Christianization of Moravia
The Christianization of Moravia refers to the spread of the Christian religion in the lands of medieval Moravia. What modern historians designate as Great Moravia was a Slavic state that existed in Central Europe from around 830 to the early 10th century; the territory of Great Moravia was evangelized by missionaries coming from the Frankish Empire or Byzantine enclaves in Italy and Dalmatia since the early 8th century and sporadically earlier. The diocese of Passau was charged with establishing a church structure in Moravia; the first Christian church of the Western and Eastern Slavs known to the written sources was built in 828 by Pribina, the ruler and Prince of the Principality of Nitra, although still a pagan himself, in his possession called Nitrava. The first Moravian ruler known by name, Mojmír I, was baptized in 831 by Bishop of Passau. Due to internal struggles between Moravian rulers, Mojmir was deposed by Rastislav in 846. Despite the formal endorsement by the elites, the Great Moravian Christianity was described as containing many pagan elements as late as in 852.
The major milestone in the Christianization of Moravia is traditionally attributed to the influence of Greek missionary brothers, Saints Cyril and Methodius, who arrived in Moravia in the year 863. Cyril translated the liturgy and the pericopes into the regional Slavic language, giving rise to the popular Slavic church surpassing the struggling Roman Catholic missions with their foreign German priests and Latin liturgy. A few years the nearby Duchy of Bohemia was converted, with its ruler baptised in 867.. Soon Ratislav succeeded in created a church independent of both the Germans and Constantinople, subordinated directly to the See of Rome. New diocese of Pannonia was inaugurated, with Methodius as its first archbishop. After the death of Ratislav successor, Svatopluk I, Moravia was partitioned between its neighbours and the Slavic church went into decline, replaced by the churches better established in those other territories. A number of expelled Slavic church priests found refuge in Bulgaria, where a number of their traditions became incorporated into the early Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
Christianization of the Slavs Cyrillus and Methodius, the Apostles of the Slavs. Christianization of Moravia and Poland. History of the Christian Church, Volume IV: Mediaeval Christianity. A. D. 590-1073. Great Moravia, Christanization of
The West Slavs are a subgroup of Slavic peoples who speak the West Slavic languages. They separated from the common Slavic group around the 7th century, established independent polities in Central Europe by the 8th to 9th centuries; the West Slavic languages diversified into their attested forms over the 10th to 14th centuries. West Slavic speaking nations today include the Czechs, Slovaks and ethnic groups Kashubians and Silesians, they inhabit a contiguous area in Central Europe stretching from the north of the Baltic Sea to the Sudetes and the Carpathian Mountains in the south also across the Eastern Alps into the Apennine peninsula and the Balkan peninsula. The West Slavic group can be divided into three subgroups: Lechitic, including Polish and extinct Polabian and Pomeranian languages and Czecho-Slovak. Culturally, West Slavs developed along the lines of other Western European nations due to affiliation with the Roman Empire and Western Christianity. Thus, they experienced a cultural split with the other Slavic groups: while the East Slavs and part of South Slavs converted to Orthodox Christianity, thus being culturally influenced by the Byzantine Empire, all the West Slavs converted to Roman Catholicism, thus coming under the cultural influence of the Latin Church.
In the Middle Ages the name "Wends" was applied to Western Slavic peoples. Mieszko I, the first historical ruler of Poland appeared as "Dagome, King of the Wends"; the early Slavic expansion began in the 5th century, by the 6th century, the groups that would become the West and South Slavic groups had become geographically separated. The first independent West Slavic states originate beginning in the 7th century, with the Empire of Samo, the Principality of Moravia, the Principality of Nitra and Great Moravia; the Sorbs and other Polabian Slavs like Obodrites and Veleti came under the domination of the Holy Roman Empire after the Wendish Crusade in the Middle Ages and had been Germanized by Germans at the end of the 19th century. The Polabian language survived until the beginning of the 19th century in what is now the German state of Lower Saxony. At this time only 60,000-80,000 Sorbs have survived as a group which kept its language and traditions, living predominantly in Lusatia, a region in modern Germany in the states of Brandenburg and Saxony.
