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Thread: The Origin of the Goths (F. Kortlandt)

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    Post Re: Getica: The Origins and Deeds of the Goths

    I've been wondering about the origin of the word Gepid. Some say it is from EGmc. *ga-paida- "wearing a coat", where *paida- is a borrowing or wanderwort from a probably eastern, i.e. Iranian or Ossetic source from PIE *baita- "goat-skin" (Koebler). However, the Greek word is spelt with a long e: Gêpaides, pronounced approx. "Gaay-PIE-dess," meaning "Gepids", which almost looks like a Greek compound Gê- "Earth" and pais, paida- "child" > "Earth-Children". I haven't seriously consulted any research for this inquiry, but am just starting to think about it.

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    Re: Getica: The Origins and Deeds of the Goths

    Recent archaeologists have found out that the Wielbark culture did not simply originate from the arrival of Scandinavian tribes in Pomerania. Instead, it developed from the local Oxhöft culture with some outside influences from Scandinavia. The Wielbark Culture had for example exactly the same territorial extent as the Oxhöft Culture and many cemeteries have been kept in use by these two societies. Wielbark communities comprised mostly members of continental Teutonic tribes with the addition of a few Scandinavian migrants who arrived in very small groups.
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    Re: Getica: The Origins and Deeds of the Goths

    I always wondered how large in terms of population the goths were around the hunnish arrival. Both east and west, does anybody have any credible sources or an educated opinion.

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    Re: Getica: The Origins and Deeds of the Goths

    Maybe about 2 to 2.5 million in total. It's very difficult to say because we have so few data for our estimates. The number of Visigoths that crossed the Danube in 376 to settle in Moesia was perhaps slightly upwards 1 million. That was a massive population transfer (today we would say "ethnic cleansing") because the total population of Europe was maybe only 20 million at that time. It is thought that the total population of "Germany" (Eastern Franks, Saxons, Thuringians, Bavarians, Lombards, etc.) was about 3.5 million 150 years later. The British Isles had maybe half a million people, Scandinavia even less. In the whole Frankish Kingdom lived maybe 5 or 6 million people, but they were not all Teutons.
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    AW: Re: Getica: The Origins and Deeds of the Goths

    Quote Originally Posted by Theudanaz
    I've been wondering about the origin of the word Gepid. Some say it is from EGmc. *ga-paida- "wearing a coat", where *paida- is a borrowing or wanderwort from a probably eastern, i.e. Iranian or Ossetic source from PIE *baita- "goat-skin" (Koebler). However, the Greek word is spelt with a long e: Gêpaides, pronounced approx. "Gaay-PIE-dess," meaning "Gepids", which almost looks like a Greek compound Gê- "Earth" and pais, paida- "child" > "Earth-Children". I haven't seriously consulted any research for this inquiry, but am just starting to think about it.
    Well what I found related to their name origin basically confirms what was written in the original link:
    The Gepids were an East Germanic tribe closely related to the Goths. According to the Sixth Century Gothic historian Jordanes, they were originally a sub-tribe of the Gothic people. The legend Jordanes recounts says that when the Goths crossed from Scandinavia under their ancient king Berig they arrived at the mouth of the Vistula in Poland in three ships. The third ship was the slowest, so the other Goths referred to the descendants of those on it as the "Gepanta" or 'sluggish ones'. This is, according to Jordanes, the origin of the name "Gepid".
    Source: http://www.ancientsites.com/aw/Families/Family/47641


    The Gepids were first mentioned around A.D. 260, when they participated with the Goths in an invasion in Dacia, where they were settled in Jordanes' time, the mid 6th century. Their early mythic origins are reported in Jordanes' Origins and Deeds of the Goths, where he claims that their name derives from their later and slower migration from Scandinavia:

    You surely remember that in the beginning I said the Goths went forth from the bosom of the island of Scandza with Berig, their king, sailing in only three ships toward the hither shore of Ocean, namely to Gothiscandza. One of these three ships proved to be slower than the others, as is usually the case, and thus is said to have given the tribe their name, for in their language gepanta means slow.. (xvii.94-95)
    Source: http://www.answers.com/topic/gepid

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    Re: AW: Re: Getica: The Origins and Deeds of the Goths

    Yes Bauernmadel that is what is typically said, because that is what the Greek author wrote. The Germanic form should have been something like */ghe:' pan d@/. Even a Greek with bad hearing would not have left out the n of the clust nd, which occurs often in Greek itself. Also it is difficult to explain the variation of "gEpaides" and "gEpides" in this context.

