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Origin of Serbs
29. oktobar 2009. u 21.44
The etymology of the word „Serb” (root: Srb) is not known. Numerous theories exist, but neither could be said to be certain or even probable:

1.Some believe that the name is of Sarmatian/Iranian origin. Of which word exactly is unclear.

2.Some believe that the name comes from the word sebar or peasant. However, as peasants did not exist in pre-medieval times while the name did, this seems unlikely.

3.Others say that the name comes from saborac or co-fighter. This could make sense but the words are too far apart. It is possible that saborac comes from sebar (that sebar sometimes meant co-fighter), which would make this theory more interesting but there is not much basis for this claim either.

4.Some believe that the name comes from srkati, to suck in, referring to people so closely united as if they share mother's milk.

5.Also, others argue that all Slavs originally called themselves Serbs, and that Serbs (and Sorbs) are simply the last Slavs who retained the name. If this is true, it still fails to explain the origin of the Slavic name (most of the above may apply).

6.One more theory is that the name comes from Latin. Latin authors which are the first to mention the name call them „Servi” or „Servoi” which means slaves, serfs. It's probably from the time when the Romans conquered Thrace and Iliria.

All the places in the world with names beginning with „Srb” are concentrated around Serbia and Sorbia. However, one thing is certain: the name is very old. It is clearly a self-identification and not a given name as its root cannot be found in western European languages.

It is interesting that the etymology of the name of the Croats (root: Hrv) is also unknown. Some suggest that the names actually originate from the same root: indeed, the roots are distinctly similar (Srb/Hrv). However, it is not known whether this is merely coincidental or indicative of a common origin.

Regardless of the origin, the age and rarity of the name allows for certain historical conclusions based partly on it (for example, see Gordoservon below).

While Ukrainians and krajischniks (their names coming from Slavic word for „borderland”) or Slovaks and Slovenes (obvious variations of „Slavs”) need not be related, Serbs and Sorbs may well be. Some have taken this to the extreme, creating theories that link Serbs with Sarmatians, Sirmium, Serbona, Siberia and so on. These do, however, tend to be something of a fringe view.

Relation with Sorbs
The obvious similarities in their names leads some to conclude that Serbs and Sorbs are related peoples. Indeed, in the Serbian language Sorbs are called Luzicki Srbi (Serbs of Lusatia) and north of them were Beli Srbi (White Serbs).

Exactly what are relations between Serbs and Sorbs is not certain:

1.Some believe that Serbs came to Balkan from Sorbia.
2.Some believe that Serbs came to Balkans and Sorbs to Sorbia from a joint ancient fatherland. Where this fatherland might be is also uncertain.
3.Some believe that Serbs and Sorbs were one people at some time but have separated even before they moved to Serbia/Sorbia.
4.If we accept the claim that all Slavs have called themselves Serbs, then Serbs and Sorbs need not have nothing more in common than any other two Slavic peoples.

Regardless of which is correct, Serbs and Sorbs of today are very different peoples, with different customs, tradition and religion. Serbian language has perhaps more in common with Russian then with Sorbian.

Early references to „Serboi”

Serb lands in the 9th century, according to De administrando imperio

The tribal designation Serboi first appears in the 1st century Geography of Ptolemy (book 5, 9.21) to designate a tribe dwelling in Sarmatia, probably on the Lower Volga River. The name reappears, in the form Serbioi, in the 10th century scholar-emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitos' advice on running an empire, De administrando imperio (32.1-16), and in the continuation of Theophanes' history, the Theophanes Continuatus (288.17-20), usually in the same context as the Croatians, Zachlumians, and other peoples of Pannonia and Dalmatia.

The name of the Serbs has been identifed with the earliest verifiable historical reference to a Slavic people comes from Procopius, who describes a group of people called Spali or Spori. The name Spori of is clearly related to the Sorbs of Lusatia (Germany) and the Serbs of Balkans.

In the manuscript of the anonymous Bavarian geographer was written: „...Zeruiani (the Serbs), whose kingdom is so great, that from them all the Slav peoples came into being and are said to originate from them.”

Constantine VII gives an unlikely derivation of the name from the Latin 'servi', which he explains as 'douloi' (slaves) of Roman emperors. He relates that the Serboi are descended from the „unbaptized” (pagan) Serboi who lived in the place called Boiki near Frankia (Bohemia?), and that they claimed the protection of Emperor Heraclius (reigned 610-641), who settled them in the province of Thessalonica. Constantine's assertion is regarded with some scepticism by modern scholars; since the 19th century it has been commonly held that Serbs came to the Balkan peninsula in the 6th century. Kekaumenos, the 11th century Byzantine general, locates the Serboi on the Sava River (268.28), as does The Chronicle of Nestor, but this is not considered particularly reliable.

The Slavs came to the Balkans from a broad region in central and eastern Europe, which extended from the rivers Elbe in the west to the Dnieper in the east and from a point which touched the Carpathian mountains in the south and the river Niemen in the north. Different tribes settled in different parts of the Balkan peninsula, subsequently developing their distinct identities. A mention of the Serbian name in 680 is about a city of Gordoservon in Asia Minor where „some Slavic tribes” have settled. Gordoservon appears to be a distorted spelling of Grad Srba, „City of Serbs” in Serbian.

Their settlement in the Balkans appears to have taken place between 610 and 640. Constantine VII Porphyrogenitos writes in De Administrando Imperio that the Serbs received in Rascia / Raska, Zachumlie/Zahumlje, Trebounia/Travunia, Zeta/Duklja, Bosnia/Bosna and Pagania/Paganija. Serbia was then ruled mostly by the House of Vlastimirovic which, under Caslav Klonimirovic managed to unite these lands into a confederacy by the early 10th century.The first certain data on the state of the Serboi, Serbia, dates to the 9th century. The episcopal lists of Leo VI mention bishops of Drougoubiteia and the Serboi. Envoys of the Serboi arrived at the court of the Emperor Basil II, around 993.

In the 11th century there was probably a thema of Serbia: a seal impression of Constantine Diogenes, strategos of Serbia, is preserved. Around 1040 Theophilos Erotikos was the governor of the Serboi until he was expelled by Stefan Voislav, who reportedly conquered the territory of the Serboi and became its 'archon'. T. Wasilewski (1964) surmised that this theme was the same as Sirmium, whereas Dj. Radojcic (1966) thinks that it was Raska, only temporarily governed by the Byzantines.
31. oktobar 2009. u 14.22
with a slavic genetic input of no more than 15%, we are not a slavic people - we only speak a slavic language.
02. januar 2010. u 01.04
I refuse to be called Servoi. No people in the history of this world has ever named themselves in a derogatory way.

Root of the Srv-Srb confusion is 'yee olde' Greek indistinction between B and V. Like you have in modern Hebrew...

Another one is the Greek addressing of the sound B...
You transliterate that as MP. WTF!?! SarMPati, for crying out loud?
11. jul 2010. u 04.34
„Origin of Serbs?”
Very simple answer: monkey, says Darrin, like everybody else.
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