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INTRODUCTION.

In the middle of the seventh century, a number of Slavonian tribes stretched themselves along the Sava and the Danube, down to the Black Sea, and founded, at different times, no less than six separate kingdoms, those of Bulgaria, Croatia, Servia, Bosnia, Slavonia, and Dalmatia; under the name Srb, the four last of these nations must be considered as comprised. Their earlier history it is not easy to trace. Slavonian writers are disposed to represent the Maestidae, who made an incursion into Italy during the age of Claudius Tacitus (A.D. 276), as synonymous with the Sarmatae; and Kopitar (a high authority) has gathered much evidence to prove that the dialect spoken in the district to the east of Sparta is of Slavonic origin. Leake has remarked, that many of the names of places in the Morea are Slavonian,—Kastanika, Sitina, Gorica, and others. In the neighbourhood of Spartais a town called 2^Aaeo%wf1, and it is notorious, that the language of several of the islands of the Grecian Archipelago, Hydra for example, is Slavonic. The original meaning of the word Srb, it is not

easy to fix. Some derive it from Srp, a sickle; others from Sibir, Sever, the north; others from Sarmat, or Sarmatian; some from the Latin Servus; but Dobrowsky says, "Significatum radicis Srb, consultis etiam dialectis omnibus, nondum licuit eruere l." In the year 640, the Servians built, with the permission of Heraclius, the city of Servica, on the banks of the Danube. Little can be traced of their history till, under Vlastimir, at the end of the ninth century, they were the tributaries of the Greeks. At this period, they appear to have been engaged in wars with the Bulgarians, whom they subdued. At the be

1 Instit. Ling. Slav. p. 154. ginning of the 11th century, Vladimir assumed the title of king of Servia. Afterwards, during the reign of Tzedomil, the Servians acknowledged the Roman authority, and leagued themselves with its emperors against Comnenus the Grecian monarch, in consequence of which Comnenus marched upon Servia (in 1151), subdued its inhabitants, and led their leader Tzedomil into captivity. The submission of the latter obtained his release; but the Servians, impatient of foreign control, made another attempt to free themselves, but were defeated on the banks of the Morava, by Isaac Angelos, in 1192, when Stephen Nemana was proclaimed monarch, with the title of Despot. His successor, Ste

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