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Re: [gothic-l] Beowolf--the Goth?

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  • sig
    Thank you Frank, I notice that none of these suggestions involve any Gothic leadership, which in a way is surprising, given the fact that this southern outpost
    Message 1 of 22 , Jan 12, 2001
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      Thank you Frank,

      I notice that none of these suggestions involve any Gothic
      leadership,
      which in a way is surprising, given the fact that this southern
      outpost of Frisian territory was surrounded by Franks but, most of
      all, no farther away than Normandy were the Visigoths in their
      kingdom (or was it Svagrius?).

      Anyway, the troops were Danes, agreed, and Beowolf had reason to
      get there with his kin to avenge the killing of Hygelac (and took
      a brave swim home with a backpack of some dozen chainmail if I
      remember this right..) so I understand why this Gaetic leadership
      seems far flung to interprete as Gothic.

      I brought this up after having found an Internet page questioning
      any Scandinavian ties whatsoever with Beowulf. One thing was
      interesting; The same people found support for this from their
      failure to find any Scandinavian name like Beowulf. However, it
      didn't take me long to find the name Baulf on a rune stone
      inscription. Ba- does sound very like Beo- and -ulf is -wulf
      undoubtedly (compare Ulfila--Wulfila e. g.).

      I'd love to have anything more on this, i. e. your other
      "possibility.."

      Best,

      Sig

      Frank Kermes wrote:
      >
      > Hey,
      >
      > Ah, a subject I know well. First, who was Hygelac?
      >
      > In Beowulf, he's the Geatish king. The Geatas in Beowulf seem quite clearly
      > associated with Scandinavia. Their wars with the Swedish Scylfing dynasty
      > are mentioned regularly.
      >
      > Also, their name is mentioned in conjunction with "Weder," either as a
      > compound or as another name, ie. "Weder-Geatas," or "Wederas." Many
      > translations (Crossley-Holland, Raffel,) gloss this as an epithet- the
      > "Weather Geats," the "Storm-Loving Geats." Chickering, however, leaves it
      > as it is, and Chambers I think (a century ago!) suggested that this was the
      > lake in South Sweden, the Wetter.
      >
      > The Scylfingas, the Geats' Swedish opponents, correspond roughly to the
      > Ynglingas in the later "Ynglingasaga," "Hrolfssaga Kraka," and _Gesta
      > Danorum_. Eadgils corresponds to Adhisl, Onela to Ali, etc. All of these
      > kings are linked to Uppsala in these sources.
      >
      > Gregory of Tours calls Hygelac a Dane. That has been explained as a generic
      > term for all Scandinavians. Now, that is true, in Anglo-Saxon sources
      > nearly a half-millenium later, but I have been unable to find any uses
      > contemporary to Gregory. The Frankish sources of the same period as the AS
      > use the term "Normanni," the Northmen.
      >
      > I'll post more later, if there's interest--to explain another possibility
      > for Greg's usage...
      >
      > Cheers,
      > Frank
      > _________________________________________________________________
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      > Homepage: http://www.stormloader.com/carver/gothicl/index.html

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • sunburst
      Hails! ... Also it might be noted that Hrothgar s nephew Hrothwulf (Hrolf Krake) has been identified as King Roduulf of the Heruli. The reference, is, I
      Message 2 of 22 , Jan 12, 2001
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        Hails!

        > I notice that none of these suggestions involve any Gothic
        >leadership,
        >which in a way is surprising, given the fact that this southern
        >outpost of Frisian territory was surrounded by Franks but, most of
        >all, no farther away than Normandy were the Visigoths in their
        >kingdom (or was it Svagrius?).


        Also it might be noted that Hrothgar's nephew Hrothwulf (Hrolf Krake) has
        been identified as King Roduulf of the Heruli. The reference, is, I
        believe, to be found in the Troels Brandt's article "Hypothesis of the
        Heruls." If this is true, what does that say about the origin of the
        Scyldings? If the line of descent could be considered accurate, (which may
        be doubtful), that might place the origin of Scyld Scefing in the Tanais
        region. Could the story of Beowulf be of east Germanic origin? All of the
        main east Germanic heroes are at least mentioned in Beowulf. If so, it
        could have been brought to Scandinavia in the remigration of the Heruls.

        Albareiks
      • Bertil Häggman
        Albareiks, The Goths appear in _Beowulf_ perhaps as Hredh-menn (line 445). So there is a case of Goths appearing in the poem. Am not a Beowulf expert but I
        Message 3 of 22 , Jan 13, 2001
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          Albareiks,

          The Goths appear in _Beowulf_ perhaps as
          Hredh-menn (line 445). So there is a case
          of Goths appearing in the poem.

          Am not a Beowulf expert but I have never seen a
          suggestion that it was based on an East Germanic
          theme.

          Gothically

          Bertil

          > Also it might be noted that Hrothgar's nephew Hrothwulf (Hrolf Krake) has
          > been identified as King Roduulf of the Heruli. The reference, is, I
          > believe, to be found in the Troels Brandt's article "Hypothesis of the
          > Heruls." If this is true, what does that say about the origin of the
          > Scyldings? If the line of descent could be considered accurate, (which may
          > be doubtful), that might place the origin of Scyld Scefing in the Tanais
          > region. Could the story of Beowulf be of east Germanic origin? All of the
          > main east Germanic heroes are at least mentioned in Beowulf. If so, it
          > could have been brought to Scandinavia in the remigration of the Heruls.
        • Tore Gannholm
          Hi! Weder is a ram. the one year old sheep male. Professor Sune Lindqvist has analyzed this in Beowulf Dissectus 1958. The ram is the national symbol of
          Message 4 of 22 , Jan 13, 2001
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            Hi!

            Weder is a ram. the one year old sheep male.
            Professor Sune Lindqvist has analyzed this in "Beowulf Dissectus" 1958.
            The ram is the national symbol of Gotland. Already in the 13th century it
            was the official seal of the Gotlandic republic.
            you can see it on http://gotland.luma.com

            Regards Tore Gannholm


            >Hey,
            >
            >Ah, a subject I know well. First, who was Hygelac?
            >
            >In Beowulf, he's the Geatish king. The Geatas in Beowulf seem quite clearly
            >associated with Scandinavia. Their wars with the Swedish Scylfing dynasty
            >are mentioned regularly.
            >
            >Also, their name is mentioned in conjunction with "Weder," either as a
            >compound or as another name, ie. "Weder-Geatas," or "Wederas." Many
            >translations (Crossley-Holland, Raffel,) gloss this as an epithet- the
            >"Weather Geats," the "Storm-Loving Geats." Chickering, however, leaves it
            >as it is, and Chambers I think (a century ago!) suggested that this was the
            >lake in South Sweden, the Wetter.
            >
            >The Scylfingas, the Geats' Swedish opponents, correspond roughly to the
            >Ynglingas in the later "Ynglingasaga," "Hrolfssaga Kraka," and _Gesta
            >Danorum_. Eadgils corresponds to Adhisl, Onela to Ali, etc. All of these
            >kings are linked to Uppsala in these sources.
            >
            >Gregory of Tours calls Hygelac a Dane. That has been explained as a generic
            >term for all Scandinavians. Now, that is true, in Anglo-Saxon sources
            >nearly a half-millenium later, but I have been unable to find any uses
            >contemporary to Gregory. The Frankish sources of the same period as the AS
            >use the term "Normanni," the Northmen.
            >
            >I'll post more later, if there's interest--to explain another possibility
            >for Greg's usage...
            >
            >Cheers,
            >Frank
            >_________________________________________________________________
            >Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com
            >
            >
            >You are a member of the Gothic-L list. To unsubscribe, send a blank email
            >to <gothic-l-unsubscribe@egroups.com>.
            >Homepage: http://www.stormloader.com/carver/gothicl/index.html
          • keth@online.no
            ... In Norway we have Berulf which is quite common. Also Bergulfr , Bjorgulfr (Thulur). Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Bjolfr (Bjúfr,
            Message 5 of 22 , Jan 13, 2001
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              > I brought this up after having found an Internet page questioning
              >any Scandinavian ties whatsoever with Beowulf. One thing was
              >interesting; The same people found support for this from their
              >failure to find any Scandinavian name like Beowulf.

