Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Lech, Czech and Rus
According to an old legend, Lech, Czech and Rus were eponymical brothers who founded the three Slavic nations: Poland, Bohemia and Ruthenia respectively. In one of the legend's variations, the three brothers went hunting together but each of them followed a different prey and eventually the all traveled in different directions.
Lech traveled to the north until he came across a magnificent white eagle guarding her nest. Startled by this view, he decided to settle there. He named his settlement (gród) Gniezno (early Polish for "nest") and adopted the White Eagle as his coat-of-arms.
Other variations of Lech's name include: Lechus, Lachus, Lestus and Leszek. Czech, or Praotec Čech (Forefather Čech) also comes under the name Bohemus.
Legend versus reality
The earliest mention of Lech, Czech and Rus is found in the Greater Poland Chronicle written in 1295 in Gniezno or Poznań. In Bohemian chronicles, Czech appears on his own; he is first mentioned as Bohemus in Kosmas 's chronicle in early 12th century.
The legend suggests common ancestry of the Poles, the Czechs and the Ruthenians (or modern-day Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians) and shows that as early as in the 13th century, different Slavic peoples were aware of being racially and linguistically interrelated.
The legend also attempts to explain the etymology of those people's ethnonyms : Lechia (another name for Poland), the Czech lands (including Bohemia and Moravia), and Rus' (Ruthenia). In fact, "Lechia" derives from the tribe of Lędzianie (see: Poland's name). See also Etymology of Rus and derivatives.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details