Monthly Archives: August 2016


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The Germanic languages claim the river names with the suffix -ava or -awa.  We have the following words for water:

ahwa (Gothic), and

aha (Old High German and Old Saxon)

but some people think that these as well as the Latin aqua do not hearken back to old Indo European language (assuming there was one).  Here is a cite from a linguistics professor:

“A full discussion would not change the bottom line: *akʷā (or any laryngeally revamped version thereof) is not a valid PIE reconstruction.  The words we find in Germanic and Latin are regional, not common Indo-European… [previously noting that] [p]ossible traces of a Celtic word reconstructible as *akʷā are few and hardly substantial.”

The professor then concludes dourly:

“Their pedigree is uncertain; they may be loans from an unidentified pre-IE substrate (in which case their deeper history is unknowable for lack of data).”


We lack the learning to agree or disagree with the above.

That said, we are not as pessimistic.


In Spanish, the river name is rio but there are other names for smaller rivulets, e.g., arroyos.  On the Iberian peninsula you will also find:

regata (for a small stream)  or regato



rego or

rega such as the following regas (among others) in Asturia, Spain:

  • Rega do Calvario,
  • Rega As Penas,
  • Rega Da Cuba,
  • Rega Da Cal

which you can see at the approximate location here (next to, curiously, Lugo):regas

whereas rega refers to a “sprinkling, watering or rain” in Portuguese.

In fact, it is likely that the English “rain” has the same wet origin.

What is curious, however, is that the Online Etymology Dictionary gives the following origin of  regatta:

“regatta – (n.) 1650s, name of a boat race among gondoliers held on the Grand Canal in Venice, from Italian (Venetian dialectregatta, literally “contention for mastery,” from rigattare “to compete, haggle, sell at retail.” [Klein’s sources, however, suggest a source in Italian riga “row, rank,” from a Germanic source and related to English row (v.).] The general meaning of “boat race, yacht race” is usually considered to have begun with a race on the Thames by that name June 23, 1775 (see OED), but there is evidence that it was used as early as 1768.”

and from

“regatta – 645-55; < Upper Italian (Venetianregatta, regata, perhaps ≪ Vulgar Latin *recaptāre to contend, equivalent to *re- re- + *captāre to try to seize; see catch”

The slightly more trustworthy Collins gives this:

“regatta – First use: 17th century; Origin: from obsolete Italian (Venetian dialect) rigatta contest, of obscure origin

Webster give the following:

“regatta – Italian (Venetian) regata, gondola race, literally , a striving for mastery ; from rigattare, to compete, wrangle ; from ri- (; from Classical Latin re-, re-) + grattare, to scratch ; from Germanic an unverified form kratton from source German kratzen.”

Finally, the American Heritage Dictionary has this:

“regatta – Italian dialectal, a contention, regatta, from regattareto contend, perhaps from recatareto sell again, compete, from Vulgar Latin *recaptareto contend : Latin re-re- + Latin captareto seek to catch, frequentative of capereto seize; see catch.”

It is curious that this word appears in the Venetian dialect but maybe not so much if that is where the races took place?  But while it may well have later meant a “competition” what is the obscure origin of the word?

To state the obvious, If rega means “river” then “regata” could simply mean a “river race”.

But we know that rega means river… after all we have the:

  • Czech – řeka
  • Slovak – rieka
  • Russian – река,
  • Croatian – rijeka, or
  • Polish – rzeka

(and others).  The only thing that need be explained is the g > k.

As for the -ta, there are certain other interesting possibilities.  While the suffix is present in a number of forms in Latin, in certain participal nouns/substantives, it is present too in noun forms, e.g., in modern Italian (Crociata) but also, in the same unaltered form in Slavic languages both in the form of participial nouns and in adjectives (of the female gender, e.g., rogata), and in nouns (whose participal nature may have been forgotten) – there sometimes being replaced by the suffix –tka:


Most modern Romance languages have variations of this suffix (although which are derivative and which are natural evolutions is debatable).

Rekas and their -Avas

What if this is just a misunderstanding?  What if the Latin and Germanic settlers did in fact hear the various -avas or -awas from the mouths of someone else and concluded that these must refer to water?

What if, those -avas or -awas had nothing (directly) to do with water?

Note that:

  • they do not appear as part of the names of bodies of water other than rivers, and
  •  they do appear as part of other non “hydro” names, such as town names.

(Admittedly, as to the latter, the sifting process is a bit difficult because cities back in the old days were almost uniformly founded at river banks for obvious practical reasons; nevertheless, where a city name differs from the name of the given river, it may be tentatively concluded that it is a separate -ava name, not having to do with the river).

What if these suffixes simply represent adjectives (descriptive or possessory adjectives)?  How can that be?  Well, what if in the “substrate” language the underlying noun is of the singular feminine gender necessitating an -va ending for the accompanying noun?

Thus, for example, we have Soława/Souava (salty? sunny?) river or the Polish capital city of Warszawa can be an adjective describing the river Vistula (at that point, presumably) or it can, in fact derive from the owners of the local village (or wieś is feminine too) the alleged Varshovtzi family of Bohemia or some other Warsz.  (In this way we also dispense with the need for Wars’ companion, Sawa, as per local legend).  

Of course, if this were true, then we would expect the first part of the adjective to fulfill its descriptive function – an examination is in order.

This is particularly true for Germania since many of its rivers originally did have -a or -ava endings but they do not anymore (some still do) and such river endings are very rare in Scandinavia – the homeland of the Nordics.

The fact that these are possessory is also indicated by the suffix -owa in those situations where possession not description is meant as, appropriately, we see with the peninsula (previously an island?) of Suabowa.

We also note that this does not, of course, mean (though it could!) that every place that has -avas is one where Slavs lived previously but it does suggest that, perhaps, people speaking a language similar to the later Slavic (Venetic?) were somehow present in such parts.

Food for Thought

Several other possibilities arise:

  • that the reason a river is called rega or reka is because it is similar to an arm (Slavic reka).
  • that the ruler reigns is because the early “kingdoms” were necessarily along river beds.
  • that the Slavic term for ruler/leader, i.e., wodz comes also from “water”.
  • that the Slavic wodit (i.e., to lead but also to lead about) is therefore related to the Germanic wend, i.e., as a river meanders/wends itself (though, as noted, wend also has Prussian and Slavic aquatic meanings, e.g., wędka (wendka) (fishing rod) or wędzić (wendzić) (to smoke, i.e., remove water from, fish). (note here how the Polish ę is a likely result of an earlier -en). 

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August 26, 2016

The Slavs of Al-Ya’qubi’s The Book of Countries and of The History

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Al-Ya’qubi (died either circa 897 or 905) refers to the Arab geographer Ahmad ibn Abu Ya’qub ibn Ja’far ibn Wahb Ibn Wadih al-Ya’qubi.  He is also referred to sometimes as Ahmad al-Katib or Ibn Wadih or the Abbasidian (by reason of his ancestor having been freed by the Abbasids).  He lived in Armenia, Khorasan and northeast Persia where he served the local Tahirid dynasty.  After the fall of that dynasty he left for India and then Egypt where he settled.  He also visited the Maghreb.

Al-Ya’qubi’s Kitāb al- Buldān (the “Book of Countries” written about 891/892) exists in two known manuscripts (Munich 959 and Berlin Oct. 133 from the Kern collection).  The below comes from the Michael Jan de Goeje edition.


Al-Ya’qubi’s Tarih (The “History” written about 904/905 – assuming Al-Ya’qubi was still alive – before 897, otherwise) is a history of the world (the first part) and of the Caliphate (the second and longer part) through the year 872.    It is possible that this is the same as the History of the Abbasids which al-Masudi says was written by Al-Ya’qubi.  It is preserved in three manuscripts (Cambridge H 1684/85 or 1685/6, 2), Manchester and 4, 2403 from the Topkapi palace library in Constantinople).  The below come from the edition by Martijn Theodoor Houtsma (which was based on the Cambridge manuscript).

Among works of Al-Ya’qubi which are now lost are a work on the Byzantine Empire (written in Armenia), a book on the wars of Tahir of Khorasan against al-Amin (written in Khorasan) and a work on the Arab conquest of northwest Africa (written in Egypt).  Of these, the first may perhaps have contained other mentions of the Slavs.

Kitab al-buldan


“When he began to rule the Caliphate, Abu Ga’far al-Mansur, also known as ‘And Allah ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn ‘And Allah ibn al-‘Abbas ibn ‘And al-Mutalib, built a city between Quffah and Hirrah, and he called it al-Hasimya and he stayed there some time, until he decided to send his son Muhammad al-Mahdi on an expedition against the Slavs in the year 757/758.  He set out  for Baghdad, stopped there and asked: ‘My God!  This is the city that my father Muhammad ibn ‘Ali told me he would build, that I will dwell therein and that, after me, my son will dwell in it.”


VII (32)

“Japhet, son of Noah, settled between the East and West.  Born to him were Gumar, Tubal, Mas, Masih and Magug.  The descendants of Gumer are the Slavs, of Tubal the Burgans [Danube Bulgars or Burgundians!?], and of Mas, Turks and Khazars.  The descendants of Masih are al-Isban and of Magug are Jagug and Magug, who live in the East of the Earth, towards the Turks.  The lands of the Slavs and the Burgans were at ar-Rum before the rise of the Byzantines.  These are the descendants of Japhet.”

VIII (40)

“God separated their language into seventy two [different] languages.  And in that same moment he divided them into seventy-two parts [peoples].  And among the descendants of Shem there were 19 languages, among the descendants of Cham, 16 languages, and among the descendants of Japhet, 37 languages.  When they noticed their predicament, they came to Falig son of Abir, who said onto them: ‘And so as a result of the separation of your languages, the Earth won’t contain you all.’  And they replied: ‘Divide the Earth among us.’  And so he [Falig] divided [the Earth among them] and the descendants of Japhet, the son of Noah received: China, India, Sindh, Turkey [in the old sense],  Khazaria, Tibet [at-Tubbat], Bulgaria [al-Bulgar], Daylam and all that borders the lands of the Khorassan.”


“Next, all that lies beyond ad-Darb [belongs to the descendants of Japhet or to the Byzantines!?], until the lands of the Slavs, Alans [al-Alan] and Franks [al-Ifrag], and among famous and well-known cities, in the Byzantine land, there are, for example: Rumiya [Rome], Niqiya, Qustantiniya [Constantinople], Amasiya, Harsana, Qurra, Ammuriya, Sumaluh, al-Qalamiya, Samandu, Haraqla, Siquilya, Malakina, Antaqiya al-muhtaraqa, Dahirnata, Muluya, Saluqiya, Amarta, Quniya, Gabus, Tulul, Taragis and Saluniqa [Thessalonica].”

