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The Origin of the Slavs by Prof. M. Zaborowski

Wednesday 17 January 2018 at 11:46 pm.

This article by M. Zaborowski first appeared as an abstract in The Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution on 30 Jun 1906. It is presented here as one of the article that Anna Blasig used in writing her book, The Wends of Texas.

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The Origin of the Slavs[1]

 

by Professor Zaborowski

 

Professor of Ethnography, École d’Anthropologie, Paris

 

I.

 

SEPARATION OF SLAVS FROM PROTO-ARYANS

            In another article by the present writer there was discussed the question of the original home of the Greeks, the Umbro-Latins, the Gauls, and the Germans.[2] Though history does not tell us the exact period of the departure of those peoples from the proto-Aryan territory, we can nevertheless trace them back to the very borders of that time.

            The Greeks were the first to find their historic home, but the story of their migrations hither is lost. We have, however, in all probability, remains of their ancient sojourn northeast of the Adriatic, in the varied artistic potteries found in such abundance in neolithic villages, as at Butmir, near Serayevo in Bosnia.

            The Umbro-Latins, who came from the northeast, may be studied at a time when they were still in close relation with the region of the Danube.[3]

            The home of the proto-Gauls adjoined the proto-Aryan territory, and was formerly confounded with it. It has now been definitely located along the upper Rhine and the upper Danube, whence it reached to more or less fixed limits northward and eastward.

            The original home of the proto-Germans I place, on the basis of archeological and even historical data, in the region west of the Baltic.

            It now remains to determine the fatherland of the Slavs. This is the most difficult task, for the first historic information concerning them discovers them already spread over vast and widely separated territories. The hypothesis that they came from Asia, or were identical with the Sarmatians, is the least tenable, being based on fanciful theories, while best-informed authors have derived them from the region of the Danube.[4] Their language, of the Satem group, could have originated only in the eastern zone of the proto-Aryan territory. The linguistic ancestors of the Slavs spread over the western part of the valley of the Danube only after the Umbro-Latins and Greeks, on the one hand, and the Gauls and Germans on the other, were either drawing away or had left that region. The Slavs came later, without being in direct contact with any of those peoples. We know that the Illyrians came from the east to occupy the Adriatic littoral,[5] and subsequently came the Thracians, from whom the former separated. We know also that the Pannonians were the parents of the Dacians, and that the Moesians, Illyrians, Dacians, Getes, and Pannonians were all Slavs.

            The principal promoter of this westward movement, the oldest constituent element of the Slavic peoples, notably north of the Danube, from Pannonia to the Baltic, and from the Elbe to the Vistula, was the people that, spreading over central and northern Europe, exclusively practiced cremation of the dead. This people was likewise the propagator of brachycephaly or short-headedness. They became known in history as the Veneti, one of the most ancient political groupings of central Europe, and in the days of Herodotus they occupied all the western districts from the Adriatic to the Danube. A close study of the Veneti has proved beyond doubt that the Slavs of the western zone of central Europe, from the Adriatic to the Elbe and the Baltic, are their descendants.

FORMATION OF THE SLAVIC TYPE ON THE DANUBE

BY MODIFICATION OF PHOTO-ARYAN AND THRACIAN TYPES.

            If we examine the region of the Danube basin from the Alps to the Black Sea, we find the Slavs there as autochthons.[6] If there are districts where at present none or but few Slavs live, nevertheless we always find them in proximity thereto, in places where they sought natural protection against invaders or into which they were driven. There is no other ethnic element in the Danube basin that could dispute their indigenous origin, for all other occupants are either conquerors or immigrants of later times. We know that the Dacians, the Pannonians, and the Moesians of the Roman period were ancestors of the Slavs, and there is substantial proof that those Illyrians, with whom the Gauls mixed four hundred years before the present era, were likewise Slavs. But when and how did the Slavs become the indigenes of the Danube basin, which as early as the eighteenth century B. C. was proto-Aryan territory?

            It is known positively that the Thracians of the eastern zone of the basin spread toward the west and the Adriatic Sea, and this at about the time when the Umbro-Latins and the Greeks were still associated north of the Adriatic or were just separated. The Illyrians detached themselves from these Thracians and subsequently even drove them out from present Servia. At the same time the Dacians and Getes settled in distinct groups on Thracian territory, and it is known that till a late period their language did not materially differ from that of the Thracians. From their first movements the Thracians were doubtless mixed with some elements from parts of Asia where they themselves had lived.

            The remains of Glasinac show that in 1100 B. C. the Illyrians largely preserved the characteristics of the proto-Aryans. But we also find there a new people that burned their dead and that mixed with and modified the character of the natives. The progress of this new constituent is marked by the growth of the custom of incineration of the dead and the expansion of a civilization now called Hallstadtian.[7]

            The transformation thus effected in the indigenous Illyrians and others is the point of departure for the formation of the Danubian Slavic type, distinguishing it from the proto-Aryan. Its expansion became, as it were, symbolical for that of the Slavs, although it was itself by its origin neither Aryan nor Slav. These people, whose brachycephaly extended to the neighboring countries, were the Veneti.

ORIGIN OF THE VENETI.

            Herodotus mentions the Veneti in two passages. In the first (I, 196) he tells us that the Babylonian custom in every village of auctioneering handsome maidens, and with the money thus obtained from rich wooers endowing the less fair maidens and marrying them to poor men, also existed among the Veneti of Illyria. In the second passage (V, 9) he tells us that they live on the confines of the Adriatic Sea and, toward the north, adjacent to the Sigynnae that inhabit the entire territory beyond the Danube. Both references hint at the Asiatic origin of the Veneti. Strabo is even more explicit concerning this origin.

            Polybius (219-125 B. C.) relates (Book II, Chap. IV) that when the Gauls captured Rome (300 B. C.) the Veneti invaded their country - that is, the plains of the Po. He says of the Veneti (Chap. IIT) “they are an ancient people celebrated by the tragic poets for their prodigious strength. Their customs and dress are nearly the same as those of the Gauls, while speaking a different language.” This language, which Polybius says was neither Latin nor Gallic, could only have been a Slavic dialect. The funeral inscriptions from the Venetian village of Aquila contemporary with Strabo are Slavic, and the people of the extreme northeast of Italy still have a particular Slavic dialect, the Rhesian.

            In the time of Herodotus the Veneti were associated with the Sigynnae, who settled north of the Danube and were connected with the Gauls. For while the Veneti called themselves a Median colony, the Sigynnae, on their part, had “habits resembling those of the Medes.” (Herodotus V, 9.)

            For another passage in Strabo (XII, 3, 12, and 25) we learn that the traditional origin of the Veneti was that they came to the Adriatic shortly after the fall of Troy (1183 B. C.), from Paphlagonia, where they were associated with the Cappadocians, after having participated in the Trojan war with the Thracians. Traversing Thracia and Illyria, they reached the Adriatic, bringing with them elements of their civilization, their large Asiatic horses, and the custom of burning their dead.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS AND ACQUIRED LANGUAGE OF THE VENETI.

