Slavic Countries and TerritoriesSlave TradeSlaveryVocabulary of the English LanguageDoes the word ‘slave’ come from the name of the Slavic people?22 AnswersChris Schmidt, Director Equity Derivatives TradingUpdated July 29, 2018 · Upvoted by Donald Shull, Masters English, University of New Mexico (1967) · Author has 408 answers and 218.4K answer viewsDisregarding Russian Propaganda that has formed this discussion here is my recent research.The word sclavus is not from the 800AD. it is 600 AD used in the Fredegard Chronicle to discribe the sclavi Weneti that are used as Cannon fodder by Avars who also steal their wives and it appears in a Latin poem from around 570 AD written in Constantinopel. I am pretty much on the safe side to claim that the word SCLAVUS was used in the Roman empire in the Latin version sclavi and the Greek sklavon.The word Slav/Slavic does not appear in documents, grammars or books before the 16th century.Russian Propaganda had claimed since 1820 that “sclavus” comes from Slav and so no thinker until now has suggested a Latin ethymology for sclavus.Here is a try:Clavus is the nail that is used to close the 8-shape formed chains on feet or hand
Disregarding Russian Propaganda that has formed this discussion here is my recent research.
The word sclavus is not from the 800AD. it is 600 AD used in the Fredegard Chronicle to discribe the sclavi Weneti that are used as Cannon fodder by Avars who also steal their wives and it appears in a Latin poem from around 570 AD written in Constantinopel. I am pretty much on the safe side to claim that the word SCLAVUS was used in the Roman empire in the Latin version sclavi and the Greek sklavon.
The word Slav/Slavic does not appear in documents, grammars or books before the 16th century.
Russian Propaganda had claimed since 1820 that “sclavus” comes from Slav and so no thinker until now has suggested a Latin ethymology for sclavus.
Here is a try:
Clavus is the nail that is used to close the 8-shape formed chains on feet or hands of prisoners.
Clavus is also the nail or bar that holds a door closed
Clavado has still in Roman languages the meaning of being hold, being kept still. Estoy clavado en un bar. spanish
So the Sclavus is a servus in chains. “The nailed down “ people
The name Servus/Servi was reserved for the Serbian people (9th century) Source: “De Admistrando Imperio”.
Romans never gave great names to enemy or enslaved tribes. So imagining they called actual slaves- the glorious people (slavjani) is result of 200 years unfree thinking and brainwashing by Russian and Soviet dogmas.
The answer is NO. The word slave does not come from Slav. it comes from sclavus.
Actually…the word Slav comes from Sclavus.
For more tha 1500 years nations enslaved by the Romans were called servi and the sclavi. Krizhanich was one of the first to say.. “They call us sclavon/sclavi which means “unfree people, field worker, roweron a ship (1750 around) but what they really mean is that we are slavs” The word “slav” seems to have been invented alao partly out of nessessity to deflect insults…
200 years myth creation and Russian propaganda made us all believe that the 16th century word Slavs was already known to 6th century Romans and the whol3 world accepted a Russian 16th century ethymology for a Latin 6th century word:-)
Yes, the English word slave traces its origin to Old French sclave that is from Medieval Latin sclavus which appear written for first time with this meaning in 13th century. The Latin word sclavus and the Byzantine Greek Σκλάβος were used for the Slavic peoples from Late Antiquity.
It is generally assumed that the use of the word sclavus with the meaning of slave is related to the enslavement of Slavic worriors by Otto I of Saxony although there may play role confusion with folklore ethymology relating it to to the word clave – key.
Nazy propaganda did a lot to make more confusion affirming that the name Slav used for Slavic peoples is derived from Latin sclavus meaning under key or spoils of war in accordance with the hierarchy of races that put Slavic peoples in the subhuman race together with Gypsies just above the Jews.
