niitika Nasino

history of Nassland

Land of lakes; newcomers
1st - 7th cc E.C.

hist1     There is a legend among Nassians about a white hart (high probably it was reindeer), which has inspired priests of some nothern Slavic tribes (Slovienians and Ilmenians) to move more north. These legends say, it was a revelation of Pëëlpokkiku (Belobogiku, Whitegod), god of good omens. It seems that not more than 10 000 people in period of ca 100 years moved up from a Ilmen Lake more north and they settled land between the Nassian Gulf and Neppö Lake (Ladoga Lake in Russian).

    Historically more accurate, some Slavonic tribes on the nothern extent, namely Veztians, Ilmenians and Slovienians, started to move north (Ilmenians, Slovienians) and north-east (Veztians) around 1st and 2nd cc E.C. The two tribes of our interest, who moved north, crossed Neva and entered the Lake Land (Ossërënu Öppekera̋). Further on, they settled all around the gulf and west coasts of Nevö Lake. Later, they started to penetrate slowly inlands. Since the soils there was not sufficient for agriculture, the direction north and east inlands was not the most prominent. As the time progressed, around 5th cc E.C. they reached Enisu Lake on east, on north they did not go further than some 200-300 km. Along with rivers Neppä (Neppa/Neva) and Siirä (Sir/Svir), lakes Neppö (Neppo/Ladoga) and Enisü (Enisu/Onega), they built the limits of the early Nassian extend there.

    They met several tribes already settled there - Vepsä, Vakja, Tšuudi, Hämek, Soomi, Merja and Sammi. They built communities around the lakes, rivers and Gulf, they fought with their neighbours or they established trade and peace agreements. They slowly assimilated local Finno-Ugric tribes, but they rose a common culture, giving the region strong sense for unity against either southern Slavs or Germanic tribes from west. To show their solidarity with all the people, who lived there before and with them, they started to call original population Niinasi, Nassinakaa, which means our own people. This name was further transformed and was given to anyone, regardless of origin, who lived in the Lake Land. Their Slavic brothers from south called them Ozeri, people from lakes; the Vikings either Ossere or Norwenden, the northern Slavs, Finns do call them Järväläiset.

    During the period of settling and starting to inhabit the Lake Land, many primitive, but sturdy defense fortifications were erected. On remote hills near the waterways, especially on the dangerous parts - rapids or curves - they built stone shafts intended for protection of the local population from enemy attacks. There are many such fortifications along the coast of Gulf and Lake Neppö. Later on, the fortresses were built inlands too, on the coast of other lakes and on important points. Some fortresses later grew further into towns and cities.

    Traditionally, each village was organised in so-called oppëka (community), having ratta (council). Rada included all adult men and women, where the oldest as an informal head had the title Toottu (Grand-father). The sacred and secular was mixed together, as the everyday life was rite of living. The biggest shrine, of Pëëlpokkiku, was in Sëttikortu, informal center of Nassland, administrated by priests (ceritäkii).

last update 190807, Jan Havliš
acknowledgments: Kristian Jensen, Jussi Santeri Junttila, Jan van Steenbergen