Novgorod Slavs

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Jewellery of Novgorod Slovenes

The Novgorod Slavs, Slovenes or Ilmen Slavs (Russian: Ильменские слове́не, Il'menskiye slovene) were the northernmost tribe of the Early East Slavs, which inhabited the shores of Lake Ilmen and the basin of the rivers of Volkhov, Lovat, Msta, and the upper stream of the Mologa River in the 8th to 10th centuries. The Slovenes were native to the region around Novgorod.[1]

Like all Eastern Slavs in Russian lands or in today's Russia the Ilmen Slavs had own characteristics. The Ilmen Slavs were also related to the Polabian Slavs in language and traditions (see old Novgorod dialect and Gostomysl for examples). They settled mostly Finnic areas in Northern Russia, moving along the major waterways, until they met the southward expansion of the Krivich in the modern-day Yaroslavl Oblast.

They left a few archaeological monuments of the 6th–8th centuries, such as agricultural settlements and tall cone-like kurgans with cremated bodies in the Ladoga region. The most ancient settlement is dated to the 7th or 8th century. Numerous archaeological finds, such as a metal tip for a wooden plough, indicate that the Ilmen Slavs had a well-developed agriculture.

They were not a particularly warlike state, but evidence of their unique weaponry, dated back to mid-8th century, has been found around the city of Novgorod. The weaponry consisted of spears, maces, swords, bows, javelins and even some war hammers. It appears that they fought aggressive warfare designed to push their enemies out of their lands, rather than destroy them utterly.[citation needed]

The principal cities of the Ilmen Slavs were Staraya Russa and Novgorod, which had developed in the 9th–10th centuries. The land of the Ilmen Slavs later became the center of the Novgorod Republic.

According to Wladyslaw Duczko, it is unlikely there was Slavic presence around Ladoga Lake pre-dating the 10th century.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Franklin, Simon. (1996). The emergence of Rus, 750-1200. Shepard, Jonathan. London: Longman. p. 38. ISBN 0582490901. OCLC 33665124.
  2. ^ Wladyslaw Duczko (1 January 2004). Viking Rus: Studies on the Presence of Scandinavians in Eastern Europe. BRILL. pp. 132–. ISBN 90-04-13874-9.