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Thread: Ethnogenesis of the Germanic People - The Toponymical View

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    Ethnogenesis of the Germanic People - The Toponymical View

    Next to genetic and archaeological analysis, the old names of settlements and rivers can give insight into the early history of the Teutons.

    As follows I´ll give an overview over the book Namenkundliche Studien zum Germanenproblem (J.Udolph, 1994) which sorts and structurates the water names of the Germanic core lands.
    http://www.hoops.uni-goettingen.de/...zungsband_9.htm

    One of the most interesting questions in this context is how the proto-Germanic language got differentiated out of a PIE dialect continuum:

    Summary:

    -Hydronymically the closest relatives are the the districts where the Baltic languages were spoken. Vice-versa there´s no indication of a Baltic-Slavic unity (no "old-European" Balto-Germanic water names south of the Prpjet).

    -The relationship with the Celtic group (with the NL/middle and upper D as contact area) is only secondary (due to Latenization ~500 BC).

    -no pre-Germanic (or even pre-Indo-European) substrate in southern Scandinavia/northern Germany

    -Within the Germanic dialects a Goto-Nordic unity and the Scandinavian origin of the Eastern Teutons (as Jordanes scribed) are highly questionable.

    -Udolph concludes that the Germanic Urheimat is located at what is now eastern Lower Saxony/Saxony-Anhalt (central northern Germany).


    Argumentation:
    -Saxony-Anhalt is the centrum of the Jastorf culture which spread northward from there.

    -The second (upper German) loud shift and Verner´s law are late reflex to the first (pan-Germanic) loud shift, so they are an indication of ancientness. Further Old High German is far more ancient then old Nordic, old Saxon or old English.

    -This is the only region in Germania where you can find a high number of old-European/northwest-IE river names like Unstrut, Saale, Pleiße.


    For me there is still much uncertainty over this because the reconctrusted urheimat lies north of the Benrath line (which divides lower from upper German and which formerly was even more south). Also the Jastorf culture and the Germanic settlements don´t coincide- especially to the north and east where the (likewise Germanic) Oksywie culture lay. As for the water names - east of the Elbe-Saale-border the slavization, which
    began one century after the Elb-Germanic/East Germanic tribes left, makes the study invalid because of discintinuity of names. (e.g. in Poland where only two germanic names survived- Warthe and Netze)

    Any other opinion (especially concerning the Urheimat hypothesis)?
    Last edited by Ahnenerbe; Wednesday, September 7th, 2016 at 04:48 AM. Reason: write error

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    Post Re: Ethnogenesis of the Germanic people - the toponymical view

    Oksywie Culture was Venedic (proto-Slavic) and not Germanic in origin. It was closely related to the Przeworsk Culture.


    The river name Warta (Warthe) is also of Venedic origin; it stems from the Venedic Vartissa (Wartissa).


    Not sure about the validity of the "no indication of Baltic-Slavic unity" claim. The Balts and Slavs are apparently most closely related to each other, and not to the Teutons.

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    Post Re: Ethnohenesis of the Germanic people - the toponymical view

    The Przeworsk culture is the successor of the Wielbark culture which follows the Oksywie/Oxhöft culture. The connection between the Wielbark and Oksywie cultures are indisputable. (same cemetries - nearly the same settlement area in Pomerania, western Prussia - Oksywie and Wielbark finds are hard to differentiate (Wielbark is more sophisticated)).

    The Wielbark culture itself is east-Germanic and stands in relationship with the Gotes, Vandals and Gepides). The Przeworsk culture was constituated through the south-east migration of the Wielbark culture
    as a result of worsening climate condition in the 4th century.

    According to http://www.geschichte.hu-berlin.de/b...html#maczynska there is no doubt about the Germanic character of the Przeworsk culture, either.

    I wouldn´t take the Venetic concept too seriously because the description has a positive connotation (the populars, Latin venerari) and is used by several tribes without any secured link between them. For example the Veneti at the Po delta are closely related to the Italics (mostly to the Latino-Faliskic group) and have nothing to do with Slavs.

    Regarding the Warthe name I´ve forgotten the concrete etymology- I´ll look up next time at the library. (Netze/Polish Notec<*Natec is cognate with German naß/benetzen)

    The Baltic-Slavic unity is mostly lexically motivated und owed to secondary assimilation through neighborhood. Hydronymically the Baltic lands are mostly related to central northern Germany. The overall linguistic picture is that pre-Baltic didn´t have much closer ties to pre-Slavic than to pre-Germanic, with a few Slavic-Germanic similarities, too.

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    Post Re: Ethnohenesis of the Germanic people - the toponymical view


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