              In Norway we have "Berulf" which is quite common.
              Also "Bergulfr", "Bjorgulfr" (Thulur).
              Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
              "Bjolfr" (Bjúfr, Bjúgr, Bjúg)
              (The various forms are quoted from the ON dictionary)


              >However, it
              >didn't take me long to find the name Baulf on a rune stone
              >inscription. Ba- does sound very like Beo- and -ulf is -wulf
              >undoubtedly (compare Ulfila--Wulfila e. g.).

              >>
              >> Also, their name is mentioned in conjunction with "Weder," either as a
              >> compound or as another name, ie. "Weder-Geatas," or "Wederas." Many
              >> translations (Crossley-Holland, Raffel,) gloss this as an epithet- the
              >> "Weather Geats," the "Storm-Loving Geats." Chickering, however, leaves it
              >> as it is, and Chambers I think (a century ago!) suggested that this was the
              >> lake in South Sweden, the Wetter.

              I think it is spelled Vätteren.

              >>
              >> The Scylfingas, the Geats' Swedish opponents, correspond roughly to the
              >> Ynglingas in the later "Ynglingasaga," "Hrolfssaga Kraka," and _Gesta
              >> Danorum_. Eadgils corresponds to Adhisl, Onela to Ali, etc. All of these
              >> kings are linked to Uppsala in these sources.

              And Atle = Adils = Attila, who is however not a Hun,
              but a king from northern Germany (Doest). See the WILKINA SAGA,
              which should always be taken into account as supplement to
              the Icelandic sources, because the WILKINA SAGA is based upon
              sources from Northern Germany and came to Norway/Sweden, where it was
              written down, via Denmark.


              >> Gregory of Tours calls Hygelac a Dane. That has been explained as a generic
              >> term for all Scandinavians. Now, that is true, in Anglo-Saxon sources
              >> nearly a half-millenium later, but I have been unable to find any uses
              >> contemporary to Gregory. The Frankish sources of the same period as the AS
              >> use the term "Normanni," the Northmen.

              Old Norse: Hugleikr,

              today: HUGLEIK
            • Troels Brandt
              I am not able to participate in this discussion now as I am leaving for a week, but I need to comment Albareik s quotation of my homepage
              Message 6 of 22 , Jan 13, 2001
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                I am not able to participate in this discussion now as I am leaving
                for a week, but I need to comment Albareik's quotation of my
                homepage http://www.geocities.com/troels_brandt/heruls.html
                which could be misunderstood.

                --- In gothic-l@egroups.com, "sunburst" <sunburst@j...> wrote:
                ...
                > Also it might be noted that Hrothgar's nephew Hrothwulf (Hrolf
                Krake) has
                > been identified as King Roduulf of the Heruli. The reference, is, I
                > believe, to be found in the Troels Brandt's article "Hypothesis of
                the
                > Heruls." If this is true, what does that say about the origin of
                the
                > Scyldings? If the line of descent could be considered accurate,
                (which may
                > be doubtful), that might place the origin of Scyld Scefing in the
                Tanais
                > region. Could the story of Beowulf be of east Germanic origin?
                All of the
                > main east Germanic heroes are at least mentioned in Beowulf. If
                so, it
                > could have been brought to Scandinavia in the remigration of the
                Heruls.

                Actually the first sentence is only a reference to Niels Lukman, who
                claimed the Danish king Rolf Krake never existed. He claimed the
                legends of Rolf Krake to be copies of the legends of the Herulian
                king Roduulf living in Pannonia around 500 AD. This is not my opinion
                if you read my homepage "The Heruls" – although a few
                legends
                following the Heruls of Procopios might be mixed up by later
                chroniclers. Rolf was very early mentioned in Widsith as a Danish
                king together with his uncle Hrodgar (Roar), and the "Style
                II" and the boar crests of helmets found in boat graves both in
                the
                Uppsala-region of Sweden and Mercia/East Anglia indicate together
                with the Beowulf poem a connection between this English region and
                Scandinavia in the 6th and 7th century – maybe because of kinship
                between the dynasties.

                I regard the poem of Beowulf to be independent fragments of
                Scandinavian history and certain events from the Channel Region
                framing the fairytale of the hero Beowulf. He is not mentioned
                anywhere else and the only role of this mythical hero is to kill
                dragoons. Does this connecting link sound historical?

                Chochillaicus was obviously a historical person who got his history
                incorporated in Beowulf as Hugleik, but this does not necessarily
                mean he is connected to the other historical persons in the poem. In
                poems like Widsith the key figure is also meeting historical persons
                never connected at all and living in different times.

                Please notice that the necklace of Hugleik (probably a symbol of
                royalty) in Beowolf was connected to the Ostrogothic king Ermanaric
                living in the Black Sea region in the 4th century, where he defeated
                the Herulian king Alaric.

                Chocillaicus might as example be a Western Herul, a Visigothic
                chieftain migrating after the defeat in Southern France in 507 or a
                chieftain from one of the "Danish" tribes joining the invasion of
                England - and we do not know if he lived in England, Frisia or
                Denmark. Often later chroniclers had difficulties separating the
                origin of the attacking Germanic people of Northern Europe.

                Could the name Beowulf - the mythical hero - be a combination of bear
                and wulf?

                My "Hypotheses of the Heruls" - including the line from Pannonia to
                Scandinavia - is not dependent of connections between England and
                Scandinavia.

                Troels Brandt
              • sig
                Here is the site that inspired me to start this thread on Beowulf: http://www.indigogroup.co.uk/plus/beowulf.html From the Introduction: Beowulf the inventable
                Message 7 of 22 , Jan 13, 2001
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                  Here is the site that inspired me to start this thread on Beowulf:

                  http://www.indigogroup.co.uk/plus/beowulf.html

                  From the Introduction:
                  Beowulf the inventable
                  ====================================================
                  The matter of this webscreed is simple enough: to introduce (or
                  forward) the
                  notion that the Beowulf-hero, the central character in the Old
                  English epic, is
                  fictional than historical, and the Beowulf-poem a composite of
                  narrative
                  invention, making only light use of pre-existing legendary
                  detail or written
                  sources.
                  ====================================================
                  It prints out on 19 pages. If someone wants it I'll be glad to
                  send the file
                  as an atachement to your private mail adress.

                  Sig

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • M. Carver
                  Maybe someone could come up with Gothic versions of all the names in Beowulf? Matþaius
                  Message 8 of 22 , Jan 14, 2001
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                    Maybe someone could come up with Gothic versions of all the names in
                    Beowulf?

                    Matþaius

                    on 1/14/01 3:26 PM, Philip Rusche at ruschep@... wrote:

                    > The name Beowulf is "Bee-wolf", usually taken to mean a bear, since bears
                    > like honey and are thus around bees.
                    >
                    > Philip Rusche
                    >
                    >>
                    >> Could the name Beowulf - the mythical hero - be a combination of bear
                    >> and wulf?
                    >>
                    >> Troels Brandt
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > You are a member of the Gothic-L list. To unsubscribe, send a blank email to
                    > <gothic-l-unsubscribe@egroups.com>.
                    > Homepage: http://www.stormloader.com/carver/gothicl/index.html
                    >
                    >
                  • Philip Rusche
                    The name Beowulf is Bee-wolf , usually taken to mean a bear, since bears like honey and are thus around bees. Philip Rusche
                    Message 9 of 22 , Jan 14, 2001
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                      The name Beowulf is "Bee-wolf", usually taken to mean a bear, since bears
                      like honey and are thus around bees.

