Episode 20: The Early Germanic Tribes

The first Germanic-speaking tribes emerge in northern Europe.  We explore the connection between these tribes and the original Indo-Europeans.  We then look at the expansion of the Germanic tribes into the Celtic region of central Europe and their early conflicts with the Romans.  Latin words pass into these early Germanic languages, including the dialects of the continental Anglo-Saxons.


12 thoughts on “Episode 20: The Early Germanic Tribes

  1. The failure of the Romans to conquer all the Germanic tribes completely changed the history of Europe. The Reformation takes place in the areas of Germany and N. Europe that the Romans failed to conquer.

  2. The German Tribes are important in my family’s history on both my father’s side and my mother’s side. On my mother’s side I am descended from the Franks, Alemanni, Suebi, Visigoths, Thuringians, Burgundians, continental Saxons, and Lombards. I am also descended from Charlemagne on my mother’s side. Finally, on my mother’s side, I am also descended from Roman Legionnaires, or soldiers, of ancient ethnic Roman physical descent. The German tribes on my mother’s side intermarried in later centuries with the descendants of the Roman Legionnaires. On my father’s side I am descended from the Anglo-Saxons of England. I wouldn’t be me without the merging of the Roman Legionnaires and the German Tribes. The German Tribes accomplished more than people give them credit for.

  3. On the word “mead” as to be a derivate of PIE “médʰu” root word meaning “honey based alcohol drink”. In Slavic languages this word (i.e. “miód” in Polish) has a broader meaning, covering both “honey” and “mead” meanings in modern English. PIE root word probably also had this broader meaning, not only referring to the drink.
    Otherwise, wonderful podcast, especially for the non-native English speaker 🙂

  4. 20 episodes in and this is just fantastic listening all the way. Being a Scot of Swedish ancestry (male line) and having learned a good bit of modern Greek from my seven years in Messinia I had thought I knew a bit about the subjects covered so far. Well I do now!

  5. I think German ancesty is uniquely special its something to be honored. Ive done four dna test and altogether combining all results I can count eleven races more or less its how its added. 42 percent british isles 16 percent German/French Scandinavian 2 to 3 percent Finnish 2 to 3 Portugese 2 to 8 percent Jewish 0.1 percent Eastern asian 2 to 3 percent American Indian 4 to 5.6 percent and of the two tribes Im a tribal member of one of the tribes and I appeared a little eastern European once But the German tribe is excellent life would’nt be the same without it and I think it explains my lightness in hair color. Its like a light shinng through my hairs on my head and facial. Looks better on the other sex but what can I say Im stuck with it. Still Im madly in love with german.

    • As a fellow from the German-speaking nation I say no to this racialistic view. Germans are first of all not a homogenic group (lots of different ethnicities with different heritages adopted the German language and culture) and your ancestry doesn’t really say anything about you, apart from where your parents came from. You could have less supposedly Germanic ancestry and still be a German (since it’s primarily a nationality) – and no, we are not all tall, blonde, blue-eyed and pale, uff.

      On the other hand there are plenty of people descendent from German migrants who have absolutely nothing in common with people who live in a German-speaking country, because they grew up in a different cultural setting. I don’t care if you are an American living in the US and your great-great-great grandfather was from a region that’s now Germany – you are most likely not as German as someone who actually grew up in a German-speaking country or migrated there and aquired the language, customs, etc.

      People aren’t just defined by their DNA or phenotype, but mainly by their culture and upbringing. Thinking you can reduce people to mere genetic traits and even more, thinking it somehow makes one better or more special than anyone else is a very dangerous ideology to have, one that ultimately led the Germans specifically to one of the most tragic crimes commited in history.

      Sry, i had to say this, but it bothers me a lot to see such nationalistic stuff to be posted under content that relates to Germany or the Germanic people.

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