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Two recent books on the Goths

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  • faltin2001
    Hi all, over the Christmas holidays I had the chance to read two quite recent books on the Goths, which I think are must-reads for anybody interested in the
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 9, 2007
      Hi all,

      over the Christmas holidays I had the chance to read two quite recent
      books on the Goths, which I think are 'must-reads' for anybody
      interested in the history of the Goths. One is "Rome's Gothic Wars -
      From the Third Century to Alaric", by Michael Kulikowski, Cambridge
      University Press, 2007. I suppose chapter 3, entitled 'The Search for
      Gothic Origins' will be of special interest to many on this list.

      The author dismisses Jordanes Getica as a genuine source of Gothic
      early history, stating for example (p. 43) "And yet Jordanes, as we
      shall see, is not merely unreliable, he is deeply misleading".
      Kulikowski demonstrates convincingly how Jordanes' story underpinned
      and still underpins much of the scholarly research of the Goths till
      today - both historical and even more perplexingly archaeological. In
      this vain he shows just how misguided authors such as Anders Kaliff
      are in their treatment of the subject.

      Kulikowski writes on page 55-56 "Rather than migrants from the
      distant north, it is more likely that the Goths who entered imperial
      history in the earlier third century were a product of circumstances
      of the imperial frontier. ... These were the social forces that
      created the coalitions of the Franks and Alamanni along the Rhine and
      the upper Danube in the third century, and we have suggested that the
      Goths on the lower Danube shoulde be understood in the same way."

      Kulikowski argues that the Wielbark-Chernyakhov connection is largely
      based, consciously or unconsciously on the Jordanes narrative. The
      cultural influences on the Chernyakhov culture are so plentiful and
      balanced that without Jordanes scholars would not have dreamt of
      privileging the Wielbark connection. Kulikowski writes "The answer,
      at least in my view, is that there is no Gothic history before the
      third century. The Goths are a product of the Roman frontier, just
      like the Franks and the Alamanni who apear at the same time."

      I know, this book will not meet with the approval from some on this
      list, however, I think it very well worth reading. It shows a novel
      and refreshingly plausible picture of late antiquity and migration
      age history and in terms of its conceptualisations shoould also be
      revealing to those who have special interest in fringe goups such as
      the Heruls.

      The second book, which I finally managed to read is Patrick Amory's
      much celebrated book "People and identity in Ostrogothic Italy, 489-
      554". Cambridge University Press, 1997. Amory's books also includes a
      chapter on the origin of the Goths, which is entitled 'The origin of
      the Goths and Balkan military culture'. This chapter can be seen as
      antecedent to the one by Kulikowski. Both authors show what we call
      Goths and what the Romans called Goths in a new light. Amory
      demostrates, not least with an extensive prosopography the amorphous
      ethnic situation along the Roman Balkan frontier, were the name Goths
      could easily pass from one group to the next with the actural members
      of such groups often not even being aware that the Romans had labled
      them in that way.

      Boths books are of course in English and therefore accessible to
      everybody on this list. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did.

      Cheers,

      Dirk
    • Ingemar Nordgren
      Hi Dear Dirk, I did indeed, in opposite to you, appreciate Tore s initiative. It is a good and convincing article and it is not alone. There are several good
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 9, 2007
        Hi Dear Dirk,


        I did indeed, in opposite to you, appreciate Tore's initiative. It is
        a good and convincing article and it is not alone. There are several
        good contributions in the same booklet originating in a cooperation
        project between Swedish and Bulgarian researchers. Besides Anders
        Kaliff Lars Munkhammar and Ulf Erik Hagberg have articles there and a
        fair amounts of Bulgarians, some of which being associated to the
        Wulfila foundation in Sofia. It is an interdisciplinary book treating
        both history, archaeology and linguistics. The title is 'Goterna' in
        Swedish and in Bulgarian. It means 'The Goths'. The articles are in
        English or Bulgarian with English, or in one case I think German,
        summaries. it is published by Balkan Media, Sofia 2006. Tore and I met
        those people in Uppsala at a symposium and had valuable interchange
        with them. This project is intended to be expanded with contributions
        from several researchers from both countries and possibly including
        also other nationalities.

