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Abstract

The paper attempts to approach some peculiarities of the two branches of the early Slavs (Sclaveni and Antes), as the Byzantine sources of the sixth and early seventh centuries present them as being similar. Within this context the following are examined: a) the origin and ethnic identity of the Sclaveni and the Antes, taking into account certain historiographical models on the early Slavs, as well as the controversial issue of the ethnic identity of the Antes (Slavic or Iranian) and the etymology of their name; b) the material culture: under consideration are the Prague and Penkovka cultures, identifi ed with the Sclaveni and the Antes respectively, their common elements and peculiarities, their mutual infl uences as well as infl uences from other cultures; c) the political and social organization: the internal structures of the Sclaveni and the Antes, taking into account the testimony of Jordanes, Procopius and Maurice, the references in other sources to the titles of chieftains, or a kind of genealogy into the early Slavic society, as well as the treaty of Byzantium with the tribal union of the Antes are under scrutiny. The paper draws the conclusion that the Sclaveni and the Antes shared similarities, but actually were not one and the same at all, as it appears in the Byzantine sources. Furthermore, the peculiarities that appear the political-social organization and the material culture of the Antes, due to their historical and cultural evolution, are not of a degree that could dispute their Slavic ethnic and cultural identity.
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