Category Archives: Origins

Soulanos and Boulanes

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The cool thing about these days is that you can actually go and check some of these things that you’ve read about.  Since the Vatican library is now mostly online, thanks to the efforts of one very generous guy, you can see things for yourself.

So on the Boulanes/Soulanes question, went back to look at two codices.

The results of those three are in and Soulanes seems to be winning the day.

Here are from Book 3, Chapter 5 (Sarmatia):

Vaticanus Graecus 191
(about 1300)

this one is clearly an “s” (Souloonos).

Vaticanus Urbinas Graecus 82
(about 1300)


Vaticanus Palatinus Graecus 388
(about 1450)
(the one used by Erasmus)

This one is arguably a “b” (Boulanes).

You can also see the underlined references to the Veneti.  In between the two are the Goths (arguably) and the Finns (Finnoi).

As a point of interest here are the following from 388’s Book 2, Chapter 10 (Germania):


The three rivers in Germania, that is Suevus, Viadua and Vistula:


(Si) lingai?

Or Lingai?

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September 19, 2017

We Know That We Do Not Know

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One of the readers had asked the question about the location of the “Vistula Venedi”.  This is rather complicated since, with the exception of the Tabula Peutingeriana, we don’t have any actual ancient maps of the region

Pomponius Mela says that: “Sarmatia, wider to the interior than toward the sea, is separated by the Vistula [Vistula] River from the places that follow, and where the river reaches in, it goes all the way to the Ister River. Its people are very close to the Parthians in dress and in weaponry, but the rougher the climate, the cruder their disposition.”  Which sounds about right.

Strabo does not venture that deep (he does mention the Vindilici who previous to Tiberius’ wars lived at the Bodensee).

Pliny, says that “some writers state that these regions, as far as the river Vistula, are inhabited by the Sarmati, the Venedi, the Sciri, and the Hirri.  He does not say who the Sciri and Hirri are.

Incidentally, the Codanus Sinus has also been identified with the Kattegat and not just with the Bay of Gdansk (it appears in Pomponius Mela and in Pliny).

Tacitus does not mention the Vistula and places the Veneti somewhere where Suevia ends.  Where Suevia ends, however, he declines to say.

He also contributes by noting that the Suevi and Esti are very similar except for language with the Estian language similar to that of Britain.

Ptolemy is more detailed and is worth quoting in more detail but is full of issues of his own:

“Lesser races inhabit Sarmatia near the Vistula river. Below the Venedae are the Gythones, then the Finni, then the Soulanes/Boulanes; below whom are the Phrungundiones; then the Avarini near the source of the Vistula river; below these are the Ombrones, then the Anartophracti, then the Burgiones, then the Arsietae, then the Saboci, then the Piengitae and the Biessi near the Carpathian mountains. Among those we have named to the east: below the Venedae are the Galindae, the Sudini, and the Stavani, extending as far as the Alauni; below these are the Igylliones, then the Coestoboci and the Transmontani extending as far as the Peuca mountains. Back from the Ocean, near the Venedicus bay, the Veltae dwell, above whom are the Ossi; then more toward the north the Carbones and toward the east are the Careotae and the Sali; below whom are the Gelones, the Hippopodes and the Melanchlaeni; below these are the Agathyrsi; then the Aorsi and the Pagyritae; then the Savari and the Borusci to the Ripaeos mountains; then the Acibi and the Nasci; below whom are the Vibiones and the Idrae; and below the Vibiones bordering on the Alauni are the Sturni, and between the Alauni and the Amaxobii are the Cariones and the Sargati; near the bend of the Tanis river are the Ophlones and then the Tanaitae; below whom are the Osili extending as far as Rhoxolanis; between the Amaxobii and the Rhoxolani are the Rheucanali and the Exobygitae; and between the Peucini and the Basternae are the Carpiani, above whom are the Gevini, then the Bodini; between the Basternae and the Rhoxolani are the Chuni, and below the mountains named from these are the Amadoci and the Navari.”

Regarding Ptolemy we have “several” issues:

  • The guy was writing in Egypt in pre-Internet days.  He was writing a world geography not a geography of the Vistula region meaning that he had to make sure that he was generally correct across all geographies but he did not need to be specifically correct in any given place.  I mean who was going to call him on whether the Sciri were Sarmatian or something else?
  • He was relying on multiple sources that he was compiling into one “universal” work.  Normally, the way you would do that is you would critically check each against the other and discard the chaff.  But, how could he “critically” look at anything sitting in Alexandria?  My strong suspicion is that, when I’m doubt, he included multiple data points that in reality referred to one and the same thing.  If you can’t check, it’s probably better to be overinclusive than to risk leaving things out altogether.  And he had to fit all of this on his “map”
  • How good were his sources?
  • Even where they were good, to what time periods did they pertain?  The situation north of the Empire was fluid with various watahas carving up their own “kingdoms” until a bigger guy showed up with more men and better weapons. We do not know how long precisely his work took but it was not put together over a day.  Thus, the situation could have changed while he was writing his magnum opus.
  • A very important word in all of Ptolemy is a word that was translated as “below” – what did he mean by that?  Did he mean “south” or “down river” or something else (think of Curta’s arguments about what maps Jordanes was using…).  In fact, did he mean the same thing every time he used the word?
  • The manuscripts vary greatly which means that some of them were copied incorrectly or that some monks “corrected” Ptolemy or both.
  • It is also worth noting that the so-called “Ptolemaic” maps were not his but rather were medieval maps put together as best guesses based on the numbers and names provided by Ptolemy.

