Talk:List of ancient Germanic peoples

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You are mixing "ethnics" and "language"[edit]

Seconding the motion[edit]

I must say the breaking up of the old Germanic tribes section needed to be done in order to expand the subject, which is a large and evidently popular one. And, it needed a contemporary section. There was no place in the heated discussion section of the Germanic peoples article to vote. My vote is, the division into peoples by general convention is by language. Thus the French or Spanish do not qualify as Germanic peoples, but the Scots do as they speak primarily Germanic. They would also, however, qualify as Celtic, as Gaelic is still spoken there as a second language. Sometimes the line is quite hard to draw. But, either we draw it or we just forget about ethnic identity. Having drawn it, we have to be extremely careful about what other connotations and values get attached to the identity. Is that not the between-the-lines issue of the heated discussion?Dave 00:58, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

From the look of your previous discussion pages I also think it is a good idea to only list contemporary peoples by language only. It hard to argue against who speaks what today. May I suggest though that a separate precautionary note be placed under Contemporary clearly stating that this is language and not these people's genetic make-up. Scott
Hi Scott. Would you care to write us a nice note? Thank you, Scott.Dave 13:13, 23 April 2006 (UTC)
I agree that the division by language is the only sensible and really possible way in which we can really break peopls into related groups etc. However if the Scots are to be included as Germanic ( and while they are primarily English speaking some of them have Gaelic as a FIRST, not second, language )then so should the Native Americans of North America, the Aborigines of Australia, the Maori of New Zealand, the former British Caribbean Islands etc as these are all also primarily Germanic speaking while not being primarily of Germanic ancestry- and here lies the problem. Personally i would have a list of Germanic peoples but with peoples who have adopted a Germanic language highlighted as such rather than being classed as Germanic in the same sense as say the Germans or the Norwegians - basically what Scott above has advocated. An Siarach
Hello An. I took all those people to be contemporary English speakers. Is there some problem with that? We aren't interested here in the native ancestry of all the English speakers, are we? By the way, my great uncle, a Forbes, spoke Scottish Gaelic. He had considerable trouble in his life finding anyone else who did so. He would listen to various people take a shot at it and then say "no, he doesn't know it." Just what villages anywhere in Scotland still use it in everyday life? I'd like to know myself.Dave 13:13, 23 April 2006 (UTC)
I would put the Scots as Germanic, so long as the Irish and Welsh are also there, as they are also Germanic by modern language. And as An Siarach says, well have to add the Maoris of New Zealand, a great number of African peoples, etc. - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 15:50, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
Hello Calgacus. What's the issue? I don't see that there is one. All those people are covered under contemporary English. The ancient sources provide us with a limited list of Germanic peoples. Such a list today would occupy many pages, wouldn't it? We have to generalize to some degree. My interest in the ancient comes from the desire to find the origin of Germanic identities. Contemporary speakers who assimilated in historical times is really quite a much larger topic, is it not? Why do we have to list all the native American tribes who now speak English? I see that as being over-rigorous. We can just use a generic term. Most of the tribes have an article in Wikipedia anyway, or will have, illuminating what language they spoke and speak and why.Dave 13:13, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

Alans, sarmatians and scirii aren't "germanic people" as we know today, they're closer to scythians, not to goths, franks, suevi or other germanic people. The confusion was motivated by the romans, that put the name "germanic" to all the people who was over the "limes germanicus", it inludes indigenous people as helveci, germanic tribes as goths, getae,.. and other ethnic groups as alans, sarmatians, scirii or huns. Huns are not germanic too, they're close related to tartaric tribes. Do not mix ethnics and language: now there are no "germanic", every nation in Europe is a mixture of many tribes and races.

I would argue for the inclusion of the Alans as they were 'adopted' by the Vandals, adopted Germanic language and culture, and also married into Germanic families........though ethnicity should not be an issue. - Hesselius.

