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[Dark Eras] Baptism of Poland - X-XI century Poland

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  • [Dark Eras] Baptism of Poland - X-XI century Poland

    Era is nothing official ( for now, at least ), but Acrozatarim wrote he wanted to make this Dark Era, if somehow he would get votes on it. Weird coincidence, there was one of major archaeological breakthrough in our Polish history, marking that in V or VI century CE there were Germanic settlements evidence. It may mean that our Central European Slavs are more related to Germanic people that was assumed earlier. Then maybe Norse Vikings imprint on our first ruling dynasty - The Piast - is not so weird. And with them, Norse-like animism Uratha.


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  • #2
    So I finally got my historical magazine about first dynasty of Poland rulers – Piasts – so I can dwell deeper into start of Polish State creation and violent times of coming from Slavic Paganism to Christianity in coming. Let Dark Era begin - and start with some basics! Origins of Poland

    • Country we know now as Poland come various Slavic tribes of Polans settlements unified under one rule by Piasts dynasty in second half of 10th century A.D. that become kings on those lands, recognized later by Western Europe and Pope.
    • The first Piasts appeared around 940 in the territory of Greater Poland at the stronghold of Giecz. Shortly afterwards they relocated their residence to Gniezno, where Prince Mieszko I ruled over the Civitas Schinesghe from about 960. The name Polani, from Slavic: pole ("field"), did not appear until 1015. The ruler bore the title of Kniaź in Polish - a duke or a king, depending on their position of power.
    • First rulers are legendary, mentioned in tales written by Gallus Anonymus - unknown author - in Gesta principum Polonorum (Deeds of the Princes of the Poles) in 1115 in Latin. Gallus point that start of Piast dynasty comes from Piast Kołodziej (Wheelwright), that is said to lived in years 740/1 – 861. First historical ruler of Poland ( ‘land of Polani’ ) is Mieszko I – who lived ca. 940 – 25 May 992. He started his rule as Kniaź ca. 960. He took baptism himself in year 966, with his whole court. After him come to power his son, Bolesław I the Brave – ruling 992 to 1025 - who was crowned proper king in 18 April 1025, two months before his death in 17 June 1025, probably in future Kraków. Rest of rulers in Piast dynasty are to be seen here.
    • Poland kingdom from aggressive domination of one Slavic tribe – Polans – over rest of tribes in region. Newest hypothesis points that creation of Poland as kingdom is connected to slave trade.


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    • #3
      So I finally got my historical magazine about first dynasty of Poland rules – Piasts – so I can dwell deeper into start of Polish State creation and violent times of coming from Slavic Paganism to Christianity in coming. Let Dark Era begin - and start with some basics! Origins of Poland

      • Country we know now as Poland come various Slavic tribes of Polans settlements unified under one rule by Piasts dynasty in second half of 10th century A.D. that become kings on those lands, recognized later by Western Europe and Pope.
      • The first Piasts appeared around 940 in the territory of Greater Poland at the stronghold of Giecz. Shortly afterwards they relocated their residence to Gniezno, where Prince Mieszko I ruled over the Civitas Schinesghe from about 960. The name Polani, from Slavic: pole ("field"), did not appear until 1015. The ruler bore the title of Kniaź in Polish - a duke or a king, depending on their position of power.
      • First rulers are legendary, mentioned in tales written by Gallus Anonymus - unknown author - in Gesta principum Polonorum (Deeds of the Princes of the Poles) in 1115 in Latin. Gallus point that start of Piast dynasty comes from Piast Kołodziej (Wheelwright), that is said to lived in years 740/1 – 861. First historical ruler of Poland ( ‘land of Polani’ ) is Mieszko I – who lived ca. 940 – 25 May 992. He started his rule as Kniaź ca. 960. He took baptism himself in year 966, with his whole court. After him come to power his son, Bolesław I the Brave – ruling 992 to 1025 - who was crowned proper king in 18 April 1025, two months before his death in 17 June 1025, probably in future Kraków. Rest of rulers in Piast dynasty are to be seen here.
      • Poland kingdom from aggressive domination of one Slavic tribe – Polans – over rest of tribes in region. Newest hypothesis points that creation of Poland as kingdom is connected to slave trade.


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      • #4
        So I finally got my historical magazine about first dynasty of Poland rulers – Piasts – so I can dwell deeper into start of Polish Kingdom creation and violent times of coming from Slavic Paganism to Christianity in coming. Let Dark Era begin - and start with some basics!

