Veľká Morava na polceste od kmeňa ku štátu

Great Moravia on a Half-Way from a Tribe to a State

A state claims a monopoly over power and violence on its territory. In an early medieval state, such monopoly belonged to a prince, king, emperor or a monarch possessing a different title. This monarch was collecting taxes, demanding services, proclaiming laws and was the superior judge as well as the chief military commander. All the important decisions, even those made by the Great Moravian prince had to be approved by "all the Moravians" on a diet. Thus, the Great Moravian prince´s power was not a monarchist one and Great Moravia was still only an emerging and imperfect state. The Saxons, Slavic Luticians, Obotrites and Polabian Prussians were rejecting both Christianity and monarchy most fiercely. On the other hand, the Moravians had taken another way, namely the one towards a Christian state. However, Great Moravia, especially its countryside, was Christian only partially.
A coarse, imperfect state as Great Moravia was had also a coarse form of the Christianity. The Moravian tribe was relying on a traditional tribal "freedom" as well as on a tribal diet. The prince was relying on his retinue of professional warriors who were loyal to him. The most significant of them were appointed as county governors and were thus given a share of prince´s power. A duke was of the highest rank among the county governors. The prince was annually collecting taxes called "obrokъ" from the free Moravians that financed the retinue, county governors as well as the whole emerging state.
On a half way between the prince and the tribe, there were lesser princes and castles. The castles actually belonged to the Moravians – which means to the whole tribe – but besides, these were also centres of prince´s power as well as subsequent ecclesiastical administrative. That means that these were centres of the newly established state. The castles served both the prince and the state. Both principalities, Moravia and Nitrava (Nitra) which had formed "moravьska oblastь" (Great Moravia) since 833, consisted of several smaller principalities. The Great Moravian prince consulted their princes concerning any important issues. Together (for instance in 864, 874, 884) they swore fealty to the king of Franks. Great Moravia was an independent principality, but also a peripheral and rather free part of the broad borderlands of the Frankish (later on East Frankish) Empire. This brought both disadvantages (minor or major extent of dependency) and advantages (right to interfere in the borderlands´ or imperial affairs in their own favour). Great Moravian princes were trying to manage the advantages´ options as well as to avoid disadvantages of this dubious position. In the end, Great Moravia established its legitimacy which was relying on the papal authority and was more or less successfully bypassing the authority of Frankish kings and emperors. Moravians relied on Rome and thus influenced the whole Central European development.
An early medieval tribe ("gens") and an emerging state created a complementary unity, but on the other hand they represented two contrasting development tendencies. The state was controlled and governed by the professionals, whereas the tribe was ruled by amateurs. The professionals – even in a minority – always prevail over the amateurs as they work more effectively and efficiently. This was the advantage of the emerging state.