The Lendians ( _pl. Lędzianie) were a Lechitic tribe recorded to have inhabited the ill-defined area in East Lesser Poland and Red Ruthenia between the 7th and 11th centuries.

Since they were documented primarily by foreign authors whose knowledge of Eastern European geography was often vague, numerous speculations have accrued to their name, which include "Lendzanenoi", "Lendzaninoi", "Lz’njn", "Lachy", "Landzaneh" and "Lendizi".


The Lendians are mentioned, among others, by "De administrando imperio" (ca. 959, as Λενζανηνοί), by Josippon (ca. 953, as "Lz’njn"), by the Primary Chronicle (ca. 981, as ляхи), by Ali al-Masudi (ca. 940, as "Landzaneh").

In Latin historiography they are known from the Bavarian Geographer, a document generally dated to the mid-9th century, which attests that "Lendizi habent civitates XCVIII", that is, that the "Lendizi" had 98 gords, or settlements.


Max Vasmer reconstructs the original ethnonym as "lęděninъ", deriving it from the Slavic word for "fallow, wasteland", which is cognate to English "land". [ [http://starling.rinet.ru/cgi-bin/response.cgi?root=config&morpho=0&basename=%5Cdata%5Cie%5Cvasmer&first=1&text_word=%D0%BB%D1%8F%D1%85&method_word=beginning&text_general=&method_general=substring&text_origin=&method_origin=substring&text_trubachev=&method_trubachev=substring&text_editorial=&method_editorial=substring&text_pages=&method_pages=substring&text_any=&method_any=substring&sort=word Vasmer Dictionary online] ] In this context, lęděninъ means "a settler of barren lands", referring to the lands vacated by some earlier population, either the Vandals or the Goths.

That the Lendians occupied a considerable territory is evident from the fact their name gave rise to the name for the Poles in some of the major languages of Eastern Europe, including Hungarian "Lengyel", Lithuanian "Lenkas", and East Slavic "Lyakhi". The terms Lechites, Lechia, and Lechitic languages stem from the latter form. That form was also used in many Middle Eastern languages.

Tribal area

Constantine VII reports that the Lendians were tributaries to the Rus and that their monoxylae sailed downstream to Kiev to take part in the naval expeditions against Byzantium. This may be taken as an indication that the Lendians had access to some waterways leading to the Dnieper, e.g., the Styr River.Alexander Nazarenko. Древняя Русь на международных путях: Междисциплинарные очерки культурных, торговых, политических связей IX-XII веков. Moscow, 2001. ISBN 5785900858. Pages 401-404.]

Based on Constantine's report, it appears likely that the Lendians occupied the historical region of Chervona Rus, centred around Przemyśl.Labuda, G. "Czechy, Rus i kraj Ledzian w drugiej potowie X wieku." // Labuda G. "Studia nad poczatkami panstwa polskiego." Poznan, 1988. T. II. Pages 167-211.] This conclusion is at variance with the Primary Chronicle which implies that the region was settled by the White Croats. In order to remove the perceived discrepancy, some Polish historians proposed alternative readings of the text in question, which would move the location of the White Croats considerably to the east, for instance, to the Vorskla River basin. [Kotlarczyk J. "Siedziby Chorwatów wschodnich". // Acta Archaeologica Carpathica. T. 12. Krakow, 1971. Pages 161-186.]

The uncertainty of extant 10th-century descriptions of the upper Dniester and Western Bug region makes it plausible to infer that the White Croats, Lendians, and probably some other peoples shared this vast territory along the border of modern-day Ukraine and Poland. Attempts to positively identify the Lendians with the Buzhans or Dulebes [Wasilewski T. "Dulebowie - Lędzianie - Chorwaci". // Przegląd Historyczny. T. 67. Warsaw, 1976. Pages 181-193.] lose in probability in light of these considerations.


In pre-Slavic times the region was populated by the Lugii and Anarti, associated with the Przeworsk and Puchov cultures. They were followed by East Germanic tribes, the Goths and Vandals. After these vacated the territory, the West Slavs (Lendians and Vistulans) moved in.

Around 833 the land of the Lendians was incorporated into the Great Moravian state. Upon the invasion of the Hungarian tribes into the heart of Central Europe around 899, the Lendians submitted to their authority (Masudi). In the first half of the 10th century, they paid tribute to Igor I of Kiev (Constantine VII).

From the mid-950s onward, the Lendians were politically anchored in the Bohemian sphere of influence. Cosmas of Prague relates that the land of Krakow was controlled by the Přemyslids of Bohemia until 999. ["Die Chronik der Böhmen des Cosmas von Prag. Berlin, 1923" (MGH SS rer. Germ. NS, 2). I, 33-34. Page 60.] His report is buttressed by the foundation charter of the Archdiocese of Prague (1086), which traces the eastern border of the archdiocese, as established in 973, along the Bug and Styr (or Stryi rivers. [The entire vicinity of Krakow was to be administered from Prague: "...ad orientem hos fluvios habet terminos: Bug scilicet et Ztir cum Cracouua civitate provintiaque cui Uuag nomen est cum omnibus regionibus ad predictam urbem pertinentibus, que Cracouua est".]

Abraham ben Jacob, who travelled in Eastern Europe in 965, remarks that Boleslaus II of Bohemia ruled the country "stretching from the city of Prague to the city of Krakow". ["Relacja Ibrahima Ibn Ja'kuba z podróży do krajów słowiańskich w przekazie Al-Bekriego". Krakow, 1946 (MPH NS. 1). Page 50.] At one point in the 970s, the region seems to have been taken over by Mieszko I of Poland. This may be inferred from the Primary Chronicle which reports that Vladimir I of Kiev conquered the "Cherven towns" from the Poles in 981 (actually, in 979). [The later Halych-Volhynian Chronicle, when describing King Danylo's expedition to Kalisz in 1227, remarks that "no other prince had entered so far into Poland, apart from Vladimir the Great, who had christened that land".]

The region returned to Polish sphere of influence in 1018, when King Boleslaw I took the Cherven towns on his way to Kiev. Yaroslav I of Kiev recovered the borderland in 1031; it remained part of Kievan Rus and its successor state of Halych-Volhynia until 1340 when it was once again taken over by Kingdom of Poland under Casimir III of Poland. It is presumed that the Lendians were assimilated by East Slavs by that period. The most important factors contributing to their fate could be:

* linguistic and ethnic similarity
* influence of Kievan Rus' and Orthodox Christianity
* deportations to central Ukraine by Yaroslav I the Wise after 1031 [ [http://litopys.org.ua/lavrlet/lavr07.htm#r1031 Въ лЂто 6534 [1026 - 6562 [1054. Лаврентіївський літопис ] ]
* colonization by Ruthenians fleeding west during Mongol assaults on Ruthenia during reign of Danylo of Halych


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