Wends (from wend, to "wander"), a Slavic people who as early as the 6th century occupied the north and east of Germany, from the Elbe along the coast of the Baltic to the Vistula, and as far south as Bohemia. They were divided into several tribes, which were successively subdued by the Germans, and either exterminated or Germanized. Charlemagne drove them back towards the Vistula, and by the close of the 13th century his successors in Germany had almost completed the work of extirpation. In the 16th century remnants of this Slavic population were still scattered over the whole region between Berlin and Frankfort-on-the-Oder; and there was a remnant of Wends in Hanover, where they kept up their language until the middle of the 18th century. They are now found in portions of Brandenburg, Silesia, and the kingdom of Saxony, and principally on the banks of the Spree. At present the number of Wends, or those speaking the Wendish language, exclusive of that portion of this people who have been Germanized, is placed at 140,000, of whom 83,000 are in Prussia and 52,000 in Saxony. It is worthy of remark that the Sloventzi of Austria, a Slavic people numbering 1,260,000, are called Vinds, and their language the Vindish. To these the name Southern Wends is frequently applied. Most of the Wends are Protestants, though a large portion of those living in Saxonv are Catholics. Christianity was introduced among them about the middle of the 11th century by their zealous king Gottschalk, founder of the Wendish kingdom. But they lapsed again into paganism, and were subsequently restored to Christianity by missionaries from the south. The language of the Wends is similar to the other branches of the northwestern stem of the Slavic languages, the Polish and the Bohemian. It has several dialects — the Lower Lusatian, and the Upper Lusatian, which is subdivided into the Evangelical, near Bautzen; the Catholic, near Kamenz and in the northwest; and the Northeastern. The extent of the entire Wendish literature has been estimated at three hundred volumes. The oldest work in the language is a translation of the Epistle of St. James, dating from 1548, published at Leipsic (1867). There are grammars of the Wendish language by Ticinus (Prague, 1679), Matthai (1721), Seiler (Bautzen, 1830), and Jordan (Prague, 1841). There are also some collections of Sorbenian-Wendish songs and ballads. See Giesebrecht, Wendische Geschichten (Berlin, 1843); Das hannoverische Wendland (Luchow, 1863); and Obermuller, Die Urgeschichte Wenden (Leipsic, 1874).

Bible concordance for WEN.

Definition of wen

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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