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    The Cimbri - Celtic or Germanic?

    It has been years since I have considered the topic, however the thread on "The Blood of the Celts" has given me pause to reflect once again on this subject.

    The Cimbri appear to have been a Celtic - speaking people settled in an enclave deep within Germania. They burst on the world's stage about 119 BC after flooding and crop failures forced almost the entire tribe to leave their northern Jutland home and set about a perambulation which would take them across almost the entire extent of the Celtic world - from the Balkans to Iberia. After destroying a number of elite Roman troops (e.g., at Orange, France), they and their Celtic tribal allies, were decimated by the Romans (as I recall) in 101 BC along the Ligurian coast. The remnants fled north, returning to their former home in what is today known as Himmerland, Jutland, Denmark.

    Their story is epic, the archaeological treasures (most Celtic or Celtic - inspired) recovered from their homeland spectacular (I have seen them in the National Museum in Copenhagen), and the linguistic record (including toponyms) is decidedly Celtic. It has always surprised me that so little attention has been given to them in the literature - although given due contemporary consideration by Tacitus etc.

    Years back I was convinced that the Y chromosome haplogroups of descendants from Jutland would show Celtic traces (e.g., R-U152). While the data show that the original hypothesis cannot be ruled out, it seems clear that it requires substantial modification. It is interesting to note, however, that the pattern seen in Denmark today could be explained by Bede's statement that the Angle homeland was almost completely depopulated during the time of the migrations to Britain. The present distribution of R-U152 in England is predominantly in the Angle and Danish Viking settled areas of England (and almost none at all in Ireland or the west of the UK in general).

    I wrote a 96 page study of the Cimbri, and it occurs that before writing her new book on the Celts, Jean may wish to consider the controversy around the origins of the Cimbri, and the evidence that they were culturally Celtic. Here is the link to my study of many years past:

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