The name Slav means slava that is fame/glory and traces back its origin directly to Proto-Indo-European(PIE) word *ḱléwos – fame, related also to *ḱlew- to hear from which is the English word glory. That name appears in huge varieties as proper name in Polish: Bogusław, Bolesław, Bronisław, Czesław, Jarosław, Lechosław, Mieczysław, Mirosław, Sławomir, Przemysław, Radosław, Stanisław, Tomisław, Wacław, Wieńczysław, Wiesław, Władysław, Zdzisław. It is natural to call Slavs those that often have -slav as a part of their name. One of the first attested such names is that of Rastislav (Rostislav) Duke of Moravia 846–870 C.E. His name is transcribed as Rastiz in Latin and Ῥασισθλάϐος/Rhasisthlábos Bysantine greek. Roughly at the same time in The Chronicle of Theophanes Confessor is mentioned Slavun, a ruler of the Slavic tribe Severi who entered in the First Bulgarian Empire in 681 C.E. In other words there is a compelling historical evidence that Slav was used in the proper names of Slavs before any Latin influence and centuries before the appearance of the word slave with the current meaning.
“слава” /s’[k]lava/ means good name, reputation, glory; it comes from Protoslavic ‘klew – itself sourcing in the Proto-Indo-European/ḱlew- meaning to hear (good news, good words) as per ancient Greek -κλῆς (-klês, “fame”) as used in Greek male given names, such as Ἡρακλῆς (Hēraklês), Περικλῆς (Periklês). The slavs, with all their different set of languages, are all part of the Indo-European language family.
The Romans were known to be a predatory empire that searched to build itself by conquering, occupying, exhausting material and human resources of other populations. They had no bad feelings about enslaving populations in their easy reach, so, because the Thraco-Dacians and the Greek were “out of their league” for enslavement, they “served” themselves with ease from the relatively recent populations in the Balkans. This could explain that the pejorative came after the tribes’ name.
Fact is that, after the Huns retired (5th century AD) from the eastern side of an already tired out Western Roman Empire the “slaves”, occupied and “enslaved” the Greeks for over 400 years (until 9th C AD) and, allied with the Avars, the Slavs gave a really hard time to the Eastern Roman Empire in Constantinople.
We tend to be so blinded by our today political orientation that we are ever so glad and ready to spread bad info, just to dismiss or diminish a population – based on our subjective dislikes. In fact, we are just practicing the same bad attitude that society has always had with regards to rape: we kind of hold the perpetrator in respectful fear, while looking down on the violated one .
The question is: Does the word ‘slave’ come from the name of the Slavic people?
Ignoring the details, yes.
Correcting some etymological dictionaries. Most probably, this meaning was produced some centuries earlier.
Islam appeared. There were nomore pagans in the zones to the South. Only pagans could be acquired or recruited to the slave markets in a legitimate way, on the other hand. So, the importance of Central Europe for the slave markets increased – there lived Slavophone pagans.
Next, the meanings Slavs (Slavophones) and Servi/Servos (servants, slaves in Latin) mixed. Some Slavophones captured the Latin/Roman word Servi as their ethnonym. Other Slavophones captured the Latin/Roman word Vulgares meaning populace as their ethnonym. So, there were at least three words each having the capacity to embrace all the Slavophones: Slavs, Serbs, Bulgarians. Neither succeded. Yes, there are now Slavs (Slovenians and Slovaks), there are Bulgarians, there are Serbs both on the Balkans and in Lusatia/Lausitz, but there are also Poles, Czechs and Russians.
There is a connection:
Germanic: sklavus (a prisoner of war of slavic descent) ->
Latin: sclavus ->
English (and many other languages): slave, esclave = someone who is the property and forced laborer of somebody else
However, this meaning is only connected since slavic prisoners of war were sold as “slavics/slaves”.
A stereotype of Russians is one of the common people being willing to “slave for (be the serfs of) the tsar (including modern tsars, eg Putin)”. I would not suggest that the connection in any way supports such a generalisation. On the contrary: The etymology casts some light over a historic precedence, but, of course, the vast majority of the slavs/the slavonic people were not sold as slaves.
In Russian/Slavonic “slava” means fame/reputation/glory so the Slavs would be the folk of fame or the people of glory. The same meaning, apparently, also exists in greek “sklabenoi”.
No, but the two words: slav and slave have a linked history. See the following:
Online Etymology Dictionary
Slav (n.) – late 14c., Sclave, from Medieval Latin Sclavus (c.800), from Byzantine Greek Sklabos (c.580), from Old Church Slavonic Sloveninu “a Slav,” probably related to slovo “word, speech,” which suggests the name originally identified a member of a speech community (compare Old Church Slavonic Nemici “Germans,” related to nemu “dumb;” Greek heterophonos “foreign,” literally “of different voice;” and Old English þeode, which meant both “race” and “language”).
slave (n.) – late 13c., “person who is the chattel or property of another,” from Old French esclave (13c.), from Medieval Latin Sclavus “slave” (source also of Italian schiavo, French esclave, Spanish esclavo), originally “Slav” (see Slav); so used in this secondary sense because of the many Slavs sold into slavery by conquering peoples.
