Did Serbs construct the tower of Babel?

Wait!!!

Before you start throwing rocks at me I have to tell you that this is not my idea – it comes from a famous medieval text – “the chronicle of Dalimil”! Still, chances are that you never heard of this text and for me this is a good enough reason to make a post about it.

So what is this “Chronicle of Dalimil” you ask now? Well, it is a very important document for Czech people, because it is the first known text written in Czech language, somewhere in the first quarter of the XIV century. The text was also translated to German and had many re-editions in this part of the world due to its enormous popularity.

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“Chronicle of Dalimil”

In brief, this text provides us with the chronological history of the Slavs, starting with the most ancient of times and finishing with the important events of the XIV century. The author unfortunately does not provide us with sources for its claims, which was a normal practice at the time, but it is assumed that some of his ideas are based on the older chronicles written in Latin, not preserved today, as well as on some oral tradition of the Slavic tribes.

So, to cut long story short, what is so striking about this text is that at its very beginning, right after the introduction, the author connects the origin of Slavs with the construction of the tower of Babel! BUT as if this is not enough of a shocker, he does not use the word “Slavs” at all, but the word “Serbs” instead! Did ethnonym “Slav” exist in the XIV century? Yes, in the 6th century AD Procopius mentions Slavs in Byzantine Greek, and he refers to them as Σκλάβοι Sklaboi. The first mention in Old Church Slavonic is from the 9th century and reads: Slověne. So why “Serbs” and not “Slavs”? It is a mystery, but this text states that after the God’s punishment those Serbs who lived in Babylon moved to the Mediterranean region.

“Mezi jinými Srbové,                  (Amongst other Serbs,)
тu kdežto bydlí Rekové,             (where Greeks dwell,)
podle more se usadili,                (near the sea settled,)
až do Ríma se rozminožili.”       (and to Rome they spread.)

Chronicle of Dalimil (Chapter 1, lines 29-32)

Immediately after these lines the origin of Slavic tribes is explained in the following manner:

V srbském jazyku jest země,      (In Serbian language there is a country,)
jiež Charvátci jest jmě.                (named Croatia,)
V tej zemi bieše lech,                   (in whom there was a Pole,)
jemuž jmě bieše Čech.                 (named Czech.)

Chronicle of Dalimil (Chapter 2, lines 1-4)

So this just gets more and more enigmatic as we see. Is the author trying to make a chronology of Slavic tribes here? He is stating that Czech was a Polish man, who came from Croatia, that was a Serbian country? We don’t know what he meant by that. True, there was another white-Croatia and another white-Serbia in the general area of Bohemia, of what is now Poland, so does he speak of the Balkan countries or these ones?

Opinions on this vary. My opinion is that he speaks of the Balkan countries and I say this for the two reasons:

1. This text comes immediately after the passage where he connects Serbs with the Mediterranean

2. In the continuation of the text he states that Czech needed to leave Croatia after he had killed a man, so he settled in the new country. (some other chronicles also mention this event). If he really wanted to run away, it would not make much sense to just move to another village I guess.

So, are there any other known sources connecting the origin of Slavs to Balkan? Yes! Probably the most famous of all medieval Slavic texts, “Nestor’s chronicle” is written in the first quarter of XII century, some 200 years before the chronicle of Dalimil. Nestor states that the origin of all Slavs is on Balkans, from where they were pushed away by Roman armies (?). Here is the whole passage:

Over a long period the Slavs settled beside the Danube, where the Hungarian and Bulgarian lands now lie.  From among these Slavs, parties scattered throughout the country and were known by appropriate names, according to the places where they settled. Thus some came and settled by the river Morava, and were named Moravians, while others were called Czechs.  Among these same Slavs are included the White Croats, the Serbs and the Carinthians.  For when the Vlakhs (*Romans) attacked the Danubian Slavs, settled among them and did them violence, the latter came and made their homes by the Vistula, and were then called Lyakhs.  Of these same Lyakhs some were called Polyanians, some Lutichians, some Mazovians, and still others Pomorians.  Certain Slavs settled also on the Dnieper, and were likewise called Polyanians.  Still others were named Derevlians, because they lived in the forests.  Some also lived between the ‘Pripet’ and the Dvina, and were known as Dregovichians. Other tribes resided along the Dvina and were called the Polotians on account of a small stream called the Polota, which flows into the Dvina.  It was from this same stream that they were named the Polotians.  The Slavs also dwelt about Lake Il’men, and were known there by their characteristic name.  They built a city which they called Novgorod.  Still others had their homes along the Desna, the Sem’ and the Sula, and were called Severians.  Thus the Slavic race was divided, and its language was known as Slavic.”

