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Prussians

Discussion in 'World History' started by Domen, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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  2. Phrossack

    Phrossack Armored Fish and Armored Men

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    Good. Prussia for the Prūsai!

    The trouble is that there seem to be as many different reconstructions of Prussian as there are experts who research it. It's a similar problem with Cornish and Proto-Indo-European. Which one do we choose?
     
  3. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    Well, you should ask one of these 200 Prussians, I guess:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Prussian_language#Revived_Old_Prussian

    And preface to this dictionary (see the link in my 1st post) says that Prussians want to be recognized as a national minority in Germany.

    ==============================================

    By the way, I found a website (rather not very serious one) which claims that Bolesław Prus was a Prussian. :)

    Here is a wiki article about Prus:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolesław_Prus
     
  4. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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  5. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    Phrossack, I don't think that there is a "similar" problem with Prussian as with Proto-Indo-European.

    After all, there are numerous old writings and printed texts in Prussian, while not a single one in PIE.
     
  6. Owen Glyndwr

    Owen Glyndwr La Femme Moderne

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    Might be because PIE is not now, nor was it ever an actual language.
     
  7. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    So you deny the common origin of Indo-Europeans?
     
  8. Owen Glyndwr

    Owen Glyndwr La Femme Moderne

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    No, I just actually understand how reconstructed languages work. Languages like PIE and PGmc are not meant to be spoken because they never existed in reality. They're merely approximations of grammar and vocabulary which have been postulated based on the comparative method. It's meant as a tool for comprehending and understanding how all other IE languages are related to one another both in syntax, morphology, and grammar, and for considering the principles of how languages change over time, but it is not, nor has it ever been intended as an actual language that anybody at any time ever spoke. It's actually similar to the so-called biological "missing link" between humans and other apes. It acknowledges that there was a point many millions of years ago in which humans diverged from other apes, and that we would expect it to possess features x, y, and z based on features we notice common to us and our closest living ancestors, but this "missing link":

    a) Is merely an abstract substitution for an expected species, not the species itself
    b) May represent many different species entirely.

    In much the same way, both PIE and PGmc represent abstractions of what the earliest Germanic and Indo-European languages probably would have looked and sounded like, but they are not actual languages. They have never, and most likely will never be documented. They may not even represent singular, homogeneous languages, but a further group of related languages. This is why they are denoted with an asterisk. It's not a real language. It's not meant to be learned or spoken or read in the traditional sense. It's a theoretical model used to interpret how "Hund" and "hound" and "hund" and "hond" are related to one another, and then further related to "canus", "cwn", "sùnt-ene", "ku", "suo" and "sun"

    As John Waterman says:
     
  9. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    Well, but what you write does not suggest that "it was not an actual language".

    It only suggests, that the modern reconstruction of this language is for sure not entirely accurate.

    ===============================

    BTW:

    Fragment from the preface to that Prussian-English Dictionary:

     
  10. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    I don't see how PIE could function as a tool for understanding the relations between modern languages if it weren't intended as an attempt to reconstruct an actual extinct language. The passage you quote warns that PIE is a reconstruction and therefore provisional and uncertain, but it doesn't assert that PIE is not intended to be as accurate a reconstruction as we can make of a real language. Surely the success of PIE as an explanation of modern forms of language will depend on how accurately it reconstructs the actual extinct language that they're descended from. And indeed it's possible, at least in theory, that the reconstructors got it right and that there really was an extinct language just like PIE. Surely that's what the reconstructors hope for, at least!
     
  11. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    Some more maps:

    Boundaries of Medieval Prussian tribes compared to modern borders of Poland, Kaliningrad Oblast, Lithuania and Belarus:

    Sudowia = Jaćwież = Yotvingia, inhabited by Sudovians / Yotvingians (easternmost tribe of Prussians):

    For some reason, Lubavia is not marked by this map (it was to the west of Sasna, in area around Nowe Miasto Lubawskie):



    Another similar map (but here for some reason Lubavia and Sasna are not marked):



    Directions of German and Polish colonization in Teutonic Order's Prussia during the 14th century and the 15th century:

    Black arrows - German colonization
    White arrows - Polish colonization
    Dark areas - property of bishops (mainly in Warmia = Ermland)



    Polish colonization in East Prussia (later Ducal Prussia) during the Middle Ages and Early Modern Era (areas 1, 2 and 3):



    German map from 1847:

    Red line = border of the Kingdom of Prussia (historical Yotvingia was located to the east of this border):

    Green colour (in the north-west) = territories with German-speaking majority
    Yellow colour (in the south) = territories with Polish-speaking majority
    Grey colour (in the north-east) = territories with Lithuanian-speaking majority



    Prussian language survived the longest time - because until the 18th century - in Sambia, to the north of Konigsberg.

    ============================================

    Another map of tribal divisions among the Baltic peoples (names of tribes are in Polish):

    Small version:



    Large version:

    Spoiler :

    Liwonia / Livonia (inhabited by Liwowie = Livonians) was not a Baltic tribe, but an Ugro-Finnic one (closely related to Estonians & Finns).

