Re: Skiri Bastarnae

From: tgpedersen@...
Message: 10232
Date: 2001-10-15

--- In cybalist@..., lsroute66@... wrote:
> tgpedersen wrote:
> <<Note that names of Skiri and Bastarnae are probably both
> cf the adjectives Eng. sheer, Germ. schier "pure", and from
> found also in Dutch verbasteren "to corrupt" with adjectival...
> -n-. So they are the pure and impure what? It is as if a noun
> were left out here. Could it be Goths?>>
> Hi, new to the list.
> I'm aware that the Bastarnae and their name have been discussed
> before. But I'd like to offer an observation.
> The use of the word ÒbastardÓ to refer to illegimate children or
> kind of ÒimpureÓ descent appears to be rather recent. The O.E.D.
> suggests its origin comes from the idea of Òa pack saddle childÓ -
> de bast - from <bast> occuring in Old Fr. and Med. Lat. as a pack
> saddle.
> But this is all much later than the first appearnance of the
> name in Greek in the 3d century BC. And in the Greek of the time,
> <bastazo:> and its related forms had a broad connotation that
> to different kinds of lifing and carrying. Attested are specific
> forms like <bastagion>, a baldric, and more general meanings like
> <bastage:>, transport, and <bastagma>, burden. The Romans
> extended the use of the Greek word to a strapped sandal <basta>,
and a
> closed litter <basterna>. There are also instances where <bastar->
> the like applied to different kinds of wagons in later Romance
> languages and, if I remember correctly, in NT Greek.
> If the ÒBastarnaeÓ were involved in moving or even protecting trade
> goods, wagoneering or transport, along some of the northern routes
> into Greece, the name would make some sense in a very practical
> And it supports the idea that Bastarnae was NOT a self-name, any
> than the word ÒGreekÓ is as we use it in English.
> (The hitch to this is that, when Tacitus in his Germanica describes
> the Bastarnae as some sort of half-breeds, he seems to be using the
> name as if it to imply an etymology meaning mixed descent. But we
> instead interpret this as Tacitus dealing with Germani bearing the
> name of wagoneers - a way of life that he identifies as Sarmatian.
> Tacitus may have been completely unaware of any modern sense of
> Òbastard.Ó)
> ItÕs often said that the Bastarnae were somehow absorbed or
> by the Goths. I donÕt think thereÕs much evidence for that. The
> Bastarnae were a large tribe with formdiable military capabilities
> wherever they are described. All there is real evidence for is
> the name just seems to fall out of use.
> In the middle of the 3d century, 100,000 Bastarnae are supposedly
> permitted to resettle in Roman territory as a reward for loyalty to
> Rome. But Jordanes mentions a recruitment around the same time by
> Gothic king of ÒGoths and PeuciniÓ from the island of Peuci - an
> obviously highly strategic position at the mouth of the Danube that
> had long been held by the Bastarnae. (The names Peucini and
> were used interchangeably by Tacitus.) After that time, the name
> appears rarely, while the Goths' name starts to become common.
> There may be an explanation for this. Tacitus, writing no later
> 120AD, was positively insulting in describing the Bastarnae. If we
> donÕt underestimate the effect of Roman opinion on these people or
> their rulers, we might see how they would want to distance
> from such a maligned heritage. TacitusÕ Germania seems to have
> very important to Theodoric and his interpretation of who and where
> the Goths came from.
> And, if in fact Bastarnae was a Greek name given to these people,
> perhaps it was not a self-name, not something they called
> among themselves. It could have fallen out of use simply because
> bastarnae started calling themselves something else.
> Which I think leaves open the possibility that the difference
> Goths and Bastarnae could be mainly be one of name.
> Any commen

But your theory does not account for the opposition "sheer"/"bastard"
implicit in the names.
It would seem that *bast- is a loan in both Greek and Latin. How
about supposing that it was loaned in an adjectival sense from the
Bastarnian language as a designation of various articles of
Bastarnian provenance ("d'Inde" > "dinde" again)? This would also
mean that the 'bast' in "fil de bast" would be the original
Germanic "corruption, confusion" (also cf.
Sw 'förbistring' "confusion", Da forbistret "accursed (because
complicated)", loans from Low German cf. Du 'verbijsteren'), not
immediately (but ultimately) related to 'bast' "packsaddle".