English speaking nations[edit]

The Scottish Lowlands is not a nation. If speaking English makes a person a Germanic person or makes an ethnic group Germanic, then all the British and Irish peoples are Germanic peoples. The wording needs to be cleaned up or all the British peoples should be added. If possessing a Celtic language regardless of how widely spoken then omits the Germanic category and surpasses it, then that's just bloody stupid Enzedbrit 21:38, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

The Lowland Scots are Germanic. In Britain there are the English and Lowalnd Scots with a predominately Germanic culture, folklore (that I agree does still have some Celtic ideas in it) and History. What is now the Lowlands (up to the Firth of Forht) was originally part of the English Kingdom of Northumbria. They have retained a seperate identity to this day. The Scottish Lowlands is like Cornwall, Cornwall is largely Celtic in culture, even though it is part of the Culturally and I dare say Ethnically Germanic, England! But I agree the Scottish Lowlands is not a nation, just as Cornwall is not....infact The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is technically the nation not England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland seperately. Sigurd Dragon Slayer

The Scottish Lowlands are no more "Germanic" than are the Highlands of Scotland. English is the predominant language of both regions and Gaelic WAS the historically dominant language of both regions. The Lowlands were not part of the Engilsh kingdom of Northumbria - this is a huge generalisation - but the extreme south east, i.e. the Lothians, were and this is the ONLY part of Scotland where Gaelic never became entrenched or the dominant language and was known, in more honest times, as "the land of the English in the Kingdom of the Scots" just as the Lowland Scots language was more honestly referred to as Inglis by its speakers before they decided to try and usurp Gaelics status as the Scottish language. RE Enzedbrit : Of course Possessing a Celtic language ( so long as it is as a mother tongue) omits the Germanic category just as any French, Russians, Aboriginal Australians do not suddenly become 'Germanic' by mere dent of having English as a second language. I do however agree that the major criteria for how a nation or people should be classed is the language they speak which would indeed make all of the nations of the British Isles "Germanic" (albeit possessing Celtic enclaves in Wales, West of Ireland and North West of Scotland and the Isles).siarach 11:48, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Then the East Germans and English are equally un Germanic due to their British Celtic and Slavic or Baltic ancestry (genetically and linguistaically speaking!):} 01:02, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

RE: User: yes you are quite right - it really is ridiculous to use supposed ancestry/genetics as a criteria to define people when historically people were clearly defined on the basis of language. siarach 09:23, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Northumbria reached up to the Firth of Forth, Edinburgh was an Angle city. Lothian was its own Germanic Kingdom (ruled, in legend, by King Lot of the Orkney Islands). The Lowland dialect is very much like my native dialect of Northumbrian due to both Northumberland and the a great deal of lowland Scotland being part of Northumbria. - Hesselius.

Summary of problem and suggested solution[edit]

Greetings ladies and gentlemen. Some of the replies almost seem provocative. I understand why and I tried to indicate that in my precautionary note in the article. Now that we are getting into this, I see that the note is not going to be enough.

You have all discovered the problem, of course, and it is not specific to Wikipedia, or any of the individuals whose interest has been taken. The "ethnic" classification is at best an amorphous one. You just can't put people in slots, now can you? Good Lord, how many people have died for the concept! Uncountable I'm sure. But in fact we do put people in slots. So, the historians and ethnographers want to ask, what slots to people get put in and why? These slots are in fact operational identities. They operate on populations. A formerly native population now speaking a European language does NOT get treated the same as natives speaking their aboriginal language by any of the parties concerned.

But how do you define identity? How can there be an answer to that one? Who am I? Who are you? I wish I knew. It seems to me we want to get an "I'm OK, you're OK" stance on Wikipedia. Language is a good neutral ground. The problems with it are manifest. Isn't it better than race however? Remember the Caucasian race, which isn't Caucasian and is not a race? Do you want that back? So, what I would like to see is some solutions to these problems we all can see instead of provocation.