There is no good English translation of Ptolemy.  The above comes from Stevenson who, ahem, may have translated from Latin (the original we think was in Greek).

With that said:

  • it is not clear what Ptolemy means by Venedicus Bay – it is safe to say that if the Venedae were really a “great” people then the suggestion that Venedicus Bay is the Bay of Gdansk is ridiculous simply because it is way too small.  A helpful hint is provided by Pomponius Mela who says “Sarmatia, wider to the interior than toward the sea”.  This is, of course true: the further East you go the “thicker” “Sarmatia becomes.  The further West you go the “thinner” it is until you reach the “Cymbrian Peninsula” that is Denmark.  The reason the west is thinner is simple – the Baltic Sea.  Of course, we know that the Baltic is a sea.  But to Ptolemy and others of his age, the north was “Ocean”, Scandinavia was an island and the Baltic Sea was just a “bay” that the Ocean must have carved up in Sarmatia to make it – at that place – thinner than it is to the East.  If you view the entire Baltic Sea as basically a giant bay then you have your Venedicus Bay.  It is the same as the Suevian Sea of Tacitus.  The fact that the Suevian Sea was also called the Sarmatian Sea puts an end to speculation here.  On a large Baltic, you could fit all the Venedi – a “greater” people. This also matches arguably what we see on the Tabula Peutingeriana.
  • There is a potential problem with this.  The “Vistula” was supposed to have separated Sarmatia from Germania.  In fact, the Gotones (assuming they are to be seen as Goths) dwelt in Sarmatia (!) below the Venedae and near the Vistula.  If the Vistula ends Sarmatia then the southern Baltic shore can’t be part of the Venedic Bay. 
  • Or can it?  The assumption that is made is that the Goths must have dwelt at the “mouth” of the Vistula but that is not what Ptolemy says (“Lesser [than the Venedae?] races inhabit Sarmatia near the Vistula river. Below the Venedae are the Gythones, then the Finni, then the Soulanes”).  Moreover, even if the Goths lived at the mouth of the Vistula, we know they moved south at some point.  But there is an even bigger issue here.  We know that the Goths came from Scandinavia (at least those who do not want to deny reality know that).  If so and if they landed on the Baltic shore then it stretches credulity to suggest that they landed in one place that neatly separated different peoples.  It is much more likely that they landed at the mouth of “a river” (will get back to that) and that their landing, in effect, separated the people who lived along that river.  That is the Goths may have simply cut into the Venedae.
  • But there is another issue.  We do not even know what the Vistula River is.  We assume that it must be the river that we call Vistula today because that prevents us from having to think but even this is not certain.  There are quite a number of good reasons to think that the Vistula was the Oder.  For example, in Ptolemy’s mind “Sarmatia is terminated in the west by the Vistula river and by that part of Germania lying between [Vistula’s] source and the Sarmatian mountains but not by the mountains themselves.”  What he is arguably describing here is the land west of the Odra/Oder which is, to the Nysa/Neisse, in Poland.
  • There are other reasons to think that the Veneti extended to the Oder.  Like the name of the river itself.  Whoever you may think the Veneti were the fact that Odra is similar to Adria where the Veneti lived has not escaped notice.
  • Moreover, have you ever thought as to why there were no Rugii at Ruegen in Tacitus’ writings?  But if we assume that Vistula is where the Goths are Vistula must be today’s Vistula, this creates a mess as the Rugii are nowhere near Rugia island.  I mean even if some Rugii marched out, there should have been some other Rugii left behind at… well, Rugia. BUT, if Vistula is the Oder and the Goths are there then the Rugii can be both close to the Goths and close to the island of Rugia/Ruegen.
  • In other words, whether the Goths landed at the Oder or at today’s Vistula has very little bearing on the question of whether there were Veneti West of (today’s) Vistula.  The fact that that whole are is called Wendland (in fact to Denmark) by King Alfred should surprise no one.  And perhaps this matches to with Aethicus Ister who lists “.. Alani, Meotae, Huns, Frisians, Danes, Vinnidi, Riphaeans, and Olches, whom the folk in those parts call orci, very filthy peoples.”  This list seems to be composed of several lists but the Frisians, Danes, Vinnidi description seems to make sense and nicely suggests that the Vinnidi dwell between the Danes and the Riphaeans (which, traditionally meant the Ural mountains or thereabouts).
  •  It is also curious that there are many tribes that Ptolemy mentions that are clearly or very likely the same as the Slavic tribes we know from medieval history.
  • Take the Lincis – all the manuscripts say Lincis – except one.  So 19th century researchers decided to make Silingae out of the poor Lincis.
  • Take the Veltae – the later Veleti who dwell next to the Ossi.  The Ossi speak “Pannonian” we are told by Tacitus.  Then we have Ossentrix be the king of the Wilzi in the Didrek Sagas.  Did the Ossi conquer the Veltae?
  • In fact, take something else… The English translation by Stevenson (corrected above) speaks as follows: “Below the Venedae are the Gythones, then the Finni, then the Sulones.  BUT the manuscripts actually vary and the alleged Sullones are Soulanes or… Boulanes.   
    • The fact that much later in the medieval day the first mentions of the Poles speak of them as Bolanes (not all but enough to ask questions) is interesting
    • the fact that Bol means “great” (Bole-slav) suggests that Boulanes may have been just a different form of Veltae – a “great” people.”
    • Here is a little excerpt from Karl Müller’s 1883 Ptolemy which also discusses the topic (including Schaffarik’s views):


