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Thread: The original Germani spoke a Celtic language: truth or dare?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonikW View Post
    This is a very niche view unfortunately Finn, with no support from mainstream scholars as far as I know. We only have to read the ancient writers, and if we don't believe them, surviving inscriptions, to know that broadly speaking Germans were Germans and Gauls were Gauls by the first century (with the possible exception of the Belgae).

    As for the Frisians, I'll include something that I sent during our enjoyable private chat earlier today if I may: what about the evidence of inscriptions? There are several inscriptions from Roman Britain left behind by Frisian army units, including this stone from Housesteads on Hadrian's Wall. It dates to 222-235 AD and is known as the ‘RIB 1594’ inscription.


    It says:
    "DEO MARTI ET DVABVS ALAISIAGIS ET N AVG GER CIVES TVIHANTI CVNEI FRISIORVM VER SER ALEXANDRIANI VOTVM SOLVERVNT LIBENTES M (To the god Mars the two Alaisagae and the divine spirit of the emperor, the German tribesmen from Tuihantis [serving in] the Frisian Formation, true servants of the Alexandrian, willingly and deservedly fulfill their vow.)"

    You can see here that not only are these Frisians from Tuihantis (Twenthe) but they are referred to as Germans. These people would have been well aware of what the Germanic label meant, whether we like it or not, and I don't think they would have used it if it didn't apply to them.

    There are several of these Frisian army unit inscriptions in Britain. They include such names as the Germanic goddesses Boudihilla and Friagabis.

    Over on the Frisian side of the water, there is the Beetgum inscription mentioning the goddess Hludana. It could be argued that this was carried to that spot or was set up as part of fishing links further south, but I find that unlikely.
    This is a very niche view unfortunately Finn, with no support from mainstream scholars as far as I know.
    Since when is wiki niche, the largest niche in the world....
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanic_peoples

    Sorry my friend but this in nowadays history writing about Frisians mainstream. I can deliver you a list of recent literature. By the way is John Hines outdated nowadays?

    It says:
    "DEO MARTI ET DVABVS ALAISIAGIS ET N AVG GER CIVES TVIHANTI CVNEI FRISIORVM VER SER ALEXANDRIANI VOTVM SOLVERVNT LIBENTES M (To the god Mars the two Alaisagae and the divine spirit of the emperor, the German tribesmen from Tuihantis [serving in] the Frisian Formation, true servants of the Alexandrian, willingly and deservedly fulfill their vow.)"

    You can see here that not only are these Frisians from Tuihantis (Twenthe) but they are referred to as Germans. These people would have been well aware of what the Germanic label meant, whether we like it or not, and I don't think they would have used it if it didn't apply to them.
    I didn't question the title Germani but Germani was original the label for the people in the Rhine Delta. So this is not against what I stated.

    broadly speaking Germans were Germans and Gauls were Gauls by the first century (with the possible exception of the Belgae).
    Nope, see the mentioning above,
    We only have to read the ancient writer
    ok wrap up classic keynotes:

    "Latin-speakers called them "Germani" because they were the "genuine" Gauls"
    'The only Germani and the only Germania were west of the Rhine within the empire: "some of the Celts (Keltoí), whom we call Germans (Germanoí)", had "occupied all the Belgic territory [Belgikḗ] along the Rhine and caused it to be called Germany [Germanía]"
    "....are now named Tungrians, were then called Germani. And thus by degrees the name of a tribe prevailed, not that of the nation; so that by an appellation at first occasioned by fear and conquest, they afterwards chose to be distinguished, and assuming a name lately invented were universally called Germani."

    So the classic writers show otherwise (and again we must take in account their different horizon) and the state of the art in research/ literature show otherwise....there is no clearcut divide. The label Germani is born out of the Celts, as a kind of subset....

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    Some key arguments,

    1. The classic authors stressed that Germani were a subset of Keltoi living in the Rhine Delta.
    2. The Germani around in the Rhine Delta as the Brttonics were part of the same network bounded by waterways: Rhine (and side rivers) and the North Sea.
    3. The Brittons and the Germani and especially the Frisii shared a same kind of Celtic language, they share the same preference for 'central rounded vouwels' (as differentiated from Germanic), according to linguist Peter Schrijver.
    4. The spread of the Germanic language, rooted in the Jastorf culture, was the biggest during the migration period.

