11 Facts About Slavs


Slavs are geographically distributed throughout northern Eurasia, mainly inhabiting Central and Eastern Europe, and the Balkans to the west; and Siberia to the east.

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In medieval and early modern sources written in Latin, Slavs are most commonly referred to as Sclaveni or the shortened version Sclavi.

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Slavs describes the Veneti as the ancestors of Antes and Slaveni, two early Slavic tribes, who appeared on the Byzantine frontier in the early 6th century.

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Slavs described them as barbarians, who lived under democracy, believed in one god, "the maker of lightning", to whom they made a sacrifice.

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The Slavs emerged from obscurity when the westward movement of Germanic tribes in the 5th and 6th centuries CE started the great migration of the Slavs, who settled the lands abandoned by Germanic tribes fleeing the Huns and their allies: westward into the country between the Oder and the Elbe-Saale line; southward into Bohemia, Moravia, much of present-day Austria, the Pannonian plain and the Balkans; and northward along the upper Dnieper river.

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The main focus was in the Balkans where the South Slavs had been ruled for centuries by other empires: the Byzantine Empire, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Venice.

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The West Slavs came under the influence of the Western Roman Empire and of the Catholic Church.

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East Slavs have origins in early Slavic tribes who mixed and contacted with Finns and Balts.

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The South Slavs came under the cultural sphere of the Eastern Roman Empire, of the Ottoman Empire and of the Eastern Orthodox Church and Islam, while the Slovenes and the Croats were influenced by the Western Roman Empire and thus by the Catholic Church in a similar fashion to that of the West Slavs.

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Only Northern Russians among East and West Slavs belong to a different, “Northern European” genetic cluster, along with Balts, Germanic and Baltic Finnic peoples .

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The majority of Muslim Slavs follow the Hanafi school of the Sunni branch of Islam.

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