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Thread: Götar/Geats and Jutes

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    Götar/Geats and Jutes

    One of the debates about migration period germanic tribal names is, are the people known as Jutes the same people known as Geats? The people in modern day Sweden were referred to as geatas, (pronounced jæatas) in Old English and known as gautar in Old Norse and götar (pronounced jøːtar) in Swedish. Göteborg (Gothenberg) is only a short distance from Jutland. But, are they same as the Jutes in Jutland? Classical latin uses Iutae for Jutes and Iutum for Jutland but gallo roman sources use Eucii. Tacitus calls them Eudoses. Widsith uses Ytum for Jutland.

    Bede refers to them as Iuti in latin, Northumbrian as Iotan, Anglian as Eotan and West Saxon as Ytan.

    Beowulf refers to Eotenas living in Eotenum but this might be an allegory for the mythical Jotunns of norse mythology.

    The first mention of Jutes in England is by Bede in his Historia Ecclesiastica, Book 1 ch XV, but Bede was writing in classical latin:

    "Aduenerant autem de tribus Germaniae populis fortioribus, id est Saxonibus, Anglis, Iutis. De Iutarum origine sunt Cantuarii et Uictuarii,"

    "Those who came over were of the three most powerful nations of Germany * Saxons, Angles, and Jutes. From the Jutes are descended the people of Kent, and of the Isle of Wight"

    NB. Latin did not have a letter J, hence Jupiter was written Iuppiter.

    A version of Bede's HE however was translated into Old English in the 9th century in Worcester. This equates 'From the Jutes' with 'From the Geats',

    "Of Geata fruman syndon Cantware, …W Wihtsatan; tat is seo eeod te Wiht þæt ealond oneardað"

    The OED now states the equivalence of Jutes and Geats, ie Götar.

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    Is there any consensus of opinion on the connection of the Götar to the Goths, or of either with the Swedish counties of Västergötland and Östergötland, located on opposing sides of Lake Vättern?

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    The Götar are the people who gave their name to Västragötland and Östragötland but any association with the Gotlanders, Gutes, Gauts or Goths is rather more obscure. There are of course those who claim that they are all the same but that's probably too simplistic. It might be a cultic name, at first of a fertility god and then of Odin-Gaut or maybe Gauti, one of Odin's sons. He is supposed to be the founder of the Götar. The Gutes or Guti on the island of Gotland used to be seen as the same, but are probably a diffferent group. The cultic link may be similar to the theory of many germanic tribes being collectively known as Saxons, because of a worship of Saxnōt, if indeed that is how they got their name. The Angles are recorded to be one of several Nerthus workshipping tribes, though their name remained intact.

    The theory is explained by Ingemar Nordgren in Goths and Religion. He is well repected by his peers, panelled on his doctoral thesis by Heinrich Härke and when he took me to the dig as Finnestorp, I noticed that internationally well known researchers such as Bengt Nordquist and Charlotte Fabech were keen to exchange ideas with him. Some of his ideas are a bit 'cooky' for me as an englishman but it's just that we have a very particular way of looking at things in the UK and we miss out on large amounts of Continental thinking as a result.
    Last edited by authun; 02-18-2016 at 03:07 PM.

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    The Burgundians are cousins of the Goths, I believe, right?
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Lyonnist View Post
    The Burgundians are cousins of the Goths, I believe, right?
    Depends on who you believe but basically, they are classed as an East Germanic speaking tribe, like the Goths and the Vandals and they are said to have migrated from Bornholm in the Baltic to what is now Poland. Bornholm used to be called Burgunderland.

    Their origin is tenuous but it is supported by some archaeologists as well as historians. Tacitus places them next to the Gotones in the 1st century AD but there migration to Burgundy in France was rather more direct than the Goths/Visigoths. The Burgundians crossed the Rhine in 406 AD and, allied with the Franks, helped the romans and visigoths push the Huns back at the Battle of Châlons in 451.

    They were allowed to settle around Lake Geneva as a reward but eventually moved nearer to Lyon, or at least Lugdunum. They remained allies of the Visigoths and helped the latter fight the Sueves in Spain.


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    So how do these Jutes differ from the Danes? Are they the same peoples but with a name change. Reminds me of how the Romans re-named the Caledonian tribes of ancient Scotland to that of the Picts in 297AD.

