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Thread: How Did Germanic Tribes Maintain Cohesive Tribal Structures?

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    How Did Germanic Tribes Maintain Cohesive Tribal Structures?

    If we look at modern American tribes they tend to center around a church, throughout history in America and Europe a church whether protestant/mormon or catholic/orthodox has always been the center of the tribal life and the pastor(pastoral) would be the shepherd of that flock.

    Reading the history of Germanic tribes I have not noticed how their tribes maintained cohesiveness. We here a lot about "barbarian" warriors but how did the tribes maintain a sense of communal solidarity? In Europe right now we see muslims making gains on territories in Europe because they have a mosque to go to where they can be friendly with one another and listen to a leader for guidance.

    If someone is a warrior they have to be in training a lot. A warrior can only take on a pastoral role after their period of active duty has ended and they have time to take in their experiences and contemplate the world and observe society. If Germanic tribes were dominated by a warrior class they would have to be elders from the warrior class.

    Another possibility is that Germanics were dominated by a priest class, similar to preachers or rabbis or gurus or imams. Is their any evidence that they were dominated by a priest class or if not dominated by a priest class were they in some way advised by a priest class or at the very least did a priestly function enable the tribes to maintain some sort of cohesion?

    How did Germanic tribes maintain their solidarity and sense of common will and purpose? How were they ruled? If we look to Beowulf it seems that warriors were loyal to a King of Chief, but how would people in Germanic communities maintain the level of solidarity needed to be able to come together to defend their territory from others? Their had to have been festivals or community gatherings that were routine to do that.

    Did priests play a role in this? Did women of the tribe play a role in organizing social events? How did this happen?

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    Senior Member Uwe Jens Lornsen's Avatar
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    I don't think, that it is a special token for just Germanics .

    I think , that it is a Rural versus Urban conflict ;
    as described in the Old Testament as war between Israel and Jerusalem ,
    and nowerdays seen in Afghanistan against Kabul and probably in the election
    of Donald Trump in the U.S.A. .

    The Europeans east and north of the Alpes mountains were rural people .
    The Greek and Romans at that time could be considered urban people .


    The Priests at that time were our modern Academics, Historians and Scientists .

    Of course the physical force will always be stronger in short terms , than
    any psychological forces .


    A nation is defined as language .
    The "mothertongue" would define a nation for the female part .


    Much about Germanics is known by these encounering other folks ,
    while the Germanics ( and Celts ) were actively wandering around .

    Navigation and Astronomy were likely also warrior's leader's ( Captain , Hauptmann ) knowledge ,
    and Astrology likely was women's knowledge by herding children , while the husband being out hunting .

    At very many occasions , science was not needed anymore , sailing at coastlines and rivers .
    That is why I think , that science did not last well among Germanics , and that the warriors forgot
    about science , though clothmaking , food processing , metallurgy and shipbuilding could be considered Arts and Sciences , too .


    When I look at our farmers today , they have abandoned local habits , because of money and probably
    fear of being called backwards , and their children have not the possibility to teach the grandchildren .


    The city I would call cultureless , because the city changes too fast , to invent a culture .
    The city sacrifices the children for trade's sake and immigration's sake .
    Therefore the Linking of the Old Testament's Molech towards the Capital City is plausible to me .
    Mk 10:18 What do you call me a good master, no-one is good .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick View Post
    Another possibility is that Germanics were dominated by a priest class, similar to preachers or rabbis or gurus or imams. Is their any evidence that they were dominated by a priest class or if not dominated by a priest class were they in some way advised by a priest class or at the very least did a priestly function enable the tribes to maintain some sort of cohesion?
    The "Thing" was both a social and a religious function, where people gathered regularly, not only for the big festivals. At these Things justice was spoken, community goals discussed, festivals held. While Shamans were mostly males, the priest role often was female. Communities were generally small, a few hundred people at most, governed by chosen elders. Small communities are way easier to maintain, and social cohesion doesnt has to be "enforced", it's an inherent outgrowth of interdependence within the community.

