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Praedenecenti was an early medieval Slavic tribe, mentioned only in the Royal Frankish Annals in 822 and 824. They lived in the buffer zone between the Carolingian and Bulgarian empires. The Royal Frankish Annals associated them with the Abodriti, while modern scholars have also connected them to other Slavic tribes, especially the Braničevci or Merehani. The Praedenecenti sought assistance from the Franks against the Bulgars, but they obviously lost their independence because they were not mentioned after 824.



The Praedenecenti was an "enigmatic"[1] tribe living near the Middle Danube frontier of the Carolingian Empire in the 820s.[2][3] The Royal Frankish Annals mentioned them twice (under the years 822 and 824), but no other written primary source referred to them.[2][3] Since the Royal Frankish Annals apparently associated them with the Abodriti (a Slavic tribe near the Baltic Sea), Vasil Gyuzelev equates them with the "Ostabtrezi" (or Eastern Abodriti), whom the Bavarian Geographer listed among the tribes living along the eastern borders of the Carolingian Empire.[3][4]

Ethnonym and ethnicityEdit

The origin of their ethnonym is unclear.[5] Gyuzelev proposes, the Praedenecenti's name derived from an Old Bulgarian expression, pred'n čdi, meaning "the leading/noble family/children".[5] Archaeologist Gábor Vékony also says, the ethnonym is of Slavic origin, but he proposes that it refers to a people on "this bank" of the river Donets.[6] Imre Boba and Pavel Georgiev write, the name is connected the Latin word for spoil (praeda), showing that the inhabitants of the Carolingian Empire regarded the Praedenecenti as plunderers.[6][7]

The Royal Frankish Annals listed the Praedenecenti among the Slavic peoples.[1][8] Pavel Jozef Šafařík[9] and Joachim Lelewel[10] associated them with the Braničevci. Based on the similarity of the two ethnonyms, Lubor Niederle also said that the Braničevci and the Praedenecenti were identical.[11] Other scholars have not accepted this identification.[1][11] Boba identified them as "booty-taking" Moravians in accordance with his alternative theory of the location of Great Moravia.[3][12] Archaeologist Silviu Oța proposes that they are the same as the Merehani.[13]


The Praedenecenti inhabited "Dacia on the Danube", according to the Royal Frankish Annals.[14][15] The same source also mentioned that they were neighbors of the Bulgars.[14][15] Their prolonged conflicts with the Bulgars and their attempts to seek assistance from the Franks imply that they inhabited a wide region between Bulgaria and the Carolingian Empire.[15]

Most historians associate "Dacia on the Danube" with the Roman province of "Dacia Traiana" to the north of the Danube.[15] They conclude that the Praedenecenti lived in modern Banat (the region between the rivers Tisza and Mureș, and the Lower Danube).[15] Due to the lack of archaeological finds which can certainly be dated to the 9th century, the presence of Praedenecenti in Banat has not been substantiated.[8] Archaeologist Béla Miklós Szőke identifies "Dacia on the Danube" with the ancient province of Dacia Ripensis, to the south of the Danube, saying that the Praedenecenti lived near the Timočani (in present-day Serbia or Bulgaria).[1]

Georgiev emphasizes, the Carolingian chronicles also referred to the land between the Tisza and the Danube when writing of Dacia, thus the Praedenecenti may have also controlled this region.[15] Associating the Praedenecenti with the "Ostabtrezi", he also say that their homeland was a well-fortified region, because the Bavarian Geographer stated that there were "more than 100 fortresses" on the Ostabtrezi's land.[16] He also proposes that the Bavarian Geographer may have referred to the ancient earthworks to the east of the Tisza, which are now known as Devil's Dykes.[17]


Avars and other peoples from the Eurasian steppes who were subjected to them inhabited the wider region of the Tisza river till the end of the 8th century.[18] The Avar Khaganate disintegrated due to a series of Frankish campaigns and internal conflicts after 791.[19] The 10th-century Suda encyclopedia states that the Bulgars also inflicted defeats on the Avars in the early 9th century.[20][21] An Avar dignitary, the kapkhan, went to the Carolingian Empire in early 805, asking Charlemagne to grant a territory to his people, because they "could not stay in their previous dwelling places on account of the attacks of the Slavs",[22] according to the Royal Frankis Annals.[23] The report shows that new power centers, led by Slavic warlords, emerged along the Middle Danube shortly after the collapse of the khaganate.[24][25]

Louis the Pious depicted on one of his coins: he received the envoys of the Praedenecenti in 822 and 824

According to a scholarly theory, the Praedenecenti were Abodrites who moved to the Carpathian Basin at an unspecified time.[3] Their envoys' visit in the Carolingian Empire was recorded for the first time under the year 822.[1] The envoys attended the general assembly that Emperor Louis the Pious held at Frankfurt in autumn.[1] They gave presents to him, along with the delegates of other Slavic tribes and the Avars.[1]

At Frankfurt [Louis the Pious] convoked a general assembly... At this assembly he received embassies and presents from all the East Slavs, that is the [Abodriti], Sorbs, Wilzi, Bohemians, Moravians, and Praedenecenti, and from the Avars living in Pannonia.