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    I think the Jutes-Geats link is tenuous, and is mere 'sound-alike.
    western Jutland appears to have been almost wholly depopulated c. 450 AD, with coincides with appearance of 'Anglo-Saxons-Jutes' in England at this time.

    The other problem is with the ethonym Gatu/ Goth itself. First of all, many scholars rather liberally accept the gaut - and Goth- are indeed etymologically linked. Even if so, the Gaut- Goth ethonym during Roman times is too inconsistently mentioned to make any clear narrative possible. Some place the Geats near the Elbe, some just past the Lugii. So we have no clear details as to where they really were. Then, in the late 3rd century, they appear in the Black Sea. One must therefore question, is there in fact any link at all ? There were certainly links between the East Baltic and Black Sea, but is this definitive 'proof' ?

    My point is- the Romans were sloppy with their terminologies, and really did not care too much for the ethnographic details of northern 'barbarian' groups. Despite this, scholars still try to piece together a story from questionable scraps of 'information'

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    Quote Originally Posted by BillMC View Post
    So how do these Jutes differ from the Danes? Are they the same peoples but with a name change. Reminds me of how the Romans re-named the Caledonian tribes of ancient Scotland to that of the Picts in 297AD.
    Good question. It is some matter of debate whether the people on Jutland could understand those on the Danish islands like Zealand or in Skane in modern day Sweden, even though they were to become part of the Kingdom of Denmark. They are linguistically and genetically related but it is a possibility that as people moved out Jutland, they were later replaced from further east. However, the Angulus Desertus hypothesis is challenged.

    Firstly, starting in the late 5th early 6th century AD there is a general population decline in northern europe followed by a steep decline in the mid 6th cent. The archaeological record though shows that it was not deserted. However, there is in the mid 6th century a reorganisation in societal structure whereby the old fertility cults with its farming communities and burial/cremation practices suddenly change and the new order is characterised by powerful individuals gathering power around themselves in central places. So, just because a village seems to disappear, it might be because the people have moved but have remained in Jutland/Denmark. In fact we see this in many parts. Gudme is on early example of one such place.

    Here Rindel writes about Zealand:

    "Analyses of 3241 recorded sites from Zealand (Sjælland) from the Iron Age and Early Middle Ages (500 BC - AD 1200) indicate significant changes within the regional settlement pattern. In the Late Iron Age a number of different kinds of central places types can be observed. The topographical situation of these central places is evaluated in relation to the general settlement patterns on Zealand in the same period. Gammel Lejre, Tissø, Toftegård, and Trelleborg are all situated close to large watercourse systems, 2,5-7 kilometres from the coast. Even if the general settlement pattern of the Late Iron Age shows a positive preference for the zones very close to the coast, the central places are thus situated some kilometres from the coast, but often very close to the large watercourse systems, which not only seem to have been of importance for over regional communication but for local communication, as well, as these watercourses seem to have been of increasing general importance in this period. The situation of some of the Late Iron Age central places in areas with clayey sand soil should not only be explained from agricultural needs, as more clayey soils generally seem to have been preferred for the contemporary rural settlement, but also as a result of the choice of placement from aspects such as communication, protection and control."

    Regional Settlement Patterns and Central Places on Late Iron Age Zealand, Denmark

    The settlement complex from the Iron Age at Gudme on Funen is one of the largest in Scandinavia.
    Through its long existence from AD 200 and into the Medieval Period the settlement can be
    divided into three main phases reflecting the social and economic development of the site. Phase 1 –
    200–600 AD a manorial residence with indications on religious activities is surrounded by a large
    number of smaller workshop farms characterized by large amounts of Roman gold, silver and bronze
    objects. A number of sacral place names perhaps reflect the important religious function of the site
    during the period. Phase 2 – 600–1000 AD the manorial residence seems to disappear and is perhaps
    moved to another site in the area. At the same time the number of farms is radically reduced. However,
    the workshop activities are still present at the site in a more limited scale. Phase 3 – in the 11th century
    the settlement area is abandoned and the farms probably moved to the present day village of Gudme.


    Gudme-Lundeborg on Funen as a model for northern Europe?


