Talk:West Germanic tribes

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Redirect undone[edit]

I have reverted the March 2013 conversion of this page to a redirect to Germanic peoples; it needs sourcing, but is an encyclopedic topic. The editor who made it a redirect also stated it was incomplete; please supply specifics so this can be remedied. Yngvadottir (talk) 04:13, 2 November 2013 (UTC)

Agree it is incomplete. 8k book-hits,[1] and we only have four sentences of prose, and a list? I added some sources, including the Wolfram one that says there was no ethnicity. Is that a dominant modern position, or is it an alternative minority view? I've attributed the quote to the named authors, just in case. HTH. 74.192.84.101 (talk) 06:39, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
The fact that a term has 8k book-hits doesn't necessarily make it an encyclopedic topic. Ancient Americans for example has 18k book-hits. "West Germanic tribes" is a similliar trivial term. The sources recently added under Further reading are merely quotes involving this term, with none of them connected to the current content in the article, which is primarily composed of a highly speculative list of postulated related tribes. The West Germanic languages probably only separated from Proto-Germanic in the 1st century AD, so many of these tribes don't belong this list. The Cimbri for example lived in the 2nd century BC. The fact that one can differentiate the Germanic languages into East, West and North doesn't necessarily mean that one can differentiate Germanic peoples into the same groups. We don't separate Germanic paganism or Germanic law into these categories. According to Wikipedia there is a consensus among linguists that the West and North Germanic languages belong to a common Northwest Germanic family. Does this mean that it's encyclopedic to make yet another article about "Northwest Germanic peoples"? Of course not. Professor Herwig Wolfram, who was the long time Director of the Austrian Institute for Historical Research at the University of Vienna and one of the foremost authorities on the Germanic tribes, specifically mentions this issue in his book The Roman Empire and Its Germanic Peoples: "the division into West Germanic, East Germanic and North Germanic peoples came from philologists. A historian who all too readily adopts their terminology with its linguistic assumptions falls into a self-created trap." Let's listen to what the experts say and edit accordingly. Krakkos (talk) 21:24, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'll reply point by point.

  • "doesn't necessarily make it an encyclopedic topic." That is correct, of course. But are you really saying you believe the topic "West Germanic tribes" fails WP:GNG?
  • "West Germanic tribes is a similliar trivial term" WP:TRIVIAL and WP:HTRIVIA are essays... but those don't seem to be what you are talking about. Do we have significant coverage of, specifically, the West Germanic tribes, as a politico-cultural phenomenon, or do we not? WP:42 is what matters, for determining whether we need a dedicated article.
  • "The sources recently added... are merely quotes involving this term" Yes, which proves it is WP:NOTEWORTHY... at minimum. And is strong evidence for WP:N, unless proven otherwise. Why do you say 'merely'? Your original reason for removal of the content, was that there was no such thing as West Germanic tribes, right?
  • "with none of them connected to the current content in the article" None of them? Have you checked them? This seems a little over the top, eh?
  • "primarily composed of a highly speculative list of postulated related tribes." WP:SOFIXIT. Several of the sources I found specifically list the names of various individual West Germanic tribes, according to various authorities. If the source satisfies WP:RS, and specifically states $foo is a West Germanic tribe, then that's all we need, correct?
  • "The West Germanic languages probably only separated from Proto-Germanic in the 1st century AD, so many of these tribes don't belong this list. The Cimbri for example lived in the 2nd century BC." Um... if you say so... you are free to have an opinion... but if you want to say in the article that $baz tribe is specifically not considered a member of the West Germanic tribes (which is a political and cultural distinction... as opposed to linguistic... from my basic understanding), then I'd rather see sources. Of course, I'd rather see sources for the individual members of the list, too; that would improve wikipedia. Wanna help do that? See separate section below.
  • "The fact that one can differentiate the Germanic languages into East, West and North doesn't necessarily mean that one can differentiate Germanic peoples into the same groups." Agree. Nobody here claiming different, that I can see. But that doesn't mean West Germanic tribes is NOT a group; the sources specifically say it IS a group. I don't much care if the sources are consistent internally; wikipedia is supposed to reflect the reliable sources, not decide which ones we like best, right?
  • "We don't separate Germanic paganism or Germanic law into these categories." This does not matter; wikipedia should stick to the sources say, not stick to what our own categories say. If the sources separate the tribes, and one of the subgroups is the West Germanic tribes, and it passes WP:GNG, we can have an article on that topic.
  • "According to Wikipedia there is a consensus among linguists that the West and North Germanic languages belong to a common Northwest Germanic family." Okay... I guess... but I'd rather hear, according to reliable sources. Consensus is that we reflect the reliable sources: that is pillar two, right?
  • "Does this mean that it's encyclopedic to make yet another article about 'Northwest Germanic peoples'? Of course not." Disagree. What is encyclopedic, and what is not, is defined per the five pillars. What part of the WP:PG are you relying on, for your conclusion here?
  • "Professor Herwig Wolfram..." Yes, he sounds like a wikiReliable Source. But I have tons of sources who say he's wrong. His view is WP:NOTEWORTHY, and belongs in the article, which is why I put it in. Are you trying to use his view to trump other sources, and delete the material backed by those other sources?
  • "For example, the division into West Germanic, East Germanic, and North Germanic peoples came from philologists. A historian who all too readily adopts their terminology with its linguistic assumptions falls into a self-created trap." Interesting... but Wikipedia ought not pick winners and losers. Wikipedians ought not decide which historians are smartest, and which philologists are the dumbest. We just reflect what the wikiReliable Sources say, no more, but also no less.
  • "Let's listen to what the experts say and edit accordingly." Disagree. Let's reflect, with due weight, as defined by prevalence of the view in wikiReliable Sources, what all such sources say. Wikipedians should not be deciding which source is the 'most' expert, and then rewriting our articles in tune with that expert's preferred POV. We are dedicated to WP:NPOV, which is defined by what the WP:RS say. Pillar two is the correct policy here, no disrespect to Professor Wolfram intended. 74.192.84.101 (talk) 02:31, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

