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Geographus Bavarus Descriptio civitatum et regionum ad septentrionalem plagam Danubii ante 850

(1) Isti sunt qui propinquiores resident finibus Danaorum, quos vocantNortabtrezi, ubi regio, in qua sunt civitates LIII per duces suos partite.
Uuilci, in qua civitates XCV et regiones IIII.
Linaaest populus, qui habet civitates VII.
(4-6) Prope illis resident, quos vocant
BethenicietSmeldingonetMorizani, qui habent civitates XI.
(7) Iuxta illos sunt, qui vocantur
Hehfeldi, qui habent civitates VIII.
(8) Iuxta illos est regio, que vocatur
Surbi, in qua regione plures sunt, que habent civitates L.
(9) Iuxta illos sunt quos vocant
Talaminzi, qui habent civitates XIII.
Beheimare, in qua sunt civitates XV.
Marhariihabent civitates XI.
Uulgariiregio est inmensa et populus multus habens civitates V, eo quod mutitudo magna ex eis sit et non sit eis opus civitates habere.
(13) Est populus quem vocant
Merehanos, ipsi habent civitates XXX.
Iste sunt regiones, que terminant in finibus nostris.

Isti sunt, qui iuxta istorum fines resident.
Osterabtrezi, in qua civitates plus quam C sunt.
(15) Miloxi, in qua civitates LXVII.
(16) Phesnuzi habent civitates LXX.
(17) Thadesi plus quam CC urbes habent.
Glopeani, in qua civitates CCCC aut eo amplius.
(19) Zuireani habent civitates CCCXXV.
Busanihabent civitates CCXXXI.
(21) Sittici regio inmensa populis et urbibus munitissimis.
(22) Stadici, in qua civitates DXVI populousque infinitus.
Sebbirozihabent civitates XC.
Unlizipopulus multus civitates CCCCXVIII.
(25) Neriuani habent civitates LXXVIII.
(26) Attorozi habent civitates CXLVIII, populus ferocissimus.
(27) Eptaradici habent civitates CCLXIII.
(28) Uuilerozi habent civitates CLXXX.
(29) Zabrozi habent civitates CCXII.
(30) Znetalici habent civitates LXXIIII.
(31) Aturezani habent civitates CIIII.
Chozirozihabent civitates CCL.
Lendizihabent civitates XCVIII.
(34) Thafnezi habent civitates CCLVII.
(35) Zeriuani, quod tantum est regnum, ut ex eo cuncte genetes Sclauorum exorte sint et originem, sicut affirmant, ducant.
Prissanicivitates LXX.
Uelunzanicivitates LXX.
Bruziplus est undique quam de Enisa ad Rhenum
(39) Uuizunbeire
Caziricivitates C.
(42) Forsderen.
(43) Liudi.
(44) Fresiti.
(45) Serauici.
(46) Lucolane.
Sleenzanecivitates XV.
Lunsizicivitates XXX.
Dadosesanicivitates XX.
Milzanecivitates XXX.
Besunzanecivitates II.
(54) Uerizane civitates X.
Fraganeocivitates XL.
Lupiglaacivitates XXX.
Opolinicivitates XX.
Golensizicivitates V.

The Bavarian Geographer and the Cities of theEast Posted onJULY 6, 2021CategoriesSource Translation

Bavarian Geographer,Description of Cities and Lands on the North Bank of the Danube, ed. E. Herrmann,Slawisch-germanische Beziehungen im sdostdeutschen Raum(Munich: 1965), pp. 220-1.

[Part 1]

(1) Those who live closest to the borders of the Danes are called North Abodrites (Nortabtrezi), which is a land where there are 53 cities divided between their leaders. (2) The Wilzi (Uuilzi) have 95 cities and four lands. (3) The Linones (Linaa) are a people who have 7 cities; near them dwell those calledBethenici, andSmeldingon, andMorizani, who have 11 cities. (4) Next to them are those called Hevelli (Hehfeldi) who have 8 cities. (5) Next to them is the land calledSurbi. In this country there are many smaller countries that have 50 cities. (6) Next to them are those calledTalaminzi, who have 14 cities. (7) The Bohemians (Becheimare) have 15 cities. (8) TheMarhariihave 11 cities. (9) The country of the Bulgars (Uulgarii) is immeasurably large and has 5 cities, because for the vast majority of them it is not the custom to have cities. (10) There is a people called Moravians (Merehani) who have 30 cities.

