The first question to be answered is, which language was spoken by the European inhabitants before the arrival of Indo-European languages. Up to now the science has not yet provided an adequate answer. However, in my opinion the solution could be found by comparing the only one remaining language from this ancient time with other languages. Since such a comparison of the Basque language with the Slovenian language provides interesting similarities, it can be concluded that Pre-Indo-European language contained some Slavic elements.
The second question is, how the Indo-European languages originated. Also to this question there is still no adequate answer. The evidence supporting the theory assuming the arrival of Indo-Europeans from somewhere to Europe is still missing. In my opinion the closest to the truth is the theory that new languages were formed on the basis of some primeval European language, similarly as Neo-Latin languages evolved from the Latin language.
Further, one can also claim, that the at-that-time strongest Lusatian culture absorbed most of the elements of this primeval language, and that it was the starting point for later Slavic language. From the Lusatian culture the Urn-field culture evolved and spread all over Europe. If in fact the Lusatian culture is the birthplace of Slavic language then this language should also be the language of the peoples of Urn-field culture. And in fact it was found that along all the main spreading routes of the Urn-field culture the Slavic languages are still present or at least their traces. Since the bearers of the Urn-field culture are Veneti, the name abbreviated from the Slo-Veneti (i.e. Sloveneci), their language could be named as Slovenetic or Slovenian language.
In that time the most important route through Central Europe was the Amber route. Along this route Veneti arrived and settled the Slovenian territory. Numerous Urn-field graveyards are providing evidence for their strong and central settlement in this area. From this central area they continued to spread into Italy and where the unearthed Urn-field graveyards are dated in a somewhat later period. Around the 8th century B.C. from the Venetic Urn-field culture, new cultures began to emerge. In Slovenia the Halstatt culture and the Este culture were present and intermingled.
There is no evidence that the ethnic entity and the language of Veneti were altered during this period. The first ingression into the Venetic area was the invasion of Celts. However due to their limited number (after their defeat in Greece), their relative late arrival (around 250 B.C.) and their relative short time of existence (at the arrival of Romans they already vanished), they could not significantly affect the Venetic ethnic entity. Anyway this was also not the intention of the Celtic invasion.
Afterwards Roman conquerors succeeded the Celts in Slovenia. The presence of Romans also did not alter the already existing ethnic entity because their presence was limited primarily to the urban areas of cities, while in the country the domestic peasants preserved their language and customs, e.g. the cremation of the deceased. The population of romanized primeval settlers could not be formed during only a few centuries of Roman occupation. The process of romanization was scarcely effective even in the region of Friaul (Furlania), where still in early medieval times the existence of the Slovenian language is well documented. Historical documents confirm the existence of Slovenians even in the time of Romans. Jordanes is describing "Slovenes" and historian Paulus Diaconus does not mention a word about the arrival of Slavic people up to the border of Langobards. One should be aware that Paulus Diaconus documented plenty of details of events during this period. However, he does mention the existence of a Slavonic state being invaded by Bavarians in 593 A.D and 595 A.D, apparently for looting. The dissolution of Roman episcopates after the decline the of Roman Empire offers a proof that the domestic peasant population was not Christianized and therefore also could not be romanized. In the critical times of danger of this period the peasants took shelter in the higher mountain dwellings only to return later during calmer periods. Those who returned were Slovenian peasants.
Therefore, the ethnogenesis of the Slovenian nation starts with the arrival of the Veneti on the territory of today's Slovenia 3000 years ago. The archaic nature of the Slovenian language, its similarity to the Sanskrit and similarity to the venetic inscriptions bear witness to the continuing evolution of the Slovenian ethnic entity.
Page Created: October 13, 2001
Page Updated: September 7, 2001
©Copyright 2001, 2002 Gary L. Gorsha