The Origins and Evolution of the North-Eastern and Central Polabian (Wendish) Religious and Political System

Zaroff, Roman (2000). The Origins and Evolution of the North-Eastern and Central Polabian (Wendish) Religious and Political System PhD Thesis, School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, The University of Queensland.

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Author Zaroff, Roman
Thesis Title The Origins and Evolution of the North-Eastern and Central Polabian (Wendish) Religious and Political System
School, Centre or Institute School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2000
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Prof. John Moorhead
Subjects L
430108 History - European
Abstract/Summary The term Polabian Slavs is a generic name applied to the westernmost branch of the Western Slavs, now almost extinct. Those people are often referred to as Wends, but mainly in older historiography. In the Middle Ages they occupied the territory more or less corresponding to the former state of East Germany, the region enclosed by the Baltic Sea in the North, the Oder-Neisse rivers in the East, the Ore mountains in the South and the Elbe-Saale rivers in the West (see map 1). In Central Europe, with the exception of the Baltic Prussians and Lithuanians, some of the Polabian Slavs resisted Christianisation and remained stubbornly pagan until the middle of the twelfth century. In the course of history the Polabian Slavs came under increasing political pressure from the Franks and later from the Empire, in the period between the eighth and the twelfth centuries. From the north they were also hard pressed by the Danes and in some periods from the east by the growing strength in Poland of the Piast dynasty. By the end of the twelfth century most of the Polabian Slavs fell under German or Danish political control. Some of them in the central region, what is now the Land of Brandenburg, and the tribes in the South were fully incorporated into the Empire. Others, like the Obodrites and some of the Veleti in Western Pomerania, became part of the Empire as autonomous duchies ruled by the local princes, while the island of Rügen and the adjacent mainland territories, although they continued to be ruled by the Slavic dynasts, had to acknowledge Danish suzerainty. The whole territory, despite some areas being under the Danish crown, became subject to strong German political and cultural influence. Assimilation and German colonization facilitated the process of the Germanization of almost the entire area between the Saale-Elbe and Oder-Neisse rivers. Over the centuries the Polabian Slavs have almost entirely disappeared as a distinct people. However, the process is not fully completed even today, for a small Sorb minority still retains its distinct cultural identity. The modern Sorbs, numbering around 100,000 people are living today in eastern Germany in the region of Lusatia (Lausitz in German or £užica in Sorbian), mainly around Bautzen and Cottbus. Approximately 60,000 of them still speak a Slavonic language. Although this work does not deal directly with the Sorbs of Lusatia, it is dedicated to those surviving Polabian Slavs. [No abstract available - text taken from Introduction]
Keyword Medieval
Western Slavs

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Created: Fri, 21 Nov 2008, 17:52:52 EST