Re: [tied] Venice Beach

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 4400
Date: 2000-10-16

Dear Michal,
You're right about the spelling used by Tacitus; here's the relevant quote (Germania 46):
Peucinorum Venedorumque et Fennorum nationes Germanis an Sarmatis adscribam dubito, quamquam Peucini, quos quidam Bastarnas vocant, sermone, cultu, sede ac domiciliis ut Germani agunt. Sordes omnium ac torpor procerum; conubiis mixtis nonnihil in Sarmatarum habitum foedantur. Venedi multum ex moribus traxerunt; nam quidquid inter Peucinos Fennosque silvarum ac montium erigitur latrociniis pererrant. Hi tamen inter Germanos potius referuntur, quia et domos figunt et scuta gestant et pedum usu ac pernicitate gaudent: quae omnia diversa Sarmatis sunt in plaustro equoque viventibus.
My theory is that the early Germanic speakers are responsible for the "d" variant. The stem *wenetó-, familiar to the Germani since very early times, became Germanic *weneDa- (later *winiD-) when processed through Grimm's and Verner's Laws, and the Romans learnt it in this Germanised version. The "th" spelling seems to be a late corruption, possibly influenced by the equally artificial form "Gothae".
I've had to rethink the Venedic question. Here's my revised interpretation. I associate the "Baltic" Veneti with the Wejherowo-Krotoszyn (Pomeranian) culture, which originated on the Baltic coast west of the Vistula Delta in the 6th c. BC, with a slightly different variant developing east of the Vistula (where they developed the burial style imitated by the Bastarnae -- urns covered with large bowls). After 500 BC it expanded over most of modern Poland. It was in that early period that they produced strikingly Etruscan-style facial urns. It was also at that time that they were able to control much of the Baltic amber trade.
In the 4th c. BC Celtic settlers appeared in southern Poland, bringing La Tene traditions with them. They were soon followed by the Germani: the Bastarnae and the Skiri migrated towards Ukraine and Moldova, and from the end of the 3rd c. BC onwards the Celtic-influenced but predominantly Germanic (Vandalic) Lugian federation, associated with the Przeworsk culture, established itself in the Polish lowlands (except for the Baltic coast, dominated by other Germanic tribes, precursors of the Goths).
The last enclaves of the Pomeranian culture seem to have survived in Mazovia and other places in eastern Poland. They soon became engulfed by the Przeworsk culture and assimilated linguistically. Some scholars have tried to connect the name of the Vandals with the Veneti/Weneds -- a beguiling but extremely speculative idea. What's certain is that the Germanic inhabitants of Poland began to apply the name "Wened/Winid" to their new eastern neighbours -- the Slavs living east of the Przeworsk cultural area.
Note that as far as is known no Slavs have ever applied that name to themselves. By the time the Classical authors wrote about "Venedi" living (roughly) where Belarus is now, they presumably meant the (Western?) Slavs, as there were no longer any Venetic-speaking Veneti anywhere except in Northern Italy. This scenario also explains why the Classical form of the name is distinctly Germanic.
I suppose you are familiar with the Volcae story (the reason why Italy is called Wl/ochy in Polish and Cymru is called Wales in English). It's strikingly analogous to this Venedic confusion.
----- Original Message -----
From: Michal Milewski
Sent: Monday, October 16, 2000 8:49 AM
Subject: Re: [tied] Venice Beach [Was: First iron swords on mass scale]

Michal wrote:
Tacitus used the spelling "Venedi". I think this is a good
place to ask whether the difference between the "d" and "t
/th" (when expressed in Latin or Greek) was of any

If "Venethae" lived between the middle Dniester and Dnieper
rivers, Jordanes couldn't assume that they were related to
Veneti controlling the Amber Route at the "Venedian Gulf".
So, where did his "Venethae" term originate?

As for "Venedi", Tacitus did not place those people directly
at the Baltic Sea, or even at the Vistula river. He did not
mention that they had any relations with Goths or Aesti
people living at the Baltic coast. The Venedians seemed to
be localized somewhere east of Vistula, and they had rather
extensive contacts with Sarmatians. There was also a
suggestion that they occupied the area between the Bastarns
(Dniester?) and the Fennians (Finns?). This would correspond
to the territory of Slavs (Venethae), when Goths met them in
3rd/4th cent. AD (according to Jordanes). The information
given by Pliny the Elder brings no further details but it's
impotrant to say that he did not talk about the Baltic Sea
when mentioning Venedi (together with Sarmatians and
Scirris). Thus, the only one who placed Venedians at the
Baltic Sea was Ptolomy. He was also the only one who used
the term "Venedian gulf" and "Venedian mountains". Was it
because he had much better source of information?

>  And did you know that the Finnish word for
> 'Russian' is Venäläinen (from Venäjä < *Venätä)?

I didn't. Does it suggest that the "Venethae" term was not
related to Veneti people?

> The Venetic communication routes between the Baltic and the
> Adriatic must have been severed as a result of Celtic and then
> Germanic expansions in Central Europe. I suppose they survived
> the longest (until ca. AD 100) east of the lower Vistula and on
> the Gulf of Venice before being absorbed by the Goths and the
> Romans, respectively.

Yes, Jordanes did not mention any Venedians (Venedi/Veneti),
when he described the arrival of Goths to northern Poland
(c. 100 AD). According to him, Goths first beat the Ulmerugi
(Rugii?) and then subdued their neighbors Vandali (both
Germanic tribes). However, the Goths (and especially the
Gepids, who came a little bit later) seemed to have no
problems with continuation of the amber trade. So maybe the
presence of hypothetical Venetians at the Vistula river was
not that important for the functioning of the Amber Route. I
think it was only the Moravian Route that was abandoned
since the Marcomannian wars started. However, the
alternative route (through Ukraine) was activated. BTW, this
brings a hypothetical explanation of the Venedian/Venethian
migration from northern Poland to Ukraine ;-) I wonder
whether you have any comments on this.