Is It Possible to Establish the Ethnic (Tribal) Character of the Greater Poland
of the Early Piast State? Cover Image

Czy możemy ustalić etniczny (plemienny) charakter wielkopolskiego centrum wczesnego państwa piastowskiego?
Is It Possible to Establish the Ethnic (Tribal) Character of the Greater Poland of the Early Piast State?

Author(s): László Tapolcai
Subject(s): History, Middle Ages
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego

Summary/Abstract: The question contained in the title of the article regards the names of three ethnic (tribal) groups found in the literature on the subject which has to do with the pre-state structures of what would later come to be known as the Greater Poland. The names are: the Zeriuani, the Lendians, and the Polans. The first two names are found in sources dating back to the 9th—10th century, while the last name appears for the first time around the year 1000, during the reign of Bolesław I, i.e. after the formation of the Polish state. In the following article, the author argues that previous assertions of Polish historians regarding the Zeriuani have been wrong, since they assumed that the name is toponomastic, that is related to the place of dwelling of the community called by this name. According to the author of the article, the name Zeriuani, which constitutes the only regnum in the writings of the Bavarian Geographer, contains information regarding a myth of the common origins and the subsequent separation of the Slavic community, and thus does not denote a tribal name. Regarding the Lendians, the error constitutes in locating them exclusively in the eastern territories of what would later come to be Poland, since the name can be related to the entire middle territory of Poland, from Odra to the eastern territories, described by the scholars in the last few decades. Thus, the only ethnic name that could exist in the 9th—10th century in the territory of the future Greater Poland was, in fact, the Lendians. On the basis of the available sources, it could be asserted that the Polans, as a tribe, never existed under that name, since it encompassed all subjects of Bolesław I around the year 1000, and thus had no connection with the pre-state tribal structures of the Greater Poland.

  • Issue Year: 2017
  • Issue No: 13
  • Page Range: 11-29
  • Page Count: 19
  • Language: Polish