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The Problem of Barbarians

Discussion in 'World History' started by Dachs, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. History_Buff

    History_Buff Knight of Cydonia

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    Yeah, as I was typing it, something in the back of my head was telling me that has a technical term that would apply to a wider language group, or something.

    Is there a word for the languages spoken on the right bank of the Rhine circa 500AD?
     
  2. schlaufuchs

    schlaufuchs La Femme Moderne

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    Well, I was planning on getting to this today, but my day was just too busy to allow for it, and at this point I'm far too inebriated to produce anything I'd be even remotely proud of. I promise I'll get to it tomorrow. I just need to know: do you want the short answer or the long answer?

    The short answer is basically just the Frankish (read: Rhenish-Weser) branches of the Germanic family tree, and the long answer is the germanic language family in general with more contextual information on its origins and the status of the language family as a whole up to the 11th century.

    Your choice :)
     
  3. History_Buff

    History_Buff Knight of Cydonia

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    Well, I don't know that I'll understand the more intricate details, but the long answer please. Always the long answer. :D
     
  4. schlaufuchs

    schlaufuchs La Femme Moderne

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    Ok. The Germanic Language Family, as you probably know, is a branch of the very extensive Indo-European Language group, which encompasses everything from Baltic, Slavic, Germanic, and Celtic in the north, to Armenian and Indic in the east, to Italic in the West, and Greek and Hittite in the South.

    Going from archaeological data, it would appear that Indo-European speakers first entered the traditional homeland of the Germanic language group (Scania in the present day Sweden) sometime during the beginning of the Bronze Age. Archaeologists have identified three distinct cultures in the region of Scania between the Neolithic Era (Late Stone Age) and the Bronze Age. These three groups are coloquially referred to as "the food gatherers" - a group identified by their raising of domestic animals, cultivating grain and relatively extensive land clearing, particularly their technique of slashing bark of trees for controlled fires. Archaeologists have also found a number of large earthenware vessels which have been attributed to this group.

    The second group is the megalithic builders. Understandably enough their name refers to their building of large communal graves using large, flat boulders arranged in the shape of a rectangle, topped off by a massive block of stone. This group also developed a separate style of pottery, referred to as Bandkeramiker.

    The third group entered the region some time around the beginning of the Bronze age. This group, referred to as "battle-axe people" initially appears in the archaeological record at the same time as the megalithic builders people. Unlike the builders, though, these axe-people weren't farmers, but stock breeders. They buried their dead in signle graves, and brought with them a new kind of pottery, called Scnurkeramiker, and the weapon (the bronze battle-axe) for which they are named. This culture has been identified across a large portion of central and eastern Europe, although their origins are still up for speculation.

    Most linguists and archaeologists, however, accept that these axe-peoples were in all likelihood the first speakers of the "Indo-European language", and it is from these people that the Germanic branches of the language group developed. However, again, it is important to note that there are no written or audible data to support this supposition, it's just the most likely hypothesis given the evidence we currently have.

    Research from Lexico-Statistical Dating places the first emergence of the Germanic family sometime between 2000-1800 B.C., with the development of what linguists refer to as "proto-Germanic". It is very important when discussing linguistics to remember that when a language is ascribed the "proto-" prefix this means that there is no actual evidence to support the existence of this language. "proto-" languages are models which have been painstakingly reconstructed by linguists through in-depth analyses of related languages' vocabulary, syntax, and overall grammatical structures. We don't really know what "proto-Germanic" is, it is merely a place-holder which we know must have existed (owing to the existence of related present-day and historical Germanic language), but it does not refer to any specific language.

    Anyway, "proto-Germanic" is believed to have emerged as an offshoot of Indo-European some time in the early 3rd millennium, having broken off from the Slavic languages around 2000 B.C.

    So what makes proto-Germanic (hereafter referred to as PGmc.) what it is? Well there are a number of elements which linguists have identified which set it apart from its other early IE relatives. The first is the use of the Stress Accent. By this I mean in Germanic languages, the accent is always placed on the root syllable of a word. This is in stark contrast to many other IE languages, and Proto-Indo-European (hereafter PIE) itself, which actually uses the placement of accent to distinguish individual morphemes (the smallest unit of sound which contains semantic meaning in language. It doesn't necessarily refer to a word as, for example, -s is a morpheme in English which identifies the plurality of a noun). Anyway, the variable use of stress accent changed in Germanic. What this meant from a developmental standpoint is that Germanic languages tended to clip off phonetic elements on the ends of words. A good example of this would be the Latin hostis, compared with the Gothic gasts, the Old High German gast, or the Old Norse gastiR. In the Old Norse example, the i is retained, in the Gothic, the i is clipped, however the language still retains the case ending (-s), and in Old High German the entirety of the element is removed. From all three of these examples we can see the full force of the change when the PGmc. version, *gastiz, is produced. (Note: when a word is shown with an asterisk placed before it, this is a note to readers that the word is a reconstruction based on other closely related languages and doesn't necessarily refer to a word which exists in actuality).

    Another distinctive feature of PGmc., and, subsequently, its children, is the predisposition towards Alliteration. This preference comes as a direct result of the placing of stress on the root of all words. Germanic languages adore alliteration, and it became a formal prenciple in Germanic verse. Take this example from Nibelungenlied: "ich will durch dinen willen wagen ere unde lip" Alligeration also played a hand in the types of Germanic family names which developed: Chlodwig, Chlothar, Chlodomer, Heribrant, Hiltibrant, Hadubrant, Gunther, Gernôt, Gîselher. It is reflected even in modern English and German, particularly in the delightful idioms of the two languages: black and blue, hearth and home, life and limb, Wind und Wetter, Nacht und Nebel, etc.

    Perhaps the most distinctive feature of Germanic, and the most commonly cited one is that of the Germanic sound shift. The sound shift was notable for just how large and varied the shift was. In the first place the voiceless stops in other IE languages, that is p, t, k in International Phonetic Alphabet (I know you aren't a linguist; I'll try my best to accommodate :) ), became voiceless fricatives, f, θ, and χ (a fricative means that the mouth forms a partial close, however air still flows through the mouth. Voiceless means you don't use your vocal chords in formulating the sound. [f] is the classic fricative. Its voiced equivalent would be [v]. θ would be the th in Pantheism, as opposed to the th in that, which is expressed in IPA by ð. Finally χ is the unvoiced uvual fricative. It's a bit harder to explain because there isn't really an equivalent in English. The easiest way to think of it would be the French r, as in proche, or the ch in the German Dach). This plosive to fricative switch is visible to this day, for example in the difference between father in Germanic and Romance languages. Latin, and thereby its descendants retained their plosives, so p remained p and thus [father] is expressed in the Spanish padre, whereas German has Vater (fatɹ), and English has father.

