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Slovak Borders

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  • jarmata@gsphdean.gsph.pitt.edu
    Martin (or someone else knowledgeable!), speaking of Slovak borders, from what I ve read, the section of Spis north of the Hornad and Vah was ruled by Poland
    Message 1 of 4 , May 31, 2003
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      Martin (or someone else knowledgeable!), speaking of Slovak
      borders, from what I've read, the section of Spis north of the
      Hornad and Vah was ruled by Poland from the 11th century until
      sometime in the 12th century, when Hungary acquired part of it,
      and then later in 1312 the area around Stara Lubovna was
      transferred from Poland to Hungary as well and joined to Spis
      (before then it was not part of Spis). Do you know the year in
      the 1100s when Hungary moved the border north from the
      Hornad/Vah? I've been unable to find it except that it happened
      under the Polish King Boleslaw the Wrymouthed (love those old
      names!), who ruled from 1102-1138.

      Joe the Nearsighted
      jarmata@...
    • Martin Votruba
      ... The Vah does not flow through Spis. However, it s interesting information, Joe, and I wouldn t discount the source just because of that. I d say that
      Message 2 of 4 , Jun 1, 2003
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        > Spis north of the Hornad and Vah was ruled by Poland from the 11th
        > century until sometime in the 12th century

        The Vah does not flow through Spis. However, it's interesting
        information, Joe, and I wouldn't discount the source just because of that.

        I'd say that early uncertainties about the Spis/Polish border are quite
        likely (as also indicated by Cracow's appeal to the Pope, mentioned
        below).

        Spis and Orava include the only areas of Slovakia that are in the Dunajec
        (Vistula-Baltic) basin, i.e., drained into Poland.

        Therefore, any early general agreement about placing the Polish-Hungarian
        border on the ridge of the Carpathians might not have been clear there.

        All the areas drained by the Poprad, i.e. a large part of Spis, are north
        of Europe's major Baltic/Black Sea watershed.

        The rest of Slovakia is drained by rivers that flow into the Danube, and
        the Black Sea.


        Hungarian historians tend to assume that the rule from Esztergom/Gran
        extended all the way to the ridge of the Carpathians almost from the start
        of the Kingdom of Hungary, while Slovak, Czech and Polish historians are
        more likely to mention an early period of Polish control over almost all
        of today's Slovakia; or they assume that all of Slovakia came under
        Esztergom's rule by about 1100-1200, and was partly -- especially in the
        central and northern regions -- without outside control until then.

        For example, some say that Ladislas, the duke of Nitra, was recognized as
        Poland's vassal when King Stephen and King Boleslaw the Brave agreed in
        1018 that the Hungarian-Polish border would be along the ridge of the
        Carpathians.

        As to Spis, it would be interesting to know what evidence the source
        points to. From what I've seen, the first document concerning Spis is
        from 1209, the first mention of "Lubovna" from 1242, and of _Stara_
        Lubovna from 1292. That would give little ground for saying anything
        specific about the exact position of the border in the 11th and 12th
        centuries.

        > in 1312 the area around Stara Lubovna was transferred from Poland to
        > Hungary

        Those first documents don't appear to say anything about Stara Lubovna
        belonging to Poland. But there are some records about Podolinec just a
        few miles down the road.

        Apparently, the Bishop of Cracow appealed to the Vatican in 1235, and
        again in 1247 demanding that the Church levies from Podolinec be paid to
        Cracow, and not to Spis-cum-Esztergom. That would mean that at least
        Podolinec was effectively under Esztergom at that time. The boundary
        between the bishoprics and the political border were probably seen as the
        same thing in that region then.

        As to the Hornad being the border in the 11th-12th centuries, Spissky
        Castle is located north of the Hornad. It started with a tower built in
        the 11th-12th centuries. If the border went along the Hornad at that
        time, it would have to have been a key Polish fort, which was later
        defeated by Hungary. That would mean that there had to be a major battle
        for Spis. I'm not aware of any mention of that, so I'd be interested
        whether the source knows of something. The assumption is that Spissky
        Castle began as Hungary's fort and Church center.


