Moravia’s history reconsidered. A reinterpretation of medieval sources

Imre Boba





a. A brief outline of the history of Moravia  3

b. Premises of Moravian history  6

c. The diocese of Saint Methodius  11

d. Moravia part of Slavonia  14

e. Slavonic liturgy in Croatia and Dalmatia  18



a. Marava, Maravenses and Moravia  21

b. Slavonia  27



a. Testimony of Western Chronicles and Annals  31

b. Testimony of Byzantine sources  76



a. Testimony of Ecclesiastic sources  86

b. The so-called “Forgeries of Lorch”  97



a. Tradition and evidence south of the Drava  104

b. Tradition and evidence north of the Danube  118



a. Evidence derived from archeology  141

b. Philological evidence  146

        - The Kievan Leaflets and related Glagolitic texts  144
        - The "Zakon sudnyi liudem” 
        - The monastery of Sàzava 
        - “Hospodine pomiluj ny." 








This study represents the unexpected outcome of an enquiry into the resources for the study of the medieval history of East Central Europe. While reading sources for a planned survey of medieval Poland. Bohemia, Hungary, and Croatia, it became apparent to me that many current presentations of the history of Bohemia and Moravia were not based on viable evidence. Sources pertaining to the lives of Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius, as well as those for the study of Moravia, had been subjected to unwarranted interpretations or emendations, other sources of significance had been entirely omitted from consideration, and finally, crucial formulations concerning Cyril and Methodius and Moravian history had been made in recent historiography without any basis in sources. Hence this study: an exercise in confronting the axioms of modern historiography, philology and archaeology with the testimony of sources.


My study is more of an introduction to the problems of Moravia’s history than a set of final definitions and solutions. It will lead, necessarily, to a series of enquiries into the early history of several nations of East Central Europe, of the Church history of that region, and of various disciplines connected with the study of the Cyrillo-Methodian legacy.


Several drafts of this study were presented to the Russian and East European Faculty Seminar of the University of Washington. I am very much indebted to the members of that seminar for their cooperation in shaping the final version of this study, but, above all, for their constant encouragement to publish it.


I wish to add that the necessary visits to archives, libraries, archaeological sites, museums, and congresses were made possible by the generous grants of the Russian and East European Faculty Seminar and the Graduate School of the University of Washington.


University of Washington

Spring 1970






a. A brief outline of the history of Moravia 3

b. Premises of Moravian history 6

c. The diocese of Saint Methodius 11

d. Moravia part of Slavonia 14

e. Slavonic liturgy in Croatia and Dalmatia 18



Moravia, a principality of East Central Europe in the ninth century, in spite of the rather short duration of its existence (822 - c. 900), has assured itself a prominent place in past and present historiography. [1] This is partly due to its spectacular political history under the princes Rastislav (846-70) and Sventopolk (871 - 94). The main reason, however, is the tremendous importance of its cultural legacy, connected with the activities in Moravia of the two saintly brothers, Constantine (later known as Cyril) and Methodius, both of whom have been credited with laying the foundations of most of the Slavic literary languages.


All scholars hitherto have agreed that the principality of Moravia, whatever its precise boundaries, was centered along the northern Morava River, a northern tributary of the Danube, in the central part of present day Czechoslovakia. However, some have disputed whether all elements of the cultural heritage credited to Cyril and Methodius should be attributed to a West Slavic milieu or whether one should consider some other Slavic region where the two brothers might have been active before reaching Moravia north of the Danube. [2]



1. This study is based primarily on the interpretation of written sources. References to modern authorities are made only exceptionally, either to indicate a more complete discussion of an issue presented briefly in the text or to substantiate topics which are not based on written sources, e.g. archaeology and philology. In most cases, sources cited or referred to will be identified in the text by author or title and by date. Complete references to editions used may be derived from the Bibliography at the end of this study. Notes will be used mainly for additional or more complete quotations from sources, as well as for references to basic monographs. More recent monographs consulted are also listed in the Bibliography. Most of the names, places, sources and problems mentioned in this study may be found with a selective bibliography in the Słownik Starozytnoici Słowiayńskich (Dictionary of Slavic Antiquities), Wroclaw-Warsaw-Cracow, 1961-.


2. For a more recent summary of issues see the contributions of E. Georgiev and A. Dostal in Das Grossmährische Reich (Prague, 1966), 394-99 and 417-19. On the controversy concerning the use of Byzantine law in Moravia, see V. Ganev, Zakon Sudnyi Liudem (Sofia, 1959), and V. Procházka, “Deset poznámek ke Ganevovu výkladu krátké redakce Z.S.L.” in Právněhistorické Studie, 9 (1963), 302-17. An illustration of the linguistic dispute is presented in George Y. Shevelov’s article on the problem of Moravian components in Old Church Slavonic in The Slavonic and East European Review, 35 (1957), 379-98.





The “West Slavic” and “South Slavic” (Bulgarian) elements in Moravia’s history were noticed already by V. N. Tatishchev over two hundred years ago, but the problems surrounding the controversy are still far from being solved.


A confrontation of current studies on Moravia’s history with the available sources reveals that a solution of the “Moravian-Bulgarian” controversy is hardly possible, because the study of the geography of Moravia itself has been based on assumptions rather than on historical evidence. The assumed connection between the northern Morava River and the principality of Moravia has never been proved. A scrutiny of the sources originating from the ninth century discloses that none of the places and events of significance for defining the location of Moravia are to be found north of the Danube. The same sources unequivocally attest that the jurisdictional territory of Archbishop Methodius was in Pannonia and could not cover areas north of the Danube. In view of the inseparable unity of ecclesiastical and secular aspects of medieval principalities, the realm of Rastislav and of Sventopolk had to coincide with the church province administered by Methodius, hence the principality of Moravia had to be also south of the Danube, in Pannonia.


Upon closer reading of the same sources it becomes evident that what scholars consider to be a nation-state called Moravia, inhabited by Moravians, was in fact a patrimonial principality around a city named Marava, inhabited by Sclavi, Slavi (Slaviene in Church-Slavonic). The inhabitants of that city were known as Sclavi Marahenses. A city of Marava/Maraha is indeed well attested in medieval sources. This Marava can be easily identified with the Sirmium of antiquity, Sremska Mitrovica of modem times. Saint Methodius is named in all sources bishop or archbishop of Marava and not of Moravia, as interpreted by modern historians. His title is consistent with the canonical principle whereby bishops are assigned to prominent cities and not to countries. The same practice prevails today. Similarly, principalities are normally defined by their main burg or urban center.


These basic revisions necessitate a scrutiny of the current interpretations of the history of the realm of Rastislav and later of Sventopolk as well as of the role of Cyril and Methodius in the ecclesiastical and cultural life of the Slavs.





This history of “Moravia,” as reconstructed in its main outlines in the nineteenth century, appears to be founded on premises that will not endure the test imposed by modern standards of historical criticism. A detailed analysis of sources leaves no option but to conclude that what has been assumed to be Moravia north of the Danube was in reality the principality of Moravia located in Pannonia. This principality was not an independent political formation, but part of a larger patrimonial realm, extending toward the Adratic, called Sclavonia.


What follows in this chapter is a summary of the proposed revisions of current premises on which Moravia’s history has been based. The subsequent chapters bear the burden of evidence. [3]



a. A brief outline of the history of Moravia


During the ninth century a realm of the Slavonians (terra Sclavorum, Sclavinia etc.) came into existence that extended from the Dalmatian coast northward toward the Drava-Danube (occasionally beyond that line) and eastward toward Belgrade and Niš. A part of this realm was the principality of Morava, located in Pannonia inferior, between the Danube and the Sava rivers. The Slavonian rule emerged in this area after the fall of the Avar khaganate.


The khaganate, initially under Altaic leadership, had been composed of Altaic, Slavic, Germanic, Vlach or "Roman," and possibly some Iranian elements. The defeats inflicted by Charlemagne upon the Avars in 791-803 only prompted the process of emancipation of the various, more homogeneous groups of the federation and the absorption of the Altaic minority by the Slavic majority. As a result of Charlemagne’s invasions, only the Avars subordinated themselves as a khaganate to the Franks without much resistance. But as is normally the case with nomadic state formations, the loss of independence was followed by a quick process of disintegration. It was about this time that some new Slavic groups infiltrated the Avar-controlled territory from the west and from the south. [4] The central authority of the khaganate eventually lost control over predominantly Slavic regions and it was actually the Franks who had to pacify the feuding Avar and Slav princes.



3. Since this chapter presents a summary of proposed reinterpretations only, the bulk of the additional documentation will be found in notes to chapters II-VI.

4. For the infiltration from the west cf. Conversio Bagoariorum el Carantanorum; from the south, De Administrando Imperio, cap. 3075-78.





After the victories of Charlemagne, the Franks had to face on their eastern frontiers, not a buffer state of the pacified Avars, but a chain of Slavic (or more precisely “Slavonian”) principalities that refused to comply with the stipulations of the Avar submission. It was several years before the Franks defeated Liudevit, prince of the “Sclavi orientales” in Pannonia inferior. [5] This Frankish victory over Liudevit in 822 was followed by homage in Frankfurt of “all the eastern Slavs.” among whom the Marvani are mentioned for the first time in the annals of history. The analysis of sources shows that the Marvani or, as modern historiography prefers, the Moravians, controlled the easternmost part of Pannonia inferior around the city of Marava, the Sirmium of antiquity. One might begin a survey of Moravia’s history with the year 822, but there are strong indications that the political formation that was represented in Frankfurt in 822 and was identified as “Marvani” was already part of the federation of Liudevit, the “dux Pannoniae inferioris,” before that date.


The principality of Morava was located in the economically and strategically important center of the former Avar khaganate. The area was already prominent in Roman history, for Sirmium was the metropolis not only of Pannonia, but also of Illyricum. Situated as it was on the border between the eastern and western parts of the Roman Empire, it had a precarious existence and was finally evacuated in 582 because of repeated barbarian invasions. Due to unsettled political conditions and personal rivalries, ecclesiastic jurisdiction over Illyricum was claimed henceforth both by the Patriarch of Constantinople and by the Bishop (or Patriarch) of Rome.


This controversy between the two patriarchates over Illyricum, of which Panonia was a part, became more complex with the dissolution of the Avar federation. After 800, Frankish political control extended into Dalmatia, Pannonia, and briefly into parts of Moesia toward the rivers Timok and Morava (south of the Danube). While the Byzantine emperors claimed Illyricum de jure, the Frankish kings, as Roman emperors, controlled parts of it de facto. With the Frankish control the territory of Pannonia and of some other parts of Illyricum was taken under the ecclesiastical administration of the Frankish proprietary church organization. Thus, the principality of Morava found itself involved in a variety of simultaneous conflicts of a political and ecclesiastical nature.



5. Sources relevant to the study of Liudevit and of the Sclavi Orientales are assembled in Gradivo sa zgodovino Slovencev, ed. Franc Kos, vol. 2 (Ljubljana, 1906).





It is of paramount importance to note that none of these conflicts could have involved territories north of the middle Danube, territories that could not have been claimed on any legal or historical grounds by any of the partners, as was the case.


The whole history of the principality of Morava and of other principalities of Sclavonia reflects the efforts of their princes to gain maximum independence within the hierarchy of the Christian society by utilizing to their advantage the existing conflicts among the three claimants for supremacy in that society. The invitation of a Byzantine mission by Rastislav of Morava and some other princes of Sclavonia in 863 and the subsequent arrival of Constantine in Morava were in clear defiance of established Frankish authority. Rastislav failed to stabilize his pro-Byzantine policy mainly because of the dissension of his own nephew, Sventopolk. With the help of the Franks, Sventopolk assumed power in Morava in 870-71, but soon turned against his patrons and reoriented his policy toward Rome. The papal appointment of Methodius to the see of Morava assured Sventopolk of a large degree of political autonomy. His realm was ecclesiastically subordinated only to Rome and thus there were no links that would have tied him or his principality to the Franks, except loyalty to the person of the emperor in the West. Sometime between 880-885, Sventopolk became king of all of Sclavonia, which now became also politically subordinated to the papacy.


The elevation of Sventopolk to kingship resulted from the political aspirations of both the papacy and Sventopolk. The coronation occurred at a time when there was no emperor in the West and the pope could act without consulting the secular head of the empire. But the Franks would not relinquish their claims to the Sclavonian principalities now controlled by King Sventopolk, and in a series of invasions, with the help of the Hungarians, they physically destroyed the core of the kingdom, the principality of Morava.


Although the principality of Morava was eventually occupied by the Hungarians, other parts of Sclavonia continued in existence. The leadership of Morava fled to neighboring principalities. Around the year 950, some fifty years after the final occupation of the territory between the Danube and the Sava by the Hungarians, Constantine Porphyrogenitus still corresponded with some Archons of Morava, who resided somewhere south of the Sava. [6]



6. Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De cerimoniis aulae Byzantinae I, 666 (cf., Vizantiski isvori, vol. 2, p. 78).





b. Premises of Moravian history and Moravia’s location


As indicated above, some of the premises on which the current reconstructions of Moravia’s history are based do not find confirmation in sources. In their presentations of Moravia’s history, authorities have consistenly construed the meaning of the sources as indicating the existence of a state known as ‘Moravia" and inhabited by ‘Moravians," although there is no source from the ninth century that refers to such a state or such a people. Contemporary Latin sources do not know the form "Moravia” for a principality, but always and consistently speak about terra Sclavorum, regnum Maraensium, or terra Maravorum, while Slavonic sources refer to Moravskaia zemlia or Moravskaia oblast. Authorities also usually extract from the sources a list of names allegedly denoting the inhabitants of Moravia. The forms listed include: Marhani, Maravi, Margi, Marahenses, Moravlene, gens Maraensium. [7] This set of names, however, represents only truncated parts of the forms available in the sources. For the people of the principality of Moravia the sources consistently use the forms Sclavi, Vinidi, Sclavi Marahenses, Sclavi Margenses, Sclavi qui Maravi dicuntur. In Church Slavonic sources the common form used for the inhabitants of the principality is Sloviene.


For those versed in Latin and familiar with medieval sources, the forms Margenses, Marahenses, and especially the forms Sclavi Margenses, Sclavi Marahenses, signify people of the city Margus/Maraha or Sclavi belonging to the city of Margus/Maraha. This city appears to be the center of a dominial territory as indicated by the forms regnum Maraensium and Moravskaia oblast, etc. These forms are consistent with the usual medieval practice of defining the dominial territory of a prince by the burg or urban center from which the potestas (regnum, oblast) emanated.


The terms Moravskaia oblast, Moravskaia zemlia are of the same type as the terms Novgorodskaia oblast, Riazanskaia zemlia, Ziemia Krakowska. In the Church-Slavonic sources pertinent for the study of Moravia’s history, there are also ethnopolitical terms of the type Niemtsy, Greki, Vlakhy, Shvaby, denoting both an ethnic group and its territory. For what we call "Moravians," the term used in the sources is Sloviene and



7. Lubor Niederle in his Rukovět slovanských starožitností (Prague, 1953), p. 127, has the following list: Marahenses, Margi, Marahi, Maravi, Marvani, later, from the eleventh century, Moravi.” Cf. also Lubomír Havlík, Velká Morava a středoevropští Slované (Prague, 1964), p.368-69.





there is no such form as Moravy (which would correspond to such forms as Greki, Vlakhy, etc.). The form "Moravliene" is distinctly a Slavic definition of a people of a city named “Morava," just as the forms “Krakowianie," “Smolenschane," and “Pskoviane" are names for the people of Kraków, Smolensk and Pskov. It should be noted that the form “Moravliene" is South Slavic.


Scholars have failed to notice that ninth-century Latin sources never used the term Moravia in the ethnogeographic sense, such as Germania, Francia, Bavaria. There are a few instances in the Frankish-Latin sources where the form Maravia is used, but in this case the term is distinctly the name of a city such as Venezia, Bolonia, Siscia (urban communities). The grammatical structure of the phrase in which the term Maravia is used also indicates that the term can apply only to a city: “Rex Maraviam venit" (Annals of Fulda, s.a. 892). An accusative form of a proper noun without a preposition in similar constructions can properly be used in the case of names of cities or small islands. The first instance in Latin sources of the use of the name Moravia with the possible implication of a kingdom is provided by Cosmas of Prague (1045-1125), who in his Chronica Boernorum used the term “Zuatopluk rex Moravie,” although his source, Reginon, had “Zuendibolch Marahensium Sclavorum rex," i.e., “Sventopolk, king of the Slavs of Maraha."


The analysis of all sources leaves no option but to conclude that what past and recent historiography considered to be a country of Moravia inhabited by Moravians was, in fact, a principality inhabited by Slavonians and governed from a city named Marava/Morava (or one of several other classicized and vernacular forms of the same name in a variety of spellings). The above analysis explains why scholars have failed to find the main urban center of the principality of Rastislav or of Sventopolk. Although the sources constantly refer to it, the names Marava, Margus, and so on, were taken for the names of a country.


The preceding redefinitions lead necessarily to the main concern of this study, the geographical extent of the principality of Morava. As pointed out above, the realm of Rastislav and later of Sventopolk has long been associated with the valley of the Morava River in present day Czechoslovakia. On the basis of insufficiently analyzed sources, the belief has prevailed that this Moravia eventually extended from the rivers Elbe and Saale in the west to the rivers Bug and Styr in the east and was bordered by the Danube and the Tisza in the south. [8]



8. Cf. Lubomír Havlík, op. cit., maps.





This definition of Moravia’s boundaries has led to the paradox that none of the places associated with Moravia’s history can be located on what is believed to be its territory.


The fact is that all events in the history of Moravia proper that were known to the Frankish analists, as far as locations are concerned, occurred south of the Danube. The only instances of Moravians being active north of the middle Danube are cases when Moravian forces penetrated to such territory from the south. In those cases where a place has not yet been identified, the logic of events also indicates a location somewhere south of the Danube. Of especial importance for the definition of Moravia’s relative location are the Annals of Fulda, (Annales Fuldenses) in which, in connection with events in Moravia, several references are made to the Danube. In such cases, the annalists of Fulda use the phrase trans Danubium. If we note that only the annals composed in Fulda use this phrase in relation to Moravia and if we also note that Fulda is north of the Danube, then we cannot but conclude that the events trans Danubium took place south of the Danube.


The Frankish sources also provide geographic references that define the realm of Morava in relation to Bavaria. In these instances, the Danube is not mentioned, but only Pannonia, or Oriens, in Orientem. In the medieval system of geographic references, "Oriens” actually meant east-southeast and, in fact, Frankish sources equate "Oriens” with "Pannonia.” Any place east (or more precisely, east-southeast) of Bavaria could only be south of the Danube. The frequent associations and involvements of Moravia with the affairs of Carinthia, all reflected in Frankish sources, indicate that Moravia must have been contiguous with Carinthia. Since Carinthia did not extend to the Danube, the Carinthian-Moravian contiguity could only have been south of and away from the Danube. Not only were Carinthian-Moravian relations extensive, but Moravia was involved in the affairs of the realm of Prince Pribina and, later, Prince Kocel. Their realm was located between the river Drava and Lake Balaton and did not reach to the Danube. Pribina was killed by the Moravians, and Kocel was the initiator of Methodius’ appointment to the see of St. Andronicus in Sirmium.


The last stages of Moravia’s history, the liquidation of the very core of the principality, occurred somewhere east of the principality of Braslav. At that time Braslav controlled the region between the rivers Drava and Sava, and west of the Bulgars, whose frontier reached the confluence of the Sava and Danube at Belgrade. Moravia proper, therefore, could have been located only along the river Sava south of the Danube -





a territory around the city of Morava, the Sirmium of antiquity. This territory, however, was only the core of the principality of Morava, originally the realm of Rastislav.


A rather independent and clear definition of Moravia’s geographic location emerges from the analysis of various acts of "divisio imperii,” the subdivisions of the empire among the children of the Frankish kings (or Roman emperors). Here it should suffice to compare the acts of 817 and of 876. In the first, Louis (the German) received Bavaria, Carinthia, the Bohemians, and “the Avars and Slavi who dwell east of Bavaria.” In 876, the division gave to Karloman Bavaria, (Frankish) Pannonia, Carinthia, and the regna Sclavorum, Behemensium et Marahensium. Considering the fact that between 817 and 876 there were no detectable territorial changes directly east of Bohemia and north of the Danube, the Sclavi Marahenses of 876 must be identical with the Slavi of the division in 817, hence east of Bavaria.


The above arguments in and of themselves do not preclude the possibility that Moravia proper could have covered areas north of the Danube, but such a region could not have included the valley of the northern Morava River. This is evident from the Reginonis chronicon (s.a. 890) and from Cosmas, the chronicler of Bohemia. Cosmas seemed to know that Sventopolk had received Bohemia in fief from Arnulf and had taken control over an area between Bohemia, the river Odra, and the river Gran/Hron in the east. Thus, the area north of the Danube between Bohemia (as of the eleventh century) and the river Gran in Western Slovakia could not have included Moravia proper.


A totally independent authority for the study of ninth and early tenth-century developments in Central and Eastern Europe is Constantine VIII Porphyrogenitus, Emperor of Byzantium and an erudite historian. In his work De Administrando Imperio, Constantine Porphyrogenitus places Moravia repeatedly and consistently in an area defined by Sirmium and the rivers Sava and Lower Danube. He also knew an ”unbaptized Moravia” along the lower Tisza River. This unbaptized Moravia must have been an extension of Moravia proper, a territory that was not part of the diocese of Morava nor of the church-province Sclavonia. At any rate, the territories once controlled by Sventopolk are defined by Constantine several times, either directly by references to rivers and Roman ruins along the Lower Danube and the Sava or indirectly in terms of former inhabitants, such as Longobards or Avars. All of his definitions point toward Pannonia secunda and a territory between the Danube and the river Tisza.





None of the definitions allows the consideration of an area along the northern Morava River as constituting a part of Moravia proper.


Constantine Porphyrogenitus is recognized as the best informed tenth-century historian, a veritable encyclopedist of the geography and history of Central and Eastern Europe. On the other hand, no source has been tampered with so much by modern historians as his work. [9] In the case of Moravia’s geography, all of his information has been treated with the utmost skepticism and yet historians have never brought forward any concrete evidence from written sources that would substantiate the skepticism regarding Constantine’s testimony. All the suggested emendations to his narrative are based solely on the assumption that Moravia was located north of the Danube in present-day Czechoslovakia.


Significant information on Moravia’s geography can also be extracted from the so-called “Forgeries of Lorch,” a collection of papal letters, the authorship of which is attributed to Piligrim, bishop of Passau (971-791). The letters are concerned with the claim of the bishops of Passau for jurisdiction over Pannonia orientalis and Moesia. Some of the letters explicitly state that Moravia was part of these regions. The whole correspondence has been rejected by scholars of Moravian history on the grounds that the letters were forgeries and that, in addition, Piligrim had only a vague notion of geography.


Nevertheless, the “forgeries” deserve attention. Medieval “forgeries” were not necessarily inventions, but in most cases reconstructions of lost or destroyed documents. This is the case with papal letters reconstructed by Piligrim. The letters were submitted to Rome for confirmation. What is more, there is also an authentic letter from Bishop Piligrim to Pope Benedict VI in which the claims are specified. The letter places Moravia precisely in Pannonia and Moesia. Bishop Piligrim claimed only territories that had once formed part of the Roman Empire and were ecclesiastically controlled from Lauriacum. The same territory, Pannonia and Moesia, was claimed by “forgeries” of the archbishop of Salzburg. The conflict did not involve the bishops of Regensburg, who controlled territories north of the Danube, nor the bishop of Prague, who, as of 973, succeeded Regensburg in jurisdiction over territories north of the Danube toward the river Gran/ Hron in present-day Slovakia.


There are many indications that the bishops of Passau were, in fact,



9. For issues and interpretations and extensive bibliographies see Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De Administrando Imperio, vol. 2, Commentary, ed. R. J. H. Jenkins (London, 1962).





involved in the church affairs of Pannonia and of Moesia throughout the ninth century. This involvement culminated in the letter of the Bavarian bishops to Rome (900) protesting Moravian encroachment upon the rights of the bishop of Passau. On the other hand, there is no evidence that the bishops of Passau, before and including Piligrim, had any claim or were involved in any controversy over territories north of the Danube, least of all in the northern Morava River valley. It is especially interesting that Piligrim connects his claim for four bishoprics in Moravia with the territory of Pannonia orientalis, i.c., that part of Pannonia that corresponds, in part, to the former diocese of Methodius around the city of Morava/Sirmium.


Since it is usually the legality of the claim and not the definition of territories or properties claimed that is suspect in medieval "forgeries,” the documentation assembled by Piligrim provides solid evidence in favor of the contention that Moravia once formed a part of Pannonia and of Moesia. As noted, the geography of Piligrim’s claims is confirmed by the counterclaims of the archbishop of Salzburg. Finally, there is no source or argument whatsoever that could be used in contradiction to Piligrim’s geography.



c. The diocese of Methodius


The clarification of the basic issues of nomenclature leads necessarily to a revision of several assumptions concerning Moravia’s history. The first crucial revision to be made concerns the episcopal dignity, function, and residence of Saint Methodius. Contrary to all assumptions, Methodius was not archbishop of a state Moravia without a fixed see, but, as required by canon law, a resident bishop of the city of Morava (or Marava), hence archbishop with some supervisory functions over other bishops in the realm. This is evident from his title: “archiepiscopus sanctae ecclesiae Marabensis” (bishops are assigned to the church of an important city and not to a state) and from the simple reading of any Latin, Slavonic, or Greek source where reference is made to Methodius and to his episcopacy. The most illustrative case in point being the definition of Methodius’ episcopal see as provided by Vita Clementis, III, 10: "Moravos tys Pannonias” (Morava of Pannonia). This phrase was interpreted by Miklošič to mean “Moravia and Pannonia.” Whereas the Greek quotation is the normal form of definition of a bishop’s see, i.e. of a city, the suggested translation,





“Moravia et Pannonia,” is a forced emendation based on the assumption that Methodius was assigned to a "state of Moravia” north of the Danube, hence not inside, but outside, Pannonia. The surprising aspect of the emendation is that scholars have accepted it without checking the source. The author of Vita Clementis in two other instances, in each case differently (II. 4 and IV. 14), defines the episcopal see of Methodius as being a city Morava in Pannonia, and there are other fragments of the text where Morava is clearly a city.


The ecclesiastical sources of the ninth century define Methodius’ episcopal and archiepiscopal see as comprising beyond any doubt a territory ecclesiatically controlled in the past by Rome. When the citizens of Morava petitioned the pope to give them Methodius as bishop to the see of Saint Andronicus (i.e., Sirmium), they stressed the fact that their forefathers had once received baptism from Saint Peter (i.e., Rome). This claim definitely places at least the ancestors of the Moravians in a region that was under Roman ecclesiastical jurisdiction, hence south of the Danube.


The authenticity of this argument, however, has been questioned on the grounds that Moravia (north of the Danube) could not have received baptism initially from Rome. The skepticism here is derived from an attempt to combine the correct observation that Rome’s jurisdiction reached only as far as the river Danube with the unfounded assumption that Moravia was north of that river.


The main evidence for a city named Marava/Morava, however, and the chief clue to its location are contained in the Vita Methodii, which states that Methodius was appointed to the episcopal see of Saint Andronicus. Saint Andronicus is known to have been bishop of Sirmium during Roman times and Sirmium, as a capital city, must have been the see of a bishop of metropolitan rank. Methodius is variously named successor to Saint Andronicus, archbishop of Marava, and archbishop of (civitas) Pannonia, i.e., Sirmium. The concurrent use of these definitions shows, beyond doubt, that Morava of the ninth century was identical with Sirmium or civitas Pannonia of antiquity, the episcopal see of Saint Andronicus. The modern name for the city in question is Mitrovica or, officially, Sremska Mitrovica.


The observation that Methodius was bishop of Morava/Sirmium and that his jurisdiction was primarily in Pannonia and not north of the Danube is evident from several other sources, unique among which is a document written c. 873. This document is the memorandum known as Conversio Bagoariorum et Carantanorum, written in defense of the rights





of the archbishopric of Salzburg against the claims of Methodius. Although some modem scholars suspect that this document contains some distortions of historical facts, no such distortion has been proved in respect to events affecting the problem of jurisdictional territory’ of the archbishop of Salzburg and the conflict between Methodius and the Bavarian episcopacy. In brief, the memorandum claims that before the arrival of Methodius the territory of Pannonia orientalis belonged ecclesiastically to the jurisdiction of the archbishops of Salzburg. Because of interference by Methodius, the archpriest of Mosaburg (south of Lake Balaton) had to return to Salzburg. The document especially stresses the events along the river Drava and the region between the Sava and the Danube. From other sources it is known that the bishops of Salzburg controlled only the southern parts of Pannonia; in other words, their jurisdictional territory was not contiguous with what scholars consider to be Moravia, north of the Danube. On the other hand, Pannonia orientalis, the contested territory, is Pannonia Sirmiensis of other sources, the diocese of Saint Andronicus, who was the predecessor of Methodius. Thus, the Conversio in itself provides independent documentary evidence for the contention that the Moravia of Methodius was located south of the Danube and that his see could not have been elsewhere than in Sirmium. Finnally, there is no evidence that Salzburg was involved in ecclesiastic conflict allecting territories north of the Danube at that time.


A twelfth-century excerpt from the Conversio (known as Excerptum de Karentanis) named Methodius “quidam Sclavus ab Hystrie et Dalmatie partibus.” The definition, seemingly imprecise, places Methodius, and thus Moravia, again in the south. But the reference to Dalmatia and Istria in a twelfth-century document implies that Methodius’ jurisdiction could have included territories extending as far as the Drava. Before the arrival of Methodius, the archbishop of Salona in Dalmatia claimed jurisdiction up to the river Drava and the lower Danube. Thus, the compiler of the Excerptum could genuinely associate Methodius with Istria and Dalmatia, the former church province under Salona, of which Pannonia before the restoration of Sirmium, was a part.


The testimony of the Excerptum also has some further significance. Whereas the Conversio was written at the very beginning of Methodius’ activity as bishop, the Excerptum was composed in the twelfth century. Had there been at that time any knowledge of a Moravia north of the Danube with a church organization formerly headed by Methodius as archbishop,





the author of the Excerptum would have corrected or augmented the Conversio accordingly.


As there are no sources that would contradict the propostion that the episcopal see of Methodius and his diocese were south of the Danube, scholars have to accept at face value the testimony of the Slavonic Vita Naumi (II). According to this source Methodius, after his ordination “went to Pannonia, to the city of Morava" (otide v Panoniu v grad Moravou).



d. Moravia part of Slavonia


The same sources that defined the jurisdictional territory of Methodius also provide sufficient elements for a basic revision of the history of the principality of Morava. This principality was not an entity of its own, but only a part of larger patrimonial realm. An analogy is provided by the history of the principality of Kiev viewed as part of the history of the condominial realm of Rus.


The nature of medieval church-state relations was such that the territory of a dominial realm had to coincide with a unit of ecclesiastic administration. Thus kingdoms were entitled to have an archbishop with his suffragans and principalities to have a bishop. This basic rule will enable us to explain a number of problems of Moravia’s history, primarily its patrimonial association with other principalities. The patrimonial nature of Moravia is illustrated by many facts of which the more commonly known are the following.


Rastislav and his princes jointly approached Emperor Michael of Byzantium for a teacher. Kocel requested the pope to appoint Methodius to the see of Saint Andronicus, but this see was on the territory of Prince Rastislav. While Rastislav is named prince of Morava in 869, Sventopolk, his nephew, owned his own realm of yet unspecified name and location. Pope Hadrian despatched Methodius to be archbishop “for all of the Slovene lands.’’ His letter was addressed to Rastislav, Kocel, and Sventopolk. The term “all of the Slovene lands" does not mean, as usually explained, that Methodius was sent, theoretically, to all of the Slavic nations, but precisely to the “Slovene" principalities represented by Rastislav, Kocel, and Sventopolk. The terms “terra Sclavorum," “fines Sclavorum," and “Sclavonia" in the Middle Ages always had the concrete connotation of a specific dominial realm as contrasted to the modern classificatory, but vague, expressions “Slavic territories," “Slavs,” and “Slavic people."





A “terra Sclavorum" or “Sclavonia,” between the Adriatic and the river Drava was a political entity from the ninth century (with changing borders) until 1919.


The conclusion to be drawn at this stage is one of revision: Moravia, an allodial principality, constituted only a part of the Slavonian patrimonium. The history of Moravia, consequently, is only a part of the history of “terra Sclavorum" in the same way that the history of Kievan Rus (principality of Kiev) formed only a part, although a dominant part, of the history of Rus of the ninth to the thirteenth centuries. As the princes of Kiev, Novgorod, Pskov, and other cities of Rus were related members of the Rurik dynasty, each of them in charge of allodial shares of the patrimonium, so were the rulers of the Slavonian principalities, i.e., Rastislav, Sventopolk, Kocel, and Montemer, princes of the same family, descending from Moimar, if not from an earlier protoplast, the founder of the patrimonium. The underlying principles of Moravia’s history could not have been different from the rules governing any other patrimonial kingdom or principality of the times, be it the principality of Kiev in the larger realm of the Rurik dynasty or Bavaria in the realm of the Carolingians. As has been shown, the crucial point in reconstructing Moravia’s history is its geographic location: if Moravia is correctly located, the many seeming contradictions surrounding its history are resolved and the many apparent inconsistencies fall into place.


A multitude of sources relevant to the study of the principality of Morava has been consistently ignored or misinterpreted by students of ninth-century history simply because these sources, frequently of a documentary nature, showed evidence of a direct involvement by Sventopolk, Constantine and Methodius in the affairs of Dalmatia and of other regions south of the Drava. And there are, for instance, indications that what was later known as Bosnia was part of a Slavonic church organization at the time of Saint Methodius, therefore, clearly, of his church province. Furthermore medieval South Slavic annalistic literature, hagiographic writings and genuine documents show, independently of each other, that Sventopolk and Methodius were intimately involved in the political and ecclesiastical developments of Croatian Dalmatia, which appears to have been but a part of “terra Sclavoniae,” the condominium to which Sventopolk’s realm belonged. Direct evidence for Sventopolk’s and Methodius’ involvement in the affairs of the South Slavs is provided by several Dalmatian-Croat sources.


Trpimir (845-64), prince of the Dalmatian Croats, was followed in power not by one or more of his sons (Peter, Zdeslav or Muntimir),





but by a usurper by the name of Domagoy (864-ca. 876). Trpimir’s son Zdeslav regained control of Dalmatian Croatia in 878, but he recognized Byzantium, thus provoking the opposition of some segments of the nobility led by the bishop-elect of Nin, Theodosius. As a result of these developments, the Trpimir dynasty was once more deposed and a certain Branimir emerged as the new prince (879-92). Branimir and Theodosius returned the episcopal see of Nin from the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople to that of Rome.


Omitted from the accepted history of these events is the part played in them by Methodius. According to the Prolozhnoe zhitie Mefodiia, Zdeslav was defeated because of the intervention of Methodius. The argument against the historicity of this intervention is that in 879 Methodius was in "Moravia,” north of the Danube and, hence, could not have been in Dalmatian Croatia. But it would be the height of arrogance to impute such careless reasoning to the author of the Prolozhnoe zhitie Mefodiia. Surely, if Moravia had really been located north of the Danube, he too would have seen the illogical aspects of his statement. But he knew that Methodius was bishop of Morava, and not of Moravia. He also knew, without putting it in so many words, that neither bishops nor archbishops can interfere, whatever the problems, with other church provinces. Hence, the intervention of archbishop Methodius into the affairs of the principality of Dalmatian Croatia must have been a function of his jurisdiction in the church province of Sclavonia.


The principality of Morava was part of the patrimonium Sclavonia and so was Dalmatian Croatia. That it could not have been otherwise is amply illustrated once more by documentary evidence. Pope John VIII in his letter of June 14, 879, to Sventopolk refers to the latter’s envoy as "Johannes presbyter vester." In a letter written on June 7, 879, to Theodosius, bishop-elect of Nin, Pope John mentions the same John Presbyter as coming "de vestra parte." The two remarks sufficiently well express the geopolitical relationship between Nin and the realm of Sventopolk: Sventopolk’s envoy came from a territory of which the diocese of Theodosius was also a part.


It is of extraordinary interest that Theodosius, bishop-elect, and later bishop, of Nin, the person who with Methodius opposed Zdeslav, was evidently in possession of a Book of Psalms in Glagolitic, the alphabet used in the church province of Methodius. The diocese of Nin eventually became the main center of the Slavonic rite and of Glagolitic literature in Croatia. Theodosius, while retaining his function of bishop of Nin,





usurped the archiepiscopal see of Salona in 886 under such circumstances as to warrant the suspicion that he had wanted, upon the death of Methodius, to transfer the metropolitan see of “Sclavonia" from Sirmium to Salona.


As indicated above, Theodosius, Branimir, and Sventopolk corresponded with the pope through a person in the service of Sventopolk, the Presbyter John. The papal letters refer to the possessions of the two princes as “terra Sclavorum." The names of both Branimir and Sventopolk are entered in the famous Gospel of Cividale, which was located in the eight and ninth centuries in a monastery in the Dalmatian-Istrian region. The monks of the monastery noted on the pages of the Gospel the names of the more prominent pilgrim-visitors.


The observations made so far on Croation-Moravian involvement are based mainly on contemporary documentary evidence (papal letters, the Gospel of Cividale) and the Prolozhnoe zhitie Mefodiia. In addition, there are some medieval chronicles of Dalmatian-Croatian provenience that enjoy particular interest among scholars because of information of unique value for the early history of Croatia. These chronicles, in Latin, Croatian, and Italian, go back to a Church-Slavonic original compiled by Presbyter Diocleas (before 1180). Prominent treatment in these chronicles is accorded to Svetimir, Svetopelek, Svetolik and Vladislav, who, in succession, ruled over Regnum Sclavorum which was later known as Croatia. The Croatian version of the chronicle has the Slavic name Budimir in place of the Svetopelek of the Latin text.


The texts of the Latin and Croat copies of the lost Glagolitic original allow us to identify this Budimir-Svetopelek with Sventopolk of Morava. According to the South Slavic tradition, Budimir-Svetopelek was crowned king under the auspices of a Pope Stephen. This tradition reflects the historically attested fact that Sventopolk (of Moravia) subordinated his realm directly to the protection of the papacy and, indeed, from 885 on, Sventopolk appears in western sources with the title “rex." First to use the title for Sventopolk in a document was Pope Stephen V, the one who is credited with Sventopolk’s coronation. The papal letter confirming Sventopolk’s subordination to Rome begins with the phrase: “Stephanus episcopus, servus servorum Dei, Zventopolco regi Sclavorum." Presbyter Diocleas knew the kingdom of Svetopelek under the name of “Regnum Sclavorum.“ The title “rex Sclavorum“ should be contrasted with the titles used for Sventopolk in earlier papal correspondence (879 and 880). At that time he was simply called de Maravna and gloriosus comes, titles befitting an “illustrious count of the city of Maravna.”





The new title used by the pope expresses not the function of a barbarian "rex,” but of the “Rex” as envisaged by the Roman church, namely the charismatic ruler “by the grace of God,” a phrase that remained part of the title of the kings of Croatia (“Sclavonia”).


One should take note of the semantic difference between a “king” or “prince” (even if the prince is a grand duke) and the charismatic “King.” Whereas the king, prince, or grand duke has total jurisdiction only over his immediate share of the patrimonium, the charismatic King, in addition to his own patrimonial possession, has actual, indivisible "royal” power over other principalities of the realm. Svetopelek at one time was in control of White and Red Croatia, Bosnia, Rasa, and Zagorie, as noted by Presbyter Diocleas. This could have been the case only if he had been a charismatic Christian King.


In the capitulary of the Saint Peter monastery’ in Gomay in Dalmatia, a list has been preserved (13th-14th century) in which the bans (rulers) of Croatia are listed “from the times of king Svetopelek to the times of the Croat king Zvonimir.” Zvonimir was the last charismatic national king (“by the grace of God”) of Croatia. Svetopelek could well have been the first King who centralized the patrimonial principalities in 879-84.


The dynastic connections of Sventopolk with the ruling house of Slavonia-Croatia are also indicated by the following facts. From papal correspondence it is known that the realm of Prince Muntemer, south of the Sava, formed part of the church province of Methodius. Thus the principalities of Muntemer and of Sventopolk were parts of the same patrimonial dominium and the two princes related to each other. The same Muntemer was also related to King Zvonimir, the one who was a descendant of a Svetopelek. Therefore, if not a Svetopelek-Sventopolk dynasty, then a family of which Sventopelek-Sventopolk was a member obviously shared the dominium in Sclavonia.



 e. Slavonic liturgy in Dalmatia and Croatia


In the papal bulls and ecclesiastical documents concerning South Slavic church provinces there is a considerable amount of direct evidence showing a continuity of the use of Slavonic in liturgy and of Glagolitic in literature in Croatia and Dalmatia from the ninth century to our times. On the other hand, none of the medieval papal bulls





or other ecclesiastical documents even remotely connects the Slavonic church organization or the Glagolitic writing with a territory outside Illyricum.


All of the papal bulls dealing with the use of the Slavonic rite name the territories where it was used as "Sclavinia terra," "Sclavonia et Dalmatia," "Sclavinorum Regna," "Dalmatia et Croatia." All of these terms were used in the bulls interchangeably, but always for territories south of the Drava. The same geographic limitation is evident in the interchangeable use of the terms "Sclavi," "natio Illyrica," "Illyrici," and "lingua Sclavonica," "lingua Illyrica."


Either a perserverance of old tradition or a perusal of archival material in the Vatican may lie behind the papal bull of 1631 in which Pope Urban VIII granted permission to print some liturgical books in Slavonic for the church province in Dalmatia. The permission was given with reference to the concession to use Slavonic in the liturgy granted by Pope John VIII (872-82), a contemporary of Saint Methodius (who was a bishop from 870 to 885). Thus the use of Slavonic in the liturgy in Dalmatia goes back to a time before 882 and not, as assumed, after 885, when the pupils of Methodius were expelled from the principality of Morava.


The bull of Urban VIII and the ecclesiastical tradition in Croatia and Dalmatia, reflected in documents, confirms the obvious, namely that bishop Theodosius of Nin (and archbishop of Spalato), a contemporary of Methodius, not only owned a missal in Glagolitic, but used it for liturgy in Slavonic.


The same papal sources that attest overwhelmingly to a direct continuity of a Slavonic church organization in Dalmatia-Croatia from the times of Saint Methodius provide direct evidence that the Slavonic rite could not have originated north of the Danube. This is evident from the correspondence in 1347 between Pope Clemens VI and Charles of Bohemia (later emperor) and the bishop of Prague concerning some monks of the Slavonic rite who had fled from Croatia and found refuge in Bohemia. The monks were settled in a monastery built especially for them in Prague, and they continued to use the Croatian version of the Church Slavonic and the Glagolitic in their writings. The correspondence makes no allusion to any previous association of the Slavonic rite with Bohemia (at that time including the northern Morava valley).


To suggest, as is being done, that the Slavonic monastery "na Slavenech" in Prague represents a Methodian continuity in Bohemia has





no more substance than the evidence derived from barock pictures showing St. Cyril as archbishop of the monastery church in Velehrad near Olomouc (founded in the thirteenth century).


The preceding surveys of a variety of sources overwhelmingly attest to the proposition that the principality of Morava was south of the Danube. Since this proposition runs contrary to the accepted views of modern scholarship, it will also be appropriate to review the main tenets of an association of Sventopolk and Methodius with the regions north of the Danube.


Resources for the study of medieval Bohemia and Slovakia will show that a cult of St. Cyril and St. Methodius north of the middle Danube started not earlier than the fourteenth century and only as an incidental phenomenon to the newly introduced veneration of St. Jerome, who at that time was considered to have been the inventor of Glagolitic writing. The veneration of Jerome, Cyril, and Methodius was brought to Bohemia from territories that today constitute parts of Yugoslavia by monks and clergy of the Slavonic rite. In Bohemian sources, the name of Rastislav is unknown and Sventopolk’s realm is placed distinctly south of Bohemia. Archaeological and linguistic research will only confirm these preliminary observations.








a. Marava, Maravenses and Moravia 21

b. Slavonia 27



Modem historiography interprets the ninth century sources concerning Moravia as referring to a nation of “Moravians" or describing the history of a nation-state "Moravia" with characteristics of a modern sovereign country. The fact is that none of the sources contemporary papal letters, annalistic entries, or even Church Slavonic sources of late provenience - ever mentions a nation, an ethnic group known as Moravians, or a territorial or medieval nation-state under the name of Moravia. There are, however, direct references to a city of Morava and its inhabitants. [1] All sources read in the light of medieval topographic concepts and analyzed with philological exactness attest only to the existence of a city by the name of Morava and of a principality of the same name. The tribal or ethnic name of the city’s inhabitants was Sclavi or Slaviene, and the same name was used for the population of the principality.



 a. Marava, Maravenses and Moravia


The first dated reference to the Moravians in ninth century sources is contained in the Annales regni Francorum, where under the year 822 it is reported that the general convention held by the. Emperor Louis the Pious in Frankfurt was attended by representatives of all the Eastern Slavs (orientales Sclavi); including the Marvani. [2] From that very entry it is already evident that the name Marvani is not what one considers an ethnic definition,



1. Cf. Vita Naumi II: “Mefodii... otide v Panoniou, v grad Moravou,” i.e., “Methodius left for Pannonia, to the city of Morava”. Lamberti Hersfeldensis annales: ”1059. Nativitatem Domini in civitate Maromva celebravi, in confinio sita Ungariorum et Bulgarorum.” For “Morava in Pannonia” c. 1165, cf. J. Dobrovský, Cyril a Metod (ed. J. Vajs), Prague, 1948, p. 84.

2. For the complete Latin text see note 1 on page 31.





since such a definition is contained in the term Sclavi. Corresponding forms in ninth century sources include the Foroiuliani, the citizens of Forum Iulii; Carentani, people of the city and region of Krnski Grad; [3] Romani, people and citizens of Rome.


The second dated reference to the Moravians in ninth century sources occurs in 846, when various chronicles refer to them as Sclavi Margenses and Marahenses Sclavi. [4] These composite terms can refer only to the citizens of an urban center known as “Margus/Maraha” or to the population of a principality controlled from an urban center (or burg) of that name. The terms Sclavi Margenses or Sclavi Marahenses refer to the Slavs of a city Margus or Maraha not only because this is indicated by the logic of the phrase, but because Latin grammatical constructions with the suffix -ensis are used to form adjectives of localities. [5] The derivatives so formed are used as appellatives, e.g., burgensis, i.e., “citizen”; Oxonienses, citizens of Oxford; Foroiulienses, people of Forum Iulii. References to Moravians in medieval sources in all cases and in all languages (Latin, Greek, Church-Slavonic or Old Russian), can only be related logically, grammatically, by internal or external evidence to a city named Morava. The evidence is provided by the following cases.


In 855 three fairly independent sources reported the following: “Rex Hludovicus in Sclavos Margenses contra Rastizem ducem eorum... rediit”; [6] “Ludovicus rex cum magno exercitu contra Ratzidum regem Marahensium”; [7] “Ludovicus rex Rastizem ducem Marahensium Sclavorum petens, vastata ex parte regiones, subiugare nequivit”. [8] These sentences express that the people of Rastiz were “Slavs of the city named Margus/Maraha” or “Slavs controlled by the people of Margus/Maraha.” The same result emerges from surveying all references for one given year or from the analysis of any single chronicle.


The Annales Fuldenses, the most extensive and reliable source for the study of Moravia provides the following illustrations s.a. 846: “Hludovicus rex cum exercitu ad Sclavos Margenses defectionem molientes profectus est”; s.a. 858: “[Ludovicus rex] decrevit tres exercitus in diversos regni sui terminos esse mittendos; unum quidem... in Sclavos Margenses contra Rastizem. . .”;



3. Cf., e.g., Gradivo, vol. 2, Index s.v. ‘Fulransko’ and ‘Karantanija’.

4. Annales Fuldenses and Herimanni Augiensis chronicon. For complete text see page 34.

5. Cf., e.g., Charles E. Bennett, New Latin Grammar (Boston, 1953), 152 (3).

6. Annales Fuldenses. For text see note 16 on p. 37.

7. Annales Ottenburani.

8. Herimanni Augiensis chronicon. For text see note 17 on p. 38.





s.a. 863: “Interea rex [Ludovicus] collecto exercitu specie quidem quasi Rastizem Margensium Sclavorum ducem cum auxilio Bulgarorurn . . . domaturus, etc."; S.a. 871: "Sclavi autem Marahenses ducem suum perisse putantes... Sclagamarum sibi in principum constituunt..."; "...Interea Sclavi Marahenses nuptias faciunt ..."; s.a. 872: "Mense autem Maio [Ludovicus] misit Thuringos et Saxones contra Sclavos Margenses . . . Iterum quidam de Francia mittuntur Karlomanno in auxilium contra Sclavos supradictos...".


