Monthly Archives: March 2014

The people of the blade

Sword, knife was the weapon that defined bronze and iron age. Before Bronze and Iron were invented, there was no way to make long, thin, flexible blades, which could be used as weapons. The invention of Bronze and later Iron changed all this and we suddenly see emergence of warrior caste, military elite, which will eventually rule the world from Atlantic to Pacific. 

Like every other object, weapons are also part of the culture. But some cultures could have even been defined and maybe even named after their favourite weapon. Have a look at the Saxons for instance:


Sasanach, the Irish language word for an Englishman, has the same derivation, as do the words used in Welsh to describe the English people (Saeson, sing. Sais) and the language and things English in general: Saesneg and Seisnig. These words are normally, however, used only in the Irish and Welsh languages themselves.
Cornish also terms English Sawsnek from the same derivation. In the 16th century, the phrase ‘Meea navidna cowza sawzneck!’ to feign ignorance of the English language was used in Cornish.[5]
England, in Gàidhlig, is Sasainn (Saxony). Other examples are the Welsh Saesneg (the English language), Irish Sasana (England), Breton saoz(on) (English, saozneg “the English language”, Bro-saoz “England”), and Cornish Sowson (English people) and Sowsnek (English language), Pow Sows for ‘Land [Pays] of Saxons’.

It is interesting that Serbian and Romanian name for Saxons is Sasi, which has the same root as the Gaelic sasanach. 
No one really knows where the name Saxons comes from, but one theory is that Saxons may have derived their name from seax, a kind of a long knife for which they were known.  

Scramasax or Seax:

Seax (also sax, sæx, sex, latinized sachsum) is an Old English word for “knife”. In modern archaeology, the term seax is used specifically for a type of sword or dagger typical of the Germanic peoples – especially the Saxons, whose tribal name derives from the weapon[2] – during the Migration period and the Early Middle Ages.
In heraldry, the seax is a charge consisting of a curved sword with a notched blade, appearing, for example, in the coats of arms of Essex and the former Middlesex.

Wikipedia says that seax is “a type of sword or dagger typical of the Germanic peoples – especially the Saxons”. Wikipedia obviously means ethnicity when it says “Germanic”. But long knife was also used by the Irish and by the Slavs.

Now if we look at Irish long knives, Anglo-Saxon long knives, Scandinavian (Norse) long knives, Lombard long knives and Slavic long knives from the same period, we find something very interesting. Irish, Lombard and Slavic long knives have the same design, distinctly different from the Anglo-Saxon and Norse long knives.

Here is a replica of an Irish long knife Scian: 

The man who made this replica drew his inspiration for this knife from his research on Irish fighting knives in the National Museum of Ireland and from his research on the Viking scramasax.

Here are two replicas of Slavic long knifes. Look at the shape of the blade and how much it looks like the Slavic ones:

This is an example of Slavic long knife sheath from 8 – 10 century. Have a look at the “Celtic” triple knot:

Here is a replica of a Longbard long knife. Longobards have recently been linked to Obodrites, Western Slavs. Based on the archaeological data found in Bardovik in Germany, which shows unbroken continuum between Longobards and Obodrites, it has been proposed that they were one and the same people. This wouldn’t be the first time that we see former “Germanic” tribes reappearing as “Western Slavic” tribes.

This is Real Longbard long knife:

Here are  (Viking) Norse and Anglo Saxon long knife:

Viking seax

Anglo Saxon seax

The difference is striking. Anglo Saxon and Norse long knives belong to one type and Slavic, Longobard and Irish to another. Could we talk about two distinct cultures based on the weapon design?

Despite the slight design differences, which can point to two cultural subgroups, all these people were using Saex as one of their main weapons, and clearly belonged to the same cultural group from that point of view. So they could all be called Saxons, the people, the sons of the saex. And if you remember, the book “Origin of the Anglo Saxon race” tells us that Angles and Saxons were mixed tribal confederations consisting of tribes of Germanic, Norse and Slavic origin. So it is possible to apply the name Saxon, Saex people, to all of these people. 

Another theory about the origin of the name Saxons says that it comes from Saka-Suna or the Sons of Sakai which was abbreviated into Saksun. Saka in Saka-Suna means Indo Scythians. There were many different variants of the name Scythian. Transliterated Variants of their name are: Saka, Shaka, Sakai, Sacae, Scyth, Scythi, Scythia, Scythae, Scythiae, Scythes, Sythia, Skityai, Skuthai, Skythai, Skythia, Scythia, Scynthia, Scynthius, Sclaveni, Scoloti, Skodiai, Scotti, Skoloti, Skoth-ai, Skuth-a, Skoth, Skuthes, Askuza, Asguzai, Askuasa, Iskuzai…

I find it interesting that among these names for Scythians we find both Sclaveni and Scotti…. 

Some people say that name Sclaveni comes from Latin Sclavus meaning slave, but the latest opinion is that it is actually the opposite. Basically the term was coined during the early Slavic invasions of Latin lands, when most of the war prisoners and Slaves were Sclavini, Sclavi, Slavs. 

Medieval Latin, from Late Latin Sclavus, from Byzantine Greek σκλάβος or Σκλάβος (Sklábos), probably from earlier Σλαβῆνος (Slabênos), from plural Σλαβῆνοι (Slabênoi), from Proto-Slavic *slověne (plural; the singular form Proto-Slavic *slověninŭ is derived from it).

The origin of σκλάβος has been disputed historically. Modern etymologists accept that it refers to Slavs (Old Slavonic словѣнинъ, словѣне), often enslaved during the early Middle Ages, and that the originally ethnic term came to have a more general social meaning, possibly around the 9th or 10th century when it appeared in German texts. An alternative hypothesis, now obsolete because it requires unexplained and unattested phonetic irregularities, is that it’s from the Greek verb σκυλάω (skuláō), a variant of σκυλεύω (skuleúō, “to get the spoils of war”).

Anyway back to Scythians. 

They were horse-riding nomadic tribes who dominated the Central-Asian or Eurasian Steppe during a broad time-frame known as Classical Antiquity. They, and many of their descendant peoples, were skilled in horse archery and are now regarded as Horse archer civilizations. Much of what is known of them we gain from the Histories (Book IV), a 5th century BC work by the Greek historian Herodotus. He focused primarily on their western branch, not surprisingly noting their proximity to Greece. He called them Scythian. He generally called the more eastern branch the Sacae. Their origin is generally dated to the 8th century BCE, near the time of the forced settlement of the same region by Assyria with Israelites. The Assyrians called them “Ashkuz”, “Khumri”, and “Gimirri” which means that Scythian and Cimmerians were one and the same people . Classical Greek called them Σκύθης (Skýthis). In Latin they are called Scythes (plural Scythae). In Old Armenian they  are known as սկիւթ (skiwtʿ). The Persians called them “Saka”. Later in their history, the Chinese called them “Sai”. 

Official etymology says that all these names descend from *skeud-, an ancient Indo-European root meaning “propel, shoot” or from the Iranian verbal root, sak-, “go, roam”. 

We have an English word skittish, from late middle English, perhaps from the rare verb skit “move lightly and rapidly”. Another related word is the Old Norse werb skjota “to shoot, launch, move quickly”. Also there is a Scottish Gaelic word sgiot (scatter, disperse) which could be related.

In Serbian skit means wanderer, skita means wanders, skitati means to wander, skitnja, skitanje means wandering, roaming. Skiti – nomads. This is not a Slavic wide word. It is only found in Serbo Croatian.
There is however another Slavic wide word, “skit” meaning hermitage. Official etymology of the Slavic word Skit  which means hermitage, says that it is a common Slavic word of Greek origin “Σκήτη” which is a Greek word that means a place where a hermit lives, a hermitage. The official etymology then goes to say that the word for a place where a hermit lives comes from the name of desert where hermits first appeared, which was called Skitian desert…Why was Skitian desert called Skitian desert? Skitati in Serbian language means to wander. So Skitian desert is the desert of nomads, wanderers. The original hermits were wandering preachers. So the desert could have been named the desert of wanderers because of the wandering nomadic tribes which lived in the desert or because of the wandering hermits who lived in the desert. But the word “Σκήτη” has no meaning in Greek which is connected to wandering, moving, dispersing. This all suggests that the Skitian desert was not named so by Greeks. And if so that Slavic word “skit” meaning hermitage is not of Greek origin, but that actually it could be the other way round.

The big question is, who named Scythian nomads Skitians if the only language where we find word skitati meaning to wander is Serbo Croatian? But maybe Serbo Croatian verb skitati actually comes from the name Scythians, which could have had a completely different root and meaning?

If we look at what we know about Scythian religion we see something very interesting indeed, which makes the claim that the name Saxons comes from “saex” very plausible. It also opens a posibility that the name which Scythians used for themselves comes from the ancient word for sword, knife “sek” which comes from the ancient verb “sek” meaning to cut. 

The two most important deities in the Scythian pantheon, were Tabiti and Agin. Herodotus identifies Tabiti as Hestia and Agin as Ares. The worship accorded to the deity Herodotus refers to as “Agin” was unique. He notes that “it is not Scythian custom […] to make images, altars or temples to any except Agin (Ares), but to him it is their custom to make them”. He describes the construction of the altar and the subsequent sacrifice as follows:

In each district of the several governments they have a temple of Agin set up in this way: bundles of brushwood are heaped up for about three furlongs in length and in breadth, but less in height; and on the top of this there is a level square made, and three of the sides rise sheer but by the remaining one side the pile may be ascended. Every year they pile on a hundred and fifty wagon-loads of brushwood, for it is constantly settling down by reason of the weather. Upon this pile of which I speak each people has an ancient iron sword set up, and this is the sacred symbol of Agin. To this sword they bring yearly offerings of cattle and of horses; and they have the following sacrifice in addition, beyond what they make to the other gods, that is to say, of all the enemies whom they take captive in war they sacrifice one man in every hundred, not in the same manner as they sacrifice cattle, but in a different manner: for they first pour wine over their heads, and after that they cut the throats of the men, so that the blood runs into a bowl; and then they carry this up to the top of the pile of brushwood and pour the blood over the sword. This, I say, they carry up; and meanwhile below by the side of the temple they are doing thus: they cut off all the right arms of the slaughtered men with the hands and throw them up into the air, and then when they have finished offering the other victims, they go away; and the arm lies wheresoever it has chanced to fall, and the corpse apart from it.

Hestia was the goddess of the hearth, home, family, state. Hestia received the first offering at every sacrifice in the household. In the public domain, the hearth of the prytaneum functioned as her official sanctuary. With the establishment of a new colony, flame from Hestia’s public hearth in the mother city would be carried to the new settlement.
Hestia’s name means “home and hearth”. “An early form of the temple is the house hearth; the early temples at Dreros and Prinias on Crete are of this type. The temple of Apollo at Delphi always had its inner hestia. The Mycenaean great hall which had a central hearth. The hall of Odysseus at Ithaca as well. Likewise, the hearth of the later Greek prytaneum was the community and government’s ritual and secular focus.

Hestia’s name and functions show the hearth’s importance in the social, religious, and political life of ancient Greece.

Hestia is a goddess of the first Olympian generation, along with Demeter and Hera. She was a daughter of the Titans Rhea and Cronus, which means that she is not of Greek origin.

If Hestia, the goddess of the hearth, fire is the mother of Scythians and Ares, the god of war, the swordsman is the father of Scythians, is the religion of Scythians centred around the metal work and particularly iron work, smithing, sword making, war? Svetovid, whose totem looks exactly like Scythian male ancestor totem, was Slavic war god. But then pretty much all Slavic gods were war gods…

Slavs also consider hearth and fire burning inside of it to be the center of the house and comunity. This is actually cultural characteristic of all Arian people, who worship fire as god Agni and hearth as god Varuna. If the main goddess of the Scythians was goddess of the hearth, was the main god of Scythians, Agni which was misheard as Agin? Agni was also a Trimurti, Triglav. And Triglav, Dabog, Hromi Daba, Crom Dubh was the main god of the Irish and the Serbs.

According to Tadeusz Sulimirski, this form of sword worship continued among the descendants of the Scythians, the Alans, through to the 4th century CE. Some historians argue that the arrival of the Huns on the European steppe forced a portion of Alans previously living there to move northwest into the land of Venedes, possibly merging with Western Balts there to become the precursors of historic Slav nations. But Alans did not just contribute to the ethnogenesis of the Slavs. This picture shows the migrations of the Alans during the 4th–5th centuries CE, from their homeland in the North Caucasus. Major settlement areas are shown in yellow; Alan civilian emigration in red, and; military campaigns in orange.

Alans were not the first Scythian warrior people to influence Europe. The Sarmatians lived from the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD on the territory which corresponded to the western part of greater Scythia (mostly modern Ukraine and Southern Russia, also to a smaller extent north eastern Balkans around Moldova). At their greatest reported extent, around 100 BC, these tribes ranged from the Vistula River in the Baltic to the mouth of the Danube in the Balkans, and eastward to the Volga, bordering the shores of the Black and Caspian seas as well as the Caucasus to the south. 

In Strabo, the Sarmatians extend from above the Danube eastward to the Volga, and from north of the Dnepr into the Caucasus. Within Sarmatian teritory, Strabo points to a Celtic admixture in the region of the Basternae, who, he says, are of Germanic origin. The Celtic Boii, Scordisci and Taurisci are there. A fourth ethnic element being melted in are the Thracians. Moreover, the peoples toward the north are Keltoskythai, “Celtic Scythians”.

According to Pliny, Scythian rule once extended as far as Germany. Jordanes supports this hypothesis by telling us on the one hand that he was familiar with the Geography of Ptolemy, which includes the entire Balto-Slavic territory in Sarmatia, and on the other that this same region was Scythia, pointing that Sarmatians were, therefore, a sub-group of the broader Scythian peoples.

This linking of Central European Celts, Slavs and East Germanics with Scythians is very important as it could explain a lot of common cultural and linguistic traits found in these people. One of these common cultural traits is the sword worship.

We have seen thatScythians worshiped the sword. On Scythian ancestor totem statues, known as baba, two elements are always present: a horn of plenty and a sword. 

A collection of drawings of Scythian stelae, ranging from ca. 600 BC to AD 300. Many of them depict warriors, apparently representing the deceased buried in the kurgan, holding a drinking horn in their right hand.

If we look at Slavic deity Svetovid, we find exactly the same iconography: the horn of plenty and the sword. 

The Zbruch Idol (Polish: Światowid ze Zbrucza; Ukrainian: Збручанський ідол, Russian: Збручский идол) is a 9th-century sculpture, and one of the few monuments of pre-Christian Slavic beliefs. The pillar is commonly associated with the Slavic deity Svetovid. 

Who was this Father of the Scythians? Herodotus says that according to the Pontic Greeks the father of the Scythians was Heracles. We saw that the sword deity, the father was Agin – Ares. Herodotus also says that according to Scythians themselves:

A certain Targitaus was the first man who ever lived in their country, which before his time was a desert without inhabitants. He was a child- I do not believe the tale, but it is told nevertheless- of Jove and a daughter of the Borysthenes. Targitaus, thus descended, begat three sons, Leipoxais, Arpoxais, and Colaxais, who was the youngest born of the three. While they still ruled the land, there fell from the sky four implements, all of gold- a plough, a yoke, a battle-axe, and a drinking-cup. The eldest of the brothers perceived them first, and approached to pick them up; when lo! as he came near, the gold took fire, and blazed. He therefore went his way, and the second coming forward made the attempt, but the same thing happened again. The gold rejected both the eldest and the second brother. Last of all the youngest brother approached, and immediately the flames were extinguished; so he picked up the gold, and carried it to his home. Then the two elder agreed together, and made the whole kingdom over to the youngest born. From Leipoxais sprang the Scythians of the race called Auchatae; from Arpoxais, the middle brother, those known as the Catiari and Traspians; from Colaxais, the youngest, the Royal Scythians, or Paralatae. All together they are named Scoloti, after one of their kings: the Greeks, however, call them Scythians.

Either way, the father of the Scythians seem to have come to Central Asia from Europe. The worshipped sword was said to have been made from iron. Is it significant that the Scythians worshipped “an Iron” sword? At the time of Herodotus we were already deep in the Iron Age. But I believe that the fact that the metal from which the sword was made was specifically stated is significant. Did the father of the Scythians bring the iron sword and the knowledge how to make iron swords with him? The earliest iron objects date from 5000 bc.  There are some samples of smelted iron from Asmar, Mesopotamia and Tall Chagar Bazaar in northern Syria from between between 2700 and 3000 BC, but the age of Iron did not start until about 1400 bc. The earliest iron metallurgical centre in the world, dated to 14th–13th century bc, was found in south eastern Serbia in the hill fort settlement on the hill called Hisar. This site belongs to the earliest proto Illyrian, Celtic period. It was the first industrial scale facility for iron production which allowed mass production of weapons including swords and knives. Did the father of the Scythians come from the Balkans?

No one knows actually what the name Scythians, Saka, Sakson means. Lets see if we can decipher it. 

Scythians, Saka were sword worshippers. They considered themselves the sons of sword or at least the sons of the swordsman ancestral deity. They built Baba idols to celebrate this deity. Slavs considered themselves also the sons of the swordsman ancestral deity. Slavs built idols to celebrate this deity. Proto Slavs, Celts, Germanic lived mixed with Scythians. Saxons were allegedly descendants of Saka or Saka, Scythians themselves. The name Saxon is said to possibly mean the sons of Saka. But the name Saxon is also said to possibly come from the name of the long knife called Saex (sek). But Sek was also a Slavic, Norse, Longobardic and Irish weapon. Saxons were a tribal confederation of Slavic, Germanic and Norse tribes. Messy but very interesting.

If we look at the etymology of the word saex, sax:

Old English seax,sax and Old Frisian sax are identical with Old Saxon and Old High German saks,all from a Common Germanic*sahsom froma root*sah,*sag-“tocut” (also insaw,from aPIE root*sek-).The term scramaseax,scramsaxlit.”wounding-knife” is sometimes used for disambiguation, even though it is not attested in Old English, but taken from an occurrence of scramasax in Gregory of Tours’History of the Franks.

So the wiki says it is an old German root *sah,*sag-“to cut which comes from the PIE root sek.

From Proto-Indo-European *sek- (“to cut”). Cognates include Old Church Slavonic сѣщи (sěšti, “to cut, hack, chop off”) and Old English saga (English saw), Latin seco. In Tukish sek means sharp.

Interestingly enough wiki completely misses to mention Gaelic as a language that has anything to do with Seax or verb sek.
I will now try to fix this and try to expand this etymology with a very interesting word cluster which I found in south Slavic languages and in Irish.

I will start with this citation from a medieval French manuscript:

The Gaelic skills of hand-to-hand and their style of fighting was not lost, as a French observer Boullaye le Gouz comments in 1644: “The Irish carry a scquine (scian – knife) or Turkish dagger, which they dart (throw) very adroitly at 15 paces distance; and have this advantage, that if they remain masters of the field of battle there remains no enemy, and if they are routed, they fly in such a manner that it is impossible to catch them. [A common complaint by English Tudor soldiers] I have seen an Irishman with ease accomplish 25 miles a day. They march to battle with the bagpipes instead of fifes, butt hey have few drums and they use the musket and cannon as we do. They are better soldiers abroad than at home.”

The Irish long knife is called Scean or Scian. What is interesting about this word is that it is just one of a cluster of Irish words with the root sc which all somehow relate to blades, making blades, using blades and consequences of using blades. I will here just list few representative ones; you can consult the dictionary for more:

Scaineamh– shingly
Sclata– slate
Scaineadh-crack, split
Sceallog– chip, thin slice
Scealla– shale, flake
Scablail– chisel work
Scaid– husks
Scaineach– thin, cracked
Scean,scian (pronounced shkian) – knife
Scean– crack, split, sever
Scailp – chasm or a cleft

All these words are built usind “sc” root which is the same root we find in “sec”.

I believe that these words have potentially root in a stone age. When you look at them they basically describe making of a stone blade from a stone. You get a shingly stone, slate, you chip it, split it until you get a sharp blade. Husks and chips fall off in the process. Then you can use it to cut, split and sever…

Here is the corresponding south Slavic word cluster. You will notice that it is a lot bigger and wider than the Irish one, but it covers the same word range needed to describe making of a stone blade from as tone as well as all the metal blades and their usage. The fact that in the south Slavic languages we find all the words connected with the stone blades as well as the metal blades with the same root shouldn’t surprise us. It was the Balkans, more precisely within the territory of today’s Serbia that metal blades were produced for the first time in copper, bronze and iron. It is fitting to presume that whoever made these metal blades used the same word s(e)k as the root word for both stone and metal blades. If this is so, what does this tell us about the age of these words?

Školjka– shell. Shells are sharp and could have been what gave people idea to create first blades
Skriljac– slate. This stone can be easily chipped and was used for weapon blades.
Skresati– from kresati. Kresati means to hit one thing with another, so that the hitting thing slides of the side of the thing being hit. The word is used to describe hitting a stone with a stone to chip them or to make fire and for cutting branches of a log, basically to chip or to trim. Skresati means to actually chip a bit of or to cut a brunch off, to separate bits.
Skalja– small thin chips of stone or wood
Sek(sometimes pronounced as sik or sk)– root word meaning to cut but also a blade. Word seći(to cut) comes from sekti.
Sečivo(pronounced sechivo) – blade
Sekira(sikira, skira) – axe
Sekare(škare pronounces shkare) – scissors
Sekia(sekian) – knife. This word is now preserved in Bosnian slang word for knife “ćakija” (sekia). This word can also be deduced from a word škia (pronounced shkia) which is a dinaric dialect word which means a thin hand sliced tobacco.
Sekač.– a one sided blade
škiljiti– to squint, to make your eyes look like as if they were two cuts.
Skija– a blade on a sled, and later a ski.
Sekutić – front tooth
Usek,zasek – a cut, groove
Sek– a log house where logs, which are also called sek, are connected by interlocking cuts made at their ends.
Seknuti– to strike or hit suddenly
Skratiti– to cut down to cut short
Skrvaviti– to make bloody
Skloca– foldup knife
Škljocati- to make a noise by closing something sharp like teeth or scissors.
Škrgutati– to grind teeth
Škopiti– to castrate, to cut balls off.
Skulj– a castrated ram
Škrip– a cut, a narrow space

This word cluster is based on an onomatopoeic root “sk” which makes it very old. The sound which a blade makes when pulled across something in order to cut it is “sssssssk”, “sek”.  Here you can hear sounds of flesh being cut with a blade. When you cut something off with a sudden hit of blade sound shortens to “tsk” or “tsak”. Here you can hear sounds of chopping with a blade.

What I find is very very interesting is word for scissors. Scissors are a complicated implement and who ever made them first gave them the name that stuck among the people who used them first, which probably related people who were living close together.

In Russian and all central and east Slavic languages (including Bulgarian and Macedonian) it is a form of word nožnice. In Serbian we also find it as nožice word coming from nož meaning knife.
In Scandinavian languages it is some form of saks.
In French English and Irish it is ciseaux, scissors, siosúr.
In Greek and Latin it is ψαλίδιand axicia
In Italian it is forbici.

But in Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Slovenian, Dutch, German and Latvian it is škare,schaar, schere, šķēres…

We know that the root word is sekare which comes from the sek root. When we have a look at the word for cut and blade in all these languages we get this:

To cut

German – geschnitten (is this actually ga sekni ten?)
Dutch– snijden (this is probably from the above root sekniten)
Icelandic – skera
Latvian – dalīt, griezt
Latin – seco
Serbian,Croatian, Bosnian, Slovenian – Seći(Sekti)

To Slice

Danish – skive

Finnish – sektorin
Latvian – šķēle
Swedish – skiva 
Serbian,Croatian, Bosnian, Slovenian – Iseći(Isekti) 


German– Schneide (Sekniede?), Klinge
Dutch– mes
Latvian– asmens
Latin – asmens 
Serbian,Croatian, Bosnian, Slovenian – sek

You can notice that only Western Slavic languages have the root words, and languages of the people around South Baltic have some but not all derived words. So what is the connection between these people? Angles and Saxons were a mixed tribal Group. And so were the Vikings. They both included western Slavic tribes. Did western Slavic people bring the word “sek” with them? And if Serbian,Croatian, Bosnian, Slovenian have the root “sek” and the full word cluster related to blades, where did the root “sec” (sek) come from then? If we look at Latin we see that it doesn’t have the full cluster of sek words, which we find in Serbian,Croatian, Bosnian, Slovenian. This could mean that Latin “sec” is borrowed from another language. Which one? I will not answer this question but will give you a clue: word segment comes from Latin segmentum (“a piece cut off, a strip, segment of the earth, a strip of tinsel”), from secare (“to cut”). In Serbian segmentum can be divided into sek + men + to (tu) = cut + to me + that (there), which is the exact meaning of the word segmentum. You can’t get this meaning from Latin.

And how come we find the same “sc” clusters in Irish and South Slavic languages? How old must the connection be between these two languages to produce this kind of similarity?

After all this, I will ask this question: is it possible that names Saka, Scythians, Scotii, Saxons, Sclaveni come from s(e)c – to cut and s(e)c – blade, knife, sword? Are Saka, Scythians, Scotii, Saxons, Sclaveni people of the sword? And if so how come neither Sanskrit nor Avestan, nor Turkic languages have root “sec” (sek) and related clusters for blades? Does this confirm that the iron sword wielding male ancestors of Scythians came from Europe?

As part of this analysis I have to mention one more word: to slaughter,to kill a living thing using a sharp blade. We need to investigate this word because after all, blades are made for slaughter more than anything else.

In south Slavic languages a word for to slaughter or related to slaughter are:

Klati– to slaughter
Klanje– slaughter
Klan– being slaughtered
Koljač– the one that slaughters
Saklan(zaklan) – slaughtered
Kljakav– someone who is missing a limb due to its being cut off.
Kljuse– a horse which is too old to be useful and which needs to be slaughtered, killed (kolje se)
Kljusav– ready to be slaughtered, killed
Koljivo– a ceremonial meal made from cooked wheat eaten at Serbian “Slava”celebration. Slava is today a family patron saint day celebration,but originally it was a clan ancestral cult celebration. Each family had its own deity as a clan progenitor, and that deity was celebrated as the father of the clan. Originally human sacrifices were made even down to medieval times and maybe even later. In case of Dabog or Hromi Daba, the main deity of all Serbian clans, even first born children were sacrificed. Animals such as lambs, goats and bulls were also sacrificed and are still to this day. Animal sacrifices and particularly human sacrifices sharply distinguished Serbs and other western Slavs from eastern Slavs. During slavisation of the Serbs,blood sacrifices were replaced with cooked wheat but the name remained: koljivo (what was slaughtered as a sacrifice).

Word klati is an onomatopoeic word based on the root “kl” which potentially makes it very old as well.

“kl”or “gl” is, I believe, one of the oldest word roots which is related to things coming out of a throat. It is particularly a sound of choking of gasping for air while something liquid is filling your throat and lungs, like blood when an animal or a person is being slaughtered. If you have ever slaughtered anything you will not easily forget that sound. The sound is kljkljklj….

In south Slavic languages we have this word

Krkljati– gargle
Kuljati– to gush, as in puking or bleeding when a throat is slit, or bleeding when a body is sliced open with a blade, or a head crushed with an axe blow.
kljukati – continuously stuff something down someones throat.