    Feel free to differ. But please based on arguments not on reputation ('this is niche').
    Last edited by Finn; 06-30-2020 at 08:37 PM.

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    This quote from the wiki entry you quoted sums its worth (or lack thereof) up perfectly: " "Germanic peoples" is a term which commonly includes peoples who were not referred to as Germanic by their contemporaries, and spoke distinct languages, but only categorized as Germanic in modern times. Examples include the late Roman era Goths, or the early medieval Norse-speaking Vikings in Scandinavia." Whoever wrote it had an agenda in my view. Please tell us what Hines has said on this because I do respect most of his views.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonikW View Post
    This quote from the wiki entry you quoted sums its worth (or lack thereof) up perfectly: " "Germanic peoples" is a term which commonly includes peoples who were not referred to as Germanic by their contemporaries, and spoke distinct languages, but only categorized as Germanic in modern times. Examples include the late Roman era Goths, or the early medieval Norse-speaking Vikings in Scandinavia." Whoever wrote it had an agenda in my view. Please tell us what Hines has said on this because I do respect most of his views.
    The 'joke' is Jonik that the original Germani spoke Celtic. The people of the Jastorf culture spoke what we now call German. That's the point IMO.

    Picture this:


    And an agenda? Hang on to conventions is also an agenda....so please be my guest and blow away my five points honest be my guest. But please argumentative...not agenda claims and such like.


    John Hines (Editor)
    Nelleke IJssennagger (Editor)
    An investigation into the mysterious Frisians, drawing together evidence from linguistic, textual and archaeological sources.
    From as early as the first century AD, learned Romans knew of more than one group of people living in north-western Europe beyond their Empire's Gallic provinces whose names contained the element that gives us modern "Frisian". These were apparently Celtic-speaking peoples, but that population was probably completely replaced in the course of the convulsions that Europe underwent during the fourth and fifth centuries. While the importance of linguistically Germanic Frisians as neighbours of the Anglo-Saxons, Franks, Saxons and Danes in the centuries immediately following the fall of the Roman Empire in the West is widely recognized, these folk themselves remain enigmatic, the details of their culture and organization unfamiliar to many.
    Last edited by Finn; 06-30-2020 at 08:55 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Finn View Post
    Some key arguments,

    1. The classic authors stressed that Germani were a subset of Keltoi living in the Rhine Delta.
    2. The Germani around in the Rhine Delta as the Brttonics were part of the same network bounded by waterways: Rhine (and side rivers) and the North Sea.
    3. The Brittons and the Germani and especially the Frisii shared a same kind of Celtic language, they share the same preference for 'central rounded vouwels' (as differentiated from Germanic), according to linguist Peter Schrijver.
    4. The spread of the Germanic language, rooted in the Jastorf culture, was the biggest during the migration period.

    Feel free to differ. But please based on arguments not on reputation ('this is niche').
    Does Hines endorse the view or is he just a fellow editor? His knowledge of artefact styles is second to none, although I don't know how relevant that would be in this case. Your four points:

    1. Most writers didn't confuse the two groups. Where they did it's much like 16th century Europeans called the people of the Subcontinent and of the Americas by the same name, Indians. The Celts and Germans were all blonde, red haired barbarians from a corner of Europe to those writers. Those who knew the German lands (including Caesar) didn't make this mistake.

    2. Being part of the same network doesn't mean you're the same people.

    3. Schrijver is mistaken about this and other things. The idea that a Celtic language was spoken in the Frisian lands just before the Anglo-Saxon movements is bizarre. I don't say that there can have been no mutual influences, particularly outside the Germanic core, around what is now Belgium, where Celts and Germans met. This is not the Frisian area though (Germania Magna or free Germany, on the other side of the Rhine).

    4. There was indeed a movement of the kind you describe, from one part of the Germanic world, down the coast to another.

    EDIT: Added to point 3.
    Last edited by JonikW; 06-30-2020 at 09:21 PM.
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    mtDNA: traces to Glamorgan, Wales
    Mother's Y: traces to Llanvair Discoed, Wales

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    So the topic of this thread is essentially just a rhetorical line of questioning.

