Goths, Goetaland, Gotland
- Dear listmembers,
It is important to remember that the question of the origin
of the Goths is not solved and is the matter of extensive
debate, on this list and elsewhere. It is therefore important
to note that some of the German language material produced
(I am excepting Peter Arens) should be read with great
caution. For those who do not read German the book below
is providing some information of interest.
_The Role of Migration in the History of the
Eurasian Steppe - Sedentary Civilization vs. -
'Barbarian' and Nomad, (ed. Andrew Bell-Fialkoff),
London: Macmillan, 2000, 355 pp.
One of the great controversies in Gothic history
is the question of the origin of the Goths. Unless
some sensational material appears this question
will never be solved.
The new book edited by Bell-Fialkoff accepts that
Jordanes Scandza is Scandinavia. He accepts that
archaeological evidence is inconclusive:
"It does confirm the existence of the Gotho-Gepidan
culture in Pomerania and lower Vistula at this time
(the so-called Wielbark culture) and links it to seven
specific elements. But only one of these can be
archaelogically traced to Scandinavia. Even more
significant is the fact that the Wielbark culture had
already acquired its distinctiveness by the time of the
putative Gothic migration from Scandinavia. These
considerations make some scholars doubt the veracity
of the Gothic tradition.
And yet, there are several factors that support the
traditional version. First, East Germanic languages
(of which Gothic was one) were closer to North Germanic
(i.e. Scandinavian) tongues than to West Germanic ones.
Such affinity implies a close relationship, if not direct
derivation. The toponymics of the island of Gotland,
as well as the modern Swedish provinces of Oester-
and Vaestergoetland, where the Goths had supposedly
originated, also show linguistic affinity. Second. Count
Oxenstierna excavated incineration burials in Oester-
and Vaestergoetland that, numerous in the second and
first centuries B.C. suddenly became rare after about
50 B.C. This would suggest a disappearance of a
significant portion of the previous population."
Carlo Alberto Mastrelli in Volker Bierbauer et al,
_I Goti_, Milan: Electa Lombardia, Elemond Editori
Graf E.C. Oxenstierna, _Die Urheimat der Goten_.
Leipzig, Mannus-Buecherei 73, 1945 (later printed
> This book by Musset, is basically a reprint of his work published in
> the 1970s. Unfortunately, no effort was made to take account of the
> developments of the past 25 years. The quotes below are a good
> example, of how outdated the book is. In fact, it is often not even
> refered to in new research. If somebody has limited funds to spend,
> don't waste it on this book and get something more up-to-date. ;-)
- --- In gothic-l@y..., "Bertil Haggman" <mvk575b@t...> wrote:
> Dear listmembers,A good recent book on the subject is:
> It is important to remember that the question of the origin
> of the Goths is not solved and is the matter of extensive
> debate, on this list and elsewhere. It is therefore important
> to note that some of the German language material produced
> (I am excepting Peter Arens) should be read with great
> caution. For those who do not read German the book below
> is providing some information of interest.
The visigoths from the migration period to the seventh century. an
ethnographic perspective. edited by Peter Heather
Studies in historical archaeoethnology. vol. 4
Woodbridge. Boydell Press. 1999
In the first contribution, the participants of the symposium on which
the book is based discuss the question of the origin of the Goths.
Once again, none of them believed that the old theory of a
Scandinavian homeland can be supported anymore. Especially, if you
read the recent books, by Heather, Todd, and Pohl, it is clear that
the question is not as 'unresolved' as some may want it to see, the
evidence is already plentiful.
There is alo no need to read this modern literature with caution
(unless the author is a hobby historian and journalist like Peter
Arens, or course).
- Thank you, Ingemar, for your latest contribution.
Below are a few books to balance off Walter Pohl (who is
Bell-Fialkoff, A., _The Role of Migration in the History of
the Eurasian Steppe_, London: Macmillan, 2000.
Findeisen, Joerg-Peter, _Schweden - Von den Anfaengen bis zur
Gegenwart_, Regensburg: Verlag Friedrich Pustet, 1998.
Hermodsson, Lars, _Goterna - ett krigafolk och dess bibel_ ,
Stockholm, Atlantis, 1993.
Nordgren, I., Goterkaellan - om goterna i Norden och paa
kontinenten_, Skara: Vaestergoetlands museums skriftserie nr
Rodin, L. - Lindblom, V. - Klang, K., _Gudatraed och vaestgoetska
skottkungar - Sveriges bysantiska arv_, Goeteborg: Tre boecker,
_Schaetze der Ostgoten_, Stuttgart: Theiss, 1995.
_Studia Gotica - Die eisenzeitlichen Verbindungen zwischen Schweden
und Suedosteuropa - Vortraege beim Gotensymposion im Statens
Historiska Museum_, Stockholm 1970.
Tacitus, _Germania_, (with introduction and commentary by J.B. Rives),
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1999.
> There is a more recent book, by a real historian and real experts
> (not a hobby historian and journalist like Peter Arens), which should
> be most interesting for those still flogging the Scandinavian origin