Were Hengest and Horsa Real?

Jan 2014
2,124
Westmorland
The reason why I wrote that I have never heard of a brythonic use of 'ric' is because there are no actual examples, just extrapolations from old irish riagol from latin regula, rule. The germanic use is very well attested, whereas a brittonic examples are absent and suggested links tenuous.
But there are examples of the use of rix in Brittonic personal names. By way of example, a Rianorix is attested on a stone found at just outside the Roman fort at Maryport and a Tancorix is attested on a stone at Old Carlisle. Both were originally assumed to be Roman era stones of uncertain date (and appear as such in RIB), but the hints of debased Latin, the use of Roman capitals and the format of the inscriptions has led to them being tentatively reclassified as Class I stones, making them sub-Roman. Either way, the names are Brittonic.

The start of the legend on the Tancorix stone reads "Tancorix mulier.....". This is translated as "Tancorix, wife". There is no objection to the translation, but Tancorix looks to me like a male name and I wonder whether the stone attests the collapse of declension and case in Late British Latin and is meant to read "Tancorix's wife...". Makes no difference to the matter under discussion, but an interesting aside.
 
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Jan 2014
2,124
Westmorland
This is an interesting report about the archaeological dig. It mentions the remains of Anglo-Saxon halls being found, and this suggests it was an important site, not the little village that has been suggested. This report also indicates that the site, of strategic importance, may actually have had a military function. Scroll down the page to the Anglo-Saxon information.

Mucking archaeological dig | Historical places in Thurrock | Thurrock Council
That is indeed interesting. Do we know if the large hall belongs to the earliest phase? If so, I would concede that I need to rethink my argument. If it's later (given that the site had a long history and large timber halls in AS contexts are more common from the mid sixth-century), the hall doesn't help us understand the fifth-century evolution of the site.

The belt sets are also interesting. They suggest either Roman military service or adoption of a fashion which had its roots in late Roman military service. See James Gerrard, The Ruin of Roman Britain: An Archaeological Perspective (esp. the discussion from page 151 onwards). In the context of Mucking, that might mean:-

1. Late Roman Germanic federates who went to live in Mucking after completing military service; or

2. Late Roman Germanic federates who held Mucking as a military installation; or

3. Post-Roman Germanic migrants making a conscious fashion choice based on an association or perceived association with the Roman state.

2 looks to be out on archaeological grounds, so I'd argue it's most likely 1 or 3. Either way, I think we can discount our pirate nest.
 
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Jan 2014
2,124
Westmorland
"There was been a large amount of speculation about Sunken Floor Buildings (SFB) in early A-S settlements. On most sites they seem to have been used for ancillary buildings, occasionally associated with metal working eg Mucking (Actually when you read the Mucking report it was slag that was found not metal production itself and in a Grubenhauser already being gobbled up by the gravel excavation). Overall there can little doubt about the link between these buildings and textile production. The exclusive association of textile tools with female burials is strongly suggestive of such production being in the hands of women.The even distribution of weaving sheds with sites means that they were not to create a female activity within the area for the the entire settlement. Rather each household had its own weaving shed (if it had one)."

Strangely enough he goes on to claim that Hamerow (the author of the Mucking report) calculated a population of 94 plus or minus 10% for for 8 to 10 farmsteads in Mucking - in the report she says 65! With 77 Grubenhauser found - seems very low to me (but then I am not an historian).

BTW - Carolingian sources suggest an average family size of 5.79 and practically zero grandparents.
Good post.

SFB's are indeed a hot topic for debate. Although many may have been used for textile production, I think we are better off seeing them as multi-purpose ancillary buildings. Basically, the early medieval version of the various sheds and outbuildings we see at modern farms. A number were found at Brougham, near Penrith, which appeared to belong to a seventh-century agricultural site. They were near the edge of what appeared to be a timber framed 'hall', but it wasn't a very large one. As I recall, one had a beaten floor but others may have had suspended floors to keep whatever was kept in there off the ground. The discovery of spindle whorls gave rise to the suggestion that the beaten floor SFB originally had benching around the walls that women could sit on (feet on the floor) as they span.

