- Polans (eastern)
The Polans ( _ua. Поляни, "Polyany", _ru. Поляне, "Polyane") were a
tribeof Early East Slavsbetween the 6th and the 9th century, which inhabited both sides of the Dnieper riverfrom Liubechto Rodniaand also down the lower streams of the rivers Ros', Sula, Stuhna, Teteriv, Irpin', Desna and Pripyat. The name derives from the Old East Slavic languageword "поле" or "поляна" (polyana), which means “field”) because the Polans used to settle in the open fields. Polans played a key role in the formation of Ukrainian ethnicity. It was through this tribe that Ukrainiansconsolidated into a nation.
The land of the Polans was at the crossroads of territories, belonging to different Eastern Slavic tribes, such as
Drevlyans, Radimichs, Drehovians and Severiansand connected them all with water arteries. An important trade routecalled the Road from Varangians to Greekspassed through the land of the Polans and connected Northern Europewith the Black Seaand the Byzantine Empire. It had long been the territory of Scythians, Goths (Ostrogoths), especially at Danapirstadir (city at the Danapir, by later Slav arrivals called Kiev) and by Varangians.
In 9th and
10th centurythe Polans had a well-developed arable land farming, cattle-breeding, hunting, fishing, wild-hive beekeepingand various handicrafts such as blacksmith, casting, pottery, jewelers art etc. Thousands of pre- Polans kurgans, found by the archaeologists in the Polan region, indicate that that land had a high population density. They lived in small families in semi dug-outs (“earth-houses”) and wore homespun clothes and modest jewelry. Before converting to Christianity, the inhabitants used to burn their dead and erect kurgan-like embankments over them.
9th century, the Polans were ruled by the Khazarsand had to pay tribute to them. In the 860s, the Varangiansarrived and organized a few successful military campaigns against the Byzantine Empire, the Pechenegsand the Polochans. In the 880s, the land of the Polans was conquered by Oleg of Novgorodand would become the centre and the driving force of the Rus statehood.
The biggest cities of the Polans were
Kiev, Pereyaslav, Rodnia, Vyshhorod, Bіlhorod (now Bilohorodkavillage at Irpinriver), Kaniv. In the 10th century, the term "Polans" was virtually out of use and exchanged for "Rus". The Polans as a tribe were last mentioned in a chronicleof 944.
Chronicles repeatedly note that socio-economic relations in the Polan communities were highly developed compared to the neighboring tribes. The chronicalized legends name the Polans as the s of the
Kievan Rus'and founders of Kiev (see Kyi, Schek and Khoryv), making them the tribe that had contributed the most to the development of the Rus statehood.
One can wonder whether it is just a coincidence that, also around that time (by 960), the Western Polans first appear and leaders accepting ducal titles from the
Ottonianemperors, contributed the most to the development of the state of Poland. Some speculate that the first Polish dynasty, the Piasts, were also of Varangian origin.
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