Talk:Germanic peoples/Archive 3

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 4 Archive 5

Genetics section

The following section was removed by Deacon of Pndapetzim (talk · contribs) on 31 January 2009.


Relative frequency of Y-DNA haplogroup I1a in Europe.[citation needed]

The most prevalent Y-chromosome haplogroups in Germanic populations are I1, R1a and R1b, accounting for a frequency of roughly a third each in the population of eastern Norway, central Sweden and Northern Denmark with a lower frequence in Germany.

I1 itself occurs at its greatest frequency in Scandinavia.[1] It displays a very clear frequency gradient, with a peak frequency of approximately among the populations of southern Scandinavia, and rapidly decreasing frequencies toward the edges of the historically Germanic peoples.

Frequency of the R1b haplogroup is the largest of Western Europe,(particularly the Atlantic Fringe), while R1a frequency peaks in Central Asia, Eastern Europe and Northern India (highest frequencies in Russians, Uzbeks, Indo-Aryans, Altaians). It is the combination of roughly equal frequency of I1, R1a and R1b that is characteristic of North Germanic populations, with a gradient of increasing frequency of R1b towards Germanic speaking populations of the British Isles and the European continent. Sami populations have a frequency of I1 comparable to south Scandinavian values, but a lower incidence of haplogroup R in favour of haplogroup N. For a global haplogroup map of Germanic areas and other regions see:[1].

There are no reliable sources in this section, and thus the removal is legit. However, I think the genetic aspect of the origins is interesting and relevant to the article, and that the section should be rewritten to become improved and fully referenced, and subsequently reinstated when it meets the given criteria. –Holt TC 23:13, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Genetics have nothing to do with language. Besides the general idea being repugnant, it is blatantly obviously from the map that there is no correspondence between this genetic data and language data (when did northern Poland, Scotland and Ireland become "more Germanic" than Germany... ;) ). Even if there were, its relevance to Germanic languages would have to be verified in any case, not be dependent on some fruit-loop with a nutty agenda violating WP:SYNTH. Frankly, it's pretty contemptible that such issues are even wasting the time of good editors. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 04:43, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Actually, this map outlines the direct influence one would expect to see from the Germanic peoples pretty well considering that the Germanic peoples, in both language and culture, originate from Scandinavia. Later Norse influence immediately explains why "northern Poland, Scotland, and Ireland" would be seen as "more Germanic" than what we now call Germany. Anyway, it's all moot without references stating who said what and when. :bloodofox: (talk) 04:58, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

I agree the material has some relevance. We just need to be sure to keep it to a very brief summary. Any detail should go to Haplogroup I1 (Y-DNA). Also, while the map would make for a good illustration, it is sadly completely unsourced, and as such would need to go pending proper attribution. --dab (𒁳) 06:41, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

As for "Genetics have nothing to do with language", this is most true, but also irrelevant for the purposes of this article, which is about the people speaking these languages. These speakers had a history, a geographic distribution, an art style, a religion, etc. etc., just as they had genes, all of which are equally non-linguistic topics. Obviously, the article on Germanic languages unlike this one should focus on linguistics exclusively. --dab (𒁳) 08:43, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

File:Wiik (2008).png
Here's something I found on the Genetic history of Europe talk page.
Agreed. This section is far from good enough, but leaving a good genetics section out is not Wikipedia spirit, as it is a major area of study and should not be censored. Hopefully there is some kind of map out on the net, or data that can be used to create one. –Holt TC 15:17, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
No bloodfox, the map doesn't correspond to Germanic languages in any way except that Scandinavia has high concentration of the thing being discussed and Scandinavia is thought by some to be the origin place of Germanic languages. The point is not even debatable, and otherwise it is rather arbitrary except on a north-south basis. I gotta say Dab I'm sad to see you embracing such crap as this. I'd hope we can keep this backward pseudo-history out of articles, even if these people articles are doomed by their messed up demographics to attract idiots, cranks and "race historians". Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 19:49, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm afraid you're wrong here. Were it a map of North Germanic languages and their direct influences, it would be pretty spot-on. Good luck disentangling North Germanic culture from North Germanic linguistics. Anyway, a pointless discussion without solid, appropriately sourced references about how this cultural/linguistic influence may result in the spread of specific genes. If there are no references, pull it (WP:PROVEIT), if there are solid references and there's a reference problem, point it out. Otherwise I think you'd probably be taken more seriously if you left out the ranting. :bloodofox: (talk) 20:04, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, what point are you making? This is crackpot stuff and I'm gonna say so. The inclusion and use of the section is innuendo in violation of WP:SYNTH that attempts to correlate a language group with genetic data. It is pseudo-science and about as historical as an asterix movie. If you wanna embrace it that's fine, but it should not be in wikipedia articles. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 20:20, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
There are three possible things this article could be "about": i) speakers of Germanic languages historically, ii) those peoples once regarded as "Germanic" in race or ethnicity, i.e. genetically, or iii) the Germani of Tacitus &c. Basically, I am suggesting we either employ the concept as 19th-century historians (espeically German ones) would have, or as 1st-century historians (especially Roman ones) would have, or we use it in a purely linguistic sense without any ethnic or racial implications, which may be OR. The term "ethno-linguistic" used in the lead of the current article is troublesome: does any scholar today accept the existence (at any point in time) of an ethno-linguistc group called the Germanic peoples? The term "ethno-linguistic" betrays the 19th-century origins of the concept. Why should we try and bring it forward to today? Discuss it as a historical phenomenon (ancient and modern), but not as a widely accepted classification of peoples (where "peoples" is understood in a ethnic sense, but even "ethnic" seems to be disputed between cultural and genetic interpretations). It is essentially a bastard, as all ethno-linguistic constructs are. Medievalists today seem a bit uncertain how to properly use the term "Germanic". Some will dispute the term "Germanic people" but happily talk about "Germanic" law or customs, regarding the term as a useful non-linguistic, non-racial qualifier. Others try to restrict it solely to language, and still others talk freely of Germanic peoples, tribes, and migrations. Sometimes the same author equivocates from publication to publication. This, at least, is how I see the state of the issue (here and in academia). I would be happy if somebody could correct any misunderstandings I might have. Srnec (talk) 04:57, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
this should be as simple as WP:RS. There are penty of excellent sources on Germanic antiquity, and we should treat the topic in exactly those terms we find in our best sources. Terminological bickering about the nature of scare-quote-"ethnicity"-un-scarequote is simply a red herring. --dab (𒁳) 11:49, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
I think you misunderstood. No doubt the inclusion of the section is settled on RS grounds, but I am raising the issue of whether this article is very meaningful as it stands. I am not entering the terminological fray. I think Deacon's answer to your quite legitimate concerns about his reasoning shows what is wrong: if the Germanic peoples are defined by language (Deacon's "peoples speaking modern Germanic languages"), the Jamaicans and Singaporeans are as Germanic as I am (or most Canadians are). And there is no Jamaica or Singapore on the map. So what is the map about? What Germanic peoples does it have in mind? The Nervii claimed to be Germanic, but Tacitus said they weren't. Who knows if the Taifals were Germans? Some Canary Islanders still try to get Spanish holidayers away with signs saying fuera Godos (Goths go home). But while the Goths are treated everywhere as Germanic, the Spaniards are not. Germanic identity, and thus ethnicity as a non-genetic concept, is hard to pin down. Just what are the Germanic peoples? Srnec (talk) 19:30, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

I am sorry, Deacon, but I don't see your problem. You talk of "crap" and "crackpot innuendo", but you fail completely to make clear what you mean. Genetics are very relevant indeed to establish the historical origin of the Romani people, and on exactly the same grounds, they are relevant for establishing the migrations of the Germanic peoples. So I1 is a useful marker for tracing the Germanic migratinos? Well, excellent, so let's use it. if you think that the implication is that "I1 carries the Germanic ethnic essence" or "I1 makes you Germanic" or similar, the problem is at your end entirely, because then you haven't even begun to understand what is being discussed. The article cannot go out of its way to dispel or disclaim far-out, clueless, bizarre misunderstandings, because by doing so it will only lend credibility to these.

It is pure bigotry to endorse genetic studies looking into Romani origins, but denounce genetic studies looking into Germanic origins as "racist". Wth? So the existence of historical scientific racism is to determine which peoples it is ok to study genetically and which not? Take a step back and savour the silliness of this proposition, please. --dab (𒁳) 11:43, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

What I meant, dab, was explained when I said . The inclusion and use of the section is innuendo in violation of WP:SYNTH that attempts to correlate a language group with genetic data. I can expand on it if it's unclear. The stuff there did not consist of citations of genetic studies of Germanic origins. A distribution map of Haplogroup I1 (Y-DNA) is fascinating and all that, but has nothing to do with the subject of the peoples speaking modern Germanic languages, as far as can be verified, who range from Scandinavians, to Irish to Jamacians to Singaporese. Bloodofox' opinion, while he is entitled to have it, is of no importance. At the very least I'd wanna see a respectable scholar who correlates such data with the spread Germanic speech in an article or scholarly book (no-one else is acceptable, as a published crackpot only shows there are enough idiots to make publishing financially viable, not that the thing being published is credible ... per WP:Rs). Then, how is such a theory/such theories accepted? Biologists survey the information ... do many historians accept it as usable for early European history? Etc, etc. But even then the best you would get is an argued correlation between some genetic data and the early historic spread/development of a certain language group ... nothing about ethnicity. The way it was presented in the removed data of course is totally unacceptable, and it is a big shame it is wasting editorial time. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 18:38, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

