Scandinavian Origins of the Goths

Hans-Werner Hatting hwhatting at
Thu Mar 29 09:15:09 UTC 2001

Steve Long wrote:
>But in fact that's what exactly they did.  They apparently stuck with the
>Goths = Getae - equation as far back as it could go (Homer).  That of
>still would not have answered the question as to where the Getae came from.
>The Gothic genealogy in fact includes Getic kings, including some we have
>never heard of.  For all we know, the Getae may also have claimed
>Scandinavian origins.  But there's no dualism in Jordanes' story.  That's a
>modern perception.  In Jordanes, the Goths are the Getae and they come from

Well, if one wants to make sense of this, and the other facts you mention,
it seems that the Goths, after their time in the Ukraine, came to the
Balkans, and either got mixed up with the Getae, or actually incorporated
their remains. When Jordanes wrote his history, he used written texts - as
it was obligatory for historians of his time - and he probably found a lot
more available on the Getae (as ancient neighbours of the Greeks) than on
the Goths, who were newcomers. The coming of the Goths to that area gets
moved back in time, to provide the kings with a long pedigree. But the fact
that Jordanes had to incorporate the Scandinavian origin shows that this was
a tradition which was too strong to be ignored.

>There isn't much folk knowledge in Jordanes. He rejects "old wives tales"
>and doesn't mention Gothic leadership remembering anything.

If he got an information not from ancient authors, but from informers, it
was perhaps the best thing not to mention that.

I think it would be an interestin endeavour to disentangle what of Jordanes
writing is actually pertaining to the Goths, and what to the Getae.

Best regards,

Hans-Werner Hatting

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