In the same entry we read: "... Karlomannus caedes et incendia in Marahensibus exercuisset...". Hence in one entry we have for the Moravians the definitions: Sclavi Margenses, Sclavi and Marahenses;” an ethno-political definition Sclavi alone or combined with the name of the principality’s center Margus, and finally only the political name of the people defined by their "citizenship," i.c. Marahenses. To assure ourselves that the Chronicler in Fulda made the proper choice of names, we may note that one of the participants of the campaign of 872 directed into the principality of Morava was the abbot of the monastery of Fulda, Sigihart.


The part of the Annales Fuldenses which was compiled in Regensburg uses the forms Maravi, Maravani, Maravorum gens, terra Maravorum, Zwentibaldus dux Maravorum. The form Maravani corresponds to the form used in 822 in the Annales Regni Francorum, and since the forms Maravi are used in the same part of the chronicle, the latter form could have resulted from a poor transcription of an original Maravani, or a form corresponding to Carenti for Carentani, and Aquilegii instead of Aquilegenses. [9]


The third part of the Annales Fuldenses, associated with the monastery of Altaich, in 898 describes a discord between the two sons of Sventopolk: "inter duos fratres gentis Marahensium," hence again with reference to a city. The forms Marahenses, Marahani or Marahavenses are used again in 899, 900, 901 and 902. However, the same compiler in 897 and 899 used the forms Marahabita, fines Marahabitarum. Once again, one should not fail to notice that the form Marahabita is properly used to indicate people belonging or controlled from a city: "Cracovitis et Polonis nec non et Sandomiritis.” [10] The Anglicized equivalent of the Latin -ita is the -ite in Muscovite. To dispell any doubts as to his proper use of forms like Marahavensis, Marahabita, the compiler of the Annals of Fulda provided a fitting, direct reference to a city named Marahava.



9. Cf., e.g., Gradivo, vol. 2, Index s.v. ‘Oglej’ and ‘Karantanci’.’

10. Monumenta Poloniae Historica II, 816 and elsewhere.





In the entry for 901 he stated that "Richarius episcopus et Udalricus comes Marahava missi sunt.” The Latin grammar allows for the omission of a preposition in the above sentence only if Marahava is a city. In case of a country or region the structure would include a preposition, e.g. “Imperator per Carentam in Italia perrexit” (ibid, s.a. 8S4). The compiler, even if not faultlessly, knew his grammar, since in the same entry for 901 he applied the same rule when reporting that “Generale placitum Radaspona civitate habitum est.”


This analysis of the Annales Fuldenses in itself provides enough indications on which to base the conclusion that Morava was not a country, “state” or “empire”, but a principality centered around a city named Morava (Marava, Marahava, Margns etc.). The Moravians (Marahenses, Margenses etc.) were the inhabitants of that city and, possibly, also the people controlled from that city. It might be redundant to stress that most of the medieval (and modern) principalities derive their name from a castle, burg or town, e.g. Beneventum, Tyrol, Styria, Carinthia. Those who insist that Moravia was an “Empire” may at least agree that even empires derived their name from a city, burg or castle, like the Roman empire, the Byzantine empire and the Habsburg empire.


Similar deductions can be made on the basis of an analysis of lesser sources. For instance, the Annales Xantenses uses for the Moravians the term Margi: “870 (recte 869) Eo anno Lude vicus rex orientalis, missis duobus filiis suis.. . contra Margos diu resistentes sibi, Rasticum regem eorum fugaverunt...” and “871 (recte 870) Rasticus rex Margorum...” The term Margi refers also to citizens or subjects of a city named Margus, because the compiler of the Annales Xantenses identifies the people of Rastiz also as Sclavi, the ethno-political definition of the gens: “872 (recte 871) Iterum regnum Margorum a manibus Karlomanni per quondam cisusdem genti Sclavum elabuit.” Since the certain Sclavus was of the same gens as the Margi, the latter must have been a part of the Sclavi. Indeed, the form Margi seems to be identical with the form Marvi; it represents only a problem of spelling g in place of w or v, a common occurrence in ninth century ortography, illustrated by such cases as Slongenzin instead of Slowenzin, Guinedi for Winedi, Bagoari in place of Bawoari etc. To conclude, the form Margi used in the Annales Xantenses is derived either from the name known in the south in antiquity as Margus or from the already identified name Marava.


We may now turn our attention to Church-Slavonic sources.





All the basic texts in this category know a city of Morava and its inhabitants, the Moravliane. [11] The people of the principality around that city are defined by the ethno-political term Sloviene and their language as slovienski. None of the Church-Slavonic sources uses the term Morava as the equivalent of a country, and the term Moravliene never has the connotation of a ‘nation’ or of an ethnic group. It goes without saying that the form ‘Moravia’ is not a Slavic derivative and could not have been used by the Slavs themselves. Finally, the Slavic sources not only use the term Morava and its derivatives exclusively for city and its citizens, but also the form ‘grad Morava[12] i.e. ‘bourg or city of Morava.’ These very simple observations made on the Church-Slavonic texts are self-evident for philologists, but the same texts, used by historians, lose much of their content through imprecise translation to modern languages and modern terminology. [13] The two basic Church-Slavonic sources for the study of Moravia, the Vila Constantini and Vita Methodii, contain references to many ‘nations’ of the ninth century, among them the Agarieni, Armeni, Grki, Obri, Kozari, Svabi, Suri, Vlakhi, Niemtsi, Slovieni and many others. In Old-Slavic, but in many cases also in modem Slavic languages, the same plural form of an ethnic name (as above) was used to express the land occupied by the given people. Hence the forms v Greki, iz Grek with the semantic meaning ‘to the land of the Greeks’, ‘from the land of the Greeks’.


If there had been a ‘nation’ or ethno-political formation of the Moravians, then the Old-Slavic or Church-Slavonic form would have been *Moravy (plural for a people) and *v Moravy, *iz Morav for ‘to the land of the Moravians’ and ‘from the land of the Moravians’. But instead of a form *Moravy, for a people or nation, we have only the forms Moravliene (plural), corresponding to Rimliene (people of Rome), Solouniene (people of Thesaloniki) and Samarienin (man of Samaria, the capital of Samaria). The endings -ianin, -ienin (singular) and -iane, -iene (plural), [14] added to the name of a place, form adjectives, which in turn are used as appellatives, for citizens of a place.



11. The transliteration of Glagolitic and Cyrillic phrases in this study is rather unconventional. It does not follow either the phonetic or the sign-for-sign transcription. The guiding principle is simplification. For editions of Church-Slavonic texts see the Bibliography.

12. See note 1, page 21.

13. Cf. Chernorizets Khrabr, O pismenakh: ".. .v vremiena Mikhaila tsiesarie griechskego i Borisa kniaza bulgarskogo i Rastitsa kniaza moravska, i Kotselie kniaza blatensko." The adjectives ‘griechskego’ and bulgarskogo’ are formed from ethnic names; the forms ‘moravska’ and ‘blatenska’ from place names. Kotsel was prince of ‘Blaten grad’ (Moosburg) or ‘Blatensko’, on the lake Balaton.


14. It should be noted here that the attested Church Slavonic forms have ‘Moravliene’. The ending -iene appears to be South Slavic. Furthermore, the l between Morav- and -iene is an epenthesis occurring in South Slavic dialects. Cf. Ernst Eichler, "Zur Deuting und Verbreitung der altsorbischen Bewohnernaineri auf -jane”, in Slavia 31 (1962), 348-77, specially pp. 348-49. Note that the form Sloviene (p. 349) is also South Slavic. Cf. also V. Vondrak, Vergleichende Slavische Grammatik, 2nd ed., vol. 1 (Gottingen, 1924), 542.





These endings correspond exactly to the Latin -ensis; thus the Latin burgenses in Church-Slavonic is grazhdane (plural) and grazhdanin (singular); both, the Latin and the Church-Slavonic forms refer to ‘citizens,’ inhabitants of a city. All this is evident from both the Vita Constantini and the Vita Methodii. The first source in paragraph fourteen tell us that Rastislav “held a council with his princes and with the Moravians” (Rostislav.. .soviet stvori s knenzisvoimi i s Moravlieny). The logic of the sentence shows that the Moravians were partners of the princes and of Rastislav, hence neither the princes nor Rastislav were ‘citizens’ of Morava. The Vita Methodii noted that Methodius, when arriving in the realm of Sventopolk, was received by the prince with all of the Moravians (I priime Sventopolk knenz s vsiemi Moravlieny). ‘All of the Moravians’ could only have been the people of one bourg and not of a whole country. The Vita Constantini provides an interesting syntactic structure in which the name Morava, even without the ending -ane, -ene, or the definition "grad” (city), can refer only to a locality. The structure in question is contained in the phrase "Doshedshou zhe iemu Moravy. . . “” for which there is in the same Vita a parallel phrase “Doshedshu zhe iemu Rima... ” [15] The structure seems to be used only with names of localities. In addition, the form ‘Moravy’ is in the singular, [16] and as already indicated, nations and countries are expressed by plural forms of ethnic names.


The same result, independently, is provided by the analysis of the phrase moravska oblast. [17] The term oblast (ob-vlast) carries the meaning potestas, auctoritas dominial authority, dominium, and is used in Church Slavonic and Old Russian in combination with names of localities to express the authority, or political power [18] emanating from an urban center or bourg: rostovskaia oblast, [19] oblast novgorodskaia, oblast riazantsev. [20]


A rather eloquent testimony is provided for our case in paragraph 5 of Vita Methodii:


"And thus it happened that in those days Rastislav,



15. This structure in South Slavic is influenced possibly by Greek and Latin. For a similar structure in Old Russian, but with dative case, cf. R. Aitzetmüller, "Zum sog. Richtungsdativ des Altrussischen. Typus ide Kyevu”, in Zeitschrift für slavische Philogie 31 (1963), 338-56.

16. Cf. also Vita Constantini 15; “chetyridesent miesents stvori v Morave,” and Vita Methodii 5; “Rostislav... s Sventopolkoin poslasta iz Moravy. . . “

17. Vita Methodii 10.

18. In Slovenian ‘oblast’ still today means ‘power’. The same meaning is carried by the Croat ‘ovlasť.

19. Povest Vremennykh Let, ed D.S. Likhachev, vol. I (Moscow-Leningrad, 1950), 117.

20. I.I. Sreznevskii, Materialy dlia slovaria drevne-russkago iazyka 1-3 (Sanktpeterburg, 1893-1903), s.v.





prince of the Slovenes, and Sventopolk, sent [an embassy] from Morava (iz Moravy) to the Emperor Michael saying that: “by God’s will we are well and many Christian teachers have come to us from the Italians, Greeks and Germans (iz Vlahh i iz Greki i iz Niemtsi) teaching us variously. But we Slovenes are a simple people and we have no one who could teach us the truth and counsel us wisely."


The grammar and the narrative of this brief passage show that Morava was a city and the people of Rastislav were Slovenes. Whereas the sense of the paragraph is obvious, the forms ‘iz Moravy’ (singular) and ‘iz Vlakh’ (plural), ‘iz Greki’ (plural )and ‘iz Niemtsi’ (plural) exclude any possibility of an ethnic or ethno-political meaning of the term “Morava."


The analysis of all references to the Moravians shows that there was a city of Morava, the name of which was used also for the principality of Rastislav and later of Sventopolk. The term Moravia is a Latin-Greek form defining a principality centered around the city of Morava and is similar to the forms ‘Carinthia’ and ‘Styria’ both derived from names of cities.



 b. Slavonia


From the last quoted paragraph it is also evident that the ethnopolitical name of the inhabitants of the principality of Morava was Sloviene. Of course, this ethnic-political name is indicated by all the Latin sources already analyzed, to wit, the very first reference in sources to the Moravians indicated that the Maravi were Sclavi orientales, a term comprising several tribes paying homage to the Emperor in 822.


However the terms Sclavi and Winidi in medieval chronicles are not used as classificatory terms, ‘all the Slavic-speaking people,’ but always for a specific, concrete tribal or political formation, be it south or north of the Danube. A careful analysis of the various occurrences of the term Sclavi reveals that the Sclavi Marahenses formed only a part of a larger patrimonium which was known as Sclavonia, just as Bavaria, Frankonia, Svabia were parts of Germania; and Kievan Rus, the principalities of Pskov, Smolensk and others, constituted all of Rus.


The commonly-held belief that Pope Hadrian II made Methodius archbishop for all the Slavs is based on an incomplete translation of the Church Slavonic text. [21]



21. Vita Methodii 8.





Methodius was made archbishop only to all the parts of the patrimonial realms of three Slavonian princes. This is evident from the message of Pope Hadrian to Kocel which reads:


“Not only for you alone but for all these Slavonic parts (vsiem stranam tiem slovienskym) I am sending (Methodius) to be a teacher..."


The Slavonic parts are defined in the Pope’s letter sent at the same time to Rastislav, Sventopolk and Kocel:


"...When the two (Constantine and Methodius) found out that your parts (vashe strany) belong to [the jurisdiction of] the Apostolic See, they refrained from doing anything against the canons... We, having consecrated him and the novices, decided to despatch Methodius to your parts (na strany vasha) ... so that lie would teach you... in your language."


Since the term strany (plural) means ‘parts of a region’, in Latin ‘partes,’ the phrases stranam tiem, vashy strany and na strany vasha make the parts clearly those of Rastislav, Sventopolk and of Kocel only and not of all the Slavic people. [22] The parts of the three princes must have been a unit not only because of the logical deduction that parts together form a whole, but mainly because a bishop, or archbishop can function only in one political region. Therefore the realms of the three princes had to form parts of a joint patrimonial possession, "all of the Slavonic parts" divided into three (or more), principalities. [23] We know that Sventopolk was the nephew of Rastislav, and before 870 both of them were in charge of their own principalities. The Greek Vita S. Clementis in paragraph 15 names Rastislav prince of Morava and Kocel prince of all of Pannonia, a situation which existed before 870. In 885, when Sventopolk consolidated most of the Slavonic principalities, his own, that of Rastislav and of Kocel, Pope Stephen V addressed him as "rex Sclavorum."


In 876 and 880 the Reginonis chronicon, when describing the conflicts between Carloman and Sventopolk, refers to the realm of the latter as regna Sclavorum (plural). In 883 (under the entry for 884) the Annals of Fulda noted that Sventopolk invaded Frankish Pannonia with troops assembled from all districts of the Slavs (ex omni parte Sclavorum). The Latin phrase omnes partes Sclavorum is equivalent to the vsie strany slovienskie used in the Church-Slavonic Vita Methodii in describing the realms of Rastislav, Sventopolk and Kocel. The "all Slavonic parts" did indeed, form a patrimony, and this fact is also indicated by the reference to “Rastislav and all his princes" (Vita Constantini 14).



22. Cf. “Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres.”

23. Cf. also Vita Methodii 12; “Methodius... into his hands were given all the Slavonic parts."





These princes included Svontopolk (Vita Methodii 5), at that time in charge of his own principality.


In 871 Emperor Louis in a letter to Basileus, Emperor of New Rome, makes reference to “populus Sclaveniae nostrae” [24] From the context, it is evident that he was referring to the people of what is today Croatia. The name Sclavonia or Slavonia will be used from the ninth century throughout the history till modern times for a concrete political formation, consisting of territories inhabited today by the Croats and Serbs. In the Middle Ages it included several principalities east of the coastal Dalmatian cities and south of the Drava river.


In 925 a letter by Pope John X to Tomislav rex Croatorum, Michael dux Chulmorum and John Archibishop of Salona, refers to the territories under the control of the Croat king as Slavonia et Dalmatia. [25] At that time Dalmatia constituted the littoral regions of the Adriatic with Latin-speaking population, mainly in the episcopal cities of the church province of Salona. Slavonia, on the other hand, embraced the realms of Tomislav and of Michael, the first a Croat, the other a Serb. When Croatia (with its component parts) merged with Hungary to form a dual monarchy, the Croat parts were known as Sclavonia. The governor (dux, banus) of Croatia is referred to in Latin documents as banus tocius Sclavonie [26] and the land itself, as terra Sclavonia sive banatum. In 1267 Bela dux totius Sclavoniae controls Croatia, Rama and Servia. [27] The Croat parliament was known as congregatio nobilium regni Sclavonie.


The term ‘Sclavonia’ was applied to a territory of changing frontiers, depending on the historical developments in the region. It could be used by the Croats, Serbs, Bosnians, because all of these formations were once part of Sclavonia. Due to political and cultural separation of the patrimonial shares, some of them became known by the specific names of the ‘parts’: Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia. The patrimonial coherence of these formerly Slavonian principalities weakened throughout the centuries, but there was always a Slavonia, the only part of the former patrimony which did not develop a political life of its own, since it became more closely attached to the Crown of Hungary.



24. Monumenta spectantia historiam Slavorum meridionalium, vol. 7, pp. 361-62. Conversio Bagoariorum has “Sclavinia" for Carinthia and Lower Pannonia.

25. Codex diplomaticus regni Croatiae, Dalmatiae et Slavoniae, vol. 1, pp. 33-5 (no. 24).

26. For this and numerous other illustrations see K. Jireček, Istoriia Srba, ed. J. Radonič, vol. 2 (Belgrad, 1952), 2 if. Cf. also F. Šišic, Povijest Hrvata u vrijeme narodnich vladara (Zagreb, 1925), 614-15, 620.

27. Monumenta spectantia historiam Slavorum meridionalium, vol. 7, pp. 158-59 (no. 130).





This Slavonia preserved the continuity of the ninth century Sclavonia until 1918 as Kingdom of Slavonia, part of the joint kingdom of Croatia and Slavonia. Slavonia even today is a geographic subdivision of Yugoslavia. [28]



28. For more persuasive arguments placing Sclavonia in a territory south of the Drava cf. F. Dvornik, Les Slaves, Byzance el Rome au IXe siècle (Paris, 1926), 224-45 and 229. The term Sclavia or Sclavonia could and was used also for some territories north of the Bohemians. In the ninth century territories north of the Danube were considered part of Germania Einhardi vita Caroli, c. 15, (Cosmas, I, 2). Note also that today “Germany’ covers only part of the territories inhabited by Germanic people.


A history of Slavonia has not yet been written. Instead, scholars have concentrated on the history of the Croats and the Serbs and have engaged in controversies whether the Bosnians were Serbs or Croats. The fact is that the Serbs, Croats and Bosnians were known in the Middle Ages under the ethno-political name of a joint patrimonium, namely of the Slavonians. A history of Slavonia would be comparable to the history of medieval Rus, comprising the history of its component principalities, i.a. Novgorod, Smolensk, Kiev, Pskov and others.








a. Testimony of Western Chronicles and Annals 31

b. Testimony of Byzantine sources 76



 a. Testimony of Western Annals and Chronicles


The Moravians as a political formation appear for the first time on the stage of history in the year 822 A.D. In the Annales regni Francorum, it is reported that late in that year Louis the Pious, the Frankish emperor, received in Frankfurt the embassies of “all of the Eastern Slavs," which included the Abodriti, Sorabi, Wilzi, Beheimi, Marvani, Praedenecenti, together with the [non-Slav] Avars “residing in Pannonia.” [1]


It is generally thought that the Moravians of the ninth century, the Marvani of the entry under analysis, inhabited and controlled the valle}’ of the river Morava, the northern tributary of the Danube. This valley divides modem Czechoslovakia into Bohemia and Slovakia and comprises a territory that is known today as Morava. But a very informative source for the study of political geography in the ninth century, the Geographus Bavarus, [2] mentions two entities with names resembling that of the Marvani: “Marharii habeant XI civitates" and “Merehani habeant XXX civitates." [3] The first name (Marharii) appears in that source after the reference to the Bohemi; the second name (Merehani) is mentioned after the name of the Bulgars.



1. Annales regni Francorum. 822. Ibique generali conventu congregatio necessaria quaeque ad utilitatem orientalium partium regni sui pertinentia more solemm cum optimatibus, quos ad hoc evocare iusserat, tractare curavit. In quo conventu omnium orientalium Sclavorum, id est Abodritorum, Soraborum, Wilzorum, Beheimorum, Marvanorum, Praedeneoen torum, et in Pannonia residentium Abarorum legationes cum muneribus ad se directas audivit.


2. A most recent scholarly edition with comments by B. Horák and D. Trávniček, Descriptio civitatum ad septentrionalem plagam Danubii (Prague, 1956). It should be noted that the title, especially the phrase ”ad septentrionalem plagam Danubii,” is a later interpolation and does not reflect the context of the source. Cf. Pramene k dějinám Vel’kej Moravy, Peter Ratkoš, ed., (Bratislava, 1964), pp. 23, 13S-48.


3. Descriptio civitatum... Beheimare, in qua sunt civitates XV. Marharii habent civitates XI. Vulgari regio est inmensa et populus multus, habens civitates V, eo quod multitudo magna ex eis sit et non sit eis opus civitates habere. Est populus, quem vocant Merehanos, ipsi habent civitates XXX. Istae sunt regiones, quae terminant in finibus nostris.





The Geographus Bavarus lists the names of the Bohemi, Marharii, Bulgari, and Merehani among several political entities that bordered on the empire; hence there may be a logical order in the enumeration. According to the Bavarian Geographer, the southernmost people bordering on the empire were the Merehani. If we accept the notion that in the ninth century, the Bohemi occupied some territory of present-day Bohemia, then the Marharii were east-southeast from them, and the Bulgars bordered the empire somewhere between the Marharii and the Merehani. Exact locations at this point are not so important. We should note only that the listing of the empire’s neighbors starts in the north and ends with the Merehani in the south, that is, along the southeastern frontiers of Frankish Pannonia. The question still remains whether the Marvani of the Annales regni Francorum, mentioned in 822, should be identified with the Bavarian Geographer’s Marharii, possibly in the north, or with his Merehani, possibly in the south.


There is a contemporary source, independent of the Annales regni Francorum and unrelated to the Geographus Bavarus, that gives some indication of the geopolitical situation north of the Danube during the life of Charlemagne. The source is the biography of Charlemagne written by Einhard, his secretary and counsellor. This writer composed his narrative sometime between 817 and 830. The military exploits of Charlemagne in the East are described by Einhard in the following terms:


He conquered and made tributary all the barbarous and fierce nations inhabiting Germania between the Rhine, the Vistula, the Ocean, and the Danube... The chief of these last are the Weletabi, the Sorabi, the Abodriti, and the Bohemi; against these he waged war. But the others, and by far the larger number, surrendered. [4]


This description of the peoples north of the Danube does not include the Moravians. They are not listed among the tribute-paying nations, and they could not be among the unnamed people who were taken under direct Frankish tutelage (Carolus. . . in deditionem suscepit), because through their history the Moravians would be known as a nation in a tributary relationship to the empire, although most of the time they refused compliance with obligations.



4. Einhardi vita Karoli, c. 15. ... deinde omnes barbaras ac feras nationes, quae inter Rhenum ac Visulam fluvios oceanumque ac Danubium positae, lingua quidem poene similes, moribus vero atque habitu valde dissimiles, Germaniam incolunt, ita perdomuit, ut eas tributarias efficeret; inter quas fere praecipuae sunt Weletabi, Sorabi, Abodriti, Boemani - cum his namque bello conflixit - ; ceteras, quarum multo maior est numerus, in deditionem suscepit.





Moreover, during Charlemagne’s lifetime, in Einhard’s words, the region between the Danube, the Vistula, and the Ocean, was tributary to or directly controlled by the Franks, whereas the Moravians came into contact with the Franks only in 822. Hence Moravia could not have been located north of the Danube. [5]


The Moravians are not mentioned in the Annales regni Francorum’s account of events in 791, when an army of Charlemagne, directed against the Avars, proceeded from Bavaria along the northern bank of the Danube to a point opposite the mouth of the river Raba, [6] thus crossing the valley of the river Morava, considered by scholars to be the center of the Moravian realm. Charlemagne himself was in charge of another contingent that was proceeding along the southern bank of the Danube. Supplies for the two armies were transported by boats on the river. According to the version of the Annales regni Francorum known as the Annales qui dicuntur Einhardi, Charlemagne defeated the Avars and finally reached the river Raba south of the Danube, whence he ordered his own troops to return to Bavaria. He also ordered the Frisians, some Franks, and the Saxons, who had come along the northern bank of the Danube, to return home, the way they had come, across Bohemia (Alias vero copias... per Beehaimos via, qua venerunt, reverti praecepit). [7]



5. While north of the Danube was Germania (cf. Cos was 1, 2), Moravia proper is always associated with terra Sclavorum, partes Sclavorum or Sclavonia.


6. Annales regni Francorum. 791. Inde autem itinere permoto partibus Baioariae perrexit, ad Reganesburg pervenit, ibi exer,citum suum coniunxit. Ibique consilio peracto Francorum, Saxonum, Frisonum, disposuerunt propter nimiam malitiam et intollerabilem, quam fecerunt Avari contra sanctam ecclesiam vel populum Christianum, unde iustitias per missos impetrare non valuerunt, iter peragendi; cum Dei adiutorio partibus iamdictis Avarorum perrexerunt. Ad Anisam vero fluvium properantes ibi constituerunt laetanias faciendi per triduo missarumque sollemnia celebrandi; Dei solatium postulaverunt pro salute exercitus et adiutorio domini nostri Iesu Christi et pro victoria et vindicta super Avaros. Supradictus vero princeps de australi parte Danubio iter peragens, Saxones autem cum quibusdam Francis et maxime plurima Frisonum de aquilonale parte Danubii similiter iter peragentes, ubi ad loca pervenerunt, ubi iamdicti Avari firmitates habuerunt praeparatas: de australi vero parte Danubii ad Cumeoberg, de alia vero ripa in loco, qui dicitur Camp, quia sic nominatur ille fluvius, qui ibi confluit in Danubio. Avari enim cum videssent utrasque ripas exercitum continentes et navigia per medium fluvium venientes, a Domino eis terror pervenit: dereliquerunt eorum loca munita, quae supra nominata sunt, firmitatesque eorum vel machinationes dimiserunt fuga lapsi; Christo perducente populo suo utrosque exercitus sine laesione introduxit. Supradictus exercitus sic iter peragens usque ad fluvium, cuius vocabulum est Raba; et exinde uterque exercitus de ambobus ripis ad propria reversi sunt, magnificantes Deum de tanta victoria.


Et celebravit domnus rex Carolus natalem Domini in Reganesburg, pascha similiter.


7. Annales regni Francorum (Annales qui dicuntur Einhardi). 791 Cuius partem Theoderico comiti et Meginfrido camerario suo committens eos per aquilonalem Danubii ripam iter agere iussit. Ipse cum alia parte, quam secum retinuit, australem eiusdem fluminis ripam Pannoniam petiturus occupavit, Baioariis cum commeatibus exercitus, qui vavibus devehebantur, per Danubium secunda aqua descendere iussis. Ac sic inchoato itinere prima castra supre Anesum posita sunt; nam is fluvius inter Baiorariorum atque Hunorum terminos medius currens certus duorum regnorum limes habebatur. Ibi supplicatio per triduum facta, ut id bellum prosperos ac felices haberet eventus; tum demum castra mota, et bellum genti Hunorum a Francis indictum est. Pulsis igitur Honorum praesidiis ac destructis munitionibus, quarum una super Cainbum fluvium, altera iuxta Comagenos civitatem in monte Cumeoberg vallo firmissimo erat exstructa, ferro et igni cuncta vastantur. Cumque rex cum eo, quem ducebat, exercitu usque ad Arrabonis fluenta venisset, transmisso eodem fluvio per ripam eius usque ad locum, in quo is Danubio miscetur, accessit ibique per aliquot dies stativis habitis per Sabariam reverti statuit. Alias vero copias, quibus Theodericum et Meginfridum preafecerat, per Beehaimos via, qua venerant, reverti praecepit. Sic peragrata ac devastata magna parte Pannoniae cum incolomi exercitu Francorum in Baioariam se recepit. Saxones autem et Frisiones cum Theoderico et Meginfrido per Beehairnos, ut iussum erat, domum regressi sunt.





The version of the Annales regni Francorum known as the Annales Laurissenses maiores states that both armies reached the river Raba before returning home (. . . usque ad fluvium, cuius vocabulum est Raba; et exinde uterque exercitus de ambodus ripis ad propria reversi sunt). It should be noted that the army marching along the northern bank of the Danube during the campaign had to negotiate the river Morava twice. Therefore, on the basis of Einhard’s life of Charlemagne and or the basis of the two versions of the Annales regni Francorum, one may make the very cautious observation that in 791 the regions north of the Danube stretching east and west of the river Morava were associated correctly or incorrectly, with the Beehaimi, and not with the Marhari or Marvani. In other words, all these sources ex silentio make it improbable that the Marvani mentioned in the Annales regni Francorum in 822 controlled the region along the northern Morava River.


The next dated entries of the Frankish annals that have a bearing on the problem of Moravia’s location are the descriptions of events in 846. Among the ten basic, partly independent, partly related annalistic entries for the year 846, three distinct, unrelated accounts can be established: the Annales Fuldenses, most important of the three: a group of several nearly identical annalistic entries based on the original entries of the lost Annales Hersfeldenses; and, finally, the Herimanni Augiensis chronicon, a compilation of some preserved and some lost contemporary annals. The relevant fragments read as follows: [8]


Annales Fuldenses // Annales Hildesheimenses (based on Annales Herfeldenses) // Herimanni Augiensis chronicon



8. The three fragments are complete sentences, without omissions. The text of the Annales Hildesheimenses, with minor changes, is carried also in, e.g., Annales Altahenses maiores, Annales Lamberli, Annalista Saxo, and Annales Magdeburgenses.






Whereas the Annales Fuldenses and the Herimanni chronicon report the fate of the Sclavi Margenses and their prince Rastislav, the Annales Hildesheimenses did not mention the Sclavi or their prince, Rastislav, but recorded in similar context the subordination of Pannonia to the control of Louis the German. Hence, the subordination of Pannonia by Louis prior to the conflict with the Behemi must be the event referred to in the two other sources as the encounter of the Sclavi Margenses/Marahenses with Louis. It seems evident that while the Annalist of Hersfeld used a classical geographic definition “Pannonia," the other two sources used an ethnogeographic term, “Sclavi Margenses”. Hence, it has to be concluded, the Moravians lived in Pannonia.


The Annals of Fulda use the term Sclavi Margenses consistently, although there is reason to believe that the term Sclavi alone, as used by the same annalist, also refers to the Moravians. The composite form Sclavi Margenses in the quoted text and in all other instances where it appears, has the meaning of “Slavs of the town or city named Margus." The form Margenses is an adjective that can be formed only from the name of a place called Margus. Significantly, the name Margus is also the classical name of the river Morava in the south, and there are also references in classical sources to a city in the south named Margus. [9] The classical name of the northern Morava River is Marus [10] and there is no equivalent name for a locality.


The Herimanni chronicon uses, instead of Sclavi Margenses, the form Marahenses Sclavi, but the forms Margenses and Marahenses refer always to the same people. The form Marahenses is also an adjective formed from a place named Maraha.



9. Cf. Priscus, Fragmenta, I and II.

10. Cf. Tacitus, Annales II, 63. For both names see also Eberts Reallexikon, s.v. For the nortern Morava river see Słownik Starożytności Słoviańskich, s.v.





Whereas the form Maraha possibly reflects a vernacular usage, the form Margus was used by a more scholarly annalist who knew the classical equivalent for Morava/Maraha. Consequently, neither the Annales Fuldenses (using the form Margenses) nor the Herimanni chronicon (using the forms Marahenses) provides any grounds for locating the Sclavi referred to in 846 north of the Danube.


The three entries for the year 846, analyzed independently from preceding and subsequent events, unequivocally place the Moravians in Pannonia; hence a discussion of the entries in some depth seems to be of crucial importance for the whole history of Moravia. In addition, an analysis of the events of 846 would not be complete without a reference to the Annales Xantenses, in which the entries for the years 831-60 were composed independently from other annals or chronicles. The author of the entry for 846 was acquainted with the fact that Louis had marched from Saxony across the Elbe against the Winidi and that subsequently he had been in conflict with the Bohemians. [11] The encounter with the Winidi (another term for Sclavi) occurred before the conflict with the Bohemians, therefore the encounter (without an armed conflict) with the Winidi is the same event which the other sources described as affecting Rastislav of the Moravians or as occurring in Pannonia.


Finally, the contemporary Annales Bertiniani report in 846 that Louis suffered losses from some Sclavi. According to this source, Louis conducted a campaign against these Sclavi also in the following year and recovered territories that had been previously lost. [12] As Louis did not suffer at the hands of the Moravians in 846 or lose territories to them, the Annales Bertiniani obviously took account only of the conflict with the Bohemians in 846 and 847.



11. Annales Xantenses. 846. Eodem anno ivit Ludewicus de Saxonia contra Winidos ultra Albiam. Ipse vero cum exercitu suo contra Boemmanos perrexit, quos nos Beuwinitha vocamus, sed periculose valde; Karolus contra Brittanos, sed non profuit.


12. Annales Bertiniani. 846. Hludowicus rex Germanorum adversus Sclavos profectus, tam intestino suorum conflictu quam hostium victoria conterritus, reversus est.


847. Hludowici Germanorum regis exercitus adversus Sclavos prospere dimicant, ita ut quod ante annum ex eis amiserat receperit.


848. Sclavi in regnum Hlodowici hostiliter irruentes, ab eo in Christi nomine superantur. Cf. Annales Fuldenses. 848. ". . .quasi mediante mense Augusto Boemanos eruptionem molientes (Hludowicus rex) per Hludowicum filium suum missa adversus eos expeditione contrivit legatosque pacis gratia mittere et obsides dare coegit."


The Sclavi of the Annales Bertiniani are obviously the Boemani of the Annales Fuldenses. A comparison of the Annales Bertiniani s.a. 849 with the Annales Xantensis s.a. 849 leads to the same observation: Annales Bertiniani: Hludowicus rex Germanorum egrotans, exercitum suum in Sclavos dirigit... Annales Xantenses: Infirmante Ludewico rege, hostis illius de Beioaria iter arripuit in Boemmanos...





Significant for the events of 846 is the fact that the Moravians and the Bohemians faced Louis independently of each other. One might have expected some coordination of resistance, had they been neighbors north of the Danube in danger from a common enemy. Louis returning from his expedition to the Moravians in Pannonia, had to cross Bohemia, because his army had started out from Saxony and naturally would return there over the shortest possible route. The presence of Saxons, or even of Frisians, in campaigns in Pannonia even in regions south of the river Drava should not be surprising, since they were engaged south of the Danube also on other occasions, e.g., in the years 791 and 820. [13]


These observations on the various annalistic entries for the year 846 lead to the conclusion that there is no evidence whatsoever for connecting the Sclavi Margenses / Marahenses with the valley of the river Morava north of the Danube or, for that matter, with any other region in the vicinity of that valley. On the other hand, there are reasons to consider some part of Pannonia as the abode of the Moravians.


The new arrangements between Rastislav and the Franks lasted till 854, when the Moravians, utilizing some new developments along the eastern borders of the Frankish realm, [14] staged an uprising. [15] In the following year King Louis personally led an expeditionary force against Rastislav and his Moravians. Because Rastislav withdrew to a well-protected burg, the Frankish campaign ended without success. The king, instead of exposing his army to possible losses during a prolonged siege of the burg, devastated the Moravian countryside and withdrew to Bavaria. The retreating army was pursued by Rastislav and his retinue, and Rastislav devastated many settlements along and across the Danube (. . . plurima trans Danuvium finitimorum loca praedando vastavit). [16] As the reference to the Danube provides a clue to the location of Rastislav’s Moravia, a closer scrutiny of the passage seems justified.



13. Cf. note 7 above, and Annales Fuldenses, s.a. 820: Tres exercitus contra Liudevitum in Pannoniam mittuntur; quorum unus de Italia. . . alter de Saxonia. . . tertius Francorum...

14. Annales Bertiniani. 853. Bulgari, sociatis sibi Sclavis, et, ut fertur, a nostris muneribus invitati, adversus Lodovicum Germaniae regem acriter permoventur, sed Domino pugnante vincuntur.

15. Annales Iuvavenses antiqui (Excerpta Aventini). 854. Rantopot comes plagis orientalibus terminum dimisit. Rastislao carmulam fecit. (‘Rastislao’, in this case, is nominative.)


16. Annales Fuldenses. 855. Rex quoque Hludowicus in Sclavos Margenses contra Rastizen ducem eorum sibi rebellantem parum prospere ducto exercitu sine victoria rediit, malens adversarium firmissimo, ut fertur, vallo munitum ad tempus dimittere quam militum suorum periculose pugnando damna sustinere. Magnam tamen provinciae partem praedis et incendiis vastavit exercitus non parvaraque multitudinem hostium castra regis invadere cupientium usque ad internitionem delevit, sed non impune; quia post reditum regis Rastiz cum suis insecutus plurima trans Danuvium finitimorum loca praedando vastavit.





This description does not mention a crossing of the Danube by any of the armies, although such notice would be expected if a large army traversed a major river while being pursued by the enemy. Even if it had been explicitly stated that such a crossing took place, the preposition trans in and of itself still would not indicate whether this crossing occurred from north to south or from south to north. The sentence quoted states solely that the devastated regions were across and along the Danube. We cannot tell from the text itself whether the phrase “trans Danuvium” means south or north of the Danube, nor is there any indication whether the settlements in question were close to present-day Vienna, Bratislava, or Belgrade. Of decisive importance is the fact that this reference to the Danube was written in Fulda, north of the Danube, from which point of view the phrase trans Danuvium, i.e., “across the Danube,” “on the far side of the Danube,” would mean “south of the Danube.” The description of the same event in the Herimanni Augiensis chronicon, although written in Reichenau, south of the Danube, also includes the reference trans Danuvium; [17] this fact, however, is without significance, because this part of the chronicle is copied from the Annals of Fulda.


As the description of events in 855 does not indicate that the Danube was ever crossed by the withdrawing forces of Louis or by the pursuing army of Rastislav, but only that the events took place south of and along the Danube, the conclusion is again manifest that the Moravia of Rastislav was somewhere in the territory of Pannonia.


In the following year (856) Louis the German entrusted the defenses of the Eastern Mark to his oldest son, Carloman. According to the Annales Iuvavenses antiqui, Carloman, in his new function as prefect, organized a military campaign, but because the manuscript of the annals is in part defective, it is not clear against whom the campaign was directed. There is no indication of the area of conflict or of the name of the enemy. [18] Nevertheless, some deductions can be made if we note that the conflict is reported in the Annals of Salzburg, but not in the Annals of Fulda. The annalist in Fulda noted for this year only that King Louis had conducted a campaign against the Daleminci Slavs on the river Elbe and that he had also made some



17. Herimanni chronicon. 855. Ludowicus rex Rastizen ducem Marahensium Sclavorum petens, vastata ex parte regione, subiugare nequivit. Quo reverso, Marahenses secuti, contigua trans Danubium loca vastant. Cf. also Annales Hildesheimenses, Annales Weisenburgenses, Annales Ottenburani, Annales Altahenses maiores, and Annales Lamberti.


18. Annales iuvavenses antiqui (Excerpta Aventini). 856. Carolomanus terminum acceptit procurandum, marchia orientalis ei commendatur. Congregatio exercitu contra hostes ceptumiter peri [. . .] imp.





of the Bohemian dukes his vassals. [19] It seems that the campaigns of King Louis and of Carloman were unrelated. Carloman’s main adversary was Rastislav.


It may be assumed, therefore, that Carloman’s conflict in 856 was an extension of the events of 855 along the eastern borders of the Eastern Mark. On the other hand. King Louis in 857 was obviously engaged north of Bavaria. Evidently, each annalist noted only events occurring in or around his own territory: the annalist in Salzburg was better informed about events along the eastern borders of Frankish possessions, south of the Danube, on territories controlled or claimed ecclesiastically by the bishop of Salzburg.


In 857 Sclavitag, son of a Bohemian duke, was expelled from Bohemia by a Frankish expedition and took refuge at the court of Rastislav. [20] This brief item about Sclavitag does not provide any indication of Moravia’s location, but Sclavitag’s arrival at the court of Rastislav is the first instance in which Bohemian and Moravian history is linked together. Up to that event, all conflicts between the Franks and the Bohemians had been conducted without the involvement of the Moravians and, on the other hand, events affecting the Moravians had not involved the Bohemians. While in 856 Carloman was engaged on the frontiers of the Eastern Mark (i.e., regions south of the Danube including Carinthia) the expedition against Sclavitag originated in Bavaria proper under the leadership of Otgarius, bishop of Eichstaett, Hruodoltus, comes palatti (of Louis), and Emustus, son of Markgraf Ernustus. It should be noted here that Sclavitag was not pursued by the Frankish expedition. The reason for this might be that the Bohemians were usually the concern of the Markgrafs from Bavaria proper, whereas the Moravians were kept in check by the Markgrafs of the Eastern Mark. The counts of these marches were not involved in the affairs of Bohemia or of the regions north of the Danube. The Eastern Mark was intended to be a bulwark defending Bavaria on the east mainly from attacks coming from Pannonia.


In the following year, 858, Louis the German was ready for a new attempt at pacifying his Slavic neighbors.



19. Annales Fuldenses. 856. Mense vero Augusto Hludowicus rex collecto exercitu per Sorabos iter faciens ducibusque eorum sibi coniunctus Dalmatas proelio superat acceptisque obsidibus tributarios facit; inde per Boemanos transiens nonnullos ex eorum ducibus in deditionem accepit. In que expeditione perierunt comites Bardo et Erpf cum aliis quam pluribus.


20. Annales Fuldenses. 857. Otgarius episcopus et Hruodoltus comes palatii et Ernustus filius Ernusti ducis cum hominibus suis in Boemanos missi civitatem Wiztrachi ducis ab annis multis rebellem occupaverunt, expulso ab ea Sclavitago filio Wiztrachi, qui tyrannidem tunc in ea exercebat. Quo per fugam lapso et ad Rastizen se conferente frater eius, qui ab eo patria pulsus apud Zistoboron Sorabum exulabat, ad regem fideliter veniens loco fratris dux constituitur. Cf. Herimanni chronicon, s. a. 857.





After a parley in Frankfurt, he dispatched three armies - one against the northern Obodrites and Linons, one against the northern Sorbs, and a third, under the command of his son, Carloman, against the Sclavi Margenses of Rastislav. [21] Evidently, there were no armed encounters between the Franks and the Moravians at that time, since Carloman and Rastislav had agreed to make peace, [22] a peace that lasted until 863.


Carloman, who now enjoyed friendly relations with Rastislav, revolted in 861 against his own father, Louis the German. In alliance with Rastislav, Carloman expelled the Markgrafs of Carinthia and of Frankish Pannonia and entrusted these territories to his own people. The forces of Rastislav were essential to Carloman’s occupation of parts of the East Frankish realm up to the river Inn. [23] This could only have been the territory west of Carinthia and south of the Tauern Alps, along the valleys of the rivers Drava and Sava toward the upper Inn valley and, obviously not along the Danube, as there is no evidence that Salzburg, east of the lower Inn, would have been affected by this expansion.


According to the document Conversio Bagoariorum, a basic source for the study of Carinthia and neighboring regions, Pribina, the count of Frankish Pannonia and de facto prince of the Slavs between the rivers Raba and Drava and Lake Balaton, was killed by the Moravians. [24] Pribina’s last recorded public function was at the court of Louis in Regensburg of February 20, 860. [25] It is possible that Pribina was killed during the fighting that resulted from Carloman’s revolt.



21. Annales Fuldenses. 858. (Rex Hludowicus). . . reversus in Franconofurt, cum multa de utilitate regni cum cum suis tractaret atque disponeret, tum etiam decrevit tres exercitus in diversos regni sui terminos esse mittendos: unum quidem per Karlomannum filium suum seniorem in Sclavos Margenses contra Rastizen, alterum vero per Hludowicum filium suum minorem in Obodritos et Linones, tercium autem per Thachulfum in Sorabos dicto oboedire nolentes, ut sedatis extrinsecus adversariorum tumultibus facilius intrinsecus regni gubernacula disponeret.


22. Annales Iuvavenses antiqui (Excerpta Aventini). 858. Rastizolao iureiurando pactum fecit cum Carolamano et coeperunt iterum instaurari deserta Boiorum; in pace et absque bello sedebant.


23. Annales Fuldenses. 861. Karlmannus quoque filiorum regis maximus res novas molitus est; expulit enim duces, quibus custodia comissa erat Pannonici limitis et Carantani, atque per suos marcam ordinavit. Quod regis animum rebellionem suspicantis non parum commovit. Annales Bertiniani. 861. Carlomannus, Hludowici regis Germaniae filius, cum Resticio Winidorum regulo foederatus, a patre deficit et Resticii auxilio magnam sibi partem usque ad Hin fluvium paterni regni praesumit. Auctarium Garstense. 861. Papo a Karlomanno expulsus a Karantana Salzburch sedere cepit.


24. Conversio Bagoariorum, c. 13. Anno igitur DCCCLXV. venerabilis archiepiscopus Iuvavensium Adalwinus nativitatem Christi celebravit in castro Chezilonis noviter Mosapurc vocato, quod illi successit moriente patre suo Priwina quem Maravi occiderunt. (Privina was not obviously a “Moravian” as normally assumed.)


25. Gradivo, v. 2, No. 169.





The territory of Pribina was evidently close to Moravian possessions. The participation of Rastislav in the events of 861 affecting Pribina’s Pannonia and Carinthia implies that the realm of Rastislav was in a strategically convenient location for his support of Carloman to be effective, hence somewhere south of the Danube.


The hostilities were ended in 862 by a solemn reconciliation in Regensburg between Carloman and his father, Louis the German. [26] The son was left in possession of the territories that had been given to him earlier or that he had occupied by force during the previous year. But before the year was over, Carloman revolted once more, again with the support of Rastislav. [27]


In the following year (863), Louis allowed the news to spread that he would move against Rastislav and that he expected support for this campaign from the Bulgars, who were allegedly approaching from the "east” (i.e., southeast). As a matter of fact, Louis proceeded against Carloman, "praelatus Carantanis,” and at the river Schwarzacha, on the northern border of Carinthia at the mountain pass of Semmering, encountered all of his son’s army. The leader of Carloman’s army, Count Gundakar, betrayed his master and joined forces with the king. Gundakar was subsequently made "praelatus Carantanis” in the place of Carloman. In this conflict Carloman was also deserted by Rastislav, who refused to cooperate in the hope of placating the king and thus avoiding the danger of a conflict on two fronts - against Louis and against the Bulgars. Totally isolated, Carloman begged and received his father’s forgiveness, but was placed under house arrest. [28]



26. Annales Fuldenses s.a. 862.


27. Annales Bertiniani. 862. Carlomanus, Hludowici regis Germaniae filius, concessasibi a patre regni portione quam pridem invaserat, et dato sacramento, ne amplius inde sine patris voluntate invaderet, cum patre pacificatur... Hludowicus ad reconciliandum vel ad resistendum filio suo Karlomanno, qui auxiliante Resticio Winidorum regulo contra patrem rebellaverat, Baiorariam petiit.


28. Annales Fuldenses. 863. Karlmannus filius regis, qui praelatus erat Carantanis tam multis criminibus et tam magnis apud patrem absens accusatus est, ut merito reus maiestatis haberi debuisset, si ea, quae in eum dicta sunt, ab accusatoribus probari potuissent. Quod regis animum adeo commovit, ut per se ipsum coram frequentia populi ui protestatus sit, Karlmannum filium suum ab eo tempore et deinceps, donec ipse viveret et regnaret, sua voluntate publicis honoribus numquam esse potiturum. Quo audito Karlmannus ab itinere, quo ad palatium ire coeperat, perterritus in Carinthiam se recepit, ibi tutari apud suos, quos sibi fideles arbitratus est, volens, donec patris ira quiesceret et ipse per internuntios veraces sibi fallaciter obiecta purgaret. Interea rex collecto exercitu specie quidem quasi Rastizen Margensium Sclavorum ducem cum auxilio Bulgarorum ab oriente venientium, ut fama fuit domaturus, re autem vera ad Carantanos filium expugnaturus accessit. Qui revera se ad id temporis defenderet, nisi proditione Gundachari comitis sui deciperetur incautus; qui totum pene robur exercitus secum habens quasi vada fluminis Swarzahae hostibus prohibiturus cum omnibus copiis transivit ad regem et praelatus est Carantanis, sicut ei prius occulte promissum est, si dominum suum fraude decepisset. Et hic quidem praefecturae dignitatem hoc modo promeruit. Karlmannus vero per iuramenta principům venit ad patrem, de obiectis sibi criminibus securus, quia innocens erat; et testimonio conscientiae fretus laetum se per omnia exhibebat atque iocondum. Annales Bertiniani. 863. Karolus ((II. Calvus)... et alium missum fratris sui Hludowici nomine Blitgarium accipit, petentem, ut Karlomannum, filium eius, a Restitiio Winido desertum et a se fugatum, si ad illum venerit, non recipiat. Quem non longo post tempore, deceptum atque desertum a suis, sub conditione sacramenti pater suus Hludowicus recepit et secum in libera custodia tenuit.