you seem to continue to labour under the misapprehension that this is an article about a language group. It isn't. You want Germanic languages, which I agree shouldn't include a "genetics" section. Nor is it about "the peoples speaking modern Germanic languages", for which see Germanic Europe and the various ethnic group articles linked from there. Please do me a favour and try to grasp the scope of an article before you go around removing entire sections. This is the article about Germanic antiquity, including the early Germanic tribes and populations, their migrations, histories, battles, culture, religion, etc. Genetics is a very valuable and valid tool to gain insight in these prehistoric (undocumented) events. E.g., we know that the Vikings settled in England. We don't have any clear record of how many settled in England. Genetics can be used to give confident estimates on that. Again, would you also argue that origin of the Romani people is a linguistic article, confined to discussing the origins of the Romani language? Would you argue that the Origin_of_the_Romani_people#Genetic_evidence section is misplaced and that it is a "big shame" and "waste of editorial time" to be forced to blank it? Then I am afraid we don't have any common ground, and I would argue that you compeltely fail to understand the point and scope of either article. --dab (𒁳) 11:24, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Well, Germanic peoples is a modern construct based on commonality of language. Anyway, you don't seem to be understanding my points. You need to address them to move this discussion forward. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 17:48, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Can we agree that this section is dealing with prehistory? Elsewhere in Wikipedia it is made clear that prehistory, when there are no written sources, is a puzzle that we lay using archeology, linguistics and genetics. See e.g. here Prehistory: "The primary researchers into Human prehistory are prehistoric archaeologists... Human population geneticists and historical linguists are also providing valuable insight for these questions." This section used to stand on all these three legs, but now one of the legs has been removed. If Deacon has a problem with the standards of prehistory and how it is also described elsewhere in Wikipedia, I find it logical that he would take it to a higher level rather than creating an asymmetry in this page. More examples: Prehistoric Europe, Prehistoric Britain, Prehistoric Sweden, Human migration, all looking at archeological, genetic and linguistic evidence in combination, precisely in this way. If Deacon is against this approach I suggest that he corrects the asymmetry by changing these pages too. Hollinger (talk) 14:00, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Sorry, other articles have nothing to do with it just now. Likewise, it those articles had spelling mistakes it wouldn't be a reason for leaving other spelling mistakes or that because I wanted to fix them here I have to become a bot-like workaholic. The particular section in question. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 17:48, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I feel as if I am talking to a wall. How could I explain the concept of prehistory any better, and how it's studied by combining data from archeology, genetics and linguistics? I have provided you with several examples, but if you cannot see what's right before your eyes, what can I do? You compare the study of prehistory with "spelling mistakes" -- I can only conclude that you do not understand the study of prehistory. It's very sad indeed that you have decided to make it your quest to intrude in the editing of this page against the consensus. You are not only going against the consensus among the editors of this page but against the general understanding at Wikipedia of what prehistory is, as I have shown with my selection of examples above, as well as the academic understanding of the study of prehistory. Hollinger (talk) 18:46, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

indeed. I am tired of people jumping at the term "genetics" in knee-jerk fashion as if it was a dirty word. Archaeologists are into classifying pottery not because ceramics is the most important facet of human culture but because it's a useful marker allowing hypotheses about prehistory. It's the same with genetic markers. "Genetics" in a reasonable discussion about prehistory has the same status as "pots", and there isn't any more reason to get your panties in a knot when haplogroup I1 is mentioned than at the mention of "fibula" or "row graves". If you do get your panties in a knot upon reading the term "genetics", the problem is at your end, and you should perhaps consider moving on to the 21st century, or at the very least begin envisaging to cope with the 1990s. --dab (𒁳) 15:02, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

You seem to have your own personal prejudices with this. Well, that's nothing to do with me. Genetic evidence is not the problem per se. The problem is violating WP:SYNTH and employing pseudo-science in order to advance as nice little neo-medieval origo gentis.The text is question was not a series of citations of modern genetic studies correlating their data with pre-historic language movements. Please read my response to you on this point yesterday, it's tiresome to have to repeat myself. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 17:48, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

I should point out that the map posted above ("Here's something I found...") is, while otherwise very good, misleading regarding haplogroup I1a, which we are discussing here. First of all, with the new notation haplogroup I1a has changed name to I1. But that map uses the old notation. So where it says I1 it refers to I1a+I1b+I1c (old notation). And while the literature is in agreement that haplogroup I1b (now called I2) had their refuge in the Balkans during the last glacial maximum (LGM), as well as being in agreement of (the best hypotheses of) where R1b and R1a resided, there is no agreement at all of about the way I1a (now called I1) took. The literature is still virtually all over the map. The best hypothesis right now, as I see it, is that people from haplogroup I separated from the ones staying in the Balkans before the LGM and ended up in France, where the mutation took place (M253), and then followed the retracting ice up to Scandinavia (possibly pushed up by the R1b people). But there is still far too little data to go after about this.

The problem is that I1a has been studied far too little. Most studies have focused on the more general haplogroup I. But more focus it put on I1a in this very now, so more can be known within not too long time I expect. The most interesting feature of I1a is how very typical it is for Scandinavia. However, as has been pointed out, it does in no way give us the essence of the genetics of Scandinavians, only about 40% here belong to I1a, and about 25% each from R1b and R1a. But that's not the point here, however. The point is that I1a is so unique for Scandinavians that it is a very useful trace of their migrations.

The map from the removed section ("Relative frequence of...") show these traces very well. And since it corresponds so well with historical linguistic evidence and archeological evidence (e.g. Wielbark culture), it is highly interesting. This used to be illustrated well in this article, but now one of the three legs has been removed. If the problem is that there is no source for that map, use one of the maps from Wiik [2] instead (page 46).

And while there is too little known about the origin and migration of I1a (now called I1), this is definitely not the case regarding the prevalence of I1a and the traces of it in the time frame of the last 2500-3000 years (which is what's a stake here).

In general we should not imagine that haplogroups give us the essence of the genetic type of different ethnic groups. First of all, they are generally so mixed and scattered around the place [3]. Secondly, they tell us about mutations so far back in time that much will have happened due to natural selection because of climate, for example, in the process. Just to give you some examples. The I group consist of people from the Balkans (most concentrated in Bosnia) and North Germanic people. It descends from the group IJ, from where J comes too, which are Semitic people. What sort of pattern do we see in this? None of course. It just provides us with traces useful for following migrations. Another example, the other important European group R is a brother group of Q, where Q is the group with belongs almost exclusively to Amerindians. Hollinger (talk) 16:03, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

The problem is that Deacon insists on removing the whole genetic sub-section out of the prehistorical section, for not understanding that genetics belong in the study of prehistory or for some other reason. Deacon claims that it violated WP:SYNTH, but that is wrong because no synthesis was made. I quote from WP:SYNTH: "Summarizing source material without changing its meaning is not synthesis; it is good editing." And this is exactly what had been done. So Deacon's own reference does not support his own intrusion. Furthermore, while I do agree that the genetics sub-section needed to be reviewed and rewritten, Deacon's action to remove it completely can only be interpreted as a statement that he's completely opposed to the idea of genetics being part of the study of prehistory. I object to this at the strongest! Deacon has no support for this very strange idea -- all to the contrary. I suggest that we first agree that a genetics section indeed belong under "Origins", and that we then decide for a proper text. I would be willing to help editing. The tags about "synthesis" at the top should also be removed. Deacon has not come up with any example of synthesis, and cannot, because there has been no synthesis at this page. Hollinger (talk) 19:18, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Great, Hollinger. I am glad you will help – you seem to have a good overview of the topic. You are right about the consensus. I removed the "Genetic trivia" section, I could not see what that was good for. I will remove the tags too, as the disputed section is not in the article at the moment. –Holt TC 19:39, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the trust, Holt. We need to see first that the matter is settled, that there belongs a genetics sub-section under "Origins", before I spend any time on writing something. And since I go for vacation in two days, I do not expect it to have happened before that. So I suggest in the meantime that the old text is put back, but with a tag over the sub-section saying that it needs a review/clean-up. If it's still up a week from now, I'll consider it safe to make the effort to write a new text. It's a bit of an effort -- since it should be an improvement and the current text is already good -- so I won't do it if it's likely to be thrown away. Hollinger (talk) 20:01, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
No, uncited material that is disputed is removed. Many editors restoring it in tandem will have no effect. This is policy; see Wikipedia:Verifiability#Burden_of_evidence. Hollinger, you do seem to have a grasp on genetic stuff, but the material has to be presented in a verifiable way that doesn't violate WP:SYNTH and attributes any theories to authors rather than presenting such information, which can only be controversial when tied to a later linguistic classification, as fact. Surveys of genetic frequencies are fine, synthesizing such surveys with the information in this article is not if no WP:Reliable source does so. Regards, Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 20:07, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I do not think it matters whether the old section is there or not while a new one is prepared. Deacon has the right to remove it due to the lack of reliable sources. However, edit warring is not to be taken lightly. I suggest we agree upon having a "Genetics" section under "Origins", but wait with putting anything there until the new section is agreeable. –Holt TC 20:17, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Per WP:TIND, I suggest that we wait until Hollinger has worked on the section. --Berig (talk) 20:40, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Edit-warring is indeed bad, though it is a grey area whether enforcing content policy counts as punishable edit-warring (suffice to say that in practice there is more administrator tolerance for doing so on WP:BLP than for WP:VER). Regarding origin section, there is a difference between the origin of Bronze Age "Germanic" speakers and peoples later classified as Germanic because of language. Without digressing into post-Roman settlement such as England, or High/Late Medieval language spread such as in Celtic and Slav lands, the Celts of southern Germany were agricultural peoples and are thus intrinsically unlikely to have been genetically displaced in any significant manner, any more than Celtic-speakers of Gaul were displaced by Romans (the genetics section did indeed seem to confirm this btw). Thus if a genetics section were under an origin section such things would need to be transparent and, of course, tied to reliable sources who synthesize genetic surveys with theories of pre-historic Germanic-speaking populations and their movements. We ourselves can't do so without violating our own policy. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 20:44, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm also sceptical towards genetics as a source of information on European linguistic groups, but I don't believe there's much to worry about and look forward to Hollinger's contributions.--Berig (talk) 21:07, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I cannot understand why a whole sub-section is thrown out because of one missing reference (for the map). The text is supported by a reference, and still it was thrown out. And there's no synthesis in this text. So as long as this text is not put up again under a genetics sub-section, I find it pretty pointless to spend time writing anything. Sorry guys! I believe the text can be improved, yes, But this is not the level where this discussion is right now. So I thank you for your faith in me but I once again suggest a different order of actions. First put up the old text (without the map) in the Genetics section! If this text cannot be accepted, I won't be able to do any magic wonders anyway. Here are some more references for it, however: [4], [5], [6], [7]. See what you can do with it. But seriously, since I'll be travelling count me out for the moment. Hollinger (talk) 21:39, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
The sub-section had no references actually (and the map isn't a reference). Non of those references you've just given have anything to do with Germanic peoples nor co-relate the information to the origin and spread modern language groups, save arguably (but not convincingly) the eupedia website because it borrows some pseudo-ethnic terminology, and the eupedia website hardly looks like a reliable source. You've still got the synth problem then. Some of this material could though be used legitimately in a Scandinavian people article, however; though that article curiously doesn't exist yet. I don't get the impression you're quite grasping the problems here quite yet. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 22:29, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm not interested in playing these sort of games, so I'm out of here. [Deacon deleted my whole motivation for leaving here. If you are interested in it, check the archives. /Hollinger] Hollinger (talk) 22:46, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
OK, but before you go, could you explain why the shading on the map removed is so different from the l1a map on the source you provided? Is it just my screen? Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 22:49, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Personal attack removed [8] Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 23:40, 4 February 2009 (UTC) Hollinger (talk) 23:37, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Deacon keeps on deleting my motivation for leaving this discussion. If you are interested in it, check the archives. Hollinger (talk) 10:57, 5 February 2009 (UTC)


