Showing posts with label History. Show all posts
Showing posts with label History. Show all posts

30 March 2015

Was ‘Scythian’ an ‘Iranian’ language?

Skythians, as depicted by themselves
on  steel-bowl found in a Skythian
gravesite near the Black-Sea.

Published, edited,images added & annotations/comments (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig

Was ‘Skythian’ an ‘Iranian’ language? 
February 12, 2013 in Linguistics - Sanskrit - Russian | Tags: Abaev, Абаев, indo-european, Indo-Iranian, скифский, Scythian

18 March 2015

Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain

Anglo-Saxon warhelmet

Published, edited, images added, captions written & annotations/comments (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig
Map: 6th-century-Britain-
areas colored red, are
(Written by: Encyclopædia Britannica's editorial staff)

Anglo-Saxon, term used historically to describe any member of the Germanic peoples who, from the 5th century AD to the time of the Norman Conquest (1066 AD), inhabited and ruled territories that are today part of England and Wales.

04 March 2015

Student’s Guide to Indo-European

Indo-European groups, in western Eurasia, in the second millennium BC
Published, edited, images added, captions written & annotations/comments (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig

(Websource)Written by A. Rytting
Indo-European has always had a special place in the field of Comparative-Historical Linguistics. Indeed, in the early stages of the disciplines, Comparative-Historical and Indo-European studies were practically synonymous, the former merely referring to the preferred method of investigating the latter.

24 February 2015

Wilcuma tó Scyþalande/Välkommen till Skytien/ Welcome to Scythia/Skythia

Published, edited, formatted & annotations/comments (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig

(websource: "The Ancient Worlds" website)

Welcome to Scythia (Skythia) - a vast geographical region that encompassed both the Pontic-Caspian grasslands and foreststeppes (in parts, hither & yon, in the modern-day Ukraine, Crimea, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and southern Russia) and the northern Caucasus area, and at times stretched even as far north as Southern Siberia and east to the Altai-Mountains in Central-Asia.

The "All-Men", Alamanni- the High-Germans

frieze: Alamannic warriors in combative mêlée

Published, edited & annotations/comments (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig
(websource: Wikipedia)
map: showing location of various major Scando-Teutonic nations in late-antiquity

The Alemanni (also Alamanni; Suebi "Swabians") were a confederation of Germanic tribes on the upper Rhine river. First mentioned by Cassius Dio in the context of the campaign of Caracalla of 213, the Alemanni captured the Agri Decumates in 260, and later expanded into present-day Alsace, and northern Switzerland, leading to the establishment of the Old-High-German language in those regions.

In 496, the Alemanni were conquered by Frankish leader Clovis and incorporated into his dominions. Mentioned as still pagan allies of the christian-Franks, the Alemanni were gradually christianized during the 7th century.
The Pactus Alamannorum is a record of their customary law during this period. Until the 8th century, Frankish suzerainty over Alemannia was mostly nominal. But after an uprising by Theudebald, Duke of Alamannia, Carloman executed the Alamannic nobility and installed Frankish dukes.

During the later and weaker years of the Carolingian Empire the Alemannic counts became almost independent, and a struggle for supremacy took place between them and the Bishopric of Constance.

The chief family in Alamannia was that of the counts of Raetia Curiensis, who were sometimes called margraves, and one of whom, Burchard II established the Duchy of Swabia, which was recognized by Henry the Fowler in 919 and became a stem duchy of the Holy Roman Empire.

Burgundian coin with imperator romanorum 
Ualentinianus I (A.D. 364-375)

The area settled by the Alemanni corresonds roughly to the area where Alemannic-German dialects remain spoken, including German Swabia and Baden, French Alsace, German-speaking Switzerland and Austrian Vorarlberg.

According to Asinius Quadratus (quoted in the mid-6th century by Byzantine historian Agathias) their name means "allmen". It indicates that they were a conglomeration drawn from various Germanic tribes.

This was the derivation of Alemanni used by Edward Gibbon, in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and by the anonymous contributor of notes assembled from the papers of Nicolas Fréret, published in 1753, who noted that it was the name used by outsiders for those who called themselves the Suebi. This etymology has remained the standard derivation of the term.

Walafrid Strabo, a monk of the Abbey of St. Gall writing in the 9th century, remarked, in discussing the people of Switzerland and the surrounding regions, that only foreigners called them the Alemanni, but that they gave themselves the name of Suebi.

The name of Germany and the German language in several languages is derived from the name of this early Germanic tribal alliance. 
Alemannic belt-mountings, from 7th-century
grave in the gravefield at Weingarten

The Alemanni were first mentioned by Cassius Dio describing the campaign of Caracalla in 213. At that time they apparently dwelt in the basin of the Main, to the south of the Chatti. (the later-Hessians)

Cassius Dio (78.13.4) portrays the Alemanni as victims of this treacherous emperor. They had asked for his help, says Dio, but instead he colonized their country, changed their place names and executed their warriors under a pretext of coming to their aid.

When he became ill, the Alemanni claimed to have put a hex on him (78.15.2). Caracalla, it was claimed, tried to counter this influence by invoking his ancestral spirits.

In retribution Caracalla then led the Legio II Traiana Fortis against the Alemanni, who lost and were pacified for a time. The legion was as a result honored with the name Germanica.

The 4th-century fictional Historia Augusta, Life of Antoninus Caracalla, relates (10.5) that Caracalla then assumed the name Alemannicus, at which Helvius Pertinax jested that he should really be called Geticus Maximus, because in the year before he had murdered his brother, Geta.

