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Thread: [HISTORICAL ISSUE] - South Slavs and Avars…

  1. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Son of Fire View Post
    A question has been nagging in my mind today after getting some information pertaining to the South Slavs… that being, that the South Slavs, Serbian, Croatian, and other tribes fought and crushed the Avars to fully settle in the Dalmatian region.

    Now, from what I have seen in literature and such has stated that the Slavs generally didn’t have much in the way of cavalry, armour, or even weapons… not to say they were destitute, but they just didn’t have access to the kind of military kit that other cultures did (mainly shields, spears, javelins and axes, not quite comparable to the available kit of other cultures).
    While the Avars were a fairly effective militaristic steppe culture, with ample horses, swords, bows, lances, and armour… who has been fairly effective military force in the region for some time.

    It seems to me a bit perplexing then how the Slavs managed to break them in Dalmatia.
    I mean… how did they manage it?
    With the preconceptions that I have and that I just mentioned, it doesn’t make sense.
    The only things I can think of are…

    Overwhelmingly outnumbered… but that seems a bit dubious.
    A very large Byzantine military contribution… possible.
    Or, that perhaps the South Slavs were not as limited in their military kit, and tactics as we once though… perhaps possible.

    Thoughts?
    croats,serbs and what other tribes??' what do u mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aru View Post
    1. Slavs weren't pathetic peasants with bats. Torturing Byzantines for centuries should be proof enough. They also weren't heavy armored, I'd put that more to cultural preference then to lack of materials. We are talking about Slavs who have warred with Byzantines, Franks, and Germanics for at least two centuries by now, and who lived in mineral rich mountaineous regions. If we forget that they could gain heavy equipment simply by looting, and take only the technological advancement (and only if we guess that before settling in Balkan they were unable of more advanced metalworking) in consideration, by the time Avars were defeated Slavs should have had at least hypotetical availability of producing armor and swords at the level of cultures who finished migration sooner. If you look more to the future, light, slightly armored infantry remained main type of warrior way into middle ages (except nobility).
    2. Avars were outnumbered. No doubt about that. Most of their armies were Slavs anyway.
    3. If Avars were a steppe cavalry culture, and they were, then they are at disadvantage in Balkans. From Slavonian marshes and forests to Dinaric mountains light footman with ambushing tactics was always the way to go.
    4. Avars had enough troubles elsewhere and were probably overstreched, specially if there were Slavic rebellions and raids from all sides plus Frankish/Byzantine help.
    5. As vassal/allied Slavs were good part of Avar military force, who said that croats and serbs didn't actually defeat just some other Slavs who acted by order of Avars?

    If the story of Croats and Serbs arriving later then other Slavs and defeating Avars is true, then all above should be combined. Croats and Serbs should have arrived already more advanced then earlier Slavs into mountainous and forested lands in which there were very little Avars actually settled. Avar Settlement south of Drava river was sparse and mainly in eastern Slavonia, where they lived right next to Slavs (but not mixed, each in their own settlements as per archeological findings). As per many historical sources and archeology, Croats mostly settled around Velebit mountain and inner Dalmatia (not Roman province, but modern) and Serbs in Southwestern Serbia and Eastern Bosnia, just above modern Montenegro. That is very rough terrain, very unsuited for cavalry, and quite the distance from Avar heartlands. National mythology aside, Early Croatian and Serbian states were surrounded by many similar Slavic dukedoms on which they made influence over centuries, and assimilated.

    Now we imagine scenario where a non cooperative tribe settles on fringes of Avar territory (the lands of Slavs who are either in loose alliance with Avars, or pay them tribute). Avars send an army south, or even some of their clients, to attack the newcomers, Croats/Serbs gather surrounding tribes and dukedoms on their side and ambush Avar army in the mountains. Avar army is defeated, and Avars decide it's simply not worth it to send bigger army, specially if Byzantines are supporting the new arrivals, and other threats are on other borders. They think it's only few tribes in distant lands, who cares. In reality it is far from impossible for Slavs to defeat Avars, and Avars could perhaps even not care less for the areas that were lost, which they didn't even really rule, except by influence.

    On the other hand maybe it was exactly as myths said and it was a great war with glorious battles where proud Slavs defeated Asiatic oppressors and earned themselves a God given homelands.
    first of all the roman sources speak only about croats fighting avars,and modern archeology does not claim that croats settelled around velebit but the historyan fine does,and he is very doubtfull and not preciated he is the most unquoted historyan and that is an indicator of an historyans worth

    Quote Originally Posted by Aru View Post
    No, they were pretty lightly equipped. At least all sources say that. They did know how to build siege devices though (attacking Thessaloniki).

    This is terrain I'm talking about. Imagine a horse struggling to walk on those rocks, and then hundreds of people spring out of bushes and trees or even rocks and start throwing spears at you. That is how wars were waged here.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    Or in dense ancient pine forests on hills.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    In any case, it all comes down to single event or series of events the result of which could have be decided by many factors, and we have no source on anything. But if we forget the terrain and Croats and Serbs, generally I believe that it's entirely possible for lightly armed and armored infantry to defeat cavalry. It takes good leader, seasoned men and a bit of planning. You surely don't want to find yourself standing in front of cavalry archers on open grass field. And whoever survived that situation once, or knows how it would end, would find another way to fight them.

    Finally, I don't believe in great arrival of Croats and Serbs. Mixed 4 centuries old legends. They came with the rest of the Slavs, were among dozens other tribes, but gradually over centuries conquered, assimilated most of Slavs and pre-Slavs around them, and still exist to speak of it. But they must have fought the Avars at one time or the other. Everyone fought everyone. And in every legend there is some truth, so in this one also. Won't know how much until someone invents the time machine, but it wouldn't matter then because he'll screw up history. That Idiot, I'll have to relearn everything again.

