The Radimichs (also Radimichi) (Radymicze in Polish, Радзiмiчы in Belarusian, Радимичи in Russian; Радимичі in Ukrainian), were a tribe of West Slavs [1][2] of the last few centuries of the 1st millennium, which inhabited upper east parts of the Dnieper down the Sozh River and its tributaries. The name probably derives from the name of the forefather of the tribe - Radim. The lands of the Radimichs were conveniently connected with the central regions of the Kievan Rus by waterways. In the 11th and 12th centuries, the Radimichs had a few known cities: Homiy (today's Homel) and Chechersk on the Sozh, Vshchizh on the Desna River, Vorob'yin, Ropeisk, Starodub and others. Seven-beam temporal jewelry made of bronze or silver represent a specific ethnic trait of the Radimichs of the 9th - 11th century.

There is little information on the Radimichs. According to Nestor the Chronicler, the tribe of Radimichs were Lachy (Lechitic), similar to Lendians and used to live in areas east from Vistula river. Due to some foreign invasion they moved to the East. (Original Russian text "радимичи же и вятичи — от рода ляхов. Были ведь два брата у ляхов — Радим, а другой — Вятко; и пришли и сели: Радим на Соже, и от него прозвались радимичи, а Вятко сел с родом своим по Оке, от него получили свое название вятичи.")

Historians know that in the middle of the 9th century they were paying tribute to the Khazars. In 885, the Radimichs were conquered by Prince Oleg of Novgorod and became part of Kievan Rus. In 907, the Radimichs are mentioned as a part of Oleg's army in his military campaign against Byzantine empire. In 984, the Radimichs tried to break away from the Kievan Rus, but were defeated on the Pischan River by Vladimir the Great's commander Volchiy Khvost ("Wolf's Tail"). Since then, there had been no mentioning of the tribe in the chronicles. They continued living on their land, gradually assimilating with neighboring tribes and peoples and forming the Belarusian nationality. Subsequently, the lands of the Radimichs became a part of the Chernihiv and Smolensk principalities.

The Radimichs were last mentioned in a chronicle in 1169.

Recent genetic findings

It has been claimed that recently discovered higher percentage of Central European Genetic Marker M458 in areas around Smolensk, which cannot be traced to more recent Polish immigration is due to the Radimichs autochtonic settlement there. There is also similar marker that shows maximum in Poland and on areas of Vyatichi and Radimichs, which was called 'Vyatichi-West'.

See also

  • List of Medieval Slavic tribes
  • M458 genetic marker in area of Moscow
  • Vyatichi-West genetic marker


This article includes content derived from the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 1969–1978, which is partially in the public domain.