            An unexpected light is thus thrown on the prehistoric past of central Europe. As stated above, there was at Glasinac, to the south­east of Serajevo, a warlike Illyrian people, their customs identical with the Thracians, who mingled with a foreign race that incinerated their dead. Now, according to their number and their material, the Glasinac sepulchers date between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries B. C., and some belong to the time when the Veneti, after the Trojan war (1183 B. C.), gradually crossed Thracia to reach the country north of the Adriatic.

            We know nothing directly of the physical traits of the Paphlagonians. Of the Cappadocians, however, something is known, for the Assyrians fought against them before the end of the twelfth century B. C., and they formed part of the Empire of the Medes. They had racial and linguistic affinities with the Turanian element of Hither Asia, with the Sumerians, the proto-Armenians, and the Medes. The same was probably the case with the Paphlagonians, for the ancients depicted them as very different both from the Thracians and the Gauls of Galatia. As to the Veneti, the figures on the famous stele of Watsch all show their type, with the nose concave or short and depressed at the root, Short-headed and brown, they introduced brachycephaly into the northeast of Italy, profoundly modifying the Umbro-Latins and the Gauls; and likewise from them all the characteristics since known as Celto-Slavic, a term which ought to abandoned. They also carried brachycephaly into the northwest and the north as far as the Baltic littoral, and that character is the principal constituent element of the present Slavic type. In Italy itself six cities are given by the ancients as Venetish, including Padua, Vicenza, Belluno, and two obscure cities in the Province of Treviso. In these provinces inscriptions have been found which are attributed to the Veneti.[8] Similar inscriptions were noticed on rocks near Wurmlach in the eastern part of ancient Noricum. (D’Arbois, II, 79.) In Carinthia, near Dellach, bronze objects and pottery fragments were found, marked, it seems, with characters of these inscriptions. (Pauli, III, p. 62, 70.)

            The language of these inscriptions would be settled if the earliest topographical names of the Veneti and the tomb inscriptions of their ancient and powerful city, Aquila, were accepted as Slavic. But even aside from this we find that in the whole Danubian region, occupied down to our era by Veneti intermixed with Gauls, there are none but Slavic tongues. These languages include elements introduced into them by the conquering Gauls of the fourth century B. C., when they fused with the Illyrians. They must, then, have existed at least since the fourth century B. C., and it is very probable that it is to one of these languages that Polybius refers as being neither Gallic nor Latin, but peculiar to the Veneti. The name Veneti in historic time, at least in the sixth century A. D., was the generic term for the Slavs north of the Carpathians. Not only did they use a Slavic language, but they played the chief role among the Slavs, and a knowledge of them is therefore of material assistance in tracing the advance of the Slavs.

THE VENETI AND THEIR NAME NORTH OF THE DANUBE AND ON THE BALTIC

THEIR PANNONIAN ORIGIN IDENTITY WITH THE SLAVS.

            Wherever the Veneti spread, there Slavs have lived or still dwell. The name Veneti, analogous to that of the Franks in France, and of the Variags in Russia, appears in the Pannonian city of Vindebona, Vienna, in that of the Vindelician part of Bavaria, between Switzerland and the Danube, and in that of the Wends, who still hold their own in Lusatia, notwithstanding invasions and a very active Germanization. It was transplanted without the least alteration to the Baltic littoral, where positive traces of the Veneti are preserved in the name Vindava, borne alike by a river and a city.

            From the preceding facts it is clear that people of Venetish origin have dwelt since a prehistoric period north of the Carpathians, and that their name, preserved through the ages, was applied to no others than the Slavs. It can now be demonstrated that these were the ancestors of the Veneti of the Adriatic, and that they penetrated even as far as the Baltic littoral at a remote period. In the center and in the north they were the propagators of the rite of cremation.

CREMATION PROPAGATED BY THE VENETI PROVES THEIR INFLUENCE

AND AIDS IN TRACING THEIR MIGRATIONS.

            The rite of cremation appears in the terra mare of Emilia, and as the presence of this custom must have a relation to the intrusion of a foreign race, Sergi thinks that even at that time Illyrians - that is proto-Aryan” (or our Veneti) - had penetrated into Italy.[9] In the northeast of Italy there are circular ramparts resembling those of Bohemia, Istria, Dalmatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina.

            Cremation did not become general in Italy before the early iron age, and perhaps coincides with the first Venetish invasion. If the Italian civilization of that age is not to be attributed to the Etruscans (as Sergi is inclined to believe) the Veneti were evidently its authors. In any case, from the early iron age the Veneti had relations with Italv and with the Etruscans, and the role in the civilization of central Europe, hitherto attributed to the Etruscans, must be credited to them. They are the authors of the cinerary tombs of Glasinac and Sanskimost, of the cemetery of Santa Lucia in Tolmino, and of other Hallstadtian cemeteries. They are thus the originators and the propagators of the Hallstadtian civilization. There we meet with their name and with the practice of cremation and the products of that Illyrian and north Italian civilization.

            A large number of amber beads from the Baltic was found at Glasinac, while objects of glass, gold, and ivory are preserved at Hallstadt, and beads of blue glass from the crematory tombs of Bosnia were transported to the Baltic. This points to a strong northward migration from Illyria and Pannonia. Having reached the Danube, it followed its course as far as the Lake of Constance, entering it through the mountains of Salzburg, where Hallstadt is located, and in part through Switzerland. North of the Danube this movement ran at the same period, in part through Bohemia along the Elbe and Oder, occupying Silesia, Lusatia, Posen, and the Vistula, and finally the Baltic.

            In this extensive territory there settled in the course of the Hallstadtian period a population less warlike than the Gauls and the Germans and more sedentary, its chief point of distinction being the religious rite of burning all its dead. It used iron and bronze ornaments of the Hallstadtian type and also received the products of the Mediterranean civilization, while its cinerary vases and urns and articles of amber and bone were of home manufacture. This colonization preceded the civilization of Téne[10] and the conquests of the Gauls on the Danube and in Illyria. These cremationists never quitted the soil thus colonized about the end of the eighth century B. C. Their connection with the Adriatic has never since been broken, and neither the Gauls nor the Germans have definitely dispossessed them.

            The present Slavic peoples of the West will be shown to be the descendants of these immigrants of the Hallstadtian period, and consequently they themselves were Slavs.

II.

 

CLOSE RELATION OF CINERARY TOMBS WITH THE VENETI.

            Cinerary sepulchers have been discovered wherever the Veneti have gone. From information furnished by Tacitus,[11] I added to that by Journandes,[12] it follows that the Veneti, driven by the Goths from the lower Vistula, were forced to the east of that river. They mixed with peoples who buried their dead. When Tacitus says that the Veneti were in contact with the Sarmatians he speaks, without doubt, of the Lithuanians along the Narew River. Traces of cemeteries with cinerary urns are also found to the north of the Bog and in Courland. The Veneti have also communicated somewhat of their physical characteristics to the Finns who were settled in the littoral, and the Lithuanians who occupied the interior. It is at least possible that the crania of the ancient tombs in the vicinity of Wenden were brachycephalic.

