The Iberian Peninsula. From J. Caesar to Saxo Grammaticus.

(Provisional title)





Jordanes wrote in “Getica” that Getae and Goths were all the same people. This idea has been debated for years and is dismissed by many scholars as a myth or just nonsens. The analysis of some archaeological and linguistic material from pre-Roman populations in the Iberian Peninsula shows a remarkable continuity of some cultural elements passing to the Baltic area and Scandinavia that cannot be adscribed to the presence of the Goths. The theory of Jordanes may after all contents elements of truth.

The intention of the author of this paper is to call the attention of scholars towards the existence of these elements in order to bring to light new knowledge of the origins of German and Balto-Slavic languages.





The purpose of this paper is to present new elements and old –from a different perspective- in the study of the pre-Roman population of the Iberian Peninsula, with the purpose of demonstrating that the subject should also interest all scholars working with Germanic, Scandinavian, Baltic and Russian investigations.

In the second half of the XIX C. the German scholar, Alexander von Humboldt, spred the theory that the ”Iberians”, i.e. one of the oldest populations from the Iberian Peninsula, were a non-Indo-European people with remote origins in North-Africa and the ancestors of present-day Basques, a people speaking a -to linguists puzzeling- non-Indo-European language.

The theory has been for a long time declared obsolete in Spain and Portugal, mainly because all the efforts that has been made to translate the remarcable “Iberian” and “Celto-Iberian” graffities in metal plates, ceramics, etc. with the help of Basque, has not given any result deserving to be considered as serious. Despite this fact the theories of von Humboldt are still popular in learned circles around the world.

Better results were obtained by scholars like A. Tovar, who focused in the Celtic elements of the language of the inscriptions, believing that the language was “Celto-Iberian” and therefore Indo-European.

The distinction between “Iberian” and “Celto-Iberian”, as I will show later, is based in differences between signs from the alphabets used in the north, north-east, (the Celto-Iberian area) and the south-east (the Iberian area). The discussion about where Iberians were Indo-Europeans or not is alive and will continue as long as the inscriptions remain untranslated as it´s the case with Etruscan.


The powerful technologies of the information that we posses today, gives us inmediately access to extense data-bases and electronic-versioned documents, only accessible before by way of book loans from libraries or time and money expensive visits to University libraries, archives, museums, etc. These instruments make much easier the task of collecting dispersed data from different countries around the world offering the investigator even the non professional an instrument for quick and effective work.

Wellknown linguistic and archaeological data can now be put in relation to more recent data, opening new possibilities of study and interpretation.

But the instruments are at the same time a two edged weapon. With the coming of the Internet we are witnessing a phenomenon that could be described as the democratization of knowledge of still unknown consequences.

Whoever with time and a special interest can f. e become investigator overnight and publish its results in the Internet. Conscious that what I am offering here can in principle be considered by the reader as one more amount of information to add to the already existing information pile, I hope that the quality of the information collected during the past ten years will outnumber the quantity.







During some studies of Russian in the University of Copenhagen I started for ten years ago to search for material about the Goths, after having read something that at that time was new for me: that the Goths had travelled through Russia before arriving in France and Spain. I thought at that time that there was a possibility of finding in the Iberian Peninsula “outlines” of their stay in Russia and even of their hypothetical land of origin: the Scandinavian Peninsula.


In the same way as Spaniards or Englishmen brought to the American continent place- and person names, it was maybe possible to find a similar phenomenon in Iberia.

Soon I discovered the difficulty of the project, the Goths left very few signs of their sojourn in Russia, where Braun, a famous Russian archaeologist (IS  : 205), declared the Goths "a mystery". Investigations were made yet more difficult when after World Ward II the subject was declared taboo in the Soviet Union throughout the Stalinist period and up to the beginning of the Sixties.  At the same time Spain was an isolated country during the long period of Franco´s regime, when the Gothic heritage was exalted by the government and funds were canalized to the investigation of Spains “glorious” past, while in the democratic Europe the study of the Goths were miscredited during many years as a consequence of the atrocities of World Ward II. As a result of this turbulence there is in my opinion a lack of comparative studies between the local investigations in different countries in Europe. The comparative list of toponyms between Spain and Sweden, (Hispano-Swedish Toponimy annexe), can be an example of this, because it comes out with so many similarities, that not all of them can be explained by coincidence.

Why the Goths are the starting point of a study that deals with pre-Roman Spain and Portugal can be explained as the beginning of a travel backwards in time. The turmoil in Europe in the time the Goths enter in scene in history is a major challenge for historians. The history of the Goths is closely related to the history of any country in Europe.


The journey begins


The first and necessary step when studying the Goths is to get acquainted with ”Getica” (JOR), the work of the monk Jordanes, written in vulgar Latin in the VI A.D., a quite doubtful historical source for most of historians due to its mythic or legendary character. For this reason the "official entrance" of the Goths in history is dated to circa the year 160 A.D. (1).

It´s at this time when they begin to make his appearance in Latin sources in connection with the beginning of Barbarian hostilities against Rome in the area of the Black Sea. The Goths initiated the hostilities in time of the emperor Aurelio, although they reached later an agreement with the empire.


When I say "official", I refer mainly to the prevailing thesis of the Swedish scholar, Montelius, based on an interpretation of the data given by Jordanes:  the migration of this people from the "Island of Scandza", (the Scandinavian Peninsula was considered an island in old times), on board of three ships and under the command of their king, “Berig”, to a place which they called "Gothiscandza" (JOR: §25), wich some authors assume is the zone of the mouth of the river Vistula, in the coast of Poland. Gothiscandza could be the present city of Gdansk, according to them.


The reading of Jordanes is difficult. There are many data based on legends and the chronology is deficient. However the document excels in concrete names of persons, places and populations, that we may assume have arrived to the author from trustworth sources, unless he invented all of them with purposes that either does not have any logic explanation or for unknown reasons (2). The central question is then one of credibility, and in the opposite end to the thesis of Montelius the German scholar, Theodor Mommsen, (JOR: note 828), calculated the migration from “Scandza” to have taken place around the year 1490 BC.


As in Russia the presence of the Goths in Spain, set from an archeological perspective, is also a mystery because of the few material residues leaved to posterity, but they are not from a linguistic point of view, as it will be shown later.


The cause of the few archaeological traces could be in my opinion factors like:


Not to have founded cities.

In Spain it has only been possible to state the foundation of a city: Recópolis, (of late date and of which only there are some ruins). In Russia according to Vozgrin (KR: 83), mentioning the historian Procopius, the Goths established in Crimea: " did not support to live in cities or between four walls and preferred to live in the fields." According to that author, the only witnesses of their presence in Crimea are a few ruins.


The fights against  Rome and the constant changes of territory.


The fact that being a minority in the territories they conquered, they did´nt want to get mixed with the population of the conquered territory (for the total territory of Iberia a number not greater than 100,000 Goths has been stimated). (ART : 19). Euric, the first Visigothic king in Spain, prohibited matrimony between Goths and the local population.


The famous “Treaty of Tudmir” (below) gives an idea of the internal organization of the Visigoths that introduce feudalism in the former Roman territories.  At the beginning there were chieftains or small kings that destributed the conquered land among them and choosed a “primus inter pares” to be the leader of them all. Later the monarchy became hereditary. The “kingdom” of Tudmir covered approximately the territory of two present-day Spanish provinces: Alicante and Murcia (circa 15000 km2). We can assume that noble families without offspring were in some way doomed to disappear.  This politic of  "blood purity" will have degenerated them in the long term.


                       The Treaty of Tudmir/Pacto de Tudmir

                                      (A rough translation)


In the Name of Allah, the Merciful one, the Merciful one. Edict of ` al-`Aziz Abd ibn Musa ibn Nusair to Tudmir ibn Abdush [Teodomiro, son of the Goths]. This last one obtains peace and receives the promise, under the guarantee of Allah and its Prophet, that his situation and the one of his people will not be altered; that  his subjects will not be dead, neither made prisoners, nor separated from their spouses and children; that the practice of thier religion will not be prevented them, and that their churches will not be burned down nor prived of the cult objects that are in them; as long as he satisfies the duties that we impose him. Peace is granted to him against the delivery of the following cities: Uryula [ Orihuela ], Baltana, Lakant [ Alicante ], Mule, Villena, Lawraka [ Lorca ]. In addition, he does not have to give asylum to anybody flying us or being our enemy; nor to produce damage to anybody who enjoys our amnesty; nor to hide any information on our enemies that can arrive to his knowledge. His subjects will pay an annual tribute, each person, of one dinar in metalic, four measures of wheat, barley, juice of grape and vinegar, two of honey and two of olive oil; for the slaves only one measurement.

Given in the month of Rayab, year 94 of the Hégira [ i.e. 713 A.D.. ]. As witnesses, ` Uzmán ibn Abi ` Abda, Habib ibn Abi ` Ubaida, Idrís ibn Maisara and Abul Qasim al-Mazáli."

(Source: Web Page of the Islamic Cultural Center of Valencia at


Isolated documents like the treaty of Tudmir give us a glimpse of the existence of this people entoured by mistery. At least the name Tudmir will be preserved in this document in his original form, otherwise only the latinized form, Teodomiro, will have been known today. This is an important detail, because the Goths arriving to Italy, France and Spain use Latin as official language, a Latin that includes Germanic terms indicating that they still are speaking their language. It´s almost unthinkable that they could loose their language so quickly. According to Jordanes a group of Goths didn´t move westward, but remained in the Black Sea area and “Moesia” (3).  A passage in Jordanes shows how they presumably kept some king of contact with their coussins in the South of Europe. Jordanes narrates (JOR  §174-176) how Bermund and his son, Bitirig, with family roots in the royal branch of the Amal, flying the Huns took refuge in the court of Toulouse.

There Bermund attended the coronation of Theodorid (419-451 A.D.) as king of the Visigoths after the death of Valia (415-419 A.D.), but without revealing its noble identity (that of belonging to the Amal branch, the oldest, the most noble), indicating thus that Bermund had more right to the crown than Theodorid, the king elected.


These "Gotii Minores” remained isolated and surrounded by enemies in the zone of Crimea and managed to preserve a certain independence towards the Tartars first and the Ottoman Turks last, until they desapeared of history together with their language in the XVIII Th century.

A rest of this population, almost completely helenized in S. XVI, according to the Dutch Busbeq (1522-1592), king Ferndinand of Austrias ambassador to the court of Soliman the Magnificent, were still speaking a Germanic language, author of the so called Busbecq Letter.

The author describes in a letter to a friend an interview with two persons of Germanic origin from the town of Cherson in the Taurus (Crimea), "…quae etiamnum incolit Tauricam Chersonesum."

These two legates traveled to the court of Soliman on government issues, "qui nescio quas querelas name eius gentis ad principem deferrent". They speak in Greek or Turkish, but   they say to preserve their vernacular language "in pectoribus …reconditam".

It is under these circumstances that they give to Busbecq a number of terms in their Gothic language, that must produce in germanists the same effect as the "rediscovering" of the ”ladino” language, (the language of the Jewish expelled from Spain in XVI A.D.) among Spanish scholars.



                               The Busbecq Letter



Line of edition: 19       Broe. Panis.    

Line of edition: 20       Plut. Sanguis.

Line of edition: 21       Stul. Sedes.

Line of edition: 22       Hus. Domus.

Line of edition: 23       Wingart. Vitis.

Line of edition: 24       Reghen. Pluvia.

Line of edition: 25       Bruder. Frater.

Line of edition: 26       Schvveter. Soror.

Line of edition: 27       Alt. Senex.

Line of edition: 28       Wintch. Ventus.

Line of edition: 29       Siluir. Argentum.

Line of edition: 30       Goltz. Aurum.

Page of edition: 306

Line of edition: 1         Kor. Triticum.

Line of edition: 2         Salt. Sal.

Line of edition: 3         Fisct. Piscis.

Line of edition: 4         Hoef. Caput.

Line of edition: 5         Thurn. Porta.

Line of edition: 6         Stein. Stella.

Line of edition: 7         Sune. Sol.

Line of edition: 8         Mine. Luna.

Line of edition: 9         Tag. Dies.

Line of edition: 10       Oeghene. Oculi.

Line of edition: 11       Bars. Barba

Line of edition: 12       Handa. Manus.

Line of edition: 13       Boga. Arcus.

Line of edition: 14       Miera. Formica.

Line of edition: 15       Rinck. siue / or

Line of edition: 16       Ringo. Annulus.

Line of edition: 17       Brunna. Fons.

Line of edition: 18       Waghen. Currus.

Line of edition: 19       Apel. Pomum.

Line of edition: 20       Schietê. Mittere sagittâ.

Line of edition: 21       Schlipen. Dormire.

Line of edition: 22       Kommen. Venire.

Line of edition: 23       Singhen. Canere.

Line of edition: 24       Lachen. Ridere.

Line of edition: 25       Eriten. Flere.

Line of edition: 26       Geen. Ire.

Line of edition: 27       Breen. Assare.

Line of edition: 28       Schvvalth. Mors.


Line of edition: 29       Knauen tag erat illi Bonus dies: Knauen

Line of edition: 30       bonum dicebat, et pleraque alia cum nostra

Page of edition: 307

Line of edition: 1        lingua non satis congruentia usurpabat,

Line of edition: 2        ut

Line of edition: 3        Iel. Vita siue sanitas.

Line of edition: 4        Ieltsch. Vivus sive sanus.

Line of edition: 5        Iel uburt. Sit sanum.

Line of edition: 6        Marzus. Nuptiæ.

Line of edition: 7        Schuos. Sponsa.

Line of edition: 8        Statz. Terra.

Line of edition: 9        Ada. Ovum.

Line of edition: 10      Anus Gallina.

Line of edition: 11      Telich. Stultus.

Line of edition: 12      Stap. Capra.

Line of edition: 13      Gadeltha. Pulchrum.

Line of edition: 14      Atochta. Maum.

Line of edition: 15      Wichtgata. Album.

Line of edition: 16      Mycha. Ensis.

Line of edition: 17      Baar. Puer.

Line of edition: 18       Ael. Lapis.

Line of edition: 19       Menus. Caro.

Line of edition: 20       Rintsch. Mons.

Line of edition: 21       Fers. Vir.

Line of edition: 22       Lista. Parum.

Line of edition: 23       Schediit. Lux.

Line of edition: 24       Borratsch. Voluntas.

Line of edition: 25       Cadariou. Miles.

Line of edition: 26       Kilemschkop. ebibe calicem.

Line of edition: 27       Tzo Warthata. tu fecisti.

Line of edition: 28       Ies Wathata. Ille fecit.

Line of edition: 29       Ich malthata. Ego dico.

Page of edition: 308

Line of edition: 1        Iussus ita numerabat. Ita, tua, tria,

Line of edition: 2        fyder, fyuf, six, seuene, prorsus, ut us

Line of edition: 3        Flandri. Nam vos Brabanti, qui vos Germanice

Line of edition: 4        loqui vos factice, hic magnifice efferre,

Line of edition: 5        et nos soletis habere derisui, ac si

Line of edition: 6        istam vocem pronunciemus rancidius, quam

Line of edition: 7        vos Seuenffertis. Prosequebatur deinde,

Line of edition: 8       Athenyne, thiine, thiinita, thunetua, thunetria,

Line of edition: 9       etc. Viginti dicebat stega, triginta

Line of edition: 10     treithyen, quadraginta furdeithien, centum

Line of edition: 11     sada, hazer mille. Quin etiam cantilenam


Line of edition: 12     eius linguæ recitabat, cuius initium erat

Line of edition: 13     hujusmodi:

Line of edition: 14     Wara Wara ingdolou:

Line of edition: 15    Scu te gira Galizu

Line of edition: 16    dorbiza Hemisclep ea.

Line of edition: 17    Hi Gothi an Saxones sint, non possum dijudicare.

Line of edition: 18    Si Saxones, arbitror eo deductos

Line of edition: 19    tempore Caroli magni, qui eam gentem

Line of edition: 20    per varias orbis terrarum regions dissipavit.

Line of edition: 21    Cui rei testimonio sunt Transilvaniæ urbes

Line of edition: 22    hodieque Saxonibus incolis habitatæ.

Line of edition: 23    Atque ex- iis ferocissimos fortasse longius

Line of edition: 24    etiam summoveri placuit in Tauricam usque

Line of edition: 25    Chersonesum, ubi quidem Inter hostes

Line of edition: 26    religionem adhuc retinent Christianam.

Line of edition: 27    Quod si Gothi sunt, arbitror jam olim eas

Line of edition: 28    sibi sedes tenuisse Getis proximas. Nec

Line of edition: 29    erraturum fortasse, qui sentiat majorem

Line of edition: 30    partem eius intervalli, quod est inter Gothiam

Line of edition: 31    insulam et Procopiam, quam hodie

Line of edition: 32    vocant, a Gothis aliquando insessam. Hinc

Line of edition: 33    diverse Gothorum, Westgothorum et

Line of edition: 34    Ostrogothorum nomina: hinc peragratus

Line of edition: 35    orbis victoriis et seminarium ingens barbaricæ

Line of edition: 36    multitudinis. Habes quæ de Taurica

Line of edition: 37    Chersoneso ex- his Procopiensibus didici.


Source: The Account of Crimean Gothic contained in Busbecq's to letter


Electronic text prepared by Sigurður H. Pálsson,

Vienna 1995; TITUS ( original version reformatted according to the edition Augerii Gislenii Busbequii Omnia quæ extant, Basel: Jo. Brandmüller, 1740/Reprint Graz: Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt, 1968 by Jost Gippert, Frankfurt a/M, 3.10.1999/1.6.2000



 The authenticity of the document has beem impugnated by some germanist with arguments like that the two legates interviewed by Busbecq were Jews emigrated to Crimea or German citizens, and defended by others with arguments of linguistic type. In that case the list of the ten numerals and the term ada meaning egg, are for example quite convincing arguments for the last ones (4).







This lack of traces in Russia made me to follow the track backwards, towards, according to Jordanes, the place of origin of the Goths: The Scandinavian Peninsula.


It is after all here where f. e., the Danish monarchy still keeps among others the title of ”Sovereign of the Goth people”, although Sweden has most vestiges of them, at least as far as place names concerns. It is here where we find the island of Gotland, the Göta river, and the dividing regions of the country in Öster Götland and Väster Götland (with Gotenburg as the main city). The Scandinavian languages are in addition those that are nearest to the extincted Gothic (5).


The Goths are seen today with very critical eyes in present Scandinavian academic circles, due to the so-called "gothicism" or exaltation of Sweden as engender of noble peoples/nations in parity with the classical Greek and Roman, originated by the dispute between the Swedish and Spanish delegations to the Council of Basel in 1434 about which delegation had the highest rank in order to distribute the seats. The Swedish archbishop, Nicolaus Ragvaldi, vindicated in that occasion the highest nobility for Sweden on base of the famous passage from Getica 


"Scandza ...vagina nationum" (JOR: §25).


This episode was followed by a period of exaltation of the role played by Sweden in world history with works like ”History of omnibus gothorum sveonumque regibus” of Johanes Magnus (1554) or the ”History of gentibus septentrionalibus” of Olaus Magnus (1555), and culminated later with a work like ”Atlantica” of the Swedish scientist Olof Rudbeck (1679-1702). All of them were directly inspired by the work of Jordanes.


The doctoral thesis of a Danish historian, Arne Søby Christiansen (6), published in English in 2002, is the most recent document that in my opinion illustrates the change from exaltation to an extreme critical attitude towards everything ”Goth” and towards the historical value of Jordanes. One of the main conclusions of Arne Søby Christiansen´s thesis is then:


The basic contenction of this book is that nothing in the first third of Jordane´s Getica has anything whatsoever to do with a history of the Goths…” (CASS : 317)


The well meant intention from some historians side of cleansing history for anything that is not strictly “historic” is perfectly defined by Omeljan Pritsak, the author of The Origins of Rus (RUS):


History begins -and I stress the word begins- with written evidence. It is impossible to extend hisrory back to a period for which there are no written sources, although archaeological and linguistic data can be very useful in elucidating certain facts and situations. Contrary to the conviction of East European scholars, however, archaeology cannot be regarded as pre-history. There is no causal connection between archaeology and history. History, which reflects the highest stage of human experience, cannot appear deus ex machina from archaeology. Only people with with history can bring it to territories without historical conciousness ...