That the Venetic name appears in Prussian and Polish is quite clear.  See this piece on the meaning of the word.  But there were also a number of villages in Poland with similar names such as, for example, near Wroclaw.

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September 14, 2017


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Interestingly, the world’s oldest known boomerang was found over thirty years ago in Poland.  This is a bit off topic but since the site deals with prehistory, might just as well go deep once in a while.The boomerang was found in the Obłazowa Cave (Jaskinia Obłazowa) in  Nowa Biała near Nowy Targ by a team led by Paweł Valde-Nowak.  It was described in Nature magazine.

The boomerang is apparently 23k-30k years old and was made from a mammoth tusk.  More recent work in the cave produced finds related to the Micoquien culture – these are dated at 50k-60k.  However, even older finds firmly establish settlement at 80k-100k thereby proving that Slavic Polish settlement of central Europe preceded even that of the Neanderthals (likely Germanic ancestors, of course, ;-)). 

Given the hostile climate, not to mention the various predators and other dangers it is little wonder that so many humans must have loved the relative shelter of such caves.  My guess is people lived their entire lives in some of these (if they were lucky).  They ate, slept and had sex there.  They might have had wars over who gets to keep a cave (inheritance fights? neighboring tribes?).  Cool stuff.

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August 29, 2017

Return of the Halfbreeds

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Apparently the most recent attempt to make sense of the phrase Suevi non sunt nati sunt seminati comes from Ernst Erich Metzner (a German medievalist) in the collection Kulturgeschichtliche Daten zur Deutschmaehrischen Literatur (Amici Amico III – Metzner was born in  Czechoslowakia’s Sudetenland so this text is apparently part of some sort of bridge building).  Metzner’s interpretation is a bit half-assed but it is still better than most.

His view is essentially that whoever wrote the “mysterious” words referred to the entire list of tribes listed by the “Bavarian Geographer.”  Barring random scribbles that seems obvious though even this is admitting a lot.  Essentially, he is saying that for the writer of that scribble “Suevi” meant all the preceding tribes – the vast majority of whom are indisputably Slavs.

But after this auspicious beginning Metzner begins to rationalize.  He does not say that all of these are Slavs as he seems to find in some names “Restgermanen.”  He then says that the phrase Suevi are not born they are sown must refer not to “sown” as in seedlings but rather to mixed-blood Suevi.  Specifically, he says this must refer to a historical memory retained by the writer of those words that these East German lands were previously occupied by the Suevi and now they are occupied by some Restgermanen and by the Slavs and so the former are the “true” Suevi but they are now mixed up with the majority of the incoming Slavs and, therefore, they are, in effect, “halbgeborene” Suevi.  Whether Metzner means that these Slavs are Mischlinge or bastards or something along those lines is not entirely clear but that is where his logic seems to be heading.

It is not clear whether he thinks that “Slavs” is, in fact, a German name (a bastardization of Suevi, I suppose).  Such a view would be odd since the Sclavenes and Sclavi that invaded the Byzantine Empire would, presumably, in any telling of the “Slavs out of the East” story not have come into contact with the Suevi, if at all, until after the times of Procopius and Jordanes.  In any event, Metzner seems content to avoid the question.

Metzner believes that whoever the writer was must have been a Schwabe who was familiar with Tacitus and, as we know, “according to Tacitus “all the North and East Germans were in fact Suevi with the exception of the Bastarnae.” For this proposition Metzner points to Tacitus but the above citation is actually from Rudolf Much.  Much’s leanings were decidedly pan-Germanic but more importantly for the current point, the above statement is unsubstantiated by Tacitus.

As is well known, in chapter 46 Tacitus waffles as to where to put the Bastarnae (and the Veneti and the Fenni) – on the Germanic path or on the Sarmatian wagon.  But he notes that the Bastarnae or Peucini have the same language, customs and dwellings as the Germans and does not say anything – one way or the other – whether they were Suevi.

More importantly, Metzner may have actually bothered to examine chapter 38 of Germania which (along with the subsequent chapters) he cites.  Had he done so, he would have discovered some relevant information for the point he was trying to make. Specifically, a review of chapter 38 would have revealed that the point about Suevi being “halbgeboren” is implicit in the words of Tacitus – without needing to rely on a conjectured and unproven Slavic immigration into Germania.  Let us then quote Tacitus:    

“I must now speak of the Suevi, who are not one nation as are the Chatti and Tencteri, for they occupy the greater part of Germany, and have hitherto been divided into separate tribes with names of their own, though they are called by the general designation of ‘Suevi.'”