However, the process of Germanization should not be understood as an expulsion by German settlers. The relationship between Slavs and Germans varied, depending on region. German and Slavic villages co-existed as neighbours for centuries. In today's Saxony many geographic names these of major cities such as Dresden, Leipzig or Zwickau are of Slavic origin; the Wendish Crusade did not involve these areas and the development of Slavic and German interaction remained peaceful. The central Polish tribe of the Polans created their own state in the 10th century under the Polish duke Mieszko I. For many centuries Poland has had close ties with its western neighbors, with the Polish ruler Bolesław I the Brave declared by Holy Roman Emperor Otto III as Frater et Cooperator Imperii; the precursors of the Czechs migrated into Bohemia in the late 6th century and had established various fiefdoms by the 10th century when their rulers became vassals of the Holy Roman Emperors. Kingdom of Bohemia stayed part of that Empire between 1002–1419 and 1526–1918.
Predecessors of Slovaks came under Hungarian domination after 907 – together with other Slavic groups as Croats, Dalmatians and Rusyns. Both the Czechs and the Slovaks were under rule of the Habsburg monarchy from 1526 to 1804. Lechitic groupPoles Masovians Polans Lendians Vistulans Silesians PomeraniansSlovincians PolabiansObodrites/Abodrites Obotrites proper Wagrians Warnower Polabians proper Linonen Travnjane Drevani Veleti, succeeded by Lutici Kissini Circipani Tollensians Redarier Ucri Rani Hevelli Volinians Pyritzans Czech–Slovak group Czechs Bohemians Moravians Slovaks Sorbian groupMilceni Lusatian Sorbs In 845 the Bavarian Geographer made a list of West Slavic tribes who lived in the areas of modern-day Poland, Czech Republic and Denmark: Lechitic group Poles Silesians Kashubians Czech–Slovak groupCzechs Bohemians Moravians Slovaks Sorbian groupMilceni Lusatians Catholic Slavs Slavic peoples Austro-Hungarian Empire Visegrad Group Holy Roman Empire Principality of Moravia Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Kingdom of Hungary Principality of Nitra Samo's Empire Czechization Magyarization Polonization Slovakization East Slavs South Slavs
Early Cyrillic alphabet
The Early Cyrillic alphabet is a writing system, developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the late 9th century on the basis of the Greek alphabet The objective was to make it possible to have Christian service in Slavic tongue, instead of in Greek, which locals did not understand, to bring Bulgarian subjects closer to the cultural influence of Christianity, the official religion of the Byzantine Empire. It was used by Slavic peoples in South East and Eastern Europe, it was developed in the Preslav Literary School in the capital city of the First Bulgarian Empire in order to write the Old Church Slavonic language. The modern Cyrillic script is still used for some Slavic languages, for East European and Asian languages that were under Russian cultural influence during the 20th century. Among some of the traditionally culturally influential countries using Cyrillic script are Bulgaria, Russia and Ukraine; the earliest form of manuscript Cyrillic, known as ustav, was based on Greek uncial script, augmented by ligatures and by letters from the Glagolitic alphabet for consonants not found in Greek.
The Glagolitic alphabet was created by the monk Saint Cyril with the aid of his brother Saint Methodius, around 863. It was an adaptation designed to link the language of their mother, of Slavic origin, their father, the Roman military commander of Thessaloniki, the second most important city of the Byzantine Empire. Cyrillic, on the other hand, was a creation of Cyril's students in the 890s at the Preslav Literary School under Bulgarian Tsar Simeon the Great as a more suitable script for church books, though retaining the original Bulgarian symbols in Glagolitic. An alternative hypothesis proposes that it emerged in the border regions of Greek proselytization to the Slavs before it was codified and adapted by some systematizer among the Slavs. One possibility is that this systematization of Cyrillic was undertaken at the Council of Preslav in 893, when the Old Church Slavonic liturgy was adopted by the Bulgarian Empire; the Cyrillic alphabet was well suited for the writing of Old Church Slavic following a principle of "one letter for one significant sound", with some arbitrary or phonotactically-based exceptions.
