Formation of Slav States

Formation of Slav States

The first recorded mention of Slav princes near Pannonia goes back to 803 CE. In 805, the presence of Prince Vratislav, Lord of the Bratislava Castle, signifies the arrival of the second historic Slav in the Middle Danube. In an anonymous Bavarian geographic work Descriptio, Civitatum et Regionum ad septentrional emplagam Danubiti, it mentions, in 817, the existence of 30 castles on the territory of the principality of Nitra and 11 castles on the territory of the Kingdom of Great Moravia.In 822, emissaries sent by the Slavs visited Emperor Louis the Pious at the Imperial Dietof Frankfurt and in 828, the Archbishop Adalram of Salzburg consecrated the Church of thecourt of Prince Pribina in Nitra. The oldest mentions of the subject of theChristianization of the Slavs in the Middle Danube goes back to the seventh century, tothe epoch of Bishop Amand, an apostle of the Belges. After his mission, the arrival oftravelling Irish and Scottish missionaries was attested to in the region of High Nitra.

In 833, animportant political event took place in this region. Prince Mojmr, from the principalityof Moravia, and his army, attacked the principality of Nitra, conquering it and creatingin a relatively vast territory, a united Slav State. The Empire unified the Slavs of Nitraand Moravia. The principality of Mojmr is known in historiography under the incorrectname of Great Moravia. This designation was was assigned 100 years later, after itsdisappearance, by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII, even though no historic sourcefrom the 9th century mentions the formation of a State called Great Moravia.

Prince Pribina, after fleeing Nitra, became the Lord of theSlavs, occuying the Transdanubian Pannonia. He founded the principality of Balaton, hadcastles and churches built, and obtained remarkable results in his efforts ofChristianization in this region. After his death in 861, his son Kocel, who ruled theprincipality of Balaton until 876, continued his father’s work.

The empire of Mojmr became the target of Christianizationled by the Frank clergy, which is attested to by the Ecclestiastical Assembly of 852 atMohuc and the reports by the Ecclesiastical Missions of Salzburg. But the rich deposits ofiron, silver and copper also served as strong attractions to the rulers of the Frankempire. It was for this reason that Louis II the German, with his armies, invaded theprincipality of Mojmr, stripping Mojmr I of his crown, and entrusting the royalty tohis son, Rastislav.

Prince Rastislav I stood out as an efficient and wise lord.To put an end to the aggressiveness of the Eastern Franks, he attempted, starting in 853,to establish an alliance with the Bulgars. He resisted several military attacks by theFranks and, in 855, challenged the huge army of King Louis the Pious at Devin and, in 857,even conquered Duke Carloman and established, in 857, a peace treaty with him.

Ratislav I wisely understood the importance ofChristianization of the Slavs and asked the Pope in Rome, in 861, to send a Bishop to hiskingdom. His request fell on deaf ears in Rome and, so, in 862, he asked the ByzantineEmperor Michael III to send him a Bishop and religion teachers. The famous letter fromRatislav I to Emperor Michael III began with these words: " ...We, the Slavs, asimple people, have no-one to teach us the truth..." The Emperor agreed to hisrequest and sent Ratislav two apostles, Cyril and Methodius, who were brothers and nativesof the city of Salonika (today Thessalonika).

They, even before leaving the Byzantine Empire, had createdthe first Slavic alphabet, called glagolitic and had translated several religious worksinto the Slavon language (ancient Slav).

After their arrival in the principality of Rastislav, Cyriland Methodius, accompanied by a large group of scholars, founded, using as a model theAcademy of Constantinople, the first academy in Slovakia and further developed writing inthe Slav language, to which were translated other religious texts and in which severalliterary works, poems and judicial acts were written (Proglas Poem, the work" Warnings to Lords, a judicial Code for the common people, ", etc...)The work of Cyril and Methodius includes:

The first archdiocese was not established in Prague until1344.

From 869-871, the intrigues and military attacks led by theEastern Franks against the principality of the Slavs intensified. After Rastislav wastaken prisoner by the Franks and lost his sight, and after the large anti-Germanicinsurrection of Slavomr, Svtopluk acceded to the throne of the principality. From872-876, Svtopluk conquered the armies of Louis several times and kept his independence.In 880, Pope John VIII, by the act "Industriae tuae " crownedSvtopluk King and gave his kingdom the protection of the Holy See.

Important events during the period of the Kingdom ofSvtopluk:

- 874 Occupation of the Vistule Basin by Svtopluk
- 882 Occupation of the territory of Bohemia/present day Czech Republic excluding Moravia
- 883 Invasion and Occupation of Pannonia
- 889 Occupation of the territory of Lusatian Serbs
- 890 Treaty with Arnoul, confirmation of the sovereignty of Svtopluk I in Bohemia
- 892 Driving back of the common attack by the Frank, Alaman and Bavarian armies and theMagyar tribes
- 893 Driving back of the attack by the armies of Arnoul, and upon his request, thesigning of a peace treaty with Svtopluk
- 894 Death of King Svtopluk I, peace for the Slavs with the Bavarians, first invasionby the Magyars into the Transdanubian region.

The death of King Svtopluk brought about the progressivedisintegration of the largest Central European empire and eventually disappearance due tothe incessant invasions of the allied Bavarian armies and the Magyars. However, the firstact which led to the disintegration of the Empire was caused by the Slav Dukes of Bohemia(present-day Czech Republic) in 895, which detached itself from the Empire of Svtoplukand asked Emperor Arnoul of Ratisbonne for his protection against the Slavs.

In 897, Mojmr II tried once again to conquer theterritory of Bohemia, but failed, and in 898, a struggle for the throne broke out betweenKing Mojmr II and his brother, Svtopluk II. Mojmr II fought off the attack by theBavarian armies, who had been joined also by military troops of the small Czech Lords andhe had Svtopluk II imprisoned.

In 899, the Bavarians once again attacked the Slavs andliberated Svtopluk II. In 900, Mojmr once more fought off attacks from the Czech andBavarian armies.

In that same year, the Pope reconfirmed the archdiosese andthe three dioceses in the Slav Empire and in 901, Louis IV the Younger and Mojmr IIreached a peace agreement in Ratisbonne.

In 902 and at the beginning of 906, Mojmr II twice pushedback attacks from the Magyar armies which resulted in their fleeing. However, during theirnext raid in the South, Mojmr II as well as Svtopluk II were killed and the Magyarspillaged the Southern regions of Slovakia. This was the beginning of the progressivedisappearance of the independent Slav State and chronicles of that period describing thebattle of the Bavarians against the Magyars on July 4, 907 make no mention of anyparticipation by Slav armies.