Thus, the Suevi are not “one” nation but rather many – they are Suevi and come from separate tribes.  Already here is open the possibility that there is no unifying principle as to who is part of the Suevi other than those who somehow become part of the club.  One thinks of the modern gangs or other types of groups where the name that inspires fear becomes used by other imitators – who are perhaps initially not related to the feared group.  Indeed, the same process, as we know, may have occurred with the Avars who may not have been the “true” Avars.  Later the Hungarians have called themselves Huns.  And so on.  Once again, however, all these processes may be gleaned from the words of Tacitus without the need to posit a very hypothetical Slavic migration.

I note again that there is zero proof as to what language the Suevi of Caesar and Tacitus spoke.   Plenty of articles on Suevic names on this site does provide circumstantial evidence that they may have spoken some something other than Germanic.  (Hell, we do not even know what language the Portuguese Suevi spoke!).

Whether or not the Glossator of the text was learned in Tacitus’ Germania is also hardly something that can be established based on that single note.

Finally, Peucini may well have a Slavic etymology – thus you have Pełka or Pełczyński.  The name was so Slavic sounding that the Communists even renamed the formerly German Bernstein with the name of Pełczyce.

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August 23, 2017


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I’ve had the post about Suevic names up about two years ago.  These are the only Suevic names from prior to the fifth century,  About Ariovistus I wrote here.  About Veleda here.

What about some of the other names?  Are there similar Slavic versions?

  • Nasua – Suevic
    • Nasław (pronounced Nasuav) – Polish:
    • Naslav – Czech

What does this mean?  Well, obviously the 6th century invading Sclavi (Slavs or Suavs) who covered, inch by inch, the territory of the Teutonic Suevi (then Suavi) were able to find a few remaining Suevi that taught the Slavs what a proper name was (the Slavic Slavs probably ate their Teutonic teachers after that – the Teutons were, of course, delicious).

Or maybe this is different,  Maybe, the medieval Slavs read Caesar’s Commentaries on the Gallic War and said, let’s name our kids after the anti-Roman protagonists?  That’s another highly=probably possibility.

But why not give some space to the experts.  Here is an entry on Nasua fromthe Reallexikon der germanischen Altertumskunde volume 20.  The entry comes from Reinhard Wolters:

“In contrast to Cimberius, there is nothing to connect connect/associate the name Nasua with; whether this otherwise unattested proper name (?) is a Celtic or Germanic construct is debatable…”

But, you say, quite correctly, what about the German town of Nassau.  Well, Nassau is not exactly Nassua but even if it were the same, note that the first recorder appearance of that name is in 915 (in a gift made by Conrad I)  as Nassova.  Then we have Nassouva (1034), Nassove (1159), Nassaw (circa 1600) and Nassauw then Nassau.  What does Nassova mean?  The ridiculous claim that -ava has to mean water presumably would state that so does -ova.  So then we have, what, “wet” (nass) water?

what does the donation actually say:

curtem nostram Nassova nominatam, cum omnibus rebus magnis et parvis, in utroque latere fluminis Logene, in duobus illis comitatibus Sconenberg et Marvels iuste legitimeque ad eandem curtem pertinentibus, cum curtilibus aedificiis, macipiis utriusque sexus, terris cultis et incultis… in proprietatem donavimus…

curtis or cortis is supposed to mean villa (cors or chors).  Oddly, Nassova meaning “ours” looks like “nostram” even though that does not seem to be a translation.

Who lived there before the Franks?  We don’t know but perhaps the Usipi

Note that Cimber sounds like Szymbor, Czymbor or Sambor.  Bor means a forest but also meant a warrior.  Of course, it might have something to do with the Cimbri instead.

Even more interesting is the fact that in North America there were Nashaway (or Nashua) Indians of the Algonquian set of tribes.  See here about the Algonqiuan tribes.

On the borrowings between Germanic and Slavic see here and here.

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August 19, 2017


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One of the more interesting medieval German books is the Sachsenspiegel which is beautifully illustrated and preserved in over 400 manuscripts.  It contains a number of passages about Slavs but, more relevantly for the current topic, it also makes the following reference to the Frankish or Saxon conquest of Thuringia (Landrecht III, 44):

“Unse vorderen die her to lande quamen unde die doringe verdreven. die hadden in allexandres here gewesen, mit erer helpe hadde he bedvungen al asiam.  Do alexander starf, do ne dorste sie sik nicht to dun in’me lande, durch des landes hat, und scepeden mit dren hundert kelen; die verdorven alle up vier unde vestich.  Der selven quamen achteine to prutzen unde besaten dat; tvelve besaten rujan; vier unde tvintich quamen her to lande.  Do irer so vele nicht newas, dat sie den acker verdreven, do lieten sie die gebure sitten ungeslagen, unde bestadeden in den acker to alsogedaneme rechte, als in noch die late hebbet; dar af quamen die late.  Von den laten die sik verwarchten an irme rechte sint komen dagewerchten.”