It is interesting how much this klati sound like kill. In wiktionary we find this as etymology of kill:

From Middle English killen,kyllen,cüllen(“to strike, beat, cut”),possibly a variant of Old English cwellan(“tokill, murder, execute”)(seequell),or from Old Norse kolla(“tohit on the head, harm”)(compare Norwegian kylla(“topoll”),Middle Dutch kollen(“toknock down”),Icelandic kollur(“top,head”),see coll,cole).Compare also Middle Dutch killen,kellen(“tokill”),Middle Low German killen(“toache strongly, to cause one great pain”),Middle High German kellen. Cognate with Albanian qëlloj(“tohit, strike”).

I think these words are related, but I will leave this to others to investigate further.

Now we also have word klanac which means a gorge, a deep narrow valley out of which a river flows. These valleys are deep cuts in hills and mountains which look as if they were made by a gods using giant blade. Out of these earth wounds, water, the blood of the earth gushes out.
This is incredible descriptive naming of geological formations, as klanac does also resemble a deep cut made by a blade in a flesh, especially in a neck while slaughtering out of which blood starts gushing out.If you have ever slaughtered anything or anyone you will know what I am talking about.
So klanac is a place where mother earth has been slaughtered. How old could this word possible be?

Now in Gaelic we have this word: Glen. The word is Goidelic : gleann in Scottish and Irish Gaelic, glion in Manx.In Manx,glan is also to be found meaning glen. It is cognate with Welsh glynl.

Wiktionary says that it means: A secluded and narrow valley;a dale;a depression between hills.

It is interesting that Serbian word for “wedge” is “klin”. Wedge is used for splitting, cleaving. You can see that klin (wedge) has the same shape as glen (gorge). Gorge looks as if it was created by splitting the mountain with a klin (wedge) or by cleaving it.

We also have word claon: inclining, squint, oblique, Irish claon,Old Irish clóin:* kloino-; Latin cli@-no, accli@-nis, leaning, English incline;Greek@ Gklínw(@Gilong), incline; English lean; Lithuanian szlë/ti, incline; Sanskrit çrayati(do.).

To quint means to look with the eyes partly closed, as in bright sunlight, or as a threatening expression. Squinting makes eyes look like two slits. Remember squint is škiljiti in Serbian. Both the English and Serbian word have root “sk” to cut which is exactly what squinting eyes look like, like two cuts….

Here are few more Irish words that show the use of this old root kla (make a deep cut, slaughter) which has been preserved in Serbian:

claíomh – sword (what you use to perform “clanje” slaughter with)
claimhte – swords
muirchlaimhte – cutlasses
clasaigh – channel, trench, gash, groove (something deep which is cut)
clasan – small channel, gully
clais – water channel
clai – dike
cladh – ditch but in scots gaelic graveyard, churchyard, cemetery, burial ground.
In old welsh cladiff also means semetary. 

How come we have Cladh and Cladifh, both starting with C both meaning ditch, graveyard, one in “p celtic” and another in “q celtic”???
So here we have a link between to slaughter, to cut a slit, to squint, klanac (glen, gorge), clai (dike), clais (channel, trench)…
In English we have word “kill”. The official etymology states:

From Middle English killen, kyllen, cüllen (“to strike, beat, cut”), possibly a variant of Old English cwellan (“to kill, murder, execute”) (see quell), or from Old Norse kolla (“to hit on the head, harm”) (compare Norwegian kylla (“to poll”), Middle Dutch kollen (“to knock down”), Icelandic kollur (“top, head”), see coll, cole). Compare also Middle Dutch killen, kellen (“to kill”), Middle Low German killen (“to ache strongly, to cause one great pain”), Middle High German kellen.

I believe that klati and kill could be related.

But the word which is directly related to “klati” is the English verb “cleave”, meaning to slice, split, separate by cutting. The official etymology states:

From Middle English cleven, from the Old English strong verb clēofan, from Proto-Germanic *kleubaną, from Proto-Indo-European *glewbʰ- (“to cut, to slice”). Cognate with Dutch klieven, dialectal German klieben, Swedish klyva, and Greek γλύφω (glýfo, “carve”).

If we look at the  “Proto-Indo-European*glewbʰ we find that Slavic “klati” and Irish “glen, claon” are not listed:

Germanic: *kleubaną; *klebô
Ancient Greek: γλύφω (glúphō)
Latin: glubo

What is very interesting is that at in Latin word for sword, gladius, has this etymology:

Of Celtic origin, probably from Gaulish *kladyos (“sword”), from Proto-Celtic *kladiwos (“sword”), from Proto-Indo-European *kola-, *klā- (“to beat, break, kill”). Cognate with Old Irish claideb (“sword”), Irish claíomh, Manx cliwe, Scots Gaelic claidheamh, Welsh cleddyf (“sword”), Breton klezeñv (“sword”).

So here we are seeing that Latin word for sword, a weapon used for killing, slicing, slaughtering, cleaving is supposed to have come from Celtic word for sword. The root for all these words have been preserved in Serbian where we have this etymology: klati = klao + ti = slaughter + you. Perfect etymology for short sword used for slaughtering. 

In Serbia there is a gorge called Iron gate gorge. It was carved through the Carpathian mountains by Danube.

At the place where Danube exits the Iron Gate gorge, there is a town called Kladovo. Ranka Kujic, professor of Celtic studies from Belgrade university and member of Welsh academy postulated that the name of the town was derived from Celtic word “kladiff” meaning “cemetery” in English. Early Bronze Age pottery of the Kostolac-Kocofeni culture was found in Donje Butorke, Kladovo, as well as several miniature duck-shaped vases of 14th century BC in Mala Vrbica and Korbovo. Bronze Age necropolis with rituals, pottery (decorated with meander) and other significant archaeological items were found in nearby Korbovo.

I would like to propose alternative etymology for Kladovo and Korbovo:

Irish word “corb” means cart, chariot, wagon.
Old Irish word claideb, Scots Gaelic claidheamh and Welsh cleddyf all mean sword. 

Is Korbovo a pleace where corbs, chariots, carts, wagons were made? And if so, was Kladovo place where swords were made?

All these words show us again that there is a deep link between the Irish, Welsh and Serbs and other Slavs, particularly Central European Western Slavs. 

We can see from the age of the words for slit, slaughter and cut how old this connection is. We can see that the connection goes back at least to the time of Celts and Scythians, men armed with Bronze and Iron swords, who conquered Eurasia by slaughtering (klati) and cutting (sekti) their opponents with “clati(v)” (swords) and “sec” (blades, knives)…But we could also see, from the related Serbian and Irish “s(e)c” word clusters, that the connection could have been even older, possibly stretching back to neolithic. The word roots “sk” and “kl” could be truly ancient.

Celtic or Slavic?

I have been talking a lot about the Germanic – Slavic (and soon we will see maybe even Baltic) people living in Ireland in late Iron age and early Medieval time. I am planning to talk about it some more because i have two more important but mysterious people to cover: Fomorians and Pruteni.

But before i continue, i just want to give my reason why i am so concentrated on this at the moment:

The reason is this:

The Celtic or Keltic languages (usually pronounced /ˈkɛltɪk/ but sometimes /ˈsɛltɪk/)[1] are descended from Proto-Celtic, or “Common Celtic”; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family. The term “Celtic” was first used to describe this language group byEdward Lhuyd in 1707.[2]
Celtic languages are most commonly spoken on the north-western edge of Europe, notably in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany,Cornwall, and the Isle of Man, and can be found spoken on Cape Breton Island. There are also a substantial number of Welsh speakers in the Patagonia area of Argentina. Some people speak Celtic languages in the other Celtic diaspora areas of the United States,[3]Canada, Australia,[4] and New Zealand.[5] In all these areas, the Celtic languages are now only spoken by minorities though there are continuing efforts at revitalization.
During the 1st millennium BC, they were spoken across Europe, in the Iberian Peninsula, from the Atlantic and North Sea coastlines, up the Rhine valley and down the Danube valley to the Black Sea, the Upper Balkan Peninsula, and in Galatia in Asia Minor. The spread to Cape Breton and Patagonia occurred in modern times. Celtic languages, particularly Irish, were spoken in Australia before federation in 1901 and are still used there to some extent.[6]

Celtic language is the language once spoken in the whole of Europe, but today it is only spoken in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany,Cornwall, and the Isle of Man.

So here we come to the fundamental problem: Was Proto Celtic language deduced from today’s “Celtic” languages like Gaelic, Welsh, Manx, Breton? If we look at the official history of Ireland, we see this isolated Celtic land which for 1000 years only had influence from Celtic Gaul and Celtic Iberia. The first non “Celtic” people to arrive to Ireland were the Vikings in the 9th century, but they were too late to influence the creation of the “Celtic” Gaelic language. So we have absolute right to say that Irish is a Celtic language.

But we are seeing how huge the influence of the central European and South Baltic Germanic Slavic culture was in the British Isles, much earlier than the 9th century and the Vikings. So this then presents a problem: 

Are Gaelic and Galic languages Celtic languages at all? Is this “Proto Celtic” language which we have found in the indigenous languages in the British Isles, just a small part of the real old European Celtic language? Namely is this “Celtic” part found in “Celtic” languages just the part of the real Celtic language, which Gaels and the Welsh, and Bretons incorporated into their languages while mixing with the real Celts of Central Europe, Slavs, Balts and Germans, who are still in effect speaking the Celtic language today in the same area of Europe where it was always spoken? Or were Celtic people just a name for all the white people living in Europe, Germanics, Slavs, Gaels, Balts, Norse? Or were Celts a  mixed tribal union, consisting of R1b , R1a and I1 and I2 people? Something like later Frankish, Anglosaxon and Viking mixed tribal uniouns? Central Europe is still mixed genetically and R1b population still lives in what used to be the Celtic heartland mixed with R1a and I1 and I2 population. Slavic languages of Central Europe are full of “Celtic” words and Gaelic and Galic languages of the Atlantic coast are full of Slavic and Germanic words. We find huge amount of common customs, legends, religious beliefs and practices, superstitions, toponimes, hidronimes, personal names….

Is it time to rethink the whole “Celtic languages” thing?

Here is just an example of what I am talking about:

Pavel Serafimov

Celto – Slavic similarities

Combined analysis of languages, historical sources, burial types, architecture and religion reveals that a part of the Gauls called also Celts were in fact a Western Slavic branch consisting of different tribes who inhabited the lands of ancient France, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, etc. These people were responsible for the spread of iron in Central and Western Europe and were also the ones to whom the ethnonym Celts was applied for the first time. Unless other ancient testimonies or new archaeological discoveries appear, it should be admitted that Slavic tribes inhabited not only Eastern, but also Central and Western Europe in the deep antiquity and were strong, highly developed people, who influenced many others. Novel evidence of Slavic presence in Western Europe and British Isles is presented in this paper. Scientific method demands that the opposing arguments and theories have to be considered. Counter evidence and counter arguments are welcome….

Or this:

Pavel Serafimov, Giancarlo Tomezzoli

Slavic influences in the Ancient Gaul

It is common opinion between the scholars and the people that the ancient gauls formed a compact set of Celtic tribes speaking the gaulish language or similar varieties of the same one [1]. The gaulish language also called Classical Celtic had practically nothing in common with Insular Celtic; it was very close to the Italic group of tongues and had grammatical forms similar to those of the Proto-Indo-European model [1]. however, the publication in a recent past of relevant works has animated the debate about the slavic cultural and religious influences and about the slavic presence in the ancient gaul. With this paper, after having reviewed said relevant works, we analyze in more details some origins of these influences and presence so as to introduce some more arguments and evidences into the debate.

Without knowing how strong and how long the influence of the Central European cultures which reached Ireland and Britain via South Baltic was, the above claims would have been absurd. Now they are to be expected.

The Origin of Anglo – Saxon race

Origin of the Anglo – Saxon race” is a book published in 1906 by Thomas William Shore, author of ‘a history of Hampshire,’ etc, Honorary secretary London and Middlesex archaeological society; honorary Organizing secretary of the Hampshire field club and Archaeological society. In it the author gives detailed analysis of the “Anglo Saxons”, and shows us that both Angles and Saxons were just terms used for complex federations of south Baltic Germanic, Norse and West Slavic tribes. He describes the late Iron Age and early medieval northern central Europe as a melting pot where future great nations of Franks, Angles, Saxons, Danes, Norse, Slavs, were being created from tribal federations of mixed Germanic and Slavic ethnic, linguistic and cultural origin. 

I recommend the book as a must read for anyone who wants to understand the Iron Age and early medieval Baltic and its relationship with British Isles and Ireland. It opened my eyes and showed me the link between the Iron Age invasions and Viking invasions of British Isles. It also shows the extent of intermixing between the Germanic and Slavic people of the South Baltic area.

Origin of the Anglo Saxon race


WE have so long been accustomed to call some of the English settlers Saxons that it is with some surprise we learn none of them called themselves by this name. As far as England was concerned, this was the name by which they were commonly called by the Britons, and it was not generally used by the people themselves until some centuries later. Nations and tribes, as well as individuals, must always be known either by their native names or by the names which other people give them. They may, consequently, have more than one name. The name Saxon, although not used by the tribes that invaded England in the fifth and sixth centuries as their own designation for themselves, is more ancient than this invasion. Before the end of the Roman rule in Britain it was used to denote the part of the English coast from the Wash to the Solent and the Continental coast of North-Eastern France and Belgium, both of which were known as the Saxon Shore. This name apparently arose from the descent of pirates who were called Saxons. On the other hand, there is evidence leading to the conclusion that there were early settlements of people known as Saxons on these coasts. Both these views may be right. for the piratical Saxons, like the Northmen of later centuries, may first have plundered the coasts and subsequently settled along them. In any case, a Roman official or admiral, known as Comes litoris Saxonici,[1] Count of the Saxon Shore, was appointed to look after these shores. After the departure of the Roman legions the partly Rornanized Britons naturally gave the name Saxon to invaders from Germany, as this name had come down to them from the Roman period. for after the time of Constantine the Great all the inhabitants of the coasts of Germany who practised piracy were included under the Saxon name.[2] It is a curious circumstance that the parts of England in which the Saxon place-names. such as Sexebi and Sextone, survived at the time of Domesday survey are not in those counties which were comprised within either of the Saxon kingdoms of England. In considering the settlement, the name Saxons comes before us in a wider sense than that of a tribe, as denoting tribes acting together, practically a confederacy. In this sense it was used by the early British writers, Angles, Jutes, and people of other tribes. all being Saxons to them, and the settlers in all parts of England were known as Saxons by them, as well as the people of Sussex, Essex, and Wessex. In this wider sense the name Saxonia was used by Bede, for though an Anglian, he described himself as an office-bearer in Saxonia. The settlers in Hampshire, who after a time were known in common with those in neighbouring counties as West Saxons, did not call themselves Saxons, but Gewissas, and the most probable meaning of that name is confederates, or those acting together in some assured bond of union.[3] Their later name of West Saxons was apparently a geographical one.

The name Saxon was no doubt found a convenient one to describe the tribal people who migrated to England from the north coasts of Germany, extending from the mouth of the Rhine to that of the Vistula, but among themselves these Saxons were certainly known by their tribal names. Saxons from older Saxony were no doubt largely represented among them, but the singular fact remains that in England the name Saxon was used, at first, only by the British chroniclers as a general designation for their enemies, while the incoming people were clearly known among themselves by their tribal names. At various periods people called Saxons in Germany colonized other lands besides England. Some migrated eastward across the Elbe into the country of the Wends, and began that process of gradual absorption under which the Wendish people and their language have now been completely merged into the German. Others migrated to the south.

The early reference by Cæsar to a German nation he calls the Cherusci probably refers to the people afterwards called Saxons. Some German scholars identify the god of these people, called Heru or Cheru, as identical with the eponymous god of the Saxons, called Saxnot, who corresponded to the northern Tyr, or Tius, after whom our Tuesday has been named.[4] The Saxon name was at one time applied to the islands off the west coast of Schleswig, now known as the North Frisian Islands, and the country called by the later name Saxland extended from the lower course of the Elbe to the Baltic coast near Rugen. The earlier Saxony, however, from which settlers in England came was both westward and northward of the Elbe. There were some Saxons who at an early period migrated as far west as the country near the mouth of the Rhine, and it was probably from this colony that some of their descendants migrated centuries later into Transylvania, where their posterity still preserve the ancient name among the Hungarians or Magyars.

As regards the Saxons in England, it is also a singular circumstance that they were not known to the Northmen by that name, for throughout the Sagas no instance occurs in which the Northmen are said to have come into contact in England with people called Saxons.[5] One of the names by which they were known to the Scandinavians appears to have been Swæfas.

The Saxons are not mentioned by Tacitus, who wrote about the end of the first century, but are mentioned by Ptolemy in the second century as inhabiting the country north of the Lower Elbe.[6] Wherever they may have been at first located in Germany, it is certain that people of this nation migrated to other districts from that occupied by the main body. We know of the Saxon migration to the coast of Belgium and North-Eastern France. and of the special official appointed by the Romans to protect these coasts and the south-eastern coasts of Britain. On the Continental side of the Channel there certainly were early settlements of Saxons, and it is probable there were some on the British side. These historical references show that the name is a very old one, which was used in ancient Germany for a race of people, while in England it was used both in reference to the Old Saxons and also in a wider sense by both Welsh and English chroniclers. In Germany the name was probably applied to the inhabitants of the sea-coast and water systems of the Lower Rhine, Weser, Lower Elbe and Eyder, to Low Germans on the Rhine, to Frisians and Saxons on the Elbe, and to North Frisians on the Ryder.[7]

In considering the subject of the alliances of various nations and tribes in the Anglo-Saxon conquests, it is desirable to remember how great a part confederacies played in the wanderings and conquests of the northern races of Europe during and after the decline of the Roman Empire. The name Frank supplies a good example. This was the name of a great confederation, all the members of it agreeing in calling themselves free.[8] Hence, instead of assuming migrations (some historically improbable) to account for the Franks of France, the Franks of Franche-comte, and the Franks of Franconia, we may simply suppose them to be Franks of different divisions of the Frank confederation—i.e., people of various great tribes united under a common designation. Again, the Angli are grouped with the Varini, not only as neighbouring nations on the east coast of Schleswig, but in the matter of laws under their later names, Angles and Warings. Similarly, we read of Goths and Vandals,[9] of Frisians and Chaucians, of Goths and Burgundians, of Engles and Swæfas, of Franks and Batavians, of Wends and Saxons, of Frisians and Hunsings; and as we read of a Frank confederation, there was practically a Saxon one. In later centuries, under the general name of Danes, we are told by Henry of Huntingdon of Danes and Goths, Norwegians and Swedes, Vandals and Frisians, as the names of those people who desolated England for 230 years.[10] The later Saxon confederation is that which was opposed to Charlemagne but there was certainly an earlier alliance, or there were common expeditions of Saxons and people of other tribes acting together in the invasion of England under the Saxon name.

In view of a supposed Saxon alliance during the invasion and settlement of England, the question arises, with which nations the Saxon people who took part in the attacks on Britain could have formed a confederacy. Northward, their territory joined that of the Angles; on the north and west it touched that of the Frisians, and on the east the country of the Wendish people known as the Wilte or Wilzi. Not far from them on the west the German tribe known as the Boructarii were located, and these are the people from whom Bede tells us that some of the English in his time were known to have been derived.

During the folk-wanderings some of the Suevi migrated to Swabia, in South Germany, and these people, called by the Scandian nations the Swæfas, were practically of the same race as the Saxons, and their name is sometimes used for Saxon. The Angarians, or Men of Engern, also were a tribe of the Old Saxons. Later on, we find the name Ostphalia used for the Saxon country lying east of Engern, now called Hanover, and Westphalia for the country lying west of this district. Among the Saxons there were tribal divisions or clans, such as that of the people known as the Ymbre, or Ambrones, and the pagus of the Bucki among the Engern people.[11]

This pagus of the Old Saxons has probably left its name not only in that of Buccingaham, now Buckingham, but also in other English counties. In Norfolk we find the Anglo-Saxon names Buchestuna, Buckenham. and others. In Northampton the Domesday names Buchebi, Buchenho, Buchestone, and others, occur. In Huntingdonshire, similarly,we find Buchesunorth, Buchesworth, and Buchelone; in Yorkshire Bucktorp, in Nottinghamshire Buchetone, in Devon Buchesworth and Bucheside, all apparently named after settlers called Buche. If a settler was of the Bucki tribe, it is easy to see how he could be known to his neighbours by this name.

The Buccinobantes, mentioned by Ammianus,[12] were a German tribe, from which settlers were introduced into Britain as Roman colonists before the end of Roman rule in Britain.[13] The results of research render it more and more probable that Teutonic people under the Saxon name were gradually gaining a footing in the island before the period at which the chief invasions are said to have commenced. In the intestine wars that went on in the fifth century the presence of people of Teutonic descent among the Britons might naturally have led to Teutonic allies having been called in, or to have facilitated their conquests.[14]

Ptolemy is the first writer who mentions the Saxons, and he states that they occupied the country which is now Holstein; but between his time and the invasion of Britain they probably shifted more to the south-west. to the region of Hanover and Westphalia, some probably remaining on the north bank of the Elbe. He tells us of a people called the Pharadini, a name resembling Varini or Warings, allies of the Angles, who lay next to the Saxons. He mentions also the three islands of the Saxons, which are probably those known now as the North Frisian Islands, north of the coast where the Saxons he mentioned are said to have lived. This is the country that within historic time has been, and still is in part, occupied by the North Frisians. The origin of the name Saxon has been a puzzle to philologists, and Latham has summed up the evidence in favour of its being a native name as indecisive. There was certainly a god known in Teutonic mythology as Saxnote or Saxneat, but whether the name Saxon was derived from the god, or the god derived his name from the people who reverenced him, is uncertain. We find this Saxnote mentioned in the pedigree of the early Kings of Essex. Thunar, Woden, and Saxnote are also mentioned as the gods whom the early Christians in Germany had to declare publicly that they would forsake,[15] and the identity of Saxnote with Tiu, Tius, or Tyr, is apparent from this as well as from other evidence.

During the Roman period a large number of Germans, fleeing from the southeast, arrived in the plains of Belgium, and the names Flamand, Flemish, and Flanders were derived from these refugees, who in some accounts are described as Saxons, and the coast they occupied as the well-known litus Saxonicum, or Saxon shore.[16] This is an important consideration in reference to the subsequent settlement of England, for it shows that there were people called Saxons before the actual invasion occurred, located on a coast much nearer to this country than that along the Elbe. In the time of Charlemagne the lower course of the Elbe divided the Saxons into two chief branches, and those to the north of it were called Nordalbingians, or people north of the Elbe, which is the position where the Saxons of Ptolemy’s time are said to have been located. One of the neighbouring races to the Saxons in the first half of the sixth century in North Germany was the Longobards or Lombards. Their great migration to the south under their King Alboin, and their subsequent invasion of Italy, occurred about the middle of the sixth century. This was about the time when the Saxons were defeated with great slaughter near the Weser. by Hlothaire, King of the Franks. Some of the survivors are said to have accompanied the Lombards, and others in all probability helped to swell the number of emigrants into England. It is probable that after this time they became more or less scattered to the south and across the sea, and in Germany the modem name Saxony along the upper course of the Elbe is a surviving name of a larger Saxony. The Germans have an ancient proverb which is still in use: ‘There are Saxons wherever pretty girls grow out of trees’[17]—perhaps a reference to the fair complexion of the old Saxon race, and to its wide dispersion.

The circumstance that the maritime inhabitants of the German coasts were known as Saxons before the fall of the Roman Empire shows that the name was applied to a seafaring people, and under it at that time the early Frislans were probably included, The later information we obtain concerning the identity of the wergelds, or payments for injuries, that prevailed among both of these nations supports this view. The Saxon as well as the Frisian wergeld to be paid to the kindred in the case of a man being killed was 160 solidi, or shillings.[18]

There are two sources, so far as our own island is concerned, whence we may derive historical information concerning the conquest and settlement of Eng1and—viz., from the earliest English writers and from the earliest Welsh writers. Bede is the earliest author of English birth, and Nennius, to whom the ‘Historia Britonum’ is ascribed, is the earliest Welsh author. The veracity of the ‘Historia Britonum’ is not seriously doubted—at least, the book under that name of which Nennius is the reputed author. Its date is probably about the middle of the eighth century, and we have no reason to suppose that the learning to be found at that time in the English monasteries was superior to that in the Welsh. Nennius lived in the same century as Bede. but wrote about half a century later. His information is of value as pointing to a large number of German tribes under the general name of Saxons, rather than people of one nationality only, having taken part in the invasion and settlement of England. Nennius tells us of the struggles which went on between the Britons and the invaders. He says: ‘The more the Saxons were vanquished, the more they sought for new supplies of Saxons from Germany, so that Kings, commanders, and military bands were invited over from almost every province. And this practice they continued till the reign of Inda, who was the son of Eoppa; he of the Saxon race was the first King in Bernicia, and in Cær Ebranc (York).’[19]

In reference to Cæsar’s account of German tribes, it is significant that he mentions a tribe or nation called the Cherusci as the head of a great confederation. It is of interest to note also that, as long as we find the name Cherusci used, Saxons are not mentioned, but as soon as the Cherusci disappear by name the Saxons appear, and these in a later time also formed a great confederacy. The name Gewissas, which was that by which the West Saxons were known, included Jutes—i.e.., in all probability, Goths, Frisians, Wends, and possibly people of other tribes, as well as those from the Saxon fatherland.

The Saxons of England were converted to Christianity before those of the Continent, and we derive some indirect information of the racial affinities between these peoples from the accounts of the early missionary zeal of priests from England among the old Saxons. Two of these, who are said to have been Anglians, went into Saxony to convert the people, and were murdered there; but in after-centuries their names were held in high reverence, and are still honoured in Westphalia. We can scarcely think that they would have set forth on such a missionary expedition unless their dialect or language had so much in common as to enable them as Anglians from England to make themselves easily understood to these old Saxons.

The question who were the true Saxons—i.e., the Saxons specifically so called in Germany—has been much discussed. The name may not have been a native one, but have been fixed on them by others, in which case, as Beddoe says, it is easier to believe that the Frisians were often included under it.[20] They may have been, and probably were, a great martial and aggressive tribe, which spread from the country along the Elbe over the country of the Weser, after conquering its previous inhabitants, the Boructarii, or Bructers. Such a migration best accounts for the later appearance of Saxons in the region which the Old English called Old Saxony, and erroneously looked upon as their old home, because their kindred had come to occupy it since their separation. The Saxonia of the ninth century included Hanover, Westphalia, and Holstein, as opposed to Friesland, Schleswig. the Middle Rhine provinces, and the parts east of the Elbe, which were Frisian, Danish, Frank, and Slavonic respectively.[21] Among the Saxons of the country north of the Elbe were the people of Stormaria, whose name survived in that of the river Stoer, a boundary of it, and perhaps also in one or more of the rivers Stour, where some of the Stormarii settled in England.