History, like any other exact science, is an abstract, intellectual discipline … (RUS : 8-9)


This rigorous attitude is probably sound for the theoretical and scientific method of history at university level, (a potential “ivory tower” for this science), but it may cause ”lateral damages” of blindness for other facts not transmitted in written form. Thus when Arne Søby Christiansen speaks about the controverse mentioned above between the Swedish and the Spanish legation in Basel, he asks f. e. following question:


 ” ...Considering the vast geographical distance involved, how could the delegates of both these countries possibly claim to be descendents of the same people?”  (CASS  : 7- 8)


In my opinion a rhetorical question wrapping a hidden aprioristic argument: the geographical distance. But the argument cannot be valid for linguists or archaeologists, as geographic distances are mostly the rule than the execption. More than an argument it´s a local-centered way of thinking, as this is the reason why I bring it here. Taking in consideration the sparse documentation existing about the Goths, or about any other Germanic people for the matter of fact, it´s comprehensible that Jordanes Getica will continue to be an important source worth to be consulted if not by historians at least by archaeologists and linguists. We may pay attention here how the myth of the Amazons is being looked at with new eyes after the unearthing of women warriors skeletons in Russia. 


Because of the difficulties of proving any historical presence of Goths in Scandinavia, the interests of scholars has been focused in the Viking period, closer in time but also surrounded by mystery and lack of data. How Goths and Vikings are connected to each other is still a debated matter, but both are closely related to the origins of the Scandinavian states and Russia through trade along the Volga and Dnieper rivers to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.

In Russia the interest has been centered to the discussion around the origin of Russia as an independent nation and the origin and meaning of the name Russia, that since 1749 (7) has divided the investigators in two fractions:  "normanists" and "slavists".

For the slavists the term "rus" would have its origin in the tribe/people of the "Roxolani", mentioned in Jordanes as "aroxolani" (JOR: §74), a name that Russian authors like Miller (JOR: note 247) explain as a term composed of the old-Iranian "ruks", clear (color), and the name of a more well-known tribe/people: the Alanni or Alans; it is to say: "the Alans of light color or the light Alans".

For the normanists the term "rus" is the same that appears in Greek sources as “ρως”, a people



 “…et folk, der overgår alle andre i grusomhed of blodtörstighed. Efter at have undertvunget de dem omgivende folkeslag har disse Rhös nu drevet deres anmassende overmod så vidt, at de endogså har løftet deres hånd imod det romerske rige…

…a people, who surpases all the others in cruelty and blodthirst.  After subduing all the other peoples around them, these Rhös have driven their arrogance so far that they have even raised their hands against the Roman Empire… ”  (Vilhelm Thomsen quoting a Greek manuskript from Patriarch Photios mentioning the attack of Constantinople by the Russians/Norsemen in 865).

 (VT. Vol.I : 255)


1) The Rus´received therir name from Ruotsi, which was in the mid-ninth century what the Finns called the Swedes. The name was derived from the Swedish maritime district in Uppland, Roslagen (Róđslagen), whose inhabitants were called Róđskarlar (<róđr “a rowing or pulling”).

2) The Primary Chronicle includes the Rus´ among the Varangian peoples from beyond the sea, the Svie (Swedes), Urmane (Norwegians), Angljane (English), and Gote (Gauts or Goths). (RUS  : 5).




For the first fraction the matter is clear: the chronicle of the monk Nestor about the origins of Russia, quoted by the Danish linguist Vilhelm Thomsen (VT. Vol.I: 244), narrates how the Slavic princes/war lords were so tired of internal fights that they crossed the sea and went to


"the country of the Varjager or Rus"


with following invitation:


"Our country is great and fertile, but the order does not reign; come to govern us. "


That´s how three brothers, Rurik, Sineus and Truvor, were chosen as their leaders and together with the “Rus people” moved down to the cities of Novgorod, Bjelozero and Izborsk respectively, in the region near the lake Ladoga. And that´s how later, in 882 A.D. the successor of Rurik, Oleg, seized the city of Kiev, which became the capital of the new kingdom known as “Kievan Rus”.


Thus for the "normanists" there is no doubt about the Nordic origin of the kingdom of "Rus" and the many rests that have been discovered in the excavations, mainly in the zone of Novgorod, show a close connection between both sides of the Baltic Sea.

During the time of the Vikings the imperial guard of Byzantium will be made up until the fall of the eastern empire of the above mentioned varjager, word of unknown origin or etymology (VT. Vol. I : 357), although it is still  used in modern Russian as synonym for vagabond.


Jordanes narration, (JOR: §111-112), about the aid granted by the Goths to the emperor Constantin (312 - 337 A.D.) (8) in his civil war against Licinius, (40,000 soldiers and one personal guard), shows a Scandinavian/Nordic presence in the court of Byzantium long before the Vikings, this possible early connexion between the Goths from the II-III centuries A.D. and the later period of the Vikings is reinforced by presumable Gothic origins of objects and techniques of incrustation of precious stones and filigrees in jewelry works, the abundant zoomorphic decorative motivs and even the Scandinavian runic characters (SK : 50-53), whose oldest exemplars (III A.D.) are found in the island of Gotland, an important cross point in the trade route between the Baltic and the Black Sea.


At the end of the journey the Goths arriving to France, Italy and Spain seems to be a heterogenous group searching for places to settle down.

The burial slab of bishop Martín Dumiensis († 580 A.D.), bishop of Braccara (Braga, Portugal), has engraved an inscription in Latin explaining how this bishop:


"...sojuzu s plemena Xristom raznye svirepye (...united with Christ diverse Barbarian people...)... Alamannus, Saxo, Toringus, Pannonius, Rugus, Sclavus, Nara, Sarmata, Datus, Ostrogotus, Burgundio, Dacus, Alanus."  (JOR : note 108)


If we add to this group the group of "arctoi gentes", that were previously subjected to the Gotha by king Hermanarig (351-376 A.D.):


"... Golthescytha, Thiudos, Inauxis, Vasinabroncas, Merens, Mordens, Imniscaris, Rogas, Tadzans, Athaul, Navego, Bubegenas, Coldas... Heruli/Eluri..." (JOR. §116-117)  (9)


To those the Vandals who also arrived to the northwest corner of Spain, we can imagine the chaotic situation of Europe at that time. A chaos threatening the work of anyone who wants to investigates this period, because the questions overnumber the answers few. Can we find the Germans among these peoples? The Swedes? The Danes? The Russians? Where are the Slaves? and the Balts?, etc. It´s impossible to give a clear answer to any of these questions, so the study of the Goths is the study of a time and the peoples living in a vast territory across Europe in a long process of formation of national states we know today.


The book of Jordanes narrates the history of a royal house more than the history of a people or a nation in the sense we understand and define it today, but the legends that includes are maybe the instrument people had to pass a common culture from mouth to mouth. 



Possible connections between Iberia and Scandinavia and Baltic area


But first some words about modernocentrism.


The history of the Goths is closely related to the origins of Russia as pointed before. The role played by the Iberian Peninsula is what I intend to show in the next chapters.

 This is a relatively unknown aspect of European history due in my opinion to the subjectivity of historians, linguists and European humanists when treating with matters related to Portugal and Spain even when pursueing objectivity.

This is the reason I start this chapter speaking of “modernocentrism”, quoting another Scandinavian scholar, the Norwegian Håkon Stang (HS) in his paper “The Naming of Russia” (RUS), that treats exhaustively the matter and who has an innovative approach to history writing essentialy different to the doctoral thesis of Arne Søby Christiansen, mentioned before. Where the last intends to kill myths, the first one wants to let the reader hear distant voices speaking to us from a distant past. 


My wish is to catch hold of some magical moment or moments, in a time quite other than ours, to hear and behold others than us speaking and acting - and coming alive again, alive and understandable still today -enriching our lives by weaving a waft, beginning in the other end, with them, of which both they and we are a part.

Only then, by understanding them, and indeed as many ”thems” as possible, can we best comprehend ourselves. (RUS : 14-15)


So against “modernocentrism”, where historic events circle around of what the historian considers as the centre, HS proposes “altrocentrism” and “multidisciplinary demand” for history writing. Using the debate between Slavists and Normanists as example HS writes:


The modern historian must, from the very outset, avoid one manner of "centrism" - but not another one! He or she should consciously shun modernocentrism; yet equally strenuously pursue, vicariously so to speak, altrocentrism, seeking out what was of central concern to others, thus speaking - with our words, to our times (and later ones) - on behalf of other minds now dead and mute.

The sole way of coming to grips with modernocentrism is by defining what is central to modern minds. And in matters of state politics (to which the question of the naming of the Russian state naturally belongs) the central concerns have long been the Siamese twin ones of ethnicity and territoriality. In fact, roughly, these concerns

(as dominant intellectual themes of the times), and the debate on the naming of Russia, are of equally long standing. It is hardly a mere coincidence that both predominant opinions on the latter give acute expression to this twin/entwined modernocentrism, viz. Ethno-centrism ( ruotsi = ”Swede”, or Rus«/Ros« as a self-appellation for the Polyane tribe of the Slavs) coupled with territory-centrism (the Stockholm area, versus the Kiev area). (RUS :11)


These words of HS are for me an expresion of how the past should be investigated starting from its own premises as far as possible. In the case of the Iberian Peninsula it means that the scholar should avoid to contemplate the great migrations time and earlier times with today eyes to understand its role in the Europe during

The Iberian Peninsula was in the antique world a part of the barbarous world at the edge of the known world in the western, northwestern periphery of Europe closer to the modern understanding of the northern-Atlantic part of the continent:


It seems in fact that by some earlier geographers, notably Ephorus, the barbarian world was conceived descriptively as divided into four corresponding to the points of the compass, as seen from Greece. To the north were the Scythians, to the east the Persians, to the south the Lybians and to the west the Celts. (AL : 219)


This image changed in modern times to the one of being almost part of the African world as a result of the Arab invasion in 711 A.D. to end up as a territorial entity isolated from the rest of Europe. After the fall of the Roman Empire the territory becomes a no mands land with a mixed population of Roman colonist and those who survived the Roman colonization of whom we don´t know much.


To understand under their premises the arrival of the Goths to this part of the world it was necessary for me to go further back in time trying to find their roots.

One of he most controversial passages in Jordanes Getica is the equation Goths = Getae, that identifyies these two peoples; a theory he loaned from Orosius and Isidorus of Seville, who had probably received from sources unknown to us, maybe transmitted by oral tradition. It should be remarked that both Orosius and Isidore of Seville were born in Spain like the “Roman” poets Martial and Lucan, quoted later that give us key references for the knowledge of the earliest Germanics.

The Getae are associated to the Traco-Illyrian Indo-European branch that invaded the most of Europe in the Bronze Age. In the Iberian Peninsula there are, as far as I know, two documented tribes that probably bear the ”surname” Getae: the Ilergetae or Ilergetes and the Indigetes, both dwelling in the northeast corner of Spain. How long had those Ilergetae been in this part of Spain? perharps since the first Indo-European invasions. We only know of them because they made ferocious resistence to the Roman invasion in the II century BC. If we think in Indo-European terms a remote connection between the Goths from the V century A.D. and Indo-European tribes spreading from the Danube, the Black Sea area or South Scandinavia does not need be such an extraordinary phenomenon. The key to loose the problem could be found in the Iberian Peninsula, and this is the work frame of the next chapter.



Linguistic elements

There is a testimony that points to the settlement of Germanic peoples/tribes in the Iberian Peninsula before the Roman invasion: Plinius wrote about the Oretani, the pre-Roman inhabitans of the inland between Madrid and Andalusia, 

           Oretani qui et Germani cognominantur,… L. III, 25.


It´s very well known that Celtic tribes settled during the VIII-VI centuries BC. in parts of Spain, but we don´t know much about them. Germanic tribes could have settled in the Iberian Peninsula alredy during the Bronze Age as I pointed before. There exists an extensive epigraphic heritage left in Spain and Portugal by the different that has been deciphered thanks to the many coins with runic inscriptions of toponyms, but still waits to be translated.  Its importance as historic document is poorly known outside Spain and Portugal. . The matter has been extensively investigated in Spain by authors like Bosch Gimpera and A. Tovar. The last mentioned gives in The Ancient Language of Spain and Portugal (LSP) for the newcomer to Celto-Iberian studies an excellent introduction to the question. It was published in 1961 but it is still a key work. Tovar represents the opposite current to von Humbolds theory of Iberian = Basque mentioned before and he documented that most of the epigraphy from the east and southeast of Spain was Indo-European.

Now,  to spring forth and back from the VI century AD. to pre-Roman times can sound extreme but it´s nevertheless necessary, when dealing with some linguistic elements I will show now.

For those who are not familiar with the question about the impact of the Goth invasions in The Iberian Peninsula, the following document will sound exotic and to some extent completely extranneous to Spain and Portugal. A document from the year 842 AD.. includes the following signatures:


Gondulfus, Leouegildus, Biddi, Sindiuerga, Anilo, Uistragildus (cognomento Gotinus), Gundisalvus, Rindotertir, Gemundus, Uiuildus, Salamirus, Rodericus, Emmarius, Ranilo, Adefonsus, Adosindus.”  (ELH : 421)


(In fact a great number of the Spanish and Portuguese population bears Germanic surnames without being aware of it and I refer to the study of Germanic andronyms and toponyms in Iberia by the German scholar J. Piel resumed in the annexe Hispano-Swedish toponimy).


Another document from 960 A.D., describing the objects donated by the king to a monastery, provides the investigator with another interesting linguistic date: the word rengus related to the term ring in modern Germanic languages:


 “…spata ubi non habebat rengu nec eltrum nisi de aurum habeba…” (ELH : 286)


Lockwoods explanation, (IE : 68-69), on the relationship between the present-day Finnish rengas : ring and a theoretic Proto-Germanic *hriggs (gg=ng) brings up a extrange relationship between Germanic and Finno-Ugrian languages, practically unknown outside Scandinavian circles. The Finnish word rengas is not found in Wulfilas Gothic but it is recorded in Crimean Gothic as rinck (see the Busbecqs letter above). How this word appears in a vulgar Latin “version” in Spain is due to rests of Gothic vocabulary in this language. Not knowing about the Finnish rengas the Spanish scholars name the Old French term renge : belt, girdle, of probably the same origin, but the question is that there is an amount of Germanic loan words in modern Finnish that are so old, that they can help the linguist to study the phonetical and grammatical evolution of Germanic languages. In the case of rengas, Finnish, according to Lockwood, shows that:

In borrowing the word in Primitive Germanic times, Finnish naturalized it to some extent, i.e. it reduced the exotic hr- to r- and substitudted s for z, a voiced sibilant being unknown in Finnish, but otherwise rengas must be held to represent faithfully the phonetics of the word at the time of borrowing. It demonstrates that Pr. Gmc. *hringaz, deducible from the oldest surviving forms in the derivative languages, was in fact preceded by the form *hrengaz.” (IE : 69)

I came here to a serie of interesting observations reading in the ELH, (the Spanish Linguistic Encyclopedia –pages 27-149-), a study about a group of Spanish terms of very old, unknown or problematic origin. The poet Martial (40 – 104 AD.), a Celtiberian from Bilbilis, present-day Calatayud, recorded some of them. He wrote that in the Celtiberian language the term paeda denoted a short jacket. A quick search in a Finnish dictionary gave the term paita that translates to the term shirt! The first surprise faded when finding it included in the list of about 500 Germanic loan words in Finnish compiled  by the Danish scholar Vilhelm Thomsen (VT, II : 168-232):


paita f., veps. paid gen. –an; n.-lap. bajdde indusium v. subucula virilis et mulieribus, skjorte, særk (49. 55. 62. 79 106) = got. paida χιτóν, oht. pheit, oldsaks. pêda, oldeng. Pád.” (VT, II : 203)


The interesting point with paeda is a linguistic relationship between the language of the Goths from the IV-VI centuries A.D. and the language of the pre-Roman population in Iberia. Another interesting word mentioned by Martial is rana, meaning the level line of the water in the bath tube. This is a term that coincides with the ranne from VT´s list:


ranne gen. ranteen f. carpus, brachium inferius; stria coloris; locus ad litus; håndled; stribe; strandbred, est. ranne gen. rande håndrod (91) = oldn. rönd fem. (pl. rendr); sml. oht. rant, oldeng. rand m.” (VT, II : 209)


When VT published his list (1920) he was not aware of the existence of those examples or others discovered later as in the case of the personal name, Ambatus, that appears in several inscriptions in Iberia connected by linguist to the Gohic term andbahti : office, function, ministry (modern German and Scandinavian amt, (administrative area), modern Finnish ammati, (civil servant).

VT observes how little the Finnish language has changed in the last 1500 years to judge after how exactly modern Finnish mirrors these extremly old Gothic loans (older then Wulfilas Gothic), when Finno-Ugric speaking tribes were living close to Gothic speaking peoples somewhere in the easter part of the present-day Finland in what is actually the Russian-Karelian territories or maybe further east and south-east (VT : 160-163).

The appearance of this terms in the Iberian Peninsula are in fact amazing and I hope that they can inspire others to make more exhaustive studies, because the entire question needs to bee updated since the work of VT.

For maybe the oldest substratum in Europe is to find in the Finno-Ugrian languages, although it´s no longer possible to prove it. Trying to find proves in support of this theory I made a comparison between the corpus of terms in modern Spanish of difficult ethymological explanation compiled by the ELH (edited in the 1950ies) and terms found in a Finnish dictionary (together with some Old Prussian examples) with following results:




Words documented as Celtiberians by Martial:

Finnish terms

balux: gold nugget

valu: casting, foundry

bascauda: bath tube, large jar

vaski?: copper

paeda: short jacket

paita: shirt

veredus: riding horse

veri: blood, vigor      "a pureblooded"?

From a  document about minig from Vipascum (Portugal):



lausia: slab, flat stone

lousa: flat stone

rutramen, recisamen: rests of  mineral

res/u: small stones

Other non- Latin words collected in ELH of unknown origin


andare: to go, to walk

antaa: to abandon, to leave

bacca: luggage space in a carriage

vakka: box, basket

barca: boat

parkki: cortex, boat

baranna : veranda, terrace

vara: room, space

fimare : to fertilize

fimo : fertilizer

viemäri: sewer

gurdus : thick

kurttu: fold

mauricellum : colour (unknown) of a horse

mauri: black colour   kellan: yellowish

muta : set of clean underwear to change

muutan: I change

mustela : ferret

muste?: black colour

tilgo: colour (unknown) of a horse

tilke: burlap


Words compared in ELH with Basque or Gaelic roots (central column) and my extended comparison with Finnish and Old Prussian (right column):


carrasca, carrascal: pin-oak, pin-oak plantation

cerro: (stony hill)


*arri (Basque): stone


*kari/ker (Gaelic): stone

karahka: dead branch


kari: stone

andarra/endarra : cheese residues after its fabrication

ondar (Basque): residues


antautua: to leave

autio: empty

ontto: empty

alud : avalanche


lietty, lietteinen: be covered by mud, alluvion

cadec (Catalonian): fruit of the juniperus


kataja: Juniperus kadegs: Juniperus (Old Prussian)


calma: hill


 Kalmus, gen Kalmas Kalmus E 633: Baumstumpf / stub (stump)

(Old Prussian)

cencerro : bell worn by the leading wether/cow


kenkäin: ferrule, thumb stall

chaparrón : heavy rain

chipiarse : to get very wet


tipua : to drip

ciriña: very thin rain

zirin: very thin rain (Basque)

sirinä :whisper

lastra: flat stone


arlasta: flat stone (Basque)

lasta :spatula


lastre : ballast


lastaus : last

fana:  landslide


vane (Valais) : very narrow place

vana: furrow

fature : prunes (Ligurian)

faton: prune

afatovo (Alps): wild prune



vattu : raspberry

falun (Valais): depot marin avec debris de coquilles


valua : to flow, rush down

marra, marroc, morro, muro, murra, murro : words with a  semantic content of enbankment or bulwark.


mura, murroko, murros : words with a  semantic content of enbankment or bulwark made of logs.

mota : low enbankment that borders the pastures (Catalonian, Basque)


motti: inclosure, border.

moga, muga, mugue : stone pile used as milestone or  mark the path under the snow..

moko : top, end. (Basque)

muga : frontier (Basque)

mukura: mound, small hill.

rica, reca : furrow


rike : breach

sobo, zipu : cleft, deep gorge.


zupu : cleft, gorge (Basque):

suppu: deep cleft in the ice.

sare, sari, saro, , sarobe:

border, edge of the field.

sare : net (Basque)

sarja : willow

sutja : sod (Catalonian)

sucio : dirty


suithe : sod (Gaelic)

sutia : dirt

urium (Plinius) : mud residues left back after gold washing


ur : water (Basque)

ura : small rivulet, channel

The toponymes Samos, Sama set in relation with

somago: mud, slime (by Hubschmidt, ELH : 447-493)


sameus : slush, mire

same/a : muddy

zame : soil, earth (Old Prussian)


The Finnish language has some specialy interesting peculiarities: for example it does not accept double occlusives in initial position, so Finnish words looking very apart at first sight are in fact not so different from their English counterparts. Some examples from a group formed of two consonants pl/fl (b is p or v in Finnish) will give an idea:


laaka : flat stone (compare with plaque).

laakea : flat

laatta : plate

              lankku : plank   

leimus : flame          

loisk/e : plash


group kl/kr (g is k in Finnish)

lasi : glass

lause : clause

liito : glide (subs.)

rako : crack


group br/pr

rikkoa:  break

reikä:  breach

reipas: prepared?

              virike: vigor (drive, fuel, impetus, impulse, incitement, stimulus).


