Piotr wrote:(Sun Oct 13, 2002 9:37 pm)
<<Though I doubt if the Aestii could really have been "Celtic" (who they were
is a different question; West Baltic, perhaps), it's thinkable that there
were some non-Germanic centum enclaves along the Amber Road even as late as
the first century. Some of the hydronyms of the Oder system (including
"Viadua" and "Adora") and along the Baltic coast can't have been adopted by
Germanic speakers before Grimm's Law (they don't show the shift), which may
mean that they were used by speakers of some other language long enough to be
eventually absorbed by Germanic in unshifted form.>>
Just a small suggestion here that the idea that the "Aestii" represented a
tribe may be creating the problem here. Western Celtic outposts along the
Danube show that one of their strategies may have been to take a strategic
location -- without occupying a region or becoming a "tribe" in the modern
sense. It's therefore possible that the language "like the Britons" reported
by Tacitus was accurate, referring to the language of the trade route or
traders at a certain point. There were many instances in history where trade
was carried on by what might be considered 'outsiders' and where "colonies"
were not settlements but rather "trading outposts." The influence of
Celtic-like material culture in the area of modern Poland might support such
One of the things about long range international trade is that it tends to
take people away from home, without transplanting them. And it is precisely
this kind of tarde where we might find Celtic-speakers who do not necessarily
represent a local Celtic-speaking "people" -- acting as middle men perhaps.
And of course names like "Aesti" may not have represented a self-names or an
early tribal name any more than "Americans", "Germans" or "Greeks" did
Another thought -- with regard to the names "Viadua" and "Adora" -- it may be
that the names were never used in pre-literate Germanic. We are not given
the source of the names or who used the names. They do look supiciously
Latin. (I seem to remember via tria and via quarta from somewhere and "-dora"
might apply to some kind of tax or duty.) Perhaps they were Roman traders'
notes on maps that were taken to be names. America got its name in much the
Finally, an on-line map of the "Amber Route" cited by another poster
would seem to indicate that the route did not come near the mouth or the
greater length of the Oder, but that it may have passed near the location of
a group whom Tacitus calls Celtic-speakers - the Cotini -- who might have
reflected the near end of a Celtic "trading corridor." The map itself
actually seems to reflect the traditional bronze age trade down to the
Adriatic, but it is worth noting that names like "Viadua", "Adora" or
"Gutalvis" are not connected directly anywhere with the early "amber trade."
And that the regions and rivers in question may have been connected with
other trade items or no trade items at all.