                      Philip Rusche

                      >
                      >Could the name Beowulf - the mythical hero - be a combination of bear
                      >and wulf?
                      >
                      >Troels Brandt
                    • andreas.schwarcz@univie.ac.at
                      ... Sorry to disappoint you, but Normandy never was part of the Visigothic kingdom. Nominally it may have been part of the realm of Syagrius (a Roman,
                      Message 10 of 22 , Jan 14, 2001
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                        On 13 Jan 2001, at 2:19, sig wrote:

                        > Thank you Frank,
                        >
                        > I notice that none of these suggestions involve any Gothic
                        > leadership,
                        > which in a way is surprising, given the fact that this southern
                        > outpost of Frisian territory was surrounded by Franks but, most of
                        > all, no farther away than Normandy were the Visigoths in their
                        > kingdom (or was it Svagrius?).
                        >
                        Sorry to disappoint you, but Normandy never was part of the
                        Visigothic kingdom. Nominally it may have been part of the realm of
                        Syagrius (a Roman, therefore not Svagrius), afterwards under the
                        suzerainty of Clovis.
                        Regards
                        Andreas Schwarcz
                        ao.Univ.Prof.Dr.Andreas Schwarcz
                        Institut fuer oesterreichische Geschichtsforschung
                        Universitaet Wien
                        Dr.Karl-Lueger-Ring 1
                        A 1010 Wien
                        Oesterreich
                        tel.0043/1/42-77/272-16
                        fax 0043/1/42-77/92-72
                        email andreas.schwarcz@...
                      • jdm314@aol.com
                        In a message dated 1/14/01 10:02:25 PM, you wrote: A couple of them
                        Message 11 of 22 , Jan 14, 2001
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                          In a message dated 1/14/01 10:02:25 PM, you wrote:

                          <<Maybe someone could come up with Gothic versions of all the names in

                          Beowulf?


                          Mat aius>>


                          A couple of them were done by David Salo back in his Gothic lessons.
                        • sig
                          Re Beowulf, The super-sceptics at http://www.indigogroup.co.uk/plus/beowulf.html make big noice about this name as being invented without cognates in the
                          Message 12 of 22 , Jan 15, 2001
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                            Re Beowulf,

                            The super-sceptics at
                            http://www.indigogroup.co.uk/plus/beowulf.html
                            make big noice about this name as being invented without cognates
                            in the Scandinavian sphere.

                            However, in the runic database I found this name on a rune stone:
                            Baulf.
                            As for the Ba- part, it's shredding as much (or meagre) light on
                            its meaning as Beo- but very unlikely bee- (Swe. 'bi', as
                            suggested by Phil).

                            As for the -ulf part there is no reason to seek any other meaning
                            than -wulf/wolf (the ortographic problem is the same as that for
                            Wulfila vs Ulfila).

                            Keth has already given several Norwegian name cognates:
                            > In Norway we have "Berulf" which is quite common.
                            > Also "Bergulfr", "Bjorgulfr" (Thulur).
                            > Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
                            > "Bjolfr" (Bjúfr, Bjúgr, Bjúg)
                            > (The various forms are quoted from the ON dictionary)


                            Respectfully,

                            Seigmund


                            Philip Rusche wrote:
                            >
                            > The name Beowulf is "Bee-wolf", usually taken to mean a bear, since bears
                            > like honey and are thus around bees.
                            >
                            > Philip Rusche
                            >
                            > >
                            > >Could the name Beowulf - the mythical hero - be a combination of bear
                            > >and wulf?
                            > >
                            > >Troels Brandt
                            >
                            > You are a member of the Gothic-L list. To unsubscribe, send a blank email to <gothic-l-unsubscribe@egroups.com>.
                            > Homepage: http://www.stormloader.com/carver/gothicl/index.html

                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Frank Kermes
                            ... Mainly because Gregory (that _is_ who I meant by Greg, BTW ;)--I get silly sometimes when all I do is read!) said Hygelac (Chocillaicus) was a _Dane_, and
                            Message 13 of 22 , Jan 15, 2001
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                              > > I notice that none of these suggestions involve any Gothic
                              > > leadership,
                              > > which in a way is surprising, given the fact that this southern
                              > > outpost of Frisian territory was surrounded by Franks but, most of
                              > > all, no farther away than Normandy were the Visigoths in their
                              > > kingdom (or was it Svagrius?).

                              Mainly because Gregory (that _is_ who I meant by Greg, BTW ;)--I get silly
                              sometimes when all I do is read!) said Hygelac (Chocillaicus) was a _Dane_,
                              and Gregory clearly knew who the Visigoths and Ostrogoths were, having used
                              those names throughout his history.

                              The other possibilities for his usage were, I think, already touched upon
                              when Matt mentioned Toefler and Hrothulf = Hrolf Kraki, and Troels I think,
                              too.

                              Niels Lukman was the first scholar I read (though not the first to write, I
                              don't think) who related the Scyldingas of Beowulf to the Heruls basically
                              in the territory of Dacia--Dacians becoming confused with Danes, and
                              resulting in the "importation" of these Heruli into Danish legend.

                              So could it have been at all possible that Chocillaicus and his "Danes" were
                              re-migrating Heruli? I hesitate to strongly endorse that opinion, as weak
                              as it is, but <shrug.>

                              Although: Wulfgar, Hrothgar's coastguard is refered to as "Wendla leod" in
                              line 348, which could be "prince of the Vendels" (Scandinavian/N Germanic)
                              or "Vandals," E. Germanic, Hrothgar mentions _somewhere_ that he hired
                              Gepidic mercenaries, though I can't remember where.

                              Basically, I think (as has already been mentioned) that Beowulf is a
                              collection of various threads of oral tradition--Roduulf the Heruli
                              cheiftain killed by Langobards is one thread that was adopted into Danish
                              legend, and Hygelac may have been another thread, with little connection to
                              the historical Dane of Gregory of Tours, much like the Dietrich von Bern's
                              connections with the history Theoderic--and Hygelac's necklace of the
                              Brosings was stolen from Eormenric by Hama, possibly _not_ the Ermanareiks
                              of history, but (already) the legendary Ermenerich and Heime of the Dietrich
                              cycle.

                              To matters Gothic, someone mentioned Eadgils as equivalent to an Attila;
                              (and I _know_ that it's not necessarily the Hun!) Attila is a Gothic
                              diminuitive, with corresponding ON Atli and MHG Etzel; but while Eadgils
                              corresponds phonologicaly (kind of), it's still a duotheme, Ead-, plus
                              -gils, which in other Germanic languages (cf. Frankish names) is -gisl. And
                              Eadgils corresponds to the Yngling Adhisl at the same time the language
                              contain "Atli." It's not inconceivable that the language have two
                              corresponding forms of the same name, but the fact that Eadgils has a
                              semantic meaning (significant or not) persuades me otherwise.

                              Same problem I have with Lukman's idea that Healfdene/Halfdan = the Hun
                              Uldin.

                              Cheers (and sorry that it was only tangetially Gothic)
                              Frank
                              _________________________________________________________________
                              Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com
                            • trbrandt@post9.tele.dk
                              I am sorry I am a little late to take up this thread again. Just before leaving two weeks ago I sent a mail, where I referred to Ermaneric in the discussion
                              Message 14 of 22 , Jan 27, 2001
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                                I am sorry I am a little late to take up this thread again. Just
                                before leaving two weeks ago I sent a mail, where I referred to
                                Ermaneric in the discussion about the Geats. As I have not seen any
                                reactions I will try to explain a little more.

                                In Beowulf we can read:

                                "......
                                Ne'er heard I so mighty, 'neath heaven's dome,
                                a hoard-gem of heroes, since Hama bore
                                to his bright-built burg the Brisings' necklace,
                                jewel and gem casket. -- Jealousy fled he,
                                Eormenric's hate: chose help eternal.
                                Hygelac Geat, grandson of Swerting,
                                on the last of his raids this ring bore with him,
                                under his banner the booty defending,
                                the war-spoil warding; but Wyrd o'erwhelmed him
                                what time, in his daring, dangers he sought,
                                feud with Frisians. Fairest of gems
                                he bore with him over the beaker-of-waves,
                                sovran strong: under shield he died.
                                Fell the corpse of the king into keeping of Franks,
                                gear of the breast, and that gorgeous ring;
                                weaker warriors won the spoil,
                                after gripe of battle, from Geatland's lord,
                                and held the death-field.
                                ......"
                                http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/cgibin/browse-mixed?
                                id=AnoBeow&tag=public&images=images/modeng&data=/lv1/Archive/eng-
                                parsed

                                Why did the author connect the Geatic king Hugleik dying in Frisia
                                around 520 AD with the Ostrogothic king Ermaneric dying in the Black
                                Sea region around 375 AD - and the mythical Hama? Why should we care
                                about Ermaneric and Brisings' necklace unless they represent the
                                background of our hero?