    You can see in direct examples when you compare Latin words to their Gothic equivalents:

    pecu-faíhu "cattle"
    três-þreis "three" (The letter thorn (þ) is an unaspirated dental fricative, and in some cases Germanic linguists use it in place of theta)
    cornû-haúrn "horn" (h in Gothic represents the sound χ)

    This sound shift also affected voiced aspirated stops bʰ, dʰ, and gʰ (basically these are the ordinary sounds b, d, and g, however they are aspirated, which means each sound is accompanied with a puff of air, more or less), became voiced fricatives, β, ð, and ɣ (β is the voiced bilabial fricative, basically make a b sound but keep air escaping from your lips. The classic example is the "spanish v" as in lavar. The ð is the voiced dental fricative. It's the th in this and that. And the ɣ is the voiced velar fricative. This one is really difficult to explain in English, particularly as most English speakers confuse it with χ. The easiest equivalent would be the g in the Portuguese agora, or the dh in the Irish dhorn. In some Germanic languages these sounds emerged as the unaspirated b, d, and g.

    None of the IE languages have retained aspirated stops with the exception of Sanskrit. In fact the question of whether or not PIE even had aspirated stops itself is a matter hotly debated among linguists. In these series Sanskrit examples are provided instead of Latin, with the exception of the final example, which uses PIE. As before, Gothic is used for comparison

    bhárâmi-baíran "carry"
    mádhyas-midjis "middle"
    *ghóstis-gasts "guests"

    Finally, the Voiced unaspirated stops b, d, and g became voiceless unaspirated stops p, t, and k. Again, Latin and Gothic for comparison:

    lûbricâre-(s)liupan "slip"
    decem-taíhun "ten"
    genu-kniu "knee"

    In addition to a sound shift, PGmc. also underwent a number of structural shifts. There was the above mentioned emphasis on the root of words, rather than a variable stress as in PIE. The resulting clipping brought about very distinct changes in the way Germanic languages carried out declensions. PIE had distinguished between ablative, dative, instrumental, and locative cases, but due to the lack of stress, most of these case distinctions were removed. An example would be the Sanskrit word for "god" devás. Its case forms in the order listed above would be devât, devâya, devéna, and devé. Gothic, on the other hand, only has the dative form, daga.

    The final, and in many cases most striking aspect these changes brought about on the language is the wholesale change of Germanic languages from "synthetic" to "analytic". These terms are dated, however it does have some use in this context. "Synthetic" refers to the way the language synthesizes a large amount of morphemes into a relatively small amount of words. Latin is the archetypal synthetic language, seen in the word portâbantur, which translates as "they were (being) carried. This one word contains 4 morphemes portâ (the root verb), -ba- (the imperfect tense), -nt- (third person plural) ur (passive voice). An analytical language, in contrast draws out each of these morphemes into its own discrete element. The archetypal analytic language is Mandarin, which carries this out literally, even down to its orthography. German, comparatively, however, became distinctly more analytic than the rest of IPA as a result of its defined stress structure, although this was a long time coming. Even into Old English there was still an instrumental case.

    One innovation of the Germanic languages was the tendency to distinguish between nouns and descriptive adjectives. Traditional IE languages such as Latin do not distinguish between the two elements, and decline both identically. For example, look at how Latin would declin the phrase "good friend"

    Column 1 Column 2 Column 3
    Case Singular Plural
    Nominative bonus amîcus bonî amîcî
    Genitive bonî amîcî bonôrum amîcôrum
    Dative bonô amîcô bonîs amîcîs
    Accusative bonum amîcum bonôs amîcôs
    Vocative bone amîce bonî amîcî
    Ablative bonô amîcô bonîs amîcîs


    In Germanic languages, this paradigm fundamentally shifted, however. For one thing, Germanic adopted a distinction between "strong" and "weak" adjectival declensions. The strong declension contains both nominal (as in the noun in the subject position, as opposed to an object or prepositional position) and pronominal elements, whereas the weak declension is purely nominal. Moreover, this trend was extended to the descriptive adjective, creating a new morphological category. Contrast the Latin table above with the Gothic phrase "holy day", and its various declensions. the word "holy" is declined as a strong adjective. The pronominal endings are bolded, and the case of the personal pronoun of the third person masculine is included in parenthesis where appropriate:

    Column 1 Column 2 Column 3
    Case Singular Plural
    Nominative weihs dags weihái (eis) dagôs
    Genitive weihis dagis weiháizê (izê) dagê
    Dative weihamma (imma) daga weiháim (im) dagam
    Accusative weihana (ina) dag weihans dagans


    The Germanic weak adjectival declension, by contrast, looks remarkably similar to the IE nominal, characterized by the n-suffix. Compare the Latin and Gothic declensions for the word "man"

    Column 1 Column 2 Column 3
    Case Singular Plural
    Nominative homô hominês
    Genitive hominis hominum
    Dative hominî hominibus
    Accusative hominem hominês
    Ablative homine hominibus


    Column 1 Column 2 Column 3
    Case Singular Plural
    Nominative guma gumans
    Genitive gumins gumanê
    Dative gumin gumam
    Accusative guman gumans


    This plays heavily into the distinction between Latin as a synthetic language and Germanic as an analytic one. Take for example in Latin, the ability to impart nominal meaning onto adjectival quality. For example the Latin word catus "sly" can be easily declined to catô, to change the meaning to "the sly one". Germanic could do this with weak adjectives, for example Gthc dwals "foolish" to dwala, the fool. But in strong form adjectives and nouns were created as distinct entities.