With regard to the Germanic languages, it is obvious that the contemporary range of the language far exceeds the original range, but even in ancient times the problem is to be found. Who is germanic? Well, says Tacitus, they live in Germany. That just doesn't do it. It's a tautology, the Germans are they who live in Germany, Germany is the place where the Germans live.

For solutions we cannot apply a rigorous standard. The concept is not rigorous. Such statements as "by that standard ..." bla bla bla, are going to lead nowhere. This is one of those Platonic indefinables. No matter how you try to define it, you end up in a morass of hyperdefinition without resolution. And yet, each and every one of YOU (me too) use identity concepts every day. So somewhere we have to make a judgement, "good enough" and let it go at that. That cannot be a racist jugement. We aren't going to encourage anyone to purge anyone.

One commonly used solution, which also is used by the Encyclopedia Britannica, is to make the distinctions between societies and populations that have spoken Germanic since ancient times and those that adopted it in replacement of another, or use it extensively as a second language. No, it isn't a perfect solution. There are no perfect solutions. It is NOT a rigorous science, only history, the views of our ancestors and of us concerning them. What is that worth? I'd like to know a little more than what my grandfather told me, wouldn't you?

So, we need a THIRD category in addition to ancient and contemporary, or maybe we need to split contemporary. Populations that have adopted Germanic, populations that speak Germanic as a second language, identities that have assimilated to Germanic, societies with more than one identity, etc. You get the idea. I'm mainly interested in the ancient. Why don't YOU come up with the right words for a good solution, my friends?

One practice I do not see as being too useful is sarcastically throwing in identities that do not primarily fit the Germanic just to protest that you don't like the standard. Each identity will require a decision and a proper category. What, you don't decide, you only tear down the decisions of others? The Huns, for example, do not belong under Germanic! Some of them assimilated no doubt but on the whole they kept their society and politics distinct and they were gone before the assimilation was complete. We shouldn't be adopting a WWI curse word to apply to a group formerly at war with English speakers.

Well, there it is. Get to work, all of you, or forever hold your peace.Dave 12:51, 23 April 2006 (UTC) German are germanic if there are people that live in germany but dont come from western and northern germany there not german if a german moves say like to america and have childreen there still germanic jew's are not germanic and arabs and so forth even if they live there i think they should all get the hell out of my four fathers country even if a have to get ride of them mydself i wish germany won ww2 because this speading of people though out the worlk is crap we must exteminate out siders from europe otherwise its not europe

Anglo Saxons?[edit]

Shouldn't the Anglo Saxon who are mainly the descendants of Saxons, Jutes, and Angles be listed as a Germanic people as well? I added them for the time being. Regards, SignaturebrendelNow under review! 20:13, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

No, because Angles, Saxons and Jutes are different Germanic tribes. There was never a tribe of Anglo-Saxon peoples. - Yorkshirian (talk) 16:28, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Actually you are wrong, Yorkshirian, after the people of England considered themsleves Anglo-Saxons or English (latin Anglorum), after a certain point in history, which is why kings, after the unification, were styled either King of the Englihs (Rex Anglorum) or King of the Anglo-Saxons. (talk) 21:08, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Maybe but someone like William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke (1146–1219), who was only of Norman descent, not Anglo-Saxon, but born in England, considered himself as English. Nortmannus (talk) 01:29, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
IIRC the term Anglo Saxon is modern, and is meant to describe the group which eventually which is otherwise difficult to classify. The English called themselves English, but the word Saxon, one of the original immigrant nations, is a word that was used by Celts and Latin speakers stuck to for some reason. So I think if we are going to call the unified Anglo Saxons by a tribal name it is just English (perhaps as opposed to Angles?)--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 19:34, 22 September 2011 (UTC)


Does the "introduction" part really fit? It looks unencyclopedic and makes the article look like an essay. 惑乱 分からん 21:57, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

I agree. The bulk of the introduction is entirely out of place (as well as unsourced and quite possibly a case of WP:SYN). I suggest we get rid of it. Aryaman (☼) 18:37, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
This is definitely the case with the "Classical philosophy" section which is, at best, irrelevant. -- llywrch (talk) 19:28, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

List of modern Germanic peoples[edit]

I deleted the list since no sources have been given. First, there is no evidence that the modern ethnic groups/nations listed are in fact Germanic peoples. Secondly, some of them are not even ethnic groups - they are linguistic groups or regional identities - and no source is given for the claim that they are.