Not on good terms with Caracalla, Geta had been invited to a family reconciliation, at which time he was ambushed by centurions in Caracalla's army and slain in his mother Julia's arms. True or not, Caracalla, pursued by devils of his own, left Rome never to return.

Caracalla left for the frontier, where for the rest of his short reign he was known for his unpredictable and arbitrary operations launched by surprise after a pretext of peace negotiations.

If he had any reasons of state for such actions they remained unknown to his contemporaries. Whether or not the Alemanni had been previously neutral, they were certainly further influenced by Caracalla to become thereafter notoriously implacable enemies of Rome.

This mutually antagonistic relationship is perhaps the reason why the Roman writers persisted in calling the Alemanni barbari, "savages". The archaeology, however, shows that they were largely Romanized, lived in Roman-style houses and used Roman artifacts, the Alemannic women having adopted the Roman fashion of the tunic even earlier than the men.

Most of the Alemanni were probably at the time in fact resident in or close to the borders of Germania-Superior. Although Dio is the earliest writer to mention them, Ammianus Marcellinus used the name to refer to Germans on the Limes Germanicus in the time of Trajan's (correct, classical Latin-Traianus, genitive, Traiani) governorship of the province shortly after it was formed, c. 98/99.

At that time the entire frontier was being fortified for the first time. Trees from the earliest fortifications found in Germania-Inferior are dated by dendrochronology to 99/100 AD.

Shortly afterwards Trajan was chosen by Nerva to be his successor, adopted with public fanfare in absentia by the old man shortly before his death. By 100 AD. Trajan was back in Rome as Emperor instead of merely being a Consul.

Ammianus relates (xvii.1.11) that much later the Emperor Julian (Iulianus /YOO-lee-awn-ooss/ - hiss full name was  Flavius Claudius Iulianus Augustus) undertook a punitive expedition against the Alemanni, who by then were in Alsace, and crossed the Main (Latin Menus), entering the forest, where the trails were blocked by felled trees.

As winter was upon them, they reoccupied a "fortification which was founded on the soil of the Alemanni that Trajan wished to be called with his own name".

In this context the use of Alemanni is possibly an anachronism but it reveals that Ammianus believed they were the same people, which is consistent with the location of the Alemanni of Caracalla's campaigns.
Alemanni & Hermunduri
The early detailed source, The Germania, c. 95 AD,  written by  Tacitus, (Tacitus is pronounced- /TAHK-ee-toss/)  has sometimes been interpreted in such a way as to provide yet other historical problems. In Chapter 42 we read of the Hermunduri, a tribe certainly located in the region that later became Thuringia. T

Tacitus stated that they traded with Rhaetia, which in Ptolemy is located across the Danube from Germania-Superior. A logical conclusion to draw is that the Hermunduri extended over later Swabia and therefore the Alemanni originally derived from the Hermunduri!

However, no Hermunduri appear in Ptolemy, though after the time of Ptolemy, the Hermunduri joined with the Marcomanni in the wars of 166–180 against the empire. A careful reading of Tacitus provides one solution. He says that the source of the Elbe is among the Hermunduri, somewhat to the east of the upper Main.

He places them also between the Naristi (Varisti), whose location at the very edge of the ancient Black Forest (Schwarzwald) is well-known, and the Marcomanni and Quadi. Moreover, the Hermunduri were broken in the Marcomannic Wars and made a separate peace with Rome.

The Alemanni thus were probably not primarily the Hermunduri, although some elements of them may have been present in the mix of peoples at that time that became Alemannian.
Ptolemy's Geography
Before the mention of Alemanni in the time of Caracalla, you would search in vain for Alemanni in the moderately detailed geography of southern Germany in Claudius Ptolemy, written in Greek in the mid-2nd century; it is likely that at that time, the people who later used that name were known by other designations.

Nevertheless some conclusions can be drawn from Ptolemy. Germania Superior is easily identified. Following up the Rhine one comes to a town, Mattiacum, which must be at the border of the Roman Germany (vicinity of Wiesbaden).

Upstream from it and between the Rhine and Abnoba (in the Black Forest) are the Ingriones, Intuergi, Vangiones, Caritni and Vispi, some of whom were there since the days of the early empire or before. On the other side of the northern Black Forest were the Chatti about where Hesse is today, on the lower Main.

Historic Swabia was eventually replaced by today's Baden-Württemberg, but it had been the most significant territory of mediaeval Alamannia, comprising all Germania Superior and territory east to Bavaria.

It did not include the upper Main, but that is where Caracalla campaigned. Moreover, the territory of Germania Superior was not originally included among the Alemanni's possessions.

However, if we look for the peoples in the region from the upper Main in the north, south to the Danube and east to the Czech Republic (a.k.a., Czechia) where the Quadi and Marcomanni were located, Ptolemy does not give any tribes. There are the Tubanti just south of the Chatti and at the other end of what was then the Black Forest, the Varisti, whose location is known.

One possible reason for this distribution is that the population preferred not to live in the forest except in troubled times. The region between the forest and the Danube on the other hand included about a dozen settlements, or "cantons".

Ptolemy's view of Germans in the region indicates that the tribal structure had lost its grip in the Black Forest region and was replaced by a canton structure. The tribes stayed in the Roman province, perhaps because the Romans offered stability.

Also, Caracalla perhaps felt more comfortable about campaigning in the upper Main because he was not declaring war on any specific historic tribe, such as the Chatti or Cherusci, against whom Rome had suffered grievous losses.

