The Gothic theory of the ethno-genesis of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian muslims was "last" officially propagated during WWII, mostly by some local muslim leaders, like Uzeir-aga Hadžihasanović, Mustafa Softić and Nedžad-beg Sulejmanpašić. It is belived that it was these autonomists who in an anonymous memorandum of november 1, 1942 asked Adolf Hitler to extract the Bosnian-Herzegovinian lands from the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) and integrate them directly into the Third German Reich granting autonomy to Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, the theory is still in use among Bosniaknationalistic circles, but also of modern Bosniak intellectuals, historians and philosophers, like Ibrahim Pašić, Muhamed Filipović, Besim Spahić and Nurija Agić. The Bosnian muslims authors of the memorandum from 1942 claimed that their ancestors were not Slavs, but rather Goths, and that they had come from the north to the Balkans in the 3th century C.E. as a Germanic tribe named "Bosni". Heinrich Himmler also fantasized that there was a fanatical, blind obedience in the Bosniaks. He thought that muslim men would make perfect SS soldiers as Islam "promises them Heaven if they fight and are killed in action." As for their ethnic background and SS requirements, the widely accepted belief that the Bosniaks were in fact descendants of 5th century Goths was even supported by Himmler as well as Bosniak autonomists. It was the Germans that later coined the name "Musulgermanen"
) due to their unique situation. There were plans made that, in the event of a Nazi victory, units such as Handschar and Kama and the other Eastern European Divisions (Latvians etc) would release 'Germanic' ones like Totenkopft from their concentration camp duties. Also the German SS-Hauptamt
Gottlob Berger subscribed the theory of Gothic origin of Bosnian muslims in "Weltenschaulich geisitge Erziehung der muselmanischen SS-division",
where he described Bosniaks, in fallow way: "The muhammedans of Bosnia belongs racially to the Germanic and culturally to the Oriental peoples
". In their memorandum, the Bosnian muslim authors do not say explicitly on which concrete historiographic arguments they base their view. Perhaps they had in mind the 12th century manuscript in Latin, Sclavorum Regnum: The Chronicle of the Priest of Dioclea
(Presbyter Diocleas), which seems to incorporate in itself an earlier chronicle Libellus Gothorum
(the book of the Goths). The chronicle Sclavorum Regnum
indeed portrays a 600-years genealogy, connecting some Dioclean and first Bosnian rulers and dukes with the Gothic king Totila. Analogously, in the work a generalization is made and South Slavs are presented as an offspring of the Goths. However, let us note here a very important theoretical point, namely, that the ethno-genesis of an entire people was devolped through the assumed ethno-genesis of their medieval rulers. Exploring this historical source, Bosnian historian Muhamed Hadžijahić also agrees (in his book; Povijest Bosne u IX i X stoljeću
) that the fact that the Latin version of the Chronicle of the Priest of Dioclea
i.e., Regnum Sclavorum (The kingdom of Slavs)
includes in itself Libellus Gothorum (The book of the Goths)
reflects medieval beliefes about the Gothic heritage of the medieval Bosnian rulers. There are some other peculiar circumstances that perhaps ought to be cited in connection with the persistent arguments advanced by the "Gothicists". Both Tvrtko and Stjepan Tomašević (King Stephen of Bosnia)
placed curiously ornate Gothic letters beneath the Bosnian crown and coat of arms. On many shields found in Bosnia, and which antedate the Moslem conquest, the typical device represented is that of the moon and star, the design which appears on the shield of Theodoric and other Ostrogothic kings, as well as on the mosaics that date from the period of Ostrogothic rule at Ravenna. Also there is to be found on many of the oldest Bosnian gravestones shields with this same device which was so popular among the Ostrogoths. The German consul at Sarajevo in the last century was inspired by the noted historian, Theodor Mommsen, to undertake a study of Bosnian antiquities. He deduced a definite connection between the strange appearing Bosnian tombstones and the Ostrogoths who ruled Bosnia and worked its mines from the latter part of the fifth to at least the middle of the sixth century. Muhamed Hadžijahić also explains that the name "Goths" was frequently pejoratively used by the Roman population of the coastal Dalmatian cities as referring to the people of rural continental areas of Dalmatia, i.e., of early and late medieval Bosnian territories. Even in the 15th century the ladies of Dubrovnik used to depreciatively call their mates from inland (Bosnia) gotice
(Gothic women). In medieval times it was common to call countries with their old names and medieval historians knew very well that between 490 and 535 C.E. the whole Bosnia had been under the control of Theodoric the Great and his Ostrogothic kingdom. Dr. G. Rus, a professor at the University of LiubIjana, after the war of 1914, undertook a detailed study of Croatian origins (including the origins of Bosnian muslims). Rus considered that he had proved that there were two Gothic migrations into Bosnia and Dalmatia. The group ruled by Ostroilo survived the collapse of the Gothic state in Italy and received an accretion of strength from the Ostrogothic masses who left Italy between 453 and 455 to avoid submitting to the Byzantine power. He regarded the coming of the Slavs in the seventh century, as related by Constantine Porphyrogenitus "De administrando imperio
", as a second migration of slavicized Goths from the Vistula area.Archaelogical excavations and studies carried out a later date in Bosnia, around Duvno, Delmin, valley of the Neretva river and at Breza near Sarajevo, provided new evidence of the identity between the Bosniaks and Ostrogoths.
