Monday, July 12, 2021

Polish Treasure Hunter Unearths Remnants of Muslim and Viking Trade in Slavic Slaves (Maybe)


Credit...Maciek Nabrdalik for The New York Times

The word for "slave" in all the major European languages (I think) comes from the word for "Slav." 

Slavic people have a very different approach to their ancestral role as slaves than do African Americans. I'm unaware of any demand for reparations or even pity. In fact I've never heard a Slavic person broach the topic of their ancestors' enslavement. I've never heard a Slavic person express any hostility whatsoever towards Scandinavians, Jews, or Muslims, for their role in the enslavement of Slavic people. It just never comes up. 

Saint Adalbert of Prague pleads with Boleslaus II, Duke of Bohemia, for the release of Christians slaves by their masters, Jewish merchants, Gniezno Door ca. 1170
Mathiasrex, Maciej Szczepańczyk

The New York Times reports that a Polish treasure hunter has discovered some coins that may reflect Poland as a source of slaves during the Middle Ages. 

The Vikings played a major role as intermediaries in a brutal business fed by a voracious appetite for slaves from Europe among wealthy Muslims in the Middle East and later Central Asia. Silver coins found previously in the area have mostly been Arab dirhams, used by Muslim merchants to pay for human chattel.

Full story here


  1. I believe that Polish princes 'exported' Slaves.

  2. German Bishop of Magdeburg was an important trader.


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