By Caracalla's time the name Alemanni was being used by cantons themselves banding together for purposes of supporting a citizen army (the "war bands").
Germanic peoples' concentration under Ariovistus
The term Suebi has a double meaning in the sources. On the one hand Tacitus' Germania tells us (Chapters 38, 39) that they occupy more than half of Germany, use a distinctive hair style, and are spiritually centered on the Semnones. On the other hand the Suebi of the upper Danube are described as though they were a tribe.

The solution to the puzzle as well as explaining the historical circumstances leading to the choice of the Agri Decumates as a defensivepoint and the concentration of Germans there are probably to be found in the German attack on the Gallic fortified town of Vesontio in 58 BC. The upper Rhine and Danube appear to form a funnel pointing straight at Vesontio.

Iulius Caesar in Gallic Wars tells us (1.51) that Ariovistus had gathered an army from a wide region of Germany, but especially the Harudes, Marcomanni, Triboci, Vangiones, Nemetes and Sedusii. The Suebi were being invited to join.

They lived in 100 cantons (4.1) from which 1000 young men per year were chosen for military service, a citizen-army by our standards and by comparison with the Roman professional army.

Ariovistus had become involved in an invasion of Gaul, which the German wished to settle. Intending to take the strategic town of Vesontio, he concentrated his forces on the Rhine near Lake Constance, and when the Suebi arrived, he crossed. The Gauls had called to Rome for military aid.

Caesar occupied the town first and defeated the Germans before its walls, slaughtering most of the German army as it tried to flee across the river (1.36ff). He did not pursue the retreating remnants, leaving what was left of the German army and their dependents intact on the other side of the Rhine.

The Gauls were ambivalent in their policies toward the Romans. In 53 BC the Treveri broke their alliance and attempted to break free of Rome. Caesar foresaw that they would now attempt to ally themselves with the Germans. He crossed the Rhine to forestall that event, a successful strategy.

Remembering their expensive defeat at the Battle of Vesontio, the Germans withdrew to the Black Forest, concentrating there a mixed population dominated by Suebi. As they had left their tribal homes behind, they probably took over all the former Celtic cantons along the Danube.

Conflicts with the Roman Empire
The Alemanni were continually engaged in conflicts with the Roman Empire in the 3rd and 4th centuries. They launched a major invasion of Gaul and northern Italy in 268, when the Romans were forced to denude much of their German frontier of troops in response to a massive invasion of the Goths from the east.

Their raids throughout the three parts of Gaul were traumatic: Gregory of Tours (died ca 594) mentions their destructive force at the time of Valerian and Gallienus (253–260).

When the Alemanni assembled under their "king", whom he calls Chrocus, who "by the advice, it is said, of his wicked mother, and overran the whole of the Gauls, and destroyed from their foundations all the temples which had been built in ancient times.

And coming to Clermont he set on fire, overthrew and destroyed that shrine which they call Vasso Galatae in the Gallic tongue," martyring many Christians (Historia Francorum Book I.32–34). Thus 6th-century Gallo-Romans of Gregory's class, surrounded by the ruins of Roman temples and public buildings, attributed the destruction they saw to the plundering raids of the Alemanni.

In the early summer of 268, the Emperor Gallienus halted their advance into Italy, but then had to deal with the Goths. When the Gothic campaign ended in Roman victory at the Battle of Naissus in September, Gallienus' successor Claudius II Gothicus turned north to deal with the Alemanni, who were swarming over all Italy north of the Po River.

After efforts to secure a peaceful withdrawal failed, Claudius forced the Alemanni to battle at the Battle of Lake Benacus in November. The Alemanni were routed, forced back into Germany, and did not threaten Roman territory for many years afterwards.

Their most famous battle against Rome took place in Argentoratum (Strasbourg), in 357, where they were defeated by Julian, later Emperor of Rome, and their king Chnodomarius was taken prisoner to Rome.

On January 2, 366, the Alemanni yet again crossed the frozen Rhine in large numbers, to invade the Gallic provinces, this time being defeated by Valentinian (see Battle of Solicinium). In the great mixed invasion of 406, the Alemanni appear to have crossed the Rhine river a final time, conquering and then settling what is today Alsace and a large part of the Swiss Plateau.

The crossing is described in Wallace Breem's historical novel Eagle in the Snow. Fredegar's Chronicle gives the account. At Alba Augusta (Alba-la-Romaine) the devastation was so complete, that the Christian bishop retired to Viviers, but in Gregory's account at Mende in Lozère, also deep in the heart of Gaul, bishop Privatus was forced to sacrifice to idols in the very cave where he was later venerated. It is thought this detail may be a generic literary ploy to epitomize the horrors of barbarian violence.

Culture & Language
 The traditional distribution area of Western Upper German (Alemannic) dialect features in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The German spoken today over the range of the former Alemanni is termed Alemannic German, and is recognised among the subgroups of the High German languages.

Alemannic runic inscriptions such as those on the Pforzen buckle are among the earliest testimonies of Old High German. The High German consonant shift is thought to have originated around the 5th century either in Alemannia or among the Lombards.

Before that the dialect spoken by Alemannic tribes was little different from that of other West Germanic peoples.Alemannia lost its distinct jurisdictional identity when Charles Martel absorbed it into the Frankish empire, early in the 8th century.

