Who Am I? – The Need to Understand 1st Millennium Slavic History
Who Am I? My research strongly suggests that my father, four brothers and I are direct descendants of the Slavic tribes that populated the Original homeland of the Slavs at the time period of the Roman Empire. (See the map East Central Europe, ca. 400 in Paul Robert Magosci’s Historical Atlas of East Central Europe.)
Mr. Magosci references four different researchers each having a different territorial area and central point for the homeland. The most generous shows the Homeland to start just west of the Oder River and continues eastward to the Dnieper River. The southern border is at the Dniester River, and the northern at the Pripet River. The Vandals were to the west, and the Huns, Visigoths, and the Ostrogoths were to the south of the Slavs adjacent to demarcation line between the Roman Empire and the barbarians. These Slavs did not participate in the incursions of the barbarians into the Roman Empire.
Professor Frances Dvornik has extensively written about the Slavic Civilization. In his book, The Slavs: Their History and Civilization, he discusses the meagerness of information relative to the Slavs because of their distance and lack of interaction with the Roman Empire. Archeological investigation suggests that the Slavs lived in the northern part of East Central Europe earlier than 500 BC.
During the period between the 3rd and 6th centuries CE, the map of Europe changed drastically: the Roman Empire had its fall; and, the northern ’’barbarian” tribes left their northern lands and over-ran the Roman Empire. The Scandinavian barbarians – the Angles, Jutes, and Saxon started to occupy Britain between 441 and 443 CE. The formation of Attila’s Hun empire in 443 CE destabilized many parts of Europe. In 443 CE, the Roman Empire allowed the Burgundians to occupy Savoy. In 468 CE, the Visigoths took control of Spain. The Frankish tribe of Clovis moved into Belgium and then into northern Gaul. Clovis then gathered all of the Frankish tribes and then conquered Aquataine for the Visigoths. In 511, the Franks were masters of most of Gaul with the exception of Provence. The Visigoths conquered Italy in 493.
At the start of the sixth century CE: the Anglo-Saxons controlled Britain; the Franks held Gaul; the Burgundians were confined to Savoy; the Visigoths were the masters of Spain; the Vandals were esconced in Mediterranean Africa; and, the Ostrogoths ruled Italy.
Why the mass movement of the ”barbarian” tribes out of northern Europe? Jacques Le Goff in his Medieval Civilization 400-1500 suggests the following:
”The growth of population and the attraction of more fertile territories, which Jordanes mentions as causes, probably only came into play after an initial impulse which might well have been a change of climate, a cold spell which, from Siberia to Scandinavia, reduced the cultivable land and pasture of the barbarian peoples. This would have set in motion, with one tribe pushing the next, towards the south and west as far as the extremities such as Britain (most of which was later to become England), Gaul (which was to become France), Spain ( whose southernmost portion was to take the name of the Vandals, Andalusia), and Italy ( which was to preserve the name of its late-arriving invaders only in the north, in Lombardy).
The mass movement of the northern ”barbarian tribes to western and southern Europe and northern Africa depopulated much of central and eastern Europe and allowed a vast migration of a new batch of Slavic tribes from central Asia to northern Europe.
Julien Paolantoni’s three part series entitled The root of Russia published in January 2015 in the Orient Review.org) includes a map entitled Slavic tribes central – eastern Europe c. 8th century. (The link is: The roots of Russia: from the early East Slavs to the Grand Duchy of Moscow (I) ) shows both the extent and names of the Slavic tribes that took over central and eastern Europe in the period circa the 8th century.
This migration extended to the Oder River in the west, Denmark and Scandinavia in the north, to Russia on the east, to the Danube river in the south, and stopped at the Bulgar and Khazar Khanate areas in the south. The Slavic Balts – Lithuanians and Latvians, controlled a vast territory which was adjacent to the Baltic Sea and started just east of the Vistula River. Now the time approached for the fledgling nation-states of central and eastern Europe to form.
