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Re: [Slovak-World] Slovak Borders

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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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