                                Once this necklace - Brisingamen/The sun - was probably told to
                                belong to Freja, but in the Christian version this cannot be the
                                reason. Even to day elected mayors and chairmen of clubs sometimes
                                wear a golden chain as a symbol of power. The royal crown was without
                                doubt earlier a ring around the neck (or sometimes a helmet?).
                                Ingemar Norgren has written an article about the ring as an important
                                Germanic symbol of oath and power. The above mentioned necklace in
                                Beowulf was probably the "crown" of the people of Hugleik -
                                the
                                unknown Geats.

                                If so the authors idea behind the Geats could be that they had been
                                in contact with Ermaneric near the Black Sea region.

                                In a report from the camp of Attila all the followers of the Huns
                                were called Goths by Priscus, and in cronicles from that time (a.o.
                                Jordanes) Goths in the Dacian region were sometimes confused with the
                                Getes, who were an earlier Tracian tribe like the Dacians.

                                The episode of Hugleik took place 50 years after the army of Attila
                                was disbanded. At this time Gregory of Tours called the people of
                                Hugleik Dani and Liber Monstrorum called them Getorum.

                                Around 1000 AD Dudo wrote: "... the Getae, also known as Goths,
                                Sarmatians and Amacsobii, Tragoditae and Alans ...".
                                (http://orb.rhodes.edu/ORB_done/Dudo/chapter02.html ). These people
                                seem to be followers of the Huns together with Rugians, Heruls and
                                Gepides. He also told about Danes being Dacians from Dacia, where
                                both Attila, the Goths and the Getes settled.

                                Dudo wrote his "Gesta Normannorum" at the same time as our
                                version of Beowulf was written down. Are the names in our version of
                                Beowulf based on the same information as Dudo? Were the Geats of
                                Hugleik a Gothic tribe or one of the tribes Ermaneric subdued?

                                Are our problems with the Geats/Getes/Getae/Getorum all results of
                                the same old and wellknown mistake?

                                This makes the Geats a tribe with Eastgermanic connections settled
                                around the Bay of Helgoland from Jutland to the Rhine or in England.
                                Therefore they could tell about Beowulf swimming home. However we
                                should not expect a tribe from this area to fight against the Swedes
                                around Uppsala as well as we should not expect a tribe from Western
                                Sweden attacking the Francs as early as around 500. Therefore the
                                narrator of Beowulf must also have mixed up stories about Hugleik and
                                the Geats with Scandinavian stories about the Swedish Goetes.

                                Just an idea! It includes of course many misunderstandings and many
                                unreliable historians - but this has always been the problem with the
                                dragonkiller Beowulf.

                                Troels Brandt
                              • andreas.schwarcz@univie.ac.at
                                ... Hello Troels Brandt, I like your conclusions and I think you are right. We must not forget that a heroic poem is not historiography and that it may use
                                Message 15 of 22 , Jan 28, 2001
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                                  On 28 Jan 2001, at 0:56, trbrandt@... wrote:

                                  > Why did the author connect the Geatic king Hugleik dying in Frisia
                                  > around 520 AD with the Ostrogothic king Ermaneric dying in the Black
                                  > Sea region around 375 AD - and the mythical Hama? Why should we care
                                  > about Ermaneric and Brisings' necklace unless they represent the
                                  > background of our hero?

                                  > Are our problems with the Geats/Getes/Getae/Getorum all results of
                                  > the same old and wellknown mistake?
                                  >
                                  > This makes the Geats a tribe with Eastgermanic connections settled
                                  > around the Bay of Helgoland from Jutland to the Rhine or in England.
                                  > Therefore they could tell about Beowulf swimming home. However we
                                  > should not expect a tribe from this area to fight against the Swedes
                                  > around Uppsala as well as we should not expect a tribe from Western
                                  > Sweden attacking the Francs as early as around 500. Therefore the
                                  > narrator of Beowulf must also have mixed up stories about Hugleik and
                                  > the Geats with Scandinavian stories about the Swedish Goetes.
                                  >
                                  > Just an idea! It includes of course many misunderstandings and many
                                  > unreliable historians - but this has always been the problem with the
                                  > dragonkiller Beowulf.
                                  >
                                  > Troels Brandt

                                  Hello Troels Brandt,
                                  I like your conclusions and I think you are right. We must not forget
                                  that a heroic poem is not historiography and that it may use
                                  teleological means and shortenings for its story. It may take peoples
                                  and persons from the fourth century and make them close relatives
                                  of persons in the fifth. It tells us something about tradition, but
                                  nothing about actual genealogy or family relations.
                                  Regards
                                  Andreas Schwarcz
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > You are a member of the Gothic-L list. To unsubscribe, send a blank email to <gothic-l-unsubscribe@egroups.com>.
                                  > Homepage: http://www.stormloader.com/carver/gothicl/index.html
                                  >


                                  ao.Univ.Prof.Dr.Andreas Schwarcz
                                  Institut fuer oesterreichische Geschichtsforschung
                                  Universitaet Wien
                                  Dr.Karl-Lueger-Ring 1
                                  A 1010 Wien
                                  Oesterreich
                                  tel.0043/1/42-77/272-16
                                  fax 0043/1/42-77/92-72
                                  email andreas.schwarcz@...
                                • Tim O'Neill
                                  I m coming to this a little late, so forgive me if I m asking questions which have already been answered. trbrandt@post9.tele.dk wrote: [The Ermanaric/Hama
                                  Message 16 of 22 , Jan 28, 2001
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                                    I'm coming to this a little late, so forgive me if I'm
                                    asking questions which have already been answered.

                                    trbrandt@... wrote:

                                    [The Ermanaric/Hama episode passage snipped]

                                    > Why did the author connect the Geatic king Hugleik dying in Frisia
                                    > around 520 AD with the Ostrogothic king Ermaneric dying in the Black
                                    > Sea region around 375 AD - and the mythical Hama? Why should we care
                                    > about Ermaneric and Brisings' necklace unless they represent the
                                    > background of our hero?

                                    I'm very puzzled by this. It's a common technique in OE
                                    poetry to emphasise the significance of a point or deed
                                    by drawing a parallel between it and a similar element in
                                    an older story. We see this in several places in Beowulf,
                                    such as where his feats against Grendel and his Mother
                                    are compared to the dragon fight of Sigemund.

                                    In this passage the narrator makes it clear that he's
                                    making such a 'renown comparison' when he says:

                                    'Ne'er heard I so mighty, 'neath heaven's dome,
                                    a hoard-gem of heroes, since Hama bore
                                    to his bright-built burg the Brisings' necklace,
                                    jewel and gem casket.'

                                    He's comparing Hygelac's hoard with the legendary
                                    story of the theft of Ermanaric's treasure by the
                                    adventurer Hama, and drawing on the associations and
                                    resonances that story has by evoking the tale and
                                    giving a exposition on its main points.

                                    There's no indication that this story represents 'the
                                    background of our hero' - it's a reference to and
                                    evocation of a story which was common knowledge throughout
                                    the Germanic world. The Beowulf poet's English audience
                                    would have been familiar with the Ermanaric/Hama story
                                    already.

                                    > Once this necklace - Brisingamen/The sun - was probably told to
                                    > belong to Freja, but in the Christian version this cannot be the
                                    > reason.

                                    The 'Brosinga mene' of Beowulf and the 'Brisinga men' of
                                    ON myth seem to be related in some way, though there's no
                                    indication that the OE version of the story paralleled the
                                    later, mythological version we find in the ON corpus.

                                    > Even to day elected mayors and chairmen of clubs sometimes
                                    > wear a golden chain as a symbol of power. The royal crown was without
                                    > doubt earlier a ring around the neck (or sometimes a helmet?).
                                    > Ingemar Norgren has written an article about the ring as an important
                                    > Germanic symbol of oath and power.

                                    All quite true.

                                    > The above mentioned necklace in
                                    > Beowulf was probably the "crown" of the people of Hugleik -
                                    > the unknown Geats.

