BOSWELL, British Columbia - The research into Slovene (Slovenian) history prior to the sixth century A.D. was given important encouragement in Italy recently. The remarkable discoveries of Slovenian Venetologists Jožko [Joz'ko] Šavli, Matej Bor and Ivan Tomažič [Tomaz'ic'], authors of "Veneti: First Builders of European Community, Tracing the History and Language of Early Ancestors of Slovenes," were very cordially received by scholars and laymen alike.
Only last year, in 1996, the Italian edition of the book was accorded an outstanding reception in a festive setting in Venice on the occasion of the well-known Festa de la Sensa, one of the major holidays of that city. Present were the mayor and dignitaries of Venice and other parts of Italy. The mixed choir from Vrtojba, Slovenia, was invited to perform.
And this year, at the end of May, the two still living authors, Dr. Jožko [Joz'ko] Šavli and Ivan Tomažič [Tomaz'ic'], were invited to lecture at the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Verona. The president of the academy personally introduced the guest speakers and their respective themes.
Dr. Šavli spoke on the Venetic/Slovenian toponyms in Italy. He gave a lengthy presentation of Slovenian place-names, stating that these names could have developed only in the Late Bronze Age at the time when the Veneti, the bearers of the Urnfield culture, came from the north and settled in the areas in question.
There were no later migrations of Slavic people into these areas. They had reached Slovenia by 1200 B.C. and northern Italy by 1000 B.C. The Veneti were the earliest known Slavic people and, among Slavic languages, the Slovenian has remained closest to those ancient forms. In fact, the terminology used by the Veneti in developing their place-names is still part of the Slovenian language.
Ivan Tomažič [Tomaz'ic'] gave a general outline of the historic developments of the Late Bronze Age, the role of the Veneti and the importance of these events in the distant past to the national identity of modern Slovenians.
Tomažič [Tomaz'ic'] presented a great deal of evidence showing that the Veneti were the first known people of Central Europe to establish a cultural and religious observance with a strong popular appeal; an observance which was disseminated far and wide with remarkable speed from its home-base in the Lusatian culture in what is now Poland and eastern Germany.
This religious observance centered around the cremation of the dead whose ashes were placed in decorated pottery "ossuaries," or urns, which were interred in open fields. Thus began the Urnfield culture.
The bearers of the Urnfield culture, the Veneti, spread their language as well as their culture and religion. All Slavic languages, to a greater or lesser degree, have developed from contact with the Urnfield culture.
Tomažič [Tomaz'ic'] also presented a detailed study of the Venetic tablet Number 25 from Este near Padova, where the close relationship of the Venetic and Slovenian languages is especially clearly outlined.
These subjects are very well documented in the book and they represent the first organized attempt to establish the origins and the indigenous status of the Slovenian people in central Europe - something which has been denied us by the dominant powers. Slovenians are West Slavs.
The three authors have compiled such an impressive collection of evidence that a review of Slovenian history prior to the sixth century A.D. is absolutely essential and long overdue.
"Veneti..." is the missing link in the history writing of Europe and is one of the few studies free of ideological distortions. Every Slovenian family interested in its roots should have a copy; it should also be in public libraries wherever possible.
Although of special relevance to Slovenia and people of Slovenian descent, this work has much wider implications and should be read by anyone interested in the history and prehistory of Central Europe.
"Veneti: First Builders of European Community" is still available for purchase. It is written in English, published by Editiones Veneti, Vienna 1996, translated and printed in Canada, hard-bound with an attractive dust cover, 534 pages, 150 illustrations and index. The price in the United States, Australia and other destinations: $29 U.S., $34 CND - postage included. Quantity discounts are available.
For more information or to order this important publication write to: Anton Skerbinc, Site 1, Box 17, R.R. 1 Boswell, B.C. V0B 1A0 Canada.
The original article was accompanied by portrait photographs of the two still living authors: Jožko [Joz'ko] Šavli and Ivan Tomažič [Tomaz'ic'].