            Various modes and arrangements of cinerary cemeteries have been observed in the ancient seats of the Veneti. The cineraries north of the Danube, in Bohemia, Moravia, on the Elbe, the Oder, and the Vistula as far as the Baltic are like those of the Adriatic, Pannonia, Bosnia, and Italy. According to a recent comparative study[13] of the cinerary urns of various regions, the first and most important group, that of Lusatia, recalls all the types of those of Illyria and also some of Italy. The second group, that of Aurith, on the right bank of the Oder, south of Frankfort, shows resemblances to the types of Lusatia of a certain zone, extending from Saxony through Posen as far as western Prussia. A third group, that of Goeritz, likewise on the right bank of the Oder, north of Frankfort, has also for its basis the type of Lusatia and includes urns identical with those of Illyria and Italy. The fourth group, that of the large cemetery of Billendorf, in the district of Sorau, also comprises specimens much akin to those of Villanova in Italy.

MIGRATIONS OF CREMATIONISTS - TERRITORY OF FIGURED URNS.

            We can follow the movement of the cremationists from Pannonia, their starting point, to Moravia, Bohemia, Silesia, along the Oder through Billendorf, Lusatia, from the Oder to the Vistula through the territory of Goeritz, which reaches to Pomerania and western Prussia, and finally to the lower Vistula and the Baltic. All these regions thus traversed and occupied have intimate relations with one another; the urns characteristic of each of them blend with and cross one another. Figured urns are peculiar to the lower Vistula as far as Silesia, though they are also found of a somewhat different kind in the cemetery of Kuffarn, in lower Austria. The tombs of the lower Vistula are more or less quadrangular chambers, made of and covered with flagstones. Each tomb contains several urns. The oldest tombs are surmounted by stone tumuli resembling those of Bosnia. Later the stone tumuli give place to those of earth; at Glasinac they consisted of a heap of stones mixed with earth.

            The circumference of the urns is greater than their height and the opening is comparatively narrow. They are handmade, of clay mixed with pounded granite, and unevenly baked. They vary greatly in size. Some ornamentation or a simple groove divides the body from the neck, the surface of which is often carefully polished, in contrast to the rough and grained body. At the base of the neck there are frequently two handles. Their color is generally reddish gray from the baking, but they are completely or partially covered with a black tint. Their covers are basin-shaped. They are of good depth and identical with the cinerary urns of Italy. Each contains the debris of calcinated bones of a single individual, without any admixture of ashes, though they are occasionally filled full with earth.

CREMATIONISTS OF VENETISH ORIGIN PENETRATED AS FAR AS THE BALTIC DURING

THE HALLSTADTIAN PERIOD.

            With the calcinated bones are often found beads, pins, fibulae, rings, chain-lets, and other ornaments. The beads are of blue glass, bone, or clay. The pins, pincers, clasps or fibulae are of bronze. Iron appears exceptionally in the form of small rings and uncertain ornaments. The glass beads are the same as those of Illyria. The metal objects, as well as the beads, are of foreign manufacture and consequently of the same origin. The type of industry represented in the tombs, which represents two specimens of iron to seven of bronze, is purely Hallstadtian. At Hallstadt itself the cremations, numbering 455, were less numerous than the burials. The immigrants who brought the custom of cremation to the Noric Alps were not the masters there, for the Gauls continued in the majority. The same was the case in Bohemia. But northward, in the forest region between the Oder and Vistula, on the Baltic littoral and the left bank of the Vistula, they were in full possession of the country. Their crematory tombs are imposing in number. In western Prussia alone the cremations represented by these sepulchers are estimated at 200,000.[14]

BOX-SHAPED TOMBS AND THEIR FIQIJRED URNS –

COVERS FREQUENTLY IN TIIE SHAPE OF HEADGEAR.

            One of these tombs without a tumulus has a paved floor and held at least 200 urns. Apart from this exception they are of the average size; that is, 40 to 75 centimeters in height by 60 to 150 centimeters in length, with the roof about 50 centimeters below the surface of the ground. The urns are there buried in the sand, as in Italy. Some are decorated with a human head, nearly always modeled on the raised pate of the upper rim of the neck. The figures include the eyes, indicated in various ways; the nose, generally jutting out without regularity of form; and the ears. The mouth is not always represented. The ears bear rings of bronze wire with beads of glass, amber, or clay. The covers of the urns are frequently shaped like a saucer or a more or less deep basin, though more frequently they have the form of headgear, such as flat caps, or round hats, either with a narrow brim or wide turned-up rims like the felt hats now in use. Some resemble the hats worn in the north of Italy during the Etruscan period. Even in Greece, where as a rule the head was uncovered, sailors and old and sick people frequently wore a rimless cap of felt, leather, or straw, called pilos, and in Boeotia, at least, there was in use a hat with turned-up rims called kyne. This was, no doubt, transplanted to the Balkan Peninsula and the north of the Adriatic.

            The interesting point for our consideration is that the headgear, in all the variations of form worn during the Hallstadtian period, is common among the present inhabitants of the region of the box­shaped tombs. It will, moreover, be seen that this is not the only Hallstadtian custom that survived in Bohemia, Moravia, in the Carpathians, and on the Vistula, showing that the Slavs of these regions are in all likelihood the direct descendants of the immigrants who introduced cremation.

EXPANSION OF EXCLUSIVELY CINERARY CEMETERIES

CORRESPONDS WITH THE SPREAD OF THE VENETI.

            The builders of the crematory tombs on the sandy heights of the left bank of the Vistula, as far as the Baltic littoral, were not able, it seems, to expand eastward. Extensive swamps then covered a considerable portion of both Prussias. Besides, the Estonians were in the proximity of the Baltic. Consequently, cemeteries are found on the right bank of the Vistula only at a certain distance from the Baltic littoral, between Graudenz and Thorn. The basin of the Narew includes none. This would support the view that the Neures of Herodotus, that is, the Lithuanians, occupied the basin of the Narew as far as the Dniester.

            The custom of cremation and of placing the debris of the bones with a few articles in urns extends as far as Scythia. It was introduced along the shores of the Black Sea in the stone period with the painted potteries of the pre-Mycenean period; but from the river San to the Dniester, cremation alone does not appear to have been practiced at any period.

            Exclusively crematory cemeteries are found only where the Veneti alone were established. With the exception of the marshy littoral of Pomerania the territory on the Vistula and between the Vistula and Oder exhibits during one period only crematory sepulchers. The Veneti settled and lived there alone during many centuries, till the arrival of the Goths, In the tombs of this entire region are found the same styles of urns as on the lower Vistula; urns with figures, with their hats and caps, and of the same material which seem to prove that they are all the work of the same people.

