Category Archives: Origins

Veneti on the Radio

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Thanks for the gentleman who forwarded a link to this 2016 interview with Adam Ziółkowski of Warsaw University.  It is unfortunately only in Polish but if you can figure some of it out, it is very interesting.  Its conclusion is also onto “something.” That said, Ziółkowski’s exposition has a number of factual errors and not so insignificant logical problems that should be noted so that he can improve his presentation the next time he speaks on this topic. (Also his manner of speaking is grating – he sounds like a friar of the Spanish Inquisition after a dozen cans of Red Bull – check out the guy’s “rrrrrrs”)

Slavs are not (just) a linguistic community

Ziółkowski starts with the unfortunate assertion that Slavs are only a linguistic community. This is a popular trope these days with a transparent intent of breaking down the concept that Slavs are a nation – which would mean ties of blood.  Those ties are, of course, attested (and visible to the naked eye) but the unscientific and politicized view of Slavs as merely a linguistic community is important to anyone hostile to any blood communities (another example of Slavs suffering for the sins of the Nordics).

Here he gets challenged a bit by the interviewer who asks (since according to Ziółkowski Slavs are those “who understand one another”) whether a German who understands another German is also a Slav.  Indeed, Ziółkowski does not seem to believe his own silliness as he answers the interviewers question with a “no” – a German who understands another German is not a Slav – but then adds (giggling!?) “unless he had learned to speak German…” So in this telling a Slav who learns German is still a Slav.  

Ok, but the better question to ask Ziółkowski would have been, is this Slav now (also) a German?  And what about a German who learns Slavic?  Is he both Slav and German?  Does the “first” language matter?  Why? And what if you were raised with Slavic language but then learned German and forgot Slavic. Are you now a German or a Slav?

How ridiculous this view is can be demonstrated by its application to the Lebensborn program – these children stolen by the Germans and raised as German would in Ziółkowski’s way of thinking be seen as German. I hesitate to ask what he thinks Edith Stein was.

Further, to give support to this “linguistic” community, he creates a fable of Slavs (those who speak the word) and Nemcy (those who do not).  This etymology is tempting and has been much talked about but is way uncertain for a whole number of reasons – one of which being is that it very much smacks of being a Volksetymologie.

Finally, any such definition of Slavs that Ziółkowski comes up with makes irrelevant (to most people) the answer to the question for which he got air time to expound on this stuff.  Simply put, while the question of “where the Slavic language came from” may be interesting, the question that most people are interested in is not that – their question is rather “where did their ancestors come from”.  Ancestor does not mean “linguistic ancestor”.  Our ancestors may or may not have spoken Slavic.  We see a certain level of biological similarity among Northern Slavs and, separately, Southern Slavs, and the question is where did those communities come from.  Their ancestors may well have spoken Slavic but if someone told me tomorrow that Slav was an Avar (unlikely) or Hunnic language imposed on the Veneti, I would say, great, but I don’t care because Slavdom and ancestry are independent of that.

I suspect that if Ziółkowski were to say that our ancestors did not speak Slavic and then wanted to get on the radio to discuss where these linguistic Slavs came from, he would have gotten a 10th of the listeners he got.  And I suspect, he well knows that.

Anyway, I am on this “linguistic ancestry” train only so long as it can be shown that Slavic is what my ancestors spoke.  If, looking back, there is a divergence I’ll follow the ancestral path further back. (Of course, it could be too that at some point you’d come across a linguistically mixed marriage or other type of coupling).

Enough on that.

Our knowledge of “peoples, geography and archeology” does not answer these questions

Central Europe was, according to Ziółkowski, very well known to the Romans. He says that we have names of peoples, geography and archeology and that there “simply are no Slavs here” in that period.  This is just silliness.

As to peoples, he does not mention the Suevi.  Why?  He does mention the Veneti but then later makes a claim that they were Balts… They may well have included Balts if by Balts we understand the genetic ancestors of today’s Latvians, Lithuanians and Old Prussians but the Veneti were natio populosa and that is not what the Balts are.  I also seriously doubt that the Veneti – even the ones on the Baltic – spoke a “Baltic” language. It’s possible but, as a primary language, I doubt it.

As to geography, I am not sure what he means because he does not develop this thought beyond his “geography” incantation.

As to archeology, he himself earlier says that we do not know who the people were (and, of course cannot, know) who made the various pots and pans… Even that would assume that the people who made them were the same people as the people who used them.  Even putting aside imports, it does not take much of an imagination to see that you could have a craftsman from tribe A living among tribe B, particularly if tribe A was known for its pan making skills.

There certainly are more than two possibilities

Ziółkowski mentions there are two possibilities for the appearance of the Slavs.  One is that they were here under “different names” before.  But then he serves up only the Veneti (dismissing their Slavicity) – more on that below.

The second is that there was some sort of an “accelerated birth” of the Slavs.  This second concept seems to be derived from Florin Curta’s theories which, as noted here, are just plain silly.

There is, of course, another version: that the Slavs came – as a group – from somewhere else.  This is the allochtonic theory but in today’s Europe which is supposed to be building an uebernational identity, any “group” activities (even going for a walk) that obviously exclude others are viewed with suspicion… On this see below.

Limited Voelkerwanderung and no emptying of Central Europe

Ziółkowski says that Central Europe was emptied because of the Voelkerwanderung. This is curious on two fronts.

First, we know now that there was no such “complete emptying” (this is a quote) and that there appears to be settlement continuity with, perhaps, some modest population reduction.

Second, it is curious that Ziółkowski seems unaware that the Voelkerwanderung is now considered (in German circles) to be a myth.  This is striking because most of the ideas he talks about seem to come straight from German historiography – but not this one.  Modern German scholars view the Voelkerwanderung as a myth but modern Polish scholars such as Ziółkowski not so much.  Difference of opinion – but why?

I have to say that I was always suspicious that the idea that the Voelkerwanderung was a myth came from those hostile to Germans having any such myths (better safe than sorry).

However, as applied to the Poles the myth claim is well and good.  From a Polish “autochtonic” perspective, the idea that the Voelkerwanderung is a myth is likely to be whole-heartedly embraced.  These Poles would say “of course, it’s a myth, because there were no Nordics in those areas that you are talking about – just our ancestors.”