Today, Alemannic is a linguistic term, referring to Alemannic German, encompassing the dialects of the southern two thirds of Baden-Württemberg (German State), in western Bavaria (German State), in Vorarlberg (Austrian State), Swiss German in Switzerland and the Alsatian language of the Alsace (France).
Political organization.

The Alemanni established a series of territorially defined pagi (cantons) on the east bank of the Rhine. The exact number and extent of these pagi is unclear and probably changed over time.

Pagi, usually pairs of pagi combined, formed kingdoms (regna) which, it is generally believed, were permanent and hereditary. Ammianus describes Alemanni rulers with various terms: reges excelsiores ante alios ("paramount kings"), reges proximi ("neighboring kings"), reguli ("petty kings") and regales ("princes").

This may be a formal hierarchy, or they may be vague, overlapping terms, or a combination of both. In 357, there appear to have been two paramount kings (Chnodomar and Westralp) who probably acted as presidents of the confederation and seven other kings (reges). Their territories were small and mostly strung along the Rhine (although a few were in the hinterland). I

t is possible that the reguli were the rulers of the two pagi in each kingdom. Underneath the royal class were the nobles (called optimates by the Romans) and warriors (called armati by the Romans). The warriors consisted of professional warbands and levies of free men. Each nobleman could raise an average of c. 50 warriors.

The gold bracteate of Pliezhausen (6th or 7th century) shows typical iconography of the pagan period. The bracteate depicts the "horse-stabber underhoof" scene, a supine warrior stabbing a horse while it runs over him. The scene is adapted from Roman era gravestones of the region.

The 7th-century Gutenstein scabbard, found near Sigmaringen, Baden-Württemberg, is a late testimony of pagan ritual in Alemannia, showing a warrior in ritual wolf costume, holding a ring-spatha.

The christianization of the Alemanni took place during Merovingian times (6th to 8th centuries). We know that in the 6th century, the Alemanni were predominantly pagan, and in the 8th century, they were predominantly christian.

The intervening 7th century was a period of genuine syncretism during which Christian symbolism and doctrine gradually grew in influence.

Some scholars have speculated that members of the Alemannic elite such as king Gibuld due to Visigothic influence may have been converted to Arianism even in the later 5th century.

In the mid-6th century, the Byzantine historian Agathias of Myrina records, in the context of the wars of the Goths and Franks against Byzantium, that the Alemanni fighting among the troops of Frankish king Theudebald were like the Franks in all respects except religion, since they worship certain trees, the waters of rivers, hills and mountain valleys. 

In the honor the revered horses, cattle and countless other animals, sacrifice they, by beheading them, and imagine that they are performing an act of piety thereby.
He also spoke of the particular ruthlessness of the Alemanni in destroying Christian sanctuaries and plundering churches while the genuine Franks were respectful towards those sanctuaries.

Agathias expresses his hope that the Alemanni would assume better manners through prolonged contact with the Franks, which is by all appearances, in a manner of speaking, what eventually happened.

Apostles of the Alemanni were Saint Columbanus and his disciple Saint Gall. Jonas of Bobbio records that Columbanus was active in Bregenz, where he disrupted a beer sacrifice to (the OHG version of Woden's [Odin] name was Wuotan /WOO-oa-tawn/, modern-Highgerman,  Wotan /VOH-tawn/).

Despite these activities, for some time, the Alemanni seem to have continued their pagan  activities, with only superficial or syncretistic christian elements. In particular, there is no change in burial practice, and tumulus warrior graves continued to be erected throughout Merovingian times.

Syncretism of traditional Germanic animal-style with christian symbolism is also present in artwork, but christian symbolism becomes more and more prevalent during the 7th century.

Unlike the later christianization of the Saxon and of the Slavs, the Alemanni seem to have adopted Christianity gradually, and voluntarily, spread in emulation of the Merovingian elite.

From c. the 520s to the 620s, there was a surge of Alemannic Elder-Futhark inscriptions. About 70 specimens have survived, roughly half of them on fibulae, others on belt buckles ( and other jewelry and weapon parts. Use of runes subsides with the advance of Christianity.

The Nordendorf-fibula (early 7th century) clearly records pagan theonyms, logaþorewodanwigiþonar read as "Wodan and Donar are magicians/sorcerers", but this may be interpreted as either a pagan invocation of the powers of these deities, or a Christian protective charm against them.

A runic inscription on a fibula found at Bad Ems reflects Christian pious sentiment (and is also explicitly marked with a Christian cross), reading god fura dih deofile ᛭ ("God for/before you, Theophilus!", or alternatively "God before you, Devil!"). Dated to between AD 660 and 690, it marks the end of the native Alemannic tradition of runic literacy.

Bad Ems is in Rhineland-Palatinate, on the northwestern boundary of Alemannic settlement, where Frankish influence would have been strongest.The establishment of the bishopric of Konstanz cannot be dated exactly and was possibly undertaken by Columbanus himself (before 612).

In any case, it existed by 635, when Gunzo appointed John of Grab bishop. Constance was a missionary bishopric in newly converted lands, and did not look back on late Roman church history (unlike the Raetian bishopric of Chur, established 451) and Basel, which was an episcopal seat from 740, and which continued the line of Bishops of Augusta Raurica, see Bishop of Basel.

The establishment of the church as an institution recognized by worldly rulers is also visible in legal history. In the early 7th century Pactus Alamannorum hardly ever mentions the special privileges of the church, while Lantfrid's Lex Alamannorum of 720 has an entire chapter reserved for ecclesial matters alone.

