Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Clearing the Misconceptions Over Slovenian Ethnic Origins

Excerpts from Article by Anton Skerbinc published in Prosveta, Year XC, No.30, July 29, 1998

A warm thank you to PROSVETA readers who very generously responded to my various articles on the new discoveries about our Slovenian origins. Some have gone out of their way to promote the book Veneti: First Builders of European Community, and many have purchased it for themselves, their friends or their children who will eventually want to know something about their roots. My thanks as well to the office of the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Slovenia in Cleveland for giving us, although only temporarily, a helping hand with the distribution of our book.

In the meantime, several people have expressed concern that the Venetic theory downgrades their ethnic identity. One person writes, "I am puzzled what it is you are trying to do, promoting this new idea that we Slovenes descended from Venetians. I always prided myself on my Slavic background. . ."

Had this gentleman read at least part of our book, his mind would have been set to rest. Slovenians did not descend from the Venetians, nor is anywhere in our book even a hint that that is the case. It is true, however, that Venetians are our distant relatives; they too descended from the proto-Slavic Veneti, but they were Latinized early on. Interestingly enough, Venetians have to this day not completely forgotten their Slavic origin. That is the reason, I should add, why the Italian edition of our book was so warmly received in Venice.

When the ancient Slavs, the bearers of the Urnfield culture, migrated from what is now Poland and eastern Germany, they spread their slavic language as well as their culture and religion. They reached present-day Austria and Slovenia around 1200 B.C., and 200 years later they are documented in northern Italy. They were generally called Winidi, Venedi, Veneti, Wenden or Windische, depending on the area and time.

The historical reality that Slovenians descended from the Veneti does not detract from our Slavic heritage. On the contrary, it extends our background far beyond the limits set by the official historiography and proves that Slovenians or their ancestors resided in their traditional lands uninterruptedly for a very long time. It shows that they are one of the original nations of central Europe.

Two more very common misconceptions are that the Slovenians are South Slavs and that the Slovenian language is a South Slavic dialect. Slovenians are West Slavs, and their language is West Slavic, Venetic, and has, for that very reason, preserved the oldest forms among Slavic languages. However, there is no doubt that after the last migration of Slavs into the Balkans in the sixth century A.D., there must have been some mingling of the old Venetic-Slovenian with the language of the newcomers.

I also received a communication from a professor who insisted that if Slovenians were to descend from Veneti (to him an Italic people), the Slovenian ethnic, linguistic and national identity would have to move through two linguistic and cultural structures, i.e.: from proto-Slavic to Venetic and from Venetic to Slovenian. For this reason, he has "major objections to the Slovenian/Venetic theory."

His inability to go beyond the old concepts reminds me very much of the Texas farmer, an ardent supporter of the Flat Earth Society, who was asked whether his views had changed of late. His response was "Thank God, where I stand the Earth is still flat."

There was obviously no moving through two ethnic, linguistic and cultural structures as the good professor maintains. He is merely restating the official position on the subject, a position that was particularly popular at the turn of the century and created havoc in the traditional Slovenian lands. It embodied a great deal of intellectual dishonesty and is without doubt out of date.

The Venetic theory as presented by Jozko Savli, Matej Bor and Ivan Tomazic, expresses an entirely new and innovative approach to the understanding of the historical and linguistic past of the Slovenian people.

For those who wish to test these ideas for themselves, Veneti is still the best book. Without studying it carefully, one is not well informed about Slovenian national origins or the general historical developments in that part of the world.

Veneti: First Builders of European Community, Tracing the History and Language of Early Ancestors of Slovenes, by Savli, Bor and Tomazic is still available for purchase. The price in the United States, Australia and other destinations is $29, postage and handling included. For more information or to order this important publication, write to Anton Skerbinc, Site 1, Box 17, R.R. 1, Boswell, BC, V0B1A0, Canada.