In the events of 862-63, there are several clues to the geographic location of Rastislav’s Moravia: (1) Carloman, who was in possession of Carinthia, could count upon and receive direct help from Rastislav of Moravia; (2) a campaign of Louis’ that was allegedly directed against Rastislav could suddenly be diverted to the valley of the river Schwarzacha on the southeastern border of present-day lower Austria; and (3) rumors were spread that Rastislav would be attacked both by Louis coming from Bavaria and the Bulgars coming from the southeast (the “east” of medieval geography). All of these facts support the earlier observation that the realm of Rastislav was located somewhere south of the Danube and cast of Carinthia.


In the year 864, after pacifying Carinthia and placing Carloman under house arrest, Louis moved directly against Rastislav. This event is mentioned in at least eight Frankish annals and is reflected also in papal correspondence of the time. There are four basic versions of the narrative, which tend to complement each other. Hincmar, archbishop of Reims, noted that Louis marched with his army to meet the king of the Bulgars and then proceeded to settle some problems in the “Winidorum marca.” [29] The place of the meeting, Tulln, was mentioned in a letter written by Pope Nicholas I. The same letter also mentions that the army of Louis was in readiness to proceed against Rastislav. [30]


The Herimanni chronicon notes some details about an expedition of Louis that resulted in the siege of a burg called Dovina and the subjection of Rastislav. [31] A more precise geographic reference for this event is provided by the Annales Fuldenses, in which we read,


“Hludowicus rex mense Augusto ultra Danubium cum manu valida profectus Rastizen in quadam civitate, quae lingua gentis illius Dowina dicitur, obsedit." [32]



29. Annales Bertiniani. 864. Hludowicus rex Germaniae hostiliter obviam Bulgarorum cagano — nomine, qui se Christianum fieri velle promiserat, pergit, inde ad componendam Winidorum marcam, si se prosperari viderit, perrecturus.

30. Nicolaus I papa ad Ludovici Germanici regis... XI. Quoniam nuntias, quod fidelis rex dispositum habeat venire Tullinam et deinde pacem cum rege Vulgarorum confirmare et Rastitium aut volendo aut nolendo sibi obedientem facere... Cf. Codex diplomatics et epistolaris regni Bohemiae, I. document No. 10.

31. Herimanni chronicon. 864. Ludowicus rex Germaniae Rastizen Marahensium ducem petens, et apud Dowinam castrum obsidens, iussos obsides dare et in iusiurandum subiectionis iterare coartat.





Some other annals mention under the year 864 only that fact that Louis, king of the Franks, subjugated Rastislav, king of the Moravians. [33]


The burg of Dovina has not yet been located. Efforts have been made to identify it with various localities north of the Danube. [34] However, the Annales Fuldenses, analyzed in isolation from other sources and presuppositions, conveys the meaning that the campaign, hence also the burg of Dovina, was south and not north of the Danube. From the point of view of the annalist writing in a monastery north of the Danube, the Latin phrase ultra Danubium denoted a location "across," ‘beyond," i.e., "south of," the Danube. The meeting of Louis with the ruler of the Bulgars in Tulln just before the conflict with Rastislav was, of course, also south of the Danube.


One should also note that of the eight annals and chronicles that report the conflict between Louis and Rastislav only the Annals of Fulda contain any reference to the Danube at all. For the other chronicles the Danube did not represent a useful point of reference.


Finally, a further geographic indication can be discerned from the information provided by Hincmar, archbishop of Reims. In Hincmar’s description, after the meeting with the Bulgar king, Louis proceeded to settle some problems in the Winidorum marca. In this description a crossing of the Danube is not mentioned, although such mention would be expected if the realm of Rastislav had been north of the Danube. The Winidorum marca is, however, attested in sources since the seventh century south of the Danube, somewhere in and around present-day Carinthia. [35] A campaign of Pepin in 797 was directed in Wenedum, in Pannonia. [36]



32. Annales Fuldenses, 864. Hludowicus rex mense Augusto ultra Danubium cum manu valida profectus Rastizen in quadam civitate, que lingua gentis illius Dowina dicitur, obsedit. At ille, cum regis exercitibus congredi non auderet atque loca sibi effugiendi denegata cerneret, obsides, quales et quantos rex preacepit, necessitate coactus dedit; insuper cum universis optimatibus suis fidem se cunctis diebus regi servaturum esse iuramento firmavit, licet illud minime servaverit.


33. E.g. Annales Hildesheimenses, Annales Weisemburgenses, Annales Ottenburani, and Annales Lamberti.

34. Cf. Magnae Moraviae fontes historici, vol. 1, p. 98. footnote 2; Lubomír Havlík, Velká Morava a středoevropští Slované (Prague, 1964), pp. 94, 100, 213.

35. Fredegarius Scholasticus. Lib. IV, c. 72. A document issued by Louis the German in 860 refers to the posessions of Pribina between the river Raba and lake Balaton as located in “Slougenzin marcha” (i.e. Slovenian Mark), a more colloquial equivalent of the scholarly (or German?, cf. “Wenden”) form "Winidorum marca." For the document see Gradivo 1, No. 169.

36. Annales Guelferbytani. 797. Karolus rex iterum in Saxonia... et transmisit Pippinum cum hoste in Wenedum, et aliam hostem in Hunia. (Pippin was operating from Italy.)





The terms Windische Mark, Wendenmark persisted throughout the Middle Ages as administrative definition of a part of former Carinthia.


The analysis of the several descriptions of the events of 864 provides no evidence for identifying the realm of Rastislav with a region north of the Danube, but there are sufficient indications to place the events affecting Rastislav and his Moravians ultra Danubium, i.e., south of the Danube as seen by the annalist in Fulda, and in the vicinity of Carinthia as indicated by Hincmar’s reference to Winidorum marca.


The conflict between Louis and Rastislav was carried over into 865. This time Werner (Werinhar) II, count of the territories west of the Vienna Woods, incited Rastislav against Louis. [37] Their conspiracy was probably caused by the return of Carloman to Carinthia, a turn of events that made several markgrafs in the east dissatisfied with the policies of Louis. The dissatisfaction and conspiracy resulted in an armed conflict between the Franks and the Moravians: Hincmar tells about the forces of Louis returning from a successful campaign “contra Winedos.” [38] It was Hincmar who had used the term Winidorum regulus for Rastiz in 861, and the term Winidorum marca for a region south of the Danube in 864, when Louis wanted to pacify Rastislav. There is no reason not to place the events of 865 also somewhere south of the Danube. The conspiring Frankish-Bavarian associates of Rastislav were defeated by Louis in an independent campaign organized during the summer of the next year. [39]


The reconciliation between Louis the German and his son, Carloman, accompanied by the division of the realm and the transfer of some possessions from Louis the Junior (a younger son of Louis the German) to Carloman, created new dissatisfaction within the royal family. This time (in 866) it was Louis the Junior who, through an emissary, sought the military support of Rastislav and of a group of dissatisfied counts, including Werner II, who had been deposed from his office the year before for plotting with Rastislav. Upon learning about the new complot, Louis the German entrusted the defence of Bavaria to Carloman.



37. Annales Fuldense. 865. Werinharius comes, unus ex primoribus Francorum, apud Hludowicum regem accusatus, quasi Rastizen suis hortationibus adversus eum incitasset, publicis privatus est honoribus.

38. Annales Bertiniani. 865. Hludowicus Germanorum rex hostem suam contra Winedos directam et prospere agentem recepit.

39. Annales Bertiniani. 866. Nortmanni mense Iunio ab insula secus monasterium Sancti Dyonisii movent... Hludowicus Germaniae rex contra quosdam suorum in marca adversus Winidos rebellionem molentes hostem movit. Quam praecendes, in brevi rebellantes sine conflictu domat et hostem nondum pene promotum domi residere mandavit. Nortmanni mense Iulio mare intrant...





Rastislav, out of respect for Carloman’s military efficiency, preferred not to invade Bavaria. [40] His decision may also have been prompted by the arrival of a Bulgar embassy in Regensburg. These envoys informed Louis the German that their king had accepted Christianity and that he requested missionaries for Bulgaria. [41] A new rapproachement between the Bulgars and the Franks placed Moravia in a strategically disadvantageous position.


The annals describing the events of 865-66 contain no specific geographic references, but show that Rastislav was involved in events affecting primarily Bavaria and Frankish Pannonia. He was in a position to pose a direct threat to Bavaria, but not across Bohemia; hence his realm must have been not north of the Danube, but possibly east of Carinthia and Frankish Pannonia.


The conflict between the Franks and Rastislav lasted for several years with some major developments taking place in 869. In that year Carloman made two attacks against Rastislav, in the first of which Rastislav lost his supporter Gundakar, formerly count of Carinthia. [42] This encounter took place sometime before the month of August.



40. Annales Fuldenses. 866. Hludowicus Hludowici regis filius graviter ferens, quod rex quaedam beneficia illi subtrahens Carlinanno fratri suo reddidit, patri molestus efficitur. Nam nuntiis per universam Thuringiam et Saxionam missis, quoscumque potuit, ad se traxit et contra regem rebellare disposuit; Werinharium quoque, Utonem et Berengarium comites a patre suo depositos suis adhibens consiliis pristinam eis dignitatem se restituturum esse promisit. Sed et Heimricum principem militiae suae ad Rastizen destinavit, obnixe postulans, ut eiusdem conspirationis fautor fore non recusaret. Quo comperto rex Carlmannum ad tuitionem Baioariae derelinquens concitus venit in Franciam et a suis undique confluentibus apud Franconofurt honorifice susceptus est et conspirationem exortam facile restinxit. Tanta etenim multitudo fidelium suorum cum eo tunc aderat, ut pars adversa, nisi timor filii eius adfuisset, ligari procul dubio potuisset. Interea Guntboldus quidam de satellitibus Carlmanni contra dominum suum dimicare volens amisso exercitu vix vivus evasit. Hludowicus vero mediante Liutberto archiepiscopo aliisque pacis amatoribus mense Novembrio apud Wormatiam patri suo reconciliatur.


Annales Bertiniani. 866. Hludowicus, Hludowici Germaniae regis filius, consilio Warnarii ac ceterorum, a quibus pater eius propter infidelitatem suam honores tulit, rixam contra patrem suum movit, concitato Restitio Winido, ut usque ad Baiowariam praedatum veniat, quatenus, in illis partibus occupato patre vel eius fidelibus, ipse liberius quod coepit prosequi posset. Sed Karlomanno, cui pater ipsam marcham dederat, satagente, Restitius intra sua se chiobet. Hludowicus autem senior in talibus experientia prudens, concite ad palatium quod Franconofurdh dicitur properat et, datis mutuo dextris, eundem filium suum ad se venire facit, ipsaeque dexterae usque 5. Kalendas Novembris manere invicem promittuntur. Slcque Hludowicus ad confirmandam marcham suam contra Restitiura velociter repedat, reversurus octavo die ante missam sancti Martini obviam fratri suo Karolo et nepoti suo Hlothario secus civitatem Mettensium.


41. Annales Fuldenses. 866. Legati Vulgarum Radesbonam ad regem venerunt, dicentes regem illorum cum populo non modico ad Christum esse conversum simulque petentes, ut rex ideones praedicatores Christianae religionis ad eos mittere non differret.


Additional information on Frankish-Bulgar relations in Annales Bertiniani, s.a. 866.


42. Annales Fuldenses 869. Sclavi, qui vocantur Behemi, terminos Baioariorum crebris incursionibus infestant et quasdam villas incendio tradentes mulieres inde duxere captivas. Contra quos Hludowicus rex tutores partium illarum interim misit, donec ipse oportuno tempore suorum vindicaturus iniurias in desertores arma corriperet. Carlmannus exercitibus Rastizi bis numero congressus victor extitit, praedam inde capiens non modicam, sicut ipse litteris ad patrem suum destinatis retulit. Sorabi et Siusli iunctis Behemis et ceteris circumcirca vicinis antiquos terminos Thuringiorum transgredientes plurima loca devastant et quosdam sibi incaute congredientes interficiunt.


Gundacar vassallus Carlmanni, qui multis periuriis et dolosis machinationibus Hludowico regi eiusque filiis saepenumero extitit infidelis et proprium dominum derelinquens ad Rastizen defecerat, contra patriam more Catilino dimicare volens occisus est.





In August of the same year, King Louis the German was prepared to pacify the neighbors of his realm in the east and the north. His son Louis was dispatched against the Polabian Sorbs, who, together with the Susli and Bohemians, were ravaging Thuringia. Carloman was assigned the task of subduing Sventopolk, who is first mentioned in the sources on this occasion. Sventopolk is named “nepos" of Rastislav. A third force, originally under the command of Louis the German, was readied to invade the possessions of Rastislav. But because of the sudden illness of Louis, the army was entrusted to Carl, his youngest son. Both Carloman and Carl succeeded in attaining their military objectives, and they congratulated each other as soon as the conflict was over. Louis the Junior also succeeded against the Polabian Sorbs and their supporters, the mercenary Bohemians. [43]


These events provide some further elements for defining the location of Rastislav’s Moravia. First of all, the three campaigns were independent of each other, and the forces sent against Rastislav and Sventopolk, although dispatched from Regensburg, did not proceed across Bohemia, as would have been expected had the Slavs of Rastislav and Sventopolk been situated north of the Danube. Also, the composition of the three Frankish armies may indicate their destination: the army composed of Thuringians and Saxons was engaged against the Sorbs and Bohemians, all of whom inhabited areas north of the Danube; the two armies sent against Rastislav and Sventopolk were formed from contingents of



43. Annales Fuldenses. 869. Mense vero Augusto rex Hludowicus collectis copiis in tres partes divisit exercitum: nam aequivocum suum cum Thuringiis et Saxonibus ad comprimendam Sorabum audaciam destinavit, Baioarios vero Carlmanno in adiutorium for praecepit contra Zuentibaldum nepotem Rastizi dimicare volenti, ipse autem Francos et Alamannos secum retinuit adversum Rastizen pugnaturus. Cumque iam proficiscendum esset, aegrotare coepit; unde necessitate conpulsus Karolum filiorum suorum ultimum eidem exercitui praefecit Domino exitum rei commendans. Qui dum cum exercitu sibi commissio in illam ineffabilem Rastizi munitionem et omnibus antiquissimis dissimilem venisset, Dei auxilio fretus omnia moenia regionis illius cremavit incendio et abscondita quaeque in silvis vel defossa in agris reperiens cum suis diripuit omnesque sibi congredientes fugere compulit vel interfecit. Nec minus Carlmannus regnum Zuentibaldi nepotis Rastizi igne et gladio depopulatur: vastataque omni regione Karolus et Carlmannus fratres convenerunt, de victoria sibi caelitus data gratulantes. Interea Hludowicus frater illorum cum Sorabis manum conserens primo quidem quibusdam occisis hostes terga vertere coegit; deinde vero non modica ex eis multitudine prostrata et Behemis, qui a Sorabis mercede conducti fuerant, partim occisis partira turpiter ad sua redeuntibus ceteros in deditionem accepit.





Bavarians, Franks, and Alemanns, tribes that were located mainly south of the Danube. Lastly, Carloman of Carinthia, who was sent against Sventopolk, must surely have been entrusted with tasks around his own realm, i.e., somewhere south of the Danube. [44] The forces under the command of Carloman marched from Bavaria toward the realm of Sventopolk across Baden, a place south of present-day Vienna: an unlikely stopover, should the destination of the army have been a region north of the Danube. It is clear that the account of the events of 896 cannot support a contention that the realms of Sventopolk and of Rastislav were north of the Danube.


Historians have paid scant attention to the fact that the campaigns against Rastislav and Sventopolk were independent of each other. There was no coordination between the two invading or the two resisting armies. The possibility exists, therefore, that the realms of Rastislav and Sventopolk were two independent political entities, although possibly connected by some ties of patrimonial ownership, for Sventopolk was nepos of Rastiz. [45] This possibility, suggested by the occurrence of two unrelated campaigns, becomes a certainty if we take into account that patrimonial principalities were basically independent allodial possessions. This observation explains the yet unnoticed contrast contained in the phrases used in the Herimanni chronicon: “the whole of the Moravia” of Rastiz and “the regnum of Sventopolk.“ The implication of the text is that the realm of Sventopolk was not part of what was considered the “whole of Moravia,“ but an entity outside Moravia. [46]


As a result of the campaigns of 869, Sventopolk subordinated his “regnum“ and himself to Carloman, thus alienating himself from his uncle Rastislav. The ensuing family feud led in 870 to the capture of Rastislav by Sventopolk. The captive was handed over to Carloman of Carinthia and condemned to death by his Frankish, Bavarian, and Slavic peers.



44. Cf. J. F. Böhmer and E. Miihlbacher, Regesta imperii, vol. i (Innsbruck, 1900), No. 1473b: “869.. .contigit piissimum Karlmannum, Hludovici regis filium, ire orientales partes cum caterva non modica veniens ad Padun.”

45. For the use of term “nepos” see notes 46 and 47.


46. Herimanni chronicon. 869. Ludowicus rex... tres filios suos cum totidem exercitibus contra diversos miserat hostes. E quibus Karolus caeteris iunior, cunctis Rastizi munitionibus captis, totam Marahensem regionem ferro, igne praedaque vastavit, Karlomannus regnumque Zuentibaldi, nepotis Rastizi, nihilominus depopulatur...


The same is evident from the following annalistic notations: Annales Fuldenses, s.a. 870: Zuentibald nepos Rastizi propriis utilitatibus consulens se Carlomanno una cum regno, quod, tenebat, tradidit. . . Karlmannus vero regnum illius (i.e., Rastizi) nullo resistente ingressus cunctas civitates et castella in deditionem accepit; et ordinato regno atque per suos disposito ditatusque gaza regia revertitur. Herimanni chronicon, s.a. 870: Zuentibaldus cum regno suo Karlomanno se tradidit...





King Louis, however, commuted the sentence to blinding and confinement in a monastery. [47]


The description of these events, although recorded in detail in three annals, gives no information that would help to determine the geographic location of the two realms. It should be noted once more, however, that it was Carloman of Carinthia to whom Sventopolk subordinated himself and it was that same Carloman to whom Rastislav was delivered. Since 865, the marches along the Danube had been entrusted to Engilscalk and Willihelm, counts of Carloman. Since Carloman’s owr jurisdiction over Carinthia did not cover areas directly south of the Danube, the conclusion should be drawn that the events of 896 involving Carloman and Sventopolk took place in the vicinity of Carinthia.


In the following year, 871, there was a new conflict along the eastern borders of the Frankish realm, this time only between Sventopolk and Carloman. Carloman accused Sventopolk of disloyalty and imprisoned him. In the meantime, the “Sclavi Marahenses," assuming that their prince Rastislav had perished, elected in his place a relative of his named Sclagamar. The accusations voiced against Sventopolk, however, turned out to be without foundation. He was released from captivity and with the support of some forces of Carloman he undertook to fight against Sclagamar. At an opportune moment he entered the burg or town of Rastislav (antiqua urbs Rastizi), but instead of expelling Sclagamar, he joined the Moravians and, with large forces, turned upon the Bavarians entrusted to his command. [48]



47. Annales Bertiniani. 870. Karolus. . . mense Maio ad Attiniacum venit; ubi et duodecim missos fratris sui Hludowici pro divisione regni acceptit; qui superciliose tam de sanitate corporis Hludowici quam de prosperitate - quia Resticium Winidum, sibi diutino tempore infestissimum, tam dolo quam bello captum —


Hludowicus. . . ad Reghinisburch pergens, Restitium Winidorum regulum, a Karlomanno per dolum nepotis ipsius Restitii captum et aliquandiu in custodia detentum, post iudicium mortis excaecari et in monasterium mitti praecepit. ..


Annales Fuldenses. 870. Hludowicus rex... circa Kalendas Novembris in Baioariam profectus est; ibique cum suis colloquium habens Rastizen gravi catena ligatum sibi praesentari iussit eumque Francorum iudicio et Baioariorum necnon Sclavorum, qui de diversis provincis regi munera deferentes aderant, morte damnatum luminibus tantum oculorum privari praecepit.


Cf. also Herimanni chronicon, s.a. 870.


48. Annales Fuldenses. 871. Zuentibald nepos Rastizi apud Karlmannum infidelitis crimine insimulatus in custodiam missus est. Sclavi autem Marahenses ducem suum periss putantes quendam presbyterum eiusdem ducis propinquum nomine Sclagamarum sibi in principem constituunt, ei minantes interitum, ni ducatum super eos susciperet. Qui eisdem necessitate coactus assensum praebens contra Engilscalcum et Willihelmum duces Karlmanni proelia movere et eos ex obsessis civitatibus expellere nititur. Illi vero adversus hostem pari inten tione dimicantes et nonnullos de exercitu eius prosternentes eum fugere complerunt. . .


Interea Zuentibald, cum nullus crimina, quae ei obiecta fuerant, probare potuisset, a Karlmanno dimissus et muneribus regiis honoratus in regnum suurn rediit, ducens secum Karlmanni exercitum quasi Sclagamarum expugnaturus; sic enim per dolum Karlmanno promiserat, si ei ad patriam reditus concederetur. Sed sicut solet incautos et de se praesumentes sequi ignominia, sic illi contigit exercitui; nam Zuentibald ceteris castramentantibus urbem antiquam Rastizi ingressus est statimque Sclavisco more fidem mentitus et iuramenti sui oblitus non ad expugnandum Sclagamarum, sed ad ulciscendam contumeliam a Karlmanno sibi illatam vires studiumque convertit. Denique Daioarios nihil mali suspicantes et minus se observantes cum magno exercitu in castris aggressus est et multos ex eis vivos comprehendit ceteris pene omnibus occisis, exceptis his, qui se prius prudenter de castris subtraxerant; omnisque Noricorum laetitia de rnultis retro victoriis conversa est in luctum et lamentationem. Quibus auditis Karlmannus de exercitus sui interitu nimium consternatus est et necessitate compulsus omnes obsides, qui in suo regno erant, iussit colligi et Zuentibaldo reddi; vixque unum virum nomine Ratbodonem inde seminecem recepit.


Cf. also Annales Bertiniani, s.a. 871, and Herimanni chronicon, s.a. 871. It is usually assumed in modern historiography that Sclagamar was elected prince to replace Sventopolk.





Sventopolk was not in possession both of the realm of Rastislav with its "urbs“ and of his own patrimonium.


Independently of the events in and around the realm of Carloman and the conflicts with the Moravians and Sventopolk, King Louis had to undertake military action against the Bohemians, who were planning to invade Bavaria. In charge of the Bavarian contingents were Arno, bishop of Wuerzburg, and Rudolf, rnarkgraf of the Bohemian Mark.


This conflict, obviously occurring north of the Danube, evidently had no connection with developments in Moravia. However an episode in this Bavarian-Bohemian encounter did affect the Moravians also. According to the Annales Fuldenses the Bohemians constructed some fortifications along the border zone and built some traps against those (Bavarians) who were guarding the frontier. By sheer coincidence an entourage of a Moravian was returning home from Bohemia at this time, bringing with them the daughter of a Bohemian prince, the intended bride of the unspecified Moravian. As the entourage was leaving Bohemian territory, it was promptly attacked by the men of Bishop Arno of Wurzburg. The fleeing Moravians, pursued by the Bavarians, were still able to reach the Bohemian encampment along the border, but, because of the traps set by the Bohemians, the Moravians had to abandon their horses. None of the Moravians were killed or captured, but 644 fully equipped horses fell into the hands of the Bavarians. [49]



49. Annales Fuldenses. 871. Rex vero mense Octobrio cum suis colloquium habuit in Franconofurt; inde in Baioariam profectus contra Behemos inruptionem in regnum suum molientes tutores partium suarum misit, Arnum videlicet episcopum et Ruodoltum comitem aliosque cum eis. Adversarii autem quendam locum vallo firmissimo circumdederunt, iter angustum in ipso aditu facientes ad insidias scilicet illorum, qui terminos observabant, ut, si forte aliquis ex illis illuc veniret, in ipso angusto itinere nusquam declinare valens occideretur. Interea Sclavi Marahenses nuptias faciunt, ducentes cuiusdam ducis filiam de Behemis; quod cum supradicti viri, id est Arn et alii, qui cum eo erant, comperissent, ilico armati adversarios sequebantur. Illi autem fugientes ad vallum memoratum ignari venerunt; ibique propter loci angustiam equis et armis derelictis vix nudi evaserunt. Nostrates vero supervenientes DCXLIIII equos cum frenis et sellis atque eiusdem numeri scuta, quae fugientes dimiserant, invenerunt; et haec nullo resistente tollentes ad castra laeti reversi sunt.





If we now repeat the question of our investigation, namely, where was Moravia located, then the answer is that it was not contiguous with Bohemia, but rather separated from it by territories controlled by the Bavarians. In order to reach Moravia from Bohemia one had to pass through some border zone separating Bohemia from Bavarian-controlled territory. The incident was unexpected for the Bavarians and was definitely a surprise to the Moravians. A minimum of conjecture would suggest that the Moravians were about to leave Bohemian territory toward the south, crossing a zone that by coincidence was under surveillance of forces dispatched there to prevent a possible Bohemian invasion of Bavaria’s interior (as of the ninth century). Since the Moravians were heading southward, then their route obviously led toward a crossing point on the Danube. The retinue, composed of over six hundred armed Moravians, represented a formidable force prepared to handle any emergency in their passage through enemy territory save this unexpected encounter in no man’s land. Indeed, a retinue of the size of six hundred would be expected only if the bride’s journey had to be protected on the way through territory where some enemy might be expected. This could not have been the case in a transit from Bohemia directly to the valley of the northern Morava river.


Sventopolk’s treason in 871 had its consequences in the following year, when a more concentrated effort was made by King Louis and his son Carloman to subdue their formidable enemy. The king first dispatched the Thuringians and Saxons to assist Carloman against the Moravians, and when they were defeated, some Franks were sent in support. Although these forces were also repulsed, the land of the Moravians suffered extensive devastation. While Carloman was ravaging the Moravian countryside, Sventopolk dispatched some scouts to attack a Bavarian detachment guarding the boats of the expedition on the banks of the Danube. Only a few Bavarians managed to escape this ambush, among them Embricho, bishop of Regensburg. [50]



50. Annales Fuldenses. 872. Mense autem Maio misit Thuringios et Saxones contra Sclavos Marahenses, qui, quoniam regem secuum non habebant et inter se concordes esse nolebant, idcirco hostibus terga verterunt et plurimis suorum amissis turpiter redierunt; ita ut quidam comites in illa expeditione fugientes a mulierculis illius regionis verberati et de equis in terram fustibus deiecti referantur. Iterum quidam de Francia mittuntur Karlmanno in auxilium contra Sclavos supradictos: alii destinantur contra Behemos. Qui Dei adiutorio freti duces quinque quorum ista sunt nomina: Zuentislan, Witislan, Heriman, Spoitimar, Movslan cum maxima multitudine sibi rebellare nitentes Dei auxilio freti in fugam verterunt et alios quidem occiderunt, alios vero in fluvio Waldaha submerserunt; qui autem evadere potuerunt, in civitates defecerunt. Deinde parte non modica illius provinciae depopulata incolumes reversi sunt. In hac expeditione Liutbertus archipiescopus primatum tenuit. Hi vero, qui Karlmanno missi sunt in auxilium, id est Arn episcopus et Sigihartus abbas Fuldensis monasterii, quamvis fortiter hostes premendo pugnassent, plurimis tamen suorum amissis cum magna difficultate regressi sunt. Sed dum Karlmannus caedes et incendia in Marahensibus exercuisset, Zuentibald misso clam exercitu copioso Biaoarios, qui ad tuendas naves in litore Histri fluminis relicti fuerant, occupavit et alios occidit, alios necavit in flumine, alios vero duxit captivos; nullusque inde nisi Embricho Radasbonae civitatis episcopus cum paucis evasit.


Herimanni chronicon. 872. Ludowicus rex, pacificatis secum et inter se filiis, regni post se particionem disposuit. Exercitus contra Marahenses missus, cum sine duce sibi dissentiret, ab hostibus victus, caesus et ludibrio habitus, turpiter aufugit. Liudpertus archiepiscopus cum exercitu in Boernanos missus, quinque duces eorum pugna vicit, et regionem ex parte vastavit. Kariomannus Marahenses vastat. Sed custodes navium eibus a hostibus trucidati sunt, Embricone Ratisbonae episcopo vix fuga elapso.





This reference to the Danube again allows us to pose the question whether Moravia was north or south of that river. The fact that troops and supplies were moved along the Danube, in and of itself, gives no support to either of the two possibilities. The Danube was used by Charlemagne for transportation during his pacification of Pannonia, a territory south of that river. [51] What seems to be of importance, however, is that the original Latin text of the Annales Fuldenses describes the ambush as occurring on the river Hister, and not on Danubius. Although both forms, Hister and Danubius/Danuvius, are names for the same river, i.e., the Danube, the author of the Annales Fuldenses apparently makes a distinction between the two, as was customary - in fact, proper - in classical writings: Danubius was used for the upper reaches of the river, from the source to the point where it is joined by Drava or the Sava, or even the Tisza rivers, and Hister for the lower stretch from the Drava, Sava or Tisza to the Black Sea. There are, however, cases where both forms are used for the whole river from its source to the Black Sea or for the combination of the river Sava and lower Danube. [52]


It could be argued that the author of the Annals of Fulda used both terms interchangeably, depending upon the source he happened to be using for his compilation. It seems, however, that he made a sophisticated and conscious distinction because in 884 in the same chronicle, in one and the same paragraph, the annalist, who was most probably also the author of the 871 entry, uses both the forms Ister and Danubius with the possible, or even obvious and necessary, distinction between the upper and lower sections of the Danube. [53] It should be added that it was the Annalist of Fulda who recorded the description of the Moravian ambush on the Ister.



51. Cf. note 7 on page 33.

52. Cf. Słownik Starożytności Słowiańskich, s.v. ‘Dunaj’; Paulys Real-Encyklopedie, s.v. ‘Danuvius’.

53. Cf. note 63 on page 55.





The sources of his information could have been none other than Embricho, Bishop of Regensburg, one of the few survivors of the disaster on the Ister, and Sigihart, the abbot of the monastery of Fulda, who also participated in the campaign. Unless we can prove that the author of the Annales Fuldenses was wrong in using the term “Ister,” we have to assume that he had in mind the stretch of the Danube bordering on Pannonia secunda (Sirmiensis) on the north and east (from the confluence of the Danube and the Drava to that of the Danube and the Sava). It is to this region that the entry in the Annales Iuvavenses antiqui refers, where it is stated that Carloman advanced to the “most remote” regions of the Moravians. [54]


A note should be added on the participation of Thuringians and Saxons in support of Carloman’s campaign against the Moravians. Saxons and Frisians were employed by Charlemagne in his campaign of 791 against the Pannonian Avars. In 820 Saxons were used against Ljudevit, prince of the Slavs in Pannonia, south of the Drava, [55] and in 846 they were again employed when Rastislav was appointed prince in Pannonia. [56]


The defeats that Carloman suffered in 872 did not lead to a peace settlement. In the following spring hostilities were renewed, this time probably on Sventopolk’s initiative. An Alemann by the name of Berehtram, who had been captured by Sventopolk the previous year, was released from captivity and entrusted with some message to be delivered to Louis the German. [57] The substance of this message is not known, but it must have been unpleasant in tone or content. This may be deduced from the fact that it was entrusted to Berehtram under oath; otherwise he would probably not have agreed to deliver it to the king. At any rate the message did not lead to peace but rather perpetuated the conflict.


In August of 873 Carloman of Carinthia had to request his father, Louis, to come to his aid to the "marcha contra Winidos” if the king wished to see him alive. It was not until November that Louis managed, by sending out his own envoys, to arrange a peace settlement. [58]



54. Annales Iuvavenses antiqui (Excerpta Aventini). 872. Carolomanus cum exercitu ultimos fines Moravorum intendit; predatus victor rediit.

55. Cf. note

56. See text preceding note.

57. Annales Fuldenses. 873. Quidam etiam de Alamannia nomine Berehtrammus, qui superiore anno in Marahensibus Sclavis fuerat comprehensus, a Zuentibaldo dimissus venit ad regem et legationem sibi ab eodem duce iniunctam retulit, sicut prius iuramento constrictus se facturum esse pollicitus est.

58. Annales Bertiniani. 873. Hludowicus rex Germaniae apud Mettis civitatem placitum suum tenere disponens, nuncium accepit, quod, nisi citissime filio suo Karlomanno in marcha contra Winidos subveniret, illum ultcries non videret... Ad Reghinisburg autem perveniens, per missos suos Winidos sub diversis principibus constitutos modo quo potuit sibi reconcilivait; legatos autem ab illis qui Behim dicuntur cum dolo missos suscipiens, in carcerem misit.


On precize dating of the events cf. E. Muehlbacher, Regesta Imperii, vol. I, s.a. 873.





Carloman, being in direct control of Carinthia, must have been attacked on his own territory. The “marcha contra Winidos" must, therefore, have included Carinthia and possibly also parts of Frankish-controlled Lower Pannonia. There is no indication that the conflict extended to territories along the Danube. At the time of the conflict Frankish Upper Pannonia was controlled by Arbo. The analysis of sources pertaining to the events of 873 leads once more to the observation that the conflict between Sventopolk and Carloman was on a territory around or in Carinthia.


The reconciliation between King Louis and the Winidi was concluded by a formal oath of allegiance by Sventopolk. An embassy from the Moravians was sent to Louis under the leadership of a certain priest, John of Venice, who swore that Sventopolk would remain loyal until his death and that he would pay the annual tribute as imposed by the king. [59] The presence of a priest from Venice as the main spokesman of the Moravian embassy would be rather unusual if Moravia had been located north of the Danube. If, however, Moravia was located south of the Danube and included territories even south of the Drava, more precisely in parts of Pannonia Secunda, the functioning of a Venetian priest on behalf of Sventopolk would not be surprising.


The division of the East Frankish realm of Louis in 876 resulted in Carloman’s being assigned Bavaria, Frankish Pannonia ,Carinthia, and the domains (regna) of the Bohemian and Moravian Slavs. [60] Carloman thus became king of the Bavarians with control over adjacent regions.



59. Annales Fuldenses. 874. Rex autem Hludowicus in ebdomada paschali Fuldense monasterium petiit causa orationis et inde refersus generalem habuit conventum in villa Tribure. Inde in Italiam per Alpes Noricas transiens cum Hludowico nepote suo et Iohanne Romano pontifice haud procul ab urbe Verona colloquium habuit. Indeque rediens cum Karlmanno et Hludowico filiis suis in villa Forahheim locutus est ibique legatos Zuentibaldi pacem petentes et fidelitatem promittentes sucepit. Cuius legationis princeps erat Iohannes presbyter de Venetiis, qui etiam, ut ei rex omni ambiguitate remota crederet, quicquid verbis dicebat, sacramento firmabat, videlicet ut Zuentibald regi fidelis permaneret cunctis diebus vitae suae et censum a rege constitutum per annos singulos solveret, si ei tantummodo quiete agere et pacifice vivere concederetur. Behemorum quoque nuntia rex audivit et absolvit et post haec in Baioariam se recepit.


Herimanni chronicon. 874. Idem [Ludowicus rex Germaniae] cum Zuentibaldo duce Marahensium, subiectionem per legatos promittente et fidem consumque annuum pollicente, pacem fecit, Boemanosque idem facientes suscepit.


60. Reginonis chronicon. 876. Carlomannus sortitus est Baioariam, Pannoniam et Carnutum, quod corrupte Carantanum dicitur, nec non et regna Sclavorum, Behemensium et Marahensium.





It was probably also on this occasion that Carloman, as king of the Bavarians, entrusted the direct control of Carinthia to his son Arnulf. This is implicit from the entry in the Reginonis chronicon under the year 880 where it is noted that upon Carloman’s death, his successor Louis Junior allowed Arnulf to control the same Carinthia that had earlier been given to him by his father. [61]


In respect to the geographic location of Moravia the chronicling of events for these years sheds little light. At most we may assume only that in 876 the regna of the Bohemians and Moravians bordered at some spot on the provinces given to Carloman, i.e., Bohemia upon Bavaria proper and Moravia upon Frankish Pannonia, a subdivision of Carinthia. A more precise definition of Moravia’s geographic location will emerge, however, if we note that Carloman received the share of the realm that his father himself acquired from Louis the Pious during the division of the realm in 817. [62] The parallel presentation of the relevant fragments of the two acts of the division will serve as basis for further interpretations:



If we eliminate from the two columns Bavaria, Carinthia, and the Bohemians, entities that appear in both divisions, then what remains is an equation: on the one side the Avars and the Slavs east of Bavaria; on the other, Pannonia and the Moravians. “Pannonia" in 876 obviously refers to the Frankish part of Pannonia, the territory east of Carinthia, toward Lake Balaton. The remainder of Pannonia, toward the east and south, must, therefore, constitute the regnum Sclavorum Marahensium. Although there were fluctuations in the exact delimitation of Frankish-controlled territories in the east, such fluctuations occurred only south of the Danube and not east of Bohemia.



61. Reginonis chronicon. 880. Ludowicus comperto, quod frater obiisset, Baioariam ingressus Reganasburch venit, ubi omnes optimates regni ad eum confluentes eius ditioni se subdiderunt. Concessit autem idem rex Arnulfo Carantanum, quod ei pater iam pridem concesserat...

62. Gradivo vo. 2, No. 51; Monumenta Germaniae historica, Leges I. p. 198.





In the division of 817 the only region north of the Danube is Bohemia. As there had been no detectable changes north of the Danube since 817 and as the Moravians mentioned in the division of 876 must correspond to the Slavs of the division in 817, their abodes should be located, according to the definition of the source, east of Bavaria, thus south of the Danube.


In 882 Sventopolk became involved in a domestic quarrel among some of the Frankish-Bavarian nobles. He supported Arbo, the markgraf of the marches south of the Danube, who had been challenged as markgraf by the sons of Willihelm and Engilscalk, the two counts who had formerly controlled these regions. The Willihelms and Engilscalks claimed the right of succession to their fathers’ former positions, but they were unsuccessful. In the ensuing conflict, Sventopolk, while supporting Arbo, saw a chance to take revenge upon the two families that had occupied parts of Moravia in 870-71. In the course of events, his forces captured Werner, one of the sons of Engilscalk, as well as Count Vezzilo and some of their followers. [63]



63. Annales Fuldenses. 884. Quippe Pannonia magnum detrimentum patitur; cuius rei unde exordium narratur assumpsisse, stilo enucleamus. Igitur cum duo fratres, Willihalmus et Engilscalchus, terminum regni Baiowariorum in oriente a rege, id est seniore Hludowico, concessum contra Maravanos tenuerunt multaque pro patria tuenda conflictando sudasse feruntur, tandem diem ultimum huius aeris in eadem voluntate finivere permanentes, non vero esset honor illorum filiis redditus, Arbo in comitatum domno rege concedente successit. Quod praedictorum virorum pueruli illorumque propinqui in contrarium accipientes dixerunt alterutrum fieri, vel Arbonem comitem, si non recederet de comitatu parentum suorum, vel se ipsos ante faciem gladii morituros. Hoc experimento Arbo concussus amiciciam iniit cum Zuentibaldo duce Maravorum gentis firmataque inter illos foedera filium suum obsidem fieri non tardavit. Nec minus ipsi praedicti pueri consulunt quosdam primores Baiowarici gentis collatisque propinquis ac undique copiis fortior manus in id tempus illis adstabitur; comitem a rege constitutum inhonorifice expellebant comitatumque illis in usum usurpaverunt. Hoc ergo factum est post obitum regis Hluduwici natorumque eius Carlmanni et Hluduwici, quorum successor frater illorum minimus in regno extitit. Qui mox prout antea tenuit, Arboni preadictum comitatum reddidit; sed tamen ex hac re cottexta, ut praediximus, detrimentum Pannoniam sentire IIII versiculis prose intertextis ad suavitatem legentis, quonam modo hoc fieret, pandemus:


Omne dicit Iesus fieri non stabile regnum

In se dividuum et nil dissociabile firmum;

Hinc dolus, anxietas tibi, formosissima tellus,

Hinc labor exoritur, quondam Pannonia felix.


Igitur eodem anno, quo illi pueri praedictum comitem id est Arbonem, a rege commendatorum exortem fieri honorum impetraverunt, Zwentibaldus dux Maravorum, plenum doli et astutiae cerebrum, non inmemor utriusque, quanta ab antecessoribus istorum puerorum cum gente sua, usque dum ad illos terminum Baiowariorum praetenderunt, passus sit mala, insuper etiam amicitie ac iuramenti, quae cum Arbone iniit pepigitque, ad hoc vindicare proficiscitur et perfecit. Nam de septentrionali parte Histri fluminis apprehenso Werinhario de pueris Engilscalchi, qui tres habuit, mediocri, Vezzilloni quoque comiti, qui illorum propinquus erat, dexteram manum cum lingwa et — monstrum simile - verenda vel genitalia, ut nec signaculo desistente absciderunt; homines vero illorum quosdam sine dextra levaque reversi sunt. Exercitus scilicet iussu ducis igne devastat omnia; insuper ultra Danubium missis specularotibus, ubicumque proprietas vel substantia praedictorum fit puerorum, igni tradita sine mora est.


(This quotation is continued in note 65.)





Unfortunately, the sentence in the Annals of Fulda that would be of especial importance in determining Moravia’s location is not at all clear: "Nam de septentrionali parte Histri fluminis apprehenso Werinhario... dexterum manum... absciderunt.” This sentence may imply that Werner came from the northern bank of the Danube (“de septentrionali parte Histri fluminis”), and not that the main conflict took place on the northern bank of the Danube. The sentence might rather be interpreted to mean that only the kidnapping or “apprehending" occurred north of the Danube. If this is the meaning, the stress on the fact that the event occurred “north of the Danube” leads one to surmise that this was an unexpected situation: it did not happen south of the river, as might have been expected by the reader. In fact it should be noted that all the territories contested by Arbo and the sons of Willihelrn and Engilscalk, as well as the fighting, were actually south of the Danube, although the sons’ main possessions were north of that river. Hence the “apprehending” could well have taken place in the north.


This tentative interpretation of the text may be strengthened by the passage where we read that “insuper ultra Danubium missis speculatoribus, ubicumque proprietas vel substantia praedictorum fit puerorum, igni tradita sine more est.”


The phrase ultra Danubium in this text should be compared with the phrase trans Danubium used earlier in the same Annales Fuldenses. As has already been indicated, the phrase trans Danubium when used by the annalist writing in Fulda would mean “south of the Danube". The supposition is that ultra Danubium would also refer to the south side of the river. However, the section of the annals in which this sentence appears was written not in Fulda, but in Regensburg, itself located on the south bank of the Danube. Thus, ultra Danubium, the destination of Sventopolk’s scouts, appears to refer to the “north” bank of the Danube. Therefore, the devastation by Sventopolk’s scouts must have been carried out, not south of the Danube on the territory held by and claimed for Arbo, but in the north, where, indeed, were the allodial properties of the Willihelms and Engilscalks, [64] from which they derived logistic support.


Arbo was restored to office by Charles the Fat, a fact that prompted



64. Cf. Lubomír Havlík, “Die alten Slaven im österreichischen Donaugebiet,” Österreich in Geschichte und Literatur 9 (1965), No. 4, 192, and Michael Mitterauer, Karolingische Markgrafen im Südosten (Vienna, 1963), 178-88 [Archiv für österreichische Geschichte, vol. 123].





the Engilscalk and Willihelm families to seek protection at the court of Arnulf, "qui tunc Pannoniam tenuit.” Sventopolk demanded that Arnulf refuse protection to his enemies, who, he alleged, had incited the Bulgars in the preceding year (i.e., 882) to attack the Moravians. Obviously he meant the Engilscalks and Willihelms. Arnulf refused, however, and Sventopolk then ravaged Arnulf’s possessioris in Pannonia with a large army. As a result of these prolonged wars all of Frankish Pannonia was annihilated ("Pannonia de Hraba flumine ad Orientem tota deleta est”). The annalist reported one invasion in 883 and another in 884. [65] In neither case is the Danube mentioned, an indication that the base of Sventopolk’s operations and the destination of his campaigns were south of that river, in Pannonia.


The Danube is mentioned, however, in connection with subsequent events, namely, after the campaign against Arnulf, when a detachment of Sventopolk’s forces had been dispatched to the Danube. The young Engilscalks and Willihelms, upon learning of the move, themselves proceeded against Sventopolk:



65. Annales Fuldenses. (A continuation of the citation in note 63) 884. Hoc scandalum antelati puerilis consilii spatio unius anni sentitur; hinc equidem non confidentibus a rege pueris aliquid boni propter delicturu, quod in Arbone commisere, recesserunt statueruntque fieri homines Arnolfi, Carlmanni regis filii, qui tunc Pannoniam tenuit. Quo audito Zwentibaldus dux misit nuntios ad eum, ait alii: ‘Inimicos meos sustentas; si eos non dimiseris, nec me tecum pacificatum habebis’. Alteram etiam occasionem adversus eum protulit: ‘Tui homines in vitam meam nec minus in regnum meum dolose cum Vulgaris conciliaverunt’, qui priore anno suum regnum vastavere, ‘hoc volo mihi cum iuramento verum non esse contestari; quorum neutrum umquam se facturum Arnolfus renuntiavit. Itaque dux non diu collectis ex omni parte Sclavorurn copiis magno cum exercitu invadit Pannoniam, inmaniter ac cruenter more lupi mactat, igne et ferro rnaximam partem devastat, deterit et consumit, ita ut non inmerito istam ad miseriam hic versus conponi:


Hic patrie planctus simul et miserabile funus.


Quo acto dolore per antefatum puerile consilium spatio uuius anni dux cum exercitu suo non lesus remeavit in sua.


Ceterum vero instanti anno, quo ista conputamus, iterum dux coagulata multitudine hostiliter in Pannoniam hostilem exercitum infert, ut, si quid antea remaneret, nunc quasi ore lupi per totum devorasset. Tanta enim multitudine in isto itinere pollebat, ut in uno loco ab ortu usque ad vesperum lucis exercitus eius preterire cernitur. Curn tanta enim multitudine in regno Arnolfi per XII dies exspoliando versabatur, demum, prout voluit, prospere reversus est, postea quoque missa quadam exercitus sui parte supra Danubium. Quod audientes filii Willihelmi et Engilscalchi, qui maiores natu erant, Megingoz et Papo, quibusdam Pannoniorum secum assumptis contra illos incaute venerunt; sed tamen pugnam certaminis iniere non utile, nam ad illos victoria concessit. Isti fuge presidium querentes Megingoz et Papo in flumine, qui dicitur Hrapa, vitam finivere; frater vero Bertholdi comitis cum aliis quamplurimis a Sclavanis tentus est. Attendant, iudicent atque contendant detractores veri; et quibus huius suasoribus rei vel consilii primordia placuerint, placeant etiam subsequentia mala. Vituperavere autern pacem, qua conservata Pannonia concervata est, qua vero viciata per spatium tantum isto continuatim tertio anno dimidio instanti Pannonia de Hraba flumine ad orientem tota deleta est. Servi et ancillae cum parvulis suis consumpti sunt, primoribus quibusdam tentis, quibusdam occisis et, quod turpior erat, truncatis manu, lingwa genitalibus remissis. Haec enim omnia procul dubio geruntur sive per misericordiam sive per iram Dei; sed iram Dei iustam vindictam fieri appellamus, quae indubitanter non nisi iusii, sit, umquam evenire creditur.





Cum tanta enim multitudinem regno Amolfi per XII dies exspoliando versabatur, demum, prout voluit prospere reversus est (i.e., Zventibaldus), postea quoque missa quadam exercitus sui parte supra Danubium. Quod audientes filii Willihelmi et Engilschalchi, qui majores natu erant, Megingoz et Papo, quibusdam Pannoniorum sccum assumptis contra illos incaute vernerunt; sed tamen pugnam certaminis iniere non utile, nam ad illos victoria concessit. Isti fuge presidium querentes Mcgingoz et Papo in flumine, qui dicitur Hrapa (i.e Raba) vitam finivere...