This principle is violated by certain vowel letters, which represent plus the vowel if they are not preceded by a consonant. It is violated by a significant failure to distinguish between /ji/ and /jĭ/ orthographically. There was no distinction of capital and lowercase letters, though manuscript letters were rendered larger for emphasis, or in various decorative initial and nameplate forms. Letters served as numerals as well as phonetic signs. Letters without Greek equivalents had no numeral values, whereas one letter, had only a numeric value with no phonetic value. Since its creation, the Cyrillic script has adapted to changes in spoken language and developed regional variations to suit the features of national languages, it has been the subject of political decrees. Variations of the Cyrillic script are used to write languages throughout Eastern Asia; the form of the Russian alphabet underwent a change when Tsar Peter the Great introduced the Civil Script, in contrast to the prevailing Church Typeface, in 1708.
Some letters and breathing marks which were only used for historical reasons were dropped. Medieval letterforms used in typesetting were harmonized with Latin typesetting practices, exchanging medieval forms for Baroque ones, skipping the western European Renaissance developments; the reform subsequently influenced Cyrillic orthographies for most other languages. Today, typesetting standards only remain in use in Church Slavonic. A comprehensive repertoire of early Cyrillic characters is included in the Unicode since version 5.1 standard, which published on April 4, 2008. These characters and their distinctive letterforms are represented in specialized computer fonts for Slavistics. In addition to the basic letters, there were a number of scribal variations, combining ligatures, regionalisms used, all of which varied over time; each letter had a numeric value inherited from the corresponding Greek letter. A titlo over a sequence of letters indicated their use as a number. In numerals, the ones place was to the left of the tens place, the reverse of the order used in modern Arabic numerals.
Thousands are formed using a special symbol, ҂, attached to the lower left corner of the numeral. Many fonts display this symbol incorrectly as being in line with the letters instead of subscripted below and to the left of them. Titlos were used to form abbreviations of nomina sacra. Manuscripts made increasing use of a different style of abbreviation, in which some of the left-out letters were superscripted above the abbreviation and covered with a pokrytie diacritic. Several diacritics, adopted from Polytonic Greek orthography, were used, but were redundant (these may not appea
Slavic paganism or Slavic religion define the religious beliefs and ritual practices of the Slavs before the formal Christianisation of their ruling elites. The latter occurred at various stages between the 8th and the 13th century: The Southern Slavs living on the Balkan Peninsula in South Eastern Europe, bordering with the Byzantine Empire to the south, came under the sphere of influence of Byzantine Orthodox Christianity, beginning with the creation of the Slavic alphabet in 855 by the brothers Saints Cyril and Methodius and the adoption of Christianity in Bulgaria in 863 CE; the East Slavs followed with the official adoption in 988 CE by Vladimir the Great of Kievan Rus'. The West Slavs came under the sphere of influence of the Roman Catholic Church since the 12th century, Christianisation for them went hand in hand with full or partial Germanisation; the Christianisation of the Slavic peoples was, however, a slow and—in many cases—superficial phenomenon in what is today Russia. Christianisation was vigorous in western and central parts of what is today Ukraine, as they were closer to the capital Kiev, but there, popular resistance led by volkhvs, pagan priests or shamans, recurred periodically for centuries.
Though the Byzantine Christianization firstly has slowed down the Eastern Slavic traditions in Rus', it has preserved the Slavic traditions in the long term. While local Slavic figures and myths, such as Baba Roga in Croatia were forgotten, Slavic culture continued to exist and flourish in the Eastern Slavic countries. In the case of a Christian Latinization of the Eastern Slavic countries, this may not have been the case; the West Slavs of the Baltic withstood tenaciously against Christianity until it was violently imposed on them through the Northern Crusades. Among Poles and East Slavs, rebellion outbreaks occurred throughout the 11th century. Christian chroniclers reported that the Slavs re-embraced their original religion. Many elements of the indigenous Slavic religion were incorporated into Slavic Christianity, besides this, the worship of Slavic gods has persisted in unofficial folk religion until modern times; the Slavs' resistance to Christianity gave rise to a "whimsical syncretism" which in Old Church Slavonic vocabulary was defined as dvoeverie, "double faith".