X (70)

“The kingdoms of the North.  the descendants of Amur, son of Tubal… son of Noah… after the division of the Earth among the descendants of Noah, set out towards the Northeast.  A certain part of these people, the descendants of Tagarmay, went northwards, in the direction of al-Garbi.  They spread out in this country and established a number of kingdoms.  And these are: al-Burgan, ad-Daylam, al-Babr, at-Taylasan, Gilan, Filan, al-lab, al-Hazar, ad-Dudaniya and al-Arman. The Khazars took over the entire country of Armenia.  Their ruler is a king called Haqan, who has a deputy called Izid Bulas.  Arran, Gurzan, al-Busfurragan and as-Sisagan.  These lands were called Armenia.  It was conquered by Qabad, the king of the Persians and it then transferred to king Anusarwana all the way to Bab al-Lan, for over 100 farsahs [parsecs].  It contains 360 cities.  The King of the Persians conquered al-Bab wa ‘l-Abwab, Tabarsaran and al-Balangar and built a city called Qaliqala and many [other] cities and he settled there people from among the inhabitants of Fars.  Thereafter, the Khazars conquered what once had been conquered by the Persians.  And [that country] remained theirs for some time.  Thereupon, these countries were conquered by the Byzantines who placed a king named al-Murijan on the Armenian throne.  Later [these lands] divided themselves into several independent principalities, the duke of each of which had his own fortress/castle.  And these are well-known kingdoms.”


“And al-Malik sent Maslama against Byzantium, ordering him to head towards Constantinople and to stop there for as long as it took to conquer it.  Maslama went [and] reached Constantinople, where he stayed until the sowing season and [even] until what was sown [was harvested] and eaten.  Then he headed towards the interior of the country and conquered the Madinat al-Saqaliba [the “City of the Slavs“].  Thereafter, the Muslims [that is the expeditionary force] suffered ill luck, hunger and cold.  [The news of?] Maslama’s situation and of those who were with him reached Suleiman, [who] sent help: ‘Amr ibn Qays by land and ‘Umar ibn Hubayr al-Fazari by sea… ‘Umar ibn Hubayr reached Halig al-Qustantinija [the “Straight of Constantinople”/Bosphorus].”


“During his reign in the year 714/715 Maslam went on an expedition and he conquered Hism al-Hadid and he wintered in Byzantine lands, as also had Umar ibn Ubayra who [came by way of] the sea.  They raided [lands] between al-Halig [the “Straits”] and Constantinople and they took Madinat as-Saqaliba [the “City of the Slavs“].”

XIX (126)

“Al-Mutawakkil sent the elder Buga.. He went against the Sanarians and fought against them.  [But] they broke through his ranks and forced him to flee, and he defeated retreated…  Then he chased after those [Sanarians] whom he had freed/granted amnesty earlier and took them.  Some of those escaped and wrote to the ruler of Byzantium and the ruler of the Khazars and the ruler of the Slavs, whose armies [then] assembled in great numbers.  [Buga] notified al-Mutawakkil of this, and he sent Muhammad ibn Halid ibn Yazid ibn Masyad as-Saybani.  After he arrived, those who would stir discontent calmed down and he renewed their amnesty.”

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August 23, 2016

What Can We Learn From Strabo?

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Here is an exercise in what one can surmise out of Strabo’s Geography.  Let’s take this passage (Book 7.1.3):

“Here, too, is the Hercynian Forest, and also the tribes of the Suevi, some of which dwell inside the forest, as, for instance, the tribes of the Coldui, in whose territory is Boihaemum, the domain of Marabodus, the place whither he caused to migrate, not only several other peoples, but in particular the Marcomanni, his fellow-tribesmen; for after his return from Rome this man, who before had been only a private citizen, was placed in charge of the affairs of state, for, as a youth he had been at Rome and had enjoyed the favor of Augustus, and on his return he took the rulership and acquired, in addition to the peoples aforementioned, the Lugii (a large tribe), the Zumi, the Butones, the Mugilones, the Sibini, and also the Semnones, a large tribe of the Suevi themselves. However, while some of the tribes of the Suevi dwell inside the forest, as I was saying, others dwell outside of it, and have a common boundary with the Getae.  Now as for the tribe of the Suevi, it is the largest, for it extends from the Rhenus to the Albis; and a part of them even dwell on the far side of the Albis, as, for instance, the Hermondori and the Langobardi; and at the present time these latter, at least, have, to the last man, been driven in flight out of their country into the land on the far side of the river.”

  • The Suevi include Coldui, the Semnones and Hermondori and Langobardi;
  • The Suevi dwell between the Rhine and the Elbe except that the Hermondori and Langobardi have been driven onto the other side of the Elbe;
  • The Suevi border the Getae and thus the Getae are not Suevi;
  • The Getae cannot be the Dacian Getae since these are nowhere near the Elbe; therefore, the Getae are likely Goths;
  • Lugii, Zumi, Butones, Mugilones and Sibini are not Suevi;
    • Butones cannot be “emendated” to “Gutones” since that role is filled by the Getae;  perhaps they are the Budinoi;
  • There are basically three groupings here:
    • Suevi – a confederation (?) of several tribes
      • some of these have “Germanic” names such as Hermondori and Langobards;
      • others not necessarily, such as Coldui or Semnones;
    • non-Suevic/non-Getic tribes – Zumi, the Butones, the Mugilones, the Sibini; and
    • Getae.

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August 20, 2016


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Quite by chance, a correspondent of this site happened to forward to us an excerpt from the website of the University of Warsaw discussing our favourite topic – the Vandals.  We previously discussed the scientific project that gave rise to this website here.  But, in retrospect, we seem to have missed some of the morsels.

This is what that excerpt says:

“Vandals.  A Germanic people whose original lands were located in the territories of today’s Poland… Based on [the works of Pliny and Tacitus] one may suppose that already at that time the Vandals constituted a large tribal confederacy inhabiting the lands of Western Poland near to the Goths (who the scholars are united in agreeing are represented by the Wielbark culture).  This is confirmed by Jordanes who states that the Goths defeated the Ulmerugi and Vandals having landed on the southern shore of the Baltic… According to the opinion of most scholars who study this area, the Vandals were most likely a member of the tribal confederation called the Lugian Union… This hypotheses is supported by an analysis of archeological sources…  A small part of the Vandals may have remained in its old lands [after the outmigration of the Vandals to Africa].  This is supported by the testimony of Procopius who says that during the kingship of Geiseric (439-477) there arrived a Vandalic embassy from their old dwellings… The archeological sign of these ‘old dwellings’ may be Germanic settlements from the later portion of the Migration Period – in the Kuyavia region and in the middle of the river Prosna.”

At first, we admit, we were a bit concerned.  The view that the Vandals occupied vast tracks of Poland expressed in the write up finds no support in the source material as we already discussed many times before.

To recap:

  • No ancient source locates a people named Vandals in the territory of today’s Poland
  • In fact, if one discards Tacitus’ (as he calls it) conjecture and Pliny’s Vinde-lici, no ancient source knows of a people named Vandals before their appearance in Dacia (Romania) in the third century (perhaps second).
  • There is nothing to suggest that Legii (Lougii, Luti, Lugii) were Vandals.
  • Recent scholarship has been skeptical on the connection of Vandals with Przeworsk.
  • Even assuming, arguendo, that Vandals had lived in Poland in the first or second century, they’d since would have moved and it seems much more likely that, in the middle of the 5th century (time of the embassy), their “old dwellings” would refer to any of Spain, Gall, Pannonia or Dacia where they had lived for close to 300 years before hopping over to Africa.

Was this a copy of something that bullshitter extraordinaire – Herwig Wolfram wrote?

It turns out that the answer is “no”… Wolfram’s texts are nowhere listed in the biography generously provided by the authors of the website.

So what kind of scholarship were the authors of the above excerpt relying on?  Most of the works listed in the accompanying biography are not particularly interesting but two things are striking.

First, let us note what’s not there.  Whoever wrote that text did not seem interested in relying on/reading the latest scholarship on the Vandals – as in “The Vandals” by Andrew Merrills and Richard Miles.  For a project selling itself as the latest and greatest on the topic, this seemed like a rather surprising omission.

Second, some of the works listed as relevant to the topic appeared, to put it charitably, questionable as regards their scholarship and genesis…


We decided to investigate – if only a little bit.

What Was “So Yesterday” Is Now All the Rage Again

The first book brought to our attention was Ferdinand Ludwig Schmidt‘s (1862 – 1944) History of the Vandals (Geschichte der Wandalen), published in Leipzig in 1942.  This was actually a reprint of an earlier 1901 edition of the same work.  Schmidt, best known for Die Geschichte der deutschen Stämme bis zum Ausgang der Völkerwanderung, was your typical turn of the century German historian with all the stereotypical baggage associated with that category.  He, rather simplistically, equated Germanic tribes with modern Deutschen and let his interpretations be guided by scholars like Muhlenhoff who, as we noted, were always ready to fudge answers to difficult questions and to “emendate” left and right when the manuscripts did not show what they wanted to see.

Thus, Schmidt places the Vandals in Silesia, slavishly following Muhlenhoff, notwithstanding a complete lack of historic sources for such assertions.  He also interprets the Legii name as Lugii and claims that their name signifies The Lying Ones (from luegnen) – a name allegedly given to these Lugii by their neighbors… Schmidt didn’t elaborate whether the same brilliant (and Germanic) etymology should be applied to the Lougei of Portugal, Lugdunum (Lyons) of France (City of Liars? A name given by a Germanic merchant cheated out his gold!?) or the Lugi of Scotland (incidentally, who lived next to the Smertae – what could that mean in German?). And so forth…


Ferdinand Ludwig Schmidt was not a fanatic but, as seen above, his Vandal history was written properly enough such that the country’s new management ordered an unaltered reprint in 1942.

Still, it is the other book listed as a worthwhile source by Warsaw University that piqued our interest…


Martin Jahn’s Die Wandalen – formed a portion of the Vorgeschichte der deutschen Stämme as edited by Hans Reinerth (volume 3: Die Ostgermanen und Nordgermannen) published in Leipzig-Berlin in 1940.  This volume remains a hit since it is available from many sources including from this outfit, sporting a charmingly vibrant logo:


So who were Jahn and Reinerth?

Martin Jahn (born in 1888) was a pre-historian known for such inspiring titles as, for example:

  • “The Siling – the Holy Mountain of the Vandals” (Der Siling, der heilige Berg der Wandalen),
  • “The Separation of Culture Groups and Peoples in Pre-History” (Die Abgrenzung von Kulturgruppen und Völkern in der Vorgeschichte)

and similar titles that appropriately reflected the then prevalent Zeitgeist.

Not content to be merely a preeminent historian, Jahn was also engaged in various extracurricular activities.  He took valuable time away from his studies to become a member of a number of social welfare,  veterans‘ and teachers‘ organizations as well as a member of an environmentalist league specifically concerned with air quality.  


After the war, he continued on his progressive path joining in 1947 a local labour federation.

But the real piece of work is the next fella.

