Was the language of ancient Getae a Germanic language?

CyrusSH

Banned
Persian - Iran
Ancient historian Jordanes, who was himself a Goth, in "The Origin and Deeds of the Getae (Goths)" says not only himself but historians before him, like Paulus Orosius, also believed that the Getae and Goths were the same people, he also believed that the names of Getic kings who had been mentioned long time before him by Cassius Dio, have certainly Gothic origin.

And in the modern times, we see Jacob Grimm, the discoverer of Grimm's law (the First Germanic Sound Shift), says that "If only six or eight of my interpretations be correct, and the remainder more or less probable, there needs no further proof that ancient Getae were a Germanic people".

I don't know who has said that the Getae were a Thracian people, Herodotus clearly says that they differed from Thracians. (Histories, 4.93) and he also says "The Getae were the neighbor of Thracian tribes" (Histories, 4.118).

But just Strabo says: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/e/roman/texts/strabo/7c*.html

As for the southern part of Germany beyond the Albis, the portion which is just contiguous to that river is occupied by the Suevi; then immediately adjoining this is the land of the Getae, which, though narrow at first, stretching as it does along the Ister on its southern side and on the opposite side along the mountain-side of the Hercynian Forest ... Now the Greeks used to suppose that the Getae were Thracians;
Is there any linguistic evidence which proves Getic was NOT a Germanic language?
 
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  • berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    The main contemporary source concerning the language of the Getae is Strabo, who wrote in the time of Augustus and Tiberius. In Book VII, chapter 3, paragraph 13 of hist Geography we find: ὁμόγλωττοι δ’ εἰσὶν οἱ Δακοὶ τοῖς Γέταις (=same-language-speaking but are the Daci to-the Getae).

    To my knowledge, the main source of the identification of Goths and Getae was Jordanes, who said the Goths came from an Island in the northern Ocean, which has later been identified with Gotland. From there they went to the mouth of the Vistula, traveled further up the Vistula end down the Danube and became known as the Gatae. But Jordanes lived several centuries after the Romanisation of Dacia and can at best be considered a second-hand source.

    Grimm gave a lecture (Über Iornandes und die Geten, published by the Prussian Academy of Science in 1846) in support of Jordanes' identification of Goths and Gatae but rejected his Jordanes' identification of Scandinavia as the homeland of the Goths. Grimm was an eminent scholar but also a German nationalist and was eager to refute the Northern origin theory because for him the Deutschen (the modern Germans) are the true and original Germanen (ancient Germans). For him the Germanic homeland is in an unspecified part of Asia. He tried to argue Strabo's statement away be identifying the Getae with the Goth and the Daci with the Danes, which from a modern perspective, of course, lacks any credibility.
     

    danielstan

    Senior Member
    Romanian - Romania
    Few ideas to comment here.

    Jordanes was a Gothic historian of 6th century who wrote his works chiefly in Constantinopole, espacially Getica ("The Origin and Deeds of the Getae/Goths") : Getica - Wikipedia

    He probably used Byzantine sources for his work and, in my opinion, he could easily mix historical facts for 2 different peoples:
    - the Getae, located by various historians on both banks of the Danube in the centuries I BC - 2 AD
    - the Goths, who invaded the former Roman province of Dacia in 3rd and 4th centuries AD (after the Roman retreat of this province, at North of Danube).
    The ancient Greek sources about Getae, as far as I remember, where not accounts on first hand, but usually information collected by Herodotus and others from Greek colonists on the Black Sea coast.

    To answer your question - we know so little of the language of Dacians or Getae, that we cannot provide a linguistic proof for what you ask.
    Some toponyms, anthroponyms and isolated glosses have been recorded, usually in Greek sources (with Greek alphabet which may not match perfectly the phonetics of Getic language)...

    An indirect testimony about the Getic language we have from the Latin poet Ovidius Publius Naso who was exiled at Tomis (today Constanta) on the shore of Black Sea between 8 - 17/18 AD.
    During his exile he wrote various letters to his friends and also some poems. He tried to communicate with Getae and Sauromatae people he found at Tomis,
    but he complains about these people who could not understand Latin.
    About Getae he mentions they used in their speech some Greek words, but with an ugly pronunciation.
    In the first 3-4 years of exile Ovid could not communicate fluently with the Getae, but from the 4th year he learnt Getic and spoke with them. He even wrote some poems in Getic (but they did not survive to our days).
    Ovid does not mention any similarity between Getic language and German (but I don't know if he knew something of the Germanic languages of his time).

    Here you may find some paragraphs relevant to Ovid's linguistic experience in exile, in Latin and with Romanian translation (not useful to you, I suppose):
    Aventura lingvistică a lui Publius Ovidius Naso (43 î.Hr.-18 d.Hr.) la Tomis

    Otherwise you may find on google the English translation of his writings and read for yourself.
     