29 December 2014

The Anglo-Saxon Invasion- Britain Is More Germanic than It Thinks

Anglo-Saxon helmet
Published, edited, images added & comments/annotations (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig


06/16/2011 01:13 PM
The Anglo-Saxon Invasion
Britain Is More Germanic than It Thinks

12 December 2014

Places named after Wóden/*Wódanaz/Odin

*Wóðanaz (Wóden/Odin/Wotan/Wuotan/Óðinn) sitting on his
horse, with spear & shield in hand, above him fly his
companions, ravens
Published, edited, formatted, images added & annotations/comments (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig
Öland-foil (late 6th-century Sweden)
(from Wikipedia)
Many toponyms (placenames) contain the name of *Wodanaz (Norse Odin,  West-Germanic Woden)
Map, Denmark, Odense
Odense (Óðinsvé in Icelandic & western Old-Norse, approximation in late Northwest-Germanic, NWPGmc, circa 300AD--*Wóðenswáih) 
Onsholt - "Odin's Holt", located in Viby, Jutland. A marked hill now covered in corn fields that was, up until about the 18th century, covered in wetlands on all sides. 
Covered by a wood (a "holt") during the Viking-Age. Viby may mean "the settlement by the sacred site" and contains traces of sacrifices going back 2,500 years. 
Vojens - from "Odin's Temple".


Island of Osmussaar - "Odensholm" in Swedish, literally "Odin's islet".

Island of Odensö - also known as Udensö, literally "Odin's island". Probably a medieval transformation of an original Finnic name unrelated to Odin.


Óðinsøy ("Odin's island"). 


Odensberg, Schonen (Scania, Sw. Skåne) - "Odin's Berg".
Odensvi - "Odin's Shrine".
Odenplan - "Odin's Square" in Stockholm.
Odengatan - "Odin Street"; running past Odenplan up to Valhallavägen "Valhalla Way" in Stockholm)
Odensåker, Skaraborg. 

Mainland Europe

Northern France around Audresselles (Oderzell) district of Marquise: 
Audinghen - 

Bad Godesberg - originally spelt Wuodenesberg, which is "Wotan's mountain". 
Gudensberg - originally spelt Wodenesberg which means the same as above.
Godensholt - formerly Wodensholt, Wotan's wood.
Odisheim - in Low-German: Godshem (perhaps English: Wotan's home or God's home, respectively)

The Netherlands 


United Kingdom

Odin Mine, Castleton, Derbyshire
Odin Sitch, Castleton, Derbyshire
Wambrook, Somerset - "Woden's Brook".
Wampool, Hampshire - "Woden's Pool".
Wanborough, Wiltshire - from Wôdnes-beorg, "Woden's Barrow".
Wanborough, Surrey. 

Wansdyke - "Woden's dyke, embankment".
Wanstead, Essex - "Woden's Stead".
Wednesbury - "Woden's burgh".
Woden Road in Wednesbury.
Wednesfield - "Woden's field".
Wednesham, Cheshire - "Woden's Ham".
Wensley - "Woden's meadow". 

Wembury, Devon - "Woden's Hill/Barrow" from the Old English "Wódnesbeorh".
Woden's Barrow - also Christianized as Adam's Grave or Walker's Hill, a barrow in Wiltshire. The Old English spelling was "Wodnes-beorh". 

Woden Hill, Hampshire - a hill in Bagshot Heath.
A valley which the West Overton–Alton road runs through was called Wodnes-denu, which means "Woden's Valley".
Wonston, Hampshire - "Woden's Town". 

Woodbridge, Suffolk - Wodenbrycge ("Woden's Bridge").
Woodnesborough- also translates as "Woden's burgh", the center of the town was known as "Woden's hill". 

Woodway House - from the house on Woden's Way.
Wormshill - also derived from "Woden's hill".
Grimsdyke - from "Grim", which means both "hooded" and "fierce", another name used for Woden. 

Grim's Ditch - a 5–6 mile section on the Berkshire Downs, the chalk escarpment above the Oxfordshire villages of Ardington, Hendred and Chilton. 

Grim's Ditch (Harrow) - also known as Grimsdyke. A section of Anglo-Saxon \-era trenches in Harrow. Frederick Goodall's house Grim's Dyke and a local-school are named after the area.
Grim's Ditch (Hampshire) - another set of earthworks.
Grim's Ditch (South Oxfordshire) - iron-age/early roman-era earthworks in Oxfordshire. 

Grimes Graves.Grimsbury, Oxfordshire.
Grimsbury Castle, Berkshire - hillfort occupied at least between the 3rd and 2nd Centuries B.C. Named after Woden by the Saxons.
Grimley, Worcestershire - from the Old-English "Grimanleage", which means "the wood or clearing of Grim (Woden)" 

Grimspound - an Iron-Age settlement on Dartmoor.
Grimscote - a village in Northamptonshire, "Grim's Cott".
Grimsthorpe - a village in Lincolnshire, "Grim's Thorpe"Roseberry Topping - Óðins bjarg ("Odin's rock or crag", plus "topping" added later).

The ford on the River Irwell which Regent's Bridge, Ordsall, now crosses, was traditionally called "Woden's Ford" and a nearby cave (no longer extant) was known as "Woden's Den". Scotland
Edin's Hall Broch, Berwickshire, sometimes Odin's Hall Broch and originally Wooden's (Woden's) Hall 

Grim's Dyke - another term used for the Antonine Wall_
Woden Law - "Woden Hill", an Iron Age hillfort in the Cheviots.