Not knowing the Finnish language I cannot answer to a question that comes to my mind: Who loans words from whom? We may consider the following facts:


All Indo-European languages contain a contingent of words which cannot be etymologised, but the proportion of these in Germanic is exceptionally high, about one-third of the basic stock being of unknown origin.” (IE : 123)


”… Since Germanic was in contact with dialects of this family in antiquity, one may regard the Germanic two-tense system as a typological calque on Finno-Ugrian. Furthermore, this family of lanuages is characterised by initial stress. It is not unthinkable that Germanic stress is due to influence from the same quarter.” (IE : 123-124)


”On this basis, scholars argue that Proto-Indo-European bears similarities to Proto-Finno-Ugric, a language ancestral to Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, and Lappic,25 and to Proto-Kartvelian, from which the Caucasian languages developed.26…”

(The Search for Common Origins: A survey of  the history of Indo-European studies. K. Hagemajer. Cite of W. P. Lehmann: ”The Current Thrust of Indo-European Studies.)


“…The modern English “mead” is transparently part of the same series that gives us Sanskrit “madhu”, Greek “methy”, Old Church Slavonic “medu”, Lithuanian “medus”, Old Irish “mid” and Tocharian B “mit”, all of which provide us with our word for the Proto-Indian-European alcoholic and ritual drink *medhu “mead”. 

(SI : 136)


Mallory quotes here Jaan Puhvels analysis of the Indo-European horse sacrifice-ritual called in India asvamedha<*ekwo-meydho (Proto-Indo-European = ‘horse-drunk’). Curiously the Finnish term for juice, sap is mehu.

There is material here for future studies that will bring more light to this aspect of Indo-European linguistics.


A Finno-Ugrian pre-Indo-European layer in south Europe is an interesting thought although yet more difficult to explain than Vilhelm Thomsen´s list of Gothic terms in Finnish and Lappish. It will be a very remote one and will go back in time at least maybe to the Ligurians, of whom we don´t know if they were Indo-European or pre-Indo-European, but who are considered as the oldest substratum in Iberia (apart from Basque of course). Where and how contacts between the two groups took place is out of the scope of this paper, but from the perspective of the clear relationship with Baltic elements shown in the Iberian Peninsula later in the paper and with the Finno-Ugrians as neighbours of the Balts from remote times, these contacts may go longer back in time than the Bronze Age.

With respect to the Ligurians nobody knows how old they are. Some scholars like Krahe, the author of the theory of an “Old-European” language out of common *river names in Europe, considered them as related to the Ilirians. 


*1 “The distribution areas of the Old_European river names (hydronimia) stretches from Scandinavia to south Italy and from  Western Europe, included the British Islands, to the Baltic countries Of the three south European peninsulas Italy is the most intensively represented and the Balkan the less (only in its northern territories).” (Krahe 1963, p. 4; 1964, p. 32-33).

(Here quoted by Manfred Faust in ACS : 179)


Ulrich Smoll quotes in Die Sprachen der Vorkeltischen Dialekte (SCH) the theory of Menéndez Pidal who considered Ligurian and Ambrons related to each other out of a serie of toponyms in Spain like:


Ambrona (Soria province), Hambrón (Salamanca), Ambroa (Ambrona, La Coruña), Ambroës (two, close to Porto)…

Sufixes –asc (proto-Ligurian), -ati (Ligurian, Illyrian), -az, -ez, -iz, -oz, -uz (Badajoz – Badaiuz (Udine, Italia)), -ant, -ont, -unt, -elo.

Roots like *ganda = debris, *carav- = stone (Ligurian, Illyrian), *borm- = warm (Ligurian), *lama = marsh (Ligurian, not Illyrian).

Ligurian roots like  alb-, vind-, berg-, sego-, argant- .

Names like Belasc-, Balasc- (Ligurian), Benasc- (Ligurian), Magasc- (Ligurian), Lang- (Ligurian), Tolet- (Ligurian), Lucent- (Ligurian), Corc-, Corcont- (Illyrian), Badal- (Ligurian). (SCH :108 – 119)




Similarly to the extrange coincidences in vocabulary mentioned above, a parallel case seems to occur when looking at the Swedish and Spanish toponymy. While nearly identical toponyms in both peninsulas may be explained as coincidences, some can be explained by historical documents as is the case of the Swedish Frommesta (Fromista in 1525) and the Spanish Fromista (Fromista, personal name, one of the first abbots of a closter in San Vicente de Oviedo –VIII AD.), while others as in the case of toponyms like Berga – Berga and Ausa - Ausa, (Ausa the documentation for the Spanish Berga goes back to pre-Roman times, where Berga was the stronghold of the Bergistani tribe and Ausa that of the Ausetani), which can be explained by the Ligurian roots just mentioned. This brings us presumably to the times in the II millenium BC when:


“ ...from Scandinavia to Southern Italy and from the Baltic to the British Isles and Spain, and old stratum of river-names as evidence of an undivided Old European or , in W. P. Schmidt´s words, plainly I. Eur. Language. It further assumes that this language, which preceeds the historically known Baltic, Germanic, Celtic, Italic and Illyrian dialects of I. Eur., must have spread early in the second millennium B. C. to most parts of Europe including the British Isles and certain areas of Spain.”

ACS (Acta Salmántica. H. Wagner. Common problems concerning the early language. p. 389)


J. Caro Baroja pointed too to similar cultural elements like the plough, the sickle, the swan, the worship of the sun, etc. in rock carvings in Liguria and in Scandinavia.


“In the Bronze Age there existed in Liguria … a characterístic culture … the bronze sickle and engravingss in the rocks representing oxen yokes dragging ploughs…they have the clearest parallel in Scandinavia …To this culture belonged too  the worship of the sun and of a bird, related to it, the swan.”

(PE : 84)


The following pictures show in my opinion clearly that the linguistic relationship can be based in something real, makin the theory of a ”Getic” ancestry for the Goths (for their ruling class) not so absurd or illogical after all. The Iberian Peninsula was politically isolated from the rest of Europe in the 50s and 60s, years of great activity in the fields of archaeology and linguistics. Many of these studies only exist in Spanish and therofor outside the Indo-European debate.


















Forgotten peoples



Keeping thus the Goths and the “Rus” as the red line that stretches from west to east, we can move back and froth in time to acquire a clearer picture of the different peoples moving around along the continent. Perharps one of the less known but the one with the closest relations to both Goths and Rus, a kind of missing link between pre-Roman Iberia and European Germans and Slavs is to be found in one of the many European minorities fighting today against oblivion and annihilation of identity.

The Ruthenes has today many names, depending on the place where they live. Because they are scattered among different countries like Poland, Hungary, Romania, ex-Yugoeslavia, Ukraine, Slovakia, Bielorusia and of course the United States where many people from Central Europe emigrated in the 20th. Century. They are known as "Ruzins or Rusins"


4.Ruthenes also called Rusyns, Rusins, Rysin, Carpatho-Rusin, Russniaks. Are several East Slavonic ethnic groups speaking dialects related to Ukrainian.”



They are also known as "Lemkos/Ruznak" in Poland or "Carpato-Rutenes" in Hungary, due to the region Carpato-Rutenia, a territory/province under the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Different emigrant communities in the United States seems to be very active using the Internet to revitalize this common identity (, where an important issue are the lists of Ruthenian/Carpato-Ruthenian surnames that have survived in archives or have been transmitted from family members to family members. As a curiosity is worth to mention here two famous members of this minority: Andy Warhol (his real surname was probably Varhola, according to those lists of surnames) and Bela Lugesi (his real surname was Blasko, but adopted the artist name from Lugos, his birth place in present-day Hungary).


The Ruthenes are mentioned several times in Saxo Grammaticus (XIII C. A.D.). They appear already in connection to Odin, when he in one occasion fell in love with:


"... Rinda, the daughter of the king of the Ruthenes..." (SAX: Vol.I: 138-145)


Odin will met Rinda disguised as an old man, a girl, etc. until Rinda gav up and accepted his courtship. The fruit of the matrimony was a son, called Bue, whose destiny was to revenge the death of Balder, Rindas brother, killed by Hother. Bue will die of his wounds the day after the battle, where he killed Hother. His army bore home the deadly wounded Bue in his shield and:


          "... his body was buried by the Ruthene army ... " (SAX: Vol.I: 138-145)


Later Saxo narrates how:



"There was by that time viking rutene of name Rødd, that brought many misfortunes to our country..."

"Nu var paa den Tid ein Rutenisk Viking, ved Navn Rodd, der..." (SAX: Vol. II: 48)


Nevertheless this same king doesn´t hesitate in stablishing later an alliance with the Ruthenes:


 In the meantaime war had been declared between king Alver of Sweden and the Ruthenes, so the Danish king Halvdan, [enemy of the Swedish king] went immediately to "Russia", where he was received warmly."


"Imidlertid to var to der udbrudt in Krig mellem Rutenernes og Kong Alver i Sverrig..." (SAX: Vol. II: 51)


In this passage Saxo identifies the Ruthenes with Russia but not with the Slaves, as we could expect. In other passage, as HS remarks, Saxo makes a distintion between the two:

Frode when going east to do battle with the Huns, encounters vessels from the ’Ruthenian’ fleet (meaning allies of the Huns, whereas the Slavs are said to be subservient to Frode). (NR : 254)


Who were those Ruthenes Saxo refers to?

Håkon Stang, the above-mentioned historian, tries to give an answer after having considered more or less the same passages in Saxo. His study goes much deeper than mine and his goal different, so the passage about the Ruthenians looks like this in NR : 255:

In those days a Ruthenian Viking by the name of Red harried our fatherland shamefully with plundering and cruelty. He was so rapacious that, whereas others could not get themselves to plunder their prisoners to the very skin, he felt it not inappropriate to rid them even of the apparel covering those parts of the body which modesty dictates to be hidden. Therefore we still have the habit of using the word ’Red Plunder’ to denote a very brutal and inhumane robbery.

When he [Halfdan] heard that a war was raging between the Swedish king Alver and  the Ruthenians, he at once went to Russia, offered the common man there his assistance, and was received by all with the greatest honour...

The question HS makes to the Ruthenian passages in Saxo is:

Are the ’Ruthenians’ simply an anachronism for ’Russians’ in a Viking-Age or later sense?

And the answer is as follows:

No: With the above events we are in the age of the Huns and the Eruls. ’Rutheni’ is of course in itself an anachronism; it originally referred to a people in Gallia Aquitania, the Ruteni (living in and around Rodez), mentioned by Caesar (51 BC),4Pliny (79 A.D.),5 and the poet Annaeus Lucanus (65 A.D.).6


The phrase ‘…is of course in itself an anachronism…’ is a deception because it illustrates that HS has fallen in the same trap as he warned against. I named before how Søby Christiansen considered impossible a relationship between Sweden and Spain, an expression of HS´s “modernocentrism”. Like to the case of the Goths, the track of Saxo´s Ruthenes points towards the Iberian Peninsula, but considering the ‘Balto-Iberian’ connection impossible, HS arrives to a pictoresque conclusion: the reason why Saxo uses an anachronism as the Ruthenes in stead of using the term Russians, is because Saxo wished to show to the readers his knowledge of the Latin classic authors:


So why call a Migration Age people - in this case evidently the Eruls - Rut[h]enians? Saxo is ever set on proving his erudition. Yet what led him to choose precisely this anachronism?

The natural guess is: an association with rutilus ’of a warm or glowing red colour, ruddy (inclining to gold or orange) … of hair, esp. among Germanic races)’, and associated words (rutilans, etc.)1 Yet what made for this association? It turns out that Saxo did indeed have his grounds. There is nothing of interest in Caesar or Pliny. Lucanus is the only one to characterize the Rut[h]eni; which he however does in a to us most relevant way:2

The classic in this case is the poet Lucanus:

2 Lucanus, Bellum Civile, ed. W Ehlers, Munich 1973, 30-31: "Caesar ut acceptum tam prono militates bellum fataque ferre videt, ne quo languore moretur Fortunam, sparsas to per Galica rura cohortes evocat et Romam motis petit undique signis.(...) solvuntur flavi longa statione Ruteni. (NR: 255. note 2)


When Caesar saw that his soldiers greeted the war so willingly and that Fate thus decreed,he did not wish to stand in the way of Fortune for one single moment, and hence called upon the cohorts spread about across the land of Gallia that they from all sides march against Rome. (...) The blond Rutenians were freed from a long occupation.


The word used, flavus, means ‘golden yellow, reddish yellow, flaxen-hued’,3 as in the expression in Seneca:4 cur iracundissimi sint flaui rubentesque. Its use is “mostly poetical”.5

From this we are entitled to conclude: Making himself learnedly costly, playing peekaboo with posterity, Saxo by speaking of the Ruteni has the Russi = the ’ruddyblonds’ of the Migration Age in mind. (NR : 256).


Contrary then to HS´s opinion I mean that there is indeed something of interest in Caesar, Plinius and Lucan (10), but as I have mentioned it falls outside the scope of HS, centred in finding in the term Ruthenian a possible ethnonym for Scandinavians because of the red colour of their hair. The possibility of proving to connect Saxos Ruthenes and Caesars Ruteni exists and I will in the next pages try to prove it.


                                                 The name Tatinos

It is of course surprising to find a people in the south part of Gallia bearing the same name as the people living as Vikings some centuries after in the opposite corner of Europa. The obvious question is of course if we are talking about the same people.

The search is intricated and starts having observed the existence of extremely similar surnames in both former Chekoslovakia and Spain without any logical explanation. Only recently thanks to the above mentioned genealogical websites from different Carpato-Ruthenian organizations in the USA, I could get a list of Carpato-Ruthenian surnames. There are surnames like Blasko, Belasko, Varga, Vasko found in present-day in Hungary or Slovakia and their nearly identical ‘counterparts’ Blasco, Velasco, Vargas and Vasco in Spain or Portugal. One plausible explanation was to adscribe   them to the Jewish Sephardite migration of the XVI century. A.D.

                A look at the web pages of the Sephardite community (               

showed indeed people with these surnames among the Jews expelled from  Spain, although it should be necessary to make an independent study to distinguish which of the surnames were genuine Hebrew and which ‘Christian’ surnames adopted by Jews families. On the other side the Carpato-Ruthenian names have a linguistic feature that coincides very much with what the Spanish scholar Menéndez Pidal, (SCH : 108-119), considered as the oldest Indo-European substratum in the Iberian Peninsula: the suffixs in –asc found in toponyms as Benasque or Vindasco of Ambro-Illyrian and Ligurian origin:

”Names as Belasc-, Balasc- (Ligurian), Benasc- (ligur), Magasc- (Ligurian), Lang- (Ligurian), Tolet- (Ligurian), Lucent- (Ligurian), Corc-, Corcont- (Illyrian), Badal- (Ligurian).” (SCH : 108-119)


But the best prove of the antiquity of the Carpato-Ruthenian surnames was the surname Tatinetz, that put me on the track of the Ruteni mentioned in Latin sources.


         List of Carpato-Ruthenian surnames

Andrasko                              Tatinetz

Barna                                     Urda

Blasko                                   Varga

Beno                                      Vasko

Bilas                                      Virotsko

Biros                                      Onesko

Botos                                     Ordas

Daley                                     Rosko/Ruska                     

Elko                                       Saka

                 Estok                                     Sura




Tatinetz is surprisingly similar to the inscription TATINOS and/or TAUTINOS/TANTINOS in two coins attributed to the Gaulish tribe of the Ruteni and this could be the first sign of the ‘Ruteno-Ruthenian’ relationship that I want to demonstrate.                                             











Sur ce bronze, les lettres A et T de TATINOS semblent ligaturées et pourraient être lues TAVTINOS ou TANTINOS qui constituerait alors une lecture nouvelle pour ce type qui est interprété comme TATINOS depuis plus d’un siècle.



It struck me that the text in the French web site describing the second “Ruthenian” coin mentioned the possibility of the reading of the inscription as TAUTINOS, because the name TAUTIN, as Tovar already observed, (LSP : 81),  can be spotted in the Ascoli Bronze -the famous document written in Latin and dated back to the year 89 BC, that commemorates the Roman citizenship received by a group of Celtiberians soldiers. Tovar remarked among the names the Indo-European root  * TEUT : people in one of the soldiers name form the Ascoli Bronze: ATULLO TAUTINDALS, (Gaulish Tout -, Teuto -: * toutâ, people; Latin Umbrian. toto, state, túvtú Oscan, populus, Latin tôtus, all; þiuda Gothic, people, Teutonic, Deutsch, German, Dutch; Lettic táuta, people, Old Prussian tauto, land, modern Lithuanian tautinis adj. national, etc.).


  The Ascoli bronze plate





  Tvrma Sallvitana



*Baltic surnames

Sanibelser Adingibas f.  

Otacilius Suisetarten f.

Cocusin Chadar f.  


Illurtibas Bilustibas f.

Cn. Cornelius Nesille f.


Bilas, Bilostenos, Bilis

Estopeles Ordennas f. 

P. Eabius Enasagin f.



Torsinno Austinco f.




Austinas, Austinkas










Turtumelis Atanscer f. 

Beles Umarbeles f.

... Sosimilus f.

Turtu,  Melis



Turinnus Adimel s. f.

... Irsecel. f.    



Ordumeles Burdo f.

... Elgaun f.

Orda, Ordas, Ordo



... Nespaiser f.






Sosinaden Sosinasae f.

Bastugitas Adimeis f.

Belennes Albennes f.


Sosimilus Sosinasae f.  

Umarillun Tabbantu f.

Atullo Tautindals f.

*Tautvilas, Tautmilas

Urgidar Luspanar f. 




Gurtarno Biurno f.




Elandus Ennegenses f.


Balciadin Balcibil f.


Agirnes Benabels f




Nalbeaden Agerno f




Arranes Arbiscar f.




Umargibas Luspangibas.f.