        Origins of Poland
        • Country we know now as Poland come various Slavic tribes of Polans settlements unified under one rule by Piasts dynasty in second half of 10th century A.D. that become kings on those lands, recognized later by Western Europe and Pope.
        • The first Piasts appeared around 940 in the territory of Greater Poland at the stronghold of Giecz. Shortly afterwards they relocated their residence to Gniezno, where Prince Mieszko I ruled over the Civitas Schinesghe from about 960. The name Polani, from Slavic: pole ("field"), did not appear until 1015. The ruler bore the title of Kniaź in Polish - a duke or a king, depending on their position of power.
        • First rulers are legendary, mentioned in tales written by Gallus Anonymus - unknown author - in Gesta principum Polonorum (Deeds of the Princes of the Poles) in 1115 in Latin. Gallus point that start of Piast dynasty comes from Piast Kołodziej (Wheelwright), that is said to lived in years 740/1 – 861. First historical ruler of Poland ( ‘land of Polani’ ) is Mieszko I – who lived ca. 940 – 25 May 992. He started his rule as Kniaź ca. 960. He took baptism himself in year 966, with his whole court. After him come to power his son, Bolesław I the Brave – ruling 992 to 1025 - who was crowned proper king in 18 April 1025, two months before his death in 17 June 1025, probably in future Kraków. Rest of rulers in Piast dynasty are to be seen here.
        • Poland kingdom from aggressive domination of one Slavic tribe – Polans – over rest of tribes in region. Newest hypothesis points that creation of Poland as kingdom is connected to slave trade.


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        • #5
          Polani and Waregowie

          Important role in first takes on Poland kingdom creation was in Vikings – called Varengians ( Waregowie ) in this area. The source of the name is the same as in other Slavic kingdoms on the East.
          Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
          Ethymology of term 'Varangians'

          Medieval Greek Βάραγγος Várangos and Old East Slavic Варягъ Varjagŭ (Old Church Slavonic Варѧгъ Varęgŭ) are derived from Old Norse væringi, originally a compound of vár 'pledge' or 'faith', and gengi 'companion', thus meaning 'sworn companion', 'confederate', extended to mean 'a foreigner who has taken service with a new lord by a treaty of fealty to him', or 'protégé'. Some scholars seem to assume a derivation from vár with the common suffix -ing.

          And why Væringi were formed in the first place:
          "Trade through Russia was difficult in part because of hostile Slavic tribes, including the Krivichi (near Smolensk), the Dreovichi and Drevljane (west of the Dneiper), the Radimichi (east of the Dneiper), the Pechinegs, Poljani and Magyars (on the lower Dneiper), and the Khazars (east of the Slavs). Traders had to be as much warriors as businessmen, for the Slavic tribes a significant hazard. As a result, bands of Scandinavians who travelled eastwards joined formally as companies, swearing oaths of mutual assistance, defense, and support. The term for such an oath in Old Norse is 'Var', and these eastern adventurers became known as Varangians."
          Waregowie was at least part of warriors teams of Polish Kniaź, sustaining Piast dynasty rules, probably helping in slave trade the kingdom was build from. There are some theories that even Mieszko I could be localized Viking himself.


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          • #6
            Let’s talk with more ‘mythical origin’ of Poland and it’s many ethnic core groups.

            Vandals, Sarmatians or Slavs
            In coming centuries, many Polish writers and historians will debate from where Polans as tribe comes to start Kingdom of Poland. There was various stories – three main says about those ethnic groups. In 3rd century BCE from Scandinavia came Vandals – yes, those that sacked Roman Empire! - Germanic people related to Swabs in Germania’s Black Forest ( see Forsaken by Rome in Dark Eras Companion ). At the end of 4th century AD Vandals start to vanish from future Poland lands, in the time of Huns invasion in Europe. Still, some small settlements of Germanic people continued on past 5th century, blending with Slavs Poland Kingdom. There are even theories those ethnic reinvigorated in future Kingdom of Polans with Vikings laying backbones on Pisat Dynasty structure in 9th centuries expansions of Waregowie to West from their Kievan Rus.