To expand on what Srnec said about medieval usage, first I should say that there are people who study time periods closer to late antiquity for whom this would be a big issue, although it isn't one for me, safely confined to the High Middle Ages when everyone is either Catholic or not Catholic. If someone mentioned "Germanic peoples" to me, I would understand what they mean even if I cannot exactly explain what it is I think they mean. As far as "Germanic law", as Srnec mentioned, I understand it as generally "not Roman law." Not all Germanic peoples had the same laws and the surviving ones are all from vastly different time periods. They tended to distinguish between the Romanized Germanic rulers and their Roman subjects, so they certainly understood themselves to be different from the Romans, at least (but even then their subjects could be "native" Germans, "native" Romans, Romanized Celts, or even other Romanized Germans). Adam Bishop (talk) 02:49, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

I generally draw a line with a "Thing principle": Peoples who employed the Thing in their society are unquestionably considered "Germanic" whereas with Gothic rule in Spain, for example, this element of indigenous Germanic culture had disappeared in favor of things far more Latinized. This would follow onward with Jamaica and so forth where very little Germanic influence is felt outside of linguistics and potentially other elements of English culture. :bloodofox: (talk) 03:43, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Is there any reliable evidence of the Goths ever employing a thing? I cannot recall reading about it. As Adam said, this is an area of controversy for students of late antiquity. Patrick Amory writes: '[Germanic,] properly used, refers to a language group, not a culture, ethnic group or race ... there was no "pan-Germanic" identity' (People and Identity in Ostrogothic Italy, xv). But Amory has his critics, like the contributors to the Studies in Historical Archaeoethnology series. The term "Germanic peoples" is still well-used, even by Roger Collins, in whose work I believe I once read that the term "Germanic" should only ever be applied to languages (but I can't find the quotation now). Srnec (talk) 05:21, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, that's kind of an arbitrary line to draw, and it doesn't help us with any Germanic peoples who were sufficiently Romanized. Of course the Goths in Spain are much more Romanized than, say, the Jutes who never lived in the Empire, and maybe as Srnec says they never had a Thing anyway. What about wergild, which was (mostly) abandoned by Romanized Germans? Or trial by ordeal, which was not? Or any other arbitrary "Germanic" custom, which were not universally practised by Germanic peoples to begin with? Adam Bishop (talk) 05:33, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
(@ Bloodfox) That diagnosis is romantic but don't see how it could work. How does the Tinvaal fit into that for instance? Besides, popular assemblies and assembly-hills are common through-out much of Europe, irrespective of language being Germanic or non-Germanic. Thing is just one Germanic name for it (another is Folkmoot), or Slavic Veche or Scottish comhdhail, not to mention the countless Latin influenced words like commune, parliament, etc, whose apparent distinctiveness lies more in 18th and 19th century romanticisation and ethnicisation of historical institutions than in the reality evidenced in the sources. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 05:53, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Thing is commonly attested among the Germanic peoples enough to be derived from proto-Germanic *thengan (Barnhart (1995:809)). I don't know if it's attested directly in Gothic, but I hardly see why they would be a special case prior to their ultimate Christianization/Latinization. It's quite simple to snuff out any doubt of a shared cultural basis among Germanic peoples by simply pointing out the obvious evidence of shared pre-Christian religious practices found in most attestations of the pre-Christianized Germanic peoples (Examples include Nerthus in 1 CE per Tacitus and Njörðr in Snorri in 13 CE, Ing per Tacitus' Ingaevones, Ing in Tacitus in 1 CE, Ing on the Gothic Ring of Pietroassa in 250 to 400, Ing in 8 or 9 CE in the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem, etc. etc.). My "thing principle" is just a quick personal suggestion.
I can go on. Yet there's no need for that. This is a very simple issue. If something on Wikipedia is not appropriately referenced, it needs to be pulled immediately. This goes for anything, anytime, anywhere. If we can't appropriately reference the DNA section here, it needs to be ripped out without another word until someone does. :bloodofox: (talk) 05:58, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Sorry to encourage this digression, but why if it's a great bearer of the pan-Germanic banner is the word Thing in the British Isles diagnostically Norse, then? The English used the word mot/gemot, apparently much like the northern-most Germans in Jämtland? Anyways, for what it's worth I do think the term "Germanic" is an acceptable term for a big bunch of things up until c. 900; it is however not a term for any ethnic identity embracing all speakers, certainly not after Late Antiquity anyways (and I don't include its silly politically correct use for people called after c. 1000 "Germans" when including ancestors of modern Austrians, Dutch and Swiss). Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 06:13, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I like the word moot (and it too is sufficiently attested enough for Proto-Germanic—*(ga-)motan) too, so maybe we could make a Moot-Thing principle. ;] Beats me why they would go with the North Germanic form rather than West Germanic, if that is what you're asking. The English also had "Thing" outright attested in the 8th century. It seems that everyone we have decent attestations did. Anyway, there's obviously some overlap here when attempting to qualify some of these areas like Scotland as "Germanic", but if a group has been 'Germanicized' to the point where they're mooting rather than something else, then they're probably qualified to be at least something-Germanic here. :bloodofox: (talk) 06:24, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
"Mooting" (use of such words I mean) in Scotland is later medieval/early modern, and derives from English settlement and influence in the 12th and 13th centuries. Comhdhail is the earliest vernacular word, and earlier (in the early 12th century) it seems to be that which into Latin generally gets translated as "army" (because the freeholders are also the soldiers). Like Slavic Veche, it has nothing to do with Germans. Likewise, neither does the Greek word Ecclesia and other such words; instutions to gather regional consent are not linguistic institutions, they are just how agricultural peoples organize themselves. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 06:42, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I should point out that these moots and things had specific cultural associations as well. For example, the linden in some Germanic areas pops in the middle of thing circles (pointing to a host of associations) and there's good old Mars Thingsus (Tyr of the thing) at Hadrain's Wall (3 AD). So, obviously there were some very evident culturally-specific associations with our Germanic things, and I am sure there were some similarly culture-specific things for the examples you give among the Slavic peoples (though probably poor attested, if at all). Can you think of any similar case as the Scottish example you give about for "Thinging"? :bloodofox: (talk) 06:55, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Can you expand upon what you mean, I'm not sure I understand. I don't get the Mars Thingsus example. The German auxiliaries stationed on Hadrian's Wall were associating meeting with religion? Well, that's not unique ... you might want to compare the Celtic word nemeton and its use is some compound names or even compare the fact that in the later middle ages, the Justiciar of Scotia frequently held hearings at the site of old standing stones. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 07:11, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Sure. Mars Thingsus is Interpretatio Germanica for the Germanic god Tyr (from *Tiwaz, plenty of pan-Germanic attestations). The altar with the inscription also bears some female names (evidently dísir/valkyries, but that may be beside the point). However, the reason I mention it is because it's considered evidence that Tyr had some direct connection with the thing. That is, it and some Eddic references attested from 13th century North Germanic sources. To be clear, the location of the object isn't what I'm pointing out. I'm saying that the Germanic thing had uniquely Germanic elements (and your examples probably have their own cultural elements as well rooted in indigenous religion), so while they may be similar, there are obviously different in terms of custom and cult. :bloodofox: (talk) 07:25, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
The actual specifics yes are probably local (though general to wide-spread language group? ... In Norse times Tyr is just a guy who gets his hand bitten off!); but association with a god, divine power, sacredness is just a variation of a world-wide tendency similarly reflected by the Justiciar of Scotia meeting at standing stones, or pre-chieftaincy people dragging out the bodies of their dead ancestors to be present at the debate (funnily enough the English parliament is located next to a monastery and the bodies of various kings like Edward the Confessor, i.e. close to God and to ancestors! ;) ). Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 07:40, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
In defense of Tyr, I should note that there are a bunch of toponyms with his name from the Norse era, he plays a significant (yet weird) role in Hymiskviða, he is mentioned in connection with war (Sigrdrífumál about his association with victory runes—pointing to a direct association with Migration Period triple *tiwaz runic charms appearing on weapons) just like the migration period Mars-associations, and there are a few mentions that point to a thing-association (like Loki's rant about Tyr in Lokasenna). I intend to rewrite our current Wikipedia article on him in time, and I'll get to it eventually. :bloodofox: (talk) 08:07, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

I believe the point of this debate is to decide for which periods it makes any sense to speak of "Germanic peoples". This period obviously doesn't have any sharp limits, but it just as obviously includes much of the 1st millennium, especially the 1st to 7th centuries, i.e. the Roman empire plus Migration periods. Bickering about precise cut-offs is futile. The entire period to be looked at may include the final centuries of the 1st millennium BC as the early (Proto-Germanic) period, and it may include the early centuries of the 2nd millennium as the late period. From the later medieval period, as Adam points out, the term ceases to have any immediate ethnic significance, and "Germanic" comes to be a mere ethno-linguistic super-group, including various distinct ethnicities with a common heritage, viz. "Germanic Europe". --dab (𒁳) 11:19, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

regarding etymology, the term þing is perfectly common to both West and North Germanic. Gothic has a related þeihs which means "occasion, time" more generally rather than "meeting", but the exact cognate *þigg happens to be unattested. This is irrelevant. "Having meetings" is hardly a custom unique to the Germanic peoples in any case. These meetings of free men are an important feature in any discussion of Germanic antiquity, but the Germanic peoples are obviously in no way special for having had meetings. --dab (𒁳) 15:15, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Germanic tribes

