The Rise of the White Serbia in the Light of the Merovingians’ Thuringia Policy

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Abstract

The study offers an analytical overview of the international relations in the territory of the Middle Elbe basin from the 530s until the early 8th century, specifically concerned with the policy of the Merovingian kings towards the former Thuringian kingdom lands and the issue of the rise of White Serbia. The author considers Frankish policy as an influencing factor in slavisation of the discussed region while examining the impact of a wider spectrum of possible factors, in particular, the changes in ecology and the Avar presence in the Middle Danube region. The chronology of the Serbian settlers’ arrival into the Middle Elbe valley as well as their political & legal status in that land are specified. The author discusses the issue of the White Serbs’ initial foreign policy orientation and investigates the causes, direction, time & consequences of its change. The main research content is complemented by the excurses on the climatic crisis of the Late Antique Little Ice Age and chosen aspects of the Avars’ & the White Serbs’ early ethnic history.


The author develops W. Fritze’s hypothesis of the Merovingians’ active involvement and support of the Serbian immigration into the Middle Elbe and Saale region together with an idea of anti-Avar direction of this measure. Whereas, the results of the study have rejected the assumptions, that the Elbe Germans abandonment of the area to the east of the Elbe and Saale at the end of the third quarter of the 6th century was caused by the Frankish-Avar agreement or Slavic pressure. The author concludes that the first group of the Serbian settlers arrived to the Middle Elbe and Saale from the North-Western Bohemia during the Austrasian king Theudebert ІІ’s reign, probably, at the invitation of the famous Brunhilda, receiving the lands in Thuringia’s border zone as the Frankish foederati. The interconnection between the initial successes of the Merovingians’ Serbian policy in the east of Thuringia during the first decades of the 7th century and the settlement of the Croats & Serbs in the Balkans by the emperor Heraclius is revealed. It has been demonstrated that further expansion of the White Serbia’s territory from the 630s was of spontaneous nature and took place under the circumstances of the collapsed Merovingian control over Thuringia.

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How to Cite
Vatseba, R. (2022) “The Rise of the White Serbia in the Light of the Merovingians’ Thuringia Policy”, Problems of World History, (17), pp. 42-84. doi: 10.46869/2707-6776-2022-17-2.

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Author Biography

R. Vatseba

Vatseba Rostyslav – Ph.D. in History, junior research fellow of Ivan Krypiakevych Ukrainian Studies Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

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