sabato 30 giugno 2007

Meideval Russian Life

Sofya la Rus: 13th-14th Century Medieval Russian Life
During the first century A.D., the Goths started to move down out of Scandinavia - conquering and displacing the peoples they met. Among these peoples are mentioned the Venedae, the Sclaveni, and the Antes. Jordanis, a sixth century A.D. Goth, says that that these tribes gave rise to the Slavs. The Goths generally adopted the culture of the Sarmatians, so that the period from 500 B.C. to 500 A.D. was a time of general cultural continuity for the Eurasian plain.
The Huns arrived in the fourth century A.D. from Central Asia, after having been blocked from eastward movement by the construction of the Great Wall of China. They crushed the Alans between the Don River and the Sea of Azov. Many Alans fled west, pursued by the Huns, who then fought the Goths. This movement of the Huns gave rise to the "Great Migration of Peoples" as it caused massive dislocations. They forced the Visigoths (West Goths) and Ostrogoths (East Goths) and Alans out of the Eurasian plain. The Visigoths went to southern Gaul, then Spain. The Ostrogoths went to Thrace, then conquered Italy, destroying the Western Roman Empire. A group of the Alans moved into the Caucasus Mountains and became the Ossetians. (Joseph Stalin was Ossetin.) The Huns peaked under Attila and attacked the Eastern Roman Byzantine Empire in 447, invaded Frankish Gaul in 451 and attacked Italy in 452. Fortunately for all of western Europe, Attila died in 453 and his empire crumbled. But many historians believe that it was during this period of the Great Migration of Peoples that the Slavs began to migrate out of central and eastern Europe - heading east, south and west
After the Huns came the Avars, a mixed people of Turkish, Mongolian and Chinese decent, who conquered in the mid-sixth century and created a state reaching from the Volga River to the Elbe. They were powerful enough to pressure the Byzantine Empire into paying tribute in 581, and the Byzantine sources make it clear that Slavic groups were included in the Avar campaigns - refered to as Sclaveni. The Avars ruled (and oppressed according to the oldest Russian histories) until the seventh century when they were defeated by the Byzantine Empire.
In the eighth century, the nomadic Turkic Khazars arrived along the Black and Caspian seas to rule over the array of peoples now living in the Eurasian plain - Huns, Avars, Antes, Altaic Turks and Slavs. The Khazars developed lively trading relationships with the Byzantine Empire to the west and the rising Arab Empire to the east, and served as the middlemen between these two empires and the tribes living to the north. As a result, south Russia as a fairly cosmopolitan region at this time. Also by the eighth century, Slavic tribes had settled permanently along the Dnieper River, forming the basis for the future Kievan state.
In summary, there is no definite evidence of Slavs in the Eurasian plain until the sixth century, when Slavic or proto-Slavic tribes had moved east out of central Europe and spread along the Dnieper to form the nucleus of the eastern Slavs - the "Great Russians", the "White Russians" (Byelorussians) and the "Little Russians" (Ukrainians). Other Slavic tribes moved south into the Balkans and gave rise to the southern Slavs - Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, and Bulgars. Slavic tribes also moved west to become the western Slavs - Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Moravians, Kashubs and Wends.
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