Redirects to here. I think it should be made into a separate article. Comments? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 22:31, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

we have a list of Germanic tribes. It could redirect there. There is also the unmaintained List of confederations of Germanic tribes and Sippe articles. We should fix the articles we have instead of producing new stubs. --dab (𒁳) 11:56, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

Most people looking for information on the Germanic tribes want to know about the role they played in the Fall of Rome. Prehaps the portion about the Fall of Rome should be a little more clear. The phrase "Co-opted into Rome's defenses"-- Is this truth, or just trash propagated to avoid slight to the German people? Hey, get this--no one cares if you slight the tribes of long ago. We are here to deliver SOLID FACTS, and NOT to cater to the will of the masses. Who cares what they think of us? Wikipedia is supposed to be a repository for the Truth. --Inventor955 (talk) 00:20, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Well, I'm partly with you, that is, as far as the "co-opted" bit is concerned. (Never mind the pathos.) It is quite clear that the incursion of late 406 AD was not an act of co-option, but of proper invasion. I do think the section ought to be expanded and should pander neither to a naïvely relativist view nor to an equally inappropriate one in which the Germans are portrayed as the sole or even the main reason for the decline of the Western Empire. Trigaranus (talk) 15:07, 17 August 2009 (UTC)


The statement which diversified out of Common Germanic in the course of the Pre-Roman Iron Age should either be modified or given a reference. If I'm understanding this it says one dialect until the Iron age. How can we possibly know this splitting didn't happen earlier? Can we change it to which diversified out of Common Germanic before or during the Pre-Roman Iron Age until a reference can be supplied? Nitpyck (talk) 04:48, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

As far as I know, among IEistst, this is fairly commonly accepted. The earliest onomastic material and inscriptions do not exhibit a level of dialectal variation great enough to suppose an earlier date of diversification — which is not to say there certainly were no earlier dialectal variants, only that none of those left much of a trace in our early corpora or daughter languages (leaving aside proposals such as Hans Kuhn's et. al. Nordwestblock). Trigaranus (talk) 08:53, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Who are the IEistst? Are there really enough bronze age inscriptions in common german to base any general statement? Sorry for living up to my username. Nitpyck (talk) 20:23, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
there are no BC Germanic inscriptions, unless you count the Negau helmet. That Common Germanic spans the final centuries BC is nevertheless clear to historical linguists. The details of this belong on Proto-Germanic, not here. In a nutshell, Grimm's law is a feature of Common Germanic, and there are early Latin loans that still participate in the sound shift, so it is impossible that the sound shift was complete long before the Roman Empire period. --dab (𒁳) 20:58, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks that helps a lot, plus I figured out Trigaranus typed IEistst but meant PIEist. Nitpyck (talk) 23:11, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

"IEists" as in Indo-Europeanists, not Proto-Indo-Europeans. You don't call them "Proto-Indo-Europeanists" even when they make statements about Proto-Indo-European. --dab (𒁳) 05:32, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

But if you google IEist you're never gonna get where you want to be.Nitpyck (talk) 14:51, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
For Jiminy's sake, Nitpyck, cut the poor IEists some slack, they're only an innocent abbreviation! ;-) Sorry if I wasn't clear. Trigaranus (talk) 20:10, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Italy Spain

I added Italy, and Spain before but it seems like someone edited the page and took those two counties out. Its been concluded by historians that the populations in Spain, and Italy are decendants of Germans, Visigoth in Spain Ostrogoth in Italy. These two populations obviously have multiple ancestors but the German are overlooked in this article. I am going to add Spain, and Italy again and if anyone feels that I have acted in error and wants to erase those peoples, please post a message on this talk page. Thanks. --Lucius Sempronius Turpio (talk) 20:06, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

Where in this article would you like to add those countries then? Trigaranus (talk) 21:23, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, seen it (the problem of working with multiple tags). I would strongly suggest to have those two countries removed from that listing, on the following grounds: the nations listed in that place are all modern-day speakers of Germanic languages, and as such can claim a different kind of "descent" from the historic Germanic peoples than those nations where Germanic tribal entities existed for some time before being assimilated. Nobody disputes that Visigoths and Ostrogoths did indeed settle in Italy and Spain, as did the Langobards, the Vandals and the Suebians at one point. However, if you wanted to argue that this qualifies them for this list, we would have to get out the big tools and start to include (from the top of my head) the Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Tunisia. It's certainly not the right place for that. Trigaranus (talk) 21:33, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I would imagine that all decendants of Germanic Peoples should be mentioned in the article. But Italy and Spain have a stronger Germanic background then the Slavic countries you listed above. I say this because of the 100's of years of germanic rule in Italy and Spain, as opposed to the limited german rule, and influence in the slavic countries listed above. Much of Italy was part of the German Holy Roman Empire after the Ostrogothic Kingdom that succeeded Rome so modern Italy has some very German roots especially in the North (where German is even a reconized offical languge). My vote is the two countries should stay on the page. Lets see what happens and try to make this article the best it can be. --Lucius Sempronius Turpio (talk) 22:09, 11 April 2009 (UTC)


→ Germanic-speaking Europe (in line with Romance-speaking Europe)
The current name of the article makes it ambiguous whether it is talking about the Germanic speaking areas of Europe, or Germanic Europe (the two are subtly different).
Germanic peoples would then become a disambiguation page linking to Germanic-speaking Europe (what is now Germanic peoples), Germanic Europe, List of Germanic peoples, and List of confederations of Germanic tribes. --Lingamondo (talk) 09:15, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

it is perfectly unclear what you want. You suggest we move this article, about the Germanic peoples of the Roman era and Migration period to "Germanic-speaking Europe"? I fail to see how "Germanic Europe" is ;subtly different' from "Germanic-speaking Europe" seeing that Germanic is a linguistic term anyway. "Romance-speaking Europe" should just be merged into Latin Europe. Your titles seem inspired by German-speaking Europe. However, in this title, the hyphen isn't about modifying properties of "Europe", it is simply disambiguating the dual meaning of "German", viz. German Federal Republic vs. German language. Since there is no "Germanic Federal Republic", nor a "Romance Federal Republic", this is unnecessary in the case of Romance [languages] and Germanic [languages]. --dab (𒁳) 12:24, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

No, I've made myself perfectly clear. Ignorance of what the difference is between Germanophone Europe (Germanic-speaking Europe), and Germanic Europe, is of no significance to this case. If you don't know what Germanic Europe is, go read up on the topic.
Also, no, my titles are not inspired by German-speaking Europe (although if they were, it wouldn't make much difference), it was from Romance-speaking Europe (as I in fact mentioned).
On another note, no, "Germanic" is note solely linguistic. Lingamondo (talk) 13:31, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

I would recommend that you spend some time reading the articles you propose to edit. When you ask me to "go read up the topic" of Germanic Europe, do you mean before or after your confused revision? Germanic Europe considers the Germanic-speaking areas of Europe, including some aspects of culture and religion which, doh, will obviously not be exactly coterminous with the linguistic boundaries. I fail to see how this should encourage you to the surreal suggestion of moving this article to the title "Germanic-speaking Europe". Please do not waste time and space with such non-sequiturs. --dab (𒁳) 13:50, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

My revision? I think you'll find that the article represented this view long before I edited it.
Germanic Europe is the area that came under the sphere of influence of the Germanic tribes, and continues with the culture planted by that. Germanophone Europe is the area that speaks a Germanic language (one derived from Proto-Germanic). The spread of the Germanic tribes brought with it the spread of Germanic languages, so that today, there is a large overlap between the "Germanophonie" as it were, and Germanic Europe, but there is still a difference. Wikipedia currently recognises that difference - it's just that the names are confusing, which is what I aim to change with the move. Lingamondo (talk) 13:57, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

ok. -- there may be a discussion in this if you condescended to patiently make a point and then suggest improvements to the article. You seem to be interested in improving the Germanic_peoples#Cultural_assimilation section. So how about you come to terms with what's already there first, and then try to actually try to improve that as opposed to doing random editing in the article lead. Otherwise try WP:3O if you find you cannot talk to me. Terminological prancing around with "Germanophone" vs. "Germanic" isn't going to lead anywhere. As a last resort, if it turns out that intelligent debate is impossible in spite of best efforts, you are reduced to proving your point by academic references (WP:RS). Fwiiw, I assure you that the confusion is all yours, and that your proposed moves aren't helpful. --dab (𒁳) 14:40, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I'm sure the confusion is all mine, considering I'm not the one that just read the Germanic Europe article a few minutes ago. You tell me to request a 3rd opinion? That is exactly what I did, and you responded most spitefully. I don't know what your problem is, but you have not been civil with me at all.
Prancing around with "Germanophone" vs. "Germanic"? I'm using these terms to differentiate the concepts - what else do you want me to refer to them as? You're being entirely unreasonable, and perhaps if you have off-wiki issues for today, it may be better to continue this discussion once you've cooled off, on another day. Lingamondo (talk) 15:04, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

A new day - another try. However, before we can move on with that, let us first sort out the other issues that were discussed. You told me to get a 3rd opinion on the map - I did this. User:Scooter20 (who is the primary map-maker for this area of Wikipedia) has stated they believe the placement of the map in the article to be logical. For those who are unaware of what this is talking about; it concerns the placement of a map of the Germanic peoples of Europe, into the header of the article. I will thusly replace the image in the article. I cannot see at all how DAB came to view it as a controversial point, and await his reasons. Until then, may open discussion ensue. Lingamondo (talk) 09:09, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Lingamondo, I am giving you the benefit of Hanlon's razor here. It is completely unclear what you are trying to do. Scooter20 stated that "My opinion is, that such a picture, if put in the article, would not be out of context", and rightly so, and lo and behold, such a map has been in this article all along, in the section where it belongs.

You seem to be trying to turn this article into the article about Germanic Europe, viz., about the current-day Germanic speaking populations. This is a silly suggestion (if it is a suggestion, I am second-guessing your intentions here, since your "proposal" doesn't really parse at all). But if such is your suggestion, and you aren't able to conduct a coherent discussion, you are always free to present encyclopedic references establishing that "Germanic peoples" should be discussing what you think it should. Consult They have a "Germanic peoples" article, and the article discusses the Bronze Age origins of the Geramnic peoples, their distribution in the Roman period, Tacitus, the migrations until the 3rd century and until 500, the Iron Age, early Germanic law, etc., exactly as this article does.

