The Making of the Slavs

Ultimo aggiornamento: 22 September 2022

Curta F.

The Making of the Slavs

History and Archeology of the Lower Danube Region c. 500-700

Cambridge University Press Cambridge 2001

Curta presents an important revisionist interpretation of the origins of the Balkan Slavs.
He opens with an eight-page summary of the political and ideological agendas undergirding the misinterpretations—derived, in particular, from misguided linguistic approaches—prevailing from the nineteenth century until today.
As a refutation of those arguments, this book is a significant contribution to medieval history and an outstanding achievement in Slavic studies.  Particularly impressive is the vast range of studies—in nearly a dozen languages—analyzed, refuted, and reinterpreted.
The book also aims to demonstrate new methodologies for the study of medieval ethnicity, especially as reflected in material culture, although in this effort, and in the new conclusions that he offers, Curta is less than thoroughly convincing.
As reflected in the subtitle, the book combines traditional historical and archaeological research methods, while also drawing upon insights gleaned from anthropology. In its organization, it segregates these disciplinary methodologies: The first two chapters analyze the textual evidence; the next three summarize the results of archaeological research; and the final chapter on Sclavene leaders reads the written sources in light of anthropological models. Genuine interdisciplinary emerges chiefly in the book's conclusion, which interweaves these analyses into a single argument about the "making" of the Slavs.