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The Land Between

A History of Slovenia

Edited By Oto Luthar

This is a history of a space – a space between the Panonian plain in the East and the most northernmost bay in the Adriatic in the West, from the eastern Alps in the North and the Dinaridic mountain area in the South. It is also a history of all the different people who lived in this area. The authors show that the Slavs did not settle an empty space and simply replace the Celto-Roman inhabitants of earlier times; they are, on the contrary, presented as the result of reciprocal acculturation. The authors show that the Slovenes made more than two important appearances throughout the entire feudal era; the same holds for later periods, especially for the twentieth century. This book offers a concise and complete history of an area that finally became an integral part of Central Europe and the Balkans.


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83 THE EARLY MIDDLE AGES THE SLAVIC SETTLEMENT AND ETHNOGENESIS The settlement of Slavic people – one cannot speak of Slovenes until well af- ter the Early Middle Ages – in the Eastern Alps and the basins of the eastern Alpine rivers culminated in the final decades of the 6th century, although the process had already started before and would only end at the beginning of the 9th century. The first Slavic thrust into the eastern Alpine region came from the north, from the area of the western Slavic language group. The first wave seems to have turned south in around 550, leaving present-day Mora- via and crossing the Danube between Traun to the west and Vienna to the east, encompassing first the territory of Upper and Lower Austria then gradu- ally spreading into the interior along the Alpine river valleys. A second wave of Slavic migration to the Eastern Alps from the southeast came somewhat later and was very closely linked to the Avars. This nomadic people from the steppes had taken control of the Pannonian plain after the Lombards moved into Italy in 568, and had then attacked the Byzantine state across the Danube and Sava rivers. In 582 they captured Sirmium, the former capital of Illyri- cum, and also started to move towards the northwest, accompanied by Slavs. The Slavic–Avar advance led to the collapse of ancient structures. It may be possible to trace the stages of the Slavic–Avar advance into the Eastern Alps through the synodal...

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