Besides Sclavorum Regnum,
there are other historical sources indicating the same. Thus, for instance, a letter dated from may 14, 1432 sent from the Dubrovnik (Republic of Ragusa) City Council to their emissaries in Bosnia, mentiones the Bosnian medieval ruler, Stjepan Kotroman (ruled 1287-1314), as a Goth. In addition to the above-mentioned letter, the work Il regno degli Slavi
(1601) by the Venetian historian Mavro Orbini (d.1614) also mentiones Stjepan Kotroman as Cotromano Tadesco (Kotroman the German).
It is believed that he was the son of a German nobleman in the service of German knight Gotfrid
, founder of the family Kelad who went to strengthen Hungarian hold in Bosnia in 1162 or 1163. This German nobleman co-signed the edicts for Bosnia in the Split Church in 1163 with Hungarian King Stephen IV. Apparently, the Hungarian King Stephen III invited him to place him as a regional ruler in Hungary's name because of his ancestor's successes. Kotroman ruled as a vassal of this King. The Dubrovnik Archives from the 15th century refer to him as "Cotrumano Goto", i.e Kotroman the Goth. Kotroman might have been the son of Bosnian Ban Prijezda I. Another piece of evidence often used by the German and Austrian scholars to prove the Germanic heritage of the Bosnian Kotromans is the similarities between the heraldic insignias of the Kotromans and the Styrian Schärfenberg dinasty. The third piece of evidence for the Germanic hypothesis of the Kotromans heritage is the existence of the toponym "Kotrou" in the Austrian province Styria from where (according to many Austrian historians) the ancestors of the Bosnian medieval dinasty Kotromanić could stem. There is noted in Chronica Ragusina
that "Bosnia is a Gothic land
" and that Kotroman Got
married "dobra Elisalda
", whotook refuge in Dubrovnik for their three sons, one of which (Vladislav) was the grandfather of theBosnian king Tvrtko II Kotromanić. Although it is generally held that Stephen Kotroman,founder of the Bosnian royal family Kotromanić, it is very likely that Bosnia was ruled bymembers of the same ruling house long before him. Stephen Kotroman predecessors, BanPrijezda and Ban Matej Ninoslav were also members of the same royal house or dynasty, andBan Ninoslav explicitly says that his ancestors had ruled Bosnia "from antiquity." In the chronicle it is also mentioned that the friendship between the Republic of Dubrovnik and Bosnian royal dinasty "has been ongoing since Kotroman Goth
." A source from the year 1432 says that theancestor of the Bosnian King Tvrtko II Kotromanić was Kotroman Got
. This source is not isolated and not supplemented only by Mavro Orbini, but it confirms the very strong interferenceof Gothic ethnic elements in the Mile - the major throne of the Bosnian church. In fact, it is ageneral royal Illyrian-Gothic symbiosis whose beginnings conceive in late antiquity. This is vitalto note that in the year 1355, sources confirmed the name of the onomastic context in which thefather of a Kotroman was called "Goimir", which is again the name of Gothic origin. The term(etymology) "Kotroman" roots in the coin, which consists of three Germanic words; "Kur(Fürst)-tro-man
", which freely translated means "the commissioner of the king
is the aristocratic title that belongs in the highest rank of nobility - from where the election of the king is reduced.
It is alleged that the "arian heresy" of the first half of XI century was in use as a label for neo-manichaeism, which were in XII. century specifically referred as Cathars
. The possibility that the Bosnian Church dates from the arianism (also called the Germanic christianity)
, indirectly could lead some sources who mention the arian heresy in the neighborhood of medieval Bosnia. In XII. first century Serbian King Stephen (Stefan), in his letter "Žitije svetog Simeona"
describes how his father Stefan Nemanja, had destroyed arian heresy in the last decades of the XII. century. Čremošnik states that no one can doubt that thuse persecuted heretics were in fact remnants of Germans, mostly Goths, who remained in the Balkans within the borders of the Eastern Roman Empire. Archdeacon of Split (Thomas Archidiaconus Spalatensis) also the heresy of the medieval Bosniaks associates in his chronicle Historia Salonitana
with the Gothic arians - with it he connects the letter (Goticas litteras)
and worship in the Slavic language. Bosnian governors, and later kings, were the highest political leaders of Bosnia's land and closely linked with the Bosnian medieval church, which is associated with a similar relationship in the former arian states. However, the Bosnian rulers and provincial lords often sweard in the presence of christians in 318 fathers of Nicea, and these fathers had in the year 325, condemned "unfaithful" arianism. Arian origin of the Bosnian church also indicates the letter by the Ragusian dominican Ivan Stojković at the church council of the catholic church in Basel, Juny, 10 year 1434: "in the grace of God, we have finally revealed a great opportunity for addressing the whole Bosnian kingdom, which is over three hundred years infected by manichean heresy and arianism ..." "... Offertur facilis occasio reductionis regni de Bosne quod iam a trecentis annis et ultra infectum heresi manicheorum et arianorum..."
