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Re: [gothic-l] The extent of Hermanaric's realm

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  • george knysh
    ... *****GK: The point however is this: on what basis would you exclude them? I take it that when you say like you mean more than just an indication of
    Message 1 of 19 , Jan 19, 2002
      --- Bertil Haggman <mvk575b@...> wrote:
      > On the surface it might seem so but I would
      > like exclude the Frisians, the Franks and
      > the Saxons, Swabians and others as
      > not being part of Ermanaric's Regnum
      > Ostrogotorum.

      *****GK: The point however is this: on what basis
      would you exclude them? I take it that when you say
      "like" you mean more than just an indication of
      arbitrary preference. And if you exclude the Frisians,
      Franks, Saxons, Swabians, etc. on what basis do you
      include Tervingi, Gepids, etc. etc. etc.?******

      (B)The exact delineation of
      > "borders" is of course not possible.

      *****GK: Agreed. Cf. also below for a quote on
      >(B) A thorough inventory of all possible
      > sources and interpretations when it
      > comes to Ermanaric's realm would be
      > interesting. Any additional suggestions?

      *****GK: An excellent critical secondary source is J.
      Otto Maenchen-Helfen, "The World of the Huns",
      University of California Press 1973, esp. pp. 19-25.
      Here are some appetizers therefrom:

      "Lack of criticism and chauvinistic bias either
      enlarged the Gothic realm out of all proportions or
      practically denied its existence" (p. 23)

      "Jordanes' description of it is almost a hymn" (p. 24)
      MH then goes through J. bit by bit.

      He notes the list of "arctoi gentes" and comments:
      "Whether Ermanaric actually DOMUERAT them is more than
      doubtful. The ethnic names may merely reflect the
      extent of the geographical knowledge of Jordanes or
      his sources"(ibid.)

      On the Aestii: their alleged subjugation "probably
      means no more than there existed some trade relations
      between the Goths and the tribes in the amber
      countries, as they possibly existed in Hunnic times
      and under the great Ostrogothic king Theoderic
      (Theodoric)." (pp. 24-25)

      MH finds the reduction of the Heruli by
      Hermanaric"quite credible" (p. 25) (as do I)

      As to the "subjection" of the Venethi(Slavs): MH gives
      us Jordanes "translated from hymn to prose:'from time
      to time the Goths made raids into Slavic territory in
      the northwest'." (p.25)

      Finally: "The boundaries of the Ostrogothic "empire"
      cannot be defined because it had none. Around a more
      ofr less compactly settled Gothic area lay the sites
      of various tribes. Some of them may have paid regular
      tribute; others only bartered their goods, presumably
      mostly furs, for what the Goths got either from the
      Bosporan kingdom or the Danube provinces; still others
      occasionally may have joined the Ostrogoths in looting
      expeditions. The rapid collapse of Ermanaric's kingdom
      [GK: Note that here MH is talking about the kingdom
      rather than the larger "empire"] clearly indicates its
      lack of coherence." (p. 25)
      > >
      > >(GK) As an afterthought to this. If you, Bertil,
      > > wish to follow Jordanes, then you must believe
      > that
      > > Hermanaric's Empire stretched all the way to the
      > > Rhine, since that is where "Germania" began (or
      > > ended). Now that is a problem, in that a ruler
      > who
      > > dominated the entire stretch north of the Roman
      > limes
      > > in the period ca. 350-370 AD could hardly have
      > passed
      > > unnoticed. Yet there is practically nothing about
      > him
      > > in Roman sources beyond Ammianus Marcellinus...If
      > > you're not willing to accept the Rhine border, and
      > > wish to interpret Jordanes more critically (as you
      > > implicitly do by taking the Elbe and Dvina as
      > > boundaries) then there is room for discussion...

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