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






Category: MEDIAEVAL MIGRATION SAGAS.

Source: Teutonic Mythology

The northern position of the ancient Teutons necessarily had the effect
that they, better than all other Aryan people, preserved their original
race-type, as they were less exposed to mixing with non-Aryan elements.
In the south, west, and east, they had kinsmen, separating them from
non-Aryan races. To the north, on the other hand, lay a territory which,
by its very nature, could be but sparsely populated, if it was inhabited
at all, before it was occupied by the fathers of the Teutons. The
Teutonic type, which doubtless also was the Aryan in general before much
spreading and consequent mixing with other races had taken place, has,
as already indicated, been described in the following manner: Tall,
white skin, blue eyes, fair hair. Anthropological science has given them
one more mark--they are dolicocephalous, that is, having skulls whose
anterior-posterior diameter, or that from the frontal to the occipital
bone, exceeds the transverse diameter. This type appears most pure in
the modern Swedes, Norwegians, Danes, and to some extent the Dutch, in
the inhabitants of those parts of Great Britain that are most densely
settled by Saxon and Scandinavian emigrants; and in the people of
certain parts of North Germany. Welcker's craniological measurements
give the following figures for the breadth and length of Teutonic
skulls:

Swedes and Hollanders, 75--71
Icelanders and Danes, 76--71
Englishmen, 76--73
Holsteinians, 77--71
Hanoverians, The vicinity of Jena, Bonn, and Cologne, 77--72
Hessians, 79--72
Swabians, 79--73
Bavarians, 80--74

Thus the dolicocephalous form passes in Middle and Southern Germany into
the brachycephalous. The investigations made at the suggestion of
Virchow in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and Austria, in regard to
blonde and brunette types, are of great interest. An examination of more
than nine million individuals showed the following result:

Germany, 31.80% blonde, 14.05% brunette, 54.15% mixed.
Austria, 19.79% blonde, 23.17% brunette, 57.04% mixed.
Switzerland, 11.10% blonde, 25.70% brunette, 61.40% mixed.

Thus the blonde type has by far a greater number of representatives in
Germany than in the southern part of Central Europe, though the latter
has German-speaking inhabitants. In Germany itself the blonde type
decreases and the brunette increases from north to south, while at the
same time the dolicocephalous gives place to the brachycephalous.
Southern Germany has 25% of brunettes, North Germany only 7%.

If we now, following the strict rules of methodology which Latham
insists on, bear in mind that the cradle of a race- or language-type
should, if there are no definite historical facts to the contrary,
especially be looked for where this type is most abundant and least
changed, then there is no doubt that the part of Aryan Europe which the
ancestors of the Teutons inhabited when they developed the Aryan tongue
into the Teutonic must have included the coast of the Baltic and the
North Sea. This theory is certainly not contradicted, but, on the other
hand, supported by the facts so far as we have any knowledge of them.
Roman history supplies evidence that the same parts of Europe in which
the Teutonic type predominates at the present time were Teutonic already
at the beginning of our era, and that then already the Scandinavian
peninsula was inhabited by a North Teutonic people, which, among their
kinsmen on the Continent, were celebrated for their wealth in ships and
warriors. Centuries must have passed ere the Teutonic colonisation of
the peninsula could have developed into so much strength--centuries
during which, judging from all indications, the transition from the
bronze to the iron age in Scandinavia must have taken place. The
painstaking investigations of Montelius, conducted on the principle of
methodology, have led him to the conclusion that Scandinavia and North
Germany formed during the bronze age one common domain of culture in
regard to weapons and implements. The manner in which the other domains
of culture group themselves in Europe leaves no other place for the
Teutonic race than Scandinavia and North Germany, and possibly
Austria-Hungary, which the Teutonic domain resembles most. Back of the
bronze age lies the stone age. The examinations, by v. Dueben, Gustaf
Retzius, and Virchow, of skeletons found in northern graves from the
stone age prove the existence at that time of a race in the North which,
so far as the characteristics of the skulls are concerned, cannot be
distinguished from the race now dwelling there. Here it is necessary to
take into consideration the results of probability reached by
comparative philology, showing that the European Aryans were still in
the stone age when they divided themselves into Celts, Teutons, etc.,
and occupied separate territories, and the fact that the Teutons, so far
back as conclusions may be drawn from historical knowledge have
occupied a more northern domain than their kinsmen. Thus all tends to
show that when the Scandinavian peninsula was first settled by
Aryans--doubtless coming from the South by way of Denmark--these Aryans
belonged to the same race, which, later in history, appear with a
Teutonic physiognomy and with Teutonic speech, and that their
immigration to and occupation of the southern parts of the peninsula
took place in the time of the Aryan stone age.

For the history of civilisation, and particularly for mythology, these
results are important. It is a problem to be solved by comparative
mythology what elements in the various groups of Aryan myths may be the
original common property of the race while the race was yet undivided.
The conclusions reached gain in trustworthiness the further the Aryan
tribes, whose myths are compared, are separated from each other
geographically. If, for instance, the Teutonic mythology on the one hand
and the Asiatic Aryan (Avesta and Rigveda) on the other are made the
subject of comparative study, and if groups of myths are found which are
identical not only in their general character and in many details, but
also in the grouping of the details and the epic connection of the
myths, then the probability that they belong to an age when the
ancestors of the Teutons and those of the Asiatic Aryans dwelt together
is greater, in the same proportion as the probability of an intimate and
detailed exchange of ideas after the separation grows less between these
tribes on account of the geographical distance. With all the certainty
which it is possible for research to arrive at in this field, we may
assume that these common groups of myths--at least the centres around
which they revolve--originated at a time when the Aryans still formed,
so to speak, a geographical and linguistic unity--in all probability at
a time which lies far back in a common Aryan stone age. The discovery of
groups of myths of this sort thus sheds light on beliefs and ideas that
existed in the minds of our ancestors in an age of which we have no
information save that which we get from the study of the finds. The
latter, when investigated by painstaking and penetrating archaeological
scholars, certainly give us highly instructive information in other
directions. In this manner it becomes possible to distinguish between
older and younger elements of Teutonic mythology, and to secure a basis
for studying its development through centuries which have left us no
literary monuments.





Next: The Saga In Heimskringla And The Prose Edda

Previous: The Aryan Land Of Europe



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