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Re: Names of Heruls-Procop.-Cameron-DNA R.-Barði-Einar P.

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  • faltin2001
    ... writings, ... person) ... Hi Einar, I meant Prof. Averil Cameron and her book Procopius and the 6th century . ... those ... I guess they dicided not to
    Message 1 of 78 , Dec 5, 2001
      > >
      > > Einar. Hæ Dirk.
      > Thanks for your response. I understand what you mean. And that we
      > should be cautious when analyzing Procopius.
      > I will admit that I have very little knowledge of Procopius
      > so I can not discuss his writings in
      > detail.
      > It seems that A. Cameron books are not available up here.
      > There is one book by some Alan Cameron(do not know if the same
      > and the book´s name is; The Greek anthology from Meleager to
      > Planudes. 1993 Oxford.
      > But that book does not discuss Procopius.

      Hi Einar,

      I meant Prof. Averil Cameron and her book 'Procopius and the 6th

      > I found Procopius descriptions of the Heruli very funny. I was
      > thinking of Icelandic scholars when Barði was once promoting his
      > ideas that the Heruli(part of their descendands) moved to Iceland.

      > I think they all started reading Procopius to find out who were
      > damn Heruli, Barði was talking about. They probably got a shock
      > when
      > reading all this. And decided that no way they would accept his
      > ideas.

      I guess they dicided not to accept his ideas on other grounds as well.
      At least I hope so.

      They probably decided that no Icelander wanted to have the
      > Heruli as ancestors.
      > Well, I do not really care. I think the Heruli were no worse or no
      > better than others(Romans included).

      That is my view as well. But it was not Procopius' view, who had no
      good word to say about them, although Heruls were fighting and dying
      for the Empire in all sorts of places, e.g. against the Ostrogoths in
      Italy and the Vandals in Africa.

      > And we should not take this "mate with donkeys stuff" too seriously.
      > Everybody knows that people have been having sex with animals in all
      > cultures and in all time periods.I know it,you know it and Procopius
      > knew it.

      So what then should we take 'seriously'? How can we decide what to
      take seriously and what not? Just because we don't like one bit of
      information we can not simply dismiss it as irrelevant for the rest of
      his writing. We cannot simply say Procopius' information about some
      Herulic customs (as gruesome as they may be ) are absolutely accurate,
      while at the same time dismiss another remark as 'not so serious',
      this would be extremely bad scholarship. But I admitt it is done all
      the time.

      > > > However, I would
      > > > > turn this around and ask why would Procopius care to tell us a
      > > fair
      > > > > and accurate account of the history of the Heruls if he held
      > such
      > > a
      > > > > low opion of them? In my view this makes it very unlikely that
      > > > > Procopius would have taken the trouble to get first hand
      > reports
      > > > from
      > > > > Herulic mercenaries or traders. He hated the Heruls and he
      > could
      > > > not
      > > > > even restrain himself from hurling the worst of abuse at them
      > in
      > > > his
      > > > > writing. Yet, those scholars who want to believe in Procopius
      > > > simply
      > > > > ignore this, because it would cast serious doubts on his
      > overall
      > > > > credibility.
      > > > >
      > > > > The foremost expert on Procopius, A. Cameron writes about
      > > > >
      > > > > "Most scholars naturally not wishing to forego the data,
      > recognise
      > > > the
      > > > > ethnographic cliches, yet persist in supposing that Procopius
      > had
      > > > > access to good information from chatty barbarians hes is
      > supposed
      > > > to
      > > > > have met while in the Byzantine army. But a few examples show
      > how
      > > > > tricky the problem actuall is,...."
      > Einar; I have problems with believing that Procopius hated
      > them. More likely he disliked them. Or had a great predjudice
      > them . That is more likely.
      > I think he really did not care were they traveled too. He had no
      > motivation to lie about the travel of the Heruli.

      > At least not any political motivation.

      Well, we would have to leave that to philologists to find out. The
      boundaries between dislike, strong dislike and hatred are very weak.
      He disliked all barbarians, but was particularly negatively biased
      against the Heruls.

      > And maybe he did not dislike them at all!! He just pretended to to
      > so,because he was expected to dislike them.And express that in his
      > writings. If he would not have done so,then people would have said;
      > You seem to like the barbarians!
      > Well I am just speculating. My point; It is very hard to say what
      > really going on in Procopius mind.