Herimanni chronicon reports the same events more briefly: “Item Zuentibald Pannonias immanissime vastans, quosdam ex Baioariis iuxta Rabam flumen incaute congressos vicit, occisisque aliis, nonnullos comprehendit. . .”


In reading these fragments, the following points should be noted: Sventopolk first returned home (reversus est) form a successful campaign in Frankish Pannonia, and only then dispatched a part of his army toward the Danube. Herimanni chronicon states that Sventopolk unexpectedly (incaute) encountered Megingoz and Papo at the river Raba, south of the Danube. Hence, Sventopolk’s base of operation must have been on the same side of the Danube as the river Raba. To put it another way, if Sventopolk had crossed the Danube northward in order to reach home, then the forces of the Willihelms and the Engilscalks could not have encountered him and his forces on the river Raba as they did.


In 884 the Emperor Charles stopped in the Eastern Mark on his way to Italy and held a “colloquium” that was attended by Sventopolk and others. According to the Annals of Fulda (continuatio Ratisbonensis), the meeting between the two took place at the Mons Comianus on the edge of the Vienna Woods near the river Tulln. [66] The version of the same annals that was written in Fulda describes the place of meeting as being located on the borders of the Bavarians and the Slavs. [67] Consequently, the frontier zone between the Bavarians (Norici) and the Moravians (Sclavi) in 884 may be defined as located somewhere west of the river Raba, in the region of the river Tulln and the Vienna Woods.



66. Annales Fuldenses (continuatio Ratisbonensis). 884. Imperator per Baiowariam ad Orientem proficiscitur veniensque prope flumen Tullinam Monte Comiano colloquium habuit. Ibi inter alia veniens Zwentibaldus dux cum principibus suis, homo, sicut mos est, per manus imperatoris efficitur, contestatus illi fidelitatem iuramento et, usque dum Karolus vixisset, numquam in regnum suum hostili exercitu esset venturus.


67. Annales Fuldenses. 884 Imperator in terminus Noricorum et Sclavorum cum Zuentibaldo colloquium habuit; inde Italiam profectus cum Witone et caeteris, quorum animos anno priore offenderat, pacificatur.





The meeting between Charles the Fat and Sventopolk on the frontier between the Bavarians and Moravians wasfollowed by a peace agreement concluded independently between Arnuli, duke of Carinthia, and Sventopolk. [68] The parleys with Charles stabilized the situation along Danubian marches, the easternmost border zone of Bavaria proper; the peace with Arnulf affected the regions farther to the southeast between Moravia, on the one side, and Carinthia with its outpost, Frankish Pannonia, on the other. Arnulf is named in the source Carentani et Pannoniae dux and was obviously not in charge of territories directly south of the Danube, controlled from Bavaria, where Aribon was reinstated by Carloman in 881/882. [69] As most of Sventopolk’s conflicts were with the dukes of Carinthia and the events of the conflicts occurred around, or in, Carinthia and Frankish Pannonia in the vicinity of the river Raba, the conclusion must be drawn that Sventopolk’s realm was south of the Danube. So far there is no evidence that Moravia also included regions north of that river.


Past relations between Arnulf of Carinthia and Sventopolk had been basically correct and even friendly. Sventopolk was the godfather of Arnulf’s first son, Sventibald. The conflict of 882-84 between Arnulf and Sventopolk was caused, rather, by the repercussions of the controversy between Aribon and his enemies, the Engilscalks and the Willihelms. Both Sventopolk and Arnulf were drawn into this conflict on opposite sides, although they had no grievances against each other. It should be also noted that Arnulf had no jurisdiction over the Danubian marches. He even supported the Engilscalks and Willihelms against the rightful markgraf Aribon. It was only in 887 that Arnulf, upon becoming King of East Francia, had jurisdiction also in matters affecting Bavaria proper and its border zones in the East.


The next information about Sventopolk and Arnulf, now King of East Francia, is provided by the Annals of Fulda under the year 890. During the Lenten season of that year Arnulf proceeded to (Frankish) Pannonia where he held a parley with Sventopolk at a place “commonly called Omuntesperch.” The subject of the discussion has not been recorded, but the annalist noted that Sventopolk had transmitted to Arnulf a message from Pope Stephen V, in which Arnulf was urged to come



68. Annales Fuldenses (cont. Ratisbotiensis) 885. Pax in Oriente inter Arnolfo et Zwentibaldo, praesentibus scilicet Baiowariorum principibus, iusiurando constare firmatur. Herimanni chronicon. 885. Pax inter Arnolfum, Carentani et Pannoniae dueem, et Zuentibaldum Marahensem ducem confirmatur.

69. See first paragraph of note 63 on p. 55.





to Rome to restore peace and order and assume power in the Italian Kingdom. [70] The Herimanni chronicon had also noted in 890 that Arnulf was in Pannonia to settle various matters and that he was prevented from going to Rome because of other obligations. [71]


The place “commonly called Omuntesperch” has not yet been satisfactorily located, but the German form of the name of the place (Omuntes-perch/berg) indicates that it was in the Frankish part of Pannonia. As the parleys were concerned with problems of Pannonia, the presence of Sventopolk at the parleys warrants the assumption that his realm was also in the vicinity of Frankish Pannonia. But what seems to be of especial value in the effort to locate Moravia is the detail that Sventopolk transmitted a message from the pope to Arnulf: this could have happened only if Sventopolk’s realm were closer to Rome than any other place along the road taken by Arnulf from Regensburg to Frankish Pannonia. Having learned that Arnulf would travel into Pannonia, the pope had dispatched a messenger with the letter to join Sventopolks’ entourage before Arnulf reached Omuntesperch. If Moravia were north of the Danube, the messenger would have intercepted Arnulf on his way, or delivered the letter personally to Arnulf in Omuntesperch and under no circumstances through the intermediation of Sventopolk.


The parleys in Omuntesperch early in 890, concerned with the problems of Pannonia, might well have been the result of an emergency situation created by the sudden arrival of the “Ungari” into Pannonia in 889. A rather extensive survey of events connected with the appearance of the “Ungari” (henceforth named Hungarians) is given by Regino, bishop of Cremona. The narrative of his chronicle is carried up to the year 906. Regino died in 915. His chronicle has, therefore, the value of a contemporary source. According to him, the Hungarians first roamed the “solitudines Pannoniorum et Avarorum,” whence they made inroads on the borderlands of the Carinthians, Moravians, and Bulgars. [72]



70. Annales Fuldenses (cont. Ratisbonensis). 890. Mediante vero quadragesima rex Pannoniam proficiscens generale conventum cum Zwentibaldo duce loco, quem vulgo appellatur Omuntesperch, habuit. Ibi inter alia prefatus dux ab apostolico rogatus regem enixe interpellabat, ut urbe Roma domum sancti Petri visitaret et Italicum regnum a malis Christianis et inminentibus pagadanis ereptum suum opus restringendo dignaretur tenere. Sed rex multimodis causis in suo regno excrescentibus praepeditus quamvis no libens postulata denegavit.


71. Herimanni chronicon. 890. Arnolfus rex, habito in Pannonia de diversis colloquio, a Zuentibaldo duce Marahensi ex verbis apostolici obnixe rogatur, ut Roman veniens, Italiamque sub dicione sui retinens, a tantis eam eruat tyrannis. Quod ille, aliis praepeditus, ad praesens facere distulit.





While Regino placed the Hungarians in the “solitudines Pannoniorum et Avarorum,“ the Annales Admuntenses and Audarium Garslense noted their presence simply in “Pannonia." [73] From this, and many other indications, it follows that the “solitudines“ comprised a part of Pannonia not controlled, or claimed, by the Franks.


Of course, from the "solitudines“ the Hungarians could have directed their incursions in various directions, including north, across the Danube, were we still considering Moravia to be located north of Pannonia. But in Regino’s description there is a logic in the order in which he enumerated the lands affected by the Hungarian invasions: Carinthia, Moravia, and Bulgaria. The Moravians seem to have been located between the Carinthians and the Bulgars, hence south of the Hungarians. This confirms the earlier observations that Moravia was an eastern neighbor of Carinthia and of Frankish Pannonia. It is now also evident that the meeting between Arnulf and Sventopolk in early 890 in Frankish Pannonia at Omuntesperch had as its objective a reconciliation between the two neighbors in the southern part of Pannonia, both facing the Hungarians from north-northeast, from the “solitudines” of the Pannonians and Avars.


As already stated, the Annales Fuldenses gives no details of the parleys at Omuntesperch; the Herimanni chronicon notes the urgency of problems faced by Arnulf in Pannonia. Regino, without mentioning the place of the event, but obviously aware that a meeting between Arnulf and Sventopolk took place, records that Arnulf granted (“concessit”) to Sventopolk the duchy of Bohemia. [74]



72. Reginonis chronicon. Anno dominicae incarnationis DCCCLXXXVIII. gens Hungarium fericissima et omni belua crudelior, retro ante seculis ideo inaudita quia nec nominata, a Scythicis regnis et a paludibus, quas Thanais sua refusione in immnesum porrigit, egressa est... Et primo quidem Pannoniorum et Avarum solitudines pererrantes, venatu ac piscatione victime cotidianum quaeritant; deinde Carantanorum, Marahensium ac Vulgarum fines crebris incursionem infestationibus irrumpunt, perpaucos gladio, multa milia sagittis interimunt ,quas tanta arte ex corneis arcubus dirigunt, ut earum ictus vix precaveri possit.


73. Auctarium Garstense. 889. Ungari ex Scithia egressi Pannoniam ingrediuntur, humano sanguine et crudis carnibus utentes.


74. Reginonis chronicon. Anno dominicae incarnationis DCCCXC. Arnulfus rex concessit Zuendibolch Marahensium Scalvorum regi ducatum Behemensium, qui hactenus principem suae cognationis ac gentis super se habuerant Francorumque regibus fidelitatem promissam inviolato foedere conservaverant, eo quod illi, antequam in regni fastigio sublimaretur, familiaritatis gratio fuerit conexus: denique filium eius, quem ex pelice susceperat, a sacro fonte levavit eumque ex nomine suo Zuendibolch appelari fecit. Quae res non modicum discordiarum et defectionis prebuit incitamentum. Nam et Behemi a fidelitate diutius custodita recesserunt et Zuendibolch ex adiectiorte alterius regni vires non parvas sibi accessisse sentiens fastu superbiae inflatus contra Arnulfum rebellavit. Quod cum cognovisset Arnulfus, cum exercitu regnum Marahensium ingressus cuncta, quae extra urbes reperit, solotenus demolitus est. Ad ultimum cum et ceterae fructiferae arbores radicitus exciderentur. Zuendibolch pacem poposcit et dato filio obside hanc sero promeruit.





The significance of this event must be evaluated in the light of the new military situation along the frontiers of the Frankish/Bavarian realm.


The urgent matter that prevented Arnulf from attending to the serious crisis faced by the pope in Italy must have been the imminent danger to the Frankish realm posed by the Hungarians, who were already active in the Carpathian Basin or, more precisely, in the northern parts of Pannonia. The concession of Bohemia to Sventopolk had, therefore, a strategic significance for the defenses of Thuringia, Saxony, and particularly, Franconia and Bavaria. Sventopolk was a "compater," as well as a former friend, of Arnulf’s and he was certainly a capable military leader. His ability could now be utilized in the defense of Arnulf’s own possessions.


The sources are not clear on this point, but it is possible that Sventopolk had already been defeated by the Hungarians in 889, possibly even at Arnulf’s instigation. [75] A defeated Sventopolk would have been more than willing to cooperate with Arnulf and, by accepting the duchy of Bohemia, could have hoped once more for political independence.


The Bohemians until then had been ruled by princes from among their own people and they were loyal to the Franks in 890; consequently, they had reason to object to the imposition of a foreign duke. To implement his appointment to the duchy, Sventopolk probably had to resort to force; hence, his assumption of rule in Bohemia depended more upon his own efforts than upon the fact that Arnulf had ceded it to him.


A description of the territories ceded by Arnulf to Sventopolk, or conquered by the latter, is given by Cosmas of Prague: “qui [i.e., Sventopolk] sibi non solum Boemiam, verum etiam alias regiones hinc usque ad flumen Odram et inde versus Ungariam usque ad fluvium Gron subiugaret." [76] The implications of this geographic definition are clear. If Sventopolk took over or conquered the territories between Bohemia proper and the rivers Odra and Gron, then Sventopolk’s original principality, Moravia,



75. Chronicon Magni presbiteri. 889. Hie Arnulfus Ungaros primus eduxit de sedibus suis, in auxilium suum eos vocans contra Maravenorum gentem... Cf. also note 72.


76. Cosmas Pragensis, Chronica Boemorum, Lib. I, cap. XIV. Anno dominice incarnationis DCCCLXXXXIIII.... Eodern anno Zuatopluk rex Moravie, sicut vulgo dicitur, in medio exercitu suorum delituit et nusquam comparuit. Sed re vera tum in se ipsum reversus, cura recognovisset, quod contra dominum suum imperatorem et compatrem Arnulfum iniuste et quasi inmemor beneticii arma movisset, qui sibi non solum Boemiam, verum etiam alias regiones hinc usque ad flumen Odram et inde versus Ungariam usque ad fluvium Gron subiugaret ...


This is the first instance for the use of the term ‘Moravia’ in Latin sources. Cosmas (c. 1045-1125) based his report on Regitionis chronicon in which the term Marahenses Sclavi was used Cf. note.





could not have been north of the Danube between Bohemia, the river Oder and the river Gran/Hrun. In other words, this is the first instance that the Moravians extended their political influence into regions north of Pannonia. Furthermore, this is the first political involvement of Bohemia with Moravia, a case that would be hard to explain if we were assuming that Moravia had been a neighbor of Bohemia’s throughout the ninth century.


Sventopolk’s success restored his confidence in his own power. He found little reason to show gratitude toward Arnulf and refused obedience to him, thereby creating a new situation along the eastern and now also along the northeastern borders of Bavaria. Arnulf found in Sventopolk, instead of an ally against the Hungarians, an irreconcilable antagonist. In such circumstances, in order to mitigate the dangers facing him on two fronts, Arnulf concluded an alliance with the Hungarians.


In the words of Regino, as soon as Arnulf learned of Sventopolk’s defection, he led an army into the “regnum Marahensium” (and not into Bohemia), destroyed the defenses around the cities and devastated everything in sight, even uprooting fruit trees. Regino did not mention that Arnulf encountered the forces of Sventopolk or that he met with opposition. [77] The Annalista Saxo, who made use, in part, of the chronicle of Regino, added to the description of these events the fact that Arnulf defeated Sventopolk by means of the help of the Hungarians (Arnulfus per Ungaros Zuendibolh vicit). [78]


Defeated by the Hungarians and with his realm devastated by the Frankish forces, Sventopolk subordinated himself once more to Arnulf and gave him his son as hostage.


Early in 892, Arnulf came to Frankish Pannonia (Oriens, Patmoniae) where he expected to have a meeting with Sventopolk. But Sventopolk broke his earlier oath of fealty and refused to attend the parley. In his turn, Arnulf decided to invade the possessions of Sventopolk. For this venture, he gained once more the aid of the Hungarians and also of Prince Braslav, who at that time controlled the territories between the rivers Sava and Drava. A meeting between Arnulf and Braslav took place



77. Cf. note 74.

78. Annalista Saxo. 890. Arnulf us rex Zuendibolh Marahensium Slavorutn regi ducatum Boemiae concessit... Zuendibolh de adiectione alterius regni praesumens, rebellavit. Arnulfus in auxilium vocavit gentem scelestissiman Ungarorum. ...Arnulfus per Ungaros Zwendibolh vicit, cum exercitu Marahense regnum ingressus, cuncta quae extra urbes repperit demolitus est. Cumque fructiferae arbores radicitus exciderentur, Zuendibolh pacem proposcit, et dato filio obside, sero promeruit.





at Hengistfehlen, in the vicinity of Graz, where it was agreed that the invasion would he carried out by the Hungarians, “who recently came from the north"; the army of Arnulf, composed of Franks, Bavarians, and Allemans; and the forces of Prince Braslav. As a result of the invasion, the land of the Moravians was systematically burned for a period of four weeks, beginning in July and extending into the month of August. In September Arnulf dispatched, probably from Hengistfelden, but definitely across the possessions of Braslav (who at that time was the prince “between the Drava and the Sava"), mission to the Bulgars to renew the peace and also to request the Bulgars not to sell salt to the Moravians. The mission returned from Bulgaria over the same route only eight months later, in the following March, when conditions had become more peaceful. [79]


For the problem of Moravia’s location, the facts set forth below are significant. Arnulf's place of sojourn before and after the campaign was somewhere in southern Carinthia (as of the ninth century): this is where the meeting with Braslav was held (Hengistfelden), and this is why Arnulf's mission to the Bulgars had to cross the principality of Braslav. According to the Annales Fuldenses the party had to travel by boat along the rivers Odagra, Kulpa, and Sava, in order to avoid being ambushed by Sventopolk’s troops. Hence, the territory east of Odagra, along the roads from present-day Zagreb toward Belgrad was within the reach of Sventopolk’s retinue.


The conclusion has to be drawn that the events of 892 must have occurred south of the Danube and, possibly, only south of Drava, in Pannonia Sirmiensis and in areas south of the river Sava.



79. Annules Fuldenses (continuatio Ratisbonensis). 892. Rex de Francia cum victoria in Alamannia, curte regia Ulma, honorifice natalem Domini celebravit. Inde Orientem proficiscitur, sperans sibi Zwentibaldum ducem obvium habere; sed ille more solito ad regem venire rennuit, lidem et omnia ante promissa mentitus est. Inde rex irato animo in Hengistfeldon cum Brazlavone duce colloquium habuit, ibi inter alia quaerens tempus et locum, quomodo possit terram Maravorum intrare; consultum est enim, ut tribus exercitibus armatis regnum illud invaderet. Rex equidem assumptis secum Francis, Baioariis, Alamannis mense Iulio Maraviam venit; ibi per IIII epdomadas cum tanta multitudine, Ungaris eciam ibidem ad se cum expeditione venientibus, omnem illam regionem incendio devastandam versabatur, Missos etiam suos inde ad Bulgaros et regem eorum Laodomir ad renovandam pristinam pacem cum muneribus mense Septembrio transmisit et, ne coemptio salis inde Maravanis daretur, exposcit. Missi autem propter insidias Zwentibaldi ducis terrestre iter non valentes habere de regno Brazlavonis per flurium Odagra usque ad Gulpam, dein per fluenta Save fluminis navigio in Bulgaria perducti. Ibi a rege honorifice suscepti eadem via, qua venerant cum muneribus mense Maio reversi sunt.


Heritnanni chronicon. 892. Arnolfus rex Pannonias adiens, cum Zuentibaldum ducem Marahensem iterum sibi rebellantem cognovisset, colloquio cum Brazlavone duce Pannoniae ulterioris habito, trifariam cum tribus exercitibus, Ungariis etiam auxiliatoribus, nuper illas in partes de aquilone adventibus, per continuum mensem Marahensem devastat regionem.





In spite of repeated incursions into the realm of Sventopolk, however, Arnulf and the Hungarians could not effectively destroy the military potential of Moravia. In the following year (893) Arnulf had to wage another war. Although the Annales Fuldenses reported extensive damage to the possessions of Sventopolk on this occasion also, it was only with difficulty that Arnulf managed to return to Bavaria. [80]


A turning point in Moravia’s history was the death of Sventopolk in 894. This events is described in two contemporary annals. The Annales Fuldenses noted that Sventopolk, "source of all perfidies, bloodthirsty enemy of peace," etc., met an unhappy (or unfortunate) death. The annalist then continues to describe the atrocities inflicted by the Avars (i.e., Hungarians) upon the people of the regions across the Danube, the territory also identified by the same annalist as "all of Pannonia." Finally, the third item from the same source concerns a peace treaty concluded in the autumn of that year between the Bavarians and the Moravians. [81] A correlation among the three events is to be expected, especially since the events form a chronological and logical sequence in the same paragraph. A parallel description is provided in Reginonis chronicon: Sventopolk, a prudent and exceedingly clever king, died, leaving his children to carry on the rule of his kingdom. They had little success, since "the Hungarians razed everything to the ground." [82] The two sources clearly reflect the same chain of events and complement each other. What in the Annals of Fulda is the devastation in Pannonia is referred to by Regino as the devastation of the realm of Sventopolk’s children.


A juxtaposition of the two descriptions provides a more substantial argument for equating Moravia with Pannonia than any other interpretation, however eloquent:



80. Annales Fuldenses. 893. Arrepto itaque rex itinere iterum regnum Zwentibaldi ducis ingreditur cum exercitu, maxima parte illius regionis expoliata propter insidias positas magna cum dificultate itineris in Baioaria ad reginam curtem Otingam reversus est.

Herimanni chronicon. 893. Arnolfus rex Marahensem iterum vastat regionem.


81. Annales Fuldenses. 894. Zwentibaldus, dux Maravorum et vagina totius perfidiae, cum omnes regiones sibi affines dolo et astucia perturbando humanum sanguinem siciens circumiret, ultimum hortando suos, ne pacis amatores ,sed pocius inimici domesticis persisterent, diem ultimum clausit infeliciter.


Avari, qui dicuntur Ungari, in his temporibus ultra Danubium peragrantes multa miserabilia perpetravere. Nam homines et vetulas matronas penitus occidendo, iuvenculas tantum ut iumenta pro libidine exercenda secum trahentes totam Pannoniam usque ad internetionem deleverunt.


Pax tempore autumni inter Baioarios et Maravos compacta est.


82. Reginonis chronicon. 894. Circa haec etiam tempora Zuendibolch rex Marahensium Sclavorum, vir inter suos prudentissimus et ingenio callidissimus, diem clausit extremum; cuius regnum filii eius pauco tempore infeliciter tenuerunt, Ungaris omnia usque ad solum depopulantibus.






There should no longer be any doubt that Moravia proper was indeed part of Pannonia. The Annales Fuldenses and Reginonis chronicon both contain accounts of contemporary witnesses. Both sources, confronted with the most severe scepticism or subjected to the most rigorous criticism, will still sustain their unique value for the study of Moravia’s history. There is no way to challenge the accuracy of any of the statements made in these sources regarding the developments of 894. Thus, the proposition that Moravia proper formed part of Pannonia throughout the time of Sventopolk’s rule appears to be well supported by evidence gathered so far from contemporary annalistic literature.


With the demise of the able and ambitious Sventopolk, who for 24 years ruled in Moravia, Arnulf regained, at least for a while, control over developments in Bohemia. All of the princes of Bohemia, who for a short while had been subordinated to Sventopolk, recognized anew the overlordship of Arnulf. This submission of the Bohemian princes occurred, however, only in July of 895, [83] more or less a year after Sventopolk’s death.



83. Annales Fuldenses. 895. Mediante mense Iulio habitum est urbe Radasboria generale conventum; ibi de Sclavania omnes duces Boemanorum, quos Zwentibaldus dux a consortio et potestate Baioaricae gentis per vira dudum divellendo detraxerat, quorum primores erant Spitignewo, Witizla, ad regem venientes et honorifice ad eo recepti per manus, prout mos est, regiae potestati reconciliatos se subdiderunt.


(Significant in this report is the fact that the duces Boemanorum returned from Sclavonia, i.e.t from the realm of Sventopolk. They were allowed to return to Bohemia, obviously now controlled by the Bavarians.)





But the Bohemians shook off Moravian control not with Sventopolk’s death, but much earlier, probably as early as 890, when they, as noted by Regino, refused to obey Arnulf and were reluctant to accept Sventopolk as their prince. As noted, Sventopolk was back in Pannonia in the years 890, 892 and 893.


The presence of the Hungarians in East Central Europe now became a constant source of concern to Arnulf. Although the Hungarians were engaged in the Balkans in 895/6 supporting the Byzantine Greeks against the Bulgars, Arnulf, in order to be prepared for all eventualities, entrusted the defenses of (Frankish) Pannonia, including urbs Paludarum near Lake Balaton, in 896 to Prince Braslav. [84] In handing over Frankish Pannonia to a Slavic prince, Arnulf was guided by the same considerations as he had been six years earlier when he gave Bohemia to Sventopolk. He wanted to use the services of a strong Slavic prince capable of rallying the support of the local, basically non-German, nobility. In both cases, Arnulf wanted to build up a buffer zone to defend Bavaria proper against possible incursions by the Hungarians.


New complications arose in 897 when the Bohemians requested Arnulf to render help against the Moravians, “who often oppressed them." In order to be ready for any eventuality and to be available, should the Bohemians need his assistance, Arnulf spent the fall of 897 in localities north of the Danube,



84. Annales Fuldenses. 896. Pacem ergo Greci eodem anno cum Avaris, qui dicuntur Ungari, facientes; quod eorum concives Bulgari in pravum vertentes hostili expeditione contra eos insurgunt et omnem regionem illorum usque portam Constantinopolitanam devastando insecuntur. Quod ad ulciscendum Greci astucia sua naves illorum contra Avaros mittunt ac eos in regnum Bulgarorura ultra Danuvium transponunt. Illi transpositi manu cum valida gentem Bulgarorura ingressi maximam partem cedendo neci tradiderunt. Hoc audientes positi in expedicione Bulgari cum omni festinatione patriam deliberare ab infesto hosti recurrunt consertoque ilico proelio victi sunt; iterum pari tenore recuperare nitentes secundo caruere victoria. Tandem miseri, inscii, quam consolationis causam vel remedii potuissent invenire, currunt omnes ad vestigia vetuli illorum regis Michaelis, qui eos primum ad Christianae religionis veritatem convertit, inquirentes, quid eis ab imminenti periculo evadendum consuleret. Qui indicto triduano ieiunio penitenciam de inlata Christianis inuiria agere, dein auxilium a Deo querendum esse premonuit. Quo peracto durum iniere certamen; pugnantibus vero ambabus acerrime partibus ad ultimum misericordia Dei victoria quamvis cruenta Christianis concessa est. Quis enim gentilium Avarorum strages tantis congressionibus enumerando possit exponere? cum Bulgarorum, ad quos victoria concessit, numera XX milia equitum cesa inveniuntur. Stipantibus denique isdem in partibus inter se conflictibus imperator Pannoniam cum urbe Paludarum tuendam Brazlavoni duci suo in id tempus commendavit. Leo vero imperator Grecorum Lazarum quendam vocatum episcopum ad cesarern augustum cum muneribus transmisit; quem ille apud urbem Radasbonam gratanter accipiens paucos eum dies secum retinuit, tandem honoribus ditatum remisit in sua.





along the river Regen, [85] in the vicinity of Regensburg. He was prepared to render assistance only in case of an invasion of Bohemia and not for a preventive war. Hence his presence with an army in and around Regensburg, a place for regular royal sojourns, is indicative only of Bohemia’s location. But there is also a strong possibility that Bohemia, a Frankish dependency, was menaced by a splinter group of the Moravian army that, after Sventopolk’s death, remained in areas east of Bohemia proper, toward the river Gran/Hron. This is the territory occupied by Sventopolk in 890, but not accounted for after the return of Bohemia proper to Frankish tutelage in 895. This possibility will find confirmation in the developments of the tenth century, but in this survey of events year by year it should suffice to note that the danger posed to Bohemia by some Moravians in 897 could not come from Moravia proper, the realm of Sventopolk’s two children, because they subordinated themselves to Arnulf in 894 and there is no basis to assume that the two sons, Sventopolk II and Mojmar, would disrupt the peace by attacking Bohemia, another dependency of the Franks. Indeed, the annalistic notations concerning Moravia proper know only about a fratricidal conflict between the two sons of Sventopolk and the efforts of the Franks and Bavarians to restore order in that strategically important region east of their own possessions.


To ascertain where these events took place and the location of Moravia the following details are of importance. In 898 Emperor Arnulf ordered his markgrafs Aribon and Luitbald of Carinthia, to support and “liberate” those in the Moravian conflict who sought the help of the emperor. [86]



85. Annales Fuldenses. 897. His ita expletis contigit, ut gentis Behemitarum duces ad imperatorem Arnulfum, qui tunc temporis civitate Radaspona moratus est, devenerunt, ofierentes ei munera regia et sua suorumque fidelium suffragia contra eorum inimicos, Marahabitas scilicet, postulantes, a quibus saepe, ut ipsi testificati sunt, durissime conprimebantur. Quos ergo duces imperator gratuito suscipiens, verbaque consolationis eorum pectoribus habundantius inseruit et laetabundos donoque honoratos patriam in suam abire permisit, totumque illius anni tempus autumnale finitimis in locis aquilonalibus Danubii Ymbrisque fluminissese sustentavit, hac etiam in ratione, ut, si supradictae genti necessitas auxilii sui immineret, paratus cum suis fidelibus existeret.


86. Annales Fuldenses. Postea vero anno incarnationis Domini DCCCXCVIII. inter duos fratres gentis Marahensium, Moymirum videlicet ac Zentobolchum, eorumque populum dissensio atque discordia gravissima exorta est; ita etiam, ut, si uterque alterum suis viribus insequi atque conprehendere valeret, capitalem subiret sententiam. Tunc vero rex imperator ista scieris marchiones suos, Liutbaldurn scilicet et Arbonem comitem, una cum ceteris fidelibus suis parti, quae ad se spem ac confugium habuit, auxilium ad eorum liberationem protectionemque Bawarios suos primates transmisit. At illi in ore gladii igneque, prout poterant, inimicos suos humiliaverunt et devastando necaverunt. Istius ergo dissensionis et disruptae pacis inter supranominatos fratres Arbo coines Isanrico filio suo instigante instructor delatorque atque proditor esse convincitur et ob hanc causam praefectura sua ad tempus caruit; quam non multo post accepit.


Herimanni chronicon. 898. Discordia capitalis inter fratres Zuentibaldum et Moymarum, Marahenses duces, facta. Liutpaldus rnarchiocum aliis Marahenses imperatori rebelles vastat.





Liutbald was markgraf of Carinthia only, while Aribon was count in Traungau and markgraf of the March on the Danube. A military intervention in Moravia was carried out by both of them in 898 and was followed by another intervention in the winter of the same year (898-99).


In the following year (899), another expedition of the Bavarians and Carinthians failed to give effective support to their protégé, Sventopolk the Junior. He found himself once more besieged by his brother Mojmar only to be rescued by the Bavarians. As there is no reference to the Danube, but only to the crossing of Moravia’s borders, possibly from Carinthia and the March on the Danube, the conclusion should be that the events of 898/99 took place south of the Danube, east of Carinthia. [87]


An epilogue to the fratricidal conflict of 898/99 may be provided by a unique, but never fully analyzed, document according to which Emperor Arnulf, upon the intercession of Counts Iring and Isingrim donated to a certain Sventopolk, vassal of Luitpold, the marchgraf of Carinthia, some landed property in Carinthia. [88]



87. Annalis Fuldenses. 899. Iterum autem expeditione ordinata tempore hiemali Bawariorum principes cum suis fines Marahabitarum fortiter atque hostiliter invaserunt et manu valida loca illorum desertantes predamque colligentes domumque revertantes, habentes ea. Denique non post multum temporis Bawarii terminos Maraborurn confidenter iterato intrantes et, quaecumque poterant, diripiendo populati sunt et Zentobolchum puerum, filium antiqui ducis Zuentibolchi suumque populum de ergastulo civitatis, in quo inclusi morabantur, eripuerunt ipsaruque civitatem igni succenderunt atque in fines patriae suae pro miserucordia sccum abduxerunt.


88. In nomine stae, et individuae Trinitatis. Arnolfus Imperator Augustus. Noverit igitur omnium scte. dei ecclesiae fidelium nostrorumque praesentium scilicet ac futurorum industria qualiter nos rogatu Iringi et Isingrimi dilectorum comitum nostrorum Cuidam uiro progeniae bonae nobilitatis exorto. Zuentiboblh videlicet nominato. Liutbaldi carissimi propinqui ac illustris nri. marchionis uasallo, quasdam res juris nri. hoc est in Charentariche in comitatu ipsius consanquinei nri. curtem quae dicitur Gurca cum omibus pertinentiis suis mobilibus et immobilibus, et quidquid isdem praeterea nra. donatione, et sepe dicti marchionis nri. concessione in Gurcatala, et in alio loco qui dicitur Zuetzah in eodem inquam comitatu posito, in beneficium habere visus est, cum orni integritate curtibus edificiis campis, agris pratis pascuis silius aquis aquarumq. decursibus molinis piscationibus terris cultis et incultis uineis familiis mancipiis utriusq. sexus uiis et inujis censibus exitibus et reditibus quaesitis et inquirendis mobilib. et inmobilib. perenni jure in proprium concedentes donauimus. Jussimus quoq. inde hoc praesens preaceptum conscribi, per quod volumus firmiterq. jubemus, ut praescriptus Zventibolch ex cunctis in praesenti pagina nrae minificentiae rebus praelibatis cum omib. accedentiis suis firmissimam habeat potestatem illas donandi vendendi commutandi seu quidquid sibi libuerit exinde faciendi. Et ut haec auctoritas nra. firmiorem in Dei nomine obtineat stabilitatem, manu nra. subter eam roboravimus, anuloq. nro. jussimus insigniri.


Signum Domini Arnolfi serenissimi Imperatoris. Vuichingus* cancellarius ad vicem Theotmari archicapellani recognovi. Et (signaiura cum sigillo) Data II Kl. Sept. Anno. Incarn. dni. DCCC. XC. VIII. Indict. I. Anno domni regni Arnolfi XI. Actum Ranterdorf. am. Akademie der Wissenschaften, München. Abhandlungen. Historische Klasse, vol. 2, part 3b (1840).


*. N.B. Wichingus was the sufragan bishop of St. Methodius.





The circumstances surrounding this grant make clear that the recipient of the landed property can he none other than the young Sventopolk who, defeated by his brother Mojmar, was “liberated” by Luitpold and “protected” by Emperor Arnulf, in 898. [89]


This donation took place on August 31, 898, apparently after Luitpold’s first intervention in the fraternal conflict in Moravia. Luitpold’s objective on this occasion was quite simply to liberate (from oppression) and to protect whichever of the two brothers wished to have the help of Arnulf. The chronicler does not mention whether the intervention was successful, but the fact that there was a second intervention in the winter of 898/99 implies that the first ended in failure. The second intervention resulted in the devastation of Moravia, but also in the return to power of that son of Sventopolk who had accepted the support of the Bavarians during the first intervention. Since the second intervention began with the devastation of Moravia and ended with the return of the protégé of Arnulf, the conclusion must be drawn that this protégé was not on Moravian soil between the first and second intervention. The third intervention (in 899) had as its objective the rescue of young Sventopolk from his beleaguered burg in Moravia and his transfer to Bavarian-controlled territory.


The young Sventopolk appears in these events by name in the description of the third intervention only, but the internal logic of the descriptions shows that he was the one who accepted Luitpold’s help during the first intervention and was reinstated in Moravia as the result of the second intervention. Since between the first (summer 898) and second (winter 898/9) intervention Sventopolk was outside Moravia, “liberated and protected” by Luitpold of Carinthia, it is natural that he and his entourage should have been accorded some means of subsistence according to the prevailing usage of a feudal society, namely by some landed property. This is why, on August 31, 898, Emperor Arnulf gave some estates to Sventopolk.


Sventopolk “vir progenie bonae nobilitatis” appears in Carinthian and Bavarian sources for the first time in 898. He is the first notable in Carinthia or Bavaria with such a name and figures prominently henceforth in the documents of the bishopric of Salzburg, [90] of which Carinthia was a part.



89. Cf. note 86.

90. W. Hauthaler, Salzburger Urkundenbuch, vol. I (Salzburg, 1910); pp. 69-165. Moimar, the brother of Sventopolk II, appears in the same collection of documents (pp. 72-157).





There is no indication in the first document of donation that Sventopolk was already in possession of some landed property. The first donation by Arnulf in 898 was followed by a donation from King Louis the Child, in 903. [91] The circumstances of the donation to Sventopolk in 898 resemble those of the donation of land by King Louis the German to the Slavic prince Pribina c. 846, [92] when the latter appeared as a refugee in Frankish-controlled Pannonia. The Sventopolk of the 898 donation is mentioned in Bavarian sources until 935. [93] Sventopolk II was still a boy in 899: "puer, filius antiqui ducis Zuentibolchi.” Thus, even the lifespan indicated by these two dates (899 and 935) serves as added argument in favor of the identification of Sventopolk II with Sventopolk "vir progenie bonae nobilitatis.”


All these events and circumstances point toward a continuity on the basis of which one may draw the conclusion that it was the landless princeling Sventopolk II, a refugee, who settled in Carinthia on landed property given to him by his "uncle,” Emperor Arnulf. If this identification is correct, then once more the fate of Moravia proper is closely tied to a neighboring Carinthia, rather than to Bohemia or the Eastern Mark.


With the death of Emperor Arnulf on December 8, 899, the political equilibrium in East-Central Europe was upset once more. The Hungarians were no longer bound by the agreements of cooperation concluded with Arnulf in 890 and, having at that time helped him subdue the Moravians, they now claimed Moravia for themselves. The Hungarians also started to menace Bavaria proper. For their part, the Moravians, never efficiently controlled by the Bavarians, were now inclined to collaborate with the Hungarians.


The events following the death of Arnulf are described in several contemporary annals and chronicles, especially in the Annals of Fulda, which gave the following details. Soon after Arnulf’s death, the Bavarians, supported by the Bohemians, whose land they crossed, invaded and devastated the land of the Moravians. The campaign lasted three weeks and, apparently, there was no encounter with the enemy. This occurred while the Hungarians were on a raid in northern Italy. On their return from Italy the Hungarians ravaged Pannonia, presumably the Frankish-Bavarian possessions entrusted shortly before to the Slavic prince Braslav.



91. Urkundenbuch des Landes ob der Enns, vol. 2, p. 51

92. Conversio Bagoariorum, c. II. Aliqua vero interim occasione percepta, rogantibus praedicti regis fidelibus praestavit rex Privinae aliquam inferioris Pannoniae in beneficium partem circa fluvium qui dicitur Sala. Tunc coepit ibi ille habitare et munimen aedificare...

93. Cf. note 90.





After the incursion into Frankish-Bavarian Pannonia the Hungarians dispatched a peace mission to the Bavarians, but only to gain an opportunity to explore the approaches to Bavaria proper, for shortly thereafter they invaded the territories west of the river Funs. Before the Bavarians could organize effective resistance, the Hungarians had pillaged a large area of Bavaria and “returned, from whence they came, to their own (people or habitat) in Pannonia." However, a detachment of the Hungarians on a scouting mission north of the Danube, was intercepted and destroyed by Luitpold of Carinthia and his retinue. As a result of the Hungarian invasion of 900, the defense line of Bavaria was pulled back to the river Enns. [94]


Liudprand, bishop of Cremona, in his Antapodosis, noted that after Arnulf’s death the Hungarians claimed control over the nation of the Moravians (Maravorum gentem. . . sibi vendicant), occupied the borders of Bavaria and inflicted much destruction of property and suffering upon the population,



94. Annales Fuldenses. 900. Imperator urbe Radaspona diem ultimum clausit et honorifice in domo sancti Emmerammi martyris Christi a suis sepelitur. Luduwicus filius eius, qui unicus tunc parvulus de legali uxore natus illi erat, in regnum successit. Cuius frater de concubina Zuentipoldus nomine Gallicanum regnum secum retinens, res ecclesiarum crudelitate sua inmoderate affectans, maxime crimen eo, quod Ratpodo Treverensi archiepiscopo contra sacerdotalem honorem baculo suo in capite percutiens intulit, a suis tam episcopis quam comitibus omnibus desertatus est. Ipse vero recuperare nitens cum paucis contra eos incaute dimicans vitam cum regno finivit.


Baiowarii per Boemanniam ipsis secum assumptis regnum Marahavorum cuncta incendio per tres ebdomadas devastantes inruperunt; tandem cum omni prosperitate domum reversi sunt.


Interim vero Avari ,qui dicuntur Ungari, tota devastata Italia, ita ut occisis episcopis quamplurimis Italici contra eos depellare molientes in uno prelio una die ceciderunt XX milia. Ipsi namque eadem via, qua intraverunt, Pannoniam ex maxima perte devastantes regressi sunt. Missos illorum sub dolo ad Baworios pacem obtando regionem illam ad explorandum transmiserunt. Quod, pro dolor! primum malum et cunctis retro transactis diebus invisum damnum Baiowarici regni contulit. Igitur ex imprisio cum manu valida et maximo exercitu ultra Anesum fluvium regnum Baiowaricum ostiliter invaserunt, ita ut per quinquaginta miliaria in longum et in transversum igne et gladio cuncta caedendo et devastando in una die prostraverint. Quod ut comperentes ulteriores Baiowarii, dolore compulsi econtra festinare disponunt; sed hoc Ungari precognoscentes cum his, quae depredaverunt, redierunt, unde venerant, ad sua in Pannoniam.


Interim vero quaedam pars de exercitu illorum de aquilonali parte Danuvii fluminis partem illam devastando prorupere. Quod ut Liutpoldo comiti compertum foret, moleste hoc patiendum ferens, contractis secum quibusdam primoribus Baiowariorum, uno tantum Pataviensis sedis episcopo comitante ultra Danuvium eos insequendum se transposuit. Consertoque ilico cum illis prelio nobiliter dimicatum est, sed nobilius triumphatum. Narn in prima congressione belli tanta Dei gratia Christianis occurrit, ut mille CC gentilium inter occisos et, qui se in Danuvio merserant, perempti invenirentur. Vix tantum unum de christianis occisum in apparatu belli inveniunt. In eodem loco post victoriam illis celitus datam congressi clamore magno in celo inde Deo gratias clamantes ferebant, qui non in multitudine hominum, sed misericordiarum suarum pietate liberat sperantes in se. Tandem laeti post tantam victoriam ad socios, unde venerant, regressi sunt et citissime in id upsum tempus pro tuitione illorum regni validissimam urbem in littore Anesi fluminis muro obposuerunt. Quo peracto unusquisque redierunt in sua.





and the Herimanni chronicon reported that the Hungarians had laid waste to and occupied the Pannonias. [95]


The combined evidence of the three sources quoted permits the following reconstruction of events: The Hungarians learned about the death of Emperor Arnulf while in Italy (The Hungarians had invaded Italy in 899 and spent the winter there). [96] They were no longer bound by the treaty of peace and cooperation concluded with Arnulf, hence the devastation of Frankish Pannonia. All the events of the Bavarian (Frankish)-Hungarian conflict occurred south of the Danube with the exception of the Hungarian diversion into an area north of the Danube. The base of the Hungarian expedition against the Bavarians was Pannonia. This is evident from the statement that the Hungarians “occupied the Pannonias" (Herimanni chronicon), or that they “returned from whence they came, to their own, in Pannonia" (Annales Fuldenses). As, in the meantime, the Hungarians had claimed and secured control over the Moravians, Moravia must have been also in Pannonia. The Bavarian-Bohemian invasion of Moravia occurred during the time when the Hungarians were in Italy. As already noted, the invading forces pillaged the Moravian countryside without encountering noticeable resistance. As the Hungarians at that time claimed control over the Moravians (Maravorum gentem. . . sibi vendicant), the deduction can be made that at the time of the invasion neither the Hungarians nor the Moravian forces were present in Moravia. Since the base of the Hungarian military operations was Pannonia, all the direct and circumstantial evidence shows that Moravia, claimed now by the Hungarians, constituted also an area of Pannonia.


A remarkable amplification of the evidence of annalistic sources is provided by a letter from the Bavarian bishops written sometime during the summer of the year 900 and addressed to Pope John IX. This letter protests the appointment by John IX of an archbishop and three bishops to Moravia, a territory that, according to the Bavarian bishops, was under the jurisdiction of the bishop of Passau. The letter complains that the diocese of Passau had been subdivided, by papal decision and against the stipulations of the canon law, into five dioceses. The bishops of Bavaria defined the contested territory as bordering on Bavaria



95. Herimanni Augiensis chronicon. 900. Baioarii per Boemanos transeuntes, ipsis secum assumptis, Marahensem item devastant regionem. Ungari hostes novi Italiam magna ex parte vastaverunt,... Itidem exploratam Baioriam invadentes, circa Anesum flumen plurimas praedas abducunt. Item Pannonias depopulatas occupant.

96. Gina Fasoli, Le incursioni Ungare in Europa nel secolo X (Florence, 1945), 71.





and at one time controlled in secular matters by Frankish/Bavarian counts (nostri comites). (It should be immediately noted that the areas north of Pannonia, along the Morava River valley, were never under the control of Frankish or Bavarian counts.) Such control east of Bavaria was exercised only over Carinthia, the marches south of the Danube and various parts of Pannonia. [97] The Bavarian bishops, furthermore, accused the Moravians of harboring the Hungarians, of adopting their mode of tonsure (shaving their heads), and of attacking - jointly with the Hungarians - the people of Bavaria. [98]


This accusation seems to be confirmed by a rather late, but still reliable, source, the Chronicon Suevicum universale, which credited the devastation of Italy in 899-900 to the gentes Pannonicae, [99] a term that may include, in addition to the Hungarians, the Moravians. At any rate, the plural gentes Pannonicae refers to more than one people operating from Pannonia. In favour of assuming joint Moravian-Hungarian invasions into Italy, as well as into Bavaria, is the fact already mentioned that the Bavarian expedition into Moravia in 900 did not encounter any resistance; the invasion occurred while the gentes Pannonicae were in Italy.


If we now recall that the Hungarian inroads into Italy and Bavaria originated and ended in Pannonia, then the territory where the Hungarians were harbored by the Moravians, as well as the base for the joint Moravian-Hungarian military enterprises, has to be associated also with those parts of Pannonia that were not controlled by Braslav.


The geographic references contained in the bishops’ letter are remarkably precise. The letter refers to a Moravia that once formed a part of the diocese of Passau in the church province of Bavaria. The church province of Bavaria and the diocese of Passau are defined by references to Noricum (the classical name of Bavaria) and Pannonia. Indeed a jurisdictional involvement or claims for ecclesiastical control by bishops of Passau can be traced only to Noricum, the Pannonias, and Moesia. [100] There is no evidence whatsoever that in the ninth or early tenth centuries Passau claimed or controlled territories north of Pannonia. On the other hand, there is ample evidence that territory



97. Cf. Michael Mitterauer, Karolingische Markgrafen im Südosten (Vienna, 1963) [Archiv für österreichisehe Geschichte, vol. 123].

98. Cf., e.g., Codex diplomaticus regni Bohemiae I, No. 30. For a more recent edition cf. Magnae Moraviae fontes historici III, Epp. 109.

99. Chronicon Suevicum universale. 890... Johannes papa 118-vus annos 2. Arnolfus imperator moritur. Gentes Pannonicae Italiam depopulantur.

100. For some details cf. below, pp. 97 ff.





north of the Danube was under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the bishops of Regensburg.


In the Carolingian annals and chronicles, the last references which lend themselves to geographic analysis in respect to Moravia’s location are contained in the Annals of Fulda and in the Chronicon Suevicum universale, the latter of which was composed in the eleventh century, but based partly on contemporary notations since lost. According to the Chronicon, the Hungarians invaded Carinthia in 901 but were defeated. The next entry in the same source notes the reconciliation of Sventopolk’s son Mojmar with Louis the Child. There may have been a direct relationship between the two events: the Moravians, allies of the Hungarians in the preceding year, probably had to seek peace because of the defeat of the Hungarians in Carinthia.


The Annals of Fulda, on the other hand, start out with the reconciliation: envoys of the Moravians arrived in Regensburg and offered peace; the offer was accepted and confirmed by the king’s oath; Richarius, bishop of Passau, and Count Udalrich were dispatched to Moravia to take similar oaths from Mojmar and his nobles; in the meantime, however, the Hungarians “invaded the southern part of their realm, ravaging Carinthia:“


Generale placitum Radaspona civitate habitum est. Ibi inter alia missi Marahavorum pacem optantes pervenerunt; quod mox, ut petierunt, complacuit et iuramento firmatum est. Inde oh hoc ipsum Richarius episcopus et Udalricus comes Marahava missi sunt, qui eodem tenore, ut in Baiowaria firmatum fuit, ipsum ducem et omnes primates eius eandem pacem se servaturos iuramento constrinxerunt.


Interdum vero Ungari australem partem regni illorum Carantanum devastando invaserunt.


