Names of the Serbs and Serbia Information
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Names of the Serbs and Serbia are terms and other designations referring to general terminology and nomenclature on the Serbs ( Serbian: Срби/Srbi, pronounced [sr̩̂biː]) and Serbia ( Serbian: Србија/Srbija, pronounced [sř̩bija]). Throughout history, various endonyms and exonyms have been used in reference to ethnic Serbs and their lands. Basic terms, used in Serbian language, were introduced via classical languages ( Greek and Latin) into other languages, including English. The process of interlingual transmission began during the early medieval period, and continued up to the modern times, being finalized in major international languages at the beginning of the 20th century.
The ethnonym is mentioned in the Middle Ages as Cervetiis (Servetiis), gentis (S)urbiorum, Suurbi, Sorabi, Soraborum, Sorabos, Surpe, Sorabici, Sorabiet, Sarbin, Swrbjn, Servians, Sorbi, Sirbia, Sribia, Zirbia, Zribia, Suurbelant, Surbia, Serbulia / Sorbulia among others.  
There exist two prevailing theories on the origin of the ethnonym *Sŕbъ (plur. *Sŕby), one from a Proto-Slavic language and another from an Iranian-Sarmatian language.   Other derivations like from Old Indic sarbh- ("fight, cut, kill"), Latin sero ("make up, constitute"), and Greek siro (ειρω, "repeat") are considered as unreliable. 
- The most prevailing theory considers it of Proto-Slavic origin. According to Hanna Popowska-Taborska, who also argued native Slavic provenance of the ethnonym,  the theory advances a conclusion that the ethnonym has a meaning of a family kinship or alliance, and it is argued by Pavel Jozef Šafárik, Josef Perwolf, Aleksander Brückner, Franz Miklosich, Jan Otrębski, Heinz Schuster-Šewc, Grigoriĭ Andreevich Ilʹinskiĭ, J. J. Mikkola, Max Vasmer, Franciszek Sławski among others.  German-Sorbian scholar Schuster-Šewc listed the *srъb- / *sьrb- roots in Slavic words meaning "to sip, munch", found in Polish s(i)erbać, Russian сербать, etc., and also cognates in non-Slavic languages, such as Lithuanian suřbti, Middle German sürfen, which all derive from Indo-European onomatopoeic roots *serbh- / *sirbh- / *surbh- meaning "to sip, to breast-feed, to flow". According to him, the basis of the ethnonym lays in " kinship by milk" and "brotherhood in milk" which was widespread in early ethnic groups (between both relatives and non-relatives) and thus carried the secondary meanings of "those who belong to the same family, kinsman"; "member of the same kin, tribe"; and finally an ethnonym (name of a people, nation).  According to Vasmer's etymological dictionary, the root *sъrbъ is most probably connected with Russian paserb (пасерб, "stepson") and Ukrainian priserbitisya (присербитися, "join in") in the meaning of "alliance".  Zbigniew Gołąb similarly derived it from Proto-Indo-European in the meaning of "outgrowth, member of the family".   Stanisław Rospond derived the denomination of Srb from srbati ( cf. sorbo, absorbo),  and Proto-Indo-European base *serpłynąć as a possible reference to the humid areas inhabited by the same people, which was also argued by Stanisław Kozierowski. 
- Another theory considers it of Iranian origin.   Oleg Trubachyov derived it from Indo-Aryan *sar- (head) and *bai- (to hit),  or assumed Scythian form *serv that in Old Indian sarva has a meaning of "all" which has a semantic analogy in Germanic Alemanni.   There are also those like J. Nalepa who related the ethnonym of the Serbs and Croats, and Kazimierz Moszyński derived Slavic sьrbъ and Serboi (Σέρβοι) from Indo-European *ser-v- (to protect) which had an equivalent in classical Scythian language, *хаrv-, from which presumably derived the Slavic ethnonym *хṛvati (Croats).   However, this theory is rejected by Ukrainian scholars, and Russian linguists like Vyacheslav Ivanov and Vladimir Toporov, because the Serbs were unrelated to the East Slavs as well the origin and meaning of the Serbian ethnonym in the scholarship is deemed as clear and distant from the Croatian ethnonym. 