            On the other hand, Sarmatians were a large Iranian tribes confederation flourishing from about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD. Originating in the central parts of the Eurasian Steppe, they started migrating westward around the 4th and 3rd centuries BC, coming to dominate the closely related Scythians by 200 BC. At their greatest reported extent, around 1st century AD, these tribes ranged from the Vistula River to the mouth of the Danube and eastward to the Volga, bordering the shores of the Black and Caspian seas as well as the Caucasus to the south. Their territory, which was known as Sarmatia to Greco-Roman ethnographers, corresponded to the western part of greater Scythia (mostly modern Ukraine and Southern Russia, also to a smaller extent north-eastern Balkans and around Moldova). In the 1st century AD, the Sarmatians began encroaching upon the Roman Empire in alliance with Germanic tribes. In the 3rd century AD, their dominance of the Pontic Steppe was broken by the Germanic Goths. With the Hunnic invasions of the 4th century, many Sarmatians joined the Goths and other Germanic tribes ( like Vandals) in the settlement of the Western Roman Empire. They were eventually decisively assimilated (e.g. Slavicisation) and absorbed by the Proto-Slavic population of Eastern Europe.

            The first written use of the name "Slavs" dates to the 6th century AD, when the Slavic tribes inhabited a large portion of Central and Eastern Europe. By that time, native Iranian ethnic groups (the Scythians, Sarmatians, and Alans) had been absorbed by the region's Slavic population. Over the next two centuries, the Slavs expanded southwest toward the Balkans and the Alps and northeast towards the Volga River.

            Beginning in 9th century, the Slavs gradually converted to Christianity (both Byzantine Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism). By the 12th century, they were the core population of a number of medieval Christian states: the East Slavs in Kievan Rus', the South Slavs in Bulgaria, Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia and the West Slavs in Poland, the Holy Roman Empire (Pomerania, Bohemia, Moravia) and the Kingdom of Hungary (Nitria).

            The meaning of "Slav" depends on the context in which it is used. The word can refer to a culture (or cultures) living north of the River Danube, east of the River Elbe, and west of the River Vistula during the 530s AD. "Slav" is also an identifier for the ethnic group shared by these cultures, and denotes any language with linguistic ties to the modern Slavic language family (which may have no connection to a common culture or shared ethnicity). One possible meaning of name "Slav" could be extrapolated from its Slavic form "Sloven" (Slovenian, Serbian) meaning "the one who talks". This compares to Slavic names for Germanic people (such as the Proto-Slavic term Němьcь, i.e. "foreigner", "a mute one", or "the one whom we do not understand").

            Polans tribe and Piast Dynasty were clearly Slavs in their main ethnicity – if they would have Vandals or Sarmatian influences, it would be more in the society and culture development areas.


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            • #7
              Slavs – or slaves?

              Slavs were very divided ethnicity in Middle Ages. They literally fight with each other over smallest land. From 5th century AD as they took terrains of now day Poland, they come in often contacts with Roman Empire on its trade routes for amber and furs. Tribes eagerly joined world trade of ‘forced workers’ in that time. Slavs were so much commodity in Roman and general Western markets – their Latin name become synonymous with practice of slavery in Roman Empire, from 5th century onward. The English word slave comes from Old French sclave, that from the Medieval Latin sclavus, from the Byzantine Greek σκλάβος, which, in turn, comes from the ethnonym Slav, because in some early Medieval wars many Slavs were captured and enslaved. And Slavs, on general, neatly added to this economics by selling in ‘slavery’ their beaten neighbors. In time of Bolesław I rules, ending in year 1025 AD, this human trade is still large part of common practice in Kingdom of Polans, as most of country is still, in reality, pagan when only Piasts court is Christian – and even there in very limited way listening to words of Jesus Christ.
              Last edited by wyrdhamster; 05-11-2018, 06:34 PM.


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              • #8
                Religion of Slavs

                Most of Slavic mythology is unknown as they did not used complex writing ( it came with Christianity to those regions ). There are stills some stories and myths passed on oral tradition so we have some basic understanding of Slavs beliefs. They imagined world as giant Oak as Axis Mundi – that lead to worship of sacred groves. In the upper branches of The Tree was heavenly realm Raj/Wyraj, and in roots ware Land of the Dead – Nawie/Nawia – that looks very much like CoD universe Underworld. Very important was idea of Destiny in Slavic beliefs. At birth shown up goddesses of Fate – Rodzanice – that written on forehead of baby symbol of it’s future life.
                Most often assumed gods of Slavic pantheon are:
                • Perun – God of War, storms and thunders
                • Weles – God of Death, souls and Underworld
                • Swaróg – God of Sky, sun, fire and blacksmiths
                • Mokosz – Goddes of Earth, birth and crops
                Two smaller cults from the regions of Polans tribes:
                • Świętowit – God of Allthings, Four Face God
                • Trzygław – God of Three Head, equated with Weles
                Slavs worship or were afraid of many smaller gods or demonic beings – like rusałka, wodnik, kikimory. leszy or Południca – described in Werewolf: The Forsaken 2E corebook, page 275, in Field of Dogs setting.