        Martin

        votruba "at" pitt "dot" edu
      • jarmata@gsphdean.gsph.pitt.edu
        Very interesting, Martin, and thanks! All good points! I d read this in a Polish study on linguistics put out by the Jagiellonian University in Cracow in
        Message 3 of 4 , Jun 7, 2003
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          Very interesting, Martin, and thanks! All good points! I'd read
          this in a Polish study on linguistics put out by the Jagiellonian
          University in Cracow in 1938 ("The Polish Language South of the
          Carpathians" by M. Malecki). The study surely had a political
          motive behind it, namely to justify Poland's claims at the time
          to the northern parts of Spis and Orava. Still, the linguistic
          information seemed pretty good, though now it seems some of the
          distant historical info might be biased (why, how shocking!).

          For what it's worth, the author says, speaking of Spis:

          "Spis belongs among our oldest inhabited lands, since signs of
          Polish settlement can be found as far back as the 12th century.
          The first wave of colonization travelled along the Poprad river
          from the region of Sacz, and it was so strong that it not only
          spread throughout Spis, but it overflowed into Podhale,
          approaching along the Dunajec river, up to Nowy Targ. Spis even
          belonged ecclesiastically for a long time to the diocese of
          Cracow, and apparently most of the settlers came from the Sacz
          region. In the 13th century German settlers appeared, who
          founded the chief towns, and in the 14th century, the first Rusyn
          settlers arrived in connection with the Wallachian colonization.

          From a political perspective the whole of Spis belonged
          originally to Poland, as the border between the Polish and
          Hungarian crowns ran (in the 11th and 12th centuries) along the
          upper Hornad and Vah rivers. Under Boleslaw the Wrymouthed,
          Poland lost Spis proper (the upper reaches of the Hornad and
          Poprad rivers), and in 1312 also a narrow strip near Stara
          Lubowla, which today is included in the territory of Spis, but
          formerly was a part of the Sacz lands. Spis remained under
          Hungarian rule until 1412, when as a surety for a loan to
          Hungary, Jagiello received the aforementioned strip around
          Lubowla along with 13 other Spis towns."


          Joe

          >
          > > Spis north of the Hornad and Vah was ruled by Poland from the 11th
          > > century until sometime in the 12th century
          >
          > The Vah does not flow through Spis. However, it's interesting
          > information, Joe, and I wouldn't discount the source just because of that.
          >
          > I'd say that early uncertainties about the Spis/Polish border are quite
          > likely (as also indicated by Cracow's appeal to the Pope, mentioned
          > below).
          >
          > Spis and Orava include the only areas of Slovakia that are in the Dunajec
          > (Vistula-Baltic) basin, i.e., drained into Poland.
          >
          > Therefore, any early general agreement about placing the Polish-Hungarian
          > border on the ridge of the Carpathians might not have been clear there.
          >
          > All the areas drained by the Poprad, i.e. a large part of Spis, are north
          > of Europe's major Baltic/Black Sea watershed.
          >
          > The rest of Slovakia is drained by rivers that flow into the Danube, and
          > the Black Sea.
          >
          > Hungarian historians tend to assume that the rule from Esztergom/Gran
          > extended all the way to the ridge of the Carpathians almost from the start
          > of the Kingdom of Hungary, while Slovak, Czech and Polish historians are
          > more likely to mention an early period of Polish control over almost all
          > of today's Slovakia; or they assume that all of Slovakia came under
          > Esztergom's rule by about 1100-1200, and was partly -- especially in the
          > central and northern regions -- without outside control until then.
          >
          > For example, some say that Ladislas, the duke of Nitra, was recognized as
          > Poland's vassal when King Stephen and King Boleslaw the Brave agreed in
          > 1018 that the Hungarian-Polish border would be along the ridge of the
          > Carpathians.
          >
          > As to Spis, it would be interesting to know what evidence the source
          > points to. From what I've seen, the first document concerning Spis is
          > from 1209, the first mention of "Lubovna" from 1242, and of _Stara_
          > Lubovna from 1292. That would give little ground for saying anything
          > specific about the exact position of the border in the 11th and 12th
          > centuries.
          >
          > > in 1312 the area around Stara Lubovna was transferred from Poland to
          > > Hungary
          >
          > Those first documents don't appear to say anything about Stara Lubovna
          > belonging to Poland. But there are some records about Podolinec just a
          > few miles down the road.
          >
          > Apparently, the Bishop of Cracow appealed to the Vatican in 1235, and
          > again in 1247 demanding that the Church levies from Podolinec be paid to
          > Cracow, and not to Spis-cum-Esztergom. That would mean that at least
          > Podolinec was effectively under Esztergom at that time. The boundary
          > between the bishoprics and the political border were probably seen as the
          > same thing in that region then.
          >
          > As to the Hornad being the border in the 11th-12th centuries, Spissky
          > Castle is located north of the Hornad. It started with a tower built in
          > the 11th-12th centuries. If the border went along the Hornad at that
          > time, it would have to have been a key Polish fort, which was later
          > defeated by Hungary. That would mean that there had to be a major battle
          > for Spis. I'm not aware of any mention of that, so I'd be interested
          > whether the source knows of something. The assumption is that Spissky
          > Castle began as Hungary's fort and Church center.
          >
          > Martin
          >
          > votruba "at" pitt "dot" edu
          >
        • Martin Votruba
          ... Thanks for the source, Joe. That makes sense. Polish historians used to think that East Slovakia was settled from Poland, and Polish linguists believed
          Message 4 of 4 , Jun 7, 2003
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            > "The Polish Language South of the Carpathians"