Tovar pointed out the Indo-European character of some of the names of the plate:

“In fact the Iberian names, both those written in Latin characters (mainly in the soldiers roll of the ‘turma Salluitana’, squadron coming from the region of ‘Salduia’ of Saragossa, which has been preserved in CIL I 709 and Suppl. P. 714) and those in indigenous letters, may be analysed into two parts, often combined in the same way as in the onomastics of Greeks, Celts, Teutons, and the Indo-European peoples in general, thus: ‘Adin-gibas’, ‘A-di-n-be-l-a-u-r’, ‘Balci-adin’ or ‘Sosin-aden’, ‘Sosin-asa’, ‘S-o-s-i-n-bi-u-r-u’, ‘Cacu-susin’. Another Indo-European feature is the fact that the son bears in his name one of the elements of the father´s name, for instance ‘Illur-tibas  Bilus-tibas f(ilius)’.” (LSP : 68)


In TAUTINDALS the second element or theme of the name would be DALS, wich matches the name DAL mentioned in Saxo in the passage where the Danish king, Harald,

attacked and won over the Slaves, but respected the life of their chieftains, Duk and Dal, who later went into his army and helped him to subjugate Aquitania …’ :

...gik Harald løs på Slaverne, som måtte give tabt, og deres Høvdinger: Duk og Dal, kunde han gjerne faaet livet taget af ... de traadte enndog efter Fangeskabet i hans tjeneste, og hjalp ham at undertvinge Akvitanien ...(SAX : Vol. II : 61)

Although Dal is in Saxo a chieftain of the Slaves, the name is a common surname in todays Scandinavia; Dal is the word for valley, so it is part of many toponyms in the area. Where and who were the Slaves mentioned by Saxo is unknown, but he writes that after Aquitania Harald embarqued for England, so he met those Slaves in the western part of Europe rather than in present-day Russia.


The comparation of the names from Ascoli (right column) with present-day surnames from the Baltic area shows remarkable similarities and here we find the next klue in this intrincate search: Lithuanian surnames.

The Baltic language,

“Lithuanian combines an excepcionlly archaic structure with the rich documentation of a living language….” (IE : 125)

.  Tautvilas is the name of a Duke who appears in the history of Lituania in S. XIII. The name is composed of the first theme taut : nation/people and the second vilas : hope, but it can appear as second theme as in Gintautas (ginti : to defend).

Tautimilas is another Lithuanian old name composed of the same root taut and the root milti :  to fall in love.

(Source: Lithuanian Names. William R. Schmalstieg.   LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES Volume 28, No.3 – Fall 1982)


The soldiers from the Ascoli Bronze were ‘nationals’ from the northeast part of Spain where Caesar was engaged in the civil war against Pompeius. At one moment he received help from approximately 6000 Ruthenian archers and riders from Gallia

carrying numerous cars and equipments, the Gallian way (consuetudo Gallica)’,

as Caesar comments with some irony, i.e. without any organisation. The Ruthenians were attacked by the forces of Afranius, while waiting to cross over the river (Sicoris):


    Nuntiatur Afranio magnos commeatus, qui iter habebant ad Caesarem, ad flumen constitisse. Venerant eo sagittarii ex Rutenis, equites ex Gallia cum multis carris magnisque impedimentis, ut fert Gallica consuetudo. Erant praeterea cuiusque generis hominum milia circiter VI cum servis liberisque; sed nullus ordo, nullum imperium certum, cum suo quisque consilio uteretur atque omnes sine timore iter facerent usi superiorum temporum atque itinerum licentia.” (De Bello Civili - Liber I – 51) 


Yes, these people where mercenaries, was my first thought after having found this passage, but the plate is dated 89 BC., while the battle of Ilerda in Caesars civil war took place in the year 49 BC. so these soldiers where there long time befor Caesar came to Spain. For the important question is where the names in the bronze plate are representatives of an autoctonus people living at that time in that area, whom in this case we will consider as Celtiberians, or they were just a group of professional soldiers, an element extrange to that society.

If the first assumption is right, than we have to reconsider the traditional idea received from Latin sources -among them Caesars De Bello Gallico- of this corner of Europe.

According to the famous passage in the book I of De Bello Gallico of Julius Caesar, Gallia was divided in three zones occupied respectively by the Belgians, the Aquitani and the Celts (the Gallics), different in language, laws and customs. The river Garonne was the dividing line between Aquitani and Celts.

If people akin for example to the Ruteni were living on the other side of the Pyrennés, we may consider the alternative point of view that some Celtiberian tribes were for example of same stock as the Belgians, that had invaded this area in the VII-VIII century. BC., or with the Aquitani, whom many identifies with the present-day Basques, but a convincent documentation does´nt exist. There were Belgian populations to the other side of the Pyrenees like f.ex. the Berones of the zone of La Rioja, but we do not know the type of relation between populations to both sides of the Pyrenees. We know that in the II century BC. the tribe of the Salyes or Saluvii spaned from Marseille to Saduba (present-day Zaragoza), wherefrom the Turma Salluitana of the Ascoli Bronze had received its name.

In other words, the different regions were not as homogeneous as Caesars description tells us according to the following examples. The poet Ausonius classifies the Teutosages/Tectosages, a powerful Gallic/Aquitanian tribe whose main city was the present-day Toulouse, as originally Belgians:


"...usque in Teutosagos, paganica nomina, Belcas,..." ( far as the Teutosagi, whose original name was Belgians.) (Ausonius. Ordo Urbium Nobilium - Narbona).


In a reference to the Tectosages that supposedly had invaded a part of Turkey under the leadership of Brennus, Strabo speaks of an unknown people, the Prausans:


“For example, some say that the second Brennus who made an invasion against Delphi was a Prausan, but I am unable to say where on earth the Prausans formerly lived...” (Geography. IV, 13.)


And he says of the Bituriges:


The Garumna, after being increased by the waters of three rivers, discharges its waters into the region that is between those Bituriges that are surnamed "Vivisci" and the Santoni — both of them Galatic tribes; for the tribe of these Bituriges is the only tribe of different race that is situated among the Aquitani; and it does than pay tribute to them, though it has an emporium, Burdigala, which is situated on a lagoon that is formed by the outlets of the river Liger. (Geography. L. IV, 2)


Following passage in Cassius Dio makes the question yet more confusing:


Some of the Celtae whom we call Germani had occupied all the Belgic territory near the Rhine and caused it to be called Germania, the upper part extending to the sources of the river and the lower part reaching to the Ocean of Britain. (Cassius Dio. Roman History. Book LIII, 12


And the Venetes from the northwest of France in Caesars time should be named here too, for their ethnicity is still an unsolved problem.


If the assumption that we are dealing with a group of extrangers or mercenaries is right the names of the group would be an isolated case and would not have any resemblance with other personal names from the pre-Roman Spain and Portugal. The similarity between names from Ascoli like Gurtarno Biurno and Torsinno Austinco with Scandinavian names from runic inscriptions.  (source: SRD - the University of Uppsalas runic project-) could be in this case a point to take in consideration.

One of the most common names in runic inscriptions is for example BIURN  transcribed to modern Scandinavian Bjørn/Björn = bear:


ÖG 93 

: þiuþreiþr : reisþi : stein : þisa : eftiR : biurn : buta : sin : aR : uarþ * hauin *

Þjóðheiðr reisti stein þenna eptir Bjôrn, bónda sinn, er varð hôggvinn.

Þiuðhæiðr ræisþi stæin þennsa æftiR Biorn, bonda sinn, eR varð haggvinn.

ÖG 93  Þjóðheiðr raised this stone in memory of Bjôrn, her husbandman, who was cut down.


ÖG 88 

* austin * risþi * stin * ayftiR * kata * frita * sin *

Eysteinn reisti stein eptir Káta/Gadda, frænda sinn.

Øystæinn ræisþi stæin æftiR Kata/Gadda, frænda sinn

ÖG 88  Eysteinn raised the stone in memory of Káti/Gaddi, his kinsman.

DR 365 #


And do we have a ’Gurtarno’ in the following inscription?

[tuka * l(e)t * ri(s)a (*) st(e)ina (*) þ... ... kuna * þan * goþa * gurþaR * arfa]

Tóka lét reisa steina ... ... Gunna þann Góða, Gyrðar arfa.

Toka let resa stena ... ... Gunna þan Goþa, GyrþaR arfa.

DR 365 # Tóki had the stones raised ... ... Gunni the good, Gyrðr's heir.



The Bronze of Ascoli is written in Latin characters, but major part of the Celtiberian inscription are in runic characters. A short introduction to runic inscriptions from the Iberian Peninsula follows.


Iberian runic characters


There are three pre-Roman alphabets in the Iberian peninsula: the South-West corner, also called Tartessian, stretches through Algarve and Alemtejo, until the mouth of the river Sado and western Andalusia; the South-East  alphabet stretches through East Andalusia, Murcia, Albacete and the Contestania; the Eastern alphabet stretches along the eastern coast  up to the south of France until the rivers Herault and Vidurle, where professor Guiter (according to some linguistic features ) stablished the frontier between Iberians and Ligurians. This alphabet reaches the region of Aragon up to the provinces of Huesca and Navarra (APV : 21)


The third alphabet is the one of interest here. It has sylabic characters and some of the signs are common to the other two alphabets.

There are clear similarities between these signs and the North-Europeans futhark (Scandinavian) and futhork (Anglo-Saxon), although nobody, as far as I know, has ever make comparative studies between the two systems.

We will see later that this is no mere coincidence and that it is worth to make comparative studies. But the Iberian is much older than the

Scandinavian or the Anglo-Saxon and also more primitive because it contained sylabic signs.














Tekstboks:          Source: RU : 247








The process of deciphering the Celtiberian alphabet has taken more than 60 years, so this introduction is indeed very short. The version of the alphabet by W. Maid shows the final results of this process and it will show to be very accurate.





Tovar mentions that           


 “Some Scandinavian scholars from the seventeenth century believed  they recognized runes in the Iberian letters, which would prove them to be Visigothic.” (LSP : 7)


In the seventeenth century the Iberian/Celto-Iberian inscriptions had not been desciphered yet. The process took many decades until the Spanish scholar Gómez Moreno (GM) made the most decisive work in the first half of the last century. In recent years the archaeological site of Botorrita in Zaragoza province has revealed important epigraphic documents, that puts the Iberian Penisula in front page in Celtic studies and Indo-European research.

Zaragoza is the Salduba of the Salyes mentioned before. The last Botorrita bronze plate includes a long list of more than 200 names. The picture below shows the first 15 lines of the document as displayed by Prof. David Stifter

from the University of Wien at the address:




As I said before, the document is quiet new and it is being studied intensenly by scholars, and the first results are probably on its way. If Gómez Moreno or Tovar have had at hand during their time the instrument we have today, i.e. the Internet, they would surely had come much farther than they did. To illustrate this I have to go back now to the list of Carpato-Rutenian surnames that I found in the pages of the Internet, as I mentioned in page 25. I pointed out the existence of similar modern surnames in the Carpato-Ruthenian area and Spain and Portugal. To my surprise (and the readers, I hope) some of the Carpato-Ruthenian surnames are similar to some of the names from the Botorrita III bronze. It is the case of names like Barnai, that in Celto-Iberian looks like this: . Sura,  . Elko, (ELKU).  Rosko/Ruska,  (RUSKU).


This is the beginning of the discovery of a pattern showing that the European ethnic and polictical map during the Roman empire was maybe as complicated as it was under the Barbarian invasions some centuries later; it stablishes a relationship beween the Roman times Ruteni and the Middel Ages Ruthenians from Northern Europe and it shows signs of a relationship with Scandinavians long time before it is described in Saxo. 

The comparative table below shows possible elements in common between Celtiberian and Scandinavian names.  There is no doubt for me that future studies will bring a clearer picture. Experts in Scandinavian runes are specially needed here in order to translate the two first lines of the Botorrita III, which are the key to understand the meaning of the long list of names:


01 risatioka : lestera [:] ia : tarakui : nouiza : auzanto 02 eskeninum : taniokakue : soisum : albana





       Celto-Iberian name                                

Scandinavian runic                      names


Botorrita III


* skirlauh   SÖ 147 #        

Botorrita III

aiu, aiukue, aiuizas

 aiuisli (Eyvísli(?).)aiuis (Eyvísl(?)), aiuatr (Eihvatr) ÖG 8 $, VG 119 

Botorrita III


halfburin (Halfborinn), hoburi (Holmbjôr[n](?)), buri (Búri/Býri),  þiauburi (Þjóðbjôr[g].), buris (Buri)

Botorrita III


aaurfian (<laurfian>.) G 107 M



biurn (very frequent) DR 330 

Botorrita III


burþiR × VG 90 

Botorrita III


amute (Ámundi) N 506 M

Botorrita III


aba (Apa/Æbba ) DR 56 

Botorrita III


kase (Kasi/Gási) N 542 , U 249 

Botorrita III


taist (<taist>) U 1120 #

Botorrita III


kare (Kari) SÖ 298 



kari (Kári) DR 287 

Botorrita III


katu (Kátu) VG 79 

Botorrita III


kara (Kára) U 37 

Botorrita III


sira (Sibba(?))U 158 #

Botorrita III


anason (Arnasonr(?))N 78 M

Botorrita III


tuki (Tóki), mattiosa (Mattiasa), osa (Ása), osur ÖG 70 $, VG 64 #M,

Botorrita III


hulti (Hulti) U FV1976;104 

Stifter 3.7.2 müntzen A.59


' uarasi ' Unsolved name in SÖ 210 (‘uarasi ' lit ' risa '...)  

Stifter 3.7.2 müntzen A.93


uarkas (Vargas(?)) in U 337 

Botorrita III


* kali (Kali) en U 708 

Botorrita III

II27 elkuanos

I13 elkua : ensikum

I10 elkua : raiokum

U FV1953;263 

elka (Helga)

Helga, Helge (Modern names)


Botorrita III


U 174 #

kauki <kauki> <kauþuR>.

<oka> ok Svæinn ok Sigstæinn(?) letu stæin ... æftiR Kvik, broður sinn. Hann v[a]R <bruþru> <faþur> <kauki> <kauþuR>.


Botorrita III

I59  barnai

DR 391  .. barni * auk * sibi ...

Barni ok Sibbi


The following example shows what it could be common elements between the Iberian and the Scandinavian peninsulas. Before the start of the English translation of the paper the list above and the two examples that follow were for me strong arguments of this relationship: The inscription in Latin to the left reads ARENTIO / SVNVA / CAMAL(i)  F(ilia) / V(otum) S(olvit) L(ibens) M(erito). (Chao do Touro, Portugal RP : 72) and the one to the right from the Kirkdale sundial. (RP : 337).

















The difficulty in both runic systems to express the paired voiced-voiceless consonants like g/k, p/b, t/d gave runic writers many problems. In the following runic inscription we can apreciate the name KAMAL/GAMAL , curiously it appears together with the name SAGSI/SAXI :


ÖL 69{37} $

olafR × auk × kamal × auk × sagsi × raistu + stain × þina × aftiR × [un × faþur × sin × kai](R)ui lit × at × bonta × sin × hiarsu[k] kubl þsi fiaRun olafR hefnt[i at miomu ati un hiar hal](f)an by

Ólafr ok Gamall ok Saxi reistu stein þenna eptir Un, fôður sinn. Geirvé lét at bónda sinn hérsug kuml þessi. Féar-Un Ólafr hefndi at Muhumaa(?). Átti Unn hér halfan bý.

OlafR ok Gamall ok Saxi ræistu stæin þenna æftiR Unn, faður sinn. GæiRvi let at bonda sinn hiarsug kumbl þessi. FeaR-Unn OlafR hæfndi at Muhumma(?). Atti Unn hiar halfan by.

ÖL 69{37} $ Ólafr and Gamall and *Saxi raised this stone in memory of Unnr, their father. Geirvé had these monuments (raised) here in memory of her husbandsman. Ólafr avenged Féar-Unnr (Rich-Unnr) at Mon(?). Unnr owned here half          the village.


And I say curious because the name appears in both Latin sources:

* “L. Decidius Saxa, for instance, who served with Caesar in the Ilerda campaign and later was elected as a tribune of the plebs in 44 and served under Marcus Antonius in Syria until his death there in 40 at the hands of Parthian invaders, was described by Cicero as a Celtiberian, but was almost certainly born in Spain of Italian descent.(138)” (Richardson. The Romans in Spain : 126)

and in runic inscriptions several times:


SÖ 250 

kyna ¤ raisti ¤ stain ¤ þina × aftiR : sagsa ÷ sun ¤ hlftahaR ¤

Gynna reisti stein þenna eptir Saxa, son Halfdanar.

Gynna ræisti stæin þenna æftiR Saxa, sun HalfdanaR.


But a new and stronger pattern appeared more recently when comparing the list of name from Botorrita with ... the electronic telephone book from Lithuania!  (An impossible task before Internet!).

Because it is indeed amazing that precisely the name  SKIRTUNOS, the first name in the Botorrita III list, appears more than two thousand years later in four occasions as SKIRTUNAS in the on line telephone book of  TAKAS, a Lithuanian telephone company (picture below).





The reader should remark in the comparative table from page 33 the name SKIRLAUH (Annexe Botorrita List) in the Scandinavian rune. The name is probably formed from a very productive Indo-European root sker/skel with the semantic content: “to cut/divide/separate”.

What put me on the track of this unexpected surce was the name of one of the first Lithuanian kings from the XIII century: SKIRGAILA. That the name exists today in exactly the same form shows the archaic character of Lithuanian that opens for new possibilities as we can see in the next lines.

The result of the comparaison between the old bronze table and the modern digital telephone book is as follows (“Celtiberian” names in first position, Lithuanian in second):


AUALOS (Stifter: 1 I55 aualos : kortikos) and 1 in a tessera in hand form: Stifter: K.0.2 ` hand (tessera Froehner) ': lubos: I stake out | kum: aualo : ke | kontebiaz | belaiskaz), AVALAS-E-VICIUS (3, This last name is bithematic. -vicius is the ending under Slavic influence);


BABOS (Stifter: babos III56 : kentiskue: uiriaskum), BABAS (1);


BALAKOS (Stifter: balakos IV18 : sekonzos), BALAKAS (1);


BASAKU (Stifter: II32 basaku : uiriaskum), BASAKAS (3), BASAKIR (2);


BELSA (Stifter: I12 belsa : alasku[m ]), BELSA (1);


BIBALOS (II46 bibalos : atokum :), BUBALA (1);


BILINOS (Stifter: I20 bilinos : austikum), BILINA-VICIUS (2);


ESKUTINO (Stifter: II14 terkinos : austikum : eskutino) SKUT/ SKUTAS/ SKUTAITE:


KABUTU (Stifter:IV14 kabutu : abokum), KABUTA-VICIUS (7);


KATUNOS (Stifter: katunos II53 : burikounikum), KATINAS (> 40);


KALOS (Stifter: I44 kalos : telkaskum), KALAS (35, monothematic and other bithematic ones);


KONTUZOS (Stifter: I2 kontuzos : turos), KONTUTIS (7)


KORKOS (Stifter: II37 kares: ?ruaku: korkos), KORKUS (3);


KUINTITAKU, Bithematic?  (Stifter: III60 kuinti-taku : mailikinokum), KVINT-IENE (3 feminine ones), TAKUN (4);


LAUNIKUE (Stifter: III58 launikue : uiriaskum), LAUNIKONIS (several), LAUNIK-IENE (1 feminine one);


LUBOS (Stifter, Botorrita I: 1. lubos : kounesikum), LUBAS (6);


LUBINAZ (Stifter, Botorrita I: bintis: lubinaz : aiu), LUBINA (2), LUBINAS (3).


LUKINOS (II1 sekanos <:> kolukokum : lukinos), LUKIN (4);


MARKOS (Stifter: markos III43 : kalisokum), MARKUS (4);


MELMANIAS (Stifter: I27 melmanios : uiriaskum), MELMAN (1);


MUNIKA (6 in Botorrita), MUNIKAS (1);


SAKAROKAS (Stifter : K.18.4. ‘abstrakt’: sakarokas),  SAKAS (8), ROKAS (29);


SEKANOS (Stifter: sekanos II1 <: > kolukokum:), SEKANAS (1);


STATULOS (Stifter: III26 uiroku: konikum: statulos), STATULU (Stifter: I3 retukenos: statulu),


STATULIKUM (Stifter, Botorrita III: 6, s: bintis: tirtanos: statulikum), STATUL-E-VICIUS (20 approx.);


STENION/STENIONTE or STENIONTES (Stifter : IV2 stenion† : turikainos), STENIONIS (6 STENIONIS and 4 STENIONIENÈ, i.e. married to a STENION);


TAURUS (Stifter: Botorrita I; aiankum: taurus : bintis: letontu; aiankum: taurus : 8. ]tis), TAURAS (27);


TIRIU (Stifter: III31 tiriu : uiriaskum), TIRIUNAS (1), TIRIUS (1);


TITOS (Stifter: II9 usizu: abokum: titos), TITAS (11);


TOLOKU (Stifter: II44 toloku : kalisokum), TOLOKOV(1), TOLOK (2);


URKALA (Stifter: IV31 urkala : austunikum), URCHAIL (Urchail Atitta
f(ilius) Chilasurgun portas fornac(es) aedificand(a) curavit de s(ua) p(ecunia).
CIL II, 1087. Latin inscription from Ilipa), URKA, URKAS, URKEL (1 of each).