The earliest found mention of the Serbs in the Balkans is from Einhard's Royal Frankish Annals, written in 822, when prince Ljudevit went from his seat at Sisak to the Serbs (believed to have been somewhere in western Bosnia),    with Einhard mentioning "the Serbs, a people that is said to hold a large part of Dalmatia" ( lat. ad Sorabos, quae natio magnam Dalmatiae partem obtinere dicitur).   De Administrando Imperio, written by Byzantine emperor Constantine VII in the mid-10th century, tells of the early history of the Serbs. He mentions White Serbia (or Boiki) from where migrated the White Serbs. Furthermore, the emperor wrote that their name in the tongue of the Romans means a "servant" because of which the "serbula" means menial shoes while "tzerboulianoi" for those who wear poor man's footwear, and that the region or town of Servia (Serblia) near Thessaloniki received its name from the Serbs who once lived there,   but this derivation is a paraetymology as well as account's reliability is disputable. 
Some scholars argue that the Serb ethnonym is antique.  According to this theory, it is connected to the mentions of Tacitus in 50 AD, Pliny the Elder in 77 AD ( Naturalis Historia) and Ptolemy in his Geography 2nd century AD, of the Sarmatian tribe of Serboi of the North Caucasus and Lower Volga.  Đorđe Branković (1645–1711), in his Chronicles, wrote: "The Serbian name comes from the Savromat name, as Philipp Melanchthon testifies... According to a second version the Serbian name comes from the Sires people who used to live in the Asian part of Scythia. Among the Sires, wool grew in the same way as silk".  In 1878, Henry Hoyle Howorth connected Ptolemy's mention of the town of Serbinum (Σέρβινον), modern Gradiška, Bosnia and Herzegovina, to the Serbs, and also found the Serb ethnonym Cervetiis (Servetiis) in the works of Vibius Sequester.  In De Bello Gothico Procopius (500-565) uses the name Sporoi as an umbrella term for the Slavic tribes of Antes and Sclaveni, it is however not known whether the Slavs used this designation for themselves or he himself coined the term. It has been theorized by the older generation of scholars that the name is a corruption of the ethnonym Serbs,  as Sporoi may be identical with 'Sorpi=Serpi=Serbi' and 'Sclavini'. 
During the medieval and early modern period, several exonyms were used as designations for Serbs and Serbia.
- Rascia and Rasciani
Since the late 12th century, the term "Rascia" (sr. Рашка/Raška), with several variants (Rasscia, Rassia, Rasia, Raxia), was used as an exonym for Serbia in Latin sources, along with other names such as Servia, Dalmatia and Slavonia. It was derived from the town of Ras, a royal estate, and seat of an eparchy. The first attestation is in a charter from Kotor dated to 1186, in which Stefan Nemanja, the Grand Prince (1166–1196), is mentioned as " župan of Rascia". It was one of the common names for Serbia in western sources ( Papacy, Italian, German, French, etc.), often in conjunction with Serbia (Servia et Rascia). "Rascia" was never used in Byzantine works.
The term is often used in modern historiography to refer to the medieval "Serbian hinterland" or "inner Serbia", that is, the inland territories in relation to the maritime principalities at the Adriatic (the " Pomorje"). The term is attested since the late 12th century, but in historiography, the early medieval Serbian Principality is sometimes also called Raška (Rascia), erroneously (and anachronistically).  In DAI, the Serbian hinterland is called "baptized Serbia", while Ras is only mentioned as a border town.  The misconceptions arose from the much later Chronicle of the Priest of Duklja, that projected later terminology on earlier periods.  In historical reality of the early medieval period, the city of Ras became a local administrative center only in 970-975, when Byzantines created a short-lived Catepanate of Ras. In 1019, the Eparchy of Ras was organized,  with jurisdiction over eastern parts of inner Serbia, and thus the foundation was laid for gradual emergence of a regional name, derived from Ras. Retaking the city of Ras from Byzantines, local Serbian rulers made it one of their main seats, and since it was also a seat of a local bishop of Ras, it gradually became the most important center of inner Serbia.  By the end of the 12th century, term Raška (Rascia) became common designation for central parts of inner Serbia, and it was also used to designate the state centered in that region, namely the Serbian state of the Nemanjić dynasty.