William of Malmesbury, who wrote early in the twelfth century, tells us that the ancient country called Germany was divided into many provinces, and took its name from germinating so many men. This may be a fanciful derivation, but he goes on to say that, ‘as the pruner cuts off the more luxuriant branches of the tree to impart a livelier vigour to the remainder, so the inhabitants of this country assist their common parent by the expulsion of a part of their members, lest she should perish by giving sustenance to too numerous an offspring; but in order to obviate the discontent, they cast lots who shall be compelled to migrate. Hence the men of this country made a virtue of necessity, and when driven from their native soil have gained foreign settlements by force of arms’[22] He gives as instances of this the Vandals, Goths, Lombards. and Normans. There is other evidence of the prevalence of this custom. The story of Hengist and Horsa is one of the same kind, The custom appears to have been common to many different nations or tribes in the northern parts of Europe, and points, consequently, to the pressure of an increasing population and to diversity of origin among the settlers known as Saxons, Angles, and Jutes in England.

The invasions of England at different periods between the fifth and tenth centuries, and the settlement of the country as it was until the end of the Anglo-Saxon period, were invasions and settlements of different tribes. It is necessary to emphasize this. Bede’s list of nations, among others, from whom the Anglo-Saxon people in his day were known to have descended is considerably longer and more varied than that of Jutes, Saxons, and Angles. During the centuries that followed his time people of other races found new homes here, some by conquest, as in the case of Norse and Danes, and others by peaceful means, as in the time of King Alfred, when, as Asser tells us, Franks, Frisians, Gauls, Pagans, Britons, Scots, and Armoricans placed themselves under his government.[23] As Alfred made no Continental conquests, the Franks, Gauls, and Frisians must have become peaceful settlers in England, and as the only pagans in his time in Europe were the northern nations—Danes, Norse, Swedes, and Wends—some of these must also have peacefully settled in his country, as we know that Danes and Norse did largely during this as well as a later period. Men of many different races must have been among the ancestors of both the earlier and later Anglo-Saxon people.

In the eighth and ninth centuries three kingdoms in England bore the Saxon name, as mentioned by Bede and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle—viz., Essex, Sussex, and Wessex—and one province, Middlesex. As will be seen when considering the evidence relating to the settlers in various parts of England, it does not follow that these several parts of our country which were called after the Saxon name were colonized by people known as Saxons in Germany. The customs that prevailed in these parts of England were different in many localities. The relics of the Anglo-Saxon period that have been discovered in these districts present also some distinctive features. It is certain from the customs that prevailed, some of which have survived, from the remains found, from the old place-names, and from the variations in the shape of the skulls discovered, that the people of the Saxon kingdoms of England could not have been people of one race. The anthropological evidence which has been collected by Beddoe[24] and others confirms this, for the skulls taken from Saxon cemeteries in England exhibit differences in the shape of the head which could not have resulted from accidental variations in the head-form of people all of one uniform race or descent.[25] The typical Saxon skull was dolichocephalic, or long, the breadth not exceeding four-fifths of the length, like those of all the nations of the Gothic stock. Goths, Norwegians, Swedes, Danes, Angles, and Saxons among the ancient nations all had this general head-form, as shown by the remains of these several races which have been found, and from the head-form of the modern nations descended from them; but among these long-headed people there were some with variations in the skull and a few with broad skulls.

The Saxons must have been nearly allied to some of the Angles. This is shown by the probability that the so-called Saxons are located by Ptolemy in the country north of the Elbe, which by other early writers is assigned mainly to the Angles. His references to the tribe or nation known as the Suevi point to the same conclusion, the Suevi-Angli mentioned by him[26] being apparently another name for the people of the country which, according to others, was occupied by Saxons, and these Suevi or Suabi are mentioned as at Saxon pagus in early German records.[27] The Scandian peninsula, so remarkable for early emigration, was probably the original home at some very remote period of the ancestors of the nations known in later centuries as Saxons, Suevi, and Angles. The racial characters of all the Teutonic tribes of North Germany, as of their modern representatives, were fair hair and eyes. and heads of the dolichocephalic shape. These characters differentiated the northern tribes of Germany from the more ancient occupants of Central Europe, as at the present time they distinguish them from the darker-haired South Germans of Bavaria and Austria, who have broader skulls than those of the north. The skulls which are found in ancient burial-places in Germany of the same age as the Anglo-Saxon period are of two main types—viz., the dolichocephalic or long, and the brachycephalic or broad. In the old burial-places at Bremen, from which 103 examples were obtained, only 5 typical broad skulls were found, against 72 typical long skulls and 26 which were classed by Gildemeister as intermediate in form.[28] These 26 he regarded as Frisian, and gave them the name Batavian. In the South of Germany graves of the same age yield a majority of broad skulls, which closely correspond to those of the peasantry of the present time in the same parts of the country. From this it may be inferred that during the period of the English settlement people with long skulls were in a great majority in North Germany, and people with broad skulls in a majority in the southern parts of that country, certainly in these districts south of Thuringia. Bede tells us that the people of England were descended from many tribes, and Nennius says that Saxons came into England from almost every province in Germany. Unless we are to entirely discredit such statements, the probability that some of the settlers whom Nennius calls Saxons may have been broad-headed is great. That various tribal people under the Saxon name took part in the invasion and settlement of England is probable from many circumstances, and, among others, the minor variations in the skulls found in Anglo-Saxon graves corresponding to the minor variations found to exist also among the skulls discovered at Bremen. Of these latter Beddoe says: ‘There are small differences which may have been tribal.’[29] The same author remarks also of these Bremen skulls, that there are differences in the degree of development of the superciliary ridges which may have been more tribal than individual.[30]

Of 100 skulls of the Anglo—Saxon period actually found in England, and whose dimensions were tabulated by Beddoe, the following variations were found, the percentage of the breadth in comparison with the length being expressed by the indices:[31]

From this table it can be seen that 8 of the 100 have a breadth very nearly or quite equal to four-fifths of their 1ength—i.e., they are the remains of people of a different race from the typical Anglo-Saxon.

The typical Saxon skull is believed to have been similar to that known as the ‘grave-row’ skull on the Continent, from the manner in which the bones were found laid in rows. Thcse occur numerously in Saxon burial-places in the Old Saxon and Frisian country, their mean index being about 75—i.e., they are long skulls.

The variation in the skulls from Anglo-Saxon graves in England, as will be seen from the table, is very considerable, but the majority have an index from 73 to 78–i.e., they resemble in this respect those commonly found in the old burial—places of North Germany. The variations have been attributed by some writers to the racial mixture of Saxons with the conquered Britons.[32] Since, however, similar variations are seen in skulls obtained from the graves at Bremen and other parts of North Germany, it is probable that the so-called Saxons were not a people of a homogeneous race, but comprised tribal people who had variations in head-form, a small percentage being even broad-headed. The migration of such people into England among other Saxons would explain the variations found in the Anglo-Saxon head-form, and, moreover, help us to explain variations in custom that are known to have existed within the so-called Saxon kingdoms of England.


The name Wends was given by the old Teutonic nations of Germany to those Slavonic tribes who were located in the countries east of the Elbe and south of the Baltic Sea. It is the same as the older name used by Ptolemy,[1] who says that ‘the Wenedæ are established along the whole of the Wendish Gulf.’ Tacitus also mentions the Venedi. There can, therefore, be no doubt that these people were seated on the coast of Mecklenburg and Pomerania before the time of the Anglo-Saxon settlement. That there were some differences in race between the Wends of various tribes is probable from the existence of such large tribes among them as the Wiltzi and Obodriti, who in the time of Charlemagne formed opposite alliances, the former with the Saxons, the latter with the Franks. The Wends who still exist in Lower Saxony are of a dark complexion, and are of the same stock as the Sorbs or Serbs of Servia. They are Slavonic, but many tribes of Slavonic descent are fair in complexion. Procopius tells us that those Vandals who were allies of the ancient Goths were remarkable for their tall stature, pale complexion, and blonde hair.[2] It is therefore by no means improbable that the ancient Slavic tribes of the Baltic coast were distinguished by differences in complexion.

As the identification of Vandal or Wendish settlers with various parts of England is new, or almost so, it will be desirable to state the evidence of their connection with the origin of the Anglo-Saxon race more fully than would otherwise have been necessary.

The Vandals are commonly thought to have been a nation of Teutonic descent like the Goths, but there is certain evidence that the later Vandals or Wends were Slavonic, and there is no reason to doubt that these later Vandals were descended from some of the earlier. Tacitus mentions the Vandals as a group of German nations, the name being used in a wide sense, as British is at the present time. The most important reason for considering the early Vandals to be Teutonic is that the names of their leaders are almost exclusively Teutonic, as Gonderic, Genseric, etc.[3] This reason would be valid if there were nothing else to set against it. Leaders of a more advanced race, however, have led the forces of less advanced allies in all ages, and the Goths were a more advanced race than the Vandals, whom they conquered, and who subsequently became their firm allies. Among the collection of Anglo-Saxon relics in the British Museum axe a number of Vandal ornaments from North Africa, placed there for comparison with those of the Anglo-Saxon period. These are apparently rough imitations of those of the same age found in Scandinavia and in England—i.e., imitations of Gothic work.

Of all the people in ancient Germania east of the Elbe whom Tacitus mentions as Germans, not a single Teutonic vestige remained in the time of Charlemagne. Poland and Silicia were parts of his Germania. When the Germans of Charlemagne and his successors conquered the country east of the Elbe there was neither trace nor record of any earlier Teutonic occupation.[4] Such a previous occupancy rarely occurs, as Latham has pointed out, without leaving some traces of its existence by the survival here and there of descendants of the older occupants. In Germany, east of the Elbe, no earlier inhabitants than the Slavonic have been discovered, excepting those of a very remote prehistoric age. At the dawn of German history no traces are met with of enthralled people of Teutonic descent among the Slavs east of the Elbe, and there are no traditions of such earlier occupants, while the oldest place-names are all Slavonic. If there were Germans, strictly so-called, east of the river in the time of Tacitus—i.e., long-headed tribes—their assumed displacement by the Slavs between his time and that of Charlemagne would have been the greatest and most complete of any recorded in history[5] Ethnology and history, therefore, alike point to people of Sarmatian or Slavic descent—i.e., brachycephalic tribes—as the earliest inhabitants of Eastern Germany, and indicate some misunderstanding in this respect by the commentators of Tacitus.[6] In Eastern Germany place-names survive ending in -itz, so very common in Saxony; in -zig, as Leipzig; in -a, as Jena; and in -dam, as Potsdam. All these places were named by the Slavs.[7]

The statement of Bede that the Rugini or Rugians were among the nations from whom the English were known to have descended was contemporary evidence of his own time. The Rugi are also mentioned by Tacitus.[8] Their name apparently remains to this day in that of Rügen Island, situated off the coast which they occupied in the time of the Roman Empire.

As Ptolemy tells us of the wenedæ seated on this same Baltic coast, and as they were Sarmatians or Slavs, it is clear that the Rugians must have been of that race. Some of the nations mentioned by Tacitus were, he says, of non-Germanic origin. Rügen Island was the chief place of worship for the Wendish race, the chief centre of their religion. On the east side of the peninsula of Jasmund in Rügen are the white chalk cliffs of Stubbenkammer, and on the north side of the island is the promontory of Arcona, where in the twelfth century we read of the idol Svantovit, and the temple of this Wendish god. No traces of Teutonic worship have ever been found in Rügen. They are all Slavonic. Saxo tells us at the worship of Svantovit at Arcana with the tributes brought there from all Slavonia.[9]

The probability of some very early settlers in Britain having been Wends, and consequently that there was a Slavic element in the origin of the Old English race, is shown in another way. The settlement of large bodies of Vandals in Britain by order of the Emperor Probus is a fact recorded in Roman history. The authority is Zosimus,[10] and this settlement is said to have taken place in the latter part of the third century of our era, after a great defeat of Vandals near the Lower Rhine. They were accompanied by a horde of Burgundians, and as they were apparently on the march in search of new homes, it probably suited them as well as it suited the Romans to be transported to Britain. Unless it can be shown that the Vandal name is to be understood to mean only certain tribes of Teutonic origin, this arbitrary settlement of Vandals in Britain is the earliest record of immigrants of Slavic origin. It is not possible to ascertain the parts of the country in which they settled, but as they were known to Roman writers by the names Vinidæ and Venedi, it is possible that the Roman place-names in Britain—Vindogladia in Dorset, Vindomis in Hampshire, and others—may have been connected with their settlements. It is possible also that during the time between their arrival and that of the earliest Anglo-Saxon settlers some of their descendants may have maintained their race distinctions apart from the British people, as descendants of some of the Roman colonists apparently did in Kent.

The defeat of the Vandals by Probus near the Rhine occurred in A.D. 277,[11] so that their settlement in Britain was not more than two centuries before the arrival of the Jutes and Saxons. As it is probable there were some so-called Saxons already settled on the eastern coast of England, with whom those of a later date coalesced, it is not impossible that some of the Vandal settlers in Britain in the time of Probus may have preserved their distinction in race until the invasion of the Saxons, Angles, and Jutes began.

The names in the Anglo-Saxon charters which apparently marked settlements of Rugians in England are Ruanbergh and Ruwanbeorg, Dorset; Ruganbeorh and Ruwanbeorg, Somerset; Ruwanbeorg and Rugan dic, Wilts; Rugebeorge, in Kent; and Ruwangoringu, Hants.[12] These will be referred to in later chapters.

The chief Old English names which appear to refer to them in Domesday Book are Ruenore in Hampshire, Ruenhala and Ruenhale in Essex, Rugehala and Rugelie in Staffordshire, Rugutune in Norfolk, and Rugarthorp in Yorkshire. Close to Ruenore, in Hampshire, is Stubbington, which may have been an imported name, as it resembles that of Stubnitz in the Isle of Rügen.

In its historical aspect the Anglo-Saxon settlement may be regarded as part of that wider migration of nations and tribes from Eastern and Northern Europe into the provinces of the Roman Empire during its decadence. In its ethnological aspect it may be regarded as a final stage in the westward European migration of people of the Germanic stock. As the history and ethnology of the Franks in Western Germany afford us a notable example of the fusion of people of the Celtic with others of the Teutonic race, so the history and ethnology of Eastern Germany afford an equally striking example of the fusion of people of Teutonic and Slavonic origins. It began at a very early period in our era, and the present irregular ethnological frontier between Germans and Slavs shows that it is still slowly going on. The eastward migration of Germans in later centuries has absorbed the Wends. The descendants of the isolated Slavonic settlers near Utrecht and in other parts of the Rhine Valley have also long been absorbed. The ethnological evidence concerning the present inhabitants of these districts and the survival of some of their old place-names, however, supports the statement of the early chroniclers concerning the immigration of Slavs into what is now Holland.

The part which the ancient Wends, including Rugians, Wilte, and other Slavonic people, took in the settlement of England was, in comparison with that of the Teutonic nations and tribes, small, but yet so considerable that it has left its results. During the period of the invasion and the longer period of the settlement, the southern coasts of the Baltic Sea were certainly occupied by Slavonic people. Ptolemy, writing, as he did, about the middle of the second century of our era, mentions the Baltic by the name Venedic Gulf, and the people on its shores as Venedi or Wenedæ. He describes them as one of the great nations of Sarmatia.[13] the most ancient name of the countries occupied by Slavs, but which was replaced by that of Slavonia. Pliny, in his notice of the Baltic Sea, has the following passage: ‘People say that from this point round to the Vistula the whole country is inhabited by Sarmatians and Wends.’[14] Although he did not write from personal knowledge of the Wends, this passage is weighty evidence that they must have been located on the Baltic in his time.

During the time of the Anglo-Saxon period the Slavs in the North of Europe extended as far westward as the Elbe and to places beyond it. On the east bank of that river were the Polabian Wends, and these were apparently a branch of the Wilte or Wiltzi. This name Wiltzi has been derived from the old Slavic word for wolf, wilk, plural wiltzi, and was given to this great tribe from their ferocious courage. The popular name Wolfmark still survives in North-East Germany, near the eastern limit of their territory. These people called themselves Welatibi, a name derived from welot, a giant, and were also known as the Hæfeldan, or Men of Havel, from being seated near the river Havel, as mentioned by King Alfred. The inhabitants of the coast near Stralsund, who were called Rugini or Rugians, and who are mentioned by Bede as one of the nations from whom the Anglo-Saxons of his time were known to have derived their origin,[15] must have been included within the general name of the Wends. As these Rugians must have been Wends, the statement of Bede is direct evidence that some of the people of England in his time were known to be of Wendish descent. This is supported by evidence of other kinds, such as the mention of settlements of people with Wendish or Vandal names in the Anglo-Saxon charters, the numerous names of places in England which have come down from a remote antiquity, and the identity of the oldest forms of such names with that of the people of this race. We read also that Edward, son of Edmund Ironside, fled after his father’s death ‘ad regnum Rugorum, quod melius vocamus Russiam.’[16] It is also supported by philological evidence. As a distinguished American philologist says: ‘The Anglo-Saxon was such a language as might be supposed would result from a fusion of Old Saxon with smaller proportions of High German, Scandinavian, and even Celtic and Slavonic elements.’[17] The migration of the Wilte from the shores of the Baltic and the foundation of a colony in the country around Utrecht is certainly historical. Bede mentions it in connection with the mission of Wilbrord. He says: ‘The Venerable Wilbrord went from Frisia to Rome, where the Pope gave him the name of Clement, and sent him back to his bishopric. Pepin gave him a place for his episcopal see in his famous castle, which, in the ancient language of those people, is called Wiltaburg—i.e., the town of the Wilti—but in the French tongue Utrecht.’[18] Venantius also tells us that the Wileti or Wiltzi, between A.D. 560-600, settled near the city of Utrecht, which from them was called Wiltaburg, and the surrounding country Wiltenia.[19] Such a migration would perhaps be made by land, and some of these Wilte may have gone further. The name of the first settlers in Wiltshire has been derived by some authors from a migration of Wilte from near Wiltaburg,[20] and the name Wilsætan appears to afford some corroboration. It is certain that Wiltshire was becoming settled in the latter half of the sixth century, and such a migration may either have come direct from the Baltic or the Elbe, or from the Wilte settlement in Holland.

It must not be supposed that there is evidence of the settlement of all Wiltshire by people descended from the Wilte, but it is not improbable that some early settlers of this time were the original Wilsætas. The Anglo-Saxon charters supply evidence of the existence in various parts of England, as will be referred to in later pages, of people called Willa or Wilte. There were tribes in England named East Willa and West Willa;[21] and such Anglo-Saxon names as Willanesham;[22] Wilburgeham, Cambridgeshire;[23] Wilburge gcmæro and Wilburge mere in Wiltshire;[24] Wilburgewel in Kent;[25] Willa-byg in Lincolnshire;[26] Wilmanford,[27] Wilmanleáhtun,[28] appear to have been derived from personal names connected with these people. I have not been able to discover that any other Continental tribe of the Anglo-Saxon period were so named, except this Wendish tribe, called by King Alfred the men of Havel, a name that apparently survived in the Domesday name Hauelingas in Essex. The Wilte or Willa, tribal name survived in England as a personal name, like the national name Scot, and is found in the thirteenth-century Hundred Rolls and other early records. In these rolls a large number of persons so named are mentioned—Wiltes occurs in seventeen entries, Wilt in eight, and Wilte in four entries. Willeman as a personal name is also mentioned.[29] The old Scando-Gothic personal name Wilia is well known.[30]

The great Wendish tribe which occupied the country next to that of the Danes along the west coast of the Baltic in the ninth century was the Obodriti, known also as the Bodritzer. From their proximity there arose an early connection between them and the Danes, or Northmen. In the middle of the ninth century we read of a place on the boundaries of the Northmen and Obodrites, ‘in confinibus Nordmannorum et Obodritorum.’[31] The probability of Wendish people of this tribe having settled in England among the Danes arises from their near proximity on the Baltic, their political connection in the time of Sweyn and Cnut, historical references to Obodrites in the service of Cnut in England, and the similarity of certain place-names in some parts of England colonized by Danes to others on the Continent of known Wendish or Slavonic origin. Obodriti is a Slavic name, and, according to Schafarik, the Slavic ethnologist, the name may be compared with Bodrica in the government of Witepsk, Bodrok, and the provincial name Bodrog in Southern Hungary, and others of a similar kind. In the Danish settled districts of England we find the Anglo-Saxon names Bodeskesham, Cambridgeshire; Bodesham, now Bosham, Sussex; Boddingc-weg, Dorset;[32] the Domesday names Bodebi, Lincolnshire; Bodetone and Bodele, Yorkshire; Bodehā, Herefordshire; Bodeslege, Somerset; Bodeshā, Kent; and others,[33] which may have been named after people of this tribe.

The map of Europe at the present day exhibits evidence of the ancient migration of the Slavs. The Slavs in the country from Trient to Venice were known as Wendi, and hence the name Venice or the Wendian territory.[34] Bohemia and Poland after the seventh century became organized States of Slavs on the upper parts of the Elbe and the Vistula. The Slavonic tribes on the frontier or march-land of Moravia formed the kingdom of Moravia in the ninth century. Other scattered tribes of Slavs formed the kingdom of Bulgaria about the end of the seventh century; and westward of these, other tribes organized themselves into the kingdoms of Croatia, Dalmatia, and Servia.[35] In the North the ancient Slav tribes of Pomerania, Mecklenburg, Brandenburg, and those located on the banks of the Elbe, comprising the Polabians, the Obodrites, the Wiltzi, those known at one time as Rugini, the Lutitzes, and the Northern Sorabians or Serbs, became gradually absorbed among the Germans, who formed new States eastward of their ancient limits. These have long since become Teutonised, and their language has disappeared, but the Slavonic place-names still remain.

What concerns us specially in connection with the settlement of England and the Vandals is that these people were Slavs, not Teutons or Germans, as is sometimes stated. They are fully recognised as Slavs by the historian of the Gothic race, who tells us that Slavs differ from Vandals in name only.[36] It is important, also, to note that the Rugians mentioned by Bede were a Wendish tribe. Westward of the Elbe the Slavic Sorabians had certainly pushed their way, before they were finally checked by Charlemagne and his successors. The German annals of the date A.D. 782[37] tell us that the Sorabians at that time were seated between the Elbe and the Saale, where place-names of Slavonic origin remain to this day.

Those Wends who were located on the Lower Elbe, near Lüneburg and Hamburg, were known as Polabians, through having been seated on or near this river, from po, meaning ‘on,’ and laba, the Slavic name for the Elbe.

The eastern comer of the former kingdom of Hanover, and especially that in the circuit of Lüchow, which even to the present day is called Wendland, was a district west of the Elbe, where the Wends formed a colony, and where the Polabian variety of the Wendish language survived the longest. It did not disappear until about 1700-1725, during the latter part of which period the ruler of this ancient Wendland was also King of England.

During the later Saxon period in England the Wends of the Baltic coast had their chief seaport at Julin or Jomberg, close to the island called Wollin, in the delta of the Oder. Julin is mentioned by Adam of Bremen as the largest and most flourishing commercial city in Europe in the eleventh century, but it was destroyed in 1176 by Valdemar, King of Denmark,[38] Its greatest rival was the Northern Gothic port of Wisby in the Isle of Gotland. Whether Jomberg surpassed Wisby as a commercial centre, which, notwithstanding the statement of Adam of Bremen, is doubtful, it is certain that these two ports were the chief ports respectively of the Wends and the Goths of the Baltic. Both of them, even during the Saxon period, had commercial relations with this country, or maritime connection of some sort, as shown by the number of Anglo-Saxon coins and ornaments with Anglian runes on them found either in Gotland or Pomerania.

The connection of the Slav tribes of ancient Germany with the settlement of England is supported also by the survival in England of ancient customs which were widely spread in Slavonic countries, by the evidence of folk-lore, traces of Slav influence in the Anglo-Saxon language, and by some old place-names in England, especially those which point to Wends generally, and others referring to Rugians and to Wilte. The great wave of early Slavonic migration was arrested in Eastern Germany, but lesser waves derived from it were continued westward, as shown by the isolated Slav colonies of ancient origin in Oldenburg, Hanover, and Holland. The same migratory movement in a lesser degree appears to have extended even into England, bringing into our country some Slavonic settlers, probably in alliance with Saxons, Angles, Goths, and other tribes, and some later on in alliance with Danes. The existence of separate large tribes among the Wends is probable evidence of racial differences, and the alternative names they had are probably those by which they were known to themselves and to their neighbours. The remnant at the present time of the dark-complexioned Wends of Saxony, who called themselves Sorbs, shows that there must have been some old Wendish tribe of similar complexion, from which they are descended. As the country anciently occupied by the Wiltzi included Brandenburg and the district around Berlin, it joined the limits of ancient Saxony on the west. There is evidence, arising from the survival of place-names in and near the old Wendish country, to show that these Wilte have left distinct traces of their existence in North-East Germany—for example, Wiltschau, Wilschkowitz, and Wiltsch are places in Silesia; Wilze is a place near Posen; Wilsen in Mecklenburg-Schwerin; Wilsdorf nenr Dresden; Wilzken in East Prussia; and Wilsum in Hanover.[39] Similarly, names of the same kind which can be traced back to Saxon time survive in England. If the existence of these Wilte place-names in the old Wendish country of Gennany is confirmatory evidence of the former existence in that part of Europe of a nation or tribe known as the Wiltzi or Wilte, the existence of similar names in England, dating from the Anglo-Saxon period, cannot be other than probable evidence of the settlement in England of some of these people, for no other tribe is known to have existed at that time which had a similar name. This tribal name has also survived in other countries, such as Holland, in which the Wilte formed colonies. The Polebian Wends or Wilte were located on the right bank of the Elbe, where some ships for the Saxon invasion must have been fitted out. There were Saxons on the left bank and Wilte on the right. At a later period they were in close alliance, and unless there had been peace between them, it is not likely that a Saxon expedition to England would have been organized.

Under these circumstances, if we had no evidence of Wilte or other Wends in England, it would be very difficult indeed to believe that some of them did not come among the Saxons. The general name of the Wends survives in many place-names in the old Wendish parts of Germany, such as Wendelau, Wendemark, Wendewisch, Wendhagen, and Wendorf.[40]

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the old Slavonic tribes not only comprised people of different tribal names, but of different ethnological characters, seeing that at the present time there are dark-complexioned Slavs and others as fair as Scandinavians. No record of the physical characters of the ancient Wends appears to have survived, but observations on the remnant of the race, who call themselves Sorbs, in Lower Saxony have been made by Beddoe. The Wendish peasants examined by him and recorded in his tables[41] showed the highest index of nigrescence of any observed by him in Germany. These observations have been confirmed by the results of the official ethnological survey of that country.[42]

The coast of the Baltic Sea as far east as the mouth of the Vistula, and beyond it, is remarkable for having been what may be called the birthplace of nations. Goths were seated east of the Vistula before the fall of the Roman Empire. and Vandals appear to have occupied a great area of country around the sources of the Vistula and the Oder. In the middle of the fifth century the Burgundians were seated in large numbers between the middle courses of these rivers, while the Slavic tribes known as Rugians were located on the Baltic coast on both sides of the Oder. The name Rugini or Rugians thus appears, at one time, to have been a comprehensive one, and to have included the tribes known later on as Wiltzi.

