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Monkeying Around with Others’ History

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If you want to read something truly laughable, you should read “The History Files”, an amusing set of descriptions of various tribes in Europe.

Based on a review of this pseudo-history site, an inescapable conclusion is that a pair of retarded monkeys with a history fetish could have put together a more accurate and honest description of Europe’s past.

The reader should be already alerted by the fact that for a history of Poland, the only thing that is cited is a work by one M. Ross of Durham (!) from 1835:  A History of Poland from its Foundation

The thing is put out by a one man shop out of Taunton in the UK.

Here are some pearls from the site:

“Poland occupies a large area of Central  Europe bordering the southern Baltic Sea. Its history is a long one, covering several Bronze Age and Iron Age cultures, the latter of which saw the settlement of Belgic groups [!] who became collectively known as the Venedi, settling along the east bank of the Vistula.”

Did you know that the Venedi were “Belgic”? (The source for this is unclear but I assume that it must be Strabo who thought the Veneti of Vannes to be a Belgic tribe and, perhaps, the Adriatic Veneti but 1) that should make you think about who the Belgae really were and 2) Strabo said nothing at all about the Vistula Veneti).  There are tons of “Venetic” names throughout Europe – all you have to do is look at Ptolemy.

Or this:

“the last two centuries BC Germanic settlement from Scandinavia formed minor (tribal) states on the southern Baltic coast and west bank of the Vistula. Of these, the Buri and Lugii occupied areas of southern Poland,”

Did you know that the Buri and Lugi were Germanic?  No? No problem, now you do.

But the most amusing thing is this:

“The Late Bronze Age Lusatian culture … covered all of modern Poland with extensions into modern Czechia [!] and Slovakia, north-western Ukraine, and areas of central eastern Germany and eastern Pomerania… the Lusatian evolved directly into the subsequent Pomeranian culture. The ethnic composition of the Lusatian people is questionable, but they would have pre-dated the arrival of Germanics into the region.”

Here is a hint:

  • The Lusatians were the Veneti

So what happened?

  • Pre-Lusatian > Lusatian = Venetic = Suevic > Slavs

That said, it is probably true that some people really did crawl out of the Pripet Marshes.  You can tell who they are by the fact that they think they are Slavs and since their ancestors did crawl out of the marsh, so, too, must have the Slavs.

Lesson learned:

when they arrived on Slavic doorstep, still dripping with Pripet’s marsh goo, the Suavs should have just given them the Saint Adalbert treatment.

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October 7, 2017

Metz’s Troubles

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Speaking of Metz, thanks to Maciej for reminding me of this. I did want to mention the Slavic incursion of 1009 but the whole topic slipped my mind.  Thietmar says this:

“Ecclesia namque una, quae extra Metensem stabat civitatem, et congregatio ibidem (Deo) serviens a Sclavis Deum non timentibus vastatur.””

Pertz claimed in the MGH that, “not so”, that these were Northmen.  He then points to Alpert as proof and indeed Alpert does mention attacks of the Northmen.  Problem is that he does not provide any dates.

The only dating comes from Sigebert of Gembloux’s Universal Chronicle.  But he does not say that the Northmen invaded Metz.  Rather he only mentions Northmen in Frisia in 1009 – though Frisia is aways from Metz.

And remember the attacks happened about 1009.  Here are the dates when the three characters involved lived:

  • Sigebert circa 1030 – 1112
  • Alpert ? – 1024
  • Thietmar – 975 – 1018

So it seems that the oldest contemporary here was Thietmar whereas Sigebert wasn’t even alive in 1009.   Alpert must have been but he did not tell us when the Northmen ravaged Metz.  He does say that Henry subdued the Winidi.  It is also possible that both Slavs and Northmen raided Metz and Frisia that year.

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October 7, 2017

Sings of Lada Part VI – Better Explanations

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What is the etymology of the word “lady” – According to the ver useful Online Etymology Dictionary:

“circa 1200, lafdilavede, from Old English hlæfdige (Northumbrian hlafdia, Mercian hlafdie), “mistress of a household, wife of a lord,” apparently literally “one who kneads bread,” from hlaf “bread” (see loaf (n.)) + -dige “maid,” which is related to dæge “maker of dough” (which is the first element in dairy; see dey (n.1)). Also compare lord (n.)). Century Dictionary finds this etymology “improbable,” and OEDictionary rates it “not very plausible with regard to sense,” but no one seems to have a better explanation.

Here is a better explanation:

  • the bread kneader has nothing to do with “lady”
  • lafdilavede have something to do with “lady” but nothing to do with hlæfdige, bread and dough
  • lafdi comes from lavede
  • lavede is flipped from velade
  • velade is the same as Wald = ruler (Slavic Vlad)
  • velade probably is also reflected in the name of Veleda
  • Veleda > Lada = Polish Goddess
  • Compare Walada in Thuringia
  • Grimm points out too the Gothic name Valadomarca

Now, here is the really interesting stuff.  As we already mentioned:

  • lada in Slavic languages also meant “my love” or “my dearest” or “wife”  (lado meant the same but for males)
  • lada means “wife” or “spouse” in Lycian!
  • lady in English means?

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September 3, 2017

Minor Slav Mention in the Suda

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The Suda or Souda (Σοῦδα SoûdaSuidae Lexicon) is a 10th-century Byzantine encyclopedia of antiquity (but not only).  It has about 30,000 entries.  No one really knows what Suda refers to – it is just how it is known This is from the 1705 edition.

There is one entry dealing with Slavs:

The entry reads simply: Slavs, a people beyond the Ister (or Danube).

