Template talk:Germanic peoples

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Scope[edit]

we need to restrain the scope of this template. It is questionable to extend it to the modern period. Perhaps it should only cover the time up to AD 1000 or so, including the Viking Age and the formation of the Holy Roman Empire. After that time, it becomes misleading to talk of "Germanic peoples" as a unity, because they had split up into clearly distinct nations and linguistic communities. dab (𒁳) 09:45, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

A good cut-off point is conversion to Christianity, as this goes with substantial Romanization, though that would eliminate AS England and other barbarian kingdoms. Otherwise, decide cut off points for the three regions — Germany, England and Scandiinavia — individually, while taking natural points for the Germanic kingdoms (i.e. their ends). Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 11:55, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't really agree on Christanization being a good "cut-off point". That would be 4th century for the Goths but 11th century for the Scandinavians. The Goths from the 4th, and the Anglo-Saxons from the 6th to 11th century weren't any less "Germanic" because they were Christian. I suppose the 11th century is reasonable. The "cut-off" isn't sudden, of course, but consists of the various shifts that characterize the High Middle Ages. Say 962 on the Continent (Otto I), 1015 in Scandinavia (Saint Olaf), and 1066 in England (William I). dab (𒁳) 12:05, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
To me the first part sounds reasonable! If we're to talk of Germanic peoples as having any unity beyond the happenstance fact that their languages have been grouped in one linguistic classification, lack of Christianization/Romanization gets you somewhere there, because you can still detect beforehand other common features, brought together under that wonderful umbrella term "religion". Anyone who studies "Germanic culture" today will look at Icelandic sagas from the 13th century [written about the 10th/11th], because the fact that Scandinavia held out against Christianity so long preserved aspects of Germanic culture that died or became invisible elsewhere. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 12:15, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
their cultural "unity" did not consist in their religion, but in their hierarchical organisation into tribes led by a warlord or king. The "Germanic laws" post-date Christianization and clearly distinguish between a Theodisca and a Welsh population. The fading of this distinction is what really shows the transition from migration period "tribal" to medieval "feudal" societal structure (the HRE had estates, not "Germanic" vs. "Welsh" castes). The distinction does of course persist into modern times (Englishry in the 11th to 14th c. was sort of an inverse discrimination of English vs. Norman), which is why it isn't nonsensical to talk of "Germanic Europe". dab (𒁳) 12:21, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
You'll find all sorts of cultural or organizational continuities between 1st cent. and 21st, but you're looking for some kind of conceptual cut-off. Christianization/Romanization is really the broadest, though of course it's a process rather than an event, of which the nomoinal "conversion" of the ruler is a nice starting point. So for polities, a good practice might be to only include polities that begin pagan, e.g. the AS kingdoms, Goths, Franks, etc, but not the HRE. Tribal to "feudal" is a general anthropological change rather than anything particularly Germanic, e.g. note the title of Katharine Simms work about late medieval Ireland "From kings to warlords"; happens in all regions, including for European regions Slavic lands such as Poland and Rus as well as Celtic lands like Ireland and Scotland. By definition, the precursor to "feudal" (for all its wooliness) is only ever Germanic when the language of those peoples is Germanic, which is circular. As for Englishries, etc, it's natural for conquering peoples to distinguish conquered by ethnicity ... you'll find it everywhere in the world, from Mongols and Turks, Turks and Arabs, Greeks and Copts, Romans and Gauls to English and Welsh. I don't see anything particularly "Germanic" here. All the best, Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 12:46, 7 April 2008 (UTC)


Look, Christianization may be a useful cutoff for "Migration period", but not for "Germanic peoples". I am happy to stick with the HMA as a de facto limit of the application of the term "Germanic peoples", but we can also consider extending this down to Germanic Europe. I am not saying tribal society is something particularly "Germanic". Come on. What do you mean "you'll find it everywhere in the world"? That's the entire point. We are trying to figure out for how long there was any "ethnic identity" in the Germanic case, not in the Mongol or Turkic case, wth?? I am saying that in the Germanic case, the term "Germanic" is falling out of use as tribal society transforms into feudal society. The fact that Turks and Arabs can also have feudal or tribal societies has nothing to do with this observation. The term "Germanic peoples" is only ever applied to Germanic-speaking peoples, that's not the problem. The problem is that there are Germanic-speaking peoples which are not usually counted as "Germanic peoples". The reason for this is ethnogenesis. The Germans are not "a Germanic people", they are a Germanic-speaking ethnicity that formed out of several Germanic peoples during, say, the 15th to 19th centuries. dab (𒁳) 13:02, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, no-one ever used the term "Germanic" until a couple of centuries ago. It's a neologism. If you are using "Germanic" to refer to another word, fair enough, but I don't know what word you're thinking of. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 13:17, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
It does not really matter if the very concept "Germanic" is a neologism. For Wikipedia purposes, it is sufficient that the concept exists in contemporary literature.--Berig (talk) 16:21, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
It's important for the particular point being discussed here. ;) Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 16:23, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
Well, I think you can argue that there was a concept "Germanic" among the Germanic tribes. It would have corresponded to those who could call themselves þeudiskōz and could not be labelled finnōz or walhiskōz. But, that is just what seems reasonable to me.--Berig (talk) 17:03, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

