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Old September 8th, 2013, 06:36 PM   #1
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Are Goths and Vandals really "Germans"?


Title.

are they really Germans in a modern sense in terms of ethnicity and culture? Gothic culture is a little bit different than the culture of the Germanic tribes stationed on the Rhine. Modern Goths are more inhabitants of Italy, Spain and some parts of France rather than Germany.

The Goths back then didn't really consider thanselves Germans they just came from the region of "Germania"
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Old September 8th, 2013, 07:14 PM   #2

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Of course they weren't 'German', as Germany didn't exist at the time.

The predominately linguistic title of 'Germanic' can be applied to them, for reasons beorna would be better qualified to elaborate on than myself. Of course labels like 'Germanic' and 'Celtic', and indeed even 'Roman', could become very blurry. There's really no way to know exactly how the Goths would have defined themselves.

There is a theory that the Vandals were really Slavic. For whatever its worth, their names sound really Germanic though.

Last edited by Salah; September 8th, 2013 at 07:30 PM.
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Old September 8th, 2013, 08:27 PM   #3

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Are you basing this of genetics? The Germans 2000 years ago are no more. Though genetically, there are traces found note in northern Europe.
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Old September 8th, 2013, 08:41 PM   #4

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Could they hv been an offshoot of Iranic? Or maybe a hybrid of Iranic and Scandinavian. There still are some Germans who believe their people descended from Scythians, I believe.

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Old September 9th, 2013, 12:10 AM   #5

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First of all "German" and "Germanic" is term which these people newer applied on themselves. In fact no German applied word "Germanic" on himself and his language before 18th ct. So we basically retrofit this name on those people (not really uncommon practice in hystory).

German/Germanic was Roman term which had more geographic meaning than ethnic. Germanic was anybody coming from Germania -geographic area in North-Eastern Europe. We know that different people lived in this area including what we now call Germanic, Celtic, Baltic, Slavic, Iranian and Finish people.

Now as for Goths and Vandals, they most likely were "Germanic" people. That is they were speakers of language which belonged to Germanic language group of which "German" language (or languages?) is one of the descendants.

However at the time of their migration they likely included some non-Germanic people which they brought along their migration. It is for example known that Vandal confederation of tribes included some Iranic Alans.
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Old September 9th, 2013, 12:28 AM   #6

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A lot is already said here. Germans are speakers of a germanic language, but they are not germanics and germanics are of course not germans. Germans is a term for several mainly west-germanic tribes, which were part of the frankish empire and evolved a common identity inside the eastern part of it, after the partition of the frankish empire.
Germanics are members of the linguistic family of the germanic languages.

Goths and Vandals were eastern germanics, who later migrated from inside the Przeworsk and Wielbark/Cernjachov/Sintana-de-Mures-cutures to Spain, Afric or Italy. During their migration both gentes included as well foreign groups, other germanic splitter, roman lower classes, slaves or as mentioned above indo-iarnian Alans and even Huns.

Vandal and goth groups lived as well on territory which belongs today to Germany, so maybe some Germans are indeed descendents of them, but for sure as well many Spanish, Italian, balkanians, Poles, Ukrainians or who ever.

An interesting question is indeed, whether all germanics considered themselves as germanics. Tacitus wrote, that the name germani was taken from a single tribe, used for all tribes east of the Rhine and then used by the Germanics as well for themselves. They shared a similar religion, similar culture, similar languages. So it seems, that they knew, that they were a close related group. A common identity as germanic nation, as a single people, did not exist.
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Old September 9th, 2013, 12:30 AM   #7
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They weren't German but Germanic.
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Old September 9th, 2013, 02:09 AM   #8

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The Goths origin is disputed but appears to southeastern scandanavian, which is more or less what Jordanes claims in his Res Gaetica. Their culture was identifiably different to mainstream germanic tribes of the time and the Romans didn't class them as such, but then, they tended to interact with the individual tribes rather than cultural groups as a whole, and for that matter the same applied to the Goths themselves - the division of Visigoth and Ostrogoth had more to do with political necessity and circumstance regarding the Huns than any cultural bias.
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Old September 9th, 2013, 02:39 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by caldrail View Post
The Goths origin is disputed but appears to southeastern scandanavian, which is more or less what Jordanes claims in his Res Gaetica. Their culture was identifiably different to mainstream germanic tribes of the time and the Romans didn't class them as such, but then, they tended to interact with the individual tribes rather than cultural groups as a whole, and for that matter the same applied to the Goths themselves - the division of Visigoth and Ostrogoth had more to do with political necessity and circumstance regarding the Huns than any cultural bias.
The Goths at the Black Sea were classified as Skythians, but due to the greek custom to divide the barbarians in keltoi in the west and skythes in the east and as well, because the Goth adopted a steppe style on their way south-east. The Gutones at the baltic coast appear among the Germanics like all the others.
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Old September 9th, 2013, 09:47 AM   #10

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The reference to scythians is an error made by Roman sources - they were different cultures.
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