    Cleasby/Vigfusson note an ON root *gaufa which is supposed to be related to this "Gothic" *gepanta (in Gothic this should have read gaipanda or ? gaupanda, but Greek "ge:paides")

    Here is an interesting note I found recently, which suggests the O.N. version of the name was "gifdar", showing relation to Gapt, reputed first king of the Goths. (Could not Gapt = Capt, i.e. Caput, "head")


    From: "Bertil Häggman" <bertil.haggman@helsingborg.se>
    Date: Mon Sep 6, 1999 11:49 am
    Subject: [gothic-l] Gepanta and the Gepides bertil.haggman@helsingborg.se
    Send Email Ban Author





    The latest Swedish issue of _Getica_ comments that
    "gepanta" (slow), that Jordanes refers to as being
    typical of the Gepides, is not necessarily to relate
    to the name of the people. Can't find haliurunae in
    the index to the edition. The index is not very
    complete.

    A more reasonable explanation is that the name
    of the people comes from Gapt/Gaut. If I remember correctly
    the name of the Gepides was "gifdar" in Old Icelandic.

    Best wishes

    Bertil Haggman

    >Has any work been done... or what I mean to say is has anyone here
    >gotten off their lazy !@# and looked up work (so I don't have to) on
    >the Gothic words listed in the Getica? When I browsed this work years
    >ago I noted at least two... excuse me if I quote them incorrectly-
    >gepanta "slow" and haliurunae "witches"
    > It would be interesting to see analyses of these words, to figure out
    >what the actual Gothic forms would have been, and what they actually
    >would have meant.

    Then:

    jdm31-@aol.com wrote:
    original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/gothic-l/?start=777
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > The latest Swedish issue of _Getica_ comments that
    > "gepanta" (slow), that Jordanes refers to as being
    > typical of the Gepides, is not necessarily to relate
    > to the name of the people. Can't find haliurunae in
    > the index to the edition. The index is not very
    > complete.

    Well the gepanta <-> gepides connection is pretty obviously false,
    along wiht a lot of the Getica, but I was more wonderign about the word
    gepanta itself then to its connection to the Gepids.



    Quote Originally Posted by Aeternitas
    Well what I found related to their name origin basically confirms what was written in the original link:
    Source: http://www.ancientsites.com/aw/Families/Family/47641


    Source: http://www.answers.com/topic/gepid

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    Origin of the Goths

    The Goths are thought to have originally come from Gotland, a small island off Sweden. There are many reasons to belive this. One reason comes from the oral tradition of Gotland. Here is a quote from a 14th century manuscipt (Codex Holm) originally written in the old Gutnish Language, which is said to have many similarities with Gothic. The story relates how a portion of the Gotlanders were driven out due to overpopulation, and eventually settled in Greece. To see the whole translation go here,


    http://www.northvegr.org/lore/gutasaga/index.php


    Gotland was first discovered by a man called Thielvar. At this time Gotland was bewitched so that it sank by day and [only] surfaced at night. But that man brought fire to the land for the first time, and after that it never sank.

    This Thielvar had a son called Hafthi. And Hafthi's wife was called Whitestar. Those two were the first to settle on Gotland. The first night they slept together she dreamt that three snakes were coiled in her lap. And it seemed to her that they slid out of her lap. She told her dream to her husband Hafthi. He interpreted it thus:


    "All is bound with bangles,
    it will be inhabited, this land,
    and we shall have three sons."

    While still unborn, he gave them all names:

    "Guti will own Gotland,
    Graip will be the second,
    and Gunfiaun third."

    These then divided Gotland into three parts, so that Graip the eldest got the northern third, Guti the middle third, and Gunfjaun the youngest had the south. Then, over a long time, the people descended from these three multiplied so much that the land couldn't support them all. Then they draw lots, and every third person was picked to leave, and they could keep everything they owned and take it with them, except for their land. Then they were unwilling to leave, but went to Torsburgen and settled there. Then the country [Gotland] would not tolerate them, but drove them away.