Between the 15th and 18th centuries, the term ( Latin: Rascia, Hungarian: Ráczság) was used to designate the southern Pannonian Plain inhabited by Serbs, or " Rascians" ( Latin: Rasciani, Natio Rasciana, Hungarian: Rác(ok)), who had settled there following the Ottoman conquests and Great Serb migrations.
- Other medieval exonyms
- The Serbs were often called "Triballi" in Byzantine works.  The Triballi was an ancient Thracian tribe that inhabited the area of the Morava Valley in southern Serbia. They were last mentioned in the 3rd century. The educated Byzantine authors sought an ancient name for the Serbs, and adopted it as the most likely.  It was in use between the 11th and 15th century.
- In the Byzantine chronicle Alexiad, covering the 11th century (written in 1148), Anna Komnene mentions the Serbs by the names Sklaveni and Dalmati (Δαλμάται, Dalmatai), with Dalmatia starting from Kosovo and Metohija.  John Kinnamos, in his work covering 1118–76, wrote: "the Serbs, a Dalmatic (Dalmatian) tribe" ( Greek: Σέρβιοι, έθνος Δαλματικόν), thus using "Dalmat(ian)s" or "Dalmatic (Dalmatian) people" in the context of the Serbs, and "Dalmatia" in the context of Serbia. There are numerous other, less prominent, instances, poetic for example — Theodore Prodromus, Michael Italicus and the typikon of the Pantokrator monastery, among others.
- Early modern exonyms
- " Vlachs", referring to pastoralists, was a common exonym for Serbs in the Ottoman Empire and later.  The term "Vlachs" was also used for Slavs who shared lifestyle (as shepherds) with Romance peoples ( Vlachs); it was used for the Serbs who settled the Military Frontier.     Documents from 13th to the 15th century show that Vlachs (descendants of indigenous peoples) Serbs considered as "others" i.e. different from themselves.  Croatian nationalist historiography (including Ustashe propaganda ) claim that the settlers were not Serbs, but ethnic Vlachs, thus implying that Serbs of Croatia are not Serbs.  All South Slavic ethnic groups had some Romance ingredient, although there is no evidence that all or most Serbs in Croatia were of Vlach origin.  In Bosnia, Orthodox Christians were called "Vlachs", actually used as a synonym of "Serbs".  It was used as a derogatory term, and as a common name for Orthodox Serbs in Catholic lands, and lesser in the Ottoman Empire. Tihomir Đorđević (1868–1944), as did other academics, stressed that the name "Vlach" did not only refer to genuine Vlachs (Romance-speaking people), but also to cattle breeders in general.  Serbs that took refuge in the Habsburg Military Frontier were called "Vlachs" by the Croats.  In the work About the Vlachs (1806), Metropolitan Stevan Stratimirović stated that Roman Catholics from Croatia and Slavonia scornfully used the name "Vlach" for "the Slovenians (Slavs) and Serbs, who are of our, Eastern [Orthodox] confession", and that "the Turks (Muslims) in Bosnia and Serbia also call every Bosnian or Serbian Christian a Vlach".  That the name "Vlach" used to signify the Serbs is testified by Vuk Karadžić in his many recorded proverbs.  The term may have originated from Stari Vlah, from where refugees arrived in what was then the Holy Roman Empire. 
- In Dalmatia, terms used for Serbs were: " Morlachs" (Morlaci), "Vlachs" (Vlasi), Rkaći,  Rkači, "Greek Dalmatians" (Garčki Dalmatini), or "Greek people".  The Catholics used the pejorative word rkać, derived from Venetian, for Orthodox people.  The terms Rišćani, Rkaći (Grkaći), Morlaci (crni Vlasi), were used for primitive shepherds, Serbs, who moved in Bukovica, and mountain pastures on the border of Lika (Velebit) and Bosnia (Dinara). 