In the Sagas of the Norse Kings, Vindland is the name of the country of the Wends from Holstein to the east of Prussia, and as early as the middle of the tenth century we read of both Danish and Vindish Vikings as subjects of, or in the service of, Hakon, King of Denmark.[43] In this century the Wends were sometimes allies and sometimes enemies of the Danes and Norse. There is a reference to interpreters of the Wendish tongue in the Norse Sagas.[44] The Wends were sea-rovers, like their neighbours, and comprised the largest section of the ancient association or alliance known as the Jomberg Vikings.[45] An alliance was made between the Danes and the Wends by the marriage of Sweyn, King of Denmark, to Gunhild, daughter of Borislav, a King of the Wends. Cnut, King of England and Denmark, was actually King of ancient Wendland, and the force of huscarls he formed in England was partly composed of Jomberg sea-rovers who had been banished from their own country. The evidence of Wendish settlers with the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes in England rests, as far as the Rugians are concerned, on Bede’s statement, and generally on the survival of customs, place-names, and folk-lore. It is certain that large colonies of Vandals were settled in Britain before the end of the Roman occupation, and some of them may have retained their race characters until the time of the Saxon settlement. It is certain, also, that there was an immigration in the time of Cnut. The evidence of a Wendish influence in the English race, arising from these successive settlements, extending from the Roman time to the later Anglo-Saxon period, cannot, therefore, be disregarded.

The Anglo-Saxon charters[46] tell us of Wendlesbiri in Hertfordshire, Wendlescliff in Worcestershire, Wændlescumb in Berkshire, and Wendlesore, now Windsor—all apparently named from settlers called Wendel, after the name of their race.

In such Old English place-names the tribal name lingers yet, as similar names linger in North-East Germany; and in the names Wilts, Willi, Rugen, Rown, or Ruwan, and others, we may still, in all probability, trace the Wilte and Rugians—Wendic tribes of the Saxon age. In the old Germanic records the Rugians are mentioned under similar names to those found in the Anglo—Saxon charters, Ruani and Rugiani.[47]

Some manorial customs, and especially that of sole inheritance by the youngest son, may be traced with more certainty to the old Slavic nations of Europe than to the Teutonic. Inheritance by the youngest son, or junior preference, was a custom so prevalent among the Slavs that there can be little doubt it must have been almost or quite the common custom of the race. The ancient right of the youngest survives here and there in parts of Germany—in parts of Bavaria, for example—but in no Teutonic country is the evidence to be found in ancient customs or in old records of the identification of this custom with the Teutonic race as it may be identified with the Slavic. In the old Wendish country around Lubeck the custom of inheritance by the youngest son long survived, or still does, and Lubeck was the city in which during the later Saxon age in England the commerce of the Wends began to be concentrated.

There is evidence of another kind showing the connection of Wends with Danes or Northmen. At Sondevissing, in Tyrsting herrad, in the district of Scanderborg, there is a stone monument with a runic inscription stating that ‘Tuva caused this barrow to be constructed. She was a daughter of Mistivi. She made it to her mother, who was the wife of Harald the Good, son of Gorm.’[48] The inscription has been assigned to the end of the tenth century, and Worsaae says: ‘We know that there existed at this period a Wendish Prince named Mistivi, who in the year 986 destroyed Hamburg, possibly the same as in the inscription.’ This refers to a generation earlier than that of Cnut, to the time of Sweyn, who married the daughter of Borislav, King of the Wends. During the period of Danish rule in England there are several historical references to the connection of the Wends with England. In 1029, Eric, son of Hakon, was banished by Cnut. Hakon was doubly the King’s nephew, being the son of his sister and the husband of his niece Gunhild, the daughter of another sister and of Wyrtgeorn, King of the Wends.[49] There was at this time an eminent Slavonic Prince who was closely connected with Cnut, and spent some time with him in England—viz., Godescalc, son of Uto, the Wendish Prince of the Obodrites, whose exploits are recorded in old Slavonic history. The Obodrites were the Wendish people whose warlike deeds are still commemorated at Schwerin. Godescalc waged war against the Saxons of Holstein and Stormaria, but was taken prisoner. After his release he entered the service of Cnut, probably as an officer of the huscarls, and later on he married the King’s daughter.

There is another trace of the Wends in an English charter of A.D. 1026, which is witnessed by Earls Godwin, Hacon, Hrani, Sihtric, and Wrytesleof. The name of the last of these is apparently Slavonic.[50] There is also a charter of Cnut, dated 1033, by which he granted to Bouige, his huscarl, land at Horton in Dorset.[51] Saxo, the early chronicler of the Danes, tells us that Cnut’s Wendish kingdom was called Sembia, and it was in the Wendish war under Cnut that Godwin, the Anglo-Saxon earl, rose to distinction. As Wendland was actually part of Cnut’s continental dominions,[52] the migration into England of Wendish people during his reign is easily accounted for.

There is additional evidence of the intercourse of the Wendish people of Pomerania with the people of Anglo-Saxon England in the objects that have been found. The gold ring which was found at Cöslin, on the Pomeranian coast, in 1839, Stephens says was the first instance of the discovery of a golden bracteate and Northern runes on German soil.[53] The inscription is in provincial English runes, the rune ( (symbol characters) ), yo, a slight variation of ( i ), being decisive in this respect, for, as Stephens says, it has only been found in England. The ring must be a very early one, for it contains the heathen symbols for Woden and also for the Holy Triskele (Y). Stephens states that it cannot well he later than the fifth century, and that it had been worn by a warrior ‘who had been in England, or had gotten it thence by barter.’ The style is that of six centuries earlier than the eleventh or twelfth centuries, when the Germans came to Pomerania. The well~preserved characters on the ring point to its loss at an early date after its manufacture, and thus to early communication of some kind between England and Pomerania. It may have been the much-prized, rare ornament of a Wendish chief, brought or sent from England. In any case we know that the Wends, who had no knowledge of runes, must have prized ornaments such as this, whose construction was beyond their skill, for the relics of Vandal ornaments we possess from other countries where Vandals settled are clearly in many respects rough imitations of those of the ancient Goths.[54] With this English golden finger-ring there were also two Roman golden coins, one of Theodosins the Great (379-395), and the other of Leo I. (457-474), thus fixing the probable date of the ring as the fifth century. At that time the Goths were settling down in Kent, with some Wends, probably, near to them. They can be traced in both Essex and Sussex. The coast of the Baltic, it should also be remembered, was not only Wendish in the parts nearest to the Elbe, but also Gothic in those beyond the Vistula. The discovery of this ring in old Vandal territory with the Roman coins, and especially with the very early English runic characters upon it, assists in proving that the early Goths who settled in Kent were of the same stock as those who overran so large a part of Europe during the decline of the Roman Empire. In considering this, it should also be remembered that inscribed stones discovered at Sandwich, which are marked with very early runes, and are ascribed to the same early period, still exist in Kent.[55]

The evidence we possess relating to the connection of ancient Wendland with both the earlier and later Anglo-Saxons thus points to a continued intercourse between that country and our own. It is known to have been very considerable in the time of Cnut, who was the King or overlord of the Baltic Wendland. A large discovery of coins was made at Althofthen on the Obra, in the province of Posen, not far from Brandenburg, in 1872. From sixty to seventy Anglo-Saxon coins of Æthelred and Cnut, and an Irish one of Sithric, were found in this hoard. These Anglo-Saxon coins bear the mint marks of Cambridge, London, Canterbury, Shaftesbury, Cricklade, Oxford, Stamford, Winchester, York. and other places—twenty in all.[56]

The local traces of Wendish settlers in various English counties will he stated when considering the evidence of tribal settlers in different parts of England. Among these local traces are customs and folk-lore, which were of great vitality among these people of Wendland. On this subject Magnus, the historian of the Goths and Vandals, gives us positive information. He says: ‘For, as Albertus Crantzius reports of Vandalia, “great is the ove men bear to their ancestors’ traditions.” ’[57]


One of the facts concerning the colour of the hair and eyes of the people in different counties of England at the present time, brought to light by scientific observations, is that there is a higher percentage of people of a mixed brown type living in Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Wiltshire, and Dorset, than in most other counties. Except those in Cornwall and on the Celtic borders, the inhabitants of these counties are the darkest. This is usually explained on the supposition that in the process of the Saxon settlement a British population was allowed to remain in these parts of England, which in the course of centuries became mixed with the inhabitants of Anglo-Saxon descent, and consequently the present population is more marked than those of pure descent by brown, hazel, or black-hazel eyes, with brown (chestnut), dark-brown, or black hair.(1)
The counties of Hertford and Buckingham have people as dark as Wales. All investigation goes to show that this brunette outcrop is a reality. Beddoe found that the area in which there is a larger percentage of brown people in England extends from the river Lea to the Warwickshire Avon. In dealing with the circumstances of the settlement, these ethnological facts must receive consideration. The survival of a British population is a possible explanation, and the one which appears to be the most natural. As there are some difficulties in this conclusion, the question arises, is there any other way in which the origin of these mixed brown people, surrounded by others of a somewhat fairer complexion, can be explained ? An alternative explanation is that people of a darker race may have come with the Angles, Saxons, or Danes, and have settled largely in these parts of the country. There is circumstantial evidence that people of a brown or dark complexion did come to England during the time of both Saxon and the Danish settlements, and this may now be summarised.  
First, we have evidence that Wends were among the settlers either during the early period or later in alliance with the Danes. The Wends, specifically so called by the Germans, included some tribes much darker than the Saxons and Angles, as the remnant of the race still called the Wends living on the border of Saxony and Prussia at the present time shows. They are the darkest people in Northern Germany, according to the official census. From 26 to 29 per cent, of the children of the Wendish district of Lusatia, south of Dresden, were shown by this census to be brunettes, not with standing the admixture of race with the much fairer people of Teutonic descent which has been going on along this borderland since the dawn of history. All the Slav nations are not dark. Some are as fair as the Scandinavians, while other, such as the Wends and the Czechs of Bohemia, are dark.
The Wendish place-names in Buckinghamshire and on its borders help to show that some people of this race probably settled in that county. Huntingdon tells us that during the later Saxon period they formed part of the Scandian hosts.(2) They were in alliance with the Norwegians, Danes, Swedes, Goths, and Frisians, or, in any case, people of these races were acting together in the Danish expeditions against England. It is likely, therefore, that when permanent settlements were formed adjoining townships would be occupied by people of this alliance. This consideration helps us to identify Wendlesbury in Hertfordshire.(3) Wendover and its neighbourhood in Buckinghamshire, and Anglo-Saxon Wendofra,(4) and Windsor, anciently Wendlesore,(5) close to the southern border of that county, were probably named after settlers who were Wends.
If British people were left, as suggested, like an eddy between the main lines of the Anglo-Saxon advance east and west of these counties, would it not be very surprising that the advancing Saxons should make no use of the existing roman roads – the Watling Street, Ikenield Street, and Akeman Street – which passed through parts of these shires, while Ermine Street also went through Hertfordshire ? To suppose that invaders and subsequent settlers would have forsaken the excellent roads which the Romans had made, and in their advance would have passed through the more difficult country east and west of them, thus leaving undisturbed a British population, is most unlikely.
Secondly, these counties are not specially marked by the survival of Celtic place-names, nor by a dialect containing words of Celtic origin. In Anglo-Saxon times there was, however, a place named Wealabroc, in Buckinghamshire.
Thirdly, it should be remembered that the western border of Buckinghamshire was at one time the western frontier of the Danelaw, which comprised fifteen counties known as Fiftonshire, until after the Norman Conquest, and that Danish law survived for more than a century after the conquest east of this frontier.(6) This fact points to a population largely Scandian. There is, in addition evidence that points to Norwegians of a brunette appearance as another source whence brown-complexioned people may have come to England. On the south-east coast of Norway, and here and there on the coast further north, a population is met with differs from the usual Norwegian type, and this has been referred to anthropologists to a very ancient settlement there of the prehistory brown race that survives in the highlands of Central Europe, and is known as the brown Alpine race.(7) This race is believed to have extended before the dawn of history much further northwards in Germany. The brown people of Norway are well seen in Joderen, where Arbo found the blonde and really dark-haired people about equally represented. The Norwegian brunettes differ from the typical blondes of that country in two other particulars. First, they are broad –headed, while the blondes, which comprise the bulk of the nation, are long-headed ; and not only are the broader-headed people of these coastal districts darker as a whole, but in them the broad-headed individuals tend to be darker than the other type, as Arbo has clearly shown.(8) Secondly, the broadest-headed people of these localities in Norway incline to shortness of stature below that of the typical Norwegian.
From Huntingdon`s statement concerning Vandals as Danish allies and these considerations, there appears to be evidence to account for the greater percentage of brunettes, or the greater tendency of the brunette type, that prevails in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire over the adjacent counties, without necessarily concluding that such an ethnological phenomenon can only have been caused by a remnant of the British population. It is, indeed, an unlikely district for Celtic people to have been left in large numbers. On the contrary, in view of it excellent communications, it is a country where the conquest by the early settlers might be expected to have been most thorough. Whether the Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire brunettes are partly due to the settlement of Wends and Norwegians of the darker type, as now suggested, or to some other cause, the British theory as a compete explanation, in view of the facts, appears improbable. The chief lines of the Anglo-Saxon advance during theaerly settlement were the navigable rivers and the Roman roads. The Scandian advances into the country during their conquests and later settlements must have been along the same lines of communication. On one occasion, at least, we read of the Danish host presumably using the Ikenield way, on the march from East Anglia into Dorset.(9)
This consideration of the probable origin of the great proportion of brunettes in two of the south midland counties of England leads us to that of the colour-names as surnames and place-names, which may probably have been derived from their origin settlers. For example, there is the common name Brown. This has been derived from the Anglo-Saxon brun, signifying brown. It is not reasonable to doubt that when our forefathers called a man Brun or Brown, they gave him this name as descriptive of his brown complexion. The probability that the brunettes were common is supported by the frequent references to persons named Brun in Anglo-Saxon literature. Brun was a name not confined to England in the Anglo-Saxon and later periods. On the contrary, we find that it was common name in ancient Germany.(10) the typical place-name Bruninga-feld occurs in a charter of AEthelstan dated A. D. 938, `in loco qui Bruninga-feld dicitur.`(11) Bruesham, hants, is mentioned in a charter of Edward `the Elder` about 900.(12) Brunesford is another suggestive name.(13) Bruman is mentioned as a personal name in Anglo-Saxon records of the eleventh century, and examples of the name Bruning are somewhat numerous in documents of the same period.(14) At the present time old place-names, such as Braunschweig or Brunswick, are common in Germany.(15) The custom of calling people by colour-names from their personal appearance, or places after them, was clearly not peculiar to our own country. It is probable that the name Brunswick was derived from the brown complexion of its original inhabitants. The map published by Ripley, based on the official ethnological survey of Germany, shows that parts of the country near Brunswick have a higher percentage of brunettes than the districts further north. Beddoe also made observations on a number of Brunswick peasantry, and records some remarkable facts relating to the proportion of brunettes among those who came under his observation.(16)
In view of this, and the evidence relating to the use of the Anglo-Saxon word brun in English place-names,we are not, I think, justified in deciding that all English names which begin with brun, modernized into burn in many cases by the well-known shifting of the r sound, have been derived from burn, a bourn or stream, rather than from brun, brown. Such names as Bruninga-feld(17) and Brunesham point to the opposite conclusion, that Brun in such names refers to people, probably so named from their complexions. If a large proportion of the settlers in the counties of Buckingham and Hertford were of a brown complexion, it is clear that they would have been less likely to have been called Brun or brown by their neighbours than brunettes would in other counties, where such a complexion may have been rarer, and consequently more likely to have attracted the notice of the people around them. It is not probable that people who were originally designated by the colour-names Brown, Black, Gray, or the like, gave themselves these names. They most likely received them from others.
The evidence concerning brown people in England during the Anglo-Saxon period which can be derived from the place-names Brun is supplemented by that supplied in at least some of the old place-names beginning with dun and duning. Dun is an Old English word denoting a colour partaking of brown and black, and where it occurs at the beginning of words in such a combination as Duningland,(18) It is possible that it refers to brown people or their children, rather than to the Anglo-Celtic word dun, a hill or fortified place.
As regards the ancient brown race or races of North Europe, there can be no doubt of their existence in the south-east of Norway and in the east of Friesland.(19) there can be no doubt about the important influence which the old Wendish race has had in the north-eastern parts of Germany in transmitting to their descendants a more brunette complexion than prevails among the people of Hanover, Holstein, and Westphalia, of more pure Teutonic descent. We cannot reasonably doubt that, in view of such a survival of brown people as we find at the present time in the provinces of North Holland, Drenthe and Overijssel, which form the hinterland of the ancient Frisian country, numerous brunettes must have come into England among the Frisians, It wouldbe as unreasonable to doubt this as it would to think that during the Norwegian immigration into England all the brown people of Norway were precluded from leaving their country because they were brunettes, or that the Wends, who undoubtedly settled in England in considerable numbers, were none of them of a brunette type.
The survival of some people with broad heads and of a brown type in parts of Drenthe, Gelderland, and Overijssel appears unmistakable.(20) They present a remarkable contrast in appearance to their Frisian neighbours, who are of a different complexion in regard to hair and skin, and are specially characterized as long-headed.
It was in Gelderland that ancient Thiel was situated, and the men of Thiel and those of Brune were apparently recognised as different people from the real Frisians, for in the later Anglo-Saxon laws relating to the sojourn of strangers within the City of London it is stated that `the men of the Emperor may lodge within the city wherever they please, except those of Tiesle and of Brune.(21)
The evidence concerning the origin of the broad-headed Slavonic nations connects them with the broad-headed and still older Alpine brown race of Central Europe. The most generally excepted theory among anthropologists as to the physical relationship of the Slavs is that they were always, as the majority of them are to-day, of the same stock as the broad-headed Alpine race.(22) This old race has sometimes been called the Celtic, but it is perhaps more accurate to say that it is the very ancient stock from which the old Celtic race of the British Bronze Age was an offshoot. This curious circumstance, consequently, comes before us in considering the Anglo-Saxon settlement of England. If the brunette character of the people of any part of England at the present time is due to a survival of the race characters of the Celts of The British Bronze Age, and if this same character has been caused partly by people of a darker complexion and broad heads settling as immigrants among the fair-haired and long-headed Teutons in other parts of England, this racial character in both cases can be traced along different lines to the same distant source.
The consideration of the evidence that people of Brunette complexions were among the Anglo-Saxon settlers in England leads on to that of people of a still darker hue, the dark, black, or brown-black settlers. Probably there must have been some of these among the Anglo-Saxons, for we meet with the personal names Blacman, Blaecman, Blakeman, Blacaman, Blac`sunu, Blaecca, and Blachman, in various documents of the period.(23) Blaecca was an ealderman of Lindsey who was converted by Paulinus ; Blaecman was the son of Ealric or Edric, a descendant of Ida, ancestor of Ealhred, King of Bernicia, and so on.(24) The same kind of evidence is met with among the oldest place-names. Blacmannebergh is mentioned in an Anglo-Saxon charter ; (25) Blachemanestone was the name of a place in Dorset,(26) and Blachemenstone that of a place in Kent.(27) Blacheshale and Blachenhale are Domesday names of places in Somerset, and Blachingelei occurs in the Domesday record of Surrey. The name Blachemone occurs in the Hertfordshire survey and Blachene in Lincoln. Among the earliest names of the same kind in the charters we find Blacanden in Hants and Blacandon in Dorset. The places called Blachemanestone in Dorset and Blachemenestone in Kent were on or quite close to the coast, a circumstance which points to the settlers having come to these places by water rather than to a survival of black people of the Celtic race having been left in them.
Among old place-names of the same kind in various counties, some of which are met with in later, but still old, records, we find Blakeney in Glouceatershire ; Blakeney in Norfolk ; Blakenham in Suffolk ; Blakemere,(28) an ancient hamlet, and Blakesware, near Ware in Hertfordshire. This Hertford name is worthy of note in reference to what has been said concerning the brunettes in that county at the present time. Another circumstance connected with these names which it is desirable to remember is the absence of evidence to show that the Old English ever called any of the darker-complexioned Britons brown men or black men. Their name for them was Wealas. So far as I am aware, not a single instance occurs in which the Welsh are mentioned in any Anglo-Saxon document as black or brown people ; on the contrary, the Welsh annals mention black Vikings on the coast, as if they were men of unusual personal appearance.(29)
There is another old word used by the Anglo-Saxons to denote black or brown-black – the word sweart. The personal names Stuart and Sueart may have been derived from this word, and may have originally denoted people of a darker-brown or black complexion. Some names of this kind are mentioned in the Domesday record of Buckinghamshire and Lincolnshire. These may be of Scandinavian origin, for the ekename or nickname Svarti is found in the Northern sagas.(30) Halfden `the Black` was the name of a King of Norway who died in 863. The so-called black men of the Anglo-Saxon period probably included some of the darker Wendish people among them, immigrants or descendants of people of the same race as the ancestors of the Sorbs of Lausatia on the border of Saxony and Prussia at the present day. Some of the darker Wends may well have been among the Black Vikings referred to in the Irish annals,(31) as well as in those of Wales,(32) and may have been the people who have left the Anglo-Saxon name Blavmanne-berghe, which occurs in one of the charters,(33) Blachemenestone on the Kentish coast, and Blachemanstone on the Dorset coast. As late as the time of the Domesday Survey we meet with records of people apparently named after their dark complexions. In Buckinghamshire, blacheman, Suartinus, and othersare mentioned ; in Sussex, one named Blac ; in Suffolk, Blakeemannus and Saurtingus ; and others at Lincoln. The invasion of the coast of the British Isles by Viking of a dark or brown complexion rests on historical evidence which is too circumstantial to admit of doubt. In the Irish annals the Black Vikings are called Dubh-Ghenti, or Black Gentiles.(34) These Black Gentiles on some occasions fought against other plunderers of the Irish coasts known as the Fair Gentiles, who can hardly have been others than the fair Danes or Northmen. In the year 851 the Black Gentiles came to Athcliath(35) – i.e., Dublin. In 852 we are told that eight ships of the Finn-Ghenti arrived and fought against the Dubh-Ghenti for three days, and that the Dubh-Ghenti were victorious. The black Vikings appear at this time to have had a settlement in or close to Dublin, and during the ninth century were much in evidence on the Irish coast. In 877 a great battle was fought at Loch-Cuan between them and the Fair Gentiles, in which Albann, Chief of the black Gentiles, fell.(36) He may well have beena chieftain of the race of the Northern Sorbs of the Mecklenburg coast
There is still another way in which men of black hair or complexions may have come into England – viz., as thralls among the Norse invaders. In his translation of `Orosius,` King Alfred inserts the account which Othere, the Norse mariner, gave him tribute in skins, eiderdown, whalebone, and ropes made from whale and seal skins, which the Northern Fins, now called Lapps, paid to the Northmen. Their descendants are amongst the darkest people of Europe, and as there were thralls, some of them may have accompanied their lords. The Danes and Norse, having the general race characteristics of tall, fair men, must have been sharply distinguished in appearance from Vikings, such as those of Jomborg, for many of these were probably of a dark complexion. There is an interesting record of the descent of dark sea-rovers on the coast of North Wales in the `Annales Cambriae,` under the year 987, which tells us that Gothrit, son of Harald, with black men, devastated Anglesea, and captured two thousand men. Another entry in the same record tells us that Meredut redeemed the captives from the black men. This account in the Welsh annals receives some confirmation in the Sagas of the Norse kings, one of which tells us that Olav Trygvesson was for three years, 982-985, king in Vindland – i.e., Wendland – where he resided with his Queen, to whom he was much attached ; but on her death, whoses loss he greatly felt, he had no more pleasure in Vindland. He therefore provided himself with ships and went on a Viking expedition, first plundering Friesland and the coast all the way to Flanders. Thence he sailed to Northumberland, plundered its coast and those of Scotland, Man, Cumberland, and Bretland – i.e., Wales – during the years 985-988, calling himself a Russian under the name of Ode.(37) From these two separate accounts there can be but little doubt, notwithstanding the differences in the names, of the descent on the coast of North Wales at this time of dark sea-rovers under a Scandinavian leader, and it is difficult to see who they were if not dark-complexioned Wends or other allies of the Norsemen. It is possible some of these dark Vikings may have been allies or mercenaries from the south of Europe, where the Norse made conquests.
As regards the evidence concerning black-haired settlers in England at a still earlier date, there is a story of two Anglian priests named the black and Fair Hewald, who, following the example of Willibord among the Frisians, went into Saxony as missionaries, and on coming to a village were admitted to the house of the head man, who promised to protect them, and send them on to the ealdorman of the district. They devoted themselves to prayer and religious observances, which were misunderstood by the pagan rustics, who apparently were afraid of magical arts. At any rate, these strange rites, so novel to them, aroused suspicion among the people, who thought that these Angles were allowed to meet the ealdorman they might draw him away from their gods, and before long draw away the province from the observances of their forefathers. So they slew both the black and Fair Hewald, whose names in subsequent Christian time were, and still are, held in high honour in Westphalia.(38) It is a touching story, and one that tells us more than the devotion, inspired by Christian zeal to risk their lives, which these missionaries showed for the conversion of men of their own race ; for , as their names indicate, they bore in their different complexions evidence of the existence of the fair and dark people among the Anglo-Saxon stock.
As already mentioned, then name Brunswick appears to be one of significance, and the Wendish names in that part of Germany, Wendeburg, Wendhausen,and Wenden, may be compared with the Buckinghamshire Domesday names Wendovre, Weneslai, and Wandene, and with Wenriga or Wenrige in hartfordshire. The probable connection of the Wends – some tribes of whom, such as the Sorbs, are known to have been dark – with parts of Germany near Brunswick, and with parts of Herts and Bucks, is shown by these names. Domesday Book tells us of huscarls in Buckinghamshire, and of people who bore such names as Suarting, Suiert, Suen, Suert, and Suiuard, among its land- owners, and it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that such names refer to people of dark complexions. Among the lahmens of Lincoln, a very Danish town, there were also apparently some so-called Danes of a dark complexion, for Domesday Book mentions Suartin, son of Gribold ; Suardine, son of Hardenut ; and Suartine Sortsbrand, son of Ulf.
In view of the facts pointing to settlements of Wends and dark-haired people in the counties of Hertford and Buckingham, the survival of the custom of junior inheritance at Cheshunt and Hadham in Herts is of interest. In cases of intestacy the land in the eastern part of Cheshunt ,(39) or `below bank,` which is by far the greater part of the parish, descends to the youngest son by ancient custom, and that custom, traced to its most probable home, leads us to Eastern Germany, and to the old Slavic tribes which once occupied it, as will be fully considered in a subsequent chapter.
From the evidence mentioned, the impression left on the mind is that our Old English forefathers could not have been men of three ancient nations only, Jutes, Saxons, and Angles. These names, in reference to the conquest and colonization of England, were but general names for tribal people in alliance, generally the name of the largest section of such allies. They were no doubt convenient names, but cannot be regarded as ethnological designations. This has become apparent from the skulls and other remains found in Anglo-Saxon burial-places. The shapes and special characteristics of these skulls whether from the so-called Anglian districts or Saxon parts of England, present such marked contrasts that anthropologists are unable to ascribe them all to one race of people. A minority of those found in ancient cemeteries in Sussex, Wiltshire, and the Eastern Counties, present such typical differences from the majority in each district as to leave no doubt that they represent a variety of race or people descended fro ma fusion of races. The easiest explanation of this is, of course, to turn to the ancient Briton, and generally the remote Briton of the Bronze Age known as the Round Barrow man. Where in early cemeteries Saxon or Anglian skulls have been found presenting characteristics which are clearly not of the Teutonic type, the early British inhabitant of the Bronze Age has usually been called in as an ancestor. The typical Teutonic skull is dolichocephalic, the skull of the British people of the Bronze Age is brachycephalic. The inference that there was a fusion of race between the Saxons and Angles and people descending from men of the Bronze Age is easily drawn. There is, however, one difficulty. The Britons of the Bronze Age lived about 500 B.C., a date which may fairly be taken to represent the time of the Round Barrow men. The Angles and Saxons are usually said to have come here not earlier than about 500A.D. There are, therefore, a thousand years between the two periods, and in that interval was the period of the Roman rule, during which men of almost every Roman province served with the legions in Britain, and in many recorded cases some of them settled here, and presumably left descendants. In view of this racial fusion which must have gone on, it is difficult to believe that the Romano-Briton of the early Anglo-Saxon period possessed the same skull characteristics as the much more remote man of the Bronze Age, who may not have been his ancestor at all. Moreover, the Welsh also, who maybe supposed to be descended from this later British stock, are not broad headed.
From what has been said of the presence of broad-headed people of a brunette type in parts of Norway, among the much more numerous long-headed people of a fair complexion who formed the bulk of the Norwegian nation, it will be seen that the facts point to an early broad-headed brown race, some of whom settled on the Norwegian coast, the long-headed fair race of the typical Norse variety having perhaps subsequently conquered them. In any case, we find evidence sufficient to justify the inference that probably the early broad-headed people were brown. The same result is obtained by the study of the broad-headed people of Central Europe at the present day, the descendants presumably of the old Alpine brown race. The same evidence is afforded by the remnant of the Wends, whose skulls are broad, and whose complexions are more or less brown at the present day, notwithstanding their fusion with the Germans. We have thus existing in Norway and parts of Germany at the present time people whose ethnological characteristics appear to agree with those of a section of the Anglo-Saxon people in England. It does not, of course, admit of proof that the broad-headed skulls, which occur in a small minority in Anglo-Saxon cemeteries, were the skulls of people of a brunette complexion. Similarly, we are unable to prove that the people who are called Brun, Brunman, or Bruning, in Saxon charters or other documents were broad-headed ; but in view of the ethnological survival to the present day in various parts of North Europe, from which our Anglo-Saxon forefathers came, of broad-headed people of the Brunette type, we can point in England to the fact that broad skulls are found in Anglo-saxon graves, and to the historical fact that there were brown people in England during the Anglo-Saxon period, and there the evidence must be left. It may, however, be borne in mind that as brown passes into dark brown or black, the literary evidence concerning brown Anglo-Saxons is strengthened by that relating to the black men, or to those designated by the old brown-black word sweart, and in some cases, perhaps even the old word dun.

