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Beowolf--the Goth?

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  • 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 1 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 2 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
        >_________________________________________________________________
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      • 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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
                          _________________________________________________________________
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                        • 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 12 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 13 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 14 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 15 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 16 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 17 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 18 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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