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Re: [gothic-l] Normandy and the Visigoths

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  • 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 1 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@...
    • 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 of 22 , Jan 29, 2001
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                        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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