Hüter am Rhein

An interesting study of Slavic place names on the Rhine* was conducted at the end of the 19th century.  These place names were assumed by the author – Hubert Marjan – to have appeared there by reason of the resettlement policies of Constantine the Great who in 334 supposedly resettled 300,000 Sarmatians somewhere in the Roman Empire, presumably including Gall.  According to other authors, the settlement took place under Constantius II in 359.  If some or all of these Sarmatians happened to speak Slavic then their settlement would have left a mark.

(* note – we have come across a view that the very name of the river is Slavic… how, well, in some old documents (including the Vita Louis) the river is repeatedly referred to as Hrenus and the suggestion is that the H was a G originally G>H, in which case the next step would be to change the “e” to an “a” and add an -ica so that we have granica/граница (Croat, Polish, Russian) or better yet hraniční (Czech) or hraničné (Slovak) (it’s different in Slovenian/Ukrainian).  That way the Rhine would the “border”.  Since the Slavs would presumably be on its Eastern side, they would neatly fit with the Suevi yet again.  That said, the above requires a number of steps which we are not convinced are justified.)

Whether or not this resettlement is true or, if true, whether or not it has any relation to the below data, the below data is interesting in and of itself.

Where are or were those places?

We put them on the map:

Most of them are in red.  (The blue square is a place the author did not associate with Slavs.  It is the town Graach which appears in documents first as Gracho, Gracha and Graca).

Here is the list (you would not have guessed them and we are not saying we agree with all of them as being Slavic (or with classifying others, not listed below, such as the above Gracho, not with Slavs)):

  • Trechirgau – Latin Trigorium, otherwise Trechere, Drikerigau, Trichire, Drachere, Trekere, Trechgere – “three mountains”;
  • Brodenbach – from brod, i.e., “ford”;
  • Sarmersheim, Simmern, Simmerbach – meaning “Sarmatian-“;
  • Traust – previously Trausrait from trusa, trusti  author compares with Truosnasteti in Sclavis (from the area of Meiningen).  Meaning “reeds” trstinatrskatростни́кtrichina*trъstina;
  • Riegenroth – from reka;
  • Windesheim – obvious from Venadi (presumably Venadi Sarmatae);
  • Strimmig – from stream – Indoeuropean (e.g., German Strom) but with the Slavic diminutive -ig as in -ik, strumyk – “little stream”; (compare the German forms Sterminaberg, Strimitz, Strimmelitz, Stremmen, Strummin – all Slavic);
  • Kleinich –  previously Clenniche, Cleniche.  From klen or klon;
  • Crastel – chrast, that is, “brushwood”;
  • Savershausen – from the tribe of the Savari;
  • Seibershausen – from sebru – “farmer”;
  • Rhaunen – previously Hruna which he ties to a Croatian Pagus Crauvati, Chrouvat, praedia… Chrouata et Runa by Knittenfeld in Austria;
  • Weithersheim – from vetr, vetoer, vjetar, etc;
  • Namedi – earlier Namedey, Namedy – from Nemci or Nemetes (or same?) or “Germans”;
  • Veitskopf – that is “Vit’s head”;
  • Künskopfe – “horses’ heads”;
  • Pfalzfeld – because of the discovery of this column which, however, may have looked like the below reconstruction before (note the heads on top – this detail comes from earlier descriptions); this column has been classified as Celtic:
  • Hoch-Simmer – from zima (compare ZImor in Bohemia); Same concept as Sniezka;
  • Nurburg – from Mons Nore – Slavic nora;
  • Hoch-Pochten – Puthena  from bohin or pogoda or others (this one seems highly suspect);
  • Saffenburg – from “frogs” – compare with other such names from clearly Slavic places such as Sabnica or Sabniza, Safen and Saffin – all referring to frogs;
  • Sehl – previously Sele; nearby mountain Soch;
  • Soch – mountain name from socha/sucha that is “dry” – he notes the reference the “completely uncultivated” mountain in 1144 (penitus incultus).
  • Cochem – previously Cuchuma, Cuhckeme, Cochomo, Cochma, Kuchema and others – compared with villa Cugme (Serb) on the Danube which was Schaffarik thought was related to the word kukma, that is comb (but compare the Gujarati village Kukma);
  • Sarmersbach – “Sarmatian stream”.  Here the author relies on spring celebrations which were recorded in the village and which seem to have involved young men going around, with a basket that had a spruce in it and collecting eggs.  They would go house to house and demand eggs of young ladies singing as follows: “Will das Mädchen nicht obstohn, Fein Liebchen fein! So wollen wir’s in die Blotz dröhn.”  The “Blotz” had been explained as referring to an “offering” (Gothic blotan or Ahd pluozan).  But the author compares this to bloto meaning “mud”, i.e., if you do not give us eggs we will throw you in the mud.  He further compares this to the dyngus of Poland and Silesia (not found elsewhere in Germany).
  • Mückeln – in the area there are (or were in the 19th century) many pagan burial sites that the locals called tumuli.  The author derives the name from the Slavic mogila (see also Mugilones) and cites Miklosich as showing similar names in the area of Magdeburg such as Müglenz, Muggel, Möchling, Mücheln, Muchil, Mügeln, Muggelink.
  • Ober-Wesel – Wesel meaning froh or “happy” vesel, Veselka, Veseloe, Vjessel  