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    CyrusSH

    Banned
    Persian - Iran
    The main contemporary source concerning the language of the Getae is Strabo, who wrote in the time of Augustus and Tiberius. In Book VII, chapter 3, paragraph 13 of hist Geography we find: ὁμόγλωττοι δ’ εἰσὶν οἱ Δακοὶ τοῖς Γέταις (=same-language-speaking but are the Daci to-the Getae).

    To my knowledge, the main source of the identification of Goths and Getae was Jordanes, who said the Goths came from an Island in the northern Ocean, which has later been identified with Gotland. From there they went to the mouth of the Vistula, traveled further up the Vistula end down the Danube and became known as the Gatae. But Jordanes lived several centuries after the Romanisation of Dacia and can at best be considered a second-hand source.

    Grimm gave a lecture (Über Iornandes und die Geten, published by the Prussian Academy of Science in 1846) in support of Jordanes' identification of Goths and Gatae but rejected his Jordanes' identification of Scandinavia as the homeland of the Goths. Grimm was an eminent scholar but also a German nationalist and was eager to refute the Northern origin theory because for him the Deutschen (the modern Germans) are the true and original Germanen (ancient Germans). For him the Germanic homeland is in an unspecified part of Asia. He tried to argue Strabo's statement away be identifying the Getae with the Goth and the Daci with the Danes, which from a modern perspective, of course, lacks any credibility.
    I think the main source of the identification of Goths and Nordic people who live in Gotland was also Jordanes but the problem is that those who claim this thing just read a sentence, not what Jordanes has said before and after it, the most important point is the date of this migration which was 1490 BC (more than 3,500 years ago). Jordanes never believed that Goths were newcomers. As you read here: Getica - Wikipedia Danish scholar Arne Søby Christensen says that the origin of the Goths in the book is a construction based on popular Greek and Roman myths as well as a misinterpretation of recorded names from Northern Europe. The purpose of this fabrication, according to Christensen, was to establish a glorious identity for the peoples that had recently gained power in post-Roman Europe.[13] Canadian scholar Walter Goffart suggests another incentive: Getica was part of a conscious plan by emperor Justinian and the propaganda machine at his court. He wanted to affirm that Goths (and their barbarian cousins) did not belong to the Roman world, thus justifying the claims of the Eastern Roman Empire to the western part of the latter.
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Where does he say this thing?! I have mentioned what he has said about them.
    I don't know who has said that the Getae were a Thracian people, Herodotus clearly says that they differed from Thracians. (Histories, 4.93)
    You missed the crucual bit: They were defferent from the other Thracians. The paragraph you quoted clealy identifies the Gatae as a Thracian people:
    Before arriving at the Ister, the first people whom he subdued were the Getae, who believe in their immortality. The Thracians of Salmydessus, and those who dwelt above the cities of Apollonia and Mesembria- the Scyrmiadae and Nipsaeans, as they are called- gave themselves up to Darius without a struggle; but the Getae obstinately defending themselves, were forthwith enslaved, notwithstanding that they are the noblest as well as the most just of all the Thracian tribes.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I think the main source of the identification of Goths and Nordic people who live in Gotland was also Jordanes but the problem is that those who claim this thing just read a sentence, not what Jordanes has said before and after it, the most important point is the date of this migration which 1490 BC (more than 3,500 years ago). Jordanes never believed that Goths were newcomers. As you read here: Getica - Wikipedia Danish scholar Arne Søby Christensen says that the origin of the Goths in the book is a construction based on popular Greek and Roman myths as well as a misinterpretation of recorded names from Northern Europe. The purpose of this fabrication, according to Christensen, was to establish a glorious identity for the peoples that had recently gained power in post-Roman Europe.[13] Canadian scholar Walter Goffart suggests another incentive: Getica was part of a conscious plan by emperor Justinian and the propaganda machine at his court. He wanted to affirm that Goths (and their barbarian cousins) did not belong to the Roman world, thus justifying the claims of the Eastern Roman Empire to the western part of the latter.
    There can't be any serious doubt that Jordanes account is a giant conflation of different myths, this includes the unfounded identification vaguely similar sounding names, like, Gatae and Goths, as well as the timing of the Gothic ethnogenesis. This is also the gist of Christensen's book according to cover texts and reviews I have seen. I haven't seen the full text, yet. Goffart disparagingly writes about "Disguising the Goths as Getae". I think you have to study their works a bit more carefully before calling your witnesses.
     
