Getae as Goths

Hans-Werner Hatting hwhatting at
Wed Apr 4 08:07:26 UTC 2001

On Thu, 29 Mar 2001 13:30:43 0600 David L. White wrote:

>Here is a somewhat wild, and probably worthless (or at least wrong)
>possibility: could the name of the Getae be from umlaut of /got-
>thiuda/ or something of the sort? Probably not: all Germanic umlaut is
>supposed to bea lot more recent than that, and the original Getae were
>pretty clearly Iranians, according to what I just read in "The Oxford
>Illustrated Prehistroy of Europe".

Others seem to put the Getae with the Thracians. Anyway, AFAIK the Getae are
first mentioned by Greek authors from the 5th century BC, so it seems pretty
unlikely to me that they are (or got their name from) speakers of a Gmc.
language - and one cannot assume umlaut that early.

>By the way, how did the umlaut in "Goeteborg" (or is that "-burg")and
>"-goetland" get there? Does it suggest an earlier form (at least in the
>north) with following /i/?

Not necessarily. /oe/ is the regular outcome of Gmc. /au/ in Swedish, with
/oe:/ being attested already in the Old Swedish period. So, *gauta- > to
/goet-/ would be a regular development. And, it's "-borg" in Swedish.

Best regards,
Hans-Werner Hatting

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