    27 November 2014

    Map: Indo-European languages, IE, c.
    1500 BC
    Published, edited, formatted, images added & annotations/comments (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig)

    Old High German (OHG, German: Althochdeutsch, German abbr. Ahd.) is the earliest stage of the German language, conventionally covering the period from around 500 to 1050 AD. Coherent written texts do not appear until the second half of the 8th century, and some treat the period before 750 as "prehistoric" and date the start of Old High German proper to 750 for this reason. There are, however, a number of Elder Futhark inscriptions dating to the 6th century (notably the Pforzen buckle), as well as single words and many names found in Latin texts predating the 8th century.


    The main difference between Old High German and the West Germanic dialects from which it developed is that it underwent the Second Sound Shift or High German consonant shift. This is generally dated approximately to the late 5th and early 6th centuries—hence dating its start to around 500 AD.

    The result of this sound change is that the consonantal system of German remains different from all other West Germanic languages, including English and Low German. Grammatically, however, Old High German remained very similar to Old English, Old Dutch, and Old Saxon.

    By the mid 11th century the many different vowels found in unstressed syllables had all been reduced to "e". Since these vowels were part of the grammatical endings in the nouns and verbs, their loss led to radical simplification of the inflectional grammar of German. 
    For these reasons, 1050 is seen as the start of the Middle High German period, though in fact there are almost no texts in German for the next hundred years.

    Examples of vowel reduction in unstressed syllables:
    Old High German Middle High German English
    machôn machen to make, to do
    taga tage days
    demu dem(e) to the
    (The Modern German forms of these words are broadly the same as in Middle High German.)


    There was no standard or supra-regional variety of Old High German—every text is written in a particular dialect, or in some cases a mixture of dialects. 

    Broadly speaking, the main dialect divisions of Old High German seem to have been similar to those of later periods—they are based on established territorial groupings and the effects of the Second Sound Shift, which have remained influential until the present day. 

    But because the direct evidence for Old High German consists solely of manuscripts produced in a few major ecclesiastical centers, there is no isogloss information of the sort on which modern dialect maps are based. For this reason the dialects may be termed monastery dialects.
    The main dialects, with their bishoprics and monasteries:
    • Central German
      • East Franconian: Fulda, Bamberg, Würzburg
      • Middle Franconian: Trier, Echternach, Cologne
      • Rhine Franconian: Lorsch, Speyer, Worms, Mainz, Frankfurt
      • South Rhine Franconian: Weissenburg im Elsaß
      • Thuringian: (no texts)
      • West Franconian: conjectural dialect of the Franks in Northern Gaul
    • Upper German
      • Alemannic: Murbach, Reichenau, Sankt Gallen. Strasbourg
      • Bavarian: Freising, Passau, Regensburg, Augsburg, Ebersberg, Wessobrunn, Benediktbeuern, Tegernsee, Salzburg, Mondsee
      • Langobardic: (fragmentary, classification as OHG uncertain)
    There are some important differences between the geographical spread of the Old High German dialects and that of Modern German:
    • no German dialects were spoken east of the Rivers Elbe and Saale—in the Old High German period this area was occupied by Slavic peoples since the Völkerwanderung and was not settled by German speakers until the late 10th and the early 11th century
    • the Langobardic dialect of the Lombards who invaded Northern Italy in the 6th century is assumed to have been an Upper German dialect, though little evidence of it remains apart from names and individual words in Latin texts, and a few inscriptions
    • the Old Frankish language is a special case among the old West Germanic languages. The Frankish tribes built their empire at the same time as the High German consonant shift took place. This meant that the dialects of Frankish in the north of their empire, the Low Countries, did not shift, while the dialects in the south did. The dialects in the south are part of Old High German; the ones in the north are part of Old Dutch (Low Franconian).


    The charts show the vowel and consonant systems of the East Franconian dialect in the 9th century. This is the dialect of the monastery of Fulda, and specifically of the Old High German Tatian. Dictionaries and grammars of OHG often use the spellings of the Tatian as a substitute for genuine standardised spellings, and these have the advantage of being recognizably close to the Middle High German forms of words, particularly with respect to the consonants.


    Short and long vowels

    Old High German had five phonemic long vowels and six phonemic short vowels. Both occurred in stressed and unstressed syllables.
      front central back
    short long short long short long
    close i î   u û
    mid eë ê   o ô
    open   a â  
    1. All back vowels likely had front-vowel allophones as a result of Umlaut. The front-vowel allophones likely became full phonemes in Middle High German. In the Old High German period, there existed [e] (possibly a mid-close vowel) from the Umlaut of /a/ and /e/ but it probably wasn't phonemicized until the end of the period. Manuscripts occasionally distinguish two /e/ sounds. Generally, modern grammars and dictionaries use ë for the mid vowel and e for the mid-close vowel.
    2. The short high and mid vowels may have been articulated lower than their long counterparts as in Modern German. This cannot be established from written sources.
    3. Short vowels followed later by long vowels tended to be reduced to e in unstressed syllables. The e may have represented [ɛ] or schwa [ə].
    4. Vowel length was indicated in the manuscripts inconsistently (though not in modern handbooks). A macron was generally used to indicate a long vowel.[dubious ]
    Old High German diphthongs are indicated by the digraphs eiieioiuouuo.