- Illyrians ( Latin: Illyri), or the Illyrian nation ( Latin: Natio Illyrica): During the early modern period, Serbs were also referred to as Illyrians, most commonly by the state administration of the Habsburg Monarchy. Since the end of the 17th century, those archaic terms were used in a classicizing manner, as a historical reference for geographical position of Serbian homeland in regions that were formerly covered by the ancient Illyricum.  Among official documents that used such terminology was the Declaratory Rescript of the Illyrian Nation ( Latin: Rescriptum Declaratorium Illyricae Nationis), issued in 1779 by Empress Maria Theresa in order to regulate several questions related to possition of the Serbian Orthodox Metropolitanate of Karlovci. 
Because of a confusion of ethnicity/nationality with religious affiliation, many authors from historic times referred to and recorded Serbs by the following names:
- Serbomans, Serbs in Macedonia
- Raci, Serbs in Austro-Hungary
- Tschusch, Serbs in Austria
- Vlah, Serbs in Croatia, Bosnia
- Chetniks (after the paramilitary movement)
- Shkije, in Kosovo and Albania
- Male given names
Srba, Srbislav, Srbivoje, Srbko, Srboje, Srbomir, Srborad, Srbomil, Srboljub, Srbobran.
- Female given names
Srbijanka, Srbinka, and others.
There are many toponzms that are related to endonyms and exonyms for Serbs.
- Sârbi, village in Budeşti, Romania
- Servia, village in Kozani, Greece
- Serviana, village in Ioannina, Greece
- Srb, town and municipality in Croatia
- Srbac, town and municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Srbica, town and municipality in Kosovo
- Srbinci, village in Serbia
- Srbinjak, village in Istria, Croatia
- Srbinovo, village in R. Macedonia
- Srbjani, village in R. Macedonia
- Srbljani, village in Bihać, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Srbovac, village in Kosovo
- Srbovo, village in Serbia
- Srpska Mahala, village in Montenegro
- West Slavic
- Srbeč, in Czech Republic
- Srbsko, in Czech Republic
- Srbska, in Czech Republic
- Srbská Kamenice, in Czech Republic, connected to Sorbs
- Serbinów, several villages in Poland
- Raska, two places, Serbia
- Raskaj, Kosovo, Serbia
- Raskovo, Kosovo, Serbia
- Rashkovo, in Sofia, Bulgaria[ citation needed]
- Rašćani, in Tomislavgrad, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Rašeljke, in Tomislavgrad, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Raško Polje, in Tomislavgrad, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Rasna, in Brestovac, Croatia
- Raszków, several toponyms in Poland
- Raszów, several toponyms in Poland
- Raszowa, several toponyms in Poland
- Raszyn, several toponyms in Poland
- Rașcov, in Transnistria
- Račice, in Czech Republic
- Račje Selo, in Slovenia
- Gordoservon/Servochoria, in Phrygia of Anatolia (Modern central Turkey) (Early Middle Ages)
- Nova Serbiya, military province in Imperial Russia (modern Ukraine) (1752–1764)
- Slavyanoserbiya, military province in Imperial Russia (modern Ukraine) (1753–1764)
- Republic of Serbian Krajina (Republika Srpska Krajina)
Historical renderings in other languages:
- Servii, Latin rendering.
- Serviani/Servians, medieval French and English rendering of the Serbs.
