THE SLAVIC TRIBES ON ST. EUSEBIUS' MAP
Valery A. Choudinov
Russian Academy of Sciences, The World Culture Scientific Council, Old and Medieval Russian Culture Commission, Leninskiy prospekt 32 A, RU-119991 Moscow GSP-1, Russia
The St. Eusebius' map (circa 330 AD) found by German historian K. Miller is shown. The Latin names of Slavic tribes written in Latin script, as well as in Russian written in runica script were read and interpreted. This map was combined with the modern archaeological map of Slavic cultures to see the location of 9 Slavic tribes. Now we can see the Slavic tribes' names and their location on the map of Eastern Europe as early as in the Late Antiquity. It is the first Slavic Eastern Europe map of such type.
At present, in the science one believes that the Slavic tribes have appeared in the historic arena in V-VII century A.D. It corresponds to the Prague-Korchak archaeological culture shown in Fig. 1, representing the archaeological map of Central and Eastern Europe in V-VII century A.D., which is taken from the work of the leading Russian archaeologist V. Sedov [1, p. 15]. On the map top we can see a fraction of Baltic Sea and the rivers Oder, Elbe and Vistula shown here in the meridian direction and Neman in the parallel one. The points mark the area of the Slavic tribes spreading, and black circles the grave places. The southern boundary of the Slavic population coincides with Danube where this river sharply turns towards south near the nowadays city Budapest. Near the map bottom are shown the influxes of Danube tributaries Drava and Tisa. The quantity of the digged grave places reflects not only the population density of that time but much more the financial and other archaeologists' possibilities to dig these places.
Fig. 1. The archaeological map of Slavic cultures 
Unfortunately, the modern archaeology speaks nothing about the tribe content of the Prague-Korchak archaeological culture and furthermore about the earlier Slavic dwellings, for example two centuries earlier. With this state of things coincides the historiography as well, which proclaims that the nomad tribe of Bulgarians has appeared in Europe first time when it has crossed the Danube river near 667-680 and after gaining the victory over the army of the emperor Constantine Pogonate spread to the territory of modern North Bulgaria. It would be very interesting to find out any information about the earlier Slavic tribes, their names and dwellings, but best of all to receive a geographical map presenting them. Such a discovery made the German historian K. Miller who has revealed in the papers of St. Hieronimus a map prepared by St. Eusebius (270-338) [ref. 2, cited in ref. 3]. On this map Miller has determined the word “Vulgaria” (Bulgaria) and drew a rectangle around it. Yordan Tabov, modern mathematician from Bulgaria reproduces a fragment of this map in his book about the chronological problems in the history of Bulgaria, Fig. 2 [ref. 3, p. 196]. Perhaps on this fragment is presented the same area with Baltic Sea on the North, but the identification of this late antiquity map with the modern one demands to involve more information because of the very approximate localization of geographical objects on such maps. The proper identification we can do only after the reading of the map inscriptions.
Fig. 2. The Eusebius map 
Although the words on the map are written in Latin, their script is rather poor, indistinguishable, and a lot of letters is smeared; therefore this text demands a special reading. For this reason I give in Figures 3 and 4 the enlarged names with the transcription in Latin letters below them. Above the short trek with the name of the river are written the words VISLA FLUV., that means VISLA FLUVIUS or RIVER VISTULA. It affirms my hypothesis. As for the name of the longer river I read it DUNAI ET ALPINER FL., that is DANUBE AND THE RIVERS FROM ALPS. I see here Danube in its meridian current. Therefore really on this map there is the same place as on the map of V.V. Sedov. The mouth on the left side is the nowadays Gdansk bay, the gulf in the center is nowdays Riga bay, and the part of the gulf on the right side is nowadays Finnish gulf with Finnland on the top.
Fig. 3. My reading of the Latin names
Westward of Vistula on the Eusebius map there is an inscription, which I read SERBIJ ET GOTI, that means SERBIANS and GOTHS. At the place where V. Sedov has located GERMANS Eusebius mentioned SERBIANS and GOTHS. Hearing the word “Serbians” one can imagine the South Slavic folk, but there exist beside them Serbians (Sorbs) from Luzhica (east part of modern Germany near the boundaries with Poland, the so called Top and Bottom Luzhica). I suppose that Eusebius wrote about them. This part of the territory Eusebius marks as BARBARIA, it is THE LAND OF THE BARBARS. On the seaside part of the Riga gulf we can read the inscription CON and NON POLIS. Therefore it means not towns directly, but Eusebius perhaps writes about the towns-polices. To the west of modern Riga is situated area WITH POLISES, but to the east — WITHOUT THEM.