The Doringe seem to be Thuringians.  Doringe, however, could just mean “those from over there” which would suggest a rather simple explanation for the Thuringian name.

Of course, the above also mentions the conquest of the Prussians and the Rugians (Rujani or Rani).

But let’s look at the gebure.  The gebure are local peasants.  There is, apparently, a gloss in some manuscripts that says these were Wends…

This has been rejected by Gaupp because Wends can’t be that far deep in Thuringia – only Thuringians and Saxons can be there – and so forth.  (check out Die germanischen Ansiedlungen und Landtheilungen in den Provinzen des Römischen Westreiches by Ernst Theodor Gaupp).

More interestingly, the Slavic word gbur is supposed to have come from the same (German) source.  It means a rustic, rude person.

First of all, as with many of these German “borrowings,” it’s not very clear that it is a borrowing at all.  The fact that it was first mentioned from the 16th century does not mean much since written works in Polish from before 1500 are few and far between.  To the extent anything was written it was usually written in Latin so the fact that Bruckner did not find it before 1500 does not mean that it was not already in use.

But what’s also interesting about this Germanic word is that Bur is, apparently, the same word as:

Bursche (young man)
Bauer (farmer, peasant)

and, even more interestingly, to neighbor which can be traced to the Old English neahgebur (West Saxon) or nehebur (Anglian) “neighbor,” from neah “near” (see nigh) plus gebur “dweller.”

The same word is related to bur as in “dwelling” – think “to burrow”.

And what about the various references to the Legii/Lygyi/Lugii Burii?  Were these neighbors too?

Speaking of neighbors, let’s look at how one says “neighbor” in various languages.  The following groupings are in no way scientific as should be obvious but… they are suggestive.


Nachbar (German)
nabo (Danish, Norwegian)
naaber (Estonian)
naapuri (Finnish)
buur or buurman (Dutch, Afrikans)


These are virtually all based on the the concept of “vicinity”:

vecino (Spanish)
voisin (French)
vizinho (Portuguese)
vicino (Italian)
vecin (Romanian)
veí (Catalan)


hamsāye (Persian)
kaimynas (Lithuanian)
kaimiņš (Latvian)
komşu (Turkish)
qonşu (Azeri)
goňşy (Turkmen)
kòmšija (Serb/Croat – borrowing from Turkish)
comharsa (Irish!)
cymydog (Welsh)

All that sounds great but is this a stream of consciousness narrative or does any of this have anything to do with the Slavs?

Let’s try to bring this full circle.

Here is something neighborly suggesting “Russian“:


prossimo (Italian)
prossimu (Corsican)
paṛosī (Urdu)
paṛosī (Hindi)

Here is something neighborly suggesting “Antes/Antoi“:


aṇṭai (Antes?)

Here is something neighborly suggesting the “Rani“:


nágranni (Icelandic)
granne (Swedish)
jirani (Suahili!)

Perhaps this also sheds some light on why the Slavic Rugians were called Rani? Were they called that by themselves? Or only by others?  Note that Granni is also a form used by Jordanes.

And, to really come full circle here is something suggesting “Saxons“:


sąsiad (Polish)
sosed (Slovene, Russian, Macedonian, Serb)
soused (Czech)
sused (Slovak, Lower Sorbian, Belarussian, Bulgarian)
susid (Ukrainian)
susod (Upper Sorbian)
susjed (Croatian, Bosnian)

we should include here the Hungarian as well as it looks like a borrowing:

szomszéd (Hungarian)

What does the Slavic name for “neighbor” (sąsiad in Polish) mean?  Well, Bruckner above thinks the są- is just a prefix meaning “from”.  And, indeed, such a prefix does appear in other words as seen above.  But is that what it means here?

Regarding “siad” – that part is clear.  The suffix just means “sat” or “there sat”.  But this is a bit odd since this form of the verb seems to be in the past tense.  Who sat?

Now, whether the Saxons derive their name from the God Saxnot or from a knife (sax) is beside the point.  What matters is that others – Slavs but also Irish and others referred to Saxons not with an “x” but with an “s” – that is:

  • Sasové (Czech)
  • Sasi (Polish)
  • Sasana (Celtic)

This makes some sense since the “x” is not the easiest to pronounce.  Indeed, that form (Saß/Sass) also survives in Germanic languages (and names).

So how would you say a Saxon sat there in Slavic?

Well, today, you might say: Sas siadł

Crazy?  And yet it is interesting.  You can almost hear someone warning:

“Don’t go there. There [tamSas siadł” or

“There be Saxons!”

(Ya know the guys with the sæxes!)

If this is correct, it answers a number of questions.  it means that:

  • the Saxons were from rather old times neighbors to Slavs
  • the Saxons “sat” near the Slavs, that is the Saxons were newcomers who “sat” next to already present Slavs; note that the Saxons are present – probably – in Ptolemy but otherwise make their historical appearance about the 4th century
  • since all Slavic languages have the above form of “neighbor,” since we have no evidence of Saxons coming anywhere into Europe other than from the North into Germany and since the Saxons never expanded further east than what is today’s Poland, it would seem that the eastern Slavs migrated West to East after the coming of the Saxons from Scandinavia.

