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Myths Ancient Teutondom (germanien).

The Aryan Land Of Europe

The Aryan Land Of Europe


Source: Teutonic Mythology

On one point--and that is for our purpose the most important one--the
advocates of both hypotheses have approached each other. The leaders of
the defenders of the Asiatic hypothesis have ceased to regard Asia as
the cradle of all the dialects into which the ancient Aryan tongue has
been divided. While they cling to the theory that the Aryan inhabitants
of Europe have immigrated from Asia, they have well-nigh entirely ceased
to claim that these peoples, already before their departure from their
Eastern home, were so distinctly divided linguistically that it was
necessary to imagine certain branches of the race speaking Celtic,
others Teutonic, others, again, Greco-Italian, even before they came to
Europe. The prevailing opinion among the advocates of the Asiatic
hypothesis now doubtless is, that the Aryans who immigrated to Europe
formed one homogeneous mass, which gradually on our continent divided
itself definitely into Celts, Teutons, Slavs, and Greco-Italians. The
adherents of both hypotheses have thus been able to agree that there has
been a European-Aryan country. And the question as to where it was
located is of the most vital importance, as it is closely connected with
the question of the original home of the Teutons, since the ancestors
of the Teutons must have inhabited this ancient European-Aryan country.

Philology has attempted to answer the former question by comparing all
the words of all the Aryan-European languages. The attempt has many
obstacles to overcome; for, as Schrader has remarked, the ancient words
which to-day are common to all or several of these languages are
presumably a mere remnant of the ancient European-Aryan vocabulary.
Nevertheless, it is possible to arrive at important results in this
manner, if we draw conclusions from the words that remain, but take care
not to draw conclusions from what is wanting.

The view gained in this manner is, briefly stated, as follows:

The Aryan country of Europe has been situated in latitudes where snow
and ice are common phenomena. The people who have emigrated thence to
more southern climes have not forgotten either the one or the other name
of those phenomena. To a comparatively northern latitude points also the
circumstance that the ancient European Aryans recognised only three
seasons--winter, spring, and summer. This division of the year continued
among the Teutons even in the days of Tacitus. For autumn they had no

Many words for mountains, valley, streams, and brooks common to all the
languages show that the European-Aryan land was not wanting in
elevations, rocks, and flowing waters. Nor has it been a treeless plain.
This is proven by many names of trees. The trees are fir, birch, willow,
elm, elder, hazel, and a beech called bhaga, which means a tree with
eatable fruit. From this word bhaga is derived the Greek phegos, the
Latin fagus, the German Buche, and the Swedish bok. But it is a
remarkable fact that the Greeks did not call the beech but the oak
phegos, while the Romans called the beech fagus. From this we
conclude that the European Aryans applied the word bhaga both to the
beech and the oak, since both bear similar fruit; but in some parts of
the country the name was particularly applied to the beech, in others to
the oak. The beech is a species of tree which gradually approaches the
north. On the European continent it is not found east of a line drawn
from Koenigsberg across Poland and Podolia to Crimea. This leads to the
conclusion that the Aryan country of Europe must to a great extent have
been situated west of this line, and that the regions inhabited by the
ancestors of the Romans, and north of them by the progenitors of the
Teutons, must be looked for west of this botanical line, and between the
Alps and the North Sea.

Linguistic comparisons also show that the Aryan territory of Europe was
situated near an ocean or large body of water. Scandinavians, Germans,
Celts, and Romans have preserved a common name for the ocean--the Old
Norse mar, the Old High German mari, the Latin mare. The names of
certain sea-animals are also common to various Aryan languages. The
Swedish hummer (lobster) corresponds to the Greek kamaros, and the
Swedish sael (seal) to the Greek selachos.

In the Aryan country of Europe there were domestic animals--cows, sheep,
and goats. The horse was also known, but it is uncertain whether it was
used for riding or driving, or simply valued on account of its flesh
and milk. On the other hand, the ass was not known, its domain being
particularly the plains of Central Asia.

The bear, wolf, otter, and beaver certainly belonged to the fauna of
Aryan Europe.

The European Aryans must have cultivated at least one, perhaps two kinds
of grain; also flax, the name of which is preserved in the Greek linon
(linen), the Latin linum, and in other languages.