In other words, while for modern politically-driven German historiography the Germanic Voelkerwanderung is a necessary myth, for modern Polish historiography the same Germanic Voelkerwanderung is politically necessary as a way of busting Polish autochtonic “myths” and so it undoubtedly took place and Nordics lived in Poland prior to Slavs having somehow arisen. In either case, however, the idea is that the concept of ancient national action or existence is deprecated.  In fact, modern German scholars were so eager to apply this new myth-busting way of thinking to the Poles that one of them – Walter Pohl – pathetically ignorant that Slav autochtonists are perfectly happy with the German Voelkerwanderung being a myth – started attacking the idea of a Slavic Voelkerwanderung in an apparent attempt to shatter the Slavic version of the Germanic “myth”.  All this notwithstanding the fact that no such myth exists in Slavic autochtonic historiography and that Slav “autochtonists” would, as noted above, be more than happy to dispense with both any alleged Germanic or with a Slavic Voelkerwanderung

In fact, Ziółkowski, calls Slavs (and presumably) Poles “Immigrants”.  Wittingly or not, he becomes part of a movement (as absurd and ridiculous as it is) that would place Poles on the same level as immigrants who just got to Poland (that is, non-Poles).  To say that this is an overeager anticipation of the European elites’ current political narrative would be so obvious an observation as to make the observer almost embarrassed to even have to utter it.

Ziółkowski does note that these Slavs were “legal” immigrants but, apparently, only because they walked into a portion of Germania which had been entirely depopulated by the escaping Germanics.  Now, however, we know that no such major depopulation took place (notwithstanding the various pollen counts undertaken).

Of course, if this were all correct, it would be perfectly fine with me – it’s just that the approach here reeks of political necessity.

Veneti likely were ancestors of the Slavs (and maybe of Balts) & Antes may well have spoken Slavic

Ziółkowski says that both those in the East (from south of Danube) and West (from West of the Rhine) looking at Central Europe only see Slavs and Antes but not – with the exception of Jordanes – the Veneti.  As an example of this in the West, he mentions Fredegar who speaks of the Slavs.

Right off the bat, this is technically wrong for two reasons.

First, Fredegar, as Ziółkowski himself notes a few seconds later, does speak of the Wends (“Slavs who are called Wends”).

Second, no one in the West at the end of antiquity uses the name Antes – that name is only used by the Greek Byzantine writers (and Jordanes).  (Whether the earlier Antes of Pomponius Mela & Co had anything to do with the Antes Jordanes, Procopius & Co, is at least as debatable as whether the earlier Veneti had anything to do with the Slavs).

Ziółkowski then notes that the Antes must have spoken Slavic.  Why? Because they spoke the same language as the Slavs (likely true) but best exemplified by the Slavic name Dabragezas who he identifies as a written version of Dobrogost. This may be true (though presumably Florin Curta could object) but may also not be true.  Every part of this name can be explained through use of non-Slavic languages.

Take Dabra: the suggestion has been made that some of the Dubr names are Celtic.  Thus, for example, Portus Dubris (Dubrae) is the ancient name for Dover, England.  Dubrovnik in Croatia is explained with a Slavic etymology but that is because that is the easiest.  The fact that Caesar may have come to Dubris from Illyria might suggest a different answer.  Or maybe even before Caesar there were pre-Slavs living in Britain.

Take Gezas: If Gezas is supposed to be Gost then why not Gaisus? Are we suggesting that Radagaisus – the Goth – was a Slav or spoke Slavic?  I guess, why not?  Both Rad- and -gaisus can be just as (and perhaps more) easily Slavic than Germanic.

And what about other names associated with the Antes: Mezamer/Idariz/Kelagast, Chilbudios, Boz? At least one Ukrainian writer believed that these were all Goths…

In any event, I think that the Antes actually did speak Slavic but the above name may or may not be Slavic.

There are other issues in this part of the discussion:

  • Ziółkowski calls Jordanes a “pseudo-historian” but does in now way challenge his credibility (and says his ethnographic descriptions are accurate – but check out the War of Vesosis!). And who was a “real” historian back in those days? (On the tendentious, perfunctory and annoying criticisms of Jordanes in general, you can see here)
  • The fact that the Antes appear in earlier sources way in the East (as do Souobenoi, by the way), “surrounded by Iranian speaking tribes” in no way, contrary to Ziółkowski’s assertion, requires these Antes to have been Iranian speakers.
  • Tacitus does not end his description of Suevia “on the Bug River” thereby “placing Veneti in northern Ukraine and in Belarus.”  Tacitus does not mention the Vistula, Oder or Bug under any names.  All he says “here Suevia ends.”  Since he just discussed the Swedes (and Sitones?)*, it is questionable what gives any reader the right to jump back down to the Bug.  We may infer from the Veneti being between the Fenni and the Peucini that – some of them – were in Belarus and Ukraine but Ptolemy places them on the Baltic and Pliny seemingly in all of Central Europe.

[*note: “Bordering on the Suiones are the nations of the Sitones. They resemble them in all respects but one – the female is the ruling sex. That is the measure of their decline, I will not say below freedom, but even below decent slavery.”]

  • As noted above, there is nothing to indicate that the Veneti were Balts or merely Balts and much speaks against that (such as the natio populosa concept).
  • He seems to conflate the Alans with the Antes – this is just a supposition based on very little.
  • Ziółkowski claims – and this is just plain wrong and false – that Pliny the Elder identified the Venedi with the Aestii. Ziółkowski also appears to say that those are the people “who live today in Prussia”.  I have to say that it is difficult not to do an “ahem” since there is no Prussia “today” but this statement suggests where Ziółkowski got this idea – that is from 19th century German historiography – a major Freudian slip it seems. Moreover, I cannot see where Pliny talks about the Aestii at all (“some writers state that these regions, as far as the river Vistula, are inhabited by the Sarmati, the Venedi, the Sciri, and the Hirri“).  The first mention of the Aestii comes from Tacitus and he certainly does not equate the Aestii with the Veneti.

Veneti and Volcae

Ziółkowski continues to perpetuate the early 20th century invention, according to which Germanic tribes called all people to the East “Veneti” – no matter their ethnic/blood/linguistic affiliation.  How do we know that?  Well, because the Germans did something similar with the Volcae so that the people in the South were Volcae but in the East they were Veneti.

This is bullshit.

It received its strongest expression in the 1905 work of Hermann HirtDie Indogermanen“.  Now Hirt was also a believer in the Baltic Urheimat of the Indo-European languages – a position that was politically important to pre-Nazi and Nazi Germany.  Since the Venetic Uebertragung theory would have expelled Slavs into areas even further east, it naturally found a home in Nazi and post-war Germany.  Why such nonsense is repeated today though is curious.