No source for listing as Germanic: Danes, Faroese, Icelanders, Norwegians, Swedes, Finns, English, Frisians, Dutch, Flemings, Afrikaners, Germans, Austrians, Luxembourgians.

No source for listing as a separate 'people' or ethnic group: Alemannic, Dano-Germans, Holsteiners, Schleswigers, Swabians, Swiss Germans, Liechtensteiners, Alsatians, South Tiroleans, Lorrainians, Vorarlbergian minority, Bavarians, Slesvigers, "English speaking nations", "proportion of Lowland Scots", "cultural descendants of the Anglo-Saxons around the world", "Belgian Dutch majority of Belgium", Belgian French, Walloons, German Belgians.

If this list is to include groups speaking a Germanic language or with some Germanic ancestors, then it should be renamed as such.Paul111 11:58, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Ive reinserted the list, renamed it and stuck some {{Fact}} tags up to give people a chance/encourage people to reference the various entries rather than have it completely absent. This article really does need a section dealing with the modern Germanic peoples - however they are defined. siarach 12:49, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
On reflection i think the easiest way to have a reasonably sound contemporary list is simply to list ethnic groups which speak a Germanic language.siarach 12:58, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Makes sense. 惑乱 分からん 14:28, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
I just understood what the list is about. Shouldn't it be entitled The list which follows covers the major ethnic groupings or populations which have descended from a Germanic people and speak a modern Germanic language.breadstic 23:47, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

As has been pointed out by others before, that includes for instance Gambians, Jamaicans, Cape Coloured and Yiddish-speaking Jews. It also does not match the title of the list. Something will have to change here.Paul111 18:37, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

I appreciate your discontent with the list - i too share the feeling and for similar reasons - but i do no necessarily think the article/list misnamed. Germanic is a blanket term which, without qualification, could well be used to simply list Germanic speaking peoples. siarach 00:39, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Probably the only proper way it could be used, currently. Concepts of ethnic origins tend to get fuzzy rather quickly... 惑乱 分からん 23:49, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

List of modern Germanic peoples YET AGAIN[edit]

This list serves absolutely no purpose except to mislead readers and embroil good editors in edit conflict. Do Swedish Americans have a Germanic identity? If so, do all of them have it, or just some? How do you verify it? What is a "Modern Germanic people"? Do peoples who by different combinations of historical events happen to speak languages classified as Germanic have any common Germanic identity? The list as it stands, ignoring that it's pointless and unverifiable, isn't too controversial. But just wait, some nut will want to add Scots and Irish citing the fact that they speak Germanic languages, they'll get offended, others will add Jamaican, etc, etc. Please find more constructive edits than stuff like this, stuff that will serve no purpose but to waste the time and energy of good users, as it has just wasted mine. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 22:01, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

I would like to assume good faith in the efforts of those who put in the work to create this list. But I'm not going to argue about whether or not it should stay. It's clear that there is a conflict between the scope implied by the title and the 'acceptability' of that content. The most reasonable solution in my eyes is to rename the article to List of Ancient Germanic peoples and eliminate 95% of the problem straight away. —Aryaman (Enlist!) 00:55, 17 May 2008 (UTC)
Um, why is there a need to only classify South East and East Anglian English as Germanic? For instance, Yorkshire was obviously settled by Germanic people who today consider themselves English, yet they aren't from either of those areas. I find it a little dubious. If it is a question of Genetics, then I would assume it would be a good idea to also include something like (Besides those with Celtic Genes) for the Icelanders and Faroese and Dutch?
Why not include every existing ethnic group that includes a person who speaks German or whose language includes a word derived from any of the German languages? It would be much longer but as least as reasonable as including France and Portugal.Nitpyck (talk) 04:57, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