— Royal Frankish Annals (year 822)[26]

Their envoys returned to the empire in 824.[1] They came to Aachen to seek the emperor's assistance against the Bulgars.[1][27] The Bulgars had already sent delegates to the emperor, but Louis the Pious did not receive them, because he had been informed of the arrival of the envoys of the Praedecenti.[28][2] After meeting with the Praedenecenti, the emperor ordered them to return to their homeland and come back when he would receive the Bulgar envoys.[28] Historian Charles R. Bowlus assumes, Louis the Pious "wanted to confront the Bulgars with the accusations" of the Praedenecenti.[2]

[Louis the Pious] also received the envoys of the [Abodriti] who are commonly called Praedenecenti and live in Dacia on the Danube as neighbors of the Bulgars, of whose arrival he had been informed. When they complained about vicious aggression by the Bulgars and asked for help against them, he told them to go home and to return when the envoys of the Bulgars were to be received.

— Royal Frankish Annals (year 824)[29]

After their envoys' meeting with Louis the Pious in 824, the Praedenecenti were never mentioned.[2] Georgiev says, their envoys were present when the emperor met with the Bulgar delegates in Aachen in May 825.[28] The Bulgars wanted to determine the border between the Carolingian Empire and Bulgaria, but no compromise was reached.[28][30] The fate of the Praedenecenti is unknown.[31] According to scholarly theories, they were most probably forced to accept the Bulgars' rule, although some of them may have fled to the Carolingian Empire or settled among the Avars who still dwelled in the plains of the Carpathian Basin.[31][32] The Praedenecenti lost their independence only after 832, according to Georgiev.[32]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Szőke 2014, p. 41.
  2. ^ a b c d e Bowlus 1994, p. 92.
  3. ^ a b c d e Curta 2006, p. 158 (note 100).
  4. ^ Georgiev 2014, pp. 107-108.
  5. ^ a b Georgiev 2014, pp. 115-116.
  6. ^ a b Georgiev 2014, p. 116.
  7. ^ Bowlus 1994, pp. 93-94.
  8. ^ a b Oța 2014, p. 198.
  9. ^ Pavel Jozef Šafařík (1837). Slowanské Starožitnosti. Tiskem J. Spurného. p. 612.
  10. ^ Joachim Lelewel (1832). Géographie du moyen âge. Chez Ve et J. Pilliet. p. 103. ... qui existe encore à l'orient de l'embouchure, regardant les ruines de l'ancien Brandiz, ville d'une ancienne peuplade slave Branitzevtzi, Branitschevtzî , que les latins appelaient Praedecenti, Prœdevecenti , Praedenescenti
  11. ^ a b Georgiev 2014, p. 115.
  12. ^ Bowlus 1994, p. 94.
  13. ^ Oța 2014, p. 18.
  14. ^ a b Bowlus 1994, p. 93.
  15. ^ a b c d e f Georgiev 2014, p. 109.
  16. ^ Georgiev 2014, p. 118.
  17. ^ Georgiev 2014, pp. 119, 124.
  18. ^ Georgiev 2014, p. 143.
  19. ^ Szőke 2014, pp. 9-16.
  20. ^ Szőke 2014, pp. 18-19.
  21. ^ Georgiev 2014, p. 114.
  22. ^ Royal Frankish Annals (year 805), p. 84.
  23. ^ Szőke 2014, pp. 19-20.
  24. ^ Bowlus 1994, p. 58.
  25. ^ Szőke 2014, p. 22.
  26. ^ Royal Frankish Annals (year 822), pp. 111-112.
  27. ^ Curta 2006, p. 157.
  28. ^ a b c d Georgiev 2014, p. 107.
  29. ^ Royal Frankish Annals (year 824), p. 116.
  30. ^ Szőke 2014, p. 45.
  31. ^ a b Szőke 2014, p. 43.
  32. ^ a b Georgiev 2014, p. 120.


Primary sourcesEdit

  • Royal Frankish Annals (1972). In: Carolingian Chronicles: Royal Frankish Annals and Nithard's Histories (Translated by Bernhard Walter Scholz with Barbara Rogers); The University of Michigan Press; ISBN 0-472-06186-0.

Secondary sourcesEdit

  • Bowlus, Charles R. (1994). Franks, Moravians and Magyars: The Struggle for the Middle Danube, 788–907. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0-8122-3276-3.
  • Curta, Florin (2006). Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 500-1250. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-89452-4.
  • Georgiev, Pavel (2014). "The Abodriti-Praedenecenti between the Tisza and the Danube in the 9th Century". In Doncheva-Petkova, Lyudmila; Balogh, Csilla; Türk, Attila (eds.). Avars, Bulgars and Magyars on the Middle and Lower Danube. Archaeolingua. pp. 107–124. ISBN 978-963-9911-55-0.
  • Oța, Silviu (2014). The Mortuary Archaeology of Medieval Banat. Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-21438-5.
  • Szőke, Béla Miklós (2014). The Carolingian Age in the Carpathian Basin. Hungarian National Museum. ISBN 978-615-5209-17-8.