If you think that we shouldn't follow Britannica but that our "Germanic peoples" article should instead discuss the current populations, present a reference supporting that this is an option. As it stands, you present no references, you merely indulge in weird edits according to your fancy. This article, otoh, is full of references establishing that it properly discusses what should be found under "Germanic peoples" in an encyclopedia. Even at simple-wiki, where you appear to be visiting from, simple:Germanic_peoples has a brief but proper discussion of Germanic antiquity (and I note that the article has been thankfully left untouched by you so far).

What we are having here isn't a "discussion" in the sense of WP:TALK until you present a WP:RS and derive a proposal on how you want to rearrange this article directly based on that. --dab (𒁳) 10:18, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

And again, more insulting talk. It seems you weren't just having a bad day, you seem uncivil in general.
Now now, let's not misquote things. I distinctively asked Scooter20 what he thought of the image going in the header. So far, there's two people that have stated they are for it, and one that has stated they are against, and my presumption is that the vast population of Wikipedia (even people that know little on the subject), will recognise that doing this is entirely reasonable.
Please don't try to second-guess what I'm doing here. The placement of this image has nothing to do with my view on the move. This page is on an ethnolinguistic group. Therefore, the ethnicity that this page talks about (Germanic people) is directly based on the "native" languages included from which they enter this classification (Germanic languages). As such, it follows reason that an image of the languages upon which this very ethnolinguistic group is decided, is of high importance in the article. (talk) 12:20, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
The lead image for an article covering many aspects of Germanic culture over its entire existence should not be a map of one aspect of it at just one point in time. There's more to the Germanic culture than its languages, and more to their history (and this article) than the current state of play. The modern linguistic map would indeed be a poor choice for the lead, and the move suggestion is unsuitable. Knepflerle (talk) 14:41, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
To Lingamondo: I hope you're not feeling personally insulted by dab's harsh ways, he just doesn't like your suggestion. ;-) Let's be clear about the scope of this article: like the articles on the Celts, the Iberians, the Dacians and many more of varying quality, this is an article about a historical people (or, in the case of the Germani, a group of peoples or ethnē). The List of Germanic Peoples is merely a bulky index or collection of names that is too cumbersome to be included in this article here. First named by Caesar ca. 58 BC, they remained an important factor throughout Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, until the remaining people's political, social and religious structures were transformed into more "modern" mediaeval forms. Whether or not much of their culture or linguistic heritage survived into present times is perfectly secondary to the article and belongs in a subsidiary section (where it is). If you wish to expand contents on the modern-day Germanic-speaking nations, the respective article would be the best place for it. Trigaranus (talk) 07:50, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

I love it when people switch to discussing my tone ("harsh", "incivil") as soon as it becomes clear that they have no case, so they better take the debate to a more fuzzy level to divert attention from that. I subscribe to WP:NPA. "Incivility" would be if I insulted an editor's mother, called them smelly or speculated about their childhood or medical history. I also believe in WP:SPADE, which is saying clueless when somebody is clueless.

At the same time, of course, I respect kind souls like Trigaranus who are willing to explain in soothing tones what people could have read up in article space on their own. --dab (𒁳) 07:58, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

It's the teacher in me, I'm afraid. Pedagogically, it's considered a bit of a no-go to bark "You clueless turd!" at a student, even when you feel the strongest urge to. But I'm still waiting for a "you clown" from you. ;-) Trigaranus (talk) 09:16, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
I'll start investing time in educating editors using approved pedagogical methods as soon as somebody sends me a teacher's paycheck. As long as I am here as an unpaid volunteer, I take other editors as equally unpaid volunteers here to contribute validly to the project, and tell them to get either lost or to confer their talents to menial cleanup edits if they aren't up to pulling their own weight. But "you clueless turd" would of course be a violation of WP:CIVIL, tsk tsk, we cannot have that. "You clown" seems more acceptable to me, although I expect to be sent to an admin re-education camp every time I say it (I am flattered you remember that expression, I did have good fun with it before ;) --dab (𒁳) 08:14, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Language or Ethnic Group?

I believe the introduction to this page is a bit misleading. It claims that the Germanic peoples are an ethno-linguistic group comprised of speakers of the Germanic-language group. This is true. However, it then goes on to say that the ethnic groups (rather than ethno-linguistic groups) that descend from these people only exist in, or are limited to the modern countries that stem from the Germanic-language group (i.e. Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, England, etc..).

This is misleading because ethnic groups don't have to be linked linguistically in order to be related. A biological or cultural link will also suffice. In that light, it is impossible to list all the countries in which ethnic groups of Germanic origin may exist. There are far more than the countries where derivatives of the Germanic-language is spoken today.

For example, the French speak a romance language derived from Latin but France was largely inhabited by a Germanic tribe called the Franks during the Middle-Ages (who just so happen to give the country its name) and many of their citizens can claim descent from them (just as many English can claim descent from Anglos and Saxons). Even France's most celebrated king, Charlegmagne, was a Frank who spoke a Frankish dialect of the Germanic language. Technically, it wouldn't be inaccurate to include France, or the French, on the list of ethnic groups that descend from the Germanic peoples, since the Franks were indeed Germanic.

Similarly, the Vikings settled in areas wide-ranging from Ukraine to Ireland, founding cities like Kiev and Dublin along the way. Many Scottish clans claim descent from Norse, Normans, Saxons, Anglos, etc.. as do many Belgians, Swiss, Italians, Spanish, and so on. In terms of Italy, all of Lombardy was settled by the Germanic Lombards during the Middle-Ages (hence the name), and Normans have settled everywhere from Sicily to Lebanon (mainly during the Crusades).

I would try to make the introduction a little more clear and separate the idea of a language group from an ethnic group. If this article is about the Germanic language group, then so be it but if this article is making reference to the ethnic groups that descend from Roman-era Germanic tribes (which is a loose concept to begin with) then the definition becomes much, much broader. -- (talk) 08:24, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

You say it, it becomes much broader and actually too broad to be useful. If we were to go down that road, we would have to include Turkey and the Turks among the "Celtic peoples", and if that doesn't make us pee ourselves laughing, I don't know what will. As your examples and my own hopefully illustrate, Europe with its long history as a melting pot of peoples is a place hardly suitable for attempts at defining clear-cut "ethnic", cultural and genetic borders without getting silly. (So let's try and not do that.) This is the reason why the modern majority consensus and usage states that "ethnically" — which, I know, is not used in the strict ethnological sense —, your region forms part of Germanic Europe if it has long been traditonally part of it linguistically; a definition which even allows for a separate, nowadays more cultural than linguistic, "Celtic" identity of the Western European fringe. Trigaranus (talk) 10:06, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

As opposed to biology, languages can be learned. However, identifying biological ethnicities in Europe (going all the way back to the Classical Roman-era) is preposterous and unfeasible. That's why I suggest the wording of the introduction to this page be changed. We should drop the idea of modern-day descendants from Roman-era Germanic tribesmen altogether. As you said, the idea is "laughable" and a flimsy concept at best. Rather than trying to identify the "ethnic groups that descend from these people", we should identify "the ethno-linguistic groups that descend from these people". We should stress the aspect of language and change all references from "ethnic groups" to "ethno-linguistic groups". That way we'll have a much more specific definition. The use of the words "ethnic group" is way too broad in my opinion, since ethnicity can denote a biological, cultural, religious and/or behavioral link as well.

Btw... Celtic Turkey outdates Frankish France by thousands of years... but it's a point well taken. When it comes to a landmass the size of the Eurasian continent, ethnicities are wide-ranging and impossible to peg down. -- (talk) 22:37, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

what is a "biological ethnicity"? The article lead already has "ethno-linguistic". I think you want to check the definition of ethnicity: it entails language, culture and common descent. "Biology" isn't mentioned anywhere in the article. These three items tend to be correlated because of human learning behaviour. Small children are imprinted linguistically and culturally. Small children also tend to be located near their progenitors, although this is a statistical statement. This is to say, human ethnicities are a product of the ethological mechanism of filial imprinting. But this is a far too general discussion to be useful for the purposes of this article. --dab (𒁳) 14:52, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

era style

The AD/BC notation was used in this article since Wiglaf (talk · contribs) developed the article out of stub status back in 2005[9], until a sudden and undiscussed change a year ago.[10] I denounce such era-warring and I strongly suggest we return to the historical style. Otherwise the message to the edit-warriors will be, you just need to sneak in a change that remains unnoticed for a couple of months and you have yourself a new "consensus version". I find it particularly ironic to read the summary A pointless change. Better to keep it as it originally was from the person who did the original edit away from the article's historical status quo.[11]. Obviously this doesn't mean I approve of the tactics of Hayden4258, who isn't aware of any of this and is just revert-warring.[12]. The point is that the current "consensus version" is the result of exactly the same sort of approach a year ago.

in my view, the "BCE/CE" notation is a product of US Political Correctness intended to make the victims of "Eurocentrism" feel better. In an article that is dedicated to European history by its very nature, an approach of "zomg Eurocentrism" feels a little misplaced. Hence I would prefer the AD/BC notation by default even if it had not been the historical format. But if Wiglaf's version had sported "BCE" I would not now be trying to convert it to "BC". --dab (𒁳) 12:45, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