Even if we allow for 95 people at Mucking and discount both children and old people (all of which smacks of special pleading anyway), we still don't have a viable 'hostile' community. I come back to the disorganised and undefended nature of the site. If me and my pals are the terror of the Thames, would we not think about fortifying our settlement just in case an angry mob of locals descended on it a) when we were out on one of our raids or b) at night when we were all napping after a hard day's slaughtering?

The 77 SFBs would not all belong to the same period. Early settlements tended to shift over time.

The nature of AS settlement was also very varied. The 'lads only' federates model works for some places (notably East Kent and Dorchester on Thames), but not for others.
 
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Aug 2011
4,674
*sek- | Origin and meaning of *sek- by Online Etymology Dictionary
Seax - Wikipedia

"Saxon" (and presumably "seax") is related etymologically to the English words "scythe", "scissors" and "saw" (and ultimately to Latin based words including "section" and "segment") as well as directly to the modern roofer's "zax" instrument
This is what etymonline.com has to say about the proto indoeuropean root *sek

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to cut." It forms all or part of: bisect; dissect; hacksaw; insect; intersect; resect; saw (n.1) "cutting tool;" Saxon; scythe; secant; secateurs; sect; section; sector; sedge; segment; skin; skinflint; skinny; transect.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Latin secare "to cut," sectio "a cutting, cutting off, division;" Old Church Slavonic seko, sešti "to cut," sečivo "ax, hatchet," Russian sech' "to cut;" Lithuanian įsėkti "to engrave, carve;" Albanian šate "mattock;" Old Saxon segasna, Old English sigðe "scythe;" Old English secg "sword," seax "knife, short sword;" Old Irish doescim "I cut."
 
Aug 2011
4,674
But there are examples of the use of rix in Brittonic personal names. By way of example, a Rianorix is attested on a stone found at just outside the Roman fort at Maryport and a Tancorix is attested on a stone at Old Carlisle.
But they are the gaulish forms rix and not the germanic form ric. I was specific: "I have never heard of a brythonic use of 'ric' is because there are no actual examples"

One cannot claim the 'ric' in Cynric, which is well very attested in germanic, is not germanic but is actually brittonic because it appears in gaulish form on a latin dedication. The entire corpus of celtic names in roman britian uses the forms, ri, rig, ris, rix, reg, rex, ria and there is not a single ric. The two are cognates only and there is no equivalence which can be used interchangeably.


Anted[ios]/Antedrig: Late first century BC to early first century AD, Coin
Camulorix: Ratcliffe-on-Soar, Nottinghamshire, Lead sheet
Cingetorix: c. 54 BC
Deomiorix: Bath, Somerset, c. AD 275–400, Tin sheet
Kunaris: Chester, Samian dish
Lugotorix: c. 54 BC
Maglorius: Leintwardine, Herefordshire, Fourth-century context, Lead sheet
Manduorix: Vindolanda, Northumberland, c. AD 95–105 Writing tablet
Maporix: Leicester, Leicestershire, Context late first/early second century, Coarse pottery
Morirex: Maryport, Cumbria, DM Tombstone
Regalis: Leicester, AD 150-250 (based on lettering - Old Roman Cursive), Lead sheet
Ria: Caerleon, Gwent, Stamp TRIVESF dated to Antonine period Samian ware
Riacus: Vindolanda, Sandstone slab
Rianorix: Maryport, Cumbria, Tombstone
Riomandus: Leicester, AD 150-250 (based on lettering - Old Roman Cursive), Lead sheet
Riovassus: Bath, Somerset, c. AD 175–275, Alloy sheet
Sintorix: Richborough, Kent, Samian ware
Tancorix: Old Carlisle, Cumbria, Tombstone
Veloriga: Bath, Somerset, c. AD 175–275 Alloy sheet
Vindiorix: Bath, Somerset, Tin disc

Celtic Personal Names of Roman Britain
 
Jan 2014
2,124
Westmorland
But they are the gaulish forms rix and not the germanic form ric. I was specific: "I have never heard of a brythonic use of 'ric' is because there are no actual examples"

