Still, craniological researches show that, notwithstanding this fact, the Slav type has been maintained with remarkable persistency: Slav skulls ten and thirteen centuries old exhibit the same anthropological features as those which characterize the Sla y s of our own day.
From the 6th to the 12th century, wave after wave of barbarian conquerors, Goths, Tatars, Sla y s and others, passed over the country, and, according to one school of historians, almost obliterated its original Daco-Roman population; the modern Vlachs, on this theory, representing a later body of immigrants from Transdanubian territory.
Subsequently the Sla y s were cut off from relations with Taurida by the Mongols, and only made occasional raids, such as that of the Lithuanian prince Olgierd.
But they are separated by so many generations from the earliest historic times that sure conclusions regarding them are impossible; at all events, as yet Russian archaeologists are not agreed as to whether the ancestors of the Sla y s were Sarmatians only or Scythians also, whose skulls have nothing in common with those of the Mongol race.
During the iconoclastic reigns of terror it stood on the defensive, and succeeded in saving the artistic treasures of its churches: in the 9th century Joseph, one of its bishops, died in chains for his defence of image-worship. In the 7th century the Macedonian Sla y s strove to capture the city, but failed even when it was thrown into confusion by a terrible earthquake.
The mark of Meissen was originally a district centring round the castle of Meissen or Misnia on the Middle Elbe, which was built about 920 by the German king Henry I., the Fowler, as a defence against the Sla y s.
The period between 1883 and 1903 is the most humiliating in the modern history of the southern Sla y s.
It must be added that the pages on the Slavonic peoples and their relations to the empire are conspicuously insufficient; but it must be taken into account that it was not till many years after Gibbon's death that Slavonic history began to receive due attention, in consequence of the rise of competent scholars among the Sla y s themselves.
The old Illyrian population was rapidly absorbed or expelled, its Latin institutions being replaced by the autonomous tribal divisions, or Zupanates, of the Sla y s.
But, while the Russians were driven from the Black Sea by the Khazars, and later on by a tide of Ugrian migration from the north-east, a stream of Sla y s moved slowly towards the north-east, down the upper Oka, into the borderland between the Finnish and Turkish regions.