Danube in his time.

20 Justin II.

21 Strilter, II, 399.

22 Verkovich in the journal »Moskva«, No. 128, 13 September 1867.

i Should we be looking for the beginnings of glagoljica with these Veneti?

23 Herodot I., 196. V., 9.

24 Pompon. Mel. II., 4.

25 Allg. Conversat. Lex. für das kath. Deutsch. vox Bodensee.

26 Primerjaj Plinij Hist. nat. XXXVII.

27 Vuk, Rjechnik sub voce.

28 Extensive quoted proven places can be found in Shemberi, Zapad. Slowany, pg. 283-307.

j Galina Jäthenstein writes that these words were spoken by the »Vater der Geschichte«, i.e. Herodot. But I cannot locate them. Unfortunately G. J. does not quote his source. He did not just invent them.

29 Caesar bell gall. II. 34. III. 9. Strabon Geog. VI. Dio Cass. XXXIX, 46.

k Also mentioned is a place about the sea shore: Aletum, compare the Sanskrit ali, height, the Serbian jalia, Ufer, ripa, litus. Alet would therefore be: Brezhice, Uferstadt. The suffix et can be found in the word velet etc.

30 See Uckert, alte Geograph. IV, 237, 334.

31 Einhard Annal. ad an. 786 ed Pertz.

32 Caes. III. 8.

33 See: »Zeus, Gramm. Celt.«, pg. 799.

34 The Breton »Gandin von Anschowe«, whose original homestead Wolfram von Eschenbach sought in the town of Gandine near Ptuj, and the red knight Ither (from iter, jitro?) may have been sun gods of the Breton Veneti that were demoted to heroes; compare my article: Jeli oblichaji na petujskem etc. in »Letop. Mat. slov. for the year 1870, pg. 20-23.«

l »Venetus« is translated by Latinists as caeruleus, eisengrau, meergrün.

m Compare with what Verdelski writes in his book »Description and History of Trieste«, pg. 100 etc., about the former dress of the people around Trieste.

n In the aforementioned book G. Verdelski also writes that the Primorci wore a coat with a hood in winter.

o Venetia is full of Slovene names. Let me mention just: Stolbica, Leshtice, Platishche, Tinica, Studena, Glavnik, Mira, Bor, Cebina, Livenca, Lonka, Roja etc. It is known, as Peez writes, that on the north side of the Westerwald germanised Slavs »Hiki« dress in the same way as the people in the Friuli village of Stolbica (see Westermann Monatshefte 1859. pg. 64). Therefore another link between the Adriatic and the northern Veneti.

p Other distorted forms are: kymr, huque, hug, goth, hakuls.

r The word kuklja, kukma, kuchma can be connected with the Czech, Russian, Polish, Sorbian chochol, hohol, crista avium, Busch, Schopf, and Croatian huhor, crista, huhorjav, cristatus. Gilferding compares these words with the Sanskrit çêkhara, çikhara, whose meaning is the same. Serbian in particular has many words with the root kuk, e.g.: kuka, uncus, kukara, kukinja, Spitzkugel, kukma, Schopf, kukmarka, a bird with a crest, kukast, uncinatus, kuk, spitziger Felsen, kukac, fibula etc.; all these words contain the meaning konica (Spitze). Compare also with the Lithuanian kykas.



from periodical: Letopis Matice slovenske, 1871



DAVORIN TRSTENJAK (1817, Kraljevci in the Slovenske Gorice hills – 1890, Stari trg pri Slovenj Gradcu); historian, writer, Catholic priest, professor of Slovene. He first wrote poems in German, Vraz tried to make him join the Illyrian movement, but he turned instead to Slovene literature (short prose) and history. He collected a treasury of sources and information (also with the help of the legacy of Matevzh Ravnikar Pozhenchan), with the help of which he wrote treatises in which he developed autochtonistic theories about the origins of the Slavs and in this way laid the foundations for the Slovene branch of the so-called theory of continuity, which is opposed to the theories of »migratory floods«. As the latter have predominated in traditional school discourse for the past century and a half, Trstenjak has been sidelined as an »apocryphal« amateur (he was reproached for using an »unscientific method« although he corroborated almost every statement he made with many quotes in the original languages of the documents) and systematically condemned to oblivion to such an extent that he was even confused with his contemporary and namesake, a Croatian educator. He published his treatises in the respected Letopis MS; the essay entitled Research in the field of ancient Slovene history is a more accessible summary of his historical research and is in fact a trace of ever earlier »venetology«. (Note by the editor) 



Translated from Slovenian by Marko Petrovich




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