Switheod : Scythia : Sweden

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  • mojobadshah

    Senior Member
    Moderator note: Split from here.

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    The Swedes come from lower Switheod or Sweden and they came out of Greater Switheod or Scythia. They were probably Sarmatian Scythians because the Sarmatians were Zoroastrians.
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    The Swedes come from lower Switheod or Sweden and they came out of Greater Switheod or Scythia. They were probably Sarmatian Scythians because the Sarmatians were Zoroastrians.
    The precise etymology of the name Swede (sviar in Old Norse) is not known and in every book you read a slightly different story. But there is little doubt it is of Germanic origin. Svithiod or Sweoðeod (the Old English variant of the word) mean Swede-people. Thiod/theod is the common Germanic word for people. It occurs e.g. in the names Dutch, Deutsch, Theodoric and many more.
     

    Wolverine9

    Senior Member
    American English
    The etymology of Sweden is unrelated to Scythia. You should carefully evaluate the sources you rely on. Many authors promote their own bizarre theories and speculations that are not based on any linguistic or historical evidence.
     

    Lugubert

    Senior Member
    The Swedes come from lower Switheod or Sweden and they came out of Greater Switheod or Scythia. They were probably Sarmatian Scythians because the Sarmatians were Zoroastrians.
    I think that the Scythia thing is a misunderstanding (to put it kindly) of Snorri's Heimskringla. His Ásgard just means the home of the Nordic gods (Æsir) and can't be interpreted as Asia. Moreover, Scythian art and warfare methods etc. were always totally unknown in Scandinavia.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I think that the Scythia thing is a misunderstanding (to put it kindly) of Snorri's Heimskringla. His Ásgard just means the home of the Nordic gods (Æsir) and can't be interpreted as Asia. Moreover, Scythian art and warfare methods etc. were always totally unknown in Scandinavia.
    Snorri did indeed identify Æsir with men from Asia (En er hann spyR til ferþar þeiRa Asiamanna, er æsir voro kallaðir, ..., Edda prologue, chapter 5; p.6 here). But that, of course, doesn't alter the fact that it is pure folk etymology.;)
     

    mojobadshah

    Senior Member
    The precise etymology of the name Swede (sviar in Old Norse) is not known and in every book you read a slightly different story. But there is little doubt it is of Germanic origin. Svithiod or Sweoðeod (the Old English variant of the word) mean Swede-people. Thiod/theod is the common Germanic word for people. It occurs e.g. in the names Dutch, Deutsch, Theodoric and many more.
    What is the English variant or other Germanic variant of sviar?
     

    mojobadshah

    Senior Member
    Ásaland means "the land of the Æsir/gods". Until somebody quotes a credible contradicting source, I regard the link Æsir-Asia as a far-fetched folk etymology.

    Could Norse Sviar be related to Iran Sar- as in Sarmatian. I understand that Asia is a folk etymology for Aesir. But it appears they thought they came from Asia, nevertheless. This was not an unpopular belief among other members of IE. A lot of them, the Irish, the Scottish, the English (Saxons), the Germans, the Swedish, and the Slavs all thought they had Scythian ancestry including Cimmerian-Scythian and Sarmatian-Scythian ancestry. The Sarmatians were among the first Zarathushtrian converts as a nation. There are a lot of parallels between Norse mythology and Zoroastrian mythology, motifs, which are actually distinct from the general PIE mythological scheme.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Wikipedia quotes that also the name Suevi/Suebi has the same etymology.
    I thought of bringing this up too but then decided against it because the etymology of Suebi is really too doubtful. There is most probably a relation between the Suebi and the river Suebos, i.e the river Swine, the last section of the river Oder before it reaches the Baltic Sea. Before the migration period the Suebi settled in that area. What is unclear is whether the tribe was called after the river or the river after the tribe.
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    It is likely (although not definite) that Swede is from *swi/sui meaning "ourself" (i.e. our people)
    Everything is possible, but at the first glance it seems to me a bit improbable to derive a self-denomination/ethnonym from a relatively abstact concept as the reflexive prounouns (or other words of this kind) are. In other words *swi/sui does not refer (at least neither direcly nor exclusively) to "ourself/ourselves/we ...".

    A propos: I've opened a thread about the IE reflexive pronouns where we can discuss the history/usage/meaning etc... of the reflexive pronouns (and "similar words") in various IE languages in detail.
     

    learnerr

    Senior Member
    Russian
    In other words *swi/sui does not refer (at least neither direcly nor exclusively) to "ourself/ourselves/we ...".
    That must depend on the language. E.g. in my language, свои is a word that is indeed used to refer, as a noun, to the group of people that the user * of the word belongs to. Like: открывай, свои (open the door, we are those who are supposed to enter your home, or just as well "I am one who is"; this word took the plural number, but it may describe a single person the same way); or вернулся к своим (literally, "returned to his own ones", for example in war after being in captivity); or он для нас свой человек (he belongs to our group and shares our codes and beliefs; here the word is used as an adjective).

    * Usually the word 'speaker' is used, but I often find this imprecise; what we do with language is not only speaking or writing, but also thinking and understanding.
     
