Officially, the etymologies of the ethnonyms Slav, Sloven, Serb and Croat are unknown. But what if I told you that I know what they mean and that they all mean the same?
Slav = Serb = Croat
There are only three, most basic linguistic laws, that you need to understand to follow this text:
- The change from the “S” to “H” sound, under the Persian influence. For example, number seven in Sanskrit is “
sapta“, in Avestan “ hapta“
- The change from “B” to “V”, under the Greek influence. Greeks do not have the “B” letter so Bizantion = Vizantion.
- And finally, rhotacism, where the sound “R” and “L” change places, typical for Romanian, Albanian, Portuguese and many other languages.
Now, as the original name of Croatia is “Hrvatska”, we can compare the roots of these
The meaning of the ethnonym Slav / Serb / Croat
Now that we have established an idea that all of the three words have the same root, we can determine what was the oldest one, and what does it mean. We will start by eliminating the youngest layers:
“H” in Hrvatska (Croatia) – Alanian influence?
“H” in Croatia is obviously younger than sound “S” in “Slav / Serb”, and it probably comes from the Persian influence. This influence should not surprise us, as Ptolemy positions a tribe of Alans on the territory of Croatia in the 2nd century AD. This interesting Aryan tribe could surely be the initiator of such sound change.
“V” in Hrvatska / Slovenia – Greek influence?
The ethnonym “Slav” appears for the first time in the Greek sources of the 6th century AD. The Greek language is specific for not having the sound “B”, so it is not hard to imagine that this change is a result of a Greek influence. Serbs were more isolated inland and simply kept the original sound “B”.
SRB or SLB, which one is oldest?
Now that we have defined the “S” as the oldest sound in the first position, and the “B” as the oldest sound in the third, we have only the second position left. So which one is it – “R” or “L”?
Between these two, the “L” is definitely older, as the shift from “L” to “R” probably came from the east with the Scythian tribes. Therefore we can reconstruct the root word as SLB. This also happens to be the root of the word SLOBODA – FREEDOM in South Slavic languages.
And this is where it gets even more interesting. The oldest, original sound was neither “L” or “R” but probably “W”. This is a very common change in linguistics. And this is why the northern Slavs still say “Swoboda” and not “Sloboda”.
The word “
It seems, therefore, that this connotation, “free people” was once the common designation of all Slavs.
Slavs in ancient Thracia
Sabazios was clearly a local deity of Thracian and Phrygian origin. He is also the main reason that Saturday is called Subota in all Slavic languages. The meaning is “a free day” – a day when you are not working.
This word is therefore clearly not related to the Jewish word “Sabbath”, as some authors have proposed. It is far more likely that the word for Sabbath came from the Balkan raiders known as the sea peoples, but that is another story.
Even though still unaccepted by the official history, the existence of Slavs in the Balkans in this ancient period should not really surprise us. We know that the authors like Pliny the Elder mention Serbs (Serrapili) and Croats (
Sabines – Slavs in ancient Slovenia / Italy
According to the Wiktionary, the name means “of one’s own,” from Proto-Indo-European *sebʰ-, *swebʰ- (“one’s own”)
The thing is that the name of the Sabines is the same as the name of the Thraco-Phrygian god Sabazios. Also, as we saw, this translation works perfectly in Slavic, while this “Indo-European” language exists only in the minds of modern scholars.
In truth, when it comes to ancient tribes, we do not know how the ancient borders looked like. But if we look at the modern map, we can see that Slovenia lies very close to the territory where the Sabines once were. Is it just a coincidence?
Suebi – Slavs masked as Germans
Wikipedia explains the name of Suebi comes from the Proto-Germanic root *swe – meaning “one’s own”. Cognates are Indo-European *swe, Sanskrit *swa, Latin *sui and Polish *swe, swoj.
If you read carefully this quote, you will see that the imagined “proto-Germanic” root is actually still alive in Slavic languages and that the best translation comes from Polish or Sanskrit. Therefore, there is no reason not to assume that the original word was Slavic and not Germanic.
Indeed, in Polish, this Slavic root SWB becomes SHWB – or Shvaba, as Slavs still call Germans. However, this designation was probably originally related to those Slavs who lived (and still live) on the Germanic territory, for example, the Lusatian Sorbs.
Franks – the free men
The word Frank means “free”. The first rulers of the Franks were the Merovingians. It was the Merovingians who named the country of France and ruled it for two centuries, before being overthrown by the Carolingians.
However, the Merovingians were quite different from the rest of the Frankish flock. They had long hair, while the Frankish fashion was to cut one’s hair short. Proud horsemen, they even went to the afterlife with their horses. They were buried in kurgans – a clear indication of the steppe culture.
And finally, some Russian scholars relate the name of their first ruler Merovech, to the word
As soon as Charlemagne came to power, he declared war on the Slavic tribes, and the border that divided the Franks and the Slavs was known as the Sorbian march. One of the first tribes to be attacked was the Lutici, a tribe that probably gave a name to the ancient Paris – Lutetia, before Charlemagne came to power.
Today, French is a language that belongs to the Latin family, but the underlying Slavic influence is evident. Compare for example the personal pronouns: Je – Ja (I), Tu – Ti (You), Vous – Vi (You, Pl)
In fact, the name of the Lutici tribe may be directly associated with the name for Latins. Amazingly, the etymology of such an important word as “Latin” (Latin
We just saw that the name of Lydia probably meant “ljudi – people”. However it is interesting to note that in their own language, the word for freedom may have been “briga”. This in turn could be related to their neighbors, the Phrygians, whose cap always represented precisely liberty. In recent times it was particularly popular in France but in antiquity, it was worn all over the Balkans, Greece and Asia. (Scythians)
Herodotus claimed that the origin of Phrygians is in Balkans.
Sweden – the country of the free
According to Wikipedia, the name of the Swedes (ancient Suiones) comes from PIE *swe, Latin *suus, meaning “one’s own”. The text further makes a parallel with the Germanic Suebi, of the same root and meaning.
In short, the ethnonym Swedes also means “free, one’s own”. And even though the root is “Proto-Indo-European”, the translation is obviously Slavic. This again should not surprise us, as we know that Swedes are located just above the Sorbian
It seems that we can conclude that there is a firm linguistical ground to connect the names of Serbs, Croats, Slovenes
Also, numerous tribes in the past had a designation “free men”. We have only briefly mentioned a few and the most important.
It seems that in virtually all cases the Slavic translation is the most appropriate one. It also seems that all of these ancient tribes lived on the borders of ancient or modern Slavic territory.
From free men to slaves
Slavic medieval chronicles tell us that Slavic tribal names came from the landscape in which they lived. For example, Poles were tribes of the fields, and Dervani, tribes of the forests.
Within these “landscape” named regions, the smaller territories took
And this is indeed what we see in all of the cases illustrated so far. The name “free men” appears only on the borders of the Slavic influence.
This ancient appellation “free men” probably meant to say that there was no single authority over the whole nation. This could also be an indication of a
And it is precisely this fact that eventually led to their assimilation and loss of territories. From Romans to Charlemagne and Germans, their enemies always used one and the same tactics that never failed to deliver results with hot-blooded Slavs.
In short, a few clans would be taken as allies and a few as enemies. The allies and the enemies would then do all the fighting between themselves. Sounds familiar? Today we see the same situation happening with Russia and Ukraine. In the nineties, it was happening all over ex-Yugoslavia.
In the past, the losers would be sold into slavery. This is how the word “
So in conclusion, it seems that Slavs were one of the most ancient tribes of Europe. “Native Americans of Europe” is how one Serbian author calls them. But sadly,
When will the Slavs, please wake up?