Note that Hayden4258 has now been permanently blocked. This article first saw BCE usage in 2003: [13]. So, yes, BCE/CE is the original usage for this article, and I'm pretty sure we even had a policy about whichever was first used was what we went with, but it appears the policy has changed to whatever the consensus is (WP:ERA). There's no reason to squabble over this, Hayden was obviously POV-motivated. :bloodofox: (talk) 14:22, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
The article saw "B.C.E." in 2003. Wiglaf did a substantial rewrite and expansion in 2005, introducing BC, incidentially this was before the "WP:ERA armistice" and completely innocent, as he was the article's main author at that point. Your 2008 edit was nothing of the kind[14], you did some housekeeping, and snuck in the era change under "standardization". There is no record of any discussion, let alone consensus, supporting this. If I was shown a pair of diffs of mine as embarassing as this, [15][16], I think I would meekly and apologetically withdraw from the discussion instead of trying to save face by adding yet some more disingenuity.
tell you what, why don't we revert to the 2005-2008 consensus, and if you have anything to put forward for your 7 May 2008 "standardization", let's see if there is any consensus for it. --dab (𒁳) 12:21, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
There's nothing "embarassing" about the diffs you've shown. What is embarrassing is that you seem to be attempting to prove some sort of point, rather than find out what consensus may currently be and solve whatever issue may be. By your logic, Wiglaf has just as much "snuck in" the change as I did, and, by our previous AD/BC policy, he broke policy doing so (though I know there was no ill-intent). Judging by the recent reverts, it seems to be pretty solidly in the area of CE/BCE (as it was originally in 2003-2005), and my edits were very much in line with policy at the time. If we have a bunch of people wanting it changed to BC/AD (who aren't perma-blocked), then I frankly don't care if we move it or not. In the mean time, your grandstanding based on how you personally feel about how "politically correct" BCE/CE isn't doing you any favors. :bloodofox: (talk) 17:16, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
Responding to Dieter's request for a consensus review, I'll drop a few lines here. Let me first see if I get this straight, I'll make a detailed timeline. In August 2003, the CE notation is introduced to the article [17], before that there was no sign of either notations. In 2004, Wiglaf makes some edits to the article, and after a while he adds an AD date right next to the CE notation [18]. The article stays like that till November 2004 when an anonymous IP changes the CE notation from 2003 into AD [19]. All edits between 2004 and May 2008 use AD notation. Then Bloodofox changes the notation in May 2008 [20]. Some anonymous IP jumps in yet again, seemingly unaware of the CE notation, and adds an AD date to the lead [21]. Some IP does the same again [22]. User:Dbachmann adds an AD date January 2009 [23], though most of the article is still using CE notation. Someone removes the AD mentions in a copy edit in April 2009 [24], and the article then only features CE notation. June 2009 User:Hayden4258 changes the notation format [25] without any further explanation, User:Gadfium reverts him [26] with the edit summary "Restore date format per MOS:ERA. This article has used BCE since August 2003". Hayden4258 reverts back to his own edit [27], and then User:Bloodofox reverts Hayden4258 back to CE notation with the edit summary "If CE was here first, then CE it must remain." Hayden4258, Gadfium and Bloodofox continue to edit war. User:Dayewalker ends it by "Rvt to consensus version" (in his opinion; CE notation) [28]. Dbachmann considers this edit wrong, and changes the notation to AD [29]. Last thing we see is Bloodofox reverting Dbachmann [30].
This article has been pushed back and forth between AD and CE, sometimes using both, sometimes being changed directly or indirectly. Yes, the notation first to appear in the article was CE, but consensus (following the consensus flowchart) has silently changed a few times and edits and intentions have not always been apparent. Because of this, I think we should "start over" and see if we can establish some kind of consensus. I do not think any of the notations are "obvious" choices for this article based on its topic, and I believe that they should be treated as equal options. Consensus establishment policy tells us that "[c]onsensus discussions should always be attempts to convince others, using reasons". I will only be pushing my own POV and personal preferences when I state which of the notations I prefer, but I guess it has to be like that. Dieter seems to prefer AD, and one of his arguments is that the article "is dedicated to European history by its very nature", and should thus reflect that by using AD. Personally, I am inclined to argument for CE, as the article deals with peoples that originally had no association with Christianity or the like. I otherwise prefer CE notation, it is what I am used to encounter in academic writings and I feel that it is more neutral.
Should we let the consensus be a weak consensus based on partially backed up voting? I see no other solution at the moment. But please, do comment if you see a good way to avoid the consensus being based on a majority vote. –Holt (TC) 00:25, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
PS: Please do not change the notation any further before we are done with the discussion. During a dispute, the article will always be the Wrong Version. As the notation does not introduce any factual errors to the article, using the Wrong Version does no harm. –Holt (TC) 00:47, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

This shouldn't be a big deal, and I'll settle for CE before wasting much time over it, but I strongly feel that the decisinon should be left with those editors responsible for the bulk of encyclopedic content, not those dropping in occasionally to quibble about era format or other marginalia.

CE is a US American notation, originally associated with Jehovah's Witnesses, but spread more widely in the course of the US "Culture Wars" and the social imperative of Political Correctness. If this article had been written in large parts by an American editor, in American English, I would not object. But this isn't the case. What we do have is drive-by style-warring over an existing and stable article. --dab (𒁳) 08:12, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

It's just confusing to tell the truth. BC/AD is just easier to read. Cvaix (talk) 21:47, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

Do Afrikaners Count As Germanic People?

The Afrikaners and/or Boers of South Africa have a language which is an off shoot from Dutch: Afrikaans, and although many may have French Huguenot ancestry many also have German and Dutch ancestry - would they qualify for being classified as Germanic or even mentioned on this page, or not? Invmog (talk) 21:07, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

The term "Germanic peoples" as used in this article refers to the historical tribal and sub-tribal groups (primarily during Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, not to modern speakers of Germanic languages. But of course, yes, Afrikaans is a Germanic language and already listed as such. Trigaranus (talk) 21:14, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

Contemporary Germanic Europe

This section has been removed and now reinstated, but is unsourced and controversial. I do believe we should have some section on the current sotuation, even if it is to claim that there are currently no germanic peoples, or that the term is only used until century X, or whatever. To just ignore this does not help the uninformed reader. Furthermore, there are still current scientific books describing some things as a Germanic people, e.g. The Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations calls the Flemish a Germanic people. The book Social Problems in Global Perspective says that the Dutch are a Germanic people. I don't know if these are mainstream books or exceptions (the publishers seem reliable enough), but it is clear that the term is still in use for people today, and this fact should be neutrally presented, not ignored. Probably the section should also shed some light on the misuse of the notion of a bond between Germanic people by Hitler and the Nazis to justify some invasions and so on. Fram (talk) 08:15, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

I am willing to accept that the section on Germanic Europe is strictly off topic here, assuming this is supposed to be our article on Germanic antiquity, to which "Contemporary Germanic Europe" is obviously a rather marginal addendum. But aside from such considerations of article scope, I frankly fail to see what about this section is supposed to be "pseudoscientific", or "jabbering", or in which respects it could be cleaned up. [31]

As you say, it is the case that "Germanic" remains in use in the context of the contemporary ethnograpy in Europe. Just like Anglo-Saxon remains in use in the context of the current-day Anglosphere without any implication that this is about the actual Anglo-Saxons of the 6th to 10th centuries. But we could treat this as a matter of disambiguation. A simple "for the term Germanic in reference to contemporary populations, see Germanic Europe", without presenting a full WP:SS summary of that article here.

I have no problem with such a solution. Fram (talk) 08:53, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

The discussion of "Germanic antiquity in later historiography" should by all means remain in the article. This isn't under debate. --dab (𒁳) 08:28, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

"Jabbering" was probably a bit crass. I feel tempted to use the "it wasn't me, he started it" defense here. ;-) But all criticism aside (too much out-of-place political history in a context where language has long become the only relevant item to still use the term "Germanic"), I fully support dab's solution. Trigaranus (talk) 15:14, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, the term is still used. The term I think will mutate, and is already drifting, into a term mainly used to refer to the peoples everyone 2 centuries ago called "German" (i.e. Germans, Austrians, Swiss and even the Dutch), because it's still one people clearly distinguishable from its neighbours but has been robbed of its signifier by political developments. A classic sign that all attempts by states to usurp older words is almost always in the long term, like printing more and more money, self-defeating! That'll happen and we'll have to add another -ic to described the English! As for that meaning, the wider one, there is little common ethnic sense shared between English and German[-ic?] peoples. Except when narrativised historical linguistics are invoked that is, and the tale of the dark 18th and 19th century alliance between radicalised historians and philologists is indeed one worthy of the telling. In Scotland this is called "Teutonism" ... I dunno if it has a name elsewhere, but it is worthy of inclusion and indeed of its own article. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 09:57, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
As a sidenote, perhaps, where does this idea come from that "everyone" until very recently considered the Dutch a "German" people? I severely doubt whether this opinion has ever been very widespread outside the circles of the 19th-century German bourgeosie. Iblardi (talk) 12:15, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, you'd be wrong. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 19:54, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, to put it differently, I know that early 19th-century pan-germanists such as Jahn and Treitschke entertained this opinion, but how representative are they? The fact is that Holland had been widely recognized as an independent nation since the early 17th century, and in some respects had more cultural ties with France than with Germany. Iblardi (talk) 20:18, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

Well, what many people do is take modern concepts and distinctions (like German versus Dutch) and project them backwards, considering modern distinctions the natural ones and explaining away discrepancies in past sources as forms of tendentiousness (in this case, "German nationaism"). But though there was what we can see as the embryonic form of the "Dutch nation" politically separate from the rest of Germany from the 17th century, it wasn't a nation (any more than other German states were) and so the politics were of little significance. The 18th century United Provinces were a collection of regional units (Hollanders, Zeelanders, and so on) who spoke "Dutch", but "Dutch" didn't mean what we mean by "Dutch" now (there was no such concept); rather, it meant "German", and a meaning which has survived in residual use in English in terms such as "Pennsylvania Dutch" (and also in phrases like "Dutch courage", etc). You can illustrate this by a quote from the early 18th century text called A New Description of Holland and the Rest of the United Provinces:

::::::"The Language most used in Holland, is Flemish or Low Dutch; nevertheless the People of Quality, more especially the Merchants, are very careful to Teach their Children Latin, French, English, Spanish, Italian and High Dutch".

