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empire. They were most celebrated by the accidental elevation of their prince Odoacher to be the first German sovereign of Italy.
In the outline which I have thus endeavoured to trace of the Continental German nations, I have not attempted to enumerate all the tribes mentioned by the ancients, but only to describe briefly the principal divisions, and those whose history is most important, with a view to the ethnography of the race. I must now add some brief remarks on the nations of Scandinavia who had not the German language, properly so termed, but the Old Norse or Northern speech.
SECTION V.-History of the Northmen, or of the Scandinavian division of the German Race.
The earliest inhabitants of the countries beyond the Baltic were, as we have seen, people foreign to the German race. With the aboriginal Iotuns of the north Teutonic invaders waged a long warfare of conquest or extermination, the passages of which became the theme of many a legend in the mythical poems sung by ancient Scalds, and at a somewhat later period were committed to writing in the poetical or prosaic sagas. That the Northmen were a people allied to the German race is sufficiently testified by the affinity of their language; but its comparative remoteness from the dialects of the central German tribes indicates a distinct era as the period of separation. Yet it seems improbable that the great division of the German race took place, as Adelung supposed, while they were yet inhabitants of their primitive abodes in the East. The varieties of the German languages, the old Norse or Northern tongue being comprehended among them, have so entirely a local relation, that they must, as it would appear, have been originally developed since the tribes of the German race took possession of their present abodes. Their history as inhabitants of northern Europe, and as resting on foreign and authentic testimony, comes down from a very early period. It begins with the accounts transmitted by that celebrated northern voyager, who in the days of Aristotle discovered Albion
and Thule, the Baltic Sea and the amber coast. It is indeed a striking proof of the difficulty of communication by land between the European countries in ancient times, that Germany and Scandinavia were discovered at the same era, and by a navigator of the northern seas. There must have been a very ancient intercourse between the maritime people of the two great midland seas of Europe, since amber, a produce of the Baltic coast, was known at the inmost recess of the Mediterranean, by the Greeks, before the time of Homer. It has been conjectured that Phoenician vessels passed the Straits of Hercules and those of the Cimbric Chersonese, and traded to the coast of Prussia, where the ancient Scargon, or by others Kulm, has been supposed to have been a station of their traffic;+ but no evidence can be found in the earliest accounts of the amber trade that they had any settlement in the north, and the fact is rendered at least doubtful, as it has been observed by Gesenius, by the negative evidence. On the other hand, it is probable that the traders from Marseilles in somewhat later times only followed the track of Phoenician or Punic mariners; and we are certain that adventurers from the Phocæan colony reached the mouth of the Vistula. Pytheas is the earliest navigator who is known to have sailed into the Baltic;§ he appears to have landed on the coast of Albion, the name of which he first made known to the civilised world, as he likewise did
Strabo, p. 201.
+ Uphagen. Parerg. Histor. p. 186. Joh. v. Müller, Allgem. Geschichte, i. s. 35. Voigt, Geschichte Preussens von den ältesten Zeiten, i. s. 17. It has been conjectured by some that the old Scargon or the peninsula of Hela was a Phoenician settlement; by others Kulm was fixed upon as the site of the supposed colony.
See Voigt, " Bernsteinhandel im Alterthum, Geschichte Preuss. s. 80. Gesenius in his late work calls in question the prevalent opinion that the Phoenicians formed settlements on the coast of Europe beyond the straits of Hercules. The fact that no Phoenician inscription has been discovered in any of the places where the Phoenicians are supposed to have traded in all that region, while they are so frequently found in places known to have been the seats of Phoenician colonies, is very remarkable; but we must observe that it is in the ruins of ancient temples or of the sepulchres of distinguished men that these inscriptions have been found, and that such things might hardly be expected in merely trading settlements or in marts only resorted to by merchants.
§ Geminus Rhodius in Uranologio Petavii. Geijer, Schweden's Urgeschichte,
that of Thule, a country distant from Albion by a voyage of six days.
The Thule of Pytheas cannot have been Iceland, since it was to be reached after sailing one day from the Baltic, that is from the entrance of the Baltic.* During a northern summer Pytheas sailed towards the arctic circle, and reached a place where the night is short. "The barbarians of the North pointed out to him," as he says, "a spot where the sun rests, for in these regions the night lasts but two or three hours, and the orb of day, after a short concealment, again rises to view." In Thule Pytheas learnt that the winter's night continues for six months. It appears to have been a country of great extent, and inhabited by people who practised agriculture. The Thule of Eratosthenes was a great island situated to the northward of Britain. Ptolemy in the second century placed Thule to the northward of the Orcades.+ By some modern writers it has hence been thought that Iceland was the country thus described, and the accounts of Thule in some respects accord with the supposition; but it is improbable from the much greater distance of that island, and from the fact that Iceland was till the ninth century uninhabited. The Thule of Pytheas, and Eratosthenes, and Ptolemy may be concluded with great probability to have been some part of Scandinavia.