Since the early 20th century, Slavic folk religion has undergone an organised reinvention and reincorporation in the movement of Slavic Native Faith. Twentieth-century scholars who pursued the study of ancient Slavic religion include Vyacheslav Ivanov, Vladimir Toporov, Marija Gimbutas, Boris Rybakov, Roman Jakobson amongst others. Rybakov is noted for his effort of re-examination of medieval ecclesiastical texts, synthesising his findings with archaeological data, comparative mythology and nineteenth-century folk practices, for having given one of the most coherent pictures of ancient Slavic religion in his major book Paganism of the Ancient Slavs and other works. Among earlier, nineteenth-century scholars there was Bernhard Severin Ingemann, known for his study of Fundamentals of a North Slavic and Wendish mythology. Historical documents about Slavic religion include the Primary Chronicle, compiled in Kiev around 1111, the Novgorod First Chronicle compiled in the Novgorod Republic, they contain detailed reports of the annihilation of the official Slavic religion of Kiev and Novgorod, the subsequent "double faith".
The Primary Chronicle contains the authentic text of Rus-Greek treatises with native pre-Christian oaths. From the eleventh century onwards, various Rus writings were produced against the survival of Slavic religion, Slavic gods were interpolated in the translations of foreign literary works, such as the Malalas Chronicle and the Alexandreis; the West Slavs who dwelt in the area between the Vistula and the Elbe stubbornly resisted the Northern Crusades, the history of their resistance is written down in the Latin Chronicles of three German clergymen—Thietmar of Merseburg and Adam of Bremen in the eleventh century and Helmold in the twelfth—, in the twelfth-century biographies of Otto of Bamberg, in Saxo Grammaticus' thirteenth-century Gesta Danorum. These documents, together with minor German documents and the Icelandic Knýtlinga saga, provide an accurate description of northwestern Slavic religion; the religions of other Slavic populations are less documented, because writings about the theme were produced late in time after Christianisation, such as the fifteenth-century Polish Chronicle, contain a lot of sheer inventions.
In the times preceding Christianisation, some Greek and Roman chroniclers, such as Procopius and Jordanes in the sixth century, sparsely documented some Slavic concepts and practices. Slavic paganism survived, in more or less pure forms, among the Slovenes along the Soča river up to the 1330s; the linguistic unity, negligible dialectal differentiation, of the Slavs until the end of the first millennium CE, the lexical uniformity of religious vocabulary, witness a uniformity of early Slavic religion. It has been argued. Ivanov and Toporov identified Slavic religion as an outgrowth of a common Proto-Indo-European religion, sharing strong similarities with other neighbouring Indo-European belief systems such as those of Balts, Thracians and Indo-Iranians. Slavic religion and mythology is considered more conservative and closer to original Proto-Indo-European reli
Serbian Orthodox Church
The Serbian Orthodox Church is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Christian Churches. It is the second-oldest Slavic Orthodox Church in the world; the Serbian Orthodox Church comprises the majority of the population in Serbia and the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is organized into metropolises and eparchies located in Serbia and Herzegovina, Croatia, but all over the world where Serb diaspora lives; the Serbian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous, or ecclesiastically independent, member of the Eastern Orthodox communion. Serbian Patriarch serves as first among equals in his church; the Church achieved autocephalous status in 1219 under the leadership of St. Sava, becoming independent Archbishopric of Žiča, its status was elevated to that of a patriarchate in 1346, was known afterwards as the Serbian Patriarchate of Peć. This patriarchate was abolished by the Ottoman Turks in 1766; the modern Serbian Orthodox Church was re-established in 1920 after the unification of the Patriarchate of Karlovci, the Metropolitanate of Belgrade and the Metropolitanate of Montenegro.
Christianity spread to the Balkans beginning in the 1st century. Florus and Laurus are venerated as Christian martyrs of the 2nd century. Constantine the Great, born in Niš, was the first Christian Roman Emperor. Several bishops seated in what is today Serbia participated in the First Council of Nicaea, such as Ursacius of Singidunum. In 380, Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius decreed that his subjects would be Christians according to the Council of Nicea formula. Greek was used in the Byzantine church. With the definite split in 395, the line in Europe ran south along the Drina river. Among old Christian heritage is the Archbishopric of Justiniana Prima, established in 535, which had jurisdiction over the whole of present-day Serbia. However, the Archbishopric did not last, as the Slavs and Avars destroyed the region sometime after 602, when the last mention is made of it. In 731 Leo III attached Illyricum and Southern Italy to Patriarch Anastasius of Constantinople, transferring the papal authority to the Eastern Church.