It is also worth mentioning what Hirt actually wrote:

“Since no Slavic tribe refers to itself as the Veneti, one can come to suppose that in the East of the Germans a non-Slavic people with the name Veneti [once] sat, whose name then was transferred onto the Slavs, once these ran into the Germans.  Nevertheless, this can be treated only as a very uncertain supposition.

So the Father of this theory is leery of fully accepting his child but his students fell no such reservations.

What can we say about this?

First of all if the Germanic tribes called people to the South (in some version “to the West”) of them Volcae and if this was because they first encountered the Belgae and then the Welsh then they must have come down into Europe from Scandinavia – probably over today’s Denmark.  If so, then who lived in Germany before the Germans?

Second, even if the Germans were to call everyone South (or is it West?) of them Volcae – which they did not – it does not stand to reason that they should do the same for all peoples in the East.

The truth is that there is nothing to suggest that in Germanic languages Volc is associated with the West and Wind with the East.

Moreover, Germanics clearly did see different peoples in both the West and the East.  The Franks did not think the Thuringians and Saxons were Windische.  But why?  After all they lived to the East of the Franks.  They should have been Windische!

But maybe that is because they spoke a Germanic language!?  But the Huns, Avars, Hungarians, Aestii (Cassiodorus) and Fenni were not called Windische.  None of them spoke a Germanic language.

Most importantly, the Balts themselves were never in Middle Ages called Veneti by the Germans and were called Aestii (Cassiodorus, Alfred’s Orosius).

But maybe that is because these other peoples spoke a non-Germanic language that was not Slavic!  That must be it.  So to sum up:

  • The Germans transferred the Veneti name from a non-Slavic tribe onto everyone who lived in the East but only if by everyone we mean more or less just the Slavs.  Yeah, that makes a lot of sense…

And what about the Veneti of the Adriatic… Were they named by the Germans too?  No, of course not, those were the original Veneti.  But, wait a minute now, these Veneti were to the South of the Germans so should they not have been called Volcae!? And how is that we find here, again, Slavs!? Why, for example, is Grad called Grad in the Chronicle of Grad? Why is there a Wistla in the Alps?

And what about the Veneti in Bretagne!? Are the Germans now calling people to the West of them Veneti!?  And, by the way, why do the descendants of these Bretagnish Veneti still use the word divyezhek (dwujezyczny) to denote “bilingual“?

Fredegar, contrary to Ziółkowski, cannot be used to support the notion that Venethi was a name given to everyone in the East by the Germans.  In fact, it only supports the view that Slavs and Venethi were the same people.

What makes sense

The interview above actually is pretty good so my criticism is intended to be limited. What makes it good, however, is the rest of the “meat” on these bones.  Let’s take a look at that.

An important observation that Ziółkowski makes is that linguists are basically useless in this discussion.  He even mentions that whenever you see the universal warning sign for a “reconstructed” word – that is * – that sight might be preceded by a stench of bullshit.  Completely agree with that sentiment.

(It behooves me to note that the word “asterisk” as in “little star” may go back to the symbol for the Eostre/Ashera).

He says that Venethi may have been ancestors of the Slavs or may have been pre-Slavs. Agree with that.

He says that the Slavs are Veneti (by whom he means Balts) mixed with Germanics (which ones we do not know) and Iranians (presumably Antes – if they were even Iranian – or Alans).  I think there is something to this concept but I would make the following “emendations”:

  • the Veneti are more (or at least just as) likely to have been the ancestors of today’s Slavs (in the biological sense) as today’s Balts – the Balts are much more likely to be the Aestii.
  • although whether the Suevi of Caesar spoke a Germanic language is very uncertain, for reasons that need no be repeated here, if Germanics as in Nordics we must have in the mix, the Suevi may provide that connection best (than say Goths).  Remember swoboda (“own body).
  • the “Iranian element” need not come from the Antes or Alans – the Yazyges were present in Pannonia for quite some time and their interactions with the Suevi are well know.

There IS a possibility that Slavs came from Prussia… or that Prussian Balts were a mixed people – compare Witland with the name of the Ranian Gods and with the Lithuanian Wits such as Vitas or Vitautas – this is something that certainly merits amuck more detailed study.

There is another possibility… (there always is): that the Veneti were Slavs but that the Suevi were Balts…

With all that in mind, I think the interview is terrific (if you can put up with the way this guy pronounces his “r’s”) and I encourage everyone who understand Polish to tune in.

Copyright ©2017 jassa.org All Rights Reserved

November 14, 2017

Eccentrics, Epicycles and Equants to the Rescue

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An amusing article in “Science in Poland” with some wonderful (and wonderfully mischaracterized) treasures found in Poland.  Here is a quote:

“Some of these peoples, among them Germanic tribes, observed in ancient written sources, for example Goths or Vandals, came from the Odra-Vistula basin where they lived in the first centuries of our era.”

This Veranstaltung is orchestrated by professor Bursche who believes that Germanic tribes were present in Poland (Kuyavia) up until the 7th century. The archeologist believes that such a long presence of Germanics in this are allowed the pre-Slavic names especially certain hydronyms to reach Slavic times with one example give as Vistula – Wisla.

The Professor is an archeologist so he can be somewhat forgiven his lack of basic historical knowledge but, if he is going to venture out of his comfort zone and make such statements, as a non-expert, he should approach a foreign area with a little better prep.  It would behoove him to realize a few points:

  • No source asserts the presence of any Vandals in the territory of, as the above article so unfortunately puts it, “current Polish lands”
  • The presence of Goths in such lands is attested in sources at the Vistula mouth and that is about it

Beyond that, the German name for the Vistula is Weichsel (itself probably a borrowing from the Balts which should also provide some food for thought as to how exactly the Goths “got” to Poland) and the Polish name is Wisla which just happens to match the ancient Vistla ever so better than the Weichsel.  Perhaps the theory here is that Germanic tribes used Vistla, passed it onto the Slavs then the Germans changed their pronunciation to Weichsel?  

Of course, a simpler solution would be to assume that the Slavs got Vistla from someone who used Vistla in antiquity.  Here the Veneti come to mind.

But then, if we believe there were Germanic tribes in the “current” lands of Poland, we would have to believe that the Veneti survived all these Germanic rampages through their lands long enough to pass the knowledge of local hydronymy to the incoming Slavs (whom the Germans to this day just happened to call Wenden…). This too is, of course, possible in the sense that anything is possible. But there is obviously a more economical solution.