So there you go, I am not bringing any claims here, but I think that it is really interesting and important to know that in middle ages it was a wide-spread belief that Slavs originated from Balkans and that Serbs were one of their oldest tribes.

Tobias Verhaecht - The towe of Babel

Tobias Verhaecht – The tower of Babel

Sources:

Full text of “Chronicle of Dalimil” (unfortunately only in Czech) http://web.archive.org/web/20070804091914/http://people.fsv.cvut.cz/~gagan/jag/litera/dalimil.htm

Wikipedia links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronicle_of_Dalimil

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primary_Chronicle

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1 COMMENT

  1. Reblogged this on kishad and commented:
    “Mezi jinými Srbové, (Amongst other Serbs,)
    тu kdežto bydlí Rekové, (where Greeks dwell,)
    podle more se usadili, (near the sea settled,)
    až do Ríma se rozminožili.” (and to Rome they spread.)

    Chronicle of Dalimil (Chapter 1, lines 29-32)

  2. Cool story! I also want to inform you all to the term slav and slavic. In slavic language this word means glory or Glorious. So slavic people means Glorious people! In the ancient past they have accomplished some achievements, what they are we can speculate but what I know is that the word slav is not a name for a ethnic group. At the same time the word Celt means also Glory or Glorious in Celtic language. So what I want to say Slavs were spread from central Asia to France and West Europe and Celts where spread from West Europe all the way to eastern Europe and Turkey. Also in Babylon more then 70 languages were spoken and the Babylonian tower is history’s largest tower. The smallest claim is a little smaller then the eiffel tower in Paris. What you also need to know about Serbs is their alternative name: Rassians or rasi. In present day we have a country Russia they call themselves Rassia. The etruscans who came from Asia called themselves Rassena (a/e/i/o/u) can change so it’s just the same as rasseni. Also thrace is called in Serbian stara raska (old rassia) the thrachians (t)rachians –> (t)rassians. And we need not to forget that there are sorbs in eastern Germany who call themselves Serbi. Present day Austria/Hungary and Romania where in the middle ages for the majority slavic. One last thing about Serb or sarbi it means in sanskrit enlightened the word Sri but if you turn around the word sar you get the word ras the alternative name for Serbs. The word ras (Egyptian sun God was called Ra) have just the same meaning! And if we look then from India all the way to Scandinavia there are alot place names with sar and ras.

    Ps Etruscans or rasi played a major role in the beginning of the roman empire also in the Italian peninsula there were people called sabaens or sabini, why is the letter R removed? I believe by the Catholic Church. Even if you say those tribes you automaticly will include the letter R it doesn’t sound right without it. Also another thing there is the province Lika in Croatia where Serbs and Croatians lived and in Turkey Licia, the place names in both province where the same in the past that’s what I read somewhere but sound logical if Serbs came from Babylon And also lived in Licia turkey then moved to the balkans and founded Lika

  3. Sar = Sardegna Sardinia where the they speak about the Shardana from Greece. The same Shardana from Greece did give the name (Serbonian Bog) lake in Egypt. The Egyptian script is also same like the danube script. Close to there is a place called Srb’ium in Egypt. The old Egyptians had the same shoes like the Balkans the (Opanke, Opinki)… But be carefull, you will get attacked from all sides if you talk about the true Serbian history because they declared Serbians as radical people. And also what they say is that the books from the middle ages are not true. Today we have new results which is in my opinion forgery history. You cannot just say that old books and chronicles are not true… I think we shouldn’t make hypothetically new history and we should respect the old books.

  4. I didn’t know that anybody outside of Serbia respects articles like this. As you all know they are forging our history because they don’t respect anything and nothing is sacred to them. Sadly most of Serbia doesn’t know anything about are ancient history. In our schools there is nothing about that in history classes and when someone tries to talk on that subject,they make a fool out of him. There are toponyms from mid Asia to west Europe that are directly connected with our language and almost everything that starts with SRB got that name from Serbian people. Linguistics has aproved that.

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