The Slavic homeland in the 11th century was transformed into the Kingdom of Poland. As Mr. Magosci states:
“East of the Oborites, Veletians, and the Germanic marks (borderlans) of Lusatia and Meissen, the first historic ruler of the house of Piast, Mieszko, (r. 960-992) brought under control territory that under his successor, Bolesław I (the Brave, r. 992-1025), would become the Kingdom of Poland. Bolesław laid groundwork for an administrative system (comites-castellani, with civil and military powers); he promoted an organizational structure for the Catholic Church; and he expanded the boundaries of his realm, incorporating at various times lands inhabited by the Pomeranians along the Baltic Sea (992-994), Silesia and Cracow (from 999), Slovakia (1001-1018), the Lusatian Mark and part of the Meissen Mark (1002-5), Moravia ((1003-1004), and the Czerwien fortress borderland (1018-31) with Kievan Rus’. Just before his death in 1025, Bolesław became the first king of Poland. Most of his territorial gains were lost during or after his lifetime, so that by the second half of the eleventh century the focal point of the Polish kingdom was north of the Carpathian mountains between the Oder and the Vistula rivers.”
I have had both the Y-DNA and the autosomal DNA tests. My Y-DNA 25 marker test states that I am in the R-CTS11962 haplogroup and that my terminal SNP is CTS- 11962. Spencer Wells in his book Deep Ancestry: Inside The Genographic Project defines a haplogroup: ”… as an ancestral clan – the descendants of one man who had a particular set of genetic markers on his Y-chromasome.” Research suggests that those characterized with an SNP CTS11962 have a common ancestor who lived 3100+/-350 years from the present. Haplogroup R-CTS11962 is a sub-group of Haplogroup R1a, and the highest concentration of R1a men happens to be in Poland and Belarus. ( Wiik_Haplogroup_R1a)
The map of Haplogroup R1a1, Central Europe branch ( Haplogroup R1a1, Central European branch ) has the following foreward:
“This branch belongs to the M458 subclass.
Yellow pins mark relic haplotypes which are tested positive to M458 and negative to known downstream SNP.
Magenta pins correspond to presumably parent branch, which is chara[c]terized by SNP CTS11962, with its common ancestor living 3100±350 years before present.
Deep-blue pins denote the major sub-branch which is characterized by downstream SNP L1029. Its most recent common ancestor lived 2900±310 years before present.
Light-blue pins denote a particular Ashkenazy Jewish sub-bra[n]ch, whose ancestor lived 1300±200 years ago.
Another branch of M458 subclade – West Slavic (L260) is shown in a separate map.”
The magenta pins, as stated in the foreword, are characterized by SNP CTS11962. My terminal SNP per Family Tree DNA is identical – SNP CTS11962. Examining the map carefully, shows that the magenta pins are concentrated in the geographical area associated with the Original homeland of the Slavs. I do not believe that this is a coincidence. I look askance at coincidents. My conclusion: My father, my four brothers, and I are direct descendants of the Slavs who inhabited the Original home land of the Slavs.
The number of deep blue pins, which signifies the downstream SNP L1029 sub- branch is visibly magnitudes greater than the magenta SNP CTS11962, and its most recent common ancestor is 3100 +/- 350 years from the present. This group of Slavs participated in the circa 8th century migration into central and eastern Europe as written above. These are the Slav tribes depicted in the link above. This, in my opinion, is consistent with my Ancestry.com DNA report which states that I am 100% Europe East. The geographical area that SNP L1029 encompasses comprises Germany, the lands south of the Baltic Sea, western Russia, western Ukraine, and the northern border of Hungary. A significant number are also found in Finland, and lesser amounts in southern Sweden, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria and Greece.
Of interest are the light blue pins which signifies the Ashkenazi Jewish sub-branch. They are the fewest in number and are dispersed along a north-south line extending from Estonia to the Ukraine. It appears that the Ashkenazi Jews are a sub-branch of the Slavs – the male founder being a Slav, and the female founder a Jew.
In summary, I believe that the research reasonably suggests that my father, my four brothers, and I are direct descendants of the Slavs who inhabited the Original home land of the Slavs at the time of the Roman Empire. Also, that all of my 1st cousins are either direct descendant’s of the Slavs who inhabited the original homeland, or are part of the much broader Slav grouping of SNP L1029.