Or if we did not believe that there were significant Germanics in the area, we would have to conclude that the Veneti were absorbed by the incoming Slavs but then these artifacts may be Venetic or Slavic or have nothing to say about who used actually them. And given then that the Germans (but also Finns) call Slavs Wenden, another simpler solution also presents itself.

In any event, for archeologists who want to cling to difficult to maintain positions, I include here a link that should help them do that.  They should study up on eccentrics, epicycles and equants.  These esoteric concepts might just prove invaluable in salvaging their theory.  And, indeed, they, like Ptolemy, may still be right.

But, as they say, it’s a question of probabilities.

More on the theoretical underpinnings of the research project which generated this Veranstaltung here and here.

And Science in Poland should also check whether it still is where it claims.  After all, things change.

Copyright ©2017 jassa.org All Rights Reserved

November 1, 2017

Ram

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One of the more interesting words in Slavic is taran.  It means, literally, a battering ram.  Interestingly, the word for “ram” is also related being baran.

Baran Taran

The thing is the word taran can be derived from the Slavic tarać meaning to tear.  It may also be that the same etymology explains the word targ where people go to tarać or targować meaning to haggle (think of the verbal back & forth much as the physical).

an urword of uncertain origin

And there is Tharant which may have been an old name of a reindeer?

Lucan’s Pharsalia

Which raises a question: how is that a word survived in Slavic that so well matches the name of a Celtic God known from Marcus Annaeus Lucanus or Lucan (On the Civil War or Pharsalia, Book I):

at mihi semper
tu, quaecumque moues tam crebros causa meatus,
ut superi uoluere, late. tum rura Nemetis
qui tenet et ripas Atyri, qua litore curuo
molliter admissum claudit Tarbellicus aequor,
signa mouet, gaudetque amoto Santonus hoste
et Biturix longisque leues Suessones in armis,
optimus excusso Leucus Remusque lacerto,
optima gens flexis in gyrum Sequana frenis,
et docilis rector monstrati Belga couinni,
Aruernique, ausi Latio se fingere fratres
sanguine ab Iliaco populi, nimiumque rebellis
Neruius et caesi pollutus foedere Cottae,
et qui te laxis imitantur, Sarmata, bracis
Vangiones, Batauique truces, quos aere recuruo
stridentes acuere tubae; qua Cinga pererrat
gurgite, qua Rhodanus raptum uelocibus undis
in mare fert Ararim, qua montibus ardua summis
gens habitat cana pendentes rupe Cebennas.
tu quoque laetatus conuerti proelia, Treuir,
et nunc tonse Ligur, quondam per colla decore
crinibus effusis toti praelate Comatae,
et quibus inmitis placatur sanguine diro
Teutates horrensque feris altaribus Esus
et Taranis Scythicae non mitior ara Dianae.
uos quoque, qui fortes animas belloque peremptas
laudibus in longum uates dimittitis aeuum,
plurima securi fudistis carmina, Bardi.

or in the rather crappy Ridley translation:

The tents are vacant by Lake Leman’s side;
The camps upon the beetling crags of Vosges
No longer hold the warlike Lingon down,
Fierce in his painted arms; Isere is left,
Who past his shallows gliding, flows at last
Into the current of more famous Rhone,
To reach the ocean in another name.
The fair-haired people of Cevennes are free:
Soft Aude rejoicing bears no Roman keel,
Nor pleasant Var, since then Italia‘s bound…

…No skilful warrior of Seine directs
The chariot scythed against his country’s foe.
Now rest the Belgians, and th’ Arvernian race
That boasts our kinship by descent from Troy;
And those brave rebels whose undaunted hands
Were dipped in Cotta’s blood, and those who wear
Sarmatian garb.  Batavia‘s warriors fierce
No longer listen for the trumpet’s call,
Nor those who dwell where Rhone‘s swift eddies sweep
Saone to the ocean; nor the mountain tribes
Who dwell about its source. Thou, too, oh Treves,
Rejoicest that the war has left thy bounds.
Ligurian tribes, now shorn, in ancient days
First of the long-haired nations, on whose necks
Once flowed the auburn locks in pride supreme;
And those who pacify with blood accursed
Savage Teutates, Hesus’ horrid shrines,
And Taranis’ altars, cruel as were those
Loved by Diana, goddess of the north;
All these now rest in peace. And you, ye Bards,
Whose martial lays send down to distant times

(Hey, didn’t that say Taranis Scythicae above?)

This name survived in Celtic languages as well (Irish toran or now toirneach thunder) but that is little wonder.  After all, Taranis was supposed to have been a Celtic God.

The Slavic remainder of the name and the connection to the ram should leave people scratching their heads.

Taranis was associated with the wheel but was it a wheel or a sun disk?

(And speaking of wheels, try looking up the etymology of koło or kula or kulka (from kūle?)).

Esus may well be Yesza.  Teutates on the other hand may well be the same as Tuisco.

The Tusk of Esus and Taranis?

Now we hear that a tusk has been discovered which reads (or so it seems as of now and there are questions already):

esuitoranei

For Esus for Toranis?

(arguably, it seems to say giesuitoranei to the extent you can read it at all).

Copyright ©2017 jassa.org All Rights Reserved

October 29, 2017

A Bridge Not Too Far?

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The reports of the Tollense (Slavic dolenzia) battle (re)raise a bunch of interesting questions.

Was that battle something major politically or more like a skirmish of invaders with locals?  You could see a few different local tribes fighting but you could also see a group of marauders roaming the lands, the locals becoming aware of them and their activities and, eventually, facing them somewhere at some strategic point.  For example, the Bridge at Tollense.

From the Krueger article

Curiously, although the battle of Tollense took place about 1200 B.C., that bridge had been built about 600 years before that. This is nothing short of fascinating. In fact, the bridge with its apparently complicated and sophisticated construction is as much of interest as the battle itself.

Getting back to the combatants.  We have “locals” who seem to have come from the Baltic area where the battle took place and we have people that may have come from the “south”.  The “south” here seems to be somewhere in the Danube region (speaking in generalities), perhaps the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge) on the Czech-German border, perhaps Silesia a bit further East.

Now, there are a number of questions about this battle that we are unlikely to learn the answer to.

First of all, the assumption that the “southerners” and the “northerners” constituted two separate groups is just that an assumption.  It may well be that each group that fought was composed of both northerners and southerners.  In fact, there may have been multiple groups.