the question is, what scope does the term "Germanic peoples" have in contemporary literature. It turns out that this is related (not identical, but related) to the currency of the historical term of theodiscus and cognates (as Berig has just pointed out). I'll state again that the (contemporary!) term of "Germanic peoples" can be used sensibly from about 500 BC to about AD 1000. There is no clear cut-off of course, but that's roughly the scope this template should envisage. dab (𒁳) 09:54, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Re Dbachmann, Germanic is a neologism. Why is "theodiscus" Germanic rather than German? It's obviously Theodiscus, but I think the historical developments are better understood translating it as "German". In fact, if you look into it, it's not romantic wishiwashiness to state that that identity continued from the ancient period until the present, primarily because Germaness is clearly distinguishable from neighbouring ethnicities, Slavic and Celto-Roman. Scandinivians are later distinguished by paganism (why "Saxons" are Scandinivians until they are converted) and English by being in Britain, the "Dutch" are still Germans into the 18th century and Austrians only ceased being Germans 60 years ago. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 16:02, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
DoP, this conversation is moving towards the surreal. We have long established that "Germanic" is a neologism. You do not seem to be referring to anything I was saying. Your statement surrounding "Germanness" seems completely confused. You may want to read our Germans and Theodiscus articles for background. Sorry if I am missing the point here, but your statement does not appear to make any sense with relation to the discussion of this template. dab (𒁳) 16:31, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Lol ... don't point me to dodgy wiki articles. The day I use those to form opinions is the day I put my neck in a rope. I have trouble following your own points myself, Dab. Not really sure what general point you're trying to construct, but nevertheless because I respect you am replying to you ad hoc. But lemme clear my perspective up for you. You're saying "Germanicness" existed until the High Middle Ages as a contemporary identity and thus topics until that point are valid in this template, yes? I'm saying you haven't made it clear how this is so. Lemme be clear, I think this is confused nonsense, but am willing to listen. But look, being a neologism is friggin important. If the real difference between "German" and "Germanic" did not come about until the 20th cent., then it is nonsense to use this as the basis of historical argument. Using terminology alone, there is terminological continuity (for whatever reason) between Tacitus and today, and usage changed only gradually. What's special about the High Middle Ages? Now if that's not the point you're making, and this is just a distraction from your central Feudalism argument, then I apologize, but then I'm no further towards understanding what a valid cut-off point would be. Regards, Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 16:45, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
I am not asking you to take the content of Wikipedia articles at face value, I am asking you to make a bona fide effort to grok a topic before arguing about it. dab (𒁳) 16:57, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Listen dab, I'm just as capable as you of making my arguments consist of nothing but patronising recommendations, but that couldn't really be described as bone fide. Are you gonna respond to me properly or not? Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 17:08, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
I have no interest in patronising you. I was saying that you do not make sense. I would be ever so glad if you could make a coherent statement. I have frankly no idea what you are trying to say, and I cannot be bothered to second-guess, sorry. dab (𒁳) 07:10, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
I've had enough of this dab. This attitude is irritating and childish. If you honestly don't follow what I've said, you're capable of asking me to clarify. You're perfectly capable of understanding what I said above, and frankly I think you're just full of it. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 16:26, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

What about having an end date with the conversion to Catholicism? This conversion had deep changes in societal structure, such as the fact that the king lost his priestly role, and the demotion of the priestesses into witches. Moreover, through the "Catholicisation" the Germanic peoples became part of a pan-European culture and power structure.--Berig (talk) 14:17, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

This is what I suggested above, though I used "Romanization" rather than Catholicisation. :) Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 15:05, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Early time bound for inclusion[edit]