In 1705 W. Bosman wrote "They are as Impertinent and Noisie as the..German Jews at their Synagogue at Amsterdam" (quoted in OED); one could go on (at that time "German" was still a Latinate neologism used by educated people as a synonym for "Dutch"). It's the growth of nationalism in the 19th century, particularly the development of Prussia into "Germany", that slowly stops classification of Hollanders and Zeelanders as "German" ... being confusing to English speakers and threatening to United Province people. But for instance, Nathaniel Hawthorne still casually called Amsterdam "German". Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 23:02, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
I am aware of the dangers of projecting modern notions back into the past. It was the sweeping "everyone" in your statement which I reacted to. I agree that there has probably always been awareness of a certain kinship between Dutch and Germans, but it seems too easy to say that the two were equated by their contemporaries in the early modern period. In certain circles within Germany itself the situation may have been different. After all, integration of the Netherlands in a resurrected German empire was an object of early-19th-century German expansionism with its fascination for "Germanentum". But is it not possible that those German romanticist notions have also distorted our modern views, making the equation "Dutch"-"German" seem more prominent than it actually was? I find the English language examples not completely convincing. The fact that the Dutch language was seen as Low German, or that the older term "Dutch" was used for the German language, does not necessarily imply that the Dutch people were seen as Germans. According to the OED, the "sense [of Dutch] narrowed to 'of the Netherlands' in [the] 17c., after they became a united, independent state and the focus of English attention and rivalry." And the "German Jews of Amsterdam": is it not possible that the writer simply refers to German Jews living in Amsterdam? ([32]) Iblardi (talk) 12:33, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
You're missing the point. A statement like "has probably always been awareness of a certain kinship between Dutch and Germans" assumes that there was a distinction, but this itself is a later development. And no, calling "Dutch" Germans is fairly normal. The surprise you have that writers then didn't distinguish them is purely a result of your own geo-ethnic terminology. If all the Arab world united tomorrow except Moroccans and Algerians, we'd still occasionally call Moroccans and Algerians Arabs for the next 50 years or so, but our descendants two centuries from now probably wouldn't, and probably there'd be some people then explaining away our usage as influenced by Arab nationalism ... clearly the only reason we were so slow recognising the true distinction between these peoples who, although kin, were clearly distinct. The Dutch were simply Germans of the Low type. The difference in name has been created by politics, and the modern difference in language is a similar beast, created by the erosion of the Low German dialect region that didn't form part of the United Provinces. Tendentious and slavish linguists have even now reclassified Dutch as not "Low German" (see Low German article), and we now have pseudo-linguistic concepts like Old Dutch forming a nice little origo gentis for the polity, in the process adding another layer of political myth-making the non-suspecting student of history has to dispose of in order to understand the past. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 12:53, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
But even if the distinction is a political construct, it is still there from the moment the United Provinces are created. It is irrelevant whether the "Dutch were simply Germans of the Low type" -- it is simply a matter of perception. The quote from the OED does show that the distinction was already made in the 17th century, whether it would at that time have been artificial or not. Iblardi (talk) 13:07, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
It is perception I'm talking about. You can see from the OED that even the word Dutch was used for "German" as late as 1884, and even to this day in parts of the US. None of the OED refs to Dutch as "Low Countryish" use the word to distinguish them from German, no more than describing something from Kent as English means only Kentish things are English. Anyways, this is becoming a bit of a digression. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 13:18, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

why are you discussing the problem of a "Dutch" vs. "Deutsch" ethnicity on this talkpage? The point should be addressed at Germans#Early_Modern_period (and used to be, but petty Dutch patriotism keeps disrupting that discussion), but it is quite evidently off topic here. "narrativised historical linguistics" is a hobby-horse of Deacon's and I am quite tired of it already, but it is safe to say that we do not need to have this discussion for the purposes of this article. --dab (𒁳) 15:20, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Hobby-horse? Your post may have had credibility, but you blew it with your baseless personal attacks. You need to stop carrying grudges against everyone who has disagreed with you. Your life on wiki is hard enough already; I fear you are your own worst enemy sometimes. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 22:00, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
baseless? I have no problem with people disagreeing with me. If they canpresent a good rationale I will even let them convince me. You are not "disagreeing" with me, you are repeating your mantra-like accusation of "narrativised historical linguistics" which, on closer inspection, doesn't mean anything at all, and is not in any way backed up by any sort of rationale. Any history is, of course, a "narrative". A narrative of what we think most likely happened in the past. So what? And how is it "personal" to point out to you that you are presenting a fake argument. As for my "life on wiki", I am enjoying myself, thank you. In two days I will have been since yesterday, I have been a regular contributor for over five years and I cannot say I find it "hard" to keep contributing. But thanks for caring.
but perhaps you can bring yourself to address the issue which you agree "may have had credibility" before you lost your countenance? --dab (𒁳) 11:24, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, I'm not sure I've used this phrase more than once, but your response to it does no more than highlight your lack of understanding of history. After five years (congrats btw), you seem to have more grudges than sense, as evidenced by your loss of "countenance" above. In future I suggest you stick to issues raised instead of bringing up all this personal nonsense. All the best, Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 12:47, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

excuse me, you got personal. I merely pointed out that this "narrative" thing appears to be a "hobby-horse" of yours. I fail to see how I have a "lack of understanding" simply because I refuse to nod to your idiosyncratic opinion pieces. --dab (𒁳) 19:31, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Seriously Dab, the "hobby-horse" snipe was totally unnecessary. You would really be doing us all a favor by just cutting all of the personal attacks/snide jabs and focusing on the subject at hand. :bloodofox: (talk) 20:40, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

so, people can speculate about my "grudges" and what not, and I am the one making the "personal attacks" and asked to "focus" for telling Deacon that his persistent recourse to "narrative historical linguistics" is so much hot air. Interesting. Why don't you ask Deacon what "narrative historical linguistics" are instead of taking cheap potshots at my person? --dab (𒁳) 22:16, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

You could have just said you disagreed with him or offered a counter point or whatever, and that would have been that. Can we just cut the personal crap and get back to the subject? :bloodofox: (talk) 22:24, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Saxon Danes?

I just watched on the news that a doctor at a sperm clinc said people from the UK bought sperm from Danish sperm banks because Danes and the English had virtually the same gene bank. (the UK ones were empty) This do ring some bells in my ear as Danes are slightly different looking from Swedes and Norwegians. Does anyone nkow anything about this? Todays Denmark was Saxony in ancient times was it not? (talk)

The English people are not just Saxon, were also part Angle and Jute. The latter two came from the Jutland peninsular which is why the English and Danes have a strong connection (that and the Vikings). Saxony was just below.--English Bobby (talk) 12:04, 8 November 2009 (UTC)


"The descendants of these peoples became, and in many areas contributed to, the ethnic groups of North Western Europe: the Germans, Belgians, Norwegians, Swedish, Finland-Swedes, Estonian Swedes, Danish, Faroese, English, Scots, Icelanders, Austrians, Dutch and Flemish, and the inhabitants of Switzerland, Alsace and Friesland on the continent."

aren't Scots Celtic? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:19, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

Not entirely - there is a great mix, with the Celtic being represented by the Gaelic-speaking highlanders and their descendants, and previously by inhabitants speaking a dialect of Welsh, while the lowland and many islanders Scots include those of Germanic descent. Tha Anglo-Saxons settled in southeastern Scotland. The Vikings had an enormous impact (many of the Western Isles have Scandinavian names for instance, Orkney was settled by the Vikings, plus many other areas). Not to mention the impact of the Anglo-Normans etc. Simon Burchell (talk) 10:06, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

Germanic wannabeism

The paragraph about the "heavy" Germanic settlement is completely unsourced and stupid. Does this guy know the ancestors of each italian people to make such assertions ? It is incredible how much southern europeans need to prove their "germanity" to exist...Delete it.--Elgor008 (talk) 21:12, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

You are right. Completely original research. A pity such paragraphs are accepted in an encyclopedia.--Fideco (talk) 15:36, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

sheesh. It is completely undisputed that there were a number of Germanic kingdoms in what is now Italy, France and Spain. How is this "wannabeism"? This was 1500 years ago, it is not about contemporary Europe. --dab (𒁳) 13:37, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

Germanic peoples

Shouldnt there be an article about Germanic peoples in a modern context here? There are similliar articles about Slavs, Turkic peoples and Indo-Aryan peoples.Snoolz (talk) 00:56, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

Hmmm... When I hear "Germanic peoples" I automatically think "tribes". Is there such a thing as a common "Germanic" self-image among modern speakers of Germanic languages at all? If not, I'd say let's leave it. Trigaranus (talk) 07:47, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

There was an extremely long and tedious discussion about this. There used to be an article about Germanic Europe. Short story, it was scrapped. In the aftermath, Latin Europe was recently reduced to a pathetic stub, and only Slavic Europe survives in any useful shape or form.

I think this reflects an irrational "fear of race and ethnicity" among Wikipedia editors. Since the topic is murky and surrounded by dangerous political ideas, people seem to think it is better to pretend it doesn't exist at all. Same with immigrant criminality: you cannot have a detached and neutral discussion about ethnicity, race or immigration on Wikipedia. If you try, you will immediately be suspected of trying to push some extremist agenda, and the article will be exposed to excessive criticism, resulting in deletion or stubification. I know what I am talking about, I have been fighting radical ethnic ideologies on Wikipedia for more than five years, and I recognize that they are a danger to encyclopedicity on one hand, but I also realize that irrational fear of ideologies among the uninformed are just as much a danger to encyclopedicity. There is also extreme systemic bias: nobody would ever try to delete or stubify Ethnic groups in Africa, no matter how crappy or under-referenced it might be. But the uphill battles I had to fight to get people to accept an article about Ethnic groups in Europe were epic. Similarly, nobody has a problem with grouping disparate ethnic groups under Bantu peoples or Indo-Aryans. Even Slavic peoples seems to be unproblematic. But woe betide if somebody tried the same with "Germanic". --dab (𒁳) 14:37, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Good thing that article is gone. No encyclopedic value and just locks good editors up in pointless wars. Ethnic groups in Europe is pointless article too ... who is Wikipedia to tell the Basques they are part of the 'French ethnic group' as a plain matter of fact, or that modern political constructs should be merged with historically meaningless linguistic classifications like 'West North Sea Germanic' as if there was some kind of intrinsic connection. For me such articles are worth avoiding not because ethnic concepts aren't worth covering, but because Wikipedia can't reliably attract an editorship capable of writing them ... and certainly not one able to cancel out all the nutters who are drawn to such articles. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 14:59, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
yes, I was talking about you among other things. So, are you in favour of deleting both Slavic peoples (i.e. merge into Early Slavs) and Slavic Europe as well, and if not, why not? --dab (𒁳) 19:29, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
All those "X Europe" ones should go. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 11:03, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Arabs, Turkic peoples, Slavs, Indo-Aryans, Austronesian peoples, Bantu peoples, Nilotic peoplesand the list goes on. Today, the Germanic languages are almost mutually inelligable but yet this modern ethnolingistic group is not even mentioned here. This article presents it as the Germanic peoples are extinct, which is ridicolous. The Germanic peoples are today by far the most dominating in the world and they should have been the first to get an article here.Alphasinus (talk) 16:25, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

Alphasinus' comment demonstrates why such an article would be a bad idea. "Germanic peoples" are certainly not "by far the most dominating in the world", and Germanic languages are in no way "almost mutually intelligable". An educated English speaker cannot understand spoken German any better than spoken Spanish. (talk) 19:54, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

Alphasinus' comment demonstrates nothing beyond the fact that Alphasinus isn't a very good or capable editor. The Germanic Europe article was axed not because it is not a valid topic, but because it kept being disfigured by confused, ideological and poorly educated editors of this kind. Of course Germanic languages are not "almost mutually intelligible". You might at best claim that the Danish language in itself is just "almost mutually intelligible"[33] :) But of course neither are Bantu languages mutually understandable. This is why Bantu peoples says

"Bantu is used as a general label for 300-600 ethnic groups in Africa of speakers of Bantu languages"

Could or should we say on the same grounds that

"Germanic is used as a general label for a dozen or so ethnic groups in Europe of speakers of Germanic languages"?