The evidence of brown people of the Wendish race may, however, be carried further by the comparison of surviving names in North-East Germany with similar surviving names in England. Those of Wendlesbury, Wandsworth (Wendelsworth), Winsdor (Wendlesore), find their parallels in names in the old Wendish country of Mecklenburg, where similar names are to be found – such as Wanden, the name of a province and place on the border of ancient Wendland, and similar names in Brunswick, to which some of the Wends probably migrated. The name Wendland also survives in Hanover, where a remnant of the Wendish language died out only three centuries ago. In these names we discern a connection of the places with the Wends, who are at the present time the darkest people of Northern Germany. They were Slavs, whose line of migration in some far-distant era was from the country around the sources of the river Oder, down the wide valley of that river in Silesia to the Baltic coast of Mecklenburg and Pomerania.(40) This migration is marked at the present time by a greater percentage of people of the brunette type(41) in this district than prevails on its eastern or western sides, where fusion with other fair-coloured races has been going on since the dawn of history. Whereas the country east and west of the valley of the Oder was found by the German Ethnological Survey to contain from 5 to 10 per cent, of brunettes among the present population, the country which marks the migration of the ancient Wends to the Mecklenburg coast contained 11 to 15 per cent. From this evidence and that of the complexion of the Wends of Saxony at the present time we are warranted in considering the ancient Wends to have been brunettes, or to have comprised tribes who were. It is on account of this historic migration, says Ripley, that Saxony, Brandenburg, and Mecklenburg are less purely teutonic today in respect to pigmentation than they once were.(42) not only is there a greater percentage of brunettes in these parts of Germany than is shown in the purely Teutonic parts of that country, but the whole East of Germany contains a population which is broader-headed, shading off imperceptibly into countries where pure Slavic languages are in daily use. The connection with our own country, in its subsequent consequences, of this great migration of people having broad heads and dark complexions through Silesia into Mecklenburg is one of the most interesting considerations indirectly concerned with the Anglo-Saxon race.


The Jutes, who, according to the English chroniclers, were one of the three nations by which England was settled, are but little mentioned under that name by early historians of Northern Europe. Bede calls them Jutes, so that we may conclude that at the end of the seventh century this was the name by which these people were known in England. In early records relating to Germany and the North they appear to have been called by many names—Vitungi or Juthungi, Jutæ, Gætas, Gothi, Gothini, Gythones, Guthones, Gutæ, Gautæ, Vitæ, and Gæta.[1] The name Geats they derived from Geat, a mythological ancestor of Woden, according to the West Saxon genealogy, and Asser tells us that Geat was worshipped as a god.[2]

Tacitus mentions Goths under the name Guthones, and states that they occupied the country east of the Vistula. He says also that the Goutai lived in the island of Scandia, and we may identify the locality with the Swedish province of Gothland.[3] The people around the Gulf of Riga at the present day, including the Livonians, are partly of Teutonic origin, and may in part be descendants of those ancient Gothic people who are known to have lived east of the Vistula.

The Jutes who settled in England had much in common with the Frisians; so also had the Goths. In the mythological genealogies given in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and elsewhere, Godwulf appears as the father of Fin, which probably refers to a very remote connection between the Frisians and the Goths, for later on the name Fin occurs as a representative of the Frisian nation.[4] The languages, as far as Frisian and the Mœso-Gothic are concerned, point to a similar connection. There is evidence of a large Frisian immigration in various parts of England, and much of the country was evidently settled by them under the names Saxons and Angles. As Goths and Frisians were connected in their mythological names, and the great mythological Frisian is Fin,[5] his name perhaps refers to an ancient link also with the Fin race, thus faintly transmitted through some remote connection. The accounts which the Frisians have of the expedition of Hengist are similar to those which we possess of him among the Jutes of Kent.

The Jutes, like the Angles, in all probability, were originally located in Scandinavia, for Ptolemy, writing in the second century of our era, places the Gutæ in the south of that peninsula. In Bede’s time Jutland was known by its present name, and no doubt took it from the Jutes, but the time of their settlement in Kent and that of Bede are separated by nearly three centuries, and during this interval the Jutes may have become located also in Jutland. There is neither contemporary history nor tradition that a people so called were there before Bede’s time. His statement that those who settled in England came from Jutland is, as Latham has pointed out, only an inference from the fact that when he wrote Jutes, Angles, and Saxons were in contact in the Danish peninsula and the adjoining part of North Germany, and also in contact in England. Under these circumstances it was a logical inference that the Angles came from Anglen and the Jutes from Jutland, but this is probably only true in part. Jutland may have been a Jutish colony like Kent and the Isle of Wight, and probably an earlier one, seeing that it is so much nearer to the original homeland of the Gothic race in Scandinavia, but that would not necessarily imply that all the Jutes came from Jutland.

Whatever may have been the origin of their name, it is probable that they were, like the modern Danes, men of more than average stature. It has been commonly assumed that during the inroads into the countries that were provinces of the Roman Empire, and the settlement of people who gave rise to new nations therein, only Britain was attacked by bands of Saxons, Angles, and Jutes. We do not read of conquests by these nations elsewhere. Some of the Saxons are, indeed, said to have accompanied their neighbours, the Lombards, in their great Southern expedition and invasion of Italy, but little is known of this alliance.

Apart from the statement of Bede, whose list of tribes from which the Old English of his time were known to have descended, is not repeated by the later chroniclers, it would seem improbable that, in the general rush for new territory, two or three German tribes or nations should have had left to them the island of Britain as a kind of exclusive territory for conquest and settlement. Bede, the earliest Anglo-Saxon historian, wrote, no doubt, according to the best information current in his day, and his statement concerning the many German tribes from which the English were descended is supported by modern research. Tradition cannot be altogether neglected. In all old countries there comes a time when history dawns, but men lived and died before that dawn, and only traditions concerning them came down to the historic period. Many such traditions are no doubt based on actual occurrences, the details of which have become more or less hazy, and in some instances distorted by the additions acquired through their narration by word of mouth from age to age. The story of Hengist may be a tradition of this kind.

As already stated, Nennius, in the ‘Historia Britonum,’ gives one name to all the invaders of Britain, that of Saxons, and does not attempt to distinguish them under the national or tribal names by which they were known among themselves. It was sufficient for his purpose as a British historian to describe these enemies of his countrymen by one general name.

In the passage of Bede in which he refers to some of the tribes from which his countrymen were known to have descended, we obtain a glimpse of those wider views of the origin of the Old English race which were known in his time, and were probably well recognised by existing tribal differences in dialect, customs, and even in the physical appearance of the people at the time he wrote.

In the passage of Nennius in which he mentions that among the early invaders of Britain there were some who came from almost all the provinces of Germany, we have corroboration of Bede’s statement and another glimpse of the current knowledge in Britain at that time, and of the wider origin of the Old English than the later chroniclers have transmitted to us.

The general names Saxons, Angles, and Jutes were no doubt at first used as comprehensive terms for people of various tribes, but as time passed an, and the chroniclers omitted all references to the tribal names mentioned by Bede, these three names came to be regarded in a more limited sense as the names of the actual nations from which alone the Old English sprang. The omission of Frisians is especially remarkable. It has been shown that under the name Saxons the Frisians must have been included, and it will also be shown that they must be included among the Anglian settlers. It has also been shown that the Angles were allied to the Warings seated on the south-west of the Baltic coast. As Bede mentions the Danes in his list, it is also practically certain that the early Danes were allies of the Angles. The list, therefore, of the nations and tribes from whom the English of the end of the seventh century were descended becomes enlarged. Frisians, Danes, Hunni or Hunsings, Rugians, and Boructers, must certainly be numbered among them.

Moreover, when we consider Bede’s list by the light of modern research, we arrive at the conclusion that some of the Franks probably took part in the settlement of England, for he mentions the Boructarii or Bructers, and these are known later on to have been part of the Frank confederation.

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Goths must have been allies of the Angles. They were also close allies of the Vandals or Wends, of which nation the Rugians formed part. The commerce of the Baltic during the period of the Anglo-Saxon settlement was largely in the hands of the Goths. It is impossible to overrate the commercial importance of the Isle of Gotland at this time and for many centuries later. The ruins of Wisby, the chief port of ancient Gotland, are to this day the greatest wonder of the Baltic, and Öland Isle was another seat of ancient Gothic trade. There is some connection between the ancient trade of the Goths and the settlement of them and their allies in England. The most remarkable native commodity which came in ancient days from the Baltic was the fossil-gum known as amber. The trade in amber can be traced almost as long as any in Europe. It was known to the Greeks and Romans, and came from the North to the South by the old trade routes across the Continent. The Goths were known only too well to the later Roman Emperors. Long after the Romans had left Britain that country was still recognised as one of the provinces of the Empire, and as late as A.D. 537 Belisarius, in the name of the Emperor, granted it to the Goths,[6] which seems to show that the Byzantine Emperor of the sixth century knew quite well that Goths were already settled in our country.

The ancient people on the coast of the Baltic who collected amber and exchanged it for other commodities were called the Guthoncs and the Æstyi. There were two routes by which amber could reach the South of Europe in the time of the Empire—one through Germany, the other by the route further eastward through the countries known as Sarmatia or Slavonia. The double name for the people near the mouth of the Vistula probably arose in this way, from their being known to the Germans as the Æstyi, and to the Slavonians who traded across to the Black Sea as Guthones. These Guthoncs were Goths of the same race or descent as the islanders of Gotland, and as the people of East and West Gothland in Sweden. That the Reid-Goths—at least, some of them—lived in the Scandian peninsula is proved by a runic inscription on a stone at Rök in East Gothland, in which a chieftain named Waring is commemorated, and in which he is said to have increased their power.[7] This inscription also connects the Waring name with the eastern or Ostrogoths of Sweden. Amber was certainly used as an ornament among the Anglo—Saxons at a very early date. It has been frequently found in the form of beads and other articles in cemeteries in many parts of England, and its use at this early time in England points to an early trade with the Baltic. Its common use in the manufacture of beads and other personal ornaments may perhaps also point to a custom of personal decoration which was introduced into England by settlers from the Baltic. These amber traders were commonly known in England by their German name of Eastman, the Æstyi of the early writers.

The names Estum and Estmere are mentioned by King Alfred in connection with the Vistula in his description of the relative situation of Veonod-land—i.e., Wendland, Vitland, and other countries on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea. The Æstyi are mentioned by Pliny and Tacitus, the former of whom locates them in ‘Æstuarium Oceani.’ an expression which, as Latham has pointed out, probably arose through the name Est-ware or Eastmen being misunderstood to have reference to an estuary.[8] Pliny connects the Æstyi with the amber country, and Tacitus, in following the coast-line of the Baltic, comes to their country. The locality of these people of the amber district was therefore the coast in which amber is found at the present day. To the north of it is the Isle of Gotland, and this island in the time of the Romans and during the Anglo-Saxon period was the greatest commercial centre in the North of Europe. The proof of its trade with England and overland with Eastern countries is complete. The evidence of its early trade during the Roman period is shown by the large number of Roman coins which have been found in the island. Thousands, indeed, of the Roman and early Byzantine periods have been discovered there. Similarly. during the Viking Age, the coins found in Gotland show that the island stood foremost as the commercial centre of the North. It kept its supremacy for ten or twelve centuries.[9] In addition, thousands of Arabic coins have been found there; also silver ornaments, to which the name Kufic has been given, showing that the old trade route with Gotland extended at one time as far eastward as Bokhara, Samarcand, Bagdad, and Kufa.[10]

Another source of evidence concerning the eastern trade of Gotland, and more particularly with the Eastern Empire, is that derived from certain weights of the Viking period found in the island, and now in the museum at Stockholm. These relate to the weights of gold and silver, and their unit is exactly the same as that of the Eastern stater,[11] thus pointing to a common weight in use for purposes of exchange between Goths of the Baltic and Greeks at the Levant.

It is of interest to note this influence of eastern trade in the monetary computation introduced into England by Danish and Scandian settlers. The ora is mentioned in the treaty between Alfred and Guthrum, in subsequent laws, and in Domesday Book. The marks and oras of the Danes were the computation in use in England within the Danelaw until after the Norman Conquest.

Although it is not probable that Danish marks and other coins were used as coins in England, money computations were often made in them: In Domesday Book the Danish money is mentioned as the computation in which customary payments were made in various boroughs and manors outside the Danelaw—Bristol, Dorchester, Wareham, Bridport, Shaftesbury, Ringwood, some manors in the Isle of Wight,in North-East Gloucestershire, and elsewhere, being among the number, thus clearly pointing to Scandinavian settlers.

The pounds and shillings of Wessex were Roman in their origin. The marks and oras of the Danish districts in England had an Eastern equivalence. As regards their value, they had their origin in the Eastern Empire and in the monetary exchange that prevailed along the Eastern trade route from Byzantium to the Baltic. More than 20,000 Anglo-Saxon coins have been found in Sweden and the Isle of Gotland, ranging in date from Edward the Elder to Edward the Confessor. Many of them are preserved in the Royal Collection at Stockholm.[12]

These remarkable discoveries,and especially the Roman coins on the one hand and the Anglo-Saxon on the other, show that the great trade of Gotland was continuous from the Roman period to the later Saxon time in England. Its commercial prosperity as the chief centre of maritime trade in the North of Europe must consequently have extended over the whole period of the attacks on Britain by the Saxons, Angles, Jutes or Goths, and Danes. There can, indeed, be little doubt that such a maritime centre as the island was during the fifth and succeeding centuries furnished ships for the invasions and settlement of England by Goths and their allies. Gotland was no ordinary island, and Wisby, its great part, was no ordinary seaport. It must have exercised no ordinary influenue on maritime affairs in Northern Europe during the time it flourished, and this influence certainly extended to England. The Goths and other Teutonic people of the Baltic are brought under very early notice by Pytheas, the renowned navigator of Marseilles, in the fourth century B.C. He tells us that he sailed up the Baltic in search of the amber coast, rounding the cape of what is now called Jutland, and proceeding about 6,000 stadia along the coasts of the Guttones and Teutones. As the date of this voyage was about 325 B.C., the account shows that Goths and Teutons at that early time were known names for Northern races.

The relations of the Goths and the Vandals is important, and must be fully considered in reference to any part of Europe that was conquered and settled by the former nation, which was more advanced in civilization and the arts than their allies. The Goths invented runes, and so established among Northern races the art of writing, and they were skilled metallurgists and gilders. The Vandals of the Baltic coast whom they conquered were a less advanced people, but a lasting peace appears to have been formed between them, and to have been subsequently remembered in Northern mythology. The conflict of the Æsir and Vanir is a Northern myth, which, considered ethnologically, may be regarded as founded on the wars carried on between the Teutonic and Slavonic races. That between the Goths and Vandals was a war of this kind, and it resulted in peace and a lasting alliance. The myth of the conflict of the Æsir and Vanir also terminated in a lasting peace and the exchange of hostages between the contending races. The alliance between the Northern Goths and the Vandals and their combined expeditions can be traced in the Anglo-Saxon settlement and in the present topography of England. In many parts of our country Gothic and Wendish place-names survive near each other, side by side with Gothic and Wendish customs, There is, indeed, in England very considerable evidence afforded by the ancient place names that two of the great nations of the North in the fifth and sixth centuries—the Goths and Vandals—who played such an important part in the destruction of the Roman Empire and the occupation of large provinces elsewhere, took part in the invasion and settlement of this country. This evidence is confirmed by the survival of customs among the English settlers, some of which have come down to our time, and for their remote origin may be traced to Goths, or to Vandals. Both these Northern nations were maritime people. The Baltic Sea was called in ancient time the Vendic Sea, after the Vandals, as the Adriatic Sea is called the Gulf of Venice after them to the present day. The conclusion, therefore, appears unavoidable that, under the general names of Saxons, Angles, and Jutes, some Goths and Vandals, as will be shown more fully in succeeding chapters, took a considerable part in the invasion and settlement of England. Later on, during the Viking Age, the Vikings of Denmark and Norway often acted in alliance with the Wendish Vikings of literature, and the occurrence in close proximity, in various parts of England on or near the coast, of Wendish place-names and Scandinavian place-names, which mark the settlements of these allies. Not infrequently, also, near such places the survival of characteristic Norse and Wendish customs can be traced.

There is evidence of the large immigration of settlers of various tribes from Scandinavia to be found in remains of their speech. The dialects which the Northmen introduced into England, both during the earlier settlements of Goths and Angles and the later settlements of Danes, certainly formed the basis from which some of the dialects spoken in many parts of England were formed. Skeat has pointed out that when Icelandic became a written language in the eleventh century, an interesting statement in regard to English and the language of the Northmen was made by Snorri Sturluson, the author of the Icelandic alphabet and its earliest literature. ‘Englishmen,’ he says, ‘write English with Latin letters such as represent their sounds correctly. Following their example, since we are of one language, although the one may have changed greatly, or each of them to some extent, I have framed an alphabet for us Icelanders.’ There is a statement also in the Saga of Gimlaugr Ormstunga that there was the same tongue used at the time the Saga was written—the eleventh century—in England, Norway, and Denmark.[13] This was the age of William the Conqueror, who was desirous that his own son Richard should learn the Old Danish language, no doubt with some political or administrative object in view, and we are told that he sent him for this purpose to Bayeux, where the Old Northern speech still lingered, although it had died out at Rouen.[14]

As the Jutes who settled in England were neither Norse nor Danes, as known at a later period, they must, by the evidence of the runic inscriptions found in Kent, have been either of the Anglian[15] or Gothic stock. In the time of Pytheas—fourth century B.C.—and in that of Ptolemy—second century A.D.—the Goths, as already mentioned, occupied a region on the east of the Baltic. Their name is lost there, but survives in Gotland Isle and Gothland in Sweden. Tradition ascribes the Baltic area as their original home, and in any case they must have been settled along its coasts at a very early period. The old name Uuitland for a part of the east coast of the Baltic reminds us of the Jutes, for Uuit is probably a modified form of Jute or Jewit, and in the Jutish parts of England, as in Hampshire, we meet with Uuit or Wit names, as Wihtland for the Isle of Wight. The identity of some of the Jutes with the Goths is shown by the similarity of the name, and its ancient occurrence on both sides of the Baltic Sea; in the similarity of customs, as will be described later; and in historical references, such as that of Asser, who, in telling us that King Alfred’s mother was descended from the Goths and Jutes, practically identifies them as being at one race. In the survival of monuments with old Gothic runes in Kent we have corroborative evidence.

Beddoe refers to the similarity of the place-names in many parts of England, and says:[16] ‘The patronymical names and other place-names in Kent and other parts of England forbid us to imagine an exclusive Jutish nationality.’ The evidence of Goths and Frisians in Kent, and of settlers of the same nationalities in many other parts of England, appears to afford a solution of the question who the people called Jutes in Kent or in Hampshire really were—i.e., mainly Goths or of Gothic descent.

The part which the nations of the Baltic took in the conquest and settlement of England has been underrated. With such a great centre of commerce and shipping as existed at Wisby, although smaller than it afterwards became, it is unreasonable to doubt the connection of the Goths with many of these maritime expeditions, if only as carriers. The time of the settlement of the Isle of Gotland is lost in antiquity. The only record of its remarkable history is the ‘Gotlands lagaene,’[17] which is thought to be a supplement to the ancient laws of the country. This is supposed to have been written about A.D. 1200, and preserves in the old Gotlandish language laws that are apparently of a much earlier date. The discovery of so many Roman coins in the island shows that its commercial history is older than the time of the English Conquest. Whatever it was at that time—and relatively to most other ports it must have been great—Wisby became in the tenth and eleventh centuries a place of almost fabulous wealth. As regards the ancient homelands of the Goths in Sweden, the evidence of communications with Anglo-Saxon England is direct. In the south of the Scandian peninsula is a province now called Carlscrona, whose ancient name was Blekinge, under which name it is mentioned by King Alfred in his ‘Orosius.’ Stephens tells us of runic stones that have been found in Bleking, and on the authority of Elias Fries of Upsala he states they are said to be in Anglo—Saxon.[18] When we consider that there is historical evidence of the missionary labours of Englishmen among the heathen Goths of the South of Sweden, it will not appear surprising that inscriptions in Anglian runes should be found there. The church of Lund, the mother—church of that part of the country, was founded by Englishmen early in the eleventh century, according to Adam of Bremen.[19] Lund was the capital of this part of the peninsula, a city of great extent, of great antiquity, and one which enjoyed a high prosperity as early as the ninth century. Blekinge is mentioned as Blecinga-ég, or the Isle of the Blekings, by King Alfred, repeating the description of Wulfstan of his voyage up the Baltic. ‘We had,’ he says, ‘first Blekinge, and Möen and Eowland, and Gothland on our larboard (bæcbord), and these lands belong to Sweden; and Wendland was all the way on our starboard as far as the mouth of the Vistula.’[20] These on the larboard were, without doubt, homelands of some of the early people of the Jutish or Gothic race. There is other evidence of early communications between England and Scandinavian. At Skaäng, in Södermanland, Sweden, there is a runic inscription on a stone of peculiar interest, from its association with England. It has the English sign (⁊) for the word and. This, Stephens tells us, is distinctly English, and only English, in its origin, so that inscriptions having it show English influence of some kind.[21] In considering this he regards it as evidence of early literary communications between the English settlers and their Continental kindred. We should remember also that this Old English sign abounds in Domesday Book. Stephens says: ‘The Saxon and German pagans got their writing-schools as well as their Christianity and culture of movements, direct and indirect, chiefly from England and Anglo- Keltic lands, whose missionaries carried their runes with them, partly for secret writing, and partly for use in Scandinavia.’ It is the evidence of the runes that shows the Scandian origin of the Anglians who settled in Northern England. Stephens’ last words on this subject are: ‘I beg the reader carefully to ponder the following remarkable and interesting and decisive facts in the list showing the numerical result (of runic discoveries) in every class up to June, 1894. It is: in Scando-Anglia, 10,423 runic remains; in Germany, Saxony, and elsewhere, 19 as wanderers.’[22]

The Northmen of the Anglo-Saxon period were certainly people of many tribes. The name included all the inhabitants of the Northern peninsula as well as the Danes. It was not confined in its meaning like the later name Norse. In Sweden there were the ancient provinces of Hallaud, Skäne, Bleking, Smaland, Södermanland, Nebrike, Vermland, Upland, Vestmanland, Angermaneland, Helsingland, Gestrickland, Delarna, Eastern and Western Gotland, and others. Vermland, which had been part of Norway, was added to Sweden after 860. In Norway there were the tribal provinces or districts of Nordrland. Halgoland, Ranmerike, Heredaland, Hadeland, Rogaland, Raumsdel, Borgund, Viken, and others.

People of these provinces or tribal districts were all Northmen, as understood by the early settlers in England. and in the parts of our country where Scandinavians made colonies some of these tribal names may still be traced, It is certain also that the inhabitants generally of the coast of Norway and the shore of the Baltic were called Lochlandach or Lakelanders,[23] and traces of them may perhaps be found in England under names derived from this word. ‘Few and far,’ says Stephens, writing of the tribes of Scandinavia, ‘are the lights which glimmer over the clan lands of our forefathers. . . . We may learn a little more in time if we work hard and theorize less. But whatever we can new master as to the Old Northern language we have learnt from the monuments. Those, therefore, we must respect at all hazards, whatever systems may have to give way, even though the upshot should be that much of our boasted modern philology. with its iron laws and straight lines and regular police-ruled developments, is only a house built upon the sand.’[24]

The Northern dialects, as introduced into England from the fifth and tenth centuries, may have differed, in some respects, from the Icelandic or Old Northern tongue as written in the eleventh century. Hence the great value of the earliest runic inscriptions as evidence, so far as they go, of the earliest meanings of some words that afterwards were used in Old English. In considering this probable change, Stephens tells us that the only corruptors of dialects he knew were those ‘who improve Nature, by writing them not as they are, but according to their nations of what they ought to be—i.e., in accordance with rules of grammar derived from other languages—for instance, the peculiar and comparatively modern Icelandic, with which they may be acquainted.’[25]

As the name Northmen was a general one, which included the different tribal people of Scandinavia, so the name Eastman appears to have also been a general name for the people of the Baltic region on the opposite shores to those of Sweden. With the Angles and Goths of the early period of the Anglo-Saxon settlement some people of the Norse race, afterwards so called, may well have been included. The earliest English coins found in Norway are of the period when the Norse began their Viking expeditions to the British shores. They comprise coins of Kewulf of Mercia, 796-819, Ceolwulf his son, 819-821, and Northumbrian coins of about 803-840.[26]

From the results of the researches of many archæologists, historians, and philologists, both English and Scandinavian, we are led to the conclusion that the Northmen of various tribes and nations had a greater share in the settlement of England than has commonly been attributed to them. Stephens assigns them a very large share indeed, and his great work on the ‘Old Northern Runic Monuments’ attests his vast research. He says: ‘Anglic Britain was chiefly planted by Northmen in the second and following centuries, and was half replanted by them in the ninth and tenth.’[27] Whatever may have been the date of their earliest settlements, Northmen were certainly among both the earlier and later ancestors of the Old English.


