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” trstina, trska, tростни́к, trichina, *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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