Anton Skerbinc, Boswell, British Columbia, Canada. – I read with interest the article "Dejstvo je, da imamo razlicne prednike" by Dr. Peter Stih (Ameriška Domovina / American Home, Jan. 16 and Jan. 23/03). I find it remarkable for the number of inaccuracies, and especially for its anti-Slovenian tone. The reason for his article at this time (and similar contributions by several other academics in Slovenia) is that preparations are underway for a conference on Indigenous Populations of Central Europe, which will be held in Kobarid, Slovenia, May 29 — 31/03. As with the first conference in the same series, Origins of Slovenians, held in Ljubljana in September 2001, it is being organized outside the historiographic establishment, hence the official protestations.
Since the aim of the conference is to clarify the position of Slovenians within the indigenous populations of central Europe, Dr. Stih tells us that he is a big opponent of the idea and stresses that the Slovenian nation is a very recent development – he mentions the second half of the 18th century. However, he forgets to mention that this view had been developed by German and Austrian historians and archaeologists who were in the employ of their respective governments, and who needed to prove that Slovenians were intruders who had no prior rights in central Europe. Although there is no documentary or archaeological evidence for this view, generations of scholars have been indoctrinated as if it were a scientifically proven fact. The majority of Slovenian scholars, including Dr. Stih, are part of this equation. Another impression I get from reading his article is that he likes to downgrade, whenever he can, the historical importance of Slovenians.
To clarify some problems with this one-sided view, I would like to quote from the book Veneti: First Builders of European Community: Tracing the History and Language of Early Ancestors of Slovenes by Jozko Savli, Matej Bor, and Ivan Tomazic. This book very much supports the opposite view, namely, that Slovenians were/are indigenous in their traditional lands, and that their language did not just suddenly materialize for the convenience of historians and linguists. Slovenian has ancient roots going back to Vedic Sanskrit, the oldest of Indo-European languages. Aside from Vedic Sanskrit, only Slovenian and the Lusatian in eastern Germany have preserved the dual grammatical form. This, too, is generally avoided by establishment historians and linguists.
In his article Dr. Stih states that King Samo was of Frankish origin. This is as untrue as it is prejudicial to Slovenians who were the most important part of his kingdom. In Veneti (page 144) we read: "King Samo (623 - 658) was originally a merchant in the Frankish province of Senonago, the location of which is no longer known. The document, Fredegarii Chronicon (around 658), includes Samo among Frankish nationals (natione Francus), which does not mean that he was also of Frankish extraction (genere Francus). At his court Slavic customs were the rule and the envoy had to change into Slavic attire before he could be presented to King Samo. Would the Slavs have chosen a man of Frankish origin to be their king? The later document Conversio Bagoariourum et Carantanorum (circa 873) clearly shows that Samo reigned in Carantania. The Excerptum of this document presents him as the first Duke of the Carantanians."
"Samo's residence could only have been in Carantania, south of the Danube, which St. Amand had to cross in order to reach his court. Missionaries were required first to present themselves before the king in order to receive consent for their mission."
However, according to Dr. Stih, there were no Slovenians in Carantania. He says they were Carantanians: "In other words, we made Slovenians out of Carantanians, which they certainly were not." This sort of interpretation of conditions at the time is the norm among historians like Dr. Stih. The Department of History in Ljubljana still relies entirely on foreign theories and interpretations of Slovenian history. Indeed, its principal function appears to be the enforcement of foreign theories.
We must also note that Slovenians never had their own History School; they were never allowed to carry out independent research, whether under the Austrian Hapsburgs or Serb-dominated Yugoslavia, and nothing has changed even in independent Slovenia. Slovenian historians continue copying, mainly from Austrian history books, and Dr. Stih is part of this scenario.
