Scandinavian Origins of the Goths

JoatSimeon at JoatSimeon at
Sat Mar 24 07:39:23 UTC 2001

In a message dated 3/24/01 12:27:32 AM Mountain Standard Time,
hwhatting at writes:

> 5. That said, I agree with Joat Simeon that the Goths were probably not

-- the pattern of early Germanic loan-words in Slavic (at the Common Slavic
stage) would strongly support this.

At least some of the area attributed to states controlled by Gothic rulers
(Hermannaric, etc.) was undoubtedly inhabited by Slavic-speakers.
Contemporary written sources put the Ostrogoths in the Ukraine in the 4th
century CE, and the survival of Gothic-speakers in the Crimea down to the
16th century certainly supports this, but this doesn't speak to the extent to
which the area was predominantly "Gothic" in linguistic terms.  It may well
have included large areas where Gothic-speakers were a ruling minority.
Volkerwanderung-era folk migrations often consisted primarily of elite
groups, after all.

The "Goths" and other East-Germanic groups such as the Vandals also included
(politically) Iranian-speakers; eg., the Alans.  If I recall correctly, the
Vandal monarchs styled themselves "Kings of the Vandals and Alans" and
Alannic tribes ended up as far from the steppe as Spain, Gaul and Tunisia.

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