The Angles are first mentioned by Tacitus under the name of Angli in connection with another tribe, the Varini. From the third to the fifth century we hear nothing of the Angli. In the time of Bede they reappear as the Angles in a new country.[1] The part they are said to have played in the settlement of England is very large, all the country north of the Thames, except Essex, being supposed to have been occupied by Angles. The district in North Europe that bore their name is very small—Anglen, a part of Schleswig. There is evidence, however, that they were more widely seated, occupying a large part of the south of the Danish peninsula, some at least of the Danish islands, and part of the mainland of Scandinavia. The Angles were certainly closely connected to, or in alliance with, the Warings, the Varini of Tacitus, and this was long continued. In the time of Charlemagne we read of a common code of laws sanctioned by that King, called ‘Leges Anglorum et Werinorum,’ the laws of the Angles and Warings. The Angle country on the mainland of Northern Europe touched the Frisian country on the west, that of the Saxons on the south, and that of the Wendish tribes of the Baltic coast on the east. Their immigration into England was so large, and the area of the country they occupied so much greater in extent than their Continental homelands, that we are led, as in the case of the Saxons, to look for a confederacy, or an alliance of some kind, under which people of various tribes joined the Anglian expeditions.

That the names Saxons and Angles were understood in a composite sense in the time of Bede is evident from his writings. In narrating some events connected with missionary undertakings, he says: ‘About that time the venerable servant of Christ and priest, Egbert, proposed to take upon himself the apostolic work to some of those nations that had not yet heard it, many of which nations he knew there were in Germany, from whom the Angles and Saxons who now inhabit Britain are known to have derived their origin, for which reason they are still called Germans by the neighbouring nation of the Britons. Such are the Freesons, Rugians, Danes, Hunni, Old Saxons, and the Boructarians.’[2] From this we learn that some of the people who settled in England under the names Angles and Saxons were of Danish origin. The country of the Continental Angles was close to the Danish islands, and, independently of any historical statement of the fact, it would be reasonable to suppose that the confederacy of which the Angles formed the chief part would for the purpose of their settlement in England include some of their neighbours, the Danes. Bede’s statement shows that this actually was the case, and is proof that there were Danes settled in England under the name of Angles or Saxons before the Danish invasions began about the end of the eighth century. In considering Bede’s reference to Germans, we should remember also that the name Germany in his time was understood probably in that wider sense in which it was understood by King Alfred—viz.; as extending from the Danube to the White Sea.

The Warings, whose name is coupled with the Angles by the early writers, were a people located on the south-west coast of the Baltic. From the first mention of them to the last we find them associated with the Angles, and as these accounts have a difference in date of some centuries, we may feel sure that the connection was a close one. Procopius tells us of Varini who were seated about the shores of the northern ocean, as well as upon the Rhine, so that there appears to have been a migration at an early date.[3] Beddoe has remarked that ‘the limits of confederacies like those of the Franks, Saxons, Frisians, and Angles, who seem sometimes to have included the Warini, varied from time to time, and by no means always coincided with the limits of the dialects.’[4] This is an important consideration, for we find in the Frank confederation Franks who spoke a German tongue and others who did not, and it may have been the same in the confederated Angles and Warings. The Angles were a Teutonic race, and the Warings were probably a mixed one. In one of the Sagas they are mentioned as Wærnas or Wernas.[5] Tacitus, who does not appear, however, to have visited their country, mentions them as a German nation.[6] The Warings were one of the early commercial nations of the Baltic, and traded to Byzantium, going up the rivers of Slavonia in small barks, and carrying them across from river to river. The last mention of them is in 1030. By the early Russians they were known as Warings, their country as Waringia, and the sea near it as the Waring Sea. In Byzantium they called themselves Warings. They were in later centuries much mixed up with the Norsemen, and this infusion became stronger and stronger, until they disappeared as a separate nation.[7] It was chiefly men of this race who in the eleventh and twelfth centuries enlisted in the military service of the Byzantine Emperors, and were known in Constantinople as the Varangian guard, and in this corps there were also some Old English, a circumstance that points to connection in race. The Billings are said to have been the royal race of the Warings,[8] and it is probable that under this designation some of these people may he traced among the old place-names in England. The western part of Mecklenburg was long known as the Mark of the Billings. The name Wæring occurs in Scandinavian runic inscriptions. In one found at Torvic, Hardanger, Norway, the inscription reads, ‘Læma (or Læda) Wæringæa’[9]—i.e., ‘Læma (or Læda) to Wæring,’ as if intended to be a monument to one who bore the Waring name.

The district called Anglen in the time of the Saxons is on the south-west of Sleswig, and is bounded by the river Slie, the Flensborger Fjord, and a line drawn from Flensborg to Sleswig. This district is small, not much larger, as Lutham has pointed out, than the county of Rutland.[10] Bede tells us that it had by the emigration of its inhabitants become deserted. Such a small district alone was not, however, likely to have been the mother-country of a large emigration across the North Sea for the occupation of a conquered country so large as England. Of course, the Anglen of Sleswig must have been a part only of the country from which the Angles came. That a population sufficiently strong to have largely conquered and given a name to England, and sufficiently famous to have been classed by Ptolemy among the leading nations of Germany, lived in so small an area is extremely unlikely. We must therefore conclude that the Angles extended over a larger area and that in the invasion and settlement of England their name was used as that of a confederacy which included Warings. There remains, however, the statement of Bede concerning Anglen. Its abandoned condition at the time he wrote is not improbable, but there is another explanation, as Latham has pointed out, which helps to account for its deserted state—viz., because it was a frontier land or march between the Danes and Slavonians (or Wends) of the eastern half of Holstein.[11] Many frontier lands of a similar kind have become deserted from a similar cause, and examples of this may be found in modern as well as ancient history. King Alfred. describing the voyager’s course in his geographical description of the Baltic, mentions Denmark and Gothland, also Sealand, and other islands, and says:—‘On these lands lived Engles before they hither to land came.’[12] This extract makes it quite clear that at the time he wrote it was understood in England that the Angles came partly from Old Denmark and Gothland, on the Scandinavian coast, and partly from Sealand and the Danish islands. as well as from Sleswig. This identification of Gothland and the part of Old Denmark in Scandinavia, also the Danish islands, as lands from which the Anglian settlers in England partly came is of much importance. It helps us to understand the circumstance that a greater extent of England was occupied by Angles than by Saxons; that the predominant people gave their name to the country; and shows that there was a Scandinavian immigration before the eighth century. Our chroniclers have assigned a large territory in North Germany as the fatherland of the Saxons, but only Schleswig as the fatherland of the Angles. In this they certainly overlooked the statement of King Alfred, who had no doubt the best traditions, derived from the Northern countries themselves, of the origin of the race in assigning Gothland, Scandinavian Denmark, and the Danish isles as their homes. as well as the small territory of Anglen. Ancient Gothland occupied a larger part of Sweden than the limits of the modem province of the same name, and Scandian Denmark comprised Holland and Scania, now in Sweden. This great extent of country, with the Danish islands and the mainland coasts, would be sufficient to afford a reasonable explanation of the numerical superiority of the Angles among the English settlers. They were clearly people who formed a confederacy, as has been shown was the case of the Saxons, and these confederate invaders took their name from those who were the leaders of it. Even as late as Edward the Confessor’s time the names Angles and Danes were considered as almost the same. His laws tell us of the counties which were under the laws of the Angles, using the name Angles for Danes. That the name of the earliest Angles comprised people of various tribes is also certain from the words used by Bede in his reference to them as the peoples of the old Angles. His actual words are ‘populi Anglorum.’ These words occur in the account he wrote of the names of their months, and may be seen in chapter xv. of his ‘De Temporum Ratione.’ Bede has thus put it on record that there were among the ancestors of Northumbrian Anglians of his time peoples or tribes of Angles. That some of them were of Scandinavian origin is clear from the evidence already stated It is also practically certain from the information Bede gives us concerning the date at which these peoples of the ancient Angles began their year. This was the eight Calends January, or December 25, the night of which, Bede says, was called by them ‘Modranichte,’ or the ‘Night of Mothers,’ an ancient pagan name, the origin of which he tells us he did not know. The ancient Anglians thus began their year at midwinter, as the Scandinavians did. The old Germanic year, on the other hand, began at the beginning of winter, or November 11, later on known as St. Martin’s Day.[13] From this difference in their mode of reckoning as compared with the Germans, and their agreement with the Scandinavians, it is very difficult to avoid the conclusion that the ancient Angles must have been more Scandian than Germanic, That the Angles and Danes were probably connected in their origin is shown also by the statement of Saxo, the Danish historian, who tells us that the stock of the Danes had its beginning with Dan and Angul, their mythological ancestors.

Runic inscriptions are an important source of evidence in tracing the migrations of the Northern Goths, and of the neighbouring nations who acquired their knowledge of runes from them. In Sweden, Denmark, and Norway there are on fixed objects thousands of inscriptions in this ancient alphabet. Similar records are scattered over the regions which were overrun and settled by the Scandian tribes.[14] They have been found, on movable objects only, in the valley of the Danube, which was the earliest halting-place of the Goths on their Southern migration. They have been found also on fixed objects in Kent, which was conquered by the so-called Jutes, in Cumberland and other northern parts of England, Orkney, and the Isle of Man, where Norwegians formed settlements.[15] They are found in Northuniberland, where the Anglians settled at an earlier period than that of the later Norse invaders. Runes may be classed in three divisions—Gothic, Anglian, and Scandinavian. The oldest may date from the first or second century A.D., and the latest from the fourteenth or fifteenth century. The runic alphabet is called the Futhorc, after the word formed by its first six letters. The Anglian runes are used on the Ruthwell Cross, and several other Northumbrian monuments of the seventh and following centuries. One of the earliest examples is on a sword found in the Thames near London,[16] now in the British Museum. The Old English inscribed runic coins are scarce, and run from about the seventh to the first half of the ninth century, those solely in runic letters being outnumbered by others in which runic and Roman letters are mixed.[17] From the circumstance of the discovery of inscriptions in runic characters in parts of England which were settled by Angles and Jutes, and not in those parts which were settled by Saxons, we are able to draw two conclusions: (1) That the settlers in Kent must have been near in race or allied to the Anglian settlers of Northumberland and other Anglian counties; and (2) that there must have been an absence of any close intercourse or communication, and consequently a considerable difference, between the Scandinavian Angles and the Saxons, seeing that the Angles were acquainted with the runes and the Saxons were not, as far as appears from the total absence of such inscriptions on stones or other fixed monuments in Germany, and in Wessex, Sussex, or Essex. The runic inscriptions found in England are marked by the Anglian variety of the letters.

From their original home in the North, the Goths went southwards, and carried their art of runic writing with them, leaving examples of it here and there in inscriptions on portable articles found in the valley of the Danube, written in characters which mark the identity of the people with those of Northern Gothland. From their Northern home across the North Sea went also the Anglians, neighbours and allies of the people of Gothland, and they also carried with them the art of runic writing, which they had learnt from the Goths in the North, to their new homes in England. Across the same sea went also the Jutes or Goths to Kent, and left there examples of the same general evidence of the Northern lands whence they came and of the race to which they belonged.

From the circumstances mentioned, it will appear that Anglen, on the east coast of Denmark, could have been only a small part of the country inhabited by the people called by the Anglian name at the time of the English settlement. As Stephens says, the names Engelholm and Engeltoft, on the Scandinavian coast or mainland, still remind us of the ancient Angles. That name, he says, was, as regards the English settlement, the first under which the Scandians were known. Later on they were called Vikings or Northmen, or Normans. They carried with them to their new homes their native civilization and many advantages in the knowledge of arts and arms.[18] Stephens says that no runic characters have ever been discovered in any original German or Saxon manuscript. It appears certain that no runic stone or other fixed runic inscription has ever been discovered on German or Saxon soil. The ornaments of a personal kind which bear runic letters have been found by hundreds in the Northern lands, and those which have been found in Germany and other parts of Europe must have been carried there.[19] Since the Anglian inscriptions found in England are in characters earlier than those which are called Scandinavian, they must have been written by people who came during the earlier immigration, or by their descendants. The Scandinavian runes discovered in England are chiefly inscriptions on objects belonging to, or made by, the men who came in during the so-called Danish or Viking period.[20]

Many hundreds of inscribed stones have been found in ancient Germany, but they bear Roman inscriptions. The runes, consequently, afford us evidence in connection with the settlement of Angles in Britain of a kind which is wholly wanting in connection with the Saxons. As the total absence of runes on fixed monuments in Germany may be considered conclusive evidence that they were unknown to the German tribes, it is clear that these tribes could not carry them to England, and, as might be expected, there is, in the parts of England which were mainly settled by German tribes, a similar absence of runic inscriptions to that which exists in Germany. There is, however, a trace of some early inscribed stones in Wiltshire, which. according to Aubrey, were in existence until the year 1640. This is not improbable, but if Aubrey’s statement is correct the occurrence of such inscriptions may be explained by the existence of a settlement of Goths or other Scandians there, and we find other evidence, which will be stated later on, of such settlements in Hampshire, Dorset, and Wiltshire. On this subject Stephens quotes Sir R. Colt Hoare, who says: ‘At a place called the King’s Grave, where is now the Sheep-Penning of West Amesbury, Aubrey writes, “here doe appear five small barrows at one corner of the Penning. At the ends of the graves were stones which the people of late (about 1640) have fetch’t away, for stones, except flints, are exceedingly scarce in these partes. ’Tis said here there were some letters on these stones. but what they were I cannot learn.” ’[21]

The inscriptions in runic characters of an earlier date than the ninth century which have been found in England cannot have been due to the invasions of the Danes and Northmen, and consequently they must have been the work of earlier Goths and Angles. That on the sword or knife discovered in the Thames near London has been assigned by Stephens to the fifth century.[22] This points to the period of the settlement of Kent, and the earliest invasions of the Goths and Angles. A gold ring, which was found near Cöislin, in Pomerania, in 1839, and which bore a runic letter oi a specially Anglian or English type, is, according to Stephens, of the same period—viz., A.D. 400-500. He ascribes this rune ( (symbol characters) ) to English work, the letter being a variation of the Gothic rune ( ᛇ ), and its equivalence being the sound yo. With this single exception, this rune has only been found in England.[23] This discovery, in conjunction with the inscription on the sword found in the Thames, tends to show that there was a connection between the early Gothic and Anglian settlers in England and the inhabitants of the Baltic coasts in the fifth century. The evidence afforded by the finding of runic letters of this early date at Cöslin does not stand alone; it is supported by that of the objects which were discovered with it. The ring was found with a bracteate bearing runic characters, five other bracteates without runes, and two Roman golden coins, one of Theodosius the Great (A.D. 379-395), the other of Leo I. (A.D. 457-474). This latter coin, therefore, assists in confirming the date of the objects as about the end of the fifth century. Stephens says:[24] ‘This is one of the few golden bracteates we can date with some certainty from a comparison of the other gold pieces with which it lay.’ As is well known, the golden bracteates belong to a unique class of northern remains, and chiefly date from the early Iron Age in Scandinavia. They were generally shaped like coins, but were not used as coins, being intended for suspensory ornaments. They are of no common pattern, but differ much in size. weight. and other features.[25] As they differed much in their design, so they differed in regard to having runes or not. The most important hoard of them found in England was discovered at Sarr, in Thanet, in 1863. These, however, had no runic letters on them. The evidence that Goths and Vandals or Wends were often allied cannot be disputed, and that there was some alliance and consequent intercourse between their respective countries and the settlements of the Goths in England the discovery of these objects with Anglian or English runes on the Wendish coast ncar Cöslin in the fifth century is good evidence. The discovery of an English runic inscription of such an early date in Pomerania is important from another aspect. It was found in what was Gothic and Vandal territory, and the connection of the Vandals with the Anglo—Saxon settlement rests on strong evidence of another kind. Cöslin, where the ring was found, is on the Baltic coast, east of Rügen Island, and nearly opposite to the island of Bornholm. This coast was in the third century of our era near the country of the Burgundians, before their great migration to the south—western part of Germany and to France. During the third and following century the Goths and Vandals acted together as allies in various expeditions. The Isle of Gotland, as proved by the immense number of Roman coins of the later Empire discovered there, was even at that early period a great commercial centre. The Vandals were also great navigators, and the so-called Angles were in all probability a branch of the Gothic race, certainly of Gothic extraction. There must have been communications between the Gothic northern ports and the English settlements, and the discovery on the sword in the Thames, and a similar discovery of English runes on a ring found near the Baltic coast of Pomerania, is not, considering all these circumstances, a matter for wonder.

In order to realize the full significance of the evidence afforded by the runic inscriptions and their connection with the settlement of England, it is necessary to look at it from several points of view: First, that runes were of Northern Gothic origin, and the Gothic Futhorc or alphabet is the earliest; secondly, that the Anglian Futhorc consists of similar characters varied from the Gothic; and, thirdly, that the Scandinavian has later additions. The evidence shows that Goths and Angles introduced the art of runic writing into England before the end of the fifth century. It is interesting to consider also the probable origin of the runic letters themselves. Isaac Taylor has proved[26] that the early Gothic runes were modifications of the letters of the Greek alphabet, and were developed in Northern Gothland as a result of the commercial intercourse of the Goths across Eastern Europe with the Greek traders of the Levant. The Byzantine coins found in the island of Gotland certainly point to a trade of this kind at a sufficiently early period. Lastly, we have to consider the very interesting fact that when the runic letters which had been modified from the Greek were introduced into Britain by the Goths, these modified Greek characters which had come across Europe to the north, and thence to England, met there the letters of the Celtic or Romano-British alphabet. also derived from the Greek, but which had come there across Gaul from the Mediterranean[27] through Roman influence.

The Warings, who were such close allies of the Angles, were certainly much concerned with the early commerce of the Baltic and the overland trade between the dominions of the Greek Emperors and the Baltic ports. Nestor, a monk of Kiev, who wrote in the eleventh century, mentions Novgorod as a Varangian city, and it is therefore concluded that there was at that time at large settlement of Varangians in that part of Russia. We learn, also, that there were Gotlanders in early Russia,[28] and we know that the Isle of Gotland has revealed abundant traces of an ancient overland trade across that country. Another fact of interest concerning the later Warings is their possible connection with the Isle of Rügen, which, in the life of Bishop Otto, is mentioned as Verania and the population as Verani, who were remarkable for their persistent paganism.[29] These references point, without doubt, to the connection of Rügen with Slavonic paganism, and to the Warings of that time as associated with it. There is, as already mentioned, another more ancient reference to them by Ptolemy, under the name of Pharadini, the root syllable Var or Phar being almost certainly the same. Their name also appears in that of the old river-name Warina, the Warna, which gives its name to Warnof, and in Warnemünde, both on the Baltic coast. Procopius mentions the Warings, and tells us of the marriage of a sister of one of the Kings of the East English with one of their Kings. These allies of the ancient Anglians have left their mark on the subsequent history of Eastern Europe. Their influence among the old Slavs of what is now Russia was great, owing to their settlements among them and the commerce through their territory with Byzantium. In Constantinople itself the Varangian body-guard of the Greek Emperors was of political importance. The tall stature of these men and their fair complexions excited wonder among the Greeks and Asiatics of that city. Their name in Constantinople became the Byzantine equivalent for soldiers of a free company. The body of Huscarls organized by Cnut in England was a counterpart of the Varangian guard. In physical appearance their allies the Angles must have resembled them. Even at the present day the stature of the people in the least disturbed districts of England that were settled by Angles is above the average. It was, however, among the old Slavs that their influence was greatest, for the Slav, moulded by the Varangian, and converted to the Greek Church through Byzantine influence, became the Russian.[30]

The custom of disposing of the dead by cremation is so different from that of interment that where both prevailed there must in ancient time have been people of different races or tribes living in such a district. One fact which excavations in Anglo-Saxon burial-places proves beyond doubt is the contemporaneous practice of cremation and burial in various parts of England. In Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, and Gloucestershire, evidence has been obtained that both practices went on.[31] In some parts of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Derbyshire, cremation appears to have been the sole observance,[32] as at Walsingham, and at Kingston near Derby. In the cemeteries of Kent and Sussex burial appears to have been almost the exclusive practice. Derbyshire is peopled by descendants of Anglians, according to the present physical race-characters of the people. A passage in Beowulf furnishes evidence of the practice of cremation among the Angles,[33]—‘To make a mound, bright after the funeral fire, upon the nose of the promontory, which shall be for a memorial to my people.’ The pagan Anglians appear, from these discoveries and this passage, to have burnt their dead, as the pagan Esthonians did at a later period in the time of King Alfred.[34] The custom among the Teutons thus appears to have been a Northern one, and Anglian rather than Saxon. From the evidence which has been obtained, cremation appears to have been practised in Jutland and the western part of the Danish isles about the time of the Anglian migration, while burial prevailed at the same time in Zealand and part of Funen Isle.[35]

The Germans are coming.


The Cauci (Καῦκοι) were a people of early Ireland, uniquely documented in Ptolemy’s 2nd-century Geography, which locates them roughly in the region of modern County Dublin and County Wicklow.[1] From the early 19th century, comparative linguists, notably Lorenz Diefenbach, identified the Cauci with the Germanic Chauci of the Low Countries and north-western Germany, a parallel already drawn by earlier antiquarian scholarship.[2] Proponents of this view also pointed to the fact that the Manapii (Μανάπιοι), who in Ptolemy’s map border the Cauci to the south, likewise bear a name that is almost identical to that of another continental tribe, the Belgic Menapii in north-eastern Gaul. This correspondence appeared to testify to population movements between the two regions. The linguistic aspect of this hypothesis was most recently (1917) developed by Julius Pokorny,[3] although the Cauci-Chauci association is not universally accepted.[4] This early scholarship also drew attention to apparent parallels among Celtic or Celticized peoples of the Iberian peninsula, specifically a leader of the Lusitani named Kaukainos (Καυκαῖνος), and a city called Kauka (Καύκα) (modern Coca), inhabited by Kaukaioi (Καυκαῖοι), among the Vaccaei, a prominent Celtiberian people.[5] With regard to possible descendants of the Irish Cauci, Pokorny and Ó Briain[6] respectively favoured the obscure medieval septs of Uí Cuaich and Cuachraige, though in neither case has a connection been demonstrated.


 The Chauci (German: Chauken, and identical or similar in other regional modern languages) were an ancient Germanic tribe living in the low-lying region between the Rivers Ems and Elbe, on both sides of the Weser and ranging as far inland as the upper Weser. Along the coast they lived on artificial hills called terpen, built high enough to remain dry during the highest tide. A dense population of Chauci lived further inland, and they are presumed to have lived in a manner similar to the lives of the other Germanic peoples of the region.
Their ultimate origins are not well understood. In the Germanic pre-Migration Period (i.e., before c. 300 AD) the Chauci and the related Frisians, Saxons, and Angles inhabited the Continental European coast from the Zuyder Zee to south Jutland.[1] All of these peoples shared a common material culture, and so cannot be defined archaeologically.[2] The Chauci originally centered on the Weser and Elbe, but in c. AD 58 they expanded westward to the River Ems by expelling the neighboring Ampsivarii,[3][4] whereby they gained a border with the Frisians to the west. The Romans referred to the Chauci living between the Weser and Elbe as the ‘Greater Chauci’ and those living between the Ems and Weser as the ‘Lesser Chauci’.[5]
The Chauci entered the historical record in descriptions of them by classical Roman sources late in the 1st century BC in the context of Roman military campaigns and sea raiding. For the next 200 years the Chauci provided Roman auxiliaries through treaty obligations, but they also appear in their own right in concert with other Germanic tribes, opposing the Romans. Accounts of wars therefore mention the Chauci on both sides of the conflict, though the actions of troops under treaty obligation were separate from the policies of the tribe.
The Chauci lost their separate identity in the 3rd century when they merged with the Saxons,[6] after which time they were considered to be Saxons. The circumstances of the merger are an unsettled issue of scholarly research.

So this is why we can’t have these road builder with the same name be the same people. Because that would mean that Germanic tribes inhabited East Ireland in the 2. Century. What would that do to the story of “Celtic Ireland”?
But that is surely a coincidence. Maybe they just have similar names and are completely different people? Let’s see how far we can stretch this coincidence:

If you look at Ptolemy’s map of Ireland, you see that south from Cauci, you find these tribes: Menapii, Coriodni, Brigantes, Vodiae. 

Do we find Menapii anywhere else? We do, right next and below the Chauci in the Rhine region.

The Menapii were a Belgic tribe of northern Gaul in pre-Roman and Roman times. According to descriptions in such authors as Strabo, Caesar, Pliny the Elder and Ptolemy their territory had stretched northwards to the mouth of the Rhine in the north, but more lastingly it stretched along the west of the Schelde. In later geographical terms this territory corresponds roughly to the modern coast of Flanders, the Belgian provinces of Oost and West Vlaanderen. It also extended into neighboring France and the river deltas of the southern Netherlands. 

Now interestingly enough they are a “Belgic” tribe. So we have a Belgic and Germanic people living in two places next to each other. This opens a big question again (as I am not the first to open it) :

Was there a difference between Belgic (Celtic) tribes and Germanic tribes, or are the Germans just Celts that Romans did not conquer?
In Ireland, just under the Manapii tribe you find Coriondi, who we also find in England and according to names study probably in Gaul as well, and I say probably next to Menapii.

The Coriondi (Κοριονδοί) were a people of early Ireland, referred to in Ptolemy’s 2nd century Geography as living in southern Leinster.[1]MacNeill identifies a later Irish group, the Coraind, in the Boyne valley, who may be the same people.[2] Other possibly related names include the Corcu Cuirnd,[2] Cuirennrige and Dál Cuirind in early medieval Ireland, and in Britain, the Corionototae, known from an inscription inHexham, Northumberland, and Corinion, the Brythonic name for Cirencester, Gloucestershire.[1] The element *corio- also occurs in Gaulish personal and tribal names, usually taken to mean an army or troop of warriors [3]

Under Coriondi we find Brigantes, who are also found in England, and in the Alps.

The Brigantes were a Celtic tribe who in pre-Roman times controlled the largest section of what would become Northern England, and a significant part of the Midlands. Their kingdom is sometimes called Brigantia, and it was centred in what was later known as Yorkshire. Ptolemy lists the Brigantes also as a tribe in Ireland, where they could be found around Wexford, Kilkenny and Waterford[1] while another probably Celtic tribe named Brigantii is mentioned by Strabo as a sub-tribe of the Vindelici in the region of the Alps.[2]
Within Great Britain, the territory which the Brigantes inhabited was bordered by that of four other Celtic tribes: the Carvetii (to whom they may have been related) in the North-West, the Parisii to the east and, to the south, the Corieltauvi and the Cornovii. To the North was the territory of the Votadini, which straddled the present day border between England and Scotland.