            The region between the Vistula and Oder embraces not only the south of Pomerania and Posen, but also Silesia; then Lusatia and the south of Brandenburg, From the basins of the Oder and the Vistula the crematory cemeteries extend to Moravia as far as the valley of the Vaag, and the eastern and northern parts of Bohemia; while in the western part of that country and thence toward the Saale cremation was checked by the Gauls, who kept up the custom of burial.

            Exclusively crematory cemeteries are then found in the region extending from Pannonia to the Adriatic littoral and the valley of the Po, And, it is probable that from here one and the same people spread as far as the Baltic, having almost identical customs.

CREMATIONISTS AT PERIOD OF SPREAD OF GAULS ON THE DANUBE

OR PERIOD OF THE TÉNE.

            With the beginning of the Téne period important changes took place in the condition of the people. The Gauls then made their appearance south of the Danube, and that meant the cessation of exclusively crematory cemeteries. Bohemia became the center of the spread of the conquering Gauls in central Europe, so that burial obtained there the upper hand. Tombs in rows, in which the skeletons lie on the back, accompanied with iron weapons, supplanted in the west particularly the mixed sepulchers covered with tumuli. Crematory cemeteries maintained themselves in Bohemia only on the frontier of Lusatia in the east, and in Moravia. In fact, aided by the cemeteries, we can trace with precision the phases of the conquest of the Gauls, their supremacy, their decadence, and their final absorption. Everywhere in Illyria the influence of the Gauls reveals itself by a return to the custom of burying the dead, and their subsequent assimilation is manifested by a decrease of the number of burials or even their entire abolition.

            The Gauls invaded this region in the fourth century B. C., where they constituted the stock of the Yapods. Corresponding to this period of invasion there are found in the cemetery of Watsch, near Laibach, in Carniole, two kinds of contemporaneous sepulchers: First, with cinerary urns, without weapons, and with merely some scanty and poor ornaments; and second, those with skeletons resting on their backs, accompanied with weapons and numerous articles of ornament.

            Two peoples thus lived side by side, one dominating the other; the one warlike, the other peaceful and oppressed. The social conditions which one school of students, supposed to have existed on the Danube only at the time of the Avars, in the sixth century A. D., must therefore already have existed in the fourth century B. C. The Gauls found in Pannonia a people given to agriculture, and consequently with little taste for arms or aptitude for war. These indigenes were oppressed and exploited by the Gauls. The series of foreign conquests comprises also that of the Avars. But the natives were not supplanted by the newcomers.

GAULS IN ILLYRIA AND PANNONIA ASSIMILATED BY THE CREMATIONISTS;

PRESENT SLAVS THEIR DESCENDANTS.

 

            As regards the first conquerors, the Gauls, they not only did not supplant or exterminate the natives, but were themselves assimilated. Other invaders were but transients, and soon left in search of less impoverished territories where booty was more abundant. Gallic words in the Slavic tongues, and Gallic types among the Bosthians, confirm the record of history.

            In certain cemeteries, as in that at Jezerine, in the northwest angle of Bosnia, the struggle of the indigenes can be followed up and its final triumph established. In the Jezerine cemetery, the proportion of sepulchers with burial in the first period of the Téne, was 85%; in the second period, during the decline of the Téne, it fell to 40%; and finally, in the third, or Homan period, it was on the point of disappearing, being only 7%.

            The crania collected, though insignificant in number, also bear witness to the absorption of the ancient dolichocephalous, or long­headed people, there being a proportion of three mesocephales to five brachycephales. If, then, where numerous conquerors passed through the territory, a population which had existed since the Hallstadtian period continued to maintain itself, there is still more reason to assume that it would survive in regions free from great conquests. When it shall be proved that in the territories where cremation alone prevailed, as in the homes of the independent Veneti, the population has never been exterminated or dispossessed, then it will also be proved (since these regions are at present Slav), first, that the Veneti were of Slavic tongue, and, second, that the Slavs settled in these very countries in the period of the Hallstadtian civilization.

III.

 

PRIORITY OF THE HALLSTADTIAN CEMETERIES TO CREMATION IN

PANNONIA AND ILLYRIA.

            It has been seen that in Pannonia the cremationists of the Hallstadtian period were, at the period of the Téne, invaded by a burying people, and that the latter almost completely disappeared toward the Roman period at the beginning of the present era.

            In the north of Bohemia and in Moravia, between the Vistula and the Oder, such an intrusion of the burying people at the same period is not recorded, because no Gallic invasions there took place, and the crematory cemeteries remained long undisturbed, even down to about the present era. Considering that the number of bronze objects found in these cemeteries far 'surpasses those of iron, and noting the absence of arms, iron being used only for ornaments, they must be dated at least as far back as the Hallstadtian period. And since nearly identical cemeteries, with similar contents, are also found in lower Austria, it must be concluded that these finds on the Vistula represent not merely an archaic industry, which owed its continuous existence to its isolation and remoteness from intercourse, but rather that these purely crematory cemeteries north of the Danube are the work of peoples of the same origin and of the same civilization who came there during the Hallstadtian period. That the crematory cemeteries of the Vistula and the Hallstadtian cemeteries of Pannonia and Illyria coincided more or less in time is, moreover, evident from the fact that permanent commercial relations existed between the peoples of the Adriatic and those of the Baltic before the iron age, the Téne period, and the Gallic conquests.

            In the 267 tumuli opened at Glasinac in 1895 and 1896 there were found, among other objects, 1,885 amber beads. These tombs date between 1100 and 500 B. C. The amber indicates relations between Illyria and the Baltic prior to the fifth century B. C. In Italy the custom of cremation was introduced at the latest between 1000 and 1100 B. C., more likely earlier, so that in Italy, as well as at Glasinac, there is a correspondence between the spread of this custom and the arrival of the Veneti on the Adriatic shortly after the Trojan war. On the other hand, Hallstadt is not older than the eighth or ninth century B. C.; so that the crematory cemeteries of the Adriatic preceded by several centuries those of the Vistula, and it was from the shores of the Adriatic that the custom of cremation spread, not from the basin of the Vistula.

COMMERCIAL RELATIONS BETWEEN CREMATIONISTS NORTH OF THE DANUBE AND THE BALTIC AND THOSE OF PANNONIA AND THE ADRIATIC CONTINUED DURING THE ETRUSCAN AND DOWN TO THE ROMAN PERIOD.

            This is proved by the objects of Etruscan and Roman art collected in the cinerary sepulchers of the north. The interesting stele of Kuffarn, in lower Austria, doubtless belongs to Etruscan art. The scenes represented on it closely resemble those of a stele of Cestosa (near Boulogna) of the fifth century, which, is Etruscan. At Burg, in the center of Lusatia, cinerary urns were found, containing two Etruscan votive chariots of bronze. In the urns of the Oder and Vistula lachrymatories and Roman glass vials were found, along with debris of calcinated bones. A bronze vase was found, among other things, near Kalisch, a city situated midway between Breslau on the Oder, to the southwest, and Plock on the Vistula, to the northeast, in the very center of the region of cinerary sepulchers and on the route by which they were propagated, from Pannonia to the Baltic. The handle of this vase is decorated in répousse with a figure of the infant Bacchus, with a cloak of a panther skin on his shoulder and holding a bunch of grapes. It is a masterpiece and evidently of Graeco-Roman or early Roman art. It can be approximately dated from the fourth century B. C., when the representation of Bacchus as an infant came into vogue. In a tomb at Czarnkov on the Nortec, in the north of Posen, there was a Roman terra-cotta mask, dating probably from the beginning of the imperial period, when Roman armies campaigned in Illyria and Pannonia.

