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Ermanarichs arctoi gentes (Jordanes Getica, 116)

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Versuch einer Interpretation

The well-knowm fragment from Jordanes Getica (116) containing the list of northern peoples allegedly conquered by the Gothic king Ermanarich is reconsidered taking into account the long history of studies, data of other late antique and early medieval sources and onomastics of Finno-Ugric, Iranian and North Caucasian languages. The list is considered to be originally a Gothic poetical memorandum similar to other Germanic thulas (as, e.g., in “Widsith”) introduced into Latin text and partly latinized. The beginning of the list is determined after the syntax of the sentence where it is included and later interpunction of manuscripts. Beginning with the Gothic word thiudos ‘peoples’ (Acc. pl.) the list is reconstructed as enumeration of ethnic groups and territories along the way from the Baltic over the Ladoga Lake to the upper Volga and down the Volga River up to its mouth and the North Caucasian steppe up to the Black Sea and, probably, Crimea. This must have been a way discovered by a Gothic expedition in the middle of the 4th c., when the Goths were very active in the Volga basin as it may be seen from the archaeological materials. All the names of the list are localized and interpreted with minimal emendations since they have either good parallels in historical sources or modern onomastics or may be understood as fragments of Gothic text. The results are shown on the map (Fig. 3).

Affiliations: 1: Udmurt State University Izhevsk Russia vovia@udm.ru

10.1163/15700577-12341294
/content/journals/10.1163/15700577-12341294
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2016-07-26
2018-06-18

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