    Then they went away to Fårö and settled there. They couldn't support themselves in that place, so they went to a certain island off the coast of Estland, called Dagö, and settled there and built a town that can still be seen. But they couldn't support themselves there either, so they went up the river Dvina, up through Russia. They went so far that they came to the land of the Greeks. They asked leave of the Greek king to stay there for the waxing and waning of the moon. The king granted that, thinking it was just for one month. Then after a month, he wanted to send them away, but they answered that the moon waxed and waned for ever and always, and so they said they were allowed to stay. Word of this dispute of theirs reached the queen. She said, "My lord king, you granted them permission to dwell for the waxing and waning of the moon; now that's for ever and always, so you can't take it off them." So they settled there, and live there still, and still have something of our language.

    *
    In those days, and for long afterwards, men believed in holt and howe (grove and grave-mound), sanctuaries and sacred enclosures, and in the heathen gods. They made offerings of their sons and daughters and cattle, with feasting and drinking. They did that in their error. The chief sacrifice among the people was the one for the whole land, but each Third had its own sacrifice, and the smaller assemblies had lesser sacrifices with cattle, food and ale. They were called suth-nautar, that is 'Brethren of the Boiling', because they cooked [the sacrificial feast] together.


    ...

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    Re: Origin of the Goths

    Here is a link on the Gotlanders,

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

    and on the Old Gutnish Language,

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

    If you want to know about the Goths who originally migrated from Gotland, a classical source is Jordanes. Don't take it literally though. It's an old (6th century) original source with many errors.

    http://www.romansonline.com/sources/....asp?Kl=FFFFBA

    Here is a modern source (Wikipedia),

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

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    Re: AW: Re: Getica: The Origins and Deeds of the Goths

    Quote Originally Posted by Theudanaz

    Well the gepanta <-> gepides connection is pretty obviously false,
    along wiht a lot of the Getica, but I was more wonderign about the word
    gepanta itself then to its connection to the Gepids.
    Hi, I'm new on this Forum and Romanian.
    Most of the basics of the gothic/gepid issues are to be tracked in today's Romania and I am highly interested.
    I am living in Cluj-Napoca and I can consult the Transylvanian Museum every day.

    1. Jordannes may be suspected for promoting the interests of a certain house Amal and telling sissi stories obout others.

    2. Until now, I find the following assumtions useful:
    a) gets=dacians(name given by Romans)
    b) Goths=Gets=Valachs=Walachians (today Romanians) are the same nation (mainly language and folklore)
    c) The antic Goths/Gets KINGS had a tradition in keeping track of their origins, from the prophets - i.e. a genealogy. (This is a Thracian habit employed by Alexander the Great and the Diadochs to impose their rule to other peoples. - not kings but Basileus or Woyevoda (Woda)-in our case) This approach is also used by Herodot. The pilgrimage to the saint remains (of christian saints) is still vivid in Romania today and was a common habit throughout the Middle Ages. This is an anti-democratic religion, the basic of gothic spirit !

    -So, the present people of Romania have as an ancestor in Vlach while the Germans have an ancestor in Mann (Ger-man= descendants of Mann) and Armenians are descendants of Armann and so on.
    - Gothic instead of getic is an ancient misspell, I cite
    http://forum.skycode.com/topic.asp?w...topic_id=49183
    "From the first century of our era onward, a very important part in the history of Central and South-Eastern Europe is played by the Getae. Some writers have called the Getae Dacians, other have preferred to call them Goths. Most of these people lived between the Danube and the Carpathian Mountains, althougth there were Getic settlements south of the Danube, and many others in the area north-east of the Carpathians. A vigorous campaign has been under way for a long time to retroactively make of the Goths a Germanic nation. This thesis should be rejected. In actual fact, every single bit of information at our disposal tends to prove that the Goths were none others than the Hutzuli, a branch of the Getae, a Thracian nation par excellence [39].
    [39].For an explanation of this onomastic puzzle (Getae = Goths) see G.Sotiroff, The Assassination of Justinian’s Personality, pp.135-140. Here we shall note only that, according to Julius Capitolinus, the father of Maximinus was a Goth. Maximinus never learned to speak Greek and, in his youth, hardly knew any Latin but spoke to the emperor (Alexander Severus) in “almost pure Thracian). (SHA, Maximini Duo, 1.7 and 2.5)
    "

    [b]- Get means 'holy' in the sense that getic(dacian) kings were direct descendants from Vlach and this was the criterion for succession (see get-beget in today Romanian). It appears that they conserved the remains of the ancestors as a proof. Many images from Trajan's Column present them with these gothic boxes in hand:



    - tumuli (burial mounds) were used by kings.