    Another major innovation in Germanic was the introduction of a regularized Ablaut "preterite". By this it is meant that a regular and systematic alteration of the root verb is used to distinguish between past and present tense. We have this in English in the form of irregular verbs, such as sing-sang, or give-gave. While other IE languages had this, for example factus-fêcî "made-I made", and stâre-stetî "to stand-I stood", Germanic took it to an entirely different level For example, look at the conjugations of various verbs in Old High German:

    Column 1 Column 2 Column 3 Column 4
    Present Preterite Singular Preterite Plural Past Participle
    rîtan reit ritum giritan
    biogan boug bugum gibogan
    bintan bant buntum gibuntan
    nëman nam nâmum ginoman
    gëban gaf gâbum gigëban


    The final especially interesting aspect of PGmc. is its interesting blend of traditional IE words, such a Fenster (Latin: fenestra), Kampf (Latin: campus), Küche (Latin coquîna), or Pfeffer (Latin: piper) and its own set of wholly new and unrelated words, particularly in the areas of agriculture, animal husbandry, hunting, and warfare. Examples include in German, Beere, Bohne, Wachs, Schaf, Kalb, Fleisch, Reiher, Bogen, Spieß, Schild, Helm, as well as Governmental and Seafaring words such as Herzog, König, Volk, Ding, Dieb, Aal, Netze, Reede, Schiff, Kiel, Möwe, Lee, as well as the cardinal points of the compass, which all western Romance languages have inherited directly from Germanic languages (remember North, South, East, and West are Borealis, Occidentalis, Orientalis, and Australis in Latin, respectively).


    The Germanic Family Tree and the Disapora of the Germanic Language Family

    Although the origins of Germanic as a language family distinct from Indo-European traces back to the early Bronze Age, no evidence of any kind emerges until the 2nd century, B.C., when we begin to get historical allusions to the Germanic tribes, and even then we don't get any written evidence from the Germanic speakers themselves until the 4th century, AD, when we begin to get testimony in the form of runes carved on bone, stone and metal.

    What we do know, however, is that during the Bronze Age (roughly 1500-500 BC), Germanic speakers could be found east to the Oder River, and by 800 B.C. northern Germany to the Vistula was inhabited by Germanic speakers, comprising an area roughly equivalent to the historical boundaries of Low German. Around 600 BC, Germanic speakers from around the mouth of the Elbe began to follow the river southwards into Upper Saxony. In the 1st Century BC, it is believed that the tribes comprising the Vandals, Burgundians, and Goths left Scandinavia and began their movements eastward.

    The result of these movements is that by the time of the birth of Christ, the Germanic-speaking peoples had developed into 5 distinct, archaeologically identifiable groupings. The first group were the Germanic-speakers who remained in the ancestral homeland in Scandinavia. These are referred to as the Nordgermanen. The second group constitutes the groups which moved Eastward into the region between the Oder and Vistula Rivers. This group is known as the Ostgermanen or Oder-Weichsel-Germanen. The other three groups are normally lumped together into Westgermanen and are the group residing in Northern Europe between the modern day Low Countries and the Elbe. These three groups are the Nordsee-Germanen, Weser-Rhein-Germanen, and Elb-Germanen. Going from Tacius' Germania, it would seem that the Elb-Germanen correspond roughly to the "Suebi", encompassing specifically the Alemanni, Langobardi, Hermunduri, Marcomanni, and Quadi. The Alemanni in the 3rd century AD spread out into southwestern Germany until they were expunged by Chlodwig of the Franks, after which they moved farther south. The Hermunduri settled in Thuringia, the Langobardi moved through the Hungarian plains before settling in Italy as the Lombards in the later sixth century. The Marcomanni and Quadi were settled along the Eastern bank of the Main River. The Quadi moved eastwards into Hungary where they subsequently vanished from the historical record, while the Marcomanni, after being defeated by a Roman army in 9 BC, moved into the forest of Bohemia, before ultimately moving into southern Bavaria in the 6th century. Due to their resultant movements, the Alemanni, Bavarians (Marcomanni) and Langobardi are often referred to collectively as Alpengermanen.

    The Weser-Rhine Germans emerged later as the Franks and Hessians, residing in the present day Franconia, as well as in the Low Countries of Netherlands, Belgium, and even as far west as Northern France. Parts of this group merged with the North Sea Germans, that is the Frisians, Angles, Saxons, and later Anglo-Saxons, Saxons (Niedersachsen), and Frisians.

    The Nordgermanen stayed in Scandinavia, eventually emerging as the Norwegians and Swedes of Viking fame. The Ostgermanen, on the other hand, undertook the most extensive migrations of the Germanic speaking peoples. The Goths moved eastwards, hitting the Black Sea sometime in the 4th century, moving into Bulgaria in 348, before moving further west into France and Spain. Apparently remnants of the Goths survived in Crimea as late as the 16th century, with accounts from a Flemish nobleman living in Constantinople at that time recording some words and phrases from a dialect of of Gothic now called Krimgotisch.

    The Vandals left their homeland in northern Hungary at the beginning of the 5th century, embarking on a fabled and oft-repeated series of migrations and conquests that took them through Germany, France, and ultimately Spain, before they famously crossed the straits of Gibraltar, establishing an empire in Africa in 429 under Gaiseric. This empire had a long and interesting relationship with the Western Roman Empire, several times over expounded upon in this thread, so I don't feel this needs further exploration.

    The Burgundians settled in upper Main, and moved eventually upriver to Worms. After defeat at the hands of the Huns in 437 they relocated into Southeastern Gaul before being famously conquered by the Franks.

    Problems with "West Germanic"

    We find in the concept of "West Germanic Tribes" one of the common issues facing linguists; that when the archaeological and historical evidence available doesn't match up particularly well to linguistic analyses which have been carried out. The first and most pressing issue linguists run in to in this division of Germanic into "North" "South" and "West" is that there really is no written evidence of any Germanic languages to speak of until Bishop Ulfilas' translation of the Bible into Gothic in the 4th century, and a few runic inscriptions of Old Norse from the century. Other than that (and a few dubious inscriptions of Vandal found in Africa) there is quite literally nothing of "West Germanic" languages aside from some Latin transcriptions of some Germanic words.

    The assumption, based particular on Germanicus' division of the "German" tribes (based, according to him, on their own definitions) into Ingaevones, Herminones, and Istaevones. Based on these distinctions it would be assumed that Old High German and Old English (two of the most well-documented offspring of "West Germanic") would have more in common with each other than their North or East Germanic cousins. However, although Old High German and Old English do have much in common with one another (as do their modern variants today), they contain an equal, or in some important cases even greater amount in common with North and East Germanic languages.

