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of the Cherusci prevailed in the formation of the old Saxon language; and hence it came to pass that the Upper-Saxon, the Alt-Sachsisch of Grimm, though it differs much from the dialects of Southern Germany, in which the character of the High-Dutch is fully developed, and even approaches in some particulars to the Anglo-Saxon, yet bears in general unequivocally the character of an Upper German dialect.
5. Of the Frisians.
The old Frisii inhabited the country between the Ems and the Eastern Rhine or Issel; but after the fall of the Roman power the name of Frisians extended itself over a much wider space, either by the spreading of the people themselves into a part of the country occupied by the Chauci, or what is more probable, by commerce with the eastern Chauci. The later Frisians reached as far as the Middle Rhine. Dorstat, on the northern bank of the Middle Rhine, is included by the geographer of Ravenna in the country of the Frisians.† A Frisian population also occupied the banks of the Maas as far as its union with the Waal.‡ The Frisians were the only considerable people in the maritime tracts of Germany to the westward of the Franks and Saxons.
The only existing specimens of the old Frisian language are to be found in the Leges Frisiorum, written in the time of Charles the Great, and in records and legal documents of later date. The extant dialects of the Frisian are the idiom of Dutch Friesland, spoken also in North Holland; the Chauco-Frisian which once prevailed through East Friesland, Oldenburg, the bishopric of Lower Munster and the neighbouring countries, where it has given way to the Lower Saxon, and is now preserved only in a few districts; the North Frisian, the idiom of people who have spread themselves over the sea-coast coun
* The Alt-Sachsisch or Old Saxon is a different language from the AngloSaxon, and belongs to a different class of German dialects. In Grimm's Deutsche Grammatik the forms of both are fully given, and compared with each other, and with the various known German dialects. This circumstance shows the propriety of distinguishing the Saxon confederation or the great Saxon body of the middle ages from the tribe of Saxons beyond the Elbe, whence the Saxons who colonised Britain issued.
+ Geog. Ravenn. iv. 24. i. 11. Zeuss, p. 398. Annal. Fuldæ. Zeuss, ibid.
try in the dukedom of Schleswig and of Holstein, where they are very distinct from the Germans, as well as from the Danes, both which nations they hold in aversion and contempt. The North Frisian is still spoken in Husum and Tondern, the country of Bredstädt, and in the islands of Helgoland, Fohr, Silt, and Amröm.*
SECTION IV.-The same subject continued:-Migrations of German Tribes from the North-eastern parts of Europe into the Roman Empire. Of the Gothic department of the German Race.
About the same period when the Alemanni, one of the earliest of the new German confederacies formed during the second and third centuries which contributed to the downfall of the Roman empire, were first heard of in the West, the more celebrated names of Goths and Vandals, and Burgundians and Lombards, became known in the eastern parts of Europe. Alliances were formed, as it seems, among the remote nations of northern Sarmatia, then inhabited by people of the Teutonic blood, for the conquest of lands under a more genial climate than that which for many centuries they had been doomed to endure. What were the particular circumstances of the age which communicated such an impulse of movement at the same time to many nations, it is impossible to discover, but the results are within the scope of history.
Paragraph 1.-Of the Goths.
The Goths were the most celebrated of these nations. At their first appearance on the borders of the Roman empire during the third century, the Goths were taken by the Romans for Getæ, as it happened that they invaded the empire from the region lying to the northward of the Danube which had been long inhabited by people of that name. By the historians and poets of several succeeding ages we find them termed indifferently Goths and Getæ. Thus Spartian who wrote the life of Caracalla about eighty years after the
Adelung's Mithridat. ii. s. 242; also his "Geschichte der Deutschen Sprache." VOL. III.
death of that tyrant, and forty after the first great Gothic invasion of the empire, says, that it was proposed to term the emperor Geticus, by a sort of sarcasm, "quod Getam occiderat fratrem et Gotthi Getæ dicerentur." He was named Parthicus and Arabicus, from his reputed victories over the Parthians and Arabians. Flavius Vopiscus, in the life of Probus, terms the Goths simply "Geticos populos;” and Pomponius Lætus, in the life of Claudius, styles them "Getas." Orosius calls them "Getæ illi qui et nunc Gotthi." St. Jerom terms their language "barbaram Getarum linguam." Lastly, Procopius, a writer particularly well informed respecting the history of the northern nations, after designating the Gothic nation as-τὸ Γετικὸν, adds these words : “ Γετικὸν γὰρ ἔθνος φασὶ τοὺς Γότθους εἶναι.*
That all these writers were mistaken who identified the Goths with the Getæ will appear from a very slight review of the history of the latter people. The Geta were a Thracian tribe, and were originally inhabitants of the country lying to the southward of the Danube, which was long regarded as the boundary between Thrace and Scythia. They belonged to a different department of the Indo-European family of nations, of which I shall trace the history in a following chapter of this volume.
