Why the Vatican banned a book about Slavs and threatened its author with death

(ORDO NEWS) — The 19th-century Polish archaeologist Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Volansky could not imagine that the publication of his discoveries could endanger his life. The Polish Catholic clergy was not just angry, but intended to solve the problem with the archaeologist radically – to burn it at the stake from his own books.

The Pole was saved by Emperor Nicholas I, who protected the scientist from attacks and ordered the Russian army to protect the archaeologist and to facilitate his further research. Why did Volansky so angry the Catholic Church?

He fought with Russia, but did not become a Russophobe

Tadeusz Volansky was born in 1785 in the city of Shavel (Šiauliai) in Lithuania. During the war of 1812, he fought in the army of Napoleon Bonaparte against Russia and was even awarded the Order of the Legion of Honor. After the war he married, settled in Poland and began to study the runic Slavic script, archeology and collecting. Most of all, he was interested in ancient coins, amulets, medals, inscriptions on monuments (stones and tombstones), as well as the antiquities of North Africa.

Perhaps the impetus for studying the presence of the Slavs in Italy and on the African continent was given by two finds that appeared in his collection – the figurine of the god Osiris and the ritual figurine of usher, which in ancient times the Egyptians put in the coffin of the deceased. Figurines of the 7th – 4th centuries BC were found during excavations on the shores of the Baltic Sea and spoke of trade relations between Ancient Egypt and Slavic peoples.

As a result of research on ancient monuments, Volansky came to the conclusion that many inscriptions incomprehensible to Europeans can be read without any difficulty using Slavic languages. He suggested that even before Cyril and Methodius the Slavs had their own very ancient alphabet, and discovered that with the help of Slavic languages ​​it is possible to read most Etruscan (Rassen) inscriptions.

Volansky suggested that the Etruscans are not only the closest relatives of the Slavs, but also that it was this people that became the real founder of Rome. The scientist believed that in ancient times the Slavic peoples were known not only throughout Europe, their influence extended to North Africa right up to Nubia.

“Is it in Italy, India, Persia, and even in Egypt,” he asked himself and others, “there are no Slavic monuments?” Is it true that in the books of Zoroaster, on the ruins of Babylon and Persepolis, the palaces of Darius there are no inscriptions that are understandable to us Slavs? Yes, scientists from England, France and Germany look at these inscriptions – jak kozioł na wodę. And only we, the Slavs, can bring these studies to the end.

Volansky believed that he had already managed to decipher most of the inscriptions in Etruscan and a lot of obscure inscriptions on different artifacts. He set out his observations in letters that he addressed to St. Petersburg at the Academy of Sciences, then to Copenhagen to the Danish Royal Society for the Study of History, then to the Royal Scientific Society of Bohemia. But the lover of antiquity was not taken seriously.

Without waiting for an answer, in 1846, at his own expense in the city of Gniezno, Volansky published the book “Letters on Slavic Antiquities.” In it, an archaeologist in German in five letters with an appendix of 12 engravings depicting 145 artifacts described the most ancient finds in his collection and in the collections of his acquaintances, and came to the conclusion that the history of the Slavic peoples is very ancient, and the spread their influences and widespread settlement throughout Europe are hushed up and hidden in every possible way.

From India to Scandinavia

In the book, he easily proved that many coins, medals and inscriptions on artifacts, which were previously attributed to the Danes, then the Swedes, and the Romans, belong to the Slavs – Lutches, Litvins (Lithuanians), who were later mistakenly attributed to unknown Balts, Bohemians, Moravians, Russian and other peoples.

He identified the Indian god Shiva as the Slavic god Siva or I Live and presented a proof of this to the Bratheat (coin with coinage on one side) with the image of this god and an inscription in Slavic ZYWIE. Volansky found on medallions and amulets the names of Russian princes, who were considered almost fictional by the Germans. Now, these inscriptions testified to the historicity of legends. He found the name of Rurik, the names of Princes Oleg and Igor, Princess Olga.