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    CyrusSH

    Banned
    Persian - Iran
    You missed the crucual bit: They were defferent from the other Thracians. The paragraph you quoted clealy identifies the Gatae as a Thracian people:
    Before arriving at the Ister, the first people whom he subdued were the Getae, who believe in their immortality. The Thracians of Salmydessus, and those who dwelt above the cities of Apollonia and Mesembria- the Scyrmiadae and Nipsaeans, as they are called- gave themselves up to Darius without a struggle; but the Getae obstinately defending themselves, were forthwith enslaved, notwithstanding that they are the noblest as well as the most just of all the Thracian tribes.
    Getae was certainly a neighbor of Thracian lands and Herodotus see them as a people who live in the same region but he doesn't say "The Thracians of Getae" or "they are the noblest Thracian tribe", for example I replace some words: Before arriving at the Persian Gulf, the first people whom he subdued were the Persians, who believe in their immortality. The Arabs of Kuwait, Qatar,..., gave themselves up to Darius without a struggle; but the Persians obstinately defending themselves, were forthwith enslaved, notwithstanding that they are the noblest as well as the most just of all the Arab tribes.
     

    Ihsiin

    Senior Member
    English
    Might I venture to suggest that since there is (I believe) no attestation of a language that is positively identified as 'Getic', this discussion involves neither etymology nor the history of languages, nor indeed linguistics?
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Well, I accepted the thread as "history of linguists". In a broader sense, history of science is also science. It is maybe not the core scope of this forum but as long as the border between history of linguistics with linguistics itself remains clear, I think we can let this discussion run a bit further.

    But you are right, there is no primary attestation of anything like "Getic" and no know descendent language.
     

    CyrusSH

    Banned
    Persian - Iran
    Few ideas to comment here.

    Jordanes was a Gothic historian of 6th century who wrote his works chiefly in Constantinopole, espacially Getica ("The Origin and Deeds of the Getae/Goths") : Getica - Wikipedia

    He probably used Byzantine sources for his work and, in my opinion, he could easily mix historical facts for 2 different peoples:
    - the Getae, located by various historians on both banks of the Danube in the centuries I BC - 2 AD
    - the Goths, who invaded the former Roman province of Dacia in 3rd and 4th centuries AD (after the Roman retreat of this province, at North of Danube).
    First about Getae, as you read in my first post, Strabo says "stretching as it does along the Ister (Danube) on its southern side and on the opposite side along the mountain-side of the Hercynian Forest (The Hercynian Forest was an ancient and dense forest that stretched eastward from the Rhine River across southern Germany), this region was much larger than what you said, and about the dates, I don't know what you mean by "I BC" Herodotus who talks about Getae lived in the 5th century BC.
     

    CyrusSH

    Banned
    Persian - Iran
    Might I venture to suggest that since there is (I believe) no attestation of a language that is positively identified as 'Getic', this discussion involves neither etymology nor the history of languages, nor indeed linguistics?
    We are discussing about the history of Germanic language here, there are many evidences that Getic and Gothic were the same languages but there are some people who claim Getic was a Thracian language (probably because the misinterpretation of what Herodotus said or even Herodotus' own mistake), I ask here do they have also linguistic evidences for this claim?
     

    Ihsiin

    Senior Member
    English
    It occurs to me that the linguistic component is only incidental and rather tenuous, but I am not a moderator and berndf has decided to allow this discussion, so I shan't go on about it.

    I ask here do they have also linguistic evidences for this claim?
    There can be no linguistic evidence relating to Getic at all because this language/dialect is unattested.
     
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    CyrusSH

    Banned
    Persian - Iran
    There can be no linguistic evidence relating to Getic at all because this language/dialect is unattested.
    The same thing can be said about all other extinct languages, so no one should talk about Scythian or proto-Indo-European language in this forum?
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    The same thing can be said about all other extinct languages, so no one should talk about Scythian or proto-Indo-European language in this forum?
    That is correct. We know next to nothing about Scythian. We don't even know if they have a common language. Yet there is a corpus of Scythian inscriptions and some proper names, albeit a very, very small one. Based on this, the Scythian language(s) are ascribed to the Eastern Iranian group by most scholars. But even that remains speculative.
     

    CyrusSH

    Banned
    Persian - Iran
    That is correct. We know next to nothing about Scythian. We don't even know if they have a common language. Yet there is a corpus of Scythian inscriptions and some proper names, albeit a very, very small one. Based on this, the Scythian language(s) are ascribed to the Eastern Iranian group by most scholars. But even that remains speculative.
    It is really possible that many people who lived in the west of Black sea and were mentioned as Scythians in the ancient Greek and Roman sources were actually Germanic people, of course it seems Scythian was used mostly as a geographical name (people who live in Scythia), not an ethnic one.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    It is really possible that many people who lived in the west of Black sea and were mentioned as Scythians in the ancient Greek and Roman sources were actually Germanic people, of course it seems Scythian was used mostly as a geographical name (people who live in Scythia), not an ethnic one.
    Given the little that is attested, many things are possible. We can't even be sure they were IE. How knows, maybe they spoke a Turkic language. But Eastern Iranian is, how shall we call it -- the least unlikely assumption.
     