      Bilabial Labiodental Dental Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal/Velar Glottal
    Plosive p b     t d   c,k /k/ g /ɡ/ 
    Affricate pf /p͡f/     z /t͡s/    
    Nasal m     n   ng /ŋ/  
    Fricative   f, v /f/ /v/ th /θ/ s, ȥ /s̠//s/   h, ch /x/ h
    Approximant w, uu /w/       j, i /j/  
    Liquid       rl    
    1. There is wide variation in the consonant systems of the Old High German dialects arising mainly from the differing extent to which they are affected by the High German Sound Shift. Precise information about the articulation of consonants is impossible to establish.
    2. In the plosive and fricative series, where there are two consonants in a cell, the first is fortis the second lenis. The voicing of lenis consonants varied between dialects.
    3. Old High German distinguished long and short consonants. Double-consonant spellings don't indicate a preceding short vowel as in Modern German but true consonantgemination. Double consonants found in Old High German include pp, bb, tt, dd, ck (for /kk/), gg, ff, ss, hh, zz, mm, nn, ll, rr.
    4. /θ/ changes to /d/ in all dialects during the 9th century. The status in the Old High German Tatian (c. 830), reflected in modern Old High German dictionaries and glossaries, is that th is found in initial position, d in other positions.
    5. It is not clear whether Old High German /x/ had already acquired a palatized allophone /ç/ following front vowels as in Modern German.
    6. A curly-tailed z (ȥ) is sometimes used in modern grammars and dictionaries to indicate the dental fricative which arose from Common Germanic t in the High German consonant shift, to distinguish it from the dental affricate, represented as z. This distinction has no counterpart in the original manuscripts, except in the OHG Isidor, which uses tz for the affricate.
    7. The original Germanic fricative s was in writing usually clearly distinguished from the younger fricative z that evolved from the High German consonant shift - the sounds of these two graphs seem not to have merged before the 13th century. Now seeing that s later came to be pronounced /ʃ/ before other consonants (as in Stein /ʃtaɪn/Speer /ʃpeːɐ/Schmerz /ʃmɛrts/ (original smerz) or the southwestern pronunciation of words like Ast /aʃt/) it seems safe to assume that the actual pronunciation of Germanic s was somewhere between [s] and [ʃ], most likely about [s̠], in all Old High German up to late Middle High German.
    A word like swaz, "whatever", would thus never have been [swas] but rather [s̠was], later (13th century) [ʃwas][ʃvas].

    Phonological processes

    Here are enumerated the sound changes that transformed Common West Germanic into Old High German, not including the Late OHG changes which effected Middle High German
    • /ɣ//β/ > /ɡ//b/ in all positions (/ð/ > /d/ already took place in West Germanic). Most but not all High German areas are subject to this change.
      • PG *sibi "sieve" > OHG sib ( cf. Old English sife), PG *gestra "yesterday" > OHG gestaron (cf. OE geostran, "ge" being fricative /ʝ/ )
    • Clusters /ht/ and /hs/, from PIE velars + */s/ or */t/, are fortified to /kt//ks/ respectively (/xs/,/xt/ after the shift).
      • PG *hlahtraz "laughter" > OHG lahtar > Modern German Gelächter.
    • High German consonant shift: Inherited voiceless plosives are lenited into fricatives and affricates, while voiced fricatives are hardened into plosives and in some cases devoiced.
      • Ungeminated post-vocalic /p//t//k/ spirantize intervocalically to /ff//ȥȥ//xx/ and elsewhere to /f//ȥ//x/. Cluster /tr/ is exempt from this. Compare Old English slǣpan to Old High German slāfan .
      • Word-initially, after a resonant and when geminated, the same consonants affricatized to /pf//tȥ/ and /kx/, OE tam : OHG zam.
        • Spread of /k/ > /kx/ is geographically very limited and is not reflected in Modern Standard German.
      • /b//d/ and /ɡ/ are devoiced.
        • In Standard German, this applies to /d/ in all positions, but to /b/ and /ɡ/ only when geminated. PG *brugjo > *bruggjo >brucca, but *leugan > leggen.
    • /ē²/ and /oː/ are diphthongized into /ie/ and /uo/ respectively.
    • Proto-Germanic /ai/ became /ei/, except before /r//h//w/ and word finally, where it monophthongizes into ê ( which is also the reflex of unstressed /ai/) .
      • Similarly /au/ > /ô/ before /r//h/ and all dentals, otherwise /au/ > /ou/. PG *dauhθaz "death" > OHG tôd, but *haubudam "head" > houbit.
        • It should be noted that /h/ refers here only to inherited glottal /h/ from PIE *k, and not to the result of the consonant shift /x/, which is sometimes written as h.
    • /eu/ merges with /iu/ under i-umlaut and u-umlaut, but elsewhere is /io/ ( earlier /eo/ ). In Upper German dialects it also becomes /iu/ before labials and velars.
    • /θ/ fortifies to /d/ in all German Dialects.
    • Initial wC and hC lose /w/ and /h/.




    The following is a sample paradigm of a strong verb, nëman "to take".
    Indicative Optative Imperative
    Present 1st sing nimu nëme --
    2nd sing nimis (-ist) nëmēs (-ēst) nim
    3rd sing nimit nëme --
    1st plur nëmemēs (-ēn) nëmemēs (-ēn) nëmamēs, -emēs (-ēn)
    2nd plur nëmet nëmēt nëmet
    3rd plur nëmant nëmēn --
    Past 1st sing nam nāmi --
    2nd sing nāmi nāmīs (-īst) --
    3rd sing nam nāmi --
    1st plur nāmumēs (-un) nāmīmēs (-īn) --
    2nd plur nāmut nāmīt --
    3rd plur nāmun nāmīn --
    Infinitive nëman
    Gerund: Genitive nëmannes
    Gerund: Dative nëmanne
    Present Participle nëmanti (-enti)
    Past Participle ginoman


    The Franks conquered Northern Gaul as far south as the Loire; the linguistic boundary later stabiliZed approximately along the course of the Maas and Moselle, with Frankishspeakers further west being romanized.

