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Samo's Empire

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Title: Samo's Empire  
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Subject: Carantania, History of the Czech lands, History of Slovakia, Czech Republic, Battle of Wogastisburg
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Samo's Empire

Samo's Empire

Borders of the Slav territories under the King Samo's rule in 631.
Capital Moravia
Languages Proto-Slavic
Religion Slavic polytheism
Chalcedonian Christianity
Government Monarchy
Historical era Early Middle Ages
 •  Victory against Dagobert I 631
 •  Death of King Samo 658
Today part of  Austria
 Czech Republic

Samo's Empire is the historiographical name[A] for the Slavic tribal union established by king (rex) Samo, that existed between 631 and 658. The centre of the union was most likely in Moravia, while the union included Silesia, Bohemia, Lusatia and Carantania.


  • Territory 1
    • Assessment by Richard Marsina 1.1
  • Prelude 2
  • History 3
  • Aftermath 4
  • Legacy 5
  • Annotations 6
  • References 7
  • Sources 8


It is generally believed that the tribal union included the regions of Moravia, Silesia, Bohemia, Lusatia and Carinthia.

According to Julius Bartl, the centre of the polity lay "somewhere in the area of southern Moravia, Lower Austria, and western Slovakia".[1]

According to J. B. Bury, "the assumption that his kingdom embraced Carantania, the country of the Alpine Slavs, rests only upon the Anonymus de conversione Bagariorum et Carantanorum".[2]

Assessment by Richard Marsina

Archaeological findings indicate that the empire was situated in present-day

  • Curta, Florin (2001). The Making of the Slavs: History and Archaeology of the Lower Danube Region, c.500–700. Cambridge University Press. pp. 109, 331.  
Secondary sources
Primary sources


  1. ^ Július Bartl (January 2002). Slovak History: Chronology & Lexicon. Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers. pp. 18–.  
  2. ^ J.B. Bury. The Cambridge Medieval History Series volumes 1-5. Plantagenet Publishing. pp. 712–. GGKEY:G636GD76LW7. 
  3. ^ a b c d Marsina 1997, p. 18
  4. ^ a b c d e Curta 2001, p. 109.
  5. ^ Curta 2001, p. 330.
  6. ^ a b c Curta 2001, p. 331.
  7. ^ Radovi 8–9. Institut. 1976. Ta sve što znamo o Samu i Slavenima u Samovu regnumu znamo jedino po Fredegaru kao primarnom povijesnom vrelu. Iznoseći neke detalje koji se datiraju sa 631. god. Fredegar spominje »marca Vinedorum«, Wallucus-dux Winedorum, ... 
  8. ^ Manfred Hellmann (1988). Beiträge zur Geschichte des Östlichen Europa im Mittelalter: gesammelte Aufsätze. Hakkert. Wesentlich älter als die Herrschaftsbildung Mojmirs ist der „Staat" der Karan- taner Slaven unter dem Wallucus, dux Winedorum. Dieser spielte bereits zur Zeit Samos eine Rolle und schloß sich dem Großreich des fränkischen Kaufmannes ... 
  9. ^ Kronika tzv. Fredegara scholastika
  10. ^ Curta 2001, pp. 109, 331.
  11. ^ Curta 2001, p. 343.
  12. ^ Scientific Society of Polish Archaeologists; Instytut Archeologii i Etnologii (Polska Akademia Nauk) (1997). Origins of Central Europe. Scientific Society of Polish Archaeologists. p. 42.  
  13. ^ Maddalena Betti (24 October 2013). The Making of Christian Moravia (858-882): Papal Power and Political Reality. BRILL. pp. 18–.  
  14. ^ Zdeněk Váňa (1983). The World of the Ancient Slavs. Wayne State University Press. p. 67. 
  15. ^ Fredegar, IV, 68
    Etiam et Dervanus dux gente Surbiorum, que exgenere Sclavinorum erant et ad regnum Francorum iam olem aspecserant, se ad regnum Samonem cum suis tradedit
  16. ^ Aimonus Floriacensis (1602). Libri quinque de gestis Francorum. A. & H. Drovart. p. 17. 


  1. ^ The Chronicle of Fredegar calls the polity "Kingdom of Samo" or "Samo's Kingdom" (regnum Samonem);[15] in 17th-century Latin works the polity was called "Samo's Slavic Kingdom" or "Slav Kingdom of Samo" (Samonem Sclauorum Regem[16]).


The polity has been called the first Slavic state.[13][14]


Great Moravia is viewed of as a continuation[12] or successor state to Samo's Empire.

The history of the tribal union after Samo's death in 658 or 659 is largely unclear; it is generally assumed that it ended. Archaeological findings show that the Avars returned to their previous territories (at least to southernmost modern Slovakia) and entered into a symbiosis with the Slavs, whereas territories to the north of the Avar Khaganate were purely Slav territories. The first specific thing that is known about the fate of these Slavs and Avars is the existence of Moravian and Nitrian principalities in the late 8th century that were attacking the Avars, and the defeat of the Avars by the Franks under Charlemagne in 799 or 802–03, after which the Avars quickly ceased to exist.


In 641, the rebellious Radulf sought an alliance with Samo against his sovereign, Wendish identity by speaking on behalf of the community which recognised his authority.[11]

The most famous event of Samo's career was his victory over the Frankish royal army under Dagobert I in 631 or 632. Provoked to action by a "violent quarrel in the Pannonian kingdom of the Avars or Huns", Dagobert led three armies against the Wends, the largest being his own Austrasian army.[4] The Franks were routed near Wogastisburg, the majority of the besieging armies were slaughtered, while the rest of the troops fled, leaving weapons and other equipment lying on the ground. In the aftermath of the Wendish victory, Samo invaded Frankish Thuringia several times and undertook looting raids there.[9] Dervan, the "duke of the Sorbs" (dux gente Surbiorum que ex genere Sclavinorum), initially subordinate to the Franks, joined the Slavic tribal union after Samo defeated Dagobert I.[10] The Sorbs lived to the east of the Saxon Saale. Dervan participated in the subsequent wars against the Franks, successfully fighting against the Thuringii (631-34), until he was finally defeated by Radulf of Thuringia in 636.


In 630–31, Valuk, the "duke of the Wends" was mentioned (Wallucus dux Winedorum).[7] These Wends referred to the Slavs of the Windic March, which according to some historians was the later March of Carinthia (in Slovenia). Valuk had likely left the Frankish Empire and joined Samo.[8]

According to Fredegar, Samo, a Frankish merchant, went to the Slavs in c. 623-624.[4] The dating has been questioned on the basis that the Wends would have most likely rebelled after the defeat of the Avars at the First Siege of Constantinople in 626.[4] The Avars first arrived in the Pannonian Basin and subdued the local Slavs in the 560s. Samo may have been one of the merchants who supplied arms to the Slavs for their regular revolts. Whether he became king during a revolt of 623–24 or during the one which inevitably followed the Avar defeat in 626, he definitely took advantage of the latter to solidify his position.[4] A string of victories over the Avars proved his usefulness to his subjects and secured his election as rex (king).[5] Samo went on to secure his throne by marriage into the major Wendish families, wedding at least twelve women and fathering twenty-two sons and fifteen daughters.[6]


[3].Slovaks there is no historical evidence of any connection between Samo's kingdom and the ethnogenesis of the [3] and furthermore since we don't have any concrete records from the following 150 years,[3]

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