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The Making of the Slavs
History and Archaeology of the Lower Danube Region, c.500–700

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Part of Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought: Fourth Series

  • Date Published: May 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521036153


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About the Authors
  • This book offers an alternative approach to the problem of Slavic ethnicity in south-eastern Europe between c. 500 and c. 700, from the perspective of current anthropological theories. The conceptual emphasis here is on the relation between material culture and ethnicity. The author demonstrates that the history of the Sclavenes and the Antes begins only at around 500 AD. He also points to the significance of the archaeological evidence, which suggests that specific artefacts may have been used as identity markers. This evidence also indicates the role of local leaders in building group boundaries and in leading successful raids across the Danube. Because of these military and political developments, Byzantine authors began employing names such as Sclavines and Antes in order to make sense of the process of group identification that was taking place north of the Danube frontier. Slavic ethnicity is therefore shown to be a Byzantine invention.

    • A large-scale reinterpretation of the early history of the Slavs, which has unavoidable resonances for contemporary concerns
    • Includes a survey of sixth-century urban and rural archaeology in the Balkans
    • Contains an account of the history and archaeology of the steppes north of the Black Sea during the sixth and seventh centuries
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    • Winner, 2002 Herbert Baxter Adams Prize, American Historical Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    'The book is notable for the emphasis on the study of the material culture as evidence of cultural process … the novel and thorough approach of the book has a great deal to offer the scholar interested in many aspects of the history and historiography of early Medieval eastern and southeastern Europe and the study of past ethnicities.' Slavic Review

    '… the author offers quite a coherent and convincing approach … not only intriguing, but quite inspiring … this new study of early Slavic history is a particularly successful attempt to open new perspectives for dealing with the important challenges of history.' Comitatus

    '… brilliant … this book is a significant contribution to medieval history and an outstanding achievement in Slavic studies.' Journal of Interdisciplinary History

    'The hypothesis that Curta advances is extremely neat …' International History Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2007
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521036153
    • length: 496 pages
    • dimensions: 226 x 150 x 30 mm
    • weight: 0.734kg
    • contains: 10 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of figures
    List of tables
    List of abbreviations
    1. Slavic ethnicity and the ethnie of the Slavs: concepts and approaches
    2. Sources for the history of the early Slavs (c. 500–700)
    3. The Slavs in early medieval sources (c. 500–700)
    4. The Balkans and the Danube limes during the sixth and seventh centuries
    5. Barbarians on the sixth-century Danube frontier: an archaeological survey
    6. Elites and group identity north of the Danube frontier: the archaeological evidence
    7. 'Kings' and 'democracy': power in early Slavic society
    Conclusion: the making of the Slavs

  • Author

    Florin Curta, University of Florida


    • Winner, 2002 Herbert Baxter Adams Prize, American Historical Association
    • Winner, 2002 Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award Winner

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