      Exactly true, and this relates also to your speculations about the
      motivations about the Thule-journey. It is very difficult to be sure,
      with an author so biased and frequently unreliable as Procopius.
      However, about the dislike of the Heruls, I believe Cameron's
      assessment that he really hated them a lot, which he expressed by
      lableing them the most disgusting creatures and sodomists, even as

      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > Then she goes on to explain that Procopius used all sorts of
      > > > > stereotypes, mixed with ethnographic and geographic
      > information
      > > > from
      > > > > ancient writers and supplemented with the product of his own
      > > > fantasy
      > > > > and hatred.
      > > >
      > > > Einar; One listmember(I think on Germanic-L) stated
      > that
      > > > A. Cameron did not agree with Goffart on Procopius.
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Goffart has not really published anything major on Procopius, so
      > > there is no question of the two agreeing on this or not. In
      > > Goffart said that Procopius has to be analysed with greatest care.
      > > Especially has he warned against using Procopius as a resource,
      > that
      > > can be 'mined' at will by people who want to use certain bits and
      > > pieces to support their pet-theories, while at the same time
      > ignoring
      > > other bits.
      > >
      > > Einar; I do understand your point here. It would
      > interesting to read what A. Cameron has to say. But that will have
      > wait.
      > > > A. Cameron uses strong words if she states so; "and supplemented
      > > with
      > > > the product of his own fantasy and hatred."
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > These are not her words exactly. But she makes it clear that
      > Procopius
      > > was highly biased against the Heruls; so much so that he could not
      > > even restrain himself from including the worst of insults and lies
      > > about them in his account, thus greatly reducing the overall value
      > of
      > > his account.
      > Einar; But I see it as entirely possible that they killed the old
      > and sick. At least sometimes.

      I agree, it is possible and some authors have argued that they picked
      up some Eastern customs to this effect. However, as Cameron states the
      ' burning alive' bit is not believable, and the whole practice is
      likely an ethnographic cliche.

      > I wonder why he was so biased against the Heruli?. Actually there
      > seems to have been more people/groups Procopius disliked very much.

      > Now I might be saying something wrong(this is from memory) but did
      > not Procopius write something very bad about Justinian and his wife
      > after they passed away!! And those writings have surprised scholars.

      That is true. His assessments are very volatile and shift from great
      admiration to deep dislike, which has made Procopius a very difficult
      to use source.

      > >
      > >
      > > > Cameron states that for Procopius, barbarians had to be
      > > > > used by the empire in its wars thus anihilating one group of
      > > > barbarian
      > > > > with the other, or alternatively they had to be dispatched to
      > the
      > > > end
      > > > > of the world. I.e. ultima Thule or Scandia, which according to
      > > > ancient
      > > > > geographers was the most disgusting place not fit for humans
      > > > live
      > > > > on. Thus, in Procopius' eyes Thule was just fine for the
      > > > like
      > > > > Heruls.
      > > >
      > > > Einar; It would be nice if you would make a distinction
      > > > what A. Cameron is stating and then when you are using your own
      > > words.
      > > >
      > > > And maybe tell me from where A. Cameron´s above statements
      > > are(books-
      > > > pages).
      > > > It might be nice to read those statements in context.
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > "Procopius and the sixth century", you will have to find the pages
      > > yourself, I don't have the book, but read it some years ago and
      > quoted
      > > from notes.
      > >
      > > Einar; Thanks for the info.
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > > I find it interesting if she states; "was the most disgusting
      > place
      > > > not fit for humans to live on".
      > >
      > >
      > > Obviously, Cameron did not write this. It is generally known from
      > the
      > > writings of Jordanes, Cassiodorus that Scandza/Thule was seen as a
      > > highly unattractive, almost inhabitable place for humans and
      > animals
      > > at the time of Procopius. Jordanes stated: "... the land is not
      > only
      > > inhospitable to men but cruel even to wild beasts". Jordanes story
      > > about a Scandzan king Rodulf who despised Scandza so much that he
      > fled
      > > from there to Italy, was supposed to show that it was better to
      > live
      > > as an inferior in Italy than a king in Scandza/Thule.
      > Einar; I just wonder if those historians were writing
      > against their best knowledge? They were maybe just writing what the
      > Roman elite wanted and expected to hear? And I am not sure they
      > respected the Roman elite anymore than the barbarians!!!

      Strange, after dismissing Goffart completely, now you are pretending
      to know what somebody wanted to hear in the 6th century.

      > > > And the statement; "Thus, in Procopius eyes Thule was just fine
      > for
      > > > the animal-like
      > Heruls".
      > >
      > > >
      > > > I am not sure here. Was this statement(the last one) made by;
      > > >
      > > > a. A. Cameron?
      > > > b. Procopius?
      > > > c. Are you making this statement?
      > > > d. Someone else?
      > >
      > >
      > > That is obivously my own statement. As Cameron stated, for
      > Procopius
      > > the barbarians should be used and anihilated in wars with other
      > > barbarians or they should go to the end of the earth, which is
      > synonym
      > > for Thule at the time. In Procopius view, who described the Heruls
      > as
      > > sodomistic, drunken traitors, the unattractive conditions in Thule
      > > will likely have been seen befitting for the Heruls.
      > Einar; I can imagine the expression on the faces of
      > Icelandic scholars when reading about the people Barði was
      > promoting
      > were among the ancestors of the Icelanders. Poor them.
      > >
      > > But let me ask you a question. Do you think that Procopius'
      > > description of the Heruls as 'mating with donkeys', 'notorious
      > > traitors and drunkards', are not casting some doubts on him as to
      > his
      > > reliability as neutral reporter? His dislike of the Heruls might
      > > easily have affected his whole reporting about them.
      > Einar; I think that such writings just show us that Procopius
      > was a rather rough person. A little bit special and maybe his
      > language use(and manners) were influenced beeing in such a intensive
      > contact with the barbarians.? His manners were maybe no better than
      > the manners of the Heruli.!
      > It is not really possible to judge about his reliability from that.