Hans Reinerth, the editor of the volume, born in 1900, was, it seems, a man with a keen political sense.  Early on he became a member of the KfdK (Kampfbund für deutsche Kultur) before joining a local socialist party in 1931.  In March of 1933, he was one of the signatories of a declaration (in a local town paper) endorsing the then new budding leadership of Germany.

In 1933 he set out to rework the old Deutsche Gesellschaft für Vorgeschichte (founded by Gustaf Kossina) into a more open, diverse and inclusive organization which went by the name Reichsbund für Deutsche Vorgeschichte witha charming motto:

Zehntausende deutscher Volksgenossen bekennen sich in machtvoller Kundgebung zur Ehre unserer germanischen Vorfahren und zu unserem heiligen Lande: Deutschland!)

and whose leader he became in 1934.

The RDV organized frequent social events (also referred to in those days as Reichstagungs) such as this one (the 5th Reichstag was a splendid event – the best powwow in 1936 Germany, save for the Olympics):


Also in 1934 Reinerth replaced Kossina as head of German archeology at Berlin University bringing with him a more “modern” approach to that respected chair.

In 1937 Reinerth made the following comment in a German periodical by the name of Volk und Heimat:

Wer unsere germanischen Vorfahren schmäht und herabsetzt, steht heute nicht mehr dem vereinzelten völkischen Kämpfer, sondern der geschlossenen Front aller nationalsozialistischen Deutschen gegenüber

We will let you translate that.

By 1939 our Hans was the head of the Pre-History Department in a respected German historical think tank.  Through hard Arbeit Reinerth quickly rose to become a leader in a Sonderstab for pre-history in the think tank’s department charged with striving to preserve European cultural heritage at all cost.  During his career there he also gained a vast international experience leading, for example, an expedition to Greece in 1941 where he preserved an early Stone Age site that unequivocally showed that Greece had originally been settled and its ancient civilization established by various Germanic tribes from the north…

In 1942 Hans became a leader in another outstanding archeological institution.  His boss continued to entrust Hans with massive and highly challenging scientific undertakings:

From the 21 of September 1942, I have tasked Dr. Reinerth with the obtaining, securing and researching pre- and early-historical Germanic and Slavic finds and other types of legacy goods in scientific institutes, private collections and other places in the occupied territories in the East.

Alfred Rosenberg to Richard Harder (Bundesarchiv (Deutschland), Signatur NS 8/265, S. 15)

And did we mention that not only was Herr Reinerth an outstanding scholar but also a stylish hipster?  Check out these glasses and period-appropriate moustache – so fashionable in German pre-history circles of the 1940s:


After the war Reinerth lived on a life devoted to scholarship where he continued to publish titles that firmly established German history and archeology as independent and free of the ghosts of its nationalistic excesses such as this darling piece:


He led an active and busy life, our Hans (what with all the researching, not to mention the obtaining and securing) and Warsaw University today should be thankful that he was able to pull himself away from his demanding responsibilities to edit the Vorgeschichte der deutschen Stämme.  

What would they have known to write about the Vandals had Herr Jahn and Herr Reinerth not taken the time to put together their volume?


In the West, folks who cite Nazi literature to support their claims about the past tend to lose their jobs and be ostracized by mainstream society.  Different rules apply in Eastern Europe it seems.  Let’s just hope these same researchers do not turn their attention to Holocaust studies or Warsaw University might get to have an international incident on its hands.  That it hasn’t thus far, speaks volumes about the quality of the academic environment there.

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August 19, 2016

The Slavs of Arethas of Caesarea

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Arethas of Caesarea (circa 860 – circa 939) was the Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia.  In 1912 a Greek schola, Sōcratēs Kougeas, pointed out (in the periodical, Neos Hellenomnemon, Νέος Ελληνομνήμων, 1912, starting at p. 472) a reference to Slavs in scholium written by Arethas in the chronicle of patriarch Nicephorus (in a manuscript written in 932).  That scholium discusses the Slavic invasion of Greece:


“On the fourth year of his reign [Nicephorus] took place the transfer of Patras of the Peloponnesus, our country, from the Calabrian city of Rhegium to the ancient city of Patras.  For it had been driven away or rather forced to migrate by the nation of the Slavs when they invaded the First and Second Thessaly and in addition the country of the Aeniantes and that of the Locrians, both the Epiknemidian and Ozolians, and also ancient Epirus, Attica and Euboea and the Peloponnesus, driving away and destroying the noble Hellenic nations.”

They [the Slavs] dwelt there from the sixth year of the region of Maurice [587/588] to the fourth year of that of Nicephorus [805/806] at whose time the governor for the Peloponnesus was sent to the eastern part of the Peloponnesus, from Corinth to Malea, because that part was free of Slavs.  One of these governors, a native of Lesser Armenia, and a member of the family called Skleroi, clashing with the Slavic tribes, conquered them in war and obliterated them completely and enabled the ancient inhabitants to recover their own.  For the mentioned emperor, having inquired where the colony was, reestablished the people not he ancient soil and granted to Patras, which was a bishopric before this, the prerogatives of a metropolis.”


The above confirms much of what had been written in the (presumably later) Chronicle of Monemvasia which is why Kougeas set the two texts side by side above.

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August 13, 2016

On Thuringian Loibas

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The question of the “original” (or at least the Middle Ages) name of the Thuringian Forest (Thuringer Wald) has been on the minds of many people for quite a while.  Specifically, the “forest” which is actually a mountain range covered by a forest has, in the past been referred to by the following names:

  • loiba
  • lovia
  • liuba
  • liube

The question, as usual, is what this means.


The word appears seemingly for the first time in a report about the Polish Queen Richeza.  Richeza was the wife of Mieszko II.  She was apparently pledged to him at the summit at Merserburg in 1013 as a means of fostering peace between Poland and the Empire.  Although that did not work and the wars continued until 1018, Richeza or “Rixa” did her part by giving birth to MIeszko II’s son – Casimir (the Restorer) – and to two daughters (whether or not she was also the mother of Boleslaw the “Forgotten” depends partly on whether you think Boleslaw the Forgotten really existed – a topic for another time).  In any event, when Mieszko II became king of Poland in the year 1025, Richeza became Queen.  She was, however, as a German princess before, also the owner of various estates throughout Germany.  One of those was an area in Thuringia where the Thuringer Forest range stood.


In a report about her life, we have the first mention of the word – lovia.  Specifically, the monk of the Braunsweiler Abbey says:

In the forest mountains of the Slavs, which, by reason of the shadowy forest wilderness in their language is called lovia and which, on account of its wide desolateness length- and width-wise, still nourish a great quantity of bears, a huge bear caused much damage…  [The surrounding peoples called the count palatine Otto for help, because] it was his district – the Saalfeld – that he [the bear] destroyed the most.


This was with respect to the eastern part of the Thuringer Wald. But similar names are used for the western parts as well:

  • vastae solitudinis Loibae [Schenkungsurkunde Emperor Conrad’s to Ludwig the first local Landgraf, year 1039] [Codex dipl. Sax. reg. I, 1, nr. 85] [the Urkunde is false but that has no being on the words used in the document]


  • Terra quam Louvia et Haertz sylvae concludunt [Annales Quedlinburgenses MGH Scriptores III, p. 32.]
  • Scouunoburg in confinio loibae, cujus partem complurimam, quam eidem comiti ad id negotium genitor noster donavit [Schenkungsurkunde of Emperor Henry III, year 1044]
  • monasterium situm in confinio Loibae silvae [Stiftungsurkunde by Emperor Henry IV of the Reinhardsbrunn Abbey, year 1089] [Cod. Sax. I, 1, nr. 160; Schannat vind. I, 108]
  • monasterium situm in confinio Loibae silvae [Privilegium Pope Urban II’s, year 1093] [Cod. Sax. reg I, 1, nr. 168]
  • Luiba/Luibe [Urban II’s Konfirmationsurkunde, year 1092]
  • Loyba [an announcement by Archbishop Ruthard of Mainz]
  • praedium omne circa vel infra Loibam silvam jacens cum villuis prope positis aut ponendis scilicet montem Schoweburg, Dressenrot, Ermbrechtsrot, Friderichsrot, Unssenrot, Erphesrot [Emperor Henry V’s annonucement confirming, year 1114]
  • Silva, quae dicitur Leuba [Burgelin Abbey Stiftungsurkunde, year 1144]
  • blosse Loibe [Legend of Boniface]


Immisch Pr. 74 claims that the name is derived from a Wend tribe lub which leads to luba the beloved.  There are apparently a whole number of Slavic names that use this and that later had been Germanized into Laube, Laube, Leube, Lobe or Lube – a favorite or best place.  Immisch decides against a derivation from lipa (Linden tree).

Reinhold Schottin in his book “The Slavs in Thuringia” (Die Slaven in Thüringen) discusses all these cases and concludes with the following noteworthy summary:

What a difference of views [about the origin of this word]! I do not see why one has to try to force this to be a German name since it has, admittedly, been used for a then Slavic area, [since] it has been labeled by the is monk of the Braunsweiler Abbey expressly as a Slavic word and [since] it is also otherwise commonly found, even today, in many different formerly Slavic places, but not in other purely German areas.

In any event, as possibilities for the origin of this word, we have the Slavic:

  • lube – beloved or friendly, see, e.g., Lubeck]
  • lipa – a lindentree
  • laba – the Labe, i.e., Lave, i.e., the Slavic name for the Elbe River (the author gives as an example also the castle Lauenburg which comes from Slavic name).

And speaking of that – we also now know that Łeba meant “forest” in Wendish…

So what does that mean for all the -leben suffixes in Germany?


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August 12, 2016

Kaszubian Suavi

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One may ask the question of whether Slavs called themselves Suavi or Suevi.

(The first supposed difficulty is the question of pronunciation of the “ue” in old Slavic languages.  We have already devoted time to this before (finding no difficulty) so we won’t spend any time on it here.)

So are there any examples of this?  Well, such examples do exist albeit they are rare to say the least.  One is the following from Florian Ceynowa’s “The Treasure of the Kaszubian language” (Skôrb kaszébskosłovjnskjè mòvé, published in 1866, page 62) where, in discussing customs and attire of the Kaszubian Slovinians, he refers to them as “Slovinians, that is the Suavs” (genitive Sławów):slavowCeynowa was a bit of a character, nevertheless his testimony is interesting.

Note too that the Slovinian Kaszubs lived mostly around the town of Łeba which raises a question – was this Łeba also derived from some sort of a Germanic Elba (like Łaba allegedly from Alba, Albis or Elba) or is it rather the case that all these words are Slavic in origin (note the German form is Leba)?  According to Christian Friedrich Wutstrack, a German topographer, the name Łeba is Wendish, that is Slavic, and means as much a wood or forest:


From the 1793 Kurze historisch-geographisch-statistische Beschreibung des Königlich-Preußischen Herzogtums Vor- und Hinterpommern.

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August 11, 2016

All the Slavs of Adam of Bremen

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Here are the complete Slavs of Adam of Bremen.