Second, the numbers of combatants are as yet unclear and may never be clear.  As far as I understand, the reports are based on a number of dead or, more precisely of bones (reconstructing the number of dead from merely scattered bones is not that easy either), found on the battlefield and the assumption that only about z% of the battlefield has been explored.  From that German archeologists have extrapolated the total number of dead.  Then they needed to extrapolate the size of the battle based on a yet another assumption, that the typical number of fallen corresponds to y% of total combatants. From all that the assumption came back that the number of warriors was about 4,000 give or take.

Third, there is the question of who “won”?  If the north-south divide described above was real -and, again, it may not have been – then the answer to this may well be found one day.  All you would have to look for is burials of southerners nearby.  If they lost, there would likely be no further such remains found in the area. But if they won, they would likely have stayed in the area, seized the locals’ wives and the rest is, as they say, history.  Of course, even this would not be “clean.”  For example, it may be that some of them could have been kept as thralls/slaves but if you could isolate their y-dna you probably could test whether any later dna (if you found it) matched that.  Slaves tend to have fewer chances at procreation.  But even that is unclear… Suppose they were freed later.

Can we guess who these intruders (if indeed they were intruders) were?  Here we can let the reins of fantasy loose a bit.  The person that we can look to is a professor of the l’École d’anthropologie de Paris, one Sigismond Zaborowski-Moindron.  He wrote Les Peuples Aryens d’Asie et d’Europe. Zaborowski, was one of those Polish-French hybrids who contributed to Slavic studies like Mr. Motylinski.  His specific contribution was in this article:

  • Les Slaves de Race et Leurs Origines (Bulletins de la Société d’anthropologie de Paris, 1900)

This was translated into Polish by Luc. M. (?) in the XVIth volume (1902) of the excellent ethnographic magazine Wisła:

Thereafter followed an English translation of most of Zaborowski’s themes in the 61st “Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution” for the year ending  June 30, 1906:

So what were Zaborowski’s main themes?

Zaborowski did not specify who the Slavs “were” before the Bronze Age.  But he did say how, in his view, they came about became and, so to speak, where they “came from”.  Specifically, Zaborowski claimed that all the Illyrian, Moesian and other Danubian people were Slavs.  But they became Slavs as a result of a “historic” event: the movement of the Veneti up the Danube and northwards.  These Veneti brought with them:

  • eastern culture and customs, most specifically, cremation burials, and
  • brachycephaly

As to the latter, this is questionable as no data as far as I know exist for pre-Bronze age Central European populations but the former claim is attractive.

As to the former, the appearance of cremation burials and the worship of the Sun and fire among the Slavs and, earlier, among the Suevi and some Celts may have indeed originated with a Late Bronze Age invasion by the Veneti – originally under Antenor or Jason – escaping the remains of Troy.

Zaborowski’s theories were known at the time and were mentioned, for example, by Edward Boguslawski:

One might add to it that with the Veneti there may have come – to Greece and then northwards – the worship of Iasion who had been identified with the Sun (and who later, among the nomads of the steppe may have been “reinterpreted” into, for example, Svarog).

There is also this curious fact that the metal found at Tollense includes tin.  Tin is relatively rare in Europe.  It is found in northwest Spain, Bretagne, Cornwall and in the Erzgebirge.  When the below map was put together (showing the various suffixes with an “-in”) I did not see anything in Cornwall.  I don’t want to stretch this but there are some names that could be read as “-in” even if they are not spelled that way: Treen, Pendeen… And then you have Trescowe or Morvah or Boyewyan. Most probably have nothing to do with the Veneti or Slavs.  On the other hand maybe a Truro has something to do with Truso?  There is Ludgvan and maybe Botallack does have something to do with Ballack? (Michael Ballack’s name is of Slavic origin).

Note that the Cornwall-Bretagne tin trade has been a matter of interest for a long time and the role played in it by the Veneti, a topic much speculated about as here by the Reverend Saunders:

Note too that the reason Bretagne is called Bretagne is also because the people who fled to it came from Britain once the Anglo-Saxons and others invaded the latter.  So the connections across the water seem to have been present even half a millennium after Caesar. What to read into those connections is another matter altogether, of course.

Tin is cín in Czech and cyna in Polish. Brueckner thinks that came from the German Zinn but this is not necessary as similar names appear already in Greek (for example, cinnabar κιννάβαρι).  The word cena (Polish) comes from “meal” (Latin, cena) and yet it is tempting to connect price (cyna?) with the tin trade.

Whether the Veneti had something to do with the Phoenicians is yet another question.

So was Tollense the end of Central European peoples?  A victory by the Veneti?  A day after which the word Windisch came to be born and the children of these people named Wends?  Did the word Wende signify “change” from that day on?  And were the Suevi another Venetic tribe?  This is all speculation, of course.  But as the Avars were said (by Fredegar) to have slept withe Wendish women, did the Veneti do the same to the women of… who exactly?

More on this topic here.

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October 29, 2017

Lengthy Thoughts

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Incidentally, dług means “debt” in Polish and corresponds to the Russian долг.

There is a supposed connection between that word and the word długi (Polish) and до́лгий (Russian).

As Saskia Pronk-Tiethoff says “[t]he semantic connection between the Proto Slavic ‘long’ and ‘debt’ is explained by describing ‘debt’ as something that a creditor is being kept waiting for [presumably for a long time].”

Or maybe you have to “work off” your debt for a long time…

Or maybe the Russian (and indeed East and South Slavic) form is derived from the word for “hole” from  dół > dołek (diminutive)dolg that is долг.  

In other words you are in debt when you are “in the hole” and the word “long” does not come into it at all.

Whatever you may think of those explanations, what is noticeable about both of those words – debt and long – is that the East and South Slavic (and Upper Sorbian) languages have the vowel before the “l”:

  • so that you have долг (dolg) and до́лгий (dolgij)

whereas in Polish, Czech, Slovak and Lower Sorbian, the vowel follows the “l” or “ł”:

  • so that you have dług and długi

In other words, you have:

  • о́лг (olg) in the East and ług in the West.

Brueckner thought that the West Slavic version is derivable from the East Slavic and that this was attested in an early 12th century document.

But how the nobility of Poland spoke and how its people spoke are, as we know from among others this, two different things.Maybe he was right.  Maybe not.

Note that the Lithuanian version iłgas does not have the “d” in the beginning.

Note too that this is the same word as the Greek dolichocephalic (long-headed) and, indeed, this is the same word as the English word “long”.

