Čech and Lech


Senior Member
Is this a Czech legend or do Poles know (and respect ;) ) it as well?

I had no idea about brother Rus!!! :D

  • dudla

    Polish, Poland
    Yeah, we definitely know it. The funny thing is, that both Rus and Czech (as we spell it) have their names in the names of their countries. When it comes to Lech, it only remained in Hungarian name of Poland. :)


    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    Do Czechs know it as well, sis Czech :) ?

    And, how about the Russians, do you know it too?


    законодательница мод
    Cannot speak for everyone, but I only ever heard the legend of Romulus and Remus.

    I learned at school that rus', or ros' was a northern tribe that probably gave name to the territory. But history textbooks have been re-written several times since I was a child - no idea what they teach at history lessons now. Perhaps this or that textbook mentions this legend?.. I pass the question on.


    New Member
    Poland, Polish
    dudla said:
    Yeah, we definitely know it. The funny thing is, that both Rus and Czech (as we spell it) have their names in the names of their countries. When it comes to Lech, it only remained in Hungarian name of Poland. :)
    The thing is the Hungarian name for Poles (a Pole=Lengyel - i definitely have ommitted some dash or two) has nothing to do with the name Lech. It comes from the name of one of Polish tribes - Lędzianie (have no idea what English counterpart this name has). Lędzianie (which is plural) are now more often referred to as Wiślanie (Vistulians???). The tribe territory was neighbouring Hungarian (or Magyar) dominion which then included Slovakia. Before Polan tribe (Polanie) started to expand their rule over neighbouring tribes, Wiślanie were the strongest of Polish tribes. Polan conquest of Wiślanie (Vistulians) gave names to two big regions (then provinces of Poland) Wielkopolska (like Greater or Major Poland) - native of Polans and Małopolska (like Lesser Poland) - the lands of Vistulians. Hungarians expanded the name of one of Polish tribes to all of them, which is not that uncommon in history. As for the name Lech - my guess is it was a personal name as it remains until now.


    Polish, Poland
    Oh really?
    I never knew that. Someone told me the story about theHungarian name for Poland coming from that tale and I believed it without checking it :)


    Senior Member
    Old names described Polish people:
    - East Slav Lach,
    - South Slav Ljach,
    - Hungarian Lengyel
    - Byzantine Lechoi,
    - Polish Lędzianie, Lendzianie, Lędzice
    They all stem from the word lęda (uncultivated field)
    But according the encyclopedia, Lengyel culture didn't cover exclusively Polish areas. It was located in the area of southern Moravia, western Slovakia, western Hungary, parts of southern Poland, and in adjacent sections of Austria, Slovenia, and Croatia.

    If you didn't mind I would tell about the legendary cradle of Poland.
    So, according to the legend three brothers Lech, Czech and Rus were penetrating the wilderness to find a place to settle. Suddenly they saw a hill with an old oak and an eagle on top. Lech said: this white eagle I will adopt as an emblem of my people, and around this oak I will build my stronghold, and because of the eagle nest I will call it Gniezdno. (Polish: nest = gniazdo = gniezdno). Gniezdno ( modern Gniezno) became one of the main towns of the early Piast dynasty, founders of Polish state while the white eagle became Polish emblem. The old name for Poland was Lechistan and Poles called Lechici.
    The other brothers went further on to find a place for their people. Czech went to the South and Rus went to the East.
    Medieval Polish chroniclers would derive Rus' from the Latin rus, ruris ("country"). The early Rus may well have seemed to visitors from Byzantium to be "rustic" and "rural" — both, terms derived from the Latin rus. And the name of the semilegendary founder of the early Rus state, Ruric does suspiciously resemble the genitive case of rus — ruris. Maybe the word "Rus'" was adopted by the Slavs from the Norse root , in compounds (roths-), either directly or via the Finnish Ruotsi. This root is the same as the English row and may have referred to the fact that the Varangians mainly rowed down the East European waterways; the Swedish region, Roslagen, which means "naval districts".


    Senior Member
    Update: I have just listened to this account of the Slavic (mostly Czech, to be precise) mythology (both the text and the audio file are in German). If our Croatian friends read this thread, they could maybe comment on the claim that there was a partriarch Charvat who, along with his supporters, fled from Bohemia and settled in what now is Croatia.