The Aryans knew the art of brewing mead from honey. That they also
understood the art of drinking it even to excess may be taken for
granted. This drink was dear to the hearts of the ancient Aryans, and
its name has been faithfully preserved both by the tribes that settled
near the Ganges, and by those who emigrated to Great Britain. The
Brahmin by the Ganges still knows this beverage as madhu, the Welchman
has known it as medu, the Lithuanian as medus; and when the Greek
Aryans came to Southern Europe and became acquainted with wine, they
gave it the name of mead (methu).

It is not probable that the European Aryans knew bronze or iron, or, if
they did know any of the metals, had any large quantity or made any
daily use of them, so long as they linguistically formed one homogeneous
body, and lived in that part of Europe which we here call the Aryan
domain. The only common name for metal is that which we find in the
Latin aes (copper), in the Gothic aiz, and in the Hindooic ayas.
As is known, the Latin aes, like the Gothic aiz, means both copper
and bronze. That the word originally meant copper, and afterwards came
to signify bronze, which is an alloy of copper and tin, seems to be a
matter of course, and that it was applied only to copper and not to
bronze among the ancient Aryans seems clear not only because a common
name for tin is wanting, but also for the far better and remarkable
reason particularly pointed out by Schrader, that all the Aryan European
languages, even those which are nearest akin to each other and are each
other's neighbours, lack a common word for the tools of a smith and the
inventory of a forge, and also for the various kinds of weapons of
defence and attack. Most of all does it astonish us, that in respect to
weapons the dissimilarity of names is so complete in the Greek and Roman
tongues. Despite this fact, the ancient Aryans have certainly used
various kinds of weapons--the club, the hammer, the axe, the knife, the
spear, and the crossbow. All these weapons are of such a character that
they could be made of stone, wood, and horn. Things more easily change
names when the older materials of which they were made give place to new
hitherto unknown materials. It is, therefore, probable that the European
Aryans were in the stone age, and at best were acquainted with copper
before and during the period when their language was divided into
several dialects.

Where, then, on our continent was the home of this Aryan European people
in the stone age? Southern Europe, with its peninsulas extending into
the Mediterranean, must doubtless have been outside of the boundaries of
the Aryan land of Europe. The Greek Aryans have immigrated to Hellas,
and the Italian Aryans are immigrants to the Italian peninsula. Spain
has even within historical times been inhabited by Iberians and
Basques, and Basques dwell there at present: If, as the linguistic
monuments seem to prove, the European Aryans lived near an ocean, this
cannot have been the Mediterranean Sea. There remain the Black and
Caspian Sea on the one hand, the Baltic and the North Sea on the other.
But if, as the linguistic monuments likewise seem to prove, the European
Aryans for a great part, at least, lived west of a botanical line
indicated by the beech in a country producing fir, oak, elm, and elder,
then they could not have been limited to the treeless plains which
extend along the Black Sea from the mouth of the Danube, through
Dobrudscha, Bessarabia, and Cherson, past the Crimea. Students of early
Greek history do not any longer assume that the Hellenic immigrants
found their way through these countries to Greece, but that they came
from the north-west and followed the Adriatic down to Epirus; in other
words, they came the same way as the Visigoths under Alarik, and the
Eastgoths under Theodoric in later times. Even the Latin tribes came
from the north. The migrations of the Celts, so far as history sheds any
light on the subject, were from the north and west toward the south and
east. The movements of the Teutonic races were from north to south, and
they migrated both eastward and westward. Both prehistoric and historic
facts thus tend to establish the theory that the Aryan domain of Europe,
within undefinable limits, comprised the central and north part of
Europe; and as one or more seas were known to these Aryans, we cannot
exclude from the limits of this knowledge the ocean penetrating the
north of Europe from the west.

On account of their undeveloped agriculture, which compelled them to
depend chiefly on cattle for their support, the European Aryans must
have occupied an extensive territory. Of the mutual position and of the
movements of the various tribes within this territory nothing can be
stated, except that sooner or later, but already away back in
prehistoric times, they must have occupied precisely the position in
which we find them at the dawn of history and which they now hold. The
Aryan tribes which first entered Gaul must have lived west of those
tribes which became the progenitors of the Teutons, and the latter must
have lived west of those who spread an Aryan language over Russia. South
of this line, but still in Central Europe, there must have dwelt another
body of Aryans, the ancestors of the Greeks and Romans, the latter west
of the former. Farthest to the north of all these tribes must have dwelt
those people who afterwards produced the Teutonic tongue.

Next: The Geographical Position Of Ancient Teutondom The Stone Age Of Prehistoric Teutondom

Previous: The Hypothesis Concerning The European Origin Of The Aryans

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