Once again, from a version by Francis J. Tschan translated in 1959, as edited in 2002 by Timothy Reuter.  For a manuscript see the GKS 2296 4° manuscript (put together c 1200 – c 1225) which is now at Det Kongelige Bibliotek and which you can look at the following address:

The Latin version is at:

We have not added all the scholia (notes int he margins) yet but we may do so in the future.

Book I

1. “…Rightly surveyed, Saxony appears to be triangular in shape, with the first leg of the triangle reaching southward as far as the River Rhine.  The second leg, which begins in the coastal region of Hadeln, extends a great distance along the Elbe eastward to the Salle River.  At this point is a third angle.  From angle to angle it is an eight-day journey, except for the part of Saxony across the Elbe of which the upper portion is inhabited by the Sorbs and the lower by the Nordalbingians.  Saxony is noted for its men, arms, and crops…”

2. “…The principal rivers of Saxony are the Elbe [Albis], the Saale [Sala], and the Wisera [Wisura], which is now called the Weichsel [Wissula vel Wirraha].  This river, like the Saale [Sala], has its source in the wooded highlands of Thuringia.  After coursing thence through mid-Saxony it comes to an end in the vicinity of the Frisians.  But the largest river, reported even by Roman authorities is the Albia, now called the Elbe.  With its source they say, beyond Bohemia, early in its course it separates the Slavs from the Saxons.  Near Magdeburg it receives the Saale River…”

3.  “It may be asked what mortals first inhabited Saxony and from what region this folk first came forth… If then, the Roman writers are to be believed, the Suevi were the first to live along the Elbe and in the rest of Germania, and their neighbors were those called Druids, Bardi, Sicambri, Huns, Vandals, Sarmatians, Lombards, Heruli, Dacians, Marcomanni, Goths, Northmen, and Slavs.  On account of the barrenness of their native soil and of domestic strife or, as it is said, because of the need of reducing their numbers, these peoples left their homes and together overran all Europes as well as Africa.  Gregory of Tours and Orosius give this account of the Saxons in antiquity…”

5.  “‘[quoting Einhard] South of the Saxons lived the Franks and that part of the Thuringians which had not been touched by the preceding storm of war, with the channel of the River Unstrut between them.  On the north there were the Northmen, a very ferocious folk.  On the east lived the Abodrites and on the west the Frisians.  These peoples had constantly to secure their borderlands either by treaties or by wars against the Saxons who, though peaceful at home and benignly mindful of the welfare of their tribesmen, were excessively restless and troublesome to the settlements of their neighbors.'”

7. “‘[about the Saxons] For they worshipped those who, by nature, were not gods.  Among them they especially venerated Mercury, whom they were won’t on certain days to propitiate, even with human sacrifices.  They deemed it incompatible with the greatness and dignity of heavenly beings either to confine their gods in temples or to mold them in any likeness of the human form.  They consecrated groves and coppices and called by the names of the gods that mysterious something which alone they contemplated with reverence.  To the flight of birds and the lots they paid the utmost attention.   The rite of casting lots was simple.  A twig was cut from a fruitbearing tree and divided into slips, which they distinguished by certain marks and spread casually and at random over a white cloth.  Then if the inquiry was public, the priest of the people, if private, the father of there family in person, after praying to the gods with wyes turned toward heaven, picked up three slips, one at a time, and interpreted the ones he had taken up acccouring to the marks which had previously been impressed on them.  If the answer was negative, no more inquiry about the same matter was made on that day; if the answer was favorable, further confirmation of the results was required.'”

8. “‘To inquire of the cries and flight of birds was characteristic of this folk; also to make trial of the presentiments and movements of horses and to observe their neighing and snorting.  On the other auspices was more reliance placed, not merely by the common people but also by their betters… [Adam then describes auguries by combat with a captured tribesman from an (or potential) enemy tribe] For they were, like nearly all the inhabitants of Germania, both fierce by nature and given to the worship of demons… They worshipped, too, a stock of wood, of no small size, set up in the open.  In naive language, it was called Irminsul, which in Latin means universal column, as if it sustained everything.’  These excerpts about the advent, the customs, and the superstitions of the Saxons (which superstitions the Slavs and the Swedes still appear to observe in their pagan rites) we have taken from the writings of Einhard.”

13. … [Adam describes the Bremen diocese] thence on the eastern bank f this same river [Weser] the highway, called the Hesseweg, which divides Sturmgau from Largau, the Schipse-Graben, the Alpe, the Aue, the Chaldowa, and again the Weser; from its western bank the highway called Folwech which divides Derve from Largau, as far as the Hunte River, thence that river and the Haarenbach, the woodland which the inhabitants of the place call the Wildloch, the Vehne, the Hochmoor, the Barkenbusch, the Endiriad marsh dividing Emsgau from Ostergau, the Dobbe-Meer, the Sandwater-See, and again the sea…

15. “…Since at the time the Slavic tribes also [i.e., along with the Saxons] were subjected to the rule of the Franks, Charles [i.e., Charlemagne] is said to have committed Hamburg, the city of the Nordalbingians, to the governance of a certain saintly man, Heridag, and to have designated him as bishop of the place after he had built a church there.  On account of the barbarian raids Charles also gave him the monastery Rodnach in Gaul at which to stay for their duration.  This same church at Hamburg he designed to establish as the metropolitan see for all the Slavic and Danish peoples..”

16.  “And because we have mentioned the Danes once, it seems worthy to mention that the most victorious emperor Charles, who had conquered all the kingdoms of Europe, is reported to have undertaken last of all a war with the Danes.  Now, the Danes and the other peoples who live beyond Denmark are all called Northmen by the historians of the Franks.  After their king, Gotafrid, had subjected the Frisians and likewise the Nordalbingians, the Abodrites, and other Slavic peoples to tribute, the threatened even Charles with war.  This strife very seriously retarded the emperor’s purpose with respect to Hamburg…”

18.  “The emperor and his great nobles then felicitated Saint Ansgar on the deliverance of the heathen and rendered great thanks to Christ.  In a general council of clerics which he held, the pious Caesar, desirous of fulfilling his parent’s will, appointed Hamburg, the city of the Transalbingians, as the metropolitan see for all the barbarous nations of the Danes, the Swedes, and likewise the Slavs and the other peoples living round about.  And he had Ansgar consecrated as first archbishop of this see.  This was done in the year of our Lord 832, which was the 18th of the emperor Louis…”

29.  “…By virtue of his apostolic authority, therefore, he decreed that the bishopric of Bremen be joined with that of Hamburg and that the two be henceforth considered as one.  The documents concerning this action are to this day carefully preserved in the church at Bremen.  In them is also the added statement that this same Pope Nicholas constituted the same Ansgar, as well as his successors, legates and vicars of the Apostolic See for all the Swedish, Danish, and Slavic peoples…” [Adam says this happened in 858]

40.  “In the twelfth year of the lord Rimbert, the great Caesar, Louis the Pious died.  He had so far prevailed over the Bohemians, Sorbs, Susi, and other Slavic peoples that he made them tributary.  The Northmen, checked by treaties and wards, he also restrained to the extent that, although they divested all Francia, they did not in the least harm his kingdom.  However, after the emperor’s death, wild barbarism ruled without restraint.  And because the Danes and Northmen had been subjected to the pastoral care of the Chursch at Hamburg, I cannot pass over the enormities which the Lord at that time permitted them to perpetrate , and how widely pagans established their power over the Christians…”

54.  “…In those days Saxony was overwhelmed by a most frightful persecution, as from one direction the Danes and Slavs, from the other the Bohemians and Hungarians wrought havoc with the churches.  At that time the diocese of Hamburg was laid waste by an attack of the Slavs, and that of Bremen by an attack of the Hungarians…” [Annals of Corvey years 906 & 915]

57.  “In his days the Hungarians devastated not only our Saxony and the other provinces on this side of the Rhine but also Lotharingia and Francia across the Rhine.  The Danes too, with the Slavs as allies, plundering first of all the Transalbingian Saxons and then ravaging the country this side of the Elbe, made Saxony tremble in great terror.  Over the Danes there ruled at that time Harthacanute Gorm, a savage worm, I say, and not moderately hostile to the Christian people.  He set about complteltey to destroy Christianity in Denmark, driving the priests of God from its bounds and also torturing many of them to death.”

58.  “But then King Henry, who feared God even from his boyhood and placed all trust in His mercy, triumphed over the Hungarians in many and mighty battles.  Likewise he struck down the Bohemians and the Sorbs, who had been subdued by other kings, and the other Slavic peoples, with such force in one great encounter [at Lenzen in 929] that the rest – and just a few were left – of their own accord promised the king that they would pay tribute, and God that they would be Christians.”

62. “…In this haven [Bjorko] the most secure in the maritime regions of Sweden, all the ships of the Danes and Northmen, as well as those of the Slavs and Sembi [Sembians of Prussia] and the other Scythian people, are won’t to meet at stated times for the diverse necessities of trade.”

Book II

13.  “When in those days Otto the Great had subjugated the Slavic peoples and bound them to the Christian faith, he built on the banks of the Elbe River the renowned city of Magdeburg and designating it as the metropolitan see for the Slavs, had Adalbert, a man of the greatest sanctity, consecrated as its archbishop.  This man was the first prelate to be consecrated in Magdeburg, and he administered his episcopal office with untiring energy for twelve years.  By his preaching he converted many of the Slavic peoples.  His consecration took place in the thirty-fifth year of the emperor and of our archbishop, and one hundred and thirty-seven years had passed since the consecration of Saint Ansgar.”

14. For this part see here.

15. “And because occasion has presented itself here. it seems proper to set forth what peoples across the Elbe belong to the diocese of Hamburg.  The diocese is bounded on the west by the British Ocean; on the south by the Elbe River; on the east by the Peene River, which flows into the Barbarian Sea; on the north by the Eider River, which divides the Danes from the Saxons.  There are three Transalibingian Saxon peoples.  The first, along the ocean, are the Ditmarshians and their mother church is at Meldorf.  The secondary the Holzatians [?], named from the woods near which they dwell.  The Stoer River flows through their midst. Their church is at Schenefeld.  The third and best-known are called Sturmarians because they are a folk frequently stirred up by dissension.  Among them the metropolis of Hamburg lifts up its head, at one time mighty in mn and arms. happy in its fields and crops; but now, suffering vengeance for its sins, turned into a wilderness.  Although this metropolis has lost its urban attraction, it still retains its strength, consoled for the misfortune of its widowhood by the progress of its sons, whom it sees daily enlarging its mission throughout the length and breadth of the north.  They seem to justify one in crying out with much joy: ‘I have declared and I have spoken; they are multiplied above number.”

For the remaining portion of this section  see here.

16.  “Of the nature of this body of water [the Eastern Sea] Einhard made brief mention in his Gesta of Charles when he wrote of the Slavic war. ‘There is a gulf,’ he says, ‘that stretches from the Western Sea toward the east, of unknown length, but nowhere more than a hundred miles in breadth, and in many places much narrower.  Many nations I’ve along the shores of this sea.  The Danes and the Swedes, whom we call Northmen, hold both its northern shore and all the islands off it.  The Slavs and various other nations dwell along the eastern shore.  Among them by far the most important are the Wilzi, against whom the king at that time waged war.  He so broke and subdued them in a single campaign, which he himself conducted, that they no longer thought it wise to refuse to obey his commands.'”