The point is not whether this is true or not but that many a more prominent theory rests on foundations just as strong (or as weak) as the above .

P.S. The compiler of the Sachsenspiegel was Eike of Repgow.  And yes, Repgow aka Repkow aka Repchow aka Repchau aka Reppichau was originally a Slavic town as the name pretty clearly indicates.

P.S. 2 If you look at the above map, the first question that has to come to mind is what is east of the “Saxon coast”?  Which also raises the question of why was it that the Saxons decided to invade Britain all the way across the water rather than settling lands to the east?

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August 13, 2017

Äußerst Bedenkliche Dummheit

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I have previously written about the ridiculous idea which is consequently pushed forth by either blind, stupid or biased researchers that – no matter what one finds in the past it must be “Germanic”.  Thus, we have:

Personal names

  • Germanic personal name suffixes – mar, mer, mir
    • Slavic?  -mir (maybe! it could be Germanic!)
  • Germanic personal name suffixes – muesl
    • Slavic? – mysl (maybe! it could be Germanic!)
  • Germanic personal name suffixes – gast, gost, gaist, gaisus
    • Slavic? – gost (maybe! it could be Germanic!)


Funerary rites

  • Germanic funerary rites – cremation, inhumation, anything else
    • Slavic funerary rites? – cremation (maybe! it could be Germanic!)



  • Germanic – above the ground houses, in-ground hovels, no house (wanderers)
    • Slavic – in-ground hovels (maybe! they could be Germanic!)


Tribes mentioned in the past

  • Germanic – all tribes of Germania – a Rassenpure environment includes Suevi, perhaps also the Veneti – there could be some pieces left that were Celtic
    • Slavic – none


yes, sorry, the dumbasses are still at it

However, the most ridiculous suggestion to date has been from an archeologist mascarading as an anthropologist – Elisabeth Anna Kruger a doktorant at the Freie Universitat Berlin.

Her article actually suggests that anthropological data can not be used to tell Germans from Slavs either…

Why? Because, Germanics may not have been “pure” in an anthropological or genetic sense says the author.

She presumes to teach her Polish colleagues that ethnicity is not a function of race suggesting that they “move in an extremely questionable framework which strongly recalls the racial science of past years.”  What she, not so delicately, means is that this is politically incorrect and hence verboten.

Her uttering this takes real chutzpah.  For an (alleged) German to lecture a Pole about the dangers of “racial science” requires either a moral blindspot the size of a mellon or a mildly revolting level of cynicism.  But, as the Slavic parable goes, the man who screams “thief” and points at someone else, is usually the thief himself.

What she says is that all this kind of stuff can prove is that there was a continuity of settlement – not a continuity of ethnic groups.

Ok… let’s go with that, and then let’s review what German science tells us about the prehistory of Germania:

  • “Germans” lived like the much later Slavs
  • “Germans” were named like the much later Slavs
  • “Germans” had funerary rites like the much later Slavs

and now:

  • Germans looked like the much later Slavs*

(* note: the Germans that “looked” like Slavs are those from Poland and East Germany – as far as I know, no one has conducted similar studies in West Germany)

Combine this with the fact that there are no (zero, nada) sources suggesting any Slavic migration into Germany.

German conclusion:

  • Germania was occupied by Germanics only and Slavs came into Germania much later.

The illogic here is astounding.

I mean, if you really cannot tell a Slav from a German anthropologically, culturally, genetically and so forth, then how can you say that the people who lived in Germania were, what we would today call, German?

She accuses Polish anthropologists of (1) assuming that there can be a racial difference between Germanics and Slavs, (2) of assuming homogeneity of populations and (3) nationalist bias.

As to the first assertion…

But, of course, there can be differences.  In 90% of cases anyone from Europe could tell a Scandinavian from a Slav.  If there might be a confusion between Germans and Slavs, it is only because the former really are the latter (and just don’t, or don’t want to, know it).

As to the second claim…

Notwithstanding, Tacitus and many other eyewitness accounts she implies that the Germanic population was diverse, almost multiethnic… Of course, Tacitus did differentiate the Suevi from other Germans but that could not have been Slavs.  In fact, she seems to think Germania was home to every type of person (but seemingly didn’t include Slavs… except maybe their biological ancestors… say, what?).

In her worldview, it seems the Germanic label covers everything. At least all “Europid” (as she calls them) cases but, hey, maybe more.

I get the sense that if she were to find a black guy from the Roman times in Nurnberg, she’d either claim that you can’t ever tell between blacks and whites and Asians or, better yet, that Germanics included Slavs, blacks, Asians, etc – we are human after all – or, more properly, Germanic, so that kind of makes sense.  And haven’t the Germans been in Africa? (oh, yes, those reparations…)  Romans? Germanic.  Romulans? No problem – Germanic.

As to the third accusation…

She accuses Polish anthropologists of having a nationalist bias… all the while implying that Germania in its totality was occupied by Germanics only (Germans who looked like Slavs but never you mind that).