The history of the early medieval Serbian Principality is recorded in the work De Administrando Imperio, compiled by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. The DAI drew information on the Serbs among others, a Serbian source; the Serbs were said to have received the protection of Emperor Heraclius, Porphyrogenitus stressed that the Serbs had always been under Imperial rule. His account on the first Christianization of the Serbs can be dated to 632–638; the establishment of Christianity as state religion dates to the time of Prince Mutimir and Byzantine Emperor Basil I. The Christianization was due to Byzantine and subsequent Bulgarian influence. At least during the rule of Kocel in Pannonia, communications between Serbia and Great Moravia, where Methodius was active, must have been possible; this fact, the pope was aware of, when planning Methodius' diocese as well as that of the Dalmatian coast, in Byzantine hands as far north as Split. There is a possibility that some Cyrillomethodian pupils reached Serbia in the 870s even sent by Methodius himself.
Serbia was accounted Christian as of about 870. The first Serbian bishopric was founded at Ras, near modern Novi Pazar on the Ibar river. According to Vlasto, the initial affiliation is uncertain; the early Ras church can be dated to the 9th–10th century, with the rotunda plan characteristic of first court chapels. The bishopric was established shortly after 871, during the rule of Mutimir, was part of the general plan of establishing bishoprics in the Slav lands of the empire, confirmed by the Council of Constantinople in 879–880; the names of Serbian rulers through Mutimir are Slavic dithematic names, per the Old Slavic tradition. With Christianization in the 9th century, Christian names appear; the next generations of Serbian royalty had Christian names, evident of strong Byzantine missions in the 870s. Petar Gojniković was evidently a Christian prince, Christianity was spreading in his time; the Bulgarian annexation of Serbia in 924 was important for the future direction of the Serbian church, by at latest, Serbia must have received the Cyrillic alphabet and Slavic religious text familiar but not yet preferred to Greek.
In 1018–19, the Archbishopric of Ohrid was established after the Byzantines conquered Bulgaria. Greek replaced Bulgarian Slavic as the liturgical language. Serbia was ecclesiastically administered into several bishoprics: the bishopric of Ras, mentioned in the first charter of Basil II, became part of the Ohrid archbishopric and encompassed the areas of southern Serbia, by the rivers Raška, Ibar and Lim, evident in the second charter of Basil II. In the chrysobulls of Basil II d
Christianization of Pomerania
Medieval Pomerania was converted from Slavic paganism to Christianity by Otto von Bamberg in 1124 and 1128, in 1168 by Absalon. Earlier attempts at Christianization, undertaken since the 10th century, were short-lived; the new religion stabilized when the Pomeranian dukes founded several monasteries and called in Christian German settlers during the Ostsiedlung. The first Pomeranian abbey was founded in 1153 at the site where the first Christian duke of Pomerania, Wartislaw I, was slain by a pagan; the Duchy of Pomerania was organized by the Roman Catholic Church in the Bishopric of Cammin in 1140. Pomeranian areas not belonging to the duchy at this time were attached to the dioceses of Włocławek and Schwerin; when the Bishopric of Havelberg was founded in 948, the constitution document mentions the area between Peene and Oder among the bishopric's belongings. In 983, the Holy Roman Empire lost control over the region due to a Slavic uprising; the first Polish duke Mieszko I invaded Pomerania and subdued the gard of Kołobrzeg and the adjacent areas in the 960s.