    In the first part West Germanic has a lot in common with North Germanic which North Germanic does not have in common with East Germanic (Old Norse and Gothic are presumed to be more closely related to one another than either of them is to West Germanic). For example in both West and North Germanic ê appears as â, where Gothic does not manifest this change, as demonstrated in the table below:

    Column 1 Column 2 Column 3
    Gothic Old Saxon Old Norse
    (manna-)sêþs "mankind" sâd "seed" sâd "seed"
    gêbum "we gave" gâƀum¹ gâfum


    ¹The ƀ, or "b with a stroke" is a Germanic representation of the bilabial fricative (represented by a β in IPA)

    Another good example of the similarities between North Germanic and West Germanic would be that the Gmc. þl- corresponds to WGmc. and NGmc. fl-

    Column 1 Column 2 Column 3
    Gothic Old Saxon Old Norse
    þliuhan "flee" fliôhan flyja


    Finally there are a significantly large amount of words which exist in both NGmc. and WGmc. but not in EGmc. such as Kohle, sagen, Segel, and sterben

    Moreover, Old High German in many cases has more in common with its EGmc. cousin Gothic than it does with its WGmc. brethren Old Saxon and Old English. For example in the cases of personal pronouns:

    Column 1 Column 2 Column 3 Column 4
    Gothic Old High German Old Saxon Old English
    is er² he he
    weis wir² wi we
    mis mir mi me

    ² The r of OHG is a standard development from the voiced alveolar fricative in PGmc. (z). In Gothic this voiced z would become an unvoiced s when occurring in the final position of a word. In OHG this changed to an r. This process is called a rhotacism

    All tenuousness of the classifications aside, the distinctions of the three groups of Germanic languages is still retained, although as has clearly been show it is certainly at this point a misnomer. Many attempts have been made over the last century or so reconcile the linguistic and archaeological with the historical, most notably by Ferdinand Wrede with his Ingwäonentheorie and later Friedrich Mauer's theories about the influences of Gothic on continental Germanic, but both of these arguments for various reasons have been found insufficient. However regardless of how you fall on the use or misuse of "Western Germanic" it is quite clear that by the 5th century the German language had begun to take shape through the blending of three dialectic groups: the North Sea Germans (i.e. the Saxons)m, the Weser-Rhine Germans (Franks) abnd the Elbe Germans (Alemannians, Bavarians, and Longobardians).

    Vulgar Latin in Roman Gaul

    Before we turn to the entrance of the Franks and Burgundians to Gaul and analyze these peoples' influences on what would come to be the French language, it would be prudent to look at Vulgar Latin, that is, the Latin of the peoples in the Roman province of Gaul prior to the introduction of the Germanic Frankish language so as better to understand its influence.

    The interesting aspect of Vulgar Latin, or rather, what we know of Vulgar Latin is that it appeared to be fairly homogeneous throughout the Roman Empire. The most important distinguishing factors of Vulgar Latin are that [h] (that is, the glottal fricative) has no phonetic value, and the diphthongs [æ] (aɪ in IPA; as in "eye") and [œ] (ɔɪ in IPA; roughly equivalent to the oi in "coil") were reduced to the IPA [ɛ] and [e] (the e in "dress" and the ay in "play" in American English) respectively. The classical neuter plurals in -a are reexpressed as the feminine singular, while masculine and neuter substantives (-us and -um, respectively) are commonly confused. Synthetic passives are rarely used, a new compound tense involving the very habere with a perfect participle (seen in modern Spanish as the perfecto tense) begins to be used. Vulgar Latin tends to make less use of the complex case system of Classical Latin, replacing it with heavier use of prepositions. Vulgar Latin was also heavily influenced by the early Church, notably in the form of the introduction of numerous Greek words, such as angelus (angel), ecclesia (church) (église), diaconus 'deacon' (diacre), episcopus 'bishop' (évêque), etc. (For the record, Germanic languages experienced the same process when they came into contact with the early Christian church.

    It is important to note that until the 5th century Gaul remained in fairly close contact with Rome and thereby the rest of the Roman empire and thus it is understandable that beyond dialectical and pronunciation differences, the Latin of Gaul would not be too different from, say, the Latin of Rome. The one distinct difference, however, lay in the vocabulary of Gaulish Latin, which maintained a number of Gaulish loan words, most having to do with agriculture and the herding of animals.
     
  5. schlaufuchs

    schlaufuchs La Femme Moderne

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    With this in mind we can now turn to the "Western Germanic" of the Franks. By the 5th or 6th century a group of people known as "The Franks" had been identified. They spoke a number of languages and dialects ascribed to either the term "Old Frankish" or the more general "Low Franconian". The language group was a "West Germanic" one originating from the Rhine-Weser group identified earlier. Old Frankish, what the Franks were believed to have spoken doesn't actually exist, as we have very little of the Franks' original language (if such a language existed at all), and rather is a reconstruction based on various Low German languages such as Dutch.

    Again the causes and effects of the Frankish "invasion" or "migration" or whatever you wish to call it or describe it has been something gone over several times in this thread so I won't bore you with another description. However, the effect on the Vulgar Latin of Gaul, and in particular that of Northern Gaul (the locus of the Frankish conquests) is certainly visible and profound, a subject I'll explore in depth in just a bit, but first we must look at the effect of the resultant isolation the introduction of the various Germanic tribes to Gaul brought about to Vulgar Latin in Gaul.

    In addition to the influence of the Germanic Franks, the very fact that "Francia" fell out of contact with the rest of the Roman empire for much of the period had a severe effect on Latin in the region, particularly in the form of exaggerating tendencies which were already beginning to form prior to the breakdown of contact. For example the placing of before an initial followed by a consonant: isperare (espérer), ispo(n)sa (épouse), iscola (école). In addition a great deal of syncope - the reduction of syllables, particularly in words were a stressed syllable is followed by two unstressed ones began to occur, for example postus or positus or domnus for dominus. Additionally Francia Latin experienced a reduction of the perfect ending from avit or aut, and the change of [k] and [t]+yod to [ts], implied in spellings such as tercia for tertia, stacio for statio.

    There are a great many more changes which Latin in this region underwent during this time and I won't bore you with any more of the details. Suffice it to say, the lack of contact with the rest of the Roman world had a large effect on Latin in the region, however the fact that Latin was retained as the language of law and kingship rather than the Germanic Old Frankish is important as one of the reasons that French retained many of its Latin roots.

    In spite of the Gaulish retention of Latin, the effect Frankish had on Gaulish Latin is both deep and profound. A great deal of words in Old French and even French today are of Germanic origin, particularly in vocabulary of military origins, such as Fr. guerre "war" <Gmc. *werra, OFr. brand "sword" < Gmc. *brand-, OFr. gonfalon "battle flag" < Gmc. *gun-fanan, OFr. heaume "helmet" < Gmc. *helm.

