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Thread: Who were the Windische ? ( Veneti, Wenden, Winden)

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    Post Who were the Windische ? ( Veneti, Wenden, Winden)

    A mysterious people, whose traces we encounter in the nomenclature and in the customs throughout Germany as well as in nearby countries. Their name reflects also the form of the present-day linguistic groups like Wenden (Sorben of Lusatia), Winden (Kashubi of Pomerania) or Windische (Slovenians) and also Veneti (in Veneto, Italy). Their traces are to be found in all territories between the Baltic and the Adriatic Sea, where today different nations live. Who were the Veneti?

    We must go back to the prehistoric period of the pre-Indo-European time. I prefer to call it rather the Afro-European period, because in those times of Mesolithic the same nomadic cultures extended practically from North Africa over Europe toward and still over the Ural. Around 4200 BC the first agrarian culture developed on the fertile loess grounds on the upper river basins in Central Europe. In archaeology it is called band ceramics, after the decorations on its vessels. It is characteristic that the social structure of this culture was based on the matriarchal. The power of this culture lasted to the end of the third millennium BC.

    Around 2000 BC there were incursions of nomadic people from the East who conquered Central and Western Europe. They were bearers of another type of culture called string ceramics, and their social structure was based on the patriarchal. They are called Indo-Europeans because of their linguistic area, which extends today from Europe to India. They impregnated the groups of fishers and hunters, but they did not destroy the agrarian group in Central Europe.

    On the contrary, the (Afro-European) agrarians continued to exist as a substratum under the (Indo-European) superstratum, and around 1800 BC a new culture called the Aunjetitz culture, with its center in Bohemia, began to flourish. Around 1500 BC it was followed by the potent Lusatian culture with its center in Lusatia (Luzice, Lausitz), that could be retained as the cradle of the people of Veneti. Their social structure was not based on patriarchal and not even on matriarchy, but father and mother were the head of the family.

    From the territory of the Lusatian culture many migrations took place into all parts of Europe, around 1200 BC. Many names are conserved until today especially in the territory between the Baltic and Adriatic Sea (Wind-, Wend-, Windisch...), we say that they were called Veneti or Vends by their neighbours. They spoke a language which was close to the present-day Sorbian, Kashubian and Slovenian, in general close to the languages of the Slavs, but they cannot be identified with them. Until today their substratum, as for instance in Germany, can be identified, irrespectively of the language, by some ethnic signs, especially by the fact that in the village life and culture the linden tree plays the chief role, whereas by the very Germanic and Celtic people this role belongs to the oak.

    It is important to say that the migrations were not initiated with the intention of conquest and subjugation, but by a religious message, as archaeology ascertains. Today one would say, that this message was the imagination of life after death and the doctrine of the salvation of the soul. It is still conserved in the religions in India (Vindia). They arrived there ca. 1000 BC and encountered in the Indus basin the Aryans from the preceded immigration (ca. 1800 BC).

    In Europe, after the migrations, a compact Venetian territory was installed between the Baltic and Adriatic Sea. The Veneti cremated their defunct and placed their ashes into urns, that were buried on large cemeteries called Urnfields. Therefore the name Urnfield culture dates back to their civilization and gives an imprint to the prehistoric Europe from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean. After 800 BC many cultures took on form in this territory, which altogether are called the Hallstatt culture (named after a rich finding place in the Eastern Alps). The most important regional cultures were those in the Alps and in the Po River basin: The cultures of Villanova, Golasecca, Este, Melaun, and Eastern Hallstatt. Here also the Situla art flourished.

    Among those cultures the Este culture is particularly very characteristic. During its period many inscriptions in Venetian writing appeared around 500 BC. Numerous examples of these inscriptions are conserved until today, and it is a very important fact, that the Slovene linguist Matej Bor was able to decipher many of them on the basis of the Slovenian and other Slav languages.

    After 400 BC the migration of the Celts enclosed Europe, except for several remote areas, like the Alps and Scandinavia. The Celts introduced another type of culture, the La Tène culture, named after an important finding place in Switzerland. Their language was similar to that of the Veneti. However, their ethnic essence was very different. Their symbolic tree was the oak. Their social organization was not the community of the village (as in Veneti culture) but groups of kinship (Sippe, in German) based on patriarchal.

    Some of the Celtic people had influence on Venetian groups by giving them their names. Bohemia received its name from the Celtic Boi people. The Poles are called by their German neighbours Lechen and by the Ukrainians Ljahi, which refers back to the Celtic Volcae (Welschen). Here is another proof of the Celtic influence on these nations. In Poland, for instance, appears in people's tradition the Venetian linden tree and also the Celtic oak. Celtic influence did not touch the Kashubi (Winden, in German), who partially still conserve the name Slovinci.

    The Celts even reached the British Isles. There resided a population that belonged to the Atlantic culture, and who did not follow the footprints of the Celts, but nevertheless, they left them their name. Therefore, the present-day Celtic language (Inselkeltisch) is not their own original one, (Festlandkeltisch) which used to be almost equal to that of the Veneti. During the Roman era the Celtic groups were Romanized and gradually lost their original identity, even in the core of their Gaul territory. Only scattered names record their one-time presence.

    This was not the case with the Venetian substratum. In the centuries BC (the exact time is unknown) they arrived in the Eastern part of Europe where they superimposed their agrarian culture on Finnic fishers and pickers. This group of Veneti represented the Slovieni, which are mentioned by the chronicler Nestor around the year one thousand. From them originate as a linguistic group the Russians, Belorussians and Ukrainians.

    In Middle Europe the Veneti or better said Wends adopted gradually other languages, but they were for a long time identifiable by their juridical status which comprehended the ancient jus gentium. So the juridical book Sachsenspiegel (Saxonian Mirror, ca. 1275), by enumerating the juridical persons of the Medieval social system, alleges:... Sachse, Wende und Wendin, Jude... Incredible, after more then thousand years the influence of the matriarchy is still alive. Whereas in other nations in sense of the ancient patriarchal only the man has the juridical capacity, the same capacity belongs by the Wends (Veneti) also to the wife.

    In the following centuries the German feudal system spread over many provinces in Middle Europe, and therewith the German language was also spread. Gradually the modern German nation (Deutsche) began to form. But it is certain that the ancient Venetian substratum (Wenden) in this nation exceeds that of the ancient Germans (Germanen), but the German language today prevails nearly completely. The original language has been conserved only in two linguistic isles of the Sorbians in the Lower and in the Upper Lusatia (Nieder Lausitz und Ober Lausitz).

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