I also agree that the scope of this template should be limited somewhat. Having a precise date criterion for inclusion isn't necessary - we just need a rough one, see what articles that includes/excludes and then take each contentious case on the merit of that article. The article linked in the title only covers till the middle ages, and the linked portal is to ancient Germanic peoples; I think dab's endpoint is about right, and we can deal with the exceptions later.What concerns me more is the earliest point in time we want to cover - it's fair to say that the evidence that the Ertebølle culture (~4000BC) and Corded Ware culture (~3000BC) were definitively Germanic is weak and contested at best - even the contributions of the Jastorf culture is unclear, and that's from around ~100BC. Including these cultures in this template doesn't represent the academic consensus in sources at all - at the moment it's just a list of cultures that inhabited the relevant territory at some point. Knepflerle (talk) 11:07, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Well, it is difficult to find anything in academia that has not been questioned by some scholar, which is why we have a policy which is called WP:UNDUE. The identification of the Jastorf culture as Germanic is quite mainstream, and this also goes for the preceding Nordic Bronze Age culture.--Berig (talk) 13:59, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't think WP:UNDUE applies here - the people who feel that there just isn't enough evidence to link strong influence of Jastorf on later Germanic cultures are hardly a small group of fringe crackpots. I agree with you about the Nordic Bronze Age culture, however.
But my point remains - Jastorf has a lot more cause for inclusion than the other two examples I gave and that is borderline. Inclusion in a template is seen by the reader as a purely binary measure of truth of a statement - putting them in is a statement "these groups are Germanic" without any of the shading or qualification we include in the article prose which shows that the situation is nuanced. Making such a definitive statement about uncertain issues is misleading to the reader. Knepflerle (talk) 16:28, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
If I you Knepflerle correctly, the problem is the importance of the Jastorf culture as an originator of Germanic culture. As far as I know, the Jastorf culture is one of several cultures that derived from, or were influenced by, the NBA. It's Germanic nature should not be very questioned, although its relative importance probably is.--Berig (talk) 16:41, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Please keep in mind that inclusion in a template does not amount to a claim but rather to a pragmatic suggestion that the link is useful in the context of the overarching topic. I am prepared to admit the Jastorf culture as Proto-Germanic, and the NBA as the immediate predecessor culture. I would consider anything further back (Scandinavian neolithic) as offtopic. Jastorf and NBA are clearly listed under "Prehistory", so that I do not think their listing is misleading. We seem to agree the Jastorf link is warranted. I admit the NBA one is open to debate, but unless the "Prehistory" section needs de-cluttering, I see no reason not to include it. dab (𒁳) 16:35, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

I would not object to removal of the neolithic cultures in the template.--Berig (talk) 16:41, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
I wasn't particularly bothered about the inclusion of Jastorf, I was just trying (and obviously failing) to say that the case for the neolithic cultures was much weaker than the case for this. I am perfectly happy with the list now after dab's and DoP's edits - I think it's more representative of what most people would expect to see included. And I accept dab's point about including contested material - I suppose Wikipedia is not censored for the benefit of those who don't read the article content and the source material! Knepflerle (talk) 17:01, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
There's really no censorship on WP in the benefit of anyone ;). In my experience, borderline cases are often included in templates in order to satisfy people who are either more strong-willed or simply more numerous than the critics, and I am specifically thinking of the inclusion of Finland in {{Scandinavia}}.--Berig (talk) 17:15, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
it's ok to include borderline cases, but the template needs to be kept neat and well-ordered. A template that is a heap of dozens and dozens of links is of no help to anyone. We have categories for browsing. The important thing is to keep in mind that this is a navigation aid. Sure, we can include the NBA. We could even include Battle-Axe culture is somebody felt really strongly about it. But there is a point where WP:UCS kicks in, and listing Ertebølle culture under "Germanic" is about as sensible as listing Neanderthal. As it stands, the template includes some seven dozen links already, and it may be necessary to tighten it somewhat. dab (𒁳) 06:56, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Still, this article is going to need constant cleaning up. Maybe this template could be split into several interlinked templates, such as {{Germanic wars}}, {{Germanic tribes}}, {{Germanic paganism}}, etc. I agree that the neolithic articles are too early to be relevant.--Berig (talk) 15:49, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
well, we have a good selection of links now. We can now decide which are really relevant and which should go. I don't think that splitting into lots of sub-templates is a good option: after all, where are we going to transclude all these from. It's better to only keep the major article, and avoid linking stubby articles of lesser importance. dab (𒁳) 15:57, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
I think given the name of this template, i.e. "Germanic peoples", we should confine its coverage to Roman era "tribes". Make it more natural looking and will be easier to manage than the wooly "Germanic studies" template it's currently trying to be. Regards, Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 16:53, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
If delimited to the Roman era, I think "Germanic tribes" would be a more appropriate name for the template.--Berig (talk) 16:57, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
I think "peoples" is better. "Tribe" is nowadays often used as a very specific type of polity, which certainly many of these Germanic peoples (esp. late antique period) weren't. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 17:02, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
yes, but Berig is saying, the term "Germanic peoples" extends into the Middle Ages, including at least the Viking Age. Now can you please explain why you keep removing the Holy Roman Empire link? Obviously, we cannot list each and every kingdom, but as kingdoms go, this was, well, notable. Very. Or perhaps you can explain what you are trying to achieve here in the first place? The nature of your involvement is, hm, less than clear to me. dab (𒁳) 11:34, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Where is he saying that? As for the HRE, are you wanting me to paste my edit summaries for you or something? I think most people would say Kievan Rus, the Kingdoms of England and Norway are notable. Maybe in fact, being a kingdom at all is notable. No? So I'm waiting to hear what makes the HRE different. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 12:04, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
the Kievan Rus was East Slavic (sure, the preceding Rus' Khaganate may be considered a sub-topic of "Vikings"). The early Kingdom of England (from 927) is subsumed under Anglo-Saxon England (until 1066). If we agree to focus on the pre AD 1000 period, that's covered by Anglo-Saxon England. I did put some thought into this, you know. If you read this conversation, you will see that Berig just said that if we restrict this to the Roman era, the more fitting term would be Germanic tribes. The reason for this being that Germanic peoples is taken to extend into the post-Roman, medieval period. PoD, why are you making this so difficult? You seem to deliberately(?) play dumb and make people guide you through the conversation broken down step by step. Why? Do try to apply some WP:UCS to this. I am not trying to shout you down or patronise you, but if you cannot make sense, there is little I can do for you. --dab (𒁳) 10:37, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Listen, can you cut the silly personal crap and stick to topic for a change? It's backfiring on you and is not very dignified for anyone. It isn't btw my fault if you have comprehension difficulties. Anyways, the tautologous term Anglo-Saxon England is a period name rather than the name of a Kingdom. What England, Kievan Rus, Norway, etc, all have in common is being founded by Germanic peoples before 1000, like the Holy Roman Empire/Kingdom of Germany. The end result is rather ridiculous given the de facto scope of the template. As I've already suggested, Christianization is a better less arbitrary way to handle this. You get pretty much all the peoples for whom "Germanic" is a well-used term, and you don't get things like the Kingdom of England and the HRE. As you claim knowledge of anthropology and Roman -era/early medieval history, my problem with the word "tribe" shouldn't need to be explained. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 14:38, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
you are the one poisoning the well with your vitriol here. I submit that the "comprehension difficulties" are entirely yours, and I fail to understand why you should feel compelled to make life difficult for me trying to compile a perfectly straightforward navigation template dab (𒁳) 08:40, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
Herr Bachmann, did I wrong thee in another life or something? I don't understand this persistent incivility. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 15:53, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