These people belong to a local “Keltengruppe” – look at these faces :-).

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February 3, 2017

7 thoughts on “Hüter am Rhein

    1. torino Post author

      Huh! There was also a Brodin in Brandenburg. That one was clearly Slavic. Though there is also bread – Brot > Brod

  1. Maciek P.

    There is such a thing as “fraenkische Landnahme” in the German bibliography and describes the colonization by Franks of West Germany without Bavaria and Saxony in the VI-VIII century. Village with ends -heim, -hausen / -husen, -rod, -ingen and -weiler / -wiler are witnesses of this colonization. The claim is that the Slavs arrived in the river Elbe also in the sixth century. This would mean that almost all of today’s Germany was deserted? Slavic names, however, is visible even for the Rhine (eg. River Swist!). And the final question: where in English Slavic words, since the fifth century over the Elbe was not Slavs and Saxons at the time colonized England?

  2. Maciej P.

    Sorry for my English. I try it again. In English there are many words (borrowings), a native of Slavic language. According to the official doctrine of the Slavs, they were neighbors of the Saxons only from the sixth century. Then and only then through this neighborhood could get these Slavic words by Saxon language to today’s English. The problem, however, lies in the fact that the Saxons invaded Britain with Angles in the fifth century! It is therefore impossible that the Slavs arrived on the Elbe until the sixth century. By the way,there is the question of who were the Saxons? Whereas Franconian “colonization”, the question arises of the so-called. German language (Teutonic – this adjective is used by Thietmar). To me it (Althochdeutsch) looks like a conglomeration of some languages, the Slavic language appears on the base of thise tongue. In support of this we can cite the determination of the ninth and tenth centuries on the residents of northern and eastern Saxony in German sources: Nordliudi and Osterliudi. I do not know how much you have in each of malice, not to recognize in this purely Slavic word for people !?

    1. torino Post author

      This is probably more complicated. Note that the -liud fragment is present in Germanic languages and beyond. So you have “Leute” in German or even “leader” in English or the Old English forms of “leod”, Norwegian “lyd”, Scottish “lede” as in “people”. Lędzianie could also fit this. In fact, in ancient Rome various games were called “ludi” and “ludus” was your grammar school – look up “Ludus” for Rome in Wikipedia. Does this mean that Romans were Slavic? Of course not. Is it possible that there was some pre-Roman stratum in Italy before “Latin” took over – sure. And we know that there were several – including that of the Veneti.


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