"some nut"? Will you please remember WP:RS? You don't just add stuff on a whim. You cite sources. If an editor can cite a source to the effects that "the Swedes have a Germanic identity", let them cite it and insert the statement. If not, why did you even click "edit"? Don't insert stuff if you have a good reference, it is really very simple. If you have a good reference to the effect that "Jamaicans have a Germanic identity", fine, let's see it, but I imagine it's going to be just a little more difficult to find such a source. This is not about languages. It is about interpreting ethno-linguistic identity based on language as well as other things. We do not perform such interpretation ourselves, see WP:SYNTH. We report on such interpretations made by others. If you want to tout your own opinion, go and publish in a peer reviewed journal, or failing that, get a blog.

What I am saying is that if people just remember WP:RS, such "problems" are simply going to disappear. In other words, this is not a problem to begin with. Trolling may be, but that's a question of user conduct, not content dispute. --dab (𒁳) 09:46, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Modern Germanic peoples ?[edit]

As far as I know, until the development of the European colonies in America, Africa, etc. the Germanic languages were almost only vernacular languages. For sure, the Germanic peoples assimilated some Celtic (south of Germany, Austria, GB etc.), Slavic (Eastern Germany, etc.) and other minorities, when they moved to the east, to the west or to the south of Europe, but the Germanic languages became predominant only where there was a majority of the Germanic componant in the population, for the simple reason that these Germanic languages were historically never lingua franca, compare to vulgar Latin for example. Quite the opposite many Germanic populations were assimilated by other ethnical majorities, when these Germanic tribes moved to the east, to the west or to the south of Europe and so far that some of them adopted the linguae francae (like vulgar Latin, f.e in the north of France : the Franks) or (Norman-French in Normandy, Slavic in Russia, etc. : the Scandinavians) and their civilization. That is to say the Germanic peoples were very often migrating peoples who tried to extend to live a better way than in the dark and cold countries of the North. The power of the Roman civilization, political system, way of life was so strong that they wanted to imitate it (see Charlemaine), on the contrary, nobody wanted to live the Germanic way and speak a Germanic language, that is to say that the places who were germanized were only the lands, where Germanic people were numerous (fe. the Anglo-Saxon on the eastern and southern part of the British Isles). To compare again, the Romans never moved physically to the northern countries of Europe, except in some cases politicians, administrations, merchants, but the power of their civilization, economy, so of their language, was so strong that the native, the local populations (Celts, Germanic people) became Romans. To simplify : Most people who talked a Germanic languages had Germanic ancestors and most people talking a Romance language did not have any Roman ancestor. It makes the whole difference between "Latin Europe" and "Germanic Europe". Later, with the economical and cultural power of the British empire, the development of the "Germanic colonies" outside Europe, a Germanic language like English became for the fist time in the history of the Germanic peoples a lingua franca, that is to say that nowadays most native speakers of the English language don't have any Germanic ancestry. Now, with an important immigration from the southern countries to the north of Europe, the low birth rate, there are less and less people of Germanic origin. There are no more Germanic peoples, but only speakers of Germanic languages. Nortmannus (talk) 19:09, 7 September 2011 (UTC)


Any thoughts on the map used at the beginning? It seems a bit sloppy to me: there are no Saxon(e)s in the Germania, as they most likely only formed as a tribal entity much later; there were no "Iuti" but Eudoses, and the "popoli Baltici" and the "Slavi" are completely anachronistic for the late 1st century AD. These are just those that jumped right at me, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few more. Does anyone have a more accurate map of the Germanic peoples at that time? Trigaranus (talk) 15:20, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Proposed merger[edit]