    You are speaking here about the tribe known as the Germani. Not the broad spectrum of Germanic speaking people.

    I honestly don’t know how much is solidly known about the Germani tribe, but from what I’ve read that seems to be a pretty common theory for the etymology of the word German/Germanic.

    Although I still don’t fully see how that supports the Nordwest block.
    “Nought may endure but mutability” —Percy Bysshe Shelley

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    @Jonik

    1. Most writers didn't confuse the two groups. Where they did it's much like 16th century Europeans called the people of the Subcontinent and of the Americas by the same name, Indians. The Celts and Germans were all blonde, red haired barbarians from a corner of Europe to those writers. Those who knew the German lands (including Caesar) didn't make this mistake.

    I don't talk about confusion, what I state is that Germani are originally a subset of Keltoi.

    2. Being part of the same network doesn't mean you're the same people.

    Indeed. But that's not the point. The same kind of language is a lubricant in a close network.

    3. Schrijver is mistaken about this and other things. The idea that a Celtic language was spoken in the Frisian lands just before the Anglo-Saxon movements is bizarre.

    He made his point based on the 'rounded vouwel' thing. Was he wrong? Why is this bizarre?

    4. There was indeed a movement of the kind you describe, from one part of the Germanic world, down the coast to another.

    No there is a break: in Friesland and England alike. Or as Luit van der Tuuk in his book "The Frisians" writes: 'from this time on the Frisians became part of the Nordic world.' That's cultural, that's linguistically.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Finn View Post
    The 'joke' is Jonik that the original Germani spoke Celtic. The people of the Jastorf culture spoke what we now call German. That's the point IMO.

    Picture this:


    And an agenda? Hang on to conventions is also an agenda....so please be my guest and blow away my five points honest be my guest. But please argumentative...not agenda claims and such like.


    John Hines (Editor)
    Nelleke IJssennagger (Editor)
    Had a look at the book you recommended and don't see anything I disagree with initially:

    "From this scanty material the conclusion may be drawn that it is possible that a Celtic language that closely resembled British Celtic was spoken between the estuaries of the Rhine and Ems during the Roman Period. The general assumption is that south of the rivers Maas, Waal and Rhine, Celtic was spoken at least until the early Roman Period, possibly beside Germanic. The idea that Celtic was present further to the north has never been seriously entertained. Yet this is what the onomastic material bears out
    At the same time, a note of caution is in order: linguistic material for this period is very sparse and scattered, so that it hazardous to generalize on the basis of a few names. The Celtic personal names Veritas and Malorix may easily have spread amongst a non-celtic-speaking population, as personal names have a habit of crossing linguistic boundaries. Finally, the resemblance of the three toponyms ... to Celtic words may be accidental precisely because they number only three. It is clear that we need more evidence to convince us that Celtic was spoken among the Frisii of the Roman Period."

    Bring on that missing evidence Finn. Until then I'm not even remotely convinced.
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    Hear hear Jonik unfortunately you forgot to stress the first sentence of the quote!
    ‘From this scanty material the conclusion may be drawn that it is possible that a Celtic language that closely resembled British Celtic was spoken between the estuaries of the Rhine and Ems during the Roman Period.’

    Stil biizarre?

    PS the last thing is what the Dutch call ‘open deur’ or as members here often say we need more samples, looks wise and no one, at the risk of being seen as unreasonable, says no. Succes guaranteed
    Last edited by Finn; 07-01-2020 at 06:22 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Finn View Post
    Hear hear Jonik unfortunately you forgot to stress the first sentence of the quote!
    ‘From this scanty material the conclusion may be drawn that it is possible that a Celtic language that closely resembled British Celtic was spoken between the estuaries of the Rhine and Ems during the Roman Period.’

    Stil biizarre?

    PS the last thing is what the Dutch call ‘open deur’ or as members here often say we need more samples, looks wise and no one, at the risk of being seen as unreasonable, day no no keer .!succes garanteed
    I left it in the quote though in the interests of accuracy.. So ultimately the conclusion may be drawn, but it would require further evidence to be substantiated. Anyway, thanks for starting this thread my friend. It's been a long time since we had a Celtic/Germanic powwow. I'm very pushed for time at present (working from home, which means not signing off until after 8pm) but hope more members will post here, both for and against our respective positions.
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