    Additionally, the introduction of new Germanic suffixes opened the possibility of new word formations. Thus we see that Germanic suffixes -hart and -walt gave rise to OFr. -art (expressed in Modern Fr. as -ard and -aut (Mod. -aud), seen in Modern French Words such as veillard and badaud.

    Some Germanic loan-words contained sounds which weren't easily transcribable to Latin. A good example of this is the strongly aspirated initial [x] of Germanic being represented by the letter h, which, as mentioned above, had ceased to contain any phonetic value in Vulgar Latin outside of its traditional use in orthography. The h in French is no longer aspirated, but the affect this loan-spelling had is visible in modern French in the form of those pesky exceptions which do not elide, for example in the term haricots-verts. Words beginning with a [w] were written as uu by scribes to distinguish it from the latin v. This sound eventually became expressed as [gw] before becoming a [g] by the 12th century.

    Germanic language had another very striking effect on Gaulish Vulgar Latin in the reduction of paroxytons, the loss of final unstressed syllables, and extensive diphthonization in stressed syllables (although the reduction of proparoxytons had begun earlier). Syllabically, Vulgar Latin words were of the three types: oxytons, paroxytons, and proparoxytons. An oxyton is a word which bears the stress on the final syllable. However in Vulgar Latin this only applied to monosyllables. Paroxytons were all words stressed on the second to last syllable, where the penultimate syllable was long. If the penultimate syllable was short then the stress fell on the antepenultimate syllable. Words in which this occurs are known as proparoxyton. So for example:

    Column 1 Column 2
    Oxytons non, hoc, et, ac, me
    Paroxytons múri, pórta, máre, hábet
    Proparoxytons véndere, cúmulus, cámera


    Now as I mentioned earlier, one of the most defining features of the Germanic language family as distinct from the rest of Indo-European is that Germanic languages strictly place the stress of the word on its root, with the result being a clipping of sounds towards the ends of words. With that in mind it would appear that the Franks in their adoption of Latin seemed to retain this adherence. Although strictly speaking the Franks maintained the stresses in the correct places, they tended to overemphasize the stress, leading to a "swallowing" of some of the syllables preceding the stress and a reduction of syllables following the stress. In words in which the vowel of the stressed syllable was 'free' (that is, not proceeded by a consonant), that vowel tended to undergo a considerable lengthening or drawling, resulting in that vowel tending to undergo a diphthonging (A diphthong is a vowel which is actually a combination of two separate vowels which are combined so as to sound like one sound. Examples of diphthongs would include [e&#618;] as in ache or [a&#618;] as in ice.

    We can see this in a variety of changes as expressed in O. Fr, for example múri > mur, hábet>a, and máre>mer

    The final result of this tendency was that in consonants which had previously been separated by a vowel came into contact with groups which necessitated the preservation of the vowel in the final syllable to facilitate articulation, these final vowels would be retained as [&#601;]. We can see this in a variety of French words, for example in véndere > vendre

    Finally, French took on a number of very distinctly Germanic grammatical elements. For example, both languages began employing an old demonstrative pronoun (English this, that) as the definite article, and the numeral "one" as the indefinite. Along similar lines, the word for "man" (OHG man; Lat. homo > Fr. on) came to be used as an indefinite pronound.

    Finally, and perhaps most strikingly, French adopted a compound tense. The interesting aspect of this is that neither PGmc. nor Lat. would have done this. Latin would have expressed "I have done" via the perfect tense fêcî, and Germanic would have used the preterite (Ich tat), however both German and French adopted a similar tense ich habe getan and j'ai fait in German and French respectively. Equally interesting (to me at least) is that both have near identical rules about the use of the verb to be as a hilfsverb for certain verbs, usually relating to subjects of location or status change (ich bin gekommen, and je suis venu, for example). This would point perhaps, not only to the Franks' considerable influence on the development of that strain of Vulgar Latin which would eventually become Old French, but also to the strains of Western Germanic which would eventually become Old High German.

    For the final portion of this post, and because I think this post is absolutely beginning to become altogether way too long for the purposes I had originally intended it, I think it would be prudent to return briefly to the rest of the Germanic homeland and analyze the development of those strands of Western Germanic that would come to be "Old High German", looking at the key sound shift it underwent, before finally concluding.

    First it would be prudent for completions' sake to look at the status and division of Germanic languages in the regions of Saxony and "Middle Germany". Firstly it should be noted that when I say "Middle German" as distinct from "Upper German", I am referring to the various Franconian dialects operating along the lower Rhine, with Upper German referring to Bavarian and Alemannic. It must be noted that any boundaries drawn between these regions are not definite borders and relect the existence of transition-zones representing a more gradual change from one language group to another. (A popular demonstration of this is the notion that if one went, say village to village from Palermo all the way overland to A Coruña in Galicia one would not notice any sort of appreciable difference between languages from village to village even though the area spanned in this movement entails crossing 3 countries and at least 6-7 distinct languages.)

    North of the Middle German area of Franconia lie those dialects of Low German which did not exhibit the consonant shift which occurred in High German. Low German can be further subdivided into three groups: Low Franconian (Dutch, Flemish, Old Frankish), Frisian, and Low German (Niedersächsisch, or Plattdeutsch.) It is indefinite how many individual languages and dialects these subdivisions entailed, but linguists have identified at least fifteen regional groupings distinct enough in sound, structure, and vocabulary to warrant being identified as dialects. Roughly speaking, the boundary between High German and Low German would begin at Aachen, arching above Köln to Benrath, dipping briefly to the south, and then running east by northeast just below Düsseldorf, Kassel, Magdeburg, and Frankfurt an der Oder until it hits the territory belonging to the Slavic languages. Everything north of this region comprises "Low German" speech, with everything below being High German.

    The High German Consonant Shift

    The German Language underwent a serious change during these last centuries before historical documentation of the language began. This shift first began sometime in the 5th century, with this shift defining the major differences between the High German of Bavarian and Alemannic and the Low German of Saxony and the Low Countries. The fundamental shifts of this change involved the voiceless plosives (p, t, k) and the voiced fricatives (&#946;, ð, and &#611;) of Proto-Germanic.

