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Re: Slovanik, my new romlang

From:Peter Clark <peter-clark@...>
Date:Tuesday, July 30, 2002, 14:42
On Tuesday 30 July 2002 06:10, Thomas R. Wier wrote:
> Quoting Jan van Steenbergen <ijzeren_jan@...>: > > Historical plausibility? > > We all know, that the Slavs have never even been near the borders of the > > Roman Empire; > > Not so: the Crimea was an Imperial vassal state for centuries, > all the way well into the Byzantine period. It is almost certain > that slavic tribes also inhabited parts of the Empire itself, > although not in great numbers until well after Constantine the > Great.
I have a interest in historical Crimea, seeing as the Enamyn people lived there until the early part of the 11th century, when a joint campaign on the part of the Slavs and the Byzantines to drive out the Khazarians also managed to destroy several Enamyn cities; those who did not immediately die in the conflict either starved, were carried off, or assimilated. (Note that this is a change from several years ago, in which I thought that they had been wiped out by the start of the Black Death in the fourteenth century. Congenocide can be tricky business at times.) Anywho, the Crimea is somewhat out of the question as an urheimat for your Slavs. The first known inhabitants were the Cimmerians (a Celtic people) until about the seventh century BC when the Scythians invaded and established their kingdom on the northern steppes of the Crimea; the remaining Cimmerians fled to the mountains and costal regions, where they became known as Taurians(*). Around the 6th century BC, the Greeks planted colonies along the southern coast of Crimea, but did not move very far into inland Crimea. Naturally, with the Roman conquest, the Greek colonies became part of the Empire, but still remained largely Greek in character (i.e., no large Roman garrisons to switch the predominant language from Greek to Latin). Things were largely peaceful until the Goths invaded in 250 AD, who in turn were conquered by the Huns in 376, who in turn were conquered by the Khazars in the 8th century, who in turn were conquered by a joint conquest by the Kievian Rus' and the Byzantines in 1016. But this didn't last long, because the next to move in were the Kipchaks (also known as the Cumans) in the latter part of the 11th century, who in turn were conquered by the Mongols in 1237. Please note that I excluded some of the shorter periods of conquest, such as the Avars and Bulgars. But as you can see, the history of the Crimea has been one of conquest and more conquest. Someone once described the northern part of Crimea as a giant bottleneck (look at a map and you will see why): people are poured in, but cannot get back out; one nation succeeds another with regular frequency. Anyways, all that to say that the Slavs weren't really in Crimea en masse until 1783, when the Russians occupied the Crimean Tartar state. Sorry. Incidentally, our word "slave" comes from medieval Latin for "slavic," "sclavus," (which, alas, does not prove an Imperial connection). It comes from the fact that there was a booming slave trade that passed through Crimea from the 11th century until the Mongol invasion in the 13th. :Peter (*) Robert Atkins, who translated much of Alexandr Ressovsky's notes on Enamyn, believed that the Enamyn were decendants of the Taurians; as a result, the English transliteration system that he devised for Enamyn bears passing resemblance to Welsh orthography, because he had an inordinate fondness for all things Welsh and was a Welsh nationalist. The transliteration scheme, however, does not strictly follow Welsh; for instance, /v/ and /f/ are written "v" and "f", and "ch" indicates /tS/, not /x/. It is also due to Robert Atkins that /x/ in Enamyn transliteration is written as "rh," because he thought that the sound was voiceless uvular fricative /X/, and so assigned the digraph "rh" to it on the basis of French and German. Several attempts to change the Enamyn transliteration scheme have failed, so it seems as though we are stuck with it.


Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Jan van Steenbergen <ijzeren_jan@...>