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In their earliest history the Slavs were known under the name of Venetae or Venedae and this name was probably given to them by the Germanic tribes. The name Slavs appeared later. According to a romantic story, it originates from the word slovo ('word'). The Slavic community was formed towards the end of the 2nd millennium B.C. The Slavs have Indo-European origin. It is believed that their first home was the territory between the Carpathian Mountains, the Baltic Sea and the rivers Oder, Dnestar and Dnepar. In the east their neighbours were the Finnish tribes, in the west - the Germanic tribes and in the south - the Dacians. They led a settled life, built dwellings but turned war and plunder into their way of living. In the 4th - 5th c. the enormous Slavic community broke into three branches - Western (Venetae), Southern (Slavinae) and Eastern (Antae).

In the 4th - 7th c. the Great Migration of Peoples started with the migration of the Huns from Asia into Europe and this drastically changed the physiognomy of the continent and marked the beginning of the European mediaeval period. On the ruins of the mighty Roman Empire settled new tribes and peoples who built their states. Among them was also the Bulgarian state.

By the middle of the 5th c. the Slavs, who started southwards during the Great Migration, settled north of the River Danube. The big river formed the frontier between them and the Byzantine Empire. Attracted by the rich territories of the Balkan Peninsula in the 6th - 7th c., they crossed the Danube and settled in the lands of the Empire. The attempts of the Roman Empire to stop them were not successful. The settlement of the Slavs on the Balkans changed the character of this part of Europe - it was Slavicized. The local Thracian population in its great part mixed with the Slavs and accepted their language. Finally they were completely dissolved in the Slavic community.

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