He fought the Wolinians, but despite a won battle in 967, he did not succeed in the town of Wolin itself. His son and successor Boleslaw I continued to campaign in Pomerania, but failed to subdue the Wolinians and the lower Oder areas. During the Congress of Gniezno in 1000, Boleslaw created the first, yet short-lived bishopric in Pomerania Diocese of Kołobrzeg, subordinate to the Archdiocese of Gniezno, headed by Saxon bishop Reinbern, destroyed when Pomeranians revolted in 1005. Of all Lutici, the Wolinians were devoted to participation in the wars between the Holy Roman Empire and Poland from 1002 to 1018 to prevent Boleslaw I from reinstating his rule in Pomerania. In 1017, a priest called. Another attempt was made following the subjugation of Pomerania by Boleslaw III of Poland. In 1122, Spanish monk Bernard traveled to Jumne, accompanied only by his chaplain and an interpreter; the Pomeranians however were not impressed by his missionary efforts and threw him out of town. Bernard was made bishop of Lebus.
After Bernard's failure, Boleslaw III asked Otto of Bamberg to convert Pomerania to Christianity, which he accomplished in his first visit in 1124/25. Otto's strategy differed from the one Bernard used: While Bernard traveled alone and as a poor and unknown priest, Otto, a wealthy and famous man, was accompanied by 20 clergy of his own diocese, numerous servants, 60 warriors supplied to him by Boleslaw, carried with him numerous supplies and gifts. Otto arrived in Pyritz, the fact that he was wealthy assured the Pomeranians that his aim was only to convert them to Christianity, not to become wealthy at the expense of the Pomeranian people, he persuaded the Pomeranians that their conversion would protect them from further punishment by his God, how the devastating Polish conquest was depicted. This approach turned out to be successful, was backed by parts of the Pomeranian nobility, raised as Christians, like Duke Wartislaw I, who encouraged and promoted Otto's mission. Many Pomeranians had been baptized in Pyritz and in the other burghs Otto visited.
Otto of Bamberg returned on 19 April 1128, this time invited by duke Wartislaw I himself, aided by the emperor Holy Roman Emperor Lothar II, to convert the Slavs of Western Pomerania just incorporated into the Pomeranian duchy, to strengthen the Christian faith of the inhabitants of Stettin and Wollin, who fell back into heathen practices and idolatry. Otto this time visited Western Pomeranian burghs, had the temples of Gützkow and Wolgast torn down and on their sites erected the predecessors of today's St Nikolai and St Petri churches, respectively; the nobility assembled to a congress in Usedom, where they accepted Christianity on June 10, 1128. Otto was titled apostolus gentis Pomeranorum, made a saint by pope Clement III in 1189, was worshipped in Pomerania after the Protestant Reformation. Otto aborted the mission in November 1128 on behalf of the emperor, after he had sought to mediate the conflicts between the Pomeranian and Polish dukes. Adalbert of Pomerania, the Pomeranian bishop, participated in Otto's mission as an interpreter and assistant.
On Otto of Bamberg's behalf, a diocese was founded with the see in Wollin, a major Slavic and Viking town in the Oder estituary. On October 14, 1140, Adalbert of Pomerania was made the first Bishop by Pope Innocent II. Otto however had died the year before. There was a rivalry between Otto's Diocese of Bamberg, the Diocese of Magdeburg and the Diocese of Gniezno for the incorporation of Pomerania. Pope Innocence II solved the dispute by repelling their claims and placed the new diocese directly under his Holy See; the see of the diocese. The diocese had no clear-cut borders in the beginning, but reached from the Tribsees burgh in the West to the Leba River in the East. In the South, it comprised the northern parts of Neumark; as such, it was shaped after the territory held by Duke of Pomerania. After ongoing Danish raids, Wollin was destroyed, the see of the diocese was shifted across the Dievenow to Cammin's St John's church in 1176; this was confirmed by the pope in 1186. In the early 13th century, the Cammin diocese along with the Pomeranian dukes gained control over Circipania.
The bishops managed to gain direct control over a territory around Kolberg and Köslin. Pomeranian areas outside th
The South Slavs are a subgroup of Slavic peoples who speak the South Slavic languages. They inhabit a contiguous region in the Balkan Peninsula and the eastern Alps, in the modern era are geographically separated from the body of West Slavic and East Slavic people by the Romanians and Austrians in between; the South Slavs today include the nations of Bosniaks, Croats, Montenegrins and Slovenes. They are the main population of the Eastern and Southeastern European countries of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, North Macedonia and Slovenia. In the 20th century, the country of Yugoslavia united the regions inhabited by South Slavic nations – with the key exception of Bulgaria – into a single state; the concept of Yugoslavia, a single state for all South Slavic peoples, emerged in the late 17th century and gained prominence through the 19th century Illyrian movement. The Kingdom of Serbs and Slovenes, renamed to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929, was proclaimed on 1 December 1918, following the unification of the State of Slovenes and Serbs with the kingdoms of Serbia and Montenegro.