    ==============================

    BTW:

    Elbing (Elbląg) is the "daughter" of an older Baltic Prussian city - Truso

    Konigsberg (Kaliningrad) is the "daughter" of another Prussian city - Tvangste

    Some reconstructions of Truso before it changed name to Elbing:

    Spoiler :

    Spoiler :

    Spoiler :

    Spoiler :


    Reconstructions of Old Prussian houses from Pruso (notice the "Prussian wall" patterns):

    Spoiler :

    Spoiler :


    Archaeological works, Truso:

    Spoiler :


    I could not find any reconstructions of Tvangste, but here is wiki article about it:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tvangeste

    =========================================

    BTW - interesting question is why Prussians were assimilated and lost their language, while Latvians - also conquered by crusaders - were not.

    At least in case of Latvian rural populations.
     
  12. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    Maybe below is one of reasons - this is what S. Plater wrote about Latvians in a book from 1825:

    "(...) The Latvians - that is the Letten - who live in Courland and in southern part of Livonia, speak a language similar to Lithuanian, because these languages are of common origin; but Latvian language is more educated than Lithuanian, due to efforts of local nobility, and even more due to efforts of local Protestant Pastors, who took care of this language, and published many works in it - some of them translated from German language. Moreover, there exist Latvian print shops in Riga, Dorpat and Mitau. They are using German [Gothic] letters, but printing in Latvian: apart from this, also the Latvian Newspaper is being published in Mitau (...) each commune is obliged to distribute this newspaper. (...) Latvian houses are large and with large windows, like German ones. (...) Many of them can read, to which contributed the most their Protestant Pastors. (...)"

    =========================================

    BTW - this is the place of one of last places of Pagan Cult in Prussia (people practiced Paganism there even during the 1400s):

    http://mazury.info.pl/atrakcje/gilma/index.html

    One page from that German-Prussian dictionary from the 1500s:

    http://postimg.org/image/6kp4fqht9/



    Prussians (right) fighting against forces of the Teutonic Order (left) - depiction from Teutonic Order's Castle in Marienburg (Malbork):

    http://postimg.org/image/43uv64wlf/full/





    All Prussian warriors seen above, use typical Eastern-style shields known as pavises (they later became popular also in Western Europe):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavise

    This style of shield originated among Eastern Slavic and / or Baltic people, and only later spread into all other regions.

    Teutonic Knights adopted this style of shield from their enemies and then subjects - Prussians. Here a Teutonic Knight with a pavise:



    During the 1400s pavises used by infantry became larger (longer / higher) and more massive:



    Here is Pater Noster prayer in Prussian language (text from 1500s):

    Below a ritually clenched Prussian sword (Medieval period):



    And here a reconstruction of a Prussian warrior:



    ====================================================

    Regarding pavises - in this book:

    https://plus.google.com/photos/1163...5566495025647329890&oid=116379070585776810685

    They say that in Teutonic Order's documents, pavise was called "prusche shilde" and "scutum Pruthenicum" ("Prussian shield").

    Later they write that during the 1300s pavises can be found in documents describing the inventory of Teutonic Order's arsenals.

    Then they quote testimony of a witness who saw Teutonic Order's forces plundering the Polish town of Sieradz.

    And that witness (during Polish-Teutonic court trial) was asked how he recognized that those were Teutonic forces.

    He replied that he knew those were Teutonic Order's units, because they were using "scutum Pruthenicum" type shields.

    Author of the book adds: "indeed we know, that during Polish-Teutonic war in 1331 large part of Teutonic army were Prussian units".

    ===============================

    Here you can read more about Polish-Teutonic court trials (in English):

    http://www.academia.edu/2579308/Mem...der_in_the_fourteenth_and_fifteenth_centuries
     
  13. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    That Teutonic depiction in Marienburg Castle, is from times shortly after the conquest of Prussia.

    So this is a very realistic depiction.

    But of course the society of Baltic Prussian included nobility / warrior class - who were better armed and better armoured - as well as commoners - who during wars fought as levies, not as "professional warriors", and surely had worse armour than the warrior class / nobility.

    We can also see one unarmoured archer there (or maybe this is a woman with a bow?).

    And there are also other depictions of Prussian warriors, which show less armour on them:

    Prussian warriors from the "Gniezno Doors" (12th century) - not so much armour, but a sword can be seen:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gniezno_Doors







    Prussians killing Saint Adalbert (also from the "Gniezno Doors"):



    Some modern depictions of Prussians (these would be commoners, surely not Prussian nobles):





    But this is also accurate (if not more accurate), - just not every single one of them had such good armour:



    Anglo-Saxons in 1066 also had Fyrd (poor armour, levies, mostly spearmen & archers) and Housecarls (good armour, warrior class).

    In Early Medieval Poland (900s - 1000s) there were also Pancerni (elite druzhina, warrior class) and Tarczownicy (levies).

    It seems that all those Pre-Feudal societies had similar organization of armed forces. Perhaps that was the case with Prussians too.