CREMATIONISTS BETWEEN VISTULA AND ODER NOT DISTURBED IN POSSESSIONS OR BUT PARTIALLY DISPOSSESSED EXCEPT BY GERMANIC INVASIONS – PERMANENCE IN BOHEMIA.

            There is one proof that the builders of the crematory tombs remained independent until the arrival of the Goths on the lower Vistula. In a cemetery of the district of Wejcherovo, northwest of the mouth of the Vistula and Danzig, on that strip of land which stretches along the Baltic, and which must have been one of the first tracts occupied by the invading Scandinavians, there was found a cinerary urn, the bottom of which was adorned with Runic characters, though these could not be deciphered and their genuineness was contested.[15] Now the Goths possessed the Runic script, for a Gothic lance engraved by them was found at Kovel, in Volhynia; and in Romania were found different objects with Runic signs. The Goths thus met at the mouth of the Vistula a Veneto-Slavic people that buried their dead. And it was the Goths and the other Germanic invaders who followed them, the Burgunds and the Vandals, if they may be counted among the Germans, who disturbed and drove back the peaceful Veneto-Slavs.

            Cinerary tombs incased with stone disappear with these new arrivals, while the iron age fully makes its appearance, the age of the Téne with iron arms.

            Did the Slavs, too, disappear about the beginning of the present era under the Germanic onslaught? No. They were but partially and only for the time supplanted. Even their tombs will again appear.

            But there must first be considered the conditions existing in Bohemia, Pannonia and the Danube, prior to and during the first centuries of the present era.

            In the east and north of Bohemia, the Gallic supremacy clearly imposed itself upon the cremationists from the fifth century B. C. to the first century A. D., for fields of cinerary urns, together with the industry of the beginning of the iron age, are there mingled with, or are succeeded by, fields with urns characteristic of the iron industry of Téne or of the Gauls. There is, however, no appreciable interruption of the existence of the Venetish tribes who had inhabited Bohemia since the Hallstadtian period. The Germanic conquest while crushing the warlike Gallic element, did not destroy the indigenes or builders of the crematory tombs. Thus, there are discovered in these tombs Roman influences subsequent to the Téne period, as in those between the Oder and Vistula. Such is a cemetery at Dobrikov which received cinerary urns down to the fourth century A. D., while other crematory cemeteries continued still longer in existence.

            The exclusive practice of cremation continued in Bohemia, especially in the north and east, till the introduction of Christianity, and is an indication of the persistence there of customs that belonged neither to Germans nor to Gauls. The Gauls of the Téne period are represented in Bohemia, as already shown, by burial tombs in which the skeleton is laid on its back with iron weapons at the side. With the advent of Germans in the first century A. D. (just the period assigned to the entrance of the Marcomans in Bohemia), there appear on the Vistula tombs in rows, Reihengraber, which are characteristic of the Germans, particularly of the Franks.

            In 1892, Niederle[16] asserted on good evidence that “all the fields containing urns in Bohemia belonged to a people that had been settled there from the bronze age to the Christian period.” Now, it will not be difficult to establish a close ethnographic connection between this people and the Bohemian Slavs of today, and the conclusion follows that the ancestors of these Slavs were settled in Bohemia before the Gallic period of Tene, or since the Hallstadtian period - that is, since the fifth century B. C.

            In the northwest of Bohemia and in Thuringia, a variable pro­ portion of place names reveals the former presence of the Slavs. But the Germans, descending by the Elbe, probably dispossessed them at an early date. This was not the case, however, in Lusatia, where the marshy region remains in possession of the Slavic Wends even to the present day. There, as in Bohemia, the presence of cinerary urns bears witness to the permanence of the people that introduced the rite of cremation and of its historic identity with the Slavs. The same was the case in the greater portion of Silesia.

CREMATIONISTS OF HALLSTADTIAN PERIOD IN PANNONIA AND ILLYRIA, WHO MIXED WITH GAULS OF THE TÉNE PERIOD, FOUND IN ROMAN PERIOD WITS CUSTOMS INTACT.

 

            In ancient Pannonia the cremationists were as much disturbed by a burying people as in Bohemia, but survived under even more difficult conditions.

            In 1883 Prince Windischgraetz distinguished tombs of cremation and of burial side by side in the cemetery of Watsch. The former are to a great extent earlier than the latter, and pertain to the conquered people who, as evidenced from the mutual position of the graves, were indigenous, while the latter, or burial tombs, are of the conquerors. These conquerors, as we know, were the Gallic Scordisci, Taurisci, and Boil, who advanced in the fourth century B. C. from Bohemia to the south of the Danube, Pannonia, Illyria and Thrace. They mingled with the Illyrians and Thracians, and toward the beginning of the present era were to a great extent fused with them. Thus, Strabo tells us (VII, 5, 2) that the Yapods, who occupied the primitive territory of the Veneti on the Adriatic, in Carniole and the present Istria, were a nation half Celtic and half Illyrian. The cemetery of Jezerine, which illustrates this gradual fusion accomplished about the Roman period, has been attributed to these Yapods; but all the Gauls were absorbed in the same way. Strabo (VII, 3,11; 5, 2) records the destruction of the Boii, Taurisci, and Scordisei by the Gatse and Dacians, who were kindred to the conquered Illyrians and Thracians and spoke the same language. Thus, all the Gallic tribes ended by fusing with the indigenes, and disappeared.

            On the other hand, the survival of the native cremationists is definitely proved by the persistence of crematory cemeteries from the Hallstadtian epoch until after the conquest and assimilation of the Gauls - nay, down to the Roman period. Such a prolonged existence may be assigned, for instance, to the cemeteries of Jezerine, of Prozor in Croatia, Meclo in the Tyrol, Gurina in Carinthia, Idria in Istria, and Ribic in Bosnia,[17] where amber beads and Roman coins of Hadrian (117-138 A. D.) and of Antoninus (138-1G1 A. D.) were found in the cinerary urns alongside of beads of blue glass.

            It is certainly significant thus to see in the original home of the Veneti the ancient rite of cremation triumphing over the custom of burial imported by the Gauls, and persisting as the exclusive funeral ceremony under Roman dominion, at least till the end of the second century of the present era.

IDENTIFICATION OF CREMATIONISTS OF ILLYRIA. PANNONIA AND BOHEMIA

WITH ANCESTORS OF SLAVS.

