Open main menu

The Baiounitai (Greek: Βαϊουνίται)[a] were a Sclaveni (South Slavic) tribe which settled the region of Macedonia at the end of 6th century.[1] The Baiounitai initially settled region west of Thessalonica. They belonged to a group of Slavic tribes that unsuccessfully tried to capture the city at the beginning of the 7th century, after which they are believed to have migrated to the region north of Ioannina in northern Epirus.

In the 6th century many Slavic tribes populated the wider region around the Byzantine city of Thessalonica. In ca. 614–616 the Baiounitai are mentioned in the Miracles of Saint Demetrius as one of them.[2][3] Their territory was on the western side of Thessalonica.[4] The territory inhabited by the Baiounitai formed a Sclavinia.[5][6] In ca. 614–616 the Baiounitai and other neighbouring Slavic tribes united under a leader named Chatzon[7] and besieged the city.[8] Forces composed of many different Slavic tribes attacked the city with siege engines trying to break through the city walls, while their small and manoeuvrable dugouts attacked the city from the sea.[9] Their efforts failed and Chatzon was killed after entering the city to negotiate.[10] After this failure to capture Thessalonica, many members of the defeated Slavic tribes moved further from the city. According to some, the Baiounitai moved from Macedonia to the territory of Epirus, and settled the region north of Ioannina.[11]

Some connect the region of Thesprotia, known as Vagenetia up until the 1270s,[12] to the tribe.[13][14] Two personal seals of archons of Vagenetia have been found, that of spatharios Theodoros dated to the 7th or 8th century, and that of protospatharios Hilarion dated to the late 9th and early 10th century.[14] Similar toponyms like Viyanite or Viyantije survived until the 16th century when they were replaced with the name Delvinë which also became an official name of the Ottoman sanjak of Delvina.[15] The territory around the river Aoös (or Vojuša/Vjosë, today in southern Albania) was probably also named after this tribe.[16]


  1. ^ Their name in Greek is also rendered Baiounitae.[17] Their name is also variously anglicized as Baiunetes,[2] Vajunites,[18] or Vajunits.[19] In South Slavic languages, their name is rendered Vajuniti (Cyrillic: Вајунити). The name of this tribe has been suggested as deriving from the Slavic word vojnici ("warriors"), so the name of this tribe can be translated as "a tribe of warriors".[18][3] According to some authors the Baiounitai (Vajuni) are equal to the Babuni, while some other authors believe there are no evidence for such assertion.[11]


  1. ^ Etnološki pregled: Revue d'ethnologie. 1978. p. 58. The following Slavonic tribes settled down in the present Macedonia: Sangudati, Rin- hini, Draguviti, Vajuniti, Bersiti, ...
  2. ^ a b Curta 2001, pp. 107–108.
  3. ^ a b Istorijski muzej Srbije 1982, p. 51.
  4. ^ Doklestić, Ljubiša (1964). Kroz historiju Makedonije: izabrani izvori. Školska knj. p. 294. Vajuniti, slavensko pleme, nastavali su zapadnu okolicu Soluna, kasnije prelaze u Epir.
  5. ^ Macedonia), Institut za nacionalna istorija (Skopje, (1970). Istorija makedonskog naroda: Od praistorije do kraja XVIII veka. Zavod za izdavanje ydžbenika Sodžijalističke Republike Srbije. p. 83. Своје склавиније имали су и Сагудати, Велегезити, Вајунити, Берзити (за које неки ау- тори тврде да су Брсјаци).
  6. ^ Мацедониа), Институт за национална историја (Скопје,; Panov, Branko (2000). Историја на македонскиот народ. Institut za nacionalna istorija. p. 295. ISBN 978-9989-624-47-6.
  7. ^ Recueil de travaux de l'Institut des études byzantines. Naučno delo. 1996. p. 99. Из VII века остала су забележена имена Хакона15 и Првуда,16 као вођа приликом опсада Солуна — 614/16. Хакон, односно 674/77. Првуд.
  8. ^ Macedonian Review. Kulturen Zhivot. 1979. p. 243. Velegiziti, joined, in the second decade of the VIIth century, a great Slav tribal union, led by the leader of these Slavs, a man called Hacon. ...
  9. ^ Ferjančić, Božidar (1966). Saznanja. 20. Zavod za izdavanje udžbenika Socijalističke Republike Srbije. p. 22. ... као: Драговића, Сагу дата, Велегезита, Вајунита и Верзита. Са копнене стране Словени су опсадним справама покушавали да пробију градске бедеме, док су лаки и покретни дрвени чамци (моноксили) нападали град са мора.
  10. ^ Fine 1991, pp. 41, 44.
  11. ^ a b Ćorović & Petrović 2006, p. 51
  12. ^ Ljubomir Maksimović (1988). The Byzantine provincial administration under the Palaiologoi. A.M. Hakkert. p. 67.
  13. ^ Christie, Neil; Augenti, Andrea (2012). Vrbes Extinctae: Archaeologies of Abandoned Classical Towns. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 210. ISBN 978-0-7546-6562-5. One can note that the Slav presence in the Butrint region probably endured: Butrint lies in the region known in the thirteenth century as Bagenetia or Vagenetia, but this term can be traced back to the Slavic tribe known as the Baiunetai.
  14. ^ a b Inge Lyse Hansen; Richard Hodges; Sarah Leppard (8 January 2013). Butrint 4: The Archaeology and Histories of an Ionian Town. Oxbow Books. pp. 249–. ISBN 978-1-78297-102-3.
  15. ^ Hodges, Richard; Bowden, William; Lako, Kosta; R. D. Andrews (2004). Byzantine Butrint: Excavations and Surveys 1994-1999. Oxbow Books for the Butrint Foundation. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-84217-158-5. The names Vagenetia, Viyanite and Viyantije survived until the Turkish period, ...
  16. ^ "Становништво словенског поријекла у Албанији" – Зборник радова са међународног научног скупа одржаног на Цетињу 21, 22. и 23. јуна 1990. Драгољуб С. Петровић, "Хетерогеност становништва детерминанта сложености решења политичког статуса албанског простора" – (in Serbian)
  17. ^ Heather, Peter (2010). Empires and Barbarians: The Fall of Rome and the Birth of Europe. Oxford University Press. p. 680, note 20. Miracle II.4 names the Runchine, Strymon and Sagoudatae Slavs as attacking Thessalonica at this point; Miracle II.1 adds the names of the Baiounitae and Buzetae.
  18. ^ a b Pearce & Tosi 1998
  19. ^ Macedonian Review. "Kulturen život" (Cultural Life). 1980. p. 349. The Vajunits lived in the northern part of Epirus, and the Velegets in Thessaly.