Thule or Scandinavia contained in these early times inhabitants who were tillers of the soil, and we may presume that these were Northmen or of the Germanic race. It is remarkable that we are able in a very early period to recognise in these northern regions many of the modern names. Xenophon Lampsacenus speaks of Baltia, meaning Scandinavia, which he describes as an island of vast extent, distant a three days' voyage from the Scythian coast, that is from the southern shore of the Baltic Sea. Different parts of Scandinavia, as
• Wheaton's History of the Northmen, chap. i.
+ Cl. Ptol. p. 34. The notions entertained in the time of Ptolemy of the relative position of the parts of Western Europe with respect to north and south are strangely distorted, as it is apparent on the first view of the maps constructed according to Ptolemy's notions.
+ Traces of earlier visits to the coast of Iceland by people supposed to have been Christians from Ireland are reported; but there were no permanent inhabitants till the arrival of the Northmen. (See Geijer, Sweden's Urgeschichte, s. 68.)
they became known, were considered to be islands. Pliny distinguishes Scandinavia from Bergen and Norway or Nerigon. He mentions the mountain-chain which divides Sweden and Norway. "Sevo mons immensus nec Riphæis jugis minor, immanem ad Cimbrorum usque promontorium efficit sinum, qui Codanus vocatur, refertus insulis; quarum clarissima Scandinavia est, incompertæ magnitudinis; portionem tantùm ejus, quod sit notum, Hillevionum gente quingentis incolente pagis; quæ alterum terrarum orbem eam appellat.” "Sunt qui et alias insulas produnt, Scandinaviam, Dumnam, Bergos, maximamque omnium Nerigon; ex quâ in Thulea navigetur."
Tacitus distinguishes two nations who appear to have inhabited Scandinavia, "Suionum hinc civitates, ipso in Oceano" -inhabiting islands, such was Scandinavia supposed to be"præter viros armaque clas sibus valent." From the circumstance that these communities are mentioned in the plural, it has been inferred that the name of Suiones comprehends all the Scandinavian nations of the German race. Beyond the Suiones Tacitus places the Sitones, who are said to have been governed by queens, and were perhaps the Finns.
We have some further account of Scandinavia from Ptolemy in the second century. At that time the western part of Scandia was inhabited by the Chædini, the eastern by the Phavona and Pheræsi, the southern part by the Gutæ and Dankiones, and the midland by the Levoni.§ Attempts have been made to identify these nations with modern tribes. The Gutæ are probably the Goths of Gothland,and the Dankiones may be the Danes.
A more particular account is given by Procopius in a passage which I have already cited. He says that Thule is of very great extent, that the greater part is desert, but that in the inhabited region there are thirteen populous nations, each governed by a king; among these tribes one is wild and savage, namely, the Skrithiphini. The rest of the Thulitæ, or inhabitants of Thule, resemble other nations: they worship many gods and demons. Among them one populous nation is the
* Plin. H. Nat.
Zeuss, ubi supra, s. 156.
+ Tacit. Germ. cap. 44.
§ Cl. Ptolem. p. 55.
Gauti. Here we discover the Finns or Lappes and the Gothlanders.
Jornandes enumerates many nations as inhabiting Scandza, some of which can be recognised. In the northern part he mentions the "gentes Refennæ," probably some Lappish tribes, and the Suethans, who have good horses, and procure the black furs called "Saphirinas pelles" for Roman commerce. Then follows a crowd of different nations: Theustes, Vagoth, Bergio, Hallin, Liothidæ, of peaceable habits, inhabiting the plains. Some of these names have been recognised by Zeuss in Olaf's Saga and other memorials of the North. Warlike tribes are the Helmil, Finnaithæ, Fervir, Gautigoth, Evagræ, Otingi, who live in hollow rocks as in fortresses, "more belluino." "His exteriores," that is to the eastward, are the Ostrogothæ, together with others; and the "Finni mitissimi, Scandzæ cultoribus omnibus mitiores, nec non et pares eorum Vinoviloth, Suethidi, Cogeni, in hac gente reliquis corpore eminentiores, quamvis et Dani ex ipsorum stirpe progressi Herulos propriis sedibus expulerunt, qui inter omnes Scandzæ nationes nomen sibi ob nimiam proceritatem affectant præcipuum."+ Several names follow in the enumeration of Jornandes which are either lost or obscurely preserved. We find here distinct notices of the Swedes, doubtless the Suethidi, the Ostrogoths, the Finns, and Danes. We may observe, that Jornandes divides the Gothlanders into Ostrogoths and Westergoths. The Dani also, celebrated already for their tall stature, a frequent accompaniment of a fair xanthous complexion, are here likewise deduced from Scandinavia. The geographer of Ravenna, following Jornandes, deduces the Danes as well as the Goths from Scandinavia.§ It has been shown, however, by Zeuss, that the northern sagas, though they bring Dan, the mythical patriarch of the Danish race, originally from Sweden, always mention Zealand, and the three
* Procop. Bell. Gotth. ii. 15.
+ Heimskringla, ii. 170. Zeuss, "Deutschen und Nachbarstämme," s. 505. Jornandes, De Reb. Get. iii. Zeuss, p. 503.
§ "Quam insulam et Jordanes sapientissimus chorographus Scanzam appellat, ex quâ insula pariterque gentes occidentales egressæ sunt. Nam Gotthos et Danos imosimo simul Gepidas ex eà antiquitus exisse legimus."