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    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    I don't want to be off-topic here, so only a short reaction: in some Slavic languages there exists the word našinec (or a variant of this) derived from the pronoun "naš" (our/ours, unser, noster, nuestro, etc ...) indicating someone belonging to "us" (our people, nation, village, country etc ...).. But from the point of view of a possible self-defining ethnonym, I can hardly imagine a term like *svojinec (from "svoj" - sein, suus, suyo, etc ...) in the same meaning.

    Even more, intuitively the (probably) non existent *svojinec (etymologically cognate of the mentioned/supposed Germanic *swi/sui) would rather indicate someone who does not belong to "us" but rather to "themselves" (to say so), i.e. to a separate (different) group/people/nation/tribe ...
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Everything is possible, but at the first glance it seems to me a bit improbable to derive a self-denomination/ethnonym from a relatively abstact concept as the reflexive prounouns (or other words of this kind) are. In other words *swi/sui does not refer (at least neither direcly nor exclusively) to "ourself/ourselves/we ...".

    A propos: I've opened a thread about the IE reflexive pronouns where we can discuss the history/usage/meaning etc... of the reflexive pronouns (and "similar words") in various IE languages in detail.
    There is a range of derivative forms with possessive reflexive meaning, among them German sein = his which has lost its reflexive meaning it still had in Old High German and the English self=German selbst. Such a possessive meaning is also supposed in theories that relate Germanic tribal names (for Swedes as well as for Swabians) to the reflexive pronoun which creates the semantic those who belong to themselves, i.e. the free ones. The self-reference as the free ones is also the basis for the name of the tribe of the Francs. In this context, relating the self-references of Germanic tribes to the third person reflexive pronoun is not prima facie implausible.

    But it needs to be re-iterated that these etymologies are speculative.
     

    NorwegianNYC

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Indeed, it is speculative. However, there is a certain logic to it. However, many peoples and tribes around the world have names that mean "the people" or "our own people". In a socio-cultural setting it makes a lot of to label you tribe as "a tribe of our own" or "a tribe of ourselves". Whereas many tribal names are exonyms (Norwegian = the North men), Swede (from *swi/sui) might be an example of an endonym - not unlike deutsch, from *Þeudiskaz = of the people
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    However, many peoples and tribes around the world have names that mean ... "our own people".
    for example?
    ...Swede (from *swi/sui) might be an example of an endonym - not unlike deutsch, from *Þeudiskaz = of the people
    Or better vulgar, popular, literally peopleish and if you drop the -az suffix you don't need the asterisk. Þeodisc was not a tribal name but was an adjective meaning speaking vernacular (as opposed to speaking Latin or Romance). The development into an ethnonym was medieval.
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    for example?
    Maybe not so many, and not "own", but there are some, meaning "our people". For example:
    Vainakhs: vai - we, our; nakh - people.
    Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne): our people (but according to other sources - those like us).
    Veidyene (Munduruku): our people.
    Pestyn Kizhiler (Chulyms): our people.
     
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    Stoggler

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Maybe not so many, and not "own", but there some meaning "our people". For example:
    Vainakhs: vai - we, our; nakh - people.
    Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne): our people (but according to other sources - those like us).
    Veidyene (Munduruku): our people.
    Pestyn Kizhiler (Chulyms): our people.
    And similarly, the Welsh words for Wales and Welsh (people) come from the Brythonic for fellow-countrymen, amounting to something very similar in meaning
     

    mojobadshah

    Senior Member
    Does all this rule out the possibility that maybe Svar meant something else? Apparently when the Svar reached their new homeland they found the Goths already there. The Goths have been connected to the Getae. It's possible that there were Sarmatians in Sweden early on because the Sarmatians were Zoroastrians and there are Zoroastrian influenced motifs in Norse myth. Sarmatian is derived from Sar-mize-getusa Sar "great; strong; or many" mize "mighty" Getusa cf. Goth. Could Svar be related to Ir. Sar "great; strong; or many"?
     

    NorwegianNYC

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Þeodisc was not a tribal name but was an adjective meaning speaking vernacular (as opposed to speaking Latin or Romance). The development into an ethnonym was medieval.
    My mistake - I was no being clear. The name Svíþjóð, have the elements Sví- and þjóð. And þjóð is related to þeod, from PIE *teuta = people (and with a related, but not identical meaning as þeodisc​)
     

    origumi

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    There's some historiographical info in which "Magog" is the missing link, even if showing no contribution to the etymological discussion:
    Josephus identified the offspring of Magog as the Scythians, a name used in antiquity for peoples north of the Black Sea. According to him, the Greeks called Scythia Magogia (Ant., bk. I, 6).

    Johannes Magnus (1488–1544) stated that Magog migrated to Scandinavia (via Finland) 88 years after the flood, and that his five sons were Suenno (ancestor of the Swedes), Gethar (or Gog, ancestor of the Goths), Ubbo (who later ruled the Swedes and built Old Uppsala), Thor, and German. Magnus' accounts became accepted at the Swedish court for a long time, and even caused the dynastic numerals of the Swedish monarchs to be renumbered accordingly. Queen Christina of Sweden reckoned herself as number 249 in a list of kings going back to Magog. Magnus also influenced several later historians such as Daniel Juslenius (1676–1752), who derived the roots of the Finns from Magog.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magog_(Bible)
     
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