Re: Check out Origin of Ancient Languages

From: x99lynx@...
Message: 16199
Date: 2002-10-12

Torsten wrote:
<<This is what I still believe: Germania, ie. Germanic-speaking
what-is-now-Germany (not Scandinavia) is the product of some invasion from
the east, which imposed some uniform Bastanian creole on the local Celts,
abolishing the druids (the intellectuals) as a class, opening up for social
climbing in a militarized society. There's your later France and Germany

A couple of things that may or may not be relevant to this, to consider as
you choose.
- Christiansen (i'll get you the cite if you like) describes the archaeology
in mid Central Europe at about 500BC in a very interesting way. At that
time, the settlements of the western oriented Halstatt culture fundamentally
disappear from north of the Danube all the way west to the Tisza River. What
are found there at the same time are not settlements or pottery, but Scythian
arrowheads -- apparently in great abundance across a wide geographical range.
Now, it is known to be difficult to trace the "settlements" of people who
live in wagons. But Chistiansen feels that the Scythians were essentially
raiders who left the land from somewhere north of the Carpathians to the
Danube and into modern Hungary essentially a no-man's land -- at least for a
time. But at the same time he notes contact between Scythians and modern
- About this same exact time, Jastorf -- traditionally the archetypical early
"Germanic" material culture -- begins to emerge and spread into Central
Europe from the directiom of Denmark. It enters what John Collis ALSO calls
a no-man's land in the Central European Plain -- he describes it in terms of
being bereft of settlement, and improverished of technology and material
advances that was already well established in the south. But this expansion
by Jastorf also pushs Halstatt culture further south and west.
- What happened to the Halstatt trade system at this time is less clear, but
there is evidence that it lost access to OR control of the northern and
eastern trade routes. And suddenly the Scandinavian iron age begins. There
is clear evidence of Scythian contact and maybe even settlement in areas of
modern Poland where Halstatt-related material cultures used to be dominant.
And the "Celts" who appear on the Danube centuries later appear to have been
part of a western contingent rather than any kind of a remnant.
- One might conjecture on this basis, some kind of common action between
Scandinavia and the Scythians may have been involved, perhaps even a formal
alliance. I've mentioned the incredibly impressive Scythian gold necklace
that was found in the Danish bogs from this time. Exchange of royal
daughters and such, a grand old tradition.
And perhaps a key time establishing the language distribution which emerges
historically. And once that "Scythian - Scandinavian" highway was
established, it could provide the on-going cultural interchange you suggest
occurred later on. The other thing I think it did was set the stage for
establishing another factor in all this -- the Germanic mercenary -- a class
that became attached to the trade routes and centers and marketplaces for its
wherewithal -- and which may have had a lot to do with spreading the language
eastward. This vocation is already evident in Livy's and Plautus'
description of the apparently German-speaking Bastarnae.
- The connection of Baltic-Slavic to Germanic is difficult to figure in this,
but if this scenario is correct, it would mean that the "early" connection
with Germanic supposedly found in the UPenn study is either very early or
rather late. Piotr doubts it on phonological grounds and that might means
that the connection Rule found on lexical and morphological grounds is
coincidence or later areal. In any case, when Slavic comes, it really comes,
spreading over a good piece of Europe in practically no time with a large
population to back it up. Where it was hiding and why it exploded when it
did is both an interesting linguistic and, more broadly, historical question.

Steve Long