The South Slavs are known in Serbian and Montenegrin as Južni Sloveni. The Slavic root *jugъ means "south"; the Slavic ethnonym itself was used by 6th-century writers to describe the southern group of Early Slavs. The South Slavs are called "Balkan Slavs", although this term does not encompass the Slovenes. Another name popular in the Early modern period was "Illyrians", the name of a pre-Slavic Balkan people, a name first adopted by Dalmatian intellectuals in the late 15th century to refer to South Slavic lands and population, it was used by the Habsburg Monarchy and notably adopted by the 19th-century Croatian nationalist and Pan-Slavist Illyrian movement. The idea of Yugoslavism appeared, aimed at uniting all South Slav-populated territories into a common state. From this idea emerged Yugoslavia, which however did not include Bulgaria; the Proto-Slavic homeland is the area of Slavic settlement in Central and Eastern Europe during the first millennium AD, with its precise location debated by archaeologists and historians.
None of the proposed homelands reaches the Volga River in the east, over the Dinaric Alps in the southwest or the Balkan Mountains in the south, or past Bohemia in the west. Traditionally, scholars put it in the marshes of Ukraine, alternatively between the Bug and the Dnieper, according to F. Curta, the homeland of the southern Slavs mentioned by 6th-century writers was just north of the Lower Danube. Little is known about the Slavs before the 5th century. Jordanes and other late Roman authors provide the probable earliest references to southern Slavs in the second half of the 6th century. Procopius described the Sclaveni and Antes as two barbarian peoples with the same institutions and customs since ancient times, not ruled by a single leader but living under democracy, while Pseudo-Maurice called them a numerous people, undisciplined and leaderless, who did not allow enslavement and conquest, resistant to hardship, bearing all weathers, they were portrayed by Procopius as unusually tall and strong, of dark skin and "reddish" hair, leading a primitive life and living in scattered huts changing their residence.
Procopius said they were henotheistic, believing in the god of lightning, the ruler of all, to whom they sacrificed cattle. They went into battle on foot, charging straight at their enemy, armed with spears and small shields, but they did not wear armour. Slavs settled the Balkans in the 6th and 7th centuries. Up until the late 560s their activity was raiding, crossing from the Danube, though with limited Slavic settlement through Byzantine foederati colonies; the Danube and Sava frontier was overwhelmed by large-scale Slavic settlement in the late 6th and early 7th century. What is today central Serbia was an important geo-strategical province, through which the Via Militaris crossed; this area was intruded by barbarians in the 5th and 6th centuries. From the Danube, the Slavs commenced raiding the Byzantine Empire from the 520s, on an annual basis, spreading destruction, taking loot and herds of cattle, seizing prisoners and taking fortresses; the Byzantine Empire was stretched defending its rich Asian provinces from Arabs and others.
This meant that numerically small, disorganised early Slavic raids were capable of causing much disruption, but could not capture the larger, fortified cities. The first Slavic raid south of the Danube was recorded by Procopius, who mentions an attack of the Antes, "who dwell close to the Sclaveni" in 518. Sclaveni are first mentioned in the context of the military policy on the Danube frontier of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. Throughout the century, Slavs raided and plundered deep into the Balkans, from Dalmatia to Greece and Thrace, were at times recruited as mercenaries, fighting the Ostrogoths. Justinian seems to have used divide and conquer and the Sclaveni and Antes are mentioned as fighting each other; the Antes are last mentioned as anti-Byzantine belligerents in 545, the Sclaveni continued to raid the Balkans. In 558 the Avars arrived at the Black Sea steppe, defeated the Antes between the Dnieper and Dniester; the Avars subsequently allied themselves with the Sclaveni, although there was an episode in which the Sclaveni Daurentius (fl.