Re: [tied] Re: Celtic Jutland

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 8302
Date: 2001-08-04

Note the tendency of tribal elites to practise intergroup marriages (especially as a way of establishing long-term alliances or securing other political gains). Several centuries later than the period in question, Knut the Great had four aristocratic grandparents: one "Danish", one "Wendish", one "Polish" and one "Czech". The quotes express the difficulty of pinpointing the ethnic identity of members of the ruling class: a "Czech" princess, for example, was unlikely to have descended from several generations of pure-blood Czechs, even if Czech was her first language. This is why it's impossible to claim that Canute was 75% "Slavic" and 25% "Germanic". If asked, he would no doubt have described himself as a Dane, taking the ethnically mixed family background for granted.
The Goths who lived in Hrubiesz√≥w Valley in what is now southeastern Poland in the 3rd/4th centuries often took Sarmatian wives. We know that because the Sarmatian ladies were buried differently from Gothic women (with characteristic Sarmatian dress and jewellery, and with a different burial style -- all proving that their native customs were respected by the Goths among whom they lived). There are several Iranian loans that spread throughout Germanic early enough to count as "Proto". Celto-Germanic contacts in northern Europe began much earlier than that, and the linguistic convergence between the two groups was very advanced already at the stage we call "Proto-Germanic".
----- Original Message -----
From: Joseph S Crary
Sent: Saturday, August 04, 2001 12:09 AM
Subject: [tied] Re: Celtic Jutland

The impacts of migrating populations on language? I thought Old
Norse, and the languages that developed from it, was the produce of
migrating IE speaking populations?

I think migration may be only one aspect of this issue. Language as a
tool of determining ethnic and social standing within heterogeneous
but structured cultures, is used to provide or deny economic
opportunity, whatever its form.  

There are several clear patterns. The social structure of cultures
that occupied greater Denmark and the northwest German coast in the
Iron Age to late Roman period were, as has been noted, not
homogeneous. While they may have been heterogeneous, this may best be
compared to a layer cakes, not a checkerboard or patchwork. I think
the Roman and Beowulf accounts indicate the early structure was
broadly based and later it became more vertical or pyramid shaped,
still with a somewhat broad base.

I believe the Finn Fight episode exposes this aspect very well. Here
is a Friesian prince allied with and married to a Half-Dane prince
and princess, respectively. He has a son that is both Half-Dane and
Friesian. He employs Jute, as well as armed gangs of other ethnic
groups, as retainers.  These are designated by custom, dress,
weapons, and language that tie them into the larger cultural
mechanisms that reinforce and support these behavior. However, at
least the leaders of these groups spoke a common lingo that provided
access to a greater cultural order.

However, at any level this upper social structure was supported by
several strata of landed peasants, each segregated to retain discrete
aspects of culture and language. Some nordic-germanic, some celt-
germanic, and some possibly both and neither. These kept separate to
maintain and reinforce the overall social structure. Still this would
keep active linguistic reservoirs that would from time to time spill
over to effect the common lingo.

JS Crary