The Latin text of the last sentence causes considerable difficulty, because the “regnum illorum,” which was invaded, can hardly be the same as “Carinthia,“ which was devastated. On logical grounds, a Frankish/Bavarian annalist, when referring to Carinthia, would not have used the pronoun “illorum," but rather “nostrum.“ On grammatical grounds the antecedent of the pronoun “illorum” is the “missi Marahavorum,” representing the prince and nobles of Moravia, rather than Richarius and Udalrich. Should we consider, nevertheless, even wrongly, that Bishop Richarius of Passau and Count Udalrich are the persons to which “illorum” refers, then once more we have to identify their “regnum,” not with Carinthia, which at that time was governed ecclesiastically by the bishops of Salzburg and in matters secular by Luitpold,





but with Moravia, over which Bishop Richarius now resumed ecclesiastical control. In light of this interpretation of the source one thing clearly emerges: at the time when the Bavarians were hastily building their defense line (Ennsburg) on the river Enns, and the Hungarians were in control of parts of Pannonia as well as of the marches south of the Danube, Carinthia was invaded by the same Hungarians across Moravian territory. The topography of Carinthia’s borders at that time was such that invasions by cavalry could be carried out easily from the east along the Sava and Drava valleys, but not across the Semmering mountains from the north. Moravia, therefore, had to be south of the Hungarians and east of Carinthia, in southeastern part of Pannonia.



 b. Testimony of Byzantine sources


Independent of the Western annalistic notations, papal letters and Church Slavonic sources relevant to the study of Moravia’s location are the less numerous but equally significant Byzantine references. Most important of these are the writings of the emperor-historian Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. His compendium of diplomacy written for his son Romanus and known under the editor’s title of “De Administrando Imperio,” is a unique source for the study of the political geography of Byzantium and of her neighbors in the ninth am tenth centuries. [101]


Constantine made several references to the history and geographical location of Moravia. In chapter 13 of his compendium, in which he describes the location “of the nations that are neighbors of the Turks [i.e., the Hungarians],” he says:


“These nations are adjacent to tin Turks: on their western side, Francia; on their northern, the Pechenegs and on the south side, megale Moravia, the country of Sphendoplokos which has now been totally devastated by these Turks and occupied by them. On the side of the mountains the Croats are adjacent to the Turks.”



101. There are several complete and partial editions of this work, the most recent and best being Constantine Porphyrogenitus: De Administrando Imperio, edited by Gyula Moravcsik and translated (into English) by R. J. H. Jenkins (Budapest, 1949). Volume two of the same work, edited by R. J. H. Jenkins (London, 1962), provides extensive commentaries. The English translation of Constantine’s text, quoted in this study, is based, with some modifications, on this edition.





In this chapter Constantine describes the geopolitical situation as it existed about the year 950, the time he was wilting his work and some fifty years after the Hungarians had become firmly established in the lowlands of the Carpathian Basin. In this location of the Hungarians, the Franks were their western neighbors and the Pechenegs were to the north-northeast across the Carpathians. The description places Moravia south of the Hungarians, hence still during the lifetime of Sventopolk, who died in 894. In the same year the Hungarians were repotted in Frankish sources as roaming in Pannonia. [102] Two years earlier the forces of the Franks and Hungarians, as well as those of the Slavic prince Braslav, were operating against the Moravians somewhere in the vicinity of the river Sava. Constantine mentioned the mountains dividing the Hungarians and the Croats only after describing the Hungarian conquest of Moravia. Hence these mountains must be those that earlier separated the Moravians from the Croats, and thus somewhere in the Drava-Sava region.


While the Hungarians were invading Moravia, the Franks were operating across the territory of Braslav, who at that time was the prince between the rivers Drava and Sava. Hence, Constantine’s description of the geographic location of the Hungarians (and of their neighbors) before and after the death of Sventopolk only confirms the facts known from western sources. There are no arguments whatsoever that could be used validly against the geographic definitions provided by Constantine Porphyrogenitus. The only possible adjustment needed in Constantine’s description might be a correction of about half a quadrant in his geographic orientations. Instead of "east” one should understand "east-southeast," instead of "south" one should understand "south-southwest," and so on. The difference is the result of Constantine’s solar framework of reference in contrast to our modern magnetic or astronomic system.


The geopolitical situation presented by Constantine in his chapter 13 indicates that the Moravia of Sventopolk was in the southern part of the Carpathian Basin. This conclusion is repeatedly confirmed by Constantine’s subsequent reference to Moravia and to the Hungarians. This is the case, for instance, in chapter 27, where Constantine presents the history of the Longobards: "Now at that time [before coming to Italy in 568] the Longobards were dwelling in Pannonia where now the Turks [i.e., the Hungarians] live."



102. Cf. page 66.





If in Constantine’s time the Hungarians lived in the Pannonia of the Longobards, as well as, in the Moravia of Sventopolk, as stated in chapter 13, then Moraviamust have been in Pannonia.


In chapter 25, Constantine provides a more precise location for the Longobards before their departure to Italy:


“The Gepids, from whom were later divided off the Longobards and Avars, lived in the territories about Singidunum (Belgrade) and Sirmium.”


Consequently, the core of the territories controlled by the Longobards and later by the Hungarians was Pannonia Sirmiensis, the territory defined in chapter 13 as that of the Moravians.


The territory of the Hungarians in the time of Constantine is defined once more in chapter 30. This and the preceding chapter discuss the “Story of the Province of Dalmatia.” In Constantine’s words, this province bordered in the east on Illyricum and in the north on Pannonia. The Roman population of Dalmatia once faced the Avars across the “Danouvious.” Hence the “Danouvios” must have been the border river separating Dalmatia from Pannonia. The name “Danouvios” is used by Constantine interchangeably with “Istrios,” and both on occasions for the combination of the Sava River and the Lower Danube or for the Danube only. In ancient Greece, in Rome, and later in Byzantium, the Sava River and the Lower Danube were construed as forming together one single river, the Ister, connecting Istria (and the Adriatic) with the Black Sea. In his narrative, Constantine noted that the Dalmatians “would keep guard on the river ‘Danouvios’ [i.e., Sava] on account of the Avars. For the Avars had their haunts on the far side of the river ‘Danouvios’ [i.e., Sava] where now are the Turks Hungarians] and led a nomad life.”


We have here an equation of the abodes of the Hungarians with the former haunts of the Avars. We know from other sources that it was the Avars who drove the Longobards out of Pannonia Sirmiensis and occupied their territory. The Avars were defeated by Charlemagne. All indications support the earlier observation that the Hungarians were in control of Pannonia, especially of Pannonia Sirmiensis held formerly by the Longobards and subsequently by the Avars. The chain of succession is complete: The Avars settled in the land of the Longobards. [103]



103. The Longobardi settled in Pannonia and Lower Noricum after 547. They settled in Pannonia south of the Drava. This is the area whence they were expelled by the Avars. On Longobardi in Pannonia II (Sirtmensis) c]. I. Bona, "Die Langobarden in Ungarn," in Acta Archaeologica A. S. H. 7 (1956), 183-244. Cf. also "Longobardowie" in Słownik Starożytności Słowiańskich.





The Moravians succeeded to this territory after the defeat of the Avars at the hand of Charlemagne; the Hungarians, in turn, occupied the territory held by the Moravians. All this happened in and around Pannonia Sirmiensis.


An independent definition of Moravia’s location is given once more in chapter 38 of Constantine’s work, in which he presents an extensive history of the Turks [i.e., the Hungarians] from the times when they lived closer to the Khazars to the time of their settlement under their prince Arpad in the Carpathian Basin:


"The Turks, in flight, and seeking a land to dwell in, came and in their turn expelled the inhabitants of megale Moravia and settled in their land, in which the Turks now live to this day."


When this testimony is placed against that of chapter 27 (in the territory of the Longobards "where now the Turks live") and chapter 30 (on the territory of the Avars "where now are the Turks"), both of which place the Hungarians in Pannonia, then the territory assigned to them in chapter 38, namely Moravia, must be also in Pannonia.


A more precise definition of the abodes of the Hungarians and of the core of the realm of Sventopolk is given in Constantine’s chapter 40:


"But the Turks, expelled by the Pechenegs, came and settled in the land which they now dwell in. In this place are various landmarks of the olden days: there is the bridge of the Emperor Trajan where Turkey [i.e., Hungary] begins; then, a three-days’ journey from this same bridge there is Belgrade, in which is the tower of the holy and great Constantine, the Emperor; then, again, at the running back of the river [Ister], is the renowned Sirmium by name, [104] a journey of two days from Belgrade; and beyond lies megale Moravia, the unbaptized, which the Turks have blotted out, but over which in former days Sphendoplokos used to rule. Such are the landmarks and names along the ‘Ister’ river."


The megale Moravia of Sventopolk is clearly associated with territories along the river Ister (Sava and lower Danube) on a stretch between the bridge of Trajan (Turnu Severin) and Sirmium (Sremska Mitrovica). The "renowned Sirmium" was located on the bank of the Sava, and must therefore have been a prominent place also in the Moravia of Sventopolk. Conveniently enough for modem scholars, Constantine continued his definition of the territory controlled by the Hungarians



104. N.B. Sirmium located on Ister, the alternate name for Sava! The same classical concept of Ister (Sava and Lower Danube) is expressed by Procopius in his De bello Gothico I, c. 15; he placed Singidunum (Belgrade) and Sirmium along the Ister.





also with reference to other rivers:


“...but the regions above these [landmarks and names], which comprehend the whole settlement of Turkey, they now call after the names of the rivers that flow there. The rivers are these: the first river is Timisis; the second river, the Toutis; the third river, the Morisis; the fourth river, the Krisos; and again another river, the Titza. Neighbors of the Turks are: on the eastern side the Bulgars, where the River Istros, also called Danube, runs between them; on the northern, the Pechenegs; on the western, the Franks; and on the southern, the Croats."


All these rivers are north of the Danube. The rivers Maros and Körös join the Tisza, which is the northern tributary of the Danube. The “Toutis" has not yet been satisfactorily identified, but must also be somewhere in the steppe zone of the Carpathian Basin. The enumerated rivers are defined by Constantine as being above (i.e., north) of the “landmarks and names" listed by him in the preceding paragraph of his narrative. Consequently, the “landmarks and names," which included megale Moravia, constituted the southern part of the “whole settlement of Turkey," the new abodes of the Hungarians, as indicated in chapter 13.


At any rate, the geographic definitions of Constantine describing territories controlled by the Hungarians and including former Moravia, point toward what is to day northern Yugoslavia and southeastern Hungary and not the Morava River valley north-northeast of Vienna.


The neighbors of the Hungarians listed in Constantine’s chapter 40 are the same as those given in chapter 13: the Pechenegs in the north, the Franks in the west, the Croats in the south. In chapter 40 the Bulgars are added as neighbors in the “east" (recte south-east).


In chapter 41, Constantine describes the events that followed the death of Sventopolk (894): 

“Of the country of Moravia: The prince of Moravia, Sphendopolkos, was valiant and terrible to the nations that were his neighbors. This same Sphendopolkos had three sons, and when he was dying, he divided his country into three parts and left a share apiece to his three sons, leaving the eldest to be great prince and the other two to be under the command of the eldest son... After the death of this same Sphendopolkos, they remained at peace for a year and then strife and rebellion fell upon them and they made a civil war against one another, and the Turks came and utterly ruined them and possessed their country, in which even now they live. And those of the folk who were left were scattered and fled for refuge to the adjacent nations, to the Bulgarians and Turks and Croats and to the rest of the nations."





The Hungarians were obviously attacking from a northerly direction, thus moving into a territory east of the Franks. They established direct contact with the Croats and Bulgarians along the rivers Sava and Danube between Sirmium and the Bridge of Trajan (Sremska Mitrovica and Turnu Severin of modern times).


Chapter 42 provides a "geographical description from Thessalonica to the Danouvios river and the city of Belgrade; of Turkey and Patzinacia. . .” The description includes also a reference to Moravia. The fragment in question reads as follows:


"From Thessalonica to the river Danouvios where stands the city of Belgrade is a journey of eight days, if one is not traveling in haste, but by easy stages. The Turks live beyond the Danouvios river, in the land of Moravia, but also on this side of it, between the Danouvios and Sava rivers..."


In this fragment the name Danouvios undoubtedly refers to the river known today as the Danube. Since the description starts with Thessalonica, the Danube, beyond which are the Hungarians, is the section of that river between Belgrade and the Bridge of Trajan, as defined in chapter 40. This is the stretch of the river that separated the Hungarians from the Bulgars. However, the Hungarians also occupied territories south of the Danube, but only those that were west of Belgrade, namely, between the Sava and the Danube. The statement that the Hungarians live "in the land of Moravia" refers to the territories both north of the Danube as visualized from Belgrade and also south of the Danube, namely west of Belgrade and north of the river Sava. The same location of former Moravia, and now of Hungary, was given in Constantine’s chapter 40.


Since in all instances Constantine describes the new abode of the Hungarians as incorporating territories previously controlled by the Moravians, we have to conclude that "Turkia," bounded by the rivers Sava, Lower Danube, Tisza, and some of its tributaries, did in fact incorporate the megale Moravia of Sventopolk.


Constantine Porphyrogenitus produced a second compedium of practical diplomacy, known under the title of its printed version: De cerimoniis aulae Byzantinae. [105] Besides offering many revealing insights into the workings of the imperial court, this handbook includes intructions for the imperial chancery on correspondence with various principalities.



105. Constantini Porphyrogeniii imperatoris de cerimoniis aulae Byzantinae libri duo. For various editions see Gyula Moravcsik, Bysantinoturcica, vol. I, second edition (Berlin, 1958), 382. For the fragment analyzed in this study cf. the edition by I.I. Reiske, vol. 1 (Bonn, 1829), 691.





The addressees include the "Archons of Moravia," who are listed next to the archonts of the Serbs, Zachlumians, and other South Slavic tribal formations.


Of course, the "Archons of Moravia" cannot be connected with the territory and people of the state of Sventopolk: Constantine Porphyrogenitus wrote his compendium around the year 950, and at that time the Archons of Moravia represented an existing political formation, whereas the Moravia of Sventopolk had been destroyed and occupied by the Hungarians some fifty years earlier. Constantine himself, however, indicated a connection between the two Moravias, the form of which depends upon the proper understanding of the term megale Moravia used in chapters 13, 38, and 40 of his De Administrando Imperio.


The adjective megale in conjunction with the name of Moravia is used by Constantine on three occasions: chapter 13: "These nations are adjacent to the Turks: . . .on the south side megale Moravia, the country of Sphendoplokos, which has now been totally devastated.."; chapter 38: "The Turks. . . expelled the inhabitants of megale Moravia and settled in their land.. and chapter 40: "... beyond [Sirmium] lies megale Moravia, the unbaptized, which the Turks have blotted out, but over which in former days Sphendoplokos used to rule."


It is generally assumed that the term megale Moravia means "Great Moravia," and solely on this basis the conclusions has frequently been drawn that the Moravia of Sventopolk was an empire. This conclusion is incorrect, however, for the term empire in the ninth century could apply only to the universal Christian society under the Frankish emperor and Bishop of Rome or under the Emperor of Byzantium. But even the basis for the mistaken conclusion is wrong, because the adjective megale in the context of Constantine’s writing does not mean "great" but rather "old" or "former." [106] In all three instances cited, Constantine makes reference to Moravia occupied by the Hungarians. In contrast, the adjective megale is not used in chapter 41, which describes Moravia prior to the Hungarian conquest. This chapter is entitled: "Of the country" of Moravia," and the narrative begins with the sentence: "The prince of Moravia, Sphendopolkos, was valiant and terrible to the nations that were his neighbors." The use of the adjective megale with the meaning "old" or "former" is especially evident in chapter 40, where we read: ". . . beyond [Sirmium] lies megale Moravia . . . over which in former days Sphendoplokos used to rule."



106. Several illustrations are provided in the commentaries to De Administrando Imperio (cf. note 101), pp. 83, 85, 97, 118, 177 and 180.





The adjective megas was used by Constantine in the same sense also on other occasions in connection with geographic definitions and also with names of persons. In chapters 31 and 32, Constantine gives a brief history of the Dalmatian Croats and refers to megale Croatia of the Croats "who stayed over against Francia" and were subject to Otto of Francia. Of course, this megale Croatia, whose population was subject to Otto, could not have been "great" but rather "old" in contrast to the Croatia along the Dalmatian coast. Constantine used the adjective megas also in cases when he had to distinguish between two rulers of the same name.


In interpreting historical documents little attention has been paid to adjectives such as magnus and megas which may mean either "great" or "old." The use of the adjective magnus in the form Magna Germania, Magna Hungaria, etc., is similar to the use of the adjectives great and grand in the combinations grandfather and great grandfather, on the one hand, and great leader, grand scenery, on the other. In the first two illustrations, the adjectives grand and great express the meaning "of the generation older than" or "older by one generation."


Constantine used the definition megale Moravia to distinguish between a political formation known to him around the year 950 and the realm of Sventopolk occupied by the Hungarians some fifty years earlier. The use of the adjective megale in a relative sense - "old," "former" implies that there was some genetic relationship between the "old Moravia" and the "Moravia" of Constantine’s own time. The "archons of Moravia" were, therefore, either refugees from Sventopolk’s realm who established themselves in control over a territory somewhere south of the river Sava, or who were in continuous control of parts of Sventopolk’s realm not occupied by the Hungarians. There are reasons to consider the second suggestion a possibility.


In 873, Pope John VIII urged a certain South-Slavic prince by the name of Montemer to recognize the ecclesiastical authority of Methodius, who had just been ordained bishop of the diocese of Pannonia. [107] Such recognition would have been forthcoming only if Montemer’s realm had been in some way related politically to the realm of Sventopolk. Montemer’s realm was obviously somewhere close to the river Sava, and covered part of Pannonia Secunda. Since he was urged to recognize the authority of Methodius, he must have been one of the princes (archons) of the patrimonial realm of Sclavonia. What constituted his realm in 873 may have been after the Hungarian invasion a place of refuge for the leaders of megale Moravia.



107. The text of the letter, e.g. in Monumenta Germaniae historica, Epp. VII, No. 18





This region might still have been controlled by the “archons of Moravia” around the year 950.


We may conclude that Constantine Porphyrogenitus knew an “old Moravia,” formerly of Sventopolk, located north of the river Sava, in Pannonia Sirmiensis, and some Moravian archons of his own time, in the South-Slavic principalities.


The location of Moravia along the lower Danube, and possibly an exact location of the Moravia of Rastislav (later of Sventopolk), is indicated by a less known, later Byzantine text, which reads:


“Those living along the Danube, the Bulgars, the Moravs (the Serbs and Vlachs) and the Slavs of Illyria have been enlightened by means of the holy baptism about the middle of the ninth century during the rule of Michael and the patriarchate of the eminent Photius.” [108]


This passage describes events as of the time of the Byzantine Emperor Michael III (842-67) and Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople (858-67; 877-86), that is, events spanned by the years 858 to 867. This is exactly the time of intensive efforts by Rome and Constantinople to assert ecclesiastical control over Illyricum. In 862-63 Rastislav, prince of Moravia requested and received a “teacher” from Constantinople in the person of Constantine-Cyril, and Boris-Michael accepted baptism in 865. The source may appear unclear when it states that the “Moravs” were baptized at that time, because the Moravians, including their princes, were exposed to Christianity much earlier. However, it was not until 869 that the Moravians received a church organization of their own. The reference to baptism therefore implies only an intensification of missionary activities in Illyricum as a result of Constantine’s efforts.


Less debatable, and for the problem of Moravia’s location more important, are the geographic references of the quoted fragment. We should note first that the author of the source speaks of people, and not of ethno-political or ethno-geographic entities, and hence of the baptism of the “Bulgars,” “Moravs” and other peoples rather than of the “Bulgarians” or “Moravians,” the forms that would have derived from the polities Bulgaria of Moravia. The source places these groups in the Roman-Byzantine political-territorial subdivision of Illyricum.



108. For the Greek text see the Commentary to De Administrando Imperio, pp. 62-3.





The territories controlled by the Bulgars reached to and included Belgrade. Consequently, the “Moravs," neighbors of the Bulgars, were west of Belgrade, [109] still in Illyricum, hence in Pannonia secunda, between the rivers Sava and Danube and some adjacent territories. [110]



109. Vita Clementis, cap. 16, reports that the pupils of Methodius, expelled from Moravia, reached Bulgarian territory in Belgrade. For text see, e.g., Migne, Patrologia Graeca, vol. CXXVI,cols. 1194-1222.


110. A document listing the bishops under the Patriarch of Ochrid mentions “Methodius archbishop of Morava of Pannonia.” Since Ochrid never claimed jurisdiction for territories north of the Danube, and since the document places Morava in Pannonia, the implications are obvious. The patriarchs of Ochrid claimed jurisdiction over the diocese of Methodius, even if a reference to his name is not justified. For the document see Gelzer, Das Patriarchat von Achrid (Leipzig, 1902), 7ff.


The fact that Methodius is frequently associated with Ochrid and the belief that Methodius was bishop somewhere north of the Danube led Rybakov to place Ochrid in Bohemia. Cf. B. A. Rybakov, Drevnaia Rus; skazaniia, ‘byliny’, letopisi (Moscow, 1963), map on p. 246.








a. Testimony of Ecclesiastic sources 86

b. The so-called “Forgeries of Lorch” 97



 a. Testimony of ecclesiatic sources


Despite a continuing interest in Moravian and Methodian studies little progress, if any, has been made with regard to some basic issues of Moravia’s ecclesiastical history. There is still a diversity of scholarly opinion as to the very nature of Methodius’s episcopal dignity, as well as to the location - or even the existence - of his episcopal see. Methodius has been considered by various scholars in turn to have been a bishop "at large" without a permanent residence, a missionary bishop, a land-bishop (chorepiscopus), or, finally, a titular bishop of Sirmium on the river Sava who was active mainly in Prince Sventopolk’s domain (believed to be north of the Danube) with a see either in Nitra, Velehrad, or elsewhere. Thus, on the one hand, we have differences of opinion on the nature of Methodius’s episcopal dignity and, on the other, a general scholarly agreement that he had the function of archbishop of Moravia. The persistence of conflicting interpretations of the episcopal dignity of Methodius and the acceptance of the notion that he was archbishop of Moravia, a title for which there is no evidence in the sources, warrant a re-examination of the Methodian problem in an attempt to eliminate some of the contradictions.


Both the episcopal dignity and the archiepiscopal function of Methodius are adequately defined in contemporary papal letters as well as in hagiographic writings of later origin. For instance, in a letter from Pope John VIII to Adalvin, archbishop of Salzburg, Methodius is referred to as "frater" of the Pope. [1]



1. The letters of Pope John VIII are available in several collections, e.g. Monumenta Germaniae historica, Epp., vol. VII. Excerpts relevant for the study of Moravian and Methodian problems are included in Constantinus et Methodius Thessalonicenses: Fontes (Zagreb, 1960); Codex diplomaticus regni Croatiae, Dalmatiae et Slavoniae, vol. I and Magnae Moraviae fontes historici, vol. III. ed. Lubomír Havlík.





The term "frater" is employed in papal usage only in respect to bishops - the sacerdotal dignity of the pope is also only that of a bishop. Another letter by the same pope to Sventopolk shows that Methodius was ordained in Rome, during the pontificate of Pope Hadrian II, as archbishop to Sventopolk. [2]


Since the earliest recorded synodal decisions, a fully ordained bishop has been the leader of a community of believers in an urban settlement. The ordination of a bishop consists today, as it did in the ninth century, of a mystical marriage ceremony between the bishop-elect and the church to which he is assigned. As early as 451, Canon 6 of the Council of Chalcedon (Fourth General Council) decreed that "no one is to be promoted to the priesthood or diaconate or to any other ecclesiastical order, unless the one to be promoted is specially affiliated with a church of a city or that of a village, or a martyry or a monastery. In regard to those who have been ordained absolutely [that is, without a titulus], the holy council decided that such ordination is invalid, and that they can function nowhere, to the disgrace of the one who ordained them." [3]


Clerics or bishops who abandoned their church or were ordained without a titulus were considered clerici vagi or acephali and were subject to disciplinary censure. The Synod of Arles (314) formulated the rule that "ubi quisque ordinatur, ibi permaneat." Similarly, Canon 15 of the First Council of Nicaea (First General Council, 325) and Canon 20 of the Council of Chalcedon (451) remind clerics that they should not pass from one church to another. In the ninth century the popes and some of the provincial synods were concerned with vagrant bishops and clerics. Consequently Methodius, ordained by Hadrian II, must have been fully intitulatus, that is, ordained to a cathedral church from the income of which he received his subsistence and at which he had to establish his residence. He was obviously not an episcopus vagus, but neither was he a titular bishop (of a defunct see), as is frequently assumed - this institution came into existence only in the wake of Muslim conquests and especially after the collapse of the Crusades.


The diocese of Methodius is frequently mentioned in contemporary ninth-century documents because of a legal dispute between the papacy and the archbishop of Salzburg over jurisdictional authority in parts of former Pannonia.



2. “Ne mireris, quia diximus te agente sedem a fratre nostro Methodio recipiendam, quia profecto dignum est, ut tu, qui fuisti eius auctor deiectionis, sis officii conmissi causa receptionis"; MGH, Epp. VII, No. 20. "Methodius vester archiepiscopus ab antecessore nostro, Adriano scilicet papa, ordinatus vobisque directus"; ibid, No. 200.

3. The canonical decisions are quoted from Disciplinary Decrees of the General Councils, ed., trans., and with commentary, by H.K. Schroeder (St. Louis and London, 1937).





In the late eight century large areas of Pannonia came under Frankish-Bavarian control, and parts of that territory were entrusted by the decision of Charlemagne to the pastoral care of the bishop of Passau, the archbishop of Salzburg, and the patriarch of Aquileia. Pope John VIII wished to restore the former church province of Pannonia to Roman authority. As a result of the ensuing conflict of interest between the papal claim for primacy and the claims of the Frankish proprietary church, Methodius, active in Pannonia, was detained, probably in territory controlled by the Bavarians, and then held in Swabia for some three years. Pope John VIII, in his letters to King Louis the German, his son Carloman, and the Bavarian bishops, insisted upon the release of Methodius and upon the restoration, directly to Methodius and indirectly to the papacy, of the ecclesiastical rights over parts of Pannonia. In the papal letters the disputed territory is referred to as diocesis Pannonica, which was once given to papal care by synodal decisions, "as written histories show." [4] From the letter of Pope John to Carloman, who was at that time in control of Carinthia, it is evident that the diocesis Pannonica, and only that diocese, was claimed for Methodius. [5]


The diocese in question is repeatedly defined by the adjective "Pannonica," and this would seem to be sufficient evidence for the view that the diocese formed part or the whole of former Pannonia. Although no scholars have yet attempted to prove that Pannonia ever extended north of the Danube, it seems appropriate to show that the disputed diocesis Pannonica once formed, in fact, a part of the Roman Empire and thus was located only south of the Danube. Regions north of the Danube could not have been subject to synodal decisions in a remote nistorical past, before the destruction and evacuation of the Pannonian bishoprics once under Roman control. It was only the provinces of Illyricum, including Pannonia, that were affected by such synodal decisions. [6]


That the papacy was the legal heir to the diocesis Pannonica is indicated also by another fragment of the papal letters, in which it was stressed that the rights of Rome were not subject to the legal rules of forfeiture.



4. “Multis ac variis manifestisque prudentia tua poterit indiciis comprehendere Pannonicam diocesin ab olim apostolicae sedis fuisse privilegiis deputatam, si apud excellentiam tuam iustsitia Dei locum, sicut decet, invenerit. Hoc enim synodalia gesta indicant, hoc ystoriae concriptae demonstrant," MGH. Epp, VII, No. 15.

5. “Itaque reddito ac restituto nobis Pannoniensium episcopatu liceat predicto fratri nostro Methodio, qui illic a sede apostolica ordinatus est, secundum priscam consuetudinatn libere, que sunt episcopi, gerere;" ibid, No. 16.

6. See “Donauprovinzen" in Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum, IV (1959), especially cols. 175-76.





The reference to forfeiture seems to be an answer to arguments used by the archbishop of Salzburg in support of his own claim for jurisdiction over parts of Pannonia. The plea of Salzburg was included in the memorandum Conversio Bagoariorum et Carantanorum. The memorandum itself, or its contents, must have been communicated to the Pope, since it seems to represent an integral part of the dispute. The document claimed that Salzburg had been in ecclesiastical control of “orientalis Pannonia" for seventy-five years before Methodius appeared on the scene. The Pope seems to have repudiated these claims by referring to the Roman law and to the imprescriptible rights of the papacy.


The same legal and historical reasoning was used by Pope John in drafting instructions for Bishop Paul of Ancona, his legate dispatched to Germany to secure the release of Methodius from detention in Bavaria and the restoration of the diocesis Pannonica to papal ecclesiastical jurisdiction. The instructions, which are very precise and leave no room for misunderstanding, define the diocese of Pannonia as former papal jurisdictional territory, temporarily detached because of wars and occupation by the enemy. Reference is again made to forfeiture, another indication that Rome had once been in possession of the diocese. Finally, the papal claim is supported by reference to former papal jurisdiction over Illyricum, of which Pannonia was a part. [7]


At the same time as the letters of Pope John were being sent to Louis the German and to Carloman and that Bishop Paul of Ancona was securing the release of Methodius, a South Slav prince by the name of Montemer was exhorted in a letter by the Pope to return to the fold of the Pannonian diocese, which now had a bishop ordained by Rome. This letter renders further evidence not only that Methodius was a diocesan bishop, fully ordained to a definite episcopal see, but also that his diocese had once been in existence before he was ordained and intitulated to its see. [8]


In all sources analyzed, the diocese claimed for Methodius is repeatedly and unequivocally defined as a territory formerly under papal jurisdiction, part of Illyricum.



7. “Ipse nosti o gloriosissime rex, quod Pannonica diocesis apostolice sedis sit subiecta, licet bellica clades eam ad tempus ab illa subtraxerit et gladius ad horam hostilis subduxerit. Verum reddita aeclesiis pace, reddi debuerunt et iura. .. id ipsum sancto papa leone in decretis canonicis cum de reintegrando nuptiarum ferde scriberet;“ MGH, Epp. VII, No. 21.


8. ". . . Ammonemus te, ut progenitorum tuorum sectuus morem quantam potes ad Pannonensium reverti studeas diocesin. Et quia illic iam Deo gratias a sede beati Parti apostoli episcopus ordinatus est;” ibid, No. 18.





It may well be of importance that the archbishop of Salzburg did not deny Rome’s claims but counted on the law of forfeiture. Finally, the dispute could not have involved regions north of the Danube, because in 798 the archbishop of Salzburg had received for ecclesiastical care only areas south of the Danube.


Further accumulation of evidence in support of our observations would be redundant. However, for the sake of testing our conclusions, we should note Vita Methodii, an independent Church Slavonic source. According to this source, Methodius, when answering the accusations of the Bavarian bishops that he had trespassed upon their jurisdictional territory, said in his defense:


“Had I known that this [territory] belonged to you, l would have avoided it. But it belongs to St. Peter. Indeed, if you, guided by conceit and greed, do transgress the old boundaries in violation of the canonical decisions. . . be on guard.” [9]


No old boundaries, no canonical decisions, no rights of St. Peter’s patrimonium would have been mentioned by Methodius if the transgressions had taken place north of the Danube, a region which at that time could not yet have been part of the Roman hierarchical organization.


A more precise delimitation of the diocese of Methodius is possible but, at this stage of our investigation, not necessary. It would require a rather lengthy scrutiny of sources relevant to the political and ecclesiastical history of the whole region - a topic for separate consideration. It may be pertinent, however, to reiterate our main observation, namely, that the diocese of Methodius, the diocesis Pannonica, was located south of the Danube. The same conclusion can be derived from an analysis of Greek, Church Slavonic, and Old Russian sources relating to Methodian studies.


Our conclusion that the diocese of Methodius must have been south of the Danube is at variance with the generally accepted notion that Methodius was “archbishop of Moravia” (a country believed to be north of the Danube). The key to this problem seems to be a proper understanding of the episcopal title of Methodius. Canon law and ecclesiastical practice fail to make provision for such titles as "archbishop of Moravia” or “archbishop of Poland.” There is no such title or function, although Methodius, a city-based bishop, in charge of his own diocese, had nonsacerdotal, supervisory functions over the ecclesiastical organization of a larger territory, the entire principality of Sventopolk.



9. Vita Methodii, 9.





Moreover, as mentioned earlier, none of the sources that refer to the episcopal dignity and ecclesiastical functions of Methodius identifies him as “archbishop of Moravia."


The official title of a bishop, as a rule, is formed from the name of the cathedral church or the city of his residence, for example, “Maxentius, sanctae Aquilegensis ecclesiae episcopus," “Theotmarus Iuvavensis ecclesiae archiepiscopus," "bishop of Rome," or “patriarch of Constantinople."


The only expression resembling the Latin form “Moravia" in the title used for Methodius in ninth-century official documents is in a letter of Pope John VIII: “Methodius reverentissimus archiepiscopus sanctae ecclessiae Marabensis." [10] This is the title which gave rise to the assumption that Methodius was archbishop of “Moravia.“ This title, however, connects Methodius not with Moravia but with the church of his residence and with the city named, correctly or corruptly, Maraba. The name Maraba or Morava certainly refers to a city, because the title of a bishop, as already indicated, expresses the fact of intitulation to a cathedral church defined by the name of the city.


Decisive for our investigation, however, is the fact that, in the same letter in which Pope John VIII named Methodius "archiepiscopus sanctae ecclesiae Marabensis" there is reference to another bishop in the principality of Sventopolk - Wiching - who is named "episcopus sanctae ecclesiae Nitrensis." Thus, the realm of Sventopolk in June, 880, the time the letter of Pope John VIII was written, must have consisted of at least two dioceses: the diocese of Wiching and the (arch)-diocese of Methodius. The formal titles of Methodius and of Wiching used in the same document, irrespective of their canonical exactness, imply through their parallel construction that the forms "sanctae ecclesiae Marabensis" and "sanctae ecclesiae Nitrensis" can refer to cities only. As an argument from philological analysis of the text, one should note that in the forms “Marabensis" and "Nitrensis" there is and adjectival ending, -ensis, which is used in Latin, as a rule, in conjunction with names of places - in this case, to form adjectives from cities named Nitra and Maraba.


To test our observations made on the basis of the letter of Pope John VIII, we may submit for analysis any of the Greek or Old Slavic hagiographic writings in which references are made to the episcopal function and territorial jurisdiction of Methodius. Thus, in the so-called Prolozhnoe zhitie Mefodiia [11] we read that Methodius rests in the cathedral church of Morava,



10. MGH, Epp., No. 255.

11. The editions of various Church-Slavonic sources citied hereafter are listed in the Bibliography.





on the left side, in the wall behind the altar (“lezhit zhe v velitsan tserkvi Moravstiei o levuiu stranu v stienie za oltarem”). The meaning of the text is unequivocal: Methodius was buried in his cathedral church, in a city named Morava or Moravsko. Since at the time of Methodius’ death there were at least two cathedral churches in the realm of Sventopolk, Methodius’ own cathedral church could not have been referred to as the cathedral church of the whole of “Moravia.” In the light of the stipulations of canon law and of the philogical and internal analysis of contemporary documents and hagiographic writings, the title of Methodius used in his Vita, “arkhiepiskoup Moravska,” should be interpreted also as referring to a city named Morava or Moravsko.


For the conclusions reached so far, more evidence is readily available. The sources for Methodian studies provide sufficient material for locating Methodius’ sedes episcopalis, defined so far as “sancta ecclesia Marabensis.” The location of the city named Maraba/Morava can be determined, for example, from the Church Slavonic Vita Methodii. It was composed shortly after the death of Methodius, and, although the text of it is preserved only in late copies, few distortions of fact can be detected. What is more, the biographer of Methodius seems to have had access to some papal letters which he used partly in the form of direct quotations and partly in condensed form. We may be allowed to extract from it some facts pertinent to the problem of the episcopal see of Methodius as a basis for our subsequent observations.


The author, or the transcriber, of the Vita gave the work the title “Pamiat i zhitiie blazhenago ottsa nashego i ouchitelia Mefodiia arkheipiskoupa Moravska.” From the text we learn that Kocel, prince of a region around Lake Balaton, requested the Pope to send Methodius to him as a teacher. Subsequently, Kocel made a new plea to the Pope that Methodius “be ordained as bishop in Pannonia to the see of St. Andronicus... and so it happened.” According to early church tradition St. Andronicus, whose successor was now Methodius, had been bishop of Sirmium, once the capital city of Pannonia Secunda and of Western Illyricum.


The observation which can be derived from the Vita for the purpose of placing the episcopal see of Methodius is that Methodius was made bishop of the see of Andronicus (Sirmium) and that the title of the Vita refers to Methodius as “arkhiepiskoup Moravska.” We must stress that the source does not know the classical names of the city where Andronicus and Methodius resided (Sirmium or Civitas Pannonia).





In the Vita one reference to the bishopric is specific and formal (‘‘archbishop of Morava”) and the other, oblique ("bishop in Pannonia to the see of St. Andronicus”). Neither the author of the Vita nor any of the later copyists saw a contradiction between the two definitions of the bishopric, obviously because for them they were synonymous. Therefore, we should not be surprised when, in place of "Mefodii arkhiepiskoup Moravska” in Vita Methodii, we read in the Pokhvalno Slovo (another Life of the Saint) ”na pamiat. . . arkhiepiskoupou Panon’skou Mefodiiu.” It is clear that the two definitions of the title of Methodius are definitely synonymous. In the Pokhvalno Slovo the term "Panonsko” is the equivalent of "Civitas Pannonia” and not of the province Pannonia.


There is no evidence in the various versions of the Vita Methodii or in any other source that Methodius ever changed his episcopal see, a very unlikely possibility because of the obstacles imposed by canon law. Bishops are ordained to a specific see for life, and any exception to the rule in the form of disciplinary removal or transfer would have been reflected in the numerous sources.


Furthermore, the continuity of Methodius’s episcopal function at the see of St. Andronicus is the more likely because of his temporary detention in Bavaria. Explicit and precise instructions to the papal legate, Bishop Paul of Ancona, specified the conditions of Methodius’s release from Bavarian captivity. Methodius, ordained to the see of Andronicus and detained illegally for some three years, had to be returned to his original residence for a period at least equal to the duration of his detention. Only then would the bishops of Bavaria be in a legal position to bring a complaint against Methodius to a higher ecclesiastical authority. [12]


No doubt the papal intervention was successful. Methodius, after his release in 873, returned to the see of his original ordination (diocesis Pannonica) not only for a three-year period but apparently for the rest of his life; in 879 Pope John VIII still named him "archiepiscopus Pannoniensis ecclesiae.” [13]


The same conclusions result from analysis of an independent Greek source, the Vita Clementis, an extensive text highly valued for the study of the Cyrillo-Methodian tradition.



12. “Et certe secundum decretalia instituta prius eum reinvestiri convenit episcopi et postmodum ad racionem adduci.. .et ipse tanto tempore credito sibi episcopatu inconcusso ac sine questione fruatur, quanto constat illum bovis lacientibus eo fuisse privatum;” MGH, Epp., No. 21.

13. Ibid, No. 201.





This work includes the following evidence on Methodius’ episcopacy:


(2) . . . Methodius, who was the glory of the eparchy of Pannonia, became the archbishop of Morava.


(3) . . . Pope Hadrian. . . ordained Methodius bishop of Morava of Pannonia (Μοράβον τῆς Πανονίας).


(6) . . . Gorazd. . . was assigned to be archbishop of Morava.


(12) . . . Gorazd was from Morava and was fluent in both Slavic and Greek languages, and he was designated by Methodius to the episcopal see. [14] We have here again a definition of the jurisdictional territory of Methodius in the term “eparchy of Pannonia” and also a confirmation of our earlier observation that the episcopal see of Methodius was a city named Morava. The city was obviously located in Pannonia. Pope Hadrian ordained Methodius to the see of Andronicus, as we know from Vita Methodii; hence the Morava of paragraph 2 of the Vita Clementis must be identical with Sirmium, formerly the see of Andronicus.


For the proper interpretation of Vita Clementis and of many other Methodian sources, we should note here that the Greek form “ἑπίσκοπος Μοράβον τῆς Πανονίας” (bishop of Morava of Pannonia) is an official form of a bishop’s title referring both to the episcopal see and to the diocese. This extended form of titulature is till commonly used in the Orthodox Church.


It seems probable that some of the misconceptions in modem historiography concerning Methodius’ episcopacy originated when the Greek text was made accessible in Latin translation over one hundred years ago by F. Miklosich. [15] Miklosich emended the original text “Μοράβον τῆς Πανονίας” (of Morava of Pannonia) to read “Moraviae et Pannoniae” (of Moravia and of Pannonia). The name of the city “Moravos” was arbitrarily made into the name of a country, “Moravia.”


The main cause of current misinterpretations, however, is that, besides the two definitions of Methodius’ episcopal see, “bishop to the see of St. Andronicus” and “archiepiscopus sanctae ecclesiae Marabensis,” there is also a third form, already mentioned, namely, “archiepiscopus Pannoniensis ecclesiae.” Hence, a more detailed analysis of the two Latin titles is justified.



14. Vita Clementis (e.g. in Fontes Rerum Bohemicarum I (Prague, 1873), 77, 79, 85 and 90).

15. Franc Miklosič, Vita Sancti Clementis (Vienna, 1847), and several re-editions, e.g. Migne, Patrologia Gracca, vol. CXXVI, cols. 1194-1222.





What seems to us to be a contradiction was not necessarily a contradiction to a man of the ninth century. In Roman times it was customary to name a province after its capital city or to use the name of the province for its metropolis. Thus we have the name "Civitas Noricum” for Lauriacum, the capital of Noricum, and "Civitas Valeria" for both Sopiane and Aquincum, the two metropolitan cities of Valeria. [16] Similarly, the form "Civitas Pannonia" would have been used for Sirmium, the capital city of the province Pannonia Secunda. The bishop in the metropolitan city of Pannonia would have had the title “episcopus Pannoniensis ecclesiae" - indeed, the classical form used by Pope John VIII. [17]


The concurrent use of two names for the episcopal see of Methodius does not represent an isolated case in ecclesiastical nomenclature. There was no consistency throughout the Middle Ages in the application of topographic names. The sources reflect a variety of vernacular, classical, and classicized names for the same city or region. In the ninth century we have for the bishops of Passau such titles as "Pazzowensis civitatis episcopus" and "Patavensis ecclesiae episcopus." For the city and bishopric of Salzburg we have the following forms: "Arno, Petenensis urbis episcopus, que nunc appelatur Salzburgh," "Ecclesia Iuvavensium, que et Petena nuncupatur," and "Ecclesia Petenensis." [18] In the single source Conversio Bagoariorum, we read two forms used concurrently: "Archiepiscopus Iuvanvensium" and "Episcopatus Salzburgenses." [19]


The episcopal titles of Methodius which connect him with Morava, as well as with Pannonia, are used by the same pope, John VIII. The form "archiepiscopus Pannoniensis ecclesiae" appears to be the classical and ecclesiastical form used in a letter directed to Methodius, whereas the form "archiepiscopus sanctae ecclesiae Marabensis" reflects the vernacular name of the episcopal city and is used only in the letter to Sventopolk. It should be noted that both papal letters are authentic, that the two different forms of titulature are used by the same chancery for two different addressees, and that the span of time between the writing of the letters is not more than one year (summer 879 - summer 880), during which period there was no change in the episcopal status of Methodius and certainly no relocation of his see. On the contrary, the continuity of the episcopal function of Methodius is



16. See Ignaz Zibermayr, Noricum, Baiern und Österrcich (Horn, 1956), 52-3.

17. MGH, Epp., No. 201. The ending -ensis presupposes a Civitas Pannonia.

18. See Ignaz Zibermayr, op. cit., p. 268.

19. Conversio Bagoariorum, cap. 2 and 9.





again evident in letters from Pope John VIII to Sventopolk in 879 and 880. In both cases Methodius is called Sventopolk’s archbishop (“vester archiopiscopus").


The sources analyzed thus far are those most frequently used in studies presenting Methodius as archbishop of Moravia, north of the Danube. There are, however, sources utterly neglected in Methodian studies which give a direct and simple answer to the question of the location of Methodius’ episcopal see and his diocese and which make any further arguments in favor of my contention superfluous. The Church Slavonic Vita Naumi defines the function of Methodius as: “arkhiepiskop Moravu i vsie Panonie." This is a precise title of a city-based bishop with definition of his jurisdictional territory, a title-form still used in the Orthodox Church and, in fact, an equivalent of the Greek phrase used in the Vita Clementis: "bishop of Morava of Pannonia." Furthermore, the Vita Naumi knows that Methodius, after the death of his brother Cyril in Rome, left for Pannonia, to the city of Morava; "otide v Pannoniu v grad Moravu." [20] According to the Russian Primary Chronicle, Methodius remained in Morava (osta v Morave) and was appointed "bishop in Pannonia (v Panii) at the see of St. Andronicus." [21]


All references to the diocese and the episcopal see of Methodius in all sources point toward Pannonia and toward a city in Pannonia named Morava, the vernacular equivalent of Civitas Pannonia (Sirmium), formerly the see of St. Andronicus (Sremska Mitrovica of today).


To conclude, the episcopal see of Methodius and his diocese could not have been north of the Danube, along the northern Morava River, but only in Pannonia, in a region centered around the city of Sirmium. The results of a survey of sources on the episcopal dignity and diocese of Methodius correspond to the results derived from the analysis of sources reflecting the geographic location of Moravia proper. Considering the nature of the state-church relations in the Middle Ages, such a concurrence of conclusions was to have been expected. [22]



20. Vita Naumi II, e.g. in A. Teodorov-Balan, ed., Kiril i Metodi, vol. 2 (Sofia, 1934), 136.

21. Povest vremennykh let, ed V. P. Adrianova-Peretts (Moscow and Leningrad, 1950), I, 22-23.


22. To test our conclusion, we may compare the episcopal titles of St. Methodius and St. Bonifacius, both of whom were episcopi primae sedis, first bishops of newly created (or recreated) church provinces, and therefore, archbishops. Bonifacius was called archiepiscopus Germaniae, but he was resident bishop of Mainz (cf. Annales Xantenses, s.a. 752), the prima sedes of Germania. Of course, Bonifacius could not have held a title such as archiepiscopus sanctae ecclesiae Germanensis, for the simple reason that an episcopal see (sancta ecclesia) is defined by the name of a city while a church province is given an ethnopolitical name (Germania, Bavaria, Polonia). Germania was not a city and Morava was not a province. Hence we have no references to Methodius as bishop of Moravia. Just as Bonifacius was dispatched by the pope "ad illuminationem totius Germaniae," and was made archbishop of Mainz, so Methodius was dispatched initially "to all the Slavonian parts," the realms of Rastislav, Sventopolk and Kocel, and was made archbishop of Sirmium.





 b. The so-called Forgeries of Forth


An independent corpus of sources on Moravia’s location is provided by the so-called "Forgeries of Lorch,” a collection of non-authentic Papal letters, the authorship of which is attributed to Piligrirn, Bishop of Passau (971-991). [23] Bishop Piligrirn assembled extensive documentation in order to prove that the episcopal see of Passau was the legal successor of the former metropolitan see of Lauriacum (Porch, on the Danube near Linz) and that the jurisdictional authority of the bishops of Passau should be restored over the territory of Pannonia orientalis and Moesia. The first claim, that of succession to the metropolitan sec of Lauriacum, would have given the Bishop of Passau, namely Piligrim, the function of an archbishop. The second claim, that of restoration of ecclesiastical authority over Pannonia and Moesia, would have given him authority over seven bishoprics, three in Avaria and four in Moravia. The letters define both regions, Avaria and Moravia, as being located in Pannonia and Moesia. [24]


According to Piligrim’s documentation, the translatio of the metropolitan (archiepiscopal) see from Lauriacum to Passau occurred in the sixth century. Some of the letters cited the fact that the bishops of Passau had exercised ecclesiastical control over Pannonia also in the ninth century, more precisely in Hunnia-Avaria and in Moravia. The documentation unequivocally and repeatedly places Moravia in Pannonia orientalis and Moesia, [25] thus in a territory east-southeast of Lake Balaton, in Pannonia Sirmiensis, and toward the river Morava in the east.



23. For a brief summary of the problems and a bibliography, cf. Alphons Lhotsky, Quellenkunde zur mittelalterlichen Geschichle Österreichs (Mittalungen des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung, Supplements, vol. 19) (Graz-Cologne, 1963), 167-70. On medieval ‘forgeries’, cf. Karl Bosl, "Zu einer Soziologie der mittelalterlichen Falschung," in Historische Zeitschrift 197/2 (1963).