which tribes belong in the embedded list of West Germanic tribes[edit]

Please add additional ones, as needed. 74.192.84.101 (talk) 02:31, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

Cimbri[edit]

See Cimbri (the tribe) and Ingaevones (the tribe-group according to Pliny in 80CE). These articles currently say that the Cimbri were a Jutland-based Germanic cultural group (modern Denmark), but the sources for this origin-homeland are mostly literary, not archaeological nor linguistic nor DNA, plus often flawed or suspect. Note that the Cimbrian language of Italy is *unrelated* to the Cimbri tribe; the language was named after the tribe, but due to historical accident. The actual language the Cimbri spoke is even more elusive than their origin-homeland, from what I can tell.

  I didn't find any source which called the Cimbri a specifically West Germanic tribe. However, I did find one which called them something else. The Fall of the Roman Republic, 2005, by David Shotter, page 37. "The north Germanic tribes, the Cimbri and the Teutones, had been creating disturbance and defeating Roman armies..." (27 cites) http://books.google.com/books?id=cgjiKIZEW0UC Also specifies that Marius of Rome defeated the Cimbri in northern Italy circa 102-to-101 BC(E?) on pg 103. So it looks like Krakkos is correct, and Cimbri ought to be removed from mainspace as a West Germanic tribe, unless other sources are forthcoming.

  There were several sources which specified the physical location of the Cimbri tribe; some were specifically talking about modern ideas, some about Roman-era views.

  1. Roman knoweldge of Scandinavia in the Imperial period, March 1988, J. M. ALONSO‐NÚÑEZ, 3 cites, in the Oxford Journal of Archaeology, Vol 7, Issue 1, page 47. "...the most remote Germanic tribes: the Cimbri, who inhabited the peninsula of Jutland..."
  2. Language and Society in Early Modern England: Selected essays 1982–1994. published 1996, by V Salmon, 21 cites. "...with the Cimbri, the Germanic tribe living in the Cimbn'c peninsula (Jutland)..."
  3. No signature of Y chromosomal resemblance between possible descendants of the Cimbri in Denmark and Northern Italy, 2007, by AD Børglum, C Vernesi, PKA Jensen, et al. 5 cites. "Two European populations are believed to be related to the ancient Germanic tribe Cimbri: one living in Northern Italy, the other living in Jutland, Denmark."

  Speaking of antiquity, many of those writers conflated the Cimbri with the Celts.

  1. http://books.google.com/books?id=GsEvtZOAlHoC ... Germanic, Northwest-Indo-European and Pre-Indo-European Substrates, 1992, by Edgar C. Polomé (UT Austin), pg 49, in Recent Developments in Germanic Linguistics, edited by Rosina Lippi-Green, 3 cites. "...the second millenium brings the ancestors of the Proto-Celtic, Proto-Italic, and Proto-Germanic tribes closer together... [but] the ancient authors cannot identify the Germanic peoples as distinct from the Celts: the leaders of the Cimbri and the Teutones, defeated by Marius at the end of the second century BC, are given Celtic names in the ancient historiography..." The paper also has a good introduction to the Jasdorf-circa-600bc view, versus the PIE-circa-2500bc view, for germanic tribes generally.
  2. http://books.google.com/books?id=PHqzR1XoV0QC ... Early Germanic Literature and Culture, 2004, edited by Brian Murdoch, Malcolm Kevin Read, 1 cite. Mentions on pg53 that some classical writers such as Diodorus Siculus believed the Cimbri were linked to the Cimmerians/Kimmerioi, and that both groups were believed to be Celts. Goes on to say this: "The complexity of the problem is illustrated by the fact that there is still no complete agreement."