    P.S. That circle means you have received reputation points. that means someone likes what you posted. That's the green + all the way down below avatar, next to report button. Though I don't know if you can see it, you may not have enough posts to give reputation.
    what other tribes?there were croats before setteling in todays croatia WHITE CROATIA!

    those are political favoring teorys and they have no substance if u look at the 5 pree ottoman dialects and acents ul find that there were not so many populations there

    dialects



    acents,cant find anything god but i will

    Quote Originally Posted by Son of Fire View Post
    @ Aru…
    Perhaps Druzina was used by all Slavs for the name of their retinue… but I don’t think it was mentioned by name for the South Slavs…
    But like you stated, I think Vlastela was a later term, and more of a description of rank and or title. That is all we have to go on for the South Slavs to my knowledge…
    Though if anyone knows differently, feel free to correct me…

    @ IVlarkI2I…
    Cool, thanks for the heads up… when the new list comes out you will have to give me an update as I am curious…

    @ NikeBG…
    Savvy… thanks for the clarification…
    Hmmm, that does sound like Druzina, even if it was not mentioned by name… it does seem implied…

    Heh… nah, I can understand a bit of Serbian when it is spoken too me, but even then not very much… I have pretty much lost it all unfortunately… but reading be it in Latin or Cyrillic is an exercise in futility for me…
    družima has the same meaning as fellowship..so it can mean m,any things

    Quote Originally Posted by Aru View Post
    It depends about writer, document and time period, really. We often see Knez, Župan, Ban and Vojvoda used in a same sense. Knez could be any noble of high standing in 14. century Dalmatian town, tribal chieftain of Slavic village in 7.century, Dux of Slavic states in 9. century or position equal to king in 19. century. Then we have Veliki Župan which ruled as Dux in medieval Serbia, and Župans were other rulers, his vassals, but also Župan in medieval Croatia who was a ruler of specific Županija which were territorial units in kingdom, but Bans were kings vassals and they were above Župans. Then Priest of Duklja equates Ban and Vojvoda, as well as Knez and Župan (note, I was reading modern translation, can't find Latin original, I wonder if Slavic terms were used there).
    Another example, knez was the title of ruler of tiny town of Motovun in 14. century Istria (word knez used in Croatian language in original document), modern translation makes that title equal to Grof, which is in English Count.

    So it's a clear mess of who's called what.
    and a župa is civitas in latin,basicly a catholic metropolia

    Quote Originally Posted by Aru View Post
    That was from DAI, saying that Croatia had 100 000 infantry and 60 000 cavalry strong army, as well as 80 bigger and 100 smaller ships at the time of duke Krešimir (935-945).

    You can read relevant passages of DAI about South Slavs here in croatian. I found also a page in Greek, but can't find it in English.

    However, all historians agree that those numbers were at the best unlikely. Infantry could be possible if we consider that it was pre-feudal time and that every freeman was potentially a soldier (even though it was impossible to gather them on one place, we're talking a good deal of male population here), but cavalry... no.

    Still, it is doubtless that cavalry was used to significant effect, otherwise it would not be mentioned like that.

    edit: but yet again we are now talking about time almost 4 centuries after the migration of Slavs. Many things have change in those centuries (even though no one claimed early Slavs didn't use cavalry at all, just that it wasn't their significant part on the battle field).
    yep they agree,and the number of ships is super high and vas alsow tought to be exaggerated then i saw a croatian historyan talking about those ships and callculatin what would be posible he found an croatian typ of ship that is small and needed an small amount of men,the numbers were plausible and posible cor croatia during tomislav
    Last edited by lolIsuck; August 02, 2015 at 01:23 PM. Reason: multiple posts merged, please use the edit function.

  2. #42
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    Default Re: South Slavs and Avars…

    Quote Originally Posted by Darios View Post
    Well, I have read in a book on the subject of Slavic mythology that after the Christianization of the East Slavs, St. Paraskeva took on the aspects of Zemlya Mat' and she was often 'honored' with orgies in which entire communities (both old and young) participated. The Church had a hard time stamping that particular practice out)
    Hmm, this reminds me of an episode from the Life of our Patriarch Evtimiy, by Grigoriy Tzamblak. There it's mentioned that there was a nice place near Tarnovo, with a church dedicated to the Mother of God, where each year the town's population would gather in celebration for eight days, but due to the secluded nature of the area, people would commit to their debauchery, thus the patriarch was forced to ban the holiday and the gathering of people in that area. I think there were also similar accounts of the Rusalia week/games (maybe it's the same holiday as above), which IIRC even had an interesting similarity with an old Roman/Latin fertility rite I had read of. [And there was exactly such a sacred-orgiastic episode in a historical novel I've read, though back then I immediately dismissed it as fiction. It makes me wonder now...] Though, in any case, those descriptions by Mark above seem more reminiscent of the ancient Thracians to me than of the Slavs. Then again, just like Herodotus speaks about the Thracian women, so does Pseudo-Maurice (and, respectively, Leo VI who copies him in that regard) speak about the early (Pagan) Slavic women, who would prefer to kill themselves when their husband dies. Maybe it's an old Thracian influence on the South (and maybe East) Slavs? Or a common Indo-European rite?

  3. #43

    Default Re: South Slavs and Avars…

    If they didn't have siege engines,then why did they besiege Constantinople all by themselves in 626?

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