We can deal with dumb people.  We can deal with arrogant people.  But dumb and arrogant people no one should have to suffer.

You have to ask yourself, what if they found evidence of Roman era Slavic language in Germany?

Would that change her mind?  My guess is absolutely not – it would just prove that Germanic tribes spoke Germanic dialects but also spoke Slavic.  (It’s not just muscles that an Uebermensch make). After all, don’t most Indians and Europeans speak an Indo-Germanic language?  Well, the Indians speak Indian languages and the Europeans speak Germanic variants so there you have it.

The most irksome assertion of hers, however, is that Polish anthropologists are falling into Rassenkunde theories.  One wonders what exactly is the problem here?  That, what, WWII happened?  Yes, thanks a lot for that.  All that proves is the well-known German tendency to take things to an extreme usually results in shit happening.

In other words, just because some German took a knife and went around stabbing Slavs, does not mean that from now on Slavs are obligated to ban all knives and try to slice their kielbasa with a chopstick (she might even ask us to ban kielbasa…).

Kruger appears to be a product of this weird amalgam of political correctness combined with a German sense of superiority.  The people who delivered the “best” Christians, the “best” Romantics, the “best” nationalists, the “best” fascists, the “best” Communists are now delivering the “best” democrats and multiculturalists.  The ideologies change like wind but the demeanor is constant.

This is also exhibited by her noting how backward Polish archeological discourse is – the Germans no longer derive themselves from Germanic tribes so Slavs should not either – it’s so passé.  But here is the thing: Germans are partly derived from those Germanic (as in Nordic) tribes. The only thing is they’ve been forbidden to actually think that because people familiar with where that thinking goes did not want German egos to get overinflated for obvious reasons to which Kruger alludes herself.  No matter what you would like to believe, ideas do not seem to be abused the same way when spouted by other peoples.  Don’t know why that is but German culture seems to be special that way – and no amount of self-therapy along the lines of believing that “other people can fall for these demons too” will make that go away.  There is only one way to address the underlying problem – don’t try to be the most extreme in whatever the “in” thing currently is… (The pessimist in me has a feeling though that Germans could cloak even “moderation” in an extremist shroud).

To be perfectly honest, I could not care less where Slavs came from (if they came from anywhere), but the logic-imperviousnes demonstrated by some people is an indicator either of stupidity or of ideological zealotry.  We owe more to our ancestors than to acquiesce in that.

P.S. Kruger is hardly alone among Germans who promote similar transparently politically-motivated views.  Just look at the moronic statements of other political archeo-historians (one example is Walter Pohl – a man whose biggest claim to fame is fingering his chin (deep in thought) in every known public photo).  People like that prostitute the past of our ancestors to fit current political needs.  A century ago, their political need was Germanic expansionism.  Today they serve the interests of European statism/universalism.  But wie es eigentlich gewesen war, is to them scheißegal.

If you want to take a step in the right direction, ask yourself first what do you think happened to the Suevi whose peoples covered most of Germania?

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August 9, 2017

Lacus Podamicus

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The suffix -ow is Slavic though not always.  In the East of Germany, it is assumed that -ow endings are all or virtually all Slavic.  But what about somewhere else.  Like on Lake Constance aka the Bodensee (for the Polish Goddess Boda see here) aka Lacus Podamicus aka Lacus Veneticus aka Lacus Moesius (Musiano? Musianus?).

Here is a map of the Bodensee from 1540 with the -ow place names circled.  Other names that also sound (though, of course, not necessarily are) Slavic are underlined.

The trouble with some of these is that the suffix -gow also represents the earlier German spelling of a -gau.  Putting aside whether -gau coming from -gow may also be Slavic, note that the above names also include other -ow suffixes such as:

  • -now
  • -chow
  • -dow
  • -sow

We have not include the various “true” (?) Gau names such as Lintzgow, Algow, Turgow or Hoegow. Other names in the area include (see Johann Georg Tibianus 1603 map):

  • Raittnow (?)
  • Dieow
  • Justnow
  • Sangnow
  • Lestetten
  • Weissow
  • Lestiech
  • Radara (Redarii?)
  • Widow
  • Didow (?)
  • Gassow (?)
  • Reichenow (note that on the above map, it was still called Rychow)

For other interesting names in the area such as:

  • Belgrad
  • Grod
  • Lengatz
  • Altwinden
  • Edelitz
  • Engelitz
  • Reutin
  • Kochlin
  • Kremlen
  • Warnow

see here.

We will not follow Ketrzynski (yet) in seeing Constance (Kostnitz) as Slavic.

If you wanted to know where (at least some) Slavs come from take a look at the above.

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August 6, 2017

Suerto Rico

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Wikipedia has its uses but sometimes it’s just a joy to quote from what people put up there.  Take a look at this explanation of Suevi:

“Etymologists trace the name :

  •  from Proto-Germanic *swēbaz, either:
    • based on the Proto-Germanic root *swē- meaning “one’s own” people, or
    • on the third-person reflexive pronoun; or
  • from an earlier Indo-European root *swe- (cf. Latin suus/sua/suum and Polish “słabi,”  Sanskrit “swa”, each meaning “one’s own”).”