To the east of Danube, Eusebius wrote the expression PYRINAI SLAVI PUGNANT that is PYRINAIS REFLECT THE SLAVS. It means that the Slavic tribes were spread southwest up to Pyrinais but in Spain they didn’t penetrated. It is not quite clear where was located FRACIA DUINAE, that is FRACIA ON DANUBE. Probably it is the name of nowadays Bulgaria. South to modern Estland I see MARITE O PHYLY, that is POMORI OR TRIBES. Nowadays Pskov region on the map of Eusebius is signed as CON POLIS, that is WITH THE TOWNS. It is very interesting: it occurs that around 330 A.D. Pskov region had had some towns.
Fig.4. My reading of the second group of Latin names
These inscriptions are there on the western and northern parts of the Eusebius map. Now I read the names on the southern part of the map. On the east from the rectangle we see the inscription PANNONIA and on the west SCLAVINI, that is the names of a land and of a Slavic tribe union. Pannonia is the name of nowadays Hungary where till the arrival of the Hungarian tribes had lived the Slovacs, and Sclavins are the ancestors of some Slavic folks, in particular of Rets, the founders of Rhetra (on the sculpture of the Slavic god Prove from the Rhetra temple there was an inscription in Slavic script runica: RUS SKLAVINOV which means RUSSIA OF SCLAVINS). Southern on the Eusebius map we see a strange word DACSLAMIA that I understand as DACSLAVIA, DAC + SLAVIA that is LAND OF DACS (Dacs are the ancestors of nowadays Rumenians) AND OF SLAVS. That in old Rumania had lived not only romanized Dacs but Slaves as well, we can conclude from the fact that the writing in Rumania (in only one country of the Roman linguistic family in Europe) was from X till XIX century Cyrillica but not Latinica. The word HUNI means probably HUNNES who have already appeared in Europe, but from that moment till the death of their king Attila the time distance is 120 years. In the frame we can read the word VULGARIA, and we understand it as BULGARIA with the epithet NEFLOHICA that means NOT RIVER BULGARIA. Perhaps this expression of NOT RIVER BULGARIA was chosen especially in contradiction with the expression of VOLGA BULGARIA. Many investigators have believed that the word BULGAR (the capital of VOLGA BULGARIA) is the result of the phonetic development of the word VOLGAR (a citizen of VOLGA). But to confirm this assumption, they had to find fixed in the historic documents an inscription of the word BULGARIA containing the letter V. Now this drawing of that word is found. (Editor's remark: In the book of Paul Deacon, Historia Langobardorum, from ~800 AD, there also stays: 'Vulgares' for the time around 568 AD) At last there is one more word NEFLOHICA but this time in the expression with the word TRAC(IA) or FRAC(IA), that is NOT RIVER FRACIA. It means the part of the territory of modern Bulgary: therefore there was RIVER FRACIA, DANUBE FRACIA.
I have not read one more inscription in the right part of the Eusebius map, i.e. that on the right side of the rectangle framing the words VULGARIA NEFLOHICA, presented with the inclination to the right side. I suspect that it was written with the Slavic syllabic script runica. But from where is it on the Eusebius map? To suspect that it was written by chance, that would be a very weak explanation. To consider that it was done with a particular aim because of the old tradition then a single inscription doesn't suffice. But as I inclined to the second assumption, I began to look for other inscriptions written in runica. I have found them on the top part of the map showing Baltic Sea, as presented on Fig. 5. There, one can see several signs, which have not the waveform, what one could expect to mark the see.
Fig. 5. The regions of the Eusebius map  written in runica
The regions where there are the runica inscriptions I drew with frame and numbered. When some inscription was not horizontal, I put upon it the inclined frame. I turned too their color, white on the black background, to black on the white background. Now I see such a result: the inscriptions No. 1 to 3 I read РИMЪ. ВИДЫ РУСИ ЖИВИНОВОЙ. It means: ROMAN EMPIRE. THE OUTLOOKS OF ZHIVA’S RUSSIA or SLAVIC LANDS. This expression I can take as the title of this fragment of the Eusebius’ map. (The common name of this part of the Slavic people is ZHIVINA’S, but not ZHIVINOVA’S as it is on the map; but I suppose that the words ZHIVINA and ZHIVINOVA are the paronyms, ZHIVA is the name of the most popular Slavic goddess).