                                    Sorry, I can't see your reasoning behind this. The poet
                                    tells us of a great treasure and then compares it to
                                    another great treasure of legend - the treasure stolen
                                    by Hama from Ermanaric which included the 'Brosinga mene'.
                                    He is clearly referring obliquely to another legend of
                                    treasure from long ago - he doesn't imply any connection
                                    between Hygelac and the Geats and Ermanaric or Ermanaric's
                                    treasure. To interpret the passage this way is a bit like
                                    taking a WWII journalist's figurative comment that
                                    Winston Churchill was 'the greatest British leader since
                                    King Arthur' as being historical evidence Churchill was
                                    keeper of the Holy Grail.

                                    In other words, you seem to be overinterpreting a literary
                                    device. Beowulf is *literature* and should not be read
                                    too closely as *history*.

                                    I also don't understand what you mean by 'the unknown
                                    Geats'. We don't know much about them, but they are
                                    referred to, with Hygelac, as a southern Scandinavian
                                    people in a number of sources other than Beowulf.
                                    There's no connection between them and the Goths of
                                    Ermanaric's Ukrainian kingdom that I can see.

                                    > If so the authors idea behind the Geats could be that they had been
                                    > in contact with Ermaneric near the Black Sea region.

                                    ??? But the author doesn't say or imply anything like
                                    that. He makes a literary digression for poetic
                                    effect. The only connection between the Ermanaric
                                    story and that of the Geats is the *poetic*
                                    comparison of the size and richness of the treasures
                                    being discussed. The poet makes no connection between
                                    the Scandinavian Geats and the far off kingdom and
                                    ancient kingdom of Ermanaric.

                                    > In a report from the camp of Attila all the followers of the Huns
                                    > were called Goths by Priscus,

                                    ???
                                    Priscus makes it clear that there were many Goths in
                                    Attila's camp, but that's not the same as saying all
                                    Attila's followers 'were called Goths'.

                                    > and in cronicles from that time (a.o.
                                    > Jordanes) Goths in the Dacian region were sometimes confused with the
                                    > Getes, who were an earlier Tracian tribe like the Dacians.

                                    Which was a common confusion at the time. These Thracian
                                    Getae had nothing to do with the Goths, who in turn had
                                    little to do with the Scandinavian Geats, though the Goths
                                    and Geats may have once shared a common, cultic origin in
                                    Scandinavia many centuries before.

                                    > The episode of Hugleik took place 50 years after the army of Attila
                                    > was disbanded. At this time Gregory of Tours called the people of
                                    > Hugleik Dani and Liber Monstrorum called them Getorum.

                                    The episode recorded by Gregory of Tours and its
                                    parallels elsewhere, including in Beowulf, all make it
                                    clear that Hygelac was a *Scandinavian* king of a
                                    *Scandinavian* people. Are you saying that they were
                                    refugees from Attila's kingdom and came from the
                                    steppes?

                                    In ships? ;>

                                    > Around 1000 AD Dudo wrote: "... the Getae, also known as Goths,
                                    > Sarmatians and Amacsobii, Tragoditae and Alans ...".
                                    > (http://orb.rhodes.edu/ORB_done/Dudo/chapter02.html ). These people
                                    > seem to be followers of the Huns together with Rugians, Heruls and
                                    > Gepides. He also told about Danes being Dacians from Dacia, where
                                    > both Attila, the Goths and the Getes settled.

                                    Such folk etymological confusions are common in writers
                                    of this period, especially when writers tried to account
                                    for 'new' peoples (like the Danes) by having them
                                    descended from 'known' peoples (like the Dacians). This
                                    was done because it was thought the ancient authorities
                                    on ethnography couldn't have simply been ignorant of these
                                    'new' peoples, so they had to be simply offshoots of
                                    peoples 'known' through the ancient sources. Unlikely
                                    etymological connections like 'Danes=Dacians' were thus
                                    invented.

                                    > Dudo wrote his "Gesta Normannorum" at the same time as our
                                    > version of Beowulf was written down. Are the names in our version of
                                    > Beowulf based on the same information as Dudo?

                                    There's every indication that Hygelac, the Geats etc
                                    and the cycle of tales about their wars with the
                                    Swedes had been part of the nother western Germanic
                                    oral literature since the sixth century and had
                                    found its way to England with some of the earliest
                                    Germanic invaders. Everything about these legends
                                    indicate that they have their origins in some obscure
                                    tribal wars in Scandinavia and I can't see any evidence
                                    in the poem or in the extensive scholarly literature
                                    on the subject of the Geat/Swede elements in the poem
                                    that it has anything to do with far off Gothic
                                    kingdoms rather than its clear Scandinavian setting.


                                    > Were the Geats of
                                    > Hugleik a Gothic tribe or one of the tribes Ermaneric subdued?

                                    Given that every piece of information we have about
                                    the Geats indicate that they were a southern
                                    Scandinavian tribe, I don't think so.

                                    > This makes the Geats a tribe with Eastgermanic connections settled
                                    > around the Bay of Helgoland from Jutland to the Rhine or in England.
                                    > Therefore they could tell about Beowulf swimming home. However we
                                    > should not expect a tribe from this area to fight against the Swedes
                                    > around Uppsala as well as we should not expect a tribe from Western
                                    > Sweden attacking the Francs as early as around 500. Therefore the
                                    > narrator of Beowulf must also have mixed up stories about Hugleik and
                                    > the Geats with Scandinavian stories about the Swedish Goetes.

                                    Gregory the Great, the _Gesta Francorum_ and several other
                                    sources, including Beowulf, make it clear the raiders
                                    under Hygelac came from Scandinavia. I can't see anything
                                    in what you've written to make that seem in any way
                                    unlikely and I can't see any reason to think the Geats
                                    had anything to do with the Goths of Ermanaric.

                                    > Just an idea!

                                    Interesting, but Beowulf scholars have been going over
                                    that poem and all of its analogue material for centuries
                                    now. If there was any hint of what you're suggesting I'm
                                    sure someone would have noticed. The fact that the
                                    Ermanaric passage you place so much weight on is not
                                    an historical connection with Hygelac at all but a
                                    literary device seems to me to weaken your case quite
                                    a bit.

                                    But I have come to this thread a little late, so
                                    maybe I missed some other evidence.
                                    Cheers,

                                    Tim O'Neill
                                  • Tore Gannholm
                                    Troels, Perhaps it is not so strange. Theoderik tried to get all possible support from relatives and friends in the Baltic area to help him fight the Franks.
                                    Message 17 of 22 , Jan 28, 2001
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                                      Troels,
                                      Perhaps it is not so strange.
                                      Theoderik tried to get all possible support from relatives and friends in
                                      the Baltic area to help him fight the Franks.
                                      If Hugleik leads a Gotlandic-Danish army in Frisia, Gregor of Tours might
                                      see them as Dani.

                                      If we accept that Beowulf is about Gotland and that the Goths emigrated
                                      from Gotland, all this with the Brisinga necklace and Frisland makes sense.
                                      We must not forget the Gotlandic tradition with golden necklaces. The
                                      famous Havor necklace from the first century that was stolen from the
                                      Gotlandic museum (Fornsalen) and still is missing.

                                      A similar golden necklace can be seen on a mosaic with Alexander the Great
                                      called the Alexander Mosiac from Pompeij or Herculaneum. It is now on a
                                      wall in the museum in Naples Italy. It depicts the Perser king Dareus with
                                      the golden necklace as the symbol of power.