24. Text of the letters are available in various collections, i.a. Urkundenbuch des Landes ob der Enns, vol. 2 (Vienna, 1856), 699ff.; Waldemar Lehr, Pilgrim, bischof von Passau und die Lorcher Fälschungen (Berlin, 1909), a dissertation. Most recent edition in Magnae Moraviae Fontes Historici III ed. L. Havlík (Brno, 1969).


25. Agapitus episcopus, servus servorum dei, fratri dilectissimo et reverentissime Gerhardo, sancte Laureacensis ecclesie archiepiscopo, in Christo salutem... Lauriacensem enim urbem antiquitus metropolitanam fore et archiepiscopi sedem, cui sanctitas tua preesse dinoscitur, sicut in privilegiis autenticus ad nos usque a te directic legimus, ita quoque inventis quibusdan exemplaribus carte, vetustate admodum attritis, in archivo sancti Petri repperimux. Hanc etiam in exordio nascentis ecclesie et inmanissima christianorum persecutione a doctoribus istius sedis catholice fidei novimus rudimenta percepisse et exinde a succedentibus predicatonbus in superioris atque inferioris Pannonie provintias eiusdem fidei gratiam emanasse, Quibus vero duabus provintiis illarumque pontificibus usque ad tempora Hunnorum non alius quam sancte Lauriacensis ecclesie prefuit archiepiscopus; ... Constat quidem, quod cononice singulis provinciis singuli ordinatur metropolitani; proinde distribuere atque determinare ita vobis barrochias bonum et pacificum estimamus, ut divisis duabus Norice regionis provinciis, Heraldo archiepiscopo Salisburgensis occidentalis Pannonie cura comittatur et custodia; tibi autem successoribusque tuis propter emeritam antiquitatem sancte Lauriacensis ecclesie, cui iure iuniorum revertia assurgit, in benedictionis et sedis ordine prelatis atque propositis, providentiam orientalis Pannonie regionemque Auarorum atque Marahorum sed et Sclavorum, qui modo Christiani vel adhuc per baptisma Christo lucrandi sunt...


Benedictus VI papa archiepiscopis Germaniae, Ottoni imperatori etc., ... s.a. 973:

Quapropter dignum estimavimus assensum přebere congruis postulationibus reverentissimi archiepiscopi, quas per probabiles personas nobis intimavit responsalium suorum, duorum videlicet presbyterorum, quatinus sibi pallium et metropolitanum honorem cathedre sue, sancte Lauriacensi ecclesie, restitueremus, confinio Ungrorum adiacenti; quod omnino nos eidem ecclesie debere testantur antiquissima secum apportata privilegiorum testimonia. In quibus enim continebatur, quod aetate pontificatus beati Symmachi, huius alme sedis apostolici presulis, prefata sancta Lauriacensis haberetur ecclesia metropolis; et in quantum tam exinde, quam etiam de passionibus beatorum martyrum, qui illic plures in tempore persecutionis pro fide Christi variis sunt tormentis multati, colligere possumus, ex omnibus ecclesiarum diocesibus Pannonie hec antiquitate et archiepiscopii dignitate esse primitiva creditur;


Et sicut modernis temporibus sancte memorie Agapitus papa terminos earundem barrochiarum ab invicem distinxit, sic et ipsi diffinimus ita quoque, ut sancta Salzburgensis eclesia superioris Pannonie episcopos habeat suffraganeos, quibus usque huc sui pontifices preesse videbantur, cum tanta talique diocesi, quali hactenus in inferiori usi sunt Pannonia. Sancta autem Lauriacensis ecclesia in inferioris Pannonie atque Mesiae regiones, quarum provintie sunt Auaria atque Marauia, in quibus septem episcoporum parrochiae antiquis temporibus continebantur, suique antistites archiepiscopalem deinceps habeant potestatem cum tanta talique diocesi, quali hactenus in superiori usi sunt Pannonia.


His igitur sedatis venerabilem confratrem nostrum Piligrimurn archiepiscopum canonicis literis munitum sedi sancte Lauriacensis ecclesie inthronizavimus palliumque ei secundum antiquum eiusdem ecclesie sue usum direximus atque in provinciis Auarie et Marauie, regionum quoque inferioris Pannonie sive Mesie et in contiguis sibi Sclauorum nationibus circumquaque manentium nostram apostolicarn auctoritatem et vicem exercere committimus atque delegamus: quatinus illic more antecessorum suorum, sancte Lauriacensis ecclesie archiepiscoporum, habeat potestatem presbyteros et episcopos ordinare atque constituere et ex predictis gentibus sua sancta predicatione parare domino plebem perfectam.





In spite of the wealth of information which could be extracted from the letters connected with the Lorch controversy, scholars disregarded their source value. The reason for this is the misleading label of “forgeries.” But even forgeries are manufactured to prove something concrete. Piligrim did not want jurisdiction over a terra incognita about to be discovered, but over territories well-known to all parties concerned, both those to whom the letters were submitted and those against whom the claims were made. Historians concerned with Moravia rejected the forgeries of Lorch because the documents located Moravia in Pannonia and Moesia and this statement could not be reconciled with the prevailing concept of a Moravia north of the Danube. The fact is, however, that Piligrim’s documentation was taken seriously in the tenth century and his claims led to a complicated legal dispute.





The claims of the Bishop of Passau were opposed by the (Arch)-bishop of Salzburg, who produced his own documentation - genuine or invented - in which the geographic terminology is similar to that employed by Piligrim. [26] On the basis of a draft prepared by Piligrim [27] the Chancery of Otto II recognized that Lauriacum-Lorch was formerly a metropolitan see (prima sedes) [28], but would not confirm his claim to archiepiscopal rank. The refusal was to be expected, because neither the Chancery nor the Emperor could act on such an issue without the consent of the Pope, without degrading the Archbishop of Salzburg to the position of a suffragan bishop, or without dividing the church province of Bavaria into two provinces. Finally, the efforts of Piligrim to secure succession to the former see of Lauriacum and to achieve archiepiscopal status were but one episode in a long history of endeavours which ended in 1728 when the Pope at last granted the Bishop of Passau both the title and the function of a metropolitan (lost, again, in 1817 to Munich). [29]


The majority of the letters attributed to Piligrim are only drafts which were presented to the Papal Curia and to the Imperial Chancery for signum recognitionis, a seal of approval. Most of the letters were reconstructions of lost documents. Reissuance of old or lost documents was an accepted medieval practice, especially of ecclesiastical authorities who relied on written evidence rather than on the testimony of witnesses.


There are many indications that the "reconstructions” or "drafts” presented by Piligrim were, in fact, produced to replace some lost papers.



26. Benedictus Papa VI Fridericum in Archiepiscopatu Salisburgensi confirmat ... :s.a. 974; Concedimus itaque vicem apostolicam Friderico Salzburgensis Ecclesiae antistiti, eiusque Successoribus, in tota Norica Provincia, et in tota Pannonia, superiori videlicet et inferiori...


27. ... eidem sancte Lauriacensi ecclesie que in honore sancti Stephani sanctique Laurenti martyrum foris murum constructa est, quam sedis antiquitus presulatum fore novimus, id ipsum regali atque imperiali auctoritate reddimus... Presertim sicut priscis temporibus sancta Lauriacensis ecclesia que foris murum in honore sancti Stephani sanctique Laurentii martyrum constructa et dedicata est, ante discidium et desolationem regni Bauvariorum mater ecclesia et episcopalis cathedra fuit, ita deinceps pristino honore ac dignitate canonica auctoritate perfruatur. Quam etiam presenti precepto nostro renovamus atque roboramus et iam sepe dicte sancte Lauraciensi sedi venerabilem Piligrimum reintronizamus antistitem, quatinus amodo tam ipse quam omnes sui successores Lauriacenses fiant et nominentur pontifices.


28. ... sanctae Lauriacensi ecclesiae quae in honore sancti Stephani sanctique Laurientii martyrum foris murum aedificata est, ubi antiquis etiam temporibus prima sedes episcopalis habebatur, imperiali auctoritate in proprium tradimus atque concedimus;...

In Monumenta Germaniae historica. Diplomata, vol. 2/1,190.


29. For the various stages of the conflict see: Erich Zöllner, ‘Die Lorcher Tradition im Wandel der Jahrhunderte," Mitteilungen des Instituts für Osterreichische Geschichtsforschung, vol. 71 (1963); 221-36.





None of the factual, legal or geographic information contained in the letters can be seriously challenged. Outright fabrications could have been easily discovered, especially in the archives of the Papal Curia. Any doubts about the information contained in the letters stem from our own ignorance rather than from the insufficient factual knowledge of the person reconstructing the content of the lost or damaged documents. The reconstructions (a term preferable to the usual “forgeries”) were made in 977-978, and the question might be raised as to why they were dated so precisely if Piligrim had been bishop since 971. A very plausible explanation is to be found in the fact that Passau and the cathedral church suffered great damage as the result of internal strife during the years 976-977. The cathedral church of Passau was burned and the chancery, most probably, destroyed. This explains why we lack a chronicle or any archival material from Passau prior to the “falsa” of Piligrim. As a result of the destruction in Passau, Bishop Piligrim had to move his episcopal see temporarily to Lorch-Lauriacum. [30] This sojourn in Lorch could have directed Piligrim’s attention to the possibility of renewing the old claims for jurisdiction over parts of Pannonia and Moesia. This explains also the fact that the arguments of the “documentation” are used by Piligrim in genuine letters as well. [31]


The significant point for the problem of Moravia’s location is not the legality or exactness of Piligrim’s documentation, but the undeniable fact that the claims were public and were concerned with territorial jurisdiction over an area claimed also by the Bishop of Salzburg. The bishops of Salzburg had never claimed territories north of Pannonia and this circumstance in and of itself confirms that Piligrim’s Moravia, a part of the contested territory, must have been south of the Danube. Furthermore, at the time when Piligrim was assembling the documents in support of his claim, lands north of Pannonia were under the ecclesiastical control of the Bishop of Prague, a suffragan of the Archbishop of Mainz.



30. Karl Ublirz, “Die Urkundenfälschung zu Passau im zehnten Jahrhundert,” Mitteilungen des Instituts fur Österreichische Geschichtsforschung, vol. 3 (1882); 177-228, especially pp. 203, 204; Ignaz Zibermayer, Noricum, Baiern und Oesterreich (second edition, Horn, N. Ö., 1956); 391-92.


31. Piligrimus ad Benedictum papam. Ordinis ac nominis carismate prerogato sancte Romane sedis universali Benedicto pontifici Piligrimus, sancte Lauriacensis ecclesie humilis servitor... Unde quoque visum est iam necessarium esse, quatinus sanctitas vestra illic iubeat aliquos ordinari episcopos, quia et quondam Romanorum Gepidarumque tempore proprios septem antistites eadem orientalis Pannonia habuit et Mesia, mee sancte Lauriacensi, cui ego indignus ministro, ecclesie subiectos; quorum etiain qua tuor, usque dum Ungri regnum Bauuariorum invaserunt, sicut presenti cognitum est etati, in Marauia manserunt.





The bishopric of Prague was created in 965/973 out of territories controlled in part since 845 by the bishops of Regensburg. This new diocese comprised territories extending into what is today the western part of Slovakia, thus including regions along the northern Morava river. If the ambitions of Piligrim in 977/991 had included jurisdiction over areas north of Pannonia, then his dispute would have been not with the Archbishop of Salzburg, but with the Bishop of Prague and, possibly, the Archbishop of Mainz.


Independent of the documentation assembled by Piligrim, there are other indications that the bishops of Passau were involved in ecclesiastical affairs of Moravia, Pannonia and Moesia already in the ninth century. In all instances, Moravia appears to be part of Pannonia. Ermanrich, Bishop of Passau (866/874), attempted in 867 to set up a church organization in Bulgaria, that is, in a territory corresponding in part to Moesia. [32]


The same Ermanrich appears to have been the main antagonist of Bishop Methodius [33] during the famous dispute concerning ecclesiastical jurisdiction in Pannonia. [34] At the time of this dispute (870), the Bishop of Salzburg claimed jurisdiction only for parts of Pannonia north of the river Drava. [35] Ermanrich of Passau could well claim the remaining part of Pannonia, controlled by Methodius, namely Pannonia Sirmiensis (known to Piligrim as Pannonia orientalis), and Moesia. Richarius, Bishop of Passau, renewed the claims of his see for ecclesiastical control over Moravia in Pannonia in the year 900. This is evident from the letter of the Bavarian episcopate to Pope John IX in protest against the appointment of an archbishop and three bishops to Moravia. [36] Analysis of this letter allowed us to place this Moravia in Pannonia. The same Richarius, Bishop of Passau, actually succeeded in reintegrating Moravia in 901, when the Moravians subordinated



32. Annales Fuldenses. 867. Rex Hludovicus Vulgarum petionibus annuens Ermenrichum episcopum cum presbyteris ac diaconibus ad propagandam fidern catholicam praefate genti destinavit. Sed cum illuc pervenissent, episcopi a pontifice Romano misse totam illam terram praedicando et baptizando iam tunc repleverunt; quapropter isti accepta a rege licentia redierunt in sua.


33. Johannes VIII papa Hermerico episcopo; s.a. 873. Ad deflendam pravitatem tuam nonnisi fontem lacrimarum, ut propheta leremias, suflicere credimus. Cuius enim, ut non dicamus episcopi, secularis cuiusquam, irarao tyranni seviciam temeritas tua non excessit vel bestialem feritatem non transcendit, fratrem et coepiscopum nostrum Methodium carceralibus penis afficiens et sub divo diutius acerrima hiemis et nimborum immanitate castigans atque ab ecclesie sibi commisse regimine subtrahens et adeo in insaniam veniens, ut in episcoporum concilium tractum equino flagello percuteres, nisi prohiberetur ab aliis?...

Monumenta Germaniae historica; Epp., vol. 7/1; 285-86.


34. Vita Methodii 9.

35. Conversio Bagoariorum c. 6 aud c. 8.

36. Cf. above, p. 73 f.





themselves to imperial control [37] and thus give up their hopes for an independent church organization.


It should be recalled here that Piligrim’s aspirations for control over territories of former Moravia in Pannonia orientalis and Moesia were based on the expected recognition of Passau’s succession to the metropolitan rights of Lauriacum. This recognition was to be the basis for all the other claims. Lauriacum itself succeeded to the metropolitan rights of Sirmium after it was evacuated by its metropolitan in c. 582. Recognition of Piligrim’s claims for Lauriacum would have amounted to recognizing his jurisdiction over all of Pannonia, including Moravia in Pannonia orientalis and Moesia. The ecclesiastical center of this region was Sirmium, the see of Saint Andronicus, and, later, of Bishop Methodius. In other words, Moravia was located in a territory once controlled by the bishop of Sirmium, whose jurisdiction was inherited by Lauriacum and finally coveted by Piligrim. All this could only have been south of the Danube.


The preceding few comments, even if not absolving Piligrim from the accusation of forgery, should allow us to accept his information as to Moravia’s geographic location as valid: Moravia proper was once situated in Pannonia orientalis (Sirmiensis) and in the adjacent regions, including parts of Moesia.


An unexpected confirmation of Piligrim’s knowledge of political geography of the ninth century and of his own times is provided in the Miracula sancti Apri, an entirely independent source written sometime after 978, hence during Piligrim’s pontificate. In this source, the first incursions of the Hungarians into Pannonia are described as coming from Moesia across the possessions of the Moravians (Marahenses). [38] Whereas Pannonia and Moesia are classical geographic terms of regions, the term Marahenses refers to the citizens of a city named “Morava,” obviously in the border zone between Pannonia and Moesia. At the time of the Hungarian invasions, the Bavarians were in control only of western parts of Pannonia, consequently the Marahenses controlled the eastern parts of it.



37. Annales Fuldenses, s.a. 901.

38. Ex miraculis sancti Apri. Cap. 22. Cum ex incomprehensibili secreto aeterni consilii occultum iudicium Dei virgam gentilium peccatorum super sortem ecclesiae, culpis filiorum eius exigeutibus, ponere decrevisset, seva Danorum pestis, Hungrorura rabiei iuncta, carceribus suae native habitationis remotis, ut fluvius subita tempestate excrescens, extra metas suorum terminorum in perniciem multarum cis sitraque prope et procul si positarum gentium redundavit. Quibus nemine resistante - neque enim quispiam valebat furori Domini, digne omnibus imminente - Misia eversa, Marahensiumque licet gentilium convulsis tabernaculis, suam olim Pannoniam irruperunt... Tempora huius infelicitatis Karolus iunior, a suis cognominatus Simplex, cum regno Francorum pertransibat.

Monumenta Germaniae historica. Scriptores, vol. 4. p. 517.





This region was known to Piligrim as Pannonia orientalis, once the homeland of the Moravians.


Thus the Papal letters, the authorship of which is usually attributed to Piligrim Bishop of Passau, analyzed against the background of medieval diplomatics and confronted with known facts from historical geography and church history of the ninth and tenth centuries, provide several valid indications that Moravia proper once formed part of Pannonia orientalis and of Moesia.








a. Tradition and evidence south of the Drava 104

b. Tradition and evidence north of the Danube 118



 a. Tradition and evidence south of the Drava


As a result of the. expansion of Charlemagne’s political power across the Pannonias into Dalmatia and Moesia, the patriarchs of Constantinople and Rome found themselves in conflict with the bishops of Bavaria, who represented the interests of the Frankish proprietary church. Byzantium and Rome claimed jurisdiction over the territory of Illyricum, of which in antiquity the Pannonias, Dalmatia, Moesia, and other provinces were parts. As a result of defeats inflicted upon the Avars, the Slavic population of the Pannonias and the interior of Dalmatia came under Frankish political control, while the coastal cities of Dalmatia, with a Latin population, remained politically, for the most part, under Byzantine control. Switches of allegiance both by secular and ecclesiastic authorities in Dalmatia and Pannonia inferior were frequent, usually reflecting the shifting balance of power and influence among the three claimants to imperial authority: Rome, Byzantium, and the Frankish royal house. The collision of Roman, Byzantine, and Frankish interests was in evidence also in Eastern Illyricum where, during the ninth century, the Bulgars were in firm control. [1]


Before the barbarian invasions, the territories south of the Drava-Danube line, west of the Southern Morava River, and toward the Adriatic were either a part or the whole of a church organization under the bishops of Sirmium, the metropolitans of Pannonia and of Illyricum. Papal efforts to restore the ancient bishoprics of Illyricum, after the barbarian disruptions, began in the late eight and early ninth centuries,



1. See “Donauprovinzen” in Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum, IV (1959); F. Dvornik, Les Slaves, Byzance et Rome (Paris, 1926); F. Dvornik, “La lutte entre Byzance et Rome autour de l’lllyricum au IXe siècle”, in Mélanges Charles Diehl (Paris, 1930), 61-81; Ferdo Šišíś, Povijest Hrvata u vrijeme narodnih vladara (Zagreb, 1925). For details on individuals, places and issues presented in this chapter see Słownik Starożytności Słowiańskich.





when John of Ravenna became archbishop of Spalato, the new episcopal see in place of the destroyed Salona. In 852 the archbishop of Spalato-Salona claimed jurisdiction north up to the Drava-Danube line, [2] including territories which had formerly been the concern of the metropolitan bishops of Sirmium. The episcopal we of Sirmium was restored in 869 with Methodius as its first bishop. Conflicts between the Byzantine and the ‘Roman’ Empires for possessions in Illyricum and rivalry among the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Rome and the proprietary Frankish church were unavoidable, and the situation was aggravated by the reluctance of the local political powers - Bulgar or Slavonian - to recognize claims made by those three powers. Medieval Croatian and Dalmatian sources, as well as Papal documents, unequivocally attest that in these Illyrian developments a prominent role was played by Sventopolk. A sampling of sources provides the following illustrations.


The part of Pannonia which had been the realm of the South-Slavic prince Liudevit before 822, was in 838 controlled by another Slavic prince of the name Ratimar. [3] In a South-Slavic source, one of Ratimar’s descendants appears to be Sventopolk, the prince known to us from the history of Moravia. The ancestry of Sventopolk is described by Presbyter Diocleas in his Regnum Sclavorum, a source well-known to historians, but rejected by those studying Moravia’s past because it associates Sventopolk with the South, namely with Pannonia and Bosnia.


The relevant fragments of Regnum Sclavorum relate that Ratimar was succeeded by four kings (without stating, however, whether these four were Ratimar’s sons ruling their own patrimonial principalities, or four successive rulers). "From this tribe" was bom Svetimir, whose son was Sventopelek. Presbyter Diocleas states that during Svetimir’s lifetime a certain philosopher by the name of Constantine travelled to the Khazars and later converted the Bulgars. According to the same source, during Svetopelek’s lifetime this same Constantine was invited to go to Rome and that he visited Svetopelek’s realm on his way there (Dum autem pergeret transiens per regnum regis Svetopelek). [4]


Sventopolk-Svetopelek probably became Christian at this time, for Diocleas says that he urged the Christians who had been living in the mountains



2. Codex diplomatics regni Croatiae, Dalmatiae et Slavoniae, vol. I, No. 3.

3. Conversio Bagoariorum, cap. 10; Annales s. Rudberti Salisb. s.a. 838 (MGH. SS., IX, 770).

4. Regnum Sclavorum, known also as Barski Rodoslov, has been edited several times, e.g. F. Šišić, Letopis popa Duklanina (Belgrad and Zagreb, 1928); V. Mošin, Ljetopis popa Dukljanina (Zagreb, 1950); see also “Duklanin pop” in Słownik Starożytności Słowiańskich.





since the barbarian invasions to return to their former cities and homes. Presbyter Diocleas also knew that these people in hiding were "Latin”. The chronicler goes on to say that Sventopolk approached the Pope and the Byzantine Emperor for information from ancient documents on the limits and divisions of his realms. Finally, Diocleas reports that during a national assembly held in the “Field of Dalma” Sventopolk was crowned king “in the Roman fashion” in the presence of a Papal legate, cardinals and bishops.


Presbyter Diocleas’ work appears to be a source of extraordinary value because the events described in it are not contradicted by any other source, but fit logically into the web of Croatian-Dalmatian history. The main points of Sventopolk’s history as narrated by Presbyter Diocleas are corroborated by other, independent sources, and are also in conformity with simple logic. First of all, the Latin-speaking Christians in the mountains are known to have lived in Dalmatia-Croatia and not in what is now Czechoslovakia. Secondly, the request for information on the divisions and borders of Sventopolk’s realm could have been derived only from documents describing the Roman Empire - in other words, territories south of the Danube. Thirdly, the statement about Sventopolk’s coronation receives support from a variety of sources. A coronation of Sventopolk “in the Roman fashion,” as known to Presbyter Diocleas, must have, indeed, taken place at some date before 885, for in that year Pope Stephen addressed a letter to “Zventopolco regi Sclavorum." [5] A pope would use the title rex only if a royal function had been sanctioned by the Church and a solemn coronation had taken place. This is precisely the significance which Diocleas’ description conveys when he says that the coronation was held “in the Roman fashion” by a Papal legate, cardinals and bishops. Sventopolk was, therefore, King by the grace of God. The cor(o)nation in the Field of Dalma explains now why the kings and even princes of Slavonia-Croatia were known as rulers ‘by the grace of God,’ for instance, Cresimir, who is named in a document in 950: “Dei gratia Croathorum atque Dalmatinorum rex.” [6] Undoubtedly, Sventopolk was the first of the kings of Slavonia-Croatia. Irrefutable support for our contention comes from a rather unexpected place - the Monastery of Saint Peter in Gomai, in Dalmatian Croatia. A record of Croatian kings, either compiled or deposited in that monastery in the twelfth century, enumerates the predecessors of King Zvonimir,



5. MGH, Epp. VII, No. I.

6. Codex dipiomaticus regni Croatiae..., vol. I, No. 28.





and first on the list in none other than King Sventopolk. [7] Zvonimir himself is listed in the year 1075 with the title "Dei gratia et apostolice sedis dono rex." [8]


Since Presbyter Diocleas in his Regnum Sclavorum describes the deeds of the same Sventopolk whom Pope Stephen V addresses as "rex Sclavorum," and since the same Sventopolk is dynamically related to the princes of Pannonian and Dalmatian Croatia, an enquiry should be made whether these Slavonian-Croatian connections of his can be confirmed or contested. A logical place for query would be the resources for the study of Slavonia, and in fact, there are direct references to Sventopolk and Moravia in the chronicles of Ragusa-Dubrovnik, a town with close historical ties to Slavonia.


In describing events affecting only Ragusa and her neighbors, the Chronica Ragusina Junii Restii mentions a peace between the city and "Svetimir, re di Bossina, padre di Sventopelek." [9] This Svetimir, re di Bossina is, of course, the Svetimir known to Presbyter Diocleas as a descendent of Ratimar and father of Svetopelek. Since the statement of Junius Restius is incidental to the history of Ragusa, its author cannot be suspected of willful misrepresentation of the facts. Further more, his testimony about the Bosnian origin of Sventopolk is confirmed indirectly by two other Ragusian sources, both independent of Presbyter Diocleas and of Junius Restius. One of these sources is the Annales Ragusini anonymi, the other, the Annales Ragusini di Nicolai Ragnina. [10] These sources noted that in 972 a prince from ‘Albania’ (i.e., from Croatia Alba) occupied Bosnia and ruled there for five years. Upon his death the Bosnian realm was taken over by the Moravian line of the Croats (Et si faceva altro re della linea de Moravia de Harvati). [11]


This ‘Moravian line’, which presumably was entitled to assume the princely function in Bosnia upon the death of a usurper, must have been



7. The manuscript published in Supetarski kartular, ed. V. Novak and P. Skok (Zagreb, 1952). An earlier edition in Monumenta spectantia historiam Slavorum meridionalium, vol. VII, No. 231.

8. Codex diplomaticus regni Croatiae..., vol. I, No. 109.


9. “Chronica Ragusina Junii Restii”, in Monumenta spectantia historiam Slavoriim meridionalium, vol. XXV, pp. 20-21: “Ma intanto i Bosnesi avendo cominciato travagliar i Ragusei, questi, ammassato qualche numero di soldáti, fecero molti danni con fare buone prese sopra il paese vicino, ed avendo durato questa inimicizia per spazio di tre anni, si fece tregua fra la republica e Svetimir, re di Bossina, padre Svetopelek, o sia Svetopilo, per anni cinquanta.. Questo fu il primo trattato che fecero i Ragusei con i principi vicini, avendo gii questi cominiciato a deporre quella nativa barbarie, che sin a questi tempi aveva regnato tra i re di Slavonia.”


10. Both annals published in Monumenta... Slavorum meridionalium, vol. XIV, 1-163 and 165-328 respectively.

11. Annales Ragusini Anonymi. In Annales Ragusini Nicolai de Ragnina the fragment reads “Poi la morte sua, successe in suo luogo uno della linea di Moravia di Carvazia...”





the family branch which descended from Sventopolk, the prince of Morava since 871. Sventopolk’s father was Svetimir, re di Bossina. The term ‘Harvati’ in the tenth and subsequent centuries became synonymous with the concurrently used term ‘Sclavi.’ Hence the ‘Moravian line of the Croats’ is the branch of the Slavonian-Croat ruling family associated with the city and region of Morava.


The combined evidence of ‘Moravian’ and ‘Dalmatian’ sources shows that Sventopolk, before becoming prince of Moravia, was prince of Bosnia. He held Bosnia obviously as successor to his father Svetimir. Between 846 and 870 the prince of Morava was Sventopolk’s uncle, Rastislav. In 863 Rastislav, Sventopolk, and Kocel jointly invited Constantine the Philosopher to their realms. [12] At that time Kocel was prince in Pannonia superior, north of the river Drava. The Bosnia of Sventopolk was located mainly south of the river Sava. Since the three realms formed one patrimony, Rastislav’s share must have been in Pannonia inferior, i.e. north of Bosnia and south of the possessions of Kocel. In 870, however, Sventopolk betrayed his uncle, Rastislav, delivered him to the Franks and took over the principality of Morava. [13] For a while, Methodius, bishop of Sirmium-Morava, shared the fate of Rastislav and was detained in Swabia, but in 873 Pope John VIII forced the Franks to release him, and Methodius resumed his archiepiscopal duties in Sirmium. After several years of armed conflicts, Sventopolk finally, in 874, made peace with the Franks in Pforchheim and pledged, through his envoy Priest John of Venice, lifelong obedience and the payment of annual tribute, thus establishing an external relationship with Louis the German. For all practical purposes Sventopolk’s realm, both Bosnia and Moravia, was free from Frankish interference. Sventopolk kept his promise, and Frankish sources are silent about him between 874 and 882. This is the period when Sventopolk resumed close contacts with the Papacy and was involved in the internal affairs of Sclavonia, of which he eventually became king.


Sventopolk’s involvement in the conflicts of princes in Dalmatian Croatia, part of Sclavonia, is evident from the following survey of events between 878 and 880. In 878 Zdeslav, son of Trpimir, Prince of Dalmatian Croatia, recognized the Emperor of Constantinople as his overlord, only to be eliminated and replaced in May of 879 by a certain Branimir of yet unknown background. In this coup d’etat Branimir worked in cooperation with Theodosius, bishop-elect of Nin.



12. Vita Constantini 14 and Vita Methodii 5, 8.

13. For details see above, p. 47 f.





Branimir subordinated his newly-acquircd realm directly to Rome. [14] Branimir appears also to have had direct relations with Sventopolk, and he and Theodosius were supported in their endeavors to eliminate Zdeslav by none other than Methodius, archbishop of Morava.


The Prolog Vila Methodii, a Church Slavonic source, relates the fall of Zdeslav with the story of a legendary heretic by the name of Zambri. Through a miracle brought about by Methodius, the earth is supposed to have swallowed Zdeslav up. [15] The story is unusual, but the fact remains that Methodius was connected in the mind of the storyteller with the liquidation of Zdeslav. Methodius’ involvement may be within the realm of possibility, however, when it is considered that Zdeslav was a usurper in Dalmatian Croatia, a part of Sclavonia, of which Methodius was archbishop. This possibility becomes a certainty, when we examine the details of the close relations between Branimir, the new Prince of the Dalmatian Slavonians, and Sventopolk.


Both of these princes chose a priest by the name of John of Venice as their envoy when contacting Pope John VIII. In June 879 Pope John VIII wrote five letters: to Sventopolk, Branimir, Archbishop Methodius, Theodosius of Nona, and to the faithful in the realm of Branimir. [16] The transmitter of the letters, Priest John of Venice, is described by the Pope as a man of Sventopolk, trusted both by Branimir and by the Pope. In the letter to Theodosius, John of Venice is described as a man "who came from your region." Through the same John of Venice, moreover, Pope John VIII sent a letter to the bishops of the coastal cities of Dalmatia which still recognized Byzantium. In this letter John is referred to, not as a man known to the bishops, but as a "fidelis familiaris" of the Pope. These references to John of Venice make it clear that the realms of Sventopolk and Branimir were treated as a unit. He was a man of Sventopolk and a man of Branimir, and he came from the realm in which Theodosius was a bishop. Earlier, in 874, he had been Sventopolk’s envoy to Louis the German. [17]



14. For documents (papal letters) see Codex diplomaticus regni Croatiae, vol. I, No. 10 ff. For interpretations cf. F. Šišić, Povijest Hrvata... (Index). On Theodosius see Marko Perojevič, Ninski biskup Teodozije (g. 879-392), (Split, 1922), Supplement to Vjesnik za Arheologiju i Historiju Dalmatinsku, 1922.


15. Prolog Vitae (Proloshnoe Zhitia). Most recent edition in Magnae Moraviae fontes historici, vol. III, 242-44. For an interpretation of this source see Roman Jakobson, “Minor Native Sources for the Early History of the Slavic Church,“ in Harvard Slavic Studies, vol. 2 (1954), 39-73, especially 62-63.


16. MGH, Epp. VII, Nos. 191, 192,197, 200, 201 and 207. Past collections of sources concerning Moravia included only Nos. 200 and 201, the letters sent to Sventopolk and Methodius. The Codex diplomaticus regni Croatiae..., vol. I, brings only the letters 191, 192,197 and 207. As will be shown, the five letters were written in support of one political endeavour.

17. See above, p. 53.





The exchange of letters between Sventopolk, Branimir, their spiritual counterparts and the Pope in June, 879, resulted in the formal subordination of both Branimir’s realm and that of Sventopolk to Papal authority, not only in ecclesiastical but also in secular affairs. This recognition of Papal authority in matters secular by the two princes creates a scholarly problem which has not yet been posed or solved. Why should they have disregarded the Frankish secular authority and recognized the bishop of Rome as competent to exercise Imperial control over their respective principalities? The answer will be based on the following line of reasoning: The bishops of Rome had a longstanding conflict with the Frankish emperors over control of the Frankish proprietary church and also a rivalry with the Patriarchs of Constantinople over the ecclesiastical control of the bishoprics of former Illyricum. The latter conflict was in evidence in 860 when Pope Nicolas I (858-867) sent a letter to the Byzantine Emperor Michael III claiming for Rome various church provinces of Illyricum under the control of the Patriarch of Constantinople. [18] In this letter, Dalmatia and the Pannonias were not mentioned since these provinces were not controlled at that time by the Patriarch of Constantinople. These provinces were contested in matters ecclesiastical by the Papacy and the Frankish hierarchy.


The Papal-Frankish-Byzantine rivalry was aggravated in 863 when at Rastislav’s request the Byzantine Emperor despatched a mission under Constantine to Morava. When in Morava-Sirmium, however, Constantine realized that Rome had jurisdiction over that area and so he subordinated himself to Pope Nicholas I. In 869 Pope Hadrian (867-872) appointed Methodius to Sirmium, and since Methodius was despatched to all the Slavonian lands, of which Sirmium was the metropolitan city, he became a “metropolitan” or archbishop. [19] This appointment was directed both against the Franks and the Archbishop of Spalato, who in 852 was under Frankish authority and claimed jurisdiction over Pannonia inferior with the city of Sirmium. Finally, the interference by Methodius into the ecclesiastic affairs of Pannonia superior, then under the control of the archbishop of Salzburg, led in 870 to the detention of Methodius by the Franks and to the further deterioration of Papal-Imperial relations under Pope John VIII (872-882) and Emperor Louis the German (850-875).


Pope John VIII vigorously pursued the policy of his predecessors to regain



18. MGH, Epp. VI, pp. 438-9.

19. See above, pp. 86 ff.





full ecclesiastic control over Illyricum, including both the parts controlled by the Patriarch of Constantinople and those controlled or claimed by the Frankish hierarchy. He achieved a partial success in freeing Methodius from Frankish detention in 873. The opportunity to end the humiliation of Imperial Frankish interference into church affairs was presented in 877 when, with the demise of Emperor Charles II, the Imperial throne remained vacant and John VIII could act as head of the Empire. And this is the clue to the submission of Dalmatian Croatia and of Sventopolk’s realm, in fact of all of "Slavonia," to Papal secular authority. Both Sventopolk and Branimir asked for Pope John’s political protection. In extending Rome’s protection John VIII acted as a feudal king, in fact as an emperor, thus achieving for a few years what future Popes tried to do in more strenuous circumstances. And it was as a result of Pope John’s policy that the kings of Croatia-Slavonia were subsequently using the title “Dei gratia et apostolice sedis dono rex“. [20] This political development in Slavonia had its parallel in matters ecclesiastic.


At the same time that John VIII wrote the extremely flattering letter to the bishops of the Dalmatian coastal cities urging them to return to Roman obedience, he also sent a letter to Methodius, "archiepiscopus Pannonensis“, reprimanding him in sharp terms for using the Slavic language in the liturgy. Methodius was requested to report to Rome. This visit to Rome could have ended with Methodius’ degradation to the position of bishop under the Archbishop of Spalato, who in 852 claimed jurisdiction over Pannonia, [21] if the latter would had heeded the Papal invitation and had renounced obedience to Constantinople. There must also have been a connection between the refusal of the bishops of the Dalmatian coast to accept Roman supremacy and the confirmation of Methodius in his archiepiscopacy in Morava - this time with full rights to use the Slavonic language, which had been twice prohibited (in 878 and 879). Methodius’ obvious disobedience was overlooked for political exigency since he was the Archbishop in Sclavonia, the realm newly subordinated to Rome’s political control. Since the archbishop of Spalato remained loyal to Constantinople, the church province of Slavonia could be administered only from Sirmium. In order to assure Methodius’ loyalty to Rome, John VIII had



20. Codex dipl. regni Croatiae ..., vol. I, No 109. See also “Budimir-Svatopluk” in Słow. Star. Słow.

21. Codex dipl. regni Croatiae ..., vol. I, No 3.





to make concessions and he approved the use of the Slavonic in liturgy [22].


The dormant rivalry between Sirmium-Morava and Salona-Spalato for the primacy in Western Illyricum was revived in 886, a year after the death of Methodius. At that time, without Papal approval, Theodosius, Bishop of Nona, had himself made Archbishop of Salona, which was now controlled by Branimir. This transfer (illegal under normal conditions, since bishops are assigned to a church for life) was sanctioned by the Patriarch of Aquileia, Walbert, and protested by Pope Stephen V. [23] The circumstances are such as to suspect that Theodosius wanted to secure for himself the primacy among the bishops of Slavonia. Such primacy could have been claimed either by Sirmium or by Spalato-Salona, the latter having held jurisdiction in 852 from the Adriatic coast “usque ad ripam Danubii,” hence also over Sirmium. The opportunity for Theodosius to act was given by the fact that the see of Spalato became vacant and in Sirmium the episcopal see after the death of Methodius was in jeopardy. Methodius illegally appointed his successor in the person of Gorazd, but the Pope did not recognize this non-canonical election. [24] Gorazd and his followers were expelled from Morava by Sventopolk probably in 885, thus creating the conditions favorable to the ambitious plans of Theodosius.


Surprising as it may be, Theodosius is known to have owned a Psalter in Glagolitic letters [25] which he most obviously used in the bishopric of Nona, a stronghold of the Glagolitic-Slavonic rite throughout the history of Croatia. This Glagolitic-Slavonic rite was curtailed briefly by the Synod of Spalato in 925. [26] Since there is no indication that there was any conflict between the Slavonic orientation and the Latin orientation from the time of Theodosius’ consecration as bishop of Nona in 879-881 to the Synod of 925, there is no reason to believe that the Slavonic was introduced in Nona only after the death of Methodius in 885 and the expulsion of his pupils from Morava. Finally, Spalato itself in 925 was not yet involved in the Slavonic controversy. The conclusion may well be that in the diocese of Nona (Nin) the Slavonic rite was already used during the lifetime of Methodius.



22. In the letter "Industrie tue" written to Sventopolk. Cf. MGH, Epp. VII No. 255

23. Codex diplomaticus regni Croatiae..., vol. I, Nos. 16, 17 and 18.

24. Cf. the instructions given by Pope Stephen V to his envoys despatched to the realm of Sventopolk (Sclavorum fines), in MGH, Epp. VII, No. 33, cap. 14.

25. Lucas Jelić, Fontes historici liturgiae Glagolito-Romanae, (Vegla (Krk), 1906), Sec. XIII, No. 2.

26. Codex diplomaticus regni Croatiae. . . , vol. I, No. 22, 23, 24 and 25. Cf. F. Šišić, Povjest Hrvata..., pp. 415-21.





The resources for the study of Sventopolk’s realm and of Methodius’ sphere of influence are far from exhausted. An enquiry into the history of Bosnia, Dalmatia, and the whole region named Illyricum or Sclavonia yields an overwhelming amount of evidence not only for the Bosnian connections of Sventopolk, but also for the existence of a Slavonic church organization in Illyricum before the death of Methodius.


The Chronica Ragusina Junii Restii reports, on the basis of events which could have been known only in Ragusa-Dubrovnik, that a certain Radogast, bishop of Bosnia, was consecrated by Bernardo, archbishop of Ragusa (1185-1193). According to the chronicle, Radogast did not speak Latin, but swore fidelity and obedience to his metropolitan bishop, i.e., the Archbishop of Ragusa, in Slavonic, claiming that authorization to use Slavonic had been given as early as 880 by Pope John VIII. [27] What is striking in this story is Radogast’s claim that the Slavonic liturgical language had already been used in Bosnia in 880, five years before the death of Methodius.


The revealing story of Junius Restius can be verified and supplemented by another source, the Annales Ragusini Nicolai de Ragnina, in which we read that a certain Bernard had been Archbishop of Ragusa since 1185 and that he held this function for eight years. In the fifth year of his pontificate, Bernard visited the realm of Culino, ban (duke) of Bosnia. He was eventually buried in the church of Ragusa at a time when Radogast, bishop of Bosnia, whom Bernard had consecrated to the episcopacy, was on his way through Ragusa to Rome to see Pope Celestine. [28]



27. In Monumenta... Slavorum meridionalium, vol. XXV, pl 63: “Questo arcivescovo Bernardo [di Ragusa] fu quello, che consecrò Radagost, vescovo di Bossina, il quale portò li presenti al pontefice dalla parte di Culino, baňo di Bosna, ed il quale riconoble l’arcivescovo di Ragusa. Nè sapendo le lettere latine, nè alter, eccetto le slavoniche, quando fece in guiramento della fedeltá ed obedienza el suo metropolitano, lo fece in lingua slava, la quale per antico privilegio gode questo benficio, avuto dal pontifice Giovanni VIII, nell’ anno 880.”


28. Ibid., vol. XIV, p. 219: “1185. L’anno di Cristo 1185 Bernardo arcivescovo di Ragusa, successe dopo Silvio Tribuno in el pontificato, et tenne la ecclesia 8 anni. Costui, alle preghiere di Jurcha, zupano di Rascia, andò in la provincia de Zachulmia, l’anno quinto del suo officio, et ivi consacrò la ecclesia di santi Cosma et Damiano; poi, passando per Bosna, alia richiesta di Colino bano, ivi etiamdio due ecclesie consacrò. Et poi la sua morte, fu sepelito in la chiesa di Ragusa, venendo a Ragusa Radogost, episcopo di Bosna, quale fu consacrato da detto Benardo arcivescovo; quale poi andó a Roma, portando al papa Celestino li doni dc episcopo Bosnese.”


The privilege to use Slavonic was granted to archbishop Methodius, in fact, only in 880, after the political changes which occured in the realms of Sventopolk, Branimir and Zdeslav. Cf. the letter of Pope John VIII to Sventopolk (MGH, Epp. VII, No. 255): “Iubemus tamen, ut in omnibus ecclesiis terre vestre propter maiorem honorificentiam evangelium Latine legatur te postmodum Sclavinica lingua translatum in auribus populi Latina verba non intelligentis adnuntietur, sicut in quibusdam ecclesiis fieri videtur..." The Slavonic in liturgy was used in the diocese of Methodius earlier but has been oposed by the Pope possibly already in 873 and categorically in 879 (MGH, Epp. VII, No. 201). The change in papal policy in 880 reflects the new political conditions in Dalmatia and Slavonia. Radagost, bishop in Bosnia, the ancestral principality of Sventopolk, claimed the privilege trom the date of its official promulgation.





The accuracy of the two reports is supported by their complementary nature, allowing us to make the following deductions. Radogast, bishop of Bosnia, was consecrated by Bernard (Chronica Ragusina Junii Restii); in the fifth year of his pontificate, Bernard visited Bosnia (Annales Ragusini Nicolai de Ragnina). It is quite probable, then, that the consecration took place during that visit, i.e., in 1189. Further, Nicholas Ragnina knew that at the time of Bernard’s funeral, Rodogast was passing through Ragusa on his way to Rome. This event occurred in 1193. Pope Celestine III, to whom Radogast was travelling, occupied the throne of St. Peter from 1191 to 1198, hence 1193 could well have been the date of Radogast’s first visit to a new Pope. Radogast carried with him gifts befitting such an occasion.


The story of Radogast cannot be related to any literary or documentary source so far utilized in reconstructing Moravia’s history. Nor could the elements of the story have been invented, because the two Ragusan chroniclers describe different aspects of the same story in different contexts, without contradicting each other. Above all, the authenticity of the story is proved beyond doubt by the simple fact that Radogast’s reference to an authorization of Slavonic by Pope John VIII in the year 880 is correct and precise. It is not likely that a specific date would have been handed down by word of mouth over a period of three centuries. The date must have been known to Radogast because the permission affected his own diocese and because bishops keep records. But the burden of proof rests upon the Papal letter itself, which became known to scholars from the Vatican Codex No. I. [29] This is the letter in which Pope John VIII granted permission to Sventopolk to use the Slavonic language in the liturgy in his realm of which Bosnia was a part. The fact that only the Chronica Ragusina Junii Restii knows about the origin of the Slavonic as a liturgical language in Bosnia lends credence to the information supplied in the chronicle. It only remains to draw the conclusion that Radogast and his predecessors had been exercising the right of using Slavonic in the liturgy uninterruptedly since the year 88o during the lifetime of Pope John VIII (+ 882), and therefore already during the lifetime of Methodius (+ 885).



29. Cf. Dietrich Lohrmann, Das Register Papst Johannes VIII. (872-882). Neue Studien zur Abschrift Reg. Vat. I. Tübingen, 1968). For an earlier study see Erich Caspar, "Studien zum Register Johanns VIII.," in Neues Archiv der Gesellschaft für ältere deutsche Geschichte, (1911), 79 ff.





Additional evidence on the usage of Slavonic is provided by the bull of Pope Innocent IV, dated 1248. According to this document, the Pope granted permission to Philip, bishop of Segnia (Senj) in Dalmatia to use the “littera specialis“ (i.e., Glagolitic writing used for Slavonic) in church services. In doing so he based his judgment on the fact that “in Sclavonic est littera specialis“ for Divine Service and claimed to have been introduced by St. Jerome. [30] Similar permission was given in 1252 by the same Pope to the Benedictine monastery of Omis in the diocese of Veglia (Krk).


A direct connection between Slavonia and the Slavonic liturgy is authoritatively confirmed also by Pope Urban VIII in 1631, when he ordered, with reference to the concession given by Pope John VIII, the updating of the text of Slavonic missals used in the province of Dalmatia and the printing of the revised edition. A similar revision of the old Slavonic text and printing of a new breviary was ordered by Pope Innocent X in 1648. This time the instructions were given to Raphael Archbishop of Ochrid. [31]


There is also confirmation of the old usage of Slavonic in liturgy from Bosnia itself. A Franciscan by the name of John of Foca wrote in 1658 from Bosnia to his superiors in Rome that his order encountered difficulties in celebrating the Holy Mass because parts are read in both Latin and Slavonic. He humbly requested permission to read parts of the liturgy in Slavonic only, "as had been the practice since antiquity and as is allowed to all the clergy in the province of Dalmatia." [32]


This sampling of Dalmatian-Croatian sources and of Papal documents [33] provides preponderant evidence for an Illyrian origin of the use of Slavonic in the liturgy. As there is no contradictory argument to the conclusion that the Slavonic was used in liturgy in Bosnia before the dispersal of the pupils of St. Methodius from Morava, and as no source of any repute has ever connected the Slavonic liturgical language and the Glagolitic alphabet,



30. Tabularium Vaticanum, Regesta Innocenti IV, No. 21, cp. 756; ‘‘Innocentius episcopus .. Philoppo Episcopi Seniensi... Porrecta nobis tua petitio continebat, quod in Sclavonia est littera specialis, quam illius terre clerici se habere a beato Jeronimo asserantes, eam observant in divinis officiis celebrandis etc.” Published, e.g., in Codex diplomaticus regni Croatiae ... vol. III, No. 307.

31. Cf. Lucas Jelić, Fontes historici liturgiae Glagolito-Romanae (Vegla (Krk), 1906), Sec. XVII., Nos. 87 and 130. Both documents make reference to the permission given by Pope John VIII.

32. Ibid., No. 163.

33. The collection of sources on the use of the Glagolitic, edited and annotated by Lucas Jelić, Fontes historici liturgiae Glagolito-Romanae, in itself provides all the arguments needed in suport of the contention that the Glagolitic writing and the use of the Slavonic in liturgy originates in Illyricum. The same collection provides evidence that the Glagolitic and Slavonic was not used north of the Danube before the 14th c.





as used in the Roman Church, with an area outside Illyricum, the unavoidable must be stated, namely, that the Slavonic liturgy had its origins in Illyricum.



 b. Tradition and evidence north of the Danube


This study would be incomplete without a scrutiny of some additional subjects: the literary works either originating in or associated with Bohemia which contain references to Moravia or to Constantine and Methodius; the archeological discoveries in Czechoslovakia; and, finally, the allegedly Bohemian peculiarities of the Church-Slavonic language. Although the material for examination is rather complex, the survey leads to the simple conclusion that there is no evidence whatsoever that the Moravia of Sventopolk and Methodius was north of the Danube except for the fact, known from Frankish sources, that Bohemia was given to Sventopolk in 890.


