South Slavs

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The South Slavs are the southern branch of the Slavic peoples and speak South Slavic languages. Geographically, the South Slavs are native to the Balkan peninsula, the southern Pannonian Plain and the eastern Alps. Numbering close to 40 million, the South Slavs include the following ethnic groups: Bulgarians, Serbs, Croats, Macedonians, Slovenes, Bosniaks, Montenegrins and other miniature ethnic groups. They are the main population of the European countries: Bulgaria, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia and one of two constituent nations of Kosovo.


Early accounts

Little is known about the Slavs before the 5th century. Their history prior to this can only be tentatively hypothesized via archeological and linguistic studies. Much of what we know about their history after the 6th century is from the works of Byzantine historians.

In his work De Bellis, Procopius portrays the Slavs as unusually tall and strong, with a tan complexion and reddish-blonde hair, living a rugged and primitive life. They lived in huts, often distant from one another and often changed their place of abode. They were not ruled by a single leader, but for a long time lived in a "democracy" (i.e. anarchy). John of Ephesus, in his Ecclesiastical History portrays the Slavs as extremely violent people.John of Ephesus, Ecclesiastical History, VI. 25, 6th century AD: "That same year, being the third after the death of king Justin, was...
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