This sense development arose in the consequence of the wars waged by Otto the Great and his successors against the Slavs, a great number of whom they took captive and sold into slavery. [Klein]
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You know you could have googled this, right?
Here’s the link: Online Etymology Dictionary
late 14c., Sclave, from Medieval Latin Sclavus (c.800), from Byzantine Greek Sklabos (c.580), from Old Church Slavonic Sloveninu “a Slav,” probably related to slovo “word, speech,” which suggests the name originally identified a member of a speech community (compare Old Church Slavonic Nemici “Germans,” related to nemu “dumb;” Greek heterophonos “foreign,” literally “of different voice;” and Old English þeode, which meant both “race” and “language”).
Identical with the -slav in personal names (such as Russian Miroslav, literally “peaceful fame;” Mstislav “vengeful fame;” Jaroslav “famed for fury;” Czech Bohuslav “God’s glory;” and see Wenceslas). Spelled Slave c. 1788-1866, influenced by French and German Slave. As an adjective from 1876.
It is actually vice versa.
The connection between Slav and slave based on 9th and 10th-century slave trade by the Muslims and Germans respectively. Slav, or variations, has been used since about the 6th century, long before there was any war connected to them being taken as captives or slaves. Also, considering there was a time when the Slavic empire was the aggressor and taking over other lands, and thus those people; Slavs would not be considered slaves but masters. Greek history notes where they were raided by the Slavs, who took them as slaves, frequently.
Since in the latter part of European history, the Slavs fell to other conquerors, the act of being a captive or slave became associated with Slav. It is the word sclave or sclavos that started the connection, the word slave coming around the 1500s.
The slaviti of “Slav” does not come from slava-n; “glory” or “glorious”. It comes from “to glorify God.”
The Romans defined a certain group of tribes (Illyrian or Slavic – matter of “official history” dispute) as “Slavs” by their common pagan worship of family’s patron-God.
I guess one woud have to go back in time and see how people had percieved other people… or in our case how would a Roman call someone calling oneself in order for the Roman to facilitate himself a differentiation. I can suppose that religious identification was perhaps the most important back then. Yes, the Romans were practical, but not that practical to name an adjacent group of people by some economic need, especially when knowing that the people from that region themselves were full citizens of the Roman Empire. Otherwise, they would have called “slaves” just about everyone.
No. Slavic is the adjective for the proper noun Slav. The word slave comes from the word Slav.
From the Online Etymology Dictionary:
“late 13c., ‘person who is the chattel or property of another,’ from Old French esclave (13c.), from Medieval Latin Sclavus ‘slave’ (source also of Italian schiavo, French esclave, Spanish esclavo), originally ‘Slav;’ so used in this secondary sense because of the many Slavs sold into slavery by conquering peoples.”
The same website says that Slav goes back to Old Church Slavonic, “probably related to slovo ‘word, speech,’ which suggests the name originally identified a member of a speech community.”
Too much disinformation here.
First of all it’s not “Slav”. That’s the English term.
The original word is “Sloven”. It comes from the word “sloviti” which means “to speak”. That’s how Slavs refered to themselves, since they could speak to one another. Outsiders they would call “Nemac” (used for Germans today) from the word “nem”, which means “mute”, as in you can’t speak to them. Like the Greeks using “barbarian” for all outsiders.
If the word slave came from Slav, that would be ironic, since looking at history – the Slavs had the tendency of annihilating anyone that tried to enslave them.
Ancient Romans gave names to all surrounding Barbarians and this habit continued till the fall of Constantinople.
They had slaves and it would be highly unlikely to equate their slaves with some god-forsaken tribe.
A quick look at Wikipedia and the Online Etymology Dictionary tells us that, yes, “slave” indeed comes from the ethnonym Slav.
It comes from the Medieval French esclave and the Latin sclavus, both meaning “slave”, which comes from Slav, as Otto the Great and his successors took captives in huge numbers and bound them to labour in medieval times.