    Or here, Morten Axboe's paper, Towards a Kingdom of Denmark

    Or oyu might find this book review more digestible: Iron Age Myth and Materiality: an Archaeology of Scandinavia AD 400-1000 By Lotte Hedeager

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    Quote Originally Posted by authun View Post
    Good question. It is some matter of debate whether the people on Jutland could understand those on the Danish islands like Zealand or in Skane in modern day Sweden, even though they were to become part of the Kingdom of Denmark. They are linguistically and genetically related but it is a possibility that as people moved out Jutland, they were later replaced from further east. However, the Angulus Desertus hypothesis is challenged.

    Firstly, starting in the late 5th early 6th century AD there is a general population decline in northern europe followed by a steep decline in the mid 6th cent. The archaeological record though shows that it was not deserted. However, there is in the mid 6th century a reorganisation in societal structure whereby the old fertility cults with its farming communities and burial/cremation practices suddenly change and the new order is characterised by powerful individuals gathering power around themselves in central places. So, just because a village seems to disappear, it might be because the people have moved but have remained in Jutland/Denmark. In fact we see this in many parts. Gudme is on early example of one such place.

    Here Rindel writes about Zealand:

    "Analyses of 3241 recorded sites from Zealand (Sjælland) from the Iron Age and Early Middle Ages (500 BC - AD 1200) indicate significant changes within the regional settlement pattern. In the Late Iron Age a number of different kinds of central places types can be observed. The topographical situation of these central places is evaluated in relation to the general settlement patterns on Zealand in the same period. Gammel Lejre, Tissø, Toftegård, and Trelleborg are all situated close to large watercourse systems, 2,5-7 kilometres from the coast. Even if the general settlement pattern of the Late Iron Age shows a positive preference for the zones very close to the coast, the central places are thus situated some kilometres from the coast, but often very close to the large watercourse systems, which not only seem to have been of importance for over regional communication but for local communication, as well, as these watercourses seem to have been of increasing general importance in this period. The situation of some of the Late Iron Age central places in areas with clayey sand soil should not only be explained from agricultural needs, as more clayey soils generally seem to have been preferred for the contemporary rural settlement, but also as a result of the choice of placement from aspects such as communication, protection and control."

    Regional Settlement Patterns and Central Places on Late Iron Age Zealand, Denmark

    The settlement complex from the Iron Age at Gudme on Funen is one of the largest in Scandinavia.
    Through its long existence from AD 200 and into the Medieval Period the settlement can be
    divided into three main phases reflecting the social and economic development of the site. Phase 1 –
    200–600 AD a manorial residence with indications on religious activities is surrounded by a large
    number of smaller workshop farms characterized by large amounts of Roman gold, silver and bronze
    objects. A number of sacral place names perhaps reflect the important religious function of the site
    during the period. Phase 2 – 600–1000 AD the manorial residence seems to disappear and is perhaps
    moved to another site in the area. At the same time the number of farms is radically reduced. However,
    the workshop activities are still present at the site in a more limited scale. Phase 3 – in the 11th century
    the settlement area is abandoned and the farms probably moved to the present day village of Gudme.


    Gudme-Lundeborg on Funen as a model for northern Europe?


    Or here, Morten Axboe's paper, Towards a Kingdom of Denmark

    Or oyu might find this book review more digestible: Iron Age Myth and Materiality: an Archaeology of Scandinavia AD 400-1000 By Lotte Hedeager
    Some great links , thanks
    One thing is that the population decline began earlier in some parts of Northern Europe- as early as 3rd century : such as coastal Frisia was almost wholly deserted, as with the shifting of Wielbark settlements further south. But I agree the 'decline' in west Jutland and Saxony was later (450s), and could be related to a restructuring of settlements and change in "visibility" of funerary rites

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gravetto-Danubian View Post
    Some great links , thanks
    One thing is that the population decline began earlier in some parts of Northern Europe- as early as 3rd century : such as coastal Frisia was almost wholly deserted,
    Quite, but for a different reason. There were a series of marine transgressions known by the term Dunkirk Transgression Phases which flooded much of the northern part of the Netherlands. Dykes were built and the flooded areas pumped dry. Large parts of the north of the Netherlands is under sea level.


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