During the whole medieval period in Bosnia, many military campaigns, by the Hungarians was disseminated against the Bosnian heretics and the Bosnian faith. The crusade army of Hungarian king Sigismund were totaly defeated in 1405. Sigismund did not come to terms with defeat, and soon began preparing for a new attack. In the name of support, the Pope Gregory XII, writes in 9th November 1407 the letter to Sigismund of Luxemburg (Holy Roman Emperor) where he calls Sigismund in war against the heresy: "sending the christian crusaders in the name of the Lord, against the Turks and heresy of arianism and manichaeism"(...).
The soursces by the Pope Gregory XII of the "the heresy of the arianism and manichaeism
", unambiguously defines the Bosnian heretics, and the Bosnian church.
The association of early christian and late antique basilics in Bosnia and the Goths proves byGermain Morin in one of his text from year 1932, that in VI and VII century in some of the"Illyrian"
or Bosnian municipalities they still gradients ceremonies of the three Gothic martyrs, such as "Hildaevora, Vihila (Juhila) and Theogenes". After the death of Theodoric, and during the Gothic war, and the conflict between Theodoric's daughter Amalasuntha and Teodahad (king of the Ostrogoths between 534 to 536) - as written by Procopius, many Gothic supporters of Amlasuntha, maked a huge part of the Byzantine army and Justinian. In this regard, Čremošnik believes that these events would enforced huge Gothic ethnic elements in Bosnia. After the murder of Amalasuntha, Theoderics daughter and heiress, in 535, strife arose over the former Gothic possessions in Dalmatia. Emperor Justinianus (527-565) succeeded in 536 to incorporate Dalmatia in the East Roman empire. The Goths, under their new king Vitigis (536-540), fought a battle against Justinianus and recaptured Salona. In the meantime, the Dalmatian borders were left unwatched. The chrisitan church in Bosnia was first mentioned under the Latin name of Ecclesia Bosniensis
(or bistuensis, boestoensis
) year 530-533 on the church council in Salona, where the bishop Andrew signed the acts of the church councils. It is belived that the seat of the church municipiality where in Mošunj, near Bistua Nova (nowdays Zenica), at the time when Bosnia still was ruled by the Ostrogoths. In the chronicle Historia Salonitana
by Archdeacon of Split (Thomas the Archdeacon), it is mentioned about "some priest, named Ulfus
" and his "bishop
" Cedded, in the village of Moštre (central Bosnia). It has been discussed in the chronicle that Ulfus (Ulfo)
was a teacher Ceded's teacher (magister nequitie
). That had been associated, that the Ulfus was hypocoristics of Ulfila
, which is in fact Wulfila, The information from Thomas the Archdeacon would refer to Wulfila - the spiritual leader of the arian Goths. Lujo Margetić sees the heterodoxy of Bosnian Christians whose roots are in quasi-arianism, in the debate between Roman Catholics and Patarenes where Hereticus says that: "Our faith was the same as in Rome, until the time (the Pope) Sylvester I, who was our teacher and then (from it) falled off." - From which it is evident that the Bosnian Hereticus connects heterodoxy of Bosnian Christians with the Arius battle with Synods of the first council of Nicaea, year 327 - just from the time of Pope Sylvester.
Many historians believe, through the medieval sources that Germanic origin of Bosniaks can also be traced back to the 6th and 7th century's Slavic migration in Bosnia. Greek and Roman writers (Homer, Herodotus, Tacitus, Pliny) used names Henetoi, Uenetoi, Enetoi
and Veneti for Slavs. Several more synonyms developed later: Vinidi, Venedi, Vinedi, Winidi, Wendische, Windische
. Within its pages are many references to Veneti in relation to Slavs. Here are a few examples, “Fredegarii Chronicon
(year 623) uses the name Winidi
for Slavs, "Sclavi coinomento Winidi’",
also ‘Venetii’ and ‘Vinidi,’ even ‘Vandali
’ and ‘gens Wandalorum
,’ their land is named ‘marca Winidorum’
” - which is reffered as Germanic tribe of Vandals. Slovenian Prince Valuk is “Walucus dux Winedorum
". There is also the often-cited equation of Slavs with the Veneti/Vandals by the author of Vitae S. Columbani, where he speaks about the “land of Veneti who are also called Slavs"
(Termini Venetiorum qui et Sclavi dicuntur
). It is also mentioned that "Sclauoni hodie, vandali antiquitus fuerant
", which means that "Vandal is the old name for the Slavs
". However, according to Muhamed Hadžijahić, the Slavic version clearly indicates migrations of Slavs - according to him specifically Normano-Slavs. Like Novaković, Hadžijahić also belivies that there were at least four migrations of the Slavs at the south, among theme there were also some third migration of Normano-Slavs (Russian Varangians) between 820-829, and some Moravian Slavs who came in the forth migrations (902-906), as a "large mass
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