Go to content Go to menu



Lukas Hanzl



In the region identified from Ptolemy and Pliny, east of the Vistula and adjoining the Baltic, there was an Iron Age culture known to archaeologists as the Przeworsk culture, where was a mix of several tribal societies and is also often linked to the Germanic tribes of Vandals.

Pliny the Elder places the Wends along the Baltic coast. He calls them the Sarmatian Venedi Thereafter, the 2nd century Greco-Roman geographer Ptolemy in his section on Sarmatia, places the Greater Ouenedai along the entire Venedic Bay, which can be located from the context on the southern shores of the Baltic.

The Wends comes in Germania, was Tacitus writing in AD 98. He places the Weneds among the peoples on the eastern fringe of Germania. He was uncertain of their ethnic identity, classifying them as Germanic based on their way of life, but not based on their language.

Wends began to settle in southeastern Poland no earlier than the late 5th century AD, the Prague culture being their recognizable expression.



To the east of the Venedae, Ptolemy mentions two further tribes called Stavanoi and Souobenoi, both of which have been interpreted as possibly the oldest historical attestations of at least some Slavs.

The Franks in later centuries in Life of Saint Martinus or in Fredegar's Chronicle, also Gregory of Tours et al referred to residents both in the Elbe-Saal region and in Pomerania generally, as Wenden or Winden (see Wends), which was a later corruption of the word Vinidi. Likewise, the Franks and Bavarians of Styria and Carinthia referred to their  neighbours as Windische.

It has not been shown that either the original Vinidi  themselves used the this ethnonym  to describe their ethnos, but it is probable, although they certainly more often identified themselves by their tribal names, Serbs, Croats, etc.The Przeworsk culture was an Iron Age material culture in the region of what is now Poland, that dates from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD. It takes its name from the town of Przeworsk, near the village where the first artifacts were identified.

In its earliest form it was located in what is now central and southern Poland, in the upper Oder and Vistula basins. It later spread southwards, beyond the Carpathians, towards the headwaters of the Tisza river, and eastwards, past the Vistula, and towards the headwaters of the Dniester. To the east, the Przeworsk culture is associated with the Zarubintsy culture.¨

The Przeworsk culture is often associated with the Vandals, although they were probably only one ethnic element within the culture. The Przeworsk culture has also been linked to the early Wends.

It can be expected that as part of the coexistence of these ethnicities, their partial mixing also occurred. After the departure of the Germanic tribes during the 5th century, a Prague-type culture developed in the rest of the population under the influence of the Korchak culture, and Slavic languages ​​prevailed among them. During the 6th century, this population began to spread rapidly westward as far as the Elbe River and along the entire Baltic coast, into Bohemia and the adjacent regions of Bavaria and modern Saxony.

These people brought with them their mixed genetic cluster consisting mainly of the dominant haplogroups R1a and I1. For haplogroup R1a, the M458 clade, typical for Wends and some areas of the Western Balkans, is clearly predominant.

The Haplogroup R1a-M458 exceeds 20% in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Western Belarus, but 11–15% across in Russia and Ukraine and occurs at 7% or less elsewhere.  Compared to it R1a-M558 occurs at 10–33% in enywhere parts of Russia, exceeds 26% in Poland and Western Belarus, and varies between 10 and 23% in the Ukraine.  R1a-M458 and R1a-M558 occur also at  Balkan populations with  Slavonic cultural heritage.

The Haplogroup I1 was found among the Poles (6%), Czechs (11%), Slovaks (6%) and Hungarians (8%) is also partially the result of centuries of influence from their German and Austrian neighbours. The relativelemy high frequency of I1 around Serbia and western Bulgaria (5% to 10%) could be owed to the Goths who settled in the Eastern Roman Empire in the 3rd and 4th centuries. However, it is also possible that these haplogroups were already an original part of the Wend genome from the time when the Vinides and Vandal tribes shared the common space of the Przeworsk culture.




In the 7th century, haplogroup I1 could reach the Balkans precisely with the expansion of Wends to the south.

Z131+ is a minor subclade that has been found in areas bordering the ancient Celtic-Germanic boundary (Belgium, central Germany, Bohemia), but also in Sweden and Britain.

FGC22045+ is the main variety of I1 found in Serbia (7% of the population), probably of Gothic/Gepid origin.