In fact, the Polish historian Jan Długosz is sometimes Latinized as Johannes Dlugossius but at other times as Johannes Longinus – a fact mentioned by Brueckner above.

Which raises another question.

There is a tribe of the Langiones.  It is mentioned by

  • Julius Honorius
  • Aethicus (not Ister)

So what you say?  After all, Aethicus may have adapted what Julius Honorius put together (plus Orosius) so really only Honorius mentions these Langiones, right?

But not so. Earlier, as we discussed previously, we also have Longiones.  These are mentioned by:

  • Zosimus

who says:

“Probus also brought other wars to a successful conclusion without much trouble.  He fought a fierce battle first with the German tribe of the Longiones whom he defeated, taking prisoner their leader Semno and his son, but after receiving suppliants, in return for the confiscation of all their prisoners and booty, he freed those he had captured, including Semno and his son, on fixed terms.”

The Polish scholar Aleksander Bursche writes:

“The identification of the Longiones in Zosimos with the Lugii seems almost certain.”

Even such meek doubts as expressed by Bursche, are happily ignored by the manly Thomas Gerhardt and Udo Hartmann who declare with disarming certainty that:

“When it comes to the “Longiones” (or Logiones) we’re talking about the cultic community of the Lugii.”

They then go on to describe more Vandals = Lugii wishful nonsense straight out of that prince of bull fables – Wolfram (and others) without any citations, of course. (Certitude never needs be slown down by pesky proofs and footnotes).

(And earlier, in Gall, we have the Lingones and the Leuci (not to mention the Lexovii)).

So could the Lugii be the “tall/lank/long ones”?  That would explain why the same people could be called by some Longiones and by others Lugii.  Of course, you have to explain that falling off “d” but Lithuanian also dropped it.  

More mysteries or is the solution really simple?

And, regarding the Tollensee battle, someone just forwarded from a published dissertation by Christian Sell a statement that – based on “f3 values”:

The most similar modern populations [to the Tollensee combatants] are the Polish, Austrians and the Scottish.”

I have no idea what f3 values are but “Scottish”, really!?

Well, of course:

Hey now!

🙂

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October 26, 2017

You Owe Us a Better Explanation

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That even decent books are not immune to dumb reasoning (or lack of reasoning really) is proven by Saskia Pronk-Tiethoff’s “The Germanic loanwords in Proto-Slavic.”  The book, as I said before, is not half bad but it proves that knowledge of arcane linguistic reconstruction techniques is no cure for an occasional lack of perspective and immunity to basic logic.

Here is an example regarding the word dług (meaning “debt”):

“From a semantic viewpoint, it is much more attractive to regard the word as a loanword from Gothic because the meanings of the Slavic and Germanic words are identical and there are a large number of Germanic loanwords in Proto-Slavic relating to money, trade, etc… Because of the exact formal and semantic correspondence between the Germanic and Slavic forms, PSl. version is likely to be a Germanic loanword… Origin: Gothic; this is the only Germanic language in which the word is attested.”

To break this down:

  • “From a semantic viewpoint, it is much more attractive to regard the word as a loanword from Gothic because the meanings of the Slavic and Germanic words are identical”

It is not the “Slavic” and “Germanic” words that are identical.  It is the Slavic and Gothic words that are identical.  In other words, the word appears in all Slavic languages but appears (as admitted by Prosk-Tiethoff a sentence later) only in Gothic and not in any other Germanic language.

  • “…there are a large number of Germanic loanwords in Proto-Slavic relating to money, trade, etc.”

This is only partly true.  For example, the word targ (marketplace) is actually a borrowing into some Germanic language from Slavic.

But even if that were true (and it is not), so what? Does the  fact that some Germanic words related to commerce are borrowed into Slavic mean that every word with a Germanic correspondence must be too?

If that were the case, would we be automatically assuming that were a Slav to invent a word and (through an exchange in the marketplace) the same word was then used by one German, the word would become Germanic?

It seems the answer is “yes” according to Prosk-Tiethoff.  She goes on to say:

  • “Because of the exact formal and semantic correspondence between the Germanic and Slavic forms, PSl. version is likely to be a Germanic loanword…”

Thus, by default, all that is Slavic is automatically Germanic.  But, of course, it does not go the other way.

The conclusion is charmingly disarming:

  • “Origin: Gothic; this is the only Germanic language in which the word is attested.”

Now, if a word were present in one Slavic language and in all Germanic languages, no one would question the theory that it is a borrowing into Slavic.  It seems, however, that it is enough for a word to appear in one Germanic language to have its origin accepted as Germanic – even if the word appears in all Slavic languages.

Even Alexander Bruckner, the philo-Germanic editor of the Polish etymological dictionary thought this suggestion to be nonsense (Gothic etymology was also rejected by Vasmer):

But, all of this is a sideshow lead in to something even more interesting.

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October 21, 2017

Sisenna, Honorius and the Suavi

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Sisenna

The very first mention ever of the Suevi comes from Lucius Cornelius Sisenna.  Sisenna  (circa 120 BC – 67 BC) says:

Sparis ac lanceis eminus peterent hostes
Galli materibus, Suevi lanceis configunt

There are three interesting things here.

First, this mention predates even Caesar’s Gallic Wars.

Second, it is curious that “spears” are mentioned here (Sparis).  Although this is Latin and not Greek, recall that Procopius remembers that the Sclavenes used to be called Sporoi.  Was he wrong about the origin of that word and was it a Latin word referring to spearmen?  As we know, the Slavs were known for their javelins (Procopius and Maurice).  Right after that, we see that:

 “The Galls toss [stuff [?] materibus], and the Suevi lances.”

This is actually an interpretation of an otherwise nonsensical sentence that runs like this:

Galli materibus [?] Sani [?] lanceis configunt

which has been rendered as:

Galli materibus Su[e]vi lanceis configunt

Third, about these Suevi.  We know that by the time of Procopius and Jordanes, the Suevi were referred to as Suavi.  That is the “e” was seemingly replaced by the “a”.  But it seems that some manuscripts of Sisenna also could be read as Suavi particularly since the “a” is apparently an “a” and not an “e”.  I mentioned this already here and here but it’s worth reiterating.