    Essentially when occurring in either word-initially position, medially following a consonant, or in gemination (when doubled), the Gmc. p, t, and k developed into the affricates pf, ts (spelled with a z in german), and k&#967; (spelled as a kh in the following examples)

    Go. páida - OHG pfeit "dress"
    Go. twái - OHG zwei "two"
    Go. kaúrn - OHG khorn "corn

    ME stampen - OHG stampfôn "stamp"
    Go. haírto - OHG herza "heart"
    Go. drigkan - OHG trinkhan "drink"

    NE dapper - OHG tapfer "brave"
    OE settan - OHG setzan "set"
    OS wekkian - OHG wecchan "wake"

    Moreover, in all other positions - i.e. medially between vowels, and in final position when immediately preceded by a vowel, the Germanic voiceless plosives become the voiceless fricative f, s, &#967;:

    Go. slêpan - OHG slâf(f)an "sleep"
    Go. êtum - OHG âzum "(we) ate"
    Go. mikils - OHG mihhil "much"

    Go. skip - OHG skif "ship"
    OE fôt - OHG fuoz "foot"
    Go. ik - OHG ih "I"

    Much of the differentation in German (even up until today) is visible in which dialects of German accepted which parts of the shift. In Bavarian and Alemannic the full force of the consonant shift occurred, with say, East Franconian retaining the Gmc. k, Rhenish Franconian remaining unshifted, particularly with the affricate pf, and in Middle Franconian the Gmc. voiceless stops p and k remaining unaltered.

    So in summation the Gallo-Romans who comprised the Roman Gaul retained to a great extent the Vulgar Latin that they spoke prior to the introduction of the Franks into the region in the 5th century. This could have been due to the retention of Latin as the language of law and the upper class in the subsequent Salian Frankish Kingdoms (one of my books notes, in perhaps the smuggest manner imaginable, that the very Salic proscription which famously established the rules for Frankish inheritance was itself written in Latin). It could just as easily be that the penetration of the Franks into "Francia" was not as deep and widespread as some like to state. It should be noted that many of the changes listed above were only truly seen in Northern Gaul, and that the Latin of Southern Gaul (that which ultimately became the "Occitan of the south of France) retained many more of the elements of Latin. However, that being said the effect the Franks had on the Vulgar Latin of northern Gaul was indeed considerable, as I hope I showed, that it was equally considerable in the dialects which came to be known as Old High German.

    Anyway, that&#8217;s it in a nutshell. I only hope that monstrosity of a post, coming in at over 6000 words and 17 pages (according to MS Word) is useful to you. It&#8217;s a bit of a mess, and I certainly stopped myself short on talking about OHG because I simply couldn't will myself to go any further and I wanted to have something to show after all this work, but I hope you at least derive some sense from it. It&#8217;s been a grueling two days, but I&#8217;m certainly glad I did it. I&#8217;ve been planning for awhile to write a more extensive article on the history of the Germanic language, analyzing the development of the various strands of the language family and looking at how they manifest in today&#8217;s world, but that would require much more research than I have done today. But this is a nice start to that. Anyway, have fun with that, I&#8217;m going to go grab some dinner!
     
  6. ace99

    ace99 Deity

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    I always wondered what it looked like to nuke something from orbit. Now I know.
     
  7. Phrossack

    Phrossack Armored Fish and Armored Men

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    Well now, Glyndwr, you're quite the linguist! I've been starting to get interested in linguistics myself, and I really like seeing how related languages have cognates even after all these centuries. But my laziness prevents me from doing much about it.
     
  8. History_Buff

    History_Buff Knight of Cydonia

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    Indeed, I read this shortly after you posted it, but it was so awesomely detailed that I probably didn't really grasp half of it (all the pronunciations and wordshifts mostly). But nevertheless, it is an awesome set of post.

    Also very cool that the definition of proto-language is what it is. Never knew that, but it makes complete sense. Also weird to think, that them both being Indo-European, Germanic and Latin probably shared some common ancestor lost to the ages.
     
  9. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    Interesting thread, I have only discovered it now.

    Re: OP - indeed, we don't know for sure to what extent are the stories of the "Migration Period" true, except for some of them - like for example the Anglo-Saxon migration to Britain or the Slavic migration to South-Eastern Europe (ie. the Balkans) and to what is now East Germany, for which we have actual evidence - and the language of inhabitants changed in those regions. But for most of other cases not so much evidence exists. Yet still we don't know what was the exact contribution of newcomers versus that of respectively Anglo-Saxonized / Slavicized locals in terms of percent, in the processes of ethnogenesis that occured.

    Several excerpts from Michael Kulikowski's book &#8220;Rome&#8217;s Gothic Wars from the Third Century to Alaric&#8221; (Cambridge University Press), 2006:

    Page 51:

    "Jordanes, of course, tells us all sorts of stories about the Goths, placing their origins some 2,030 years before the time of his writing, and linking them to Biblical, Greek, Roman, and Near Eastern history in a bizarre melange of material from different sources. Most of these stories have held little interest for scholars since the Renaissance &#8211; no one has tried to prove the historicity of Philip of Macedon&#8217;s marriage to Medopa, the supposed daughter of a supposed Gothic king named Gudila. On the contrary, there is just one story in Jordanes that scholars have clung to for centuries &#8211; the narrative of Gothic migration out of Scandinavia, &#8216;as if out of a womb of nations&#8217;."

    Pages 54 - 55:

    "Why should Jordanes&#8217; migration story be more credible than his story that the Egyptian king Vesosis made war upon the Gothic king Tanausis, who defeated him and chased him all the way back to the Nile? Along with many other changes in our understanding of ancient historical texts, the past two decades have witnessed a realization that we need to take each of them as a whole, reading it in context and in its entirety. We cannot simply pick and choose among the evidence offered by a text on the grounds of its seeming plausible or &#8216;historical&#8217;. We must, on the contrary, demonstrate why, in the whole context in which it appears, a particular piece of evidence is authentic. (...) Because of all this, we are not justified in taking Jordanes&#8217; Getica as the narrative foundation for our own Gothic histories."