            This much has been established above, and it should be remembered that the natives of Pannonia and Illyria, who as early as the tenth century B. C. burned their dead, continued their existence in these countries in the presence of the Gauls and Romans. It was these cremationists, speaking a language that was neither Latin nor Gallic nor German, with whom the Romans became acquainted in Pannonia. Mixed and fused with the Dacians, they were strong enough at the time of the Roman conquest to put on foot well organized armies under brave leaders. They remained, however, very barbarous, and their national and ethnic individuality was effaced by the armies and the strong absorbing administration of Rome, though they were not exterminated. Who could they have been if they were not the ancestors of the Slavs? What could be the inscriptions of the Veneti in the northeast of Italy, which Pauli[18] was able to clearly distinguish from Etruscan inscriptions, if they were not Slavic? Pauli calls their language Illyrian. But what was this language if not the one that Polybius called the Venetish, Tacitus the Pannonian - the Slavic of the tomb inscriptions of the old Venetish city of Aquila? There is no indication of the existence in this region of any languages other than the Slavic and the two other known tongues, Gallic and Latin.

            In Bohemia, especially in the east and northeast, the cremationists were never completely supplanted, as evidenced by fields of cinerary urns which never entirely disappeared. The Germanic domination of the Marcomans, begun with the present era and coinciding with the introduction of burial tombs in rows, the prototype of our modern cemeteries, was directed against the Gauls, the former warlike masters of Bohemia, and had little effect on the indigenous cremationists, who were peaceful tillers of the soil.

            Thus, as regards Bohemia, it is proved that crematory cemeteries continued in use from the Hallstadtian epoch through the Téne period and the Roman period, coinciding with the Germanic domination, and even after the introduction of Christianity, down to the ninth century; therefore, the peoples who established these cemeteries must have continued to live in Bohemia until after the introduction of Christianity. Now the presence of the Slavs in Bohemia at the time of the Empire of the Avars is historically established. The natives whom Christianity found were Slavs; consequently, the cremationists must be identical with the Slavs, since in Bohemia, outside of the Gauls and Germans, there never were any people other than the Slavs.

            Farther north, between the Oder and Vistula and on the lower Vistula, the cremationists enjoyed a longer period of tranquility, being spared the Gallic invasions, and were therefore not disturbed in their customs. We find their ancient sepulchers containing numerous urns persisting in use until the arrival of the Goths; that is, to about the beginning of the present era.

GERMANIC TOMBS IN ROWS ON THE VISTULA, MIXED WITH CINERARY TOMBS AND

OVERLAID BY THEM.

            It is evident that had the Gauls gone up the Vistula, iron weapons would be found in the contemporaneous crematory and burial tombs, as on the Dniester, whither the Bastarni had gone, and on the Danube. The real introducers of iron weapons on the Vistula, as indeed on the entire eastern littoral of the Baltic, were the Germans.

            The encased tombs on the lower Vistula were first succeeded by burial tombs in rows, Reihengräber, which, as has been seen, also spread in Bohemia after the arrival of the Marcomans. There is no question about these Reihengräber being German. The Germans had fibulae peculiar to themselves, and these fibulae, according to Montelius, are met with in the Baltic provinces on the Vistula, in the north and east of Germany, as also in Bohemia and on the Black Sea, wherever the Germans settled.[19] They disappeared on the Vistula in the fifth century, more than two or three centuries after the successive departure of the Goths, the Burgunds, and the Vandals. The invading Goths and Burgunds drove out the cremationists, especially from the Baltic littoral and the left bank of the Vistula. Still, the burial tombs of the conquerors are found mingled with the cinerary urns of the natives, as at Elbing on the littoral, to the right of the mouth of the Vistula. Crematory cemeteries thus maintained themselves constantly down to the seventh century A, D., and even until after the introduction of Christianity.

            The Germanic peoples who settled on the Vistula did not continue their distinct individuality. Like the Gauls on the Danube, they were partially, but not completely, assimilated. Moreover, the German colonization had for its result the strengthening of their ethnic importance; yet neither was the older population, the cremationists, submerged by the Germans, for, on the contrary, they regained the mastery over all the regions first occupied, restoring their own funeral customs, as their congeners were doing in Silesia, Bohemia and Moravia, and as their congeners in Pannonia had done several centuries before.

MODERN FIELDS WITH URNS ON THE VISTULA ARE CEMETERIES OF SLAVS,

FOUND THERE BY CHRISTIANITY.

            Some fifty or sixty fields with urns, which are common in Bohemia and Lusatia, were discovered also on the lower Vistula, and fragments of broken urns indicate a considerable number of them on the Bog. They were found in the elevations that served as intrenchments for the Burgunds.

            These tombs are the work of the natives while restoring their old customs in their homes, which for several generations had been possessed by Germanic immigrants from Scandinavia. They are comparatively modern. Some of the objects found in them do not differ much from those now in use in Slavic countries. They represent the period between the invasion of the Goths, the Burgunds and the Vandals and the introduction of Christianity.

            The permanence of the cremationists is thus established by the persistence, in face of the intrusion of the burying people, of funeral customs that are the expression of peculiar creeds and conditions of existence.

            Thus, the Christian propaganda found there peoples who were Slavs and who cremated their dead. Historical documents show that when the Christian missionaries came in contact with the Slavs the latter were still practicing cremation. This one fact enables us to trace the genealogy of the Slavs, for they must have been identical with the ancient Venetish cremationists. There are still further proofs that the Slavs are the descendants of the cremationists of 2,500 years ago.

IV.

 

CHRISTIAN PROPAGANDA ON THE ODER, IN LUSATIA, AND ON THE VISTULA,

MORE OR LESS VIOLENT WORK OF GERMANY.

            The first preachers and bishops sent out to convert the Slavs came to the Vistula from Germany. In their work, which was promoted by the expeditions of the German princes of the frontier, they were joined by Bohemia.

            Bohemia, which was a Slavic state toward the seventh century, adopted, through its prince, the Graeco-Slavic cult toward the end of the ninth century, after Rotislas, the grand duke of Moravia, had the apostles Methodius and Cyril brought before him. But the German clergy won Bohemia over to Roman Catholicism, and in the tenth century it was itself the propagator of this faith among the other Slavs of the north. It was thus only in the second half of the tenth century that Christianity began to obtain a foothold between the Oder and the Vistula, and it does not seem to have taken deep root in Pomerania before the twelfth century. Helmold, a priest of Lübeck, who was sent in 1155 to evangelize the Slavs, speaks of them as a “depraved and perverse nation,” and their country is to him a land of “horror and a vast solitude.” In his work, Chronicon Slavorum, he treats in particular of the peoples who advanced farthest eastward and were thus inclosed in the German colonies between the Elbe and the Oder. Being familiar with the Slavic tongue he put under contribution for his book such works as that of Adam of Bremen of the first half of the eleventh century; also written traditions as well as the oral narrations of old Slavs who “preserved in their memory all the deeds accomplished by the barbarians.” He knows well, and admits, that the German Christians committed depredations on the heathen Slavs, which sufficiently explains why the latter so long resisted the new religion or abandoned it after having accepted it. He says, among other things:

Of the whole Slavic nation, which is divided into provinces and principalities, the Rugil are the most obstinate in the darkness of infidelity, and they persisted in it to our time.