Fig 6. My reading of the map parts written in runica
In the rectangular frame number 4 I read the inscription as ROMAN EMPIRE, the VARJAG SEA (the VIKING SEA). In the rectangular frame number 5 I read: The MAP Russia that means the MAP OF EUROPE. In the rectangular frame number 6 I read: ROMA that means the ROMAN EMPIRE. These 6 examples show that the Roman Empire maps (but till the capture of Rome by Vandals remains 135 years) obligatory include in their content the inscriptions in runica in Russian, therefore there is not strange that the 7-th inscription originally positioned on the right side of the rectangle framing the words VULGARIA NEFLOHICA, is in runica too and it sounds РУСЬ СЛАВЯН, meaning RUSSIA OF THE SLAVIC PEOPLES, that is EUROPE OF THE SLAVIC PEOPLES.
It means that this fragment of the Eusebius map is drawn in two scripts, latinica and runica, and in two languages, Latin and Russian (Slavic) of that time.
Now it remains to make a superposition of the Eusebius map to a modern map of Europe. I combined it with the Sedov’s map, making the legend in modern script. The names written by Eusebius in Latin I give by the common script, and those written in Russian by italics. First I give this combined map in Russian.
Fig. 7. The combined map (the Eusebius map + modern archaeological map)
This combined map can be rewritten in English.
Fig 7a. The same combined map in English
Now I can give some commentary to the pattern that emerges. First of all, Eusebius had used during drawing the map two kinds of writing, latinica and runica, but no German runes that reflects his respect to the Slavs and as if he didn’t notice the Germans with their system of writing. (Editor's remark: Or, as another alternative, this may also indicate the possibility that St. Eusebius obtained the map from a Slav and wrote on it his comments in Latin). On the other hand, the inscriptions BARBARIA he had addressed to the peoples other than the Slavs and the Romans, and in particular to the Goths, a German tribe, but not to the Slavs.
Further he marks on the map the representation of the Zhiva Russia as a special geographical region including the modern Slavic lands and a lot of now not Slavic ones. The name Zhiva Russia (in Russian ZHIVINA RUS) was well known to me as I had read it on many archaeological artefacts found in Russia, but to the English-language readers it sounds for the first time. I suppose that the first localization of ZHIVA RUSSIA was the area near Belgrade in Serbia where in the XX century there was discovered the so-called Vincha culture (4500-4000 years BC). The chief goddess of this culture was Zhiva (or Deva, it is the same). Therefore this area was named not simply Russia, but ZHIVA RUSSIA. It was very strange for me that this name as geographical region was preserved not only for the Southern Slavs, but for the territory of Novgorod Slovenes in the Middle Ages, too. But the territory of the Western Slavs was named in the Middle Ages as PERUN RUSSIA (in Russian PERUNOVA RUS).
In this area St. Eusebius names every geographical region with the name of its inhabitants. The names and the places of their localization are of the great interest. The first name of Slavs we see on the territory of modern Poland. These Slavs archaeologically don’t refer to the Prague-Korchak culture (they enter in the Sukovsk-Dzedzicka culture) and from the point of view of Eusebius they don’t live in the territory of the SLAVS RUSSIA, although they were Slavs. According to my investigations, Novgorod has belonged to ZHIVA RUSSIA while Poland in all the inscriptions on the runica artefacts was proclaimed as FREE RUSSIA (in Russian VOLEVA RUS). This FREE RUSSIA is not SLAVS RUSSIA; it was a special region separated from the main bulk of SLAVS RUSSIA, although using the terms Russia and Slavs apart.
To west of them were located Luzhica SERBIANS who now are the inhabitants of East Germany. To south of them we see SCLAVINS on the territory of modern Czech and Austria who, probably, were partially the ancestors of the modern Czechs and Austrians of Tirol, but partially they later have moved westwards and occupied the lands of modern Meklenburg in Germany. As Polen, Czechs, Lusicans and Obodrits are typical West Slavs, we can think that in the time of Eusebius, in IV century AD they were the same West Slavs too, although on opinion of Russian archaeologist V. Sedov “the beginning of the Middle Ages corresponds to the late period of the development of the pra-Slavic language evolution (V-VII c.). Broad settlement of Slavs and their interaction with the elements of other languages came in the final result to the split of the united language into different tongues. The language unity of the Slavs in this period still kept to exist, but yet appeared the conditions for the bearing and development in the different places of the Slavic world the separated language groups” [1, p. 6]. But according to my opinion, the languages of West Slavs in this period were strongly different from that of East Slavs. And the affirmation of V. Sedov indicates by my opinion the incompetence of the modern Slavic archaeology to solve the thin difference between the Slavs in early Middle Ages by the archaeological methods.