The name Brigantes (Βρίγαντες) is cognate to that of the goddess Brigantia. The name is from a root meaning “high, elevated”, and it is unclear whether settlements called Brigantium were so named as “high ones” in a metaphorical sense of nobility, or literally as “highlanders”, referring to the Pennines, or inhabitants of physically elevated fortifications. (IEW, s.v. “bhereg’h-“).
In modern Welsh the word braint means ‘privilege, prestige’ and comes from the same root brigantjā. Other cognates from the modern Celtic languages are: Welsh brenin ‘king’ (< *brigantīnos); Welsh/Cornish/Breton bri 'prestige, reputation, honour, dignity', Scottish Gaelic brìgh 'pith, power', Irish brí 'energy, significance', Manx bree 'power, energy' (all < *brīg-/brigj-); and Welsh/Cornish/Breton bre 'hill' (< *brigā). The name Bridget from Old Irish Brigit (Modern Irish Bríd) also comes from Brigantja, as does the English river name Brent.
There are several ancient settlements named Brigantium around Europe, such as Berganza in Alava (Spain), Betanzos and Bergondo in Galicia (Spain), Bragança in Portugal and Briançon,[3][4] Brigetio on the border of Slovakia and Hungary,[5][6] Brigobanne situated on the Breg river and near the Brigach river in south Germany (pre-Roman Vindelicia[7])[8] and Bregenz in the Alps.
The Old Italian word brigante, whence English and French brigand and brigade, occurs in medieval Latin in the 14th century in the forms brigancii, brigantii, brigantini, brigantes (OED). Although an ultimate Celtic origin for the word is possible, any connection of the Italian term to the Celtic ethnonym seems unlikely since the Brigantes had not played any significant role in Italy and had disappeared as a people for some thousand years by the time the word is attested.

Under Brigantes we find Vodiae or Vodii or Udiae

What we see is that we have the same Celto-Belgo-Germanic people settling one next to the other in:
1. South Baltic area, the same areas from which Ango-Saxons, and later Dano-Slavic Vikings, would later invade England.
2. North England, the same area that Ango-Saxons, and later Dano-Slavic Vikings, would later invade and settle in England
3. East Ireland, the same area Dano-Slavic Vikings, would later invade and settle in Ireland.

But there are not supposed to have been any Germanic or Ango-Saxon tribes in Ireland. Yet the territory of county Wexford, settled by Menapii is in Gaelic called: “Loch Garman”. 

Wiki says this about the name Loch Garman:

Wexford lies on the south side of Wexford Harbour, the estuary of the River Slaney. According to a local legend, the town got its Irish name, Loch Garman, from a young man named Garman Garbh who was drowned on the mudflats at the mouth of the River Slaney by flood waters released by an enchantress. The resulting loch or lough was thus named, Loch Garman.

However it is a lot more plausible that the Gaels called the teritory by the name of its inhabitants, the Lock of Garmans (Germans). 19th century English historians thought so. 

Ptolemy calls Wexford town by its real name Menappia, the town of Menapii.

Quite interesting are the Vodii as well. In modern Gaelic Irish the word for water is “uisce” pronounced “ishka”. However I believe that once there was another word for water, which has central European origin: “bwo” or “bwa” or “bwoa”. This word is the route of the word for water (English), wasser (Serman), and (Voda) Slavic. I believe that it is hidden in the following Irish word:

bá (bvao) – Bay, great expense of water, flooding, drowning, immersion, quenching of thirst

The area inhabited by the Vodii, whose name in Serbian would mean water people, is today called Waterford. 

There is also in Irish annals a story about an Irish prince of Leinster who was exiled to continental Europe and, befriending the foreign king, he returned with an army of Laigin, the “long spears” which, in Gaelic, was at the origin of the province name of Leinster:

Early Irish historical traditions credited the founding of the Laigin to the legendary High King Labraid Loingsech. His grandfather,Lóegaire Lorc, had been overthrown by his own brother, Cobthach Cóel Breg, and Labraid forced into exile. After a period of military service on the continent, Labraid returned to Ireland at the head of an army, known as Laigin after the broad blue-grey iron spearheads (láigne) they carried. The Lebor Gabála Érenn dates Labraid’s accession to 300 BC.[3][4][5] Modern historians suggest, on the basis of these traditions and related placenames, that the Laigin were a group of invaders from Gaul or Britain, who arrived no later than the 6th century BC, and were later incorporated into the medieval genealogical scheme which made all the ruling groups of early Ireland descend from Míl Espáine. Placenames also suggest they once had a presence in north Munster and in Connacht.[6]

Now what is the name for a spear in in old Germanic languages? The word for spear in Germanic languages is “gar”. Which would mean that Garman is a Gar man which means a Spear man. So back to Lock Garman again, and this time in the country of the spear men we have a town of the spear men.

gar: From Middle English gar, gare, gere, gore, from Old English gār (“spear, dart, javelin, shaft, arrow, weapon, arms”), from Proto-Germanic *gaizaz (“spear, pike, javelin”), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰayso- (“pointed stick, spear”), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰey- (“to drive, move, fling”). Cognate with West Frisian gear, Dutch geer (“pointed weapon, spear”), German Ger (“spear”), Norwegian geir (“spear”), Icelandic geir (“spear”). Related to gore.
Old Irish has gae “spear”

Which leads me to an inevitable question: Does German actually just mean a “spear man”? And are Germanic tribes just tribes of people armed with Gars, Spears???

If Saxon or Sekson is a sek man, a man with saex, saek, long blade, then German or Garman could well be a gar man, a man with a spear? What this brings us to is that neither of the two main “national” or “ethnic” names for Germanic people have nothing to do with race. These names distinguish people by the type of weapon they use. So who were Gar-men and Sek-men ethnically? Maybe we will be able to answer this and maybe not, but it’s definitely an interesting question. 

Togher, Tocher – Wooden trackways

Once upon a time, the whole of north-western Europe was crisscrossed with a complex network of wooden roads. These roads were needed in order to cross the boggy and soggy lands of northern Europe, and became a necessity when wheeled carts were invented and introduced into the north of Europe. Eventually the wetlands and bogs swallowed these wooden trackways and due to a unique chemical structure of the bog soil, preserved them to this day. 

These wooden tracways have been built in the same areas continuously from the Neolithic times to the middle ages. These wooden structures are unique to Europe. The areas where most of these wooden tracways are found are south Baltic (Elbe estuary, and Lowlands, Jutland region), England and Ireland, with few found in other European bogs. Their construction required high level of carpentry skills as well as a coordinated, long term collective effort. 

Wooden trackways appear for the first time in Neolithic in South Baltic (Elbe estuary, and Lowlands, Jutland region). From there they were then brought to England and Ireland by the immigrants from the south Baltic. The continuous contacts between Ireland and South Baltic (Elbe estuary, and Lowlands, Jutland region) probably continued, because we see that cultural similarities were preserved over long time period all the way into middle ages. 

During the Iron age, people who built these wooden trackways used almost identical design and technology for their construction. When we add to this other cultural similarities between South Baltic (Elbe estuary, and Lowlands, Jutland region) and Ireland, we are faced with possibility that either identical population or identical culture existed in both areas. Interestingly during the Iron age, both of these two areas where wooden trackways were extensively built, seem to have been inhabited by tribes of surprisingly similar names:

Ireland – Cauci, South Baltic (Elbe estuary region) – Chauce
Ireland – Menapii, South Baltic (Elbe estuary region) – Menapii
Ireland – Brigantes,  South Baltic (Elbe estuary region) -Frisii?

The oldest wooden trackways so far have been discovered in south Baltic area. The oldest one, wooden trackway Pr32, dated to 4835-4715 BC was discovered in Campemoor bog near town called Damme in the district of Vechta, Lower Saxony. 
Campemoor bog wooden trackways

First similar wooden trackways, called Tochar, Togher, appear in Ireland within next two thousand years. Exactly when is difficult to say. The earliest known examples of wooden trackways in Ireland are partial remains of wooden trackways from Tara region, dated to around 2000 BC. 

Wiki page on history of roads in Ireland states:

The first routes in Ireland were prehistoric trackways, some of which were later developed into roads suited for wheeled vehicles. Many of Ireland’s minor roads “may well have had their origin in pre-existing paths and trackways aligned in direct response to the physical environment.” Traces of these evolved roads which developed over very long periods, frequently from tracks of the prehistoric period, are still evident. The routes of such roads usually followed the natural landscape, following the tops of ridges and crossing rivers and streams at fording points.

There is almost no evidence that large roads were constructed in Ireland during the Stone Age. However, a very large oval henge enclosure, thought to date from c. 2500 BC (the Neolithic period) may possibly have had an ancient roadway associated with it. The henge was discovered at the Hill of Tara archaeological complex in geophysical surveys carried out between 1999 and 2001. It is unlikely that any roadway from this period would have been used as a transport route. Excavations carried out at Edercloon, Co. Longford in advance of road construction discovered a dense “network of wooden trackways and platforms, which were constructed from the Neolithic (c. 4000BC – 2200BC) to the early medieval period (c. AD 400-790).”

So the earliest wooden track way in Ireland was discovered next to a henge, or rondel enclosure in Brega area, near the Hill of Tara or Tabor Breg. Henge is a central European type megalithic structure, which originates in the same area which later became the Celtic heartland. The Central European cultures associated with roundels (Lengyel, Stroked Pottery, Rössen) are indicated in yellow. The location of the earliest wooden trackway, in Vechta, Lower Saxony, is located right at the edge of the Rossen culture:

Henges appear in Central Europe around the same time as the first wooden trackways appear in South Baltic (Elbe estuary, and Lowlands, Jutland region). Later henges appear in Ireland and England, following the same cultural transfer route that brought wooden trackways to Ireland and England.

Wooden trackways could have been constructed in Ireland even earlier, but are now lying in areas submerged under the sea. An old Tochar wooden road was recently unearthed in the west of Ireland during the last spell of bad weather.

Remains of an oak trackway, estimated to be between 3,500 and 4,500 years old, on the shore near Furbo, Co Galway. Oak structure confirms human habitation before Galway Bay was formed.

Furbo trackway:

The track was built probably between 2500 bc and 1500 bc, and may have been built when the sea level was rising and was gradually enveloping the forest that pre-dated Galway Bay. Together with the Bearna canoe, this wooden trackway is the first evidence of human habitation within the ancient forests and lagoons in this area. It could have been built during the late Neolithic or early Bronze age era, and may have been ceremonial or may have been built across wetland which was decaying forest, forming into bog….The wooden trackway has a north-west orientation and is on a storm beach near Furbo, looking south to the Burren and Black Head. The Bearna canoe was found on the shore near Bearna in December 2002, and is preserved in the Galway Atlantaquaria in Salthill. The canoe was found to be 4,740 years old when radiocarbon-dated. It is believed the trackway may be of a similar age.

One of the best examples of Togher trackway in Ireland is Corlea Trackway:

The Corlea Trackway (Irish: Bóthar Chorr Liath) is an Iron Age trackway, or togher, near the village of Keenagh, south of Longford town, County Longford, in Ireland. It was known locally as the Danes Road.

The trackway is situated in an area which is today a generally flat and open landscape. In the Iron Age it was covered by bog, quicksand, and ponds, surround by dense woodlands of birch, willow, hazel and alder while higher ground was covered by oak and ash. The terrain was dangerous and impassible for much of the year.

In 1984, timbers recovered from Corlea were radiocarbon dated to the Iron Age, rather than the Bronze Age as had been expected. Excavations to 1991 in Corlea bog revealed 59 toghers in an area of around 125 hectares and further work has raised the total to 108 with a further 76 in the nearby Derryoghil bog.

The majority of these toghers are constructed from woven hurdles laid on heaped brushwood on top of the surface, built to be used by people on foot. Four, including Corlea 1, the Corlea Trackway proper, are corduroy roads, built from split planks laid on top of raised rails and suitable for wheeled traffic. The Corlea Trackway is made from oak planks 3 to 3.5 metres long and around 15 centimetres thick laid on rails around 1.2 metres apart. The road was at least 1 kilometre long. Dendrochronological study suggests that the timber used in construction was felled in late 148 BC or early in 147 BC and the road built then. Raftery estimated that the sleepers alone amount to a 300 large oak trees, or a thousand wagon-loads, with a similar volume of birch for the rails. The Corlea Trackway ended on a small island, from which a second trackway, excavated in 1957 and since radiocarbon dated also to 148 BC, again around 1 kilometre long, connected to dry land on the far side of the bog. The construction of the roadway required a great deal of labour, comparable to that used in the construction of ritual monuments such as barrows.

This is an example of one of these wooden trackways:

Corlea Trackway:

A timber trackway is a simple raised wooden walkway used as the shortest route between two places in a bog or peatland. They have been built for thousands of years as a means of getting between two points. Timber trackways have been identified in archaeological finds in Neolithic England, dating to 500 years before Stonehenge. Radiocarbon methods date them to be about 6,000 years old.

The best examples of wooden trackways from Iron Age are in the south Baltic, in the area of Lower Saxony inhabited by Chauci, and in east Ireland, in the area inhabited by Cauci. The way these Iron Age wooden corduroy roads were constructed is so similar and superior to the rest of the roads found, that archaeologists have long “suspected” that they could have only been built by the same people. But because history says that there has been no migration from south Baltic to Ireland, the possibility that they might have been built by the same people was discarded. History of roads in Ireland has this to say about the location and direction of most important old Irish roads:

According to an entry in the Annals of the Four Masters for AD 123, there were five principal highways (Irish: slighe) leading to Tara (Irish: Teamhair) in Early Medieval Ireland. The entry in the Annals claims that these routes were ‘discovered’ at the birth of Conn of the Hundred Battles:
The night of Conn’s birth were discovered five principal roads leading to Teamhair, which were never observed till then. These are their names: Slighe Asail, Slighe Midhluachra, Slighe Cualann, Slighe Mhór, Slighe Dala. Slighe Mhór is that called Eiscir Riada, i.e. the division line of Ireland into two parts, between Conn and Eoghan Mór.[9]
In reality, “the ancient road system (such as it was – there cannot have been a developed national system) fanned out not from Tara but from Dublin.”.

 So the system of wooden roads was leading from and to Dublin, the center of the land of the Laigin, the spear people and also the center of the land which was during the early Iron Age inhabited by Cauci. 

In Irish wooden trackways are called Togher and Tochar. Togher and Tochar could be two different spellings of the same word. This is quite common in Irish. Official meaning of the words Togher, Tochar in Irish is causeway, wooden trackway. But there is a village in the Wicklow mountains which is in English called Roundwood. Its Irish name is Tochar. Roundwood was the material from which wooden trackways called Togher and Tochar were made. Did people in Wicklow preserve the original meaning of the word Tochar: Roundwood? 

In Serbian there is a word “tokariti” which means to spin. It also means working the material by spinning it and applying force from the side, which produces round, roundwood, disc like objects, like disk cart wheels.  Word “tokar” means turner. In Serbian we also have a word “toka” which means ball, disc like metal ornament worn on the chest or clasps, fibula, button.  

Toka Serbia
Medieval toke Bosnia

Toke Montenegro
Toke Croatia

It seems that Serbian word Toka means roundwood, disc, wheel, circle, sphere, but also clasp, button…Early wheels and buttons were both made from roundwood. Two Serbian words “točak” meaning wheel and “točka” meaning point could be related to this word and possibly derived from it…

Another interesting word in Serbian is “tocilo”, or “točilo” meaning whetstone, grinder, grindstone. This word probably has the same root “toka” meaning disc…

Točilo – Whetstone

Točilo or žrvanj – Grinding stone

These are ancient Irish disc ornaments worn on the chest:

What is interesting is that in Turkish we find word “tok” meaning full, rotund, word “toka” meaning buckle, clasp, fibula…In Bulgarian word toka also means fibula, clasp, buckle. 

This is an early 800 bc fibula from the Balkans. Is this “toka”?

Was the old name for all these disc, circle like ornaments “toka”? Was the old word for round, disc, wheel “toka”? And did “tochar” mean roundwood, or things made from roundwood, disc wheels for disc wheeled cart, and  roads for disc wheeled carts? 

This is an example of a primitive “Toka”, round-wood wheel:

First firm evidence of wheeled vehicles appears from the mid 4th millennium BCE in Mesopotamia, the Northern Caucasus (Maykop culture) and Central Europe, so the question of which culture originally invented the wheeled vehicle remains unresolved.

The earliest well-dated image of a wheeled vehicle, radiocarbon dated to 3500-3350 BCE, is on the Bronocice pot, a Funnelbeaker culture ceramic vase discovered in 1976 during the archaeological excavation of a large Neolithic settlement in Bronocice by the Nidzica River, circa 50 km north-east of Kraków.  The vase is preserved in the Archaeological Museum in Kraków.

Images on the Bronice pot include five rudimentary representations of what seems to be a wagon. They represent a vehicle with a shaft for a draught animal, and four wheels. The lines connecting them probably represent axles. The circle in the middle possibly symbolizes a container for harvest. These images suggest the existence of wagons in Central Europe as early as in the 4th millennium BCE. The wagons were presumably drawn by aurochs, ancestors of domestic cattle, whose remains were found with the pot. Their horns were worn out as if tied with a rope, possibly a result of using a kind of yoke,

Other images on the pot include a tree, a river and what may be fields or wooden trackways intersected by roads or ditches or the layout of a village. 

This means that wheeled carts were invented in Central Europe, the land where R1a, I2a and R1b people mixed for thousands of years. Is it possible that toka, tokariti, tokar are old central European words for circle, round, roundwood, disc, spinning, disc wheeled cart, road for disc wheeled carts, which were somehow preserved in Ireland, in the Balkans and in Turkey? 

The oldest wheel in the world was found in a marsh Slovenia and is 5,150 years old. People who made the wheel lived in wood pile lake settlements (crannogs) which are another thing that connects Ireland, South Baltic, Central Europe and Balkans.

The oldest wheel in the world:
The Ljubljana Marshes Wheel is a wooden wheel that was found in the Ljubljana Marshes some 20 km south of Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, in 2002. Radiocarbon dating, performed in the VERA laboratory (Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator) in Vienna, showed that it is approximately 5,150 years old, which makes it the oldest wooden wheel yet discovered.

Remainings of pile dwellings were discovered in the Ljubljana Marshes as early as in 1875. Since 2011, the site has been protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as an example of prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps, a special form of dwellings in areas with lakes and marshes. The archaeologists at the excavation site identified over one thousand piles in the river-bed of the Ig river, near Ig. They reconstructed the dwellings of 3.5m x 7m in size, separated by approximately 2 to 3m. The analyses of the piles revealed that the dwellings were repaired each year and that a new house had to be built on the same place in as little as 10 to 20 years.

The oldest inhabitants settled in the region as early as 9,000 years ago; in the Middle Stone Age they built temporary residences on isolated rocks in the marsh and on the fringe and they lived by hunting and gathering. The permanent settlements were not built until the first farmers appeared approximately 6,500 years ago in the time of the Late Stone Age.

The wooden wheel belonged to a prehistoric two-wheel cart – a pushcart. Similar wheels have been found in the hilly regions of Switzerland and southwest Germany, but the Ljubljana Marshes one is bigger and older.[2] It shows that wooden wheels appeared almost simultaneously in Mesopotamia and Europe.[1]

It has a diameter of 72 centimetres (28 in) and is made of ash wood, whereas its 124 centimetres (49 in) long axle is made of oak.[2] The axle was attached to the wheels with oak wood wedges, which meant that the axle rotated together with the wheels. The wheel was made from a tree that grew in the vicinity of the pile dwellings and at the time of the wheel construction was approximately 80 years old.

The oldest wheel in the world is not the only artifact found in the Ljubljana marshes:

The Ljubljana marshes, where the wooden wheel was found, are a perfect place for old objects to be preserved. There have been many finds uncovered in this area. Apart from the wooden wheel, axle and canoe, there have been innumerable objects found which are up to 6,500 years old. It may be surprising, but older finds are more abundant. Apart from the canoe, there is also a mould for copper axes from 4th millennium BC.

 In the end I have to ask these questions: 

Who were the original wooden road builders from the continent? Are they related to the henge bulders? When they came to Ireland, what else did they bring with them? What language did they speak? What genes did they have? How come we have this linguistic relic, Toka, Tokariti, Tokar preserved in Serbian, Irish and Turkish? 

So many questions, so few answers…

Cultural continuity in Central Europe from Linear Potery culture to Western Slavs

The Stroke-ornamented ware (culture) or (German) Stichbandkeramik (abbr. STK or STbK), Stroked Pottery culture, Danubian Ib culture of V. Gordon Childe, or Middle Danubian culture is the successor of the Linear Pottery culture, a major archaeological horizon of the European Neolithic in Central Europe. The STK flourishes during approximately 4600-4400 BC. Centered on Silesia in Poland, eastern Germany and the northern Czech Republic, it overlaps with the Lengyel horizon to the south, and the Rössen culture to the west. 

The Linear Pottery culture is a major archaeological horizon of the European Neolithic, flourishing circa 5500–4500 BC. It is abbreviated as LBK (from German: Linearbandkeramik), and is also known as the Linear Band Ware, Linear Ware, Linear Ceramics or Incised Ware culture, and falls within the Danubian I culture of V. Gordon Childe.

The densest evidence for the culture is on the middle Danube, the upper and middle Elbe, and the upper and middle Rhine. It represents a major event in the initial spread of agriculture in Europe. The pottery after which it was named consists of simple cups, bowls, vases, and jugs, without handles, but in a later phase with lugs or pierced lugs, bases, and necks.[1] They were obviously designed as kitchen dishes, or for the immediate or local transport of food and liquids.

Important sites include Nitra in Slovakia; Bylany in the Czech Republic; Langweiler and Zwenkau in Germany; Brunn am Gebirge in Austria; Elsloo, Sittard, Köln-Lindenthal, Aldenhoven, Flomborn, and Rixheim on the Rhine; Lautereck and Hienheim on the upper Danube; and Rössen and Sonderhausen on the middle Elbe.

Excavations at Oslonki in Poland revealed a large, fortified settlement (dating to 4300 BC, i. e., Late LBK), covering an area of 4,000 m². Nearly 30 trapezoidal longhouses and over 80 graves make it one of the richest such settlements in archaeological finds from all of central Europe. The rectangular longhouses were between 7 and 45 meters long and between 5 and 7 meters wide. They were built of massive timber posts chinked with wattle and daub mortar.[2][3] 

This Linear pottery culture is through a particular type of bread ovens and houses directly linked to the West Slavic cultures of central Europe of the medieval time:

These so called bread ovens are known from a number of sites in central Europe that are dated from the 7th-12th centuries (Skružny 1963, 1980 ; Vignatiová 1992). A find of this type is usually represented by a hole sunk into a loess soil with the highest vaulting of 40-60 cm, red-burnt walls of 5-10 cm and a grey-burnt bottom, sometimes stone-lined.
The bottom ground plan is usually of renal, semi-circular up to round shape, east-west oriented.
From later periods (13 th century) it is documented that slightly modified ovens with an underground heating duct can serve for food-smoking (Skružny 1980). Archaeological finds of bread ovens are usually excavated on the margin of a settled area outside of the houses (Skružny, Vignatiová 1992, p. 90) or they are sunk into the wall of a dwelling (e.g. Breclav-Pohansko : Vignatiová 1992, fig. 3). The ovens outside the dwellings and the site area are known from Neolithic sites in Slovakia : in Pác near Trnava (Kolník 1977) or in Horné Lefantovce (Bánesz 1962). These finds were recently enriched by a new exceptional site where ovens from 11 th-12 th century were excavated in the vicinity (ca. 150 m) of the similar ones from the Late Stone Age (6 th millenium B.C.) belonging to the Linear-Pottery culture people. These ovens were revealed in Borovce, distr. of Piest’any, Slovakia, and the finds have not been published yet. The particular situation of Borovce has offered a chance to compare these finds, similar in types but different in history as well as in culture.
Comparing the find circumstances of the ovens studied in Borovce, we can state that there is very little or  no difference between the Stone-Age ovens and those made in the Middle Ages. Dimensions of burnt bottoms and walls are conspicuously similar : the diameter of the Neolithic ovens was 80-110 cm, the diameter of the medieval ones was 78-110 cm. This observation could support the already stated opinion that these constructions reflect a technical advancement or special needs of a certain community, regardless of its ethnicity (review in Vignatoivá 1992, p.89 ; Skružny 1980, p.221).  Some differences among the ovens of Borovce could be seen in the stages of burning of the bottoms. Two of the Neolithic ovens have grey-burnt bottoms, which means that their temperature had to be higher than 2000 C. These changes in a loess colour in relation to firing temperatures were experimentally tested in Borovce (Staššíková-Štukovská 1989). The bottoms of the medieval ovens are not burnt, which means that the temperature was lower there. High temperatures are not necessary for bread-baking or food-smoking and this would correspond with the stage of burning of the medieval ovens. The temperature of the Neolithic ovens had to be higher for some time than that needed for bread-baking.  This fact, of course, does not exclude this activity, as it is suggested also by other authors, e.g. in connection with pottery ovens in the Middle Ages (Skružny 1980). But the same time the find situation in Borovce supports the hypothesis of T. Kolnik articulated in connection with the find of a battery of 15 ovens of the éeliezovce culture (Neolithic) in Pac near Trnava (Slovakia). He suggested that ovens used to serve also for pottery-drying and he issued from findings of O. Sujanova that the Neolithic pottery was not burnt, but only dried in temperatures up to 200°C (Kolník 1978, p.134). He has applied this hypothesis also to the find of a battery consisting of 13 ovens in Lefantovce (Bánesz 1959, 1962).

Henges – Rondel enclosures

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is the remains of a ring of standing stones set within earthworks.

Archaeologists believe it was built from about 3000 BC to 2000 BC. 

The original structure was a henge which is a circular bank and ditch enclosure, measuring about 110 metres (360 ft) in diameter, with a large entrance to the north east and a smaller one to the south. It has been dated to about 3100 BC.

What most people don’t know is that over 1500  years earlier, the same types of henges were built in central Europe. There they are called rondel enclosures.

 A number of approximately 120–150 Neolithic earthworks enclosures are known in Central Europe. They are called Kreisgrabenanlagen(“circular ditched enclosures”) in German, or alternatively as roundels (or “rondels”; German Rondelle; sometimes also “rondeloid”, since many are not even approximately circular). They are mostly confined to the Elbe and Danube basins, in modern-day Germany,Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, as well as the adjecent parts of Hungary and Poland, in a stretch of Central European land some 800 km (500 mi) across. They date to the first half of the 5th millennium BC; they are associated with the late Linear Pottery culture and its local successors, the Stroke-ornamented ware (Middle Danubian) and Lengyel (Moravian Painted Ware) cultures. The best known and oldest of these Circular Enclosures is the Goseck circle, constructed c. 4900 BC.

The Goseck circle is a Neolithic structure in Goseck in the Burgenlandkreis district in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is the oldest and best known of the so-called Circular Enclosures associated with the Central European Neolithic. It consists of a set of concentric ditches 75 metres (246 feet) across and two palisade rings containing gates in places aligned with sunrise and sunset on the solstice days. The Goseck ring is one of the best preserved and extensively investigated of the many similar structures built at around the same time. 

Traces of the original configuration reveal that the Goseck ring consisted of four concentric circles, a mound, a ditch, and two wooden palisades. The palisades had three sets of gates facing southeast, southwest, and north. At the winter solstice, observers at the center would have seen the sun rise and set through the southeast and southwest gates.

Archaeologists generally agree that Goseck circle was used for observation of the course of the Sun in the course of the solar year. Together with calendar calculations, it allowed coordinating an easily judged lunar calendar with the more demanding measurements of a solar calendar. 

The Goseck circle is the oldest known structure with this type of astronomical alignment. 

Here is the map of alignments of the Goseck circle:

And here is the reconstruction of the Goseck circle:

This is another Central European Henge, Rondel enclosure. This one is from Bučany, Slovakia. Does it remind you of anything? Celtic cross maybe?