These are the countries that are adjacent to our borders.

[Part 2]

These are those who settle next to their borders.

(11) The East Abodrites (Osterabtrezi), where there are more than 100 cities. (12) TheMiloxi, where there are 67 cities. (13) ThePhesnuzihave 70 cities. (14) TheThadesihave more than 200 cities. (15) TheGlopeani, where there are 400 or more cities. (16) TheZuireanihave 325 castles. (17) TheBusanihave 231 castles. (18) TheSitticihave a land that is immeasurable in people and fortified cities (urbibus). (19) TheStadici, which have 516 cities and an immense people. (20) TheSebbirozihave 90 cities. (21) TheUnlizihave a numerous people and 318 cities. (22) TheNerivanihave 78 cities. (23) TheAttorozihave 148 cities and are the wildest people. (24) TheEptaradicihave 273 cities. (25) TheUuillerozihave 180 cities. (26) TheZabrozihave 212 cities. (27) TheZnetalicihave 73 cities. (28) TheAturezanihave 104 cities. (29) TheChozirozihave 250 cities. (30) TheLendizihave 98 cities. (31) TheThafnezihave 257 cities. (32) TheZerivaniis such a great kingdom that all the peoples of the Slavs arose and derive their origin from it, as they affirm. (32) ThePrissani[possibly Prussians] have 70 cities. (33) TheUuelunzanihave 79 cities. (34) TheBruzi[also possibly Prussians] [whose territory is] bigger on each side [than the distance] from the Enns to the Rhine. (35) TheUuizunbeire. (36) The Khazars (Caziri) have 100 cities. (37) The Rus (Ruzzi). (38) TheForsderen. (39) TheLiudi. (40) TheFresiti. (41) TheSeravici. (42) TheLucolane. (43) The Hungarians (Ungare). (44) The Vistulans (Uuislane). (45) TheSleenzanehave 15 cities. (46) The Lusatians (Lunsici) have 30 cities. (47) TheDadosesanihave 20 cities. (48) TheMilzanehave 30 cities. (49) TheBesunzanehave 2 cities. (50) TheUuerizanehave 10 cities. (51) TheFraganeohave 40 cities. (52) TheLupiglaahave 30 cities. (53) TheOpolinihave 20 cities. (54) TheGolensizihave 5 cities.

This catalogue of cities and lands compiled by an anonymous figure known as the Bavarian Geographer is at first glance a pretty dull text. If the names it lists are recognisable, it is only by squinting, and most are entirely unknown (the identifications I have offered are informed guesses and ought to be treated with caution). The information it provides is decidedly thin, limited to the counting of cities in a manner that is simultaneously both worryingly precise and worryingly round; and to offering a vague sense of geographical interrelation, spiced only with the occasional detail. That such meagre gruel has been seized upon so eagerly by scholars from Germany to Russia is a testament to how poor the source base otherwise is for the lands east of the Carolingian empire. Even as archaeology is giving us ever greater insights into this part of the past, any opportunity to attach names to the places we discover is seized upon. For modern people in central and eastern Europe desperate to find a history for themselves, the mysterious labels have been decoded in numerous ways since the eighteenth century.

The primary interest of this list for me is as a Carolingian text. It is preserved in a single manuscript,Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Clm560 f. 149v–150r. It was compiled in Bavaria, probably in Reichenau Abbey, possibly linked to the Bavarian court at Regensburg. For all that it is presented as looking north across the Danube, it reads as a catalogue gazing east, with its first part starting with the peoples closest to the Frankish world and then moving farther east. Its dating is uncertain, although almost certainly ninth century, probably between the 830s and the 890s. Given this background, theDescriptiois inevitably as interesting for what it says about Frankish views of the east as it does about those people themselves.