            It is, in fact, known from the mythology of the Slavs that the Slavic inhabitants of the isle of Rugen were still attached to the cult of Svantovit in the middle of the twelfth century, and from time to time offered human victims to him, preferably Christians.

            In a pastoral letter, written in 1108 by Archbishop Adelgott, of Magdeburg on the Elbe, in the northwest of modern Lusatia, is read:

These cruel people, the Slavs, have risen against us. They have profaned by their idolatry, the churches of Christ…. They have invaded our land…. They have cut off the heads of Christians and offered them as sacrifices. Their fanatics - that is, their priests - say in their feastings: “It is our Pripegala who wants these sacrifices. Let us rejoice." They say: “Christ is vanquished. The victory belongs to Pripegala, the victorious."

            Pripegala, Prepiekal, is the personification of the action of burning; prepjekac, a word still in use in the Pannonian Slavic dialect. It is known that the Slavs before or after the burning of their dead offered sacrifices and united in a funeral meal, Tryzna. This custom was in vogue with the Slavs of the Dnieper, as well as with those of the Oder.

            In the Chronique de Nestor (p. (17, edition Leger) is read the following account:

Vladimir (who was about to he converted) went to Kiev to offer with his people sacrifices to the idols. The old people and the idols said: “Let us draw by lots a young man and a young maiden, and upon whom the lot shall fall shall be sacrificed to the gods." The lot fell to the son of a Christian Varlag. The father refused to deliver his son and locked himself up with him in his home. They were both slain." In another case, Vladimir desiring to offer sacrifices to Rerun, Dazbog, etc., the people offered their sons and daughters.

            From documents collected in 1868 bv Kotliarevski it follows that the pagan Slavs of the Dnieper, who practiced both burial and cremation, not only held banquets in honor of the dead, Tryzna, “meal of the dead,” but also offered sacrifices. The women in particular allowed themselves to be burned on the funeral pyre of their husbands. According to a document relating to the destruction of paganism in Novgorod (988), the most usual sacrifice consisted in the killing of horses. As regards the cremating of the dead, the Chronique de Nestor is positive:

When one of the Radimitches died they celebrated a tryzna around the corpse, then they raised a great pyre, placed the dead on it and set it on fire. Afterwards they gathered the bones, put them in a small vase and placed the vase upon a column on the edge of the road. The Vlatitches still follow this custom.

            Ibn Fozlan, who went as ambassador in the year 922 to the Bulgarians on the Volga, relates that he assisted at the cremation of a Russian. One of those present said to him:

You Arabs are a foolish people; you place your dead in the ground where they are devoured by animals and vermin. We bum them in an instant, that they may fly to paradise.

            A Czech chronicler, Cosmas, of Prague, of the twelfth century, in relating that Brzetislas endeavored in 1092 to suppress the customs connected with the pagan cult, says:

He abolished the sepulchers made in the woods and fields and the feasts celebrated after the pagan rite in the open places and crossroads for the repose of the souls, and likewise the profane plays in which they indulged over the bodies of the dead, disturbing their manes and celebrating the mysteries.

            There was thus a systematic campaign against the ancient rite of cremation, for it was the expression of the opposite creed, the occasion and center of the pagan ceremonies.

            What Cosmas says of the Czechs of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, Otto of Bamberg, who became acquainted with the Poles, records of the Baltic Slavs of the middle of the twelfth century. He forbids the “burying of Christians among the pagans in the woods and fields.” The result of such a prohibition was the abolition of cremation when once Christianity became the master of the country.

            It is needful, however, to notice that on the Vistula, as well as in Bohemia and Lusatia, elements of German origin influenced the Slavic peoples even before the official introduction of Christianity. The burying immigrants affected not only the customs and manners of the natives, but brought about important modifications in the conditions of their existence. When the first immigrants from Pannonia came to the territory between the Oder and Vistula, this entire region was still covered with dense, impenetrable forests. The clearings began with the arrival of these cremationists, who for each of their dead needed a supply of wood. They also burned the forests to provide spaces for cultivation, though this was not widely practiced, for the population grew but slowly in the centuries before the present era, and forest resources in game readily supplied the necessary food. With the invasions of the Germans, however, about the beginning of the present era, the natives found a refuge in the still intact forests, being pushed toward the south and east. Moreover, these invasions resulted in a light increase rather than a decrease of the population. The indigenes became more numerous, better equipped, more attached to the soil, and better able to hold and cultivate it. Large tracts of forest were then cleared by fire, and the population grew apace.

PERSISTENCE OF CUSTOMS, USAGES, AND DRESS OF HALLSTADTIANS

ON THE UPPER VISTULA AND IN MORAVIA.

            Although the rite of cremation may not have persisted everywhere down to the introduction of Christianity, yet the customs symbolized by this rite were not altered in the same degree as the changes in the conditions of existence. Here, as elsewhere, purely pagan practices and ideas secretly survived, though the Catholic religion became dominant. As late as the thirteenth century the funeral fetes of the Gentiles, as the Polish chronicler Kadlubek testifies, still continued unimpaired. Still more must this have been the case with such customs and manners as did not concern religion. Great revolutions may take place among a people without greatly affecting the habits of life. The most simple usages are the most lasting, because of their simplicity. This is the more so with agricultural peoples, whose wants vary little, the most primitive objects and customs persisting through all external changes. It is a mere general ethnographical observation to assert that the objects found in the urn fields of Bohemia, the Oder, and the Vistula, after the introduction of iron implements and arms, are of the same material civilization as survives in these regions to the present time.

ETHNOGRAPHIC PARALLELS BETWEEN BRETONS AND INHABITANTS OF THE

CARPATHIANS - THEIR HALLSTADTIAN AND GALLIC ORIGIN.

            Metal ware manufactured by the Slavs, and dresses, especially in the Carpathians, are decorated in the same manner and with the same motifs as the objects of Hallstadt. The dress embroideries in Moravia and Galicia as far as the Ukraine thus recall a decorative system which was already spread with the Hallstadtian civilization. If the same costumes, the same embroideries, are met with, for instance, among the Houzouls of the Carpathians, the descendants of the Bastarni, and among the Ruthens of Galicia, on the one hand, and among the Bretons on the other, it is apparent that it is not merely a question of accidental analogy. And if these analogies can be explained in no other way than that these peoples must have preserved common models through the ages, it must also be admitted that these common models must have had the same origin, and that consequently there was a contact between the ancestors of these peoples. Now, such a contact had really taken place. The Gauls, whose center of expansion was the upper Danube and the upper Rhine, became masters of modern France during the iron age, at the Téne period, immediately after the Hallstadtian period. At that very period they mingled with the Slavs in Bohemia and the Danube, and expanded as far as the Dniester. Thus, these ethnographic similarities have their source in the Hallstadtian civilization of central Europe, and for their origin the double movement of the Gauls at the beginning of the Téne period, westward on the one hand, and toward the center and the east on the other. The existence of the same ornaments, dresses, and customs in regions so widely separated as Bretagne and the Ca pathians constitutes in itself a proof of their antiquity, going back to the Hallstadtian period, when alone these diverse peoples came in contact.