17. For this section see here.

18. For the first part of this section see here and for the second part of the section dealing with Slavic religion see here.

19.  “Beyond the Leutici, who are also called Wilzi, one comes to the Oder River, the largest stream in the Slavic region.  At its mouth, where it feeds the Scythian marshes, Jumne, a most noble city, affords, a very widely known trading center for the barbarians and Greeks who live round about.  Because great and scarcely credible things are said in praise of this city, I think it of interest to introduce a few facts that are worth relating.  It is truly the largest of all the cities in Europe, and there live in it Slavs and many other peoples, Greeks and barbarians.  For even alien Saxons also have the right to reside there on equal terms with others, provided only that while they sojourn there they do not openly profess Christianity.  In fact, all its inhabitants still blunder about in pagan rites.  Otherwise, so far as morals and hospitality are concerned, a more honorable or kindlier folk cannot be found.  Rich in the wares of all the northern nations, that city lacks nothing that is either pleasing or rare.  There is Olla Vulcani, which the inhabitants call Greek fire and of which Solinus also makes mention.  There Neptune may be observed in a threefold mood: that island is washed by the waters of three straits, one of which they say is of avery green appearance; another, rather whitish; the third rages furiously in perpetual tempests.”

For the remainder of this section see here.

20. For this section see here.

21. “…On account of the merits of his virtue and his mastery of learning the saintly Adaldag was held in such esteem and in such intimacy by these three [Otto I, Otto II and Otto III] equally mighty and most just emperors that he was scarcely, or rarely, ever separated from their sides… This is evident from the emperors’ edicts which were drawn up on the archbishop’s motion.  In them it is also to be noted that the third Otto issued edicts while he stayed at Wildeshausen.  At that same time Hermann, the duke of the Saxons, died and had heir his son Benno, who is also remembered for having been a good and valiant man, except that he departed from his father’s ways by burdening thje people with exactions.  At Magdeburg, too, there followed in the see, on Archbishop Adalbert’s death, Gisiler.  He too was a holy man who by his learning and virtues enlightened the lately converted Winuli peoples.

24.  “For Oldenburg the archbishop first of all consecrated, as we have said, Egward, or Evagrius, then Wago, thereafter Esico, in whose times the Slavs remained Christian.  And so Hamburg also was at peace.  Churches were erected everywhere in Slavia.  There were also very many monasteries built in which men and women served God.  Witness to this is the king of the Danes, Svein, who still lives.  When he told how Slavia was divided into eighteen districts, he assured us that all but three had been converted to the Christian faith, adding also that their princes at that time were Mistislav, Naccon, and Sederich.  He said, ‘There was continuous peace under them, and the Slavs served paying tribute.'”

25. “In the last days of Archbshop Adaldag our cause among the barbarians was broken down, Christianity in Denmark was thrown into confusion, and, envying the fair beginnings of God’s religion, a wicked man tried to oversaw with cockle.  For then Svein Otto, the son of the great Harold, king of the Danes, set on foot many plots against his father, taking counsel also with those whom his father had against their will complied to embrace Christaiinty, to see how he might deprive him of the throne now that he was advanced in years and less strong.  OF a sudden, therefore, the Danes entered into a conspiracy to renounce Christianity, to make Svein king, to declare war against Harold.  As the latter had from the beginning of his reign placed all his trust in God, he then also most particularly commended to Christ the issue of the event and, although he abhorred war, decided to defend himself by arms.  And like another Davic, moruinig for his son Absalom, grieving rather over his sin than over his own peril, he went forth to war.  In that deplorable and worse than civil war the  party of Harold was vanquished.  Wounded, Harold fled from the conflict, boarded shop, and escaped to the city of the Slavs which is called Jumne.”

26. “Kindly received by the Slavs, contrary to his expectations, because they were pagans, he failed from the wound after some days and passed away in the confession of Christ.  His body was brought back to his fatherland by the army and entombed in the city of Roeskilde in the church which he himself had first constructed in honor of the Holy Trinity…  These things took place, we learned, in the days of Archbishop Adaldag*; still we could not find out all of the king’s [Harold’s] virtues.  There are, however, some who affirm that the grace of healing worked through him both then, while he still lived, and at his sepulcher after his death, and other things equally marvelous; for example, the blind were often given sight and many other wonders took place.  Very certain is it, however, that in consideration of the man’s repute our people as well sat he Transalbingians and the Frisians still strive to observe the laws and customs he gave them…”

* [according to Adam who passed away in 988]

27.  “…While there was still peace in Slavia, he frequently [the archbishop] visited the Transalbingian peoples and cherished their mother at Hamburg with fatherly love.  Like his predecessors, he prosecuted his mission to the heather with great zeal even though he was hindered by evil days.  At that time, wile King Svein was preparing a fierce persecution of the Christians in Denmark, the archbishop is said through suppliant legates and by frequent gifts to have endeavored to mollify the king’s ferocious spirit in regard to the Christians.  But the king rejected these overtures and began to rage in his cruelty and perfidy.  Divine vengeance pursued hjim in his rebellion against God for, when he undertook a war against the Slavs, he was twice captured and led off into Slavia and as manny times ransomed by the Danes, for an immense amount of gold.  Yet he still would not return to God.  Whom he had first offended in the death of his father and then angered by the murder of the faithful.  ‘And the Lord was exceedingly angry… and He delivered’ him into the hands of his enemies that he might learn not to blaspheme.”

29. “At that time a fleet of the pirates whom our people call Ascomanni landed in Saxony and devastated all the coastland of Frisia and Hadeln.  And, as they went up the mouth of the Elbe River they fell upon the province.  Then the chief men of the Saxons met and, although their forces were small, engaged the barbarians, who had left their ships, at Stade, which is a convenient port and stronghold on the Elbe.  Mighty and memorable, but exceedingly unhappy, was that battle in which, though it was manfully contested on both sides, our men finally proved too few.  The victorious Swedes and Danes completely destroyed the whole Saxon troop…”

30.  “Soon afterward Duke Benno and Margrave Siegfried came up with an army and took vengeance for that disaster.  And those very pirates who, we said, had landed at Stade were destroyed by them.  The other party of Ascomanni, who had come by way of the Weser River, devastated the Hadeln country as far as Lesum…”

At 33: Schol. 24. “Eric, the king of the Swedes, entered into an alliance with Boleslav, the most powerful king of the Poles.  Boleslave gave his daughter or sister in marriage to Eric.  Because of this league the Danes were jointly attacked by the Slavs and the Swedes.  In alliance with the third Otto the most Christian king Boleslav subjected all Slavia and Russia together with the Prussians, at whose hands Saint Adalbert had suffered martyrdom.  Boleslav at this time translated his [Adalbert’s] remains into Poland.”

37. “After the long-wished-for death of Eric, Svein returned rom exile and regained the kingdom of hjis fathers in the fourteenth year of his deposition and wanderings.  And he married Eric’s widow, the mother of Olaf, and she bore him Canute.  But this martial relationship was of no advantage to him, for God was angry with him.  Olaf, the king of the Swedes. was a very good Christian and took a wife from among the Abodrites, a Slavic maiden, named Estrith.  Of her were born a son, James, and a daughter, Ingegerd, whom the saintly king Yaroslav of Russia married…”

38. “…Some relate that Olaf [of Norway, son of Tryggve] had been a Christian, some that he had forsaken Christianity; all, however, affirm that he was willed in divination, was an observer of the lots, and had placed all his hope in the prognostication of birds.  Wherefore, also, did he receive a byname, so that he was called Craccaben.  In fact, as they say, he was also given to the practice of the magic art and supported as his household companions all the magicians, with whom that land was overrun, and, deceived by their error, perished.”

40. “In the meantime the thousandth year since the incarnation of our Lord was happily  completed and this was the archbishop’s twelfth year.  The following year the most valiant emperor Otoo, who had already conquered the Danes, the Slavs, likewise also the Franks and Italians, succumbed, overtaken by an untimely death, after he had thrice entered Rome as victor.  After his death the kingdom remained in confusion.  Then, indeed, the Slavs, more than fairly oppressed by their Christian rulers, at length threw off the yoke of servitude and had to take up arms ion defense of their freedom.  Mistivoi and Mizzidrag were the chiefs of the Winuli under whose leadership the rebellion flared up.  Under these leaders the rebel Slavs wasted first the whole of Nordalbingia with fire and sword; then, going through the rest of Slavia, they set fire to all the churches and tore them down to the ground.  They also murdered the priests and th either ministers of the churches with diverse tortures and left not a vestige of Christianity beyond the Elbe.”

41. “At Hamburg, then and later, many clerics and citizens were led off into captivity, and even more were put to death out of hatred for Christianity.  The long-to-be-remmbered king of the Danes who held in memory all the deeds of the barbarians as if they had been written down told us how Oldenburg [Stargard] had been a city heavily populated with Christians. ‘There,’ he said, ‘sixty priests – the rest had been slaughtered like cattle – were kept for mockery. The oldest of these, the provost of the place, and our kinsman, was named Oddar.  Now, he and others were martyred in this manner: after the skin of their heads had been cut with an iron in the form of a cross, the brain of each was laid bare; with hands tied behind their backs, the confessors of For were then dragged through one Slavic town after another, harried either with blows of in some other manner, until they died.  After having been thus made ‘a spectacle… to angels and to men,’ they breathed forth their victorious spirits in the middle of the course.  Many deeds of this kind, which for lack of written records are now regarded as fables, are remembered as having been done at this time in the several provinces of the Slavs.  When I questioned the king further about them, he said: ‘Stop, son.  We have so many martyrs in Denmark and Slavia that they can hardly be comprehended in a book…'”

42. “And so all the Slavs who dwell between the Elbe and the Oder and who had practiced the Christian religion for seventy years and more, during all the time of the Ottos, cut themselves off from the body of Christ and of the Church with which they had before been joined.  Oh, truly the judgments of God over men are hidden: ‘Therefore He hath mercy on whom He will, and whom He will He hardeneth.’ Marveling at His omnipotence, we see those who were the first to believe fall back into paganism; those, however, who seemed to be the very last, converted to Christ.  But He, the ‘just judge, strong and patient’, who of old wiped out in the sight of Israel the seven tribes of Canaan, and kept only the strangers, by whom the transgressors might be punished – He, I say, willed now to harden a small part of the heathen through whom He might confound our faithlessness.”

43. “These things were done in the last days of the elder Lievizo, under Duke Bernhard, the son of Benno, who grievously oppressed the Slavic peoples.  At that time also the controversy of Bishop Bernar of Verden over Ramelsloh was ended in the presence of Pope Sergius.”