                                      Furthermore the latest theories from the University of Uppsala is that the
                                      similar golden necklaces such as the one found at Vittinge in Västergötland
                                      also are made in Gotland. (Fornvännen 1996/1 Sagan om ringarna av Erik
                                      Nylén)
                                      Tore



                                      >
                                      >Why did the author connect the Geatic king Hugleik dying in Frisia
                                      >around 520 AD with the Ostrogothic king Ermaneric dying in the Black
                                      >Sea region around 375 AD - and the mythical Hama? Why should we care
                                      >about Ermaneric and Brisings' necklace unless they represent the
                                      >background of our hero?
                                      >
                                      >Once this necklace - Brisingamen/The sun - was probably told to
                                      >belong to Freja, but in the Christian version this cannot be the
                                      >reason. Even to day elected mayors and chairmen of clubs sometimes
                                      >wear a golden chain as a symbol of power. The royal crown was without
                                      >doubt earlier a ring around the neck (or sometimes a helmet?).
                                      >Ingemar Norgren has written an article about the ring as an important
                                      >Germanic symbol of oath and power. The above mentioned necklace in
                                      >Beowulf was probably the "crown" of the people of Hugleik -
                                      >the
                                      >unknown Geats.
                                      >
                                      >If so the authors idea behind the Geats could be that they had been
                                      >in contact with Ermaneric near the Black Sea region.
                                      >
                                      >In a report from the camp of Attila all the followers of the Huns
                                      >were called Goths by Priscus, and in cronicles from that time (a.o.
                                      >Jordanes) Goths in the Dacian region were sometimes confused with the
                                      >Getes, who were an earlier Tracian tribe like the Dacians.
                                      >
                                      >The episode of Hugleik took place 50 years after the army of Attila
                                      >was disbanded. At this time Gregory of Tours called the people of
                                      >Hugleik Dani and Liber Monstrorum called them Getorum.
                                      >
                                      >Around 1000 AD Dudo wrote: "... the Getae, also known as Goths,
                                      >Sarmatians and Amacsobii, Tragoditae and Alans ...".
                                      >(http://orb.rhodes.edu/ORB_done/Dudo/chapter02.html ). These people
                                      >seem to be followers of the Huns together with Rugians, Heruls and
                                      >Gepides. He also told about Danes being Dacians from Dacia, where
                                      >both Attila, the Goths and the Getes settled.
                                      >
                                      >Dudo wrote his "Gesta Normannorum" at the same time as our
                                      >version of Beowulf was written down. Are the names in our version of
                                      >Beowulf based on the same information as Dudo? Were the Geats of
                                      >Hugleik a Gothic tribe or one of the tribes Ermaneric subdued?
                                      >
                                      >Are our problems with the Geats/Getes/Getae/Getorum all results of
                                      >the same old and wellknown mistake?
                                      >
                                      >This makes the Geats a tribe with Eastgermanic connections settled
                                      >around the Bay of Helgoland from Jutland to the Rhine or in England.
                                      >Therefore they could tell about Beowulf swimming home. However we
                                      >should not expect a tribe from this area to fight against the Swedes
                                      >around Uppsala as well as we should not expect a tribe from Western
                                      >Sweden attacking the Francs as early as around 500. Therefore the
                                      >narrator of Beowulf must also have mixed up stories about Hugleik and
                                      >the Geats with Scandinavian stories about the Swedish Goetes.
                                      >
                                      >Just an idea! It includes of course many misunderstandings and many
                                      >unreliable historians - but this has always been the problem with the
                                      >dragonkiller Beowulf.
                                      >
                                      >Troels Brandt
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >You are a member of the Gothic-L list. To unsubscribe, send a blank email
                                      >to <gothic-l-unsubscribe@egroups.com>.
                                      >Homepage: http://www.stormloader.com/carver/gothicl/index.html
                                    • trbrandt@post9.tele.dk
                                      Tim! You normally seem more sure than I am - but I don t see how we can be sure of anything in Beowulf. ... Yes this is one of the obvious possibilities - but
                                      Message 18 of 22 , Jan 28, 2001
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                                        Tim!

                                        You normally seem more sure than I am - but I don't see how we can be
                                        sure of anything in Beowulf.

                                        --- In gothic-l@y..., Tim O'Neill <scatha@b...> wrote:

                                        ......
                                        > He's comparing Hygelac's hoard with the legendary
                                        > story of the theft of Ermanaric's treasure by the
                                        > adventurer Hama, and drawing on the associations and
                                        > resonances that story has by evoking the tale and
                                        > giving a exposition on its main points.

                                        Yes this is one of the obvious possibilities - but I have always
                                        wandered why Ermaneric should have any value as an example in England
                                        and why he was a key figure in Widsith, if there was no connection
                                        between a tribe Ermaneric met in his far off region and one of the
                                        tribes invading England. Apart from his dubious role in Getica he was
                                        not one of the great figures of the history according to the sources
                                        around his own region. Therefore I have looked for another
                                        explanation.

                                        .......
                                        > > The above mentioned necklace in
                                        > > Beowulf was probably the "crown" of the people of Hugleik -
                                        > > the unknown Geats.
                                        >
                                        > Sorry, I can't see your reasoning behind this.
                                        The poet
                                        > tells us of a great treasure ......

                                        Isn't it a little careless to bring the great treasure of your people
                                        with you on a raid - if it is only a treasure? As you agreed in your
                                        mail the necklace is often being a symbol of power. This is an
                                        obvious explanation here.

                                        .....
                                        > In other words, you seem to be overinterpreting a literary
                                        > device. Beowulf is *literature* and should not be read
                                        > too closely as *history*.

                                        I agree. Probably I did not explain myself clearly.

                                        .....
                                        > I also don't understand what you mean by 'the unknown
                                        > Geats'. We don't know much about them, but they are
                                        > referred to, with Hygelac, as a southern Scandinavian
                                        > people in a number of sources other than Beowulf.

                                        You repeat this three times in your mail. Which source except Beowulf
                                        has described the "Geats" and referred them to Scandinavia? If you
                                        believe they were Scandinavians because Chochillaicus was called a
                                        Dane then the Geats were the Danes. This conclusion will give you
                                        some troubles interpreting Beowulf. If you use names similar to
                                        the "Geats" you can find a lot of them.

                                        ......
                                        >
                                        > > In a report from the camp of Attila all the followers of the Huns
                                        > > were called Goths by Priscus,
                                        >
                                        > ???
                                        > Priscus makes it clear that there were many Goths in
                                        > Attila's camp, but that's not the same as saying all
                                        > Attila's followers 'were called Goths'.

                                        Sorry! Here I did not refer my source properly. According to Priscus
                                        there was a Hunnic speaking and a Gothic speaking group (also having
                                        different barbarian tongues). Several followers of the Huns were not
                                        mentioned at all in that period, which in combination with Priscus
                                        indicates they were regarded as one group - probably called Goths.
                                        This may have caused the mistake.

                                        ......
                                        > Which was a common confusion at the time. These Thracian
                                        > Getae had nothing to do with the Goths, who in turn had
                                        > little to do with the Scandinavian Geats, though the Goths
                                        > and Geats may have once shared a common, cultic origin in
                                        > Scandinavia many centuries before.

                                        Exactly. That is my point.

                                        ....
                                        > > The episode of Hugleik took place 50 years after the army of
                                        Attila
                                        > > was disbanded. At this time Gregory of Tours called the people of
                                        > > Hugleik Dani and Liber Monstrorum called them Getorum.
                                        >
                                        > The episode recorded by Gregory of Tours and its
                                        > parallels elsewhere, including in Beowulf, all make it
                                        > clear that Hygelac was a *Scandinavian* king of a
                                        > *Scandinavian* people. Are you saying that they were
                                        > refugees from Attila's kingdom and came from the
                                        > steppes?
                                        >
                                        > In ships? ;>

                                        I did not say they came directly from Attila. Hugleik was killed at
                                        least 60 years after the death of Attila. Actually I suggested
                                        England as one of several possibilities.

                                        >
                                        > > Around 1000 AD Dudo wrote: "... the Getae, also known as Goths,
                                        > > Sarmatians and Amacsobii, Tragoditae and Alans ...".
                                        > > (http://orb.rhodes.edu/ORB_done/Dudo/chapter02.html ). These
                                        people
                                        > > seem to be followers of the Huns together with Rugians, Heruls and
                                        > > Gepides. He also told about Danes being Dacians from Dacia, where
                                        > > both Attila, the Goths and the Getes settled.
                                        >
                                        > Such folk etymological confusions are common in writers
                                        > of this period, especially when writers tried to account
                                        > for 'new' peoples (like the Danes) by having them
                                        > descended from 'known' peoples (like the Dacians). This
                                        > was done because it was thought the ancient authorities
                                        > on ethnography couldn't have simply been ignorant of these
                                        > 'new' peoples, so they had to be simply offshoots of
                                        > peoples 'known' through the ancient sources. Unlikely
                                        > etymological connections like 'Danes=Dacians' were thus
                                        > invented.

