III. The Postclassical Period, 500–1500 > F. Europe, 461–1500 > 4. Eastern Europe, 1000–1300
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
4. Eastern Europe, 1000–1300
a. The Slavs
 
The Slavs, an eastern branch of the Indo-European family, were known to the Roman and Greek writers of the 1st and 2nd centuries C.E., under the name of Venedi, as inhabiting the region beyond the Vistula. The majority of modern scholars agree that the “original home” of the Slavs was the territory to the southeast of the Vistula and to the northeast of the Carpathian Mountains, in the upper basins of the Western Bug, the Pripet, and the Dniester. In the course of the early centuries of our era, the Slavs expanded in all directions, and by the 6th century, when they were known to Gothic and Byzantine writers as Sclaveni, they were apparently already separated into three main divisions: (1) the western Slavs (the present-day Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, and Moravians); (2) the southern Slavs (the Bulgarians, Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes); (3) the eastern Slavs (the Russians, subsequently subdivided into the Great Russians, the Little Russians or the Ukrainians, and the Belorussians, Russian for “White Russians”).  1
The Slavs emerged as a distinct people after mingling with the Goths and Huns. Those not affected by the invasions of the Goths and Huns constituted another branch of Indo-European people, namely the Balts (Lithuanians, Latvians, and the early Prussians). These peoples inhabited the southeastern coast of the Baltic Sea, between the present Klaipda (Memel) and Estonia.  2
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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