Slavic Ethnopolities: A few Remarks on the «Tribal Question» as Answer to the Questionnaire of «Studia Slavica et Balcanica Petropolitana» Cover Image

SLAVIC ETHNOPOLITIES: A FEW REMARKS ON THE «TRIBAL QUESTION» AS ANSWER TO THE QUESTIONNAIRE OF «STUDIA SLAVICA ET BALCANICA PETROPOLITANA»
Slavic Ethnopolities: A few Remarks on the «Tribal Question» as Answer to the Questionnaire of «Studia Slavica et Balcanica Petropolitana»

Author(s): Krzysztof Fokt
Subject(s): History, Cultural history, Ethnohistory, Middle Ages
Published by: Издательство Исторического факультета СПбГУ
Keywords: Slavs; Western Slavdom; ethnic identity; political structures; tribe

Summary/Abstract: The texts attempts to answer the questions raised by the Editors of «Studia Slavica et Balcanica Petropolitana» in their questionnaire, focusing on the Western Slavdom. The main assumptions of the paper is that there is no definition of Slavic tribe that would correspond directly with the past reality. Due to the scarcity of sources we are condemned to use some conventionalized terms instead and that is how the term «tribe» functions for the Western Slavdom: as de facto synonym of the notions of «ethnos» or «people». Therefore, almost every social group which had some common name that could have been comprehended as an ethnonym — only apart from the huge dynastic polities which finally evolved into early states — may be called a «tribe» in the present Polish, Czech or German scholarship. In the paper, attempts were made also to divide the Western Slavdom into four distinctive zones representing various patterns of ethnopolitical structures: the «limes» zone (filled with gentes comparable to other gentile peoples of late Antiquity and early Middle Ages), the interior (dominated probably by some segmentary societies being not very active in warfare and trade and for a long time remaining «invisible» for the sources as ethnopolitical structures), the maritime area (early active in trade and warfare but not divided — as far as we know — into peoples/tribes) and the transition zone between the «limes» and interior areas (embracing both Lusatias and the left-bank Silesia).

  • Issue Year: 19/2016
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 32-37
  • Page Count: 6
  • Language: English