                                        I am sure this is a part of the explanation.

                                        .....
                                        > There's every indication that Hygelac, the Geats etc
                                        > and the cycle of tales about their wars with the
                                        > Swedes had been part of the nother western Germanic
                                        > oral literature since the sixth century and had
                                        > found its way to England with some of the earliest
                                        > Germanic invaders. Everything about these legends
                                        > indicate that they have their origins in some obscure
                                        > tribal wars in Scandinavia and I can't see any evidence
                                        > in the poem or in the extensive scholarly literature
                                        > on the subject of the Geat/Swede elements in the poem
                                        > that it has anything to do with far off Gothic
                                        > kingdoms rather than its clear Scandinavian setting.

                                        Yes. As I wrote an English writer might have confused the Goetes (or
                                        Guter) in Sweden with Hugleik the Geat (or Goth?) in Frisia. As you
                                        said: Beowulf is 'literature'.

                                        ....
                                        > > Just an idea!
                                        >
                                        > Interesting, but Beowulf scholars have been going over
                                        > that poem and all of its analogue material for centuries
                                        > now. If there was any hint of what you're suggesting I'm
                                        > sure someone would have noticed.

                                        But I think most scholars agree that a satisfying answer has not been
                                        found yet. I don't claim I have found it, but if all scholars argued
                                        as in your last sentence, it is temptating to claim, that we do not
                                        need scholars reading ancient history.

                                        Troels
                                      • Tim O'Neill
                                        ... I ve studied Beowulf for many years, so i certainly wouldn t disagree with that! But there s a big difference between saying we can t be certain of
                                        Message 19 of 22 , Jan 29, 2001
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                                          trbrandt@... wrote:

                                          > You normally seem more sure than I am - but I don't see how we can be
                                          > sure of anything in Beowulf.

                                          I've studied Beowulf for many years, so i certainly
                                          wouldn't disagree with that! But there's a big difference
                                          between saying we can't be certain of anything in Beowulf
                                          and saying that we can't, therefore, subject any proposed
                                          interpretation to critical scrutiny.

                                          The interpretation you've proposed is a fairly radical
                                          departure from the way this passage is usually interpreted,
                                          so, before we suppose Geats who are Goths from eastern
                                          Europe ending up in north-western Europe, I think it's
                                          best to take some other, less radical, interpretations
                                          into account first.

                                          > --- In gothic-l@y..., Tim O'Neill <scatha@b...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > ......
                                          > > He's comparing Hygelac's hoard with the legendary
                                          > > story of the theft of Ermanaric's treasure by the
                                          > > adventurer Hama, and drawing on the associations and
                                          > > resonances that story has by evoking the tale and
                                          > > giving a exposition on its main points.
                                          >
                                          > Yes this is one of the obvious possibilities - but I have always
                                          > wandered why Ermaneric should have any value as an example in England
                                          > and why he was a key figure in Widsith, if there was no connection
                                          > between a tribe Ermaneric met in his far off region and one of the
                                          > tribes invading England.

                                          Why is Attila ('AEtla') part of the English tradition?
                                          The Anglo-Saxons had no contact with the Huns. And why
                                          is Albion ('Aelfwine') part of the English tradition?
                                          Or Sigmundr ('Sigemund')? Or any of the many and various
                                          heroes and kings of the Germanic oral tradition who had
                                          no contact with the people of England and/or their
                                          original Continental homeland?

                                          The answer is that all these figures became part of a
                                          corpus of story traditions and oral folklore which usually
                                          left the historical personages far behind and took on a
                                          life of their own as these stories were told across the
                                          Germanic world over many centuries. The audience of
                                          Beowulf knew nothing of the historical 'Airmanareiks', but
                                          the literary character of 'Eormenric' was as familiar to
                                          them as King Arthur, Sherlock Holmes or James Bond is
                                          to us - part of a cultural heritage which stretched
                                          well beyond England.

                                          > Apart from his dubious role in Getica he was
                                          > not one of the great figures of the history according to the sources
                                          > around his own region. Therefore I have looked for another
                                          > explanation.

                                          There are nine separate Germanic sources that I can think
                                          of, in various languages ranging over several centuries,
                                          which preserve versions of the legend of Ermanaric/
                                          Eormenric/Jormanrekkr. Clearly he was a major figure
                                          in early Germanic oral legend, beginning with poems
                                          and songs of his own people and then spreading
                                          throughout the Germanic world. Jordanes says that
                                          he was a 'Gothic Alexander' and Ammianus attests
                                          that his fame was known in the Roman Empire as well.

                                          He was far from an obscure figure in the Germanic
                                          tradition - in fact he was one of the most important
                                          and enduring. It is no mystery that he should
                                          be referred to in Beowulf. We have only a handful of
                                          heroic poems and fragments in Old English, yet
                                          Eormenric appears in no less than *three* of them.
                                          Clearly he was a major figure in this Europe-wide
                                          oral tradition.

                                          > > > The above mentioned necklace in
                                          > > > Beowulf was probably the "crown" of the people of Hugleik -
                                          > > > the unknown Geats.
                                          > >
                                          > > Sorry, I can't see your reasoning behind this.
                                          > The poet
                                          > > tells us of a great treasure ......
                                          >
                                          > Isn't it a little careless to bring the great treasure of your people
                                          > with you on a raid - if it is only a treasure? As you agreed in your
                                          > mail the necklace is often being a symbol of power. This is an
                                          > obvious explanation here.

                                          That it had significance as a piece of artistry and portable
                                          wealth and therefore a symbol of Hygelac's lordship and
                                          power is hard to question. It seems a logical leap to
                                          go from this to assuming it was the 'crown' of the Geats.
                                          This conclusion goes far beyond what the evidence says and
                                          it doesn't seem 'obvious' at all. The text says it was
                                          a rich ring won when the Geats were in their ascendancy
                                          (ie when Beowulf aided Hrothgar) and lost as they began to
                                          be eclipsed (when Hygelac falls).

                                          In other words, it's another literary device of a kind the
                                          Beowulf poet often uses.

                                          > > I also don't understand what you mean by 'the unknown
                                          > > Geats'. We don't know much about them, but they are
                                          > > referred to, with Hygelac, as a southern Scandinavian
                                          > > people in a number of sources other than Beowulf.
                                          >
                                          > You repeat this three times in your mail. Which source except Beowulf
                                          > has described the "Geats" and referred them to Scandinavia?

                                          Gregory of Tours, the _Liber Monstrorum_, the _Gesta
                                          Francorum_, Saxo Grammaticus, and the _Heimskringla_ all
                                          mention Hygelac. Three make him a 'Dane', one (Snorri) a
                                          Swede and one (_Monstrorum_) has him as king of the 'Getae'.

                                          All have him coming from Scandinavia, though the author of
                                          the _Monstrorum_ may have confused the Geats with the
                                          classical Dacian 'Getae'. Whether the two Frankish authors
                                          really thought him a 'Dane' or was using this as a
                                          term for any Scandinavian raiders (much as later English
                                          writers used the term for any Vikings) is not clear.

                                          Saxo also says Hygelac ('Hugletus') killed Eanmund of
                                          Sweden ('Homothus'), showing that this element at least
                                          of the Beowulf allusions to the war/feud between the
                                          Swedes and the Geats in southern Scandinavia was known
                                          elsewhere as well.

                                          > If you
                                          > believe they were Scandinavians because Chochillaicus was called a
                                          > Dane then the Geats were the Danes. This conclusion will give you
                                          > some troubles interpreting Beowulf. If you use names similar to
                                          > the "Geats" you can find a lot of them.

                                          I believe Gregory of Tours and other such writers probably
                                          didn't have a very good grasp of which northern raiders
                                          came from where. All of the sources I cite above have
                                          Hygelac as a Scandinavian king. One has him as a king of
                                          'Getae' and another has him fighting and killing rulers
                                          in Sweden. All this squares very well with the Beowulf
                                          poet's depiction of the Geats as southern Scandinavian
                                          neighbours of the Swedes who weren't adverse to raids
                                          across the Baltic into Frisia and Frankia.