      If it is not possible to judge his credibility from that than it will
      never be possible to judge his credibilty at all. Goffart stated that
      Procopius tells us more about perceptions, prejustices and polictial
      discourse in 6th century Constantinopel, than about real hard evidence
      for tribal history. I think that is the best view to look at it.

      > He clearly made
      > > up one bit of information about them, he might have made up more
      > > most of it. We just don't know, meaning that we cannot built
      > > histories on this report.
      > And therefore, as I said earlier, no serious
      > > book on Swedish history and archaeology regards a migration of
      > Heruls
      > > or other East Germanic groups as a viable theory.
      > Einar; Well, I cannot really comment on your last statement. I
      > really have no idea, if you are right or wrong. Maybe it is a
      > statement some of the Scandinavian listmembers can comment on.
      > But I have heard that discussing the Goths in Sweden have been
      > considered taboo because of the silly idea that the Goths can be
      > connected to the Nazis. And I think that many Swedish scholars are
      > more happy than Icelandic ones to promote the idea that the Heruli
      > might have been among their ancestors.(For the same prudish
      > I seriously think that Swedish scholars do harbor some predjudice
      > against the Goths and maybe therefore the Heruli!

      If you read J Svennung's famous article on Swedish Gothicism, you will
      find that the opposite is the case.

      > Well, I see the clear signs that some Icelandic scholars do harbor a
      > predjudice agains the Celts. That is they do not like the idea that
      > maybe 40-50% of the Icelandic gene pool can be traced to them. They
      > even call them "slaves that knew nothing and nothing could be
      > from" Get the idea?
      > Some kind of nationalism standing in the way for progress?

      That is would be very worring indeed. I just hear a speech at the BM,
      were one historian pointed to the many things that the Vikings in
      Icleand learned from the Celts (including such basic skills like
      pottery making).

      > Thanks for your comments. I think for me it is no point to discuss
      > this any further. Because my knowledge of this subject has reached
      > it´s limits.
      > But I think that the only way to solve this problem is a good and
      > solid archaeological reaserch and DNA reaserch. That would be
      > specifically aimed at solving this problem.
      > But as for now, I am convinced that the Heruli went up North.
      > Otherwise a part of their descendants would not have gone to Iceland
      > in the period about 900 A.D. Well,you know what I mean.

      > Only a very good and solid archaeological reaserch and DNA reaserch
      > showing the opposite will change my mind.
      > But the DNA reaserch conclusions so far can be taken as supportive
      > the idea that a part of the Heruli descendants did go to Iceland.

      > That can be seen in one of the Genetic rapports published in the;
      > American Journal of Human Genetics.
      > As far as I remember then the gene mix in Icelanders(beeing traced
      > back at least about 1000 years) is more than can be accounted for
      > with a simple gene mix between British Isles and Scandinavian
      > populations. I think that was stated clearly.

      I completely fail to see how this supports the argument for Heruls in
      Iceland. Just because 'continental genes' are stronger than expected
      in Iceland does not mean that this contribution came from the Heruls.
      A recent study on Viking gene contribution to Britain showed that
      there is absolutely no genetic difference between Danish Vikings and
      North German Saxons, Frisians, Angles and others.

    • troels_brandt
      ... Heruls ... Dirk, Actually this whole chapter of Gothic Wars was dedicated the consequences of those returning Heruls . ... both ... Heruls) ... a ... I
      Message 78 of 78 , Dec 10, 2001
        --- In gothic-l@y..., "faltin2001" <dirk@s...> wrote:
        > --- In gothic-l@y..., "troels_brandt" <trbrandt@p...> wrote:
        > You cannot seriously assume that he was speaking of 'returning
        > when he wrote about people from the island of Thule coming to
        > Constantinopel.


        Actually this whole chapter of Gothic Wars was dedicated the
        consequences of those "returning Heruls".

        > BTW, I got two replies from Swedish archaeologists whom I contacted
        > directly. One of them worked at the royal tombs at Uppsala, but
        > of them completely reject the idea of East Germans (let alone
        > having anything to do with Sweden. In fact, one of them calls this
        > 'resilient myths' that has absolutely no foundation in archaeology.

        I already made my comments to such claims in MSG 5162.

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