[tied] Re: Pliny's "Guthalus"
Piotr writes:
<<Göta älv is untenable because the modern name derives from older *gauta
which doesn't really look like Guthalus at all....  Gut-halus =
*gut(a)-xalsaz'outflow-neck', as you suggest, is perhaps a better idea,...>>

Okay, in this weird, upside world of reconstruction:
Gota alv [*gauta albiz] does NOT look like Guthalus
BUT *Gut(a)-xalsaz DOES look like Guthalus.
Give me a break.

George wrote:
<<The old "Gota alv" hypothesis for Guthalus (first suggested in 1616) is no
longer considered tenable (see RdGA, XIII (1999) p. 229.>>

I'd love to hear why.  I suspect that no other river is particularly more
tenable. (The absence of the Oder may best be explained by the distinct
possibility that no one mentioned the Oder in Pliny's sources. Or that it was
not a "clear" river.  And even if later sources tried to correct this.)  

Professor Elis Wadstein suggested Guteån (Gothemsån) as a possibility.
It enters the Baltic where we have found plenty of proof for Eastern contacts from the Stone age and forwards . It is the largest river in Gotland and an important waterway in old times.
It is also where they found the largest Viking silver treasure a few years back

One more thing -- unless we are neo-platonists, we should assume that there
were no "true names" for rivers.  I was in North Carolina recently and
noticed that historians can't identify with any certainty the old
inlets/harbors on the barrier islands in that American state because the
early English explorers kept using the same names for different sites, giving
different map coordinates each time.  This matches up with reports from the
western US that each Native American village along the Missouri River would
have a different name for that river, even among the same tribes. The name
changed around every bend.  It makes just as much sense to think that formal
river names are all recent innovations -- coming with map making or
centralized administrative naming -- which picked up a local name or a vague
name from the Classical writers and made it the name for the whole river.
Roman or Greek or other "authorities" picked up some vague name
unintentionally and ended up giving that name to later generations who took
it as written in stone, even when they had to guess which river was which. It
may be Pliny who first named Gote alv, when later authorities read the
hearsay and decided they knew which river he was talking about.  And then
later authorities would prove Gote Alv could not be Guthalus -- even though
Pliny didn't have the vaguest idea of what river he was referring to, in the
first place.

Steve Long