Germanic subclade is L801 just under Z161. The deep clade most strongly associated with Iron Age Germanic migrations is S2364, which has many subclades of its own (enough to make another tree), many of which expanded during the Iron Age.

Y17535 is found in Bohemia, Alsace, Galicia (Spain), Portugal and Britain. The continental branch could be linked to the Suebi tribe, which migrated from Swabia (SW Germany and Alsace) to Galicia and northern Portugal.

The Suebi tribes were a large group of Germanic peoples originally from the Elbe river region in what is now Germany and the Czech Republic. In the early Roman era they included many peoples with their own names such as the Marcomanni, Quadi, Hermunduri, Semnones, and Lombards.

In the seventh century, perhaps in connection with the establishment of the Samos empire and the fight against the Avars, the second phase of the expansion of the Wends, especially the Croats and Serbs, took place through western Austria, and eastern Slovenia to the western Balkan Peninsula.  It seems that the intention had quite a rational basis, worthy of such great integrity as Sámo was. Evidently, the Vinids then tried to connect the Baltic and Black Sea trade interrupted by the Avars.

White Croats, were a group of Early Winid tribes who lived among other West and East Winid tribes in the area of modern-day Lesser Poland, Galicia, Western Ukraine, and Northeastern Bohemia. It is considered that they were assimilated into Czech, Polish and Ukrainian ethnos.

White Serbia, called also Boiki, is the name applied to the assumed homeland of the White Serbs a tribal subgroup of Wends. They are the ancestors of the modern Serbs and Sorbs. Boiki is mentioned in De Administrando Imperio, a 10th-century work by Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII (r. 913–959). According to it, the "White Serbs" lived on the "other side of Turkey", in the area that they called "Boiki" (Bohemia). The area adjacent to it was Franconia.From this enterprise, today's modern nations of Serbs and Croats, and partly also of Macedonians, Bosnians and Bulgarians, arose. Slovenes have predominantly East Slavic origins and DNA.

The Bulgarians have both East Slavic and West Wend origins mixed. All these nations then took over through the local remains of the Illyrian and Greek population.



KLANICA, Zdeněk. Počátky Slovanů. Praha: Futura, 2009. ISBN 978-80-254-5298-1. S. 18.

Haplogroup I1 (Y – DNA), Eupedia, Genetics,on-line: https://www.eupedia.com/europe/Haplogroup_I2_Y-DNA.shtml

Haplogroup I2 (Y – DNA), Eupedia, Genetics,on-line: https://www.eupedia.com/europe/Haplogroup_I1_Y-DNA.shtml

The phylogenetic and geographic structure of Y-chromosome haplogroup R1a, on line: https://www.nature.com/articles/ejhg201450

Andrzejowski, Jacek (2010), "The Przeworsk Culture. A Brief Story (for the Foreigners)", in Lund Hansen; Bitner-Wróblewska (eds.), Worlds Apart? Contacts across the Baltic Sea in the Iron Age

Mallory, James P.; Adams, Douglas Q. (1997), Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, Taylor & Francis, ISBN 1-884964-98-2

Loma, Aleksandar (1999). "Serbisches und kroatisches Sprachgut bei Konstantin Porphyrogennetos". Зборник радова Византолошког института (in German). Vizantološki institut SANU (38): 87–161.

Łowmiański, Henryk (2013) [1958]. "O identificiranju naziva Bavarskoga geografa" [About the identification of names by Bavarian Geographer]. In Nosić, Milan (ed.). Bijeli Hrvati III [White Croats III] (in Croatian). Maveda. pp. 109–137. ISBN 978-953-7029-27-2.

Łowmiański, Henryk (2004) [1964]. Nosić, Milan (ed.). Hrvatska pradomovina (Chorwacja Nadwiślańska in Początki Polski) [Croatian ancient homeland] (in Croatian). Translated by Kryżan-Stanojević, Barbara. Maveda. OCLC 831099194.

L. Barać; et al. (2003). "Y chromosomal heritage of Croatian population and its island isolates" (PDF). European Journal of Human Genetics. 11 (7): 535–42. doi:10.1038/sj.ejhg.5200992. PMID 12825075. S2CID 15822710.

L. Lovrečić; et al. (2005). "Human Y-specific STR haplotypes in the Western Croatian population sample". Forensic Science International. 144 (2–3): 257–261. doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2004.06.026. PMID 15749369.