The relevant point is in the is used. On Wikipedia de-facto common usage in the English language trumps naive considerations of parallelism between articles like the above. If "Germanic" is not used in this sense, but Bantu is, well, Wikipedia will just reflect this asymmetry in common usage. --dab (𒁳) 09:28, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

"West Germanic Kingdoms 460" map

Couldn't help but notice that the time period claimed by that map is wrong-- for one, the Ostrogoths hadn't taken over all of Italy in 460. The Western Roman Empire still had another 16 years of life left. Likewise, the Frankish territories shown weren't won until 486 and the fall of the Domain of Soissons. That map is more appropriate for 490 or 500 AD rather than 460. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:09, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

DNA material (Y haplogroup I1)

Reviewing some recent edits on the talk page, as requested by User:Obotlig:-

  • Material was added by Obotlig directly into the lead, with quite strong wording and no sourcing, and not really fitting where it was put (in my opinion):

    The Germanic peoples are closely linked to the male lineage represented by the Haplogroup I1 as classed by geneticists which is generally believed to have arisen approximately 5,000 years ago.

  • I moved this to its own section, tagged it for sourcing, and changed the wording, because:-
  • We can not have everything discussed in the lead, and a proposed link between one Y DNA haplogroup and Germanic is hardly the most discussed thing in the study of Germanic peoples.
  • When we make comments that say something is simply a fact, we need quite strong sourcing, and this had no sourcing at all. I also happen to know something about this field and I know that unfortunately there is very little if anything which has been published about any link between Germanic languages and any kind of genetic markers.
  • Obotlig has put now made the wording of this new section much stronger, AND added it back into the lead. Also, sources have been added. The edit summary says "see haplogroup I1 wiki this is current unanimous view and is very relevant to introduction of article also refs were tedious to enter, please preserve". So, I comment now:-
  • Concerning putting a digression about ONE Y DNA haplogroup into the lead, and then repeating the same information in a sub-section, I see no justification. I think it has to be just in the sub-section. The lead is already quite big, and we can not put everything in the lead and in sub-sections.
  • Concerning the wording change, in order to claim that something is believed, we need sources, but in order to say that something is unanimously believed we need sources which review the literature and actually SAY that it is unanimous, so the sourcing needs to be very strong and explicit.
  • The most difficult problem is the sources now provided, and there is a similar problem on the I1 haplogroup which have mentioned on the talkpage of that article. Unfortunately this whole subject has not had much published about it. One of the sources is a personal website, and one is another wiki (eupedia). Neither of these should be used as sourcing on Wikipedia. The Rootsi article is a real genetics article, but it mentions no link to Germanic. There is also a link to the National Geographic website, which is OK, but not really a strong source, and then there is an article with no author name given. This needs improvement.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:53, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
OK, the article which had no author must be this one, which is actually in a book:

"New Phylogenetic Relationships for Y-chromosome Haplogroup I: Reappraising its Phylogeography and Prehistory," Rethinking the Human Evolution, Mellars P, Boyle K, Bar-Yosef O, Stringer C, Eds. McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge, UK, 2007, pp. 33-42 by Underhill PA, Myres NM, Rootsi S, Chow CT, Lin AA, Otillar RP, King R, Zhivotovsky LA, Balanovsky O, Pshenichnov A, Ritchie KH, Cavalli-Sforza LL, Kivisild T, Villems R, Woodward SR.

I would like to request Obotlig to quote from this article in order to confirm exactly what it says about the link between haplogroup I and Germanic? It would be great if the source really says something about it.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:24, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

This is a waste of time. I think maybe you are pulling my leg or being obtuse. When you are ready to stop being difficult why don't you obtain that book or the summary of it that one of the geneticists has posted. This is too contentious of an issue and your resistance to it is absurd; however I am biased because I am I1 and proud of it and this will just make me frustrated because I find it personally insulting. I must recuse myself out of conflict of interest at this time. If you want to reject the sources when you must know they support the connection enjoy your slaughtering of this article. Obotlig (talk) 05:46, 17 October 2011 (UTC)


A couple of possibilities are mentioned such as 'Geir man' (=Spear man), But I am missing another obvious one. If it were the romans who came up with the name, it might mean 'brotherhood' (Latin: Germania) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:31, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Can you name a source for this one?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:10, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
Just after a quick look around the internet this seems to have been a theory held by some in classical times, but it does not seem to get much play in recent times. Not sure why. A lot of the thinking on this whole subject seems to be driven by the famous quote of Tacitus, which is often taken to imply that the name was given by Gauls to mean something frightening.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:49, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
Germanus is a Latin word meaning of genuine blood, related or of the same parents. Whether this was first applied in some form by Gauls is irrelevant to the obvious etymology in Latin. Gauls were part of the Empire. Smearing of the article or its talk page with Celt nonsense I think is endemic of the hurdles this article faces as an object of slurs hatred muddling etc. As Tacitus noted, the Germans must've been a distinct and not mixed group. Right or wrong that's how things looked at the time. Germain. Related. Pure of blood. Obotlig (talk) 06:03, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
According to the Lateinisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch of Walde-Hofmann (entry germanus), the ethnonym Germani is not identical with the Latin word meaning 'brother' (as claimed by Birt [1920]), nor is it related to it (as claimed by Neckel [1930]), but is probably of Celtic origin. The authors refer to Zachrisson, Studia Neophilologica 1 (1928), 18ff.; Loewenthal, in Paul & Braune, Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur (=PBB) 54 (1930), 478; and especially J. Schnetz, PBB 47 (1923), 473ff.; Zeitschrift für Ortsnamenforschung 2 (1926-27), 226ff.; ZONF 9 (1933), 209ff. in support of this statement. Iblardi (talk) 09:05, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
The basic question is not one of Latin versus Celt here. The question is what reliable sources say. The Celtic theory is easy to source. But the Latin theory, for whatever reason, seems not to be popular, including amongst Latinists and general linguists. It is not just a theory of Celticists. It basically looks like no one is seriously proposing it since the 19th century? If we can find a good source for a Latin connection, fine. But can someone find a good one?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:43, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
According to the same source the view that the word was genuinely Latin was held by one Birt (presumably Theodor Birt) in the Berliner Philologische Wochenschrift, 1920, p. 660ff., but you will also notice that this view is dismissed (or at least contradicted, and both views can hardly be correct) by the authors listed above. If you want to source the "Latin origins" theory, you could try to trace this Birt article. Iblardi (talk) 13:12, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
But if the only source is from 1920, and we only read about this because of recent comments about it, which dismiss it, we can only mention it very carefully as an old theory which is now rejected? In any case we must be cautious about "due weight".--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:40, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

All of the sources above are out of date and extemely conjectural. Tacitus you will note says that a tribe of Germans applied this name to themselves to inspire terror in the Gauls. I personally question his reliability but he is the contemporary source. Everything else you cite dates from the early 20th century and is conjecture. Tacitus was, correct me if I am mistaken, himself a Gaul from the area where the term was allegedly (according to what again?) applied to non-Teutons and he gives a clearly different and specific account of the origin. I guess I misspoke as to what the authoritative etymology is and there in fact is none. There is a specific clear contemporary account (by an admittedly sometimes misinformed commentator) and recent vague conjecture. Might as well mention all three. Seems to me like there is no answer worth giving decisive merit to. Obotlig (talk) 06:55, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

According to our Tacitus article, no one is sure where he is from but I think that he was "ethnically" a blue blooded Roman. Anyway, this is irrelevant. We should not spend too much time on this talkpage trying to work out the basis of the theories that are published by reliable sources. The question is what reliable recent sources say. If anyone has a recent source saying the term is Latin, please propose it. For whatever reason, my scanning of the literature found everyone leaning to Gaulish and away from Latin, at least so far. The Latin word gives us modern English "germaine" so you can compare etymologies of that and "german".--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:43, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
He does look Roman but I don't guess our opinions on that matter a lick. He certainly knew the Gauls from that region and had some reason for giving his version of the word origin. So there we have one reliable source. Then we have listed above conjecture from the early 20th century. Then we have dictionaries that unanimously attribute to Latin origin "germanus" correct? Oxford in my abridged electronic version says it may ultimately have had some Celtic meaning. M-W seems to accept the straight Latin explanation. Is there anything published in the last 20-30 years that can be taken as more reliable than the dictionaries? What is the dispute here - who would prefer what wording? I would prefer a bullet list of: the dictionaries say latin and unsure otherwise (also note adjective lowercase german in oxford), tacitus gives an explicit origin, and two varieties of conjectural etymology from the early 20th century. It's a good question why the word was first applied but as a word we consider of Latin origin the question becomes what did they mean when they used it and what are reliable sources for this. We are lacking. Shall we look at six specific sources to use for the article, what order to give them in, and how to assign crediblity? If no one else would like to start a fresh paragraph (or bullet list, I like them) I am willing to. Thanks for being patient and working together, I come to realise I am often the obtuse party in these discussions. Obotlig (talk) 01:41, 19 October 2011 (UTC)
Personally, I think the more sourced information the better. But we can not ignore that we have modern sources saying that this is an old theory no longer accepted, and we have no recent sources for this theory. Therefore, if we want to include mention of it, we need to mention that it was an old theory. For example we can name some the classical author(s) who believed it. I those authors are notable even if modern authors think they were wrong. But we must be careful about implying that an old theory is still accepted by modern specialists, which is what some readers might be led to believe if we right incautiously.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:44, 25 November 2011 (UTC)