44. “…And report has it that from the death of Archbishop Adaldag to our own age all the region of Jutland was divided into two dioceses; the third, at Aarhus, passed out of existence. For Slavia the archbishop consecrated Folcward, after that Reginbert; the former of whom, when driven from Slavia, was sent by the archbishop to Sweden and Norway, and when he had won many to the Lord he returned full of joy.  After that, with everything set in good order, the blessed archimandrite Lievizo died, at the same time as the bishop of Verden, in the year of our Lord 1013…”

46. “…For Duke Bernhard, forgetful both of his grandfather’s humility and of his father’s piety, in the first place cruelly oppressed by his avarice the Winuli nation and drove it, as a last resort, to paganism.  Then, in his pride unmindful of favors, he moved all Saxony to rebel with him against Caesar.  Rising, finally, against Christ, he did not hesitate to attack the churches of his fatherland, and especially ours, which at the time was obviously richer than the others and farther from the emperor’s reach… By taking counsel with our bishop [Archbishop Unwan], too, the rebellious prince was at length prevailed upon to make submission as a suppliant to the Caesar Henry at Hausberge.”

47. “Soon, also through the favor of Unwan, he subjected the Slavs to tribute and returned peace to the Nordalbingians and to their mother at Hamburg.  To restore the latter, the venerable metropolitan is said to have built a new city and church after the destruction wrought by the Slavs.  At the same time he selected three brethren from each of his communities of men so that twelve might live at Hamburg in canonical association and convert the people from the error of idolatry.  On Reginbert’s death he consecrated for Slavia Bernhard, a prudent mann whom he selected from the brethren of the Church of Hamburg, and who brought forth much fruit in preaching among the Slavic people…”

51. “Canute made war on Britain for three years.  Aethelred, the king of the English, died while he was being besieged in London, losing his life at the same time as his kingdom.  And this by a just judgment of For; for he had befouled the scepter with blood for thirty-eight years after his brother died a martyr.  Thus he expiated the murder of his brother; he left a child, a son named Edward whom his wife Imma had borne him.  Aethelred’s brother, Edmund, a warlike man, was put out of the way by poisoning to favor the victor; his sons were condemned to exile in Russia.”

54.  “In the twelfth year of Archbishop Unwan Emperor Henry, eminent for his justice and sanctity, departed to the heavenly realm after having subjected to his sway the Saxons, Italians, and Burgundians.  The most valiant Caesar, Conrad, succeeded to his scepter and by his great might soon subdued the Poles and their king Mising, and he made their allies, the Bohemians and other Slavic peoples, tributary…”

58. “Since at that time there was a firm peace between the Slavs and the Transalbingians, Archbishop Unwan rebuilt the metropolis of Hamburg and, bringing together the clerics who had been dispersed, assembled there a great number both of citizens and canons.  For this reason he frequently visited there with Duke Berhnard, often living in Hamburg half the year, and he invited the most glorious ing Canute to a conference with the Slavic leaders Udo and Sederich.  In such wise Archbishop Unwan, distinguished at home and abroad, is said to have carried out his mission among the heathen.  Now there remains to be told what we have ascertained from fleeting reports about the martyrdom of King Olaf.”

59. “…Thus Olaf, king and, as we believe, martyr, came to such an end.  His body was entombed with becoming honor in the great city of his realm, Trondhjem [Trondheim].  There even today the Lord by the numerous miracles and cures done through him deigns to declare what merit is his in heaven who us this glorified on earth.  The feast of his passion, observed on the fourth Kalends of August, is worthily recalled with eternal veneration on the part of all the peoples of the Northern Ocean, the Norwegians, Swedes, Goths, Sembi, Danes, and Slavs.”

64. “The archbishop frequently visited the metropolis of Hamburg.  Because of the valor of Canute, the king, and of Bernhard, the duke, there was at that time a firm peace beyond the Elbe, since Caesar also had reduced the Winuli by war.  Their chiefs, Gneus and Anadrag were pagans; the third, Udo, the son of Mistivoi, was a bad Christian.  On this account and also because of his cruelty, he was murdered by a certain Saxon deserter.  He had a son, Gottschalk, who at this very time was being instructed in the learned disciplines in the duke’s monastery at Lueneburg.  Of this abbey Gottschalk, the bishop of the Goths, then had charge.  But when he learned of his father’s death, the prince Gottschalk, in his wrath and indignation, rejected the faith along with his letters, seized his arms, and, passing over the river, joined the enemies of God, the Winuli.  With their help he attacked the Christians and, it is said, struck down many thousands of Saxons out of revenge for his father.  At last Duke Berhhard captured him and held him in custody as if he were a robber captain.  But because he respected him as a man of great bravery, the duke made an alliance with him and let him go.  He went to King Canute and, proceeding with him to England, stayed there a long time.”

68. “While he left these monuments of his activity in Bremen, he forthwith addressed himself with all the love of his heart to the building up of the church at Hamburg.  There, indeed, after the Slavic cataclysm of which we have given an account above, Archbishop Unwan and along with him Duke Bernhard had built a stately fortress from the runs of the old city and erected a church and dwelling places, all of wood.  Archbishop Alebrand, however, thought a somewhat stronger defense against the frequent incursions of enemies was necessary for an unprotected place, and first of all rebuilt of squared stone the church that had been erected in honor of the Mother of God.  Then he constructed for himself another stone house, strongly fortified with towers and battlements.  In emulation of this work the duke was roused to provide lodging for his men within the same fortified area.  In a word, when the city had thus been rebuilt, the basilica was flanked on one side by the bishop’s residence, on the other by the duke’s palace.  The noble archbishop also planned to have the metropolis of Hamburg girded with a wall and fortify with towers, had his swift death not interfered with his desires.”

69. “Across the Elbe and throughout the realm there was a firm peace at that time.  The princes of the Slavs, Anadrag and Gneus and Ratibor, came peacefully to Hanburg and rendered military service to the duke and prelate.  But hone as now the duke an bishop worked at cross purposes among the Winuli people; the duke, indeed, striving to increase the tribute; the archbishop, to spread Christianity.  It is clear to me that because of the efforts of the priests of the Christian religion would long ago have become strong there if the avarice of the princes had not hindered the conversion of the folk.”

70. “The archbishop was also, in the manner of his predecessors, solicitous about the mission among the heathen with which he had been entrusted, and he consecrated as coadjutors in the preaching bishops Rudolf, one of his chaplains, for Schleswig; Abhelin for Slavia; Wal, of the chapter at Bremen, for RIbe; while the others, who were mentioned above, still lived and weren’t idle in the vineyard of God.”

74. “…At the same time the piratical Ascomanni are said to have entered the mouth of the Weser and gone as far as Lesum, unexpectedly ravaging everything.  As they were returning to their ships, then, they were attacked at Aumund, and there most of them are said to have been cut down…”

75. “…Now King Magnus was beloved by the Danes for his justice and valor but dreaded by the Slavs who attacked Denmark after Canute’s death.  Ratibor, the Slavic chief, was slain by the Danes.  This Ratibor was a Christian and a man of great influence among the barbarians.  He had eight sons, Slavic princes, everyone of whom the Danes killed when they sought vengeance for their father.  To avenge Ratibor‘s death the Winuli at that time also came with all their forces as far as Ribe, ravaging as they pressed forward.  But King Magnus, returning from Norway, happened just then to land at Haddeby. He at once collected the armed strength of the Danes from all sides and came upon the pagans in the heath near Haddeby as they were leaving Denmark.  Fifteen thousand are said to have been slain there, and the Christians enjoyed peace and happiness all the time Magnus lived.  At that same time, after the death of King Canute and of his sons, Gottschalk also returned from England and made raids into Slavia, fighting all and striking great terror into the hearts of the barbarians.  Of his valor and the influence he had over the barbarians we shall speak presently.”

Book III

6. “The expeditions which the archbishop made with Caesar into Hungary, Slavia, Italy, and Flanders were indeed many…”

9. “…At Goseck on the Saale River there is an eight abbey, which was founded by the archbishop’s relatives.”

15. “…When he came into Sweden, he was afforded so eager a reception on the part of everyone that he won all the people of Vaermland to Christ and is said also to shave worked many miracles among the folks…”

16. “In Norway great events also took place at that time; King Harold surpassed all the madness of tyrants in his savage wildness.  Many churches were destroyed by that man; many Christians were tortured to death by him.  But he was a mighty man and renowned for the victories he had previously won in many wars with barbarians in Greece and in the Scythian regions.  After he came into his fatherland, however, he never ceased from warfare; he was the thunderbolt of the north, a pestilence to all the Danish islands.  That man plundered all the coastlands of the Slavs; he subjected the Orkney Islands to his rule; he extended his bloodstained sway as far as Iceland.  And so, as he ruled over many nations, he was odious to all in account if his greed and cruelty.  He also gave himself up to magic arts and, wretched man that he was, id not heed the fact that his most saintly brother had eradicated such illusions front he realm and striven even unto death for the adoption of the precepts of Christianity…”

18. “Across the Elbe and in Slavia our affairs were still meeting with great success.  For Gottschalk, who was mentioned above, a man to be praised for his prudence and valor, married a daughter of the Danish king and so thoroughly subdued the Slavs that they feared him like a king, offered to ay tribute, and asked for a peace with subjection.  Under these circumstances our Church at Hamburg enjoyed peace, and Slavia abounded in priests and churches. For Gottschalk, ‘a religious man and one who feared God,’ also an intimate friend of the archbishop, cherished the Church at Hamburg like a mother.  He was in the habit of going to her frequently to fulfill his vows.  No mightier and more fervent propagator of the Christian religion has ever arisen in hither Slavia.  For he had in mind, if a longer life had been granted him, to make all the pagans embrace Christianity, since he converted nearly a third part of those who previously under his grandfather Mistivoi had fallen back into paganism.”