    =============================

    The Prussian society consisted of:

    Rich nobles (Prussian: konagis), each of whom had his personal druzhina (Prussian: laukinikis) and servants. Apart from rich nobles, there were medium nobles (rikis / rikijs), free commoners (tallokinikis) and half-free or unfree commoners (kumetis) who lived in estates of rich nobles.

    Opinions when it comes to proportions of each group are very different.

    But some Polish historians estimate that rich nobles were 3%, kumetis were 9% and the rest were 88% (most of them tallokinikis of course). In some regions - mostly in Yotvingia - percentage of konagis was bigger, even 10% to 15%. And also % of kumetis was bigger there.
     
  14. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    Prussian Truso (later Elbing / Elbląg) was a major center for Baltic trade, which was frequently visited by merchants even from very distant regions (including Scandinavia). Many silver coins minted in various parts of the world were discovered in the vicinity of Truso.

    Some of coins discovered in Truso and in the neighbouring areas:

    English coin from Rochester Wessex mint (minted in ca. 845-848):



    Dinar from Danish mint in Hedeby (minted in ca. 800-850):



    Another Danish dinar (minted in ca. 825):



    Abbasid dirham (minted in ca. 815-816):



    Sassanid coin (minted in ca. 591-628):



    The same type of coin from another place:



    The area between Vistula River and Pasłęka River was a mixed area of Baltic(Prussian)-Slavic settlement - below a map showing settlements in this area in period between the 9th century and the 11th century (1, 2, 3 = Slavic strongholds, settlements and cemeteries; 4, 5, 6 = Baltic / Prussian strongholds, settlements and cemeteries), 7 - defensive walls (made of ground and wood), 8 - traces of Scandinavian settlement (traders, merchants, etc.) and 9 - Truso:

     
  15. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    In the video below, guy is talking in reconstructed Prussian language (English subtitles say also something about this uprising):




    Link to video.

    Another video:


    Link to video.

    BTW - Prussian-speakers are called, for some reason, Old Prussians.

    But if we want to be consistent, we should call them Old Old Prussians.

    Because German-speaking Prussians are also "Old" nowadays.

    Most recent Prussians, are these Russian-speaking ones.

    Anyway - I simply prefer to call those original Prussians just like this - "Prussians".

    And of course they didn't get extinct, only their language did, when they switched to German, Polish or Lithuanian.

    Lithuanian was so similar to Prussian that the process of language shift could even go unnoticed in this case.

    ========================================

    BTW - territory of Prussian tribes before the conquest by Teutonic Order was ca. 42,000 - 50,000 km2.

    So most likely it was inhabited by at least 200,000 and perhaps up to 400,000 or more Prussian people.
     
  16. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    That said, still many Prussians (surely many thousands, maybe even a few dozen thousands) died during the conquest.

    And there is a poem about war crimes of Teutonic Knights, written by German poet from East Prussia - Johannes Konrad Bernhard Bobrowski:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannes_Bobrowski

    Here is the poem in question:


    Link to video.

    ====================================

    Reconstructed Yotvingian settlement (but it doesn't look like a very accurate reconstruction, rather a tourist attraction):


    Link to video.

    11th century Prussian treasure discovered in Prabuty:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prabuty


    Link to video.
     
  17. TheLastOne36

    TheLastOne36 Chieftain

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    Its implied, as PIE is an artificial construction based on relations of real languages and has no intention of being representative of any historical or ancient language.

    It is a tool, not a reconstruction.

    Or are you under the impression that Indo-European tribes 5,500 years ago had a universal, standardized language? :lol:
     
  18. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    Well, the most common theory says that the PIE language was originally spoken in a relatively small area, and only later expanded into entire Europe.

    So yes, I think that it initially could be a relatively intelligible language to all groups of its speakers.

    The language was - of course - gradually becoming more and more diversified as it continued to spread over Europe, together with agriculture.

    Because original speakers of Proto-Indo-European were the same people who introduced agriculture to Europe - if I remember correctly.

    It doesn't mean that those newcomers-farmers exterminated previous populations of hunter-gatherers.

    Quite the contrary - it was to a larger extent a spread of language and technology, and only to a lesser extent a spread of actual peoples:

    Associating R1b Y DNA haplogroup with Indo-Europeans - and just with them - is also wrong, considering that the Basques have the highest % of this haplogroup in Europe. And the Basques, ironically, are not even Indo-European speakers. They are one of few EU populations who didn't adopt IE language. Of course we can as well invent absurd theories that IE people came, slaughtered all Basque Non-IE men, married their women AND then adopted their language... :)

    In other words, it would mean that IE guys let themselves get assimilated by dead Basques... :)
     
  19. TheLastOne36

    TheLastOne36 Chieftain

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    Possibly. Though I refuse the notion there was any '1' language, as these are tribes we are speaking about, they had no standardized language.

    But that language(s) if it existed, would not have been PIE. The PIE we are speaking of today by no means is supposed to be representative of any extinct language those proto-Indo-European tribes spoke.
     
  20. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    Not exactly having much to do with Baltic Prussians, but:

    West Prussian (Royal Prussian) Land Records from 1772/1773:

    http://www.odessa3.org/collections/land/wprussia/

    http://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Poland_Census

     

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