Modern renderings in other languages:
- Macedonian, Slovak and Slovene: Srbi (Срби)
- Belarusian: Сербы, Bulgarian: Сърби, Italian: Serbi, Maltese: Serbi, Ukrainian: Серби, Latin: Serbi : Serbi
- Arabic: صرب
- Simplified Chinese: 塞尔维亚人
- Traditional Chinese: 塞爾維亞人
- Czech: Srbové
- Welsh: Serbiaid
- German: Serben
- Estonian: Serblased
- Greek: Σέρβοι (Servi)
- Spanish: Serbios
- Esperanto: Serboj
- French: Serbes
- Korean: 세르비아인
- Hebrew: סרבים
- Hindi: सर्ब लोग
- Ossetian: Сербаг адæм
- Georgian: სერბები
- Lithuanian: Serbai
- Hungarian: Szerbek
- Dutch: Serviërs / Serven" 
- Japanese: セルビア人
- Norwegian: Serbere
- Polish: Serbowie
- Portuguese: Sérvios
- Romanian: Sârbi
- Russian: Сербы
- Albanian: Serbët
- Church Slavonic: Срь́би
- Finnish: Serbit
- Swedish: Serber
- Tatar: Серблар
- Turkish: Sırplar
|Look up Serbs or Serbia in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
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"серб". Gufo.me. Этимологический словарь Макса Фасмера.
серб - род. п. -а, Сербия. Заимств. из сербохорв. срб, србин, србљин, которое засвидетельствовано в ср.-греч. , , др.-сербск. срьбинь, срьблинь (Нидерле, Маnuеl I, 94; Slov. Star. 2, 487). Древнее слав. племенное название, родственное в.-луж., н.-луж. serb "серболужичанин", ср.-лат. Zribiа "Мейссения" (Козьма Пражский, часто). В качестве названия вост.-слав. племени встречается только у Конст. Багр. (Dе adm. imp., гл. 9). Нидерле (Slov. Star. 4, 156) считает это искаженной формой сверяне. Этноним *sьrbъ (первонач. "союзник") родствен словам пасерб "пасынок", укр. присербитися "присоединиться" (Миккола, AfslPh 42, 91; РФВ 48, 273; Сольмсен, KZ 37, 592 и сл.). Сомнительно родство с себер, вопреки Сольмсену (там же), Преобр. (II, 267, 276 и сл.), Калиме (ZfslPh 17, 349 и сл.). Последнее слово нельзя возвести к *sьbrъ; ср. Миккола, там же. Недостоверны сравнения *sьrbъ с др.-инд. sarbh- "бить, рубить, убивать", вопреки Потебне (РФВ I, 91), или с лат. sero, -еrе "нанизывать, составлять (вместе)", греч. "ставлю в ряд" (Ильинский, ИОРЯС 24, I, 138 и сл.). •• [Мошинский (Zasiag, стр. 147 и сл.) возводит слав. sьrbъ, к и.-е. *ser-v- "охранять", которое дало в классическом скифском *хаrv-, откуда слав. *хrvati. – Т.]
- Popowska-Taborska, Hanna (1993). "Ślady etnonimów słowiańskich z elementem obcym w nazewnictwie polskim". Acta Universitatis Lodziensis. Folia Linguistica (in Polish). 27: 225–230. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
- Popowska-Taborska, Hanna (1999). "Językowe wykładniki opozycji swoi - obcy w procesie tworzenia etnicznej tożsamości". In Jerzy Bartmiński (ed.). Językowy obraz świata (in Polish). Lublin: Wydaw. Uniwersytetu Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej. p. 57–63. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
- Lukaszewicz 1998, p. 132.
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Zbornik radova Vizantološkog instituta. 44. Naučno delo. 2007.
The Serbs were often called Triballi by Byzantine authors.
- Papazoglu 1978, p. 9.
- Anne Comnene, Alexiade (Regne de L'Empereur Alexis I Comnene 1081-1118) II, pp. l57:3-l6; 1.66: 25-169. Texte etabli er traduit par B. Leib t. I-III (Paris, 1937-1945).
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Ethnicity and Ethnic Conflict in the Post-Communist World. Palgrave Macmillan UK. p. 12.
... but in fact the name was also applied to Slavs who shared the same pastoral, nomadic life as the Romanian shepherds. The Orthodox refugees who settled on the border (krajina) between Habsburg and Ottoman territory, and who are in part the ancestors of the Krajina Serbs who lived in Croatia until driven out recently, were also described officially as Vlachs and given privileged military status under that name (the Habsburg ruler Ferdinand II issued a 'Statute of the Vlachs' for them in 1630). To apply the term Vlach to someone, therefore, was to say that they were either nomads or free peasant-soldiers. It did not imply a definitive conclusion about their ethnic group.