19. “Now all the Slavic peoples who belong to the diocese of Hamburg practiced the Christian religion devoutly under that prince; that is, the Wagiri and Abodrites and Reregi and Polabingi; likewise, the Linguones, Warnavi, Kicini, and Circipani, as far as the Pane River which in the privileges of our Church is called the Peene.  The provinces no were full of churches, and the churches full of priests.  And the priests attended freely to ‘those things that pertain to God.’  There common servant, the prince Gottschalk, is said to have been inflamed with such ardent zeal for the faith that, forgetting his station, he frequently made discourse in church in exhortation of the people – in church because he wised to make clearer in the Slavic speech what was abstrusely preached by the bishops or priests.  Countless was the number of those who ere converted very day; so much so that he sent into every province for priests.  Int eh several cities were then also founded monasteries for holy men who lived according to canonical rule, likewise for monks and nuns, as those testify who saw the several communities in Luebeck, Oldeburg, Lenzen, Ratzeburg, and other cities.  In Mecklenburg, which is a noted city of the Abodrites, there are said to have been three communities of those who served God. ”

20. “The archbishop rejoiced over the new plantation of churches and he sent the prince, of his bishops and priests, wise men who were to strengthen the untutored folk in the Christian religion.  For Oldenburg he consecrated the monk Ezzo when Abhelin died.  John the Scot he appointed to Mecklenburg.  He assigned a certain Aristo, who had come from Jerusalem, to be in Ratzeburg, and others elsewhere.  When he came to Hamburg himself, furthermore, he invited the same Prince Gottschalk to a conference, earnestly exhorting him resolutely to carry through to the finish the work he had begun for Christ, assuring him that victory would attend him in everything; finally, theta he would be blessed if he suffered adversity fir the name of Christ.  And he assured him that there were laid up for him in heaven many rewards for his conversion of the pagans, many crowns for the saving at individual souls.  With the same words and to the same endeavor the metropolitan exhorted the king of the Danes, who many times came to him as tarried by the Eider River…”

21. “In the course of that same time, events of great importance took place in Slavia that for the glory of God may not be withheld from posterity, for ‘the God of revenge hath acted freely,’ rendering ‘a reward to the proud.’  Although many tribes of the Winuli are renowned for their valor, there are only four, called by us Leutici, by themselves Wilzi, among whom existed contention for leadership and power.  These are, namely, the Kicini and Circipani who live this side of the Peene River, the Tholenzi and Redarii who live beyond the Peene.  When the quarrel reached the stage of war, the Tholenzi and Redarii, although helped by the Kicini, were nevertheless overcome by the Circipani.  When the war was once more renewed, the Redarii were crushed. There was a third attempt, and the Circipani came off victorious.  Then they who had been vanquished called to their aid the prince Gottschalk and the duke Bernhard and the king of the Danes.  And they proceeded against their enemies.  For seven weeks they maintained the immense host of the three rulers from their own resources, and the Circipani fought back valiantly.  Many thousands of pagans were laid low on both sides, many more were led off into captivity.  At last the Circipani bought peace, offering the rulers fifteen thousand talents.  Our forces came home in triumph, but of Christianity there was no mention.  The victors were intent only upon booty.  Such was the valor of the Circipani, who belong to the bishopric of Hamburg.  A certain man prominent among the Nordalbingians told me that these and other things really so happened.”

22. “I have also heard the most veracious king of the Danes say, when in conversation he commented not these matters, that the Slavic peoples without doubt could easily have been converted to Christianity long ago but for the avarice of the Saxons. ‘They are,’ he said, ‘,ore intent not he payment of tribute than on the conversion of the heathen.’ Nor do these wretched people realize with what great danger they will have to atone for their cupidity, they who through their avarice in the first place threw Christianity in Slavia into disorder, int he second place have by their cruelty forced their subjects to rebel, and who now by their desire only for money hold in contempt the salvation of a people who wish to believe.  By the just judgement of God, therefore, we see prevailing over us those who by God’s leave have been hardened to the end that by them our iniquity may be sourced.  For in truth as we, sinning, see ourselves overcome by our enemies, so, when we are converted, shall we be victorious over our enemies, so, when we are converted, shall we be victorious over our enemies. If only earnestly sought their conversion they would ere now have been saved and we should surely be at peace.”

25. “And though he made very careful provision for his diocese as a whole, the archbishop regarded the metropolis Hamburg as the prime source of his joy.  Calling her the fruitful mother of peoples, one to be revered with all manner of devoted service, he declared that she ought to be accorded so much the more consolation because she had been tried by so much greater misfortunes and plotting close to her and by such prolonged molestation on the part of the barbarians.  The while he often thought of fortifying Hamburg, and at the same time of embellishing he diocesan seat, whenever peaceful times should be at hand.  He undertook to build a work, therefore, that would be serviceable against the attacks of the barbarians, one in which both the Nordalbingian people and the Church would find protection the year round.  Now, the entire province of the Sturmarians, in which Hamburg is situated, levels off into a flat pain.  In the part which borders on the Slavs there is neither a hill nor a stream at hand to afford the inhabitants protection.  Words are to be met with only here and there, but from the protection of their coverts the enemy at times suddenly breaks in unexpected raids upon our people who, thinking themselves secure and suspecting nothing, are either killed or, what is worse than death, led away captive.  The only hill in that country rises near the Elbe with its ridge sloping gently westward, and the inhabitants call it the Suellberg.  Regarding the is eminence, a fit one on which to erect a stronghold for the protection of the people, the archbishop  immediately ordered the woods which covered its top to be cut down and the place to be cleared.  Thus, at great expense and with much effort on the part of men his wish was accomplished and the rugged mountain made habitable.  There he established a cannonry, planning to form a community of men who served God, but they soon turned into a gang of robbers.  For from that stronghold certain of our men began to plunder and harry the countrymen of the vicinity, whom they had been posted to protect.  For this reason the place was later destroyed in an uprising of the co-provincials.  The Nordalbingian people, however, were excommunicated.  Thus, we have learned, was done to favor the duke who, as usual, envied the successful enterprises of the Church.”

27. “…Then he also held out hope to the archbishop of acquiring or receiving the counties and abbacies and estates which we later or chased at the cost of great peril to the Church for example, the monasteries of Lorsch and Carvey; the counties of Bernhard and Egbert, the estates of Sinzig, Plisna, Groningen, Dusiburg, and Lesum.  Having under dubious circumstances already got possession of these properties, the metropolitan thought, as it is well said of Xerxes, that he could walk on the sea and sail over the land; in short, that he could easily accomplish everything eh had in mind.”

32. “…To this patriarchate he proposed to subject twelve bishoprics, which he would carve out of his own diocese, besides the suffragan bishops that our Church had in Denmark and over other peoples, in such wise that the first would be in Pahlen on the Eider River, the second in Heiligenstedten, the third  in Ratzeburg, the fourth in Oldenburg, the fifth in Mecklenburg, the sixth in Stade, the seventh in Lesum, the eighth in Wildeshausen, the ninth in Bremen, the tenth in Verden, the eleventh in Ramelsloh, the twelfth in Frisia…”

42. “Bernhard, the duke of the Saxons, died in the seventeenth year of our archbishop.  Ever since the days of the elder Lievizo, for forty years, indeed, he had vigorously administered the affairs of the Slavs and the Nordalbingians and our own.  After his death his sons Ordulf and Hermann received their father’s inheritance, which boded ill for the Church at Bremen…”

44. “…Then, too, Lesum, which had long been desired, came under the jurisdiction of the Church…”

46. “…Since nearly all the bishops and princes of the realm were afflicted with guilty conscience, they were unanimous in their hatred and conspired to destroy him so that the rest should not be imperiled.  They all met together therefore, at Tribur and since they had the support of the king’s presence, drove our archbishop from court as if he were a magician and seducer…”

49. “This was the first calamity to overtake us in the diocese of Bremen.  But great vengeance also reached across the Elbe because Prince Gottschalk was at this time slain by the pagans whom he was trying to convert to Christianity.  And, indeed, the forever memorable man had turned a great part of Slavia to the divine religion.  But because as yet ‘the iniquities of the Amorrhites are not at the full,’ nor ‘the time to have mercy on them yet come,’ it ‘must needs be that scandals come,’ that they ‘also, who are approved may be made manifest.’  Our Maccabee suffered on the seventh day before the Ides of June in the city of Lenzen wi tithe priest Yppo, who was immolated at the altar, and many others, both lay and cleric, everywhere underwent diverse tortures for the sake of Christ.  The monk Ansver and with him others were stoned at Ratzeburg.  Their passion took place on the Ides of July.”

50.  For this part see here.

58. “…At this time he acquired Plisna, Duisburg, Groningen, and Sinzig…”

66. “…This hand [of Saint James] the bishop had been given by a bishop Vitalis of the Venetians while he was in Italy.”

67. “…There he was in the habit of appointing the time and place at which our dukes or the neighboring Slavic peoples or other legates from the arctic nations could meet him.  Such esteem had he for the ruined city and such love for the exhausted mother that he said in her was fulfilled the prophecy which runs” ‘Rejoice thou barren that nearest not… for many more are the children of the desolate, more than of her that hath a husband.”

68. “…Sometimes, also, he wished he might merit dying in the ministry of his legateship either in Slavia or in Sweden or in remotest Iceland…”

70. “…another was John, a bishop of Scotland, a simple and God-fearing man, who later was sent into Slavia [into Pomerania] where he was slain with the prince Gottschalk…”

Book IV

“A Description of the Islands of the North
Here, if you please, the fourth book will begin.”

1. “…Now, this Danish land is separated from our Nordalbingians by the river Eider, which rises in the densely wooded highland of the pagans, called Isarnho, which, they say, extends along the Barbarian Ocean as far as the Schlei Sea.

Schol 95 [class C manuscripts]: “The wooded highland of Isarnho begins Danish bay called the Schlei and reaches as far as the city of the Slavs that is called Lubeck and the river Trave.” [not by Adam]

“The Eider flows into the Frisian Ocean, which the Romans in their writing call the British Ocean.  The principal part of Denmark, called Jutland, extends lengthwise from the Eider River toward the north; it is a journey of three days if you turn aside in the direction of the island of Fyn.  But if you measure the distance direct from Schleswig to Aalborg, it is a matter of five to seven days’ travel.  That is the highway of the Caesar Otto unto the farthermost sea at Wendila, which sea is to this day called the Ottinsand for the king’s victory.  At the Eider Jutland is fairly wide, but thereafter it narrows little by little like a tongue to the point called Wendila, where Jutland comes to an end.  Thence it is a very short passage to Norway.  The soil in Jutland is sterile; except for places close to a river, nearly everything looks like a desert.  It is a salt land and a vast wilderness.  Furthermore, if Germany as a whole is frightful for its densely wooded highlands, Jutland itself is more frightful in other respects.  The land is avoided because of the scarcity of crops, and the sea because it is infested by pirates.  Hardly a cultivated spot is to be fond anywhere, scarcely a place fit for human habitation.  But wherever there is an arm of the sea it has very large cities… Haddeby … is situated on the arm of the Barbarian Sea named by the inhabitants the Schlei, whence also the city derives its name.  From this port ships usually proceed to Slavia or to Sweden or to Samland, even to Greece…”

5. “…To the west of [Zealand] lies Jutland, with the cities of Aarhus and Aalborg, and Wendila; to the north, where it is also a desert, is the Norwegian strait; to the south, the aforementioned Fyn and the Slavic Gulf…”

10. “But now, since the subject provides the occasion, it seems appropriate to say something about the nature of the Baltic Sea.  Because I drew upon the writings of Einhard when I previously mentioned this sea in connection with the deeds of Archbishop Adaldag, I shall proceed int he manner of a commentator, setting forth for our people in greater detail what he discussed in abridged form.  There is a gulf, Einhard  says, that stretches from the Western Ocean towards the east.  This gulf is by the inhabitants called the Baltic because, after the manner of a baldric, it extends a long distance through the Scythian regions even to Greece. It is also named the Barbarian Sea or Scythian Lake, from the barbarous peoples whose lands it washes.  But the Western Ocean apparently is the one which the Romans in their writings called the British Ocean.  It is of immense breadth, terrible and dangerous, and on the west encompasses Britain to which is now given the name England.  On the south it touches the Frisians and the part of Saxony that belongs to our dioceses of Hamburg,  On the east there are Danes and the mouth of the Baltic Sea and the Norwegians, who live beyond Denmark,  On the north that ocean flows by the Orkney Islands and then encircles the earth in boundless expanses.  On the left there is Hibernia, the fatherland of the Scots, which now is called Ireland. On the right there are the crags of Norway, and farther on the islands of Iceland and Greenland.  There ends the ocean called dark.”

