Are Serbs, Croats and Ossetians related?
The Origin of the Serbs and Croats
It is widely believed that the Serbs and the Croats are the same people and speak the same language and are only differentiated because the Croats came under the influence of the Catholic Church in Rome whereas the Serbs came under the influence of the Greek Orthodox Church. The reality is more complex. In medieval times there were peoples in what are now southeast Germany and the Czech Republic known as the White Serbs and the White Croats. In historical time these related but separate peoples migrated south in the sixth century A.D. into the Balkans. Some of the White Serbs did not leave and their descendants are known as Sorbs.
The kingdoms of the White Serbs and the White Croats were created by martial elite of Sarmatians , a nomadic people from area north of the Caspian and Black Seas speaking a language in the Iranian family. The people of the kingdoms of White Serbia and White Croats were Slavic. Over time the Slavic population absorbed the Sarmatian element. The situation was similar to the creation of Bulgaria by nomadic Turks of the Volga River area. Over time the Slavic population absorbed and assimilated the Turkish elements.
The Serbs in Medieval Times
In the late ninth century the leader of the Serbs, the zupan, converted to Christianity of the Greek Orthodox variety and so the rest of the Serbs followed.
In the 14th century, before the Ottoman Turks has a presence in the Balkans, the Serbs created a kingdom under the leadership of Stefan Dushan, later Tsar Stefan Serbia ruled over not only the present Serbia but also what is now Albania and parts of what is now Greece.
The Rule of the Ottoman Turks
Even before the Ottomans conquered Constantinople they were conquering large segments of the Balkans. In 1389 the Serbs confronted the Ottomans in a fight to the finish in Kosovo and the Serbs lost. Soon the Serbs were under Ottoman control. By 1459 all the land of Serbia was owned by the Ottoman sultan in Istanbul and the people of Serbia werer serfs attached to the land. That condition continued until Austria obtained some concessions after its war with the Ottoman Empire in 1715-1718. There were uprisings in the early part of the nineteenth century and Russia obtained Serbia independence in 1878 after its war with the Ottoman Empire over the period 1877-1878.
The Scythians and Sarmatians
These two peoples of ancient times both spoke languages in the Iranian language family and lived in the area north of the Black Sea. The languages and cultures of the Scythians and Sarmatians were related but distinct. In particular their styles of warfare were different. The Scythians were noted as mounted archers. They may have been the inventors or one of the inventors of the stirrup. The stirrup enabled mounted archers to fire (shoot) arrows reasonably accurately while riding. The Scythians attacked in a mass firing of arrows. If their adversaries were not overwhelmed by the hail of arrows then the Scythians turned and rode to a safe distance for regrouping to mount another mass attack.
Most adversaries were overwhelmed by the Scythian battle tactics. It was only the Sarmatians who found a successful counter-strategy to withstand the Scythians. The Sarmatian warriors and their mounts were protected with armor. Usually the armor consisted of metal plates of bronze or iron sewn onto leather garments. This armor enabled the Sarmatians to withstand a Scythian attack. After a Scythian onslaught the Sarmatians would attack the Scythians with fifteen-foot-long lances. The Sarmatians were probably the originator of the armored knights of medieval Europe.
The Surprising Appearances of Sarmatians in European History
• In medieval times there were kingdoms, called White Serbia and White Croatia, located not in the Balkan peninsula but in Bohemia and southeastern Germany. The signfificance of white in Slavic languages for proper names such as White Russia is western. White Serbia and White Croatia were kingdoms established by Sarmatians over Slavic populations. The Sarmatian ruling class was eventually assimilated into the Slavic culture and some of the Serbians and Croatian moved into the Balkans where their descendants now live. However not all migrated. There are remnants of the Slavic White Serb population of eastern Germany still there, known as Sorbs or Wends.
• Some the aristocratic families of Poland were founded by Sarmatians and the family crests reflect this by the appearance of particular symbol, a sort of hash mark.
• The principal tribe of the Sarmatians in later history was the Alans. The Alans show up in odd places.
• The Roman Empire brought Alans into southern France to help control the Celts.
• Marco Polo wrote of finding a town of ten thousand Alans in South China in his journeys.
• One branch of the Alans took refuge in the Caucasus Mountains where they became known as the Ossetes. Joseph (Stalin) Djugashvili's mother was Osset, so Stalin was half Sarmatian
*This is a mistake made by author. Stalin’s father was Ossetian. His mother was ethnic Georgian. (R.K)
For more info on J.Stalin see
• The Sarmatians adopted the dragon motif from the Han Empire of China. The image of the dragon was brought to Britain when the Roman Emperor Marcus Aureleus sent 5500 Sarmatian warriors to Britain to guard against the attacks by the Celts of northern Britain. This was in the third century A.D. This may have been the source of the legends of King Arthur. Arthur's father was Uther Pendragon. Pendragon means dragon head which came from the image of a dragon's head which he carried on his shield. The altar in the Sarmatian's religion seems to have been a sword embedded in a stone.