  Older sources, now out of copyright protection and hence available on the interwebz, also tended to be quite specific about location, and in some cases, questioned whether the Cimbri were actually Germanic (presumably as opposed to Celtic).

  1. A History of the German Language, 1893, by Charles William Super, pg 13. "...the German tribes... the great migration of the Cimbri and the Teutons.... the Cimbri, who lived on the left bank of the Elbe in the region of the present Magdeburg, joined..." This person goes on to say: "It does not lie within the scope of the present volume to give in this Introduction a history of the various German tribes. Such a history must, from the nature of the case, consist largely of the discussion of obscure points and contradictory, or, at least, apparently contradictory statements made by ancient writers about them."
  2. German students' manual of the literature, land, and people of Germany, 1910, by FJ Holzwarth. "... We have no authentic account of the Germanic tribes previous to 113 b. c, when the Cimbri and Teutones began to attack the Romans, and the scanty information concerning them during this period must be gathered from Latin and Greek authors..."
  3. Genealogy of the Kemper Family in the United States: Descendants of John Kemper of Virginia; with a Short Historical Sketch of His Family and of the German. 1899, by WM Kemper and HL Wright. "... Whether the Cimbri were so called because they were recognized par excellence as "the warriors" among the Germanic tribes; or whether after this tribe, celebrated for its fighting qualities..."
  4. The Ancient Teutonic Priesthood, 1900, by HM Chadwick. (Folklore; Taylor&Francis). 4 cites. "I do not think it has yet been proved beyond doubt that the Cimbri were a Germanic tribe."

  Plenty of top-notch sources exist which explicitly call the Cimbri a Germanic tribe, however.

  1. http://books.google.com/books?id=zfxITVc66KMC ... Bohemia in History, 1998, edited by Mikulas Teich, 24 cites. Just calls the Cimbri a "Germanic tribe". But this is distinct from a Germanic people, methinks: the tribe is a politico-cultural entity, the people are an ethno-cultural entity.
  2. Honor in German literature, 1959, by GF Jones, 33 cites. "...his and Catulus's victories of 102 and 101 BC over the fierce Teutones and Cimbri, the first Germanic tribes that fought against the Romans."
  3. A history of Roman Britain, 2001, by P Salway, 24 cites. "...won by the Roman populist general Marius over the Cimbri and Teutones, Germanic tribes whose vast folk ..."
  4. Republican Rome, 1999, by N Rosenstein, in War and Society in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds..., 12 cites. "...the second century from migrating Germanic tribes, the Cimbri and Teutones..."
  5. Caesar's Gallic Wars: 58-50 BC. published 2002, by C Gilliver and K Gilliver, 9 cites. "113-101: Invasions of Gaul and Italy by Cimbri and Teutones (Germanic tribes)."

I found at two sources which specifically call the Cimbri a German tribe (as distinct from a Germanic tribe).

  1. http://books.google.com/books?id=877ZhebS-IIC ... Sulla: The last republican. 2005, by Arthur Keaveney, 99 cites. pg 27. "...Sulla brought to heel most of the Alpine tribes living in the region, who would have only too gladly imitated the example of the German tribes and joined the assault on Italy if given the chance. It was in fact in autumn before the Cimbri arrived..."
  2. http://books.google.com/books?id=PDayUtpwNQwC ... From the Gracchi to Nero: A History of Rome 133 BC to AD 68. by H. H. Scullard. 236 cites. 2013. "...the rambling movements of the German tribes allowed Marius time... The barbarians were planning a converging attack... the Cimbri over the Brenner Pass from the north..."

There were also a few sources which called the Cimbri a proto-Germanic tribe, but they didn't look WP:RS to my eyes. Nobody seemed to favor "east/NE/NW/SE/SW/south/central Germanic tribes" as the classification of the Cimbri, that I found. I'm uncomfy putting two and two together, and figuring out the cardinal-direction of the Cimbri by using the physical locations some sources give. I'd rather have sources explicitly saying Cimbri == West Germanic tribe, but didn't find such things in my brief search. Of course, except for the one guy saying "north Germanic tribe" there weren't people anxious to claim the Cimbri were NOT in fact a West Germanic tribe. I'll withhold judgment until we cover a few more tribes, but I'd lean towards having a section on "tribes called Western Germanic tribes" in the article, plus another section on "tribes that are called Germanic tribes without further specificity". HTH. 74.192.84.101 (talk) 02:31, 9 March 2014 (UTC)