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September 1, 2017

Where Are They Now?

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Here is an interesting description of a medicine stamp found in England:

Note that our Ariovist the Oculist is named Vindacus.

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August 24, 2017

Slavs in the Netherlands Once More

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Here is an interesting Dutch name:

Today’s Maarssen, earlier Merseen or Marsenhofen on the Mass river nearby Utrecht.

Its prior names?

  • Marsana
  • Marsna
  • Marna

Even if this does not have anything to do with the Polish Goddess Marzanna, the name is suspiciously Slavic looking.  If the name had been discovered in Eastern Germany, there’d likely be no question about its provenance.  But here it is connected with Mars,,

Marsna and Marzana of Dlugosz

For other mentions of Dutch Slavs see here and here.

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July 26, 2017

Pseudo-Callisthenes’ Völkertafel

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Pseudo-Callisthenes refers to the author of a 3rd century work known as the “Alexander Romance”.  There are numerous version of it including one Greek version (written circa 800) which contains a list of peoples including some of the peoples of more recent vintage:

“I Alexander, king of the Macedonians, conquered a great number of peoples: the Avars, the Slavs … the Rus, the Khazars, the Bulgars … and others we’ve brought under our yoke without war so that they paid tribute.”

From the Heinrich Meusel edition (based on a 15th/16th century manuscript):

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July 13, 2017

Frothy Mountains

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We’ve discussed the Pyrenees and Pirins here.

Here is an interesting set of other similar names:

  • Apennines Range
  • Pennine Alps
  • Pennines (northern England)
  • Pieniny (Poland/Slovakia)

An interesting story shows what people really know about etymologies of names.  For years the English Pennines were assumed to be made up by Charles Bertram in the 18th century.  But George Redmonds in his “Names and History: People, Places and Things” traces it to William Camden (1551-1623) who writing of the town of Skipton in Yorkshire said as follows:

“For the whole tract there is rough all over and unpleasant to see to, with craggie stones, hanging rockes, and rugged waies, in the midest whereof, as it were in a lurking hole, not farre from Are standeth Skipton, and lieth hidden and enclosed among steepe hilles, in like manner as Latium in Italie, which Varro supposeth to have beene so called because it lieth close under Apennine and the Alpes.” [from A description of Yorkshire in William Camden, Britain, or, a Chorographicall Description of the most flourishing Kingdomes, England, Scotland, and Ireland)]

But is the name actually earlier than that?

“Piana” means “flat” in Italian (a “plain”?).

But in Slavic it means “foam or froth” and in Lithuanian (pienas) refers to milk.

So what’s the snow forecast up there?

As a reader points out, you can also get foam from limestone being exposed to acid.  Limestone is wapno and “made of limestone” is wapienny.  Both words are “native” Slavic.

 

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July 11, 2017

Berlin, Berlin

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This is probably a nothing (later settlement by German colonists?) but you never know 🙂 :

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June 27, 2017

Once Again on al-Bakri

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Incidentally, if you are interested in reports of Slavs in Westphalia (Quazwini), you may want to check out the edition of al-Bakri‘s Kitāb al-Masālik wa-al-mamālik by Adrian van Leeuwen et André Ferré (Tunis: al-Dar al-‘Arabiyya li-l-Kitab, 1992), where, apparently, al-Bakri, claims that the Rhine was the frontier between Franks and Slavs.

For more see Daniel G. König’s  “Arabic-Islamic Views of the Latin West: Tracing the Emergence of Medieval Europe” from which comes the above.  For more on al-Bakri’s mention of the account of Ibrahim ibn Ya’qub’s see here.

While Arab writers probably did confuse Slavs and Germans occasionally, there is no reason to believe that what they wrote above was anything other than a reflection of the situation at the time.  The Frankish realm was, after all, formed and run primarily from the West of the Rhine.

Even at the Treaty of Verdun (843), the realm of Louis the German consisted primarily of Saxony, Austrasia, Allemania, what was left of Thuringia and Bavaria.  Yet, the Saxons, Allemans and Thuringians were rather latecomers to Germania in any sedentary fashion.  The Allemans may have been, as the name suggests, a mixture of a whole bunch of people and the Bavarians’ origin is rather mysterious itself.  Suffice it to say that:

  • Alemanni appear about the beginning of the third century (213) in Cassius Dio
    • incorporated into the Frankish kingdom in 496
  • Thuringians appear first as Toringi about the year 400 in the Mulomedicina by Flavius Vegetius Renatus
    • incorporated into the Frankish kingdom in 531
  • Bavarians appear first in the Getica about 551 or 576 in Venantius Fortunatus
    • incorporated into the Frankish kingdom by 788
  • Saxons appear first (probably) in Ptolemy (?) north of the lower Elbe (Schleswig?), then about 356 in Gaul, then in Britain in 441-442 and, for the first time in Northern Germany in 555
    • rather brutally incorporated into the Frankish kingdom by 804

Austrasians were not really a tribe – rather Austrasia was an administrative region of the Frankish kingdom meaning the “eastern” portion as opposed to Neustria, which was the “new western” portion of that kingdom.

Did all these tribes come from the North after the birth of Christ? Probably not all but probably a sizable chunk of them which raises the question who were the Gauls or Germans who lived there before?  It is curious that Frankish records later show Slavic presence not just east of the Elbe-Saale but also in Saxony, Thuringia, Bavaria and Carinthia.

For more on the idea of the Rhein as a border see here.  For more on al-Bakri see here.  For more on Thuringia see here.

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June 26, 2017