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European territory inhabited by East Slavic tribes in 8th and 9th century.

The Severians or Severyans or Siverians (Russian: Северяне; Ukrainian: Сiверяни) were a tribe or tribal union of early East Slavs occupying areas to the east of the middle Dnieper river around the rivers Desna, Sejm and Sula on the territory of the archaeological culture of Romny. They are mentioned especially by the Bavarian Geographer (9th century, as Zeriuani), and in the works of Emperor Constantine VII (956-959), by khazar khagan Joseph (c. 960) and in the Primary Chronicle (1113).


  • Ethnonym 1
  • Geography, culture and history 2
  • Severians in Pannonia, Carpathians and Moesia inferior 3
  • References 4
  • Sources 5
  • See also 6


The etymology of the name of Severians is controversial. Though it is similar to the Slavic word for "north" (sěver), the Severians never were the northernmost tribe of Slavs.

Geography, culture and history

The Severians had as neighbours the tribes of Viatich and Radimich in the north, and the Derevlian and Polian tribes in the west. The eastern and southern borders of the tribe's habitat, never permanent, would sometimes extend to the upper reaches of the Seversky Donets River. The principal cities of the Severians included Chernigov (modern Chernihiv), Kursk, Novgorod-Seversky (modern Novhorod-Siverskyi) and others. Archaeologists have found numerous rural settlements of the 8th to 10th centuries, inhabited by the Severians, and burial mounds with cremated bodies. The Severians mostly engaged in agriculture, cattle breeding and different handicrafts.

Their existence as a political unit can be proven from the 8th to 11th century. One theory sees their state as originating from the Krivichs. They had to pay tribute to the Khazars in the 8th and 9th century; in the late 9th century Oleg of Novgorod annexed their territory to the Kievan Rus' state together with the eastern Polans. Severians participated in Oleg's campaign against Constantinople in 907. Finally, they became part of the Grand Principality of Chernigov. The last reference to them dates from 1024.

Severians in Pannonia, Carpathians and Moesia inferior

Part of the Severians also migrated to the south-west and settled in the areas of the southern Pannonian plain (the Banat region, where there intermixed with Serbs and adopted Serb name as their own) and southern Carpathians. The Severin region of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary situated in south-eastern Banat was named after Severians. Another branch of Severians also settled in the territory of present-day north-eastern Bulgaria (Moesia Inferior).[1]


  1. ^ The Early Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Sixth to the Late Twelfth Century, John Van Antwerp Fine, University of Michigan Press, 1991, ISBN 0472081497, p. 307.


  1. Jovan M. Pejin; Iz prošlosti Kikinde; Kikinda; 2000.
  2. Istorijski atlas; Zavod za udžbenike i nastavna sredstva - Zavod za kartografiju "Geokarta"; Beograd; 1999.
  3. Školski istorijski atlas; treće izdanje; Zavod za izdavanje udžbenika Socijalističke Republike Srbije; Beograd; 1970.

See also

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