After seeing this I am more convinced that the names in the Celtiberian inscriptions were “local” people and not professional soldiers, even if we don´t know yet which ethnicity a “local” Celto-Iberian had. It´s important here not to try to identify them with modern Spaniards or Portuguese but try to look at that time with that times lenses.

How many of the local population survived the Roman invasion? How many moved away from the Iberian Peninsula? The fact is that we don´t have any record. We may consider this people as old-Europeans, because the differentiation of the different Europe nations was only an unwritten project at that moment. They were related to each other, but they had different customs or languages.


Extending the search for common features between Lithuanian names and other inscriptions from different parts of the Iberian Peninsula the results obtained are promising too:


There is a STENIONTE (list above) in a Latin inscription (ELH: 114) of unknown translation:





There are two Biles in the Lithuanian phonebook that could be related to the name Bilistage (conditioned to a bithematic Bilis-Tage), a chieftain of the Ilergetes mentioned in Titus Livius (Liber XXXIV, XI)



BISTIROS (Stifter : K.0.11 ‘abstrakt’: a: arekorati b: ka : kar c: sekilako : amikum ; melmunos | ata d: bistiros : lastiko | ueizos),  BISTURYS (1);


The Portuguese scholar Antonio Marques de Faria, has published a series of works on paleo-Hispanic onomastics in the Portuguese Magazine of Archaeology (VOL5)


ba´rta´sco. Plate of lead. Ullastret (Girona) MLH III 2 C.2.3. BARTAS (1)


baca´scetar. Marca de dolium. Can Feu (Sant Quirze del Vallès, Barcelona). Panosa, 2001. ;  BAKAS (apox. 50).


BELCILESVS. Mosaic. Segobriga (Segobriga (Cerro de Cabeza de Griego, Saelices, Cuenca). Gómez Pallarès, 1997, p. 88-90. ;  BELKA, BELKIN, BELKO (several).


BELTESONIS (gen.) (Gorrochategui, 1984a, p. 162, nr. 83); BELTÈ (2) SONIS (1).


bendian. Moedas/Coins. Indetermined mint (Mendi?). CNH 257:1-8.; BENDIK, BENDIKAS (many)


barscunez (abl. sg.) (Villar, 1995, p. 130) partilha com aquela or mesmo meant, porquanto, second Tovar (1951, p. 277, 1961, p. 130)...barscunez > bascunez (by assimilação),  BARSKUTIS, BASKUS, BASKUTIS, VASKO, VASKUNAS


bengoda a origem do sufixo colectivo -goa, reproduzido em Gipuzcoa, Nafarroa, Zuberoa (Trask, 1997, p. 332-333) e em Ameskoa/Amescoa (Belasko, 19992, p. 65-66). Assim, bengoda constituiria a designação dos habitantes de *bendi/*barscu.* bendi/*barscu.;  GODA (12).


berbai. Lead tessera. Camp de les Lloses (Barcelona). Panosa, 2001, p. 530-531.;  BERBA (2).


ber´stan (G.17.1) (Faria, 1990-1991, p. 76, 84);  BERSTA (6).


BAILO < *bai(i)ldun (Faria, 2000b, p. 61) ;  BAILO (1).


bonco. Lead plate. Punta del Castell (Palamós, Girona). 2 MLH III C.4.1. ; BONKA (1), BONKYS (2)


cule´sa´r. Stone block. Ensérune (Hérault). Untermann, 1999 [ 2000 ], p. 107.; KULEŜ (several), KULEŜA (several), KULEŜIUS (several), KULEŜO (several).


talscubilos (B.1.29) ; KUBILAS (several).


GESELANDEN (Faria, 199ä, p. 81-82) ; GESE-VICIUS (several), LANDA (3), LANDO (1)


 Se o ND STOLOCO (dat.) < *Stolocus < *Stoloco, documentado numa inscrição votiva de Asque (Hautes-Pyrénées) (Fabre, 1999, p. 155-156) ; STOLOKA (1).


LAVRVSVNI (dat.) (Labrousse, 1980, p. 493) ;  LAURUSONIS (8)



URKA....enquanto Alfaro (2001, p. 35) opta por Urkailtu em detrimento de urCailbi... ;  URKA, URKAS, URKEL, URKIS (several).


BORCONIS (gen.) (Gorrochategui, 198â, p. 177, n.º 112) ;  BORKO (2).


MENDO derived from Belendo > Melendo > Menendo > Meendo ; MENDUS (2).


Even inscriptions from the south-east part of Spain, considered as strictly ”Iberians”, i.e. not ”Celto-Iberians”, shows relationship with modern Lithuanian names.



SUISEBARTAS (LSP : 54, lead of Mula) ,  BARTAS (2);


APANA (ACS : 62),  APANAS, APANA-VICIUS (7), (many);


BOUITERUS (ACS : 66),  BUI (1), TERAS (1);


This is in my opinion an overwhelming amount of onomastical and toponimical data showing an unknown side of this Celtiberian people with cultural elements close to what we consider Balto-Germanic. These results set focus on the Baltic languages as a new instrument for better understanding the pre-Roman languages in Portugal and Spain. Even if Old-Prussian is extint today, the reconstructed dictionary available in Internet (PRU) has made possible for me to find the remarkable case in the list from page 18:  the junniperus tree where cadec and cadegs means the fruit and the tree in respectively Catalonian and Old-Prussian languages.


Every year new discoveries brings small pieces to add to this patern. Among the last curious artifacts unearthed in the area of Botorrita is worth to mention a catapult proyectile bearing the inscription   : NAI and a hand showing a characteristic sign of crossing fingers. Thinking of the catapult proyectile one may consider logical that NAI here means could be related to the Lithuanian verb naikinti : to destroy (pictures below).















Having the old Rutenei as the ancestors of Baltic and Balto-Germanic peoples in mind we can again recognize their presence as part of the Celtiberian world in other artifacts.

If we go back to the name of TATINOS a similar name/word can be found in a silver dish from Spain STATINAS (Stifter: K.20.1 teller: statinas).  Presumably is a person name: the owner of the dish, but we would expect here STATINOS rather than STATINAS, which seems to be the nominative singular ending in Celtiberian to judge from the many examples ending in

-os, while the ending -as is the modern Lithuanian nominative. Then the Lithuanian surname we could expect to find in the telephone book would be STATINAS, but maybe as an exception that confirms the rule is the name STATINO that appears 17 times in the telephone book. Other porssibility is the gen. sing. STATINAS in old-Lithuanian meaning “the property of Statino/s”. The modern Lithuanian substantive statine meaning barrel, cask, tun, is after all semantically close to the one of a dish. In modern Spanish the term tina means a large jar or a bath tube. The correct interpretation of the inscription is in all cases not easy.

A second example is composed of three words ingraved on both sides of a spindel whorl found in the Spanish village of Monreal de Ariza (picture beneth):


(Stifter : Ill. 3.65. & 3.66.: K.7.1)spinnwirtel (spindeln whorl) aus

Monreal de Ariza (Zaragoza), inschrift:


as uta oder uta as

(aus MLH IV, 658)



In this inscription it was the old-Prussian word TUKÂRÎS meaning weaver (TUKÂRÎS Tuckoris And 454: Weber/weaver (PRU) that gave me the idea, that there could be a connexion between tukaris and the –tikalin from the inscriptiom, because a spindel whorl is something related to textile fabrication.

How the spindel, one of the oldest inventions of mankind, can have influenced in the development of semantics related to the making of texiles is dificcult to say today, more than five thousand years after the first spindel. It is interesting to note in this context that the German tuche or Swedish tygg have the same meaning as the Sumerian túg, cloth, stuff. In Spanish the word toca means the toque or hairdrees worn by nuns and in French toque is  the  high cap worn by cooks.  The dictionary of the Royal Academy of Spain gives the Welsh toc for the ethimology of the word. These terms describing a piece of stuff placed upon the head coincides with the word tukka, that in one of the Laponian languages means the piece of stuff that covers the head of the bride under the wedding ceremony. Similarly the Stonian   tukka means forelock and the Finnish tukkas means the hair of the head.


The possibility of an Indo-European loan as the roots (s)teg- or stegh- could point to, (Stockholm f.e. is Tukholma in Finnish),  opens for a broad ethimologic explanations.

It could be the case for example:

Tachras winding yarn, Irish tocharais, tochardadh, Middle Irish tochartagh: * to-cert -, root qert, wind, as in ceirtle.

In both cases the remaining word, susa-, needs to be explained. At first sight my first though was the latin sursum, up, existing in Spanish as suso, derivated from the Indo-European *uper-. In this case I was thinking on the placement of the “winding device” in the “upper part” of a loom. This idea fitted with the other side of the whorl, where I identified as with the personal pronoun As :  I, in both old-Prusian and modern Lihtuanian,

                                           AS pn 1 nom sg as 3712: ich/I  (PRU)


and uta with a derivative from the Indo-European root u:>d- (Pokorny: got. u:t Adv. ` hinaus, heraus'...    lit. uz^ - ` auf -, hinauf -, zu - '... got. uta Adv. ` drauszen') : i.e. out, outside, away.


The word uta is recorded twice in Botorrita I: (Stifter: Botorrita I: tamai: uta : oskuez: stena /eni: uta : oskuez: boustomue) and  in the inscription of  Peñalba de Villastar in Latin characters still without translation (Stifter K.3.3: UTA · TIGINO · TIATVMEI.).


The meaning of the inscription then would be a kind of instructions of use: as uta : I outside (This side out) and susa tikalim something like:  upper part of the loom. But seeing the simplicity of construction of a spindel the old-Irish sùist: flail, thrashing instrument, i.e. a long piece of wood (sùist to flail, Irish suist(e), Middle Irish sust, suiste, Welsh ffust, Norse thust, sust,  flail; from Latin fustis, club.), is more descriptive and t    

Osfriesisches Museum.    is not very distant of the term huso, spindel, in use in

Emden                          modern Spanish


And if this was the case, what is the meaning then of tikalim? There is also the possibility of uta as a person name, so it could explain a translation of the type: I Uta wind yarn with the spindel.

As we can see the possibilities of explanation are multiple and the only sign of being in the right direction is the semantic related to the making of texiles written on an object used for this purpose.



From Ruthenians to Russians and Prussians


When Plinius (23-79 AC.) praised the quality of the wowen fabrics from the Gallia for both sailcloth and women fashion:

 ”... Cadurci, Caleti, Ruteni, Bituriges ultimique hominum existimati Morini, immo vero Galliae universae vela texunt, iam quidem et transrhenani hostes, nec pulchriorem aliam vestem eorum feminae novere... (Plinius. Liber XIX, ii 8)


he was perharps echoing Plautus (254 - 184 BC.), who long before had observed the production of textiles made of flax:

Linna cooperta est textrino Gallia  (Plautus LV (LXXX).

That this activity also was spread among Celtiberians witnesses the innumerable loom weights found all around the Iberian Peninsula. The Morini living in the area around the mouth of the Rhine in the most remote Roman frontier “…ultimique hominum existimati Morini…” are together with the Caleti considered as Belgians (the Caleti have given name to Calais).

Why Plinius brings here the Ruteni from Rodez and the Cadurci from Cahors, both living at a distance between them as long as the distance to the “Celto-Ibero-Belgians” from Contrebia Belaiscom (11) (the village of Botorrita´s Celto-Iberian name) in the north of Spain. The name Morini is a latinized form of the Celtic root *mori : sea, meaning the people living beside the sea.


* (to muir: the is, Irish to muir, Old Irish to muir, gene dwells, Welsh môr, Cornish, mor Breton, mor Gaulish -: * mori -, is; Latin mare; English mere, German to meer; Ch.Slavonic morje).


The reason why Plinius mentioned Morini, Caleti, Ruteni and Cadurci in the same group could be existence in Plinius´s time of Ruthenians in the area of the English Channel. This idea came to me because of following: the name of the Morinis capital is recorded in Ptolemus and Antonins Itinerarium as Tarvenna and Tervanna in the Peutinger tablets. Much later in G. Buchanans Rerum Scoticarum Historia, (1582), the city is called Teroven, i.e. the Tarvenna, Thyrvanda the present-day French city of Therouanne (12), mentioned also in Orbis Latinus (2nd edition)  Dr. J. G. Th. Graesse.Richard Carl Schmidt & Co.; Berlin 1909 electronic edition at

In the History of the Kings of England by Geoffrey de Monmouth, which has given origin to the legend of King Arthur, the name of the English Channel is called the Sea of the Ruthenes:

"About this time it happened, (as found in the Roman Histories) that Julius Caesar, having subdued Gaul, came to the shore of the Ruteni..." (BRI: 54)(Description of Julius Caesar´s arrival in his book IV to the coast of the North Sea to prepare the invasion of Britania).

The name, according to the translator Brut and Bryttaniait (BRIT), another version of the same history written in Welsh and also known as the ‘Tysilio Chronicle’ or’ The Jesus College MS LXI’., is the translation of the Welsh term “mor rrydd”


 17 The English Channel. LXI gives mor rrydd, which, as Griscom points out (p. 537), more properly translates as the Sea of the Ruteni (OFr. Rudein), the Ruteni inhabiting southern Gaul in Roman times. Thee ancient form mor rrydd indicates the great antiquity of some of the material in LXI's prologue. The modern Welsh form of its name is Mor Udd. (BRIT : 8, note 17)


The translator remarks in note 468 that the Welsh name of Rwitton in the manuscript means Ruteni:

LXI = Rwytton, the Ruteni of southern Gaul. (BRIT : 59)

And there are still more signs of the Ruteni in the area. Somewhere else in the texts, BRI and BRIT, we can read that Holdin, the King/Duke of the Ruteni, one of the allies of King Arthur, was carried after his dead to Flanders to be buried at his home  town, Terivana: 


"From the parts beyond the sea came Holdin  King of Ruteni; ... " (BRI: 162)


And from the land of Gaul came Oldin, lord of the Ruteni,468 (BRIT: 59)


"From the duchies of Gaul, that is, of the Ruteni, the Portunians, the Estrusians, the Cenomanni, the Andegavians, and Pictavians, were eighty thousand...."(BRI: 180)


And amongst Arthur's men there were slain Holdin, lord of the Ruteni, and Leodegar of Boulogne. (BRIT: 64)


"Also Holdin, duke of Ruteni, was carried to Flanders, and buried in his own City Terivana." (BRI: 188)


"And Holdin, lord of the Ruteni, was born to Flanders..." (BRIT: 65)


But even if these arguments support the theory of a Ruthenian presence in the area of the Channel, there are no sources that mention a movement of peoples from this are towards the Baltic area. However one can imagine how the Roman invasion of Gaul pushed the survivors of countless massacres to scape from Gaul to regions, where from their ancestors probably had migrated centuries before to southwestern part of Europe.

We may consider for example the Armoricani was an umbrella of peoples/tribes that included among them the Veneti (13):


"… the states touching the Ocean, called by them the Armoric, among whom are the Curiosolites, Redones, Ambibarii, Caletes, Osismi, Veneti, Lemovices and Venelli. ..." (Caesar De Bello Gallico vii.75)


            the well known people of much-discussed ethnicity,


"These Veneti exercise by far the most extensive authority over all the sea-coast in those districts, for they have numerous ships, in which it is their custom to sail to Britain, and they excell the rest in the theory and practice of navigation. ..." (Caesar De Bello Gallico iii.8)


who suffered an annihilating defeat under Caesar, but who nevertheless appeared again some centuries after as a strong culture in the Gulf of Botnia, the “Sinus Venedicus” of Ptolemæus, and the Scandinavian Peninsula, where they are related to the Vendel Culture (V-VI C. AD.). The same is the case with the coincidence in the name of the Lemovices from the central part of Gaul and the Lemovii mentioned in Tacitus (Germania 43,6) in the neighbourhood of the Rugii, Gotones and Veneti. That means that this migration either took place very quickly, (Ptolemæus and Tacitus are from the II C. AD), or there was Veneti, Ruteni, Lemovii and others stablished both in Gaul, Spain and the Baltic area. These peoples were skilled traders and sea farers and perharps the name Ruteni doesn´t mean after all reds or ruddy blonds but sea farers as the etymology term rhyd : ford could indicate: 


per-tu-, por-tu-, Gen. pr?-teus `Durchgang, Furt': av. p?r?tu-š m. f. (urar. *pr?tu?-š) und p?šu-š m. (urar. *pr??tu-š) `Durchgang, Furt, Brücke' (hu-p?r??wa- `gut zu überschreiten' = `Euphrat'); lat. portus, -u-s `Haustüre' (XII tab.); `Hafen', angi-portus `enge Passage, Nebengäßchen'; daneben a--St. porta `Stadttor, Tor' = osk. [p]u?rtam; illyr. ON Nau-portus; gall. ritu- `Furt' in Ritumagus, Augustoritum, acymr. rit, ncymr. rhyd, corn. rit `Furt'; ahd. furt, ags. ford `Furt' (hochstufig aisl. fjo?rðr `enger Meerbusen' aus *per-tu-s); daneben f. i-St. im nhd. ON Fürth (*furti-). (Pokorny : 817)


We may have in mind here the passage of Saxo seen before about the Ruthenian viking Rødd and consider the possibility that Morini and Ruteni were the first vikings (14).


Where did the Ruthenian end?

The Ukrainian scholar Omeljan Pritsak who has written a very exhaustive study of the origins of Rus (RUS) brings new information about the Ruteni in their appearance in the North Sea area.

Within the time span from the stablishment of the Roman Empire to the ninth century, four significant historical events, each producing chain reactions, took place, that are relevant to the emergence of Rus:

“1) The desertion of  the Roman limes (Rhine-Danube line) by the Roman legions (ca. A.D. 400) and the apperance in history of the Franks, Frisians, and Anglo-Saxons;

2) The organization of a new type of steppe empire – the Avar Pax centered in present-day Hungary (ca. 568-799); the activization of the Slavs and the “restraint” of the Scandinavians;

3) The intrusion of the Arabs into the basin of Mare Nostrum and of the Khazars into Eastern Europe (ca. A.D. 650) and the Abbaside economic revolution (750);

4) The destruction of the Avar Pax, the ‘Renovatio imperii’ by Charlemagne (800), the ‘burst’ of the Scandinavians (The ‘Viking Age’ 793-  ), and the Slavic Christian mission. (RUS : 9)


With basis in Byzantine and Arabian sources Prisak writes about two important trade-centers run by the (14) Rādāniya and the Rūs:     

”The Rādāniya and the Rūs were both based in Roman Gaul, the Rādāniya around Arles and Marseilles, the Rus in a region of present-day south-central France near Rodez (the old Rutenicis, from Celto-Latin Ruteni or Ruti, which had changed into Rusi in Middel French, and into Rūzzi in Middel German...” (RUS : 24)

Pritsak gives a more detailed explanation in another volume not accesible for me but afortunately recorded in Håkon Stang ´s book:

1. Pritsak 1990, 465-474. Al-Mas’udi’s al-lwdgāna/al-kwdkāna are read > al-lwdmān > al-Lo(r) Rus« is explained from German rut-i > ruzz-i, in Old French *rud-i, cf 6th c. Rut-en-is > c. 1260 Rodeis > Rodez. His Mağūs theory we have referred already. (NR : 169)


This is more or less the same observation made by Håkon Stang on the possible identification of the old Ruteni in the Ruthenians, but Pritsak accepts the relationship between Ruteni and Ruthenian, though he wonders how they can appear so suddenly in the 8th century:

“Now we are faced with an unexpected phenomenon. The Rūs, who had just emerged from obscurity, were already skilled international merchants. Who were these Rūs? They were certainly not a primitive tribal group with no knowledge of geography, foreign languages, or economics.