Lampe & Jackson 1982, p. 62
In 1630 the Habsburg Emperor signed the Statuta Valachorum, or Vlach Statutes (Serbs and other Balkan Orthodox peoples were often called Vlachs). They recognized formally the growing practice of awarding such refugee families a free grant of crown land to farm communally as their zad- ruga. In return all male members over sixteen were obliged to do military service. The further guarantees of religious freedom and of no feudal obligations made the Orthodox Serbs valuable allies for the monarchy in its seventeenth-century struggle ...
- Béla K. Király; Gunther Erich Rothenberg (1979).
Special Topics and Generalizations on the 18th and 19th Centuries. Brooklyn College Press. p. 301.
After Ferdinand II issued the Statuta Vlachorum on October 5, 1630,51 the first broad privileges for Vlachs (Serbs) in the Varazdin region, the Vienna Court tried to remove the Military Frontier from civil jurisdiction. The Statuta defined the rights and obligations of frontiersmen and provided the first formal administrative organization for the Military Frontier, which was now detached from Croatia. ... The term Vlach was often used interchangeably with Serb because the latter, too, were mostly a pastoral people.
Trbovich 2008, p. 190 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFTrbovich2008 (
This also explains why extremist Croat nationalism is both reflected and rooted in the attempted revision of history. The Croats have always resented the rights granted to Serbs in Croatia, and most especially Krayina's historic separate existence. Croat historians have claimed that Krayina's settlers were not Serbs but “Vlachs,”81 [footnote:] While all Orthodox settlers were indeed called Vlachs by the Habsburg authorities, and some truly were Vlachs and different from the Serbs, the majority were Serbian and even the Vlachs assimilated into Serbs by the nineteenth century. As Nicholas Miller explains, “the term Vlach became a weapon in the war to devalue Serbian claims to territory and history in Croatia.”
- Sima M. Ćirković, SRBI MEĐU EUROPSKIM NARODIMA,(Serbs) 2008. http://www.mo-vrebac-pavlovac.hr/attachments/article/451/Sima%20%C4%86irkovi%C4%87%20SRBI%20ME%C4%90U%20EVROPSKIM%20NARODIMA.pdf #page=5
- Aleksa Djilas (1991).
The Contested Country: Yugoslav Unity and Communist Revolution, 1919-1953. Harvard University Press. p.
While no South Slav group was without some Vlach ingredient, there is no evidence that all or most Serbs in Croatia were of Vlach origin. The thesis that Croatian Serbs were "Vlasi" occurred regularly in Ustasha propaganda — without any serious evidence to support it.
- Entangled Histories of the Balkans: Volume One: National Ideologies and Language Policies. BRILL. 13 June 2013. pp. 42–. ISBN 978-90-04-25076-5.
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Stvaranje Jugoslavije 1790-1918. Prosveta. p. 187.
За српско становништво у Дал- мацији се употребљава званични израз Морлаци, или „Сгесо- -Ва1таИ", што је превођено као Власи, Ркаћи („Аркачи"), „Гарчки Далматини", или „народ Грчки"-113
- Dragoslav Vasić; Nada Jakšić (2003).
Vožd Karađorđe i Srpska revolucija: kazivanja i filmovi o heroju topolskome. Topola film.
Католици православне називају погрдним именом „ркаћ", ркаћи. Реч коју је установио лингвиста Миклошић дошла је од венецијанског израза „грекаћо" за при- паднике православне вере и православних цркава. А православни ...
- Ratko Jelić (1971). Almanah: Srbi i pravoslavlje u Dalmaciji i Dubrovniku. Savez udruženja pravoslavnog sveštenstva SR Hrvatske. pp. 128, 160.
- Lins 1910, p. 664.
- Martin & Petit 1907, p. 781-850.
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