                Ritual killings in Slavs?

                There is heated debate if Slavs were performing ritual sacrifices. Evidence are not conclusive, but there are many Christian chronicles marking their wickedness, even from 13th century AD! On the other hand, priest writing those tales could spread bad reputation on their direct pagan enemies –the same process we see in Church writings about Vikings. However, there are at least archeological evidence that some form of ceremonial punishment killings were committed in Slavs communities. There are stories about ritual beheading of the wife after death of the husband and burning of his corpses, for example. With so much stress taken on practice of slavery on general in their communities, ritual sacrifices of humans ( especially enemies ) to gods are possible.

                Shadow and Gods of Slavs

                Shadow Gods of Hisil like to pretend they are pagan gods of Slavs to reaping the benefits of human cult and Essence generating. They assume Image Manifestations in Royal Avatars close enough to pass as idols from myths, even if details do not match. Slavic Uratha are originating their heritage to union of non-human, primordial hunter Mother Wolf – Matka Wilczyca – and semi-human Father Moon – Chors – that is sometimes shown as human-wolf amalgam ( see below ), marking his patronage on lycanthropy. Hors relation to rest of pantheon is discussed, he sometimes is equal with Swarog ( or his son ), but generally is assumed to be mysterious Lord of Night, ruling all in darkness, earth waters and often vile creatures living in both of them. His name means ‘Shining’, but some researches originating his name as coming from Slavic word meaning ‘Emaciation’, as Moon is waning in terms of Phases.

                Depiction of Chors, according to legends




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                • #9
                  And so we have society and Tribes in Slavic population of Poland ( but not only ).

                  Slavic society

                  Slavs population in 6th century onward is mostly centered on farmlands around large settlement with palisade around it, ruled by specific clan. This settlement was called Gród and main ruler was called Kniaź. ( It’s society very similar to Vikings society, see Wolf & Raven chapter in Dark Eras 1 book ). Kniaź influence is scattered across local terrain, creating small villages under specific clans. In the Gród itself there is maybe 200-400 people, but in the region to one day march around it there are circa 9000 people in farms and smaller settlements – sometimes even living in cottages inside surrounding forests. Gród often has only one granary in region, where farmers can sustain their grain over winter – and rats are major problem for population. ( And by this Beshilu Host. )

                  Vikings influence on Polans

                  Archaeological evidence from last few decades clearly pointing that Vikings were living on Polans terrains, at least from 9th century, and various Kniaź used them as supervisor or guards. There are even radical theories that Mieszko I could be Norseman himself! So imprint of Norseman on Polans society is without large question in academical works.

                  Tribes in Slavs society
                  Uratha Tribes are sticking to lines of clans and Wolf-Blooded families inside Slavs, that taken particular positions in classes of this society.
                  • Bone Shadows are inside various priests groups, paying homage and guarding new spirits created in places of Gods worship.
                  • Blood Talons and Storm Lords are in linages connected to local farms, fighting for survival and crops in Europe environment. Storm Lords often intertwine with clan of particular Kniaź.
                  • Iron Masters are craftsman and traders in Gród, making and inventing ways to outsmart humans.
                  • Hunters in Darkness live in nearby woods around Gród, living as hunters, woodcutters and distanced from concerns of normal men. They all the time make sure that Hosts will not come from forests to infect Gród, but if it goes there – they come back and save Gród, if needed.
                  • Pure Tribes are divided, but fight over influences in general classes of society with Forsaken – Predator Kings are sticking to forests, Fire-Touched fights on influences in priesthood and Ivory Claws try to move idea of ‘pure bloodlines’ in Gród, Kniaź clans and settlements around them.
                  Last edited by wyrdhamster; 05-14-2018, 07:16 AM.


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                  • #10
                    To the Danes, Poland was known as Wendland. During the reign of King Harald and King Swyen in the 10th and 11th century the Danes controlled most of the Polish coast and the northern Oder River including the island of Wolin. The Poles were also used as Mercenaries in King Swyen's invasion of England.

                    I'm running a Game set in 10th century Denmark and the Wendish tribes a big playing peace in Scandinavian politics.
                    Last edited by Jeremysbrain; 05-16-2018, 08:05 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Just 13 years after official Baptism of Poland - in year 979 AD - region looked like this:





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