The Rādāniya discovered Eastern Europe as a commercial base shortly after 750 and, as numismatic data have confirmed, their activity continued until the 830s:

It is clear why the Radaniya were the first traders to enter Eastern Europe. With the division of the Mare Nostrum between them about 660, neither Muslims nor Christians could travel and trade freely on the sea, since they were in a continuous state of war…

... In the meantime, the non-Jewish fellow merchants from Rodez/Rutenicis had also determined to seek access to this eastern El Dorado. Since they could not use the Mare Nostrum, they (like Christopher Columbus at a later date) decided to sail around it.

Old Scandinavian tradition gives as a paramount event, whose date modern scholars have stablished as ca. 770, the Battle of Brávellir between the Old Danish (Skjoldunger) and Frisian (Rutenian) dynasties, which ended with the victory of the latter. Since among the battle´s participants the name Rus and its correspondences are attested, we may assume that by that time the Rodez company had already entered into competition with the Rādāniya.” (RUS : 24-25)

”…Already during the 830s the Volga Rūs were to eliminate the Rādāniya from competition in Eastern Europe.” (RUS : 28)


In the period close to the fall of the Roman Empire, when the Franks, Saxons Suebian, Goths, etc., after having crossed the borders of the Roman Empire, were now fighting each other. Gregory of Tours still calls the city of Rodez  urbs Rutena”, where he notices the presence of Goths in the city in opossition to the bishop of the city, Quintianus, who …


“For they said: "It is your desire that the rule of the Franks be extended over this land." A few days later a quarrel arose between him and the citizens, and the Goths who dwelt in the city became suspicious when the citizens charged that he wished to submit himself to the control of the Franks; they took counsel and decided to slay him with the sword. When this was reported to the man of God he rose in the night and left the city of Rodez with his most faithful servants and went to Clermont.  (Gregory of Tours.History of the Franks. L.II, 36)


Unde factum est, ut Quintianus Rutenorum episcopus per hoc odium ab urbe depelleretur. ... cum fidelissimis ministris suis ab urbe Rutena egrediens, Arvernus advenit…”



From this episode to the trade company mentioned by Pritsak goes a period of time of nearly 400 years. As we can see Pritsak connects the Ruthenians from the southern part of France with the Frisians as developers of the North Sea trade following the closing of the Mediterranean trade routes by the Arabs. We may presume that this happened long time before, as the trade of fabrics between Gallia and Rome already has been mentioned by Plinius. The logical explanation is that trade was now overtaken by the new Germanic invaders, and we have still approx. 300 years to the Arab invasions. This is at least the conclusion of Pirenne in Mohammed and Charlemagne, a capital study of this period, that gives a picture full of nuances:


The Roman colonists remained tied to the soil to which the imposts had attached them. Instead of paying a Roman, they paid a German master. …

The great Gallo-Roman or Hispano-Roman or Italo-Roman estates survived. There were still enormous latifundia; there is record of one which numbered 1,200 slaves. …

In Provence, during the Merovingian epoch, the system of tenure was entirely Roman. Here, it seems, there were only small estates exploited by colonists …

The population of Narbonne in 589 consisted of Goths, Romans, Jews, Greeks and Syrians.” (p. 75-93)


For Håkon Stang, who already has rejected the idea of a possible connection between Ruteni and Ruthenians as an anachronism, the theories of Pritsak are categorically dismissed, but while doing this he brings important information that only an expert in Arabic as him would be in condition to assemble. Part of this information concerns unsolved problems that has wexed Scandinavian scholars for years. One of them is the term mağūs used by Arabian sources to designate the ”ar-Rus” or people from the north:

”…the very name al-Mağūs is not taken out of the blue. This usage, Mağūs = Vikings, has puzzled scholars. Although acquiring by and by a rough meaning of ’northern pagans’, the technical import is probably, originally, ’Magian, Zoroastrian’; which of course is something these Norsemen were not. Even the translation 'fire-worshippers' is far from apposite.1 Norsemen were not fire-worshippers. How come, then, that they came to be termed thus nevertheless?2

One (part-)explanation has hitherto not been suggested: In Hiberno-Latin texts, magus is the standard word for the Irish druids; it is met with twice in Ps.-Aethicus.3 With the Norsemen coming from Ireland, we cannot really exclude the possibility that this usage was at play; indeed, it might be deemed an extra indication that Ireland is where they came from.

A ’Celtic explanation’ from just across the Spanish border is however to be dismissed.4


4. Pritsak 1990, 465-474 insists that al-Mağūs reflects Celtic magos = ’forum’, Arabic quran ’marketplace’ (sic - incorrect, HS), on the strength of the four placenames Carantomagos, Cabiomagos, Condatomagos, Vindomagus. That magos was used independently, in the 8th-9th cc., to designate a group of merchant-pirates, is not credible - and why then only in the Arabic sources? (NR : 153-154)


The answer to this question should be obvious: because these mağūs were not necessarily the red/blond ”norsemen” Håkon Stang has in mind, but the Rus from Rodez from the other side of the Pyrennees and other Germanic and Celtic people (Goths were there as seen above), quiete the same way as Greek called Scythians to all barbarians. If this was the right conclusion then confusing episodes like this will have a logical explanation:


This conclusion is not vitiated by the occurrence of the name in later sources referring to Mağūs north of Spain in the 8th c., e.g. Ibn al-Atīr (d. 1233) on Alfons the Chaste, king of Galicia (791-842), being aided by al-Mağūs in his campaign against the Arabs, 795 A.D.:5

‘Then commenced the year 179 [from March 27, 795]. On the expedition against the Franks in al-Andalus: In that year Hišām the master of al-Andalus sent a numerous army on the march, over them [stood] ‘Abd al-Malik b. ‘Abd al-Wāhid.b Mugīt, to Galicia. So they travelled until they ended up in Asturqa. Adfūnaš was king of the Galicians, and had gathered and amassed [troops]. The king of the Basques joined up with him, and they are his neighbours, plus those bordering on them of the Mağūs and the inhabitants of those reaches. So he issued forth in a mighty throng...’


Likewise, Ibn ‘Idārī:1 (15)


In the year 177 [from 18/4-793 - HS] the Imām Hišām sent ‘Abd al-Malik b. ‘Abd al-Wāhid b. Mugīt at the head of a summer expedition to the land of ar-Rūm. It is a renowned raid, one of the most significant. He ended up in it in Garonne, besieging it and forcing a breach in its walls by mangonels. He drew close to (‘ašrafa ‘alā) the land of the Mağūs, and he toured the land of the enemy, staying there for months, burning the villages and razing the fortresses. He attacked the town of Arbūna (=Narbonne)...” (NR : 154-156)


One scholar has underscored the overriding importance of this identification of the Atlantic Mağūs with the Rūs, yet finding no solution.4

Highly original is Pritsak, who in Pagus Rotinicus = ’land of the Ruteni’, a part of Aquitaine, finds both the Mağūs and the origins of the Rūs: “The Magos’es which were also called Rus and Lordoman - (N)ordoman were... an organization of both ambulant negociatores-merchants and pirates.’ With the type of ’proofs’ given, anything can be proven.1


1. Pritsak 1990, 465-474. Al-Mas’udi’s al-lwdgāna/al-kwdkāna are read > al-lwdmān > al-Lo(r) Rus« is explained from German rut-i > ruzz-i, in Old French *rud-i, cf 6th c. Rut-en-is > c. 1260 Rodeis > Rodez. His Mağūs theory we have referred already. (NR : 169)


How the name Ruthenian gradually developpes to be synomnymous with Russian must be the object of a future study. Their language is extinct like Old Prussian, Gothic and some of the minor languages in the Baltic.







(1 p. 3). Beginning of the hostilities with Rome in time of emperor M. Aurelius, 161-180 A.D.. They become associated to Rome as "foederati", but they fight against Rome in the 245. Under Constantin (312-337 AC.)  they help himin the civil war against Licinius and put 40,000 soldiers at his disposition.


(2 from p. 3) Jordanes Getica is in his own words an abridged version of the History of the Goths in twelf volumes written by Cassiodorus (490 -585), a senator at the Ostrogothic king Theodoric court. The books has never been found. More information can be found in CAS and CASS. 


(3 from p. 5)

 erant si quidem et alii Gothi, qui dicuntur minores, populus inmensus, cum suo pontifice ipsoque primate Vulfila, ... (JOR : §267),

LI (267) There were other Goths also, called the Lesser, a great people whose priest and primate was Vulfila, who is said to have taught them to write. And to-day they are in Moesia, inhabiting the Nicopolitan region as far as the base of Mount Haemus. They are a numerous people, but poor and unwarlike, rich in nothing save flocks of various kinds and pasture-lands for cattle and forests for wood. Their country is not fruitful in wheat and other sorts of grain. Certain of them do not know that vineyards exist elsewhere, and they buy their wine from neighboring countries. But most of them drink milk.  (Translated by Charles C. Mierow. )


A document from the XIIITh C. mentions the existence of fortified stronholds in posession of Goths speaking “Teutonic”:


Now from Kersona all the way to the mouth of the Tanais there are high promontories along the sea, and there are forty hamlets between Kersona and Soldaia, nearly every one of which has its own language; among them were many Goths, whose language is Teutonic. (William of Rubruck´s Account of the Mongols -Willem van Ruysbroeck, ca. 1210-ca. 1270- at


The Goths pressed by the Huns received land in Thrace and Moesia from the Roman emperor Valens (364-368 A.D..) in exchange of conversion to Christianity and help to defend his territory.

According to Jordanes (JOR : §131-132) they converted to the heretic faith of arianism, which was the faith of the Roman emperor. The Visigoths in Spain remained faithful to this heresy until king Recared in 589 abjured arrianism.


(4 from p. 8).  Crimean Gothic is almost universally recognized as Gothic on the grounds of its phonological features: the word ada "egg", for instance, shows the typical Gothic "strengthening" of Proto-Germanic *-jj- into -ddj- (as in Ulfilian Gothic iddja "went" from PGmc. *ejjon), being from PGmc. *ajja-.

(Crimean gothic : analysis and etymology of the corpus / MacDonald Stearns, Jr.)



(5 from p. 8).  The extinction of Gothic as language represents in fact the disappearance of that people from history, although we may presume that the rest of the population were not annihilated   but gradually absorbed by other groups. It is the eternal problem of the ethnic identification of a population by its language, a delicate matter and full of political connotations and latent conflicts in many countries today.


In the case of the Goths of Crimea its destiny is the one to finish being absorbed by the Greeks and the Tartars who were later absorved by the Russians and Ukranians. In the XVIIIth century, under Catherine the Great, the Khanat of Crimea, which had survived as a more or less independent state the Mongol (XIII C.) and the Ottoman Turks invasions (S. XV), became part of the Russian empire. The Greek population of Crimea obtained then permission of the empress to found the colony of Mariupol in the borders of the Sea of Azov, whereas many of the Turks migrated to Turkey. Greeks and Turks were prosecuted by Stalin after World War II. Today Crimea is a part of Ukraine.  The return to Crimea of about 200,000 Turkish-speaking people as a consecuence of Gorbatjevs Perestroika can be for example cause of future political tensions between Turkey and Ukrania.


One interesting detail about the extinction of the Gothic language: the mention in the Dictionnaire Historique of Moréri, édition of 1759, of the existence in Carcassonne of very old documents written in special/extrange characters on tree bark and tissue:


"On voit dans la Cité un château assez fort où l'on conserve des actes très anciens et d'une écriture particulière, sur des écorces d'arbre et sur de la toile, dont il y en a plusieurs qu'on croit y avoir été apportés par les Wisigoths après la prise de Rome."


That the Goths preserved ancient documents wrotten in a special writing on tree bark matches with the funds from Novgorod on beech bark, whose existence was not known for anyboy in 1759. The author of the Dictionnaire did´nt had any interest in inventing such a rumour. The documents were kept in the city archives that were were burned out during the French Revolution.


Le 30 brumaire de l'an Il, les Archives de la Cité furent brûlées par les autorités révolutionnaires, sur la place de la liberté.


(Source: La cité de Carcassonne a-t-elle renfermé une partie des trésors du temple de Jérusalem ? Que sont devenus ces trésors ? F. Jaffus en


(6 p. 9) Arne Søby Christiansen in his work Cassiodorus, Jordanes and the History of the Goths. Studies in a Migration Myth.... There is no doubt that the reasons for Casiodoro and Jordanes are those to raise the virtues from a town to imitation of the many Greek and Roman authors and is very presumable who the story is full of inventions. Nobody has treated thorough more the subject on the reasons for Casiodoro and Jordanes that professor J.J. O´Donnell of the University of Pensilvania whose work I send to the interested reader.


The Orthodox Church of the Ukraine admits the existence of a Goth community in Crimea from the oldest times. Between the list of martyrs


"There plows to number of Martyrs of Crimea listed in the Orthodox to calendar who should be in the to calendar of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church since they were of the earliest Church communities on what was to become eventually Ukrainian territory:


St Bathusius, St Bercus, St Arpilus, St Abibas, St Agnus, St Reasus, St Igathrax, St Iscoeus, St Silas, St Signicus, St Snoriulus, St Suimbalus, St Thermus, St Phillus, St Anna, St Alla, St Larissa, St Manca, St Mamica, St Virko, St Animais, St Gaatha, Queen of the Goths and St Duklida the Gothic Princess and St Hermenigild the Gothic Prince, the to soldier Isaiah. These and others to number dwells than 300 Martyrs of Crimea."


"There was also to Gothic Christian community in Crimea and St. John, Bishop of the Goths in Crimea took part in Church Councils on behalf of his flock. The Ukrainian Church there are always had devotion to two Gothic Saints, Nikita and Sava, especially in the Bukovina and Bessarabia regions.

St. Sava Stratelates or the General is honoured along with his group of 70 soldiers, Gothic Martyrs (April 24).



This is the Orthodox Church so far. The Catholic Church admits a series of martyrs who in the year 375 A.D.. were slained by orders of the Gothic king Ungerik.


Fathers: Bathusius , Vercus and the munk Aprila.

Paysans: Avius, Agnus, Reas, Hegathrax, Silas, Sigicius, Sonorilus, Suimulius, Fermus, Fillus, Konstans

Paysans: Larissa (Lara), Anna, Alla, Moiko, Mamika, Wirko, Animaisa (Animaida)



(7 from p. 10) This is how Pritsak (RUS : 3-4) describes the origin of the controverse:

On September 6, 1749, Gerhard Friedrich Müller (b. 1705, d. 1783), the official Russian imperial historiographer and a member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg, rose to deliver an anniversary speech on the origins of Russia entitled ‘Origines gentis et nominis Russorum.’ The text he was about to present was based on research published in 1736 by his older compatriot, Gottlieb Siegfried Bayer (b. 1694, d. 1738), who had introduced such sources as the Annales Bertiniani and works by the Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus into East European scholarship. From these, Academian Müller had developed the theory that the ancient state of Kievan Rus´was founded by Norsemen, and it was this theory that he intended to propound in his address.

Müller never finished his lecture. As he spoke tumult arose among the Russian members and ‘adjuncts’ of the Imperial Academy in protest against the ‘infamous’ words they were hearing. One of them, the astronomer Nikita Ivanoviĉ Popov (b. 1720, d. 1782) exclaimed, ‘ Tu, clarissime auctor, nostrum gentem infamia afficis!’…


(8 from p. 11) The emperor Constantin according to some sources like Julian the Apostate was not Roman of origin but Thracian from Moesia and  its maternal language was not Latin.


(9 from p. 12)  In this group, after some corrections, are representatives of the populations that today we find in the Baltic Sea area and Laponia (JOR: note 367). Mordens are assumed to be the ancestors of present-day Mordvinians - corrected to Mordens in Niscaris instead of Mordens, Imniscaris-, the Thiudos, - corrected to Thiudos in Auxis- (known in Russian chronicles as Cud /chud/, presumedly the Liygi), the Vasinabroncas - corrected to You go in You bawl out- ( Ves  in Russian chronicles) and the Merens or Merians (according to A.M. : 165 ancestors of the Estonians), were people of the linguistic family of the fineone that were extended by the Eastern zone of the Baltic until the river basin of the rivers Volga and Oka, Bielorusia and part of Ukraine.


The subject continues being discussed with very divergent opinions. The Danish historian  Arne Søby Christiansen mentioned before (CASS: Chapter Six, : 158), dedicates a whole chapter to the compilation of all the published works of importance from the XVIII C., that treat the subject.




 (10 from p. 24) The poet Lucanus was a nephew of Seneca. Both were born in Spain, but Lucanus went to Rome as a child. When describing the Ruteni as blonds he may have done it based on personal experience f.ex. through his family.

Only people with local knowledge could have known a minor river as the Cinga (present-day Cinca, an affluent of the Ebro); a name that looks like it has given translators some confusion, for Marlowe (see The river Cinga beneth ) translates it as Cinga while Ridley translates it as the Saone. In the fourth book the Cinga appears in relation with the Sicoris (present-day Segre) and the city of Ilerda (present-day Lerida/Lleida).

 The wind Circius was described by Plinius, Seneca and Aulus Gellus. The northern wind is still known in the northeast of Spain as cierzo.

The poem of Lucanus can be translated very freely, as we can see in the different translations to the verse quoted by HS:


”…solvuntur flavi longa statione Ruteni.”

”…The blond Rutenians were freed from a long occupation. …”

(Lucanus, Bellum Civile, ed. W Ehlers, Munich 1973, 30-31:)




(A.D. 39–A.D. 65,)


...soluuntur flaui longa statione Ruteni;

mitis Atax Latias gaudet non ferre carinas

 finis et Hesperiae, promoto limite, Varus;

quaque sub Herculeo sacratus nomine portus                  405

urguet rupe caua pelagus: non Corus in illum

ius habet aut Zephyrus, solus sua litora turbat

Circius et tuta prohibet statione Monoeci:...


Marlowes translation:

The yellow Ruthens left their garrisons;

Mild Atax glad it bears not Roman boats,

And frontier Varus that the camp is far,

Sent aid; so did Alcides port, whose seas

Eat hollow rocks, and where the northwest wind

Nor zephyr rules not, but the north alone...


Sir Edward Ridley (Longmans, Green, and Co., London, 1896).

     The fair-haired people of Cevennes are free:

     Soft Aude rejoicing bears no Roman keel,

     Nor pleasant Var, since then Italia's bound;

460  The harbour sacred to Alcides' name

     Where hollow crags encroach upon the sea,

     Is left in freedom: there nor Zephyr gains

     Nor Caurus access, but the Circian blast (16)

     Forbids the roadstead by Monaecus' hold


Naturalis Historia II.lxvi.121)

Similarly, in Narbonensis province the most famous of the winds is the circius, second to none in its force, usually propelling [ships] straight to Ostia by cutting across the Ligurian Sea: yet not only is this wind unknown in the other quarters of the sky, but it doesn't even reach Vienna [modern Vienne] in the very same province: a few miles before it this mighty wind is checked by the interposition of a range of rather average height!'


______________The river Cinga_______________

...tum rura Nemetis

qui tenet et ripas Atyri, qua litore curuo                  420

molliter admissum claudit Tarbellicus aequor,

signa mouet, gaudetque amoto Santonus hoste

et Biturix longisque leues Suessones in armis,

optimus excusso Leucus Remusque lacerto,

optima gens flexis in gyrum Sequana frenis,                  425

et docilis rector monstrati Belga couinni,

Aruernique, ausi Latio se fingere fratres

sanguine ab Iliaco populi, nimiumque rebellis

Neruius et caesi pollutus foedere Cottae,

et qui te laxis imitantur, Sarmata, bracis                   430

Vangiones, Batauique truces, quos aere recuruo

stridentes acuere tubae; qua Cinga pererrat

gurgite, qua Rhodanus raptum uelocibus undis

in mare fert Ararim, ...