    With Charlemagne's conquest of the Lombards in 776, nearly all continental Germanic speaking peoples had been incorporated into the Frankish Empire, thus also bringing all continental West Germanic speakers under Frankish rule. However, since the language of both the administration and the Church was Latin, this unification did not lead to any development of a supra-regional variety of Frankish nor a standardized Old High German.

    Old High German literacy is a product of the monasteries, notably at St. Gallen, Reichenau and Fulda. Its origins lie in the establishment of the German church by Boniface in the mid 8th century, and it was further encouraged during the Carolingian Renaissance in the 9th.

    The dedication to the preservation of Old High German epic poetry among the scholars of the Carolingian Renaissance was significantly greater than could be suspected from the meagre survivals we have today (less than 200 lines in total between the Lay of Hildebrand and the Muspilli). Einhard tells how Charlemagne himself ordered that the epic lays should be collected for posterity.

    It was the neglect or religious zeal of later generations that led to the loss of these records. Thus, it was Charlemagne's weak successor, Louis the Pious, who destroyed his father's collection of epic poetry on account of its pagan content.

    Hrabanus Maurus, a student of Alcuin's and abbot at Fulda from 822, was an important advocate of the cultivation of German literacy. Among his students were Walafrid Straboand Otfrid of Weissenburg. Notker Labeo (d. 1022) towards the end of the Old High German period was among the greatest stylists in the language, and developed a systematic orthography.


    The early part of the period saw considerable missionary activity, and by 800 the whole of the Frankish Empire had, in principle, been Christianized. All the manuscripts which contain Old High German texts were written in ecclesiastical scriptoria by scribes whose main task was writing in Latin rather than German. Consequently, the majority of Old High German texts are religious in nature and show strong influence of ecclesiastical Latin on the vocabulary. 

    In fact, most surviving prose texts are translations of Latin originals. Even secular works such as the Hildebrandslied are often preserved only because they were written on spare sheets in religious codices.
    The earliest Old High German text is generally taken to be the Abrogans, a Latin-Old High German glossary variously dated between 750 and 780, probably from Reichenau. The 8th century Merseburg Incantations are the only remnant of pre-Christian German literature. 

    The earliest texts not dependent on Latin originals would seem to be the Hildebrandslied and the Wessobrunn Prayer, both recorded in manuscripts of the early 9th century, though the texts are assumed to derive from earlier copies.

    The Bavarian Muspilli is the sole survivor of what must have been a vast oral tradition. Other important works are the Evangelienbuch (Gospel harmony) of Otfrid von Weissenburg, the short but splendid Ludwigslied and the 9th century Georgslied. The boundary to Early Middle High German (from ca. 1050) is not clear-cut. The most impressive example of EMHG literature is the Annolied.


    The Lord's Prayer is given in four Old High German dialects below. Because these are translations of a liturgical text, they are best not regarded as examples of idiomatic language, but they do show dialect variation very clearly.

    Lord's Prayer
    Alemannic, 8th century
    The St Gall Paternoster
    South Rhine Franconian, 9th century
    Weissenburg Catechism
    East Franconian, c. 830
    Old High German Tatian
    Bavarian, early 9th century
    Freisinger Paternoster
    Fater unseer, thu pist in himile,
    uuihi namun dinan,
    qhueme rihhi diin,
    uuerde uuillo diin,
    so in himile sosa in erdu.
    prooth unseer emezzihic kip uns hiutu,
    oblaz uns sculdi unsero,
    so uuir oblazem uns skuldikem,
    enti ni unsih firleiti in khorunka,
    uzzer losi unsih fona ubile.
    Fater unsēr, thu in himilom bist,
    giuuīhit sī namo thīn.
    quaeme rīchi thīn.
    uuerdhe uuilleo thīn,
    sama sō in himile endi in erthu.
    Brooth unseraz emezzīgaz gib uns hiutu.
    endi farlāz uns sculdhi unsero,
    sama sō uuir farlāzzēm scolōm unserēm.
    endi ni gileidi unsih in costunga.
    auh arlōsi unsih fona ubile.
    Fater unser, thū thār bist in himile,
    sī geheilagōt thīn namo,
    queme thīn rīhhi,
    sī thīn uuillo,
    sō her in himile ist, sō sī her in erdu,
    unsar brōt tagalīhhaz gib uns hiutu,
    inti furlāz uns unsara sculdi
    sō uuir furlāzemēs unsarēn sculdīgōn,
    inti ni gileitēst unsih in costunga,
    ūzouh arlōsi unsih fon ubile.
    Fater unser, du pist in himilum.
    Kauuihit si namo din.
    Piqhueme rihhi din,
    Uuesa din uuillo,
    sama so in himile est, sama in erdu.
    Pilipi unsraz emizzigaz kip uns eogauuanna.
    Enti flaz uns unsro sculdi,
    sama so uuir flazzames unsrem scolom.
    Enti ni princ unsih in chorunka.
    Uzzan kaneri unsih fona allem sunton.

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