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Re: [gothic-l] Re:The Giant joke and languages

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  • keth@online.no
    Dear Ingemar, I thank you for your letter. I am sorry that I haven t had time to read your book. I am still busy studying Else Kielland s book about viking
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 2, 2002
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      Dear Ingemar,
      I thank you for your letter. I am sorry that I haven't had
      time to read your book. I am still busy studying Else Kielland's
      book about viking ships and geometry that Einar recommended to me,
      and that is going to keep me busy for a while. I also have not read
      Wolfram's book on the Goths, which I consider - by spread of word -
      to be the most authoritative at the present time. (I have however read
      some other works about the Goths, but perhaps it is best to return
      to that in another letter)


      My referral to Thomas Hobbes was perhaps conceived of as rude

      Well, since Bertil introduced the imagery of a series
      of Scandinavia-originated kingdoms on whose shoulders
      Europe stands, it was only a "stenkast"(Steinwurf) removed
      to actually visualize this as a Giant Being, not unlike
      what you see on some covers of Thomas Hobbes' book:
      The image of human society as a Giant Being whose
      arms and shoulders are built of myriads of tiny human
      beings.

      And since this list happens to be moving in the Scandinavian/
      Germanic lane, so to speak, where there are plenty of examples
      of such gigantic beings, it wasn't really such a far-fetched
      image - I don't think. (Or allegory, if you like)

      Take for example the Gundestrup Vessel, where a whole
      line of warriors emerges from a sort of vessel, the
      whole operation being overseen by a series of gigantic
      beings.

      It is even somewhat doubtful whether Bertil was the one to
      invent such an image, since what he writes seems to indicate
      that this is what was said in the ZDF TV series - to which he
      was referring.

      I do not believe I spoke against a possible Scandinavian
      origin of the Goths. I have never really opposed this possibility.
      But since several generations of scholars and other specialists
      have worked on this and related questions during perhaps a whole
      century or more, I do not see how it at present can be regarded
      as more than a possibility.

      If any answewrs were to surface now, it would seem that they
      would of necessity have to come from the area of archaeology,
      since the other methods aren't really new. (Well, maybe
      one should include modern physical/optical/digital methods
      in the area of paleographoscopy?)


      The facts do however seem to point toward more nomadic
      forms of existence among the peoples outside the periphery
      of the then known world. Even if they had agriculture,
      perhaps the tendency was to a greater extent to move from region
      to region, since cattle was moveable, and land for agriculture
      was more a question of being able to live in peace than anything
      else.

      Therefore, it seems as if ideas about an "urheimat" will
      have to be abandoned. At least until further certainties are
      reached. For example, if the European population during
      the Ice Age was the same one as after the Ice Age.
      Or whether the great climatic changes that then took place
      also were accompanied by people moving great distances
      to find suitable land to meet their needs of food and safety.

      I am also a bit worried about a tendency I see towards
      I kind of "opinionology", where various opinions are
      laid out as if they were a deck of cards - and then one
      tries to determine truth by a kind of divination.

      Another idea that seems to be floating around is that
      the Goths were a kind of "saviours" of European or
      Roman civilisation. However, even here many will have
      ambiguous feelings, about whether Roman civilisation
      was actually worth saving. Of course, the Augustean idea
      of a universal peace, is an important one. But when you
      look at history, it seems as the Romans caused more
      conflict than they actually solved. Is the world thinkable
      without the Romans ? Or without the Goths, for that sake.

      In all fairness, I think the greatest Giant is Rome itself.
      On its shoulders then come the Franks who were the only
      continental Germanic people who managed to create a society
      that was stable and continued until today. Constantinople was
      almost stable. Of course the Anglo Saxons aren't unimportant
      either.

      The error they have made in Norwegian education is to
      think it best if every one have an education as much as possible
      like that of the others. That idea is probably a very
      good one until a certain age, since it creates a very
      egalitarian society. But they do not sufficiently take the
      different learning capabilities of people into account.
      Thus, for some two foreign languages is more than enough.
      Others might have been able to learn four or five with the
      same amount of effort. But the egalitarian principle here
      says that it is the greatest common divisor that counts.
      And thus every one learns only two foreign languages.
      (English + another elective language)

      Well, I suppose people nowadays just as often travel
      half the globe, as visiting France - for example.
      But from a cultural perspective French is of course
      more important than, say, Chinese, because our own culture
      is much more closely linked to France than to China.
      And besides, it probably takes a lot less effort to
      learn French than Chinese. Anyway, I do take my hat
      off for those who manage to learn Chinese. There are
      very few I'd say.

      Best regards
      Keth



      >Hi Keth,
      >
      >you answered Bertils citation below :
      >
      >
      >>>>>According to the editors Europe stands on the shoulders of:
      >>>>>
      >>>>>The Ostrogothic kingdom in Italy (Gothic migration from Scandinavia)
      >>>>>The Visigothic kingdom of Spain (Gothic migration from Scandinavia)
      >>>>>The Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England (migration from Denmark or
      >>>>>south of Denmark?)
      >>>>>The Frankish kingdom of France
      >>>>>
      >>
      >> You say that both Italy and Spain, as well as France and England
      >> stand "on the shoulders of Scandinavians". That would of necessity
      >> make Scandinavia into a Giant, wouldn't it?
      >>
      >> Well, I just thought it a bit comical, as if referring to
      >> a cover for Thomas Hobbes.
      >
      >
      >Dear Keth,
      >
      >I think you and other are a bit too rude towards Bertil. There is no
      >universal agreement that there is no connection between Goths and
      >Scandinavia, and there is definitely a connection between Scandinavia
      >and the Anglo-Saxons kingdoms in England. I for one maintain the opinion
      >there is a connection between the Nordic countries and the Continental
      >Goths, and you may easily see my arguments for that in my book
      >Goterk”llan whose language is easy for you to read. I have however no
      >intention to go into a long discussion referring it all, because I have
      >simply not time. I have already long ago sent a summary in English to
      >the list and there is also a German Zusammenfassung available. Suffice
      >it to say I find Bertils opinion one of several that should be
      >respected, even if the editors may have exagerrated their presentation a
      >bit. I never saw the program. Remenber Yurij Knysch has already made
      >some new promising openings in this issue. We are all the time talking
      >hypothesis and I beleive we will probably never know the truth for sure.
      >Bertil however might maybe also consider to have a little more humble
      >approach considering the general uncertainty in the question of origin.
      >
      >About the linguistic education in Norway that you paint so vividly I am
      >indeed shocked. I thought it was bad in Sweden but in Norway it must be
      >a catastroph. German is one of the major and important languages wich is
      >nessecary to know to be able to cope both with business and research,
      >not least historical and archaeological research, and just to be able to
      >move and associate with our fellow europeans. With English, French and
      >German you can go almost anywhere and be understood. If you also speak
      >Spanish it is the better but those three will make it. Besides speaking
      >German makes it also possible for me to read a Dutch book and understand
      >it decently and my French and Latin makes it possible to read and
      >understand Spanish in the same manner even if I do not speak it. I hope
      >the situation in Norway will improve. Brockhaus seems interesting indeed
      >if awailable on the net, but I think the Germanisches Reallexikon will
      >never be outdated as a good complement.
      >
      >Best wishes/die besten Gr¸þe/ med venlig hilsen/hj”rtliga
      >h”lsningar/salutations cordiales et c.
      >
      >Ingemar
      >
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