The Ancient Slavs: Settlement and Society

By Martin Gojda | Go to book overview

6
Old-Slavic settlement investigation and its future directions

Expansion is the process that usually follows the final stage of ethnogenetical evolution. In the case of the Slavs this process was influenced by external conditions. In C5-6 Europe witnessed extensive transfers of various tribes that gave the name to those times: the Migration period. These events were affected drastically by ethnic groups unknown by that time, the Slavs. Their number and the power through which they occupied south-east and central Europe alarmed their contemporaries and squeezed the then rulers, especially the Byzantine emperors. Their raids were different from those carried out by nomadic groups from the East (which were repeated frequently) because the new population settled permanently in the colonised territories and did not return to their original territory in the East.

The settlement process of the Slavs was, on the one hand, influenced by many factors impinging from outside and, on the other hand, was determined by internal socio-economic development. At any rate it definitely influenced history.

There are many disciplines through which to analyse the settlement process of the ancient Slavs. Each of them has its own methods and approaches. It is archaeology and linguistics that are the most important branches in searching for the origins of the Slavs (since other historical sources are almost absent), while other disciplines are involved in the study of later history (the state-forming process, cultural development, etc.) of Slavic territorial units that were constituted after the Great Expansion.

External manifestations of an ethnohistorical process are, of course, varied. Material culture is for us, in the early medieval

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