One cannot claim the 'ric' in Cynric, which is well very attested in germanic, is not germanic but is actually brittonic because it appears in gaulish form on a latin dedication. The entire corpus of celtic names in roman britian uses the forms, ri, rig, ris, rix, reg, rex, ria and there is not a single ric. The two are cognates only and there is no equivalence which can be used interchangeably.
I think we must be talking at cross purposes. Perhaps I can summarise? What you are saying is that ric in Germanic comes via Gaulish. What I am saying is that Gaulish ric has a Brittonic cognate. I'm not arguing that Brittonic rix came via Gaulish ric as I don't think it did. Brittonic always had its version of the same word with the same meaning.

To come back to Cynric. I think what you are saying is that as Brittonic rix is never spelled as ric, it follows that the second part of Cynric's name cannot be Brittonic. That might be right, but it might not be. The problem with Cynric's name is that, unlike the various Romano-British examples you have quoted, it was not written down until much later and then not by a Brittonic speaker. We don't actually know how his name would have been spelled by a sixth-century scribe. This was why I asked if there were any examples of the same name in unequivocally Germanic contexts. If we know that Cynric is otherwise attested as a Germanic name, it becomes much easier to accept that Cynric of Wessex also had a Germanic name. But if there are no other examples, the possibility that Cynric's name is cognate with the Cunorix attested at Wroxeter (irrespective of how it was spelled by a later Anglophone scribe) remains a valid hypothesis, especially as the man Cynric is paired with (Cerdic) undoubtedly does have a British name.

I've just been on the PASE website and the references to Cyneric are all to people who lived much later. The only early Cynric appears to be the man attested in the ASC. But the PASE site only deals with insular material, so I suppose my earlier question - are there any fifth- or sixth-century examples of Cynric as a Germanic name outside Britain - remains valid. You'd know far better than me if there are any such examples but if there are, I'd be interested to know about them as I accept they would seriously weaken my argument.
 
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Dec 2011
2,762
Good post.

SFB's are indeed a hot topic for debate. Although many may have been used for textile production, I think we are better off seeing them as multi-purpose ancillary buildings. Basically, the early medieval version of the various sheds and outbuildings we see at modern farms. A number were found at Brougham, near Penrith, which appeared to belong to a seventh-century agricultural site. They were near the edge of what appeared to be a timber framed 'hall', but it wasn't a very large one. As I recall, one had a beaten floor but others may have had suspended floors to keep whatever was kept in there off the ground. The discovery of spindle whorls gave rise to the suggestion that the beaten floor SFB originally had benching around the walls that women could sit on (feet on the floor) as they span.

Even if we allow for 95 people at Mucking and discount both children and old people (all of which smacks of special pleading anyway), we still don't have a viable 'hostile' community. I come back to the disorganised and undefended nature of the site. If me and my pals are the terror of the Thames, would we not think about fortifying our settlement just in case an angry mob of locals descended on it a) when we were out on one of our raids or b) at night when we were all napping after a hard day's slaughtering?

The 77 SFBs would not all belong to the same period. Early settlements tended to shift over time.

The nature of AS settlement was also very varied. The 'lads only' federates model works for some places (notably East Kent and Dorchester on Thames), but not for others.
If they wanted a defendable site against the local population, they would have chosen Benfleet or Shoeburyness like the later Vikings. If they are hired mercenaries employed by the local population why would they need to fortify the settlement?
Most likely much of the archaeology is lost under Mucking tip, the largest landfill site in Europe at one time.
 
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Aug 2011
4,674
What you are saying is that ric in Germanic comes via Gaulish. What I am saying is that Gaulish ric has a Brittonic cognate.
Yes it is a misunderstanding. Germanic ric comes from Gaulish rix. The cited examples in Britain are from the Gaulish form.

Germanic get some words describing societal structure and iron technology from the Gauls. Proto Celtic *rīg becomes Gaulish or -rīg. Germanic *rīk however is not inherited directly from proto indo european but via a loan from gaulish -rīx, probably during the iron age. From Annotated list of Celtic loanwords, and possible Celtic loanwords, in Proto-Germanic.