Territories change names, but also preserve names once used. Bavaria in the ninth and tenth centuries was also known as Noricum, and the land of the Czechs is still known in the West as Bohemia, the name of a Celtic kingdom. Precise frontiers for the Bohemia of the ninth or tenth century are rather difficult to define. In the tenth century, the diocese of Prague and thus, possibly, the political formation around Prague - that is, Bohemia - extended into Slovakia and present-day Poland. [34] Polish expansion into the region of Cracow, once controlled from Prague, occurred only late in the tenth century. The eleventh century church of Nitra in Slovakia was under the patrocinium of St. Emmeram, the patron saint of the diocese of Regensburg, thus indicating that Nitra, like Prague, was once ecclesiastically controlled by the bishops of Regensburg. Since church and secular administration had to coincide, Nitra before the Hungarian conquest must have formed part of the political entity of Bohemia, a subdivision of Bavaria. The Hungarians in their conquest of the Carpathian Basin encountered Bohemian (Czech) resistance at the same Nitra. [35] The Raffelstetter Urkunde, c. 903-905 (and thus before the fall of Moravia), a Frankish document concerned with customs regulations along the eastern and northern borders of Bavaria,



34. For the document of foundation and relevant literature see Lubomír Havlik, Velká Morava a středoevropští Slované (Prague, 1964), 295.

35. P. Magistri, qui Anonymus dicitur, Gesta Hungarorum, cap. 35. (All sources cited, or referred to, unless otherwise stated, are available in the Magnae Moraviae fontes historici, vols. I, II and III.)





mentions two territories north of the Danube: Bohemia and Rugia. [36] Both of these names are rather archaic, since the Kingdom of Rugia (somewhere in the northern Morava River valley) was destroyed by the Lombards in 487. The document makes references to merchants from the market-places of the Moravians but, according to this document, the merchants traveled to Bavaria along the Danube and not across that river, hence from a territory east-southeast and not north, of Bavaria.


Arab travelers and geographers knew the present-day Czech lands and western Slovakia under the name of Buima (Bohemia). Both the Czech land and the Morava River valley were known as Bohemia to Thietmar of Merseburg. [37] During the ninth and tenth centuries, the territory between the Danube and the river Dyja (Thaya) was known as the Northern or Bohemian Forest (Nortuuald, Silva Boemica). At the mouth of the river Kamp originated the Beheimsteig, the road to Bohemia. In 1055 the territory which separated the Ostmark from the valley of the northern Morava river was named Marchia Boemia. [38] Modem scholarship, nevertheless, associates parts or all of these regions with Moravia of Sventopolk.


In the year 1056, an estate known as Herrenbaumgarten near Feldsberg (north of Vienna) was turned over to the bishop of Passau. In the document of transfer reference is made to the boundary of land fronting toward the Bohemians (Boemos). [39] Herrenbaumgarten is located in the angle formed by the rivers Dyja-Thaya and northern Morava, not far from Pohansko, one of the assumed centers of Moravia !


None of these incidental sources, all of which are from the tenth to eleventh centuries, knows of a Moravia north of the Danube. A separate markgraviate of Moravia, detached from Bohemia, was created only in 1182. The history of this region has always had a separatist tendency. At different times, it has been controlled by the Poles and the Hungarians and, through Bohemia, by the Holy Roman Empire.


In medieval and modem historiography, an association between the Moravia of Sventopolk and Bohemia could have been prompted by the references to Sventopolk and Methodius made by Cosmas of Prague (1045-1125), the author of Chronica Bohemorum.



36. Codex diplomaticus et epistolaris regni Bohemiae, vol. I. 31.

37. Cf. "Buamija" in Słownik Starożytności Słowiańskich.

38. For details see Lubomír Havlík, Stáři Slované v rakouském Podunaji v době od 6. do 12. stol. (Prague, 1963), 46-58, 80-84. By the same author ,"Die alten Slaven im österreichischcn Donaugebiet," in Österreich in Geschichte und Literatur 7 (1965), 191-2, 194.

39. MGH, Diplom. V/2, No. 376.





However, Cosmas knows two different “Moravias”: a Moravia of Sventopolk and a Moravia of his own time north of the Danube. The information on Sventopolk and his realm was taken by Cosmas from the Chronicle of Reginon, who died in 915. Reginon actually speaks not about a Moravia, but about Sclavi Marahenses, i.e., Sclavi of Maraha. [40] Although Cosmas is the first writer to use the form Moravia for the realm of Sventopolk, he did not connect Sventopolk with the Moravia known to him as part of Bohemia. He did know, however, in addition to the information derived from Reginon, that Sventopolk had acquired not only Bohemia, which was given to him by Arnulf, but also the whole territory reaching from Bohemia (of his own time) to the river Hron (Gran) in central Slovakia of today. Obviously, if Sventopolk acquired this territory only in 890, as stated by Cosmas, then it could not originally have been his own realm.


Cosmas’ chronology as it pertains to Sventopolk and Moravia is quite confused. According to his report, Methodius was still alive in 894 during the lifetime of Emperor Arnulf, although in fact Methodius died in 884 and Arnulf became emperor only in 896. Furthermore, Cosmas notes that Methodius baptized in 894 a certain Borivoi, who, in the words of Cosmas, was the first Christian prince of Bohemia. Since we know from a reliable source, the Annals of Fulda, that fourteen Bohemian princes were baptized in 845, either Cosmas must be wrong or Borivoi was not a successor to the fourteen. We may assume that Cosmas was acquainted at least with the history of Bohemia. Therefore, the information to be deduced from the Borivoi story is that the history of Medieval Bohemia starts only with Borivoi and not with the fourteen Bohemian princes of 845. This should not be surprising, since the term ‘Bohemian’ is derived from the name of the territory, in the same manner that the term ‘Pannonians’ is used in succession for Avars, Slavs, and Hungarians, or the term ‘Macedonians’ is used for some Greeks and some Slavs. Hence, the ‘Bohemians’ of 845 and of 894 could well have been two distinct ethnic or political groups. The fact remains, however, that the event of Borivoi’s baptism could not have occurred in 894.


Cosmas knew the correct data of Sventopolk’s death (894), since he took the information from Reginon, but he added details to the story which were unknown in earlier accounts of the event. [41]



40. Cf. Magnae Moraviae fontes historici, vol. I, 139-40, 200-201.

41. Cf. V. Tille, “Povidky o smrti Svatoplukově.” in Český časopis Historický 5 (1899); V. Novotný, “K tradici o smrti Svatoplukové,” in Československý časopis Historický II (1963).





Cosmas actually provided two different versions of Sventopolk’s death, one of which was based on oral tradition and the other taken possibly from some chronicle. The second version is reminiscent of fables describing a penitent prince who hopes to atone for his sins by joining some hermits, for whom he once built a church. The church in the story that has to do with Sventopolk is described as being located on the slopes of Mt. Zobor in Slovakia, but the problem is complicated by the fact that some sources have, instead of the form "Zober," the form ‘Sombor.” [42] Another possible location for the church in question, therefore, is one of the two Sombor/Samobors in Yugoslavia. [43] This location may be considered the more likely, since Sventopolk’s last encounter with his enemies was in Pannonia and not in Slovakia and since both Samobors are ancient places south of the river Sava, hence on the home territory of Sventopolk.


The oral tradition contained in Cosmas’ text is even more interesting, however. According to this version, Sventopolk disappeared in the midst of his army, never to appear again. Since Cosmas took this story from some oral tradition (sicut vulgo dicitur), it may have more value than the story of the penitent monk, a literary topos. And in fact there was a Sventopolk who disappeared into the forests of Bohemia. He was Sviatopolk Vladimirovich, prince of Rus, who after a fratricidal conflict escaped from Rus in 1019 and vanished into the forest of Bohemia. [44] Since Cosmas derived his story from oral tradition, that is possibly in Bohemia, few will reject the possibility that his Sventopolk and the one mentioned in the Russian Chronicle are the same, namely Sviatopolk Vladimirovich, and not Sventopolk of Zober/Samobor.


Finally, we should also note that Cosmas knew about Methodius episcopus in Moravia, but he never associated Methodius with the bishopric of Olomouc, which was established for the northern Moravia in 1063 during the lifetime of Cosmas. As if foreseeing future scholars’ need for documentation, Cosmas added to his description of the foundation of the new bishopric the note that already before the time of Bishop Severus (of Prague, who died in 1067) there was a bishop in Moravia by the name of Wracen



42. Pulkava bas Sombor (‘Rembot’ in his Czech translation), Aeneas Silvius has Sambri, Annales Gradicenses have "Zober cenobium Pannoniae,". All these sources reproduced in Magnae Moraviae fontes historici, vol. I, thereafter citied as MMFH.

43. There is a Samobor some 12 miles west of Zagreb. See also K. Jireček, ed. J. Radonič, Istorija Srba, vol. I, 67: "Burg Samobor am rechten Drinaufer unterhalb Goražda" (quoted from the German original).

44. Povest Vretnennykh Let (Russian Primary Chronicle), s.a. 1019.





(Fertur autem, quod fuisset in Moravia ante tempora Severi quidam episcopus, ut reor, nomine Wracen). Had Cosmos connected Methodius with Bohemian Moravia, he no doubt would have used his name in place of, or in addition to, that of Wracen. And had there been an earlier episcopal see in Bohemian Moravia, it would have been restored, instead of founding a new see at Olomouc. If the bishops of Olomouc had ever claimed succession to Methodius, they would have eventually claimed the rights of “episcopi primae sedis" in place of Prague.


Upon closer analysis even the story of Moravia’s destruction, as related by Cosmas, shows that he did not place Moravia proper north of the Danube.


            Reginonis chronicon

Sventopolk... cuius regnum filii eius pauco tempore infeliciter tenuerunt, Ungaris omnia usque ad solum depopulant ibus.


            Cosmae Pragensis chronica

Cuius regnum filii eius pauco tempore, sed minus feliciter tenuerunt, partivi Ungaris illud diripientibus, partivi Poloniensibus solo tenus hostiliter depopulantibus.


It is immediately evident that Cosmas learned about the destruction of Moravia not from local tradition, but from Reginon. The interpolation provided by Cosmas to the basic story supplied by Reginon must, therefore, also be from some other written sources, and not from a Bohemian local tradition. Cosmas knew that the Poles had occasionally penetrated into the northern Morava River valley, but it was not necessarily this fact that prompted him to add "partim Poloniensibus" to his expanded description of the dissolution of Sventopolk’s realm. Cosmas knew that in 973 or thereabouts the Bohemians still controlled Cracow, because he copied the document delimiting the diocese of Prague; and Cracow was part of this diocese. Cosmas was also aware that Cracow has been occupied by the Poles only around 1000. At the time of Sventopolk’s fall, Poland was still a small principality around Gniezno and Poznan in the initial process of territorial expansion. What finally exonerates Cosmas from the possible suspicion of confusing events is the fact that Moravia was destroyed by the combined efforts of the Franks, Hungarians, and the prince of Pannonia inferior Braslav, who is referred to in some sources as prince in Polonia. [45]



45. Aventinus; "Vratislaus quoque Poloniae ulterioris Venedorumque rector," cf. MMFH, I, 374 and 368. Aventinus names the Poles of Poland "Bolii". Presbyter Diocleas in his Regnum Slavorum, cap. 4, speaks about "Polonia" in the south. Bonfinius named Sventopolk "Polonus." Cf. MMFH, I, 332. "Polonia" is obviously Pannonia. This is evident from comparing: any of these sources with Petri Ransani epitome... (MMFH, I, 331).





This Polonia of Braslav cannot, of course, be Poland of the year 900, a small, as yet unknown principality far to the north. Consequently, the “Poloniensis" of Cosmas are the people of Braslav and not of Poland.


It is especially significant that Cosmas did not mention the Bohemians among those who benefited from the dissolution of Moravia. Had Moravia been north of the Danube, the Bohemians would not only have participated in the occupation of Moravia, but there would have been a local Bohemian tradition recalling the event. If anything in Moravia’s history affected Bohemia, it was the liberation of Bohemia from Moravian control as a result of Moravia’s final defeat.


Cosmas undoubtedly had sundry information about Moravia proper and about the events in the valley of the northern Morava river. In combining his sources into one narrative he could have made some mistakes, but in general he, as a historian, fared better than his modern counterparts: he never stated or implied that Moravia of Sventopolk or Methodius was north of the Danube.


Another source which deserves some attention is the Chronicle of Dalimil, [46] the first chronicle in the Czech language. Written in the early fourteenth century and based upon earlier source material, this chronicle allows us to perceive what the people of Dalimil’s day thought about Methodius and his Moravia.


Dalimil repeats the popular story of the baptism of Borivoi at the court of Sventopolk and adds that “Methodius, archbishop of Velehrad, was a Ruthenian (Russin) and he served the Mass in Slavonic (slovensky).” Both terms, Russin and slovensky, place Methodius outside the Bohemian lands. In the fourteenth century, and of course earlier, the term “slovensky” referred only to the language used in Slavonia or Illyricum, and to the liturgical language of the Bulgars, Serbs, and Russians. Hence, Dalimil did not associate Methodius with his own language or with the Bohemian lands (which included Moravia north of the Danube).


More complex is the problem of Velehrad, the alleged residence of Methodius and of Sventopolk. In historiography the place is normally associated with Velehrad, an alternate name for Staré Město in northern Moravia. The various sources which know this place in connection with Methodius have a variety of forms for its name, such as Wellegrad, Welgrad, etc., as well as Belgrad. [47]



46. MMFH, I, 273-76.

47. On the use of the form “Belgrad” cf. Apostoli Slovienov (Bratislava, 1963), 126-27.





Since all these forms are associated with Methodius and Sventopolk and since the sources so far do not associate Methodius with Bohemia (or northern Moravia) and also since Velehrad (Staré Město) is rather a late name, the residence of Methodius and Sventopolk could not have been Velehrad north of the Danube. Irrespective of other ways of identifying that residence, it may be that medieval nomenclature alone will provide the clue, since all place names originally conveyed a specific meaning: e.g., Staré Město in German Altstadt, i.e., ‘Old City’ or ‘Oldtown’; Belgrad, Weissenburg, Fehérvár, i.e., ‘White City,’ a term used in many languages for an important place. An appellative velegrad, velehrad, may be nothing else than a “commanding” or metropolitan city (cf. Czech veleti - ‘to command,’ ‘to order,’ and vele-chram - ‘cathedral church’ and vel’-kniaz - ‘bishop’ in Slovak).


Since Dalimil is, by all indications, the first chronicler to use the term Velehrad - a term unknown to his sources, Christian and Cosmas - he must have used it as an appellative “capital city” in lieu of Morava, the residence of Sventopolk and the metropolitan city of Methodius. Dalimil apparently introduced the appellative velehrad - metropolis, because he associated Morava with a country and not with a city. [48]


Latin biographies of Czech saints that contain references to Methodius and Constantine-Cyril unequivocally place the activities of the two brothers in a region south of the Danube and identify Morava or Moravia as located in regio Sclavorum. This regio Sclavorum is obviously the regnum Sclavorum south of the river Drava, the history of which was written by Presbyter Diocleas. Any association of Methodius with Bohemia in these Lives results, in all instances, from a well-intentioned and easily proved alteration of the basic text by a copyist.


A case in point is the Vita et passio sancti Venceslai et sancte Ludmile by Christianus Monachus, [49] who in the very first sentence places Morawa (in some manuscripts Moravia) in the regio Sclavorum and associates it with the missionary work of St. Augustine. Yet one of the manuscripts of this work - that of the Chapter of Prague cathedral church - in place of Sclavorum reads Bohemorum. The same paragraph also mentions Quirillus (instead of the expected Constantinus),



48. The suggestion ‘‘velehrad - main city” was made by Zavadil already in 1912 in his study "Velehrady Děvin a Nitra” (Capital cities Děvin and Nitra).


Velihrad near Staré Město, normally associated with Saint Methodius, received a Cistercian monastery in 1202. An association between Velihrad and the two brothers, Cyril and Methodius, was made there only late in the seventeenth century. An official veneration of Saint Methodius began only in 1932! Cf. F. Cinek, Velehrad Viry (Olomouc, 1936), 610-11.


49. All the hagiographic sources analyzed here are available in MMFH, II. References are made only to sources not identified in the text or on the Contents page of MMFH.





who translated the Old and New Testaments into Slavonic. The same Quirillus had ordered that his translations be used “as this is still practiced, in the districts of Slavs (in partibus Sclavorum)."


An analysis of Vita et passio sancti Venceslai et sancte Ludmile shows that Christianus Monachus made a clear distinction between regio Sclavorum (or partes Sclavorum) and Bohemia: the first was in the south; Bohemia was in the north. For him, Bohemia was not part of “Sclavonia" or one of the partes Sclavorum. Rather, he relates the Dalmatian tradition of Constantine and of the Slavonic liturgy. The text of the Vita et passio which is considered the most authentic - that in the monastery of Böddecke - is acquainted with Morawa and its region, but not with a country of Moravia. But even the manuscripts that refer to Moravia do not associate this name with territories north of the Danube.


The Vita et passio sancti Venceslai et sancte Ludmile was utilized to compile a legend known as Diffundente sole, all manuscripts of which date from the late fourteenth or fifteenth centuries, although the first compilation could have been of an earlier date. An analysis of this work only serves to confirm the comments already made about its source, the Vita et passio, but it allows us to see what knowledge about Methodius and his Moravia existed in Bohemia in the 14th and 15th centuries.


The Diffundente sole repeats the Dalmatian tradition of the Cyrillo-Methodian mission and makes reference to a city of Morava. In the Diffundente sole the Bohemi are contrasted with the Slavi. Cyril is made a contemporary of St. Augustine, who died in 430 A.D. This Cyril converted the Bulgars to Christianity before coming to Moravia (in the 5th century).


The Diffundente relates that Cyril invented a new alphabet and translated many ecclesiastical texts into “Slavonic" and that church services are sung in the Slavonic language “even today in Bulgaria and many Slavonic regions." The second paragraph of the legend describes the dispute between Cyril and the opponents of the Slavonic liturgical language. The paragraph ends with the description of Cyril’s victory: written papal permission was given to sing the mass and other services “in those regions" in Slavonic. “Those regions” were the ones mentioned in the first paragraph, namely, Bulgaria and several other Slavic regions. Since, at the time of the Diffundente’s composition, the papal permission for the use of Slavonic in the liturgy was in force, and since Bohemia is not listed among the countries making use of this privilege,





there is reason to deduce that the Slavonic rite was not used in Bohemia before the composition of the Diffundente. Neither the Diffundente nor any other source ever mentions the usage or the suppression of the Slavonic rite in Bohemia.


The Diffundente, however, does know about a bishop Methodius with seven suffragan bishops in Moravia, the realm of Sventopolk. It also states that this realm later disintegrated and “until today suffers agony" because of the incompetence of Sventopolk’s "nephew" Sventopolk. A minor error in this passage is the identification of Sventopolk II as a nephew instead of a son of Sventopolk I. The importance of the passage, however, lies in the statement that Moravia since the times of Sventopolk II had been suffering agony. Of course, such a territory could not have been part of Bohemia in the second half of the tenth century, or whenever the Diffundente was written, but must have been rather the territory of that Moravia that, according to Vita Naumi (I), had been devastated and conquered by the Hungarians, the population having been enslaved or having sought refuge in Bulgaria. This Moravia was controlled by the Hungarians at the time when the Vita Naumi was written (first half of the tenth century). Therefore, the Moravia, known to the author of the Diffundente as having suffered during his lifetime must have been the same one described in the Vita Naumi, hence not a part of Bohemia, but the one controlled by the Hungarians.


The author of the Diffundente seemed to know of seven suffragan bishops of Methodius, but he did not try to associate any of them with any of the bishoprics of his own time. The seven suffragan bishops, on the other hand, are also confirmed by a letter from Bishop Piligrim of Passau to Pope Benedict VI. [50] In this correspondence, Bishop Piligrim identified these bishoprics as situated in Pannonia and Moesia, and traced their origins back to Roman and Gepid times. Thus, the Moravia of Diffundente must have been located south of the Danube.


The Diffundente provides also a further indication of Moravia’s location in the south. Paragraph Three is devoted entirely to the two Sventopolks, Methodius, and their Moravia. Paragraph Four starts out with the phrase: "But the Bohemians, who are settled sub Arcturus in the zone of the Ripuarian Mountains. .This definition of Bohemia (after a paragraph on Moravia) implies a rather remote location north of Moravia. In the mind of the compiler of the Diffundente or of the author of his source, Moravia must have been not only far away from, but also south of Bohemia.



50. Cf. above, p 100.





This analysis of the first four paragraphs of the Diffundente shows that in Bohemia knowledge about Moravia, Sveritopolk, and Methodius was based on some literary sources placing Moravia distinctly south of the Danube. Although the entire text of the legend provides many instances of Moravia’s connection with Bohemia, its author never claimed that the territory of that Moravia was part of Bohemia in the tenth century or that the bishopric of Prague had any claims of succession to any of the episcopal sees of Moravia.


An adaptation of the Legenda Diffundente sole was made in the Czech language [51] and a manuscript of it dating from c. 1450 associates Cyril (not Constantine) with the times of St. Augustine, with the Bulgars, and with Morava. The Czech language text uses the forms “do Moravy" and “u Moravě," forms applicable only in the case of a city named Morava. It does not use the forms "na Moravu" or “na Moravě," which would be used properly in connection with the territory along the northern Morava river; [52] nor does it use a theoretical “do Morav" or “v Moravech," which would be the proper forms to use in the case of a people and their land, whether in the north or the south (cf. "do Čech" in paragraph 6).


As it does not affect the conclusions reached so far, it may be stated at this point, without furnishing proof, that there is reason to believe that Christianus Monachus, who formulated the Dalmatian-Croatian tradition of Constantine and who knew about the Slavonic in liturgy as practiced in his own time in Sclavonia and Bulgaria, was a monk from Dalmatia. [53] Since neither Christianus nor the compiler or Czech translator of the Diffundente sole had connected Moravia or Methodius with a region north of the Danube, it is most plausible that it was Christianus who brought the Dalmatian-Croatian tradition to Bohemia and not some wandering minstrel who brought the story from Bohemia to Dalmatia-Croatia. [54]


More precise, in fact documentary, references to Methodius and Moravia are contained in Vita cum translatione s. Clementis, of which one manuscript has been found in Prague.



51. MMFH, II, 284-88.

52. Cf. I. L. Červinka, Slované na Moravě a Říše velkomoravská (Brno, 1928); "Jméno své vzal národ po hlavni řece na svém územi, Morava zvané, proto se správné v lidu mluví “na Moravě" a nikoli "v Moravě."

53. The composition of Vita et passio by Christianus Monachus is usually dated 992-4. The first monastery in Bohemia was founded in 993. The first monks of the Bohemian monastery could well have been some monks of the Benedictine order acquainted with the Slavic idiom, namely monks from the Dalmatian-Croatian Benedictine monasteries.

54. Suggested in Pramene k Dejinám Vel’kej Moravy (Bratislava, 1964), 389.





The story of the Vita became very popular in Bohemia and this fact is reflected in the Legenda Moravica, otherwise known by its incipit: Tempore Michaelis imperatoris. Neither the Vita cum translatione nor the Tempore Michaelis imperatoris connects Methodius or Moravia with regions north of the Danube. Whereas the Tempore Michaelis imperatoris is a close paraphrase of the Vita cum translatione, it adds to the original text the story of the baptism of Borivoi, prince of Bohemia, by Methodius. The Vita cum translatione places Moravia in the terra Sclavorum and makes it distinctly a city (§ 7).


Regarding the story behind the reception of the Methodian-Moravian tradition in Bohemia or Slovakia, it is significant that the Vita cum translatione s. Clementis became known in Bohemia only in the first years of the fourteenth century. The story of the Vita’s reception in Bohemia is rather obvious. The Vita was brought to Prague by Cardinal Nicholas Boccassini, bishop of Ostia and Velletria, general of the Order of the Dominicans, and papal legate to Bohemia in 1301-1302. [55] The patron saint of the Dominicans in Prague was St. Clement. The Vita, of which there is another manuscript in the Vatican, was composed by Leo, who in the twelfth century, like Boccassini in the fourteenth, was bishop of Velletri. Since the Vita cum translatione and the Tempore Michaelis imperatoris were unknown in Bohemia before the fourteenth century and neither of these sources connects Methodius or Moravia with Bohemia or any regions outside the terra Sclavorum (of which neither Bohemia nor Moravia north of the Danube were parts), [56] the conclusion is obvious that there was no knowledge in Bohemia of a connection between Methodius and regions north of the Danube, except for Methodius’ baptizing of Borivoi. But this fact alone does not yet place the Moravia of Methodius north of the Danube.


Significantly, some of the Bohemian adaptations of Vita cum translatione bear the title Legenda Sanctorum Cyrilli et Metudii patronorum Moravie. [57] This addition to the original text of Leo, bishop of Velletri, requires some comment. First of all, the Tempore Michaelis imperatoris was written during the second half of the fourteenth century or later, whereas its prototype, the Vita cum translatione, goes back to the twelfth century and itself is an adaptation of a ninth century source of documentary value. The Vita was adapted in Bohemia only in the second half of the fourteenth century, because it was just at that time -



55. Cf. MMFH, II, 121 and 256 (with further literature).

56. Cosmas in in his Chronica Bohemorum I, 2 places Bohemia in Germania.

57. MMFH, II, 257.





not earlier than 1346 - that some monks from Dalmatia appeared in Bohemia, bringing with them the veneration of Cyril and Methodius.


The standard formulations of the history of these Dalmatian monks in Bohemia is that they were invited to Prague in order to revive the Slavonic liturgy. [58]


The story of these monks is especially illuminating, since it contradicts any theory which would maintain a Cyrillo-Methodian continuity north of the Danube. The monks came from Dalmatia, where Slavonic in liturgy had been in uninterrupted use since the time of Pope John VIII (died in 882). These monks were refugees from some monasteries destroyed or occupied by the Venetians. [59] The refugees, Benedictines, were possibly trying to find a home in other monasteries of their order. Charles, Margrave of Moravia (later King of Bohemia and subsequently Emperor), approached Pope Clemens VI (his former tutor) in 1346 about the homeless monks and offered them a home in Bohemia. Eventually, they were settled in a newly founded monastery in Prague.


The correspondence concerning the resettlement of the refugees and the document of foundation of the new monastery issued by Charles in 1347 do not make any reference to Moravia, either in the south or the north. [60] Although the document of foundation mentions Cyril and Methodius, it is only because the two saints were venerated by the Slavonian monks. Furthermore, as if to confirm that there was no Cyrillo-Methodian tradition north of the Danube, the document names St. Jerome, and not Constantine, as the inventor of Slavonic letters. [61]


Both in the diocese of Prague and in the diocese of Olomouc the veneration of Cyril and Methodius was introduced only after the arrival of the Slavonian monks. The document establishing the new Benedictine monastery in Prague was composed by Nicholas, the chancellor of King Charles and also the dean of the cathedral church at Olomouc in Bohemian Moravia.



58. Cf. Lubomír Havlík, Velká Morava a středoevropští Slované (Prague, 1964), 365; Apoštoli Slovienov (Bratislava, 1963), 125.

59. During the war of Louis of Hungary with the Venetians.

60. For the documents see J. A. Ginzel, Geschichte der Slawenapostel Cyrill und Method (Vienna, 1861), Supplement 92-96. MMFH, III has only a summary of the documents (pp. 116 and 253).


61. The settlement of the Slavonian monks in Prague was followed some forty years later by the foundation of a Slavonic monastery in Cracow. This monastery was founded by Vladislav Jagello, King of Poland, and his queen Jadwiga in 1390. Monks for the new monastery were invited from the Slavonic monastery in Prague. In the founding document there is no mention of Cyril, Methodius or Moravia. Both the document of Jagello and of Charles make distinction between Slavi (of Dalmatia) and their own people, the Poloni and the Bohemi respectively. The letter of Pope Clemens VI makes distinction between Slavonia and Bohemia. For the document of Jagello cf., e.g., Lucas Jelić, Fontes historici liturgiae Glagolito-Romanea (Vegla (Krk), 1906), Sec. XIV, No. 22.





The document was issued in the presence of, among others, John, Bishop of Olomouc. It is not surprising then that in the diocese of Olomouc the veneration of Cyril and Methodius was introduced as early as 1349. The two saints became patrons of Bohemia only in 1668. [62]


All this may help to explain why the several manuscripts of Tempore Michaelis imperatoris bear the title: Legenda sanctorum Cyrilli et Metudii patronorum Moraviae. It may help to explain why, but it does not necessarily do so, since the title may still refer to a Moravia in the south. If we assume that the title actually refers to a Moravia in the north, then we have a contradiction between the title and the text, the latter of which has no reference to a Moravia north of the Danu


This investigation of those Bohemian resources which reflect activities of Cyril and Methodius, therefore, does not indicate that two monks were ever active north of the Danube. Their veneration came to Bohemia and to northern Moravia only with the arrival in Prague of the Slavonian monks from Dalmatia. The spread of the Cyrillo-Methodian cult north of the Danube created the conditions associating the two saints with Bohemia.


One of the manuscripts of the Tempore Michaelis imperatoris is entitled: Vita sancti Cyrilli episcopi et monachi atque sancti Methudii episcopi, fratri eius, qui Moraviam atque Bohemian ad fidem Christi converterunt, but this title cannot be accepted in and of itself as evidence for a Methodian continuity or a Moravian tradition north of the Danube. The mistakes in it are more fundamental than simply the linking of Moravia with Bohemia, and it is clear that the copyist or whoever put the title over the Tempore Michaelis imperatoris could not have taken the information from local, Bohemian tradition. First of all, Cyril was never a bishop, and Methodius, although a bishop, was always known under his title of archbishop. Furthermore, neither of them had converted the Bohemians to Christianity or had ever been associated with Bohemia, while, the Moravians were converted to Christianity before the brothers arrived in Morava. Despite all these errors, however, it is still not evident that the compiler of the Tempore Michaelis imperatoris, or the persons who placed the various titles at the head of the text, associated Moravia proper with the northern Morava river valley.


This survey of Latin and Czech sources originating in Bohemia provides enough illustrations on which to base the conclusion that



62. Cf. Apoštoli Slovienov (Bratislava, 1963), 125 and 147.





Cyrillo-Methodian continuity or local tradition on Sventopolk’s Moravia existed north of the Danube. In these sources, all reminiscences of Methodius and of Sventopolk reflect foreign annalistic and hagiographic works. A veneration of Cyril and Methodius was introduced into Bohemia only after the arrival in Prague in the middle of the fourteenth century of refugee monks from Dalmatia. These monks brought with them the use of Slavonic in the liturgy and of Glagolitic in writing. These observations may be tested by analyzing any chronicle or history written after the settlement of the Dalmatian monks in Prague. A brief survey of historiographic works, selected at random, yields the following results.


Henric de Muegeln, who spent a few years (between 1346 and 1355) in Bohemia at the courts of John of Luxembourg and Charles I (later, Emperor Charles IV), is the author of a chronicle written first in German (1358-61) and then in Latin. [63] According to his narrative, the Hungarians defeated and killed Sventopolk, "prince in Pannonia," and only seven years later attacked the Moravians and Bohemians, whose lands at that time were under the control of prince Bratislav. Here the author is clearly referring to the Bohemia and margraviate of Moravia of his own times, as distinct from the realm of Sventopolk. A year later, according to Henric de Muegeln the Hungarians invaded Carinthia, where they fought against Gothardus, the "duke of the Moravians." Of significance in the Latin and German narratives of Henric de Muegeln is the fact that he places Sventopolk in Pannonia and docs not associate him with Moravia north of the Danube or with the ‘Moravians’ in Carinthia. As noted, the author lived in Bohemia for nine years and as a historian no doubt acquainted himself with the history of Bohemia as perceived there around the year 1350. In no case does his narrative support the theory that Sventopolk’s Moravia was north of the Danube.


Przibico dictus Pulkava is the author of the first Bohemian chronicle (c. 1374) which makes a more definite association between Sventopolk, Methodius, and the margraviate of Moravia; but the details of his narrative reveal that he drew his conclusions from false premises. First of all, he repeats the Borivoi story from Cosmas and then proceeds to say that Sventopolk controlled not only Bohemia, but also Poland and Russia (Polonia et Rusia). Indeed, one does not know what to do with this statement, but to defend it, as it stands, would be foolish.



63. MMFH, 1,293-303.





Pulkava makes civitas Velegradensis the capital of Moravia, a statement that in it sell is not yet ambiguous, since this Velehrad ("Big City”) could have been anywhere. But he also follows Cosmas’ story about Sventopolk’s joining the hermits on the mountain named Sombor. If the place name is correct, then it would correspond to Samobor, a place in Bosnia, the home country of Sventopolk, and not to Zobor, as noted, or read, in some other chronicles, including the chronicle of Cosmas. [64]


Pulkava’s narrative continues with some puzzling statements, such is that Constantine carried the reliquaes of St. Clement to Vyšegrad in Prague, where he stayed for three years before journeying to Rome. Pulkava goes on to describe anew some facts from the life of Sventopolk, but he connects these facts with Sventopolk the younger, as for instance, that Methodius excommunicated the young Sventopolk and moved from Moravia to Bohemia, to the court of Borivoi. As known from more authentic sources, Methodius died in 885 and Sventopolk (senior), in 894.


Pulkava also knew about the use of Slavonic liturgy in the archdioceses of Spalato, Ragusa, and Jadera (i.e., Split, Dubrovnik, and Zadar), and he mentions that permission to celebrate the Holy Mass in Slavonico was granted by the Pope (John VIII) in perpetuum. He goes on to say that Moravia was eventually totally destroyed by the Hungarians, Eastern Teutons, and Poloni. This fragment is based on Cosmas, but he changed the Polonaises (recte Panonenses) of his source to read Poloni. This change of the original also explains why Pulkava named Sventopolk ruler over Polonia instead of Pannonia (cf. note 45). Pulkava supplements Cosmas’ story with the information that civitas Welegradensis had been totally destroyed. This statement at least clarifies once more the issue of Velegrad; it could not be Velehrad-Staré Město north of the Danube.


Pulkava concludes with a story of his own, according to which Emperor Henry III in 1086 restored the kingdom of Moravia and then transferred the kingship to Bohemia. According to Pulkava, the emperor made Moravia a margraviate under the crown of Bohemia and, in similar fashion, incorporated Poland and Russia into Bohemia! [65]


The closest reference to a transfer of the crown of Moravia to Bohemia is a story in the Chronicle of Dalimil, in which Sventopolk,



64. Cf. notes 42 and 43 of this chapter.

65. For an opinion on the theory of Translation see F. Graus in Das Grossmährische Reich (Prague, 1966), 284.





in the presence of the emperor, gave his realm to a prince of Bohemia. This story is obviously spurious, since Sventopolk was succeeded in power by his sons and not by a Bohemian prince.


A northern ‘tradition’ was formulated sometime around 1420 in a brief chronicle of the bishops of Olomouc, the Granum catalogi praesulum Moraviae. [66] The compiler of this chronicle utilized i.a. the Tempore Michaclis imperatoris, the chronicle of Cosmas, and the Czech chronicle of Dalimil. Since none of these three sources, upon proper analysis, supports the assumption of an association between Methodius and Moravia north of the Danube, the mistakes of the Granum are solely the responsibility of its compiler.


The Granum purports to know that Sventopolk the Elder was baptized by Cyril (in 886). This Sventopolk allegedly arranged for Cyril to be made archbishop of Welegrad (in 887). Cyril is supposed to have eventually resigned from this function and to have had his successor, in the person of Methodius, appointed to the archbishopric in his stead (in 892). Irrespective of the erroneous dates, the story is sheer confusion. Cyril was never an archbishop or a bishop, and Methodius could not have been legally appointed a bishop by Cyril: Methodius was made bishop by the Pope upon the request of Kocel.


The compiler of the Granum reasons that the destruction of Moravia by Emperor Arnulf forced Methodius to return to Rome, where he was buried in the church of St. Clement. The chain of mistakes here is rather long. Methodius died in 885 at the height of Sventopolk’s political power, and was buried in his own cathedral church - hence in Morava. Moravia was destroyed by Arnulf and the Hungarians only after 892; Sventopolk died in 894; and Arnulf became emperor only in 896.


The Granum knows about two successors to Methodius: Johannes episcopus Moraviensis and Silvester Moraviensis episcopus secundus. After these two, the episcopacy was discontinued and the diocese merged with that of Regensburg until the times of Adalbert-Vojtěch, the second bishop of Prague. The Granum goes on to say that during the third year of the latter’s pontificate, the bishopric of Morava was united with the bishopric of Prague and so remained until the time of Severus, bishop of Prague (1030-1067). From more reliable sources, it is known that Methodius was followed in the episcopacy briefly by his pupil Gorazd and subsequently by Wiching, who fled from Moravia around 893 and eventually became bishop of Passau.



66. MMFH, I, 314-16.





It is also well established that Moravia proper was claimed in respect of ecclesiastic jurisdiction by the bishops of Passau and not of Regensburg. Furthermore, the bishopric of Olomouc in northern Moravia was not a restored episcopal see, but a new foundation as of 1063. Had the Granum contained a grain of truth, then the bishops of Olomouc would surely have utilized it to claim primacy (episcopi primae sedis) in the lands of Bohemia. [67]


One may conclude here that the chronicle of Pulkava, as well as the Granum, represent various steps leading toward the concept of a Moravia under Sventopolk north of the Danube. Nevertheless, these chronicles retained many elements of the original sources, allowing us to distinguish between facts and beliefs. Whereas all the sources reflect some well established facts of the Cyrillo-Methodian mission south of the Danube, they tend, at the same time, to advance the idea of a connection between Moravia and Bohemia. The basis for this idea lies in the fact that Bohemia was, for a short while, controlled by Sventopolk, and that there is a striking similarity between the forms Sclavi Marahenses, Margenses, Margi, Maravi and the name of the northern river Morava and its region, Moravia. The form Moravia in place of Margenses, Margi, Maravi was introduced only in the eleventh century by Cosmas, an obvious case of mistaken identification.


The first outright association between the valley of the northern Morava River and the Moravia of Sventopolk and Methodius was made by Aeneas Sylvius [68] Piccolomini (1403-1464, after 1458 Pope Pius II), who spent some time in Prague and acquainted himself with the problems of Bohemian history. Among the sources upon which he based his narrative were the Chronicles of Dalimil and of Pulkava. Aeneas Sylvius not only repeated most of the anachronistic statements of his sources, but also adapted some of the correct information in them to his own concepts of geography and history. Thus, to the description of Cosmas as modified by Pulkava, which connected the destruction of Moravia with the intervention of the Hungarians, Eastern Teutons,



67. The Granum had a certain impact on the furthering of the associations between the see of Olomouc and St. Methodius. In 1580 Stantislav Pavlovsky, bishop of Olomouc, wrote to Pope Gregory XIII asking for the relics of Cyril and Methodius. Pavlovsky specified in his request that the body of Cyril was in the Apostolic Basilica and that of Methodius in the church of St. Clement. In actuality, Pavlovsky was mistaken on both counts: it is Cyril who was buried in the church of St. Clement (Vita Constantini 14) and Methodius was buried in his own cathedra church (Vita Methodii 17). Quite obviously, Pavlovsky was not familiar with the Lives of the two brothers. He thus testifies that in his diocese there was neither a living tradition nor a literary knowledge of a Cyrillo-Methodian continuity. Cf. Annales ecclesiastici, ed. A Theiner (Rome, 1856), III, 121-2, 271.

68. MMFH, I, 321-24.





and the Poloni (recte Pannonienses), Aeneas Sylvius added the Bohemi.


In a similar fashion, Aeneas Sylvius supplemented another fragment of Pulkava, who placed under Moravian control Boemia, Polonia, and Rusia, by adding the Hungarians as subjects of Sventopolk. It was also Aeneas Sylvius who drew the drastic conclusion that "Moravia" was located beyond (i.e., north of) the Danube. To the east, lie said, are the kingdoms of the Hungarians and of the Poles, separated from the Moravians by the river Morava which gave to this region its name; to the west are the Bohemians; to the south, the Austrians; and to the north, the Silesians. This is a fair description of the margraviate of Moravia at the time of Aeneas Sylvius, but not of the Moravia of Sventopolk. The whole Historia Bohemica of Aeneas Sylvius is an excellent illustration of methods and weaknesses of renaissance historiography. His writings, as well as those of Dalimil and Pulkava, can never take the place of the evidence provided by the sources perused by them.


A similar identification of Sventopolk’s Moravia with the margraviate of Moravia north of the Danube was made by the Bavarian historian Johannes Aventinus (Turmair) in his Annales Boiorum, [69] Aventinus (1477-1534) had access to sources reflecting the events of the ninth century, from which he made profuse excerpts of considerable value for historical research, but his own compilation reveals several shortcomings in interpretation of these sources. As will be seen, these shortcomings result from the associations he made between the Moravia of his sources and the Moravia north of the Danube of his own times. The contradictions are frequently evident even from an internal analysis of Aventinus’ writings.


Aventinus defines Sclavonia as comprising Dalmatia, Liburnia, Illyricum and parts of Pannonia and of Noricum. This definition correctly reflects the situation in the ninth century: Illyricum is the region south of Pannonia and east of Dalmatia and Libumia, known under the same name to Constantine Porphyrogenitus. "Part of Noricum" is Carinthia, which originally was also referred to as Sclavinia. [70] Aventinus added that the territory described by him was known as Sclavonia even during his lifetime.


Aventinus creates contradictions, however, when he utilizes the so-called falsa of bishop Piligrim of Passau. Indeed, Aventinus correctly defines the location of Bavaria in relation to Hunia-Avaria, known to him



69. MMFH, I, 336-76, based on a 1710 edition. For a complete text of the Latin and German originals cf. the edition by the Bavarian Academy, Munich, 1881-1908.

70. Conversio Bagoariorum, cap. 7 (in some manuscript ‘sclauonia’).





from the letter of Pope Eugene II: “Up. and toward the west, was Bavaria: down was Hunia or Avaria.“ But he attempts to locate the four bishoprics of that Avaria not “down”, i.e., in the south, where Avaria was once located, but mainly north of the Danube in Moravia of his own times. Tims, he identified Faviana of his source with Vienna, although today we know that Faviana was where Mautern is located, and Vienna’s classical name is Vindobona. Whereas his source referred to ecclesia Speculi juliensis qua el Suguturensis, Aventinus changed the text to read Auguturensem sive Iuliomontanum, Olomontinumque. Olomons is, of course, the slightly Latinized equivalent of Olomouc on the northern Morava river. Julii Mons is the name for the same city introduced only by the Humanists. Since Julii Mons is a name different from Speculum Julii of the source used by Aventinus, and since Olomouc - Julii Mons did not exist in the ninth century, Aventinus’ identification is patently wrong. In another case, Aventinus implied that the bishopric of Nitrava of his source was identical with Nitra. But this identification is also incorrect, since Aventinus connects Nitrava (as well as Olomouc - Julii Mons) with the church province under Passau, even though Passau never had, nor claimed to have, suffagan bishoprics north of the Danube. On the other hand Passau did have claims to ecclesiastical jurisdiction south of the Danube, precisely in Hunia-Avaria, of which Nitrava and Speculum Julii - even though their locations are not yet identified - were the sees of bishoprics. Furthermore, Aventinus associated the name of Privina, the prince on Lake Balaton, with Brno, a city on the northern Morava river, and spelled his name Brynon qui et Privina. By associating Privina with Brno and with the Moravians, [71] Aventinus was necessarily led to placing all the events of Moravia’s history north of the Danube. Needless to say, the resulting contradictions are numerous and obvious. For instance, Aventinus says that on the eastern borders of Bavaria the Moravians revolted against the King of Bavaria. These Moravians, in his words, lived north of the Danube. In the ninth century, however, “east of Bavaria” could not have been north of the Danube, but only east-southeast. He makes the king of the Bavarians occupy Brno, Bratislava, and Nitra, and has Rastislav, with Privina and his son Kocel, expelled to the realm of Ratimar. The utter confusion presented here by Aventinus is beyond disentanglement. Privina and his son, in fact sought protection at Ratimar’s court sometime around 838,



71. Privina was not even a Moravian. He was expelled from his realm by Moimar, prince of the Moravians, and he was killed by the Moravians. Cf. Conversio Bagoariorum, cap. 10 and 13.





but they moved to his realm from Pannonia superior and not from beyond the Danube. At that time, Rastislav was not yet in evidence at all, becoming prince only in 846. Since one mistake leads to another, Aventinus interpreted King Louis the German’s donation to Privina of an estate on the river Sala [72] (in Pannonia, close to Lake Balaton) as including Nitra, Bratislava, and Brno.


Although Aventinus made Privina a prince loyal to the Franks and in control over Bratislava, Nitra and Brno, he placed all the conflicts between the Franks and Rastislav concurrently in the same territory. Privina died about 861 and was followed in princely function by his son Kocel (-874). If they controlled Nitra, Bratislava, and Brno, then obviously Rastislav, prince of Moravia (846-870), could not have been in control of the same territory. But Aventinus is consistent in pursuing his concept of Rastislav’s Moravia north of the Danube. He leads the Bavarian and Moravian forces back and forth across the Danube, although none of his sources ever mentioned a crossing of that river. As a result, he had to transfer the river Schwarzaha of his source from Carinthia to the neighborhood of Brno (cf. note 28 on p. 41).


Aventinus also promoted the Moravians to an ethnic entity by separating the phrase Sclavi Margenses into Moravi et Sclavi. He also considered the Sclavi and Venedi, as well as the Bohemi and Zechi (Czechs), to be distinct political or ethnic entities. He is somewhat less confused when relating the Dalmatian tradition of the use of Slavonic in the liturgy:


“In those days Methodius the philosopher invented the Vened writing and translated the divine pronouncements into the everyday speech of the Sclavi; he persuaded the people of Dalmatia to reject the Latin, to abandon the Roman rite, and to honor their own speech. Afterwards he came to the dominion of Bavaria, to the Slavs of Liburnia, Noricum, and Pannonia, in order to persuade them... he was expelled from the dominion of Bavaria by the clergy of Salzburg and he escaped to Moravia (in Moraviam aufugit). There he is buried in the city which is considered today the capital of Moravia, known commonly as Olomunz, i.e., Julii Mons. . . The Moravians have elevated him to the array of saints and honor him devoutly to this day.


 Aventinus is mistaken of course in saying that it was Methodius, and not Constantine, who invented the Slavonic letters, but it is correct that the letters were first used in Dalmatia and that there was a conflict between the clergy of Salzburg and Methodius over jurisdiction in Pannonia superior, the jurisdictional territory of the bishops of Salzburg.



72. Conversio Bagoariorum, cap. II.





Further comment on Aventinus’ work requires a glance at the source which he used, the Excerptum de Karentanis, [73] which names Methodius "Sclavus ab Hystrie et Dalmatie partibus” and knows that Methodius "fugatus a Karentanis partibus intravit Moraviam ibique quiescit.” The crucial difference between the Excerptum and Aventinus is in the phrasing "intravit Moraviam ibique quiescit” in the former, and ”... in Moraviam aufugit. Ubi humatus est in urbe que nunc caput Moravorum censetur ... Olomunz” in the latter. The Excerptum speaks about a city Moravia (intravit Moraviam - a construction without the preposition in) and ibique: ‘and in that place, there’ (cf. Cicero: Demaratus fugit Tarquinios Corintho, et ibi suas fortunas constituit.). Aventinus, consistent with his basic premise of a nation and country of Moravia, has paraphrased his source to read ‘in Moraviam (a territory) and ‘ubi’: ‘in which place, where, ‘since ‘ibi’ would not be appropriate usage with a country.


From both sources it is evident that Methodius died in and was buried in Moravia (city or country). But Aventinus attempted to name the place and reverted once more to his own belief that the capital city of Moravia was Julii mons (Olomouc), hence the place of Methodius’ burial.


The analysis of Aventinus’ text could be pursued at length and evidence could be brought forward to show his inconsistency or persistence in placing Moravia north of the Danube, but from the same text evidence can also be extracted showing that the sources used by Aventinus knew only a Moravia south of the Danube. In any case, it should already be evident that Aventinus mistakenly associated the Morava of Rastislav, Sventopolk, and Methodius with the Moravia of his own times.