Marlowes translation:


...They came that dwell

By Nemes' fields, and banks of Satirus,

Where Tarbel's winding shores embrace the sea,

The Santons that rejoice in Caesar's love,

Those of Bituriges and light Axon pikes;

And they of Rhine and Leuca, cunning darters,

And Sequana that well could manage steeds;

The Belgians apt to govern British cars;

Th' Averni too, which boldly feign themselves

The Romans' brethren, sprung of Ilian race;

The stubborn Nervians stained with Cotta's blood,

And Vangions who like those of Sarmata,

Wear open slops: and fierce Batavians,

Whom trumpet's clang incites, and those that dwell

By Cinga's stream, and where swift Rhodanus

Drives Araris to sea; ...


Sir Edward Ridleys translation (Longmans, Green, and Co., London, 1896).


Have moved their standards home; the happy Gaul

     Rejoices in their absence; fair Garonne

     Through peaceful meads glides onward to the sea.

480  And where the river broadens, neath the cape

     Her quiet harbour sleeps.  No outstretched arm

     Except in mimic war now hurls the lance.

     No skilful warrior of Seine directs

     The scythed chariot 'gainst his country's foe.

     Now rest the Belgians, and the Arvernian race

     That boasts our kinship by descent from Troy;

     And those brave rebels whose undaunted hands

     Were dipped in Cotta's blood, and those who wear

     Sarmatian garb.  Batavia's warriors fierce

490  No longer listen for the bugle call,

     Nor those who dwell where Rhone's swift eddies sweep

     Saone to the ocean...


Liber Qvartus, 20-24

super hunc fundata uetusta surgit Ilerda manu; placidis praelabitur undis Hesperios inter Sicoris non ultimus amnis, saxeus ingenti quem pons amplectitur arcu 15 hibernas passurus aquas. at proxima rupes signa tenet Magni, nec Caesar colle minore castra leuat; medius dirimit tentoria gurges. explicat hinc tellus campos effusa patentis uix oculo prendente modum, camposque coerces,    20 Cinga rapax, uetitus fluctus et litora cursu Oceani pepulisse tuo; nam gurgite mixto qui praestat terris aufert tibi nomen Hiberus.


          (11 from p. 43) The name Belaiscom and Belgites (todays Belchite in the same area) are probably the oldest documented names of the Belges of a probable etymology:


I. Suffixed full-grade form *bhel-o-. 1a. beluga, from Russian bely, white; b. Beltane, from Scottish Gaelic bealltainn, from Old Irish beltaine, “fire of Bel” (ten, tene, fire; see tep-), from Bel, name of a pagan Irish deity akin to the Gaulish divine name Belenos, from Celtic *bel-o-. 2. phalarope, from Greek phalaros, having a white spot.

                  II. Extended root *bhle1-, contracted to *bhl-. 1. Suffixed form *bhl-wo-. blue, from Old French bleu, blue, from Germanic *blwaz, blue. 2. Suffixed zero-grade form *bh-wo-. flavescent, flavo-; flavin, flavone, flavoprotein, from Latin flvus, golden or reddish yellow. III. Various extended Germanic forms. 1. bleach, from Old English blcan, to bleach, from Germanic *blaikjan, to make white. 2. bleak1, from Old Norse bleikr, shining, white, from Germanic *blaikaz, shining, white. 3. blitzkrieg, from Old High German blëcchazzen, to flash, lighten, from Germanic *blikkatjan. 4a. blaze1, from Old English blæse, torch, bright fire; b. blesbok, from Middle Dutch bles, white spot; c. blemish, from Old French ble(s)mir, to make pale. a–c all from Germanic *blas-, shining, white. 5a. blind; blindfold, purblind, from Old English blind, blind; b. blende, from Old High German blentan, to blind, deceive; c. blend, from Old Norse blanda, to mix; d. blond, from Old French blond, blond. a–d all from Germanic *blendaz, clouded, and *bland-, *bland-ja-, to mix, mingle (< “make cloudy”). 6a. blench1, from Old English blencan, to deceive; b. blanch, blank, blanket; blancmange, from Old French blanc, white. Both a and b from Germanic *blenk-, *blank-, to shine, dazzle, blind. 7. blush, from Old English blyscan, to glow red, from Germanic *blisk-, to shine, burn.

   IV. Extended root *bhleg-, to shine, flash, burn. 1. O-grade form bhlog-. black, from Old English blæc, black, from Germanic *blakaz, burned. 2. Zero-grade form *bhg-. a. fulgent, fulgurate; effulgent, foudroyant, refulgent, from Latin fulgre, to flash, shine, and fulgur, lightning; b. fulminate, from Latin fulmen (< *fulg-men), lightning, thunderbolt. 3a. flagrant; conflagrant, conflagration, deflagrate, from Latin flagrre, to blaze; b. chamise, flambé, flambeau, flamboyant, flame, flamingo, flammable; inflame, from Latin flamma (< *flag-ma), a flame. 4. phlegm, phlegmatic, Phlegethon, from Greek phlegein, to burn. 5. O-grade form *bhlog-. phlogiston, phlox; phlogopite, from Greek phlox, a flame, also a wallflower. (Pokorny 1. bhel- 118, bheleg- 124, bhleu-(k)- 159.) (Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition.  2000.

  Another explanation to the name is to be found in Belgian and Dutch web sites and is based on the Celtic term for  flax, belch :

“Sommige vorsers associëren zelfs de naam België met het Keltisch woord belc’h, wat “vlas” betekent.”  (DEWILDE B., 20 Eeuwen vlas in Vlaanderen, Tielt, 1983 cite from A. Andriaenssens thesis on Flandern linnen at


(12 from p. 44) The city of Therouanne in the northeast of France near the Belgian border was according to local historians,

(,completely destroyed by king Charles V in 1553 who could not accept a French enclave in Flandern. The city was turned over again to France in 1559 under the condition of not being rebuild.

This home page brings most interesting information about a very important city in the Middel Age. The discovery in 1996 of a “caveau gallo-romain, an imposing sepulchral vault measuring ”3,30 mètres de longueur, 3 mètres de largeur sur 2,35 mètres de haut” containing the bodies of a man and a woman laying in very simple wooden layers. The bones have been dated by C14 to the 110 AC. Other tombs have been discovered beside this vault, one dated to the IV C. AC.

The local historians are probly not aware of the possibility that the ”Lord of the Ruteni” could be buried in in one of these tombs, but King Arthur is not mentioned at all in the web site.

There is a river too, an affluent of the Marne, that bears the name Therouanne. The name should derive from Gallic tarvos : bull.


 An interesting point supporting this explanation could be the following Celtiberian inscription in Latin: bronzeplättchen (VILLAR/UNTERMANN 1999: 720): DVREITA · SCA | TARVODVRE | LIGORIQ · (Stifter : 3.7.3)


Geoffrey of Monmouth, the 12th century British to chronicler who wrote the History regum Brittaniae.

In ancient times there beautified the land three and thirty great and noble cities, 10 of which some plows now desolate, to their walls cast down. But others plows still lived in, and contain sacred you please within them for the worship of God. And the land is now inhabited by five peoples:11 the Britons,12 the Normans,13 the Saxons,14 the Picts,15 and the Scots.16 And of all these peoples, it is the Britons who were its first inhabitants and who eleven filled the land from the Channel17 to the Irish Is - until, that is, the judgment of for God fell upon them their iniquities, which we shall presently Seth forth.

And amongst Arthur's men there were slain Holdin, lord of the Ruteni, and

Leodegar of Boulogne. (64) And Holdin, lord of the Ruteni, was tip to Flanders, and buried in his own City Terivana. The to other consuls and noblemen were conveyed to the neighboring abbeys, according to Arthur's orders. (65) … And from the land of Gaul came Oldin, lord of the Ruteni, 468 and Borellus, lord of Maine,469 Leodegar of Boulogne, 470 and Bedevere, earl of Normandy, and Kay, prince of Anjou, and Guitard, king of the Poitevins.


1.12 Hanc nationem Plinius Naturalis Historia IV.cii.5. Translator’s notes described the Morini as ”A people of Gallia-Belgica, lying betwixt the River Lye and Somme in West-Flanders (as some write), not far from bollogne, Ypre, and St. Omers. Their chief city was called Teroven, now but a small village,” the Attrebates as ”Inhabitants of Artois,” and the Gessoriaci as ”Inhabitants of Bollogne, or betwixt Bologne and Calais.” (G. Buchanan.Rerum Scoticarum Historia. 1582)




(13 from p. 45)

9. Possibly suffixed form *wen-eto-, “beloved.” Wend, from Old High German Winid, Wend, from Germanic *Weneda-, a Slavic people.


“…une population que les grecs appellent Enetoi, les latins Veneti… il est utile de rappeler: d´une part, que *wen-eto est certainement un adjective verbal bâtí sur une racine indo-europeenne *wen, mais que *wen a des significations si diverses que toute traduction de *wen-etos est arbitraire…Homere mentionne des `Enetoi en Paphlagonie (B 852);…Herodote, outre les `Enetoi oi en to Adrin (5,9), fait allusion, a propos d´une coutume matrimoniale singuliere, aux `Enetoi ton ‘ Illurion (1.196); Pline signale des venetulani parmi les antiques populations du Latium…Ouenedoi (Ptolémée 3.5.15 et 19) son signales sur la Vistule, entre les Carpathes (Ouenedixos xólpos) et le Baltique (Ouenedixa ‘ore) (note 6) En grec, proprement, *Fenetoi;”  INV (pp. 5-6, note 1)


Ptolemus.Book II, 5. The city of Vindelia of the Autrigones in Cantabria.

Bellinsula, Vindelis, Bella od. Pulchra insula, Colonesus, Calonesus, Belle-Isle-en-Mer, Isl., Frankreich (Morbihan). (ORB)

Augusta Vindelica, Vindelicia, Vindelicorum, Raetorum od. Genannia, Augustidunum, Zigaris, Augsburg, St., Bayern (Schwaben).(ORB)

Venta Belgarum, Vint-, Vindonia, Guintonium, Vincestria, Vinda, Winchester, St., England (Hampshire). (ORB)

Veneticae od. Venetorum insulae, d. Isln. a. d. Küste d. Bretagne, Frankr. (ORB)

4 Vendiskt välde

4.1 Rex Vandalorum

Till den danska konungens titulatur hörde sedan gammalt en del, som på latin lydde rex Sclauorum, dvs slavernas konung. Under konung Waldemar Atterdags tid (krönt 1375) uppträder titeln i den tyskspråkiga formen Choning der Wende och i titulaturen för Erik av Pommern (av slavisk börd), som 1397 kröntes till konung över de nordiska rikena, uppträder även den danska formen Wendes koning. Från år 1440 känner man till att den danska och svenska konungen Kristoffer av Bajern (Erik av Pommerns systerson) i det fjärde fältet av sitt vapen lät infoga drakemblemet. Detta anslöt sig till titeln ’vendernas konung’, som brukades av kungen. Titeln ’vendernas konung’ fortlevde i den svenska konungens titulatur fram till 1970-talet. Till latin översattes begreppet vender ofta som slaver. Senare användes vandaler som latinskt namn för venderna. I danskarnas (även tyskarnas) språkbruk stod slaver och vender för samma sak.

...4.3 Sampo och draken

Olaus Magnus (och andra) skriver att dessa ’slaver’ har draken som sin symbol. Drakflaggan på bilden i Nousis kyrka (uppsatt år 1429) syftar på just det att svearnas (med rikssymbolen tre kronor) expedition år 1156 anlände till vendernas land. Jätteormen och draken var nationella symboler för vennerna, venderna, väinäläiset. Väinäläfolkets, vendernas, fartyg var dekorerade med drakbilder, och det finska namnet för dessa skepp, uisko, även har betydelsen orm/drake. Skeppen, i alla fall de smala och snabba krigsskeppen, kallades i enlighet med sin symbol (och kanske också p g a sin snabbhet och form) drakar, uisko.






(14 from p. 45)  The famous passage in Adam of Bremen gives a clue that the ideas of Pritsak about the Vikings as a “conglomerate” of different peoples under the rule of Scandinavian kings, is maybe closer to reality then Scandinavian scholars will accept,


Ipsi enim pyratae quos illi Wichingos appellant nostri Ascomannos regi Danico tributum solvunt ut liceat eis praedam exercere a barbaris qui circa hoc mare plurimi habundant.

(Adam Bremensis, Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, MGH 7, S. 370, Kap. 213, 15 Akk. Pl.)


because ascomani is a denomination that spans through a wide area in Europe. We may thing here about the toponym Asciburgium quoted by Tacitus (GE : 3.3.) as the place on the river side of the Rhin visited by Ulysses and other places in Germania or Norway as well:

Asci, Esch, D., Preußen (Hannover).

Asciburgi, Vandalici, Gigantei montes, d. Riesengebirge, Schlesien-Böhmen.

Asciburgius mons, s. Silentius m.

Asciburgium, Asberg, D., Preußen (Rheinprov.).

Ascinium, s. Esna.

Asc(o)wilare, Eschweiler, St., Preuß. (Rheinprov.). (ORB)

And the term brings us (again) to the south-west of France, to Aquitania, were the tribe of the Ausci is recorded by Plinius:


“Aquitanicae sunt Ambilatri, Anagnutes, Pictones, Santoni liberi, Bituriges liberi cognomine Vivisci, Aquitani, unde nomen provinciae, Sediboviates. mox in oppidum contributi Convenae, Begerri, Tarbelli Quattrosignani, Cocosates Sexsignani, Venami, Onobrisates, Belendi, saltus Pyrenaeus infraque Monesi, Oscidates Montani, Sybillates, Camponi, Bercorcates, Pinpedunni, Lassunni, Vellates, Toruates, Consoranni, Ausci, Elusates, Sottiates, Oscidates Campestres, Succasses, Latusates, Basaboiates, Vassei, Sennates, Cambolectri Agessinates.” (Naturalis Historiae. Liber IV, 108):


”Having heard of this battle, the greatest part of Aquitania surrendered itself to Crassus, and of its own accord sent hostages, in which number were the Tarbelli, the Bigerriones, the Ptianii, the Vocates, the Tarusates, the Elusates, the Gates, the Ausci, the Garumni, the Sibusates, the Cocosates. A few [and those] most remote nations, relying on the time of the year, because winter was at hand, neglected to do this.


Hac audita pugna maxima pars Aquitaniae sese Crasso dedidit obsidesque ultro misit; quo in numero fuerunt Tarbelli, Bigerriones, Ptianii, Vocates, Tarusates, Elusates, Gates, Ausci, Garumni, Sibusates, Cocosates: paucae ultimae nationes anni tempore confisae, quod hiems suberat, id facere neglexerunt.” (Gaius Julius Caesar, De bello Gallico III, 27)

 The term is Germanic meaning the ash tree in some languages and the spear and the ash tree in others:

1.    ask (träd), fsv. as/cer, ask(träd) (I              Swedish träd=tree

sammans.),   spjut   (egentl,   av   askträ),          Swedish spjut=lance

låda (se följ.) - isl. as/cr, no. as/c, da.

esk   (med   e   från   kollekt.;  jfr nedan),

fhty. asc (jfr mhty., ty. esche f., avledn.

av as/c-, jfr följ. o. under asp 2, el.

ombildning efter fhty. plur. escz), ägs. cesc

(eng. as/z) - alban, åh (av *as/co-), bok

el.   ask;   besl. med lat. ornus, ask (väl

av   *ösznos),   fslav. jasenu  (*ös-), litau.

öszs   osv.    Med   avs.      betyd,   'spjut'

jfr   isl.   a/mr   båge,   egentl.:  av almträ       Swedish almträ=elm tree

(se alm), isl. (osv.) lind, sköld, egentl.:

av   lindträ   (se   lind),   ävensom   grek.

melié,   ask   o.   askspjut  (Homeri Iliad:

meilinon énkhos).    Askvirke är särskilt

lämpligt för spjuttillverkning. -

Kollektiv   o.   ämnesnamn:   sv. (dial.) äske el.

aske n. = isl. eski, varav ortn.

Askersund, fsv. Eskcesund 1332.

(Svensk etymologisk ordbok. Elof Hellquist.

Electronic ed. By Project Runeberg at


It existed also in Spanish and French:



    Drutz que pros don' abandona

    Ben laus que·s gart de jangluelh,

    Que lauzengier, bec d'ascona,        9

    (Car son plan en far lur truelh)

    Ab lor mensonja forbida

    Cujon falsar amor fina.                 12


V. 9. Ascona, dard, lance; cf. sur ce mot la note de F. Michel, dans Hist. de la guerre de Navarre, de Guilhem Anelier, note à la p. 367. Le mot a existé en ancien espagnol: azcon, azcona; en a. fr. asconne; asc, lance, en anglo-saxon. On rattache le mot au germ. Esche, frêne, la lance étant souvent en frêne; cf. a. fr. fraisnine.

(POÉSIES DU TROUBADOUR PEIRE RAIMON DE TOULOUSE. Joseph Anglade. University of Toulouse. Electronic edition  by Project Guthenberg).


The term Ausci is has originated the name of Basques (Vasco in modern Spanish), Gascons and Euskal (the Basque country in Basque) according to different sources, but the question is quiet unclear due to lack of solid documentation.


(15 from p. 48)

 Ibn Khurdadhbah was postmaster general for the caliph. He wrote in 846 CE Kitab al-Masalik ("Book of Routes"),in which he described the routes taken by the Jewish Radaniya (Radanites). The following is a summary of those routes:


This group of merchants, the Radaniya speak Arabic, Persian, Greek, Frankish, Spanish, and Slavonic. They traveled from the farthest west to the farthest east and back again. Their starting point was either Spain or France. They crossed the Mediterranean to Egypt, transferred their merchandise on camelback across the istmus of Suez to the Red Sea, whence by ship they eventually reached India and China.


They returned by the same route with musk, aloeswood, camphor, cinnamon, and other products of the oriental countries. From the west they brought eunuchs, slave girls and boys, brocade, beaver and marten skins, and swords. Some of them sailed to Constantinople to sell their goods. Others visited the residence of the Frankish king for the same purpose. Sometimes, instead of using the Red Sea route to the East, they disembarked at Antakiya (Antioch) and crossed Syria to the Euphrates, whence they passed to Baghdad. Then they descended the Tigris to the Persian gulf, and so reached India and China.


These journeys could also be made by land. Thus the Jewish merchants might proceed to the east via Tangier, Kairouan, and the other North African towns, reaching Cairo, Damascus, Kufa, Basra, Ahwaz, Persia, and India, and finally, as before, attaining by this land route their destination in China.


Another of their routes lay across Europe, "behind Rome," through the country of the Saqaliba (Slavonians) to Khamlij, the capital of the Khazars, another name for Atil. Thence they passed to the sea of Jurjan (i.e., down the Volga to the Caspian), then to Balkh and Transoxiana, and so to the Far East. 31/07/04







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AI - Die Sprache der alten Illyrier. A.Meyer. Österreichische Akademie der     Wissenschaften. Wien. 1957

AM. - Archaeology in the U.S.S.R. A. Mongait. Moscou 1959

AP - The Age of the Picts. W. A. Cummins. Alan Sutton Ltd. Stroud. 1995

APV – Arqueología del País Valenciano. D. Fletcher Valls. Universidad de    Alicante. 1985

AR - Ancient Russia. Vernadsky. Vol. I. Yale. 1943

ARCH - Archaeologia Mundi. Anatolia v. III. H. Metzger. Nagel Publishers.

              Geneva. 1969

ART - Fundamental texts for History. Miguel Artola. To UNIV. 1978

AL – Archaeology and Language. Colin Renfrew. Cambridge U. P. 1987

AT - Aegean Turkey. George And Bean. Ernest Benn Ltd. London. 1972

BA - The Bronze Age in Barbarian Europe. J. Briand. Routledge & Kegan  Paul. London. 1979

BAM - Bronze Age Migrations in the Aegean. (Colloquy on prehistory in the Aegean org. by the University of  Sheffield. Several authors). Duckworth. London. 1973

BF - The Beaker Folk. Richard J. Harris. Thames and the Hudson. London.  1980

BOSC - Paletnología of the Iberian Peninsula. Bosch-Gimpera.   Akademische Druck.Graz. Austria. 1974

BRI - History of the Kings of Britain. Geoffrey of Monmouth. Translated by  Aaron Thomson. Medieval Latin Series. Cambridge, Ontario. 1999 (electronic ed. in format pdf)

BRIT - The Chronicle of the Early Britons - Brut and Bryttaniait - according to Jesus College MS LXI (Written by hand conserved in the University of Oxford, also known under the name Tysilio Chronicle. Of S. XV, copy of an original one disappeared of S. XII) Translation by Wm R Cooper. (Electronic edition in format pdf).