            Thanks for the source, Joe. That makes sense. Polish historians used to
            think that East Slovakia was settled from Poland, and Polish linguists
            believed that the East Slovak dialects were originally Polish.

            Then a Polish linguist started working on it (I'd have to look for his
            name; one of the more important ones). He began with the assumption that
            they were Polish, and ended up proving that their origin is Slovak.

            Polish linguists now agree that only the Goral dialects of Spis were
            brought by more recent migrants from Poland to Spis, not during its early
            Slavic settlement, and are a separate thing from the rest of the East
            Slovak dialects, which are Slovak.

            But I would expect a lot of early contacts between Spis and the north,
            early confusion about the border, even some early settlers from the north,
            whose traces have been wiped out. Early migrations often went upstream.
            When one starts in Poland, follows the Dunajec, and then the Poprad, one
            does end up in Spis.

            However, the main ridge of the Carpathians closes Spis off from the north,
            which is not very common in water basins. The Dunajec passes through an
            opening in the Carpathian ridge only as wide as the river itself. That
            must have been an important reason why Spis was at least partly settled
            from the south-east -- up the Hornad -- and ended up in the Kingdom of
            Hungary, rather than in Poland, which would probably have been the case if
            the upper Dunajec had a wide-open basin.

            The Bishop of Cracow's complaint to the Vatican about Podolinec paying the
            Church taxes to Spis in the 1200s also suggests that there may have been
            an earlier period of time when the taxes from Podolinec went to Poland.


            The one thing I consider unrealistic is Malecki's assumption that the
            border would have run along the upper Vah and the Hornad there, i.e.,
            along the rivers.

            That's actually quite amusing to imagine: a thousand years ago (no cars,
            no chairlifts, the terrain unsuitable for roads), the administrators of
            just one side and slope of a narrow valley constantly climbing up and down
            across a 4,000-6,000 ft high ridge to administer the other slope of the
            ridge, and being cut off from one half of their county by snow for much of
            the winter and spring, while the easily accessible land and slope just
            across the stream/river (narrow as they are close to their springs) would
            be for some obscure reason another county, or even country -- whose
            administrators, in turn, would have to take those endless, 10-hour-long,
            strenuous climbs to administer the opposite, inaccessible slope of _their_
            ridge.

            Major administrative borders in mountainous areas like Slovakia don't run
            along the bottom of the narrow valleys, they run along the ridges. An
            administrative unit which spans two sides of a ridge, but splits a narrow
            valley lengthwise simply does not develop in the mountains with high
            ridges and narrow valleys.

            I guess Malecki, or his Polish sources, knew that rivers are often
            political boundaries in the plains (which is almost all of Poland),
            sometimes in wide valleys, and he imagined that it was a universal
            pattern.

            He'd have to say that the Polish/Hungarian border was on the ridge of the
            Low Tatras, or on the Baltic/Black Sea continental divide -- only then
            would it become a question of evidence (and I'd expect that there could
            have been such disputes).


            Martin

            votruba "at" pitt "dot" edu
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