Surprisingly enough, neither Aeneas Sylvius nor Aventinus made much of an impact on early Bohemian historiography. Dubravius (John Skala of Doubravka; 1486-1553) in his Historia regni Bohemia [74] still insists that the Hungarians sent an embassy to Sventopolk to Veszprém, a town not far from Lake Balaton in Pannonia. Expelled from Pannonia, Sventopolk moved his new capital to Velehrad, north of the Danube. Benedikt Szöllösi in his Cantus catholici (1655) speaks about the people of Sventopolk as Pannonici and placed the residence of Sventopolk in Belgrade. [75]



73. MMFH, III, 434-35-

74. Cf. Velká Morava a Naša Doba (Bratislava, 1963), 73.

75. Cf. Apoštoli Slovienov (Bratislava, 1963), 126.





This survey could, indeed, be pursued further, but already enough arguments have been presented to support the observation that there was no local tradition of any sort that would indicate a Cyrillo-Methodian continuity north of the Danube. The more definite identifications of the Moravia of Sventopolk with the regions north of the Danube were made by non-Bohemian chroniclers. Their writings betray, quite clearly, an almost unavoidable telescoping of information derived from sources and geographic and political concepts prevailing at the time of composing a given historiographic work.


It is rather unfortunate that the first "documentary’’ association of Methodius with regions north of the Danube was made at a time when modern historiography had all the resources at its command with which to revise the late medieval concepts concerning Moravia. It was, in fact, the encyclical letter, Grande munus, issued on September 30, 1880, [76] in which the most extreme formulation of the Cyrillo-Methodian mission, as presented to Pope Leo XIII by his advisers - dreamers of a Slav commonwealth and church union - found expression. In this encyclical, the Dalmatian and Bulgarian tradition is supplemented by Bohemian historiography, as well as by speculations of more recent romantic historians. Thus, Methodius is credited with having spread the Gospel in Poland and Galicia. He also allegedly founded the episcopal see of Leopolis (Lvov), whence he went to Muscovy (!) and established the episcopal see of Kiev. It is directly evident from the encyclical itself that the papal advisers were not clear as to the details of the Cyrillo-Methodian mission or of Moravia’s history, nor were they familiar with the basic facts of medieval history. They perpetuated many of the untenable concepts which, as formulated by the nineteenth century historians, had became the axioms of Moravia’s history.


This survey of medieval chronicles and annals originating in, or associated with, Bohemia shows no evidence of a local tradition of any sort - political or ecclesiastical - which would have knowledge about a Moravia of Rastislav and Sventopolk or of a church organization of St. Methodius north of the Danube. Whatever was known in Bohemia about Constantine-Cyril and Methodius reflects a literary borrowing from non-Bohemian sources. Although they describe events affecting Methodius, Sventopolk and Moravia, Bohemian historians of the Middle Ages do not necessarily associate these events and persons with Moravia north of the Danube. Some of the sources, especially those written



76. For text cf., e.g., L. Jelić, Fontes historici liturgiae Glagolito-Romanae (Vegla, 1906), Sec. XIX., No. 84.





after the settlement of the Dalmatian-Croat Slavonic monks in Prague, reveal some confusion in respect to the place of Methodius’ activities, but even these sources, analyzed in depth, cannot be used in support of a theory of locating Sventopolk’s Moravia north of the Danube. In short, none of the medieval Bohemian chronicles and annals or any of the early modern historiographic works support the commonly held concept of a Moravia of Sventopolk and Methodius north of the Danube. Each and all of these sources, analyzed separately and in depth, would only provide arguments in favour of the conclusion reached in the preceding chapters: namely, that the historical Moravia of the ninth century was located somewhere in the territory of present-day Yugoslavia.








a. Evidence derived from archeology 141

b. Philological evidence 146



a. Evidence derived from archaeology


Considerable scholastic and public interest has been aroused in connection with the rich archaeological discoveries of recent years in the valley of the northern Morava River where Bohemia joins Slovakia. [1] The finds have been interpreted as showing the high material and spiritual culture of the Moravians, and the main sites of the discoveries have long been considered the centers of the Great Moravian Empire. F. Graus, the Nestor of Czech historians, however, calls some of the hypotheses of the archaeologists "extravagant.” [2] A confrontation of facts derived from archaelogical discoveries with currently held conclusions based on these facts will show that the valley of the northern Morava River cannot be related to the history of Moravia of Rastislav, Sventopolk and Methodius.


There is no question about the importance of archeology for the study of medieval history. But archaeologists should first arrive at conclusions within the limits of archaeological science itself and only then implement their observations with historical facts. In the case of the discoveries in Czechoslovakia



1. For a bibliography cf.

·       Słownik Starożytności Słowiańskich, s.v. ‘Morawskie panstwo 2, archeologia’, ‘Děvinská Nová Ves’, ‘Mikulčice’, ‘Modrá’, ‘Nitra’, Pohansko’ etc.

·       J. Poulik, “Ancient Moravia in the Light of the Latest Archeological Discoveries,” in La Grande Moravie - The Great Moravian Empire, ed. Jaroslav Böhm (Prague, 1963), 49-91.

·       L. Havlík, Velká Morava a středoevropští Slované (Prague, 1964), 340 ff. Investigations archéologiques en Tchécoslovaquie, ed. Jan Filip (Prague, 1966), 317 pp., on Moravia pp. 237-54. and on Slovakia 289-91.

·       Jan Eisner, Rukověť slovanské archeologie (Prague, 1966), passim.

·       Das Grossmährische Reich (Prague, 1966), 11-130.

·       Jan Filip, Enzyklopädische Handbuch zur Ur- und Frühgeschichte 1-2 (Prague, 1966-69).

·       Josef Poulik, Pevnost v luiním lese (Prague, 1967).


2. František Graus, “Das Grossmährische Reich in der böhmischen mittelalterlichen Tradition,” in Das östliche Mitteleuropa in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Wiesbaden, 1966), 131 [Annales Instituti Slavici, I/2]. The article appeared also in Czech, in Československý Časopis Historický II (1963), 289-305. For other comments on archeological evidence cf. Das Grossmährische Reich, pp. 105-7 (Miloš Solle), 119 (A. Merhautová), 1x5-17 and 428-34 (Joachim Werner).





(Mikulčice, Devínska Nová Ves, Pohansko, Modrá, Staré Město, and other localities north of the Danube), this rule has not always been observed. The spiritual and material culture of the people of the ninth century in the northern Morava valley, as expressed in burial rites and the typology of sacral edifices, has been interpreted, not on the basis of comparable and well-identified archaeological material from neighboring regions, but with reference to the Cyrillo-Methodian mission and the information known from the written sources on Moravian history. Finally, on the same basis, the ethnic composition of the carriers of the civilization in the northern Morava River valley has been defined as Slavic, although this conclusion is not, and cannot be, derived from the concrete material assembled in Mikulčice, Pohansko, and elsewhere.


The archaeological material under discussion is from an isolated territory surrounded by a larger area of a totally different archaeological culture. The civilization presented by the archaeological complex of Pohansko-Mikulčice, etc., has no roots in the preceding culture of the region and appeared in the area from the outside only during the ninth century. If the earlier culture of the area and the culture of the larger region is “Slavic," then the insular character and late provience of the so-called “Moravian" culture would not allow it to be labeled “Slavic" too. The carriers of the new culture could have spoken a Slavic dialect - and this will never be evident from archaeology alone - but they were not culturally related in time or space to the earlier inhabitants of the northern Morava River valley or to the inhabitants of Bohemia or Slovakia as of the ninth century. [3]


Whatever language the people of the new civilization spoke, their material and spiritual culture, as reflected in the artifacts available, appears at first sight, and increasingly upon careful scrutiny, to be nomadic. Lubomir Havlik recognizes in the decorative designs of the region’s metal crafts characteristic Byzantine-Balkan motifs next to motifs of a South Caucasian-Persian origin. [4] A comparative study of the graves north of the Danube in the Morava River valley with cemeteries of typical Avar regions was made by B. Szöke, who found a striking analogy between the two areas in both material and spiritual culture. [5]



3. In Das Grossmährische Reich, p. 56, A. Točík speaks about the merger of two distinct ethnic groups in the main centers of the ‘Moravian’ settlements north of the Danube. Točík’s studies on early Slavic and nomadic (Avar and Hungarian) archeology are the closest to reality. Cf. also J. Poulik, Staří Moravané buduji svůj stát (Gottwaldov, i960), p. 39, on Mikulčice.

4. L. Havlík, Constantine and Methodius in Moravia (Brno, 1964), 29 and in his Velká Morava... p. 334. See also Das Grossmährische Reich, p. 269-70.





His study brings out the "nomadic" nature of both cultures. This does not mean, however, that the carriers of the culture were still speaking a Turkic dialect. They could well have been linguistically assimilated by the presumably Slavic majority (cf. the Bulgar-Slavic symbiosis, which occurred at the same time in the Balkans, and the Magyar-Onogur symbiosis of the Hungarians, a century or so later), but this, as already stated, is not evident from archaeology.


Since the Moravians are known to have been a militant, horse-riding people, [6] the characteristics of the archaeological culture north of the Danube would not contradict, but would rather support, the theory that the whole archaeological complex was Moravian. There are, however, other questions to be answered e.g., why should the complex have been limited to a relatively small area, if the "Great Moravian Empire," a supposedly homogeneous, supratribal entity, covered half of central Europe? The strong resistance of Liudevit, prince in Pannonia, and of Rastislav and Sventopolk of Moravia against Frankish expansion into formerly Avar-controlled territories would seem to indicate that the new political organizations east of the Franks actually continued the earlier political and military organizations of the Avars under a new, Slavic, leadership, but this would still not place Moravia north of the Danube.


The archaeological complex in the northern Morava River valley is only a ninth century extension of the main body of Pannonian Avar civilization, just as the territories with Avar, and later Hungarian, relics are in the valleys of the Danube’s northern confluences in Slovakia. The Mikulčice-Pohansko relics chronologically follow the complex of Devínska Nová Ves, [7] a stronghold just north of the Danube, possibly abandoned during Charlemagne’s campaigns around the year 800. The entire archaeological complex represents military-princely settlements of a refuge type, established in the marshy inundation terrain of the rivers Morava and Dyja. No corresponding village settlements have yet been discovered, [8] and the nature of the complex suggests, once more, a territorially limited foreign military occupation.


It has long been suspected that the allegedly "Moravian" archaeological



5. B. Szöke, "Über die Beziehungen Moraviens zu dera Donaugebiet in der Spätavarenzeit,” in Studia Slavica 6 (i960), 75-112.

6. Cf. Annales Fuldenses, s.e. 871, on the Bavarians capturing 644 horses of a Moravian retinue.

7. Cf. J. Eisner, Děvinská Nová Ves (Prague, 1952).

8. Cf. J. Poulik, Stáři Moravané buduji svůj stát (Gottwaldov, 1960), 167. See also Das Grossmáhrische Reich, pp. 303-4.





complex north of the Danube reflected a nomadic political formation. But in 1948 this scepticism met with the argument that the complex could not possibly have been Avaric, because the decorative elements of the artifacts did not include images of horses, "the inseparable companion of a nomad." [9] Since then, however, not only have numerous spurs and other pieces of equestrian equipment been unearthed, but also the nomad with his "inseparable companion," the horse, has been found in a so-called "Moravian" burial ground. [10] It goes without saying that a cemetery in which a rider and his horse together have found a resting place could not have been a Christian cemetery. By the same token, cemeteries with mixed funeral rites (cremation, typical of "Slavic" cultures; and inhumation, typical of nomads), prevalent north of the Danube, could not have been Christian either, or even entirely Slavic. As we know from concrete written evidence, Moravia proper was Christian long before Methodius’ arrival there.


As for the several sacral edifices north of the Danube, opinions still differ as to both the chronology and typology of the buildings. The differences in suggested dates depend on which event archaeologists consider to be the turning point in the history of Moravian Christianity; a Bavarian (Iroscottish) mission before 863 or the Cyrillo-Methodian mission after that date. The same church is dated by some in the earlier part of the ninth century and connected in style with the churches used in the West, while by others it is dated in the last decades of that century and regarded as being Dalmatian or Byzantine in style. By the same method, the edifices could just as well be dated in the eleventh or twelfth centuries. [11] However, the architecture of the excavated remnants, studied without reference to Moravian history, shows similarities



9. Josef Poulik, “Kultura moravských Slovanů a Avaři,” in Slavia Antiqua I (1948), 327: “Permanent Avar settlements in Moravia would have left some traces... e.g. in the inventory of cemeteries and of settlements. We never see the image of a horse, the inseperable companion of a nomad.”


10. On horses in burial places in East Central Europe cf. Jan Eisner, Rukověť slovanské archeologie (Prague, 1966), 452-53. For equestrian equipment see the illustrations in, e.g., Grossmähren: Slawenreich swischen Bysantinern und Franken, Mainz, 1966); plates 19, 22, 37, 43 and 44 show spurs; plates 64 and 74 images of horses; plate 4 a grave of man with his horse.


11. For different opinions concerning edificies north of the Danube cf. J. Poulik, Pevnost v lužním lese. See also Das Grossmährische Reich, p. 42 and 103-4. The freedom of choice in dating is well illustrated by the following cases: the rotunda in Levý Hradec (Bohemia) is dated in the ninth as well as in the tenth and eleventh centuries; the Holy Cross church in Nin is dated in the eleventh century by Karaman and c. 800 by other scholars; the burg of Nemetice in Southern Bohemia has been abandoned either late in the ninth century or between 950 and 1200. For details and literature see Słownik Star. Słow, under the name of the localities.





rather with buildings of the Pontic littoral region. [12] A re-evaluation of the whole problem seems to be an urgent desideratum.


Finally, there is no doubt that Moravia, or at least its urban centers, was utterly destroyed by the Hungarians, while the settlements considered to be “Moravian" and located north of the Danube were not destroyed by the Hungarians, or at least not before 907, the terminus ad quem of Moravia’s history. The archaeological material of Byzantine-Oriental character, primarily the jewelry from Staré Mésto, has been dated for the last decades of the ninth century and the first half of the tenth century, [13] hence in a period overlapping the destruction of Moravia proper (892-907).


Archaeologists are adamant that they have as yet been unable to find Avar settlements or fortresses north of the Danube. But the difficulties will remain insurmountable if all Avar remnants continue to be classified as Slavic. The following quotation from a recent study provides a fitting illustration of an artificially created problem, as well as of a self-defeating argument:


“The description of an Avar burgwall of the middle of the ninth century, as related by Notker, the monk of St. Galien, would rather fit a Slavic burgwall, for instance Pohansko at Břeclav. As yet, however, there has been no success in locating an Avar burgwall." [14]


Since Notker only described a burgwall of the Avars without naming it, we cannot blame him for distorting facts. But if an authority states, on the basis of autopsy, that Notker’s description fits Pohansko, then Pohansko obviously must have been Avar and not Slavic. Irrespective of the language problem, the Avar nature of Pohansko is evident from the site’s archaeological remains. We may as well, therefore, restore our trust in Notker’s testimony.


The main problem in the perusal of archaeological material from the northern Morava River valley, however, is not its political or ethnic interpretation, but its chronology. Unfortunately, but significantly, there is no epigraphic material from north of the Danube which would give any basis for defining the language of the population or a date on which to base any exact chronology. The only written evidence on which one can base a surmise is a Byzantine coin of Emperor Michael III.


Since the archaeological remains of the ninth century unearthed in the northern Morava river valley are typically “Avar” and their identification as “Slavic” has been made solely on the assumption that the



12. Cf. Das Grossmährische Reich, p. 109.

13. Ibidem, pp. 46-7, 72,81.

14. O počiatkoch slovenských dejin (Bratislava, 1965), 13; note 30.





principality of Rastislav and Sventopolk was centered in that valley, and since there is enough reason to believe that the principality of Morava was not north of the Danube, there seems to be a need for a basic re-evaluation of the material culture of the "Avars" and of the "Slavs" of the Danubian-Carpathian Basin.



b. Philological evidence


       The Kievan Leaflets and related Glagolitic texts.


Another case of mistaken identity, similar to the classification of the archaeological complex on the northern Morava River, has occurred in the labeling of a body of Glagolitic and Cyrillic texts as a Bohemian recension of the Church Slavonic language. Some philologists have a concept that purports to show a West Slavic, and particularly Bohemian, period in the development of Church Slavonic language and literature. [15] Since there is no historical evidence of any sort, however, which would support the contention that there was a Bohemian recension of the Church Slavonic language or a Czech literature in Church Slavonic, it seems justified to treat the concept with skepticism. A scrutiny of some major contributions to the concept reveals that it is based solely upon the assumption that the Moravia of Sventopolk and of Methodius was north of the Danube and that the language of Moravia had to represent a West-Slavic dialect. Subsidiary to this concept is the belief that after the fall of Moravia its literary activity was continued until the late twelfth (or even fourteenth) century in Bohemia. The truth is, however, that none of the Church Slavonic works assumed to show Bohemian characteristics and none of the works suggested to be of Bohemian origin have specifically West Slavic characteristics to justify such a claim. The so-called Glagolitic Fragments of Prague [16] have no more value for the adherents of the concept of “Bohemisms" than the Glagolitic Fragments of Budapest.



15. Cf.

·       Miloš Weingart, “Pojem cirkevnej slovančiny...” (pp. 453-71) and Ján Stanislav, “Dnešný stav otázky československých prvkov v staroslovienskych pamiatkach” (491-532) in Riša Vel’komoravská (Prague, 1933).

·       Miloš Weingart, Československý typ cirkevnej slovančiny. Jeho pamiatky a význam (Bratislava, 1949).

·       F. V. Mareš, “Drevneslavianskii literaturnyi iazyk v Velikomoravskom gosudarstve,” in Voprosy Iazykoznaniia 1961, No. 2; 12-23.

·       B. Havránek in La Grande Moravie - The Great Moravian Empire (Prague, 1963), 93-115.

·       Radoslav Večerka, “Velikomoravskie istoki tserkovnoslavianskoi pismennosti v Cheshkom kniazhestve,” in Magna Moravia (Prague, 1965), 493-524 (Cf. also 421 f., 425f. and 43ff.).

·       Radoslav Večerka, “Die grossmährischen Wurzeln der altslavischen Schriften in Bohmen,“ in Das Grossmährische Reich (Prague, 1966), 412-3 (Cf. also 356).


16. Cf. ‘Fragmenty praskie’ in Słownik Star. Słow.





They are parts of a binding of a Latin codex [17] and have no attested genetic connection with Prague or Bohemia.


The chief work that is alleged to have linguistic and historic connections with Bohemia or even with the presumed literary activity of Methodius north of the Danube is contained in a collection of Church Slavonic manuscripts known as the Kievan Leaflets. [18] This collection contains fragments of a Mass formulary (Sacramentary) in Glagolitic letters, the text of which allegedly has West Slavic linguistic characteristics.


The Kievan Leaflets were first edited by I. Sreznevskii, who was the first to propose that the occurrences in the text of c and z in place of št and žd are characteristic of the Czech language. The suggestion was opposed by F. Miklošič, who maintained that these characteristics could well be "Pannonisms." Although the problem of “Bohemism" was not created by Sreznevskii or Miklošič, the Kievan Leaflets provide the best illustration of the futility of the controversy. On the basis of linguistic analysis (prompted by historical presuppositions), the origin of the Leaflets was placed variously in Bohemia, Pannonia, Slovakia, the Carpathian region, Bohemia-Moravia-Slovakia, Moravia-Pannonia, on “the banks of the Danube," and in Macedonia. A. Budilovič came out with the theory that the Leaflets were written by a Slovak or Czech on the Dalmatian Coast. [19] The Macedonian and Dalmatian theories at least took into account the predominantly South-Slavic characteristics of the Leaflets.


The “Bohemian" orientation in the interpretation of Kievan Leaflets was strengthened by A. I. Sobolevskii, who for his analysis of the Leaflets’ lexica used modem Czech dictionaries and arrived at conclusions which are both fantastic and amusing: e.g., having presented the theory of the Bohemian origin of the Leaflets, Soboievskii went on to state that they could just as well be Polish : [20] Sobolevskii’s arguments have influenced many modem philologists. [21]


The phonetic and grammatical characteristics assumed to be Bohemian



17. K. A. C. Höfler and P. J. Šafařík “Glagolitische Fragmente,” in Abhandlungen der K. Böhmische Gescllschaft für Wissenschaften, 5. Series, vol. 10 (1857).

18. Cf. ‘Mszal kijowski’ in Słownik Star. Słow. Also Ladislav Pokorný, "Staroslověnské Sakramentáře,” in Soluňští Bratři (Prague, 1963), 174-80.

19. For details and bibliographic references see Miloš Weingart and Ján Stanislav in Riša Vel’komoravská (especially p. 471).

20. For details see preceding note. For further details see A. I. Rogov, "Cheshkoe nasledie," in Istoriia, kultura, folklor.. (Moscow, 1968), 116.

21. Cf. Magna Moravia, pp. 493, 528 and 564.





are also present in several South-Slavic dialects. [22] Finally, it seems methodologically inadmissible that the first occurrences of some of the so-called Bohemisms were defined only on the basis of the church Slavonic texts [23] without recourse to comparable, independent evidence from West Slavic material. Unfortunately, we do not know enough about West Slavic dialects before the middle of the thirteenth century to make such a study. Since, in addition to the c, z, and -i peculiarities shared by modern Czech and possibly medieval South-Slavic dialects, the Kievan Leaflets have in place of an expected Czech modlitva (prayer) the Croat molitva, [24] one can hardly insist that the language of the Kievan Leaflets reveals typical Bohemisms.


Our point that the concept of “Bohemisms" is based solely on the assumption of a Moravia of Methodius north of the Danube can be supported by the following illustrations. F. V. Mareš, a prominent authority on Slavic philology, analyzed the Church Slavonic expression ‘inokost’ (peregrinatio), a term which appears in the Kievan Leaflets and in the Besedy Gregoriia (another Church Slavonic source of alleged Bohemian provenience). He came to the conclusion that the term is of Bohemian-Moravian origin. [25] This conclusion, however, could not have been based on a philological analysis of the text, since he could not find an equivalent expression in Old Czech, Slovak, or any other West Slavic language or dialect. As evidence of his contention, Mareš quotes several etymologically related terms only from Russian and Serbo-Croatian. Indeed, his evidence for the “Bohemism" of ‘inokost’ is based on the occurrence of the term in Serbo-Croatian (the Russian equivalent is a borrowing from Church Slavonic). This sort of a philological argument is neither unique nor rare.



22. Cf. e.g., J. Vajs, Rukověť hlaholské paleografie (Prague, 1932); Vajs sees in the Glagolitic Fragments of Prague some characteristics of the Croatian Glagolitic (p. 121). F. Zagiba, “Der historische Umkreis der Kiever Sakramentarfragmente,” Slovo 14 (1964), 59-77; “... die Kiever Sakramentarfragmente, deren Entstehung wir in den pannonisch-oberitalianischen Raum verlegen möchten, und zwar noch zu Lebzeiten Methods...’ Zagiba’s study appears to be one among the few that, in presenting the problems of the Kievan Leaflets, takes into consideration historical realities. Zagiba elaborated on an equally convincing study by K. Gamber, “Das glagolitische Sacramentar der Slavenapostel Cyrill und Method und seine lateinische Vorlage,” in Ostkirliche Studien 6 (1957). The forms čso, ničsože, assumed to be Bohemisms, could as well be Bulgarian or Macedonian; cf. J. Kurz in Slavia 31 (1962), 73. Olga Nedaljkovič gives a brief summary of arguments against ‘Bohemisms’ in Slovo 14 (1964), 35. The Kievan Leaflets, the principal evidence for ‘Bohemisms’ has only the South Slavic prefixes iz- and not the West Slavic (Czech) vy- ; cf. F. V. Mareš in Voprosy Iazykosnaniia (citied above, note 15), p. 22.

23. Cf. Słownik Star. Słow., s.v. ‘Fragmenty praskie’.

24. Cf. Das Grossmährische Reich, p. 423.

25. F. V. Mareš, “Stopa předcyrilometodějských moravských misi iroskotských v česko-staroslověnské slovní zásobè?” in Vznik a Počátky Slovanů 5 (1964), 7-11.





The same authority asserts that the Church Slavonic term ‘nedélia cvétnaia’ (domenica florum, Palm Sunday) is of Bohemian provinience, because in Czech the term is ‘květná neděle.’ [26] In the course of assembling evidence, Mareš quoted also the Glagolitic-Croat term ‘nedělja cvétnaja,’ He failed to notice, however, that it is the Croat phrase, and not the Czech, which is the perfect equivalent of the Church Slavonic form. One may genuinely ask whether the conclusion that the Church Slavonic ‘nedělia cvétnaia’ represents a "Bohemism" is based on philological analysis or preconceived ideas.


Since the philological arguments by no means support the concept of a Bohemian milieu for the Kievan Leaflets, and since the Macedonian-Serbo-Croat characteristics of the Leaflets’ text are evident even if not recognized, the concept of "Bohemisms" may well deserve the continued attention of Slavic philologists. A revision of the concept is necessary not only on purely philological grounds, but also for the following historical circumstances.


The Kievan Leaflets are museum items acquired in 1874 in Jerusalem. This fact is either unknown to the proponents of Bohemisms or considered unimportant by them, since they never explained the obvious difficulties created by this circumstance. In presenting problems of Bohemisms, recent authorities have also failed to discuss the entire collection of the Leaflets of which only a part is suspected of "Bohemisms." The first page of the Leaflets is undisputedly of Croat origin, which fact raises the question: Is there something really strikingly different between the first and subsequent pages of the collection, or are the differences only chronological and dialectical? Since Church Slavonic was not a standardized literary language, all the Glagolitic and Cyrillic texts that have been preserved reflect only a dialect of a specific territory or period, more precisely the dialect of the compiler or of the copyist and the orthography of his times. In the light of this observation, it seems methodologically correct to analyze the entire collection known as the Kievan Leaflets as a unit, especially since the first page of it is distinctly Croat and the other pages have South Slavic peculiarities.


The Croat, and generally South Slavic, nature of the Kievan Leaflets may provide some indication as to how the collection - or parts of it - found its way to Jerusalem. A modest conjecture would suggest that the texts were taken by some Slavonic monks from the Balkans to one or another of their monasteries in the Holy Land.



26. In Slavia 25 (1956), 258-9.





There is known to have been a Slavonic monastery on Mt. Sinai in the twelfth to fourteenth centuries.


By way of an additional historical note on the Kievan Leaflets, we may point out that the Sacramentary is a translation of a Latin original compiled most probably in Aquileia. [27] The lexical material of the Glagolitic text reveals that the translation was made somewhere in the sphere of the missionary activities of the Patriarchate of Aquileia. [28] Since the Patriarchate of Aquileia did not have jurisdiction over territories north of the Danube, the lexical “Bohemisms” of the Leaflets have to be relocated to Dalmatia-Croatia even if the terms appear also in Czech (as well as in Polish and Slovak).


The historical associations surrounding the Kievan Leaflets and the lack of any exclusive Bohemian characteristic in the language of its text should dispel the theories based mainly on the Kievan Leaflets that there was a Bohemian recension of the Church Slavonic language or that there was a period of Czech literature written in Czech Church Slavonic.


To assure ourselves that these conclusions are correct, we may scrutinize any of the Church Slavonic works which are classified as representing the Bohemian recension of Church Slavonic or accepted as originating in Bohemia or in Bohemian Moravia. Such a text is the so-called Glagolitic Fragments of Prague. [29] The comments made on the phonetic, grammatical and lexical characteristics of the Kievan Leaflets are also valid in this case. Furthermore, in contrast to the Sacramentary of the Kievan Leaflets, which represents the Western (Aquileian) ecclesiastical practice, the Prague Fragments are illustrative of the Byzantine Eastern rite. L. Geitler placed them together with the Kievan Leaflets in Macedonia. [30] Since the Prague Fragments and the Kievan Leaflets share many common characteristics, but represent two different rites, it may be correct to say that the two texts shared the same linguistic milieu of a territory on which the two rites were in use. Such a territory was Western Illyricum. The Byzantine rite was not used in Moravia proper nor is it attested for Bohemia. This added difficulty in explaining the "Bohemisms” might have prompted F. V. Mareš to suggest that the Glagolitic Fragments of Prague were translations from a Russian Cyrillic original.



27. See note 22.            28. See note 25.            29. See note 23.

30. Ct. Riša Velkomoravská, p.514.





This theory itself undermines the notion that the Prague Fragments represent a Methodian continuity in Bohemian Moravia.


It may also be significant to note the opinion of Miloš Weingart, the author of a book entitled Československy typ cirkevnej slovančiny (Czechoslovak [!] version of the Church Slavonic). [31] In his view, the Prague Fragments were copied several times on Czech soil and represent one of the earliest specimens of Old-Slavonic. A few pages later, however, he presents a different opinion according to which a (North-) Moravian text was first copied in Bulgaria and then copied once more in Sázava in Bohemia. Since both explanations lack confirmation in historical facts (e.g., evidence for the use of Church Slavonic in Bohemia or anywhere north of the Danube prior to the foundation of Sázava, or evidence for the use of Glagolitic in Sázava), one has no choice but to consider both possibilities suggested by Weingart as conjectural at best.


One should not overlook the so-called Glagolitic Fragments of Budapest, which share characteristics with the Kievan Leaflets and the Glagolitic Fragments of Prague, as well as with several Bulgarian-Macedonian literary relics in Church Slavonic. The analysis of the Budapest Fragments made by Josef Kurz shows that they were probably written in a Serbo-Croat dialect in the territory north of Macedonia, possibly in Bosnia. [32] If this conclusion of Kurz is correct, then the linguistically related relics, i.e., the Kievan Leaflets and the Prague Fragments, cannot be much different in respect to their geographic origin: Bosnia was a stronghold of Glagolitism and the dialects of Bosnia represent links in the chain between what in modem terms are classified as Bulgarian and Serbo-Croatian dialects.


Finally, a few words are in order about the Glagolitic writing and its assumed use north of the Danube. Jagić was under the impression that the Glagolitic writing was introduced into Croatia simultaneously from the South and from the North - from the North, that is, because he believed that the pupils of Methodius were expelled from Bohemian Moravia. An added argument used by him was the similarity between the square type of the Croatian Glagolitic and the character of the Glagolitic letters in the Fragments of Prague. But Jagić was misled on this issue by Šafarik’s theory that the Prague Fragments were written in Bohemia.



31. See note 15.

32. Josef Kurz in Slavia 26 (1957), 410-13. A review of P. Király’s "Das Budapester glagolitische Fragment,” Studia Slavica I (1955), 313-332.





J. Vajs, a philologist and paleographer, corrected Jagić in a rather convincing manner. In his book length study Rukověť hlaholské paleagrafie (Handbook of Glagolitic Paleography), Vajs established th the square type did not originate in the North. [33] Hence the Croatian Glagolitic must be connected only with the South. And, in fact, the Glagolitic, square or round, could not have originated north of the Danube, because this alphabet was not designed to reflect a West Slavic dialect. [34]


Even this short analysis of Glagolitic texts shows that there is no evidence for the existence of phonetic, grammatical or lexical "Bohemisms” or for West Slavic “Moravisms." On the other hand, all peculiarities which are not commonly represented in the classical Church Slavonic texts have some association with Macedonian, Serbia Croatian, or Slovenian dialects.


        The "Zakon sudnyi liudem”


Another source assumed to have “Bohcmian-Moravian” associations when subjected to historic and linguistic analysis proves to be eminently South-Slavic in its roots. This source is the Zakon sudnyi liudem, collection of secular Byzantine laws written in Cyrillic. [35] It is maintained by some scholars that the Zakon, a translation from the Greek Ekloga, was made by Constantine at the request of Rastislav, prince of Moravia. Others claim, however, that it was designed for, or originated in, Bulgaria. The fact is that the extant texts of the Zakon are available only in the Russian recension of Church Slavonic.


The Zakon makes reference to monasteries and vineyards, and reflects an economy based on money (payment of fines in coinage). The earliest monasteries attested in present day Bohemia and Slovakia date from the late tenth and early eleventh centuries only. Thei were no vineyards north of the Danube before the early eleventh century. [36] Legend has it that the first vineyard in western Slovakia



33. See note . Cf. ‘Glagolica’ in Słownik Star. Słow. M. Hocij, “Die westlichen Grundlagt des glagolitischen Alphabets,” in Südostdeutsche Forschungen 4 (1939-40). W. Lettenbauer “Zur Entstehung des glagolitischen Alphabets,” in Slovo 3 (1953).

34. Cf. Antonin Dostál “Sprachenprobleme in der Zeit Cyrills und Methods,” in Das Grosmährische Reich, pp. 335 and 337 (with reference to a study by B. Havránek).

35. For a brief summary of problems cf. Lubomír Havlík, Velká Morava..., p. 145 (with bibliography. See also above, note 2 on p. 1.)

36. Cf. ‘Napoje’ in Słownik Star. Słow, (with reference to L. Niederle, K. Moszyriski and. Kostrzewski).





(considered to have been part of the Moravian realm) was planted by Saint Svorad in the eleventh century. Saint Svorad came to the neighborhood of Nitra from Pannonia. Furthermore, archaeology has yet to produce Moravian coins (except for a forged one) or any other currency from the territory of the northern Morava River valley. [37] There are indeed two golden coins of the Byzantine Empire found on archaeological sites associated with the "Moravian" complex, one from the seventh and one from the ninth centuries, but these two coins can hardly be used as evidence for the existence of a money economy north of the Danube.


Without necessarily connecting the Zakon with Moravia south of the Danube, one may note that Fružka Cora has been famous for its "Sirmian wines" from the time of Emperor Probus until modern times. The hills of Pannonia secunda were favoured by monasteries throughout the Middle Ages. The first convent north of the Danube, on West Slavic territory, was established only in 970. Our conclusion is therefore, that the Zakon could have been written for any Slavic political formation south of the Danube that had viniculture and shared some elements of Byzantine monasticism. The Zakon was not necessarily written (or translated) for Moravia of the ninth century, for, were that the case, one would expect to find some fragments of its text in Glagolitic.


The vocabulary of the Zakon has been analyzed by J. Vašica, who came to the conclusion that, in the passage dealing with adultery, the Church Slavonic expression priložiti se was identical writh the Czech term. [38] He also noted that there was a Croat expression priložiti se with the same semantic meaning as the Czech and the Church Slavonic. Vašica deduced that the expression was a "Bohemism." If we apply the simplest rules of logic, however, then the only observation we could make is that the term is either Czech, Croat, or Common Slavic, even if it is not attested in other Slavic languages. But in the course of his investigation, Vašica quoted from the same source another Church Slavonic term semantically corresponding to the term priložiti se, namely the phrase prilepliati se. Vašica made the comment that this term was unknown in the Czech. In a footnote, however, he noted that the term prilepit se is known in Croat. We may add to this that the epenthetic l after the bilabial p (in the Church Slavonic form prilepliati se) is characteristic



37. Cf. Jaroslav Pošvář, "Handel und Währung Grossmährens," in Das Grossmährische Reich, pp. 276-81.

38. J. Vašica, "K lexiku Zakona Sudného Ljudem," in Slavistična Revija 10 (1957), 61-66.





of some Croat dialects, but is unknown in Czech. On the basis of this observation, we may be allowed to revise Vašica’s initial conclusion on “Bohemism.”


       The monastery of Sàzava.


The opinion persist among historians and philologists that to the end of the eleventh century the Cyrillo-Methodian tradition continued to exist in Bohemia and Southern Poland, especially around the Czech Benedictine Abbey of Sázava.” [39] An inquiry into the literature concerning Sázava and the Moravian tradition in Bohemia reveals, however, that there is no evidence that would allow us to accept the notion of such a tradition in Sázava or elsewhere in Bohemia or in Poland.


The monastery of Sázava was founded only in 1032, a century and a half after the expulsion of Methodius’ pupils from Moravia, hence an uninterrupted continuity is excluded. There is no evidence whatsoever that there were churches or monasteries using Slavonic in the liturgy before the eleventh century. Sázava, the only monastery to use Slavonic before the fourteenth century, existed, with interruptions, for only some 65 years.


The theory of a Cyrillo-Methodian continuity in Sázava is contradicted by facts from the very biography of Prokopius, the founder of the abbey. [40] According to this source, Prokopius learned the Slavonic alphabet in Vysegrad, and not in Sázava. There have been attempts to identify Vysegrad with either Vyšehrad in Prague or with Visegrád in Hungary. The former cannot be correct, however, because a monastery or chapter was founded there only in 1070, [41] while Prokopius died in 1053. A similar situation is presented by Visegrád of Hungary. A Russian monastery existed there, but it was established not earlier than 1046 [42] while Sázava was founded in 1032. A possible transmission of the Slavonic liturgy from the Hungarian Visegrád to Sázava would be in and of itself an argument against the notion of a Cyrillo-Methodian continuity in Bohemia.


Another possibility that suggest itself is Vyshgrad (later Vyshgorod), south of Kiev, a prominent center of princely and ecclesiastical life



39. George C. Soulis, "The legacy of Cyril and Methodius to the Southern Slavs,” in Dumbarton Oaks Papers, Number Nineteen (1965), 21. With reference to R. Jakobson, B. Havránek, O. Odložilík, K. Lanckoronska and J. Szymański.

40. Život Sv. Prokopa" in Fontes Rerum Bohemicarum I, 361. Also in MMFH II, 236-39 (excerpts).

41. Supplement II, in Cosmas Pragensis; Chronica Bohemorum, ed. Bertold Bretbolz (Berlin, 1923), 255 [MGH. SS. N.S. 2].

42. István Kniezsa, "Kyrill und Method Traditionen in Ungarn," in Cyrillo-Methodiana (Köln-Graz, 1964), 206.





from the time of the Princess Olga. [43] From 1015 Vyshgorod haul been the site of the graves of the two Rus princes (later saints) Gleb and Boris, both of whom were also venerated in Sázava. [44] The Russian connections of Sázava and of Prokopius are also indicated by the history of the famous Gospel of Reims (Texte du Sacre). [45] This manuscript consists of two parts: an older in Cyrillic and one in Glagolitic (used in Moravia proper). The Glagolitic was written, however, in Prague by the monks of the Slavonian monastery and the text shows Croat pecularities. The Glagolitic part has an annotation to the effect that the Cyrillic text is in the handwriting of Prokopius. The Cyrillic text, attributed to Procopius, represents the Russian version of the Church Slavonic and not a Bohemian or “Moravian." Consequently, both the language and the alphabet of the text point toward the Kievan origin of the Slavonic liturgy in Sázava. Furthermore, Cosmas (1125), the chronicler of Bohemia’s history, associated the Slavonic liturgical language with Russia and Bulgaria rather than with Moravia or Bohemia. [46]


The conclusion seems evident that there is no basis for the theory of a Cyrillo-Methodian continuity in Sázava. The same conclusions will emerge from the analysis of the second direct link between Bohemia and elements of Church-Slavonic culture, the medieval religious song “Hospodine pomilui ny."


       “Hospodine pomiluj ny."


The only extant notation of this song was found in Czech environment and in Latin letters. [47] It is still disputed whether this Church-Slavonic song was created in the ninth century and thus constitutes a direct heritage of the Methodian mission, or whether it was written only in the tenth, eleventh, or twelfth century.



43. V. N. Tatishchev, Istoriia rossiiskaia, vol.2 (Moscow-Leningrad, 1963), 72, 87, 101, 130-32 and 238.

44. Fontes Rerum Bohemicarum I, 251.

45. "Ewangeliarz z Reims” in Słownik Starożytności Słowiańskich.

46. Cosmas Pragensis; Chronica Bohemorum [cf. note 41), 44. On the basis of Šmilauer’s study, Osídleni Čech v světle místních jmen, Prague, i960 (especially pp. 70f and 173), F. Graus came to the conclusion that some place names around Sázava are of Russian origin. Cf. his "Velkomoravská řiše v české středověké tradice,” in Československý časopis Historický II (1963), 297, note 60.

47. For a most recent survey with profuse bibliographic notes cf. Jan Racek, "Sur la question de la genèse du plus ancien chant liturgique Tchéque ‘Hospodine pomiluj ny’," in Magna Moravia (Prague, 1965), 435-60.





In either case, however, the belief prevails that the song represents a Moravian-Bohemian continuity, hence it is also accounted a relic of early Czech literature. But the conclusion as to the territory of the song’s provenience and the assumed Czech linguistic milieu of its author have not been based on substantive evidence. In his analysis of the song, Professor R. Jakobson characterizes it as Church Slavonic. [48] His analysis shows, however, that all deviations in the text from a "classical" Church Slavonic have South Russian linguistic characteristics. This fact, of course, excludes the possibility of a Moravian-Bohemian continuity in the transmission of the text or of a Methodian authorship of the song. Any further observations on the fact that the song is preserved in Bohemia have to be made against some historical background. The song, as it was known in Bohemia, is obviously of South Russian origin. It could come to Russia from the South Slavs, but this is a problem for thoses interested in the song itself. The only plausible explanation for the existence of a South Russian version of a Church Slavonic song in Bohemia would be that it was used in the monastery of Sázava, a center of Church Slavonic learning shown to have been of Kievan origin. This Slavonic center was discontinued by the late eleventh century, but the monastery continued functioning and the song could have remained in use and have been eventually transcribed in Latin letters. “Hospodine pomilui ny" holds a significant place in Bohemia’s cultural history, but no more so than a similar song in Poland known as "Bogurodzica." Neither of the songs has been proved to have been written in Moravia and neither can be used in support of a theory of a Moravian continuity in the respective countries. The song “Hospodine pomilui ny" should be considered an outstanding illustration of the cultural and political contracts between Kievan Rus and Bohemia.


* * *


It appears to be evident that neither archeology nor Slavic philology supports the contention that Sventopolk’s Moravia was located north of the Danube. The archaeological excavations conducted in the northern Morava River valley, analyzed in conjuction with facts known from archaeological research elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe, show that the material culture of the people who in the ninth century inhabited Pohansko, Mikulčice, Staré Město, the alleged centers of Sventopolk’s Moravia, cannot be related to the material cultures of



48. Roman Jakobson, “O stikhotvorennykh reliktakh...," in Slavistična Revija 3 (1950), 267-73.





immediately surrounding regions to the east, north or west basically identifiable as ‘Slavic.’ The only clear connections of the Morava river culture are with the Avaric-Byzantine culture of Pannonia and the nomadic civilizations of Eastern Europe. Although the people of the enumerated localities could have been speaking a Slavic dialect, their material culture reflects a nomadic way of life. The people of the Pohansko-Staré Město cultural complex may well represent an advanced stage of Avar-Slavic symbiosis, but in isolation from the surrounding population. The presence of this people in the northern Morava River valley was rather shortlived. This fact may indicate that they could not have been the Moravians, but rather some refugees from the Avar realm destroyed by Charlemagne around the year 800.


In addition to these observations, one may note that the presently held belief that the archaeological material of the northern Morava River valley reflects the culture of the realm of Sventopolk has been construed solely on the assumption that the written resources of Moravian history should be associated with territories north of the Danube.


The results derived from the scrutiny of written resources and from the revision of the conclusions of archaeologists are only augmented by the results of a critical review of conclusions offered by philologists who purport to show that the language used by Constantine and Methodius in their Slavonic translations and literary works reflects a West-Slavonic or, more precisely, a Bohemian-Moravian dialect.


In the most cases, the philologists defined the Bohemian-West Slavic peculiarities of the Church-Slavonic texts from the very text which is basically Church-Slavonic. This procedure is methodologically inadmissible. Philologists should compare Church-Siavonic texts with independent, authentic and contemporary West-Slavic texts. Unfortunately, the first coherent Bohemian or West Slavic texts are available only from thirteenth and fourteenth centuries; thus any conclusion based on comparing an allegedly ‘Moravian’ text of the ninth or tenth centuries with Czech texts of the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries is irrelevant for defining the territory where the ‘Moravian’ dialect was used. But even this mistaken method of defining ‘Bohemisms’ or ‘Moravisms’ of West Slavic characteristics has proved to be unconvincing, since the suggested characteristics are present concretely in South-Slavic dialects and theoretically in any Slavic dialect. A complete failure of the hypothetical ‘Bohemisms’ (or West-Slavic ‘Moravisms’) is evident from the survey of the lexical material. There is not a single word in Church-Slavonic texts which would be available only in Czech,





and many of the suggested West-Slavic words of the Church-Slavonic do not even exist in Czech, but are present in Croat or Slovene only. Since the historical analysis of the Church-Slavonic texts show no direct relation with territories north of Bohemia, the linguistic arguments for the alleged West-Slavic nature of ‘Bohemisms-Moravisms’ are embarrassingly unconvincing. One cannot prove ‘Bohemisms’ from modern Czech dictionaries and less so from a Croat dictionary.


The concept of ‘Bohemisms’ in Church-Slavonic texts based solely on the assumption that the Moravia of Sventopolk and Methodius was located north of the Danube led to the creation of an axiom of a period of Czech literature in a Czech version of Church-Slavonic. Painfully enough for Slavic philology, this period of Czech literature has no support in facts. None of the alleged works was located on Bohemian territory nor is there evidence that there were such works written on Bohemian soil.


The Russian and Croatian versions of the Life of Saint Wenceslas have nothing to do with a hypothetical Czech Church Slavonic original of the Life. Wenceslas was venerated both in Russia and Croatia and in both territories translations could be made directly from Latin. In fact, even the Latin Life of Saint Wenceslas originates from outside Bohemia. A Russian version of it is a translation of the Latin Life of Wenceslas by Gumbold. On the other hand, the Croatian version of the Life and even the fact of the veneration of St. Wenceslas in Croatia could be associated with the person of the first bishop of Zagreb, Duh, who happened to have been a Czech.


It would be unfair to comment on the totally unfounded assertions that the medieval literature of Russia developed under the impact of the hypothetical Czech literature in Church-Slavonic.


In summing up this review, it can be categorically stated that neither the Bohemian and related medieval historiographic works nor the results of archaeological and philological research associated with problems of Moravia affirm the contention that Sventopolk’s realm was located north of the Danube. The same resources, written, archaeological, and linguistic, however, support the facts known from contemporary ninth and tenth century sources: the Moravia of Sventopolk and Methodius was located south of the Danube, in Slavonia.








Since a summary of findings has been presented in the first chapter of this study, it may suffice here to repeat only briefly that the realm of Rastilav and Sventopolk, the Moravia of Saint Methodius, comprised territories which were not north of the Danube, but in Pannonia. The principality of Morava was only a patrimonial share of a larger condominium known as Sclavonia. Such is the testimony of sources.


Although this study has been based primarily on the interpretation of sources, ample attention has also been devoted to past and recent historiography relevant not only to the history’ of Moravia, but to the larger geographic zone of East Central and South Eastern Europe, as well as to the study of Canon Law and of Church history in general. Since the prevailing opinions on Moravia and the saintly brothers Cyril and Methodius cannot be related to the sources utilized in my study, it seems futile to review all, or any, of the recent studies on these subjects. A selection of monographs and collections of studies used by me to put my conclusions to the test is listed in the Bibliography.


I am aware of the fact that many a problem has been omitted from my reinterpretations. But most of these problems will prove to be non-existent, if the relevant sources are read against the background of conclusions reached so far. Thus, if the Persian source Hudud al Alam places Mirvat (Morava) somewhere in the south, then the source obviously needs no emendation. If the Arab writer Masudi knew a Murava on the Danube and Mlava rivers, then that Murava must have been somewhere along the Lower Danube, since the Mlava is a confluence of the Danube east of Belgrade.


There is, furthermore, no need to rewrite the Orosius of King Alfred. This source confirms the assumed location of Moravia only after several drastic changes. For instance, by reading ‘north’ for ‘east,’ etc., scholars have succeeded in believing that Moravia reached from the river Elbe to the Bulgars.





But if we leave the text of King Alfred as it is and avoid making the a priori assumption that Moroara of the text refers to the Moravians, then the text speaks for itself. The people in question, defined by Alfred as being in the direct vicinity of the Suzelci, Thuringians, Vislans and Daleminci, were not the Moravians, but the Moricani of other sources. The Moricani were known in exac the same location by the Bavarian Geographer, a source of similar portance and of the same period as the description of Alfred.


Finally, we have to take at their face value such statements as the one in the Vita Naumi (II.), that Methodius was active in Moesia and Dalmatia. Naum himself was from Moesia, he accompanied Methodius to Rome, and his biographer places the episcopal see of Methodius in "grad Morava in Pannonia.” Since the evidence of the Vita Naumi, although discredited, has never been proved wrong, the facts extracted from it must be recognized as valid, hence confirming that the Moravia of Rastislav and Sventopolk, the territory associated with the activities of Cyril and Methodius, was south of the Danube with its center Sirmium-Morava.




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