    These villages however were not isolated. The big festivals of summer of winter solstice and others would see people from hundreds of kilometers away gathering at special places, also the priests and shamans would often wander between communities, so the culture was maintained over large distances. In addition members of communities would be exchanged with other communities through marriage, so there was a greater understanding and consciousness about the extended culture.

    The ruling class was rather complex. While there was generally something what one could call "king", it's not something to be confused with what we today understand under the term. In times, when the 'chosen elder' king would not be suitable (due to age or because she happened to be female), special warrior-kings would be chosen to go to battle. The ruling class was more a fluid concept comprised of more than one individual, a group of elders, a chieftain and priests, not a single individual. The "head" or king probably had his greatest role in law speaking.

    Culture is generally considered a female thing, passing it on to the children, teaching them the myths and legends and values and virtues, actively preparing them for whatever role they'd have in life.

    The patriarchic imposition that came with christianity pushed the female part into passivity and destroyed the balance of male and female roles, and through then larger cities arising, also eroding the underlying culture. In the countryside, in smaller villages, the culture and myths survived much longer and even into the 19th century. Indeed, moloch eats culture, fueled in addition through the industrial revolution, moving people across the map and seperating them from community=culture.

    Interestingly, the greatest destruction of culture came about through the "values" of the French Revolution, ultimately setting free the serfs and with that producing the (poor, anonymous and largely functionless) "masses" that since then are the object of politics.
    Ein Leben ist nichts, deine Sprosse sind alles
    Aller Sturm nimmt nichts, weil dein Wurzelgriff zu stark ist
    und endet meine Frist, weiss ich dass du noch da bist
    Gefürchtet von der Zeit, mein Baum, mein Stamm in Ewigkeit

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    What time period are you talking about? Pre-Roman contact and during contact period? I'm curious what the difference between "shamans" and "priests" might have been (and what data is used for that distinction).

    Who considers culture generally a feminine thing? Many have argued the opposite. Is that a particularly Germanic view? I know more about my own family and its history, especially on the feminine side, so at first, it would seem to me that from my own personal experience, yes, much has been passed down on the female side. However, my grandmother's notions of culture came largely from her father's family (and his father's and grandfather's family - which is quite traditional in Germanic tribes as well).

    Most cultures pass things down through both sides, but we (as gendered beings) often feel that one side or the other has been more important. It also depends on living arrangements. Like Native Americans, some German tribes were ambilocal, many were patrilocal, and many were matrilocal. At the same time, most of the information we have is coming from post-Roman and medieval records.

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    I tend to believe culture is ingrained in us and view it as a part of who we are as much as race, while you can't have an existing culture without having a existing race. These are my personal thoughts, meaning to say Germanic and being Germanic is just part of you and you are Germanic instinctively without trying. A example of this if is fish, does a fish naturally know it is in water? Does a German naturally know he is part of Germany? Nations/Tribes are made up of people of shared genetic backgrounds, they carry their culture with them.

    As I write this I'm sitting in the cultural melting pot that is New England, these people are so mixed up they don't know where they belong despite what they claim. I had a drink with a man from Ireland whom was born in Ireland, we started discussing all the self proclaimed "Irish" in the urban areas here and he made the statement that they are not Irish because they have one Irish grandmother. The same goes for anybody claiming whatever ethnicity in the area, they are all mixed and have bits and pieces of every ethnicity they belong to. So, I thought of myself, I have German parents does this make me German? Now having been to Germany several times in the last few years I can honestly say I'm not German, despite having more German habits and customs than the average American. Do I feel more a bond with Germany than I do America, yes but I'm still who I am....an American of German decent.

    How does all the above tie into how the Germanic tribes retained their culture? The Germanic tribes retained their culture by retaining their genetics and their sense of belonging.
    Life is like a fire hydrant- sometimes you help people put out their fires, but most of the time you just get peed on by every dog in the neighborhood.

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