    CyrusSH

    Banned
    Persian - Iran
    About the origin of Getae, it is important to know who were Bastarnae, they lived in the same region from at least 3rd century BC. In 61 BC the Getae are part of a force that is led by the Bastarnae. Together they inflict a humiliating defeat upon the Roman army of the inept Gaius Antonius Hybrida (uncle to Mark Antony) outside a Greek colony at the mouths of the Danube, at the Battle of Histria.

    Almost all ancient Greco-Roman geographers and historians, such as Strabo, Pliny and Tacitus say that Bastarnae were certainly a Germanic people.
     

    danielstan

    Senior Member
    Romanian - Romania
    Why is important to know who were Bastarnae if we want to know who were Getae?
    I detect an assumption that Getae and Bastarnae were somehow linguistically related, but I don't see some arguments.

    In this area there were many linguistic groups in antiquity: Celts (toponims like Noviodunum are Celtic), Iranians, Thracians and so.

    From the attested toponims in Balkans and Dacia province I never heard of some Germanic evidence.
    I know some linguists (don't remember who) defined a linguistic border between Thracians (South of Danube) and Geto-Dacians based on the toponims ending in -deva/-dava (Getae) and the toponims ending in -para (Thracians).

    Few toponims have cognates in modern Albanian:
    - Carpathians mountains and Carpii tribe - cognates with Albanian karpë - Wiktionary ("rocky")
    - Dacia Malvensis province, later renamed in Dacia Ripensis ("Dacia of the bank") - cognate with Albanian mal ("mountain"), possibly inherited in modern Romanian mal ("bank","shore")
    So few evidence of Dacians speaking a language related to Albanian.
     

    CyrusSH

    Banned
    Persian - Iran
    Of course it is important to know other Germanic people also lived in the same region or not, the region in the west of Black sea was known as Burjan (Burgundy) in the early Islamic sources, Burgundians were another East Germanic people.
     

    CyrusSH

    Banned
    Persian - Iran
    Grimm was an eminent scholar but also a German nationalist and was eager to refute the Northern origin theory ... For him the Germanic homeland is in an unspecified part of Asia.
    I think I should search for the meaning of "Nationalism", it seems I know absolutely nothing about it.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Probably because it was normal for his time. If you read the lecture in its entirety, the tenor is clear. But that may be difficult for you because I don't think it has been translated.
     

    Alex Getul

    New Member
    Romanian
    Hi there.first of all,the getae(latin) were getes(english) or geto-pelasgians(arians).they were not a thracian tribe because the thracians were a getes tribe(the greeks,after stealling the goddes,culture etc from the getes made some changes in their name/even the greeks are getes).Herodotus said they was the biggest nation after indians and that they could be undefeateble,the problem was they fought each other(and they was like 180-200 tribes)...we,europeans+massagetes(persians)+boers from North Afrika still do the same thing even today.in a document since 1133 from Vatican,Scandinavia was called Daciæ(see Dacia of Burebista),that means the vikings emigrate north from old Dacia.and who thinks the saxons living in Romania came from Germany is wrong,cuz the germans are from saxons and vikings.i am not trying to say,we,romanians are more special but that we are all brothers and habe same roots.Miceal Ledwith,irish guy,former priest or something like this at Vatican said the humanity and culture came from today Romania and North Bulgaria(part of old Dacia) and emerged West and North...and to referring at our 100% romanian nationality we say "romanian get be get",italians says "italian doc(daci/doci).and the dacians are called geto-dacians,what means even the dacians were getes tribe...dacians,in romanian daci(dutch),germans deutsch(doici),netherland dutch....slavic,germanic,latin people etc....we are all geto-pelasgians.about the first writting system(older almost 2000 years than sumerian system) searc "Tablets of Tărtăria)... and even the almost 1000 similar words between today romanian and sanskrit...a typ here :

    Romanian, oldest european language - new developments | Antimoon Forum
     

    symposium

    Senior Member
    Italian - Italy
    There are so many people in the world who, instead of celebrating or just scientifically researching the actual history and achievements of those who lived in the same place where they live now, feel the need to make up crazy stories to compensate for something... They're doing no justice to those people, to themselves nor to anybody else... It just shows that you think so little of what they actually did and of whom they actually were.
     
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