1. Words shown to be Celtic loanwords by the Celtic sound change *ē > *ī.

*rīk - ‘king’ (cf. Goth. reiks ‘ruler’), *rīkiją ‘kingdom’ (cf. Goth. reiki, ON ríki, OE rīċe, OHG rīhhi) ← PCelt. - ‘king’ (cf. Gaulish -rīx, -rīg - in names recorded by Caesar; OIr. rí, ríg - ), *rīgiom ‘kingdom’ (cf. OIr. ríge) < PIE *(H)rēǵ - ‘king’ (cf. Lat. rēx, rēg, Skt. rā́ jā, Rigvedic also rā́ ṭ)

The entire argument that old welsh Cynwrig can be back projected to Cunorix and that these are the same as Cynric seems convoluted. We have only gaulish -rīx, -rīg. Cynwrig as far as I know, as a name, has the sense of a heroic (male) chief, based on the elements Cyn (chief) and Gwr (heroic man). If 'rig' is to be read, it is gaulish.
 
Jun 2017
34
Thailand
context and correlations - Germanic tribes' actions against the Roman world often cluster together and coincide closely in time.

if Badon = 500 AD, after 20-30 years of fighting, then the Saxon rebellion began about 475 AD... To wit, the Saxon revolt in Britain occured whilst other Germanic groups were uprising in Gaul and Italy.


455 AD Saxons Crush Britons- At the battle of Aylesford in Kent, England, the Saxons led by Hengst and Horsa defeated the Britons. This battle was an important step in the Saxon conquest of Britain.

455 AD Vandals Sack Rome- The Vandals viewed the assassination of the Western Roman Emperor Valentinian III as an opportunity to attack Rome. Their attack was successful and the city was sacked.


476 AD Western Roman Empire Ends- The Western Roman Empire came to an end when the Emperor Romulus Augustulus was deposed by German mercenaries at Ravenna. The German mercenaries then declared themselves to be the rulers of Italy.

486 AD Roman Occupation Of Gaul Ends- The last Roman emperor of France was defeated by Clovis I, King of the Salian Franks. After the defeat of the Romans, Clovis established the Kingdom of the Franks.

488 AD Ostrogothic Kingdom Of Italy- Theodoric I (the Great) invaded northern Italy at the request of Zeno the Byzantine Emperor. He conquered Italy and established the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy.



by the end of the 6th century, infighting amongst the British permitted the Saxons to come to power once again

Rhun (r. 547-586 AD) fought & fell in battle against Alt Clud & Gododdin
Rhun Hir ap Maelgwn - Wikipedia
 
Jan 2014
2,124
Westmorland
If 'rig' is to be read, it is gaulish.
I don't think you are suggesting that rig in Brittonic comes from Gaulish ric? If you are, I'd be grateful if you could give me a reference for that.

My argument is that the ric in Cynric only must come from Gaulish ric if the ninth-century scribe of the ASC accurately captured the spelling of the original sixth-century name. I am proposing that the Cunorix stone is evidence for there being an early medieval Celtic name meaning 'hound king' and that Cynric might well have had the same name. My argument presupposes that the original Cynric was called Cunorig or somesuch, but over time, the spelling of the name evolved (as we know they did). When it came to be written down by the scribes of the ASC, it had developed into the name Cynric and was recorded as such in that text. So, the ric was never present in the name of the original sixth-century individual to whom it became attached.

Your argument appears to presuppose that Cynric accurately captures the name as it was spelled in the sixth-century, ergo it cannot be Brittonic as ric doesn't appear in Brittonic names.

If we know of other very early Germanic Cynrics, your argument receives significant support and would, I concede, be more persuasive than mine. If we don't, then we are both making suppositions (mine that the name has been mispelled, yours that it hasn't), but I am able to point to Cunorix and to Cerdic, Cynric's British 'partner'.

Does that make sense (even if you don't agree with it?).