HEADGEAR OF HALLSTADTIAN PERIOD STILL USED ON THE UPPER VISTULA,

IN MORAVIA, AND THE CARPATHIANS.

            The covers of the urns are a perfect facsimile of the hat of horse­men represented in répousse on the scabbard of a sword of Hallstadt. On the famous stele of the cemetery of Watsch, near Laibach, which is Hallstadtian, figures are represented some of which wear pointed caps similar to our cotton caps; others have toques with ornamented crowns. The stele is of Venetian manufacture, and some of the urn covers reproduce quite accurately the quoit-shaped bonnets of certain of the figures which are of the Venetish type.

            The kinds of headgear thus represented are still worn by the Slavs, whose kinship with the cremationists has been otherwise established. On the Upper Vistula the hat is seen as a truncated cone, commonly worn by Italian boys. The felt hat, especially with raised or turned-up rims, remained in use in the very region of the ancient urn fields. It was such a head-cover that decorated the idols, the four-headed statues of Svantovit, such as the one found at Zbrucz in Galicia. It also survives in the Carpathians and Moravia, worn by all ages and classes. The close relation between these hats and those worn by the cremators is evidenced from the fact that they are seen only in the regions of the Hallstadtian crematory cemeteries and where urns with covers representing them are found.

            This headgear represents a part of the dress and manners of the cremators who made the figured urns. As their descendants are Slavs, so they themselves were Slavs.

            Kinship is based on physical relationship, though neither ethnographical elements common to two peoples nor even intellectual and moral resemblances, implying the identity of language, will always absolutely suffice to establish it. In this case, however, the question is of two peoples who in the course of time became one with no break in their existence on the same soil. Two peoples thus following one another must have some blood relationship, some kinship, even if their customs were not the same, but here the customs remained identical from age to age. Ethnographical similarities in this case therefore prove a certain bond between the peoples, one of whom was the heir of the other, and that there has been no ethnic severance, no substitution of one people for another. Still, demonstration of complete ethnic identity must, above all, rest on identity of physical characteristics of the two peoples; it must consist in a comparative study of their crania, but unfortunately we have none of these to study, for they were all cremated. We must therefore resort to indirect means to determine their probable physical characteristics.

            The burying people that settled in the north during the stone age was marked by an elongated skull, a generally high stature, and other features that permit us to term it blond dolichocephalic. In the burial tombs of Hallstadt, as also in those which appear about the beginning of the present era on the Vistula and in Bohemia, this type is exclusively found. Judging from the skeletons collected from the burial tombs, it can be said that the entire north, from the Danube to the Baltic, was occupied by this blond dolichocephalic people until several centuries into the present era.

            When the cremationists ceased burning their dead the aspect of things completely changed, and their crania begin to appear. We then perceive that the inhabitants of the very regions where formerly only blond dolichocephales were found are composed in the majority, and here and there exclusively, of people of medium size with a round skull or of the brachycephalic type. It therefore follows that the cremationists were brachycephalic. Now, brachycephaly is at present the essential, in fact, the only characteristic which connects with one another the great majority of the peoples of Slavic tongue.

Those people who introduced bronze in the Occident also introduced the rite of cremation; they early mingled with the indigenes. Directly and through its influence upon the indigenes we know that that people was brachycephalic, with dark skin and medium or short stature. They spread from the Danube toward the west during the bronze age, especially toward its end. We reserve for this people the name of Liguri. Before them came another people with the same characteristics, brachy cephalic and of the same origin, that settled on the Danube. For this people the name of Veneti is set apart, although it does not comprise all the brachycephales of the Danube and never belonged to those of the eastern zone of its territory.

            This settlement took place, as has been seen, at the beginning of the iron or Hallstadtian age. These cremationists gain ground and gradually become masters of the territory, at least north of the Adriatic and in Pannonia. We have none of their crania, and even in the countries where they constituted the entire population we cannot determine their personal appearance by direct observation, since they burned their dead. But we have the crania of their direct descendants, namely, of those who ceased cremating their dead under the influence and the injunctions of Christianity, and these crania are of the brachycephalic type. These brachvcephales, who from the Danube expanded northward as far as the innermost part of Russia, can be traced wherever there are Slavs, losing somewhat only in the intensity of their primitive characteristics in proportion as they are remote from their point of departure, their center of expansion.



[1] Abstract, by permission of the author, from Origines des Slaves, by M. Zaborowski, in Bulletins et Mémoires de la Sociéte d'Anthropologie de Paris, Paris, 1904, 5th series, Vol. V, pt. G, pp. 671-720.

[2] For other articles on the Slavs by Professor Zaborowski, see Revue de l’École d‘Authropologie for January, 1905; also the same Revue for January, 1906, under the title Penetration des Slaves et Transformation Cephalique en Bohéme et sur la Vistula. (The same author has in preparation similar papers on the Lithuanians and the Finns.)

[3] See Revue Scientifique. February 18, 1905.

[4] Revue de l’Ecole, January, 1905.

[5] Anything littoral has to do with a coast or shore.

[6] Authochthonism - the state of being aboriginal or native to a particular area.

[7] The Hallstadt culture was the predominant Western and Central European culture of Early Iron Age Europe from the 8th to 6th centuries BC, developing out of the Urnfield culture of the 12th century BC (Late Bronze Age) and followed in much of its area by the La Tène culture. It is commonly associated with Proto-Celtic and Celtic populations in the Western Hallstadt zone and with (pre-)Illyrians in the eastern Hallstadt zone. It is named for its type site, Hallstadt, a lakeside village in the Austrian Salzkammergut southeast of Salzburg.

[8] Compare Carl Pauli, Altitaliscbe Forschungen, III; D’Arbois de Jubainville, II, 57.

[9] Arii et Italici, 1898, p. 134.

[10] The La Tène culture was a European Iron Age culture named after the archaeological site of La Tène on the north side of Lake Neuchâtel in Switzerland, where thousands of objects had been deposited in the lake, as was discovered after the water level dropped in 1857.

[11] Germania, XLIII.

[12] Histoire des Goths, II.

[13] Voss. Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, 1903, p. 167.

[14] Ossowski, Monumenta, p. 101.

[15] Undseet, p. 137.

[16] Les Slaves de Race, Bulletin, 1900, p, 74.

[17] Wissenschaftliche Mittheilungen aus Bosnien. VII, 1900.

[18] M. Pauli, Die Veneder und ihre Schriftdenkmaler, Leipzig, 1891, p. 456.

[19] Les Slaves de Race, Bulletin, 1900, p. 77.

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