These are different types of Central European rondel enclosures:

Principal types of the Neolithic-Rondels in central Danubian region: (1) Němčičky, Moravia. (2) Vedrovice, Moravia. (3) Nitrianský Hrádok, Slovakia. (4) Rašovice, Moravia. (5) Kľačany, Slovakia. (6) Strögen, Lower Austria. (7) Běhařovice, Moravia. (8 ) Hornsburg 3, Lower Austria. (9) Těšetice-Kyjovice, Moravia. (10) Rosenburg, Lower Austria. (11) Bučany, Slovakia. (12) Cífer, Slovakia. (13) Golianovo, Slovakia. (14) Svodín, Slovakia.

In 2009 Czech archaeologists have uncovered four prehistoric rondel enclosures (a type of circular prehistoric earthworks enclosure), two of which are the largest in Europe. 

After examining 40 hectares on land, the experts gathered hundreds of thousands of finds. The most important ones include the four rondel enclosures.

Two of the enclosures that archaeologists have uncovered near Kolin are 214 and 230 meters in diameter and have been dated to first half of the 5th millennium bc. The former was surrounded by four ditches, the biggest being 4.5m deep and 14m long. The other two enclosures uncovered near Kolin are 80 and 75 meters in diameter. Besides Neolithic finds, the experts uncovered a number of valuable remains of settlements from the Paleolithic period, from the Bronze and Iron Ages, from the Roman era and the early Middle Ages. This means that the area has been an important settlement and probably important ceremonial center for at least 5000 years. This is another example of potential cultural continuity in central Europe from neolithic to medieval time. 

Until recently, researchers thought that there are no henges in  Poland. Henges were mostly found a little further south, where Neolithic farming flourished: in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. 

In the mid 1990s, aerial reconnaissance led by Otto Braasch and Gunter Wetzel revealed the existence of rondel-type sites in central Germany, along the mid Elbe–Saale corridor and perhaps extending as far north as the lower Odra Valley. Even though the Neolithic dates of the most northern central German rondels have since been called into question, this discovery led to a significant northern extension of the known distribution of this monument type, making it very likely that rondels would also appear in the northern fringe of Danubian Neolithic distributions in Poland. The chance to verify this theory came during a training course for aerial archaeologists held near Leszno, Poland, in the summer of 1998. Braasch found the first rondel in Poland on the border between Lower Silesia and the Lebus Land. It lies on the northern slopes of the Dalkowskie Hills near the town of Bytom Odrzafiski in the fields of the village of Bodzow. Further indications of the presence of putative early fifth-millennium rondel-type enclosures in Poland came in the year 2008, when aerial archaeological prospection revealed a circular, double-ditched enclosure with characteristic interconnected entrances at Wenecja on a hilltop on the eastern shore of Lake Biskupin in Kuiavia. By studying images available in Google Earth, a double-ditched and palisaded enclosure was discovered at Pietrowice Wielkie in 2011, a site which has produced Neolithic surface finds. The latest archaeological data from the site is suggesting that the site could have been used as forth during the early bronze age Pre Lusitanian period, and that it could even have originally been built as an early bronze age fort. We know that many sites have been used for very long period of time and that during that time the use of the site sometimes changed. So it is possible that the bronze age fort was built on much earlier neolithic site.

This is a reconstruction of the rondel (henge) or fort in Pietrowice Wielkie:

The distribution of rondel (henge) structures seems to suggest a spread from the middle Danube (southern Slovakia and western Hungary) towards the west (Lower Austria, Lower Bavaria) along the Danube and to the northwest (Moravia, Bohemia, Saxony-Anhalt) following the Elbe.

They precede the comparable circular earthwork or timber enclosures known from Great Britain and Ireland, constructed much later during c. 3000 to 1000 BC (late Neolithic to Bronze Age).

Henges, rondel enclosures originate in the middle Danube area and Morava area. From there they have spread northward towards south Baltic finally reaching Saxony and Pomeranija. This means that the culture that built these megalithic structures came from Central Europe and reached the British Isles via south Baltic, and specifically Elbe region, Pomerania, Pomorje, the land of Fomori. 

Some of the finest and best-known English henges are at:

Avebury, about 20 miles (32 km) N. of Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire;

Knowlton Circles henge complex in Dorset;

This is a list of all the Irish henges as recorded in the National monument service database:

And here is another example from Ireland, the so called Woodhenge:

Ireland’s Stonehenge, a 4,500-year-old structure at the Hill of Tara in Co Meath, has been re-created by archaeologists and computer-graphics experts. Underground remains of the structure were discovered by soil x-rays of the hill. Study of the remains of tree trunks have prompted scientists to conclude the hill was once surrounded by a “wooden version of Stonehenge” that would have been 250 metres in diameter.

    Archaeologists believe elaborately decorated timber posts and crossbars rose out of the ditch and surrounded the tomb, which is believed to be Tara’s oldest monument. It is estimated the mound was raised in about 3,000BC, making it a contemporary of Stonehenge, the ancient monument in the English county of Wiltshire. 

Rondel enclosure, henge structures are mostly interpreted as having served a cultic purpose. Most of them are aligned and seem to have served the function of a calendar (”Kalenderbau”), in the context of archaeoastronomy sometimes dubbed “observatory”, with openings aligned with the points sunrise and/or sunset at the solstices. This is the case with the “gates” or openings of the roundels of Quenstedt, Goseck and Quedlinburg as well as in Stonehenge. The observational determination of the time of solstice would have served a practical (agricultural) purpose. It could have been used to maintain a lunisolar calendar. The accurate knowledge of the date of solstice allows an accurate handling of intercalary months and determining the the correct date for agricultural activities such as plowing, sawing and harvesting. 

At the end I would like to ask one question:

When you read about central European rondel enclosures, you are always told that

But, by contrast to the long lifetime of the “Megalithic” culture, the time window during which the neolithic ”Roundels” were in use is surprisingly narrow, lasting only for about 200–300 years (roughly 49th to 47th centuries BC).

How is this usage period determined? Once the henge is built and aligned, further usage of the henge will leave no traces. To determine the day of the solstice all you need is to stand in the center or in any other predetermined cardinal point of the henge every morning and evening and note where the sun is rising and setting. Thus the henges could have been used as solar observatories thousands of years after they were built without any trace of usage being left behind. Is it possible that rondel enclosures continued to be used long after they were built?

This statement from the document about Polish rondels: “Even though the Neolithic dates of the most northern central German rondels have since been called into question” is very important. It would suggest that further up north you go, the younger the rondels (henges) become. This could mean that the spread of rondels fallowed spread of agriculture from the south of Europe to the Baltic and then across the sea to Britain and Ireland. I would suggest that there could be a rondel waiting to be found dating from the period between 4500 bc and 3000 bc somewhere in Ireland probably in the same area where we find old field boundaries from the earliest agricultural period. Maybe it has already been discovered, but it has been misdated because it was used continually for a long time… 

I will talk about the usage of henges and the link between the henges and the early agriculture in one of my next posts. Until then have fun and stay happy and healthy.  And if you liked what you have just read, please leave a comment or google + the post. 

Who are the Irish?

There is something very interesting about the Irish language. You have a lot of words which are pronounced and sometimes even spelled the same, and which have completely different unrelated meanings. This shows that Irish is a composite language. No language, which is not composite, has that characteristic. You have a lot of that in English and everyone knows that this is because English is a composite language. I believe that the same is the case with Irish. Believe or not, I bought the biggest Irish English dictionary I could find, and I read it cover to cover (mad I know). And you have this over and over again. But what you also have is lots of old words which were Gaelicised. You can see this if you compare them with the old Irish versions. Time after time you see the same pattern, where the original word was changed to conform with the Gaelic language structure. And the last thing that I noticed is that there are many base terms, which should really be defined with one word, but which have multiple words in Irish. Again this is the sign of a composite language.

There existed in ancient Ireland the phenomenon of ‘iarnbélre’ (= iron language), that is, language, words or phrases which were then acknowledged, by Gaels, to have been difficult to understand or obscure in some other sense. T.F. O’Rahilly posited that this might be the language of the Érainn of the south-west. But it could have been any non Gaelic language. We just don’t know. 

This is completely in tune with the archaeological evidence, Irish historical records and genetic data. 

I read a very good book recently called “The Origins of the Irish” by J. P. Mallory. 

James Patrick Mallory is an Irish-American archaeologist and Indo-Europeanist. Mallory is an emeritus professor at Queen’s University, Belfast, a member of the Royal Irish Academy and the editor of the Journal of Indo-European Studies and Emania: Bulletin of the Navan Research Group (Belfast). 

What does he have to say about who today’s Irish are? 

Basically no one knows. But what we do know is that there was definitely significant influx from both western Mediterranean and from south Baltic…

There seemed to have been two Irelands: 

First one was Ireland of P(F)omorians, Tuatha de Danaan, Fir bolg, Ango Saxons, Pruteni, Vikings which was influenced from south Baltic region. 
Second one was the Ireland of Gaelic, Iverni, Milesians, Mil Espain, which was influenced from western Mediterranean region. 

I don’t know who the original inhabitants of Ireland were, but I know that for at least last 4500 years, there has been continuous transfer of people, cultures and languages from these two centres into Ireland. Ireland was never one country and one culture, and it still isn’t. There is a drastic difference between south west (Mediterranean) and north east (South Baltic) influenced part of Ireland. There is a drastic difference in cultures in these two parts of Ireland, starting from two different types of megalithic structures which belong to either western Mediterranean or Central European Southern Baltic types. 

The Iberians were according to the Irish chronicles the last to invade Ireland. They came and they burned and they destroyed and they plunged Ireland into a dark age. Do we have any evidence if this actually happen and when? We do. In “The Origins of the Irish” J. P. Mallory says that there is a sudden change in archaeological evidence which coincides with the beginning of the Iron Age in Ireland. It coincides with a massive depopulation of Ireland and switch from agriculture to flock herding. It also coincides with massive fortification and building of huge number of ring forts. So Gaels came and brought with them the Iron Age with all its beauties. It took Ireland couple of hundred years to recover. 

The fact that the Gaels were at war with the Tuatha, Fomorians and the other central European people is evident from the Irish annals, which were by the way all written by the victors of this great struggle, the Gaels. In these histories the old people (Tuatha, Fomorians, Pruteni) were portrayed as enemies, evil, devious, magicians who should not be trusted, powerful but corrupt and bad. However the kings of Tuatha, Fomorians, Pruteni are credited with bringing all the arts and crafts to Ireland, and are frequently found imbedded in genealogies of the main Gaelic ruling families. Is this an attempt of the invaders to legitimise themselves by claiming relation to the powerful and famous rulers of old? Or was there a genuine intermarrying between these two peoples? Probably both. 

The relationship between the Gaels and for instance the Tuatha is also evident from the Irish language:

Tuata – Layman
Tuath – people, tribe, laity
Tuath – lay, rural
Tuath – left, sinister, perverse, evil, malign
Tuathack – king, lord, chieftain
Tutahal – directed against the sun, wrong
Tuathalach – towards left, sinister, awkward, slovenly

Surely if Tuatha were Gaels, Tuath would not have such bad connotations in today’s Gaelic Irish language?

The cultural merging of these two Irelands probably started quite early. Both communities were tribal, so there was no real sense of us against them. They formed and dissolved tribal alliances which fought each other and probably consisted of clans from both peoples. Maybe not. But by the fact that they lived side by side they must have communicated, traded, intermarried (stole each other’s wives) which all contributed to language mixing. The all-out war between these two sides only started with arrival of Christianity. They supported the south of Ireland, which turned out be mostly Gaelic, Milesian, Mil Espain side, and they eventually took over most of Ireland and forced their culture and language on everyone else apart from the eastern part of Ireland where thanks to continuous migration from south Baltic we have a continuation of this non Gaelic culture which morphed into Viking and later into Anglo Irish culture. 

George Eogan is an Irish Archaeologist with particular interest in the Neolithic and Late Bronze Ages. A first degree at University College Dublin was followed by a doctoral thesis on Irish Late Bronze Age swords at Trinity College Dublin under Frank Mitchell. In the 1950’s he worked with P.J. Hartnett on the Neolithic passage tomb at Fourknocks, and with Sean O Riordain at the Mound of the Hostages on the Hill of Tara. He was the Director of the Knowth Research Project and excavated at Knowth for more than 40 years as part of his investigation of the Passage Tomb builders in Ireland and Western Europe. Professor Eogan is a native of Nobber, Co. Meath in Ireland and has taught and lectured extensively on Irish archaeology.

Recently he gave this interview to the Irish Times newspaper, after spending his whole life studying the old kingdom of Brega and Bru na Boinne:

Here is one excerpt:

How has the site weathered the past five millennia? Were subsequent inhabitants of the area respectful of it? Did they build over it?
That’s a very interesting question. In fact, between the seventh and 12th centuries AD, the mound at Knowth was the royal residence of the kings of Northern Brega, which occupied roughly the northern half of the modern county of Meath.
When you went down there in 1962, were you the first person to enter the tomb in 5,500 years or had previous generations pottered around in there?
The kings of Northern Brega transformed the site into a protected settlement by digging two ditches. When they were digging, they discovered the entrance to the passage. Some people went in and scratched their names on the stones.
What kind of names did people have in the seventh century?
They weren’t like our names today. One name was Snedta, who was a male individual, we think.
If he was carving his name all over the place, it was definitely a man.
Yes, most likely. The other was Teistennach. They would both have been members of the Northern Brega kingdom.

The point is, that we don’t know who the people were who lived in Brega kingdom in the period 7 – 12 century AD. We know they were different from today’s Irish and had strange names and probably even spoke a non-Gaelic language, but we just don’t know. 

If potentially non-Gaelic people had their kingdoms in medieval Ireland, then it is almost certain that they did control even bigger portions of Ireland in more distant past. This is evident from another very good book which I read recently. The book is called “Iverni: A Prehistory of Cork”. 

The book is written by Professor William O’Brien. Professor William O’Brien is a graduate of University College Cork where he completed doctoral research in 1987 on the subject of prehistoric copper mining. Prior to his appointment to the Cork chair in 2006, he lectured for 16 years in the Department of Archaeology, NUI Galway. His research interests include the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age in Ireland, early mining and metallurgy in Atlantic Europe, upland archaeology, the study of hillforts and all aspects of monumentality in the later prehistoric period. He has a particular interest in the prehistory of south-west Ireland, where he has conducted numerous research excavations. He has published widely on these topics, including books on his investigation of the Mount Gabriel mines, on wedge tomb landscapes, on his discovery of the Beaker copper mine at Ross Island, Co. Kerry, on early settlement landscapes and upland farming in the Beara Peninsula, and more recently the first general study of the prehistory of the Cork region.

In his book he concludes that there was a definite border and a division between the Ivernian civilization and the rest of Ireland. This border is marked by disappearance of west Mediterranean type megaliths and appearance of Central European type megaliths. In my opinion this pretty much corresponds to the division between the Gaelic and non-Gaelic Ireland. So what was the effect of this cultural division?

I believe that it is this cultural division of Ireland that leads to the situation where not all of the Irish language conforms to the Irish grammar. For instance Irish grammar says that when making compound words, you should always put adjectives after nouns. However there are lots of names in Ireland that do not confirm to that. Place names such as Dubh Linn (“black pool” = Dublin) and Leixlip (“salmon leap”) were attributed to the Norse settlers who learned Irish had trouble with putting adjectives after nouns, so they often put them before the noun. This is exactly what happens when you force the new language on subjected population. They pick up the words but keep their own grammar. But this “non Gaelic Irish” language is present in all the old Irish texts, which shows that it predates the Norse, or more precisely the Dano-Slavs, as there were no Norse settlers in the Pale of Ireland only south Baltic ones. For instance Táin Bó Cúailnge, is filled with epithets like finnbennach “white-horned”, dóeltenga “beetle-tongued”, echbél “horse-lipped”, rúadruca “red-blushing”, and the like. I know that it wasn’t written down until after the Vikings invaded but (a) the original core is thought to be much older and (b) there’s precious little else in the work that could be ascribed to Norse influence. Moreover, we find this sort of composition in the earliest attestations of every Indo-European language, even if it later becomes obsolete. (Latin is an excellent example of this.) So I think you might be able to say that these sorts of compounds increased in areas of Norse influence (that’s certainly the case in the North of France, for instance), but it’s definitely an exaggeration to say that they originate with the Northmen. I however suspect that this could have something to do with the Central and North European influence which arrived to Ireland via south Baltic with of P(F)omorians, Tuatha de Danaan, Fir bolg, Ango Saxons, Pruteni, Vikings . 

It seems that these south Baltic people have been living in Ireland and Scotland from at least 4th century AD (the earliest “Viking” type houses were dated from that period, and the latest finds on the crannog in ulster are pushing this to the 2nd century ad). The artefacts and houses are of distinct south Baltic type and not the Norse type. But this influx of central European culture is much older and dates to at least 2500 bc, if we judge by the amber beads discovered in north Cork. And even older if we judge it by the age of central European type stone age structures which first appeared in Central Europe, then in the Baltic and then in Ireland. 

For instance, in Ireland you have names like RuaRi which uses word Rua for Red which is very close to Germano Slavic rud, rus and rua and not gaelic derg. In this name you also have adjective before the noun. This might be strange if you believe that all Irish were Gaels. But now that we know that they were not, it becomes something that you would expect to find. 
Interestingly enough most toponymes and hydronymes of Celtic origin in central Europe have adjective before the noun. Here are some examples:

Gaelic word for “big” is Mór. (Pronounced as the English word more)
Gaelic word for “river” is Abhainn . (Pronounced “awon” similar to the English word award). Proto celtic word is awa. 

In central Europe there are numerous rivers called Morava.

Morava = mor + ava = Mór Abhainn = Mor Awa= big river 

Morava is the biggest river in Serbia and we also find river Morava in Czech republic. These rivers gave the name to the territory upper and lower Moravia . 

This map shows locations of Celtic Scordisci forts along Morava river in Serbia during the first century bc:


Today in eastern Serbia Vlasi (Vlahi) say “mare” for big. Celts called themselves “Valahi”…

In Ireland there is a river named The Avonmore River (Irish: Abhainn Mór, meaning “big river”) which is the same as Mor Ava just using Gaelic grammar.

Belgrade was in the distant past called Singi Dun. In Ireland most town names have word “dun” at the beginning like Dun Laoghaire. 
All of this is very interesting, and forces us, I believe, to ask a big question: who are the Irish and are Gaels and Celts one and the same? 
How much  of the Irish culture and language comes from the original culture and language of the Gaels and how much comes from the cultures and languages of the Tuatha, Fomorians, Pruteni, Fir Bolg…? How much of the Irish culture and language is Gaelic and how much is Gallic? Interestingly word Gall which Romans used for Celts, means foreigner in Gaelic. 
So who are today the real carriers of Celtic language and Culture: Atlantic Bretons, Welsh, Cornish, Germanic and West Slavic nations of central Europe, the cradle of the Celtic civilization, Vlahs of the Carpathians, or Gaelic people in Ireland and Britain? 
Lets see what we can discover…

Old European language and culture in early layers of Serbian and Irish language and culture

Many years ago I noticed strange similarities between Irish and Serbian mythology, language, toponymes and hydronymes. This was a mystery because according to history, these two peoples never lived in the same area of Europe at the same time, and therefore should not have been able to influence each other. And yet the number of similar or identical cultural, religious and linguistic characteristics kept growing. Also, people who lived between the Balkans and Ireland did not share these cultural traits. This meant that there was no cultural diffusion. The conclusion was that these two people (Serbian and Irish) must have lived together somewhere at some point in history in order to mix their languages and cultures so much. 
While trying to uncover potential meeting point, I first looked at Viking invasions from the south Baltic. While there were many things pointing to a substantial West Slavic presence among the Danish Vikings who settled in England and Ireland, this all happened too late in order to explain hundreds of old Irish words and names which were identical to the Serbian ones. Not only were these words the same, they came in clusters and could often have a root in only one of languages with complex words being present in both. It also could not explain the early medieval Irish personal names which had meaning in Serbian. It also could not explain all the grammatical constructs which were identical in Irish and in Serbian. Vikings just didn’t have that big a cultural influence to force the Irish to accept Slavic grammar.
I then looked at the Ango – Saxon period and discovered that there was a significant West Slavic (Wendish) presence in the Angles alliance. They settled in large areas of England, and there was a possibility that some unrecorded Angles settlements did appear in Ireland in the early medieval time with significant West Slavic population. But again this could not explain all the grammatical constructs which were identical in Irish and in Serbian. If there were Angles settlements in Ireland in the early medieval time, they again just didn’t have that big a cultural influence to force the Irish to accept Slavic grammar. Also there was a problem of even earlier archaeological finds, linked to the iron age, which had Serbian and Slavic characteristics. There were too many old customs, legends, sacred sites which had their counterparts in Slavic countries and particularly Balkan South Slavic countries. 
So I looked at Rome, and Roman invasions of Britain and wandered was this maybe the source of common cultural characteristics between the Irish and the Serbs. But Romans never entered Ireland and there is no known record of Irish mercenaries in the Roman army, so that removed a possible connection once again. 
So I looked at Iron Age period and found many things which pointed to a significant cultural influx from the south Baltic. There was a great similarity between Lusatian culture in the south Baltic and the Iron Age cultures in Ireland and England, and it seems that the Iron Age was brought to Ireland on the spears and swords of the people from south Baltic. This was a good starting point. The warrior elite from the Baltic could have brought with them their beliefs, their language and their customs, and forced them on the people they encountered in Ireland. But that would not explain the huge number of toponymes and hydronimes in the Balkans which have no meaning in Slavic languages but do have meaning in Irish. And these toponymes and hydronimes come in clusters and are tightly connected with the location of the Balkan tumulus culture sites. Also this would not explain the presence of all the words, and grammatical constructs which only exist in Irish and in certain dialects of south Slavic languages and particularly in some old dialects of Serbian. This also would not explain all the base words in South Slavic languages which can be broken down and explained using Irish. For this to be possible, Irish speaking people had to be present in the Balkans in great numbers for a very long time during the Iron Age and even during the Bronze Age. 
So I looked at Celts as a possible cultural link between the two people. They were the rulers of central Europe, precisely the area between the Baltic and the Balkans. That would have given them the ability to influence both the Irish and the people who would later become the Western Slavs. But Celts never had any significant long term presence in the Balkans. They came through the Balkans on the way to Asia Minor in the 3rd century bc. But their main strongholds were in the area above Danube. The area below Danube was the land of the Illyrians. Illyrians and Celts were by some people linked and called Celto – Illyrians. This certainly was a good lead. If Illyrians actually spoke the same or similar language to the Celts, then that would explain all the similarities between the Irish and Serbian languages but only if we accept that both the Irish and Serbian languages are direct descendants of the Celto Illyrian language and that Celtic and Illyrian were the same language. 
This was already getting very controversial, as this would mean that there is a cultural continuity in the area between the Baltic and the Balkan lasting for more than 2500 years. This would mean that there is an underlying Celtic cultural layer in the Slavic culture and that the Slavic culture was created as a fusion of the Celtic and Skito Sarmatian cultures? The similarities between the Irish and Serbian cultures would then be the Celtic layer, and that would allow us to decipher the Celtic language from Irish and Slavic languages. This was very exciting. But there were things that could not be explained with the Celtic connection. 
First it could not explain the amount of the words, customs, legends from old Rome and old Greece which could not be explained through Old Greek and Latin but could using Irish and Serbian language and culture. The only way this was possible was that somehow these cultural influences came to Italy and Greece from the Balkans at the time before the formation of both Kingdome of Rome and the Classical Greece. And there were plenty of ancient historical texts, as well as archaeological data that pointed to exactly that was the case. 
The earliest iron objects date from 5000 bc.  There are some samples of smelted iron from Asmar, Mesopotamia and Tall Chagar Bazaar in northern Syria from between between 2700 and 3000 BC, but the age of Iron did not start until about 1400 bc. The earliest iron metallurgical centre in the world, dated to 14th–13th century bc, was found in south eastern Serbia in the hill fort settlement on the hill called Hisar. This site belongs to the earliest proto Illyrian, Celtic period. It was the first industrial scale facility for iron production which allowed mass production of weapons including swords and knives.
So there was a culture in the Balkans powerful enough to influence Rome, Greece and Celtic central Europe. This had moved the meeting point where the future Irish and Serbs lived together to the Balkans in the end of the second and the beginning of the first millennium BC and identified the Illyrian culture as the root culture for both the Irish and the Serbs. But this culture also greatly influenced Old Rome and Greece which was evident from the amount of cultural characteristics and linguistic traces in both cultures which were in all the ancient texts attributed to the mysterious Pelasgians who even more mysteriously disappeared from the face of the earth together with their Illyrian and Celtic neighbours. These Pelasgians, Illyrians and Celts now turned out to be alive and well in the Irish, South and Western Slavs….This was getting really interesting. 
But then I came across the story about Vinca metallurgical revolution which happened in the 4th millennium BC. At the same time when they were making lots of Copper and Bronze weapons, Vinca people were creating a first organized religion. When you have well-armed religious fanatics you can be sure that a religious war is not far behind. And that is exactly what seemed to have happened in the second half of the 4th millennium BC. Vinca culture suddenly disappeared from the Balkans, but Vinca artefacts started appearing all over Europe, Asia and North Africa. And all of a sudden all these great civilisations started appearing everywhere, all based on the same symbols, the wolf, the eagle and other birds, the snake, the bee, the bull, the double axe, the mother goddess earth, the father sky, the son sun and daughter moon, the bird people and wolf people. The Vincans went out of the Balkans and took over the world, wielding their metal spears, swords and axes and carrying their wolf totems before them. They also took with them their language whose traces can be now found in all the Indo European languages. 
But they did not all leave. Some stayed at home and they later morphed into Illyrians. Those who went north eventually became Celts and Germans. Those who reached Britain and Ireland eventually became Gaels. 
Later the descendants of the Vincans returned, in waves from all sides, bringing with them new cultural and linguistic characteristics which they acquired over the centuries while mixing with the indo European peoples they had conquered. These new cultural and linguistic layers were deposited on top of the old European strand of Vinca culture which was created from the mix of Vincans and the other old European cultures. Steppe people came from the east, Asia minor and Mesopotamians from the south east, North African people from the south, Atlantic people from the west. And the Vinca culture slowly disappeared. 
The isolation of the Irish at the end of Europe, and the sheer number and military strength of the mountain people of the Balkans and the Central European mountains helped them to preserve this Old cultural and linguistic layers to this day, albeit covered with thick layers of Gaelic and Slavic and many other cultures and Languages. 
Comparing these two languages I believe that I have now uncovered the culture and language of old Europe. 

I also believe that in this old language I have discovered a possibility to reconstruct the oldest language spoken in Europe, the language before the language. I believe that I have discovered how the first language was formed in Europe from natural sounds, and how this earliest human language was preserved and conserved in the Irish and Serbian languages and their base words. This language allowed me to give etymologies of some of the oldest known Indo European and Pre Indo European deity names, religious artifact names  and religious practice names which did not have clear, or in many cases any, etymology. 
To support my theory, I have accumulated a lot of material which I am translating into English. I am planning to make it available as soon as possible. The work is however in progress and I am writing this to invite everyone who might be interested to help me to continue this investigation as this is becoming too big and too important for just one man.