Of course, all this Suevi talk causes a problem for some writers who believe that the Germanic/Suevic [?] tribes were not known for their missile weapon skills:

As noted above, however, the Slavs were known for their javelins.  Moreover, it is not exactly true that the Suevi (or at least Suavi) were not known for throwing or launching something.  There is a description in the Jordanes Getica of the Battle of Nedao where he says:

“For then, I think, must have occurred a most remarkable spectacle, where one might see the Goths fighting with pikes, the Gepidae raging with the sword, the Rugi breaking off the spears in their own wounds, the Suavi fighting [“on foot”] [or “fighting with slings”], the Huns with bows, the Alani drawing up a battle-line of heavy-armed and the Heruli of light-armed warriors.“

The word is pede but that seems silly since the other warriors types wield some sort of a weapon (bows, spears, pikes, swords) at least up to the Alani.  Froehner therefore read lapide – meaning that they used stones – presumably with a sling.

Slings, if these were slings, are not javelins or spears.  Nevertheless, the point is worth making.

Honorius

At the back end of the history of the Suevi we also have, in addition to Procopius and Jordanes, Julius Honorius (Julius Orator).  Honorius was mentioned by Cassiodorus on whom, supposedly, Jordanes relied. Some of Honorius’ manuscripts also have the form Suavi.

So, it is interesting how it is not so simple and the Suebi may not be Suebi but Suevi and maybe not even that but Suavi while on the Eastern fringes of Europe we have in the 6th century appear the Sclavi (Sclaveni at first but then quickly Sclavi).  Note too that the Sclavi spelling is a Greek spelling that was only later imported into the decapitated post-Roman world.  What would the Sclavi have been called in Rome if the Western Empire had lived to see their arrival?

Suavi > Suevi > Suebi > Suevi > Suavi
? Sclavi ?

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October 16, 2017

Das Gibt’s Doch Gar Nicht

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This is from  Dr. Jochen Rath (of the Stadtarchiv und Landesgeschichtliche Bibliothek Bielefeld) Bielefeld’s city portal:

“Der Name „Bielefeld” wurde jüngst von Birgit Meineke als eine alte Raumbezeichnung für das Gebiet am nördlichen Ausgang des Bielefelder Passes gedeutet.”

“Sie griff damit ältere Erklärungen auf, unterstützte diese mit anderen Namensgebungen und verglich sie sprachwissenschaftlich mit weiteren Deutungen. Demnach wird das Grundwort „feld” durch das Bestimmungswort „Biele” ergänzt, dessen Wurzel in „bīl” (schlagen, spalten) zu finden ist. Gemeinsam bezeichnen sie eine Fläche am „Spalt im Höhenzug des Teutoburger Waldes”. Frühere Deutungen, die auf einen Personennamen „Bili” weisen oder unterschiedlichste Interpretationen des „Biele/Bile/Byle” vorlegten (schön/angenehm – Beil – ansteigender Stein – Jagdplatz – Bühl/Hügel – Grenzpfahl – etc. etc.), sind damit bis zum Vorliegen schlüssiger Neuinterpretationen zurückzuweisen.” 

(the reference is to: Meineke, Birgit, Die Ortsnamen der Stadt Bielefeld (Westfälisches Ortsnamenbuch, Bd. 5), Bielefeld 2013) who lists these as the oldest names (albeit notes that there may be some even older versions which, however, are uncertain):

So Meineke mentions the old ideas and the new idea for the prefix Bel- or Biel.

Old Ideas – Pretty

This old idea involved something like “pretty” or “pleasant”.

Compare this with, for example, Thietmar 6(56):

“The army was to assemble on Margrave Gero’s lands at Belgern, which means [in Slavic] ‘beautiful mountain.”

Here the reference is to Bel-gern is the Germanized versions of Biała Góra (White or Pretty (Bela) Mountain).  Belgora is mentioned earlier already in 973 in one of Otto I’s documents parcelling out Slavic lands.

Bylanuelde, the first mention above seems very similar to the Polish Bielany as this one near Cracow.

New Idea – Beaten

This is almost too easy:

You can reconstruct hypothetical words but why do that when you have ones that are still in use?

Of course, two caveats are in order.  First, you still have to explain the third person singular past tense bił.

Second, the word “field” feld is Germanic – on the other hand, it is related to the Slavic pole.  Other relations include Volkpułkpołk. This last one, some people, say is from Turkic.

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October 9, 2017

Polish Pantheon

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Who were the Polish Gods?  Jan Dlugosz is actually quite clear about this question but it’s worth to summarize again. To call these Names a “pantheon” is in some respects an exaggeration.  They were made a pantheon by Dlugosz but each Name has its own development and history and it is quite possible that some of these Names had a different tradition and came from, at least at some point, different tribes or even peoples (Sarmatian, Venetic/Lusatian, Suevic).

  • Yessa/Yassa/Yesza/Yasza (in Polish spelled with a “J” in lieu of a “Y”) – the head of the Polish pantheon its equivalent being Jupiter; this God is probably the same as the “Germanic” Jecha and Tacitus’ Isidi/Isis; He is also likely the “Greek” Iasion (the Czechs spoke of Chasson sive Jassen) and perhaps the “Greek” Jason; in Aethicus Easter, it seems Yassa as Iasion appears with the Eastern Slavic Paron; Yesha/Yessa or Yesza/Yassa; As the “yasny” or “light” God, He is also probably the “God of Lightning” mentioned by Procopius, the One who comes “first” (Jeden/Odin) and who is followed by thunder (Thor or Wtory, meaning the “second” or Perun/Paron or Baltic Perkunas); He seems to be also the God of Light and of fertility/harvest rites; at war He may be identical with Yarovit/Gerowit; He may also be linked to Ossirus or Odyseus; note that the Slavic “sh” or “sz” is nothing more than a diminutive form (compare it with, for example, Sasha); the original Name must have been Iasion;  later, after introduction of Christianity, a traveller, wanderer – much like Odin but unlike the scheming and bitter Odin, He remained the simple Jaś Wędrowniczek – a young boy who travels the countryside – very much in line with the original Iasion/Jason; 
  • Lada/Ladon – the guardian of Jessa; this deity is Mars or a Goddess; perhaps the best answer to this confusion is that Lada is both Mars and a female Deity; She is an Amazon – the protector of Yassa (Alado gardzyna yesse – which means something like “Oh, Lada, protect Yassa”) interestingly, she was worshipped, as Dlugosz says (without himself making the Amazon connection) in Mazovia; notice too that her name appears already in Luccan as the consort/spouse; She seems to be similar to Leda who was seduced by Zeus (or, in this case,  Iasion which would also make Lada similar to Demeter though Dlugosz makes Marzanna be Ceres (which was the equivalent of Demeter));
  • Niya – the God or Goddess of after life or underworld; the equivalent of Pluto; the God had a temple in Gniezno according to Dlugosz;
  • Dzidzilelia/Didilela/Zizilela – the Goddess of marriage and fertility; also associated with Venus; this Goddess is probably the same as the “Germanic” Ciza, Zizara;
  • Dzievanna/Devanna – the Goddess of the forests and hunts; this Goddess is probably the same as the “Germanic” Taefana; expressly tied to Diana as a forest Deity; interestingly, the name also appears in India (Vindi) and in Ireland (Dublin-Lublin) and parts of Britain (Cheshire with its 20th Legion);
  • Marzana – harvest Goddess associated with Ceres;
  • Pogoda – the Goddess of weather, the “giver of good weather”;
  • Sywie/Ziwie/Zyvie/Ziva – God of Life (Zycie or of the zijn);