I started this article many moons ago. Numerous criticisms have been levelled at it but it seems to have survived. My original intent was to address the Germanic tribal names of history. I don't see any reason not to go on with it. We can't put the moderns in here, a complete Atlas would be required. Maybe I should have said ancient Germanic peoples, but some of those names descend to the modern, such as the Saxons. That should probably be explained in the intro. I'm leaving the title. This is not an ethnic treatise so those criticisms are bunko. The writers of the ancient sources were ethnic-minded. I'm sorry if you don't like that but it is too late to convert them to our way of thinking. We don't alter history. In contrast to what someone said, the intro is not irrelevant, rather, it is an explanation of what the article is up to. I'm sorry if I'm not trying to do what you think I ought to have been trying to do and disapprove. I personally don't give a rat's tail what the ethnicity of any of those characters really was or was thought to be, or what yours or anyone else's is either. That seems to me irrelevant. Furthermore, since the intro is only an explanation of what the editor, me, is trying to do in this article, it does not need any references. To whom would I refer? But, if I see a place where there should be a ref I will certainly put it in. Now for the topic of this section, as an added bonus. The proposal to merge is over one year old. Whoever made it, I think you misunderstand the situation. Those other names are already in here, were from the beginning. No merger is required. Moreover I see no discussion at all here. I'm the only one discussing. Now, I intend that those names should remain here. If you want to keep another article breaking out the confederacies I have nothing at all to say. I'd be happy either way. Maybe you should keep the confederacies one. Do as you please. I consider the matter discussed and am taking off the tag. Since I started this article long ago WP has come a long way. There is more and better code and most of these names are covered by supporting articles, which they were not before. So, I'm going to jazz the list up a little. It may take me a while to do this. Pitch in if you like. Bye now. As you can see, I'm just as long-winded as ever.Dave (talk) 01:10, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Vandal ancestor[edit]

"R. Much, Wandalische Götter, Mitteilungen der Schlesischen Gesellschaft für Volkskunde 27, 1926, 20-41. "R. Much has brought forth a relatively convincing argument to show that the very name Vandal reflects the worship of the Divine Twins." Donald Ward, The divine twins: an Indo-European myth in Germanic tradition, University of California publications: Folklore studies, nr. 19, 1968, p. 53."

I didn't write this section but I agree with its being here. The pattern, however, is to list the name, the people, and the source of the mythical connection. The above removed note wants to explain the etymology of Vandal. That is not the pattern. Etymologies will be given in the table above. But, we have not got to Vandal yet. So, I am putting this here. When we get to Vandal I would expect it to go back as a note on Vandal.

Remove this ridicilous map[edit]

it is completely wrong one . Some Italian Megalomania .Check real map
to see how wrong this one is
Edelward (talk) 00:06, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

Norweigans, but no swedes?[edit]

I noticed that norwegians are a germanic people on this list, but not swedes, Danes or Scandinavians generally. Why? -- (talk) 20:17, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

Northsea Germans with Celtic roots - this stupid theory had no facts.[edit]

Cimbri,Teutons and Ambrones is celtic? Had you see any celts in Jutland? And what for a people say, they was from Scandinavia, that is soooooooo stupid. This "Antigerman Construct" is completly stupid and have no genetic or linguistic or historic fact. That is a modern way to kill germanic history. They are a part of mesolithic northeuropean population, than Funnelbeaker culture, Single grave culture, Corded ware culture and Jasdorf culture like frisi and sugamber.They have 6000 years germanic history!!! — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2003:46:D50:5EBB:F146:133A:4138:BFBC (talk) 18:26, 13 June 2015 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:List of ancient Germanic peoples/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

The article does not have any sources or inline citations, but can be assessed as C-class when sources are added. –Holt TC 11:26, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Last edited at 19:33, 5 December 2012 (UTC). Substituted at 22:11, 29 April 2016 (UTC)