                                          > > > In a report from the camp of Attila all the followers of the Huns
                                          > > > were called Goths by Priscus,
                                          > >
                                          > > ???
                                          > > Priscus makes it clear that there were many Goths in
                                          > > Attila's camp, but that's not the same as saying all
                                          > > Attila's followers 'were called Goths'.
                                          >
                                          > Sorry! Here I did not refer my source properly. According to Priscus
                                          > there was a Hunnic speaking and a Gothic speaking group (also having
                                          > different barbarian tongues). Several followers of the Huns were not
                                          > mentioned at all in that period, which in combination with Priscus
                                          > indicates they were regarded as one group - probably called Goths.
                                          > This may have caused the mistake.

                                          Okay, but I'm still having trouble seeing the relevance
                                          of this to Beowulf and the Geats in Scandinavia.

                                          > > Which was a common confusion at the time. These Thracian
                                          > > Getae had nothing to do with the Goths, who in turn had
                                          > > little to do with the Scandinavian Geats, though the Goths
                                          > > and Geats may have once shared a common, cultic origin in
                                          > > Scandinavia many centuries before.
                                          >
                                          > Exactly. That is my point.

                                          The (possible, but far from certain) common cultic
                                          origins of the Goths and Geats? Even if this is
                                          true, and it's far from proven or even provable,
                                          all this means is that, 500-600 years before the
                                          period in which the poem seems to be 'set' and
                                          possibly as much as 1000 years before it was
                                          composed, the ancestors of the people who later
                                          came to be called 'the Goths' belonged to the same
                                          cultic league as the people who later came to be
                                          called 'the Geats'.

                                          This doesn't mean 'Geats' are 'Goths' and that Beowulf
                                          is therefore 'a Goth'.

                                          Have I misunderstood you? Is this really what you
                                          mean when you say 'Beowulf - the Goth'?

                                          > > > The episode of Hugleik took place 50 years after the army of
                                          > Attila
                                          > > > was disbanded. At this time Gregory of Tours called the people of
                                          > > > Hugleik Dani and Liber Monstrorum called them Getorum.
                                          > >
                                          > > The episode recorded by Gregory of Tours and its
                                          > > parallels elsewhere, including in Beowulf, all make it
                                          > > clear that Hygelac was a *Scandinavian* king of a
                                          > > *Scandinavian* people. Are you saying that they were
                                          > > refugees from Attila's kingdom and came from the
                                          > > steppes?
                                          > >
                                          > > In ships? ;>
                                          >
                                          > I did not say they came directly from Attila. Hugleik was killed at
                                          > least 60 years after the death of Attila. Actually I suggested
                                          > England as one of several possibilities.

                                          The poem suggests southern Scandinavia and there's nothing
                                          in the other sources to discourage this idea. Where does
                                          England come into it?

                                          > > There's every indication that Hygelac, the Geats etc
                                          > > and the cycle of tales about their wars with the
                                          > > Swedes had been part of the nother western Germanic
                                          > > oral literature since the sixth century and had
                                          > > found its way to England with some of the earliest
                                          > > Germanic invaders. Everything about these legends
                                          > > indicate that they have their origins in some obscure
                                          > > tribal wars in Scandinavia and I can't see any evidence
                                          > > in the poem or in the extensive scholarly literature
                                          > > on the subject of the Geat/Swede elements in the poem
                                          > > that it has anything to do with far off Gothic
                                          > > kingdoms rather than its clear Scandinavian setting.
                                          >
                                          > Yes. As I wrote an English writer might have confused the Goetes (or
                                          > Guter) in Sweden with Hugleik the Geat (or Goth?) in Frisia. As you
                                          > said: Beowulf is 'literature'.

                                          The English writer seems to have been drawing on a very
                                          well known oral tradition about a tribal war in southern
                                          Scandinavia and the other writers mentioned above seem to
                                          have preserved parts of some garbled versions of the same
                                          tale. What none of them indicate is *any* connection with
                                          the Goths of Ermanaric's kingdom, or any later Goths
                                          descended from them.

                                          The only connection you've made between the Geats of
                                          Beowulf and the Goths proper is via the Eormenric/Hama
                                          passage, which *doesn't* connect Hygelac and the Geats
                                          with the Goths, it simply says the precious ring Hygelac
                                          gained from Hrothgar via Beowulf was as precious as
                                          the one stolen from Eormenric by Hama. If we knew more
                                          of the details of this latter story it's very likely
                                          the literary point the Beowulf-poet is making here would
                                          be clearer, but as it is it seems clear enough - the
                                          poet is drawing a literary parallel between the two
                                          rings.

                                          What he certainly *doesn't* seem to be doing is making
                                          any historical claims about the Geats actually being
                                          Goths.

                                          > > > Just an idea!
                                          > >
                                          > > Interesting, but Beowulf scholars have been going over
                                          > > that poem and all of its analogue material for centuries
                                          > > now. If there was any hint of what you're suggesting I'm
                                          > > sure someone would have noticed.
                                          >
                                          > But I think most scholars agree that a satisfying answer has not been
                                          > found yet.

                                          Mainly because the details of the Eormenric/Hama story are
                                          lost, as I said above. I can't think of any scholar who's
                                          suggested the poet is making some historical claim about the
                                          origins of the Geats in this passage.

                                          > I don't claim I have found it, but if all scholars argued
                                          > as in your last sentence, it is temptating to claim, that we do not
                                          > need scholars reading ancient history.

                                          But the passage in question is literature and doesn't
                                          seem to be anything to do with history. ;>
                                          Cheers,

                                          Tim O'Neill
                                        • trbrandt@post9.tele.dk
                                          Tim! Our common mail was now covering 5 pages, but I do not think we are so far from each other as it looks, so I will try to cut the mail down. You said in
                                          Message 20 of 22 , Jan 29, 2001
                                          • 0 Attachment
                                            Tim!

                                            Our common mail was now covering 5 pages, but I do not think we are
                                            so far from each other as it looks, so I will try to cut the mail
                                            down.

                                            You said in your first letter, that you did not follow this thread
                                            from the beginning. Thats OK, but then I have to correct a mistake: I
                                            did not start up this thread, the "headline" was not mine,
                                            and it was
                                            not my idea, that Beowulf was a Goth - as you suggest. In my opinion
                                            he never existed, but I will not exclude that Hygelac was a Goth, a
                                            Western Herul or anything else.

                                            In my opinion Beowulf was a fanthasy figure in a framework of various
                                            historical fragments not connected at all – just like in Widsith.
                                            Many of these fragments were maybe a result of a connection between
                                            Scandinavia and Mercia/East Anglia in the 6th and 7th centuries, but
                                            not all of them. I believe the figure Hygelac was based on
                                            Chochillaicus, but this does not prove he was a part of the
                                            Scandinavian history.

                                            In my opinion your sources about Hugleik do not add any knowledge or
                                            certainty to my first statement about Scandinavia. Gesta Francorum
                                            contains as far as I remember the same information as Gregory (I do
                                            not have this later source aviable), and I doubt the Francs always
                                            knew, where these attackers came from. The two Scandinavian Hugleik-
                                            names mentioned by Snorre and Saxo were not connected to any raid or
                                            killing in Frisia or France and they were written 700 years later
                                            –
                                            this only tells you, that the name was known in both Germanic areas,
                                            which is not surprising as you are able to find Alaric at the Meotic
                                            Sea, Roduulf in Pannonia, Alaric in Rome and Spain, Hrodulf in Mercia
                                            and Rolf and Alrik in Scandinavia. You still have the problem, that
                                            if Hygelac was a Dane as Gregory and Gesta Francorum wrote, this does
                                            not correspond to Beowulf – making the source useless for your
                                            purpose.

                                            I wrote that Eormanric was not so wellknown in history as Jordanes
                                            wanted, but I agree that he was used in some Germanic legends.
                                            Actually this was the background for my question: Why did they use
                                            this Gothic suicider from the Black Sea region so eagerly in
                                            Northwestern Europe?

                                            Troels
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