CA - Celtic Art in Ancient Europe. Colloquy between several authors.  Seminar Press. London. 1976

CASS - Cassiodorus Jordanes and the History of the Goths. Arne Søby Christiansen. Museum Tusculanum Press. University of Copenhagen. 2002

CC - Celts and the Classical World. H. D. Rankin. London. 1987

CE - The Celtic Empire. Peter Berresford Ellis. Consistable. London. 1991.

CEL – Los Celtiberos. Alberto J. Lorrio. Universidad de Alicante. 1997

CER – Narrow pass, Black Mountain. The Discovery of the Hittite Empire. C.W.Ceram. Sidgwick and Jackson Ltd. London. 1956

CHI - Histoire Universelle des Chiffres. G. Ifrah. Robert Laffont. Paris. 1994

COG -The Covacho with Cave Paintings of Cogul (Lérida). M. I reddle Basch. Ilerdenses Studies. Lérida. 1952

DK - Danmarks Historie. Vol. I. J. Brønsted. Politiken. Copenhagen. 1977

EI - A History of Earliest Italy. M. Pallotino. Routledge. London. 1962

ELH – Enciclopedia Linguística Hispánica. Vol.  I. C. S. I. C. Madrid. 1960

EP - Latin Epigrafía of the Iberian Peninsula. J. Maluquer. Institute of Archaeology of the University  of Barcelona. Barcelona. 1968

ET - The Etruscan Language, an Introduction. G & L. Bonfante. Manchester O. P. 1983

GE - Tacitus Germania. Wormianum.  Copenhagen. 1974

GRE - Greece in the Bronze Age. E. Vermeule. University of Chicago Press. 1964

GN - Gallia Narbonensis. Alf Rivet. London. 1987

GM – La  Escritura Bástulo-Turdetana. M. Gomez Moreno. Rev. de Archivos, Librerías  y Museos. Madrid. 1962

GOT - Grammar of the Gothic Language. J. Wright. Oxford Or P. 1975


HI - The Hittites. O. R. Gurney. Penguin Books. 1990

HIT - The Hittites and their contemporaries in Asia Minor. J.G. Macqueen. Thames & The Hudson. 1975

HIS - Hispanic-gotisches Namenbuch. Joseph M. Piel, Dieter Kremer. Carl Winter - Universitätsverlag. Heidelberg. 1976

HR - A History of Russia. J. D. Clarkson. Random House. London. 1962

IA - Istorija i Archeolochija Iugo-Zapadnych Oblastei S. S. S. R. Nauka. Moskva. 1967

IE - Indo-European Philology.  W. B. Lockwood. Hutchinson. London. 1971

IL - The Illyrians. History and Culture. To Stipcevic. N. J. 1977

INV - Les Inscriptions Venetes. Michel Lejeune. Del Bianco. Udine. 1965

JOR - "Getika". Jordanes. (Translation by Skrzinskoj). I. V. L. Moskva. 1960

KR - Istoriceskie Sud´by Krymskich Tatar. V. And Vozgrin. Mysl´. Moskva. 1992

LSP - The  Ancient Languages of Spain and Portugal. A. Tovar. Vanni. New York.  1961.

LY - The Lycians. Vol. I. Trevor R. Bryce. Museum Tusculanum Press. Copenhagen. 1986

MEID -. Gaulish Inscriptions. Wolfgang Meid. Budapest 1992

MK - 40,000 års Moderne Kunst. J. A. Mauduit. Arnold Busk. København. 1957

NR - The Naming of Russia. Håkon Stang. Meddelelser Nr.: 77, Oslo Universitet. 1996

OB - Oldnordiske Stenbilleder. R. Broby-Johansen. Gyldendal. København. 1967

OS - Ortnamnen i Sverige. Bengt Pamp. Lund. 1974.

PE – Los Pueblos de España. J. Caro Baroja. Laye. Barcelona. 1946

PG - The Prehistory of Germanic Europe. H. Schutz. Yale U. P. 1983

PRE- Prehistoric Europe. Champion, Gamble, Shennan, Whittle. Academic Press. Inc. London ET to. 1984

REN- Problems in European Prehistory. Collin Renfrew. Edinburgh University Press. Edinburgh. 1979

RR - The World of the Scythians. R. Rollo. Batsford. London. 1989

RP – Religiones Primitivas de Hispania. J. M. Blázquez. CSIC. Roma. 1962

RPO - Las religiones indígenas del área noroeste de la Península Ibérica en relación con Roma. José M.ª Blázquez Martínez. Librería electrónica del Instituto Cervantes en


RU - Runes and Runic Inscriptions. R. I. Page. Boydell Press. Woodbridge. 1995

RUS - The Origins of Rus. Vol. I. Omeljan Pritsak. Harvard Or P. Cambridge. 1981

SAG - Scythians and Greeks. Ellis H. Minns. Cambridge Or P. 1913

SAR - The Sarmatians. T. Sulimirski. Thames and Hudson.1970

SAX - Danmarks Krønike. Vol III. Saxo Grammaticus. Hasselbach. Copenhagen. 1962

SCH - Die Sprachen der Vorkeltischen Indogermanen Hispaniens und das Keltiberischen. U. Schmoll. Wiesbaden. 1958.

SI - In Search of the Indo-Europeans. J. P. Mallory. Thames and the Hudson. London. 1991

SK - Svenska Krönikan. Å. Ohlmark, N. And Berendtz. Stockholm. 1951

UNDER - the Decorated Wakes of the Peninsular Southwest. M. I reddle. C.S.I.C. Madrid. 1966

SL - The Slavs. M. Gimbutas. Thames and the Hudson. London. 1971

SN - Snorres Kongesagaer (Ynglinge Saga). Gyldendal Stavanger. 1970

SO - Las Estelas Decoradas del Suroeste Peninsular. M. Almagro. C.S.I.C. Madrid. 1966

SP - Sprachen und Inschriften. A. Tovar. B. R. Grüner. Amsterdam. 1973

Stifter - Einführung in das Kontinentalkeltische. Mag. David Stifter – 3 Keltiberisch.

TAR - Tartesos y los Orígenes de la Colonización Fenicia en Occidente.. J. M.  Blázquez. University of  Salamanca. 1975

TARIM -The Tarim Mummies.  J. P. Mallory; Victor H. Mair.. Thames & The Hudson. London. 2000

TH - The Thracians. R. F. Hoddinott. Thames and the Hudson. London. 1981

UME – Urgeschichte Mitteleuropas. K. Jazdzewski. Ossolinskich.                Wroclaw.1984

VACC - En torno a algunos aspectos socio-económicos de la cultura

vaccea: estado de la cuestión y nuevas aportaciones

Adolfo J. Domínguez Monedero. Librería electrónica del Instituto Cervantes en


VT - Samlede Afhandlinger. Vol. II. V. Thomsen. Nordisk Forlag. Copenhagen. 1920






                                          Dictionnaries, Atlases and other.




 FO - Focloir Gaeilge-Bear It. Or Dónaill. AN GÚM.1992

 IS -  Istoriko-Etimologicheskij Slovar Osetinskovo Jazika. V.I. Abaev. "Nauka".      Leningrad. 1979


Atlas of Spain. The Pais. Aguilar. Madrid. 1992


 KAK Bilatlas. Generalstabens Litografiska Anstalt. Stockholm. 1969


SRD - SAMNORDISK RUNTEXTDATABAS. Project of compilation of all                    Scandinavian and Atlantic runes carried out by several Swedish universities and made free available to the public in a data base (Rundatawin Windows)



.Novas notas de onomástica hispânica pré-romana. Antonio Marques de Faria. Revista Portuguesa de Arqueologia 1999


VOL5 - Crónica de onomástica paleo-hispânica (3) ANTÓNIO MARQUES DE FARIA. REVISTA PORTUGUESA DE Arqueologia .volume 5.número 1.2002, p.121-146


VOL6 - Crónica de onomástica paleo-hispânica (5) ANTÓNIO MARQUES DE FARIA REVISTA PORTUGUESA DE Arqueologia.volume 6.número 1.2003, p.211-234


VOL3 - Onomástica paleo-hispânica: revisão de algumas leituras e interpretações ANTÓNIO MARQUES DE FARIA REVISTA PORTUGUESA DE Arqueologia .volume 3.número 1.2000

STIFTER - Einführung in das Kontinentalkeltische – 3 Keltiberisch. Mag. David Stifter

PRU - The Etymological Dictionary of Prussian by Vytautas Maziulis (Maziulis V. Prûsu kalbos etimologijos zodynas. Mokslas, Vilnius, I 1988, II 1993, III 1996, IV 1997).

TAK - Lithuanian on line telephone book:


An Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language. MacBain, Alexander.

Gairm Publications, 29 Waterloo Street, Glasgow 1982



LN - Lithuanian Names. WILLIAM R. SCHMALSTIEG. The Pennsylvania State University.


ORB - Grässe, Johann Georg Theodor.

Orbis Latinus; Lexikon lateinischer geographischer Namen des Mittelalters und der Neuzeit

Grossausgabe, bearb. und hrsg. von Helmut Plechl unter Mitarbeit von Sophie-Charlotte Plechl. Braunschweig: Klinkhardt & Biermann, 1972. Electronic edition at:


CAS – Cassiodorus. James J. O´Donell. University of California Press.               1979.









Joseph M. Piels work (ELH : 421-443 and 531-560) on Germanic toponimia and andronimia in the Iberian Peninsula are a suitable introduction to this comparative list of toponyms from Sweden and Spain (it includes also some few names from Denmark and Portugal). The rest of Germanic elements in Spain are practically unknown for the rest of the world, nevertheless they can include linguistic elements of interest for students and investigartors in Germanics.

Nobody, as far as I know, has felt the necessity or curiosity of making such a study, which in my case was motivated by the curiosity awoked in me by Swedish city names like Berga or Danish like Gundslev when I moved to Denmark  in 1973. When I was a child in Spain we were obliged to learn in school the names of all the Gothic kings, being Wamba my favorite name, probably because is ”round” and easy to remember. Then by own merits I learned that many Spanish surnames were of Gothic origin, as in the case of Gonzalez, which was formed of the Germanic word gund meaning battle and the Latin salvus meaning saved. This was extremely interesting for me and made me aware of any kind of coincidences in person names or place names like the Berga from Sweden quoted above and the Berga in Spain. I can still corse me when I think of a cow in Norway called Litago, because the surname of one my teachers in Spain was Litago! And I don´t have an explanation for it! Or the Swedish surname Burbagge I saw once in the city of Karlskrona, it gav me inmediately a possible link to a Spanish city: Burbaguena. Well Goethe once wrote that we are here to wonder. 


The Gothic element in Spanish surnames is well represented in Latin as mentioned before. documents like the following from 842 A.D.. (ELH : 421) signed by:


Gondulfus, Leouegildus, Biddi, Sindiuerga, Anilo, Uistragildus (cognomento Gotinus), Gundisalvus, Rindotertir, Gemundus, Uiuildus, Salamirus, Rodericus, Emmarius, Ranilo, Adefonsus, Adosindus. 












Examples of Germanic toponymy in Spain from  Joseph M. Piels article in ELH : 531-559.


Original Germanic names are latinized with a –us ending (nom. sing.)  or genitive

–anis (Gothic -ans). They are specially frequent in Portugal and Galicia. 


From *Germ. laubjo : garret, loft ( Modern Norwegian and Swedish  lova/en : straw-loft) we have according to Piel: Lobio, Lobios, Lovio, Loivos.

In Sweden I find several Lauv- like Lauvdal (where  -dal = valley).


Very frequent are the toponyms that include sala. Joseph M. Piel counts more than 100, that in Portugal and Galicia  apocopate to  Sáa, Saa, Sá while they are preserved as Sala in the rest of Spain.

There exists one Sala at least in Sweden and veveral Sale-.


From the Latin villa- and a Germanic component in the period when Spain were freed from the Maurs Piel accounts some 30 as  Villa-gondrid, Villa-gudín, Villa-balter, Villa-gondurfe.

The equivalents in Sweden will be f. ex. Gud-by (by = city), Balte-ryd (ryd = clearing in the mark for building pourposes).


From the Latin ending inus, Germanic ending -eins (in Portugal = -im,  in  Galicia = -ín):

Godim, Brandín, Brandim, Sandín, Sandim, Sisín, (and several).

The equivalents in Sweden will be f. ex. Brand-bo (bo/bu = dwelling place), Brand-bu, Sandes, Sand-fors, Sand-viken (there are many with the component sand-)


With the ending -ildi from Got. hildi : fight there are several  examples ended in -elhe and-ilhe: Brailhe, Gontilhe, Gontelle, Seselle, Framille.

The equivalents in Sweden will be ??? I don´t have for the moment the possibility of searching for second components, but Fram-näs, Fram-bo and Fram-sjön exist in Sweden, (näs = promontory, sjö = lake, sea):


With the ending reiks : rich, powerful, (latinized in -ricus), about 150 ended in Portugal and Galicia in  -rigo, -riz, -rís, -riu as f. ex. Balderiz, Eirigo, Gandariz, Gunduriz, Guldris, etc.


With the ending mereis : famous, (latinized in -mirus),  exist about 150 toponyms ending in -milo, -miri, -mir, -mil. as f. ex. Valdemir, Rosomil, Salamir, Guillamil, etc.


With the ending wulfs : wolf, (latinized in -ulfus),  there exist about 60 ending in -ulfi, -ufe, -ulfe, -olfe as f.eks. Adaufe, Andolfa, Randulfe, etc.


With the ending sinþs : path, expedition, (latinized in -sindus, genitive -sindi),  also about 60 ending in -sindi, -sende, sinde, -sem,  as f. ex. Brusende, Ermesinde, Gosende, Lebosende, etc.


With the ending munda : protection, (latinized in -mundus, genitive mundi), also about 60  ending in –monde,  as f. ex. Amonde, Ansamonde, Reimonde, Salamonde, Germunde, etc.


With the ending reþs : council, (latinized in -redus, genitive -redi), ending in -rei, -rey, -rem, -reu there are about 30,  as f. ex. Igarei, Gondrey, Recarey, etc.


With the ending harjis : army (latinized en -arius, genitive -ari), ending in -eiro, -ar, -al there are about 40, as  f. ex. Sandar, Goltar, etc.


With the ending gild : tax, treasure (latinized in -gildus, genitive gildi) ending in -gilde, -gil there are about 30, as  f. ex. Rugil, Ingilde, Nevogilde, Tagilde, Ermegilde, etc.


With the ending nanþs : brave, courageous,  (latinized in -nandus, genitive -nandi) ending in -nande, -nandez,  there are about 20, as f.eks. Fernández, etc.


With the ending marhs : combat horse (latinized in -marus, genitive -mari), there are also about 20 ending in –mar, as f. ex. Ansemar, Valdomar, Golmar, etc.


With the ending  friþus : peace, ending in -freu, -frei,-frey there are about 10, as f. ex.  Guilfrey.



Not recorded in Piel and very common is the forming of toponyms in Scandinavia is the term ryd or röd meaning ”clearing in the mark/woods for building pourposes” that has a counterpart in the Spanish: roz/a with the same meaning and counts about 50 places called Las Rozas.



Gothic roots existing as a component of toponyms and andronyms in the Iberian Peninsula according to Piel´s articles in ELH : 421-443 and 531-560:


*Agi : filo, canto/ edge                             Mann : hombre/man                                   

*Ailos : caballo/horse                              Mahra : caballo de guerra/combat horse   

*Airman : fuerte/strong                            Merjan : informar/to inform

  Airks : santo, sagrado/sacred                 Mereis : famoso/famous

*Albs : elfo, duende/elf                            MoÞs : valor/courage

  Alds : tiempo/time                               *Munda : protección/defense, protection

  Anse : as/ace                                          NanÞs : temerario/daring

  Ara : águila/eagle                                   Ofts : fuerte/strong

  As : as/ace                                             Ran : pillaje/plunder

*Asks : fresno/ash tree                             Randus : escudo, coraza/shield

 Atta : padre/father                                 *ReÞs : consejo, junta/counsil

 Atarni : año/year                                     Runa : secreto/secret                                    

 Aun : ¿ ?                                                  Sagjis : escolta/escort, guard

 Aus : ¿?                                                   SanÞs : verdad/truth

  Austr : Este/East                                    Sigis : victoria/victory

*Aþal : noble/noble                                 SinÞs : camino, senda/path/way

  Badu : lucha, combate/combat               Tuggo : lengua/tongue

  Baira : oso/bear                                      þauris : toro/bull

  Bairhts : brillante, claro/brilliant           þiuda : gente, pueblo/people, nation         

  BalÞjan : atreverse/to dear                    þrasa : pelea, lucha            /combat          

  BalÞs : valiente/courageous                   þruþs : cariñoso/affable

  Brands : espada/sword                        *þund : fuerte/strong

  Dags : día/day                                        Urs : buey salvaje/ wild oxen       

  Drauhts : séquito del rey/kings scort      Wadi : prenda/pledge, token

  Fram : el primero/the first                      Waldan : gobernar/to rule, to command

  Fraujis : señor, dueño/sire                     Warjan : defender/to defend

  FraÞi : inteligencia                                 Wars : precavido, atento/cautious

  FriÞus : paz/peace                                  Wers : verdadero/true

  Fruma : valiente/courageous                *Wisands : bisonte

  Funs : rápido, veloz/quick, fast              Wistra : Oeste/West          

  Gails : flecha/arrow                               Wrikan : vengar/to revenge

  Gais : lanza/spear                                  Wrohi : acusación

  Gild : impuesto, tesoro/treasure             Wulfs : lobo/wolf

  Gisl : rehén/hostage                               WulÞus : brillo, resplandor/brightness

  GoÞs : bueno/good                                   ____________________

  Guma : persona                                                        Frankish roots:

*GunÞi : lucha /fight, combat                   Bald : ¿?

  Hairus : espada/sword                           Bard : ¿?

  HaÞus : lucha/combat                            Bert : brillante/brilliant

Harjis : ejército/army                            Hard : duro, fuerte/hard, strong                     

Gar : finca/estate, property                    Helm : yelmo, casco/helmet

Gard : jardín/garden                              Lind : suave/smooth, agreable

*Hildi : lucha/combat                              Win : ¿?

*Hrabns : cuervo/crow                                              

  Hroms : honor, honra/honour                            

  HroÞs : fama                                         

  Ibrs : jabalí/wild boar                                              

*Kind : niño/child                                          

*Leudi : gente/people

  Liuba : amor/love











Swedish two-themes names separated by hyphen.

Spanish names with question mark  means a possible division

into two themes.














Luco de Jiloca




Magaz, Maga-lupe?












Massa-luca?, Massa-goso?  





Aros (antigua Uppsala)


Meng-å (å = rio)









Moa (sierra)   


Arnedo (Arne-do?)










Muga (river)


Ausa (antiguo Vich)               




Arevalo (Are-valo?)






Nivar, Nive






























Sun-billa? Tai-billa?             


Val de Orras








Osa  de la Villa           
















Pusa (river)










Brandomil, Brante                                              


Rau (river)


Brea de Tajo                              


Val de Ren


















Sta. Mª. de Bull





Romele Klint





Roni, Ron


Bureba, Burete                         










Masía del Rull










Ea (river)


Rus (river)




Rute, Rutis






Esla (river)


























Sil (river)















Soller-ö (ö = island)



Galve de Sorbe           





Sose (Bornholm)           





Sot de Chera












Gistau, Gistaino


Tines, Tineo
















El Tolle


Gulliver, Gullariz


Castelló de Tor






Gurrea de Gállego


Tores, Tora












Tossa de Mar


Val de  Horna





Tua (river)     







Ibón de Gistain




Ivars de Urgell






Ulla (river)








Vall d´Uxó


Torrente del Clots














Vegue-li, Vegue-lina?


Laka (river)    

Vindel (river)

Vindalium (Pre-roman), Vindel




Vivel del Río












Vormat (present-day Gormaz)