Putting aside that słaby (not słabi) means “weak” and not “one’s own”, a few observations are in order.

First, no one has ever seen *swēbaz.  As the asterisk indicates, it is a “reconstructed” word.  That is it is “made up”.  It’s made up in accordance with an also made-up linguistic formula but it is nevertheless made up.  The asterisk is fessing up that, well, “it seems ok but we just don’t know.”

No one has seen a *swēbaz written anywhere at any time other than in linguistic texts.  It is, to put it charitably, a guess. 

Given that, there is really no point to discussing where *swēbaz itself comes from.

But, to each their own rabbit hole.

Second, there is no established Germanic cognate here.


BUT, you say, what about the Swedes!?  

What do we have here svear, svíar / suer.  And we have Tacitus’ Suiones and Adam of Bremen’s (didn’t he say the Wends were the Vinnulli though? can we trust this guy) Sweon(as) or the Norwegian Svíþjóð.  Or Svíariki.  What is the origin of this?

Wikipedia can be delightfully helpful again:

“probably from the PIE reflexive pronominal root *s(w)e, “one’s own [tribesmen/kinsmen]”;

ok, so same as above for the Suevi…

What else?

“Most scholars agree that Suiones and the attested Germanic forms of the name derive from the same Proto-Indo-European reflexive pronominal root, *s(w)e, as the Latin suus. The word must have meant “one’s own (tribesmen)”.

Ok, so same as above… What else?

“The same root and original meaning is found in the ethnonym of the Germanic tribe Suebi, preserved to this day in the name Schwaben (Swabia).”

So to sum this up:

  • we don’t know what Suevi means
  • we don’t know what Swede means
  • but to explain Suevi we use Swede
  • and to explain Swede we use Suevi
  • and, after all there is that Latin suus so that kind of makes it all work.

The conclusion of this in the Swede discussion is delightfully honest:

“The details of the phonetic development vary between different proposals.”

No doubt

Look, the fact that we have Svens in Sweden is not questionable.  The fact that these words all appear in relation to Sweden is not questionable.

BUT, none of them specifically mean “one’s own”.  You could just as easily say that Sven was a Ven (Finn? Venet?) or came “from” (“z”) there and established his own “rik”.

Or maybe like, for example, Amalasuentasuen means strong (Slavic Swiety that is Saint).  Strong Land!

Or maybe you can derive it from svit meaning dawn (in Slavic).  The Land of the Dawn!

You can do all of this and all of these sound like impressive enough “land” names for a Rik of the Swedes.  You just have to learn enough linguistics to know the jargon and then come up with a cogent enough argument.

None of these, save the Latin suus, refer to own’s own.

The sue can just as easily refer to “swaing”, “swearing” or whatever else you want.

Third, there is a word in Germanic languages for that but it seems to have an “L” in it:

  • self
  • selb
  • zelb
  • själv
  • selv
  • sjálf
  • silba (Gothic)

So where did the “l” come from and why do the Suevi not have it.

(Of course you could add an “L” to the word Suevi but then you’ll just  get something resembling “Slav”)

Can you name a language (outside of Latin-based languages and present in the same locality as the Suevic presumably was) in which SUO or SVO really does have an attested and, indeed, current meaning of “own’s own”?

Here is a hint:

Sami Swoi (= solely our peeps)

Swo-boda (= freedom or “one’s own body/life”) (see here)

Swa-wola (= free-will)

These are from Polish but other Slavic languages have the same or similar forms.

For more on this exciting topic see here (or really anywhere on the site).

don’t bother getting up – it’s just going to get worse and she’ll go to Flavor Flav anyway

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August 2, 2017

Altsomething Namenbuch

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Ernst Forstemann, a librarian in Dresden, should have a statue placed in every Central European capital for shedding (even if inadvertently?) light on Germania‘s history.  His Altdeutsches Namenbuch is a joy to look at every time.

Here are some names he mentioned:

Purchowa (Burgau, Thuringia) – mentioned as Purchowa marcha in 964 

Jochowa (Jachenau, Bavaria) – mention of Eberhardus de Jochowa in about 1121

Suabowa (near Kloster Rheinau) – mentioned in 870 …ie vel nocte usque Suabowa, ab eodem autem omni tempore in utraque Reni. parte usque locum qua Tura

Sichowa (Seugenhof or Seigenhof near Eschlkam/Regensburg) – mentioned in 9th century; also in 1086; compare with Sichow by Legnica, Silesia, Poland and by Lviv in Ukraine

Jezowa (Jezowa, Silesia) – mentioned in 11th century

Malinowa (Mallau near Mannheim/Heidelberg) – in malinowa mentioned in 771, 782

Winidowa – mentioned in 892

Ostowa (Osthoffen near Strassburg) – mentioned in 784, 838

Here is a map of these places.

Now -awa supposedly refers to “water” for Wasser is not enough apparently – but neither is -awa quite enough and so -owa must also be Germanic.  For example, Czestochowa – learning something everyday!

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August 1, 2017