The Volan coin of the 7th century with portraits of the Byzantine emperor Constantine II and the Slavic prince Hostivit is absolutely unique in the collection. The inscription on the coin read: HOSTIVIT ET CONSTANS P. F. AVG. This artifact confirmed the wars between the Romans and the Slavs, as well as the peace concluded between them.

Volansky searched on artifacts, the origin of which was attributed either to Rome or Persia, Slavic letters and images of Slavic gods – Radagast, Chernabog, god of war Yarovit, god Chur. In the inscriptions on Indian temples he found the name of Thur-god and translated what was written on Etruscan tombstones.

Volansky admitted that there could be individual errors in his research due to his lack of special knowledge or poor preservation of artifacts, but he really wanted his attention to be paid to his research. Three years later, the second book, Letters on Slavic Antiquities, was published, which included seven letters and 88 drawings.

Unnecessary attention

In the same year, the Gniezna archbishop of the Polish Catholic Church addressed the emperor Nicholas I asking no more no less than “to apply to the Volansk autodaf at the stake from his book”. The emperor, quite surprised by the anger of the Jesuits, decided to get acquainted with Volansky book, for which he bought several copies of Letters … and called to St. Petersburg from Moscow another famous 19th-century Slavophil – teacher and writer Yegor Klassen to conduct an examination of the book.

The liberal youth of that time called the emperor a soldier and Nikolai Palkin. However, Nicholas I was not a limited person and knew exactly who he was inviting. Klassen was also a supporter of the idea that the Etruscans are the closest relatives of the Slavs and that they are the founders of Roman civilization and the city of Rome itself. Klassen tried to prove that the Slavs realized their statehood at the same time as the Greeks and Phoenicians, and considered the Norman scientists to be at least “unscrupulous.”

After Klassen’s report, the emperor ordered that the “necessary” number of books be purchased in order to be kept “in good storage”, and that the author be assigned protection from the military, whom he obliged not only to protect Volanskii, but also to facilitate in every possible way the archaeologist’s expeditions to collect ancient Slavic artifacts.

In order not to annoy the Poles once again and not lead to a conflict, the rest of the circulation of the book was ordered to be burned. This last order was carried out with great pleasure by the Jesuits, who not only destroyed the book, but, remembering that some of its copies were preserved in St. Petersburg, included it in the Vatican’s Index of Prohibited Books. From now on, every Catholic who revealed the “Letters of Slavic Antiquities” committed a sin. He was obliged to either transfer the book to a person who had the right to read such literature, or destroy it.

Missing library

Nevertheless, most of the discoveries of Tadeusz Volansky became known to the public: Yegor Klassen, at the behest of Nicholas I, included them in one of his works. True, not everything was included, but only that the review of the Russian Orthodox Church passed – the images of the Slavic gods and especially the “shameful oud” were too inapplicable. The images of the pagans of Christ, whom they included in their pantheons and who tried to worship in the same way as other gods, were not published, making sacrifices.

The book was less fortunate than the author – they burned it. At the end of the 20th century, the only copy of Letters … was found in the library of the city of New York that survived by miracle. At the request of Russian writers Oleg Gusev and Roman Perin, he was translated into Russian and published again with private funds.

In the XIX century, Volansky discoveries were talked about for a while, and then the political situation changed, and they forgot about him for many years. It is known that the archaeologist died in early 1865 in Poland. His unique collection of antiquities was transferred to the museum of the University of Krakow, where it is still preserved. But his vast library was gone, perhaps it was tidied up by the Jesuit Catholics.

Unfortunately, even now the work of Tadeusz Volansky is ignored by traditional historical science and is used only by historians, who are almost contemptuously called alternative lists. And in the USSR and in Russia, generations of people grew up who were taught from early childhood that the Slavs did not have written language before Cyril and Methodius.


Contact us: [email protected]

Our Standards, Terms of Use: Standard Terms And Conditions.