Interested as I am in early medieval foreign relations, I find this text fascinating as evidence for how the Franks thought about external peoples, with some of whom they had very intensive dealings (sometimes of the peaceful type, sometimes of the sack your cities and murder every single member of your family type). The reference to spoken information suggests that at least some of the information came from talking to members of these people. As a practical basis for war and peace it is clearly lacking, despite the little snippets of ethnographic and cultural detail. At a glance it resembles Roman geographies such as theNotitia Dignitatum. But if it is an encyclopaedia and taxonomy, designed to showcase Carolingian mastery of geography and inheritance of Roman learning, it contains an alarming number of gaps and admissions of ignorance. The overwhelming impression is of a vast multitude of peoples, some of whom are very mighty indeed.

imageOne of the churches at Mikulčice(source) TheDescriptioalso appeals to me as someone interested in ideas about the city. The Bavarian Geographer counts thecivitatesof different peoples (or in the case of theSittici,urbes). I have chosen to translate this word as ‘cities’, although other scholars render this as ‘fortresses’. I believe that city is the more natural reading and that doing so allows us to see through our own assumptions of what central and eastern Europe was like in the period. Viewing all of these places as fortresses implies a world of small-scale settlements organised entirely for war in an unstable world, which may not match reality. The area was not heavily urbanised in our sense of the word, although archaeological digs at places such as Mikulčice, Star Město at Uherskě Hradište and Pohansko at Břeclav in the Czech Republic are revealing sites that compare well to the cities of the Carolingian world. Fortified cities were an important part of Frankish warfare in the east, and the listing of cities may be designed to convey some sense of how hard a people would be to conquer. But the wordcivitasdid not just mean an urban settlement. In ancient and early medieval Latin, it meant something more like community of people bound together by shared law and custom (see for example, Isidore’sEtymologies15.2.1, which says that, ‘acivitasis a multitude of people united by a bond of community, named for its citizens (civis)…nowurbsis the name for the actual buildings, whilecivitasis not the stones but the inhabitants’; a formulation later used by Hrabanus Maurus, with similar sentiments expressed by Frechulf of Lisieux and Ratramnus of Corbie.) By using the word city, the Bavarian Geographer may have been describing not armed anarchy, but a world of peoples with recognisable laws and societies. The Franks were not averse to describing their own territories as assemblages ofcivitates, particularly for the purpose of constructing itineraries, or dividing them up between warring Carolingians. In writing about cities therefore, the Bavarian Geographer may have sought to make the peoples he described resemble those of his own lands.

"Bavarian Geographer" (Latin:Geographus Bavarus) is the conventional name for theanonymousauthor of a short Latinmedievaltext containing a list of the tribes inCentral-EasternEurope, headedDescriptio civitatum et regionum ad septentrionalem plagam Danubii(Latinfor "Description of cities and lands north of theDanube").

The name "Bavarian Geographer" was first bestowed (in its French form, "Gographe de Bavire") in 1796 by Polish count and scholarJan Potocki.[1]The term is now also used at times to refer to the document itself.

It was the first Latin source to claim that all Slavs have originated from the same homeland, called theZeriuani

The short document, written inLatin, was discovered in 1772 in theBavarian State Library,MunichbyLouis XV"s ambassador to the Saxon court, ComteLouis-Gabriel Du Buat-Nanay

The document has a short introductory sentence and a list of 58 tribal names inCentral-EasternEurope, East of theElbeand North of theDanubeto theVolgariver to theBlack SeaandCaspian Sea(most of them ofSlavonicorigin, withRuzzi, and others such asVulgarii, etc.).[5]Absent on the list arePolans,PomeraniansandMasovians, tribes first of whom are believed to have settled along the shores of theWartariver during the 8th century,[11]as wellDulebes,VolhyniansandWhite Croats, but instead mentioning several unknown tribes hard to identify.[12]There is also some information about the number of strongholds (Latin:civitates) possessed by some of the tribes, however the number in several instances seems exaggerated.[5][9]The list consists of two parts, first describing the tribes in the Eastern neighborhood ofFrancia(iste sunt regiones ... nostris), while the second or near or outside the zone of the first going in different directions. The tribes can be geographically grouped into Danubian, Silesian-Lusatian, Baltic, and Eastern Vistulan-Caspian.[5][9]