Procop. Cæsariens. Bell. Gotth.
The poets in like manner term the Goths Getæ. Claudian calls them Daci, which is another name for the Getæ :
Ausonius terms the Goths Getæ in the following passage:
Qua vaga Sauromates sibi junxerat agmina Chuni,
-Claudian. in Rufin. lib. i. ; item De Consulatu Stilichonis. Ausonii Poemata, 332.
Paragraph 2.-Early notices of the Goths.
The first notice in history of a people who may be supposed to have been the ancestors of the Goths, occurs in a citation from the narrative of Pytheas, written in the third century before the Christian era. Pliny in giving an account of the production of amber says, that according to Pytheas there was "an estuary of the ocean called Mentonomon, inhabited by the Guttones, a people of Germany. It reached six thousand furlongs in extent. From this place an island named Abalus was distant about one day's sail, on the shore of which the waves throw up pieces of amber. The inhabitants make use of it for fuel, or else sell it to their neighbours the Teutones." Pliny adds, that Timæus gave full credit to this story; "he called the island not Abalus but Baltia." There are evidently some inaccuracies in this account. The Teutones were not neighbours to the people of the amber coast: their country was Jutland, at the neck of the Cimbric peninsula; and M. Zeuss conjectures, with great probability, that instead of "Teutonis," Pliny wrote "Guttonis or Guttonibus," alluding to the people just before mentioned. Mentonomon has been supposed to be Medenau, on the coast of Samland or Samogitia; it seems to be unquestionable that it was that part of the Prussian coast termed the "frische Haff." The isle of Abalus, according to M. Voigt, can be no other than a part of the coast of Samland a little further to the eastward, which has been termed an island in later times. Some suppose it to be the Kurische Nehrung, reaching towards Memel.*
The connection of the name of the Guttones with the place where this natural production is found thus defines the position of that people, and proves that they had their abode on the coast of the Baltic, beyond the mouth of the Vistula, three centuries before the Christian era. How far they reached is uncertain. It is probable, as we have before observed, that they extended to the Pregel.
Tacitus places the Gothones beyond, that is, to the northward of the Lygii, who inhabited the country on the left bank
Voigt's Geschichte Preussens von den ältesten Zeiten. Königsberg, 1827. Bd. i. s. 22, u. s. w.
of the Vistula, and towards the higher Wartha. It would appear from his account that he supposed them not to reach so far as the sea-coast: "Trans Lygios Gothones regnantur paulo jam adductiùs quam cæteræ Germanorum gentes, nondum tamen supra libertatem. Protinus deinde ab Oceano Rugii et Lemovii." The Rugii, however, are declared by Procopius to have been a Gothic tribe.* They have left their name in Rugenwald, to the westward of Dantzig, and in the isle of Rugen. Thus we find the Goths in the age of Tacitus not far from the position in which Pytheas placed the Guttones. Pliny gives that precise name to a tribe whom he classes with the Burgundians among the Vindili, or nations of the coast. It appears that these last-mentioned tribes were separated by the Vistula, the Goths being on the eastern side of that river. Such was the position of these kindred nations at the end of the first century. In the second century they appear to have changed their abode. Ptolemy, in an accurate enumeration of the tribes of Sarmatia and Eastern Germany, makes no mention of Guttones or Goths in the northern region, though among the nations of lesser note who inhabited the shores of the Vistula to the southward of the Venedi, and towards the sources of that river, two are enumerated, viz. the Gythones and Phrugundiones, who may be supposed to be the same tribes, or perhaps branches of the same stems.§ This is far to the southward of the position originally assigned to the Guttones.||
The migration of the north-eastern tribes of Germany towards the south had, perhaps, already commenced, from which effects so important were destined to result. The occasional cause of these movements can only be conjectured. It has often been supposed that the commotions which ensued on the wars of the Marcomanni gave the first impulse. The Marcomanni were, as we have observed, a powerful and warlike tribe, who under their chieftain Maroboduus gained possession
Procop. Bell. Goth. iii. 2.—οἱ δὲ Ῥογοὶ οὗτοι ἔθνος μὲν εἶσι Γοτθικὸν, αὖTóvoμoi Tε TÒ Taλaιòv ¿bíwv. See Zeuss, ubi supra, p. 486. Voigt's Preussen, B. i. Plin. H. N. iv. 14.
+ Voigt, ubi supra.
§ Ptolem. Geog. Tab. Sarmatiæ.
|| Compare Cluver. Germ. Antiq. lib. iii. c. 34. Zeuss, pp. 135, 302.