        I see you have started shooting wildly with these new books. Well, you
        mostly break already open doors since nobody claims the Goths didn't
        undergo some changes according to external influences, and nor that
        new peoples were accepted as Goths in the course of the Gothic wars.
        This however has nothing at all to do with the Gothic origin, which is
        what among else Kaliff treats. If You and your compatriots try to
        eliminate the Wielbark culture totally from the Gothic history you
        will undertake an impossible task. Harry's estimation in Germanic list
        of the reception of this idea seems well built under.
        I however have no doubt the books might be quite good in the claimed
        subject, i.e. the Gothic Wars in close contact with the Romans, but
        this has, as mentioned, nothing with the original origin-question to
        do, but only with later local ethogenesi.

        Best regards
        Ingemar


        --- In gothic-l@yahoogroups.com, "faltin2001" <d.faltin@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hi all,
        >
        > over the Christmas holidays I had the chance to read two quite recent
        > books on the Goths, which I think are 'must-reads' for anybody
        > interested in the history of the Goths. One is "Rome's Gothic Wars -
        > From the Third Century to Alaric", by Michael Kulikowski, Cambridge
        > University Press, 2007. I suppose chapter 3, entitled 'The Search for
        > Gothic Origins' will be of special interest to many on this list.
        >
        > The author dismisses Jordanes Getica as a genuine source of Gothic
        > early history, stating for example (p. 43) "And yet Jordanes, as we
        > shall see, is not merely unreliable, he is deeply misleading".
        > Kulikowski demonstrates convincingly how Jordanes' story underpinned
        > and still underpins much of the scholarly research of the Goths till
        > today - both historical and even more perplexingly archaeological. In
        > this vain he shows just how misguided authors such as Anders Kaliff
        > are in their treatment of the subject.
        >
        > Kulikowski writes on page 55-56 "Rather than migrants from the
        > distant north, it is more likely that the Goths who entered imperial
        > history in the earlier third century were a product of circumstances
        > of the imperial frontier. ... These were the social forces that
        > created the coalitions of the Franks and Alamanni along the Rhine and
        > the upper Danube in the third century, and we have suggested that the
        > Goths on the lower Danube shoulde be understood in the same way."
        >
        > Kulikowski argues that the Wielbark-Chernyakhov connection is largely
        > based, consciously or unconsciously on the Jordanes narrative. The
        > cultural influences on the Chernyakhov culture are so plentiful and
        > balanced that without Jordanes scholars would not have dreamt of
        > privileging the Wielbark connection. Kulikowski writes "The answer,
        > at least in my view, is that there is no Gothic history before the
        > third century. The Goths are a product of the Roman frontier, just
        > like the Franks and the Alamanni who apear at the same time."
        >
        > I know, this book will not meet with the approval from some on this
        > list, however, I think it very well worth reading. It shows a novel
        > and refreshingly plausible picture of late antiquity and migration
        > age history and in terms of its conceptualisations shoould also be
        > revealing to those who have special interest in fringe goups such as
        > the Heruls.
        >
        > The second book, which I finally managed to read is Patrick Amory's
        > much celebrated book "People and identity in Ostrogothic Italy, 489-
        > 554". Cambridge University Press, 1997. Amory's books also includes a
        > chapter on the origin of the Goths, which is entitled 'The origin of
        > the Goths and Balkan military culture'. This chapter can be seen as
        > antecedent to the one by Kulikowski. Both authors show what we call
        > Goths and what the Romans called Goths in a new light. Amory
        > demostrates, not least with an extensive prosopography the amorphous
        > ethnic situation along the Roman Balkan frontier, were the name Goths
        > could easily pass from one group to the next with the actural members
        > of such groups often not even being aware that the Romans had labled
        > them in that way.
        >
        > Boths books are of course in English and therefore accessible to
        > everybody on this list. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did.
        >
        > Cheers,
        >
        > Dirk
        >
      • Michael Erwin
        Amory is an excellent resource; his arguments about the fuzziness of Gothicness are convincing, though his arguments about the Gothic language were not for
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 9, 2007
          Amory is an excellent resource; his arguments about the fuzziness of
          'Gothicness' are convincing, though his arguments about the Gothic
          language were not for me.

          Kulikowski, aside from the anti-origins sections, doesn't offer much
          analysis. And some questions, such as 'how many people crossed the
          Danube in 376-380?' can change the whole picture.

          On that last issue ... does the Chernyakhov/Sintana de Mures
          settlement pattern/settlement density change between phases C and D?
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