    Page 64 - regarding previous attempts to link various archaeological cultures with the Gothic migration:

    "For one thing, the S &#710;antana-de-Mures¸/Cernjachov culture is extremely diverse. As we shall see in the next chapter, the artefacts, construction techniques, and burial practices found within the S &#710;antana-de-Mures¸/Cernjachov zone have parallels with earlier cultural traditions within the zone itself, with Roman provincial culture, with the Wielbark and Przeworsk cultures to the north and west, and with the steppe cultures of the east. The Wielbark elements in the S &#710;antana-de-Mures¸/Cernjachov culture are no more numerous than other elements, so there is no archaeological reason to privilege them over others. Even if Wielbark artefacts were dominant in the S &#710;antana-de-Mures¸/Cernjachov zone, they would not necessarily signify the same thing in both places: artefacts that are emblematic of one thing in one place may change meaning radically if transposed to another. More importantly still, the closeness of the artefactual connections between the two cultures is not as great as is usually asserted. Indeed, their chief point of intersection is not particular artefacts, but the fact that weapon burials are absent from the Wielbark and rare in the S &#710;antana-de-Mures¸/Cernjachov zones. In purely logical terms, a negative characteristic is less convincing proof of similarity than a positive one, and the fact that weapon burials are commonest where archaeological investigation has been most intensive suggests that our evidentiary base is anything but representative. Given this, why should the Wielbark&#8211;S&#710;antana-de-Mures¸/Cernjachov connection seem so self-evident to so many scholars? One answer is an old methodology that seeks to explain changes in material culture by reference to migration. The other is Jordanes."

    Page 66 - Scandinavian origin theory of the Goths has been disproved in 1970, but is the Polish origin theory true, or also false?:

    "In 1970, Rolf Hachmann disproved the Scandinavian connection on archaeological grounds, thereby making necessary new theories of ethnogenesis such as we have looked at earlier. But the question has remained the same for the Baltic&#8211;Black Sea sequence: can one prove or disprove Jordanes? If we did not have Jordanes, that connection would not seem self-evident. Taken on purely archaeological grounds, without reference to our one piece of textual evidence, there is no reason to interpret the Wielbark and the S&#710;antana-de-Mures¸/Cernjachov cultures as close cousins."

    Kulikowski refers to the book by Rolf Hachmann, &#8220;Die Goten und Skandinavien&#8221; (Berlin, 1970).

    There is no archeological evidence that Wielbark and Przeworsk archaeological cultures ever migrated from Poland somewhere else. They collapsed in the late 5th century but there is no evidence of distant migrations of those cultures.

    Page 67:

    "What, then, are we to make of all this? How are we to interpret the origins of the S&#710;antana-de-Mures¸/Cernjachov culture and the Gothic hegemony with which it coincides chronologically? Is there such a thing as Gothic history before the third century? 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 appear at the same time. That is clearly demonstrated by contemporary literary evidence, and indeed all the evidence of the fourth and fifth centuries &#8211; everything except the sixth-century Jordanes."

    According to English wikipedia article about Wielbark culture:

    In the first half of the 3rd century AD, the Wielbark culture started to expand from the Baltic Sea to Masovia and Lesser Poland. But the first securely attested Gothic raid into the Roman Empire took place in 238 AD, when the Goths attacked Histria on the Black Sea coast and sacked it. So the Goths must have arrived at the Black Sea coast much earlier than to Masovia and Lesser Poland.

    Who was then expanding in Poland from Baltic Sea to Masovia and Lesser Poland, if Goths were already at the Roman border?

    In 410 Alaric and Goths sacked Rome after several centuries of living in Italy as Roman Empire's inhabitants and fighting for Rome as its soldiers. But in 410 Wielbark culture still existed in Poland. It started to disappear after 450. Who was living in Poland when Alaric and Goths sacked Rome? Could the Goths be in two different places separated by thousands of kilometers at the same time?

    And if they were in two different places at the same time then what is the reason to think that they ever left one of those places?
     
  10. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    More on Goths:

    From Guy Halsall's book "Barbarian Migration and the Roman West", Cambridge University Press 2007:

    Page 132:

    "The Cernjachov culture is a mixture of all sorts of influences but most come from the existing cultures in the region. It has been argued that it evolves directly from the Wielbark culture of the lower Vistula and that the spread from Wielbark to Cernjachov is archaeological proof of the Goths&#8217; migration from the shores of the Baltic. This notion should not be entirely rejected but it needs considerable modification. The source for the Gothic migration from Scandinavia is Jordanes&#8217; Getica, which is deeply problematic and certainly cannot be used as evidence for migration. The Wielbark culture begins earlier than the Cernjachov but its later phases cover the same period as the latter. There is thus no chronological development from one to the other. Furthermore, although the Wielbark culture does spread up the Vistula during its history, its geographical overlap with the Cernjachov culture is minimal. These facts make it improbable that the Cernjachov culture was descended from the Wielbark. Although it is often claimed that Cernjachov metalwork derives from Wielbark types, close examination reveals no more than a few types with general similarities to Wielbark analogues. Migration from the Wielbark territories is also proposed from the supposedly distinctive mix of cremation and inhumation. However, burial customs are rarely static and more than one area of barbaricum employed, at various times, a mixture of rites. The fourth century, in particular, saw widespread change in such practices. This evidence will not support the idea of a substantial migration."

    Guy Halsall essentially confirms what Michael Kulikowski wrote in his "Rome&#8217;s Gothic Wars from the Third Century to Alaric", 2006. There is no archeologicall evidence of any substantial migration of Wielbark culture south and it is very improbable that the Cernjachov culture was descended from the Wielbark culture. We know that Wielbark culture was still thriving in Poland in 410 A.D. when Goths sacked Rome and there is no evidence that it migrated anywhere.

    Guy Halsall writes on page 134:

    "There were two principal Gothic groups before 376 AD, although Peter Heather argues convincingly that this oversimplifies the situation. We know most about the western confederacy, the Tervingi, inhabiting the lands north of the lower Danube. Beyond them, on the steppes, lay the Greuthungi, although whether the Greuthungi comprised all the non-Tervingian Goths is debatable."

    In the beginning of the 3rd century Goths were present along the Black Sea shore and raided the Roman Empire from that area:



    According to some linguists - like prof. Frederik Kortland, "The Origin of the Goths" - Goths arrived to the Black Sea shore from Southern Germany:

    http://www.kortlandt.nl/publications/art198e.pdf

    "Witold Ma&#324;czak has argued that Gothic is closer to Upper German than to Middle German, closer to High German than to Low German, closer to German than to Scandinavian, closer to Danish than to Swedish, and that the original homeland of the Goths must therefore be located in the southernmost part of the Germanic territories, not in Scandinavia (1982, 1984, 1987a, 1987b, 1992). I think that his argument is correct and that it is time to abandon Iordanes&#8217; classic view that the Goths came from Scandinavia. We must therefore reconsider the grounds for adopting the latter position and the reasons why it always has remained popular."