Carantania has been the thorn in the side of German and Austrian historians. They could not accept the fact that it was Slovenians who had one of the first nation states in central Europe. And this was not because they had just arrived from Trans-Carpathia, but because they were indigenous to the Alpine regions of central Europe. The investiture of Carantanian princes and dukes was always carried out in the Slovenian language. On page 522 of Veneti: "When the Hapsburgs came to power in 1335 in the East Frankish Kingdom to which Carantania then belonged, they took over its legacy, but still had to be invested as Dukes of Carantania. The famous ceremony on the Prince's Stone (now in the museum in Klagenfurt) continued to be performed in the Slovene language. When after 1414 the ceremony ceased (under German pressure), the occasion was limited to presentation before the Ducal Throne (the two seat stone throne stands in the field at Gospa Sveta). This ceremony was also performed in the Slovene language and remained unchanged until the modification of the Constitution at the time of Empress Maria Theresa's ascendance to the Austrian throne in 1740. At that time the presentation before the Ducal Throne ended, and the Carantanian legacy was incorporated into the Austrian Constitution."
According to Dr. Stih, the original homeland of Slavs is in Trans-Carpathia. But in Veneti on page 11 we read: "There are also no archaeological finds from the region behind the Carpathian Mountains that could prove the existence of an ancient Slavic cultural entity. This point cannot be stressed enough, yet it is systematically avoided by most historians."
Dr. Stih also bypasses the problem of presumed settlement of Slavs in central Europe in the 6th century by introducing his personal views on the subject. "Today we try to explain this phenomenon . . . with identity transference." In his opinion, the indigenous population, which had been under Roman rule for several centuries and was therefore on a considerably higher cultural level, had without battles (there is no documentary evidence of such battles), accepted the Trans-Carpathian newcomers as their new ruling class, adopted their language and customs, and ceded to them the entire territory from the Danube to the Adriatic. Something of this sort could have happened only in Dr. Stih's dreams. To take the most beautiful territories in the centre of Europe without major battles is unthinkable. Yet, not one historian mentions battles. Why? Because they did not happen. The indigenous Alpine population was not the Latinized Celts as we are told – they were the indigenous West Slavic Slovenians, or rather, their ancestors. The Germans called them the Windische (as our people are at times still called by German speakers); to Latin speakers, they were Veneti. Fredegarii Chronicon from 623 uses the name Vinedos for Slovenians: "Sclavi coinomento Vinedos." Their land is "marca Winedorum." Slovenian Prince Valuk is "Walucus dux Winedorum." We find the same in Vitae S. Columbani where the author writes about "the land of the Veneti who are also known as Slavs" [Termini Venetiorum qui et Sclavi dicuntur].
On page 520 of Veneti we read: "We can conclude that after the departure of the Byzantines [in 568], the indigenous people of Inner Noricum [the approximate southern half of present-day Austria] proclaimed themselves independent. Naturally, only the people inhabiting an area can found a state through an administrative act of this kind. It is obvious that the native people of Inner Noricum were Slavs because the village population of the area had not changed since pre-Roman times."
The Slovenian toponyms in northern Italy and eastern Switzerland (where the presumed Slavic settlement in the 6th century did not happen) are ignored by Dr. Stih, although they clearly prove that West Slavs were present in these regions much before the settlement of South Slavs in the Balkans. The fact that Slovenian names exist also in the upper levels of the Alpine chains (see Veneti pages 18-47) shows that these names were not left by some transient people, but were a bequest of the indigenous population residing in the areas in question from time immemorial.
Russian professor Pavel V. Tulajev is of the same opinion. In his book Venety: predki Slavyan / Veneti: Ancestors of Slavs, Moscow 2000, p. 59, we read about the settlement of the ancestors of Slovenians in the eastern Alps: "After reading the book Veneti there is no doubt about this. Slavs did not come here across the Danube in the 6th century, but much earlier."
In the meantime, Dr. Stih and his coworkers in Ljubljana are preparing yet another official history of Slovenia, which will include, if his recent article is any indication, more of the same old myths and inventions.
Veneti: First Builders of European Community: Tracing the History and Language of Early Ancestors of Slovenes is without doubt still the best book in the English language regarding the history and origin of Slovenians. If anyone is interested, the price is 29 USD, postage is included. Write to: Anton Skerbinc, Site 1, Box 17, Boswell, B.C., V0B 1A0 Canada firstname.lastname@example.org
Page Created: April 30, 2003
Last Updated: May 1, 2003
©Copyright 2003 Gary L. Gorsha