    - It appears that in the genealogies of the dannish/swedish kings there is a certain Geata which comes about 100AD as a ruler, originating from Scythia (actualy from Dacia around the 106AD - the Dacian war of Trajan). His genealogy is therefore that of the Dacian Kings, see: Hwala=Walach( Walhalla- a cemetery near his tomb) .... Taetwa = Tautzi is probably Decebalus the king defeated by the Romans and so on. We might use as an argument the Dacian habit of naming a person after his birth place. Therefore we might identify the birth places of Hwala and Taetwa (Tautzi) as the two nearby villages where they born. It is a story I shall build around their tumuli.

    3. The Jordannes story about the Scandinavian origin of the Goths, as not being gets etc. is accompanied by a story - perhaps a joke - of three boats in which the Ostroghots and Visigots brothers are saying to their slowest brother (Ge pid ...) which is a "what the heck" in the most pure today's Romanian.
    There are other Romanian fonems in Jordannes:
    - "Ansis"-themselves(Insisi in today Romanian). That is in 87 AD, after defeating Romans, a seccesion took place; some heroes (Gapt) took their independence and hence the defeat of the dacians(goths,gets) by Trajan in 102 and 106 AD.
    - ostrogotha (Lustra-gotha)- the fonem lustra means shining in today's Romanian
    - visigotha (Vaza-gota) - the fonem vaza means outstanding in today's Romanian.
    - a toponimic Tautis used by Jordannes, which was not identified as a big river actually means "source", tau in today's Romanian.

    So, it is always about Romanian speaking persons, the Gepidae meaning today's transylvanians which are slower (it is true and the term "Gepiz" contains an insult) while Ostrogothae are Moldavians and Visigothae are from Oltenia-Muntenia (South Romania).

    The inhabitants of ancient Dacia or so, were not sailsmen.

    Therefore the Getic(Dacian, Gepidic) origin of the Danish kings (a dynastic arrangement or so) is reliable and we might develop this line, while Jordannes stories are not.

    The Eastern Germanic language seems to be a scholastic term referring to German ASSUMED to be gothic . The holy texts used for discussion were found in Western Europe not in Eastern Europe while traces of these eastern germans persons are not found.

    Moreover, the scarce written indications from the Gepidae are written in Romanian and they seem to conserve the old Woyevodal institution - see the Woyevod on the throne - (photos taken by me in the window of the museum):
    http://download.academic.ro/muzeu/lingou-1.jpg

    which reads:
    "LUS FAMUS OBRISIC" , i.e. "shining and famous Obrisic" in old but intelligible Romanian.

    Another inscription contains the word "hodigna" which means rest in Romania - (I shall further develop this hOdina-Odin issue in connection with the danish connection above) :
    http://download.academic.ro/muzeu/lingou-3.jpg


    Therefore, in the space of today's Romania, Ucraina, Bulgaria, the Gepids, Ostrogoths and Visigoths were the natives themselves, hence no voelkerwanderung. Mainly and mostly warriors at work.
    As you shurely notice, these warriors were speaking Romanian (Dacian, Getic=Gothic) - the local idiom not German or a variant of German.
    Last edited by ciurchea; Thursday, May 4th, 2006 at 09:53 AM.

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    Re: AW: Re: Getica: The Origins and Deeds of the Goths

    Very interesting view. I known that the visigoths established themselves in France and Spain after the hun invasions (I read in some site that Catalunha comes from Getalunha or something like that), and the ostrogoths go to Italy. The gepids then remained in Romania.
    I thought that the original land of the goths was near the crimea, in southern Ukraine, but as you say it extended more to the west.
    But and the slavs? Some scholars say that their origins is in the carpathians, but others say that is in the west balkans. I read that the slavs (slovenes is the original name) acknowledged the overlordship of goths, and were governed by them. Maybe with the hun invasions, this cause a dispersion of slavs to south and north. But I read in a interview with Rob Darken that goths passed on Poland, maybe a branch of goths that travelled to the north with the slavs? The later appearance of slavs in history is very intriguing.
    Jordanes worked for the church. Putting the origins of all barbarians in Svithiod (Sweden) serves a purpose: in the high middle ages, Svithiod and Baltic regions were the only places in europe that were not converted to christianity, and Svithiod was more close to the Frankish Empire. The argument was used for continue the conversions, because more barbarians can go out from Svithiod and attack europe again. This really happened, during the viking age, and this reinforced that argument.

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