How about "Germanic cultures" as opposed to peoples or tribes? It seems to fit the content better. Knepflerle (talk) 12:23, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

That fits the current content better, true. Ancient Germanic cultures would also be good, as it would solve the terminological problem of when to distinguish the modern terms "Germanic" and "German". Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 12:27, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Yep, "Ancient Germanic cultures" seems sensible to me. Knepflerle (talk) 12:35, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
which would exclude Anglo-Saxon England, the Viking Age, and actually most of Germanic philology (except for a few scattered runic inscriptions). I also don't like the "Ancient". I see "ancient" used for cheap effect far too often on Wikipedia. Replace "ancient" with something more specific, or perhaps with "early". I don't quite see the point to do a "Germanic" template and then restrict it to prehistory. Maybe we can envisage a {{Migration period}} that would more usefully focus on a period, not a linguistic group. dab (𒁳) 10:34, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Germanic philology already has its own template. "Ancient Germanic" would hardly be "pre-history"; as long as all the topics have a chronological beginning in the Roman period, it is fine, and the term is wooly enough to sneak in all other pre-Christian "Germanic" peoples. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 00:59, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
you know what, why don't we cut this down to the absolute minimum we can all agree on and call it a day, and you'll be free to find some other place to shove your "expertise" on people. --dab (𒁳) 08:40, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
So does mean you wouldn't object to a move then? Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 15:53, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

this template[edit]

my original plan was to compile a template that gives quick access to the most central articles of our coverage of "Germanic" topics. Of course, lots of people know better, and within no time, this template was turned into an unreadable mess, experienced edit wars, and this talkpage filled up with petty bickering. It appears to be a natural law that Wikipedia navigation templates gravitate towards unusability. Can we try to reduce this template to something that might actually be useful? Perhaps restrict ourselves to 20 links maximum? dab (𒁳) 18:35, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

I am fine with reducing the template down to 20 links, as you'll note that in my recent edit summary I've noted that the template is too cluttered. However, it's going to need to reflect actual article titles instead of terms like "Völkerwanderung". :bloodofox: (talk) 18:40, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

as these things go, the template just got more cluttered over time, through nobody's fault in particular, that's just the natural tendency of Wikipedia templates. We need to cut it down radically for it to be useful. I would just do it, but with a view to the irrational quibbling I had to put up with above, I would be grateful if somebody else could do the job. --dab (𒁳) 11:32, 25 September 2008 (UTC)