11.  What Einhard says about the unexplored length of this gulf has latterly been proved by the enterprise of the highly spirited men, Ganuz Wolf, a Danish leader, and Harold, the king of the Norwegians.  After exploring the compass of this sea with much toilsome travel and many dancers to their associates, they finally came back, broken and overcome by the redoubled blows of the winds and pirates.  But the Danes affirm that many have oftentimes explored the length of this sea.  With a favorable wind some have reached Ostrogard in Russia from Denmark in the course of a month.  As to its breadth, he asserts that it is ‘nowhere more than a hundred miles … and in many places narrower.’  This can be seen at the mouth of that sea, the entrance of which from the ocean, between Aalborg or Wendila, the heartland of Denmark, and the cliffs of Norway is so narrow that it is an easy trip of one night across by sail.  Likewise, on leaving the bounds of Denmark, the sea stretches wide its arms, which come together a second time in the region of the Goths by the side of whom live the Wilzi.  The farther one goes, then, the farther do its coast lines spread apart.”

12. “Many peoples, Einhard says, occupy the shores of this sea.  The Danes and the Swedes, whom we call Northmen, hold both its northern shore and all the islands off it.  The Slavs, the Esths, and various other peoples inhabit the eastern shore; amongst them the Welatabi, also called Wilzi, are the most important.  The Danes and the Swedes and the other peoples beyond Denmark are all called Northmen by the historians of the Franks, although the Roman writers named men of this kind Hyperboreans, whom Martianus Capella extolled with many commendations.”

13. “At the mouth of the sea mentioned before, on its southern coast facing us, there live as far as the Schlei Sea the first people the first people, the Danes, who are called Jutes.  There begins the territory of the diocese of Hamburg, which extends a long way through the midst of the Slavic coastal peoples as far as the Peene River.  There are the limits of our dioceses.  From that place to the Oder River the Wilzi and Leutici have their homes.  Across the Oder, as we have learned, live the Pomeranians; beyond them stretches the very extensive country of the Poles, the boundary of which, they say, joins with that of the kingdom of Russia.  This is the farthest and largest province of the Winuli, and it also is the end of that sea.”

14. “Returning now to the northern parts at the entrance of the Baltic Sea, first come the Norwegians; then Scania, which belongs to the Danes, juts out, and beyond it live the Goths in an extensive domain reaching to Bjorko.  After that the Swedes rule over a spacious region extending to the land of women.  Beyond them, as far as Russia, are said to live the Wizzi, Mirri, Lami, Scuti, and Turci.  In this area that sea again comes to an end.  Thus, the Slavs possess the southern litoral of that sea; the Swedes, the northern.”

15. “Those who have knowledge of geography also assert that some men have passed by an overland route from Sweden into Greece.  But the barbarous peoples who live between make this way difficult; consequently, the risk is taken by ship.”

16. “In this sea there are many islands, all of which are under the dominion of the Danes Swedes, though a few are held by the Slavs.  Of these islands, at a short distance from one another, the first is Wendila, at the head of this strait, the second is Morso, the third is Thyholm.  The fourth, opposite the city of Aarhus, is Samso.  The fifth is Fyn, the sixth is Zealand, which lies close to it.  Of these islands we have made mention before.  They say that the seventh, which is very near Scania and Gotaland, is called Holm, the most celebrated part of Denmark and a safe anchorage for the ships that are usually dispatched to the barbarians and to Greece.  There are, furthermore, close to Fyn on the southeast – although Laaland reaches father inwards to the confines of the Slavs – seven other smaller islands, which we said above are rich in crops, that is, Moen, Fehmarn, Falster, Laaland, Langeland, and so all the others in their vicinity.  These fourteen islands belong to the kingdom of the Danes, and they all are distinguished by the honor of being Christian.  There also are other more distant islands that are subject to the authority of the Swedes.  Of these islands the largest, the one called Courland, takes eight days to traverse.  The people, exceedingly bloodthirsty because of their stubborn devotion to idolatry, are shunned by everybody.  Gold is very plentiful there, the horses are of the best; all the houses are full of pagan soothsayers, diviners, and necromancers, who are even arrayed in a monastic habit.  Oracular responses are sought there from all parts of the world, especially by Spaniards and Greeks.  This island, we believe, is called Chori in the Vita of Saint Ansgar, and the Swedes at that time subjected it to tribute.  A church has now been built there through the zeal of a merchant whom the king of the Danes moved to do this by many gifts. The king himself, rejoicing in the Lord, recited this canticle for me.”

17. “We were told, ,moreover, that there are in this sea many other islands, of which a large one is called Estland.  It is not smaller than the one of which we have previously spoken.  Its people, too, are utterly ignorant of the God of the Christians.  They adore dragons and birds and also sacrifice to them live men whom they buy from the merchants.  These men are carefully inspected all over to see that they are without a bodily defect on account of which, they say, the dragons would reject them.  This island is said, indeed, to be very near the land of women, because the one referred to before is not far from Bjorko of the Swedes.”

18. “Of the islands that lie near the Slavs, we understand that three are of considerable importance.  The first of them is called Fehmarn.  It is opposite the Wagiri, so it can be seen from Oldenburg, like the one named Laaland.  The second, opposite the Wilzi, is possessed by the Rani or Runi, the most powerful of the Slavic peoples, without whose consent nothing may lawfully be done in matters of public concern; so much are they feared on account of their familiarity with the gods, or rather demons, whom this people holds in greater veneration than do the others.  Both these islands, too, are infested by pirates and by very bloodthirsty robbers who spare no one who passes that way.  For they kill all those whom others are accustomed to sell.  The third island, that called Samland, is close to the Russians and Poles.  It is inhabited by the Sembi or Prussians, a most humane people, who go out to help those who are in peril at sea or who are attacked by pirates.  Gold and silver they hold in very slight esteem.  They have an abundance of strange furs, the odor of which has inoculated our world with the deadly poison of pride.  But these furs they regard, indeed, as dung, to our shame, I believe, for right or wrong we hanker after a martenskin robe as much as for supreme happiness.  Therefore, they offer their very precious marten furs for the woolen garments called faldones [note: fałdy].  Many praiseworthy things could be said about these peoples with respect to their morals, if only they had the faith of Christ whose missionaries they cruelly persecute.  At their hands Adalbert, the illustrious bishop of the Bohemians, was crowned with martyrdom.  Alhtough they share everything else with our people, they prohibit only, to this very day indeed, access to their groves and springs which, they aver, are polluted by the entry of Christains.  They take the meat of their draft animals for food and use their milk and blood as drink so freely that they are said to become intoxicated.  These men are blue of color, ruddy of face, and long-haired.  Living, moreover, in inaccessible swamps, they will not endure a master among them.”

19. “In this sea there are also very many other islands, all infested by ferocious barbarians and for this reason avoided by navigators.  Likewise, round about the shore of the Baltic Sea, it is said, live the Amazons in what is now called the land of women.  Some declare that these women conceive by sipping water.  Some, too, assert that they are made pregnant by the merchants who pass that way, or by the men whom they hold captive in their midst, or by various monsters, which are not rare there.  This explanation we also believe to be more credible.  And when these women come to give birth, if the offspring be of the male sex, they come Cynocephali; if of the feminine kind, they become most beautiful women.  Living by themselves, the latter spurn consort with men and, if men do come near, even drive them manfully away.  The Cynocephali are men who have their heads on their breasts.  They are often seen in Russia as captives and they voice their words in barks.  In that region, too, are those who are called Alani or Albani, in their language named Wizzi; very hard-hearted gluttons, born with grey hair.  The writer Solinus mentions them.  Dogs defend their country.  Whenever the Alani have to fight, they draw up their dogs in battle line.  Palefaced, green, and macrobiotic, that is, long-lived men, called Husi, also live in those parts.  FinalIy, there are those who are given the name Anthropophagi and they feed on human flesh.  In that territory live very many otter kinds of monsters whom mariners say they have often seen, although our people think it hardly credible.”

20. “No mention, I have learned, has been made by any of the learned men about what I have said concerning this Baltic or Barbarian Sea, save only Einhard of whom we have spoken above. But, since the names have been changed, I am of the opinion that this body of water was perhaps called by the ancient Romans the Scythian or Maeotic swamp, or ‘the wilds of the Getae,’ or the Scythian swamp, which Martian says was ‘full of a muItifarious diversity of barbarians.’ There, he says, live the Getae, Dacians, Sarmatians, Alani, Neutri, Geloni, Anthropophagi, and Troglodytes.  Because he deplored their delusions, our metropolitan appointed Bjorko as a metropolis for those peoples.  This city, situated in central Sweden, lies opposite Jumne, the city of the Slavs, and all the shorelines of that sea encirle it at equal distances.  For this city he first consecrated of our clerics the abbot Hiltinus, whom he himself wished to be named John.  And so, enough has been said about the islands of the Danes.  Now we shall turn our discourse to the Swedish and Norwegian peoples, who are close to the Danes.”

29. “…Observing that the people murmured about this design of the confessors of God, the most pious king Stenkil shrewdly kept them from such an undertaking [proposal was to destroy the temple at Uppsala], declaring that they would at once be punished with death and he be driven from the kingdom for bringing malefactors into the country, and that everyone who now believed would quickly relapse into paganism, as they could see had lately been the case in Slavia…”

31. “…All, indeed, who live in Norway are thoroughly Chrisian, except those who are removed beyond the arctic tract along the ocean…That mountain range is named by Roman writers the Rhiphaean ran, terrible for its perpetual snows.  Without these frosty snows the Skritefingi cannot live, and in their course over the deepest drifts they fly even faster than the wild beasts.  In those same mountains* there are such large numbers of big game that the greatest part of the country subsists only on the beasts of the forest.  Aurochs, buffaloes, and elk are taken there as in Sweden.  Bison, furthermore, are caught in Slavia and Russia…”

Schol. 141 [class C manuscripts]: “Paul affirms in his History of the Lombards [Book I, IV] that in a cavern off the ocean in the farthest northern parts among the Skritefingi seven men lie as if asleep [Miracula of Gregory of Tours I, 95].  About them there are divergent opinions, including the belief that they are going to preach to those heathen about the time the world will end.  Others say that some of the Eleven Thousand Virgins came to this region and that their attendants and ships are buried in a mountain and that miracles are wrought there.  In that place Olaf also built a church.”

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August 8, 2016