    The "southernmost part of the Germanic territories" was near the Roman frontier indeed.

    It is possible that they were groups of mercenaries hired by Greek cities for protection. When they saw how weak Greek cities were they sacked them exactly as they did in 410 with Rome. Then they extended their influence into the steppe and north of the lower Danube.

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

    Isn't Denmark and Northern Germany considered to be the Proto-Germanic homeland, rather than (or together with) Scania in Sweden?
     
  11. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    The same happened in Britain - according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle it was a Romano-Briton leader, Vortigern, who first hired Anglo-Saxon mercenaries, and they later betrayed him:

    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/medieval.asp

     
  12. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Super Moderator

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    Yes, but while Vortigern was probably a real person, the tales of his dealings with Hengest and Horsa (who are legendary) and much of the other information about him are probably unhistorical.
     
  13. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    One can trace at least several barbarian groups in Roman territories by tracing Arians:

    http://www.mpov.uw.edu.pl/en/thesaurus/terms/arianism-

     
  14. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Super Moderator

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    Yes, but that article confuses Constantius II with Constantius I Chlorus, and is also mistaken in making Julian out to be favourable to Arianism. He cared nothing for one group of Christians over another, but his actions actually favoured the Nicenes, not the Arians. Also non-Arians aren't "Catholics", they're "Nicenes". Arianism wasn't a distinct church organisation but a theological position.
     
  15. daft

    daft The fargone

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    I perceive the barbarians of history pretty much like a viral/bacterial infection of a human body. They were unavoidable, hard to deal with, easibly curable, or deadly, depending on the circumstances.
     
  16. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

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    And in the case of the Roman Empire (because I know functionally nothing about any other culture's 'barbarians') a whole lot more complicated than that. Most of my knowledge of the 'barbarians' comes from Peter Heather who I understand spends most of his time trying to redecorate the classic migration narrative so it fits in with archaeological evidence and not quite succeeding. Yet even he goes to great lengths to emphasize how it was not a 'us vs them' construct with Rome and the 'barbarians'.
     
  17. daft

    daft The fargone

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    Very much so, us vs them, and in many of these cases the perceived "barbarians". were not the barbaric ones at all. In fact, their culture was older and richer than their Roman conquerors, but because their strength, numbers, and especially their military and cultural influence was inferior, they had in the end become Roman subjects.
     
  18. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    Peter Heather's book also has a 2014 Polish edition. I've bought it several days ago but haven't yet started reading it.

    Is it good in your opinions ??? Well I've already spent my money on it, but at least I might learn what to expect.

    Depends what exactly do you mean by "succeeding". Archaeology, linguistics, history and anthropology - each and all of these sciences have already analysed every possible scenario 10 times over again, and have exhausted all available possible interpretations of events. Yet they failed to provide definite answers. But a new science capable of tracing ancient migrations has emerged recently - the key dates being April 14, 2003 (announcement of the complete human genome) and February 28, 2012 (announcement of the first full ancient human genome ever sequenced - that of Ötzi the Iceman). The first date marked the birth of population genetics studies on the origin and dispersals of anatomically modern humans, the second date marked the birth of archaeogenetics. There is a chance that in near future these two - especially the latter - will contribute with some brand new findings to the debate on barbarian migrations.

    For example the following info was announced around April 2014:

    "This year [2014] begins a major research program, the goal of which is to examine ancient DNA from several dozen archaeological sites from the area of Poland. This project is supposed to test ancient DNA of inhabitants of Poland from pre-Roman, Roman, early Medieval and Medieval times and compare it to DNA of modern inhabitants. Research is going to last at least 5 years, its authors are - among others - prof. Hanna Ko&#263;ka-Krenz and prof. Janusz Piontek."

    As you know the area of Poland is thought to be the region from which a lot of barbarian tribes emigrated (including Goths and Vandals), and to which a lot of new ones immigrated, as well as some which are thought to have spent some time here on their way from one place to another.

    So this research might turn out to be crucial. But we have to wait until at least 2019 for the results.
     
  19. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    On Sep 15, 2012, 12:18 PM, Louis wrote (on page 5):

    Exactly. Any conclusions about ancient migrations based on frequencies distribution of DNA in modern populations are based mostly on assumptions (several such assumptions have already been debunked based among other things on ancient DNA samples discovered so far*). So what you really need is DNA extracted from ancient bones, not just profiles of modern populations. When you wrote your post above back in September 2012, we had almost no ancient DNA available (the very first one was Oetzi the Iceman, by the end of February 2012). As of February 2015 we already have a few hundreds of such samples. In five years from now there will be thousands of ancient DNA samples, allowing us to reconstruct genetic profiles of populations from different periods and regions.

    *For example the assumption about R1b and R1a haplogroups expanding into Europe from hypothesized "Last Glacial Maximum refugia".
     
  20. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

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    Heather has written several books on the subject, and I can't remember which one I read. (I think Fall of the Roman Empire.) What I remember from it is that it is a passable introduction to the topic that does a decent job breaking away from the 'wandering people' nonsense but still can't quite leave it behind even when it doesn't make sense. His analysis of how 'barbarians' and their identity became integrated into Roman society is passable, but doesn't do as good of a job at it as Halsall and feels a lot clunkier. Comparing Halsall and Heather, I feel Halsall puts together a more coherent analysis of the interaction of 'barbarian' and 'Roman' identities.
    However, the one area that I feel Halsall is a bit weak on is the Rhine Crossing of 410. I buy into Halsall's main arguments of how the Goths and Germanics became part of Roman power politics and civil wars and that their 'migratory wandering' is vast overstated, but he remains relatively silent on the Rhine Crossings which to my knowledge does fit the 'wandering people' narrative as the Vandals, Avars, and other Slavic groups worked their way through Gaul, Hispania, and for the Vandals, North Africa. They never really became part of the Roman politics like the Goths did, which sort of throws a wrench into Halsall's narrative.


    Oh, and using DNA evidence to try and show anything here is pretty much bunk as the cause of the collapse of the Roman empire was essentially caused by how people identified themselves. Roman landowners had no problem styling themselves as 'barbarian' warriors to stay in power when the 'barbarized'* Field Armies took over administration.

    *Soldiers would often adopt 'barbarian' stylings as 'barbarians' were viewed to be better warriors than Romans.
     

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