According toŁowmiański(1958), in the first list are mentioned 1.Nortabtrezi(Obotrites), 2.Uuilci(Veleti), 3.Linaa(Linones), 4.-6.Bethenici-Smeldingon(Smeldingi)-Morizani, 7.Hehfeldi(Hevelli), 8.Surbi(Sorbs/Serbs), 9.Talaminzi(Daleminzi-Glomacze), 10.BeheimareBohemians, 11.Marharii(Moravians), 12.Uulgarii(Bulgars), 13.Merehanos(NitraMoravians).[9]

In the second list are mentioned 14.Osterabtrezi(other Obotrites), 15.Miloxi(uncertain), 16.Phesnuzi(unknown), 17.Thadesi(uncertain,Tadeslo), 18.Glopeani(Goplans), 19.Zuireani(uncertain), 20.BusaniBuzhans, 21.Sittici(uncertain), 22.Stadici(uncertain), 23.Sebbirozi(uncertain), 24.Unlizi(Ulichs), 25.Neriuani(uncertain), 26.Attorozi(uncertain), 27.Eptaradici(uncertain,Seven Slavic tribes), 28.Uuilerozi(uncertain), 29.Zabrozi(uncertain), 30.Znetalici(Netoliceand Neletici), 31.Aturezani(unknown), 32.Chozirozi(uncertain), 33.Lendizi(Lendians), 34.Thafnezi(unknown), 35.Zeriuani(uncertain), 36.Prissani, 37.Uelunzani(Wolinians), 38.Bruzi(Prussians), 39.Uuizunbeire(Volga Bulgaria), 40.CaziriKhazars), 41.Ruzzi(Rus" people), 42.-43.Forsderen-Liudi(uncertain,Drevlians), 44.Fresiti(unknown), 45.Serauici(unknown), 46.Lucolane(uncertain), 47.Ungare(Hungarians), 48.Uuislane(Vistulans), 49.Sleenzane(Silesians), 50.Lunsizi(Lusatians, 51.Dadosesani(Dziadoszanie), 52.Milzane (Milceni), 53.Besunzane(Bežunčani orPšovans), 54.Uerizane(unknown), 55.Fraganeo(Prague), 56.Lupiglaa(uncertain), 57.Opolini(Opolans), 58.Golensizi.[9]



(.Descriptio civitatum et regionum ad septentrionalem plagam Danubii )— , , IX .

1722 (),

(1) , , Nortabtrezi.
(2) Vuilci.
(3) Linaa.
(4-6) , Bethenici, Smeldingon, Morizani.
(7) , Hehfeldi.
(8) , Surbi.
(9) — , Talaminzi.
(10) Betheimare.
(11) Marharii.
(12) Vulgarii.
(13) Merehanos. , ().

, .
(14) Osterabtrezi.
(15) Miloxi.
(16) Phesnuzi.
(17) Thadesi.
(18) Glopeani.
(19) Zuireani.
(20) Busani.
(21) Sittici.
(22) Stadici.
(23) Sebbirozi.
(24) Vnlizi.
(25) Neriuani.
(26) Attorozi.
(27) Eptaradici.
(28) Vuillerozi.
(29) Zabrozi.
(30) Znetalici.
(31) Aturezani.
(32) Chozirozi.
(33) Lendizi.
(34) Thafnezi.
(35) Zeriuani, , , .
(36) Prissani.
(37) Velunzani.
(38) Bruzi.
(39) Vuizunbeire.
(40) Caziri.
(41) Ruzzi.
(42) Forsderen.
(43) Liudi.
(44) Fresiti.
(45) Serauici.
(46) Lucolane.
(47) Vngare.
(48) Vuislane.
(49) Sleenzane.
(50) Lunsizi.
(51) Dadosesani.
(52) Milzane.
(53) Besunzane.
(54) Verizane.
(55) Fraganeo.
(56) Lupiglaa.
(57) Opolini.
(58) Golensizi.


, .

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