The region of PANNONIA was occupied at that time by Slovaks, which had have the culture very different from that of Prague-Korchak what one can express as an independent Slavic archaeological region. The neighbours of them were Daci-Slavs, who were conquered by Romans. They represent the beginning of the Rumanian ethnos. To the north from them Eusebius has located two groups of THRACIANS, as representatives of DANUBE and NONDANUBE THRACIANS. Many investigators believed that THRACIANS were the Slavs, but their localization on the Eusebius map and coincidence of their places with the Hypoteshti-Kyndeshti archaeological zone make such suppositions more grounded. Speaking about the Hypoteshti-Kyndeshti culture, which is younger than the Eusebius map, V. Sedov wrote: “Their creators were the Slavs” [1, p. 95]. I think that this group of SLOVAKS, DACI-SLAVS and THRACIANS one has to sign as the Central Slavic unity, a new language group situated between the West-, South- and East-Slavic groups. Up to now, this group of Slavic languages didn’t exist in the theory; it is my hypothesis.
Within the group of Eastern Slavs Eusebius distinguishes simply SLAVS (as we saw it is representing the Western Slavs) and RUSSIA SLAVS; the territory of russia slavs shows coincidence with the Dnieper area of the tribal settlement of Prague-Korchak archaeological culture. The territory near modern Ternopol and Lvov occupied NONVOLGA BULGARS, which were the other Eastern Slavs tribe. It was why modern Bulgars with their language are nearer to Russian than to Western Slavs. Finally, on the north probably till Karelia there exist the SEASIDE TRIBES, which perhaps were the Slavs of Eastern group, too.
We see now that the map shows the existence of at minimum 9 Slavic ethnics in the Eastern part of Europe and it does not show us the territories of North Italy, Slovenia, Illyria, Dalmatia, Albania and Greece, where by my opinion there lived at that time no few Slavic ethnics. But his map shows us the contradiction to the modern point of view that “under the ancient Slavs we name a lot of folks lived in East, Central and South-East Europe in V-IX centuries” [3, p. 7]. And what was a century earlier? And how we have to name the more ancient Slavs? I think that academician B. Rybakov was right when he supposed that the economical and cultural lift of Russia Slavs in the II century AD was yet the second and very strong (so called “the Age of Trayan”) when “the Slavs with broad screams colonize Black Sea area till Danube, enter the ancient world, take many elements of ancient culture of the Rome epoch and renovate active export of the cereals in the Roman towns” [4, p.10]. In other words, to this time the history of Slavs counts minimum 7 centuries. And the Eusebius map indirectly confirms that, giving matter for thinking.
- Седов В.В. Славяне в раннем средневековье. “Фонд археологии”, Москва, 1995 (Sedov V.V. Slavs in early Medieval Age. (In Russian). “Fund of Archeology”, Moscow, 1995)
- Miller K. Die ältesten Weltkarten, 1895
- Табов Иордан. Закат старой Болгарии (Новая хронология Балкан). “Крафт+”, Москва, 2000 (Tabov Jordan. The Sunset of Old Bulgaria (New Chronology of Balkan) (In Russian). “Kraft+”, Moscow, 2000)
- Матвеев Г.Ф., Ненашева З.С., ред. История южных и западных славян, 2-е изд. Московский Государственный Университет, Москва, 2001 (Matveev G.F., Nenasheva Z.S. The History of South and West Slavs (In Russian). 2nd Ed. Moscow State University, Moscow, 2001)
- Рыбаков Б.А. Киевская Русь и русские княжества XII-XIII веков. “Нaука”, Москва, 1993 (Rybakov B.A. Kiev Russia and Russian Princetums of the XII-XIII centuries (In Russian). “Science”, Moscow, 1993)
Slovanska plemena na zemljevidu sv. Evzebija
Zemljevid sv. Evzebija (okoli 330 po Kr.) je našel nemški zgodovinar K. Miller. Prebrana in razložena so imena slovanskih plemen v latinščini, pisana v latinici, in v ruščini, pisana z runico. Ta zemljevid je prerisan na sodoben arheološki zemljevid slovanskih kultur, da bi videli dejansko lego 9 slovanskih plemen. Sedaj lahko vidimo, kje so bila v vzhodni Evropi slovanska plemena v pozni antiki. To je prvi tak slovanski zemljevid vzhodne Evrope.