Outside of Dlugosz many of the above Names are repeated.  Other Names include:

  • Boda/Bodze;
  • Lel/Heli/Leli – the Polish Castor but perhaps connected with the Germanic Hel;
  • Polel – the Polish Pollux;
  • Pogwizd/Pochwist/Pochwistel/Niepogoda;
  • Pan;
  • Grom;
  • Piorun (probably Ukraine only since, at the time of writing, that was part of Poland);
  • Gwiazda;

Finally, one book mentions a whole league of Deities and demons:

male:

Farel, Diabelus, Orkiusz, Opses, Loheli, Latawiec, Szatan, Chejdasz, Koffel, Rozwod, Smolka, Harab the Hunter, Ileli, Kozyra, Gaja, Ruszaj, Pozar, Strojnat, Biez, Dymek, Rozboj, Bierka, Wicher, Sczebiot, Odmieniec, Wilkolek [werewolf], Wesad, Dyngus or Kiczka, Fugas

female:

Dziewanna, Marzanna, Wenda, Jedza, Ossorya, Chorzyca, Merkana

For other posts on Polish Gods see here (part I), here (part II), here (part III) and here (part IV).

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October 8, 2017

Izvestia

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Albrecht Greule’s Deutsches Gewässernamenbuch is a nice introduction to the study of Central European hydronames.

It is, however, far from complete.  I am not talking about additional entries that could have been provided or additional thinking that could have been done in respect to certain other entries. All that is true and, not as important for the present point.

Take a look at the entry for Saale.  There are three such Saales in Germany: Frankish, Thuringian and one by the town of Duingen.

The entry for the Thuringian one is as follows:

We are told by Greule that this river is mentioned as:

  • Salas potamos (in a 12th century manuscript of Strabo’s Geography)
  • Salas fluvium (in a 9th century copy referring to circa 830) (this is from Einhard: Salam fluvium, qui Thuringos et Sorabos dividit)
  • trans Salam in 945

Then Greule launches into the names of the place in 1109, 1325, 1365, 1433 and 1520 while also mentioning Salauelda in 899 and 942.

But the name that does not get mentioned is the one used by Al-Bakri in his copy of the travel report of Ibrahim ibn Yaqub – Çalâwa or Slawah  which travel report is dated to 965/966.

The later “Polish Annals” (14th century) also say:

“Bolezlavus Magnus, qui Chrabri dicitur, natus est.  Iste Bohemos et Ungaros subiugavit et Saxones edomuit, et in flumine Solave meta ferrea fines Polonie terminavit.

This – Soława – is the Sorb name to this day which is pronounced Souava.

For Ibrahim ibn Yaqub’s description in the best edition (based on the earliest manuscripts):

  • Tadeusz KowalskiRelacja Ibrāhīma Ibn Jakūba z podróży do krajów słowiańskich w przekazie al-Bekrīego (Pomniki dziejowe Polski Ser. 2, T. 1. Wydawnictwa Komisji Historycznej. Polska Akademia Umiejętności T. 84 (1946) (this includes pictures Kowalski himself took of the codex Laleli 2144 in the Süleymaniye Library (discovered by Ritter) and of codex 3034 in the Nuru Osmaniye Mosque Library (discovered by Schaeffer))

(Incidentally, Kowalski’s daughter, an ethnographer in her own right, was married to Tadeusz Lewicki, the famous orientalist).

For earlier efforts you can locate L. Koczy, G. Jacob (1889), F. Westberg (1898).  For the earliest:

  • Friedrich Wigger in Bericht des Ibrahîm ibn Jakûb über die Slawen aus dem Jahre 973 in Jahrbücher des Vereins für Mecklenburgische Geschichte und Altertumskunde, Band 45 (1880) (see here)
  • M.J. De Goeye in Een belangrijk arabisch bericht over de slavische volkeren omstreeks (1880) (see here)
  • Arist A. Kunik & Baron Victor von Rosen in Izvěstija al-Bekri i drugih avtorov o Rusi i Slavjanah in Zapiski Imperatorskoj Akademii Nauk, 32, Pril. 2. (1878) (based on the discovery in the 1870s of the Al-Bakri manuscript at the Nuru Osmaniye Mosque in Istanbul) (see here)

For more information about the earliest travels of Jews in Eastern Europe see Teksty źródłowe do nauki historii Żydów w Polsce i we wschodniej Europie (Ringelblum & Mahler, 1930).

So here are some interesting points

  • if -ava is really a Germanic suffix denoting the fictional Germanic designation of “water” (fictional because never attested), then why is -ava a Slavic suffix in this case but the Germanic version is, repeatedly, Saale?
  • how does Greule know that the Salas potamos refers to the Thuringian Saale? The quote from Strabo refers to this “And there is also the river Sala, between which and the Rhine Drusus Germanicus died, whilst in the midst of his victories.” Why is this not the Frankish one for example (which, but for Strabo, would, as per Greule be attested in 777 or maybe even in 716). Cassius Dio relates that Drusus died before reaching the Rhine.  If Drusus were returning towards Mainz.  is soldiers later that year raised the Drususstein in Mainz.  If that is where his soldiers ended up then it is also quite possible that that is where they and Drusus were heading – southwest.  Probably then they were going for the River Main first and to get to that they may have passed the Frankische Saale and then Drusus died (of some disease acceding to Cassius Dio). This is not the only solution of course but it is just as reasonable as the one that has him die past the Thuringian Saale.
  • how did the editors of Deutsches Gewässernamenbuch miss this miss?

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September 28, 2017